Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guest Author Sarah Ballance

I'm very excited to introduce today's guest author, Sarah Ballance. As well as being a fellow Noble author, Sarah's books are firmly on my to-be-read pile. Well, the virtual one anyway. I'm the first to admit I'm not that into erotic romance, but once I read the excepts from her books, I knew I had to read them. She writes compelling stuff!
And yes, I know I never got around to posting about the latest review Dead Reality got. I will do it, probably on the weekend.
Anyhoo, let's get to our guest, shall we? Oh, and a just a warning, the excerpt at the end of this post contains some explicit (but damn hot) material.

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.
The most shocking thing I ever say is I have six kids – all under 13, and homeschooled. People always want to know how in the world I find time to write under the circumstances, but the truth is I *have* to write because of those circumstances, LOL. Writing is almost meditative, but some of my more independent characters tend to challenge that notion. It's not always easy to find time, but my husband is amazing. He takes the kids off my hands at least a couple of hours a day so I have time for myself. I couldn't do this without him, and I reward him immensely for his time. *ahem*

Please tell us a bit about your book.
RUN TO YOU takes the epic beach getaway and turns it upside down. All Mattie James wants is to make an escape after a dating disaster goes public, and her best friend Hutch has designs on providing just the distraction she needs. But once they hit the sand, Mattie makes a move on fling-worthy Wyatt Reed, the local sheriff. They don't make it through their first date before a woman is found murdered on the beach, and suddenly her carefree vacay turns deadly. The only way Wyatt can work on the case is by putting Mattie out of mind, but he's got a few secrets of his own, and one may cost another woman her life.

What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?
My husband and I managed to dodge the kids for a night and we went for a walk on the beach. There was a mean storm offshore. The clouds were thick and rolling, and the ocean was a wreck. The waves were huge and the wind kicked foam everywhere. It was scary! My only thought was how easy it would be for someone to walk right up behind me and how I'd never hear them between the wind and the waves and the cushion of the sand. In that hour or so, RUN TO YOU was born … and I kept that creepy feeling throughout the entire process. In fact, I couldn't escape it. *Shudders.*

Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?
I think I would have loved the process had I not be pregnant, and by pregnant I mean ILL. I'll spare you the details – suffice to say I was sick. All day "morning" sickness and a few weeks of bed rest did not make for happy times. RUN TO YOU – when I managed to work on it – just might have been my salvation.

When / Where / How do you write?
I write in the mornings before the kids get up, then again in the evenings. Almost without exception, my husband takes over after dinner so I can have time to write. If I'm on a roll I'll steal an hour in the middle of the day by bribing the kids to leave me alone. Rarely, it even works. LOL.

Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer?
I love to cook and bake and most nights I'm happy to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen. I also like cross stitching, math and logic puzzles, and hanging out in the boat, at the beach, or in the garden (until it gets too hot … then I kind of abandon the garden for the water, which is okay because my 10-year-old son loves to man the crops).

What book/s are you reading at the moment?
Rosalie Stanton's POSSESSION. Honestly, I think my adoration for her is bordering on the unhealthy. I love her style.

Do you have any authors who were your inspiration/hero?
Um, see previous answer. LOL. I totally want to be Rosalie when I grow up. I've also got to give some major props to C. Zampa, who has been my mentor from the earliest days of my career in fiction. She offered guidance I now see as nothing short of saintly when I truly did NOT know what I was doing, and the more I learned the tougher she got. (Now, she's brutal … and I consider it an absolute honor to have earned her claws.)

What are you working on right now?
I have a couple of stories rattling around, but my primary focus is on a romantic suspense called UNFORGIVEN. A tragic event tore Riley and Gage apart a year ago, and he promised to stay away from her. When the story opens Gage is pointing a gun at Riley's head with plans to pull the trigger, and things actually go downhill from there, if you can believe it. It's a sexy story full of tension and twists – two of the main reasons I love a good suspense!

Do you have any other books out you'd like to mention?
DOWN IN FLAMES, my debut novel, was published last summer by Noble Romance. (A lot of authors get to say their first book is in a virtual drawer somewhere, but mine is out there for all the world to see. ) It's a romance, but it ends on a note of revenge. Can't help but love that!

Thanks so much for having me, Jess!

Oh, Sarah, you are the master. Next time I'm stressed because all I want to do is write and my two kids are underfoot, I will think of you and find the strength to calm down. LOL. Really, you are amazing.

Places to find Sarah Ballance:


Mattie James can't pinpoint exactly when she lost control of her life, but the moment she decided to take it back made the front page of the local paper. Desperate to dodge the fallout— and the tabloids—she jumps at the chance to spend an off-season week in a tiny resort community by the sea. Making the trip with her ex-lover is a complication she can live with; coming face to face with a dead woman is not.

The last thing Sheriff Wyatt Reed expected to find on the storm-ravaged beach was a beautiful blonde with a jealous sidekick, but one look at Mattie left him wanting more. Their first date takes an ominous turn when he gets the call that a woman was found murdered. With a killer on the loose and a troubling lack of suspects or motive, Wyatt has to put his feelings aside to focus on the case. But his vow not to become personally involved is shattered when he discovers Mattie's life is on the line, and this time the truth leaves her with a deadly choice . . . and nowhere to run.


Wyatt didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to. As soon as they made it through the door, he pulled her as close as skin and clothing would allow. When his lips met hers, her mouth was already open to him. He was hungry, eager, and reckless with his need of this woman, and she matched him move for move.

He laced his fingers through hers and used the gentle hold to pin her arms over her head against the rough exterior of the building. The move left them both helpless to reach for more, but the suggestion of danger made him dizzy with desire. The way she bit her lip and whispered his name led him to believe she shared his excitement.

The night moved around them. The ocean waves washed the beach a couple of blocks to the east, the distant hush of the tide setting the pace for the ragged cadence of their breaths. Salt hung in the air, and unkempt dune grasses swished in a chorus under a star-studded sky. Music drifted from the bar on the heels of cigarette smoke. Mattie’s skin was fire against the cool night, and she tasted of beer and woman. The combination made him crazy.

She crooked her leg around his, sliding her bare calf and thigh against his own leg—a dangerous move with his limbs growing weaker by the second.

He released his grasp of her fingers and let his hands trail down the flesh of her arms, past the generous swell of her breasts and the feminine curve of her waist. When he got a little lower, he slipped his arms around her, lifting her off her feet.

She wrapped her legs around his hips, clinging to him like she was meant to be there all along. Her fingers caught in his hair; her soft cheek grazed his rough one.

He didn’t know how he made it across the sand without stumbling. He couldn't guess how he got the truck door open with her nibbling at his neck and his earlobes. He still didn’t know much of anything about her. He just knew that he wanted her, and the planets must have aligned up there somewhere because damned if she didn’t want him, too.

They still hadn’t spoken. Not since she’d sunk that last eight ball on Arnie, and now he couldn’t even remember what he’d said. He was fairly certain he hadn’t mentioned a quickie in the parking lot, but she’d accepted the unspoken invitation nonetheless. The little bit of denim between her legs did nothing to hide her arousal, and there wasn’t anything in the world that could hide the evidence of his need.

Effortlessly, he lifted her into the cab and let her fall backward on the bench seat. He climbed up after her and pushed between her legs, the ache of his erection antagonized when he felt her heat through their clothes.

She reached for him and fisted his shirt, pulling him on top of her. One kiss tumbled into another—a hot, seductive dance of tongues and need that left him on the verge of an explosion.

He found enough space between them to slide one hand under her shirt, and the softness of her skin taunted him. He took his revenge on her hard nipples, pinching and rolling one with his fingers and bringing his mouth down on the other through her shirt.

Mattie moaned and raked her fingers across his back. Desire shot through Wyatt as she worked her way to his abdomen, then ended in an explosion when she found his zipper and unbuttoned his pants.. He didn’t move his mouth off her shirt or release the breast he mauled through it when she grasped him. Wyatt didn't think; he sailed, letting the power of his need overwhelm him.

His cell phone rang, startling them both. Son of a bitch. Panting, he fumbled for it. Mattie didn’t relent her grasp, and he wished more than anything he didn’t have an obligation to answer the phone. Finally, he found it on the floor and glanced at the caller ID. Dwight.

He flipped the phone open and tried not to sound breathless, but Mattie still stroked him shamelessly, grinning like a cat.

"This better be good, Edmunds," he told the deputy by way of greeting.

"Good, bad, whatever you call it, it’s worth a phone call." Dwight sounded a little breathless himself. And distraught.

"What’s wrong?" Wyatt sat up, disengaging himself from Mattie’s grasp. For a moment, he wondered if the concern on her face was a reflection of his own and flashed her a quick expression of apology. So much for not playing sheriff for the night.

Dwight sounded like hell, though. Years of experience on the sleepy, crime-free island, and not once had a late-night call hit Wyatt with such urgency.

"You’d better get out here." Dwight paused as a siren wailed over the line. "There’s a dead woman on the beach, Sheriff, and this was no accident—she was murdered."


Anonymous said...

The master? *tries it on* Oh, I DO love the sound of it! Thanks so much for having me. And the flattery ... *swoon.* You are a MOST gracious host!

Carrie-Lynn said...

Sarah, nice interview. All I have to say elsewise is: Stalking! <3

Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie-Lynn! I LOVE seeing you all over the place. Stalk away, girlfriend! (Or are you hiding from the kids? I know all the best spots. *grin*)

Thanks for saying hello!

Carrie-Lynn said...

It's good to be loved, and the love is returned, hence the stalking, right? (It's a combination of hiding from kids, stalking, and procrastinating. You do seem to find really cool places to hide).

Jess Anastasi said...

Hi there ladies!
Thanks so much for being on my blog, Sarah, your interview was great and the excerpt very tempting *g*. I really have to find time to read that book of yours.
And yes, from now on I am just going to refer to you as the master. It suits you just fine.
Hi Carrie-Lynn, nice to meet a friend of Sarah!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Jess! Love "the master" ... I can practically hear the background music, LOL!

Incident Report IBC-726A-39

FORMAL INCIDENT REPORT SECTION ONE Incident Date:___ 25 th August 2436 __ Incident Time:___ 22 :30 hours approx ___ Incident...