Monday, September 30, 2013

Maya Blake: Secrets - we all have them

Don't we? Juicy secrets that we'd love to share but can't. Scandalous secrets that we only share with our BFFs. Or humongous whoppers that could be potentially life-changing. Those we normally try our hardest to smother in order to protect those we care about.

Of course, secrets have a very funny way of coming out because…well, it's against the laws of humanity to keep things hidden for ever…right?

But when is it a good time to share a secret and when is it better to keep it under wraps?

That's the BIG decision Cesare, my hero, faces in MARRIAGE MADE OF SECRETS.. He's losing Ava, his estranged wife, and could potentially lose his child but he's so set on protecting them both that he keeps this HUGE secret to himself until it's almost too late.

Ava is a feisty, take no prisoners redhead who is determined to fight one last to make her marriage work. But it's a tough gig because, well...SECRETS!

Writing this story was hard. At times, shouted at Cesare – just tell her! The problem was he didn't know from the off how life-changing the secret would be but he KNEW something was very wrong. But he chose the macho way of shouldering all his worries and not sharing his problems with his wife. *rolls eyes*

It takes an earthquake (literally) for him to begin to come to his senses and it broke my heart to see Cesare and Ava struggling so much. But seeing how much those two clearly felt about each other (cue sizzling hot sexy times), I rooted for them to find their own perfect-for-them happy ending.

What about you? Tell me how you feel about secrets big or small and you'll be in with a chance to win a signed paperback copy of MARRIAGE MADE OF SECRETS. Good luck!

***Laurie G. is the winner!  Please email with your mailing address!***

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lynn Raye Harris: Two Times the Fun!

Hey, y’all!  I’ve got two releases coming in the next couple of days and I’m so excited for them both.  First up, tomorrow (though you may find it live sometime today on Amazon and B&N) sees the release of a 33K word novella in my Hostile Operations Team series.  HOT MESS is basically about a girl who fell in love with her big brother’s best friend.  But of course that best friend wasn’t interested in her at all and she had to worship him from afar.

Now, however, she’s all grown up and in trouble—and the best friend, a member of an elite military special operations team, is the only one who can keep her safe.

English professor Dr. Georgeanne Hayes has a problem. Her star pupil, an Army sergeant who works in a Top Secret government program, is missing—and someone tried to push her in front of a train last night.
Sam “Knight Rider” McKnight is used to looking out for Georgie. When they were kids, she was just his best friend’s baby sister. But Georgie’s not a baby anymore and Sam is getting some very male—and very dirty—thoughts about the girl he knows he can never have.
When someone threatens Georgie’s life again, Sam will do anything necessary to keep her safe. Even if it means spending the next few days locked up in a remote house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with her.
Sam might be used to denying himself what he wants, but he’s about to find out that being cooped up with Georgie will push him to the limit. And maybe beyond.

Sounds fun, right?  The best part of all is that this story is introductory priced for only .99!!  You can learn all about the Hostile Operations Team gang, aka H.O.T., in this spicy novella – and then you can move on to HOT PURSUIT, the first full-length book in the series.

My next release is a Harlequin Presents!  You can find A FAÇADE TO SHATTER right now in stores, but the ebook will be available for purchase on October 1st.  This story is Book 6 in the Sicily’s Corretti Dynasty series.

Dismissed & Discarded: can he deny the forgotten Corretti?
Zach Scott wakes from nightmares to the echo of gunfire. So when he stirs from a trance and finds himself not in his fighter jet but at a party, pressed up against the soft, womanly figure of Lia Corretti, he quickly rages against her sweet pity.
For years the forgotten Corretti has hidden her pain behind a façade. So Lia recognises the shadows in Zach’s eyes. But there’s nothing familiar about the hot heat of Zach as he traps her to him. Can she lower her guard long enough to let him see all of her?

What Harlequin fails to tell you in this little summary is that Lia Corretti is a sweet virginal girl who’s been ignored and sheltered by her family – when she spends two wild nights with Zach Scott, she doesn’t expect to come away with a more permanent souvenir of their time together.  When Lia realizes she’d pregnant, she leaves Sicily to find Zach and inform him about his impending fatherhood – and that’s when the sparks fly!

Zach isn’t prepared to be a dad.  He’s still trying to get over the effects of the war and he’s in no shape to be responsible for a wife and child.  But of course he has to man up and protect Lia and the baby from the fury of her conservative Sicilian family.  In the end, Lia might just be what he needs to dig himself out of the chaos of the past.

Two stories, very different on the surface, but at their core they both contain characters trying to find themselves.  Sam and Zach need to realize some hard truths about themselves.  Georgie and Lia are strong and fearless when it comes to the way they feel about their men. 

I love that I have two different stories for you right now!  They may seem very different on the surface, but down at their core they are very much alike with heroes who are afraid to accept the love that’s staring them in the face.  Because giving in to that love is frightening, especially when you think you aren’t really worthy of it.  But these heroines will show them a thing or two before it’s all over!

Today, I’ll give away an ebook of HOT MESS via Smashwords and a $15 Amazon, B&N, or Kobo gift card to one commenter.  Just tell me what your favorite kind of hero is.  Billionaire or HOT military guy?  Or does it matter?  If he’s dark and broody and sexy, do you really care whether he owns a private jet or if he can single-handedly rescue you from the bad guys?

USA Today bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris burst onto the scene when she won a writing contest held by Harlequin. A former finalist for the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former military husband and two crazy cats. Lynn writes about hot military heroes, sizzling international billionaires, and the women who dare to tame them. Her stories have been called "exceptional and emotional," "intense," and "sizzling."
You can learn more at her website,, or come and visit her at her Facebook page: Lynn loves hearing from her readers!

***Vida B. is the winner!  Please email with your mailing address!***

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Melanie Milburne- Never Say No To A Caffarelli

Five Things I’ve Learned From Writing 50 Books

You need to be tough

Writing is not for the faint hearted. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. It’s lonely and isolated. It tears you away from family and friends. It keeps you awake at night. It haunts you during the day.
Have I turned you off yet? No? Then read on…

You learn to write by writing

I’m addicted to books on the writing craft. I have dozens and dozens of them. I attend every big name story workshop I can. I do writing courses. But the way I learned to write was by writing. It’s like training for a sport. You can read every book there is but unless you get on the playing field how will you know if you can make the grade?
I’m still learning. Every book I write I learn something new about the craft of writing, and more importantly - something new about myself.

Reviews are just one person’s opinion

I admire any writer who says bad reviews don’t upset them. I wish I could say the same! The trick is to not take it personally. The review is not about you as a person. It’s about your writing.  At least that’s something that can be worked on.

Writers are born and made

I’m ashamed to admit that in the past I fell for the saying- Writers are born not made. I was wrong. Anyone can learn the craft of writing. It’s fabulous these days with a plethora of online courses and webinars available. There are so many wonderful opportunities to improve as a writer. Don’t waste them.

Self-doubt never goes away

I wish I could tell you it gets easier but every book I write I think is going to be my last.  Yup, every book.
The best thing about writing my latest trilogy was I couldn’t throw my hands in the air during book one and wail in my usual hysterical fashion, “My career is over!” I knew I had two more to write!

I hope you enjoy my 50 Book Never Say No To A Caffarelli. Rafe Caffarelli, who only ever drinks his coffee black and strong with no sugar, locks horns with sweet-toothed tea drinking tearoom owner, Poppy Silverton. He wants her house. She won’t sell it.

I have a signed copy of Never Say No To A Caffarelli as well as a copy of Book Two-Never Underestimate A Caffarelli (just to prove I actually got on and wrote it!) and a celebratory gift pack for one reader. If you could invite two (either living or dead) people for afternoon tea who would they be?

Warmest wishes,

Melanie Milburne 

***Zoe is the winner!  Please email with your mailing address!***

Friday, September 27, 2013

Finding your Tribe or your Mob

Ever heard a group of writers get together? It's loud and the talk is all about writing and the business of writing. It's not much different from a group of doctors gathering together, lawyers, IT specialists, police officers ...the list of careers goes on. Put a group of people together who work in the same field and they can find a lot to talk about because of shared understanding and often shared experiences.

As an author, there are not as many chances in a year to gather with fellow writers face-to-face so I was really excited the other day when Melanie Milburne was within 80 miles of me! I caught the train to the city of Melbourne to meet her. We often brain-storm stories on the phone but we don't get to sit down together very often. Last week we had four hours together!

We caught up at the Block Arcade, which was built during the 1880s when money flowed in Melbourne as a result of the gold rush. No expense was spared from its mosaic floor to the intricately carved stone and domed glass ceiling, it is a step-back in time. It also has the loveliest tea rooms and chocolate shop! We had pots of tea, ribbon sandwiches and shared a decadent piece of lemon-meringue pie.   

As you can see, the choice of cakes was ENORMOUS! You can also see I am holding a shopping bag. Melanie is THE BEST person to go shopping with! She finds you clothes that suit you perfectly. If she wasn't such a great writer, she'd make an excellent personal shopper.  I now have two summer blouses and a jacket!

Of course, the next day, I was back home in my baggy T-shirt and yoga pants but for a day there, I was out in the world, talking writing and have a wonderful time.

Do you find that meeting with someone who works in your area to be invigorating?

And talking writing, Boomerang Bride has just been released in mass-market paperback and is available at Sam's Club, Target and book stores all over the USA and Canada.If you like romance novels about brides, then check out my Wedding  Fever trilogy from Carina Press. The first two books , Saved By The Bride and Picture Perfect Wedding are out as eBooks everywhere

I'm excited about my first Indie-published, short story , On The Road Again. I wrote this after doing a really long bike-ride! So what's it about? Well, Dr. Felicity Hamilton-Smith desperately needs a change of scene so she signs up for a ten-day bike ride. The last thing she expects is to run slap-bang into her former fiancé. For her, the past is over and best left behind, or so she thinks. 
The last time Dr. Drew Baxter saw Felicity was when he broke her heart. Now, seeing her again is breaking his. 

It's 12,500 words and a steal at 99 cents so grab it at Smashwords and Kindle and soon at Apple, Barnes and Noble and all other eBook retailers.

My 15 year-old son designed the cover. What do you think? 

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.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lauren Layne: Manhattan—The Ultimate Muse

Back in my early writing days, I always told myself that once I was published, I’d never read reviews on my book. That I wouldn’t be one of those authors that constantly refreshed GoodReads and checked her Amazon sales rank every hour. Instead, I’d keep my chin up, and my eye on what mattered: writing.

. . .


When my first review of After the Kiss went up on GoodReads, you couldn’t have paid me not to look. A month after release, I’ve relaxed a little on my diligent watching of reviews, but I’ve got a pretty good sense of what readers think of my debut book. The reviews are positive. They like it. Yay! But there’s one very consistent element that comes up in about 90% of reviews:

Comparison to the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

I’m not going to lie. This comparison kills me a little. Not because I have anything against the movie. I really don’t. And I watched it after the references started rolling in, and I totally see the similarity. In both, the heroine writes for a woman’s magazine, and the hero finds himself involved in a dumb bet. Lying ensues. So yes, there are definitely parallels.

But the honest-to-God truth is that the movie wasn’t even remotely on my radar when I planned out the Stiletto series. Truly. However, I did have an on-screen inspiration for Stiletto . . .

Sex and the City.

I put a fair amount of effort into making sure my series was very different from its muse, and it must have paid off judging from the fact that people are accusing me of drawing inspiration from the wrong movie ;)

So why Sex and the CIty? Partially, because I was intrigued by the idea of women (like Carrie Bradshaw) who made a career out of being “experts” on men in general, only to find out that they’re completely clueless when it comes to their own love life. But even that wasn’t the primary reason.

As a romance author, the “sex” was a given. But what really drew me in was the city part of Sex and the City.

See, New York City was every bit as much of a secondary character in SATC as Miranda and Big. Manhattan was at times Carrie’s best friend and worst enemy. The city is sometimes fickle, occasionally cruel, but always, always inspiring. And though I loved the TV series before I ever visited New York, it wasn’t until I actually moved there that I “got it.”  The sheer number of restaurants and bars and pizza stands, hell, the sheer number of people, fills the city with this sort of restless energy and makes you want to well, write books about it.

So yes, After the Kiss is about Julie’s magazine article, and it’s Mitchell’s bet and the fireworks that happen when those two catalysts collide. It’s about love catching you by surprise, and first kisses and taking chances, and all the good stuff that comes with the romance genre.

But it’s also about the city in which all of that happens. It’s Julie’s disastrous run in Central Park, and making out at the Metropolitan Opera House. It’s the sexy night clubs, and tiny kitchens and endless amounts of takeout food because New Yorkers really do use their oven for storage.

I’ve been out of New York for two months now and I’ve been missing it every day, but never so much as this week as we dip our toe into Fall, which is what got me thinking about the city’s influence on my work. Autumn is NYC’s most perfect season, and I hate not being there for it. Carrie Bradshaw perhaps said it best in the season finale of episode four:

There is a time of year in New York when, even before the first leaf falls, you can feel the seasons click. The air is crisp, the summer is gone. And for the first night in a long time, you need a blanket on your bed.

It’s moments like this that make New York New York, and that I think—I hope—make Stiletto, Stiletto. At the end of the day, After the Kiss and the rest of my series isn’t a cheap knock-off of any romantic comedy. It’s about people falling in love in one of the country’s most fabulous cities.


About After the Kiss

In the first book of a delightful new series from Lauren Layne, the star columnist of Stiletto magazine will do anything for a story. Anything . . . except fall in love.

Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and “I do”—she’ll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.

Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie’s “research.” But what Julie doesn’t know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he’s looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he’s exactly what she wants.


Lauren Layne graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in political science that she has yet to put to good use. After a few years in Manhattan, Lauren is now a recovering city-girl, adjusting to a slower pace in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her husband and badly behaved dog, both who get neglected for days at a time when she’s drafting a new book. Lauren will, however, happily break for wine.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kristi Gold: Oh, That Sheikh Mystique…

Sheikh Romance… those stories featuring dashing Arabian monarchs with untold wealth and an abundance of sex appeal.   I've published seven to date, all falling under the Harlequin Desire line.  Now a confession—before I was invited to write my first sheikh book in the Texas Cattleman's Club: Lone Star Jewels series, I knew they were extremely popular, but I had no idea why.  I had never read one, much less even remotely considered writing one.  In fact, when I received the outline and learned that I'd been assigned an Arabian hero, I darn near hyperventilated.  After I recovered, I realized I had been given a golden opportunity to prove that I could meet the challenge head-on.   And frankly, it did prove to be quite a challenge in the beginning, especially when I discovered I'd be pitting a hero archetype I'd never written against a twenty-two-year-old virgin.  Talk about stretching the bounds of my reality.  But that's what fiction is all about, right? 

So I armed myself with a colloquial Arabic language book, and the novice attitude I would write the best sheikh ever, then went about designing a hero who was both alpha and honorable.  I suddenly began to realize those traits were actually common among all the heroes I had written to that point.  And I've always been partial to strong, sassy heroines, so what better kind of woman to take on that ultra-macho rich guy?   Then exactly what makes the sheikh romance different? 

After gaining some experience, I began to liken these Arabian love stories to contemporary historicals.  First of all, a sheikh's formal speech sets him apart from—let's say—a cowboy, and his mores definitely might seem antiquated to most women.  Enter that modern heroine who has no problem putting him in his place, even if she has trouble resisting his charisma.  Also, exotic (fictional) locales can come into play, though I've written several set in the U.S.  But even taken out of his element, the sheikh hero still remains an enigma—dark, maybe a little dangerous, and sexy as hell.  However, in my stories, super-alpha does not mean a license to be verbally or physically abusive.  I don't feature harems or kidnapping or captivity, but I have been known to use some tongue-in-cheek references to those very things.  I don't mention religion ever, or introduce politics beyond that which I have made up in regard to ruling their make-believe kingdoms.  I have included an imaginary phallic fertility mountain, which bodes well for unintended baby-making.  And above all, I always incorporate two people who find love with each other against insurmountable odds.

All that said, I honestly believe the sheikh mystique—and undeniable appeal—comes from introducing readers to a fantastical world of wealth, sensuality and of course, that greatly anticipated happily-ever-after.  But I certainly can't speak for all readers, so tell me why you personally love those sheikh romances?   I'm giving away three sets of the first two Arabian Heat releases - The Return of the Sheikh and One Night with the Sheikh.  Leave a comment for a chance to win!

***Janine. is the winner!  Please email with your mailing address!***

Monday, September 23, 2013

Maisey Yates: His Ring Is Not Enough

They say be careful what you wish for. Which can sound silly, because of course, if we wish for something we want it to come true! But then, the problem with things you THINK you want is that you tend to run into expectation v reality.

It’s easy to romanticize the things we don’t have to deal with in a practical way.

That pretty much sums up what my heroine Leah Holt experiences when she gets the crazy, totally unexpected chance to marry the man she’s always loved.

You see, it’s Ajax’s wedding day. And Ajax is marrying Leah’s much prettier older sister. So of course, Leah thinks it’s maybe time to finally give up hope on Ajax ever loving her.

Then the bride doesn’t show up, leaving the groom with a thousand guests and hundreds of reporters...and a business deal that won’t close if he doesn’t marry one of the Holt heiresses.

That’s where Leah steps in. It’s the perfect chance for her to get the man she’s always wanted, after all.

Well, be careful what you wish for Leah!

Ajax isn’t the man of her fantasies. Nope, it turns out Ajax is a whole lot darker than Leah ever imagined.

The realities of being married to a man like Ajax definitely don’t conform to Leah’s expectations. He’s cold, he’s distant, he’s a little mean, and he certainly isn’t looking for love.

But Leah’s a tough girl, and she’s good at covering up her pain, and her feelings, and returning volley with a sarcastic comment.

But both of them are going to have to let the walls down if they ever expect their marriage to work. If they can manage that then maybe Leah will get even better than she expected. ;)

Have your expectations ever been completely different than reality? Share below, even if the answer is never. One commenter will win an ebook copy of His Ring is Not Enough.

Failure would not be half so bad. There are much bigger things, much darker things to fear.” He set down the bag he’d been carrying and walked toward the far end of the room. “Let me ask you a question, Leah.”
                “Go for it.”
                “Do you think you’re a good person?”
                She blinked. “Yes. I...suppose so. I make candy, not war, and I smile at people when I walk by them on the street. Never took money from my grandma’s purse. Yes.”
                “All right, but do you trust that if your circumstances changed, you would remain a good person? That you would have morals, morals that took hold deep inside of you, that would keep you from ever changing?”
                “I’d like to think so,” she said, sensing she wouldn’t like where he was leading her.
                “I trust that I am not a good person. Not just that I might not be if things were to change, but that if I ever take my eyes off of the prize in front of me, if I let myself slip up, I will go right back into the darkness I came out of and I’m not willing to do it. Not just for me. For everyone I might hurt. Emotion, need, lust, those things distract. They are unpredictable. I don’t trust them.”
                She laughed a little, not because anything he said was funny but because it was the only way she could release the tension, the unease, building inside of her.
                “You wouldn’t...hurt anyone, Ajax.”
                He laughed, and his was obviously not borne of humor either. “Oh, you say that, Leah but you don’t know anything about me, not really. You think you do. You think I was born the minute I appeared on your family’s estate? No. By then I had lived more life in sixteen years than a girl like you will have lived at the end of her days. And that’s not an insult. You don’t want to have seen what I’ve seen. To know what I’ve done. I don’t want to know it. But I do. And the memory is what keeps me going this way. It’s what reminds me, every day, of how important it is to keep your eyes on the goal.”
                “We’re done talking about this.”
                “No we aren’t,” she said. “You told me yesterday that you were worse than most men, today you’re telling me you’ve done things...I think I deserve to have an idea of what I’m dealing with here.”
                “Why? I thought you knew me so well?”
                “No. I knew your mask. And I liked it better.”

                “Everyone does,” he said.

***Jan V. is the winner!  Please email with your mailing address!***

Friday, September 20, 2013

Jane Porter: When Writers Rule The World

Most readers know me as a writer.  Many writers know me as a writer and a speaker.  I have spent as much time on the road speaking to RWA chapters and at writers’ conferences as I have promoting my books.  I was just in Spokane, WA this past weekend doing a workshop on emotion for RWA’s Inland Empire Chapter and when I’m teaching, I’m really passionate about sharing what I know as a writer, and how to improve a book, taking a good story from good to great.  Every book can be made better.  I’m constantly pushing myself to write a better book.  Every new book is an opportunity to grow, and further delight my readers.

I write for myself because I’m driven to write, but after 44 books, the outcome isn’t for me, or about me, it’s about my readers.  Satisfying those readers.  Wanting to entertain and engage those readers so that my readers truly escape, becoming immersed in my world, and the story I’m telling.  To do that, a story has to be compelling, and believable, and fresh.

You can see I have a lot of opinions when it comes to writing, books, and delivering a fantastic story for one’s readers.  I have so many opinions, as a matter of fact, that I have to be careful not to alienate other writers with my beliefs.  We writers are all different.  We are driven by different goals and needs, but my goal is to write the biggest, juiciest, bestselling commercial fiction novel I can write.  How I do that, is up to me.  I have my own skill set, so I have to work my skill set.  Part of that is knowing why my readers read me, and what they want when they read a Jane Porter novel, and then working hard to ensure that my published novel doesn’t just met their expectations—but wildly--exceeds them.

Now I’ve taken all my opinions and my hard work and started a publishing company named Tule Publishing, with our registered LLC being The Tule Group.  Two years ago I would never have done this.  Even a year ago, I wouldn’t have.  But a lot changed for me in the past year.  I had health stuff that meant I couldn’t pound out book after could I?  My hands wouldn’t type.  Then there were continuing changes in the publishing industry, which influenced my choices, as did the continuing disappearance of brick and mortar bookstores.  I have never wanted to be a publisher or editor, and yet, suddenly I am both.   But it works.  It suits me.  I am, if nothing else, hardworking and opinionated.

Tule Publishing has one goal---to publish fantastic stories, by the best writers, to delight the reader, while satisfying the writer's desire for creativity, freedom, and commercial success.

Tule is about the writer making money, having fun in the process, and working with awesome women – fellow writers – and Tule's small e-publishing team.  We are a small full-service publishing company, deliberately small to be agile and able to adapt quickly.  We are launching all of our releases in 2013 and 2014 first as e-books, and then choosing select titles to put into print. 

Because I’m an author that’s written for three different publishers, I know what I’ve wanted from a publisher, and what I didn’t, and am trying to focus Tule’s energy to give authors the support they need so they can continue to write.  At Tule, the power structure is inverted.  Here, the authors are the talent.  The authors have power.  The contracts favor the author, and editorial isn’t about saying the author is wrong, but building the author’s voice and skill set so that she can shine as a single title author, and a future star, if she isn’t one already.

As a writer I don’t believe in boxes and categories.  I’ve written category fiction for 13 years but I approached every one of those 30+ stories as if it was a single title.  I believe in huge world building even if it’s a novella.  More story, not less.  Bigger voice.  Bigger risks.  Bigger writing.  My motto is “go big, or go home.”  But it’s worked for me, and it’s my mantra for Tule.

Any author writing for Tule is also writing for demanding readers like me.

Between now and Christmas, we will have 8 stories released with our first imprint, Montana Born (, which include 7 novellas and a free story, and then we have 24 more titles scheduled for 2014. 

Why launch Tule with the Montana Born imprint?  Montana is mythic.  Montana is about possibility and dreams and big sky...but also it’s filled with hard-working, rugged, independent people—which make it perfect for our first imprint.

And then there is our first story, of our first imprint.  Who better to launch with, then the incomparable Megan Crane?  Megan’s Tempt Me, Cowboy, went on sale last week, and then on Tuesday, September 24th we release 5-time Rita nominee, Lilian Darcys Marry Me, Cowboy, followed by the October release of CJ Carmichael’s Promise, Me, Cowboy and my Take Me, Cowboy at the end of the month.

Montana Born isn’t our only imprint.  In June Tule launches its second imprint, Holiday, and we have a third imprint already scheduling stories.  Editors are in place with every imprint, along with copy editors, cover art designers, and full marketing and publicity teams, too.

I don’t know where this adventure will go.  I just know I had to do it.  I’ve poured my heart and soul into writing books my readers will love, and it’s time for more readers, not less.  It’s time for more respect, more freedom, more flexibility, and more joy.

We who write do something extraordinary.  We should be validated and supported at every level—emotionally, psychologically, and financially.

Last February I said these very things to Megan, Lilian and CJ, who all quickly became Tule’s founding authors. 

I love what we are doing at Tule.  Writing great books is important.  What we do as writers matter.  I know I wouldn’t be happy without my comfort reads, and the world is full of people like me, who love to get lost in a great story.

So here we are, with a publishing company devoted to readers and writers and not interested (well, hardly...barely) in its own ego.  Yes, Tule has to make money to pay staff and bills.  But Tule won’t make money unless the authors make good money, and in this author’s mind, that’s how it should be.

I always said one-day writers would rule the world.  I said it smiling, tongue in cheek. But maybe, one day, it might be true.  Leave a comment for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card!

Jane Porter

***Kelly S. is the winner!  Please email with your mailing address!***

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stephanie Julian's No Reservations

When you first meet Tyler in BY PRIVATE INVITATION ( Salon Games Book 1), the guy’s kind of a stick in the mud.

He’s content to watch, to make sure everything goes according to plan. Tyler’s all business and, even though he’s co-host of one of Philadelphia’s most-anticipated New Year’s Eve parties, he’s doesn’t want to dance. Or mingle. Or do anything really.

He has his reasons, of course. I mean, the guy did lose his fiancée to a brain tumor. Cut him some slack. And to top it off, the first girl he’s attracted to since his fiancée’s death is engaged.

Luckily for Tyler, Kate’s the kind of girl worth waiting for.

Kate’s been engaged to her hometown boyfriend for years. Problem is, she’s not in love with him. And that’s not fair to either of them. When she meets Tyler at that New Year’s Eve Party and finds herself attracted to him, she realizes she has to break off her engagement.

In NO RESERVATIONS (Salon Games Book 2), Kate and Tyler begin an affair that neither expected to burn so hot, so fast.

And both are unprepared for the boundaries they’re about to push. Tyler has definite dominance issues, including a penchant for tying a willing woman to a bed with silk and velvet. And offering her the chance of a lifetime by opening her own lingerie boutique.

Kate’s more than willing to let Tyler introduce her to sensual pleasures she’s only dreamed about. And some she’s never considered.

But when she’s offered her dream job in New York City, will she leave behind the man she loves or stay and exert her own dominance?
Well, this is a romance, after all.


Chapter One

New Year’s Eve
“I’m afraid you don’t look like you’re having a very good time. As one of the hosts, I have to say I’m slightly offended.”
The deep, masculine voice cut through the haze that had developed over Kate Song’s attention, drawing her gaze upward until she looked into the darkest blue eyes she’d ever seen.
If she were the romantic type, which she really wasn’t, she’d say they were the dark blue of a calm sea set in an arrestingly handsome face.
Strong forehead. Straight nose. Gorgeous cheekbones. Dark hair cut a little too long to be considered conservative but not long enough to be rebellious.
Even if he’d been wearing anything other than the custom-made tuxedo—like say, the penguin costume that unfortunate fool in the corner had chosen to wear to this high-class New Year’s Eve party—he’d still look exactly like what he was.
A rich playboy with endless pockets and probably an ego twice as big.
And he stared at her as if she were next on his to-do list.
Buy small European country before breakfast. Acquire Fortune 500 company after lunch. Host fancy shindig at night.
Why he’d added Sweet talk sour-looking guest at fancy shindig to that list, she didn’t know. And couldn’t afford to indulge.
“Then I’d have to reply that your powers of observation leave something to be desired.”
Kate made sure she kept her tone disinterested and let her gaze slide back to the dance floor. Her best friend was out there, dancing with a gorgeous guy who’d practically swept her off her feet the second they’d arrived at this party.
Annabelle had needed this night out and Kate hadn’t wanted her to go alone. Even Kate’s fiancé, Arnie, had realized how much this would mean to Annabelle. He’d told Kate to go, have fun.
He certainly hadn’t meant for her to flirt with a gorgeous stranger while she was there.
Low, amused laughter from above made her eyebrows arch as she slid another glance his way.
“Wow,” he said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been told off quite that politely before.”
One corner of his masculine lips had quirked up and his eyes had narrowed.
And her heart gave a little flutter.
No way. None of that tonight.
None of that ever, apparently.
Crap. Just . . . crap.
Hell, she couldn’t even get her snarky subconscious to lay off tonight.
She didn’t have to force a chagrined smile as her gaze lingered this time. And found her attention captivated.
He truly was a beautiful man. And she didn’t mean he was pretty.
No, he was distinctly, utterly masculine in a way that made her want to rub up against him and purr.
Danger ahead. Especially for an engaged woman.
Who was having doubts left, right, and center lately.
Sighing, she gestured to the seat next to her. “I’m sorry. Would you like to sit? I have to warn you, though. I’m probably not going to be very good company tonight.”
“And why is that?”
Because I can’t decide what I want to do with my life. Because I’m engaged to a man I’m not sure I love enough to marry.
“Because I foolishly thought these shoes would be a smart idea, and now my feet hurt.”
He laughed, low and a little husky and so very enticing, as he slid into the chair on the opposite side of the round table.
“Well, I’m glad to know it’s not the company.”
It definitely was not the company.

Stephanie Julian is a reformed reporter who enjoys making up stories much more than writing about sewer systems and school boards. She’s married to a Springsteen fanatic and is the mother of two sons who share her love of hard rock music and (kinda sorta) don’t mind when she doesn’t cook for weeks on end. You can find out more about her at You can also join her Newsletter, friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Alexis Morgan: Quirks, Yes, But Not Always Quirky

Characters in a book are, by definition, fictional. The tricky part, though, is that they need to become real to both the writer and the reader or their story isn’t worth telling—or reading.

It takes me months to write a book. I spend hours at the computer with only my characters and my imagination for company. (Well, and my parakeets who think they are my official Muses!) Much of that time is spent in getting to know not just the hero and heroine but also the supporting cast or secondary characters. Even I wouldn’t want to spend that much time with these people if they came across as flat and lifeless.

Often there isn’t a lot of room on the page to go into a lot of detail about the secondary characters because the spotlight needs to be on the hero and heroine. Giving each of the characters something to distinguish him/her from all of the others helps make their personality pop on the page, making them memorable to the reader. This is especially important with the book is just one in a series and these characters may appear in more than one story. 

I once wrote a western historical where a gambler named Cal and his friend Toby had been riding together for years. You could always tell when Toby wasn’t happy with Cal because he’d spit tobacco in the general direction of the gambler’s boots. The closer he came to hitting those boots, the madder Toby was. As disgusting as that image is, it made me really love Toby. It also made him memorable. One of Cal's habits was dealing cards because he found the repetitive motion soothing. It served as a reminder that he'd been supporting himself with his winnings since he was a young boy.

Then there was one of my villains who loved to make lists. Sure, lots of people make a list before going to the grocery story or perhaps to detail the things they need to get done. But for this character, the one list he took great pleasure in writing was made up of the names of the people he intended to kill and in what order they needed to die. This particular quirk showed he was very methodical and that made him dangerous.

Another series of mine centered around a group of warriors. Each had to have his own distinct personality. One had a habit of putting his feet on his boss’s desk and an unfortunate tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. He also had a real talent for hacking into other people’s computer systems to play cyber-tag. What made him one of my readers’ favorite characters, though, was his fierce loyalty and courage.

In my new Snowberry Creek series, you’ll meet a physician’s assistant who has pink spiked hair. It’s an instant clue to the reader that Brandi is a little different. But regardless of her appearance, patients love her because of her kind heart.
Not all distinguishing characteristics have to be strange. The first books in Snowberry Creek center around three soldiers. All three have a strong love of country, courage, and loyalty to each other. That doesn't mean they care cookie cutter characters, indistinguishable except for superficial details like height or eye color. Instead, Nick is the leader, who takes his responsibilities very seriously. Spence has mad driving skills and loves driving right at the edge of crazy. Leif is the calm one, often plays referee between the other two, and has a great sense of humor.

With that in mind, Nick drives a pickup that is solid, but not flashy—the kind of truck that a contractor might drive. Leif drives a shiny, cherry-red pickup and worries a lot about nicks and scratches. Spence, on the other hand, goes tearing around on a Harley that he's owned since high school. Their personalities show up in their possessions.  I love these guys, and I hope you will as well.

So take a minute to think about your favorite character in a series you've been reading. What is it about that person that made him/her stand out from the crowd?  What drew you to him? I'm betting it's the details the author built into the story that makes that character three dimensional and real.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Erin Knightley: Romancing the Past

Thanks so much for inviting me to join you today!

As I write this, I am giddy with excitement about my trip to the Biltmore House tomorrow. Yes, it was built in the late 19th century instead of the Regency era that I prefer, and yes, it is set in the rolling foothills of North Carolina as opposed to the English countryside, but there is something absolutely magical about that place.

Walking through it, I can’t help but envision a different era, where people dressed for dinner, sent hand-written notes, and spent the evenings engaged in real conversation. I love picturing women in beautiful dresses, men in their tails and cravats, and carriages rumbling up to the grand entrance.

And with such a grand and romantic setting, I’m sure the stage was set for a little matchmaking. I can just imagine the shared glances of men and women across the magnificent dining hall, or perhaps the quiet snick of doors opening and closing in the guest wing, followed by the soft footfall of bare feet on the crimson carpet runners by the light of the moon . . .

So yeah, basically I picked the right profession ;). I mean, day-dreaming aside, in what other field could I claim this trip for a tax deduction? I’m here to happily admit the following: My name is Erin Knightley, and I’m a sucker for romancing the past.

Hopefully someday soon, I’ll be able to visit the real manor houses of Great Britain, but in the meantime, I’ll happily settle for the Biltmore . . . and books! Speaking of which, below is an excerpt from my newest release, Flirting with Fortune. I hope you enjoy, and thanks so much for taking time from your day to join me here today!

So this is the lady who belongs to the scent of lilacs. How lovely of you to come out and join me.”
He was amused.
She was not.
Never mind that the almost musical lilt of his Scottish-tinged accent sent a shiver down the back of Bea’s already chilled neck. If he knew she was there, he should have had the decency to say as much. Embarrassment stiffened her spine—Lord she must look a fool. With as much dignity as one in her position could muster, she extracted herself from the heavy drapes and shook out her skirts. “Yes, well, since you wouldn’t leave like a proper gentleman, it seems as though I had little choice.”
He lifted a dark eyebrow, tilting his head just enough so that a lock of midnight-black hair fell across his temple. “I do beg your pardon. I should have left the moment I realized there was a debutant-shaped lump behind the curtains.”
Well, when he said it like that. She lifted her chin regally. “Pardon granted, Mr. . . . ?”
She waited, but he didn’t take the bait. Instead, he pushed away from the wall, closing the distance between them with measured, unhurried steps. He wasn’t overly tall, but he had a certain presence about him, as if he could command an army, if so inclined. She couldn’t have taken her eyes from him if she wanted to.
With every step he took, her heartbeat seemed to increase, until it fluttered like a caged bird beneath her breast. He wasn’t traditionally handsome, not like her brother or even her brother-in-law. His appeal was much more intense than that. His jaw looked as sharp as if it were carved from granite and already possessed the slightest hint of dark stubble. His cheeks angled high, almost like a woman’s, but his bold, masculine brow provided exactly enough counterbalance to give his features exquisite symmetry and depth. Such unique beauty made her fingers itch to take up her brushes and commit his visage to canvas.
Her gaze was too bold by half, but he didn’t seem to mind her inspection. In fact, he watched her right back, his flint-colored eyes seeming to take in everything about her, leaving her feeling quite exposed. “Now, now, we haven’a been introduced. I wouldn’a want to break protocol at my very first ball. Unless, of course, it is your wish, Miss . . . ?”
Beatrice almost smiled. She’d as soon walk naked through the ballroom than tell him who she was. A lady did not get caught hiding behind curtains. “Yes, well . . . I suppose rules are rules.”

I hope you enjoyed this peak at Beatrice and Colin’s story :) So tell me—what is one of your favorite historical places to visit? Monuments? Natural wonders? Old churches? One lucky commenter with win an audiobook of Ruined by a Rake, my #1 Regency bestselling novella read by the delicious Alistair Stephens!

Sir Colin Tate has never imagined marrying for money. But debts left by his artist father have put his siblings’ futures in danger. To wed an eligible heiress, this independent-minded Scot must play by restrictive rules—until an irresistible lady dares to pursue her passion for art…and him.

Lady Beatrice Moore can spy a fortune hunter as expertly as she captures subjects on canvas. But when she meets the striking son of Britain’s most celebrated painter, the attraction is instantaneous—blinding her to the possibility that he could ever be one of those schemers.…

Then the truth comes out, shattering Lady Beatrice’s faith in the mischievous yet kind man who has captured her heart. With reputations and fortunes hanging in the balance, Colin and she must find a way to trust in a love that cannot be proven—or face an unfathomable loss.

About Erin: Despite being an avid reader and closet writer her whole life, Erin Knightley decided to pursue a sensible career in science.  It was only after earning her B.S. and working in the field for years that she realized doing the sensible thing wasn't any fun at all.  Following her dreams, Erin left her practical side behind and now spends her days writing. Together with her tall, dark, and handsome husband and their three spoiled mutts, she is living her own Happily Ever After in North Carolina. Find her at, on Twitter @ErinKnightley, or at

***Erin's winner is Cathy P.  Please email with your mailing address!***