Archive for November, 2011


Dan Armstrong can’t tell if the figure in the trees is a ghost, an Indian princess, or a hallucination—until she takes a shot at him and disappears without a trace. With only the bullet hole in his hat as proof, he starts looking around for a beautiful woman with a grudge. Rosebud Donnelly fits the bill. She’s beautiful, she’s an Indian, and she’s the tribal lawyer suing his family over water rights. But does she really want him dead? There’s only one way to find out. As he gets closer to Rosebud, Dan can’t tell which is in more danger—his head or his heart.


Attorney Rosebud Donnelly has a case to win. And she never lets anyone see her sweat.  But her first meeting with Dan Armstrong doesn’t go according to script.  No one warned her that the COO of the company she’s fighting would be so…manly. From his storm-colored eyes to his well-worn boots, Dan is an honest-to-goodness cowboy.  But is he honest? Her yearning for the Texas tycoon goes against reason, against family loyalty, against everything she thought she believed in.  And yet, in Dan’s strong arms, Rosebud feels she might be ready to risk everything for one more kiss….



According to Shakespeare, a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. But does that hold true for book titles? Let’s look at my own recent example—my debut novel from Harlequin Desire.


When I began this novel, I named it Indian Princess. I did this for a very good reason—the hero, Dan Armstrong, sees the heroine, Rosebud Donnelly, on page two. She rides down out of the trees, bareback on a paint horse. She’s wearing a buckskin dress, moccasins, and not much else. Dan is sure he’s dreaming or something, because she’s an Indian princess, riding straight out of the past.


Of course, she pulls a gun and puts a hole in Dan’s favorite hat, but his first impression isn’t wrong. Rosebud had even won a queen contest. And once they get past that whole armed-and-dangerous thing, Dan realizes how right he was.


The first problem was, of course, I couldn’t say Indian. It wasn’t politically correct. Then, since no European-style royalty was involved, I couldn’t use Princess. Let me tell you how much Native American Pageant Winner didn’t ring.


Okay, that was fine. The book had sold; we could call it Bitty Bumpkin’s Fun Day at the Park for all I cared. Still, that kind of title didn’t exactly hit the target market. We had to call this book something.


So I looked at past Desire titles. There were some humdingers, if I may be so bold. Okay. So I began to explore other options, such as they were. We tossed around some really awful suggestions: Lust in the Dust, Prairie Passions—oh, the horrors. Eventually, I decided the best option I could hope for was The Oil Tycoon’s Native Woman. I could live with that, it was descriptive of the title, and my father could probably say it in mixed company without cracking a joke. Probably.


Then, a wonderful thing happened. My editor, Stacy Boyd, sent me an email. “We’re going to be moving in direction with the titles,” she said. “Create a title that’s not campy or over-the-top.”


Thus I was narrowly saved from The Oil Tycoon’s Native Woman. And there was much rejoicing!


We went through 76 title options. The deadline approached, then passed without something my editor, the marketing department, and I could all agree on. We were literally down to the 12 hours to come up with something. It was Sunday night, and the title was no-point-of-return due the next morning. I was doing dishes after my husband had made dinner. I hate doing the dishes, but I had promised. When my husband said, “Oh, you’re doing the dishes?” I said, “Honey, I am a woman of my word.”


There was an approximately 32-second pause. We looked at each other, and I said, “THAT’S IT!” I sent my editor an email, and the first thing next morning, she sent me a reply that said, in its entirety, “That’s IT!”


The thing is, no matter what the title—Indian Princess, The Oil Tycoon’s Native Woman, A Man of His Word—it’s still the same book. Rosebud still plugs a hole in Dan’s hat; there’s still a scene in front of a campfire you know you’re going to read twice. But the thing we’ll never know for sure is if readers would have liked the book more or less with one of the other titles.


Thankfully, we won’t have to find out.


I’m giving away an autographed copy of A Man of His Word and also registering people for the Locket of Love, a custom-made locket valued at $185. Just leave a comment and tell me: What’s your favorite title?


Bio: Award-winning author Sarah M. Anderson may live east of the Mississippi River, but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains. With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux.  She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how their backgrounds and cultures take them someplace they never thought they’d go.


When not helping out at school or walking her rescue dog, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son.


This post is brought to you as part of the A Man of His Word Blog Tour.  For a complete tour schedule and rules, visit http://www.sarahmanderson.com. Comments on this blog will be entered to win a signed copy of A Man of His Word. All blog comments are added to the Jewelry Grand Prize list. Jewelry Grand Prize announced on January 1st, 2012 to one randomly drawn name on the list.


Next tour stop is Romancing the Book on December 4th.


Beginning December 6th, 2011, A Man of His Word is available! Visit your favorite bookseller, at Amazon, or for the Nook.




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Like most writers, I’m a voracious reader and my favorite books to read are those that bring out the emotion in me. In fact, when I first decided to start writing my goal was to make my reader cry. I figured if I made the reader cry then that reader was emotionally invested in my characters. That’s still my goal. I love to write stories driven more by the characters and their emotions than the actual plot. To me, the plot is secondary. For me, it’s about how the characters adapt and overcome.

There have been so many books that have touched me emotionally but a few stand out. Ironically enough, the one that stands out the most isn’t a romance at all. Well, it’s sort of a romance, but not a traditional romance.

How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathon Tropper. Oh, my. Be prepared for a roller-coaster of emotion when reading this one. I remember when I read it I was sitting by the pool and one minute I’d be laughing out loud and the next tears would be pouring down my face. It’s about a man who lost his wife in a plane crash. The story begins a year after her death and explores how he’s coping. He has a stepson who still needs emotional support and a host of quirky family members who think it’s high time he gets back into the dating scene. I highly recommend this book.

Another one is probably one many of you have read but which touched me in so many ways. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. I was riveted by Jamie’s story and cried like a baby at the end.

Another good tear-jerker is The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I read that one when I was something like 15 1/2 months pregnant with my son (okay, I wasn’t that pregnant. It just felt like it). I was supposed to go to a friend’s house for girls night out but I ended up being late because I was at the end of the book and couldn’t put it down. Needless to say I showed up with a blotchy face and a runny nose.

So has a book ever brought you to tears? If so, which book was it? And what does it take to move you as a reader?

If you comment, you’ll be put into a drawing to win an ebook of Her Dark Knight, my newest release from Carina Press.

Madelaine Alexander is on a mission. When her boss sends her to the hottest nightclub in town to meet with the owner, she won’t be deterred, even if that means standing in line for fifty-eight minutes in torturous heels while she’d rather be home in her pj’s with a bowl of popcorn.

Knight of the Templar, Christien Chevalier was given immortality along with the responsibility of protecting the treasure of the Templars. He’s been unwavering in his task for centuries until his one true love—who died seven hundred years ago—shows up in his club, demanding his attention.

Christien couldn’t protect Madelaine when they first fell in love. She was married to a lord and he was simply a knight. Now, through some unknown miracle, she stands before him again and they have a second chance. But Christien fears that Madelaine is being used as a pawn in a dangerous game, a game of good versus evil that could affect all of mankind…

Buy links

Kindle | Nook | From Carina Press

Sharon Cullen is the author of paranormal romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance and historical romance with Samhain Publishing and Carina Press. If you’d like to find out more about her and her books, you can visit her at her blog or her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.

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Fifty years after a demon apocalypse devastated the world, summoners still bear the bulk of the blame. Marci lives in secret, hiding the gifts that could cost her a secure spot in one of humanity’s underground cities, and access to their virtual world. After all, her chances of avoiding the genetic-testing lotto are better than her chances of surviving topside.

The bastard son of a terrifying incubus, lust heats Gabe’s blood and sex fuels his magic. Innate charm and charisma help him navigate the cultural gap between the outcast town he calls home and the human settlements he infiltrates for trade. His latest mission nets him an unexpected asset–a summoner strong enough to soothe his darkest needs.

Trust a half demon, especially one who uses a lockdown to trap them together? Not in this lifetime. Yet Marci can’t resist Gabe’s offer to see her safely to a selective outcast settlement where she can live without fear. The journey alone is as dangerous as the way Gabe makes her heart race, but it could be her one hope of a real life.

If only she could be sure Gabe’s telling her the whole truth…

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Samhain Publishing

Read an excerpt



I was lucky enough to get an early look at this new series by Moira Rogers and it rocked my world. I want it to rock yours, too 😀 Today is release day for DEMON BAIT and we are giving away 3 Kindle copies. Just leave a comment to be entered and we will draw the winners on Sunday. Good luck!

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Regarding giveaways…

There seems to be a little confusion regarding the giveaways here so I thought I’d take a moment to clear up what I can.

When we have a guest blogger offering a contest with their post, the prize is provided by the author.

When we choose to spotlight a new release and give away multiple kindle copies of that book, it is provided by us. The books are paid for by Fatin or myself (usually Fatin) with no reimbursement by the author, publisher, or retailer. These are books we love and want to share.

The prizes are clearly labeled. If it says we are giving away Kindle copies, that is what the prize is. We don’t offer substitutions. If you do not read digital, please don’t enter the giveaways for digital books.

I’m trying my very best not to be rude but leaving comments complaining that a prize isn’t fair is ridiculous. Entering a giveaway for a digital book, winning a giveaway for a digital book, then demanding a print book is ridiculous. And all this ridiculousness is making me a very tired blogger.

If you have any questions about giveaways or anything else here at Novel Thoughts, please feel free to ask here in the comments or via email. We’ll be happy to answer. Then we can get back to the fun of giving away books. Because free books should always be fun! 😀

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New winner!

Raonaid Luckwell

is the new winner of a kindle copy of Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione

Congrats! To claim your prize, please email Fatin at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

*Please remember that the version offered in giveaways is the only version available. No substitutions.


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I’ve written quite a few Christmas-themed stories through the years but Her Christmas Pleasure  is my first historical one. I must confess, not having to worry about presents and decorations and the holiday hustle and bustle was a huge relief.


These days, we’re so caught up in the rush, rush, buy, buy holiday mentality that advertisers, etc. shove down our throats it’s hard to see the simple, joyful meaning of Christmas. Spending time with loved ones, gathering them close and celebrating the year that’s nearly passed—that is what I tried to convey with Her Christmas Pleasure. Hopefully, I succeeded. It’s far easier to do so when the gift buying hustle isn’t expected, that’s for sure.


Of course, the story is, first and foremost, a romance. So I had to make sure there was plenty of sexual tension between my hero and heroine. They’ve tiptoed around each other since the death of her husband, Damien secretly pining for her and Celia not quite sure what to think of her confusing emotions regarding her friend.


Using mistletoe as a romantic prop doesn’t hurt either, bringing together both the season and romance in one, combustible kiss. It’s what Damien’s wished for for far too long. And it’s the realization that Celia needs to kick start herself into action. Once she’s set her sights on Damien, she’s not about to let him go…


I hope you enjoy Damien and Celia’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Damien Morton is madly in love. Unfortunately, it’s with his best friend’s widow, Lady Danver. Damien is not worthy of Celia. Or so he thinks. Desperate to escape his feelings for her, he plans to leave the country at the first of the year. Celia treats him as a family friend and nothing more—until they share a heated kiss beneath the mistletoe…

Celia is shocked by the passions that surge within her at her dear friend’s kiss. One touch and one taste aren’t enough to satisfy her cravings, and she is startled into action. Damien has stirred something inside her that she never expected to experience again, and she must have more. Full of shameless desire and emotions newly discovered, she decides to pursue Damien and won’t be deterred. Will she be able to convince him to stay—both in her heart and life—forever?



Contest! One lucky commenter will win a $20 gift card from Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice). Just answer this question: Name your favorite holiday romance story. (And it’s okay if you don’t have one—you can still enter)


Her Christmas Pleasure buy links:


Carina Press: http://ebooks.carinapress.com/9EE061BC-B23B-4BCA-AC68-64229282A333/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=FFCDF50E-47DB-45E8-8450-5C507F32611D


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Pleasure-Merry-Widows-ebook/dp/B005UPRRV0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1321305161&sr=1-1


Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-christmas-pleasure-karen-erickson/1105486506?ean=9781426892707&itm=1&usri=her%2bchristmas%2bpleasure%2bkaren%2berickson


Her Christmas Pleasure excerpt: http://karenwritesromance.com/books/her-christmas-pleasure/#excerpt


Where you can find Karen on the Web:


Website: http://karenerickson.com

Blog: http://karenerickson.blogspot.com

Group Blog (The Smutketeers): http://smutketeers.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/karenericksonwritesromance

Twitter: http://twitter.com/karenerickson





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Cathy Pegau

wins Edge of Survival by Toni Anderson


april s

wins Simply Irresistible or The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis


Christy Duke

wins a signed copy of Immortal rider by Larissa Ione


Willa, Mariska, and Mariee

wins kindle copies of Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione


Congrats! To claim your prize, please email Fatin at mad @ romancereaderatheart.com (without the spaces) You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.


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It’s been one year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly last saw his wife Rachel alive. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt over his failures as a husband, Ethan shuts himself off from everything and everyone.

His brothers have tried to bring Ethan into the KGI fold, tried to break through the barriers he’s built around himself, but Ethan refuses to respond… until he receives anonymous information claiming Rachel is alive.

To save her, Ethan will have to dodge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise. And even if he succeeds, he’ll have to force Rachel to recover memories she can’t and doesn’t want to relive—the minute by minute terror of her darkest hour—for their love, and their lives, may depend on it.

THE DARKEST HOUR by Maya Banks was my favorite book of 2010 and it launched an amazing series that just continues to get better with every installment. If you haven’t read any of the KGI books, this your chance to start at the beginning before WHISPERS IN THE DARK releases on January 3, 2012.

We have 10 (ten!) print copies of THE DARKEST HOUR to give away. All you need to do to be entered in the giveaway is leave a comment below, then check back on December 1st to see if you won. Good luck!

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Arik Wagner, a soldier with the U.S. Army’s paranormal unit, the R-XR, kissed a girl and liked it. And then he went to hell as punishment. Where he’s spent weeks being tortured…and plotting revenge.

Limos, Horsewoman of the Apocalypse, isn’t your average girl. She’s immortal, dangerous, and her fiancé is Satan himself. In a moment of weakness, she gave in to her desire and kissed Arik, triggering her fiancé’s wrath – and his claim on her. In order to save Arik, and the world, Limos must make a dangerous pact with her recently turned evil brother, Pestilence. A deal that might just cost her her soul…and her heart.


Yay! I’m excited to be here today, talking about my newest release, Immortal Rider!

For those of you who don’t know, it’s the second book in the Lords of Deliverance series about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. But don’t worry…if you haven’t read the first book, Eternal Rider, you shouldn’t be lost at all. The book starts off with a bang and will catch you up fast.

This series is a spinoff of the Demonica series, so you’ll see lots of familiar faces. In fact, the hero, Arik, is the brother of Runa, who you met before.

And guess what? Start singing “Jingle Bells,” because Immortal Rider is a Christmas story!

Okay, it’s kind of a Christmas story. And even “kind of” is pushing it. You know, like how Lethal Weapon is a Christmas story. There’s mention of Christmas. And candy canes. And there’s lots of snow. And hellhounds (just pretend they’re the paranormal equivalent of reindeer.)

So as you get ready for your Thanksgiving dinner and your Black Friday shopping, give yourself a little early Christmas present in the form of a book. A holiday book, like Immortal Rider. Because sometimes, being around so much family really puts you in the mood for an apocalypse.

A sexy apocalypse. With drunk hellhounds, man-eating horses, bloody battles, and hot, naked men.

Happy Holidays, everyone!


A big thank-you to Larissa for joining us today!

Larissa is giving one lucky reader a signed copy of Immortal Rider! In addition, we will also be giving away three kindle copies. To be entered, just leave a comment below. Winners will be drawn on Sunday. Good luck! 😀

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Free-spirited Chloe lives life on the edge. Unlike her soon-to-be married sisters, she isn’t ready to settle into a quiet life running their family’s newly renovated inn. But soon her love of trouble–and trouble with love-draws the attention of the very stern, very sexy sheriff who’d like nothing better than to tame her wild ways.

Suddenly Chloe can’t take a misstep without the sheriff hot on her heels. His rugged swagger and his enigmatic smile are enough to make a girl beg to be handcuffed. For the first time, instead of avoiding the law, Chloe dreams of surrender. Can this rebel find a way to keep the peace with the straitlaced sheriff? Or will Chloe’s colorful past keep her from a love that lasts . . . and the safe haven she truly wants in a town called Lucky Harbor?



I grew up in a town like my fictional Lucky Harbor.  Well, without the beach.  And without the gorgeous, rain-forest backdrop.  And of course without the wildly sexy heroes on every corner.  But like Lucky Harbor, my home town wasn’t big on secrets.  Oh, you could drop a hundred dollar bill and someone would run after you to hand it over, but you couldn’t keep a secret to save your life.

Lucky Harbor is like that.  It amused me to write about a place where if you do something silly, say accidentally drink too much eggnog with your sisters and decorate your Christmas tree while under the influence so that you end up with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, everyone will know it.  Same as if you also accidentally fall in love with someone you never expected — everyone will know it before you do.  They’ll know, they’ll discuss, they’ll conclude, and they’ll let you know exactly what they think about it.  All in the name of neighborly love, of course.  It’s the way it is in Lucky Harbor.

So it was a no-brainer for me to write a series of books set there.  I started with three disenchanted, estranged sisters, all of them unknowingly searching for something that’s missing from their lives; the first two of which get their stories in CHRISTMAS IN LUCKY HARBOR.  I loved the place so much I revisited it for my short novella in SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS, weaving the magic of Christmas, the spirit of love, and the theme of forgiveness all in one.

I hope to set many more stories in Lucky Harbor.  The town still has a lot of stories to tell.  And a lot of secrets to spill…



To find out more about the books of Lucky Harbor, visit www.jillshalvis.com. And for a chance to win Simply Irresistible or The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis, just leave a comment below. Good luck!



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