Archive for August, 2015

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Sonnenblick. That’s a cool name. It sounds good rolling around in my brain.

Know what else is a cool name? This book (and series, of course!) title: Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie. How the hell can pie be dangerous? I suppose if you eat too much of it…

Here’s the description:

From first-time novelist Jordan Sonnenblick, a brave and beautiful story that will make readers laugh and break their hearts at the same time.

Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven’s world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother’s illness and his parents’ attempts to keep the family in one piece. Salted with humor and peppered with devastating realities, DRUMS, GIRLS, AND DANGEROUS PIE is a heartwarming journey through a year in the life of a family in crisis.

So… maybe this isn’t Rock Fiction. It’s definitely YA, which is sorta nice to see since we run into so much Rock Fiction romance.

I’m curious where the rest of this series could be headed. Will it stay focused on Steven? What will happen to him? What can happen that can be more compelling than a potentially dying little brother?

As always, inquiring minds… and this mind wants to know how much Rock Fiction there is, or if all these drums are merely to catch my attention.

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The best part of books today is that books that have been around for awhile are still books you can hear about and get your hands on. That’s the case with Elyssa Patrick’s Rock Stars in Love series, even though they were published in 2012 and three years isn’t THAT old. Except in today’s Internet age, it is.

Yeah, another really creative series title. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I mean, you know what you’re getting, right? It’s clearly marked. But after awhile, they do all sorta start to sound alike. And that can’t be good. You don’t want people thinking they’ve already read your books ’cause the book or series title sounds like a million other books. Especially with Rock Fiction, where we’ve started seeing the same few plots over and over.

But check this one out, the first in the series.

Love doesn’t always follow the sheet music . . .

This Christmas, Portia Jackson needs a miracle to save her family’s generations-old florist shop. What she gets instead is a car that breaks down during a blizzard. Help arrives unexpectedly when the infamous Aubry Riley pulls over. She only expects him to drive her to the gas station . . . she never expects that kiss. But Portia lives in the real world–she knows this is only a holiday fling for Aubry. Except it doesn’t feel so temporary, and the last thing she wants is a broken heart.

Sometimes you have to sing some different notes . . .

Rock star Aubry Riley has no secrets. Thanks to the media, everyone knows about his troubled past. Six years have gone by since his world crashed, and now he’s ready for a comeback. But first he needs to reconcile with his family–starting with his six-year-old daughter. A month-long vacation at a Vermont lake house affords him the perfect opportunity to take a step in the right direction. He doesn’t need any other emotional entanglements, especially not with the bright-eyed florist he can’t stop thinking about. But no matter how hard he tries to resist her, he can’t. Now all he has to do is to convince Portia that there is nothing temporary when it comes to love.

So some insta-love. Or insta-lust. But… then we move into some news directions, too. No, not the troubled past. Been there, seen that a million times. Of course, how many real-life rockers do NOT have a troubled past? Have you seen the studies that have been showing up lately? Linking heavy metal fans and troubled pasts? So, yeah, that may be overdone in fiction, but it’s real.

Anyway, it’s the idea of this guy seeking redemption and making amends after what sounds like a public crash and burn. This guy’s hurting — or so the book description makes us think. Is he really hurting, or is that a good concept that gets buried beneath his Alpha male qualities? I gotta read to see. I’d love to see a truly hurting rocker.

The angle of the woman who is a florist sounds like something I’ve already read, but if I did, I didn’t write a review of it. So now I NEED to get my hands on a copy. If I read this, I think I liked it. If not, I liked that other book about the rocker who stumbles into a flower shop and falls for the woman working inside. I may not have… the blizzard isn’t familiar.

Yeah. I gotta see what this is all about. Is Aubry hurting (and why name him Aubry? Don’t most people put an e in there near the end? Hey, Elyssa Patrick, why not stop in and tell us why you named him Aubry??? Seriously! I want to hear about it!), and have I read this and since this is the first in a series, what happens next? (Looks like a whole new set of characters, which is super.)

Bring it. And please, Elyssa Patrick, bring that guest post!

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When Jessica Topper asked if I wanted a review copy of the next installment in Adrian and Kat’s story, begun in the most-excellent Louder Than Love, I am quite sure she could hear me scream in frustration that she hadn’t just gone ahead and sent it. Like she even needed to ask?

(Jessica has class. What can I say?)

This little novella is more like a dreamlike fairy tale than anything else. It takes place over 24 hours, maybe not even that long, and it brings the cast from Louder than Love back while introducing new characters, as well.

There’s not a huge amount of conflict here, and it’s almost entirely Kat’s internal struggle that fuels the story, even as it’s Adrian who fuels the action. He creates an amazing, dream-like fairy tale for Kat, and there’s no doubt that this man can make things happen.

The conflict lies in Kat, who worries about the future. What’s the status of Adrian and his band, whose first concert ended at the end of Louder Than Love, the echoes of which haven’t quite died as Deeper than Dreams opens? Can Adrian handle the rock and roll lifestyle again—and does he even want to? What about Kat? Is this a world she can fit into? Is she tough enough to fit in, or will the hard edges of rock and roll send her running back to her quiet life in her quiet little town? Does she even want to fit in?

What does the future hold for Kat and Adrian?

These are big questions, and they are dealt with in a very short space. Maybe too short; this novella feels more like a stolen moment in Adrian and Kat’s life than a complete work. The problem with this short length is that there’s a lot that Kat needs to uncover and come to terms with before we are convinced that the fairy tale ending’s promises will come true.

I’m not convinced, myself. Not yet. I need to see more growth in these two, more of them together handling the adversity that’s going to be thrown in their paths. There’s not a lot of character growth in a work this short; as I say to my editing clients, in a novella, something’s always gotta give. And yet, it is quite easy to write this off as a typical second installment in a trilogy—a bridge between the action-laden first and third volumes.

For the best reading experience, you’ll need to have read Louder first. Again, pretty typical for a second volume. The question is if there’s a third or not…

While we wait, you want to go back and read Louder Than Love. Otherwise, you’ll be lost as to who these people are, what their backstory is, and what’s going on.

Besides, Louder is one of my favorite books of the past few years. And now Deeper is one of my favorite novellas.

Because despite it all, we all want fairy tale days and experiences like Adrian gives Kat. We really do.

I can’t wait to read the third entry into this world. It’s not Adrian and Kat’s story, though! Stronger than Steel, it’s called, and it’s the story of one of Adrian’s bandmates. I can hardly wait; this guy’s intrigued me from the moment he stepped onto the page. And that impatience describes my need to read it. Riff, where are you, man?

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I’m always leery when I see rockstars. Makes ya wonder how much people know. I mean, look what happened the last time I saw it as one word, in a series title. Poor Susan took the brunt of that one.

Anyway, here’s the book description:

Wallflower-turned-journalist Bryn Thompson has a dream job: she interviews rockstars. Bryn’s professionalism keeps her on track, but also emotionally removed from the gritty world of back stage, bars and drugs that she writes about. That is, until she meets musician Jude Archer, whose songs haunt her. As an unlikely friendship grows out of Bryn’s obsession with Jude’s album, Bryn begins to rethink all of the carefully-contrived rules that until now have helped her maintain a professional distance. How to Talk to Rockstars is an exploration of love, lonliness, and rock’n’roll.

Lots of typos happening here… makes me a bit nervous. (Hey, Susan’s an editor and it’s never too late to have your book proofed by a pro! Just… do it before the bad reviews roll in, okay? Those, you’ll be stuck with and yes, she told me to say this.)

I like this despite the typos because we finally have a pro who is struggling to stay a pro. I don’t know if she actually manages to or not, and so I’d read this just to find out what happens in the end. Which makes this an almost perfect book description. I’m dying to know how this ends!!!

So I’ve got reservations but I also need to know how this plays out. Do they stay friends? Can they be friends? (and why not? I know plenty of journalists who are friends with the bands they cover. And yes, it gets weird at times, especially for those photographers who sometimes don’t mean to cross those lines but damn, those shots are sweet.)

Bring it. Not much else to say but bring it.

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Well. Wow. This looks like one heck of a different twist on our Rock Fiction collection here. It’s a threesome! Two men, one woman. A rocker, a manager, and a PR rep.

Here’s the description for the first book, Claiming Addison:

For Addison Beltrand, PR rep for Bold International, Inc. climbing the corporate ladder is all that matters in life. Her hard work is finally rewarded with the promotion she’s worked her ass off to earn—but the gig comes at a price. She leaves in two days for a twelve-week tour with America’s hottest alternative rock band, 69 Bottles.

Talon Carver, lead singer of 69 Bottles, has no problem with women–as long as they’re gone by morning. When Addison shakes up his world, it’s a huge problem—compounded by the fact that Addison’s not the only one he wants.

Kyle Black, manager of 69 Bottles, has a secret. He and Addison are closer than she thinks, but telling her could keep her away. When Talon sets his sights on Addison, Kyle uses his secret to push her into Talon’s arms, only to discover she isn’t the only one he needs.

Two men. One dilemma.

Talon is wild, reckless and loves control.

Kyle is calm, collected and loves passion.

The perfect balance…or Addison’s ultimate undoing?

Talon and Kyle push their boundaries and Addison’s, but can they throw their reservations to the wind and claim her together?

Two men. One woman. A rock band. A tour bus. One Wild Ride…

The first thing that comes to mind is that the manager’s not going to be on tour. He’s going to be back at the office, doing manager things. And you all know how I feel about the PR girl being the love interest. I know there’s an element of fantasy in Rock Fiction, and that it’s got to be there, but … ugh. It just screams of groupie and unprofessional and a means to an end and nothing more. I feel slimy when I run into these characters.

But I love the idea. I love that Talon, our rocker, doesn’t meet Addison and instantly want to be monogamous.

Book two, though, takes a bothersome turn that makes it clear I was right to feel slimy about this Addison chick: she sings a duet with Talon and it’s a hit. Ugh. And then someone targets her, and that’s really the focus of the book. That part, I like. What happens to this threesome when something bad happens to the woman. This becomes her ride. But can I get past the way she used her job to get on stage?

Book three has similar themes. Addison falls apart. Am I going to yawn? I don’t know. I hope not. The very idea of a threesome (even one as problematic as this) is SO rock and roll. I WANT these books to be good.

Book four leaves our threesome and focuses on the band’s drummer … and another employee of this PR firm. Is this really a dating service? Sheesh. I hate hate hate this trope. In case you missed that, I really do!

I’m throwing the gauntlet down, as Susan says the phrase should be (don’t even ask what I had before she fixed that). Zoey Derrick, I WANT you to deliver and make me get over my issues. Hear me?

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Mayhem! Already I like this series, just for its title. Mayhem. Chaos. Fun. Upheaval. All sorts of things get promised by the word mayhem. I’m already on board.

Three books in the series, and they make me drool just from their titles: Mayhem, Riot, and Chaos.

This sounds both familiar and fresh, at the same time. Here’s how, about Book One:

When college freshman Rowan Michaels meets gorgeous, up-and-coming rock star Adam Everest, she knows a player like him is the last thing she needs after her ex-boyfriend shattered her heart. But she can’t stop thinking about the kiss they shared on his tour bus.

On the first day of school, Rowan is stunned when Adam saunters into her French class. He’s soon failing miserably, and, on a whim, she offers to tutor him. But Adam doesn’t recognize her as a makeup-free, glasses-clad college student—a far cry from the beautiful, mysterious “Peach” he met at his concert.

During a wild weekend on tour with the band, Rowan can’t help falling for the sweet guy buried beneath Adam’s rocker persona. Yet she knows she could never compete with the girls constantly throwing themselves at his feet. She’d just end up hurt … again.

Peach is all Adam thinks about, though, and when Rowan realizes this, she has a decision to make: stay just friends to protect her fragile heart … or reveal the truth about the night they met and admit she’s fallen completely, hopelessly in love with him.

See the familiar? The insta-lust, the inability to get the normal girl off his mind.

See the fresh? The dude walks into French class. (why French? Why take college courses? Isn’t his band on tour?)

See a familiar romance trope that we don’t see much in Rock Fiction? The whole “I don’t recognize you without your glasses, Superman.” — okay, sure, in this case, Rowan puts her glasses ON. Same idea.

So, yeah. I’m stoked to read this one.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. The next book in the series? Seems to be independent. Jamie Shaw, drop in and let me know how these books tie together, will you?

Here’s the description of Riot:

When Dee Dawson meets sexy mohawked guitarist Joel Gibbon, she knows it won’t be long before she has him wrapped around her finger. No guy has ever been able to resist her… but Dee’s met her match in a player like Joel.

Dee’s not the relationship type—not after seeing the pain “love” has caused her friends and family—yet she’s desperate to make Joel want her more than anyone else. He quickly becomes an obsession, and when a reckless attempt to make him jealous ends in disaster, Dee turns into the damsel in distress she never wanted to be. With her carefree world crashing down around her, the last thing she needs is Joel’s pity.

But Joel is suddenly determined to prove he cares, and no matter how hard Dee tries to push him away, he refuses to let her shut him out. Now the girl who swore she’d never say those three little words must choose between guarding her heart and losing Joel forever… or falling head-over-heels for the tattooed rock star of her dreams.

WOW. Just… wow. Dee turns stalker? Maybe… I hope not, though. I hope that the disaster that gets referred to here teaches her a lesson and makes her change. Susan says characters ought to grow through the course of a book. In this case, Dee comes off as kinda… ick. I’m not entirely certain I want to like her (am I supposed to?). But heck yeah, I know women who act like it sounds like Dee does. So I’d read this just to see what Dee is like and how she comes off in the book itself. Is this someone I could like? I’m not sure. But I’m curious to find out.

And yeah, we’ve seen the whole “must choose between guarding her heart and … falling head over heels for the tattooed rock star of her dreams.” But you know what? Most Rock Fiction romance hinges on that question. I guess some things are constants.

The stakes are high now, folks. Two different books, both pushing a lot of what we know Rock Fiction to be. Can the third book, Chaos live up to it? Let’s see.

From the moment she saw Shawn Scarlett perform at a school talent show, Kit Larson has loved two things: the guitar, and the gorgeous, green-eyed boy who inspired her to play. But one careless night in high school shatters her hope of ever being more than a notch on his bedpost.

Six years, two bands, and one mostly-mended heart later, Kit’s about to make her rock star dreams a reality as the new guitarist for Shawn’s band, The Last Ones to Know. He may not remember their reckless night together, but Kit has never forgotten… and she’s determined to make him eat his heart out.

The release of their new album means a month cooped up on a tour bus, sleeping inches away from the ridiculously sexy musician she’s never quite gotten over. And as Kit gets to know the real Shawn—not Shawn Scarlett, the rock god, the player—their attraction becomes too hot to resist. But the past is paved with secrets, and when they finally surface, Kit could lose everything: the band, the music, her dreams… and Shawn.

Hmm. This is potentially the least fresh and exciting of the three books, and the setup — that Kit winds up joining Shawn’s band — smacks of the same sort of manipulation we see from Dee above. But… well, I’d read it because I like the idea. Even putting the romance aside, I like the idea of having the hots for someone so much, you pick up a new hobby — and find your life’s calling. Now THAT is inspiration.

What else is interesting here is that it’s the only description that doesn’t put us in the hero’s brain. So I’m curious to know if this breaks the trend of two-character novels. I’ve started hearing backlash against writers who do the whole every-other-chapter thing and I gotta say, I kinda like it. No problems here.

Bring this series on, in a big way. This is one I’ll fight Susan over, punches and everything. Note from Susan: if Jett is willing to got this far, she wins!

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This is two novellas in one volume (I think) and the description is almost as long as the novellas themselves.

What Would You Risk…To Get What You Wanted?

For Ty, Lena and Danny they’re about to find out as they cross the boundaries from all things safe to an arena that will test love, friendship and loyalty. An arena that’s forbidden, taboo…but feels oh so good. In their world sex, money and excess are all a game of give & receive. Where any wish can be granted if you just ask…

Tyler Malone: Life as a rock star is anything but boring. Money, power and fame is an addictive drug I crave that gets me off…every time. Millions of adoring fans, willing to do anything just for me to glance their way. What’s not to love? All I ever wanted was the one who wouldn’t. She’s the one person I crave more than the life, more than the money and power. More than anything…

Danny Blake: Some smart-assed reporter nicknamed me the “The Dark Prince,” because I shun the limelight. I prefer being behind the scenes, always have. Fame is now a choke hold around my neck, a dark, lonely road that never seems to end. The one light in my life is her. The person who matters above everything else. At one time I thought we could be happy together, but I lost that chance when I married someone else…

Lena Roman: Owner of the infamously notorious nightclub Sadist, head of a massive PR empire; nothing “Queen Midas” touches doesn’t turn to gold. Fiercely passionate, loyal and headstrong, she is the woman who loves them both, with a fiery heat that’s all consuming. Choosing between her best friend and the one she stupidly allowed at one time to claim her heart wasn’t going to be easy…but she had to, right? You can’t love two people at once…

Book I is only the beginning. Foreplay if you will. Designed to whet your appetite. But if you come along for the ride, there WILL be sex. Lots and lots of sex. The yummy, freaky, wicked, nasty, raunchy, don’t tell your mama you’re reading this…kind of sex. Girls with boys…girls with two boys…boys with boys…It’ll be fun, I promise. Just you wait. But remember…you have been warned.

Give & Take: An Erotic Romance Novella (Book II)

What is right, when you decide there is no wrong…

Lena Blake: Life was supposed to have gone back to normal. After all…It’s been months since that night at Sadist. Months of reliving, remembering, experiencing…each moment. Over and over again. Oh yeah, she remembered. Every. Vivid. Illicit. Detail. Like it was yesterday. What she did. Who she did it with. Her best friend. And Danny…the one who had carved out her heart years ago. There to witness it all. An act so public, so voyeuristic, so forbidden, she was still feeling the intensity between them all. The lines were crossed now. There was no going back. Not even if she wanted to.

If she were honest she would admit she didn’t…

Tyler Malone: I knew I risked a lot doing what I did. I risked my friendship, with the one person I trusted and loved most of all, even if she can’t…or won’t see it. I played a dangerous game with Blake, too, but he either needs to step up…or step back. I put everything on the line for just one night. And hell yeah, it was worth it. She’s worth everything. I love her just as much as he does, maybe more, since I accept everything about her, even her love for him. Life is all about the chances you take. To succeed you have to gamble. Play big…or go home. And And I play to win. At all costs…

Danny Blake: Seeing her that night with Ty, watching her come undone, made me realize for the first time the life I could have. I saw her. Really saw her, body and soul, and I know now, the ache for her never truly went away. It only intensified over the years, with a need bordering on obsession.
My one addiction I could never get clean of. I need her like air, and maybe, just maybe…she needs me too…

In the high stakes game of give & take, you have to risk everything.

Winner takes all…and to the victor goes the spoils.

So… this sounds more like it’s a story of a threesome and less a work of Rock Fiction. Why are Ty and Danny rock stars? Is Danny even a rocker? Or is it that the added dash of danger and glamor and maybe charisma makes the situation what it is?

And that’s it with Rock Fiction. Don’t overlook that charisma an authentic rocker will have. It’s got to be there; it’s an essential part of rock and roll. Charisma — not necessarily swagger or sex or libido or drugs. Charisma. So maybe this will work.

Hard to say… so bring it on.

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Title: Kissed (My Once and Future Love Revisited #1)

Author: Carla Krae

Genre: New Adult Romance, Rock Fiction

Book Blurb: Finalist in the RomCon 2014 Readers’ Crown contest for Contemporary Romance.

One kiss ignites chemistry and passion they can’t ignore, but is this only a summer fling?

Neighbors. Best friends. It was only a crush Beth harbored for Jacob until she was eighteen. Until London.

Neighbors. Best friends. That was all Jacob thought of her until London. Until she kissed him and stole his heart.

It’s funny what Geometry class and a shared backyard wall can bring about. With a two-year age difference, Beth and Jacob were firmly in the Friend Zone during high school, but a pre-college trip to London will change their lives forever.

KISSED is the first book in the MY ONCE AND FUTURE LOVE REVISITED series exploring Beth and Jacob’s relationship with all its joys, flaws, and heartache. A New Adult Contemporary Romance saga.

My Review:

Meet Beth and Jacob. He’s two years older than her and neighbors. She’s a freshman in high school and he’s a junior. She immediately develops a crush on him and he sees her as a best friend and a little sister.

Flash forward to Beth’s high school graduation. Jacob’s moved to London and she’s in L.A. She misses him and concocts a way for her to visit him in London. She convinces Jacob’s mum to let her tag along and even pays for part of the ticket.

Once in London, everything changes. Hot kisses confuse their relationship and Beth’s insecurities cause rifts between them. Will she give into her feelings and fall in love or will she run as far away as possible to avoid a broken heart?

I loved the relationship between Beth and Jacob. Jacob is on his way to living his dream of a rock musician but he’s a real stand-up guy. The author does a brilliant job of alternating the point of view so the reader connects with both Beth and Jacob. We feel what Jacob feels, in total guy-speak too. Impressive for a female author.

This story is a quick read and is filled with plenty of sexual tension. While I don’t mind hot new adult romance, the second half of the book is nothing but hot kisses and Beth’s insecurities.

Speaking of Beth’s insecurities, I found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit towards the end of this book. She’s known Jacob for years and they are best friends. She should have faith in him and know he’s going to be there for her. I recognize she was a shy gal in high school but she’s an adult now and should bask in Jacob’s affection for her.

All in all, this was an excellent first book in a series and I can’t wait to read more from Carla Krae!

If you like rock fiction, new adult and/or contemporary romance, pick up this book right now! Trust me, Jacob will make you swoon.

Favorite Character:

Beth. I can totally relate to her angst about having a crush on an older guy who just wants to be friends. She’s nerdy but in a good way. I loved how she grew into her own without losing herself in Jacob. She’s feisty and keeps him on his toes.

Favorite Quote:

He reached for her hand. “This scares me, too, you know. We go down in flames, I lose you for good.” (Jacob)

My Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links:

Amazon
Amazon UK
Apple
ARe
BarnesAndNoble
Kobo
Smashwords

Author Biography:

Fiction writer. Sci-fi lover. Trained vocalist. Cat mom. Debuting in 2011, Carla Krae lives in California with two crazy cats and a tech guy.

Connect with Carla Krae:

Website: http://carlakrae.blogspot.com/

Twitter: Carla Krae

Facebook: Carla Krae Author Page

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This one probably doesn’t make the cut as Rock Fiction, but it’s hard to tell. Check it out:

There’s a drawer I never open. It holds a picture I never look at. It reminds me of a day I hate to remember, but I’ll never forget.

I’d give anything to be like the other girls on campus. Going to parties, flirting with boys, planning for a future. But that’s not me. And hasn’t been since the day my parents died. The only thing that got me through was Griffin. Even though I didn’t have my family, I always had him. Only, now I’m not so sure I do.

It’s not just the eleven hundred miles separating us now that I’m at college. And it’s more than his band finally taking off, and all the gigs and girls suddenly demanding his time. It’s like everything is different—the way we talk, the way we text . . . the way he looks at me and the way his looks make me feel.

Griffin has been the only good thing in my life since that horrific day. I can feel our friendship slipping away—and I’m terrified of what will be left in its place…

I don’t know. To me, it sounds like it’s a story of a young woman grappling with changes in her life, and the fact that her man (friend? Boyfriend? Support system?) is a rocker is something convenient to get him off the page. Why a rocker? Because it’s sexier than a salesman, which would accomplish the same thing.

On the other hand, the rock lifestyle changes people, and relationships can be hard to maintain. I mean, hello? Have you seen the number of songs written about just that?

So it’s hard to tell what’s going on here, which means only one thing: gotta read it to find out.

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Whenever I connect with a Rock Fiction author, I like to invite them to stop in to promote a new release, or to talk about the category in general. To promote her new release, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, Volume Seven (Amazon link, no affiliate), she’s stopped in to talk.

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Why Rock Fiction?

I’ve been writing Daron’s Guitar Chronicles since the 1980s, when I was a teenager living in the suburbs of New Jersey. MTV was new then, and nonstop music videos brought visions of David Bowie, Prince, and Siouxsie Sioux right into my suburban den. These are the visions that saved my life, the guardian angels who told me through their songs and their mere existence that there was something else besides the crushing conformity of suburban life. Rock and roll called to me as a lifeline.

I was always the “weird kid.” Even when other kids didn’t know WHAT was weird about me, they knew I was different. I just couldn’t conform enough to their idea of normal. Teachers called me “creative,” but didn’t really know how to support my overactive imagination: no one lets you write fiction instead of a book report. (I confess: Mr. Mantegna, that book I said I read about the silver condor in fifth grade? I totally made that up.) To protest the tyranny of the “fashionable girls” I started wearing a Han Solo costume to school, complete with blaster strapped to my leg. To me the idea of being a rock star would mean I could wear whatever the heck I wanted–spandex? a unicorn horn? a tuxedo?–and people would love me for it instead of bullying me. Rock and roll, to me, has always been about the outsider becoming loved instead of reviled.

In Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, our hero is a talented guitar player who dreams of escaping suburban hell in New Jersey and making it big (sound familiar?). When his story starts he has made it as far as music school in Rhode Island. Daron has a lot of challenges in his way, not the least of which is he’s scared to death people will find out he’s gay. Heck, Daron is scared to death of BEING gay. He fears not only that if his sexuality is exposed it will prevent him from having a successful career, but on a deeper level he fears intimacy.

Enter Ziggy, the lead singer Daron’s band needs to succeed, but what relationship is more intimate than being a partner in creative pursuits? Writing music together, performing it live, and bonding as bandmates gives Ziggy far more access to Daron’s head and heart than Daron realizes.

Some see Daron as having two quests, one for artistic success, one for romantic love. But really it’s all one big quest for love: from the fans, from the men in his life, and from himself.

So why rock fiction? It’s the perfect vehicle for me to explore the inner workings of my poor angst-ridden heroes and the ways they push against conformity. These boys aren’t going to live in a suburban box. They can’t. They’d die, creatively and spiritually if not actually, if they were forced to be “normal.” And I get to explore all the issues about love and acceptance in a giant metaphor (the music business) for how damaging love can be. Like the Bowie song says, “And when the kids had killed the man, I had to break up the band.”

Oh, and did I mention the story is set in the 1980s? I started writing it then and when I started publishing it in 2009, instead of updating it to the present, I kept it in the era of AIDS, Just Say No, and Silence=Death. In 1986 the “alternative rock” revolution hasn’t happened yet. And neither has the gay “coming out” movement. So that’s yet another way I get to equate rock music and love outside the mainstream.

It’s all one giant addictive tapestry of garage rock, arena shows, basement rehearsals, tour mishaps, friendship, love, and art, told through the eyes of a musician who has as much to learn about life as he has to learn about himself.

Daron’s story is now seven books long–volume seven in the series releases today!–and the web serial continues over at http://daron.ceciliatan.com. Readers have told me they find the series deeply entrancing. Daron becomes like a best friend to many, so talented and beautiful and flawed, you want to root for him to succeed day after day.

If you want to cheer him on, too, book one of the series is free right now on Amazon and Smashwords, and the full chapters of the entire serial can be read at any time on Wattpad or on the Daron’s Guitar Chronicles home site.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cecilia Tan is the winner of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in Erotica and the author of over a dozen novels. Her forthcoming January 2016 novel from Hachette/Forever, Taking the Lead, pairs a bad boy rock star and a Hollywood heiress with a secret.