Friday, February 28, 2014

Every Girl Loves a Bad Boy

I'm super excited to welcome the lovely Stacey Nash to the blog today! She's celebrating the release of her debut novel, FORGET ME NOT! Stacey is talking about bad boys in YA and why we love them, sharing an excerpt from her book, and offering an awesome giveaway!!



EVERY GIRL LOVES A BAD BOY:

I read a lot of NA and YA fiction and one thing I’ve noticed in the recent string of books that I’ve read is the love in interests. I think it’s more true of current NA than YA, but there are a heck of a lot of bad boys. And we all—well most of us—love them. Throw a heroine into a story with a bad boy and nine times out of ten she’ll fall for him. Even in the classics.
Heathcliff
Romeo

And I’m no exception. I love a good bad boy and in any story that has more than one male character, I fall for the bad boy every single time. And hard. In real life too – my hubby is a sharp tongued, quick witted biker. Or he was when we met at 19, a million years ago. ;) There’s just something about those that’s so damn irresistible.

What is it that makes a bad boy?
A troubled past.
A tendency to block others out emotionally.
Usually, but not always possession of a quick wit.
A tendency to lean toward undesirable qualities – crime, fighting etc

Readers swoon over bad boys, right…it’s not just me. I’m not the weird one chasing the boy parents really don’t want their daughter to date? Phew. I’m glad you’re all in the boat with me.

So, guess what!?

There’s a bad boy hero in Forget Me Not.  He might not be the tattooed broken hero that’s popular in NA right now, but he has a closed off personality which he buries under a thick skin and smart mouth. He’s a bad ass fighter and errs on the side of danger.  

Meet my bad boy, Jax.

<----- 

Blurb: Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother's favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. When the brooch and the pendant are worn together they're no longer pretty pieces of jewelry -- they're part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewelry's power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device -- and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she's Enemy Number One.

She's forced to leave her father behind when she's taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends’ lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.

BUY LINKS: Amazon  /  B&N

EXCERPT:
The Collective. That’s what Al said, too. I glance at Will sideways. His mouth hangs slightly open, his eyes wide. He looks as astonished as I feel. Beau’s gaze shifts beyond me, and his face lights up in a smile. When I look over my shoulder, I see Bertie standing in the doorway, waving. She smiles and continues past the room; obviously she and Al are well known around here.
“When tech is used, an alarm is activated, alerting The Collective,” Beau continues. “If the use is unauthorized, they send a scout to appropriate the tech and contain any knowledge of its existence.”
The man in the East Coast Gas uniform, he must have been a scout.
“What do you mean?” Will asks.
Beau rubs his forehead. “Technology, tools, machines, items which perform a specific function. Some tech is common, like cellphones, computers, and satellite tracking, but other tech is not known or used at all. The Collective works hard to keep its knowledge hidden from the general population.”
I shake my head. “I should have known it wasn’t magic.”
The blue flower on the pendant made me appear invisible. Not magic, but technology. My hand still clutches it protectively. How does it work? It has to be some trick with light. I’ve always hated science; I spend most of class daydreaming of being outside with Will and my camera, soaking up his contagious happiness.
Beau’s voice breaks my thoughts. “We also have an alarm. We use it to intercept Collective agents and stop them from harming innocent people. The radar pinpoints the location of the use of tech.”
The boy, the one in the leather jacket. My gaze darts back to the window and the tree branches reaching over the lawn, but I can’t see him. He must have been sent to intercept the gas man.
“This is a safe house. The Collective can’t reach it. You’ll have to stay here while we secure your safety,” Beau says.
“A safe house?” Will asks.
My mind spins again. It’s doing a lot of that this afternoon. There’s so much to take in. This morning we played a dumb game, and now we’re here in the middle of ‘great danger’.
“There are several of them across the country, and each house has a number of people. We will give you assistance.”
My mind whirls. Scouts, collective, safe houses. It’s too much to take in. I move toward an armchair identical to Beau’s, place my hands on its soft, well-worn arms, and sink into it.
“I can’t stay here. My dad, I need to go home to him,” I say. “After Mom, he won’t cope if I disappear, too. He -- he needs me. He doesn’t even have his mother anymore.” I hang my head in my hands, twining my fingers into my hair. He’s balanced so close to the edge of despair, and I won’t push him over.
“They’re relentless. They won’t give up until they find you,” Al says. He’s still here. I’d almost forgotten him. “It’s not safe. You can’t outrun them forever. Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on your old man.”
Will’s already rigid stance stiffens further. “What do you mean ‘not safe’?”
“Mae is a threat to the secret knowledge of advanced technology,” Al says, “and The Collective eliminates their threats.”

BUY LINKS: Amazon  /  B&N

About the Author:
Stacey grew up in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. It is an area nestled between mountains and vineyards. Full of history and culture, it provides wonderful writing inspiration. After dabbling with poetry during her teen years, Stacey stopped writing until after university when she was married with young children. Now she loves nothing more than spending her days with her children and writing when inspiration strikes.

Social Media Links:
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Friday, February 21, 2014

{COVER REVEAL}: Winter in the Soul by Jennifer Novotney



Winter in the Soul by Jennifer Novotney
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: July 15, 2014

Blurb:
In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul.

When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket. And in search of an answer to the mystery behind Winter in the Soul.

Lilika holds the key to stopping the darkness from spreading. The fate of their world lies in her hands. Will she stop the Black Kingdom before its darkness overtakes them all, or will they succumb to the darkness that is spreading across the land?

Author
Bio:



Jennifer Novotney was born in Burbank, California and lived in Los Angeles for most of her life until settling in North Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter. She attended California State University, earning a bachelors degree
in journalism, and Northern Arizona University, earning a masters degree in English. After college, she spent several years writing and teaching, including at Pennsylvania State University.



Links:

Friday, February 14, 2014

NEW RELEASE: Braedric's Bane by AJ Nuest

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 13th MARKS THE RELEASE OF
Braedric's Bane, Book IV in The Golden Key Chronicles!

Find out more about the final installment in this epic fantasy romance! 
Advance praise for Braedric's Bane
5 STARS from Comet Babes Books! Amazing 4th book. What more can you ask from a fantasy series--time travelling, costumes and even a fight. Add the sexy hero and it has everything you could want in a book!


5 STARS from Follow the Yellow Book Road! An epic fantasy, adventure and romance with a dash of comedy rolled into one fabulous book. I literally read it in one sitting.

To escape the clutches of the evil Wizard Gaelleod, Rowena and Caedmon flee to the future. With her memories intact and the help of her dear friends, Rowena is confident they can uncover the clues behind her connection to the key.

Yet Violet's dire prophecy does more than detail their history. Caedmon's worst fears are confirmed. Though they must return to his realm, everything he loves stands to be ripped from his grasp.

Join Caedmon and Rowena as they embark on an epic battle to protect the Austiere Kingdom and fight to safeguard their love in Braedric's Bane, Book IV of The Golden Key Chronicles.   
Available February 13th on AMAZON and AMAZONUK!

Praise for The Golden Key Chronicles:
57 FIVE STAR REVIEWS on Goodreads
42 FIVE STAR REVIEWS on Amazon US/UK


Like the best fairy tales, Rowena’s Key captures the imagination and the heart with a bonus undercurrent of spicy romance. 5 Stars on Amazon

AJ, why do you have to write the most wonderful heroes? Aaaahhhh!!! Now I'm hooked and begrudgingly wait for Book 2. I can't believe this is happening! 5 Stars on Amazon

Crazy good! A total fan of the first book, the second did not disappoint at all. I swear I could smell leather while reading this book I was sooooo into it. 5 Stars on Amazon

I liked Rowena in Rowena's Key. Candra's Freedom just made me fall in love with her! Fierce and headstrong, she is everything a heroine should be. 5 Stars on Goodreads

I absolutely adored the first two in this series, with Rowena’s Key being one of my favorite romance reads of 2013, so I had high hopes (read: desperate cravings) for Caedmon’s Curse – it did not disappoint! 5 Stars on Goodreads

Honestly, if there were more than 5 stars, I would give them to Caedmon's Curse and the whole Golden Key Chronicles. So well written, the story flows seamlessly from one danger to the next. The romance between Caedmon and Rowena is sexy, honest, and fresh. 5 Stars on Goodreads 


AJ is a multi-published, award-winning author who lives in the middle of a cornfield in NW Indiana. Her loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy of spoiled pets have agreed to stay and, in exchange for three rations per day and laundry service, tolerate her lunacy. While she spend most days happily ensconced in crafting romance across a multitude of genres, an underground coup has been percolating. The dogs just informed her the cat is secretly vying for dictatorship.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Giveaway


For a romance author, every day is like Valentine's Day. From the super sexy, swoon worthy heroes we write to the smart, sassy, beautiful heroines, sparks are always flying for us. So, now that Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I thought I'd spread the love with a spontaneous giveaway!

What am I giving away, you ask? Lots of stuff! There's also links to a super awesome HUGE giveaway hosted by Ana Blaze, so be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post :)

(1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER:

A signed paperback copy of Death of a Watefall
Mini Valentine's Day bag full of goodies

(2) SECOND PRIZE WINNERS:
eBook copy of Love and Other Games (Gifted via Amazon or B&N. Winners choice.)

Winners will be chosen and announced on Monday, February 17th. All winners will have 48 hours to claim their prizes. If they don't, I will draw new winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


While you're at it, stop on over to the lovely Ana Blaze's Blog for the Love is All You Need Giveaway! She's got lots of great books from a plethora of talented authors, both adult and young adult! Or, you can simply enter right here on my blog.

ADULT GIFT PACK:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


YOUNG ADULT GIFT PACK:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Passion for Pits

Growing up, I was a cat person. Most of my adult life, I was a cat person. See? These are my cats:


MITTENS
She loves the sink, hates the water!
SNOWBALL
He has an obsession with pizza boxes.













SANDY and MITTENS
They are BFF snuggle buddies


Then, almost a year ago, I became a dog person. Yes, that's right. I switched teams. And I've fallen for my dogs. Hard. They've stolen my heart the moment I laid eyes on them and they've never given it back.

Okay, let me back up and tell you how this happened. It was April 2013. My husband, who is a dog guy, was talking about wanting to get a dog. I wasn't overly thrilled with the idea, but if he wanted to take on the responsibility then I was fine with it. So, he began visiting shelters and searching on local adoption sites. He wasn't finding a dog that he felt would be a good fit for him and our children, so I pushed the idea of a dog to the back of my mind.

Until early April when I returned home from my day long RWA meeting and I found this little fella waiting for me:
MAX
Black Lab / Beagle mix
Of course, I fell instantly in love. I mean, how couldn't I? Just look at those eyes...and those ears! My husband was proud of the new addition to our family, always referring to Max as "his" dog. So, we -- and by we I mean me and Max -- quickly fell into a routine of morning walks and countless trips outside to use the bathroom. But he's still my husband's dog. *sigh*

About a month later, Mother's Day weekend, I was trolling around on Facebook when a friend posted a picture of the cutest little pit bull puppy with the most heart wrenching story. My friend was out for a run at the local reservoir when he encountered a puppy -- abandoned, alone, cold, hungry, and bloated badly from a severe case of worms. Said friend rescued the puppy, but was honest that he couldn't keep it himself. If he wasn't able to find a home for the puppy by Monday, he would have no choice but to take the puppy to the local pound.

That thought alone was enough to break my heart. This poor little pup had been through so much already in his short life that I couldn't let him go through any more. And so I begged my husband to once again open our home. He agreed, and we welcomed Nico into our lives.

NICO
Napping with his chew toy.

He was just 6 weeks old when he was found. Nico quickly became *my* puppy. He's a Momma's boy and isn't afraid to show it. See?
NICO
Sleeping on his blankie next to Mommy.

It's very difficult to write with Nico's head on my lap,
and he does this daily. 
Did I mention he's lazy, too?

I'll be honest, when I first heard he was a Pit Bull, I was nervous. As a breed, they don't have a very good reputation. They're known for being aggressive and mean. I was worried that he wouldn't fit in with our cats and kids. But knowing he was so young, I had hopes that I could teach him to be a lover not a fighter. And let me say, I think I went a little overboard. lol. But I have to say, my Nico is the calmest, most loving dog I have ever met. He's always eager to give kisses and snuggle. He'll even roll around on the floor with the kids as they wrestle. He joins right in, but never becomes mean toward them. If anything, the kids get annoyed because he won't stop licking them. 

Now, with 5 kids, 3 cats, and 2 dogs in our house, we were pretty well set. 

And then we found Lucy. Another Pit Bull puppy in desperate need of a home.


My husband was searching through Craigslist -- always a dangerous thing for him to do because it usually ends up costing us money we don't have. *sigh* Anyway, he happened upon Lucy's picture and her story. She was the runt of a litter. All of her siblings had been given to good homes, but she was still around. Her owner was neglecting her, so a young couple had taken Lucy. Unfortunately, they couldn't keep her and this is who we got her from. We drove almost an hour to go get her. The second I held her, I knew we were bringing home a third dog. 

She has adjusted very well. She and Nico are best buddies, always snuggling on the couch or chair together. 

MOM! Lucy's laying on me again! 

Who's the top dog now? 

I never imagined I'd become a die hard dog lover. But here I am. I have a passion for Pit Bulls, and I'm not afraid to say so. They're a great breed and don't deserve the bad rap they've gotten over the years. 

Share your stories in the comments. Have you rescued a dog / cat? Tell me about it. Feel free to share a picture, too! 


Monday, February 10, 2014

SALE! Breaking the Rules by Melinda Dozier

In honor of Valentine's Day, Melinda Dozier's book,
 BREAKING THE RULES, 
is on sale for only $1.99!


Title: Breaking the Rules
Author: Melinda Dozier
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Release Date: July 8, 2013
Heat Level: Sensual

Blurb:

A forbidden love affair in the past has led Hope Robinson, a middle school principal, to Harbor Bay, Florida, where she commits herself to play by the rules. This can be difficult for a perpetual klutz, who—even strapped in a cast—has to uphold a competent attitude at all times.

Luckily, she has Dr. Colin Calaway on her side, a widower and father of a student, who is ready to give love another try. When Colin convinces Hope they should explore the connection between them, a steamy romance develops, though it could destroy them both. They must decide if their jobs—and their hearts—are worth the risk.

Excerpt:
     His strong arms reached across the couch next to her. She wanted to touch those biceps to see if they were as firm as they looked. His long fingers were clean and beautiful. She never noticed Colin’s hands before. Of course, she saw his hands in his doctor’s office when he examined her foot, but now that she paid close attention to them, she thought they were fine, strong hands. Shaking her head, she wondered what was wrong with her. A man’s hands were turning her on now.
     She moved her gaze to his face. Dark circles rested under his eyes, as if he had a long day or even a longer week. “How was work?” she asked, really wanting to know.
     “Crazy. Rajan, Dr. Patel, was in the hospital all afternoon. That means all patients went to me and our PA. When he got back, I took off,” he looked at his watch, “forty-five minutes ago.”
     “You told me I had to take care of myself. How about you taking care of yourself?”
     “I do just fine.” He brought his arm down and sat up straighter.
     “Yeah, on call all the time and any free time you have you’re with Jason or taking care of patients at their homes.”
     “I want to be here.” Colin grabbed her plate out of her hand and put it on the table. He sat on the edge of the couch and took her face in his hands.
     Hope sighed. Looking into those sea green eyes, any worries could melt away. It was simple, really. But her practical mind always got in the way and told her better. He’s your student’s father. She bit her lip and whispered, “Not a good idea, McSteamy.”
     He flinched. “Mc what?”
     She opened her mouth in a wide O and shook her head. “Pretend I didn’t say that.”
     He laughed softly and then his eyes smoldered. “Stop talking and kiss me.”
     To hell with it. He was too hot not to touch, with tight jeans that made his butt look like a playground and green eyes calling to her as if he were the medication she needed. Plus he made her insides steam up—and it was cold. A cold, lonely life.
    She reached up, put her arms around his neck and pulled him in closer. “I like these house calls, doctor.”


BUY LINKS:  AMAZON /  B&N  /  iTUNES  /  KOBO

About the Author:
Melinda Dozier lives in Guatemala, Central America, with her husband, three boys and German Shepherd.  She enjoys being the queen of her household and dreams of being pampered fully by her boys once they’re grown. Learn more about her at www.melindadozier.com.
You can also find Melinda on twitter at www.twitter.com/melindadozier or Facebook at www.facebook.com/melindadoz

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Does no really mean no?

Before I answer that question, let me clarify. This is not some in-depth blog post about a person's right to say no or choices or anything else deep and thought provoking. Nope. This is simply the story of how I found my agent!

That's right! I have an agent!!!! <--- Can you tell how excited I am? 

I have signed with the wonderful Dawn Dowdle of The Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She is representing me for my series of romantic suspense books. 

Now, back to my question: Does no really mean no? Usually, yes. But in this particular situation, no. lol. Allow me to explain.

In December, I participated in the #pitchMAS pitch event. During that event, Dawn favorited my pitch on Twitter. So, I visited her website, did some preliminary research, and sent off my query on December 20th. According to the email reply I got stating she received my query, it would take two months for a response. And so the waiting began. I should add that other agents had requested as well, and the rejections were quickly rolling in, but still nothing from Mrs. Dowdle. 

Then, on January 31st, I got a response. She rejected. What a hell of a way to start the new year, huh? 

As much as it sucked, I didn't let it get me down. I revamped my query, revised my novel (again), and geared up for #PitMad, which was taking place on January 8th. The day of the event arrived, and I was ready to go. My pitches were pre-scheduled throughout the day, and I have a positive attitude. I'm happy to say that the requests started to trickle in. I was excited. 

But then Mrs. Dowdle requested. Again. 

I was shocked and confused, unsure what to do. Typically during this kind of event, if an agent or editor requests something they've already requested, they state to take the second request as a compliment but not to send another query. However, there was no such statement anywhere on her website or Twitter feed. Ignoring her request seemed rude. Tweeting directly to her seemed unprofessional. And I couldn't send her a direct message because she didn't follow me on Twitter. So I did what I always do when faced with a difficult decision -- I turned to my fellow author friends. 

The consensus: Send another query with a little note letting her know she's already seen and rejected my manuscript. So, that's what I did. Do I recommend everyone do this? No. I took a risk doing this, and I knew that, but I figured because of the unique situation of Twitter pitch parties and that she'd already rejected me, what harm could come from it? All she could do was tell me no again, right? 

The second query was sent to her on January 8th. On January 9th I received a reply stating because she'd requested again, she'd reconsider. Now, I seriously thought she was just being polite, but it was nice nonetheless. 

Then, a few weeks later, I got an email from her stating she'd like to set up a time to speak on the phone. So, we did, and now she's my agent!!! 


Overall, I'm thrilled with my decision to sign with Dawn, and I have the utmost confidence in her ability to sell my book(s). And I owe a HUGE THANK YOU to every single person who hosted these contests, retweeted my pitches, offered encouraging words, and supported me in this crazy, wild, emotional endeavor. I wouldn't be here without all of your help :-)




Friday, February 7, 2014

{COVER REVEAL}: Runaway by Renee Donne





Runaway
by

Renee Donne


Blurb:
After Marianne discovers her bankrupt stepfather sold her into marriage to the highest bidder, she flees Philadelphia and heads west to start a new life. Unfortunately for her danger follows.  First, a stage coach accident leaves her stranded in the middle of nowhere – with an injured driver. And henchmen, hired by her spurned would-be husband, are hot on her trail, threatening to return her to Philadelphia and the man who is determined to own her.
 
Just when things seem hopeless, Marianne is rescued by a handsome, cowboy who offers temporary refuge.  Knowing she can’t refuse, yet wary of his intentions, Marianne finds herself drawn to this quiet, enigmatic hero. But is he someone she can trust?


Release
Date
:
July 29, 2014



Author
Bio:
Renee Donne is a native Floridian with a penchant for writing books with a western theme. In her head she's a world traveler and an amateur chef. In real life, she's a hometown girl with an affinity for fine wine and good friends. Her favorite place to write is sitting on her veranda, overlooking the beach.

Links:



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Co-Author Contest: Finalists Revealed

The Anaiah Press / Kara Leigh Miller Co-Author contest has officially ended. I'd like to take a moment and thank everyone who submitted a writing sample. All of the entries were outstanding. Some authors used flattery by referencing books of mine that they had read, some made me laugh with their reasons for wanting to work on this project, some awed me with their bios, and others appealed to my love of animals.

And I'm sure Executive Editor, Eden Plantz, is tired of hearing me go back and forth, debate the strengths of each candidate, make a choice, change my mind, debate some more. She really deserves a special thank you, too. Maybe I'll send her some cookies.... Or a gift card to Chipotle. I've heard she has an addiction...

Anyway, I know y'all don't want to hear about all of that. So, without further ado, the top 5 finalists are:

1.  Tara Creel


2.  Sarah Hannan 



3. Vincent Morrone



4. Jody Holford



5. Kate L. Mary


Congratulations!!


So, what happens now? All the finalists will receive a questionnaire. Please check your emails and if you don't have one, let me know. Once I get all the questionnaire's back, Eden and I will go through them and make a final decision. The winner will be announced no later than February 15th. Remember, if you don't win this contest, or didn't make it into the questionnaire round, I might still ask you to work on a future project with me.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who submitted. This was not an easy decision to make, and I really wish I could've chosen all of you.