Friday, January 18, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Dark Waltz by A.M. Hargrove

For Adult 18+ Readers

Welcome to our stop on the Dark Waltz blog tour. We're excited to be part of this tour hosted by Candace of Candace's Book Blog and CBB Book Productions. Thank you, Candace and A.M. Hargrove for allowing us this opportunity.
So...first a bit about the author, the book, an AWESOME GUEST POST and then... our reviews. We hope you enjoy...

It’s the year 2030 and the human population has been annihilated by a virulent form of small pox. Liasare Davidson is desperately searching for her brother, who has been missing for three months. It’s been eighteen years since she was evacuated from Earth and she is horrified to see it’s become a cesspool of unimaginable things.

In her quest to find her brother, she meets Jurek, a powerful and enigmatic being that frightens her, yet she is unable to resist. When things begin to unfold between them, they both discover a paralyzing truth that puts Liasare at grave risk. She must make a choice to join Jurek and find her brother or fulfill a role she believes she is ill equipped to undertake.

One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life. So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase. Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodgeball pro and had ├╝ber quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head. Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what lap top out the window. She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone and hit #4 on her speed dial.

"Boss, is that you?"
"Why yes, A. M., who else would be answering my phone?"
"Er... right. Well, I'm calling to let you know you can pick up my luxury Ford Focus at Starbucks near the interstate."
"Why ever would I want to do that?"
"Because I quit you idiot!"

A.M. hit the end button and speed dialed her husband.

"Hi hubs, can you pick me up at Starbucks?"
"Sure... Having some car trouble?"
"Not at all. I don't have a car to have trouble with because I just quit my job."
"It's time for a new career and I am going to be a very famous novelist."

So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a young adult paranormal romance author of self-published ebooks. Her series, The Guardians of Vesturon, centers around a family of six siblings and is a mix of humor, mystery, suspense and of course, love. Survival is her first book in the series and her second, Resurrection will be released in January.
If you're wondering, it didn't happen EXACTLY that way, but....

The Most Difficult Scene I Ever Wrote

This is a question I get asked a lot in interviews...what was the most difficult scene you ever wrote?

I think most authors would say, “Oh, when I had to kill off my protagonist.” Not me...nope that wasn’t it. When I wrote Determinant, (spoiler ahead) I did eliminate one of the bigger characters in the Guardians series, and yes, it was a bit gut wrenching. All my characters cried, I cried, my dog, Ethel even cried. But that wasn’t the most difficult scene for me. My most difficult scene was the first sex scene in Dark Waltz where Jurek and Liasare actually DID IT.

I know, you’re probably thinking, what’s the big deal, right? She writes romance novels. Well, let me tell you...up until Dark Waltz, I’d written YA/NA with no sex. Oh yeah, there was kissing and those, hot and steamy scenes with sexual tension, but the characters never did IT. Well, I couldn’t write a novel about Jurek and not have him doing IT. Jurek wouldn’t stand for that. If you even know a tiny bit about him, you have to know that he’s not that guy. Jurek is going to get what he wants, when he wants and with whom he wants. So when I decided I was going to write Dark Waltz, I knew from the outset, I would have to write sex into it. And I couldn’t allude to sex. Jurek wouldn’t stand for that either.

So off I went, writing this book. And let me tell you, when you read it, you’ll get the sex. I’m a pretty fast writer. I can put out five thousand or more words per day when I’m focused. I spent eight hours writing my first sex scene, which was probably less than a thousand words.  I wrote and deleted...wrote and deleted. I was sweating and pulling out my hair. I threw things, almost threw my computer at one point. I was so aggravated I didn’t know what to do. Finally, after about eight hours, I was done. I sent it off to my beta reader and leaned back on the sofa, rubbing my neck. Right about that time, I heard the garage door opening. My hubs was home from work. Oh good, I thought. I’ll get his opinion.

So, he walks into the room and takes one look at me and asks, “What the hell happened to you today? You look like you just went through a hurricane.”
Just like a man, right? In my loving way, I didn’t say a word but handed him my Mac and said, “Read this and give me your thoughts.”

So he sits and reads...and reads...and then looks at me and goes back to reading. I’m like WTH?? It’s not THAT long. What’s taking him so long?

He finally breathes out and says, “Honey, this is good, but...

Oh boy, here it comes. All day long for nuthin’! All that aggravation. If I’d known writing sex scenes was going to be this difficult, I never would’ve gone down this road in the first place. I can’t do this. At this rate, this book won’t be finished until 2030...the year it takes place!

I ask, “What?”

He says, “I think it’s good, but it’s just not descriptive enough.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Well, you need to make it more descriptive. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

I scratch my head because I’m thinking it was plenty descriptive in my book. I’m not writing porno or anything...and then my email pings. My beta reader has just hit me back on my sex scene. She tells me it’s one of the hottest sex scenes she’s ever read.

Now I’m gloating. The hubs says to me...”What?”

“You men have no perspective on what romance is all about do you?”


“My beta reader thinks this sex scene is awesome!” And I stick my tongue out at him.

“Yep, you’re right. Keep writing those books honey and keep spelling things out for me. I’m no mind reader.” He laughs and walks out of the room.
I realized that I’ll never ask his opinion on sex scenes again because...well, men and women are at opposite ends of the spectrum where that stuff is concerned. I also learned that after I wrote the first one, the second, third, fourth and so on got easier and easier. And now, they’re FUN. Even my hubs like them *winks* And finally, I think when I have to kill someone again, it will be harder than writing a sex scene!

Happy reading.

I am totally a sci-fi fan... Star Wars geek here... Yep!!!
So reading Dark Waltz really brought out some giddiness in me with the paranormal and sci-fi factors intertwined.  From page 1, I was drawn in... The world built in this book is fascinating and intriguing....the story we are journeying on is creative and unique... AND... To top it off... Brilliantly developed characters...
So, as I wind my way through each page getting know Liasare----our high strung, stubborn, heart of gold heroine---I am totally blown away with the life she has endured and overcome.  There were times she could get on your nerves... But man, when she met Jurek---our alpha, control-freak, powerful, HOT hero---you just knew that this tale was going to be explosive...
The relationship between these two was so dynamic... One minute it was like "BOW CHICKA WOW WOW" and the next you were taking cover because the sparring gloves were on... The instant attraction leads to so many interesting details in to the fireworks that are sparked in their union...and oh yeah... LADIES... There were times I was having to wipe drool off of my mouth and moments when Jurek said things that completely melted me in to a pile of goo...AHHHH!!! So swoon worthy!!!
But, this story isn't just about their romance...there is a dark and twisted evil lurking and the mystery to find and dispel it keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout... Filled with action, gut-wrenching scenes, you fall in to this thrilling, brilliantly written saga praying that it never comes to an end...
Well crap... Alas it does... But... Do not despair... There will be a book 2 and I am EAGERLY AWAITING!!!
Like now please!!! PRETTY PLEASE!!!!
A definite MUST READ!!!!
I didn't know what to expect from Dark Waltz. I'd never read any of Ms. Hargrove's Guardian's of Vesturon series, but I had heard good things about her writing, so when Candace asked if we wanted in on the blog tour I jumped at the chance to see what it was all about.
I will say I was a bit apprehensive when I read the synopsis... I say I like Scifi- it's a broad category, but really I love my fantasy and paranormal romance, and I wasn't sure I could get into this alien world.
Pushing my reservations aside, I dove in feet first and found myself immersed in a universe I was not quite ready for.
It was complicated, and scary, and frankly, pretty dark and grotesque.
It took awhile before I lost myself in the story.
Sarah was not easy to connect with. This wasn't because she wasn't written well, on the contrary. She was just disconnected, on the defense- justifiably so, easy to sympathize with, but not easy to love.
But Sarah didn't care. She stuck with her mission, and drug me along willing me to hear her story and help uncover her mystery. For a time that's what it felt like. I was being made to watch the disaster that was Sarah's pathetic life. She was impulsive and erratic. For a not-so-young woman she was immature. Granted she struggled with extraordinary circumstances, and overcame many obstacles. Still she was annoying me... Ok, dammit, she was pissing me off. I wasn't enjoying this journey but I was still intrigued.
As the more of the story unfolded I still found myself not accepting Sarah's reactions and somewhat childish behavior.
It took stepping back from her, discussing what had been read thus far and hearing a different perspective on our heroine, that I realized she reminded me of a character from a favorite series, one who in the beginning, drove me bat shit crazy and had me pulling out my hair and screaming, "What the HELL are you thinking?" - on several occasions.
I was reminded she had to grow from somewhere. She was only human. She had to be weak to become strong. She was still struggling with her past, and trying to come to terms with what was thrust upon her, and what lay ahead.
<Deep breathe.> "Ok, Sarah. Let's give this another shot", I said.
What did grab me from the start was Jurek. What an amazing, compelling, and completely mesmerizing character. His grace, power, and machismo, was enough to keep your heart rate up. But not knowing if he was friend or foe was suspenseful and exciting and really held my interest. He is just as confused and exasperated with our heroine.
And then there is the romance. WOW! You just know when two hot-heads get together things could get explosive. Scratch that. They're like a nuclear power plant. These two could create spontaneous combustion. THEY. ARE. HOT. Seriously on fire.
Their journey together is full of mind blowing and unimaginable twists- you won't see most of it coming. And what you guess may still shock and surprise you. I did say it was a dark and complicated world. And as they get more involved with each other, their worlds become more entwined and complicated... and that much more frightening.
A LOT happens in this first installment. And you'd better believe we're left with a dozy of a cliffhanger.
And you'd better believe I'll be picking book two, Death Waltz as early as humanly possible.

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  1. Kathryn and Shelly, first off-thanks SO much for being a part of the tour and featuring the giveaway on your totally awesome blog! Next, thanks for allowing me to share my story of writing my first sex scene--whew! *fans self* Glad that's over now and I've gotten used to those, haha. And last…can I just say WOW! You guys are amazing. I am sending (((hugs))) to you for your reviews because I can't stop doing my snoopy dance. My dog Ethel thinks I've gone crazy! Thanks SO much!! Annie xx

    1. Anne, Thoroughly enjoyed every moment of Dark Waltz and so glad that I got the chance to read it and be a part of this fantastic tour.
      Thank you so much for your fabulous words and really, really can't wait til book 2...

    2. LOL, poor Ethel. Sometimes they just don't understand. Thanks so much for your kind words, and such an amazing story. It was a total thrill ride and I'm so glad I jumped on. So... where's book two. ;) ~Shelley

  2. First of all, I know writing sex scenes are hard for me too. I haven't tried in years but in the past I took a class and only lasted through one class.

    Love your reviews! Shelley, I felt the same way about Liasare at first. She somehow grew on me.

    Thanks so much for hosting a tour stop!

    1. Holy moly, I don't know if I could ever write a sex scene.
      L- totally grew on me. I came to realize she was so much like one of my favorite heroines EVER. I really wanted to name her so people could understand my comparison, but I opted not to for fear of putting her in their heads when they needed to meet L and get to know HER.
      We LOVE being on your tours!
      Thanks again, Candace for setting us up with another amazing author to follow and admire. ~Shelley

  3. Great post. I cant wait to read the book, sounds great.