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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saturday Sampler - First Take by Emma Lai




First Take (Star-Taken, Book 1) Blurb:
When Rachel Harrington meets action star Stephen Raymond while treating herself to a movie, she seizes the chance to fulfill a birthday wish—a date with the handsome hero. After an amazing night, unsurprisingly, she wakes alone. A phone call from her mom that her dad is in the hospital has her filing the fantasy date away to face reality.

Upon arriving in her hometown, she finds an ex looking to make her his future wife, her dad facing open-heart surgery, and her brother suffering from personal woes he won’t share. But there’s a haven in Stephen’s unexpected call, and then in his sometimes very naughty texts, emails, and video chats. A surprise visit tumbles her head over heels into love.

But the cameras in her face every time she steps outside her door could be a show stopper. Is everyone she meets only out for a story?

Will a confession from Stephen convince her to take the fall, or will Rachel let her fears ground her?

First Take is available at  Amazon | All Romance Ebooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Excerpt:

She blew out a breath, which ruffled her new bangs. She liked the sensation so much, she did it again. Flirty is fun. Maybe I should flirt with this guy. It’s not as if I’ll see him again. She walked down the row then paused at the steps. Without bothering to see if he’d followed, she tossed over her shoulder, “I plan on stepping out onto the street and seeing what trouble I can find.” With a bounce in each step, she took the stairs.

“So you like trouble?”

She smiled. His voice, husky and deep, was close, and the bulk from his body was enough for her to know he was a step behind her. Men are so easy. “Sometimes, but most especially on my birthday.”

“Happy birthday, but what are you doing alone?”

“Leaving myself open to possibilities.” The light from the hallway shone through the window of the door leading to the snack area. It was time to move on to the next phase of her special day, which didn’t include a tag-along. Using her shoulder, she pushed through the heavy door then turned, holding the wood with her hand. Her heart stilled and her breath froze. Oh. My. God. She’d just spent the past two and a half hours staring at that face on the big screen! Stephen Raymond.

She blinked hard. Same rounded cheeks. Same nose that had been broken one too many times. Same full lips. Same sculpted jaw. It couldn’t possibly be, but it soooo was. Embarrassment battled with excitement. Both left her hot and bothered. While she’d humored him, she’d also been annoyed at his presence, but now all she wanted to do was grab him by the shoulders and demand he kiss her like he had the leading lady. She fisted her hands and resisted the urge.
 
Author Bio:

Emma Lai likes nothing more than a challenge. First, she tackled the male-dominated field of engineering. Next, she expanded her understanding of the world by studying international relations. Finally, her husband dared her to use her experience and knowledge and devote herself to writing. She accepted his challenge and has been writing ever since.

Writing keeps Emma sane. Her characters demand their stories be told and nag her incessantly until she complies. The characters are very insistent about her remaining faithful to their individual adventures. As a result, Emma writes a range of genres and levels of heat. She never knows what the next set of characters will demand!


Friday, November 29, 2013

'Tis the Season To Be Kissed by Amy Andrews







  • Genre: Contemporary Romantic Novella
  • Length: 70 pages
  • Release Date: November 2013
  • ISBN: 978-1-62266-357-6
  • Imprint: Indulgence
 A down-on-her-romantic-luck kindergarten teacher plans to drown her New Year’s Eve sorrows in a gallon of spiked eggnog, but the arrival of her best friend’s sexy brother threatens to melt the snow piling up outside the tiny Vermont cabin.

Excerpt:

Sergeant Luke Jackson had gone straight into combat mode at the sound of the blood-curdling banshee yell, and it took several seconds for the adrenaline spike to release him from its grip long enough to compute the fact that there was no danger. He had no idea who was beneath him, but the landing had been too soft to register it as a threat.

Still holding firm to the attacker’s splayed wrists, his father’s old putter discarded and well out of reach, he looked down into stormy gray eyes. He may only have been able to see an oval cut-out of her face from the confines of the hood she had pulled tight around her head, but it was definitely a woman. No man owned such delicate bone structure and had a nose as cute as that.

“What the hell?” he demanded back at the woman moving ineffectually underneath him. He’d just trudged two miles through a freaking blizzard from the bus depot to be greeted like this?

“Get off me right now you…giant…ass!”

“Who the hell are you?”

The woman stopped struggling and glared at him. “Hey buddy, this is my house. I get to ask the questions and you”—she struggled some more—“are”—more interesting squirming, shoving, and pushing—“squashing me!”

Luke pushed away immediately and stood towering over her. She looked like a felled Eskimo in full winter regalia. “Ma’am, I don’t know who you are, but I think you’ll find that this is my house.”

She gave him an indignant look as she lay there waving her arms and legs like a stranded beetle. “While I appreciate your manners,” the beetle with the elfin nose and pixie cheekbones said, “I’ll have you know that this cabin belongs to the Jackson family.”

Luke nodded. “Yes. Edward and Sophie. My parents. I’m Luke. Luke Jackson.”

He offered her his hand to help her up, fearing that with all those clothes thwarting her attempts she would never make it unaided.

The angry pixie’s eyebrows knitted together as she glared up at him, but reached her mittened hand for his anyway. “Nice try. Luke Jackson is in Afghanistan and I think impersonating a US soldier on active duty is”—she paused as Luke pulled her to her feet—“beneath contempt.”

Luke didn’t bother to look at the portrait of him and Georgia that he knew hung on the wall to his right. He just jerked his thumb toward it and waited patiently for the penny to drop. The woman blinked at the picture as if she was having trouble seeing it. She peered at him, then back at the wall, then back at him, squinting and scrutinizing it carefully, as if she’d been asked to pick him out of a lineup.

The picture had been taken a few years back on his return from his first tour to Afghanistan, but he hadn’t changed that much.

Not anywhere that was visible, anyway.

And then he heard her gasp and watched as her face fell. Yep. Now she was with the program.
“Oh God,” she groaned as she lurched away, heading for the low table next to the couch, picking up a glass, and taking a hefty swig before facing him again. “I’m so, so sorry. I thought you were a looter…or a burglar…or at the very least up to no good. I didn’t know you were home. Georgia was so disappointed you were going to miss her thirtieth birthday party and if I had known, I would never have yelled and attacked you with a golf club. I teach kindergarten…we use our inside voices, we keep our hands to ourselves…”

Luke folded his arms across his chest, amused at the horror on her face. She obviously wasn’t a violent person. Which only made her actions at defending his family cabin that much more endearing. “You’re Tamara, aren’t you?”

The pixie raised her glass in salute. “That would be me.”

“Pleased to meet, you ma’am,” he said.

She nodded then stopped abruptly. “Wait.” She frowned. “How do you know about me? Georgia and I haven’t known each other that long.”

He shrugged, noting the way her gaze traveled over the contours of his shoulders. Interesting. “Georgia writes a lot of newsy e-mails.”

“Ah,” she said and swayed a little.

Luke reached out a hand. “Ma’am?” he asked, looking at her a little closer. Pink cheeks. Red nose. Unsteady on her feet. A waft of …eggnog?  “Are you…drunk?”


'Tis the Season To Be Kissed is available at  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | iTunes


Amy Andrews is an award-winning, best-selling Aussie author who has written thirty + contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets. She has written for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Entangled, Harper Collins and Momentum.
To date she’s sold over a million books and been translated into thirteen different languages including manga.She loves her kids, her husband, her dogs, cowboys, men in tool belts, cowboys in tool belts and happily ever afters. Please, DO NOT mess with the HEA! Also good books, fab food, great wine and frequent travel – preferably all four together.
She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany.

 Amy’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY
 One e-Book Copy of Taming the Tycoon by Amy Andrews


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Meet Marilyn Baron

Welcome multi-talented author Marilyn Baron. Marilyn writes suspense/thrillers and comedy. 

Marilyn, please tell us about yourself.



I’m a Public Relations consultant in Atlanta, Georgia, and a member of Georgia Romance Writers. I’ve been writing since I was in the fourth grade. I have a degree in Journalism from the University of Florida with a major in Public Relations and a minor in Creative Writing. I worked in corporate public relations for AT&T and then for a variety of clients in my own public relations business.  


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  

Read. I’m never without a book. I read while I’m watching TV, standing in line at the post office, at the doctor’s office, at the dinner table and right before I go to bed.

What does your family think of your writing? 

 I think they’re proud of me. My two daughters are my greatest fans, which I love, because I raised them to believe they could accomplish anything and they both have fulfilling careers. One of my sisters always prefaces our telephone conversation with a warning: “This better not end up in your novel.” The other one, who is my occasional writing partner, got me a sweatshirt that says, “Careful or you’ll end up in my novel.”
I have used funny stories my girls have told me in my books so they know to be careful what they say around me. My husband will only read books about spies and World War II so I had to write one that was set in World War II Bermuda so he would read it. It’s called Under the Moon Gate.  

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? 

To date, I’ve published three full-length novels with The Wild Rose Press [Under the Moon Gate, a historical/romantic thriller set in contemporary and WWII Bermuda; Significant Others, a humorous women’s fiction set at a retirement home in Boca Raton, Florida; and Sixth Sense, a psychic suspense novel, Book I of the Psychic Crystal Mystery series]. The Wild Rose Press [TWRP] has also published the prequel to Under the Moon Gate, called Destiny: A Bermuda Love Story.  I’m now in edits with TWRP on the second in the Psychic Crystal Mystery series called “Homecoming Homicides,” which will come out in 2014. I’m working on Book III of the series and a new women’s fiction, which I’m excited about.

My sister Sharon, a Florida artist, and I have coauthored a short comedic mystery called Murder at the Outlet Mall (Things get deadly when three women come to blows over a single Coach bag at the St. Augustine Premium Outlets®); a humorous women’s fiction with elements of murder, mystery and romance, also set in Florida, called The Edger; and we’ve just released a new musical called Memory Lane about Alzheimer’s that takes a light-hearted, but poignant, look at this global epidemic.    

In addition, I’ve published four humorous supernatural e-short stories with TWB press about angels and devils, love and death, weddings and funerals.  Happy endings guaranteed. So far, my favorite novel is Under the Moon Gate. I also love Significant Others, which is a great holiday story.   

Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...? 

I always start with a title that I love, write the back cover blurb or develop the concept, then start naming the characters. At that point, I start writing. I don’t plot, although my novels are plot driven. I’m pretty much of a pantser.

If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be? 

Finish the book. Learn your craft. Join a writing organization. Submit. Don’t ever give up on your dream. 

What are some jobs you’ve done that would end up in a book? 

I was an Information Specialist for the Florida Department of Offender Rehabilitation for a year. Basically I did PR for the state prison system. My first day on the job four inmates escaped from a women’s correctional institution. We had so many inmates in the state we had to house them in tents in a “tent city.” Also, I was a reservationist at the Downingtown Inn in Pennsylvania for the summer, which was just like living the movie Dirty Dancing. 

What two authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing? 

I read so many authors and genres, that’s a difficult question. In romance, I love anything by Nora Roberts, Amanda Quick or Sandra Brown. In the international thriller and espionage genre, I love Daniel Silva, Ben Coes and the late Vince Flynn. One of my favorites was The Book Thief, a young adult book, which was brilliant. And another YA book, The Fault in our Stars. Both are being made into movies.

Tell us about your latest book. 

 My latest book is called Sixth Sense. It’s considered a psychic suspense but it’s really a romantic suspense with paranormal elements. Book I in the series—called the Psychic Crystal Mysteries—deals with serial killers and a secret society of psychics, but it has romance and humor, which all of my books have. It is set in Atlanta, Sydney, Australia, and a fictional seaside community of psychics in Florida called Casa Spirito. 


Blurb for Significant Others
For Honey Palladino, the holidays have lost their magic. She is sure her husband is cheating on her. Her daughter plans to spend the time with a friend. Her widowed mother sees the image of Jesus in a live oak tree. As if that’s not enough, her mother is also talking about going on a Christmas cruise with some old geezer, without benefit of marriage. That would be right after she signs away the family business—the real estate agency Honey’s father built into a company worth millions, the job to which Honey has devoted her life.

At her mother’s condo in Boca Raton, Florida, many have recently lost a spouse and are now with “significant others,” and Honey is intrigued by the promise of new love even at an old age, but doubts she’ll ever find another significant other after her inevitable divorce. When her mother reunites with a lost love from years before, Honey is completely undone, but the “Jesus tree” puts into motion a series of holiday miracles. Discovering what’s important in life brings a message of hope for lovers of all ages.


Excerpt from Significant Others


“So, Mom,” I began casually, wondering how I would approach her, before I gave up the pretense of delicacy and succumbed to my habit of hurtling right to the point. “Donny says you saw Jesus in a live oak tree on the golf course at Millennium Gardens.”

“That’s right,” she answered, as if seeing Jesus was a normal, everyday occurrence. “I called Mrs. Kane from 401—she’s Catholic—and she came down to see it. She couldn’t actually see Jesus, but she said it reminded her of the time she saw the Shroud of Turin. Then she turned to me, crossed herself, and whispered, ‘Oh, Dee Dee, this is very important. You’re blessed.’ “Mrs. Kane thinks I should take a picture and sell it on eBay, like that woman who saw an image of The Virgin Mary on a potato chip, but I want to keep it quiet,” my mother whispered into the telephone.

“Well, then maybe you shouldn’t have told the town crier,” I couldn’t help pointing out.

“She promised not to tell anyone.”

“Let’s hope she doesn’t. You shouldn’t be spreading this around.” Until you’ve had a thorough
psychiatric workup.

 “Mrs. Rubin in 415 thinks the face in the tree looks more like a bearded rabbi carrying a Torah.”

Oh, so it was a non-denominational holy tree.

“Honey, did I mention that two of the tree branches overlap in the shape of a cross?”

“No, I don’t think so,” I said evenly. The situation was even worse than I thought. My mother was either going to have to convert or be institutionalized.

“If people find out, they’re going to be flocking here, especially at Christmastime,” my mother added. “I don’t want to start a riot or turn Millennium Gardens into a circus.”

Too late, Mom, it already is a circus.

In case you didn’t know, Millennium Gardens got its name from the approximate age of its 15,000 residents. Gardens was really a misnomer. Other than some broad-based palms scattered around the complex like an afterthought, the sparse pink hibiscus bushes and some less spectacular landscaping, the complex seemed more guard-like than garden-like. Practically every city in South Florida had its own version of Millennium Gardens. When my mother first saw the condo, she referred to the complex as “the barracks” because of its “Early American Army” architecture and the cookie-cutter four-story tan stucco and concrete block structures that stretched into infinity. Since then, she and “the barracks” had come to terms with one another. But it was still a love-hate relationship.
 
Significant Others is available at:


One last question, Marilyn. Where can readers find you?  

Readers can find me on my Web site at www.marilynbaron.com

Thanks for being here, Marilyn. It's been great getting to know more about you.