fiction

THE CRAFT OF COFFEE HOUSE READING

At some time, every author will be asked to read their work aloud. Print, ebook, fiction, non-fiction, adult novel, chilren’s book, there will be a seminar, a writer’s workshop, a reader’s gathering, a Thanksgiving dinner with the family…and you will be asked to read.

I specifically requested this post from Sherry because I heard her read when we were at a class together at Margie Lawson’s home in Colorado. I was charmed. Mesmerized. Enchanted. Not only is Sherry a stellar author, she is an amazing reader.

And as I draw near my debut release, scheduling appearances and workshops, I know I need to learn how to read my work aloud. After hearing Sherry’s expertise, I knew there was no better place to learn.

GIVEAWAY: Sherry is generously offering a copy of her short story collection, Storyteller, to be awarded to a random commenter. Share your favorite editing tool or reading experience and you could win! (Must share your email as well.)

THE CRAFT OF COFFEE HOUSE READING
By Sherry Isaac

Of all the phobias in the world, public speaking is one of the most commonly shared. For new writers, sharing their work with another can be terrifying, even if the other person is a trusted friend.

No wonder. When we write, we put a little of our soul on the page.

No surprise, then, that the idea of reading in front of an audience paralyzes many authors.

In the words of Women of the Underworld author Kelley Armstrong, “While publishers do want you to have a website (and Facebook and Twitter and blog and an endless list of other online “opportunities”) it doesn’t replace the need to get out to stores and conventions and readings.”

Storyteller Launch at Prana Cafe, Toronto
Photo by J. Nichole Noel
Perhaps that is why sites like Goodreads are so popular: that connection between writer and reader, storyteller and audience.

Ah. The audience. If we want to sell, we need an audience. What better way to build an audience as you journey toward the publication of your first book, than to share your genius in the neighbourhood library or cafe?

Storytelling is an age-old tradition. As writers, we have the honour, and the obligation, to play our part.

So, what makes a good read? While there isn’t the space to fit all of the details into one blog post, we can explore five basic elements.

Length

Audience time is limited, and so is your time behind the mike. 8-10 minutes makes a good read. Longer, and you risk losing your audience.

Always check with your host in advance. You may only have two!

Storyteller Launch at Prana Cafe, Toronto
Photo by J. Nichole Noel

Style

Keep your audience engaged with humor, light tales, or stories alive with action. This doesn’t mean you have to write Hollywood crash ‘em up car chases, but avoid long streams of heavy narration.

Put aside the tear-jerkers and go for something up tempo. Not that sad or poignant tales don’t work, but since you’re probably not privy to what other authors are bringing, go with the light stuff. Too much sad material can wear an audience down, but an audience won’t be disappointed if every story has them on the edge of their bistro seat, or rolling in the library aisle.

Audience

Keep your listening audience in mind. The venue you are reading at may not be the best place to share your political views, or explore the first draft of your erotica novel.

Time

To me, a polished read revolves around two basic, principles: time allotment, and time spend in rehearsal.

Time allotment is straight forward. If you don’t know what your time allotment at a reading venue is, ask. Then, select a piece based on that answer.

Don’t count on your host to stop you when you’ve reached your time limit. They won’t. Because it’s rude. But, it is more rude to ignore your time limit so choose courtesy instead and use a timer.

I repeat, use a timer.

We’re writers. We are in love with our words. Just like we hate to hit that delete button and destroy our little darlings, we want–once we get over the cafe reading heebee jeebies, that is–to share them out loud with the whole wide world.

Resist the temptation to go over. A paragraph turns into a page turns into two more minutes and the next thing you know, you’ve gone over time.If your piece does not fit into the allotted time, do not read faster. Choose a different piece, or consider a cliff-hanger. It works. Viewers all over the world waited an entire summer to find out who killed JR!

Rehearsal

Try on the clothes you plan to wear. Practice eye contact by rehearsing in front of a mirror. Allow for pauses, pay attention to pacing.

Rehearse with your timer! Rehearse and rehearse and rehearse. Then, like the nuances of a familiar song, you will know when to pause, when to look up, when to soften your voice.

Rehearsing your piece out loud is a great editing tool. And who couldn’t use a neat and easy editing tool?

GIVEAWAY: A copy of my short story collection, Storyteller, will be awarded to a random commenter. Share your favorite editing tool or reading experience and you could win! (Must share your email as well.)

MAGGIE finalist and winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac’s tales of life, love and forgiveness transcend all things, including the grave. Sherry represents one-third of the Romance & Beyond blog trio. Visit her website, sherryisaac.com, like Sherry on Facebook, become a fan on Goodreads, and follow her on Twitter.

>THE CRAFT OF COFFEE HOUSE READING

>

At some time, every author will be asked to read their work aloud. Print, ebook, fiction, non-fiction, adult novel, chilren’s book, there will be a seminar, a writer’s workshop, a reader’s gathering, a Thanksgiving dinner with the family…and you will be asked to read.

I specifically requested this post from Sherry because I heard her read when we were at a class together at Margie Lawson’s home in Colorado. I was charmed. Mesmerized. Enchanted. Not only is Sherry a stellar author, she is an amazing reader.

And as I draw near my debut release, scheduling appearances and workshops, I know I need to learn how to read my work aloud. After hearing Sherry’s expertise, I knew there was no better place to learn.

GIVEAWAY: Sherry is generously offering a copy of her short story collection, Storyteller, to be awarded to a random commenter. Share your favorite editing tool or reading experience and you could win! (Must share your email as well.)

THE CRAFT OF COFFEE HOUSE READING
By Sherry Isaac

Of all the phobias in the world, public speaking is one of the most commonly shared. For new writers, sharing their work with another can be terrifying, even if the other person is a trusted friend.

No wonder. When we write, we put a little of our soul on the page.

No surprise, then, that the idea of reading in front of an audience paralyzes many authors.

In the words of Women of the Underworld author Kelley Armstrong, “While publishers do want you to have a website (and Facebook and Twitter and blog and an endless list of other online “opportunities”) it doesn’t replace the need to get out to stores and conventions and readings.”

Storyteller Launch at Prana Cafe, Toronto
Photo by J. Nichole Noel
Perhaps that is why sites like Goodreads are so popular: that connection between writer and reader, storyteller and audience.

Ah. The audience. If we want to sell, we need an audience. What better way to build an audience as you journey toward the publication of your first book, than to share your genius in the neighbourhood library or cafe?

Storytelling is an age-old tradition. As writers, we have the honour, and the obligation, to play our part.

So, what makes a good read? While there isn’t the space to fit all of the details into one blog post, we can explore five basic elements.

Length

Audience time is limited, and so is your time behind the mike. 8-10 minutes makes a good read. Longer, and you risk losing your audience.

Always check with your host in advance. You may only have two!

Storyteller Launch at Prana Cafe, Toronto
Photo by J. Nichole Noel

Style

Keep your audience engaged with humor, light tales, or stories alive with action. This doesn’t mean you have to write Hollywood crash ‘em up car chases, but avoid long streams of heavy narration.

Put aside the tear-jerkers and go for something up tempo. Not that sad or poignant tales don’t work, but since you’re probably not privy to what other authors are bringing, go with the light stuff. Too much sad material can wear an audience down, but an audience won’t be disappointed if every story has them on the edge of their bistro seat, or rolling in the library aisle.

Audience

Keep your listening audience in mind. The venue you are reading at may not be the best place to share your political views, or explore the first draft of your erotica novel.

Time

To me, a polished read revolves around two basic, principles: time allotment, and time spend in rehearsal.

Time allotment is straight forward. If you don’t know what your time allotment at a reading venue is, ask. Then, select a piece based on that answer.

Don’t count on your host to stop you when you’ve reached your time limit. They won’t. Because it’s rude. But, it is more rude to ignore your time limit so choose courtesy instead and use a timer.

I repeat, use a timer.

We’re writers. We are in love with our words. Just like we hate to hit that delete button and destroy our little darlings, we want–once we get over the cafe reading heebee jeebies, that is–to share them out loud with the whole wide world.

Resist the temptation to go over. A paragraph turns into a page turns into two more minutes and the next thing you know, you’ve gone over time.If your piece does not fit into the allotted time, do not read faster. Choose a different piece, or consider a cliff-hanger. It works. Viewers all over the world waited an entire summer to find out who killed JR!

Rehearsal

Try on the clothes you plan to wear. Practice eye contact by rehearsing in front of a mirror. Allow for pauses, pay attention to pacing.

Rehearse with your timer! Rehearse and rehearse and rehearse. Then, like the nuances of a familiar song, you will know when to pause, when to look up, when to soften your voice.

Rehearsing your piece out loud is a great editing tool. And who couldn’t use a neat and easy editing tool?

GIVEAWAY: A copy of my short story collection, Storyteller, will be awarded to a random commenter. Share your favorite editing tool or reading experience and you could win! (Must share your email as well.)

MAGGIE finalist and winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac’s tales of life, love and forgiveness transcend all things, including the grave. Sherry represents one-third of the Romance & Beyond blog trio. Visit her website, sherryisaac.com, like Sherry on Facebook, become a fan on Goodreads, and follow her on Twitter.

Review of A TOUCH OF CRIMSON, Sylvia Day Interview + Giveaway!!

>I’m excited to have Sylvia Day here today! The first book I ever read of Sylvia’s was Pride and Pleasure, her February historical romance release. I was beyond entertained; I was impressed. So much so that I wrote a detailed review of Pride and Pleasure on Savvy Authors. As many of you know, I’m a lover of craft, and was thrilled to find not only how much stellar craft Sylvia utilizes in her writing, but how she manipulates those elements to take her storytelling to the highest level.

I was excited (though not surprised) to find that same level of mastery in A TOUCH OF CRIMSON. Really fabulous books are always more difficult to review, not unlike they are to write. All the elements intertwine and play off each other to weave an intricate tapestry of plot and subplot, emotion and intellect, character and setting. I toyed with the idea of making this a two-part review, but decided to spare you my blathering and hit the high points of what I loved most about A TOUCH OF CRIMSON.

Comment or ask Sylvia a question to enter to win:
1) A copy of A TOUCH OF CRIMSON
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks

A TOUCH OF CRIMSONAn angel with immense power and insatiable desire, Adrian Mitchell leads an elite Special Ops unit of the seraphim. His task is to punish the Fallen–angels who have become vampires–and command a restless pack of indentured lycans.

But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals–losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her: Shadoe, her soul once more inhabiting a new body that doesn’t remember him. This time he won’t let her go.

With no memory of her past as Shadoe, Lindsay Gibson knows only that she can’t help being fiercely attracted to the smoldering, seductive male who crosses her path. Swept into a dangerous world of tumultuous passion and preternatural conflict, Lindsay is soon caught between her angel lover, her vampire father, and a full-blown lycan revolt. There’s more at stake than her love and her life–she could lose her very soul…

My Review:
A TOUCH OF CRIMSON begins with action and intensity–my favorite way to get things going. Immediately, I recognized the depth and number of characters. As this is the first book in a paranormal series, the ground work must be laid. This is often a difficult task, and in the hands of a lesser writer, would surely confuse, if not lose, readers. But Sylvia creates a world filled with various species, the Sentinels, the Lycan and the Fallen, and rules governing those species’, yet never makes the complex complicated.

This also shows how Sylvia trusts her readers, how she respects their ability to follow her threads, pick up her clues, utilize their intelligence to soak up all the information she’s offering. I respect an author who believes her readers are sophisticated and intelligent and writes to that audience.

With her lyrical prose and fresh description, Sylvia guides the reader expertly through each group’s description, culture, powers and conflicts. She deftly illustrates how each species is both at odds with and in need of the others, outlining a tight web of conflict, all while moving the story forward with action and spicy dialogue.

When you look below at Sylvia’s answer to the question on creating villains, you may understand why I found the villains in A TOUCH OF CRIMSON so gripping. They felt more developed to me than most villains. A familial-type group much like the Sentinals or the Lycans, the Fallen have suffered immensely – the head of the family, a fallen angel, has lost his wings at the hands of Adrian, who himself says it was wrong to take them. And Syre’s son, Torque, who losses his wife at the beginning of the story, again at Adrian’s hands. Their loss and suffering make them sympathetic villains – my favorite kind.

The heroine in A TOUCH OF CRIMSON, Lindsey, is as wounded as the rest of the crew, though you’d never know it with her kick ass attitude. She never backs down, but is driven to hunt by memories of her beloved mother slain by vamps when she was a child. There is something deep inside that tells her she has an obligation to utilize her given abilities to right this tragic wrong, all of which made her very empathetic.

Adrian, the hero, is suffering penance for his history of wrong-doings by losing the love of his life–Shadoe in Lindsey’s body with no memory of Adrian–over and over again. He is fighting her father, the villain, for her love, an age-old conflict that tugs at heartstrings. Each man believes he’s doing the right thing for her, each says he is doing it out of supreme love for her, yet each hold their own private agenda – it’s like a train wreck from which you can’t look away, hoping to see survivors emerge from the wreckage.

The complexity of species and cultures crossing in this novel makes for many unexpected twists and turns during the course of the story. And while the questions for A TOUCH OF CRIMSON are answered within this book, many others remain, dragging the reader’s interest to future books. Numerous well defined secondary characters and intriguing story lines make this first of the series rich in its own right, while priming the reader for the series as a whole, because after reading A TOUCH OF CRIMSON, you won’t be able to stay away from the remainder of the trilogy.

Sylvia’s Interview:
What sparked the idea for this book/series?
Really, the idea was sparked by a combination of an editor and my existing Marked series. The editor sent a note to my agent saying that if I wrote a paranormal romance series with alpha heroes, she wanted to see it. My Marked series is where I’d introduced my Dominion world, which encompasses the entire hierarchy of angels. The Marked series focused on the lowest sphere and I always knew I was going to explore the other spheres and ranks at some point. The editor’s prodding had me thinking along paranormal romance lines and the story of the Watcher angels struck me. Angels who fell from the heavens for lust and love. How could I not write about that? It’s just too awesome. In the end, the editor who prodded me forward with the idea isn’t the editor who won the auction for the series, but I’m grateful to her all the same and always will be. The idea was there in my mind, but she gave me the impetus to get it down on paper now rather than later.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I’m not sure I have a strategy, but I try to see my villains as complete characters, like my H/h. Unless they’re mental defectives, they’ll have facets of their character that aren’t horrible. They’ll have things they care about, things they’ll fight for. They can cry and feel pain, they have dreams and disappointments. Ideally, I like to understand their motivation—maybe even relate to it—even if their means doesn’t at all justify the end they’re going for.

Tell us something unusual about the creation/execution of this book:
The Renegade Angels series is a trilogy. Now, a trilogy can either be a set of three individual works that are connected by characters and/or theme, or it can be a single work divided into three parts. The latter is what the Renegade Angels series is–one story, divided over three books. That’s been a rocky road to travel, because I have to answer some questions in each book, but not all. Each book features a different couple and their romance, with each couple picking up the baton from the couple before as they all race to the finish. I have to set up each book so that a reader could pick up #2 or #3 and get the gist, but since it took an entire book to tell Act #1 and Act #2, I don’t have the room to rehash what’s already happened in detail. And all three heroes are also antagonists, which means there are shades of heroism and villainy in each one.

What do you love most about this book/series?
The characters are so many shades of gray. They surprise me all the time. And it’s a challenge to write. I’ve never tackled anything with this type of construction before.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Aisle. I don’t like having to ask someone to get out of my way, because then I’m dependent upon them to be polite and do so. Plus I don’t care what’s out the window; my nose is in a book and I’m not looking anyway.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?
Yes, I am. *shudder*

Comment or ask Sylvia a question to enter to win:
1) A copy of A TOUCH OF CRIMSON
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
International
**MUST** leave a contact email to WIN

Author Bio:
Sylvia Day is the national bestselling, award-winning author of over a dozen novels written across multiple sub-genres — contemporary, fantasy, historical, futuristic, science fiction, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy — under multiple pen names: three! A wife and mother of two, she is a former Russian linguist for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence.

Sylvia is a lifelong California resident who loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her to Japan, Holland, Germany, France, Mexico, Jamaica, and all over the United States. Born in Los Angeles, she grew up in Orange County (the O.C.), and later lived in Monterey, Oceanside, and the Temecula Valley.

She is a Japanese-American who enjoys the many Japanese cultural events in Southern California as well as frequent family jaunts to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Sea World. Her childhood career aspirations were few — become a dolphin trainer at Sea World or a bestselling novelist. Obviously, the dolphin trainer career took a back seat.

>Review of A TOUCH OF CRIMSON, Sylvia Day Interview + Giveaway!!

>I’m excited to have Sylvia Day here today! The first book I ever read of Sylvia’s was Pride and Pleasure, her February historical romance release. I was beyond entertained; I was impressed. So much so that I wrote a detailed review of Pride and Pleasure on Savvy Authors. As many of you know, I’m a lover of craft, and was thrilled to find not only how much stellar craft Sylvia utilizes in her writing, but how she manipulates those elements to take her storytelling to the highest level.

I was excited (though not surprised) to find that same level of mastery in A TOUCH OF CRIMSON. Really fabulous books are always more difficult to review, not unlike they are to write. All the elements intertwine and play off each other to weave an intricate tapestry of plot and subplot, emotion and intellect, character and setting. I toyed with the idea of making this a two-part review, but decided to spare you my blathering and hit the high points of what I loved most about A TOUCH OF CRIMSON.

Comment or ask Sylvia a question to enter to win:
1) A copy of A TOUCH OF CRIMSON
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks

A TOUCH OF CRIMSONAn angel with immense power and insatiable desire, Adrian Mitchell leads an elite Special Ops unit of the seraphim. His task is to punish the Fallen–angels who have become vampires–and command a restless pack of indentured lycans.

But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals–losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her: Shadoe, her soul once more inhabiting a new body that doesn’t remember him. This time he won’t let her go.

With no memory of her past as Shadoe, Lindsay Gibson knows only that she can’t help being fiercely attracted to the smoldering, seductive male who crosses her path. Swept into a dangerous world of tumultuous passion and preternatural conflict, Lindsay is soon caught between her angel lover, her vampire father, and a full-blown lycan revolt. There’s more at stake than her love and her life–she could lose her very soul…

My Review:
A TOUCH OF CRIMSON begins with action and intensity–my favorite way to get things going. Immediately, I recognized the depth and number of characters. As this is the first book in a paranormal series, the ground work must be laid. This is often a difficult task, and in the hands of a lesser writer, would surely confuse, if not lose, readers. But Sylvia creates a world filled with various species, the Sentinels, the Lycan and the Fallen, and rules governing those species’, yet never makes the complex complicated.

This also shows how Sylvia trusts her readers, how she respects their ability to follow her threads, pick up her clues, utilize their intelligence to soak up all the information she’s offering. I respect an author who believes her readers are sophisticated and intelligent and writes to that audience.

With her lyrical prose and fresh description, Sylvia guides the reader expertly through each group’s description, culture, powers and conflicts. She deftly illustrates how each species is both at odds with and in need of the others, outlining a tight web of conflict, all while moving the story forward with action and spicy dialogue.

When you look below at Sylvia’s answer to the question on creating villains, you may understand why I found the villains in A TOUCH OF CRIMSON so gripping. They felt more developed to me than most villains. A familial-type group much like the Sentinals or the Lycans, the Fallen have suffered immensely – the head of the family, a fallen angel, has lost his wings at the hands of Adrian, who himself says it was wrong to take them. And Syre’s son, Torque, who losses his wife at the beginning of the story, again at Adrian’s hands. Their loss and suffering make them sympathetic villains – my favorite kind.

The heroine in A TOUCH OF CRIMSON, Lindsey, is as wounded as the rest of the crew, though you’d never know it with her kick ass attitude. She never backs down, but is driven to hunt by memories of her beloved mother slain by vamps when she was a child. There is something deep inside that tells her she has an obligation to utilize her given abilities to right this tragic wrong, all of which made her very empathetic.

Adrian, the hero, is suffering penance for his history of wrong-doings by losing the love of his life–Shadoe in Lindsey’s body with no memory of Adrian–over and over again. He is fighting her father, the villain, for her love, an age-old conflict that tugs at heartstrings. Each man believes he’s doing the right thing for her, each says he is doing it out of supreme love for her, yet each hold their own private agenda – it’s like a train wreck from which you can’t look away, hoping to see survivors emerge from the wreckage.

The complexity of species and cultures crossing in this novel makes for many unexpected twists and turns during the course of the story. And while the questions for A TOUCH OF CRIMSON are answered within this book, many others remain, dragging the reader’s interest to future books. Numerous well defined secondary characters and intriguing story lines make this first of the series rich in its own right, while priming the reader for the series as a whole, because after reading A TOUCH OF CRIMSON, you won’t be able to stay away from the remainder of the trilogy.

Sylvia’s Interview:
What sparked the idea for this book/series?
Really, the idea was sparked by a combination of an editor and my existing Marked series. The editor sent a note to my agent saying that if I wrote a paranormal romance series with alpha heroes, she wanted to see it. My Marked series is where I’d introduced my Dominion world, which encompasses the entire hierarchy of angels. The Marked series focused on the lowest sphere and I always knew I was going to explore the other spheres and ranks at some point. The editor’s prodding had me thinking along paranormal romance lines and the story of the Watcher angels struck me. Angels who fell from the heavens for lust and love. How could I not write about that? It’s just too awesome. In the end, the editor who prodded me forward with the idea isn’t the editor who won the auction for the series, but I’m grateful to her all the same and always will be. The idea was there in my mind, but she gave me the impetus to get it down on paper now rather than later.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I’m not sure I have a strategy, but I try to see my villains as complete characters, like my H/h. Unless they’re mental defectives, they’ll have facets of their character that aren’t horrible. They’ll have things they care about, things they’ll fight for. They can cry and feel pain, they have dreams and disappointments. Ideally, I like to understand their motivation—maybe even relate to it—even if their means doesn’t at all justify the end they’re going for.

Tell us something unusual about the creation/execution of this book:
The Renegade Angels series is a trilogy. Now, a trilogy can either be a set of three individual works that are connected by characters and/or theme, or it can be a single work divided into three parts. The latter is what the Renegade Angels series is–one story, divided over three books. That’s been a rocky road to travel, because I have to answer some questions in each book, but not all. Each book features a different couple and their romance, with each couple picking up the baton from the couple before as they all race to the finish. I have to set up each book so that a reader could pick up #2 or #3 and get the gist, but since it took an entire book to tell Act #1 and Act #2, I don’t have the room to rehash what’s already happened in detail. And all three heroes are also antagonists, which means there are shades of heroism and villainy in each one.

What do you love most about this book/series?
The characters are so many shades of gray. They surprise me all the time. And it’s a challenge to write. I’ve never tackled anything with this type of construction before.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Aisle. I don’t like having to ask someone to get out of my way, because then I’m dependent upon them to be polite and do so. Plus I don’t care what’s out the window; my nose is in a book and I’m not looking anyway.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?
Yes, I am. *shudder*

Comment or ask Sylvia a question to enter to win:
1) A copy of A TOUCH OF CRIMSON
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
International
**MUST** leave a contact email to WIN

Author Bio:
Sylvia Day is the national bestselling, award-winning author of over a dozen novels written across multiple sub-genres — contemporary, fantasy, historical, futuristic, science fiction, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy — under multiple pen names: three! A wife and mother of two, she is a former Russian linguist for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence.

Sylvia is a lifelong California resident who loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her to Japan, Holland, Germany, France, Mexico, Jamaica, and all over the United States. Born in Los Angeles, she grew up in Orange County (the O.C.), and later lived in Monterey, Oceanside, and the Temecula Valley.

She is a Japanese-American who enjoys the many Japanese cultural events in Southern California as well as frequent family jaunts to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Sea World. Her childhood career aspirations were few — become a dolphin trainer at Sea World or a bestselling novelist. Obviously, the dolphin trainer career took a back seat.

Review, Interview + Giveaway with Jody Hedlund & The Doctor’s Lady

>Jody Hedlund is one of the fabulous authors I met on Twitter. I’ve admired her thoughts on writing, the writing life and developing a career as an author. I’ve appreciated the genuine warmth and sincerity that comes across even online.

Leave a comment or question for Jody to enter for one of these prizes:
1) A copy of The Doctor’s Lady
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Open Internationally

The Doctor’s Lady released early September and I was lucky enough to receive and early copy for review. This is the first novel I’ve read by Jody, but it won’t be the last. Her debut, The Preacher’s Bride, is near the very top of my TBR pile. And I was thrilled to hear recently that we will all be blessed with more of Jody’s talent as she has secured a three book deal with Bethany House. (YAY Jody! Congratulations!)

The Doctor’s Lady

Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.

Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

Review:
This novel was so much more than I expected.  As inspirational romance is not a genre I read often, I suppose my expectations were a bit out of whack. 🙂  Going off the cover, the cover copy, the genre, the publisher I was ready for a light love story and lots of rich historical fact. 

Boy, did I underestimate!  The Doctor’s Lady went above and beyond my every expectation.

While the cover copy explains the external conflict that fuels the hero and heroine’s cross-country journey and hints at a touch of romance, it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of all the depth beneath the cover.  The Doctor’s Lady is filled with characters so real I often felt as if I could reach out and touch them; their struggles so universal, every human being could relate on some level. Their commitment to fulfill their God-given calling while struggling against broken hearts, dashed dreams and dimmed hopes created strong internal conflicts while the untamed Western lands and the hardships they brought created a very real, very threatening external antagonist. 

Click for larger view

The Doctor’s Lady is filled with sigh-worthy moments–those turning points, sometimes epiphanies, sometimes small flickers of revelation, when the hero or heroine would make a self discovery which would bring them closer to the other–a relationship the reader can see is part of the reason God brought them together on this mission, but one neither character is willing to give in to.

The hero, Eli Earnest, has a wonderful character arc.  His stubbornness and preconceived ideas give way to a new perspective and a fresh respect for not only the heroine, Priscilla, but for women in general, seeing them as strong individuals rather than his previous opinion of them as “liabilities” because of their weaknesses.  The reader also gets to watch him slowly fall in love with Priscilla, all while he ignores the signs.

Priscilla starts out strong, but becomes even stronger as the book moves forward.  One of the things I loved about the heroine was the way she could be so very strong, yet never need to overpower or bully or use harshness to show her strength.  She never lost that feminine softness, no matter how rough the road became, as that made me respect her all the more–woman to woman.  I found it especially enjoyable to watch her grow stronger in one aspect of her personality while softening in another to allow Eli into her heart.  A very complex character growth that Jody portrayed artistically.

Through it all, the external conflict never wained.  At every turn in the road, every fork in the path, new conflict arose, testing the characters will, their determination, their commitment all while showing their internal growth. 

I’m a picky reader.  Someone who has to have something pushing me forward to the next page–personal conflict, character growth, plot twists, action.  I won’t hang out for lingering description, although I value beautiful prose.  I’m not patient enough to wade through paragraphs of historical facts, no matter how fascinating.  I need stuff (a highly technical term) to happen–internally, externally, it doesn’t matter.  But something has to happen to get me to move forward.

I couldn’t stop moving forward with Jody’s book.  There were nights I purposely didn’t pick up the book because I knew I wouldn’t put it down and I had to get sleep for work the next day.

Oh, and don’t let the genre fool you…Jody is absolutely fabulous with sexual tension.  The attraction between these two sparks from the beginning and the heat only grows throughout the story.  But one of the elements that makes that desire so strong between them is the development of their emotional bond along the journey.  Their attraction and love for each other is truly a beautiful thing to watch grow in front of your eyes.

And I’m thrilled with the excerpt she chose to post because it’s one of my favorite moments in the book.  I think it’s the moment my heart completely opened to Eli and I knew Priscilla’s would too.  This excerpt is the perfect example of so many passages in The Doctor’s Lady that gave me “Ahhh” moments.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

I had a lot of fun writing the wedding night scene. Because Eli and Priscilla agreed to a marriage in name only, they have no plans to consummate their marriage. However, nobody else knows their secret. And so after the wedding, Priscilla’s mother and sister help her get ready for her first night with her new husband. They turn back the covers on the bed, brush her hair, and give her instructions on what to expect. While they’re doing this, Priscilla gets really nervous. And a little later when Eli finally comes into the room and sees her in her nightgown with her hair down, he gets nervous too.

I enjoyed exploring the growing attraction between them, the awkwardness of being thrust together in the same bedroom (after only knowing each other for about a week), and then watching them figure out how they’re going to handle the physical aspect of their relationship for the duration of their trip West.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

One of the biggest conflicts is that Eli, the hero, didn’t want to have to take a woman to the West. He thinks it’s too dangerous and would rather go alone. However, in order to start the mission to the Nez Perce (and receive funding for the trip), the Mission Board leaves him with little choice—he either must take a wife or give up his dream of going west.

Priscilla, the heroine, on the other hand, wants to prove that she is strong enough for such a trip and life in the west. She believes she has all of the qualities necessary. However, as the trip progresses, they face one life-threatening danger after another but meanwhile begin to fall in love. Eli’s growing love for Priscilla only makes him all the more determined to keep her safe. He’s even decided to give her an annulment and send her back home if needed. 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

If I had to pick one person who has been the most instrumental in shaping my writing career, I’d have to single out my mom. When I was growing up, she facilitated an environment that fostered my love of writing and my creativity. She read a lot to me, allowed time for plenty of free play, believed in me, taught me to work hard, and encouraged me to dream big. Because of that, I grew up knowing I could do anything I set my mind to. Even today, she’s still a huge part of my writing career, cheering me on and encouraging me in countless ways.

What is your writing routine?

Since I have 5 children ranging in ages from 6 to 14, I have often have trouble finding uninterrupted writing time! But usually I try to carve out a couple of hours each afternoon to meet my daily word count goal (or chapters when I’m editing). Whatever I don’t finish during the afternoon, I come back to after my kids are in bed.

I also have a couple of mornings a week where I get a few extra hours of writing time, and I also take the entire day on Saturday to write.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?

I’m going to have to say rainy days. I love the blowing wind and the way the leaves and raindrops patter against the house. On those dark days, I light scented candles and drink hot tea.

And while I like snowy days too (I am a Mid-Western girl born and bred!), by the end of the winter I get tired of all of the shoveling that we have to do!

Where can readers find you?

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com

Excerpt from Chapter 5 of The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund:

(When Eli knows he has to ask Priscilla to marry him in order to fulfill his dream of going west. He sneaks into the classroom where she is teaching and . . .)

A burst of laughter near the back of the narrow schoolroom finally commanded her return to earth and to her classroom.
“Now, children. You are disobeying our rule for silence.” Her gaze lingered on the board for a second longer before she tore herself away and pivoted to face the class.
The younger children perched in their desks near the front of the room, and the older children sat in the back near the entrance—mostly the girls who weren’t privileged enough to attend Female Academy in Troy where she’d done a significant amount of her schooling.
The students’ wide smiles greeted her, and the sunshine pouring in the large windows lit their faces. She had only to follow their glances to the back row to see the source of their laughter.
Her fingers flew to the cameo at her neck.
With his long legs tucked awkwardly under a desk and his hand raised, Dr. Ernest watched her with a solemn expression that didn’t match the merriment in his eyes.
“Miss White.” He lowered his hand. “I have a question.”
She stared at him speechless, a strange mixture of excitement and apprehension stirring in her stomach.
“Some scientists say that Ceres isn’t really a planet.” He hunched his back to fit onto the small bench, and his knees pushed against the flimsy desk top. “After all, it’s located in the asteroid belt.”
What was he doing back in Angelica? And how had he managed to sneak into the school without her hearing him?
His shirt and waistcoat were crisp and clean. Without his hat, the wild, untamable waves of his hair had rebelled against his obvious attempts to smooth them down. He’d shaven the shadowy layer of stubble, but his smooth, tan skin had a scruffiness he couldn’t shed. He was as well groomed as any gentleman she’d ever met. But for all his efforts, there was still something rugged about him—and something dangerously appealing.
Her hand fluttered to the wisps of hair that floated about her face. Surely he wasn’t back to carry out Mother’s marriage charade.
Even from the furthest row of the classroom, his winter blue eyes caught hers with their intensity. For a long moment she couldn’t breathe. Nor could she look away. He was a flame, and she was the little girl who’d been warned not to touch. Only she couldn’t remember why she ought to stay away, especially when every nerve in her body urged her to reach out.
“And Ceres is too small.” A grin teased the corner of his mouth, almost as if he knew he was getting the reaction from her he’d intended.
She forced herself to start breathing again, calmly. If he thought he could steal into her classroom and flirt with her, then just wait until she joined in. She’d had plenty of practice in her younger days, when she’d been much more carefree. He’d be no match for her ability to beguile.
“Why, Dr. Ernest.” She tilted her head. “You said you had a question. And all I’ve heard are statements.
 “Excuse me, Miss White.” His grin widened. “Course, you’re right.”
She lifted her lips into her sweetest, most practiced smile. “Would you like to try rephrasing your statement and show the children how to ask a proper question?”
“Certainly,” he drawled. “For such a pretty lady like you, how could any man say no?”
The older girls tittered. Their flashing smiles and flushed cheeks were evidence they had already fallen prey to his winsome ways.
She braced herself. He wouldn’t so easily sway her. After all, he’d made it quite clear he wasn’t interested in her.
“So . . . ” he started.
If he wasn’t back because of her, why was he sitting in her classroom intent upon engaging her in playful banter?
“So, my question is this.” A shadow filtered through his eyes and snuffed the laughter in them, making them too serious. And when he extricated his legs from the desk, instead of rising to his feet, he lowered himself into the aisle onto one knee.
She stifled a shiver.
“Miss White?” His gaze found her again.
The intensity sent her heart into wild dash. Her fingers went back to her throat, to the delicate cameo, to the pattering of her pulse beneath.
His eyes spoke the words before he could get them out. “Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
©Jody Hedlund, 2011
Leave a comment or question for Jody to enter for one of these prizes:
1) A copy of The Doctor’s Lady
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Open Internationally
*MUST* Leave a contact email to WIN!
If you have trouble commenting try :
~ a different browser
~ leaving a comment w name and URL
~ leaving comment as annonymous w email/name in message
~ email me and I’ll post your comment (joan @ joanswan.com)


Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling book, The Preacher’s Bride. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady released in September 2011.

>Review, Interview + Giveaway with Jody Hedlund & The Doctor’s Lady

>Jody Hedlund is one of the fabulous authors I met on Twitter. I’ve admired her thoughts on writing, the writing life and developing a career as an author. I’ve appreciated the genuine warmth and sincerity that comes across even online.

Leave a comment or question for Jody to enter for one of these prizes:
1) A copy of The Doctor’s Lady
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Open Internationally

The Doctor’s Lady released early September and I was lucky enough to receive and early copy for review. This is the first novel I’ve read by Jody, but it won’t be the last. Her debut, The Preacher’s Bride, is near the very top of my TBR pile. And I was thrilled to hear recently that we will all be blessed with more of Jody’s talent as she has secured a three book deal with Bethany House. (YAY Jody! Congratulations!)

The Doctor’s Lady

Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.

Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

Review:
This novel was so much more than I expected.  As inspirational romance is not a genre I read often, I suppose my expectations were a bit out of whack. 🙂  Going off the cover, the cover copy, the genre, the publisher I was ready for a light love story and lots of rich historical fact. 

Boy, did I underestimate!  The Doctor’s Lady went above and beyond my every expectation.

While the cover copy explains the external conflict that fuels the hero and heroine’s cross-country journey and hints at a touch of romance, it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of all the depth beneath the cover.  The Doctor’s Lady is filled with characters so real I often felt as if I could reach out and touch them; their struggles so universal, every human being could relate on some level. Their commitment to fulfill their God-given calling while struggling against broken hearts, dashed dreams and dimmed hopes created strong internal conflicts while the untamed Western lands and the hardships they brought created a very real, very threatening external antagonist. 

Click for larger view

The Doctor’s Lady is filled with sigh-worthy moments–those turning points, sometimes epiphanies, sometimes small flickers of revelation, when the hero or heroine would make a self discovery which would bring them closer to the other–a relationship the reader can see is part of the reason God brought them together on this mission, but one neither character is willing to give in to.

The hero, Eli Earnest, has a wonderful character arc.  His stubbornness and preconceived ideas give way to a new perspective and a fresh respect for not only the heroine, Priscilla, but for women in general, seeing them as strong individuals rather than his previous opinion of them as “liabilities” because of their weaknesses.  The reader also gets to watch him slowly fall in love with Priscilla, all while he ignores the signs.

Priscilla starts out strong, but becomes even stronger as the book moves forward.  One of the things I loved about the heroine was the way she could be so very strong, yet never need to overpower or bully or use harshness to show her strength.  She never lost that feminine softness, no matter how rough the road became, as that made me respect her all the more–woman to woman.  I found it especially enjoyable to watch her grow stronger in one aspect of her personality while softening in another to allow Eli into her heart.  A very complex character growth that Jody portrayed artistically.

Through it all, the external conflict never wained.  At every turn in the road, every fork in the path, new conflict arose, testing the characters will, their determination, their commitment all while showing their internal growth. 

I’m a picky reader.  Someone who has to have something pushing me forward to the next page–personal conflict, character growth, plot twists, action.  I won’t hang out for lingering description, although I value beautiful prose.  I’m not patient enough to wade through paragraphs of historical facts, no matter how fascinating.  I need stuff (a highly technical term) to happen–internally, externally, it doesn’t matter.  But something has to happen to get me to move forward.

I couldn’t stop moving forward with Jody’s book.  There were nights I purposely didn’t pick up the book because I knew I wouldn’t put it down and I had to get sleep for work the next day.

Oh, and don’t let the genre fool you…Jody is absolutely fabulous with sexual tension.  The attraction between these two sparks from the beginning and the heat only grows throughout the story.  But one of the elements that makes that desire so strong between them is the development of their emotional bond along the journey.  Their attraction and love for each other is truly a beautiful thing to watch grow in front of your eyes.

And I’m thrilled with the excerpt she chose to post because it’s one of my favorite moments in the book.  I think it’s the moment my heart completely opened to Eli and I knew Priscilla’s would too.  This excerpt is the perfect example of so many passages in The Doctor’s Lady that gave me “Ahhh” moments.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

I had a lot of fun writing the wedding night scene. Because Eli and Priscilla agreed to a marriage in name only, they have no plans to consummate their marriage. However, nobody else knows their secret. And so after the wedding, Priscilla’s mother and sister help her get ready for her first night with her new husband. They turn back the covers on the bed, brush her hair, and give her instructions on what to expect. While they’re doing this, Priscilla gets really nervous. And a little later when Eli finally comes into the room and sees her in her nightgown with her hair down, he gets nervous too.

I enjoyed exploring the growing attraction between them, the awkwardness of being thrust together in the same bedroom (after only knowing each other for about a week), and then watching them figure out how they’re going to handle the physical aspect of their relationship for the duration of their trip West.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

One of the biggest conflicts is that Eli, the hero, didn’t want to have to take a woman to the West. He thinks it’s too dangerous and would rather go alone. However, in order to start the mission to the Nez Perce (and receive funding for the trip), the Mission Board leaves him with little choice—he either must take a wife or give up his dream of going west.

Priscilla, the heroine, on the other hand, wants to prove that she is strong enough for such a trip and life in the west. She believes she has all of the qualities necessary. However, as the trip progresses, they face one life-threatening danger after another but meanwhile begin to fall in love. Eli’s growing love for Priscilla only makes him all the more determined to keep her safe. He’s even decided to give her an annulment and send her back home if needed. 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

If I had to pick one person who has been the most instrumental in shaping my writing career, I’d have to single out my mom. When I was growing up, she facilitated an environment that fostered my love of writing and my creativity. She read a lot to me, allowed time for plenty of free play, believed in me, taught me to work hard, and encouraged me to dream big. Because of that, I grew up knowing I could do anything I set my mind to. Even today, she’s still a huge part of my writing career, cheering me on and encouraging me in countless ways.

What is your writing routine?

Since I have 5 children ranging in ages from 6 to 14, I have often have trouble finding uninterrupted writing time! But usually I try to carve out a couple of hours each afternoon to meet my daily word count goal (or chapters when I’m editing). Whatever I don’t finish during the afternoon, I come back to after my kids are in bed.

I also have a couple of mornings a week where I get a few extra hours of writing time, and I also take the entire day on Saturday to write.

Which do you like more—rainy days or snowy days?

I’m going to have to say rainy days. I love the blowing wind and the way the leaves and raindrops patter against the house. On those dark days, I light scented candles and drink hot tea.

And while I like snowy days too (I am a Mid-Western girl born and bred!), by the end of the winter I get tired of all of the shoveling that we have to do!

Where can readers find you?

I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com

Excerpt from Chapter 5 of The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund:

(When Eli knows he has to ask Priscilla to marry him in order to fulfill his dream of going west. He sneaks into the classroom where she is teaching and . . .)

A burst of laughter near the back of the narrow schoolroom finally commanded her return to earth and to her classroom.
“Now, children. You are disobeying our rule for silence.” Her gaze lingered on the board for a second longer before she tore herself away and pivoted to face the class.
The younger children perched in their desks near the front of the room, and the older children sat in the back near the entrance—mostly the girls who weren’t privileged enough to attend Female Academy in Troy where she’d done a significant amount of her schooling.
The students’ wide smiles greeted her, and the sunshine pouring in the large windows lit their faces. She had only to follow their glances to the back row to see the source of their laughter.
Her fingers flew to the cameo at her neck.
With his long legs tucked awkwardly under a desk and his hand raised, Dr. Ernest watched her with a solemn expression that didn’t match the merriment in his eyes.
“Miss White.” He lowered his hand. “I have a question.”
She stared at him speechless, a strange mixture of excitement and apprehension stirring in her stomach.
“Some scientists say that Ceres isn’t really a planet.” He hunched his back to fit onto the small bench, and his knees pushed against the flimsy desk top. “After all, it’s located in the asteroid belt.”
What was he doing back in Angelica? And how had he managed to sneak into the school without her hearing him?
His shirt and waistcoat were crisp and clean. Without his hat, the wild, untamable waves of his hair had rebelled against his obvious attempts to smooth them down. He’d shaven the shadowy layer of stubble, but his smooth, tan skin had a scruffiness he couldn’t shed. He was as well groomed as any gentleman she’d ever met. But for all his efforts, there was still something rugged about him—and something dangerously appealing.
Her hand fluttered to the wisps of hair that floated about her face. Surely he wasn’t back to carry out Mother’s marriage charade.
Even from the furthest row of the classroom, his winter blue eyes caught hers with their intensity. For a long moment she couldn’t breathe. Nor could she look away. He was a flame, and she was the little girl who’d been warned not to touch. Only she couldn’t remember why she ought to stay away, especially when every nerve in her body urged her to reach out.
“And Ceres is too small.” A grin teased the corner of his mouth, almost as if he knew he was getting the reaction from her he’d intended.
She forced herself to start breathing again, calmly. If he thought he could steal into her classroom and flirt with her, then just wait until she joined in. She’d had plenty of practice in her younger days, when she’d been much more carefree. He’d be no match for her ability to beguile.
“Why, Dr. Ernest.” She tilted her head. “You said you had a question. And all I’ve heard are statements.
 “Excuse me, Miss White.” His grin widened. “Course, you’re right.”
She lifted her lips into her sweetest, most practiced smile. “Would you like to try rephrasing your statement and show the children how to ask a proper question?”
“Certainly,” he drawled. “For such a pretty lady like you, how could any man say no?”
The older girls tittered. Their flashing smiles and flushed cheeks were evidence they had already fallen prey to his winsome ways.
She braced herself. He wouldn’t so easily sway her. After all, he’d made it quite clear he wasn’t interested in her.
“So . . . ” he started.
If he wasn’t back because of her, why was he sitting in her classroom intent upon engaging her in playful banter?
“So, my question is this.” A shadow filtered through his eyes and snuffed the laughter in them, making them too serious. And when he extricated his legs from the desk, instead of rising to his feet, he lowered himself into the aisle onto one knee.
She stifled a shiver.
“Miss White?” His gaze found her again.
The intensity sent her heart into wild dash. Her fingers went back to her throat, to the delicate cameo, to the pattering of her pulse beneath.
His eyes spoke the words before he could get them out. “Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
©Jody Hedlund, 2011
Leave a comment or question for Jody to enter for one of these prizes:
1) A copy of The Doctor’s Lady
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
Open Internationally
*MUST* Leave a contact email to WIN!
If you have trouble commenting try :
~ a different browser
~ leaving a comment w name and URL
~ leaving comment as annonymous w email/name in message
~ email me and I’ll post your comment (joan @ joanswan.com)


Jody Hedlund is an award-winning historical romance novelist and author of the best-selling book, The Preacher’s Bride. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in Michigan with her husband and five busy children. Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady released in September 2011.

First-ever Excerpt: FEVER, releases 2/28/12

I was driving home today from my first-ever presentation with Yosemite Romance Writers (awesome group, btw!) and found myself in Los Banos, a little central valley town of California–a town where I set part of my debut release, FEVER. I got all nostalgic, just like a good mother should, which prompted me to share this excerpt from the novel.

Setup: Teague has escaped from prison and has Alyssa hostage, but he still thinks she’s his bargaining chip, Hannah. Earlier in the evening, Alyssa (aka Hannah) was cut in a knife fight that errupted between local gang members and Teague and his accomplice/co-escapee, Taz–a fight in which he saved Alyssa’s life. Now, Teague has dropped Taz off to blow off some steam while he picks up supplies to patch Alyssa’s wound.

They are traveling through California’s central valley on their escape route and stop at the Wal-mart in Los Banos.

Enjoy!

************

“Oh, God,” Hannah whined. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

Her tortured voice brought Teague’s attention around. The color in her face had paled several shades in the last hour. His gaze drifted to the bloodstains on her shirt, which made him realize there was no real decision to be made. He pounded the gas and headed toward Wal-mart.

“You need something in your stomach,” he said.

“Yeah, like stitches.”

Teague’s mouth quirked. With Taz gone, a level of relief settled in. One less wild card to worry about. “I was speaking of food and water, but stitches would be good, too.”

“If I eat, I’ll throw up.”

Teague sighed and rubbed at the stubble on his head. He hadn’t shaved his skull in a week, and the new hair growth made his scalp itchy. “Do you argue with everyone or am I just lucky?”

“You’re about as lucky as I am.”

“That’s not a good sign.”

“Tell me about it. Where did that jerk go? You said he’d be gone tomorrow morning.”

Teague was too tired to make up a lie. “He went to get laid.”

His statement was met with extended silence.

“He has a girlfriend here?” she finally asked.

“No.”

Another silence. Then, “Why didn’t you go get laid, too?”

He darted a look at her, surprised by her candidness. And irritated with the zing of heat in his groin. “Because I have more important things to take care of.”

Her eyebrows shot up. “There’s a man on the planet who believes there is something more important than sex?”

Teague shifted in his seat. Twisted his lips. Bit the inside of his cheek to fend off the growing lust her flippant discussion of the subject elicited.

He pulled into the parking lot of Wal-mart and parked the truck at a respectable distance.

“You really did want to go to Wal-mart? I thought that was a code name for something.” She turned confused eyes on Teague. “This is the last place on earth I’d expect you to stop.”

“Where would you expect me to stop?”

“I don’t know, a liquor store, local drug dealer’s house, a McDonald’s drive through…”

“I didn’t eat McDonald’s even before I went to prison.”

Her lips turned, just barely. The lids of those sultry eyes lowered, almost imperceptibly. The effect a little dreamy. Extremely sexy. “Then you’ve missed out on the best French fries on the planet. Mmm.”

His throat squeezed. Mouth went dry. That hum nearly popped the button on his damn jeans. Fuck, he so didn’t need this. “You don’t look like you’ve ever eaten a fry in your life.”

“I just don’t eat them all day, every day. Why are we here again?”

Hell if he knew. All his blood was somewhere below his belt.

“We need supplies.” He pressed his fingers to his eyes and forced his mind clear. “I think I can get them all here.”

“How long have you been in prison?”

He dropped his hand, opened his eyes and stared out the windshield, half-sure he’d imagined the question. But when he looked at her, she peered back with such keen interest, Teague was sure she was waiting for an answer. In a sick way, he was glad she’d asked, because every degree of heat she’d fueled, immediately chilled.

“Too long.”

“For what?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Or think about it. Or remember all the unbearable details.

Teague pushed the driver’s door open, dropped to the ground and rounded the truck. He opened Hannah’s door and settled a serious look on her. “Here’s the deal. You stay close to me. And I mean close. If you try to get away or make any stupid move, like scream, complain, fake injury, whatever, I’ll make sure Taz knows not only where you live, but where every member of your family lives as well.”

He paused, waiting for that information to sink in then put the punch behind the statement. “He murdered his baby sister for sleeping with a Mexican. He tied them both up, took them into a lettuce field, threw them into the dirt and ran them over with a discer while they were still alive. Do you know what a discer is?”

Her big eyes glazed with shock. “I…I don’t think I want to—“

“It’s a tractor with a couple dozen rotary blades on the back. Each blade is the size of a semi’s tire. They’re used to till fields.”

Hannah’s face scrunched as if she were in pain again. And he knew just how she felt. The stories Taz boasted had caused Teague nightmares for months. But in this case, he needed to make a point, and she needed to get it.

“They were picking up pieces of them both for weeks,” he continued. “The coroner came out to the farm with a bulk supply of evidence flags and stuck one where they found every body part—“

“Okay.” She closed her eyes and held up her hand. “Okay. I get it. Jesus, you’re lucky I haven’t puked on you yet.”

“With my luck, that’ll change soon, won’t it?”

FEVER is available for pre-order now and releases February 28, 2012

>First-ever Excerpt: FEVER, releases 2/28/12

>I was driving home today from my first-ever presentation with Yosemite Romance Writers (awesome group, btw!) and found myself in Los Banos, a little central valley town of California–a town where I set part of my debut release, FEVER. I got all nostalgic, just like a good mother should, which prompted me to share this excerpt from the novel.

Setup: Teague has escaped from prison and has Alyssa hostage, but he still thinks she’s his bargaining chip, Hannah. Earlier in the evening, Alyssa (aka Hannah) was cut in a knife fight that errupted between local gang members and Teague and his accomplice/co-escapee, Taz–a fight in which he saved Alyssa’s life. Now, Teague has dropped Taz off to blow off some steam while he picks up supplies to patch Alyssa’s wound.

They are traveling through California’s central valley on their escape route and stop at the Wal-mart in Los Banos.

Enjoy!

************

“Oh, God,” Hannah whined. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

Her tortured voice brought Teague’s attention around. The color in her face had paled several shades in the last hour. His gaze drifted to the bloodstains on her shirt, which made him realize there was no real decision to be made. He pounded the gas and headed toward Wal-mart.

“You need something in your stomach,” he said.

“Yeah, like stitches.”

Teague’s mouth quirked. With Taz gone, a level of relief settled in. One less wild card to worry about. “I was speaking of food and water, but stitches would be good, too.”

“If I eat, I’ll throw up.”

Teague sighed and rubbed at the stubble on his head. He hadn’t shaved his skull in a week, and the new hair growth made his scalp itchy. “Do you argue with everyone or am I just lucky?”

“You’re about as lucky as I am.”

“That’s not a good sign.”

“Tell me about it. Where did that jerk go? You said he’d be gone tomorrow morning.”

Teague was too tired to make up a lie. “He went to get laid.”

His statement was met with extended silence.

“He has a girlfriend here?” she finally asked.

“No.”

Another silence. Then, “Why didn’t you go get laid, too?”

He darted a look at her, surprised by her candidness. And irritated with the zing of heat in his groin. “Because I have more important things to take care of.”

Her eyebrows shot up. “There’s a man on the planet who believes there is something more important than sex?”

Teague shifted in his seat. Twisted his lips. Bit the inside of his cheek to fend off the growing lust her flippant discussion of the subject elicited.

He pulled into the parking lot of Wal-mart and parked the truck at a respectable distance.

“You really did want to go to Wal-mart? I thought that was a code name for something.” She turned confused eyes on Teague. “This is the last place on earth I’d expect you to stop.”

“Where would you expect me to stop?”

“I don’t know, a liquor store, local drug dealer’s house, a McDonald’s drive through…”

“I didn’t eat McDonald’s even before I went to prison.”

Her lips turned, just barely. The lids of those sultry eyes lowered, almost imperceptibly. The effect a little dreamy. Extremely sexy. “Then you’ve missed out on the best French fries on the planet. Mmm.”

His throat squeezed. Mouth went dry. That hum nearly popped the button on his damn jeans. Fuck, he so didn’t need this. “You don’t look like you’ve ever eaten a fry in your life.”

“I just don’t eat them all day, every day. Why are we here again?”

Hell if he knew. All his blood was somewhere below his belt.

“We need supplies.” He pressed his fingers to his eyes and forced his mind clear. “I think I can get them all here.”

“How long have you been in prison?”

He dropped his hand, opened his eyes and stared out the windshield, half-sure he’d imagined the question. But when he looked at her, she peered back with such keen interest, Teague was sure she was waiting for an answer. In a sick way, he was glad she’d asked, because every degree of heat she’d fueled, immediately chilled.

“Too long.”

“For what?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Or think about it. Or remember all the unbearable details.

Teague pushed the driver’s door open, dropped to the ground and rounded the truck. He opened Hannah’s door and settled a serious look on her. “Here’s the deal. You stay close to me. And I mean close. If you try to get away or make any stupid move, like scream, complain, fake injury, whatever, I’ll make sure Taz knows not only where you live, but where every member of your family lives as well.”

He paused, waiting for that information to sink in then put the punch behind the statement. “He murdered his baby sister for sleeping with a Mexican. He tied them both up, took them into a lettuce field, threw them into the dirt and ran them over with a discer while they were still alive. Do you know what a discer is?”

Her big eyes glazed with shock. “I…I don’t think I want to—“

“It’s a tractor with a couple dozen rotary blades on the back. Each blade is the size of a semi’s tire. They’re used to till fields.”

Hannah’s face scrunched as if she were in pain again. And he knew just how she felt. The stories Taz boasted had caused Teague nightmares for months. But in this case, he needed to make a point, and she needed to get it.

“They were picking up pieces of them both for weeks,” he continued. “The coroner came out to the farm with a bulk supply of evidence flags and stuck one where they found every body part—“

“Okay.” She closed her eyes and held up her hand. “Okay. I get it. Jesus, you’re lucky I haven’t puked on you yet.”

“With my luck, that’ll change soon, won’t it?”

FEVER is available for pre-order now and releases February 28, 2012

Jeanne Adams Guests With Giveaways!

>by Jeanne Adams

Hi Joan! Thank you so much for having me on today! I’m delighted to come and hang out at your place for a bit, since you always have such fun guests. You also make FABULOUS bookmarks! Love those.

As you know, my fourth book with Kensington, DEADLY LITTLE LIES, the sequel to Deadly Little Secrets, is out today! WOOHOO! Since Deadly Little Secrets was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine (Aprill, 2011), I’ve been getting lots and lots of emails about when I’m going to tell Davros and Carrie’s story. Thankfully, I’d already turned it in – that would be DEADLY LITTLE LIES.

As DEADLY LITTLE LIES opens, billionaire businessman Davros Gianikopulos, called Dav, has decided that it’s long past time he settled down. The events portrayed in Deadly Little Secrets showed him that life and time are precious. He’s decided to seriously court the woman he really wants – something he’s avoided, due to his own issues – but on their first “real” date, they’re kidnapped, drugged, and hauled off to points unknown! Eeek! Now THAT’s a first date, right?

In this excerpt, Carrie’s still a little woozy from the drugs they’ve given her, but she knows her mind when it comes to Dav.

     “We could die here,” Carrie muttered and he heard the fear again. “We could die.”

     “No,” Dav made it a statement, not a question. He would not allow that possibility. She was his future. He would not allow it to be otherwise. He would use the stubborn will that helped him survive his father and countless business rivals; he and Carrie would survive. “We’ll make it out of this. My people, they’ll know to get Gates. He has all manner of ways to figure out what’s happened. He’ll find us. He and Ana are the best.”

     “But they don’t work for you anymore,” she said, stating the obvious.

     “I know, sweetheart,” he said smiling into the dark. “But friends don’t worry about little things like that. They’ll find us.”

   “Dav,” she murmured, sliding her hands up to touch his face. “Dav, why did we wait?”

     Dav was distracted momentarily by the shift in the sound of the engines, the subtle drop in the slant of the cabin. “Wait?” he replied, still thinking about the change in the plane’s attitude. “Why did we wait for what?”

     Evidently, her question was rhetorical. He looked down into her eyes, loving the feel of her hands on his face. While he recognized all his reactions were off-kilter from the drugs though not as badly skewed as Carrie’s, just the touch of her, the feel of her in his arms no matter the situation, was inflaming his body, his mind and senses.

     “Carrie?” he whispered, seeing the dark of her eyes, feeling every inch of her in new ways.

     “We fought it, Dav, both of us,” she said, her voice serious, but her eyes were still deeply dilated, the effect of the drugs. “We waited for the right time. We didn’t make a move, either of us.”

     While he was puzzling through what she meant, she shifted closer, whispering, “Don’t wait anymore. Kiss me now, just in case. I need to know how it feels, I need,” she trailed off, quieting in order to bring her lips to his.

     The connection was instant and powerful. Every thought of the plane, of their situation sank out of his mind, replaced by the magnificent roar of triumph in his heart. No pain could compare to the sweetness, the fire of her mouth moving on his. All hesitancy fled as she pressed into him, wriggling closer, heating his body. Nothing mattered but Carrie. Nothing was real or present but her mouth.

     The pain in his hands and shoulders throbbed a counter point to his body’s needs. He ignored the pain and focused on the pleasure.

     He might never get another chance.

     “Dav, oh, Dav, I…I…” she stumbled over the words, pressing kisses to his face, her bound hands cradling his jaw.

     Whatever else she might have said was lost when the plane banked hard again. Now she fell into him, slamming her head into his chin as the altitude dropped.

     He knew it wasn’t the time or the place, and that Carrie was reacting to the drugs, but the confirmation that she was interested, attracted, gave him hope despite their dire state of affairs.

     While there’s life, there’s hope.

All in all, a pretty disastrous first date! But, there is indeed hope for both Dav and Carrie, as you’ll see in Deadly Little Lies!

What was YOUR worst first date?

What about the best?

If you have a significant other, was there one thing they did on that first date that told you “this is the one”?

On some of those stinker first dates, what was the thing that told you immediately that this one was a “kick-it-to-the-curb” kind of date?

Leave a comment to enter to win:
1) An ARC of PRETTY LITTLE LIES
2) 1 of 5 custom bookmarks
International
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN


>Jeanne Adams Guests With Giveaways!

>by Jeanne Adams

Hi Joan! Thank you so much for having me on today! I’m delighted to come and hang out at your place for a bit, since you always have such fun guests. You also make FABULOUS bookmarks! Love those.

As you know, my fourth book with Kensington, DEADLY LITTLE LIES, the sequel to Deadly Little Secrets, is out today! WOOHOO! Since Deadly Little Secrets was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine (Aprill, 2011), I’ve been getting lots and lots of emails about when I’m going to tell Davros and Carrie’s story. Thankfully, I’d already turned it in – that would be DEADLY LITTLE LIES.

As DEADLY LITTLE LIES opens, billionaire businessman Davros Gianikopulos, called Dav, has decided that it’s long past time he settled down. The events portrayed in Deadly Little Secrets showed him that life and time are precious. He’s decided to seriously court the woman he really wants – something he’s avoided, due to his own issues – but on their first “real” date, they’re kidnapped, drugged, and hauled off to points unknown! Eeek! Now THAT’s a first date, right?

In this excerpt, Carrie’s still a little woozy from the drugs they’ve given her, but she knows her mind when it comes to Dav.

     “We could die here,” Carrie muttered and he heard the fear again. “We could die.”

     “No,” Dav made it a statement, not a question. He would not allow that possibility. She was his future. He would not allow it to be otherwise. He would use the stubborn will that helped him survive his father and countless business rivals; he and Carrie would survive. “We’ll make it out of this. My people, they’ll know to get Gates. He has all manner of ways to figure out what’s happened. He’ll find us. He and Ana are the best.”

     “But they don’t work for you anymore,” she said, stating the obvious.

     “I know, sweetheart,” he said smiling into the dark. “But friends don’t worry about little things like that. They’ll find us.”

   “Dav,” she murmured, sliding her hands up to touch his face. “Dav, why did we wait?”

     Dav was distracted momentarily by the shift in the sound of the engines, the subtle drop in the slant of the cabin. “Wait?” he replied, still thinking about the change in the plane’s attitude. “Why did we wait for what?”

     Evidently, her question was rhetorical. He looked down into her eyes, loving the feel of her hands on his face. While he recognized all his reactions were off-kilter from the drugs though not as badly skewed as Carrie’s, just the touch of her, the feel of her in his arms no matter the situation, was inflaming his body, his mind and senses.

     “Carrie?” he whispered, seeing the dark of her eyes, feeling every inch of her in new ways.

     “We fought it, Dav, both of us,” she said, her voice serious, but her eyes were still deeply dilated, the effect of the drugs. “We waited for the right time. We didn’t make a move, either of us.”

     While he was puzzling through what she meant, she shifted closer, whispering, “Don’t wait anymore. Kiss me now, just in case. I need to know how it feels, I need,” she trailed off, quieting in order to bring her lips to his.

     The connection was instant and powerful. Every thought of the plane, of their situation sank out of his mind, replaced by the magnificent roar of triumph in his heart. No pain could compare to the sweetness, the fire of her mouth moving on his. All hesitancy fled as she pressed into him, wriggling closer, heating his body. Nothing mattered but Carrie. Nothing was real or present but her mouth.

     The pain in his hands and shoulders throbbed a counter point to his body’s needs. He ignored the pain and focused on the pleasure.

     He might never get another chance.

     “Dav, oh, Dav, I…I…” she stumbled over the words, pressing kisses to his face, her bound hands cradling his jaw.

     Whatever else she might have said was lost when the plane banked hard again. Now she fell into him, slamming her head into his chin as the altitude dropped.

     He knew it wasn’t the time or the place, and that Carrie was reacting to the drugs, but the confirmation that she was interested, attracted, gave him hope despite their dire state of affairs.

     While there’s life, there’s hope.

All in all, a pretty disastrous first date! But, there is indeed hope for both Dav and Carrie, as you’ll see in Deadly Little Lies!

What was YOUR worst first date?

What about the best?

If you have a significant other, was there one thing they did on that first date that told you “this is the one”?

On some of those stinker first dates, what was the thing that told you immediately that this one was a “kick-it-to-the-curb” kind of date?

Leave a comment to enter to win:
1) An ARC of PRETTY LITTLE LIES
2) 1 of 5 custom bookmarks
International
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN