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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year's Eve!

ENJOY NEW YEAR'S EVE - MAY 2015 BE A GREAT YEAR FOR YOU!

photo:Flickr:ori2uru's photostream

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hi Everyone! I'm Ava Conway, and I'm so excited to be here with everyone today.  Today, I'd like to talk about my heroine, MIA, from my upcoming new adult novel, SHATTERED (Book 2 of the Perfect Little Pieces Series). 

 

At the beginning of Shattered, Mia comes across as naive and rather self centered. Despite the fact that she's a second year  medical student, she believes that the best way to deal with the pain and difficulties in life is to bury them. By throwing herself into her work, she doesn't have to deal with her dysfunctional family, Lucy's horrible accident (and her part in it), and her PCOS. She compartimentalizes her life, categorizing events and people as either good or bad, worthy or not.

This categorizing and goal setting extends into her internship at Newton Heights Mental Institution. Here she sees the patients more or less as a school assignment, rather than human beings.

 

Her elitist behavior might initially put some people off, but there is a reason for it. She doesn't want to get close to anyone, because letting people into her world would make things messy. In her family, Mia is the good, stable child, the one who will make something out of her life. That's an enormous amount of pressure, don't you think? If she let someone get close to her, then she'd be forced to admit that she wasn't perfect. She'd also need to deal with problems she'd rather not confront, and make decisions she has put off for quite a long time.

 

You can probably guess what happens. If you keep reading past the first chapter or two, you will see that despite her best efforts, Mia becomes close to Flynn, a patient struggling with his own set of problems. Flynn shatters her black-and-white thinking and forces her to reevaluate her feelings about family, forgiveness, and love.

 

Think back to when you were just starting out in life. Was there a time when you thought everything was black and white? Did you ever try to bury a painful event and push through life because you had to remain strong for someone else? If you have answered yes to these questions, then perhaps you can understand a little bit of what Mia is going through. Her journey toward acceptance and forgiveness is at the heart of this story.


shattered


For the first time in her life, Mia Horton isn’t afraid of the future. Equipped with a new major, a new internship, and a new life, she is finally able to put the past behind her—that is, until she meets Flynn McKenna. Flynn’s boyish charm and rugged good looks make her feel things she doesn’t want to feel, and shakes the foundations of her carefully constructed world. With Flynn, Mia craves things she knows she can never have, and wonders if she’ll ever be rid of the silent curse that seems to plague all of the women in her family.

Well on his way to being the youngest mixed martial arts champion in the world, Flynn uses fighting to provide for his impoverished family. Then, one day, an accident forces him to the sidelines. His failure to achieve success devastates his parents and starts a downward spiral of guilt and self-loathing that lands him at Newton Heights Mental Hospital. He has all but given up on life, until a gorgeous young intern makes him see that there is more to him than winning titles, and that love is the most valuable prize of all.  


Available for preorder from






COMING JANUARY 5th!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Learning To Read Gives You Freedom

Books in a library
 
There are many ways learning to read gives you freedom.  To sit down to read a book can take you to another world, different states and to other countries.  If your life is not the way you want it to be right now reading will help you escape to another place.
 
Being able to read will help you in school.  The best thing any parent can do for their child is to teach them how to read because being able to read will take you so much farther in life. 
 
The most important thing reading and understanding what you read will do for you is to help you find a good job.  The one skill you need for most jobs is the ability to read.  I like to read for pleasure, but my husband reads for what he learns when he reads.  He reads engineering schematics, magazines on ham radio and anything to do with electronics. 
 
Computer engineers, lawyers, bankers, tellers, therapists, doctors, nurses, truck drivers, cooks, secretaries; all of them and more need to be able to read.  If you can't read, you're very limited in your choices for making a living.
 
When I was a kid my grandparents had a library at the top of their stairs that looked something like the one pictured. Only it was right at the top of the stairs, and there was a curtain covering the alcove where the books were.  It was my place to go to when I was about eleven or twelve when I needed a book to read.
 

I hope I have stressed the importance of learning how to read enough that if you have a problem you will get help. 
 
 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Guest Blog: E. Ayers: Inventory? What Inventory?

This time of year, we all start thinking about our New Year resolutions. What we should do is take a few minutes and look back. Every businessperson knows the importance of a balance sheet and inventory. So why do we forget that we are more than just authors? We have a business. Our business is writing. Our inventory is intellectual property (our writings).

Granted, most of us will never make the money that Danielle Steel or Stephen King makes, but can you imagine the value of Shakespeare's blog posts today? Anything we write has a monetary value and potential value. This post and two dollars will buy you a cup of coffee. Done laughing? It's all relative. But our writings are considered to be intellectual property and have value. And maybe, if you become very famous, that note you wrote to the teacher as to why Billy missed school…

Time to make some lists!

(If you are a spreadsheet junkie, put this info into a spreadsheet, if it's not already there.)

What have you accomplished?

Make a list of every book you've ever written and every book that you've ever published. Don't forget to include works-in-progress aka WIPs. It's often helpful to put a date next to each one. For instance if the book was written in 2010 and published in 2014, you could write 2010/2014. Or maybe you'd prefer to add when it was sold/contracted to a publisher, because we all know that selling and publishing can be totally separate dates. Use whatever makes sense to you, but list them.

Make a list of every book that you've written this year, and every book that has been sold and/or published this year.

Now you have something to actually look at! Look hard.

Did you accomplish your goals from last year?

How does 2014 compare to 2013?

If you wanted to write, sell, or publish three books this year but you only managed to do two, take a moment and evaluate why. We all can set lofty goals and the best-laid plans go haywire! What happened? Did your son or daughter make that special traveling ice hockey team and that sliced into your writing time? Were you responsible for an elderly parent, or your daughter expected you to be the babysitter for her newborn son? Family often takes precedence over our plans. Did the day job change and suddenly you were on the road twice as much or you had some huge project dumped in your lap?

List the things that prevented you from accomplishing your goals.

Maybe this year was stellar! Why? Did you commit to so many words a day and set aside a time to do that? Did you work harder to release those books? Harder how? Sometimes we all feel as though it was just the way the cookie crumbled, and this time, it crumbled in your favor. Even if you aren't certain why this year went better, list what may have been a factor. Did your blog receive more traffic this year? Did you spend more time tweeting, or did you utilize certain ads? Did your publisher help promote and how? Around here, I refer to it as the SWAG method or the Scientific Wild Donkey* Guess method. (*I promised to be polite.) We often have to make assumptions based on little evidence. So go with your gut feelings and what you think might have been a factor.

List what went right for a change. Don't forget to include those SWAGs.

And as soon as you know what you made in 2014, include that information in this list.

If you guest blogged 23 times, list those posts. If you've posted on your blog 130 times, list it. Again it's intellectual property, and you need to keep track of it.

One last thing: make backups of everything! Send it to the cloud, a flash drive, to your mom's hard drive, or to a CD for the safe deposit box. You really need a secure backup of what you own. Computers fail and they can take your property with them! Or worse yet, you could have a fire and lose everything in your home. We need to make backups regularly, but at the end of each year you should have one big backup for everything you've written that year. Don't forget to add your inventory list you just made! Simply label it 2014 End of Year.

You've laid your business out in front of you. You know what you have or don't have, and you know why you did or did not succeed in reaching your goals in 2014. Now you are ready to make New Year resolutions, except this time you aren't making pie-in-the-sky, off-the-cuff, or whatever you want to call it, resolutions. You are setting legitimate business goals.

Make a list of those goals no matter how minor they seem.

List each goal and what it will take to achieve them. You are creating a business plan! The plan becomes your driving force behind your dreams and aspirations. Stick to your plan unless there's a major alteration to that plan. If you commit to 300 words a day, do it! If something goes wrong and you miss a day or five, jump back in and try to catch up even if it's only 25 extra words per day. Keep your goals reasonable. We'd all like to make two million sales this year.

Break the goals down into chewable pieces. If you are selling fifteen books a day, it's reasonable to set a goal for 25 or 30. Releasing that next book might mean you'll start selling 50 a day. If that happens, adjust your goals accordingly! This business works exponentially and it changes in a split second. Never be afraid to adjust your goals or your plans to reach those goals.

Keep your goals in sight. Print them out and stick them on the bathroom mirror or wherever suits you. You want to see them at least twice a day. It will help you to stay focused.

Remember your public image! It's much too easy to scoot out of the house wearing sweats and old tennis shoes, but is that the way you want to run into a fan? That doesn't mean you have to look as though you just stepped off the runway. Think clean, neat, and presentable at all times! You are the CEO of your business and you have a public image.

Take your right hand and place it on your upper left arm. Put your left hand on your upper right arm. Now give yourself a hug! You've just graduated from carefree hobbyist to a professional businessperson.

We are in the business of creating intellectual property. There's plenty more that we all should be considering even if we aren't ready to make certain moves quite yet, such as creating an LLC, Limited Liability Corporation, or its equivalent if you live in another country. Unsure if this is something you need to be doing? Talk to a professional. Often banks have financial councilors available for free to their patrons, or check with your attorney. If you are making more than a few dollars, add consult with financial planner/attorney to your goals.

Even if you've not finished your first manuscript, walk through these steps anyway. Do it now and next year it will be easier. There's plenty to think about that goes beyond writing. Who inherits your intellectual property? You may not be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company but you are the CEO of your business no matter how big or small it is. Act successful, keep your chin up, and maintain a positive attitude. Success will come.

Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.

A. A. Milne

BLURB:
This holiday season, you'll find the spirit of Main Street alive and well in this collection of twelve heartwarming stories. The Authors of Main Street have priced the Christmas on Main Street boxed set inexpensively as their holiday gift to you.

Nobody's Cinderella by Joan Reeves, A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming by E. Ayers, What if...this Christmas by Kelly Rae, The Christmas Wish by Tori Scott, Her Christmas Cruise by Mona Risk, The Christmas Con by Jill James, A Light in the Christmas Cafe by Kristy Tate, A Potters Wood Christmas by Leigh Morgan, A Smoky Mountain Christmas by Carol DeVaney, The Christmas Gift by Pepper Phillips, Small Town Glamour Girl Christmas by Stephanie Queen, A Baby for Christmas by Susan R. Hughes.

Buy Link: Amazon

BIO:
E. Ayers is a multi-published and Amazon best-selling author of western and contemporary romances. Her books are never too sweet or too hot. She writes down the middle. She is proud to be part of the Authors of Main Street, an elite group of award-winning and best-selling contemporary authors.

Twitter http://twitter.com/ayersbooks
Shared Blog http://authorsofmainstreet.wordpress.com/
Blog http://ayersbooks.wordpress.com/
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.com/e/B005AYJ0XE
Authors of Main Street Newsletter http://ow.ly/xel3e

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Writing Goal for the New Year

Photo purchased from Fotolia by Janice Seagraves
My writing goals for the New Year is to self-publish two books.

The first book is called, Windswept Shores Two: The Journey Home. This book will finish the story of, Seth and Megan, which started in Windswept Shores.


Coming sometime in 2015:

Windswept Shores Two: The Journey Home: Megan and Seth are finally rescued off their little island, but things are far from idyllic as they’re treated to one nasty surprise after another, which puts all plans of a wonderful future in jeopardy. 

Will they ever get back together again or see the future they envisioned?

The second book is called: Son of the Matrix Crystal Hunters.The hero, River Namaste, is the son of, Vach and Maya, from, Matrix Crystal Hunters. 

Coming sometime in 2015:

Son of the Matrix Crystal Hunters: After twenty-five years, the Earthlings were back. River Namaste swears he'll never help the humans find matrix crystals, until he meets, Shaylee Miracle, Team Alpha Six's geologist. Shy and vulnerable, the black haired, dark eyed beauty is all he wants. 

But is she ready to put aside her goals for him?  
~*~

What are your goals or Resolutions for the New Year? 


~*~
Janice Seagraves's website
Janice Seagraves's facebook

Friday, December 26, 2014

Do You Suffer from Post-Holiday Letdown?

No matter which holidays you celebrate, there's no disputing that the atmosphere this time of year is different. There's so much buildup toward special events at the end of one year and the beginning of the next. So much anticipation. Through it all, it somehow feels as if things are going to be different when it's all done...our hopes will be met...our dreams fulfilled. The perfect time will be had by all.

Every heart will be warmed...every life enriched.

These out-sized expectations are rarely met in full or even in part. Humans are supremely talented dreamers. We excel at creating the perfect expectation, the fondest hope. But when, inevitably, those expectations aren't met it can sometimes hit us hard.

Reality in the face of all that magic can be depressing. The meal you thought you'd planned to perfection doesn't turn out quite as well as you'd hoped. The fun time together playing games and enjoying movies doesn't quite pan out. The game you chose is missing parts or nobody wants to play. The movie you selected stinks. Half of your guests are sick. Something breaks in the house. The dogs fight. Whatever it is...something less than perfect is going to happen to turn your expectation of a flawless time together into a broken dream.

And then the holidays are over. The presents have all been opened, the food is gone. Some of us return to lonely homes or hated jobs. Depression sets in. You can't seem to shake the blues. You're suffering from post-holiday letdown.

So what's the fix for all of that negativity? The answer is really kind of simple. Make the entire year as special as the holidays.

Kindness shouldn't be limited to a certain time of year. The pursuit of peace and joy should be a daily thing. The overflowing of love and hope shouldn't happen only around Thanksgiving or Christmas or Hanukkah or New Years. Your wish to make others happy should be a yearlong thing.

Yes, the holidays will still sparkle with a special kind of magic. And yes you can still enjoy their unique color, music and energy. But underscoring that specialness should be the knowledge that you don't need a particular time of year to follow your dream and make other people's lives better. When your life returns to normal, you can still be filled with dreams, hope and love. If you live your life that way, the magic never really leaves. It only changes form from day to day, becoming whatever you need it to be.

Happy New Year, everybody!


She might be the enemy. He might have to take her down. But all he really wants to do is make slow, sweet love to her.

Grimm Forbes has been captured by sexy spaceship Captain Cari Pascale and turned into her sex vassal. But, as alliances conspire to take down his old friends at the Authority, Grimm worries that the woman who ignites his sexual fantasies might be at the epicenter of the treachery. It's possible he'll have to make a choice between his friends and the woman he wants in his bed. He only prays he has the strength to make the right decision, because the consequences of making the wrong one will be apocalyptic.


5 Star review: Shannon's World of Books: "Wow, wow, wow…what an amazing book this was to read! This is the first book that I have read by this author and I just can’t wait to read more. This book was full of action, twists, magic and kept me on the edge of my seat. The author really did a great job keeping me pulled in throughout the book. It was excellent and I give it 5***** all the way around. I definitely recommend this book to lovers of paranormal. The magic was out of this world. The characters were great and I really felt for Grimm, Cari, and the others."

eBooks Galore: "...hot, sexy and has you hooked through the whole thing. ... The sex tension builds throughout the whole story until you feel like you're going to burst. This book will gladly satisfy any Science Fiction lover as well as romance readers! It's a great combination of the both!"








Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/494207


USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.




Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tis the Season for Holiday Movies



Tis the Season
For
Holiday Movies



After a busy day hustling and bustling and Christmas shopping, sit on the sofa, glass of wine or your drink of choice in hand, and unwind with holiday movies.

My husband and I love holiday movies and have favorites that we watch year after year. And we love the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies and like to binge watch them on Christmas day.

Here’s Tru Love Stories Magazine’s pick for the top five romantic holiday movies:

5.  While You Were Sleeping
4.  Holiday Inn
3.  Serendipity
2.  When Harry Met Sally

And the number one romantic holiday movie according to Tru Love Stories Magazine:

1.  Love, Actually.

That’s their list. Here’s my top six holiday movies, not all of which are romance. I couldn’t list just five.

6.  A Christmas Carol. My favorite is the 1951 adaptation with Alistair Sim.
5.  White Christmas. A tad corny but lots of fun and great music.
4.  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The Griswolds. What more is there to say?
3.  It’s a Wonderful Life. Who doesn’t love this movie?
2.  Holiday Affair. A little known movie with Janet Leigh and a hunky Robert Mitchum.

And my favorite holiday movie!  Drum roll.

1.  Christmas in Connecticut. Barbara Stanwyck and a yummy Dennis Morgan.





What are your favorite holiday movies?

Merry Christmas!! And Happy Viewing!

And for your reading pleasure, please check out my fun Christmas stories.











Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Guest Blog: Joanne Jaytanie: Getting Seasonal Story Ideas

You don’t have to hike the Mojave Desert or sail the Pacific Ocean to create your next story. Each day is unique and filled with experiences whether grandiose, minuscule or somewhere in between. A story idea can even develop from a mere kernel of a memory or a situation you found yourself in. That idea can become the back story of your story arch, or a place to start.
When I decided to write my Christmas story, I wanted to engulf the reader in the feeling of the season. The lights and colors that shimmer and shine everywhere you look. The smell of cinnamon, hot apple cider, a crackling fire, the fresh cut evergreen trees. These thoughts sparked a memory from my childhood. When I was a small child the yearly hunt for our Christmas tree was a tradition I loved. You see, the tree didn’t come in box or from parking lot vendor; it came from nature’s store.

We would pile into the car and head out to my grandmother’s house. She lived out in the country, surrounded by evergreen trees and nature. We bundled up in layers upon layers of clothes which covered every part of our body, except our eyes and mouths. White puffs of breath would slip out from under our toasty scarves. The adults would grab the saws and we headed out for our trek up the mountain, dredging through the three or more feet of pristine sparking snow to find our perfect tree.

After a long debate on which tree would proudly stand in our home, it would be chopped down, tied with a rope. We would each take our turn hauling it back down the mountain. It was a day of hopes and dreams, frozen toes and noses. I wouldn’t have traded a single moment for anything in the world.

The simple reminiscence of the Christmas tree hunt triggered the inspiration behind the Forever Christmas collection. My hope for the reader is it will bring back fond memories, or inspire new ones.

Immerse yourself in the spirit of the holidays!

BLURB:
The western Washington town of Glenville is threatened with the possible loss of their 100 year old Christmas tree farm to an outside corporation. Four friends join together to keep the tradition alive and create new opportunities with the rebirth of the Forever Christmas tree farm.

As a teenager Juliet Swanson couldn’t wait to get out of her home town of Glenville, WA and move to the big city. She moved to California to attend college, and then went to work for a large corporation. It didn’t take her long to realize that clawing her way up the ladder at others expense wasn’t the life she wanted. She moved back to her home town, fell in love with the ‘family feel’ of living there and has a close knit group of girlfriends she shares everything with. Now if she could only find a way to make her dream career a reality she would have it all, except for Mr. Right.

Colton Weatherly is a city guy who eats and breaths his career as a project manager for a acquisitions corporation. He is assigned to acquire the Glenville Ski Resort, along with the Schwartz Christmas Tree Farm. By his estimation it will be an easy close, and he plans to wrap it up in one short weekend. What he didn’t plan on was butting heads with Juliet, who is not the average ‘local girl.’

Reflecting on one’s life can sometimes lead to discovering a path you never knew existed.

Buy Link:  Amazon
 
BIO:
Joanne was born and raised in Sherburne, New York, a quaint village surrounded by dairy farms and rolling hills. From the moment she could read she wanted to explore the world. During her college years she slowly crept across the country, stopping along the way in Oklahoma, California, and finally Washington State, which she now proudly calls home. She lives with her husband and Dobermans, in their home located on the Kitsap Peninsula with a panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains.

Joanne writes paranormal, romantic suspense, and contemporary romance. She loves writing about the twists and turns of her character’s lives and the trouble they find themselves involved in, coupled with building an everlasting relationship. She enjoys a wide variety of books including paranormal, suspense, thriller, and most of all romance.

Joanne is a member of Romance Writers of America, and an active member of Debbie Macomber’s home chapter, Peninsula Romance Writers, where she currently serves as the President.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bang the Drummer – a new way to celebrate Christmas

Giving away a Christmas story! Leave comment (and your email). Two lucky winners will get their choice of Soul Dreams or He Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

With Christmas practically right around the corner, I wanted to share a taste of my newest Christmas story. Bang the Drummer is part of

From The 12 Brides of Christmas from The Wild Rose Press
Spicy version of 12 drummers drumming!
A Recommended Read from All Romance eBooks









Jill Kennedy has plans for a Christmas wedding. She's put down deposits for the flowers, photos, and venue. Now all she needs is a groom. A drummer who'll keep her life as steady as he keeps the beat to his music. With her good friend Charlie Costello as her wingman, she'll interview percussionists, one per month until she finds the right tempo. But with Christmas approaching and no groom in sight, she's starting to wonder if she'll ever bang the drummer of her dreams.


Excrept:
Jill Kennedy curled up on her couch studying her iPad, frowning. Her Christmas tree still twinkled in the corner although the holiday was long past. Coldplay’s latest CD bumped its tunes out from her iPod docking station. The last of her Christmas candles flicked in glass holders on the coffee table, filling the room with the scent of pine and cranberry. She should be feeling mellow, but instead her nerves were jumping and a headache was creeping slowly up from the nape of her neck.
Charlie Costello lounged next to her, sock feet resting on her coffee table, his hands tapping a steady rhythm on his thighs in time to the song.
Jill tucked a strand of her shoulder-length sable-colored hair behind her ear as she studied the information on the iPad screen.
“I think I’ve got everything taken care of. Booked the Creekside Winery. Ordered the decorations. Set up a tasting for the food and Stella’s designing the wedding cake.” She glanced up at Charlie. “Why are you looking at me in that strange way?”
He gave her his familiar lop-sided grin. “You are the only woman I know who plans and pays for her wedding without knowing who the groom is.”
She flipped a hand at him. “I’ll have one by then. It’s in the plan. You know.”
He threw back his head and laughed. “Yeah, I love your interview process. You aren’t even dating anyone right now.”
“Because look how poor my choices were in that arena, right?”
He snorted. “So this is better? Tell me how?”
Jill pulled up another memo on her iPad. “Okay. I have a list.”
“A list? This I gotta hear. Lay it on me.”
 If she didn’t need his help so badly, she would have smacked him. “It’s very specific. I asked around about different drummers in different bands and narrowed it down to the twelve most likely prospects. You know. Twelve drummers drumming, for Christmas.”
“Like a grocery list,” he teased.
“No, Charlie.” Damn him! “Like an interview process for a job.”
“Is that what this is, kitten? A job?”
“It’s a lifetime commitment,” she sniffed. She wished he’d just let her get on with this. All these questions were making her have tiny doubts about the wisdom of her decision. She gave herself a mental shake. “I’ll do one a month until I hit on the right one. The exact right one. First I check out their musical talent and their band history.”
Charlie gave a roar of laughter. “Because that’s such a requirement for stability?”
“Because it has to be a drummer so I need his performance history,” she snapped.
“Maybe it’s a different kind of performance you should be worrying about.”
“That comes later. After the phone calls and the coffee dates to see how he is in person and match our likes and dislikes.”
“Coffee dates?” He cocked an eyebrow. “Not even a romantic dinner?”
She wanted to sling the iPad at him. “I’ve been that route, remember? The whole nine yards, and what did I get? A bunch of losers. No, I’m doing this like a project for work. As a systems analyst, she knew the importance of things being able to mesh on a practical basis. ”
So you’re going to interview these bozos and then—what?”
Drummers,” she told him. “Interviewing drummers.”
He cocked his head. “And that’s why?”
“I told you.” She blew out a breath of exasperation. “Drummers have the best beat. The best tempo. They’re the heart of the band.” She grinned. “And have the best rhythm in bed.”




Sunday, December 21, 2014

Meet InkHeart Authors Megan Crane and Bianca D'Arc, featuring their hot new releases!

Megan Crane
Megan Crane is a New Jersey native who had great plans to star on Broadway, preferably in Evita, just like Patti LuPone. Sadly, her inability to wow audiences with her singing voice required a back up plan. Accordingly, she graduated from Vassar College and got her MA and PhD in literature from the University of York in England. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on AIDS literature, mostly so she could wallow in her obsession with the remarkable multi-media artist David Wojnarowicz and her idol, the bitter and hilarious David Feinberg. After many years in the rain and subject to the whim of seasons, she followed the sun to Los Angeles, where she lives with a dog, a cat, two crazy kittens, and an artist named Jeff. She is still plotting her Broadway debut.

Find Megan Crane at: 



Come Home For Christmas, Cowboy

This Christmas season, Christina Grey Cooper has finally accepted that her marriage to her college sweetheart Dare is over. 

So she packs up her things, leaves a note, and heads back home for Marietta, Montana in the hope that a Christmas with her family will help piece her head—if not her heart—back together. 

Dare isn’t about to let the love of his life go, and who cares if that’s what he thought he wanted? He’ll do what it takes to win Christina back—even if that means suffering through Christmas with his in-laws, pretending to still be happily married for the sake of family harmony, and trying not to get caught up in all that holiday nonsense he’s never believed in… 

But Christmas is magical, especially in Montana. 

And if Dare has any hope of convincing Christina to give him one more chance, it’s going to be here… 

Montana Born Christmas series
Book 1: Blame the Mistletoe by Dani Collins
Book 2: Mistletoe Wedding by Melissa McClone
Book 3: Her Mistletoe Cowboy by Alissa Callen
Book 4: Cowboy, It's Cold Outside by Katherine Garbera
Bok 5: Come Home for Christmas, Cowboy by Megan Crane

Available at:

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Bianca D'Arc
A life-long martial arts enthusiast, Bianca enjoys a number of hobbies and interests that keep her busy and entertained such as playing the guitar, shopping, painting, shopping, skiing, shopping, road trips, and did we say… um… shopping? A bargain hunter through and through, Bianca loves the thrill of the hunt for that excellent price on quality items, though she’s hardly a fashionista. She likes nothing better than curling up by the fire with a good book, or better yet, by the computer, writing a good book.

Find Biaca D'Arc at: 




Her Warriors

Love triangles are always more interesting when they come equipped with claws...and flippers?

Beau has anger issues, but not when he's around Jacki. The fierce tiger shifter has been following her around like a puppy, but she hasn't taken notice of him...until now.

No matter how long Geir has lived in the States, he's still the odd man out. A tiger shifter native of Iceland, he is a Master of his craft, training other warriors the skills he has perfected. When he sees Jacki for the first time, he knows she is the one for him.

Jacki is the privileged daughter of a prominent shifter Clan. Most of her relatives are lion shifters, so she knows how to handle cats on the prowl, but she is a much rarer selkie-a seal shifter-imbued with magic and surrounded by mystery. When an opportunity arises to step into a key role in shifter society, she is uncertain, but willing to try. And when she's told she doesn't have to choose between the two tigers, but rather, can have them both, she is more than intrigued. But someone is stalking their path and they must work together to nullify the danger, all while trying to figure out a complicated relationship that has all three of them questioning fate.

Available at:


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Connect With Us At:


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Guest Blog: Victoria Allen: Under the Cover


I’ve been in on a lot of discussions lately about what draws a person to a book. Is it the cover art? The blurb? The title? The author name? The subject? Something else?

I honestly believe it’s a combination of all of the above. When I’m wandering through a bookstore, the cover art is obviously the first thing to catch my eye. Even if I’m looking for a specific author that I know where to go to find, other books may draw me in with the cover art. And I might stop and pick one up.

Once I’ve picked it up, I check out the title. Even with an amazing cover, “Following the history of libraries” would probably not be something I’d go for (and trust me on that, because I've read it - and yes, it was as boring as it sounds, but it was also required reading for my degree). Anyway, next, I look at the blurb on the back. I get very irritated with books that have no blurb. Or the blurb may be only about the author’s other books. I want to know about *this* book, not his or her other ones. At least, not yet. If you want to give me that info, put it inside, but give me a back blurb. A back blurb should be short and to the point. It should be intriguing enough to get me to actually open the book and look at a page or two. Some places get you with leading questions, other publishers don’t do this. That doesn’t matter to me. Tell me who the main characters are, what they want, and why they can’t have it. (Ever heard of Goal/Motivation/Conflict?).

So far, all this stuff is on the publisher (unless it’s self-pubbed). If I’ve gotten this far, I’ll open the book and read the first page. This is where the author has to pull me in. If you don’t catch me in the first page or two, that’s it. I’ll put the book down and move on – unless it’s an author I know well and know that the story will get significantly better by page ten or so.

Do I look at reviews? Rarely. An amazing review has never gotten me to purchase a book, nor has a bad one gotten me to ignore one. A review is just someone’s opinion. I've written them myself as a professional reviewer for magazines and sites. A few years ago, there was a book out that was getting amazing reviews. One of my good friends read it and gushed all about this book and how good it was. She even mailed me a copy so we could read it together (she lived across the country). I sat down to read the book… and hated it. I tried very hard to love the book. I really did. But I hated it. It was made into a movie. I watched the movie to see if that would make me like the book. It didn’t. Though it had two really good actors in the lead parts, I hated it almost more than I disliked the movie. I thought it was me, but in talking with other friends, I found out I wasn’t the only one who disliked this book. So reviews? They don’t do it for me.

So… cover art, title, blurb, first two pages – these are the things that get me to pick up a book and read it. What about you? What gets you to read a book?

BIO:
Vicky Burkholder resides in Pennsylvania near the area where her ancestors settled in 1741. She lives in a three-generation home and is lucky enough to have two other writers in residence. At various times in her life, she has been a journalist, writer, editor, teacher, short-order cook, computer specialist, DJ, and librarian. She currently works as an editor for an online publisher and private clients. Her own writing spans the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and romance lines from YA to adult. No matter the age or genre, all of her books have a touch of romance in them and have to have a happily ever after ending. Vicky can be reached through her blog: http://www.vickyburkholder.com/

BLURB:
Caught between a group of exiles and her fate as protector of the ruby key, Phoebe will have to choose between the dork, the gentleman, and the loner. The fate of her world and those beyond depend on her making the right choice! Vicky Burkholder takes you back to Lemuria in The Ruby Key, Book 2 of her contemporary, paranormal romance series, The Crystal Keys.



Friday, December 19, 2014

LOOKING BACK AT 2014 - Reflection of a Writer's Year

I'm sitting here in my bronchial pneumonia haze, hoping I get better for Christmas, and trying to slough through edits that are overdue. Bear with me if I don't make a lot of sense. I find my stuffy ears and nose are helping me focus, of all things. Who knew being sick had its perks?

We just got back from a wonderful trip, a cruise from Italy to the Caribbean, and 3 fabulous days in Disney World with our children and grandchildren. I would do the whole trip again, except that my husband took ill and so, being in a tight space for so long, of course I got it just as we were coming home. But the trip was fabulous. Beautiful blue water and beaches--things I crave now sitting here with the rain pouring down. I had that cheeseburger in paradise, found a place I want to go to rent a
little cottage by the beach for a month next year. I'd wanted to do a writer's conference in Italy, but I've decided to do this instead. I need solace. You'll see why.

It's been a productive year. Loved the post yesterday about boxed sets and yes, I've done a bunch of those too, 7 to be exact. They are time consuming, but helped my ranking, even if they didn't throw a lot of sales to my other titles. I still think they were worth it in terms of hitting lists, namely 3 times NYT in 9 months. I even hit a USA/Today list in my own boxed set, Ultimate SEAL Collection, which was nice.

I've released four SEAL Brotherhood books this year, books 5-8, am about to release my first paranormal book in nearly two years, Underworld Queen, which is also a continuation of my Guardians series, wrote one SEAL novella for Bella Andre's Game For Love world, SEAL's Goal, and co-produced, with my awesome storyteller, J.D. Hart, 10 audio books this year. I've attended ten conferences.

This year has gone by so fast I can hardly believe it's nearly over. When I run into people who tell me, wistfully, "Oh yea, I'd like to write a book some day. I have a really great story in mind..." and then they go on to tell you something you have a hard time following, I sit back on my heels and nod like the Pope and say internally, "Bless you, my child." Now I know what other writers were thinking when they warned me about giving up my career as a Realtor to write full time.

Being a writer is hard work. Sometimes the work isn't equal to the pay (blinding flash of the obvious here), not like in a "real" job where you show up and you get paid, sometimes regardless of how much you get done. You may work for months on a project and get paid very little, or much later, like a year to eighteen months later, or sometimes not at all. We have to pick and choose what we get involved in, where a good use of our time lies, and which people to surround ourselves with. We have to stop chasing rainbows and just do what we can. No one can do it all. And what works for one author, might not work for another. And we have to stop comparing ourselves to other authors. Ouch, that one hurts. If you're doing it right now, stop it!

Now we have Facebook changing the game as far as promotion, taking down pages and not not allowing promotion. Some who haven't paid attention to these changes are going to be disappointed with the results. The rest of us have to learn how these new mandates affect the most effective and free method of advertising our books. We have to find another way.

I just think about the premise of my Guardians Series: Heaven isn't 100% perfect by design, the Underworld isn't 100% evil by accident. That just about sums up my year, a year of pleasant and not-so-pleasant accidents, in a well-planned and orchestrated year that wasn't nearly 100% perfect.

Next year? Yup, I've normally got that all planned out by 12/31. Sort of my personal rule that stuck from my years coaching Realtors. But just like I used to tell them, in getting ready for the next year, your most important ally is your attitude.

So, here's my New Years advice for writers out there: Smile. Be resilient. Learn to say no, but don't be afraid to say yes. Learn to thank people more. Accept defeat and disappointment with grace and dignity. And keep doing what you love. 

Happy Holidays, everyone. And may you start the best year of your life in a few days!

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.


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