Monday, January 26, 2015

Great 4 Star Review for SECOND NATURE!

Just found this wonderful review for Second Nature, my new paranormal romance/urban fantasy book! 



4.0 out of 5 stars Can Opposites Attract?, January 23, 2015

By 
The Kindle Book Review

This review is from: Second Nature (Blood At First Sight Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

Marie Lavender’s first venture into the paranormal is a success.

Alec and Desiree are in love. The complicating factor is that he is a vampire and she is human. Alec exists on human blood, other food makes him ill, he must avoid sunlight, and he will live forever. Desiree is human. She loves wine and food, she sleeps at night, and she is mortal.
Can a human love a vampire?

I suppose all who have seen Twilight feel they know the answer to this question, but Lavender raises it anew in Second Nature. Can two very different creatures find happiness? Or is their relationship doomed to exist solely on a physical level.

On one level, this a straight romance, and, as a romance, it succeeds. It is fast moving, interesting, and very romantic. The reader comes to like the characters and roots for them to work things out so that they can be together. The fact that one of characters is a vampire, simply introduces new complications to the developing relationship

On another level, the book explores the nature of relationships. Can opposites attract? Can two very different people (or creatures) be happy together, or is eHarmony on the right track, claiming that we are most happy with those who are similar to us? Seldom do we find a romance that deals with weightier issues, but Lavender does this, and she does it in a light-hearted, unobtrusive manner.
A racy story and food for thought. Quite a combination.

David Burnett for the Kindle Book Review
I received a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA

Friday, January 23, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Author Bernard Foong

Today, we're doing something a little different. This is our first ever guest author interview on the Marie Lavender's Books! blog, and Solstice author Bernard Foong is visiting us. 

Hello, Bernard!  It’s such a pleasure to have you here. 
 
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book series? 






A Harem Boy's Saga; a memoir by Young is an account of my young life when I was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. I was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.


It is also a love story between the young man and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.

I had a privileged and unique upbringing in Malaysia. Following in my brothers' footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknown to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.

There are 7 books to this series. I'm currently working on book IV - Turpitude.

When did the books come out? 


Book I - Initiation was released in May 2014. Book II - Unbridled in June 2014 and Book III - Debauchery in September 2014.



Where can we get them?



The books are available at all the international amazon sites. Here are a few:

  
Canada Amazon: http://amzn.to/16pcUPC
Australia Amazon: bit.ly/1IWkwIn
 

Is there anything that prompted your latest book?  Something that inspired you?





My story has been kept under wraps for close to 45 years. I believe the correct moment has arrived for me to make known my unique education.

What sparked me to write my positive education was when I saw an Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys. It influenced me to tell my story.




I was appalled by the school shooting and bullying incidents happening in this day and age. The goals I hope to achieve through A Harem Boy Saga series are many fold:

* Provide Tolerance to Sissy Boys by understanding parents/peers and the community.

Bullying can be Avoided through Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer programs in school or outside school system. Older students acting as mentors to younger students.

Gay Adolescent Tolerance – parents/child/siblings relationship issues.  Support/mentorship program to all parties involved to foster understanding and acceptance of Gay kids.

Provide an Alternative Educational System - Understanding Big Brother/adolescent mentorship programs in schools, BB as protector to keep younger kids from being bullied.

Human Relationship Building Program - Between parents/teachers and young students on sexual topics/issues, especially when adolescent are just discovering their sexuality. They can be guided on a healthy and honest sexual journey instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” hide it behind the closet policy.

So, when did you know you wanted to write?  Or has it always been a pastime of yours?  


Four years ago when I decided to write. I had this strong inner voice that kept nagging me to tell my story. 


Although I've written teaching curriculums when I was a fashion professor at various international universities and polytechnics, I've never written books before.  That was not till four years ago when I sat by my computer and wrote my memoirs.

Do you have any favorite authors?


* The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice

* Cassandra Clare - Mortal Instruments Series
* The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
* Angels & Demons: A Novel (Robert Langdon) by Dan Brown
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke 
* The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke 
* The Gift of Rain: A Novel by Tan Twan Eng 
* The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng 

* Fields of Plenty: A Guide to Your Inner Wisdom – L.D. Thompson

Great! So, do you write in a specific place? Time of day?


I do all my writing by my computer desk. There is no fixed time of day that write. I write daily. Much like exercising my body daily, I'm writing most of the time. I'm avery disciplined and focused person.  

Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?


Stay focused. My modus operandi: the 3Ps: Perseverance, Persistence & Patience. 


Be diligent about setting a time frame/goal to finish your manuscript.

Not to worry about what you are planning to write. Once you begin with the 1st word, you’ll know what the next word is going to be. When I write, it’s like channeling a separate spirit/entity within my person. Thoughts flow automatically through me and I write what comes naturally out of my hand.

To me documenting A Harem Boy’s Saga series is like a divine calling. There is an inner angelic voice that directs when I put words into the computer/paper.

Thank you for stopping by, Bernard!  :)

Readers, here are the blurbs for the series. 


Book I - Initiation 

http://www.amazon.com/Initiation-Harem-Boys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00KOEXWQQ/ref=la_B00CENKJKM_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421655125&sr=1-5

This provocative story is about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.


It is also a love story between the young man and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.
Author’s note:
I had a privileged and unique upbringing in Malaysia, where I was known as a "sissy boy." Following in my brothers' footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknownst to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.

My story has been kept under wraps for close to 45 years. The correct moment has arrived for me to make known my unique education.
 

Book II - Unbridled 

http://www.amazon.com/Unbridled-Harem-Boys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00L8F1RYO/ref=la_B00CENKJKM_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421655668&sr=1-2

Unbridled is the sequel to Initiation - A provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.


It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother’ and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperones and mentors during the boy’s Harem services.

This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their 2nd Arab Household Harem, the Sekham. They were apprentices and models, for the household patriarch’s controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places”.

The author's experiences present facts that are truthful. Through these truths, which are often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnations and negativity which relate to his experiences. 


Book III - Debauchery

http://www.amazon.com/Debauchery-Harem-Boys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00N2FRQMA/ref=la_B00CENKJKM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421655703&sr=1-1

Debauchery is the triquel to A Harem Boy’s Saga, a provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society through his UK boarding school. From there, he was spirited to the Middle East to attend the Bahriji (Oasis) School in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for Harem services for the wealthy elite.


It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother,’ and his ‘Valet,’ who served as his chaperone and mentor.

This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their third Arabian Household Harem, the Quwah. There, they became confidants to a prince, assistants in an international dance club venture, “Carousel,” and apprentices and models in a controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places.”

This story is an account of the author’s experiences. Through these truths, often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnation and negativity related to sexuality, love, and personal freedom.
 

You can view excerpts for the books with Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature here.

Author Bio

Young, alias Bernard Foong, is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England.  He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols to name a few that carried his designs. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.

For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’(casual wear) company, he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. During his stay in Hong Kong, he freelanced for numerous fashion companies. From designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear). He also participated and organized numerous fashion shows, events, functions, and presentations in the Asia Pacific region.

Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer - travelling extensively to the United States, he was soon  recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years.

Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. After a couple of years later, he was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, he assisted several founding members of the design school - working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum.

The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad.

 Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.

He showcased the BERNARD FOONG R-T-W collections and BERNARD FOONG @ Modern Classic Ltd. (an established – Hong Kong bridal & evening wear company) collections in Hong Kong. His 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fashion show, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008 respectively at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, garnering positive interest in many Asian press reviews, including a China nationwide television broadcast of his latest collection. Aika (International Opera Singer) wore several Bernard Foong special occasion dresses at her Japan & European tour in September & October 2009.

Foong was the chief Creative Director for Official (Special Occasion fashion manufacturing company) Guangzhou, China  producing – BERNARD FOONG Couture (specialty one-of-a-kind creations), White (RTW - Wedding/Special Occasion wear), Foxy Cute (Smart Casual/Cocktail wear), SexZ  (decorative bustier) & Diva Bitch (sexual lingerie inner/outer-wear) collections.

Besides working on his regular haute couture, R-T-W and lingerie collections he is a visiting consultant/advisor for:
Pivot Point fashion college, Chengdu, China.
Hong Kong Design Institute (fashion department), Hong Kong, SAR.
Hong Kong Poly/U, Hong Kong (School of Apparel Design & Merchandising), SAR.
Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, Hong Kong.
Singapore Temasek Polytechnic – School of Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), Singapore.

Bernard is also writing his autobiography, a seven book series of Mr. Foong’s young life:
A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.
This provocative story spanning 4 decades and 3 continents is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems ."
A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally.

Out of his busy schedule, Bernard is also working on a mini series of three contemporary paintings for the Rathe Galleries in Dallas, Houston and soon to open gallery in Austin, Texas.
 
Author Links:





https://www.facebook.com/aharemboysaga

Twitter @aharemboysaga



Books:

http://www.amazon.com/No-Distance-Between-Us-Yuletide-ebook/dp/B00P9UOJSU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415275891&sr=1-1&keywords=no+distance+between+us
   
http://www.amazon.com/Debauchery-Harem-Boys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00N2FRQMA/ref=la_B00CENKJKM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421654594&sr=1-1



http://www.amazon.com/Unbridled-Harem-Boys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00L8F1RYO/ref=la_B00CENKJKM_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421655078&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Initiation-Harem-Boys-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00KOEXWQQ/ref=la_B00CENKJKM_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421655125&sr=1-5