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Elizabeth Andrews: Romantic Gifts & Presents for You! (Contest)
Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Hi!  Before I get started, I want to thank Delilah for being so generous with her blog space.  I always have a good time when I come to visit here, and I appreciate that Delilah lets me.

So it’s my birthday month, and more specifically, my birthday week.  I remember as a kid how much I looked forward to my birthday–it was about halfway through the year from the other big kid present holiday, Christmas.  Each one seemed so far away from the other when I was a kid.  Do you remember, too?  I always thought it would be worse, though, to have my birthday too close to Christmas and then have to wait even longer for gifts.  Funnier, though, when I think about it as an adult, is that gifts when I was a kid were a lot of useful things and a few fun things, plus the dinner of our choice and whatever kind of cake we wanted (my mom was a really great baker).  I had a lot of siblings, so huge wish lists weren’t the norm in our house.  And we were okay with that.

Even when I got older, birthdays were more about the cake than the gifts.  I’m still a huge fan of the birthday cake, actually.  Something decadent and delicious, with icing.  There has to be icing, or there’s no point in the cake, unless it’s cheesecake, and then it still needs something–fruit sauce, or chocolate, or something.

I haven’t written a character yet whose birthday happens during the course of their book, until now.  I’m working on a shifter story, and the heroine has a birthday and Christmas during their story, and neither of those has ever been a big deal in her life up until this point.  Seeing things through her eyes that I’ve taken for granted is kind of eye-opening, and a little sad for her.  The hero does some very romantic things for her, too, which makes the whole thing even better.

But there is still something to be said for a good birthday gift from someone special, whether it sparkles, or maybe it’s just a good dinner at your favorite restaurant.  So I wondered what some of your favorite romantic birthday gifts have been.  From your spouse, or maybe a previous significant other, I want to know.  Everybody who shares in the comments below by noon EST on Sunday, July 31, 2016 will be entered into a giveaway drawing (via RandomResult.com)–I have a box full of books, including a signed copy of Hunting Medusa.  I can’t wait to hear these!

Hunting Medusa

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Hunting Medusa

The Medusa Trilogy, Book 1

Ever since the original Medusa ticked off Athena, her cursed daughters have been paying for that mistake. To this day, successive Medusas play cat and mouse with the Harvesters.

When Kallan Tassos tracks down the current Medusa, he expects to find a monster. Instead he finds a wary, beautiful woman, shielded by a complicated web of spells that foils his plans for a quick kill and retrieval of her protective amulet.

Andrea Rosakis expects the handsome Harvester to go for the kill. Instead, his attempt to take the amulet imprinted on her skin without harming her takes her completely by surprise. And ends with the two of them in a magical bind—together.

Though their attraction is combustible, her impending PMS (Pre Magical-Curse Syndrome) puts a real damper on any chance of a relationship. But Kallan isn’t the only Harvester tracking Andi, and they must cooperate to stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer before they can have any future, together or apart.

Get your copy here!

About the Author

Elizabeth Andrews has been a book lover since she was old enough to read. She read her copies of Little Women and the Little House series so many times, the books fell apart. As an adult, her book habit continues. She has a room overflowing with her collection, and still more spreading into other rooms.  Almost as long as she’s been reading great stories, she’s been attempting to write her own.  Thanks to a fifth grade teacher who started the class on creative writing, Elizabeth went from writing creative sentences to short stories and eventually full-length novels. Her father saved her poor, callused fingers from permanent damage when he brought home a used typewriter for her.

Elizabeth found her mother’s stash of romance novels as a teenager, and–though she loves horror–romance became her very favorite genre, making writing romances a natural progression. There are more than just a few manuscripts, however, tucked away in a filing cabinet that will never see the light of day.

Along with her enormous book stash, Elizabeth lives with her husband of more than twenty years and two young adult sons, though no one else in the house reads nearly as much as she does. When she’s not at work or buried in books or writing, there is a garden outside full of herbs, flowers and vegetables that requires occasional attention.

A Question…
Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

First, thanks to everyone who purchased Raptor’s Prey and With His SEAL Team! Raptor is #9 on the Science Fiction Erotica list! And SEAL Team is right here:

My SEAL Capture

Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)

I am super-envious of everyone who was able to attend Comicon! The news coming out of there of new movies to watch for has been killing me. On Facebook, I shared clips from the new Justice League and Wonder Woman movies coming in 2017. Since they are so much on my mind, I thought I’d help stoke your obsession too! So, answer me this…

Justice League

Which member of the Justice League would you most want to see charging up the sidewalk when you're getting mugged? You may choose 2.

View Results

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And of course, you’re welcome to explain your choices in the comments!

Psst! Remember to enter yesterday’s contest! 

Lindsay McKenna: Secret Dream
Monday, July 25th, 2016

Hi Readers!

At last!!!  I put out the first four books of the Delos series, and later, wrote sequels to each one of them.  The first of those sequels, Secret Dream, is following Cav and Lia from Nowhere to Hide, Book 1.  I’ll be rolling out three more, one a month!  I’m excited to hear from you as to whether you like having a sequel after the “big” book. So do let me know! Below is an excerpt from SECRET DREAM.  Enjoy!

Secret Dream

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Sequel novella to Nowhere to Hide, Book 1, Delos series
Publishing date: 7.25.16
Ebook, paperback and audio
www.lindsaymckenna.com

Ex-Navy SEAL Cav Jordan faces danger daily in his job as a security expert. He even faced down a gang of South American drug dealers to protect his fiancée, Lia Cassidy. So why is he terrified of meeting her parents? Having lived through his own horrible childhood Cav can’t understand the situation is he is walking into. Lia just wants him to meet her parents. Why does this feel like the fight of his life?Secret Dream by Lindsay McKenna

“Steve Cassidy. Welcome, Mr. Jordan.  We owe you a lot.”  He gripped Cav’s hand, and choked out, “You saved Lia’s life.  Thank you…”

For a moment, Cav was stunned by the sudden kindness emanating from the farmer’s expression who was thin, wiry, sunburned and physically sinewy from the daily work he did.  Gripping the farmer’s calloused roughened hand, he said, “Nice to meet you, sir.  And I was just doing my job.  Call me  Cav?”

“Call me Steve.”  He clapped him heartily on the back, still clasping his other hand.  “And you’re a hero to us, son. Nothing less.”  Steve released him, keeping his hand on Cav’s broad shoulder, watching Lia clinging to he mother, both of them in a tight, loving embrace with one another.

Embarrassed by such a show of emotions, Cav murmured, “Thank you, sir.”

Steve gave him an assessing look.  “Just Steve will do.”

“Yes, sir….I mean, okay,” Cav stumbled.  It was very different meeting people who were strangers, but this was Lia’s parents and he didn’t want to fuck this up for her.  Awkwardly, he stood there, watching tears roll down Susan’s face.  He wasn’t sure that Lia wasn’t crying too, such was the tight bond they shared.  Obliquely, his mind leaped backward.  Cav remembered the times his mother had cried.  But they were tears of pain.  Tears mingled with blood from her nose, a split lip or both after his father got done beating her up.  How many times had Cav cried alone in his room wishing she would run away with him from his monster father?

Steve clapped him on the shoulder.  “Let’s us guys go find your luggage, huh?” and he smiled a little.

Good idea!  “Yes, sir—“

Steve laughed and patted him warmly on the back.   “You’re staying a week with us, Cav.  I’ll work that military side out of you by then.  Come on, let’s hunt up that luggage you and our Lia, eh?”

There was a male gruffness mingled with warmth to Steve that made Cav want to open up to the man.  He had a deeply weathered face, his blue eyes the same color as Lia’s.  The woman he loved had her mother’s same color of hair, her father’s sparkling, mischievous looking eyes and her smile.  There was benevolence to Steve Cassidy, and Cav automatically found himself wanting to be close to this man who exuded a male gentleness he rarely found in any man.  “Thanks for coming to pick us up,” Cav said, noting that the baggage from their flight would be spit out by Carousel Two.

“We’ve been looking forward to seeing you two,” Steve said, standing with his hands on his hips, watching the luggage starting to be dropped off the conveyor belt.  “Did you have a good flight?”

“Yes.  It was quiet. That’s all I ask.”

“We don’t travel much,” he said.  “With a farm, you can’t walk away from it, so I’m glad you came for a visit.”

Cav felt Steve’s genuine sincerity.  He hooked a look over his shoulder, seeing Lia and her mother talking animatedly with one another as they walked toward them.  Susan had given Lia her smile and her beauty, no question.  He liked that the mother had hooked her arm around Lia’s waist and they walked closely, their affection for everyone to see.  He knew Lia’s affection himself and already, he could see how happy she was at being home with her parents once more.  They breathed even more life into her, if that was possible.  Compared to the ghost of a person she was in Costa Rica months earlier, Cav was stunned at Lia’s natural radiance.  She was sunshine to his darkened soul who craved her.

“Uh oh,” Steve murmured, grinning as he turned.  “I’m about to get attacked.”

For a moment, the word put Cav on instant guard. But as he turned, he saw Steve opening his arms as Lia flew into them, her arms wide open, joy radiant on her face as she clung to her father.  A lump formed in his throat as he watched Lia being swallowed up by the big man who kissed her hair, kissed that cheek that had that deep scar on it, his eyes only for his beaming daughter in his arms.  His gaze flicked to Susan, who stood a few feet away, teary eyed, smiling, her lower lip trembling as she watched Lia with her doting father.  It hurt to swallow and Cav turned away, remembering too much of the twisted and distorted family he’d somehow managed to survive.  He’d never known a moment of affection from his father.  Only his fist.  His hatred.  His anger always aimed at him.

Mardi Ballou: Sensuous Writing for Beginners
Sunday, July 24th, 2016

mbteachhimtonightbox-300MedWhat are the essentials for writing? A laptop (or other electronics), somewhere to park the butt (except for those who write while operating a treadmill), and chocolate are the minimum daily requirements. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t look to chocolate as part of the creative process? Indulging in this basic is part of what I view as Writing—the Sensuous Art. After all, how can we create the sensuous stories of lovers in pursuit of romance if our own senses, as writers, are deprived?

Taste is not the only sense that needs attention. We can’t be too hot or cold, we need to deal with the clutter or learn to be oblivious to it, and it’s hard to write in a place that doesn’t smell good. As writers, we need to pay attention to all our own senses just as we do the characters’.

Recently, I’ve gone beyond chocolate (and wine after I reach the day’s word count goal). Specifically, I now listen to the music that my heroes and heroines would. This is a switch from the music I listened to for years as my background for writing—Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. Had to be the Fritz Reiner version. Whenever I heard the opening chords of Scheherazade, I’d react like Pavlov’s dog to its stimulation, and begin working. I figured Scheherazade was a great choice, given the story-telling challenges of that young woman in the Arabian Nights.

mbEGEsmcrSwitching soundtracks so that I now listen to my characters’ music was an adjustment. I’ve lost the automatic Pavlovian response, but I’ve gained a deeper insight into the world I’m creating. Right now I’m working on a medieval and have found that I love the music of that era. Listening is almost as delicious as dipping into the chocolate and keeps me smiling as I write.

 

Sharon Hamilton: Getting the Deets right, or not!
Friday, July 22nd, 2016

shSharonHamilton_Alex_HRJust came back from a convention and had the opportunity to hang around some of my great military writer friends, some of whom also write Navy SEAL romances. First, let me start by saying that writing romance is writing fiction. These stories need to have enough truth in them to be believable, but they are all made up stories, at least mine are.

One of the things buzzing around was a question of Navy SEAL medics, and whether or not they were actually SEALs. There was a former SEAL who served in the 1960’s who said they were not. A whole room full of people I’m sure took notes.

The truth is, and I corrected him privately, the SEALs are changing every year, every few months. What was “gospel” at one time is no longer valid now. So when the discussions come up about what’s accurate and what’s not, it depends on your point of view as far as dates of service, and it also depends on the story. Publishers can get misinformation and their editors can actually question certain truths they have been mislead by. I heard examples of it this weekend.

But the fact remains, Navy SEAL medics today are deployed to all 10 SEAL Teams. They are also trained in all the other specialties, so that if one falls, another can take up the post. Marcus Luttrell was one, tells about it in his book, Lone Survivor. In the Vietnam era, when the SEALs were new, they lacked medics to help these guys because they were losing them on the field before they could get to the hospital. Many were retired as “SEALs” but never went through the BUD/s training.

Now it is different. But books written years ago, might reflect the old “rules” if I can say that.

So, if someone starts blogging or speaking about certain things not being factual or accurate in a writer’s SEAL story, just walk away. There are much more productive ways to determine if a writer is your favorite. We all do the best we can. Movies get it wrong. TV gets it wrong every day. Publishers get it wrong. Editors get it wrong. Writers get it wrong. But this is fiction.

About Sharon Hamilton

Smiling Sharon in RedSharon Hamilton is a NYT and USA/Today bestselling author most known for her SEAL Brotherhood series.

A lifelong organic gardener, Sharon lives with her husband in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place. When she’s not writing, she’s getting verra verra dirty in the mud, or wandering Farmer’s Markets looking for new Heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.

Her latest release is Band of Bachelors: Alex.

Elle James: Friends along the way
Thursday, July 21st, 2016

I just wrote a novella in a very short time-frame, and it reminded me how much I have to be thankful for in my chosen career of writing. I have a wonderful sister, Delilah Devlin, I know I can count on for anything writing related. Don’t have a plot? She’s a great sounding board. Need to share some writing-related coolness with someone who understands the language? She gets me! I couldn’t have gotten this far without her.

But it also reminds me of all the friends I’ve made along the journey. From my writing retreat buddies, Cynthia D’Alba, Parker Kincade and Mandy Harbin, to my Harlequin author friends who are always an inspiration to me and there when I need someone to keep me straight, Julie Miller, Delores Fossen and BJ Daniels. And then there’s Susan Stoker, an author I met at the Romantic Times Convention one year and had such a good time talking to her at other conventions, I feel I’ve found a kindred spirit. She makes me laugh and is as passionate about her writing as I am about mine. And it’s always fun to do group projects with my author friends. Remember that project I just finished with a short fuse? That would be the novella for Susan Stoker’s Kindle World. It’s a crossover novella between her Delta Force series and my Brotherhood Protector series. I hope you will check it out and all of the other books in Susan Stoker’s Kindle World.

Cowboy D-Force

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Amazon

Former D-Force bodyguard, protects mega-star’s body double from a predatory stalker’s deadly hunting game

Fresh out of the military, John Wayne “Duke” Morrison is back in his home state of Montana, starting a new job in the Brotherhood Protectors security service. First assignment, protect film star and diva Lena Love from a stalker leaving her threatening messages. After fighting terrorists in the Middle East, Duke assumes this assignment will be a walk in the park.

Angel Carson, lovingly known as “The Angel of Death”, is a woman with a death wish. Her main claim to fame is her uncanny resemblance to Lena Love. Prior military, she’s seen combat, lost friends and now works as the stunt woman for the mega-star. When Miss Love is threatened, Angel steps in as bait to draw out the stalker on the diva’s 6,000-acre ranch in the foothills of the Crazy Mountains. To cover Angel’s back, Lena has engaged a bodyguard to watch her six and be there when the stalker reveals himself.

Unable to tell Duke she isn’t the real Lena, Angel must perform like a diva. As the stalker closes in, she reluctantly accepts Duke’s help to stay alive. In forced proximity, tempers and passions ignite, leaving Duke and Angel struggling to resist an irresistible attraction while alluding the stalker’s predatory game. When the stalker becomes the predator, the power of Delta Force brotherhood becomes a force to reckon with.

Cindy Nord: CROQUET, Victorian Style
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

cn4croquet6
cn8croquet9In the time of the wily Victorians, summertime meant CROQUET! The outdoor game involved hitting wooden balls with a long-handled wooden mallet through “wickets” [bent metal hoops jammed into the ground] on a grass playing court.

cn9Croquet2And according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “the oldest document bearing the word ‘croquet’ is the ‘set of rules’ registered by Isaac Spratt in November, 1856 with the Stationers’ Company in London.” But records also reflect a similar game called “crookey” being played at Castlebellingham, a village in County Louth, Ireland as far back as 1835. And by 1860, croquet had become one of the most popular social spring/summer/fall pastimes in England.

Throughout the years, the number of ‘wickets’ were added or detracted, but the game’s simple outline has remained. Knock the little round ball through the wicket course, ’til reaching the final stake.

cn1croquet8Of course, along the way, the ladies & gents would send their opponent’s ball off course with a well-placed strike. And there were dozens of terms bandied about when they played the game, among them were: Run a hoop – to send the striker’s ball through a wicket; Double tap – a fault in which the mallet makes more than one audible sound when it strikes the ball; or even a Triple peel – to send a ball other than the striker’s ball through its last three hoops, and then peg it out at the end of the course. Indeed, so many phrases made (and still make) this lawn game of skill an exciting pastime of summer!

An Unlikely Hero

cn6An Unlikely Hero - Digital Cover - USE

AN UNLIKELY HERO (book three in the bestselling ‘The Cutteridge Family’ series)

He’s a hard-as-stone man with a broken past…and she’s a reminder of all he’s lost.

Rugged army scout Dillon Reed has met his match in spoiled Boston debutante Alma Talmadge, but an unwanted assignment escorting the beauty across the wilds of America soon evolves into a journey of monumental change for them both. With killers hot on their trail, the odds of staying alive are stacked against them…and yet, falling in love was nowhere in their plans for survival.

About Cindy

Cindy Nord - Professional ShotSay hello to Bestselling Historical Romance writer, CINDY NORD…author of NO GREATER GLORY, book one in her bestselling, award-winning four-book ‘The Cutteridge Family’ series, a USA Today Lifeblog ‘Recommended Read’, as well as the #1 Civil War Romance at Amazon for over one full year! WITH OPEN ARMS, book two, as well as #1 bestselling western historical romance, continues the journey of characters that appeared in the first novel. And book three, AN UNLIKELY HERO, just debuted on July 1st, and by that evening had surged onto the coveted ‘Top 100 Romances at Amazon’ list thxs to her beloved readers. She is now hard-at-work crafting BY ANY MEANS, book four in her series, which is set to debut the winter of 2017. Cindy is also honored to be a contributor alongside many NYTimes writers in the delightful non-fiction anthology SCRIBBLING WOMEN & THE REAL-LIFE ROMANCE HEROES WHO LOVE THEM [all proceeds from the sale of this book go to the ‘Women In Need’ shelter in NYC]. A member of numerous writers groups, Cindy’s work has finaled or won countless times in competitions — including the prestigious Romance Writers of America National Golden Heart Contest. A luscious blend of history and romance, her love stories meld both genres around fast-paced action and emotionally driven characters.

CONNECT with Cindy via her SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Webpage:   https://www.cindynord.com
Amazon Author Page:  https://amazon.com/author/www.cindynord.com
An Unlikely Hero buy link:   https://amzn.com/B01HMVIAYW
No Greater Glory buy link:   https://amzn.com/B008GWOI9S
With Open Arms buy link:  https://amzn.com/B00KT23WO0
Barnes & Noble NOOK link (With Open Arms) buy link:   https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/with-open-arms-cindy-nord/1119742281?ean=9781619225435
Barnes & Noble NOOK link (No Greater Glory) buy link:    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-greater-glory-cindy-nord/1112120177?ean=9781619212435
Barnes & Noble NOOK link (An Unlikely Hero) buy link:   http://bit.ly/29irk5j
Apple/iBooks (All Three Books) buy links:   https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/an-unlikely-hero/id1128489909?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Facebook ‘Coffee Klatch’ site:    https://www.facebook.com/cindy.nord.9
Twitter:   https://twitter.com/cnord2
LinkedIn:   https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=25784664&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+CindyNord9/posts/p/pub
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/cnord2/