All blogs are property of authors and copying is not permitted.

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:

________________________________________________________________


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:


__________________________________________________________________

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.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guest Blog: Suz deMello: Herding Cats: The Joy and Challenge of Organizing a Boxed Set

Some of you may remember this Super Bowl commercial—it’s one of my favorites. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

At the end of the commercial, here’s how the company, EDS, promotes itself:

In a sense, it’s what we do. We bring together information, ideas and technologies and make them go where you want. EDS—managing the complexities of the digital economy.

A few months ago, my primary publisher underwent a corporate contraction which, unfortunately, garnered an outsize amount of adverse publicity. Authors were concerned about a variety of events which might take place. On the yahoogroup I set up so we could privately exchange information, I read fear, worry, anger...but candidly, little action.

I don’t consider myself a leader. In fact, more than one group I’ve been in has lost steam and foundered, so often I wondered if I was some sort of Jonah, a bad-luck jinx. But I do prefer action, so after a while I proposed that we take the energy we’d been expending on negative speculation and focus it on something positive.

I proposed creating a holiday boxed set. Thus was born the Naughty Literati, a group of thirteen authors who have, as our website says, “come together to show off their epic talents in short stories filled with powerful eroticism and satisfying romance.”

Why short stories? The timeline was short, so I suggested short stories. That may change. And because some were leery of too much structure, I kept it loose. Although the conventional wisdom is that readers don’t like subgenre mixing—M/M mixed in with F/M, for example—I didn’t care. I’m not interested in telling anyone how to do her art. If someone wanted to write M/M, cool. If someone wanted to contribute a ménage story, equally cool. Although the Naughty Literati all came from a publisher of erotic romance, I pushed for no set heat level. I felt sure that there would be plenty of hot sex, but I wasn’t going to decree XXX or BDSM.

Because every writer in the NL is a professional, I felt comfortable with few rules and I think others are also.

It’s been sort of a “seat of the pants” undertaking—the organizational equivalent of being a pantser as opposed to a plotter. But because I have a legal background, and used to run a law practice, I tend to be highly organized. I tried to think ahead, to anticipate issues before they arose.

We benefited by being a group of highly motivated, talented, smart and responsible individuals. Each of us brings gifts others may lack. Nic Austin is a wizard with Photoshop and has created beautiful covers and logos, plus the blog and the website. Marianne Stephens is my right-hand gal, my co-organizer, my sounding board. I can’t begin to say how glad I am she’s there for me. Regina Kammer “concatenates” like nobody’s business. Everyone stepped up to edit, copyedit, promote...there’s a myriad of tasks to complete.

There were challenges, of course. Primary among them, for me, is my naturally strong personality. I’m dominating and have the paddle and floggers to prove it. I had to rein myself in, occasionally reminding the others, “Hey, I’m not the Queen. I don’t have a tiara or Corgis.” (Damn. I like Corgis.) And I had to keep people on task without, quite frankly, being an asshole about it.

Whenever there was a potential point of disagreement, I took the easy way out. I put issues up for a vote. I have to say that while many diss Yahoo, their polling feature has been invaluable, as well as files, photo storage and databases. Communication was relatively easy.

Initial challenges: creating a loose but meaningful contract. Getting everyone to sign it (thank you, Docusign) without being a jerk about it. I felt that the arithmetic associated with divvying up the royalties could lead to serious issues, so I persuaded everyone to hire an outside company for that very purpose. The same company has handled publishing and distribution as well, for a portion of the royalties.

What can I say right now, when we’re in the midst of promoting the first boxed set, except so far so good? And it is good. The boxed set is selling nicely. Even better, the mere existence of the group, with its intense focus, has energized us. For me, I had been strangled in the grip of writers’ block so long and tight that I often contemplated giving up.

Not any more. My story for the Valentine’s Day boxed set is coming along well, which is a very good thing since, again, we’re working with a very short timeline.

Lesson learned. Next year will be easier, and there will, I think, be more boxed sets from the Naughty Literati for years to come.

At this point we’re planning about five anthologies annually, each corresponding to a season plus, of course, Valentine’s Day.

It’s hard to pinpoint what’s been best about this experience. Falling in love again with writing has been a big deal for me.

But surpassing everything has been the joy of working with a group of such fantastic colleagues. “Heart-warming” is a word that’s overused, but the caring and commitment I see from the Naughty Literati truly does warm my heart.

The best Christmas gift EVER. Thanks, guys. Love ya!
hugs,
suz

BIO:
Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms as Totally Bound and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

Find her books at http://www.suzdemello.com/
For editing services, email her at suzdemello@gmail.com
Befriend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sueswift
She tweets @Suzdemello
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/suzdemello/
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SuzATGoodreads
Her current blog is http://www.thevelvetlair.com/

BLURB: Naughty List Anthology
Are you on the Naughty List?
Thirteen Naughty Holiday stories to warm up your winter

Suz deMello's story: Viking in Tartan
Medieval romance from the Highland Vampires series. A Viking raider brings change to little Clan Kilbirnie, especially to the chieftain’s daughter Rhona.

BUY LINKS: Visit http://naughtyliterati.com for all buy links.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Xmas!!!


Today is the official publication date of my Xmas novel, Christmas with the Marquis. It's released by my new publisher, MuseItUp. I started out with them years ago, and have now happy to be returning to them with all my future books. 

By coincidence, Defiant  Pursuit, the last of my books with Ellora's Cave, is also out today. EC has been good to me, but I no longer want to write erotica.  It's a  good book though, the best erotic book I've written. So today is a special day to me.

Here's an excerpt from the very beginning of Marquis. Taming Abby  will not be easy. But what Jason hasn't expected at all was how interesting taming could be.


"Certainly he was far too good for the little girl who was his fiancée.  He’d seen her when compelled to attend her birthday party three years before. Affianced at her birth, she was then seven and hanging on his every word. While he’d felt it only proper that she worship him, he’d not been impressed by her thin, gangly frame, her awkward motions, and unremarkable features. True, she had amazing eyes. Brown with flecks of gold that seemed to dance, as well as extravagant lashes. Still, he was now in much demand for his impressive build and handsome face as well as his title. One good feature wasn’t enough. Before long, when his grandfather died, he’d be a Duke. Yes, he was much too good for nondescript little Abigail Vandersham.
It was completely ungentlemanly, but he had the social standing to pull it off. He negated their engagement, and declared himself no longer betrothed.
Of course he survived the scandal.  His grandfather refused to speak to him. The ton was truly shocked, but he knew how to charm the matrons who dominated the social scene, and gradually convinced them he’d been doing the right thing. Especially since many of them had daughters that might have hope of catching the again-available Marquis.
He gave little thought to how it would affect Abigail.

He should have."

Indeed, Abby hates him with a passion for the embarrassment and pain he caused her. These two have a far from easy time of it, and I enjoyed seeing them through all their turmoil. I can be found at all the usual places. I'd  love to give away a copy of Xmas with the Marquis to three commentators who tell me why Xmas is so special to them. So please comment !!!!!














Share buttons