Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review, Interview, & Giveaway: Spooky Sojourn by Ashley Ladd

Spooky Sojourn - Tour Banner


TITLE – Spooky Sojourn 
AUTHOR – Ashley Ladd 
GENRE – Erotic Paranormal Romance 
PUBLICATION DATE – October 23, 2014 
LENTH (Pages/# Words) – 50,000 
PUBLISHER – Totally Bound

Spooky Sojourn - Book Cover



Someone’s trying to kill Deanna, but is it the ghosts she doesn’t believe in, the rich socialite who might be a murderess, or someone else with a beef against The Gilroy Hotel and Resort that Deanna has just been hired to manage? The Gilroy’s owners want the ghosts, or whoever is causing the trouble at the hotel eliminated, and they are pressuring Deanna to do the job as quickly as possible. Harry DeVeaux, paranormal investigator comes highly recommended to do the job and against Deanna’s better judgment, she hires him.

Although Deanna thinks Harry’s crazy for believing in ghosts and Harry thinks Deanna has a closed mind to the possibilities of ghosts and they highly annoy each other, sparks fly. Deanna can’t help but fantasize about Harry and inspired by a romance convention visiting her hotel, writes her fantasies in a private blog that Harry finds, hacks, and reads. Ooh la la!





It would also be a shame to let a private hotel room go to waste when it contained such a beautiful sexy woman, so he moved closer and leaned against the wall beside her, letting his breath tickle her neck as he gazed down at her. He lifted a strand of her silky hair and let it sift through his fingers. Her heady scent wafted up to him, making him want to bury himself in her. Was it cherries? Maybe apple blossoms? “My heart almost gave out when your car went up in flames and I saw you thrown back. I was afraid you’d been hurt…or worse.”

Her breath caught audibly, and she worried her lower lip with her small, perfect teeth for a moment. Then she gazed up at him with sorrowful eyes. “It must have reminded you of losing your wife.”

“Not for a minute. I was worried you were hurt. That I’d lose you.” He traced the line of her jaw with the pad of his thumb and shivered when he felt her tremble. So she wasn’t immune to him. Good. Very good.

Her lashes fluttered and her irises grew dark. She shrank against the wall as if unsure what to do next. Then resolution gathered in her eyes. “Oh! Well, uh, I should go. I’m sure I’ve been missed. A manager never rests.” To his dismay, she ducked under his arm and escaped to the door. When she tried to turn the handle, however, it wouldn’t budge. Then she tried to turn the knob with both hands, pulling hard. Her eyes flashed fire. “What the hell? Can you help me? I can’t get out.”

“Do you really have to go? Or do you just want to get away from me? Am I that repellant?”

She looked as if she’d rather have fire ants crawl up her legs than answer his question.

Before she could respond, he jumped in. “I have a confession.”

She stopped trying to jar the door and her attention riveted on him, her forehead puckering. “Did you do something I need to know about?”

Drawing in a long, shuddering breath, he look heavenwards and crossed his fingers behind his back hoping she wouldn’t throw something at him, hoping she’d be okay with his admission. “I found your blog and read it.”

Paling, the blood fled from her flesh and her eyes looked like sooty coals against her face. Her gaze clashed with his and held. “How did you find it? I used a pseudonym and I put it on privacy settings.”

He screwed up his lips, and scrubbed his hand over his face, preparing to tell more painful truths. “I’m a bit of a hacker and I like to research the people I’m working with.” Not sure she’d be receptive to his theory, he left out the part that he thought the ghosts led him to her sight. He thought they were closet romantics. He wouldn’t be surprised if they’d locked them into the room now to force them into some alone time together.

When a tsunami of emotions flitted across her face he tried to read them. Fury. Embarrassment. Lust?

“You investigated me? You read my private musings?”

“You wrote about me? In some very intimate ways. At least I presume it was me since you used my name.” He fixed her with a piercing gaze. “Did you?”

Review - 3 Stars!

This short, erotic paranormal read was just that.  A short erotic read with just enough ghosts to be a good asset to your Halloween reading list.  The writing was decently done, a few awkward phrases, and if one more person said "I'm going to talk to my attorneys" or "I'm going to sue you!" I was going to make a drinking game out of it.  Seriously, I could see it happening a couple times, but every, single person who was upset in that novel?  Threatened lawyers and suing.  Definitely needed someone threatening with egging or TPing the hotel or something instead.  It was a bit over done.

The sex scenes - while the actual sex only happened like twice - was sporadically spread throughout the short read, so that was nice.  And they cared about each other, although I did feel it was a bit rushed.  Of course, I usually read romance (that may or many not have explicit sex scenes) and not erotica for very this reason.  However, it wasn't all about sex.  They also had realistic sex and not completely out of the realm of the possible sex.  So THAT was awesome.  The erotica was very well done.  Although certain areas I weren't exactly sure would have ever happened - nude beach or not.  (Their sex was fine, but the others' reactions to them I mean)  BUT I know almost nothing about them, soooo.... I can't say.  ^_^;

I didn't really feel much for the main character too much, she seemed seriously shallow during her first blog fantasy with regards to looks and that nearly killed any empathy I had for Deanna at all.  She did get better though.  I liked Harry, although he was too quick to fly off the handle for someone who was running a business that probably dealt with skeptics more often then they dealt with believers.  

The author did a very nice job of researching the behind the scenes running of a hotel.  It was very realistic from the bit I do know about hotels from work working in them when I was a teenager.  Honestly, TOO good a job.  For the shortness of the story, there should have been less extra details that didn't progress the story.  The soccer students and the romance writers convention each had a purpose, really.  The interviews that stretched out to include over five (?) different people was too much detail when no one appeared again in the story.  I would have MUCH rather read more Harry/Deanna interaction or more ghost stuff.

As for the overall plot, a tad predictable, with a twist big enough to surprise me even.  Not the main big bad of course, that I guessed.   But a few added ones thrown in.  The only thing plot wise I was dissatisfied with was that the big bad villain never really admitted to the car bomb.  I mean, for all we know it could have been the secret villain.  Or the co-villain. 

Overall, I liked it.  Good sexy read with enough Halloween flare!  3 stars!


When did you start writing?

I began writing as soon as I learned how to read and write – about age five or six. I was always writing stories when I was growing up – mainly for my dad but I entered a couple into writing competitions.

What made you decide to start becoming a published author?

Ever since I watched Superman with Lois Lane I wanted to be a published journalist like her. And when I discovered Harlequin romances when I was a teenager I knew I wanted to write some of my own.

I wrote my first Harlequin-type romance when I was in college back in the late 1980’s. That one was never published, surprise surprise.

Which authors inspired you?

A lot of the original Harlequin authors: Anne Mathers, Violet Winspear, Margaret Rome, Anne Hampson, Carole Mortimer, Flora Kidd.

Which are your favorite authors at the moment?

Sherryl Woods, Stephen King, and Stephen White.

Which genre do you generally write in?

Contemporary romance, often romantic comedy. Within that I have different romantic couplings: mf/mm/mfm/mmf/mmm

How many unpublished stories do you have?

Only two, or three if you count my work in progress. That’s not bad knowing I’ve had about 74 published stories.

What have you written?

It’s a very long list – about 74 published romances. My recent ones are: Cooking Up A Storm, Business or Pleasure, Her Men, and Spooky Sojourn and Pretend Lover are coming soon. A couple of my bestsellers are American Beauty, Purrfect Justice, The Perfect Gift, and Pirate’s Booty.

What are you working on at this moment?

“Gaycation” which is an MMF about Molly who is an erotic MM romance writer who takes her vacation to attend a gay convention so she can get more story ideas. When her day job boss shows up (she’s still in the closet about her writing) at the same convention, she gets way more than she bargained for.

What is your favorite type of hero/protagonist to write? Bad boys? Damaged men? The boy next door? The sensitive soul?

I love men like Indiana Jones and Rick O’Connell from The Mummy. I also loved Shang Li in Mulan and Alex Hopper in Battleship. I’m not sure what classification they’d be or if they’re in different categories. They’re all good men so not bad boys – except for maybe Alex Hopper. I guess you’d say adventurists. In addition, I loved Kevin in 27 Dresses who is a smart-aleck. Hmmm. I guess all of the heroes I mentioned are smart alecks at some point.

What is your favorite type of heroine/protagonist to write? Feisty women? Strong women? Weak women? Flighty women?

Strong women like ‘Mulan’ who saves her hero and her country from the Huns or like Samantha in ‘Battleship’ who thwarts the invading aliens and helps to save the world. They’re still very feminine but strong, intelligent, determined women on a mission.

Julie in my recent release ‘Her Men’ is an ex-FBI agent who is currently the sheriff of her hometown in Indiana. Deanna in my upcoming release ‘Spooky Sojourn’ is the general manager of her city-sized hotel.

How hard is it to research for your novels?

It depends on the novel. During ‘Pretend Lover’ and ‘Spooky Sojourn’ I was constantly researching hotels and hotel life from the perspective of the employees.

How is your day structured to include writing?

I work a full-time 40 plus hour job weekly so it’s tough. It’s even more difficult lately since I’ve been promoting four books that are releasing back to back to back.

When I’m not doing a lot of promotion, I get to write 2-3 hours nightly after I get home from work and finish dinner for my large family. Unfortunately, I’ve been using my writing time for promotion the last couple months: writing guest posts, conducting interviews, finding new hosts for my blog tours, Facebook parties, etc.

Do you write from an outline or just where the story and characters take you?

I’m pretty much of a pantser. I start with an extremely loose outline, knowing the beginning, ending, and a few high points in the middle and I go from there. When I outline too tightly, I feel stifled, as if I’ve already written the story.

Do you get the dreaded writer's block and how do you combat it?

Unfortunately, I have. I didn’t write for almost two years until recently.

Now, if I get blocked I will re-read and edit what I’ve done in the story so I can bump myself into action again. I’ll also research new ideas or the general story theme as I go if I get stuck.

Do you prefer to read ebooks or paper books?

Ebooks! I feel like I’m on the Starship Enterprise in the future when I use my ebook reader. Also, I’m able to adjust the type for my aging eyes. And I can carry around a huge library on my phone and no one can see the cover and make comments on my reading choice. I also enjoy being able to download a book onto my phone from just about anywhere, anytime.

What TV shows & Movies are your favorite? Or the genre you prefer?

TV: I love love love ‘The Big Band Theory’ and I get cranky if I don’t get to see at least a couple episodes a day. I also enjoy watching ‘Love It or List It’ on HGTV (which drives my husband crazy as he feels our home is too small to do anything to, so that I’m wasting my time watching it). In addition, I like the cooking contests and restaurant makeovers and hidden camera shows on Food Network. Finally, I’m enjoying the new series ‘Forever’ about the coroner who keeps dying and coming back to life. Oh! And Star Trek!

Movies: Mulan, Battleship, The Mummy, While You Were Sleeping, Pillow Talk, 27 Dresses, the Indiana Jones movies, Star Trek movies

How many proofreaders/editors do you use before publishing your work?

My publisher provides one primary editor and I don’t know how many proofreaders. I know that after my editor edits my work it goes through line edits and final line edits and sometimes the executive editor will get involved.

Do you have input in your covers? Who designs them?

My publisher gives me a cover questionnaire on which I describe my heroes and heroines as well as scenery and any scenes I think would be good to show on the cover. Emmy Ellis is the cover artist at Totally Bound which is where my current story is published.

What are your thoughts on good & bad reviews? (We aren't counting bashing reviews, simply negative reviews that are respectful)

I’ve read various trains of thought about this. When the reviews provide reasons why they liked or disliked the story that’s very helpful insight to help me when writing future stories. I appreciate the suggestions as long as they are stated respectfully.

Although I would love to garner all five star reviews, or at least all four and five star reviews, that may not seem realistic to readers. They may suspect that only friends and family are providing the reviews. As much as I dislike one and two star reviews, I’ve read that they generate a lot of interest for a book. They pique readers’ curiosity and they often want to see if they agree with the rating. Thus low reviews don’t necessarily kill a book. No promotion (aka no reviews) is much worse than a poor review. (I hope.)

How do you relax? Or activities you use to relax?

I love to go the movies and watch stories on the big, silver screen. I was really in a movie mood last night and so I dragged my daughter to see the new Jason Bateman/Jane Fonda movie at our local theater.

What is your favorite quote?

Live long and prosper by Spock. I’m a huge Trekkie.

But I also love Marion’s line in Raider’s of the Lost Ark when she sees Indy for the first time in years "Indiana Jones. I always knew some day you'd come walking back through my door. I never doubted that. Something made it inevitable."

Is there anyone who supports you that you couldn't do without?

My biggest supporter is my editor at Totally Bound, Faith. She’s awesome. She provides a lot of encouragement and praises my work a lot.

Unfortunately, my family is not supportive. They feel that my writing and promotion takes time away from them. Also my adult children are embarrassed by romance much less erotic romance, so they like to ignore it.

That said, my dad was very supportive of my writing. Unfortunately, he is suffering from dementia now so I’ve lost that support network.

What is the most blatant lie you've ever told?

Wow! What a question. I guess it’s when I refer to my oldest child as “he” at my day job instead of “she”. My oldest child is transgender female. She actually used to work with me and a lot of my coworkers still ask how “he” is doing. Or when I talk about “her” while I’m in my office surrounded by twelve other people, I will say “him” or use her former male name. As you can see, it’s all very confusing and I slip up sometimes. I’ve told my closest friends at work about her gender change, but I’m afraid my employers and coworkers as a whole will not understand. I told one ex-friend at work about her change, and she stopped going to lunch with me or being friendly, as if it’s my decision and as if I have input on my daughter’s decision which I don’t. This is a 30 something year old adult who is paying all her own medical bills and living expenses who made the change.

Do you feel upset if you kill off one of your main characters?

Since I write romance I only kill off villains, never the protagonists and rarely their good supporting characters. Except for once when I blew up Earth (Eternal Damnation) and I felt pretty horrible committing genocide. I have to remind myself, however, that it was really the evil space vampire who did the slaughter, not me.

And then I redeemed him by going more than a thousand years into the past in the sequel where love saved him so that in the new future, he no longer blows up Earth.

Coffee or Tea? 

Coffee (although honestly I drink very little and then only pumpkin spiced coffee).

How do you take your coffee?
Pumpkin spiced only so I usually only drink this in the Autumn. Usually I drink diet Pepsi.

Starbucks or Seattle's Best? Or what IS your favorite coffee shop?


If you don't drink coffee, what the HECK do you do to stay motivated without THE best beverage known to man?

I drink tons of diet Pepsi – so much that not only my family but my friends are on my back to go cold turkey or at least to cut WAY back.

If you don't drink coffee, what is WRONG with you, woman/man!?! (I'm teasing, really... although if you hate coffee you might have a screw loose... *hee* I love you!!)

I’m an addict! To diet cola. I crave it. But when I drink coffee it has to have pumpkin spice or at least tons of milk and sugar.

How many cats do you own?

Four – I’m a crazy cat lady wanna be. I would adopt more if I could afford them. Even if I could afford more, I can’t take any more in as my family has threatened to walk if I bring one more animal home. The funny thing about that is that when we found a kitten under our house last year, it was my daughters who brought her in, nursed her to health, and demanded we keep her (which we did).

As a Trekkie, do you go to conventions? Perhaps speak Klingon? Or simply just love the Star Trek universe?

I’ve never been to a Star Trek convention although I’d love to go. I was supposed to go to one on a date thirty something years ago and my date cancelled. I was really disappointed.

Unfortunately, I don’t know a word of Klingon. The only second language I know is shorthand. Does that count as a language?

But I watch Star Trek a lot.

(I'm not really making fun, I'm an anime fangirl and some of the people that go to those conventions are as dedicated as Trekkies. ^_^)

Do you write about military men and women because it is something you're very familiar with as an Air Force vet, kind of like the old adage, write what you know? Or you just REALLY like the military men and women?

Both. I tend to write about what I know whether it’s military characters or something else. However, I really admire military men and women and they also fascinate me (especially the men). My favorite movie is “Mulan”. I know it’s a cartoon, but the heroine goes into the military to save her father and after struggling to learn how to fight she ends up kicking all the men’s butts and saving the man she loves – as well as saving her country. It’s the perfect story (for me anyway).

(I'd like to take the time here to say thanks for your service to our country!! I sincerely support our military and have the utmost respect for anyone who can survive serving (and I don't mean death in war and such, I mean the actual training, because I am a super wimp).)
Lastly, how does your life experiences show up in your stories?

In many ways.

In my March 2015 release ‘Pretend Lover’, the heroine has a cleft palate like me. It’s not a pivotal story point as frankly, it hasn’t made a big difference in my life since I was a child taking weekly speech classes and going through many surgeries.

In ‘Self Defense’ the hero is an ex-soldier with hearing loss which does make a big impact on his life. I’m also former Air Force with hearing loss. I based his character a lot on me.

Sometimes funny things my kids do work their way into my stories too. When my oldest child was in high school she hacked into the school’s computer system and changed the vice principal’s password to “Jack Ass”. I’m not condoning her actions and I was scared to death when I was first told—uh hum—threatened that my child might be slapped with a felony offense (if it turned out she had damaged the school’s computers which fortunately she didn’t). Although I was mortified, everybody else laughed their asses off when I told the story. And wouldn’t you know? The school turned around and hired my daughter to work on their computer system after she got off school in the afternoons – for pay. I guess they couldn’t have been too mad. That scenario became the basis for one of my stories – alas out of publication. It was a good one.

Lastly, give us your stalker links!



Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler
Always Be My Baby – David Cook
Come Back To Me – David Cook
You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
Hallejulah – Jason Castro
Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Jason Castro
Dawn – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Cara Mia – Jay and the Americans
Blue Moon – The Marcels
Earth Angel – The Penguins
Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye – The Casinos
Worst That Could Happen – Johnny Maestro
Pink – Raise Your Glass
Forever in Blue Jeans – Neil Diamond
Mr. Blue – The Fleetwoods
Perfect – Pink
Just A Small Town Girl – Journey
If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot
Tonight’s The Night – Rod Stewart
This One’s For You – Barry Manilowe
Somewhere in the Night – Barry Manilowe
For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

This or That

Coffee or Tea?  Coffee, although I admit I rarely drink it
Diet or Regular? Diet
Chocolate or Carrot Sticks? Chocolate, although I should be eating the carrot sticks instead
Paranormal or Normal? Depends what mood I’m in
Scarier: Spiders or Snakes? Snakes!
Homebody or Social Butterfly? Social Butterfly
TV or Books? Books
Damon or Stefan? I don’t know who they are, sorry
Team Edward or Team Jacob? (LOL) Team Jacob
Vampire or Werewolf? Vampire

Top 10 Books (or Book Series)

The Left Behind Series
Kiki Lowenstein Scrap n Craft Mysteries by Joanna Slan Campbel
Secret Ingredient by Sherryl Hames Torres
The Stand by Stephen King
And Baby Makes Three by Sherryl Woods
I’ll Be Watching You by Tina Wainscott
He Loves Lucy by Ann Yost
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Alan Gregory psychological thriller series by Stephen White
Desperation by Stephen King

Spooky Sojourn - Author Photo Ashley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.

She's been told she has a wicked sense of humour and often incorporates humour and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.



1 pdf ebook copy of Spooky Sojourn

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