Archive for June, 2011

My Love Affair by Alexandrea Weis

June 30, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 1 Comment →

I am often asked what else I do, in addition to writing books. What I consider the most fulfilling aspect of my life is working as a permitted and certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries. When I am not writing, my days are taken up with caring for orphaned and injured wildlife brought to me by concerned individuals. At the present time in Louisiana, we are dealing with record high floodwaters from the Mississippi River. The opening of the Morganza and Bonne Carre Spillways has sent thousands of animals out of their habitats and into unfamiliar territory. Now, more than ever, the wildlife rehabbers are working to save animals injured from interactions with society, or dealing with orphaned wildlife during the height of the spring baby season. And yes, it can be dangerous, especially when dealing with rabies vector creatures such as raccoon, fox, and bats. So why do I volunteer to put myself in harms way for no pay and no public recognition. Quite simply, I love animals.

My progression from rescuing dogs and cats to wildlife happened about eleven years ago when a neighbor brought me an orphaned baby gray squirrel. Her name was Widget McFidget McFee and she taught me how to love wildlife. The challenges with raising any wildlife orphan are much greater than raising a domestic baby. Chewed furniture, scratches, bites, and the occasional nut being buried in your shoe, can all result from raising a baby squirrel. But when you hold that fuzzy ball of fur in your arms, watch it grow, and see that little personality flourish, there is no difference, at least to me, between a human child and a wild child.

The day I set Widget free was a mixed blessing of tears and joy. My house seemed empty without her, but she gave me the confidence to raise more baby squirrels and return them to the wild. After her release, I started taking in more babies, and eventually received my wildlife rehabbers permit. Today I work with foxes, flying squirrels, fox squirrels, gray squirrels, raccoons, opossum, skunk, rabbit and the occasional otter. All of which would have never have been possible without Widget. And I was not abandoned completely by my first wild baby. Over the course of the next few years, Widget would bring her babies to me. She would bring every litter she had to my front door for a visit. Unfortunately, after hurricane Katrina, I never saw Widget again. But she is with me every day. With every orphaned baby I take in, or with every injured adult I help, I think of Widget and the wonderful gift she gave me. Never let it be said you cannot learn anything from an animal. I was taught the greatest lesson there is from a squirrel. I opened my heart to a world I never even knew existed, and I have become a better human being because of it.    

Alexandrea Weis began writing at the age of eight. In college she studied nursing and went on to teach at a local university. After several years in the medical field, she decided to pick up the pen again and began her first novel To My Senses. Since that time she has writen several novels and sold two screenplays (White River and Blood Will Tell). Blood Will Tell is currently in pre-production with Buyer Group International. Her work has been critically acclaimed and is continually growing in popularity.

Her most recent book is Recovery, the second novel in the Nicci Beauvoir series which takes readers on a Big Easy thrill ride when a lover’s murder is solved and a spy with a bulletproof bravado quickens Nicci’s broken heart.

Alexandrea is also a permitted wildlife rehabber and works rescuing orphaned and injured animals. She recently has been working to aid oil soaked birds in the Gulf disaster.

You can visit Alexandrea’s website at www.alexandreaweis.com or connect with her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alexandreaweis.com and Facebook at www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/To-My-Senses/113609858681394.

I Rewrote History with an Unusual May-December Romance

June 29, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 1 Comment →

elysium_200×300_dpi72.jpg 

A man set in his ways, soured on love from bad experiences. A young woman with a serious case of hero worship.  One is set on his prestige, his political dignity, the other relies on her emotions and common sense. My heroine quickly finds her growing love thwarted by a man who’d been destroyed by love early in his life and now treats women with a cool cynicism. Will she melt the heart he wants to remain “bronzed over”? Will he finally respond to the first woman who has ever loved him for himself?

I change history in my historical adventure, ELYSIUM, set during Napoleon’s exile on St. Helena.

Read an excerpt:

“Amée, someday you’ll leave this place and make a life for yourself in the real world. An honorable life, one you and your family can be proud of. Within the mores of society, as it should be. If you just stop and consider and see the inevitable outcome.”“No, I do see. I’m not that naïve.” She cared nothing for future predictions, only the here and now had mattered. She bunched her shawl around her neck. “Trouble no more, Sire. I will find my own way.” For a dazed moment she wanted to prove their connection. “As far as my honor, everyone believes the worst of me, with you, already.”“Servants? Courtiers? They all know full well it’s lies, as I’ve told them more than once.” Napoleon groaned. “I owe it to you to be honest. I have feelings for you I shouldn’t have—that I’ve no right to have. The kindest thing I can do is let you go.” He reached over and clasped her hand.The raw emotion in his voice confused her further. He’d founder to the dregs of sorrow before relinquishing his feeble ties with his empress.“Don’t you mean it might be the kindest thing for you?” A mosquito landed on her elbow and she allowed it to nip her flesh. Her hand trembled in his. Nerves shot like pinpricks up her arm and across her chest.“I’m far too old for you. My time for such things is past.” Napoleon sounded desolate. He ran his thumb over her knuckles. “You must consider your future, and soon. It may seem harsh now, but I’d like to offer again to send you to
Europe, to any study you prefer…or a respectable marriage.”Amélie eased back her hand, her courage wavering. Wasn’t his despair another act to suit his purpose? “I would like to decide my own future, Sire.” Her pulse vibrated behind her eyes. “You may preserve your integrity. Just be aware of those in your court who don’t serve you well, and remember the one who did. She stood and hurried into the darkness—her eyes fogged with tears—scratching at the bite. 

My novel is available in print and ebook format at Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Elysium-Diane-Scott-Lewis/dp/1615723722/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307553034&sr=1-1

Or visit my website:

http://www.dianescottlewis.com

Summer Joy

June 28, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 1 Comment →

The last few days I have been enjoying the hot weather. LOL. I know it is strange. The last few days I’ve been happy. Even in this heat. People are moving fast to and from where we are going to get out of it. To get into the cool air Instead of rushing I’ve been strolling to and from my house. Taking in the changes of summer. There is scent in the air that can’t be mistaken. A fresh summery smell of summer. I went through my day with a smile and enjoyed the day. There were a few people that was doing as I did. They had smiles on their faces as they walked like I did. We were enjoying being outside.

Although it is hot like today it put a huge smile on my face and made me happy. Puts me in a very good mood that you want to share with everyone else.

McKenna Jeffries
http://www.mckennajeffries.com/
…. sensual, edgy, unexpected

Blog: http://www.mckennajeffries.com/blog
Updates Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/McKennaJeffriesList
Free Reads Site: http:/ /www.satinnotes.com/

Conquering Jazz – What’s a woman to do when she unwittingly makes a tantalizing proposition to her best friend?

Be brazen, bold and set some ground rules. Her offer. One night of carnal bliss. No emotion allowed.

His counter offer. A continued affair to fulfill all their sexual cravings.

His hidden agenda. Conquer to make sure their affair never ends.

Buy here at Liquid Silver Book.

JACOB’S RETURN by Annette Blair, A HISTORY

June 27, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Coming Soon... Calendar of Events, Contests, Guest Blogger 44 Comments →

Cover of Jacob's ReturnLong ago in a distant galaxy . . . or it seems . . . driving my parents station wagon to pick up my wedding gown, I heard Pat Boone sing Thee, I Love, the theme song from Friendly Persuasion—Dimitri Tiomkin composer, Paul Francis lyrics.  “Put on your bonnet, your cape and your glove, and come with me, for thee, I love.”  Are those not the most romantic words?  I got a picture in my mind at the time of a woman in a black cape, putting on her bonnet and following the man she loved, and I thought “that would make a great story.”

Fast forward twenty-plus years, and I’m a wannabe writer working on my third novel.  The first two are Regency Historicals.  Now I want to write an Amish Historical.  Yes, I’d seen the movie WITNESS.  I had also read SUNSHINE AND SHADOW by Tom and Sharon Curtis and A CRIME OF THE HEART by Cheryl Reavis.  I was in love with a way of life.

As soon as I chose the prodigal son theme, I started writing and researching with a vengeance.  We visited Lancaster Pennsylvania a dozen times, at least, then added Ohio Amish Country, like Winesburg and Sugarcreek, to our travels.  Looking for research material on the Amish, I scoured bookstores in those areas.  I now own 182 books on the history of the Amish.  Yes, I just counted them, and of course, I’ve read them.  Why so many?  The internet had not yet come to life.  (It became the world wide web consortium in 1994.  Microsoft came onboard in 1998.)  I found that on the Web.

In my travels, I spoke to a number of Amish men and women who were happy to answer my questions.  I also spoke to several people who grew up Amish and had left the Amish way of life.  (This was more than 20 years ago, don’t forget.  The Amish were more forthcoming back then, I think.) 

Buggy and driver.One morning, we got tickets for a buggy ride.  I sat beside the Amish driver in the box buggy to get the perspective of a driver and started asking questions.  He cocked his head quizzically.  “Well,” he said, “you know so much, you drive,” and he handed me the braided leather reigns.  I drove all around that farm—no one else waited in line for a ride, so he gave us all the time we wanted—and I fell in love with that one-horse buggy, not to mention the dear old Amish grandfather beside me.

Annette Blair driving an Amish buggyMy intrepid husband sat in the backseat, speechless, and maybe a little scared but with a camera in his hands.  Now that’s a hero.  I tipped us nearly into a stream trying to turn onto a flat bridge, no sides.  But with my mentor’s gentle guidance, I worked that horse, backed us up, unwedged the wheel between land and bridge, as it hung over nothing but water.  And after I untipped us, I turned onto the bridge successfully and drove over it. 

All the time I spent with those reigns in my hands, during easy and scary buggy-driving, that unruffled old Amishman gave the occasional soft-spoken direction and told me all about himself and his family.  My clearest memory is that he had 72 grandchildren.  But I’d never gotten a better character lesson.  I think he’s part of every Amishman I ever wrote or will write.  Strong, gentle, stoic, caring, kind, soft-spoken, bit of a twinkle in his eye, like God was telling a joke that only he could hear, and he listened and got the joke, no matter what else he was doing.

Cover of Thee, I LoveIn June of 1998, the late, great Kate Duffy bought JACOB’S RETURN for Kensington Books as part of my first sale. They renamed it THEE, I LOVE and gave it a cover on which the “Amish schoolteacher” is so historically inaccurate as to . . . well . . . have cleavage.  (See attached cover.)  It sold out within the month, and never went back to print.  Back then, publishers said, “Nobody wants to read about the Amish.”  Despite that, as THEE, I LOVE, it made its mark:

2000 Blue Boa Award of Excellence Winner, Peninsular Chapter RWA 1999 Francis Awards Triple Nominee, The Romance Journal Best American Historical Best New Author Story You Need the Most Tissues to Get Through 1999 Reviewers Choice Award Double Nominee, Romance Communications 1999 Winter Wish List of Favorite Authors, The Regency Lover’s Cafe 1999 Readers All Time Favorite, Most Hanky Read, All About Romance 1998 RWA Golden Heart Finalist  

In 2011, thirty-two books later, LeeAnn Lessard at Lachesis Publishing knew that people wanted to read about the Amish, and she wanted JACOB’S RETURN.  I revised it and made it better, Lachesis copyedited it, I revised it again, and they gave it the cover it deserves. 

I hope you cry and laugh and cry again, and enjoy reading JACOB’S RETURN as much as I enjoyed researching, writing, and re-writing it. 

2011 #1 Kindle Bestseller, Amish Historical Romance, all formats. 2011 #1 Lachesis Bestseller, Fictionwise 2011 A Kindle Top 100 Bestseller
US
2011 A Kindle Top 100 Bestseller
UK
2011 An Amazon
US Bestseller
2011 An Amazon
UK Bestseller
 

Check out www.annetteblair.com for an excerpt of JACOB’S RETURN, and check out the first chapter of THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN http://www.annetteblair.com/excerpt_butterfly.htm Another Amish Historical, this one set in Ohio Amish Country, coming soon from Lachesis Publishing.

Cover Skirting the GraveComing in 10 days: SKIRTING THE GRAVE, the 4th book in my Vintage Magic Mystery Series from Berkley Prime Crime, is being released on July 5th, and is available now in paperback from Barnes & Noble.

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To buy SKIRTING THE GRAVE:  Amazon  Kindle  B&N  NOOK Borders

To buy JACOB’S RETURN:  Amazon  Kindle  NOOK  Lachesis Smashwords  Fictionwise

If you leave a comment, you have an opportunity to win a copy of JACOB’S RETURN or SKIRTING THE GRAVE.  A winner for one of each will be chosen at random from your replies.  Please leave your email addy.

I’d like to thank Romance Junkies for inviting me, today.

Happy Reading,

Annette

http://www.facebook.com/annette.blair.author

http://twitter.com/

http://www.myspace.com/annetteblair

http://www.annetteblair.com

Heather Lin: Something Tangible

June 25, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 6 Comments →

I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in the publishing industry in such a short time. Since 2008, I’ve had three e-books and several short stories published, and I’ve been included in one print anthology. But nothing compares to the news I just received a few days ago:

My latest ebook, Westridge, is going into print!

Throw some confetti! Pop open the champagne! On July 4th, I’ll be able to look over at my bookshelf and see my name next to the likes of Carly Phillips, Nora Roberts, and Danielle Steele. Because that’s where I’ll put it. :)

I’m so excited! But this excitement also raises a question:

Why is it so much more exciting for an author to have a print book published rather than an ebook?

I work at a bookstore, so I know first-hand that the Kindle is taking over. Ebooks are easier to make and distribute, and they’re cheaper to buy. The content certainly doesn’t lack just because a book is being read on a computer, phone, or Kindle.

But I love print books. I love reading them, and I love writing them. I was a Literary Studies major in college, and I worked at a library for all four years that I was there. Now I’m in lower-level management at the local bookstore I’ve loved since I was ten. I love the feel of books, the smell, and the ease of hiding them between the pages of textbooks when I was supposed to be paying attention in school.

I’ve never had the same passion for gadgets. I’ve never felt drawn to metal, keyboards, software…all those things that make a computer do the magic, beepy things they do. I dig the ebook craze, but I love ink and paper. And I hope books are one thing that will never be upstaged by technology.

What do you think? Do you prefer ebooks or print books? Do you think print is a dying industry? Comment below!

Blurb: Westridge

Gabby Jones and Jason Dawson were born only months apart in the small, country town of Westridge. For the next eighteen years, they were inseparable, but after their high school graduation, Gabby got on a bus to the city, leaving Jason with a weak explanation and a broken heart. After five years of making it a point to avoid her old flame, Gabby comes home for a funeral and, thanks to meddling parents and circumstance, she and Jason are thrown together again.

But now Jason is an auto mechanic with an ex-wife and a daughter, and Gabby owns a successful flower shop in the city. Even if Gabby is able to admit she still loves Jason, and even if Jason is able to convince her to tell him the real reason she left, will they be able to get past the changes and broken pieces in time to start over?

Excerpt: Westridge 

“What do you mean you can’t pick me up?” Gabby Jones asked in disbelief, trying to balance her purse, suitcase, ticket, and cell phone as she boarded the bus

“I’ll send someone to get you. I’m busy helping with the funeral arrangements,” her mother replied

“What about Dad?”

“He’s busy, too. We’ll send someone.”

“Mom,” she said unhappily. “I know who you’re gonna send. You can’t.”

“Oh, you’re gonna have to see him at the funeral, anyway. And just because you disowned all of your friends when you moved away doesn’t mean I have to.”

Gabby had left the small town of Westridge five years ago. In Westridge, the nearest mall was forty-five minutes away, and “got stuck behind a plow” was the most common excuse for tardiness. The kids hung out at Walmart or the diner during their downtime and talked about how they couldn’t wait to get away from the stupid small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business. They didn’t want to be stuck in the same routine, seeing the same people their whole lives, and Gabby had felt the same way — trapped, bored, insignificant. At least, that’s what she’d told Jason two days before getting on a bus to the city and not looking back.

Ever since, she’d made a point of avoiding her old friends whenever she returned to visit her parents. Of course, her mother always updated her on Jason whether Gabby wanted to hear it or not. Mrs Jones had complained about the girl Jason dated after Gabby, discounted their quick marriage, gushed over their new baby, and gloated when they got divorced just a year after her birth. It had hurt Gabby to hear the news, but there was no way she’d ever admit it to her mother. Gabby tolerated her mother’s gossip and was grateful she’d managed to avoid her high school sweetheart in person, if not in conversation. But this visit would be different.

Her parents and Jason’s had been best friends since high school, and none of them made a secret of wishing Gabby and Jason would get back together. Sending him to pick her up today was a perfect setup. For them. Gabby rolled her hazel eyes in annoyance, even though her mother couldn’t see.

“I didn’t disown anyone,” she said. “I just went on to bigger and better things. People drift apart. It happens.”

She found her seat and threw her bags onto the rack above it. Her neighbors didn’t look particularly happy about the twenty-three year old talking away on her cell phone, but she ignored them.

“Bullshit,” Mrs Jones admonished. Only her mother could make cussing sound like a gentle, motherly act. “You loved it here. You were perfectly happy until—”

“Mom!” Gabby interrupted, not wanting to hear what her mother would say next.

She’d become a master of denial over the years and couldn’t handle anyone breaking through the fog of her self-induced memory loss. Her mother sighed. It was a heavy sound, and Gabby didn’t like it. It made her seem old.

“You’re right. It’s fine,” Gabby’s voice softened. “I’ll have to see him soon, anyway.”

“It’ll be okay, baby. I love you. I have to go now.”

“Love you, too, Mom.”

She snapped the phone shut and leaned her head back against the seat, closing her eyes to fend off a tension headache. But all she could see was an eighteen year old Jason: blue eyes full of disbelief, face pale, fists balled.

* * * *

 

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Jason demanded, slamming the door to his truck shut.

“I’m leaving.”

Gabby had to work hard to keep her chin raised and her lips from trembling.

“Just like that? And all I get is a note in my locker on the last day of school?”

He threw a crumpled piece of paper at her feet. Her parents had dropped her off at the bus stop, but they were long gone. If that goodbye had been painful, this one would be excruciating — which was exactly why she’d tried to avoid it.

“I told you in the note—”

“And now you can tell me to my face.”

He was making a scene. Gabby was embarrassed, and the tears she’d tried desperately to keep at bay burned in her eyes.

“There isn’t anything to do in this town. I just need to see what else is out there.”

“This is bullshit, Gabby. A few months ago, we were talking about getting married.”

Her voice rose as she lied desperately through her teeth, trying to keep control.

“Well, I changed my mind.”

The bus pulled up, and Jason’s anger turned to pleading.

“Don’t, Gabby. If you need some time away from this place, I’ll go with you.”

“You belong here, Jason.”

“I belong with you.”

“Not anymore.”

Then she turned and boarded the bus, ignoring the stares. She managed to hold the tears back until he was out of sight.

* * * *

 

The pain of the memory was scorching, surprising Gabby with its intensity. She opened her eyes. She had to get a hold of herself. She looked past the old man reading a magazine, her gaze falling on the houses outside. They were reaching the suburbs, but her destination lay far beyond that. Gabby groaned and firmly pushed the last image she had of her high school sweetheart out of her mind. The next few days were going to be hell.

You can buy Westridge in ebook form right now from Silver Publishing:

Westridge will be available in print on July 4th:

Also, be sure to stop by my blog for your chance to win a Country Chic gift set from Bath & Bodyworks!

Ghostly Encounters

June 24, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 9 Comments →

I remember many years ago my dad saying how easy it would be to write a book. At the time, I was young enough to believe that truth and wisdom filled every word he spoke. Well, Dad, as much as I love and miss you…you were wrong. Of course, a good author can make it seem an easy task, but that’s only with a lot of hard work, time, and energy on their part.  There’s so much to consider. Whether your book has a contemporary or historical setting, you better get details correct or the reader will catch you up. If you’re creating a world of your own, you need a vivid imagination and some sense of cohesive logic to hold together even a magic-filled world.  Not to mention creating believable and likable characters, (or ones you love to hate) a plot that moves forward constantly, grammar, sentence structure, spelling…the list goes on. Of all that it takes to write a manuscript that delights, enthrals, and draws the reader in to another world, research is my favourite. I don’t choose the period of history to write about, it seems to choose me. So far I’ve researched and written about King Arthur; Merlin the Magician; Avalon; Atlantis; Greek Gods; Templar Knights; and even the infamous Salem witch trials. I love sitting in front of my laptop, disappearing into a pile of historical information, and creating a story.

For my most recent research endeavor I left the impersonal, distant approach of my laptop behind and actually visited the place I was researching. Salem, Massachusetts. What a wonderful city with such a dark and gruesome history.

With a writing conference to attend, I promptly booked a room at one of the older, supposedly haunted hotels, reserved my spot on the Saturday night ghost walk, grabbed my camera, opened my mind, and took to the road with a friend of mine.  After 10 hours of driving and the constant chatter that occurs when two writers find themselves locked in a car together, we arrived in Salem. A city of contradictions. Narrow streets lined with historic homes of unique and beautiful architecture. Modern shops, museums, and attractions attempting to satisfy visitors fascinated with a bloody past. Lively with the bustle and cheer of a tourist town, yet laden with a sombre thread of the terror that stained the streets with evil and death centuries earlier.

Anticipating a busy and productive couple of days, I focused my mind on the work aspect of the weekend, not thinking overly much about ghosts and goblins. In spite of my lack of attention, or maybe because of it, the ghost wasn’t long in making her presence known to me. Yes, she. It seems the resident hotel ghost is a woman and her name…drum roll, please…Catherine. She had the nerve to throw my chocolate in the garbage. Not just any chocolate, but good truffles that I’d bought at Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie.  At first I thought I’d misplaced the delectable treats, so I scoured the room looking for them. Perplexed, I sat on the bed and mentally ran over everything I’d done since eating one of them. I had sat on the bed, logged onto the laptop, eaten a candy, eaten a chocolate, and put both packages on the bed beside me while I checked e-mail. When I reached for another of the addictive truffles, I couldn’t find them. I searched the room, under the bed, in the closet, in my suitcase…everywhere. Shelley came in at that point, helped me look, and kept insisting that I must put them somewhere and forgotten. I swore, and still do, that I never left the bed. That’s when an inexplicable urge hit me to search the garbage. There sat my chocolates, innocently perched under a piece of discarded paper. Shelley hadn’t thrown them out and I certainly hadn’t, so how would you explain it?

Wait, there’s more. The ghost was busy that weekend. Falling asleep after such a spine-tingling experience wasn’t easy, but I managed, only to wake during the night to a strange noise. Since it sounded to be right beside me, I wondered what my roommate, Shelley, had taken to bed with her that would make so much noise. Kind of a rolling, metal rattle. The sound continued all night long, sometimes loud, other times quiet, but always sounding right beside me. Morning arrived and I climbed from bed bleary eyed and edgy. Feeling bad for silently cursing Shelley most of the night through, I politely asked her what she’d had in bed that made so much noise every time she moved. Her blank stare stilled any hope that a ghostly being hadn’t been responsible for bothering me all night.Once I explained what I’d heard, we shook the bed, jumped on it…did everything we could to determine the cause of the noise. Nothing. As with the chocolate, no earthly explanation presented itself.

Strangely, the next night at the ghost walk, nothing happened to compare to the experiences in my own hotel room.

If you’d like to find out more about Salem and the witch trials, you’ll have to pick up a copy of either of my books based there. Though fiction, A Witch’s Lament and A Witch’s Legacy include historical and present day places, events and people.

Thanks so much to Romance Junkies for having me here today and please feel free to leave a comment.

You can find my books at: http://www.crescentmoonpress.com/Authors/CACollins.html

You can also visit my website www.catherineannecollins.com 

Friend me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/merlinsmuse

Connect with me on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/merlinsmuse1

Go ahead, make my day…

June 23, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 9 Comments →

People often assume that writers lead glamorous lives, sitting in our beach houses or in a villa in the south of France pounding out our next novel in blissful solitude as we sip a cup of English Breakfast tea. Well, I’m sure to set the record straight – at least about me. I’m a 30-something I'm not a beauty queenmother who stays home with my two and a half year-old daughter. I most often work in sweatpants, sitting on a recliner in our living room. I comb my hair once in the morning. I don’t wear makeup. Overall, it’s not a pretty sight. Let’s just say that I’m no beauty queen (full disclosure – that picture is not me, much to my dismay), and if my house is overlooking water I’m in big trouble. And it’s certainly NEVER quiet in here.

But I digress. The point of this point is – how do you as a reader make an author’s day? It’s ridiculously easy, actually, and here’s a handy list of five ways:

  1. Write up a review for their book Amazon or Goodreads (or, hopefully, both). Yes, there are lots of other places to leave reviews (All Romance eBooks, Barnes & Noble, etc), but Amazon and Goodreads are great places to start.
  2. Find the author’s page on Goodreads, or their fan page on Facebook, or their profile on Twitter, and tell them you liked their book. There’s a good chance they’ll slobber all over you with praise.
  3. Send them an e-mail through their website telling them the same thing. By the way, if you do this, many authors will send you swag. What is swag? Free stuff, my friends. I have Romance Trading Cards, pens, signed postcards…and I’m THRILLED to give them away to fans.
  4. Tell other people about our books. While it would be kick-ass to post your glowing praise on Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook, we’ll take just about anything, including you leaving Post-it Notes on your roommate’s forehead.
  5. Look for our next book and buy that. This one is especially important, because, much like an actor, an author is only as good as their latest book.

See how easy that was? How do you tell an author you love their books?

Cassandra Carr lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on Twitter. Her debut novel, Talk to Me, was released by Loose Id on March 22, 2011. For more information about Cassandra, check out her website at http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com, “like” her Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCassandraCarr or follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Cassandra_Carr.

Her latest release, Talk to Me, can be found at http://www.loose-id.com/Talk-t0-Me.aspx.

LIVING WITH GHOSTS

June 22, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 42 Comments →

By Minnette Meador

“Keenan was used to living with hundreds of people. He no longer felt crowded, talked to himself, or went to therapists. Not that he liked it, mind you; given half a chance, he would have buried them all…” A GHOST OF A CHANCE (Resplendence Publishing – June 2011)

Those words were the beginning of a journey that led me into strange supernatural realms and introduced me to demons, entities, angels, and yes, many ghosts. Why did I go there? Because I used to live with a very real, very funny ghost of my own; we called him Marvin.

I was living with my two infant sons, my 3-year-old, a lovely roommate, and her little girl in the bottom half of a duplex in Portland, Oregon. It was the year of Reagonomics and a tough time in my life. I was a single mom struggling to stay afloat.

After my twins were born, things started happening that we couldn’t explain; the TV would go on in the middle of the night when all of us were in bed. Things would fly off counters and crash to the floor. But the strangest of all happened about two months later.

We began to lose belts. And not just belts; scarves, ropes, loose electrical cords, and even shoes from time to time. Blaming the kids would have been easy, except for the fact that they lived in the nursery and didn’t have access to such things. During one frustrating search, late for work, Sarah finally came out to me, her face pale.

“I found your belt,” she said quietly.

“Great! Where was it?”

She held up the limp leather and said, “Under my mattress.”

“How did it…” But then we both headed for our respective bedrooms and lifted each mattress gingerly. Low and behold, there were the missing items. We knew we had an uninvited guest.

Marvin was actually a very polite ghost. Although he didn’t like belts of any kind (and tennis shoes for some reason) he quit throwing things at us in the kitchen and settled down to just watching TV late at night. He didn’t like men, apparently, because every time one would come over, he’d run upstairs to our neighbor’s place. I’d get a call…

“You have a man down there?” she would ask.

“Uh, yeah. Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay. Just checking.”

We learned to live with him… and to keep our belts hidden.

Don’t forget, if you leave a comment you will be in a drawing for several wonderful prizes throughout my blog tour, including 2 Kindles, special Portland/Oregon Totes, jewelry, goodies, and lots more. Also, I have some “secret” giveaways throughout my blog tour for a chance to fin $25 GC from Amazon. Make sure to watch for them in all the blogs I’ll be visiting this month. For a list, go to: MINNETTE’S TOUR.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll check out my new book A Ghost of a Chance. It’s full of ghosts, angels, demons, and one slightly used psychic who goes through a comedy of disasters to find his heart’s desire.

A GHOST OF A CHANCEExcerpt
a paranormal romantic comedy

(Book I in the Ghost Series)
by Minnette Meador
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 22, 2011
Resplendence Publishing

Keenan Swanson is your typical, everyday graphic designer. Well, except for the hundreds of pesky, prank-loving poltergeists that make his life interesting (in a Chinese curse sort of way). He finds his situation precarious yet manageable—until witty, smoking-hot coworker Isabella enters the scene and Keenan decides he wants her all for himself. With a horny succubus who has other ideas, a burly city cop determined to lock Keenan away, and an evil entity who’s hell-bent on using Keenan’s seed to create a living demon, the reluctant psychic realizes he just might not come out of this alive—or with heart intact.

“Hysterical and very original!”

2-Time Rita Winner Wendy Warren

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June 21, 2011 By: Romance Junkies Category: Speed Date Interview No Comments →

WHEN GOOD BOYS FALL FOR BAD GIRLS by Karen Frisch

June 21, 2011 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 2 Comments →

We’ve all heard that opposites attract, especially in romance novels. It works because the qualities of one partner balance the other’s, and combining them makes a perfect whole. Not only does it create romantic tension, but it raises the stakes for the hero and heroine.

It’s intriguing to watch good girls attracted to men with tarnished reputations. But what happens when it’s the other way around? When roles are reversed and a good guy falls head over heels for a girl deemed inappropriate for him, it creates a story that’s fresh and original. The heroine needn’t have the swagger of Annie Oakley, but her defiance must suit her character’s circumstances. That makes for compelling reading.

Not all Regency heroines, for example, are raised in idyllic conditions or content with their situations. Those born into wealth and privilege sometimes have the most to lose, especially when circumstances beyond their control force them to take desperate measures. Often her misfortune opens the door for the hero to enter, turning her life upside down before she is finally able to find true happiness.  

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In my Regency LADY DELPHINIA’S DECEPTION, Captain Nicholas Hainsworth, Earl of Greymore falls in love despite his own moral objections when he discovers the woman he loves is a smuggler, a crime that conflicts with his loyalty to the Crown. Lady Delphinia Marlowe fears Nicholas could be not only her soulmate, but a man who places duty above love. In the following excerpt Delphinia confronts Nicholas after discovering he has followed her on one of her nocturnal rendezvous.

 * * * * *

Delphinia made her way back to the house three-quarters of an hour later, anticipating the upcoming encounter with Nicholas while simultaneously dreading it. She had delayed returning to give herself time to decide how best to answer the many questions she knew were awaiting her. How would he receive the truth even if she could bring herself to reveal it?

She found him waiting for her behind the closed doors of the drawing room as she had instructed. He was seated on the sofa, looking less comfortable than she had felt on the moors tonight. She entered the room quietly, locking the doors behind her. She felt him watching her as she slowly removed the greatcoat and tossed the hat aside, shaking her hair loose. She watched him smile as her long locks fell in great masses about her shoulders.

“Surprised, are you?” she challenged. “Disappointed in me?”

 “I was thinking your guise gives you an enchanting look. Daring and innocent at the same time.” He continued to smile tenderly as he gazed upon the unflattering masculine breeches and black jumper that she knew must emphasize her pallor. “The outfit doesn’t do you justice. Is it your father’s?”

“My father’s might be recognized. I wear my late husband’s.” She glanced down at her cumbersome attire. “I would not do anything to disgrace my family, although not everyone hereabouts views smuggling with as much disgrace as you do.”

It was the first time she had used the word in his presence. In doing so she had admitted her role in the illegal operation. She glanced toward him to see him watching her with wary eyes.

“I know this moment must be excruciatingly difficult for you,” he admitted, never taking his eyes from her. “I waited here instead of following you so might have a chance to collect your thoughts. I admit I find this conversation altogether strange and fascinating, as I find you. I waited a long while for you. Were you delayed?”

“I wasn’t at the coast the whole time,” she replied. “And it is I who should be asking the questions, Captain. It seems to me it is you who owes me an explanation, not the other way around, as you are a guest in my home.”

“Since when did you resume calling me Captain rather than by my Christian name?” Nicholas rose so abruptly she took a defensive step back. “I risked my life for you tonight because I was trying to save yours. I was worried about you.”

Delphinia felt mollified by his concern, but she was not prepared to let down her guard. She turned away, the tension leaving her as she heard him return to his seat.

“Worry about yourself,” she retorted. “You took a foolish chance following me. Do you expect me to feel anything but anger toward you? You took me by surprise and made me ruin tonight’s drop.”

Yet she could not explain the relief she felt, for she did not entirely understand it. His decision to follow her had forced her hand, making her readdress the issue of whether or not to solicit his help. She wondered if she could barter information for help.

“Perhaps it is time we talked,” she countered with a smile. “May I pour you a brandy, Captain? Nicholas, rather?”

“That would be delightful, thank you.”

 He accepted the glass she extended to him, her hand trembling as she took a seat beside him on the sofa.

 “I was delayed because I was walking in the garden,” she resumed, “thinking of how I could explain this tangle to you.”

  “You might start with honesty,” he said pointedly. “That would be most pleasant for a change.”

  She chose to ignore his sarcasm. Instead she held her breath as she broached the next question. “If I tell you,” she asked quietly, “will you promise to help?”

Her heart stirred as he gazed at her steadily, his sea-green eyes boring into hers. Oh, how she wanted to believe what she saw there.

“You have my solemn vow,” he replied just as quietly. “Now tell me, what is it you smuggle?”

“You’re drinking it.”

LADY DELPHINIA’S DECEPTION is available now in both print and e-book form from ImaJinn Books. To find out how Nicholas and Delphinia resolve their dilemma, visit www.imajinn.com or visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble’s website. Thank you, Karen (http://KarenFrisch.webs.com).

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