Author Speed Dating – Christie Ridgway

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Christie Ridgway

 

 

 

 

1. Which ALICE IN WONDERLAND character would best describe you when you’re writing on deadline?

I immediately thought of the Cheshire cat because I’ll hold onto my grin no matter how deadly I feel about the deadline!

2. Have you ever based a character, at least in part, on a real person you knew, and was that person able to see himself/herself in your story?

I have a friend whose (French) last name I used (because I needed a French last name), and he was certain he was starring in the book because I unwittingly used his real first name too! (I didn’t know he went by a different first name.) He bought several copies of the book and shared with his family too. Lucky for him (and me) he was a cheerful walk-on character with no bad traits. 

3. Hot rockers over 50: Lenny Kravitz, Bruce Springsteen or Bono?

I suppose Bruce, because my dh and I are always quoting/singing the line from “Dancing in the Dark”: “I’m sick of sitting ‘round here trying to write this book.”

4. What is “dressed up” for you: a designer dress and stiletto heels or clean yoga pants, a sweatshirt and tennis shoes without holes?

Of course it’s the clean yoga pants. And flip flops, not real shoes. SoCal resident, yo.

5. What was the most unusual comment you’ve ever received in a fan mail letter or a review?

Once someone mentioned my stories had “snappy today-ness” which my husband often delights in quoting back to me.

6. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

Jot it down, of course. But usually a new idea pops in my head at the very end of finishing the current book. It’s weird, how you might think your brain is tired of creating, and yet a new idea just starts knocking on the door.

7. If you could invite three of your favorite authors over for a summer barbecue, who would be chowing down on hamburgers and brats (or veggie burgers) in your backyard?

Tough! I have many of my favorite authors as friends. So I’ll pick 3 I do not know personally, and all in the mystery genre, which I don’t write (so I’d enjoy picking their brains about their process).

Meg Gardiner (new to me, writes a series set in Santa Barbara where I went to college).

Loreth Anne White (who writes with a great sense of place).

Kendra Elliot (her heroine, Mercy Kilpatrick, has an interesting background that makes her unusual and compelling).

8. How old were you when you had the first inkling you might be a writer, and what gave you that hint?

I don’t recall ever not wanting to write, but the bug bit hard when my mom typed up one of my stories for me at about 8 or 9. I was now in print!

9. Do you ban all pets from your house, tolerate them for your family’s sake or are you a pet lover, typing with a dog, cat and maybe a bird sitting on your lap right now? And if you are a pet lover, list your brood.

I love pets (we now have a dog, Hank, and a cat, Goblin). However, I told the family I banned anything that needed to be fed something alive. Need it be said that despite my ban, we had several pets over the years that needed to be fed live crickets or small feeder fish?

10. If you could write a novel containing any generally “off-limits” element, what would we find in your story?

Yikes. Now I have to admit I can’t think of anything “off-limits” that I want to write about! The boundaries these days are so wide!

11. Name a hero or heroine from one of your books you loved a little more than all the others. (Yes, it’s like picking a favorite child.)

Poppy Walker, from ONE LOOK (One & Only series, Book 1). She’s an incurable optimist and I love her for that.

12. Name the most unique vacation you ever took, and what was your favorite thing about it?

Twice we’ve gone on a boat-bike tour in Europe (just got back from a trip between Bruges and Amsterdam). You ride all day and then hop back on the boat at night. It was great for the dh, who needs action, and you get to see beautiful sights and small towns up close. Also, meeting people from all over the world who are your fellow passengers on the boat. We became fast friends!

 13. What book are you reading right now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?

I’m reading ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE [by Anthony Doerr], which was recommended to me by fellow passengers on the aforementioned boat after I recommended to them THE NIGHTINGALE [by Kristin Hannah] (set in France in WW2). That was the best book I’ve read in a long time, and it hit me hard as I read it while visiting France. I recently finished GOING DARK, the start of a new romantic-suspense series by Monica McCarty, and I loved it!

14. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

Whatever project I’m currently working on is the book that gives me the most trouble. To make it through, I have writing friends who I call who talk me through it. They’re the best!

15. What has been your scariest moment as an author?

I remember submitting my first book to New York publishers. In those days, you sent a print book via mail. I had my (then) little sons “sprinkle” lucky “fairy dust” on the package just before sliding it into the slot.

***

 

 

 

The Secret

By Christie Ridgway

 

 

Charlotte “Charlie” Emerson returned to the kitchen to deal with the dishes and restore the pots and pans to their proper place. She liked tidiness and order in all things—emotions included. Her friend and fellow butler, Emmaline, sometimes accused her of capping off her feelings, and Charlie didn’t disagree. Or find anything wrong with it.

“In my book,” she murmured to herself now, “compartmentalizing isn’t a sin.”

“What’s not a sin?” a masculine voice questioned.

Charlie whirled around, instant heat crawling up her throat and cheeks. “Um, hi, Ethan.” Why hadn’t she taken the time to change into something other than cropped leggings and a matching T-shirt? When was the last time she’d brushed her hair?

Her boss, the man who employed her as a butler and as a caregiver for his young son, smiled, softening the lines of his lean and handsome face.

“Charlotte,” he said now.

She pretended to scowl at him and told herself that she found his use of her full name—he was the only one who ever did use it—irksome. It made her feel too…feminine, and she was supposed to merely be a functional feature in his life. A Charlie.

“I didn’t hear you come in.” He’d been on a business trip for two weeks.

“You were lost in thought.” A heavy pause. “Something about sinning?”

At the amused and inquisitive tone, she glanced up at him. He looked back, one dark eyebrow winged up and the hint of a smile on his firm lips. A shiver tried working its way down her spine, but she ruthlessly held back the sensation.

“It was nothing,” she said.

“I’m disappointed to hear that.” He laughed again, sounding slightly chagrined. “For a moment I thought one of us was breaking out of our rut.”

Meaning…? Then a clatter of running footsteps sounded on the stairs.

With a grin, Ethan braced and managed to catch his six-year-old son who launched himself into the air.

“Dad!” Wells hugged with exuberance.

Ethan placed his cheek against the top of his son’s hair and closed his eyes. “Wells,” he said, voice full of satisfaction. Then his eyes flipped open and they met Charlie’s. “Home.”

Wells chattered away about everything. “It sounds like Charlie took good care of you,” Ethan replied when the boy wound down. “I’m glad I brought her back a present from Paris.”

Charlie froze. A present? For her? From Paris? For some insane reason, her mind instantly leaped to thoughts of chocolate. Perfume. Then silk. Lace. Designer lingerie that would cinch her waist and give her small breasts actual cleavage. She swallowed. Surely not.

“Here.” Ethan crossed to shove a soft item into her hands.

She looked down, rattled. It took a moment for the words printed on the fabric to sink in. Je t’aime.

I love you.

“What did you get?” Wells asked.

Speechless, Charlie shook her head.

“She needs to unfold it,” Ethan said.

With unsteady hands, Charlie unfurled the fabric.

“It’s a sweatshirt,” Wells said, clearly unimpressed.

Je t’aime Paris,” Charlie read, now that all the words were exposed. “I love Paris.”

The hoodie material was a medium blue, and the inside surfaces felt buttery soft. She pulled it over her head and then slid her arms into the sleeves. They hung over her hands, almost to the tips of her fingers, and the hem hit her at mid-thigh.

She looked down at herself. The sweatshirt could fit two or three of her.

“Perfect,” Ethan said, beaming with approval. “It keeps you all covered up.”

“I…thank you.” She folded back the right sleeve, and the left. “It’s a thoughtful gift.”

One that you could give a maiden aunt, a kid sister, or that favorite niece her friends said Ethan treated her as.

Yanking it over her head, she called herself all kinds of a fool. Ethan didn’t think of her as someone who wore lingerie.

The man was a father first and a widower grieving for his late wife second. In his life, Charlie was a convenience, like a can opener or a toaster oven.

Not a woman.

***

 

THE SECRET, Book 6 in the Billionaire’s Beach series and an Aug. 15, 2017, release, may be purchased from these retailers: Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo.

 

***

About Christie

Christie Ridgway is the USA Today bestselling author of over 50 contemporary romances for Harlequin, Avon, Berkley, and Kensington as well as the indie-published Rock Royalty series and of KNOX (now a USA Today bestseller), book 4 of the very successful 7 Brides for 7 Brothers series. She is a six-time RITA finalist and the winner of awards for Contemporary Romance of the Year and Career Achievement from RT Book Reviews.

Connect with Christie through her website, www.christieridgway.net, or on Facebook or Twitter. Sign up for her newsletter here.

 

Praise for Christie’s sexy, sunny romances:

  • “Emotional and powerful…everything a romance reader could hope for.”  — Publishers Weekly (starred review).
  • “Ridgway’s feel-good read, with its perfectly integrated, extremely hot, and well-crafted love scenes, is contemporary romance at its best.”  — Booklist (starred review).
  • “Sexy, sassy, funny, and cool, this effervescent sizzler nicely launches Ridgway’s new series.” — Library Journal.
  • “Ridgway rocks romance!” — Bella Andre, New York Times and USA Today Bestseller.
  • “Christie Ridgway writes a sizzling combination of heat and heart.” — Barbara Freethy, #1 New York Times Bestseller.

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author Speed Dating – A.J. Norris

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: A.J. Norris

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. Which ALICE IN WONDERLAND character would best describe you when you’re writing on deadline?

“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”  The white rabbit.

I normally don’t write on deadline, but I’m currently writing a Christmas story with a deadline. I feel like I’m scurrying around, even though I have plenty of time.

2. Have you ever based a character, at least in part, on a real person you knew, and was that person able to see himself/herself in your story?

Um…yes and man, I hope not. 

3. Hot rockers over 50: Lenny Kravitz, Bruce Springsteen or Bono?

I’d say Lenny Kravitz because he doesn’t look 50.

4. What is “dressed up” for you: a designer dress and stiletto heels or clean yoga pants, a sweatshirt and tennis shoes without holes?

I’m a jeans and T-shirt gal. I do own dresses and heels, but I try to avoid wearing them for the most part. “Dressing up” takes me out of my comfort zone, but so does wearing sweat pants.

5. What was the most unusual comment you’ve ever received in a fan mail letter or a review?

I don’t know if this would be considered unusual, but I got a random request for an autograph from someone in another country. I was so flattered that I sent off a couple signed posters of my book covers right away.

6. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

I immediately write that new idea down. I have an app called Evernote that I use to store story ideas.

7. If you could invite three of your favorite authors over for a summer barbecue, who would be chowing down on hamburgers and brats (or veggie burgers) in your backyard?

J.R. Ward: I love her, and she’s the reason I started writing.

Stephen King: I don’t necessarily subscribe to his writing methods, but he’s so creative, and I can imagine he would be very interesting to talk to.

Gena Showalter: Love her, nuff said.

8. How old were you when you had the first inkling you might be a writer, and what gave you that hint?

When I was about 37, I was wanting to deal with some old baggage that kept creeping up on me. So, I decided to write a fictionalized story of some things that happened to me. The book was more of what could’ve been if I’d made different choices. The experience wound up being cathartic, and I’ve been writing ever since.

9. Do you ban all pets from your house, tolerate them for your family’s sake or are you a pet lover, typing with a dog, cat and maybe a bird sitting on your lap right now? And if you are a pet lover, list your brood.

I’ve loved dogs for as long as I remember. I’ve never considered myself a cat person, even though my husband and I have had a couple of cats in the past. We now have two Yorkie mixes named Reese and Rollo. They are often snoozing in my office when I write.

10. If you could write a novel containing any generally “off-limits” element, what would we find in your story?

I want to write a horror romance, even though I can’t watch horror films. LOL. Is there such a thing?

11. Name a hero or heroine from one of your books you loved a little more than all the others. (Yes, it’s like picking a favorite child.)

I love Harry Hunter from TATTOO KILLER, Book 1 of the Tattoo Crimes series. He was the hero of that book although not the romantic hero. Harry is a 55-year-old, two-fisted coffee drinker and a grumpy but loveable police detective. I loved him so much I wrote book two in that series, INKED KILLER, about him. (Note: INKED KILLER releases in October 2017.)

12. Name the most unique vacation you ever took, and what was your favorite thing about it?

Yikes! I don’t vacation much. So, any vacation is unique for the simple fact that I took a vacation. I recently went to Orlando for the RWA national conference and brought my husband and son along, and I enjoyed traveling with them. It was also my son’s first trip to Disney, and he was so excited. I loved that I could give him this trip.

13. What book are you reading right now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?

At this moment, I’m not reading anything. I also work full-time and have many writing projects I want to finish before the end of the year. This leaves very little time for anything else, and my family comes before reading.

14. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

They all gave me trouble. Sometimes the characters don’t want to do what I tell them to do. I’m a pantser for the most part. However, whenever I get to about the 20k – 30k word mark, I tend to hit a wall. Although I never start writing a story unless I know the ending.

What helps me make to the end is plotting out the climax of the story and working backward.

15. What has been your scariest moment as an author?

Release days are always the scariest moments. You never know if readers will connect with your characters or give you a bad review.

***

 

 

 

Tattoo Killer

By A.J. Norris

 

The expression on his face melted her insides. His eyes burned for her. She swallowed hard. That crooked smile of his made an appearance. The tiny bathroom grew larger and suddenly he seemed so far away. An easy fix. She removed her shirt and stepped closer to him, then slid her jeans down her thighs. Now it was his turn to undress. Luckily for her, he was only wearing gray plaid flannel pajama bottoms.

He gripped the waistband and ripped them down his legs.

 

***

TATTOO KILLER, Book 1 in the Tattoo Crimes series and an October 2016 release from Limitless Publishing LLC, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon US, Amazon Canada and Amazon UK.

Bonus:

TATTOO KILLER is also part of a boxed set, MY SECURITY: PROTECTION AT ITS FINEST, from Limitless, featuring stories from seven romantic-suspense authors.

***

About A.J.

A.J. Norris is a romantic suspense and paranormal romance novelist. She began writing as a way to dim down the voices inside her head. She enjoys being able to get inside someone else’s head, even a fictional one, and see what they see. Watching how her characters deal with difficult situations or squirm with the uncomfortable ones make the hard work of writing all worth it.

She is a movie buff, especially book adaptations, loves watching her son play baseball and communing with other writers. She lives with her family who are extremely tolerant (at least most of the time) of all her late nights behind the computer.

Stay in contact with A.J. through her website, www.ajnorrisauthor.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author Speed Dating – Rachel Brimble

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Rachel Brimble

 

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. Picture yourself inside an airplane with the door open and a parachute on your back. Would you shout “whoo-hoo” and leap out or hold on for dear life and beg the pilot to land? Or is this question moot because you would be waving up at the plane from solid ground? 

Good lord, I’d hold on for dear life and beg the pilot to land! I only fly in the name of vacation, spending the entire flight thinking about my destination rather than the fact I’m thousands of feet in the air. *shiver* 

2. Name a character from one of your novels that is most like you. Now name one least like you. Explain why?

I’d say Kate from ETHAN’S DAUGHTER is most like me – she tries to care for everyone, worries for everyone and more often than not feels overwhelmed and unsure of her own abilities…but nothing stops her from forging forward!

Least like me is Sasha Todd from WHAT BELONGS TO HER – she is one woman who won’t be messed with! She’s gutsy and strong and takes no prisoners. She’s least like me, but I would LOVE to be more like her. Love that woman!

3. What is your favorite writer’s “uniform,” and how much do you love that you get to pick it out?

My uniform is jeans, T-shirts or vests and flip-flops – I love that I can wear what I want, when I want, without having to dress up for work. I know some writers who stay in their pajamas all day. Wish I could do this, but I have to get dressed to get my head in ‘work mode’.

4. Would you consider yourself an exercise fanatic, a couch potato or somewhere in the middle? And when you do get out to exercise, what is your favorite way to sweat?

I don’t exercise at all! Having said that, I wouldn’t consider myself a couch potato either. I walk my dog for at least an hour and half a day (split into two walks) and am constantly running around after my two teenagers/the house etc. I have absolutely no idea how many times I run up and down the stairs to my office every day! 

5. How many books have you written and in which genres and sub-genres?

I’ve written twenty-one books (18 currently published), and I have written mainstream romance, romance suspense, Victorian romance, romantic comedy and Edwardian romance. I’d like to try Georgian romance next!

6. In 10 words or less, give your best advice to aspiring authors.

Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft. 🙂

 7. Name a talent you have that your readers might not know about? (Keep it PG, of course.)

Apart from multi-tasking at an incredible speed?? Um, I can pull an extremely exaggerated Elvis-style lip curl & no, I’m not attaching a pic, lol!

8. What are the steps you take when you start writing a new book? Character sketches? Extensive research? Fly by the seat of your pants and figure it all out later?

I start by browsing the internet for pics of my hero and heroine (and villain, if I have one) and then write character sketches and a 3-4 page synopsis. Then it’s onto a chapter plan where I write a paragraph for each chapter.

The first draft I write from start to finish without looking back – I am definitely a plotter!

9. From the over-30-action-hero-hotties list: Will Smith or Chris Evans?

Ooh, as much as I wouldn’t kick Will Smith out of bed…it has to be Chris Evans for me. I usually like my men clean-shaven, but any man who can carry off a beard like Chris can gets my hottie vote! 

10. If you had it all to do over again, what would you do differently in your writing career?

I would prepare myself for the amount of promo work needed on top of the actual writing. This side of the business never occurred to me! It wasn’t until my fourth book was published that I started actively promoting.

Apart from that, nothing. I’ve loved and learned through every aspect of my journey and hope I get to write for many more years to come.

11. If you could have dinner with one living celebrity or world leader, who would it be, and what would be on the menu?

Oprah Winfrey – I think she’s a great role model, and I find her very inspiring and empowering. As I don’t cook, I’d have my husband prepare either his amazing Thai green curry or fish pie. Yum!

12. Preference for a great evening with your significant other: dinner out and possibly dancing or takeout and your control of the remote for Netflix?

Takeout and Netflix – as much as I love dinner and dancing, I am happiest in my pjs with my husband beside me, preferably watching something that makes us laugh. 🙂

13. Do you have a book that you been dreaming of writing for years, and what has kept you from writing it?

I would love to write a book about the slave trade that happened in my home city of Bristol during the 19th century. Bristol was one of the main harbors for importing slaves, and I am passionately against this atrocity and would love to create a story from a slave’s point of view and a reluctant slave owner’s wife. Philippa Gregory has already written a book along these lines. A RESPECTABLE TRADE is a phenomenal if, at times, a hard read.

14. Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

Far too many to name them all! They have helped me by supporting me through the times I thought I’d never write a book, hated the one I was writing or thought I wouldn’t be published again. They have also helped with their ups and down, experiences and passing on what works and what doesn’t. 

15. If we imagine that a reader has lived on a desert island and missed the opportunity to read one of your books, which title do you recommend that she order as soon as she returns to civilization?

HER HOMETOWN REDEMPTION for contemporary and WHAT A WOMAN DESIRES for Victorian – feisty, go-getting heroines and swoon-worthy heroes. What’s not to like? 

***

 

 

Ethan’s Daughter

By Rachel Brimble

 

 

On the other side of the front door, the kitchen/dining room stretched from the front to the back of the house. Even though it was in semi-darkness, Leah could see straight through to some French doors at the back, the only illumination coming from the overhead light of the stove as it glinted on steel toward the center of the room.

Snapping her gaze to Daisy, Leah’s opinions on personal tastes flew to the wayside. The little girl’s eyes were wide as she chewed her bottom lip. Leah frowned. “Are you all right, sweetheart? Do you want me to knock?”

Daisy nodded and raised her arms toward Leah as though asking to be picked up. “Yes, please. Daddy might be mad.”

“Oh, Daddy won’t be mad.” Leah bent down and picked her up, hitching her onto her hip as Daisy’s arms wound around her shoulders. “If Daddy’s mad, I’ll show him how to calm himself down real quick. Don’t you worry about that.” Leah lifted the brass knocker and let it fall a little harder than necessary.

No answer.

Narrowing her eyes, she knocked again.

She was readying to knock a third time when the door swung open.

“I told you to get the hell out of here and not come back.” The man’s dark hair sprouted from every angle, his raging eyes bulging and his right hand swathed in a blue and white­­––and bloodied––dishtowel. His gaze held Leah’s for a split-second before he snapped his attention to Daisy. “My God, Daisy. What are you…” He cupped Daisy under her armpits, wincing slightly as he pulled her from Leah’s arms to hold her close. He pressed a lingering kiss to her temple, his raging eyes hidden behind his closed lids.

Leah stared, completely stunned by this flannel-shirted, blue jeaned, incredibly good-looking man…despite the bulging eyes. She coughed in a bid to find her voice. “Mr. James?” She planted her hands on her hips. “You’re Daisy’s father, I presume?”

He opened his eyes and Leah stepped back.

Apparently when his eyes had softened and were filled with regret rather than rage, they looked good. Really good.

She stilled. Oh, good Lord. Be damned if those weren’t the eyes of Templeton’s reclusive novelist, Ethan James.

***

ETHAN’S DAUGHTER, an August 1, 2107, release from Harlequin Superromance and a part of the  Templeton Cove Stories miniseries, may be pre-ordered through these retailers: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Harlequin and Kobo.

 

***

About Rachel

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eighth coming in Feb. 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Connect with her through her website, www.rachelbrimble.com, and her blog. Find her on these social media channels:   TwitterFacebook, her Facebook Street Team, her Amazon Author Page and Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author Speed Dating – Terri Reed

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

 

This week’s guest: Terri Reed

15 Questions

1. Picture yourself inside an airplane with the door open and a parachute on your back. Would you shout “whoo-hoo” and leap out or hold on for dear life and beg the pilot to land? Or is this question moot because you would be waving up at the plane from solid ground?

If I knew the parachute would really open, I’d be jumping with my eyes closed.

2. Name a character from one of your novels that is most like you. Now name one least like you. Explain why?

Claire from my second book, A SHELTERING LOVE, is most like me. She is earnest and a bit naïve. My heroine from the book THE COWBOY TARGET, Jackie, is tough and brave and bold. I’m not.

3. What is your favorite writer’s “uniform”, and how much do you love that you get to pick it out?

Most days I wear loose fitting yoga pants and a short-sleeve loose fitting top. I can’t stand anything binding.

4. Would you consider yourself an exercise fanatic, a couch potato or somewhere in the middle? And when you do get out to exercise, what is your favorite way to sweat?

I love to exercise, but I don’t make enough time for it. When I do exercise, I love to dance, go for hikes, and do Pilates and Barre3.

5. How many books have you written and in which genres and sub-genres?

I’ve written 40+ books. Christian romance and romantic suspense novels and few sweet romances.

6. In 10 words or less, give your best advice to aspiring authors.

Keep learning your craft, never take criticism personally and be persistent.

7. Name a talent you have that your readers might not know about?

Not sure I have any.

8. What are the steps you take when you start writing a new book? Character sketches? Extensive research? Fly by the seat of your pants and figure it all out later?

I’m a heavy plotter, and forms are my BFF’s.

9. From the over-30-action-hero-hotties list: Will Smith or Chris Evans?

That’s a hard decision, they are both hotties. I will watch any movie with either actor and would love to meet them.

10. If you had it all to do over again, what would you do differently in your writing career?

I would listen to my college professor who encouraged me to pursue writing.

 11. If you could have dinner with one living celebrity or world leader, who would it be, and what would be on the menu?

Queen Elizabeth—salad, fish and veggies and cake.

 12. Preference for a great evening with your significant other: dinner out and possibly dancing or takeout and your control of the remote for Netflix?

My preference would be dinner out and dancing. I love to dance.

13. Do you have a book that you been dreaming of writing for years, and what has kept you from writing it?

I have several but deadlines keep me from writing for myself.

14.Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

There are so many author friends who’ve made a huge impact with their support and encouragement.

15. If we imagine that a reader has lived on a desert island and missed the opportunity to read one of your books, which title do you recommend that she order as soon as she returns to civilization?

 A SHELTERING LOVE.

 ***

 

 

 

Guardian

By Terri Reed

 

 

When they were within shouting distance of the rocks, Leo noticed fishing poles and a tackle box. This must have been where Alicia and her son had been when they’d seen the killer.

Alicia pointed upstream and yelled, “He came from that direction and stopped about three hundred and sixty feet straight out from here.” She gestured to the rocks beneath her feet.

“That’s helpful and gives us a place to start.” Leo stared, admiring the pretty lady. Her hair lifted slightly in the wind that had kicked up. Sunlight reflected in her piercing blue eyes. “You and the officers can head back to the station.” He didn’t want her here to see the body when they found the victim.

Alicia shook her head. “I want to make sure she’s found. Someone has to stand up for her.”

Respecting her decision, he saluted her then turned to Craig. “You heard the lady.”

Craig slowly turned the boat toward the middle of the river. True stood on the bow, his head up, gaze alert. Leo tuned into the dog’s nuances the farther away from shore they traveled. He documented the time and distance from land on the notepad he carried. They circled the area where Alicia had pointed. True showed no signs of alerting.

“Head downstream,” Leo instructed Craig.

Since the body hadn’t been weighted down, it most likely had been swept along by the river’s current.  Craig zigzagged the boat from one shore to the other, moving farther and farther away from the spot. Leo wondered if maybe the suspect had come back and removed the woman’s body. Frustration curled in his stomach.

Then True shifted. He licked his lips and shuffled his paws, clear signs he was picking up a scent. Leo’s pulse jumped. The dog’s tail went down as he craned his neck, dipping his nose toward the water. He pivoted, and then leaned over the starboard side. Keeping his snout at the surface of the water, True walked the length of the boat and stepped easily over the bench seat.

Anticipation revving through him, Leo gestured for Craig to make a slow turn. True retraced his steps, barking an alert. He scratched and nipped at the water. Knowing the animal had scent glands in the roof of his mouth, Leo interpreted these actions as the sign this was the spot.

“Good boy.” Leo grasped True’s life vest to keep the dog from jumping in.

Leo nodded at Craig, who shut off the motor, then strapped on a buoyance compensator, his mask and oxygen tank. The man sat on the side of the boat and fell backward into the water. True barked and lunged for the water. Leo continued to hold him back.

“No, boy,” Leo said adjusting his grip on True. “We’re staying here.”

Leo and True both watched the surface of the river. Leo pulled on latex gloves in anticipation of handling the body and prepared the large, waterproof plastic body bag. His gaze darted back to the shore, where Alicia stood sentinel on the rocks, flanked by the two officers.

She held her head up and her shoulders back like a fierce warrior. She was tall and so very appealing. He admired her commitment to being a voice for the victim. Most people would want to bail the second they could. Not Alicia. He liked that about her.

 

***

GUARDIAN, an April 2017 released from Harlequin Love Inspired and Book 1 in the Classified K-9 Unit continuity series, may be purchased from these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

 

About Terri

Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top 25, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100 and featured in USA Today, Christian Fiction Magazine and Romantic Times Magazine and finaled in RWA’s RITA contest, National Reader’s Choice Award contest, ACFW’s The Carol Award contest. Contact Terri at www.terrireed.com or P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97224, and find her on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author Speed Dating – Stella MacLean

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Stella MacLean

15 Questions

1. Picture yourself at an amusement park. Are you the rider on the tallest roller coaster, clamoring for speed; the only adult on the spinning ride with the kids, begging for it to stop; or the bench-sitter, holding the coats and waving?

I’m the only rider on the spinning ride with the kids, cowering in the seat while screaming louder than the kids for the spinning to stop.

2. Name an author whose work you read and still think “I’m not worthy”?

Easy question. Kristin Hannah. I read her books and wonder why I can’t be more like her—even for one of my books. She’s such a great storyteller.

3. What was genre of the first piece you can remember writing, and how old were you when you penned this masterpiece?

I wrote a story about visiting my grandmother. I was eleven, and I loved her pantry that contained a cookie jar always filled with sugar cookies. To this day, I close my eyes, and I can smell that tiny space with its baking pans and along with all the ingredients needed to make bread, rolls, cookies and cakes.

4. Are you traditionally published, self-published or a “hybrid” author, and why did you choose that path?

I’m a “hybrid”. I started out with Harlequin, and in between contracts, I published three indie books. Both have their challenges, and both are fun to do.

5. Which Star Wars character best describes your personality in regular life? What about on deadline?

I like to think I’m a clone of Obi-Wan Kenobi. When on a deadline, I’m the perfect match to Anakin Skywalker.

6a. Was there ever a time before or after you were published that you considered quitting?

After a really bad rejection letter, a heartbreaking epistle from a long-ago editor that nearly crushed me, I felt there wasn’t any point continuing if I was really that bad. 

6b. If so, how did you convince yourself to try one more time?

If so, how did you convince yourself to try one more time? I didn’t. I got a cat, a beautiful Maine Coon cat named Emma, and I pouted for about a month.

7. Celebrities aging beautifully: Mark Harmon or Sean Connery?

I have a confession to make. I LOVE Mark Harmon at any age. I named my latest cat after his NCIS character—Leroy Jethro Gibbs. I have watched every episode of NCIS at least three times. What can I say? I’m addicted.

8. Since all writers are readers, name your favorite hero or heroine from a book you’ve read. Has he or she had an impact in how you write the characters in your own books?

For me, it’s always been GONE WITH THE WIND. I have an early edition of the book that belonged to my Aunt Doris. And my favorite character is Rhett Butler. There’s a little Rhett in all my heroes. There is something so essentially male about Rhett, a quality I’ve been trying to capture in each of my books.

9. Who was the first person – besides your mom and dad – who told you that you could write?

I don’t remember anyone telling me I could write. I just remember always wanting to write, and then life intervened and offered me the opportunity.

10. Do you own at least one purse (or twenty) from a well-known fashion designer, or are you more the bag-to-carry-my-junk-in type?

I have 22 purses, but if you tell anyone….

11. Do you belong to a critique group, and how has that membership affected your writing?

I belonged to a critique group many years ago, but I found I was trying to follow everyone’s advice and losing the story I had in my head. An editor kindly pointed that fact out to me when I sent her my manuscript that had been the product of being in a critique group.

12. What are some of the activities you were participating in when you came up with an idea for a book? (Note: Keep it clean.)

I was a newbie nursing supervisor, my first shift on the job when, due to a paper work mix up, it appeared that I had lost a body in the morgue. That was the beginning of UNIMAGINABLE, my first book in my women-in-danger series.

13. Music: Pink or Taylor Swift?

Without involving myself in the ongoing “discussion” between Taylor and Katy, can I say Katy Perry?

14. Do you write the synopsis before or after you write the manuscript?

I always write a detailed synopsis before I start. I like having a story map as I call it.

15. What is your biggest dream for your writing career? The New York Times bestseller list? A movie deal? Your own island in the Caribbean? All of the above?

Definitely all of the above. My personal philosophy is that if you’re going to dream, make it a big one.

***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unexpected Attraction

By Stella MacLean

 

 

 

 

Andrea soaked in Jake’s touch, feeling calmed. “A few days ago I would have yelled at you instead of saying what I felt.”

“You should give yourself credit for your honesty about how you feel. You could have stopped me from asking questions. I have no right to be invading your personal life.”

Surprised and pleased by his comments, she faced him. “While we’re on the subject of behavior, I want to ask something. How did you cope with your sisters as teenagers and not remember how moody they can be?”

“I remember quite well how unpredictable they could be,” he said, his gaze on her, unnerving her.

“Can we call a truce?” she asked, leaning closer, absorbing his scent.

“I didn’t know we needed one.”

“Let’s not talk about problems, please.”

He touched her hair, ran his fingers along her cheek. “Excellent suggestion,” he whispered, his lips moving slowly, purposefully along her chin to her mouth. He kissed her, wrapping her in his embrace.

Lost in his arms, she clung to him, never wanting this moment to end.

His kiss so gentle yet so possessive, had opened up a whole new world. She felt different in a way she couldn’t describe. As he stroked her cheek and looked into her eyes, she knew she would remember this moment long after today.

“We probably should get going,” he said, still holding her close.

His touch distracted her, and she struggled to answer. “I suppose so.”

She could still feel his lips on hers as he loaded the trunk. She’d never been kissed the way he kissed her. Never with such care and tenderness. She felt adrift in a place of beautiful sensation.

She was finely attuned to him—his easy grace as he moved to open the car door for her, his confidence, his patient acceptance. It all held her spellbound. As if in a trance, she got in and fastened her seat belt. The feeling of intimacy in the narrow space after he climbed in swept all worries and troubles from her mind….

 

***

UNEXPECTED ATTRACTION, a June 2017 release from Harlequin Superromance, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

About Stella

Stella MacLean loves creating contemporary romances in which the characters find love and fulfillment while learning to live in the moment. She draws her story ideas from her life as a wife, mother, grandmother and friend, and from her professional background as a nurse and accountant. Stella is an avid gardener, taking great pleasure from digging in the dirt and watching seeds she has planted add beauty and grace to her gardens.  Stay in touch with Stella through her website, www.stellamaclean.com, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author Speed Dating – Melissa Keir

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Melissa Keir

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. Picture yourself at an amusement park. Are you the rider on the tallest roller coaster, clamoring for speed; the only adult on the spinning ride with the kids, begging for it to stop; or the bench-sitter, holding the coats and waving?

I love riding on the roller coaster, especially the year I rode the Gemini at Cedar Point ten times in a row before losing my lunch. Luckily, it didn’t stop me from winning the guy’s heart!

2. Name an author whose work you read and still think “I’m not worthy”?

There’s so many. I’ve only recently re-read Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, and I’m blown away once again.

3. What was genre of the first piece you can remember writing, and how old were you when you penned this masterpiece?

Back in high school typing class, I used to write horror stories involving my friends. Alas, these silly stories will never see the light of day.

4. Are you traditionally published, self-published or a “hybrid” author, and why did you choose that path?

I was published with a variety of small publishing houses, but with the recent market changes, they closed and I went out and self-published my books, adding to the list. I wouldn’t go any other way.

5. Which Star Wars character best describes your personality in regular life? What about on deadline?

In regular life, I’m much like Han Solo—master of my own domain and loving life and an occasional brew. But when I’m on a deadline or when the Internet goes down, I turn into Darth Vader. I set out to crush all those who go against me.

6. Was there ever a time before or after you were published that you considered quitting? If so, how did you convince yourself to try one more time?

Each time a publishing house I was with closed, it was heartbreaking. I felt like it was fate telling me to stop writing, but after one particular event, an author friend suggested I keep writing and suggested submitting to a different place. I did and now have over twenty-five books with my name on them.

7. Celebrities aging beautifully: Mark Harmon or Sean Connery?

Sean Connery- kilt, accent and Bond! What more can I say?

8. Since all writers are readers, name your favorite hero or heroine from a book you’ve read. Has he or she had an impact in how you write the characters in your own books?

Charley Davidson, in the series by Darynda Jones, is amazing. She’s kick butt but also a little neurotic like me. She’s got a hunky supernatural husband and some pretty amazing friends. I’d love to be her, but she hasn’t really influenced my characters.

9. Who was the first person – besides your mom and dad – who told you that you could write? 

My college English professor. She inspired me to write.

10. Do you own at least one purse (or twenty) from a well-known fashion designer, or are you more the bag-to-carry-my-junk-in type?

I’m not a typical girl, no special shoes or handbags. Cheap is better with me—then I can buy more books!

11. Do you belong to a critique group, and how has that membership affected your writing?

I used to. It was great to have someone read through my work and give feedback. But I often found with deadlines, I didn’t have as much time to devote to the critique group so I dropped it. Now I have a good friend who betas for me.

12. What are some of the activities you were participating in when you came up with an idea for a book? (Note: Keep it clean.)

Driving my car, showering, and dreaming/sleeping.

13. Music: Pink or Taylor Swift?

Pink – She’s a little angry, but that’s just the passion coming through. Besides she could kick my behind.

14. Do you write the synopsis before or after you write the manuscript?

After – My story changes as I write sometimes.

15. What is your biggest dream for your writing career? The New York Times bestseller list? A movie deal? Your own island in the Caribbean? All of the above?

Are you giving those away? Sign me up!

***

 

 Broken Vows

By Melissa Keir

 

 

 

The women tied off the horses to a branch of the willow tree a bit away from the pond. She didn’t want them to reach the water. Julie had heard from Jake about how Cherokee tried to roll in the pond to cool off with Angela on his back. She wasn’t in the mood to see it happen face-to-face.

Angela tugged a blanket from the saddlebag and laid it out on the ground in the shade. “With as often as we’re down at the pond, we should consider putting in a picnic table or building a ‘she shed.’” Her smile lit up her face.

“It would be more comfortable than this hard ground.” Julie plopped down on the blanket. “But probably not as conducive to snuggling under the covers.”

Angela raised her brows, but Julie knew all about Angela and Jake’s escapes to the pond. Julie stared at the grass and wished she hadn’t recalled the many stories she’d heard. This pond had become quite the love nest since Angela’s wedding.

“I vote for a bed in the shed. But get it done before the next time Rick comes home.”

“Anything for you.” Angela shoved her shoulder. “I’ll get Jake on it this weekend. Maybe we can come down here together. That man knows how to wear a tool belt.”

“Oh, no. With you down here, the building won’t get done.” She playfully shuddered. “Now I’m going to be stuck with that image of Jake in only a tool belt.”

After laying out the food, Angela dug into the sandwiches. Julie only picked at her plate.

“Hey, why aren’t you eating?”

Julie shrugged. “I’ve had some rough mornings. Ever since Rick left the last time, I have no energy, and eating is the last thing on my mind. Really, food sounds good, but the minute it passes my lips, my stomach recoils.” She pushed her plate away. “Probably stress.”

“Any other problems? Pain?” Angela scrutinized her friend.

“A little pain in my abdomen and across my chest. But I attribute it to the lack of food and all the extra work I’ve been doing in the barn. Without Rick, I’m mucking all the stalls, exercising the horses, and that’s on top of the laundry, cleaning…you know the drill.”

 

***

BROKEN VOWS, Volume 6 in Cowboys of Whisper, Colorado series, was released in May 2017 through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform and may be purchased through Amazon.

 

 

 

BROKEN VOWS also may be purchased as part of the COWBOY SIX PACK box set in both print and ebook forms through Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

About Melissa

Melissa Keir doesn’t believe in down time. She’s always keeping busy. Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a book reviewer and owner of a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice – a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature happy endings and is often seen plotting her next story. Find out more about Melissa through her website, www.melissakeir.com, and stay in touch through her Facebook author page, her Facebook social group and through her Amazon author page.

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author Speed Dating – Anna Sugden

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Anna Sugden

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you had the chance for front-row tickets AND backstage passes with any band, past or present, which one would you be jamming with? Explain your choice.

Queen – always regret I never got to see them before Freddie Mercury passed away. They are rock gods, and I think it would be one heck of a party!

2. What is the one thing you wish someone else had told you before you published your first book?

It took me so long to get published that I think I’ve heard it all, and it’s all true! I think what I would tell people is that nothing really changes – you still get rejected when you’re published!

3. Keith Urban or Adam Levine?

Don’t know either of them well enough to choose, though as eye candy … yum!

4. What are your go-to meals for the final week before deadline?

Anything my lovely husband makes for me!

5. Give the title of the first manuscript (published or unpublished) you ever wrote. What was the story about?

“Paws for Love” – about a woman who owned a cattery and hated an arrogant businessman who boarded his cat with her! Included were some fun secondary characters — matchmaking elderly neighbours, a nasty ex- and some precocious cats.

6. Books by George Orwell or Kristin Hannah?

Definitely Kristin Hannah!

7. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

That’s changed recently – I’ve learned I’m best first thing in the morning (before my mind gets distracted) and last thing at night because I’m a night owl. Friend – especially hot tea with milk (English breakfast – definitely not Earl Grey!) or Coke Zero.

8. Which WIZARD OF OZ character were you most like during your junior high years?

It’s a bit corny, but I was very much a Dorothy – a dreamer, wanting adventures, living vicariously through books, especially romances. I was also a bit of a fish out of water in that I lived in the US (in northern Virginia), because my Dad was in the World Bank, but went to posh boarding school back in England. Two very different cultures and I didn’t really fit in the posh boarding school one. If only I’d had a Toto with me! To this day, I have a split soul that misses the US when I’m living in England and vice versa. I’m lucky enough that I can still get the best of both worlds and consider both countries my home. And there really is no place like my two homes!

9.  In addition to writing, what are your other outlets for your creativity?

I love craft projects – cross stitch, crochet, knitting – as long as they’re not too big.

10. What type of shopper are you: mall rat, online shopper, bargain sleuth, or none of the above?

These days, I’m  more of an online shopper. It’s so easy to click and have things delivered, which you can then try on in the comfort of your own bedroom (and not those horrid communal changing rooms!). The main exception to that is a new pair of shoes – which I may have a bit of a passion for – prefer to do that in a real shop. Plus, most places do free returns now too, so you don’t have the hassle of driving and parking and dealing with the mall crush. We even have our groceries delivered! However, you can’t beat a day pottering around the shops with a girlfriend.

11. Have you ever experienced misgivings as an author, and, if so, what are some of the ways you’ve tried to keep those feelings at bay?

Always – I don’t think there is an author out there who doesn’t. “Am I good enough” haunts us all. My support crew (lovely hubby, dear writer friends, fab agent) boost me through the doubts. But at the end of it, writing is what I enjoy, so I write for myself and try not to worry.

12. Scandal or Pawn Stars?

I haven’t watched either, but Pawn Stars intrigues me.

13. How many books have you published, and how many are still tucked in a drawer somewhere?

Five books and 1 anthology of short stories. As for those “in the drawer” (it’s a virtual drawer – a special file on my computer) probably another 8-10 across contemporary and romantic suspense (my other love).

14. What was the most challenging revision you ever had to make in a manuscript?

All big revisions are challenging! Usually you get good direction as to how your editor wants you to go, but when you get a one line, broad comment, that’s very hard. Finding the perfect beginning for A PERFECT DISTRACTION was probably the hardest to get right – I lost count of the number of different versions. I still have my favourite deleted scene – I should put it up on my website some time!

15. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more?

Ooh mean question!! A PERFECT DISTRACTION will always be special as it was the first book I sold and the one I fought so hard to have published, despite being told repeatedly that sports heroes don’t sell. And who doesn’t love Jake “Bad Boy” Badoletti? <swoon>. A PERFECT TRADE is also special as it features a heroine who used to be a puck bunny. Jenny has had a special place in my heart since she strode into a scene in the first Ice Cats book, and writing her story was tough! But my favourite is one that hasn’t been published … yet. It’s about a Texas cowboy who inherits half of an English sheep farm (and was a two-time Golden Heart finalist). Some day …

***

 

 

 

A Perfect Strategy

 

By Anna Sugden

 

As Sapphie made her way across the room, she spotted Scotty Matthews at the bar, nursing a drink. Sapphie had always had a fan-girl crush on the former Ice Cats captain. Her favorite player since she’d started following the team, he’d been a powerhouse on the ice and, from what she’d heard, a great leader and a mentor in the locker room. He was a nice guy but hard to get to know. She’d seen him at several Ice Cats parties and he’d seemed pretty self-contained. Watching everything, saying little.

She’d found it hard to be her usual chatty self with him. He’d look at her with those serious blue eyes and she’d become tongue-tied. Because she’d never been fazed by a gorgeous man before, she’d assumed it was because he was older than her—in his early forties. Though he’d never said anything overtly disapproving, she’d felt she never quite measured up to his standards.

Tonight he looked lonely.

He’d obviously come to the reception on his own. She’d heard about his divorce last year; hard not to when it had been splashed across the media.

As if he felt her studying him, Scotty looked up and their gazes met.

There was something about the recently retired captain that drew her to him. His dark hair, flecked with gray, was still short, like it had been when he was playing. His tanned face bore the scars of his career. The one that had always fascinated her was the white line that marred his otherwise perfect lips. Left side, near the corner. The result of a high stick—one that hadn’t been penalized—it had taken twenty-five stitches to close the cut.

He gave a half smile, raised his glass to her, then returned his attention to his drink.

Suddenly, she wanted to make that half smile full-blown.

Sapphie sauntered to the bar and settled on the stool next to him. She was pleased to notice him checking out her legs as she crossed them.

“I suppose a dance is out of the question, Captain?” Her question came out slightly husky, giving it an unintentionally sultry note.

***

 

A PERFECT STRATEGY, a February 2017 release from Harlequin Superromance and part of The New Jersey Ice Cats series, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

About Anna

A former marketing executive and primary school teacher, award-winning author, Anna Sugden, loves reading and writing happy endings as much as hockey (where she prefers a happy ending for her team)! When she’s not researching hockey players (for her books, of course), she makes craft projects and collects penguins, autographs and memorabilia, and great shoes.

Anna lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and two bossy black cats. Learn more about Anna, her books and her shoes at www.annasugden.com . You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

***

Bonus!

 

 

 

For lovers of The New Jersey Ice Cats series, or those who’d just like to meet the guys,  Anna Sugden offers a collection of bite-sized romances featuring popular players from the series. The anthology is offered for free until the 2017 Stanley Cup is won. Get y0ur copy here.
Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author Speed Dating – Sarah Morgan

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Sarah Morgan

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you had the chance for front-row tickets AND backstage passes with any band, past or present, which one would you be jamming with? Explain your choice.

Beyoncé! Because she’s Beyoncé. Enough said.

2. What is the one thing you wish someone else had told you before you published your first book?

That being published isn’t the end of the journey.

3. Keith Urban or Adam Levine?

That’s a tough question. Probably Adam Levine.

4. What are your go-to meals for the final week before deadline?

Whatever my husband decides to cook for me 🙂

5. Give the title of the first manuscript (published or unpublished) you ever wrote. What was the story about?

WORTH THE RISK – it was a medical romance, opposites attract, and it was the first book I completed (I had written several partials before that) and the first book that was published.

6. Books by George Orwell or Kristin Hannah?

Kristin Hannah. I love the way she writes about friendship and relationships.

7. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

I’ve trained myself to be productive whenever I need to be, but I definitely need the help of caffeine.

8. Which WIZARD OF OZ character were you most like during your junior high years?

Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. I used to be good at solving other people’s problems (my own, not so much!)

9.  In addition to writing, what are your other outlets for your creativity?

Photography. I also love music.

10. What type of shopper are you: mall rat, online shopper, bargain sleuth, or none of the above?

Usually online because I don’t plan far enough in advance.

11. Have you ever experienced misgivings as an author, and, if so, what are some of the ways you’ve tried to keep those feelings at bay?

All authors feel doubt at some point. The only cure is to keep writing.

12. Scandal or Pawn Stars?

Scandal.

13. How many books have you published, and how many are still tucked in a drawer somewhere?

I’ve written 82 books, and I don’t have any completed manuscripts in a drawer, just a few stray first chapters that didn’t feel right when I wrote them.

14. What was the most challenging revision you ever had to make in a manuscript?

I can’t remember. Revisions often seem challenging to begin with, but I’ve learned that I need to take a couple of days to let them percolate before attacking the manuscript.

15. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more?

SLEIGH BELLS IN THE SNOW, because it was the first novel I wrote after writing series romance. It marked a change in direction for me, and that book is special to me for that reason.

***

 

 

 

New York, Actually

By Sarah Morgan

 

 

“You don’t need to worry.” He leaned in and lowered his voice. “I promise to be gentle with you.”

“Oh please—did you really just say that?” Because her hand shook, she sloshed tea over her leggings. “Ow!” She sprang to her feet and his smile turned to concern.

“Take them off.”

“You’re not funny.”

“I’m not trying to be funny. I’m serious. Basic first aid for burns. The fabric will carry on burning your leg.”

“I am not removing my pants in the park.” But she tugged the Lycra away from her skin and sure enough the burning eased.

“I’m sorry.” He sounded genuinely contrite.

“Why are you sorry?” She grabbed a handful of napkins and pressed them against her thigh. “I was the one who spilled my tea.”

“But only because I made you nervous.” His voice was soft, his gaze intimate, as if they’d shared something personal.

“You didn’t make me nervous,” she lied. “I’m not used to sexual innuendo this early in the morning. Or men like you. You’re—”

“Cute? Irresistible? Interesting?”

“I was thinking more of annoying, predictable and inappropriate.”

His smile promised fun and sin and a thousand things she didn’t dare think about while she had hot tea in her hand.

“I made you nervous. And flustered. And if I were to analyze you, I’d say you’re a woman who hates to feel either of those things.”

Flustered? Oh yes, she was flustered. Being close to him made her feel light-headed and dizzy. She was agonizingly aware of every single detail, from the dark masculinity of his unshaven jaw, to the wicked glint in his eyes. But beneath the humor was a sharp eye for detail and that worried her more than anything.

She had a feeling he saw far more than people usually did.

It was like hiding in a cupboard and knowing that someone was right outside the door waiting for you to reveal yourself.

And that was closer than she ever let anyone step.

“Thanks for the tea.” She threw the cup away and reached for Valentine’s lead.

“Wait.” He reached out and caught her hand. “Don’t go.”

“I have to work.” It was true, although that wasn’t why she was leaving. She knew it. He knew it. Conversation, a light flirtation—that was all fine. She didn’t want more. “Goodbye, Daniel. Have a great day.” She whistled to Valentine, put him back on his lead and took off through the park without looking back.

Tomorrow she was going to take a different route.

There was no way she was going to risk bumping into Daniel again.

No way.

***

NEW YORK, ACTUALLY, Book 4 in the From Manhattan With Love series, is a May 30, 2017, release from HQN Books. It may be pre-ordered through these and other retailers:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

About Sarah

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and her trademark humor and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. She is a 2-time RITA ® winner, has written more than 80 books and has sold more than 15 million copies globally. Sarah lives near London, England, where the rain frequently keeps her trapped in her office.

Find out more about Sarah at her website, www.sarahmorgan.com, or follow her through these social-media channels:  Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author Speed Dating – Jennifer Lohmann

 

 

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Jennifer Lohmann

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If Disney made an animated movie about you as Princess Jennifer, which Disney hero would you choose as your Prince?

Does Robin Hood count as a prince? That was always my favorite Disney movie.

2. In which genres and sub-genres have you been published, and what does your narrow or sweeping focus say about you?

I’ve only written contemporary romances. While I love romance and writing about the developing relationship, what I really love is examining about a woman’s relationship with herself and the modern world.

3. Denzel Washington or Leonardo DiCaprio?

Denzel, every time.

4. What is one of the biggest risks you’ve taken as a writer?

I enjoy writing about women who’ve made serious personal mistakes in their past that have lasting consequences which they can’t escape, which include Renia Milek in THE FIRST MOVE, who gave a baby up for adoption when she was sixteen; Ruby Heart from WINNING RUBY HEART, who doped during the Olympics and had a gold medal taken away; and Mina Clements from LOVE ON HER TERMS, who believed a guy who said, “It’ll be okay, baby,” didn’t use a condom, and got HIV. Each of those books include sharp, emotional, and often painful moments that aren’t easy to read and could turn a reader off. But they make me a stronger writer, and the books are better for them.

5. If you could keep only the possessions that would fit in one suitcase, and you were limited to two books – one you wrote and one by someone else – which titles would you tuck inside your bag? Explain your choices.

CORNELIA’S HONOR by Lois McMaster Bujold. I turn to that book in moments of personal crisis, and, if I’m limited to one suitcase, it’s probably because there’s a moment of personal crisis happening.  As for my book? WINNING RUBY HEART. I wrote that book after my divorce, and it’s the book that most speaks to me coming into my own after a personal crisis.

6. How many rejections did you receive before you sold your first book, and what did you learn from them?

Don’t hate me, but zero. I’ve had rejections since, but not the first one. I sold it during “So You Think You Can Write”, Harlequin’s big writing contest. RESERVATIONS FOR TWO was my first book.

7. For your social-media fix, do you prefer crazy cat videos or trivia quizzes on ’80s movies and Biblical characters?

I’m a librarian, so cat videos all day, every day. Did I mention that I have three cats?

8. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

Ohhhh…interesting question. Mina Clements from LOVE ON HER TERMS is outgoing and can draw. I’d love to be able to make small talk with strangers and draw anything more complicated than a stick figure. But Ruby Heart from WINNING RUBY HEART is an amazing athlete, something I’ve never been.  But I’m pretty happy where I’m at.

9. Perfect outfit: cowboy hat and boots or sundress and sandals?

Sundress and sandals, preferably retro.

10. Are you a pantser or a plotter in your writing, and have you always written this way, or have you changed methods throughout your career?

Team Pantser for the win!

11. What is your most ridiculous fear, and what have you done to challenge it?

If we’re going for ridiculous, I was once looking at a black mamba snake through a glass window in a serpentarium during a bad thunderstorm. I had a very brief moment of heart-stopping panic as I imagined that there would be a tornado. The glass would break and I’d die of a black mamba bite in Wilmington, North Carolina. I’m not actually afraid of snakes. Or storms.

On the serious side, I’m afraid of needles. I hate it, but I give blood a couple times a year to face my fear.

12. What are some of the activities you’ve participated in, people you’ve interviewed or places you’ve visited to do research for one of your books?

I did a lot of comic book drawing for LOVE ON HER TERMS and took a citizen’s police academy for A SOUTHERN PROMISE. And, of course, I go skiing every winter. 😊

13. Name the strangest snack or food combination you love to eat when no one is watching.

Goldfish and Thin Mints. Mmmm….good.

14. Faith Hill or Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga.

15. In 10 words or less, give your best writing advice to aspiring authors.

Defend your writing time.

 

***

 

 

Love on Her Terms

By Jennifer Lohmann

 

 

Mina had met all of her neighbors except one. Given how rarely she saw him outside, it seemed like he was determined she not meet him or even lay eyes on him.

Still, she wasn’t used to not knowing her neighbors. Even in graduate school she’d made a point to meet all the people in her apartment building at least once. That way, she figured, even if they avoided her for the rest of their shared time in Chicago, they would be able to tell the paramedics her name if she were found gravely injured on the sidewalk outside the building.

Though how she would have managed being gravely injured on the sidewalk outside her apartment after being hit by a train was still a mystery.

Mina smiled as she crossed the property boundary. A death worthy of Anna Karenina was ridiculous, which was part of the pleasure of thinking about it. She was going to die from something prosaic and boring. A cold that turned into pneumonia. An allergic reaction. Basically, her own body turning against her. Nothing as spectacular as throwing oneself in front of a train after the betrayal of a lover.

She knocked on the door and almost laughed when her neighbor opened it, a death glare on his face that he didn’t even try to hide as he said, “Yes.”

Fortunately, death held little fear for her. It never had. Not even when in the form of a man who stood a head, a neck and a chest taller than her. Every other time she’d seen her neighbor, his black hair had been slicked back against his head, but this morning it was loose about his face, with locks hanging over his eyes. He obviously hadn’t shaven since yesterday at least, and maybe since the day before. One day, once her garden was put in and her bathroom redone, she’d make a study of his facial hair.

Today, she stuck her hand into the void between them, a desperate cover for wanting to push his hair out of his eyes. “I’m Mina. I moved in next door a couple weeks ago and wanted to introduce myself.”

His eyes were a surprisingly light brown, given how dark his hair was. She noticed this as she realized her hand…still hung in the air. She had offered him a strong handshake, like her dad had taught her. No weak wrists. People judged you on your handshake.

Or most people did. Her neighbor might never shake her hand, and he wouldn’t know that she’d practiced her handshake with strangers since she was five.

She was about to give up when his calloused hand slid into hers and gripped tightly enough that her knees went weak in the best possible way.

“Levi,” he said, his voice deep with sleep.

It seemed his dad had taught him to have a good handshake, too. His grip revealed shapely forearms with just a hint of vein under the skin. Enough that Mina wanted to see more. More forearms. More biceps.

More everything of her neighbor.

 ***

LOVE ON HER TERMS, an August 2016 release from Harlequin Superroomance, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Harlequin, iBooks and Kobo.

 

***

 

About Jennifer

Jennifer Lohmann is a Rocky Mountain girl at heart, having grown up in southern Idaho and Salt Lake City. She’s always been a reader–of romance novels, mysteries, nonfiction, cereal boxes, etc. If it had words, she tried to read it. Jennifer had been writing, on and off, for many years when she won the Romance Writers of America Librarian of the Year award in 2010. Being at the RWA conference reminded her how much she loved writing, and she became more serious about it. As part of Harlequin’s “So You Think You Can Write” Contest, she was offered a contract on her first book in 2012. She lives in the Southeast with her own personal Viking hero, three cats, two teenage stepchildren, and a boa constrictor. Visit her at jenniferlohmann.com and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author Speed Dating – Ruth Kaufman

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Ruth Kaufman

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. If Disney made an animated movie about you as Princess Ruth, which Disney hero would you choose as your Prince?

Princess Sparkle (because I love all things glittery and shiny!) would choose Prince Charming, because he’s, well, charming, and she’d love to live in a castle.

2. In which genres and subgenres have you been published, and what does your narrow or sweeping focus say about you?

I’ve published 4 Medievals (and a Medieval novella), but my next two will be humorous women’s fiction. The one after those should be a time travel to Elizabethan England with a paranormal hero. I hope writing in multiple genres and mixing genres says I’m creative with a lot of ideas and characters and that I love research.

3. Denzel Washington or Leonardo DiCaprio?

Definitely Denzel. He’s so talented and cool.

4. What is one of the biggest risks you’ve taken as a writer?

I released two versions of my first book, one with an “open bedroom door” that has the hero on the cover and one with a “closed bedroom door” that has the heroine on the cover. I’d hoped to interest readers who like some heat and those who prefer sweet. Unfortunately, the heroine’s book didn’t do very well.

5. If you could keep only the possessions that would fit in one suitcase, and you were limited to two books – one you wrote and one by someone else – which titles would you tuck inside your bag? Explain your choices.

I’d take FOLLOW YOUR HEART, my second book, because I love the characters and that the heroine is a stained-glass painter. And I’d take Margaret George’s THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY VIII because I couldn’t put it down and it’s very, very long.

6. How many rejections did you receive before you sold your first book, and what did you learn from them?

I received hundreds of rejections for more than 10 manuscripts and also at least a dozen revision letters from agents and editors before I self-published (meaning they were very interested in this or that project but wanted some changes before offering a contract). I learned that I wasn’t going to get the traditional publishing call I’d wanted, so I self-published.

7. For your social-media fix, do you prefer crazy cat videos or trivia quizzes on ’80s movies and Biblical characters?

None of the above. I’m also an actor, so if I’m going to spend time online in addition to following or contributing to my feeds, I’ll watch a web series or film someone I know is in or from someone I hope to work with.

8. Which character from one of your own books do you wish you were more like?

Annora of Amberley from my fourth book, MY ONCE & FUTURE LOVE. I appreciate her willingness to take risks, her determination and ability to remain mostly positive in the face of adversity. 

9. Perfect outfit: cowboy hat and boots or sundress and sandals?

Sundress and sandals.

10. Are you a pantser or a plotter in your writing, and have you always written this way, or have you changed methods throughout your career?

Pantser! And I give workshops about it. I read books about plotting and took workshops, and though I tried and tried, couldn’t get words on the page until I went back to pantsing.

11. What is your most ridiculous fear, and what have you done to challenge it?

I’m afraid of the dentist’s drill (my mom says it’s because when I was four, a dentist drilled with no Novocain). I force myself to go for a cleaning every time they send the reminder postcard because I’m more afraid of what might happen if I don’t.

12. What are some of the activities you’ve participated in, people you’ve interviewed or places you’ve visited to do research for one of your books?

For AT HIS COMMAND, I visited Castle Rising in England and made it the heroine’s home. And I took the picture of it that’s on the cover.

13. Name the strangest snack or food combination you love to eat when no one is watching.

Does everyone have a strange snack/combo except me? I love peanut butter and chocolate ice cream in general, and in particular Target’s Market Pantry version. I wish it came in a single-serve size because it’s so tempting….

14. Faith Hill or Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga…amazingly talented.

15. In 10 words or less, give your best writing advice to aspiring authors.

Set weekly word goals and keep writing new pages.

***

 

 

At His Command

By Ruth Kaufman

 

 

 

Sir Nicholas Grey’s scout leaned forward in his saddle, holding up two fingers to let the others know two horses approached. Nicholas heard only the slight jangling of harnesses blended with wind rattling through the trees, but relied on his scout’s uncanny ability to hear what no one else could.

He and his eight men sat alert, deep enough in the forest to avoid being seen while maintaining a clear view of the road through leafless branches. Nine armed men could frighten travelers. ‘Twas best to let them pass.

Each man watched, each horse sinking deeper into chilling mire as a mud-covered, black palfrey plodded over the rise in the road, its long mane whipping in the frigid winds.

“No rider,” Martin, the scout, murmured.

“Look again,” Nicholas replied. At first he too had thought the horse was riderless. Now he could see a woman collapsed on the animal’s back. Her dark hair draped down its flank, mingling with the horse’s mane. The palfrey placed each step as if trying not to jostle its burden.

Another horse, this one a brown rouncey ridden by a thin, balding man, galloped after the palfrey. A look of triumph brightened the man’s face as he spotted the horse ahead of him. He bent forward, extending his hand. Fingers like talons grasped the woman’s tangled hair.

“Mine!” he cried.

Amice Winfield jerked awake. Agony forced her head back, allowing her to see the man who gripped her hair as though he’d perish if he let go.

Harry Winfield.

She screamed. Arrows of fear pierced her as she clawed at his fingers. Her horse bolted, leaving her dangling from Harry’s hand by a small clump of hair. The long strands held for a few seconds, then tore from her head.

Pain seared her scalp. She dropped into a puddle. Stunned by her fall and her stinging head, Amice could only stare at her tormentor while freezing water soaked her clothes. How she hated him. How she regretted her desperate flight from home. But what other choice did she have?

Harry gaped at the dark tresses hanging from his hand. He threw them to the ground as she struggled to rise. Panic gripped her as his hostile glare changed to a slow, confident smile.

“There’s nowhere to run. I’ll catch you if it’s the last thing I do,” he vowed. He leapt off his horse.

Amice tugged her sodden skirts, trying to haul them out of the puddle. Where was her mount? Too far away to reach without being caught, weighted down as she was. Sprays of water flew as she heaved her skirts over her arm. Heart racing, she ran for the trees. A branch snagged her. With a cry of frustration, she pulled the wet wool until it wrenched free.

Ignoring twigs tearing at her skin and icy mud that sucked away one of her shoes, she forged ahead. She gasped for air as she plunged into a tiny clearing, then came to an abrupt halt at the sight of a group of mounted men.

 

***

AT HIS COMMAND (Historical Romance Version), Wars of the Roses Brides Book 1, is available for purchase through Amazon.

 

***

About Ruth

Ruth Kaufman is the Amazon bestselling author of the Wars of the Roses Brides trilogy (AT HIS COMMAND, FOLLOW YOUR HEART and THE BRIDE TOURNAMENT) and MY ONCE AND FUTURE LOVE. Accolades include 2016 Booksellers Best Award Best Historical and Best First Book winner and Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® award winner.

An actor, speaker and storyteller with an M.S. and J.D, Ruth has had roles in independent feature films, web series, pilots, national TV commercials and hundreds of voiceover projects. She enjoys living in Chicago and singing in a symphony chorus. Learn more at www.ruthkaufman.com, www.ruthtalks.com and her blog “Gainfully Unemployed” . Follow her through these social-media channels:  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, her Amazon Author Page and Instagram @ruthjkchi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save