Sunday, July 5, 2015

Aloha to Adrienne Giordano and THE DETECTIVE - Interview and Giveaway

 

Adrienne Giordano is celebrating the release of THE DETECTIVE. From her bio, 

USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane's Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction. 

Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Street Team

Adrienne joins me for a cozy chat ...

Kim:  If you are a Jersey girl at heart, what is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the Garden State? 

Adrienne:  Easy! My favorite smell is my mother’s meatballs frying. As a kid, I spent every Sunday morning waking up to my mother making her own “gravy” (sauce). For breakfast I would have a meatball and a piece of toast. I still love that smell and always look forward to it when I visit. I make my own meatballs now, but it’s never the same. My favorite sight and sound would be of the Atlantic Ocean. Growing up, my summers included hopping on my bike and riding to the beach. When I was in college, I got a job working evenings so I could spend my days on the beach. Total beach girl!

Kim:  What inspired you to co-found Romance University

Adrienne:  Tracey Devlyn, Kelsey Browning and I had discussed started a blog, but we knew we didn’t want it to be a personal blog. At the time, we were unpublished writers on a constant quest to improve our craft. We also wanted others to benefit from any blog we did. I forget who came up with the idea for an educational blog, but once we hit on it, the idea took off and Romance University was born. What have you learned from this experience? I’ve learned that the writing community is generous! Particularly romance writers. RU has become a great resource for writers of all levels and genres and that wouldn’t have been possible without our guest bloggers who share their knowledge. It’s extremely gratifying to know I was a part of that.

Kim:  You are a busy lady with Lady Jane's Salon-Naperville. What have you learned about readers who attend the readings? 

Adrienne:  I think the biggest thing is that our readers enjoy multiple genres. They’re ferocious about their love of books and being in the same room with people who love reading as much as I do is always great fun.

Kim:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing? 

Adrienne:  Too many people to list! I think the biggest thing has been networking. If I hadn’t gone to conferences, taken online classes and joined chat groups, I wouldn’t know the people who have become my biggest supporters. The publishing industry can be brutal. As writers, we learn to deal with rejection. Having a strong support group has saved my sanity!

Kim:  Tell us about THE DETECTIVE - what inspired it?

Adrienne:  Twice per year I do a plotting weekend with Tracey Devlyn, Kelsey Browning and Theresa Stevens. We usually come armed with ideas for our next books and then we spend three days coming up with a plot. Typically, I come prepared with a rough outline of what I’d like to do. For the weekend when The Detective was plotted all I had was an ending. I knew where we were going, but wasn’t sure who would get us there and how. From what I recall, we spent more than six hours roughing out a plot for The Detective. And, Lexi was originally going to be a realtor. Somewhere along the line we made her an interior designer because we liked the juxtaposition of Brodey being a grisly homicide detective while Lexi saw beauty everywhere.

Kim:  What's next for Adrienne Giordano?

Adrienne:  A lot! I’m coming up on a very exciting year with some new projects and a new series that I can’t talk about yet because I’m still drafting. I will say that I am loving it so far. Misty Evans and I are continuing our Justice Team series and will be releasing Exposing Justice (Book three in the series) on July 13. 


Mahalo, Adrienne, and congrats on THE DETECTIVE:

She’s captured his heart…and the attention of a murderer.

Injured homicide detective Brodey Hayward needs a distraction, and he finds it as a consultant on a cold case murder. When Brodey’s investigation delays plans to remodel the former crime scene, he uncovers another kind of distraction: spirited Lexi Vanderbilt. Despite her distrust of men, Brodey charms the alluring interior designer into helping him examine the case facts.

Working closely with the ultrasexy detective helps Lexi lower her guard, igniting a passion that even Chicago’s winter can’t cool. As they close in on the killer, Lexi becomes his new target. To save her, Brodey must either betray her trust—or risk losing Lexi forever.

Random thoughts about book reviews ...


Several months ago, I spotted a Twitter conversation from Mandy (Smexy Books) about book reviews on blog tours. Romanceland has explode with tales of woe about book reviews. Readers are being nagged to write reviews for books they buy. Reviewers are pressured to publish only glowing reviews for books they receive. Bloggers are being choked with review requests. Authors are overwhelmed with promotions. The total effect casts a dark cloud over a genre known for offering hope.

Let’s get down to basics ala Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Reviews are for ___________.

Anyone? Anyone?

Reviews are for readers. 


I believe reviews should be separate from promotions, especially blog tours. Let readers have their private space as they discuss books in reviews. Authors should wait to interact with readers on a blog tour when the blogger invites authors into the reader space.

Yet authors are focused on reaching 50 reviews on Amazon – a golden number that apparently feeds the algorithm. If that is the goal, then authors should focus on how to reach out to 50 readers who are best suited to review their genre. Whether authors are published by NY, small press, or themselves, their initiative to find their tribe will pay off.  From Thomas Edison

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Authors need to research Romanceland to find where readers of their genre congregate. Then the work begins with review requests. The good – authors can easily access readers through social media. The bad – authors often do not follow guidelines posted by reviewers. The ugly – authors blindly send review copies to bloggers, in my case, as a message to my Facebook account. For the bad and ugly, I simply delete.

Let’s return to the good – many readers, reviewers, and bloggers enjoy being part of Romanceland. It’s a unique community where all parties actively engage in lively discussions about the craft. The key to keeping that community spirit in recognizing boundaries.

Reviews are for readers. Common sense suggests that authors should stay off readers’ forums. Publicly criticizing readers is as effective as a lead balloon.

Accept that readers, reviewers, and bloggers also have lives outside Romaneland.

Good will goes a long way in building partnerships with readers, reviewers, and bloggers.

Then the fun begins with blog tours. But that is an another discussion for another day.

Do you write a review for books you buy, borrow, or win? What are your thoughts on authors asking readers to write reviews? Would you be interested in tips for writing reviews? One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, July 11, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, July 12.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Weekly Winners - Let Freedom Ring


We are all winners when freedom rings ... we have winners at SOS Aloha:

Sherry Harris' THE LONGEST YARD SALE, author interview and book review:
- Jo's Daughter and Mary P.  each in a book choice from my convention stash

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Winners, please contact me at sos.aloha@yahoo.com.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Friday, July 3, 2015

Aloha to Sharon Hamilton and SEAL'S CODE

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Let's start the fireworks early with Sharon Hamilton and her new release, SEAL's CODE, Book 3, Bad Boys of Seal Team 3 (SEAL Brotherhood):


Danny Begay has tried to drive out the voices of his ancestors, but his Navajo roots will not die. Summoned back to Arizona to visit his dying grandfather, a former Navajo Code Talker, he knows he has disappointed his hero grandfather. He buries himself one more time in the arms of a stranger before going back to Northern California.

Luci Tohe teaches at a reservation school, safeguarding the health of her ailing mother and little sister’s future, her own life on hold. She doesn’t expect the young Dine warrior she meets to be anything but a distraction from her loneliness.

Danny decides to join the Navy, as a SEAL, becoming the man he knew he was destined to be. Before deployment, he goes back to visit the girl he cannot get out of his mind. A dangerous human trafficking element threatens Luci and her family. Danny vows to protect them all.


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Audio Snippet 2 (for mature audiences)


NYT and USA/Today and Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Author Sharon Hamilton’s SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her Amazon author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love. Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany earned her a #1 Amazon author ranking in Gothic Romance.

A lifelong organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place. When she’s not writing, you will find her in the garden, getting verra verra dirty.

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Heartfelt SEAL memorial on Pearl Harbor beach

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter - plus SEAL swag - to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway, 

1.  Leave a comment about 

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, July 11, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, July 12.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Sharon offers an excerpt from SEAL’s Code:

“You’re new,” she said to the mirror.

He could feel her breathing, imagined what her flesh would feel like if he smoothed his fingers down her thigh. “Actually, I’m not here at all.”

She turned on the stool, grabbing her beer, and took a sip while she examined him. She was still smiling when she was done.

“You look pretty (bleep) here, Dine kind. But then maybe I’m a ghost too and maybe I see dead people.”

That deserved his attention, so he allowed his body to turn, facing her, knees touching hers. Through the stiff denim of his jeans he could feel her body vibrate like the inner workings of an expensive Swiss timepiece.

“Chester Tso is my grandfather. I believe he will die tonight.” He watched it sink in. She bit her lip just below the slight scar that slashed her upper lip, probably from an old injury. It made her look dangerous and sexy as hell. A slight worry line creased her right eye with just a touch of a twitch.

She turned back to the counter, staring down as if examining the head on her beer allowing her unpolished nail of her left forefinger to dip into the sudsy froth and draw a figure eight. “Then it sucks to be you.”

He had to agree with her. It sucked he’d never made much of himself, and now Grandfather was dying, knowing that. He wasn’t sure there was any potential for any spiritual growth anytime soon, either. That sucked too.

That left only one option for this evening. To get drunk. Maybe get her so drunk she’d go back with him to the motel. He glanced around the room and didn’t see any white boys so figured he’d have a chance with her. With any luck, neither one would remember a thing in the morning. He’d get the call Grandfather was gone. He could pay his respects, stay for the ceremony and then get his butt out of Arizona and back to Northern California. Forget this sandy hell hole for as long as the drink lasted.

“So why are you here?” he started. “Cheaper to drink at home, and a whole lot less dangerous. The drive is what I meant.” He was surprised these words came out of his mouth.

She answered the mirror again. “I know what you meant, Dine kind. I teach at the school.”

“Ah. First choice or last choice?” He knew it was a risk to ask it but he couldn’t help himself.

She almost spit her beer out. “Gawd, it must be true. That old fart gave you some of those visions.”

He turned and tilted his head, wondering what she meant. She addressed him this time by angling slightly so her knees wouldn’t touch his again. Her face in partial profile was masked. She was trying to hide something. “I’m not a do-gooder. Not one of those. I get to hide in plain sight. But I do carry a gun.”

“Running from something.”

“Nope.” She licked her lips, her tongue lingering there a little long, her eyes again focused down on the counter. “I am the sole breadwinner, and protector of my little tribe. My mother and my little sister.”

“Except you drink too much.” He knew she’d not like that comment.

“As do you. I can smell an alcoholic a mile away.” Then she gave him the sultry look he was waiting for. “I seem to be drawn to them, like a string of bad pennies, little babbling storytellers. Can’t help it. My nature, I guess.”

Well, she already had said twice as many words as he normally liked in a woman, and hadn’t given him nearly enough “looks”, but he was game.

“Humor me. What makes you drawn to me?”

Her full focus on his face almost made him blush. Her power and nature were strong. Her soul deep. She did not possess the need to smile from nervousness, or to hide the spirit that ran wild inside her. For him, right here and right now, she allowed him to absorb and be warmed by it. Her dark eyes and unlined forehead honestly peered back at him. “I like your jet black hair Dine man. The dark of your eyes all the way through. The black eyes of the tribal kind. But you weren’t raised here, so maybe you got away, maybe not. In any case, I gotta hurry if I’m going to meet you because I think tomorrow you’ll be gone.”


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More Bad Boys of SEAL Team 3

Aloha to VK Sykes and SUMMER AT THE SHORE



JUST A SUMMER FLING?


Morgan Merrifield sacrificed her teaching career to try to save her family's bed-and-breakfast and care for her younger sister. She can't let herself get distracted by Ryan Butler. After all, the rugged ex-Special Forces soldier is only in Seashell Bay for the summer. But her longtime crush soon flares into real desire-and with one irresistible kiss, she's swept away.

Ryan values his freedom. As much as he wants Morgan, he's not ready to settle down with anyone, much less in sleepy Seashell Bay. But his code of honor doesn't allow him to leave a woman in distress-and she's in desperate need of help to fix the inn. It only takes one day working under the same roof and
Ryan is already hoping for a lifetime of hot summer nights . . .



V. K. Sykes is a wife/husband writing team -Vanessa Kelly and Randall Sykes - who write romantic suspense and single-title contemporary romance. One of the great things they appreciate about being writers is that they can work anywhere so Vanessa and Randy split their time between Ontario, Canada, in the summer and Florida in the winter. Both locations have shores just as beautiful as the imaginary Seashell Bay.


Forever Romance is hosting a giveaway at this link ... and offers an except for SUMMER AT THE SHORE:

This time, the smile did reach his eyes. He slid an arm around her waist. “If I wanted company, Kristi’s not the woman at Golden Sunset I’d want in my room.” His arm tightened around her waist, gently pulling her against his naked torso.

Morgan froze, staring at him. The slowly building heat in his gaze sure didn’t look like a joke, nor did the arm around her waist feel like just a friendly gesture—not when she was plastered against all that warm, brawny muscle. And honest to God, she hadn’t a clue how to react.

Liar.

His eyebrows ticked up, then he sighed and withdrew his arm. “Sorry. I made you uncomfortable.”

“You just kind of surprised me.” Morgan swallowed past a lump in her throat. God, she didn’t want him to let her go. “But we seem to be making a habit of this, don’t we?”

He smiled wryly. “If twice constitutes a habit.”

She sucked in a deep breath and decided it was time for some frank talk. “You know I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling the same, Ryan. Like practically every minute since I saw you on the ferry.”

“I hear a ‘but’ coming.”

How could she explain how terribly vulnerable she felt? Between her father’s death, her worries for Sabrina, and her insecurity about her own future, she was close to being an emotional basket case. How could she possibly risk a summer hookup with Ryan? That would lead to a world of hurt down the road—especially since he’d just made it blazingly clear that he avoided long-term commitments.

“But I’m . . . I’m not there emotionally, Ryan. I don’t think I could handle it, no matter how much I might want to. I’m kind of a wreck right now.” She briefly nestled her face against his shoulder. “I’m really sorry.”

“Don’t be. I get where you’re coming from.” Ryan gave his head a shake. “I’m just finding it damn near impossible to ignore all this crazy chemistry between us. Hell, sometimes it feels like I’ve got a grenade inside me.”

Boy, that was exactly how she felt. If Ryan grabbed her and kissed her now, she’d probably be lost. They’d end up naked on this pebbly beach, getting busy in plain view of every boater sailing down the channel.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Aloha to Kristen Ashley and RIDE STEADY

 

RIDE STEADY by Kristen Ashley (June 30, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Chaos #3)

The ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy---until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa's pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he's the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa's acting, it's clear she's falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker's secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa---or ride away forever . . .


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Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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Forever is hosting a giveaway at this link ... and offers an excerpt of RIDE STEADY:

“What now?” he clipped, planting his hands on his hips.

I watched him do this.

His knuckles were all scabbed. But his fingers were long, not graceful, but handsome. They were a working man’s hands. They’d be rough. I could even see grease stains around the nail beds.

Something about that caused something to happen inside me.

My focus shifted from his hands to his crotch. His jeans were faded. The area around his crotch more faded.

Up I went to a black belt with silver rivets in it that had seen some wear, the length beyond the clasp dangling from a belt loop to the side in a supple way, the leather not close to stiff.

Up his flat belly to his wide chest and broad shoulders and bulging arms.

And up to his long black hair that looked thick, messy, had a lot of wave and brushed his shoulders. His beard wasn’t bushy, it was trimmed, but it was about two days away from being unkempt.

He was tall.

He was annoyed.

I felt the latter because he was the kind of man whose mood altered a room and I understood this because I was right then experiencing it. But I also knew it wasn’t just that or that we were the only ones in the room and having the conversation that was making him annoyed so of course I’d be feeling it.

It was him. He had that kind of power behind his personality.

I shifted my eyes to his.

Steel. A strange flat color that seemed impenetrable.

And suddenly I had a new dream. One that didn’t involve motherhood, cookies, doing laundry, and being a soccer mom.

One that centered around penetrating the impenetrable.

“So? What?” he prompted irately.

At his words, I flew across the room.

He had the chance to go back on a boot but that was all he had before my body slammed into his, my hands went to either side of his head and I lifted up on tiptoe as I yanked him down.

Then I pressed my lips hard against his.

A breath later, something strange happened.

Strange and wondrous.

His arms closed around me, and if I could think of anything, I’d worry about the state of my ribs.

But I couldn’t think of anything because his tongue spiked into my mouth and my world changed.

My entire world.

I didn’t have a dead sister.

I didn’t have a dead mother.

I didn’t have a lonely father looking after his mother, who was addled with Alzheimer’s disease.

I didn’t have an ex‑husband, who I once loved who I thought would cherish and protect me and help me build my dream, but now was making my life a misery and trying to take my son away from me.

I had this.

All of it. All the biker named Joker gave me by holding me so tight it was a pain that hurt so good and who was invading my mouth with his tongue in a way that stated clearly he could do it for a lifetime and never get enough.

My hands left his head so I could curve my arms around his shoulders as I pressed closer.

In return, one of his hands slid up my spine. He pulled out my ponytail holder and drove his fingers into my hair, cupping the back of my head, tilting it one way while he slanted his the other. He deepened the kiss in an intoxicating way while his other hand glided down and cupped one cheek of my behind.

That felt good.

He shuffled me back.

I went with him.

We kept kissing.

Then he turned quickly and we were falling.

Then he turned quickly and we were falling.

He landed on his back on the bed. I landed on him but barely had the opportunity to experience the dizzying beauty of the long length of his hard frame under mine before I was given more beauty when he rolled me and I had the weight of his hard frame pressing mine into the bed.

His hand left my bottom and went up, fingers yanking at my navy LeLane’s polo shirt, pulling it from my khakis, and then I had its heat, skin against skin.

I was right.

His hands were rough.

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Aloha to Nancy Lee Badger and MY HUNTED HIGHLANDER - Guest post

 

Warriors, Weapons, and Pirates. Oh my!

My Hunted Highlander, released June 16th, is the third and final book in the Kilted Athletes Through Time series. This book has taken a twist to include pirates of the North Sea. Before I had written the first line, I had already decided to have my hero, Niall Sinclair, use a longbow when he traveled forward in time. He also proves adept at the sheaf toss, and in wooing a special woman…the captain of The Black Thistle. The book blurb sets the tone:

Plucked naked from the North Sea, bruised and nearly drowned, Niall Sinclair wakes bound to the mast of the pirate ship, The Black Thistle. Hiding his identity, and brutalized by the first mate and other seamen, their captain comes to his aid. Her identity, and gender, are a surprise, and his physical reaction to her makes him nearly forget his need to escape, and return to his clan. When kidnapped from her shipbuilding business in modern day Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the last place Blair MacIan figured to end up, was at the helm of a pirate ship in 1603 Scotland. With her abusive husband dead, and the ship, the crew, and their people under her care, the last thing she needed was to fish a naked man from the sea. His ravaged face and ragged sandy hair could not detract from his magnificence, and she sensed in him, a means for her own escape. 




I dug out my husband’s ancient longbow to use for inspiration and to place prominently on my book cover. Creating book covers is an art, and I was able to find a hunk in a kilt, a rocky shore, and a tall ship to bring my story to light. In Scotland of old, the longbow was used primarily for hunting, but it proved a fearless weapon on the battlefield. In this excerpt, the power behind the longbow is evident:

“Blair!” She didn’t answer. Concerned for her safety, Niall raced toward Wynda’s cart. Shouts from the other archery competitors made him wonder if his last shot had won the match. Once he captured his sire, he would have no need for coin. Unfortunately, if Blair truly meant to stay in this world, she might have use for it, but he saw no reason for her to remain. Could he persuade her to return to Scotland with him? If she did, what could he offer her?

If he managed to capture his sire, and their surviving clan members deemed Angus Sinclair unfit to rule, could Niall accept his place as clan chieftain? Would his brother, Gavin, relinquish his current position as laird? In the Scottish Highlands, rules were not hewn in stone. The best man to rule, would rule.

When they had traveled forward in time, winter was nearly upon them. Heavy snows were not far behind. Many would starve, if Gavin had not had the forethought to prepare their people.

Battle-weary, Niall notched an arrow as he searched for his sire, aware that the older man was similarly armed.

The whisper of an approaching arrow made him duck behind the corner of a small out-building. “Too close.”

He moved stealthily around the opposite side of the building, ducking behind a small pen holding several sheep. They bleated softly, and moved to the opposite side of the small enclosure. In the next corral, a pair of Highland cows were more curious, than fearful.

As Niall crouched, crawling along the fencing, the smaller cow headed in his direction. When it settled its chin on the top rail of the odd fence, Niall glanced up at its great span of horns. He slowly stood, and patted the tuft of shaggy red hair on its forehead, until the bull approached. As the beast swung its horns toward him, Niall fell to his knees. At the same moment, another arrow flew past his head, and imbedded in a tree that provided shade to the penned animals. Upper branches trembled at the contact, and showered him and the beasties with dead leaves.

“Bloody Hell!”

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Highland cow

Award-winning author, Nancy Lee Badger, loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, she moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. A former EMT, volunteer firefighter, and 911 Dispatcher, Nancy writes about kilted Highlanders, heart-broken dragons, and romantic thrillers and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Area Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers.

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Nancy is giving away a $25 Gift Card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble HERE

21851280My Dark Highlander (Kilted Athletes Through Time, #2)