award winning author

Welcome Tracy Sumner, Author Extraordinaire!

I’m welcoming one of my Kensington sisters to One Word at a Time today! Tracy Sumner has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish!

It doesn’t have to be December to settle into a great holiday season romance! And while Tracy’s most recent work happens to have a holiday theme, JEEZOHHELL, look at that cover!  I’d read that any time of year!!!  She also has a number of other fabulous works to choose from and she’s giving away several today! Your meaningful comment will enter you for a chance to WIN a set of ebooks including the TIDE series and her holiday novella!!

An award-winning holiday novella, TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL.

Tanner Barkley was set on forgetting the love of his life. Until fate threw Katherine Peters into his path for an unforgettable holiday of passion.

Don’t forget the first rule when dealing with scoundrels.

Never wager more than you are willing to lose.

Especially in matters of the heart.

To Desire a Scoundrel: Buy link

“A bad boy…and a lively, independent woman. An excellent sequel!”
~ All Romance Bookstore Reviews
“A searing passion…a sexy tale filled with great verbal repartee!”
~ Romantic Times

Tracy, can you tell us a little about TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL?
TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL: A CHRISTMAS SEDUCTION was originally published by Kensington, but I have rights back, and have released the eBook on my own! It’s a sequel to TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, out in early 2012! Yes, I released the holiday novella first – for the Season!

Tell us a little about TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL what inspired you to write it?
When I finished TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, I really had this great feeling about Adam Chase’s best friend, Tanner Barkley. Very cynical, secretive, sexy, in other words, the perfect hero! And who better to pair him with than the daughter of the somber chaperone in ROGUE? No daughter of such a severe woman could suffer fools easily.

And we all know how foolish a man in love can act.

Then my editor invited me to participate in a Christmas anthology and TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL was born.

Katherine Peters is made for Tanner, and for the first time, I wrote about a hero who realizes this simple fact before the heroine! (If you recall, in ROGUE, Adam is clueless until nearly the end. Even Tanner tries to tell him the error of his ways. How sad is that?)

When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I do have SOME things I want to happen. It’s often more things I want the characters to SAY. But much of what happens is dictated by my characters.

What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?

I wrote YA stuff in high school. Think The Outsiders. But I read my first romance novel (LaVyrle Spencer’s VOWS) in college…and I’ve never looked back. As a writer or a reader. I love historical and contemporaries.

Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Noah Garrett from TIDES OF LOVE is kinda my guy. He’s a sexy nerd – a marine biologist. Perhaps I should say that he is the perfect guy in my mind. Intelligent+, kinda, tortured, complex, gorgeous.

Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Maybe Tanner in TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL. It’s hard to write a hero who is very conflicted and closed to love without making him appear “un-heroic”. I like my hero AND heroines to have an edge. I have an edge, so I write with one. But you have to temper that with kindness, caring, vulnerability…something to garner support from your reader. Plus, I have to like them, too!

Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Well, this one is really funny. When I started my first novel, TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, I was dating this guy who used to be a marine biologist. And I really wrote the novel without thinking that much about how I knew about marine biology, etc. And later on, I realized that he would probably read the book or hear about it and think it was about him. I was mortified!Because Noah was all my creation. Seriously.

What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Writing! Putting butt in chair and PRODUCING.

Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
For someone who writes HEA (happily ever after) stories, I’m a bit cynical about the long-term prospects of many relationships I encounter. I’m the person who rolls her eyes at weddings. I’m not the crier.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Wine! And romance novels. Jack and Jennifer on Days of Our Lives from the late 80s/early 90s. Someone has a website (Devoted to Deveraux) with all the old clips – and I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it.

Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
I like the theme music from Out of Africa. Makes me want to create.

If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Noah Garrett: Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones — as the Professor (not the guy with the whip)
Zach Garrett: Josh Lucas (Jake Perry, Sweet Home Alabama)
Tanner Barkley: Leonardo DiCaprio (Billy, The Departed): part bad boy, part sweet man
Adam Chase: Again, H Ford (Han Solo) Stubborn as hell, fights love, vulnerable

Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
Funny! My mother called me (I think I was living in Chicago at the time) and told me an editor with Kensington had called her. I freaked! I submitted my manuscript without including a phone number. They had to TRACK ME DOWN!!!

How old were you when you read your first romance book?
19

What author causes you to “go fan girl”/squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Well, Judith Ivory did. But she’s not writing anymore, I don’t think.

If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I’m a graphic designer.  Which I love.

What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Okay, the grand plan, if I can get the butt in chair deal going, is to finish a Victorian historical with light paranormal elements AND an edgy, sexy contemporary. I don’t know if I can finish both in the year. I also have an anthology coming out with a group of authors in April. Check out my website for release information!

If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Stephen King. Ashley March in romance. Julie Anne Long.

How do you pick your characters names?
Research, names I hear that I like. What fits the character. What I can break down. I’m very fond of nicknames for characters.

Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
First sight. It’s a fantasy!

Where can readers find you?
Website: www.tracysumner.com
Twitter: @SumnerTracy
Facebook: Facebook.com/TracySumnerRomanceAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5259839.Tracy_Sumner

What other works do you have out right now?

Tides of Passion: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WVPFH0

Tides of Love: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0066B1XTY

Tracy’s story telling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A journalism degree and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.
When not writing sensual stories featuring complex characters and lush settings, Tracy can be found reading romance, snowboarding, watching college football and figuring out how she can get to 100 countries before she kicks (which is a more difficult endeavor than it used to be with her four-year-old son in tow). She lives in Charlotte, NC, but after spending a few years in “the city”, considers herself a New Yorker at heart.

Leave a comment or question and enter to WIN a set of ebooks including the TIDE series and Tracy’s holiday novella, TO SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

>Welcome Tracy Sumner, Author Extraordinaire!

>I’m welcoming one of my Kensington sisters to One Word at a Time today! Tracy Sumner has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish!

It doesn’t have to be December to settle into a great holiday season romance! And while Tracy’s most recent work happens to have a holiday theme, JEEZOHHELL, look at that cover!  I’d read that any time of year!!!  She also has a number of other fabulous works to choose from and she’s giving away several today! Your meaningful comment will enter you for a chance to WIN a set of ebooks including the TIDE series and her holiday novella!!

An award-winning holiday novella, TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL.

Tanner Barkley was set on forgetting the love of his life. Until fate threw Katherine Peters into his path for an unforgettable holiday of passion.

Don’t forget the first rule when dealing with scoundrels.

Never wager more than you are willing to lose.

Especially in matters of the heart.

To Desire a Scoundrel: Buy link

“A bad boy…and a lively, independent woman. An excellent sequel!”
~ All Romance Bookstore Reviews
“A searing passion…a sexy tale filled with great verbal repartee!”
~ Romantic Times

Tracy, can you tell us a little about TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL?
TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL: A CHRISTMAS SEDUCTION was originally published by Kensington, but I have rights back, and have released the eBook on my own! It’s a sequel to TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, out in early 2012! Yes, I released the holiday novella first – for the Season!

Tell us a little about TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL what inspired you to write it?
When I finished TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, I really had this great feeling about Adam Chase’s best friend, Tanner Barkley. Very cynical, secretive, sexy, in other words, the perfect hero! And who better to pair him with than the daughter of the somber chaperone in ROGUE? No daughter of such a severe woman could suffer fools easily.

And we all know how foolish a man in love can act.

Then my editor invited me to participate in a Christmas anthology and TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL was born.

Katherine Peters is made for Tanner, and for the first time, I wrote about a hero who realizes this simple fact before the heroine! (If you recall, in ROGUE, Adam is clueless until nearly the end. Even Tanner tries to tell him the error of his ways. How sad is that?)

When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I do have SOME things I want to happen. It’s often more things I want the characters to SAY. But much of what happens is dictated by my characters.

What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?

I wrote YA stuff in high school. Think The Outsiders. But I read my first romance novel (LaVyrle Spencer’s VOWS) in college…and I’ve never looked back. As a writer or a reader. I love historical and contemporaries.

Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Noah Garrett from TIDES OF LOVE is kinda my guy. He’s a sexy nerd – a marine biologist. Perhaps I should say that he is the perfect guy in my mind. Intelligent+, kinda, tortured, complex, gorgeous.

Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Maybe Tanner in TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL. It’s hard to write a hero who is very conflicted and closed to love without making him appear “un-heroic”. I like my hero AND heroines to have an edge. I have an edge, so I write with one. But you have to temper that with kindness, caring, vulnerability…something to garner support from your reader. Plus, I have to like them, too!

Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Well, this one is really funny. When I started my first novel, TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, I was dating this guy who used to be a marine biologist. And I really wrote the novel without thinking that much about how I knew about marine biology, etc. And later on, I realized that he would probably read the book or hear about it and think it was about him. I was mortified!Because Noah was all my creation. Seriously.

What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Writing! Putting butt in chair and PRODUCING.

Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
For someone who writes HEA (happily ever after) stories, I’m a bit cynical about the long-term prospects of many relationships I encounter. I’m the person who rolls her eyes at weddings. I’m not the crier.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Wine! And romance novels. Jack and Jennifer on Days of Our Lives from the late 80s/early 90s. Someone has a website (Devoted to Deveraux) with all the old clips – and I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it.

Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
I like the theme music from Out of Africa. Makes me want to create.

If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Noah Garrett: Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones — as the Professor (not the guy with the whip)
Zach Garrett: Josh Lucas (Jake Perry, Sweet Home Alabama)
Tanner Barkley: Leonardo DiCaprio (Billy, The Departed): part bad boy, part sweet man
Adam Chase: Again, H Ford (Han Solo) Stubborn as hell, fights love, vulnerable

Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
Funny! My mother called me (I think I was living in Chicago at the time) and told me an editor with Kensington had called her. I freaked! I submitted my manuscript without including a phone number. They had to TRACK ME DOWN!!!

How old were you when you read your first romance book?
19

What author causes you to “go fan girl”/squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Well, Judith Ivory did. But she’s not writing anymore, I don’t think.

If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I’m a graphic designer.  Which I love.

What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Okay, the grand plan, if I can get the butt in chair deal going, is to finish a Victorian historical with light paranormal elements AND an edgy, sexy contemporary. I don’t know if I can finish both in the year. I also have an anthology coming out with a group of authors in April. Check out my website for release information!

If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Stephen King. Ashley March in romance. Julie Anne Long.

How do you pick your characters names?
Research, names I hear that I like. What fits the character. What I can break down. I’m very fond of nicknames for characters.

Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
First sight. It’s a fantasy!

Where can readers find you?
Website: www.tracysumner.com
Twitter: @SumnerTracy
Facebook: Facebook.com/TracySumnerRomanceAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5259839.Tracy_Sumner

What other works do you have out right now?

Tides of Passion: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WVPFH0

Tides of Love: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0066B1XTY

Tracy’s story telling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A journalism degree and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.
When not writing sensual stories featuring complex characters and lush settings, Tracy can be found reading romance, snowboarding, watching college football and figuring out how she can get to 100 countries before she kicks (which is a more difficult endeavor than it used to be with her four-year-old son in tow). She lives in Charlotte, NC, but after spending a few years in “the city”, considers herself a New Yorker at heart.

Leave a comment or question and enter to WIN a set of ebooks including the TIDE series and Tracy’s holiday novella, TO SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

>New FEVER Excerpt

>

When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she’s in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom, but because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need…

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn’t, until his escape plan developes a fatal flaw: alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever…

A fun little excerpt from FEVER.

Setup: My hero, Teague Creek, has escaped prison with accomplice, Taz, a white supremacist, and taken my heroine, Alyssa Foster, hostage.  Alyssa has been terrorized by the ordeal and recently smacked across the face by Taz.  They are now driving along their escape route after narrowly missing being captured at a roadblock.  Alyssa has seen hints of Teague’s abnormal body heat, benefited from but disbelieves his healing abilities and senses a strange attraction to him.

Excerpt:  Alyssa rested her head against the car window, questions swirling in her brain like a dirt devil. Was she having some kind of chemical reaction to the metal? An allergy she hadn’t known of before? Sensitivity to a new cosmetic or medical supply?

Even with the cool glass pressed against her cheek, her face still felt like it was going to split. Although, she had to admit, the pain had ratcheted down after Creek had touched her, which was another oddity logic couldn’t explain. Along with the way her libido skyrocketed in reverse proportion to her pain.

This whole situation was beyond bizarre. She was caught somewhere between scared-out-of-her-mind and freaking-ready-to-jump-him every time he touched her.

Snapped. She’d finally snapped. Just like her mother and brothers said she would if she didn’t slow down. Didn’t ease up. Didn’t stop working and start living. What they’d never understood was that her work was her life. Only, maybe that’s where she’d gone wrong, because look where that had gotten her.

By the dashboard clock, they’d been driving an hour and a half. With every minute closer to nightfall, Alyssa’s anxiety amped. Her fatigue also dragged at her, not to mention the grind of her stomach reminding her she hadn’t eaten in nearly twenty hours. And the way her mind pinged around beneath her skull didn’t help with the developing stress headache.

Where were they going? Why did they keep her? What were they going to do to her? She found herself wondering about death, what it would be like to get to that final moment. Those lead to thoughts of her patients, ones she’d lost, ones she’d saved, which then lead back to her work and her future. And the circle started all over again.

Taz had mellowed with time and blaring classic rock. He sang along with an endless lung capacity, his chorus almost more painful than her throbbing face, aching wrists or morbid thoughts.

“Take me down to the Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty,” Taz belted, completely off key. “Oh, won’t you please take me hooowooome…”

Creek hadn’t looked at her for over an hour. At least not directly at her. He sat as far on the other side of the bench seat as he could get without climbing out of the car. Every time she moved so much as her little finger, he cast a surreptitious side-glance at her. Since the incident with the roadblock, he’d dropped the whole idea of her changing clothes, which was good. She was not getting naked, or even close to it, in this car with these guys. For any reason. Ever. Period.

Despite the sheer noise level and her mounting anxiety, Alyssa had to force her eyes to stay open, her mind to catalogue landmarks. She needed a plan. Several plans. One for every situation that held the possibility of escape. But right now her brain felt as numb as her butt and if she didn’t get blood flowing, she’d definitely pass out—Guns and Roses at a hundred and thirty decibels, or not.

Alyssa straightened away from the window. That one movement gave her Creek’s complete attention. He stiffened and twisted toward her, fingers curled into his hands, resting on his thighs. And she had to admit, he looked more human in street clothes. A lot more like one of those intriguing bad-boys. But she’d already seen the tattoos. She knew where he’d come from. He was not the typical good-looking, rough-around-the-edges man she liked. He had hurt her. Would hurt her again if he deemed necessary. Had told her so himself. Yet…something about him suggested that wasn’t entirely true. Maybe his attempts to ease her pain. Maybe his efforts to shield her from Taz. Of course, maybe it was just her own warped psyche bending reality.

She lifted her cuffed hands and gingerly peeled the tape off her lips, grimacing as it pulled at the tender skin. Creek made no move to stop her, only watched with a guarded expression.

She looked directly at him, meeting those very light, intense blue eyes. “I’m car sick, I’m hungry and I have to pee.”

One brow lifted. His mouth quirked. “You’re sick and hungry?”

With that one look, Creek turned into a regular guy off the street. Only he was a guy who would stop traffic. A guy who would warrant double-takes. A guy she would have tripped over herself to meet under normal circumstances. She had to glance down at her cuffed hands to get her head on straight. In less than a second the anger and fear swung back around full force.

“I always get sick in the back seat of a car,” she lied, “and I haven’t eaten since midnight. But more important, my bladder is going to burst if we don’t stop for a bathroom.”

Creek heaved a sigh and rubbed his eyes. “Stop somewhere, Taz. A quiet gas station with a bathroom in the back would be good.”

“Screw that,” Taz said. “Why should we give a shit about what she needs?”

“Because it was your decision to kidnap me, and it was your decision to keep me.” She’d had enough. The tension, the bizarre emotions, the uncertainty had turned her into someone who said and did irrational, extreme, uncontrollable things. Someone she didn’t care to recognize. “Now you have to deal with the consequences. As opposed to you, I’m human. I have human bodily needs. If you don’t address them, we’ll all be very uncomfortable, very soon.”

“Put the tape back on that big mouth of hers, Creek, or I’ll stuff it with something that’s sure to shut her up.”

Alyssa’s back went up. Her mouth opened to spew something fierce and foolish, she was sure. But someone touched her first. She jumped and turned toward Creek. His big, warm hand closed over her forearm with just enough force to send a message. The same message he delivered with that potent stare: don’t antagonize him.

He didn’t look away from Alyssa as he talked to Taz. “You find me a private bathroom, and I’ll make sure I tire her out good.”

Alyssa jerked her arm back. Why she’d thought for a flicker of an instant they were on the same side she didn’t know, but his nasty retort put everything in perspective. When would she learn men were all the same? Crude. Selfish. Controlling. Competitive. Self-serving.

And these men were the worst of the worst.

“What’s wrong with what you got, Creek? If I’d known you were gonna waste all this time, I’d have made you drive. I know just how to fill a couple hours with a dink like that.”

Alyssa’s throat convulsed. The thought of rape pushed at the edges of her mind, but she shoved it right back out. Someone would die first. And it wouldn’t be her. She’d already catalogued every possible way she could use her own body to end another’s life, because her body was her only weapon.

“Just take the first exit with a gas station once you hit highway five,” Creek said. “Pick the lousiest dive you can find.”

“This is a shit hole, man, everything is a dive. Nothing but niggers and spics live here.”

“Just find something and stop.”

They slowed and traveled down the ramp. Taz hummed with anticipated trouble. “I don’t like it.”

Alyssa shifted in her seat. She did have to pee—bad—but, more, she needed to develop a plan for when they stopped. “How long?”

“Couple minutes.” Creek surveyed her, mouth turned down in disapproval. “Take off your shirt.”

She scrunched one side of her face in contempt. “No.”

“The blue thing has the hospital logo on it.” He gestured at her with one careless hand. “Everyone’s going to be looking for you in those…”

“Scrubs,” she finished for him. “And, let me rephrase so you understand—hell no.”

He met her eyes with determination and a set jaw. “Take it off, or I’ll take it off for you.”

“Aw, yeah,” Taz piped up. “Now we’re gettin’ some action.”

Alyssa had to press her mouth tight to keep from telling the idiot to shut up. When she made no move toward taking her shirt off, Creek slid over the vinyl bench and snagged the hem that had come untucked hours ago.

Alyssa leaned away, her cuffed hands pushing at his. A sweep of panic heated her chest. “No. Don’t. Leave me alone.”

Taz laughed and chanted “go-go-go”.

Creek grabbed the back of her shirt and pulled it up and over her head. Then yanked the fabric down her forearms to rest in a bundle where her hands came together in the cuffs. The cool air prickled her skin beneath the white tank top remaining. She curled in on herself to keep the exposure to a minimum. That’s when she noticed the hole in her scrubs, irregular brown marks along the edge. She wasn’t imagining things. He had burned her.

Taz kept glancing in the rear view mirror, and hit a curb as he pulled alongside a closed gas station-slash-mini mart, where painted blue circles delineated men’s and women’s restrooms. He shoved the car into park, twisted and laid one arm over the seat.

“Look what the skinny bitch was hiding under those baggy clothes.” Taz’s excited, bright eyes raked over Alyssa and fastened on her breasts as if he could see through her clothes. “Thought I felt a melon in there. Keep going, Creek. I wanna see that rack.”

Stomach in her throat, Alyssa scanned the area, searching for an escape route. For someone who could help her. But the gas station wasn’t closed as she’d first thought. It was abandoned. Tendrils of panic coiled around her lungs.

Creek put one big fist over the cloth around the chain between her hands, shoved the door open and dragged her across the seat. Would he beat her? Burn her? Kill her? She forced her mind back to the vulnerable areas of the body she would target: a fist to the temple, flat of the hand to the nose, knuckles to the philtrum, side chop to the adam’s apple—

“Keep watch,” Creek said to Taz as he pulled Alyssa to her feet and grabbed the smaller bag of clothes from the floorboard. “Don’t do anything. No stroll, no smoke. Nothing, got it?”

Taz jerked his chin. “Am I gonna get a piece of her when you’re through?”

“We’ll see.” Creek slammed the door and towed Alyssa toward the bathrooms.

No. She couldn’t go in there with him. She’d be trapped. But running wasn’t much of an option either. The landscape around the deserted gas station was a barren sea of flat dirt and scraggly shrubs. Nobody within screaming distance. No haven within running distance. But the approaching darkness might actually be her friend.

Without any solid plan, Alyssa gathered all her strength, drove down with both hands then jerked upward. To her utter shock, her hands wrenched free of his grip. A second seemed to float, suspended in time, before she could make her feet move.

As the surprise cleared from Creek’s face, he swiped a grab for her hands. Alyssa spun and pushed into a kick start. Gravel slipped beneath her feet. Creek grabbed the back of her tank. Fabric ripped. Bra snapped.  He whipped an arm around her waist. Twisted her body. Slung her over his shoulder. Just that quick, as if he’d done it countless times before.

“Fucking A,” he growled. “You are the biggest pain in the ass.”

“Let me go.” Alyssa beat on his back with the cuff edge, kicked her feet, twisted. Nothing loosened his grip. Nothing broke his stride. And his body heat had ramped up again.

Creek was still muttering as he kicked in the bathroom door. The bang made Alyssa flinch. Taz’s full-bellied laugh followed them until Creek slammed the door shut.

You can preorder your copy of FEVER at the following locations:
Amazon (print & Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (print & Nook)
Booksamillion



New FEVER Excerpt

>

When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she’s in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom, but because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need…

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn’t, until his escape plan developes a fatal flaw: alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever…

A fun little excerpt from FEVER.

Setup: My hero, Teague Creek, has escaped prison with accomplice, Taz, a white supremacist, and taken my heroine, Alyssa Foster, hostage.  Alyssa has been terrorized by the ordeal and recently smacked across the face by Taz.  They are now driving along their escape route after narrowly missing being captured at a roadblock.  Alyssa has seen hints of Teague’s abnormal body heat, benefited from but disbelieves his healing abilities and senses a strange attraction to him.

Excerpt:  Alyssa rested her head against the car window, questions swirling in her brain like a dirt devil. Was she having some kind of chemical reaction to the metal? An allergy she hadn’t known of before? Sensitivity to a new cosmetic or medical supply?

Even with the cool glass pressed against her cheek, her face still felt like it was going to split. Although, she had to admit, the pain had ratcheted down after Creek had touched her, which was another oddity logic couldn’t explain. Along with the way her libido skyrocketed in reverse proportion to her pain.

This whole situation was beyond bizarre. She was caught somewhere between scared-out-of-her-mind and freaking-ready-to-jump-him every time he touched her.

Snapped. She’d finally snapped. Just like her mother and brothers said she would if she didn’t slow down. Didn’t ease up. Didn’t stop working and start living. What they’d never understood was that her work was her life. Only, maybe that’s where she’d gone wrong, because look where that had gotten her.

By the dashboard clock, they’d been driving an hour and a half. With every minute closer to nightfall, Alyssa’s anxiety amped. Her fatigue also dragged at her, not to mention the grind of her stomach reminding her she hadn’t eaten in nearly twenty hours. And the way her mind pinged around beneath her skull didn’t help with the developing stress headache.

Where were they going? Why did they keep her? What were they going to do to her? She found herself wondering about death, what it would be like to get to that final moment. Those lead to thoughts of her patients, ones she’d lost, ones she’d saved, which then lead back to her work and her future. And the circle started all over again.

Taz had mellowed with time and blaring classic rock. He sang along with an endless lung capacity, his chorus almost more painful than her throbbing face, aching wrists or morbid thoughts.

“Take me down to the Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty,” Taz belted, completely off key. “Oh, won’t you please take me hooowooome…”

Creek hadn’t looked at her for over an hour. At least not directly at her. He sat as far on the other side of the bench seat as he could get without climbing out of the car. Every time she moved so much as her little finger, he cast a surreptitious side-glance at her. Since the incident with the roadblock, he’d dropped the whole idea of her changing clothes, which was good. She was not getting naked, or even close to it, in this car with these guys. For any reason. Ever. Period.

Despite the sheer noise level and her mounting anxiety, Alyssa had to force her eyes to stay open, her mind to catalogue landmarks. She needed a plan. Several plans. One for every situation that held the possibility of escape. But right now her brain felt as numb as her butt and if she didn’t get blood flowing, she’d definitely pass out—Guns and Roses at a hundred and thirty decibels, or not.

Alyssa straightened away from the window. That one movement gave her Creek’s complete attention. He stiffened and twisted toward her, fingers curled into his hands, resting on his thighs. And she had to admit, he looked more human in street clothes. A lot more like one of those intriguing bad-boys. But she’d already seen the tattoos. She knew where he’d come from. He was not the typical good-looking, rough-around-the-edges man she liked. He had hurt her. Would hurt her again if he deemed necessary. Had told her so himself. Yet…something about him suggested that wasn’t entirely true. Maybe his attempts to ease her pain. Maybe his efforts to shield her from Taz. Of course, maybe it was just her own warped psyche bending reality.

She lifted her cuffed hands and gingerly peeled the tape off her lips, grimacing as it pulled at the tender skin. Creek made no move to stop her, only watched with a guarded expression.

She looked directly at him, meeting those very light, intense blue eyes. “I’m car sick, I’m hungry and I have to pee.”

One brow lifted. His mouth quirked. “You’re sick and hungry?”

With that one look, Creek turned into a regular guy off the street. Only he was a guy who would stop traffic. A guy who would warrant double-takes. A guy she would have tripped over herself to meet under normal circumstances. She had to glance down at her cuffed hands to get her head on straight. In less than a second the anger and fear swung back around full force.

“I always get sick in the back seat of a car,” she lied, “and I haven’t eaten since midnight. But more important, my bladder is going to burst if we don’t stop for a bathroom.”

Creek heaved a sigh and rubbed his eyes. “Stop somewhere, Taz. A quiet gas station with a bathroom in the back would be good.”

“Screw that,” Taz said. “Why should we give a shit about what she needs?”

“Because it was your decision to kidnap me, and it was your decision to keep me.” She’d had enough. The tension, the bizarre emotions, the uncertainty had turned her into someone who said and did irrational, extreme, uncontrollable things. Someone she didn’t care to recognize. “Now you have to deal with the consequences. As opposed to you, I’m human. I have human bodily needs. If you don’t address them, we’ll all be very uncomfortable, very soon.”

“Put the tape back on that big mouth of hers, Creek, or I’ll stuff it with something that’s sure to shut her up.”

Alyssa’s back went up. Her mouth opened to spew something fierce and foolish, she was sure. But someone touched her first. She jumped and turned toward Creek. His big, warm hand closed over her forearm with just enough force to send a message. The same message he delivered with that potent stare: don’t antagonize him.

He didn’t look away from Alyssa as he talked to Taz. “You find me a private bathroom, and I’ll make sure I tire her out good.”

Alyssa jerked her arm back. Why she’d thought for a flicker of an instant they were on the same side she didn’t know, but his nasty retort put everything in perspective. When would she learn men were all the same? Crude. Selfish. Controlling. Competitive. Self-serving.

And these men were the worst of the worst.

“What’s wrong with what you got, Creek? If I’d known you were gonna waste all this time, I’d have made you drive. I know just how to fill a couple hours with a dink like that.”

Alyssa’s throat convulsed. The thought of rape pushed at the edges of her mind, but she shoved it right back out. Someone would die first. And it wouldn’t be her. She’d already catalogued every possible way she could use her own body to end another’s life, because her body was her only weapon.

“Just take the first exit with a gas station once you hit highway five,” Creek said. “Pick the lousiest dive you can find.”

“This is a shit hole, man, everything is a dive. Nothing but niggers and spics live here.”

“Just find something and stop.”

They slowed and traveled down the ramp. Taz hummed with anticipated trouble. “I don’t like it.”

Alyssa shifted in her seat. She did have to pee—bad—but, more, she needed to develop a plan for when they stopped. “How long?”

“Couple minutes.” Creek surveyed her, mouth turned down in disapproval. “Take off your shirt.”

She scrunched one side of her face in contempt. “No.”

“The blue thing has the hospital logo on it.” He gestured at her with one careless hand. “Everyone’s going to be looking for you in those…”

“Scrubs,” she finished for him. “And, let me rephrase so you understand—hell no.”

He met her eyes with determination and a set jaw. “Take it off, or I’ll take it off for you.”

“Aw, yeah,” Taz piped up. “Now we’re gettin’ some action.”

Alyssa had to press her mouth tight to keep from telling the idiot to shut up. When she made no move toward taking her shirt off, Creek slid over the vinyl bench and snagged the hem that had come untucked hours ago.

Alyssa leaned away, her cuffed hands pushing at his. A sweep of panic heated her chest. “No. Don’t. Leave me alone.”

Taz laughed and chanted “go-go-go”.

Creek grabbed the back of her shirt and pulled it up and over her head. Then yanked the fabric down her forearms to rest in a bundle where her hands came together in the cuffs. The cool air prickled her skin beneath the white tank top remaining. She curled in on herself to keep the exposure to a minimum. That’s when she noticed the hole in her scrubs, irregular brown marks along the edge. She wasn’t imagining things. He had burned her.

Taz kept glancing in the rear view mirror, and hit a curb as he pulled alongside a closed gas station-slash-mini mart, where painted blue circles delineated men’s and women’s restrooms. He shoved the car into park, twisted and laid one arm over the seat.

“Look what the skinny bitch was hiding under those baggy clothes.” Taz’s excited, bright eyes raked over Alyssa and fastened on her breasts as if he could see through her clothes. “Thought I felt a melon in there. Keep going, Creek. I wanna see that rack.”

Stomach in her throat, Alyssa scanned the area, searching for an escape route. For someone who could help her. But the gas station wasn’t closed as she’d first thought. It was abandoned. Tendrils of panic coiled around her lungs.

Creek put one big fist over the cloth around the chain between her hands, shoved the door open and dragged her across the seat. Would he beat her? Burn her? Kill her? She forced her mind back to the vulnerable areas of the body she would target: a fist to the temple, flat of the hand to the nose, knuckles to the philtrum, side chop to the adam’s apple—

“Keep watch,” Creek said to Taz as he pulled Alyssa to her feet and grabbed the smaller bag of clothes from the floorboard. “Don’t do anything. No stroll, no smoke. Nothing, got it?”

Taz jerked his chin. “Am I gonna get a piece of her when you’re through?”

“We’ll see.” Creek slammed the door and towed Alyssa toward the bathrooms.

No. She couldn’t go in there with him. She’d be trapped. But running wasn’t much of an option either. The landscape around the deserted gas station was a barren sea of flat dirt and scraggly shrubs. Nobody within screaming distance. No haven within running distance. But the approaching darkness might actually be her friend.

Without any solid plan, Alyssa gathered all her strength, drove down with both hands then jerked upward. To her utter shock, her hands wrenched free of his grip. A second seemed to float, suspended in time, before she could make her feet move.

As the surprise cleared from Creek’s face, he swiped a grab for her hands. Alyssa spun and pushed into a kick start. Gravel slipped beneath her feet. Creek grabbed the back of her tank. Fabric ripped. Bra snapped.  He whipped an arm around her waist. Twisted her body. Slung her over his shoulder. Just that quick, as if he’d done it countless times before.

“Fucking A,” he growled. “You are the biggest pain in the ass.”

“Let me go.” Alyssa beat on his back with the cuff edge, kicked her feet, twisted. Nothing loosened his grip. Nothing broke his stride. And his body heat had ramped up again.

Creek was still muttering as he kicked in the bathroom door. The bang made Alyssa flinch. Taz’s full-bellied laugh followed them until Creek slammed the door shut.

You can preorder your copy of FEVER at the following locations:
Amazon (print & Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (print & Nook)
Booksamillion



Review of Victoria Dahl’s Latest + Interview + GIVEAWAY!!!

>I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Victoria Dahl’s latest release IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU from Kensington Zebra for review.  Then doubly blessed when Victoria agreed to an interview.   And triply (is that a word?) fortunate to have her generously offer a giveaway!  YAY!!  It’s a GREAT Monday!

Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:
An ARC of IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU!
A copy of Victoria’s A LITTLE BIT WILD, the first book in the York series.
1 of 5 custom bookmarks.

Victoria Dahl’s IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, is the second book in her historical romance York series and her August release.  I haven’t read A LITTLE BIT WILD yet (though you can bet I will) and it’s good for those of you in my position to know that IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU completely stands on its own.  Not once did I feel lost or out of sync because I hadn’t read the prior novel!

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is one of those books with instant intrigue. Victoria crafts a suspenseful read with characters I rooted for and story questions that made me turn the pages in search for their answers.

I’m a fan of tortured heroes and crafty, independent heroines, and IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU has both. The hero, Aiden, believes the love of his life, Kate, the heroine, is dead. Has been dead for a decade. When this novel begins, he is haunted by the resemblance of a random stranger to the woman he could never cast from his heart. And when he confronts the stranger, simply to prove to himself she isn’t the woman he thinks she is, he’s shocked to discover Kate is in fact alive.

Kate has many secrets and has told many lies in an effort to keep herself safe. She believes Aiden cast her aside so many years ago and now is determined to remain unknown, unhindered and undiscovered.

Click for larger image.
Bookmarks are even prettier
in person!

The black moment in this book was riveting and heart-rending. The suspense kept the pace fast and the storyline intriguing. The resolution pushed me to read to the very last page in the novel—not something I often do.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is a tale woven from the strongest of human emotions, the harshness of life’s often random circumstances and the double-edged sword of endless love.

You can GET IT HERE in paperback or GET IT HERE on Kindle.

Now Victoria answers a few questions:

What is your writing routine?

I’m not exactly the most disciplined person you’ll ever meet. And by that, I mean I have to promise myself rewards, much as you would a small child. “If you get X words written before noon, you can go out to lunch with a girlfriend!” When I’m on deadline, I know what word count I need to hit every day. It’s often something around 2500 words. I can’t write 2500 words in one sitting, so I’ll normally do one hour of intense writing, which should get me close to 1000 words, and then I’ll take a few hours to brainstorm and write the next 1500.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

My number one way of interacting with readers is via Twitter. It’s immediate and easy and quick, and it doesn’t feel like work. (See Question #1.) I’m terrible at Facebook and almost as bad with email, sadly. I procrastinate, and then I feel guilty, and then the whole big mass of emails and Facebook messages and guilt hangs over my head like a boulder. That’s when I like to hide in my Twitter cave and frantically tell dirty jokes.

What are you reading now?

I’m just finishing up Courtney Milan’s novella Unlocked, which is beautiful! I’m also reading a couple of non-fiction books about Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as my next contemporary series is set there. I just read a not-yet-released Ann Aguirre book, Enclave, as well as an untitled manuscript from my amazing critique partner, Jennifer Echols. It’s so very nice to have lots of friends who are amazing writers and send me advance work. *GRIN*

What is in your TBR pile?

Oh, my God. What isn’t in my TBR pile? That thing about how nice it is to have great writer friends? It’s also torturous! Because I want to read all of their books and I can’t keep up! Let me fire up my Kindle and we’ll see what’s on it:

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
Unclaimed by Courtney Milan
Too Hot to Touch by Louisa Edwards
Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane
Broken by Megan Hart
Collision Course by Zoe Archer

Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?

I’m a mom of two, so I spend a lot of my time making sure the house is spotless and the kids eat nothing but home-cooked organic foods. *snort* That’s a joke. But I do spend a lot of time hanging out with them and buying Lunchables at the grocery store. Before I had kids, I worked in financial services and banking. Exciting!

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

All of my books start with an idea for one scene. Just one scene, maybe even just a few heartbeats in that scene. In IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, it was the moment when Aidan sees Kate for the first time in ten years. That’s the idea that started the book for me, and then I work back from there. Who are these people? Why is his reaction so visceral and heartbreaking? What happened to bring them to this place? How will he react? That’s where the story always starts. I love that moment of curiosity.

Tell us about your upcoming recent release, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is the second in my York family series. I love a tortured hero, and Aidan York has had his share of heartbreak. His own behavior has only added to his torment over the years, and he hates the man he’s become. But when he’s reunited with his first love, Kate Tremont, anything seems possible. Redemption, love, happiness. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and Kate has to convince him that they have no future together. Still, even the most dangerous of secrets can’t stop her from responding to his touch…or his heart.

What are your current projects?

I just turned in the last book of my Donovan Brothers Brewery series! Good Girls Don’t, Bad Boys Do and Real Men Will will be out in September, October and November. And now I’m starting a brand new contemporary series set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I don’t have any titles yet, as I’m only nine pages into the first book, but I’m having fun!

Where can we find you online?

On Twitter! www.Twitter.com/VictoriaDahl
My website: www.VictoriaDahl.com
and my email of shame: Victoria@VictoriaDahl.com

Bookmarks are more gorgeous in person!

Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:

An ARC of IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU
A copy of Victoria’s A LITTLE BIT WILD
1 of 5 custom bookmarks

**US/Canada shipping for books**
**International shipping for bookmarks**
*MUST leave contact email**
(otherwise how will we tell you YOU WON?)

Bio:

Victoria Dahl lives with her family in a small town high in the mountains. During the summer she hikes and drinks margaritas (usually not at the same time). During the winter she likes to curl up with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and think about all those poor, freezing skiers working so hard out in the snow. 

Her first published novel, the winner of the coveted Golden Heart for best long historical romance, debuted in 2007. As of the end of 2012, she will have seventeen books and novellas in print in historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance.

Victoria’s first contemporary romance, Talk Me Down, was nominated for both the Romance Writers of America® Rita Award and the National Readers’ Choice Award. Since then, her books have been nominated for two more Rita Awards, and she hit the USA Today Bestseller list with the contemporary anthology Midnight Kiss!

>Review of Victoria Dahl’s Latest + Interview + GIVEAWAY!!!

>I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Victoria Dahl’s latest release IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU from Kensington Zebra for review.  Then doubly blessed when Victoria agreed to an interview.   And triply (is that a word?) fortunate to have her generously offer a giveaway!  YAY!!  It’s a GREAT Monday!

Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:
An ARC of IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU!
A copy of Victoria’s A LITTLE BIT WILD, the first book in the York series.
1 of 5 custom bookmarks.

Victoria Dahl’s IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, is the second book in her historical romance York series and her August release.  I haven’t read A LITTLE BIT WILD yet (though you can bet I will) and it’s good for those of you in my position to know that IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU completely stands on its own.  Not once did I feel lost or out of sync because I hadn’t read the prior novel!

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is one of those books with instant intrigue. Victoria crafts a suspenseful read with characters I rooted for and story questions that made me turn the pages in search for their answers.

I’m a fan of tortured heroes and crafty, independent heroines, and IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU has both. The hero, Aiden, believes the love of his life, Kate, the heroine, is dead. Has been dead for a decade. When this novel begins, he is haunted by the resemblance of a random stranger to the woman he could never cast from his heart. And when he confronts the stranger, simply to prove to himself she isn’t the woman he thinks she is, he’s shocked to discover Kate is in fact alive.

Kate has many secrets and has told many lies in an effort to keep herself safe. She believes Aiden cast her aside so many years ago and now is determined to remain unknown, unhindered and undiscovered.

Click for larger image.
Bookmarks are even prettier
in person!

The black moment in this book was riveting and heart-rending. The suspense kept the pace fast and the storyline intriguing. The resolution pushed me to read to the very last page in the novel—not something I often do.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is a tale woven from the strongest of human emotions, the harshness of life’s often random circumstances and the double-edged sword of endless love.

You can GET IT HERE in paperback or GET IT HERE on Kindle.

Now Victoria answers a few questions:

What is your writing routine?

I’m not exactly the most disciplined person you’ll ever meet. And by that, I mean I have to promise myself rewards, much as you would a small child. “If you get X words written before noon, you can go out to lunch with a girlfriend!” When I’m on deadline, I know what word count I need to hit every day. It’s often something around 2500 words. I can’t write 2500 words in one sitting, so I’ll normally do one hour of intense writing, which should get me close to 1000 words, and then I’ll take a few hours to brainstorm and write the next 1500.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

My number one way of interacting with readers is via Twitter. It’s immediate and easy and quick, and it doesn’t feel like work. (See Question #1.) I’m terrible at Facebook and almost as bad with email, sadly. I procrastinate, and then I feel guilty, and then the whole big mass of emails and Facebook messages and guilt hangs over my head like a boulder. That’s when I like to hide in my Twitter cave and frantically tell dirty jokes.

What are you reading now?

I’m just finishing up Courtney Milan’s novella Unlocked, which is beautiful! I’m also reading a couple of non-fiction books about Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as my next contemporary series is set there. I just read a not-yet-released Ann Aguirre book, Enclave, as well as an untitled manuscript from my amazing critique partner, Jennifer Echols. It’s so very nice to have lots of friends who are amazing writers and send me advance work. *GRIN*

What is in your TBR pile?

Oh, my God. What isn’t in my TBR pile? That thing about how nice it is to have great writer friends? It’s also torturous! Because I want to read all of their books and I can’t keep up! Let me fire up my Kindle and we’ll see what’s on it:

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
Unclaimed by Courtney Milan
Too Hot to Touch by Louisa Edwards
Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane
Broken by Megan Hart
Collision Course by Zoe Archer

Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?

I’m a mom of two, so I spend a lot of my time making sure the house is spotless and the kids eat nothing but home-cooked organic foods. *snort* That’s a joke. But I do spend a lot of time hanging out with them and buying Lunchables at the grocery store. Before I had kids, I worked in financial services and banking. Exciting!

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

All of my books start with an idea for one scene. Just one scene, maybe even just a few heartbeats in that scene. In IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU, it was the moment when Aidan sees Kate for the first time in ten years. That’s the idea that started the book for me, and then I work back from there. Who are these people? Why is his reaction so visceral and heartbreaking? What happened to bring them to this place? How will he react? That’s where the story always starts. I love that moment of curiosity.

Tell us about your upcoming recent release, IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU.

IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU is the second in my York family series. I love a tortured hero, and Aidan York has had his share of heartbreak. His own behavior has only added to his torment over the years, and he hates the man he’s become. But when he’s reunited with his first love, Kate Tremont, anything seems possible. Redemption, love, happiness. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and Kate has to convince him that they have no future together. Still, even the most dangerous of secrets can’t stop her from responding to his touch…or his heart.

What are your current projects?

I just turned in the last book of my Donovan Brothers Brewery series! Good Girls Don’t, Bad Boys Do and Real Men Will will be out in September, October and November. And now I’m starting a brand new contemporary series set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I don’t have any titles yet, as I’m only nine pages into the first book, but I’m having fun!

Where can we find you online?

On Twitter! www.Twitter.com/VictoriaDahl
My website: www.VictoriaDahl.com
and my email of shame: Victoria@VictoriaDahl.com

Bookmarks are more gorgeous in person!

Comment or ask Victoria a question to ENTER to WIN one of the following:

An ARC of IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU
A copy of Victoria’s A LITTLE BIT WILD
1 of 5 custom bookmarks

**US/Canada shipping for books**
**International shipping for bookmarks**
*MUST leave contact email**
(otherwise how will we tell you YOU WON?)

Bio:

Victoria Dahl lives with her family in a small town high in the mountains. During the summer she hikes and drinks margaritas (usually not at the same time). During the winter she likes to curl up with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and think about all those poor, freezing skiers working so hard out in the snow. 

Her first published novel, the winner of the coveted Golden Heart for best long historical romance, debuted in 2007. As of the end of 2012, she will have seventeen books and novellas in print in historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance.

Victoria’s first contemporary romance, Talk Me Down, was nominated for both the Romance Writers of America® Rita Award and the National Readers’ Choice Award. Since then, her books have been nominated for two more Rita Awards, and she hit the USA Today Bestseller list with the contemporary anthology Midnight Kiss!

Conflict & Structure with Author Stephanie Rowe

>As a four-time RITA® Award nominee, a Golden Heart® Award winner and a nationally bestselling author of more than twenty books, Stephanie Rowe knows a thing or ten about writing.  So when I created interview questions for her appearance here, I thought craft would be a topic both writers and readers would enjoy.  I know I was intrigued with Stephanie’s answers and can’t wait for my copy of her July release, TOUCH IF YOU DARE, coming in the mail.  Yes, I won one early!  And you can too!

Comment on any of Stephanie’s answers or ask a question of your own and you’ll be entered to win one of the following 7 prizes! (U.S. & Canada Shipping Only)

  • A print copy of TOUCH IF YOU DARE
  • A print copy of KISS AT YOUR OWN RISK
    Stephanie’s prior release
  • 1 of 5 custom bookmarks

Welcome, Stephanie!

How long does it typically take you to write a book from concept to polish?

It totally depends on the book. Last year, it took me almost six months to TOUCH IF YOU DARE, my July release, and that didn’t even include pre-work or editing. This spring, I wrote my latest book in 17 days! That one just came alive for me, and it was the coolest experience. From idea to polished book, that one took me just under two months. I wish they were all that easy! Over the last five years or so, I’ve focused on educating myself about how other writers prepare for writing a book, and I’ve created an extensive system of 10 or 12 documents that I go through as I brainstorm. They are cumulative, building upon each other as I learn more about the story and the characters and can dig deeper into everything. By the time I finish, I’ve got a 10 or 12 page very tight document that tells me exactly what I need to know to write, and not a bit more. It’s been working really well for me and I continue to refine it as I learn more and evolve as a writer.

You write in several romance genres: paranormal, suspense and contemporary.  What do you love to write the most?

I really enjoy the freedom of writing in different areas. Each one taps into different strengths and has different challenges and opportunities, so writing in the different genres helps to keep me fresh and it keeps me growing as a writer. I am usually most interested in whatever genre my current work-in-progress is in, which is good, since that’s what I’m immersed in all day!

What is your philosophy on conflict in a novel?

There are two kinds of conflict: external (e.g. bad guy) and internal (the character’s personal baggage). I believe that the most powerful conflict has to come from the soul, and it has to be the kind of conflict that can’t be overcome by a simple conversation or illuminating moment. A book without a powerful internal conflict will often lack that compelling element, while a book without a powerful external conflict can often be riveting. So, when I write, I always focus on the internal conflict and I allow the external conflict to arise from that.


How do you go about building your novel’s conflict?

My first step is to get to know my two main characters in their souls. I don’t bother with their favorite kind of ice cream. I need to sink myself deep into the emotions that drive them, and peel back the layers to expose their greatest fears, their greatest hopes, and their greatest joys. I find out what drives them, and I find out what terrifies them beyond belief, and then I create a story that forces them to defeat their innermost terrors in order to get that which their soul burns for. Sometimes those obstacles can be external, tapping into their inner traumas, and sometimes those obstacles can be internal, but every obstacle and every event and every relationship stems from that darkest place in their soul that is yearning for hope, for love and for light.

Do you plan out the structure of your novel? What model do you use?

From a structural perspective, I have created my own model based primarily on Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT screenwriter’s book, and the hero’s journey as described in Mary Buckham’s brilliant lecture, Plotting with Mythic Structure (I highly recommend going to her website, www.marybuckham.com, and buying her lectures. They are absolutely invaluable). I’ve taken those plot points and created a chart in word that I fill in with assorted ideas for events. I’ve created assorted brainstorming documents that I use, and as I proceed through them and come up with plot points, I write them into my chart. By the time I finish going through my brainstorming documents, my chart is usually rich with events to challenge my characters. I usually don’t have to do any more work, and I’m ready to write at that point.


Great tips for writers! Fun insight for readers! Hope you have enjoyed.

Comment on any of Stephanie’s answers or ask a question of your own and you’ll be entered to win one of the following 7 prizes! (U.S. & Canada Shipping Only)

* Must leave a contact email *

  • A print copy of TOUCH IF YOU DARE
  • A print copy of KISS AT YOUR OWN RISK
    Stephanie’s prior release
  • 1 of 5 custom bookmarks

>Conflict & Structure with Author Stephanie Rowe

>As a four-time RITA® Award nominee, a Golden Heart® Award winner and a nationally bestselling author of more than twenty books, Stephanie Rowe knows a thing or ten about writing.  So when I created interview questions for her appearance here, I thought craft would be a topic both writers and readers would enjoy.  I know I was intrigued with Stephanie’s answers and can’t wait for my copy of her July release, TOUCH IF YOU DARE, coming in the mail.  Yes, I won one early!  And you can too!

Comment on any of Stephanie’s answers or ask a question of your own and you’ll be entered to win one of the following 7 prizes! (U.S. & Canada Shipping Only)

  • A print copy of TOUCH IF YOU DARE
  • A print copy of KISS AT YOUR OWN RISK
    Stephanie’s prior release
  • 1 of 5 custom bookmarks

Welcome, Stephanie!

How long does it typically take you to write a book from concept to polish?

It totally depends on the book. Last year, it took me almost six months to TOUCH IF YOU DARE, my July release, and that didn’t even include pre-work or editing. This spring, I wrote my latest book in 17 days! That one just came alive for me, and it was the coolest experience. From idea to polished book, that one took me just under two months. I wish they were all that easy! Over the last five years or so, I’ve focused on educating myself about how other writers prepare for writing a book, and I’ve created an extensive system of 10 or 12 documents that I go through as I brainstorm. They are cumulative, building upon each other as I learn more about the story and the characters and can dig deeper into everything. By the time I finish, I’ve got a 10 or 12 page very tight document that tells me exactly what I need to know to write, and not a bit more. It’s been working really well for me and I continue to refine it as I learn more and evolve as a writer.

You write in several romance genres: paranormal, suspense and contemporary.  What do you love to write the most?

I really enjoy the freedom of writing in different areas. Each one taps into different strengths and has different challenges and opportunities, so writing in the different genres helps to keep me fresh and it keeps me growing as a writer. I am usually most interested in whatever genre my current work-in-progress is in, which is good, since that’s what I’m immersed in all day!

What is your philosophy on conflict in a novel?

There are two kinds of conflict: external (e.g. bad guy) and internal (the character’s personal baggage). I believe that the most powerful conflict has to come from the soul, and it has to be the kind of conflict that can’t be overcome by a simple conversation or illuminating moment. A book without a powerful internal conflict will often lack that compelling element, while a book without a powerful external conflict can often be riveting. So, when I write, I always focus on the internal conflict and I allow the external conflict to arise from that.


How do you go about building your novel’s conflict?

My first step is to get to know my two main characters in their souls. I don’t bother with their favorite kind of ice cream. I need to sink myself deep into the emotions that drive them, and peel back the layers to expose their greatest fears, their greatest hopes, and their greatest joys. I find out what drives them, and I find out what terrifies them beyond belief, and then I create a story that forces them to defeat their innermost terrors in order to get that which their soul burns for. Sometimes those obstacles can be external, tapping into their inner traumas, and sometimes those obstacles can be internal, but every obstacle and every event and every relationship stems from that darkest place in their soul that is yearning for hope, for love and for light.

Do you plan out the structure of your novel? What model do you use?

From a structural perspective, I have created my own model based primarily on Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT screenwriter’s book, and the hero’s journey as described in Mary Buckham’s brilliant lecture, Plotting with Mythic Structure (I highly recommend going to her website, www.marybuckham.com, and buying her lectures. They are absolutely invaluable). I’ve taken those plot points and created a chart in word that I fill in with assorted ideas for events. I’ve created assorted brainstorming documents that I use, and as I proceed through them and come up with plot points, I write them into my chart. By the time I finish going through my brainstorming documents, my chart is usually rich with events to challenge my characters. I usually don’t have to do any more work, and I’m ready to write at that point.


Great tips for writers! Fun insight for readers! Hope you have enjoyed.

Comment on any of Stephanie’s answers or ask a question of your own and you’ll be entered to win one of the following 7 prizes! (U.S. & Canada Shipping Only)

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  • A print copy of TOUCH IF YOU DARE
  • A print copy of KISS AT YOUR OWN RISK
    Stephanie’s prior release
  • 1 of 5 custom bookmarks