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So thrilled to have Shana back with me on the blog. I’m a big Shana fan! I love books filled with action, adventure, conflict, fun and, of course, romance. Shana’s stories have it all–rich, strong characters who aren’t afraid to say it like it is…and always finding trouble.
Join us as Shana gives us a sneak peak into her upcoming release – If You Give a Rake a Ruby! And enter below to WIN a copy of the first book in the Jewels of the Ton series, When You Give a Duke a Diamond (US and Canada only).
HER MYSTERIOUS PAST IS THE BEST REVENGE . . .
Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She’s adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way.
ONLY HE CAN OFFER HER A DAZZLING FUTURE . . .
Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he’s putting his life on the line . . .
To Warrick’s shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she’s keeping are exactly what make her his heart’s desire . . .
Thank you for having me back, Joan. I’m celebrating the release of my thirteenth book—lucky 13, right?—If You Give a Rake a Ruby. It releases March 5, but one person who comments here will win a copy of the first book in the Jewels of the Ton series, When You Give a Duke a Diamond.
Today I’m going to share a few snippets from the first five chapters of If You Give a Rake a Ruby. It’s an extended sneak peek.
From Chapter One
Some said she was the daughter of a maharaja. Little did they know, Fallon had been obliged to ask Lady Sinclair for the definition of maharaja. Other rumors hinted she was a gypsy queen or a princess from a secret kingdom. Fallon wished there was a tiny kernel of truth in but one of the rumors. Anything was better than the reality.
From Chapter Two
“It’s about time you came to bed,” Warrick said. It was too dark to see his pocket watch, but he gauged the time close to five in the morning. “I’ve been waiting for hours.”
“Oh, how rude of me,” she said, her voice quite low and husky in the shadowed room. He could hear her fumbling about and realized she probably sought her tinderbox. “To keep an uninvited man waiting.”
From Chapter Three
She shook her head. “That is no way to treat a lady.”
“That’s because most ladies are skittish ninnies who faint if a man utters the word damn in their presence. You should hope I don’t treat you like a lady. I have no use for ladies.”
From Chapter Four
“Are you going to stand there all evening?”
She blinked. “What would you have me do?” Oh, dear. Had he heard the sultry tone of her voice? She had to stop picturing him naked—or herself naked with him touching her. He was her enemy. He was blackmailing her. She didn’t like him.
Fallon cleared her throat. “What I mean is, what am I supposed to do?”
From Chapter Five
“Good. Hold on.” He reached into his coat and pulled a pistol out. Fallon shook her head to clear it. This was obviously the part of the evening where he shot her. Somehow it made sense that he would kiss her and then kill her.
Which snippet was your favorite? Comment for a chance to win a copy of the first book in the Jewels of the Ton series, When You Give a Duke a Diamond (US and Canada only).
If You Give a Rake a Ruby by Shana Galen—in stores March 2013
About the Author
Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books are published all over the world and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.
I adore both Shana and her writing! Fresh and fun, always with wit and a sense of adventure. She gives you a taste of all that here, and also a peek at the style of her deliciously strong, sassy, sexy heroines that keep me constantly entertained throughout her books!
Today Shana will tell us what it is about Dukes that grab our fancy… and she’s giving away one copy of When You Give a Duke a Diamond (U.S. and Canada only). Enter via Rafflecopter below!
But first…a little about WHEN YOU GIVE A DUKE A DIAMOND…
This is the first in Shana’s Jewels of the Ton series, which has been hailed by New York Times bestselling authorSophie Jordan as “BRILLIANT AND SEXY! Once you start a Shana Galen book, you won’t put it down until you reach the end.”
And RT Book Reviews says, “Galen’s engaging characters and strong plotline enhance the spirited dialogue and sense of adventure.”
He had a perfectly orderly life…
William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that’s the way he likes it. But he’s in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn’t begin to describe what happens next…
Until she came along…
Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It’s disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William’s darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide…
Read an excerpt here: Excerpt
Now, here’s Shana…
What is it About Dukes?
by Shana Galen
If you’re a fan of historical romance—and even if you’re not—you may have noticed that a lot of the books feature dukes. Perusing some recent titles I found One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean, The Hazards of Hunting a Duke by Julia London, Mad About the Duke by Elizabeth Boyle, What I Did for a Duke by Julie Ann Long, Dusk With a Dangerous Duke by Alexandra Hawkins, and my own When You Give a Duke a Diamond.
So many dukes (and assorted earls and marquesses too). It begs the question: what is it about dukes? First of all, a quick primer on titles. Dukes are the highest ranking of all the peers. There are royal dukes, like the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) and the Duke of Wales (Prince Charles) and there are non-royal dukes, like the Duke of Devonshire. Dukes are addressed as Your Grace and are the most powerful lords in the British peerage.
Until When You Give a Duke a Diamond, I’d never written a book with an English duke before. Maybe I didn’t feel like I could do justice to a hero who was a duke, or maybe I thought I’d leave the dukes to other authors. But when I began When You Give a Duke a Diamond, I knew Will was a duke through and through. He was raised knowing his place in the world. He was raised to respect the illustrious history of his forefathers and to preserve and protect his family’s honor and name at all costs.
This becomes a potent conflict when Will falls in love with a notorious courtesan, who is a less than suitable companion for a prominent duke. Juliette, my heroine, is not impressed with Will’s title. In fact, at one point she grows tired of his constant references to it. Here’s an excerpt.
“No, no!” She said hurrying to the door. “I shall answer.” She pulled it open and gave him a look. “A bath. Perfect. Now I can scrub your back. Put it near the fire,” she directed the men. It was a huge copper tub, not the hip bath she was used to. It took three men to carry it, followed by a bevy of maidservants. The men clunked the tub down and the women filled it with enormous buckets of steaming water. One handed Juliette a towel and soap, bobbed, and exited. “Well, at least you shall be clean when I service you. I—”
“Cease!” he roared.
She started, blinked at him.
“You’re not going to service me or scrub my back.” He crossed the room to her. “I wanted you with me to keep you safe.”
“Ha! You wanted me with you because you were jealous.”
“Jealous? Jealous? I am a duke. I do not feel jealous.”
She screamed. “If I hear you say, I am a duke one more time, I will not be responsible for my actions. Dukes are not gods, Will. They are people. They make mistakes, apologize—or at least they should—and feel all sorts of emotions.”
“I suppose you are the expert on such matters.”
“I have known several dukes.”
“Yes, and I am a duke—”
Her eyes widened, her lips pursed. “I.” She shoved him. “Warned.” Hard. “You.” Backward.
She shoved him again, and he stumbled against the lip of the tub, faltered, and fell backward, sloshing warm water all over the floor, and soaking his clothing worse than the rain had done.
He stared up at her, water dripping in his eyes. He expected her to apologize, to look horrified, to beg his forgiveness.
Instead, she laughed.
What kind of heroes do you like? Dukes? Firemen? Powerful CEOs? What would you like to see more of? Less of? Shana is giving away one copy of When You Give a Duke a Diamond (U.S. andCanada only). Enter via Rafflecopter below!
Shana Galen is the national bestselling author of numerous fast-paced, adventurous Regency historical romances, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride. Her books are published all over the world and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working inHouston’s inner city.
Now she writes full time. She’s happily married to an incredibly supportive man she calls Ultimate Sportsfan, and she has a beautiful little girl she calls Little Galen.
I’ve been a fan of Shannon McKenna’s novels for many years. She is a fellow Kensington author and I’m thrilled to have her here at the blog today with a fantastic interview. Both readers and writers with enjoy Shannon’s engaging personality in this interview as much as millions have devoured her sexy romantic thrillers.
Shannon has TWO giveaways to enter today. She’s giving away a book on today’s blog (just leave a comment) and a Kindle Fire on her ONE WRONG MOVE tour (enter Rafflecopter below)!
Let’s jump right in! Welcome Shannon!!
First and foremost – tell me about this wowza new book you’ve got coming out in a couple weeks! I’m so excited for ONE WRONG MOVE! It sounds like such an intense, complex and twisted story!
Gee, thanks for that delightfully enthusiastic lead-in! I’m so glad you’re looking forward to it! Here’s a bit of a description for you . . .
ONE WRONG MOVE
We met Alex Aaro raising hell in BLOOD AND FIRE, Bruno’s story. He tries not to attract attention, but fails utterly, every damn time. Fate has other plans for him—big plans. And now it’s his turn to face the fire.
Privacy. Solitude. To Alex Aaro, that doesn’t seem like so much to ask of life—for the world to let him keep his head down, make his money. But it can never be that simple. His crazy Aunt Tonya was dying. She’d spent more time in the nuthouse than out, but she was the sole family member he gave a damn about. Enough of a damn to blow decades of hiding from his Ukrainian mafiya clan. He would risk his life in the writhing snakepit that was the Aaro family, to say goodbye to a dying woman. It was stupid, irrational. Suicidal, even. And he couldn’t talk himself out of it.
And now his friend Bruno calls, just as Aaro lands in New York. He wants Aaro to take a scenic detour to a hospital in Coney Island, Brooklyn, for God’s sake, to do a favor for Nina, one of Bruno’s wife’s friends. A single woman friend. A social worker, out to save the world. The type of woman he would drive hundreds of miles to avoid. Some bullshit about translating the hysterical ravings of some roughed up Ukrainian woman who had attacked Nina with a hypodermic needle. He could not even count all the things there were to hate about this scenario, but he couldn’t say no—he owed Bruno. Owed him big, in blood and skin. But no one could have warned him about Nina’s eyes, her voice, the effect that they would have on him. Violence flares like wildfire—as swift and hot as the desire they can’t seem to control.
Nina Christie has way bigger problems than the surly interpreter that her friends are siccing on her. She’d been injected with some crazy unknown drug, and it is having effects on her that scare her to death. But when the bad guys who are looking for that drug close in, only the six-foot-four rock hard slab of lean muscle and seething bad attitude called Alex Aaro stands between her and an ugly death. The guy’s an unlikely hero, and a royal pain in the ass—and he also makes her pulse race and her lungs squeeze up until they won’t take in any air.
Nina has her own good reasons for being wary about men, and Aaro embodies them all, in one lethal package. But Nina’s about to unlearn everything she thought she knew, about men, about herself, about everything. Because the two of them hold the clues to a deadly secret, and as their world goes up in flames, they must race against time together, and face their deepest fears to unveil it before it destroys them . . .
Your hero and heroine in ONE WRONG MOVE, Alex and Nina (great names, btw!), are drawn together by the threat of the Ukrainian mafia and find themselves on both a run for their lives and a race against time. In the midst of that insanity, you’re going to manage to give them amazing sex and an HEA. How in the hell do you do that? (I’ve always wanted to ask!)
That’s a really hard question, because I just don’t know! All I know is that if I start, and don’t let myself stop, eventually the book will get written! The process of writing is still an agonizing mystery to me. The level of suffering and doubt remains constant throughout the process, although the reasons for suffering change over the course of the writing of the book. In the beginning, it’s the Terror Of The Blank Page, the fear that this time it will be a huge dud and everyone will hate my guts, and the pages that creep out are dull, stupid, boring, blah blah blah.
This goes on tediously for months, until the deadline starts to loom. Only then does the real story start to squeeze out of me. Then, right before or even some time after the deadline, it’s like a flash flood of bubbling ideas, cross-pollination of plot points, subplots sewing themselves up as if by magic, characters coming to life and surprising me—all of that is an exciting period, and would be my favorite if it wasn’t for the price I pay on the home front. Which is to say, the dirty house, the buzzing insomnia, the burned dinner, piles of dirty laundry, the angry kids who feel abandoned, the uncomfortable feeling of not having exercised my body for months . . . yikes. But I feel like I have to do my best for the hero and the heroine. After all the hell they’ve been dragged through, they by God deserve their satisfaction.
And as for hot sex in the midst of the suspense, well . . . I don’t know how realistic it is, (nor do I care!) but I always feel as if in these situations, so fraught with peril, that people have the chance to pull resources from deep inside themselves that they never knew they had. It is an opportunity to show a deeper, braver self—and a sexier self, too. And what makes a sex scene work for me directly correlates to how much the hero and the heroine care about it. They have to care, passionately, desperately, even if they’re trying very hard to play it cool, which they usually are. That’s crucially important, for me. The sex scenes reveal and reflect and develop the psychological and emotional connection between the hero and heroine, suspense sharpens it, and hopefully, it all bubbles up into a heady magic potion that transforms them both.
I’ve noticed the common use of family in your novels, Shannon. I very much enjoy the added complication and emotion this element adds to your stories. Is that the reason you use/involve family members often or do you have another underlying theme or interest in including families in your novels?
I didn’t think it through, it just happened. But I was happy that it did, because I like to see the hero and heroine relating to their families as well as to their love interest. It makes things more interesting, but also more complicated. There were times in some of the McCloud books where it seemed that the family issues were taking precedence over the romance, and that was difficult to control, because I had to do right by all of those relationships. So many readers, for instance, were furious with me at the end of FADE TO MIDNIGHT, because according to them, the reunion of the long lost and presumed dead Kev McCloud with his brothers was not satisfying enough, and that I didn’t devote enough time or pages to working out all of their complicated feelings about getting their brother back.
Damn, I was two hundred pages over word count at that point, and I couldn’t just give them a group hug and move on. So I let it ride, let it wait to the next book. Which meant people had to wait another year to see those guys talk it out! Oh, the grief I got for that decision. But I didn’t want to short-change those guys by rushing it. The McCloud guys are ultra-macho. Talking about emotion does not come easily to them in the best of circumstances. They are better by far at kicking ass. So, the short answer is, yeah, I like the messy complication of families, with all the difficulty that it entails. Both in real life and in my books!
Shannon, you are known for your steaming sexy suspense novels, but you’ve also written contemporary in the past. Can you speak a little to your writing preferences?
The steamy thing came about by pure chance. I certainly did not set out to write steamy. I was willing to try anything to get in the door—comedy, chick lit, whatever. The first category romances I wrote were written with Silhouette Desire and Harlequin Temptation in mind, but they were having none of me. I was fortunate enough to get picked up by Hilary Sares, who was editing the Precious Gem line of romances, which were marketed directly to Walmart. Five books later, that line folded, and I got a break to write a steamy novella in an erotic romance anthology at Kensington. I had no idea if I could pull it off, but Hilary advised me to let the sexual relationship be the vehicle by which the plot advanced and by which character was revealed. I took her advice, and it opened up a whole new world for me. I realized that I liked love scenes like that; long, winding, with many parts, many moods, many purposes. I’ve got a taste for it now. I can hardly imagine writing without having the element of eroticism! But in terms of other genres, I’d like to play around, with fantasy, maybe historical someday. For now, the romantic suspense is working for me, so I’m not going to mess with my good thing.
The publishing industry is changing so quickly, yet in so many ways it’s staying the same. It’s a complex, sometimes confusing and often scary place to be for those of us who don’t have your experience and hindsight. For both readers and authors, can you give us your version of how you see the changes in the industry affecting us in the near future? And can you tell us what is in your future—say a one year, five year and a ten year plan?
Hey, it’s scary for me, too! I’m in a total lather of fear and uncertainty about what to do, where to turn, what the smart thing to do might be with all the new information battering me every day. So much conflicting information, so many dazzling self-publishing success stories, so many dire warnings about the difficulties and dangers and time sinks and pitfalls! The one thing that I am sure about is that now, there are more options for us all, and that can only be a positive thing. New authors have a lot more possibilities for beginning their careers, what with self-publishing, blogging, etc, and people can build platforms on their own. Established authors no longer need to dread that their careers can be tanked by one poor decision on the part of their publishing house, because now, there are other ways to rebuild, even if sales numbers go down, for whatever reason. Lots of people who had terrible experiences with big publishing houses have been able to completely reboot their careers with these new options, and this is great, great, great. So I think, all in all, that the new developments are positive. As to what I will be doing in one year, five or ten—God, I don’t know! I don’t plan that far ahead. All I know is that I have to finish Miles’s story, and then write Sveti’s. But I know that I will still be writing, as long as I can hold a pen or bang at a keyboard. That’s for damn sure.
Thanks so much for having me, Joan! It’s been great posting on your blog!
Wow, what a fabulous interview! I’m beyond impressed…but then, I’m not surprised. If you’ve read Shannon’s work, you’ll know she’s an impressive author! 🙂
Shannon is giving away TWO prizes, a copy of one of her books at each blog stop on her tour AND a grand prize giveaway of a Kindle Touch!!! There are several copies of One Wrong Move, Blood and Fire, Ultimate Weapon, and Fade to Midnight up for grabs! Enter below!
Shannon McKenna is the NYT bestselling author of over ten action packed, turbocharged romantic thrillers, among which are the stories of the wildly popular McCloud series. She loves tough and heroic alpha males, heroines with the brains and guts to match them, villains who challenge them to their utmost, adventure, scorching sensuality, and most of all, the redemptive power of true love. Since she was small she has loved abandoning herself to the magic of a good book, and her fond childhood fantasy was that writing would be just like that, but with the added benefit of being able to take credit for the story at the end. Alas, the alchemy of writing turned out to be messier than she’d ever dreamed. But what the hell, she loves it anyway, and hopes that readers enjoy the results of her alchemical experiments.
1) To win a book: leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.
2) To win a Kindle Touch: Enter the Rafflecopter widget below!
TGIF!!! (Well, except for me…Fridays are my Monday…but I digress) HAPPY FRIDAY to everyone whose Friday is actually FRIDAY!! Whoot!!
Today, I have the fabulous ANGIE FOX with me talking about her fun new release, the first in her brand new MASH series, IMMORTALLY YOURS. And she’s generously giving away a copy too!! YAY!!
I met Angie through my critique partner Elisabeth Naughton very early on in my writing career and have been consistently awed by her work ethic, her spirit, her warmth and her humor. Angie’s flexibility, authenticity and masterful craft keeps her work at the top of my TBR files and stacks!
A little about IMMORTALLY YOURS…
IN THE WAR BETWEEN THE GODS…
No one patches up the incoming wounded like Dr. Petra Robichaud. Recruited by the gods for her uncanny medical skills, she’s the best M*A*S*H surgeon in the army. Along with a nosy guard sphinx,vegetarian werewolf, and otherparanormal paramedics, she bandages soldiers who are built like Greek gods (literally). But when one sexy immortal ends up on her operating table—half dead and totally to-die-for—Petra’s afraid she’ll lose her patient and her heart…
NOTHING IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN LOVE
Commander Galen of Delphi is one gorgeous but stubborn demi-god. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, Dr. Petra has to slip it back in—unwittingly revealing her ability to see ghosts. Now that Galen knows her secret, he’s convinced she’s part of an ancient prophecy. If the oracles are right, Petra could lead Galen’s army to peace. And if he seduces her on the way to hell and back? Heaven knows—all’s fair in love and war…
Now…let’s meet Angie….
Hi Angie, Welcome to the blog! To start off can you tell the readers a little about yourself?
Glad to be here! I write paranormal adventure/romance. I started off writing the New York Times bestselling Accidental Demon Slayer series, which is about a preschool teacher who finds out she’s a demon slayer and has to run off with her grandmother’s gang of geriatric biker witches (happens all the time, right?). Now I have a new series coming out about a group of paranormal M.A.S.H. surgeons.
Let’s talk about those paranormal MASH surgeons. Some say Immorally Yours is like the TV show M*A*S*H, turned on its ear. What made you want to tackle an otherworldly MASH unit?
I wanted to do something different. Plus, I love writing books that are not only about the hero and heroine, but also about the community where they live. A quirky, paranormal MASH unit sounded like a blast to write. Plus, I love books about special ops soldiers. They are too sexy. So I made my hero a tough-as-nails wounded warrior and my heroine is the doctor who saves him (in more ways than one).
How many books are going to be in the M.A.S.H. series?
IMMORTALLY YOURS is the first in a trilogy. The next two books will be out in February and August of 2013.
What can you tell us about Petra and Galen? How do they compare (if at all) to other characters you’ve created in other books?
Petra is one of the strongest heroines I’ve ever written. She’s stubborn, independent and used to being on her own. She’s also dealing with her own personal tragedy. Petra is a thoracic surgeon who has been drafted out of her practice in New Orleans and into the middle of this great paranormal war. Enlistments run until the end of the conflict, which for her will be a life sentence. Still, she manages to keep her dry sense of humor and she’s even created a new family, of sorts, among her colleagues at the MASH 3063rd.
The only thing she’s not prepared to deal with, it seems, is the hero, who bursts onto the scene first as a critical patient on her operating table and then as the only man who knows her secret ability. He discovers it while she’s saving his life. Unfortunately, her secret ability is forbidden by the gods and could get her killed – or worse. She’s survived so far by keeping her head down and now Galen is threatening that.
But he isn’t interested in hiding. Galen is a hardened special ops soldier, who has risked everything time and time again. He’s focused on his duty and determined to bring an end to the war. Petra and her ability will give him a means to do it. He’s not just an alpha, though. He’s very charismatic. And either by charm or by force, Galen will bring her onto his side. He needs to convince Petra that a) she can make a difference and b) she needs to trust him enough to risk eternal damnation. I mean really, it’s hard to talk a girl into that. But Galen isn’t one to give up. And like they say, all’s fair in love and war.
IMMORTALLY YOURS definitely has your trademark humor. Is it ever a challenge to rein it in for the more serious parts?
About a week after I sold Immortally Yours, I called my critique partner and said, “Oh my God, what did I just do?” Because, yes, my first series was lighter in tone, but this book is about war.
It ended up making me grow so much as a writer. One of the challenges – and the great joys – of writing Immortally Yours was balancing the humor with the stark tragedy of war. The darker emotional context makes the light moments even funnier, and the dark moments just tear your heart out.
Petra and her colleagues at the MASH 3063rd have been drafted until the end of the war. They’re living in this quirky, ad-hock camp, trying to make the best of it while they work long hours in the OR, putting soldiers back together – knowing that they’re probably going to see these injured heroes again and again – if they’re lucky.
Galen, himself, dies on Petra’s table in the first scene of the book. In this world, immortals can die. They’re hard to kill, but war is horrific and both sides have developed weapons to end lives in stark and brutal ways.
The underlying tragedy brings the oddball personalities in the camp together. They develop ways to keep their sanity and to create the kind of relationships that offer a port in the storm. That’s where a lot of the humor comes from.
What attracted you to the paranormal genre? What elements make a paranormal story a great read?
I love reading and writing paranormals because the genre is refreshingly different. You never know where the stories are going to take you. Each writer builds her own world and takes readers along for the ride.
For example, I wanted a gang of Harley riding biker witches to appear in the Accidental Demon Slayer books. They basically take Lizzie under their wing when she learns she has all these tricked out powers. It was so much fun coming up with ways for them to push Lizzie’s buttons and it was amazing to come up with an entire biker witch world.
The paranormal genre lets you do that. You can combine fantasy with reality. In fact, I made sure to get my “reality” down as well as possible. The “real” only enhances the fantasy.
It can be a challenge, though. The biker witches ride Harleys, and I’d never been on a motorcycle before. Plus, I had to figure out how to get Lizzie’s dog onto a bike.
I went online and learned about the Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club, made up exclusively of Harley riders and their dogs. I ended up meeting some of them, along with a few other bikers along the way. These bikers were so great to me. They hoisted me onto the back of their Harleys (with dogs in tow). They took me to biker rallies (note to self: don’t wear pink). And they laughed at me when I tried to put my helmet on backwards (I still say I was distracted by the Pomeranian wearing a tiny pair of motorcycle glasses).
These bikers answered my questions along the way, showed up at book signings. (It’s always fun to hear the Harley’s rumbling outside of the bookstore, not to mention getting to see biker guys in the romance aisle.) They gave me the background to make the biker part real so that the witch/paranormal aspect was believable as well.
Tell us about the creative marketing strategies for your books.
I’m all about creative marketing. It’s fun and my brain just thinks that way. Like for the Accidental Demon Slayer series, I developed the What’s Your Biker Witch Name quiz? It went viral, which has been a blast. You haven’t lived until you get emails from physicists in China telling you that their biker witch names are things like Wino Wally No Brakes and Two Date Tessa Hard Rider. And now for a shameless plug: you can get your biker witch name at: www.angiefox.com.
For Immortally Yours, I’m doing a quirky little viral program that is cracking me up right now because it is getting slightly out of control (which in my world, means things are going well). I’m going to offer readers an interactive experience that centers around the news network that is covering the war.
In this new series, PNN is the paranormal version of CNN. So I’m basically setting up the “official” PNN website to be like The Onion, only paranormal. It allows me to have a blast, while giving readers a taste of the series and immersing them in the world of PNN. Plus, it’s an entertaining way to poke fun at the love/hate relationship I have with 24-hour cable news. PNN kicks off at www.PNN-Network.com on August 23. The Twitter handle is @PNN_News13, and on Facebook, it’s simply PNN.
Enter below to win a signed copy of Immortally Yours! (US/Canada)
HAPPY SEPTEMBER!! I’m welcoming TAYLOR KEATING to the blog today! Taylor has a new release out — FAIR GAME, book 3 in the Guardian series! Yummy!! We’ve got a great interview and excerpt for you today and, of course, a giveaway of FAIR GAME!
First, a little about FAIR GAME:
Video-game designer River Weston has seen her world torn apart. The streets of Earth have filled with looting, sickness, and fighting, but River knows that she is in a unique position to help. Drawing on her Fae magic, she creates a computer-generated program called Hollow Man, designed to protect humans during battle. Worlds away, Guardian Chase Hawkins has finally returned to his own body after years of astral projection. His mission now that he’s back: retrieve River, who is walking a dark path without even knowing it, and strip her world of the technology that has brought it to ruin.
Hawk and his team arrive on Earth only to discover that River’s new computer program endangers the world all on its own. An old human virus has resurrected and mutated with a computer virus inside of Hollow Man, and it’s spreading uncontrollably. Hawk is convinced it’s too late to save Earth…but River isn’t ready to give up hope yet. River and Hawk find themselves on opposing sides, yet drawn together stronger than ever before. But a future with both of them in it could mean walking paths darker than either of them could ever have imagined.
Now…a little from Taylor — plus an excerpt!
- Taylor Keating is actually the pseudonym of your writing team—Catherine Verge and Paula Altenburg. I’ve always been intrigued by how two authors work together to create a novel.Can you tell readers a little about your process? The pros and cons?
TK – We work together especially well in that our weaknesses and strengths are opposites. Cathy is amazing at the storyline and envisioning the entire story. She also writes the fastest and drives the main plot, and usually ends up writing the love scenes. Paula, on the other hand, loves the secondary characters and enjoys editing. She cleans as she goes. We try to get in 30 new pages per week when we have a deadline. Of those, Cathy will probably produce 20 while Paula will edit, rewrite, and fuss with detail to make up the next ten. We talk on the phone every day and agree on what’s happening next. (Although Paula can get a little carried away with those secondary characters and their subplots – Cathy holds the whip!)
- FAIR GAME has a unique and fresh premise—a human disease and a computer virus merge to wreak havoc on Earth. Can you tell us a little about how this storyline developed.
TK – We wrote GAME OVER (book 1) as a video game that accidentally crosses with a virtual world. The heroine created the game to help people with limited mobility and inadvertently enhanced it with magic she didn’t know she possessed. MIND GAMES (book 2) was based on two people sharing a single consciousness and was more “real world.” For FAIR GAME (book 3), we wanted something that crossed the real world of book 2 with the heroine’s unique software programming abilities from book 1, and voila! We’re really happy with the results. We do think it’s unique.
- Your heroine, River, is Fae. I’ve become fascinated with the Fae over the last year after being introduced to the fabulous species through a secondary character in book by a new-to-me author.
TK – We didn’t really sit down and make a conscious decision about River being Fae, or having Fae characteristics, other than that we wanted her to have a special talent for earth magic. The Fae were a natural and recognizable fit. Other than that, we tried to make them our own.
- Where did your interest in Fae first come from and what is it about the Fae that draws you most?
TK – From reading classical fantasy and literature more than anything. The heroine was meant to be a world healer from the very beginning, and the Fae and their magic are symbols of that. We try to stay away from what we see as the current trend, while at the same time keeping in mind what’s selling. We like to write what interests us, but really, in the end the point is to write what readers want to read.
- Tell us a little about Chase (Hawk) and River. Why are they the worst fit for each other to begin with and the best match in the end?
TK – Hawk is damaged, cynical, with nothing left to lose. River is all about hope and the future. Hawk could have sucked all the life out of her. In the end, she gives him back his life and a reason to live.
- FAIR GAME is the third book in your Guardian Series. What’s next on your agenda?
TK – We have a new proposal sitting with our agent that we absolutely love, so stay tuned!
River stubbed her toe on cardboard boxes stacked in one corner of the dark attic and tried not to swear. With a pencil-thin flashlight tucked between her teeth she stood still for a moment, listening, hoping no one had heard her, but the house below remained silent.
She didn’t want her stepmother to know she was here. More importantly, she didn’t want Jake to know either. Her half-brother was too young for the problems life had thrust on him and it was better if he didn’t know about the shit going on in hers.
As River sifted carefully through the contents of the boxes, not sure what she was hoping to find but certain that whatever it was, it had to be here at her childhood home, she tried hard to swallow her worry for Hawk. She would have known if he were dead. She would have felt the hole. But he’d been gone for nearly two weeks, cutting himself off from her so that she could no longer sense his presence or feel his soul next to hers.
He’d said he would return for her, and the feminine part of her had wanted him to keep the promises he’d made to her no matter what.
Which just went to show that a woman could only rely on herself — exactly as she’d been taught by the father who’d raised her.
She had come here tonight, to her childhood home, in search of answers because of her father. Constable Jim Peters insisted he had been involved in top secret government experiments. River refused to believe it.
“Trust me,” Jim had said to her a few days before he, too, had disappeared. “Your father was no simple farmer.” His blue eyes looked tired as he rubbed a freckled hand through his graying red hair and complained about needing a haircut. “Was he overprotective?” he asked. “Did he ever go off without explanation for extended periods of time?”
She’d started to say no to the last because the disappearances had been so rare she’d almost forgotten them, but looking back, there had been at least three. She had no idea if there had been any in more recent years, when she had been less a part of his life. She couldn’t deny other oddities either. She had no idea how he’d earned a living. He could fix anything with an engine and four wheels. He’d taught her to shoot a gun, a rifle, and a crossbow, skills he’d later taught Jake. She and her mother had signed up for self-defense lessons and practiced with him. He’d taught them a few moves of his own. These had all been necessary skills in the world she’d grown up in after the war, and they proved nothing other than that her father liked to be prepared.
But neither did they disprove what Jim had tried to tell her, and River wanted Jim to be wrong. She wanted at least one part of her life to be true. If she couldn’t believe in her own father, what was the point of believing in anything?
River carefully replaced the last box. She’d found nothing other than the photos she’d already seen, the ones of the poor creature that had died in a mountain cave not too far from the house. She didn’t know where her father had gotten these photographs and that was what made her uneasy, although she refused to believe they meant anything bad. The man who had raised her had been honest and caring. Without a doubt he had loved her. He had not, however, always been open. She had to admit that.
As she slid the box farther back on the shelf, she met with resistance. Curious, she reached her hand in behind to see what was blocking it. Her fingers brushed cold, smooth metal. A familiar jolt of energy made her smile and she drew a long cylinder off the shelf.
This was the first toy she and her father had built together. Similar to a kaleidoscope, it could be held to the eye and the tube spun to create images. He’d been far more fascinated by it than she. Any time she’d played with it, he’d impatiently waited for his turn.
A branch scratched against the windowpane and River started, spooked by the sudden noise disturbing the stillness. She put the toy back on the shelf.
It wasn’t the noise that had unsettled her, she realized, the skin on her arms beginning to crawl. The house was too silent. No matter how quiet she’d tried to be, and she could be very quiet, Jake would have heard her. He had a sixth sense for things out of the ordinary, something he’d inherited from their dad.
She didn’t walk to the door. Instead, she used her magic and transported herself across the room so as not to make the floor joists creak. She did not, however, dare jump to the main level because she had no idea what she might find if she did. She opened the door and started down the stairs, carefully stepping where the wood had been nailed to the frame. On the second level she passed the open door to Melinda’s bedroom. The room was empty.
She wished Hawk were with her. She might have been taught to look after herself, but there was something to be said for backup. Seriously panicked, and even more cautious, she peered in the other two bedrooms. They were also empty.
A scraping noise came from directly below her, in the vicinity of the kitchen. It sounded like a chair being moved.
She didn’t like the thought of having to take that second flight of stairs to the main level because she’d be exposed, but she had no choice. It was either the stairs or go out a window. If she went out a window, she’d have to get back into the house again.
At the foot of the stairs she paused in the darkness to let her eyesight adjust and to orientate herself. She turned to the kitchen door and placed her hand on the wood, listening hard but hearing nothing now. A funky smell seeped through the cracks, coppery and rank. Hope died. She pushed the door open.
And jerked her head to the side, her lightning-fast Fae instincts reacting to danger a split second before her brain caught up. The bolt from a crossbow quivered in the doorframe a few inches from where her face had been.
“Jake!” she cried out, knowing immediately where that bolt had originated. “It’s me. River.”
Her words met with silence and she waited, debating what to do next and not daring to move. He was scared. She could taste his fear, as thick in the air as the unbearable stench. His next bolt might not miss. He was good, and now he had a better sight on his target.
The overhead light clicked on, flooding the room. River blinked a few times, not wanting to accept what she saw. The walls, the floor, even the ceiling were coated in blood. The television had smashed on the tiles. One overturned chair sat on its side. Two mangled human remains lay near the kitchen table. And Jake, her beautiful, blond-headed brother, not yet fourteen, stood near the exterior door with one hand on the light switch, the other gripping the shaft of the crossbow that rested against his shoulder. He’d jammed a chair under the knob of the door. That was the scraping noise she’d heard.
River didn’t ask him what had happened because she already knew. Rage unfurled inside her, sliding through her veins like floes of ice on a swift stream. Bright red dots of fury obscured her vision. Weres had come looking for her, finding her stepmother and youngest brother instead. Only Jake remained.
A stern voice in the back of her head ordered her to focus on him. Her vision cleared, the rage subsiding but not disappearing. She stored it away, ready to withdraw it at a later time. Right now, Jake needed her.
So did Melinda and Sam. Her throat hurt with the effort of keeping her emotions in check.
“We have to bury them,” Jake said, so matter of factly he sounded exactly like their dad. River nodded, unable to speak.
They worked through the night. By the time they finished, she had already decided where she would take him. What was important was getting Jake to safety. She had no idea when, or if, the ones who had done this might possibly return.
The psychological damage done to him would have to be dealt with too, but at a later date. She didn’t want him to spend his life planning revenge against creatures that had been following orders.
Neither did she want Weres following her and Jake. She had an excellent method of travel that would not leave a scent.
“Hang on, Jake,” she said, taking his hand. “We’re going for a little ride.”
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Taylor Keating is the pseudonym of writing team Catherine Verge and Paula Altenburg.
A multi published author in the romance genre under another pen name, Catherine is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend. She loves dogs, sunny weather, anything chocolate (she never says no to a brownie) pizza and red wine. She has two teenagers who keep her busy with their never ending activities, and a husband who is convinced he can turn her into a mixed martial arts fan. Catherine can never find balance in her life, is always trying to find time to go to the gym, can never keep up with emails, Facebook or Twitter and tries to write page-turning books that her readers will love.
A maritime native and former financial officer, Catherine has lived all over Canada but has finally settled down in her childhood hometown with her family. Catherine also writes spicy romance under Cathryn Fox and Young Adult novels under Cat Kalen.
The other half of Taylor Keating, Paula grew up in rural Nova Scotia knowing that at some point in her life she was going to be a fiction writer. Swapping Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books with her father guaranteed she wasn’t going to be the next Jane Austen, much to the dismay of her English teacher mother. A degree in Social Anthropology from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, again meant writing was the logical (meaning only) career path for her, although it did confirm her belief that learning is a life-long experience.
She now works in the Aerospace industry, which surprises everyone who knows her. Happily married, with two terrific sons, she continues to live in rural Nova Scotia but makes a point of traveling as much as she can. New York and Brussels are tied for her favorite cities of all time.
Enter to WIN a copy of FAIR GAME, courtesy of Tor Books!
WINNERS: Spav & Stacey!
I’m thrilled to wish author Christie Craig an UBER happy release day here on the blog!! The second book in her Hotter in Texas series releases today — BLAME IT ON TEXAS. Christie is here with LOTS of awesome stuff today!
She tells us why she’s so mean
Shares the top 10 things you will learn from BLAME IT ON TEXAS
Shares an excerpt from BLAME IT ON TEXAS
Gives away 2 copies of ONLY IN TEXAS
Gives away a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or B & N
But first…let’s learn more about BLAME IT ON TEXAS!
Zoe Adams has always been content with her quiet nights at home, watching TV alone-until her life turns into a real-life episode of Unsolved Mystery Hunters. The story of a kidnapped girl triggers unexplained memories, and Zoe is dead-set on figuring out why. Her search leads her to one of the Lone Star State’s richest families-and to sexy PI Tyler Lopez.
Tyler has sworn off women, especially redheads with killer curves who poke their noses into his clients’ private lives. Still, he can’t deny the attraction any more than he can deny that some of Zoe’s crazy story makes sense. But when she becomes a hit man’s target, this cold case starts heating up. Suddenly, Tyler will do anything to protect Zoe-even risk his heart.
Now, let’s here from Christie!
Why am I so Mean?
Recently a devoted reader came up to me with an odd question, “Why are you so mean to your characters?”
I considered the question and then just blurted out the truth. “Because if I wasn’t mean to them, you readers wouldn’t like my books. So it’s not my fault, it’s yours.”
Let’s face it, if characters aren’t a little bit tortured, if they haven’t had some hurdle to overcome that left them just slightly wounded, if they aren’t swimming in conflict, well … it’s easy to put a book down. And personally, my readers have grown to expect scenes where my characters find themselves in a few compromising and downright embarrassing situations.
Ahh, but as mean and mischievous as I am to these characters, I offer them joy, lots of laughter, some hot passion, and even better, I offer them true love. Oh, it will be a journey before they find their happily ever after, but you can bet your best bra that they will find it.
In Blame it on Texas, Tyler and Zoe have experienced their share of tragedy. Both need someone to laugh with, someone to love. Tyler’s has always worried he’s relationship impaired due to his own parent’s dysfunctional marriage. Layer that with his fiancé skipping out on him when he was framed for murder. Then spending eighteen months in jail for the crime he didn’t commit, and yeah, he’s a tad wounded. Then there’s Zoe’s story. Imagine having unexplainable memories and reoccurring nightmares. Imagine seeing a cold case show on TV where a picture of you as a child is shown, then it’s reported that this child was kidnapped from a rich Texas family years ago. Could your now deceased parents, whom you dearly loved, have lied to you? Worse, could they have been criminals capable of unspeakable acts?
Seeking answers, Zoe high tails it to Texas and lands at the feet, or rather is caught hiding under the desk of a very sexy private investigator who works for the family. Tyler thinks she’s the new receptionist, and Zoe lets him think it and escapes. When Tyler catches up with her at her temporary waitressing job, she unintentionally drops a few plates of food on him. When she later explains that she believes she’s the kidnapped child, Tyler’s pretty sure Zoe’s a few eggs short of a Grand Slam breakfast, but he still offers his services. In no time, the sexual tension grows hotter and his offer covers services both in and out of the bedroom. While tempted, she knows Tyler’s not looking for commitment and her fragile heart can’t handle a short fling. So no hanky-panky. She makes that very clear.
Ahh, but a woman has a right to change her mind. And a proposed game of Strip Scrabble should convince this stubborn Texan she’s reconsidered.
As Tyler and Zoe inadvertently laugh their way into love, my goal is that readers will laugh right along with them. Yes, I might be slightly mean to my characters, but in the end, I think it’s worth it.
Ten Things You Will Learn from Blame it on Texas.
1. Guys don’t like to play dress up; but when one willingly dresses as a clown for his six-year-old niece’s birthday party—because the real clown canceled—he’s one special uncle. And could possibly make a special hero for some lucky lady.
2. Sometimes, fear itself can do much more damage to us than the thing we’re actually afraid of.
3. Any man who doesn’t cuss up a blue streak when you dump a plate of hot grits on him can’t be all bad. (In fact, he might just be The One.)
4. It’s important to remember the lessons of the past so we can use them when making decisions for the future. But those lessons should never keep us from having the future we deserve.
5. Before accusing the sexy guy who pounced, knocked you down, and crawled on top of you of being foreplay impaired; check to see if someone is shooting at you.
6. The southern delicacy of a banana and mayonnaise sandwich may be an acquired taste, especially when a hungry hero chomps down on the delicacy and is expecting ham and cheese.
7. If you think getting caught screaming and dancing on top of a mattress—all while attempting to rescue your cat from an overzealous dog—can be slightly embarrassing, try doing it while you’re wet from the shower, and as naked as a jay bird. Oh, and just to make it even more fun, make sure you’re caught by your possible love interest who hasn’t seen you naked yet, and . . . (yes, it can get worse) his two best friends.
8. It’s downright amazing how playing a few rounds of Strip Scrabble can spice up an evening.
9. A family doesn’t always have to be the people who share your bloodline; sometimes, the best families are those we make when we gather together all the people we love.
10. Learning to trust yourself is usually a lot harder than trusting another person. But both are generally required before finding true love.
When Tyler spotted the silver Cobalt with Alabama tags parked around the back of the diner, a thrill shot through him. After parking, he took a minute to figure out how best to approach Zoe. How best to find out why she was snooping around on, and under, his desk? Inside, he immediately spotted her waiting on an elderly couple.
His gaze did a quick up and down of her shapely body. She filled out the white skirt and top to perfection. When she moved to a dirty table and started stacking dishes, he moved forward.
“Mind if I sit here?” He waited for her to look up, anticipating her reaction.
“No problem.” She barely glanced at him.
When she leaned over to clean the far end of the table, his gaze shifted to her ass and he recalled watching her crawl across his office floor.
“Coffee?” She gave the table two more swipes, her hips moving with the circular motion.
“That would be fine.” He sat down. “Thanks.”
He waited to see if she’d meet his gaze and hoped for a flash of recognition, but she didn’t look at him directly. He watched her step away. She snagged a cup and filled it. Then turning back, she placed the coffee on a tray loaded down with three plates of food.
She moved toward him and set the coffee on his table while balancing the tray with her other hand.
“Got some cream?”
Her gaze shot to his face, and her blue eyes widened with recognition.
She didn’t move, but one of the plates on her tray did. She adjusted her hold on the tray as if trying to prevent the disaster, but it was too late. Tyler saw it happening, but there was nothing he could do to stop it. The white plate flew off the tray, heading right at his head. He dodged the plate, but the hot grits and scrambled eggs made a direct hit with his face.
“Shit,” she muttered as the plate crashed to the floor.
He knocked a blob of butter from his cheek and looked at her. Her step back sent the second and third plate racing across the tray, and, once again, he was the finish line. Shredded potatoes, accompanied by the half-cooked eggs, plopped right in his lap.
Somehow, he’d managed to catch one plate, but the other plate bounced off the table, hit the linoleum, and shattered. As a thick glob of grits fell from the end of his nose, laughter exploded from the other diner patrons.
“I…” She stared at him.
He scooted his chair back from the table and looked down at himself. She dropped the tray on the edge of his table, grabbed his napkin, and started wiping globs of still warm grits off his chest. She kept wiping, following the trail of food down to his lap. She attempted to flop one half-cooked egg from his crotch. But the yoke burst and he watched it run between his legs.
Finally, she raised her head and met his gaze. He stared into her beautiful blue eyes and the sweetest mouth he could ever remember seeing. Appearing almost as mesmerized by his gaze as he was by hers, her hand slipped deeper between his legs. Her gentle touch came in direct contact with sensitive body parts and felt pretty damn good, too. She jumped back as if suddenly realizing where her hand was.
A smile pulled at his mouth. “It’s okay.” Actually it was more than okay. By damn, she was a pretty thing.
And now that I’ve told you ten things you’ll learn from my book. Why don’t you share with me some things you’ve learned from other romance novels? Today, just for leaving a post, you’ll be entered to win one of two book giveaways–the first book in the series, Only in Texas (previously published as Don’t Mess With Texas). And to everyone who posts and tells me that they bought my book, I’ll put them in a drawing to win a $25 gift card to either Barnes and Noble or Amazon, winner’s choice.
Oh, also here’s my video for Hotter in Texas.
Whoo-hoo! I’ve got Shirlee Busbee, New York Times bestselling author, here with me today talking about writing panster-style and making me break out in a cold sweat! Even though I’ve been writing in a very similar fashion as Shirlee describes here for some time now, just seeing it in black and white makes me anticipate a full-body erruption of hives. Eeeek! On the other hand, it’s reassuring to know the method work for a NYT bestseller!! Maybe I’m on the right path after all.
Shirlee is generously giving away 3 books today! A copy of WHISPER TO ME OF LOVE, PASSION BECOMES HER & DESIRE BECOMES HER, so make sure you leave a comment and sign up through the rafflecopter widget below!
But first, let me introduce Shirlee’s brand new release: DESIRE BECOMES HER
Shirlee’s up Gillian Dashwood is a widow with a scandalous past. Half the town believes her guilty of murdering her first husband, a notorious and depraved gambler. Now, two years later, Gillian goes to stay at her uncle’s estate and there meets Lucien “Lucifer” Joslyn.
Luc arrived in England from France months ago, suffering from the effects of an infected gunshot wound. Once recovered, he won a small fortune at the gaming tables. Knowing her reputation, Luc is suspicious of Gillian and her motives. Gillian is equally suspicious of Luc. She despises gamblers and yet, despite all the reasons why she shouldn’t, she finds herself responding to Luc’s undeniable attractiveness.
But could she dare to risk her heart with such a man?
You can pick up DESIRE BECOMES HER at these locations:
I’m a seat of the pants writer, or a ‘pantster’ in writer speak. What that actually means is that I haven’t a clue, or much of one, what direction my story will go. Oh, sure, I have an idea (sort of), a location (definitely), an era (of course) and I know the names, character and physical description of my hero and heroine, but many times (most) that’s it, folks.
It’s as I flesh out my two main characters that the first glimmer of a storyline, or plot, if you want to get technical, begins to unfold in my mind. Sometimes, it’s magic the way the story just becomes clearer and clearer to me, other times, it’s a struggle from start to finish. And there are always those days during the course of any book of just sitting staring at the screen, willing something clever and inspired to appear before me. Never happens, the work just progresses agonizing word by agonizing word. Or to use one of my favorite quotes, “Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” Gene Fowler. Boy, did he get it right.
DESIRE BECOMES HER, the second book in the Joslyn Family Series, fell sort of in between clear and clearer and drops of blood forming on my forehead. I loved Luc from the moment I introduced him in RAPTURE BECOMES HER (the first Joslyn Family book). But he was tricky character. He was half-French at a time England was at war with France, illegitimate and a gambler, yet I had to make him fit into the upper reaches of English society. It helped enormously that his half-brother, Barnaby, was Viscount Joslyn — that opened a lot of the right doors. It also helped that Luc’s skill with the cards made him a desirable player at the gambling hells in London where he rubbed shoulders with the aristocracy. Since he wasn’t a bad guy at heart, with a few rough patches, I got him established amongst the ton. Maybe not the very top reaches of the ton but part of it.
The widow, Gillian Dashwood, Luc’s ladylove gave me some bad moments. Believed by the ton of having murdered her husband I had to have enough evidence to make it believable, yet not so much that she was on trial for murder. Placing her in her Uncle Silas’s house right under Luc’s nose was a flash of inspiration and believe me, it came to me in a, er, flash :-). Getting them married was another easy stretch in the book, but dealing with those bloody vowels and tying it all in with her husband’s murder… Yikes. I think, in the end, it worked, but you’ll to read DESIRE BECOMES HER and decide for yourself if I got it right.
Shirlee is generously giving away 3 books today! A copy of WHISPER TO ME OF LOVE, PASSION BECOMES HER & DESIRE BECOMES HER, so make sure you leave a comment and sign up through the rafflecopter widget below!
Author of historical and modern romance, Shirlee Busbee has enjoyed tremendous international success since her first novel Gypsy Lady was published in 1977. Shirlee’s books have been translated into numerous languages and she is a household name to romance readers around the world.
Shirlee is married to her best friend, Howard, and the couple celebrate their 48th anniversary in 2011. Shirlee and Howard reside in Northern California on a lovely ranch were the couple is kept busy with their beloved Mini Schnauzers, prize winning Shetland Ponies and of course Shirlee’s writing!
Shirlee is writing constantly and has now dipped into blogging. Visit her blog were she writes about her every day life, and how she creates her much loved stories.
Super excited to wish my buddy and fellow romantic suspense author, Dee J. Adams, an UBER HAPPY RELEASE DAY!! The third book in her Adrenaline High series (what a cool name!), DANGEROUSLY CLOSE is out today.
DANGEROUSLY CLOSE has received a coveted 4 star review from RT Magazine and Dee J. is here today to talk about a fascinating aspect of creating the whole package — the creation of the audiobook.
Now, many of you may know I’m an audiobook junkie. I drive quite a distance to my day job and my only real “reading” time in on the road. So I covet my Audible account. Dee J. and I got to talking about audiobooks and I learned that Dee J. actually narrated two books in the Adrenaline High series.
Like…professionally…in a studio…with takes and producers and sound people and…yeah!
Today, Dee J. is going to tell us a little about that very cool process! She’s also giving away an EBOOK (sorry, not an audiobook) of DANGEROUSLY CLOSE, so be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter form below!
What you can’t see can kill you.
Bad-boy rock star Seger Hughes hit rock bottom after a near-fatal tragedy at his concert. He hates how his life has spun out of control. After changing his appearance and his name, he transforms into a different man: Mel Summers. Now he just needs a place to hide out from rabid fans and paparazzi.
An isolated cliffside mansion is perfect. Ashley Bristol, his only neighbor, is blind—and her assistant is a classical music fan. They have no clue who he really is, but someone else does and she’s waited her whole life to be with him.
Struggling to find her way after an accident that took her sight, Ashley is determined not to feel anything. Yet she gets to know Mel and can’t help falling for him. When her assistant mysteriously disappears, Ashley must rely on Mel more than ever. But then his past comes back to haunt them both, and just when they must pull together to avoid danger, betrayal and lies threaten to tear them apart…
Now…here’s Dee J!
First I have to thank Joan for having me here on Dangerously Close release day! Yay! Thank you, Joan!
Every book has been a different experience and this one is no exception. I loved writing Ashley’s story, but most of all I loved telling it! Dangerously Close was the second book I’ve narrated. (The first being book #2 in the Adrenaline Highs Series, Danger Zone.) Narrating a book is never easy. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes it’s absolutely a blast. It took me three days to narrate Dangerously Close, which was a day shorter than it took to narrate Danger Zone. (Keep in mind Danger Zone is about eight thousand words longer so it makes sense.)
Before I get ahead of myself I should tell you a little about the process. A narrator has to “mark” their voices. You have to know without question what a character sounds like, even (sometimes) what they look like. If you’ve got four characters on a page, you need to be able to jump from one voice to the next without hesitation. Sometimes it’s easier than others. It all depends on how similar (or different) the voices are.
I faced one tremendous surprise when I began working on my hero, Seger Hughes AKA: Mel Summers. Turned out this particular rock star has a touch of country in him. Not in his music, but in his heart. When I found his voice, I was shocked to discover a little bit of a twang. Want to hear something even crazier? I never thought about it while I was writing the man, but as I began to “talk” the man, I realized I’d written several phrases that a mid-west or southern boy might use. This led me to believe that my inner writer knew from the beginning that my hard-core rock star really had southern roots somewhere. (Personally, I think he got his twang from his mama.)
Now it’s your turn. Can you come up with five voices off the top of your head? Try it. Three women and two men. How difficult is it? Is it something you think you can sustain for an entire book?
All three Adrenaline Highs books are available on Audible.com, but if you want to hear me narrating one of my books, you can listen to Danger Zone and Dangerously Close. (Drop me a line if you do and let me know what you think!)
LISTEN TO A SAMPLE OF DANGEROUSLY CLOSE HERE: SAMPLE ON AUDIBLE (NO ACCOUNT NECESSARY!)
Leslie Tentler and I are swapping blog spots today! Here, you’ll get to know more about Leslie, her cool genre, her latest awesomely chilling release that I can’t WAIT to squeeze into my reading schedule and you’ll get a chance to WIN Book 3 in her Chasing Evil trilogy. Then, you can hop over to Leslie’s blog and enter to WIN a copy of FEVER.
I’ve been hiding in my prerelease cave, that’s my excuse for being ignorant of the rise in pupularity of this fabulous genre–Romantic Thrillers. Nothing could suit my personal reading preference better. I have to admit, in my free time, I prefer to read thrillers. I like their dark nature, the way the law enforcement characters dig into the uglier side of human behavior. I’m just…odd like that. But as much as I enjoy those elements, I find myself inevitably disappointed over the lack of a romantic element.
Then…I met Leslie, and I discovered this fabulous emerging genere: 75% thriller, 25% romance.
*the heavens open*
*the angels sing*
*my 4 hr drive to work just became a thing of audiobook beauty*
First, let me tell you about Leslie’s latest release.
The writer becomes the story when crime reporter Mia Hale is discovered on a Jacksonville beach—bloodied and disoriented, but alive. She remembers nothing, but her wounds bear the signature of a sadistic serial killer. After years lying dormant, The Collector has resumed his grim hobby: abducting women and taking gruesome souvenirs before dumping their bodies. But none of his victims has ever escaped—and he wants Mia back, more than he ever wanted any of the others.
FBI agent Eric MacFarlane has pursued The Collector for a long time. The case runs deep in his veins, bordering on obsession…and Mia holds the key. She’ll risk everything to recover her memory and bring the madman to justice, and Eric swears to protect this fierce, fragile survivor. But The Collector will not be denied. In his mind, he knows just how their story ends.
Now, a little about Leslie.
Leslie Tentler is the author of the critically acclaimed Chasing Evil trilogy from MIRA Books. Her third novel in the series – Edge of Midnight – was released February 1. Leslie worked in PR as a writer and editor for nearly two decades before pursuing her love of writing fiction. Her Chasing Evil trilogy of romantic thrillers includes Midnight Caller, Midnight Fear and Edge of Midnight. She lives in Atlanta.Leslie, your Chasing Evil trilogy is under the Romantic Thriller genre. This is intriguing to someone like me who loves both thrillers and romance – something a little more intense, a little darker than the typical Romantic Suspense. Does that correlate with the Romantic Thrillers you write? Can you tell us more about this interesting genre?
I’m not sure if “romantic thrillers” are a genre completely different from romantic suspense, but in my mind the stories are definitely dark and intense. And while romance is a strong secondary subplot in all of the Chasing Evil books, the primary focus is on the criminal investigation – the case – that each federal agent is handling. I think the books come close to crossing over into mainstream mystery/suspense, but there is definitely also a romantic entanglement and passion between the two main characters.I do love an FBI hero or heroine, and your Chasing Evil trilogy has three sexy FBI heroes. What intrigues you about writing this type of hero? Can you tell us a little about each of your heroes: Trevor, Reid and Eric?
I’ve always been enthralled with law enforcement heroes. I’m a big fan of good police-oriented dramas and always love it when the police officer or FBI agent’s personal life becomes a part of the story. In the Chasing Evil books, I’ve really tried to create a balance between the procedural investigation aspect and the agents’ emotional lives.
All three heroes – Trevor, Reid and Eric – are intelligent, courageous men, but each is facing his own personal crisis while also handling a high-profile serial murder investigation. Trevor’s story (Midnight Caller) revolves around his painful past and the family he’s forced to reunite with as part of a New Orleans serial killer case. Agent Reid Novak (Midnight Fear) comes from a much more stable family situation, but is recovering from a personal health crisis when he’s called back to duty early to tangle with the copycat of a killer he put away two years earlier.
Agent Eric Macfarlane (Edge of Midnight) is a man on a mission, bent on finding the serial killer who murdered his wife before vanishing. When the same killer resurges in another state nearly three years later, Eric has to balance his drive to capture “The Collector” with the growing feelings he has for the only woman who has ever escaped him, and whose lost memories of her trauma could be the break Eric needs.Reviews for your Chasing Evil trilogy have been stellar, repeatedly declaring it as fast-paced, riveting, chilling and terrifying. These accomplishments take great skill in the areas of storytelling and writing craft. What techniques do you employ to achieve these difficult but necessary elements of an awesome thriller?
Thank you, Joan. I’m so proud of the Chasing Evil trilogy and genuinely appreciative and humbled by the critical praise it’s received. I truly put everything I had into these books.
I honestly believe that for any story, the most important aspect is having characters the reader really cares about. If you don’t have that – no plot or dialogue or action sequence will save you. I have to fall in love with a character before I can truly pour all those hours and effort into a manuscript. I have to care about what happens to them, and if I don’t, well, I’ve got a big problem.
While that’s the most critical aspect, the second part of it is testing them, putting these characters you admire and love into dangerous, unimaginable situations. Especially when it comes to thrillers and suspense, I believe readers want to see characters overcome great obstacles so they have someone and something to root for.
By the way, since each book is about a different agent and a different investigation, it’s perfectly fine to read them in any order.You worked as a public relations writer and editor for many years prior to delving into fiction. How do you feel that aided you in your current career?
I believe that I’m very good at editing myself – I’ve edited others for years – which I think leads to a much cleaner manuscript being turned in to a publisher. And while my past experience has been in non-fiction – developing press materials and ghostwriting countless business articles for executives – you’re still working with words, learning how to create a compelling story. I also learned the “butt in chair” discipline a long time ago, since it’s how I made my living. No typing, no paycheck!Can you give us any little peek into any new projects?
I’m currently working on another romantic thriller that revolves around a homicide detective in Atlanta and his ex-wife, who is an ER physician at a large downtown hospital. While the story focuses on a high-profile case the detective is handling, it is also about what happened to this couple – their shared tragedy – to tear them apart. The story might be a little slower paced than the breakneck speed of the Chasing Evil trilogy, but it also packs a pretty big emotional punch. It’s proving a tough one to write, but I think these characters’ stories are worth telling.Where can we find you online?
Where can we pick up your fabulous books?
Edge of Midnight was released Feb. 1 and is in bookstores now. Here are the links to the books online:
Thanks for having me today, Joan! Best of luck on your upcoming debut!My pleasure, Leslie! So great to meet you and SO looking forward to your books!
You, lucky readers, can WIN a copy of Leslie’s latest release! She’s giving away a copy of Edge of Midnight to one lucky commenter in winner’s choice of ebook or tree-book (tree-book available to US addresses only).
Enter for your chance to win!
I’m welcoming one of my Kensington sisters to One Word at a Time today! Tracy Sumner has been awarded the National Reader’s Choice, the Write Touch and the Beacon – with finalist nominations in the HOLT Medallion, Heart of Romance, Rising Stars and Reader’s Choice. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish!
It doesn’t have to be December to settle into a great holiday season romance! And while Tracy’s most recent work happens to have a holiday theme, JEEZOHHELL, look at that cover! I’d read that any time of year!!! She also has a number of other fabulous works to choose from and she’s giving away several today! Your meaningful comment will enter you for a chance to WIN a set of ebooks including the TIDE series and her holiday novella!!
Tanner Barkley was set on forgetting the love of his life. Until fate threw Katherine Peters into his path for an unforgettable holiday of passion.
Don’t forget the first rule when dealing with scoundrels.
Never wager more than you are willing to lose.
Especially in matters of the heart.
To Desire a Scoundrel: Buy link
Tracy, can you tell us a little about TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL?
TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL: A CHRISTMAS SEDUCTION was originally published by Kensington, but I have rights back, and have released the eBook on my own! It’s a sequel to TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, out in early 2012! Yes, I released the holiday novella first – for the Season!
Tell us a little about TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL what inspired you to write it?
When I finished TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, I really had this great feeling about Adam Chase’s best friend, Tanner Barkley. Very cynical, secretive, sexy, in other words, the perfect hero! And who better to pair him with than the daughter of the somber chaperone in ROGUE? No daughter of such a severe woman could suffer fools easily.
And we all know how foolish a man in love can act.
Then my editor invited me to participate in a Christmas anthology and TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL was born.
Katherine Peters is made for Tanner, and for the first time, I wrote about a hero who realizes this simple fact before the heroine! (If you recall, in ROGUE, Adam is clueless until nearly the end. Even Tanner tries to tell him the error of his ways. How sad is that?)
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I do have SOME things I want to happen. It’s often more things I want the characters to SAY. But much of what happens is dictated by my characters.
I wrote YA stuff in high school. Think The Outsiders. But I read my first romance novel (LaVyrle Spencer’s VOWS) in college…and I’ve never looked back. As a writer or a reader. I love historical and contemporaries.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Noah Garrett from TIDES OF LOVE is kinda my guy. He’s a sexy nerd – a marine biologist. Perhaps I should say that he is the perfect guy in my mind. Intelligent+, kinda, tortured, complex, gorgeous.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Maybe Tanner in TO DESIRE A SCOUNDREL. It’s hard to write a hero who is very conflicted and closed to love without making him appear “un-heroic”. I like my hero AND heroines to have an edge. I have an edge, so I write with one. But you have to temper that with kindness, caring, vulnerability…something to garner support from your reader. Plus, I have to like them, too!
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Well, this one is really funny. When I started my first novel, TO SEDUCE A ROGUE, I was dating this guy who used to be a marine biologist. And I really wrote the novel without thinking that much about how I knew about marine biology, etc. And later on, I realized that he would probably read the book or hear about it and think it was about him. I was mortified!Because Noah was all my creation. Seriously.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Writing! Putting butt in chair and PRODUCING.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
For someone who writes HEA (happily ever after) stories, I’m a bit cynical about the long-term prospects of many relationships I encounter. I’m the person who rolls her eyes at weddings. I’m not the crier.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Wine! And romance novels. Jack and Jennifer on Days of Our Lives from the late 80s/early 90s. Someone has a website (Devoted to Deveraux) with all the old clips – and I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
I like the theme music from Out of Africa. Makes me want to create.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Noah Garrett: Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones — as the Professor (not the guy with the whip)
Zach Garrett: Josh Lucas (Jake Perry, Sweet Home Alabama)
Tanner Barkley: Leonardo DiCaprio (Billy, The Departed): part bad boy, part sweet man
Adam Chase: Again, H Ford (Han Solo) Stubborn as hell, fights love, vulnerable
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
Funny! My mother called me (I think I was living in Chicago at the time) and told me an editor with Kensington had called her. I freaked! I submitted my manuscript without including a phone number. They had to TRACK ME DOWN!!!
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Well, Judith Ivory did. But she’s not writing anymore, I don’t think.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I’m a graphic designer. Which I love.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Okay, the grand plan, if I can get the butt in chair deal going, is to finish a Victorian historical with light paranormal elements AND an edgy, sexy contemporary. I don’t know if I can finish both in the year. I also have an anthology coming out with a group of authors in April. Check out my website for release information!
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Stephen King. Ashley March in romance. Julie Anne Long.
How do you pick your characters names?
Research, names I hear that I like. What fits the character. What I can break down. I’m very fond of nicknames for characters.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
First sight. It’s a fantasy!
Where can readers find you?
What other works do you have out right now?
Tides of Passion: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WVPFH0
Tides of Love: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0066B1XTY
Leave a comment or question and enter to WIN a set of ebooks including the TIDE series and Tracy’s holiday novella, TO SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL!!