Saturday, April 6, 2013

*Review+Giveaway+Interview* By the Light of the Moon- by Laila Blake

Author: Laila Blake
Series: The Lakeside Series (#1)
Pages:  232 (e-pub format)
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Release Date: April 8, 2013
Age Group: Mature audience (adult content)
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Book Trailer: click here
Buy Links: Amazon | iTunes | Crimson Romance |
Source Of Copy/Format: author/ e-book
My Rating: 5/5

 To hear Laila Blake reading the prologue: click here

Withdrawn and with a reputation for her strange, eccentric ways, young Lady Moira Rochmond is old to be unwed. Rumors say, she has been seen barefoot in the orchard, is awake all night in moon-struck rambles and sleeps all day. Some will even claim her ghostly pallor and aloof manner are signs of illness, of a curse or insanity.

The hopes of the peaceful succession to her father’s fief lie in an advantageous marriage. Moira, however, has a hard time attracting suitors. When one does show interest, her family pushes for a decision.

Almost resigned to the fact that she has no choice but to play the part she has been given in life, Moira is faced with Owain. A member of the mysterious Blaidyn creatures and a new guard in her father’s castle, specifically tasked to keep her safe. He is different from other people she knows and when one night under the full moon, she makes the acquaintance of the wolf who shares Owain’s soul, she starts to trust him and seek his presence. As he becomes one of the few individuals who doesn’t make her want to hide and retreat, she wants to learn more about him and they grow closer until they share a kiss one night under the moon. 

Faced with feelings and desires that overthrow everything she thought she knew about herself, Moira knows non-the-less that they have to be kept utterly secret. However much they try, however, they continue to be drawn to each other until one night, Owain discovers something about Moira that shakes him to core.
My Review
Writing Style:

Addictive is the easiest way for me to define the writing style of Laila Blake! I was shocked to learn that this was her first novel because it is just so finely written. She has a way of making you plunge into the story so deep that you will curse yourself for not being able to read faster. Blake also has a knack for writing sensual mature scenes that will make you swoon and blush profusely. The character development in this novel gets a double A+ from me. The only writing issue I had with this book was a slight confusion dealing with some of the character dialogue. I had to re-read some of the dialogue twice to fully understand what exactly was going on, but this problem only appeared in two scenes.

My Opinion:

I absolutely loved this book for so many reasons including:

The setting. Most of the novels I read that are set in present time; this one is set in medieval times that include castles and royalty. (Double win!)
The paranormal creatures.  Werewolves and Fae in one novel? = Instant Excitement.

The steamy love scenes. Sexuality in books can be a hit or miss for me… in this case it is a complete hit. The mature segments went along with the plot and were written in a tasteful, yet truthful manner.

By the Light of the Moon had my attention the moment I read the first sentence. I can honestly say I enjoyed everything about this book. The story focuses mainly on Moira, a young maiden. Her father is a highly regarded Lord and expects her be regal. However, Moira is everything but. She is strange, loves the moon light, enjoys being outside at night, and is extremely antisocial. People think she is crazy, at times she thinks she is too. When her father hires Owain, a blaidyn (a werewolf), to be her personal bodyguard, her whole world is turned upside down. She discovers that the only time she feels normal is when she is alone with Owain. The truth about her is revealed, partially because of him actually. (Trust me when I say, it will shock you!) 

I felt an instant connection to Moira and Owain. The romance that develops between them is breathtaking. It is in no means an instant love, which is always refreshing. It reminded me of young teenager love… sweet, passionate, and yearning. They truly complement each other in every way. A perfect pair that is meant to be together, but everyone frowns upon it. I am rooting for them to stride through all the troubles and strengthen their love. I cannot wait to see what their future will be! (I’m hoping for wolf babies!) 

Needless to say, I am looking forward to the rest of the books in the Lakeside series. I vote you go pick up By the Light of the Moon and be wowed like I was. This is one book I can see myself reading over and over again… and I know if you give it the chance you will feel the same way! 

Some of my favorite quotes:

"There is only one way to see other people Moira; through the filter of our own experiences, beliefs, expectations.What they see, isn't you. It's their fears, their experiences, their prejudice." --- Owain

"I want you aching for me tomorrow... I know I shouldn't, but I do." --- Owain

 Bonus Author Interview

Laila was kind enough to answer 10 questions that I had for her... I hope you guys enjoy them!

1.      How does it feel having your first novel published?

It’s exciting, certainly! It is also a crazy roller-coaster ride, if you excuse the cliché. One day, it’s incredible, you believe in yourself and the book and somehow the future seems taken care of because you’re published and that means something – other days, you look realistically at the publishing industry and feel tiny and meaningless and afraid. And then there are the days where you’re convinced everybody will hate the book and you will sit there in a few months, humiliated and nobody speaks to you anymore. All that is nonsense – the highs and the lows, but it’s definitely exciting and there’s always that tingly trembly feeling of curiosity at least – the absolute need to see how it turns out.

It is also, of course, the realization of a life-long dream, but that seems too big to really encompass in a feeling.  

2.      What inspired you to write By the Light of the Moon?

In a way, By the Light of the Moon is a mosaic of different thoughts, ideas and inspirations. Part of it came from an idea for a collaborative novel that never happened. Moira especially is a character I have tossed around in my head for a long time and written about before – if not in a medieval fantasy setting.

A lot of the inspiration comes from knowing people with PTSD and coming to terms with my own anxiety condition. Moira has different symptoms from mine or anyone I know but it was important to me to write about someone with mental issues; how a lot of the time that can seem to the outside world as just being strange or whiny. My opinions and what I learned about feminism and prejudice also end up playing major parts in the way the plot was structured and so slowly it just came together.

3.      How many books do you think will be part of the Lakeside series?

In this particular series, following Moira and Owain and this particular plot arch, there will be three. After that, I honestly can’t say. I might end up writing more set in this world or even about adventures of Moira and Owain, but it very much depends on the reception of the series and where my writing takes me.

4.      What is your favorite scene in the novel?

That’s not an easy question. You definitely had me thinking here. In the end, your own book becomes a thing that isn’t quite a book to you – it’s an amalgamation of work and insecurities, of triumphs and uncertainties. There are scenes I loved writing and then there are scenes I loved reading months later – and they are not necessarily the same ones.

Without giving away spoilers, I think I’ll have to go with the scene in which they first kiss. Even now, it kind of makes me hold my breath a little because I’m so happy and so sad for them.

5.      Are you working on any other books or projects?

Oh, yeah. Several actually. Obviously, there is the sequel to By the Light of the Moon, which is almost finished if I could marshal my powers of concentration to pull it all together in a nice bow in the last few chapters. I’m also constantly writing erotic shortstories for anthology submissions and I’m collaborating with my lovely best friend and writing compadré L.C. Spoering on actually two novels at the moment. One is in the editing stage – a sweet, modern D/s romance, one in the writing stage – a NA post apoc novel. There are more ideas and beginnings that I am tossing around, but my head is already over-flowing, really.

My next big project after the sequel will be a YA novel about a young woman who dealing with alienation and rejection from her peers because she’s an introvert and has anxiety issues. For obvious reasons, this means a lot to me and I’m very much looking forward to starting it.

6.      How do you feel about adult scenes in you novels and short stories?

I had the good fortune to grow up in a very liberal home. Sex was never a big taboo or presented as a problem – or the opposite, as this huge life-changing event. For me, sex is part of being a human being, and here I would count all kinds of sex, be that just that tingling sexual attraction, masturbation or sex with a partner (or more).

As such, I find it interesting to write about – it tends to reveal a lot about characters. Intimacy is such a huge part of our lives and most of us reserve it for such a small amount of people that I always feel like I am not doing the moment justice by glossing over it.

I also feel a certain attraction to coarse language when the moment calls for it. I have characters who make love, and I have characters who fuck. The verb used already starts to fill in some blanks and helps create a picture of who they are.

One of the interesting things about writing sex is that moment of abandon, of vulnerability – or a character’s refusal to let themselves be that vulnerable and stay emotionally detached. I love exploring those themes and I also don’t think that there is anything gratuitous about it.

In fact, I sometimes deplore the fact that we live in a world in which sex is censored and belittled far more heavily than graphic violence - especially when women engage in it and enjoy it. I think partly, it is my own sense of rebellion that makes me write it so much.

7.      If you knew today was your last day on Earth, how would you spend it and why?

It might seem boring or cliché, but I’d want to assemble my family around me, my mom, my awesome little brother, my dad and his girlfriend. We’d drink wine and sidecars, get drunk, maybe someone could have organized some pot from somewhere. We’d cook really good food, that’s a must. We’d play poker or a great German game called City-Country-River as the evening goes on. We’d tell stories and laugh and maybe cry a bit, too. There would be a lot of hugging it out.

I honestly can’t imagine wanting to do anything else with my last day.

8.      If you had the chance to go back in time for 24 hours, where and when would you go?

I literally thought about this for almost a whole day. Whenever anyone asks this question without the 24 hour restriction, I always say I’d stay in the present – I like modern plumbing and the internet as well as human rights. But 24 hours, the possibilities are endless.

Part of me wants to go back to the 60s and 70s – where you could be fully and honestly politically engaged, where you could believe in things without them being clouded in layers and layers of jaded irony. I would have loved to wear flowers in my hair and march against wars and tie-die everything and move into a commune somewhere. But then it occurred to me, that 24 hours is not enough for this, and I’d still be me, not flower-child me.

So, I think I’d go much further back. I have this deep aching interest in the ancient, prehistoric tribes – the cro-magnons who painted animals on the cave walls of Lascaux, or go back to the Neolithic when people were building Stonehenge. I’d go to those times and places and meet those people.

9.      How do you react when you read a positive review of your novel? How about negative?

Anything other than complete capitulation would be a gross lie: positive reviews make my heart flutter and I have walk around the apartment and squeal – and negative ones, well, I feel like crap, like nobody will ever like my novel and I start therapeutic cleaning. :) (This let me tell you, is great for my apartment!)

People say this becomes less over-emotional with time. So, I’m waiting for that to set in.

At the same time, I find them genuinely interesting – both positive and negative ones. It’s much harder to just see an amount of stars given without explanation. I have read a lackluster review that made me really understand why the book wasn’t for that particular person and I learned from it. I think reviews are an amazing thing for writers and so, I really admire everybody who writes them.

10.   Do you have any advice for young writers?

I am too new at this myself to be anyone’s guide – but I can tell you how it finally worked out for me. And maybe someone can find some tips in there.

First of all, it’s important to know the market. Research publishers and agents where you as a newbie might have a chance and follow them on twitter, read their blogs, get to know their opinions. This takes time but it really works out, sometimes in crazy ways. I found my publisher through a twitter pitch, for example. But more importantly, you really pick up great ideas and tips on the way. I have a twitter list for editors, one for publishers, one for agents and I check them every day. It’s really interesting.

Also force yourself to interact in this market, blog, garner followers, create content, do favors for other authors and be interesting. If nothing else, it’ll show your readiness to help promote yourself – and again, you’ll learn a lot from seeing how other people do things.

Knowing the market also has to do with what you are writing. Make sure there’s a market for it.

Don’t let yourself get discouraged by reading masterful writers. Find their early works, their very first books, read people like me or other first time authors until you get to a point where you think: “Hey, I could write that!” and ride with that feeling. Don’t compare yourself to your favorite authors: they have worked for years and years to get there. Many authors have a whole list of finished books that were never published until they wrote something that was picked up. Believe in yourself and on days where you don’t – write anyway.

That is the second really important thing: write anyway. Write every day. Whether you feel like it or not. Whether you received a rejection or not. De-mystify writing in your head. You don’t have to wait for inspiration and you can always edit later – all that matters is that you get a routine into your life that makes writing part of every day, part of your thought-process, part of your life.

Oh and be ready for some detrimental effects on your social life and other hobbies ;).

Most importantly of all, surround yourself with other motivated writers – and this can be online. It is just very, very helpful to have other people to talk to when you feel down, people who get it and actually share in your triumphs. Not the parents who pat you on the head and “are sure everything you write is marvelous,” and not your old friends who also “always wanted to write a book one day” and then go back to other things in the next breath. Stay friends with them but don’t let them be your writing support system, give that role to people who understand that you want to be serious about this and who are serious about it themselves. It’s far too easy otherwise to feel silly with such high and seemingly impossible ambitions.

Stay at it, the industry is at a crazy interesting time right now. Get in there. Good luck!

About The Author
Laila Blake is a linguist, currently working as a translator and English teacher in her home-town Cologne/Germany. Born in 1985 into a family of artists and individualists, she has dreamed of being a writer all her life. She spends her evenings and weekends, penning character-driven romance, YA and erotica and obsessing over obscure singer-songwriters.

(3) E-book copies of By the Light of the Moon
(3) Beauty Product Sets (donated by Bogetta Verde) 

Direct Link to entry form:

*note this giveaway has been provided by the author for this tour* 

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