Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘October 2010’ Category

 

Estella and Jill M

each wins the first 3 books of the Granite Lake Wolves series by Vivian Arend

*

tina werner

wins WHEN WICKED CRAVES by J.K. Beck

*

acdaisy95 and Ina S.

each wins HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO by Helenkay Dimon

*

LSUReader

wins EDGE OF SIGHT by Roxanne St. Claire

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

Read Full Post »

EDGE OF SIGHT

Available October 26, 2010

When Samantha Fairchild witnesses the murder of a local Boston celebrity journalist, the Harvard-bound law student becomes the next target of a professional assassin. Desperate for protection the authorities won’t provide, Sam seeks help from Vivi Angelino, an investigative reporter who recruits her brother Zach to protect Samantha.
A Special Forces vet with the scars to prove he’s both courageous and flawed, Zach takes the job, despite the fact that he and Sam once shared a passionate interlude that ended when he left for war and disappeared from her life. Now, as they try to crack a conspiracy that leads to the city’s darkest corners, Sam and Zach must face their fears, desires, and doubts, before a hired killer gets a second shot . . .

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

You’ve probably heard about writers who interview their characters, fill out extensive character profile forms, make collages that capture their character’s innermost feelings, and, thus, understand every nuance of a hero and heroine before they open a doc and write the words Chapter One.

I’m not one of them.

Believe me, I’ve tried to do all these things, but every time, I fail.  I think I know these people who I’m about to spend six solid months with, but once my fingers hit the keyboard and I start the sometimes painful, sometimes exhilarating journey of telling a story…everything I thought I knew about them just disappears and the *real* characters reveal themselves to me.

Sadly, this is my process.  Sometimes the characters wait a few chapters to let me know what makes them tick.  Like fifteen chapters.  Ouch.  Every once in a while, they only become crystal clear during, say, the epilogue.  Double ouch.  I know that I’ve got a major rewrite in my near future.  But most of the time, the layers begin to peel back as the scenes unfold, and a clear image of the hero and heroine emerges.

Something else magical happens, too.  I fall in love.

Yes, I love my heroes.  Sometimes I’ll just be cruising through a store or driving my car and I get that little jittery feeling of excitement that kind of makes your nerve-endings tingle and gives you a sweet longing you don’t understand.  Remember that feeling?  You probably had it when you met your husband.  I get that feeling when I create a new hero.  I’m just crazy about him.  I think about what he said.  I remember how he kisses.  I ache to get back to him.

So when I sat down to write Zach Angelino, the hero of EDGE OF SIGHT, and one of the anchor characters for The Guardian Angelino series, I got ready to figure him out and fall in love.  The heroes of the twenty-some books I’ve written are all different, but at the core, they share many traits: fearlessness, confidence, intelligence, wit, washboard abs, and, of course, a face that could melt your heart.

Zach would be no different, of course.  Except…when I got to the page where he was introduced (re-introduced, actually) to the heroine…he was different than any other hero I’d ever written.  I knew it as I typed the words. I had a chilling feeling as I tried to figure out why he wanted to hide from the heroine, why he wanted to stay in the shadows.

Oh.  That was my first thought, and also the heroine’s response when she turns and really sees him.  All she can say is, “Oh.”  Zach’s not so perfect anymore.  He’s scarred by a war injury.  Not just scarred, but ruined, with one eye missing, and a slash down his cheek.

I remember staring at the computer screen and thinking, Zach, please don’t do this to me.  I like picture perfect guys.  I can’t write a wounded hero.  I want to spend at least a whole day cruising Hot Guy Sites on the internet looking for your likeness.  I want to fall in love with you, Zach, not be ashamed of you.

I don’t believe that the characters dictate a book; I really do think I’m in charge of the story and I could have changed that aspect of Zach right then if I wanted to.  His injury wasn’t even in the synopsis my editor had approved…but I knew I couldn’t fight this one.  This was who he was.  But then I knew, the heroine would still fall in love with him…and so would I.

Making my perfect guy *im*perfect was a challenge, but it was also a thrill.  Zach’s scars, inside and out, made for a deeper hero and gave me a well of emotion to mine.  And, the fact is, I ended up loving him more than all of my other flawless heroes.

How do you feel about imperfections…especially the physical kind!  Do you love a flawed guy a little bit more or do you turn to fiction because life (and real men) are flawed enough?

Readers can fall in love with Zach before he had his wounds, too.  On my website, www.roxannestclaire.com, there is a free “prequel” to EDGE OF SIGHT, the story of how Zach and Sam met three years before the book opens, their passionate affair, and their painful goodbye.  Just click on the Free Reads link!  Enjoy!

I’m here all day, as they say in Vegas, and am happy to answer questions or comments about imperfections, books, writing, and life!

Thank you, Fatin, for inviting me to one of my very favorite blogs!

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

A big thank you to Roxanne for visiting with us today at Novel Thoughts! 🙂

For a chance to win EDGE OF SIGHT, just leave a comment answering Roxanne’s question. Good luck!

 

Read Full Post »

Katie Long was supposed to be undercover. She was just supposed to watch Deputy Prosecutor Eric Kimura at his ex’s wedding and gather intel on his campaign for prosecutor. But he’s a lot hotter in person, and the kind of intel they accidentally shared in the hotel bathroom might lose both of them their jobs. Especially since it seems to be a recurring incident. Is it possible for a one-night stand to last ten days?

Kimura isn’t usually the impulsive type. He’s driven, he’s ambitious, and he knows what he wants—a respectable future in Hawaii politics. Which means wild half-public sex with a beautiful stranger in a short little caterer’s skirt is just tabloid fodder waiting to happen. Conveniently, just as his campaign is coming under attack. Sabotage, media gossip, and an insatiable desire for a woman he just met? If he’s not careful, Counselor Kimura might lose all control…

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

Thank you so much for letting me stop by today and talk about my newest release, IMPULSIVE.  I’m very excited about this book.  It’s the fifth book I’ve written that’s set in Hawaii.  Specifically, this one follows a straight-laced prosecutor, Eric Kimura, and the wild child heroine who brings a little fun back into this life, Katie Long.

Eric is one of those heroes I never intended to write.  He was a secondary character in my previous single title contemporary, HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO.  I intended for him to play a small role – really small – and never be seen again.  But as I wrote, Eric’s role grew.  He was the ex-boyfriend of the heroine in that book.  Not the typical romance novel jerky, two-timing ex, but a decent guy.  By the end of the book, I knew Eric needed a happy ending.

Writing his story created a new problem.  See, Eric is an only child of Japanese parents who grew up in Hawaii.  My real-life husband is an attorney, an only child of Japanese parents who grew up in Hawaii…in other words, a bit too close to Eric in outside terms.  I don’t know about you, but the idea of writing a romance starring someone like my husband and having him end up with someone other than me…well, that was not going to happen.  I wanted fiction!  So, for the first time while writing a story, I depended on some visual aids to keep the focus on Eric, my non-husband.

First, I wanted to get the sense of what he looked like stuck in my head.  Actor Abe Hiroshi helped with that one.  I found this photo and thought – that’s him!  He’s handsome, put-together, commanding…and did I mention handsome?  The fact he’s wearing a suit helps.  Gives him that lawyer look I was hunting for.

Coming up with visual queues for some of the scenes in IMPULSIVE was not hard either.  Many I had from my photo collection here at home.  My in-laws live there and we visit often.  How lucky am I?  This intimate knowledge let me pick out some of my favorite spots form memory and highlight them.  For example, there is a scene where Eric is at a memorial service for his grandmother.  It takes place at a temple.  I modeled my temple on the real Byodo-In Temple.  It’s in the middle of a park and just gorgeous.  For those who watched the tv show Lost, you may recognize it from flashbacks as the site where Sun and Jin got married.

 

While Eric lives in downtown Honolulu to be close to the office, his parents live in a different part of the island.  The same part where my hubby grew up.  Honestly, I picked the area because it’s one of my favorite on Oahu.  Kailua is far from the tourist crowds.  You drive through the majestic Ko-olau mountains to get there.  And if you drive a little farther, you’ll get to my favorite ocean watching spot, Lanikai Beach.

So, while the book is pure fiction, the beauty of Hawaii is not.  I wanted to capture a bit of it in my mind and then get it on the page.  I hope I did that and I hope you’ll check out IMPULSIVE.

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

Two readers will win a copy of HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO, the book where we first meet Eric. Leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing. Good luck 🙂

Also, a big thank you to HelenKay for joining us today! To find out more about HelenKay, please visit her website at www.helenkaydimon.com.

Read Full Post »

TARNISHED KNIGHT by Shiloh Walker
Read An Excerpt Online
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-1-60928-231-8
Length: Category
Price: 4.50
Publication Date: October 26, 2010
Cover art by Scott Carpenter

The mind forgets, but the body remembers. Everything.

Grimm’s Circle, Book 4

One look at Jack Wallace and Perci knows he’s going to be trouble. Even surrounded by soul stealers, he’s a one-man wrecking crew. What does he need Grimm training for? He’s already hell on earth, a warrior bent on destruction. And something…more.

He’s too strong and fast to be a mere mortal. Even covered in blood, he makes her forget she’s only here to do a job and get out. It’s twisted. Sick. She hasn’t felt this alive in three centuries.

Born with a natural talent for killing unnatural things, Jack has always known things he shouldn’t. The fact that Perci is one of them glows all over her. Giving him an unholy urge to see just how far he can push her before don’t touch me melts into touch me there.

When they come together, it isn’t careful or cautious. It’s heaven and hell, exposing all their raw and wounded places to healing heat, resurrecting memories of a destined love from the distant past. But the evil that destroyed them once before has tracked them here, threatening their second and last chance at forever. Demanding a sacrifice no one—Grimm or human—should ever be asked to make…

Warning: Dark, sexy, a little bit scary—this fairy tale is only for grownups and is best saved for bedtime.

Read Full Post »

Their love could bring the most potent pleasure—or the darkest nightmare.

A danger to both the human and shadow communities, Petra Lang is cursed never to love. For one touch of her skin unleashes the vilest demons imaginable. Sentenced to death by the shadow authorities, who fear she’ll turn her curse against them, Petra is rescued at the last instant by vampire advocate Nicholas Montegue. As their bodies merge and transform into mist, Petra feels an urgent erotic longing.

Nicholas fought long and hard to save Petra—and nearly paid the ultimate price. He risked his own life to spare hers, yet he knows he can never give in to the explosive attraction he feels for her. But the deep yearning they share can only be deferred for so long. Together, they must find a way to lift the curse. For only a love this strong has the power to overcome such monstrous evil.

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

Halloween is just around the corner!  It’s one of my favorite holidays, and this year, I’m enjoying it even more—we’re decorating like fiends, planning costumes for the kids, checking out local haunted houses, reading horror novels.  And, yes, watching lots of scary movies.

I recently read Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart, which is the novel upon which the movie Hellraiser is based.  And, of course, afterward I wanted to watch the movie, too, not only because it’s so very Halloween-y, but also to see how the adaptation was done (Barker wrote the script and directed the movie).  Bottom line—it’s a classic.  And while by today’s standards some of the things done in that movie might be considered tame, at the time, as Barker said in the accompanying documentary, it really pushed the envelope and broke through boundaries that had been set up in horror, both books and movies.

I liked what he said about pushing past boundaries, not only because I thought it was wise and interesting, but because I was searching for something to blog about today, and it clicked with me.  Because I’ve been pushing past personal boundaries with my Shadow Keepers series, going darker and edgier than I have with my previous Julie Kenner books, working to create stories that are compelling and suck the reader into the world.  I hope the awesome endorsements from authors I admire like Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, Lara Adrian and Gena Showalter, along with wonderful fan feedback, is some indication that I succeeded.  With the third book in the series that’s just hitting shelves, When Wicked Craves, I took a new approach to personal boundaries:  writing a love story between two people who can’t touch.  That’s not just a sexual thing, either, because as a relationship between two people grows, touch pushes it on and keeps it warm.  The brush of fingertips, then pushing back of a loose strand of hair.  Touch is a human connector, and although my characters may not be entirely human (a vampire and a human, albeit a witch), their hearts are, and as their relationship grew the inability to touch weighed upon them.

It weighed on Petra her whole life, the only exception to the curse being a very rare blue moon.  And I spent a great deal of time working with her character, finding a balance between the reality of someone forced to live without contact with other living creatures, but still making her appealing.  She could end up a shrew—instead, she’s one of my favorite heroines, spunky and appealing, and while not happy with her lot in life, she’s not sitting around bemoaning fate.  She’s out trying to find a cure.  And it’s that determination that thrusts her into the dangerous world of the Shadow Keepers.

Here’s an excerpt.  I hope you enjoy!

~~~*~~~*~~~

Her middle came back first, then her lungs, and she gasped in air, suddenly starved for oxygen.  Her arms and legs came next, and although she was aware that she was being put back together, it didn’t seem strange.  Probably because she’d never actually felt like she was apart.
She had no idea how much time had passed, and the small, windowless room gave her no additional information.
In front of her, Nicholas pulled off his hood, wincing as the movement irritated the knife wound in his chest.
“You’re bleeding.  Do you need…you know…to feed?”  As a private investigator in the shadow world, she’d worked with vampires for years, but that didn’t mean she understood the various ins-and-outs of their nature.  All she knew for sure was that he wouldn’t try to feed off of her–wouldn’t pull her close and press his lips to her neck.  Not unless he wanted to become the monster.
He didn’t even glance down at his wound.  “I’ll live.  How are you doing?  The mist can be disorienting for a human.”
The mist.  She remembered, except it wasn’t a memory so much as a dream, something wispy and unreal and utterly provocative.
They’d been twined together, body to body, blood to blood.  The only time her body–albeit not her flesh–had ever touched anyone other than her brother, and even with him she’d only held hands, and the pleasure of contact had been overshadowed by the torment of the blue moon.
Try as she might, she couldn’t recall anything specific about the contact with Nicholas, only the hint of sensation upon a breath of memory.  Her essence remembered, though, and the heat that coursed through her made her wish all the more that she’d been aware throughout the transformation.
“Petra?”
“I’m fine.  A little fuzzy,” she added, the lie meant to cover the burst of unfamiliar sensations.
“I apologize.  It’s not the ideal way for a human to travel.”
“You got me out of there.  I’m hardly going to question your methods.”
She squinted at him, suddenly intrigued by Nicholas as a man, and not merely an advocate.  For more than a month she’d met regularly with him as he’d briefed her case.  She’d noticed his good looks, because how could you not, and she’d been impressed by how damn smart he was.  But she’d never thought about what it would be like to touch him.  What would be the point?
Her life was her life, and she’d learned to live with it.  Having to go grocery shopping in the middle of the night when the crowds were thin.  Avoiding opening night at the movies.  The unyielding precautions, the constant awareness that even a gentle caress was impossible.  All part of the parcel that made up her life.
Most of the time she didn’t mind it.  Didn’t even think about it, really, except sometimes late at night, when she couldn’t sleep, and the dark stretched out in front of her.  That was when she wondered what it would be like to share her life with someone else, someone other than her brother.  Someone who’d chosen to be with her.  Who loved her.
Someone who could touch her, and whom she could touch back.
On those nights, she’d hug her pillow tight and think about what she did have.  A brother who loved her.  A house with a flower garden.  A job she was good at.
And a long list of sorcerers and witches to track down one by one, with the fervent hope that one could remove her curse.  Fight magic with magic.   Bury it.  Hide it.  Change it.  She didn’t care, as long as she was free of it.
So far, she’d found no one with magic strong enough to change her.
Until she did, she wouldn’t think about men.  What was the point?
That had been her creed since puberty–and although she sounded like a commercial for a fish without a bicycle philosophy, it really was the truth.  Men weren’t on her radar.  She hadn’t let them be on her radar.
Apparently today her radar had decided to fight back.
The mist.  The twining had awakened something in her, and she didn’t know how to shut down what was now churning inside her.  Honestly, she wasn’t sure she wanted to.
“Lie down,” he said, his brow knit with concern as he examined her face.  “You’re still disoriented from the poison and the transformation.”
She shook her head, determined to find her center.  “No.  I’m good.”  She lifted her eyes to meet his, felt a small shift in her gut, and pushed past it.  “Where are we?”
“Safe,” he said.  “Right now, that’s all you need to know.”
“Excuse me?”  Irritation bubbled inside, and she urged it on.  Annoyance and anger were familiar and easily handled.  “I’m happy to be alive, don’t get me wrong, but how do I know I didn’t just go from being their prisoner to being yours?”
“You’re not my prisoner,” he said.
“Fine. Then talk.”  There were about eight bazillion things she needed to know, not the least of which was how she was supposed to live once the entire weight of the Alliance pressed down on her.  Because they would come after her.  The Shadow world did not sit idly by after it was screwed.  And Nicholas Montegue and Petra Lang had just screwed them big time.  “At least let me get in touch with my brother.  Everything else can wait.”  It was a simple request, and one she expected he’d grant easily.
He didn’t.
“Later.”  He nodded toward a cot that stood in the corner, a blanket folded neatly on top.  “I need to see to things.  Wait here.”
“I don’t think so.” She moved forward, intending to get past him, to get out of this tiny little room that was only slightly less claustrophobic than the holding cell she’d so recently been occupying.
He reached for her, and she jerked away instinctively, realizing as she did that his hands were still gloved, and she was still covered head-to-toe in the prison issued body suit.
“Dammit,” she said, that stupid, knee-jerk reaction twisting her up inside more than it should.  But it wasn’t just the fact that she’d flinched.  It had been one long, horrible, emotionally trying day, which even though it ended up pretty damn awesome in that she was still alive, was still freaky enough to mess with her head.
Yes, she was beyond thrilled to have been rescued, but she wasn’t a woman who hid in dark rooms, and she sure as hell didn’t want to be someone else’s burden.  She’d played that role her whole life, too, and although she knew that Kiril loved her, the fact that their grandmother had bound her twin to her–made him her protector until the curse was lifted–troubled her more than she had ever confessed to him.
She drew a breath, steadied herself, and decided to try the fly and honey approach.  “You could have told me, you know.  Doesn’t seem fair I spent all of last night thinking that I’d be pushing up daisies right about now.”  She meant the words, but she said them with a smile and a lilt to her voice.  No accusation there.  Just friendly and chatty.  She knew how to charm.  It was one of the reasons she was good at her job.
“If I’d told you, they would have changed execution theaters at the very least.  Worst case scenario they would have pumped poison into your holding cell. As soon as the Truth Teller latched onto even a hint of trouble, you’d be dead, and this would be all over.”
“And what is this exactly?”
“Sergius.”
She frowned, thinking of the vampire she’d destroyed.  “What about him?”
“He’s alive.”
The hair on the back of her neck prickled, and she sat gingerly on the edge of the cot.  “Oh, dear God.”  She drew in a breath, her thoughts a wild rush.  “But how?  There was a fire.  I heard all about it.  The ME confirmed that Serge died in a warehouse fire.”
“Staged,” Nicholas said.  “Luke and I took some of his flesh and we burned the place.  He’s here, Petra.  But he’s not really Serge anymore.”
She swallowed.  “You saved me because you’re looking for a cure.”
“A rose for the lady.”
She drew her fingers through her hair and concentrated on the floor.  “But I already told you during the hearing prep that I don’t know how to lift the curse.  Hell, I told him the same thing before I touched him.”
Her words were absolutely, one-hundred percent true.  But what she didn’t say was equally true.  She might not know how to lift the curse and free her to touch without harm, but she did know how to cure Sergius.
Sergius would be free the moment that she was dead.
But no way in hell was she telling Nicholas that.  He might have the face of an angel, but at the core he was a vampire.  And a vampire wouldn’t think twice about killing to get what he wanted.
She stifled a shiver, then looked up to meet his eyes.  “There’s no way, Nicholas.  I’m sorry, but there’s just no way.”
“I refuse to believe that,” he said.  “As should you.”  He took a step toward her, and she forced herself not to recede.  “Think about it.  I was born more than seven centuries ago.  You escaped death after your body dissipated into mist.  And once upon a time, men without so much as a compass climbed into small wooden boats and sailed across oceans.  We’ll find the answer, Petra.”

~~~*~~~*~~~

I hope you enjoy!  Learn more or just hang out at www.theshadowkeepers.com, www.jkbeck.com, www.twitter.com/jkbeck or http://www.facebook.com/authorjkbeck

So how about y’all?  What would you miss the most if you couldn’t touch another human?

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

A big thank you to J.K. Beck for visiting with us today. To be entered to win a copy of WHEN WICKED CRAVES, just leave a comment answering the above question. Good luck! 😀

Read Full Post »

WOLF TRACKS

Score one for the under dog…er…wolf.

TJ Lynus is a legend in Granite Lake, both for his easygoing demeanor—and his clumsiness. His carefree acceptance of his lot vanishes, though, when his position as best man brings him face to face with someone he didn’t expect. His mate. His very human mate. Suddenly, one thing is crystal clear: if he intends to claim her, his usual laid-back attitude isn’t going to cut it.

After fulfilling her maid-of-honor duties, Pam Quinn has just enough time for a Yukon wilderness trip before returning south. The instant attraction between her and TJ tempts her to indulge in some Northern Delight, but when he drops the F-bomb—“forever”—she has second thoughts. In her world, true love is a fairytale that seldom, if ever, comes true.

Okay, so maybe staging a kidnapping wasn’t TJ’s best idea, but at least Pam has the good humour to agree to his deal. He’ll give her all the northern exposure she can stand—and she won’t break his kneecaps.

Now to convince her that fairytales can remake her world—and that forever is worth fighting for.

By popular demand: Clumsy sidekick wolf grows up, sarcasm reigns, and the wilderness gets wilder. Includes hot nookie in places you expect—like a remote cabin—and places you don’t.

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

Psst—there are no spoilers in this blog post. End of the book readers—you don’t have to worry, ALL my books have a HEA—guaranteed. So I’m not saying anything you shouldn’t already know. I promise I’ll never pull a Nicholas Sparks on you… 😉

The Granite Lake Wolves series started from a personal adventure. While living in the Yukon, my husband and I took our family to a remote cabin for a winter vacation, and a year later when I was thinking a good place to set my story, Granite Lake cabin was the obvious choice.

But the whole of writing is a balance between reality and fantasy. While there is a Granite Lake, a Haines Junction, and even a Diamond Tooth Gerdie’s in the North, there is also a ton of room for imagination.

Which is why paranormals are so much fun. I’ve got the amazing setting, the places that I’ve seen that I can describe to readers, to share a bit of the beauty of the North. But the rules? Oh, so much fun to play with!

And the hero of Wolf Tracks makes breaking the rules even better. TJ is NOT a hulking A-asshole domineering-alpha type. He’s the clumsy, out-spoken, mistake-making sidekick from the early books who just wouldn’t stop until I found him a mate.

And she’s perfect for him.

Does Pam make him lose all his clumsiness? Does he stop spitting out everything he thinks of? Of course not. Because the best combination between partners happens when our strengths build each other up, and help us maneuver around our failings.

Of all four of the relationships between heroes/heroines in the Granite Lake books, I probably love TJ and Pam’s the best. Partly because they still have unanswered questions—and I’m hoping to find out down the road some of the choices they make. And the other part I love? They choose to be together, and no matter that the ‘rules’ of wolves say mating is forever, I think it’s still a conscious choice.

And forever is something I want in my life, even if my ‘mate’ never turns furry.

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

A big thank you to Vivian Arend for joining us today. To find out more about Vivian and her books, please visit her website at www.vivianarend.com.

Vivian is also doing a giveaway today. Two winners will each get the first three books of the Granite Lake Wolves series. To be entered in the drawing, just leave a comment below. How do you feel about non-alpha heroes?

Read Full Post »

 

Susan and chey

each wins a copy of THE MAKING OF A GENTLEMAN by Shana Galen

*

cories5

wins a digital copy of SHAKEN by Dee Tenorio

*

Linda B and Tracey D

each wins  a copy of IN THE ARMS OF MR. DARCY by Sharon Lathan

*

Amy Kathryn

wins a digital ARC of SECOND CHANCES  by Lauren Dane

*

Deanna and Cherie J.

each wins a copy of MR. DARCY’S OBSESSION by Abigail Reynolds

*

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

Read Full Post »

Fatin and I have both been neglectful fangirls lately.  The covers for two of the books I’ve been most anticipating were released more than a week ago and I haven’t shared yet!

Taken By Fire by Sydney Croft

June 2011


HIS MISSION WAS TO TAKE HER OUT.

BUT DESIRE GOT IN THE WAY.

A product of genetic manipulation, Melanie Milan shares a body with her malevolent sister Phoebe. A sleek, blonde predator with a heart of pure darkness, Phoebe puts their body through the wicked underbelly of sex for thrills—when she’s not igniting her pyrokinetic skills for an evil organization bent on taking over the world. Melanie rarely gets out to play—much less fall in love. But that changes when rival ARCO agent Stryker Wills shows up, with a mission to take out the woman who torched his partner.

An operative with rare abilities, Stryker soon realizes that the woman he’s about to kill isn’t the murderous fire starter he’s hunting. But he does want her. Melanie, with the power to ice anything in her path, is heating things up in ways that are setting his blood on fire. As long as Melanie stays in control, she is his best ally to bring down her sister and stop hellish havoc from being unleashed. Walking a tightrope of longing and hate, Stryker and Melanie begin to understand that true power lies in sweet surrender to each other, to the fire between them, to the erotic adventure that’s joined their hearts and abilities to become their salvation—and perhaps the world’s.

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

In The Air Tonight by Stephanie Tyler

Shadow Force Book 3

August 2011

(There isn’t a back cover copy yet but holy smokes, look at those eyes! *drool*)

Read Full Post »

Yes, I’m guilty of being in love with Mr. Darcy.  Always have been and always will be.  So it’s not too surprising that when I finally moved from reading romance to writing it, Mr. Darcy would be my hero.  Nothing too unusual about that; I could point out dozens of books where Mr. Darcy is the hero, masquerading under a different name.  Rich, handsome, proud, ill-mannered on occasion, silent in crowds, passionately and devotedly in love with his lady, who is as witty, intelligent and spirited as Elizabeth Bennet.  Sound familiar?

I take it a step farther.  I don’t call him by a different name.  I’m very upfront about what I’m doing–I’m rewriting Pride and Prejudice.  I take Jane Austen’s original story and characters and I give the plotline a twist, then I see what happens.  In my latest, Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, the twist is that Mr. Bennet dies before Darcy first proposes to Elizabeth, causing her social status to plummet as she becomes dependent on the charity of relatives.  Darcy is still fascinated and enthralled by her, but now it’s really out of the question to marry her, or so it seems.

Along the way, I add in some original characters – the wicked uncle, the charming street urchin, the innocent girl snatched from a terrible fate – as well as following along with the ones Jane Austen invented.  Essentially, I take her characters and I turn them into a new book, for no better reason than that I can’t get enough of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and Jane Austen only saw fit to write one book about him.  What on earth was she thinking?

Writing Pride and Prejudice variations has its advantages.  Readers seem to love returning to a familiar world with familiar characters, which is why series are so appealing.  It’s easier to slip into a world you know.  And there are plenty of folks out there who are happy to read anything that has Mr. Darcy in it, so there’s a built-in audience.

But there are disadvantages, too.  If I took my book and changed Darcy and Elizabeth to Lord Pemberley and Lady Elisabeth, no one would think twice if, for example, they had premarital sex. If for some reason the reader didn’t like it, they’d skip over that part.  But if the name is Darcy, a goodly portion of the world is horrified that I’d ever conceive of such a thing (the other goodly portion of the world, of course, is horrified if I write a book where they don’t  have premarital sex).  Readers invest the name Darcy with almost holy power, and heaven protect the author who has a different view of him!   It’s a continual astonishment to me that readers who tell me they adore Mary Balogh’s regencies, which seem to always have spontaneous premarital sex, and then take me to task for doing the same thing!

So a Mr. Darcy by any other name may not smell as sweet, even if all other factors are equal.  What about you?  Do you have different expectations for novels set in Austen’s world versus standard Regency romances?

MR. DARCY’S OBSESSION BY ABIGAIL REYNOLDS—IN STORES OCTOBER 2010
The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows…

“[Reynolds] has creatively blended a classic love story with a saucy romance novel.” —Austenprose

“Developed so well that it made the age-old storyline new and fresh…Her writing gripped my attention and did not let go.”—The Romance Studio

“The style and wit of Ms. Austen are compellingly replicated…spellbinding. Kudos to Ms. Reynolds!” —A Reader’s Respite

In this Pride and Prejudice variation, Elizabeth is called away before Darcy proposes for the first time and Darcy decides to find a more suitable wife. But when Darcy encounters Elizabeth living in London after the death of her father, he can’t fight his desire to see and speak with her again…and again and again. But now that her circumstances have made her even more unsuitable, will Darcy be able to let go of all his long held pride to marry a woman who, though she is beneath his station, is the only woman capable of winning his heart?

About the Author

Abigail Reynolds is a physician and a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She began writing the Pride and Prejudice Variations series in 2001, and encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking “What if…?” She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit http://www.pemberleyvariations.com/ or http://www.austenauthors.com/.

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

Thank you Abigail for visiting with us today at Novel Thoughts!

Two readers will win a copy of MR. DARCY’S OBSESSION. To be entered, just leave a comment below answering Abigail’s question (U.S. and Canada only). Good luck! 😀

Read Full Post »

Available October 25, 2010

Ten years ago, Rori Simon left town shy, unattractive and with zero self-esteem. Now she’s back, older, stronger and finally loving herself—and it shows. Hot men are soon knocking at her door, including Jude Callahan, the bad boy who starred in her teenage daydreams…and her adult fantasies.

Jude can’t believe the sexy, confident woman before him is actually Rori! She’s gotten under his skin like no other woman has…and brings out secret desires he can’t resist. He wants to dominate Rori with every fiber of his being. Wants to own her and pleasure her. To cherish her as he makes her his.

Rori discovers she likes being controlled. She also knows Jude is not a one-woman man. Everything changes when she meets Zach Helm. Edgy, sensual Zach knows just what she needs, and before long, she’s in love. Jude watches them together and wonders if he’s lost his chance forever…

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

Second Chances is an unexpected book. By that I mean when I started to write it, I had a completely different idea, a woman who’d been widowed before the book opens, she’d be pregnant and coming back home and that’s when she’d fall in love with the hero, her childhood crush.

This is NOT how the book ended up, by the way. As I started to write it, I didn’t want to make Rori that character. So I started to write it and let it just go wherever it wanted.

The next time I did this Laid Bare ended up as a ménage, LOL.  Sometimes a writer has to give free rein to her ideas and others she needs to buckle down, slap back the white noise of all those shiny side streets a book can turn down and stay focused.  It’s hard to know the difference and over the years I’ve come to accept there are no hard and fast rules about when to just let your story run amok. It just *feels* like the way to go I guess.

In any case, Second Chances is at its heart, a book about love and connection, a book about finding the person who knows you better. It’s about family and friends and coming back to a past that may not be as bad as you remember it.

It’s hard to talk about the book without spoiling it, but Second Chances is NOT a ménage book. There are two heroes and this isn’t a love triangle either. The challenge with the book was in writing two heroes and giving them both enough page time to have them be real and relatable in their own way. As Rori falls for Zach and Jude, I wanted the  reader to see why. When the book ends, I want the reader to be okay with Rori’s choices, to understand why and where she’s at.

This is the first revision I’ve done of an older title and while it was a big job to get in there and revise, smooth out those new writer things where I saw them (everywhere) and to have the ability to flesh out parts of the story I have thought about over the years.  It was a great way for me to see how far I’ve come and yet still able to stand behind a story I believe in.

I wanted to write a story about someone’s life, a life filled with joy and pain. A story about finding that right person – more than once and how you go about moving on and living your life even as you experience things you’ll never completely get over.

In the end, I’m thrilled with Second Chances, even if it did make me cry a few times as I wrote it. I hope readers will be too!

How about a digital ARC of SECOND CHANCES to one winner?

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

A big thank you to Lauren for joining us today! To learn more about Lauren and her books, visit her website here. And don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win SECOND CHANCES. Good luck! 😀

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »