Saturday, August 31, 2013

M. Leighton: Spending Time With A Bad Boy

Well, as many of you may know, the third book in my series Bad Boys is releasing on September 3.  Spending time with these characters has shown me so much about my people, about human nature, about emotional development and even about me as a writer. 

I have no trouble meeting the bad boys.  Oh, no. They are right there, ready to go, in my head.  It’s getting to know them beyond their tough exterior and bad-boy shell that presents a challenge for me.  But it’s so rewarding!  Finding out what has made a bad boy so bad, finding out what makes him tick and what would help him to heal, is fascinating to me.  Not to mention the fact that they can sear me to my soul with one smoldering look.  All in all, I think they’re some of the most interesting, multi-faceted characters I’ve ever written about, the one in Everything for Us maybe most of all.  His wounds ran deep and his scars were many, but peeling back those layers and realizing that what he needed was exactly what he found in Marissa, the main female lead character, was more gratifying that I can tell you.   I think, in my heart, I felt a little bit as though I was the one who made him whole and turned his life around.  And isn’t that what so many of us women want—to be the one person who the bad boy can’t resist? The one person he simply can’t exist without?  What do you want from your bad boys?

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, M. Leighton, is a native of Ohio. She relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she can be near the water all summer and miss the snow all winter. Possessed of an overactive imagination from early in her childhood, Michelle finally found an acceptable outlet for her fantastical visions: literary fiction. Having written over a dozen novels, these days Michelle enjoys letting her mind wander to more romantic settings with sexy Southern guys, much like the one she married and the ones you'll find in her latest books. When her thoughts aren't roaming in that direction, she'll be riding wild horses, skiing the slopes of Aspen or scuba diving with a hot rock star, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A. Meredith Walters: Dealing with that pesky writer's block

If you’re a writer (or a writer-to-be) then no doubt you’ve encountered the scary, downright petrifying phenomenon known as writer’s block.  I go through this frequently myself.  Once entering, it’s a bleak, dark and terrifying place where your words don’t make sense, your characters become hideous caricatures from a soap opera and worse than that, you are certain the whole thing seriously sucks.

So what do you do?  How do you get through the painful doldrums onto the other side and into writing nirvana?

For me, it’s a matter of taking a step back.  I don’t force myself to write through it.  Go watch some TV, hang out with the family, listen to some music.  I’ve had writer’s block that has lasted MONTHS and it’s easy to become discouraged.  I have had many an internal dialogue with my Negative Nelly self, swearing that my writing days are done.  Finished.  Died a quick and decisive death.

But as a writer, you’re never done.  And even when I become discouraged and think I’ll never be able to write another word again, I just take a moment to remember why I started to create my stories in the first place.

Because I can’t not write.

So when you’re struggling, thinking you can’t finish your story, or perhaps even get started, take a time out, think about why you chose to write your book in the first place.  Put it in perspective and find that place where you love your characters again.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vivian Arend: High Passion

One of my favourite tropes involves enemies to lovers, and in HIGH PASSION, I have two strong and skilled individuals who go way back. They went to school together, and now work together, and over the course of the book, they learn they have more things in common than they ever suspected.
My second favourite trope just might be hero in pursuit, and we’ve got that as well. Hmmmm….
Devon . . .

He watched.

Like he always watched, especially Alisha.
The tension in her body as she’d walked away? The lack of gushing at Marcus’s big news? That wasn’t the Alisha he’d been around for the past four years.
She should have been vibrating in her seat, asking a million questions. Usually her reactions would have driven him crazy as she poked and teased in what he’d come to consider the longest foreplay session in the fucking universe.
Walking away quietly? Something was beyond wrong.
Curiosity drove him, as did the need to get them to the next stage of the game. Which meant he needed to find out what the hell was wrong.
So he could fix it.
She’d shot him down once, a long time ago. Probably didn’t even remember she’d told him to grow up and get a life. To stop goofing around and wasting his opportunities.
The cutdown had actually sunk in, and he’d decided to do just that. Done it so well, in fact, that her taunt had changed his future.
It was time for a little positive payback and an end to their sexual frustration. He was going to find out what had put that sadness behind her eyes. Find out, and help her deal with it.
No turning back.
Do you have favourite topics that instantly draw your interest in a book? I think most of us do. And when there can be more than one twist to tease me, I love it even more!
High Passion

Adrenaline Search & Rescue, Book 2

LIFELINE: an elite search-and-rescue squad based out of Banff, Alberta. Specializing in high-risk rescue missions, this team goes wherever the job takes them…
Alisha Bailey left a life of privilege for the dangerous but thrilling world of search and rescue. Denying the lure of attraction to her teammate is another sacrifice she’s made to prove to everyone—including her family— that she’s more than a pretty face or a business commodity.
Since their training days, Devon Leblanc has used the competitive fire between them to hide his fascination with the petite beauty. When a natural disaster forces their rivalry aside, heated passion finally flares between them. Sexual pleasure slowly gives way to a new appreciation for each other’s skills—on the field and in the bedroom.

But when unexplained accidents begin happening to the Lifeline team, their newfound unity may be their only hope for survival…

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lolita Lopez - Juggling Writing And Motherhood

If you’re like me, the word juggle conjures images of clowns and circuses. To be totally honest, sometimes I feel like I’m living in a circus. Between our rambunctious four-year-old and neurotic Great Dane, this house is a wild zone. I’m surrounded by noise, acrobatics—and flour explosions.

When I shared that picture on Facebook, I had no idea so many other moms had survived that exact same experience. Some of the cleanup suggestions were priceless. I received the same “oh, honey, we’ve been there!” replies when I admitted that I had just watched my husband take a leaf blower to our minivan after a rather gnarly Cheerios catastrophe. (Why didn’t I take a pic of that?!)

I’m also juggling two pen names. Lolita writes scorching hot paranormal and scifi romance while Roxie Rivera pens super steamy romantic suspense with enough tattooed bad boys to keep it interesting.
I’m not really sure when I decided it would be a good idea to branch off with another pen name. I was probably sleep-deprived and in that weird hallucinatory mind space where things like second pen names and painting stripes on the entryway wall seem like a great idea. (Pinterest lies, by the way. It’s not that easy after all!

There’s no real secret to making it work. Like all the other work at home moms, I’ve learned to prioritize, delegate, accept help whenever it’s offered and write anywhere. Kiddo was born with multiple severe heart defects so we’ve spent a lot of time in waiting rooms and hospitals over the last four years.

Twice a week, I squeeze in 1000-2000 words while she’s enjoying one-on-one with her speech and occupational therapists. Those waiting room chairs aren’t the most comfortable but you make it work, you know? I have stories that I want to tell and share!

Since I’m sure there are a lot of mamas out there who could use a little pampering, I’m offering up a $25 gift card to Bath and Body Works! Leave a comment and I’ll pick a winner on September 5!

***Lolita's winner is WinterFaerie.  Please email with your mailing address!***

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You call that a dog? by Fiona Lowe

About a week after I started writing Picture Perfect Wedding, my Wisconsin Dairy book,  we went to visit friends who've have retired to a small property.  I say retired in a very loose sense, because they're working really hard on their land. They're part of the migration of fit retirees who change their city job for a country lifestyle and they took their city dog with them.

Maggie-May is a Maltese Shih-Tzu-cross....a little, white terrier and now she thinks she's a cattle dog! She's also very keen to defend the home garden from snakes and other wildlife that wander through and she has different barks. Here she is, exploring a 200 year old tree that came down in the wind!

Now farm dogs are generally a lot larger than a Maltese Shih-Tzu cross. They're usually Border collies, Kelpies, Blue-Heelers etc,  real working dogs and this got me thinking. What if a city dog ended up on a farm? What would a farmer's reaction be?

And then I had fun! Erin Davis is a photographer from Minneapolis and she has a Maltese Shih Tzu cross terrier and Luke Anderson, dairyman from Whitetail Wisconsin has Mac, a Border collie.
After Erin gets bogged in Luke's pasture and her dog defends her by clamping her small teeth into Luke's shin, things are not going so well.

Picture Perfect Wedding is Book two of my  Wedding Fever trilogy, set in Whitetail, Wisconsin and it follows on from Saved By The Bride. So what's it about?

Erin Davis will do whatever it takes to be the photographer for high-end brides. So what if capturing the moments of people’s lives means she has no time for her own. Nothing will get between her and the security she craves, not even the gorgeous farmer refusing to let her shoot in his sunflowers.
His family has always been tied to the land, but lately Luke Anderson feels more like he’s chained. While he ponders his future, he still has cows to milk and no time to deal with Erin or Bridezillas in his fields. Yet there’s something about the sexy city girl he can’t say no to. So he says yes: just this once.
With the town in need of a photographer, Erin agrees to spend wedding season in Whitetail. The sparks flying between her and Luke quickly ignite, but just as Erin starts to picture her own happy ending, Luke takes a gamble that could risk it all…

Do you know an animal who thinks their  role in life is different from what is expected of them?

I'd love to give away a eBook copy of Picture Perfect Wedding so to be in with a chance, just leave a comment about an animal you may know or have heard of.

You can buy Picture Perfect Wedding  and Saved By The Bride at all ebook retailers and it ranges in price from $1.99 to $3.50.

Carina Press     Amazon    Nook         Kobo                   Ibooks               All Romance Books  

Boomerang Bride, my Rita and R*BY winning novel is now an Amazon bestseller after hitting #4 in the store on August 12th. What an exciting day that was!

 Fiona Lowe is a RITA® and R*BY award-winning, multi-published author with Harlequin and Carina Press. Whether her books are set in outback Australia or in the mid-west of the USA, they feature small towns with big hearts, and warm, likeable characters that make you fall in love. When she's not writing stories, she's a weekend wife, mother of two 'ginger' teenage boys, guardian of 80 rose bushes and often found collapsed on the couch with wine. You can find her at her websitefacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Kat Cantrell: Finding Your Courage

Theme is really important to me when I’m telling a story. In THE BABY DEAL, Shay is a larger than life hero who never met an adrenaline-inducer he didn’t like. Skydiving, rock climbing, fast motorcycles—you name it, he’s doing it. The heroine, Juliana, keeps her feet on the ground. Danger is not only not attractive, she can’t understand why Shay courts it. They’re two different personalities who approach life in a vastly dissimilar way. A relationship between them will never work out. Right?

The old cliché “opposites attract” probably has a lot of truth to it…but Juliana doesn’t think attraction is enough of a basis for a long-term relationship. She broke up with Shay the first time they were together eight years ago. On the surface, her reason was pretty clear: if he ended up seriously hurt or died as a result of his dangerous pastimes, she’d rather not have invested time and energy in a relationship or even worse, married him and had a couple of kids who’d be left without a father. She thinks he’s selfish for not considering how hard it would be on her if something unthinkable happened. So she ended things and damaged Shay’s ability to believe in love in the process.

Juliana’s also dealing with the wounds of an uncertain childhood. Her parents weren’t good with money and her family constantly had to move to stay ahead of creditors. She never felt safe. Never felt like she could count on tomorrow to be the same as today and she began to crave stability. Shay never represented stability and was the opposite of what she needed—why would she ever look twice at him?

Because he was exactly what she needed, but she was too afraid to believe it.

When Shay comes back into her life, she’s determined not to fall for him again. He’s determined to show her their differing philosophies are actually what makes them work so well together.

The theme of THE BABY DEAL is finding your courage. Not just to love someone who isn’t the person you saw yourself with, but also finding courage to embrace what life has given you, even if it’s not anything close to what you imagined it would be like.

How do you find the courage to do something hard?

I’ll give away a print copy of THE BABY DEAL (US residents only, please!) to a random person who answers the above in the comments. Thanks for coming by!

Kat Cantrell
2011 Harlequin SYTYCW Winner | 2012 RWA® Golden Heart® finalist

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***Kat's winner is Linda.  Please email with your mailing address!***

Sunday, August 25, 2013

This Fragile Life: Hard Choices by Kate Hewitt

Thanks so much for having me here! I’m really pleased to be sharing my new women’s fiction with you.

I started writing This Fragile Life after a conversation with my editor in which she encouraged me to write what she called a ‘what would you do’ book—meaning a book that makes you think and wonder what you would do if you were in the characters’ situation.

The initial idea behind This Fragile Life was of two friends, one struggling with infertility and one unexpectedly pregnant, who decided to arrange a private adoption. Alex, the pregnant one, will give her baby to Martha. It seems like such a simple solution… but it is fraught with heartache for as Alex proceeds with the pregnancy she discovers how hard it really is to let go of our child. Martha, desperate and anxious, senses this, and so the adoption puts an incredible strain on their friendship.

That was the initial idea, but then another idea came to me to make it even more complicated. I don’t want to spoil the story by saying what it is, but suddenly Alex and Martha find the tables have turned and their positions are almost reversed. And so there is another ‘what would you do’ moment later in the book.

This Fragile Life alternates between Martha and Alex’s points of view, and while I loved giving each of them a voice, I also worked hard to make them equally likeable—and unlikeable! By that I mean that they both make choices you might like or dislike, agree or disagree with. Hard choices—because it is a hard situation.

Here is a tiny excerpt from Alex’s point of view after Martha suggests adoption, to give you an idea of what they’re both facing:

I hear what Martha says and I am both completely shocked and not surprised at all. I stare at her, my thoughts tumbling through my mind in an unholy kaleidoscope, so I can only snatch at fragments: if she adopts this baby, I'll see it all the time. We'll have to explain to our parents. I'll be pregnant and yet I won't have anything at the end. Martha will be so happy.
            I shake my head. I'm not sure what I want to say or even think. "Martha—"
            "Just think it over," she says quickly. "I know it's a lot to process, and of course there's a lot we both need to think over. It's a big deal."
            Hell, yes. It's a very big deal. And still I just stare.
            "Only if you want to,” she adds. “I mean, if you’re really sure you don’t want to keep it yourself. It’s an option, that’s all.”
            An option that feels as if a bomb has been lobbed onto the table between us. How can I turn it—her—down?

Do you like books that make you wonder what you would do in the characters’ situation? What’s a book you’ve read that’s made you ask yourself that? Leave a comment and one random winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card!

Happy Reading,


This Fragile Life:
You love your best friend. You trust her with your life. But could you give her the most precious gift of all? Alex’s life is a mess. She’s barely holding down a job, only just affording her apartment, and can’t remember when she was last in a relationship. An unexpected pregnancy is the last thing she needs. Martha’s life is on track. She’s got the highflying career, the gorgeous home and the loving husband. But one big thing is missing. Five rounds of IVF and still no baby. The solution seems simple. Alex knows that Martha can give her child everything that she can’t provide. But Martha’s world may not be as perfect as it seems, and letting go isn’t as easy as Alex expected it to be. Now they face a decision that could shatter their friendship forever.

Where To Find This Fragile Life:
Carina  -  Amazon  -  Kobo

***Kate's winner is Ceblain.  Please email with your mailing address!***

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kathleen O'Brien: When The Well Runs Dry

I’m on deadline.  Okay, I’m past deadline.  But I’m stuck.  This happens to me on every book, and yet every time it scares the bejeepers out of me.  What if I can’t push through?  What if my career is over? J

Thankfully, I always do push through, somehow—as His Highness reminds me whenever I emerge from my office, whining.  He knows that I don’t need another pity casserole at my Poor Me Party.  Instead, he offers a bracing, “You can do it!” and goes back to work.

He’s right.  I can.  I just have to take a deep breath and remember what’s really happening.  I’ve been writing for so long I’ve drained the creativity well.  I need to grab a bucket and get some more!

Here are some of the best ways I’ve found.   Only two rules:  It can’t involve my book directly, and it must make my inner child smile. 

1)     Play with paints and scissors.  Others call this “art journaling,” but that sounds a bit lofty for my rudimentary efforts. I don’t expect to be super good at art, and so there’s no stress involved.  I genuinely play.

2)     Commune with the outside world.  I walk.  I smell the flowers, listen to the birds and wind in the trees, meet the neighborhood dogs.  Here’s one fabulous owl I encountered on a long evening stroll.

3)     Listen to music.  I have about a thousand songs on my iTunes list, and 900 of them are ones I wouldn’t inflict on anyone else.  I am a born cornball, and I love the silliest, most sentimental oldies ever.  So I put in my earbuds and blast away.  My daughter recently sent me an old Conway Twitty song we used to share, called “I Don’t Know A Thing About Love.” If you know it, you know what I mean about silly/corny.

4)     Read.  I rarely read romances in this phase—way too stressful.  Often the book is so clever I feel I could never measure up. But all the other genres work beautifully!

5)     Write.  Yes, you saw that correctly.  To escape writing, I write.  But always things that are very different from my day job.  Right now, I’m in a poetry-writing spell.  The poems are mediocre, at best, but I don’t expect them to be great, so I don’t mind.  I’m putting together a bunch of short poems about the great loves of my life, one for each.  (The loves are not all people, just for the record.  J )

Those are my top five well-fillers.  They’re all free, or almost free, and they work! I can return to my desk, ready to pick up my own story and write like the wind.

How about you?  Do you have any great ideas for filling your creative well?  I’d love to hear them!  I’ll give away a copy of BETTING ON THE COWBOY (or any of my titles, if you’ve read that) to one poster today!

***Kathleen's winner is Kaelee.  Please contact Kathleen directly with your mailing address!***

Friday, August 23, 2013

Roni Loren: My Top 5 Things to Refill the Creative Well

So for the last few months, I’ve been in crazy writer mode—under deadline, locked in my office, eating/sleeping/breathing my story. It’s part of the job when I put out 2-3 books a year. However, when I finally turn in that book, I feel completely wiped out and creatively spent. So for the brief weeks I have in between finishing one book and starting the next, I have to take time to refill the creative well. To do things other than writing. And for me, these are my go to methods… 

1.      Purge and organize things – I’m not a particular good housekeeper. I hate to clean. However, I love to organize. And after I’ve been under deadline, stressed and scattered for months, there is something very therapeutic about re-organizing things. This time around I redid my writing craft file cabinet and then pulled everything off my bookshelves and went through what I wanted to keep and what I needed to donate. It’s always a little painful getting rid of books, but I know that if I have three floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled and still have boxes of books on my floor, that it’s time to purge some. This time I got rid of almost a hundred books. I only cried a little. ;-)

2.      Redecorate – This is similar to the one above but different. Changing a room in my house can be very cleansing. The whole process of shopping for new things, changing the whole look of a room I’ve been seeing for years the same way, is all part of it. This time I redid my kidlet’s room. He’s starting kindergarten this year, so we got rid of the toddler bed, got him a big boy bed and switched from a zoo animals theme to a travel/transportation theme. It was so much fun changing it all up. Plus, I got to spend copious amounts of time at Hobby Lobby, a rare indulgence.

3.      Get out of town – When I’m in the writing cave, I don’t see much of my own neighborhood, much less anywhere else, because I’m spending my life in my office. So after a book is done, I crave travel and the outdoors. So this weekend, we’re taking a last minute trip to the beach and I’m going to spend two days listening to the surf. Ahh.

4.      READ for fun – My TBR pile is out of control (this pic is only of the books I came back with from this summer’s RWA conference.) And though I try to read while I’m writing a book (because if I don’t, I’ll never read since I’m writing 90% of the time), I don’t get nearly as much read as I wish I could. So doing these rare breaks between books, I gorge on reading.

5.      A non-writing creative hobby – I think this is really important. For many writers, writing was our creative hobby. It was what we used to get away from our “real” job. However, once writing becomes your job, it’s still fun but it has pressures and business stuff attached to it. That’s why I think it’s good to have something else you can go to escape and just be creative for the sake of being creative, something you don’t get paid to do. For me, it’s photography. I recently bought a fancy camera and took a few classes on how to use it. Now I’ve fallen in love with it and do photography for the pure enjoyment and creativity of it.

So those are mine, what are your methods of recharging whenever you finish a big project or are coming off a particularly stressful time? What fills your well?

About Roni: Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. She is the National Bestselling Author of The Loving on the Edge series from Berkley Heat and a 2013 RITA finalist. Website:

Caught Up In You:

The girl who has spent her life running is about to be caught . . . by love
After a shaky past, Kelsey LeBreck’s future is looking good. She’s been saving money for culinary school with her earnings from The Ranch, a private BDSM resort. Even better, she’s landed a day job where she can practice baking and flirt with her favorite customer. However, having secret fantasies about Wyatt Austin is where it has to end. If there’s one thing Kelsey knows can derail her, it’s a relationship. But when a danger from her past threatens to steal her fresh start, the intense executive may be the only one who can help her. 

Wyatt doesn’t have room on his agenda for dating, but something about the pretty young waitress stirs desires he thought were long buried. So when he needs someone to pose as his girlfriend at an important business retreat and finds out Kelsey needs to go off the grid for a while, he can’t resist making her an offer. Soon, Kelsey learns that Wyatt’s power in the boardroom is no match for his power in the bedroom, and she wonders if her heart will survive. Because Wyatt Austin is a man who gets what he wants, and now he wants her.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dani Wade: Confessions of a Debut Author

There are people who think us creative types are a little cuckoo. I'll admit I've known a few doozies through the years. I even have a few (ahem, okay more than a few) quirks of my own. But nothing prepared me for Debut Author Neurosis.

You see, I have 2 Indie ebooks, but this month brings the release of my very first Harlequin Desire. In Paperback. On the shelves of my local bookstore.

*Deep breath. Don't hyperventilate.*

To my surprise, listening to my family, friends, and fans discuss their excitement, seeing that book on an actual shelf, brought on a sickness I'd never even heard of before! 

Debut Author Neurosis, a disturbing malady that creeps up on the Debut Author. What is that, you ask? Well, it presents with a variety of symptoms, but commonly includes:

1. Vocal Spasms
This involves the urge to squee at any given moment, regardless of whether or not there's an audience, from sheer glee.

2. Mild Tourette Syndrome
Hand in hand with #1 comes the urge to blurt out phrases like "This in MY book!" or "I wrote this book. This 1 right here!" to random strangers. With no sense of shame whatsoever. 

3. Watery Eyes
All that excitement might alternate with tears, because the author has waited so long for this day (2 years or 10, it all feels long) and now it's finally HERE.

4. Trembling
Shaking of the hands is a common symptom, whether or not the author thinks she's nervous. Caution: This will most often show up when the author needs to be steady. For instance, when she's trying to sign her books or shake hands with a book store manager.

5. Aching Muscles
This could manifest in cramped hands from signing so many books for friends and family, or overworked cheeks because the author just can't stop grinning all the time.

6. Low-grade Fever
Twinges of heated embarrassment might make an appearance as you realize people are actually reading those sex scenes you were so proud of -- people you might actually know!

So please bear with me while I deal with this author sickness... It's the worst I've had in a long time!!!! Just so I don't feel alone, when was the last time YOU experienced any of these exciting symptoms and what was the special occasion? I'd love to hear about it!


Dani Wade astonished her local librarians as a teenager when she carried home 10 books every week – and actually read them all. Now she writes her own characters who clamor for attention in the midst of the chaos that is her life. Residing in the southern U.S. with a husband, two kids, two dogs, and one grumpy cat, she stays busy until she can closet herself away with her characters once more. Her debut print release, HIS BY DESIGN, is available now with Harlequin Desire.

***Dani's winner is Aly.  Please email with your mailing address!***

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm Hitting the Road by Jenny Gardiner

Forgive the late nature of this post -- I've been swamped this week as I am preparing for a big adventure. I leave Sunday for a long trek in which I plan to walk from the Swiss Alps to Rome for a month. And to prepare for just me and a small backpack for a month, I have to get through a lot of have-to's, it seems. I hope you'll follow me as I undertake this journey. I'll be walking part of an ancient pilgrimage route known as the Via Francigena, which extends from Canterbury, England to Rome. That would take three months to traverse, so I decided to take on a more manageable chunk of it. I hope to walk about 16 miles a day, and I will post more on my blog as I get ready to leave and while I am on the road. I hope you'll stop by and follow my adventure, and you can also find me posting on Facebook and Twitter (see below links). My blog will have details, including information about a charity I'd like to raise funds for while I do my walk (which I hope will total about 500 miles by the time I complete it). Hope you enjoy it! Jenny

  Sleeping with Ward Cleaver

Slim to None

Anywhere But Here

Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me

Accidentally on Purpose (written as Erin Delany)

Compromising Positions (written as Erin Delany)

I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship (I'm a contributor)

And these shorts:
Idol Worship: A Lost Week with the Weirdos and Wannabes at American Idol Auditions

The Gall of It All: And None of the Three F's Rhymes with Duck

Naked Man On Main Street
find me on Facebook: fan page
 find me on twitter here
 find me on my website

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Christina Hollis: Reading Ripples... URL: By Andrew Douglass (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsHTML
Walden Pond by Andrew Douglass
Isn't it funny how discovering a new book or author can have a knock-on effect? DD came back from university full of enthusiasm for a book she'd found in the library there. It was 'The Winter of Our Disconnect', which is the story of Susan Maushart's six-month project to live outside our increasingly "wired" existence. The copy I've just finished reading was published in 2006. That's only a few years ago, but it sometimes feels like ancient history. I suspect the use of mobiles and laptops (and now tablets) has grown exponentially since then.  

Susan Maushart took some of her inspiration from Henry David Thoreau's two year, two month, two day stay at Walden near Concord in Massachusetts. He separated himself from the hurly-burly of 19th century life in order to get back to a life more in tune with nature. These days, The Maushart family would have been hard put to find anywhere beyond the reach of Bluetooth.  Instead of moving to a cabin in the woods, they had a bonfire of the vanities - although for "bonfire" read "storage" and gave up all those little indulgences that have worked their way into our collective subconscious like strangler figs. Out went all the devices, and along with them Facebook, Skype and IM. I often wish I could get away from it all, but I'm not sure I could go cold turkey like that. Working online brings all the advantages of business life and commerce right into my Home Office. It's good to get back to writing on paper with a pencil sometimes, but I'd be lost without music to inspire me while I'm working! URL: Philip Halling [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsHTML
By Philip Halling
Finishing 'The Winter of Our Disconnect' made me want to add Thoreau's Walden to my teetering TBR pile. But first I'll be revisiting the work of H.E. Bates, one of my favourite English writers. In his non-fiction and fiction work, Bates shares Thoreau's keen eye for detail and feeling for nature. You can find out more about the work of H.E.Bates here.

So a single book recommendation from DD has taken me around the woods and waters of Walden and then back home through the country lanes of  England. Thoreau famously said: "An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day" and that's convinced me to drop my new habit of putting in the ear-buds when I go out for a run. I may not be able to give up technology completely, but it's a start!

An international journey courtesy of the written word, via reading on screen. That means it's all wrapped up in the technology that Thoreau shunned, and Maushart rejected, if only temporarily. 

What's the longest period of time you've managed recently, without technology? And how many times a day does your hand stray to your phone?

You can read Christina's blog at and see a complete list of her published books at

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Katherine Garbera: Mistakes, I’ve Made A Few

Cari Chandler is the kind of woman who makes mistakes and moves on.  She doesn’t dwell on them and think about the ways she could have not made the mistake she just makes up her mind to never do it again and faces the consequences.  While I wouldn’t call a baby a consequence there are a lot of times when finding out you’re pregnant isn’t joyous news. 

Cari immediately knew two things that she wanted her baby even though she had no clue how to be a mom and that she would be raising her child on her own.  Knowing those things made everything that came after it very easy for her.  She’d made her choices, she’d picked her path and she had the confidence to walk it.

I’m sort of that way in my life.  I’ve made mistakes and some of them would make a lot of you wonder if I had lost my mind but others were just born of being too young or maybe not seeing the “real world” (btw I hate that term but people use it and ya’ll know what I mean when I say it) as it is.  Instead I operate under assumption most of the time that people are good and nice and understand what it means to be fair.

Cari operates this way too.  And her life though not perfect isn’t bad in her new reality as a single-mom until a hostile corporate take-over brings the one man she thought she’d never see again back into her life.

Cari wants to be all cool and indifferent the way her oldest sister Emma acts but the truth is she’s mad at Dec and she’s also as much as she wants to pretend otherwise still a little bit in like with him.  She didn’t have the chance to fall in love with him the first time but the spark she felt when they had their one night stand is still there.

How do you handle life when you make a mistake?  Do you roll with it and move on?  Do you sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened? 

I’m giving away an autographed copy of His Instant Heir to three lucky blog commenters today.

The USA Today best-selling author of more than 60 books (including 9 for Kensington Brava) Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie Winner.  Her ripped-from-the-headlines July 2010 release The Pirate was picked by Cosmo as its Red Hot Read.  Katherine’s latest release HIS INSTANT HEIR is the first book in her best-selling sizzling new series Baby Business.   She is a Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature Dachshund.

It was only one night...

Cari Chandler can’t forget Declan Montrose. Their baby is a living reminder. The baby she hasn’t told him about. The no-commitment billionaire—and her family’s sworn enemy—walked out of her life the morning after. But now he’s back…with a vengeance!

Taking over her company is the last step to victory in their families’ long feud. But Cari’s more than collateral damage to Dec. He wants—needs—to seduce her again and again. Until he finds out she’s hidden something more precious than her company. His son. And Dec intends to claim him…no matter the cost.

***Kathy's winner is Emily B.  Please email with your mailing address!***

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Michelle Styles: Life Changing Days

Some life changes come upon you gradually and you cross bridges without really realising you crossed them. It is only in the looking back that you notice. Other times life hangs out huge signposts.
Today is one of those signpost days for me. My youngest picks up his A level results and finds out where he is going for university (please God) and basically how the rest of his life will go.
It is very different from the US as the results are released at the same time for all the A level students across the country. So everyone finds out where they are going to university (if they have decided to go...) as the university offers are conditional on reaching certain grades. Some people fail to make the grade every year...They then have option of going through clearing (finding a place on another course) or retaking or simply executing Plan B. I believe my youngest's Plan B has to do with the French Foreign League so  I am just not going there.
It means my husband and I will be finished with high school and all that it entails.
My youngest turned 18 at the end of last month and we are no longer parents of minor children.
All my late night worries about guardianship's and what if... thankfully turned out to be just that late night mind panics. I know other people who were not so lucky.
Come September, my youngest will leave for university and the house will become empty. It will mean no more school run, making sure various children are up and dressed for school, making sure the various school functions are on the calendar and attended (I will confess to having missed photo days and had the fact of teacher training day not register) and it will mean the house becomes far quieter.
It doesn't mean that I stop being a parent. As I tell my children, part of my job description is to worry so they don't have to. And I don't think you stop needing your parents. You just need them in a different way.
I am so pleased for the advent of skype as it means I will be able to see my youngest when he is at university.  I first started using this when my eldest spent his second year of university abroad in the US. It saved on huge phone bills. For him, the added bonus was seeing the cats and dogs in the background doing things as I merrily chatted away. If any parent whose child is going off to college/university this year is reading this and hasn't set up skype -- do so. It  just makes life so much more bearable.
But whatever happens, my life will be changing and one phase of it (lasting 18 years --from when my eldest started his formal schooling until my youngest ends his) will be over. University doesn't require any input from the parents.My son can figure out how to get himself to class on time (and yes, he will be given an alarm clock!)

A smallish update: my son did get the grades and is going to St Andrews to study zoology. It is something he wanted so I am desperately proud for him. Today is a cake and champagne sort of day -- with a box of tissues on the side.
Twitter and Facebook are full of proud parents and students. As always, the BBC and all the news organisations are covering the event. There is just nothing like it in the US...
Of course next week, it is turn of the GCSE (age 16) students to get their results and so my fingers are firmly crossed for other parents!

Oh and this is the cover for my latest with cover model Taylor David front and centre:
In the book both the heroine and hero face dramatic changes as Brand Bjornson comes to claim his new lands, lands Edith's family has held for generations. In order to safeguard her people, Edith must Brand's price and become his concubine.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods. her next book, Paying the Viking's Price will be published in November 2013. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sue Krinard: Why You Should Read Mist

Hi! Happy to be here.

From the time I was a kid, I told myself fantastic stories. At ten years old, I was already a big fan of the original Star Trek. I was also a major tomboy, playing at swords and superheroes from a very early age. In fifth grade, the teacher read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time to our class, and from then on I was hooked on fantasy and science fiction. I was an avid reader (as I continue to be) and began writing fan fiction in my twenties.

I never thought I’d become a writer (I’m sure we all think we’re going to wind up being something other than what we turned out to be … when I was about six, I wanted to be a paleontologist), so it was really an amazing discovery to learn that I not only had a talent for it, but loved doing it more than anything else.

In 1992, a friend read a piece of fanfic I’d written for the TV show Beauty and the Beast, which combined fantasy with romance.  She suggested I write a romance novel. Naturally, I chose paranormal romance. But after a twenty year career of writing romance, I never gave up my dream of making a career writing “straight fantasy.”

That dream finally came true when I sold Mist, my urban fantasy based on Norse mythology, to Tor.  Not only was I able to write a new kind of story I really loved, but I was also able to put in a touch of romance … not the kind that’s wrapped up in one book, but over the course of a trilogy.

I’m often asked why I chose Norse mythology for my first urban fantasy.  There are three main reasons: I read the “Thor” comic book as a kid (irregularly, since in those days it was verboten for girls to enter comic book stores); I love mythology in general; and I felt it was a relatively unexplored area in urban fantasy. (I was among the very first to use werewolves as heroes in paranormal romance, and have written about nine werewolf romances, so I felt I’d pretty much covered that).  Also, I could take a woman warrior-type character out of mythology and create a strong, determined heroine.

I say “woman-warrior” type because while my Mist is a Valkyrie—those semi-divine women who rode over ancient battlefields, selecting the bravest warriors to join Odin for eternal life in his hall Valhalla—Valkyrie were not fighters themselves. When they weren’t out “choosing the slain,” they were serving alcoholic beverages in Valhalla. In short, they went from shield-maidens to ale-slingers.

When I created Mist, I envisioned a Valkyrie who was far from happy with this role.  But it took a major event—the Last Battle, or Ragnarok, the end of the world—to shake things up and give her a chance to become the warrior she’d always wanted to be. The only problem was that she, along with eleven of her sister Valkyrie, was stuck guarding one of the twelve great Treasures of the gods until those gods could reclaim them. Which Mist has never believed possible since she, along with a few others who now live on Earth—Midgard—seem to be the only survivors of Ragnarok.  

When the story begins, Mist has finally settled down with a good man in San Francisco and trying to live a normal, mortal life … even though she isn’t mortal.  And she’s finally ready to give up her duty when ….
Confused yet?

Okay, a little more background. The Norse gods were called the Aesir, ruled by the All-father, Odin. Among the more prominent gods and goddesses were Thor, Freya, Frigg and Frigga, Heimdall, Njord, and Baldr.  Their perpetual enemy and sometimes ally was Loki, the trickster “god” (really the son of two Jotunar, or giants), who was destined to set off Ragnarok by seeking revenge on the Aesir for binding him in  a cave with a serpents’ venom dripping into his face.

Even more confused, eh? Well, if you’ve seen the Thor movie, you have something of an idea, though I approach the mythology quite differently than the comics or movies do. (And I wrote the novelette “Mist” well before the first Thor movie came out.)  For one thing, my Loki has three monstrous children: Jormungandr, the great World Serpent; Fenrisulfr, the Wolf who is destined to kill Odin; and Hel, the ruler of the underworld, Niflheim and Helheim.  He has one other child, Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged flying steed.  All of whom come into play in the Midgard trilogy.

Loki is one of my favorite characters, and the bad guy in Mist. (I don’t think I’ll be revealing too much if I hint that he’s not the only villain by a long shot.) He’s uninhibited and amoral, so he’ll do things a decent person wouldn’t ... but he can also be charming and attractive and has one major vulnerability that complicates his life. Mist, who is straightforward and honest, has a little trouble with his wiliness … and his desire to take over Midgard, now that it seems the other gods have been destroyed.

But have they? Mist meets a frost giant in Golden Gate Park and is forced into a battle with him. She wins, and then stumbles across an elf wearing rags who she first mistakes for a homeless person.  He has a message for her: Odin and the Aesir are alive, and they’ve sent him as a messenger for the goddess Freya with orders to gather the Treasures. Ragnarok was just a skirmish, ended when some great forcesent all the combatants flying into a formless limbo. The real battle is to take place on the last remaining Home world: Midgard.  If Mist can’t gather her Sisters and hold out until the gods can cross from the Void to Midgard, Loki might very well take over the world and send mortal civilization spiraling into darkness and chaos.
In Mist, the heroine has to learn who and what she really is, and that she can’t escape her own destiny—to lead the first stages of the battle against Loki. But she soon discovers that she’s only beginning to understand what she’s capable of—and that she may be a much more potent adversary than Loki reckoned on.  Her life is further complicated by the elf, Dainn, whose loyalties are divided and who has a major problem of his own, one he’ll do just about anything to overcome. 

The adventures of Mist and co. have been tremendously fun to write. I’ve just finished the second book, Black Ice, due out in August of 2014, and will soon be writing the final book, Battlestorm. (If I get a chance, I have ideas for future books as well.)

And I’ll also put in a brief plug for my Silhouette Nocturne out this month: Daysider, the first in a series about the aftermath of a human/vampire war. It’s very much urban fantasy (or “post-apocalyptic fantasy”) focused on romance. I did about as much world-building for these books as I do for my fantasy, so I feel it’s fairly safe to recommend them to fantasy readers (as long as they can handle fairly detailed love scenes!)

You can find more information on all these books at

Before I sign off, I'd love to know - Have you had a lifelong dream that is finally coming true?  If you were to use mythology as a basis for a fantasy novel, which would you choose, and why?  What elements do you like best in an urban fantasy novel?  Share your thoughts on any one of these questions for a chance to win a copy of Mist!  

Also, if any of you would like a bookmark, send me an SASE and I'll put a couple in the mail to you.

Thanks for having me!

***Susan's winner is Pat C.  Please email with your mailing address!***