Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Happy New Goes January!

What's that quote about the road to..somewhere being lined with best intentions? Yeah...that one.  I'm the kind of person who ends a year and begins the new one with the very BEST of intentions - about life, health, practices and commitments--but it doesn't take very long before I fall or drift away from them.

This year, 2017, it took me less than 3 days. Pitiful, right? My first resolution was to make sure to send out/actually mail physical birthday cards to my family and closest friends. Well, my son's birthday is January 4th and let's just say, no card was in the mail!  And I can neither confirm nor deny that my daughter-in-law's birthday card was in my purse until yesterday...

In my defense, I can say I have not been sitting around eating bonbons! I've been recovering from the holidays (which were wonderful!), writing A LOT (lots of stories needed words!), handling some family issues and working with my new website designer to get my new website ready for its launch! I've also been launching that website and holding an almost-month-long celebration of the site that ended yesterday.

Now, I'm looking at the end of January, what's next? Well, more writing, of course! I am in the middle of a new contract with Harlequin for more sexy Highlander romances (and the next one is underway). I'm also working on several other special projects that I can't really reveal just yet! Sorry to be a tease, but things are still in the works and once they're of
ficial, I'll share them widely and loudly. (very exciting stuff coming!!)

The best thing has been watching my grandbabies getting bigger by the day! Princess Alexis is 2 now and has unleashed her babbling - she's talking to everyone and everything but I'm lucky to understand every 10th word! The funniest thing is that she can clearly say 'aubergine' rather than eggplant. Princess Sydney is 14 months now and has discovered her favorite places to sit in their house -- the windows in the dining room and the ledge in the refrigerator!  They are both the exactly right height for her to back up to and sit down. Too cute!

So, what's been happening in your life since the holidays and the New Year?  Good intentions carried through? Or miserably failing like me? More important - what good books have you read lately? I have managed to do that! I got an advanced copy of Kerrigan Byrne's THE DUKE (it comes out in February) and wow-oh-wow this is not to be missed! If you like dark and tormented heroes, along with a sexy, smart story that makes you swoon and cry and cheer, you should give her series a try!   

Terri is thrilled to release UPON A MISTY SKYE, her novella from the USA Today Bestselling anthology ONCE UPON A HAUNTED CASTLE. Available on all retailers today, it's the story of a forbidden love between enemies and the ghost that helps them! 

The next will be UPON A HIGHLAND MOOR in the anthology FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDERS  coming on April 18 - available for preorder now!   Visit my website for all the latest news!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Susan Stephens: Happy New Year!

May the year of the rooster bring you everything you wish for, and much more.

It’s good to be back, and thank you so much for inviting me, Lee. :)

Because February, the month of love is almost here, I have something special just for you. Valentine’s Night at the Ladies Club is part of my popular Ladies Club series, and I’m offering it free to all subscribers to my Newsletter for the entire month of February.

When you receive the Newsletter you will find a User Name and Password that gives you access to the Members Only pages on my web site where you can pick up your free book.
(Novels can and will be swapped in and out, so there is always something free to read)

It has been bitterly cold and misty up here on the Yorkshire moors, but thankfully no serious snow as yet this winter.  I can never walk my dog Betty without imagining the Bronte sisters walking along these same frozen pathways. It’s quite something to walk past the church they attended, and where their father used to preach.

But I’m not complaining, because it’s very good writing weather! I’d much rather be indoors with Betty lying across my feet to keep them warm, than tramping across the wild and windy moors!

I’m having the best time writing my new red-hot polo series, Blood and Thunder, and I’m absolutely thrilled by the reader reception. Featuring a fierce pack of polo players, who lead a double life as Vigilantes, it’s been creating quite a stir.  I should warn you right away that the Blood and Thunder series is super-hot and includes language some of you may object to.

But if you like the idea of a series of inter-related, stand-alone romantic suspense novels, this could be for you. The second story, Argentinian Billionaire, featuring Dante Formosa, aka the Romani Chieftain, is a January 27th release. Isn’t he hot? I could stare at him all night!

Here are the links for you :)
Amazon US     
Amazon UK    
Barnes and Noble

In this next image you can see the novels to date...

Pre-order for the 3rd story, Spaniard Untamed is available now, and I’m guessing you’ll be pleased to hear that my Spanish duke is another hot, dangerous man!  

I only hope you enjoy these stories half as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Please don’t be shy. Join those I chat with on a regular basis on my Facebook page and on Twitter. The romance world is such a happy community, that whatever else is going on in our lives we can all escape for a while, either by reading a new book, or by chatting about our latest reads with other fans of this fabulous genre.

Keep warm!

With my love to you,
Susan xx


Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Writing Retreat: Just What The Soul Needed

This weekend I joined over 20 writers in retreat heaven for our creative souls. The idea came about in 2015 when we collectively needed a safe space to talk about careers, our dreams, and enjoy a true community of sisterhood.

Our first retreat came into fruition in January 2016. After months of planning and lots of discussions, we arrived in Destin with no idea of what we would accomplish or if this would be a success. After all, we hadn't defined what would be a successful retreat.

The bonding among us occurred naturally and quickly. Laughter ruled the entire weekend with the wacky senses of humor, the funny quips, and shared experiences over this tumultuous writing journey.

Although the event lasted two and half days, the time was well spent getting us to a place where we could take what we'd learned, along with our own inspiration from the weekend, to conquer our next goals.

Another year has gone by, some writers couldn't make this trip. Some of us lost a parent or relative. Some have changed careers in the day job. Others have faced challenges in the writing world, while others have seen success.

Yet we've come to the same house in Destin (this year is slightly cooler) for that home-grown, feel-good tonic of camaraderie and friendship. I highly recommend gathering your circle, selecting the perfect place, and having the time of your life.

A house on the beach serves us well with rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

All the best,

Michelle Monkou

Coming February 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Eve Gaddy: Animals in Romance

Do you like animals in the romances you read? I love to have animals in my books. In fact, I have them in almost every book. Not quite every single book, but definitely the majority of my books feature animals. Either in a prominent role or simply as a pet who’s around but may not have a big role.

I write a lot of dogs. I love dogs. They can be so fun to write about. I have a dog of my own named Ellie, who is an ancient Cocker Spaniel who at times looks like an Ewok.

Here’s my sweet Golden Retriever, Maverick, who passed a few years ago. I still miss him!

I have written books with cats in them too, but I confess, most of the time I write about dogs. And horses. But I plan to have more cats and maybe a few other species in my future books.

There’s a dog named Shadow in my work in progress. He’s a Labrador/German Shepherd mix. Here’s a picture of Shadow:

Shadow plays an important role in my next book, The Cowboy and the Doctor. It should be out in May. What role, you ask? You’ll have to read the book.:) It’s the fourth book in the Gallaghers of Montana series. Here’s the cover. (I just got it!) The horse on the cover is the one Dylan rides all the time, named Hawkeye.

There’s also another horse who is important, Dylan Gallagher’s Norwegian Fjord Stallion, named . . . Trouble.

I have another book, and another cowboyJ, who has a gorgeous horse named Smoke. Here’s my inspiration for this stallion. You can see a lot of pictures at this website, if you’re interested. Rocky Steeldust. They call this color grullo. 

You can read about Trey Kelly, Whiskey River and Smoke, along with his heroine Ariana Wright and her dogs, in Texas Cowboy. It’s going to be free everywhere come February 1.

Come see me and chat with me on the Internet at these places. Join my newsletter if you want to know more about my upcoming releases and special deals. You also get a free book when you join.:)
@evegaddy on Twitter

Do you like animals in your romances? Let me know in the comments and I’ll pick one commenter to get a free copy of Love Me, Cowgirl. Yes, there are animals in it, too. Honey Jordan is a barrel racer and her hero, Dr. Sean Gallagher, happens to be a horse whisperer as well as a doctor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What's In A Name?

What’s in a name?

At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to pick a name for one reason or another and it’s not always easy. Actually, the only time it was easy for me was when we got our chickens because clearly three of them had to be Monica, Rachel and Phoebe.

And one had to be Mark. Yes, I know, Mark isn’t usually a “girl” name, but Survivor had just finished its season where the contestants kept Mark-the-Chicken as a pet instead of eating him, so. . .  J The other two weren’t so easy to name, but eventually I settled on Cochrane and Willy.

Choosing names for characters can be a bit of a trick. For instance, I’ve started writing the first book in my next series and even though I’ve known the heroine’s name for a while, the hero was a little more work. Armed with an image of what I thought this particular man looked like, along with an idea of who he is as a character, I knew going in what his name couldn’t be. I knew he couldn’t be a stereotypical nerdy-Eugene or tough-guy-Ryker, but that his name would have to fall somewhere in between – and that left a lot of choices.

Plenty of writers can charge ahead and write most of their book without naming their characters, but my brain’s wired differently. I need names and I need them to be cemented in my psyche before I get too deep into the story because I find that changing a name mid-stride can often change the character which then changes the story and that’s just a disaster for me.

There are also authors who keep lists of names that they like and pick from that when they start a new book, but that doesn’t work for me either because it seems that names I didn’t like a month ago, I might love now, and vice versa, so I always start from scratch. I came up with a pretty good list, but no matter how many great names I scribbled down, I found myself consistently going back to one: Sam.

I was telling a friend of mine about trying to pick this particular name and during the conversation I sent her a picture of the image I had. She immediately started firing different names back at me until she ended with “Alex!” (exclamation mark and all – LOL) And she was right. To look at the picture I sent her, he could totally be an Alex, and I love that name (even made the short list), so back I went and changed all my Sams to Alexes and I kept writing. But. . .

The more I wrote, the more something kept picking at my brain until I realized that it didn’t matter what I did or how I tried to change him into an Alex, I couldn’t do it because he’s not an Alex; he’s a Sam. And now that I’m settled on that, I can’t wait for you all to meet him and let me know if you think I’m right! J

In the meantime, I hope you’ll pick up my Fishing for Trouble series where you’ll get to meet Liam, Finn and Ronan O’Donnell, my Irish-Canadian brothers who think they have their lives all figured out until, one by one, they meet the women who’ll show them how much they’ve been missing.

USA Today bestselling author Laura Drewry writes fun and sexy contemporary romances filled with heartfelt emotion and characters readers can relate to. When she’s not writing, she likes reading, watching Marvel movies with her boys, Pinning recipes she'll never make, and cheering for the Yankees. Laura lives in southwest British Columbia with her husband, three sons, two dogs, a turtle, a handful of chicken and about 30,000 bees.
You can find her online at – please stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Miss Bradshaw's Bought Betrothal

I think every girl dreams of Prince Charming. The idea that one day the perfect guy for you will sweep you off your feet and you will both live happily ever after is certainly not new. Neither is a Cinderella story. I doubt many other stories have been re-spun and retold quite so many times, yet still I was drawn to the idea for my latest book. I love the idea of the downtrodden and ill-used heroine being transformed into a princess after meeting her Prince Charming- but I wanted to do it a bit differently. Cinderella with a twist. I called it Miss Bradshaw's Bought Betrothal.

You see, its Prince Charming I have always taken issue with. He was always so one-dimensional. Vanilla. Meh. Or as a good friend of mine would describe him, a wet lettuce. We never really get to know him. The original fairy tale of Cinderella basically revolved around Cinders and her magical fairy godmother- leaving the poor prince a convenient prop with no more personality than the pumpkin. Let’s face it, apart from being handsome, what else can you say about him?

I decided my Prince Charming was going to be as far away from charming as was possible. I created a surly, rude and tortured soul. A man who was as insular as he was private. Handsome, yes, but not in a pretty-boy, vapid kind of way. My Prince Charming works hard and speaks his mind.
His name is Finn Matlock and I adore him.

It stood to reason that my Cinderella had to be a bit different as well. The trouble with Cinders, in my humble opinion, is she is far too perfect. The most beautiful girl in the world with a saccharine personality to match. And she’s a victim.
Surely if the woman had any sense she would escape her miserable life of indentured servitude and work for actual wages elsewhere without all of the grief? I certainly would.

Evie Bradshaw is my Cinderella. She is an heiress who has been left on the shelf, her confidence worn down by her sponging, malicious step-mother and her beautiful, catty step-sisters. Evie is more of a doormat than a servant and, thanks to a particular set of circumstances, was trapped in this life for years. However, since the death of her father Evie’s circumstances have dramatically changed and she hatches a plan to escape. In the absence of any real suitors, she pays a dissolute marquis to pretend to be her fiancé in order to run away to the North and begin her life afresh. Her own house. Her own rules. Completely independent and free for the first time in her life.
Unfortunately, things don’t go quite as Evie has planned them and she finds herself, and her octogenarian great aunt Winnie, abandoned in the North instead. Wholly reliant on the hospitality of her fake fiancé’s surly brother.

Hence the doormat and the surly curmudgeon are thrust together. There are no glass slippers in my story. No balls and definitely no pumpkins either but there are lots of laughs, a few tears, a field full of wildflowers, an unexpected fairy godmother and a horse called Horatio.
And sexual tension. Lots and lots of delicious sexual tension…

Miss Bradshaw's Bought Betrothal by Virginia Heath is published by Harlequin and out now
To Win a signed copy simply comment below with your answer to the following question (1 winner picked at random):
Which fictional character would make your perfect Prince Charming? 
She'd done it! Plain, invisible Evelyn had escaped… 
Fed up with being a doormat to her evil stepmother, heiress Evelyn Bradshaw pays a dissolute rake to pose as her betrothed so she can secure her freedom. But then her fake fiancé leaves her with his estranged brother Finn Matlock and disappears! 
Having withdrawn from the world, Finn knows the last thing he needs is the temptation of a woman, especially one like Evie. She has an irritating habit of causing chaos wherever she goes and being in places she shouldn't…including, as he soon learns, his heart!

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Fortunately, the lovely people at Harlequin took pity on her and decided to publish her romances, but it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
If you want to find out more check out her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook

Monday, January 23, 2017

Let's Go On A Picnic

It's the middle of winter and the weather is nowhere near picnic-like. . .but the weather also has me dreaming of warm summer breezes and afternoons spent beside a lake or the ocean with my toes firmly dug into the sand. And, picnics.

One of my favorite things is a picnic – spring, summer, or fall, as long as the sun is warm and the sky is blue, I'm in. I like the relaxed atmosphere of a picnic, the ability to completely zone out of ‘life’ and zone into the person you’re with. RadioMan, bebe, and I try to hit a local park or lighthouse or beach a few times each summer, and I loved adding a picnic scene to my book, What a Texas Girl Wants. In the book, Kathleen surprises Jackson with a picnic and puts him off-balance.

Here’s one of my favorite picnic recipes, something Kathleen and Jackson might take along on their next picnic:

Country Chicken Salad
4 cups cubed, cooked chicken
3/4 cups slivered toasted almonds
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup seedless grapes
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation: Bake chicken at 350 for 40 minutes or until done. Allow to cool and then cube the chicken. I use boneless chicken breasts to make this easier. Once cubed, combine the chicken, almonds, celery and grapes in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and salt and pepper well. Finally, add this mixture to the chicken and mix thoroughly.

What a Texas Girl Wants has been included in the Texas Temptation boxed set, and is available now for only 99 cents - you'll get 10 Texas-themed romances in one hot package. Here's a bit about the book:

Kathleen Witte is a down-to-earth girl. She has to be, with the family ranch on the verge of success. After seven months of keeping it all together by swearing off men, however, Kathleen needs a bit of fun in the sun. Waking up with a husband she can’t remember isn’t how she planned to blow off steam.

The last thing Jackson Taylor wants in his life is a down-to-earth girl. He has four weeks of freedom in which to find his birth mother. He’s done well avoiding commitment until now, so when he wakes up on a Mexican beach with Kathleen his first reaction is curiosity. When he spies the matching wedding rings on their left hands curiosity turns to concern.

Neither Jackson nor Kathleen want to stay married, but when her family shows up, they have no choice. Once back in Texas, however, can they keep this all-business marriage from turning into an all-consuming love?

Readers, do you have a favorite picnic recipe? Share in the comments!

Kristina Knight's What a Texas Girl Wants is part of the Texas Temptations bundle - 10 full-length, contemporary romances for the low price of 99 cents!

Here are the book blurbs:

Can’t get enough of sexy cowboys? Check out these ten tales of bold, funny, take-charge couples who team up to wrangle a love as big as the Texas sky!

The Texas Takedown: Berry Challoner arrives in Houston determined to go undercover as a secretary to solve her brother’s murder. Surely Tyler Reid, his best friend and a certified public accountant, can help her follow the money to the killer. But Tyler’s not a fan of this crazy, spontaneous plan, even if he is mesmerized by Berry. When it looks like she’s next on the killer’s list, he’ll have to go all in to save the girl who’s beginning to capture his heart.

What a Texas Girl Wants: The last thing Jackson Taylor wants in his life is a down-to-earth girl like Kathleen Witte, so why did he just wake up next to her on a Mexican beach with a ring on his finger? Once they’re back in Texas though, this all-business marriage might just turn into an all-consuming love.

Delicious Deception: Artist Emily Kate Boudreaux spends her days running a restaurant on a Texas bayou because it’s what her family expects. Then sexy chef Connor Rikeland walks into her life and turns her business—and her bed—into one hot adventure. But his story is a sham, and Cajun cooking isn’t his ticket to fame after all. Emily Kate must decide what’s real, what’s a lie, and what’s worth risking her heart over.

Sweet Texas Fire: Gage Cooper has always wanted the family cabin. Instead, his business nemesis, environmental analyst Charlotte Wilkinson, inherits this valuable property with its oil-rich land and secrets. He’ll do anything to reverse this fortune, including eloping to Vegas for a sham marriage. But as they discover a surprising chemistry together, suddenly Gage must decide what’s worth more: the land he’s always coveted or a future with Charlotte.

A Love Beyond: Convinced that her sister’s abusive marriage drove her to kill herself, A.J. Owens travels to her brother-in-law’s Texas ranch determined to unearth his secrets and rescue the champion racehorse he stole—even if it means pretending to seduce the man. Chance Landin, the ranch’s head of security, knows there’s something fishy about this gorgeous blonde seductress, but the former marine is more than happy to help expose the madman’s deadly secrets. With a romance beginning to spark between them, can love triumph over revenge?

The Election Connection: War widow Lily Ashton’s heart is closed to love, so she’s the perfect choice to play fiancée to help secure a re-election for her pal, Texas congressman Ford Richardson. But as they work together, their not-quite engagement starts to feel much more real than either is ready to admit.

In the Shadow of Pride: When Lexie Trevena’s matchmaking friends accidentally place her smack in the path of a terrorist in Austin who intends to use her as his pawn, the only person who can help her is Special Agent-in-Charge Luke “Mac” McNeil—the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death.

One Last Letter: At sixteen, Evelyn Lancaster rejected ranch hand Jesse Greenwood to save her father’s struggling ranch. Now a newly wealthy Jesse has returned home, and he’s drawn to the land he swore to never step foot on again. As long-held emotions rekindle, he can only admit his true feelings via unsigned letters left on Evelyn’s porch … until another man comes forward to claim the correspondence as his own. Will one final note give them the courage to say yes to love on the wild Texas plains?

Relentless: Battling his partner, his attraction to cowgirl Cody, and the demons of his past, Dallas detective Remy LeBeau must take the ultimate risk to catch a serial killer. But it could cost him everything—including Cody’s life.

Broken Wings, Soaring Hearts: Hailey Holman is determined to keep her dad’s dream of reopening their small-town Texas base station alive. Jack Stinson wants to escape the pressures of his own family’s airplane manufacturing business. But asking for each other’s help is anything but blue skies. Can these two focused pilots have enough faith to soar together?

You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lara Temple: About writing, luck, and not waiting for inspiration

Two years ago I got really, really lucky and it’s all my mother’s fault. She loves sending me snippets from magazines – some funny, some pertinent, some frankly bizarre. One little snippet mentioned Harlequin’s SYTYCW (So You Think You Can Write) writing contest and immediately my mind strayed to the boxes of scribbled notebooks shoved into the corner of my workroom and the somewhat less physical but more ominous folder of files on my computer, innocuously labeled ‘Writing’.

This opened up a can of worms for me. I had already scaled down my career to become a business consultant so I could work mostly from home and be with my two little kids, but after years of being the responsible adult I wanted to do something that was absolutely and truly for me. And what I loved most of all was to write.

I’d been writing since I was a little girl but I never really dared believe anyone else would like reading my flights of fancy and so long as I didn’t put my efforts to the test, I remained in that lovely terrain of boundless potential and possibilities. But I knew it was time to jump in and risk finding out if I could become a real author – a career, not just a necessary but personal occupation.

I didn’t think this contest would be an actual stepping-stone into the profession, just a milestone in my own decision. To say I was shocked to make the top ten in the contest was an understatement. I went beyond shocked when the amazing Nicola Caws (now my editor) gave me ‘The Call’ and said they wanted my historical romance manuscript. Mine!

I don’t know how to explain it, but nothing that I had achieved in my other career had felt quite like that. Well, I do know how to explain it – writing is something that is truly intimate. No matter what you write, it requires you to expose yourself (not just your talents, but yourself). It’s like walking into a room full of strangers, standing in the middle of the room and saying – look at me! And like me! Please? – And all that without being able to run out again before they all turn on you and judge.

From that moment on I started doing something which I had only heard about but hadn’t realized was possible – I sat down every day and wrote. The more I wrote the easier it became, which was another surprise for me. I had never thought writing required the kind of discipline I had applied to my career but now I found myself gritting my teeth and writing even when I knew it would probably end up in my ‘excerpt’ file (which is now longer than my books put together).

So when I say I’m lucky it’s not because I actually have books published (which definitely proves the adage ‘more luck than brains’!), but because every day I do something I absolutely love down to the last little follicles of my existence – I sit down and write. Even when it’s terrible or even when I stare at the page and realize I’ve got zilch inspiration, I know it’s still the right thing to be doing with my life.

Now I have two books out and a third coming out in May and two more in the works (and hopefully many, many more). My next one ‘The Duke’s Unexpected Bride’ (coming in April/May). Max and Sophie were such definite characters it was a pleasure to discover them as I wrote (though not always easy!). That’s why I’m so glad the cover really conveys that mix of chemistry, intimacy, and gentleness. So far it’s my favorite book and I can’t wait to see it in print. The day that box with the advance copies arrives is always a day of celebration, another milestone in this amazing journey.

Sophie is the misfit among the nine children of a strict country vicar and is paying her dues at her rich great-aunt's in London by looking after her overweight pugs. All she wants to do is paint and enjoy her temporary freedom from parents and siblings before being sent back home, but thanks to Marmaduke her path tangles with that of Max, the Duke of Harcourt. Max takes his duties very seriously and though his previous engagement ended in tragedy, he knows he must marry and he has a very clear idea of a suitable duchess. The only problem is that the quirky, unpredictable, and distracting Sophie keeps getting in the way, dragging to the surface an old rivalry, his tragic past, and most disconcertingly – his long buried emotions. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

This Winter Things Are Getting Hot! by Jenny Gardiner

Hi there! Happy New Year to all! I hope you’ve been slogging through this January with not too much hardship…Each day I look to the sky at sunset and smile, knowing the days are getting longer.

Our weather hasn’t been terribly cold, but we’ve been socked in with a lot of rain, which is indeed dreary. But I compensate by making a nice fire in the fireplace, which is my daily accompaniment while I write (working on Blue Collar Romeo—book four of the Royal Romeos series). Unfortunately the hardship in our household this winter is that our beloved 14-1/2 year old Labrador Sassy has been struggling. Which means caring for Sassy has taken up a lot of time and is of course taking a huge emotional toll. It’s so heartbreaking when these babies who give you their undying love reach this point in life. So we’re savoring each day we have with her and take heart on those days when she seems to rebound a bit. I’m now pureeing canned dog food (blech) and sit with her each small meal and encourage her to eat while I mix it with chicken broth to help hydrate her. You just want your pets to live for a thousand years!

So we’re in the new year now, and that means the Chinese New Year is soon! Which I get excited about because I’m the year of the Tiger and I like tigers (so glad I wasn’t the Year of the Rat, right?!). But I’ve been anxiously awaiting the end of this past Chinese lunar year because at my favorite Chinese restaurant they have this huge poster of the forecast for that year for each animal and, well, let’s just say the Tigers were screwed. Nothing good was going to happen all year and a lot of bad things were suggested. Which meant that every time I’d swing in there for carryout at lunch (far too often, mind you) I’d look up at that darned poster and grimace, then fret about looming bad fortune. I’ve been waiting for them to change that poster all year! Of course when the new one gets hung up, if Tigers are doomed yet again I’m going to have to find a new Chinese carryout because I can’t deal with impending doom for another year.

At the end of this month my daughter who’s been living in Australia returns home! So excited for her and her boyfriend to move back to the States! Which means I need to get writing because I’ll be diverted from my writing deadlines catching up with them and making lots of home-cooked meals upon their return for a while!

Hope you get to enjoy some pleasant, brief snowfalls before warm weather, sunshine and blooming trees return!
 Check out my Royal Romeos series, which is a spin-off of my wildly successful It's Reigning Men series--I hope you'll be able to check them out!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Never judge a book by its cover...

We hear that all the time and yeah, it sounds good. Except, you know, when you're actually looking at books. Let's be honest: there are so many books out there and all of them are vying for reader attention. In this day of quick scrolling and short attention, you need something to jump out and grab the reader, something to slow their scrolling and get them to look a little closer.
And what better way than with that cover?
So what makes a cover stick out? If anyone knows the definitive answer to that then please, share it! Because yeah, every author wants to know. But generally speaking, the first thing you do is get a wonderful cover artist. And if you're lucky, a really hot model.

I lucked out with cover artists when I chose Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art. And I have enough confidence in her not to mess with her process--why should I, when she gives me gorgeous covers? But for Dangerous Passion, I wanted something just a little different.

Well, okay, time for some honesty here. It's not just that I wanted "different"--I wanted BT Urruela. I mean, why wouldn't I?

So my cover artist hooked me up with Christopher John of CJC Photography and I entered the world of custom photography. I had no idea how hard it would be searching through dozens and dozens of pictures (notice I didn't say "hardship" because that would be a total lie!). I finally found one that I really liked and gave it to my cover artist and let her work her magic.

And boy, did she ever!

So why did I pick Dangerous Passion to go the totally-custom route? Well, part of it was the story itself.

Dangerous Passion is a non-hockey romance, a stand-alone and a little different from my other titles. The story has a little bit of intrigue, an introvert set on accepting a crazy dare, and one hot cop hell-bent on something more than a one-night stand. It just so happens the cop resembles BT a tiny bit (and yes, that really was a coincidence because I wrote the book before I even knew who BT was). And oh yeah--it has some super steamy sex in it, a little hotter than some of the earlier hockey books.

No, this isn't an answer to that elusive question of which kind of covers work best to catch the reader's attention. I still don't know the answer to that. But it's definitely a step in the right direction when you throw in a gorgeous model, a talented photographer, and a rocking cover artist!

You can learn more about Dangerous Passion, including purchase links, by clicking here:

And to celebrate hot covers, I'm giving away two digital copies of Dangerous Passion. Just leave a comment below and I'll pick two random names on Friday!

Until next time,

To learn more about me and my hockey books, and firefighter books, and steamy stand-alones, check out my website. And feel free to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dani Collins: New Year, New Books!

I'm delighted start the year with a new book! Not In Her Wildest Dreams, released yesterday, Jan 15th!

I'm equally delighted to tell you that the wonderful Lee of Author Sound Relations, who runs this blog, was my cover artist. Didn't she knock it out of the park?

These books are very much a project of passion for me. I wrote them before I sold, back when I was struggling and facing repeated rejections and growing quite sure no one would ever read my books.

When you take twenty-five years to sell, you get pretty disheartened. But after much soul searching and fist shaking and crying in the shower, I accepted that I am a romance writer, whether my books find eyes beyond my own or not. I kept submitting because I hoped to sell, but I wrote because I had to.

I actually had an agent when I wrote these books, but they weren't picked up and we parted ways. I set the stories aside when I placed in Harlequin Presents Instant Seduction contest. By that time, I had realized that one of the reasons I hadn't sold was that I kept writing something different every time I sat down. Glamor? Check. Small town? Got it. Erotic Romance. Shh. Medieval Fantasy? Why not? I didn't know where I wanted to be.

Actually, I had always, always wanted to be with Harlequin Presents, so I focused on that and six or eight manuscripts later, this happened-->
(It should be noted that Harlequin Presents are published as Mills & Boon Modern in the UK.) The career I had been waiting for had arrived!

But I had all these manuscripts on the hard drive. Some were out on submission (The Healer) and some I'd started to look at indie publishing (Hustled To The Altar.) I no sooner had those published and I found Montana Born. Those six books filled my time between Presents for the next three years!

Paige and Sterling and L.C. and Mercedes waited quietly in the wings. Well, Paige was miffed, but she's used to being taken for granted so she just rolled her eyes. Sterling is perfection personified so he was like, "I know you're waiting for the right moment. I can wait, too." Mercedes was so busy running after her niece and nephew, she didn't have time to notice, and L.C. couldn't give a f--- about anything. Although, now that he and Mercedes have found their HEA, he's more pussycat than badass. Getting laid has a way of settling him down.

If you're a fan of my Montana Born books, you'll love these. They take place in fictional Liebe Falls. Actually, L.C. leaves after book one and winds up in Arizona, at a senior's complex, of all places, but certain things are calling him back.

They're longer books, full of quirky secondary characters, angst and drama and laughs. They're different from my Presents, but I hope you try them and enjoy the heck of them anyway!

Not In Her Wildest Dreams is available now on all platforms:

Amazon Universal | Nook Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay | Smashwords

Only In His Sweetest Dreams releases Feb 1:

Amazon Universal | NookKobo | iBooks | GooglePlay | Smashwords

Dani Collins is the USA Today Bestselling author of thirty romances for Harlequin Mills and Boon, Tule's Montana Born, and herself. She lives in rural BC, Canada with her high school sweetheart. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Michelle Styles: Celebrating My 25th Harlequin Mills and Boon Historical plus giveaway

On 1 Feburary 2017 (or 17 January 2017 depending on where you are in the world) my 25th Harlequin Historical will be officially published — SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR.
When I first sold to Harlequin Historical, I hoped that  Gladiator’s Honour would not be a one hit and that there would be more.  The memory of that day lingers long in my mind. I had convinced myself that the calls only happened on  Thursday and when Linda Fildew phoned, I thought – well it will be more revisions and I must be very close.  Linda was confused as she always phoned on a Friday to give the new author a wonderful weekend. It was the start of a special relationship which lasts until today.
The print version of the article with my cover
It was Linda who suggested that I might like to try writing Vikings. The resulting book Taken by the Viking was recently called by The Times an unimprovable title and used as a pivot for a supportive article about Mills and Boon. What impressed me was that the journalist, Ben Macintrye who is better known for his serious  hard-hitting pieces about the secret services manage to capture the essence of how I write Vikings — namely ‘The heroine may be taken by the Viking but, by the last page, the Viking is no longer the brute he was.’ The piece also used the UK cover of Taken to illustrate it in the print version. So it was thrilling on Christmas Eve  to make The Times.
One of the reasons why Harlequin has bought my stories is the readers. To honour those who had asked for more Viking stories, the book is dedicated to them. The first feedback I have had from a reader has been positive which is excellent and I do hope people like this tale.
I wrote SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR because my youngest son has been volunteering on the Western Scottish Isle of Oronsay and told me about how the Vikings had based their fleets there. My husband and I then went on a holiday to Islay and I became inspired to write this story, particularly after I learned more about the history of the island and how Somerled was most likely half Gaellic and half Norse.
I currently hard at work on the sequal.
The back cover reads:
In her captor's bed! 
Women are not part of Sigurd Sigmundson's existence, and Eilidith should purely be a means to an end to gain access to a well-guarded Viking stronghold. He would have to be made of iron, though, not to be stirred by the warmly sensual woman beneath her ice-cold shield. 
Liddy has been made to feel ugly and insignificant because of her facial birthmark. Surely her captor couldn't physically desire her? But, oh, how the stifled, passionate Liddy yearns to experience unrestrained love in his arms…
You can read the first chapter at overdrive.
It is available online at Harlequin,, Mills & Boon, and Barnes and Noble to mention a few places.
Because it has been a tradition with me:

I am giving away ONE signed copy of SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR
Please email me at  the name of the hero and heroine of SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR. I will be choosing the winner on 28 January. void where prohibited.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historicals in a wide range of historical periods. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Christina Hollis: Things That Go Bump In The Night?

The eye of a living dinosaur?
I love reading, but I don’t have much time to sit and concentrate. Things changed over the holiday season, as my daughter gave me a book for Christmas which kept me glued to its pages. Although it wasn’t my normal sort of reading matter I managed to finish it in only a few days days. That was despite needing to jump up at regular intervals to walk the dog, feed the poultry and visit the bees, not to mention running the house! 

The book was about the study of mysterious creatures (Cryptozoology), and I’d never thought of buying for myself but it was an absolute winner. Short, illustrated and exciting, Cryptozoologicon Vol I, by John Conway, C.M. Kosemen and Darren Naish, turned out to be a great present.

Scientist Dr Darren Naish and his fellow contributors set out to shine a light on what they call the sloppy and wishful thinking that brings the study of mysterious beasts into disrepute. Cryptozoologicon gives details of what is known about twenty-eight shadowy beings such as BigFoot.  The available sightings and reports are examined in the light of the authors’ idea that;

"...cryptozoology should be seen as a mixture of sociology, psychology and ethnology as well as zoology." 

Go down to the woods today—you're sure of a big surprise...
If you're fascinated by why legends are born and develop, and how humans always try to explain away the unusual, this is the book for you. Each of the weird and wonderful creatures is examined in detail, and illustrated.  The Chupacabra in particular stopped me going out into woods after dark for a night or two, I can tell you!

Like all the best books, Cryptozoologicon produces nuggets of fascinating (and genuine) information where you least expect it. If you've ever wondered how bats evolved or why there aren't any large, water dwelling marsupials, this book offers some suggestions.

This was a new reading experience for me, and it’s encouraged me to look beyond my usual genres in the new year.

Have you made any reading resolutions for 2017?