Monday, December 30, 2013

On Conversations: #vampire #romance #author Michele Drier

It is my pleasure to welcome mystery, vampire, and romance author, Michele Drier to Conversations today. She's here to talk about her novel SNAP: Happily Ever After? book six in her Kandesky Vampire Chronicles series. So, check out the cover, blurb, and excerpt. And as a special treat, Michele is giving us a glimpse into a day in the life of Maxie Gwenoch, heroine of SNAP: Happily Ever After?!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GRBJBBU/?tag=crlaofsu-20SNAP: Happily Ever After?
(The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles)

Loving Jean-Louis for eternity doesn't mean that Maxie Gwenoch will let him turn her. Jean-Louis is a vampire, is gorgeous, is the second-in-command of the Kandesky Family of Hungarian vampires, and is her boss at SNAP, the multinational, multimedia celeb gossip empire. She moves to Kiev to build a home with Jean-Louis and finds her future under a cloud from Leonid, a rival from the Huszar family, now living in a bolthole in the ruins of Chernobyl.  Will Maxie find safety by giving up her days and joining Jean-Louis in the vampire nights? 

Amazon / Barnes and Noble




Excerpt from SNAP: Happily Ever After?

My satisfaction stayed until we were in front of Nik’s house. Jean-Louis was waiting outside. The joy of seeing him went out like a snuffed candle when I saw his expression. He was royally pissed and didn’t mind showing it in front of the demons.
     He tilted his head at me, put his hand at the small of my back and steered me into the house. This wasn’t a gentle guide, he practically pushed me, hard enough that I bounced off the door frame into the library.
     “What are you doing...” My voice rose an octave as I gathered steam for a snide comment.
     “What in hell do you think you’re doing? I specifically told Taras to bring you directly to the house.” His voice was cold and his beautiful eyes were black with anger. His skin had paled so much I could see a vein throbbing above his left eyebrow and there was no hint of a glimmer. He was truly angry, which fed my own irritation.
     “You told...you told! Why do you do that to me? I’m trying to gain gravitas as the Vice President for International Planning and supervisor of these bureaus! How do you think it makes me look when you give these orders to my staff?”
     Oops. Jean-Louis’ lips thinned and I could almost take his pulse from the throbbing vein. “Do you forget who you are, who I am? Your staff? I think not.”
     “All right. Yes, you’re my boss. You’re second in command of the Kandeskys. But you and the Baron put me in charge of this expansion and I have to have the supervision as well as the responsibility. If I give someone a task or an order, I need to know they’ll carry it out, not go running to you for permission!” My anger burned through any expectation of a happy homecoming, let alone hours of glorious sex.
     “My permission? I’ve never stopped you from doing your job! I only step in when your hardheaded and reckless behavior threatens you or the family!”
     OK, the gloves were off. “The family...” I began, then something, a premonition, a memory, slowed my words so that my brain could catch up.
     Jean-Louis looked at my mouth, opening and closing like a landed trout at the Baron’s river. “Yes? What about the family? I always put them first?”

 


A Day in the Life of Maxie Gwenoch

Ever since I was hired at SNAP, the world’s largest, most prestigious celebrity gossip news gathering organization, my days have been...erratic.

I’d climbed my way up to the lodestar of SNAP by working at other celeb magazines, including Hello!, but none of those prepared me for this job. We have several international bureaus, nightly TV shows and publish seven different editions throughout the world, so travel was always a big part of my day.

Eighteen months later, it still is, but now I’m traveling from either the Baron’s castle in Hungary or my new home in Kiev. One small item that I discovered was the SNAP was owned by a family of five-hundred-year-old Hungarian vampires—the Kandeskys. And the second-in-command, Jean-Louis, is now my lover.

After a couple of run-ins with thugs hired by Kandesky rivals, the Huszars, I was named International Planning Editor for SNAP and moved from my L.A. home to the Baron’s fortified castle. And, boy have my days changed.

Jean-Louis wants to turn me and marry me, but I can’t give up my SoCal addiction to sunshine, so I’m living a weird modified vampire (or celebrity) life.

I usually sleep until the middle or the afternoon, when Elise, my maid, wakes me. Oh, did I mention that the Kandeskys are some of the richest people in the world? I live in luxury, with a staff that includes demons—bodyguards, security forces and the Kandeskys’ private army.

I spend a few hours every day on the computer, emailing, in virtual meetings, on Skype, keeping up with the bureau chiefs in London, Paris, Rio, Berlin. My most important connection is with Jazz in L.A.

She was my assistant when I started with SNAP and I promoted her when I took off for the forests of Hungary. Now she’s effectively doing my old job...Managing Editor for the SNAP magazines. We coordinate coverage, look for trends and upcoming names-in-the-news, recommend freelancers and paparazzi.

Once the sun sets, my time revolves around Jean-Louis.  We have a formal dinner—I eat, he drinks Bull’s Blood—and spend the next few hours reviewing the international TV shows, discussing business and making plans to finish off the last few Huszars. They’ve been living in the ruins of Chernobyl and we’ve had a few as “guests” in our basement “rooms”.

I’m asleep by six a.m. when Jean-Louis leaves me for his own bedroom, a drawback when the love of my life is a vampire.
  


  

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.

She writes the Amy Hobbes Newspaper mysteries and the six-book Kandesky Vampire Chronicles paranormal romance series. The second mystery, Labeled for Death, was published in July 2013, and she’s just published her eighth book, SNAP: Happily Ever After?


Connect with Michele:
www.micheledrier.com 
facebook.com/michele.drier

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

#99cent Fill Your eReader Celebration from 8 Bestselling Authors! CHRISTMAS to NEW YEARS Sale!

Fill your eReader and get all 8 eBooks for just 99 cents each! 
I hope you all had a FABULOUS Christmas filled with fun times with family and friends and lots of yummy food. I know many of you probably found something shiny and fun under the tree this year in the way of a Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad or other Tablet and you are eager to fill it up with great stories to read while you enjoy the holiday.  We want to help you do it!!

From now through NEW YEARS these 8 bestselling ebooks are on sale for just 99 cents each!!  Get all 8 while you can!












ENDGAME by Dee Davis: bit.ly/DavisEndgame













TEXAS ROOTS by Jean Brashear: bit.ly/brasheartexasroots












APHRODITE'S EMBRACE by Julie Kenner: bit.ly/kenneraphrodite












NOTHING BUT TROUBLE by Lisa Mondello: bit.ly/mondelloNBT












MAIL ORDER HUSBAND by Day Leclaire: bit.ly/leclaireMOH












HOLDING HANDS by Judith Arnold: bit.ly/juditharnoldhh













BEGINNINGS: Six Series Starters by Kathryn Shay: bit.ly/kshaybeginnings












WYOMING WILDFIRE the Beginning by Patricia McLinn: bit.ly/mclinnwwbeginning




Monday, December 23, 2013

On Conversations: #interview with #bestselling #author Jamie Denton

It is my pleasure to welcome the award-winning, bestselling author, Jamie Denton to Conversations today. She's here to talk about her Texas Scoundrels novel, PLAYING FOR KEEPS. So, check out the cover, blurb, and excerpt. And get to know Jamie by checking out her interview too! 

Lisa ~
__________________________________________

PLAYING FOR KEEPS 
(Texas Scoundrels)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FN395QE/?tag=crlaofsu-20 
ANY GAME WORTH PLAYING…

Bad boy quarterback Jed Maitland is on a downhill slide. After an injury threatens to end his superstar career, his lucrative endorsement deals are drying up and his coach is after him to train his replacement. And then Jed is sacked with the biggest surprise of his life—the son he never knew existed.

…IS WORTH PLAYING FOR KEEPS

Facing bankruptcy after her ex-husband wipes her out financially, Griffen Somerfield is convinced her life can’t become any more complicated—until she’s forced to deal with her adopted son’s biological father. The last thing she needs is a live hard, play harder legend turning her world upside down, but when Jed turns on the Maitland charm, Griffen finds it impossible to maintain a strong defense. After all, if Jed knows anything, it’s how to score. 

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo / iBooks



Excerpt from Playing for Keeps

GRIFFEN SOMMERFIELD’S FINGERS trembled. She’d been dreading this moment. Although she’d known it would happen eventually, she just hadn’t expected the foreclosure notice from the bank for at least another month.
     She scanned the document, her stomach roiling. Reading the fine print wasn’t necessary. All she needed to know was how long until the bank ripped Antiquities away from her.
     Forty-five days? Seriously? That was it? The seventy-five hundred dollars the bank was demanding might as well have been seventy-five thousand. In another month, the price would be closer to ten thousand dollars. She silently cursed her soon-to-be ex-husband. Ross had cleared out every one of their accounts when he’d left, her business accounts included. As much as she hated the thought of giving up, she’d just run out of options. The wolves pounding on the door had changed tactics and were already sucking enough air into their lungs to huff and puff and blow her world apart.
     The bell over the door to the shop jangled, signaling a customer. A buying customer, she hoped.
     She slipped the foreclosure notice into a cubby on the roll top desk, then snapped her laptop closed. The ledger on the accounting program was filled with more red than black these days. Taking a deep breath, she adjusted her silk blouse, then left the small office. Maybe Charlotte Carter had returned to purchase the Louis XIV table she’d been coveting for the past six months. The sale wouldn’t solve all of her problems, but the tidy sum might buy her some time until she could think of a way to save her shop.
     She stepped into the showroom to find a short, portly gentleman she didn’t recognize. He stood eyeing the rainbow of colored perfume bottles in the glass display case, arranged atop the emerald brocade fabric she’d used in conjunction with St. Patrick’s Day. On the opposite end, resting against a cream velvet background lay a Victorian jewelry box filled with gold and emerald trinkets. A pot of gold, something she doubted any wily Leprechauns would be dropping at the end of her rainbow.
     She walked around the counter and summoned a welcoming smile she was nowhere near feeling. “Can I help you?”
     The gentleman looked up and studied her through smudged glasses. Pulling them from his beak-like nose, he wiped them on a tissue. “Mrs. Somerfield? Griffen Hart Somerfield?”
     Apprehension balled in her stomach. Now what? Six months ago, she never would have reacted with such fear, or constantly be waiting for the other shoe to drop. First Ross wiping her out financially when he decided to indulge in a clichĂ©d mid-life crisis with his twenty-two-year-old secretary. Then the past due notices and threatening letters followed. Spitefully, she’d let the bank repossess Ross’s fancy sports coupe. Why would he need a sports car living on the white sandy beaches of Jamaica anyway? 
     She pulled in a deep breath. “I’m Griffen Somerfield. And you are?” she asked, aiming for a polite, business-like tone.
     “Cyrus Morton.” She took the hand he extended, and he pumped as if he were trying to get water from a well.
     She retrieved her hand before he yanked her arm from its socket. “What I can do for you, Mr. Morton?” She resisted the urge to massage her shoulder.
     He smiled, revealing a speck of pepper between his teeth. “I have something for you.” He handed her a business card with the words Morton Investigations in bold, bright red letters emblazoned on the front. In the corner were the words investigation, surveillance, service of process.
     Great. Now she was being sued.
     He hefted a briefcase onto the counter and flipped open the latch. “You had a sister, a...” He lifted the lid and rifled through papers. “Just a second, it’s right...oh yes. Danielle Hart?”
     “That’s right.” Dani, her sweet, darling older sister, had been gone over nine years. Leukemia had cut her gentle life short, but Griffen would always have the single sacrifice her sister had made. Austin.
     “My client is First Trust Bank of Mississippi. When your sister was a college student at Ole Miss, she’d opened a bank account there. She also had a safety deposit box.”
     Against the advice of her team of doctors, Dani had insisted on not only going to college, but she’d broken ranks and the family’s long standing Baylor University tradition. Instead, she’d opted for the University of Mississippi and a business degree in advertising.
     More unfulfilled dreams and wishes, Griffen thought sadly.
     “My client has been attempting to contact Ms. Hart and only recently learned that she’s been deceased for a number of years. You’re listed as her primary beneficiary.” Cyrus pulled a document from his briefcase and set it on the counter. “If you’ll just sign here, I’ll be on my way.”
     “Why did it take so long?” Griffen asked, taking the pen Cyrus offered.
     “A routine advertising mailing. The last known address my client had for your sister was the college dorm. The correspondence was returned with ‘deceased’ written across the front,” Cyrus explained. “The bank manager checked into it and discovered your sister had died.”
     “Doesn’t anyone ever investigate inactive accounts?”
     “Not as a rule. People open savings accounts all the time and leave them alone for long periods.”
     Griffen nodded and signed the document to release the contents of Dani’s safety deposit box to her.
     Cyrus asked for identification and verified the signature. Apparently satisfied, he opened his briefcase again to retrieve a thick manila envelope, which he placed on the glass counter. “There’s a cashier’s check inside, payable to you for nineteen hundred and sixty-three dollars. That’s seventeen hundred and seventy dollars from her savings, plus nine years of accrued interest, less the rental on the safe deposit box, of course.”
     Nineteen hundred dollars? Granted, it wasn’t much, but it would help keep her and Austin afloat for at least another month until she sold the business and found herself a nine-to-five job.
     “Thank you, Mr. Morton.” She took the envelope and held it to her chest. Nineteen hundred dollars would help, not much, but it would help.
     “Are those authentic?” he asked, pointing to the atomizers in the display case.
     “Yes, they are. Can I show you something in particular?” Maybe her luck was changing. She was curious as to what was in the envelope, but that could wait. If Cyrus wanted an atomizer, then she’d certainly sell him one.
    “My wife likes those little perfume bottles. How bad would that blue one set me back?”
     “Not as much as you might think,” Griffen said with a smile. She reached into the case and retrieved the circa 1910 atomizer. When he didn’t haggle over the cost, but asked her to wrap it, she nearly shouted with glee.
     Ten minutes later, Mr. Morton left with an expensive gift for his wife wrapped in delicate floral tissue paper tucked inside his briefcase. Envelope in hand, she locked the door to the shop and flipped the sign to closed. She had about forty minutes to make it over to the gymnasium for Austin’s basketball game.
     Back in her office, she sat at her desk and carefully opened the envelope. She caught the faint aromas of vanilla and musk. Memories assailed her of the short time they’d had with Dani. Her eldest sister had been as sweet and delicate as a fragile hot house orchid. Her goal had been to work at one of the advertising firms in Dallas, but she hadn’t lived long enough to fulfill her dreams. At the age of twenty-one, she’d given birth to a son, Austin. Having Austin had taken what little strength Dani had left and she’d never fully recovered. By the time Austin was two, Dani could hardly take care of herself let alone an active toddler, so Griffen had stepped in and cared for the adorable dark haired boy with huge brown eyes. When Dani had asked Griffen to promise to raise Austin as her own, no one in the family had been surprised.
     Griffen had easily made that promise. Despite the fact that Ross had never wanted children, he’d insisted they legally adopt Austin. Dani hadn’t objected. Austin Hart Somerfield was in reality Griffen's nephew, but in her heart, he was her son. A son she now raised as a single parent.
     The anniversary clock on the top of the desk chimed the half hour. With plenty of time before the game, she reached inside the envelope. Resting on top, as promised, was the cashier’s check. She tipped the envelope and two more envelopes, both sealed, tumbled onto the desk along with a glossy photograph.
     She picked up the photograph, and her stomach rolled again. No. It couldn’t be. But she couldn’t think of any reason why Dani would have his picture, unless...
     Griffen's heart thumped wildly. Dani had always refused to say, but Griffen had often wondered about the identity of Austin’s father. Never in all of her wild imaginings would she have even believed it could be him. What would her younger sister, Mattie, and their father, say if they knew? It didn’t matter. Griffen had no intention of telling them, or anyone. Especially Austin.
     She stared at the black and white publicity photograph, at a familiar face. The handsome face of the man her son idolized, of the unnamed man Dani had claimed to love—Texas Wranglers’ star quarterback, Jed Maitland.
     She set the photograph aside. At least now she knew where Austin had gotten his dark, good looks and a jaw already showing signs of becoming square and strong. Now she knew why at thirteen, he was nearly as tall as her own five-foot-eight inches and would no doubt top her by at least another two before the coming summer would draw to a close. But what she simply could not understand was what Dani had seen in Jed Maitland. They were so opposite, it just didn’t make sense. Fourteen years ago when Austin had been conceived, Maitland had been a hot shot quarterback, the number one draft choice out of Ole Miss, snapped up by the Texas Wranglers in the first round. Young and cocky, he'd become a target for the press, the same press which now claimed Maitland was headed toward forced retirement. According to Austin, being cut from the team was a fate worse than death.
     Had Dani tried to contact Maitland to tell him about his son? Had he refused to acknowledge his own child? Griffen wouldn’t put it past someone like him. He’d already been sued once for paternity. As far as she was concerned, Maitland was a hard living, hard drinking, has-been womanizer.
     With trembling fingers, she carefully slid the rose colored paper from the envelope addressed to her. A knot the size of a football churned in her stomach.

Dearest Griffen,
     I know this probably seems rather morbid, reading a letter from the grave and all, but I can tell you now what I couldn’t when I had the chance. As much as I love you, Griffen, I couldn’t bear to see the disappointment in your eyes when you learned the truth about Austin’s father.
     Despite what the press and media say about him, the man I knew and loved really is a good man. I know in my heart that if he’d known about Austin he’d have done the right thing. I chose not to tell him for my own reasons, so please don’t hold my choice against him. If you haven’t already guessed, Jed Maitland is Austin’s father. I know that I was wrong and probably should have given Austin the chance to know his real father, but I knew you would be the perfect mother and role model for him.
     When Austin is old enough, he may want to know the truth. I planned to tell him, but that will now be up to you. Austin deserves the chance to know about his father, his real father.
I want you to do two things for me. Tell Austin how much I love him, and that the short time we had together were the happiest days of my life. The envelope for Austin contains my journal and I want him to have it in hopes that he may know how very much he meant to me.
My other request will be much more difficult for you, but I know you well. You always do the right thing. Please let Austin know about his father. Jed doesn’t have to know, but Austin does deserve to at least know who his father is, and how much I loved them both.
                            All my love,
                                Danielle


      Sweet heaven. What was she going to do now? The other shoe had totally dropped and managed a swift kick right to her gut before it hit the floor, bounced up and hit her square in ass. She leaned into the low backed chair and stared at the photograph of Jed Maitland. Her son’s hero was also his father. The entire situation was too surreal to comprehend.
     For one, how on earth had Dani gotten these things into a safe deposit box hundreds of miles away when she obviously knew she was dying? And why? Why not just give them to her? Or will them to her?
     Her head ached and she had no answer as she folded the letter and placed it back inside the envelope, along with Dani’s diary, the letter for Austin and the photograph of Maitland, then stuffed them in her oversized bag. She doubted if she’d ever figure out that particular puzzle.
     The anniversary clock chimed the quarter hour. Austin’s game started in fifteen minutes. She’d think about this later. Much later.
     Like in twenty years when Austin wouldn’t care that his father was Jed Maitland.


*

     The bastards had the gall to come to him on his own turf. Jed tossed back the last of the scotch in his glass. Not a smart move on their part. He’d actually given them more credit than to grant him the home field advantage, but the stupid SOB's had a mission and were determined to see it through.
    To see him through, the way he looked at it.
     Finito.
     Done.
     “Like hell.”
     In too foul a mood to enjoy the beauty of the Texas sunset turning the vast openness of the rugged land into a solid gold landscape, he stepped away from the double-story glass windows. Circling the bar, he tipped the bottle of Jim Beam into the crystal tumbler, then lifted the glass and drained it. The scotch burned his throat, fueling his anger. The bastards.
     He was Jed Maitland, dammit. They couldn’t do this to him. No one could force him out of the game. He’d been a winning quarterback since his rookie year and had three championship rings to back up the hype. Multi-million dollar contracts, the top four product endorsements and other perks had made him rich. Wise investments had made him obscenely wealthy. Not bad for a kid from the swamplands of Mississippi. Except now they wanted to force him out. Maitland the Maniac. A legend to rival Montana and Elway, Unitas and Staubach. Not chance.
     Bastards.
     He’d be damned if he’d accept what his agent, Bob Yorke, had termed as management’s generous offer. Hell, he was firing the useless piece of shit tomorrow. No one treated Maitland the Maniac as if he were no better than a relief quarterback from a third rate team. He hadn’t warmed the bench since he was ten years old, and he wasn’t about to start now.
     He refilled his glass with more Jim Beam and drained the bottle. “Generous my ass.”
     His shoulder hurt like a son-of-a-bitch and this was the thanks they gave him. Muttering a string of vile curses, he picked up his glass and headed toward the leather sofa. Bottles of painkillers sat on the glass end table. He picked one, snapped off the top with his thumb and shook three into his mouth, downing them with a healthy dose of his new best friend, Jim.
     He glanced at the glass cocktail table where a football mounted on a marble base and protected by a Plexiglas covering stood proudly. His rookie year he’d led the Wranglers to the division championship game. They’d lost to San Francisco and had kissed the championship good-bye, but he’d played one hell of a game, coming up only six yards short of Joe Montana’s passing record. As a rookie, he’d set his own, and no one had come close to taking his record, either.
     Yet.
     He set his glass on the table and took the Plexiglas off the football, which had been signed by the team. The pigskin was cold to the touch, but nothing fit his hands better than a regulation ball—except maybe a hot and willing woman.
     He spun the ball in one hand. The pain in his shoulder didn’t ease as quickly as he would have liked, reminding him of what they were saying he could no longer do for a living. God, he didn’t know anything except the game.
     He’d show them. The orthopedic specialists had said the surgery to repair his shoulder hadn’t been the success they’d hoped for, that his competition days were over. What did they know? How could they judge based on a mere six weeks of recovery? Three months of intense physical therapy, and he’d be good as new. Maitland the Maniac would walk back onto the field for training camp, and it sure as fuck wouldn’t be as an assistant coach or a third-rate chump.
      For now, he planned to get drunk, good and drunk, for the entire weekend. And God help anyone stupid enough to cross his path. Namely the press. The bloodsuckers had falsely labeled him a bad boy, a renegade, and he hadn't bothered to correct them. He had his reasons. There were people to protect.
      Might as well live up to the image.
      He leaned back into the soft leather sofa. The feel of the ball failed to soothe him, nor did the reminder of what he once was, and would be again, if he had anything to say about it. The anger inside him peaked, and he gripped the ball hard. Thanks to the effects of the medication, he felt only the dulled edge of pain when he brought his arm back and took aim. With a curse to the pricks trying to ruin his career, he chucked the football across the room, shattering the glass and mirror shelves filled with crystal glassware behind the bar. 

      A sense of satisfaction, along with the misty haze of painkillers and alcohol, wove through him. He settled his head against the back of the sofa and closed his eyes, waiting for sweet oblivion to take hold.
 


Interview with Jamie Denton

What can we expect from you in the future?

More sexy contemporary romances, and more romantic suspense. Coming in time for Valentine’s Day is PLAYING DIRTY, Book #2 of my Texas Scoundrels trilogy. This series of contemporary romances that are fun, sexy with a deep emotional journey that has taken me by surprise. I also have another fun, sexy contemporary trilogy planned as well as suspense trilogy in the works. I’ll be quite busy for the next couple of years.
 

How long have you been writing?

Since before computers were commonplace, which translates to a very long time. I dabbled a bit here and there in the late 80’s, but it wasn’t until December 1990 that I became serious about writing.

For two years I struggled alone in the dark. Then by chance, a friend from Canada whom I’d met through a pen pal publication for writers (I told you it was a long time ago, we had no internet back then) turned me on to RWA. That day changed my life.

I joined a local chapter, met my then critique partner and wrote three historical novels which (thankfully) never sold. It wasn’t until my critique partner at the time convinced me to write a contemporary romance. I did it, kicking and screaming at first, but then I discovered I really had a knack for the genre. I started sending the first three chapters out to contests, made the finals and won a couple of big ones, then shortly thereafter, sold that book in December 1994, four years after I started my journey to publication.

That book was THE SECRET CHILD, which sold to Harlequin Superromance. I never did write another Superromance, although it wasn’t for lack of trying. I struggled for nearly three years to make my second sale. In the meantime, I had to learn what I had done right that made that first book sell. I’d finally hit it when Birgit Davis-Todd called me one afternoon to make an offer on FLIRTING WITH DANGER, a proposal for a sexy contemporary romance that I’d submitted to her for the Temptation line. That phone call broke the second-book-syndrome curse I was under and I never looked back. I never imagined that 19 years and 30 books later I’d still be selling books. It truly is a dream come true that I hope continues for many years to come.
 

How often do you write? And when do you write?
 

I try to write every day. Writing is like any muscle, it needs constant work to remain strong. Leave it alone for too long, then it gets flabby and is harder and harder to get moving.
 

Since I work 30 hours a week a paralegal, I no longer have the luxury of an entire day at my disposal. Some days I get up around 3:00 a.m. and will write for two to three hours. If I don’t, then I try to spend from 6-8:00 p.m. in the office when I get home from work. Friday through Sunday are my days off, and I take advantage of the time to write. Except Sunday during football season. Here in Steeler County, Sunday afternoons are sacred.
 

But my favorite time to write is midnight through the early morning hours. This tends to be my usual deadline mode. I’ve been known to pull 20 hour writing days in order to have a book finished on time. Although I no longer put in those kind of hours, the midnight shift, as the husband calls my witching hour, can be exhausting. However, when that happens, it’s usually because I am completely immersed in the characters and their story, but when I’m finished for the day, I crash pretty hard. By the time the book is done, I could easily sleep for two days straight.
 

How did you develop your writing?

By learning everything I could about the craft of writing. In fact, I’m always learning something new. While I haven’t attended a basic craft workshop in years, I do attend more advanced workshops on various aspects of writing. I remain of the firm belief that if you reach that point in your career where you think you’ve learned all there is to know about writing, then it’s time to put down the laptop and walk away. Never become too arrogant to learn new things.

I’ve been at this business for almost twenty-five years. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of my first sale. I still attend workshops, both online and in person. I also give a fair number of workshops throughout the year. What better way to deepen your own writing education than through research?


What genre are you most comfortable writing? 

Fun, sexy contemporary romances and sizzling romantic suspense are the two main genres in my wheelhouse. I’m published with Harlequin and have written for many lines, however I have been primarily published with Blaze and the now defunct Temptation. I’ve also written super sexy novellas and romantic suspense novels for Kensington Brava and have participated in a Lori Foster charity project for Berkley. I even dabbled with an historical novella, SPELLBOUND, part of BLISS, a five-author anthology with stories ranging from the Civil War to present day.
 

What piece of advice would you give a new writer?

The same advice that was given to me many, many years ago that has sustained me during my long career.

      1. Don’t be afraid to be different. Break those so-called rules and write the story that your heart is telling you to write. If there isn’t a market for it today, there could be one tomorrow. The face of publishing is changing daily. What was unheard of yesterday could very well become tomorrow’s norm.

      2. Write what you love to read, and write what you know. If you’re not enjoying what you’re writing, how on earth can you expect your readers to enjoy it? I love the law, and I know the law, which is why a very large percentage of my books tend to have some aspect of the law involved. I write lawyers and cops and FBI agents, and I take my readers along that journey with me and show them my passion for the law.

      3. Don’t chase trends. If your heart tells you to write an adult vampire romance but the latest hot trend is new adult zombies, write the vampire story. Don’t chase a trend because it’s the next big thing, unless it’s a subject or genre you are crazy passionate about. Trends change. Be a trailblazer instead.

      4. Don’t quit. This is probably the most valuable piece of advice I’d ever received. Do not give up. Ever. Because if you do quit, you’ll never know if that next story was the one that would’ve been the one to finally sell, or break the second-book-syndrome curse.

What books should everyone read at least once?

I have two that I always recommend to writers. The first book every writer should read Stephen King’s ON WRITING at least once. I’ve never been a huge fan of how-to books. My research book tend toward specific subjects rather than how to switch point of view successfully. But King’s book is an invaluable resource for every writer. His advice about closing the door to write the first draft was spot on for me. That first draft is often ugly, at times rambling, occasionally it’s even incoherent. But if I close the door, unplug the phone and shut out the world, I find that I can lose myself in the story and let the characters come to life. Shut out the distractions and encourage the story to flow. Then, when you’re finished, open the door and polish that ugly beast into a something readers will hopefully enjoy.

The other would be Debra Dixon’s GOAL, MOTIVATION & CONFLICT. It’s the one how-to book that I feel is invaluable to any writer, but especially to those who write romance where conflict is often the driving force of the story.
 

Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
 

Find something you enjoy doing, and do it. If you like to grow things, plant a garden. I’ve had several, from an herb garden, to veggies, annual flowers and a pretty elaborate perennial garden. There’s just something about digging in the dirt that relaxes me, even if I am battling weeds.
 

Take a class and learn a new skill. I recently learned how to can the goodies from my garden, so every August, things get a little busy around our house. I’ve also been wanting to learn how to quilt. One of these days, I will take that class and learn.
 

Just take a step away from the writing once in a while and go experience life. Take a walk or go see a movie or make a coffee date with your go-to-girls. If you don’t, then that creative well will eventually run dry, and that’s a nightmare no writer wants to suffer.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

I would have to invite more than one person. First on the guest list would be Kathryn Graham. She was the publisher at the Washington Post during the Watergate scandal. You know that woman has some interesting stories to share.

Steven Spielberg, just because he’s so brilliant. Plus I’d love to see him do a movie based on the Watergate scandal, which would be so much more interesting than ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN. And if the late Kathryn Graham is going to be there, well, you see where this is going, right?
 

Then I would include Elton John and Bernie Taupin. I think Elton has led such an interesting life. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to watch Elton and Bernie create something wonderful for the occasion? Maybe even do the score for the film we’d convince Steven he has to make.

I would have to include my go-to-girls because if Hugh Jackman, Clive Owen and Russell Crowe were my guests, my peeps would end me if I didn’t invite them. And the husband, because he would find this all very amusing.
 

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
 

I have many forms of relaxation, all of which do wonders to refill the creative well. I try to catch up on any one of my favorite shows which tend to pile up on my DVR. I’ll read a book, or work on a knitting, crochet or cross-stitch project. I enjoy gardening and I do so love movies. Oh, and cooking. I adore everything about it, from preparing the simplest dishes to the more difficult and creative to shopping for kitchen gadgets and cookware. I have expensive tastes in the cookware department, so those excursions are rare indeed, but they do give me a thrill. Luckily the husband is an adventurous eater, so menu planning is never a hassle.
 

Oh. And naps. It’s all about the naps.
 

Who is your favorite author and why?

I don’t have one single favorite author. In fact, any writer who can make me forget about the writing and become immersed in the story is usually destined to become a favorite. Thankfully there are several writers who can turn off my internal editor and lose me in their worlds. Depending upon my reading mood at any given moment, Karen Rose, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Jackson, Linda Howard, Lisa Kleypas and Lori Wilde are my go-to auto-buys. Of course, anything written by my peeps goes on that list, too.

If I’m in the mood for suspense, I’ll gravitate toward Karen Rose first. I’ve been a fan since her first book. Her plotting skills leave me in awe. If I’m in the mood for a romantic comedy, then I look for Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Lori Wilde. If I want an emotional read, then it’s Lisa Kleypas.
 

What movie do you love to watch over and over again?

We are big movie fans in this house. My mom passed her love of the cinema on to me, for one. The other could be because I grew up in Southern California not far from Hollywood. It just seems sort of a natural thing.

I love romantic comedies – Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, Pretty Woman, Friends with Benefits to name but a few. Anything with Kathy Bates, Tom Hanks, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman or Clive Owen. I adore old black and white films, like Inherit the Wind or On the Waterfront, and all those crazy funny screwball comedies with Cary Grant or Carol Lombard. In fact, just last night I watched My Favorite Wife with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Thrillers capture my imagination, especially Silence of the Lambs, and I even enjoy the occasional horror movie, the jump out and scare you type, not the blood and gore type.

But, if I had to choose only one film as my all time, stop what I’m doing and sit down and watch movie, it would have to be the Shawshank Redemption. I’ve seen it dozens of time and it always draws me in, each and every time I catch it. I just wish I knew why.
  


  
Jamie Denton she sold her first attempt at a contemporary romance to Harlequin Books four days before Christmas in 1994. Since then, she has gone on to see over three million copies of her books in print worldwide and translated into several languages. Not only have her books appeared on bestseller lists, but she is also the recipient of several notable awards, including nominations for Best Harlequin Temptation and Best Harlequin Blaze from Romantic Times, back-to-back RITA nominations, and a National Readers’ Choice Award nomination for Best Erotic Romance. She’s the recipient of the Laurel Wreath Award, and in 2004, Affair de Coeur voted one of her novels Best Contemporary Romance of the year.

Jamie’s passions do occasionally extend beyond writing. In those rare moments away from the computer, she’s refilling the creative well with a knitting project for one of her seventeen grandchildren, working a cross-stitch project or spending time in the kitchen trying out new recipes on her husband of nearly forty years. She can even be found curled up with a good book (what else but a romance?) along with Dudley and Maggie, her spoiled rotten…uh…pampered, pair of Golden Retrievers.

Friday, December 20, 2013

On Conversations: #interview with the #awardwinning #author Diane Craver

It is my pleasure to welcome the award-winning author, Diane Craver to Conversations today. She's here to talk about book 2 in her Amish Dreams of Plain Daughters series, JUDITH'S PLACE. So, check out the cover and blurb. And get to know Diane by checking out her interview too! And be sure and leave a comment because Diane's giving away a digital copy of either A Joyful Break (the first book in Dreams of Plain Daughters) or Judith's Place to one lucky commenter!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________

JUDITH'S PLACE
(Dreams of Plain Daughters, Book Two)http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FVYVCWA/?tag=crlaofsu-20 

Top Pick and 5 star rating from Night Owl Reviews - "The author held my attention from the very first page until the very last word. If you’re an Amish novel reader, this is one series you should definitely consider looking into." By reviewer, Diana Coyle

Judith Hershberger wonders what her life would have been like had she been born into an English family instead of an Amish one. Would she be happier with the freedom to obtain more schooling as an English young woman instead of being limited to only an eighth grade Amish education?

In Judith’s Place, the second book in the Dreams of Plain Daughters Series, schoolteacher Judith Hershberger yearns to learn more despite the educational restriction imposed on her because of her Amish upbringing. Wanting more than an eighth grade education, she puts off joining the Amish faith. During her rumspringa, she’ll be able to obtain her high school diploma without being shunned. Her father is afraid Judith will leave their Amish community if she passes the GED test. He knows she’s unhappy that Amish women are expected to follow a certain path in life.

When a non-Amish college student, Eliza Dunbar, observes Judith in her classroom, a friendship between the two young women develops. Eliza gives Judith the nudge she needs to study for her GED test. Eliza wonders what it would be like to switch places with Judith to live a simple life without electricity and other modern conveniences. Judith envies Eliza because she is free to attend college.

Jacob Weaver finally gets the courage to ask Judith to go with him to a Sunday singing. Like Judith, he wants to do something that isn’t allowed in their Plain community. Jacob wants to get his driver’s license so he can drive a truck to make the deliveries for the lumberyard. He needs to earn enough money to buy his own small farm. But even though it sounds plausible, Jacob feels stress with trying to learn to drive a truck instead of a buggy. Once he accomplishes this, Jacob plans to become baptized and join the Amish church.

Will Judith decide to stay in her Amish community or will she decide to leave in order to attend college? Will Judith’s friendship with Jacob influence her as she finds her place?


Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo / iBooks


Interview with Diane Craver

Tell us about your new release, JUDITH’S PLACE.

Judith Hershberger wonders what her life would have been like had she been born into an English family instead of an Amish one. Would she be  happier with the freedom to obtain more schooling as an English young woman instead of being limited to only an eighth grade Amish education?

In Judith’s Place, the second book in the Dreams of Plain Daughters Series, schoolteacher Judith Hershberger yearns to learn more despite the educational restriction imposed on her because of her Amish upbringing. Wanting more than an eighth grade education, she puts off joining the Amish faith. During her rumspringa, she’ll be able to obtain her high school diploma without being shunned. Her father is afraid Judith will leave their Amish community if she passes the GED test. He knows she’s unhappy that Amish women are expected to follow a certain path in life.
When a non-Amish college student, Eliza Dunbar, observes Judith in her classroom, a friendship between the two young women develops. Eliza gives Judith the nudge she needs to study for her GED test. Eliza wonders what it would be like to switch places with Judith to live a simple life without electricity and other modern conveniences. Judith envies Eliza because she is free to attend college.

Jacob Weaver finally gets the courage to ask Judith to go with him to a Sunday singing. Like Judith, he wants to do something that isn’t allowed in their Plain community. Jacob wants to get his driver’s license so he can drive a truck to make the deliveries for the lumberyard. He needs to earn enough money to buy his own small farm. But even though it sounds plausible, Jacob feels stress with trying to learn to drive a truck instead of a buggy.
Will Judith decide to stay in her Amish community or will she decide to leave in order to attend college? Will Judith’s friendship with Jacob influence her as she finds her place?

Why do you write Amish fiction?

My inspiration for writing an Amish series came from my sweet late mother, Laoma Oberly Wilson. She lived a long Christian life and enjoyed being a wife, mother and grandmother.  Her grandfather was a Mennonite minister, and she shared many stories about him. Even though she wasn’t Amish and later wasn’t Mennonite, she kept many of their Christian beliefs while attending a Protestant church.

Recently I worked on reissuing A GIFT FOREVER, which happens to be based loosely on my father, Horace Wilson. It hit me how he had some things in common with the Amish. I realized how the way he did his farming was a bit like the Amish. Let me explain. While farming his eighty some acres, he used his two work horses, Lois and Dick, to haul manure for the fields. He also hitched them to the hay wagon during the summer while I stayed on the wagon to steer them to the next spot in the field. Then he pitched the hay onto the wagon. How I wish I had pictures of my dad and me working together. However, he used his tractor for planting, plowing, and cultivating. I can understand the Amish’s love of horses because my dad loved his horses. He used the simple way of using horses for farming when he wanted, and used the more convenient tractor for other types of farm work. Combining both methods were important to him as a farmer.

By the way, the community in my Amish series is fictional, but exists close to Wheat Ridge which is an actual Amish community in the southern part of Ohio where I live.

Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

  1. I was a carhop during high school for 3 years. My kids thought I wore roller skates to take orders but I never did.
  2. When I was young I wanted to have a dozen children, but changed my mind after babysitting for four mischievous children one summer. We were blessed with six children and one little grandson with two grandbabies on the way.
  3. We lived in 3 different houses on the same street. Finally, we got off this street and have downsized to a ranch.
What are you working on now and what’s next?

I recently started writing Fleeting Hope, Book 3 for my Dreams of Plain Daughters Series. Jacob Weaver is in a buggy accident and in a coma. This reminds schoolteacher Ruth Yoder of her fiancĂ©’s death from a buggy accident. She wants to be supportive for Judith as she waits for Jacob to come out of his coma, but it’s not easy for Ruth. After years of being single, Ruth wonders if it’s time for her to have a second love.

Parting comments?

Lisa, thanks for having me here. I’ll be around if anyone has any questions for me.

Where can readers find you on the internet?

Website: http://www.dianecraver.com
Blog: http://www.dianecraver.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Diane-Craver
Jewels of the Quill (A group of 12 authors I belong to): www.jewelsofthequill.com

 
As the youngest in the family, growing up on a farm in Findlay, Ohio, Diane often acted out characters from her own stories in the backyard. In high school she was the student sitting in class with a novel hidden in front of her propped up textbook. Before starting on her writing career, Diane was a schoolteacher and play director.

She met her husband while teaching at an orphanage, and they married three years later. While raising their six children in southwestern Ohio, Diane started writing non-fiction. Later, she decided it would be a nice escape to write fiction plus keep sane with a full and noisy household.

Several non-fiction articles of Diane's have been published in Woman's World Weekly, The Catholic Telegraph, Virtue, Down Syndrome Today, WritersWeekly.com, and several other publications. Her book, The Christmas of 1957, was reissued under the title A Christmas Gift. It placed second in the 2010 Preditors & Editors Poll (novel category) and received 5 stars from the Midwest Book Review. She writes contemporary romance, inspirational mainstream, chick-lit mystery, and non-fiction books. Her novels have received great reviews from readers and reviewers.

Diane has published through a variety of houses, including Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery, Samhain Publishing, Whimsical Publications, Victory Tales Press and Booklocker.com. She writes fun and inspiring stories filled with memorable characters. Diane gives thanks to God daily for all her wonderful blessings.

Recently, Diane has enjoyed publishing her first Amish romance, A JOYFUL BREAK (Dreams of Plain Daughters, Book One)and reissued MARRYING MALLORY with a new fun chapter.

Learn more about Diane and her books at http://www.dianecraver.com

Important Note: A CHRISTMAS GIFT is basically the same story as The CHRISTMAS of 1957 but has been revised with a new chapter and with approximately 8000 words added to the new edition. A CHRISTMAS GIFT has also received great reviews.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On Conversations: #Interview with #Romance #Author Roxy Boroughs

It is my pleasure to welcome romance author, Roxy Boroughs to Conversations today. She's here to talk about her sweet romance Christmas novella, HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, book two of ‘A Frost Family Christmas’ trilogy. So, check out the cover, blurb, and excerpt. And get to know Roxy by checking out her interview too! And be sure and leave a comment because Roxy's giving away a Kindle ebook of the first novella in A Frost Family Christmas series, WHAT CHILD IS THIS by C.J. Carmichael.

Lisa ~
__________________________________________

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIO7D3A/?tag=crlaofsu-20HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
(A Frost Family Christmas, Book Two)

This holiday season, April Rochester must decide if her first love is merely “Home for Christmas” – or home for good.

James Frost, the black sheep of the family, is back in Carol Falls, Vermont, to build a big box store and prove he’s a success. His plans derail when he learns his high school sweetheart has moved back to town also, along with her autistic son, Marcus.

Ten years ago Jimmy and April eloped, only to be torn apart when April’s parents insisted on an annulment. Their love for each other never died, however, and this could be their second chance.

But James has been hiding behind a mountain of secrets, one of them involving baby Holly, the abandoned child recently found at the family farm.

And all of James’ well-kept secrets are about to come tumbling down. 


Amazon / Barnes and Noble


HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, a 40,000 word sweet romance novella, is Book Two of ‘A Frost Family Christmas’ trilogy. Each novella is a complete romance with a linking mystery connecting the three books.

The three titles in this series are:
Book 1 = WHAT CHILD IS THIS by C.J. Carmichael
Book 2 = HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by Roxy Boroughs
Book 3 = THE HOLLY & THE IVY by Brenda M. Collins

Want a little mystery along with your holiday romances this Christmas? Then visit the Frost Family in Carol Falls, Vermont and enjoy these three heartwarming novellas.



Excerpt from Home for Christmas
       
James nosed his car into the long driveway and parked. As he walked down the cracked sidewalk, movement caught his eye.
      Close to the house, on the other side of the peeling picket fence, April’s snowsuit-clad son was busy with his toys—a toboggan, a pintsized snow shovel, a green bucket and a plastic Superman chair. The boy seemed like an average kid, until James took a second look. Marcus wasn’t actually ‘playing’ with his toys. He was lining them up. Meticulously.
     “Hi, Marcus.”
     The child didn’t acknowledge him, just went right on placing his things in a row, howling in aggravation each time the shovel he’d stuck in the snow fell over.
     “Jimmy...if you’re planning to play outside with us, you’re gonna need a hat.”
     He’d been so intrigued with Marcus, he hadn’t noticed April’s approach. “Considering the time of year, maybe I should get one like Santa’s,” he replied.
     Her hat was a teal knit, the same color as her car-length coat. The material almost matched the shade of her eyes. He’d often gazed at her, trying to decide if they were blue or green. Depending on what she wore, and her mood, her eyes seemed to change—blue if she was overtired, green if she was excited.
     Always green after a thorough kissing.
     He heard a hiss and snapped out of it. At his feet, a well-fed black and white cat stared up at him, indignant. A dark mask of fur ran around the feline’s eyes, making him look like a chubby Zorro.
     “Don’t mind Bandit. He’s kind of territorial.”
     “Ya think?”
     Bandit batted the air with his paw, clearly a challenge for James to put up his dukes and fight it out. Mano-a-mano.
      Weird. Animals usually liked him. Kids, too. James felt like Tiger Woods at the 2013 U.S. Open. Completely off his game.
     He glanced over at Marcus again, who was now making snowballs. Instead of throwing them, he was stacking the balls one on top of the other like a mile-high ice cream cone, shouting his frustration whenever they fell over.
     “It’s good that he can play outside here. It’s quiet enough, not a lot of traffic. Kids like Marcus have a tendency to run out into the street, because they’re unaware of the danger.”
     Normally, James wouldn’t have asked, but she’d opened the door on the subject. “I’ve heard he’s autistic. What is that, exactly?”
     “It’s a developmental disorder.” She smoothed a strand of hair from her face and looked at her son with a mix of love and worry. “It affects his ability to communicate and interact socially.”
     “So, the other day, when he was flapping his arms and—”
     “It’s called stimming, short for self-stimulation. It helps him cope with the world when there are too many sights and sounds for him to process.”
     James noticed the dark smudges under her eyes. “And how do you cope?”
     She let out a breath. The chilly vapors surrounded her face like a wreath. “Sometimes, I feel as isolated in the world as he must. But it’s what I signed up for. I trained as a teacher for special needs kids, so I’m able to home school him and coach him with his developmental skills. I get discouraged now and then, but I forget all about the downside when I see him make a breakthrough.”
     She licked her lips, drawing James’ attention to them all the more. He could still remember kissing her. She’d tasted like cherry bubblegum, smelled of shampoo, and the sight of her pulse beating madly at the base of her neck used to be enough to drive him over the edge.
     He cleared his throat. Unfortunately, it did nothing to clear his head. “Where’s the boy’s father?” He shouldn’t ask, but couldn’t stop himself. A part of him wanted to see the guy pull his weight. A bigger part wanted the guy out of the picture entirely. For selfish reasons.
     All of which involved April and that luscious mouth.

  
* * *

James’ expression turned hard, possessive. And that hungry look in his eyes set April’s heart kicking against her ribs with the fervor of a wild bronco.
     Where was the boy’s father? “I don’t know,” she answered truthfully. “I never met the man. Or the woman who gave birth to Marcus.”
     James was quiet for a moment, and then his brows shot up. “He’s adopted?”
     “Yup. I’m a single mom.”
     “That’s great.” His quick smile faded. “I mean, it’s great you’re giving a home to a kid who needs one. But doing it all on your own—that must be rough.”
     So was his jaw, dusted with the right amount of stubble to give him an air of danger. She wanted to reach up and touch his cheek, let that roughness caress her palm. Was she crazy to feel this attraction to him after all these years?
     Whatever he’d done to send her teenage endorphins skyrocketing tripled now that he was a man. And that spiced-up cologne he wore? She wanted to bury her face against his neck and breathe him in for the next half hour.
     “I manage,” she said, took a step back and grabbed hold of one of the fence slats—something solid to remind her about the differences between reality and fantasy. The wood was reality. Marcus was reality. Making this month’s credit card payment was a harsh reality.
     Jimmy was a fantasy, her emotions clouded by the memory of the boy she’d once loved. They’d both changed, she was sure of it. She certainly had. Sudden motherhood did that to a girl.Besides, Jimmy had been the one to reject her in the end…



Interview with Roxy Boroughs

Hi, Lisa. Thanks so much for inviting me here today.

I live in Calgary, Alberta and, at this time of year, it’s lovely to look out my window and see snow on the Rockies. That certainly gets me in the mood for the holiday season.

What made you decide to write books in your particular genre?

Actually, Lisa – you inspired my latest book, HOME FOR CHRISTMAS.

I read your ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU, and I thought I’d write a heart-warming holiday story, too. A series, actually. So I approached a couple of writer friends to do a trilogy with me. Each book is a complete sweet romance, featuring a sibling from our fictional Frost family of Vermont. A mystery sub-plot connects all three books.

In the first novella, WHAT CHILD IS THIS by the award-winning C.J. Carmichael, an abandoned baby is found in the manger of the Frosts’ nativity scene. My story features Jimmy Frost, the black sheep of the family, and continues the mystery of the baby. The plot lines conclude with Brenda M. Collins’ book, THE HOLLY & THE IVY. In that novel, Joey, the youngest Frost, who happens to be a female police officer, is assigned to the case.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?

For this series – set in the fictional town of Carol Falls, Vermont – we wanted each title to be a Christmas carol. We spent hours going through lists of Christmas songs, looking for the right fit.

For other books, the title comes later. My romantic comedy, CRAZY FOR COWBOY started out as THE COWBOY WHO NEVER SAW A COW. That was a little long for the cover, but worked well with the story, since the hero is an actor who’s been hired to play a cowboy in a movie. During the course of that book, he has to learn how to be a real, as opposed to a reel, cowboy.

Do you decide on character traits before writing the story or as you go along?
Both.

For my hero in HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, I started with the idea of the Prodigal Son Returns. Jimmy left Carol Falls right after high school and spent years roaming the country, going from job to job. He’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder and, at first, I wasn’t sure why. Then, in a flash, it came to me. He’s always felt like an outsider. All because of a secret he’s been hiding his whole life.

I love it when characters have secrets. It’s fun to press their buttons – to see how far you can push them and to what lengths they’ll go to conceal whatever it is they’re hiding.

What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. And, yes, I’ve read it more than once. I love the movie with Gregory Peck, too. 


The themes in this book really speak to me. The way Harper Lee uses childhood innocence to convey very adult messages is absolutely brilliant. And it doesn’t hurt that Atticus reminds me of my late father – with his wisdom and concern for his kids. It brings me to tears everytime.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?


I think there will always be those books that are best in physical form. Picture books, for example, and hiking guides. Personally, I have a lot of cookbooks and I like to be able to crack one open and follow the recipe without my e-reader going into sleep mode. There’s nothing worse than trying to flick a switch when your hands are gooey. And I really like to see big color photos of the dishes – so I know if my renditions look right. LOL.

Do you read all the reviews for your books? What was the best (or toughest) review you have ever had?

I LIVE for reviews. I want to give my readers the best story I can and reviews let me know if I’ve accomplished that.


I strove for ‘heart-warming’ with HOME FOR CHRISTMAS and, from the comments so far, I’ve managed to strike an emotional chord.

Also, in this story, the heroine’s son is autistic and I did a lot of research to make sure I delivered an accurate and sympathetic portrayal. I’m particularly pleased with the glowing responses I’ve had from mothers of autistic children. Their real-life stories are truely inspirational. And if we, as authors, can transport our readers into another world, let them experience the life and emotions of someone else, then all the days, weeks and months of sitting alone at the keyboard typing, is time well spent.



Before turning her attention to fiction, Roxy appeared in numerous TV commercials and movies, and ‘tread the boards’ in theaters from New York to Newfoundland.

In addition to HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, and the free short story LETTING GO, she’s also published two romantic suspense titles, the award-winning A STRANGER’S TOUCH and its sequel, a romantic comedy called CRAZY FOR COWBOY and the sweet romance anthology  STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE with Brenda M. Collins.

Check them all out on her Amazon Page.

Find Roxy:
www.roxyboroughs.com 
Twitter: @RoxyBoroughs 
Facebook: RoxyBoroughsAuthor
Goodreads: Roxy_Boroughs


Monday, December 16, 2013

On Conversations: #Interview with #Romance #Author MJ Fredrick

It is my pleasure to welcome romance author MJ Fredrick to Conversations today. She's here to talk about Christmas novella, Sanctuary with the Cowboy! So, check out the cover, blurb, and excerpt. And get to know MJ by checking out her interview too!

Lisa ~
____________

SANCTUARY WITH THE COWBOY

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CF5ONM4/?tag=crlaofsu-20
When an on-the-job incident sends her home to her family's Hill Country ranch, Detective Aubrey Cavanaugh wants to hide away with a good bottle of vodka to ease her mind and her guilt.

She doesn't want to deal with family, friends, and least of all her former lover, Erich Harlan, who is now the ranch foreman.

Erich Harlan has his hands full with overseeing the ranch while Aubrey's parents are away. But he can see she is hurting. He might be the last person she'd turn to, but he won't give up until he knows what's causing her pain and how to make it go away.

After a dozen years apart, will she be willing to find Sanctuary with the Cowboy?

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo / iTunes


Excerpt from Sanctuary with the Cowboy

       Aubrey squinted against the bright light and the pounding. She dragged herself to the window and looked down at the driveway. The Ford F-250 that had picked her up from the airport was there beside her parents’ vehicles. She was sure Erich was the one banging on the door, but he was out of sight. She dragged the balcony doors open and stepped out to the rail.

      “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
       Her own shout made her wince. He stepped back to look up at her, and damn him, he grinned.
        “You look like shit.”
        “That’s because I was sleeping.”
       “Passed out, more like.”
       She flipped him off.
       “Get down here, Aubrey. I told you I’d take you to meet a friend. He’s waiting for us.”
       “I’m not going anywhere today.”
       “What, you’re going to sit inside and drink all day?” He looked at his watch. “Half the day, since it’s almost two?”
       That gave her a jolt. Was it? She never slept so late unless she’d worked a long shift. She turned to look at the bedside clock. Despair sank in her stomach—her empty stomach. This was not who she was, but she couldn’t pull herself free. She didn’t want to be inside her own skin, so she sought oblivion.
        When she turned back to Erich, he’d disappeared, though his truck was still in the drive. God, was that his voice she heard downstairs? Jen, the housekeeper who had kept her distance since Aubrey had been home, must have let him in. She flew into action when she heard his footsteps on the stairs, bolting for the door to lock it, but she was too late. He swung it open, dipping his shoulder as he strode forward, lifting her like a sack of potatoes without breaking stride. She shrieked in protest as her head flopped and her stomach roiled, but before she could catch her breath, they were in her bathroom. He reached behind the frosted blocks to twist on the shower, and hefted her to her feet, pushing her under the icy spray. Shocked and gasping for breath as the needles of water stole her breath, she tried to scream again, spitting mad, striking out at him. He pinned her against the wall with his hand to her chest, in the center of the HPD t-shirt she wore.
        “Today I waited until two. Tomorrow, it’s nine. If that doesn’t work, the next day it’s six.”
        “Don’t you have a job to do?” she snarled, ruining the effect when her teeth chattered.
       “Yep.” He reached past her and turned the hot water on.


Interview with MJ Fredrick 

What is your guilty pleasure?

This time of year, Christmas movies. The more like a Harlequin, the better. The more actors I can name from years and years of watching TV, even better!

It’s raining men! What kind of men?

In my fictional world, some kind of alpha guy: soldier, firefighter, built and in-charge. In real life, not sure I could deal with all that testosterone, but it is so much fun to fantasize.

If you could time-travel, where would your first stop be?

I would love to go back in time to the hey-day of Route 66. Then I’d find a convertible and hit the road. Seriously, I want to stay in that teepee motel.

What is your favorite kind of chocolate?

Filled with caramel. Gooey, hard, I’m not picky! Peanut butter is good, too, but no nuts, thanks.

What is the one thing you hate to do?

Talk on the phone. It’s terrible! Recently I kept putting off calling a cleaning service (a treat, because I had family coming before Thanksgiving) and ended up having to clean the house myself, all because I didn’t want to call. That’s not to say I don’t always have my phone with me, but I prefer texting and email.

Do you still remember your first kiss?

Oh, yes. It was HORRIBLE. I was a freshman in high school and had never heard of a French kiss before (terribly sheltered) and Guy (his real name) had taken me to the rodeo, which wasn’t a cheap date. He got mad because when he kissed me (not well) I pulled away. He said, “Gosh, you aren’t very passionate, are you?” I was fourteen! :::shudder::: 


What do you love most about being a writer? 

I love creating characters. I love putting characters together with the last person they think they should be with, and I love making them see they were wrong!





MJ Fredrick knows about chasing dreams. Twelve years after she completed her first novel, she signed her first publishing contract. Now she divides her days between teaching elementary music, and diving into her own writing—traveling everywhere in her mind, from Belize to Honduras to Africa to the past.

She's a four-time Golden Heart Award finalist, and she won the 2009 Epic Award with Hot Shot and the 2011 Epic Award for Breaking Daylight, and was a finalist for the 2012 with Don’t Look Back.


Find her at mjfredrick.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mjfredrickfanpage and on Twitter at @MJFredrick.


Good Reads Review

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