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Monday, April 29, 2013

Writers Working to Get Published

You think you're working to get published, but are you really?  I wrote and submitted manuscripts for years, and then one day my mentor asked me; Sandy, are you sure you want to get published?  At first, I was offended by the question, so I thought about it before answering her. 

What I finally realized is that I was afraid of the unknown.  All this time, I had basically been shooting myself in the foot.  Oh sure, I was going through the motions, and I thought I was serious, but I was afraid.  Afraid I would never be good enough, and afraid of what would happen after I was published.  Just how much was getting published going to change my life.  These were the thoughts running through my head and many more. 

I decided I loved to write, so I might as well keep learning and improving my manuscripts for submission.  Why not?  I was still doing something I loved.  Even blogging is writing, and I do that all the time.  It's fun. 

Okay, I must admit it; it did change my life.  Nothing could have prepared me for all the work involved in promoting my books after they were published.  Promotions took over my life so much that I burned out on writing altogether.  It took awhile to happen, but it wore me out, and it was impossible to write on new stories for awhile.  Finally, I gave up promoting and went back to writing, but promotion is essential to sell your books.  You have to market your books, or people will never learn about them.

Ask yourself if you really want to get published?

You can find me on Facebook at
My books can be found at under author, Sandra K. Marshall.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Guest Blog: Renee D. Field: Can an Erotic Writer Write Sweet?

I think for many women writing romance can reflect where they are in their lives. When I started writing romance in my early 30’s I loved to write hot erotic romance. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to write the hot stuff, but personally, after being married for over two decades, I’m finding value in writing sweet romance. OMG did I just say that? Yes. Why? There is power in loving a man who has life experience, maybe some baggage with him and just maybe my heroine is now looking for something sweeter after having made her own way in her life.

I admit I never thought I could write a sweet romance but I have learned to trust my characters. The premises for this story I just finished writing was about two thirty-year-olds who had been high school sweethearts and who after years of going their separate ways realized they truly were right and meant to be together. The tone was extremely charming and light compared to what I usually write. I love that I created this sweet rural town and set it just outside Cape Code and my secondary characters and setting really added to the hometown charm. I plan to write the three-book series completely and then delve back into another new series I’ve mapped out and yes that will be a lot hotter.

One thing I discovered when writing sweet romance is that the limit on how far my characters can go when really getting it on was hard. How do you write without detailing all those passionate love scenes? I decided to leave a lot up to the reader and simply stated what had happened. Now, there are a few scenes, I’m sure my critique partners will get me to change as they might be a little too hot for sweet but until she gets back to me, I’m keeping them in.

I’d love to hear from both authors and readers? Readers when you pick up a sweet romance what are you looking for? Authors who write romance, I’d love to know how you tackle just how far to go with your characters?

Renee Field has been writing romance, erotic and sensual paranormal for well over a decade. She has over 12 books published with Ellora’s Cave and HQN Spice Briefs for her spicy erotic works and for the past two years has delved into the Indie world as a self-published author. She is a member of the RWA, and her local Atlantic Canadian RWAC chapter, and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

Renee Field also writes nitty gritty and paranormal young adult under the name Renee Pace and in July 2012 created an on-line advertising company called StoryFinds, which is committed to showcasing both Indie and traditionally published authors.

She calls Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada home and is happily married to her hubby of over twenty years and is attempting to keep her sanity raising four active children.

She loves her view of the Atlantic Ocean and can be reached at

Mermen aren't real. That's what biologist Jamie Winters thinks until a gorgeous Greek god enters her life and drowns her, forcing her to rapture into a Siren. Used to logic, she can't quite come to terms with Seth Cutter's magical undersea realm or the fact that he's a macho Titan.

Being a Siren causes Jamie's hormones to go into overdrive, which isn't good when she realizes that's exactly what Seth was hoping for. Sure, the sex is out of this world, but she's not about to change her character.

As Prince of the North Seas, Seth is used to having his commands followed. A decade of exile on land was easier than having to deal with the sexy-as-sin Siren who tips the scales of his existence and doesn't listen to one word he says.

They must overcome their prejudices to recover stolen relics that are key to the undersea kingdom, stop a deadly plague and destroy an underwater diva who wants to rule the roost. Are they two souls destined for each other or will the Fates decide otherwise? Seth knows firsthand, Fate can be a bitch.

Buy Link:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tension by Janice Seagraves

by Janice Seagraves 

In any story you read, there’s conflict or should be.

Conflict leads to tension and tension leads to darn good story telling.

 No tension, no story. It’s as simple as that.

In Windswept Shores, my heroine, Megan, thinks her husband is still alive even though she saw the plane sink underneath the waves. She tries not to fall in love with the hero, Seth.

Another thing weighing on her mind is her husband’s unfaithfulness. She’s a moral person, so how can she be unfaithful like her husband had been to her?

Of course this is a romance, so feelings are bound to happen.

Excerpt: “How’s the leg?” Seth asked.

“Better. It doesn’t hurt.”

“Let me have a look.” He removed his blood stained shirt, washed his hands, and sat sideways at the dining table.

Megan walked over, showing him her injured thigh.

He pulled her closer so she stood between his legs. Running his hands down to the bandage, he asked, “Megz, have you been shaving?”

“Um, no.” She gazed down at his warm hands on her tanned skin.

“Blimey, no hair or stubble. Not even one.” He carefully examined her leg.

“That is the wonders of modern technology.”

“Howzat?” He furrowed his brow.

“I had my hair removed with laser treatments.”

“Smooth like a baby’s bum.” He grinned. Gingerly, he took off part of the tape so he could peek under it. “It looks a bit better. Just a small pink ring around the wound, but it has a decent scab.”

“Oh, good.” She briefly closed her eyes as relief washed through her.

He smoothed the bandage back down, then smiled at her.

“I want to thank you for taking care of me.” She cupped his face, leaned down, and kissed him on the forehead.

“Try a little lower, love.” He tilted his head back.

“Well, since you went to all the trouble of shaving.” After a moment’s hesitation, she bent down, giving him another kiss on the lips. The moment she did, his arms went around her waist. Seth pulled her against his bare chest. He deepened the kiss, brushing his tongue against hers. Megan melted against him, making a small noise in her throat as an incredible flare of desire took her completely by surprise. The kiss was long, deep and very intense, while his large, warm hands slipped under her shirt, massaging her back.

Megan pulled back, looking down at the passionate expression in Seth’s gray eyes. “That was…”

“Bloody amazing,” he finished for her.

Megan’s eyes went wide. She took several steps back out of his embrace. She leaned against the counter. “Oh, I really shouldn’t have done that.”

“Don’t whinge, love. You needed that and so did I.” He gave a lopsided grin.

Megan found she wanted to trace his full, kissable lips with her fingers. Oh, no.

She ran outside, breathing deeply of the clean evening air. What’s the matter with me? I’m married. You don’t kiss other men when you’re married.

“Megz,” Seth called, ducking as he stepped through the doorway. “It’s okay, love.”

“No, it’s not.” She wrapped her arms around herself, even though she really wanted to throw them around Seth. Megan bit her lip. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I shouldn’t feel anything for Seth. He is a big happy-go-lucky lug, also handsome and sexy as hell. Oh, damn.

He walked up behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders, sending warmth right through her. “When’s the last time you and your bloke threw a leg over?”

“That’s none of your business,” she snapped. Heat rose to her face.

“Megz,” he said gently, “ya act like yer haven’t been touched in a very long time. A lot longer than the two weeks that yer been here.”

She didn’t answer him. He’s right. Jonathan hadn’t slept with me in six months. I must be touch hungry. “Are we going to cook that pig or what?”

Trade paperback:

Janice Seagraves’s website:

I’m running a contest on the Tortured Hero Blog op that had been canceled. You’d do me a huge favor if you’d drop by and leave a comment for a chance at a prize:

Friday, April 26, 2013

Endurance and Stupidity

Endurance is not just the ability to keep on trying but being stupid enough to believe you can make it.

Ever feel like your sheer grit and determination to finish got you through a difficult task? If so, you know that sometimes determination and endurance will get you much farther than talent and IQ. It’s true as a writer and also in life

I’ll use myself as an example. I didn't learn how to play tennis until I was in college. Now, I was never known for my athletic ability. In fact I often tell folks I’m something of a klutz. So, it is no surprise that I couldn’t master the game in one semester. Or two. Or three. In fact, to this day I think the instructor passed me to keep me from being in her class another year. After graduating, I joined a tennis team. It was only after playing two to three hours every day for two years that I got fairly good. It was good timing, because that year we ended up in the city championship for our division, pitted against our arch rivals.

The finals were played outdoors in early May. Virginia at that time of year is full of life, think blooming flowers, leafing trees. Also envision everything covered in a thin layer of yellowish green pollen. By the way, I didn’t mention one important detail about myself. Besides having a major case of severe klutz syndrome, I also have really bad allergies. I see a lot of readers nodding their heads, thinking theirs are awful as well. But, I’m talking really bad. When I was tested, I was allergic to all but five of the eighty-plus allergens they checked. My allergist could have used me as his disclaimer, my picture on the wall of his waiting room, eyes puffy and nose red from blowing. The inscription would read, “I can’t help everyone.”

At eight a.m. on a windy day, we hit the tennis court. At nine a.m. I left the court, hacking and sneezing, after losing miserably in straight sets. With my loss our team also lost the championship. But as luck would have it, perhaps tweaked a little through an intervention from the big guy, we got another chance to win a year later. I was ecstatic, a chance to vindicate myself! This time my doubles partner and I ended up anchoring the team. Our game was last and everything balanced on our win or loss—nothing like a little pressure. But, thanks to a double dose of allergy medicine and more than three hours on the court, we went on to win the city championship and then even further to be the victors in the tri-state championship.

My point is that no matter what the level of your ability, with enough focus and endurance, you can get any job done. However with endurance, as with everything, there are some points you have to keep in mind in order to succeed.

1) You have to be constant and consistent. Your purpose cannot waiver. When you have a task to do, know specifically what it is and what that task looks like when it is perfectly complete. Stay true to that goal. The more specific the task and the goal to be reached, the better. Also, decide the best way to approach the goal and stay the course by performing it as envisioned. For me in tennis it was to practice the basics until they were performed with a low error rate before moving on to more complicated tasks like strategy.

2) You must act. Staying in the same spot is not an action. Endurance suggests movement, not immobilization. Don’t lose momentum by stopping to rest, but continue on, only changing your speed if you tire.

3) You must adapt to changing conditions. A tennis player may run to the net to then angle the ball in a shallow maneuver, placing it out of bounds where the opponent will have difficulty reaching it. But the player must adapt by moving back to the baseline when the opponent gets to it and lobs it over her head.

4) Strength of purpose is what sees you through. When you have a team behind you, it is more likely for you to accomplish a well-focused task and goal.

The minds and efforts of many assist in exponentially ensuring the success of a project.

So remember the importance of endurance and stay focused on this formula:

Consistency + Adaptive Action + Purpose = Success ³

And if you’re like me, practice a lot and then some more. As a writer, learn and write, learn and write some more—plus in life and writing always take your allergy medicine with you.


Bobbye Terry writes romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, suspense, fantasies and dystopian fiction. Recently she has branched out into inspirational nonfiction. Her latest work is A Murder in Every Port, Book 4 in the Briny Bay Mystery Series, published by Turquoise Morning Press. For more about Bobbye, visit her at and For her inspirational work, go to

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Interview of Author Johanna Rae

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author, Johanna Rae.

Latest Book: In August 2012 Therian Secrets 1 – THE MERCENARY was released. In June/July this year it will be re-released with a brand new cover! Not only that but Therian Secrets 2 – THE FURY is also due out then. Two books within 6-8 weeks!
Buy Link: (old cover)

A shy girl from a small town in New Zealand that never quite seemed to fit in, Johanna had more imagination than she knew what to do with and learned to immerse herself in a good book at a very young age. Not good at sports and an only child for the first eight years of her life, Johanna started concocting stories and dreaming up whole new worlds to while away the hours. As she got older, she made it her goal to get published and tell her stories to others.  Now married with three young children, it has been a challenge to juggle her writing with the commitments of her growing family but Johanna has now achieved that goal with her poetry book, two short story publications and paranormal romance series.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: In every piece I’ve written the beginning has given me the most stress. Often I will begin writing somewhere in the middle instead, trying to get the scenes that are prominent in my mind onto the page first. Then I’ll go back and link everything together. The beginning and the end often come last in my order of creation.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: No, I do not have a comfort food. However, I am caffeine dependent. I’ve found that if I don’t sit down with a fresh cup of coffee when I’m about to write, the words don’t come as easily. The same goes for music. If I don’t put on the appropriate playlist for what I’m working on, I find that I get very distracted.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: In addition to my writing, I’m also an artist. I enjoy sketching and painting among other media, though sketching is my preference. I’ve drawn/sketched a huge variety of subjects but I would have to say that portraiture is my favorite. Another hobby of mine is cooking, I feel very at home in the kitchen.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I’ve been told that I have a way with dialogue. A writing supplement I read a long time ago suggested that dialogue should be kept to a minimum but I have found my style refuses to comply with that! I’m a character driven author, therefore my characters have difficulty in keeping quiet when I’m trying to tell my stories.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: So far most of what I have written both published and unpublished has been either romance and/or some version of paranormal. I would love to try my hand at the horror/thriller genre. I also have it as a future goal to publish one of my fantasy ideas that I have in my “work in progress” folder.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: Facebook would have to be my first choice. Despite the frequent technological glitches every time there is an update, I like how it works and I’ve found that it is here I have the most contact and following from my readers.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Author page -
Series page -
Blog –
Web page –
Twitter - @JohannaMRae
Lazy Beagle Entertainment -
Also on Goodreads!

When twenty-three-year-old Jodie Fletcher realizes shape-shifters are real-and that they're trying to kill her-she finds herself thrust into a life of danger and unimaginable intrigue. With her parents away and her alcoholic and newly single brother, Luke, camped in her spare bedroom, Jodie feels like she's drowning in a world she doesn't understand. The only thing she can count on is the leopard who has apparently taken it upon himself to protect her. She cannot ignore the raw emotion he awakens in her, and she longs for more. The leopard becomes not only her savior, but her escape.

Mysterious and unpredictable, leopard shifter Danny Archer hides behind his dimpled smile and pretty boy fa├žade. What's more, he has a second job the human population doesn't know about-the one that leads him to Jodie and Luke. Archer feels an instant connection with Jodie, and he must find a way to balance his volatile lifestyle to include her.

Luke Fletcher became an alcoholic long before his wife left him. Now he faces the brutal reality that his past has caught up with him. He made a series of bad choices while under the influence, and these choices have placed him, his sister, and his two young daughters in danger. Luke must try to find the man he used to be if he is to survive the chaos he's inflicted; he knows he won't be able to live with himself if anything happens to his family.

The leopard continued to advance, taking his time. About an arm’s length away he stopped, sniffing the air between them. Lying down in front of Jodie, he never broke eye contact and she was too damned afraid to. When she refused to move a muscle, the leopard slowly inched closer, keeping his pale furred form low to the ground. He appeared to be gauging her level of fear.

When paw touched the tip of Jodie’s shoe, she startled. The leopard shuffled backward with alarming speed, dragging himself up into a sitting position. Barely daring to breathe, she squeezed her eyes shut and counted to ten under her breath. It’s going to be okay, I’ve just been working too hard. My brain has gone a little crazy and none of this is real.

Jodie opened her eyes and stared directly into the gaze of the leopard. The majestic animal sat at a respectable distance, calm and relaxed. It watched her with intelligence, never missing a single tiny movement. It’s waiting for something, she thought. Jodie felt drawn to the animal and she couldn’t understand it. I should be paralyzed with fear but I want to touch him. Why on earth do I want to touch him?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

TV Commercials and Fiction Writing

TV Commercials and Fiction Writing

Some years back I was strolling through a shopping mall in the Philadelphia suburbs where I lived at the time, when a person stopped me and asked if I’d take a survey. I agreed, and she took me into a large room with a TV. I had to watch various commercials and rate them. There were about five commercials, and after watching them, I couldn’t recall the names of any of the products they were trying to sell. Very bad commercials if I couldn’t remember the products within minutes of watching. I’ve never forgotten that experience. The same way companies want to make commercials that will sell their products, we want to write books readers will love and tell their friends about. I remember the books I loved and the ones I hated. The ones in the middle, not so much. You could say the books I hated got a reaction from me, if a bad one.

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with TV commercials. I know I do. Whenever we watch a show we recorded, we skim through the commercials. I got to thinking about TV commercials and fiction writing and why they are similar. There are some ads I like enough to stop and watch. What is it that makes me love some ads and dislike others enough to have me scrambling for the mute button on the remote when they come on?

The things I enjoy or hate in a commercial are the same things I like or don’t like in books. Here are some of my best-loved ads and ones that make me reach for the mute button. To be on the safe side, I won’t give the product names for the ones I dislike. You may disagree with me, and that’s okay. That’s why there are so many different books out there—something for everyone.

I love Flo, the Progressive Insurance lady. Some of you may find her annoying, but I find her funny and refreshing. If she were a character in a romance novel, she’d be the heroine’s quirky best friend, the one who makes the heroine laugh and brings her down to earth when needed. If I’m flipping through channels and I come to Flo, I’ll stop and watch her. The Geico Insurance ads are favorites too. The gecko gets a little annoying at times, but I like him. However, I love the new ads they’ve been running where there’s a hilarious vignette that has nothing to do with reality, then two guitar players ask who’s happier than a person who saves money with Geico, and cites the characters in one of the crazy vignettes. My favorite is the two antelopes wearing night-vision goggles and taunting a lion. I laugh every time I see it. Another favorite is the one with Paul Revere calling in the British invasion on his cell phone so he can go back to playing charades with his friends. They’ve started running a new one about a vampire volunteering at a blood bank. Funny. I also love the insane Vikings in the Capital One commercials. I love how serious they are while doing outrageous things. And I like Jimmy Fallon (who doesn’t like Jimmy?) and that sweet little girl who stars in the Capital One ads with him. All of these commercials do a wonderful job on name recognition. Unlike those ads I watched in the survey years ago, I don’t forget the names of these products.

What makes the above commercials view-worthy and what can they teach us about writing stories readers will love? First, they’re funny, at least to me. We all love funny. I write feel-good stories, and these commercials make me feel good. They’ve got engaging characters I can relate to. They’re creative, out-of-the box thinking. Who could have come up with night-vision-goggle-wearing antelopes? Or Paul Revere using a cell phone? Or crazy Vikings bringing their Viking ways to the modern world? Each of these commercials takes something familiar and gives it a twist. There are only so many plots, but each author can put her own twist on a tried-and-true plot to make it fresh. That’s what these commercials do.

What about the commercials I dislike so intensely I can’t punch that mute button fast enough? The one that makes my stomach clench is for a product that’s supposed to help you stop smoking. Most. Annoying. Commercial. Ever. And they are long ads. I don’t smoke so the company doesn’t care that I hate their ads. I find the real-life people they use in these ads whiny and annoying. I don’t want to read books with whiny, annoying characters any more than I want to see them in commercials.

Other commercials I mute are ones for a popular weight-loss system. And it’s not WeightWatchers. I love WeightWatchers and like their commercials. As with the stop-smoking ads, these weight-loss ads show “real” people waxing enthusiastically about how much weight they’ve lost. To be fair, these commercials have gotten a little less nauseating lately. Maybe they had complaints about the one they did a few years ago that gets my prize as the most irritating commercial ever. Those featured a woman who giggled through the whole piece. Her husband loved her “new”  body—giggle, giggle. She loved her new body—giggle, giggle. No person, male or female, over the age of five should giggle. That commercial made me wonder about the woman’s husband. Didn’t he like her for herself before she lost weight? Not very heroic if he only likes her for her new, slim body. We writers don’t want to write heroes who aren’t heroic, and readers don’t want to read about them.

I always look forward to the commercials in the Super Bowl, but lately they’ve been forgettable. Tell me what you think. What are your favorite commercials and why? Your least favorite and why? Do you see a relation between them and books? This inquiring mind wants to know.

My latest release is Franco's Fortune (Redemption Book 2)

"When a female bodyguard is hired to protect a rich playboy, she finds saving his life is easier than protecting her heart."

When the past and present collide...
Somebody wants rich playboy Franco Callahan dead. When security expert Josephine Fortune arrives on his doorstep thanks to his sister Doriana, Franco finds it hard to refuse. He's had a secret attraction for the diminutive bodyguard since they met at Doriana's wedding five years before.

But attraction is all it is. Combat boot-clad Jo is not the kind of woman Franco usually loves and leaves. Which makes the ruse that Jo is his new live-in girlfriend just that until Jo gets a makeover. Suddenly seduction is on his mind and Franco has all the time in the world to pursue it—and Jo.

Martial artist Jo can take down men twice her size without blinking, but Franco's appeal outmaneuvers her emotional defenses. Jo's tough exterior hides a dark past, and Franco seems determined to learn her every secret. But he has secrets of his own.

The more Franco gets to know Jo, the more he realizes he needs her in his life, and not as his bodyguard. But as the threats to Franco escalate, Jo must use every one of her combat skills to protect him.

Can Jo keep both Franco and her heart safe, or will they pay the ultimate price for love?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Interview of Author Darlene Deluca

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author, Darlene Deluca.
Latest Book: Meetings of Chance. Released April 1, 2013
Buy Link:

With a degree in Journalism, Darlene Deluca began her writing career as a newspaper reporter, then moved into corporate communications, writing and editing for business-related employee, company and industry publications. She spent twenty-five years in Corporate America before launching into the world of fiction writing.

Deluca writes about people and their relationships – what brings them together, what keeps them apart, what brings them joy or annoys the hell out of them. Her intent is to bring to life interesting and ‘real’ characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama, and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave you either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as you turn the final page.

Books have always been a part of her life. She was influenced as a child by Trixie Belden and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Today, she reads a little bit of everything, and one of her favorite things to do is to curl up with a cup of tea and get lost in a good story. Darlene lives in the Midwest, (that’s where the fam is), but when the temperature plummets and the ground turns white, she often longs for a distant sunny beach.

Her completed novels fall into the genres of women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and mainstream with romantic elements.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I’d have to say the end. (those words are much fun to write, too!) I enjoy wrapping the story up with a satisfying ending. I particularly like happily-ever-after endings. I really like the endings of both of my published books and the ones I’m working on. Beginnings are much more stressful – to come up with that one or two lines that are going to grab the reader. That’s not easy.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines? Tell us about your heroine.
A: What popped into my head is my current work in progress, working title is Redemption. Mandi, the heroine is a little quirky, fairly young and already has some pretty major issues to deal with. Living in a mobile home by herself, she works two jobs and studies on the weekends for her online class. She keeps to herself (until she meets the hero, of course), puts up a pretty tough front, but is a caring, compassionate person. I envision someone like Jennifer Lawrence, who starred in Silver Linings Playbook as Mandi.

For a hero, I’d have to go with Josh Lucas for Matt in Unexpected Legacy. An intelligent, gorgeous guy with an understated sense of confidence. My husband and I both chose Lucas independently!

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Definitely not. I think it helps to develop them and stay in character if I can visualize them as individuals.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: Oh, man, I like to munch while writing. Or, rather, when my fingers aren’t typing and I’m thinking, I tend to do the hand to mouth thing. Nut mix is good for that. And I’ve discovered chocolate-covered jelly beans by Jelly Belly that are perfect for writing!

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Of course I enjoy reading, and my book club, but I’d have to say my favorite pastime is having lunch out with friends. That’s my social life. I attempt to garden, but find it frustrating . . . weather, bugs, rodents. I always start the season optimistically and put together beautiful patio pots. Unfortunately, my lovely flowers often end up being bunny food.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: I’d have to say I have two very favorites. They both go back a ways, and have stuck with me over the years: Paradise by Judith McNaught, and Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. I love the characters in these two books: Matt and Meredith, and Ben and Willa. When I get stuck in my writing, or need to re-focus, these are two books that can help get me going again.

Tell us where to find you:

Matt Dalton’s world is spinning off its axis. Without warning, he’s thrown into the world of parenting a teenager. Matt meets his son for the first time when the sixteen-year-old is dealing with the consequences of a tragic car accident. Not only has Brady lost his best friend, he faces disability and scars both physical and emotional.

Determined to do whatever it takes to give his son a second chance, Matt looks to his alma mater to step up and help Brady regain his athletic abilities and sense of self. But sparks fly when he meets the high school principal, the captivating Kate Austen. Kate is ready to take Brady under her wing, but to her that means helping him refocus and find a new passion – using his brains rather than his brawn. Kate fully expects the younger Dalton to come with issues and challenges . . . his father may prove to be the biggest one of all.

Though the chemistry is hard to ignore, Kate fights to keep her personal feelings and professional life separate. At the same time, Matt struggles to gain his son’s trust, and Brady must face the road to recovery and find a way to accept the changes in his life.

Matt sat back down, resting his arms against her desk. When his eyes met hers, she was taken aback at the pain she saw there.

“Kate, I’ve known Brady less than a year.”

“What?” Kate stared at Matt. He wasn’t making sense.

“Before the accident I didn’t know he existed. He was abandoned by his mother several years before that and raised by his grandparents.”

“I don’t understand,” she said, rubbing her temples. “Brady’s not your son?”

A look of regret flashed across his face.

“He is my son.”

She listened with growing trepidation as Matt told her the story of his becoming a father. Her concern changed to empathy as the emotional impact became clear. She could imagine the turmoil for everyone involved. When he finished and waited for her reaction, she struggled for words. What could she say?

Impulsively, she reached out and touched his hand. “Matt, I’m so sorry. That’s– I don’t know what to say.” Abandonment. What an ugly word.

“Pretty incredible, huh.”

“Wow. I wondered about his mother, since you’d never mentioned her.”

“We don’t know where she is, and I have legal custody of Brady now.”

“He’s lucky to have you,” she said softly.

Matt gave a harsh laugh. “I’m not sure he’d agree with you. He’s angry, and confused. I’m sure you can understand that. Angry at me, angry at his mother, his friends, the system – everything.”

“How could he not be?” she asked, wiping tears from her eyes.

They were both silent for a moment. Kate regretted adding to Matt’s anxiety. “God, that’s a lot of shit for one kid to deal with.”

Matt rubbed a hand along the back of his neck. “Yeah.”

“Thank you for telling me. Like I said before, everyone at Western is going to do everything we can to help Brady. I want him to be happy here.”

Matt flashed her a sheepish smile. “I know. I feel like a complete schmuck questioning you about the activities. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. I understand. Listen, I had Brady’s tests graded right away. He got an eighty-two and an eighty-six, so he’s all set. He should be proud to do that well after everything he’s been through.”

Matt nodded. “Thanks. That’s good news.”

He lingered in front of her, and Kate shot him a questioning look.

To her surprise, he reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. “Kate . . . would you like to have dinner with me sometime?”

She braced a hand against her desk. Heat rushed to her face as her heart pounded. She swallowed hard before attempting to answer. “You mean . . . as in a date? A dinner date?”

A lazy grin spread over his face, causing her heart to slam against her chest.

“Yeah. Like a date. Dinner out. You and me.”

She looked at the floor, very aware of his warm hand still on her shoulder, and his eyes watching her.

Slowly she looked up, and shook her head. “I can’t,” she whispered. “I’d love to Matt, but I’m sorry. I just can’t.”

He hadn’t moved. Instead, his hand moved up and down her arm. When she started to take a step to the side, he stopped her with his other hand.

“Why not?” he asked. He bent his knees to look into her eyes. “Is there someone else?”

She chewed her lip a moment before answering. “No, but I can’t date the parent of one of my students.”

“What?” His eyes narrowed as they bore into her. “Is that a school policy?”

She looked away. “No. It’s not an official policy. But it’s not the way I operate.”

“Kate, I’m not married. It’s not like we’d be having an affair or something.”

“It just doesn’t look right, and I don’t ever want any suspicion of favoritism or inappropriate behavior.”

“Ah. I see.”

He was quiet for a moment. When she finally looked up, his mouth claimed hers.

Heat surged through Kate, and her mind reeled, as his lips moved over hers, warm and searching. His hands pressed her back, and he stepped closer, deepening the kiss.

Dazed, she tightened her grip on his arm when he abruptly pulled back.

“Might be time to re-think your position,” he said, lightly brushing his thumb against her lips.

Her lips were still buzzing when he closed the door behind him.

Holding on to her desk for support, she twisted around, and sank into her chair, her head spinning. Damn! Why now? Why couldn’t she have met him two or three years ago?

Re-think her position? She couldn’t. She absolutely could not get involved with a student’s parent – especially the parent of Brady Dalton. Not when the school would be doing so much for him. She’d never hear the end of it. The speculation alone would be enough to get her hauled in front of the Board, and possibly fired.

She couldn’t risk it. Wouldn’t risk it. Not now.

Anything else you’d like to add?
My debut novel, Unexpected Legacy, recently advanced to the quarter finals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Coyote Heat hits All Romance eBooks Best Seller List!!!!!

Have you met my sexy people? It seems a lot of people have found him at All Romance eBooks. Hope you check him out.

Oh! And leave me a comment and your email addy. One lucky winner gets a choice of ebook from my backlist.

Miguel "Coyote" Cruz is happy to join his SEAL Team Arapaho teammates for a wild weekend at Key West. After all, they just came off a particularly tough mission and Coyote is ready to let it all hang out. The love 'em and leave 'em Cruz sees the female population of the tourist town as a veritable banquet for him. The last thing he expects is to meet a woman who gives new meaning to hot sex but who also singes his heart. What's a no-commitment SEAL to do?

The pier was jammed, both the covered area and the pier where tables were shaded with colorful umbrellas.
“I’ll get us a couple of beers,” Zeus volunteered. “You see if you can find us some pretty ladies to sit with.”
Coyote nodded his head and turned, smacking his elbow into something soft but solid.
“Watch it, you troglodyte,” a sharp female voice spit at him.
He would have laughed if the woman standing next to him hadn’t looked so mad. He guessed her height at five foot four, her heart shaped face framed by a tumble of rich brown curls streaked with gold. Her eyes were the color of the Atlantic but right now they looked like they were spitting electric blue fire at him.
His gaze dropped lower, taking in her navy and white dress, a simple thing with narrow straps with a bodice that hugged her lovingly. Now it was hugging her even more, since he’d apparently knocked into her and made her spill her drink all over herself. Holy shit! This was better than a wet t-shirt contest. He couldn’t take his eyes from the way the material clung to her breasts, nipple outlined in detail. Nor could he do anything about his cock which immediately stood at attention and begged to salute. He could only hope she was too distracted to catch the bulge at his crotch.
“Well?” she demanded. “What are you going to do about it?”
“Apologize? Help?” He reached his arm between two bodies at the bar, grabbed a handful of small paper napkins and started blotting her dress.
“Not that, you jackass.” She used her free hand to smack his away. “Keep your paws off of me.”
Coyote stepped back an inch, all the space allowed, and held his hands up in front of him. “Okay, okay. I said I’m sorry.” He flashed her what he thought of as his unbeatable smile. “How about if I buy you a drink?”
If she was outraged before, she looked to be at the screaming stage now.
“A drink? A drink? Are you crazy? Look at what you did to me.” She dumped what was left in the glass over his head. “Maybe that will teach you some manners.” She turned to the girl standing beside her taming it all in with unconcealed humor. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Leave? But Cori, we just got here.”
“So? Big deal. If all we’re going to find are jerks like that then it isn’t worth staying. Besides, I’ve got to get out of these wet clothes. Damn.” She groaned. “And I was really looking forward to tonight, too.”
She turned on her heel and shoved her way through the crowd, leaving her friend to hustle to keep up with her.
“Here.” Zeus shoved a handful of material at him.
Coyote looked down at it. “What’s this?”
“Sunset Pier t-shirt. I figured you’d need something to wipe that egg off your face.” He slapped Coyote on the back. “Go change. It was worth the price of the shirt just to watch.”
Grumbling to himself, he pushed and shoved his way to the men’s room, stripped off the soaked shirt and exchanged it for the dry one. In a spurt of anger he tossed the wet garment into the trash and dusted his hands, as if erasing any trace of the spitfire who’d doused him. What was with her, anyway? It wasn’t as if he’d done it on purpose.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Love For Opening Scenes in the First Place

Last month, I featured some of my favorite openings from a few memorable books I've read throughout the years. Given the response to the RB4U post, I thought it would be nice to feature a few more of my favorites.

I'd also love to know some of your favorites too. So, at the end of this post in the comments section, please feel free to let me know what opening paragraphs have caught your attention. Here we go...

The beginning paragraph of the first Jodi Picoult book I'd ever read led me to become a huge fan of her writing. It's called (and I highly recommend) SALEM FALLS:

Several miles into his journey, Jack St. Bride decided to give up his former life. He made this choice as he walked aimlessly along Route 10, huddling against the cold. He had dressed this morning in a pair of khaki pants, a white shirt with a nick in the collar, stiff dress shoes, a smooth-skinned belt--clothing he'd last worn 5,769 hours ago, clothing that had fit him last August. This morning, his blue blazer was oversized and the waistband of his trousers hung loose. It had taken Jack a moment to realize it wasn't weight he'd lost during these eight months but pride.

Another book I loved, which introduced me to Lori Foster and her incredible talent to write compelling and believable romances, was called TOO MUCH TEMPTATION:

Noah Harper stood frozen in the carpeted hallway of his fiancee's house while his skin prickled with some vague, unsettling emotion. It wasn't really anger or grief. It sure as hell wasn't jealousy.

When I first started reading romance, I mostly read historicals. But one of the first contemporary romances I enjoyed was by author Ann Maxwell called THE DIAMOND TIGER. The first line of this book hooked my interest on the spot:

Abe Windsor better be dead or I'll bloody well kill him myself.

To close, I want to thank you all for visiting me on my blog day. It means so much to me to see your smiling faces show up in the comments section. Thank you for taking the time on your busy Sunday to see me. I now leave you with the opening paragraph of my own romance novel (book 2 of the Emerald Isle Trilogy) entitled MAC LIAM:

The door of the longhouse burst open and seven men, outfitted in conical helmets, snow-dusted wolfskin cloaks, and swords, rushed in. They hastened to surround the boxbed where two entangled bodies sat up in complete surprise, the covers drawn to their chins to hid their nakedness.

Renee Vincent

Oh, and by the way, I am also blogging at Sweet N Sexy Divas  where I feature hot snippets from authors whose heroes weren't afraid to be a little soulful, sappy, or even suggestive when it came to the heroine. I'd love for you to hop on over and visit me.

Have a great week!

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