Sunday, August 17, 2014

Guest Post, Review, Giveaway: Designs on You by Carrie Pack

Today we have Carrie Pack on the blog to talk about Designs on You and its inspiration. Check out the giveaway at the end of the post!

Designs on You was largely inspired by my experience working as a production artist and graphic designer right out of college. I worked for a national retailer creating print ads, designing signage, and scanning photos. That was in the dark days before digital, folks—we didn’t even have email for the first six months that I worked there.

It was interesting work, but it could also be tedious. Some days I would be doing nothing but scanning photos all day or stuffing signs into mailboxes to go to stores. Other days, I might get to work on a catalogue or poster for the stores. And sometimes I would get crazy requests for retouching that meant zooming in on model’s crotches or putting one man’s head on another man’s body.

When I got the idea for a story about a graphic designer falling for a model, I really started to think about what it would be like for someone to be stuck in a rut professionally, doing a job very similar to mine, while also being stuck in a rut romantically. How would that play out? Who would that person be?

Enter my protagonist, Scott Parker. He’s just about to turn 30, still recovering from a nasty breakup and trying to get his career going. That’s when he gets asked to retouch photos of a gorgeous new model Jamie Donovan and the sparks fly.

Of course, the crush that Scott develops on Jamie is also a bit of commentary on our society’s obsession with celebrity and image. It has become very easy, especially with social media, to think we know a celebrity personally. We may even go so far as to create an idea in our heads as to who that person is and start to fantasize about meeting them or being in a romantic relationship with them. Scott falls into that trap. He creates a fantasy version of Jamie in his head that doesn’t quite fit with what he sees in real life.

Ultimately, Scott is faced with his own conflicting desires and what it means to balance fantasy with a budding, real-life friendship.

Giveaway: Carrie will be awarding a $25 Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Barnes and Noble GC and a print edition of Designs on You (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour.

Highland Homecoming
Title: Designs on You by Carrie Pack
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Published August 19, 2014 by Interlude Press
Length: 174 pages

Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by publisher

If graphic designer Scott Parker has to design one more cupcake company logo, he might lose it. So when he is tasked with retouching photos for a big fashion client, a stunning, lanky model mesmerizes Scott and occupies his fantasies long after the assignment is finished.

When the model is assigned to one of Scott’s projects, Scott discovers that the object of his desire is nothing like what he imagined. Despite Jamie Donovan’s aloof and dismissive behavior, Scott struggles to forge a friendship with him, all the while trying to keep his attraction at bay.

Will Jamie follow through on signals that he may be interested, or will he forever be the beautiful man in the photograph, an untouchable fantasy?

Book Links:
Adina Falling

Jamie has the perfect face and attitude to be a model for the One West line but he's too short to pass their six feet two requirement. Scott comes in as a graphic designer to touch up on his photos so that Jamie looks taller. Scott loves Jamie's photos and tries to guess his personality through them since he has never seen Jamie in person. His chance comes when the art director of the photo shoot gets sick and he's the substitute. Unfortunately for his fantasies, Jamie is an ice queen and gives him lots of mixed signals. 

I really like how much Scott's capabilities shows through. He's a great graphic designer and through his abilities, he rises to be an art director. He's also a very capable photographer. However, he's not over his ex at the beginning of the story. When he declares he's ready to start dating again, he's unconsciously hesitant. That makes him seem wishy-washy but also very realistic in that regard. He changes a lot by the end of the story and wins Jamie by being loyal and persistent. 

Jamie gives me mixed impressions. Jamie is insecure even though he's perfect. He uses a cold and bitchy attitude to cover up his feelings and prevent himself from getting hurt. Most of the difficulties in their relationship are caused by him. Scott survives and gets close to Jamie by calling their relationship friendship-only. That gets old when everyone knows they should just go out together but they themselves keep saying they are "just friends." That drags out the story a little bit. 

Overall, this is a very enjoyable book that builds up the romance between the two MCs. A lot of detail is given to guide the readers through the photo shoot process and how Jamie and Scott interact in different settings. Scott seems to have made the most effort to get their relationship to work and sacrificed the most, but their individual back stories explained their actions. All of Scott's hard work paid off in the end and their love is worth it. I definitely recommend this for those who want a quick read with a great romance. 

Excerpt 1: 

The model turns his head to follow Isaac’s gaze. And, of course… it’s Jamie. Scott’s intake of breath is so sharp that he has to cough to cover the sound. Because Jamie Donovan is even more beautiful in person.

Scott stares open-mouthed for a minute.
amie purses his lips and raises both his eyebrows when he sees Scott standing there, obviously confused by his presence, or perhaps annoyed at the blatant ogling that Scott is indulging in. He looks down to Isaac, giving him the same questioning look.

“This is Scott Parker, our art director for the day,” Isaac mumbles around the pins between his lips. He flips a strand of hair out of his face, but it immediately falls back to its original position.

Scott steps forward and smiles. “Yvonne’s got the flu,” he says, unable to think of anything else to say.

“I know,” Isaac replies. “She fill you in on the concept?”

Scott nods. He needs to give him Yvonne’s notes and try to get organized for the shoot, but instead, he walks around behind Isaac and takes in the full outfit: skinny-legged grey trousers and a jacket that looks to be a cross between a leather bomber and a straightjacket. It looks amazing on Jamie.

“Hi,” Scott says, extending his hand.

Jamie looks down at it like it might burn him and slowly drags his eyes back up to Scott’s face.

“Charmed,” he says with a lifted eyebrow. His voice isn’t as deep as Scott would have thought, but it has a seductive, raspy quality.

Scott’s eyes follow Jamie as he leans forward to look in the mirror, attempting to fix his already flawless hair. It’s swooped up in an overdramatic pompadour that should look ridiculous, but Scott thinks it looks perfect, and he almost says so before he realizes he’s still holding his hand out and Jamie has completely left him hanging.

Scott slowly withdraws his hand and shoves it unceremoniously into his pocket. “Likewise,” he mumbles under his breath.

Yvonne wasn’t kidding. This kid’s an ice queen. It’s kind of annoying. It’s also kind of hot.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Adina Falling

A former graphic artist, Carrie Pack turned to her early career experience as the backdrop for her first novel. She lives in Florida with her husband, where she teaches advertising writing at a local college.

Giveaway: Carrie will be awarding a $25 Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Barnes and Noble GC and a print edition of Designs on You (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You should follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning! The tour dates and stops can be found here:


  1. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a guest on your blog!

  2. Great excerpt - this sounds fun! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  3. The book sound great and I love the cover. Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. I enjoyed reading the excerpt and the hints the future story as well as the immediate impressions you have of the characters