Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Washington Loves Readers - Spotlight on Tracee Lydia Garner


The Washington Romance Writers (WRW) are hosting their annual Reader Luncheon (link) on Saturday, October 8, 2016. I look forward to meeting Tracee Garner:

Tracee Lydia Garner is a a speaker, private writing coach and author of five books. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, she holds a degree in Communications from Old Dominion University. She tremendously enjoys the written and spoken word and prior to entertaining full length novels, was a contributor to her alma mater's campus literary magazine.

Writing her first novel at 23, Tracee submitted it to contest hosted by BET Books, then the largest publisher of African-American fiction where, her story entitled Family Affairs, beat out hundreds of other contenders, winning the grand prize, a monetary advance and publication. She signed a book deal for two more titles. Tracee has been writing since she was in elementary school. She teaches Romance Novel Writing and How to Write the Novel at the college level and has done so for ten years. She also enjoys marketing, reading, writing and is a certified shopaholic.


Learn more about Tracee and her books at teegarner.com.

Update:  Tracee is unable to attend the lucheon as scheduled .... so I will seek her out to see that brilliant smile in person!


I love the cover of ANCHORED HEARTS ...

Despite her prestigious professional role, Allontis Baxter’s private life is in shambles. She’s just broken up with her no-good boyfriend, her adopted mother figure is dying in the hospital and now she’s been turned down in an attempt to adopt a child of her own. Plus, Allontis’s old flame Cole Parker has returned to their hometown from New York City, causing her dilemmas to multiply as old feelings are rekindled. What’s a successful and motivated nonprofit career woman to do?

When a series of chance encounters at work fling her into the middle of a mysterious scandal, Allontis realizes she’s caught up in a dangerous game that could send her chaotic life up in flames. Struggling to keep the pieces of her own life together while protecting those she loves, Allontis is forced to confront the true meaning of family and to face some demons of her own.


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I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about Washington, D.C. - what do you know about our nation's capital? 

2. Comments are open through Saturday, July 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, July 31.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Aloha to Lindsay McKenna and SECRET DREAM (Delos Novella)


Reminder - I have a special giveaway for July at this link.

Ex-Navy SEAL Cav Jordan faces danger daily in his job as a security expert. He even faced down a gang of South American drug dealers to protect his fiancée, Lia Cassidy. So why is he terrified of meeting her parents? Having lived through his own horrible childhood Cav can’t understand the situation is he is walking into. Lia just wants him to meet her parents. Why does this feel like the fight of his life?

Novella: The continued story of Cav and Lia from NOWHERE TO HIDE, Book 1 of the Delos Series. 

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo 

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Lindsay McKenna lives her life as a risk taker, and it shines through the books she loves to write: romance, adventure and suspense. She started writing at age thirteen and continues to hone her writing skills to this day. She sold her first romance novel in 1981. The rest is history.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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Lindsay offers an excerpt from SECRET DREAM ... 

“Steve Cassidy. Welcome, Mr. Jordan., We owe you a lot.” He gripped Cav’s hand, and choked out, “You saved Lia’s life. Thank you…”

For a moment, Cav was stunned by the sudden kindness emanating from the farmer’s expression who was thin, wiry, sunburned and physically sinewy from the daily work he did. Gripping the farmer’s calloused roughened hand, he said, “Nice to meet you, sir. And I was just doing my job. Call me Cav?”

“Call me Steve.” He clapped him heartily on the back, still clasping his other hand. “And you’re a hero to us, son. Nothing less.” Steve released him, keeping his hand on Cav’s broad shoulder, watching Lia clinging to he mother, both of them in a tight, loving embrace with one another.

Embarrassed by such a show of emotions, Cav murmured, “Thank you, sir.”

Steve gave him an assessing look. “Just Steve will do.”

“Yes, sir….I mean, okay,” Cav stumbled. It was very different meeting people who were strangers, but this was Lia’s parents and he didn’t want to fuck this up for her. Awkwardly, he stood there, watching tears roll down Susan’s face. He wasn’t sure that Lia wasn’t crying too, such was the tight bond they shared. Obliquely, his mind leaped backward. Cav remembered the times his mother had cried. But they were tears of pain. Tears mingled with blood from her nose, a split lip or both after his father got done beating her up. How many times had Cav cried alone in his room wishing she would run away with him from his monster father?

Steve clapped him on the shoulder. “Let’s us guys go find your luggage, huh?” and he smiled a little.

Good idea! “Yes, sir—“

Steve laughed and patted him warmly on the back. “You’re staying a week with us, Cav. I’ll work that military side you out of you by then. Come on, let’s hunt up that luggage for our you and our Lia, eh?”

There was a male gruffness mingled with warmth to Steve that made Cav want to open up to the man. He had a deeply weathered face, his blue eyes the same color as Lia’s. The woman he loved had her mother’s same color of hair, her father’s sparkling, mischievous looking eyes and her smile. There was benevolence to Steve Cassidy and Cav automatically found himself wanting to be close to this man who exuded a male gentleness he rarely found in any man. “Thanks for coming to pick us up,” Cav said, noting that the baggage from their flight would be spit out by Carousel Two.

“We’ve been looking forward to seeing you two,” Steve said, standing with his hands on his hips, watching the luggage starting to be dropped off the conveyor belt. “Did you have a good flight?”

“Yes. It was quiet. That’s all I ask.”

“We don’t travel much,” he said. “With a farm, you can’t walk away from it, so I’m glad you came for a visit.”

Cav felt Steve’s genuine sincerity. He hooked a look over his shoulder, seeing Lia and her mother talking animatedly with one another as they walked toward them. Susan had given Lia her smile and her beauty, no question. He liked that the mother had hooked her arm around Lia’s waist and they walked closely, their affection for everyone to see. He knew Lia’s affection himself and already, he could see how happy she was at being home with her parents once more. They breathed even more life into her, if that was possible. Compared to the ghost of a person she was in Costa Rica months earlier, Cav was stunned at Lia’s natural radiance. She was sunshine to his darkened soul who craved her.

“Uh oh,” Steve murmured, grinning as he turned. “I’m about to get attacked.”

For a moment, the word put Cav on instant guard. But as he turned, he saw Steve opening his arms as Lia flew into them, her arms wide open, joy radiant on her face as she clung to her father. A lump formed in his throat as he watched Lia being swallowed up by the big man who kissed her hair, kissed that cheek that had that deep scar on it, his eyes only for his beaming daughter in his arms. His gaze flicked to Susan, who stood a few feet away, teary eyed, smiling, her lower lip trembling as she watched Lia with her doting father. It hurt to swallow and Cav turned away, remembering too much of the twisted and distorted family he’d somehow managed to survive. He’d never known a moment of affection from his father. Only his fist. His hatred. His anger always aimed at him.

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More books in the Delos series ...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Aloha to Piper J. Drake and ULTIMATE COURAGE (True Heroes Book 2)

 

Reminder - I have a special giveaway for July at this link.

LOVE IS AN ACT OF BRAVERY

Retired Navy SEAL Alex Rojas is putting his life back together, one piece at a time. Being a single dad to his young daughter and working at Hope's Crossing Kennels to help rehab a former guard dog, he struggles every day to control his PTSD. But when Elisa Hall shows up, on the run and way too cautious, she unleashes his every protective instinct.

Elisa's past never stays in her rearview mirror for long, and she refuses to put anyone else in danger. But with Alex guarding her so fiercely yet looking at her so tenderly, she's never felt safer . . . or more terrified that the secrets she keeps could put countless people in grave peril. The only way for both to fully escape their demons will take the ultimate act of courage: letting go and learning to trust each other.

THE TRUE HEROES SERIES

Extreme Honor, #1
Ultimate Courage, #2
Absolute Trust, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

BUY THE BOOK HERE

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Piper J. Drake (or "PJ") spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every interesting novel she could find at the library. After being introduced to the wonderful world of romance by her best friend, she dove into the genre.

PJ began her writing career as PJ Schnyder, writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk, for which she won the FF&P PRISM award as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.

PJ's romantic suspense novels incorporate her interests in mixed martial arts and the military. The True Heroes series is inspired by her experience rescuing, owning and training a variety of retired working dogs, including Kaiser, a former guard dog, and Mozart, who was trained to detect explosives.

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Forever Romance offers an excerpt from ULTIMATE COURAGE ...

You’ve got to be insane.”

Elisa Hall took a prudent step—or two—back as she observed the standoff brewing in front of her. A tall man stood between her and the emergency room reception desk, glaring at the woman in scrubs behind it. He stood at an angle to Elisa, so he could see the reception desk to his right and the entirety of the waiting area in front of him.

He clenched his fists.

Elisa retreated farther back toward the entrance, releasing her throbbing rist and letting her hands fall to her sides. Harmless. Nothing to see here.

“I’m sorry, sir, but ambulances take precedence over walk-ins,” the nurse repeated. She was braver than Elisa would’ve been in the face of rage on a level with the man’s at the counter.

He was dressed in loose fitness shorts and a close-fitting black tee. His hands were wrapped in some cross between tape and fabric.

“Fighter” might as well have been printed across his very broad, muscular shoulders.

Actually, now that she was looking, his tee said Revolution Mixed Martial Arts Academy.

Well, then. Maybe she should just take more ibuprofen and forget about seeing a doctor for her swollen wrist after all. Getting her injury examined wasn’t worth staying anywhere near this guy.

The nurse glanced quickly at Elisa then returned her attention to the man, her expression softening with sympathy. “As soon as an examination room opens up, we’ll get you in to see the doctor. Please, wait right here and fill out these forms while I help this young lady.”

Wait, what? The man’s face, and his focus, turned toward her. Oh, great.

Usually she envied nurses their ability to sympathize with so many patients and make such a difference in their lives. Now was not one of those times.

Elisa squashed the urge to bolt. Never ended well when she tried it. Better to hold very still, wait until the anger in front of her burned itself out, and pull herself together afterward.

Instead, she fastened her gaze on the floor and tried to keep her body from tensing visibly. Silently, she sang herself an inane nursery rhyme to take her mind

off the weight of the man’s intense glare. Please, please, let him walk away. They were in public, and even though the emergency room waiting area wasn’t packed, it still had a dozen people scattered around the seats.

But the expected explosion, shouting, other things . . .never happened. Instead, the man had quieted. All of the frustrated aggression seemed to have been stuffed away, somewhere.

She swallowed hard. Relief eased her constricted throat, and she breathed slowly for the time being. Leaving remained the best idea she had at the moment.

But he stepped away from the counter and farther to her right, motioning with a wrapped hand for her to step forward. As she forced her feet to take herself closer to the reception desk—and past him—he gave her room.

Belatedly, she realized his movement also happened to block her escape route toward the doors. He couldn’t have done it on purpose, could he? But Elisa took a step up to the reception counter and away from him anyway.

“Yes, dear?” The nurse’s gentle prompt made Elisa jump.

Damn it. Elisa’s heart beat loud in her ears.

The nurse gave her an encouraging smile. “Don’t mind him. He’s been here before. I’ve already asked another nurse to bring ice packs as fast as possible. I don’t

mind if he blows off some hot air in my direction in the meantime. I would be upset, too, considering today’s situation.”

Elisa bit her lip. She could still feel the man standing behind her, his presence looming at her back. He couldn’t possibly appreciate the nurse sharing some of

his private information. And he didn’t seem to need ice packs or any other medical attention. He appeared very able-bodied. “It’s none of my business.”

The nurse placed a clipboard on the counter and wrinkled her nose. “Oh, trust me, the entire waiting room knows what his concern is. Tell me what brought you here.”

This might be the most personable emergency room reception area Elisa had been to in years, not counting the extremely angry man standing behind her. They were either not very busy—not likely if all the examination rooms were full up—or extremely efficient.

Efficiency meant she could get in and out and decide what her next steps would be.

“My wrist.” Elisa held out her left arm, her wrist obviously swollen. “I thought it was just a bad sprain, but it’s been more than a few days and has only gotten worse. I can barely move it now.”

And if she could have avoided it, she definitely wouldn’t have stopped in to get it treated. An emergency room visit, even with the help of her soon-to-be nonexistent insurance, was still an expense she didn’t need. It’d been six months or so since her last significant paycheck, and she could not afford to extend her insurance much longer. Plus, it might be better not to. One less way to track her.

“Is that your dominant arm, dear?” The nurse held up a pen.

Elisa shook her head.

“Oh, good. Leave your ID and insurance card with me so I can make copies. Take a seat over there to fill out this form and bring it back to me.”

Okay, then. Elisa took the items and made her way toward the seating area, thankful the nurse hadn’t asked her to give her name and pertinent information verbally. It was always a risk to share those things out loud.

She’d learned over and over again. There was a chance a slip of information in the unlikeliest of places would find its way to exactly the person she didn’t want

to have it. No matter how careful she’d been over the last several months, it hadn’t been enough yet.

But it would be. This time. She was learning, and she was free. Every day was a new chance.

Nodding to herself, Elisa looked for a seat. It might not be crowded, but just about everyone in the room had decided to sit with at least a chair or two buffer between them and the next person. The buffer seats were all that were left, and most of the other people waiting to be seen were either men, or women sitting with men.

Then she caught sight of a young girl sitting with her legs crossed in the seat next to the big planter in the corner. Slender, but long limbed, the girl had a sweet face and the gangly look of a growing kid. Elisa guessed the girl was maybe eight or nine, could even be ten. Hard to pin down age when the kid had such an innocent look to her. The seat next to her was open, and she was waiting quietly, hugging a big, blue, plush . . . round thing. Whatever it was.

Elisa walked quickly over, and when the girl looked up at her with big, blue eyes, Elisa gave her the friendliest smile she could dig up. “Mind if I sit next

to you?”

The girl looked around, her gaze lingering on the reception area behind Elisa for a moment before saying, “Sure.”

Elisa took a seat.

After a few silent moments, the little girl stirred next to her. “Are you sick?”

Well, paperwork didn’t take much of her attention, and it’d been a while since Elisa had been outside of her own head in a lot of ways. Conversation would be

a welcome change and a good distraction from the constant worry running in the back of her mind. “Not sick so much as hurt. I won’t give you the plague.”

A soft, strained laugh. “Same here.”

Elisa took a harder look at the big, plush toy. It wasn’t for comfort as Elisa’d first assumed. It was supporting the girl’s slender left arm, which was bent at an impossible angle.

“Oh my god.” Why was she sitting here alone?

“Don’t worry.” The girl gave her a quick thumbs-up with her right hand. “The doctors are really good here, and I’m in all the time.”

Such a brave face. She had to be in an insane amount of pain. And here she was encouraging Elisa.

“Is there someone you should talk to about how often you get hurt?” Elisa struggled for the right tone. It was one she’d heard more than once when people had been concerned for her. Some places had safeguards in place for . . .

Blue eyes widened. “Oh, it’s not what you’re thinking. Trust me, people ask my dad. And it’s not like that at all. I study mixed martial arts. I get bruised and

bumped all the time, and usually it’s nothing, but Dad always makes me come in to get checked.”

It was hard not to believe in the earnest tone. But monsters were everywhere.

The girl gave her a rueful smile, still amazing considering how much pain she had to be in. “This time it wasn’t just a bump.”

“Which is why they’re going to see you as soon as they can, Boom.”

Elisa hadn’t heard the man approach. He was just there. He kneeled down in front of the girl then gently tucked an ice pack around her arm while moving it as

little as possible. For her part, the girl hissed in pain but otherwise held up with amazing fortitude.

Elisa would’ve been in tears. The forearm had to be broken. Both bones. It didn’t take a doctor to figure that out. No wonder the man had been mad earlier. She’d want this girl to be seen as soon as possible, too. She dropped her gaze, unable to watch.

“Here.” An ice pack appeared in her view. “Your wrist should be iced, too. Take down the swelling while you wait.”

Speechless, Elisa looked up.

The man’s words were gruff, awkward. His expression was blank. But his eyes—a softness around his eyes—and a . . . quiet in the way he watched her made her swallow and relax a fraction. Her heartbeat stuttered in a fluttery kind of way. A completely different reaction from what she should be experiencing if she were wise. She didn’t know this man and he was probably married. The girl had a mother somewhere. Where? Maybe on her way. This man was just being nice. Maybe.

Learn from your mistakes. You never know who a person really is.

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Book 1

Aloha to Katie Lane and WAKING UP WITH THE BILLIONAIRE

 

Reminder - I have a special giveaway for July at this link.

He can have anything he wants...except her 

Famed artist Grayson Beaumont is the most elusive of the billionaire Beaumont brothers. He has a reputation for seducing any woman with only a look, word, or sensual stroke of his brush. But now Grayson has lost all his desire to paint . . . unless he can find a muse to unlock his creative-and erotic-imagination.

Chloe knew she might have to shed her clothes when she agreed to pose for the celebrated artist, but she wasn't expecting to shed all her inhibitions as well. Under his intense scrutiny, there's nothing she can hide...including a secret from her past that, once exposed, will change how he looks at her forever.

THE OVERNIGHT BILLIONAIRE SERIES
A Billionaire Between The Sheets, #1
A Billionaire After Dark, #2
Waking Up With A Billionaire, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

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Katie Lane is the USA Today bestselling author of the Deep in the Heart of Texas, Hunk for the Holidays, and Overnight Billionaires series. Katie lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and when she isn't writing, enjoys reading, going to the gym, golfing, traveling, or just snuggling next to her high school sweetheart and cairn terrier Roo.

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Forever Romance offers an excerpt from WAKING UP WITH THE BILLIONAIRE ... 

“Stay right where you are . . .” 

Stretched out on the floor in front of Grayson, Chloe just felt sexy. The feeling only intensified as he took a seat and started to draw.

The way he painted was twice as sensuous as the way he drew. The brush was like an extension of his hand and the canvas her body. Wherever his hot gaze landed, she felt the stroke of his brush. Her feet. Her legs. Her breasts. Her warm center.

He made her feel beautiful. Breathtaking. And wicked.

She now understood what being “captured on canvas” meant. Right now she was Grayson’s. For all eternity, she wanted to be . . .

“Grayson’s.”

She didn’t realize she had spoken until his hand halted in mid-brushstroke. His gaze found hers, and he dropped the brush and slowly rose from the stool and looked down at her with hungry eyes. She remained perfectly still.

A willing sacrifice on the altar of Grayson . . .

“Who told you that I’ve bedded hundreds of women?”

“No one had to tell me. If you make the other women you paint feel the way I do, it just makes sense.”

Grayson lifted his head, and his eyes drilled right through her. “How do I make you feel, Chloe?”

It was past sexual attraction. Past anything she had ever felt with another man. But she couldn’t tell him that. Not when she was leaving. So instead of answering, she leaned in and kissed him. She kissed him with everything she had.

Without breaking the kiss, he stood and pulled her up with him. The warmth of his body spooned around her made her feel warm and secure, and she closed her eyes and drifted. She was in that place between wakefulness and dreamland when he whispered.

“You’re wrong, Chloe. You’re the only woman I can’t resist . . .”

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Aloha to Jade Lee and AS RICH AS A ROGUE (Rakes & Rogues Regency Romance Book 3)


Third in the saucy, vibrant Rakes & Rogues Regency romance series from USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee

Mari Powel’s fiery Welsh temper is up. Peter Norwood, Lord Whitly, is back in town after six years romping around India making his fortune. Mari blames him for her social downfall and has spent all this time clawing her way back into the ton’s good graces. How dare he show up on his first day back and publicly embroil her in a bet involving long-awaited apologies, illicit kisses, and Lady Illston’s unruly parakeet? Mari is outraged, and is going to show him—and everyone else—what she’s made of. Little does she know, the unrepentant Lord Whitly has been dreaming of her all this time. Now he’ll do anything to win the wager—along with Mari’s heart.

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USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee has been crafting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ballgowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. An author of more than 40 romance novels and winner of dozens of reader awards, she brings laughter into the sexy nights of England's elite. Quirky characters and sexy banter are her hallmarks. Find out more at her website JadeLeeAuthor.com, or check out her wild contemporary half at KathyLyons.com.

Top 10 Fun Facts about As Rich as a Rogue

1. As Rich as a Rogue was inspired by Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin. Can you say, duh? Everyone who writes and reads regency romance loves Austin’s work. But I was listening to an audio copy of Pride and Prejudice when I had the strongest desire to write a story based on an absolutely rude incident at a party. Just like in Austin’s book, the heroine overhears the hero being awful, but then I made it more confrontational. She chastises him face to face and both of their lives are forever changed. Each spirals in a different way from that one incident. So, in short, P&P was the basis for my book!

2. This series has an animal character in every book. 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake features a turkey that gets mistaken for a dodo bird. I wanted the publisher to put pictures of little turkeys in between every scene, but they refused. L One Rogue at a Time features a pig who gets drunk and forces all sorts of mishaps in the mud. I just love bathing in the creek scenes. And then As Rich as a Rogue features a bet about a rude parakeet. Hero and Heroine are racing to see who can teach the parakeet an appropriate phrase first. So in my mind (and because I’m awful with titles) the books were the turkey book, the pig book, and the parakeet book.

3. I am notoriously terrible at titles. In fact, my editor once called my title suggestion the worst she’d ever heard in 30 years of publishing. Guess what the original title of this book was.

a. The Duke’s Cunning Plan
b. That Nobody Chit from Hull
c. Of Birds, Brides, and Men
d. Megan and Peter’s Book

Answer: C and D – Option A, The Duke’s Cunning Plan was the original title for 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake. (Damon Suede changed that to the Duke’s Cunning Linguist which made my editor blush). That Nobody Chit from Hull was dubbed the worst title ever and became One Rogue at a Time. Birds, Brides and Men was just a cute thing I made up and used in my brain interchangeably with Megan and Peter’s book.

4. I’ve had lots of great covers in my career. After 50 books, some of them have been absolutely stunning, but As Rich as a Rogue is probably my favorite. Guess why.

a. Red and gold were my high school class colors. So of course, this would be my favorite cover!

b. Doesn’t the hero look hot? Enough said!

c. Her facial expression. She looks wickedly mischievous and I love that!

d. My name. Big, bold, and gold! Yes sir, I do have an ego!

Answer: C – The colors are awesome, but that has nothing to do with my class colors. The hero looks hot, but without man chest, it’s just nice. And I do have an ego, so it’s great to have my name so large, but that’s not why I love the cover. It’s all about her face.

5. One scene in As Rich as a Rogue was built directly from my Downton Abbey imagination. Guess which one.

a. The love scene of course. I’ve built lots of love scenes in my imagination with the handsome male cast of Downton Abbey.

b. The scene where the Cook and Housekeeper share tea with the hero and give him important information on the villainous things his father is doing. I set the scene in Mrs. Hughes’ tiny office and imagined her and Mrs. Patmore trying to tell Matthew Crawley something sensitive.

c. In my mind, the ball was set in the Downton Abbey ballroom. Where else would it be?

d. We’re able to visit a few lower class pubs in Downton Abbey and in my book. My imagination grabbed the seediest pub and put it into my book.

Answer: B – In my imagination, the hero’s Cook and Housekeeper worked in Downton Abbey’s belowstairs. So that setting was lifted directly into my book (minus certain appliances). All the other options above didn’t quite translate to the Regency time period.

6. All of the Rakes and Rogues books have a silly side to it. A part of the plot that is designed for humor and inevitably spirals out of control. In 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake, every person in the book has a plan that goes horribly awry. A zillion competing agendas clash in hilarious ways! In One Rogue at a Time, the heroine believes something that no one else does. Her insistence becomes funnier and funnier until the world aligns with her. In As Rich as a Rogue, I played with all the things we do to maintain or fight appearances until it becomes incredibly silly. Great fun to read, but OMG it was hard to write. Finding that spot of funny without becoming too silly is a difficult target to hit. I think I managed it, but you’ll have to decide for yourself.

7. True or False: I wrote this book without benefit of coffee.

TRUE! I hate having to search for coffee when travelling. Sometimes I have to get up incredibly early during conferences (well early for me), and adding in time to find a café for a soy latte is a real challenge. So I decided to go coffee free and see how I felt. Answer: TIRED! They say everyone has a drug of choice, and mine is caffeine. This book took a month longer than usual to write and I felt like I had to work twice as hard to be witty. All of that was magically solved the minute I went back on a morning cup of joe!

8. My very first published regency romance, Rules for a Lady, featured a young street boy adopted by the heroine. He was a delightful source of a disagreement between hero and heroine. It works because the heroine has a very soft heart and picks up strays all over the place. In As Rich as a Rogue, I turned that around. The very practical-minded hero ends up adopting a street boy and trying to justify his tender heart. Plus, this street boy is a great deal more savvy than in my first book, so there’s a few more challenges there. Great fun!

9. The first sexual encounter (more than a kiss) in As Rich as a Rogue had to be completely re-written several times. That’s extremely unusual for me. Normally love scenes are relatively easy for me. By the time the characters get sexual, I’ve built up the tension so high that the hero and heroine just implode together. But in this case, I couldn’t get the tone right. In the first go round, what started as a funny scene becomes hero dominant fast. That wasn’t right, so I lessened the funny and it just didn’t work with the lighter tone of the book. I tried fully funny and ended up with slapstick. OMG it was a mess. Finally, I just stopped and re-read the book from beginning again. I flowed deeper into the heroine’s mindset and managed a balance. My editor didn’t have one correction on the scene, so I think I finally got it right!

10. Mari, the heroine of As Rich as a Rogue, appears in an earlier ebook novella titled Winning a Bride. In fact, that’s my favorite novella of all that I’ve ever written, but it has a significant error. It features a character named Megan when that name didn’t come into use until the twentieth century. Oops! So rather than perpetuate the error, I changed her name to Mari and wrote her story with that name.

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Sourcebooks offers an excerpt from AS RICH AS A ROGUE ... 


“I never imagined that I would have to fight so hard for the woman of my choice.”

“Because you are a wealthy lord?”

“Yes.”

She sighed and kicked idly at a stone. “If you wish to pursue this, you need only speak to my father. He will put me on bread and water and lock me in a dungeon until I accept your proposal.”

His eyes narrowed. “Your father would do that?”

“Probably,” she said with a laugh. Her expression was easy despite what she was suggesting.

“So your father is a harsh man,” he pressed. This was something he needed to know.

“What? Papa? Well, no more than the usual, I suppose. He’s considered merciless in business.”

“How merciless?” In his experience, a man’s business practices could be very ugly indeed. “I need particulars, Miss Powel.”

She faced him squarely. “Then you should talk to my father.”

He took a deep breath. “Very well,” he said. “I will.” It took her a moment to process those words and then another breath before she grabbed his arm in alarm. “Oh no. I misspoke. My father is the gentlest man in the world, and you should definitely not speak to him.”

Now they were getting somewhere. “Afraid of bread and water, are you?”

“Yes! Well, no, not literally. Good God, why are we speaking of my father? You are correct, he is the one who wants the title and would do a great deal to see me wed to you. But after the vows are exchanged, you would not be shackled to him. It would be me in your bed. Day in and day out with a wife who spends most of her time wanting to throttle you.”

He heard her words, but most of them were lost under the fantasy of her in his bed. Of her beneath him night after night and well into the morning, when he could wake her with sweet kisses and bold thrusts. “My lord?” she pressed when he had been silent too long.

He forcibly drew himself out of his reverie. “So what is it that you want in a man, if it isn’t a title or money?”

She glanced at him but quickly looked away. “Shall I name for you the countless well-heeled peers who would be a nightmare as a husband? There are exactly fifty-three.”

“Are those the eligible gentlemen?”

She shuddered. “Goodness, no. The unmarried or widower titles number thirty-seven. Beyond that, there are over a dozen in my acceptable column, and exactly none who wish to court me, a wayward Welsh cit.”

“Lord Rimbury is courting you.”

“Well-heeled, my lord.”

“I am courting you.”

“You are in my nightmare category.” He turned to her. “Why?”

“And here we are full circle. I have explained to you that we do not suit. We fight constantly. You make me want to do violence. Every single one of my good intentions fly to the boughs the moment you enter a room. You make me insane, my lord, and—” He did not allow her to say more. He knew her words were meant to dissuade him, but he heard what she didn’t say. He heard that she lost her careful plans when he was around. That she was mad for him. And if they were wed, she would be this creature who challenged him at every turn to speak better, to think more clearly, and to act in every way better than the lummox he had been. That he often still was.

So he kissed her.

He jerked her into his arms and put his mouth on hers. He wrapped her tight against his chest, knew the glorious feel of her breasts flush against his torso, and when her mouth opened on a gasp of surprise, he thrust his tongue inside.

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Aloha to Olivia Miles and LOVE BLOOMS ON MAIN STREET (Briar Creek Book 4)

 

Love is always in season . . .

Florist Ivy Birch fantasizes about the day a man will surprise her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Especially if that man happens to be Brett Hastings. One stolen kiss at her best friend's wedding and Ivy can't get the sexy ER doctor out of her head.

In the small town of Briar Creek, you can't avoid anyone for very long. Not that Brett has been trying to avoid Ivy. He just can't afford to let anything distract him from his work-not again. So when a hospital fundraiser throws them together, love is the last thing on his mind. But with her quick wit and sweet laugh, soon the one woman he's tried to keep at arm's length is capturing his heart...


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Olivia Miles is a Chicago-based romance writer. Having grown up in New England, Olivia attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec before settling in Chicago where she lives with her husband, their daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups.

When she is not chasing after her little ones, she is hard at work creating feisty heroines and alpha heroes with a heart. A city girl with a fondness for small-town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories.

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Forever Romance offers an excerpt from LOVE BLOOMS ON MAIN STREET ...

A small gasp escaped from her but was quickly silenced by the firm press of Brett’s mouth on hers. Unlike their last kiss, which had felt so tender, this time Brett was leaving no room for confusion about his intentions. She stiffened against his touch, trying to resist him, but pleasure pooled warm in her stomach and the space between her legs began to ache as he wrapped two arms around her waist and pulled her to his chest.

Oh, God. She wanted to fight this. The feeling he was stirring within her. The need for more. She opened her mouth to him, letting him in. He kissed her deeply, not giving her a chance to break away, and she wasn’t so sure she could, even if she wanted to. Her hands, which had been pushed off her hips by the strength of his arms, hung loosely at her sides, as if determined to stay out of this drama she was creating for herself, but, like her mouth, they lost the fight. She slid her hands up onto Brett’s arms, taking in every curve of his hard muscles, and up onto his shoulders as she leaned into him. His breath was heavy as he kissed her harder, and she parted her legs to let his slide between and press against the tightness that was building within her.

“What are we doing?” she asked when they finally came apart. She blinked up at him and resisted the urge to flatten his disheveled locks. I did that, she realized with a flutter.

“I don’t really know.” Brett’s voice was low and coarse. “But I like it.”

She firmed her mouth and smoothed her dress. Not good enough.

Turning to stare at the folding table, she felt her spirits begin to sag. She’d let him in again. Let him take her to places she’d wanted, to dream dreams that should have stayed in her unconscious. And nothing had changed. Men don’t change, Ivy. That’s what her mother had always said. When would she learn?

“Well, it can’t happen again,” she insisted.

“Oh no?”

She glanced back to see that slow, sexy smile. “No.” But even as she said it, her body was saying yes. 



Sunday, July 24, 2016

Aloha to Toby Devens and BAREFOOT BEACH - Guest post about beaches!

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It's sizzling in Maryland this weekend .... perfect time to be a the beach!  Maryland denizen Toby Devens joins us today with a guest post to celebrate the release of BAREFOOT BEACH. From her bio (link),

Born in the heart of Brooklyn, by four I was a pint sized, curly haired strawberry blond who sang and acted on stage and TV (the money I made from sudsy soap opera roles helped pay my college tuition). But at twelve, like most other pre-teens, I just wanted to be one of the kids on the block. I also knew where my passion really lay, not in tap dancing before the camera, but in tapping words out on the keyboard. I wanted to, needed to, couldn't not, write. I started with my own fairy tales, went on to spin detective stories a la Nancy Drew, and in high school wrote reams of poetry about young (sigh!) love. 


I’ve sunned myself on beaches from Hawksbill Bay in Antigua (silky white sand, spectacular hawk’s bill rock formation rising from water clear and smooth as glass) to the French Riviera (hoards of Soviet—back then--men of inappropriate age and tonnage in speedos—ugh!). But in my book, literally (my novel Barefoot Beach was recently released) and figuratively, there’s no place like home.

I grew up in Brooklyn and my happiest summer memories are of Brighton Beach. That’s where I met my first real boyfriend at fifteen. Not exactly met, more like crawled out from under after he threw himself atop me to shield me from a flock of seagulls diving to pluck my copper colored hair to feather their nests. My hero! Brighton Beach is where I dug to China, ate homemade sandwiches accidentally but deliciously salted with sand, and sipped the orange drinks peddled by sweating vendors schlepping coolers. Today Brighton Beach is populated by a wave of immigrants that seems to have just washed ashore. The chatter on the blankets–in addition to Brooklynese—is an international babel of Spanish, Uzbek, but mostly Russian. For that large demographic, the area is known as Little Odessa. So you can get blini, pelmeni (meat dumplings) and vodka at Russian café’s and cabarets just off the beach. Or take a breeze-cooled walk to Coney Island to scarf down Nathan’s legendary hot dogs, crinkly fries and lobster rolls. Then ride the historic Cyclone rollercoaster or the Wonder Wheel for a thrilling view of the ocean before heading back into it.


Maryland is my home now and the strip of Delmarva Coast shared with Delaware is hemmed with beaches, each with its own character and charm. Locals call a visit to any of the resort towns, “going down the ocean,” and Ocean City, Maryland is a favorite. The beach is generally crowded, happily noisily, family friendly. The boardwalk is also dog friendly and loaded with games, rides, barkers and buskers and the oldest (since 1912) continuously operating carousel in the country.  A prized OC tradition: Thrasher’s french fries crispy, salty and laced with vinegar, best followed by a Dumser’s ice cream sundae. Beach bliss!

Up the coast in Rehoboth, the vibe is more adult, sophisticated and mellow. That beach is carved with coves for solitude, places where waves lap gently and you can lean against a rock to read or nap and rouse to a magnificent sunset and the promise of dinner at chic restaurants selling tapas and steamed blue crabs. I end my weekend evenings in Rehoboth with a seat at the downtown bandstand. Here live bands—jazz, pop, rock and country—perform. So get up and join those free summery souls, from kids to seniors, who dance around the stage and in the street. You’re at the beach. Celebrate!


Mahalo, Toby, for sharing your beach memories!  I am currently reading (and enjoying) BAREFOOT BEACH:

Spend a summer at the beach with this enchanting and emotional story about love, loss, and the powerful bonds of female friendship...

The beach house carried some kind of spell, concocted of—I don’t know—salt air, sea grass and Old Bay seasoning that over the years had permeated its walls and floorboards. Whatever it was, the place cast fabulous magic.

For Nora Farrell, Tuckahoe, Maryland, isn’t just a summer refuge, it’s home—where she married the love of her life, decided to have a child, and has remained connected with her two closest friends. Even now, long after her husband’s passing, Nora reunites with Margo and Emine every June….

But this year, challenges invade the friends’ retreat. Even as Nora delights in teaching at her dance studio, she is shaken by the possible loss of her beach house…and by a tentative new romance. While Margo directs a musical at the Driftwood Playhouse, she finds her marriage on rocky ground. And Em, who relishes running her family’s café, struggles to handle her rebellious daughter.

With their personal dramas reaching a fever pitch, the women will discover that it isn’t only the beach that brightens their lives. Their bond with one another provides the ultimate magic.


I am giving away beach swag to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Where's your favorite beach?  Mine, of course, is Bellows Beach, a military resort on Oahu, pictured above.

2. Comments are open through Saturday, July 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3. I'll post the winner Sunday, July 31.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Learn more about Toby and her books at tobydevens.com.

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