Archive for January, 2012

A Tale of Two Contests, or, The Five Months That Rocked My World by Ruthie Knox

January 19, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 16 Comments →

Ride with Me coverLast February, I entered my first two contests. One was sponsored by Harlequin on their forum for writers, and it involved writing the first thousand words of a Valentine’s Day–themed secret-baby romance novel.

Mine was called CUPID’S ARROW, and it began with the heroine, Cupid, saying, “I don’t see what’s so romantic about getting shot in the ass by some fat, flying baby.”

Apparently, the contest judge shared Cupid’s sentiment, because my entry won! (For the curious, the rest of the entry is here.) The prize was a month’s mentoring from Tessa Radley, a multipublished Harlequin author.

Pretty heady stuff for little old me. I’d only just started writing the previous October. I’d just completed COMPANION WANTED, my third full manuscript and the first one that I’d managed to whip into what I hoped was publishable shape. And now, suddenly, mentoring! Accolades! I nearly fainted dead away.

Meanwhile, the Romance Junkies Writing Contest was announced, and at the suggestion of my critique partner, Faye Robertson, I entered it. I submitted the first scene and fourth chapter of COMPANION WANTED, a hot, funny, somewhat unconventional cross-country bike ride romance. Unlike the Harlequin contest, the Romance Junkies contest felt quite official, which made me nervous. But I was ready to let my baby out into the world, and the contest promised to give me a shot at getting the manuscript in front of an editor at Carina Press. So I pressed Send and crossed my fingers.

My excerpt went up in one of the early weeks of the contest, which ran through May. In March, I got feedback from six or seven readers, all positive. Most exciting, I got a gushing, excited note from a complete stranger who invited me to e-mail her. I did, of course, and that’s how I became friends with Gina Leigh Maxwell. Gina had also entered the contest with her paranormal romance, DESIRES OF THE SOUL (which is fabulous, by the way, and deservedly became a finalist). We got to chatting over e-mail, and in time she got to be one of my best writing buddies—a great cheerleader, critique partner, and friend.

If the contest had yielded me nothing but Gina, I would have been more than pleased with the return. But there was more!

While I waited for the contest to end and the results to be announced, I worked with my Harlequin mentor, who encouraged me to query agents with the manuscript of COMPANION WANTED. So I did that in March, and in April I hit the jackpot and signed with my agent, Emily Sylvan Kim of Prospect Agency.

Emily didn’t like my pseudonym, Anne Vincent, which I’d invented for the contests and never used otherwise. We batted names back and forth for a while, and in May, Ruthie Knox was born. She emerged from the womb with her own website and a wicked Twitter addiction that has only grown worse with time. Also in May, COMPANION WANTED made its way out into Editorland on submission with a few different publishers.

In June, I won the grand prize in the Romance Junkies contest. The first three chapters of my manuscript were critiqued by Rhonda Helms of Carina Press, and I also won a Kindle (which I cherish and use daily). Rhonda enjoyed the manuscript and invited me to submit the full, with a view toward possibly acquiring the book for Carina . . .

. . . but in the meantime, I’d accepted an unbeatable offer to publish COMPANION WANTED with Random House!

The book has a new, better title now—Ride with Me—and will be released on February 13 through Loveswept, Random House’s digital-first line.

So in the space of less than five months, I won two contests, made a friend, got an agent, gave birth to my pseudonymous writer self, got my book in front of the eyes of several editors, and accepted a publication offer. A wacky ride, indeed—and it all began with two contests.

Thanks to Romance Junkies for the amazing opportunity!



In this fun, scorching-hot eBook original romance by Ruthie Knox, a cross-country bike adventure takes a detour into unexplored passion. As readers will discover, Ride with Me is not about the bike!

When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger — a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.

Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.

Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?


Ruthie Knox - headshot

Ruthie Knox figured out how to walk and read at the same time in the second grade, and she hasn’t looked up since. She spent her formative years hiding romance novels in her bedroom closet to avoid the merciless teasing of her brothers and imagining scenarios in which someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Day Lewis recognized her well-hidden sex appeal and rescued her from middle-class Midwestern obscurity. After graduating from Grinnell College with an English and history double major, she earned a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use.

These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to- earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Ruthie abhors an epilogue and insists a decent romance requires at least three good sex scenes.


What’s your favorite romance or road-trip story? One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a digital copy of Ride with Me. Winners will pick up their copy through Net Galley. Good luck to all!

A Shameless Woman

January 18, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Contests, Guest Blogger 14 Comments →

Dear readers,

What will you do when a shameless woman is vying for your husband or boyfriend’s attention? In my latest novel, The Spinster’s Vow: A Spicy Retelling of Mrs. Darcy’s Journey to Love, Elizabeth Bennet was confronted with this situation:


“Darcy, what a surprise!” Lord Martin came forward and shook Fitzwilliam’s hand with vigour. “And who is this lovely lady? Are you indulging in…”

My husband’s mouth thinned and he introduced me immediately. “This is my wife. Elizabeth, this is Lord Nolland’s grandson Lord Martin.”

I curtseyed and extended my hand. The young lord took it and bestowed a kiss, with his eyes gazing at me. Although there was nothing improper about the kiss, I could see Fitzwilliam’s displeasure.

Magnifique! I must get to know you better, Mrs. Darcy, for any woman who can catch the elusive Mr. Darcy is worth knowing.”

“You exaggerate, Lord Martin,” I replied. “But I am delighted to make your acquaintance. I have heard much about you from Lord Nolland. But you are very wrong. My husband is not a fish, to be caught.”

Lord Martin laughed out loud. “I hope the old goat has not said anything bad about me,” He rubbed his hands. “He is always very severe with me.”

He was being rude, seemingly forgetting the tall red-haired lady by his side, although the woman had been looking my husband up and down with curiosity. “And will you do us the honour of introducing your companion?” I asked.

“Oh, I see! Where are my manners?” Lord Martin smacked his hand on his forehead. “Well reprimanded. Mrs. Darcy, this is Amelie Dubois, an aspiring French opera singer on vacation here. Amelie, this is Fitzwilliam Darcy, with ten-thousands a year. His estate of Pemberley in Derbyshire – you do know where Derbyshire is, yes? – is some ten miles around. And, as you heard, this witty lady is his new wife.”

I was furious, and was certain that my husband was, too. Lord Martin was smirking and jesting about the Darcy legacy without a care, in front of this unknown woman. Her eyes lit up, quite literally, upon hearing the dandy’s description. She batted her pretty eyelashes so rapidly that I feared they would fall off, and her cherry-red lips tucked up in a seductive pout. Then she rearranged her stance, thrust out her bosom, which threatened to fall out of her thin, semi-transparent day dress, and posed most provocatively toward Fitzwilliam.

I did not need such a shameless woman to be around us for the next two weeks. And she would be sleeping under the same roof!


And Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy had not yet consummated their marriage as they were forced into the marriage. I hope she wouldn’t scratch the eyes of Ms Dubois out. What do you think will happen? Please comment below to have a chance to win a copy of The Spinster’s Vow in paperback format. Competition is open to worldwide reader and will end on 31 January 2012. Good luck!

Do come and visit me at and here is the book blurb:

What if Mr. Bennet went missing and the Bennet women had to leave Longbourn? In this intriguing refashioning of Jane Austen’s classic, Mr. Darcy meets a melancholic but spirited Elizabeth Bennet who has vowed to remain a spinster until she finds her father. A debauchery at a masquerade forces the couple to marry.

Will Elizabeth resent Mr. Darcy’s arrogance, which forced her to break her vow? Will she find her father, with his help? This sexy and inventive Pride and Prejudice what-if story, set just after the Napoleonic Wars, takes the perennial favorite in a new direction with captivating plot twists and passionate romance.

And thank you to Kim and Romance Junkies for having me! Hugs from hot and wet Sydney.


Hot Man With a Badge

January 17, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 4 Comments →



Hot Man With a Badge

By Avery Flynn 

I blame it all on Tom Selleck’s Magnum PI.  

Sure he was a PI not a cop, but who could deny the awesomeness of his mustache and the wriggling eyebrows? Smooth, funny, hot and with an amazing car, he charmed and sweet talked while solving mysteries and taking risks because it was the right thing to do. So when it came to write Dry Creek County Sheriff Hank Layton’s story, it wasn’t an actual sheriff who inspired me, instead it was a fictional private investigator with major-league swagger.  

Hank is six-feet, three-inches tall, has short dark brown hair and the Layton family hazel eyes. A former Nebraska Cornhusker quarterback, he married his high school sweetheart and seemed to lead a charmed life that in reality was a twisted mess. He is a tortured alpha hero starting over in life and something about Beth Martinez calls out to him.  

That’s what I love about the alpha hero. To fully reach his potential, he has to find an alpha heroine – that one person who challenges him and pushes him to be more than he ever thought he could. 


In A DRY CREEK BED, that person is Beth Martinez, but she’s a woman of many secrets – one of which may kill her. So despite her strong attraction to Hank, she’s determined to maintain a distance, even if sometimes she slips. 


Five days into a two-week vacation, he’d given up his Dry Creek Country Sheriff uniform for jeans, a T-shirt and a scraggly beard that he somehow made appealing. Her fingers itched to feel the prickle of the three-day beard on his square jaw, to run through his thick brown hair that she knew from years of lustful observation curled if he let it grow to his collar. He was the stuff of dreams. Naughty, sweaty, tasty dreams. The object of her desire strolled across the cracked asphalt to her side. The smell of fresh coffee wafted up from the paper cup in his large hands and mixed with the woodsy scent of his cologne.  “Are you okay?” Worry weighed heavy in his deep voice and he brushed a stray hair away from her face, his eyes searching for injuries caused by the car accident. Every objection to touching him evaporated and all her thoughts focused on how much she wanted to wrap her arms around his waist and soak up his strength. “I do believe I can arrest you for looking at someone like that, you’ve got to be breaking some indecency laws.” Taking a deep breath, she recovered her bearings. Mostly. “You’re out of your jurisdiction, sheriff.” 


And fireworks ensue.

Hank can’t stop thinking about Beth to the point where he’s afraid of becoming permanently bowlegged. And even though the sexual tension between them is thick enough to trip over, she runs every time he chases.

But when a mysterious developer forces her neighbors off their land, Beth becomes the one person standing between the scoundrel and millions of dollars. Only Hank can help her uncover the truth. Together they risk their lives exposing decades-old secrets and learn that everything is not as it seems in their rural Nebraska town. 

Thanks for letting me stop by – it’s been a real pleasure!


Avery Flynn returns to western Nebraska, the setting of her first novel, Up a Dry Creek, to continue the story of the Layton family in her new contemporary romantic suspense novel A DRY CREEK BED, just published as an e-book original by Evernight Publishing.Flynn was inspired by her former hometown for the setting of the fictional town that has been home to the Laytons for generations.   Siblings Claire, Hank, Sam and Chris Layton were introduced in Up a Dry Creek, the story of Claire and her nemesis-turned-hero, Jake Warrick, as was Claire’s friend, Beth Martinez.In A DRY CREEK BED, readers discover Beth Martinez still mourning the deaths of the grandparents who raised her after her parents died in a car accident.  Beth has seen her share of tragedy, including having the dream of starting her own family ripped away from her.  Though quietly in love with Hank for years, she knows they’ll never be together.  Hank, now the Sheriff of Dry Creek County and divorced from his first wife who lied to him about her desire to have children, wants a family, something Beth can never have and can’t give him.  Despite their mutual desire for each other and Hank’s determination to pursue her, she manages to keep him at a distance.All Beth has left of her family is the home built by her grandfather.  So when a mysterious developer makes an offer on the property, she refuses.  Soon she’s receiving threats and can no longer hide what’s happening from Hank.  Forced together by circumstances, it becomes harder and harder for them to rein in their passion.  Suddenly, the stakes go higher. Coercion turns into murder and it’s up to Beth and Hank to uncover who wants the land and why—before they both end up dead.                

In A DRY CREEK BED, Avery Flynn once again brings readers a strong and sexy romantic suspense novel, with plenty of action, engaging characters and an unexpected ending.  

About the Author               

Romantic suspense novelist Avery Flynn’s first Dry Creek novel, Up a Dry Creek, was published in 2011.  Her latest, A DRY CREEK BED, has just been released by Evernight Publishing.  Born and raised in western Nebraska, the setting of her fictional town of Dry Creek, she now lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.  There she continues to write and work at her day job while enjoying her own happily ever after with her husband, three children and two dogs.  She dreams of one day having a floor-to-ceiling library, à la Beauty and the Beast, and is working to perfect the coffee IV drip.  She is delighted to have her first two books published and to be hard at work on High and Dry Creek, her third Dry Creek novel. 

A DRY CREEK BED, an E-book Original, on Sale Now

A Party to Remember …

January 05, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 12 Comments →

Hot Rain, by Kat MartinI love New Year’s Eve.  When I was younger, I was pretty much a wallflower who sat home year after year.  I would watch the glass ball going down in Times Square and wish I was there.  As an adult I’ve tried to make up for all those lost New Year’s Eves and rarely miss going out on the town.

I love to dress up in black sequins and high heels, and am fortunate that my husband is a knockout in a tuxedo.  One of my favorite New Year’s parties was in Beverly Hills.  I was invited to a function that was the height of elegance and even had celebrities in attendance.  I remember seeing Hugh O’Brien, who used to be Wyatt Earp on TV, a really gorgeous guy back then, and Faye Dunaway, who was class personified. 

For me New Year’s Eve is champagne and romance, and being a romance writer, why wouldn’t I adore it? 

This year, besides going out on the town, I’ll be celebrating the re-release of one of my all time favorite books–HOT RAIN.  The hero, Jake Dawson, would look Hot Rain, by Kat Martingorgeous in a tux–or better yet, nothing at all.  Allie Parker is blond and sexy, and the chemistry between them burns.  Jake’s an undercover agent working to catch a gang of drug smugglers.  Unfortunately, Allie Parker believes he’s one of the thugs who have taken her prison and stashed her on the yacht they are taking to Mexico.

Jake has a helluva time keeping Allie safe and at the same time playing the roll of her captor.  There’s a lot of humor in this one, which is why my readers chose it back when it first came out as their all-time favorite.

The book has been out of print for nearly ten years, so I’m hoping readers who haven’t had a chance to read it will give it a try.  It’s got a fabulous new cover and will be out in e-book format for the first time ever.

 I hope you’ll try HOT RAIN and that you enjoy.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Very best wishes, Kat 


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