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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year's Eve from Romance Books '4' Us!


Photo: Flickr: ori2uru's photostream

Monday, December 30, 2013

Stop and Breathe



First, I want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season!



I had to make sure that got into the post. :) You see, it has been a c-r-a-z-y holiday season this year. With the USA Thanksgiving arriving later than normal in November, we all missed a week of planning between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not to mention the fact that my Christmas cards arrived late, and my mother decided to hold my extended family Christmas celebration early... Well, you can see how things quickly got out of control.

But now all of that craziness is behind me, sort of. The house is a mess, and with the kids and dh home, there is constant eating, laughing and chaos, lol. Let's just say that not much writing is getting done. On one level, this is incredibly frustrating for me. I have both personal and contract deadlines that I need to meet to stay on schedule. (See the end of this post for my tentative releases for the beginning of 2014.) For me, serenity won't come until January 2nd, when everyone goes back to school and work, and mommy has a little peace and quiet.

But that's okay. Those of you who know me well, know that I'm a workaholic. This is something that has been a part of my personality my whole life. I work hard, often pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion to get something done and done right. It can be easy for me to lose that coveted "life-work balance" and throw myself into my work, forgetting to eat, shower, even breathe.

This is where my family comes in. Well, okay, my husband. I recognized early on that this guy is critical in keeping balance in my life. Without his influence (and incredible patience), I probably would have worked myself into a grave a long time ago. He knows that there is more to life than work--even work you love--and it's important to stop every once in a while and breathe.

This message (stop and breathe) has really hit me hard this holiday season. This is mostly because it's probably the last year that my eight year old will believe in Santa. She has already started asking questions, and while dh and I have been rather vague, I can tell that the magic is fading. It won't be long before she's that skeptical teenager. You know the type... those kids with an ipod and ear phones, the ones who completely ignore their mom and dad.



As writers, it's so easy to get lost in our work. Our characters are seductive, and our plots intriguing. This is good, because if we're captivated by our stories, then our readers will be, too.

It's equally important to remember to stop and breathe. I don't mean literally breathe, although that is important, too. I mean stop, close your eyes, and commit to memory those precious holiday moments, because they'll be over before you know it. Years from now, what will you remember from this Holiday Season? Make sure that you create those special moments so that not only you, but your family will remember this holiday for years to come.

As for me, my husband has once again ordered a "internet free" zone over the holidays, lol. I'll be (trying) to put aside my computer and just enjoy the moment this holiday season.

How about you? What are some of your family traditions? What are you doing this holiday season to make sure you and your family stop to breathe?

And as always, here's my upcoming release schedule for the first quarter of 2014. Be sure to sign up for my Newsletter in the right side bar of my website for the most up-to-date information concerning my new releases.

Suzanne's Tentative Release Schedule for Q1 2014


Seduction in the Sun 2

December 
Seduction in the Sun (Releases Dec. 31st - THAT'S TOMORROW! Be sure to follow me on Facebook so that you'll get all of the buy links when they go live!)

 January 
The Great Escape in Audio (Ecstasy Spa)
Whispers re-releases in ebook AND print

February
Conquista (Book #2 in the Jungle Heat Series)
Pressure Point in Audio (Ecstasy Spa)

March
A Little Bit Daring from Ellora's Cave (Book #2 in the Small Town Seduction Series)
Bonded in Hope from Siren Bookstrand (Book #3 in the Warlock Mating Chronicles)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Years Resolutions


Here we are at the end of another year, and where has the time gone?  For me this year went by faster than any other, and I don't know why.  I didn't do any more than usual; in fact, I think I accomplished less.  The reason for this could be age and what it represents for some of us.  I'm slowing down and not doing as much as I used to. 

This brings me to the time of the year when we all think of making New Years resolutions.  Sometimes I wonder why I bother to make promises I usually can't keep.  It has come to me that to make resolutions doesn't mean you have to keep them, but you have to try to do better. 

If I make a resolution and only keep it 3, 6, or 8 months I've accomplished something.  It may not be for the whole year, but it is better to complete some of what you want to do than none of them. 

All of this being said, I have more New Years resolutions for this year:

Personal resolutions: 

1.  Spend more time with hubby and family because they won't be here forever.

2.  Contact friends more often (especially those far away)

3.  Exercise (a must)

4.  Get together with friends more than once every three or four months.

5.  Clean the house

You see what's at the bottom in those resolutions.  lol

Professional resolutions:

1.  Never ever do a blog tour around a holiday.

2.  Finish two short stories and submit.

3.  Finish two novels and submit.

4.  Promote next short story. 

 I have no idea how many of these I'll be able to keep, but I bet I keep some of them. 

Enjoy the rest of 2013 because it won't be here again.  I hope 2014 is a healthy and Happy New Year for all of us. 

Best always,

Sandra K. Marshall
http://www.skaymarshall.com
http://www.sandramarshallblog.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/sandra.marshall.98

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Guest Blog: Lily Harlem: Oral Gratification



Oh, you dirty lot, I can hear you snickering from here! What on earth do you think this blog post is about? Sex? Blow Jobs? Long, slow licks? No, I’m talking about food in the erotic romance books that we all love to read.

I recently read a novel which, for several reasons didn’t hit my spot. It didn’t do the job of engaging me in the story or making me care about the characters and I think one of the problems was that they never ate. Not a morsel, not a single scrap of food in several months on a timeline. They just didn’t need to, so it seemed, which was quite unbelievable.

Off course there are amazing books out there where the author hasn’t bothered with scenes of the protagonist/s eating and it doesn’t matter in the least. Thrillers have to keep the pace up, and eating isn’t thrilling (well, to most people). A short story might be over and done with before any hunger pangs set in.

But food can be a really useful tool to enhance storytelling. Another layer to add atmosphere and an indicator of things going on beneath the surface.

Need any more convincing of how fabulous food can be for fictional characters? Watch this delicious scene from 9 ½ weeks, a classic film that still holds me mesmerized.

Mmm, so now I’ve got your attention!

But back to the written word. How can food be used, well, some food has deep symbolic roots the author can work with. It can reflect regional tastes, enhance the visual of the world that’s been created and almost, if it’s done right, have the reader imagining the tastes the characters are enjoying. I’m thinking of the first story in my Hot Ice series, Hired , when the hero and heroine are having lunch. See if you can picture where they are…



“Don’t fight it, I’m not.” He paused as the waitress set down plates of barbequed fish and bowls of vibrant salad glazed with a honey and mustard dressing.
 “Anything else?” she asked, rubbing her hands on her floral apron and squinting in the sunshine.
“No, this is perfect,” Logan said, his gaze not leaving mine. “Absolutely perfect.”

Brooke and Logan are on a beautiful tropical island and enjoying an al fresco meal at a quaint harbor village. Did you get it? If not the harbour, it’s certainly a fresh, summery dish that’s light and full of flavour and one that could be associated with holidays in the sun and Caribbean Islands.

Food can also indicate the time of year in which the story takes place. In my novel Cold Nights, Hot Bodies, the couple have just enjoyed dinner in an English country pub with friends…

The meal was fantastic and well worth the walk. The landlord made the cottage pie himself and served it still wearing his blue-and-white striped apron. It seemed none of his staff had turned up for work but it didn’t worry him since the pub was so quiet and he was a jack-of-all-trades.
The conversation between the four of us flowed easy and light. Rachel and Jeremy certainly seemed well matched and very comfortable with each other. Jeremy even went as far as spooning chunks of his chocolate torte into Rachel’s mouth.
It was cozy by the fire and after a few glasses of wine and sitting within the curve of Shane’s arm I began to feel my mood soften to one of utter contentment. I could stay here forever.

Oh, transport me there right now! I love to snuggle up with Mr H in our local pub before a log fire and with a nice meal warming my belly and a glass of Merlot to hand – sigh!

This little snippet, also from Cold Nights, Hot Bodies, tells a tale of it’s own about the morning after the night before…  

Breakfast arrived, a fabulous spread of smoked salmon, eggs and fresh fruit, another pot of coffee and a basket of croissants and Danish pastries. I tucked in eagerly as Shane reached for a white envelope balanced against two glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice.
“What’s that?” I asked.
He read it with a serious expression then looked up at me and grinned. “It seems the hotel is advising guests to avoid travel. The lane to the nearest main road is impassable because of the snow.”
I cocked my head and nibbled on a slice of melon.
“They’re offering a fifty percent discount to stay tonight,” he said, “No one coming in, no one going out, they’re as stuck with us as we are with them.”
My heart flipped with hope. Was my one-night stand about to turn into a two-night stand?

Mmm, that makes me hungry and the thought of a beautiful breakfast like that delivered after a night of intense exercise between the sheets is just perfect.

The mention of food can also show emotion and the relationships between characters. Missed meals indicate stress and urgency but so can eating peanut butter out of the jar with the biggest spoon in the drawer or wiping out all six portions of chocolate mousse chilling in the fridge. In Breathe You In – which by the way is on special offer this week – Kate is racked with grief in the beginning of the book but as life takes a turn for the better, that’ll be meeting Ruben Strong, she puts on weight and is pleased with that her curves are returning. Food in this case shows an upward curve in the character’s emotional well being and several times she digs in hungrily to cream cakes and picnics when she’s feeling positive.

A wonderful meal can also offer amazing sensory data for the reader and in Dessert, sushi eaten from a naked woman is what gets my hero John in a very aroused state. Here’s a snippet…  (EROTIC material)

I glanced at the woman again. As her chest rose and fell with her slow breaths her breasts shifted slightly. She had a freckle beneath her left nipple, on the downward slope toward the heavier underside. My dick responded to my perusal of such a perfect set of tits, my shaft filling and pressing up against the zipper of my suit pants.
Damn.
“She has bathed in fragrance-free soap and her body will warm the sushi and sashimi to perfection,” Rai said. “As you can see she has absolutely no body hair for us to worry about.” He looked pointedly at the aperture of her thighs and I couldn’t help but follow his gaze. The satiny skin of her outer labia was a fraction darker than the rest of her, a little rosier than the just-baked-biscuit look she sported everywhere else.
I shifted on my seat, irritated by my arousal when Rai was so calm and matter of fact. I guessed years of dojo discipline could come in handy in more ways than one.
“The girls have many hours of training, learning to lie still and quiet. For they are not allowed to move or speak throughout the meal, though if they feel they are touched inappropriately they ring.” Rai pointed to the brass bell just within reach of our living plate. It had a red tasseled pull string and a fire-breathing dragon etched onto the dome. “If the minders hear the bell, all diners in that booth are physically removed and will never be allowed back to The Geisha Plate.”
“Oh, okay.”
“You understand that there must be such rules to protect the girls who work here.” “Yes, of course.”
 “And you must also understand that The Geisha Plate does not advertise its unique style of serving Japanese cuisine. As you are my guest, it is my duty to ask you not to discuss the evening’s unconventional serving methods with anyone.”
“Well, no, of course not. If that’s what you want.”
“Some Western and Eastern cultures see nyotaimori as degrading. But for many Japanese, we see sushi as an art form and it should be a delight to every sense. What better way to serve it than on a truly beautiful woman?”
“Well, I love sushi and I have to say I love women too, so I couldn’t agree more.” I held out my glass and had a sudden rush of appreciation for my supplier who had thought to treat me to such a unique experience.
Rai filled my glass and his. We drank once more.

Do you agree with me? Do you think food/eating can enhance a story? Or do you think it detracts from the important action? As a reader, do you enjoy culinary touches in a book? As an author, do you use food as an element of your writing? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lily

PS – Oh, and special offers I have running this festive week for anyone with new Kindles, or, if you just like a bargain…

Lily Harlem




Stories for When the Sun Goes Down – special Christmas week price for a collection of ten of my short stories.






 Breathe You In – on discounted promotion.

Co-authored books, special offers from Harlem Dae.




Good Cop, Bad Cop – FREE until 29th of December.











The Novice Book #1 Sexy as Hell Trilogy – permanent low price to whet your appetite for Victor’s dark journey into the world of BDSM.

Sexy as Hell Box Set – cheaper than buying all 3 books separately plus 3 bonus spin-off stories!

Lily Harlem Links




Friday, December 27, 2013

A Christmas Story?

It's not too late to read a good Christmas story.

I'd like to present my Christmas story. A two for one.
My new eBook, Matrix Crystal Christmas, which follows, Matrix Crystal Hunters, is now available: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GJCNBAY
Matrix Crystal Christmas is made up of two short stories (one erotic and one sweet) for the fans of my novel, Matrix Crystal Hunters, who told me that they wanted to know what happened next.

In Crystal Flower Christmas: Vach and Maya are on a mission to undam the Laonooco River for the drought stricken region. As heartache fractures their marriage, will the gift of a crystal flower mend their relationship or break it beyond repair?

In Crystal Clear Christmas: Plague has struck the village of Zama and the citizens blame the only human left on Zenevieva, Maya. Will Vach make the ultimate sacrifice to save his wife?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Janice's website: http://janiceseagraves.org/

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What to Buy With Your Christmas Money That Will Make You Feel Sexy

1. Fancy lingerie...and wear whatever you buy! Don't keep these items hidden in a drawer. Wear them everyday to confirm that "I am sexy" feeling!



2. Dresses, top, sweaters, that cling to show off your curves...lower cuts show off your cleavage! Stand tall and strut your stuff!




3. High-heeled shoes give you that long-legged look to capture a man's attention as your hips wiggle with your confident, feminine walk.

4. Treat yourself to a session at a hair salon. Try a new look; maybe wear your hair long, presenting that "Hollywood" celebrity sexy look, creating a alluring image.

5. Throw out your make-up and buy new items. Emphasize your best facial feature...perhaps your eyes or full lips.









6. Get a pedicure and polish those nails. Toenails, too, can make you feel feminine.


7. Expensive perfume. Find a scent that you like and mixes well with your body temperature to give off that wonderful aroma a man will recognize as yours.



8. Satin sheets. That wonderful feeling of satin running along your skin will tingle and spark your sensitive areas.





What will YOU buy with your Christmas money?

Photos: Flickr: indiewench, Tiago Riberio, gabriel.georgina, Kylie Balough, rev-d, and Mariano Kamp's photostreams.
http://www.mariannestephens.net

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Romance Books '4' Us!
And Happy Other Holidays, too!


Photo: Rockshots.com

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

HOLIDAY MOVIES FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE




It’s Christmas Eve and my turn to blog. When the festivities of Christmas day are over and you can breathe again, relax, take off your shoes, prop your feet up, have a glass of wine and watch holiday movies.

In an effort to help you choose which ones to watch, I’ve listed a few of my favorites.



“She can’t cook.”
 “She can’t cook?”
 “No, but, oh, my, what a wife!”

If you’re like me and you love Christmas romance movies, you’ll recognize the above exchange. It comes at the end of one of my favorite romantic comedies, Christmas in Connecticut, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan.

 I discovered Christmas in Connecticut decades ago, before VCR’s. In those days, near Christmas, I would scour TV Guide to see when the movie was playing again and hope it wasn’t in the middle of the night. (Did I mention I’m a TV and movie junkie?) I now have it on DVD so I can watch any time I want. Barbara Stanwyck is one of my favorite actresses. I love the premise of this movie. Barbara is an independent, single career woman who lives in an apartment in New York. This is in 1945, mind you. She’s a writer for a women’s magazine. She can’t cook, but she writes a column about cooking and about her wonderful husband and baby and their farm in Connecticut. Of course, there is no husband, baby or farm. And Dennis Morgan, another favorite, plays a sailor, a war hero, who falls in love with her. Only he thinks she’s married. Quite racy for the time.

I grew up watching the romantic comedies of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties on late night TV. They inspired me to write romance. And for me the Christmas season is a treasure trove of romantic movies.

Holiday Affair with Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum, 1949, is another favorite. If you’ve never seen this movie, I urge you to find it if it’s available on DVD. Comcast On Demand shows it through the holidays. Or check TV Guide. The movie usually plays several times near Christmas. Janet Leigh is breathtakingly beautiful and Robert Mitchum is macho, handsome and totally sexy. Even though Janet’s character is almost engaged to another man, Mitchum’s character makes no secret of the fact that he wants her. Another racy story for the time. Holiday Affair is a favorite of my husband’s too. This movie was remade as a TV movie in the Nineties. I like the new version also but it can’t hold a Christmas candle to the original.




Another movie that’s not a romance, but is high on my annual list is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Chevy Chase is endearing as a dad who just wants to have an old-fashioned Christmas. Anything and everything that could go wrong does. Through it all, Chevy retains the dream of a perfect holiday.

This next also isn’t a romance, but I have to mention it. My favorite movie version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the 1951 adaptation with Alastair Sim as Scrooge. Many critics rate this as the best of all A Christmas Carol movies. I like the Nineties version with George C. Scott too. I also have the book and treat myself to a reading of it every Christmas season.

How could I forget that perennial favorite, White Christmas? I know it’s corny, but the music is great, the movie is colorful and festive and it will make you smile and laugh. And it has a terrific romance.

Of course, there’s It’s a Wonderful Life. This movie about a man realizing he’s had a most wonderful life after all and has all he needs in front of him will make you cry and want to hug your loved ones a little harder.

Then there are all the Christmas romance movies on Lifetime and Hallmark. My husband, who has never read any of my novels or short stories, is a real sucker when it comes to romance movies, especially Christmas ones. We watch all the Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movies together. My husband even cries at some of them. But he’ll deny this.

Because I love the Hallmark/Lifetime movies, I wrote a holiday romance, A Groom for Christmas, that is very much like those movies, with some intense love scenes. My book also touches on the things we hold dear about Christmas—family, rituals, love, joy. I’ve also written a new take on the classic Cinderella tale, A Cinderella Christmas, a fantasy filled with Christmas spirit, in more ways than one.

So there you have it. My holiday viewing guide. What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?

Blurb for A Groom for Christmas:
When a young woman hires her hometown’s former bad boy to be her pretend fiancé for the holidays, she finds she can’t wrap up her feelings as easily as a Christmas gift.
New York jewelry designer Graceann Palmer has two days to find a fiancé to bring home to Pennsylvania for the holidays so her matchmaking mama will quit fixing her up with jerks. The Falcon, a motorcycle-riding, leather-clad former high school crush, helped her out once before. Maybe he'll do it again.
Jake Falco, man of many mysteries, is back in town on a mission—one the people of Spirit Lake most likely won't appreciate. When Graceann presents him with her crazy scheme, it gives him something he's always wanted—a chance to get to know Graceann. It also gives him the perfect opportunity to add fuel to his project of revenge.
But as Jake and Graceann grow closer, their engagement-of-convenience begins to feel like the real deal—until Jake’s secrets are revealed.
Can a relationship that began with lies and secrets bloom like a rare Christmas rose into happily-ever-after?



Blurb for A Cinderella Christmas:
Jessica Gallo no longer believed in fairy tales or happy endings. And she certainly didn't believe she'd find her Prince Charming at Saks Fifth Avenue. Her Fairy Godmother thought differently.








Monday, December 23, 2013

Guest Blog: Krista Ames: When Do You Write Themed Stories?

***GIVEAWAY ALERT - CHECK BELOW!***

Why do you write themed stories...or any stories for that matter. Do you have a plan for the things you write? Honestly, this is an interesting topic to me because I've never in my life been able to plan when I'm going to write a specific story. I'm one of those in that I literally fly by the seat of my pants, mostly I think because it's what I'm used to. Having 4 kids doesn't give me much room for planning :)

This year I got lucky to get a Christmas romance novella in to my publisher at the last minute. It took me about a month to write which is good for me. I definitely had to push myself to stay on track but I usually get so frustrated because I just don't think about writing themed stories until the time is upon me.

For example, I love Halloween. During the weeks leading up to October 31st all these stories I'm seeing advertised, makes me wish I'd written one and gets the ideas churning in my brain but it'll have to be a next years submission. The only bad thing is, knowing I can't get it in until next year, I shelf it, forget about it and don't get back to it until it's too late again! Why I do this I'll never know but it really does irk me.

Besides the Christmas story that just released for this Christmas, I have had some other ideas for Holiday love stories so I'm trying to make a point to write them now so they can be ready for next year's Christmas submissions. Now If I can make myself do that for the rest of the Holidays I'd be all set.

I'm starting to see a pattern here and I think its sounding like I need to find a way to prepare myself a little better. I definitely know I can't plot out my actual stories, those usually come to me as I write but my biggest problem is not having the time to write something that has a time sensitive deadline, such as themed Holiday stories. So, I wonder if my family would think me nuts (or more nuts than they are used to) if I started playing my favorite Halloween movies in March or Christmas music in April? Maybe watching mushy Valentine love stories in October? Whatever the case, as the New Year approaches, my resolution is to plan better and maybe my book release schedule will start to pick up a bit and I'll actually be able to participate in holiday promo :) I'd be real curious to know how others handle their time with themed submissions :)

As far as promo, I'd like to share with you my newest release, Harper's Wish available now through Roane Publishing.

BLURB:
Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of year, but for Harper Donaldson it’s just another day. Orphaned at an early age, she doesn't have a single good memory of Christmas.

But, when a Santa’s Mailbox mysteriously appears in the lobby of the post office where she works as postmistress, Harper wonders what it could hurt to send her own letter to Santa.

Could he bring her the family she’d always wanted?

BIO:
Krista Ames is a full-time author, mom and wife and resides in northern lower Michigan with her husband and 4 children. Krista loves to hear from readers feel free to drop her a note at krista@kristaames.com

***GIVEAWAY***
A Christmas goodie bag to 1 commenter who can tell me what their favorite Christmas dish is. Please leave your email address in the text box with your comment! Giveaway ends on the close of the 26th and I'll draw a winner the 27th.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A bargain- just in time for Christmas!

Santa Wore Spurs!
Hot, hot, hot anthology with four bestselling authors sending you four hot Santa stories.
Print or Kindle
And your Christmas gift?
1. Kindle edition reduced to 99 cents
http://www.amazon.com/Santa-Wore-Spurs-Desiree-Holt-ebook/dp/B00GF7ADWW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387735701&sr=1-1&keywords=Santa+Wore+Spurs

2. Leave a comment. I'm awarding two ebooks: He Came Upon a Midnight Clear and Soul Dreams.

Tied Up for Christmas

Bree Donovan has a thriving career as an architect in Chicago but a long-term relationship with her sub has turned very bad and she needs to get away. A client meeting in Texas prompts her to take some time to recover. Rafe Morales has been searching for the perfect sub for a long time but there always seems to be something missing. When he meets Bree there is instant attraction between them. Watching a performance at a private dungeon they each realize what’s missing is the need to switch, to play both top and bottom. An erotic, lust-filled weekend leaves them wanting more. Much more. The question is: can they make it happen? 

Breath for Heaven

Cade and Abby have a history. Ten years ago they were in love. But something happened. Abby pushed Cade away and he never knew why. Since then, sparks fly when they’re together. Antagonizing one another has become their favorite sport. The only problem is… it’s all a front. They bicker because they both want the same thing – each other. A Christmas wedding brings them together and Cade is determined to learn Abby’s secret. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her love. Meet the King Family of El Camino Real – five brothers, one sister and a legacy as big as Texas. 

Hope for Christmas


Cord Dixon, Mr. Laramie in the world of western clothing modeling, loses his job because he refuses to sleep with his female boss. Christmas is coming, and his bills are due, so he takes the only job he can find. A mall Santa.
Socialite wedding photographer, Hope Carlisle’s life disintegrates when she ruins the wedding of the year. In one fell swoop, she loses her best friend, her business partner and her fiancé. Unemployed and needing a job fast, Hope takes a job as an elf photographer job at the local mall. She is not looking forward to her new job, until she meets her sexy Santa.
Individually, Hope and Cord’s lives seem to be a hopeless mess. But with the magic of Christmas in the air, they work together to reclaim their lives and find love in the process.

A Cowboy for Christmas

A blizzard, a diner, and two lonely people...can it be love at first sight?
Eli Chandler doesn't believe in love. After being burned, he's only looking for a little warmth for the hearth on a cold winter's night stuck in a blizzard in Colorado.
Catlin is alone at the diner, searching for her next big break in the storm to get home until a stranger walks in looking for some hot coffee and a meal.
Two ships passing in the night...can there ever be more?




Saturday, December 21, 2013

Name A Character in My Upcoming Book!

Hey romance readers! I'm offering you a chance to name a character in my upcoming book, The Gift of Something Grand, Book 3 of the Jamett & Joseph series.

I'm in need of a name (both first and last) for my hero's oldest sister. But in order for me to consider your suggestion (either your own name or a fictitious one) you must be a confirmed subscriber of my author newsletter.


Here's how it goes:
I will be sending out an exclusive newsletter to only my subscribers on December 28 asking for various name suggestions for my character. There you will find complete instructions on how to enter. After that, I will review all the suggestions and make my final choice on January 11th, 2014.

As a thank you:
  • Your name will also be mentioned in my "Acknowledgements" of the book for helping me come up with the perfect name for my hero's sister.
  • You'll receive the entire Jamett & Joseph series - autographed and sent to you - for FREE!
  • In addition, you will also get to check out the new cover for Book 2 of the Jamett & Joseph series, The Road to Something Better before anyone else.

Background info on the nameless character:
Photo: Dreamstime.com
  • She's in her early forties
  • She lives in KY but is moving with her husband out west.
  • She rescues, and/or boards and breaks wild mustangs for a living.
  • She is the eldest sister, and often the mother hen of the family.
  • Like all the other sisters, she's a rough and tough tomboy but with a sensitive side.
  • The current sibling names are Joseph Scarbrough (the hero), Jesse, and Lindsey.

I hope you'll give thought to helping me name my poor nameless female character. Just sign up below and wait for instructions on December 28th.
*Remember, you must be a confirmed subscriber to get in on this exclusive opportunity.

Thank you so much ahead of time and Merry Christmas!



Friday, December 20, 2013

Interview of Author Vicky Burkholder

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Vicky Burkholder.



Latest Book: The Emerald Key

Buy Link: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com



BIO:
Vicky Burkholder resides in Pennsylvania near the area where her ancestors settled in 1741. She lives in a three-generation home and is lucky enough to have two other writers in residence. At various times in her life, she has been a journalist, writer, editor, teacher, short-order cook, computer specialist, DJ, and librarian. Her writing spans the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and romance lines from YA to adult. No matter the age or genre, all of her books have a touch of romance in them and have to have a happily ever after ending. Vicky can be reached through her blog: http://www.vickyburkholder.com/

Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: I squeeze in writing after I get done with my day job (I’m an editor!) during the week and as much as possible on the weekends. And once a year, I go on a four day writer’s retreat with my local RWA group – and that’s when I get most of my writing for the year organized.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: At least a little. Actually, there’s a lot of them I wish was me! I’d love to be able to flick my fingers and have things happen.

Q: Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
A: It depends on what book I’m working on at the time. Still, if I was forced to say, I’d have to go with Betzl – a secondary character in my first book, Akashan’te. Betzl wasn’t even supposed to have a name. He was just a servant, but he decided differently and turned out to be a lot more than even I knew.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: I listen to music – either New Age instrumental, or easy listening (especially oldies like Peter, Paul & Mary) or Josh Groban. I like it soft and mellow.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: I decide on their personalities and do searches for names that fit those meanings. I also ask my grandkids for ideas!

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Grow a thick skin. This is not a business for people who are easily discouraged. You have to be able to take rejection and poor reviews in stride. Yes, it hurts. Cry a little. Rant a little. But then, get back to work.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: Start sooner! I always wanted to be a writer but let life get in the way. It was all good experience which I have used in my work, but still… start sooner!

Q: What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: A cozy mystery. I love them and my crit partner writes them so well. I’d love to see what I could do with one.

Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: Believe it or not, I have 132 stories either completed or nearly completed (I’ve been at this a while) that I’m working on. All are organized into computer files as well as paper files with details on spreadsheets in a spiral notebook.

Answer all these, please.
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: Halloween – it’s just a couple of days from my birthday and I always had fun with it.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I was the first female DJ on my college radio station (up ‘til then, girls weren’t allowed to do that sort of thing – we weren’t smart enough! Hah! We showed them!).

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A teacher – and a writer. Managed to become both.

Q: Favorite food.
A: Soup. Especially ones like Chicken corn soup, ham-bean soup, minestrone, and my dad’s beef vegetable soup. They have to be thick, stick to your ribs, and homemade.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Mint green tea, iced or hot. Love it. Or a good apple cider.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Chilly winter nights, but only if I can stay in with hot cider/cocoa and warm fuzzy blankets.

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Going to the big island of Hawaii.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: Splitting myself into more than one of me so I could get everything done I need to!

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Blogs: http://www.vickyburkholder.com
http://www.victoriaallenromance.com/
http://thewholeshebangsite.wordpress.com/
Twitter: Vicky Burkholder
FB: Victoria Allen
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books – wa Vicky Burkholder
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave – wa Vicky Burkholder & Victoria Allen

BLURB:
For centuries, four women have held the keys to Lemuria, a land where magic is the norm. They and their protectors are all that stand against The Brotherhood, a group of exiles who want nothing more than to go back, and control Lemuria and the gateway.

Cassandra Richards, keeper of the emerald key has grown up knowing about her powers but not about the amulet she wears or why it is suddenly so important. Stalked, kidnapped and threatened with a horrible death, she must turn to the one man who scares her more than the Brotherhood. They’ll just take her body. Nicodemus will take her soul.

Nic wants nothing more than to protect Cass but he can’t do that if she won’t let him. Nor can he deny the pull she has over him, but he’s not sure if he’s under a witch’s spell, or something deeper. Both Nic and Cass struggle to deal with their powers and their attraction while on the run from a stalker with murderous intent.

Bound through time to protect the key to magic, Nic and Cass discover that true power lies not in control, but in the magic of love.

EXCERPT:
He reset the alarm and took the laptop into the bedroom where he sat it on a dresser. Soft music came from the bathroom and his blood heated. How had he gotten so lucky to find this woman who fit him so perfectly? In all his travels, in all the world, he’d never met anyone like Cass; never been drawn to another woman as he was to her.

He did a quick check of the cabin, ensuring all the locks were secure, including the new ones he’d installed. He also made certain his guns were loaded and close to the bed. The sword he placed atop the headboard. Finally satisfied he’d done everything he could to ensure their safety, he entered the bathroom, and stopped.

The vision in front of him stole his breath. Cass leaned back in the tub, her long auburn hair fanned out on the ledge. Candles gave the room a soft glow and he inhaled the aroma of lavender and vanilla. Her eyes opened and she smiled at him. He forgot to breathe.

Nic stripped out of his clothes. A week ago, he would never have thought of allowing a woman to see him naked, but Cass had shown him that his scars didn’t matter. He watched as her eyes widened, not certain if the gold flames he saw reflected there were from the candles, or something deeper within her.

The tub was large enough for two but when he approached, Cass shifted forward so he could sit behind her. He eased down into the warmth and wrapped his legs around her. Her hair floated on the water and he gathered up the length.

“I haven’t washed it yet,” Cass said.

“Allow me. Shampoo?”

She handed him a bottle and he squeezed some of the thick liquid into his hand. He massaged the gel into her scalp, rubbing her head all over. His hands moved down to her neck and shoulders where he worked the knots out of tight muscles. Her mews of satisfaction forced a groan from him. Finally, he rubbed the lather through the rest of her hair.

“Rinse?” he asked.

She removed the faucet head and passed him the hand-held sprayer he used to rinse her scalp. Finished, he pulled her back against him and ran his hands over her chest and belly, working his way lower.
***
Cass sighed as she leaned back. This was what it was like to be held by a man who loved her. To feel his solid strength at her back, his hands soothing her, his need obvious.


Anything else you’d like to add?
Just my thanks to a RB4U for being such a great place and wonderful people. Thank you.

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