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Archive for the ‘November 2010’ Category

In a strange twist of events, Jess Dee and Vivian Arend became friends. Okay, it was Viv’s fault–she stalked Jess until in self-defense, Jess gave up and agreed to said friendship. It was safe, she figured, because there was an entire continent and an ocean separating them. Little did she know, distance is not a deterrent when it comes to Viv. Jess had no choice but to make Viv a BFF.

In a second strange twist of fate, Jess and Viv wrote two very HAWT books. In their stories they both have friends who discover that they might be even better as lovers.

Now, this is NOT a confession that Jess and Viv are in any way, shape or form, lovers. They are friends (and besides, there’s that lovely big ocean keeping them apart, right?) But they DO know how to help each other out, and the two stories in question, Raising the Stakes and Falling, Freestyle, are better books because they were also given the sneaky peek by each other as Critique Partners. Want to know a couple behind the scenes secrets?

Viv:
Ever since I tormented Jess into becoming my CP, she’s been kicking my butt and helping make my stories better, When it came to Falling, Freestyle, the biggest two things I remember are her slapping me (via email) and telling me the story was GOOD, and that there were more than enough issues for the characters to face without me throwing outside troubles at them. Her advice really helped clarify the way the story progressed, and I have to say that Falling is one of my favorite stories I’ve written.

Falling, Freestyle
( Xtreme Adventures, Book 1)

Never venture out of bounds without a buddy—preferably two.

Dara’s past four incredible years have been lived to the fullest. Along with her best friends, Kane and Jack, she’s left no local wilderness unexplored, no ski slope unchallenged. Yet lately she wonders why they’ve never seen her as more than a buddy with breasts. When—or if—either man will cross that unspoken line.

It’s a line Kane eyes harder every day. Since high school, he and Jack have shared everything. A condo, vacations—and their best girl. Kane’s ready to get serious about his wilderness school and outfitter business, and that includes putting down roots. Preferably with Dara.

Wary of the men who’ve recently been sniffing around Dara, Jack has a growing sense that he or Kane better make a move soon, or they’re going to lose out on their perfect match. Question is, who does she prefer…and who’s going to bring their easygoing trio to an end?

Overhearing the boys arguing over her, Dara’s floored—and torn. Choose between them? No way. Drastic measures are called for, a plan for their annual holiday getaway that will clarify her feelings once and for all—or lose everything in a sexual storm of whiteout proportions.

Warning: Old friends turned lovers can get into the most trouble—exhibitionism, bondage, spanking. Anal sex, oral sex, unauthorized use of ski safety harnesses, icicles in the hot tub… The author apologizes in advance for any melted monitors.

Want a teaser? From Falling, Freestyle, available today from Samhain Publishing:

Dara stepped next to the table and they both turned their full attention her way. Darkness and light met her, in their eyes, their hair. Something inside her belly tingled with anticipation, and this time she let it build instead of beating it into submission.

Wanting them both wasn’t wrong, she was sure of it. Wanting them both, together…that seemed more risqué.

“I thought you’d fallen in and drowned.” Jack grinned and pushed the plate of fries toward her. “I saved some from the bottomless pit over there.”

“I’m a growing boy. I need to keep my strength up.” Kane slid to the side to give Dara room to join him. He had one leg on either side of the bench and as she nestled in she realized just how intimate the position was, her hip inches from his groin.

She choked down the fries, her gaze flicking from one to the other as they laughed and joked. Her guys, their faces glowing with health and energy. Drool-worthy Jack. Invigorating Kane. Daydream inducing—together or apart.

Something clicked inside and she took a deep breath.

They wanted to change the status quo? So be it, but she would be the one calling the shots. She had a few weeks to get everything in place, then come hell or high water she was going to make the most outrageous thing she’d ever dreamed of a reality.

She was going to seduce her best friends.

*****

Jess:
The thing about my dear friend Viv, is that she won’t accept anything less than perfect from my characters. So when the heroine from Raising The Stakes stepped out of line, man, did Viv ever kick her butt. Whipped her back into shape very quickly. And ya know what? Megan is a better, stronger woman for it. In fact, because of Viv, Megan was able to state in clear, concise language that she not only wanted her boyfriend to make love to her, but she wanted her best friend to as well. At the same time. 🙂

Raising The Stakes
(Three of a Kind, Book 2)

Play out the hand her way…or fold?

After four years, Megan Loxley has given up waiting for her best friend, Desmond Reed, to realize she loves him. It’s time to move on. When Des introduces her to his poker buddy, Alex Truman, the instantaneous sparks that flare between them signal her life is about to change forever.

Des could kick himself. How could he have failed to notice the perfect woman was by his side all this time? Now it’s too damn late. And her innocent prodding about why he’s suddenly so distant is only making his hunger for her worse. Then she gets one step too close—and his self-restraint snaps.

Stunned, bewildered, furious, Meg can’t help but respond to the kisses for which she waited so long. God help her, she loves Des. And Alex, too. Immeasurably. Now what?

It may make her the greediest woman alive, but she’s determined to win the next hand— even if she has to change the game a little. First step: state her wildly sexy proposition in a language both men will understand…and hope they’ll stick around and play by her rules.

Warning: If you’re looking for a cool game of poker, you won’t find it here. This novella is so hot the cards are still smoking. The heroine may be new to the game, but she knows exactly how to play her two kings.

Teaser from Raising the Stakes, available December 7 from Samhain Publishing:

“Don’t let go,” he ordered.

“I won’t, Al,” she promised. Her gaze caught his. Fire flickered in her eyes. “But I can’t let go of Des either.”

For a long moment they looked at each other. No words were spoken, but a million thoughts were shared.

Alex loved her. By God, he was head over heels, crazy in love with her. He’d known for the last month she loved Des too. Known that he shared her heart with her best friend. It wasn’t too crazy a leap to share her body with him too.

He couldn’t walk away. He was in too deep. But they’d reached a point where he could no longer have her to himself. From this moment on, if he wanted her, he took her with Des. There was no more Alex and Megan. If Des agreed, it would be Alex, Megan and Des.

Oddly enough, the thought did not disgust him. If anything it aroused him further. He’d seen Megan in her glory, relishing the love of one man. Seeing her in full splendor, radiant from the love of two men… She’d be magnificent.

Alex had to be there to witness it.

Megan lifted an eyebrow in question. Longing shone in her eyes. “Will you do it, Al? Still play your cards if I raise the stakes?”

Didn’t she know his answer? If the stakes were her, he’d play any hand she dealt.

“You bet I would, baby.” He’d do anything to be with her. Whatever it took. He’d place every damn chip on her.

*****

If you’d like to know more about either of these books, here are the links:

Jess:
Check out my website at:
http://www.jessdee.com
Feel free to visit my blogs:
Jess’s Blog:
http://jessdee.wordpress.com
Down Under Divas:
http://downunderdivas.wordpress.com
International Heat:
http://internationalheat.wordpress.com
Or come follow me Twitter @jessdeewriter

Viv: Website | BLOG | Falling, Freestyle excerpt/buy links | Twitter

*****

And as a treat: If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Book 1 in the Three of a Kind series (that’s book one Going All In that comes before Raising the Stakes), Jess and Viv are giving away three copies. Leave a comment about friendship to be eligible to win. Do you have a good friend you’ve never met in person? Do you have a friends to lovers story?

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A big thank you to Viv and Jess for joining us today!

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win GOING ALL IN. Good luck! 😀

 

 

 

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Vampire attacks are on the rise in the city that never sleeps. So why is half-human, half-Drow private eye Nyx tracking down Sprites? Sure, these “young bloods” are causing mischief all over town—like painting the Statue of Liberty’s toenails neon pink. But it’s not until Nyx finds herself at the Pit, Manhattan’s hottest nightclub for paranorms, that she understands what she’s really up against…

Seems Master Vampire Volod has a plan—and the Sprites are in on it. By targeting the weaknesses of every paranorm in the city, from Elves to Shifters to Zombies, Volod and his fang gang aim to rule the night once and for all. Over Nyx’s dead body. She loves a good challenge—and she will seduce danger at every turn to throw Volod off course. It’s time for Nyx to enter the beating heart of this dark conspiracy…before driving a stake through it.

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A lot of authors talk about hitting a wall when they write. A mental block. I literally have a writing wall. I can even bang my head against it if I need to.

Thanks to my writing wall, I feel less and less like using my head as a battering ram. It’s actually a combination of three things that have changed the way I look at writing: my brainstorming whiteboard, my outline book, and my writing wall.

If you look at the wall, every page represents a chapter in my book.  There’s a process on how to get the ideas for the books. I start out with writing ideas for each chapter on my brainstorming whiteboard; then translating those ideas into a Word document on my laptop, then print out and put a copy into my writing notebook, and a copy also goes on my wall.

I write ideas for things I want to incorporate in the story on each page. Sometimes the pages are pretty sparse—as in one or two lines—and sometimes they’re very detailed. I write one page for every chapter I plan to write in the book.

Unlike the Ten Commandments, my chapters are not written in stone. I handwrite on the pages in my notebook, add pages, divide pages into two, sometimes three chapters when I’d only intended for it to be one chapter.

The wall itself is like looking at The Big Picture. I can review the pages on the wall and analyze where the story might need some depth, or perhaps there is a hole in the storyline.

One thing I’d like to mention is that these ideas came from not another writer, but from a businessman. He looked at the way I structured my writing—or perhaps the lack of structure—and made these suggestions. It has totally turned my writing process around to fabulous results. The key to keeping life fresh is to be willing to listen and try out new ideas—sometimes from places we never expected.

Vampires Not Invited was the first book to grace the writing wall in my office, the result of which is in stores November 30th.

To celebrate the release of Vampires Not Invited, two lucky winners will each receive a copy of No Werewolves Allowed. Leave a comment and go into the drawing to win. : )

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Many thanks to Cheyenne for joining us today!

To find out more about Chey and her books, please visit her website at www.cheyennemccray.com. And don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win NO WEREWOLVES ALLOWED. Good luck! 😀

 

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The winner of CAPTIVE SPIRIT by Anna Windsor is Kayleigh! Congratulations! Please contact Anna at anna@annawindsor.net with your mailing info.

 

Anna has also offered pressies for everyone that commented yesterday! Please see the comment thread of her interview for further details.

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Saving humanity from the supernatural has been challenging lately—even for a well-trained earth Sybil like Bela Argos, who must harness the magic of a fractious group of warrior sisters and battle a new wave of paranormal attacks. Another challenge is Duncan Sharp, the hunky NYPD detective who might turn into a demon overnight and devour Bela in her sleep. Still, the darkness taking over Duncan’s body can’t stop the molten heat unleashed by the intense attraction between them.

Duncan has two major problems: First, he has the soul of a suspected serial killer hitching a ride on his vibe. Worse (yes, worse) he’s got a demonic fever raging inside that promises a world of hurt for everybody, especially Bela. Now he’s all about getting even with the demons that put this freak curse in his blood—satanic forces that dare to unleash their savage lust on Duncan’s soul, his city, and the woman he loves.

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NT: Hi Anna! Thank you for being our guest today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Anna: Hi! I’m Anna Windsor, and I love writing paranormal romance. I also write for teens under a different name, and in my “day job” I work in state psychiatric facility–one of the oldest functioning asylums in the U.S.

NT: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Anna: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. I’ve been writing since I could first move a pencil.

NT: You have a new release this month, can you tell us about CAPTIVE SPIRIT?

Anna: Captive Spirit picks up the story of Bela Argos, a character readers first met in the BOUND books–though she was secondary, and it’s not necessary to read those first three to enjoy these new ones. Bela isn’t a cooperative, meek “good girl” by any means. She grew up rough and she’s had a tough road as a Sibyl. She’s determined to redeem herself and rebuild a fighting group, and she’s barely gotten started when some wicked new demons hit the scene in New York City. The last thing Bela needs is a serious distraction–so that’s the first thing she gets.

Duncan Sharp fought hard in the Gulf War and he’s been with the NYPD since he left the Middle East. He’s tracked a serial killer, a man he once considered his best friend, all across the city. The night he catches the bastard, he’s attacked by monsters and saved by beautiful women in leather. Duncan figures he’s died and gone to some weird heaven until he understands that his best friend his dead, his best friend’s ghost is hitching a ride in his head, and oh, yeah, the monsters infected him, and he’s turning demon himself. His only hope lies with the Sibyls, and one Sibyl in particular.

Duncan and Bela have their hands full with a new breed of wicked demons–and with each other.

NT: What inspired the idea for this series?

Anna: I’ve always been fascinated by natural magic, earth magic–powers that rise from nature herself. I wanted to create warriors who weren’t necessarily witches, but drew on some of the same energy that traditional witches use. Legends of wise women from different cultures inspired me, and the Sibyls were born.

NT: What aspects of your life have you found creeping into your stories?

Anna: My work with the seriously mentally ill always bleeds into what I write. Character quirks, motivations, and human frailty permeate my work–and because of the old state hospital where I work, I can rarely resist describing weird ancient buildings that become something close to characters themselves.

NT: Is there anyone you use as a sounding board when you’re stuck on a scene?

Anna: I use a couple of friends, one in particular who is even patient with me when I need to make sure bodies can really do what I’m asking them to do. Judy, Gisele, and my old buddy Chey McCray really help me out.

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

Anna: Spare time? Spare time. . .  I know I’ve heard that phrase before . . . .

Well, I farm, bake bread, and try to exercise. I try to eat whole foods now, so cooking takes a lot more time, but I hope it’s worth it.

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

Anna: Captive Soul comes next, and it tells the tale of Camille Fitzgerald, a fire Sibyl who struggles to find her spark. After that is Captive Heart, where all the Andy fans finally get to read the story of the world’s only water Sibyl. I just turned in a proposal to my agent–a recurring human heroine, an old asylum, and a much wider range of supernatural characters. Fingers crossed!

NT: How can readers contact you?

Anna: anna@annawindsor.net

I love hearing from readers!

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

Many thanks to Anna for joining us today! For a chance to win a copy of CAPTIVE SPIRIT, just leave a comment below. Good luck! 😀

*CONTEST CLOSED*

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On the run, in each other’s arms, with one last chance to survive.

A rugged Navy SEAL, Zane Scott was part of a failed mission to rescue Dr. Olivia Strohm from abduction by the terrorist group Dead Man’s Hand (DMH)—and her anguished screams have haunted him ever since. So when he gets word that the beautiful physician has escaped from her captors in Africa, he’s got personal reasons to storm the continent and save her.

Like her would-be liberator, Olivia carries the burden of a dark secret from her past. Ruthless and relentless, the DMH has threatened to hunt her down – and to systematically hurt anyone she’s close to. The last thing she wants is to be rescued—even by someone as shockingly handsome as Zane. Yet the hot-headed special ops hero has come for her, and together she and Zane just might have a shot at not only stopping DMH’s reign of terror, but also saving what’s left of their souls.

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

I write a lot about men and women who are haunted by the ghosts of their pasts.  And, as Sydney Croft, I write Creed, my tattooed, pierced, ghost hunter extraordinaire.  And last night, I watched a Paranormal State marathon and thought – oh, a blog topic!

So yes, I’m obsessed with ghost hunting.  I mean, I obviously love Paranormal State, but even before that, I’ve always enjoyed a good ghost story / haunting.  In my area, there’s a famous road (Buckout Road, anyone?) where you’re supposed to pull up to a red house, honk three times and get attacked by a family of cannibal albino midgets.

Dude, you can’t make this stuff up.  Around here, it’s a rite of passage to go there and get scared out of your mind.  It’s also supposedly the area where three witches were hung, a woman committed suicide and walks around in a white dress at night…and around that area is the former home of a famous serial killer.

And, let’s not forget, the albinos.  I don’t know when the midget part was added.  I just know that my neighbor called me up a few years ago when she was a senior and said, “Hey, have you ever heard of a place around here where there are supposedly these albinos midgets who come out to attack you?”

Of course, I gave her the directions.

The thing is, you go and you freak yourself out because someone DOES come out when you honk.  But I think it’s the guy who owns the house who probably gets really annoyed at kids pulling up and honking.  Not so fun for him, I’m guessing.

So anyway, I’ve talked about this on my own blog a little bit, but last year, I had a ghost in my own house.  A friendly ghost, I believe, because I was never scared when I heard the footsteps walking upstairs when no one else was home but me and my kids.  He never came around when my husband was home – but he would walk around when my daughter was home with her nurse and I was out running errands.  Maybe the ghost was protecting us while Zoo was out?

I never even thought to ask anyone else about it until one day, I was talking to my daughter’s nurse (Patricia) and I said, “I want to get the house blessed.  Not that I think anything’s here…”

And she looked at me funny and she said, “Have you ever heard the footsteps?” And she pointed to exactly where I always heard them.

Yeah, so, very odd.   It continued for both of us for the better part of a year,  and then one night I walked up the stairs and smelled cigar smoke and I yelled, “You CANNOT smoke in here.”

And then I never heard the ghost again and neither did Patricia.  Until about two weeks ago – things were dropping upstairs (in my office, I might add) in a spot that’s heavily carpeted and nothing should make sounds like that.  So, um, yeah, either the same ghost is back or there’s a new one.

Guess I’ll have to wait and see.  But the no smoking rule still applies.

So…do you believe in ghosts?  Have  you ever had an experience with the paranormal that freaked you out or comforted you?  Do you watch Paranormal State?  Do you think I’ve lost my mind?

All you have to do is comment on any of the above to be eligible to win a copy of my upcoming release, Promises in the Dark – I’m giving away two copies of Zane today!

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

Many thanks to Steph for joining us today! To find out more about her and all her books, visit her website at www.stephanietyler.com.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win PROMISES IN THE DARK. Good luck! 😀 SEALs!!!!

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Winners!

 

Brandy W

wins AWAKENED BY A KISS or PRINCESS IN HIS BED by Lila DiPasqua

*

Lynnette

wins CROSSROADS by Moira Rogers

*

Lynn R

wins CHRISTMAS EVE AT FRIDAY HARBOR by Lisa Kleypas

*

Lindsey Ekland

wins ANGEL IN MY ARMS by Victoria Gray

*

Congratulations to all the winners! You have 48 hours to contact Mad at mad at romancereaderatheart dot com to claim your prizes.

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Never venture out of bounds without a buddy—preferably two.

Dara’s past four incredible years have been lived to the fullest. Along with her best friends, Kane and Jack, she’s left no local wilderness unexplored, no ski slope unchallenged. Yet lately she wonders why they’ve never seen her as more than a buddy with breasts. When—or if—either man will cross that unspoken line.

It’s a line Kane eyes harder every day. Since high school, he and Jack have shared everything. A condo, vacations—and their best girl. Kane’s ready to get serious about his wilderness school and outfitter business, and that includes putting down roots. Preferably with Dara.

Wary of the men who’ve recently been sniffing around Dara, Jack has a growing sense that he or Kane better make a move soon, or they’re going to lose out on their perfect match. Question is, who does she prefer…and who’s going to bring their easygoing trio to an end?

Overhearing the boys arguing over her, Dara’s floored—and torn. Choose between them? No way. Drastic measures are called for, a plan for their annual holiday getaway that will clarify her feelings once and for all—or lose everything in a sexual storm of whiteout proportions.

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-60928-260-8

Length: Category

Publication Date: November 30, 2010

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Friends to lovers and m/f/m menage. Helloooo favorite themes! 😀 This is the first contemporary I’ve read by Vivian Arend and it won’t be the last. Falling, Freestyle was just flat-out fun. Plenty of friendly play time between Dara, Jack and Kane and many LOL moments. Then there was the sexy play time. Holy smokes! In the cabin, on the slopes, in the hot tub…I will never look at an icicle the same way again.

Falling, Freestyle is going on my digital keeper shelf for when I need something light, sexy, and fun.

You can find out more about this book (including an excerpt) at http://vivianarend.com/

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She can’t survive in his world; he can’t stay sane in hers

A twenty-first century ice age dulls the magic that emanates from the earth. Shane Sullivan is a lone wolf above the freeze line. He has no desire to join the packs that range closer to the border, where feral instincts can turn a man into a monster. Not until the winter solstice, when he stumbles across a dying witch who needs his help to get back to her people—and her magic—in the south.

Nadia is a powerful woman in her own world, but she’s been drained by her escape from captivity in a northern lab. She knows it’s foolhardy to trust a werewolf, but he’s her only chance to survive the vast white wilderness. The farther south they travel, the harder it is for Shane to keep the beast within under control, and as their mutual attraction intensifies, Nadia’s no longer sure she wants him to.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

eISBN: 9781426890895

Length: Novella

Publisher: Carina Press

Publication Date: December 06, 2010

I have two disclaimers for this review.

1. Moira Rogers is an auto-buy for me. I have loved every single book by this author.

2. I hadn’t finished a futuristic romance before reading Freeze Line.  I had tried a few and they were all DNFs. This just wasn’t my genre.

So what do I do when I’m offered an ARC of a post-apocalyptic paranormal romance by an auto-buy author? I take the book, of course 😀 And I’m very happy that I did.

We have a sexy werewolf tormented by his past but he’s willing to face it to help a stranger. Then we have a heroine who has been a powerful warrior for her entire life but now has to depend on someone else just for basic survival. Add in some serious chemistry and what appears to be insurmountable odds against them and you have a book that I couldn’t put down.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that I will run out and buy every futuristic romance I can get my hands on but it does mean that if Moira Rogers decides to do another book in this setting, I will happily read it. And it means that maybe I’ll stop paying so much attention to labels associated with a book and just enjoy the experience. Futuristic, sci-fi, post apocalyptic, paranormal…it doesn’t matter which genre you group it in. It is a great romance about a man and woman overcoming personal struggles, finding love, and being willing to fight for that love.

To find out more about Freeze Line, please visit the Moira Rogers website.

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Amanda Emerson must break her cousin, a notorious double agent, out of a Confederate prison before his imminent execution. She’s a skilled Union operative, but for this mission, she needs a man. Even a man who looks and acts like a Viking warrior.

Caught with Rebel battle plans and set for a hanging, Union spy Steve Dunham isn’t about to refuse the assistance of the sable-haired beauty who shows up at the jail and slips him the keys to his cell. Of course, she’s there for a reason besides saving his neck – he’s the key to her plan.

He may be trading one noose for another, but he won’t forsake her. The spoils of his victory will be her surrender. And the terms of surrender will be sweet.

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

Spies…the word brings to mind images of James Bond and gadgets…but an eccentric middle-aged woman? Suppose her odd behavior was nothing more than a cover for a shrewd mind and ingenious schemes, a means for a spy to disarm the people she’s deceiving without ever using a weapon – Elizabeth Van Lew, a Richmond spinster known as Crazy Bet, did just that.  A devoted abolitionist, Crazy Bet funneled information to Union generals, much of which was gathered during her frequent visits to Richmond’s Libby Prison.  Using food to bribe her way inside the prison, she provided small comforts and books to Federal prisoners while she gleaned bits and pieces of information about Confederate activity. Elizabeth Van Lew’s story inspired Angel in My Arms, the story of Amanda Emerson, a beautiful Union spy working under the leadership of Richmond matron “Crazy Betsy” Kincaid, and Steve Dunham, the Union officer she recruits for a suicide mission.

A rake with a girl in every town and a twinkle in his eye, Steve’s facing a noose when a sable-haired beauty and a crazy matron engineer his escape from jail. There’s a catch – Amanda needs him to break into Libby Prison to rescue a notorious double agent who may or may not be on the side of the Union.  He’s trading one noose for another, but Steve can’t resist her spirit and her gentleness.  He’ll possess her love – if he lives long enough.

The rugged soldier she recruits for her plan looks more like a Viking warrior than a disciplined officer, but Amanda’s drawn to Steve’s courage and tenderness.  As  the danger  surrounding them thickens, every moment he’s with her jeopardizes their lives, but they discover a passionate love that’s worth the risk.

Steve Dunham, the hero of Angel in My Arms, was introduced in an earlier novel, Destiny. When I wrote Destiny, I knew I wanted to give Steve his own love story. Throw in a gang of gun-runners who specialize in stolen military weapons, a nest of beautiful spies, a heroic Confederate officer whose ties with Steve go back to their Army service in the western territories, and a villain with a thirst for revenge, and you’ve got a plot that isn’t your mother’s Civil War romance.

To learn more about Angel in My Arms and read an excerpt, please visit my website, www.victoriagrayromance.com and my blog, www.victoriagrayromance.blogspot.com . Angel in My Arms is now available in print and as an eBook from The Wild Rose Press, www.thewildrosepress.com .

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Thank you to Victoria for joining us today!

For a chance to win a pdf copy of ANGEL IN MY ARMS, just leave a comment below. Good luck! 😀

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Entrusted with the guardianship of his orphaned niece Holly, Mark Nolan plans to marry his longtime girlfriend Shelby. But an unwelcome and tantalizing distraction appears in the form of Maggie Conroy, a young widow who has recently opened a toy shop at Friday Harbor. Mark is a cynic and a realist, but Maggie is a dreamer who hopes to make him believe in magic . . .

 

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NT: Hi Lisa! Thank you for being my guest today. I’ve been a huge fan for years. 🙂

LK: Thank you, I’m so glad to visit with you!

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

LK: I was always an obsessive reader and writer. When I was sixteen, I started a romance novel at summer camp, and the process was so intriguing and enjoyable that I kept writing for the rest of the summer until it was done. I submitted the finished manuscript to several publishers, and of course it was turned down by all of them. But at that point, I was hooked. Every summer after that, I wrote another novel, sent it out and was rejected. Finally when I was twenty-one and graduating from college, I made my first sale to NAL. It was a historical romance titled “Where Passion Leads.”

NT: You have a new release this month, can you tell us about CHRISTMAS EVE AT FRIDAY HARBOR?

LK: Yes, it’s a novella-length book that introduces the Nolan brothers—Mark, Sam and Alex, who all live on San Juan Island, which is part of Washington State. I thought of this novel as a sort of appetizer for the Friday Harbor series, and as a warm, sentimental holiday read. It’s about Mark and Sam, both of whom are single bachelors, who agree to share the responsibility for raising their orphaned niece Holly.

NT: What inspired the idea for this story?

LK: I loved the idea of showing men in a caretaking role for a child, but I hadn’t yet found a particular story to express that. And then I thought, what if the Nolans were a “broken” family, all leading their separate lives, and then were forced to come together for the sake of a child? It’s remarkable how much children change you,  your habits, your opinions and priorities  . . . so I wanted to force all this on the brothers without warning, and see how they reacted.

NT: Which do you find easiest to write — your contemporaries or your historicals?

LK: Although I love to write both, historicals are still the easiest. The historical voice, with all the embellishments and elaborate phrasing, feels natural for me—probably because I’m a person who loves embellishment of all kinds. (My favorite pair of sneakers is covered in black sequins.) My contemporaries turned out to be far more issue-oriented, which was never a deliberate plan, I just found myself connecting with the modern stories that way. But that makes contemporary writing a little more challenging for me, because I have to ponder and wrestle with the issues that are part of the character arcs. It even affects the sex scenes at times. I love it, though, because the more I have to think about difficult subjects, the more I learn about other people. And about myself too.

NT: Do you have a writing routine? What is your average writing day like?

LK: I try to have a very disciplined routine, which is hard when you have two children. Also hard when, if you’re like me, you’re not an innately disciplined person. I wake up around 4AM, which is perfect because the house is quiet and the phone isn’t ringing, and I write until it’s time to get the kids up and get them ready for school. I work while they’re gone, and I stop when they get back home, so I can hear how their day was, help with homework projects, etc.
My goal each day is to have 1000 words, as polished as I can make them. I always start by going over the previous day’s work and editing it, and that gets me on track to keep pushing forward.  And some days it’s frustrating because even though I’m working hard, I don’t like what I’m putting down on the page. The important thing is to keep at it, because that’s the only way to get to the breakthrough moments. Sometimes, very rarely, a book will practically flow from my fingertips. But ninety-nine percent of the time it’s like being in stop and start traffic . . . you have to keep telling yourself you’ll get there eventually.

NT: Is there anyone you use as a sounding board when you’re stuck on a scene?

LK: I have some wonderful author friends who always give me terrific advice.( Sometimes I’m even smart enough to take it. ) And when I’m not certain how a male character would react to something, I consult my husband Greg. Often he’ll tell me in an appalled tone, “No, no, a man would never say that!” But he has instructed me not to begin one of my questions in this manner: “If you were a guy . . .”

NT: What was the most interesting thing you had to research and what was the hardest thing to research?

LK: For the Friday Harbor series, I’m having to research viticulture and winemaking, because Sam, the middle brother, owns a vineyard. It is really interesting but also challenging—so much to learn! But I’ve always wanted to know more about winemaking, so this is the perfect opportunity. This also gives me a good excuse to drink more wine, doesn’t it? 😉

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

LK: You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I love to read in my spare time! I read a wide variety of books, but my favorites are biographies and history, and of course novels of every genre. I also love to cook, so my daughter and I are always trying out new recipes together. And at least twice a week, I make time to exercise with one of my dearest friends, Christina Dodd. We like to suffer together.

NT: What are the latest additions to your TBR? What are you most eager to read?

LK: In the past year I’ve become obsessed with the genre of magical realism—I’ve read things like Laura Esquivel’s “Like Water For Chocolate,” and several books by Alice Hoffman, my favorite being “Practical Magic.” So I’m really looking forward to Sarah Addison Allen’s “The Peach Keeper.” I also have Nora Roberts on the TBR—the Irish trilogy, which looks terrific. And in non-fiction, I’ve preordered Nora Ephron’s “I Remember Nothing,” and I’ve bought the Mark Twain autobiography.

NT: Any advice to aspiring authors? What craft books helped you that you would recommend to aspiring writers?

LK: The most wonderful craft book I’ve ever read is STORY by Robert McKee . . . I consult it frequently, because whenever you run into a plotting or characterization glitch, the answer is always there. It’s a screenwriting book, but usually the rules apply perfectly to novel writing.
I hope that aspiring writers will reassure themselves that persistence and passion for what you’re doing is what will make your dreams come true. It’s a difficult job, but not an impossible one . . . you really can make it happen! It’s very important to write the kind of story that excites you, rather than trying to write something you think will appeal to the market. I think now more than ever, readers crave intensity in their reading experiences, so don’t try to hold back. Write boldly, make the emotions and sensations as full-blown as you can. Romance writing is not for the timid!

NT: What can your fans look forward to from you in the near future? What are you working on now? Will you write stories for Alex and Sam, Mark’s brothers in CHRISTMAS EVE AT FRIDAY HARBOR? What about Holly? Too soon to ask for a book about her? 🙂

LK: Right now I’m working on Rainshadow Road, which features Sam Nolan, and then Alex’s story will be next. Although I’m not planning to feature Holly as a protagonist in any of the Friday Harbor books, she will definitely make appearances in all of them.

NT: I recently read The Hathaways series — which I adored and have recommended to anyone who will listen to me. Will we see more historicals in the coming year?

LK: Thank you, I’m so glad to hear that! I have another historical novel on my current contract with St. Martins, so I’ll definitely continue writing historical romance in the future . . . but right now I’m going to focus on writing the Friday Harbor series and making it as fun, sexy and romantic as I possibly can.

NT: If someone has not read any of your books, either your contemporaries or historicals, which would be the one you’d recommend they try first?

LK: It would depend on the reader—there is such a variety of tastes—I’d say if someone liked humor and unconventional characters, the Hathaway series might be a good fit. But if someone wanted more issue-oriented stories, any of my Texas books (Sugar Daddy, Blue Eyed Devil, Smooth Talking Stranger) would be a better choice.

NT: How can readers contact you?

LK: I am so hopeless at answering email—I always have to push it to the back burner, and I must have about a hundred back burners by now! But my publisher St. Martins has helped me to start a Facebook page, and they moderate it . . . http://www.facebook.com/LisaKleypas . I stop by to visit just about every day, and I’ll be able to answer questions there.

NT: Thank you so much for blogging with us here at Novel Thoughts!

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To learn more about Lisa and her books, please visit her website here.

And for a chance to win CHRISTMAS EVE AT FRIDAY HARBOR, just leave a comment below. Good luck! 😀

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