Archive for May, 2012

Research … a real job but oh so important!

May 30, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 6 Comments →

Kat Martin, NY Times Bestselling authorSometimes what you think is going to be a great idea for a book turns into a great big UGH!  That’s what happens when the research takes on a life of its own and you have a whole lot more work to do than you had planned.  Not that it isn’t usually interesting.

AGAINST THE SUN, the sixth book in my AGAINST series, deals with a visit to Texas by a Saudi Arabian sheik and his family.  The sheik is there to negotiate a three hundred million dollar oil-well equipment sale with one of Marine Drilling International’s vice presidents, Sage Dumont.Against the Sun, by Kat Martin

That’s hero, big Jake Cantrell, first appeared in AGAINST THE LAW.  At six-foot-five, two-hundred-forty pounds, tough and smart, I knew the minute he walked onto the page that Jake would make a great hero.

He also appeared in AGAINST THE NIGHT when Johnnie Riggs and Amy Brewer’s adventure took them to the jungles of Belize.  In AGAINST THE SUN, Jake is hired to act as Sage’s bodyguard during the Saudis’ visit.  Being a Special Forces Marine who’s done corporate protection work in the Middle East, Jake can also teach her the protocols she will need to know in order to make the deal.

That’s where the research came in.  Fortunately, I have a close friend who’s an internationally famous bounty hunter.  He’s also done a great deal of work as a bodyguard and even teaches classes on the subject in Florida, now that he’s retired.  When Bob Burton was in Santa Barbara last year, I was able him to corner him for lunch.  That’s when he mentioned the protocols that a businessman had to learn in order to negotiate a deal with the Saudis.

Customs like sitting with your legs crossed and showing someone the bottom of your foot, which is considered a grave insult.  Or making a circle with your fingers for the okay sign.  To a Saudi Arabian, that is considered giving someone the evil eye.

From that moment on, I knew I had my work cut out for me.  The research involved in getting the customs, clothing, and attitudes of the Saudi visitors correct made AGAINST THE SUN one of the most difficult books I’ve ever written.  And also one of the most interesting.

On top of the research, there was the problem of dealing with women’s rights in Saudi Arabia without offending anyone.

In the end, I think Sage and Jake are two of my strongest, most heroic characters.  I hope readers with think their love story is equally strong.

I hope you’ll look for AGAINST THE SUN and the rest of the books in my AGAINST series, and that you enjoy them all.

Very best wishes, kat 

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May 28, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger 1 Comment →

I’m starting a new book and facing that 1st blank page. This is a moment I love. When I look at that page, all I think about is what I am going to fill it with. My thoughts flood me and I think of what I am going to write. That blank page is a clean late to build a new world, characters, plot and passion. Love those filling the pages with those moments. Now I am off to fill it and you have a wonderful Monday.

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.

Inspiration by Pamela Crane

May 25, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 1 Comment →

Inspiration—it comes in all shapes and sizes, but for me to write my debut romantic suspense novel The Halo Effect, inspiration came in the form of self-therapy after a horrific experience of being stalked by someone I trusted.

Many stories deal with finding true love and have a clear villain trying to thwart the budding romance, but what happens when the love isn’t as real as you hoped, and the villain is…yourself? We are often, after all, our own enemy.

Let me give you an example of this from my own life.

Sitting in a waiting room one day, an elderly woman chose the blue-checkered seat next to me. Dried raisin lips, silver-white permed hair cut in a wash-and-go pixie style, cheerful blue eyes that sparkled with humor. Immediately I was charmed as we chatted about this and that—child-rearing, weather, books. Then she said something that shook me from any plane of normalcy I was perched on.

“I haven’t taken those things for granted since I was released from jail,” she said as a lull wove its way into our conversation.

“Jail?” I parroted. Certainly this sweet old lady with her rose-patterned blouse, A-line skirt, and shape-forming pantyhose didn’t mean jail…where creeps and criminals go.

“Unfortunately so,” she said. “For murder.”

Murder? No, it couldn’t be. She didn’t look like the murdering type—you know, soot-black teeth with an occasional gold filling, sinister scowl, gang tattoos peeking through a tattered, stained muscle shirt.

“Wow…” was all I could mutter.

“I murdered my husband when I caught him in bed with another woman. And I regret that reaction every day. Lost everything, because I didn’t know how to forgive when I needed to most.”

She went on to share how she was a homemaker with young kids in a blessed life, but in that single moment she faced a decision and snapped. She made a mistake and it cost her a lot…but not everything. After all, she was sitting next to me, a free woman after doing her time, rebuilding her life and reconciling with her children.

How characteristically human she was. In that momentary decision she was her own worst enemy—making a choice that would send her to jail and leave a lifelong imprint. And the love she thought she had wasn’t all it was cracked up to be when she discovered her husband was cheating.

My thriller novel, The Halo Effect, deals with exactly this type of person. A regular Joe—or Josephine—slapped with a tough choice but who makes the wrong one…and it costs a lot. The story follows a woman, Haley Montgomery, in the small town of Westfield, New York, as she sets out on a path of self-discovery after years of living for her lonely widower mother. Then Haley stumbles upon the man of her dreams—Italian stallion Marc Vincetti—and the job of her dreams with Hollywood producer Allen Michaels, and everything seems so perfect…a glimpse of what most people feel when things are going just right.

Until Allen’s job opportunity turns out to have a price tag she’s unwilling to pay, and her love affair reveals an unwanted third party. People get hurt, people get scared, and people react. Relationships are destroyed, Allen Michaels is accused of murder, and Haley finds herself being interrogated by the police for something she doesn’t remember ever doing. Who is the villain, and who can we trust? And will love win out in the end?

How could these people we’ve come to adore be so devious? So twisted? The Halo Effect digs into this human dilemma and shows that among us are lovable villains. But like with the forgiveness that Ms. Jailbird Golden Girl eventually embraced, the characters of The Halo Effect learn that forgiveness is the key to a happy ending.

Most people want a happy ending packed with lots of love, and in most cases it’s achievable, even for the ex-con lady who went on to tell me that she met a wonderful man, got married, and has an amazing new life with him. That’s what inspires me. Overcoming the bumps along the way and coming out stronger than before.

Pick up a copy of The Halo Effect at Kindle/Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-Halo-Effect-ebook/dp/B007EUSNNU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1337732077&sr=1-3), Kobo (http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Halo-Effect/book-SwO3JkkX_kSSiNdQBt2qfQ/page1.html?s=HstoOpAHH0KZIQauBhiL4w&r=1) and Fictionwise (http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b132182/?si=0)

 

About the Author:

Pamela Crane’s addiction to writing started with a children’s short story competition and a first place win for her fable Weedlia’s Fate. Now, decades later, along with being a wife and mother, she’s nurtured her love of writing to build a career as an editor and novelist. Along with shaping quirky characters and plotlines that reflect glimpses of her own life, she enjoys riding her proud Arabian horse—when he lets her. She has a passion for ministry, and her hopes are to keep earning enough from her writing to travel the world in search of some good story material.

MARKETING YOUR ROMANCE, THE SMART WAY

May 22, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Guest Blogger, Latest News 6 Comments →

Cutting edge.  Collaborative.  Candid.  Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) is a fantastic loop of knowledgeable, analytical writers/marketers, and I can’t think of another single resource that has helped me as much in my journey to promote my books.  The unique aspect of this loop is the coursework they offer: in-depth discussions, debates and how-to-do-it sessions.  And now I have the chance to attend the online MFRW Summer Camp to shore up all my promotion skills.  What are the efficient and discerning ways to spend our limited promotional hours?  Luckily the writers/experts at MFRW are willing to share their knowledge. 

 I am certain that no matter what question or problem I present to my MFRW colleagues, they’ll either have an answer/solution, or they’ll have a resource for me to tap into.  Truly, my anxieties about how to market my books reduced by half as soon as I joined this group. 

 I’m looking forward to the June Summer Camp because I have two releases coming out in the fall of 2012.  I want to learn a marketing strategy for multiple sales; I want to learn the ins and outs of self-publishing, as well.

My humble contribution to the camp will be to share what I’ve learned about using QR codes to sell our books. 

 We hope you’ll join us at Marketing for Romance-to SEEK, TEACH, LEARN, SHARE, and SUCCEED!  Join up and find out the particulars on our June Summer Camp.

  SUSPENSE SPIKED WITH ROMANCELAST RESORT on sale now, print & download

Wild Rose Press:

http://tinyurl.com/682vwgvWeb:

http://www.rolynnanderson.comBlog:

http://blog.rolynnanderson.com/FB:

 http://tinyurl.com/63vsnmt

Stefanie Sloane ~ Speed Date Interview

May 04, 2012 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News, Speed Date Interview 4 Comments →

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Bio:

A native Northwesterner with the pale skin to prove it, Stefanie credits her parents’ eclectic reading habits—not to mention their decision to live in the middle of nowhere—for her love of books. A childhood spent lost in the pages of countless novels led Stefanie to college where she majored in English. No one was more surprised than Stefanie when she actually put her degree to use and landed a job in Amazon.com’s Books editorial department. She spent over five years reading for a living before retiring to concentrate on her own stories. Stefanie currently resides with her family in Seattle.

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Book blurb:

Possessed of a brilliant mind and a love for puzzles, Dashiell Matthews, Viscount Carrington, is a crucial member of the elite Young Corinthians spy league. Assuming the façade of an addle-brained Adonis, he hunts for a notorious London murderer known as the Bishop. When fate causes him to cross paths with Miss Elena Barnes, Dash discovers an enigma that will prove delightfully intoxicating to unravel: a voluptuous beauty as intelligent as she is fearless.

Only the lure of a collection of rare books bequeathed to her family by Dash’s late father could tempt Elena from her cozy rural life to the crush and vanity of London. But if Elena finds his lordship to be the most impossibly beautiful man she’s ever seen, he also seems to be the stupidest. Which made her body’s shameless response to his masterful seduction all the more unfathomable. Yet when she discovers Dash’s mission to track the dangerous Bishop, she willingly risks everything—her trust, her heart, her very life—to join him.

Excerpt:

“Oh!” Miss Barnes exclaimed in a hushed tone, her excited intake of breath pulling Dash from his thoughts.

She rushed toward the end of the aisle, skidding to a halt in front of a glass case situated against the wall.

Dash couldn’t help himself. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and he followed.

“Giacomo Paolini’s Abecedary,” Miss Barnes whispered, as though speaking a sacred prayer within the walls of a grand cathedral.

Dash moved closer to the case, studying the book. Its presence was wholly surprising. His father must have acquired the volume shortly before his death. 

“Have you read it, Miss Barnes?” he asked, breathing in her delicate floral scent as he did so. He couldn’t readily identify the flower.

“Hardly,” she replied, leaning closer to the case, her brow nearly skimming the glass. “This volume— the only one still in existence, mind you— was lost for years.

Your father was incredibly fortunate to find it, my lord.”

“Mmh,” he replied, distracted. Rose? No, the scent was more complex than that. Lavender? He discreetly breathed deeper, dragging in more of her elusive scent, suddenly desperate to know.

Bergamot.

“Ha,” he declared.

Miss Barnes jumped. “I beg your pardon, my lord?” she asked, looking at him as though he were mad.

Really. I’m not the one gushing over an old book.

Dash fought the urge to say the sentence out loud and instead, straightened his crisp cravat. “Funny that, wouldn’t you agree? My father found a book that so many could not,” he replied, looking at the volume with what he hoped was childlike glee. “Were there many people looking for it?”

“Oh, yes,” her voice brimmed with enthusiasm. “The late Lord Carrington was not the man who actually found the volume, of course. But we can all be thankful he had the foresight to provide such an admirable and efficient home for it. Look here,” she gestured at the case. “See how it is perfectly situated away from the sunlight . . .”

Dash hardly heard a word she said. He couldn’t pull his gaze away from the fascinating quality of her skin and the flush of color from her cheeks, down the curve of her throat, to the neckline of her dress.

“And the case? Why isn’t it stacked with the rest of the books?” he wondered aloud.

He knew exactly why, of course. Direct sunlight would compromise the already fragile pages. But he wanted to watch her hands as she talked, gesturing and pointing this way and that, as expressive as the excited cadence of her speech and tone.

Dash wondered why he was noticing her hands. They were, after all, only hands. She possessed a pair just as nearly every other human being on the planet did.

What was he doing? He wasn’t supposed to be interested in Miss Barnes. He just needed her to pack up the books and go back to Dorset, as soon as possible.

“Fascinating stuff,” he interrupted her careful explanation, needing to be anywhere but next to Miss Barnes. “But I’m afraid I must be off. I’ll leave you to your books.”

She smiled at him shyly. “Of course, my lord. This must all be terribly boring to you,” she replied, curtsying.

Dash bowed and turned to go.

“Thank you, my lord,” she added. “You’ve no idea what these books mean to me— and my father, of course.”

Dash paused, but did not turn around, fearful that she’d draw him back. “Oh, don’t thank me, Miss Barnes. It’s all my father’s doing.”

It was the truth, after all. Though Dash was having a hard time being thankful to his father for anything at the moment.

“I look forward to seeing you at dinner, my lord.”

The woman could not bear to relinquish the last word.“Yes, Miss,” he replied.

“Excellent.”

Christ Almighty

Contest Info:

Everyone who asks Stefanie a question will automatically be entered to win all four of her Regency Rogues books. The giveaway is open to anyone (aka we will mail internationally).

Website: http://www.stefaniesloane.com/

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/stefaniesloane

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4480304.Stefanie_Sloane

Bronwen Evans – Why Rheda Kerrich would be my best friend…

May 02, 2012 By: Guestauthor Category: Contests, Guest Blogger, Latest News 20 Comments →

Let’s face it, not every woman you meet instantly becomes your best friend. There has to be something about her that piques your interest or just clicks. You have to admire certain traits in your friends, like compassion, loyalty, humor etc.

When I was mulling over ideas for my second book in the ‘Invitation to’ Regency romance series, INVITATION TO SCANDAL, I fell instantly in love with my heroine, Rheda Kerrich. Probably because she’s someone I’d be proud to call my best friend.

I connected with Rheda the minute she popped into my head. I love that she’s a risk taker. She doesn’t sit back and let life dictate terms. She’s prepared to try and shape and mould her lot to suit her needs. If something is not right, she tries to fix it, not always successfully, but she doesn’t sit about and mope. And it’s not only her world she tries to make the best off. She has her local village to look after, especially the widows and orphans.

To better understand her character, let me briefly tell you about the book Rheda is in.

In Invitation to Scandal, Rufus Knight, Viscount Strathmore is desperately trying to capture a deadly French spy—for two reasons. One, because that’s his job, he works for the Secret Service, and two, because he hopes that in doing so he can learn the truth about his late father’s supposed treason and clear the Strathmore name. However, to find the spy he needs to capture Dark Shadow, a notorious Kent smuggler. The spy is using Dark Shadow’s network to send his communiqués.

On his first day in Deal, Kent, who does he spot with an unstamped barrel of brandy? You guessed it Miss Rheda Kerrick, dressed as a local farming wench. She’d be a perfect informant. A local beauty who can help him discover a smuggler, while also keeping his bed warm at night. However, his normal charm doesn’t appear to work, and she refuses to reveal her name or who gave her the cask. [CLUE FIVE: THAT’S]

Miss Rheda Kerrick, the eldest child of Baron de Winter, was left penniless and parentless at the age of seventeen when her dissolute father dies. She also has a younger brother, Daniel, who will inherit Tumsbury Cliff Manor and the estate. Facing bankruptcy she resorts to whatever means necessary to save Tumsbury Cliff for him. In addition, she quickly realizes that unless she wants to end up like her mother, married to a man who sees her only as a means to beget an heir, she’d better work out a way to become financially independent.  At twenty-five she’s almost there. Prince Hammed has gifted her two Arabian mares, and her dream of owning her own cavalry horse breeding business is in her reach. She simply lacks one vital ingredient- a stallion. Unable to afford stud fees, she cheekily decides to ‘borrow’ Rufus’s magnificent stallion.

But Rufus is not as dumb as most men, and Rheda is caught red-handed. Her punishment is to aid Rufus in his mission. Rufus uses the opportunity to try and seduce the information from her and to her horror she longs to submit.

The more they work together the harder it is to resist the handsome rake. Rheda empathizes with his desire to clear his father’s name and restore his mother and sister to their rightful place in Society. Soon it’s more than her pride at stake. She’s beginning to fall in love with him. But once he learns the truth about Dark Shadow, how can they have any future together?

Rheda is a woman of strength and determination. It took strength to single handedly run an estate and hold onto her brother’s inheritance. It took strength to ignore the expectations of Society and to risk doing a little wrong in order to accomplish a lot of good. It took courage to defy convention and want to create her own safety net and financial independence. As women we could all learn from Rheda about this—ensure we have something concrete behind us. And finally, it takes strength to sacrifice everything for the ones you love—there is nothing in life more honorable.

Why is Rheda my best friend? She throws herself into life and it’s contagious. She is smart, brave and loyal. But like all my favorite romance heroines, she is strong. And if you get the chance to read INVITATION TO SCANDAL , I hope, that as I did, you will find yourself a new best friend, too.

I’d love to hear what characteristic you most identify with in your favourite heroines! Is it strength? Cunning? Bravery? Something else? What, to you, is the most important trait a heroine should have?

Invitation to Romance Blog TourOne random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book, INVITAION TO SCANDAL, (open internationally)! Also, find out how to win the INVITATION TO ROMANCE Blog Tour Grand Prize of a $200 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N PLUS 30+ ‘signed by the authors’ romance novels by visiting www.bronwenevans.com

There will be a one WORD hidden in each blog post ie. [WHO] in brackets (the word ‘WHO’ is the first clue). There are 30 words altogether. These words will spell a paragraph related toBron’s  1 May release INVITATION TO SCANDAL.

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