Archive for September, 2007

Schedule of the Week

Make sure you check out our guests for the next week! 🙂

October 1: Jen Lewis Guest Blogging

October 2: Lisa Plumley Guest Blogging

October 3: Lani Diane Rich Guest Blogging

October 4:

October 5: Brenda Novak Guest Blogging

October 6: Shelley Bradley/Shayla Black Guest Blogging

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Melody Thomas Book Winner



We have a winner!


The little Diva pulled out a name just now and the winner of Melody’s book is….




Congrats Blythe!


Email me your snail mail addy at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) and I’ll get the book out to you this week.

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Spies, Spies with Beautiful Eyes

If someone asked me what my most favorite kind of book to read is, I would say give me a book with action, give me a plot, give me a hero that grabs more than my imagination. I want to feel the story. I want to feel the passion of my characters.

Considering how many hours I spend cloistered in my attic at my computer attempting to create the very stories I love to read, I know firsthand that reading a book is far easier than actually writing it. I admire those writers who can capture my emotions and somehow encapsulate my feelings into their characters’ worlds. Finding an author I can connect to is like finding a treasure on the sidewalk while I’m out for my morning constitutional. Only another reader would understand that sentiment. But this is the kind of writer I hope I am for others. The kind of writer I love to read.

My current set of historical novels center around a group of four men in service to the crown. Why another spy book? Do you ask? Because I’m a creature of fantasy, (and I really liked Daniel Craig as 007), and my life is totally boring compared to anything I can create. But the very best thing about dangerous men and writing about the women who love them is that I can do anything I want to on paper, and that includes creating a blond hero.

Sin and Scandal in England, my October 2007 Avon historical, features my first dashing blond hero. Ever. No kidding. I’ve written fourteen historical romances and never once a golden-haired Adonis. The story takes place in an old gothic style estate near the North York Moors in England. I wanted a gothic feel with the hidden caverns and tunnels and a murder mystery to go along with the romance. Sin and Scandal in England has all of these elements. The book introduces my most mysterious League Council servant to the crown. He is Ian Rockwell, and he has a terrible secret and a mission of to complete. Bethany Munro my intrepid heroine had once been in love with the mysterious Ian, before he walked out of her life three years ago. Then one day while following the trail of her missing teacher, she spies Ian across a crowded ballroom. Neither wishes to be recognized as they both have secrets that can get them killed. But old feelings still stand between them as each tries to outwit the other both in and out of bed before they realize they are stronger working together than apart. But don’t think just because this is a romance, you know how it will end.

The beauty of writing a historical romance is the journey I also get to take with my characters to that fabled, storybook happy ending. With Sin and Scandal in England, I got the added bonus of scaling cliffs with my hero during a snowstorm and being trapped in a cavern with a hoard of hungry rats on my heels. Did I mention the love aspect? And that Ian really has a nice body? I hope you follow Ian and Bethany to their journey to a happy ending and pick up their book to read.


***Make sure you leave a comment under this post for a chance to win a copy of SIN AND SCANDAL IN ENGLAND. Winner will be announced on Saturday.

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Sydney Croft Book Winner



We have a winner! 🙂


The little Diva helped pick out a name for the winner of RIDING THE STORM and the winner is….



Pamela Pellini!!!


Congrats Pam!

 Email me at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) with your snail mail addy so I can send out your prize. 🙂




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Best Laid Plans….

Sorry the Sydney Croft interview went up late. Had planned to have it ready to go live last night but as I was working on it, I lost my Internet connection. Called DSL Tech Support and was on the phone with them for a while last night and they couldn’t do much on their end. We decided to schedule a tech to come out today to see what is wrong but wouldn’t you know it? After I did the errands I needed to do today and checked the modem, I had four lights up whereas last night I was only getting two. So here I am and the interview is finally up! 🙂 I forgot to post below so here’s the reminder for you all. I have an extra copy of RIDING THE STORM by Sydney Croft that I bought to give away so make sure you leave a comment under the interview to be in the running to win it. I’ll pick a winner tomorrow!

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1. Hi Larissa & Stephanie! Thank you for interviewing with RRAH. Can you tell us a little about yourself?



Thanks so much for having us at RRAH!!! Well, we write together under the name Sydney Croft for Bantam Dell – we met about four years ago online and became fast friends and critique partners. In February 2006, we started a novella together called Riding The Storm and from there, the Sydney Croft partnership was born!


2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How long did it take for you to make your first sale?



Larissa: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child. In fact, I finished my first full-length novel when I was twelve. But I started writing seriously about nine years ago. I sold four years after I first started submitting.

Steph: I’ve wanted to be a writer FOREVER. It just took me a long time to find my niche, which is obviously romance. I started seriously writing and subbing around August of 2002 and I made my first sale in February of 2006, so about four years as well.


3. This is the first time you’ve written a book together, was it stressful for either of you?



Larissa: For me, the writing wasn’t stressful at all. I’ve never had so much fun writing, to tell you the truth. The stress came during revisions, mainly because it was a first book with our editor, and it takes time to feel out that relationship.


Steph: The Sydney books are just about some of the easiest writing I’ve ever done – it’s really so much fun to jump in and build on this fabulous world. And yes, I have to agree with Larissa – revisions are always tough.


4. Is writing a full-time job for you or do you juggle another job?



Larissa: I juggled a meteorology career and writing for years, but I’m happy to say that writing is now a full-time job.


Steph: Writing is my full-time job along with being a mom.


5. Tell us about your latest release, RIDING THE STORM.




It’s the first in a trilogy of a paranormal erotic series, about a man who has the ability to control the weather and the very special woman he falls in love with.


A storm’s rage. A woman’s desire.


A man with the power to set them both free


He can summon lightning at will. Emerge unscathed from the center of a tornado. Strip a woman down to her barest defenses through the sheer force of his sexuality. He’s gorgeous, dangerous, and the target of parameteorologist Haley Holmes’s latest mission. Haley has been dispatched to the Louisiana bayou to investigate the phenomenon known as Remy Begnaud – man with a gift he never wanted: the ability to control a storm’s fury. But even a woman trained in bizarre weather phenomenon has no defense against the electrifying power of the Ex-Navy SEAL…a power his enemies would kill to control.


With her agency monitoring their every move, Haley’s job is to seduce Remy, gain his trust — and help him harness his extraordinary gift. But who will protect her from this voracious lover who’s introducing her to a new world of erotic thrills – a man who grows increasingly insatiable with each new weather event? Haley knows a big storm is approaching –and with it will come unexpected delights. But, so, too, will the storm unleash her greatest fears: An enemy bent on destroying Remy. And her worst fear of all…falling in love with this magnificent man, then having to betray him…


6. What inspired the idea for this series?



The partnership took root when Larissa was literally running from Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi. I was feeling completely helpless, sitting in New York and the only thing I could do was wait for updates by the phone. And so I began writing the story of Remy, a Navy SEAL who was a draw for the weather, and who has a hurricane following him into the Louisiana bayou. But she was only able to finish the first scene. Every time I tried to write his heroine, he refused her. Larissa had once suggested that we try writing together, so one morning in February 2006, I emailed her the scene and simply said, “Your turn.” She said, “You left me with a woman in the shower. Who is she?” I told her that I had no idea, but I was hoping she did. And did she ever. She wrote the next scene and passed it back, and Riding The Storm, the first book in the Sydney Croft ACRO series, got off the ground.


7. What made you decide to give Remy the power to control the weather?



Well, when the book was originally conceived (see above) he was a draw for the weather but I didn’t envision the book as a paranormal. Once Larissa began to write her pieces, the paranonormal / science aspects began to really take shape and we just went with it.


8. What, in your opinion, makes Haley the perfect heroine for Remy? How do they complement each other’s personalities?



Remy is a loner. He’s moody and tormented, and terrified that he’ll hurt someone with his power – or with his sexual needs. Haley, being a science-minded meteorologist who’s seen it all when it comes to weather, is probably the one woman on earth who is not only unafraid of him, but excited by him and his gift. She doesn’t have any special powers, but she’s tough – and she won’t put up with Remy’s moody crap.


9. RWA happened a couple months ago, did you two attend? What were some of the highlights for you?



For both of us, the highlight of RWA is always seeing our friends, but this year was really special, because we got to sign copies of Riding The Storm. It was Larissa’s very first signing and Steph’s second, because she got to sign her Blazes at the literacy signing as well! We both can’t wait for next year’s literary signing, when we’ve got Larissa, Steph and Sydney books to sign!


10. Do you have a writing routine? What is your average writing day like?



Larissa: During the summer, my routine is shot because my son is home from school. But during the school year, I get up at eight, send him off at nine, spend about an hour catching up on email and blogs, and then I settle in to write until my son gets home at four. Generally, I get on the elliptical at that time, and by the time I’m done showering, it’s time to make dinner. After dinner, I sit on the couch with the laptop and write while I watch TV. My schedule is really not very exciting!


Steph: I write whenever I can. I’m home full-time with my daughter and yes, I’m a full-time writer, so the majority of my work gets done between 10PM and 2AM. Also, the weekends are a big time for me to write as well.


11. Is there any plot/setting/character that you’re dying to write but haven’t yet?



Larissa: I’m dying to write a Star Trek novel. Seriously. I’m living my dream, but having a Star Trek novel published would be the cherry on top. As far as the Sydney Croft world, Steph and I are planning a book featuring a cryptid I’m fascinated (obsessed) with – the chupacabra.


Steph: I’m actually in the middle of writing my dream series now, a Navy SEAL trilogy that will be available from Bantam Dell. And really, the upcoming Sydney books are always things I’m dying to write about – this whole writing career is the dream come true!


12. What aspects of your life have you found creeping into your stories?



Larissa: My love of animals. In almost every story, someone has a pet, or animals are mentioned somewhere. In Unleashing The Beast, which is book 2 in the ACRO series, I got to take my love of animals to an extreme, which was really an emotional experience for me.


Steph: My love of hard rock bands like AC/DC, Led Zepplin and Guns n’ Roses always sneaks into my heroes musical repetoires.


13. Who are some of the authors who inspired you when you were still working towards becoming published? Who are some of your favorite authors to read?



Steph: The authors that really inspired me to want to write romance, specfically, were Suzanne Brockmann, Cherry Adair and Tami Hoag. Their books got me through some really tough times.


Larissa: Alison Kent was a huge help to me in my pre-published years. And Steph inspired me. Seriously. She deals with so much on a daily basis and yet she writes like a fiend. I have no idea how she does it. My list of favorite authors to read is huge. HUGE. But a few are Sharon Kay Penman, Robert Jordan, JR Ward, Lara Adrian, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lynn Viehl, Angela Knight.


14. What was the most interesting thing you had to research and what was the hardest thing to research?



Steph: It’s always hard to research and then execute action sequences that involve a lot of detail – it’s a balance to make them both realistic and still exciting. So while I enjoy the research and getting to speak with people who’ve actually done the things I need to write about (ie jumping out of planes, etc) – when it comes down to the actual writing, it’s a challenge.


Larissa: I spent years working in the meteorology field and I loved it, so researching weather as a refresher was interesting. The hardest thing to research has been the setting of our third book – Atlantic oil platforms. I prefer to write about things I know – weather, emergency medicine, animals. I have a definite comfort zone, and when I go outside of it, I get neurotic. Writing a setting I don’t know makes me nuts. And since I’ve never been on an oil platform, I have this major itch to go visit one just so I can get it right. Thankfully, my husband is familiar with them, but it’s not enough for me. I need to touch, hear, smell…everything I write about. So this setting is killing me!


15. As a member of RWA, what has joining local and national writing chapters meant to you and how have they helped you?



Larissa: Before I sold, I found the support and encouragement for unpublished writers to be invaluable. Now that I’m published, I’m so thankful to have so much experience around me – I have so many newbie questions sometimes!


Steph: To be honest, I’m not very involved in RWA and its various groups. Although I enjoy the conference, I’ve honestly found a ton of support and information through the various writer blogs, for which I’m forever grateful. The internet provides such a wonderful experience to bond with other writers, and I feel like when I first started out in blogland, it was small and intimate enough to allow me to form bonds with writers like Larissa and Alison Kent, Sylvia Day. Sasha White, Amie Stuart and the women from WriteMinded (Maya Banks / Amy Knupp / Janette Kenny) – writers who I’m still close to now. All of us, except for Alison Kent, were unpublished when we met, and it’s been wonderful to take the publishing journey with them.


16. When not busy writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? (If there is such a thing *G*)



Larissa: I do a LOT of reading. And I love movies. I also love to travel.


Steph: I love to read and watch TV and movies as well. I spend a lot of time with my husband and my daughter too. The hardest part is that writing is a love and a hobby as well as a career – so since it’s something I enjoy, it’s hard (nearly impossible) to turn that part of my brain off. Something’s always brewing.


17. What are the latest additions to your TBR? What are you most eager to read?



Steph: My TBR pile is huge – and I’m lucky enough that it usually includes ARCs from some amazing author/friends – I just finished Jaci Burton’s Hunting The Demon (fabulous, action-packed and hot!) and I’m dying to dive into Lara Adrian’s Midnight Awakening, that comes out in December 2007. I’ve also got Cheyenne McCray’s Wicked magic and the new Tara Janzen, On The Loose, as well.


Larissa: Oh, gosh…my TBR pile has grown huge in the last couple of weeks! At the top are Wild, Wicked, and Wanton by Jaci Burton, Mona Lisa Blossoming by Sunny, For Her Pleasure by Maya Banks, Forbidden Pleasure by Lora Leigh, The Warrior’s Touch by Michelle Willingham, Survive My Fire by Joely Sue Burkhart. I’ve also got an ARC of Bound in Moonlight by Louisa Burton that I keep petting but refuse to read because then it’ll be over. I’m a drooling fangirl of hers. I’m sure I scare her. A lot.


18. Any advice to aspiring authors? What craft books helped you that you would recommend to aspiring writers?



Steph: Well, I’m not a huge craft book person – I truly believe that the best way to become a better writer, at least initially, is to actually write, write, write and to finish a book or two. At least then, you’ve got something to apply all that craft book information to. Also, you’ve got to read widely, both in and out of your genre. If you’re looking for inspiration, I’d head to Stephen King’s, On Writing, as I think that’s got a great blend of both inspiration and craft. But again, its got to work for you – don’t try to force yourself into a box – there is more than one way to write a book successfully.


Larissa: Learn the rules. Learn them, and then throw them out the window and just write. As far as craft books? I adore Scene and Structure by Jack M. Bickham, and The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.


19. What can your fans look forward to from you in the near future? What are you working on now?



Right now, we’re finishing up book three in the storm series, Seduced By The Storm (Wyatt’s book) as well as a novella called Shadow Play. And we’ve been signed for three more ACRO World books, so you can look for more special abilities operatives in the near future!


20. How can readers contact you?



We love hearing from readers!!! Please feel free to contact us via email here: http://www.sydneycroft.com/contact.php

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Lucy Monroe Book Winner


We have a winner! 🙂


The winner of Lucy’s book is…..




Congrats Maggie! Please email Lucy off her website (http://lucymonroe.com) with your mailing address so that she can send you your prize.


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Polly Want a Cracker?

Now this is something a normal Macaw would say. Not Ollie from my current release SEALED WITH A KISS. Ollie is a special animal. He’ s named after Colonel Oliver North. I must admit to having a special fondness for the Colonel. Back when I was younger and Iran Contra was the scandal of the day (I am sure I am dating myself here!), I used to dream that the handsome Colonel would rescue me from the jungles and together we’d save the world. Corny? Yes. But to me, these daydreams were signs that I was a romance novelist in the making. I just didn’t know it yet. I thought all young girls daydreamed or put themselves to sleep by creating fantasies and scenarios that took them into their own worlds. Apparently not. Only writers hear voices and world build in their minds! One thing that makes a Carly Phillips book is a special animal. CROSS MY HEART, the prequel to SEALED WITH A KISS (although each book stands on its own) had “Digger the Dog”. Digger was a smelly canine adopted by the heroine, Lacey. Ollie, the Macaw, (with whom I admit to take liberties in HIS character building), gets the hero and heroine in trouble with his smart mouth and the things he repeats. He’s unique. His own character. And he lightens a story that might otherwise be heavy. So does Molly, the heroine’s, Grandmother, The Commander. She changes her hair color often. You never know what the color of the day might be. But she, also, lightens the story. Somehow, in the course of writing my books, animals and fiesty older people have become the signature secondary characters who give light to serious situations, and who provide my hero or heroine with someone they can count on and trust. Just like many of us have pets or people in our lives we rely on for a daily smile or a strong shoulder. They’re the part of my writing that are fun and make it easier and bearable when I have to dig back into story and character and figure out where to go next … because they are there, waiting for me, to give me a smile or a strong shoulder when the writing gets tough!

SEALED WITH A KISS is in stores now! I hope you’ll check out Ollie and The Commander and let me know what you think! Are you like me? Do you enjoy a lighter moment or two in your reading?

Would you like a chance to win a stuffed DIGGER, the canine star of Cross My Heart and a signed copy of CROSS MY HEART? Comment today and we’ll draw a name at random to win.

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Rhett Butler

Saw an ad in the latest RT magazine today about a book coming out called RHETT BUTLER’S PEOPLE by Donald McCaig.

Sounds interesting.

From the ad in RT Bookreviews —

“In this fully authorized novel, read Rhett Butler’s story for the first time — the man behind the legend in Margaret Mitchell’s GONE WITH THE WIND.”

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We have winners! 🙂


The names picked by Maya to win books by her are….


Kim h!!!




Christy H!!!


Congrats ladies!


Email Maya at maya @ mayabanks.com (without the spaces) and let her know your snail mail address if you requested a print book or the format you’d like the e-book to be sent to you.

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