Beginning January 1, 2013

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

GUEST BLOG: JASON BARRET

Something My Mother Once Said


I had struggled writing my first book for years and finally it was done. I was very proud of course so I had a few copies printed at a local print shop with the intention of presenting one to my wife, each of my daughters, and my mother. It was a surprise to my mother because I hadn’t told anyone that I was writing a book in fear that it would never come to fruition so one day I proudly walked into my Mom’s house and presented it. “Mom, I wrote a book,” I proudly said.

“Oh my God,” she said. “It’s not about us, is it?” Of course what she meant was, “It isn’t about our totally dysfunctional family, is it?”

So I said, “No, of course not. The family is entirely fictional.” That seemed to relieve her mind for a while but when she started to read it she asked the question again. I reassured her that it was a purely fictional family but the book remained just a coffee table book for some years to come.

It really wasn’t about our family but elements of our real life were bound to creep in somehow or somewhere. It’s unavoidable. They say write from what you know so writers do, and I don’t necessarily mean the exact events or family secrets or secret desires are included but the emotions brought about by the author’s experiences have to be in there somewhere. Those joys or scars have all left an indelible mark on our psyche and will affect our perception of the world and consequently effects how we write.

I am sure all of those things Mom didn’t want me to write about will eventually end up on the pages of one book or another. The fun part is only a few close friends or family can only hazard a guess about it and when they actually have the guts to ask I always tell them, “It’s a totally fictional family and no, that character isn’t you.” Of course I’m saying this while I’m wearing my tee shirt that reads, “Be careful what you say or you’ll end up in my next novel.” And then I smile.

Visit my site to enter my March Contest to win a Jason Barret Mug and a copy of my previously published book, Dead Or A Lie. About the Author:
Jason still lives in the quiet community where he grew up and met his high school sweet heart and wife, Janice. They have been married for 30 plus years and are the proud parents of two daughters, two grandsons, and a granddaughter on the way!

Jason is a member of the Romance Writers of America and a member of the Central New York Romance Writers where he served on the Career Development Committee and Treasurer. His first novel, Dead Or A Lie, a paranormal vampire romance, was published in 2010. His current novel, Saint’s Sword, is a prequel to Dead or A Lie.

Jason enjoys kayaking, cross country skiing, hiking and working on his 1972 MGB European sports car.

Visit Jason on the web at www.JasonBarret.com or contact him at Jason@jasonbarret.com.

1332 Eastern Europe: The worlds of God, Goddess and Satan collide in this epic tale of love, revenge and forgiveness.

Two years ago Nicolai’s life, as he knew it, ceased to exist. On that one horrific day his wife was murdered and his daughter abducted and he’s been on the hunt ever since. But the baggage he carries is heavy— guilt. Guilt of not being there when he was needed most. Guilt of believing he wasn’t the husband and father he should have been haunts his every waking moment but above all else he’s determined to rescue his daughter from the ruthless clutches of the vampire known as Lord Valnar and destroy him to avenge his wife’s death.

Kaira is also on the hunt. Barmaid by necessity and hunter by choice she too has been injured by these blood thirsty beasts. Kaira and her companion, Gustav, have been destroying Valnar’s legion of undead for years, but at a high cost—her heart. She’s already seen to many of her comrades fall prey to Valnar’s men and she’s vowed not to let her heart get in her way again. Gustav, the Preacher, has a much different goal. For him it’s neither revenge nor lost love. His only goal and pleasure in life is to hear the faint utterance of the word “free” as a soul is released when a vampire is destroyed.

Together, Nicolai, Kaira and Gustav join forces toward one common goal—destroying Valnar but when a battle goes terribly wrong and despite his vow to love no other Nicolai finds himself in Kiara’s arms.

After rescuing the witch, Jessica, she joins the group but finds herself at odds with Gustav and Kiara. Nevertheless she calls upon the Goddess to help them find the Saint’s Sword. Will they solve the mystery of Gardos and retrieve the sacred awe powerful Saint’s Sword from its guarded grave? When Nicolai hears whispers on the wind warning him of betrayal he begins to doubt everything and everyone around him and even though he is surrounded by his friends and lover he feels alone. Will he be betrayed by his lover, the preacher, the witch, the mercenary or his own heart?
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GUEST BLOG: DAVID PEREDA

This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leave a comment or ask David a question and be entered into a drawing for a $20 Amazon GC. Click the banner above to find other stops on the tour.

Behind the Scene: What Writing is Really About
by
David Pereda


Readers often have a glamorous view of writers. They believe writers constantly travel the world to exotic places; live a life of adventure; are involved with beautiful and seductive women -- or, as the case may be, men; can taste the difference beween a Medoc and a St. Emilion -- and distinguish the vintage too; and that the act of writing comes effortlessly.

I know what you expect me to say right now, "No, it's not true." I'd be dishonest if I said that.

It's true.

I've traveled to more than twenty-five countries; I've been married five times -- and if that's not adventuresome enough for you, consider this: I've ridden racing camels in the Arabian desert, competed in show jumping equestrian events, been in a street fight in Mexico, have seen a pack of wolves hunting in Alaska; and, on a given day, I can taste the difference between a Medoc and a St. Emilion and, often but not always, the vintage year.

However, there's one thing I can't do, no matter how hard I try: write effortlessly.

To me, writing is the hardest thing I've ever done. It takes me a long time to settle on an idea to write about; and it takes me even longer to plot the book -- yes, I'm a plotter not a pantser. But what takes me the longest is the act of writing the book itself. Everyday I give myself excuses not to write -- like I need to answer my emails, do my income tax, plan my next trip. On a good day, with a lot of luck and much self-persuasion, I might produce 2-3 pages of good writing. I don't feel too bad when I do that since my idol, Hemingway, was delighted when he wrote 400 words in a day. The problem is I don't do that often.

So a typical writing day for me is so painful I wouldn't wish it on anyone except on an unabashed, dyed-in-the-wool masochist. I'm not a masochist, mind you. I love life and its pleasures.

If you were sitting across from me right now, this would be your cue to ask, "Why do you do it then?"

I do it because I love to tinker with words. I do it because I delight in crafting thrillers and mainstream novels with subtle layers of understanding. I do it because I get a kick out of creating and developing unique characters. In short, I do it because the joy and feeling of accomplishment I derive from holding in my hands the completed manuscript is akin to that of a mother after giving birth to a baby.

And it's worth all the pain.

About the Author:
David Pereda is an award-winning author who enjoys crafting political thrillers and mainstream novels. His books have won the Lighthouse Book Awards twice, the Royal Palm Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, and the Readers Favorite Awards. He has traveled extensively around the world and speaks several languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching college-level courses, Pereda had a rich and successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Qatar, among others.

A member of MENSA, Pereda is the regional director of the Florida Writers Association and the co-founder of AWE (Asheville Writing Enthusiasts). He loves sports and has won many prizes competing in track and show-jumping equestrian events.
Pereda lives with his family in Asheville, North Carolina.
Please visit him at…

www.DavidPereda.com
www.twitter.com/DavidPeredaAVL
https://www.facebook.com/david.pereda
What if you found out your success was built on lies told by your father that caused great misfortune to people dear to you? What if you had the opportunity to do something about it…twenty-five years later and at the risk of your own life? Would you or wouldn’t you?

This is the dilemma award-winning Miami Architect Cid Milan suddenly faces in this 90,000-word, mainstream novel. A Cuban immigrant forced to abandon his country as a teenager during the tumultuous Mariel boatlift of 1980, Cid is a self-made man who arrived in the United States with nothing. He’s an example of what can be accomplished in America through hard work and determination. He hobnobs with the Mayor, has a sexy model for his girlfriend, and is building the most luxurious condominium on Biscayne Bay. But when his dying father, Colonel Jose Milan, a well-known political dissident, confesses to him a shocking family secret from Cuba, Cid’s life implodes.

Colonel Milan reveals that in order to ensure Cid could leave Cuba unharmed, he collaborated with Castro’s police -- willfully betraying both Cid's best friend, Joaquin, and forsaking his pregnant girlfriend Sandra. Overnight, Cid’s world is turned upside down. Trying to unravel the mystery of his own past, Cid realizes there’s only one thing he can do: return to the land he abandoned. In his quest to learn the truth, Cid rediscovers himself and his roots as he reunites with Joaquin and searches frantically throughout Cuba for Sandra and the secret she has kept from him all these years: his son. In the process, Cid learns an invaluable lesson about love, forgiveness and redemption that changes his life forever.
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Monday, February 27, 2012

GUEST BLOG: SARA RAMSEY

Why I Love Spinster Heroines


Thank you so much for having me on the blog today! I’m really excited to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart – the proliferation of spinster heroines in Regency romances. What is it with these “on the shelf” ladies, and why are they all propping up the ballroom walls, waiting for discerning dukes to sweep them off their feet?

First, an anecdote. While I was visiting my family in Iowa over Christmas, my grandmother (a wonderful woman whom I love greatly, despite her occasional, ahem, lack of tact) asked me several times about the status of my life and relationships. Upon reminding her, yet again, that I’m currently single (the horror!), she finally said, “so you’re an old maid.” Thanks, Grandma!

My grandmother may not realize it, but women today are marrying later and later; census results show that more men and women are never marrying at all. The 2010 census found that, for what may be the first time ever, unmarried women (including divorcees and widows) outnumber married women in the US. Unmarried at 30, I’m not raising any eyebrows from a statistical standpoint.

So to me, it’s little wonder that heroines in Regency romances are trending older. I’ve always thought Regencies are popular because that time period mirrors our own time period in a lot of ways. And, as usual, the heroines of “Romancelandia” are continuing to morph into women who could be our modern-day friends, sisters, or daughters.

The latest crop of Regency heroines are older, more mature, more aware of what they want, but still facing biological/societal pressure as they get older to make the perfect match. All those spinsters feel a lot like the many 20- and 30-something women I know who have had wildly successful careers, but have found less success with the 21st century marriage mart. For me, romance novels aren’t just an escape, but an opportunity for a reader to connect emotionally with characters going through similar situations (albeit with much more fabulous wardrobes) and, through them, the reader hopefully learns more about her own heart.

In my debut book, HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE, Lady Madeleine Vaillant is a very proper spinster. But at night, in disguise, she’s the hottest actress of the Season. It was so fun to write her because she faces many of the choices we all face: between love and career, family and passion, dreams and expectations. Like all of us, there isn’t a “wrong” choice for her to make – but she has to finally, truly understand herself to be happy with the life she’s made.

What do you think about spinsters in romance novels? Do you prefer older heroines? Or do you think the trend has been overdone? A lucky commenter will win an ebook of HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE!

About the Author:
Sara Ramsey writes fun, feisty Regency historical romances. She won the prestigious 2009 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award with her first book, Scotsmen Prefer Blondes (formerly titled An Inconvenient Marriage). The prequel, Heiress Without A Cause (formerly titled One Night to Scandal), was a 2011 Golden Heart finalist.

Sara grew up in a small town in Iowa, and her obsession with fashion, shoes, and all things British is clearly a rebellion against her hopelessly uncool youth. She graduated from Stanford University in 2003 with a degree in Symbolic Systems (also known as cognitive science) and a minor in history. Sara subsequently worked at Google for seven years in a variety of sales, management, and communications roles. She left Google in 2010 to pursue her writing career full time. Read all about her Regency obsessions and upcoming works at www.SaraRamsey.com. Or, follow her slightly ridiculous Twitter feed, @Sara_Ramsey.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

GUEST BLOG: TINA GAYLE

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Wag Your Tail
Having animals in our house, underfoot, and pooping in our back yard can enrich our everyday life. All the experts say it’s true. But is it?

We have had two incredible dogs, mutts really. We made a trip to the pound to pick out both.

Peach, we got when she was barely six weeks old. A cute little thing that weighted less than a few pounds, she grew. A grey hound/lab mix, she weighted over thirty pounds once she became an adult and over fifty when she couldn’t run it off.

Callie, a border terrier, we picked up when she was about three. With small dog syndrome, she did not like the idea of staying in our back yard. Had a heck of a time with her until she ran away and got caught by the dog catcher. She decided she liked us better than the pound. Now, she’s a lap dog.

Did they enrich my family's life? Oh, yes.

So when I decided to write the Executive Wives Club Series, I had to have a dog-- one for Jen, the star of The Unwilling Widow. She doesn’t really have anyone. Her husband is dead, her family is supportive but she doesn’t feel as if she fits in and all of the other executive wives have kids. Jen needed someone too. Enters George the wonder dog, and yes, he knows it. He is spoiled rotten and loves it that way. His world is Jen and being an adorable blonde lab, he expects everyone to love him like she does. Who couldn’t, right?

Then to his horror enters a new man. Not his dad, but someone new.

The Unwilling Widow

Jennifer Larson, having lost her husband, friends and the perfect life she’d had plan, now faces the biggest challenge of her life, moving into an unplanned future. While the rest of the Executive Wife Club is still wallowing in the past, Jen is tempted into the future by a sexy chiropractor, Hagan Chaney.

But does he really love her or is he only after her money?
Find me everywhere:

Home - www.tinagayle.net
Blog - www.tinagayle.blogspot.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorTinaGayle
Goodread - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1641826.Tina_Gayle
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/tina.gayle
Google + - https://plus.google.com
Linkin - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/tina-gayle/11/689/759

Come visit me any time,
Tina Gayle

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GUEST BLOG: MARY BURTON

The BEFORE SHE DIES Playlist


When I write I need silence. TVs, people, music, or my miniature dachshunds can pull me out of the story if I’m knee deep in the fray trying to find the logical connections that I know link my characters, motivations, and the story plot. However, when I’m at the gym, in my car, or cooking silence is the last thing I want to hear. I want music. I want to feel connected. And I listen to music every chance I get.

What I’ve discovered is that when I’m plotting a book, I’m drawn to certain songs. I’m not sure why but some songs just ‘fit’ better with the current book. BEFORE SHE DIES was no exception. The emotions and sentiments attached to these songs really fit my hero and heroine Charlotte and Daniel. This couple can appear very reserved and cool in public but when they are alone it’s clear there is a lot of passion simmering between them.

Tell me what you think of my playlist. And be sure to let me know some of your favorite songs because I’m always on the lookout for a great song!

Thanks for letting me visit!

Unstoppable, Rascal Flats
Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
I Can’t Make You, Love Me Adele
Crazy Girl, Eli Young Band
I Don’t Want This Night to End, Luke Bryant
Rolling in the Deep, Adele
Big Girls Don’t Cry, Fergie
What Hurts the Most, Rascal Flatts

About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary Burton’s romantic suspense novels include the just published Before She Dies, her two earlier Alexandria, Virginia set novels Senseless and Merciless, and her thrillers Dying Scream, Dead Ringer and I’m Watching You. All have been published as paperback originals by Zebra Books.

A Virginia native whose family’s Richmond roots run as deep as the nation’s, Mary was born, raised in, and raised her own family there. She graduated from Hollins University and began a career in marketing before writing her first novel, a historical romance, published in 2000. Eleven more novels and three novellas for Harlequin followed. In total, she has written nineteen novels and four novellas.

She is a graduate of the Henrico County Citizens Police Academy and the Richmond FBI Citizen’s Academy, and has participated in Sisters in Crime’s Forensic University program and the Writers Police Academy in Jamestown, North Carolina, where she attended seminars on undercover work, autopsies, and the theories behind why people kill.

When not killing people—the total is upwards of a dozen now—or researching, Mary can be found pursuing her second love, baking, practicing Astanga yoga, enjoying her family, playing with her miniature dachshunds Buddy and Bella, or pursuing her Baking & Pastry Arts Certificate at the University of Richmond.

Mary Burton writes full time. Her next suspense novel is The Seventh Victim, which will be published in February 2013.

www.MaryBurton.com, http://www.facebook.com/maryburtonfanpage, www.kensingtonbooks.com

BEFORE SHE DIES
Mary Burton
Zebra Books/Mass Market Original/Fiction
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

GUEST BLOG: VICKI BATMAN

How About a...Quickie?


I bet you thought you should grab your beloved and run to the nearest bedroom for a sweet interlude. LOL.

Maybe later.

I write short stories. Funny, sweet ones. A quick read which I call a "quickie."

Several years ago, a friend asked me to critique short stories she wanted to submit to Woman's World magazine. (It's the paper one you see at the grocery store checkout stand and includes a fiction piece.) I happily said yes.

After a while, osmosis set in, and I began penning my own. My friend said to submit to some magazines. Over the past years, I've sold many.

Where do ideas come from? "Man Theory" was the funniest. A young man said to me, "I have a theory." My head went Boing!!! I scribbled those four words down, listened to the theory, and afterwards, began writing away. For "Ouch," a goose really did bite me in a yoga class. The rest is made up. For "Tommy and the Teacher," a similar incident happened to someone I know.

What's the trick to short? I begin by writing the story I want. Just putting everything and the kitchen sink down. Still, for 800 words, I *think* small. I concentrate on one incident. There's a black moment. Descriptive words are used sparingly. Verbs are active. More dialogue. I revise and edit with an eye on the word count until it's (near) perfection.

And that's what I did for the three quickies in Man Theory and Other Stories.

Here's a fun excerpt from "Man Theory":

"I have a theory about love.”
Ethan's statement knocked me from the proverbial mountain top. Eyeing him, I clapped my hand across my mouth to stifle a giggle.
From Day One at our new jobs at Prime Designs, Ethan and I had forged a friendship. I was the artsy-heartsy, emotional gal. Him--the technical, by-the-book pal. We ate an occasional dinner, watched a movie, whatever. Traded small gifts like coffee, a magazine, music. However, Ethan had never made an overture toward me.
Translated: Nothing intimate.
I'd said to myself, "Rats."
For work, we'd traveled to Colorado Springs to attend a workshop on web design innovations. After check-in, I'd joined him at the bridge crossing the lake to decide about lunch before the meetings commenced.
My six-one geek wearing rimless glasses, leaned against the railing, and stared into the sparkling blue waters of the high mountain lake, and the feathered fowl paddling by.
Have his feelings changed? I asked in disbelief, "R-really? A theory...about love?"
How about you? Do you read romantic short stories?
About the Author:Like some of her characters, Vicki has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm. The list is…endless.

Born in Dallas, a graduate of Texas Tech, she is married to Handsome, has two big boys, an attention-demanding cat, and two adorable poo-pies.

Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories. She is a member of RWA, and the DARA, Elements, and RWA-WF chapters. In 2004 she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. Recently, she was awarded the 2010 Robin Teer Memorial Service Award.

Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking "What if??"

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Monday, February 20, 2012

GUEST BLOG: KAT MARTIN

All time favorite movies?


Since Academy Awards Night is one of my favorite evenings, I thought it might be fun to talk movies. Old favorites, new favorites, worst picks of all time. Let’s start with the positive. Who doesn’t love ET? Star Wars? Gone with the Wind? Wizard of Oz? They’re classics, never to be forgotten.

Sometimes I look back and realize some of the books I’ve written were probably inspired by films I had seen and loved. Gone with the Wind, at least the pre-civil war time in the South, elegant hoop skirts and Georgia mansions led to Captain’s Bride and Creole Fires. I went on to follow Creole Fires with Savannah Heat and Natchez Flame. Actually stayed in a gorgeous old plantation house in Natchez built in the 1840’s.

I’m a Star Trek fan, a total Trekie. Maybe that’s how I got interested in UFO’s and wound up writing Season Of Strangers. I did a ton of research for that one and was amazed to find myself convinced there’s a very good possibility UFOs are real.

I love Western movies. Quigley Down Under with Tom Selleck is a personal all-time favorite (if you haven’t seen Tom in a pair of chaps you are really missing out!). There’s a scene in my book, The Secret, a modern-day Western set in Montana, that was definitely inspired by the movie. I’m excited that the publisher is re-issuing the book next year.

I loved True Grit, both versions, love some of the great old Westerns like Wagon Master, Wagons West, Brigham Young. My husband, who still writes Western novels, and I belong to Western Writers of America. We love attending the conferences and plan to be in Albuquerque, New Mexico mid-June this year.

I love high action adventure movies. Old ones like The African Queen with Humphrey Bogart and Kathryn Hepburn, new ones like Taken, with Liam Neeson. The plot for my new book, Against the Night, may have developed from the abduction theme of the movie.

Against the Night is Johnnie Riggs’s story, a fish out of water tale about a kindergarten teacher who braves the LA underworld to find her missing sister. It’s clear Amy needs help, and John Riggs is just the man for the job. Unfortunately, Johnnie is more interested in Amy’s luscious little body than the money she can’t afford to pay him.

It’s a romp that starts on L.A.’s Sunset Strip and travels all the way to the tropical jungles of Belize, a fast-paced, high-action, hot-blooded adventure I’m hoping readers will enjoy half as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Johnnie is a hunk and the cover of the book looks just like him. I hope you’ll watch for Against the Night and other of the books in my AGAINST series. Out the end of May is AGAINST THE SUN, Jake Cantrell’s story, another fast-paced, heart-pounding tale.

In the meantime, have fun and happy reading.

Warmest,

Kat

About the Author:
For New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin, a career in real estate led her down the road to romance.

Through real estate, Kat found her own perfect match--her husband, Western author Larry Jay Martin.

"We were on opposing sides of a transaction--I represented the seller and he represented the buyer," Kat recalls.

A short time after the two became acquainted, Larry asked her to read an unpublished manuscript of an historical western he'd written. Kat fell in love with both the book and the author!

"It was quite a romantic story," she admits. "I'd still like to see it get published." Then, after doing some editing for her future husband, she thought she'd try her own hand at writing.

Kat moved on to become the bestselling author of over fifty historical and contemporary romance novels. To date, 12 million copies of her books are in print, and she's been published around the globe, including Germany, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, England, Estonia, Lithuania, South Africa, Italy, Poland, Thailand, Portugal, Turkey, The Slovak Republic, Spain, Argentina, Estonia, Czech Republic and Greece.

When she's not writing, Kat also enjoys skiing and traveling, particularly to Europe. Currently, she's busy writing her next book.

Check out Kat's website: www.KatBooks.com
Like her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kat-Martin/322579975013
Enjoy her book video:

Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a copy of Against the Night--winner's choice of Nook, Kindle, or paperback. Photobucket

Friday, February 17, 2012

GUEST BLOG: KATIE REUS

Thank you so much to the folks at Long and Short Reviews for letting me blog here today!

So…guilty pleasures! I have them. A lot more than I should admit. But I do have some that I’m willing to share.

1. Books, books, books! I don’t think this should really be a surprise. Or more specifically, my Kindle is my ultimate guilty pleasure. I buy way more books now than I used to because of instant gratification. I love not having to worry about shipping or constantly checking my mailbox for a delivery. Since I live in a small beach town with a pitiful bookstore (their romance selection makes me very sad) I have to drive to the next town over for a ‘real’ bookstore but now I don’t have to bother leaving my home to shop.

2. Chocolate. But not just any chocolate. Ghirardelli milk chocolate bars filled with caramel OR the dark chocolate bars with orange filling. Omg, melt in my mouth deliciousness! I know it’s full of a billion calories and has no value but that’s what makes it a guilty pleasure. I absolutely love them.

3. The Vampire Diaries show on the CW. I’m obsessed with it! Damon = hotness. I just want Elena to get over Stephan and get it on with Damon. It’s like a soap opera at night with incredibly good looking people and sometimes so much drama it’s too much to believe (and yes, I’m saying this about a show with vampires as lead characters). Each episode they throw something else into the mix that has me wondering how they’ll get out of this new predicament. The conflict and drama are what make the show so awesome and it’s definitely one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

What are some of your guilty pleasures? One reader who comments on the blog today will be randomly selected to win a print copy of Alpha Instinct (US eligible only), the first book in my new paranormal series from NAL/Signet. WINNER ANNOUNCED here in the blog comments section tomorrow, 2/18/2012, after Noon Central time. Please leave your email address so I have a way to contact you. Good luck and thanks so much for stopping by!

Fear has a scent. So does desire…

Ana Cordona has been a strong leader for the lupine shifters who survived after all the males and most of the females in her pack were mysteriously poisoned. As tough as she is, with no Alpha male, the pack is vulnerable to the devious shifter Taggart, who wants to claim both their ranch and Ana as his own. When Connor Armstrong comes back into her life, promising protection, it’s almost enough to make Ana forget how he walked out on her before—and reluctantly accept his offer to mate.

The minute Connor sees Ana again, it reawakens a raw hunger. He must have her for his bondmate—his wolf cries out for it. But his human side knows he must proceed with caution because of their complicated past. If he is to truly have her body and soul, he must go beyond his burning desire and win back her heart. Whatever it takes, he is determined not to leave her side again.

But Taggart and his rival pack are not their only enemies. A human element in town is targeting shifters. Their plan not only threatens Ana and Connor’s future, but the lives of the entire pack…
A little about me: 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.Thanks again for letting me blog here today!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

GUEST BLOG: JANE TOOMBS

I used to love winter--sledding, skiing, snowshoeing in the woods, ice skating--lots of fun.. Then I got old and creaky and winter is just a matter of being careful not to slip and fall on slippery spots. Except that to look out and see snow falling is still a thrill. It’s like magic how snow alters and changes the world from mundane to beautiful. If I had to plow the driveway or shovel the walk, maybe I wouldn’t feel this way--who knows?

Snow machines were not a part of my younger world because they didn‘t yet exist. But they‘re here now, with all the trails for them and the noise and the danger of your car hitting one when they cross the road to follow a trail... Yes, the trails run through the deep woods, but what are your chances of seeing a deer or hearing a chickadee? Snowshoes make no noise and you see and hear lots of wildlife.

I’m afraid I get a bit jaundiced when I go downtown and see all the snowmobiles lined up by the bars. Which accounts for why almost every serious snowmobile accident I hear about involves alcohol. Progress isn’t always great. So you can drink and drive a snowmobile without penalty--unless you consider death a penalty. Ah, but I don‘t mean to rant.

I‘m actually writing a winter-set story with snowmobiles used by the bad guys to threaten those in a snowbound house in the deep woods. The Viking is my snowmobile expert as he‘s used one everywhere from the Sierras to joyriding on the ice of the lower Michigan inland lakes.

I’ve not finished with that book yet, but I do have one coming out this month that has nothing to do with snow--Terror From Before, the third book in my DANGEROUS DARKNESS SERIES from Red Rose Publishing. Each book in this series stands on its own, though the four men in the series were a Special Op group who’ve returned to civilian like believing their leader was killed. Since he’s the hero of the fourth book, Stranger On The Shore, obviously he’s alive--but really strange.

Terror From Before: Discharged from a special op unit, Joe returns to the rez, unknowingly bringing deadly danger with him, peril he can't control.. Lena, the woman he loves, wants them to return the horror to the jungles of Central America. Native American lore is their only weapon. Will this be enough to save them?
About the Author:
Jane Toombs, the Viking from her past and their calico grandcat, Kinko live across the road from the south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula wilderness. If you include both published novels and novellas, Jane’s count is up to ninety published books, with more to come.
Find her online at www.JaneToombs.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

GUEST BLOG: EDENMARY BLACK

Lovin’ the paranormal
by
Edenmary Black

I curled my feet under my flannel nightgown, mesmerized by the image on the television. The woman was about to walk down a flight of stairs and all she had in her hand was a candle, for heaven’s sake. Anyone could see that she was about to die in some horrible way, yet she just kept on descending, one step at a time, with that dumb candle. I couldn’t tear my eyes away! As she moved downward into the darkness, my dog snuffled at the edge of my nightgown. My mom slipped her hand over mine and shot me an I-don’t-know-what-she’s-thinking look, but the night had folded around our cozy house. We were safe inside. At the last moment, just before the monster grabbed her, a guy leaped out of the darkness to snatch the woman from death’s grip. It was a wonder he didn’t set himself on fire with the candle! Minutes later, I was being hustled off to bed, with a warning to be cooperative come morning or my mother would never let me stay up late on a school night to watch a scary movie with her again.

It happened decades ago, yet, the memory came to mind when I was writing my debut e-novel, Sanctum Angels: Shadow Havens Book 1. I might have written in any genre or sub-genre of romance, but paranormal called me like no other. So, what’s the endless attraction to the beautiful vamps and weres and fallen angels? For me, and maybe you, they’re exotic, like species from another realm that might just exist. And, they’re hot. The power they exude and the knowledge they must certainly have after centuries of living makes them so attractive that mortals are probably jealous. They’ll break your heart, save your soul at the same time and protect you even if you hate them. Well, many of them will, but there is always room for a villain, right? I mean, we need the evil bastard or bitch to round things out. Good thing our supernatural alphas love a challenge.

In the end, they’re like jumping on a roller coaster, knowing you’ll be getting off in a little while, safe and sound, laughing and breathless. Because the vamps and weres we love are safe. They’ll sweep you off your feet, but when the book’s over, your feet come back to the earth, eager for the next wild ride and waiting for the next book. What could be better?

Wait, you might say, don’t these things drink blood and eat people? Don’t they change into wolves? Indeed, they do, but frankly, I’d rather face down a whole bunch of vampires than hear that one of my loved ones is seriously sick. A good friend out of a job? I worry and try to help. A child with a weird fever awake at 3:00am? Yep, sleep’s out of the question, even when the fever cools and the child’s sleeping again.

So, maybe that’s the attraction. What keeps us awake at night isn’t usually what goes bump in the night. It’s about whether our loved ones are okay. I mean, really, really okay in the most important ways. When they’re facing danger, we’ll be shoulder to shoulder with them, even though it may be something we’re utterly powerless against.

Our super-hot supernatural beings seem to exist in a world where there’s a kind of balance between good and evil. The real world? Maybe, not so much. There’s not always a gorgeous guy stepping out of the darkness to save us, without burning the house down, although there’s a little of that woman with the candle in all of us. That’s what keeps us heading back to the bookstore or our favorite e-reader, for more of those oooohhh-baby-baby vamps and weres and daemons or whatever you like best.

I’m very excited about my debut release, Sanctum Angels: Shadow Havens Book 1. It’s the beginning of a journey and I hope you’ll come along with me to the shadow of supernatural havens, where not everything is what it seems. If you’ve read it or do so in the future, I’d love a review at B & N or Amazon. Readers may contact me at info@edenmaryblack.com.

Thanks for having me!

About the Author:Edenmary Black has been writing since she could clutch a pencil. She has always been fascinated with the mysteries of the paranormal and loves the question all writers answer when they pen fiction. For her, it's all about that magical, "What if?” When not working her keyboard, she enjoys long walks with her golden retriever, reading and spending time with her family, all of whom are male. She spends far too much on lingerie and is very, very weak for chocolate.

Sanctum Angels: Shadow Havens Book 1

Warning: The following work contains descriptive material and scenes of explicit sexual encounters between consenting male and female adults. It is intended for adult readers only.

When Priana Grey walks into a bank, she isn’t expecting to be taken hostage by a violent thief; nor, is she expecting Detective Joe Cafaris to offer his life for hers. The stepdaughter of fallen angels of the Sanctum, she has concealed her true nature to move among humans for years, but Joe’s courage astounds her. Although she knows that falling in love with a human is a disaster, she just can’t ignore what she feels.

Joe is a tough loner, cool in the most dangerous situations, but he’s not ready for the scorching desire he feels for Priana. He has a million logical reasons to walk away, but his heart wants something else.

Priana’s stepbrother, Keirc, warns that she’ll find only misery with Joe, yet he guards a perilous secret of his own. His lover, Iridea, is the daughter of Sebastien Galaurus, a ruthless vampire who leads the Demesne, a powerful supernatural haven quite unlike the Sanctum.

When a stunning crisis forces Priana into the heart of the Demesne, a maelstrom explodes in the shadow of supernatural havens on the brink of war, where fallen angels, vampires, weres and daemons call the shots and humans are viewed as critically frail - a place where men and supernaturals can die.

This ebook contains an excerpt from Chapter One of Sanctum Warriors: Shadow Havens Book 2, which has not been published yet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Recipes: Carla Neggers

Read our interview with Carla on our Interview Blog.
Carla Neggers' Recipes
SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER


Chive Butter

1 cup butter, softened
2 T. chopped fresh chives
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
Mix all together and chill for 2 to 3 hours (to blend flavors). Freezes well (up to one month).

Parsnip Chive Soup

1 large onion
1 garlic clove
4 T. olive oil
1 lb. parsnips, peeled, cut up
2 large apples, peeled, cut up
1 cup rutabaga, peeled, cut up
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
Heat oil and sauté onions and garlic until just starting to brown. Add broth to onion-garlic mixture and heat; add parsnips and rutabaga, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until almost tender; add apples and simmer until tender. Puree in food processor or blender and serve with chopped fresh chives and/or parsley and a sprinkle of fresh grated parmesan.

Oatmeal Dill Bread

Dissolve 1 pkg. yeast in ¼ c. lukewarm water. Soak 2 cups rolled oats in 4 cups of heated milk and let stand for ½ hour. Add ¼ c. melted butter and 1 T. salt. Add ¼ cup molasses or honey and the yeast mixture. Add 4 T. chopped dill or 1 T. chopped chives and 2 T. chopped dill. Stir in 10 to 11 cups all-purpose flour, enough to make a soft dough. Put on floured board or cloth and knead for 10 minutes. Let rise. Divide into loaves (2 to 3), place in pans, let rise again. Brush with melted butter and bake at 400 degrees F. for about 45 minutes (depending on size of loaves).

About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers is always planning her next adventure – whether in life or for one of her novels. An accomplished wordsmith, she enjoys nothing more than taking her readers on an exciting – and often spine-tingling – journey into new and unexpected experiences. Today, she can claim more than 60 novels published around the world, with translations in 24 languages.
Carla starts most days just before the sun is up, stepping outside her home in the Vermont mountains for a brisk hike. She draws the fresh air into her lungs and lets her mind wander as she thinks about her latest work-in-progress. Once settled into her office overlooking the woods behind her house, she turns her attention to the richly textured, deeply atmospheric stories her readers have come to love.
She takes the craft of creating the world that surrounds the characters in each of her books seriously. Her novels have taken her on a number of adventures of her own, including to the top of the northeast’s highest peaks, onto a shooting range with a police academy instructor and into an ancient Irish stone circle at midnight as she scouts out locations and seeks the authenticity that imbues her writing.
Find the author online at:
www.CarlaNeggers.com
www.facebook.com/carlaneggers
www.twitter.com/carlaneggers
When a new home owner sends her absentee neighbor a letter telling him to clean up his run-down house, she has no idea that her simple request will unearth a generations-old mystery that will change both their lives forever. In SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER (MIRA Books, February 2012, $7.99 U.S./$9.99 CAN.) Carla Neggers pens a stirring novel of secrets lost in the shrouds of time, the sometimes rocky road of family relationships and bittersweet memories as she returns to her contemporary romance roots.

Friday, February 10, 2012

GUEST BLOG: LESLIE SOULE

This stop is part of the Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions For a full list of stops, check here. Comment at every stop (including this one!) for a chance to win a $25 BN.com gift certificate.


What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Leslie D. Soule
Tina Turner sang "What’s Love Got To Do With It?" and in doing so, caused her listeners to ask the same question, applying it to their own lives. This song is one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and the reason for this may be that the song’s message is one that people can easily relate to. For example, when I broke up with a boyfriend of mine and he asked me, “Don’t you love me?” I found myself wanting to sing the song’s signature line to him – “What’s love got to do – got to do with it?” because with relationships, love is necessary, and yet love isn’t enough to keep a relationship going. You’ve also got to have trust, security, maturity, and so many other things all working together.

So for me, the song is about the deeper issues that love intermingles with, and it’s about how all-pervasive the idea of love is. That’s why in the process of writing, it seems that you can’t skirt around the issue of love and you have to deal with it one way or another with what you’re writing. That being said, love is one of those things that’s difficult for me to write about. Writing is such an expressive form of art, that it’s hard to open yourself up enough to write honestly about love.

Love is one of those ideas that becomes a base concept for other branches as well – under the general heading of “love” you’ve got self-love, which is different from a relationship-type love with a boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse, which is different from the love of family members, which is different from the love of ideas, the love of a country, a planet (which I delve a bit into with my short story “Worlds Divide”), etc.

In short, love has everything to do with it, if “it” means your story. Love is what connects characters, drives them apart, drives them to act the way they do, etc. However, love isn’t the only driving force you have to delve into, and undoubtedly won’t be the only motivations that your characters must have. So in answer to the question, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” I offer the ambiguous answer: Everything, and nothing, all at once.

Thank you for having me as your guest! If you’d like to be entered in the gift card giveaway, please leave your name and e-mail in your comment post. :-)
Leslie Soule lives in Sacramento, California. Fallenwood is her first fantasy novel. She has received her B.A. in English from Sacramento State University and is currently working on her Master’s degree in English at National University.
www.LeslieSoule.com
Fallenwood—a land where magic is the life force, dragons are sages, and wizards good and evil battle for supremacy. When 23-year-old Ash is thrust into the middle of Fallenwood’s power struggles, she is also forced to face her own inner battles. Life on Earth was hard enough on Ash, who is locked in grief for her stepfather. Now, the fate of Fallenwood rests on her shoulders. She must destroy the Great Crystal—the catalyst for all the land’s magic. As the kingdoms prepare for war, Ash must look inside to find the power to save the world, and herself.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

GUEST BLOG: MARY MANNERS

Bad Boys are Fun
by
Mary Manners


I’ve often wondered why women are so drawn to Bad Boys. I have a few of my own lurking in my past. My husband often jokes that he’s a Bad Boy, and I recently bought him a motorcycle just to keep the image intact.

When the idea for my contemporary inspirational romance, Mended Heart, came to me, I knew I wanted to take a bad boy and turn him good (within the confines of 200 or so pages). What a daunting task! So, how does one ‘change’ a bad boy to good? First, one must understand the recipe for a bad boy:

Bad Boy Stew:
1 Overflowing Cup of Hidden Secrets
2 Heaping Tablespoons of Recklessness
1 Swollen Ego Mixed with a Rounded Teaspoon of Pride
A Dash of Insecurity
A sprinkle of Humor
Just a Pinch of Conscience
Garnish with Good Looks


Take the above ingredients and stir them well. Then add the girl he spurned in high school, who’s back in town with a vengeance. Blend them together and bake at high temperatures until he realizes she’s developed a backbone—and a sharp tongue. Throw their hidden secrets into the mix and let them churn for a while, then peek and see what’s cooking. Continue to let the contents mingle, watching for new developments. When the ingredients appear to be fully meshed and tender, remove from the heat and enjoy!

Now, it’s my firm opinion that every woman is drawn by a bad boy, but we also entertain the idea that deep down, somewhere in the depths of his reclusive heart, there’s a good boy just dying to get out. That’s what happened with Mended Heart. When the story opens, Shane Calkin is the proverbial rich kid in town. He runs with a wild, reckless crowd that shuns Jade McAllister…the poor girl from the trailer park whose father took off when she was a child.

But the passage of time—and a host of life-altering circumstances—set into motion subtle changes in both Shane and Jade. When they meet again, ten years later, on the steps of Pineyville Church, the ingredients they both bring to the recipe make them ripe for travel down a new path…into a fresh and exciting direction.

The most important ingredients in the Bad Boy recipe are the Hidden Secrets (what woman doesn’t like a few juicy secrets?) and the Pinch of Conscience…for this is what sets the desired change into motion. The sharing of secrets creates a strong bond between a man and a woman. And without at least the slightest Pinch of Conscience—which leads to a sense of loyalty when blended well with the other ingredients—there can be no real development or change.

Of course, it’s important to remember that a true Bad Boy always harbors just a hint of his wild nature along with the deep tenderness and loyalty that develops along the way. He’s willing—and ready—to fight to the death for the woman he’s grown to love. And, after all, a hint of Bad Boy, even when he’s good, is what keeps the excitement flowing!

Mary lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband, Tim, and their teen-aged daughter, Danni. Also with Mary are Lucky and Gus - the two cherished cats rescued from local animal shelters.

Mary is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.

During the school year, she teaches middle-schoolers English and algebra. When she has free time, she loves to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

Mary will present the workshop, Beyond the Bodice...Lacing Together Faith and Romance at the 2012 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention.

www.MaryMannersRomance.com
Carson Merrill loves only one thing more than Lone Creek Ranch—high school sweetheart Jessica Tate. He has plans to marry her, until one fateful night a devastating accident nearly kills her brother, James, and claims the use of his legs. Jessica flees to Nashville, blaming Carson for her brother’s paralysis. She avoids him—and James—for more than a year.

Jessica returns to Lone Creek as one of the top producing land developers in the area, and she has one goal—to banish Carson forever from her memory while taking what he still loves—Lone Creek Ranch. But God has other plans—to draw the two together in a development project that will satisfy both their desires, and help them to reclaim the love they once shared.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

GUEST BLOG: JOYA FIELDS

Thanks very much for hosting me today on LASR to chat about girlfriends and friendships. I’ve been lucky enough to have lots of girlfriends in my life. Through my school years, I had what I’d consider close friends, but never a best friend. I envied girls who were so close that everyone knew instantly that they were “besties.” I also came to realize that the reason I was never drawn to that tight of a girlfriend relationship was because I had built-in best friends: my two sisters.

My sisters and I are close in age—one is two years younger, and the other five—and the age difference disappeared once we became adults. However, I must admit, I am still the bossy older sister. Since they’re both taller than I am, I don’t think I intimidate them much, though.

We’ve done some really cool things together, and I think it’s the sort of things that besties do. First and foremost, we’re there for each other for the happiest of times, and the toughest of times. We offer a shoulder to cry on, a hug when things are rough, and a high-five and girl’s night out on the town to celebrate the great stuff.

There’s something about the support of sisters, too. An unconscious connection. My sisters are both runners, and talked me into trying it out. Before long, we were running races together. My youngest sister always won—she’s speedy. I take full credit for her speed because I think I taught her to be fast by chasing her when we were little.

Then it was my turn to try a marathon. 26.2 miles and a goal of completing it in under four hours. My sister helped me train for months, jogging beside me for hours. When marathon weekend arrived, she got a babysitter for her little girl, traveled to Washington, DC, with me, spent the night in a hotel with me to ensure a good night’s rest before the big day, and then cheered me on from different spots along the route. She met me at the finish line with a big smile and a water bottle.

This, I’m guessing, is what best friends do. Share in the journey of an accomplishment, and help celebrate the milestones and victory. Or cry along when things don’t go as planned.

In my debut novel, my heroine, Brooke, heads to Florida to spend time with her best friend, Linda. Two years earlier, Brooke lost most of her leg in an accident, and Linda helped push Brooke through the pain and recovery. After a boat explosion in Florida leaves Linda injured, Brooke cancels all of her plans to be by Linda’s side, and find out who was behind the explosion. Of course, since this is romance, there’s a good-looking policeman involved in the situation, too.

That’s what friends are for, right? They’re by your side at the best of times, but more importantly, they’re by your side at the worst of times too. I’d love to hear about your best friend, or what you think is the best part of having friends. One lucky commenter will win an Ebook copy of my new romantic suspense, Beneath the Surface.

She’s fighting to stay independent—he’s determined to protect her no matter what…

Brooke Richards survived the earthquake that took her parents and most of her leg, but she needs time to regroup. A trip to Florida for a state-of-the art prosthesis and to visit her best friend Linda seems ideal. But the trip turns traumatic when Brooke witnesses Linda’s boat disintegrating in a fiery explosion.

Police Officer Garrett Ciavello believes the blast was intentionally set to hide something Linda found on a dive. When Brooke offers her expertise in underwater archaeology, Garrett accepts her help with the investigation. But since his fiancée’s death years ago, Garrett has become overprotective, and as they are drawn to each other, Garrett realizes he will risk anything to keep Brooke safe.

Brooke is fiercely independent. Garrett is fiercely protective. Will they heal each other’s wounds and find a killer…before it’s too late?
About the Author: Joya Fields has had over 100 stories and articles published in local and national magazines and her debut novel, BENEATH THE SURFACE, a romantic suspense, released in January, 2012. LOVE DELIVERED, a romantic comedy is now available.
Over the years, Joya has taught arts and crafts, worked in public relations, owned a daycare center, helped her children raise prize-winning 4-H livestock, competed in three marathons, and even spent a year as a Baltimore Colts cheerleader. Joya loves spending time with her high school sweetheart/husband of over twenty years, two very supportive children, and a pug who follows her everywhere.
Find her online at www.JoyaFields.com