Monday, February 25, 2013

VBT: Review, Giveaway, and Interview with Brenda Gayle author of The Doubting Heart

  

AUTHOR Bio and Links:


A writer all her life, Brenda Gayle returned to her love of fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communications—although some might argue there is plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too. She holds a Master's degree in journalism and an undergraduate degree in psychology. A fan of many genres, Brenda is drawn to contemporary romance and enjoys creating deeply emotional stories with elements of mystery and suspense.

Website /  Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

I interviewed Brenda Gayle and the following is what she had to say:

Hi Brenda, thanks for inviting me to Crazy Four Books. It’s always fun to meet another Brenda. I agree Brenda. :-) It was nice to meet you too!


What is your favorite thing about writing?

I love the excuse to daydream, to lose myself in a fantasy world of my own creation. It may be my background in psychology, but the character development phase is definitely my favorite part of writing. In my daydreaming phase, I like to dig deeply into their backgrounds and figure out what makes them tick. I let them float through my consciousness for a week or more, and then make pages and pages of notes about their backgrounds, familial relations, and personality traits. Most of this information never makes it into the book, of course, but is crucial to keeping the characters and their actions real as the plot unfolds.

What do you hope people get out of reading your book?

Escape, pure and simple. The Doubting Heart is a romance with suspense. (Spoiler alert: the hero and heroine get together in the end.) I’m not trying to do anything except provide a bit of enjoyment, a way for people to put aside the reality of their daily lives for a few hours and read a story that ends in a happily-ever after.

What is your favorite day of the week?

Thursday is my favorite day because it means I still have another day to accomplish what I need to do before the weekend—I’m always behind—and it’s past the mid-week hump.

Do you prefer baked or fried?

Baked. I’ve never been a fan of fried foods, or maybe it’s just that my go-to foods aren’t usually fried (bagels, muffins, cheesecake). I even bake the French fries I make.

Hardback, paperback, ebook or audio book?

I do love my e-reader, but there’s nothing like the tactile sensation you get from a real book. I prefer paperbacks because they are more portable and I rarely go anywhere without a book in hand. I'm the same way! :D

What type of music do you listen to?

Sad to say, but I tend to listen to those Boomer radio stations that play light rock from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Yes, I know, I’m dating myself, but I just can’t get into the electro club music that’s all over the airwaves. I have a fairly eclectic CD collection, everything from rock to country to jazz to classical—something for all moods and occasions. I am also a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and often listen to E Street Radio on satellite.

If you could talk to one person (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

I’ve always been fascinated by Tudor England. I’d love to sit down and chat with Anne Boleyn about how she captured the heart of Henry VIII and kept him on a string for so many years. Hopefully, I’d also get some insight into where she went wrong. I’d probably also give her a head’s-up (groan) about what’s coming.

Do you have any hobbies?

I have two teenagers that are too young to drive, and as we live outside the city there isn’t public transportation. I spent most of my “spare” time chauffeuring them to their many and sundry sports and social activities. If I have to wait for them, I’ll use the time to catch up on my reading.

I’d really like to get back into knitting. I used to do that quite a bit and enjoyed it because it kept my hands busy while my mind wandered. As I mentioned before, I spend a lot of time “daydreaming,” which makes people suspicious about what I’m up to. If I was knitting, at least they’d think I was doing something. :-)

Do you have a favorite scent?

When my husband I were in Paris, many years ago, he bought me a bottle of Sun Moon Stars perfume by Karl Lagerfeld. I just love the exotic blend of fruit, floral, orange blossom, amber, and musk. Unfortunately with so many places being scent-free, I don’t get the opportunity to wear it as often as I’d like.

Pierced or not?

Ears yes, everything else no.

What food can't you live without?

Coffee. Does that count as a food? I hope so, because as far as I’m concerned, life wouldn’t be worth living (for me or for anyone unlucky enough to encounter me) without a steaming mug of strong black coffee each morning.

Brenda, you ask the most interesting questions. Thank you so much for hosting me today. I’d love to hear how others would answer some of these questions, especially the one about hardcover, paperback, ebook or audio.

***Brenda will be awarding one commenter at every stop a digital download of her new short story, Father of the Bride?, the first in The Wild Rose Press’s Dearly Beloved series, and one randomly drawn commenter on the tour will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.***

Here is a link to the Tour Schedule. You know the drill. The more comments you leave on the tour, the better your odds are of winning! :-)



Purchase Links:

The Wild Rose Press

     or

Amazon
 
BLURB:


A woman determined to prove her friend was murdered questions her sanity when his look-alike appears.

When Shelby Holt convinces a friend to work at Wildhorse Pass tourist ranch, she never imagines he will die there. The police say Michael's death was accidental, but Shelby doesn't believe it. Haunted by guilt, she puts her academic career on hold to investigate.

Just back from the Middle East, Chad Graham is guilt-ridden over Michael's death too. He poses as a ranch hand at Wildhorse Pass to investigate the woman claiming his cousin's death is suspicious. Were the police wrong? Or is Shelby hiding something?

Shelby knows she can't trust her heart, but when it comes to Chad, she can't trust her head either. He looks uncannily like Michael. Yet even as their distrust deepens, sensual attraction simmers between them. The closer Shelby and Chad get to answers—and to each other—the closer they get to danger…and to a killer who will stop at nothing to avoid discovery.


Here is an excerpt to tempt you:

Anxious to escape the ghosts of the place, she rounded to Copper, set her right foot into the stirrup and pushed off to mount her. The stirrup seemed to slip as she raised her left leg over the horse.


Suddenly, Copper shied back and reared up. Shelby lost her balance and slid down the side of the horse. The reins slid from her hands. She clawed at the saddle. “Copper! Easy girl. Easy up,” she cried, but her voice was too panicked to have any effect.

Then Copper began to run.

Shelby managed to grab onto the horn, but without the stirrup for support she felt herself slipping. She clawed for purchase yet each movement pulled the saddle further down the horse’s side. She grasped at the mane with her left hand and wrapped her fingers tightly through the coarse hair. The rocky ground seemed only inches below her and she struggled to hold her body rigid. Her loose leg dangled precariously close to the horse’s scythe-like hooves.

She called to Copper, tried to calm her. The horse sped up and edged closer to the water. Shelby panicked. Not the river. Not again!

As she fought to raise herself higher, she caught a glimpse over Copper’s back of a dark form approaching from up the canyon wall.

Another horse and rider!

Relief flooded her. Thank God.

She held tighter to the saddle and mane, willing every fiber in her being to hang on until her rescue. She counted the seconds. Waiting.

It was taking too long. She was afraid to turn her head to look for them. Where are they?

Then she saw them, a shadow on the ground, easily matching Copper stride-for-stride. That wasn’t right. They should be passing. Grabbing Copper’s bit. Slowing the pace. Stopping her.

The dark shadow was edging closer to Copper.

Closer to her.

Suddenly, Shelby realized what they were doing. Her mind exploded into a blinding fury of panic and shock. She heard herself scream.

The other rider was deliberately driving her towards the deadly torrent.

My Thoughts:

The Doubting Heart is the second book in the Heart's Desire series. It is a romance with a heaping helping of suspense. I felt like the story was slow at the beginning. It soon picked up the pace and offered lots of action, danger, and mystery in addition to the romance.

The plot consists of a murder, a friend with a guilty conscience, a tourist ranch, a guilt ridden family member determined to scope out the woman who said his cousin was murdered, horses, a bunch of accidents, and an attraction that won't be denied.   

I was thoroughly caught up in the mystery of what happened to Michael and who was responsible. I was almost more interested in that than the chemistry between Shelby and Chad (almost). ;-)

I really liked the set up for the next book. You can bet I'll be reading it! Now I just have to go back and read the first book, The Hungry Heart.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a suspenseful romance to read.

I received a copy of this book from Goddess Fish in exchange for my honest opinion. It was intriguing and I enjoyed it!


As she stated above, Brenda would like to know your answers to the question about
which book format you prefer. Hardback, paperback, ebook or audio book?




I'd love to know what you're thinking. Please leave a comment!

56 comments:

  1. +JMJ+

    Brenda, if you say that the mystery was almost as gripping than the love story, that's a great endorsement! I usually don't mind no-brainer mysteries when I'm reading Romantic Suspense, because I can tell myself that the point is the happy ending and that love can make you miss out on obvious clues (Okay, that's just rationalisation--LOL!); but it's nice to hear about a mystery that's a real challenge, too. =)

    My favourite format is paperback! I'm not a fan of ereaders at all; and audiobooks are like movie adaptations to me and subject to the same rule I have for movie adaptations--namely, that I should read the book first. =) Hardback is okay, and at least it's a physical book, but I find it awkward to hold and manipulate.

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    1. That's an intersting comment about audiobooks being like movie adaptations. I hadn't thought about it like that before, but I think you're right. You are listening to someone else's interpretation of a character.

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    2. Yes Enbrethiliel,

      the mystery kept me guessing. I think you would enjoy it. :-)

      I agree with Brenda. As usual your take on things, in this case audio books, is intriguing.

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  2. Oki once again you caught my interest ^^ i love suspense romanceand since the author told us we get the HEA i'm all for it ^^.

    Also it seems that teh books can be read out of order and that's a plus too... really you made me curious


    Now the answer ^^ i prefer print books without a doubt... they are my treasures, the feeling of paper in my hand, the smell i love everythin. and yes it's portable but to be honest i often renonce to take my favorite book with me because i'm afraid to damage them^^;; so i need to be already reading it and not wanting to wait later or it must be an high quality book, or a safe place for me to bring it with me. Asd for hardback or paperback...i have more paperback that's sure ( cheaper, often smaller ec) now also there are some series that exist only in paperback ( from my french edition for example that's a majority like 95%)... i love hard cover too, they seem more special to me but like i saw it's not even found in my country in my langague that rare and in the english section of the bookstore they sometime have hardkack for collector but the rest is mainly paperback because of the quantity and room needed.

    So paperback or hardback i love them both but i want to have some homogeneity on my shelves so either paperback or hardback but the same for all volumes of teh series

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    1. Hi Miki, I love your description of print books being treasures. I don't have the same hesitation about taking my favorite books with me. In fact, it's the "damage" that's been done to them that reminds me of the mood I was in when I read them. Was I on a beach? A coffee shop? Camping? I was at reading for an author I quite liked, Sandra Gulland's Josephine series, and noticed that everyone else had pristine versions of their books for her to sign. She got a kick out of my (embarassed) explanation for the poor state of my copies.

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    2. Yes Miki you would like this one also.

      I don't have a problem taking my books with me. My husband laughs at me because even if I'm just running to the store I take a book with me. He always says "You'll be driving why take the book?" My reply is "You never know when you'll need it. What if I break down and have to wait for a tow truck?"

      I do agree that they are treasures. I enjoy them and love to share them with others as well!

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  3. A gripping mystery would do it for me. I love them that way. I have ebook readers and I like paperback. Hardbacks are hard to store. So I prefer either paperback or ebook.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks Debby, it seems paperbacks are still very popular--someone should tell the publishers. LOL

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  4. I still remember my granddaughter, at 6, picking up a book and saying, "I love the way books smell". Nothing really replaces a good book. I do read e books, but I love real books.

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    1. What a great memory to have. Hopefully that's just the start of your granddaughter's lifelong love of books.

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    2. +JMJ+

      I agree! That's a lovely story. =)

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    3. That was really sweet! I agree there is nothing like a real book.

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  5. Thanks for your lovely review, Brenda. I am glad the mystery worked for you. It's sometimes difficult when you're writing it to know if you are giving away too much or too little.

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    1. It was just right. You obviously know your stuff! :-)

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  6. I read paperbacks and the occasional hardcover. I don't read e books, I guess I'm old fashioned. I love to hold a book in my hand and put it in my bookcase when I'm finished reading it.
    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Until recently, I was a physical book only kinda girl too. I still do and probably always will prefer paperbacks.

      I don't think you are old fashioned. You are just selective in the types of books you prefer. Why shouldn't you be? It's your money that pays for them, shouldn't you buy what you like? I know I do! :D

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  7. You're not old fashioned, Ingeborg, simply "classic". My husband is happy I'm using my e-reader more and more because he's running out of space to put new bookshelves.

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  8. Thanks for the excerpt! Very exciting. I can't wait to read what happens next! I wonder if your interest in psychology leads you to want to "dig deeply" into your characters' backgrounds and motivations?

    I'm a librarian and I have 2 kindles (onto which I DOWNLOAD a lot of stuff) and 2 Nooks (1 I never use and 1 I gave to my mother because I never used it). You may have noticed that I said I DOWNLOAD a lot of books...but I actually read very little on it. I have 3 different books started right now and they're all print books--all hardbacks from my library's best seller shelves. I do play word games on my kindle! I probably read a couple of kindle books each month--but nothing compared to what I read in print.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Catherine Lee, Funny you should ask about my psychology background. I just finished a blog post on that for another stop on this tour (March 18).

      I would think that being a librarian would be like working in a bookstore--so many books tempting you all the time.

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  9. I didn't think I could let go of hardback and paperback books, but I bought a Kindle last year and I carry that thing with me everywhere. I love it! I still buy print books once in awhile, but will always have an e-reader now. Thank you for the great giveaway! lcminer at windstream dot net

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    1. I just got a Kindle too but I still prefer my paperbacks. :D

      Good luck!

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    2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Leslie.

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  10. I always thought I would stick with my printed books (paperback or hardcover), however, I now have a Kindle and absolutely love it. It began with me using the Kindle and Nook apps on my phone. It was extremely convenient and easy. I mean 24/7 I had access to all the books I would need at the moment. If they weren't already on the app, then I just accessed the store and bought the book I wanted. I never had to worry about finishing one book and not having another on hand. Now that I have my Kindle, I feel much the same way about the convenience and portability. However, that being said, there is just nothing like having a printed book. I'm the girl who goes to 2nd hand stores and yard sales and buys those old books because there is just something about a well loved classic book. Not to mention being able to hold and cuddle up with my favorites. I just feel closer to the characters when the book is in my hand somehow.

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    1. Technology is insidious, Josette. It sucks you in with its convenience. We have a local 2nd hand bookstore which I love to visit, too. The owner is a real character.

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  11. I like fried food but I don't eat it to often, since it's not exactly healthy :)

    lennascloud(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh, Lena. You're a girl after my heart. Have they invented a food that isn't better fried?

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  12. As to the book format, nowdays I prefer the ebooks, kindle and epubs, though I'm coming around to audiobooks, they are great when one is working out or doing housework :)

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  13. I love audio books but I like ebooks as well, they are just easier to carry with one than paparbacks on holidays :)

    lyra.lucky7 at gmail dot com

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    1. I like audio books for long car rides. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to the WHOLE Harry Potter series (my kids' favorite). We do a lot of family car trips.

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  14. The Doubting Heart Giveaway: I'm so glad to "meet" you, Brenda, on this review blog. I love western romance (having been raised on a ranch in Southern California) and am delighted to discover another such author! For years I was a die-hard paper book user, but now am a die-hard e-reader (tablet) due to lack of space and ease of transport, plus having e-mail and everything in one spot.

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    1. I'm so glad to meet you, too, Janice. You have my double-envy. First for being raised on a ranch, and second for being raised in Southern California. We're anticipating a good 10 inches of snow in the next 48 hours.

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  15. I like all those formats, though I prefer ebook the most since it's the easiest to get and cheapest to buy. I like to get hardcovers of books I love and will keep on my bookshelf for years to come. I like paperbacks because then I can read the books and then either keep them or use them as a giveaway on my blog. I like audiobooks because I love listening to music and stuff in my car or when I'm traveling, so to be able to multitask and listen while I drive, or relax my eyes on the plane and just listen is a nice reprieve. Unfortunately, audiobooks are expensive and often come out way later than any of the other formats and not all the books I want to read come out in that format, so it's the one I least use.

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    1. Oops, forgot my email

      tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    2. Emily, it appears that you are very well rounded. You like a little of everything! :-)

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  16. I feel like every author, book blogger, book fan, etc prefers the actual book. I will get eBooks for stuff I'm not sure about, but if it's a favorite author or series, hardcover all the way!

    andralynn7 At gmail dot com

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    1. For the most part, I agree with you. There are a few that prefer ebooks and that number seems to be growing.

      I prefer paperback myself! :-)

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    2. I often get eBooks for books that I know won't end up on my "keeper" shelf. These are authors I like, but consume like candy. I only have so much space in my house and I've donated so many of my old books to our Library's used book store, they're thinking of dedicating a whole rack to me. LOL.

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  17. A fabulous interview. Tudor England does fascinate.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Thaks Mary. There was definitely a lot of romance and suspense in Tudor England.

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  18. The book sounds quite exciting, I'm sure I'm going to love reading it! I prefer ebook, since I've got my ereader, at least it is easier to carry around with one :)

    shadowrunner1987 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks Ami. eReaders certainly make it easier to travel.

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  19. This sounds like a great book (I quite enjoy romantic suspense). I prefer paperback or hardcover- I enjoy the feel of holding the actual book in my hands, the smell of the book, turning actual pages (not to mention I don't have an ereader as of yet *cringe*)
    luvs2read4fun(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. You're not the only hold-out, Amanda. My sister, who reads even more than I do, refuses to get an eReader--even after I told her some of my books are only available digitally.

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    2. Well, I had a Nook- then we moved and I haven't been able to find it since the move (*sigh*). I'd love to have a Kindle but with only one of us working (thus the reason for the move, hubby is taking care of my grandmother during the day) it hard to buy "frivolous" things that we don't really need :-(

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  20. Sounds like a wonderful book. I prefer hardback or paperback books. I have a Kindle but I don't like it that much.

    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Anita. The jury's still out for me, too. It's becoming more a matter of convenience as to which format I'll choose.

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  21. I love the convenience of e-books, but if I really like a book I will go out and buy hardcopy version. Nothing like having a book your love on your bookshelf, where you can easily flip to your favourite part and re-read it

    xo_veronica16[at]hotmail[dot]com

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    1. Exactly. That's the problem I have with eReaders, too. The technology is getting better but it also annoys me not to know where I am in the book--50%, 75%. I find I place more or less importance on things that happen based on when they take place in the book.

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  22. I love how Brenda weaves great suspense tales into her romances. Makes for a much more exciting read :)

    carrie dot rogozinski at shaw.ca

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  23. Thanks toCrazy Four Books for hosting me on my blog tour for The Doubting Heart and to everyone who commented—you made this fun. I’ve used random.org to generate the winner of my new short story, Father of the Bride? The winner is Lyra L7. I’ll be in touch with the download instructions.

    You can find who all the winners are, including the grand prize winner of a $50 Amazon gift card, on my web site: www.BrendaGayle.com.

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  24. I can see that you are putting a lot of time and effort into your site and
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    ReplyDelete
  25. I love your site! You will be in our prayers and thoughts! Nice and informative post
    on this topic thanks for sharing with us.Thank you

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