Archive for June, 2013


Starting July 1st, Novel Thoughts will be participating in the second Digital First Read-a-Thon with Book Binge, Tracy’s Place, and The Book Reading Gals. We’re super thrilled to be cross-promoting all things digital first with some fabulous book bloggers again.

For the entire month of July, we challenge each and every reader out there to read as many digital first e-books as you can. There isn’t a set number of books you have to read. There isn’t a set list of authors that you must read. For that part of the challenge, you set the rules. The only rule we have is that the books read for this challenge have to have been published as an e-book FIRST.

We’re not talking about the e-books that are being re-released right now that were originally released in print format or part of print anthologies back in the day.  All books that were released to the public as e-books first.

You can track your reads at Goodreads by creating a DFRAT shelf. If you aren’t a member, Book Binge has created a list where you can share your reads with us. Just click here and enter your reads. 

If you’re participating, add your information here for a chance to win a $25 gift card to either Amazon or B&N.

I also invite you to share what you’re reading every Friday. Book Binge will do a post and we want to hear what you’re reading too. Check that out here.

Please remember, we’re hosting this month long read-a-thon to bring attention to the awesome books that you might be missing because you keep passing them up for those print books. There are tons of fabulous authors publishing digital books and you might be missing out. Stick around and find some new to you authors, you just might find a new favorite.

There will be heaps of authors stopping by all four blogs involved with the Digital First Read-a-Thon so really, come play with us. We’ll have giveaways, excerpts and a whole bunch of other goodies so it should be a good time. Load up those e-readers everybody, we’re going to have loads of fun come July 1st. Remember, the more you comment on all posts for DFRAT, the better your chances are of winning something!


Crimson Romance has discounted ALL their books on Amazon to $1.99 through the month of July. This is a great opportunity to stock up for the Digital First Read-a-Thon!


And to celebrate their anniversary, Crimson Romance is doing an awesome giveaway!

This month, we’re celebrating a special occasion! It’s a very happy birthday for Crimson Romance, which launched in June 2012.

Since then we’ve released more than 260 titles in eBook and print, and Crimson has become the place to find heartwarming, smart romances in today’s favorite genres – contemporary, historical, suspense, paranormal, spicy and more! From classic themes to fresh voices, to-die-for heroes to hip heroines, Crimson has something for every reader.

Our authors have been nominated for and won many RWA chapter awards, and received glowing praise from romance stars like Debbie Macomber, Kat Martin, and other USA Today bestselling authors.  We pride ourselves on our diverse characters and plots, and were recently voted the best multicultural/interracial romance publisher by more than 1500 readers polled in the Swirl Awards.

Now is the time stock up on steamy summer reading to stash in your beach bag, and bring with you wherever your travels may take you.

To celebrate our incredible first year, we’re giving away a Kindle Fire HD – fully loaded with EVERY book (over 250 titles) published in our first year!

This sweeps kicks off June 15th and runs through July 15th.

Click the banner below for all the details.


Are you ready? All blog posts at Novel Thoughts that are part of the Digital First Read-a-Thon will have DFRAT in the title and these giveaways are open for the entire month. The winners will be drawn on August 1st.

Happy reading!

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Maria D

wins a digital copy of Retribution by Winter Austin


Congrats! To claim your prize, please email lillie80 @ gmail.com (without the spaces). You have 48 hours to email before a new name is chosen.

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RetributionCalled to the homicide of a Dallas criminal lawyer, Detective Remy LeBeau stares at a scene that drags him back into his past. To another murdered lawyer in New Orleans. A case that put Remy on a collision course with death.


Cody Lewis struggles with the horrific memories of her kidnapping and the need to numb the pain. The battle she puts up causes her to avoid Remy and their undetermined relationship. But the flashbacks and nightmares are proving more potent than Cody thought and she’s having a harder time resisting the cravings for alcohol.


As the case takes a turn in revealing a professional assassin is behind the death, Remy begins to make decisions that could cost him his job and Cody. Because the deeper he sinks, the closer the enemies of his past come to finding him.




While writing my second book, Retribution, two things happened. First, I discovered some astonishing secrets that were hidden deep within two of my secondary characters. Number two thing, I had beta readers screaming for me to start writing books on those characters because they fell madly in love with them. Well, I did too, and I’m the creator. For me, as with most authors, characters are like real people and they speak to me, and sometimes kind of like the way my teenage kids do, like smart aleks.


I love it when secondary characters take on a life of their own and add to the layers or flavor of the story. They can either irritate the main characters to no end, or enhance their personalities. For both of my main characters they have a cast of secondary characters lined up behind them that bring out a different aspect in both. But for this post I’ll focus on just two of them.


For my hero, Detective Remy LeBeau, it was his partner, Detective Heath Anderson. Heath showed up in my first book years after I created Remy. Eventually this good ole Texas boy began revealing bits and pieces of himself to turn him into a force to reckon with. He kept pushing and prodding into Remy’s life and past, hoping to crack that thick block of ice around Remy. I never understood why it was so important to Heath—well, I did from the aspect that most detective partners are like brothers, they rely on that protection to make it through the job. But it wasn’t until Heath finally connected with the other main character, Cody Lewis, that the flood gates opened up. I can’t give too much away, it would ruin Retribution for you, but let’s just say, what Heath was hiding I never saw it coming.


Then there was Cody’s longstanding best friend, Kimberly Anne Gregory. Kim has been in Cody’s life for as long as I’ve known Cody, but she didn’t step onto the story book stage until Retribution. Kim is a whirlwind, go-getter who loves life and brings out the feminine side of Cody. Yet Kim’s life is an enigma, but I knew one aspect of it for a long time—can’t tell ya, it’d blow the secret. Oddly enough, I never planned this, but the moment Kim and Heath met in Retribution, sparks flew. And well, I had a new romance starting to bud within the main arc for Cody and Remy’s story. Because of this, I got hammered with: “You better write a book for Heath and Kim.”


Ha ha, I actually do have a story for them, but book 3 needs to release first.


I’m not the first and nor will I be the last author to have readers beg to see books for their favorite secondary characters. I’ve been getting requests for books for some secondary characters from my first book, Relentless. And believe me, I do have some general ideas for books for most of my secondary characters.


Now the question remains: How far will this secondary cast take my book series? I hope for a while longer.


About the author:

WinterAustinWinter Austin was once asked by her husband if he could meet some of the people who took residence in her head. She warned they weren’t all characters he wanted to meet, as killers walked among them. Needless to say, that conversation ended abruptly.


A lifelong Mid-West gal, Winter swears she should have been born in the South, Texas or Louisiana preferably. But then she’d miss the snowy winters.


Dividing her day between her four children and their various activities, a growing pet population, and her Beta-with-Alpha-tendencies Hero, Winter manages to find time to write chilling thrillers between loads of laundry.


Don’t worry. You won’t find any of her mouthwatering culinary dishes poisoned. Unless you’re one of her fictional creations.


You can learn more about Winter Austin and her current and upcoming releases by visiting her website: http://www.winteraustin.com

Or her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/w.austin.degressofdarkness



For the chance to win a digital copy of Retribution by Winter Austin, just leave a comment below. Good luck!



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If you grow up in a less than a Leave-it-to Beaver home environment like Catherine and Thomas did without good role models, there are bound to be some adjustment issues. Heck even with good role models, there will be growing pains.

Living and melding your life with another person’s is hard—then when you add in the complications of old emotional baggage on either, or both sides, it can really be really challenging and one has to keep a sense of humor and perspective to survive those early years where a couple is feeling their way around, trying to create their own rhythm—hmmm no sexual puns intended.

But now that you went there . . . sex does serve to complicate things. Just sayin’.

Anyhow, sex aside, trying to live with another person and be a good, roommate, companion, confidant, support, lover, etc. takes work, as Catherine and Thomas found out.  And there are bound to be a bunch of missteps—like Catherine making Thomas enough breakfast for four men, and the eggs that could be used as hockey pucks that Thomas gamely tried to choke them down, while trying not to look at his watch ‘cause he never ate breakfast and taking the time to do so is going to get him stuck in traffic and make him late for work.

Catherine tries again and again to connect with Thomas, without actually coming out and telling him what she’s doing or why.  She reads magazines about how to please your man and follows that advice, but it doesn’t work out so well for her.


Even couples from functional families (is there really such a thing?) have their initial missteps and awkwardness in learning the marriage ropes. We all do silly things when first married in effort to be the perfect spouse.


What silly newlywed thing did you do in an effort to please your new spouse? What awkward/funny incident will you never live down?



TheresaRizzo_HeBelongsToMe_200He Belongs to Me is a love story . . . a tale of betrayal and deception and of a young mother’s determination to recover what belongs to her.

Forced to leave her baby and tricked into relinquishing her parental rights, four years later Catherine Boyd is back and she’ll do anything to regain custody of her son–even reconcile with the husband falsely accused of killing their son’s twin.

All in the name of love for a little boy, generations of pain and tragedy are exposed in a courtroom drama.



Theresa Tree Close 2013_0279Short Bio-Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. 

Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.


Find Theresa On the Web:

Book Buy Links:

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Shannon Burdsall

wins a swag pack and a digital backlist title from Carrie Ann Ryan


Judith Laik

wins a digital copy of The Marquess of Cake by Heather Hiestand


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

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While it’s true that my first sale in romance was a Victorian historical fantasy short story, I ended up writing contemporary and paranormal romance when I sold book-length fiction. You may wonder how I ended up writing a series about a bakery set in 1880s London. Here’s my story…

2010: Respiratory problems were going to be an issue for my baby, given that asthma is on both sides of his family tree. I wasn’t expecting croup to come into our lives, but it’s the baby form of bronchitis, which I’m all too familiar with. What really surprised me though, was that one of the treatments for it was plunking the young sufferer in front of the television.

bigstock-Wedding-Cake-5989041-1I’d understood that you weren’t supposed to expose babies to TV until they were two, but here I was being told to keep my one-year-old quiet, and TV definitely worked. I didn’t want to let him watch non-family-oriented TV though. My days of watching shows like the full-of-dead-bodies Bones were over. Plus, he’d only stop crying if he was resting on my bed, rather than on his floor play area in the living room, our only room with a television. So, I downloaded the first season of Top Chef onto my laptop using Amazon credits (I didn’t have Wi Fi or Netflix back then) and curled us up on the bed. He was mesmerized and in the end came through three bouts of croup with only one trip to the Emergency Room.

Me? I came out of the croup era with a cooking show addiction, because we moved on from Top Chef to the cake decorating shows that were on every day back then. Food Network was our best friend.

I had been writing shorter fiction again, because of sleep deprivation whittling my brain power. When I thought I’d try a novel, I spoke to my friend Eilis Flynn about working together, and she suggested we give steampunk a try. (In 2013, this led to our release of Victorian vampire historical fantasy Wear Black.) I had been writing steampunk with her, then alone, but I started to envision a Victorian bakery where a young woman toiled away in the basement decorating cakes. Soon I had my heroine, Alys Redcake, a cake decorator at her father’s tea shop and emporium. She’s twenty-six and has given up on finding a husband, putting all her love and care into the cakes she decorates so beautifully.

Until one day, she bumps into a handsome man outside the bakery door, and her life changes!

My story was set during the same time period as my steampunk tales, but didn’t require an alternate history world. So in a roundabout way, I made a journey back to Victorian romance.

Here is the blurb for Marquess of Cake:

The Marquess of Cake eBook300200Coffee. . .tea. . .or a pastry chef sweeter than any confection. . .

Scotch trifle fit for Queen Victoria, scones with clotted cream. . .Alys Redcake knows the way to a man’s heart. Yet she is unaware that with each morsel–and flash of ankle–she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father’s tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys’s first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman’s touch are driving her to distraction. . .

With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. And when he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook’s passion for sweets–and for Alys–be his heart’s undoing?

To read about Marquess of Cake go to http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/22722 You can purchase there or find all the links to your favorite etailer.

HeatherHiestandinahatcroppedTo learn more about Heather Hiestand and the stories she creates go to: http://www.heatherhiestand.com or http://blog.heatherhiestand.com or http://www.twitter.com/hahiestand

Heather is on a blog tour during the month of July. Check her blog to find out where she is. Many of the blog spots have prizes!




For a chance to win a digital copy of The Marquess of Cake by heather Hiestand, leave a comment below. Good luck!

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Jaci Burton getting a new Play-by-Play cover is better than Christmas morning! She shared the cover for Melting the Ice and it’s just…shew. *fans self*

Meltingthe Ice

Carolina Preston has only one goal in mind—launching her new fashion line. She needs only one last thing to make it perfect—hockey phenom Drew Hogan. But Carolina and Drew have a history that goes back to their college days, and Carolina doesn’t want the embarrassment of her past to cloud the brightness of her future. Drew is eager for the chance to show Carolina he isn’t the boy who hurt her back then, but a man now, with the skills necessary to melt the icy exterior of her cold heart.



February 2014

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