Monday, February 24, 2014

Guest Post, Review & Giveaway ~*~ Angel's Hero & Angel's Truth by Liz Borino

I am super excited to welcome Liz Borino to Illustrious Illusions today! 

Please give her a warm welcome as she shares with us some of her writing process. . .

How My Boys Are Conceived
When two people love each other very much . . .   No, I’m not a parent. It’s not that type of post. But please stick around anyway to hear about the magic of my writing process.
1.     The spark – Inspiration comes from a variety of sources: a newspaper article, a story a friend told me (or one total stranger to another), a quote, or sometimes several, which ultimately spark…
2.     The question – The actual story almost always begins to form with a What If… question. For the Angel series, that question was “What if the Army told a Captain’s spouse that his husband died, but they made a mistake, and the captain was stuck in an Afghanistan prison?” This led to, “What if the captain’s husband did not believe the officers?” As you can see from the blurb for Angel’s Hero, he was right.
3.      The brainstorm – In this step, I play with the different possible answers to those questions. What kind of man argues with Army officers? How did the Army screw something like that up? Who’s at fault? At this point the characters are becoming clearer to me. It’s not until I understand them that I can tell their story.
4.      The pitch – All of my story concepts go through a vetting process. If my main beta reader gets excited about it, I continue. If I can’t sell her on it, I’ll have a hard time with the rest of the world.
5.     The outline – By this point, I have fully formed scenes in my head, but it is not time to write them yet. First, I write a beginning, middle, and end for everything I’ve thought of. I then order them in Scrivener, which is awesome by the way as it lets you organize as you’re most inclined.
6.     The writing – Now I get to write! The first is the best part for me (and probably most writers). I’m one with the universe as I type the story my characters tell me. It’s beautiful. It flows. And then…
7.     The Block – It happens every single time. And still I let it catch me off guard. The flow stops because some plot point isn’t meshing anymore, that perfect ending isn’t going to work. And I stress as the world crumbles around me. I’ll never write another good word again. You aren’t laughing if you’re a writer. This is real, people.
8.     The Breakthrough – I usually claw my way out of the cycle of doom by talking the problem out with main beta reader, which tends to amount to me talking in circles until she throws out some obvious solution…
9.     The Finish – Yes! From that solution, I finish my draft. And it’s a mess! No, it really is. Sometimes character motivations or plot points shift throughout the draft. If I’m smart, I’ve made notes as I went along of changes that had to be made.
10.  The Betas –After I’ve fixed what I could, I send the MS to all five of my betas with a list of questions.
11.  The Edits – Based on their suggestions, I make edits and then send to the editor and the publisher.

12.  The Final Product – The book you’ll read has gone through multiple editors, readers, and has thankfully evolved quite a bit from my original questioning stage. But, they’re still the same boys who grew from that stage.

Angel's Hero Blurb:
CIA Agent Aaron “Angel” Collins doesn’t take many things on faith. He trusts his gut, his eyes, and his husband, Jordan, an Army Captain. When his commanding officers deliver news of Jordan’s death, Aaron needs proof. The facts don’t add up, and Aaron must decide if he can trust Major General Troy Hart to assist in his quest to discover the truth.

Captain Jordan Collins is battered and disheartened in an Afghanistan prison, but definitely not dead, though he learns his own government believes he is. His only mission now is to stay alive and make it home to Angel, if he can find an ally among the enemy. But someone in the US government will stop at nothing to make sure he never leaves that prison, And Jordan must reevaluate the lines between friend and foe if he is ever to return to his Angel.

Book Two in the Angel Series Out March 12!
*Please Note: These Books Must Be Read In Order*

Angel's Truth Blurb:
“Freeze or I’ll shoot!” Aaron yelled and aimed the gun at Jordan’s chest.

“Angel, no, please.” Hacking fluid-filled coughs broke up Jordan’s words.

“Jordan?” Aaron whispered his name as recognition painted a mural of memories of their life together on his face.

“Yes.” He coughed red into his dirty hand. “Please help.”

So begins Angel’s Truth, the sequel to Angel’s Hero. Army Captain Jordan Collins arrives home, only to find the man responsible for his imprisonment, torture, and near-execution with his husband. Had his Angel moved on without him?

Aaron “Angel” Collins has driven his family and friends away in his quest to learn the truth of Jordan’s fate, leaving only Major General Troy Hart willing to help him. When Jordan miraculously returns, with a spirit more broken than his body, Aaron realizes Hart was really a liar with an agenda of his own. Aaron is unable to take time to heal his own emotional wounds, because he and Jordan learn Hart’s betrayal is even greater than they originally believed, threatening the entire nation. Now the reunited couple must race against time to keep a promise to Jordan’s savior and prevent Hart from bringing terrorism once again to American soil.

Review ~

Angel's Hero & Angel's Truth are two novellas that continue one story. Angel's Hero releases on Feb 26 and Angel's Truth on March 12.  I was lucky enough to get a change to read them both this past week and as usual, Liz Borino did not disappoint.  I fell in love with her work last year, and while I don't always read M/M she is my go to author for this genre.

These stories like other's by Liz are emotional, tear jerking stories that are full of love and pain.  Jordan and Aaron face obstacles that no couple should have to face and they pull through them but not without struggles.  When reading their story, you will feel their emotions tug at your heartstrings and wonder how you would handle things if put in their shoes.  Your jaw will drop at the tension and situations that they have to endure before they can move on.

Liz handles issues such as marriage, trust, PTSD, and more with compassion, realism, and a touch only a truly talented author can write.  She will make you relate to these characters on every level imaginable and sometimes you will curse her for making you feel more than you expected, but in the end she brings the characters and the reader to a point where it all rolls together and makes perfect sense.

I can't recommend her books highly enough as she truly is a master of words.

Giveaway ~

Please leave a comment for Liz about her books or writing process (or just say Hi) for a chance to win a copy of Angel's Hero.  A winner will be drawn by on Feb. 26th.  Please include your email address so that you can be contacted if you win . . .