Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by and let us know what you think of the new look!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

GUEST BLOG: REBECCA ROGERS MAHER

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5 Reasons I Don’t Describe My Heroines’ Bodies



Recently, actress Ashley Judd pushed back against a crapstorm of public criticism of her appearance by writing an essay about the endless “conversation” about women’s bodies. Her statement got me thinking about a decision I made early on in my writing career.


I don’t describe my heroines physically. In my recent release, Snowbound with a Stranger, I say nothing about Dannie’s body, except, I think, that her hair is long enough to put into a ponytail. I did that on purpose. And I’m here today at Long And Short Reviews to tell you why.


1. How a Woman Looks is the Most Boring Thing About Her.


It’s true that first impressions are frequently based on physical appearance. But I think there’s a lot more going on when we first meet someone. What we think is a response to a woman’s looks is actually a response to the whole package of who she is—the way she carries herself, the way she dresses, her voice, the way she looks at you, the way she smells.


Then, as we get to know her, we learn her personality, her intelligence, her sense of humor, her strengths and weaknesses, her history, her dreams—and the way she looks becomes linked in our minds and senses to these impressions of her. I look into my husband’s eyes, for example, and while they’re objectively a stunning blue, the reason they’re beautiful to me is that I know and love the man he is. His eyes are not a single physical part that I admire, but one inextricable aspect of his whole hot-as-love self.


I’m much more interested in how the hero reacts to the heroine this way—holistically—than I am in watching him catalogue and rate her body parts. It tells me more about who she is and who he is. Which brings me to…


2. A Woman is More Than The Sum of Her Parts.



Ever watch a movie where a female character walks into the frame boobs-first? Then the camera slowly pans down and piece by piece her body gets observed and judged: kind of like those helpful cuts-of-beef diagrams that show the chuck, ribs, and brisket sections of the cow.


I’m not a cow. I have a personality. There are things that matter to me, things that hurt me, and things I’m proud of. I don’t like being looked at in sections and I don’t like being judged on the supposed quality of each of my sections, either. I’m a whole person. And so, I hope, are my heroines. Describing them one part at a time feels cruel and unnecessary to me, because…


3. It’s Bad Enough That Men Look At Our Bodies Critically. We Don’t Have to Do it to Each Other and Ourselves.



I see no reason to talk about things like full lips and luscious bosoms. It sets up a competition of body parts that leaves no one feeling good. How often do we look in the mirror and say things like, “OMG, My ass is huge in this dress. My chest is too small. THERE’S A HAIR GROWING OUT OF MY NECK. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?”


(Wait, did I just say that out loud?)


The truth is we have spirits inside these bodies. The right people will respond to the beauty of these spirits. They shine through whatever we look like. Yes, we should try to be healthy physically. Yes, we can admire the way our bodies move and what they can do. But we are constantly being judged critically by many men and other women based on how the various parts of our bodies look, and it ain’t right. Not to mention…


4. Physical Descriptions Add Very Little to the Story.



You ever notice how half the time the model on the book cover looks nothing like the way the heroine is described in the novel? Or, when a book is made into a movie, the actress cast to play the lead role bears no resemblance to the character in the book?


What’s funny about this is how little it matters. We picture characters our own way in our heads anyway. Who cares if they’re redheads or blondes? Unless the author is using a shorthand like redhead=spitfire/brunette=serious (which, by the way, YAWN), the character’s appearance signifies very little except to help us get a vague picture in our heads. But I can do that on my own.


In some stories, however, our heroines relate to their bodies in complicated ways. Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me is one great example. In that book, Min’s relationship to her own physicality is relevant to the plot, and Crusie discusses her body only insofar as it relates to the central conflict and to the development of Min’s character. She also addresses the burden of social expectations about weight and appearance, and in this context, it makes sense to describe Min physically. In Fault Lines—my upcoming contemporary romance —the heroine is a rape survivor who struggles with the contrast between how she sees herself and how she is seen, so I bring up her appearance because it’s relevant to do so.


If it’s not relevant, though, I don’t bother. Because it often does more harm than good. Whatever we gain by knowing the color of the heroine’s hair or the length of her legs, it’s not worth what we lose by dissecting her physically. And we do lose something. Every time we participate in making our heroines into physical objects whose bodies we have the right to examine critically, we’re saying it’s okay for men and other women to do that to us. And it ain’t.


Of course, it’s fully possible for an author to describe a heroine respectfully. Most authors do exactly that. I probably will do so at some point in my career. But for now, I’m making the simple choice of not doing it at all.


And by the way…


5. I Don’t Describe My Heroes, Either.


Well, maybe a little. I almost always talk about their hands and eyes, because I think these are avenues of emotional expression—men in particular often convey their feelings this way rather than talking about them. Sometimes I’ll also talk about a man’s build. I stick to descriptions that give an overall sense or impression rather than those that cut the man into parts. I do this because I don’t think men should be objectified either. As a writer, I’m interested in who a man is inside. And I know from experience that it’s the spirit inside a man that makes him attractive.
I have a feeling that lots of people will disagree with me on this point of view, or at least take issue with my blanket statements. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I think it’s a great subject for discussion, and I welcome your opinions. Although I don’t physically describe Dannie from Snowbound with a Stranger, the story is super steamy, emotional and fun. A free copy of the book goes to one random commenter, so join in the chat!


Rebecca Rogers Maher lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and children. She is the author of theRecovery TrilogyI’ll Become the Sea, Snowbound with a Stranger and the forthcomingFault Lines (September 2012)—from Carina Press.


http://www.RebeccaRogersMaher.com

http://www.twitter.com/RebeccaRMaher

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorRebeccaRogersMaher


Snowbound with a Stranger is now available from Carina Press.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

GUEST BLOG: KAT MARTIN

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DO GORGEOUS MEN MAKE YOU NERVOUS?
by Kat Martin



All of us fantasize about over-the-top handsome, hunky men. But the truth is, being around a guy who looks like that isn’t that easy. Not unless you’re Angelina Jolie. Can you imagine sitting next to Brad Pitt or Bradly Cooper and having a casual conversation?


Last month at the RT Book Reviews Magazine Convention, I had the opportunity to meet one of the gorgeous male models who has posed on some of my covers. Lynn Gunn is all his name implies, 6 foot-two-inches of sexy male, tall, lanky, dark-haired, and masculine.


Just standing next to him made me nervous. Fortunately, Lynn turned out to be a really great guy. He’s a Neiman Marcus model with brains as well as brawn. My husband and I both enjoyed the chance to get to know him.


In my new book AGAINST THE SUN, Sage Dumont is a corporate vice president, the kind of woman with enough moxie to handle six-foot-five inches, two hundred forty pounds of blue-eyed burning manhood, Jake Cantrell. Though Sage has a few uncertain moments when she first meets Jake and she is just as flustered as the rest of us would be.


One of the fun parts of being a romance writer is matching the hero and heroine. By the end of the story, the reader needs to believe that the two people will perfectly fit together.


AGAINST THE SUN is a book that deals with a visit to Texas by a Saudi Arabian sheik and his family. The sheik is there to negotiate a three hundred million dollar oil-well equipment sale.


Jake is hired to act as Sage’s bodyguard and teach her the protocols she’ll need to know in order to make the deal, which is crucial to her career. Customs like not showing the bottom of her foot, which is considered an insult, or making the okay sign, which is giving someone the evil eye.


Because of the research involved in getting the customs, clothing, and attitudes of the Saudi visitors correct, AGAINST THE SUN was one of the most difficult books I’ve ever tackled. I’m proud of the way it turned out.


I hope you’ll look for AGAINST THE SUN and that you enjoy it.


So .... do gorgeous men make YOU nervous?


Very best wishes, Kat


Tell us what you think about gorgeous men and you might win a copy of Against the Sun, winner's choice of Nook or Kindle ebook or paperback.


Check out Kat's book video for Against the Sun:



Find the author online at:

www.KatBooks.com

Facebook Fan Page


It's not in bodyguard Jake Cantrell's job description to share his suspicions with his assignments. Beautiful executive Sage Dumont may be in charge, but Jake's not on her payroll. As a former special forces marine, Jake trusts his gut, and it's telling him that there's something off about a shipment arriving at Marine Drilling International. His instinct is aroused...in more ways than one.


A savvy businesswoman, Sage knows better than to take some hired gun's "hunch" as gospel. And yet she is learning not to underestimate the man her grandfather hired to protect her. Determined to prove Jake wrong, Sage does some digging of her own and turns up deadly details she was never meant to see.


Drawn into a terrifying web of lies and deceit—and into feelings they can't afford to explore—what Jake and Sage uncover may be frighteningly worse than they ever imagined.







Monday, May 28, 2012

GUEST BLOG: TRACY SUMNER




This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tracy will be giving away a Kindle to one randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour, so be sure to leave a comment. Click on the banner to see the other stops on her tour.




She is his greatest temptation.

He is her forbidden desire.

A battle of wills leads to love.



Spirited Savannah Conner is passionately committed to stamping out social injustice. Yet when she arrives in the seaside town of Pilot Isle, North Carolina, ready to take up a new cause, she quickly finds herself on the outs with the town constable. Zachariah Garrett is the most arrogant, infuriating, maddeningly attractive man it’s ever been her misfortune to meet. And suddenly, Savannah is fighting a whole new battle – this one against her own yearning for a man who is impossible to resist.


Ever since his wife’s death two years ago, Zachariah Garrett has dedicated his life to keeping the peace. So when he sees the pretty newcomer atop a wobbly wooden crate stirring up the crowd, he doesn’t hesitate to haul her off to jail. But Savannah Connor isn’t any ordinary law-breaker. She’s a beguiling beauty with the power to awaken emotions he thought he’s never feel again, and the tenderness to help him forget his fears…and risk his heart once more.




He left all he loved behind...

Will he be able to return and win her heart?



A SPURNED WOMAN


Elle Beaumont has learned life's lessons the hard way--by foolishly exposing her youthful heart to love, only to have it broken when her true love fled Pilot Island, North Carolina. Now Noah Garrett is back, rekindling dreams she'd given up for lost, and turning her world upside down. Elle's girlish yearning for him has become something more powerful than she'd ever imagined.


AN HONORABLE MAN


A man dedicated to science and rational judgment, Noah rejects all notions of romance...until the girl who used to cling to him like a shadow begins haunting his every thought. But even as he struggles to resist Elle's sensuous beauty and the wildfire attraction erupting between them, Noah cannot deny that their passion is as irresistible and endless as the tides of love.



Stay tuned for the third book in the series, Tides of Desire, scheduled for release this summer.


See what people are saying about the series:


“I picked up Tides of Love…just to give the book a quick peak. That quick peak turned into four hours of reading that didn’t stop until I finished the book!” —The Romance Reader


“A powerful relationship novel that explores the heartache and triumph of love.” —Romantic Times


About the Author:
Tracy’s story telling career began when she picked up a copy of LaVyrle Spencer’s Vows on a college beach trip. A journalism degree and a thousand romance novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a southern version of the perfect love story. With a great deal of luck and more than a bit of perseverance, she sold her first novel to Kensington Publishing.


When not writing sensual stories featuring complex characters and lush settings, Tracy can be found reading romance, snowboarding, watching college football and figuring out how she can get to 100 countries before she kicks (which is a more difficult endeavor than it used to be with her four-year-old son in tow). After stops in France, Switzerland and Taiwan, she now lives in the south. However, after spending a few years in “the city”, she considers herself a New Yorker at heart.


Tracy 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. She loves hearing from readers about why she tends to pit her hero and heroine against each other and that great novel she simply must order in five seconds on her Kindle.


Find the author online at:


Website: http://www.tracysumner.com/

Twitter: @SumnerTracy

Facebook: http://facebook.com/TracySumnerRomanceAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5259839.Tracy_Sumner


Check out the video for Tides of Passion:




Thursday, May 24, 2012

GUEST BLOG: DEB MARLOWE

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On Wearing a Mask



Life has been hard for Chloe Hardwick, the heroine in my newest release, Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick. She’s looking for a little stability and security in her life, and she’s found that she’s more likely to get it when she hides behind a mask.


Not a literal mask, but one made of a calm demeanor, incredible efficiency, a uniform of heavy, unattractive clothing and a line of shining gold buttons. As assistant to Lord Marland, the Marauding Marquess, her disguise allows her to hide safely away while molding herself into becoming what her position demands and what her employer needs. She excels at her work. It’s not until she realizes that she’s coming to have feelings for her employer that she begins to rethink her choices. For how can she expect Lord Marland to return her feelings when he has no idea who she is? When she has no idea who she is? She finds she has to leave in order to discover the answers to those questions.
Now, I don’t believe that I’ve ever hidden myself away as thoroughly as Chloe does, but I have some sympathy for her, as I have reached certain points in my life at which I’ve had to make hard decisions. Decisions not only about which path to follow—leaving a mainstream career behind for mommy and writer-hood, for example—but also decisions about the kind of person I want to be.


I’ll share a hard one with you all. When I was a young adult, I found I had to take a long look at a person of importance and influence in my life. This person was often distant and detached, but also extremely witty and sarcastic. I found I could find favor by adopting a cynical, cutting and sarcastic manner myself. I grew to be good at it, too. And every approving chuckle felt like a validation.


Until I realized that was not the sort of validation that I really wanted. Until I discovered that I didn’t like myself that way. Until I realized that being hard and cynical is a lot of work when it is not your natural state. I wasn’t comfortable behind that mask. So I made the conscious decision to abandon the sarcasm and be true to myself. I’m much happier being open, looking for the best in a situation. I’d rather be hopeful than guarded. In truth, I think we are both better off.


So I’ll ask you: Have you ever hidden yourself behind a mask or a disguise? Have you made a conscious choice to change something about yourself? Are you cynical? Or an optimist? One randomly chosen commenter will win an autographed copy of Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick.


About the Author:
Deb Marlowe adores History, England and Men in Boots.


Clearly she was destined to write Regency Historical Romance. A member of RWA, the Heart of Carolina RWA and the Beau Monde for nearly 15 years, she’s won the Royal Ascot and the Golden Heart and has been nominated for a Rita.
She sold her first book to Harlequin Historicals in 2006 and her newest, Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick releases in June 2012. She is a director of the Raleigh/Durham satellite of Lady Jane’s Salon. She lives in North Carolina where she spends her days with the people in her head and her evenings with her wonderful husband, her two charming, active and hungry boys and one spoiled cat.


Efficient Spinster or Desirable Woman?


Adopting the guise of a buttoned up spinster is nothing new for Chloe Hardwick. But under the watchful eye of her unnervingly handsome employer, the Marquess of Marland, for the first time Chloe yearns to be unbuttoned! Yet he sees her only as his assistant, the efficient Hardwick-not as Chloe the woman.


Determined to escape Braedon's cold detachment, Chloe leaves. And when he pursues her to London, determined to entice her back, Braedon is utterly unprepared for what he finds there--the real Chloe Hardwick. . .

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

GUEST BLOG: SOPHIE GREYSON

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When I first started brainstorming my historical, Heaven Scent, I knew I wanted my heroine to be a doctor. But I soon learned that would not be so easy. You see, women were not allowed to be doctors in 1848. WTH?!

After delving into more research, I was fascinated by the reasons behind women’s first jump into the medical field. At the time, society’s mentality was that women did not have the stamina to sustain such a grueling job, even though midwives had been delivering babies for centuries.

In comes Dr. Samuel Gregory – yes, a male! - who founded the Boston Female Medical College in 1848. Renamed the New England Female Medical College, it was the first in the world to offer medical degrees for women. The college started out offering midwifery classes before growing to include full medical degrees.

Gregory thought it was inappropriate for men to handle female medical issues, and also held a concern for the danger of female midwives who did not have proper training in the field. In his publication, Man-Midwifery Exposed, he gives specific examples of inappropriate relationships between male physicians and their female patients. Really?!

Oh yes.

In his introduction, he states, “The introduction of men into the lying-in chamber, in place of female attendants, has increased the sufferings and dangers of childbearing women, and brought multiple injuries and fatalities upon mothers and children; it violates the sensitive feelings of husbands and wives, and causes an untold amount of domestic misery; the unlimited intimacy between a numerous profession and the female population silently and effectually wears away female delicacy and professional morality, and tends, probably more than any other cause in existence, to undermine the foundations of public virtue.”

While trying to garner support for the college, Dr. Gregory gave seminars on Man-Midwifery Exposed and his ideas for the college. However, these seminars were not co-ed. He held men’s seminars and women’s seminars.

Yes, you read right.

His seminars were quite the uproar in Boston at the time. The basic difference between the seminars? The men heard about the inappropriate relationships; the women were too delicate to hear of such immoral experiences.

Nevertheless, the legislature passed a motion to approve and the college was founded. Twelve women made up the first graduating class in 1850. WTG, Gregory!

In Heaven Scent, my heroine, Tarin Worthington, becomes actively involved in the college and is quite peeved when the hero, Rafe Sutherland, shows up and distracts her from her goals. And take my word for it ladies, he is quite the distraction. :-)

Pick up a copy of Heaven Scent online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords and you’ll see what I mean. :-_

Comment on this blog post by the end of the month and you will automatically be entered into a drawing for a free e-book copy of Heaven Scent!


I hope you will connect with me online at: www.sophiegreyson.com , www.twitter.com/sophiegreyson or www.facebook.com/sophiegreyson.

Happy Reading!


About the Author:
Sophie Greyson lives in Texas with her husband and numerous saltwater fish. The mother of two grown children, Sophie works by day in accounting and human resources management. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, movies, watching her two favorite TV shows, and driving her Camaro.


After watching her mother's endless suffering & death, nothing would keep Tarin Worthington from opening the first female medical college and becoming a doctor-not society's antiquated rules, nor the distracting Rafe Sutherland. Yes, he was a handsome, national hero bearing secrets-but she would not lose sight of her goals. What Tarin doesn't realize is that her mother has a few goals of her own.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

GUEST BLOG: DEBORAH RILEY-MAGNUS

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Oh How I Love the “What ifs?”



The “What ifs?” How cool are they? They seem to run my whole life. When cooking, I wonder what if I use pepperoni instead of bacon? When traveling, what if I take the country road instead of the interstate? When working with a writer as an Author Success Coach, I always ask what if we look some place completely different for book buyers? The “What ifs” make all the difference in being different … and standing apart as a writer is the only way to get noticed.


Urban Fantasy falls right under that category of “What ifs” for me. Even as a child I was looking for the strange and unusual, a way to creatively explain the unexplainable and seek out the fantasy. Urban Fantasy is the fantasy right there in our real, urban, everyday world and that’s what makes it so exciting. When I decided to write Urban Fantasy, I discovered that these ever present questions went deeper than real life. They took me into the ideas presented by previous authors and accepted as undeniable truths. I wanted to know what new ideas could come simply by asking … what if?


I wanted all the fun creatures in my Urban Fantasy series – fairies, pixies, trolls, werewolves, shape-shifters and yes, even vampires. At the time, I was living in Los Angeles and trust me, seeing the unexpected is nothing unusual there. I clearly remember leaving a client’s office in West Hollywood and walking to my car when I noticed something strange across the street. A very small man, most likely a little person, walked up to the door of what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. He looked left then right then suspiciously slunk into the darkness. And I wondered …


What if that man was a leprechaun? Why was he going into the dilapidated building? Were there other supernatural and fantastical creatures in there? Werewolves? Gnomes? A few creatures we never heard of before? What if there were all dead supernaturals? Are there dead – really dead – vampires in there too?


By the time I climbed into my car and started the ignition, my mind was racing. Why would dead supernatural creatures be living in an old warehouse? What happens to a vampire after he finally dies? Sitting on the 405 (the Los Angeles Freeway SURE to be influenced by supernatural influences because nobody gets anywhere fast, no matter how many lanes they add to it) I had to face my real creative dilemma. Anne Rice taught us all that when a vampire dies, he simply flakes away. Contemporary writers like Charlaine Harris continue that sad “final death” concept for vampires. But … but … what if?


What if some vampires actually don’t just flake away into an ashy mist of nothingness? What if a few chosen vampires actually get one more chance to earn redemption? And what if my twice-baked vampire (he already had a name – Gabriel Strickland), discovered that when he thought it was all finally over, instead he must live out purgatory in a West Hollywood warehouse with several other dead supernaturals … all trying to earn brownie points for a ticket through the Pearly Gates, against their natures of course. Oh, what fun that would be!


I knew before I reached my own driveway that there would be five books in the series, I knew it would be a humorous adventure covering all the lessons my handsome twice-baked vampire would need to learn. I knew there’d be romance and danger, mistakes galore and a lot of twisted mythology. And, as an Author Success Coach, I knew I had tapped into the current market with the unique “what if” elements that would make the series unique and entertaining.


Oh, I’m one of those people who love the … What Ifs.


About the Author:
Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She writes fiction and non-fiction.


Deborah produces several pieces weekly for various websites. She also writes an author industry blog and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. Since January 2011, she’s had two Urban Fantasy novels and a non-fiction, Finding Author Success, released through Central Avenue Publishing.


She’s lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely.


AUTHOR LINKS

I blog - http://rileymagnus.wordpress.com/

I teach - http://theauthorsuccesscoach.com/

I fiction – http://coldincalifornia.com

I write -http://deborahriley-magnus.com/

I play - http://whispersofthemuse.org

I tweet – http://twitter.com/rileymagnus

I facebook - http://www.facebook.com/deborah.rileymagnus

I should be sooo tired!


Urban Fantasy, Book 1 of the “Twice-Baked Vampire Series”, Cold in California


What really happens after a vampire finally dies? Heaven? Hell? Nope, purgatory in a West Hollywood warehouse. Go figure. Cold in California playfully proposes that even the worst of the supernatural world gets one more chance at redemption … and now reluctant twice-baked vampire Gabriel Strickland, must face a whole new meaning for good and evil.

AMAZON

NOOK

KOBO



Urban Fantasy, Book 2 of the “Twice-Baked Vampire Series”, Monkey Jump


Twice-Baked Vampire, Gabriel Strickland, only appears to be handing his life after double-death well. New developments, a waylaid training trip and an Alaskan village filled with the oldest vampires on the planet present all the concerns – and twisted Arthorian lure – he can handle. Secrets must be kept, Gabriel must protect Dori, the love of his life, and his own path to paradise. Well hell, this can’t be good. Find Monkey Jump at Amazon, Nook, Kobo



Non-Fiction, Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Marketing Power within Your Manuscript


Change in the publishing industry is everywhere and publishers are leaving marketing and promotion up to the author. Many authors are aware they need to promote and market their book, but have no clue how to go about it. There are hundreds of resources on how to create characters and develop plot, format book proposals and pitch; but very few on how an author implements success after the book is finished. The questions can be overwhelming and locating the answers is tricky. Deborah Riley-Magnus, an author success coach with years of successful marketing and promotion experience, takes tried and true marketing, publicity and promotional strategies and tailors them for the unique needs of today’s author. Even the odds of your success with this unique resource for all authors.


AMAZON KINDLE

AMAZON PAPER

B&N PAPER and EBOOK






Monday, May 21, 2012

GUEST BLOG: AMELIA GREY

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My Heart and My Home



Good morning! Thank you for having me today. I always enjoy visiting your fabulous site. I look forward to comments and questions from your readers.


Today I want to talk about my favorite place to live and that is my home and my heart. My heart is, and will always be, where my fabulous husband is. I've lived in Alabama, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Right now, my home is Florida, and I love it. I enjoy the hot summers, the beaches, and the view from my condo balcony at sunset. I enjoy sipping wine next to my husband as we watch the sun shimmer into the ocean late in the afternoons.
Of course we historical authors love to describe stately manors houses on sprawling estates and castles filled with servants to take care of every need. Those places are quite nice to visit in books. But, do we ever remember a book for its setting? No, we always remember the hero and heroine, and how they found each other, fell in love, and lived happily ever after. Wherever they are on the last page of the book is where we leave our hearts, too. Romance is a journey of finding true love and once you have found that, you have your heart and your home no matter where you live.


Of course, if I could have a fantasy place to live, it might surprise you to know where mine would be. Several years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Tanzania, Africa, and stayed at The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge which sits on the rim of the crater. The view was so incredible. I still visualize it just perfectly in my mind. It truly was a gift of nature, and a place to be awed and inspired by. I was thinking just the other day that the most wonderful thing about being an author is that I feel free to indulge myself in daydreaming, and I have to admit I enjoy it. But, at the end of the day, I’m happy to be at home.


I hope you will check out my new book A Gentleman Says “I Do” which is on sale now at your favorite local or online bookstore. Here’s a short synopsis of the story for you to enjoy.


Iverson Brentwood has finally met his match. Catalina Crisp heats his blood like no other in his history as a confirmed bachelor. She is the most beautiful and alluring young lady he’s ever encountered, and her lovely countenance has stopped him dead in his tracks. But no matter how attracted he is to the intriguing Catalina, he can’t give into his desire to possess her in every way… for she is the daughter of the man he’s sworn to destroy.


Catalina’s father is a well-known poet and a writer, but wastrel whose disappearances continuously put their household one step away from destitution. Something drastic must change, so it is with quill in hand, that Catalina completes her father’s latest parody of the twins Iverson and Matson Brentwood’s spectacular arrival in London. When the writing hit the streets and parlors of London, it’s not long before a darkly handsome man is at her door, looking for her father.


Seeing the dashing rogue in the flesh, Catalina wishes she could write her way out of Iverson Brentwood’s life. And yet, for a bewildering moment as her heartbeat races and her throat goes dry, dallying with the rake seems like the perfect fictional escape—and it’s all she can do not to throw her arms around him and give into the madness of the intriguing man.
I love to hear from readers. Please feel free to contact me at ameliagrey@comcast.net, AmeliaGrey.com or www.FaceBook.com/AmeliaGreyBooks.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

GUEST BLOG: GRACE BURROWES

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Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a print copy of Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal. US and Canada only please.
What Would Be My Best Research Trip…



My best research trip would be to Great Britain, of course! I could spend months in London alone…


Except I’m not a city girl, so there would be trips to Cornwall, Portsmouth, and Brighton, where I would flirt with former members of the RAF who’ve taken up bird watching, and handsome, soft-spoken amateur antiquarians with names like Chatham and Upton. The little tidbits of history and culture they pass along would get me started on ideas for a Georgian series set on the coast.


Because I’m in the neighborhood and it’s so easy to do, I’d hop the train for at least a weekend in Paris, where I’d fall in “like” with a chance met vacationing Professor of Something Cool with the most scrumptious accent and a Gallic sense of humor. I’d ask Joanna Bourne what the Do Not Miss sights are—she’s been known to disappear on the Left Bank for days.


Because the 200th anniversary of Waterloo is coming up in 2015, the Professor and I would make a sortie to the battleground over in Belgium. An inscription on a monument would form the germ of a novella in a commemorative anthology. Then back to that scepter’d isle where my books are set (after a fond farewell to Quel est His Name).


I would hire a driver/guide, a tall, charming fellow named Ian with a wonderful Scottish accent with whom I’d fall a little in love (though he must never guess, of course). We’d tour some of the great country houses—Chatsworth, Blenheim, Burghley for starts—and then up to the Lakes. There I would like to do much fell walking, see Wordsworth’s house, be inundated with story ideas, and see what this cheese rolling sport is all about.


And then—while Ian falls a little in love with me, but would never confess such a thing—we’d spend a few days in York, where there is a little shoppe dedicated to the sale of whiskey, and bless them, they do give out free samples. After taking in the Minster, the Viking museum, and the shopping district, my guide and I would walk the city walls as the sun sets, a little tipsy from all the comparison shopping in the whisky store. We might even hold hands, and then not speak of it. Ever.


And then—after my guide introduces me to his dear old mum in Northumbria (she likes to paint portraits of companion animals)—we’re on to Scotland. We get drunk on Edinburgh, on the castles and kilts, the view from Arthur’s seat, the Scottish National Gallery, the medieval Old Town, the Botanical Gardens—where Ian kisses my cheek and I blush. The story ideas are coming thick and fast, but we must move on. Ian reminds me that all good things end, and he gives me a very earnest look with his green, green eyes when he says this.


Up through the countryside we go, moving from castle to castle until we’re at Balmoral itself, staying in one of the cottages on grounds. At Balmoral, the walking is fantastic (which is a good thing, considering how well butter goes with scones), the scenery is beyond fantastic, and the local whiskey distillery not bad either. The writing is going wonderfully, but alas, it’s time to turn for home.


Ian tells me I must spend one night in the Eisenhower Apartments at Culzean Castle, and though it means rearranging my flight, I agree, only to find the man with whom I’ve made so many great memories proposes to me, and has hired the Castle for our wedding (the L7,500 60-guest package). My family flies in, Mum and the cousins are there, and after an unforgettable pre-wedding honeymoon, I write a bunch of terrific books.


And we live happily ever after, too of course.



LADY MAGGIE’S SECRET SCANDAL BY GRACE BURROWES – IN STORES MAY 2012



Lady Maggie Windham Has Secrets…


And she’s been perfectly capable of keeping them...until now. When she’s threatened with exposure, she turns to investigator Benjamin Hazlit to keep catastrophe at bay. But Maggie herself intrigues Benjamin more than the riddle she’s set him to solve. As he uncovers more and more of her past, Maggie struggles to keep him at a distance, until they both begin to discover the truth in their hearts...


Praise for Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal



“Delicious... Burrowes delivers red-hot chemistry with a masterful mix of playfulness and sensuality, and her themes of healing and familial strength give this page-turner unusual depth. Charming and original with superb characters ready to walk off the page, this is a splendid addition to any Regency fan’s bookshelf.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review


“An unconventional tale of strikingly unique characters with realistic emotions and exciting antics. It’s always a delight to read one of Burrowes’ creations...” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Grace Burrowes is a prolific and award-winning author of historical romances. Her debut, The Heir, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and was selected as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for 2010 in the romance category. Both The Heir and its follow-up, The Solider, are New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. She is a practicing attorney specializing in family law and lives in a restored log cabin in western Maryland without a TV, DVD player or radio because she’s too busy working on her next books. Please visit http://www.graceburrowes.com, follow her on Twitter: @GraceBurrowes, and check out www.sourcebooks.com for more information.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

GUEST BLOG: GABRIELLE KIMM

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First of all, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog!


You ask what my favorite and least favorite parts of teaching are …?


Favorite – those moments when you know that you have inspired a child, when one of your students responds in such a way that you know for certain you have made a difference. I remember one moment with a group of twelve-year-olds, several years ago. We were going to be writing short stories together, and I thought I’d start by reading them a couple of brilliant examples – to begin with, I chose one by the wonderful, wonderful Roald Dahl.


This was a very nice mixed ability group: one of the boys, though, was always in trouble, never really took part in lessons, rarely did any homework. Let’s call him James. I gave out copies of the story, and started to read. James didn’t follow on the page, like the rest of the class, he just stared fixedly at me as I read - it was actually rather un-nerving. He was riveted, and then, as I finished, he drew in a long breath and said in a sort of awed whisper, ‘Wow! Oh, wow … that was just amazing!’


I said, ‘Did you enjoy it, James?’


He said, still in the awed whisper, ‘That was just the best thing I ever heard.’


I asked – perhaps rather naively, ‘What sort of stories did your parents read you when you were little?’ and his answer made me want to cry. He just shrugged and said, ‘Oh, well … they’re not really that good at that sort of thing …’ I don’t think he’d ever really been read to, before.


It doesn’t sound much, written down, but I was really affected by it- whatever I achieved with that kid over the next year or so, I will always know that even if it was only ever just that once, he had been truly moved by a piece of literature.


There is such power in a good story – even the most truculent just shut up and listen when you read them something wonderful. I’ve taught Steinbeck’s marvelous Of Mice and Men at least a dozen times, to different classes, and no once, however difficult the group, have I ever had anyone not sit and listen to the story being read, pin-drop silent, soaking it up.


Least favorite? Well my least favorite part of teaching seems, rather worryingly, to be getting more and more prevalent: low-level bad behavior. Constant back-chatting, refusing to give in, never allowing the teacher to have the final say in something, countering every attempt the teacher makes to reprimand with a ‘yeah but’ sort of comment. It drives me BONKERS!! Here’s a typical exchange:


Me: Gemma, I asked you to stop talking. I need everyone to stop talking for a moment so that I can explain something to the whole class.


Gemma: (with that extraordinary, belligerent head-wobble that only teens can manage) I wasn’t talking.


Me: (calmly but firmly) I really don’t want to argue about it – just shush now.


Gemma: (rolling her eyes and ‘tutting’ her teeth) Duh! That’s so out of order! I wasn’t talking … I was just saying that …


Me: (nodding) Mmm – “just saying” involves talking, though, doesn’t it, so let’s not “just say”, let’s just all be quiet and …


Gemma: (turning to her friend for moral support) Oh Emm Gee! (said in full)


And so it goes on. Yep – that’s my least favorite!


It has to be said – writing a novel is a huge juggernaut of a process. It’s big and difficult and challenging and emotionally draining, and it takes a massive amount of effort and dedication and patience. But it is EASY, compared to teaching. Take all those adjectives and nouns I’ve just listed, double them, and that’s just the basics needed to be a half-way decent teacher.


Since becoming a novelist, I’m now only on what in the UK is called the supply lists (I cover lessons for absent teachers who are away either ill or on courses), so my teaching load is light in comparison to some. But I have such huge respect for my teaching colleagues – especially those who are doing the job full-time. You all make such a huge, huge difference to people’s lives.


Thank you again for inviting me onto the blog!

All best

Gaby x

http://gabriellekimm.co.uk/


Francesca Felizzi, former mistress of the Duke of Ferrara, revels in the art of entertaining wealthy men. Astonishingly beautiful, lasciviously talented, and stunningly tempting, she adores the power she wields over her patrons.Francesca knows she must succeed as a courtesan—she has two young daughters to support. But an unexpected encounter threatens to change everything, making it clear that her sumptuous life is a gaudy fa├žade. Francesca suddenly finds herself and her daughters abruptly plunged into the sort of danger she has dreaded ever since she began to work the streets all those years ago. In the tradition of Sarah Dunant and Marina Fiorato, a compelling and vibrant tale from an up-and-coming fresh voice that readers will want to savor.





Wednesday, May 9, 2012

GUEST BLOG: PATY JAGER

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What would you do if you were being pushed from your home because someone else signed papers saying you would move? That’s what happened to the nontreaty Nez Perce.

The Nez Perce tribe is made up of bands. Each band had its own territory, a head chief, elders, medicine man, and families who lived together. They traveled back and forth through each others territories hunting, fishing, trading, and visiting. But they each had their own areas where they wintered, summered and buried their people.

In 1855 the first treaty was signed. This treaty gave the Nez Perce bands nearly all of their territories. But the discovery of gold within those boundaries brought about another treat in 1863. This treaty drastically reduced the reservation and didn’t include several of the larger bands territories. These bands refused to sign the treaty and continued to live on what they considered their homeland.

By 1877 the Indians began feeling the pressure of the whites moving into their land and many tribes warred with the army and killed settlers. The nontreaty Nez Perce continued to try and live with the whites but found it increasingly harder to ignore the whites’ acts against the Nez Perce. July of 1877 as many bands camped together gathering camas, racing horses, and talking of the intrusion of the whites and the army ordering them to the reservation, three young men rode up upon a white man who had killed one of the young men’s uncle. The brave snapped and killed the whiteman. That began the four month long and 1,170 mile march of the Nez Perce to find freedom.

Spirit of the Sky is the third book of my spirit trilogy. It takes place during the exodus of the Nez Perce as they sought freedom. The heroine is a Nez Perce spirit who as a bald eagle watches over the Lake Nimiipuu (Wallowa Nez Perce-Chief Joseph’s band) from the sky.

The trilogy follows the Lake Nimiipuu from before the white man arrives in their area- Spirit of the Mountain with a white wolf spirit hero- and right after the whiteman arrives – Spirit of the lake where the bull elk spirit who resides in the lake helps a Nimiipuu maiden prove the traitorous nature of a whiteman believed to be a friend of the Lake Nimmipuu, to the third book - Spirit of the Sky, Sa-qan’s story.

Sa-qan and her brothers, Himiin and Wewukiye were made spirits by the Creator after their father’s greed killed the warriors of their village. Centuries later the three find themselves attracted to mortals and experiencing emotions they only felt when mortal.

To save her from oppression, he must save her whole tribe. To give her his heart, he must desert his career…

When the US Army forces the Nimiipuu from their land, Sa-qan, the eagle spirit entrusted with watching over her tribe, steps in to save her mortal niece. Challenging the restrictions of the spirit world, Sa-qan assumes human form and finds an unexpected ally in a handsome cavalry officer.

Certain she is a captive, Lt. Wade Watts, a Civil War veteran, tries to help the blonde woman he finds sheltering a Nez Perce child. While her intelligent eyes reveal she understands his language, she refuses his help. But when Wade is wounded, it is the beautiful Sa-qan who tends him. Wade wishes to stop the killing—Sa-qan will do anything to save her people.

Can their differences save her tribe? Or will their love spell the end of the Nimiipuu?
About the Author:Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently ranch 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
She is a member of RWA, EPIC , and COWG. She’s had eleven books and a short story published so far and is venturing into the new world of self-publishing ebooks. Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance and Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest.
You can learn more about her at her blog:www.patyjager.blogspot.com; her website: www.PatyJager.net or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager and Twitter: @patyjag. Contest! At each stop I’m giving away a $5 Amazon gift certificate to a lucky commenter.

Each blog stop has a picture of an eagle in the post. Follow the tour and send me the number of different pictures you saw while following the tour. If there is more than one correct entry I’ll draw a winner on May 21st to receive a $25 gift certificate to either Barnes and Nobles or Amazon, a handmade custom ereader cover, and chocolate.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

GUEST BLOG: ALINA ADAMS

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WRITING A ROMANCE NOVEL ALONG WITH MY READERS!

By
Alina Adams


As far as I’m concerned, Rhett Butler comes back to Scarlett O’Hara (the movie makes it even clearer than the book. Did you see how foggy it was; where was he going to go?)


Also, Romeo & Juliet are just napping, The English Patient is a little more prompt, the second Mrs. de Winter is not doomed to spend the rest of her days with a wife-killer. Oh, and Dr. Zhivago manages to stop communism.


Yes. I’m that reader. The one who, when she doesn’t like how a story ends, rewrites it in her head.


But, I suspect I’m not the only one.


In addition to publishing Regency and contemporary romance novels with AVON and Dell, as well as figure skating mysteries with Berkley Prime Crime, I also spent over a decade working for soap operas, first at ABC Daytime, and then at Procter & Gamble Productions’ As the World Turns and Guiding Light, where I wrote the tie-in novels Oakdale Confidential, The Man From Oakdale, and co-wrote Jonathan’s Story with Julia London.


And if there is one thing I learned from working for a serial drama, it’s that all fans have an idea of how they want to see their story go (and it is their story). And that they get very frustrated when they believe their voices aren’t being heard.


Romance readers are the same way. Though, in their case, unlike a daily tale written as it goes along, it’s a bit late to register one’s objections after the book is already written, edited, printed, sold, and in your hands.


Maybe.


Maybe not.


While at Procter & Gamble Productions, I developed a property for them called AnotherWorldToday.com. AnotherWorldToday.com was a bi-weekly serial picking up, ten years later, the narrative of their show, Another World, which went off the air in 1999. The most innovative thing about it was that, at the conclusion of every episode, readers were asked to vote on where the story went next.


The response was quite vocal, passionate and enthusiastic (though, I must say, no matter how seemingly obvious the question, there was never, ever a landslide victory for any poll. People are just too different in what they like and don’t like; or maybe they were just messing with me).


When I started AnotherWorldToday.com in 2009, electronic publishing was still finding its footing. Three years later, a great many things are a great deal clearer.


The clearest is that it is possible to write, edit and publish books on a much faster time-table than under the traditional model. Amazon and BN.com can have a title up and available within 24 hours of it being uploaded.


Which makes a reader interactive serial a technological and creative possibility.


Taking what I learned from writing romance novels and mysteries, not to mention my experience working in television and on the Internet, I have published an original work, Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga, which will release a new volume every month. At the end of each book will be links to where you can go to voice your opinions about future storyline developments. Your thoughts and feelings will be listened to, counted, and ultimately included in the next volume.


Do I think I can pull this off? I don’t know.


Just like I didn’t know if I could pull off taking my figure skating mysteries, Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop, and Skate Crime, and adding professional skating videos from The Ice Theatre of New York to turn them into enhanced e-books. Now instead of just reading about my characters’ performances, you can actually watch them.


But, I did it anyway. Because I wanted to try. It’s up to my readers now to tell me if I succeeded.


And, because as I mentioned above, I love interactivity – I genuinely hope that you do!


About the Author:
Alina Adams is the New York Times’ best selling author of soap opera tie-ins, figure skating mysteries, and romances, including Annie’s Wild Ride and When a Man Loves a Woman. Her latest project is Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga. In addition to turning her own backlist into enhanced e-books, she has produced enhanced e-books for others, including Dan Elish, whose middle-grade fantasy novel, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, now includes its own original musical score. Learn more at http://www.AlinaAdamsMedia.com.