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Archive for December, 2013

Holidays

Happy holidays, everyone! Novel Thoughts will be taking a holiday hiatus this year as we spend time with our families but we will be back after the New Year. Thank you to all the readers and authors who have made this such a fun year! May your holidays be filled with family, friends, love, and book store gift cards! 😀

See you all in January!

Mad & Lillie

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Winners!

bellesblue

wins digital books by Gretchen Chambers

*

Margay

wins 7 Minutes in Heaven by Rhian Cahill

*

Jess1

wins Kissing Her Scrooge by Kinley Cade

*

Tammy M.

wins Tinsel My Hear by Christi Barth

*

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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CARINA_1213_9781426897559_TinselMyHeartBecca Huntley’s produced the Lyndale Park Player’s over-the-top Christmas pageant for ten years. The beloved Minneapolis tradition is the theatre’s main fundraiser. But this year’s production is almost canceled when their director disappears into rehab at the last minute. Good thing his directing partner steps in to save the day. Except for the minor fact that he hates everything about Christmas.

Jack Whittaker wiped the Twin Cities off his shoe with his graduation tassel and never looked back. But duty compels him to fulfill Tyler’s promise to direct the show. Even though it means working side-by-side with Becca, the girl he always wanted, lost to Ty, but never forgot.

It’ll take more than a few handfuls of tinsel to soften Jack’s heart toward Becca’s favorite holiday. Steamy kisses that melt the snow right off his boots are a step in the right direction. They’ll both discover that Christmas is about making each other’s dreams come true. But will doing so destroy their chance at a happily-ever-after together?

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One of my favorite guest posts to write for every release blog tour is the research post. Yes, I’m a contemporary romantic comedy author. I write about people living in today’s world, with today’s clothes and smart phones and bar food. Sounds uncomplicated, compared to my ever-toiling historical author friends, right? Well, we contemporary authors have to do research, too.

Some of my research is quite serious. Every book has a conflict. In my latest release Tinsel My Heart (which I promise is entirely lighthearted, funny and sexy!), the hero’s best friend and partner just got sent to rehab. I had to research how long an initial stay is supposed to be, what sort of contact with friends and family is allowed, if at all, and after how much time has elapsed. The entirety of that knowledge probably takes up three paragraphs, at most. But it is too important not to spend the time to get right.

Then there’s the research I do just for the sake of a punch line. Given the style of books I write, that probably accounts for ninety percent of my research. But when you write funny books, even the throwaway lines have to ring true. Here’s a long-winded example of why I had to research the different Defcon levels:

“Sweetheart, I’m about to start rehearsing a cast of amateurs, kids and goats. I’m gonna do nothing but worry for the next ten days.”

Three hours later, Jack was considering changing his tune. Oh, he’d still worry. Any director worth a damn maintained a certain level of rampant panic over every last second of stagecraft right up until the first curtain. Worry that the actors might forget their lines. Forget their blocking. Hell, this show was a musical, so that brought in a whole other level of problems. No dancing—not a lot of polka numbers in the old King James version—so that was good. But the microphones might crap out. The recorded orchestra track might blip. And yes, for the first time, Jack actually had to worry about a goat taking a dump in the middle of the stage. That was a new one.

But his worry wouldn’t be at Defcon Ten. Threat Level Midnight. Code Red. Whatever. Turned out that this ragtag bunch of rank amateurs actually knew their shit.

Yup. Talk about a tossed-off line. Inner monologue, no less! But I still took the time to make sure it was accurate. Here’s one more example of my painstaking research. This one was to pin down a fancy and famous shopping district in Italy…and to be able to describe it to my readers:

Jack picked up his clipboard, then twisted in the seat to look for her. And had to grip the armrest to keep from launching into the aisle when he saw a man swaggering toward him. A man in those stupid, skinny-cut pants that screamed Eurotrash paired with a freaking bolo tie and a leather duster that matched Jack’s.

He remembered the day they’d bought the coats in a little shop on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. They’d been celebrating their win the day before of the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It had been a surreal feeling, strolling along the ancient bridge with his best friend and the new phenomenon of a shitload of cash in his pocket.
The whole book takes place in Minneapolis. Do my readers have to know what it feels like to shop in Italy? Technically, no. Was it intrinsically important to the plot? Heck, no. But if I want them to thoroughly experience the point of view of the hero, a mega-star of a director who jets from movie sets to red carpet premieres, then yes, I do have to show them details like that. I have to immerse them in the life of the hero. All of it. Ultimately, I do the research to make the best book possible. And if it quirks somebody’s lips up in an extra smile for a couple of seconds, it’s worth it!

Purchase at * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Carina Press

Website | Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page |Facebook

Bio: Christi Barth earned a Master’s degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.  A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning.  Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance.  She is the award-winning author of the Aisle Bound series. Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband.

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For the chance to win a digital copy of Tinsel My Heart, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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kissing-her-scrooge-coverEvery Christmas, Hannah Jones makes it her mission to give her hometown the perfect pageant. Even malfunctioning inflatable Santas and lost students can’t stop the self-proclaimed Miss Holiday. But the teacher may have met her mismatch in sexy but antisocial tree farmer Griff Green. Hannah’s been lusting after her new neighbor for months—and she’s determined to melt his heart by being naughty as well as nice…

He may sell trees, but Griff doesn’t do Christmas. He’s known as the town humbug—and he likes it that way. Which is why he’s been avoiding Hannah, despite the sexy visions of her that have been dancing through his head. When a surprise visit leads to a passionate kiss, he can’t deny the attraction any longer.

When Hannah discovers Griff isn’t the Scrooge he pretends to be—and she exposes his secret to the whole town—it may take a holiday miracle for their budding relationship to survive into the new year.

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When the holidays are hilarious

 

I finished holiday shopping for my husband and my parents and I probably went about it wrong. Mostly because I giggled the whole time. And there might have been the occasional cackle.

 

It started out innocently enough, but it quickly went downhill. I started by searching for something simple, but then it would show an example of other things I might want and it was totally me looking at the picture and thinking, YES! That is much better.

 

That’s hilarious and I have to get it! *insert cackle*

 

My husband basically watched me the whole time I was doing this because he was at his desk and we were in the same room.

 

He would just give me that look. He has this look he gives me that goes beyond the realm of words. He doesn’t need to say anything. He just needs to look. It perfectly summarizes his feelings which are basically, You’re crazy/How did I end up here?/Why is this happening to me?

 

With love, of course. Don’t forget the love.

 

I really wish I could share how I managed to take something completely appropriate and make it full of innuendo, but on the off chance my husband reads this blog, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

 

He honestly is ridiculous when it comes to guessing presents. I’ll make one offhand comment and he’ll be like, “Seahawks’ pool cue.” I will be like… how did you even…?

 

I mean that is a very specific guess. Maybe I’m super obvious. That wouldn’t surprise me. But if you want to know what I got after the holiday season, there’s no way I won’t be blogging about it at http://kinleybaker.wordpress.com.

 

Then my husband had the sobering reminder that went something like, “Your mom better be as amused as you by these presents.”

 

And I got to thinking… They won’t possibly be as amused as I am. Maybe I did this whole gift buying thing wrong.

 

But I do think they will like their presents! They’re just going to have a little patience and remember that they chose me.
Well, my parents, bless their hearts, didn’t choose me but I constantly have to remind my husband he chose to be here experiencing this moment which is inspiring the look.

 

Relationships are so strange to me and the dynamics have always intrigued me. You basically choose someone who you will be with (in theory) everyday of your life. It’s kind of like forcing two people who don’t know each other to share a room in college.

 

If you really thinking about it, it’s bizarre. But that’s why I love romance and exploring just why two people could possibly want to be together.

 

I’m a romantic and happy endings are a necessity. Writing contemporary romance has really given me an appreciation of the power of a relationship.

 

Even if at the end of the day, all you’re left with is the look. I admit I am amused by the look.

 

Don’t tell him though. It will be our secret.

 

Have you ever bought a gift for someone else that amused you? It worked out well, right…?

 

BIO

 

Kinley Cade has a terminally tender heart and an inconvenient sense of humor. She loves puppies and cries at celebrity weddings. Kinley believes “happy ever after” isn’t only for the normal. Kinley Cade’s contemporaries are known for their sexy heroes, resilient heroines and memorable characters, however, she also writes sexy paranormal heroes, resilient heroines and memorable characters as Kinley Baker. To learn more about her contemporary romances please feel free to peruse http://www.kinleycade.com. To check out her paranormal romances visit www.kinleybaker.com. And for just Kinley you can visit her at her blog kinleybaker.wordpress.com or on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kinleycade. Find out more about her latest release, Kissing Her Scrooge, on her website.

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For a chance to win Kissing Her Scrooge, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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I’ve always loved reading series books. There’s just something about getting to go back and visit with favorite characters while on the journey with a new set. I guess that’s why I seem to end up writing series stories. My latest is a spin-off of another series I wrote and revolves around a company called Are You Game? They’ve got a game for every occasion. 😉

Today marks the release of the first book in the series, 7 Minutes In Heaven, and I’m so excited to finally see Cassie and Luc step out in the big wide world. 🙂 And to help celebrate I’m sharing an exclusive snippet and one lucky reader who comments will win a digital copy of 7 Minutes In Heaven.

 

7MinutesInHeaven

 

Excerpt –

 

He flattened his hands on the wall beside her head so he wouldn’t give in to the temptation of grabbing her and dragging her into the bed she’d offered him. He’d be a fool to rush her. She’d never let him get closer if he used their sexual chemistry to win her over. How he knew that he wasn’t sure, but he did. If he wanted to get to know Cassie, spend time with her, he’d have to tread carefully—needed to produce some of his legendary control and back away.

Only that wasn’t so easy when her mouth ate at his like she couldn’t get enough. When she gripped the back of his shirt like it was a lifeline. Or when she came up on her toes, arched into him and rubbed against his straining flesh. With a growl, he tore his lips from hers.

“Fuck.” Luc laid his forehead on Cassie’s and tried to catch his breath. Pleased to note her breathing came in ragged gasps as well. “Damn, you’re potent.”

“Me?” She fisted her hands in his shirt and he couldn’t recall when she’d moved them from his back to his chest.

“Yeah, you.” He raised his head a few inches and met her gaze. “You scramble my brains without trying.”

Cassie laughed and pushed him away. “Pot, meet Kettle.”

Luc grinned. He liked that she wasn’t playing coy or using his reactions to her against him. She was a breath of fresh air and Luc couldn’t wait to saturate his blood with her. But not yet. Tonight they needed to get their balance, regain some sanity and think about where this was leading. Well, at least he did. “So, is there anything you want me to do? Unpack the van?”

Her smile faltered. “Ah, no. We’ll do that in the morning when we get to the warehouse.” She ducked her head, but before she could sneak under his outstretched arm and escape, he slid his hands lower down the wall, effectively trapping her.

“Look at me, Cass.” He waited long seconds for her to comply. When she finally did, he could see the uncertainty swirling her eyes. “Make no mistake that I want you in that bed.” Luc tipped his head to indicate the room beside them. “But I want far more than a quick tumble, and if you’re honest I think you’ll admit you do too.”

She started to shake her head, but he stopped her by gripping her chin in his hand.

“You can lie to me, but don’t lie to yourself, Cass.” He brushed his thumb over her bottom lip and watched it tremble under his touch.

“I don’t have time to get involved. Don’t want to,” she whispered.

Luc could understand her hesitancy, but he wasn’t about to ignore the intense attraction between them. And it was between them, her body told him she was as equally affected even if her mouth didn’t. “I’m not sure what exactly it is between us but it’s far more than one night of pleasure, and I’m willing to wait because I know we’ll end up in that bed eventually.”

A burst of air fanned over his thumb when she gasped, and a shudder rolled through him as he thought about how her warm breath might feel on other more sensitive parts of his body. Leaning forward, he planted a quick, hard kiss on her lips before he stepped back and broke all contact.

It was the hardest thing he’d done in recent memory, but Luc smiled and said, “See you in the morning.” He strode into the bedroom and closed the door behind him before he could change his mind and take her against the wall.

 

Available from

Samhain Publishing ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo

 

Rhian Cahill

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

 

To be in the running for a chance to win a digital copy of 7 Minutes In Heaven just tell me in the comments what’s a childhood game you remember playing. Easy-peasy. 🙂

 

 

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Consumed

Mira Avalon is a witch without power, burning silently for her handsome and mysterious colleague, Sol Ribero Santos.

When Mira happens upon an ancient amulet, her powers come to life, and things between her and Sol start to heat up. With her new powers come new dangers, however, and the force that brought her and Sol together now threatens to consume them both… unless Mira can tame the fire within herself.

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I never set out to write a romance novel.

Or an erotic novel.

Or any type of novel at all, really.

After all, I’m a cellist! (A semi-retired one now.) I went to music school! The last time I had to write anything over five pages was… a long, long time ago.

But my love affair with reading started when I was four, and discovered picture books about mermaids. As a child, I was amazed at the plethora of worlds I could just jump into. Picture books about mermaids led me to chapter books about spunky girls, which led me to series about teenage wizards, which led me to… well…. everything else. When I was sad, when I was lonely, when I was deliriously happy, when I didn’t want to practice my cello… I always had a book with me. Sometimes, the experiences of certain characters seemed more real — or more important — than the actual events unfolding before me. Always, books were a source of entertainment, of pleasure, of delight.

I’ve read everything from high fantasy to pulpy thrillers to YA dystopias to non-fiction. Always, there is a common theme in the books I most treasure. The characters feel alive, the setting is arresting, and the heroine — and there is always a heroine — isn’t completely brainless. If there is ethnic or religious diversity, so much the better — we don’t live in a monochromatic world! And, of course, there is romance — always, always, romance. A novel without a hint of romance is like bread without yeast — flat and heavy and just not as good. (I’m a novice baker. It’s been a good year for acquiring hobbies.)

I was recovering from an unpleasant Life Surprise earlier this year — the kind that comes out of nowhere and tries its damndest to make you angry and sad — and found myself with a lot more time on my hands than I had had before. Time to think critically about the things I loved and the things that made me happy. I took stock of my life and the choices I had made, and somehow, what started as me sitting down to write a list of Things I Would Like to Change suddenly turned into Me Scribbling Into the Night As My Husband Tried Fruitlessly to Get Me to Go to Bed. I was haunted by this question — what do we do when everything around us, everything in our lives, turns sour and dark and miserable? How do we deal? How do we move on?

Through this process, I was was haunted by an image of a girl — dark-haired, like me; a little unsure of her place in the world, like me — who found herself at a sudden crossroads, who had to make a choice.

Thus Mira Avalon was born.

The characters in Consumed are flawed. My heroine, Mira, is in way over her head. She discovers an ancient amulet that unleashes powers she didn’t realize she had, and her attempts to tame her new magic are often dangerous, foolhardy, and self-destructive. She’s mostly alone, scarred by trauma and isolation, and must relearn how to trust, how to navigate a world that has shifted around her overnight.

And on top of that, she must renegotiate a relationship with the man she’s desired for years.

On her journey, she encounters dark magic, dangerous characters, and self- destructive situations. She learns how to be a friend. How to be a lover. How to be her own person. (And, perhaps most importantly, how to rock a super-tacky amulet that clashes with everything.)

Mira’s problems aren’t my problems, and Mira isn’t me. (For one, I am a lot less… uh… uninhibited.) I made her journey both completely fantastical and exceptionally erotic, partially for my own amusement and partially because so often, fantasy books are total sausage-fests. I wanted to inject the fantasy genre with a little sass, a little pizzaz… a little sex appeal.

Consumed was my first novel. It isn’t perfect, but it represents the first step in a journey of discovery — for me as well as for Mira Avalon.

I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you find a little of yourself within its pages.

Love,

Gretchen

I am always happy to continue the conversation on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, or my blog. (I have a Facebook, but I rarely use it.) And I love comments and reviews — honest, constructive feedback helps me produce better work.

 

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For a chance to win Gretchen’s four short stories plus Consumed, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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Winners!

Stephanie F.

wins a swag pack and a digital book from Carrie Ann Ryan’s backlist

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AlisonBliss, Susan Rice, Janina, theresafortier, Michelle Curry, and Karen

wins Christmas Curveball by Shari Mikels

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flchen1

wins a book from Leah Braemel’s backlist

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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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