giveaway

>Joanne Kennedy & Hot, Dark and Cowboy!

>Today I’m happy to welcome Joanne Kennedy!  Joanne’s newest cowboy romance, Tall, Dark and Cowboy with Sourcebooks released November 1st and is available everywhere books are sold (links below).  I’ve got my own review for you and an interview from Joanne. 

As always, we’ve got some great giveaways as well!  Danielle at Source has generously offered 2 copies of Tall, Dark and Cowboy for giveaway today and I’m giving away five custom handmade bookmarks!  So get out there and tell us what you love most about cowboys! YUM!
 
TALL, DARK AND COWBOY


She’s looking for an old friend. . .

In the wake of a nasty divorce, Lacey Bradford heads for Wyoming where she’s sure her old friend will take her in. Bit her high school pal Chase Caldwell is no longer the gangly boy who would follow her anywhere. For one thing, he’s now incredibly buff and handsome, but that’s not all that’s changed. . .

What she finds is one hot cowboy. . .

Chase has been through tough times and is less than thrilled to see the girl who once broke his heart. But try as he might to resist her, while Lacey’s putting her life back together, he’s finding new ways to be part of it.


Available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Booksamillion | iTunes

My Review:There are three things I’m a sucker for: A tortured hero, a reunion story and, yes, a hot cowboy. And while it may seem like this predisposes me to fall for Hot, Dark and Cowboy before I ever opened the pages, believe it or not, I’m not that much of a pushover. While those story lines may initially hook me, they don’t keep me if the writing’s weak or the pacing’s sluggish or the characters’ are lack-luster.

Which means my love for Hot, Dark and Cowboy is genuine.

I always enjoy a strong heroine, and while I don’t like where Lacey has been—acting as a trophy wife for a wealthy older man, I do appreciate that’s she’s learned from her mistakes and is now standing on her own, bent on making a new life for herself. I love her smart mouth and the way she holds her own with the sexy, Alpha cowboy she’s paired with.

Chase’s past is more heartrending—the farm boy turned mouthwatering cowboy. His longstanding infatuation and unrequited love for Lacey makes him the instant underdog we root for and shows the reader he’s got the staying power for a lifetime. He is endearing, pleasant and entertaining throughout.

The chemistry between Lacey and Chase is hot and grows hotter with each encounter. The love scenes are steamy and passionate – have something cold to drink nearby.

This is one of those books I love to hate…those, “Okay, just one more chapter…” books that have me up until two in the morning when my eyes are burning and I can’t keep them open any longer.

This is the first of Joanne’s books I’ve read — it definitely won’t be the last! Joanne’s writing is clean, her dialogue is fun and witty and her pacing is fast.

Tall, Dark and Cowboy is a fun, fast, entertaining read!

Now, more from Joanne:

Joanne, tell us about Tall, Dark and Cowboy.
“Tall, Dark and Cowboy” is about Lacey Bradford, an ex-trophy wife who flees a dangerous divorce and runs to the one person who’s always cared about her. But her old friend Chase Caldwell has changed from a gangling farm boy into a sexy, muscular cowboy, and the loss of his family turned him into a bitter and resentful man who’s not about to help the woman who broke his heart. Lacey decides it’s time to end her habit of letting men take care of her and begins to build a new life of her own in Chase’s adopted Wyoming hometown. But when her ex’s criminal cronies turn up, the cowboy can’t resist helping a damsel in real distress.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
I love the characters. On the surface, Lacey is different from most of my heroines. She was raised to privilege, and she’s a little spoiled. But deep down, she’s a strong, resilient woman—and Chase brings out the best in her. As for Chase, he’s a good man struggling to rebuild his life and overcome bitterness and sorrow.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
Lacey doesn’t realize that her ex-husband cheated Chase’s family out of their property. He lost the future he’d always counted on, and he thinks it’s Lacey’s fault.

What is your strategy in creating antagonists/villains?
I think antagonists are the hardest characters to create, because they so easily devolve into stereotypical villains. I was struggling with this in an earlier book when I went to a great workshop by agent Donald Maas. He pointed out that in the villain’s mind, nefarious actions are totally justified. Everyone thinks they’re the hero of their own story, so I try to see the plot from the villain’s point of view. It helps me see that they’re simply flawed people too, just like the hero and heroine. It’s just that their flaws are worse!

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
The book is about starting over, in your life and in your heart. Chase and Lacey both need to learn to put the past behind them. It’s about forgiving yourself and the people around you so you can be your best, truest self.

How does your family view your writing career?
My husband helps a lot with the website and newsletter, but more importantly he’s proud of me and very understanding about my occasional spaciness when I’m lost in a book and not thinking clearly about the real world (that happens a lot). He’s funny, supportive, and understanding. No wonder I write romance novels.

What is your writing routine?
I’m not really a morning person, so I take care of the business aspects of writing in the mornings. Creativity sets in around 11:00, and I work on and off for the rest of the day. There’s no set routine; I just write whenever I don’t have to do something else.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
I love Facebook! I’ve met so many people online that I consider friends, and it’s so easy to keep in touch and share what we’re doing. It’s great that when you “click” with someone at a conference or writing retreat you can keep in touch so easily. And by the way, I’m listed on Facebook as “Joanne Kennedy Books.” I post lots of fun Western stuff and try to give readers a sense of what it’s like to live in Wyoming.

What are you reading now?
I just read The Book of Bright Ideas by Sandra Kring. I loved it; the characters are wonderfully real. Now I’m reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker, which is also fabulous and beautifully written. I read a lot of romance too – I’m just going through a literary fiction phase right now.

What would you like to tell readers?
Just thank you! It means so much that people want to share the world I write about and spend time with the characters I create. I love what I do, and I know I’m very lucky to have the support of readers.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I’ve worked in bookstores most of my life. I owned a used and rare bookstore, and managed several independent and chain bookstores. It’s really a dream come true to have my own books on the shelves.

I’ve also been interested in animals all my life, and I’ve dabbled in everything from chicken-keeping to horse-training. That’s why my books always have animal characters that are as important as the human ones.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Stories are important, but characters matter most. When we think of the classics we loved, we don’t think of the plots; we think of Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, Heathcliff, Scarlett O’Hara. Strong, true-to-life characters create their own stories and make a book memorable.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I think it’s essential for writers to know as much as possible about the mechanics of putting a plot together and creating an arc for readers. I don’t do a lot of outlining or preparation, but that knowledge is a part of me now and definitely informs my writing. You have to study and learn until a sense of story becomes internal, something that’s automatic.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A comfortable desk so you don’t hurt yourself spending hours crouched over the computer. A space, however small, where you have a few personal talismans and touchstones that remind you of your true self. A willingness to accept and learn from criticism, and a desire to make every story the best it can be. Most important of all—a supportive family.

What do you most like about writing? Least like?
What I like is the way stories unfold and fit together. Sometimes different aspects of a voice “click” in a subconscious way and it feels like magic.

What I like least is sitting at a computer all day! I recently had neck surgery and it’s frustrating that I can’t stay at the keyboard as long as I want to.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
Writing itself is just one big quirk. It’s never off my mind. Everywhere I go, I listen for snippets of conversation and look for events and people I can use in my books. It makes life brighter and more meaningful when you know you can save pieces of your experience and show them to other people.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child! I love Cowboy Trouble because it was my first-born and has so much of “me” in it. I love One Fine Cowboy because the hero of that story, Nate, has connected amazingly with readers, and because it won me an RWA RITA nomination, which was an honor I didn’t expect. I love Cowboy Fever because I admire the heroine so much and it’s about therapy riding, a cause very close to my heart. And I love Tall, Dark and Cowboy because while Lacey and I are very different, we had to learn the same lessons and find our strength.

What are your current projects?
I just finished my fifth book, Cowboy Crazy, which stars a rodeo cowboy. I’m very excited about it, and think it might be my best—although I love the one I’m working on now, which is called Cowboy Tough. It’s about a New York artist who comes to a dude ranch to teach painting workshops and butts heads with their outfitter, a former rodeo cowboy.

Where can we find you online?
My website is at www.joannekennedybooks.com, and I’m on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joanne-Kennedy-Books/114277591920110.

We’ve got 2 copies of Tall, Dark and Cowboy for giveaway and 5 custom handmade bookmarks! So get out there and tell us what you love most about cowboys!

About the Author

Joanne Kennedy is the author of three previous contemporary Western romances for Sourcebooks. She brings a wide variety of experience, ranging from chicken farming to horse training, to her sexy, spicy cowboy stories. She is a 2011 finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA© Awards, for One Fine Cowboy.

Joanne lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she is working on her next book, Cowboy Crazy (June 2012). For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/.



Cynthia Eden and ANGEL OF DARKNESS Interview & Giveaway

>Super special guest today **VBG** Cynthia Eden, my fellow Kensington Brava author with her uber-sexy upcoming release, ANGEL OF DARKNESS!

And Cynthia is also giving away a copy of the book! Whoo-hoo! Open Internationally!
ANGEL OF DARKNESS

As an angel of death, Keenan’s job is to collect the souls on his list. He’s carried out his duty for two thousand years and never faltered once. Until he meets Nicole St. James. When the moment of death comes, Keenan hesitates, and instead of taking Nicole, Keenan touches the vampire who’s attacking her.


Cast out of heaven for disobedience, Keenan plummets to earth. Six months later, he finally manages to track Nicole to a bar in Mexico. He’s stunned to discover that the woman he remembers has undergone a dramatic change—she’s become a vampire. And when he realizes that she’s the target of all manner of enemies—other vampires, demons, even shifters—he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her, even if all hell breaks loose…

Cynthia, tell us about your upcoming release.
ANGEL OF DARKNESS tells the story of an angel who falls for a vampire. Literally. Poor guy—he doesn’t know what’s happened until it’s too late…angels don’t handle lust—or love—very well.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

My hero is a virgin. Yes, that’s my favorite thing. I’d been wanting to write a virgin hero for a long time now—and here he is! In my “world” angels don’t feel emotions or human needs until they fall, so my angel knows nothing about lust. Lucky for him, my heroine is happy to teach him a few things.
What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

Ah…well, my hero, Keenan, is an Angel of Death, so that means his job is to take souls from this realm to the next. At the beginning of my book, Keenan is supposed to take my heroine’ soul (i.e., kill her), but he doesn’t. He can’t. So he falls because he was tempted, and he didn’t carry out his duty. If Keenan wants to get his wings back—and earn his way back to heaven—he has to complete his original mission. He has to kill my heroine. That’s their big conflict.

Why did you put these two together?
I like to work with opposites when I write. My hero (an angel) and my heroine ( a vampire)—they’re definitely opposites. On all kinds of levels.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I like to create a villain who is…good. Wait, let me clarify. He’s bad, of course, he is, but can’t bad people also have good parts? No one is 100% evil, just as no one is 100% good. So when I crafted my villain, I wanted to show that there could be some redeeming qualities in him. Those qualities just might be buried very, very deep. And who knows? Sometimes, villains can later turn into great heroes.

What do you love most about this book/series?
These books are set in New Orleans, and I was able to incorporate a lot of real locations in my story. I’m a frequent visitor to New Orleans (maybe too frequent?), and it was so much fun to put some of my favorite spots in the stories. I actually went back to New Orleans recently, and I filmed from those locations. I’m making videos so readers will be able to “see” those spots, too.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, redemption can be possible, for anyone. No matter what we do or what happens to us, hope will always exist.

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me!! It’s been a pleasure!

Order Cynthia’s new release here:  Amazon

Cynthia is also giving away a copy of ANGEL OF DARKNESS to one lucky winner!!
Enter below — Open Internationally!

Cynthia Eden is a national best-selling author of paranormal romance and romantic suspense novels. Her books have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and her novel, DEADLY FEAR, was named a RITA® finalist for best romantic suspense.



>Cynthia Eden and ANGEL OF DARKNESS Interview & Giveaway

>Super special guest today **VBG** Cynthia Eden, my fellow Kensington Brava author with her uber-sexy upcoming release, ANGEL OF DARKNESS!

And Cynthia is also giving away a copy of the book! Whoo-hoo! Open Internationally!
ANGEL OF DARKNESS

As an angel of death, Keenan’s job is to collect the souls on his list. He’s carried out his duty for two thousand years and never faltered once. Until he meets Nicole St. James. When the moment of death comes, Keenan hesitates, and instead of taking Nicole, Keenan touches the vampire who’s attacking her.


Cast out of heaven for disobedience, Keenan plummets to earth. Six months later, he finally manages to track Nicole to a bar in Mexico. He’s stunned to discover that the woman he remembers has undergone a dramatic change—she’s become a vampire. And when he realizes that she’s the target of all manner of enemies—other vampires, demons, even shifters—he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her, even if all hell breaks loose…

Cynthia, tell us about your upcoming release.
ANGEL OF DARKNESS tells the story of an angel who falls for a vampire. Literally. Poor guy—he doesn’t know what’s happened until it’s too late…angels don’t handle lust—or love—very well.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

My hero is a virgin. Yes, that’s my favorite thing. I’d been wanting to write a virgin hero for a long time now—and here he is! In my “world” angels don’t feel emotions or human needs until they fall, so my angel knows nothing about lust. Lucky for him, my heroine is happy to teach him a few things.
What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

Ah…well, my hero, Keenan, is an Angel of Death, so that means his job is to take souls from this realm to the next. At the beginning of my book, Keenan is supposed to take my heroine’ soul (i.e., kill her), but he doesn’t. He can’t. So he falls because he was tempted, and he didn’t carry out his duty. If Keenan wants to get his wings back—and earn his way back to heaven—he has to complete his original mission. He has to kill my heroine. That’s their big conflict.

Why did you put these two together?
I like to work with opposites when I write. My hero (an angel) and my heroine ( a vampire)—they’re definitely opposites. On all kinds of levels.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I like to create a villain who is…good. Wait, let me clarify. He’s bad, of course, he is, but can’t bad people also have good parts? No one is 100% evil, just as no one is 100% good. So when I crafted my villain, I wanted to show that there could be some redeeming qualities in him. Those qualities just might be buried very, very deep. And who knows? Sometimes, villains can later turn into great heroes.

What do you love most about this book/series?
These books are set in New Orleans, and I was able to incorporate a lot of real locations in my story. I’m a frequent visitor to New Orleans (maybe too frequent?), and it was so much fun to put some of my favorite spots in the stories. I actually went back to New Orleans recently, and I filmed from those locations. I’m making videos so readers will be able to “see” those spots, too.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, redemption can be possible, for anyone. No matter what we do or what happens to us, hope will always exist.

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me!! It’s been a pleasure!

Order Cynthia’s new release here:  Amazon

Cynthia is also giving away a copy of ANGEL OF DARKNESS to one lucky winner!!
Enter below — Open Internationally!

Cynthia Eden is a national best-selling author of paranormal romance and romantic suspense novels. Her books have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and her novel, DEADLY FEAR, was named a RITA® finalist for best romantic suspense.



NYT Bestseller Anita Clenney Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway!

>Today, I welcome NYT and USA Today Bestseller Anita Clenney! Anita’s celebrating the release of her second book in the Highland Warrior series, Embrace The Highland Warrior. And we have a giveaway of a copy of the book and 5 custom handmade bookmarks. Simply comment to enter!

Anita, tell us about your upcoming release.

Here’s a blurb:

 Cody MacBain let the woman of his destiny slip away. A member of an ancient clan of Scottish warriors, he grew up beside Shay Logan as her secret protector, but his heart compelled him to become more. Until Shay’s true identity was revealed, and the fated pair’s chance was gone…

But danger will drive them back into each other’s arms…

Shay fell for the boy next door, suspecting nothing of the ancient secrets he guarded. After a stinging betrayal, she’s determined to banish the memories of her first love forever. But the past can’t let go, and the boy she once loved has returned to her a warrior determined to protect her from the unspeakable evil fate has planned…

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
I love the emotion between Cody and Shay, the powerful connection they shared, and I love watching them try to reconnect now. They’ve changed so much, but the elements of their past are still there. I also love having all the warriors from Awaken helping them out. In the midst of turmoil and confusion, it gives a feel good element.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?
A dream.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
A terrible betrayal, and secrets that will make your heart ache.

Why did you put these two together?
These two just seemed so natural. They belonged together, then all the secrets got in the way and messed up a good thing.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I love my villains, one of them in particular. In fact, he’s so great I want to make him a hero. It’s either that or go back and do a prequel. His backstory is just wonderful. I don’t know how I come up with them. I can’t explain it. They’re just there. And I have so many of them. I love it.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
Love scenes. I’m never sure how far I want to go.

Tell us something unusual about this book (i.e. in its creation, execution, production).
This second book was the first manuscript I ever wrote. It was originally a romantic suspense. I started writing the first book in this series, what is now Awaken, about six months later. When my agent saw Awaken, she said this is the one. She was right. She always is. I knew this had to be a series, and I realized that the first manuscript was the perfect second book of the series. So the first became second and the second became first.

What do you love most about this book/series?
I love this series. The warriors have become like family members to me. I love hidden treasure and secret things, old keys and graveyards and all those eerie things. They’re all in here. And I absolutely love that connection between a woman and a man that defies the universe to stop it.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are some underlying messages. Evil doesn’t come up and say, “Hello, I’m evil.” But mostly, when readers pick up my books, I want them to laugh, cry, gasp, maybe even scream.

Does your novel have a theme? How did that come about?
I’m rotten at figuring out themes. It’s about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil, and Destined Love. The series started with a dream and a very vivid imagination.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had to choose…Elizabeth Peters who wrote the Amelia Peabody series.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I think the stories I loved influenced me. I read, I felt, and I wanted to do it myself.

How does your family view your writing career?
They’re very supportive and proud of me. My husband is waiting for me to get rich and buy him a ranch.

What entity do you feel supports you most in your writing career outside of family members?
My critique partner, Dana Rodgers is amazing. She’s such a help to me.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
Mostly email. It’s so great getting emails. That was something I wasn’t quite prepared for. What a thrill.

What is in your TBR pile?
I get a headache just thinking about it.

What would you like to tell readers?
Please buy my book…oh, you were serious. I adore this series, and I hope you do too. There are so many wonderful writers out there, that I cherish every reader who spends their hard earned money and time on me.

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?

I have varied tastes ranging from romance to mysteries. I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and I also love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

Do you have a second career? (Yes, motherhood counts!)
If motherhood counts, I have two! I spend a lot of time with my hubby and kids, but I do write full time.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I was staying home with the kids for a few years, but prior to that I worked in real estate, and I was an administrative assistant. I’ve also booked shows and traveled with Aztec Dancers.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Good storytelling, really nailing down the characters and the emotion.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?
The importance of writing faster.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
No formulas. I get an idea (this series started with a dream) then I mull it over and as the story unfolds in my head I make lots of notes, and then I start writing. I usually have a synopsis before I start actually writing the story.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Only an imagination and some method of getting it down. Typewriter, computer, notepad.

How would you best describe your books?
Mysterious, suspenseful, romantic, adventurous, sprinkled with humor. I love blending genres.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?
I love this series, and I also love mysteries. I’m working on two mystery series now.

What do you most like about writing? Least like?
I love brainstorming, creating the plot twists for a story. Least like…promotion. I adore meeting readers, but I don’t like feeling as if I’m pushing my books.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written? Awaken is the story of my heart, but I also love Embrace. I don’t know. That’s sort of like asking which child you like better.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
It’s been amazing to see my book on the shelf.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
I find it hard to write if I’m not motivated.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Other than spending time with my family, I’m usually on some kind of obsessive kick. It might be collecting candle holders or mirrors. I can devote an unhealthy amount of time to those things.

What are your current projects?
This series, a paranormal romantic mystery series, and a cozy mystery series.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?
I can smell a TJ Maxx from a mile away. I’m like a TJ Maxx bloodhound.

Are You The Same Person You Were As A Child, Or Much Different?
I have a lot of the same characteristics, but now they’re molded in different ways.

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?
Depends on the day, usually half full.

Favorite Midnight Snack?
Whatever is the quickest.

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
Introvert who loves people.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Window.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
I like both, but I probably lean toward long.

Ever Hit A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?
No. I’ve never been gambling. I spend all my time and money at TJ Maxx.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?
Uncomfortable.

Do you prefer your mattress soft or hard?
Soft.

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?
Lots.

Do you believe in snipes?
Only if they’re named Wesley.

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

What is Your Favorite Beverage?
Diet Pepsi or Coke.

Are You A Heavy Or Light Sleeper?
Light.

Do You Have Any Phobias Or Fears?
Goofy ones. I don’t fear the real things that I should be afraid of.

Are you a night or a morning person?
NIGHT!!!

At The Beach Would You Rather Play In The Sand, Or Play In The Water?
I’ll dig in the sand for lost jewelry. Did I mention I love jewelry?

Do You Have A Recurring Dream? What Happens In It?
I do have recurring dreams, a few of them. It would take far too long to explain them since I don’t fully understand them.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?
Promptly 5 minutes late.

Where can we find you online?
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Goodreads
Redroom

About the Author

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Anita Clenney writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Before giving herself over to the writing bug, she worked in a pickle factory and a preschool, booked shows for Aztec Fire Dancers, and has been a secretary, executive assistant, and a real estate agent. She lives with her husband and two children in suburban Virginia. To find out more information, please visit http://www.anitaclenney.com/, follow her on Twitter @anitaclenney, or like her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/anitaclenneyAUTHOR.

Some places Embrace can be purchased:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Booksamillion
Apple

We’ll leave you with an excerpt from Embrace:

Cody sighed. Might as well get it over with. He removed the shackles, returned them, and bent over her. “Shay, wake up.”

Her eyes flew open. She planted both hands against his chest and shoved, knocking him on his back, then sprang on top of him. “How dare you handcuff me to a bed?” she yelled, punctuating each word with a shake that rattled his brain. He didn’t fight back. She had to get it out of her system, and he didn’t blame her. He’d be more than pissed if someone shackled him.

She landed a fist into his stomach, and the breath rushed out of him. Okay, enough was enough. He captured her hands and rolled, trapping her under him.

“Get off me, you oaf.”

“I’ll get off when you stop beating the snot out of me.”

She let out a war cry and lunged for his throat, teeth bared. Intrigued, he hesitated a second too long, and she sank her teeth into his neck. A jolt of desire shot straight to his groin. He’d never been one for the rough stuff, but damn! He pulled back before she could do more than leave a bruise. He trapped her legs with his and held her hands above her head, letting his full weight press her into the soft mattress. She still struggled but could move only enough to get him excited.

“I’m sorry, Shay. I had to do it. It was too dangerous to let you go traipsing through the woods. I had to keep you safe.”

“What if he was hiding in one of the other bedrooms and sneaked in here while I was handcuffed to the bed? You left me so I couldn’t even protect myself.”

“Lach heard him out in the woods, but that’s why I locked the door, just in case. If this guy had broken it down to get to you, you would’ve screamed, and I would’ve come running. I was never far from the house.” He’d heard every name she called him.

Her eyes still flashed fire, but her breath was steadier, and she kept glancing at his mouth. He thought that was a good thing. He wondered if she’d calmed enough not to hit him, because he should move. She had to notice the effect all the wiggling around was having on him. He felt her hips push against his, and he groaned. He relaxed his grip and lowered his head, letting his lips touch her chin. He kissed his way to her mouth, and she head butted him in the nose.

While the stars exploded in his head, she shoved him aside and bolted out the door. He jumped up and went after her as she pounded down the stairs. He caught up with her outside. She was swinging her purse like a whip, headed for the car.

“Where are you going?” he demanded.

“Get away from me.”

“You can’t leave.”

“Watch me.” She opened the door. “I’m tired of people hiding things from me. I thought you were going to stop. Now you’re handcuffing me to the bed.”

“I explained it to you.”

“Don’t touch me,” she said, jerking away when he grabbed her arm.

“You’re not leaving.”

Shay straightened her shoulders. “You can’t stop me.”

He grabbed her, tossed her over his shoulder, kicked the car door shut, and stomped up the steps.

“Put me down!” Shay kicked and twisted, cursing at him. He dumped her on her feet inside the door.

She blew her hair out of her face, and as soon as she could see, she threw a punch at his chin. He deflected it and grabbed her arm. “Stop hitting me.”

“How dare you throw me over your shoulder like some kind of caveman,” she spat, trying to wrench her arm free. It didn’t work, so she used her knee.

“Ah, not there.” Cody trapped her knee. “I made the mistake of letting you leave here nine years ago without listening to me. By God, I won’t do it again. You’ll listen if I have to sit on you,” he growled.

She drew back her other arm, and before she could throw the punch, he had her on the floor and was sitting astride her, pinning her wrists to the floor. She bucked and twisted, but he held her down. “We can do this all night if you want, but you’re going to listen to me this time.”

“Listen to more lies? You’re still hiding things from me. Like the fact that you have Nina’s entire house under surveillance. Like the fact that you’ve got a Bat Cave in your basement. Like the fact that you were in Scotland when the stalking started.”

“You think I’m your stalker?” he yelled. “Me! I’m trying to keep you alive. We’re all trying to keep you alive. That’s what the clan’s been doing your whole damned life, trying to keep you alive! And just like always, you’re making it hard as hell. Your father wasn’t a bloody spy, and that thing in your living room wasn’t a man!”

Anita’s publisher will give away one copy of Embrace the Highland Warrior, US and Canada only, please.  We’re also giving away 5 custom bookmarks!
The question is, besides reading, what’s your favorite thing to do?

>NYT Bestseller Anita Clenney Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway!

>Today, I welcome NYT and USA Today Bestseller Anita Clenney! Anita’s celebrating the release of her second book in the Highland Warrior series, Embrace The Highland Warrior. And we have a giveaway of a copy of the book and 5 custom handmade bookmarks. Simply comment to enter!

Anita, tell us about your upcoming release.

Here’s a blurb:

 Cody MacBain let the woman of his destiny slip away. A member of an ancient clan of Scottish warriors, he grew up beside Shay Logan as her secret protector, but his heart compelled him to become more. Until Shay’s true identity was revealed, and the fated pair’s chance was gone…

But danger will drive them back into each other’s arms…

Shay fell for the boy next door, suspecting nothing of the ancient secrets he guarded. After a stinging betrayal, she’s determined to banish the memories of her first love forever. But the past can’t let go, and the boy she once loved has returned to her a warrior determined to protect her from the unspeakable evil fate has planned…

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
I love the emotion between Cody and Shay, the powerful connection they shared, and I love watching them try to reconnect now. They’ve changed so much, but the elements of their past are still there. I also love having all the warriors from Awaken helping them out. In the midst of turmoil and confusion, it gives a feel good element.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?
A dream.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
A terrible betrayal, and secrets that will make your heart ache.

Why did you put these two together?
These two just seemed so natural. They belonged together, then all the secrets got in the way and messed up a good thing.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I love my villains, one of them in particular. In fact, he’s so great I want to make him a hero. It’s either that or go back and do a prequel. His backstory is just wonderful. I don’t know how I come up with them. I can’t explain it. They’re just there. And I have so many of them. I love it.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
Love scenes. I’m never sure how far I want to go.

Tell us something unusual about this book (i.e. in its creation, execution, production).
This second book was the first manuscript I ever wrote. It was originally a romantic suspense. I started writing the first book in this series, what is now Awaken, about six months later. When my agent saw Awaken, she said this is the one. She was right. She always is. I knew this had to be a series, and I realized that the first manuscript was the perfect second book of the series. So the first became second and the second became first.

What do you love most about this book/series?
I love this series. The warriors have become like family members to me. I love hidden treasure and secret things, old keys and graveyards and all those eerie things. They’re all in here. And I absolutely love that connection between a woman and a man that defies the universe to stop it.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are some underlying messages. Evil doesn’t come up and say, “Hello, I’m evil.” But mostly, when readers pick up my books, I want them to laugh, cry, gasp, maybe even scream.

Does your novel have a theme? How did that come about?
I’m rotten at figuring out themes. It’s about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil, and Destined Love. The series started with a dream and a very vivid imagination.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
If I had to choose…Elizabeth Peters who wrote the Amelia Peabody series.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I think the stories I loved influenced me. I read, I felt, and I wanted to do it myself.

How does your family view your writing career?
They’re very supportive and proud of me. My husband is waiting for me to get rich and buy him a ranch.

What entity do you feel supports you most in your writing career outside of family members?
My critique partner, Dana Rodgers is amazing. She’s such a help to me.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
Mostly email. It’s so great getting emails. That was something I wasn’t quite prepared for. What a thrill.

What is in your TBR pile?
I get a headache just thinking about it.

What would you like to tell readers?
Please buy my book…oh, you were serious. I adore this series, and I hope you do too. There are so many wonderful writers out there, that I cherish every reader who spends their hard earned money and time on me.

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?

I have varied tastes ranging from romance to mysteries. I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and I also love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

Do you have a second career? (Yes, motherhood counts!)
If motherhood counts, I have two! I spend a lot of time with my hubby and kids, but I do write full time.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
I was staying home with the kids for a few years, but prior to that I worked in real estate, and I was an administrative assistant. I’ve also booked shows and traveled with Aztec Dancers.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Good storytelling, really nailing down the characters and the emotion.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started writing?
The importance of writing faster.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
No formulas. I get an idea (this series started with a dream) then I mull it over and as the story unfolds in my head I make lots of notes, and then I start writing. I usually have a synopsis before I start actually writing the story.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Only an imagination and some method of getting it down. Typewriter, computer, notepad.

How would you best describe your books?
Mysterious, suspenseful, romantic, adventurous, sprinkled with humor. I love blending genres.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?
I love this series, and I also love mysteries. I’m working on two mystery series now.

What do you most like about writing? Least like?
I love brainstorming, creating the plot twists for a story. Least like…promotion. I adore meeting readers, but I don’t like feeling as if I’m pushing my books.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written? Awaken is the story of my heart, but I also love Embrace. I don’t know. That’s sort of like asking which child you like better.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
It’s been amazing to see my book on the shelf.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
I find it hard to write if I’m not motivated.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Other than spending time with my family, I’m usually on some kind of obsessive kick. It might be collecting candle holders or mirrors. I can devote an unhealthy amount of time to those things.

What are your current projects?
This series, a paranormal romantic mystery series, and a cozy mystery series.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents?
I can smell a TJ Maxx from a mile away. I’m like a TJ Maxx bloodhound.

Are You The Same Person You Were As A Child, Or Much Different?
I have a lot of the same characteristics, but now they’re molded in different ways.

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?
Depends on the day, usually half full.

Favorite Midnight Snack?
Whatever is the quickest.

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
Introvert who loves people.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Window.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
I like both, but I probably lean toward long.

Ever Hit A Jackpot On A Slot Machine?
No. I’ve never been gambling. I spend all my time and money at TJ Maxx.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?
Uncomfortable.

Do you prefer your mattress soft or hard?
Soft.

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?
Lots.

Do you believe in snipes?
Only if they’re named Wesley.

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

What is Your Favorite Beverage?
Diet Pepsi or Coke.

Are You A Heavy Or Light Sleeper?
Light.

Do You Have Any Phobias Or Fears?
Goofy ones. I don’t fear the real things that I should be afraid of.

Are you a night or a morning person?
NIGHT!!!

At The Beach Would You Rather Play In The Sand, Or Play In The Water?
I’ll dig in the sand for lost jewelry. Did I mention I love jewelry?

Do You Have A Recurring Dream? What Happens In It?
I do have recurring dreams, a few of them. It would take far too long to explain them since I don’t fully understand them.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?
Promptly 5 minutes late.

Where can we find you online?
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Goodreads
Redroom

About the Author

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Anita Clenney writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Before giving herself over to the writing bug, she worked in a pickle factory and a preschool, booked shows for Aztec Fire Dancers, and has been a secretary, executive assistant, and a real estate agent. She lives with her husband and two children in suburban Virginia. To find out more information, please visit http://www.anitaclenney.com/, follow her on Twitter @anitaclenney, or like her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/anitaclenneyAUTHOR.

Some places Embrace can be purchased:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Booksamillion
Apple

We’ll leave you with an excerpt from Embrace:

Cody sighed. Might as well get it over with. He removed the shackles, returned them, and bent over her. “Shay, wake up.”

Her eyes flew open. She planted both hands against his chest and shoved, knocking him on his back, then sprang on top of him. “How dare you handcuff me to a bed?” she yelled, punctuating each word with a shake that rattled his brain. He didn’t fight back. She had to get it out of her system, and he didn’t blame her. He’d be more than pissed if someone shackled him.

She landed a fist into his stomach, and the breath rushed out of him. Okay, enough was enough. He captured her hands and rolled, trapping her under him.

“Get off me, you oaf.”

“I’ll get off when you stop beating the snot out of me.”

She let out a war cry and lunged for his throat, teeth bared. Intrigued, he hesitated a second too long, and she sank her teeth into his neck. A jolt of desire shot straight to his groin. He’d never been one for the rough stuff, but damn! He pulled back before she could do more than leave a bruise. He trapped her legs with his and held her hands above her head, letting his full weight press her into the soft mattress. She still struggled but could move only enough to get him excited.

“I’m sorry, Shay. I had to do it. It was too dangerous to let you go traipsing through the woods. I had to keep you safe.”

“What if he was hiding in one of the other bedrooms and sneaked in here while I was handcuffed to the bed? You left me so I couldn’t even protect myself.”

“Lach heard him out in the woods, but that’s why I locked the door, just in case. If this guy had broken it down to get to you, you would’ve screamed, and I would’ve come running. I was never far from the house.” He’d heard every name she called him.

Her eyes still flashed fire, but her breath was steadier, and she kept glancing at his mouth. He thought that was a good thing. He wondered if she’d calmed enough not to hit him, because he should move. She had to notice the effect all the wiggling around was having on him. He felt her hips push against his, and he groaned. He relaxed his grip and lowered his head, letting his lips touch her chin. He kissed his way to her mouth, and she head butted him in the nose.

While the stars exploded in his head, she shoved him aside and bolted out the door. He jumped up and went after her as she pounded down the stairs. He caught up with her outside. She was swinging her purse like a whip, headed for the car.

“Where are you going?” he demanded.

“Get away from me.”

“You can’t leave.”

“Watch me.” She opened the door. “I’m tired of people hiding things from me. I thought you were going to stop. Now you’re handcuffing me to the bed.”

“I explained it to you.”

“Don’t touch me,” she said, jerking away when he grabbed her arm.

“You’re not leaving.”

Shay straightened her shoulders. “You can’t stop me.”

He grabbed her, tossed her over his shoulder, kicked the car door shut, and stomped up the steps.

“Put me down!” Shay kicked and twisted, cursing at him. He dumped her on her feet inside the door.

She blew her hair out of her face, and as soon as she could see, she threw a punch at his chin. He deflected it and grabbed her arm. “Stop hitting me.”

“How dare you throw me over your shoulder like some kind of caveman,” she spat, trying to wrench her arm free. It didn’t work, so she used her knee.

“Ah, not there.” Cody trapped her knee. “I made the mistake of letting you leave here nine years ago without listening to me. By God, I won’t do it again. You’ll listen if I have to sit on you,” he growled.

She drew back her other arm, and before she could throw the punch, he had her on the floor and was sitting astride her, pinning her wrists to the floor. She bucked and twisted, but he held her down. “We can do this all night if you want, but you’re going to listen to me this time.”

“Listen to more lies? You’re still hiding things from me. Like the fact that you have Nina’s entire house under surveillance. Like the fact that you’ve got a Bat Cave in your basement. Like the fact that you were in Scotland when the stalking started.”

“You think I’m your stalker?” he yelled. “Me! I’m trying to keep you alive. We’re all trying to keep you alive. That’s what the clan’s been doing your whole damned life, trying to keep you alive! And just like always, you’re making it hard as hell. Your father wasn’t a bloody spy, and that thing in your living room wasn’t a man!”

Anita’s publisher will give away one copy of Embrace the Highland Warrior, US and Canada only, please.  We’re also giving away 5 custom bookmarks!
The question is, besides reading, what’s your favorite thing to do?

>Marie Force and the Book of Her Heart + Giveaway!!

>A warm welcome to Marie Force, an author I both admire and appreciate.  Her enthusiasm is infectious, her love for her work tangible.  I’m thrilled to have her here today. 

She is giving away a copy of her new release TREADING WATER and 5 custom handmade bookmarks today! Simply leave a comment to enter.

The Dream Comes True—My Way

Thanks so much for having me today, Joan! This has been one of the most exciting weeks I’ve had yet as an author, which is saying something as there have been a lot of exciting weeks this year. A year ago, I took the plunge as an “indie” author by self-publishing some of my unsold books. Since then, I’ve sold nearly 150,000 ebooks, a number that astounds and delights me.

On Tuesday, the book of my heart, TREADING WATER, went on sale as an ebook. I wrote TREADING WATER more than six years ago, and its two sequels, MARKING TIME (coming in November) and STARTING OVER (coming in December), were finished five years ago. These three are still my favorites of all my books, the three I am most proud of, and the three I’ve most wanted to put in the hands of readers. Because they aren’t “conventional” romances where boy and girl meet in chapter 1 and their love story unfolds from there, they didn’t fit neatly anywhere in the crowded fiction marketplace.

After success of my first six self-published books, I decided to go for it and publish the TREADING WATER trilogy on my own. This week, I had the supreme pleasure of seeing TREADING WATER officially on sale. Finally!

Here’s a brief summary of the book:

Love is the last thing on Jack Harrington’s mind when he sets out to meet Andi Walsh’s flight. Recently back to work after spending more than a year tending to his comatose wife, Jack is focused on getting through each day and caring for his three daughters. However, the moment he sets eyes on Andrea Walsh, the interior designer who has come to decorate the hotel his company is building in Newport, Rhode Island, Jack begins to wonder if Andi might be his second chance. After a disastrous marriage, Andi, single mom to a hearing-impaired son, isn’t exactly looking for love, either, but that’s what she finds with Jack. The two embark on a long-distance relationship fraught with challenges as they balance the needs of their children and dueling careers while Jack continues to care for his wife, Clare. Just when Jack thinks his life is once again settled, he is confronted with a new challenge that tests him in ways he never could’ve imagined, leaving him to wonder if “happily ever after” is in the cards for him.

Readers have responded with tremendous enthusiasm for Jack’s story. One of them called it “riveting, wrenching and unforgettable.” I liked that! What I’ve also loved is readers telling me the book makes them question what they would do if they found themselves in Jack’s situation. It was a lot of fun to write a story about a man who thinks he knows himself very well and has a good sense of what he’d do in any given situation. Then he finds himself in an untenable situation in which black and white beliefs become tinged with shades of gray.

Yesterday, Amazon sent an email to my past customers letting them know that TREADING WATER was now on sale. By the end of the day, the book was ranked at No. 19 for all of Kindle and No. 2 on the contemporary romance Kindle list. The book of my heart is now a Kindle bestseller! Yesterday was a VERY good day!

I’d love to hear from readers today about a dream you had that you never gave up on. Did your dream come true? I’ll give away a copy of TREADING WATER to one commenter AND 5 handmade bookmarks as well (your choice of those pictured above)…6 winners in all.
Enter! (International!)

 

Marie Force and the Book of Her Heart + Giveaway!!

>A warm welcome to Marie Force, an author I both admire and appreciate.  Her enthusiasm is infectious, her love for her work tangible.  I’m thrilled to have her here today. 

She is giving away a copy of her new release TREADING WATER and 5 custom handmade bookmarks today! Simply leave a comment to enter.

The Dream Comes True—My Way

Thanks so much for having me today, Joan! This has been one of the most exciting weeks I’ve had yet as an author, which is saying something as there have been a lot of exciting weeks this year. A year ago, I took the plunge as an “indie” author by self-publishing some of my unsold books. Since then, I’ve sold nearly 150,000 ebooks, a number that astounds and delights me.

On Tuesday, the book of my heart, TREADING WATER, went on sale as an ebook. I wrote TREADING WATER more than six years ago, and its two sequels, MARKING TIME (coming in November) and STARTING OVER (coming in December), were finished five years ago. These three are still my favorites of all my books, the three I am most proud of, and the three I’ve most wanted to put in the hands of readers. Because they aren’t “conventional” romances where boy and girl meet in chapter 1 and their love story unfolds from there, they didn’t fit neatly anywhere in the crowded fiction marketplace.

After success of my first six self-published books, I decided to go for it and publish the TREADING WATER trilogy on my own. This week, I had the supreme pleasure of seeing TREADING WATER officially on sale. Finally!

Here’s a brief summary of the book:

Love is the last thing on Jack Harrington’s mind when he sets out to meet Andi Walsh’s flight. Recently back to work after spending more than a year tending to his comatose wife, Jack is focused on getting through each day and caring for his three daughters. However, the moment he sets eyes on Andrea Walsh, the interior designer who has come to decorate the hotel his company is building in Newport, Rhode Island, Jack begins to wonder if Andi might be his second chance. After a disastrous marriage, Andi, single mom to a hearing-impaired son, isn’t exactly looking for love, either, but that’s what she finds with Jack. The two embark on a long-distance relationship fraught with challenges as they balance the needs of their children and dueling careers while Jack continues to care for his wife, Clare. Just when Jack thinks his life is once again settled, he is confronted with a new challenge that tests him in ways he never could’ve imagined, leaving him to wonder if “happily ever after” is in the cards for him.

Readers have responded with tremendous enthusiasm for Jack’s story. One of them called it “riveting, wrenching and unforgettable.” I liked that! What I’ve also loved is readers telling me the book makes them question what they would do if they found themselves in Jack’s situation. It was a lot of fun to write a story about a man who thinks he knows himself very well and has a good sense of what he’d do in any given situation. Then he finds himself in an untenable situation in which black and white beliefs become tinged with shades of gray.

Yesterday, Amazon sent an email to my past customers letting them know that TREADING WATER was now on sale. By the end of the day, the book was ranked at No. 19 for all of Kindle and No. 2 on the contemporary romance Kindle list. The book of my heart is now a Kindle bestseller! Yesterday was a VERY good day!

I’d love to hear from readers today about a dream you had that you never gave up on. Did your dream come true? I’ll give away a copy of TREADING WATER to one commenter AND 5 handmade bookmarks as well (your choice of those pictured above)…6 winners in all.
Enter! (International!)

 

>Author Sarah Grimm Interview + Giveaway!

>

Sarah Grimm is here talking about her new release After Midnight, and we’re giving away 5 custom handmade bookmarks AND an Ecopy of After Midnight! Simply leave a comment to enter. Open internationally.

Sarah, tell us about your latest release.
She wants to forget her past.

He wants to reclaim his.

Sometimes the moment that changes everything comes After Midnight.

Thirteen years—that’s how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother’s life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar…


Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal—one that doesn’t include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won’t be easy, but he can’t get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
That even though Izzy views herself as damaged, through Noah’s love she rediscovers that she’s beautiful.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?
Teenage fantasies about meeting and marrying a rock star, combined with the maturity to know that a twenty-something musician is not happily-ever-after material. Add to that the picture in my mind of a woman alone in a bar, playing the piano. That picture spawned a series of ‘what if’ questions which led to After Midnight.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
Music. It’s what brings them together as well as threatens to tear them apart.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
Isabeau’s childhood was so tragic all the scenes that dealt with it were extremely hard to write. But the most difficult was the scene where her step-father (for lack of a better name) sits Noah down and tells him about losing Izzy’s mother in the car accident, followed by immediately losing Izzy in a court battle, and how these events shaped Isabeau into the woman she is today. I can’t really get into it too much without giving away any spoilers, but it is a traumatic scene that was emotionally draining for me to write.

How does your family view your writing career?
They accept it as a normal part of who I am and are proud of the fact that I have achieved my goal of becoming published.

What is your writing routine?

I do my best writing in the morning when the rest of the house is still asleep. I wake up around 4:30 seven days a week. Not necessarily by choice, my internal alarm clock just goes off at that time. If I don’t sit down and write in the morning, chances are good I won’t get any writing done that day. I’m too easily distracted by the million other things I need to get done – grocery shopping, the day job, orthodontist appointments, or house cleaning.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
My all time favorite way to chat with readers is face to face. Unfortunately, I don’t get enough of that with my hectic work schedule, so I settle for keeping in touch with readers through my blog, online chats, and email. I love to hear from readers and encourage them to email me at sarah @ sarahgrimm.com.

What are you reading now?
Rafe’s Redemption by Jennifer Jakes, and Jezebel’s Wish by AJ Nuest

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?
Contemporary romance. A close second is contemporary romantic suspense.

Do you have a second career? (Yes, motherhood counts!)
Besides being the mother of two teenage sons, three mini schnauzers, a guinea pig, a rescued kitten in need of a home, and three orphaned mice—whew, that’s a lot to type—I’m the bookkeeper for my husband’s boat repair business and work full time as the bookkeeper for a local farmer.

How would you best describe your books?
I write sizzling, dangerously sexy contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
Definitely After Midnight. Every author I’ve ever spoke with has one story they truly believe is THE story of their heart. After Midnight is mine. Isabeau Montgomery is the owner of Izzy’s Bar, a child prodigy, piano phenom—a woman who is hiding behind a lie of her own making. She’s just so very tortured, her past so full of tragedy… She deserves a happy ending and Noah is just the man to share it with her.

What are your current projects?
While writing After Midnight, one of the secondary characters kept telling me he needed his story, so I’m writing that one now. Midnight Heat is a reunion romance, and although I had no plans to make it so when I started, it looks like it may become a romantic suspense.

Are You The Same Person You Were As A Child, Or Much Different?
I am much different. I’m still a dreamer and impulsive, but I’ve learned to control the impulses and think before I speak.

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?
Half full.

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
Extrovert.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Window. I want to see where I’m going.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
Short.

What is Your Favorite Beverage?
Diet Coke.

Are you a night or a morning person?
Morning.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?
Early.

Where can we find you online?
Website: http://www.sarahgrimm.com
Blog: http://www.authorsarahgrimm.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SGrimmAuthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SarahGrimm.Author

Sarah lives in West Michigan with her husband, two sons and three miniature schnauzers. Between mom’s taxi service, parts runs, and answering the phone for the family marine repair business, Sarah can be found curled in her favorite chair, crafting her next novel.
Comment to enter for 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks AND an ecopy of After Midnight!
Open internationally.
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN!

Author Sarah Grimm Interview + Giveaway!

>

Sarah Grimm is here talking about her new release After Midnight, and we’re giving away 5 custom handmade bookmarks AND an Ecopy of After Midnight! Simply leave a comment to enter. Open internationally.

Sarah, tell us about your latest release.
She wants to forget her past.

He wants to reclaim his.

Sometimes the moment that changes everything comes After Midnight.

Thirteen years—that’s how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother’s life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar…


Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal—one that doesn’t include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won’t be easy, but he can’t get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?
That even though Izzy views herself as damaged, through Noah’s love she rediscovers that she’s beautiful.

What sparked the idea for this book/series?
Teenage fantasies about meeting and marrying a rock star, combined with the maturity to know that a twenty-something musician is not happily-ever-after material. Add to that the picture in my mind of a woman alone in a bar, playing the piano. That picture spawned a series of ‘what if’ questions which led to After Midnight.

What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?
Music. It’s what brings them together as well as threatens to tear them apart.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
Isabeau’s childhood was so tragic all the scenes that dealt with it were extremely hard to write. But the most difficult was the scene where her step-father (for lack of a better name) sits Noah down and tells him about losing Izzy’s mother in the car accident, followed by immediately losing Izzy in a court battle, and how these events shaped Isabeau into the woman she is today. I can’t really get into it too much without giving away any spoilers, but it is a traumatic scene that was emotionally draining for me to write.

How does your family view your writing career?
They accept it as a normal part of who I am and are proud of the fact that I have achieved my goal of becoming published.

What is your writing routine?

I do my best writing in the morning when the rest of the house is still asleep. I wake up around 4:30 seven days a week. Not necessarily by choice, my internal alarm clock just goes off at that time. If I don’t sit down and write in the morning, chances are good I won’t get any writing done that day. I’m too easily distracted by the million other things I need to get done – grocery shopping, the day job, orthodontist appointments, or house cleaning.

How do you keep in touch with your readers?
My all time favorite way to chat with readers is face to face. Unfortunately, I don’t get enough of that with my hectic work schedule, so I settle for keeping in touch with readers through my blog, online chats, and email. I love to hear from readers and encourage them to email me at sarah @ sarahgrimm.com.

What are you reading now?
Rafe’s Redemption by Jennifer Jakes, and Jezebel’s Wish by AJ Nuest

What is your preferred genre to read for pleasure?
Contemporary romance. A close second is contemporary romantic suspense.

Do you have a second career? (Yes, motherhood counts!)
Besides being the mother of two teenage sons, three mini schnauzers, a guinea pig, a rescued kitten in need of a home, and three orphaned mice—whew, that’s a lot to type—I’m the bookkeeper for my husband’s boat repair business and work full time as the bookkeeper for a local farmer.

How would you best describe your books?
I write sizzling, dangerously sexy contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
Definitely After Midnight. Every author I’ve ever spoke with has one story they truly believe is THE story of their heart. After Midnight is mine. Isabeau Montgomery is the owner of Izzy’s Bar, a child prodigy, piano phenom—a woman who is hiding behind a lie of her own making. She’s just so very tortured, her past so full of tragedy… She deserves a happy ending and Noah is just the man to share it with her.

What are your current projects?
While writing After Midnight, one of the secondary characters kept telling me he needed his story, so I’m writing that one now. Midnight Heat is a reunion romance, and although I had no plans to make it so when I started, it looks like it may become a romantic suspense.

Are You The Same Person You Were As A Child, Or Much Different?
I am much different. I’m still a dreamer and impulsive, but I’ve learned to control the impulses and think before I speak.

Do You Believe That The Cup Is Half Empty Or Half Full?
Half full.

Are You An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
Extrovert.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Window. I want to see where I’m going.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
Short.

What is Your Favorite Beverage?
Diet Coke.

Are you a night or a morning person?
Morning.

Are You Usually Late, Early Or Right On Time?
Early.

Where can we find you online?
Website: http://www.sarahgrimm.com
Blog: http://www.authorsarahgrimm.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SGrimmAuthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SarahGrimm.Author

Sarah lives in West Michigan with her husband, two sons and three miniature schnauzers. Between mom’s taxi service, parts runs, and answering the phone for the family marine repair business, Sarah can be found curled in her favorite chair, crafting her next novel.
Comment to enter for 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks AND an ecopy of After Midnight!
Open internationally.
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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
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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.