Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Book blast - Game Changer @ReneFolsom



TITLE: Game Changer  
SERIES: Playing Games #1
AUTHOR: Rene Folsom
RELEASE DATE: December 15th, 2014
FORMAT: EBook

Maci strives for one thing in life—anonymity. With her writing career in full bloom, all she wants is to work in peace while concealing her true identity from the public. Though readers love the science fiction worlds she creates, Maci knows that gender stereotypes could damage her career if she is exposed as a woman.
Liam is the envy of all gamers as the lead developer for nZone Studios.  Over time, he builds walls around himself, keeping people at arm’s length who only gravitate to him for his material possessions rather than who he is as a person.With thick barriers around their hearts and their past looming in the shadows, Liam and Maci challenge each other by slowly peeling away their protective layers and seeing each other for who they really are. It doesn’t take long after their chance meeting at a coffee shop for them to become one another’s game changer. Note: If a strong, quirky heroine makes you roll your eyes, If you hate sexy heroes who would rather lose a game than the woman of their dreams, if fast-moving relationships and hot sex aren’t your thing, if you can’t stand when humor is used to cover up life’s awkward moments, if cliffhangers anger you beyond comprehension… this series is not your cup of tea. This contemporary romance novel is the first book in the Playing Games series and contains adult situations meant for ages 18+.

Rene Folsom, author of contemporary and paranormal, lives in Florida with her husband and three kids. She has officially diagnosed herself with creative ADD and often has a million and one writing projects going at once. In addition to writing, she is also a graphic artist who enjoys creating custom book covers for indie authors. She is definitely an artist at heart and would love nothing more than to be elbow deep in clay during her waking hours.

Rene believes that all fiction is based on some form of reality—otherwise we would never have the inspiration or knowledge to dream up the realistic situations we portray with our words. She is proud to say that her personal experiences have been inspirational, though perhaps not always identical to that of her fictional characters. Where reality and fantasy diverge, however, must remain her little secret…
 





He wasn’t kidding when he said the gamers at the university considered him a deity of sorts. Hell, they were damn near ready to roll out the red carpet for us once they saw him walk through the doors of the arcade lounge.
Once the gamer geeks left us alone, Liam eyed me sideways and smiled at me in a way I could only describe as deceptive and evil—in a very playful Liam sort of way.
“What?” I asked, backing up a few steps and feigning fear.
“You up for a challenge?” Just as the words spilled from his lips, his eyes darted toward a wall of classic arcade games.
“Oh, hell yeah,” I breathed, leading the way toward the wooden box with the words Mortal Kombat splayed along the top. The vintage cabinet was beautiful, and I couldn’t help but touch my fingers against the large, yellow dragon adorning the sides. “Won’t be much of a challenge though. I’ll kick your pansy ass in this game,” I nearly whispered.
Biting my lip to hide my smile, I watched with unabashed interest as Liam’s long fingers slid a few coins into the slots and began a game. “Ladies first,” he said, gesturing toward the controls. It didn’t take me long to choose Scorpion so I could lasso his ass for the undeniable fatalities that were in his near future.
“Not gonna go with Sonya, huh?” he blurted out as he did the predictable and chose Sub-Zero.
Rolling my eyes, I didn’t look at him as I spoke with a bit of a bite in my tone and said, “Why, so you can stare at her tits while you attempt to kick her ass? Plus, why do I automatically have to be the girl? Is it because I should like the pretty green color of her too-tight outfit?”
“No reason. I just wasn’t expecting you to choose Scorpion is all,” he said with a shrug as the game began.
Jerking my body as I dodged his first freeze blast, I said, “You better learn really quick that I don’t care for gender stereotypes, Liam.”
Failing at dodging my kunai, he sighed and laughed. “Point taken.”
It didn’t take long before the command to finish him blasted through the speakers, and I ripped his spinal cord clean through his frigid body.
“Fuck,” he cursed under his breath, and I couldn’t hold back my laughter anymore.
“You totally deserved that.”
Without saying another word, I continued to show him who was boss. After the third round and another epic fatality, he threw his hands up and said, “Okay, Maci. You done showing off?”
Crossing my arms over my chest, I gave him an I-told-you-so smile and nodded. However, it was then that I realized we’d attracted an audience.
I was suddenly worried he’d be pissed that I showed him up in what was supposed to be his territory. These kids looked up to him, and there I stood, holding his balls in a metaphorical vice. The smirk that tilted up on half his face told me he wasn’t mad… at least not horribly upset with me.
Leaning close, a little too close, he whispered in my ear. “I think these guys like watching you from behind while you play.” Before I could respond, Liam grabbed my ass, squeezed once, and winked before offering me his hand and adding, “Let’s go.”
As soon as we made it into the hall, out of geekdom earshot, I laid into him. “Did you seriously just grab my ass?”
“I had to even the score somehow and also show them all you were off limits. Their gawking was very distracting,” he said with a shrug, never letting go of my hand as I tried to tug it free.
“Well, you don’t get to grope me just to prove a point, Liam.” I wasn’t really as upset as I was sounding. Having his hand on me was exciting. But a habit like that could give him the wrong impression, and I’d be damned if I let a guy get away with pawing me in public like I was some piece of ass he had to stake claim to.
Using my hand, he pulled me closer and threw his arm around my shoulder like it was second nature for us to be connected. “I know, and I’m sorry. Their eyes were practically glued to your ass though. I was just giving them something to look at,” he said with a holier-than-thou smirk. “Hell, even the one chick there was nearly undressing you with her stare.”
Smacking his chest, I pushed him away and said, “Next time, grab yourself. I’m sure they’ll get an eyeful then.” But the smile on my face betrayed me and turned into a full-blown laugh that echoed off the marbled floors as we made our way toward the stairs leading to the theater.

1.    What was the first thing that inspired the idea for Game Changer?
It's come to my attention that too many authors fall back on the safe character build because they have been told time and time again that a dominant, alpha-male is what women want.  So, I took a step back and thought about the things I like in a man.  While my husband may be a sports-loving beast of muscle, I decided to put aside his appearance and think of his other qualities.  In steps Liam.  Instead of sports, Liam loves games, and I know for a fact there are a lot of female gamers out there who would love to get their hands on a Liam.  ;)

2.    From the dedication I’m guessing you’re not a gamer. Were you at all nervous to write about one?
Actually, no.  I wasn’t necessarily nervous to write about gamers.  However, I was very cautious about keeping my facts straight when it came to a gamer’s life as well as how they would converse, which is why I asked for help from a friend, who just so happened to be invaluable to me while writing this series.

3.    You’ve got a lot of fun graphic t-shirts going on in this story. Did you make them up or did you find them online?
They are fun, huh?  Some I found online, and some my gamer buddy came up with for me based on his own wardrobe.

4.    Which graphic t-shirt was your favorite?
Ooh, that’s a hard one!  But I think it would have to be one Maci wore that said “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them.”  Here’s a little snippet…

“Nice shirt,” he said, managing to spit out the words between chuckles. His laughter died down a bit, but he still had a hard time keeping a straight face, those beautiful dimples peeking through the scruff on his face.
Looking down, I reminded myself of the shirt I chose today, and laughter bubbled up in my throat as I realized the perfection of it.
Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them was written in kid-like letters across my chest, a stick figure of a boy getting pummeled with rocks finishing off the masterpiece.
“Wore it just for you,” I said, lying through my teeth. I honestly didn’t mean to wear it, just tossing a random shirt on as I left in a hurry this morning. But it was a bit too flawless to not take the blame.


5.    What was your favorite scene to write?
That’s another hard one, but I think the first one that popped into my head would be the scene where Maci kicks Liam’s ass in Mortal Kombat.  I really enjoy this scene because it shows just how Maci won’t take any shit from anyone, no matter how she feels about the man.  J  Here’s an excerpt…

He wasn’t kidding when he said the gamers at the university considered him a deity of sorts. Hell, they were damn near ready to roll out the red carpet for us once they saw him walk through the doors of the arcade lounge.
Once the gamer geeks left us alone, Liam eyed me sideways and smiled at me in a way I could only describe as deceptive and evil—in a very playful Liam sort of way.
“What?” I asked, backing up a few steps and feigning fear.
“You up for a challenge?” Just as the words spilled from his lips, his eyes darted toward a wall of classic arcade games.
“Oh, hell yeah,” I breathed, leading the way toward the wooden box with the words Mortal Kombat splayed along the top. The vintage cabinet was beautiful, and I couldn’t help but touch my fingers against the large, yellow dragon adorning the sides. “Won’t be much of a challenge though. I’ll kick your pansy ass in this game,” I nearly whispered.
Biting my lip to hide my smile, I watched with unabashed interest as Liam’s long fingers slid a few coins into the slots and began a game. “Ladies first,” he said, gesturing toward the controls. It didn’t take me long to choose Scorpion so I could lasso his ass for the undeniable fatalities that were in his near future.
“Not gonna go with Sonya, huh?” he blurted out as he did the predictable and chose Sub-Zero.
Rolling my eyes, I didn’t look at him as I spoke with a bit of a bite in my tone and said, “Why, so you can stare at her tits while you attempt to kick her ass? Plus, why do I automatically have to be the girl? Is it because I should like the pretty green color of her too-tight outfit?”
“No reason. I just wasn’t expecting you to choose Scorpion is all,” he said with a shrug as the game began.
Jerking my body as I dodged his first freeze blast, I said, “You better learn really quick that I don’t care for gender stereotypes, Liam.”
Failing at dodging my kunai, he sighed and laughed. “Point taken.”
It didn’t take long before the command to finish him blasted through the speakers, and I ripped his spinal cord clean through his frigid body.
“Fuck,” he cursed under his breath, and I couldn’t hold back my laughter anymore.
“You totally deserved that.”
Without saying another word, I continued to show him who was boss. After the third round and another epic fatality, he threw his hands up and said, “Okay, Maci. You done showing off?”
Crossing my arms over my chest, I gave him an I-told-you-so smile and nodded. However, it was then that I realized we’d attracted an audience.
I was suddenly worried he’d be pissed that I showed him up in what was supposed to be his territory. These kids looked up to him, and there I stood, holding his balls in a metaphorical vice. The smirk that tilted up on half his face told me he wasn’t mad… at least not horribly upset with me.
Leaning close, a little too close, he whispered in my ear. “I think these guys like watching you from behind while you play.” Before I could respond, Liam grabbed my ass, squeezed once, and winked before offering me his hand and adding, “Let’s go.”
As soon as we made it into the hall, out of geekdom earshot, I laid into him. “Did you seriously just grab my ass?”
“I had to even the score somehow and also show them all you were off limits. Their gawking was very distracting,” he said with a shrug, never letting go of my hand as I tried to tug it free.
“Well, you don’t get to grope me just to prove a point, Liam.” I wasn’t really as upset as I was sounding. Having his hand on me was exciting. But a habit like that could give him the wrong impression, and I’d be damned if I let a guy get away with pawing me in public like I was some piece of ass he had to stake claim to.
Using my hand, he pulled me closer and threw his arm around my shoulder like it was second nature for us to be connected. “I know, and I’m sorry. Their eyes were practically glued to your ass though. I was just giving them something to look at,” he said with a holier-than-thou smirk. “Hell, even the one chick there was nearly undressing you with her stare.”
Smacking his chest, I pushed him away and said, “Next time, grab yourself. I’m sure they’ll get an eyeful then.” But the smile on my face betrayed me and turned into a full-blown laugh that echoed off the marbled floors as we made our way toward the stairs leading to the theater.


6.    How many books are you planning for the Playing Games series?
At the moment, I have three novels and two novellas planned for Liam and Maci.  Here is the tentative series order and titles:
* Game Changer - Book One (LIVE)
* The Wager - A Game Changer companion novella (LIVE)
* Game On - Book Two (LIVE)
* The Break - A Game On companion novella (LIVE)
* End Game - Book Three (coming before the end of fall 2015)


7.    Do you have a playlist for Game Changer?
I’m actually one of the few authors who doesn’t create playlists for books.  However, I do have a certain Pandora station I listen to fairly regularly while writing that is based off the artist Snow Patrol.  It plays music from Kings of Leon, Muse, Coldplay, The Fray, Lifehouse, and more.

8.    Do you have a dream cast for any of the characters?
Since my characters actually have their own personalities and appearances in my head, I haven’t been able to think of actors that might fit in their roles.  However, I would love to hear what readers think.  If anyone has an idea of who should be cast as Maci and/or Liam, comment here and let us know!  I can’t wait to hear your ideas.  If I like some of them, I might just post them on my blog.  ;)

9.    How long does it take for you to write a novel?
It all depends on the process and how many other projects I have going on at the same time.  If I plot out each chapter ahead of time, it can take me anywhere between one and three months to complete a novel.  Game Changer took me three months, but the second book, Game On, only took me a little over one month.
10. Which character was your favorite to write about?
I had quite a bit of fun with the banter between Liam and Thad — Thad was a really fun character to play around with.  I’m actually hoping he’ll get his own book one day soon.  However, the first spin-off novel will be about Sofie (an awesome character introduced in Game On) and will hopefully release within the next few months.  If Sofie's story is well received among Playing Games readers, Thad, Sky, and other characters might also have their own stories to be told.

11. If you could write with any author, who would that be?
Laura Kaye, hands down.  I’ve always admired her and her writing.  It’d be nothing short of an honor to write alongside such an amazing author.

12. What is your favorite trait about Maci?
Her strength and moxie.

13. Maci writes science fiction, is that one of your favorite genres to read?
I don’t mind reading SciFi, but it’s not necessarily my favorite unless it’s heavily riddled with romance.  I actually chose her to be a SciFi author because I wanted that to be something else her and Liam would have in common.  I went to my gamer buddy for advice and asked him what kind of female author he’d go gaga over.  He didn’t hesitate with his answer, which, in turn, solidified my decision in her genre.

14. Maci has a lot of opinions about stereotyping, what gave you the idea for that theme?
I see a lot of gender stereotyping happening in this industry, especially when it comes to the specific genres.  Female SciFi or Horror authors tend to get pushed aside.  Male romance authors get the same treatment.  Very rarely are they given a chance beyond their gender.  Granted, there are a few exceptions, but most of the time, those exceptions are first born because of pen names where the readers are unsure of the author’s specific gender to begin with.  After speaking to a male author about a romance idea he had—a very good romance idea—I realized just how discouraged he was to even attempt to write it due to the growing stereotypes with male romance authors this day in age.  Of course, all fiction is based on some form of reality and I had to put my opinions down on paper to share with the world somehow.

15. Do you have any other genres you’d like to try your hand at?
I currently write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, new adult, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and I have a futuristic romance in the works (which is SciFi with heavy romance influences).  I also want to delve into the western romance sub-genre at some point soon.

16. Do you have any favorite authors in Contemporary Romance? Or ones that have influenced you more than others?
Laura Kaye, Juli Valenti, Stacey Kennedy, Maya Banks, etc.  I could go on and on.  LOL

17. What about writing life/being an author took you by surprise?
I would have to say the difficulty in marketing and promotion really took me by surprise.  It is so tough to get my name out there.  Trying to promote books has been the most challenging part of being independently published.

18. Any tips for aspiring authors?
While self-publishing might not be the easy way to go, it’s definitely the best way to go.  Embrace the freedom and never give up.  Save your money to hire a reputable editor and cover designer.  Make contacts, find beta readers, and promote the crap out of yourself.  Above all else, keep writing!  Volume equals sales.  I’m always willing to help anyone who needs advice.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me through my website or email. 

19. Are you working on anything else besides the Playing Game series?
Yep!  I am working on a new Roommate Romance novella and Juli Valenti and I are also working on another Favorite Things short.

20. Do you have any hobbies?
Since I majored in sculpture in college, I love nothing more than to be elbow-deep in clay as often as possible.  It’s difficult to find time and location for this hobby, since pottery is pretty messy, but I absolutely love it.

21. You’re a huge cliffhanger lover. Why do you love to put them in your works?
I love reading them, and I love to write what I read.  When I read a book that has me on the edge of my seat, leaves me breathless and in need of more, makes me want to pay anything just so I can continue the story, then I know the author did their job.

22. Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you to everyone for reading this interview and my books.  I hope you enjoyed it.  If you haven’t tried Game Changer, it’s currently free on all major retailers, so give it a try!  J


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