Title: Alaska or Bust
Author: Rhonda James
Cover Designer: Taylor James
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Tucker Winslow was twenty-four, and the only son of a 4-Star Navy Admiral. His Father always expected that Tucker would follow in his footsteps, but he had other plans. He had his sights set on moving to Alaska and following his lifelong dream of fishing for king crab on the Bering Sea. He was charming, witty, and his Mom was always his best friend. Then she became ill, and his whole world was turned upside down. They spent her last month’s laughing, and singing the wrong lyrics to 80's music, just like they'd always done.
Gracie Madison married the man of her dreams when she was only twenty-two. Now, thirteen years later, she was a widow, trying to figure out how to get by without her best friend. She loves 80's music, driving with the top down, and snacking on greasy food. Her sister's family lives in Seattle, and they've finally persuaded Gracie to throw caution to the wind and leave Boston behind.
Both hop in their cars and head for the Northwest Territory. But, when Tucker's car breaks down he is forced to hitch-hike the rest of the way. When these two meet, the bond is instantaneous. Their losses connect them in a way that's impossible to ignore, and they form a friendship that helps soothe wounds that go far too deep to heal. They laugh, they cry, they blast 80's music and sing off-key, and they stop at every tourist trap they can find along the way. Then, as it always does, one night their laughter turns to lust and they both give in, knowing it will change everything they've come to rely on.
Losing someone you know and love can be the hardest thing in the world. So why does losing someone you've just met, yet have come to depend on, hurt twice as much?
Join Tucker and Gracie as they embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, and end up on a journey toward finding happiness in a world that was once filled with pain.
“How did you know this song always makes me happy?” She turned to me and flashed the most breathtaking smile I’d seen her produce. She really was quite striking. There was something about her eyes that always seemed to lure me in. There was an innocence to her, yet I could tell there was a wildcat lurking just beneath the surface. Since we were going to be together for the next week, I was going to make it my mission to bring that cat out of hiding. Yep, by the time we reached Seattle, I had every intention of showing Gracie Madison just how much fun it could be to cut loose and remember how to have fun. Hell, God knows we both could use a little taste of it.
“No one can resist Rebel Yell. Remember the video?” I did my best Billy Idol impression, complete with lip curl and growl, and that made her laugh. She had a beautiful rich laugh. I vowed then and there to make her laugh more often. After all, this trip was about chasing our dreams and finding our happy place. Right now listening to her laugh as she sang along with Billy, I felt pretty damn happy.
“More, more, more. Owwww!” Her little fist pumped into the air as if to punctuate each word.
“You ever call that out? During sex, I mean.” I asked casually, not expecting her to answer, but still hoping to make her blush. I’ll admit I was surprised when, rather than getting all flustered like she usually did, she actually answered.
“You mean beg for more?” She stole a quick glance in my direction and I gave a single nod. “Oh yeah,” her voice went really husky, and I could tell she was playing along, “all the time.” She flashed me a sexy wink, then threw my question right back at me. “What about you, stud? You ever beg the girls for more?”
“Only when they’re doin’ it right, sweetheart.” I chuckled softly, enjoying the fact that I could still make out the flush on her cheeks, despite it being dark outside. My eye caught the sight of flashing blue and red lights in my side mirror. I twisted in my seat, seeing that the cop was not far behind us, then cast my eyes toward the speedometer. Fifteen over. Shit. This did not look good. “Um, Gracie, you planning on stopping anytime soon?”
Rhonda James Interview
- Alaska or Bust is your latest release, what was your inspiration while you wrote?
A great 80's Spotify playlist and a quiet house!
- As an author, what was the hardest obstacle/lesson you had to go through/learn?
Allowing my voice to finally come through on the pages. When I first started writing it was hard for me because I was in a job that restricted my freedom of speech. Now that I am a full-time writer I am able to allow my characters to speak freely through my fingers.
- Who is your favourite character and why?
I would have to say Tucker Winslow (although it's hard because I fall in love with most of my male characters!). Tucker's character was loosely based on my own adult son so he has a special place in my heart.
- And who do you believe is the worst in terms of likability of your characters? (The one you know everyone will love to hate!!)
Well, everyone hates Amber, the ex-girlfriend from my Twisted Fate series. She does her best to come between Jesse and Rhyann, and almost succeeds. I receive a lot of not so nice comments about her. haha
- What has been the hardest part in knowing you completed Alaska or Bust?
Whenever I finish a book I always feel as if I am letting go of the characters I've been so intimate with for many months. It's kind of like you have to say goodbye to them or something.
- Any plans for another novel?
I always have another story in the works. Right now I am working on Book 2 of my Twisted Fate rock star series. No Regrets will be available December 16th and I am working on a new project that I have kept secret.
- if you could choose any other genre to write, which would you choose and why?
I think it would be awesome to be able to write mystery/suspense. David Baldacci writes the most amazing stories that both captivate and inspire me. I wish my mind worked that way. I guess I am more geared toward sweet (though sometimes racy) romance.
- Who and what inspired you to start writing?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote poetry for many of my school years, then, I penned my first (now well hidden) romance novel when I was 15. While my kids were little I always told them that I was going to write a children's book. I even have the whole series mapped out in my head. But now that they are adults, and I have more time to myself, one day I found myself sitting at my computer and started typing and before I knew it I had written the first eight chapters of My Only Regret.
Once the ideas started flowing, I couldn’t stop them. I am very thankful for that.
- How do you deal with writer's block?
Not well! Actually, I haven't had to experience it that often. While writing Miles Apart (the follow-up to Across the Miles) I had to write the break-up scene for the two main characters and I suffered from great distress and that resulted in three long weeks of writer's block. I anguished over that scene so badly. Then, one day I woke up and it all just clicked.
Let me tell you, that was probably the longest three weeks of my life.
- how much involvement do you, as an author, get to have in the conception of the book covers of your novels? What are the steps in their creation?
Being an Indie author I have complete involvement. I'm also blessed to have an amazingly talented daughter who is a graphic designer. Much to her dismay, I probably haven't given her the freedom she needs to allow her creativity to shine. I am notorious for getting a cover idea in my head and I will search through hundreds of images trying to locate "the one".
The cover for Alaska or Bust I told her what I wanted and walked away. When I came back to her workstation she had what I now believe to be the best possible cover for this book. I am in love with this cover.
Being that I am still rather new to the publishing scene, I am still learning the ins and outs of choosing the perfect cover for your book, though I do believe that I get better with every book I publish.
- knowing what you now know, would you do it again?
I believe so. I think the one thing I took away from my latest release is to trust my instincts. I found the cover for Alaska or Bust within the first ten minutes of searching. It took me four hours, and six hundred images later, to finally end up back at my first choice.
- what is the one thing you would change of your journey as an author?
Hands down that would have to be hiring a PA from the start. From the very first day I signed on with Alpha Book Club, and was paired with Melissa Mendoza, who is the most awesome Assistant ever, I have had more free time to focus on writing. Working with Melissa is like a breath of fresh air. She is always there to encourage me, be a listening ear, and even crack the whip when I need reminding to stay focused on a deadline!
Get to know session:
- Computer or typewriter?
- coffee or tea?
Coffee (but I actually drink more French vanilla creamer than coffee)
- peace and quiet or music of the year and according to your mood?
I love writing to music, specifically music that fits the theme of the book.
- dogs or cats?
I love both, and even have a dog and two cats, but I really could be a crazy old cat lady one day.
- romance or down and dirty?
Again, both. I am a sucker for romance, but I love a man that can talk dirty, and back it up with his actions both in and out of the bedroom (I'm not just a bedroom girl).
- strolls along the beach or speeding down the highway in a sports car?
- are you willing to tell us a secret fantasy and write it down?
Ahem, well… I guess I would have to say that (if I wasn't a happily married woman - which I am) meeting up with a younger man and spending the week with him the way Gracie did in Alaska or Bust would be a pretty exciting fantasy to live out. I guess the wild night of passion at the end of your week would be the icing on the cake.
Wait, did I just say that out loud?
- most embarrassing moment?
Falling down in public. It happens often…
- your proudest moment?
Well, outside of the birth of both of my children, I would have to say completing Alaska or Bust. I really felt such a deep sense of pride sending that one off to my PA and the Betas to read.
Gracie & Tucker’s
Rhonda James is an Amazon best-selling romance author who strives to create a book boyfriend for all her readers. Rhonda is married and lives in Michigan with her family. In her spare time you can find her talking to readers, cooking some new creation in her kitchen, or just spending time with her family.
Some of her guilty pleasures are mastering such things as Twitter and indulging in chocolate, she may do one more than the other.
Come find her on her social networks and don’t be afraid to say Hi!
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