Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey
Publication date: June 30th 2013
Genre: NA Romance
IT HAPPENED IN VEGAS. I can't be held responsible. Things that happen there are supposed to stay there, right? Right? Yeeeah. Not so much. ... Andie's just days away from tying the knot, but there's just ooooone little glitch. Apparently, she's already married.
Or someone with her name is married to a guy out in Oregon of all places, and the courthouse won't issue her a marriage license until it's all cleared up.
Tripping her way through cow pies and country songs to meet up with a man who gets around places on horseback is her very last idea of how to have a good time, but if she's going to get married, make partner at the firm, and have two point five kids before she's thirty-five, she needs to get to the bottom of this snafu and fix it quick ... before her fiance finds out and everything she's been working toward goes up in flames.
Meet the Characters:
The two main characters are Andie Marks and Gavin "Mack" MacKenzie.
When the story begins Andie's in her first job after law school, living in West Palm Beach, Florida. She's a very goal-oriented person, following a Lifeplan that she wrote when she was a lost and confused teenager detailing how she was going to live her life. She's got everything all figured out, her entire life scripted so she can get everything she wants out of her career and future husband. The problem is, life isn't that predictable or controllable. Everything kind of falls apart when she goes to Las Vegas with her two best friends and she meets Mack.
Mack is a cowboy living on a ranch in Baker City, Oregon. He's the cool, quiet type, with the typical cowboy look: jeans, belt buckle, boots, cowboy hat … plus all the best parts: broad shoulders, lots of muscle, and eyes as blue as the sky. He's lived and worked on his family's ranch his whole life, as comfortable on a horse as he is on his own two feet. He goes to Las Vegas for his brother's bachelor party and his conservative, quiet lifestyle kind of falls apart when he and meets Andie at a blackjack table.
Handling negative reviews:
Negative reviews come with the territory of being an author. In my experience, there are few kinds of negative reviews. The best kinds are the ones written by someone who actually read the book and just didn't like it. They give reasons why and specific details. I really appreciate these, because they help me improve my work. My skills improve with every book, and part of that is due to negative feedback I've received. I've learned a lot from my readers, the ones who have good things to say and those who weren't happy with my work. Everyone has an opinion and they're entitled to not only have it, but to have it be different than mine and anyone else's. I never have a problem with someone saying my book sucked for them. There's not a single book out there that everyone has loved, except maybe Goodnight Moon. :)
There's another kind of negative review, though, that I don't think anyone finds helpful, and those are the ones that are written by angry people as a type of personal attack. Sometimes these things are motivated by the book's content, but many times it's something else that has set the reader off - either something they saw about the author elsewhere, an assumption they've made about an author's motivations, or a misunderstanding about the book. My opinion is that reviews should be about the book's content. It's okay to dislike a book and talk about that. It's not okay to insult the author personally or attack anyone, and I think most readers would agree with that. I understand that emotions run high, and readers get attached to characters and have very definite ideas about how they should be written … but ultimately, it's the author's choice and readers should at least respect that; the vast majority of readers do and are able to separate the work from the creator as a person.
When readers make assumptions about my work or motivations that are not correct, I comment on their review to clarify the truth. I'm a big proponent of the whole reader experience, and commenting on my product pages on Amazon is part of that. Most of my readers appreciate the fact that I read every single review on Amazon, good or bad, and comment on every single one. I don't do that on Goodreads, because in my mind, Goodreads is for readers. My book pages on Amazon are my product pages, and I am the vendor. My buyers' experience there is something I take very seriously, and I want it to be the best it can be. It used to be that authors lived in these ivory towers, refusing to interact with readers. It was harder before the internet, but now there's no reason why an author shouldn't connect closely with readers who are interested in that. I love reader interaction, so I have a big presence on Amazon, Facebook, and my website.
The last type of negative review that is really the saddest one for me to see is one written by someone who hasn't read the book. They're sock puppet reviews, but not the kind that praise a book. Unfortunately there are people out there who actually take valuable time out of their day to try and hurt others just because they're miserable people and don't like to see others succeeding. I have only a couple of those on my books, luckily. It comes with the territory, and I know the more success an author experiences, the more of those there will be. I try to remind myself that all the greatest authors who have blockbuster, runaway best sellers have them, so I'm in good company. This kind of thing used to bother me more than it does now. I guess after a while you develop a thick hide or something. That hide is not impervious, but it's better than it was for as a brand-new author.
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Elle Casey is a full-time writer of New Adult and Young Adult titles in several genres, including romance, urban fantasy, sci-fi dystopian, and action-adventure. She's an American girl who's been living in southern France with her husband and three children since 2010. She loves chatting with her readers, so feel free to drop her a line.
1. You started out writing in YA. What brought you over to New Adult?
I've been a reader of new adult titles even before they were called 'new adult'. And I love the age group it covers. 18-30 years old is such a great time in life, isn't it? I mean, it's when you sow your wild oats, learn about yourself in the context of the whole world and not just your family and friends; it's where you figure out who you're going to be. The adult-formative years I guess you could call it. And the sex part is awesome too, I won't lie. You can only get so sexy with a YA book, so as a writer, I have to hold back. In NA, I don't have to do that. It can be passionate, raw, sometimes awkward and full of bad decisions, but it can be REAL. I guess that's what I love about NA most … it's raw and real.
2. You have a lot of novels in the urban fantasy genre. What interested you in writing romances?
Romances were my first love. Well … aside from Disney fairy tales. But then again, those are all romances aren't they? They've got misunderstood heroines - beaten down by others - who are looking for love and understanding, finally finding it in the hands of a guy on horseback. I've read hundreds of romances in my time, from every publisher out there, including indie authors of course. It doesn't matter how many I read, I always want more. Since I love them as a reader, I really wanted to try my hand as a writer in the genre. I have so many romance stories simmering in my brain right now, at this point, it's like therapy just getting them out of there. I have 6 romances planned for the rest of the year and lots more for 2014. I'm going to be very busy. But I'm happy being busy because it's very important to me that I keep hunger readers fed. I live to write for voracious readers.
3. How do you write so many books in such a short period of time?
Short and sweet: I have a system for getting the work done, and I'm a helluva fast typer. More details: I have a ton of stories always waiting in my head to be told, and when I sit down at the computer, the words just kind of spill out. My stories are very character-driven, meaning I don't make up the story. I just find the characters wandering around in my head, put them in a situation, and let them run with it. Now that I'm a full-time writer, I can dedicate more of my time to writing that I used to when I was also teaching at a university. I treat writing as a business and try to be very disciplined about it. After eighteen months of writing, I've published 20 novels, so I think my system is working. :)
4. What's your favorite part of being a writer?
My readers. Hands down, it's the readers. I get emails and messages every day from devoted fans, and I can't express how much that means to me. There are readers out there who've set up book blogs just because they were so excited about my books, people who make it a point to promote my books on their Facebook pages and Twitter just because they want to share the reader-love, and whole families who are reading my series and discussing them at dinner. It just blows my mind that people would be so generous and so involved in my made-up worlds. Recently I had a fan dress as one of my characters at a comic con event. I also occasionally get a very heart-warming message about how my writing has changed someone's life - caused them to finally start reading or to go to college. To me, that's the sign of a life well-lived - that I've somehow inspired another person to reach for something they want in life that they thought they didn't have a chance at having before.
5. What books do you have in the pipeline right now?
All kinds of good stuff! I'm so excited to get them out to readers. Here's the NA Romance line-up for June, July, and August: Shine Not Burn, By Design, and Don't Make Me Beautiful, and then a 3-book series that will be released on surprise dates this year: Rebel, Hellion, and Trouble. Links to all of them on Goodreads here:
6. Why do you live in France?
I came here for a vacation with my husband in 2007 and we both fell in love with it. After the economy took a downturn and my husband lost his job, we started talking about simplifying our lives and focusing on different things. That's when the idea of living in a foreign country came up. We wanted to do it for one year, to give our three kids the opportunity to experience another culture and learn another language while also refocusing our grown-up lives to get away from the rampant materialism that had kind of taken over everything. And we loved France, so it seemed like the logical place to go. Once we were here, we fell in love more deeply and decided to stay indefinitely. We still love our home country of course, but for now, we're content with a very laid back life in the south of France. What can I say … we love wine and cheese ALOT!
7. How long have you been writing? What did you do before you were a writer?
I've been writing since January of 2012. Before that I was a lot of things … most recently an attorney. But you can add the following other jobs to the list: retail sales clerk, air traffic controller (in the Air Force), waitress, restaurant owner, stock broker, insurance salesperson, professor, and CEO of a medical device company. I'm one of those people who gets bored easily, so after being in a job for a few years, I need a change so I can be challenged again. The beauty of being a writer is it's never the same job twice, and it really doesn't feel like work. It's the best job I've ever had, hands down. It's the only job in the world were you walk into work (in my case, open the computer) and your boss starts the day by telling you how amazing you are. My readers are my bosses now, and I wouldn't have it any other way. They really are great motivators. :)
8. What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
My goal is to entertain as many readers as I possibly can. If I can also get more people reading or cause people to think about important things, that's great too. But my overriding goal is to make people get so involved in the experience of reading my work that they skip doing chores, stay up until dawn, and tell everyone who will listen about my books.
9. What kind of romances do you like to read?
The kind where bad boys are tamed by courageous girls. It's really that simple for me. :)
10. What's the most important element in a romance in your opinion?
A sexy guy. Seriously, he just needs to be sexy as hell, and that doesn't mean sexy can't come in different packages. For example, in the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the MC, Ian, is very understated and shy, but man, he rocked my world. He reminds me a lot of my husband, actually. On the other hand you have your angsty fighters ... guys who you'd never let into your world in real life but who are safe to fall for in books. Travis from Beautiful Disaster comes to mind. Boy, did he cause a lot of fuss in the reader world! Chemistry comes in all kinds of packages, which is awesome, but the chemistry has to be there or the book falls flat for me.