Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guest Author Rachel Brimble



Today we have with us historical and romantic suspense author Rachel Brimble. I am in awe that she can successfully write across the two genres - no easy feat! I would love to be able to write a historical or two, but unfortunately don't have the voice for it. So, let's get to know Rachel a little better...

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.

I am a writer of all things romantic (not just suspense!). I love writing a variety of different books in the hope it keeps my writing fresh and my readers interested! I tend to write one historical, one contemporary. The historicals so far have been Victorian and the contemporaries vary from romantic suspense to romantic comedy. When I am not writing, I work part-time and look after my husband, two young daughters and Labrador, Max. Favorite things to do are reading, walking, knitting and socializing with friends and family.


Please tell us a bit about your book.


Today I am promoting my first book and first romantic suspense title, Searching For Sophie. Here’s the blurb & Buy Link: Harbouring the secret pain of giving up her daughter for adoption thirteen years ago, Melanie Royal has hidden herself in the quiet role of Head Librarian in Layley Hill. But then a crazed admirer rips her daughter from a loving home and Melanie is thrown into a race against time to save Sophie’s life. When Detective Inspector Kieran Joseph is put in charge of finding a missing thirteen year old girl, it evokes buried mistakes that he’d vowed never to repeat – and so he’ll be suspicious of everyone this time, including the girl’s sexy and achingly beautiful mother, Melanie Royal.




What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?


This book was inspired by my husband – he’s adopted and one day asked me if I ever thought that his biological mother ever thinks of him. I was shocked that he would think otherwise! I was so moved by this that I felt compelled to write a story about a mother who’d given a baby up for adoption and then learns that teenage child is now in serious danger. What would she do? And voila, the idea for Sophie was born.


Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?


As this was my first book, there was none of the pressure of making it better than the one before or meeting a deadline, or worrying if it will ever get published. I wrote it and enjoyed writing it – and then the reality that I wanted to see it in print came upon me. That’s when I starting worrying, LOL! But luckily for me, Ally Robertson at The Wild Rose Press liked it enough to offer me a contract. What a celebration we had that day!


When / Where / How do you write?


I write every spare minute much to the detriment of the housework! I tend to write in my lovely outside office in the summer months and either at the kitchen table or on the settee with the dog beside me in the winter. As to how…my books are created from idea, to characters, to plot and off I go, writing a ‘dirty draft’ from start to finish and cleaning up the mess in draft two!


Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer?


Nope, apart from the skills being a full-time for eight years brings!


What book/s are you reading at the moment?


North & South by John Jakes & The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller – loving them both and entirely in awe of both writers.


Do you have any authors who were your inspiration/hero?


Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult & Marian Keyes all inspire me – all the time.


What are you working on right now?


A new romantic suspense novel set in the mountainous region of North Wales. It about a trio of friends (the hero, the heroine and the victim) who were annual summer vacation buddies. Ten years later, the third friend is found strangled and the hero and heroine come together to find the killer – and of course, fall in love…


Do you have any other books out you'd like to mention?


My latest contemporary romance is Getting It Right This Time published by Lyrical Press & my latest Victorian historical is The Arrival of Lily Curtis published by The Wild Rose Press.







Where to find me on the web:








Thanks for stopping by, Rachel, your outdoor office sounds divine and your books all sound really unique!

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:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

BLURB:

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.


BUY LINKS:

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."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Severance Gets a 5 Star Review

This actually got put up a few days ago, but I haven't had time to share yet, so far its been a very busy weekend.
Nonetheless, I was stunned when I saw the review Long and Short Romance Reviews had posted for Severance. Even more exciting, the reviewer said she was hoping there will be another book in the series, (which there will be) so that gives me a good indication that other readers might feel the same way.
A few quotes:
"The author has created great characters. ...and there is enough adventure and action to keep you glued to the pages."
"I certainly didn't expect the ending, so that makes it a good read for me."
"The author makes this otherworldly story seem quite normal. The characters are believable and a bit human in nature, as well as not at all human."
For the review in full, check out the Long and Short Romance Reviews page.
This morning I found out Dead Reality also got another great review over at The Romance Reviews, but I'll post about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guest Author Leanne Dyck

Hello everyone! Yes, I have been lazy and not posted anything between this post and my last guest author post. I am working very busily away at a new short novella. Ric and Madi's story was really starting to drag, so on some very good advice (thanks Jill) I decided to take a break from it. I'll be spending the next week or so working on a sci-fi fantasy kind of thing, not sure of the word count yet, but I think it'll land somewhere in the realms of 10,000 to 20,000 words.
Anyhow, today's guest author has combined her love of knitting (which I can totally respect. Now if only I could finish one of the three jumper I've started) and writing, to come up with a very original sounding plot.




Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about who you are.

Greetings Jess, from sunny Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Even though writing is a solitary sport, I’m a team player. I bat for the Crime Writers of Canada, kick for the Victoria Writers Society and am in goal for the Mayne Island Writers Group.

Please tell us a bit about your book.

How about a blurb…
Aspiring knitwear designer Gwen Bjarnson is stuck in Purgatory. To escape, she must re-examine her life, journey through her past and right a wrong. But which wrong?
Young and in love, she works to establish her career, except fate has different plans. One rash act and she loses everything. Never resting, always seeking, and yearning for what she can no longer have, Gwen faces the truth: if she remains, others are destined to die. How will she solve the mystery before it is too late?


What was the motivation/idea behind this book/these characters?

The Sweater Curse was influenced by my knitwear design career—this career began in 2002 and ended in 2010.
Additional motivation came from my desire to protest the stereotypes that abound regarding knitters.

Did you enjoy writing this book, or did you have some tough times with it?

Writing The Sweater Curse demanded that I sharpen my writing tool. Moreover, it is, at times, very dark in tone. To cope, I took breaks and wrote other things such my cozy mystery Maynely A Mystery.
That said, I’m very proud of The Sweater Curse and look forward to writing the sequel.

When / Where / How do you write?
When:
I keep business hours—my fingers are on the keyboard seven days a week.
Where:
My cats and I share a solid oak writing desk located in my living room. Looking up, and through feature windows, I observe an ever-changing panoramic view of my island home.
How:
I start with a blueprint, but make frequent revisions.
While my muse dances, I write. When she takes a break to rest her feet, I re-write.

Do you have some other qualification/interest/something else you do besides being a writer?

When not writing, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, volunteering and solitary pursuits such as knitting and amateur photography.

What book/s are you reading at the moment?

The Bishop’s Man by Canadian author Linden MacIntyre

Do you have any authors who were your inspiration/hero?

I’m dyslexic and for many years used this as reason why I would never be able to obtain my dream of becoming an author. How can I write, if I can’t even spell, I thought.

Thankfully, I had to stop singing that self-destructive song when I discovered authors who shared my disability such as Jules Vern and Agatha Christie.

What are you working on right now?

Turning is (very) loosely based on my experiences in the youth group Katimavik.
Blurb:
Struggling with dyslexia and raised by overprotective parents, Lyndi longs for a boyfriend, an adventure, a life.
She enlists in a youth group hoping to fulfill her dreams.

Do you have any other books out you'd like to mention?

Once upon a time, in a world far, far away, erotic author Grace Meadows wrote Untouched Places and Animal. Both books are available from Decadent Publishing. Animal is a free read.

Is there something I haven't asked that you'd like to tell us?

Currently, I’m running a short story contest.
Write a short story (500 words or less) regarding your favourite sweater and you could win a copy of The Sweater Curse. For details, please visit http://sweatercursed.blogspot.com/


Sounds like a great comp, I only wish I could write short stories, but alas, I already know I'm hopeless at them. Thanks so much for coming, Leanne, this has been a wonderful and interesting interview.



Buy Links:

Decadent Publishing: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=The+Sweater+Curse&osCsid=t3kaqh806hb9bgc1kg566kn80
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Sweater-Curse-ebook/dp/B004IPPJQ8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AZC9TZ4UC9CFC&s=merchant-items&qid=1295645546&sr=1-1
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/36891

Website: www.oknitting.com
Blog: http://sweatercursed.blogspot.com

Excerpt:

This isn't Heaven. It isn't Hell. And I'm not alive.

Picture this: a bus stop, tons of people packed into the same small space all waiting to continue their journey. Many buses stop here. Some passengers get off, others get on. Young children with sickly white complexions huddle together in the shelter. Teenagers with rope burns around their necks get off the bus. Old men with bullet holes climb on.

Throughout this confusion, the only constant is me. I remain alone.

Why?

I don't know, but I must find the reason. I must examine my life to discover the momentary lapse. The wrong I've committed. The task I've neglected. It's my only means of escape.


Quotes from reviews:

Laurie Buchanan: Stitch by colorful stitch, Leanne Dyck knits a tale of intrigue with The Sweater Curse.

Mystery author, Lou Allin: Leanne Dyck has crafted a tale as exotic and existential as Danish author Isak Dinesen's...This book defies genre definitions as it finds its unique place on the fiction shelves. Here's hoping Leanne Dyck returns many times to the intriguing roots of her family's past.

Deborah Warner, reviewer for By the Book: Go out and pick this one up, you'll find yourself immersed as well.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Guest Author Bri Clark




Today we have with us Bri Clark and instead of doing a boring old interview, I'm featuring two of her wonderful books instead. So, without further ado, here they are!


Lucien Lemione the clan leader of the feared and revered Eternals is faced with the ultimate betrayal. His second in command for two centuries has not only created the most grievous of offenses but also commissioned the creation of liquid silver. When poisoned by this toxin, an immortal suffers a fate much worse than death, frozen in an internal prison. After being wounded when found spying, he hides deep within the eerie woods that encircle the Triad Mountains. Desperate and in pain, he prays to an offended mother goddess for help. Her answer: a woman, but not just any woman. A witch.

After losing her entire coven at the hands of the Eternals, Aisleen is the last of her kind. She retreats from the world to Trinity Forest where she is giving the opportunity of a lifetime, or perhaps a test of principles. It’s there she discovers the man she heals is the Eternal that wiped out her people. Although she is bound as a healer, she could be creative in her revenge. Aisleen knows who and what Lucien is…but does not speak of it. There can be no future with Lucien for she can only be with a mortal man. Even if she wanted to be with him, can she forgive the man that caused the genocide of her people?

Lucien must act quickly for the survival of his clan is at stake. However, Aisleen’s ethereal beauty and emerald eyes keep pushing those thoughts far from his mind. Determined to find out what secret she hides, he prolongs his time with her. When his people need him most what will he choose…duty, desire, or will he make his own fate?
You can choose love but you can’t choose destiny.



Marie Kincaid suffering the greatest loss a woman can know runs from the pain. Falling asleep deep within the forest she awakes in an infirmary with a loss of memory and a power, she’s always possessed yet never known: Glazier. Glazier enables Marie to embark on a new life free of pain but most importantly free of the past. Heightened senses, accelerated strength, speed, and learning abilities make Marie a perfect candidate to be a spy…also a perfect companion for Henry Tenison…the only other known Glazier.

Henry, a loner and proud rogue finds his world upended when his connection to Marie is forged through Glazier. Unsure of how to progress with any relationship with her he endeavors to keep it strictly platonic and professional. As far away, missions and romantic surroundings entice him into pursuing his deeper desires he caves. However, Marie’ love changes everything.

Determined to free them both of the spy world and hold Abram their superior has over them Henry implements a plot to disappear. However, when things become dangerous in their latest mission, their first undercover, and memories of Marie’s past surface suggesting another man…will Henry’s efforts prove to come too late? If Marie remembers her past, will she still want their future?
And here are some useful links:

Glazier: http://www.astraeapress.com/index.html#ecwid:category=662267&mode=product&product=3028751

Familial Witch: http://www.astraeapress.com/index.html#ecwid:category=662254&mode=product&product=2626120

Blog: http://briclarkthebelleofboise.blogspot.com/

Thanks for visiting and sharing with us, Bri. Your covers are just gorgeous!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

When Life Gets in the Way

Last week I was supposed to have Kiki Howell visiting, so you may have been wondering since Wednesday what happened. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, she wasn't able to do this week's interview, but maybe we'll get her back here one day in the future. This week, Bri Clark will be visiting and likewise, I'll be on her blog. A bit of a swapsie!
I had one of those weeks where I pretty much never sat down in front of the computer for more than five minutes at a time. I think I'd be lucky if did 1000 words for the whole week, very unusual for me!
At the start of the week, I was finding the lack of work frustrating. I really want to get Ric and Madi's story finished so I can move onto other things. Except by Friday, I'd gotten to the point where I just though "eh, who cares?"
It hit me that one of the good things about being a writer is that I don't answer to anyone in terms of when or for how long I work. This had always struck me as a huge pro to this job. I'm am definitely not a 9 to 5 sort of person. I never found a job I really enjoyed doing, never liked dealing with customers, or having set times when I had to come and go, eat lunch, or take a tea break.
And worse, with my endometriosis, it used to stress me out when I was unwell because I would feel bad for taking sick days. For a while there I had to take a lot of sick days. In fact, I'm pretty sure the times I got fired was because of that fact alone. I'm a big advocate for people understanding endometriosis. Most people can't comprehend just how much of an impact this disease can have on a woman's ever day life, especially if they have it chronically like I did. I say 'did' because although there's no cure for endometorsis, I've gotten to the point (and it took a lot of years) where I've got control of it and I am much better. Its not ruling my life any longer, though for a lot of years, it did.
I'd realized that by being an author, by not having set hours to work and a boss looking over my shoulder, I'm far more stress free. And if I spontaneously take the week off (even though it didn't start off by choice) then what does it matter? I had always told myself that if I woke up sick, or even if I just bloody didn't feel like working that day, then I could take the day off and it was great not having to justify that to anyone else. Of course, this rarely happens. Even when I am sick its easy enough to drag myself in front of the computer and get my 1000 word minimum down. I'm very driven when it comes to writing, and very set on what sort of career I want to have. I've always been more than willing to put the hard work in.
This has probably been the first time in a long time I've ended up giving myself permission to just take a break. And I know that when I get back to it tomorrow, I'll be looking at the manuscript with fresh eyes and will feel re-energized about it. So even though I'm feeling really enthusiastic and refreshed about things, I'm still not going to do anything today. I'm going to enjoy my Sunday like any other normal person, and go back to the grind on Monday.