Author Name: Marilyn Barr
BOOK SPOTLIGHT ON: ROUND OF APPLAUSE
Author of the Series: Strawberry Shifters
Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, published microbiologist, special education/inclusion science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, certified spiritual & energy healer, and advocate for the autistic community. This puts her in the position to bring tales containing heroes who are regular people with different ability levels and body types, in a light where they are powerful, lovable, and appreciated.
When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula. She is a sucker (haha) for cheesy horror movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy.
Connect with her:
ROUND OF APPLAUSE BLURB:
Aurora Turner embarks on a post-graduate adventure to find her forever family only to be captured by the Sluagh, soul-sucking Fae exiles. While she is grateful to be rescued by the Strawberry shifters, her Prince Not-So-Charming is a little hasty when he starts picking out their wedding china.
Destiny gives James Martin a second chance at love. Aurora may prove to be more of a hazard to herself than the Sluagh ever were. He has the daunting task of keeping her away from sharp objects, and from ogling his best friend, Nate.
Nate Wagner is shocked when Aurora passes the prophesized shifter smell test identifying her as his mate. The beta male competes against the mature courtship skills of James with his own modern twist. However, will his devotion to James keep her out of his arms or will they create their perfect family—one they never dreamed of?
Hello Marilyn! Welcome to Jeny's TattleTales!
I'm so excited to have you here on the Author Spotlight on Jeny's Tattle Tales. Let's start with the first question for Aurora Turner's, who is your main character, interview:
How would people physically describe you?
Cue the Rapunzel jokes. Until moving to Strawberry, I don’t think anyone saw the girl within the hair. The only compliments I ever received were about my hair. Even the Sluagh, soul-sucking phantoms from Celtic myth, taunted me about my hair. They called it my only redeeming quality. They loved stroking it so much, my hair became a trigger for my PTSD-induced night terrors. I got so fed up I shaved most of it off. Before Alison’s sister, Betty took a razor to it, it hung to my knees. Good riddance.
What’s your backstory? Where did you come from?
The short answer is middle-class suburbia. My mom and dad had me later in life and called me their miracle baby. Don’t get me wrong, I was never lonely. I grew up in a neighborhood full of friends. I took a few years off between high school and college to find myself, which didn’t work by the way. Then I took time off between undergraduate and graduate school to grieve after my parents passed away. During that time, my friends were getting married and starting families. I had hoped to find my perfect mix of intellectual and jokester on my travels to Europe and Asia, but I found the Sluagh instead when my car broke down in rural Kentucky.
Ooo... I like this next question: What do you think of Marilyn Barr? Did he/she portray you accurately?
I love how Marilyn tried to make me seem as tough as Alison and the rest of the women of Strawberry. Alison and Rosie make being a magical butt-kicking wife and mom look easy. They run businesses in Strawberry as well. I can only hope to live up to the standard they have set as I settle into my role in the pack. I have no real skills only fancy degrees, a long list of fears, and the worst luck. Seriously, one blink of my “check engine” light, and I’m trapped with soul-sucking demons for twenty-two days.
If you could map out the next five years of your life, what would that look like?
Despite my rocky introduction, I’m looking forward to starting a family in Strawberry. I wish to fill my new home with children and books. I’m excited to share my love of literature with the youth of the town, now that I am no longer teaching the homeschooled boys of the town. They are monsters and not just because they are a pack of mini-werewolves and a tween witch. I was no match for them when Alison suggested I lead them in a Christmas literature study of A Christmas Carol. Never again.
What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?
I have an uncanny resemblance to the Nervo Twins (Australian Musicians). I designed my drastic haircut after Miriam Nervo’s style so if she can act, I would love her to play me. Most people would think I acted the role myself.
For my sweet Nate, I would want Eric Dane to play him. I was a major McSteamy fan when Grey’s Anatomy was all the rage. For my dearest grouch, James, I would want Christos Vasilopoulus to play him. This little-known Greek actor is eye-candy and worth the google. Oh, I hope James doesn’t get jealous at that one. You would think after everything we have been through; I would be immune to his condescending glares.
What do you do for fun?
If you ask James, I make trouble with Betty for entertainment. My heart belongs to my books. I have a Ph.D. in Literature because I’m happiest surrounded by words. While I have no aptitude for writing, believe me, I tried…or teaching, tried that too…I never imagined myself far from books. My new occupation in Strawberry lets me have all the books I desire. I’m so excited to get started.
Life advice for the masses?
Go for it. I make mistakes, attract danger, and live on the edge. I have no regrets and everything a girl could ask for and more. Last fall, I packed everything I owned into one suitcase and set off on my grand adventure. The goal was to find Mr. Right to create the family I grew up watching on television. While the perfect 1990’s sitcom family wasn’t in my cards, I found something better. My unconventional family may have rocked rural Kentucky, but it is perfectly sized for me. I can’t imagine life any other way now that I have found the courage to embrace my destined pairing. I got the best Christmas present ever – a family who loves me.
Everyone is made up of both good and bad elements. What are your best qualities and what are your worst qualities?
If you ask James, he will say my habit of being a “damsel in distress” is my worst quality. Secretly, he lives to rescue me so I would put my danger-magnetism as my best quality in his eyes. Nate loves my bravery although it usually makes more trouble than resolves. He hates my insecurity and body issues. I’m still getting used to my disability but every day I get a little more confident with the help of my guys. I think my ability to step forward no matter how bad circumstances might be is my best quality. Life doesn’t get me down because I have the power to change it. Choices make us who we are, and I choose to be me.
What was it like the first time you saw a Strawberry pack member shift?
Oh, how embarrassing! A group of us are crammed in a van, speeding away from the Sluagh fortress. Nate is in his leopard form and decides to change on the floor of the vehicle. I couldn’t stop staring. Not only had I never seen a shifter change, but I had never seen Nate’s delicious human form. James is at my side and ready to explode at my audacity. Nate’s snout receded to his big nose and his paws thinned to giant hands, but my eyes were glued to his bits in-between. As his fur gave way to smooth skin, I felt the temperature in the van soar – probably radiating from James’s temper. Of course, Nate was trying to show off and change faster than his natural ability. This caused him to pass out. Naked. Surrounded by not only James and me, but a few of his co-worker at Bergan Pharma. Emily, their HR manager, ruined my fun by covering him with a sheet but for a few minutes, I got a peepshow like no other. My guys still tease me about it to this day.
Have you ever wanted to be converted to a shifter? That’s James’s role in the pack so why hasn’t he converted you?
When I had my surgery, Nate was pushing James to convert me. Luckily, James listened to me when I said I couldn’t handle the magical consequences. All magic has a price and converted shifters are barren. My dream has always been to be the mom of a big family. If my injury was life-threatening, I would be happy to adopt children as a shifter, but I accept my disability. I live on my own terms. I’m happy as a human for now. Maybe I’ll convert when my house is full, or if my guys say we have enough kids.
If you were converted to a shifter, what animal do you think would be your alternate form?
I wouldn’t be a graceful cat-like Nate, that’s for sure. I’m not Australian but I think I would be a kangaroo. Yes, I’m tall, have big feet, and tend to bounce around when I’m happy. Having a Joey in my pouch is my next big adventure. My dreams are coming true one by one. Who knew a little town in the middle of nowhere would have everything I ever wanted?
Strawberry is a small town. What’s the latest gossip?
Strawberry has less than two hundred residents who mostly work at Bergan Pharma, so everyone knows everything about everyone else. Unfortunately, the newest gossip revolves around my new best friend, Betty. She is one of the only other non-magical humans in town, despite her sister, Alison, being a green witch. At the annual Yule party, Betty caught the attention of the vampires. The vampires are on our side so there is no true danger, only annoyance. Plus, if anyone has the fortitude to tell them to Go Scorch Yourself, it’s Betty. At the party, Lucien couldn’t stop staring at her. He seemed entranced by her and his uncle, Ryan the Vampire King, noticed. Ryan is a busybody who would love to play matchmaker for his nephew, but Betty doesn’t want anything to do with the poor guy. She needs someone stronger than Ryan’s stooge. I just hope she puts him down gently. With his failure to keep up as Bergan’s Head of Microbiology, Lucien better tread carefully. Betty is nursing a broken heart and won’t hesitate to smash the Prince of Darkness if he tries to get too close to her.
Well, that was fun, wasn't it?
ABOUT ROUND OF APPLAUSE
ROUND OF APPLAUSE
Release Date: December 7, 2020
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Cover Artist: Tina Lynn Stout
Genre/Sub-Genre: Paranormal romance
“Thank you for the offer,” I say after taking a deep breath, “but I decided to go through with the surgery. I need to own this. I hope you both understand.”
“I have been advising everyone the surgery is what you needed. I knew what was best for you,” James says placing his hand on my shoulder. Something about the gesture makes me feel suffocated. I shrug his hand off and push Nate’s hands away.
“You don’t get to do that,” I say looking James in the eye. “This is my consequence for my actions.”
“Of course, we both will comfort you as you grieve—” Nate starts.
“You don’t get to do that either,” I say acidly. “Who said I needed to grieve? I will have to relearn a lot of tasks, but I want the challenge. I want to live. I want to live as a stronger version of myself. I want to be the girl who survived a month of torment to cut herself from the chains.”
“We are sorry it happened to you,” says Nate.
“Yes, we feel sorry on your behalf,” adds James.
“That’s the problem,” I thunder. “If you were listening, you would know I’m not sorry. You don’t have the right to be more upset, more offended, or more…more…anything, than me! You can’t take this away.”
He kisses me back in a brief closed-mouth fashion before moving me aside. I am confused and a little angry when he helps me to stand.
When he’s standing in front of me, I ask. “Was it something I did?”
“Your scent reminded me I need to treat you with respect. I was about to take it too far in an open field,” he says stretching his arms out. I feel all the anger drain out of my being at his admission. I am shocked by my own behavior. I would have relished it going too far, even if it resulted in frostbite. “I have never had a mate so I didn’t understand the power you can have over me, until now. When Grant and Brad described it, I guess I didn’t comprehend how I would feel…when I’m with you…how James must feel when he’s with you too.”
His last comment punches the air from my lungs. I thought I would feel happier to hear his admission that I could be his mate. What have I done to these friends? It may be a passing fancy to me but for them, it’s part of their basic biology. I ache for the two friends torn apart. With a heavy heart, I climb back onto the bike behind Nate. How can the shifter smell test be positive for both guys? Why would Mother Nature be so cruel?