Thursday, October 19, 2017

Interview with Author Ava Lynn Wood

I am excited to welcome award winning children's book author Ava Lynn Wood to Passion Between the Pages! Ava and I discovered each other on Facebook and our mutual love of suspense and romance made us fast fans of each other's stories. Ava writes under two pseudonyms - Ava Wood, her young adult pen name and Ava Lynn Wood which she uses for her Adult Contemporary novels.

     I'll be sharing my review of Ava's In A Dream today, along with an interview with the author herself. 

    Welcome, Ava!

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What aspect of writing do you enjoy the most?

When I was about eight years old, I loved writing poetry, albeit quite juvenile, but I’ve always had a great love for writing. It is as if it has always called to me. I was an only child growing up living in the “middle of nowhere” and began creating worlds early on to entertain myself. So I guess it was only natural that I found my way to creating “friends” in my books.

In writing, I most love creating those relationships that speak to people. I love bringing characters to life that people want to root for and identify with. When I bring a character “to life” I want them to seem like someone that you could meet just walking down the street, someone that you would truly want to be friends with.

2. What kind of writer are you? Plotter?  Panster? Where do your ideas tend to come from?

I am definitely a plotter. When planning my first novel, I actually had close to 300 notecards with story ideas on them. Since then, I’ve condensed the process to about a paragraph of planning per chapter, but I typically have a story all mapped out before I begin writing. It helps to keep the story moving along and keeps me from getting tripped up on finding that perfect ending.

My ideas can be inspired by any number of things; a movie I’ve seen, a song I’ve listened to, a current event, a reality show, or even a friendship that my child has. I take my inspiration from the life that happens around me. There’s no telling where my next great story idea will stem from.

3. Heroine Emma Potter of In A Dream is incredibly strong, in spite of the horrific tragedies she's endured.  Was it difficult to write about the darker parts of Emma's past?  Were any of the events in this story inspired by real life?

Writing Emma’s story actually felt pretty natural. I think a little bit of all of my heroines comes from inside me. I’ve never experienced loss like Emma did, but her characteristics and her willingness to fight for another day are things that exist deep inside me. There was really no one specific thing that brought Emma to life, no events or great inspirations that created her story. She was just a story that came to life in my mind and wanted to be told.

4. Your books contain strong female protagonists who are at vulnerable points in their life when they cross paths with their potential knight in shining armor.  What story do you aim to tell your readers?  What do you consider the most important element of romance?

I feel like there are people who believe that you have to lose a part of yourself in order to fall in love and I don’t believe that to be true. I think it is so important to know who you are before you fall in love. Because if you don’t know and love yourself, you shouldn’t try to give yourself to another. I want my characters to be strong and to know who they are and to be capable of being whole without relying on another, but finding that while they are whole alone, they can be doubly whole with another. When you find that perfect someone, you become an even stronger version of yourself. You find inspiration to be the best you that you can be.

The most important element of romance (while my mother says sex) is the actual connection between two people, the relationship that exists. When two people feel comfortable enough to show their true self and are completely honest and open to their significant other, there is true beauty in that. Feeling comfortable enough to be vulnerable with someone is so powerful.

5. You've written 3 titles so far. Which one is your favorite and why?

Of my released work, my favorite is Irreplaceable. I love that Anna and Will get to experience a second chance. They’ve had time to grow up and really find themselves, but that great love still exists between them. I really enjoyed writing their story.

6. Who are some of your favorite authors?  What stories have influenced your own writing?

My favorite authors are Katy Evans, Rebecca Donovan, Colleen Hoover, Sylvia Day, Christina Lauren, and Autumn Jones Lake just to name a few.

As far as what stories have influenced my writing, I would have to say that after reading the Harry Potter series and Twilight as a young adult, I was inspired to put conscious effort behind my writing and to study the craft so that I could put out a product worth reading!

7. What's next for you?

In December, I’m releasing my next book, Silver. It’s a contemporary romance with a rock star who wants to run away from fame and all of the fake people he’s surrounded by. This story was a bit different for me as it is told from the female and male point of view, alternately. But this story has, without a doubt, been my favorite thus far. I experienced my first “writing hangover” after completing this book. I definitely fell in love with these characters and can’t wait to share them with the world.

8. Where can readers find you online?

The best place to find out about my books and upcoming events would be my webpage – You can find my newsletter there to stay up to date on my upcoming releases and giveaways as well.

You can also follow me on any of the following sites:

In A Dream blurb: 

Emma Potter has led a tragic life, witnessing her parents' murder at the tender age of five then being swept away to the Texas Hill Country to live with her grandparents. By the time she enters college, her uncle Peter is the only relative she has left and, while he's a bit unconventional, she treasures the familial bond they have.

But that familial bond is tragically ripped away when her uncle is killed in the night and Emma mysteriously witnesses the whole thing in a dream. While she's trying to sort reality from her nightmares, she finds solace in the arms of Aiden, her unexpected knight in shining armor. But Aiden has secrets of his own.

With Emma’s tendency to put up walls and keep secrets, she is hesitant to trust. Yet Aiden persists, even when Emma continually pulls away. She’s drawn to him; to his charm, his compassion, his smile, but she’s scared. She fears that falling for Aiden will only result in heartbreak once again.

While Emma fights to find her uncle’s murderer and decode the dreams that have become a nightly nuisance in her life, she must decide if she can accept the love she spent years trying to avoid, or if she’s willing to throw it all away to hide what she envisioned In A Dream.


My Review of In A Dream:

This was my first read by author Ava Wood and it definitely won't be the last! In A Dream is a suspenseful romantic mystery that keeps you guessing right up until the end. We have a strong heroine in Emma Potter. She keeps going, even when her loved ones are murdered one by one and seems a fitting match for hero, Aiden, who naturally has secrets of his own. Aiden is very charming. I greatly enjoyed the chemistry between these two!

I also love the dream angle as it is played out in this story - one of my favorite elements in fiction, but in romance in particular. Ms. Woods puts a great twist on this theme. Her tale is emotionally gripping and you will find yourself fighting right along with Emma and Aiden as things begin to play themselves out. These two never give up, and they left me feeling both determined and thoroughly satisfied after reading their story.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dragoon Serenade by Louise Roberts Releases October 26th!

I'm very excited to welcome author Louise Roberts to Passion Between the Pages!  Louise's latest work, Dragoon Serenade, releases October 26th!

Dragoon Serenade
[Romance in War Series – Book 2]
Louise Roberts
Historical Romance Adult Fiction – 38,450 words (100 pages)
Release date: October 26, 2017
Copyright © October 2017 Louise Roberts
ISBN: 978-1-370217-14-4
Cover design by Dawné Dominique
All cover art © 2017 by Dusktildawn Designs


On a dark night in July 1944, Special Operations Executive agent, Simone rows ashore from a submarine at the small fishing town of Golfe-Juan on the Côte d’Azur. She meets the Resistance Leader code name “Hibou” with whom she had a romantic affair during a mission in northern France several months previously. Once again, they engage in subterfuge operations against the German forces in the lead up to the Allied landings, code named Operation Dragoon, scheduled for the following month.

Although their relationship is reawakened, the tension of their exploits and the possibility of being caught by the Gestapo from information leaked by traitors in their midst causes some instability. However, love has a way to conquer doubt, but as their love deepens so too does the risk of them making mistakes.

Will Hibou be able to concentrate on the most important mission yet to come, or will his love for Simone lead to a moment’s carelessness that could be their undoing?

Reviews :

Buy links:


Barnes & Noble:

Smashwords: [Ensure Adult Filter is on]

Kobo :


The dim red light seemed to engulf the space around her as she sat quietly out of the way of the busy mariners. She had just been told they had reached their destination and the crew was making ready to resurface the submarine so that she could disembark.

When initially Simone had learned that she had been hand-picked for this assignment she had wondered what special qualities she had to offer. Then she had been told the name of the Resistance leader’s code name was “Hibou” — the French name for an owl — and her heart had caught in her throat.

It was toward the end of 1943 during the lead up to Operation Overlord where she had first met Hibou at the community of Saint-Lô located in North West France. Although at the time no one was privy to the date and actual location of the planned invasion, it was deemed prudent that all Resistance fighters throughout northern France were to be well-equipped.

Could he be the same man? She truly hoped so. Surely the Special Operations Executive wouldn’t use the same code name for someone else?

Simone closed her eyes to remember that mission. Her directive had been to reorganize a Resistance unit and to supply them with arms and explosives…

Hibou was tall and stockily built with dark curly hair. He had large gorgeous blue eyes, and she could plainly see how the code name fitted him perfectly. It had been love at first sight, and despite the dangers, they had managed to nurture a strong romantic bond. Even though their intimacy had let down their guard, they had never divulged their own real names. When it was time to leave it was as though her heart had been wrenched out, but now there was a chance to meet him again. Would they be able to rekindle their relationship? Would he even remember her? She tightened her eyes to concentrate on her memory and tried to ignore the noises about her.

At the beginning, their relationship had been strictly professional, but a close encounter with the Gestapo removed all pretense, and they found comfort in each other’s arms. One thing led to another, and before they could stop themselves, they were entangled naked on the soft straw of a stall in a barn. The only noise aside their heavy breathing was the sound of jingling bells that were tied around the necks of several goats nearby.

Simone could still ‘feel’ his touch and the sensation of fullness as his manhood slid within her. She subconsciously clenched the muscles of her lower regions as she conjured up those thoughts.

“Miss Dubois, the Commander would like a word.” The voice in her ear snapped her from the reverie. As she opened her eyes to regard the speaker she was grateful for the red light to help disguise the flushness of her cheeks.

Author Biography:

Louise Roberts grew up and was educated in London, England and has always held a passion for history and English Literature.

She has been writing since her teenage years, but only began writing fiction in the 1990s having been inspired by her mother, Viviane Elisabeth Borg, who is a published author.

Although Louise had immigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1988, she relocated to Europe in 2016 and today resides in the coastal town of Golfe-Juan in the south of France.

Louise retains membership of Romance Writers of Australia and Australian Romance Readers Association.

Connect with Louise Roberts:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

An Interview and a Giveaway with Award-Winning Children's Book Author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

I am so excited to welcome award winning children's book author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne to Passion Between the Pages! Deanie and I discovered each other through and our mutual love of horses made us fall in love with each other's stories. Deanie has written 6 award-winning books, including, My Life at Sweetbrier, a true story about the power of perseverance. Her books have won a number of awards, including the gold medal in the New Apple Book Contest.

   Deanie's personal story My Life at Sweetbrier, which tells of her personal battle with cerebral palsy, and going on to become a champion horseback rider, both touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I'll be sharing my review of Deanie's story today, along with an interview with the author herself. 

   GIVEAWAY!! Deanie will also be giving away a digital copy of one of her stories to one lucky reader! The winner may choose between 4 of Deanie's stories: My Life at Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse, Charlene the Star, or Charlene the Star and Bentley the Bulldog. For a chance to win, leave a comment below.

    Welcome, Deanie!!

   What do you enjoy best about writing?

I love creating stories that entertain children and encourage them to do their best.  If the readers smile along the journey of reading the story, that’s a plus.

My Life at Sweetbrier is a story about your personal experience, battling through a disability and achieving a dream.  Was it difficult to open up about this experience and share it with the world? What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of writing about your personal experience, and the most rewarding?

When I started My Life at Sweetbrier, the message I wanted to share was clear; to inspire children to persevere through challenges, but I didn’t want the story to seem like it was all about me. With this in mind, I tried to find ways to draw readers into the story so they felt like they were taking the journey along with me. In my view, this was the biggest challenge. At first, I was shy about sharing the story, but my dad always said, “You never know what you can do until you try.” The most rewarding part is hearing from readers who say they loved the story and hearing that they've remembered how important it is to follow your passions. Some of our former students have read the book and commented on the special, happy memories it brought them.

You and I both share a passion for horses, something that instantly drew me into your book's world. How have horses inspired your writing in general? How have they inspired you as a person?

I think because I grew up with horses, they are easy to write about. The horses inspire me because when I remember some of their personality traits, I can use them in my stories. Similar to people, horses have talents and shortcomings. They can remind me no one is good at everything.

It takes a special kind of author to write for children, to create the world they can both relate to and be inspired by. Does the ability to write for this audience come naturally to you, or did you teach yourself to do it through study and practice?

Thank you for those very kind compliments, Jessica. I think it’s a little of both. It seems to me, you need some degree of natural talent, but most people need some guidance in order to make their work shine. No doubt there are some authors who have so much natural talent, they can succeed without studying the “how to” parts, but I’m not one of those authors. In fact, my earliest assignments writing in school had no conflict. Soon, I recognized how boring they were. Yikes!

You've written 6 titles so far. Though I imagine every one of them has a piece of your heart, which one is your favorite and why?

Hmm, that’s hard to say. My fictional stories were great fun because they’re told by the animal characters. My sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, did such a fantastic job illustrating them. One of the characters in three of those books was our family dog, Elliott. We gave the dog in the story Elliott’s laid-back personality and some of his skills. But in other ways, My Life at Sweetbrier is my favorite because it’s dedicated to my family, especially my dad, who made the decision that actually changed my life.

Who are some of your favorite authors?  Have any of them influenced your own writing?

I have so many children’s authors whom I love. James Marshall is one. He wrote the George and Martha series of books. They’re so funny and they share wonderful lessons as well. But I also enjoy books by many of my author friends, such as; Ted Cohen, Sarah Mazor, Virginia Wright and Yossi Lapid, Barbara Mojica (just to mention a few).

If we add books from other genres, I’d include; Pearl S. Buck, Danielle Steel, and you, Jessica. I was so impressed when I read your book, Dangerous Secret; The Pinnacles of Power. Even the title is perfect for the story.

I've noticed while doing my own submissions that many agents and publishers do not accept children's books. Having learned how determined you are through reading your story, I can't imagine you'd let a little thing like that stand in your way!  What challenges have you yourself faced as a writer?  Any that pertain to writing children's books in particular?

Yes, I found it discouraging because most publishers don’t accept children’s books unless you’re a well-known author. After doing quite a bit of research, I decided to self-publish some books. My ‘Sweetbrier” book is published by Monday Creek Publishing, an independent publisher.

I think one of my challenges is editing because it’s difficult to find my own mistakes, or areas that need improvement. I look at the book so often, I can’t recognize the mistakes (A bit like the “nose-blind commercial). In my opinion, beta readers and professional editors are invaluable. Another obstacle can be presenting the story in a manner that makes it unique.

I don’t think any of the obstacles only relate to children’s books, but I would say if you don’t find ways to keep young readers engaged, they become instantly bored. Perhaps older readers have slightly more patience and may give it more time before closing it up.

You are an award -winning author, who has, no doubt, touched many lives through your work. What is next for you as an author, and what aspect of your writing experience (to this point) has given you the most joy?

My first picture book is in the process of being written. This will also be my first non-horse story. It’s about an adorable little tractor named Wilbur. Hopefully, little children will love reading his story because they’ll smile often and learn something valuable as well.

I love being able to make a positive difference in children’s lives. My parents constantly reminded me I could do anything I wanted if I refused to give up. Not all children get the motivation they need, so I hope to be a good role model for them.

Thank you very much for interviewing me, Jessica. Your questions were wonderful and thought-provoking. Best wishes for continued success.

And the same to you! Where can readers find you online?   

Thank you so much for stopping by, Deanie! Everyone, be sure and comment below for a chance to win one of Deanie's award-winning stories!

Enjoy a snippet from My Life at Sweebrier!

Have you ever really wanted to be able to do something, but you came across a road block of some kind? Maybe you're afraid of new things, or maybe you have a physical challenge. Are you going to follow your dream, or are you going to push it aside without even trying? You must make a difficult choice. Instead of taking the easy street, I changed my whole life by choosing new experiences.

Whatever your dream is, reach for it, and persevere, because you may accomplish more than you ever imagined. You may even beat the odds, like I did.

Amazon Link -

Barnes & Noble -;jsessionid=24850BD9FC1008B28457E5048D0E2F5E.prodny_store01-atgap09?ean=9780692878989

My Review of My Life at Sweetbrier by 
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne:

A heartfelt, inspiring story, My Life at Sweetbrier moved me, the reader, in a big way. Knowing that the story was based on the author's real-life experience, I expected a tale full of deep emotions. But as I turned the pages, I felt as though she and I were experiencing those emotions together, as though I was right beside her along her journey. Deanie faces a tremendous challenge from birth, and though she is told she'll never walk, she and her father defy the odds as Deanie fulfills her dream of riding horses and even goes on to win competitions.

I love a story with a happily ever after more than anything. This one brought tears to my eyes! Through every obstacle she faces, Deanie never gives up. Her story is one of determination and love and it is truly, truly inspiring!