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Archive for the ‘Guest Bloggers’ Category

Please Welcome Debra Kayn to the blog today.  Her newest release, Rodeo Rebel is the fourth book in her McDougal Series and is published by Entangled Publishing.

I had the pleasure of reviewing my first book by Debra about a year ago for Breathless Press and fell in love with her writing style. She also has books published through Carina Press, Entangled Publishing and Etopia Publishing.

I instantly connected with her McDougal Sisters books because their father was diagnosed with ALS and they had to watch the strongest person they knew become weak and helpless. My grandfather passed away from Lymphomia and it was hard to watch him suffer.

Debra is active on Twitter and Facebook and a lot of fun to talk to. I have gained a lot of respect for her both as a writer and person. I love that she takes time to interact with her fans.

I hope you enjoy the Q&A with her; it was a lot of fun:

Do you have a routine when you are writing?   Do you have a set time you write, certain number of days a week, word count, etc?

I write every day, but not a routine. Kids and animals always interrupt! I do love to write when it’s chaotic, so the more noise and action going on in the house lets me zone out and write. Silence is overrated! Lol I also love snacking on Wasabi peas while I write. They’re hot enough I don’t pig out. I learned my lesson after finishing off a bag of peanut M&M’s one night. Oops!

I’ve heard a lot of author’s mention play lists they listen to while writing, do you listen to music while you are working or do you have to have the quiet?

I listen to music, but I’m not aware of what’s playing. Okay, I take that back. Recently while writing a proposal, I listened to I’m Glad You Came by The Wanted over and over. That song fits the mood of the book so well. But, typically, I just want the “noise”.

I’m a Twitter junkie and I’m bad about reading Twitter posts when I am supposed to be working.   Do the social networking sites tempt you away from work when you are writing?  Do you allow yourself time on them or do you have to stay away from them completely while working?  How has social media affected your career as a writer?

Social media sights are total time sucks…I love them! I bounce on and off Twitter all day. I love talking to people, but hate promoting myself, so I’m big on conversations. It’s funny how that works though. When I released a biker series, I started getting a bunch of bikers following me. Who knew bikers had eReaders and would read my book.

Some authors like to read books in completely different genres than the one they write. What types of books do you find yourself reading?  Do you think these books influence what you write?

That’s so true. I love writing contemporary, but I also love reading YA books. In fact, reading them helps me slow the romance down in my own books. That first kiss is special whether you’re 16 years old or 30 years old, and has taught me to take my time writing and let my characters enjoy each other first.

What’s your favorite genre to read?  Why?  Who are some of your favorite authors to read?  Where is your favorite place to curl up with a good book?

My favorite is Contemporary. They’re real, and I can imagine myself in the stories. Some of my fav authors to read are Nora Roberts (of course!), Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Diana Palmer, Jeannie Watt and Linda Lael Miller.

I read every night in bed with my Kindle…my little light shining the words. I also try to squeeze reading time in during the summer when I’m sitting on the bank of our creek. I love losing hours of time hearing the water, the birds, and getting sucked into a story.

“Be careful or you’ll end up in my book!”  Do your characters have traits of friends and family?  Or are they completely new individuals?

I’m sure I have family and friends who have spotted similarities. I write what I know, so personalities pop up in characters all the time. My family has started to look sideways at my hubs lately, because he’s my hero…and a lot of my book’s heroes start to take on little habits of his.

Are you a full time writer or do you have to make time to write?  Is it difficult to juggle working, writing and family life?

I’m a full time writer. Between juggling farm chores, kids, homeschooling, and family time it’s nice to tell everyone I’m writing and sneak away to stare at the computer.

Lightning round!Favorite color? Pink

Favorite beverage? Water
Favorite Food? Shrimp
Favorite animal or pet? Hogs
Sweet snacks or salty? Salty
Morning person or night owl? Night owl
Mac or PC? PC
TV, Radio or Nothing when you are writing? Radio
And because you’re a romance author:  Sweet or smutty? Both!

Five Ways You Fuel Your Creativity

I’m a huge people watcher. I love creating stories for perfect strangers I see everywhere.

Reading, watching tv and movies. Sometimes a personality jumps out and gives you an idea.

Playing tennis. I think the adrenaline gives me more brain power.

Cooking helps motivate me. It’s such a routine chore for me that I can slip into my imagination while I make dinner.

Twitter gives me lots of unique people to view, and stories that spark inspiration.

Five Fun Facts About You, the Person

Met my husband on a blind date when I was 19 & married him. Still married!

I haven’t worked an evil day job since I was 20 years old

I’ve played tennis since I was 6 years old

I’m adopted

I hate ketchup, but love tomatoes

Now – will you tell us a little about Rodeo Rebel

Thank you so much for having me here today! Remember, if Rodeo Rebel reaches the top 100 by August 8th, I’m giving away a pair of cowgirl boots and a cowgirl hat. No purchase necessary! All the details are here http://www.debrakayn.com/2012/07/contest-if-rodeo-rebel-makes-it-to-top.html

Rodeo Rebel is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Blurb

When widower and land baron Cole Reardon acquired the Turner Grain Corporation, he didn’t know the company sponsored a bull rider. He refuses to support thrill-seekers dumb enough to get on the back of a crazed animal. He’s not willing to risk his fortune and livelihood when he has his daughter’s well-being to consider. Not even when the bull rider is the sexiest woman he’s ever seen.

Bull rider Florentine McDougal plans to turn pro after the season championship, fulfilling her lifelong dream of succeeding in a man’s world. That is, until Cole Reardon shows up and threatens to break his sponsorship contract with her. Now everything she’s worked for is less than eight seconds away from being destroyed.

Cole distracts Florentine with his sexy mouth and unreasonable demands, and he’s not going to compromise his integrity. But she’s not going to let him loose until she has pro status. And neither will come away from this dust-up unscathed.

About Debra:

Multi-published Romance Author, Debra Kayn, lives with her family in the beautiful coastal mountains of Oregon on a hobby farm. During the summer, she enjoys riding motorcycles, gardening, playing tennis, and fishing. During the winter, you’ll find her outside playing in the snow. A cold weather nut, she lives for the days she’s snowbound and fighting with the woodstove to keep the house warm when the power goes out. A huge animal lover, she always has a dog under her desk when she writes and chickens standing at the front door looking for a treat. She’s famous in her family for teaching a 270 lb pig named Harley to jog with her every morning.

Her love of family ties and laughter makes her a natural to write heartwarming contemporary stories to the delight of her readers. As someone who met her husband on a blind date when she was nineteen years old, she’s a believer of love at first sight and happily ever after.

Visit Debra’s website

Follow Debra on Twitter

Like Debra on Facebook

Friend Debra on Facebook

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I fell in love with the Truth or Dare series when I reviewed the first book – Keeping House for Breathless Press.  The story was so compelling and you couldn’t help but pull for Mischa and hope that he succeeded against his controlling brothers.

I haven’t read a lot of m/m books but I will definitely be reading more of Lee’s books.  They are about more than the m/m aspect of it, they are about love, affection and understanding.  Lee’s writing shows that it doesn’t matter who the main characters are as long as there is a good story to back them up.

Lee’s newest edition to the Truth or Dare series Taking the Dare  released on February 3rd, be sure and  check it out.  Now sit back and enjoy the ride.

I absolutely love the Truth or Dare series, how did you come up with the story ARC for it?  How many books do you have planned in this series?

Well, I was midway through The Librarian, and it hit me. The game scene evolved first. As a kid I spent hours a day playing games with my siblings and parents. I still treasure the memory of my Dad teaching us to play poker.  Truth or Dare is a game that screwed me over more than once as a kid, and combining them seemed natural enough.

I come from a large family, and we were all raised by the same parents, and yet each of us turned out differently. We love and support each other, even when we don’t understand each other, and if some threat looms we all band together, no matter what sibling squabble was going on before.

That’s what I wanted to explore in Truth or Dare, the concept of family and what it means.

Four brothers, raised in the same family, yet all different, all needing, and finding love in their own way.

The series at this point is going to be seven books long.  I’m currently writing #5, about Arden Gray’s brother Bastian and her secretary, Rick. The sixth book will tell us what happened to Bella, Mischa’s friend from Keeping House.  And, the seventh book will be a sequel to Keeping House.

When I am reading or writing a review I typically have the TV or radio on.  Do you prefer to have background noise when you write and if so, do you listen to a certain genre?

I typically listen to a wide variety of music when I write, but usually it’s seventies and eighties music with forays into the nineties and beyond.  My playlist always includes David Bowie and Tom Petty, frequently showcases eighties pop like Duran Duran, and southern rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Steve Miller.

Are you a full time writer or do you have to make time to write?  Is it difficult to juggle working, writing and family life?

I’m retired from teaching, which was a time consuming profession, so I have plenty of time to write.  However, plenty of time to write means plenty of time needing to be spent on promotions, paper work and etc.  You know, the not so fun parts of writing!

Lightning round!
 
Favorite color? green
Favorite beverage? coffee
Favorite Food? lasagna
Favorite animal or pet? cat
Sweet snacks or salty? salty
Morning person or night owl? morning
Mac or PC? PC
TV, Radio or Nothing when you are writing? Uhhh cd’s
And because you’re a romance author:  Sweet or smutty? Sweet smut

Fun Facts

Name Three Ways You Fuel Your Creativity

  1. Music
  2. Reading
  3. Walking in the woods

Name Three People Living or Dead you would most like to meet

  1.  David Bowie – I love the way he reinvents himself, creating a character is kind of the ultimate for a writer- Your character needs to be likeable, believable. DB not only creates a character, he lives it.
  2. Rudolph Valentino – well? Have you seen him? 1920’s heart throb…
  3. Dante Alighieri – Poet, philosopher, I’d like to discuss life with the man who envisioned not just Heaven, but Hell and Purgatory as well.

Now – will you tell us a little about Taking the Dare.

I’d love to. This is the fourth book in the Truth or Dare series, the story of the fourth brother, Dan Blake. He’s the manipulative genius behind all the other brothers’ downfalls. I guess he could reasonably take the credit for each of them winding up in a happy relationship, but Dan’s view of the world has always been a bit skewed.  

Truth or Dare #4 – Taking the Dare Blurb

Morgan Hawke is happy with the status of his relationship with Dan Blake. After three years though, Dan’s ready to move their relationship to the next level.

Having seen his brothers find love and settle into family life, Dan Blake has realized he’s ready for change. The only problem with that is that his lover prefers to maintain the status quo. Dan’s up for the challenge of changing Morgan’s mind. He’s got plans, and he’s used to working behind the scenes to get his way.

Morgan can’t understand the changes he sees in Dan. They’ve come a long way from the office of the bar where they met, but he’s not sure he’s ready to move their relationship from the shadows to the front pages. Publicity is okay for Dan, he’s got the weight of the Blakes behind him, but Morgan isn’t sure he’s ready to let go of the past he’s been clinging to.

Can Dan manipulate a happy ending for this script?

Want more?

Here’s an Excerpt

“Hey, baby.” Dan’s call from several feet away sent a dash of cold water in Morgan’s face. He shivered.

“Hey,” his weak, hollow voice surprised Morgan. Earlier, in their room, hearing Dan call him “baby” had excited him. Now, his stomach churned a bit and the bitter, strong coffee Dan preferred sat like lead. At a loss, Morgan nervously shredded the buttery croissant on the table in front of him. He’d often wondered if Dan intentionally confused him, flipping from hot to cold, sweet to acid. But even for Dan this weekend’s behavior was different.

At first he’d attributed Dan’s strange attitude to his long absence, worried that Dan was through with him, maybe searching for a way to let him down easily. The weekend had put those doubts to rest, but now Dan’s open attitude made him nervous.

To his shock, Dan leaned over to kiss his cheek lightly in greeting before sliding into the chair opposite him. He panicked over that while Dan sipped his coffee and grimaced. Morgan shook his head, trying to make sense of the other man’s lack of discretion and became aware that Dan smiled at him peculiarly.

“What?” Something itched at the back of Morgan’s mind. Inconceivable as it seemed, Dan was acting, putting on a show, playing a role for Morgan. Why?

“You’re white. What’s wrong, baby?”

Morgan floundered for an answer. Dan knew bloody fucking well what was wrong. He was playing with Morgan, toying with him for some unknown reason, and Morgan was off balance.

Fuck. The waiter approached to refill their cups, and surely he’d heard Dan’s endearment? The young man remained expressionless as he topped up their coffee, and then silently indicated Morgan’s shredded breakfast. Morgan nodded. His mouth was dry, and he doubted he could swallow anything anyway. The waiter scooped up the plate and left without speaking.

“Dan, someone will to hear you.” He managed in feeble protest. Sometimes being Dan Blake’s lover was awesome. When you were the sole focus of those intent green eyes, the object of his attention, it was fucking glorious. But then, Dan was also a selfish bastard and an unmitigated prick at times. Like that nasty comment the other day about Morgan running when Dan called. Truth be told, he probably did run when Dan called, but mostly because he wanted very much to see Dan.

“Do you care if they do?”

He glared at Dan, grateful for the shades that hid his emotions, the flare of anger. Dan didn’t have to care. The Blakes had it all. Studio, money, acceptance in society, it was all theirs by virtue of being born Blakes. They didn’t have to worry about ever working, courting the right kind of publicity and appeasing the fickle public. They didn’t have to worry about hurting someone they cared about. Above all else, the Blakes stood together, united against public scrutiny. They stared down adverse publicity, weathered scandal, together. He didn’t have that.

BUY LINK :  http://www.breathlesspress.com/taking-dare

Bio

I’m an avid reader and former teacher of grammar and composition who believes that falling in love is the grandest adventure anyone can have.  In a nutshell, that’s every story I have to tell.

Relocating from the crazy pace of life in Southern California’s OrangeCountyto the beautiful and leisurely atmosphere of the Illinoiscountryside has given me the time to indulge the desire to write that I set aside when I started teaching fourteen years ago. Readers can find out more about me and my writing by visiting me at my blog, Lee’s Musings or finding me on Facebook.  Feel free to drop me a line at lee.brazil@ymail.com

Find Lee On line

Story Orgy FB page – http://www.facebook.com/SOGroup

Truth or Dare FB page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Truth-or-Dare/262636600433556

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Nightshift by Kate Douglas, Crystal Jordan and Lynn LaFluer
* I received a copy of this book from Kensington in exchange for an honest review*

Their human form is ephemeral, but their sexual desire is endless. Enter the mysteriously sensual world of the shapeshifters and share in their erotic passion. . .

 “Dream Catcher” by Kate Douglas
She comes to him at night in dreams of carnal pleasure. Real or imagined, Mac doesn’t know and doesn’t care. For his body throbs with a need that only his mystery lover can satisfy. . .
 
“Taken Between” by Crystal Jordan
Kira lives to protect her queen, but the king’s brother is the one who commands her desire. She longs for him with a feral sexuality and ferocious passion she can barely control. . .
 
“The Right Number” by Lynn LaFleur
Jay may have dialed the wrong number but the right woman answers. She is the mate he’s been looking for all his life. And when he hears the sexy purr of her voice, it arouses the hungry wolf inside. . .

I am going to post my review today in two parts because both Kate Douglas and Crystal Jordan agreed to take some time and answer some questions to go with the review of Nightshift.  Please enjoy Kate’s portion now and check back later today to get to know Crystal and find out who she would most love to meet.

Please leave a comment on this blog or Crystal’s blog and answer the question below.

What are 3 things you always have at your fingertips, no matter what?

Kensington will be giving away a copy of the anthology Nightshift.  The contest will be open through Midnight next Saturday, January 21st.

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Dream Catcher is the first installment in Kate’s new Dream Catcher series.  Mac has lost everything but his best friend Dink, all because of money and jealously.  He had his graduate work stolen and has lost his grants and access to the computer labs on campus.  His dream girl suddenly appears in his apartment, complete with violet eyes, after a night of drinking.  There is something off about her but he can’t put his finger on it.

Zianne hears Mac’s call and realizes that he could be the one to help save her people.  She can’t believe how sexy Mac is and enjoys her time with him but she feels guilty for not being able to tell him the truth about her true self.  Between the two of them, they begin work on a computer program that will eventually be instrumental in saving her family.

Mac and Zianne are sexy together, the shower scene was super Hot but the scene with them and Dink was a page scorcher.  Strange things keep happening when Zianne is around but when Mac is with her, all of the doubts and concerns seem to fly out the window.  I love that the characters were kept to a minimum in this short story.  This book provides us with the back story and foundation for future Dream Catcher books.

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I have had the honor to get to know Kate Douglas over the last year or so and was excited to read the first installment in her new series Dream Catcher.  I am so excited that even though she is extremely busy, she agreed to answer a few questions to go with this review.  So please enjoy.

Dream Catcher, the first book in your new series was a lot different than any of your other books.  How did this story come about and how many do you have planned in this series?

This series is the result of a lot of things coming together at the right time. Wolf Tales was ending and I needed a new erotic paranormal series to propose to Kensington, my husband was ready for a trip to the mountains, and I’d recently read about the Allen Telescope Array up at Hat Creek in the Sierra Nevada mountains http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Telescope_Array and wanted to see it.

We took a trip up there and took an extended tour of the array, which is a series of satellite dish antennae pointing to the heavens. They have multiple purposes, but are a part of the SETI (search for extra-terrestrial intelligence) project. As we were wandering through the array, I got to thinking how these dishes captured radio signals from space…but what if you could use them to SEND signals, and what if there was someone on earth sending out their sexual fantasies—what would an alien think?

That eventually evolved into my series premise for Dream Catchers about a race of alien beings made of pure energy who are slaves aboard another alien ship. They discover they can take corporeal form from the strength of human sexual fantasy and decide to use that ability to finally gain freedom from their captors. It’s complete in a three story arc beginning with the novella in the NightShift anthology. Dream Catcher takes place in 1992 and the first book, Dream Bound, occurs in the present, but has some of the same characters, twenty years older. I’m currently working on the final book, Dream Unchained, which is about the eventual rescue of my enslaved aliens, known as Nyrians.

Do you have to limit the amount of time that you spend blogging, updating Facebook or answering emails?

I try to, though it’s not easy. I get a lot of mail I have to deal with every morning. For instance, it’s now almost one in the afternoon and I’ve been at it since eight this morning and still have to write. I set a 5000 word goal every day. Obviously I don’t always meet it, but I do try. After two, when my NY editor and NJ agent are calling it a day, I try and just shut down the Internet entirely and write w/o any interruptions. I’ve given myself an hour to answer your interview questions, and then I have to get to work on the rest of my mail and check my social networking, but at two I will be off line and writing until late tonight. I didn’t shut my computer down last night/this morning until almost one a.m.

I know you enjoy reading – what are some of the books you’ve read lately?  Are there any that stand out above the rest?

I think most of us who write are readers first, and I’ve read some wonderful books lately. Joey Hill’s newest Vampire Queen novel, BOUND BY THE VAMPIRE QUEEN, Meljean Brook’s HEART OF STEEL, Morgan Hawke’s LOST STAR, Jennifer Estep’s KISS OF FROST, Nalini Singh’s ANGELS OF DARKNESS anthology, Eileen Wilks’s BLOOD CHALLENGE, Dani Harper’s CHANGELING DAWN, Robyn Carr’s HIDDEN SUMMIT, Judi Fennel’s GENIE KNOWS BEST, and I’m currently reading JoAnn Ross’s ON LAVENDER LANE. And those are just the ones that stand out from my reading over the past few weeks. I’ve read a few others I can’t recall, so guess they’re not quite as “stand out” as the rest? Or it’s just my crappy memory! My book bill is like the national debt!

“Be careful or you’ll end up in my book!”  You have been writing for awhile now and have multiple series, do any specific characters come to mind that are based on friends or family members?

In some ways, most of my male characters have at least some of my husband’s attributes because I really admire the man I married forty years ago. He’s a combination of Anton Cheval and Stefan Aragat with the tall, lean build and over-long dark hair. (His is gray now, but it was dark brown when we met—and it’s still long!) He’s got Anton’s sense of honor and that Alpha “I’m in charge” personality, but definitely has Stefan’s sense of humor. Other characters are all combinations of people I know or have met—the ones I like get to be the heroes and heroines, and the ones I’m not so fond of are my villains.

On the other hand, I have killed off a few tall, lean bad guys over the years. I think it keeps the marriage healthy. Whenever I’m a bit ticked off at the Lord of the Manor, he dies an ugly death between the pages. Sometimes I even let him know!
 
Lightning round!
Favorite color?  All shades of green
Favorite beverage?  Ice water
Favorite Food?  Anything I don’t have to cook, but if I have to get specific,  probably something that’s either sour or hot and sour.
Favorite animal or pet?   Rufus the mutt, a little terrier mix we rescued over thirteen years ago. He’s the one who really runs the place around here.
Sweet snacks or salty?  Salty, though I will occasionally need a sugar rush and then I want something totally bad for me, like Nerds or SweetTarts.
Morning person or night owl?  Night owl, though I love my mornings, too. Luckily I don’t need a lot of sleep.
Mac or PC?  PC, but a laptop, not a desktop.
TV, Radio or Nothing when you are writing?  Nothing—rarely music when I need it to get into a scene. For instance, a really emotionally draining and brutally sadistic scene in Wolf Tales 10 when both Oliver and his mate restrain Adam Wolf and beat him bloody took some absolutely violent sounding Finnish heavy metal music in order to get me in the right frame of mind to write it. It was emotionally exhausting to write, but I think it works because of the rhythm the music gave me—a discordant, almost painful sound translated to words. Weird the way that works.
And because you’re a romance author:  Sweet or smutty?   It honestly doesn’t matter—if the story is good, the emotions between the characters powerful and the writing catches me, I’m going to love the story. I can go from Joey Hill’s vampire novels which take kink to a whole new level, to Robyn Carr’s sweetly satisfying Virgin River stories and be equally enthralled by the story. It’s all about the writing and whether or not I connect with the characters.

Fun Facts

Three Fun Facts About You, the Writer
I love being a grandmother, but the grandkids are NOT allowed in Dabba’s office because my book covers are framed on the walls—and they’re not suitable for little ones!

I love to “play with rocks.” BIG rocks. When I have time to go outside and get dirty in the yard, I’m generally moving rocks around. Some of them weigh as much as me, but I love building rock walls and gardens and such. Unfortunately, I don’t always like the way my muscles feel the next day!

Cooking is something I do for relaxation and I actually co-published a cookbook for a winery many years ago.

Three Things You Have Around You When You Write
Rufus sleeping on my little bed here in my office, a glass of ice water on the table beside me and my little heater going next to the recliner chair I work in with my laptop and notes from whatever current books I’m working on.
 
Three Little Known Facts About You
LOL…there ARE no little known facts about me. I blog about all of it or tell my tales of woe in my newsletter. My readers are my friends and just about my only social life, so they have to hear all my crap.

But just a quick list—I’ve had multiple sclerosis for over twenty-five years and am currently in full remission, but for a long time I needed a cane to get around. I’m klutzy, but that’s a great excuse for occasionally landing on my butt in public.

My father was from Memphis, Tennessee and I grew up in Stockton, California, in the San Joaquin Delta. Lots of Saturday mornings were spent on the levee fishing for catfish, and one of my favorite breakfasts as a kid was fried catfish and cornbread.

My very first published writing was a poem in the Stockton Record in 1959. I was 9 years old.

Three Accomplishments That Have Meant the Most to You
Raising two absolutely amazing kids who are wonderful adults and terrific parents on their own. I don’t think any accomplishment will ever mean more to me.

Getting published—sticking with it for twenty years through rejection after rejection until I finally sold Wolf Tales to Kensington Publishing, and got to watch the series take off like a rocket. It was and still is a damned good feeling.

Staying published—this is not a business for sissies, and I’m proud of the fact I’ve been able to hang in there and not only continue to get contracts, but I’ve continued to love every minute of the process. I feel as if I’m doing the job I was meant to do. It’s a good feeling.

Three people you would most like to meet and why – Living or Deceased
Michelle Obama—I really admire our first lady, more than any other First Lady in my lifetime, and at my age, there have been a lot of First Ladies!

My great-grandmother. She died giving birth to my grandmother in July of 1890, and I would love to be able to tell Jennie Fesmire Armstrong some of the things her descendants have accomplished.

Anne McCaffrey, who passed away just this past November. I have always loved Annie’s writing and we got to be great friends online, but I never got to meet her in person. I wish I could have met her before she passed away—I was an ardent fan of hers for years, and you can’t imagine the thrill when I discovered she was a fan of mine. She was in her eighties when we first began corresponding, and she loved Ulrich, one of my older characters in Wolf Tales. I still have her note where she wrote to me and said, “I want my OWN Ulrich!” She will always be an inspiration to me—she’d turned in her manuscript for her newest book just days before she died. I hope I’m still writing my tales when I’m in my eighties!

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Thanks so much to Kate for taking the time to visit with us.  Please leave a comment and answer the question below.

What are 3 things you always have at your fingertips, no matter what?

Kensington will be giving away a copy of the anthology Nightshift.  The contest will be open through Midnight next Saturday, January 21st.

**Don’t forget to check back later today for Crystal’s Jordan’s interview and review**

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Please welcome Tara to the blog today.  She is an author for Breathless Press and her book A Facebook Affair released in December.  She has agreed to step into the hotseat and tell us a little about her.  I hope you enjoy the interview – I found Tara very interesting.

Do you have a routine when you are writing?   Do you have a set time you write, certain number of days a week, word count, etc?

I tend to write while the husband is at work. I like to be alone with my thoughts. I write shorts, novels, whatever comes to mind. I let the story take its natural length and then see what I end up with.

I’ve heard a lot of author’s mention play lists they listen to while writing, do you listen to music while you are working or do you have to have the quiet?

Because of my hearing loss, I work in the quiet. LOL

I’m a Twitter junkie and I’m bad about reading Twitter posts when I am supposed to be working.   Do the social networking sites tempt you away from work when you are writing?  Do you allow yourself time on them or do you have to stay away from them completely while working?

I will occasionally check Facebook for updates or to post an update about my current writing project. It keeps people interested. I haven’t done Twitter yet and it’s not on my agenda. I am busy enough with goodreads, librarything, FB, amazon, blogger.. I don’t need another website to follow. LOL

How has social media affected your career as a writer?

It has allowed me to meet some wonderful authors who have encouraged me in some way or another to write.

Some authors like to read books in completely different genres than the one they write. What types of books do you find yourself reading?  Do you think these books influence what you write?

I read mainly historical fiction, but I find it intimidating to undertake the writing of it myself simply because I didn’t have the research time what with working full time as a mechanic. Now I do. I aim to try again. I did, however, manage to write Ride for Rights, (Feb 2012) and it is a historical YA.

What’s your favorite genre to read?  Why?  Who are some of your favorite authors to read?

Historical fiction because I love to learn something while I am entertained. Victoria Hislop, Elizabeth Chadwick, Christina Courtenay, Catherine Cookson.

“Be careful or you’ll end up in my book!”  Do your characters have traits of friends and family?  Or are they completely new individuals?

Oh, that’s a good one! Let me see.. In A Facebook Affair, Kelly is somewhat based on myself as I had to draw from my own experiences as a deaf person to convey what she goes through on an everyday basis. The other characters were brief memories from my early school days blown out of proportion and grown up.

In Ride for Rights, coming in February, I based a lot of those characters on people in my life. There’s a very religious sheriff in that novel that is based on a very religious co worker of mine. I actually enlisted his help digging up some ‘anti woman’ Bible verses for the character to spout off and he was very good natured about it all. He has read his fictional character and laughed about it.

Are you a full time writer or do you have to make time to write?  Is it difficult to juggle working, writing and family life?

Until this year, I was a full time sheet metal mechanic. Now I am a writer and an editor with Breathless Press. I have a husband and three dogs and that’s it (the rest of my family is scattered throughout the country) so I don’t have to juggle family too much.

Lightning round!
Favorite color? Pink
Favorite beverage? That’s a tie between wine and coffee
Favorite Food? Chocolate
Favorite animal or pet? Dogs. I have three of them.
Sweet snacks or salty? Sweet
Morning person or night owl? Night owl
Mac or PC? PC
TV, Radio or Nothing when you are writing?  NOTHING
And because you’re a romance author:  Sweet or smutty? sweet

Now – will you tell us a little about A Facebook Affair:

It’s about a young woman who has severe hearing loss. She is dealing with the loss of her mother and finds herself very alone. She joins FB to social network and make friends. She finds a boy she used to know and he is drop dead gorgeous.. and they begin to talk and sparks fly. But… there are some hurdles to get past if they want it to be anything more than a Facebook affair.

What I tried to do with this novella besides entertain readers is show them what everyday life is like for people with hearing loss, how bullying in school can have a lasting effect, and even point out what hearing people often take for granted. Hearing people can drop what they are doing and go enjoy a movie in a theater. For us, it’s not so simple.

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I have read many of Viv’s books over the last couple of years and love them all.  She was able to travel with her family for most of 2011 and she is currently enjoying Eucador.  She has a sexy cowboy series out and book 2 releases on 1/10/12.  She also wanted me to let you know that her website was hacked recently and they are working to get it restored.   I hope you enjoy her visit.

Writing romance with children around

I started writing seriously about three years ago, and at the time I was also homeschooling my two children. The family rule had always been they could interrupt me at the computer if they needed help on school tasks—they were old enough to be fairly independent learners, and once I’d organized them for the day I supposedly had time to work on my own projects.

Suddenly I was in the situation of being immersed in a work in progress—an emotional exchange between the hero and heroine, or worse yet, a sensual one—to be interrupted with a “Mooooooooom. I can’t figure out how to…what are you writing?”

I learned very quickly how to use the dim screen option, especially since my ‘office’ was a little table just off the kitchen. As the family worked through the day’s tasks, my kids were constantly around, and I had to learn when to ignore them and when to save a scene for a little more private time writing. Five a.m. seemed to be just about perfect, until that one morning I realized my daughter was standing behind me, staring groggily at the keyboard. Fortunately she was asleep enough to have no interest in reading over my shoulder!

My reality as a writer? I have kids, and they know I write kissing books—and as they’ve grown older it’s now the source of some teasing, some rolled eyes (on my 18 yo son’s part), but mostly it’s something they don’t even blink at. As my daughter told me, “You and daddy are still in love. Of course you believe in happily-ever-after.”

~~**~~

 If you’d like to try a taste of the Six Pack Ranch, I have an ebook copy of winner’s choice—either book one in the series, Rocky Mountain Heat, or an ARC of book 3 that will be releasing March 13, Rocky Mountain Desire. Leave a comment about romance.

~~**~~

Rocky Mountain Haven – Six Pack Ranch, Book 2
It’s the quiet ones that take you by surprise.

Beth Danube’s emotionally abusive husband is dead and buried. So is her heart. It’s no big deal, she has all she wants: her three little boys and a fresh start in a small Alberta town. What she doesn’t want is another man in her life—not now, maybe not ever.

After ten years of unsatisfactory, missionary-position sex, she never expected her libido to reawaken. One look at sex-in-boots Daniel Coleman in a Calgary bar, though, blows the dust off her sexuality.

Sensing an edge of desperation, even fear, beneath Beth’s come-on, Daniel finds himself giving in to the powerful urge to let his normally subdued desires run wild. The lady wants non-judgemental, non-vanilla sex? She’s got it—in and out of the bedroom.

At first, friends with blazing-hot benefits is more then enough. Then she realizes Daniel is burning away the protective fortress around her heart…and the guilty secret she dare not reveal.

Warning: One woman determined to retake control of her life, a man with the single-minded purpose of offering her—and her body—everything she needs. Inappropriate behaviour in barns, change rooms, and oh-my-gawd phone sex with a cowboy.

~~**~~

 First Chapter: Excerpt

Buy links:

Rocky Mountain Heat: Samhain | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Rocky Mountain Haven: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Rocky Mountain Desire: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

~~**~~

Vivian Arend: Website | Blog | Twitter

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Please welcome the awesome Vivian Arend to my blog today.  I have had the pleasure of reading/reviewing many of her books and she is now a must buy for me, no matter the series.  She has agreed to step into the hot seat and answer a few questions for us plus give us a peak at her new release Rocky Mountain Heat.

Do you have a routine when you are writing?   Do you have a set time you write, certain number of days a week, word count, etc?

Last year I was traveling with the family, and there was no routine. I had a 3G Internet connection so I could do a little bit of online work while we traveled, but mostly it was a combination of travel/enjoy sightseeing/work like crazy when we landed for the night.

Now we’re back in a house and I’m trying to set up a routine. More like a 9-5. I’ve never worked a 9-5 in my life…so we’ll see how it goes!

I’m a Twitter junkie and I’m bad about reading Twitter posts when I am supposed to be working.   Do the social networking sites tempt you away from work when you are writing?  Do you allow yourself time on them or do you have to stay away from them completely while working?

I do a lot of sprints when I’m writing. A friend who lives on the other side of Canada from me will IM me GO and we’ll write for 30 minutes. The fact I know she’s writing stops me from taking a break to check out twitter etc. It works, but yes, it’s a concentrated effort some days! Twitter is fun to play on!

Some authors like to read books in completely different genres than the one they write. What types of books do you find yourself reading?  Do you think these books influence what you write?

I read whatever I like whenever I get a chance. While I’m actually writing a story I tend to not read anything new, because I’m rereading my own work; kind of an on the spot critique and upgrade. I really enjoy romance, in all the various sub-genres. Nothing too scary though and I confess I don’t really enjoy a lot of vampire books. Just not my thing.

Also, sci-fi, fantasy, classics, tea cup mysteries—I’m never bored!

I think they definitely have influenced me because having read SO MUCH over the years before I started writing, I feel as if I learned lessons from each of them and that has helped me in my career to be able to story tell. Which is what writing a book is at it’s most basic.

Are you a full time writer or do you have to make time to write?  Is it difficult to juggle working, writing and family life?

I am a full time writer at this point. Up until this year I was writing fulltime as well as homeschooling two teens. My husband has taken over the schooling and I had one graduate, so it’s time for new adventures. I think no matter whether you have a day job outside the home or not, we have to juggle. Housework, family commitments—they are always there, all the time. Deciding what are the top priorities applies in so many ways!

Lightning round!Favorite color?  Green
Favorite beverage? Coffee
Favorite Food? SUSHI (yes, I mean to shout)
Favorite animal or pet? Have a cute Shitzu cross we love
Sweet snacks or salty? Salty
Morning person or night owl? Both. Then siesta in the afternoon!
Mac or PC?  Mac forevah.
TV, Radio or Nothing when you are writing? Times I want silence? 100% Times I get it? 0%
And because you’re a romance author:  Sweet or smutty? I don’t like smut, but I like sexy more than sweet. No GRAPHIC, please. (Ie, I don’t need to know about bodily fluids in excess detail…ick.)

Fun Facts

Five Aspects of Writing That Bring You Joy

-readers who write to say they enjoyed…xyz. SO COOL!
-fellow writers who make me lol and help kick my butt into gear when I need it
-getting to see the first glimpse of a cover art
-writing a scene then rereading it and going ‘hey, that wasn’t half bad!’
-coming up with a cool story idea and seeing it through to the end. Satisfaction!

Five Places You Would Like to Visit

-Greece. I want to rent a villa/apartment/whatever they call it there and live for a month at least.
-New Zealand. Backpacking.
-Australia. Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef among other things.
-Ireland. I’ve been to Scotland and Wales, would love to see the Emerald Isle.
-All the National Parks of Canada. It’s on my bucket list. Some you have to fly into (far north), but we’ve already hit a good chunk of the more southern ones.

Now – will you tell us a little about Rocky Mountain Heat?

This is a re-release of a series started in 2009 published by Liquid Silver Books. I approached my current publisher to see if they were interested in taking over the series, and they said yes, they wanted all the books. I was thrilled, because Samhain has a wonderful print program as well as quality ebooks. It also meant I got to work with my editor at Samhain who is one of the best in the industry.

Rocky Mountain Heat starts the contemporary cowboy series SIX PACK RANCH. The hero, Blake is the oldest of six brothers working the ranch. And the little girl next door has surprises in store for him that are going to change his life…

The re-released version has an additional 20K words added, and the entire book has been revised and updated. Having said that, if you read the first version, you don’t HAVE to read the new version, but there are some changes you might enjoy.

Book 1 and 2 (both rereleases) are out November 15 and January 10. Then a brand new book Rocky Mountain Desire will be available March 13. If you like family rich stories with more than a touch of heat, I hope you check the books out!

————

Vivian Arend: Website | Blog | Twitter

___

Rocky Mountain Heat
Six Pack Ranch, Book 1

He’s the one who taught her to ride. Now all he wants is to ride her.

Blake Coleman is old enough to know that acting on impulse causes nothing but a heap of trouble. But when trouble’s a western-hat-wearing blonde with slim legs that go on forever, what’s a man to do? Wanting the sweet girl next door is just wrong. The responsible thing to do is keep his hands off.

Jaxi has other plans for Blake’s hands, and his heart. She may have once considered him a big brother, but that was a long time ago. She’s all grown up now and ready to convince him that she’s perfect for him. Except he can’t seem to see past the big “don’t touch” sign that’s apparently still hanging around her neck.

When Jaxi ends up living right under Blake’s nose, the undeniable heat between them slides off simmer and leaps up to barn-burning levels. However, a few of the younger six-pack Colemans have decided Jaxi’s brand of trouble is worth risking a few busted bones.

That is, if Blake’s finally ready to let go the reins and fight for what he wants…

Warning: Sexy cowboys seducing and being seduced in trucks, pool halls and barns. Droolworthy country charm, a little double-teaming, a few secrets and a whole lot of brothers to look forward to. Anyone wanna go for a ride?

 ~~~

Buy links: Samhain | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |

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I want to thank JM Powers for taking the time to stop by and answer some questions for me. 

I had the opportunity to review Basket of Hope by JM back in August.  I really enjoyed this book.  It’s a great Halloween read.  You can see my review by clicking on the title.

 Now on to the fun!!

Do you have a routine when you are writing?   Do you have a set time you write, certain number of days a week, word count, etc?

I usually write after the kids are in bed and continue until the sunrise. That way I can write for hours without interruption. However, sometimes my characters demand time when chaos is rampant in my household, so it’s not uncommon to see me writing while cooking dinner…I burn stuff a lot.

I’ve heard a lot of author’s mention play lists they listen to while writing, do you listen to music while you are working or do you have to have the quiet?

I listen to my muse, so it doesn’t matter what is going on—tv, music, a fireman carrying me out of the house…I’m oblivious to my surroundings when I write. (Okay, I made up the hot firefighter; I just liked the visual.)

I’m a Twitter junkie and I’m bad about reading Twitter posts when I am supposed to be working.   Do the social networking sites tempt you away from work when you are writing? 

No, but I tend to instant message when I should be writing. Do you allow yourself time on them or do you have to stay away from them completely while working? I allot time each day for Twitter, Facebook, my blog and yahoo groups. It’s necessary to keep in touch with my readers and fellow writers.

Some authors like to read books in completely different genres than the one they write. What types of books do you find yourself reading? Do you think these books influence what you write?

I actually read mysteries, epic series, historical romance, memoirs—just about every genre. I believe I glean knowledge from every book in one way or another. 

What’s your favorite genre to read?     Historical Romance.

Why?  The different eras are a peek in another world. I love learning about the social ways, foods, customs, expectations, and all the aspects of life in each era.  Medieval is my favorite period—there is something hot about a powerful knight showing his loving and tender side.

Who are some of your favorite authors to read?  Hannah Howell, Johanna Lindsey, Terry Goodkind, and Jean M. Auel.

“Be careful or you’ll end up in my book!”  Do your characters have traits of friends and family?  Or are they completely new individuals?

I don’t consciously use characteristics of my friends and family, but sometimes they come through in my books.

Are you a full time writer or do you have to make time to write?

I wish I could write full time, but I must keep my day job until I hit big time status. Is it difficult to juggle working, writing and family life? Well, not really. I just have to section out time. Sleep is the only thing that suffers.

Lightning round!
 Favorite color?    Purple!
Favorite beverage?   Sweet tea
Favorite Food?   shrimp scampi
Favorite animal or pet?   Squirrels in my backyard (what is with all the S answers?)
Sweet snacks or salty?   NEED both (almost said salty, but that is another S)
Morning person or night owl?   Night owl
Mac or PC?   pc
TV, Radio or Nothing when you are writing?   kid chatter
And because you’re a romance author:  Sweet or smutty?  Depends on mood

Now – will you tell us a little about BASKET OF HOPE?

Sure! I loved writing this paranormal romance. It is set in the medieval era.  Kara, a scullery maid, has loved Machias most of her life. Problem is, he is a man of royal blood… Here is the blurb:

All Hallows Eve looms near, and encroaching evil shall have its way if a marriage filled with true love and pure magic does not take place. Machias must choose a witch, something Kara never hopes to be.

Machias’s father will do anything to ensure his son chooses wisely—lies, beatings, and even an attempt to soil Kara’s innocence is not past the man.

Machias’s marriage announcement promises to burn Kara’s hope to cinders…unless something truly magical happens at the All Hallows Eve ball.

Just to entice you a bit, here’s an excerpt:

The thump of Thaddeus’s sword faded as Kara’s gaze traveled from him to Machias. Coveting his body, she perused it until she reached his buttocks, resting her gaze upon the curve and firmness, and following down to where it met his legs. Leather breeches accented his form, caressing his lean muscles like a lover and pronouncing his sinewy limbs with each of his movements. The way the sun glistened against Machias made her wish she could conjure magic, if only to make his clothes fall away. Kara squinted, trying to imagine Machias naked while she slipped another berry in her mouth. Naught could possibly compare to his beauty…in her imagination, anyway. Her heart ached with love, and her body seemed to vibrate with the want of him. Each morn, the memory of his stolen kiss so many years ago still remained her first waking thought.

Kara dabbed her brow with Stella’s apron, feeling her cheeks heat at the reminder of her solitary attentions while fantasizing about Machias. Though she prayed for forgiveness, Kara could not help but touch herself as soon as she woke from her wanton dreams, her body still trembling with need. Stella caught her once and told her she needed to offer a village boy a good rut to ease her tension. Kara found the suggestion disgusting.

“I shall die a virgin,” she whispered. Ah, if he but knew how I love him.

The men seemed to be done with practice. Machias rested his arm on the top of the pell, talking to his brother. Her heart skittered when Machias’s gaze met hers from over Thaddeus’s shoulder, seeming to feel her scrutiny.

Hoping her expression belied her thoughts, Kara quickly turned her back to him and resumed picking berries. She concentrated on each tiny orb within the fruit, forcing innocent thoughts in the stead of reckless ones.

She glanced at the checked pattern on the apron, spurring a childhood memory of a game called Queek. Though his father, Lord Tanner, discouraged their play, Machias would meet her in the meadow, hiding the checkered cloth underneath his tunic. Out of sight, they would spread it onto the ground and collect small stones. After guessing whether the stone would land on dark or light, they would toss it upon the cloth. She suspected Machias peeked, especially if she began to call Queek too often, but he never admitted it. She did not care if she won or lost. She simply relished the time spent with him. Over the years, Kara began to love him more than the game.

When Machias reached ten and five, bordering on the verge of manhood, he departed for training. He kissed her, among the first rays of sunrise, whispering his fare thee well. Be it innocent, ’twas a true kiss, and though her heart was young, it knew of her love for him even then.

Adrift with loneliness, Kara awaited his return for six years. She would inconspicuously lean closer while serving the evening meal, hoping to hear snippets of Machias’s life through his parents’ conversation, but they did not say much in her presence.

She bordered on giddiness when Machias returned. Although she had grown into womanhood, Kara was ill prepared to see the difference in him. Ah, what a true shock when naught of the lad she knew entered the gates, but a man. Muscles, perfectly sculpted as the marble statues in the gardens, seemed to flex with the smallest of movement. His angular jaw, sporting a hint of a beard under his dark complexion, only accented his rugged looks. Moreover, his voice…his voice, deep and tender at the same time, defined a grown man. Had it not been for the single dimple on his left cheek when he smiled, Kara often wondered if she would have recognized him at all.

At first, Kara believed he had the same issue with her, for the most attention he paid was discreet thanks when she served his meals or a request for a refill of sweet mead for his female guests. However, one day, he whispered a childhood endearment as he passed her in the garden. G’day, Kay-Kay. Oh how those words made her swoon, though she did a fair job of hiding her joy at the discovery that Machias did recognize her. He just saw her differently—beneath him. As did she, but in a sinful way.

Kara crumpled the apron in her fist, no longer finding joy in the pattern.

Ah, Machias, social standing became everything ta ye, and I became naught.

Machias waved from across the meadow. Kara looked to see who approached but saw no one. Smiling so hard her cheeks hurt, Kara slowly raised her hand. Spotting her berry-stained fingers, she snatched them down.

His smile flashed, bright and inviting. Mayhap the inviting part was simply her imagination. Just the same, Kara decided to join him and started his way.

At a poke from his brother, Machias turned away and blocked the next jab.

Kara’s grin faltered and she pretended her intention was to give her mare a few berries. She grabbed a handful from her basket and outstretched her hand to Dunny. She peered over at the sound of Machias’s voice. His broad back was to her, muffling his words to his younger brother, but she simply listened to the euphoric melody of the deep yet soft tones. Dunny snorted, seeming to ask for more of the sweet treat, but she returned back to the bushes.

“Why do I torture myself so?” she whispered, ripping berries from their hold. She did not even care that the thorns bit her fingertips. In a way, she welcomed the pain, for ’twas preferable to the ache in her heart.

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