new release

Intimate Enemies Release Blast!

I’m THRILLED to announce that my romantic suspense, INTIMATE ENEMIES, is now available in all electronic formats.

This book is quite special to me.  A two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, INTIMATE ENEMIES, recently received a complete overhaul to bring the novel up to my current writing abilities.  The work resulted in richer characters and a deeper, more complex plot and was well worth the time and effort.

I can only hope you feel the same.

To celebrate the release of this adventure into the sexy, secretive world of Rio Santana and Cassie Christo, I’m giving away a copy a day for the rest of the month — starting today!

Lots of ways to enter! Use the Rafflecopter form below. If you JUST CAN’T WAIT…I understand. It’s on sale for $3.99 at the following locations: Amazon | B & N | Smashwords

Romantic Suspense

Intimate Enemies

She is on a quest for answers; answers that could just get her killed.

Six months after the mysterious yacht explosion that killed Cassie Christo’s mother and stepbrother, authorities still have no answers to the cause. Searching for closure, Cassie returns to her childhood home on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Mexico, where she launches her own investigation into the accident. She never expected to find an adversary in the man who had once touched her heart with kindness in her darkest moment.

Rio’s been fantasizing about reconnecting with Cassie for months. But not here and sure as hell not now. As an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he’s working the biggest sting operation in all of northern Mexico, and he definitely doesn’t have time for the wild attraction he feels for Cassie.

Not only is his cover on the line, so is his heart. Because as the end of a yearlong operation draws closer, Rio knows if he tells Cassie the truth about who and what he is, it won’t only jeopardize his mission, it may result in him losing her forever. And if he doesn’t, his lies and deception could get them both killed.

Winner #1: Becky Jean!

Winner #2: Rachel D!

Winner #3: Viki S!

Winner #4: Lucy D!

Winner #5: Cris!

Winner #6: Alexandrea W!

Winner #7: Emma M.J.!

Winner #8: Veronica D!

Winner #9: May!

Winner #10: Rachel K!

Winner #11: Kathy S!

Winner #12: Nina!

 

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Martina Boone: Using GMC to Add Romantic Tension

My guest today, Martina Boone, is a treat for readers and writers alike!  First a little about her new release, a sweet summer read.  Then Martina shares tips on using GMC to add romantic tension to your work!

For writers, Martina is an amazing resource for quality writing craft articles as @4KidLit on Twitter.  She is active in the young adult genre, but also in romance.  And, as I always say, quality craft cuts across all fiction genres.

For readers, Martina has just published a delightful short story in the newly released anthology, SWEETER THAN TEA.  Her work, Bringing Lula Home, is a living example of how quality writing craft not only matters, but brings the story about an artist reclaiming her passion, family secrets and reconciliation, to life.

As an author who has yet to complete a novel under 100k, I was amazed at how seamlessly Martina fashioned such a poignant, compelling story with well-developed characters and even a sweet hook at the end, while still leaving the reader satisfied in so few pages.  Her imagery is clean, crisp and so clear I always knew exactly where I stood in the story.  The way she teases or comforts the reader with dashes of back story throughout the piece is truly masterful.

I enjoyed the characters, cared about them, laughed with them, worried about them.  And in the end, I was hoping for them, which kept me turning pages, thoroughly entertained by each of the rich story threads.  There’s even the hint of a sweet romance within Bringing Lula Home!

Martina and Belle Books is offering 5 print copies of this fabulous anthology for giveaway (US residents only).
Many ways to enter — see the Rafflecopter form below.

SWEETER THAN TEA Family dramas, comic mishaps, sentimental remembrances and poignant choices illuminate these thirteen stories by new and established authors. There’s something for every reader: The gritty realism of a hunt for wild boars, the gentle grieving for a home now filled only with memories, the funny battle between a woman and her recipe for deviled eggs, and much more.

Come sit a spell on the front porch. Prop your feet up, sip a cold glass of sweet iced tea, and lose yourself in a way of life that’s as irresistible as pecan pie and as unforgettable as a chilled slice of watermelon on a hot summer day. Welcome to a place that exists between the pages of How It Was and How It Might Have Been—just a little bit south of the long path home.

Using GMC to Heat Up the Romantic Tension
by Martina Boone

Romance in a novel doesn’t have to be hot or overt to be satisfying, but it does need tension. The romances I love best are the ones that have a compelling pull between the protagonist and the love interest, or between two POV characters who are falling in love while something equally compelling is keeping them apart. I especially love stories where it appears that if one of the lovers will win, the other will lose. Joan Swan sets up conflict like this really well. In her INTIMATE ENEMIES novel, her undercover ICE agent hero, Rio, knows that telling the heroine, Cassie, the truth about who and what he is will jeopardize his mission and cost him any chance he has with her. But if he doesn’t tell her, his lies and deception could cost both of them their lives.

Tension of this kind makes for a fast, page-turning read, but it doesn’t just happen. It has to be built into the story from the beginning. It has to be planned. A great way to do that is to use a technique brilliantly described in Deb Dixon’s book: GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction to put what the characters want into opposition. This book should be on every writer’s bookshelf.

Once you’ve grasped the ideas behind GMC, it makes perfect sense to give each major character their own, and make what they want relate to the major theme, and to use romance to force the lovers to make choices between the relationship and their initial goals. Often, you can set this up in a situation where if one lover wins, the other loses.

  • (G)oal. This is what the character needs or wants, both in the long-term and in the short-term. Goals move the story forward because the desire to achieve a goal forces the characters to act. As they act, of course, the goals have to adapt.Goals are divided into external and internal. The external is the physical thing they need to get, but the internal is what they hope to achieve when they get it. Make achieving the external goal hard or even impossible. Make it rife with obstacles and almost certain failure. Make the relationship between the internal and the external even more fraught with obstacles. Make every small choice the character faces throughout the story push him closer or farther from attaining the external goal as well as the internal one.
  • (M)otivation. This is the logical, believable reason or reasons the character wants what he or she wants, or needs to get what he or she wants to get. The reason has to be compelling. It has to be critical. The character needs to want or need to achieve the goal more than he or she wants or needs anything else in the whole world. That’s why he or she is willing to overcome any hardship and sacrifice almost anything when the obstacles appear insurmountable.
  • (C)onflict. These are the roadblocks or reasons that make achieving what the character wants seemingly impossible. Make these roadblocks hard. You have to keep the character from attaining the goal until he or she has earned the victory and made the sacrifices.

You can (and should) sum up each characters POV in your story by writing out a sentence for them in the following format:

Character A wants GOAL because MOTIVATION but CONFLICT.

Now examine each of these statements and see how you can tweak them to pit the characters more directly against each other.

Whether you are writing a romance or using romance as a subplot, the love between two characters makes for a great way to increase the obstacles they have to overcome. It forces them to choose between what they want—their external goals—and the romance—their internal need. You can also set it up to show how they compromise their ideals or goals for each other. Or how they don’t.

In Running Raw, Susan Sipal’s short story in SWEETER THAN TEA, for example, Susan sets up her Federal Agent to have to sacrifice his professional ideals to keep the heroine out of jail because the heroine has a compelling reason (motivation) to keep breaking the law. That motivation is the key to the success of the story.

Motivation is often the heart of the story. If the goal is the car that transports us across the story landscape, the motivation is the engine that drives us from one page to another. It gives us a way to connect the readers to our characters. To let the reader understand that the action matters.

In and of itself, goal plus motivation with conflict built-in will usually make for a compelling read. But you can use it to create a true page turner. To do that, make it hard for the character and reader to decide not only whether success is possible, but whether achieving success is what they really want to happen. Force them to keep fighting for their goals, but make them question if that is what they want. Keep them physically locked into the struggle so that they can’t evade obstacles thrown at them, and keep their motivation strong enough so that they aren’t willing to give up.

To up the tension even further, consider using romance in one of the following ways:

  • Make a character’s external goal conflict with his or her attraction for another character and force that character to choose between the romance and the goal.
  • Place a character in circumstances that put his or her external goals in conflict with those of the love interest so that if one wins, the other loses.
  • Create a situation where both characters must work together to achieve their goals, but make it impossible for them to succeed without sacrificing their relationship.
  • Set up the turning points of your story with a twist that alters the characters goals so that they are in opposition instead of able to work together.
  • Force the characters to choose between their conscience and their love.

You get the idea. There are countless ways to put goals in opposition. Just be careful to motivate the goals well, and make that motivation compelling and relatable for the reader. Readers need to understand and, most importantly, to believe why opposing characters are thrown together and kept together in a situation of conflict.

About Martina: 

Martina lives in Virginia with her husband, two kids, two cats, a fish, Auggie the Wonder Dog, and a backyard visited by hummingbirds, butterflies, bald eagles, squirrels, deer, and even the occasional curious bear.

Martina lives in Virginia with her husband, two kids, two cats, a fish, Auggie the Wonder Dog, and a backyard visited by hummingbirds, butterflies, bald eagles, squirrels, deer, and even the occasional curious bear.

 

 

You can find Martina online:

Blog: http://childrenspublishing.blogspot.com
Website: http://www.martinaboone.com
Tumbler: http://martinaboone.tumblr.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/4yalit

 

*  *  *  *  *

WOW! Joan here…I just have to say, I’m going to be reading this over several times to grasp all the amazing tips offered within this unique perspective of focusing GMC on one element of craft to heighten that throughout the book!  Powerful stuff, Martina!!  Thank you so much for sharing!

 Okay, time to enter to WIN! Martina and Belle Books is offering 5 print copies of this fabulous anthology for giveaway (US residents only). 

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Celebrating My CP’s First Indie!!

I’m thrilled to announce my critique partner, Elisabeth Naughton (best CP in the world, btw) has released her very first Indie novel! 

Eli is an expert at crafting real characters you can’t get enough of,  creating heart-wrenching conflict and raising the stakes at every turn.  Her heroines are strong, her heroes are hot and her stories are filled with angsty, sexy twists and turns.

WAIT FOR ME is her very first Indie release, a contemporary romance with so much depth and even a little suspense thread.  An awesome read!

I’m celebrating the release and the holidays by giving away *5* copies of WAIT FOR ME!!

All you have to do is help us spread the word of Elisabeth’s new release.  Each shout is one entry, so the more you shout, the more chances you have to win!

A woman without a past…

After a tragic accident left her with no memory, Kate Alexander struggled to fit in with a husband and world that didn’t feel right. She’s had no reason to question what friends and family have told her, not until her husband is suddenly killed and she finds a photo of a young girl in his office. A girl who can’t be anyone but a daughter Kate didn’t know she had.

A man desperate for a reason to live…

Ryan Harrison lost his wife in a plane crash five years ago. To cope with the pain of her loss, he dedicated himself to his job and to raising their daughter. Now a successful pharmaceutical executive, Ryan has everything a man could want—money, fame and power—but he’d give it all up in a heartbeat for just one more day with the woman he still loves.

Two lives about to converge.

As Kate begins to dig into a past she doesn’t remember, evidence leads her to San Francisco and puts her on the path toward Ryan, a man who sees in her the woman he loved and lost. Kate feels a draw to Ryan, one she can’t explain, but is that feeling enough to convince her this is where she’s supposed to be? As Ryan and Kate search for answers, they uncover lies long buried, a passion hotter than either expected and a danger that threatens…even now…when the second chance they’ve both been searching for is finally within reach.

You WANT this read!!  Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

>Celebrating My CP’s First Indie!!

>I’m thrilled to announce my critique partner, Elisabeth Naughton (best CP in the world, btw) has released her very first Indie novel! 

Eli is an expert at crafting real characters you can’t get enough of,  creating heart-wrenching conflict and raising the stakes at every turn.  Her heroines are strong, her heroes are hot and her stories are filled with angsty, sexy twists and turns.

WAIT FOR ME is her very first Indie release, a contemporary romance with so much depth and even a little suspense thread.  An awesome read!

I’m celebrating the release and the holidays by giving away *5* copies of WAIT FOR ME!!

All you have to do is help us spread the word of Elisabeth’s new release.  Each shout is one entry, so the more you shout, the more chances you have to win!

A woman without a past…

After a tragic accident left her with no memory, Kate Alexander struggled to fit in with a husband and world that didn’t feel right. She’s had no reason to question what friends and family have told her, not until her husband is suddenly killed and she finds a photo of a young girl in his office. A girl who can’t be anyone but a daughter Kate didn’t know she had.

A man desperate for a reason to live…

Ryan Harrison lost his wife in a plane crash five years ago. To cope with the pain of her loss, he dedicated himself to his job and to raising their daughter. Now a successful pharmaceutical executive, Ryan has everything a man could want—money, fame and power—but he’d give it all up in a heartbeat for just one more day with the woman he still loves.

Two lives about to converge.

As Kate begins to dig into a past she doesn’t remember, evidence leads her to San Francisco and puts her on the path toward Ryan, a man who sees in her the woman he loved and lost. Kate feels a draw to Ryan, one she can’t explain, but is that feeling enough to convince her this is where she’s supposed to be? As Ryan and Kate search for answers, they uncover lies long buried, a passion hotter than either expected and a danger that threatens…even now…when the second chance they’ve both been searching for is finally within reach.

You WANT this read!!  Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Laura Bickle Interview & Her New Pocket Release: SPARKS

>My guest today has a fascinating background — one perfectly suited for fiction!! We’re talking about her new release from Pocket Books, SPARKS, book #2 in her Anya Kalinczyk series.

Laura Bickle has an MA in sociology-criminology (research interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She has worked in and around criminal justice since 1997. Although she does read Tarot cards, she’s never used them in criminal profiling or to locate lost scientists. She recently took up astronomy, but for the most part her primary role in studying constellations and dark matter is to follow her amateur astronomer-husband around central Ohio toting the telescope tripod and various lenses.

Writing as Laura Bickle, she’s the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket – Juno Books. Writing as Alayna Williams, she’s the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE.

More info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here: http://www.salamanderstales.com/

Laura/ Alayna’s blogs
http://www.salamanderstales.blogspot.com and http://delphisdaughters.blogspot.com

She’s a proud member of Word Whores.

She’s at Facebook, and Fangs, Fur, and Fey.

WITHOUT A TRACE…

Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.

Laura, tell us about your upcoming release.
My current release is SPARKS, from Pocket Books. By day, Anya Kalinczyk is an arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Department. By night, she’s the rarest kind of spiritual medium, a Lantern. While other mediums allow spirits to use their hands and voices to communicate, Anya incinerates them. With the help of her fire salamander familiar, Sparky, and a ragtag group of ghost hunters, Anya chases down unseen threats to her city.

In SPARKS, Anya’s investigating a rash of spontaneous human combustion cases. With the reluctant assistance of a soul collector from the Underworld, she must track down the supernatural source of the fires and keep Sparky’s newly-hatched newts safe from a malicious psychic.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
The beginning is the most intimidating part of a book for me to write. The blank page is a scary place, full of doubts and ‘what if’s.’ Procrastination is my greatest enemy at that stage.

The easiest part for me is the last quarter of the book. Then, I can see how all the factors come into play and the plot threads begin to tie up. It’s sort of like running downhill – exhilarating and exciting.

Tell us something unusual about this book (i.e. in its creation, execution, production).
Research is one of the pleasures of being a writer. And I got to research spontaneous human combustion for this book. I was really amazed at the number of theories about how this works…including the theory of the ‘phosphenic fart.’ In this idea, digestive gases gather and catch fire in one’s digestive tract.

Yeah, I know. Bizarre. But fun to see if I can get the heroine to mention that in the story. And if I can get my editor to laugh, that’s an additional bonus.

What do you love most about this book/series?
Sparky, Anya’s fire salamander, is a lot of fun to write. Sparky is a composite of all the pets I’ve had. He’s snuggly, petulant, protective, and snarky. As a fire salamander, he can affect electrical fields and fire…he’s been known to chew on cell phones, blow up microwaves, and set of sprinkler systems in the crime lab.

He has a favorite toy that he cuddles with at night…a Glow-Worm. I had a Glow-Worm toy as a child. I was terribly afraid of the dark, and it really helped. I still give them as gifts for baby showers.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think that my books tend to really focus on how the heroines balance their inner lives with their outer lives. My protagonists tend to have hidden lives with supernatural powers that they must keep secret from their day jobs.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
My background is in library science and criminal justice. I worked in criminal justice for more than ten years, and recently made the switch to working in a public library. Being surrounded by books and chasing down the answers to research questions is a special kind of bliss.

So, I guess you could say that I’m a part-time writer. Maybe someday it will become a full-time occupation.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
I think my favorite is ROGUE ORACLE – which I wrote under my pseudonym, Alayna Williams. Tara Sheridan survived an attack from a serial killer that left her scarred for life. She’s withdrawn from her professional life as a criminal profiler into a self-imposed exile that’s both physical and emotional. In ROGUE ORACLE, she’s working to unravel a series of murders that has its roots in the Chernobyl disaster and resolving her relationship issues with an enigmatic federal agent.

I like working with broken heroines because people are flawed in real life. The story also forced me to face some of my own fears about vulnerability in relationships, which was a really scary and exciting experience.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
Wonder Woman helps me write. Seriously. My Wonder Woman collection is on the shelves beside my desk. I’ve been collecting Wonder Woman since I was a kid, and she always reminds me to try out new ideas, to think outside of the box.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents? If So, What?
My husband and I are amateur astronomers. I also belly dance a bit…but not in public. Nobody needs to see that, trust me! 😉

I initially became interested in belly dancing because I wanted to help overcome my shyness. Since I spend so much time in my head, it helped me think of my body a bit more, get outside of myself. I still wouldn’t dance in public, but it’s a lot of fun to get together with a group of women to laugh and shimmy.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
Short. I could never be with a guy who has better hair than I do (which, admittedly, is not hard).

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?
Two. One usually winds up on the floor, and I usually wake up with a cat wrapped around my head.

Are You A Heavy Or Light Sleeper?
Light sleeper. I hear all the things that go bump in the night, and then worry up stories to go along with them.

Where can we find you online?
Website: http://www.salamanderstales.com/
Blog: http://salamanderstales.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/laurabickle
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Laura_Bickle

Thanks for being with us today Laura!

SPARKS is available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

>Laura Bickle Interview & Her New Pocket Release: SPARKS

>My guest today has a fascinating background — one perfectly suited for fiction!! We’re talking about her new release from Pocket Books, SPARKS, book #2 in her Anya Kalinczyk series.

Laura Bickle has an MA in sociology-criminology (research interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She has worked in and around criminal justice since 1997. Although she does read Tarot cards, she’s never used them in criminal profiling or to locate lost scientists. She recently took up astronomy, but for the most part her primary role in studying constellations and dark matter is to follow her amateur astronomer-husband around central Ohio toting the telescope tripod and various lenses.

Writing as Laura Bickle, she’s the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket – Juno Books. Writing as Alayna Williams, she’s the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE.

More info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here: http://www.salamanderstales.com/

Laura/ Alayna’s blogs
http://www.salamanderstales.blogspot.com and http://delphisdaughters.blogspot.com

She’s a proud member of Word Whores.

She’s at Facebook, and Fangs, Fur, and Fey.

WITHOUT A TRACE…

Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.

Laura, tell us about your upcoming release.
My current release is SPARKS, from Pocket Books. By day, Anya Kalinczyk is an arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Department. By night, she’s the rarest kind of spiritual medium, a Lantern. While other mediums allow spirits to use their hands and voices to communicate, Anya incinerates them. With the help of her fire salamander familiar, Sparky, and a ragtag group of ghost hunters, Anya chases down unseen threats to her city.

In SPARKS, Anya’s investigating a rash of spontaneous human combustion cases. With the reluctant assistance of a soul collector from the Underworld, she must track down the supernatural source of the fires and keep Sparky’s newly-hatched newts safe from a malicious psychic.

What was the hardest part of this book to write and why?
The beginning is the most intimidating part of a book for me to write. The blank page is a scary place, full of doubts and ‘what if’s.’ Procrastination is my greatest enemy at that stage.

The easiest part for me is the last quarter of the book. Then, I can see how all the factors come into play and the plot threads begin to tie up. It’s sort of like running downhill – exhilarating and exciting.

Tell us something unusual about this book (i.e. in its creation, execution, production).
Research is one of the pleasures of being a writer. And I got to research spontaneous human combustion for this book. I was really amazed at the number of theories about how this works…including the theory of the ‘phosphenic fart.’ In this idea, digestive gases gather and catch fire in one’s digestive tract.

Yeah, I know. Bizarre. But fun to see if I can get the heroine to mention that in the story. And if I can get my editor to laugh, that’s an additional bonus.

What do you love most about this book/series?
Sparky, Anya’s fire salamander, is a lot of fun to write. Sparky is a composite of all the pets I’ve had. He’s snuggly, petulant, protective, and snarky. As a fire salamander, he can affect electrical fields and fire…he’s been known to chew on cell phones, blow up microwaves, and set of sprinkler systems in the crime lab.

He has a favorite toy that he cuddles with at night…a Glow-Worm. I had a Glow-Worm toy as a child. I was terribly afraid of the dark, and it really helped. I still give them as gifts for baby showers.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think that my books tend to really focus on how the heroines balance their inner lives with their outer lives. My protagonists tend to have hidden lives with supernatural powers that they must keep secret from their day jobs.

What did you do before you became a full-time writer?
My background is in library science and criminal justice. I worked in criminal justice for more than ten years, and recently made the switch to working in a public library. Being surrounded by books and chasing down the answers to research questions is a special kind of bliss.

So, I guess you could say that I’m a part-time writer. Maybe someday it will become a full-time occupation.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
I think my favorite is ROGUE ORACLE – which I wrote under my pseudonym, Alayna Williams. Tara Sheridan survived an attack from a serial killer that left her scarred for life. She’s withdrawn from her professional life as a criminal profiler into a self-imposed exile that’s both physical and emotional. In ROGUE ORACLE, she’s working to unravel a series of murders that has its roots in the Chernobyl disaster and resolving her relationship issues with an enigmatic federal agent.

I like working with broken heroines because people are flawed in real life. The story also forced me to face some of my own fears about vulnerability in relationships, which was a really scary and exciting experience.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?
Wonder Woman helps me write. Seriously. My Wonder Woman collection is on the shelves beside my desk. I’ve been collecting Wonder Woman since I was a kid, and she always reminds me to try out new ideas, to think outside of the box.

Do You Have Any Undiscovered Or Hidden Talents? If So, What?
My husband and I are amateur astronomers. I also belly dance a bit…but not in public. Nobody needs to see that, trust me! 😉

I initially became interested in belly dancing because I wanted to help overcome my shyness. Since I spend so much time in my head, it helped me think of my body a bit more, get outside of myself. I still wouldn’t dance in public, but it’s a lot of fun to get together with a group of women to laugh and shimmy.

Do You Like Short Or Long Hair On A Guy?
Short. I could never be with a guy who has better hair than I do (which, admittedly, is not hard).

How many pillows do you like to sleep with?
Two. One usually winds up on the floor, and I usually wake up with a cat wrapped around my head.

Are You A Heavy Or Light Sleeper?
Light sleeper. I hear all the things that go bump in the night, and then worry up stories to go along with them.

Where can we find you online?
Website: http://www.salamanderstales.com/
Blog: http://salamanderstales.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/laurabickle
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Laura_Bickle

Thanks for being with us today Laura!

SPARKS is available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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.
**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


>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