Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

High Stakes by Cheryl Douglas (Author Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway

In association with Goddess Fish Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Cheryl Douglas, author of High Stakes!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Cheryl!

How long have you been a writer?

It feels like I’ve been writing forever, but I just started writing full-time two years ago.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?

Being an author is my career. I gave up my day job as a nutritionist and decided failure wasn’t an option. Even if readers hated my books (which thankfully they haven’t), I decided I would keep working on my craft until I was able to give readers what they wanted.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.

I’ve always been passionate about books. The love affair started when I was ten and read The Diary of Anne Frank. Even at that age, I realized a writers’ words could evoke powerful emotion. I took dozens of writing courses and workshops over the years. I read thousands of books in my genre before I even thought about writing my own book. Studying the best authors in my genre helped me to learn so much. I wasn’t interested in going the traditional route, probably because I’m so impatient, so I never submitted any of my manuscripts to agents or publishers. Once self-publishing became more mainstream, I knew it was time for me to take the leap of faith and start living my dream of being a writer. I’m so glad I did. This experience changed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined starting out. I really am living my dream!

Please give a brief description/storyline about High Stakes.

High Stakes is the first book in the Next Generation series, which is a spin-off of Nashville Nights. It follows the children of the main characters in Nashville Nights and the heroine in High Stakes, Alisa, is Trey and Sierra Turner’s daughter. Alisa’s father is concerned she’s veering down the wrong path, so he agrees to fund her new business venture if she promises to stay focused on the business and out of trouble. When Alisa meets a sexy older man on a flight to Las Vegas, she knows she’s in trouble. Liam is a hotel mogul with a daughter, a business to run, and no time for a relationship, but one night together changes the course of their lives forever.

What was the inspiration for this story? What was the inspiration for the Nashville Nights and Nashville Nights Next Generation series?

I wrote the Next Generation series for one reason: because my loyal readers kept telling me how sad they were to see Nashville Nights end. Honestly, so was I. I knew there was so many great stories left to tell with this tight-knit group of families and friends and the Next Generation seemed like the next logical step. Trey Turner’s character (Shameless) inspired High Stakes. I thought about what kind of father he would be, what kind of daughter he would have raised and how hard it would be for him to let her go to find the man of her dreams. Liam is as strong and opinionated as Trey in a lot of ways and I wanted to develop a character who would give Alisa’s daddy a run for his money! I think my readers agree that Liam did that.

How did it feel to have your first book published?

For me, the best part of this journey has been connecting with my readers. They chat with me about my books every day, whether it’s via email or Facebook and I love that!

Do you write books for a specific genre?

My home is and probably always will be contemporary romance. I love to read it and I love to write it.

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

I read everything from romance to non-fiction. My favorite romance author right now is Bella Andre. I love her Sullivan's series. I also love reading books about positive thinking and the law of attraction. Jack Canfield, Lousie Hay, Joe Vitale, and Brian Tracy are some of my favorite non-fiction authors. I’ve read so many books that made an impression. You Can Heal Your Life, The Secret, The Chicken Soup Series, The Power of Positive Thinking, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari… I could go on and on.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?

I can write anywhere, but I usually curl up on the couch with my laptop. This drives my husband crazy since I have a home office. He lectures me about the damage I’m doing to my neck, back, and shoulders, being hunched over all the time.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?

So many things inspire me, especially music. I love listening to a great song because it invariably tells a great story. I keep a journal and jot down ideas whenever inspiration strikes. I think I have enough story ideas to keep me busy for the next ten years!

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

I’m a very disciplined writer. I have to be. My readers have come to expect a new release every month, so that means 10 pages a day, 6-7 days a week. I always write the first paragraph for the next scene at the end of each day so I’m able to delve right in the next day.

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?

I love creating my own little world, which is why I love writing a series so much. Sometimes I struggle to keep track of all of my characters. With sixteen books plus books in this series, that’s a lot of characters. I’ve been known to mess up names or eye color from time to time. Fortunately, I have great editors and proofreaders to keep me on the right track.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?

Spending time with my family ranks at the top of the list. I love to travel, go for a drive, read, go boating, exercise (when I can squeeze it in), spend time with girlfriends, attend sporting events, and of course, shop! 

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?

Read books in the genre you want to write in. This seems like a given, but I’m amazed how many people delve into a new genre on a whim because a break-out book or series is topping the bestsellers list. In my opinion, this is a recipe for disaster. If you’re passionate about writing and your genre, that comes through in your writing.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?

I love it when a reader contacts me to tell me they’ve finished eight of my books in seven days, or the entire series in two weeks because they couldn’t put them down! Even when I’m having a bad day, comments like that always make me smile.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

I’m very active on Facebook. I start my day there and always check in when I’m taking a break from writing, so at least three times a day. I also try to repond to reader emails right away. I’m fairly active on Goodreads as well. Twitter is next on my list.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

I think as writers we always draw on real life experiences when developing our characters. It may start with a seed of an idea based on something I’ve experienced and then my imagination takes over.

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?

I used to love reading Nora Roberts and Fern Michaels. I think they’re wonderful storytellers and I’m still in awe of the way Nora Roberts paints a picture with words.

What is your definition of success as a writer?

Having readers! Sure, it’s nice to hit the bestsellers lists, but for me the reward is the readers who take the time to write a review or contact me to tell me my books made them feel something.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

I’m always writing a book. I’m currently working on the seventh book in the Next Generation series, Face Value. It’s about a real estate developer who hires a rough around the edges contractor with a bad reputation.

Thank you Cheryl for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us!

About The Author

Cheryl Douglas began her professional career as a nutritionist, but her love of books started at an early age. She studied writing for many years before she decided to pursue her passion as a full-time career. After receiving constructive criticism from several well-known authors, Cheryl finally had the confidence to write her first romance novel.

The first book in the Nashville Nights series, Shameless, was a book that had been dwelling in Cheryl’s subconscious for years. For her, the surprise came when the manuscript began taking on a life of its own. Characters came to life, secondary characters became more prominent, outlines were forgotten, and a single title evolved into an eight book series, and another eight book spin-off series entitled Nashville Nights, Next Generation.

One word would aptly describe Cheryl: workaholic. She lives and breathes her writing, when she’s sleeping, watching TV, driving, reading… it’s always in the periphery of her mind. Her imagination rarely takes a holiday, even when she escapes to a sandy beach with her husband and son, she’s planning, plotting, outlining, and daydreaming.

Cheryl feels blessed to be able to get up every day and do something she loves. The thousands of fans who have embraced the Nashville Nights have made that possible. She writes for the readers who ask for more, she writes to satisfy the muse residing inside of her, but most of all, she writes because she couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life. It took her thirty-seven years to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, but now that she knows, she’s convinced she’s found her purpose.

High Stakes by Cheryl Douglas ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Goddess Fish Promotions

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A Variety Of Prizes!

Contest Dates: March 25 - May 3

Author Cheryl Douglas will be awarding the following prizes to randomly drawn commenters during the tour: 

* two $20 Amazon Gift Cards
* ten trading card/cover flat packs (US/Canada)
* ten eBooks from the Nashville Nights series (winner's choice)
* two sterling silver necklaces (US/Canada)

Follow the tour and comment on each blog stop; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

The tour dates can be found here:

Book Review

High Stakes by Cheryl Douglas
Book 1: Nashville Nights Next Generation series
Publisher: Independent Self-Publishing
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Format: eBook - 217 pages / Kindle - 434 KB / Nook - 625 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: High Stakes

BUY THE SERIES: Nashville Nights Next Generation

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Goddess Fish Promotions.

Book Description:

Former party girl, Alisa Turner, made a deal with her daddy, Trey. He’ll provide the seed money for her new business venture as long as she promises to stay out of trouble. Too bad her good intentions tumble 30,000 feet when she meets a sexy stranger on a flight to sin city.

Hotel mogul, Liam Bryson, has never believed in love at first sight, but when a sexy little siren twenty years his junior tempts him into a night of high stakes Blackjack, he’s suddenly playing for keeps.

Alisa wakes up in Liam’s bed the next morning, cursing Tequila and the five carat diamond on her left hand. She demands an annulment before her over-protective father finds out she reneged on their agreement, but her new hubby isn’t prepared to let her go without a fight.

Book Excerpt:

“Good afternoon,” he said, beginning a lazy perusal that started with her bare, bronzed legs and ended where it had started, fixed on her eyes.

Alisa was too shocked by her physical reaction to his scrutiny to respond to the casual greeting. She was used to male admiration, but when a man was this obvious, she usually felt irritated, not warm and tingly all over.

His eyes zeroed in on her bare left hand, and he smiled, revealing a flash of white teeth and disarming grin so sexy it should have come with a warning label. No man had a right to be this handsome. It simply wasn’t fair to the poor unsuspecting girl seated next to him with no hope of defending herself when endless hours filled with nothingness stretched out before them.

“Your boyfriend must be crazy to let you travel to Sin City all by your lonesome.” His voice was low and raspy, filled with sexual innuendo and promise.

“I, uh…” Spit it out, damn it. “Don’t have a boyfriend.”

He licked his full lips as his intense eyes outlined her face. “Husband, fiancĂ©… lover?” His voice deepened even more as he uttered the last word, sending thrill bumps skittering across her bare skin.

“No, no, and…” She drew a shallow gulp of air into her lungs, but the word still sounded breathless. “No.” 

“Damn, I really need to fly commercial more often. I had no idea what I was missing out on.” He smiled again as he extended his hand. “Liam.”

She hadn’t expected his hands to be calloused or rough, and they weren’t. He was obviously accustomed to sitting behind a desk, and that suited her just fine. She loved elegant, refined men, and he more than filled the bill. “Alisa.”

My Book Review:

Just when you thought author Cheryl Douglas couldn't top her amazing Nashville Nights series, she introduces the younger characters' stories in the Nashville Nights Next Generation series!

In High Stakes, the first book of the Nashville Nights Next Generation series, the reader follows twenty-five year old Alisa Turner's romantic adventure in Sin City. Written in the third person narrative, the author weaves an emotional and dramatic tale of love at first sight.

When Alisa Turner meets forty-five year old wealthy hotel mogul Liam Bryson on a flight to Las Vegas, they make a connection and sparks fly between the two of them. After a heady night of high-stakes gambling, one thing leads to another, and Alisa wakes up in Liam's bed with a five carat diamond ring on her finger! Filled with next day regrets, knowing they are total opposites and live on opposite sides of the country, Alisa wants an annulment, but Liam wants to keep his new bride!

The reader follows along with Alisa and Liam as they learn about each other, while mixing in some drama from an ex-fiance who wants Alisa back, and not to mention family drama when both their families find out about their marriage on the news, and you have one heck of an entertaining romance story!

I loved the drama and emotions that play out as Alisa and Liam discover each other, while working on the logistics of their lives, and try to figure out if their separate worlds could mesh together. I really enjoyed how the author has created a new series featuring the younger generation, while weaving in the favorite characters from the first series, it felt like coming home and visiting with old friends!

With an engaging cast of characters that come alive and leap off the pages, the mixture of new characters with returning characters from the Nashville Nights series draws the reader back into the continuation of the original series with an exciting new series featuring the younger generation. The richly descriptive settings of Nashville, Las Vegas and San Francisco transports the readers to these exciting locales as Alisa and Liam's story unfolds. And with a juicy storyline that has become a standard from author Cheryl Douglas, High Stakes is the first book of a new series that continues the level of romance and drama that fans of this author will thoroughly enjoy!

High Stakes is the first book in the Nashville Nights Next Generation series, which is in a sense a continuation of the popular Nashville Nights series. In order to fully appreciate the romance and drama in each book, I would highly recommend that you read both series in sequential order, you won't be disappointed ... and you'll thank me later for taking this advice! *wink wink*



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  2. Thanks so much for having me today. I'm so glad you enjoyed High Stakes. Liam and Alisa's story was truly a labour of love for me!

    1. Hi Cheryl! You have two great series, I look forward to reading more of your books. :)

  3. Thanks for the review. Sounds interesting!

    mrs.hildebrand AT gmail DOT com (int)

  4. I enjoyed the author interview. Maybe your husband wants the couch to himself so he is making it look like he's concerned about your neck etc. lol


  5. Really great review. I loved your interview. Very interesting.

  6. That's too funny! I wouldn't put that past my husband. Hmmm... food for thought!

  7. I love the fact that it is a spin off from one of her other book series, I think its an awesome idea!

    lilypondreads at gmail dot com

  8. Thank you everyone for stopping by and visiting with Cheryl and posting your kind comments. :)

  9. I love spinoffs too! I like what I'm hearing about this book!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

    1. Hi Andra Lyn! I loved the spinoff, it brings back characters that you love from the first series plus new characters and stories. Thank you for stopping by! :)

  10. I think that would have to be what a writer wants most - readers.


  11. I enjoyed this book.

    1. Hi Teena! Thanks for stopping by, I love this series!