Sunday, February 17, 2013

Birthday Bash day 17: Review: The Gift

Welcome to day 17. Please enjoy my stop on the Bottom Drawer Publications blog tour. I have reviewed the short story The Gift and there is a chance to win down at the bottom. Have a great day guys!

Welcome to my blog tour stop of The Gift by Elise Marion, brought to you by Bottom Drawer Publications.

QTo start off with, let’s get down to the business end. What motivated you to become a writer? 
Elise: It all began as a love of books and good stories. While other kids played, I was that kid sitting on the curb with a book. From there, it evolved into a knack for storytelling, which then developed into a talent for writing and expressing myself with words.

Q:How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become published?
Elise: I wrote my first piece of fiction when I was 12. I’ve been at it ever since. All through junior high and high school, I wrote poetry and short stories, eventually penning a few short novels as well. It was a constant presence in my life, as I was also a writer and editor for my school newspaper. Up until a few years ago, most of my writings (outside of the newspaper, of course) remained mostly private. While I’d always wanted to be published, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started researching the business and began trying to find an agent. I became worn down by the whole process, and for a year straight, was unsuccessful at finding an agent to represent me or publisher to sign me. I began publishing independently and now, over a year later I have near a dozen books published and have been picked up Bottom Drawer. They have been so good to me and I will always remember then as the first publisher to ever believe in me.

Q:Do you prefer to write in a particular genre, and why?  
Elise: I love Romance because it is full of possibilities. Within the genre, there is room to move around and play with different themes while still staying within the parameters of romance. Historical romance is my first love, but I love Romance of all kinds!

Q:Is there a genre you haven't written but would like to give a try at some time?
Elise: I think Time Travel and Steampunk sound like so much fun. Maybe even both together? I have so many ideas, there’s no telling what I’ll put out next.

Q. Do you tend to plan/plot out your whole story before you start writing, or do you write more by the seat of your pants as you go?

Elise: I generally start off knowing who the characters are, the general idea of some kind of plot, and the major obstacle that the hero and heroine will face. From there, I allow the story to take shape on its own. I find that it’s more of an adventure that way and that the character growth and development is more genuine. When I’m surprised, I know the reader will be too, and you just can’t get that from an outline. At least, that’s how it is for me.

Q: Do you have a preference in the types of books you like to read?  Have you found yourself reading genres you never thought you would?
Elise:  I used to be a Historical Romance snob. For years it was all I would read. Once I discovered other genres within Romance, I began to expand my horizons and now I’ll try just about anything once. But Historicals are still my go-to picks. Though, I have found lately that I enjoy the YA genre more than I thought I would as well.

Q:Where do you find the inspiration for your novels and characters? 

Elise: All of my characters have a bit of my personality, sort of like a signature. Anyone who knows me can read my books and spot the traits right off. I like the idea of letting readers get to know me through the characters. But I also like painting vivid pictures of different types of people. I make a real effort to write about people from all walks of life.

Q:  What is a typical day like for you?  Do you write every day?  Do you have a set time you like to write? How long does it typically take for you to complete a book?
Elise: A typical day for me consists of trying to make it to the end of the day without losing my wits! While staying at home with my young children, it’s often hard to get any writing done. When there’s laundry to do, meals to cook, cleaning, etc. It can be hard to fall into any set routine. So, I write when I can. When my kids are being particularly good (or napping) or after everyone has gone to sleep are all good times for me. I find the time to get it done.

Q: Could you tell us a little about The Gift?
Elise: I love Valentine’s Day and I loved the idea of continuing Avery and Dom’s story. In The Secret Life of Avery O’Dea we get to see them ride off into the sunset after a whirlwind romance. I liked the idea of exploring what comes after the so-called ‘happily ever after’. Sure, marriage and life together is wonderful and good and sweet, but it also has its pitfalls and roadbumps. It’s all about how we choose to navigate those moments that strengthen us as people and as couples. This story was less about two people finding love and more about two people who we know already love each other, learning to live together harmoniously. I think a lot of people in committed relationships can relate to it.

Q:What projects are you currently working on?  What can readers look forward to from you in the upcoming year?

Elise: This year I am looking to complete my Historical series by December, but I am also looking to expand my Contemporary Romance backlist with a few releases in that genre as well. Whatever the case, readers can always expect for me to deliver heartfelt stories about real people.

Congratulations on your new release Elise, and thank you so much for visiting with us today. 

4 Stars
I really enjoyed the chance to revisit Avery and Dom. Often you end a book and wonder what happens next. Is it smooth sailing or are there problems. The thing I really liked about this was Ms. Marion didn't give us a sugar coated look at a marriage. There were real life problems. At least, real life for a famous movie star and photographer. *g* I was alternately frustrated by Avery and Dom! Ultimately, the love holds true and we get a sweet romantic look at a recently married couple. I have to admit, it is also H-O-T! That opening scene where Dom is playing voyeur was scorching. I was immediately enthralled and finished the story in one sitting. But that opening scene was the one that stayed with me. If you enjoyed The Secret Life of Avery O'Dea then you definitely need to check this out!

Collection Summary:

Sometimes Valentine’s Day is not all hearts and roses …

Love Sucks … until it doesn’t!

A collection of individual short stories where the most romantic day of the year redeems itself … eventually.

There are two male/female contemporary romance stories and two male/male contemporary romance stories. To be released on the four days leading up to Valentine’s Day.

The Gift Summary:

Short Summary:

Elise Marion brings us back into the glittering world of Avery & Dom from The Secret Life of Avery O'Dea in The Gift. Avery has always thought that Dom knew her better than anyone else. Does the gift he buys her this Valentine's Day show that he really has no idea at all?

Long Summary:

All film star Avery O’Dea has ever wanted is a normal home life outside of her career. Meeting Dominic Ramsey, albeit not through the best of circumstances, has made that dream a reality. A few months into their marriage, she’s finally living the kind of life she’s always wished for off-screen. So when their first Valentine’s Day comes around, she expects nothing less than what other girls get on the most romantic day of the year: chocolates, flowers, seduction … the works!

When Dominic Ramsay first met his beautiful wife, Avery, he was a struggling photographer and was able to devote much of his time to supporting her demanding career. Track forward twelve months and Dom is now very much in demand after successful showings of his work. He’s been offered the chance of a lifetime to work on a shoot in Paris and accepts the job, even though he’s been away from home a lot in recent times. Valentine’s Day is just commercialism gone mad, he reasons, and he’s sure Avery won’t mind that they celebrate on a different day.

Avery is crushed when the gift she receives from Dom makes her wonder if he knows her at all. Dom starts to wonder if Avery liked him better when he could devote much of his time to her. A chance meeting in an airport and advice from the most unlikely of sources just might make them realize what they have to hold on to and that the best gift of all is right under their noses?


Excitement hummed through Dominic Ramsey’s veins as he peered over the windowsill into the bedroom decorated with modern furniture and done up in cool shades of white and mint green. The door to the bathroom was slightly ajar, and the steam wafting between it and the frame told him that someone was in the shower. He held his breath and watched, waited for a glimpse of golden, sun-tanned skin and vibrant red hair. Within less than a minute he was rewarded for his patience.
She appeared.
His body reacted instantly—as it always did when she was around—and the sight of her wrapped in nothing but a bath towel, her wet hair falling down past her shoulders, made him forget that he was standing outside in the dark and cold. He was hot, on fire for the little vixen toweling off her hair, humming in that off-key way of hers that never ceased to remind him why Avery O’Dea had been dubbed “America’s Sweetheart” years ago.
He reached for the Canon EOS 5D hanging from its strap around his wrist and raised it to his eye, zooming in on the delectable curves beneath the pristine, white towel. A few shutter clicks captured the image on his memory card to be wiped clean once he’d printed the image for his personal collection—one kept under lock and key to protect them from being stolen or sold to the media. He’d been jet setting in and out of town a lot over the last few months, and photos like these were all he had to keep him going when he was in New York, Chicago, or Miami on business.
Dominic paused, his hand holding the camera steady as the lens zoomed in on the bronzed goddess who had turned toward the window and was now staring straight at him. At least, he thought she was staring straight at him. Through the sheer, white curtains covering the window, it was hard to be certain. He liked thinking she could at least sense his presence, that she felt his eyes on her, and that she felt the same thrill at being watched as he did when his gaze followed those slender fingers of hers up to where the towel wrapped around her chest.
Avery turned her back to the window before dropping the towel; it pooled around her feet, leaving every taut muscle and supple curve bared to his view. It was at times like this that Dominic was thankful for the privacy of the exclusive Beverly Park neighborhood and the lush covering of palm trees and bushes that shielded his private little peep show from the view of passersby. His camera clicked a few more times as he slowly looked her over from head to toe, from the cascade of titian curls slipping through her fingers as she swept the curtain of her hair away from her shoulders, to the lines and planes of her toned back and perfectly round, high, and firm ass, down to the legs he wanted wrapped around his waist. He nearly lost it when his lens zoomed in on her feet and the candy red pumps she was wearing.
“Holy freaking hell,” he muttered under his breath as she bent at the waist, flipping her hair over her shoulder and giving him a glimpse of succulent, pink flesh from between those delectable, plump lower lips. His cock pressed against the front of his jeans, hard, insistent, the blood there beating a staccato rhythm in his veins in time with the pounding of his heart and thrumming of his pulse. He gritted his teeth and jerked at the collar of his sweater with one hand. Suddenly, the charcoal gray pea coat he’d thrown on after leaving his plane was stiflingly hot.
“Come on, baby,” he whispered, urging her on even though he knew she couldn’t hear him. “Touch yourself for me, sweetheart.”
As if she’d heard him, she straightened and turned, displaying high, palm-sized breasts, rose-petal pink nipples, a diamond-studded navel, and the scintillatingly bare triangle between softly flaring hips. Those long, dainty fingers traveled over her skin, starting at the delicate goblet of her stomach, and running up over her ribs, inch by torturous inch. Dominic’s breath caught in his throat, the rush of his blood roaring in his ears as those manicured digits found her pebbling nipples. She gasped softly as she rolled them between her thumbs and forefingers before lifting the mounds with both hands and giving them a light squeeze.
Dominic captured the image on film, although he knew he wouldn’t need to look at a photograph to remember this moment; her face, lips parted, eyes closed as she pleasured herself, was permanently etched into his memory. The fingers of his free hand clenched and unclenched spasmodically, itching for a feel of her skin.
“Lower baby, lower,” he encouraged, his eyes already zeroed in on the place he wanted to see her hand.
One hand still working a tight little nipple, the other roamed back down over her stomach, sliding over skin still sporting beads of water, some of which were rolling along her skin, tracing the path his fingertips longed to follow. His groan was in tune with her soft moan as her fingers made contact with the undoubtedly moist center of her core.
A few more clicks captured her in the erotic pose, the glistening petals of her core parted and bared to his view, begging for his touch and his tongue. She moaned again, louder this time, sending another wave of desire and need crashing through him and he decided that he couldn’t take anymore. Dropping his camera back into its case, he lifted it and his overnight bag into his hands and thrust them before him through the open window. They landed on the carpet with hardly a sound, and his black boots followed as he parted the curtains and hoisted his six-foot frame through the window.
She didn’t stop, her fingers gliding over her inner folds and dipping into her tight channel. The scent of her arousal wrapped around him and drew him toward her like a moth to a flame. He slung his coat on the floor and reached for the hem of his sweater, a wide, lazy smile crossing his face as he locked eyes with her deep blue ones, gone wide and dark with desire. He trembled as her lower lip disappeared between her teeth and she reached for him.
“Honey,” he said, his voice husky with need, “I’m home.”

Author Profile:

Elise Marion is a lover of books and has a special place in her heart for sweet and sensual romance. Writing about love across all walks of life is her passion, as is reaching people through the written word. The Army wife and stay-at-home mother of two spends most of her time taking care of her children. Her second job includes writing stories about characters that people can fall in love with. When the Texas native isn’t caring for her family or writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, singing loudly, or cooking up something new in the kitchen.

Buying Details:

The list price for each book in the collection is $1.99, however all books in the collection will be discounted by 25% for the duration of the blog tour, and until the end of February, when purchased on the BDP website, using this discount code: bdpvdtlovegift01

A little about the other books in the Valentine’s Day Collection:


February 11 - Time or Money by Carly Fall

Carly Fall introduces us to Bridget and Mason in Time or Money, where missed calls, a broken cell phone, and a surprise that never came off on the most romantic day of the year, might just signal the end of their dreams.

February 12 – A New Dream by C. J.  Baty

C.J. Baty with her first published work, A New Dream, gives us a glimpse into the world of competitive skiing and what happens when one man's Olympic dreams are shattered. Can Walt find something new to dream about in Curt, the latest act playing at the ski resort? (m/m romance)

February 14 - An Unexpected Party by Henrietta Clarke

Henrietta Clarke introduces us to a tale of misconceptions, a mother in denial, and some serious baggage in An Unexpected Party. Meet Peregrine and Merry, two unlikely souls who meet at a speed-dating event. Problem: Peregrine is very much in demand with the ladies, although he seems to be having trouble tearing his attention away from a certain gorgeous waiter for the night. (m/m romance)

Something about the publisher:

Bottom Drawer Publications is a new publishing house that specialises in romantic and erotic romance fiction across a range of genres, with both het and gay characters. Our genres include: Contemporary, Historical, Literary/Drama, Alternative Lifestyles, Paranormal/Sci-fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller and Steampunk.

Our books are available for sale on our website as well as over 8 booksellers, including: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBookstore, All Romance, Rainbow eBooks, and a range of others. All reading devices are catered for with a comprehensive range of formats.

We are always on the lookout for fresh and interesting manuscripts within these genres, and from time to time will put out calls for anthology submissions.

Visit our website: for our new release information and our writing submission guidelines.

The Contest:
For the prizes we are giving away:

2 x bookpacks of all 4 books in the collection
2 x bookpacks of 2 books from the collection
5 x choice of book from the collection

There are 3 chances to enter the draw:

1. Like Bottom Drawer Facebook page via the rafflecopter
2. Leave a comment on any blog in the tour via the rafflecopter, and 
3. Tweet about the giveaway with a link to the blog the reader was visiting.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi Ursula,

    Happy Birthday for Wednesday!!! Thank you so much for hosting us on your blog as part of your birthday bash, the post looks great. I am sure Elise will be chuffed with the review too.

    Suz & Sam

  2. Hi Ursula and Happy Birthday!
    Thanks for having me and for your great review. That first scene was loads of fun to write! ;)

  3. Wishing you a wonderful birthday month! Thank you for celebrating with is :D

    I think it can be romantic but it's also overly commercilized. I guess Valentine's Day is what you make of it.
    Raffle name: Fiery Na