Friday, October 18, 2013

Fearsome by S.A. Wolfe - Book Blitz

Book & Author Details:

Fearsome by S.A. Wolfe
Publication date: October 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


Jessica Channing’s big city life should be more exciting than sixty-hour work weeks and popcorn nights with her girlfriends, but it’s not. She has worked hard fulfilling her role as a child prodigy and graduating college years before her peers. She’s the good girl, the brilliant girl.

Unfortunately, she’s also the dateless young woman.

That all changes with one phone call. Jess’s rigid, predictable life upends when she must visit a small, obscure town to deal with a relative’s death. This isn’t just any little speck of a town, though. Long lost memories come crashing down on Jess’s world when two men, the Blackard brothers, seem to lure her in.

Dylan is cover model handsome, and pursues Jess the minute she comes to town. Then there is tall, dark and gorgeous Carson, who hides his own secrets behind his hardened reserve.

For someone who has been governed by her own obsessive behaviors and fears, Jess lets her guard down and jumps at the opportunity to have an affair with a man she actually finds attractive for a change.

There’s just one problem. Jess discovers that she can’t have a simple romantic fling because true passion does indeed come with some very big strings attached to it. She will have to own up to her own truths about love and face the two extraordinary men; both troubled in their own ways and both determined to have her.
Excerpt 1:

Carson takes a couple long strides and is in my face before I can count to one. He has to lean over to be at my eye level. He places his hands on the counter on either side of me so I’m trapped. “He thinks you’re going to stay here for good. He thinks he has a chance with you. I want you to be honest with him and explain that you’ll be going back to your real life in New York.”

He moves so close to my face, I find myself staring back into his beautiful eyes that never leave mine. He is nothing like Dylan; I can see that in this moment. Carson is only three years older than his brother; however, he might as well be twenty years older. He carries a weight—a burden in him—that is marked by a serious, unwavering demeanor. I think a part of me remembers this about him and another part of me remembers trying to coax the fun side out of him. I know I have seen him laugh, the memory is there, buried with all the other fuzzy images, yet right now, I only see a man who is trying to look strong because there’s something that worries him.

If he’s trying to be intimidating and rouse my anxiety, it’s working. After a short stare-off between us, he moves back. My small victory is that he seems to be at a loss for words, too.

Excerpt 2:

I’m still daydreaming when he stops abruptly to pick up his toolbox and I bash right into his back. Perfect. Didn’t I already do this with Dylan?

Carson drops the box and turns around to catch me. “I’m sorry, did I do that?”

“No, it was me.” I rub my nose.

He’s holding me by the waist, pulling me into him, but it’s not a déjà vu of Dylan. Carson is something else—something I like very much—and I suspect that being torn between two men in my own imaginary, lovelorn world is a sign of my immaturity. At least, that would be the first thing my mother would say before she asks what they do for a living. My hands are wedged between us, resting against his hard abdomen.

Carson doesn’t let go, as if he’s thinking of something to say or thinking of pulling one of those fast Blackard kisses. “This could be awkward,” he says and releases his grip on me while his hands remain hovering by me.

I’m not sure if he’s having the same thought as me, that a kiss would be awkward since I’m going out with Dylan, or if it’s awkward because he sees me as some virginal geek and he’s never touched one in person before. It’s awkward because I’m over-thinking the whole scenario!

Excerpt 3:

Am I still so naïve and foolish that I cannot truly see the wonderful man in front of me who cares about me?
I place my hands on Dylan’s chest and feel his strong heartbeat underneath the thin T-shirt. He is so attractive that I begin to consider lewd thoughts to dismiss my earlier anger. Without deliberating further, I start taking off his T-shirt. He looks a little bewildered, but assists in removing his shirt. I rub my hands up and down his muscular torso and push him back towards the porch wall. Then Dylan watches as I unbutton my blouse. A wanton expression overcomes his face as I stand before him in my see-thru lace demi bra. I step out of my skirt and underwear and begin kissing him as I put my hand down his jeans, aggressively groping his hardness.

“Okay,” Dylan rasps and then he turns me around so my back is against the wall.

He unbuttons his jeans and pulls a condom from his wallet then hoists me up using his weight and the wall to brace me in place before he’s in me. I wrap my legs around his waist and move frantically with his thrusts.

Excerpt 4:

Dylan’s reaction is evident. I’m at the end of the hall in the kitchen doorway when Carson answers the door and Dylan’s face drops. “What the fuck are you doing here?”

“Hi, brother,” Carson greets him with a smugness in his voice. “I was working on the kitchen and thought I’d stay for dinner. I see you’re making your eggplant parm. Wouldn’t want to miss that.” He holds the door open for Dylan who storms through with two bottles of wine in each hand.

“Oh, fuck you,” Dylan snaps and head towards me. He kisses me on the cheek. “Hi. So we’ve got company.” He shakes his head at me.

“Here, let me open the wine.” Carson squeezes between Dylan and me, grabbing the bottles. “You cook. Jess and I will drink this fine vino you’ve brought us.”

“I didn’t bring it for you,” Dylan counters.

Carson studies the wine label and raises his eyebrows. “You’ve dropped an impressive little bundle on these two gems. Can’t wait to drink it.”

Dylan ignores him and makes his way into the kitchen where he begins to pull items out of the fridge along with pots and pans from the cupboards. I’m caught in the middle of some brotherly group dynamic that is foreign to me, so I stay out of it and keep quiet.

Carson uncorks a bottle of wine with a switchblade he pulls out of his pocket. I don’t know whether to be unnerved or impressed that he carries a knife and knows how to open a bottle of wine with it. He makes one slice around the seal, thuds the base of the bottle against one of the vertical beams along the wall and then pulls the cork out with his teeth. I’ve never seen anything like it. He looks even sexier merely by doing that little move. His hands are full with the bottle in one hand and the knife and cork in the other, so he pulls a kitchen chair out with his foot.

“Have a seat, milady, and join me in a glass of the grape,” he mimics a thick Scottish brogue.
“Oh, please,” Dylan says over his shoulder as he slams pans on the range.

I laugh and sit down. Carson smiles at me and pours a tiny amount of the wine into a juice glass for me. I take a little sip and nod approvingly. I know nothing about wine.


S. A. Wolfe lives with her wonderfully loud, opinionated children and awesome husband. She is a voracious reader and passionate about writing, and when those two activities don’t keep her locked away in her room, she loves hiking mountains as much as she adores all the thrills New York City has to offer.

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Guest Post

 S. A. Wolfe

Author of Fearsome

Meet the characters in Fearsome

Jessica Channing
I came up with the idea of Jessica because I wanted a protagonist who fit a very different description than what is generally expected. Having spent so much time around women who excelled in academia, particularly the sciences (I’m not one of those women by the way.), I felt many of them were overlooked in contemporary romance novels.

So Jessica is really a composite of some amazing young women I have encountered, working in specialized fields that require advanced degrees and years of post-graduate work, and as I told my husband once, some of these women were stunning, incredibly beautiful. Simply put, some of these remarkable women were put together like elegant women you see on the streets of Paris.

Well, Jessica may be a genius, a child prodigy, and she advances quickly in her education, but she isn’t smooth by any means and she isn’t put together like a Parisienne woman. It takes years for Jess to grow out of her geek stage, and even when she becomes a swan, she still feels like a nerd who is riddled with obsessive behaviors. Her OCD-type behavior is critical to her character. Most people are unaware of their little rituals in their daily life. Jessica’s issues stem from her analytical personality and they escalate in certain situations. She’s well aware of her peculiar traits, and you even catch her lying about it in the novel. However, the fact that she cannot control these quirky behaviors endears her to others.

Although she is very comfortable in New York City, the town of Hera makes it very apparent to Jessica that what has been missing in her life are meaningful relationships, from both a familial and a romantic aspect. This is where you see her true neurotic self-analysis surface. She is conflicted about men, and even her own family, therefore, she relies heavily on her new support system of friends, and her artwork as a means to cope. I wanted her to have an outlet that was the complete opposite of her work life, which involves systematic procedures and precise numbers. Jessica’s paintings are liberating for her, and I intentionally have her delve into fun, whimsical imagery for that reason.

Carson Blackard
Carson is a strong sexy alpha male, but I didn’t want him to be perfect in any way. He doesn’t go for the meticulous look, no suits or polished grooming unless absolutely necessary, and even then, he’d rather be in jeans. He’s a guy who works with his hands, and he drives himself to work long hard hours. I wanted that rough and tumble type of man. He seems like the opposite of Jessica in terms of education and his chosen profession, and on first impressions, Jessica assumes he’s just a hunky guy in a truck. I wanted Carson to be a mystery, but not someone who dwells on his past, especially someone who allows his past to break him. His strength comes from forging ahead, his intelligence, loyalty to friends and family, and although he is “stingy with his smiles” as Jessica says in the novel, he actually is an optimist, and we see that grow in his character arc throughout the novel. Of course, he is not without faults, and you can call it overbearing stubbornness or his idea of “taking care of others” that undermines his ability to have what he really wants in life, and this is one of the main catalysts for the story.

Bottom line, Carson, like Jess, is a workaholic. He is driven to work hard, determined to make things right in his world. Whatever his reasons, he’s industrious, and that in itself presents some of his similarities to Jess.

Dylan Blackard
Dylan is a beautiful enigma. Where Carson’s personal life seems like a mystery to everyone, it’s Dylan’s behavior and internal conflicts that are the mystery to Jessica. Dylan is the epitome of those cute hunky surfers or lifeguards you see all over the California beaches, or men engaging in extreme sports anywhere really. He personifies that “too cute and beautiful” man who looks like he gets everything he wants out of life. Without giving away spoilers, Dylan, actually has a serious issue that millions of people have, and it’s through discovering this, Jessica learns more about herself and what it means to be part of a nurturing family. Dylan is the outgoing lovable guy in town, and in many ways he is the linchpin for Hera, the person who is tied to everyone. His overzealous nature plays both an exciting role and major conflict in Jessica’s new life in Hera.

Imogene & Lauren
Jessica’s relationship with Imogene and Lauren are crucial. Although she doesn’t come from a wealthy family, you could say that Jessica’s upbringing in Manhattan was rather privileged, elite private schools and a premiere cultural scene. She knows her genius academic abilities have given her an upper-hand as far as employment are concerned, but I wanted her to be outside of her element, away from the glamorous city, among peers in a small town with down-to-earth type people. I think Imogene and Lauren are perfectly cast as Jessica’s new best friends. They are college educated, but living back in their small town again, working long hours as waitresses, and tackling the difficult dream of launching their own jewelry business. Through these two funny, lovable young women, Jessica sees how most college grads live today, paycheck to paycheck, still trying to find their way in the world. And let’s just say that Imogene and Lauren have some of the best damn lines in the novel. I didn’t want them portrayed as ignorant small town girls; they are smart, funny, insightful, and give Jess plenty of crap when needed, which is often.

Archie, Lois, Eleanor, Aunt Virgina
Dead or alive, these characters are key to the town of Hera and Jessica’s new life there.
I love older characters that can offer a serious or even comical perspective on life and these seniors do just that. They know everything that’s going on with all the young players in this town and they love to offer up their unsolicited advice.

Dream Cast

Often when I’m writing, I have a particular actor’s face in my mind. That was not the case with this novel, with one exception. Jumping ahead of the lead characters, I’ll go right to Imogene because she was the easiest person to compose physically.

One night I was watching “2 Broke Girls” with my tween daughter and when I saw actress Kat Dennings who plays “Max,” my brain said, “Well, there’s Imogene.” It never occurred to me while I was writing the novel that Imogene and Lauren were waitresses and had the same physical attributes as the characters on the TV show, especially since I only saw the show once. However, now I suppose Beth Behars could play Lauren as well, the leggy blonde with a big smile who is the cheerleader to Imogene’s sarcasm.

Jessica is a different story. She’s a composite of Emma Stone’s intelligence and wit, and Kate Mara’s cynical, devious cleverness. And they are both pretty red-heads. It’s a tough call, there are so many interesting young actresses today who could play a geeky, pretty, smart red-head.

Carson is easy. Um, yeah, let’s just give the role to Chris Hemsworth. I’m not talking Thor here. Thor is too perfect for Carson. I’m thinking more along the lines of Hemsworth’s character in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” where Chris Hemsworth sported dark hair and was rather unkempt and spent most of the time emotionally berating himself for not saving others. Yeah, that’s Carson, except Carson isn’t a drunk and he bathes everyday.

Dylan is tough. When I was writing his scenes, I pictured beautiful surfers I knew from my college days in California, and no particular actor came to mind that fit the face I kept imagining. I have no doubt if there was a casting call, they would have 500 handsome guys show up who all fit the bill as the “All American Golden Boy.”

I can also picture Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, and Meryl Streep as the hilarious pillars of Hera. They can act in any movie and are so talented at elevating their roles and making their characters outstanding.

Behind the Scenes and Process

Jessica’s role as a computer specialist in coding and optimization comes from my experience with being around people like that and hearing their lingo all the time, especially from my husband. What was more fascinating to me was how to capture Jessica’s art and describe her paintings. All of that is based on the work of real-life artist, Lora Zombie. Yes, great name. Google her and you’ll get an idea of what I was trying to convey in Jessica’s paintings.  Lora Zombie is a 23-year old self-taught painter who is a rising star in the art world. I adore her work, and I think her images are exactly what Jess would try to do because they are on the opposite side of the spectrum from Jessica’s linear-thinking computer job.

I come from a family of scientists, engineers, and artists, which means we have a lot of “weird” going on in my family. In my experience, OCD behaviors in moderation can play a necessary role in ingenuity and creativity, in worst-case scenarios it can be a severe obstacle. My real-life family and relatives have the full spectrum of behaviors, good and bad.

Carson’s talent in woodworking, furniture, and sustainable homes come from some of my new and old research. Years ago I read an article about furniture maker, David Marsh, out of Texas, and then a few years later, I actually bought one of his whimsical pieces. I fell in love with his work. Also, the surge in sustainable homes being built all over the NYC tri-state area is a very big deal here. That just seemed perfect for Carson since he originally planned on attending college to study engineering and then ended up starting a business that renovates homes and builds new “green” homes. I added the whole Blackard Designs workshop with a particular furniture catalogue in mind where they describe in detail their new process of weathering wood. I thought, That is so Carson!

Having lived in cramped NYC apartments and spending so much time in my favorite neighborhoods - that was easy to write about. I also did my fair share of waitressing during and after college, and I’m a fan of art galleries, restaurants, and parks all over NYC but particularly in lower Manhattan. I like unpretentious places where anyone feels comfortable going in jeans.

A very good friend of mine owns an art gallery in Chelsea (a neighborhood in Manhattan) and along with that gallery and some of my favorite galleries in Soho, I have learned to love gallery hopping. That might be my own term since I always invite gangs of friends for a night of gallery hopping. To all my readers; you do not need a vast knowledge about art, and you don’t need money – loving art is about curiosity and that’s what I wanted to come across in Fearsome. I hate the stereotypical thinking that art is for rich snobs. I’m a firm believer that art is for everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Unlike her parents, Jessica is not a snob about art, and she is not an academically trained artist. And like Jessica, I love exploring galleries and observing the clients. One of my favorite real-life anecdotes is when I ran into a very famous, very leggy super model at a Soho gallery. When I complimented her coat, she brought me into a private huddle and divulged how she found the best sales and when I should go to certain upscale NY stores to get the major price reductions. After that encounter, whenever I saw that model in Neutrogena commercials I remember how I met her in her torn jeans and her lovely sheepskin coat - she looked like a beautiful shaggy emu - and how kind she was to me. That’s New York to me, real people being genuine. Naturally, I needed some of those people to move to Hera.

*A note about Hera: Although I know the Catskills area well, Hera is a fictional place. There are too many famous little towns in the area, so I felt the need to create my own funky little town of fun and drama.

*Funny side note: Another critical part (at least to me) of the novel is Jessica’s love of Rao’s Marinara Sauce. Seriously, it’s awesome. Rao’s is a famous old-school Italian restaurant in Harlem. The bottled sauce is sold in grocery stores all over the tri-state area here. It’s a testament to Jessica’s obsessive taste in familiar foods and lowbrow items like instant ramen noodles.

Book Cover for Fearsome

All credit for the cover is due to Damon at I told him my heroes don’t have tats, and I was interested in covers that didn’t have half-clothed men (not that there is anything wrong with naked studs!) - I perused some of Damon’s provocative covers that had nothing to do with romance and that is what inspired me.

Damon happened to capture a watercolor portrait on what looked like actual watercolor paper, and several of my early readers said, “That’s ‘Girl!” referring to a self-portrait Jessica does in the novel, titled ‘Girl’. Damon tweeked the cover and colors and every time I look at it, I see what Jessica sees in herself. I love absolutely love the cover.

Happily Ever After

Full disclosure, I had never read a romance a novel until just a few years ago. I have been writing for over 15 years, and I have had a few book deals fall through with big agents and publishing houses. I wasn’t writing romances then. I grew up reading my parents’ literary novels, some of them quite dark, and I followed in their steps, reading and writing about people in a way that didn’t always result in a happy ending. However, when my family suffered a devastating loss a few years ago, a family death that none of us seemed to recover from, I was locked away reading my books as I usually do. Hundreds of novels - and nothing was helping my melancholic state. Fortunately, a friend and neighbor, who lived downstairs in my building, knocked on my door one day and handed me a large box of books. I remember she said, “I know you love to read, but you have to change your soundtrack.” She handed over a box full of romance novels, books I had never read before. I was skeptical. Like my character Jessica, I was raised on authors with a much more cynical voice and unforgiving view of life and human nature. But it was a very sad time in my life, and so desperate for a change, I started reading these novels by Karen Marie Moning, Lisa Kleypas, and many others. It was a wonderful escape, and it truly helped me change how I perceived writing and reading. Hence, I changed my soundtrack.

What I learned is that it’s really nice to have a happy ending, in fact, the HEA novel is probably more important as we get older and realize how hard life can be. Some of my friends remind me that they work hard all day long at jobs they don’t necessarily love, and then they come home to take care of their families, and that, too, is very stressful. Their big escape is a novel full of heady romance (with sex!) and emotional conflicts with joyful, gratifying resolutions. I have learned so much from my friends who also happen to be my readers, and like them, I want a happy ending.

A Little About Me

Like many, I’m busy raising a family, but on the personal side I rarely watch television because I prefer to read. I make exceptions for Hell On Wheels and Modern Family, otherwise, I’m big on purchasing complete seasons of shows like Downton Abbey, Girls, or House of Cards and watching them in one long marathon session when my husband is willing to take the kids out for the day.

I also tell people that while they may be talented at walking and texting, I have perfected the fine art of walking and reading. Once I did walk into a wall, actually it was the side of a whole building, but I blamed that on the glare from the sun.

Other than reading, writing, and hanging out with friends and family, I can be pretty darn lazy. I’m really good at talking myself out of exercising even though we have a huge popular gym right next to our building, and it happens to be an incredible magnet for some of the best eye candy in town.

That said, I hope you enjoy reading Fearsome as much as I loved writing it!

Thank you!
S. A. Wolfe

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