Beginning January 1, 2013

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Friday, November 30, 2012

EXCERPT TOUR: CHRISTINE YOUNG

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Christine will be awarding a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn host as well as ten MacPherson book marks to randomly drawn commenters. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.





Throughout the Highlands she is known as Keely, the witch woman. She is a great healer-a woman whose dreams come true. Ian MacPherson is a man who puts honor, loyalty and duty above everything. Their lives are entwined when Ian is sent by the Scottish King to bring Keely to trial for witchcraft. He is attacked and left for dead, but Keely rescues him. When he wakes, he discovers he has no memory. As he remembers his lost past, Ian finds that his need to protect the woman who has saved his life eclipses his duty to his king and country., He is a man torn between honor and duty to his country and the woman he loves.


Read an excerpt:


The innkeeper and his wife stood together by the door leading into the kitchen. The innkeeper stepped forward.


Ian noted the stairs leading to the rooms above as well as the doors that could be used for a hasty escape if needed. One of the English soldiers whispered something to one of his men and the laugher and talk came to an abrupt and jarring halt.


For a moment, they were frozen in an awkward tableau; food halfway to mouths, tankards sloshing ale onto tables--and all eyes turned toward Ian and Keely.


"Don't you dare stand there looking guilty," Ian warned Keely.


"I'm guilty of nothing and these are English soldiers, not Scottish," she reminded him indignantly. "They are after you. Not me."


His hand rested upon her back and he felt the stiffening of her spine. Good. They'd both need stiff spines to get through the night.


Ian ignored the continued silence in the room and the stares focused on them as many of the patrons waited for some type of altercation. He had remembered much, but just what the conflict between the English general and himself was, he still could not remember.


And as the increasingly tense moments drug on, he was quite sure he and Keely could not safely stay the night. Her reminder grated at him. The memory of English soldiers circling her small home and burning it to the ground ate at him.


They were after him. Enemies of his family. He could not remember why.


He ordered a meal for both of them and they sat down in a dark corner of the inn. While he ate, he watched the men with growing trepidation.


"We will not stay here," he leaned close to Keely, whispering, and breathing in the soft scent of lavender.


About the Author:
Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children. Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.


Blog: http://christineyoung-romancewriter.blogspot.com






Wednesday, November 28, 2012

GUEST BLOG and Giveaway: LOUCINDA McGARY

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SEVEN THINGS THAT MAKE MY HERO SWOON WORTHY



Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest today. I'm very excited to be here and share the news about my newest ebook release His Reluctant Bodyguard.


This book was a new experience for me in several areas. First of all, it is the second book in my Adventure Cruise Line series. I have never written a series before, but when I was writing my previous book High Seas Deception, my heroine's best friend and roommate, Avery Knox was such a fun character that I couldn't resist giving her a story of her own. So even though the two books are stand alone stories that can be read in any order, His Reluctant Bodyguard is also set in the world of my fictional cruise line.


Second, His Reluctant Bodyguard is a reunion story, and I've never written one of those either. Avery and her hero, Rip Pollendene have a history. They met ten years before this story starts when they were both in college and both recovering from knee injuries. They never acted on their feelings of attraction back then, but of course they never forgot each other. Now that they've met again, circumstances seem determined to tear them apart.


Finally, Rip Pollendene was a completely different hero for me to write because he doesn't have one drop of Irish blood! He is an intriguing mixture of French, African, and native Carib heritage. But I hope you will agree that he is also very "swoon worthy." Here are my top seven things that put him in the "swoon worthy" category for me:


1. He has a great sense of humor. (This is my number one trait for heroes in real-life as well as fiction.) Rip is quick to make an off-hand remark or see the humor in a situation. When he learns that he and his companion must use the assumed names of John Smith and James Brown, he quips, "You can go chasing after Pocahantas, I'll be the godfather of soul."


2. He has a dazzling smile that gleams extra bright against his bronze complexion -- think of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's smile (I did when I created Rip) and you'll know what I mean! Avery remembers Rip's smile even after ten years. At one point, she asks him if his smile always gets what he wants, and he answers, "Pretty much." Which leads very nicely to the next swoon worthy trait...


3. He is confident and tenacious. Every time Avery turns him down, he tries again. He even boldly tells her he is not giving up on a future with her. When his companion Williams says too bad Avery rejected him yet again, Rip confidently says, "I'll change her mind." Gotta love a guy with that kind of determination!


4. He is loyal. If you are his friend, he will do everything he can to help you. Even if you aren't a real "friend" he won't abandon you. Rip and Williams have a rather adversarial relationship. But when they are both imprisoned and Rip is rescued, he makes his friends go back for Williams.


5. A former NFL player, he is no couch potato, so he's very nice to look at. When Rip appears in swimming trunks, every woman at the pool, including Avery, takes notice. He exercises to relieve stress and has been known to take three or four cold showers in a single day.


6. You can always wear heels with him because at 6 feet 4, he will be taller than just about everyone. Even at 5 feet 10 in her bare feet, Avery doesn't look down on him in her highest heels.


7. He will never have a better hair day than you! Back in the day (KOFF*the 80s*KOFF), I swore I would never date a man who used more hair care products than I did. It is a vow that has served me well, though I would never have predicted the current trend toward shaved heads. It's a look not every man can successfully wear. However, in Rip's case bald is definitely beautiful.


So there you have my top seven reasons to swoon over my hero. I'm sure when you read His Reluctant Bodyguard, you'll discover a few more of your own. I'll be giving away a free download (Kindle or Nook, winner's choice) of His Reluctant Bodyguard to one randomly selected commenter. I'll also enter every commenter's name in a drawing for a $20 gift card to be awarded at the end of my blog tour (Dec. 5th).


Thanks again for having me here at Long & Short Reviews! Please tell me what trait makes a hero "swoon worthy" for you?


About the Author:
Blessed with the gift of “Irish Blarney” Loucinda McGary (everyone calls her Cindy) became a storyteller shortly after she learned to read. If she didn’t like the way a story ended, she made up her own ending.


A long-time reader of romances, Cindy discovered and joined Romance Writers of America in 2001. But her stressful career as the manager of a multi-million dollar State and Federally funded program prevented her from doing much writing or traveling. She still managed to squeeze in a little of both, but not enough of either to be truly satisfying. Finally, at the end of 2003 she decided to take an early retirement from her career to fully pursue her twin passions of travel and writing.


On Sept. 14, 2007 Cindy received “the call” from an editor that changed her life, and she sold her first book (actually the third book she’d written since she left her job four years earlier). The Wild Sight was released Oct. 2008 and received a rare and coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly magazine. It also went on to win the “Best First Book” category in the More Than Magic contest. In 2010, the electronic version of Wild Sight became an Amazon bestseller in their Top 100 of all books.
In Sept. 2009, her second published novel, The Treasures of Venice, was released. This story previously finaled in the prestigious Golden Heart contest in 2006 under the title Jewels of the Madonna. Treasures of Venice went on to win the Judge a Book By Its Cover contest and to final in several other regional contests.
In July 2010 her third traditionally published novel, The Wild Irish Sea was released, and received a four star review from Romantic Times Book Review magazine.
Cindy likes to set her novels of romance and suspense in some of the fascinating places she has visited. To date, she has visited 47 states and 32 foreign countries.





The last person cruise director Avery Knox expected to see aboard her very first trip out on Valiant is former college football star, Rip Pollendene. A decade ago, she had turned down his advances at the University of Miami and lived to regret her decision. Why is she so reluctant to take the second chance she’s been handed?


Rip Pollendene is the heir apparent to a beautiful island nation. But it’s a heritage Rip has ignored and rejected for twenty years. Now his homeland is on the brink of a bloody civil war with outside forces trying to manipulate the outcome. Is that why someone wants him dead?


How much should Rip sacrifice for a country he hardly knows? And is it sheer coincidence that has thrown golden girl Avery Knox back into his life? Can they stay alive long enough to find out if their love really is meant to be?
Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble









Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GUEST BLOG: MEGAN MULRY

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Surprise! Surprise!
by
Megan Mulry



Thank you for having me here at Long and Short Reviews! Now that a few weeks have gone by since the publication of my first book, A Royal Pain, I am beginning to feel normal again. Or, you know, as normal as I ever was…which is not very.


That whole thing about nothing to fear but fear itself? That's mostly true. The fear of the unknown, at least, has passed. It has happened! I am a published author! Still, there have been a few surprises that I didn't see coming. A friend suggested I write about the surprises. So. Here goes:


Surprise 1. There are still people who will happily pay $15 for a trade paperback.


I am such a hardcore devourer of books that I have to operate on a very strict budget. I rarely spend more than $6.99. I go to the library for hardcover new releases. I wait for e-books to go on sale. I shop the used book sections of my local thrift stores on a regular basis. If I spent $15 on every book I read, that'd put my annual reading habit at *mental computing* roughly $2,500. This is probably all wrong of me to confess when I am supposedly in this game to sell books, but there you have it. (Speaking of bargains, A Royal Pain is free to members of the Romance Ebook Club, Discover A New Love.


Surprise 2. I remain baffled that people are actually reading my book.


I thought it would have worn off by now, after a few weeks, this feeling of wanting to hug every single person who has read A Royal Pain. Whether they loved it or hated it (my apologies to the latter…please see below for cookie offer), they took time out of their lives to read my words. Just. How surprising is that? It's crazy. I am new. I am nobody. (Just took a moment to re-watch one of my favorite scenes in all of cinema. No. Not the break-in scene from Rififi. Steve Martin in The Jerk) Anyway, I am an unknown commodity. People are taking a risk. I'm amazed. I'm grateful.


Surprise 3. Reviews do not roll off me like water on a duck's back.


It probably sounds stupid, but I did not adequately prepare for what it would feel like to have lots of people really (really) analyzing the hell out of my words. I've been through all sorts of assessments at jobs, hardcore edits, performance reviews—you name it. I've been raked over the coals many (many) times in this here life. I'm pretty tough. But. Wow. When someone is really disappointed in a book that was written with the overarching desire to bring pleasure? I don't know where to go with that. I want to bake them cookies and write an apology note for their time. And I'm not trying to change their experience at all because I am a huge believer in the book becoming the experience of the reader, and not always being the property or the possession of the author. I put it out there. I knew what I was doing. It's the reader's book now to interpret any which way. As the astute Miranda Neville advised, "There's nothing you can do about bad reviews except keep quiet and drink gin." I have tried to follow her advice to the letter!


Have you ever thought you were prepared for something, only to be really surprised? (Matrimony springs to mind.)


Thanks again for having me!


About the Author:
Megan Mulry writes sexy, modern, romantic fiction. She graduated from Northwestern University and then worked in publishing, including positions at The New Yorker and Boston Magazine. After moving to London, Mulry worked in finance and attended London Business School. She has traveled extensively in Asia, India, Europe, and Africa and now lives with her husband and children in Florida.


http://www.meganmulry.com/

Monday, November 26, 2012

GUEST BLOG and Giveaway: Vonnie Davis

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Vonnie will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on her tour.





Gwen,


You won’t believe this email. I’m sitting in a French safe house, eating caviar and drinking champagne with handsome government agent, Niko Reynard. He’s wearing nothing but silk pajama bottoms and mega doses of sex appeal. I’m in big trouble, little sister. He’s kissed me several times and given me a foot massage that nearly caused spontaneous combustion. I'm feeling strangely virginal compared to the sexual prowess this thirty-year-old man exudes.


When I came to Paris for a bit of adventure, I never imagined I’d foil a bombing attempt, karate-kick two men, and run from terrorists while wearing a new pair of stilettos. I met a German musician, a gay poet from Australia, and the most delightful older French woman.


Don’t worry. I’m safe…the jury’s still out on yummy Niko, though. The more champagne I drink, the less reserved I feel. What an unforgettable fortieth birthday!


Alyson


Read an excerpt from this book:


Suddenly, screams followed by loud thumping and books falling filled the bookstore. Niko sprinted in the direction of the high-pitched shrieking, gun in hand. He bounded up the steps and rounded the corner. “Aly! Aly! What the hell.”


He skidded to a halt. One of the well-dressed men he saw entering the store earlier was on the floor, books covering most of his body. His companion was staggering, holding his hands over his eye and screaming like a banshee as blood ran down his face.


In the corner stood a pale and trembling Aly, her frightened blue eyes dominated her face. “They…they grabbed me! Said they’d kill me if I resisted. I…I karate kicked them.” She swallowed, obviously trying to gain control. “Kung…kung-fooed the hell out of them, too. And…and…”—she pointed to the screaming man still on his feet—“I think I poked his eye out with one of my stilettos.”


Niko ran a hand down his face, keeping it over his mouth to hide the smile. What a piece of work. He wanted to laugh. He wanted to hug her. And damned if he didn’t want to shake the daylights out of her for stepping out of his sight. Hadn’t he told her to stay with him?


“You okay?” Niko’s gaze swept over her, looking for injuries. He fought the urge to pull her to him and embrace her until her trembling stopped. Frankly, if he were honest, his nerves weren’t the greatest right this moment, either. When he heard her scream earlier, cold fear did a free-fall straight through his system.


About the Author:
Vonnie Davis holds a degree in English with a concentration in technical writing from Penn State. She is retired and has traded in her technical writer’s tailored clothes for the feather boa of a romance writer. Her debut novel, Storm’s Interlude, was awarded the HOLT Medallion Award of Merit in two categories: Best book by a Virginia author and Best Mainstream Single Title. She lives in southern Virginia with her husband, who is also a writer.


Find Vonnie online at


Website ~ http://www.vonniedavis.com

Blog ~ http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

Twitter ~ http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/WritingStoriesOfTheHeart









Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Guest Blog and giveaway: Jackson Keene

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Having earned undergrad and grad degrees in history, plus having spent a year toward a doctorate in same, I’ve always had a healthy fascination with long ago events and individuals (whether common folk or famous personages), with major trends and traditions, and how such evolved through time. It’s interesting to dig deep into how people carried on – how they managed – during the great epochs of past; how they lived, loved, survived, overcome, left legacies and lineages to carry on their name and bloodline. How each generation is beholden to the last, but still tasked with creating its personal stamp for the next generation to come.

I’ve loved the sport of basketball since childhood. I greatly like Chinese people and China as a country. In fact, I have several Chinese friends with whom I play pick-up basketball games most every week. In addition, I’m an evangelical Christian. I love action and adventure, both in movies and in reading. I’m a very passionate (romantic) person. So it almost seems natural I would write an historical novel with romance and danger that combines all these things into a unified story.

In some ways, the saga of SARAH QUANLI has elements of both The Good Earth and East of Eden. It’s all about the lives and loves of several generations of a Chinese family, begun when a handsome Scottish missionary marries a beautiful Chinese girl. The newly published Book One covers the time period from the birth of David Adam MacDougall in 1882 to the birth of his first child, a daughter, named Sarah Quanli MacDougall in 1916. Books Two, Three, and Four – still to come – will take the reader through the brutality and turmoil of strife-torn twentieth century China, and later, concurrently, through the social upheaval of the 1960s and beyond in golden California.


Leave a comment for a chance to win either a print or ebook copy of Sarah Quanli (one winner of each). Print book will be awarded to a US or Canadian commenter only, please; the ebook copy can be awarded internationally.


About the Author:
Jackson Keene is a former advertising Mad Man (including a stint as Director at iconic Ogilvy & Mather) and senior marketing executive. With undergrad & graduate degrees and some doctoral work in history, he is fascinated by stories that capture the heart and soul of years past.

His first novel, a mix of historical & contemporary YA fiction, was published September 2011. SARAH QUANLI is his second work of fiction.

These days, he indulges in another of his loves, basketball––coaching and playing on his own Men’s Over 40 team, as well as volunteer coaching youth teams. A fitness fanatic, Mr. Keene works out as much as he writes, which is to say, every day. He also attends a wonderful church, Bent Tree Bible Fellowship.

Mr. Keene lives in Plano, Texas, with his wife, Barbara, soon to be joined by a chocolate female dachshund puppy to be named Sprinkles. They have two grown daughters, Emily and Renata.





The beautiful yet deceitful Rossalyn McDonald had twisted the knife deep in David Adam MacDougall’s big heart. He was extraordinarily handsome: chiseled muscles, kindly soul, thoughtful personality, and totally faithful. Any other lass in his Scottish Highlands village would have cheated her own sister to become his bride.

Now David’s entire being felt broken into a thousand pieces. Now he only wanted to reach the faraway city of Beiping China where he was called to be a missionary. But before arriving in that mysterious mistress of the orient, he would face uncertain dangers.

The year is 1904. The bloody Boxer Rebellion is only four years past. Much of northern China still seethes with undercurrents of resentment and hatred of all things Western. If David can just make it to the ancient city with body and soul intact, if he can just survive, there he’ll find his new purpose, his new home, and his new people.

There, he’ll meet the woman he comes to believe is the love of his life. The lithe, athletic, saucy, highly intelligent and equally independent Xiu Li!



Monday, November 19, 2012

GUEST BLOG: SARA HUMPHREYS

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Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of Untamed (US and Canada readers only please)


Full of Surprises



With the prevalent use of social media, it sometimes feels like we know everything there is to know about people. Sometimes more than we want to know. When I was invited to come on the blog today to promote Untamed, I was asked to come up with a list of ten things about myself that might surprise people. To be very honest, with all the blogging I’ve done over the past couple of years I worried that perhaps I’d spilled all the beans and had nothing left to say.


Nope. There’s more. Some I can’t share but some I can. So here are ten things about me that may surprise you.


1. I may be over forty but I still like a good peanut butter & fluff sandwich. So naughty and bad for me but soooooo good.


2. I can do a split.


3. I HATE getting pedicures. Love the outcome but hate the process. While getting a pedicure I squirm in the chair like I have ants in my pats once they start filing my toenails.


4. I can roll my tongue.


5. I love karaoke. My favorite songs to sing are I Will Survive, Proud Mary and Redneck Woman.


6. I can recite every line from Aliens as the movie is playing.


7. I’ve tried Botox but didn’t like the way it froze my eyebrows.


8. I misbehaved in public high school so my parents shipped me off to boarding school—Convent of the Sacred Heart. (I hated them for it at the time but it was the best thing they did for me. Thanks a bunch, Mom & Dad!)


9. I won acting awards in college every year.


10. In high school my bedroom was plastered with pictures of Bruce Willis and I never missed an episode of Moonlighting. (Best. Show. Ever.)


About the Author:
Sara Humphreys has been attracted to the fantasies of science fiction, paranormal, and romance since her adolescence when she had a mad crush on Captain Kirk. An actress and public speaker, Sara lives in Bronxville, NY, with her husband, who is very considerate of her double life, and four amazing boys. For more information about her books and to join her street team, please visit www.sarahumphreys.com or follow her on Twitter, @AuthorSara.


UNTAMED BY SARA HUMPHREYS – IN STORES NOVEMBER 2012



An ancient race of shapeshifters has lived secretly among humans for thousands of years...they are...the Amoveo


HER WORST NIGHTMARE IS COMING TRUE...


Layla Nickelsen has spent years hiding from her Amoveo mate and guarding a devastating secret. But Layla's worst fear is realized when the man who haunts her dreams shows up in person ...


HE HAS FINALLY FOUND HER...


William Fleury is as stoic as they come, until he finds Layla and his feelings overwhelm him. She won't let him get close, but then an unknown enemy erupts in violence and threatens everything Layla holds dear...


Praise for the Amoveo Legend series:


“Compelling... Deft world-building and sensuous love scenes make this paranormal romantic thriller an enjoyable journey.” —Publishers Weekly


“The characters haunted my dreams...I thought about this book constantly.” —Long and Short Reviews

“I loved the book. I'm looking forwards to many more in this series.” —Night Owl Reviews, Reviewer Top Pick


“Fast-paced paranormal romance with fantastic world-building.” —The Book Girl




Friday, November 16, 2012

GUEST BLOG: ELIZA DALY

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How Being a Writer Has Made Me a Better Person



Every character I write has flaws. That’s what makes them sympathetic and likeable. Readers can relate to them. Like my characters, I have flaws. I don’t think I was ever a bad person, but everyone has room for improvement. Below are the top five ways I think being a writer has made me a better person.


I am much more patient. I used to walk up and down escalators. If an elevator door didn’t open within seconds after I pushed the button, I was flying up the stairs. When I first started querying agents, I was camped out at the mailbox waiting for their responses a week later. I didn’t realize I would likely be waiting months or even two years for replies. Being in a holding pattern merely made me more impatient. I learned that the best thing to do was to move forward with the next project and query more than ten agents at a time. I still find myself occasionally walking up or down an escalator rather than enjoying the ride, but I’m much better.


I am less of a control freak. I’ve learned to let go, at least somewhat, of what isn’t in my control. I can’t control when, or even if, agents or editors respond to my query letters. If they’ll love my book and want to represent or sell it. If I’ll sell my next book. Luckily, since I’ve started writing there are a lot more publishing options. I’ve learned to focus on two things that are in my control: writing the best book I can and submitting it.


I am more supportive. I realize how difficult it is to promote yourself or a small business. It takes a lot of time and effort to gain a following on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. It only takes a moment to like a Facebook fan page, vote for a friend’s baby in the Gerber baby contest, or comment on a blog. Half the time, I don’t even know the person I’m helping out and he or she is a friend of a Facebook friend. The person might not even be a writer, but maybe a photographer, realtor, or massage therapist. I truly believe in karma and hope that others are doing the same for me.


I have much thicker, yet more sensitive skin. When I first entered writing contests, I received mainly constructive feedback from supportive judges. However, I had my share of not-so-nice judges who ripped my work to shreds and had me questioning my talent. Besides giving me thicker skin, one thing I learned from these judges was that I didn’t want to be like them. I didn’t want to be responsible for a person having a meltdown or giving up on writing. So when I started judging contests, I made sure that I always made positive, constructive comments and I never gave out harsh scores. I once gave a newbie writer a lot of feedback and encouragement, along with an average score. She sent me a thank you note and said that the other judges’ comments had made her cry, but then she read mine and I restored her faith in her writing. I was happy I made a positive impact on that writer’s contest experience.


I am more gracious. I don’t take anyone’s time or help for granted, be it a contest judge, an agent, an editor, a writer, a friend, or a family member. I’ve received a lot of assistance on my road to publication and would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who has played a role in helping me achieve my goal!


Please leave an insightful comment on my post and an e-mail address to be entered to win one of two e-copies of Under Her Spell. Winners will be chosen on November 19th.


Thank you so much to Long and Short Reviews for helping me celebrate the release of my debut romance, and to everyone who stopped by today. Please check out future stops on my blog tour, ending November 27. I’ll be giving away a variety of gifts. If you comment on 5 stops, and are a Facebook fan, you’ll be eligible to win one of two $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificates at the end of my blog tour. Winners will be announced on my website’s news page the end of November.


About the Author:
Eliza Daly’s first attempt at creative writing was in fourth grade. She and her friends were huge Charlie’s Angels fans and she would sit in her bedroom at night writing scripts for them to act out at recess the following day. She was Kelly Garrett. Fast forward to the present, she’s still writing stories about beautiful women who always get their men. The journey from fourth grade script writer to published author wasn’t an easy one, but it was always an adventure and the final destination was well worth it.


When Eliza isn’t traveling for her job as an event planner, or tracing her ancestry roots through Ireland, she’s at home in Milwaukee working on her next novel, bouncing ideas off her husband Mark, and her cats Quigley and Frankie.


You can find Eliza on the web at Website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


Under Her Spell is available at Amazon, iTunes, , Kobo, eBooks, and Barnes & Noble (coming soon).





When a series of failed relationships and business ventures have Monica Jackson doubting her self-worth, she turns to spell casting to attract positive energy and the opportunities needed to achieve her goals. But can Monica’s belief in spells restore her belief in herself?


Monica creates a spell to find her soul mate, and one to ensure the success of her new romantic event planning company, Enhance Your Romance. Monica is confident she has found her niche until divorce lawyer Reed Walker opens a practice next door to her office. The anti-marriage slogan plastered on his office window, and his down-on-love clients, quickly prove detrimental to Monica’s business. When his arrival appears to trigger a string of bad luck, Monica fears one of her spells sent negative energy into the universe and it has returned to her threefold. Although Reed is beyond sexy, and she admires his self-confidence, she’ll do whatever it takes to get the universe back on her side, and Reed out of her life. No way is she losing another business.


Reed finds himself attracted to Monica’s beauty and her optimism. His job and his parents’ divorce have made him a pessimist, especially when it comes to love. However, he soon finds that Monica’s pro-love attitude is rubbing off on him, causing him to lose his edge. If Reed doesn’t distance himself from Monica, he’ll likely destroy his reputation as a pit bull divorce lawyer.


Can Monica and Reed look past what they might be losing to realize the love they have found?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

GUEST BLOG and Giveaway: JILL MANSELL

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Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of A Walk in the Park.US and Canada only, please.


Question: Other than family, what is something you absolutely can’t live without?



Ha, I'm glad you said 'other than family' as they're already completely bored with being read about. My children must hold the world record for being underwhelmed at the idea of having yet more books dedicated to them...ungrateful, that's what they are!


And the answer to your question as to what I couldn't possibly live without has to be the internet. Does everyone say that? Surely they must. But it's just so brilliant, isn't it? And that means books are included because they're part of it too. I'm just amazed when I think what my world used to be like, pre-computers. Now I just spend my whole day on them. I may still write all my books by hand, with a fountain pen, but absolutely everything else happens via my lovely iPad.


I chat to my writer friends throughout the day on Twitter. I watch TV shows. I look up every single thing I need to know....ooh, that actor in that film, what's his name? That's one of those mysteries that used to keep me occupied for hours as my brain struggled to work out what he'd been in before, who with, and who they were. Now, in a matter of seconds, IMDB has told me everything I could possibly need to know about them and more.


My daughter has been in Europe this last week and we've been able to keep in touch in a way that was unimaginable a decade ago. And last night as she was flying home I was tracking her plane in real time as it flew over Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany...honestly, it's just mind-blowing.


I dug out one of my old photo albums the other week. All the photos were turning yellow and a bit faded with age, and falling out from between the transparent sheets holding them to the pages. So I photographed each of the photos of me and my friends back when we were young and single, and posted them on Facebook. Within minutes, I was being contacted by people I hadn't seen in so long, recognising themselves and others. It was brilliant, and now they're doing it too, so we're all seeing photos of ourselves thinner and less wrinkled than we are now!


The only drawback of all this amazing technology is the way it makes writing plots for novels harder. In A Walk in the Park, Lara is delving into the past in order to uncover long lost family secrets and it's a difficult, time-consuming thing to do. But nowadays it's all so easy! Click a couple of buttons and they you are, bam, mysteries all solved! There's no tension, no anxiety, no worrying that the answers will stay hidden, because they're all there, just waiting to be uncovered...


Isn't it a clever world we live in? And the very best bit of all is being able to chat to readers. Wherever they are, they can contact me at the click of a mouse. So if you enjoy my work, please do let me know! I'm @JillMansellon Twitter and I'd love to hear from you...I'm the queen of procrastination and anything's better than having to get on with writing my books!


About the Author:
A New York Times, USA Today and international bestseller, Jill Mansell has written over 20 funny, romantic novels, and has sold millions of books around the world. Jill lives with her family in Bristol, England. For more information, please visit www.jillmansell.co.uk or follow her on Twitter: @JillMansell.





A WALK IN THE PARK BY JILL MANSELL – IN STORES NOVEMBER 2012



No one could have planned for this...


Lara Carson left her family and boyfriend Flynn eighteen years ago without a word to anyone. Why has no one heard from her since? Does it mean anything that she's suddenly reappeared in Bath just in time for her ex–best friend Evie's wedding? And what about Flynn? Even the most eagle–eyed observer can't tell whether he's happy to see her, or just stunned.


While secrets pile up on secrets, and the gossip mill wings into high gear, the brand–new life Lara's searching for becomes ever more elusive. There's a lot of catching up for everyone to do, and Lara's return is going to be anything but a walk in the park.


Praise for Jill Mansell:


“Bestselling Brit Mansell delivers a romantic and lighthearted story about a woman's struggle to overcome grief—and the quirky people who help her along the way… Enjoy feeling warm and fuzzy.” —Publishers Weekly


“Mansell crafts a lovely story with multiple plotlines, characters and love interests.”—USA Today


“A master storyteller who creates characters with unique personalities that captivate the reader’s imagination and heart.”—Long and Short Reviews


“Exquisitely told... Compelling. The book was irresistible.” —Fresh Fiction

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GUEST BLOG and Giveaway: ELISABETH NAUGHTON

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The Secret to Writing a Bestselling Ongoing Series



Thank so much to the crew at Long and Short Reviews for inviting me to stop by today to talk about my latest release, ENSLAVED, which hit store shelves on November 6, 2012.


This is the fifth book in my Eternal Guardians series about a group of gifted warriors all descended from the heroes of Greek mythology. They protect their realm and the human world from threats born of the Underworld, specifically one evil goddess with a bad attitude. Each book centers around a different warrior and the woman cursed to be his soul mate. And I don’t use the word cursed lightly. While love is never easy for a romance novel couple, it’s doubly bad for my guys. They’ve each been cursed by the goddess Hera with one soul mate: the one woman who is the exact opposite of everything they want and need.


I started writing this series because I’ve always loved Greek mythology. At the time, no one was writing about the heroes from the myths, and I saw it as an opportunity to do something different. And because I’m a Greek myth buff, I knew I could take those old myths, twist them around and (since these are romance novels and thus must end well) turn the tragedies into happily ever afters. That’s not always easy–every book seems to have its own challenges, whether that’s plot or characters or tying everything together—but it’s twice as hard when you have an overarching plot line that runs from book to book as mine do. And now, five books in, I have a new challenge – keeping things fresh so readers stay interested while at the same time bringing the same elements to the forefront that readers fell in love with in the first place.


I’m not big on rules—in fact, I break most writing rules whenever I can—but there are three I stick to with every Eternal Guardians book. My goal—always—is to keep readers invested until the very last book, so I’ve taken my cues from series I loved but stopped reading 4-5 books in. We’ve all fallen out of love with a series. Why? What turned you off? While plotting the Eternal Guardians series, I asked myself those very questions and here’s what I came up with:


1. The focus has to remain on the romance. Too many times, a great series loses focus on the main couple about 4-5 books in. By that point there’s so much going on with secondary storylines, the main couple begins to be overshadowed by the suspense or danger or mystery lingering from book to book. I work hard to keep my main couple the focus of each book. Romance readers are reading for an emotional connection, and when there’s too much else going on, it’s easy for that main couple to get lost. For this reason, a lot of times you’ll see my hero and heroine separated from the rest of the group. Whether they’re stranded on an island, on the run, or hiding out to stay safe…if they’re by themselves, then that means there are more chances to keep the focus on that main couple…and keep the romance hot and fresh and the central storyline.


2. Past main characters and storylines must continue. One thing romance readers LOVE about series is the fact they get to see past characters and catch up with what they’re doing. Are they still happy? Have things changed? What’s in store for them in the future? For this reason, I know I have to incorporate past heroes and heroines from earlier books into my current stories. They can’t overshadow the main romance (refer back to #1), but they can’t disappear altogether either. But building on that, I also know I have to incorporate new heroes and heroines…characters who will eventually be the focus of future books. Successful series bring the past, present and future together in ways that make readers crave the next book in the series.

And finally,



3. Good has to triumph over evil. But evil has to endure in some way until the very end. Romance readers want a happily ever after in each book. You can’t have an HEA without the main characters beating the bad guy at the end of the story. Therefore, I need my characters to win the battle in every book so readers are left with that smile and feeling of hope at the end of the story, but they can’t win the war until the conclusion of the series. Every battle brings them one step closer—just like filling in the missing pieces of a puzzle brings you closer to finding out what the picture really looks like—but it won’t be truly finished until the very last book in the series.
It sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Not only am I juggling one main storyline, I’m juggling multiple storylines that span numerous books, all in the hope that readers will fall in love with someone from the series so much, they’ll buy the next book. The truth for me, though, is that I think this way. Sort of sporadic, with tendrils of ideas jutting out in various directions. I don’t believe we’re alone in this world. People around us impact not only us, but those next to us, so it makes sense that my characters’ storylines would do the same. I love shows like Game of Thrones and Once Upon A Time and Grimm because they do this so well. Each storyline builds on the one next to it, and they’re all interwoven in intricate and delicious ways we, as viewers, might not see right away. Uncovering those connections is half the fun of watching those shows. It took TV shows a while to catch on to this soap-opera-style-of-writing, but those that have are now among the most successful series running on television.


How many books do I have planned in theEternal Guardians series? Two more for sure in this overarching plot line. But…as I’ve learned from writing this series…the end isn’t always the end. At the end of book seven there will be an element that endures…and ties into a whole new overarching plot line that will incorporate characters my readers are still waiting for me to write about. In this way, the storylines will remain fresh, while still giving my readers what they’ve come to expect. As the bestselling TV shows and book series today prove…if you do it right, readers will continue to want more. My goal is to bring that more to my readers with each and every story.


Think about your favorite book or TV series. What do you love about it? What keeps you reading/watching? Share your thoughts with me. I’ve got a copy of my latest release, ENSLAVED, up for grabs to one lucky commenter!


About the Author:A former junior high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton traded in her red pen and test-tube set for a laptop and research books. She now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full-time from Oregon, where she lives with her husband and three children. Her work has been nominated for numerous awards, including the RWA RITA© Award, the NJ RWA Golden Leaf, and the RWA Golden Heart. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park, or dreaming up new and adventures. Visit her at www.elisabethnaughton.com and follow her on Twitter, @ElisNaughton.


ENSLAVED BY ELISABETH NAUGHTON – IN STORES NOVEMBER 2012


“Do not miss this series.”—New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione



GRYPHON—Honorable, loyal, dependable…tainted. He was the ultimate warrior before imprisonment in the Underworld changed him in ways he can't ignore.


She calls to him. Come to me. You can't resist. But Gryphon will not allow himself to be ruled by the insidious whispers in his head. And there's only one way to stop them: kill Atalanta, the goddess who enslaved him. But with so much darkness inside, he can't be sure what's real anymore. Even the Eternal Guardians, those who protect the human realms and the gods, want to exile him.


Finding Malea is like a miracle. Somehow he doesn't feel the pull of the dark when she's near. And he's determined to keep her as near as possible, whether she wants him close or not. But she's a temptation that will test every bit of control he has left. One that may ultimately have the power to send him back to the Underworld...or free him from his chains for good.


Praise for Elisabeth Naughton:

“Entertaining and smoldering.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review of Tempted


“Creative worldbuilding and ever-present danger pull the reader into this mesmerizing tale.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ star review of Enraptured





Tuesday, November 13, 2012

GUEST BLOG: NANCY NORTHCOTT

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Making the Familiar New



The standard advice to beginning writers is “Write what you know.” Many authors take this literally. They write stories of home and hearth because that’s where they feel most comfortable. Or they dig into research on a subject that interests them, like law enforcement, to write a police procedural. Or they take familiar themes and spin them in a new direction.


In creating the world for my contemporary mage romances, The Protectors, I drew on the themes and traditions I’ve enjoyed since childhood. When I was seven, I discovered superhero comic books. I loved the characters’ cool powers, but their dedication to doing what was right, no matter the cost, also drew me in. At the same time, I was reading YA romance, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. I’ve since added thrillers to the mix because I like explosive action.


When I planned Renegade, the first Protectors book, I drew on my fondness for characters with cool powers who are dedicated to doing the right thing. I also wanted it to be a romance.


People with unusual abilities were familiar ground, so I chose to focus the series on mages (if you’re unfamiliar with the word, think wizard) but came up with my own system for their magic. I also wanted them to have the same dedication to helping others and doing the right thing that I liked in so many of the books and comic books I read growing up. I did a lot of folklore research, though, to create their magic system.


At the same time, I needed conflict, so I made the heroine, Valeria Banning, the shire reeve (or sheriff) of the southeastern U.S. mages and the hero, Griffin Dare, their most wanted criminal. Of course he’s actually on the side of truth and justice, and he needs her to help prove his claims and clear his name. The mages have their own judicial code and political organization based on, but different from, the American one.


I didn’t want Griff to be a loner, so I gave him a circle of secret friends and allies with the same mutual loyalty that drew me to comic books featuring groups of superheroes and to romance series where the heroes and/or heroines of future books appear in the first one.


Griff also needed a home, so I set up the imaginary town of Wayfarer, Georgia, where all things New Age are beloved. He found a place there, even if he did so under an alias and with his magic kept secret. Because I grew up in a small town, I know their benefits and downsides. In Renegade we see mostly the benefits of small town life, but Guardian, the second book, will show some of the downsides as well.


So I wrote what I knew, but I took the familiar concepts in directions in a world I created through research and imagination.


Thanks to Long and Short Reviews for having me today!


About the Author:
Nancy Northcott has been a lover of comic books, science fiction, fantasy and romance since childhood. An attorney, she left that profession to teach at the college level and to write. Now, she combines her passion for romance and high stakes in RENEGADE, her first published novel and the first book in her contemporary mage series. She continues her story in GUARDIAN, which will be published in May 2013.


Nancy lives with her family in North Carolina.





RENEGADE, the first novel in three time Golden Heart Award Finalist Nancy Northcott’s The Protectors series, introduces one of Collegium council’s top sheriffs, Valeria Banning, the mage council's sheriff for the southeastern United States. Valeria doesn't just take her job seriously, she takes it personally. So when Griffin Dare, a notorious fugitive sworn to protect innocent Mundanes and mages from dark magic, risks his life to save her, she has to wonder why. To find the answer, she'll put everything on the line, starting with her heart.


Before Valeria can recover from the attack that almost killed her, evil forces are moving against them. Soon, they're fighting side by side. What they are doing is forbidden, and when the council discovers they are working together, Valeria and Griffin must run for their lives, and not just from the law. Danger threatens at every turn as they try to prevent the advent of a ghoul takeover, and struggle to find the traitor they believe is betraying the Collegium and working with ghouls to send unsuspecting mages to their death.






Monday, November 12, 2012

GUEST BLOG and Giveaway: Maggie Jaimeson

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie will award one autographed cover flat to a randomly drawn commenter at each blog stop. In addition, she will award a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner's choice) as a grand prize to one randomly selected commenter on this tour. You must leave an email address to be entered into any of the drawings.


How to Handle Criticism (Defeating the Urge to Please Everyone)



Here’s a secret about me. I’m a pleaser. Not only that, in the past I could have won a trophy for being a world class pleaser. Yup. I think it’s my job to make sure any person I come into contact with, no matter the circumstance is happy. Believe me this is not a sane way to live your life.


I know I’m not the only one with this problem. It seems that it is a type of virus particularly visited on women, though I do know a few men infected with it too. It affects every part of my life, especially how I react to criticism. It wasn’t until I hit 40 years old that I finally figured out, and somewhat accepted, that I will NEVER please everyone about anything. At the same time I also had to accept that I will NEVER please anyone I care about all of the time. Both of these were big time, breathless “Aha” moments. But even with that knowledge and hard-won acceptance, I still have that kneejerk reaction of “It’s all my fault and I have to change something to make that person happy.” In other words I backslide on a regular basis and have to rebuild my confidence each time.


Given that I’m a pleaser, choosing to be a writer was not the easiest path to follow. But then, everyone knows I just don’t do easy. Writers face criticism every day of their life. It begins with myself—constantly questioning if I know what I’m doing and if I’m good enough. Then it moves to my wonderful critique partners whose job it is to tell me all the things that are wrong with my idea, approach, character motivation, scene structure, and overall book. Then when I start sending a novel out for publication, I get rejections also telling me that it doesn’t work for that editor. (The form rejections are the worst because I can write an entire novel about reading between the lines to figure out what they “really” mean.) Then when a publisher finally acquires my novel, my editor’s job is to once again discover all the problems it has. Finally, when the book is out in the marketplace, readers and reviewers tell me everything they don’t like about it.


So, how does one get through life with so much negativity? You’re going to think I’m crazy, or Polly Anna, but my answer is to focus on the positive. Really! You see in all the examples I gave above I only talked about the criticism. Focusing only on the negative does nothing except make me helpless. What I didn’t talk about was all the things that went right along the way. Let’s look at the list.


  1. I finished writing a novel. (Yea me!)
  2. I had the guts to share it with a fellow writer who I knew would find something wrong. (Courageous!)
  3. My critique partners actually love my novels and every piece of criticism they give me is to make it better—not to tear it down. (They love me. The really love me!)
  4. A publisher bought it. That means an editor reacted positively to it. (I’m on the brink of fame!)
  5. The editor actually loves it, and every piece of criticism she gives me is to make it better—not to tear it down. (My editor wants me to be a NYT bestseller. Really!)
  6. I regularly get emails from readers telling me why they love my books and what it means to them to empathize with my characters. (Note: I’m knocking on wood now) So far, the majority of my reviews say many good things even if they find something they didn’t like. (Okay, I’m not famous. But I’m working on it. Yeah!)
  7. Even my family and best friends like my novels—though some skip the sex scenes. Believe me, my family would tell me if they didn’t think it was good. (Yea. My family hasn’t abandoned me!)



So, this brings me full circle. Handling criticism starts with a positive attitude. The most important step is to believe that anyone who is critical is doing it to make me better—a better writer, a better person. The next step is to repeat the mantra, “I can’t please everyone all the time.” The reality is there will always be a critique partner, an editor, a friend, a reader who just won’t like something. Don’t focus on the outliers. Don’t focus on the one critique partner out of five who hated that your book was set in Ireland instead of Scotland. Don’t focus on the one reader out of 200 who had a brother just like your hero and knows that he would never do what your hero did on page 183. Focus on the majority of opinion. If four reviewers out ten are saying your heroine lacks motivation, then maybe that is something to consider. But if it’s one and the rest loved your book, just repeat “I can’t please everyone all the time.”


Yes, there are a few people I’ve encountered in life who do seem to make it a personal mission to tear me down and to build him or herself up. All I can say is: “God Bless Them. I hope they find their own happiness one day.” What I’ve learned is that the people who really care about me, who get me, and love me—even when I’m not perfect and even when I don’t please them all of the time—are the people who matter the most. I’ve also learned that the readers who love my books far outnumber the few who don’t. I wish everyone did love my books, but (repeat after me now). “I can’t please anyone all of the time.”


I’ve also learned that being a pleaser isn’t all bad. It does drive me to be a better person, a better worker, a better writer. But, like everything in life, it needs to be in moderation and I need to be cognizant of how it affects my judgment and my actions. In this process I’ve been forced to give up my world class pleaser trophy. I’ve managed to drop back to being primarily a localized pleaser (meaning everyone at work, school, in any organization I volunteer for, at church, and of course in my writing). I’m still working on being only a mother, father, sibling, relatives, husband, children and Maggie pleaser. It’s a life long process with good days and bad days. Best part is, it still hasn’t stopped me from moving forward.


About the Author: Maggie Jaimeson writes romantic women’s fiction and romantic suspense with a near future twist. She describes herself as a wife, a step-mother, a sister, a daughter, a teacher and an IT administrator. By day she is “geek girl” – helping colleges to keep up with 21st century technology and provide distance learning options for students in rural areas. By night Maggie turns her thoughts to worlds she can control – worlds where bad guys get their comeuppance, women triumph over tragedy, and love can conquer all.


Healing Notes is the second book in the Sweetwater Canyon Series of four books. The final two books will be available in 2013.


Find Maggie online at


Website: http://maggiejaimeson.com

Blog: http://maggiemeandering.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-Jaimeson/118916694787820

Twitter: @maggiejaimeson





Forgiving yourself is the first step, but helping others forgive may be just too hard.


Rachel Cullen grew up in Scotland with a fiddle in her hand from the age of four. She couldn't imagine life as anything but a musician. When her husband brought her to America she was immediately embraced by the Celtic and Bluegrass communities. But after her divorce, Rachel's life is a mess.


A year of trying to prove to herself that she's woman enough for any man, and then a vicious rape while on tour with the band, leaves Rachel reeling. When she meets Noel Kershaw, an English teacher who is poetry in motion, she is definitely attracted. But he has a young child and he's suffering from his own divorce. The last thing Rachel needs in life is more baggage.


First, Rachel must reconcile who she is, what she wants, and how to get there. Maybe then she'll know how to be a part of the family she's always wanted.





Thursday, November 8, 2012

GUEST BLOG: FRAN SHAFF

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100 Years of Love



Oreo and Lorna Doone cookies, Life Savers and Crisco were introduced into the marketplace in 1912. The Girl Scouts and the Campfire Girls formed the same year.


A meteorite exploded over Arizona, which had just been granted statehood, causing thousands of rocks to rain from the sky.


A brand new volcano erupted in the territory of Alaska, and the HMS Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean resulting in the deaths of more than fifteen hundred people.


Dozens of fascinating facts like these from the years 1912, 1913 and 1914 are included as bonus material in the new Heart Junction Series 100 Year Special Edition, a collection of three Historical Romance Novels set in the early Twentieth Century in Heart Junction, South Dakota.


The beginning decades of the Twentieth Century saw great changes in communication, transportation and other fields. The first transcontinental phone call took place between California and New York in 1914. Henry Ford had perfected his assembly line in 1913 to the point of producing one car about every two and a half hours, and the first paved coast to coast highway, the Lincoln Highway, running from New York to San Francisco, was dedicated.


The general population in the USA was finally gaining the ability to have things like telephones, indoor plumbing, electricity, automobiles and leisure time.


For a few minutes, I’m going to ask you to leave behind your smart phones, I-Pads and instant videos and think about the era when motion pictures first came to theaters. Pretend it’s 1914, and you’re going with a friend who’s dressed like a character from The Music Man to see the film Kid Auto Races at Venice starring Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp. Or visualize going with your sweetheart to see the first ever full-length feature film Tillie’s Punctured Romance.


Maybe you’re a baseball fan, and the make-believe year you’re living in is 1912. If you’re in Detroit or Boston, you’ve been patiently awaiting the opening of Tiger Stadium or Fenway Park, and, finally, in 1912 these venues are ready to welcome fans.


Now that you’ve placed yourself 100 years back in time, imagine a pretty, young, blonde woman named Laura Windsor who wants a family of her own more than anything. Having lost her family ten years before, at the age of thirteen, she’s spent most of her time yearning for the return of love to her life. She decides to make her dreams come true by taking in a little girl from the orphan train when it comes to Heart Junction, South Dakota in 1912. Laura’s terribly excited as she waits with little Angelina to sign final papers for the placement of the child in her home. Upon meeting the handsome Gavin Maitland whom she believes will help make her dream legal and real, Laura is surprised to find herself unexpectedly smitten--until the striking man tells her that orphan train children can be placed with married couples only. Gavin is terribly distressed at having to break beautiful Laura’s heart, and he vows he’ll do whatever he possibly can to help make her dream come true in Laura’s Lost Love, the first book of the Heart Junction Series.


The series continues with Stephanie’s Surprise--1913: Stephanie Porter rejects the sweet advances of Dr. Aaron Wesley until he helps her overcome a tragedy in her past--and Mari’s Miracle--1914: Rich, spoiled Marigold Mahoney learns the true meaning of love when she discovers the secret sacrifice Grit Truman has made to keep one of his promises. (Mari’s story is my favorite!)


American Historical Romance is a preferred genre of mine, whether I’m reading or writing. Two of the Historical Romances I’ve written are available as FREE downloads, Change of Heart, a very popular book set in 1850s Nebraska, and the newly-released Resurrected, the first book in the brand new ten-book Tender Mysteries Series, set in the 1890s. Books Two and Three of the Tender Mysteries Series, Restitution and Retribution are available November, 2012 in e-book and paperback on the Internet and through bookstores.


As a rule of thumb we shouldn’t live in the past in our real lives, but, when it comes to fiction, I can’t think of a better place to exist, can you?


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About the Author:
Fran Shaff is the award-winning author of contemporary and historical classic romance, young peoples' novels and short stories. Her books are available in hardcover, paperback and electronic formats. Her short stories have appeared in such places as Woman's World magazine and at major venues on the Internet.


Web Page: http://sites.google.com/site/fshaff

Blog: http://cavewriter.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/franshaff

Twitter: twitter.com/franshaff

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

GUEST BLOG: SANDI HAMPTON

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PROSTITUTION IN THE OLD WEST

By


SANDI HAMPTON




Prostitution, the world’s oldest profession, flourished in the “Old West” in the 1800s because of the mining camps and lawless cow towns. There were few women on the frontier, sometimes two women for every 100 men, and therefore prostitution was widespread. These women were known by many names: soiled doves, painted ladies, ladies of the evening, ladies of the night, ladies of easy virtue, sporting women, demimonde, and courtesans to name a few. To conceal their true identities, many of these women assumed, or were given, nicknames or a humorous moniker to identify them, such as Big Nose Kate, Irish Molly, Rose of Cimarron, Molly b’Damn, Hambone Jane and the infamous Diamond Tooth Lil.


Many factors forced women into this line of work. Some were expelled from their homes or deserted by their parents or husbands and turned to prostitution to survive, or help their families survive, while others worked as domestics and servants and were tricked into the profession because they were seduced by their owners and masters. However, some went west, like the men, for adventure and actually enjoyed their profession. The background of these women usually had a common thread: they were young, usually illiterate, poor and from broken homes. Some were daughters of prostitutes. Immigant and Chinese women were sometimes sold into prostitution.


The term “Red Light District” is said to have originated in Kansas in the various towns that lined the railroads. The railroad men would pay a boy to watch for incoming/outgoing trains while they would go visit the brothels and cribs near the railroad yards. The men would leave their lights on outside the prostitute’s place of business in order for the boy to find them. Sometimes, there were so many lights the whole area would glow red, and thus the name “Red Light District.”


Contrary to popular belief, the dance hall girls were usually not prostitutes, being employed to brighten the evenings of the lonely cowboys and men of the western towns. They wore short, brightly colored skirts with many petticoats. The bodices were usually off the shoulder and low cut, and decorated with sequins, fringe and lace. They were usually called “painted ladies” because of the makeup they wore.


While researching this subject for my historical western romance Miss Lily’s Boarding House, I was surprised to learn that a hierarchy of prostitutes existed. At the top were the courtesans and mistresses who were beautiful, intelligent and sophisticated. Then came the women who worked in the fancy brothels and lavish parlor houses with elegant furnishings, servants and even entertainment. Finally came the crib prostitutes and the streetwalkers. Many names existed for these houses of “ill repute,” such as bognio, bordello, crib, parlor houses, houses of sin and bawdy houses. Portable brothels, called “cat wagons,” were used in the mining camps and around the military posts.


The parlor houses were often referred to as boarding houses to infer respectability. The women who worked there usually paid room and board, hence the term boarding house. This snippet of information was the idea behind Miss Lily’s Boarding House, where the heroine inherits a “boarding house” and travels west to claim her inheritance—only to discover she’s actually inherited a bordello.


I love writing love stories set in the “Old West.” Ever since John Wayne and Claire Trevor crossed Monument Valley in a stagecoach to Kevin Costner crossing open range to Russell Crowe catching the 3:10 to Yuma, I’ve loved westerns. Spent a lot of time growing up watching the oldies: Johnny Yuma, The Rifleman, Big Valley and Have Gun, Will Travel. After many years of writing, I became published in 2008. Miss Lily’s Boarding House will be released by The Wild Rose Press this month.


About the Author: Sandi has been writing longer than she cares to remember. But her efforts finally paid off when her first historical western romance was published in 2008 by The Wild Rose Press. Five more releases followed since then. Her latest manuscript, Miss Lily’s Boarding House will be released by The Wild Rose Press in November of 2012. Sandi’s debut novel with Champagne Books, Broken Promises, was released in July, 2012. Her short stories have appeared in New Love Stories Magazine, and several of her poems have been published in small press magazines and anthologies.


Despite the fact that Sandi is a Florida native and has never lived outside of Florida, she loves everything “western” and her passion for the “Old West” shows in her historical novels. She resides in Tampa with her husband Howard of 32 years. She has four grandchildren and will soon be a great grandmother.


Find Sandi online at:


www.SandiHampton.com

www.facebook.com/sandi.hampton





When Grace Wentworth receives word her beloved aunt has died, she has no idea her inheritance is one of the most infamous bordellos in the State of Texas. Traveling to Texas to claim her inheritance will lead her straight into danger—and the chance for love. Logan Barnett wants to find his father’s killer—at any cost. He vows to avenge his father’s death—he’ll fight anything or anyone who stands in his way. Even the woman he loves.





Monday, November 5, 2012

GUEST BLOG: C.H. ADMIRAND

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How do you balance your writing with your family life?



Thanks so much for inviting me to guest blog today at LASR! Hmmm…balancing writing with family life? Good question. I have a very understanding family. I used to write in early in the morning before everyone was up and the house was quiet. Then I’d send our three darlings off to school and I’d go to work. Fortunately for a number of years I worked in town, so it was perfect, I’d be home five minutes before the school bus. After school, there were activities, PAL Soccer, Girl Scouts, Music Lessons, Art Class, Karate, Dance lessons--and for 12 years our daughter competed in Irish Step Dance which involved traveling to feisanna (competitions) on weekends in the tri-state area. So writing time was precious, but had to fit in with what our family needed.


But even though my family has always been my greatest support, they would get cranky if there wasn’t any food in the house. Luckily for them, I’ve always tried to write up a menu for the week and grocery shop accordingly. When deadlines were looming, that’s when the 3 Ps came into play: Pasta, Pizza and Peanut Butter! Lots of protein there for growing kids. LOL!


My family has weathered rejections and successes with me and for that I’ll always be grateful. I think my refusing to give up after receiving 99 rejections and then finally selling that first book all those years ago was a life lesson that our kids have embraced. They know that nothing in this life is easy, nothing is ever truly free, and if you want something badly enough, then you’d better be willing to work toward that goal in order to achieve it. It all ties in with our Purcell family ancestors’ motto: Aut Vincam, Aut Periam, translation: I will either conquer or perish!


But the past seventeen years has passed in the blink of an eye, and now our daughter is married and I’m babysitting for our darling grandbaby a few times a week while she and our son-in-law are both working. I never had to juggle writing with an infant…our kids were 11, 9 and 7 when I started writing…there’s a huge difference. But, I’m writing full time now and don’t have to worry about a day job, so I’m back to getting up early to write on days when I’m babysitting…the only difference is that I’m exhausted after our grandbaby leaves so there isn’t a whole lot of writing time at night on those days, unless I’m on deep deadline.


I’ve always put my family first, and always will; they keep me grounded, they keep me sane. So for those of you out there who are just starting out in your writing career, decide where your priorities lie and plan accordingly, because whenever other people—especially kids—are involved, you need to plan ahead in order to meet everyone’s needs…as well as your own. Just IMHO :)


Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of A Wedding in Apple Grove (U.S. and Canada only, please, due to shipping costs.)





A WEDDING IN APPLE GROVE BY C.H. ADMIRAND – IN STORES NOVEMBER 2012



He's not so sure about small town life.

She can't imagine living anywhere else.



Welcome to Apple Grove, Ohio (population 597), where everyone has your best interests at heart, even if they can't agree on the best way to meddle. When the townsfolk of Apple Grove need handiwork done, there's no job too small for the Mulcahy sisters: Megan, Caitlin, and Grace.


Specializing in hard work and family loyalty, tomboy Meg Mulcahy has left behind any girlhood dreams of romance. Enter newcomer Daniel Eagan, looking to bury his own broken heart and make a new start. He's surprised-and delighted-by the winsome girl with the mighty tool belt who shows up to fix his wiring.


But Dan's got a lot to learn about life in a small town, and when Meg's past collides with her future, it may take all 595 other residents of Apple Grove to keep this romance from short-circuiting.


Praise for A Wedding in Apple Grove:

“A terrifically fun read... With quick dialogue and a homey feel, this is a wonderful book to curl up with. Small-town romance at its best!” —RT Book Review, 4 Stars


Raw charm... one to read.” —Publishers Weekly


Sexy and fun... Admirand’s series will be popular, especially with fans of Susan Wiggs and Janet Chapman.” —Booklist


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
C.H. ADMIRAND was born in Aiken, South Carolina, but grew up in New Jersey. She has been delighting readers with her Secret Life of Cowboys Series, featuring three cowboy brothers with Irish charm, and is now working on the next books in her small town contemporary romance series, featuring the town and quirky characters of Apple Grove, OH. She lives with her husband, who is the inspiration for all of her heroes’ best traits, in New Jersey. For more information, please visit www.CHAdmirand.




Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Blogfest: Alison Chambers

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Fall Festivals in Full Swing
Love fall? Those brightly colored leaves, the crisp bite in the air, all those opportunities to buy those cute fall wreaths and tasty homemade jams and jellies. Here are a few of the festivals I’ve attended in Wisconsin recently that have been truly memorable.


Trimborn Farms: With proceeds benefiting the Milwaukee County Historical Society, the Historic Trimborn Farms and Lime Kilns hosted the 30th Annual Harvest Festival of Arts & Crafts, September 8 & 9. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a State Historic Site and Milwaukee County Landmark. The event drew over 100 artists and craftspeople from the upper Midwest who displayed their unique wares in the surrounding stone and threshing barns, the granary, root cellar and lime kilns. Featuring such great items as handmade birdhouses, stained glass windows, gourmet dip mixes, Chinese brush paintings, high fired stone ware and seasonal floral wreaths, the festival attracts thousands every year. I loved it!


Cedarburg’s Wine & Harvest Festival: The abundance of Wisconsin’s homegrown produce and artisan food products plus the award-winning wines of Cedar Creek Winery are what created this free, family-oriented event, held September 15 & 16. The food booths featured grilled corn, caramel apples, kettle corn, apple cider, homemade ice cream, turkey legs, Wisconsin brats, and juicy cheeseburgers. We dined outside (during the last warm weekend of the summer) at the historic Anvil restaurant, nestled in the Cedar Creek Settlement’s restored 19th century blacksmith’s shop overlooking the beautiful Cedar Creek waterfall. The highlight of the afternoon was watching the Giant Pumpkin Regatta featuring gigantic, decorated, hollowed-out, floatable pumpkins, piloted by intrepid paddlers attempting to race across Cedar Creek. Super fun!


Sister Bay’s Fall Festival: Arts and crafts galore, food booths, live music, and a parade packed the streets of picturesque Door County October 12-14. Door County is located one hour and a half north of Green Bay, Wisconsin and has been called “the Cape Cod of the Midwest.” 2012 marked the 67th annual Fall Fest in Sister Bay. What began as a celebration for the local tourist workers after a busy summer season has evolved into one of the largest weekend celebrations on the peninsula! The real fun lies in one of the Fest’s oldest traditions – the famed Ping-Pong Ball Shoot when 10,000 Ping-Pong balls were released on Sunday afternoon, with a one in ten chance of winning a prize from a participating Sister Bay business!


Fall is also the time to cuddle up by the fire with a fun book. Today’s e-readers made it easy to curl up with more than one! Check out my latest romantic suspense release Prisoner in his Arms available on Amazon.com. This is the sequel to The Secret Sentinel you've been waiting for! Lexie O'Shea is kidnapped by masked men who give her ten days to find the mysterious Virgo Stone or her father will be killed and terrorist attacks will be unleashed upon the Capitol during the Presidential inauguration. A sexy masked bodyguard accompanies her on the hunt. But is he only her jailer or something more? Visit my website, www.AlisonChambersRomance.com for an excerpt. Please leave a comment about your favorite fall festival to win a free e-copy of Prisoner in his Arms! Happy fall!


About the Author:
Sandra Koehler, who writes under the pen name of Alison Chambers, was Vice-President of Executive Director, Inc., the largest association management company in Wisconsin. She has traveled extensively and served as Executive Director of several national medical associations, where she was responsible for marketing, communications, and public relations, as well as overall management. She has been quoted in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and other national media and has received four awards for excellence and dedicated service. She has also written for newspapers.


Koehler, who majored in political science and history, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She first started writing when she was a teenager, sparked by an interest in Nancy Drew books and a desire to tell a good story. She enjoys keeping her hero and heroine in dangerous and exciting situations against a backdrop of exotic settings, lost treasure and unsolved historical mysteries and conspiracies. She has written seven novels and besides writing, enjoys reading, playing piano and Green Bay Packers football. She lives in Greendale, Wisconsin, where she is working on her next romantic suspense novel.