Thursday, September 29, 2016

#RomanticTravel with guest author Claire Gen

Romance author Claire Gen shares her novel and a favorite vacation location!

A Favorite #RomanticTravel Destination:

Since I’m a native New Yorker, many of my favorite travel spots are right within the state’s borders. Naturally, I set many of my books in the various places I’ve enjoyed since I was a child. Hearts Unloched, my New York Book Festival winner, is a romantic suspense set in the tiny burgh of Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., near where my husband grew up. A Taming Season is the first of my Love at Lake George Novels, set in the upstate village of the same name. I’ve vacationed on Lake George all my life, so there wasn’t any better place to set a series of loosely related romantic novels—there simply is no better place to fall in love.

My new release, out today, is The Phoenix Syndrome. Although the story begins in Boston, it follows Lannie Marvin as she chases after her son’s favorite band, Dreamwish, who are giving a benefit concert at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Bethel, N.Y. This is a very rural but absolutely breathtaking part of the country, and a place we still visit often. The serenity of the mountains and simplicity of the small towns make upstate New York the ideal romantic destination.

The Phoenix Syndrome—contemporary romance/women’s fiction

Research technician Lannie Marvin has a very rough birthday. Turning forty is bad enough, but she discovers her husband is leaving her, & then is bitten by an experimental mouse at work. Lannie snaps, taking off to chase her old dream of a music career & her new crush: the drummer of a heavy metal band.

Tristan Allard holds a benefit every year for his late wife, who was also his muse. He's beginning to have doubts about his ability to write the band's music. Plus, he's damn lonely. So when Lannie nearly plows him down at the backstage reception, he's ready to learn more about her--and her long-abandoned dream of music composition.

But reality soon bites back, invading their blissful weekend fling. Tristan is headed back to his home base in the UK. And Lannie discovers, to her horror, that the experimental mice have gone deaf.


But then there was the drummer. If not for the overhead monitors panning in for close-ups during the performance, I might never have known he existed. What a travesty that would have been.
In a word, he was . . . magnificent. He sat like a king on his throne at the elevated rear of the stage, sparkling silver-flake drums surrounding him like loyal minions. The monitor directly over our seats focused on him often, so close and so clear I could see the sweat glistening on sculpted upper arms, bare beneath a black muscle shirt stretched taut across a broad chest. Some sort of ink crawled over one bicep. A black-and-white paisley bandanna covered most of his head, but long, dark curls framed his face and clung damp against his neck. His facial hair, limited to a sparse mustache and goatee, was chocolate brown. I indulged in the fantasy that his eyes were that same sweet, smoldering color.
His passion for his work was palpable. Hands flying, head bobbing, he was completely engrossed, as if the music were a drug he was tripping on. His hooded eyes gave him the look of a sleepy lover, but when he did open them, I could swear he was gazing directly at me.
Looking back on that night, I can’t be sure how long we’d sat there before I fixated on my drummer boy. The music, which at first grated on my senses as way too loud and completely discordant, gradually began to permeate my brain. Before long, my bare toes started tapping against the carpeted floor. I freed one hand from my cup of wine to pat my thigh in time with the music. When my head began to bob, almost of its own accord, I smiled.
Ah, now I know why they call progressive metal fans head bangers.

We were climbing into my brother’s SUV, Paul at the wheel with Jeri and Jay next to him in the front. I sat squashed between my husband and son in the back.
“So, what did you guys do for all that time?” Ryan asked.
“We saw Dreamwish,” Paul piped up from the front, sounding as though his statement actually made sense.
“You saw our concert? You guys?” Jay sputtered through his laughter.
I opened my eyes to find my son staring at me in much the same way Jeri had been earlier.
“How’d you like it, Mom?” Ryan asked in a slight singsong of ridicule, which I chose to ignore.
I hesitated, clearing my throat. “The music is . . . different,” I said.
I caught my brother watching me in the rearview mirror. He was wearing an impish grin. “It’s true, Ryan,” he said. “For a while there, we were afraid your mother might run off with one of the roadies.”
“To hell with the roadies,” I snapped. “If I run off, it will definitely be with the yummy drummer.”

Claire Gen writes intensely emotional romantic novels. Her vision is to transport her readers into another place and time, creating characters so real, readers miss them when they reach The End. Her heroes are hot, & her heroines strong and brave: a combination producing the spark to fan the flames of your most intense romantic fantasies. Claire's characters are human, just like you & me. They make mistakes, they get clumsy sometimes, & they're not too proud to laugh at themselves & each other.

The keyword here is EMOTION. Big on the *Sigh* factor, Claire's stories aim to hit you straight in the heart and leave you smiling through happy tears.

She writes in two genres: romance w/a ghostly twist, and sexy contemporary. Claire's books are like a thrill ride at a theme park. Whether it's spooky-scary, angst-ridden relationships filled with gut-wrenching turmoil, silly chuckle moments, or hot-flash-inducing sex, Claire guarantees to take you on an emotionally intense romantic journey.

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