Whether you are a fan of fast-paced romantic suspense or prefer gripping tales of revenge and murder, today’s featured author has a real flair for writing on some very diverse subjects! I’d like to introduce you to multi-genre, multi-published author Amber Lea Easton. I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Amber, before getting into your own paranormal experience.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
ALE: I love dancing, which started with learning belly dancing, but has transitioned to Zumba and salsa dancing. I also enjoy hiking, seeing movies, attending concerts (especially at outdoor amphitheaters in the summer), watching plays, socializing with friends and traveling whenever possible.
Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a lifelong dream?
ALE: Yes. I started scribbling stories in notebooks when I was 9 years old. I'd crawl out my bedroom window, sit on the roof of my parents' porch, stare at the horizon and let my mind go wild. For the longest time, it remained a hobby. I worked in journalism and marketing, always working on a manuscript in my off time. People who've known me for years aren't surprised that I've made this my profession.
I had a chance to read your romantic suspense novel, Reckless Endangerment, and I knew I had to feature you here to talk about this story. What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonists, Michael Cedars and Hope Shane?
ALE: This story was inspired by real news headlines regarding soldiers returning home with PTSD and experiencing challenges adapting to civilian life. The human trafficking suspense plot was inspired by a documentary I saw entitled "Price of Sex" that left the entire theatre speechless. Sounds real romantic, right? Well, the love story fused with the suspense plot and Michael's struggles really is romantic because it's about love triumphing over the worst kinds of trouble.
The story itself came to me thanks to the characters, Colonel Michael Cedars and Hope Shane. I thought to myself—why not explore an epic love story wrought with the challenges of wounded marine unsure how to deal with returning to the United States as a partially paralyzed civilian and his bigger-than-life wife Hope Shane who's caught up investigating a human trafficking ring? He wants to push her away from the very beginning because he's heard stories of former soldiers acting out in violence against their loved ones while caught up in a nightmare. He's also not sure where he fits in this "new normal" and doesn't want to be an anchor to her. She, on the other hand, is a determined woman who refuses to give up on him or the innocent victims of the human trafficking ring. As the danger of her story intensifies, their marriage is tested and lives are threatened. Hope questions if she's gone too far, risked too much, messed up her priorities. Michael questions if he's still the hero she believes him to be.
Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open Reckless Endangerment?
ALE: An emotional rollercoaster ride. It's an intense story, that's true. The reader can expect to encounter characters who feel real, who they will bond with and cheer for (at least that's what reviewers are saying), and a storyline that will echo current world issues. Reckless Endangerment is truly a story about heroes—the ordinary kind who are flawed, who we take for granted, who are all too human at times.
Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
ALE: Music is definitely a constant for me. I light a candle or incense, put on my headphones, choose the playlist that suits my mood, and tune out the rest of the world. I must have my soundtrack to write. The flip side is that I need absolute silence to revise—not sure why, but that's how it is.
At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
ALE: Writing is how I break free—write something, anything, even if it's a journal entry or an idea for a freelance article. Write something. I have multiple projects going at once. Obviously, there's a main one that takes center stage, but I use the others when or if I get stuck. I write every day. If it's crap, I delete it the next day. I write. Every. Day.
Now down to the nitty gritty. Have you ever experienced anything paranormal and would you mind sharing it with us?
ALE: I've had many ghostly experiences over the course of my lifetime, but I'll tell you about my first one. My parents bought an old home that had once been a nunnery. They relocated the house from the city to the country. It was quite a process and I remember being terribly excited about it as a child. There was an angry old nun who came with the house, though, and she really didn't like kids. The first time I saw her I was playing in the bushes in the backyard and she came out and told me to leave. Then I started seeing her in my bedroom, always a woman in black with her hair severely pulled back from her face, not very pleasant at all, and constantly telling me to leave. I was only five or six years old so leaving wasn't an option! There were times as a child when I would be so afraid that I'd curl up beneath the covers and not move a muscle because I felt certain she--or someone--watched me from the darkness. Eventually, a little girl named Ruby befriended me and we'd go into the basement where we'd play games so that the mean gray-haired woman left us alone. My parents thought it was so cute that I had an imaginary friend…but I still remember Ruby. She did stop appearing to me as I grew older, but that feeling of dread returned time and time again while I lived at my parents' home in that room. By the time I was a teenager, though, I'd grown quite sassy and would simply tell the dark shape in the corner to leave me the hell alone.
This experience as a young child, however, instilled an open and curious mind that led me to read everything I could on ghosts, souls, angels, UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, and many more subjects I won't name for the sake of time. I guess I'm thankful for that grumpy old nun--or whoever she was--for teaching me to never say never and always be inquisitive rather than dismissive.
Awesome experience! Thank you for sharing. I'm excited to share an excerpt of your novel, Reckless Endangerment. But before we go, do you have anything else coming up in your near future?
Yes, Dancing Barefoot is releasing in late May. It's also a romantic suspense, but crosses genres to women's fiction. I've been working on this novel for years, even while others have published. It's fair to say that I simply didn't want to let it go…but now it's time. The prequel, In Between, is currently posting on my blog as a free read, one chapter a week. You can catch that every Sunday from now until release day. Links to all previous chapters are there. It's pretty easy to navigate.
An excerpt of "Reckless Endangerment"
“None of us are who we were. Do you think I’m the same person I was before seeing my best friend killed? Before stepping over Marishka’s body and the bodies of her murdered children? Before seeing you face down in the dirt? Do you think I don’t see corpses in my sleep? Do you think that hasn’t changed me?” she asked.
“You look the same.” His gaze flicked over her before sliding toward the window.
“Maybe I’m still walking on both of my feet, but that doesn’t mean other parts of me aren’t paralyzed.” She scrubbed her fists against the tears and hated herself for being weak. “I’m pissed at you for denying me access to you in Frankfurt. You have no idea—none—how much I needed to be with you when you were hurt and you made me out to be a liar. I’m your wife, for God’s sake.”
“Stop saying that word.”
“You’re a selfish bastard.” She shoved her hands through her hair and counted silently to twenty. “Say what you want, I don’t care because I’d rather fight with you than mourn you. I’d rather you hate me than feel nothing.”
“I do hate you.”
Blowing a strand of hair from her face, she grabbed the ouzo bottle, opened it and slammed cabinet doors looking for a glass.
“I know you’re lying,” she said.
“Get the hell out of here,” he yelled.
“Where are your goddamn glasses?” she asked between clenched teeth.
“How would I know? I’ve been here less than six hours.”
“Who needs a glass, right?” She took a long swig of the liquor. The alcohol burned her throat but felt damn good. She took another swig before meeting his gaze.
“Is that how you’re dealing with your guilt? Drinking it away?” he asked.
She held the bottle out toward him. “Want a taste?”
He looked at her through narrowed eyes, muscle working overtime in his jaw.
“C’mon, babe, look at it this way…maybe a taste will kill you,” she said.
For the first time since entering the room, a flicker of humor shot through his eyes. With a shrug, he grabbed the bottle and drank without breaking eye contact.
“I’m still alive,” he said.
“Sorry to disappoint you…again.” Needing to touch him, she reached for the scar that zigzagged across his forehead.
He flinched away from her touch.
“You need to leave. You don’t owe me anything,” he said without looking at her face.
She caught her lower lip between her teeth and studied his bent head before answering. “This isn’t about owing you anything.”
He met her gaze then, annoyance flashing in the brown depths. But there was something else there, too...pain so intense she took a step back.
“What is wrong with you?” he asked. “Just because I’m in this chair doesn’t mean that you can bully me.”
“Am I bullying you?” She grinned at the idea of bullying him. He’d always been the badass Marine with more arrogance than necessary. Her independence clashed with his attitude more often than not, but that had been a good thing. Maybe...just maybe...he’d missed it. “I brought you fast food and alcohol. We even had a fight. I think you like that I’m here. I’m livening things up. You looked pretty bored when I walked in.”
He grabbed her hand before she could snag another fry. He squeezed her fingers so hard she thought her bones would snap. “Look at me. I’m not the man you married. I’m not even a Marine anymore. Look at me.”
She only saw the man she loved who stared back with desperation in his eyes. She saw his hair thicker and longer than she’d ever seen it before and liked it. She saw his teeth sink into his lower lip and wanted them sinking into her skin. She only saw Michael.
“You’re still the sexiest man on the planet,” she said.
“You’re delusional.” He dropped her hand as if the mere touch of her skin sickened him.
“Maybe I am.”
“What are you getting out of this?”
“I can’t…I’m changed. We’ll never be able to be like we were.” He looked at his legs. “Not like how you remember me anyway. I’m different now.”
“So am I. We’re all different.”
“It’s more than that and you know it. You and me...sex...there will be...expectations.”
“I see, so I should pretend you don’t exist because you feel awkward about sex? You must not think much of me, Colonel.” She bit out his rank between clenched teeth.
“When I see you that’s what I want, are you satisfied now? Right now I would like to throw you up against that counter, rip those jeans from you and fuck you. I remember how we were together. That’s what I want. I can’t do that. Do you hear me? I can’t have what I want and seeing you is torture for me. I can’t have you.”
Silence quaked in the room.
She put both of her hands on his knees, conscious that he couldn’t feel her touch. “You keep talking about what you’ve lost, but you haven’t lost me. Don’t you see that? You may not be a Marine anymore and you may not be able to walk anymore, but you have me. I love you. I need you. Can’t that be enough? And you have your son. What about him? He needs you, too. You haven’t lost him.”
“I wish you hadn’t come here.”
“Too bad, I’m here. Deal with it.” She moved onto his lap and moved her hands over his shoulders. “What’s the problem?”
“Stop this,” he whispered.
“You want me to kiss you. You want to kiss me back.” She could see it in his eyes, the need, the desire, the question. “Is that what you want, Michael?”
“What would that prove?”
“Does it have to prove something? Can’t a kiss be a kiss?”
“Typical man.” She leaned within a fraction of his lips. “Don’t you remember high school? Don’t you remember when a kiss meant everything?”
In a sudden move, he grabbed the back of her head and ground his mouth against hers. She knew the intensity was meant to shock her so she matched it with her own. She sat on his lap and plunged her tongue into the recesses of his mouth until he moaned. His free hand squeezed her breast through the thin material of her blouse but, instead of hurting, it ignited her blood.
The Michael she knew still lived inside this man. She felt him in the warmth of his mouth, the strength of his hands on her body, the restrained power of his touch.
She couldn’t stop touching him, hands moved through his hair, over his face, along his shoulders. Alive. Here. She fought back a Hallelujah.
What the Reviewers are saying:
5 stars Extremely talented
Although this book is marketed as romantic suspense it also covers some serious issues, such as people trafficking and post-traumatic stress disorder, adding further depth to a book that is rich in plot and personal conflict already. Nothing prepared me for the literary quality of this novel. Regular romance and suspense fans get more than enough here to be satisfied by the great chemistry between the main characters and the intriguing story lines. However, if you - like myself - want a little bit more out of a book than you will find it in the well-handled and insightful passages about trafficking and PSD, issues that are handled with care rather than in an exploitative or decorative manner.
Easton clearly cares about what she writes and it pays dividends, her book is surprisingly impressive and certainly recommended. (see full review: http://www.amazon.com/Reckless-Endangerment-Amber-Lea-Easton/product-reviews/0615801617/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1)
5.0 out of 5 stars
Gritty At Times, Realistic, With An Immensely Satisfying Romance and MysteryBy
This review is from: Reckless Endangerment (Kindle Edition)
By the end of Reckless Endangerment I can sum it up by saying it's Triple-H......heartbreaking, heartwarming, and heartpounding. It's full of likable and fully fleshed-out characters, realistically depicted issues related to the aftermath of war, and it presented a fast-paced mystery surrounding human trafficking that kept me on the edge of my seat. It shows that atrocities not only occur in faraway lands but outside our front door as well. As two people deal both mentally and physically with the hand war dealt them it's only through love and acceptance that true healing can begin and a HEA can be fully achieved. (Read full review: http://www.amazon.com/Reckless-Endangerment-Amber-Lea-Easton/product-reviews/0615801617/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1)
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Reckless Endangerment (Kindle Edition)
I love this book! The author did a great job of writing a contempary novel with all the twists and turns that make it impossible for you to put the book down!! I am really impressed with the author's use of hard hitting problems facing today's society and intergrating them into the story line. This is not just another cookie cutter, predictable romance!! I highly recommend this book for all who looking for a novel with a little something extra! (Read full review at: http://www.amazon.com/Reckless-Endangerment-Amber-Lea-Easton/product-reviews/0615801617/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1)
Where to buy the book:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/Z4F3qj
All Romance Ebooks: http://goo.gl/d7RRSt
And most places where ebooks are sold—iTunes, Sony, etcetera.
For more information about Amber and her novels, check out:
Follow Amber Lea Easton on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MtnMoxieGirl