romance

>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!)

 

The Great Book Giveaway with RJ Silver!

>I am really excited about this special event we’re calling The Great Book Giveaway! Today, I have guest RJ Silver with me. RJ is a former thriller writer who fell in love and changed life paths. He now writes lighthearted humor and romance in an effort to add something positive to the world.

To that end, he’s here today giving away 2 free books — to EVERYONE! By downloading his books and telling others about them (provided you like them, of course) you’ll be drawing attention to his Foundation for underprivilidged children of Asia.

Many of you have heard or even read The Princess and the Penis (P&P). Tremendously popular on Amazon, P&P was downloaded over 400,000 times in just 8 months. Today, RJ is giving it, and another of his books, away free. Nothing to sign up for. Nothing to fill out. Absolutely no strings. Do a good deed for charity and get a gift in the process. A true win-win!

You can tell when I’m excited about something–I talk a lot! I guess I’ll let RJ have a turn…*zipping mouth* *ushering RJ to the stage*

FREEBIES FOR A GOOD CAUSE
I spent most of my life being selfish, in love as well as my quest for fame and fortune as a writer.

Fittingly, I never found either.

Then I started travelling Asia and witnessed something I couldn’t accept: children without hope or opportunity. Children who, unlike me, wouldn’t get a fair chance in life.

In the midst of this discovery, I also met an extraordinary woman, one who had been one of those hopeless children at one time in her life, but who, through incredible strength and determination, managed to put herself through school, obtain two university degrees, and emerge from her poverty to become a teacher herself.

That’s the moment my selfish pretensions finally fell away, I fell in love, and I immediately threw away my supposedly promising career as a thriller writer to write quirky romantic stories of love, hope, and humor instead.

That was one year ago. Recently, one of my books, The Princess & the Penis, hit # 2 humor, # 5 Romance, and # 25 overall at Amazon.

Now I’m trying to use this success to pull off something far more worthwhile: the creation of a foundation to help underprivileged children in Southeast Asia get out of bad situations and into good homes that provide love, care, and a proper education. You can read more about this cause at http://www.rjsilver.com/foundation/ , but sometimes a picture’s worth a thousand words:

That’s me – the little green alien, because personal recognition/achievement no longer matters to me. It’s the cause that counts.

And here’s the really good part—not only can you help a child in need without shelling out a cent, you get a gift in the process. This is a win-win! Simply utilize the FREE coupon codes listed below to download two of my very popular books!

Both can be downloaded in any format you wish, using the links and coupons shown. Even better, these links/coupons can be shared with your family, friends, and anyone else you like. They’re unlimited until they expire on November 10, 2011.

How does having you read these books help my cause? When people read these books, they tell others – lots of them. In its first free release, The Princess & the Penis was downloaded 400,000 times. The exposure from the books in turn brings exposure to the Foundation and the sales of the books after the free period ends ultimately funds the Foundation.

That’s it! Simply read the books (they’re only about 30 to 40 minutes each), and, if you like them, tell others about them via email, Twitter, etc. That word of mouth will go a long way to helping me achieve the momentum I need to get the Foundation moving.

So don’t wait! Help a child and grab a great read now!

A beautiful, chaste, and completely naive princess encounters a strange lump in her mattress. The lump soon morphs into a shape familiar to everyone but her, triggering her curiosity and her father’s greatest fears. He frantically tries to intervene, but having a large phantom phallus in a curious maiden’s bed is never a good combination.

Link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/32400
Coupon: EJ89K

Gerry Lankin has a problem. All his life, women have been hitting him over the head, usually for good reason. Recognizing he’s at fault, he’s about to make big changes in his life, when he bumps into three older men at the airport. They convince him that the key to romantic happiness isn’t self-improvement; it’s finding a woman with low expectations.

Gerry’s about to discover just how wrong three old men can be.
Link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94142
Coupon: NT26P

If you’re feeling truly inspired and want to take the next step in helping a needy child, you can write a review on whichever platform you typically buy your books (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.), because our success is truly all about you telling others.

Wait! There are more prizes!!

BONUS: Share your review here and WIN! We’ll be thanking the first 10 reviewers with a free t-shirt, and the next 10 with a free coffee mug, both with the Foundation logo. All t-shirts and mugs will be shipped free of charge from Zazzle.

Everyone who posts a review here may request a free custom handmade bookmark from Joan…examples shown in prior blog posts…with the Foundation logo.

Thanks for your support. Here’s hoping we’ll soon be laughing our way to good deeds!

RJ Silver

RJ on Facebook
RJ on Twitter
RJ on Goodreads
Contact RJ

>The Great Book Giveaway with RJ Silver!

>I am really excited about this special event we’re calling The Great Book Giveaway! Today, I have guest RJ Silver with me. RJ is a former thriller writer who fell in love and changed life paths. He now writes lighthearted humor and romance in an effort to add something positive to the world.

To that end, he’s here today giving away 2 free books — to EVERYONE! By downloading his books and telling others about them (provided you like them, of course) you’ll be drawing attention to his Foundation for underprivilidged children of Asia.

Many of you have heard or even read The Princess and the Penis (P&P). Tremendously popular on Amazon, P&P was downloaded over 400,000 times in just 8 months. Today, RJ is giving it, and another of his books, away free. Nothing to sign up for. Nothing to fill out. Absolutely no strings. Do a good deed for charity and get a gift in the process. A true win-win!

You can tell when I’m excited about something–I talk a lot! I guess I’ll let RJ have a turn…*zipping mouth* *ushering RJ to the stage*

FREEBIES FOR A GOOD CAUSE
I spent most of my life being selfish, in love as well as my quest for fame and fortune as a writer.

Fittingly, I never found either.

Then I started travelling Asia and witnessed something I couldn’t accept: children without hope or opportunity. Children who, unlike me, wouldn’t get a fair chance in life.

In the midst of this discovery, I also met an extraordinary woman, one who had been one of those hopeless children at one time in her life, but who, through incredible strength and determination, managed to put herself through school, obtain two university degrees, and emerge from her poverty to become a teacher herself.

That’s the moment my selfish pretensions finally fell away, I fell in love, and I immediately threw away my supposedly promising career as a thriller writer to write quirky romantic stories of love, hope, and humor instead.

That was one year ago. Recently, one of my books, The Princess & the Penis, hit # 2 humor, # 5 Romance, and # 25 overall at Amazon.

Now I’m trying to use this success to pull off something far more worthwhile: the creation of a foundation to help underprivileged children in Southeast Asia get out of bad situations and into good homes that provide love, care, and a proper education. You can read more about this cause at http://www.rjsilver.com/foundation/ , but sometimes a picture’s worth a thousand words:

That’s me – the little green alien, because personal recognition/achievement no longer matters to me. It’s the cause that counts.

And here’s the really good part—not only can you help a child in need without shelling out a cent, you get a gift in the process. This is a win-win! Simply utilize the FREE coupon codes listed below to download two of my very popular books!

Both can be downloaded in any format you wish, using the links and coupons shown. Even better, these links/coupons can be shared with your family, friends, and anyone else you like. They’re unlimited until they expire on November 10, 2011.

How does having you read these books help my cause? When people read these books, they tell others – lots of them. In its first free release, The Princess & the Penis was downloaded 400,000 times. The exposure from the books in turn brings exposure to the Foundation and the sales of the books after the free period ends ultimately funds the Foundation.

That’s it! Simply read the books (they’re only about 30 to 40 minutes each), and, if you like them, tell others about them via email, Twitter, etc. That word of mouth will go a long way to helping me achieve the momentum I need to get the Foundation moving.

So don’t wait! Help a child and grab a great read now!

A beautiful, chaste, and completely naive princess encounters a strange lump in her mattress. The lump soon morphs into a shape familiar to everyone but her, triggering her curiosity and her father’s greatest fears. He frantically tries to intervene, but having a large phantom phallus in a curious maiden’s bed is never a good combination.

Link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/32400
Coupon: EJ89K

Gerry Lankin has a problem. All his life, women have been hitting him over the head, usually for good reason. Recognizing he’s at fault, he’s about to make big changes in his life, when he bumps into three older men at the airport. They convince him that the key to romantic happiness isn’t self-improvement; it’s finding a woman with low expectations.

Gerry’s about to discover just how wrong three old men can be.
Link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94142
Coupon: NT26P

If you’re feeling truly inspired and want to take the next step in helping a needy child, you can write a review on whichever platform you typically buy your books (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.), because our success is truly all about you telling others.

Wait! There are more prizes!!

BONUS: Share your review here and WIN! We’ll be thanking the first 10 reviewers with a free t-shirt, and the next 10 with a free coffee mug, both with the Foundation logo. All t-shirts and mugs will be shipped free of charge from Zazzle.

Everyone who posts a review here may request a free custom handmade bookmark from Joan…examples shown in prior blog posts…with the Foundation logo.

Thanks for your support. Here’s hoping we’ll soon be laughing our way to good deeds!

RJ Silver

RJ on Facebook
RJ on Twitter
RJ on Goodreads
Contact RJ

Debut Author KC Klein with Interview and Giveaways!

>KC Klein’s sexy futuristic time-travel, DARK FUTURE, released in ebook last week and is currently on Amazon for only .99 cents!!  That’s right!!  What a bargain!!  The print version will be available November 8th.

Welcome debut author KC Klein with an interview and giveaway!! 
Simply comment to enter to win:
1) Ebook copy of DARK FUTURE
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I want to thank Joan for inviting me here on her blog. I’m always happy to connect with readers and talk to other people about my passion—books.

I am so excited to announce the release of my debut novel, DARK FUTURE, by Avon Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins. I have always been captivated by dark, gritty heroes and the worlds that create them. But I also like to take a break from the dark side, so don’t be surprised if you see some fun, sexy contemporary westerns coming from me.

DARK FUTURE:

Awakened in the middle of the night by a future version of herself, Kris Davenport is given a mission: go forward in time to save the world—and His life. Of course, her future self doesn’t tell her who he is, just sends her into an abyss and straight into an alien invasion.


He turns out to be ConRad Smith, the callous, untrusting Commander of Earth’s army and the world’s last defense. There’s only one way to know for sure if this strange woman is an alien spy—slice her throat. Except, he didn’t anticipate the heat he would feel as he interrogates the hot-tempered, warm-blooded woman. For a man whose sole focus has been survival, she’s more temptation than he can handle. But a world on the brink of destruction leaves no room for love…and time is running out.

KC, tell us about Syon, your villain.
Oh, I am so glad you asked about my villain. I haven’t had the opportunity to talk about him yet. My villain’s name is Syon, and he’s an older man who’s in a position of authority in my futuristic society. Syon, like all good villains, is very conflicted. On one hand he’s infatuated with my hero, ConRad, and on the other Syon can’t stand to see my hero happy. Syon loves to bring people to the brink of death then nurse them back to health. Ugh, very creepy, but of course that’s what makes a great villain.

Does your novel have a theme? How did that come about?
I didn’t start off with a theme in mind, it just happened. But I believe the theme in DARK FUTURE is what would you sacrifice for love? What would you sacrifice for the greater good? Are you willing to give up your life? How about your true love’s life? It’s a dark theme, but it fit the characters and the world.

What entity do you feel supports you most in your writing career outside of family members?

I think it’s so important to have a support group of like-minded individuals. Your family can only understand the craziness of being a writer for so long. Writers need other writers to tell them that hearing voices in their head is normal. I think being part of RWA and having a good crit partner is essential, and I am blessed to have both. So here’s my shout out to my fellow RWA peeps and Erin Kellison, the best crit partner a gal could ever have.

What is your writing routine?
Like almost every woman I know it’s about keeping all the balls in the air. I work outside the home two to three days a week, have two school age children, and am very active with my volunteer work. Put that on top of keeping up on my marriage, my health, and home, well, it is a pretty crazy life. But there’s a reason we women have a large S imprinted on our chests, right?

My writing days usually go something like this. Wake up at 5 in the morning for a run or workout at home, get kids and hubby off, then wade through about twenty emails before sitting down and trying to write for three hours. Then it’s pick up the kids from school, homework, dinner, and if I’m really doing well and still can keep my eyes open, another hour of writing.

Thank you so much for having me. This was so much fun.

You can find KC Klein online:

Twitter
Facebook
Tumbler

Simply comment to enter to win:
1) Ebook copy of DARK FUTURE
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks!
International
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN!


KC Klein is the author of Dark Future, a sexy futuristic time-travel. She became serious about writing three years ago and was as surprised as anyone when her stories took a turn toward dark and snarky. Today, she divides her time between taking care of her family and driving in circles around Arizona, too busy creating stories in her head to pay attention to mere road signs.

>Debut Author KC Klein with Interview and Giveaways!

>KC Klein’s sexy futuristic time-travel, DARK FUTURE, released in ebook last week and is currently on Amazon for only .99 cents!!  That’s right!!  What a bargain!!  The print version will be available November 8th.

Welcome debut author KC Klein with an interview and giveaway!! 
Simply comment to enter to win:
1) Ebook copy of DARK FUTURE
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I want to thank Joan for inviting me here on her blog. I’m always happy to connect with readers and talk to other people about my passion—books.

I am so excited to announce the release of my debut novel, DARK FUTURE, by Avon Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins. I have always been captivated by dark, gritty heroes and the worlds that create them. But I also like to take a break from the dark side, so don’t be surprised if you see some fun, sexy contemporary westerns coming from me.

DARK FUTURE:

Awakened in the middle of the night by a future version of herself, Kris Davenport is given a mission: go forward in time to save the world—and His life. Of course, her future self doesn’t tell her who he is, just sends her into an abyss and straight into an alien invasion.


He turns out to be ConRad Smith, the callous, untrusting Commander of Earth’s army and the world’s last defense. There’s only one way to know for sure if this strange woman is an alien spy—slice her throat. Except, he didn’t anticipate the heat he would feel as he interrogates the hot-tempered, warm-blooded woman. For a man whose sole focus has been survival, she’s more temptation than he can handle. But a world on the brink of destruction leaves no room for love…and time is running out.

KC, tell us about Syon, your villain.
Oh, I am so glad you asked about my villain. I haven’t had the opportunity to talk about him yet. My villain’s name is Syon, and he’s an older man who’s in a position of authority in my futuristic society. Syon, like all good villains, is very conflicted. On one hand he’s infatuated with my hero, ConRad, and on the other Syon can’t stand to see my hero happy. Syon loves to bring people to the brink of death then nurse them back to health. Ugh, very creepy, but of course that’s what makes a great villain.

Does your novel have a theme? How did that come about?
I didn’t start off with a theme in mind, it just happened. But I believe the theme in DARK FUTURE is what would you sacrifice for love? What would you sacrifice for the greater good? Are you willing to give up your life? How about your true love’s life? It’s a dark theme, but it fit the characters and the world.

What entity do you feel supports you most in your writing career outside of family members?

I think it’s so important to have a support group of like-minded individuals. Your family can only understand the craziness of being a writer for so long. Writers need other writers to tell them that hearing voices in their head is normal. I think being part of RWA and having a good crit partner is essential, and I am blessed to have both. So here’s my shout out to my fellow RWA peeps and Erin Kellison, the best crit partner a gal could ever have.

What is your writing routine?
Like almost every woman I know it’s about keeping all the balls in the air. I work outside the home two to three days a week, have two school age children, and am very active with my volunteer work. Put that on top of keeping up on my marriage, my health, and home, well, it is a pretty crazy life. But there’s a reason we women have a large S imprinted on our chests, right?

My writing days usually go something like this. Wake up at 5 in the morning for a run or workout at home, get kids and hubby off, then wade through about twenty emails before sitting down and trying to write for three hours. Then it’s pick up the kids from school, homework, dinner, and if I’m really doing well and still can keep my eyes open, another hour of writing.

Thank you so much for having me. This was so much fun.

You can find KC Klein online:

Twitter
Facebook
Tumbler

Simply comment to enter to win:
1) Ebook copy of DARK FUTURE
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks!
International
**MUST** leave contact email to WIN!


KC Klein is the author of Dark Future, a sexy futuristic time-travel. She became serious about writing three years ago and was as surprised as anyone when her stories took a turn toward dark and snarky. Today, she divides her time between taking care of her family and driving in circles around Arizona, too busy creating stories in her head to pay attention to mere road signs.

RITA nominee Dana Marton Excerpt + Giveaway

>

Many of you may have run across my guest today.  Dana Marton is not only a multi-published author (27 books now!), but she also runs www.prizesforreaders.com!  A girl after my own heart!!

Today, Dana offers an excerpt of her June release, GUARDIAN AGENT. 
And she’s GIVING AWAY an ecopy of the full book as well!!
Just comment to enter! (Open Internationally)

Guardian Agent

Chapter One

Dark waters lapped the century-old palace’s foundation, eager to claim the forgotten building on one of Venice’s backstreet canals. At four on the February morning, tourists still partied on in the distance, drunk on love, youth and full-bodied Italian wine. Gabe Cannon could hear both the water and the faint beat of the music, but he couldn’t hear the half dozen men in the building with him. His new commando team spread out like ghosts moving through the night.

“Target on the roof,” the team leader’s voice whispered in his earpiece.

He stole up the crumbling stairs, ready for the rogue soldier who needed to be brought in before he caused more damage. He’d known Jake Tekla ten years ago in the army–a decent guy back then, but war could change a person, could even twist a man’s mind.

Static hissed in his earpiece before the words, “Kill order authorized. Repeat, authorized to shoot on sight.”

His instincts prickled. Standard procedure called for an attempt to capture first, and see what information they could gain during interrogation. Usable intelligence trumped a quick kill, every time. Then again, he worked for a private security firm now: XO-ST. Xtreme Ops Shadow Teams. They did things differently than his previous employers, the army and the FBI.

Gabe reached the roof. Plywood patches formed a psychedelic pattern in the moonlight—an unexpected break. Not having to sneak around on crumbling Mediterranean roof tiles would make this much easier. He stole forward and eased into the cover of a crooked chimney stack.

He caught a silent shadow at the door he’d come through–Troy, one of his teammates, joining him. Odd how Gabe had been last into the building, but first on the roof. Maybe the others had pulled back on purpose, testing the new guy. Another person might have been annoyed, but he’d expected this much. He wasn’t afraid of having to earn his stripes.

Dormers, chimneys and ridges blocked visibility. Clouds kept drifting over the moon. Scan. Move forward.Take cover. A night game of hide and seek in a labyrinth, with a fair chance that the ramshackle roof could open up under his feet any minute.

Then he stole around a dormer and spotted the target at last. Jake Tekla blended into the night in black fatigues, similar to Gabe’s, black ski mask in place. A lot slighter than Gabe remembered. Looked like being on the run had taken its toll on him. The man crept toward the edge of the roof, his focus on the jump he was considering.

No visible weapons.

Yet another thing that didn’t add up. Not for a government-trained, seasoned soldier.

Gabe inched closer, watching for a trap. He flicked the safety off his gun. Come on. Turn. He moved another step closer then stopped with his feet apart, gun raised, silencer in place.

His target sensed him at last and spun around.

Oh, hell.

Gabe caught the curve of a breast in the moonlight, and his finger froze on the trigger as he stared at the woman.

She could be a trap–Tekla’s accomplice or a decoy.

He had a kill order.

Most of the men he worked with squeezed the trigger each and every time, preferring to err on the safe side. He’d been like that once. A muscle jumped in his cheek. He pushed the North Village incident from his mind.

The woman stared at him for a startled moment, then her instincts kicked in and she ran. Or tried. He lunged after her, caught up in three leaps and brought her down hard. She was lean, yet soft, every inch unmistakably feminine. But none of that feminine softness showed in her fighting spirit. She shoved against him with all she had. She had to know she was conquered, yet she refused to yield, stirring some of his base instincts.

“Stop,” he hissed the single word into her ear as he did his best to subdue her.

Plywood gave an ominous creak on the other side of the ridge, the team moving into position to cover the roof and inspect all its nooks and crannies. Something stopped Gabe from calling out even as the woman did her best to scratch his eyes out, fighting in silence. Enough small things about this op had triggered alarms in his mind for him to want to see what he had here before he called the rest of the team in.

He patted her down one-handed, although if she had a knife she would have probably used it on him by now. He kept his voice low. “Did Tekla send you?”

She tried to buck him off. He managed to hold her down with one hand and ripped her black mask off with the other. Wavy dark hair tumbled free, eyes going wide with panic even as her full lips snarled. Despite the semidarkness, he couldn’t miss her beauty, or the fact that she had Tekla’s eyes and nose.
“Who are you?” he asked, even as the answer was already forming in his mind.

The man had two sisters, the younger one a teenager and the other somewhat older. The one under Gabe now was all woman and then some. Definitely not the teenage sister. He’d met both once at the airport when Tekla and he had gone home on a short leave over Christmas, back in their army days. They didn’t have parents, he remembered suddenly. Tekla had enlisted so he could support what was left of his family.

What in hell was his sister doing on the roof? No way his team’s intel could be so bad on an op like this. They weren’t fighting in the chaos of some distant battle field. The target’s sisters were supposed to be living with a distant aunt in Arkansas, according to the op files.

His mind ran all the options as he pressed her down a little harder to keep her still. He wanted to believe that Brent Foley, the team leader, hadn’t known who she was when he’d given the kill order, but being naïve didn’t pay in this business.

But if Brent did know… Eliminating one of Tekla’s sisters might push the guy over the edge, bring him out into the open as he came in for revenge. XO-ST’s small army for hire consisted of ex-soldiers and ex-agents, conducting outsourced ops for the U.S. government and anyone else who could meet their price. Brent wrote the book on how to reach goals by whatever means necessary.

Except, Gabe hadn’t signed on to kill innocent women, no matter how badly he needed the money. He motioned to her to stay down and stay quiet, then eased his body off her a little so she could breathe.

“Is he here?” he whispered.

After another spirited minute of resistance, her muscles went slack and she lay there, breathing hard, despair filling her eyes. She shook her head.

He pulled up all the way. Her gaze slid to his gun, and she swallowed, her body stiffening. Fear came onto her face, that wide-eyed look of people who know they are about to die. She didn’t beg, nor did she offer her brother’s life for her own. She simply met Gabe’s gaze and lifted her chin.

She still looked impossibly young, although he figured she had to be around twenty-six or twenty-seven by now. Her slim body might have looked fragile next to his, but her eyes shone with defiance. Which wouldn’t be enough, not with a kill order in place and a team of mercenaries spread out around them.

“I’ll come back.” He secured her with a plastic cuff to the iron scroll that decorated the roof’s edge, with one smooth move.

He switched on his mouthpiece as he turned from her, ignoring her silent struggle. “Target escaped the roof. East end.”

He ran along the edge toward the other side where a six-foot gap separated the old palace from the next building. Dark shapes materialized from the shadows. He jumped without giving the steep drop below him much thought. As expected, his clear purpose and energy drew the rest of the team behind him.

He dashed forward as if he could see a man’s disappearing back somewhere up ahead. He didn’t slow for twenty minutes and several rooftops later. Then he braced against the edge of the roof as he stared down onto a dark, abandoned bridge below him. “Lost visual contact.”

A four-letter word came through his headset, then, “Did he look hurt?”

“No.”

“I could have sworn I clipped him before we lost him last week.” A moment of silence. “Spread out.”
As the team scattered, Gabe made his way back to the old palace, trying to think of the woman’s name, not expecting much after ten years, surprised when it did pop into his brain: Jasmine.

She was going to take him to Tekla. He would bring the man in himself, making sure she didn’t get hurt in the process. Things could get out of hand when a cornered person was confronted with an entire commando team. For all he knew, the other sister was here, too. His jaw muscles tightened. He had no respect for a man who would use his sisters as a shield. Gabe vaulted from roof to roof, watching out for crumbling edges.

If he could complete the mission without bloodshed, he wanted to give it a try. Maybe saving a few lives, after having taken so many, would even the scales a little.

Except, he found the palace roof empty.

Leave a comment to enter to win a full ecopy of GUARDIAN
 
Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with. Her books have been published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world.  

She would love to hear from her readers.

Okay, the above version is the glamour version for press releases. The truth is that my path to publication was nothing but unglamorous. I wrote for 13 years and completed 4 books (as well as having others in various stages of completion) before I finally received a call from a Harlequin editor. I was beginning to wonder if I was being tenacious or just too dense to know when to quit. But it all worked out at the end! J I love, love, love writing and would spend all day in front of the computer if I could just break my family of the habit of wanting to eat and wear clean clothes. What’s up with that? But I must get up from the desk now and then, if only because my Internet connection goes down or my ancient PC overheats. Then I do enjoy cooking, knitting, hunting for treasures at the flea market, our Beagle, Peanut the Destroyer, and gardening.

I’d love it if you picked up one of my books and emailed me to tell me what you thought of it. I’ve been known to name characters after readers. Just ask Princess Judi.

Find Dana Marton:

Email
MySpace
Facebook
Twitter

>RITA nominee Dana Marton Excerpt + Giveaway

>

Many of you may have run across my guest today.  Dana Marton is not only a multi-published author (27 books now!), but she also runs www.prizesforreaders.com!  A girl after my own heart!!

Today, Dana offers an excerpt of her June release, GUARDIAN AGENT. 
And she’s GIVING AWAY an ecopy of the full book as well!!
Just comment to enter! (Open Internationally)

Guardian Agent

Chapter One

Dark waters lapped the century-old palace’s foundation, eager to claim the forgotten building on one of Venice’s backstreet canals. At four on the February morning, tourists still partied on in the distance, drunk on love, youth and full-bodied Italian wine. Gabe Cannon could hear both the water and the faint beat of the music, but he couldn’t hear the half dozen men in the building with him. His new commando team spread out like ghosts moving through the night.

“Target on the roof,” the team leader’s voice whispered in his earpiece.

He stole up the crumbling stairs, ready for the rogue soldier who needed to be brought in before he caused more damage. He’d known Jake Tekla ten years ago in the army–a decent guy back then, but war could change a person, could even twist a man’s mind.

Static hissed in his earpiece before the words, “Kill order authorized. Repeat, authorized to shoot on sight.”

His instincts prickled. Standard procedure called for an attempt to capture first, and see what information they could gain during interrogation. Usable intelligence trumped a quick kill, every time. Then again, he worked for a private security firm now: XO-ST. Xtreme Ops Shadow Teams. They did things differently than his previous employers, the army and the FBI.

Gabe reached the roof. Plywood patches formed a psychedelic pattern in the moonlight—an unexpected break. Not having to sneak around on crumbling Mediterranean roof tiles would make this much easier. He stole forward and eased into the cover of a crooked chimney stack.

He caught a silent shadow at the door he’d come through–Troy, one of his teammates, joining him. Odd how Gabe had been last into the building, but first on the roof. Maybe the others had pulled back on purpose, testing the new guy. Another person might have been annoyed, but he’d expected this much. He wasn’t afraid of having to earn his stripes.

Dormers, chimneys and ridges blocked visibility. Clouds kept drifting over the moon. Scan. Move forward.Take cover. A night game of hide and seek in a labyrinth, with a fair chance that the ramshackle roof could open up under his feet any minute.

Then he stole around a dormer and spotted the target at last. Jake Tekla blended into the night in black fatigues, similar to Gabe’s, black ski mask in place. A lot slighter than Gabe remembered. Looked like being on the run had taken its toll on him. The man crept toward the edge of the roof, his focus on the jump he was considering.

No visible weapons.

Yet another thing that didn’t add up. Not for a government-trained, seasoned soldier.

Gabe inched closer, watching for a trap. He flicked the safety off his gun. Come on. Turn. He moved another step closer then stopped with his feet apart, gun raised, silencer in place.

His target sensed him at last and spun around.

Oh, hell.

Gabe caught the curve of a breast in the moonlight, and his finger froze on the trigger as he stared at the woman.

She could be a trap–Tekla’s accomplice or a decoy.

He had a kill order.

Most of the men he worked with squeezed the trigger each and every time, preferring to err on the safe side. He’d been like that once. A muscle jumped in his cheek. He pushed the North Village incident from his mind.

The woman stared at him for a startled moment, then her instincts kicked in and she ran. Or tried. He lunged after her, caught up in three leaps and brought her down hard. She was lean, yet soft, every inch unmistakably feminine. But none of that feminine softness showed in her fighting spirit. She shoved against him with all she had. She had to know she was conquered, yet she refused to yield, stirring some of his base instincts.

“Stop,” he hissed the single word into her ear as he did his best to subdue her.

Plywood gave an ominous creak on the other side of the ridge, the team moving into position to cover the roof and inspect all its nooks and crannies. Something stopped Gabe from calling out even as the woman did her best to scratch his eyes out, fighting in silence. Enough small things about this op had triggered alarms in his mind for him to want to see what he had here before he called the rest of the team in.

He patted her down one-handed, although if she had a knife she would have probably used it on him by now. He kept his voice low. “Did Tekla send you?”

She tried to buck him off. He managed to hold her down with one hand and ripped her black mask off with the other. Wavy dark hair tumbled free, eyes going wide with panic even as her full lips snarled. Despite the semidarkness, he couldn’t miss her beauty, or the fact that she had Tekla’s eyes and nose.
“Who are you?” he asked, even as the answer was already forming in his mind.

The man had two sisters, the younger one a teenager and the other somewhat older. The one under Gabe now was all woman and then some. Definitely not the teenage sister. He’d met both once at the airport when Tekla and he had gone home on a short leave over Christmas, back in their army days. They didn’t have parents, he remembered suddenly. Tekla had enlisted so he could support what was left of his family.

What in hell was his sister doing on the roof? No way his team’s intel could be so bad on an op like this. They weren’t fighting in the chaos of some distant battle field. The target’s sisters were supposed to be living with a distant aunt in Arkansas, according to the op files.

His mind ran all the options as he pressed her down a little harder to keep her still. He wanted to believe that Brent Foley, the team leader, hadn’t known who she was when he’d given the kill order, but being naïve didn’t pay in this business.

But if Brent did know… Eliminating one of Tekla’s sisters might push the guy over the edge, bring him out into the open as he came in for revenge. XO-ST’s small army for hire consisted of ex-soldiers and ex-agents, conducting outsourced ops for the U.S. government and anyone else who could meet their price. Brent wrote the book on how to reach goals by whatever means necessary.

Except, Gabe hadn’t signed on to kill innocent women, no matter how badly he needed the money. He motioned to her to stay down and stay quiet, then eased his body off her a little so she could breathe.

“Is he here?” he whispered.

After another spirited minute of resistance, her muscles went slack and she lay there, breathing hard, despair filling her eyes. She shook her head.

He pulled up all the way. Her gaze slid to his gun, and she swallowed, her body stiffening. Fear came onto her face, that wide-eyed look of people who know they are about to die. She didn’t beg, nor did she offer her brother’s life for her own. She simply met Gabe’s gaze and lifted her chin.

She still looked impossibly young, although he figured she had to be around twenty-six or twenty-seven by now. Her slim body might have looked fragile next to his, but her eyes shone with defiance. Which wouldn’t be enough, not with a kill order in place and a team of mercenaries spread out around them.

“I’ll come back.” He secured her with a plastic cuff to the iron scroll that decorated the roof’s edge, with one smooth move.

He switched on his mouthpiece as he turned from her, ignoring her silent struggle. “Target escaped the roof. East end.”

He ran along the edge toward the other side where a six-foot gap separated the old palace from the next building. Dark shapes materialized from the shadows. He jumped without giving the steep drop below him much thought. As expected, his clear purpose and energy drew the rest of the team behind him.

He dashed forward as if he could see a man’s disappearing back somewhere up ahead. He didn’t slow for twenty minutes and several rooftops later. Then he braced against the edge of the roof as he stared down onto a dark, abandoned bridge below him. “Lost visual contact.”

A four-letter word came through his headset, then, “Did he look hurt?”

“No.”

“I could have sworn I clipped him before we lost him last week.” A moment of silence. “Spread out.”
As the team scattered, Gabe made his way back to the old palace, trying to think of the woman’s name, not expecting much after ten years, surprised when it did pop into his brain: Jasmine.

She was going to take him to Tekla. He would bring the man in himself, making sure she didn’t get hurt in the process. Things could get out of hand when a cornered person was confronted with an entire commando team. For all he knew, the other sister was here, too. His jaw muscles tightened. He had no respect for a man who would use his sisters as a shield. Gabe vaulted from roof to roof, watching out for crumbling edges.

If he could complete the mission without bloodshed, he wanted to give it a try. Maybe saving a few lives, after having taken so many, would even the scales a little.

Except, he found the palace roof empty.

Leave a comment to enter to win a full ecopy of GUARDIAN
 
Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with. Her books have been published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world.  

She would love to hear from her readers.

Okay, the above version is the glamour version for press releases. The truth is that my path to publication was nothing but unglamorous. I wrote for 13 years and completed 4 books (as well as having others in various stages of completion) before I finally received a call from a Harlequin editor. I was beginning to wonder if I was being tenacious or just too dense to know when to quit. But it all worked out at the end! J I love, love, love writing and would spend all day in front of the computer if I could just break my family of the habit of wanting to eat and wear clean clothes. What’s up with that? But I must get up from the desk now and then, if only because my Internet connection goes down or my ancient PC overheats. Then I do enjoy cooking, knitting, hunting for treasures at the flea market, our Beagle, Peanut the Destroyer, and gardening.

I’d love it if you picked up one of my books and emailed me to tell me what you thought of it. I’ve been known to name characters after readers. Just ask Princess Judi.

Find Dana Marton:

Email
MySpace
Facebook
Twitter

Author Sherry Isaac on Imagination + Excerpt + Giveaway

>My guest today, Sherry Isaac is an amazing writer and an even better friend. Her first collection of shorts, STORYTELLER, debuted last month, July 2011.

She will be giving away one copy of her book and 5 custom made bookmarks. Post a comment or ask a question to enter!

Welcome, Sherry!!

KNOWLEDGE PLANTS THE SEED. IMAGINATION MAKES IT BLOOM.
by Sherry Isaac
 


Write what you know.
That’s the advice we’re given when we start to write, but what does it mean? Does it mean that, because I don’t know a Phillips from a Robertson, a mallet from a hammer, a G-clamp from an A-frame, my hero can’t be a carpenter?
If it does, then it’s re-write time again.
True, author John Grisham (A Time To Kill, The Chamber) uses his knowledge and experience as a lawyer to write his legal thrillers. But did Anne Rice actually interview a vampire?
Or did she draw on her knowledge of New Orleans and the gothic impressions of the ornately decorated churches of her childhood, and fill in the rest with imagination?
Don’t know about you and Stephenie Meyer, but I’m going with the latter.
When looking for a starting point in a story, nuggets of truth are a great place to find inspiration. It is imagination that dictates where the story will go, and how it will end.
My maternal grandparents, Isaac and Katie, are gone, but a year or so before my grandfather, who went first, passed, I heard a story. A story of how they met.
Isaac and Katie both fled Russia in the days following the revolution. Isaac ended up in Winnipeg, Katie in Ste. Anne, a small farming community southeast of the city.
Isaac, educated and wealthy in his homeland, retired a machinist. I don’t know where he worked or what he did in the twenties, but suspect it was factory-oriented. As the story went, Isaac and his cousin knew where to go to meet girls.
And on what day.
Like many girls her age at the time, Katie worked as a domestic in the city, and Wednesday was the standard day off. Woolworth’s on Portage Avenue, in the heart of downtown Winnipeg, was the place to meet their girlfriends and ‘spend their earnings on ox-blood lipstick and the new flesh-colored stockings that were al the rage’.
There are a lot of blanks in the story. Who caught whose eye, who said what, and how a chance meeting turned into a life-long love is a mystery. In the end, a fact: In a city park, under the shade of a tree, my grandparents shared their first afternoon together.
A scandalous afternoon spent… Kissing!!!
Grandpa, you sly dog.
What I knew for sure when I started to write seriously was that someday I would write a piece honoring Isaac and Katie’s lifetime devotion.
Isaac had a steadfast rule: Never ask a girl out more than twice. A third date meant you were serious.
Bit of a player, perhaps?
After that afternoon with Katie, he confided in his cousin: “Let’s just say there’ll be a third date.”
What I knew for sure when I heard that detail was that someday, somehow, in some story, I would have to use that line!
Years later, the two things I knew for sure came together, and I wrote what I knew, filling in the blanks with imagination, dicing it up with a little research to get the details right.
Imagination fuels the give and take of dialogue, gestures, the dance of body language: ‘She turned to the inside leaf of the dust-jacket; her hazel eyes darted across the lines. Simon slid three book lengths closer and pointed to the open page. “That looks interesting. What’s it called?”’
Imagination sorts through the fashion of the day: ‘There were morning girls, too anxious and eager to please, in their flapper dresses, all pearls and feathers, bare arms and knee caps… The shapeless lunch-hour girls disguised their curves in boyish clothing, with hairstyles to match and hats that hid their eyes…’ and settles on the heroine’s look: ‘Her flowing floral print dress fell to mid-calf, slender ankles tapered into low-heeled Mary Janes. Her fair hair caught the light, rippled finger-waves that skimmed her fine jaw’.
Imagination devises a pant leg caught in a bicycle chain, the clank of metal on a wooden sidewalk, and Simon’s reaction,“Bloody hell!”, to shape setting and character.
Imagination is a twist, a tango, a Texas two-step. Writer and reader, the partners. A cluster of clues fill the reader’s mind and soon the scene takes shape. When the young man in wide-cuffed trousers who dreams of owning a Ford Model-T suggests a date, “Why don’t I treat you to a soda?”, the reader supplies the malts, the floats, the egg salad sandwiches.
A Love of Reading is not memoir. Outside of their initial meeting and their life-long marriage, the heroine and hero, Lila and Simon, bear little resemblance to my grandparents.
The end result ‘reveals,’ in the words of author and reviewer Tanaz Bhathena, ‘nuances of a love that is all at once innocent, mysterious and timeless’.
I like to think my grandparents are proud.
~~~
A LOVE OF READING
Short Story Excerpt
Sherry Isaac
“Simon, it’s your turn. I can’t read anymore! My voice is getting hoarse.”
The spring sun was warm so they’d sought the shade of a large weeping willow. Simon lay in the cool grass, his legs crossed at the ankles, his hands behind his head. He’d been wrong, ole Roger Ackroyd held out for several chapters. Simon removed the long blade of grass from between his teeth. “But I love the sound of your voice, Lila. Even when you speak of poison and suicide, it’s like an angel sighing.”
Lila sat on Simon’s jacket so she wouldn’t stain her skirt. She tapped the toes of his boots with the book. “Oh, stop!”
Simon rose to his knees and tossed the book aside. “If you’re tired of reading, I know something else we could do.” He crawled toward her until his face was inches from hers.
She lowered her long lashes. “What would that be?” Her rosebud lips barely moved. Her breath was warm, sweet.
He leaned closer, his lips a mere breath away from hers. “This.”
Simon rode his bicycle to work the next day without incident. The journey seemed to last only seconds as he pedaled the last stretch down McPhillips Street. He entered the gate and saw Jacob leaning against the fence, waiting for him.
“Where’d you get to yesterday?”
Simon dismounted and parked his bike. “Nowhere.” He lowered the brim of his hat, chin tucked under to hide his broad grin as he walked toward the plant entrance.
Jacob was ahead of him, walking backwards so they could face each other. “You met her, didn’t you? You finally met her!”
Simon bit his lip to erase his grin before answering. He stroked his chin, eyes downcast, as if considering a complicated mathematical formula. Numbers and symbols danced in his head, the language that didn’t exclude him. The tactic worked. He could meet his cousin’s eyes with an aloof expression. “I might have.”
Jacob pulled off his cap, waved it in the air and let out a whoop. “I knew it! About time, too. What’s her name?”
The smile would not stay hidden. It spread across Simon’s face and made his cheeks cramp. “Lila.”
“Lila? Mm. Even I could fall for a dame with a name like that. What’s she like?”
Simon stopped and pressed his lips together. “You know I don’t kiss and tell.”
“She let you kiss her? In Woolworth’s? You’re smoother than Rudolph Valentino! So what now?” Jacob landed a playful jab on his cousin’s shoulder. “You gonna gently remove the hook and let her go?”
“Let’s just say there’ll be a third date.”
~~~

Winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac’s tales of life, love and forgiveness that transcend all things, including the grave, appear online and in print. Her first collection of shorts, Storyteller, debuts July 2011. For more information, or to order an autographed copy, click HERE.

Enter to WIN a copy of Sherry’s book or 1 of 5 custom bookmarks by posting a comment or ask a question!

**US/Canada only**

**MUST leave a contact email to WIN!!!**

>Author Sherry Isaac on Imagination + Excerpt + Giveaway

>My guest today, Sherry Isaac is an amazing writer and an even better friend. Her first collection of shorts, STORYTELLER, debuted last month, July 2011.

She will be giving away one copy of her book and 5 custom made bookmarks. Post a comment or ask a question to enter!

Welcome, Sherry!!

KNOWLEDGE PLANTS THE SEED. IMAGINATION MAKES IT BLOOM.
by Sherry Isaac
 


Write what you know.
That’s the advice we’re given when we start to write, but what does it mean? Does it mean that, because I don’t know a Phillips from a Robertson, a mallet from a hammer, a G-clamp from an A-frame, my hero can’t be a carpenter?
If it does, then it’s re-write time again.
True, author John Grisham (A Time To Kill, The Chamber) uses his knowledge and experience as a lawyer to write his legal thrillers. But did Anne Rice actually interview a vampire?
Or did she draw on her knowledge of New Orleans and the gothic impressions of the ornately decorated churches of her childhood, and fill in the rest with imagination?
Don’t know about you and Stephenie Meyer, but I’m going with the latter.
When looking for a starting point in a story, nuggets of truth are a great place to find inspiration. It is imagination that dictates where the story will go, and how it will end.
My maternal grandparents, Isaac and Katie, are gone, but a year or so before my grandfather, who went first, passed, I heard a story. A story of how they met.
Isaac and Katie both fled Russia in the days following the revolution. Isaac ended up in Winnipeg, Katie in Ste. Anne, a small farming community southeast of the city.
Isaac, educated and wealthy in his homeland, retired a machinist. I don’t know where he worked or what he did in the twenties, but suspect it was factory-oriented. As the story went, Isaac and his cousin knew where to go to meet girls.
And on what day.
Like many girls her age at the time, Katie worked as a domestic in the city, and Wednesday was the standard day off. Woolworth’s on Portage Avenue, in the heart of downtown Winnipeg, was the place to meet their girlfriends and ‘spend their earnings on ox-blood lipstick and the new flesh-colored stockings that were al the rage’.
There are a lot of blanks in the story. Who caught whose eye, who said what, and how a chance meeting turned into a life-long love is a mystery. In the end, a fact: In a city park, under the shade of a tree, my grandparents shared their first afternoon together.
A scandalous afternoon spent… Kissing!!!
Grandpa, you sly dog.
What I knew for sure when I started to write seriously was that someday I would write a piece honoring Isaac and Katie’s lifetime devotion.
Isaac had a steadfast rule: Never ask a girl out more than twice. A third date meant you were serious.
Bit of a player, perhaps?
After that afternoon with Katie, he confided in his cousin: “Let’s just say there’ll be a third date.”
What I knew for sure when I heard that detail was that someday, somehow, in some story, I would have to use that line!
Years later, the two things I knew for sure came together, and I wrote what I knew, filling in the blanks with imagination, dicing it up with a little research to get the details right.
Imagination fuels the give and take of dialogue, gestures, the dance of body language: ‘She turned to the inside leaf of the dust-jacket; her hazel eyes darted across the lines. Simon slid three book lengths closer and pointed to the open page. “That looks interesting. What’s it called?”’
Imagination sorts through the fashion of the day: ‘There were morning girls, too anxious and eager to please, in their flapper dresses, all pearls and feathers, bare arms and knee caps… The shapeless lunch-hour girls disguised their curves in boyish clothing, with hairstyles to match and hats that hid their eyes…’ and settles on the heroine’s look: ‘Her flowing floral print dress fell to mid-calf, slender ankles tapered into low-heeled Mary Janes. Her fair hair caught the light, rippled finger-waves that skimmed her fine jaw’.
Imagination devises a pant leg caught in a bicycle chain, the clank of metal on a wooden sidewalk, and Simon’s reaction,“Bloody hell!”, to shape setting and character.
Imagination is a twist, a tango, a Texas two-step. Writer and reader, the partners. A cluster of clues fill the reader’s mind and soon the scene takes shape. When the young man in wide-cuffed trousers who dreams of owning a Ford Model-T suggests a date, “Why don’t I treat you to a soda?”, the reader supplies the malts, the floats, the egg salad sandwiches.
A Love of Reading is not memoir. Outside of their initial meeting and their life-long marriage, the heroine and hero, Lila and Simon, bear little resemblance to my grandparents.
The end result ‘reveals,’ in the words of author and reviewer Tanaz Bhathena, ‘nuances of a love that is all at once innocent, mysterious and timeless’.
I like to think my grandparents are proud.
~~~
A LOVE OF READING
Short Story Excerpt
Sherry Isaac
“Simon, it’s your turn. I can’t read anymore! My voice is getting hoarse.”
The spring sun was warm so they’d sought the shade of a large weeping willow. Simon lay in the cool grass, his legs crossed at the ankles, his hands behind his head. He’d been wrong, ole Roger Ackroyd held out for several chapters. Simon removed the long blade of grass from between his teeth. “But I love the sound of your voice, Lila. Even when you speak of poison and suicide, it’s like an angel sighing.”
Lila sat on Simon’s jacket so she wouldn’t stain her skirt. She tapped the toes of his boots with the book. “Oh, stop!”
Simon rose to his knees and tossed the book aside. “If you’re tired of reading, I know something else we could do.” He crawled toward her until his face was inches from hers.
She lowered her long lashes. “What would that be?” Her rosebud lips barely moved. Her breath was warm, sweet.
He leaned closer, his lips a mere breath away from hers. “This.”
Simon rode his bicycle to work the next day without incident. The journey seemed to last only seconds as he pedaled the last stretch down McPhillips Street. He entered the gate and saw Jacob leaning against the fence, waiting for him.
“Where’d you get to yesterday?”
Simon dismounted and parked his bike. “Nowhere.” He lowered the brim of his hat, chin tucked under to hide his broad grin as he walked toward the plant entrance.
Jacob was ahead of him, walking backwards so they could face each other. “You met her, didn’t you? You finally met her!”
Simon bit his lip to erase his grin before answering. He stroked his chin, eyes downcast, as if considering a complicated mathematical formula. Numbers and symbols danced in his head, the language that didn’t exclude him. The tactic worked. He could meet his cousin’s eyes with an aloof expression. “I might have.”
Jacob pulled off his cap, waved it in the air and let out a whoop. “I knew it! About time, too. What’s her name?”
The smile would not stay hidden. It spread across Simon’s face and made his cheeks cramp. “Lila.”
“Lila? Mm. Even I could fall for a dame with a name like that. What’s she like?”
Simon stopped and pressed his lips together. “You know I don’t kiss and tell.”
“She let you kiss her? In Woolworth’s? You’re smoother than Rudolph Valentino! So what now?” Jacob landed a playful jab on his cousin’s shoulder. “You gonna gently remove the hook and let her go?”
“Let’s just say there’ll be a third date.”
~~~

Winner of The Alice Munro Short Story Award, Sherry Isaac’s tales of life, love and forgiveness that transcend all things, including the grave, appear online and in print. Her first collection of shorts, Storyteller, debuts July 2011. For more information, or to order an autographed copy, click HERE.

Enter to WIN a copy of Sherry’s book or 1 of 5 custom bookmarks by posting a comment or ask a question!

**US/Canada only**

**MUST leave a contact email to WIN!!!**

Guest Kate George Interview + Giveaway!

>

My guest today, Kate George, won first place in the prestigous Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense with her manuscript Moonlighting In Vermont, now available from Mainly Muder Press, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Leave a comment or question to be entered for a chance to WIN!!
*4* winners — 2 electronic copies of each of her current novels!
 
 

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I read. Mysteries and Romances, mostly.

Why mystery?

I grew up reading mysteries. Agatha Christie remains one of my favorites, PD James, Mary Stewart who combined mystery and romance – oh heck tons of different writers. I loved Nancy Drew and a gang of English Jr. Sleuths that I can’t remember the name of anymore. The Chalet School series that my Nanna sent me from England also had a lot of suspense written in. So you see, I come by it naturally, all that reading got into my brain.

Are there other genres slivered into your mysteries? Romance? Thriller?

Oh, there’s a hefty dose of romance in my writing. In fact I’m just finishing a paranormal romance with no mystery in it at all. Back on track here – humor is the other element I slice into my mysteries. It’s actually more important to me that my novels are entertaining and make readers laugh than the whole solving the mystery thing.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I’m not really an expert on good writing, and as sacrilegious as this may seem, I think the story telling is much more important than the writing. Most readers will put up with imperfect writing when the story is engaging. Don’t get me wrong, I like well written books but give me a good story with grammatical mistakes over flawless writing and a boring story any day.

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

I don’t use a formula, and I tried plotting but that doesn’t work well for me either. What I do is start with a character and an idea of what the situation is going to be.
For example, in California Schemin’ I already had my main character because I knew I wanted to write more about Bree. She’s really fun to write about. I knew she was going to California with Beau, because he asked her at the end of Moonlighting in Vermont. And I knew that instead of relaxing she was going to discover another dead body. With that knowledge in place I sat down and started writing. Believe it or not, doing that works out much better for me than plotting.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

I get to go into my local Library and see my books on the shelf. That’s pretty awesome.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Good question. I think the answer is it depends on the book. California Schemin’ took me six months to write, Moonlighting in Vermont a year. Glimmer Girls still isn’t finished!

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Because I have kids and a full time non-writing job my writing schedule is a bit hectic. I try and write in the early morning when it’s quiet. It’s far easier to write when it’s quiet in the house, but sometimes I have to just suck it up and write regardless of the noise level.

I set a daily word count, somewhere between one and five thousand words a day, and try to write until I’ve reached my minimum count.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I’ve had a rather eclectic life and I get my inspiration from incidents in my life. Bree rides motorcycles because I rode motorcycles. Something in my environment sparks my imagination and the next thing I know there’s a story begging to come out.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d love to have either Jennifer Crusie or Janet Evanovich as a mentor. They both write excellent books that make me laugh, and have characters I can relate to.

What are your writing strengths?

I think story telling is my strength. Once I get into my “zone” and I’m into my story the words fairly fly from my fingertips.

What are your writing weaknesses?

Spelling, grammar and correct punctuation. Thank God for copy editors. I have a weird way of looking at words, and although I’ve gotten better over the years I still have problems, especially with spelling.

What new author has grasped your interest?

Rosemary Harris. She has the Dirty Business mysteries. She’s very fun to read.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté. It’s a non-fiction book about addiction and how the war on drugs is making the situation worse.

Was there an author or sleuth that inspired you to write mysteries?

What’s your mystery subgenre–thriller, police procedural, psychological, private investigator, cozy? Female protagonist/sleuth is my subgenre. I’m not quite a cozy writer – when sex crops up I tend to leave the bedroom door cracked open, and when there is violence the description tends toward vivid. Both are no-nos in cozies, but I’m not a suspense writer at all. You might put me with the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, light, fun reading that tends to make you laugh and keep turning the pages.

Do you enjoy reading all kinds of crime fiction, or mostly the subgenre you write?

I do enjoy reading all kinds of fiction, crime or not, but when I’m writing I stay away from works that I might mimic. It’s important to me that my voice is genuine and stays light.

Does your sleuth have a sidekick?

Bree doesn’t really have a sidekick, but she has a best friend to ride shotgun when Bree needs company. She also has a slew of friends, people she grew up with. They share loyalty and trust each other. I think that’s kind of rare these days. Most people move away from where they were raised, or they get moved around when they’re kids and don’t form those kind of attachements. Here in Vermont the communities are still really close knit. Several generations of families still live in the same town and people have the benefit of really knowing the people in their communities.

I didn’t have that growing up – my parents moved us around a lot. And I like it, but it would make a lot of people crazy, I think. Nothing like having your life be an open book!

When you are first brainstorming the plot, do you start out with the victim, suspects, crime, or sleuth?

Moonlighting in Vermont started out with a place, everything else developed from that. California Schemin’ was Bree plopped down in an unfamiliar place.

Where is the mystery set?

Does the setting play a role in the book? Setting is a huge part of my stories. The places set the tone, and become almost like a character in themselves.

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Bio:  Ms. George has always been easily distracted by books and has a life long love affair with mysteries. Her early influences include Mary Stewart, Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie. At one time she owned the entire collection of Ms. Christie’s work including individual copies of the novels that had alternate titles. Ms. George enjoys PD James’s Inspector Dagliesh, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, and Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall and Spenser. Ms. George began writing at an early age and by age 25 had written her first book, a truly awful novella about a marine biologist. She then wisely took a break from writing.