Thursday, May 29, 2014

Author Spotlight: Penny Brandon and First Kiss

Carly: Today I'm welcoming Penny Brandon to talk about her latest book, First Kiss (The Looking Glass #2) and she's agreed to answer a few questions as well! The Looking Glass series is simply wonderful; it has elements of magic, romance, humor and heartbreak. The broad spectrum of emotions you put into your writing made me want to know more about what inspires your imagination when you write.  I'm sure your readers are curious too,  so let's get started!

Authors often talk about having a muse, or source of inspiration, that prompts them to begin writing a story. Sometimes it's a specific person, romantic place, music or certain images. Where do you turn for your inspiration?

Penny: When I found out others use pictures of hot men, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of that myself, but then I reckoned I’d only get distracted, so that wouldn’t work for me. I actually use my vast and somewhat eccentric imagination, but that’s what writing is about anyway. I stare off into space and visualize a scene in my head then I add some dialogue, and quickly write it all down before I forget.

Carly: I am a very visual person, so that makes perfect sense to me! When I'm reading a story and having a hard time picturing the characters in my mind, then it's difficult for me to connect with them. Now I know why I love your characters so much! One of my favorite scenes in First Kiss is when Joey and Brenn play poker for the first time. I love how much fun their playful bantering, and how cocky and confident they are, each sure that the other will lose! So tell me, what is your favorite scene in First Kiss and why?

Penny: The first shower scene. It’s when Brenn begins to find out how flirty and fun Joey really is, and that’s the side of Joey that would have made Brenn fall in love with him anyway.

Carly: Oooh, that's a good one and it's very sexy too. :) I love that even though the Looking Glass series has magic, the characters themselves are the type of people I could picture as my next door neighbors. If there is a real magic mirror in our world, it must be a well hidden secret! Since we are on the subject of magic, here's my next question. If you could have a magical power or item what would it be and why?

Penny: I’d have a magic typewriter that types up all my thoughts when I’m asleep and make it into a novel, like the one in Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers.

Carly: I was thinking I'd like to have a clothes dryer that magically folded my laundry once it was done! Your answer is better than mine, and not at all what I was expecting you to say. I love that our conversations always make me laugh, it's also one of my favorite aspects in your books. The bits of unexpected humor that light up some of the sadder scenes. I'm sure it's your real life sense of humor that inspires that balance, and it makes me wonder, do you have a fun fact or personality quirk that you'd like to share that readers would be surprised to learn about?

Penny: I absolutely cannot remember people’s names or faces. I once worked with a lady for six months. She left, and then about two months later, a woman came up to me and started chatting like she knew me. I had no idea who she was, and it was only when she said something about work that I figured it out. Talk about embarrassing.

Also I can never remember how to spell necessary. I get the c’s and s’s all wrong.

Carly: I'm not a great speller either. It was one of the subjects I really struggled with in school, but I've gotten so much better since I started cheating by using my search bar as a spell checker! One more quick question that has been burning in my mind since I finished First Kiss. Are you planning to write any more books in this series, and if so, where are you at in the writing process?

Penny: I have at least one more to write. That’s Simon’s Story. I think I’ll keep that as its title because so many have asked me when Simon’s story is coming out. Simon is the mirror’s keeper. He’s the one who has been charged with telling those who look into the mirror that they’re looking at their one true love. Simon wants to find his own love, and he can’t understand why he hasn't been given the chance. Is the love he has to share not good enough? Will he remain the mirror’s keeper forever?

Unfortunately, readers will have to wait to find out, as I haven’t finished the novel yet, but I’m hoping it will be out next year.

Carly: That's awesome news! Simon is one of my favorite characters, even though we don't see much of him in the first two books. I want to adopt him as my little brother, take him home, fill him up with my famous lasagna, and make him laugh!

Penny: Thanks so much for allowing me to promote FIRST KISS (The Looking Glass #2). I hope those who  get a chance to read it love it as much as I did writing it.

Choices (Looking Glass #1)

Marc was straight, always had been and always thought he would be, but when shown his true love in a magic mirror he was shocked to find out his true love was a man. Not only that, it was up to him to convince his true love they were meant to be together. All bad enough, but after finding Liam, the only way he's able to persuade Liam to go out with him is to offer him sex – even though that was something Marc was definitely not ready for.

Liam thought Marc was crazy. Marc was straight and he was talking about true love and making a life together, but Liam didn't believe in love and he certainly wasn't going to fall in love with a crazy straight guy regardless of how sexy he was. But he hadn't reckoned on Marc's pushy attitude or his offer of sex which, no matter how much he knew he should, Liam couldn't turn down.

First Kiss (Looking Glass #2)

The second Brenn saw Joey’s image in the magic mirror, he was hooked. The moment he saw him in real life, Brenn knew Joey was going to be his forever. Joey was flirty, and fun, and he had the most gorgeous smile, but then Joey told him he was dying. Though devastated, Brenn didn't want to give up on Joey, so he offered to look after him and make his last few days as comfortable as possible, but was that going to be enough when all Brenn really wanted was for Joey to live?

Brenn was everything Joey could have wished for; strong, built, and with amazing eyes, and Brenn was in love with him. That would have given Joey something to live for, if it hadn't been too late. He had about three weeks left, but that didn't seem to matter to Brenn. Brenn wanted to take him home, and Joey was willing to go with him, but on two conditions. He wanted Brenn to make love to him before he died, but no kissing.

My Review of First Kiss
4 of 5 stars
The day Brenn wandered into an obscure little antique shop and saw the image of his destined love in the magic mirror was the day everything changed. Brenn thought he was content with his life. He might have been a bit lonely, but he loved his job, enjoyed his family and believed that love would find him eventually. The man he saw in the mirror challenged all of those beliefs. He knew instinctively that they were meant to be together, but how to find him... and what to do once he did?

Joey locked eyes with the handsome stranger in the bar. Unable to resist flirting with the man when he approached, Joey was shocked when Brenn wanted to see him again, even after he learned that Joey was ill and lived at the local hospital. Having been given weeks left to live and with no hope of finding a cure, Joey tries to resist the magnetic attraction he feels towards Brenn. He knows that falling in love if off limits, it can only end in heartache for them both.

They say that the mirror never makes mistakes; but how could it be so cruel as to give each man his heart's desire, only to crush their hopes for love under the weight of impending loss?

While the story focuses primarily on the main characters, there are also several excellent supporting characters, including Joey's grandmother and best friends, Paul and Dave. I would have loved to see these characters developed further, as the insight readers are given into Joey's past through these relationships added depth of understanding to the story.

First Kiss a well written and edited love story that slowly and steadily builds into a crescendo. Brenn and Joey pulled at my heartstrings from the very first page. Everyone dreams of finding their true love, but no one expects that love to come with such a short timetable. Penny's writing style is unique and she develops this heart wrenching story with a unique balance of deep emotion and humor. 

I would recommend First Kiss to anyone who loves books with romance, mysterious magic, and complex plot twists. Be warned, you will want to read with a box of tissues close at hand!

A copy of First Kiss was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Author Profile
She's been a lover of books since before she could read and a maker of stories before she knew how to talk properly, so it was only natural that she started writing when she could hold a pen. From fairytales to teenage romances to the hot, erotic stories she writes now, she’s always held the same belief; to love what she puts down on paper. Which means she doesn't love cooking, cleaning or weeding the garden. She does, however, love to travel and has lived in England and Ireland and now resides in Australia, where she intends to stay and discover all that she can of this beautiful country.


  1. Do you have a favorite book by Penny Brandon? Yes it is ‘Blind Passions’

    If you could have a magical power or item what would it be and why? I would love to be able to talk to animals. Partly as I often take in rescued cats and I would like to find out what happened to them and help them get over their trauma, as well as report their abuser to the appropriate authority. Or if they are ill I could ask them what is wrong

  2. Would like the power to make others see how their hate towards others fills

  3. So far Blind Passion is my favorite! As for magical powers that is a tough one... I would just like to shapeshift I think. That would be awesome, there is so much you could do and see as different animals :-)

  4. Blind Passion was amazing.....I would love to be a shape Shifter as the thought to turn into any animal in the world is amazing and brilliant

  5. Oh this looks good. haven't read anything by her to my knowledge. I would want to have healing power because so many people and animals need to be healed.

  6. I've read the first and looking forward to the next in the series. I enjoyed the interview and finding out I am not the only one who is terrible with names and faces! :)

  7. I haven't read any of Penny's books yet. She is a new author for me.

    I would like the power to read people's auras and know inherently if they are good or bad.

  8. I want a magical wand that waves rainbow sparkles over my manuscript to edit it for me, but it must also format, too.

  9. I love the power of fire. Fire is a powerful element. To have control over it would be fantastic.

  10. My favourite of Penny's books is Blind Passion, because to be honest it's the only one so far.. A magical power would be healing.

  11. I would love a device that does all the house chores, including the gardening

  12. I guess I'd have to say a shifter, either a wolf or a panther, my two favorite animals.