First I’d like to thank Delilah for having me here.
Growing up Saturday mornings were spent in the library. My first loves were Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys books. I used to devour the books and then go outside and pretend that I was on the case trying to solve the mystery with them. Growing up on two acres of land and surrounded by acres and acres of cornfields on 3 sides allowed for plenty of room for exploring.
I read my first romance book when I was in high school. Sadly, I can’t remember the author or the title but it did spark my interest in genres besides mystery.
When I was a kid I thought I’d be a singer and movie star. The problem was I can’t sing and though I did do several plays in high school – even won a supporting actress award. I discovered that I was a home body. The idea of a big city was horrifying. I also discovered that despite growing up with horses I didn’t want to be too far from civilization. To be honest, I just didn’t want to drive a half hour to the nearest McDonalds.
As I got older I dreamed of being a Veterinarian. Sadly, this career path was also doomed before it began. It turns out I can’t talk to animals and I absolutely positively can’t stand the sight of blood or anything else gross and disgusting.
Fast forward a few years and I met my future husband while volunteering for the MDA telethon. After our second child was born I became a stay-at-home mom.
Sometime after the birth of my fourth child, I decided to stop ignoring the voices in my head screaming to put their adventures on paper. It was hard to fit writing time in between everything else going on but I did it. Those first few books shall remain locked away, never to see the light of day, until after my demise at which time my family has been instructed to destroy them.
I briefly considered giving up but the thought made me sick to my stomach. So, I kept writing. Somewhere along the line I discovered that writing was my passion. My husband and children are my greatest gifts but writing makes me happy which in turn makes me a happier and more patient person. My family is laughing right now but just ignore them.
My first book to be published is DEATH BY HIGH HEELS. For some reason, as I wrote this book I knew it was different. I knew this was the one that would go out there for people besides my critique group and family to read.
I have to thank my five kids and husband for all their love and support. Without it my book would have never gotten written. Also, to my critique group I say thanks for giving me the encouragement to send out those query letters and keep trying.
Spending time with a dead guy, being interrogated by the cops and getting stitched up by a cute ER doc wasn’t exactly the evening plans private investigator Kimberly Murphy envisioned. Especially the getting caught standing over a dead body, again, part. Only this time it wasn’t her fault. Just once she’d like it if homicide detective Grant Tompkins didn’t assume she was guilty.
To clear her slightly tarnished name, Kim goes after the clever killer while avoiding a certain hot homicide detective determined to put her in handcuffs – and not the pink, fuzzy kind – not that she’d mind. Too bad Kim’s efforts lead to dead ends and even more dead bodies. Kim will need all her skills and a bit of luck to outwit a killer who’d like to put an end to Kim’s meddling permanently.
UPDATE: The winner of Krysten’s free book is Pat Freely!
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I want to thank Delilah for having me on her site today!
I became a writer because I was such a huge reader as a kid. Some people turn to comfort food and I, as a preteen, turned to what I called, “comfort books.” My first “soul food book” was when I started the sixth grade and found the Judy Blume book, Just as Long as We are Together.I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the first day of school and I showed up with a perm…okay, fine, a “body wave,” (I wasn’t that brave and I had curl commitment issues). Now I don’t have any truly traumatic hair story to share—my hair turned out okay (well, okay for the times, now you’d probably ask why I left the house), but it still was an anxious day for me. After all I was coming back to school with a new look and feeling insecure not just because of my hair, but wondering where my place was after that whole summer away from friends. I remember my mom picked me up after school and we stopped and bought the book. I even remember what I had on that day and, oddly enough, the lip gloss I was wearing. I can never tell you what I had for breakfast on any given day, but I can always remember the exact shade of lip product I had on in almost all memories. It is a talent yet to be appreciated by the rest of the world. Anyway, I took that book home and escaped from my anxious middle school life into a safer world.
Recently, I found myself looking for comfort in book form again when my dad was hospitalized. It’s been a tough time and the first night, I found myself turning to reading at night to relax. The next day, after I left the hospital, I went to the bookstore and picked out a new book as my “escape.” As (bad) luck would have it, I began reading and not even halfway through the book, there was a scene with the father being rushed to the hospital and passing away. Yeah, I didn’t expect that from a book with a pink cupcake on the cover. So I went to my own shelves and picked out one of my favorites that I had already read before making it safe with no scary dad-related storylines in it. I choose Bridget Jones’s Diary as my escape. It wasn’t that the book was a cure-all, but it took me out of my life and my problems for just a little while and that was exactly what I needed. Recently I saw one of my Facebook friends, author Sandra Sookoo, posted this as her status: Ever since my husband’s heart attack in early February I’ve been re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series…I’m now nearly halfway through the last one. Sometimes the good old classics are soul comfort food.”
Books can almost have a therapeutic effect to help you get out of your own head for a bit and relax. Revisiting old favorites is a nice way to do that and hey, it’s cheaper than therapy and you don’t have to put real pants on and leave the house either.
And now I’d like to know what are your favorite therapeutic soul food books?
GIVEAWAY—I’m giving away an Amazon ebook of my YA/MG book, True Colors. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with one of your favorite soul food books.
In TRUE COLORS, Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically “unfriend” her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.
Excerpt: The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.
“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.
I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.
“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.
Tori was next.
“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.
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Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.
Good Morning, Delilah fans! Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Lizzie Ashworth, and I write erotic romance. I live out in the country on a remote hilltop, surrounded by woods and more hills here in Northwest Arkansas. My yellow cat Mao and hound dog Weezie provide excellent advice, when I remember to ask. And right now, I’m just a tiny bit upset that my tomato plants aren’t doing so well—one thing I really look forward to each summer is home grown tomatoes.
Okay, I know most of you probably never heard of Lizzie Ashworth. That’s because my first books didn’t hit the market until a year ago. The first one that came out was an erotic BDSM romance, Hers to Choose, soon followed by His to Lose, a two book series about those devilishly handsome Cannon cousins. Then in December I published A Gift for Jarrod, a BDSM novella that turned out to be the first in five. The story of Jarrod Bancroft grew so much, I’ve now released it as a print novel and as three e-books. But more about that later. In May of this year, I released Faint Heart, a sexy contemporary romance.
If you’ve read any of my books, you know that I write explicit sex scenes. I confess—I have to. I grew up in a time when the bedroom door stayed closed. No details! No descriptions! I was so frustrated—I wanted to know what happened. It’s only been in the last few years that readers can find stories that keep the bedroom door open and even turn back the sheets to reveal everything from the skin heat to the color of certain—ahem—body parts. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s fabulous!
After all, the male writers who have been in control of books until recently don’t leave out the gory details of violence—guts, blood, broken bones, the sound someone makes when he’s shot. I never could understand why sex was considered obscene but violence wasn’t? What?
Evidently reading explicit sex scenes makes men uncomfortable. And I’ll concede that some female readers are not down with it either. Well, hopefully we can all agree that it’s okay for writers to write and readers to read whatever they like!
I’d love to tell you a few things about Jarrod Bancroft. First of all, he’s a younger man. As in, when the main female character Macie Fitzgerald first meets Jarrod, he’s her high school student. Ten years pass. Now she’s 38 and he’s 28. And a lot has happened.
Secondly, he’s a hunk. Gorgeous. Mouthwatering. Here’s a photo from the ebook Jarrod Bancroft Book II.
Third, he’s at a crisis point in his life, willing to explore his masochist and submissive tendencies and chafing at his role in his father’s corporation. The story follows him through a major life transition, and I admit, it gets dark at certain points.
But that’s what you want, right? As readers, don’t you expect your books to grab you, make you care, make you sweat about what will happen next? That’s what I try to give you, work my little fingers to the bone to create. I want to give you a guy you can’t help but love, a man with angst and drive and such physical beauty that you see him in your dreams. I want to give you a lead female character who isn’t afraid to take a few risks, but isn’t ready to lay her heart on the chopping block either. After all, she’s been down this romance road before, and there’s real pain lurking around the corner. Isn’t it smarter to wait, hold back, maybe decide ‘no, can’t go there again.’?
Here’s the blurb for Jarrod Bancroft Books I, II, and III.
With everything she cared about gone, Dominatrix Macie Fitzgerald has built a new life in service to those seeking pain and submission. She takes pride in her success. When she accepts Jarrod Bancroft’s application to her next training session, she knows he poses a risk to her fragile emotionless world.
Macie fears are confirmed when she discovers that the ten years since he was her high school history student have only made him more magnificent in every way. How long can she resist him? What devastation awaits her if she can’t?
Life has been too easy for Jarrod Bancroft—rich parents, football star, law degree, high powered job, women by the score. Something is missing. He wants whatever Stonybrook Academy can dish out, much as it scares the hell out of him.
Tied to the bed, his body violated in every way, he faces his first night realizing he was right to be afraid. He never imagined this torture and deprivation. And this woman, his sadistic mistress—the voice behind her mask sounds familiar.
Macie faces her biggest challenge as she struggles to fulfill her professional obligation to give Jarrod what he wants, what he needs. But Jarrod soon discovers that Macie is what he wants. What she doesn’t give, he takes—a risky venture when you’re a sub. Defenseless against his potent charm, Macie breaks every rule she’s made for herself. Heartbreak soon follows.
To complicate matters, a legal hammer hangs over Jarrod’s head at Bancroft Investments threatening to ruin his professional future. Sucked into his father’s illegal business mess, Jarrod’s life takes an unexpected and life-threatening turn. Powerless as a nightmare unfolds around him, Jarrod dreams of his queen, the only woman he wants. But there’s nothing Macie can do for him now.
Told in three parts, the story of Jarrod Bancroft weaves a web of denial and fear, dark family secrets, and wealth at any cost. The lash of a whip is nothing compared to pain like this. When pain feels like love, how does love feel?
Please note that along with romance, love, and erotic pleasures of a more traditional nature, this work includes scenes of sadism, masochism, and sex acts involving multiple and same-sex partners. For mature readers only.
HaHa! I needed a soundtrack for this post. Now this song will be stuck in your brains all day! But it’s Willie, so you don’t mind so much, right?
Anyway, I’m going on a road trip! The car is packed to the ceiling with “stuff” for Authors After Dark. I’ll be traveling with my dd, Kelly, and her two little girls. Should be fun. Their grandfather will meet up with us on the second day of our trip and take the girls to DC. Then it’s just the two of us hanging at the conference.
I was supposed to have the first of the Firehouse 69 books done before I left, but time got away from me, so for the first couple of days of the conference, I’ll be holed up in my hotel room, typing as fast as my chubby little fingers will allow. Have to get it out the door or my name is mud with my lovely editor at Samhain. As soon as it’s in the can, however, I’m heading to the bar!!!!!!
I hope some of you can make it to the signing on Saturday at the Westin Charlotte. Drop by my table to say hello and scoop up some promo stuff. I really don’t want to take it home! I’ll try to steal plenty of other authors stuff to bring back for some fun giveaways on my blog.
For the next few days, I have guest bloggers lined up to keep you entertained. See ya on the other side!
An ex-military man relies on the skills he’s never forgotten
When former special ops soldier Dave Logsdon nearly hits a beautiful motorcyclist in the thick Oregon fog, nicknamed the Devil’s Shroud, he never expects to be thrown back into a world of espionage, deceit and danger. But secret agent Nicole Steele is desperate for an out-of-the-way place to hide, and Dave’s run-down yacht is the perfect spot.
The emotionally wounded warrior is powerless to deny her request and his rising desire for her.Nicole must decrypt the database she’s stolen before it’s too late. She soon learns the threat is bigger than she could ever imagine and U.S. national security is at stake. Will her unexpected bond with Dave survive once the enemy’s identity is finally uncovered?
Deadly Allure is Book #4 of the DEADLY series:
Nicole Steele is on a Stealth Operations Mission in a California office building.
Ten after ten. She had exactly fifteen minutes to get into Ryan’s office, download the data and get out. Another five minutes to leave the building and this operation would be complete. Short, sweet, uneventful. That’s the way she liked it.
Nicole stepped into the stairwell, raised her hand to spray the camera in the corner and climbed the steps two at a time to the floor above. She blacked out the camera there and moved up to the next floor. Once on the top floor, she disabled the security camera and hurried to Brandon Ryan’s spacious office, paid for by taxpayer dollars meant to be used to supply guns to the military. It was the potential other deals he was making with the opposing forces in the Middle East that had landed her there.
As a member of the Stealth Operations Specialists, Nicole was part of a very small force of secret agents called on by the President of the United States to handle situations neither the FBI nor the CIA could handle. Sensitive cases that only a handful of people knew about.
Her boss, Royce Fontaine, had prepared her for this mission; given her the equipment and knowledge that would get her inside and to the computer Ryan used to store the top-secret data concerning his organization’s dealings.
Intel from SOS operatives in the Middle East had informed Royce the Taliban had new guns that looked suspiciously like those supplied to the U.S. military.
Nicole’s job was to ferret out the information necessary to determine whether the Taliban had stolen the weapons or if Brandon Ryan was supplying them to the opium-rich leaders of the terrorist organization.
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Elle James’s Bio: Elle James spent twenty years livin’ and lovin’ in South Texas, ranching horses, cattle, goats, ostriches and emus. A former IT professional, Elle is proud to be writing full-time, penning intrigues and paranormal adventures that keep her readers on the edge of their seats. She has 39 works with Harlequin, self published works under pen name Elle James, over 40 works with other publishers including Samhain, Elloras’ Cave, Kensington and Avon and 18 works self-published under pen name Myla Jackson. Now living in northwest Arkansas, she isn’t wrangling cattle, she’s wrangling her muses, a malti-poo and yorkie. When she’s not at her computer, she’s traveling, out snow-skiing, boating, or riding her ATV, dreaming up new stories.
Thanks to Delilah for having me as guest on her blog today. In thinking about what to write, I came up with what I hope will be something worthwhile to all new and hopeful writers-to-be.
It is difficult not to want to talk about my very first book to be published. However, I’ll take this space I was so kindly offered to make some comments on this wild ride that has been writing and getting published as a contemporary romance author. Many years ago, over thirty to be exact, I had the brilliant idea that I could write a romance novel. I sat down and did just that. Boxed it up and mailed it off to Harlequin. I really didn’t have to wait long for a reply….about four weeks. I saw the envelope in the mailbox and ripped it open thinking it had to be great news…they wanted my book and there would be a huge check inside. Wrong.
The letter was a nice form letter thanking me but NO THANKS. I was crushed. I took my copy of the manuscript and literally boxed it and threw it under the bed in the guest room. I never saw it again. Long story short, I gave up on my dream of writing. Fast forward thirty plus years and I am more mature and have done a TON of research on the romance genre. With a gentle push (more like a hard shove) from a dear friend, I once more wrote another manuscript and this time…I submitted to a few agents. One agent picked it up and worked with me for a few months before finally offering representation. That is when my real ‘schooling’ began in the world of publishing. After almost three years, I have two manuscripts sold and about to be published. That is the easy version. It wasn’t an easy process and it was at best frustrating and worst…a nightmare. Much the same as giving birth for the first time.
What have I learned after all this? First and foremost…WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE TO READ. Too often authors get in trouble and bring on a ton of frustration when we forget that simple fact. If you can’t love what you wrote…no one else can be expected to do so. Second, and of equal import…TRUST YOUR INSTINCT. Let me explain it this way. When I first jumped into publishing, I put my writing and myself one hundred per cent in the hands of others…because they knew so much more than I did. Well…I now know the value of listening to that little voice inside me. When I listened to others, I found myself in deals I didn’t really like, and writing in sub-genres because that is what someone else liked and wanted me to do…etc. When I started saying hold on…and listening to what I knew and felt to be right…I was much happier and I SOLD. That is not to say that I don’t value the opinions and experiences of others in the publishing world…I do. There is still a lot for me to learn. I just listen to everyone now….myself included…and make the best decision possible.
Best advice to someone who wants to become a writer? Learn all you can about the genre you want to publish. Write only what you love to read. Trust in yourself and your instincts. Don’t give up on your dream!
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J.D. Sterling, country music’s sexy superstar, has come home again. He has achieved his wildest dreams and did what he set out to do when he shook the dirt of the small Texas town from his boot heels a dozen years before. Now, he’s returned for the final piece of the puzzle to completing his life….the girl who holds his heart. Mandy.
Amanda Lawson has grown up. From sheer heartbreak to struggling to survive to becoming a shrewd businesswoman, she has taught herself to never look back. She survived once before the wild, green-eyed cowboy with only a guitar to his name and a pocketful of dreams. He took her heart and so much more when he left her behind with his hollow vows.
Mandy was his muse…J.D. was her dream. Despite tragedy, can they find their way home to each other again?
Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and owning a wedding planning business (ah, romance!).
Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!) When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs… to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.
The Seymour Agency represents Debra and she is soon to have two contemporary romances published by Spencer Hill/Tulip Romance and Astraea Press. Debra invites you to visit her website at www.debraholtbooks.com. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at email@example.com. Follow her on twitter @debraholtbooks and like her author page on facebook.
I’m on the road today, heading to Dallas with my dd, to pick up the 10-year-old who has been spending a month with her daddy in San Antonio. So I’ll be stuck in a car for the nine-hour round trip. Any suggestions for things we can do on our trip that will help us while away the hours? Dream up the usuals, but have some fun with your suggestions, too! I’ll give away a $5 Amazon gift card for the “best” suggestion.