This & That

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Fabulous Buddy and Debut Author Marina Adair!

I met Marina through another author friend, Jayne Hannah. I met Hannah Jayne through my publisher — we are both published with Kensington, Hannah in the Zebra line with her kick-ass urban fantasies and me, of course, in Brava. When I discovered Hannah lives in my direct path home from the day job…well, she was a target, because I am writer-starved where I live. Hannah brought along Marina Adair and Britt Bury, two delightfully hilarious ladies! And Marina has joined Hannah and I as part of the Kensington family!

I adore Marina. She is one of the most genuine ladies I know and I feel so fortunate to have met and gotten to know her. So I’m thrilled to share her with all of you as well, because not only will you love Marina, you’ll devour her writing. She has an authentic, unique and beautiful voice with so many stories to tell and a prolific nature that will thrill every avid reader!

Before we get to know Marina better, I want to tell you about her debut release, which is also a Christmas book — fantastic timing!! She’ll be giving away a signed copy of KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE, so be sure to enter!

KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE…

Regan Martin stopped believing in Christmas miracles six years ago when she lost everything—her house, her job, and her impeccable reputation in the wine industry—after she fell in love with a man she had no idea was married. Then Regan gets a chance for a fresh start in the Napa Valley. With her dream job, dream home, and her daughter enrolled in a wonderful new school, she starts wondering if holiday wishes really do come true.

But she soon tumbles back down to earth when she learns that her new boss is none other than Gabe DeLuca, the scorned wife’s brother. Gabe wants nothing more than home-wrecking Regan Martin out of his life, his sister’s world, and his family’s business. Mostly, he wants the lush beauty out of his head. Yet his attempts to run her out of town have him thinking twice, especially when he sees that Regan may hold the key to tracking down his sister’s stolen start-up capital. Even worse for Gabe, Regan might just be his Christmas wish and hold the key to his heart.

Pick up your copy of KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE: Amazon

Now, let’s learn all about the delightful Marina!

Hi Marina! Love having you! I also love this passage in your bio:

My romance addiction is a hard, bodice-ripping, half-dozen books per week. When I’m not reading it or watching it, I am writing it—or workshopping it—or editing it—or strategizing how my hands to get more of it.

This implies you’re a real-life romantic as well. True or not so much?

First off, thanks for having me today, Joan! And, oh my God, SO TRUE! I am such a real-life romantic there are times I feel bad for my husband. A few months after we got engaged he asked if “being in love” was everything I thought it would be.

ME: “Kind of.”

HUBBY: “Kind of?”

ME: “I thought there would be more dancing.”

HUBBY cracked a smile.

ME: “You know, like in Singing in the Rain when Gene Kelly sings ‘You Were Meant for Me,’ and sweeps Debbie Reynolds off her feet and they dance around the sound stage and life goes Technicolor. I thought there would be more of that.”

A week later he surprised me with a year of ballroom dance lessons and we have been dancing ever since, not in classroom anymore, but the kitchen, the front porch, the family room…and does the man have moves.

I know from being with you how much you adore your husband and what an incredible relationship you have with him. It always makes me smile to hear you talk about him. Can you share a little about your personal love story?

Our story actually started out pretty cliché: a guy and a girl meet over a keg of keystone at a drunken college party…you get the idea. But in one conversation it went from 90210 the College Years to Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.

I approached a group at the party and this super cute guy stood to offer me his seat—even before he saw me—and I thought, Wow, they still actually make men like that? He got me a beer, admitted that he took his mom line dancing regularly and, well, the next thing I knew we were at his place. On the couch. And we stayed up all night—TALKING! Seriously, I was waiting for him to make his move, even just a little cop would have been nice, but he was the total gentleman so I figured he wasn’t that interested. Next morning, he walked me to my car and asked for my number. I questioned if he was really going to call. He said, “Oh, I’m going to call. I’m going to marry you.”

Not the thing to say to a woman who’d sworn she’d never marry. But he called the next day, charmed me into a date the following weekend, and it took him 6 years but he finally romanced me down the aisle. That was 13 years ago and every day he romances me somehow . . . even if it is just cleaning the litter box so I don’t have to.

I’ll never forget that evening in Los Angeles when you sat down at the table in the bar with me and first told me the story of your fabulous sales successes. Can you share that with everyone and tell us about KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE, your recent release?

At the end of 2011 I was an aspiring author with a kick-ass agent looking for a publishing house to call my own. Problem was: what I was selling and what they were buying didn’t quite jell. I had spent three years writing, polishing, submitting, getting rejected, only to rinse and repeat so many times I should have bought stock in Kleenex. So I set a goal, I would sell my first book in 2012. Seven days into the New Year and I got the call: I had sold my first novel to Kensington Books. I was so excited, only a week in and I had reached my goal.

Then everything went insane . . . In April I sold the ST. HELENA VINEYARD series to Montlake Romance and in May, Grand Central picked up THE SUGAR SERIES. I went from zero sold to 7 books at three different houses in 5 months. I couldn’t believe it and I still don’t know how it all happened, except to say that I just kept writing. I wrote in the morning, during my grad classes, while my family slept, on the bus, while cooking dinner—any second I could, I wrote. I listened to my agent’s feedback, my critique partners’ comments, took notes from rejecting editors, adjusted my craft, and went back to writing. I’d finish a book, my agent would send it out, and the same day I would start on a new one. And it paid off!

In August TUCKER’S CROSSING released and just this past week my first in the St. Helena Vineyard series, KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE released. This was one of my favorite books to write because it centers around two sworn enemies who can’t seem to keep their hands off of each other. Regan is a single-mom looking for a fresh start and Gabe DeLuca is a smooth talking vintner who can’t decide what he wants more: Regan out of his town or into his bed.

Where in the hell do you get your drive? (And how the hell can I grab some too?)

I’ve always been an all-in kind of girl. Whether it was being the best stalker the New Kids on the Block ever had, polishing off a dozen maple doughnuts in one sitting, or writing books, when I find something I love it literally consumes me. My therapist calls it Obsessive Compulsive, my husband calls it exhausting, I call it my super-ninja power.

I’m always so impressed with your warmth and positivity when I’m with you. Have you always been positive? Do you always stay positive? What are some tips you can give other struggling authors to stay positive?

I think it comes from the fact that I was sick A LOT as a kid. I developed rheumatoid arthritis when I was 3. By the time I was a teenager I’d had two major surgeries, spent more time in doctor’s offices than on the playground, and was told that at the rate the disease was attacking my body, by thirty, I would most likely end up in a wheelchair and lose the use of my hands (or have major joint replacement). I realized early on that it didn’t matter if I sat at home crying (and some days I did and still do) life was going to move forward with or without me. And since staying home crying was lonely and boring as hell, I decided to embrace life, crappy moments and all because playing Barbies with my friends was way more fun than watching The Price is Right with my grandma. The fact that I am 38, walking with my own joints, and using my hands to create stories is pretty freaking awesome.

So when I get stuck on a plot line or get a bad review or, even worse, an awful rejection letter, I remind myself that I can either sit at home and cry or get back out there and embrace the journey.

Your writing is smooth and sweet and flippant and funny. You have a unique and compelling voice that reaches out to a broad audience and one which I’m sure will bring success your way quickly (and already has!). Can you tell us a little about how your writing developed?

I want so badly to be the funny girl and in my head I am funny—really funny. Unfortunately, in reality my jokes fall flat and my witty banter usually comes off more perverse than profound. But when I write I get to be whatever I want: funny, sexy, smart, Tina Fey…

One of the hardest parts for me as a writer was finding the courage to embrace my voice. I tried YA, category romance, historical, children’s books, and it wasn’t until I gave myself permission to be me that I sold. I love emotionally deep and gripping romances that rip your heart out, but I’m the awkward girl who snorts when she laughs, gets toilet paper stuck to her foot on a date (true story), and spent a lot her youth playing cards with batty old ladies. I wanted to read about women like me who have crazy families and funny quirks, and still manage to find true love while remaining true to themselves. I like heart in a story but I also like humor, which is probably why I have a major writers-crush on screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. His characters are sexy, deep, wicked smart and funny as hell.

I know you’re swamped with all your upcoming releases and booked out into 2015(!), but as a writer, I also know that doesn’t keep our minds from spinning new ideas back in the shadows. Any thoughts of what you’d like to do once your contracts are fulfilled?

I love contemporary romance, but I know that at some point I want to go back and try my hand at young adult.

Tell us about your next release.

SUMMER IN NAPA, the second book in the St. Helena Vineyard series, follows the next to youngest DeLuca brother, Marco, and releases April 16, 2013. This book was so much fun to write because my hero and heroine are not only fighting the need to get naked every time they see each other, they are also fighting against their past—Lexi’s cheat of an ex-husband just so happens to be Marco’s childhood best friend. So finding a good reason for Marc to break man-law and fall for—and into bed with—his best-bro’s ex has been entertaining.

Where can we find you online?

I can be found online at:
Website
Twitter: @MarinaEAdair
Facebook

Thanks so much for sharing with us Marina! Congrats on all your success. It thrills me to see such good-hearted, talented person reap the rewards of all their hard work! All I can say is…I aspire!

Thanks for having me here today, Joan!

Marina is generously giving away a copy of KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE. Enter below to win!

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Leigh Michaels’ THE BIRTHDAY SCANDAL Review + Giveaway

There’s a new, hot little Historical in town you can’t miss! Happy release day to Leigh Michaels! THE BIRTHDAY SCANDAL is here! Tody I have a review of this book — sexy x 3and giveaway a paperback copy courtesy of Leigh!
First a little about the book…

The wealthy Duke of Weybridge knows that everyone loves a good surprise…and a good scandal. He has bounteous amounts of both for the guests—particularly for his nieces and nephew, Emily, Isabel, and Lucien—at his extravagant seventieth birthday ball. They think his promise to improve their lives means a generous stipend. But he’s got different gifts in mind: finding them the perfect matches. His task won’t be easy, because the Arden siblings have given up on love.

Bachelor Lucien spends more time merrymaking than looking for a proper wife. His sister Emily, broken-hearted when her betrothal ended in disgrace, committed herself to an early spinsterhood. And Isabel’s marriage has been troubled from the moment it began—with a terrible betrayal on her wedding night.

Though witty and strong-willed, the siblings are no match for their uncle’s wily machinations. And as the celebration approaches, his romantic scheming ignites illicit liaisons and irresistible temptations, sparking enough rumors to keep the ton abuzz until his next birthday.

Pick up your copy today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Now…my opinion of THE BIRTHDAY SCANDAL

There is so much to love about Leigh Michaels’ writing. As I mentioned when I reviewed THE WEDDING AFFAIR, Leigh is amazingly talented at weaving multiple storylines into a book. I love this technique for quick pacing and constant intrigue.

Leigh excels at this again in THE BIRTHDAY SCANDAL, combining three romances into one book with the three main characters, Lucien, Emily and Isabel. Each character is complex and unique, each searching for their true love while trying to straighten out troublesome pasts to move on with their futures.

Leigh writes with humor and flair and heat (keep a glass of ice water with you at all times!), making THE BIRTHDAY SCANDAL a truly entertaining read.

Leigh Michaels is the author of nearly 100 books, including 80 contemporary novels, three historical romance novels, and more than a dozen non-fiction books. More than 35 million copies of her romance novels have been published. Six of her books have been finalists for Best Traditional Romance novel in the RITA contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America. She has received two Reviewer’s Choice awards from Romantic Times.

Enter to WIN a copy of THE BIRTHDAY SCANDAL via the rafflecopter widget below! US/Canada shipping.

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Erica Ridley BORN TO BITE Interview + Giveaway Day 2!

We are so lucky to have TWO of the fabulous authors of the BORN TO BITE anthology here with us this week!

Today, Erica Ridley gives us a fast and furious Twitter-style interview about her novella, NEVER BEEN BITTEN within the BORN TO BITE anthology!  And another chance to WIN!! Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!

First a little about the book:

Darkly handsome and dangerously sexy, these voracious vampires are out for blood–and bound for eternal love. . .

Never Been Bitten by Erica Ridley

Rumored to be a vampire, the rakish Mr. Macane is ravishing all the ladies of the ton! Yet, Miss Elspeth Ramsay cannot bring herself to tremble in his presence. But once Ellie feels the touch of his teeth at her throat, she finds herself biting him back! Surely this sudden bloodlust can only mean danger for her family–and her heart. . ..

Highland Vampire by Diana Cosby

As King of the Highland Coven, vampire Aedan MacGregor knows that falling for the fey Rowan Campbell could destroy her. But one taste of her healing blood and he craves her like no other. Dare claim her as his own, knowing he might lose her forever?

Dark Secret by Hannah Howell

Alone in the world, Murdina Dunbar sets out in search of the only family she has left–and finds an ally in the mysterious Sir Gillanders Baldwin. Something about her sexy protector stirs her blood. Soon, not even the whispers that he’s a dangerous demon can keep her from his bed. . ..

Pick up your copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Now…let’s get down and dirty with Erica!! 

Ready, set, GO!

Describe NEVER BEEN BITTEN in 140 characters or less.

Scottish Highlander and vampire hunter infiltrates the Beau Monde only to become romantically entangled with a would-be wallflower.

What three words best describe your heroine, Elspeth (Ellie)?

Practical, Passionate, Loving

What three words best describe your hero, Cain?

Passionate, Strong, Confident

When you mix a paranormal skeptic and a vampire, what do you get?

Lots of laughs! Plenty of unexpected twists keep them from ever being able to second-guess the other.

Your novels include a mix of romantic suspense/mystery and paranormal romance. What genre do you lean toward writing most?

I’ve always loved the suspense/mystery angle, although I hooked my agent with a paranormal RomCom. It’s so hard for me to stay in the box!

Do you have more vampire heroes/heroines in your future?

I hope so! I had a blast writing about Cain and Ellie, and would love to write about the vampire warriors Cain left back home in Scotland.

Tell us about your newest project, a trilogy of Gothic romances.

Three young women escape a fire at a girls school-turned-sanitarium only to find their new sanctuaries to be even more dangerous.

You have had some wild and crazy experiences in your past, missy! What was your latest memorable excursion?

This summer I had a boat ride on Loch Ness, saw traditional dance performances in Russia, and ran into a brown bear in the Smoky Mountains!

Out of all the worldwide locations you’ve visited, which remains closest to your heart?

My top three are Spain, Italy, and Costa Rica. I’ve (briefly) lived in all three and would go back in a heartbeat.

I’ve heard many authors say that they find writing a novella harder than writing a full length novel. How do you feel about this?

Getting my brain in novella mode was tough at first, but once I had the characters and the story, it became playtime. I’d love to do it again!

 How FUN was that? I LOVE those interviews! Don’t forget to enter to WIN a copy of BORN TO BITE below!

About Erica

Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up. Over the course of her school years, she graduated from self-illustrated stories written in crayon to dramatic sagas filling reams of spiral notebooks.

Now, Erica writes paranormal historical romances. Her Gothic debut, Too Wicked To Kiss, released in 2010, followed by Too Sinful To Deny in 2011. Never Been Bitten, a vampire romance, appears in the 2012 anthology Born To Bite along with fellow authors Hannah Howell and Diana Cosby. Erica is currently working on a new trilogy of Gothic romances about three women who escape a fire only to find out “sanctuary” is in the eye of the beholder.

When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

You can find Erica on the web at E-mail | Twitter | Facebook | LiveJournal | MySpace |Hi5 | Blog

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Diana Cosby with BORN TO BITE Interview + Giveaway!

Whoo-hooo! We’ve got a dynamic duo here for the next two days! Two of the three fabulous authors of the new anthology BORN TO BITE, Diana Cosby and Erica Ridley will be answering questions and giving away copies of the book!

First up, the amazing Diana Cosby. Not only is Diana a dynomite baker, a sweetheart and a NYT bestseller, but a former Navy Cheif who has lived in dozens of countries around the world. What a fascinating history!

Diana is giving away a copy of BORN TO BITE today! Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below!

Before we talk to Diana, a little about the book:

Darkly handsome and dangerously sexy, these voracious vampires are out for blood–and bound for eternal love. . .

Highland Vampire by Diana Cosby

As King of the Highland Coven, vampire Aedan MacGregor knows that falling for the fey Rowan Campbell could destroy her. But one taste of her healing blood and he craves her like no other. Dare claim her as his own, knowing he might lose her forever?

Never Been Bitten by Erica Ridley

Rumored to be a vampire, the rakish Mr. Macane is ravishing all the ladies of the ton! Yet, Miss Elspeth Ramsay cannot bring herself to tremble in his presence. But once Ellie feels the touch of his teeth at her throat, she finds herself biting him back! Surely this sudden bloodlust can only mean danger for her family–and her heart. . ..

Dark Secret by Hannah Howell

Alone in the world, Murdina Dunbar sets out in search of the only family she has left–and finds an ally in the mysterious Sir Gillanders Baldwin. Something about her sexy protector stirs her blood. Soon, not even the whispers that he’s a dangerous demon can keep her from his bed. . ..

Pick up your copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Now…Diana!  Yay!! Thanks so much for being here! I always love it when you visit! 

Your new novella sounds delicious!  And what a gorgeous cover!  BORN TO BITE, features your novella, HIGHLAND VAMPIRE, which brings a vampire hero together with a heroine who has Fae powers. Can you tell us more about that?

Hi Joan, my sincere thanks for having me as a guest today. I enjoy reading vampire novels, and when asked to write in the Born To Bite with anthology with Hannah Howell and Erica Ridley – a huge honor! – I wanted to try something fun. So, I paired a vampire with a fairy. I enjoyed writing the unique mix, and I hope readers will enjoy Aedan and Rowan’s story in Highland Vampire as well.

Is this your first paranormal romance?

I have a touch of the fey in the bestselling MacGruder brothers series.

Can you tell us a little about how this genre was for you to write?

I wanted to write a fun, fresh spin on a vampire story, so I decided to add another of my favorite reads, the fey. I loved challenge of blending the two worlds.

Do you have plans to write more paranormal?

Yes. At this time, I’m writing the 6th book in the bestselling MacGruder brothers series, which has a touch of the fey throughout. As for follow-on books from my story in Born To Bite, it’s definitely something I’m considering. 🙂

You gave you heroine an interesting twist—a character with a combination of witch and Fae ancestry. How does this cause conflict with your hero, a vampire?

My heroine being part fey causes a huge conflict with the vampire hero as a vampire is forbidden to change one of the fey

I did not know this! I must brush up on my paranormaly mythology! Your character’s names are beautiful—Rowan and Aedan. Do these have special significance and/or meaning related to their character and/or the story?

Thank you. I loved naming the characters. As for Aedan, I love the name . Rowan I named her after the Rowan tree. In my story in the Born To Bite anthology, you’ll see where I included the meaning of the flowers that bloom from the tree, which are a beautiful tribute to the strength of the name of the tree and my heroine.

Oh, that is beautiful! Can you tell us why Rowan and Aedan are perfect for each other?

Rowan and Aedan are perfect for each other, because they balance the other. For Rowan, Aedan offers hope and acceptance, and for Aedan, Rowan is a woman of strength and determination with whom he can share his heart.

Can you tell us where your interest in the Fae comes from and why you chose to add that element into HIGHLAND VAMPIRE?

I’ve always loved stories of the fay since I was a child. I owe my enchantment with the Otherworld to the stories read to me in my youth.

You are an avid baker. Where does your love of baking come from? Does it serve any purpose other than the obvious—access to tasty treats? (I for instance knit to give myself thinking time to plot.)

I grew up learning to cook with my grandmother in the mountains of Vermont. So, every time I bake, it brings back memories of my youth and of my time spent with her.

What was the last thing you baked?

The last thing I baked was a batch of my youngest son’s favorite, peanut butter cookies, which I sent to him. He’s in the army and stationed overseas.

Oh, you must be very proud! I’ve heard many authors say that they find writing a novella harder than writing a full length novel. How do you feel about this?

I enjoyed writing the anthology, but like other authors, I wanted more pages to deepen the characters, the secondary characters, and the plot.

Finally…out of all your recipes, which would be Aedan and Rowan’s favorite?

Easy – flourless chocolate torte with raspberry liquor sauce! Yum!!!

Oh, they have gooooood taste!!

Thank you so much again for having me guest blog today, and another huge thanks for everyone who stopped by. Take care, and I wish you the very best!
Slaìnte

Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN, Ret.
www.dianacosby.com

I always love having you Diana! Thanks for sharing  the inside scoop on your HIGHLAND VAMPIRE novella in BORN TO BITE!

Diana is giving away a copy of BORN TO BITE today! Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below! US/Can shipping.

About Diana

Most people think of retirement as a time to relax. For me, retiring from my job as a Navy Chief Meteorologist/ Oceanographer allowed me to pursue my passion—writing romance novels. With 33 moves behind me and having traveled through many more countries, I was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people I’ve met over the years. 

My years of living in Europe drew me to write in the medieval time frame.  After watching the movie Braveheart and with my passion for writing complex plots, I knew I had to write in this volatile medieval timeframe, hence the MacGruder brothers were born.

You can find Diana online here: Website | Twitter | Facebook

I have many passions in life, but one that resonates in my life is that of giving. I firmly believe that each of us can make a positive difference in another person’s life.  Some of the charities I support are listed below:

The National Trust for Scotland, which acts asntfslogoguardian of Scotland’s magnificent heritage of architectural, scenic and historic treasures.

Habitat For Humanity, which gives a deserving family more than a home, but a foundation upon which to build their dreams.

Semper Fi Fund , is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to help with immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.     

Homes For Our Troops, assists severely injured Servicemen and Servicewomen and their immediate families through various venues to aid them in building a home that allows them live a more independent life.
        
The Navy SEAL Foundation, provides immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families.

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Marquita Valentine with Excerpt & Giveaway!

I’m excited to have Marquita Valentine here with an excerpt and giveaway of her newest release: Third Times a Charm!  Be sure to enter to win via the Rafflecopter below!

 

Not even Holland Springs’ Most Notorious Resident can stop this Love Spell.

Customers come to Rose Holland’s apothecary shop for three things: to hear her uncanny matchmaking advice, to buy the “magical” hair and skin products she sells, and to accuse her of trying to steal their men. For years Rose has been entirely innocent and almost content with that status quo. But that was before sexy, smooth-talking Sasha Romanov came to town and made her want to use her love potions on him… until he broke her heart. Now corrupt town officials want to seize her land and sell it to an industrial giant, and her only hope for help looks like the one man she can’t trust—or stop herself from falling under his spell. 

Alexander “Sasha” Romanov seems like every woman’s dream: charming, handsome and fabulously rich. But while the people of Holland Springs think he’s in town to generously invest in their economy (and possibly one of their daughters), Sasha struggles to save his sick mother from his vicious uncle’s plans by doing everything the greedy businessman wants. And Vlad Romanov wants Rose Holland’s land—at any cost. 

Despite Sasha’s vow to get the job done and keep his hands (and everything else!) off Rose, the blue-eyed witch enchants him. But his mother’s life remains in the balance. Sasha must find a way to protect his mother, sabotage his uncle’s plans, and win the woman who’s captured his heart without destroying everything she loves.

Pick up your copy: Kindle | Nook

“A refreshing, whimsical contemporary romance with complex characters and bursts of emotion that tugs on your heartstrings. Kept me up till one AM reading!”  ~ Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author

 

Excerpt:

Rose closed the door and whirled to face him. “Could you be more rude?”

“Let me have a go at him and you can judge for yourself.”

Fisting her hands on her hips, she glared at Sasha. “You- you spoiled—”

Sasha pounced, backing her up against the door and placing a palm along each side of her head. “Yes, I’m spoiled. I’m ruined and it’s all your fault.”

She gaped at him. “My fault?”

“Yes, yours—the woman who drives me insane. The woman I dream about kissing.  The woman I hunger to be inside.” His head dipped down, full lips and sexy beauty mark at the corner dangerously close.  “And right now, I’m so damn jealous that I want to…” He turned away but she placed her hand on his jaw and forced his face back to hers.

“To what?” 

 The heat in his eyes made her legs tremble. “I want to lock you in my bedroom with me and not let you out until, until…”

She licked her lips. “Until when?” she prompted. A small part of her reveled in this, his torture. She wanted him to hurt. To feel something.

He laughed, but it was mirthless. “Never, I never want to let you out.”

“Why?” she demanded. “What’s changed between last week and tonight?”

“Nothing. Everything. Christ, Rose. I’m so damn sorry and…and I don’t know what to do or say.” He looked as though he truly meant it.  Regret seemed to fill his green eyes and she couldn’t make herself look away. This was the real him.

“You made me cry,” she whispered.

He rested his head against her forehead, his golden hair soft and silky. “I’m a bastard.”

“I waited up for you. I put on my prettiest dress.” Tears grew thick in throat. She would not cry in front of him. She only wanted him to know how badly he hurt her.  But honestly, if he’d cared, he wouldn’t have been so cruel in the first place. Lifting her shaking hands, she tried to push him away, but he wrapped his arms around her and held her close.

“Forgive me,” he said, his breath hot in her hair. He kissed the side of her neck, her jaw and her cheek. “I need your forgiveness, Rosebud.”

Turning before he could find her mouth and she lost all self-control, she said, “I’ll give you another chance.”

 She wriggled out of his embrace, running upstairs to her room and shutting the door behind her.  Pressing cold fingers to her heated cheeks, she closed her eyes and sank to the floor. What had she done?

Pick up your copy:  Kindle | Nook 

Marquita Valentine writes small town romances that are anything but small. Lisa Kleypas, Carly Phillips and Rachel Gibson are among her favorite contemporary authors. Marquita met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man — and if that doesn’t work, they can console themselves with cheesy tater tots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children. 

You can find Marquita all over the internet:

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Blog

 Win 1 of 2 e copies of Third Times a Charm!

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Catherine Mann & Joanne Rock + Giveaway

Winner: Cassandra Hicks!

Military hero fans…brace yourselves! Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock have new releases to tell us about.  Pardon me while I droooool…

Okay…better now…

Join us as Catherine and Joanne tell us all about romance with the military man! Yuuuuum! AND one lucky commenter will be chosen at random to win a copy of FULL SURRENDER by Joanne Rock and GUARDIAN by Catherine Mann.

First…let’s get a couple visuals and a little story line…

GUARDIAN by Catherine Mann

THEY’D DO ANYTHING FOR COUNTRY.

After a dark ops malfunction, Major David Berg finds himself dead center in a military trial. It’s a race against time to root out the truth, and Major Sophie Campbell isn’t making that any easier. The hot JAG wants to bring down David’s unit and fast. His testimony is crucial to winning a case that will make her career. All Sophie has to do is ignore this witness’s unflappable charm, his unnerving good looks, and a strong, solid presence that commands her attention.

AND EVERYTHING FOR EACH OTHER.
 
It’s not easy for David, either. His attraction to this take-charge beauty is turning him inside out. But these adversaries have more in common than secret, mutual desire. There’s a traitor somewhere in the dark ops and now, to find him, David and Sophie must work together—relentlessly, tirelessly, and so intimately it could be damn near fatal.
 
Pick up your copy at: Amazon | B&N | Read Chaper 1
 

FULL SURRENDER by Joanne Rock

Some men just know how to help a girl out…

It’s a heck of a risky shot. But five years after an ordeal in Iraq, camerawoman Stephanie Rosen’s mojo has gone MIA. There’s only one place she’ll find it…and that’s with the onetime fling who set her fantasies—and panties—ablaze five years ago!

Lieutenant Daniel Murphy’s nights at sea have been haunted by dreams of Stephanie and the brain-melting chemistry between them. Now he’s on leave, and when Stephanie asks him to resurrect her long-lost libido, Danny doesn’t think twice. Now he has twenty days to remind her what she needs. Twenty days to take his time and drive her to the edge.

Twenty days to find complete satisfaction…and full surrender.

Pick up your copy at: Amazon | B&N

Now…let Catherine and Joanne tell you all about…

Romancing the Military Man

In love with a guy in uniform? Military romance author Catherine Mann has loads of experience wooing a man devoted to his country and his calling. Helped out by Joanne Rock, her long time critique partner who has a military story of her own on shelves this month, here’s a primer for romance with a service member!

10- Do you like airplane lore? Know your M16s from M4A1s? You can wow your military guy by brushing up on a little knowledge from his world.

9- Gettysburg, here we come. Pack a picnic and take in a military site for a date. Whether it’s a historic battlefield or a local strategic fort that still gives tours, you can take interest in his world.

8- Have bags, will travel. Embrace your inner tourist because you’ll be traveling if you fall for a military man! Our advice is to make friends with your GPS and be game for anything.

7- Make friends with Skype. If you’re not already video chatting, you’ll want your own account. Because even though you’re traveling the country to keep up with your military man, chances are his job will take him far from you more often than you like. Skyping helps close the distance.

6- Every day is Independence Day! While your guy is saving the world, it’s important to be self-sufficient back home. Loving a military man might mean unclogging your own garbage disposal.

5 – His friends. Need a hand when your car won’t start and your guy is overseas? You’ve got a military base full of friends to the rescue! No friend is as supportive as these guys who feel as honor-bound to support one another’s families as they do to serve their country.

4-Your new friends from around the world. What a joy to connect with military families from other countries, sharing common interests while learning from their unique experiences in different places. You’ll broaden your horizons with this treasure trove of lifelong connections.

3-Tap into your inner interior designer, because you’ll have the opportunity to decorate many homes over the years. And it takes a special flair to bring life and color to those drab military quarters.

2-Exotic foods – You’ll be picking up exciting new recipes from around the world to tempt the palate.

1-Understanding – these men are often short on words but rich in experiences and deep emotions. There’s something to be learned from that!

If you could Skype with anyone right now, who would that be? One lucky commenter will be chosen at random to win a copy of FULL SURRENDER by Joanne Rock and GUARDIAN by Catherine Mann.


FMI, they can be found online at:

Catherine Mann
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Joanne Rock
Website
Facebook

Elisabeth Barrett Interview and Giveaway!

Elisabeth Barrett and I are Twitter-buddies. Meeting online is a funny thing. You never know if those you meet and develop friendships with online will turn out to be the same in person as they seem in type. I finally met Elisabeth at RWA Nationals in Los Angeles, and I’m happy to say that Elisabeth is even sweeter and funnier and more engaging in person — and I thought she was pretty darling on Twitter :).

I love having friends on the blog who are also fabulous authors, and Elisabeth is here today to chat about her upcoming release, Blaze of Winter, book two in her Star Harbor series. And she’s giving away a NetGalley Preview copy as well!!

First, a little about Blaze of Winter:

Winter heats up in this hot new Star Harbor romance, as another sexy Grayson brother, a wickedly handsome writer, plots his happily ever after with a sweet stranger.

Frustrated with her job in Boston, social worker Avery Newbridge welcomes the opportunity to reassess her life when family asks her to help manage the Star Harbor Inn. Trying to figure out her future is overwhelming enough, but she doesn’t count on distraction in the form of one Theo Grayson, the gorgeous, green-eyed author who she knows is trouble from the moment he saunters into the inn.

Not only does he have a talent for writing swashbuckling adventures, but Theo also has a soft spot for big-hearted damsels in distress, especially a woman who’s great at helping everyone—except herself. Avery’s demons challenge him, but for desire this hot, he isn’t backing down. With every kiss and heated whisper Theo promises her his heart . . . if only Avery is willing to open up and accept it.

Pick up your copy of Blaze of Winter: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the iBookstore (Apple)

Now great stuff from Elisabeth!

Elisabeth: Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Joan! I’m very happy to be here! And may I say that you, too, are as awesome in person as you are on Twitter! I know you want to jump right into questions, so let’s get started!

Elisabeth, your heroine in Blaze of Winter, Avery, is a social worker. This field of work fascinates me. How much research did you have to do in this area for the novel?

Elisabeth: Social work and the people who choose a career in this area fascinate me, too, and I did a ton of research in an effort to be as accurate as possible. I read extensively and spoke with several people who work in the field. I was fortunate enough to have a college friend who is a social worker. She was very generous with her time, and also referred me to two of her friends who also were social workers. After hours of interviews and emails, I finally felt like I had enough insight to shape Avery’s character. None of my social worker friends are like Avery, but they provided me with valuable information about the profession in general, and about situations that might or might not arise! It was gold, I tell you! Gold!

Your hero, Theo, is an author. As an author, you obviously have a lot of experience in this field. How is Theo different from you as an author? How is he similar? Does he take on any of your writing quirks? Did he surprise you in any way?

Elisabeth: Well, at the beginning of Blaze of Winter, Theo is struggling with a bout of writer’s block, and he needs inspiration in order to write. For me, writing isn’t so much an inspiration as it’s a compulsion. I don’t wait around for the muse to strike; I simply write. Sure, there are times when I think about a scene a little too much before I start writing, but I always tell myself that I can’t edit a blank page, and then I get cracking! Theo’s books are chock-filled with lore, morality and manliness, and mine … aren’t. Well, maybe lore. Morality and manliness, not so much. As far as similarities go, I think we both want to write the best possible books we can!

I absolutely love the names you chose for your characters: Avery Newbridge and Theo Grayson. How important are character names to you? How do you choose your character’s names?

Elisabeth: Thanks! I love their names, too. Character names are extremely important to me. First off, I want them to be real. Mr. B and I actually considered both Theodore and Avery as names for our children (we ended up choosing different ones), but that meant they passed the first test. Next, the name needs to match the character’s personality. Theo could never have been a Derek or a Kevin or a John. Not that those are bad names –they just didn’t match the character. Same with Avery. I toyed with a bunch of different female names before settling on that one. And here’s a tip: the best resource I’ve found for first names is the Social Security Administration index of baby names (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/). For surnames, the US Census has some interesting data as well (http://www.census.gov/genealogy/www/data/2000surnames/index.html).

Oooooh, thank you, thank you!! Talk about gold!! Oh, sorry. Got a little excited there…I too, love names! Now…back to you!!

Star Harbor is set in New England, yet you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. How did you get the details of your setting just right?

Elisabeth: I’ve been in the Bay Area for over a decade, but I grew up in Connecticut, and I spent many summers living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. The area is imprinted on my brain, and honestly, I miss it. I channeled some of that longing into the Star Harbor books, which are set around the clearly-defined New England seasons. Readers get to experience the pungent, salty aroma of the water in the harbor in summer, the way the wind blows the leaves from the trees in autumn, the mounds of snow pushed up on the sides of the streets, and the beauty of the first bright green buds of spring.

As native Californian, may I just say…jealous….   What was your favorite scene to write in BLAZE OF WINTER?

Elisabeth: Ooh, that’s tough. I really loved writing all the music scenes, since I’m a musician. I also loved writing the ice skating scene, where Theo teaches Avery how to skate. And there’s one closet scene I really enjoyed writing…but I won’t go into detail here about that. 🙂

Oh, now that’s just mean… Hrrrrumph.  What would you like to tell your readers?

Elisabeth: Thank you for reading my books! And if you’re looking for more, Deep Autumn Heat, the first book in the series, is also available. Books 3 and 4–Long Simmering Spring (Cole’s story) and Slow Summer Burn (Val’s story)–will be released in 2013. I love to connect with readers, and you can follow me on all the usual social media channels, including: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads.

Thanks for being with us, Elisabeth! Best of luck with your upcoming releases. I know they’ll be a big smash…I’m going off to order mine right now! Have to see the closet scene now don’t I???

One reader will be randomly selected to win a NetGalley preview of BLAZE OF WINTER. Contest ends September 16th at midnight (EDT).The only thing you’ll need is a NetGalley account! Enter via Rafflecopter below!

 

Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicks off with Deep Autumn Heat and continues with Blaze of Winter (coming September 2012). Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children.

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Lucy Monroe and Dragon’s Moon + Giveaway

My fellow Kensington Brava author, Lucy Monroe, is with me today! Lucy’s got a HOOOOOT new book out — Dragon’s Moon, Book 4, Children of the Moon series from Berkeley Sensations. She tells us some fun facts about dragons (who knew!) and gives away a hardback copy of Moon Burning! Enter below!

 

He’s a dragon intent on saving his people from destruction by the Fearghall and she is a wolf who blames the dragon for the deaths of her brother and mother. They’re true mates, but will that be enough to overcome ancient prophecies, debilitating visions and a dragon’s fire?

When Erik, the only living dragon shifter, and prince of the Ean, killed her brother, Ciara was left alone to face her prophetic dreams. Now, in order to find the wolves’ sacred stone and save all the Chrechte from destruction, she needs her enemy’s help.

Erik was only protecting the children of his people, but that day in the forest left a mark on him as well. Controlling his dragon’s fire is the most difficult thing he’s ever done—until he and Ciara are forced to face not only their shared tumultuous past, but a hallowed bond stronger than they realize. As avowed enemies and predestined mates, their quest ushers them into a world of great danger, and a passion hotter than the dragon’s fire.

Read Chapter One

Pick up your copy:          

 

 

Here’s Lucy with…

Five Fun Facts about Dragons

While researching dragons for the writing of “Dragon’s Moon,” I ran across all sorts of fun and interesting facts about these mythical creatures. The first thing I realized was that the mythology of the dragon is as varied as the cultures that spawned it. And since we find Dragonology in European, Asian and Native American history, that’s a pretty broad spectrum.

Which leads us to…

Fun Fact #1: the concept of the dragon is one of the most prevalent common myths shared by multiple cultures across the globe.

Fun Fact #2: in Western Dragonology the dragon is often associated with women and female deities, defying the mistaken belief that women have always been perceived as the weaker sex historically.

Fun Fact #3: Eastern dragons do not have the same fearsome reputation for mayhem and destruction as Western dragons and are most commonly considered harbingers of strength and good luck.

Fun Fact #4: there are more sea living dragons in mythology than those who can fly and cast fire.

Fun Fact #5: the dragon in “Dragon’s Moon” is both the Prince of the Éan and the protector of his people, the only living drakon and considered myth among the Chrechte.

What about you? What fascinates you about dragons? What fact or tidbit is your favorite aspect to the current mythical dragon’s character?

I’ll be giving away a hardback edition of “Moon Burning” to one random winner, so, share your thoughts on dragons, romance . . . whatever! US/Canada shipping.

Hugs,
Lucy

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BORN TO BITE … yuuuuum!

Today I’m introducing the new anthology by amazing authors Diana Cosby, Erica Ridley and Hannah Howell, BORN TO BITE. Diana and Erica will be with me over the next two days individually. Today, we’re going to WHET YOUR APPETITIE with a TASTE of what’s inside this yummy anthology — released just yesterday!!

Tell us what you love about vampires in the comments and you’ll be entered to win the FIRST giveaway copy of BORN TO BITE!

 

Darkly handsome and dangerously sexy, these voracious vampires are out for blood—and bound for eternal love…

DARK SECRET by Hannah Howell
Alone in the world, Murdina Dunbar sets out in search of the only family she has left—and finds an ally in the mysterious Sir Gillanders Baldwin. Something about her sexy protector stirs her blood. Soon, not even the whispers that he’s a dangerous demon can keep her from his bed….

NEVER BEEN BITTEN by Erica Ridley
Rumored to be a vampire, the rakish Mr. Macane is ravishing all the ladies of the ton! Yet, Miss Elspeth Ramsay cannot bring herself to tremble in his presence. But once Ellie feels the touch of his teeth at her throat, she finds herself biting him back! Surely this sudden bloodlust can only mean danger for her family—and her heart….

HIGHLAND VAMPIRE by Diana Cosby
As King of the Highland Coven, vampire Aedan MacGregor knows that falling for the fey Rowan Campbell could destroy her. But one taste of her healing blood and he craves her like no other. Dare claim her as his own, knowing he might lose her forever?

Pick up your copy of BORN TO BITE here: Amazon.com|Barnes & Noble |Books-A-Million |Kindle |Nook

Remember: Tell us what you love about vampires in the comments and you’ll be entered to win the FIRST giveaway copy of BORN TO BITE! 

And come back the next two days to learn more and win more!

 

Katie Reus and PRIMAL POSSESSION + Giveaway!

I’ve got the fabulous Katie Reus here today with one killer interview! She gives us a peek into her practice of creating page-turners, talks sexy scenes, worldbuilding, publishing (self and traditional) and gives us a glimpse inside her new release PRIMAL POSSESSION!

Katie is also giving away a copy of PRIMAL POSSESSION to one lucky winner. Enter below!

First…here’s a little about PRIMAL POSSESSION

To protect her, he will unleash the beast within…

As his pack’s second-in-command, lupine shifter Liam Armstrong gives orders and takes what he wants—until he meets red-headed, blue-eyed December McIntyre. Liam knows the human beauty is his intended mate the moment he sees her, but December is far too strong-willed to accept his protection.

December, whose brother is the town sheriff, has every reason to mistrust shifters after one killed her youngest sibling. But the forceful and handsome Liam has gotten under her skin in a way she hadn’t thought possible, and the desire she feels for him is almost too much to bear.

When a radical hate group targets all humans known to sympathize with paranormal beings, December is attacked in her bookstore. Reluctantly, she turns to the only one who can help her: Liam. And he is going to take her to places within herself she never knew existed.

 Purchase info: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository


Sounds pretty YUMMY!!  Now…in Katie’s own words…

Katie, your upcoming release, PRIMAL POSSESSION, is book 2 in your Moon Shifter Series. Can you tell us a little about the series and what you love best about it?

The Moon Shifter series is a paranormal romance that’s centered around a lupine shifter pack that lives in a fictional mountain town in North Carolina. Twenty years ago shifters, vampires and other paranormal beings came out to the world and everyone is still trying to adjust. What I love best about the series is the characters. Despite being able to turn into animals or having a need to drink blood to survive, they’re all just people with the same problems as everyone else. Well, they have more problems, like hate groups trying to kill them, but they still struggle with relationships, etc. like everyone. They’re very easy to relate to.

What makes your hero, Liam, and your heroine, December, in PRIMAL POSSESSION, sizzle?

The sexual chemistry between them is raw, primal and instantaneous. In the first book (Alpha Instinct) when they meet they’re both very aware of each other in a pure, physical sense. But their relationship goes a lot deeper in Primal Possession. They’re so similar in a lot of ways, yet different. At their core, they’re both really good people trying to figure shit out in a world that’s gone a little crazy.

What was your favorite scene to write in PRIMAL POSSESSION?

This might sound odd because it’s not a fight scene (which I love to write) and it’s not a super hot scene (also love to write) but there’s a pivotal point in Liam and December’s relationship when he takes her on a horse ride and plans this sweet, romantic picnic. So much is going on with his pack and the town with this hate group intent on harming them but he takes the time to basically court her. It’s clear he’s never tried to impress a female before and he’s so nervous. The scene is really sweet and peels back a few layers for both of them. I loved it because they open up to each other and get to see a side to each other that few people do.

Which has been your favorite book in the series?

This is always a hard question! I love them all but my ‘favorite’ is the one I’ve just finished and since I just finished book 4 (due out next December, I think) I’m going to go with that one.

Katie, the worldbuilding in your work has been highly praised. I, personally, find the whole concept of worldbuilding a bit mystifying. Can you break it down for us and tell us a little about what you think has made yours so successful?

Hee, okay, I’m laughing a little bit because I’ve read Fever (and loved it) and while it’s contemporary RS there’s still a bit of paranormal stuff in there and I loved how seamless you wove everything together. If you ever did something straight pnr or UF I think you’d have no problem world building.

I’m really not sure why people seem to like this world, but I did read a review that compared it to X-Men in the sense that they’re ‘out’ to humans which adds so many struggles they never had when they were living in hiding. And like I said in response to your first question, my characters are real people with real problems and I think most people can relate to that regardless of world.

**Thank you!! :)**

You write both paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Do you prefer to write in one genre more? Where do you see yourself venturing in the near future?

I love them both equally. They both offer different things I enjoy and actually, I love alternating between them so I don’t get stagnant writing in just one genre. As long as my readers keep reading my work, I don’t plan on writing in any other genres but these. So in the near future, more Moon Shifter series and more romantic suspense!

You are successful in the world of both traditional publishing and self publishing. Can you tell us a little about your self published titles and why you chose that route?

Okay, I’ll try to stop from gushing, but I’m loving self-publishing at the moment. I wouldn’t want to solely self-publish because I love everything traditional publishing has to offer but there’s a lot of freedom in having complete control over literally everything in my self-published series. Cover art, content, price…it’s all up to me and it’s been a fun ride. Right now I’m working on the Red Stone Security series, which is a sexy romantic suspense series, and I plan to have the third book out in early December. I’ve been floored and amazed by how many people seem to love the stories. I recently attended AAD 2012 and the amount of people who said they discovered me from that series and then went on to read my traditional work was surprising and only proved to me how much of a crossover there is between the two venues. I love being diversified and I don’t plan to change that any time soon.

Thank you so much for having me, Joan!  Since you’re such a great host I’d like to give away a copy of Primal Possession (US only), the upcoming release in my Moon Shifter series.

*YAY!! We love giveaways!! Thank you Katie!!*


  
A little about Katie: I’ve been reading romance since a young age—ever since I discovered my mom’s hidden stash. Luckily the addiction stayed with me into adulthood. I write paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense for Carina Press, Harlequin Nocturne, and NAL/Signet Eclipse. To learn more about me please visit my website, my blog, facebook or find me on twitter @katiereus.

 One lucky winner will recieve a copy of PRIMAL POSSESSION. Many ways to enter below!

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