Winner: Cassandra Hicks!
Military hero fans…brace yourselves! Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock have new releases to tell us about. Pardon me while I droooool…
Join us as Catherine and Joanne tell us all about romance with the military man! Yuuuuum! AND one lucky commenter will be chosen at random to win a copy of FULL SURRENDER by Joanne Rock and GUARDIAN by Catherine Mann.
First…let’s get a couple visuals and a little story line…
GUARDIAN by Catherine Mann
THEY’D DO ANYTHING FOR COUNTRY.
After a dark ops malfunction, Major David Berg finds himself dead center in a military trial. It’s a race against time to root out the truth, and Major Sophie Campbell isn’t making that any easier. The hot JAG wants to bring down David’s unit and fast. His testimony is crucial to winning a case that will make her career. All Sophie has to do is ignore this witness’s unflappable charm, his unnerving good looks, and a strong, solid presence that commands her attention.
FULL SURRENDER by Joanne Rock
Some men just know how to help a girl out…
It’s a heck of a risky shot. But five years after an ordeal in Iraq, camerawoman Stephanie Rosen’s mojo has gone MIA. There’s only one place she’ll find it…and that’s with the onetime fling who set her fantasies—and panties—ablaze five years ago!
Lieutenant Daniel Murphy’s nights at sea have been haunted by dreams of Stephanie and the brain-melting chemistry between them. Now he’s on leave, and when Stephanie asks him to resurrect her long-lost libido, Danny doesn’t think twice. Now he has twenty days to remind her what she needs. Twenty days to take his time and drive her to the edge.
Twenty days to find complete satisfaction…and full surrender.
Now…let Catherine and Joanne tell you all about…
Romancing the Military Man
In love with a guy in uniform? Military romance author Catherine Mann has loads of experience wooing a man devoted to his country and his calling. Helped out by Joanne Rock, her long time critique partner who has a military story of her own on shelves this month, here’s a primer for romance with a service member!
10- Do you like airplane lore? Know your M16s from M4A1s? You can wow your military guy by brushing up on a little knowledge from his world.
9- Gettysburg, here we come. Pack a picnic and take in a military site for a date. Whether it’s a historic battlefield or a local strategic fort that still gives tours, you can take interest in his world.
8- Have bags, will travel. Embrace your inner tourist because you’ll be traveling if you fall for a military man! Our advice is to make friends with your GPS and be game for anything.
7- Make friends with Skype. If you’re not already video chatting, you’ll want your own account. Because even though you’re traveling the country to keep up with your military man, chances are his job will take him far from you more often than you like. Skyping helps close the distance.
6- Every day is Independence Day! While your guy is saving the world, it’s important to be self-sufficient back home. Loving a military man might mean unclogging your own garbage disposal.
5 – His friends. Need a hand when your car won’t start and your guy is overseas? You’ve got a military base full of friends to the rescue! No friend is as supportive as these guys who feel as honor-bound to support one another’s families as they do to serve their country.
4-Your new friends from around the world. What a joy to connect with military families from other countries, sharing common interests while learning from their unique experiences in different places. You’ll broaden your horizons with this treasure trove of lifelong connections.
3-Tap into your inner interior designer, because you’ll have the opportunity to decorate many homes over the years. And it takes a special flair to bring life and color to those drab military quarters.
2-Exotic foods – You’ll be picking up exciting new recipes from around the world to tempt the palate.
1-Understanding – these men are often short on words but rich in experiences and deep emotions. There’s something to be learned from that!
If you could Skype with anyone right now, who would that be? One lucky commenter will be chosen at random to win a copy of FULL SURRENDER by Joanne Rock and GUARDIAN by Catherine Mann.
FMI, they can be found online at:
Elisabeth Barrett and I are Twitter-buddies. Meeting online is a funny thing. You never know if those you meet and develop friendships with online will turn out to be the same in person as they seem in type. I finally met Elisabeth at RWA Nationals in Los Angeles, and I’m happy to say that Elisabeth is even sweeter and funnier and more engaging in person — and I thought she was pretty darling on Twitter :).
I love having friends on the blog who are also fabulous authors, and Elisabeth is here today to chat about her upcoming release, Blaze of Winter, book two in her Star Harbor series. And she’s giving away a NetGalley Preview copy as well!!
First, a little about Blaze of Winter:
Winter heats up in this hot new Star Harbor romance, as another sexy Grayson brother, a wickedly handsome writer, plots his happily ever after with a sweet stranger.
Frustrated with her job in Boston, social worker Avery Newbridge welcomes the opportunity to reassess her life when family asks her to help manage the Star Harbor Inn. Trying to figure out her future is overwhelming enough, but she doesn’t count on distraction in the form of one Theo Grayson, the gorgeous, green-eyed author who she knows is trouble from the moment he saunters into the inn.
Not only does he have a talent for writing swashbuckling adventures, but Theo also has a soft spot for big-hearted damsels in distress, especially a woman who’s great at helping everyone—except herself. Avery’s demons challenge him, but for desire this hot, he isn’t backing down. With every kiss and heated whisper Theo promises her his heart . . . if only Avery is willing to open up and accept it.
Now great stuff from Elisabeth!
Elisabeth: Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Joan! I’m very happy to be here! And may I say that you, too, are as awesome in person as you are on Twitter! I know you want to jump right into questions, so let’s get started!
Elisabeth, your heroine in Blaze of Winter, Avery, is a social worker. This field of work fascinates me. How much research did you have to do in this area for the novel?
Elisabeth: Social work and the people who choose a career in this area fascinate me, too, and I did a ton of research in an effort to be as accurate as possible. I read extensively and spoke with several people who work in the field. I was fortunate enough to have a college friend who is a social worker. She was very generous with her time, and also referred me to two of her friends who also were social workers. After hours of interviews and emails, I finally felt like I had enough insight to shape Avery’s character. None of my social worker friends are like Avery, but they provided me with valuable information about the profession in general, and about situations that might or might not arise! It was gold, I tell you! Gold!
Your hero, Theo, is an author. As an author, you obviously have a lot of experience in this field. How is Theo different from you as an author? How is he similar? Does he take on any of your writing quirks? Did he surprise you in any way?
Elisabeth: Well, at the beginning of Blaze of Winter, Theo is struggling with a bout of writer’s block, and he needs inspiration in order to write. For me, writing isn’t so much an inspiration as it’s a compulsion. I don’t wait around for the muse to strike; I simply write. Sure, there are times when I think about a scene a little too much before I start writing, but I always tell myself that I can’t edit a blank page, and then I get cracking! Theo’s books are chock-filled with lore, morality and manliness, and mine … aren’t. Well, maybe lore. Morality and manliness, not so much. As far as similarities go, I think we both want to write the best possible books we can!
I absolutely love the names you chose for your characters: Avery Newbridge and Theo Grayson. How important are character names to you? How do you choose your character’s names?
Elisabeth: Thanks! I love their names, too. Character names are extremely important to me. First off, I want them to be real. Mr. B and I actually considered both Theodore and Avery as names for our children (we ended up choosing different ones), but that meant they passed the first test. Next, the name needs to match the character’s personality. Theo could never have been a Derek or a Kevin or a John. Not that those are bad names –they just didn’t match the character. Same with Avery. I toyed with a bunch of different female names before settling on that one. And here’s a tip: the best resource I’ve found for first names is the Social Security Administration index of baby names (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/). For surnames, the US Census has some interesting data as well (http://www.census.gov/genealogy/www/data/2000surnames/index.html).
Oooooh, thank you, thank you!! Talk about gold!! Oh, sorry. Got a little excited there…I too, love names! Now…back to you!!
Star Harbor is set in New England, yet you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. How did you get the details of your setting just right?
Elisabeth: I’ve been in the Bay Area for over a decade, but I grew up in Connecticut, and I spent many summers living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. The area is imprinted on my brain, and honestly, I miss it. I channeled some of that longing into the Star Harbor books, which are set around the clearly-defined New England seasons. Readers get to experience the pungent, salty aroma of the water in the harbor in summer, the way the wind blows the leaves from the trees in autumn, the mounds of snow pushed up on the sides of the streets, and the beauty of the first bright green buds of spring.
As native Californian, may I just say…jealous…. What was your favorite scene to write in BLAZE OF WINTER?
Elisabeth: Ooh, that’s tough. I really loved writing all the music scenes, since I’m a musician. I also loved writing the ice skating scene, where Theo teaches Avery how to skate. And there’s one closet scene I really enjoyed writing…but I won’t go into detail here about that. 🙂
Oh, now that’s just mean… Hrrrrumph. What would you like to tell your readers?
Elisabeth: Thank you for reading my books! And if you’re looking for more, Deep Autumn Heat, the first book in the series, is also available. Books 3 and 4–Long Simmering Spring (Cole’s story) and Slow Summer Burn (Val’s story)–will be released in 2013. I love to connect with readers, and you can follow me on all the usual social media channels, including: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads.
Thanks for being with us, Elisabeth! Best of luck with your upcoming releases. I know they’ll be a big smash…I’m going off to order mine right now! Have to see the closet scene now don’t I???
One reader will be randomly selected to win a NetGalley preview of BLAZE OF WINTER. Contest ends September 16th at midnight (EDT).The only thing you’ll need is a NetGalley account! Enter via Rafflecopter below!
Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicks off with Deep Autumn Heat and continues with Blaze of Winter (coming September 2012). Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children.
I’ve been a fan of Shannon McKenna’s novels for many years. She is a fellow Kensington author and I’m thrilled to have her here at the blog today with a fantastic interview. Both readers and writers with enjoy Shannon’s engaging personality in this interview as much as millions have devoured her sexy romantic thrillers.
Shannon has TWO giveaways to enter today. She’s giving away a book on today’s blog (just leave a comment) and a Kindle Fire on her ONE WRONG MOVE tour (enter Rafflecopter below)!
Let’s jump right in! Welcome Shannon!!
First and foremost – tell me about this wowza new book you’ve got coming out in a couple weeks! I’m so excited for ONE WRONG MOVE! It sounds like such an intense, complex and twisted story!
Gee, thanks for that delightfully enthusiastic lead-in! I’m so glad you’re looking forward to it! Here’s a bit of a description for you . . .
ONE WRONG MOVE
We met Alex Aaro raising hell in BLOOD AND FIRE, Bruno’s story. He tries not to attract attention, but fails utterly, every damn time. Fate has other plans for him—big plans. And now it’s his turn to face the fire.
Privacy. Solitude. To Alex Aaro, that doesn’t seem like so much to ask of life—for the world to let him keep his head down, make his money. But it can never be that simple. His crazy Aunt Tonya was dying. She’d spent more time in the nuthouse than out, but she was the sole family member he gave a damn about. Enough of a damn to blow decades of hiding from his Ukrainian mafiya clan. He would risk his life in the writhing snakepit that was the Aaro family, to say goodbye to a dying woman. It was stupid, irrational. Suicidal, even. And he couldn’t talk himself out of it.
And now his friend Bruno calls, just as Aaro lands in New York. He wants Aaro to take a scenic detour to a hospital in Coney Island, Brooklyn, for God’s sake, to do a favor for Nina, one of Bruno’s wife’s friends. A single woman friend. A social worker, out to save the world. The type of woman he would drive hundreds of miles to avoid. Some bullshit about translating the hysterical ravings of some roughed up Ukrainian woman who had attacked Nina with a hypodermic needle. He could not even count all the things there were to hate about this scenario, but he couldn’t say no—he owed Bruno. Owed him big, in blood and skin. But no one could have warned him about Nina’s eyes, her voice, the effect that they would have on him. Violence flares like wildfire—as swift and hot as the desire they can’t seem to control.
Nina Christie has way bigger problems than the surly interpreter that her friends are siccing on her. She’d been injected with some crazy unknown drug, and it is having effects on her that scare her to death. But when the bad guys who are looking for that drug close in, only the six-foot-four rock hard slab of lean muscle and seething bad attitude called Alex Aaro stands between her and an ugly death. The guy’s an unlikely hero, and a royal pain in the ass—and he also makes her pulse race and her lungs squeeze up until they won’t take in any air.
Nina has her own good reasons for being wary about men, and Aaro embodies them all, in one lethal package. But Nina’s about to unlearn everything she thought she knew, about men, about herself, about everything. Because the two of them hold the clues to a deadly secret, and as their world goes up in flames, they must race against time together, and face their deepest fears to unveil it before it destroys them . . .
Your hero and heroine in ONE WRONG MOVE, Alex and Nina (great names, btw!), are drawn together by the threat of the Ukrainian mafia and find themselves on both a run for their lives and a race against time. In the midst of that insanity, you’re going to manage to give them amazing sex and an HEA. How in the hell do you do that? (I’ve always wanted to ask!)
That’s a really hard question, because I just don’t know! All I know is that if I start, and don’t let myself stop, eventually the book will get written! The process of writing is still an agonizing mystery to me. The level of suffering and doubt remains constant throughout the process, although the reasons for suffering change over the course of the writing of the book. In the beginning, it’s the Terror Of The Blank Page, the fear that this time it will be a huge dud and everyone will hate my guts, and the pages that creep out are dull, stupid, boring, blah blah blah.
This goes on tediously for months, until the deadline starts to loom. Only then does the real story start to squeeze out of me. Then, right before or even some time after the deadline, it’s like a flash flood of bubbling ideas, cross-pollination of plot points, subplots sewing themselves up as if by magic, characters coming to life and surprising me—all of that is an exciting period, and would be my favorite if it wasn’t for the price I pay on the home front. Which is to say, the dirty house, the buzzing insomnia, the burned dinner, piles of dirty laundry, the angry kids who feel abandoned, the uncomfortable feeling of not having exercised my body for months . . . yikes. But I feel like I have to do my best for the hero and the heroine. After all the hell they’ve been dragged through, they by God deserve their satisfaction.
And as for hot sex in the midst of the suspense, well . . . I don’t know how realistic it is, (nor do I care!) but I always feel as if in these situations, so fraught with peril, that people have the chance to pull resources from deep inside themselves that they never knew they had. It is an opportunity to show a deeper, braver self—and a sexier self, too. And what makes a sex scene work for me directly correlates to how much the hero and the heroine care about it. They have to care, passionately, desperately, even if they’re trying very hard to play it cool, which they usually are. That’s crucially important, for me. The sex scenes reveal and reflect and develop the psychological and emotional connection between the hero and heroine, suspense sharpens it, and hopefully, it all bubbles up into a heady magic potion that transforms them both.
I’ve noticed the common use of family in your novels, Shannon. I very much enjoy the added complication and emotion this element adds to your stories. Is that the reason you use/involve family members often or do you have another underlying theme or interest in including families in your novels?
I didn’t think it through, it just happened. But I was happy that it did, because I like to see the hero and heroine relating to their families as well as to their love interest. It makes things more interesting, but also more complicated. There were times in some of the McCloud books where it seemed that the family issues were taking precedence over the romance, and that was difficult to control, because I had to do right by all of those relationships. So many readers, for instance, were furious with me at the end of FADE TO MIDNIGHT, because according to them, the reunion of the long lost and presumed dead Kev McCloud with his brothers was not satisfying enough, and that I didn’t devote enough time or pages to working out all of their complicated feelings about getting their brother back.
Damn, I was two hundred pages over word count at that point, and I couldn’t just give them a group hug and move on. So I let it ride, let it wait to the next book. Which meant people had to wait another year to see those guys talk it out! Oh, the grief I got for that decision. But I didn’t want to short-change those guys by rushing it. The McCloud guys are ultra-macho. Talking about emotion does not come easily to them in the best of circumstances. They are better by far at kicking ass. So, the short answer is, yeah, I like the messy complication of families, with all the difficulty that it entails. Both in real life and in my books!
Shannon, you are known for your steaming sexy suspense novels, but you’ve also written contemporary in the past. Can you speak a little to your writing preferences?
The steamy thing came about by pure chance. I certainly did not set out to write steamy. I was willing to try anything to get in the door—comedy, chick lit, whatever. The first category romances I wrote were written with Silhouette Desire and Harlequin Temptation in mind, but they were having none of me. I was fortunate enough to get picked up by Hilary Sares, who was editing the Precious Gem line of romances, which were marketed directly to Walmart. Five books later, that line folded, and I got a break to write a steamy novella in an erotic romance anthology at Kensington. I had no idea if I could pull it off, but Hilary advised me to let the sexual relationship be the vehicle by which the plot advanced and by which character was revealed. I took her advice, and it opened up a whole new world for me. I realized that I liked love scenes like that; long, winding, with many parts, many moods, many purposes. I’ve got a taste for it now. I can hardly imagine writing without having the element of eroticism! But in terms of other genres, I’d like to play around, with fantasy, maybe historical someday. For now, the romantic suspense is working for me, so I’m not going to mess with my good thing.
The publishing industry is changing so quickly, yet in so many ways it’s staying the same. It’s a complex, sometimes confusing and often scary place to be for those of us who don’t have your experience and hindsight. For both readers and authors, can you give us your version of how you see the changes in the industry affecting us in the near future? And can you tell us what is in your future—say a one year, five year and a ten year plan?
Hey, it’s scary for me, too! I’m in a total lather of fear and uncertainty about what to do, where to turn, what the smart thing to do might be with all the new information battering me every day. So much conflicting information, so many dazzling self-publishing success stories, so many dire warnings about the difficulties and dangers and time sinks and pitfalls! The one thing that I am sure about is that now, there are more options for us all, and that can only be a positive thing. New authors have a lot more possibilities for beginning their careers, what with self-publishing, blogging, etc, and people can build platforms on their own. Established authors no longer need to dread that their careers can be tanked by one poor decision on the part of their publishing house, because now, there are other ways to rebuild, even if sales numbers go down, for whatever reason. Lots of people who had terrible experiences with big publishing houses have been able to completely reboot their careers with these new options, and this is great, great, great. So I think, all in all, that the new developments are positive. As to what I will be doing in one year, five or ten—God, I don’t know! I don’t plan that far ahead. All I know is that I have to finish Miles’s story, and then write Sveti’s. But I know that I will still be writing, as long as I can hold a pen or bang at a keyboard. That’s for damn sure.
Thanks so much for having me, Joan! It’s been great posting on your blog!
Wow, what a fabulous interview! I’m beyond impressed…but then, I’m not surprised. If you’ve read Shannon’s work, you’ll know she’s an impressive author! 🙂
Shannon is giving away TWO prizes, a copy of one of her books at each blog stop on her tour AND a grand prize giveaway of a Kindle Touch!!! There are several copies of One Wrong Move, Blood and Fire, Ultimate Weapon, and Fade to Midnight up for grabs! Enter below!
Shannon McKenna is the NYT bestselling author of over ten action packed, turbocharged romantic thrillers, among which are the stories of the wildly popular McCloud series. She loves tough and heroic alpha males, heroines with the brains and guts to match them, villains who challenge them to their utmost, adventure, scorching sensuality, and most of all, the redemptive power of true love. Since she was small she has loved abandoning herself to the magic of a good book, and her fond childhood fantasy was that writing would be just like that, but with the added benefit of being able to take credit for the story at the end. Alas, the alchemy of writing turned out to be messier than she’d ever dreamed. But what the hell, she loves it anyway, and hopes that readers enjoy the results of her alchemical experiments.
1) To win a book: leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.
2) To win a Kindle Touch: Enter the Rafflecopter widget below!
TGIF!!! (Well, except for me…Fridays are my Monday…but I digress) HAPPY FRIDAY to everyone whose Friday is actually FRIDAY!! Whoot!!
Today, I have the fabulous ANGIE FOX with me talking about her fun new release, the first in her brand new MASH series, IMMORTALLY YOURS. And she’s generously giving away a copy too!! YAY!!
I met Angie through my critique partner Elisabeth Naughton very early on in my writing career and have been consistently awed by her work ethic, her spirit, her warmth and her humor. Angie’s flexibility, authenticity and masterful craft keeps her work at the top of my TBR files and stacks!
A little about IMMORTALLY YOURS…
IN THE WAR BETWEEN THE GODS…
No one patches up the incoming wounded like Dr. Petra Robichaud. Recruited by the gods for her uncanny medical skills, she’s the best M*A*S*H surgeon in the army. Along with a nosy guard sphinx,vegetarian werewolf, and otherparanormal paramedics, she bandages soldiers who are built like Greek gods (literally). But when one sexy immortal ends up on her operating table—half dead and totally to-die-for—Petra’s afraid she’ll lose her patient and her heart…
NOTHING IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN LOVE
Commander Galen of Delphi is one gorgeous but stubborn demi-god. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, Dr. Petra has to slip it back in—unwittingly revealing her ability to see ghosts. Now that Galen knows her secret, he’s convinced she’s part of an ancient prophecy. If the oracles are right, Petra could lead Galen’s army to peace. And if he seduces her on the way to hell and back? Heaven knows—all’s fair in love and war…
Now…let’s meet Angie….
Hi Angie, Welcome to the blog! To start off can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
Glad to be here! I write paranormal adventure/romance. I started off writing the New York Times bestselling Accidental Demon Slayer series, which is about a preschool teacher who finds out she’s a demon slayer and has to run off with her grandmother’s gang of geriatric biker witches (happens all the time, right?). Now I have a new series coming out about a group of paranormal M.A.S.H. surgeons.
Let’s talk about those paranormal MASH surgeons. Some say Immorally Yours is like the TV show M*A*S*H, turned on its ear. What made you want to tackle an otherworldly MASH unit?
I wanted to do something different. Plus, I love writing books that are not only about the hero and heroine, but also about the community where they live. A quirky, paranormal MASH unit sounded like a blast to write. Plus, I love books about special ops soldiers. They are too sexy. So I made my hero a tough-as-nails wounded warrior and my heroine is the doctor who saves him (in more ways than one).
How many books are going to be in the M.A.S.H. series?
IMMORTALLY YOURS is the first in a trilogy. The next two books will be out in February and August of 2013.
What can you tell us about Petra and Galen? How do they compare (if at all) to other characters you’ve created in other books?
Petra is one of the strongest heroines I’ve ever written. She’s stubborn, independent and used to being on her own. She’s also dealing with her own personal tragedy. Petra is a thoracic surgeon who has been drafted out of her practice in New Orleans and into the middle of this great paranormal war. Enlistments run until the end of the conflict, which for her will be a life sentence. Still, she manages to keep her dry sense of humor and she’s even created a new family, of sorts, among her colleagues at the MASH 3063rd.
The only thing she’s not prepared to deal with, it seems, is the hero, who bursts onto the scene first as a critical patient on her operating table and then as the only man who knows her secret ability. He discovers it while she’s saving his life. Unfortunately, her secret ability is forbidden by the gods and could get her killed – or worse. She’s survived so far by keeping her head down and now Galen is threatening that.
But he isn’t interested in hiding. Galen is a hardened special ops soldier, who has risked everything time and time again. He’s focused on his duty and determined to bring an end to the war. Petra and her ability will give him a means to do it. He’s not just an alpha, though. He’s very charismatic. And either by charm or by force, Galen will bring her onto his side. He needs to convince Petra that a) she can make a difference and b) she needs to trust him enough to risk eternal damnation. I mean really, it’s hard to talk a girl into that. But Galen isn’t one to give up. And like they say, all’s fair in love and war.
IMMORTALLY YOURS definitely has your trademark humor. Is it ever a challenge to rein it in for the more serious parts?
About a week after I sold Immortally Yours, I called my critique partner and said, “Oh my God, what did I just do?” Because, yes, my first series was lighter in tone, but this book is about war.
It ended up making me grow so much as a writer. One of the challenges – and the great joys – of writing Immortally Yours was balancing the humor with the stark tragedy of war. The darker emotional context makes the light moments even funnier, and the dark moments just tear your heart out.
Petra and her colleagues at the MASH 3063rd have been drafted until the end of the war. They’re living in this quirky, ad-hock camp, trying to make the best of it while they work long hours in the OR, putting soldiers back together – knowing that they’re probably going to see these injured heroes again and again – if they’re lucky.
Galen, himself, dies on Petra’s table in the first scene of the book. In this world, immortals can die. They’re hard to kill, but war is horrific and both sides have developed weapons to end lives in stark and brutal ways.
The underlying tragedy brings the oddball personalities in the camp together. They develop ways to keep their sanity and to create the kind of relationships that offer a port in the storm. That’s where a lot of the humor comes from.
What attracted you to the paranormal genre? What elements make a paranormal story a great read?
I love reading and writing paranormals because the genre is refreshingly different. You never know where the stories are going to take you. Each writer builds her own world and takes readers along for the ride.
For example, I wanted a gang of Harley riding biker witches to appear in the Accidental Demon Slayer books. They basically take Lizzie under their wing when she learns she has all these tricked out powers. It was so much fun coming up with ways for them to push Lizzie’s buttons and it was amazing to come up with an entire biker witch world.
The paranormal genre lets you do that. You can combine fantasy with reality. In fact, I made sure to get my “reality” down as well as possible. The “real” only enhances the fantasy.
It can be a challenge, though. The biker witches ride Harleys, and I’d never been on a motorcycle before. Plus, I had to figure out how to get Lizzie’s dog onto a bike.
I went online and learned about the Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club, made up exclusively of Harley riders and their dogs. I ended up meeting some of them, along with a few other bikers along the way. These bikers were so great to me. They hoisted me onto the back of their Harleys (with dogs in tow). They took me to biker rallies (note to self: don’t wear pink). And they laughed at me when I tried to put my helmet on backwards (I still say I was distracted by the Pomeranian wearing a tiny pair of motorcycle glasses).
These bikers answered my questions along the way, showed up at book signings. (It’s always fun to hear the Harley’s rumbling outside of the bookstore, not to mention getting to see biker guys in the romance aisle.) They gave me the background to make the biker part real so that the witch/paranormal aspect was believable as well.
Tell us about the creative marketing strategies for your books.
I’m all about creative marketing. It’s fun and my brain just thinks that way. Like for the Accidental Demon Slayer series, I developed the What’s Your Biker Witch Name quiz? It went viral, which has been a blast. You haven’t lived until you get emails from physicists in China telling you that their biker witch names are things like Wino Wally No Brakes and Two Date Tessa Hard Rider. And now for a shameless plug: you can get your biker witch name at: www.angiefox.com.
For Immortally Yours, I’m doing a quirky little viral program that is cracking me up right now because it is getting slightly out of control (which in my world, means things are going well). I’m going to offer readers an interactive experience that centers around the news network that is covering the war.
In this new series, PNN is the paranormal version of CNN. So I’m basically setting up the “official” PNN website to be like The Onion, only paranormal. It allows me to have a blast, while giving readers a taste of the series and immersing them in the world of PNN. Plus, it’s an entertaining way to poke fun at the love/hate relationship I have with 24-hour cable news. PNN kicks off at www.PNN-Network.com on August 23. The Twitter handle is @PNN_News13, and on Facebook, it’s simply PNN.
Enter below to win a signed copy of Immortally Yours! (US/Canada)
My fellow Kensington Brava author, Lucy Monroe, is with me today! Lucy’s got a HOOOOOT new book out — Dragon’s Moon, Book 4, Children of the Moon series from Berkeley Sensations. She tells us some fun facts about dragons (who knew!) and gives away a hardback copy of Moon Burning! Enter below!
He’s a dragon intent on saving his people from destruction by the Fearghall and she is a wolf who blames the dragon for the deaths of her brother and mother. They’re true mates, but will that be enough to overcome ancient prophecies, debilitating visions and a dragon’s fire?
When Erik, the only living dragon shifter, and prince of the Ean, killed her brother, Ciara was left alone to face her prophetic dreams. Now, in order to find the wolves’ sacred stone and save all the Chrechte from destruction, she needs her enemy’s help.
Erik was only protecting the children of his people, but that day in the forest left a mark on him as well. Controlling his dragon’s fire is the most difficult thing he’s ever done—until he and Ciara are forced to face not only their shared tumultuous past, but a hallowed bond stronger than they realize. As avowed enemies and predestined mates, their quest ushers them into a world of great danger, and a passion hotter than the dragon’s fire.
Here’s Lucy with…
Five Fun Facts about Dragons
While researching dragons for the writing of “Dragon’s Moon,” I ran across all sorts of fun and interesting facts about these mythical creatures. The first thing I realized was that the mythology of the dragon is as varied as the cultures that spawned it. And since we find Dragonology in European, Asian and Native American history, that’s a pretty broad spectrum.
Which leads us to…
Fun Fact #1: the concept of the dragon is one of the most prevalent common myths shared by multiple cultures across the globe.
Fun Fact #2: in Western Dragonology the dragon is often associated with women and female deities, defying the mistaken belief that women have always been perceived as the weaker sex historically.
Fun Fact #3: Eastern dragons do not have the same fearsome reputation for mayhem and destruction as Western dragons and are most commonly considered harbingers of strength and good luck.
Fun Fact #4: there are more sea living dragons in mythology than those who can fly and cast fire.
Fun Fact #5: the dragon in “Dragon’s Moon” is both the Prince of the Éan and the protector of his people, the only living drakon and considered myth among the Chrechte.
What about you? What fascinates you about dragons? What fact or tidbit is your favorite aspect to the current mythical dragon’s character?
I’ll be giving away a hardback edition of “Moon Burning” to one random winner, so, share your thoughts on dragons, romance . . . whatever! US/Canada shipping.
HAPPY SEPTEMBER!! I’m welcoming TAYLOR KEATING to the blog today! Taylor has a new release out — FAIR GAME, book 3 in the Guardian series! Yummy!! We’ve got a great interview and excerpt for you today and, of course, a giveaway of FAIR GAME!
First, a little about FAIR GAME:
Video-game designer River Weston has seen her world torn apart. The streets of Earth have filled with looting, sickness, and fighting, but River knows that she is in a unique position to help. Drawing on her Fae magic, she creates a computer-generated program called Hollow Man, designed to protect humans during battle. Worlds away, Guardian Chase Hawkins has finally returned to his own body after years of astral projection. His mission now that he’s back: retrieve River, who is walking a dark path without even knowing it, and strip her world of the technology that has brought it to ruin.
Hawk and his team arrive on Earth only to discover that River’s new computer program endangers the world all on its own. An old human virus has resurrected and mutated with a computer virus inside of Hollow Man, and it’s spreading uncontrollably. Hawk is convinced it’s too late to save Earth…but River isn’t ready to give up hope yet. River and Hawk find themselves on opposing sides, yet drawn together stronger than ever before. But a future with both of them in it could mean walking paths darker than either of them could ever have imagined.
Now…a little from Taylor — plus an excerpt!
- Taylor Keating is actually the pseudonym of your writing team—Catherine Verge and Paula Altenburg. I’ve always been intrigued by how two authors work together to create a novel.Can you tell readers a little about your process? The pros and cons?
TK – We work together especially well in that our weaknesses and strengths are opposites. Cathy is amazing at the storyline and envisioning the entire story. She also writes the fastest and drives the main plot, and usually ends up writing the love scenes. Paula, on the other hand, loves the secondary characters and enjoys editing. She cleans as she goes. We try to get in 30 new pages per week when we have a deadline. Of those, Cathy will probably produce 20 while Paula will edit, rewrite, and fuss with detail to make up the next ten. We talk on the phone every day and agree on what’s happening next. (Although Paula can get a little carried away with those secondary characters and their subplots – Cathy holds the whip!)
- FAIR GAME has a unique and fresh premise—a human disease and a computer virus merge to wreak havoc on Earth. Can you tell us a little about how this storyline developed.
TK – We wrote GAME OVER (book 1) as a video game that accidentally crosses with a virtual world. The heroine created the game to help people with limited mobility and inadvertently enhanced it with magic she didn’t know she possessed. MIND GAMES (book 2) was based on two people sharing a single consciousness and was more “real world.” For FAIR GAME (book 3), we wanted something that crossed the real world of book 2 with the heroine’s unique software programming abilities from book 1, and voila! We’re really happy with the results. We do think it’s unique.
- Your heroine, River, is Fae. I’ve become fascinated with the Fae over the last year after being introduced to the fabulous species through a secondary character in book by a new-to-me author.
TK – We didn’t really sit down and make a conscious decision about River being Fae, or having Fae characteristics, other than that we wanted her to have a special talent for earth magic. The Fae were a natural and recognizable fit. Other than that, we tried to make them our own.
- Where did your interest in Fae first come from and what is it about the Fae that draws you most?
TK – From reading classical fantasy and literature more than anything. The heroine was meant to be a world healer from the very beginning, and the Fae and their magic are symbols of that. We try to stay away from what we see as the current trend, while at the same time keeping in mind what’s selling. We like to write what interests us, but really, in the end the point is to write what readers want to read.
- Tell us a little about Chase (Hawk) and River. Why are they the worst fit for each other to begin with and the best match in the end?
TK – Hawk is damaged, cynical, with nothing left to lose. River is all about hope and the future. Hawk could have sucked all the life out of her. In the end, she gives him back his life and a reason to live.
- FAIR GAME is the third book in your Guardian Series. What’s next on your agenda?
TK – We have a new proposal sitting with our agent that we absolutely love, so stay tuned!
River stubbed her toe on cardboard boxes stacked in one corner of the dark attic and tried not to swear. With a pencil-thin flashlight tucked between her teeth she stood still for a moment, listening, hoping no one had heard her, but the house below remained silent.
She didn’t want her stepmother to know she was here. More importantly, she didn’t want Jake to know either. Her half-brother was too young for the problems life had thrust on him and it was better if he didn’t know about the shit going on in hers.
As River sifted carefully through the contents of the boxes, not sure what she was hoping to find but certain that whatever it was, it had to be here at her childhood home, she tried hard to swallow her worry for Hawk. She would have known if he were dead. She would have felt the hole. But he’d been gone for nearly two weeks, cutting himself off from her so that she could no longer sense his presence or feel his soul next to hers.
He’d said he would return for her, and the feminine part of her had wanted him to keep the promises he’d made to her no matter what.
Which just went to show that a woman could only rely on herself — exactly as she’d been taught by the father who’d raised her.
She had come here tonight, to her childhood home, in search of answers because of her father. Constable Jim Peters insisted he had been involved in top secret government experiments. River refused to believe it.
“Trust me,” Jim had said to her a few days before he, too, had disappeared. “Your father was no simple farmer.” His blue eyes looked tired as he rubbed a freckled hand through his graying red hair and complained about needing a haircut. “Was he overprotective?” he asked. “Did he ever go off without explanation for extended periods of time?”
She’d started to say no to the last because the disappearances had been so rare she’d almost forgotten them, but looking back, there had been at least three. She had no idea if there had been any in more recent years, when she had been less a part of his life. She couldn’t deny other oddities either. She had no idea how he’d earned a living. He could fix anything with an engine and four wheels. He’d taught her to shoot a gun, a rifle, and a crossbow, skills he’d later taught Jake. She and her mother had signed up for self-defense lessons and practiced with him. He’d taught them a few moves of his own. These had all been necessary skills in the world she’d grown up in after the war, and they proved nothing other than that her father liked to be prepared.
But neither did they disprove what Jim had tried to tell her, and River wanted Jim to be wrong. She wanted at least one part of her life to be true. If she couldn’t believe in her own father, what was the point of believing in anything?
River carefully replaced the last box. She’d found nothing other than the photos she’d already seen, the ones of the poor creature that had died in a mountain cave not too far from the house. She didn’t know where her father had gotten these photographs and that was what made her uneasy, although she refused to believe they meant anything bad. The man who had raised her had been honest and caring. Without a doubt he had loved her. He had not, however, always been open. She had to admit that.
As she slid the box farther back on the shelf, she met with resistance. Curious, she reached her hand in behind to see what was blocking it. Her fingers brushed cold, smooth metal. A familiar jolt of energy made her smile and she drew a long cylinder off the shelf.
This was the first toy she and her father had built together. Similar to a kaleidoscope, it could be held to the eye and the tube spun to create images. He’d been far more fascinated by it than she. Any time she’d played with it, he’d impatiently waited for his turn.
A branch scratched against the windowpane and River started, spooked by the sudden noise disturbing the stillness. She put the toy back on the shelf.
It wasn’t the noise that had unsettled her, she realized, the skin on her arms beginning to crawl. The house was too silent. No matter how quiet she’d tried to be, and she could be very quiet, Jake would have heard her. He had a sixth sense for things out of the ordinary, something he’d inherited from their dad.
She didn’t walk to the door. Instead, she used her magic and transported herself across the room so as not to make the floor joists creak. She did not, however, dare jump to the main level because she had no idea what she might find if she did. She opened the door and started down the stairs, carefully stepping where the wood had been nailed to the frame. On the second level she passed the open door to Melinda’s bedroom. The room was empty.
She wished Hawk were with her. She might have been taught to look after herself, but there was something to be said for backup. Seriously panicked, and even more cautious, she peered in the other two bedrooms. They were also empty.
A scraping noise came from directly below her, in the vicinity of the kitchen. It sounded like a chair being moved.
She didn’t like the thought of having to take that second flight of stairs to the main level because she’d be exposed, but she had no choice. It was either the stairs or go out a window. If she went out a window, she’d have to get back into the house again.
At the foot of the stairs she paused in the darkness to let her eyesight adjust and to orientate herself. She turned to the kitchen door and placed her hand on the wood, listening hard but hearing nothing now. A funky smell seeped through the cracks, coppery and rank. Hope died. She pushed the door open.
And jerked her head to the side, her lightning-fast Fae instincts reacting to danger a split second before her brain caught up. The bolt from a crossbow quivered in the doorframe a few inches from where her face had been.
“Jake!” she cried out, knowing immediately where that bolt had originated. “It’s me. River.”
Her words met with silence and she waited, debating what to do next and not daring to move. He was scared. She could taste his fear, as thick in the air as the unbearable stench. His next bolt might not miss. He was good, and now he had a better sight on his target.
The overhead light clicked on, flooding the room. River blinked a few times, not wanting to accept what she saw. The walls, the floor, even the ceiling were coated in blood. The television had smashed on the tiles. One overturned chair sat on its side. Two mangled human remains lay near the kitchen table. And Jake, her beautiful, blond-headed brother, not yet fourteen, stood near the exterior door with one hand on the light switch, the other gripping the shaft of the crossbow that rested against his shoulder. He’d jammed a chair under the knob of the door. That was the scraping noise she’d heard.
River didn’t ask him what had happened because she already knew. Rage unfurled inside her, sliding through her veins like floes of ice on a swift stream. Bright red dots of fury obscured her vision. Weres had come looking for her, finding her stepmother and youngest brother instead. Only Jake remained.
A stern voice in the back of her head ordered her to focus on him. Her vision cleared, the rage subsiding but not disappearing. She stored it away, ready to withdraw it at a later time. Right now, Jake needed her.
So did Melinda and Sam. Her throat hurt with the effort of keeping her emotions in check.
“We have to bury them,” Jake said, so matter of factly he sounded exactly like their dad. River nodded, unable to speak.
They worked through the night. By the time they finished, she had already decided where she would take him. What was important was getting Jake to safety. She had no idea when, or if, the ones who had done this might possibly return.
The psychological damage done to him would have to be dealt with too, but at a later date. She didn’t want him to spend his life planning revenge against creatures that had been following orders.
Neither did she want Weres following her and Jake. She had an excellent method of travel that would not leave a scent.
“Hang on, Jake,” she said, taking his hand. “We’re going for a little ride.”
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Taylor Keating is the pseudonym of writing team Catherine Verge and Paula Altenburg.
A multi published author in the romance genre under another pen name, Catherine is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Catherine can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love.
A maritime native and former financial officer, Catherine has lived all over Canada but has finally settled down in her childhood hometown with her family. Catherine also writes spicy romance under Cathryn Fox and Young Adult novels under Cat Kalen.
The other half of Taylor Keating, Paula grew up in rural Nova Scotia knowing that at some point in her life she was going to be a fiction writer. Swapping Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books with her father guaranteed she wasn’t going to be the next Jane Austen, much to the dismay of her English teacher mother. A degree in Social Anthropology from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, again meant writing was the logical (meaning only) career path for her, although it did confirm her belief that learning is a life-long experience.
She now works in the Aerospace industry, which surprises everyone who knows her. Happily married, with two terrific sons, she continues to live in rural Nova Scotia but makes a point of traveling as much as she can. New York and Brussels are tied for her favorite cities of all time.
Enter to WIN a copy of FAIR GAME, courtesy of Tor Books!
HAPPY HOLIDAY AMERICA!
One Word At A Time (that’s me!) is participating in the Labor Day Blog Hop!
Romance at Random is giving away 10 books, plus a $25 gift certificate, plus 5 chances to get acknowledged in Elisabeth Barrett’s next book — how fun is that?
And I’m going to add to the plethora with my own giveaways!
- First prize: Early print copy of BLAZE — not out until 9/25!
- Second prize: Print copy of FEVER
- Third prize: Print or e copy of INTIMATE ENEMIES
- Fourth prize: $10 Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble!
Lots of ways to enter — leave a comment to open more chances to win!
Since it’s labor day…tell me what your dream job would be! Come on, be specific! One of the most powerful tools to make things happen is visualization — so make it real! 🙂
Be sure to check out these other great participating blogs!
Today I’m introducing the new anthology by amazing authors Diana Cosby, Erica Ridley and Hannah Howell, BORN TO BITE. Diana and Erica will be with me over the next two days individually. Today, we’re going to WHET YOUR APPETITIE with a TASTE of what’s inside this yummy anthology — released just yesterday!!
Tell us what you love about vampires in the comments and you’ll be entered to win the FIRST giveaway copy of BORN TO BITE!
Darkly handsome and dangerously sexy, these voracious vampires are out for blood—and bound for eternal love…
DARK SECRET by Hannah Howell
Alone in the world, Murdina Dunbar sets out in search of the only family she has left—and finds an ally in the mysterious Sir Gillanders Baldwin. Something about her sexy protector stirs her blood. Soon, not even the whispers that he’s a dangerous demon can keep her from his bed….
NEVER BEEN BITTEN by Erica Ridley
Rumored to be a vampire, the rakish Mr. Macane is ravishing all the ladies of the ton! Yet, Miss Elspeth Ramsay cannot bring herself to tremble in his presence. But once Ellie feels the touch of his teeth at her throat, she finds herself biting him back! Surely this sudden bloodlust can only mean danger for her family—and her heart….
HIGHLAND VAMPIRE by Diana Cosby
As King of the Highland Coven, vampire Aedan MacGregor knows that falling for the fey Rowan Campbell could destroy her. But one taste of her healing blood and he craves her like no other. Dare claim her as his own, knowing he might lose her forever?
Remember: Tell us what you love about vampires in the comments and you’ll be entered to win the FIRST giveaway copy of BORN TO BITE!
And come back the next two days to learn more and win more!
Sourcebooks has a special line call Casablanca Classics dedicated to bringing back those amazing books that have gone out of print. Patricia Rice’s THE TROUBLE WITH MAGIC is one of those classics, the second book of Ms. Rice’s Magic series set in Georgian England. The Magic series is the story of the Malcolm sisters, all of whom have magic, and the non-magic Ives brothers.
Sourcebooks has generously offered this book for GIVEAWAY! I’ll run this over the weekend–many ways to enter below!
Felicity Malcolm Childe’s gift for experiencing visions through touch has always been more curse than blessing. She sees horrifying images each time she brushes her hand against another person, and she is forced to cover herself from toe to finger to deflect the vicious onslaught. Only the maddeningly handsome Ewen Ives harbors no guilty secrets to cause her pain.
He is betrothed to another, and he is at odds with the Malcolm family- but he is Felicity’s only hope. Will they find the spell to remove her gift? Or will Ewen forget their mission once he sees Felicity without her unsightly head to toe garments?
“Rice’s enchanting book is truly spellbinding.” —Booklist
“Patricia Rice’s historicals are deliciously fresh, sexy fun. Never has the battle of the sexes been more charming!” —Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author
“The third magic tale is a charming Ives-Malcolm romance that fans of the series will appreciate.” —Harriet Clausner on Amazon
Kent, England, 1743
“The book, Mama, may I have it, please?” Six-year-old Lady Felicity Malcolm Childe stared longingly at the hand-painted folio of children’s Bible verses lying open for patrons of the stationery shop to admire. It rested on a counter just out of reach of Lady Felicity’s sticky fingers, but she reached for it anyway.
“Remember what I told you, dear.” Hermione, Marchioness of Hampton, hurried to her daughter’s side. Her hat ribbons blew in the breeze from the open door, and she caught the end of her scarf before it fluttered loose. “Do not touch until you’ve tested it.”
“Yes, Mama.” With her chubby bare fingers, Lady Felicity brushed the air above an open page depicting an angel with long golden hair hanging in silken ringlets that looked remarkably like hers. “Oh, it’s filled with love, Mama. May I hold it, please?”
“Wouldn’t the little girl prefer a candy instead?” The proprietor leaned over his counter with a tempting stick of horehound.
Before Hermione could intervene, Felicity accepted the offering with delight. “Thank you—” As her fingers wrapped around the treat she gasped, and with a flutter of dark gold eyelashes, collapsed in a puddle of silken skirts and petticoats upon the rough wooden floor.
Casting the startled proprietor an appalled glance, Hermione swept her daughter up in her arms and marched out of the shop, panniers swaying with indignation. Waving off footmen and nursemaids who rushed to her aid, she climbed into the waiting carriage, still cradling her frail daughter in her arms.
Within the private confines of the familiar coach, Felicity stirred and woke. With a sob, she clutched her mother and buried her face in the marchioness’s ample bosom.
“Now, now, child, it’s all right. You simply must learn to test before touching, as I’ve taught you.”
“He’s a nasty man,” Felicity hiccuped. “He does nasty things to little girls and they cry. I don’t want to go there anymore.”
Her usually tender mouth firming into a tight line, the marchioness nodded her beribboned head vigorously. “I shall certainly see to that, dear. I will talk to your father, and Mr. Jones shall leave the village at once. You see, your gift is very useful. It will keep him from hurting any other little girls.”
“I don’t want to see bad things anymore,” Felicity whispered. “I hate my gift. It hurts. Why can’t I have another gift?”
Hermione sighed and rocked her daughter in her arms. “You are only given what you are capable of handling, my dear. I know you don’t understand that yet, but your gift is precious and valuable. When you grow into it, you will learn to use it wisely.”
“Christina’s gift doesn’t hurt,” Felicity muttered with a rebellious pout. “She sees pretty things. Why can’t I feel pretty things?”
“You felt love in the book,” Hermione reminded her. “It’s just that sometimes bad things feel stronger than gentle ones. It doesn’t hurt when your family touches you, does it? Or Nanny?”
“Nanny has sad touches,” Felicity murmured sleepily as her mother continued rocking her. “I don’t want to touch any more bad things.”
“Your family will always take care of you, dear. You’ll be safe and happy around familiar vibrations until you’re all grown up and know how to use your gift. Learning comes from experience, but we’ll give you good ones.”
“Can I stay in Papa’s library? It’s nice there.”
Hermione laughed. “No, you cannot live in a library, dear, although your papa would let you try if you wanted.”
“I want to. I don’t want to see any more bad things.” Setting her quivering lip in a firm manner reminiscent of her mother’s, Felicity closed her eyes and slept.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
With five million books in print and New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists under her belt, Patricia Rice’s emotionally-charged contemporary and historical romances have won RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice and Career Achievement Awards and have been honored as Romance Writers of America RITA finalists in the historical, Regency and contemporary categories. A former CPA, Patricia Rice is a native of Kentucky and New York, a past resident of North Carolina, and currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri. For more information on Patricia’s current releases, please visit www.patriciarice.com.
Enter to win this fabulous classic paranormal historical!
WINNERS: Spav & Stacey!
I’m thrilled to wish author Christie Craig an UBER happy release day here on the blog!! The second book in her Hotter in Texas series releases today — BLAME IT ON TEXAS. Christie is here with LOTS of awesome stuff today!
She tells us why she’s so mean
Shares the top 10 things you will learn from BLAME IT ON TEXAS
Shares an excerpt from BLAME IT ON TEXAS
Gives away 2 copies of ONLY IN TEXAS
Gives away a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or B & N
But first…let’s learn more about BLAME IT ON TEXAS!
Zoe Adams has always been content with her quiet nights at home, watching TV alone-until her life turns into a real-life episode of Unsolved Mystery Hunters. The story of a kidnapped girl triggers unexplained memories, and Zoe is dead-set on figuring out why. Her search leads her to one of the Lone Star State’s richest families-and to sexy PI Tyler Lopez.
Tyler has sworn off women, especially redheads with killer curves who poke their noses into his clients’ private lives. Still, he can’t deny the attraction any more than he can deny that some of Zoe’s crazy story makes sense. But when she becomes a hit man’s target, this cold case starts heating up. Suddenly, Tyler will do anything to protect Zoe-even risk his heart.
Now, let’s here from Christie!
Why am I so Mean?
Recently a devoted reader came up to me with an odd question, “Why are you so mean to your characters?”
I considered the question and then just blurted out the truth. “Because if I wasn’t mean to them, you readers wouldn’t like my books. So it’s not my fault, it’s yours.”
Let’s face it, if characters aren’t a little bit tortured, if they haven’t had some hurdle to overcome that left them just slightly wounded, if they aren’t swimming in conflict, well … it’s easy to put a book down. And personally, my readers have grown to expect scenes where my characters find themselves in a few compromising and downright embarrassing situations.
Ahh, but as mean and mischievous as I am to these characters, I offer them joy, lots of laughter, some hot passion, and even better, I offer them true love. Oh, it will be a journey before they find their happily ever after, but you can bet your best bra that they will find it.
In Blame it on Texas, Tyler and Zoe have experienced their share of tragedy. Both need someone to laugh with, someone to love. Tyler’s has always worried he’s relationship impaired due to his own parent’s dysfunctional marriage. Layer that with his fiancé skipping out on him when he was framed for murder. Then spending eighteen months in jail for the crime he didn’t commit, and yeah, he’s a tad wounded. Then there’s Zoe’s story. Imagine having unexplainable memories and reoccurring nightmares. Imagine seeing a cold case show on TV where a picture of you as a child is shown, then it’s reported that this child was kidnapped from a rich Texas family years ago. Could your now deceased parents, whom you dearly loved, have lied to you? Worse, could they have been criminals capable of unspeakable acts?
Seeking answers, Zoe high tails it to Texas and lands at the feet, or rather is caught hiding under the desk of a very sexy private investigator who works for the family. Tyler thinks she’s the new receptionist, and Zoe lets him think it and escapes. When Tyler catches up with her at her temporary waitressing job, she unintentionally drops a few plates of food on him. When she later explains that she believes she’s the kidnapped child, Tyler’s pretty sure Zoe’s a few eggs short of a Grand Slam breakfast, but he still offers his services. In no time, the sexual tension grows hotter and his offer covers services both in and out of the bedroom. While tempted, she knows Tyler’s not looking for commitment and her fragile heart can’t handle a short fling. So no hanky-panky. She makes that very clear.
Ahh, but a woman has a right to change her mind. And a proposed game of Strip Scrabble should convince this stubborn Texan she’s reconsidered.
As Tyler and Zoe inadvertently laugh their way into love, my goal is that readers will laugh right along with them. Yes, I might be slightly mean to my characters, but in the end, I think it’s worth it.
Ten Things You Will Learn from Blame it on Texas.
1. Guys don’t like to play dress up; but when one willingly dresses as a clown for his six-year-old niece’s birthday party—because the real clown canceled—he’s one special uncle. And could possibly make a special hero for some lucky lady.
2. Sometimes, fear itself can do much more damage to us than the thing we’re actually afraid of.
3. Any man who doesn’t cuss up a blue streak when you dump a plate of hot grits on him can’t be all bad. (In fact, he might just be The One.)
4. It’s important to remember the lessons of the past so we can use them when making decisions for the future. But those lessons should never keep us from having the future we deserve.
5. Before accusing the sexy guy who pounced, knocked you down, and crawled on top of you of being foreplay impaired; check to see if someone is shooting at you.
6. The southern delicacy of a banana and mayonnaise sandwich may be an acquired taste, especially when a hungry hero chomps down on the delicacy and is expecting ham and cheese.
7. If you think getting caught screaming and dancing on top of a mattress—all while attempting to rescue your cat from an overzealous dog—can be slightly embarrassing, try doing it while you’re wet from the shower, and as naked as a jay bird. Oh, and just to make it even more fun, make sure you’re caught by your possible love interest who hasn’t seen you naked yet, and . . . (yes, it can get worse) his two best friends.
8. It’s downright amazing how playing a few rounds of Strip Scrabble can spice up an evening.
9. A family doesn’t always have to be the people who share your bloodline; sometimes, the best families are those we make when we gather together all the people we love.
10. Learning to trust yourself is usually a lot harder than trusting another person. But both are generally required before finding true love.
When Tyler spotted the silver Cobalt with Alabama tags parked around the back of the diner, a thrill shot through him. After parking, he took a minute to figure out how best to approach Zoe. How best to find out why she was snooping around on, and under, his desk? Inside, he immediately spotted her waiting on an elderly couple.
His gaze did a quick up and down of her shapely body. She filled out the white skirt and top to perfection. When she moved to a dirty table and started stacking dishes, he moved forward.
“Mind if I sit here?” He waited for her to look up, anticipating her reaction.
“No problem.” She barely glanced at him.
When she leaned over to clean the far end of the table, his gaze shifted to her ass and he recalled watching her crawl across his office floor.
“Coffee?” She gave the table two more swipes, her hips moving with the circular motion.
“That would be fine.” He sat down. “Thanks.”
He waited to see if she’d meet his gaze and hoped for a flash of recognition, but she didn’t look at him directly. He watched her step away. She snagged a cup and filled it. Then turning back, she placed the coffee on a tray loaded down with three plates of food.
She moved toward him and set the coffee on his table while balancing the tray with her other hand.
“Got some cream?”
Her gaze shot to his face, and her blue eyes widened with recognition.
She didn’t move, but one of the plates on her tray did. She adjusted her hold on the tray as if trying to prevent the disaster, but it was too late. Tyler saw it happening, but there was nothing he could do to stop it. The white plate flew off the tray, heading right at his head. He dodged the plate, but the hot grits and scrambled eggs made a direct hit with his face.
“Shit,” she muttered as the plate crashed to the floor.
He knocked a blob of butter from his cheek and looked at her. Her step back sent the second and third plate racing across the tray, and, once again, he was the finish line. Shredded potatoes, accompanied by the half-cooked eggs, plopped right in his lap.
Somehow, he’d managed to catch one plate, but the other plate bounced off the table, hit the linoleum, and shattered. As a thick glob of grits fell from the end of his nose, laughter exploded from the other diner patrons.
“I…” She stared at him.
He scooted his chair back from the table and looked down at himself. She dropped the tray on the edge of his table, grabbed his napkin, and started wiping globs of still warm grits off his chest. She kept wiping, following the trail of food down to his lap. She attempted to flop one half-cooked egg from his crotch. But the yoke burst and he watched it run between his legs.
Finally, she raised her head and met his gaze. He stared into her beautiful blue eyes and the sweetest mouth he could ever remember seeing. Appearing almost as mesmerized by his gaze as he was by hers, her hand slipped deeper between his legs. Her gentle touch came in direct contact with sensitive body parts and felt pretty damn good, too. She jumped back as if suddenly realizing where her hand was.
A smile pulled at his mouth. “It’s okay.” Actually it was more than okay. By damn, she was a pretty thing.
And now that I’ve told you ten things you’ll learn from my book. Why don’t you share with me some things you’ve learned from other romance novels? Today, just for leaving a post, you’ll be entered to win one of two book giveaways–the first book in the series, Only in Texas (previously published as Don’t Mess With Texas). And to everyone who posts and tells me that they bought my book, I’ll put them in a drawing to win a $25 gift card to either Barnes and Noble or Amazon, winner’s choice.
Oh, also here’s my video for Hotter in Texas.