Maybe Forever Giveaway Winners!

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 07.38.12Yup, my brain is still lagging a bit from transatlantic travel, so I am a day late posting this. :)

The Maybe Forever Signed Paperback Giveaway is now CLOSED!

The winners are Emily Breunig, Ida Louise Johnson and Monica Garry-Allen! Congrats, ladies! :D Please send me your postal addresses via my email (kimtalksbooks at gmail dot com) or the contact form here on the site! :D

International Authors’ Day Winner

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 07.08.25

Thanks to everyone who participated in the International Author’s Day Blog Hop Giveaway. I’m sorry I’m a day late posting the winner–a transatlantic flight can sure wipe you out!

But we have one lucky winner of the Maybe… series as ebooks and that is Purba Chakraborty!

Purba, please send me an email (kimtalksbooks at gmail dot com) or use the contact form here on my site and let me know if you’d like to receive your ebooks as MOBI or ePUB files.

Congratulation, Purba! And many thanks to everyone who participated.

Blog Hop: International Authors’ Day

IADThanks for joining me today for the International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, hosted by Debdatta Dasgupta Sashay and BookR3vi3ws.

People always ask me who is my favourite author or which book is my absolute favourite–and I always end up saying something different. It’s difficult to narrow it down to one author or one book. There are just so many.

If you’d asked me when I was in high school, my immediate response would have been the Silver Metal Lover…or possibly Days of Grass, both by Tanith Lee. I stumbled upon both titles after school while avoiding my homework. This was back when Barnes & Noble was still on Chestnut Street near City Hall in downtown Philadelphia. I could spend hours there. I spent most of my allowance there.

In college, I would have said either Toni Morrison or Ernest Hemingway (or both). Or I might have said Gabriel Garcia Marquez and then told you how much I loved his short stories in Leafstorm.

Now there are so many writers I love–traditionally published and indie. I get just as excited over new releases by indie authors  like Zack Love, Xio Axelrod, Nia Forrester or Tia Kelly as I do about when Lindsey Kelk, Justin Cronin, Martha Southgate or Andrea Lee release new novels.

I love reading–sometimes I love reading more than I love writing. A shiny new book can distract me from my writing far easier than a TV show. And I love that so many authors want to share their work with the rest of us. We book lovers are an interesting community. We may not actively seek one another, but somehow we always connect. We bond over our favorite scenes, we express our frustration at not having Book 6 in the Songs of Ice and Fire series or gush over how much we love our book boyfriends.  For us, authors truly are our rockstars.

The Maybe series collage

To celebrate International Authors’ Day, I’m giving one lucky winner the Maybe… series (Maybe Baby, Maybe Tonight and Maybe Forever) as ebooks. All you have to do tell me in the comments what is your favourite book and why. I will pick a winner on 18 July, once my flight has landed in the US. :)

How would you like to win an autographed copy of Maybe Forever?

MFI am so excited that Maybe Forever (the third part of the Maybe… series) is now available in paperback. In fact, I am so excited I am giving away three autographed copies.

So what do you need to do to be one of the lucky winners? Not very much. All you need to do is leave a comment for this post. Yes, it’s really that simple.

Tell me your favourite colour, tell me the name of the first person you ever kissed. Tell me if you think Jon Snow is really dead. Tell me which of my books is your favourite…tell me if you like meatloaf. See? You can tell me pretty much anything in your comment…

That’s it.

I will randomly pick three winners on Sunday, July 19th and announce them on my usual social media sites (here on my author site, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr).

This giveaway is open to international entrants.

So get cracking! The giveaway starts…NOW! Tell me something good! :)

#SundayShare – from my WIP, Under the Milky Way

Actor Michael Fassbender -- who has become the inspiration for both Gus and Max.

Actor Michael Fassbender — who has become the inspiration for both Gus and Max.

Belle was still curled in the same tight ball she slept in every night. No matter how many times I tried to massage away the thoughts that troubled her, she curled into herself, one arm tucked under the pillow, the other looped round her torso.
I knew she was not yet accustomed to me beside her. Whenever she announced that she was going to bed, Belle always paused as if uncertain whether she wanted me to join her. Though she kept her expression impassive, her body gave her away. She’d rise from the sofa, her fingers picking at invisible tufts of lint or fussing with the hem of her top. A flicker of her lips was enough to betray her.
Tonight she’d been more certain. She’d crossed the living room and then waited at the mouth of the hall. I studied her, reading the quickness of her pulse, the shallow breaths she took. Tonight she held out her hand to me and said in a hushed tone, “Come to bed, Max. It’s late…”

Actress Regina Hall -- inspiration for Belle.

Actress Regina Hall — inspiration for Belle.

Once we were in bed though, she did not want me to make love to her or to pleasure her with my fingers and mouth. She asked me to hold her until she slept.

While she slept, I closed my eyes and went into my power down state. Though I could still hear and sense everything, I was technically disconnected from Belle and the world. Instead, the Agency fed me new information. About Gus, updates to my algorithms, changes to my appearance based on Belle’s preferences. Though lately I changed to suit me.

The last thing I wanted was to be Gus 2.

I was Max.

I wasn’t Gus.

#SundayShare – From my current WIP, Under the Milky Way

As promised, here’s a snippet from Under the Milky Way. It’s unedited, so excuse any weirdness. :)

Gus blinked—his eyes were empty and lifeless at first, then something changed. The watery blue of his eyes darkened and then warmed. Her throat tightened—was it really him? Why had he not said he was coming home?
“Gus? Why didn’t you…”
His right hand twitched and then the corner of his mouth flickered. “I’m sorry, Bellamy. I am not Gus. I am Max. The Agency has arranged for me to be your companion.”
“What is this?” She glanced at the man standing beside Gus—or Max? What was going on? Whoever he was, he looked exactly like Gus. Even the pale, jagged scar on upper lip was the same.
“Compliments of the Agency.” The young man in the Agency uniform thrust a terminal pad at her. “I just need your signature.”
“I don’t want it.”
“You have to accept the delivery, ma’am. I’m not authorised to take him back there.”
Belle shook her head no. This was too much. She didn’t want this at all. Standing before her was
“I didn’t order a…companion. I don’t need one. My husband is coming home soon.”
“Ma’am, according to the order I have, your husband is scheduled for a new mission. This is standard procedure—long missions mean no furloughs in the near future. And then the Agency arranges a companion.”
Belle crossed her arms, tightening them and closing herself off. “So I can’t say no.”
“No. If you don’t want it, you can sell it or just turn him off. There’s a node behind his right ear—just press it and he’s off until you want him on again. Stick him in a closet,he won’t mind. Will you, Max?”
The android smiled blandly. “If Bellamy prefers it that way, then I won’t mind.”

And what was I listening to as I wrote this? Gary Numan’s “Are Friends Electric?”…

Father’s Day Excerpt: from Maybe Forever

Since today is Father’s Day, I thought I’d share with you a father-daughter scene featuring Mads and his youngest daughter, Freya, from Maybe Forever.

Photo credit: rSnapshotPhotos/Shutterstock.

Photo credit: rSnapshotPhotos/Shutterstock.

Once Anton and I rang off, I took Freya into the bathroom and cooled off her skin with a cold compress. The aloe vera gel came next. Freya whimpered at first but as the gel soothed away the heat she settled down and a tiny smile emerged again. I hated seeing her like this. How did Laney deal with this all the time? All I knew was I wanted to make everything better for my little girl.
She was growing so fast–just yesterday she’d managed to pull herself up on her own and balance for a few moments. Laney and I had watched, mesmerized, as our youngest daughter planted her hands onto the sofa cushion to brace herself and try to stand. In a few days she would be eight months old. Would she be an early bloomer and begin walking before she was even ten months old? Or would she be more like Liv, who’d taken her time about walking and explored every inch of the apartment crawling or scooting, only to take us by surprise on her first birthday by standing and taking off almost immediately in a wobbly run.
After a sleepless night thanks to her sunburn, Freya was more subdued than usual, which was understandable. Hell, I was pretty exhausted too. If anything I wanted to take a nap and I’d barely been out of bed for more two or three hours. Picking up Freya again, I asked her, “What do you think, lille ven? Shall we take a nap?”
My daughter yawned, her sleepy green eyes struggling to remain open. We retraced the path to the bedroom Laney and I had been sharing. The bedroom faced the back garden and was shaded by most of the morning sun thanks to the lush canopy of a marbleberry tree. It cast swaying shadows on the wall as a breeze caught its branches. Freya and I watched the shadows dance. She giggled and pointed at the tree. I kept my arm protectively around her as I began to drift off. It wasn’t long until even Freya settled down and her tiny sighs let me know she’d fallen asleep.
The air conditioner’s hum formed a cloud of white noise that lulled me even deeper into sleep. Freya planted her thumb in her mouth. I wondered if she was dreaming of penguins. Don’t grow up too quickly, I thought as my eyelids grew heavy. Stay my baby girl for just a little while longer.

Brainstorming in Matera

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 18.38.20Instead of spending Midsummer in Stockholm, I am in Matera, Italy brainstorming my next books with a great group of writers at the Locanda di San Martino. These amazing women have helped me figure out how to get past some road blocks that were keeping me from moving forward with my new WIP, Under the Milky Way. I am so grateful for this group and all the wonderful ideas and discussions we share. It’s been amazing! :) Later today there will be a #SundayShare post with a snippet from my WIP.

Five books to take to the beach

I’ve loved books since I was a child. Even when others made fun of me for being a bookworm, I continued to carry books with me wherever I went. They were my escape from doldrums, from other people’s ignorance and cruelty, they entertained me during long train rides or bus rides to Virginia, they took me to places far more exotic than my actual destinations and allowed me to experience things beyond my wildest imagination.

No summer (no season, really) is complete without books. I love checking out which books make it to the New York Times summer reading list. And while the list is never really as diverse as I’d like it to be, this year stood out in particular for being completely white. Well, Janet Maslin has her taste in books. I have mine. So here goes…

There is no specific order to my list, so don’t spend too much time wondering if number 1 is better than number 5 The order is only based on when it popped into my head. :)

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 11.02.455. Kilt Tease by Melissa Blue

The latest instalment in Melissa Blue’s Under the Kilt series, Kilt Tease, is now available. I loved the first three books (especially book 3 – Kilted for Pleasure, featuring Victoria and Callan). I just started reading Kilt Tease and it doesn’t disappoint. This time the focus is on ex-rugby player Quentin and American Katherine Campbell (but don’t call her “Kitten”). It’s a story of opposites attracting and what happens when you open yourself to love. My kind of story. And who can resist a story that features a sexy Sottish rugby player? :)

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.38.484. That Girl from Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson 

I went through a period where I wasn’t so keen on Dorothy Koomson’s novels, and then suddenly I fell in love with her writing. I’m not sure which book did the trick, but I do love her “heart fiction” (as she calls her books). Like her last few books, That Girl from Nowhere is more mystery than love story or relationship story. I like how Koomson’s characters are always so wonderfully flawed. That Girl from Nowhere focuses on Clemency, a black woman who was adopted by a white family, who by chance comes into contact with her birth family. I won’t give away any further details, but you should definitely add this book to your Beach Read List.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 15.29.403. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians has been on my TBR list since last summer. The more I read about this super-rich Chinese families in Singapore and what happens when the heir to one such family brings home his American-born Chinese girlfriend. I’ve only taken sneak peeks at a few chapters and I’m already hooked, so I know this will be one of my favourite books this summer. I love satirical novels and haven’t read a really good one in a long time.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 15.51.092. Loving Day by Mat Johnson

Back in the day, Mat Johnson was the guy nearly everyone I knew had a crush on. We both grew up in Philadelphia and had some of the same friends who hung out on South Street at the weekends and went to the same parties in Center City, University City and Germantown/Mount Airy. Mat’s gone from being the comic book/graphic novel-loving shy guy all my girlfriends were in love with to a critically-acclaimed author. His latest novel, Loving Day, takes on pertinent questions of race as his narrator, Warren Duffy, returns to the US after the breakup of his marriage to a Welsh woman. Duffy inherits a half-renovated mansion in Philadelphia and finds himself confronting ghosts of sorts–both real and imagined. Another book that I’ve only read snippets of, but that I think will be a phenomenal summer read.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 16.11.391. Chasing Moments by Tia Kelly

Any book by Tia Kelly is automatically on my 1-click list. Ever since I heard that Chasing Moments was on its way and available for pre-order, I placed my order. And while it’s not scheduled to be released until late August, I will wait patiently for its arrival. So what’s it about? A confirmed party girl whose fame precedes her, who is famous simply for being famous, and who wakes up one morning unable to remember what happened the night before. Now she must try to piece together memories of her life as she rediscovers who she is and what it all means. I seriously cannot wait to dip into this book. August can’t get here soon enough. :)

Now this is a short list. I am on vacation now and far too lazy to write more today. There will most definitely be a part two to this list.

Getting to know Benny from Maybe Forever

Earlier this week, we caught up with Laney. Now let’s have a sit-down with Benny, the saucy intern who seems to have a thing for Mads. She’s been pretty forthright about her interest in him. Let’s see what she has to say for herself. 

Me: So tell it to me straight, Benny. Why did you start making moves on Mads? You knew he was married–

Benny: (laughs) You’ve seen him. You know how gorgeous he is. And I liked what I saw, so I went for it.

Me: It can’t be so shallow as that.

Benny: Look, I don’t know what you expect me to say. I’m not really into relationships. I suppose I’m like a guy in that way… I like to hit it and quit it. I know it sounds vulgar, but I don’t have any hang-ups when it comes to sex. If I want it, I want it. And Mads…well, he’s insanely hot.

Me: But is that a reason to go after a man you know is married?

Benny: You know what I wanted? I just wanted to see if I could do it. Turn his head. Get him interested. See where it went. I knew it was a long shot. And, no, I was not interested in being the next Mrs. Rasmussen or being the mother of his children. I just wanted a taste of him.

Me: You’ve been interning at the collective. How did you end up there?

Brazilian Cinita Dicker, inspiration for Benny.

Brazilian Cinita Dicker, inspiration for Benny.

Benny: I heard about it through the grapevine. Morten and Mads came to my design seminar at Designhøjskole and I really liked how mellow they were. They didn’t act like they were too good to be there, they didn’t blather on like they were saying oh-so-very important words that didn’t really mean anything. They seemed real, you know? And I had total respect for that. I’m a designer too. I wanted to be a part of this–work together with some guys who seemed really cool and whose work was well and truly kick-ass. And then I heard Willem talking about how he’d applied, but I’d missed the application deadline. So I just went there and pretended I’d applied. Mads wasn’t there that day. It was Jonas and Morten who ended up interviewing me. I guess they liked my portfolio.

Me: What are you plans now? Are you going to continue trying to get Mads?

Benny: (shrugging) If he shows an interest, then why should I turn him down?

Me: And has he shown an interest?

Benny: Not yet…but it’s only a matter of time. And his wife isn’t around, so I’m guessing he might be more interested now.

Me: What about your position at the collective? Shouldn’t you be more focused on your career and getting work experience?

Benny: I know I’m good already. I’m the best intern there. And I do a damned good job, so nobody can complain. I go in, I work…I finish my projects on time. Yes, I flirt. I think any woman in my position would do the same.

Me: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Benny (laughs again): I don’t know…but wherever I am, I’ll be enjoying myself. Maybe I’ll have my own collective. Maybe they’ll take me on full-time. I guess we’ll just to wait and see.

Get your copy of Maybe Forever – available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo. Coming soon in trade paperback.