Some of the best books I've read have come from this week's Saturday Author Spotlight. Training Season, The River Leith, and Smoky Mountain Dreams, will forever reside in my head. Her most recent book, Slow Heat, will be joining that trio. We will actually be talking about Slow Heat today. I have my review of that unique and wonderful story as well. There's a lovely interview, and of course a giveaway at the end. So enjoy :D
Book: Slow Heat
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Length: 406 pages
A lustful young alpha meets his match in an older omega with a past.
Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-thirties, he's long since given up hope that he'll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He's fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends.
When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can't be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.
But for Vale, being with Jason means giving up his independence and placing his future in the hands of an untested alpha--as well as facing the scars of his own tumultuous past. He isn't sure it's worth it. But Jason isn't giving up his destined mate without a fight.
I absolutely love reading a book that drains me of all my emotions. When I become so invested with the story I cheer, shout, and cry while I read. And the best part is when it ends thinking you’ll never find another book that great. Slow Heat was positively amazing. All encompassing. Memorable.
Leta Blake takes on the whole alpha, omega, beta thing to a new level. We deal with Mpreg in a different light, and we are saturated with an all too familiar look at the way politics and policing fracture not only our humanity but our world.
In this story how it works is like this. An Alpha and Omega go to school, they learn all there is to know about who they are, what that means, and where they stand on societies stage. An Alpha will bond with an omega, there’s contracts, bonding, so much red tape you’ll feel like you’re being strangled. And I loved how we felt that way because we shouldn't read what these people go through and think it’s good.
Vale is an omega, a thirty-five year old omega who gave up on having an alpha claim him “erosgape” is what it’s called. Jason is a nineteen year old alpha only just beginning his time at college. Age gap, yes. That becomes a whole other issue. So, a nineteen year old alpha who knows very little and yet a whole heck of a lot and a thirty-five year old omega who knows so much and yet nothing at all. There are so many hurdles these two have to go through, if I made a list it would make your head spin. But they face each and every one. Sometimes together and other times someone has to take charge.
Leta Blake wrote a very detailed and unique story here. You hear alpha, omega, knotting, Mpreg, your mind goes to shifter, right? Well, you’ll find you’re wrong here. This may be all those things but there’s no men morphing into wolves in this book. There’s no women in this world either. Curious, huh?
You will find yourself invested in this journey and desperate to make it right and hoping the whole time the author will fix it. And she does. Leta Blake does a tremendous job storytelling and her parallels with what is going on in our world and this one didn’t go unnoticed.
This is a heavy read in some places. There’s miscarriages, pain, heartache, real life problems. It’s not all cupcakes and rainbows. I found how the author dealt with all these hard topics to be wonderfully respectful and spot on.
I recommend this book if you love a rich story filled with a lot of emotion and outstanding characters.
Other Books By Leta Blake
When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.
But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?
Sometimes holding on means letting go
After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he's center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.
Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children's mother, he doesn't want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn't want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.
Memory is everything.
After an injury in the ring, amateur boxer Leith Wenz wakes to discover his most recent memories are three years out of date. Unmoored and struggling to face his new reality, Leith must cope anew with painful revelations about his family. His brother is there to support him, but it’s the unfamiliar face of Zach, a man introduced as his best friend, that provides the calm he craves. Until Zach’s presence begins to stir up feelings Leith can’t explain.
For Zach, being forgotten by his lover is excruciating. He carefully hides the truth from Leith to protect them both from additional pain. His bottled-up turmoil finds release through vlogging, where he confesses his fears and grief to the faceless Internet. But after Leith begins to open up to him, Zach's choices may come back to haunt him.
Ultimately, Leith must ask his heart the questions memory can no longer answer.
Thank you, Leta, for being here today. I’m a huge fan of your books. Today we are going to focus on your newest book Slow Heat, which I read and loved. I’m going to ask you some questions and I will pry the answers from you.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! Thank you for having me!
Slow Heat was out of the norm for the books you usually write. What made you take this leap?
I’d had an idea for an alpha/omega story for years now but it never seemed to fit into my writing schedule. I tend to have my book schedule planned out a few years in advance. Last October, I was feeling very burned out as a writer. I had a list a mile long of what I “should be” working on, but it was all feeling very much like work, and not enough like fun.
Most of my friends will tell you that I’m very hard on myself, very driven, and very demanding. So it was a surprise to them when I announced in October that I was going to give myself two weeks to work on whatever I wanted just for fun. They all encouraged me, of course, but it’s not typical of me to allow myself breaks from the demands I’ve set for myself.
During those two weeks, I wrote around half of Slow Heat. It just flowed out of me without effort. I had to put it aside to work on another project that I had set a mental deadline on of January 2017, and I did manage to release that book on that deadline. (The Difference Between by Blake Moreno – my other pen name.) After that, I returned to Slow Heat and it took several months to wrap it up. But I’m glad that I did.
I suppose that’s a long way of saying that I needed a fresh playground to exercise my creativity in and Slow Heat was just dying to be written.
This book deals with so much. Politics, miscarriages, equality, age gaps. How did you organize all the situations?
I didn’t! This may sound crazy, but, for the most part, this book spilled out as written. I went back over it and touched up a few details regarding the politics, culture, etc, but this book came out the most fully baked of any book I’ve ever written.
You did something incredibly unique with this book. You deal with Mpreg, yes, but you deal with Alphas, Omegas, and Betas. You speak of wolves but no one shifts. What was your thought process in this?
Well, the original concept for Alpha/Beta/Omega stories came from fandom, and, believe it or not, the original A/B/O stories didn’t involve shifters. (The first A/B/O story, according to the fandom historians, was actually a Supernatural story with Dean and Sam as non-shifting alphas and omegas.) The shifter connection came later with the advent of Teen Wolf fanfiction and the fixation on A/B/O tropes in that fandom.
So my original idea for the story was born out of my first experiences of A/B/O stories in fandoms of yore. I never read a shifter version until Teen Wolf came along! So, to me, a non-shifter A/B/O world is ‘business as usual’, though, I understand that for romance genre readers, the non-shifter version is very new and sometimes a bit strange.
My thought process on including the wolf religion was two-fold:
1) as a kind of homage to the shifter stories romance readers are accustomed to
2) as a way to show the very human tendency to imbue the unexplainable with religion
In Slow Heat, there is evidence that their genes were tampered with in the distant past, but they’ve lost the records and the technology of how and why. In the place of those records, a religion rose up and they came to credit a wolf god with the salvation of humanity after The Great Death. I enjoyed the play there, but I do think, frankly, that it has confused some readers. Oh well.
I’m going to ask a question and I hope it can be answered. If not I understand. Will Xan get a story? Will Urho?
I do want to give Xan his own story as soon as possible. The public outcry for it has been so loud that I’ve shifted my writing plans around to get to Xan as soon as possible. I hope to have his book out next spring. That’s my goal anyway. As for Urho…well, his story might maybe possibly be linked to Xan’s. ;)
What is your hope with this book? What do you want your readers to take away from it?
Wow! What an interesting question! I can’t say that I’ve asked myself that before. I know what I got out of writing it (exploration of my gender fluidity, amongst other things) but I haven’t asked myself what I want a reader to take away.
I’d say the main thing I want a reader to take away from this book is enjoyment. I want it to be a page-turner for them. I want them to feel connected to the characters and be sad-but-happy-but-sad when it’s over and there are no more pages left. That’s all I ever want from my books, I think. For the readers to enjoy the experience of reading them.
Would you rather be an Alpha or an Omega and why?
If I had to choose, I’d definitely rather be an Alpha. The cultural restrictions on Omegas seems uncomfortable to say the least, and heats seem deeply fraught.
Can you tell us anything about future projects?
Oh, wow! I have so much going on right now that I’m totally overwhelmed! Let me tell you everything! :D
1) Training Season Audiobook just came out! It’s narrated by the amazing Michael Ferraiuolo and he did a beautiful job with it. Some of his readings for Matty made tears come to my eyes. It’s available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. ( http://amzn.to/2susvbH & http://adbl.co/2qGrInD & http://apple.co/2qMQvKR )
2) The Wake Up Married serial is in Kindle Unlimited for the summer! All six episodes and the bundles will be available in KU until August 30th. (http://amzn.to/2rElA0w )
3) Will & Patrick’s Endless Honeymoon is coming to my Patreon account beginning June 9th! I’ll be posting a chapter a week for all my $1+ patrons as a thank you for their kind support. (https://www.patreon.com/letablake )
4) Christmas book drafting has begun! It’s crazy, but to have a Christmas book finished in time for the holiday reading season, I have to draft it now. So I’m knee deep in that as well!
5) Don’t Get Me Wrong (‘90s Coming of Age #3) is in the editing/re-writing stages and I plan to have it out this fall.
How can your readers follow your work: Website, twitter, facebook etc…
FAST FIRE QUESTIONS
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Summer or winter? Summer FOREVER
Favorite flower? Red rose
Favorite smell? Baking chocolate chip cookies
Indoors or outdoors? Screened-in porch
Favorite childhood book? Anne of Green Gables
Favorite color? Red, but sometimes yellow, but sometimes green
Okay, Leta, thank you so very much for being here.
Thank you so much for having me, Meredith! I appreciate all you do for authors!
Leta Blake is offering one person a backlist ebook!
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Thank you to Leta for being here and being wonderful and
thank you all for stopping by!
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