Historical Book Blast Friday: Romance on the High Seas

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book blast, so I am pleased to get back in the game with the new boxed set featuring my friend and NEORWA sister, Chloe Flowers. Just released, Romance on the High Seas is a fabulous collection of pirate stories by best-selling authors. Chloe will also give a pirate bandana and signed book to a randomly selected commenter. You can also win a Regal gift card so you can keep the pirate spirit alive with the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Dead Men Tell No Tales, which releases May 26.

ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS

The Pirate’s Debt by National Best-selling Author Katherine Bone: An earl-turned pirate is ordered by his benefactor to find an adventurous young runaway and return her home.To do so, he must retrieve her without being discovered by the most ruthless pirate hunter on the seas: her brother.

Dead Man’s Kiss by Award Winning Author Jennifer Bray-Weber: Eight weeks. That’s all pirate captain Valeryn Barone has to escort a tempting naturalist untouched across the Caribbean or face the gallows. Can he resist the beauty who’s fallen for him? Does a dead man walking even have a chance?

The Black Morass by USA Today Bestselling Author Barbara Devlin: In exchange for a chance at redemption and pardons for his crew, Jean Marc Cavalier accepts a pact that could result in liberty or death, if only he can survive the terms, but at least he will be free.

Pirate Heiress by Award Winning Author Chloe Flowers: Captain Conal O’Brien has already lost control of his ship to the most unlikely band of pirates sailing the seas. If he’s not careful, he’s going to lose his heart to a notorious lady pirate determined to destroy both.

My Lady Pirate by NY Times Bestselling Author Danelle Harmon: The sea delivers a handsome castaway to Pirate Queen Maeve Merrick’s island. But her handsome prisoner harbors secrets dark enough to change the fates of nations and threatens their new found love.

Captivated by the Captain by USA Today Bestselling Author Amanda Mariel: What happens when an American shipping company heiress crosses paths with a pirate? Can two people whose life paths are at odds find common ground?

Carried Away by Kamery Solomon: After falling through time and being forced to join a pirate crew, Mark Bell falls in love with his fellow time traveler, Samantha. She’s a woman he can’t have, though. Will their presence in the past alter the future they know and love?

To learn more about any of the authors and their stories, click on their names above or check out the High Seas Facebook page. And to buy Romance on the High Seas, visit these retailers:

Amazon * B&N * iBooks Kobo 

Although I’d love to post excerpts from all of them, this post would get crazy long. Since I know Chloe the best, I’ll post this delicious excerpt from Pirate Heiress:

Stevie swallowed and gripped the pistol handle more firmly. Her arm was beginning to tire from holding it for so long, but she didn’t dare lower it. The mountain of a man in the tub looked as if he could crush her head like a grape with one hand, and her young cousin’s with the other one. More often than not, she could look an average man straight in the eye. However, with this one, she doubted her head would reach his nose.

The man in the tub cocked his brows, then his eyes narrowed before sliding down to her soft doeskin boots and back up again. She should have stayed more in the shadows; she might have appeared a bit more intimidating that way.

“Relinquish your freedom and possessions,” she said, barely able to keep the tremor from her voice. Her gaze paused at the gold ring on the man’s finger. If they were going to become pirates, she might as well start acting like one. She took a deep breath and drew her shoulders back a little.

“Beginning with your ring,” she said, holding out her hand. The man’s jaw clenched and the knuckles gripping the tub’s edge whitened. What thoughts were flying around in his head? He was contemplating his chances of overpowering her and taking her pistol; she could see that in the way his gaze shifted back and forth between her and her cousin, Remi. If he had a weapon, and if it had been a one-on-one situation instead of one against two (with guns), he likely wouldn’t have paused to contemplate it this long. He would have defended himself by attacking them. And he’d have won. Even now, she sensed he was still calculating his odds.

She eased a step back, careful to keep her pistol well within a lethal range. “Please don’ t try it,” she said. “I’ d prefer to save my shot.” She was far from her cozy little room off the kitchens of her brother’s gaming house. Uncle Bernard had given her a brief lesson on managing a pistol, but it still terrified her to hold it.

His eyes widened and his brows raised in surprise. She’ d been right in her assumptions, then. She usually was. Her intuition annoyed her brothers no small amount, and they always avoided her when they wished their thoughts to remain…theirs. Only one of them could hide from her, but he was a gambler and so it was expected, otherwise he wouldn’t be a very good gambler, would he?

The man twisted the ring from his finger and tossed it to her. She caught it and placed it on the only finger it would fit—her thumb. “Get dressed,” she said, with as much authority as she could muster.

He slowly stood with the oily movement of a cat as he reached for a linen rag. Stevie felt her eyes widen. She was wrong. Very wrong. The top of her head would barely reach his chin, let alone his nose. Wide, thick shoulders took up most of the space in the galley. The muscles across his shoulders rippled as he moved. A long scar trailed from the top of his shoulder to the middle of his rib cage. A fighting man. A very strong, very muscular, very handsome, very naked, fighting man.

 

Winter Blog Hop, Day 24 – Danielle Haas

Can you believe the Hop is almost over? It’s Christmas Eve! My son is spending hours every day just lying under the tree, staring at his presents. Most un-teenage-like behavior.

Today’s guest is Danielle Haas, a new friend from NEORWA. On her blog she’s sharing her thoughts on Christmas, so hop on over to share your own.
Best wishes to all of you for a lovely Christmas eve.

Winter Blog Hop, Day 18 – Tara Harlow

Today’s guest is the irrepressible Tara Harlow, one of my local writing friends. In addition to raising kids and writing young and new adult romance, Tara’s a movie extra!

Unlike our mutual friend Judy from yesterday, Tara’s not such a fan of the snow. Check out her blog at https://taraharlow.wordpress.com/. In addition to a very fun post, she’s offering a Starbucks gift card to a commenter.

 

Winter Blog Hop, Day 17 – Judy McDonough’s Cajun Christmas and a Giveaway!

Today’s hop guest is my friend Judy McDonough, a recent transplant to northeast Ohio from Texas. So far she seems to be taking our crazy winters in stride! Judy loves to talk, but I’m always happy to hear what she has to say, and I hope you will be too. 🙂  Comment below for a chance to win an ecopy of all three of Judy’s books, and be sure to get to the end of the post, where you’ll find a fun Cajun version of “The Night Before Christmas.”

mcdonough-23Hi there! I’m Judy McDonough and I’m the author of a southern paranormal romance series called The Bayou Secrets Saga: Deadline, Lifeline, and Flatline. It is a ghost mystery with romantic elements that takes place in the Louisiana bayou with visits to New Orleans. More on that in a bit. I’ve always been fascinated with the supernatural or paranormal phenomenons, mostly ghosts, and my series stems from an actual experience I had while living in a barracks which was a renovated WW2 Navy hospital. I am a U.S. Navy veteran, and I met my husband, Mike, when I was stationed in New Orleans. He was a civilian local who showed me that there was more to his city than the tourist traps around Bourbon Street, and introduced me to the magic, history, and overall essence of New Orleans. Little did I know that it would latch on to me and eventually become a passion of mine. I’ve always loved Parisian architecture, and New Orleans is full of the ornate French influences. While living there I fell in love with the Cajun accent and culture. It’s not like anything you’ve ever experienced anywhere else. I promise you.

laura-plantation-440345_1280-1If I could move back to any place in the Big Easy I wanted and money wasn’t an issue, you would find me on the balcony of a lovely historic home in the Garden District drinking my coffee and chicory while watching the Spanish moss draping from the oak trees sway in the warm breeze. I would have citrus and magnolia trees in my yard, a pool (especially after living in the cool North for a while), a wrought iron fence surrounding my property, and majestic white columns flanking my front door. Sweet tea in the fridge, crawfish étouffée or red beans and rice (if it’s a Monday) on the stove, and soft jazz emanating through the open windows of my home. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

I’m new to NE Ohio. Actually, I’ve never lived above the Mason-Dixon line. I’m a southern girl, so all this beautiful white snow y’all have up here is a novelty for me. I love it. My husband got a new job with a great company up here, so we packed up and left Houston, Texas in March of 2015. Much to the dismay of my new friends and neighbors, after almost two years of living up here, I still love the snow. I play in it more than my boys (ages 7, 9, and 10) do. Well, more often, but not for quite as long. They’re young so the cold doesn’t bother them as much as it does me. After about thirty minutes I’ve had my fill and rush back to the fireplace to warm my numb piggies.

img_1904-1Last year I asked them to help me build a snowman, and all three of them said no because they wanted to stay inside and play video games. So, I built my snow man all by myself, only I gave her boobs, an hourglass figure, and put a wig and one of my stretchy dresses on her. I also put a toy rifle in her twiggy arms, a cherry Twizzlers for her red lips, and a cowgirl hat on her head. My eldest was mortified because our snow girl had cleavage, so I told him he should’ve helped me build it. I did eventually add a scarf to hide the cleavage since the bus passed right in front of our house and he was still technically a new kid, but he learned his lesson. 😉

So, about my participation in Marin’s awesome Christmas blog hop. Thanks, Marin, for the opportunity, by the way. The Bayou Secrets Saga consists of three books that follow the same three characters, Caroline, Trevor, and Cade, throughout the series. I will give you the inside scoop and avoid spoilers as much as possible.

Soon after accepting a marriage proposal from Trevor Callahan, her sexy boyfriend of two years, Caroline Fontenot has recurring crazy, realistic, and sometimes frightening dreams of the same young girl searching for something while running from a dangerous man. The details of each disturbing dream stick with Caroline, and, while she doesn’t believe in ghosts, she cannot deny the creepy, unusual things happening in her life. Persuasive Trevor, eager to finally have naïve and innocent Caroline in his bed, puts a rush order on the nuptials and insists she face the one unresolved issue in her life to clear any conflicts that may rise before their wedding. He wants her to confront her father who left her and her mother when Caroline was only a toddler, forgive him and develop a relationship so there won’t be any “Daddy issues” in their marriage. Not an unreasonable request except that she hates her dad for what he did to her mom, and has no desire to meet him, much less bond with him. But she is and has always been curious about him.

The story begins in Golden Meadow, Louisiana as Caroline pulls up in her estranged father, Eddie Fontenot’s driveway during a torrential downpour like she’s never seen before, wondering what in the world she’s supposed to say, how he’ll react, how she’ll react to his reaction, whether or not she can control her temper, and all the while hating Trevor for making her do this, and cursing her raging curiosity for not letting her just blow it off and tell Trevor no ring or nuptials were worth it.

She swallows her pride, pulls up her big girl britches, and follows through with the plan only to realize the house her father lives in is the very one from her dreams. There was more to this story that she ever imagined, crazy coincidences, goosebumps, initials scratched into the window of her room, and the tale of her great, great, great grandmother, Rachel Fontenot including her mysterious death. Caroline decides to stick around to do some research at the library and town hall, but she wasn’t prepared for the library worker to be a charming, incredibly handsome Cajun stud named Cade Beauregard. pic_8258

Cade, playful and sweet, captivates her attention, renders her speechless—not an easy feat–and challenges her. And, more importantly, their unmistakable chemistry has Caroline questioning everything she ever thought she wanted. But she made a promise to Trevor, and she never makes a promise she can’t keep.

The plot thickens when Caroline meets her conniving step mother, April, and things she’d only ever heard of in the movies start making their way into her life. Stranded spirits, voodoo, mafia threats, and attempts on her family’s lives are her new normal.

Cade does his best to convince Caroline he’s better than Trevor, but the savvy Chicago architect doesn’t bend to intimidation, nor does he appreciate some meddling redneck trying to steal his woman. He fights back and things get tense.

I won’t risk spoilers by revealing any more details, but you get the idea, and the story only gets better and deeper with each book.

Thank you for joining me today! I am randomly picking commenters for two giveaway prizes related to my Bayou Secrets Saga. Up for grabs is:

judymcdonough_bayousecretssaga3dboxset_hr1) A digital copy of the boxed set of all three full-length novels.

2) A candle tin that smells like Cade. It’s an outdoorsy blend of juniper, cedar, balsam and musk. This fragrance is the essence of a sexy, outdoorsy man, and Cade’s character fits that description. He’s also mysterious and the guy who’s always there when you need him. If you love the scent of the woods and a touch of musk, you will love this candle.

For Christmas fun, I’d like to share with you the Cajun version of The Night Before Christmas by Written by: Trosclair.

Twas the night before Christmas an’ all t’ru de house,
Dey don’t a ting pass Not even a mouse.
De chirren been nezzle good snug on de flo’,
An’ Mama pass de pepper t’ru de crack on de do’. 

De Mama in de fireplace done roas’ up de ham,
Sit up de gumbo an’ make de bake yam.
Den out on de by-you dey got such a clatter,
Make soun’ like old Boudreau done fall off his ladder. 

I run like a rabbit to got to de do’,
Trip over de dorg an’ fall on de flo’.
As I look out de do’in de light o’ de moon,
I t’ink, “Mahn, you crazy or got ol’ too soon.” 

Cux dere on de by-you w’en I stretch ma’neck stiff,
Dere’s eight alligator a pullin’ de skiff.
An’ a little fat drover wit’ a long pole-ing stick,
I know r’at away got to be ole St.Nick. 

Mo’ fas’er an’ fas’er de’ gator dey came
He whistle an’ holler an’ call dem by name:
“Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an’ Alcee’!
Gee, Ninette! Gee, Suzette! Celeste an’Renee’! 

home-1080272_1280To de top o’ de porch to de top o’ de wall,
Make crawl, alligator, an’ be sho’ you don’ fall.”
Like Tante Flo’s cat t’ru de treetop he fly,
W’en de big ole houn’ dorg come a run hisse’s by.

Like dat up de porch dem ole ‘gator clim!
Wit’ de skiff full o’ toy an’ St. Nicklus behin’.
Den on top de porch roof it soun’ like de hail,
W’en all dem big gator, done sot down dey tail.

Den down de chimney I yell wit’ a bam,
An’ St.Nicklus fall an’ sit on de yam.
“Sacre!” he axclaim, “Ma pant got a hole
I done sot ma’se’f on dem red hot coal.”

He got on his foots an’ jump like de cat
Out to de flo’ where he lan’ wit’ a SPLAT!
He was dress in musk-rat from his head to his foot,
An’ his clothes is all dirty wit’ ashes an’ soot.

A sack full o’ playt’ing he t’row on his back,
He look like a burglar an’ dass fo’ a fack.
His eyes how dey shine his dimple, how merry!
Maybe he been drink de wine from de blackberry.

His cheek was like a rose his nose a cherry,
On secon’ t’ought maybe he lap up de sherry.
Wit’ snow-white chin whisker an’ quiverin’ belly,
He shook w’en he laugh like de stromberry jelly!

But a wink in his eye an’ a shook o’ his head,
Make my confi-dence dat I don’t got to be scared.
He don’ do no talkin’ gone strit to hi work,
Put a playt’ing in sock an’ den turn wit’ a jerk.

 He put bot’ his han’ dere on top o’ his head,
Cas’ an eye on de chimney an’ den he done said:
“Wit’ all o’ dat fire an’ dem burnin’ hot flame,
Me I ain’ goin’ back by de way dat I came.”

 So he run out de do’ an, he clim’ to de roof,
He ain’ no fool, him for to make one more goof.
He jump in his skiff an’ crack his big whip,
De’ gator move down, An don’ make one slip.

 An’ I hear him shout loud as a splashin’ he go,
“Merry Christmas to all ’til I saw you some mo’!”

For more fun with Judy, check out her website (www.Judy-McDonough.com) or find her on Facebook or Twitter.

Winter Blog Hop, Day 8 – Miranda Liasson and a Giveaway!

miranda-liasson-2-2On deck today is my NEORWA sister, the all-around wonderful Miranda Liasson.

Hop on over to her blog for some thoughts on why we love Christmas movies, but first, take a look at her brand new release, Can’t Stop Loving You! And stop by Book Partners in Crime for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or a signed copy of the book.

liasson-cantstoplovingyou-21998-cv-ft-v5-3Can’t Stop Loving You

When it comes to her heart, Arabella D’Angelo has moved on—even though she still lives in Mirror Lake, Connecticut, a little tourist town with a long memory for mistakes. Ever the dutiful daughter of a cantankerous widower who holds grudges, Bella has spent the past twelve years raising her younger brother and making a name for herself as a successful psychologist. Now, when she isn’t counseling a lonely-hearts club for senior women, she’s humoring her matchmaking girlfriends. Bella resists the romancing of their blind dates, yet her friends hope she’ll fall for a local and scrap plans for a fresh start in Chicago.

Then, just before Bella’s thirtieth birthday, her first love, Roman Spikonos, returns to Mirror Lake. When he moves next door to her family’s garden-center business to run his grandparents’ orchard, it stirs up gossip—and a tempest of passions—just in time for pumpkin harvest. As Roman and Bella once again get caught up in a swirl of desire and heartache, not to mention her overprotective father’s fury, Mirror Lake will soon find out whether the Italian hometown beauty and her unforgettable Greek god can stand a second chance.

Excerpt:

There was a sudden loud thunk followed by the sounds of crumbling rock exploding into the room, along with a hefty male curse. A floury cloud of dust enveloped the wall adjoining the next building. When it settled, a sizeable hole in the wall gaped.

“Didn’t you just remodel, dear?” Aunt Francesca asked.

Bella stood up and ran to the area of damage, cautiously stepping around the debris until she could look through the hole to the other side. The walls of the old flower shop were stripped down to bare wood and a bright single-bulb work lamp hung from a cross beam by a thick orange cord. No person in sight.

“It’s a hit and run,” Effie said, right behind her. In fact, all the ladies were crowded around, eager to check out the excitement.

“I’ll be right back,” Bella said, heading for the door.

“Where are you going?” Aunt Fran asked. “Don’t go by yourself. He has a hammer, for God’s sakes.”

Bella threw open the outside office door to a lungful of cool September air and six feet two of annoying male perfection poised to knock. Roman Spikonos wore jeans and work boots and an untucked blue plaid flannel shirt rolled up at the sleeves. Bella sucked in a breath. This hot-construction-worker version of Roman was just as gorgeous as the naked-chest-in-the-lake version and the wearing-a-suit-and-tie version from the wedding. Let’s just say that if he were featured on a calendar, he’d have every month covered.

“You,” she said on an exhale.

“It’s a man,” someone said behind her.

“A hubba-hubba kind of man.” That had to be Effie. For sure.

“That’s Roman Spikonos,” Fran whispered—loudly.

“Lukas’s brother?” Alethea said, perking up. “Tell him to come in right now.”

“He’s too young for us,” Effie said.

“But not for Arabella,” Fran said. “They had a thing.”

“Fran!” Bella warned. It didn’t stop all the whispering and tittering, as if she were surrounded by a group of silly schoolgirls instead of mature women. Or deter the tall man in front of her, who stood with his arms crossed over his big chest surveying all the ladies with a little smirk on his face.

Bella ignored the flashing red lights and the dinging of warning bells inside her head, like there was a train coming and she’d better move off the tracks now. She was coming to realize that these were the usual sensations she felt when Roman Spikonos was anywhere nearby.

“Are you the person who just destroyed my wall?” she asked. In a very professional voice, she was proud to say. She was going to stay calm and not get mowed over by his sex appeal, thank you very much.

He looked unfazed. As if he had to think about the question, he tapped a finger on his chin, letting his gaze rake slowly up her—from her red heels, her legs, the length of her red sheath dress, and her little black sweater—lingering on her boobs before he looked at her face. Which she was sure had just turned as bright as her dress. He was barely suppressing a chuckle. The nerve!

She had to close her eyes to get a grip. He used to look at her with those smiley bedroom eyes, and she used to know exactly what he was thinking. It couldn’t be the same now, it just couldn’t. Please God, don’t let him kick my hormones into overdrive. Turn these chemical reactions off right now. She tried to imagine him with ear hairs. Or an unsightly wart. Or even a zit, but it was too late. Her body apparently didn’t care that being in sudden impending nuclear meltdown mode at the mere sight of him could only lead to disaster.

Dammit, next door times two. How did she get to be so cursed?

You can find Miranda’s new release at these retailers: Amazon ~ B & N ~ Books a Million

More about Miranda: Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about courageous but flawed characters who find love despite themselves, because there’s nothing like a great love story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! She’s a former Golden Heart winner who writes contemporary romance for Montlake Romance, Entangled, and soon for Grand Central. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, three kids, and Posey, a rescue cat with attitude. You find her online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. If you like what you see, sign up for Miranda’s newsletter here.

 

 

 

 

Conquering Fear

Yesterday I spent the day with writer friends from the Northeast Ohio chapter of RWA, participating in a workshop presented by Bob Mayer. He spoke about many things in his six-hour talk, including turning ideas into stories, recognizing and developing conflict (my biggest problem, perhaps), outlining and plotting, characters’ needs and flaws, and story arcs. But for some reason, the part that resonated with me most was his discussion of fear.

FullSizeRender (1)Fear, Mayer said, is “a feeling of alarm or disquiet caused by the expectation of danger, pain, or the like.” It stems from uncertainty. Since life is one long uncertainty, all of us have fears. We fear failure, rejection, criticism, loss. We fear making the wrong decision, making mistakes. I can remember three times in my life when I was truly fearful: the day I graduated from college; the day I made a commitment to start my own law firm; and the day I sent off my first manuscript to an editor who’d requested it. Every one of those marked a decision to leave the safety of the known and start on an unknown path potentially fraught with peril. Graduating from college I realized it was the first time in my life I really had no clue what I was supposed to do next. The entire world was before me, and absolutely anything could happen. Starting my own law firm, I left the security of a regular paycheck in exchange for freedom–to take the work I wanted, to get away from the backstabbing bullshit of my old firm, and to spend more time with my four-year old son. And the day I sent that manuscript was the first time I faced either real acceptance or true rejection of my writing.

That editor did reject my manuscript, which stung. I am extremely fortunate in that another editor was waiting to see it too, and when she did, she bought it, and my life as a published author began. But all three of these moments in time taught me that to act in the face of fear is, while scary as hell, worth every tear shed and every night spent tossing and turning, asking yourself whether you’ve done the right thing. Mayer said yesterday, “Heroism is taking action in the face of fear.” While I certainly don’t consider myself a hero for facing my fears, perhaps all of us who take that step into the unknown do have a bit of the hero inside us. Although you’re never going to see me jumping out of an airplane. No way.

If fear is preventing you from accomplishing your dreams, take a closer look at yourself. I’ll bet there’s a hero inside of you too.

Historical Book Blast Friday: Becky Lower

This October–my favorite month–I’m starting something new. I love historical fiction of every kind–romance, mystery, fantasy, young adult, you name it–and I want everyone else to love it too. So to introduce you to some historical authors you may not have encountered before, I’ve started a Friday Book Blast series for historical fiction. (If you’re an author interested in scheduling a Book Blast, contact me here.)

48988_1025007027_4423_nTo kick off this new series, it’s fitting that I feature an author who is a master of writing series romance: the award-winning historical romance author Becky Lower. Becky is a fellow member of NEORWA, a resident of the small college town I called home for four years, an exhaustingly prolific author, and an all around lovely person I am honored to call a friend.

Becky has two new releases this month (did I mention she was prolific?): The eighth installment in her Cotillion Ball series, and a novella about the couple who started it all.

9781440578991

A Widow’s Salvation

In 1862 America, the Civil War has raged for twelve months. Pepper Fitzpatrick Brown’s heart was broken when her husband died with the first volley at Manassas. Now she’s a widow raising three young boys and plans to honor his sacrifice by volunteering at the army hospital.

 When Colonel Elijah Williams can grab a few minutes to nap between his duties as head surgeon at MacDougall Army Hospital in the Bronx, his sleep is invaded with nightmares of the atrocities he’s seen. His life has narrowed to nothing but the bloody war … until he meets Pepper Brown. But her father is concerned Elijah doesn’t have the best intentions, and Pepper is fearful of loving and losing again.

 It’s hard to find happiness in a war-torn United States, but these two stand a fighting chance—if they can save what’s left of their hearts.

A Widow’s Salvation and all the books in the Cotillion Ball series are available from Amazon.

9781440594458An Unconventional Courtship

George Fitzpatrick had boarded the new omnibus intent on nothing more than a ride from one point to another. Until a gorgeous young blonde named Charlotte Ashcroft suddenly claims he is her chaperone. What’s an up-and-coming young banker to do but help a lady out?

This story is featured in a collection of historical romance novellas called Rogues, Rakes, and Romance. You can find it at Amazon.

For more information about Becky and her books, visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com.

My First RWA Nationals

I’m a day late with this post because I spent the last week in New York at the RWA National Conference. My very first RWA National Conference. I have been to at least a dozen national lawyer conferences, even a national librarian conference or two, and none of them quite prepared me for RWA. Here are a few thinPCers RWA15 with AMgs I took away:

 

1. Romance writers are some of the nicest, most supportive people on the planet.

 

 

2. By the end of the week your feet will hurt no matter how comfortable your shoes are, especially if you spend your down time walking all over New York City. 016bcbfc0c5ca9db72e0dc49fc8c6595e46ebb50fe

01b68a7b54a57cee1fb0e725c0a17f6b2cc9c102cf017d24e2bb51f2518c19a0fd12968493fc7c4846b1

3. Pitching to an agent is terrifying, a bit discouraging when said agent hates the book you’re pitching, but exciting when she likes the idea of a book you haven’t written yet.

4. Publishing is a crazy business. (See #3.)

5. Free books are good. And heavy.

6. Shaking hands with (or getting hugs from) your favorite authors is amazing.

7. Having 2,000 romance writers in a single room is really loud.

01d0db7b1fe5e3f798345f9bdddc52b8a0b4b25a29

 

8. I never tire of hanging out with my peeps from NEORWA.

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9. There will always be writers who are more successful than you (unless you’re Nora Roberts). Suck it up and keep writing.

10. I would list more but I’m too tired.

Did you go to Nationals? What did you think?

 

Author Interview: AE Jones

Today I am honored to welcome NEORWA chapter sister, 2013 Golden Heart winner, and two-time 2015 RITA Finalist AE Jones. Thanks so much for visiting, AE!

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

AE JonesThanks for having me here today, Marin! I live in Northeast Ohio in a small town. I have been reading since I was able to hold a book in my hands and I have been writing since my twenties. I got serious about writing paranormal romances and urban fantasies about six years ago.

What inspired you to write your Mind Sweeper series?

Believe it or not, my Mind Sweeper series stemmed from a joke. I wanted to write about a woman who worked with supernatural and I flippantly thought to myself one day “An angel, a demon, and a vampire walked into a bar…ha, ha, ha.” But what if it wasn’t a joke? What if it really happened? How would someone deal with the aftermath? That is the first line of Mind Sweeper and that’s how my series came to be.

The humor and sarcasm interwoven in the stories are because I love, love, love the whole Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel universe that Joss Whedon created. To me humor makes the sad and scary parts of the story that much more. It’s a great foil.

That is the best first line. I love the Buffy universe too–I’ve been binge watching Buffy and Angel on Netflix, since I never watched it when it originally aired. 

What does your writing process look like?

I am a total pantser. Which can be difficult because I write mysteries in my stories and so there are plot threads that need to be tied up. I do normally have a general idea of the ending, but then as I write the story I’ll have these ‘OMG’ moments where something will come to me and it goes into the story. I also write my chapters out of order too. When a scene comes to me I have to write it down even if it’s at the back of the book.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Sleep. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. I have a day job and then I have my writing job in the evenings. When I’m in relaxation mode I’ll usually read or go out to dinner with friends. And a special treat for me is taking a nap (and now I’ve gone full circle back to the beginning of this answer).

What are you working on now?

I am currently in edits for Sentinel Lost, the fifth book in my Mind Sweeper series. That novel should be coming out in September and I am also working on the first book of a new series that should come out late fall.

Great! I know I am looking forward to new books from you. 🙂

I tend to work through story ideas when I’m driving or in the shower, both of which are, of course, places I can’t write anything down. Do you have any strange writing habits?

I do a lot of ‘book thinking’ in the shower too! I’ve had to put a notebook by my bed since I have a tendency to come up with things as I drift to sleep or am just waking up in the morning. I think it’s because my subconscious is free to roam! I also walk two miles every day and I think through my plot and ideas when I’m walking too. Although I sometimes have to stop and type an idea in my phone so I don’t lose it!

Share a photo of your writing space.

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Here is a picture of my office and yes, more often than not Dillon, my cat, is perched right next to my laptop. I have to stop and pet him periodically or he moves in front of the keyboard. And that is a magic wand hanging on the wall and a tiara sitting on my lamp. The magic wand is because I need all the help I can get and the tiara I wear on release days for my books. I call release days my ‘kick butt princess’ days. I usually will post a tiara picture on my blog as part of the celebration too!

LOL. Dillon looks very serious.

How do you come up with character names?

This is a hard one for me. Character names can be tricky. Oftentimes I’ll name a character and then as he or she develops I realize that the name I chose for them is not right. And since my series has somewhat of a supernatural UN vibe, I have to look for Russian names and French names and Irish names, etc. I spend a lot of time on the internet on baby name sites!

In one of my books I changed the hero’s name three times and the heroine’s name twice. Thank goodness for the find and replace feature!

novellas 3d boxset copyThe Mind Sweeper Novellas (Box Set)

Discover the Mind Sweeper series through the eyes of Jean Luc and Talia in these two novellas.

The Fledgling – A Novella

Vampire Jean Luc Delacroix has been alive for nearly four hundred years. Alive, but not really living. This changes when he meets newly turned vampire, Talia. Feisty and beautiful, Talia is the first female Jean Luc has been attracted to in centuries. But when he finds out she is also a bounty hunter who is interfering with his investigation of a supernatural serial killer, he pushes her away for her and his own good.

Bitten and thrust into the supernatural world against her will, Talia wants nothing more than to do her job. She doesn’t have time to deal with an overbearing, ridiculously sexy vampire. But Jean Luc and Talia butt heads on their single-minded crusade to stop a murderer. And unless they can set aside their troubled pasts and learn to trust each other, they may never have an opportunity to explore their true feelings. Especially when they face off with the killer.

The Pursuit – A Novella

Thirty years after their initial meeting, Jean Luc Delacroix and Talia Walker once again cross paths. After seeing Talia again, Jean Luc’s feelings reignite. This time he will do whatever it takes to make her a permanent part of his life. Talia learned everything she knows about love—and about being a vampire—from Jean Luc. And when she comes face to face with Jean Luc again, she wonders if her continued independence is as important as being with the vampire she still loves.

Before either can acknowledge their feelings, they are embroiled in a deadly case of a vampire draining humans. In the midst of an investigation that threatens the very foundation of the vampire nation, can Jean Luc and Talia finally find the courage to follow their hearts? Or will the killer destroy them first?

EXCERPT: Jean Luc is teaching Talia how to be a vampire. In this excerpt, they are just starting to explore but yet fight their attraction to each other. I like it because it is an interesting interplay of tension with a splash of humor.

It had been seven days since the killer last struck. Seven days of little to no headway. Seven days of spending every moment with Talia and her lavender essence, rich skin, and chocolate eyes. Jean Luc stared at her until she turned toward him, her eyes widening under his heated scrutiny.

After a moment, her mouth quirked and she took a step closer to him. “Can I help you with something?”

“Yes. Tell me how you would fight someone much larger than yourself.”

“I would avoid it.”

“And if you cannot?” he pushed.

“Carry a big gun?”

Buy the Mind Sweeper novella box set here: 
Amazon
iTunes
Kobo

You can find out more about AE Jones here:
Website: aejonesauthor.com
Twitter: @aejonesauthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aejones.author1

 

Five Reasons to Go to a Writers’ Conference

I spent this weekend at my RWA chapter’s Cleveland Rocks Romance Conference, which was wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, I thought I’d share with you some reasons why, if you’re a writer, you should attend a writers’ conference too.

1. You meet other writers.

Writing is a solitary occupation. We spend a lot of time in our own heads, which is generally a wonderful place to be, but it does us all good to get out of there for a while and meet like-minded people. We can learn from each other’s experiences, kick ideas around, make new friends, and laugh a lot.

2. You learn some new things.

Conferences include workshops about various aspects of the writing business. Our conference, for example, included an editor/agent panel on what’s hot in romance and tips on writing an attention-grabbing first page, as well as workshops on Disorganized Organized Revisions by Hanna Martine, Using Social Media by Mindy McGinnis, and Romantic Suspense by Carla Neggers.

3. You get to hobnob with famous and not-yet-so-famous authors.

A not-so-famous author pic I shamelessly stole from Miranda Liasson

Conferences usually include at least one best-selling super-famous author who gives a keynote speech and/or teaches a workshop–our keynote speaker this year was Carla Neggers. You can meet them and talk to them. They will happily autograph a book for you, and have their picture taken with you. The not-yet-so-famous authors will eagerly do the same, mostly because we are so happy anyone is paying attention to us at all.

<— A not-yet-so-famous author pic I shamelessly stole from Miranda Liasson

4. You can sometimes relax and kick back with editors and agents.

Our conference includes a gathering in the hotel bar after the Friday evening panel. Editors and agents are not scary at all when they’ve had a couple of drinks. Although one does have to be careful not to drink more than they do, because that can get embarrassing. Or so I’ve heard…

5. You have an opportunity to pitch your books to those agents and editors, face to face.

Although the prospect is really quite terrifying for introverted writers (especially me, as I haven’t done it yet), people tell me it’s not so bad. The advantage is that you have an editor or agent’s rapt attention for 5-10 minutes to tell them what your book is about. They can ask questions about it and other things you’ve written, an opportunity not provided by a written query.

Bonus reason: Books!!

But peIMG_2587rhaps one of the best reasons to attend a writers’ conference is the books. Some free, some not so free, some autographed, some not. Conferences are an excellent way to remind ourselves why we got into this crazy writing business in the first place–because we love books.

This year’s haul —>

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