Monday, July 29, 2013

Discovering the Character @DD_Symms @KMNbooks @breathlesspress

KAREN: DD Syms' tantalizing stories, "Shake up the normal erotic romance, adding a twist to kink", a reviewer at Book It has stated, and his tale, Layover received 'Top Picks' at Miz Love Loves Books. DD Syms is here today to share how he discovered his character in his new release, BOARDING. Let's give him a warm welcome.

Boarding: Discovering the Character by DD Syms


After writing a few short stories, the need to write a novel and delve into the character of Jessie Carter tugged at me. She is the heroine in my short story Layover and I kept asking, "what did she do prior to Layover?"

I originally intended for Boarding to be about 25,000 to 30,000 words but the story kept developing and took me on some fun twists and turns to become novel length.

Contemporary fiction with a strong focus on relationships appeals strongly to me. The fashion industry kept getting me interested the more I poked around, researched fashion designers online, and chatted with a designer in person.

She had worked with Tommy Hilfiger and talked about 12-hour to 14-hour days. I wouldn't have had any idea designers put in days that long.

Jessie Carter gets the surprise of her life with a chance to design a dress in a day for world famous model Veve Rouselette.

Jessie undergoes a change in the story. In the beginning, she's longing for romance with her boyfriend Raymond and becomes frustrated when he doesn't let her know if he's going to join her during her visit in New York City.

She's sexually frustrated with him and his plans for her career.

Later, she seduces Raymond and takes charge of her sexuality as a way of defending her career choice.

Jessie is cared for by the bisexual assistant to the model's manager and she begins falling for him.
Boarding is for 21 years and up and while the heat level is high, I believe readers will find common ground with Jessie and the friends who guide her to a new adventure as though she were boarding the flight of her life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
DD Symms worked in radio news and wrote marketing material for nonprofit organizations much of his career before dusting off the fiction he studied in college. Boarding is his first novel and fourth published story – all with Breathless Press.

He lives with his family in Southern California where he spends as much time as possible outside.

Boarding is available for purchase on:

Follow DD Symms online:
Twitter: @DD_Symms


Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Maid's Bone-Weary Work Never Ends @lizbwrites @KMNbooks @MillsandBoon

KAREN: Elizabeth Bailey pens tales for Harlequin Mills & Boon and Berkley Books (Penguin US). She's also ventured into Indie publishing as well. She's here to give us a behind the scene look at a maids' life: scouring, sweeping, dusting... Sound familiar? lol Let's give Ms. Bailey a warm welcome!


LIFE DOWNSTAIRS FOR THE MAID and ALL of HER WORK
 BY ELIZABETH BAILEY

Although Theda in Hidden Flame is actually supposed to be employed as a companion, she does end up having to do work more suited to a maidservant. This was the chief source of occupation for young girls, both in villages and great houses, but in a small household, they were often the only servant and had their work cut out.

I have a lovely little research volume called “The Housekeeping Book of Susanna Whatman” from the late 18th Century, which details what different servants did.

Floors had to be swept and scoured, the Water Closet pan had to be mopped inside with warm water, the front steps swept, the hearth cleaned, and the hall and staircase swept and dusted every day. Furniture to be dusted, rooms to be swept and aired and be careful to shut out the sun with blinds so it doesn’t fade the carpets. Three times a week, she cleaned the garret rooms where the servants slept, and once a week, she “whisked” the curtains and shook mats and carpets.

This is just the maid’s work. If she was cook, laundrymaid and chambermaid too, she was really kept busy with washing once a week - hand scrubbing in a tub, and using a mangle afterwards, hanging out to dry, ironing, folding and putting away. She lit fires, took up jugs with hot water for washing, made beds, keeping sheets aired, sewed and mended.

The canny maid would light the kitchen fire and set water on to boil for personal washing before doing anything else when she gets up at five or six, because when downstairs is done, she has to make breakfast, probably baking rolls as well as setting the table and serving coffee.

When the rooms are done, there’s dinner to prepare, ready to serve in the late afternoon. She might get the odd hour free after her own dinner before serving a light supper, then tea, followed by turning down the beds, closing the curtains around them and running a warming pan over the sheets. Finally, she must put out the fires and candles before she finally falls into bed around seven or eight.

And all this for what return? Your maid of all work got between £3 to £10 per year, paid quarterly. In today’s money, this is about £168 to £560. In addition, she was housed, clothed and fed, so it cost her employer in our money between £672 to £2240 per year. But she probably had a quarterly personal expenditure income of only £1.35 (or £135 in our money), of which she likely sent the bulk home to mum.

These maids were young, starting around 13 or 14 years of age. There was always a turnover because they were apt to leave, either to marry or to try their fortune in the larger towns, hoping for a better job. They were also targets for seduction, and a maid who fell pregnant was likely to decamp in the night.

A tough life, but what was a girl to do? If she was born into the working class, her choices were limited and one imagines she was only too happy to have a steady job while she vied with her fellow maids to catch a worthwhile husband.

Elizabeth Bailey grew up in Africa with unconventional parents, where she loved reading and drama. On returning to England, she developed her career in acting, theatre directing and finally writing. Elizabeth has 18 novels published by Harlequin Mills & Boon and recently began a Georgian historical crime series of which the first two books, THE GILDED SHROUD and THE DEATHLY PORTENT, were published by Berkley Books (Penguin US). But since she still loves romance, Elizabeth is delighted with the. opportunity to publish her work independently

BUY LINKS for Hidden Flame


Where you'll find the author:
Facebook
Goodreads


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Christmas in July! @KMNbooks @rebeccajvickery #FreeReads

Photo: Once a year is not enough for Christmas and Winter Holiday decorations, movies, books and stories. Please join our authors as we post our Holiday book titles, share recipes & decorating, and discuss movies. And what's Christmas without presents! Yep, fill your stockings! http://rebeccajvickery.blogspot.com/2013/07/christmas-in-july-july-24-july-31.htmlOnce a year is not enough for Christmas and Winter Holiday decorations, movies, books and stories. Please join our authors as we post our Holiday book titles, share recipes & decorating, and discuss movies. And what's Christmas without presents! Yep, fill your stockings! http://rebeccajvickery.blogspot.com/2013/07/christmas-in-july-july-24-july-31.html 
What would Christmas or the Holidays be without gifts?
Click on the link beside the titles you want and grab a free read from our authors. 

Christmas Dessert Decadence (recipes): Smashwords 
Give it All You've Got by Linda Swift: PublishingbyRJV 
The Cattlemen's Ballby Celia Yeary: PublishingbyRJV
Last Assignment by Les Williams: PublishingbyRJV
Death at the Whistling Swan by John D. Nesbitt: PublishingbyRJV
O'Halloran's Hell by Adrian Scott: PublishingbyRJV
Deirdre by Miriam Newman: Smashwords 
The Trouble With Fishing by Rebecca J. Vickery:
Smashwords Use Coupon Code: JD93E
***Please be sure to check within the comments as authors and followers will be adding links to other freebies, participating blogs, and fun links as well. Tell all your friends!  http://rebeccajvickery.blogspot.com/

MistletoeStakes and Yuletide Cheer_mediumI'm giving away a free Kindle copy of MISTLETOE, STAKES, AND YULETIDE CHEER on July 24th and July 25!
Amazon Kindle 


Magic of the Loch is on sale for only 99 cents at The Wild Rose Press and at Amazon! It's a big savings from its usual ticket price of $5.99. So if you haven't picked up a copy, here's your chance to own it for less than a buck!



Monday, July 22, 2013

First Meetings @ldowns2966 @KMNbooks #giveaway

Maeve Greyson is the winner of the Ebook copy of Spy Catcher!! Congratulations!!

KAREN: Let's welcome bestselling author, Lindsay Downs! He's here today to share two excerpts from Spy Catcher! Enjoy!!

LINDSAY: It’s always interesting in a romance how the hero and heroine meet. This is especially true in regencies where, by chance or design, their paths cross. In my debut regency with Secret Cravings Publishing (SCP)releasing on July 30 I’ve decided to change up the usual face to face meeting. As you will see from the two excerpts they catch a glimpse of each other from a distance. I should point out Lord Gerrard has a reputation as a rakehell.

***GIVEAWAY: I’ll be giving away an eBook copy, Kindle or Nook, to one commenter so don’t forget to leave your email address.

Blurb-
While acting as chaperone to Lady Aleece at a house party, little does lady’s maid Debbi realize how her life will change.

Not prepared to fall in love nor see a man who bears an uncanny resemblance to her, Debbi’s world begins to turn upside down.

After several attempts on her life, and a run-in with yet another look-alike, she uncovers her true heritage, as the unknown daughter of a countess. Having been raised and trained as a lady's maid, but educated alongside her employer, Debbi begins to wonder in which world she truly belongs.
Only when her new love's life is threatened does Debbie claim her rightful place and do what’s necessary to save him.

Excerpt One:
As the carriage gently rocked to a stop, Debbi was surprised when, not a footman as dictated but Mr. Thomas swung open the door. Patiently, she waited while he assisted his love out. She started to slide over to climb out unaided when he offer her his hand.

“Allow my assistance, Miss Overstreet.”

She felt her face warm when he called her by her new name. Quickly, she marshaled her thoughts, “Thank you sir,” she said settling her hand in his big, strong one.

“Please, Miss Overstreet, I insist you call me Thomas, as I have so requested from Lady Aleece.”
“If that be the case, then call me Debbi.” She paused, glancing around for the Earl and Countess but only saw Susan and Jeffrey approaching.

As they got close Debbi gave the appropriate curtsy according to their rank. Rising, she clasped her hands in front of her while Aleece warmly greeted them.

She tried not to act surprised when Susan stepped over and embraced her as she’d done with Aleece.
“Miss Overstreet, what a pleasure to finally meet you. Aleece has told me all about you, and I know we’ll get along famously.” She paused and turned to her brother. “Now let me introduce you to Jeff, but don’t worry— he may look dangerous but he’s harmless. His fiancĂ©e sees to that.”

After she was introduced to him, Debbi stepped back to survey her surroundings. Many times she’d come to house parties but always stayed in whatever coach was assigned and would enter the mansion by the servants entrance, making sure the trunks got to the appropriate rooms. This would be the first time she’d cross the threshold through the main doorway.

Without warning a shiver coursed down her spine, which unfortunately brought Aleece’s attention.

“Are you all right? It’s just like walking through any door. Take a deep breath,” she whispered.

“I don’t think it’s that, Lady Aleece. I fear I feel eyes on me, and I don’t know if it’s good or what,” she replied in a hushed tone.

Stepping back from the small group Debbi peered around, letting her gaze carry up to a window overlooking the forecourt. There she spied the reason for the unnerved feeling, the most dashingly handsome man she’d ever seen in her life. Even more, the sight of his appearance before he hid was exactly as she’d envisioned.

Taller than her, with pitch-black hair and broad shoulders, the brief sight of him set Debbie’s heart to fluttering. It was his lips deadly to a woman’s heart in the way he smiled down at her which unnerved her. Before he ducked behind a curtain she noticed he was dressed in a Bath superfine coat with a crisp white shirt and his cravat tied in the latest style.

 
Excerpt Two:

Later, curious to the sounds outside William stood staring out the window of his room which overlooked the forecourt. What interested him wasn’t so much the ducal seal on the traveling carriage door which was opened by Thomas, but the second of the two ladies who he assisted out.

The first he knew to be Lady Aleece, only child of the Duke and Duchess of Carlisle. The second young lady, if he were to hazard a guess, appeared to be much of the same age as the lady.

“This couldn’t possibly be the companion Thomas was talking about. She’s much too young and pretty.”

From the angle he was watching them greeted by Whitchurch’s offspring, it would appear the other woman was known to them as well.

With the skill of an artist he studied her. Slim but not too as the traveling gown gracing her form hugged every curves suggested. From under her fashionable bonnet he observed wisps of blonde hair tossed about by the gentle breeze.

He wondered what colour her eyes were. Would they be blue, green, hazel or brown? With her lips, so pleasingly full and turned up slightly at the corners, he wagered passion would fill her beautiful orbs when kissed. Something he wagered he’d be doing before week’s end.

He watched as she glanced around her surroundings and when he saw her raise her head to take in the front of the mansion he ducked behind the heavy dark blue curtain. Once done he felt foolish for hiding from a woman, something he’d never done.

Thus, he knew the effect, even from a distance, this goddess had on him.

About the Author:

What does it take to be a bestselling author? Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others.
In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up.
More on a dare than anything I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules, which I might add I broke almost every one. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.
Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.
After two failed marriages, one from divorce while with the other died unexpectedly I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas.
For me, as a multipublished author, it was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about.
I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA).
Where you can find the Author:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Writer's Block, Fact or Fiction? @KMNbooks @AshleyKelliea @breathlesspress

KAREN: Let's welcome Breathless Press author, Kelliea Ashley! Her new release, WHEN THE FUR FLIES hit the stands this month! What an awesome book cover, don't you agree? 

Kelliea is here today to give a sneak peek at her paranormal romance, but first she's chatting about writer's block. Fact or fiction? Read on and find out what Kelliea has to say on the topic.

KELLIEA: Hello Karen, I first want to thank you for hosting me on your blog!

Writer's Block, Fact or Fiction?

Definitely a fact and a psychological condition that plagues many writers, including many famous authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and cartoon artist, Charles M. Schultz. This is a good one for me because I have had bouts of this. For me, it was life getting in the way and a lack of interest in writing down my ideas. To me, writer's block is that horrible sensation of facing a black computer screen with an equally blank mind.

This is Wikipedia's definition on the condition- "Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand.

I have to say that when you're the one unable to finish a piece of work, the condition is anything but trivial! Several studies into the perplexing condition have been done. It was first termed, writer's block, in 1947 by psychoanalyst, Edmond Bergler. No matter the cause of the writer's block, it can feel like a dark pit that one just has to claw the way back up to the creative top. I find a change of venue helps when I'm thinking of a current work in progress. I tend to brain storm in the shower, in the car, and right before sleep. Probably not recommended to do this in the car, just saying! My advice is find what works to get your inner muse to talk to you and stick with it. Happy writing!
Blurb WHEN THE FUR FLIES:

In a world where immortals are bound by the Tri-Species Treaty, there is little hope for a happy ending between a Wolven and a Witch, unless the Sisters of Fate take a stand.

More than a little fur flies when an Alpha Wolven mistakenly mates a Witch, whose cat form is running low on lives. Allison Carver is a Witch on a mission to save humanity from the two species of immortals who prey upon them. She finds herself in trouble when she steals the Vampire Elder's intended bride and the blame for the abduction lands right at Alpha Reginald Leclair's feet. She finds herself shaking in her black fur with more than her tail at stake when Reginald's Wolf chooses her as a mate. The idea of interspecies mating wasn't so much ignored by the writers, but seemed 
unfathomable. After all, when cats and dogs play, more can fly than fur…

Sneak peak of When the Fur Flies…
"Where are we going? Reginald?" He didn't as much as look back at her. Her legs hurt as he didn't even slow his steps to accommodate her shorter stride. When they were far from the sounds of the pack readying themselves for the hunt, he stopped to turn toward her. Allison bit her lip nervously as he continued to stare at her. His thoughts were weirdly guarded from her, but she could feel the waves of anger and frustration coming off his body.
"I won't apologize for what I did." She knew it was the wrong thing to say the instant his eyes dilated and he moved. The hard bark of the tree bit into her back and shoulders as he shoved her up against it with a violence that was barely controlled.
"Do you even know what you did, Allison?" The way his white teeth flashed and his voice growled at her should have scared her, but it was the use of her name that terrified her. A shiver ran up her spine as she looked up into the face of rage. "I could change right now. My Wolf wants out. He wants to dominate you so hard you won't ever question me again."
She flinched as his fist hit the tree beside her head. Bark flew off the tree at the impact, telling her exactly how much anger he was holding back. It should have made her want to run as far from his animal as she could get, but instead her body was humming and hot, leaning toward his hardness like it was drawn to him. And it was because the mating heat was returning in full force, stronger than before in the urge to be one with her mate. She needed him, but not like this. Not with his anger standing between them.
"Change, then." She stared up at him defiantly. "Let him have me, because this is who I am, Reginald. I'm strong headed and willful. I won't be a weak little bitch who follows your every word. I make my own choices for my life."
"You are my mate! I can't lose you."
"You don't own me!" she screamed back at him. She clenched her teeth, fighting the need to release the build-up of energy within her. Thunder cracked across the dark sky above them.
"That's where you're wrong, Allison. You are mine!" His mouth came down on hers with a bruising force. He sank his fingers into her hair, holding her head immovable as he ravaged her mouth.
She was burning alive and loving every minute of it. Allison made short work of the buttons on the white shirt he'd pulled on after his fight. One hard pull and they popped off in all directions to land in the scattered clumps of grass and dirt on the forest floor. His head snapped back as her nails dug into his biceps.
"That's right, Alpha. You're not the only one who likes to leave your mark on your property." She dropped her hands to the button on his pants, but he quickly captured her wrists, pulling them up next to her head on the tree.
"Like it rough, do you, mate? Well, you've got the right Wolf for the job." He grinned as he quickly turned her. Allison gasped as she was pushed up against the tree. "Who do you belong to? Who is responsible for you? Who will you obey from now on? Say it, Kitten." His words were at her ear, his breath warm against her neck as he moved her hair with his chin to lick over the mark he'd given her.

KAREN:  Great excerpt! Where can the readers pick up a copy?

KELLIA: Breathless Press's website, 
Manic Readers
Amazon.com, 
All Romance E-books, 
Bookstrand.com 
Book two of the Sisters of Fate, Bitten By Magic, will be out later this year in August. On July 19th I also have a contemporary romance out titled, Anne's Legacy. If you like sweet romance with a hint of sexy, you'll want to check this out as well.

Contact Kelliea Ashley at: 
Twitter- @AshleyKelliea
And my Author's page at: http://facebook.com/kellieaashley.2

KELLIEA: Thank you so much Karen for hosting me today. I have really enjoyed joining you and I hope to do this again sometime soon! I hope everyone has a fun, safe, and happy summer with lots of paranormal enhanced romantic reading!:)

KAREN: You're welcome. I wish you the best of luck with your new releases!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Falling in love...again...and again @Scotladywriter @KMNbooks @amazon

KAREN: Deborah Macgillivray loves her men! I love them, too. We're chatting about her heroes from The Sisters of Colford Hall and The Dragons of Challon series! Fall in love...again...and again is so right! Let's give Deborah a warm welcome!

Book Three
 
Falling in love . . . again . . . and again . . .
© Deborah Macgillivray

What do you do when you create that hero that makes you fall in love with him? Oh, he’s not perfect.  That would be boring.  This man is complex, so dazzling, so infuriating, that you fear you will never conjure another hero quite so special?  This daunting question haunted me as I started work on my two series – The Sisters of Colford Hall ™ (Montlake/Amazon Publishing) and The Dragons of Challon ™ (Kensington Books).   

The first series is paranormal contemporary romances and the latter Scottish Medieval Historicals, two vastly different periods, requiring two different “voices” in the telling of the stories.  To me, the heart of any romance comes down to the hero.  Oh, you can create a special heroineenjoy her unique love for this vexing man.  You admire her, you imagine you are like her, want to be her or know someone like her.  Only, the pure core which drives romances that makes me care is the hero.  In spite of writing one kick-ass heroine, if she doesn’t meet a mate that is her match the stories sort of flat-lines.  You have this wonderful woman; she’s strong, smart and resourceful maybe blessed with a wicked touch of humor yet, if you can’t give her a male worthy of her the tale fails to hit the bull’s-eye.

With the Sisters of Colford Hall ™ series, I focused on building the stories around seven sisters of the Montgomerie family.  These are women who have been through the first passions of young adult lives, and for one reason or another, lost their loves
divorce, death or other complications ending the relationships.  Now in their thirties, they are women coming into bloom.  Long ago, they’d lost most of the insecurities about their self-worth and figured out what they wanted from life.  They’re able to stand on their own feet, and not depend upon a man to define them.  Independent, head-strong, they control their destinies.  They’re now ready for romance, a deeper love, which is better the second time around.  These ladies deserve men that are powerful, as strong-willed as themselves, smart men, more than a tad overly arrogant, because, they too, like the Montgomerie sisters know their self-value.  When you conjure these Alpha matings of Ying and Yang in a romance formula, you set up wonderful clashes of wills, with both lovers going no-holds-barred to win what they want in the end.

Enter the sexy Mershan men.  Men whose lives that started out rough.  They’ve had to scratch and fight for their place in the world; men strong enough to take from life what they wanted because nothing ever came easy or was handed to them.  Used to control, power, and forging the world to their will, they run headlong into the Montgomerie women, who for a change were an unmovable force.  They might allow these men into their lives, yet they also know how to remake the world to their vision and are not about to give up their lives and their homes.  For the Mershan men to win the hearts of the Montgomerie sisters, they must be willing to bend their own will or risk losing these special women.  Of course, it takes a few trials and errors for these hardheaded Mershans to reach that conclusion
the fun is watching it happen!
Book One
Des was my first Mershan.  Desmond not your typical “hero” name.  I am not sure why or how his name came to me perhaps it was one of those instances were characters “tell” you who they are.  In my mind I saw this drop-dead sexy hero coming up the harbor hill, as clearly as if I lived the scene.  When he first meets BA Montgomerie and says, “Desmond Mershan. I presume you’re expecting me?” I knew Des would be a force to behold.  I didn’t pick the name he did!  Well, Desmond is an ancient Irish name, from the Irish place-name Deas-Mhumhna (South Munster).  Des needed to be half-Irish, so that fit perfectly!  I fell in love with Des from the instant he locked eyes with BA.  He was sexy, handsome to the point of being beautiful, arrogant, assured on the one hand; on the other he was relentless, a wounded animal, and we all know animals are at their most dangerous when hurt.  His character, so in need of BA’s love, in need of the acceptance from BA’s Islanders, and his instant bonding with The Cat Dudley, made his character irresistible to me.  I loved Des and it hurt when I had to type “The End” to the novel.
Book Two

However, being the intrepid writer, I had already started working on the next two books in the series, even before I was a hundred pages into the Falgannon book.  The next two novels in the Montgomerie sagas would deal with Desmond’s younger twin brothers.  We’d met both in The Invasion of Falgannon Isle.  We learned that Jago was a caring man, the Mershan with the strongest conscience, while his twin, Trevelyn, was a bit more distant, more arrogant, more in Desmond’s mold.  Only, how could I love these two men as much as Desmond?  Were they not paler shades of the older brother, and twins to boot?  By letting go of my love for Des, and permitting the brothers to show their own characters in their own stories I soon saw they were not clones of Desmond, but their own men, and while they shared a twin’s face, they were nothing alike inside.  Jago instantly recognizes Asha is something rare and more important than anything in life, and he is willing to fight for her.  Trev also senses this about her sister, Raven, yet though he is pulled into her gentle world, he still sees himself as the Big Bad Wolf to her Red Riding Hood.   Each man in turn won my heart.

To complicate my “love life” while I was creating the bad bad Mershan boys, I was already deeply in love with Julian Challon.  My first true love, Julian was loosely based on lore from my family’s history.  I was cleaning up one of my grandfather’s translations when I came across his story.  Of course, that wasn’t his name the road to commercial fiction took several turns and name changes.  To my grandfather, it was simply another piece of history to try and unriddle, to add to the puzzle of the past to me it was a love story.  A Scottish lady and Norman knight, one that started out as a rebellious woman and the other her conqueror; they found a common ground and a love that could last through the ages.  I spent a long time researching it, trying to make sense of the details, how much was true, how much was the writer embellishing?  During the time I researched, I came to love these people, to care about them, and knew I had to tell their story.  Originally, I envisioned the tale as a saga, a sweeping one, encompassing not only Tamlyn’s and Julian’s romance, but the romances of the females of Tamlyn’s line and the men of Challon.  Challon was such a powerful figure, a warrior above all men.  Strong, arrogant, used to being a force in his world because only the strong survived, that I couldn’t help falling under his spell.  I started the book in the late 1980s so by the time I decided to go commercial with the series, I suddenly faced a dilemma how could any of the other Challon men step beyond the long shadow of Julian?  I wasn’t sure I could create other males that I would care about enough to make the readers love as much.  I put aside finishing the other books for a spell.

Unsure which would sell first
the historicals or the paranormals I was hedging bets by creating two series at the same time.  I really love writing historicals, so I had been concentrating on them from the start.  Only, Lynsay Sands thought I would sell with the Sisters first and had been pushing me to focus on getting them into print.  Who wouldn’t fall for a king’s champion, a warrior of old?  Thus, I wondered how I could open myself to another “great” love.  Surprisingly, I found I did love Des as much as Challon.  Maybe not more, but as much. . . lol.
I think deep down I knew that to make it as an author, to keep readers coming back again and again for new tales that I would spin, I had to make them fall in love with the hero.  If I didn’t fall in love with each Challon or Mershan or new coming heroes like Greyson de Verre in the series I hope to launch soon, The Knights of Hellbourne ™ then how could I expect the reader to fall in love with them, too?

So here’s to sexy men . . .and falling in love . . .again and again . . .

Purchase The Sisters of Colford Hall series at: 
Invasion of Falgannon Isle (Book 1) 
Riding the Thunder (Book 2)
A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing (Book 3)

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Currently she is residing in Kentucky, but often still spends part of the year in Britain. She was resident historian at WAXING POETIC (1999-2001). 


She also had a joint company with artist Carmon Deyo called CLAN RAVEN LTD. She wrote tales of Pict-Celt lore or tales from her family; Carmon turns them into the most beautiful jewelry in silver and gold. Their joint effort ‘THE THREE FACES OF THE GODDESS’, a highly original look at the Pict-Celt Goddesses, won awards and impressed Barnes and Noble enough to sponsor a month-long show in Texas of the works in September 2000, launched with a cocktail party. 

They hope someday to compile the works into a book (when life stops intruding!).

Find the author at:
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Monday, July 8, 2013

Love Is Never Perfect... @diannehartsock @breathlesspress @KMNbooks

KAREN: Enjoy a behind the scene look at Dianne Hartsock's Shelton in Love series. Love is never perfect, but Shelton and Nevil learn and grow as they explore what love truly means.  Take it away Dianne!

A Glimpse Behind the scenes of my SHELTON series by Dianne Hartsock
Thanks so much Karen for having me as your guest today. I've been writing m/m erotic romances for a couple of years now, with a dozen books to my name. But I think my first love will always be Shelton from my SHELTON IN LOVE series. He's such a sweetheart! Beautiful and kind and absolutely crazy about his lover, Nevil.

That's not to say they haven't had their moments, and Nevil has disappointed Shelton on more than one occasion. But I think that's what makes these stories believable. Neither one of the men is perfect, but their flaws only make them into characters that readers can relate to. Shelton can almost be the neighbor who stops in for coffee and advice.

Shelton first came to me as a daydream during a long afternoon's drive through the Utah desert. I had just finished reading my first m/m romance the week before and experienced insta-love for the genre! I began toying with the idea of writing my own man on man story. And why not? Men are delicious and here was my chance to write about two of the yummy creatures together.

The story I had read was of vampires and their human lovers. Loved it! But I didn't want to write that. I wanted to do a contemporary story about a man with the traits I admire and a few faults thrown in to make him human.

I threw a few challenges in his way for him to overcome, the biggest one being a boyfriend who is both a flirt and a bit of a playboy. In the beginning of their romance, Shelton knows Nevil will sleep with him, but he wants more than that. Was it so bad to want a relationship with someone and not just a fling?

I wanted to explore this feeling. I think most of us are looking for that one person we can love and who makes us happy. I had Shelton resist Nevil time and again, though he loves him, simply because he was looking for a man to go through life with. It takes all of the first book for Nevil to realize what a jewel Shelton is.

The next four books deal with the ups and downs of their relationship, the joys and heartaches, separation and return, and overcoming temptation. I wanted to make this a realistic couple in the modern world. So many temptations to stray, so easy to fall into misunderstanding and hurt feelings. But because I insist on a HEA in my stories, they always come back together at the end of the book, understanding each other a little better and more deeply in love.

So, that's my Shelton series! I've enjoyed writing these stories and hope you'll enjoy them as well.

Shelton in Love

Shelton's falling quickly for his sexy roommate, but can he forget the pain of past rejections and give Nevil what they're both aching for?



Excerpt:

Shelton ignored the flutter in his stomach he always experienced when invited into Nevil’s room, and settled back into the cushions of the chair. “Who’s the lucky color?” he asked, trying to feign indiffer­ence.

Nevil randomly drew a pair of socks from the top drawer of the bureau. “Ah, the gray ones.”

“What? Percy again? Didn’t you have him earlier in the week?”

“So what? These socks have never let me down,” Nevil countered, rubbing the soft wool against his cheek and purring like a happy kit­ten.

Shelton’s stomach knotted at the decadent smile on Nevil’s face. Nevil had made it clear when they’d first met that he’d enjoy sleeping with him. The jealousy Shelton was keenly aware of now was his own fault. But was it wrong of Shelton to want more from the man than a passing fling? He shoved away the wish of sharing something mean­ingful with Nevil, a thought that made the flirtation all the more hurt­ful. “Fine, but if you make the man fall in love with you, then you can buy us an answering machine. I’m not going to listen to his whines when you break it off.”

Nevil looked at him, raising a finely arched brow. “Who says I’ll break it off?”

“Get real. You’d be bored of one lover in less than a week. Remem­ber Daniel Pratte? You only managed six days with him after telling me you’d love him forever. He called for weeks after you told him it was over, hoping you’d be the one to pick up the phone. Admittedly, he was a bit of a prig, but I’m the one who had to listen to him sobbing his heart out every evening. I refuse to do that with Percy.”

“Danny wasn’t the right man for me. I haven’t made up my mind about Percy,” Nevil protested, unknowingly twisting the knife deep­er into Shelton’s heart. Shelton unconsciously held his breath when Nevil sat back against the headboard and lifted his foot onto the bed, pushing up the cuff of his tan Dockers. Moistening his lips, Shelton fought the arousal as he watched Nevil pull the sock over his foot and up a muscular calf—he was a faithful jogger and in May already had the beginnings of a fabulous tan.

Shelton’s treacherous gaze followed the fine dark hair up Nevil’s leg until it disappeared under the cuff of his pants. Captivated, his gaze continued upward to where the fabric tented nicely at the junc­ture of his legs. His heart skipped a beat when Nevil shifted on the bed and the material pressed against a definite bulge.

Panicked, he raised his head, hoping Nevil hadn’t observed his interest. Nevil’s beautiful blue-green eyes watched him; then Nevil cocked an eyebrow. Shelton pushed to his feet from the chair, his face burned at the man’s slightly mocking smile. “I’m going to make a sandwich. Do you want one?”

“No, thanks. I need to save room for dessert,” Nevil reminded him as his tongue flicked over his lips.
An image of Percy’s nicely rounded butt in tight jeans flashed through Shelton’s mind.

“Suit yourself,” Shelton muttered, watching as Nevil crossed his legs to leisurely pull on the second sock. Tearing his gaze from the provocative sight before acting on the impulse to join Nevil on the bed and strip him of clothing, Shelton left the room and stomped to the kitchen, grabbing meat and cheese from the refrigerator. He swore under his breath as he slathered mayonnaise on the bread, hating Per­cy and every other man in the myriad of colored socks in Nevil’s top drawer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, I now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours I spend hunched over the keyboard letting my characters play.

I have to say, Oregon's raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There's something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms my hands, which kindles my imagination.

The intricate and fragile nature of the mind is always fascinating. Having worked with the public through various careers I've come to respect the resilience and strength of the human spirit. I'm always trying to capture that spirit in my writing.
Currently, I work as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for me. When not writing, I can express myself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

YOU CAN FIND DIANNE AT:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Spotlight Book Reveal with Sarah Cass @SadieCass @KMNbooks @amazon

KAREN: I have Sarah Cass in the spotlight. Her new release DERAILED is available today! What better way to celebrate the 4th than with a new read! Below is a sneak peek of this fantastic tale, so enjoy!


Derailed Spotlight Post

Derailed (Dominion Falls Book 2)

Blurb:
The sins of a past she can’t remember could destroy a present she’ll never forget.
The crimes of her forgotten past threaten the very life Jane Doe has learned to cherish.

Jane is out of time. With a warrant on her head, a maniac out for her blood, and a secret baby on the way, something has to give.

Without Cole Mitchell's help to find the answers, there may be no hope left.

Cole has nowhere left to hide. He unwittingly let Jane into his heart, and is ready to share the secret of his dark past.

Fate has a way of playing its hand, and tragedy strikes. With the world crumbling around them, it's easy to lose faith. If they can't forgive past sins, they have no hope for the future.

Because the noose waits for no man or woman.
Buy Links:

Excerpt:
“Jane.”

She yelped when he grabbed her wrists and yanked her close. Like a startled deer, she froze in place. Then a small gasp of air and she sagged. “I’m sorry. My head. It’s racing. I don’t know what to think.”

“First off, stop worryin’ about Graham. He ain’t sendin’ no telegram.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Sure I do. After Michael broke his nose, he shut up real fast.” Cole laughed when her jaw dropped.
When the amusement started to light up her features, it warmed him all the way to his toes. “Yeah. Graham was running his mouth, and Michael beat on him. He got knocked out cold.”

“Michael?” Through her tears, a laugh escaped. “He’s half Graham’s size. Goodness, he’s barely bigger than I am. How did he do that?”

“He said something about five brothers and a mean older sister.”

She shook her head with a sigh. “That is no guarantee, Cole. He could just be biding his time until he has something to get me on. He doesn’t care for me.”

“Let me worry about Graham.” He tugged her close, shoving the papers from his lap. Once she was settled there, he smirked. “Now ya got some stuff here that you gotta go through, and it’s all reading.
That should excite ya.”

“You know what, Cole? I’m not excited. The more I learn about myself, the more trouble I seem to be in. I really am at a point where I don’t care anymore.”

“That don’t sound like the Jane I know.”

She snorted. “No one knows me. Not even me.”

“Bull.”

“I’m not in the mood for arguing with you.”

“But arguin’ is what we do second best.”

“Cole.”

He grinned at the small twitch he saw at the corner of her mouth. “And much as I’d love to remind ya what we do best…I don’t think you could handle it right now.”

“Please.”

“Besides, if we got ourselves hurt again because of our…best…Daisy would be awful mad.” He chuckled when she turned away as far as she could to hide her smile. “But that ain’t ever stopped me before.”

She let out a small squeal when his hand slipped under her skirt and along her thigh. Swatting at his hand, she playfully beat at his chest when he leaned in to capture her lips.

Her lips were warm and inviting. He hadn’t realized how much he’d missed her touch until she was there. He pulled her close and traced the seam of her lips with his tongue. She opened up to him so fast it took his breath away, and he shifted to lay her down on the floor.

She planted her hands on his chest and pushed him back. “Wait.”


BIO:
Sarah Cass’s world is regularly turned upside down by her three special-needs kids and loving mate, so she breaks genre barriers, dabbling in horror, straight fiction, and urban fantasy. An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible and though she may emerge scarred, she’s also stronger. Changing Tracks is her debut novel, but she’s already ahead of the game with another novel set for release in April. While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpses into her life and art.

Where to find me:
Redefining Perfect – http://redefiningperfect.com
Sarah’s StoryLines – http://authorsarahcass.com