Monday, 25 July 2016

Author/Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Operation One Night Stand by Christine Hughes @HughesWriter

Operation One Night Stand
Christine Hughes
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: 2 June 2015
Forever Yours
ON SALE for $0.99 on 25 Jul! One day only!

Summary from Goodreads:


Caroline Frost had it all-until her boyfriend banged the superskank intern, and poof! Caroline's happy little bubble disappeared. Now it's been six weeks of weeping, a mountain of ice cream, and a permanent buttprint on the couch. Enough is enough. She and her ladybits need an intervention-now.

Enter Operation: One Night Stand: Find a man who is hotness personified and have some much-needed sexy time. The only problem is that Caroline is torn between a flirtatious, well-built guy and the ridiculously hot bartender serving her shots. This was supposed to be all fun and no games, but like the perfect scotch on the rocks, no good fling finishes without a twist . . .

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“So, need something to drink?” he asked Melody. I noticed she noticed him. I frowned a bit at the thought of her thoughts infringing upon the perverted scenes that ran through my head but I had to remind myself, yet again, that Brian wasn’t the target.
“Sure. What do you recommend?” Melody leaned in and purred the question like she always did. I swear to God that girl was sex in heels.“Body shots.”
“Say what?” I, again, attempted to sit up and once again, Bartender Brian placed his hand on my shoulder and Melody clapped.
“Let me demonstrate.”
I felt like my eyes were going to roll into the back of head as I watched him pour a shot of tequila. With a shot in one hand and a saltshaker in the other, he leaned down and licked my neck. As he did, my eyes fluttered closed and I moaned.
I heard him chuckle quietly.
I wanted nothing more than the floor to swallow me.
Before I knew it he shook the salt onto my neck and leaned back down. Instead of merely licking the salt off, he added lips and teeth and oh my God.
I gasped so hard for air I swore I was drowning. Then he placed a lemon wedge on my lips.
This shit doesn’t happen to me. Ever.
I didn’t see him take the shot but I heard the shot glass hit the bar top.
I held my breath and waited as he raked his fingers through my hair, then he bit around the lemon wedge, scraping his teeth on my lips. He must’ve bit the lemon because drops of juice and tequila fell onto my mouth. He used his lips and tongue to clean it up.
“That was fucking hot!” Melody clapped her hands.
“Thanks. I not only serve the drinks, I use them as entertainment.” With one hand in front of him and one behind, he bowed. Fucking bowed. I was a lick away from orgasm and he’s accepting applause.
“A little help here.” I was not able to sit upright. Melody grabbed my hands and pulled me up.
I whipped my head around. Bartender Brian was across the way chatting up a group of guys who were with my target. A few people sitting next to me at the bar clapped as I came to my senses. A loud chorus of cheers had me ducking my head to avoid the attention.
“What the hell was that?” Sarah asked, laughing.
“Look at you making out with the bartender! Looks like someone jumped off the celibate carousel.”
“I did not! I was not making out with the bartender. He was just, he was just—” I looked to Melody for an answer.
“Don’t look at me. Bartender Boy is hot! I say you focus on him!”
I grabbed my purse and hopped off the barstool.
“No. I made a deal and I picked my target. You’ll see. I’m going to win this bet!”
Turning around, Bartender Brian smiled as he slid another drink my way. “Pink Panty Dropper.”
“What!” How did he know what color my underwear was?

Author Interview:

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I always knew. Or at least always knew I wanted to do something with words. I was a voracious reader, a furious writer, an English major, and English teacher, and now, a novelist. It’s just been and organic ride to where I am now.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

Is too long a timeframe? Anywhere form a few months to a year. I wish I wrote faster but it’s not me.

3. What do you think makes a great story?

I tend to lean toward strong female characters. But I think anything that draws me in, pulls me forward, and helps me disappear is a great book. Good characters, believable dialogue, and excellent setting description.

4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Honestly, I used to be more organized and strict. I need to get back to that. I recently had a talk with my agent and we decided I need to not answer the phone. When the kids go back to school, I think I’ll take that advice. Hoping to have a few days of uninterrupted 6 hour stretches per week.

5. How do you balance family and writing?
I’m supposed to balance? Kidding. It’s not easy and family wins out every time. But when the kids are in school, I find I am better able to stick to a writing schedule. I try no tot write while the family is together – with a few exceptions.

6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I research or ask questions to people who may know what I need. Ideas? Songs, personal events, life.
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book/s?

That I hate writing the ending. And that I am not as organized as I thought I was.

8. How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

I’ve written 5 novels and a novella. Three Days of Rain is my favorite. It just was so exhausting to write – I feel like I worked for that one.

9. Are your characters based on anyone you know?

My husband would say yes but, to be honest, they are based on everyone I’ve ever met. Some more than others.

10. Do you have a favourite place you love to write?
No. Each book brings me to a different favorite place. For TORN, it was outdoors, for TDoR, it was Barnes and Noble.

11. How hard is it to get published?

Getting published, as with anything, isn’t for the faint of heart nor is it for anyone who thinks they can half ass their work. The actual publishing was easy for me. I found a publisher quickly for my work. The agent was more difficult to procure and getting a Big 5 to notice took 4 years. Getting noticed is the most difficult part – promoting, networking, the reviews…

12. What do your family and friends think about your books?

I’ve gotten great feedback from those who have read my books. My inner circle is super supportive and such great cheerleaders (and are quick to pop my balloon if it gets too big). A few misogynistic people I know feel it’s okay to judge who I am or what I do based on a couple of book covers. But that’s okay. I know who I am and what I do. They can go away.

13. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love the beach, I love to walk and hike. I do my best to hit the gym regularly because I love to eat and drink. Football makes me happy, new cocktails are fun, siting on my deck with my husband and a cold bottle of Yeungling is heaven for me.

14. Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?

Honestly – the advice I give everyone was given to me by Cyn Balog when I first started writing. She just told me to write and when I finally gave her my first finished manuscript she said (and I am paraphrasing), “Congrats. You just went from being an ‘I want to’ to an ‘I did’.” Just do it. Become and ‘I did’. Work your ass off and write. Even a sentence a day is a sentence more than a day without words.

15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a fighter pilot like Maverick. Yes. The Tom Cruise Maverick from Top Gun.
16. What are your favourite books and which authors inspire you?

I am inspired by anyone who is brave enough to write a book. My all time favorite is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

17. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?

Don’t try to chase the market. Don’t try to write like anyone else. Don’t try to fake it. Don’t think your first draft is your final. Do your homework. Do read. Do take chances. Do challenge yourself. Do make friends with bloggers, readers, and other authors.

18. What are you working on now?

I am currently flipping between the third Operation book and an Untitled thriller.

About the Author:

I’ve always wanted to write. Ever since I was little, I would craft stories and poems but the idea to actually do it “for real” never really crossed my mind until last year. After sitting on three paragraphs of what would eventually become my first novel, I decided to expand upon what I had. At the time I had no real idea of where the story would go, I just knew I had the time to do something with it.

I hadn’t researched market trends, I had no idea about query letters or the evil synopsis, and I was green on the idea of agents and editors and all that is publishing, really. I just wanted to write something I enjoyed. I didn’t plot, outline, or character build, I just wrote. And then an author friend mentioned that I should take my writing to a conference.

So with the confidence that my novel would surely be welcomed by all who read it, I signed up for as many seminars and critiques as I could. I knew someone would love it. In those two days, I found out I had a lot to learn.

Funny, but as a former English teacher, you’d think I’d have figured out the importance of editing and revision and revising again. You’d think I’d have known that the first draft is just that, a draft. And when the critiques started coming in, I thought I was done for. Not that the premise wasn’t good (I was told it was), not that the characters weren’t believable (I was told they were), but I used too much passive voice, I tense shifted and there were some holes in the plotline.

A few agents really liked it, but the market trend couldn’t support it. Some were not fond of the way I told the story. I queried and queried my way to 57 flat out rejections and a number of partial and full requests that didn’t pan out. But along the way I got some great criticism and pointers and I made the story better. Then, on a whim, I trolled the SavvyAuthors website and signed up for a three line pitch to editor Lauri Wellington and I did a happy dance when she requested my full manuscript.

A month later, she responded that she loved the story and the concept but it moved too slowly but I could resubmit if I revised. I informed her I sent her a revision that was based on the opinions of agents, authors and peers but I had the original (cleaned up, of course) and I was sending it in to see if it was more of what she was looking for. And guess what? It was! One caveat, I had to revise the manuscript into past tense. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.

Revising into past tense from present is line editing your entire novel. And it kinda stinks. By the end, I thought my eyes were gonna start bleeding and pop out onto my keyboard. But you know what? That little “exercise” tightened up what was loose, filled in any plot holes that might’ve still been there and forced me to realize I could be a better writer.

The road to publication can be long. It can be a hop, skip and a jump from your first query. Nothing in publication is set in stone. The market is always changing. And the biggest thing I learned is that it’s all subjective. Agents A-Y may pass but all you need is Agent or Editor Z to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. And I believe in my first novel. And I am happy that Black Opal Books does too. I hope you do, as well.

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