Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Christmas Comes Early with with NYT bestseller, RaeAnne Thayne,

Posted by Susan J Berger on 12:10:00 PM with 7 comments
RaeAnne Thayne's newest book Evergreen Springs just came out. Not only does it take place during the Christmas season, but I have a copy to give away. How's that for early Christmas?
Blurb:
Christmas is the last thing on Cole Barrett's mind this year. He's barely hanging on trying to care for his two grieving children since his ex-wife died in a tragic accident. For the reclusive Cole, this is no time for gift-giving and celebration—and certainly not for a sunny-natured optimist to blow into his screwed-up life. 
Physician Devin Shaw has long researched the curative powers of Lake Haven's mineral waters. Unfortunately, the hot springs are on Barrett property, forcing Devin to strike a bargain with the ranch's attractively gruff owner: she'll give Cole's children a magical Christmas, and Cole will allow her patients access to the springs. But can she work her holiday magic to heal the Barrett family's battered hearts—and her own?
I love Christmas books and Evergreen Springs is a holiday book with all four H's. Heartbreak, Healing, Happiness, and Hope. I loved every moment of this wonderful story and I am delighted to welcome RaeAnne to my blog. I bet you know who she is, but I'll recap anyway.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne has written nearly fifty books for HQN, Special Edition, Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense and Bantam Loveswept. A four-time RITA nominee, RaeAnne has received a career achievement award from Romantic Times for series romantic adventure, as well as two RT Reviewers’ Choice awards for best Special Edition. She finds inspiration from the beautiful mountains of northern Utah, where she lives with her family. Her books have been described as “poignant and sweet,” with “beautiful, honest storytelling (that) goes straight to the heart.”

Q: ​I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when you found you’d made your first sale.
What an amazing time that was! It was actually 20 years ago this month, five years after I started my first book. I had finished two complete manuscripts and after numerous rejections, I finally had a glimmer of hope when an editor at Bantam Loveswept requested revisions on one book then asked to see anything else I had. I sent her the second book along with the revisions she requested. About a month later, I was home from work one afternoon with my five year old daughter, who was having a play date with two neighbor girls, when the phone rang. It was the Loveswept editor, with the news that she was offering me a contract for BOTH manuscripts. I managed to keep it together while I thanked her and verbally accepted the offer, then I literally had to sit down on the floor of my kitchen because my knees wouldn't support me while I called my husband to tell him – all while my daughter and her friends were running around squealing and the dog was barking up a storm. That night we drove 60 miles to go to dinner at our favorite place (Red Lobster, which still makes me laugh when I think of it). I remember sitting in that restaurant and thinking that my entire life was about to change. It certainly did!

Q: What was your most exciting moment as a writer. (I know that's a hard one because you were a journalist first. so let's make that a two parter.)
What was your most exciting moment as a journalist?
I was doing a story about a hot air balloon festival in Park City, UT and went up on a balloon, which for a moment or two went out of control. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time!
Yikes! 
As a romance writer?
I have had so many exciting moments as a writer. Even after fifty books, I still get such a thrill each time I open a box containing my author copies of a new book. I also LOVE meeting fans who have been touched by my books. The first time I hit the New York Times definitely stands out as an exciting moment, though it was really surreal. My mom died unexpectedly in late September 2013 and my father was put on Hospice two weeks later. He died Nov 1 of that year – a Saturday – five weeks after my mom, and I found out the following Wednesday that my book CHRISTMAS IN SNOWFLAKE CANYON hit the NYT. When I heard the news, I burst into tears because my parents weren't there to see it, but it somehow felt like one last gift from them.
What a terrible and wonderful time. My heart goes out to you.

Q: Have there been any books, romance or other genres, that have greatly influenced you as a writer? What are they?
I have so many favorite books and authors, it's hard to nail them down to a few. I've been reading romance novels since I was about twelve years old and it's still my favorite genre. When I was young I adored Madeline Brent, Phyllis Whitney and Elizabeth Peters. I have always loved Regencies: Georgette Heyer and Clare Darcy were my favorites in that genre, then Carla Kelly and Mary Balogh. I am finding new favorites all the time.

Q: I am fairly sure you love Christmas. Evergreen Springs is the latest in your band of Christmas stories that include Snow Angel Cove A Christmas In Snowflake Canyon, The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle and many more. So two part question:

Q: Artificial tree or fresh cut? 
(Love the scene when Cole take Devin and the kids to cut a tree. Also love that each of the kids gets their own tree.)
For most of our married life we had a real tree. It was a lovely tradition, going to a great local fresh tree stand to pick out our favorite. Then we moved into a new house where we finally had room to store an artificial tree during the off-season and we've gone that route ever since. I kind of love not having to worry about watering it every day … and I can put it up as early as I want without having to stress about it drying out! I'm totally lazy, if you want the truth. I leave the tree pieces together year-round with the lights on and tuck it into a corner of my storeroom with a bag over it to keep down the dust. I love the convenience of it but do miss the live-tree tradition (and the luscious smell. The pine scent warmers I cheat with now just don't quite measure up).
You tempt me to go to artificial. But I don't have a place to store it. The dry-out is always with me.
Q: What are your favorite Christmas traditions?
We have many. When my kids were young, I would wrap up twenty-four of our favorite children's Christmas books and they would get to unwrap a different one each night of December leading up to Christmas Eve, then we would read it together. It was always so fun trying to guess which one they would open. We also love driving around looking at Christmas lights and each year we pick one really obscure, random item to look for in others' decorations. Our own little Christmas quest. Maybe a snowman with a red vest or a life-size Nativity. One year it was a turtle and, believe it or not, we actually found a lit-up turtle in someone's yard!
I am adopting both of these traditions as of this year!! How wonderful. Thank you.
(You mentioned a Christmas book - TV show in Evergreen Springs I never heard of. Did you make it up? If not, I want it.)
I invented it, actually. I love coming up with children's book ideas but I've never actually written one. I need to! My three favorite kids books:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss. This never gets old, no matter how many times I've read it.
Red Ranger Came Calling, by Berke Breathed. Funny and sweet and bizarre, all at once. It makes me tear up every time!
Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells by Barbara Park. Any of the Junie B. books are fabulous.
I have the first two, but I've never read Junie B. New treat in store.

Q: Any chance of getting the recipe for the wonderful hot chocolate Cole loves? I am a chocolate lover and I love recipes. I’ll swap for paleo no cook fudge, if you’re feeling healthy. Or double fudge brownie cake if you are not. I also have Kristan Higgins’ Gram’s Chocolate Cake on my recipe page on the blog.)

Luxurious Hot Chocolate
4 cups of milk (whole is best)
8 ounces of high-quality chocolate … I like Guittard semisweet chips. White chocolate works too for a different taste.
3 teaspoons of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (pure, not imitation)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Finely chop the chocolate. Even if using chocolate chips, the smaller the pieces, the better it will dissolve in liquid. On low heat in a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a low boil, whisking occasionally to keep from scorching. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar, salt and chocolate and whisk vigorously until the chocolate has melted. Heat for another 4 minutes, constantly stirring. Serve with a dollop of real whipped cream.
You can add lots of things to this recipe: Mint, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick. Whatever your preference. Just add herbs or spices to the milk while simmering. After it boils, remove from heat and let the milk steep for 10 minutes then strain off your add-ins and return to simmer before adding the chocolate and other ingredients.
I can't wait to try this. I would make it now, but I don't have any milk.
Thank you so much for answering these questions.
You're very welcome!
I have a copy of Evergreen Springs to give away to one lucky reader.
Be good to yourself, my friends.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Angela Scavone's here with a military romance and a gift card giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:30:00 AM with 6 comments


Meet contemporary romance author Angela Scavone.  Her second book is A Journey Home Reviews call it heartwarming and relevant.
Angela, Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Ontario, Canada sharing my home with my father and my two much-loved pups (and one evil cat).  I currently work for the Board of Education behind the scenes supporting and analyzing student data. In my spare time, apart from my avid love of storytelling, I like to read, spend time with family and friends and concoct dairy free recipes from scratch. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose.– tofu, banana and peanut butter pudding – I am looking at you.
Don’t share that recipe. Please.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.
It was a surreal moment. I was completely overjoyed with the fact that someone wanted to publish something I had written. Words cannot describe the moment fully J
Angela's  first Soul Mate Publishing release was Love by the Book in 2011. The blurb on Amazon sounds hilarious.
Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
There are so many to choose from, I don’t think I could pick just one J

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
Being published not once but twice, nothing else is more exciting J

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
To motivate the muses, I like to read other genres of books, and I read a ton of author blogs. Their progress and excitement in their WIPs helps get me motivated.

Got a recipe you want to share?

I have both lactose and gluten intolerances so I try to make meals that are both easy to do and gentle on my stomach. The one thing I love is pizza! But that has two ingredients I cannot eat. I finally found a way to have pizza without any pain.

Gluten and Lactose Free Pizza:
 1 lb ground beef or chicken (personally I love ground chicken)
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 cups shredded lactose free cheese
Pepperoni
Favourite toppings
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Brown the ground beef or chicken in a pan, drain
Put meat in a mixing bowl and mix with 1 cup of shredded lactose free cheese
Spread the meat mixture into a circle on a pizza pan (or stone) and top with tomato sauce
 Add Toppings and the rest of the lactose free cheese.
 Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.
 Voila! Gluten and Lactose free pizza!! YUM!
I have to try this!

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Write, don’t think about it and don’t think about whether or not someone will want to read/publish it. Just write and don’t think about it J That is what the editing process is for.



Tell us about A Journey Home
Stephanie Tyler’s sole job is to fly overseas to war torn areas of the world to retrieve and escort the bodies of fallen soldiers back home to the United States. It is a tough and emotional job but she is honored for the privilege. Her duty also helps her to escape her past and her failed marriage

But those flights have become increasingly more dangerous and she is forced to have a partner accompany her. Much to Stephanie’s surprise and dismay, she is partnered up with her ex-husband, Captain “D.A.” Douglas Aston.

From the moment Captain D.A. enters the scene, he irritates her. It could have something to do with the fact he slept with her best friend while they were married. As they go on several missions together, Stephanie is forced to be courteous and professional with D.A. even though the very sight of him irritates her beyond comprehension.
        
Then, Stephanie’s cheating, husband stealing, ex-best friend is killed in Afghanistan and Stephanie and D.A. must escort her body home. While executing this difficult duty, a myriad of conflicting emotions makes Stephanie ponder how short life really is . . . and to question her own ability to forgive. 

Excerpt:

The phone intercom buzzed and Pam came over the speaker. “Sorry to interrupt, Colonel, but you wanted me to let you know when Captain Aston was here.”
I stared at the Colonel wide-eyed.
He merely smiled and said, “Thanks, Pam. I’ll be out in a minute.”
“He’s here now?” I asked, incredulously.
“Didn’t I mention that?” He rose from his chair and walked to the door as I stood and straightened my uniform.
The Colonel stood with his hand on the doorknob, watching me fuss. “You look tremendous, Captain.”
“What? Oh I don’t care what I look like for him,” I immediately protested, waving my hand in the air.
“Of course.” He was still smiling as he opened the door. “Captain Aston, please come in.”
I heard his voice first. “Thank you, Colonel.”
I glanced down at my uniform to make sure everything was in place before he came into the room. When I looked back up, Captain Aston was walking through the door.
To the female eye, he was a very attractive man. He stood at six-four and was well built, but not so much that muscles and tendons were popping out everywhere. He had a strong jaw and black hair just long enough to run your fingers through. Dressed in full uniform, his handsome features were even more prominent.
Not that I noticed.
“Please come in and we can discuss your new role.”
“Yes, Sir.” Captain DA put out his hand for me to shake, flashing his killer smile that started in his bright blue eyes and ended in a set of mouth-framing dimples. “Good to see you again, Captain.”
I returned his smile and handshake, determined to be professional in front of the Colonel even if it killed me.
Colonel Madison resumed his place behind his desk. “Please sit. This is a quick, informal meeting to get reacquainted with each other.”
I remained on my feet which kept both men standing. “Sir, with all due respect,” I began, facing the Colonel, “I cannot work with Captain Aston.” Apparently, my mouth wasn’t on board with being professional.
“Why not?” DA asked, sounding offended.
I ignored his question and kept my attention on the Colonel, who looked as if he were about to laugh. “We used to be married.”
“I know that.” He smiled.
“Our marriage did not end on a positive note,” I continued, “and I don’t think I can work with him on a day to day basis. In fact, I left Virginia to get away from him.”
“You know, I’m standing right here,” DA chimed in.
“Captain Tyler, are you telling me you can’t put your differences aside to work together as a team? Even though I asked you as a personal favor?” The Colonel’s smile had vanished and there was now a warning in his tone.
“No, Sir.” I heard the warning and decided it was time to back off the fight. “I’ll try putting our differences aside to work together, but I can’t promise I won’t kill him in the process.”
The Colonel coughed out a chuckle. “That’s all I can ask for. Now, you—hopefully—have some time off before another call comes in. Why don’t you show Captain DA around?”

The Colonel spoke as I reached for the door handle. “I’m curious, off the record, of course. How did your marriage not continue on a positive note? I remember the wedding. You two seemed so compatible and so in love. What happened?”
DA and I looked at each other for the first time since his arrival.
“He cheated on me with a friend of mine,” I replied baldly.
“I did not cheat on you! How many times do I have to say it before you believe me?” he retorted, all vestiges of professionalism gone.
“Oh, here we go again!” I shouted back. “I came home early, I walked into the kitchen and there was Alex on top of you on the kitchen floor.”
“I told you it wasn’t what it looked like. I have said over and over again that I did not sleep with Alex!” His tone increased until he was shouting, too.
“You’re telling me that you two never slept together?” I demanded an answer.
“Well . . .” He looked away from me. “Not while we were married.”
“I knew it!”
“It was after we were separated and you had moved here! What did you want me to do? Never sleep with anyone again?”
“You can sleep with whomever or whatever you want for all I care—”
“Ahem.” The Colonel cut in. I jerked back, startled; in the heat of arguing with my frustrating ex, I had forgotten my boss was there.
“Sorry, Sir. Do you see why I can’t work with him?”
The Colonel regarded us both. “Alex?” he questioned DA.
“Alexandra Keating, Sir. She was Stephanie’s best friend.”
“Best friend, my left toe! She’s a traitorous, backstabbing, two-faced, lying, husband stealing bitch.”
“Wow, that’s quite descriptive, Captain. Why don’t you tell us your true feelings about her?” Both of the Colonel’s eyebrows rose in shock.
“I’m only speaking the truth, Sir.” I addressed the Colonel but glared at DA.
“Well.” He clapped his hands together to signal the end of our bickering. “I know you two can be respectful when escorting a fallen soldier home and I know you will be professional during the dignified transfer ceremonies. However, please try and be professional at other times as well or at least civil to each other.” He waved us toward the door.
DA and I both nodded and exited the office. Before we could leave the reception area, the Colonel poked his head out of his office door.
“And, Captain Tyler-”
“Sir?”
“Try not to kill him, please. He just arrived at our base and it wouldn’t look good in the press.”
Knowing the Colonel had a wicked sense of humor, I still couldn’t find my own jocularity. “No promises, Sir, But I’ll give it my best shot.”
“That’s all I ask.” 

And finally, where can we find  you?
Links:


Thank you for being here, Angela. 
Thank you so much for having me here today!
Giving away books from Canada is hard, so instead, Angela is offering a 5.00Amazon Gift Card to one lucky reader. Enter below. Happy Autumn Solstice. Hope everything’s going your way.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Paranormal Romance author RB Austin. and a Giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 11 comments

Meet Paranormal romance author whose second book Fallen Darkness will be released Wednesday, September 16th and she's doing a giveaway of an eBook of Fallen Darkness.


And a paperback of the first book in the series, Fallen Redemption.

Killing Fallen to save mankind is Cade’s redemption for murder and only one human—mouthwatering and absolutely forbidden—stands in his way.

RB, Please tell us about yourself.
Here are ten facts about me.
1. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
2. I enjoy bug-free hikes.
3. My boss calls me the office manager, but I prefer the term secretary. Because maybe then he won’t pile on the work if I’m only a “mere” secretary. (Never works, by the way.)
4. Husband and I have known each other for thirteen years, been married for five.
5. My favorite thing to do to after work, to unwind, is take my Cairn Terrier for a walk. Although this only happens when he allows it and he has very high demands. It can’t be over 80 degrees. Not too close to dinnertime. Not colder than 30 degrees. If he didn’t get enough naps during the day then just forget it. And, under no circumstances, will he ever wear booties or a jacket in public.
6. I love discovering new places on my bike. Paths by the water are my favorite.
7. Nineteen years ago, I diagnosed myself as having OCD tendencies, which is the reason, I believe, why I’m pretty good at my job. Also the reason why I have a hard time delegating responsibilities. :/
8. My daughter is a senior in high school. Graduation. College. Adulthood. (shudder) Thinking too much about it sends me into a fetal position.
9. I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life, but in summer 2016, Husband and I will be moving down south. (So. Excited.) We’ve narrowed down our choices to Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, or South Carolina. Our number one reason for leaving: the cold. How come not North Carolina? That's an awesome state for writers.
10. My name is RB. I’m a writer of paranormal romances.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.
It was December 31, 2012. A few days earlier, my sister and I had created a blog about writing and titled it 2 Unpublished Girls. Well, on that wonderful New Year’s Eve, I was checking my email in between cocktails.
I read Debby’s - the Senior Editor at Soul Mate Publishing’s – message expecting a rejection from the partial I had sent in earlier that month. I had to re-read the email. Then told Husband to mute the TV and read the email out loud to him. Just to be sure.
Then the screaming started. And tears. All of joy, of course. Followed by a fast typed email to my sister asking at the end, “should we change our blog name?” (See answer here: http://wp.me/p3177g-v). 
It’s been a whirlwind ever since. I can’t ever thank Debby or Soul Mate Publishing enough for giving me a chance. Twice. (My second novel is coming out on September 16. Pretty cool, huh!)
Excellently cool!

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
I absolutely inhale books by Gena Showalter and Kresley Cole. Those women are fantastic writers. And their alpha heroes . . . to die for!

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
The best moment was holding the Fallen Redemption paperback, my first published novel, in my hand. I had no words, which is almost unheard of for a writer), to describe the feelings running through me. It was just . . . sigh. The best feeling ever.
Yeah. I remember.
What is your favorite pastime, other than writing? Reading is my go to when I’m stressed and need a break from the world. Or when I’m bored. Or when the TV is pissing me off, because even with all the channels I have why can’t I find just one show I like?!
I also love to kayak. My favorite: rowing to a quiet spot away from the other boaters, pulling out my book, and drifting along as the sun beats down. It’s my idea of heaven!
How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” That’s my mantra when I’m stuck. I just keep writing. Eventually I get unstuck or Muse decides I’ve screwed up the current scene/chapter enough and wants to take control again.
And on rare occasions when Dory fails to motivate, chocolate and wine are a great incentive. “I’ll just write three pages then I can have a glass of red and a piece of my Morley Peanut Butter Block.”

Tell us about your latest release.
Fallen Darkness is paranormal romance about two people in the darkest part of their lives. Together they learn that the darkness inside them, the choices they’ve made in the past, doesn’t have to define their future. 
The war between Apollyon and the Trihune has begun.
Lucas scours the street in need of a fix. He captures his enemy instead of kills. Spins lies instead of truth. Seeks darkness instead of light. So close to the edge with no concern for the fall.
The map was foretold. Its key long lost.
Sent on a mission to find the key necessary to defeat Apollyon, Lucas meets Kate. Fiery, powerful, unable-to-touch-any-object Kate. As his feelings for her grow, the addiction inside him wanes.
Until he learns she is not meant for him.
Find the key. Find the way and triumph.
His future with Kate is bleak. The darkness, too hard to control. The key, still lost.
Can Lucas win the battle raging inside his body in order to win the war rising on the streets?
 Excerpt:
“What are you hungry for?”
Kate snorted, reaching around him to open a drawer. She pulled out two plastic bags. “Do you even know what’s in the fridge, Rich Guy? When’s the last time you were in here? Probably to ask Martha to pour you some coffee?”
He growled low, spinning to trap her between his body and the island. She gasped. It wasn’t in fear. He placed one hand on either side of her, close but not touching. 
“What can I do to prove that I’m not some rich, spoiled guy?” He kept his voice low.
Her heart was beating fast, but, again, she wasn’t afraid. Her scent filled the air. Lucas stood in the middle of an orchard. His cock hardened and he tilted his hips back so not to scare her. He couldn’t lift his gaze from her lips, though. He wanted so badly to kiss her. Wanted it more than blood. More than another hit of darkness. Her lips parted on a soft intake of breath. He dragged his gaze upward, and sweet Creator, she was staring at his mouth. Then her gaze slowly rose to meet his.
He froze.
She looked hungry. And not for food.
Her tongue flicked out, wetting her lips. He bit back a groan. Her eyebrows rose. She lifted her gloved hand, touched the outside of his right eye. “Why do they do that?” she asked, voice low.
His eyes had flared its blue light the moment his body responded to her nearness. It was because he wanted her, but that would be the wrong thing to say. “Have you ever been kissed, Kate?”
Wow!.What’s your current WIP?
I’ve almost finished plotting the third book in my Trihune series. Sarid’s story is up next and I can’t wait to give him his HEA. He sooo deserves it.
And finally, where can we find you?
My website gets immediate updates whenever anything goes on in the RB-verse. You can also sign up for my newsletter there. Hint, hint. ;) http://www.rbaustin.com
Facebook is my favorite social media spot. You can friend me at https://www.facebook.com/rbaustinauthor. Or like my page at https://facebook.com/authorrbaustin.
Twitter is second runner up. I love the 140-character challenge. Well, not really. Hey, I’m used to writing 95,000-word novels. 140-characters? I use that many words to describe a sneeze. ;) https://twitter.com/authorrbaustin

Thank you RB For being here. I loved the excerpt from Fallen Darkness. RB is giving away an eBook of Fallen Darkness
and a paperback of the first book in the series, Fallen Redemption. You know the drill, friends. Enter below. Here's wishing you a week of joyful surprises.


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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Free Libraries and a Giveaway

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 3 comments
 My neighborhood had a Free Library. I hear they are popping up all over. It's the best idea I've heard in a long time. I checked the books, put in some of my own and went home to Google where the idea started. I was directed to LittleFreeLibrary.org

 Their mission statement is:
"To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations. " 
The dream's coming true in my neighborhood. My neighborhood loves the library.Wednesday evening on my walk, I saw an older woman and a teenage girl sitting on the bench provided, reading a recipe book. I think the book was in English, but the girl was translating to to her Grandmother in Spanish. On my daily walk, I check to see if the books are changing. They do. Frequently.  
We have two boxes on adjacent lawns. Currently the shelves include picture books, chapter books, essays, romances, thrillers. (I didn't put the JD Robb in there. It's a thrill to see a familiar book. The entire Chronicles of Narnia are on the shelf right now. Woot!)
I walked over every day this weekend, hoping to catch up with some more neighbors sitting on the bench. But it's a holiday weekend.
I added more books today. Some I got from the 2015 RWA Conference. Three were from the RITA judging. My biggest thrill was sharing my extra copy of Robert Heinlein's book, Red Planet. It's a YA. I don't think many people read Heinlein anymore and he's a wonderful story teller.

The other thrilling discovery I made recently is the fabulous selection of eBook romances I can download from both the Los Angeles and Burbank Public Library. Straight to my Kindle app and no late free ever. I don't make enough money to support my habit and this really helps. I want to find out how to get my eBook and Audio books of Time and Forever added to their stash.
In honor of all this free stuff. I'm giving away an eBook and a paperback copy of Time and Forever.  (If you click the preview link on Amazon, you can also listen to a preview of the audio book. That's new.)
Time and Forever is a finalist in the RONE Awards for Best Time Travel Book. The award ceremony is Sept 19th in Palm Springs. I'm going because it will be an adventure and I get to dress up and spend the night at The Marriot Renaissance.  I'm bringing formal clothes and a bathing suit and expectations of a fabulous time.
Rafflecopter Below. But First: A Blurb and an Excerpt.
Blurb:
 1969. Love was free, man walked on the moon, and Sherry and Lorena found the loves of their lives. Sherry shared a kiss that dreams were made of, with a stranger on the tube in London. And ran away. Lorena found the love of her life in Los Angeles and married him.
The present. Sherry’s a successful businesswoman with two grown sons. Lorena’s an actress on a popular sitcom. Sherry’s husband dumped her for a younger woman eighteen years ago. Lorena’s husband died of cancer.
Sherry wants a second chance at Love. Lorena doesn’t believe that’s possible. But when a glitch in a Virtual Reality Adventure game sends them back to the real 1969, anything can happen.

Excerpt from Chapter 9 :
Jen stared at Lorena intently. “I need that accent. I’ve been looking for someone to coach me. We’re rehearsing A Streetcar Named Desire. Come back to the theater with us.”
Lorena looked at Sherry inquiringly.
“Go ahead, Lorena,” Jeremy said. “I wanted to borrow Sherry for the afternoon.”
Lorena and Jen both eyed him like disapproving mothers. Sherry stifled a giggle
Jeremy was the picture of injured innocence. “Honestly, Jen, do you think I’m going to take her to my flat and have my wicked way with her?”
I hope so, Sherry thought.
“This is strictly business. I have to interview Lady Dorchester this afternoon and I thought Sherry might be able to help.”
“That old bat? She’s barmy.” Jen said. She turned to Sherry. “Better you than me. Good luck.”
“Why does he need help interviewing her?” Lorena asked.
“She won’t talk to him unless there is a woman present. She’s totally off her rocker. Thinks she’s still a lady in waiting.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Lorena asked.
“To Queen Victoria,” Jeremy answered. “And she thinks her pet mouse is the reincarnation of Queen Victoria. I’m going to interview the mouse.” He turned to Sherry. “You don’t by any chance speak mouse? I could use a translator.”
“I’m sorry,” Sherry replied with a straight face, “the only mouse I was well acquainted with my s— ah . . . sister’s pet mouse and he spoke common field mouse. I’m afraid I won’t be much help.”
Jeremy’s eyes crinkled at the corners. “That’s all right. We’ll rely on Lady Dorchester.”
What book are you reading now?  Happy reading, friends.  Blessings.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Love Ball Room Dance and Romance? Meet Author Tonya Plank

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:30:00 AM with 8 comments
Meet Tonya Plank, lawyer, animal rescuer, ballroom dancer and author of the 3-book, New Adult/Romance Ballroom Dance series, Fever.

Tonya, please tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona but moved to New York shortly after grad school to go to law school. I lived and practiced law in New York for eighteen years before moving to Los Angeles to focus on writing. 
My other focus is animals. I volunteer frequently at the Best Friends Animal Society, and I have two rescue cats, Rhea and Katusha, and one dog, Sofia. Since moving back out West, I love taking road trips. I try to take several a year, with Sofia of course!

You say on your blog, while working as a lawyer, you developed a passion for Ballroom dancing. So how did that happen? What sparked it?

I was working as a criminal appeals attorney, which is a very stressful job on so many different levels. One of my friends convinced me to take swing dancing lessons at night, since she loved that dance. This was kind of around the time of the retro swing craze in New York. I signed up for a single class at a studio right down the street from me, and was immediately in love. I loved moving, being social with people other than attorneys, and I found it to be a great stress relief. The studio had an unlimited class plan, which worked out to be far cheaper than taking single classes, so I started taking all of the group classes.
They also had weekly parties, and, one night, a pair of Latin instructors who competed at the international competitions performed for the students. I fell even deeper in love. I soon started training privately with the male dancer of the pair, and I did some professional / amateur competitions with him.
Training made me so much happier; gave me something to look forward to after a long, grueling workday. It soon became expensive, though, so I had to cut back. But I still did little showcases from time to time, and went to the competitions to cheer on my friends. And then I started writing about dance, which became a way to re-live it without the expense!

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre? 
I have so many favorites. I love Alice Clayton for her mad humor, Emma Chase for her witty, sweetly combative characters, Sylvia Day for her high-intensity sex scenes, and Colleen Hoover for the emotional depth of her young characters. Favorite contemporary heroes are Gideon Cross from Day’s Crossfire series and Holden from Hoover’s Hopeless. Favorite heroines are Grace from Clayton’s Redhead series and basically all of Emma Chase’s female characters. My favorites from the classics are Darcy, Knightly, and Romeo. There’s a wonderful book called Juliet, by Anne Fortier, in which the main character, a modern-day Juliet, researches several of the early Romeo and Juliet stories. Shakespeare’s is not the first. The original story that she uncovers is the most passionate love story I think I’ve ever read! That Romeo – from the Medieval period – is the hottest hero ever. He fought to the death for his Juliet, and even though it’s a tragedy, like Shakespeare’s, their souls live on together forever. It’s so beautiful.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?

Probably my most exciting writing moments have been my success with my dance blog, Swan Lake Samba Girl. I’m no longer writing it, because if I did I’d have no time for my novels, but when I lived in New York, as I said, I’d taken up ballroom dancing. That rekindled my childhood love of ballet, so I’d begun writing a dance blog both journaling my experiences learning to dance as an adult, and watching and reviewing various dance performances in New York. The blog became really popular – at least among ballroom dancers and New York dance-goers, and it actually started receiving quite a bit of press from mainstream media. James Wolcott, from Vanity Fair, started quoting me and linking to me regularly, which led to shout-outs the in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Arts Beat blog, and the Washington Post. CNN.com even interviewed me about the popularity of the dance shows on TV. Big ballet and modern dance companies gave me press tickets to review their performances. I was really amazed by all the response because I didn’t expect it at all. I was just kind of recording my own thoughts about and experiences with dance!

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
 My favorite pastime is reading. I read everything: mysteries, literary fiction, memoirs, chick-lit, and of course romance – all subgenres!

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
 I usually take a little break from writing and read everything I can. Reading great writing helps immensely with writing well. I also go to museums or art galleries, or listen to dance music and watch some of my dance DVDs from prior Blackpool competitions. I find it inspiring to surround myself with art.
  
Any advice for new writers just starting out?
 I think it’s important to read as much as you can, especially in your genre. You learn how to write well primarily through reading. I also think it’s important to join writers’ organizations, participate in critique groups and take writing workshops. Those will help you to improve your craft and will give you a social outlet. It can get lonely being a writer! 

Tell us about Fever. Love the covers, by the way.
 My latest release is a three-book contemporary / new adult romance series set in the world of ballroom dancing. It’s called Fever: A Ballroom Romance (books One, Two and Three).*** 
***If you hit the links you can go Amazon and read excerpts.
 The heroine is Rory, whose childhood dreams of becoming a ballet dancer were dashed by her father’s death and her developing anorexia. She became a lawyer but, now at the start of her law career, she finds herself unfulfilled and uncomfortable in her skin. Then she meets Russian ballroom dancer Sasha, who immediately reignites her passions for dance, and for life. He recognizes her talents and falls hard for her. He desperately wants to become world champion and knows he can do it with her. But he’s got to convince her to leave everything she’s worked for in her adult life to train full-time with him. They both have a lot past demons to overcome and issues to work through, in addition to jealous, vengeful competitors who threaten to sabotage them, in order for their partnership – both on and off the dance floor – to survive. 

What’s your current WIP?
 I’m writing another book in the Fever series. The first three are from Rory’s perspective. This one will be from Sasha’s. Although it’s part of the series, it can be read as a standalone. I’m also working on the next couple’s story in the overall Infectious Rhythm series (of which Fever is the first). It will involve characters readers will have already met from the Fever books. 

And finally, where can we find  you?
 You can find me on my website, where I write short blog entries: http://www.tonyaplank.com/
And on my Amazon Author Page 

Thank you for being here, Tonya. I wish you many, many sales!

Love dance? You can download a free copy of Book One in the Fever series HERE Happy reading, dear ones.