Friday, June 20, 2014

Heart Knot Mine by Lily Velden (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Sizzling Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Heart Knot Mine by Author Lily Velden!

Author Guest Post

Childhood Memory: First Love Story

Recently, while out to lunch, I was asked when I wrote my first love story. I opened my mouth, ready and eager to talk about my first published novel, Same Page, only to shut it again when I realized I’d penned a romantic tale much earlier than 2009, which is when I started writing seriously. Years and years earlier, in fact. So long ago, it was a tad embarrassing to admit how young I was.

I was only twelve!

Yes, at the grand old age of twelve I wrote my first epic love story! And what an epic it was. A historical one! I had my heroine—a young, recently orphaned Englishwoman—crossing storm-tossed oceans, dealing with sickness and a rapidly dwindling food supply. It was the 1780s and she was sailing from England to Australia as part of the Second Fleet. Oh, and did I mention she managed to capture the heart of the devilishly handsome, much older sea captain somewhere between the Cape of Good Hope and Port Jackson? I even threw in a sex scene! Well, it was fade to black, but it was most definitely implied! How else could you interpret Tessa’s diary entry where she said she couldn’t possibly speak about what happened after she had dinner with the captain in his stateroom because to do so wouldn’t be considered ladylike?

I remember feeling ever so clever about Tessa’s ‘sort of’ confession—I managed to sidestep describing something I knew nothing about—I hadn’t even experienced my first kiss yet—and shock my sixth grade teacher at the same time! Ask any precocious twelve-year-old—that’s a win-win! Her face when she read it in front of the class was priceless. I was a hero to my fellow classmates for at least a week. I hope, for Mrs. Smith’s sake, she never had another student like me.

Well, time’s have changed and I’ve now experienced my first kiss. Yep, it was just last week… rather nice, wetter than I thought it would be…

Just kidding. But times have definitely changed. These days I’m inspired by beautifully flawed and wonderfully intriguing gay men who fall in love in spite of themselves, and, um, I don’t always fade to black…

The most recent additions to the dinner party called my brain are Noah and Robert from Heart Knot Mine—two very interesting Art History professors. Telling their story has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride of emotion. They had my nerves on edge, my stomach in knots, and I wanted to bang their heads together once or twice. Okay, it was at least a dozen times, but getting to know them both was oh so worth it.

Perhaps I should send a copy to my old sixth grade teacher…

About The Author

Lily Velden lives on the east coast of Australia, her family having emigrated from Holland when she was a child.

She’s both a left and right brain person, holding qualifications in both Finance and Fine Arts. She tells her friends that her way with numbers will make her a profitable artist and writer… one day.

Lily has always had a love of language and a beautifully crafted sentence, and admits to having a fetish for collecting quotes, poems, and song lyrics. What she won’t admit to is how many notebooks she’s filled with those quotes… Her fascination carries on into her artworks where she often incorporates text. When a shoulder injury slowed down her art practice she decided to explore her love of the written word more fully and began writing. “I’ll paint my pictures with words.”

Not that she’s abandoned artmaking in its entirety—Lily collaborates on the designs for all her book covers. 

There are many things Lily loves, here are just a few of the PG rated ones: a good laugh (all the better if caused by a naughty joke), the smell of freshly baked goods and mown grass, a smile from a stranger, rainbows after the rain, and witnessing a promise kept.

Her latest book is the M/M Contemporary Romance, Heart Knot Mine.


Book Review

Heart Knot Mine By Lily Velden
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
Format: Paperback - 218 pages
             Kindle - 978 KB
             Nook - 878 KB
ISBN: 978-1627986878
BNID: 2940149377640
Genre: M/M Contemporary Erotic Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Heart Knot Mine

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book Tours. 

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Description:

Despite a successful college teaching career, Noah Daniels has become depressed. He feels he’s leading a monochromatic life: love has eluded him. When he’s offered a chance to teach in London as part of an exchange program, he accepts, hoping a change of scenery will do him good. But once he’s there, his outlook on love and sexuality changes in ways he never expected.

Robert Callinan is Noah’s English counterpart in the program. The men exchange not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles across while staying at Robert’s house that sends him on a journey of self-discovery—both mentally and physically. A journey that puts color back into his life… just not in the way he expected. When the exchange program ends, Noah has to go home, but he doesn’t know if he wants to return to the life he left behind.

Book Excerpt:

Sitting with my ass parked on my favorite barstool, at my favorite bar—the Redhead Piano Bar on Ontario—I nursed my bourbon and silently asked myself the usual questions. Well, actually, it was really only the one question phrased a hundred different ways. That’s what happened when you went the route of academia—you learned how to complicate the shit out of things and use fancy-schmancy words. If you thought about it, it was a bit ridiculous to be using three-plus-syllable words to ask a question, when most of us were usually seeking a simple one- or two-syllable word answer. Yes. No. And, if we’d really lucked out: maybe.

I snorted into my drink, remembering the words of my most admired college professor, Ross Whedon: Noah Daniels, how many times have I told you? An academic will always take a whole paragraph for what could have been said in one sentence. Christ, even my thoughts were long-winded.

What was my question again?

Oh, yeah.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I mean, really, what the hell was wrong with me? She was gorgeous. Tall and willowy, with long, flowing mahogany hair that still managed to look sleek and glossy under the dim lights of the bar. Big brown eyes, clear skin, an impressive rack, and when she walked away from me, I saw she had a great peach-shaped ass.

That’s right, she walked away. Why?

Because I gave her the brush-off. That’s why.

Hence my question. What the hell is wrong with me?

She wasn’t irritating. Her voice didn’t grate. Quite the contrary. She was charming and friendly. In fact, I’d go so far as to say she was interesting and articulate—she was in PR. Surely that meant she could string together a sentence?—and yet, I’d passed on her not so subtle come-on. I looked at her again, knowing I could have her if I wanted her, but try as I might, I couldn’t muster even the slightest bit of enthusiasm for the idea.

And that was the problem.

Me and enthusiasm didn’t seem to be on speaking terms anymore. All the color had seeped out of my life. I was living a monochromatic, black-and-white photograph of a life where everything was a shade of tedious.

I wasn’t sure how it happened, or even when it happened.

It just had.

It crept up on me, like a slow-spreading parasitic vine, gradually sapping the vibrancy from my life. One day I woke up and everything was gray, dull, and lifeless.

And it had been that way for a while.

Lifting the glass, I paused, letting the bourbon wet my lips before throwing my head back and tossing down the last of my drink. Closing my eyes, I hissed, relishing the searing burn to my throat—a small reminder I was actually alive—a living, breathing, sentient being and not merely a walking, talking robot.

If only there was a whiskey burn for my emotions, I’d be set.

Glancing down at the aged cherrywood bar, I vaguely wondered what they used to achieve such a high polish. It was almost mirrorlike in its sheen. I could clearly see my face reflected upon its surface.

And instantly wished I hadn’t.

After grimacing at the shell staring back at me, I decided scrutinizing myself wasn’t such a good idea. Taking my own advice, I looked up, meeting Seth the bartender’s gaze. He raised his eyebrow at me in query, and I gave him a brief nod, watching as he poured me another finger of Booker’s.

As he slid it across to me, not a word was spoken. I nodded, he nodded, and we both went back to doing our own separate things—me to thinking, him to serving the other patrons. The opening notes of a melody from the piano situated at the opposite end of the dimly lit room, and the dulcet tones of Stella McClaren floated above the chatter of the Thursday-night crowd. They went quiet as she continued. I wasn’t surprised. She was good.

The start of the music was my alarm clock, telling me it must be eight o’clock. Time to head home to the never-ending pile of papers waiting to be graded.

Sighing at the thought of what awaited me, I took another sip of the amber fire in my glass and swirled it around my mouth before letting it seep, drop by drop, down the back of my throat. Once again, I said my silent thanks to the bourbon for serving a dual purpose: anesthetizing me while at the same time reminding me, with its burn, I was still alive and breathing. Quite an achievement.

My Book Review:

Even with a rewarding career as a college professor, Noah Daniels has always felt like something has been missing in his life: true love. When Noah is offered the chance to participate in a teacher exchange program in England, he embarks on a personal journey of self-discovery that will surprisingly change his outlook on his sexuality and love in an unexpected way.

In Heart Knot Mine, author Lily Velden weaves a passionate and heart wrenching tale set in Chicago and London that follows college professor Noah Daniels journey of sexual self-discovery.

The reader is easily drawn into Noah's journey: from the time he swaps respective houses and colleges with his British counterpart, college professor Robert Callinan; to his gradual sexual awakening and self-identity; to the friendship and romantic relationship that develops between them.

Noah's sexual identity is awakened when he discovers Robert's collection of male pornography, and as his long distance relationship develops with Robert, the attraction and romantic feeling of love develops between them. Can Noah put his heart on the line for a chance at love and happiness, or will it slip away when his lifestyle change is wrought with emotional and dramatic family conflict?

Heart Knot Mine is a deeply intense and emotional story that will pull at your heartstrings. You can't help but feel compassion for Noah as he endures emotional conflict as he gradually discovers his true sexual identity, and the realization that he is falling in love with another man. As Noah embraces his new lifestyle, the reader follows the development of his romantic relationship with Robert, it is filled with enough passion and scorching sexual interactions that vividly deepens their connection. Then there is Noah's emotional family drama and conflict that is so heart wrenching, you can't help but want to smack the crap out of his insensitive family members. Noah's personal journey takes the reader on a roller coaster ride that will have them experiencing the full gamut of emotions.

Heart Knot Mine is a profoundly passionate, endearing and emotional M/M romantic story that will leave the reader wanting more.


Book Trailer

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, June 2 Interview at Sexy Between the Covers
Tuesday, June 3 Book review at Passionate Encounters
Wednesday, June 4 Interview at Mia Downing
Monday, June 9 First Chapter Review at A Little Bit of Spice
Tuesday, June 10 Interview at Authors to Watch
Wednesday, June 11 Book Featured at As the Page Turns
Monday, June 16 Book Featured at Beyond the Books
Tuesday, June 17 Interview at The Writer’s Life
Friday, June 20 Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Monday, June 23 Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Wednesday, June 25 Interview at Bound by Passion
Thursday, June 26 Book Featured at The Book Bellas
Friday, June 27 Guest Blogging at Doing Some Reading

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