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HARD AS IT GETS with Laura Kaye

HARD AS IT GETS is one steamy read! How did you first get into writing?

Thanks so much! And thanks for having me here! I’ve been a writer all my life. I’m a historian by training, so writing non-fiction was a part of my job for the fifteen years I worked as a college professor. But I started writing fiction in 2008 in kind of an unusual way. I hit my head on July 4, 2008. I didn’t think much of it that day, but soon after I realized I’d really hurt myself, and it turned out I had a minor traumatic brain injury. As I recovered, I was filled with an amazing urge to be creative, so I started taking guitar lessons (still not very good at that!) and wrote my first novel in 12 weeks (fortunately, I’m better at that LOL!). The experience of writing that first book was truly transformative. It was what I was supposed to be doing, so I revised that book until it sold and kept writing new ones. And I haven’t looked back since! 

Why did you choose to write romance?

I had been an avid reader of paranormal romance for years at that point, so I wrote what I loved. But I also picked romance—unconsciously, I think—because to me it’s an incredibly hopeful genre. Romance stories are inherently stories about people who can’t find love or think they don’t deserve it who overcome the odds and find it in the end. In the years leading up to starting writing, I experienced a number of very hard personal losses, so writing in this genre was one way I worked through those issues. 

What does “Hard Ink” refer to? What importance do tattoos play in your story?

Hard Ink is the name of the Rixey brothers’ tattoo shop in the Hard Ink series. Nick and Jeremy Rixey are co-owners, though Nick (the hero of book one, Hard As It Gets) prefers to be more of a silent partner, despite Jeremy’s efforts to put Nick’s artistic talents to work. In this series, tattoos are a way people remember, pay penance, or highlight what’s important to them. The act of creating permanent marks on skin has deep meaning to them. And the shop creates a gritty setting where diverse kinds of people meet and interact in the series. I really love it! 

Describe Becca—what do you love most about her? And Nick?

I’d love to! Because I really loved writing these characters! 

Becca Merritt is smart and strong and honest and protective. I really loved the way she was willing to stand up for those she loves, even against people and forces who might be stronger and even a little scary. There’s a scene in particular when she dresses down Nick’s Special Forces teammates after a fist fight where I was particularly cheering for her! LOL 

Nick Rixey is, omg, so freaking hot, you guys! He’s brooding and tortured and honorable and when he falls he falls  so hard. I especially loved Nick’s mix of hard, alpha edges with his artistic side. When Nick shows Becca what her idea for a tattoo might look like on her skin, it’s just scorching!

What significance does the military play in the book?

Military themes are central to the whole Hard Ink series. The military isn’t just sexy window dressing nor is it just there to provide an intriguing backstory. The prior SF guys are this series are entirely defined by their military experience good and bad. It informs their identity, their sense of honor and duty, their view of the world, and of course gives them the skill set required to fight the battles they face in the series. The overall series mystery the characters are working to solve revolves around a military conspiracy in Afghanistan, so even though they’re out of the Army, the military themes are central. 

If you could describe your book in a 140 character tweet, what would it be?

In #HardAsItGets, an ex-soldier joins forces w/his dead commander’s daughter to regain his tarnished honor & save her brother from a gang.

Is there a particular author or book that has influenced your writing?

There are a number of authors that have influenced me, but if I had to pick one it would be J.R. Ward. A lot of what I know about how to write sexy, authentic male point of view comes from reading her books. And I definitely learned the importance of a good bromance to a romance novel from her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, too. Given my ginormous fangirling, you can only imagine how flipping excited I was when this happened:

“Edgy, sexy, and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!”

~J.R. Ward on Hard As It Gets

You guys, I bawled like a baby in the middle of a huge workshop put on by my publisher. For real. LOL

What advice would you give aspiring writers looking to get into the publishing industry?

Here’s my advice:

1) Write, write, write. You can’t revise what you haven’t written and you can’t sell what you haven’t written. And the psychological and emotional boost you’ll get from writing “The End” for the first time cannot be overestimated.

2) Revise, revise, revise. That first time you type “The End”? Yeah, you’re nowhere near done. Your book will need to be edited, by you, several times before you ever put it in front of an agent or editor. You get one shot with them, so don’t waste it by not showing them your very best and most polished work.

3) Find critique partners. And your mom, siblings, and best friend do not count (unless you’re really lucky, like me, and your best friend happens t also be a professional author). You need other aspiring writers in your genre who will give you honest but constructive feedback about how to improve your manuscript. Let them catch all the embarrassing goofs and plot holes you thought you caught before it gets to an agent or editor.

4) Want to be a professional, then act it. And by that I mean join the professional organization(s) of the genre in which you write. Through them you will find classes to help hone your craft, critique partner match-ups, networking opportunities, calls for submission, and other opportunities invaluable to breaking into publishing.

5) Don’t give up. You will hear way more no’s than yeses, particularly early in your writing career. Stick with it. Believe in yourself. Give yourself one day to wallow in the rejection and eat a bunch of chocolate and then get right back on the horse. If your first book doesn’t sell, chalk that up to learning and write a second.

What can fans of HARD AS IT GETS look forward to next?

I’m currently writing four series: two contemporary (Hard Ink, Heroes) and two paranormal (Hearts of the Anemoi, Vampire Warrior Kings). I’ll have books from all four of those releasing in 2014. My next release is Hard As You Can (Hard Ink #2) coming 2/25/14!

Five dishonored soldiers.

Former Special Forces.

One last mission.

These are the men of Hard Ink.

Tall, dark, and lethal…

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey’s tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome–pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He’s left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander’s daughter. Loyalty won’t let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn’t expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge…

 

Read Chapter 1 of Hard As It Gets

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Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

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Murph is back in DOCTOR LOVEBEADS

DENVER, Colo. – Back in the driver’s seat again, the cabbie who made readers laugh out loud in the first three installments of the posthumously published “Asphalt Warrior” series has returned for two more books written by best-selling author Gary Reilly.
Winner of the 1979 Pushcart Prize, Reilly passed away in 2011 after a two-year battle with colon cancer, trusting a pair of friends to publish an 11-book series after his death. Since then, the “Asphalt Warrior” series has been in the hands of Mike Keefe, a retired political cartoonist and Pulitzer Prize winner, and Mark Stevens, a former journalist and acclaimed author in Colorado. Following the successful release of the first three books – “The Asphalt Warrior,” “Ticket to Hollywood,” and “The Heart of Darkness Club,”
which hit No. 1 on the Denver area bestsellers list – the two friends will publish two more books Nov. 21, 2013 in honor of Reilly through Running Meter Press.

In Doctor Lovebeads, the fifth in novelist Gary Reilly’s Asphalt Warrior series, Murph ignores the little voice in the back of his head that says to stay out of the lives of his passengers. Instead, Murph must go undercover to accomplish his mission. He lets his hair go untamed, dresses in muslin and sandals and arrives on the scene in a beat-up VW van called the Cosmic Wonderbus and Mobile Mercantile.– to rescue two girls he believes have been brainwashed by a cult leader.  Murph tries to pass himself off as an old love child in his confrontation with Brother Chakra. As the good Brother might say, It’s a mind-blowing trip.
“Reilly is a master wordsmith,” Denver Post reviewer Mike McClanahan raved about “The Asphalt Warrior.”

“A sardonic, well-read, authority-bucking character who cites Fellini and Dobie Gillis in the same passage, Murph…has a clear, winning voice,” Denver Post reviewer Tucker Shaw said in a story about “Ticket to Hollywood” being named as a finalist for the 2013 Colorado Book Award.

Reilly was born in Arkansas City, Kan., and moved with his family of seven brothers and sisters to Denver.   He served two years in the army, including a tour in Vietnam as a military policeman, and later majored in English at Colorado State University with continued studies at the Denver campus of the University of  Colorado. After publishing his short story “The Biography Man” and writing as an AOL comic advice columnist in the ‘90s, Reilly turned to novels. His dedication to writing did not include self-promotion.   Instead of seeking agents and publishers, he focused on his craft, writing and rewriting, polishing to perfection. Proceeds from his book sales benefit Reilly’s longtime partner, Sherry.

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Why my heroes do not have faery wings with Juli D. Revezzo

There are many kinds of mythological beings out there, faeries, witches, hard to kill heroes like Hercules. Gods are thought usually only as the half-remembered Greco-Roman gods you may have read about in school. If you have seen any of the latest Marvel movie adaptations, then you’ve been introduced to the Norse god Thor (although, arguably a quite different than the one talked about in the real Norse mythology). Who cares if we writers noodle with them and get their stories fouled up. Think you can really get away with that belief? There are people out there that know the mythologies, I would even go so far as to say love the characters you’re choosing to, dare I say it? Slander with your willy-nilly character building.

Don’t fret too much. It’s a time-honored tradition. Take, for instance, the Celtic invaders the Tuatha dé Danaan. Legend says their foes stripped them of their power, turning them into faeries.

And that’s the extent of what people seem to know about them. The truth is, the Tuatha dé Danaan, for thousands of years, were spoken of in stories as benevolent gods and leaders who tamed Ireland to make the isle what it is today. Gods. One of the Celtic myths tells of a young man who went to the god Balor and offered his services. That was the young god Lugh. He took over the tribe and ruled peacefully until his enemy Balor returned, wreaking havoc on the island. The two sides met in what became known as the Battle of Mag Tuired—a battle Balor and his Fomoire hordes lost, according to the ancient stories. This is not a story of mischievous faery folk wreaking havoc on the good humans around them. This is a story of a people defending themselves from an invading force—or rather in the case of the two sides depicted on the page, gods. You can find the tale in the Medieval manuscript the Lebor Gabála Érenn.

Faeries? No, not quite.

When I sat down to write my debut paranormal romance novel PASSION’S SACRED DANCE, this battle stuck in my head. Knowing that vanquished armies don’t usually remain beaten without a little rebellion (see the Celtic queen Boudicca if you don’t believe me), I thought what if that was just one battle? What would happen to the world if these two met in battle again? I brought it forward into modern day, put them in Florida, and mixed in a woman who has an inkling all hell’s about to break loose, and helps the good gods of the Tuatha dé Danaan succeed. Give her a sexy immortal warrior to defend her, and how could I resist this perpetual war story?

If you’d like to read more of my take here’s the blurb for PASSION’S SACRED DANCE:

Battling mounting debt, Stacy Macken is determined not to lose her historic art gallery. When Aaron Fielding appears and offers to help, she fights to keep the attraction sizzling between them from clouding her judgment. He may be her savior in disguise–but can she trust him?

Aaron intrigues her with tales of the Tuatha dé Danann, sworn warriors who protect humanity from the monsters seeking their destruction. If Aaron can prove what he claims, she would give up anything to help–even the gallery he claims is sacred ground. But with her property set to stage the next epic battle, she needs answers. An old family diary will confirm the ancient legend is true, if only they can find it in time.

If the battle is lost, the enemy will take control of Earth for the next five hundred years. Stacy and Aaron’s budding love might only complicate things.

PASSION’S SACRED DANCE is available for Kindle and in paperback from Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, Kobo, itunes and coming soon to other etailers.

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Juli D. Revezzo has long been in love with writing, a love built by devouring everything from the Arthurian legends, to the works of Michael Moorcock, and the classics and has a soft spot for classic the “Goths” of the 19th century. Her short fiction has been published in Dark Things II: Cat Crimes, The Scribing Ibis, Eternal Haunted Summer, Twisted Dreams Magazine and Luna Station Quarterly. She also has an article and book review or two out there. But her heart lies in the storytelling. She is a member of Independent Authors Network and Magic Appreciation Tour. Passion’s Sacred Dance is her first romance novel.

You can find out more about her at her homepage        Blog 

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On twitter: @julidrevezzo

ALONG CAME TROUBLE and giveaway with Erin Kern

Why do I always get the feeling you’re holding back around me?”

Her luscious lips parted and her brow furrowed. “What do you mean?”

“I can’t explain it.” His finger trailed along the edge of her jaw. “It’s like a part of you is afraid of me.”

She sucked in a deep breath through her parted lips. “Not afraid, just cautious.”

“Why do you feel the need to be cautious?”

She waited a moment, like she wanted to formulate a logical answer. “You make me feel things I’m not used to. I’m just not sure how to handle them.”

He stepped even closer to her, so that her sweet body heat fl owed around him like a blanket of sexuality. “Like what kind of things?”

The pulse beating beneath her neck sped up when his finger trailed down the column of her throat. “I don’t know. But my mind doesn’t know how to make sense of them.”

His mouth quirked in a small smile. “There’s your problem. You should stop thinking so much and allow yourself to feel.”

Oh, this woman would be wanton in bed. His finger alone elicited all kinds of reactions from her that had his body coming to life. Her pink tongue kept darting out and swiping across her lower lip, leaving it deliciously wet. After waiting for what felt like a lifetime, he gave in to his craving and leaned down. His mouth lowered to hers with a gentleness that contradicted the raging desire he felt for her. Her lips were soft, full and moist, and even more heavenly than he thought they would be.

She didn’t push him away, as he expected her to. Instead, her hand came up to grip his shoulder and her fingers dug into his muscles. The lady wanted him. She clutched at him with a desperation that had to be genuine. The knowledge had him pulling her even closer and slanting his mouth over hers even harder. His tongue probed the entrance of her hot mouth and she eagerly allowed him to enter.

Holy sweet mother.

She would not ruin this beautiful day by crying. She’d cried over the loss of her brother for years and had since told herself she’d become a stronger person than the lonely college kid she used to be.

“Even though we’re eight years apart, Marcello and I were closer than your average brother and sister. When he left it was like losing my best friend.” She’d never forget the feel of his arms wrapped so tightly around her neck, just minutes before he boarded the plane to South America. Then afterward, the emptiness in her heart as she walked out of the airport alone.

“Sounds to me like you made the right choice, though. How could you have taken care of him at that age?”

Elisa tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I know I did. My grandparents are very successful people. They’ve been able to provide him with a life that even my parents couldn’t. He lives in a huge house overlooking the city; he went to the best schools. He’s studying to be a doctor, for crying out loud. He hasn’t wanted for anything down there.”

Brody tilted her chin up with his index fi nger. “Except for you. You can’t keep carrying the guilt around. It’s eating you up.”

His bottomless eyes were so easy to fall into. More than once she’d found herself becoming hypnotized by them, and now was no different.

“How is it you always know the right thing to say?” she asked in a husky voice.

His thumb traced her lower lip. “Because I might have an idea of what you’re feeling.”

She sucked in a breath, and held it for a second. “Because of your divorce?” She would get this man to open up to her if it killed her. Had the dissolution of his marriage been so traumatic that he couldn’t even talk about it?

His gray eyes darkened for a moment, like a cloud of grief. “It’s not one of my prouder moments, no.”

She tilted her head and studied him. Did he blame himself? “What would you have to be ashamed

about? Sometimes things like that are unavoidable.”

He stepped even closer to her, so that his body heat wrapped her in a mind- tingling cocoon of sexuality. Day by day, Elisa’s willpower grew weaker and weaker. How much longer could she resist him? If he kept touching her, like he was now, she’d be too far gone.

“I can’t think clearly when I’m around you,” he murmured in a sexy, husky voice.

He couldn’t think? Her brain was mush.

His mouth hovered just a whisper away from hers, not touching but close enough to drive her out of her mind.

“Maybe I should just kiss you and put both of us out of our misery.”

Elisa Cardoso longs for passion in her life. Though she’d much rather spend her days photographing the stunning Wyoming landscape, food photography is a lucrative, if uninspiring, way to pay her bills. But when her next assignment brings her face to face with sexy restaurant owner Brody McDermott, Elisa can’t deny the delicious effect he has on her.

From the minute Brody sees Elisa, he’s dying to unleash her inner bad girl. He knows there’s more to the sophisticated photographer than meets the eye. Now getting the sexy shutterbug into his bed is on his menu, but when she starts making her way into his heart-big problem. Love has been tricky for Brody, and he’s not too eager to try his luck again. But when a golden opportunity means Elisa may be leaving Trouble for good, can Brody find the courage to grab on to love . . . before it slips away?

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Bio: Erin was born in Houston, TX. but spent the majority of her life in the Bay Area. She married her high school sweetheart and began her writing career while being a stay-at-home mom to her daughter. Her first book, Looking for Trouble, was on the Amazon top 100 for four months, and on the indiereads.com top ten for four weeks. The second book in the Trouble series, Here Comes Trouble, was also a top seller on Amazon. Erin currently lives in North Texas with her husband and two children.

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LAST CHANCE KNIT AND STITCH with Hope Ramsay and giveaway

She peeked at his sketch. “Oh, my God. Please tell me my butt is not that big.”

It amused him to think that Molly, who seemed not to care at all about how she dressed, was still woman enough to worry about the size of her butt. “It’s not big. It’s perfect.” His heart stalled the moment the words left his mouth.

“Perfect? Get real. I swear, Simon, if you paint a picture of me from the rear I will never forgive you.”

“I’m sure it’s just your baggy pants,” he muttered, putting his pencils away.

“You think my pants are baggy?”

He ground his teeth together, his mood suddenly sinking. There was no way to make her happy. He’d watched his father have the same ridiculous conversations with Mother. And over the years, he’d had his own impossible conversations with the women in his life. They never liked the way he told the truth.

He turned the conversation. “I’m getting hungry. You said something about the Pig Place and a beer?” He had become a master at the pivot.

“You’re changing the subject, aren’t you?”

“Yup,” he said, as he started putting his sketchbook and pencils into his fi eld backpack.

“Okay, you’re right. My pants are kind of baggy,” she said in a little voice. “But that makes them really comfortable.”

“It’s okay, Molly. I didn’t mean to—”

“But in any case, I don’t want anyone recording me or my butt for posterity, or posterior as the case might be. It kind of creeps me out.”

Her shoulders slumped, and she gave him a woeful look that he might have mistaken for a female pout. But on Molly, that sad- adorable look touched something deep inside him. “Why does it creep you out?”

“Because I’m not pretty. I don’t have a great body. And I’m not particularly photogenic. Or in this case, sketch-o-genic. The idea of people looking at some image of me and making fun is just creepy.”

This admission stunned him. “But you’re beautiful. One day I’d love to paint you without—” He stopped speaking. This was the kind of talk Coach would frown upon. He’d been thinking with his heart again.

She gave him her squinty- eyed look. “You’d like to paint me without . . . what?” She stared at him for a long moment as the truth settled in. “Without my clothes? Oh, my God. You want to paint me naked?” She got up and stalked away toward her fishing gear. She was visibly upset.

And he wasn’t exactly sure what to do about it. If he told her he was only joking, it would underscore her own self- doubts. If he told her the truth, he’d be breaking his word to Coach. But someone needed to tell Molly that she was stunning.

So he prayed that Coach would forgive him for telling Molly the God’s honest truth. “You’d be lovely. Backside and all,” he said.

 

Molly Canaday wishes she could repair her life as easily as she fixes cars. She was all set to open her own body shop in Last Chance when her mother ran off and left her to manage the family yarn shop instead. Now guided by the unsolicited-though well-intended-advice of the weekly knitting club, Molly works to untangle this mess. But her plan unravels when the new landlord turns out to be difficult-as well as tall, dark, and handsome.

Simon Wolfe returns to quickly settle his father’s estate and then leave Last Chance for good. Still wounded by a broken heart, Simon is surprised when the town’s charming streets and gentle spirit bring back good memories. Soon the beautiful, strong-willed Molly sparks a powerful attraction that tempts him to break his iron-clad no-commitment rule. Can Simon and Molly find a way to share work space-and build a future together in Last Chance?

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Bio: Hope Ramsay grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar.

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TOO CHARMING with Kathryn Freeman

Does a girl ever really learn from her mistakes?

The heroine of my book, Detective Sergeant Megan Taylor, likes to think so. She once lost her heart to a man who was too charming and she isn’t about to make the same mistake again – especially not with sexy defence lawyer, Scott Armstrong. Aside from being far too sure of himself, Scott’s major flaw is that he defends the very people she works so hard to imprison.

But when Scott wants something he goes for it. And he wants Megan. One day she’ll see him not as a lawyer, but as a man  …  and that’s when she’ll fall for him.

Yet just as Scott seems to be making inroads, a case presents itself that’s far too close to home, throwing his life into chaos.

As Megan helps him pick up the pieces, can he persuade her that he isn’t the careless charmer she thinks he is? Isn’t a man innocent until proven guilty?

Too Charming:  behind the book

When I began to write this book I started, as always, with my hero, Scott Armstsrong.  I love a strong, silent type but the hero in the book I’d just finished was rugged and gruff  (Do Opposites Attract – out next year) and I was keen to create someone totally different. Scott would be handsome and smooth.  A charmer, a flirt, a ladies man.  Think Roger Moore instead of Sean Connery, Ryan Reynolds rather than Ryan Gosling.  I think we all have ‘types’ we prefer, and types we prefer to avoid, but sometimes it’s fun to go with the unexpected.  To take a chance.

Scott isn’t usually attracted to feisty, no nonsense police detectives, but he’s increasingly drawn to Megan and very willing to take that chance.  Megan isn’t so willing (just as well, or Too Charming would have been a very short book). Having been badly let down in the past by a smooth charmer, a man who dazzled then dumped her, Scott falls firmly under Megan’s ‘type to avoid’ category. He’s too good-looking, too confident, and yes, too charming.

But the tension between them wasn’t enough.  Despite her resolve, Megan’s still a woman and very vulnerable to a charm offensive from an attractive man.  So I decided to give Scott a job that Megan dislikes, too.  I made him a barrister.

Now Scott has to work really hard to impress her.  To help him (because I’m not that mean) I threw a few hurdles into his life.  Opportunities for Megan to discover that he isn’t quite the shallow man she thinks he is.

If you’re interested to know whether Scott manages to overcome these obstacles and win his woman, the book link is at the end of this blog.

Kathryn Freeman:  behind the author

I was born in Wallingford, England and have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor.  A former pharmacist, I worked for over twenty years in the pharmaceutical industry in medical communications.  Two years ago I took the plunge and become a self employed medical writer who also loves to write romance.  Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…

I’ve two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

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Find Too Charming:

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Lord Monroes Dark Tower and giveaway with Elf Ahearn

“What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art.”

Augustus Saint-Gaudens

A streak of madness runs through my family. Evidence can be found in early documents such as the obituary of a cousin who spent her life as a showgirl on the Vaudeville circuit. The obit writer befriended her when they met in a park where my cousin sat on a bench with her feet clad in paper bags. “Why the funny footwear?” the writer recalled asking. My cousin replied that paper bags kept the ants off her feet.

A great uncle used to empty my grandmother’s ice box to fit the bodies of dead rodents and birds. He was a scientist and it never occurred to him that milk, meat or vegetables were more valuable than his specimens.

And then there was my grandmother, a Broadway actress, who apparently enjoyed dramatic scenes on and off the stage. Angry with my father over some minor transgression, she would lean against the door frame, throw her hand to her forehead and exclaim, “Oh darling, darling, how could you!”

Well, the blood of my forebears runs deep, and madness has touched my family in ways that make for more than entertaining anecdotes. Following the death of my father, for instance, my sister sort of came apart. She had a tiny house by a running stream, yet she wanted to keep everything he owned, and he’d collected a lot. She buried the front of her cottage in tarps that covered boxes and boxes of stuff. You couldn’t find the entrance, and when you did you had to walk sideways along a path about a foot wide.

Inside her little house it was no better—floor to ceiling boxes with more junk piled on top clear to the rafters. I took a picture. The only way you can tell what’s up or down in that shot is by focusing on a mask hanging on the wall.

When I wrote Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower, the second romance novel in my series about the Albright sisters, I decided to tap into the mindset of a hoarder. As with all works of fiction, I took that mindset and stretched it as far as it would go. The result is Abella, the villainess of the story who keeps the hero and heroine apart. Instead of a typical Regency where destined couples squabble over misunderstandings, this book is a psychological thriller garbed in hats, gloves and décolleté. It is dark and suspenseful, though it ends happily, as does the story of my sister. She no longer hoards, but lives an interesting life full of harmless, entertaining quirks.

Since you are a “manic” reader, I’m assuming a bit of the loon lurks in your soul, too, so you might enjoy an off kilter Regency with a dash of dementia.

Now tell me, what’s the craziest darn thing you’ve ever seen or heard? There’s a free download of Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower for the best answer. Giveaway ends @12am est 11-23-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter. 

 

Two years of bewildering silence have passed since Claire Albright met powerful, brooding, Lord Flavian Monroe. On the brink of her debut he suddenly summons her. Can her knowledge of healing stop his ward from hoarding?  Embroiled in a desperate attempt to curb the child’s madness, Claire cannot understand Flavian’s burning kisses yet cold demeanor. Will she reach his heart before his ward’s insanity undoes her chance at love?

When he was fourteen, Flavian made a mistake so devastating it ruined all hope for happiness. Years later, he’s still paying for his sin. But before his ward’s troubled mind destroys his home and family, he must see Claire once more. Vowing to keep their relationship professional—she the healer, he the guardian—he finds the bonds of his resolve snapping. Somehow, he must content himself with memories of her . . . but he cannot resist . . . one final embrace . . .

 

 

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Elf Ahearn—yes, that is her real name—lives in New Yorkwith her wonderful husband and a pesky (yet irresistible) cat. Learn more about her at elfahearn.com or like her on Facebook.

 

Severed Colours by Dawna Raver with giveaway

Severed Colours, Book 2, A Colour Wielders Novel.

 

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The epic continues…

Quinn Sinclair trusted Arik Morgaine until he betrayed her. Scared and alone, she finds herself delivered into the hands of the evil Morgana le Fay. When Quinn discovers Morgana’s plans are beyond demented and seriously depraved—making life with the Changeling seem like a day at the beach—she wonders if death is a better option?

Arik Morgaine vowed he’d save Quinn no matter the price. When his well thought out plans go terribly awry, a desperate and heartbroken Arik is forced to beg the cruel Triarchia for help. Unwilling to go on without his Älskling, he answers a question that irrevocably alters their lives.

Can Arik and Quinn find a way back to each other, or will the price of saving her rip them apart forever?

New Adult. Recommended for 18 and above. Mature themes, sexual situations, and profanity.

Purchase at Amazon now!

 

Colour-Wielders

In celebration of Severed Colours’ release, Colour Wielders will be on sale from November 18-20 for $.99. Purchase it at Amazon now.

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Diana Green and Space Westerns

“Did You Just Say…Space Western?”

If I get a dollar for every time this question is asked, eventually I might be able to replace my fourteen year old station wagon. Unfortunately, space western is not a common genre. People usually picture little green aliens in cowboy hats…or worse.

To me, the blending of western and sci-fi genres seems like a natural. Both share expansive frontier settings, a sense of possibility, exploration, and the opportunity for characters to test themselves against extreme environments.

The television show Firefly is a great example of what this genre can accomplish. It feels futuristic and rustic at the same time, striking a marvelous balance between the two. Interestingly, I’d never heard of it, back when I wrote my romantic space western, New Sion.  It was a comment from an agent, noting the Firefly “vibe” to my manuscript, which first piqued my curiosity. After watching a single episode of Firefly I was hooked, and it became one of my favorite shows.

My goal, with New Sion, was to create a unique alien world, which was also reminiscent of the American west. I wanted it be familiar enough to ground readers into a tangible setting, yet intriguing and original at the same time. I suppose you’ll just have to read it for yourself, to see if I was successful. Hopefully, you’ll decide that space westerns deserve a spot on your bookshelf…or e-reader, as the case may be. Happy Trails.

New Sion

Pretending to be a man isn’t easy. Finn Colville has pulled it off for years, but things get complicated when she falls for her new bounty hunting partner, Eamon Sullivan. On the planet New Sion, it’s against the law for a woman to wear pants and carry a gun, much less shoot people for a living. What will happen if Eamon discovers her secret?

On a backwater planet, at the edge of a galactic war, one man, one woman, and one desperate alien cross paths. Together they embark on the road trip of a lifetime, bound for revelation and redemption.

Available at Amazon, and most other online retailers.

 

 

Finally Finn and Eamon took their leave, bidding everyone good night and thanking Mrs. Buckner for the meal. Wilfred gave them a lantern to light their way through the darkness to the barn. It was still pouring outside, so they both got more than a little damp running across the yard. As she climbed the ladder to the barn loft, Finn couldn’t stop shivering.

“Here,” Eamon said, helping her with her jacket and wrapping a blanket around her. “We need to get you warmed up.”

“I’m just tired,” she murmured, sagging against the wall. “I thought that meal was never going to end.”

“I know it was rough for you,” he said, laying their jackets out to dry. “I could see how tense you were, but I thought it went pretty well.”

“You were great,” she told him through chattering teeth. She was just so damn cold.

“Maybe we should sleep together tonight,” he suggested, “you know, to share body heat.”

She shook her head. “I don’t think so.”

“Oh, come on.” He stepped closer and rubbed her icy hands. “I’m not going to take advantage.” He lifted her hands and blew on her fingers to warm them. “I’m worried about you catching a chill. I can’t light a fire in here, obviously, and our heavy clothes are all wet. You’ve just got me and a couple of blankets. I don’t want you getting sick.”

“All right. I guess it makes sense.”

“It does.”

“But don’t get any ideas,” Finn warned, as she walked over to their sleeping area.

“No ideas,” he promised, following her. “Not a single one.”

It was pleasant lying next to him, their shared blankets forming a cocoon around them, keeping out the night air. He rested on his back and she on her uninjured side, curled close against him for heat. She could feel his heart beating under her hand and his breath in her hair. Gradually her shivering stilled, and she felt blissfully warm.

“Hank Buckner would be jealous,” Eamon said with a soft laugh.

“Why’s that?” Finn asked sleepily.

“I’ve got the sweet, pretty woman he was dreaming of holding through the storm. Little did he know who was sitting across the table from him.”

“You really think I’m pretty?”

“I do…though you make a point of hiding it.”

“Well, you have to admit I’m not sweet,” she said, to cover her pleasure.

“I’ll admit no such thing. But I will say that ‘sweet’, as a word, doesn’t do you justice.”

“What word does?”

Eamon was silent for a moment. Outside the rain lashed against the barn roof, and wind rattled anything loose enough to move. “I would have to say you are extraordinary…the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever known.” His voice was little more than a whisper, but she heard it, and felt him kiss the top of her head. Peace and comfort washed over her, banishing the cares of the day. It was like coming home, after a long and arduous journey.

“Sleep well,” he said, and she did.

 

Since her childhood, growing up in New Zealand, Diana has been an avid storyteller. For years she enjoyed teaching art and special education, while continuing to write as a hobby. After she developed chronic fatigue syndrome, a career change was necessary, but happily this led her to become a professional author.

Diana’s favorite genres are fantasy, science fiction, historical, and romance. She currently lives in beautiful Washington State where she writes for Champagne Books and The Wild Rose Press.

Visit her website at DIANAGREENBOOKS.COM

Introducing Sara Lunardi and ECLIPTIC with giveaways

THE STRUGGLE TO STARDOM… IN MY CASE TO THE CONSTELLATIONS!

The idea of ‘Ecliptic’ came to me by pure chance when my husband and I were talking about the constellations; he is incredibly fond of astronomy and stargazing is one of his favorite hobbies. Out of nowhere he asked: “Has anybody ever written a fantasy based on the zodiac constellations?”. No, I was pretty sure that nobody had written something like that, as far as I’m aware. “Why don’t you write it?” he insisted.

Why not? My imagination had already started running at breakneck speed.

First of all, I must say that I’m a hungry reader. I smell books, I comsume books and I can’t live without them. My favorite genre is fantasy fiction, and I’ve been addicted since I read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as a child. Moreover, I’ve been writing since I was able to hold a pen in my hand. Principally articles and term papers on the humanities during school years, and technical essays related to my job as a beauty consultant. However, the project of writing ‘a real novel’  was always on my mind, but I had never found the right subject matter, until now. I certainly didn’t know what I was looking for until I found it.

I wrote the book in Italian, my native language, during several relocations due to my husband’s job. I carried on writing whilst working as a freelance beauty consultant; during snowstorms in Switzerland and under the summer sun in Tuscany. I must admit that I became obsessed by the story which was taking shape in my head – my husband can confirm that!

When I moved to London a year ago I realised that an Italian book would be limited so thanks to the help of some patient friends – I literally tortured them – I translated it into English. It was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done.  I kept revising it again and again and again. Some days I was desperate to finish it, and at times I  thought everything I had written was crap; other days I was unreasonably optimistic.

At the beginning of the summer the book was ready. And now? I asked myself. I didn’t know the publishing market however, I was fully aware that contacting the big publishing houses was a feat. So I decided to start with the online publishing as I really believe that the internet is a revolutionary way to reach as many people as possible.

Now here we are. ‘Ecliptic’ was released last month. It’s a story of war, destruction and darkness caused by the threat of an ancient prophecy that marks the end of planet Earth. It’s a story of love, friendship, courage, hope and sacrifice, with epic battles, plot twists, astonishing feats of magic and an overriding sense of humanity. It’s set in the near future in locations across the world – Tanzania, Greenland, France, Italy and above all London.

In June 2035, during an unprecedented shower of falling stars, teenagers Izie De Rossi and her twin brother Sam both discover they are marked by a strange imprint on their arms, representing the constellations of the zodiac. With these imprints come physical and mental abilities out of the ordinary. From that moment onwards, their lives will change forever. The twins find out they are now part of an ancient contract, drawn up at the dawn of time between the first civilizations on Earth and the representatives of the advanced planets in the constellations. The contract seeks to ensure the survival of the human race, and those who bear the imprints must protect mankind throughout the duration of the agreement. These heavenly creatures, each representing one of the twelve zodiacal signs, are known as Guardians and are endowed with supernatural powers.

The contract comes bearing an expiration date, and the countdown to this date begins. According to an ancient prophecy on 13th December 2035, the ecliptic – a path in the sky which symbolises the union between the constellations and the Earth – will break, leading to the destruction of Earth and extinction of the human race. The Guardians must make a crucial decision; do they let the contract expire or should they defend mankind from their written fate. Izie and Sam embark on the fight for the survival of the entire human race, and face tempestuous opposition from those Guardians who are content to forsake the mankind to its destiny. The twins must scour the most dangerous and remote corners of the Earth to find powerful celestial objects in order to defeat their opponents. Amidst the dangers and sacrifices they face in pursuing their mission, Izie meets the handsome and mysterious Riley, to whom she is immediately drawn, and she is overwhelmed by a wave of emotions. But things are not always as they seem. The Guardians must prepare to face each other in a final battle – but who will win the war and what does the future hold for planet Earth?

QUOTE:

“Have you ever wondered what the signs of the zodiac really are, and why they have influence on all human beings?” Alex asked us out of the blue.

Was he kidding? What did this question have to do with our situation?

Thanks to Sara & Katy Manic Readers has two (2) ecopies to give away to lucky commenters.  What do you think of astrology?  Giveaway ends @12am est 11-18-13.  Good luck y’all!

Sara Lunardi was born and raised in the town of Genoa, Italy and now resides in London, the city which provides the backdrop for much of her writing. Lunardi has a degree in Italian, Spanish and English Literature and when not writing, she is the manager of a wellness and beauty centre as well as a freelance beauty consultant for prestigious cosmetics brands. She is currently working on the second installment for the Ecliptic Saga, ‘The Seal of Constellations’ which is due to be released next year.

Visit Sara      Sara on FB        Twitter

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