Monday, October 24, 2016

Sports Romance with a Difference. Meet Stacy Hoff #giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 8:22:00 PM with 3 comments
Stacy Hoff has a new book out, her first sports romance and it's sports romance with a difference. Plus Stacy is doing a giveaway of her action/adventure romance Desire in the Arctic.
Stacy, please tell us about Jockeying For You

JOCKEYING FOR YOU is my first sports romance. What’s a bit different about JOCKEYING, versus typical sports fiction books, is that my athlete is the heroine instead of the hero.
 I love this!

Also different from traditional sports romance, the sport involved is horse racing. My heroine is a jockey. Or she used to be, before she fell off a horse during an important race. Now she is a horse trainer struggling with whether to get—literally and figuratively—back in the saddle.

Jake Carter is on a mission—to prove his family wrong. He may have bought a troubled horse, but he’s hired Ryder Hannon, a “horse whisperer,” to get his horse back on track. She’s more than just
a trainer to him, she’s the woman he’s been looking for.

Ryder Hannon, a thoroughbred horse trainer, has a big problem—fighting her fear of racing again. Her emotional scars run deeper than her physical ones. But her romantic feelings towards handsome, uber-rich, stable owner Jake Carter is a bigger problem.  Is Jake truly in love with her or is he using her to get back at his smug family? 

When Jake’s jockey gets injured, he wants Ryder to race. He knows deep down she wants to live up to her family’s legacy. So why does she keep fighting him—and her destiny—so hard? 
That's a wonderful blurb. I am definitely intrigued.


Jake felt his eyebrow arch up. “Dr. Doolittle, I presume?”
A slow smile spread across her lips. 
“How far have you gotten with Handsome?”
“He’ll let me ride him now.”
Jake’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline. “My God, Ryder, you’re amazing,” he exclaimed. With a shake of his head and a hard cough he corrected himself. “I mean, your results with him are amazing.”
Ryder’s grin was now Cheshire cat sized. “Thanks for both compliments.”
Damn. She couldn’t let my mistake go.
Then it hit him. His comment was a slip, but was it really a mistake? Her beautiful face, which had been beaming with pride now had a shy aspect that was even more endearing. She bore a schoolgirl’s blush and averted her eyes from him as she busied herself petting Handsome’s nose.
If only she could stroke me the same way. Though somewhere lower down than my nose. He tensed at the thought. Focus, Jake, damn it! This is business. “Show me,” he said. 
 She blinked. “Show you what?”
“Show me Handsome Dancer can be ridden. I want you to ride him for me.”
“Now? He’s already had his exercise for today. I don’t want to tire him out.”
Handsome’s head batted her shoulder with a determination that was comical.
“You know,” Jake quipped, “if he actually understands you then you really are Dr. Doolittle.”
“I’m sure he just wanted me to give him an apple.” She wiped a stray blond bang from her hot forehead and looked the horse in one of his eyes. “What are you saying, babycakes? That you want to go on a short ride with me?”
Yes, yes, I do. Jake cleared his throat and gave her a tight smile. “Go ahead, you two. Impress me.”
A few minutes later, he was outside the training track, his hands casually resting on the guardrail while he waited for the show to begin.
Soon, Ryder and Handsome entered the track. He heard her cluck her tongue at the horse, and then watched her lightly kick Handsome’s rear. The horse took off around the track in a fast gallop. The horse’s flight was fluid and astoundingly fast for what was supposed to be an easy go-around. She was doing more than merely riding Handsome Dancer. She was a part of him. One cohesive whole.
Thinking the demo was about to end, he had almost turned around to head back when something caught the corner of his eye. It was a flash of color, a fast burst of brown. What the . . . ? Whipping his head around to the source, he stared open-mouthed at the sight. Handsome Dancer was bolting down a stretch of training track at a speed unheard of for a newbie horse. Or maybe any horse. In all of Jake’s experiences, he doubted he had seen a horse move that fast when not performing in an actual race.
Jockeying For You is 2.99 at Amazon Check out the first chapters. Sounds like a fun read. I do love the idea of the female jockey/trainer/heroine.

 Stacy, please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an attorney by day, a wife & mom in the evening, and a writer at night. I don’t sleep much.

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
Nowadays I read my own genre very infrequently. My mind needs to escape contemporary romance when I’m on “free time.” I usually pick up paranormals, although some historicals can sneak in. The exception to the rule: contemporary romances by Kristan Higgins. All of her books are fabulous.
 I absolutely agree. Kristan will be back on the blog in January.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
Art classes, which I go to about once a month. I love sketching and painting. 
 Oh, how I wish I could do that. So not my talent. 

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
Mope around, hysterically crying my muse has died. When I’m done with my dramatics, I sit down and start typing. Sometimes forcing creativity is the only way to go.

Got a recipe you want to share?
I wouldn’t call this a formal “recipe,” but here’s a quick-to-make pasta sauce for those who are tired of tomato:

Stacy’s garlic-olive oil pasta sauce
Pour EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive oil for the uninitiated like me) into a large pot until the bottom is lightly covered. Heat until the oil is very hot (but not burned)
Add anywhere from a teaspoon to a table spoon of chopped garlic, depending on your taste & the quantity of your pasta (fresh garlic is better, but for those who have busy schedules, jarred is fine.)
Dash in: salt, pepper & basil (either dried or fresh)
Stir everything around until the garlic pieces have browned.

The sauce is now ready. Throw cooked pasta into the pot. (Heartier pasta like ziti or farfalle is recommended.) Stir the pasta around the heated oil mix until al the noodles are evenly coated.

 Add parmesan cheese & serve.

By the way, this is a great dish to toss in your leftovers–everything from cut-up chicken pieces to veggies. (My kids love it when I toss chicken & broccoli into my EVOO garlic sauce pasta.) Sounds delicious. Must try.

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
The most important piece of advice I have is for them to stay with it. It took me years to catch on to writing commercial fiction. While I loved studying historic literary fiction as an English major in college, it did not help me understand how to produce for today’s market. I tried, and failed, many times.

My second piece of advice is for them to join a writers society (like I did) to save time and frustration.  
What genre or genres do you write?
I always write contemporary, although within contemporary I vary quite a bit. One of my books, LAWFULLY YOURS, is women’s fiction, while my “Desire” series (DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES and DESIRE IN THE ARCTIC) is action/adventure. 
What’s your current WIP?
My upcoming “Building Love” series should be a lot of fun because it’s steeped in family drama, secrets and lies. Each book is set in the construction industry. After book 1, BUILDING LOVE IN VEGAS, comes out, BUILDING LOVE IN THE CARIBBEAN will follow.

And finally, where can we find  you?
Amazon buy link for Jockeying for You 
Thank you so much for being here, Stacy. Stacy is giving away a digital ARC of Desire in the Arctic. Enter below. Happy reading

Television producer Ana Davis’s newest show is one she’s forced to star in herself. Despite being a city slicker with no wilderness experience, she’ll have to survive in the Arctic Circle for twelve days. The stakes are high. She could lose her very life. Good thing she’s been paired with expert survivalist William “Redd” Redding, a mysterious, solitary, and very sexy man. Worse than snowstorms, predators, and a scarcity of food is an even greater danger—fighting off their attraction to each other.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Christmas in Haven Point with RaeAnn Thayne. #Giveaway.

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 2 comments
Snowfall in Haven Point is the newest addition to NYT Best Seller RaeAnne Thayne's Haven point series. and I have a copy to give away. Why? I got an ARC, my friends and having enjoyed it, I am ready to share it.
I've got to tell you, this woman gives good Christmas Story.

Andie Montgomery's goal is to give her two young children a wonderful to Christmas to make up for all the sadness they've experienced in the past two years. And Haven Point is just the place to do it. This small town full of friendly folk has made her feel at home. Especially her new best friend Wyn Montgomery befriended her and Andie considers her  her savior. So when Wyn who is away at school asks Andie to look in on her brother Marshall after  he's been the victim of a hit and run accident, how can she refuse. 
After a rocky start, Marshall and Andie are reluctantly attracted to each other. But Marshall's got a secret and an enemy whose out to injure him. And Andie's determined not to give her heart to another lawman. But fate and small children and Christmas have other plans in store. 
This heartwarming holiday romance is as good as a cup of rich hot chocolate on a snowy day. Bravo, Raeanne Thayne.

It's been two rough years since Andrea Montgomery lost her husband, and all she wants is for her children to enjoy their first Christmas in Haven Point. But then Andie's friend asks a favor--to keep an eye on her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey, who's recovering from a hit and run. Andie will do anything for Wyn, even park her own misgivings to check on her grouchy, wounded bear of a brother.

Marshall hates feeling defenseless and resents the protective impulses that Andie brings out in him. But when a blizzard forces them together for the holidays, something in Marshall begins to thaw. Andie's gentle nature is a salve, and her kids' excitement for the holidays makes him forget why he never wanted a family. If only he and Andie can admit what they really want--each other--their Christmas wishes might come true after all
Interview with RaeAnne
What makes you laugh?
RaeAnne: My husband. Always. I was first attracted to his sense of humor and twenty-nine years later, he can still make me laugh, even in the most stressful of moments.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Where don’t I get inspiration? Magazine articles, talking to friends, television, museums, walking in the mountains, listening to my children play, seeing an elderly couple struggle hand in hand together through the grocery store. Life is my inspiration.

What do you do when you get writer’s block?
 Writer’s block to me usually means a scene isn’t working right. I give myself permission to do something else for an hour — read a book that moves me, listen to favorite music, take a walk or write something else — but then I force myself to sit back down and figure out where the story has gone off the rails.

 Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
I have three amazing children but I would have to say my middle son has influenced me most. He is seventeen now and was born with severe disabilities (cerebral palsy, global developmental delays). I am his primary caregiver and every decision in our lives the last seventeen years — from where we live to the car we drive to our vacation destinations — has centered around the challenges (and privileges!) of caring for him. I am a much different (better!) person than I would have been without him in our lives.

 You’ve written over 40 books. How do you continue to keep your ideas fresh?
 My problem is not coming up with fresh ideas, it is finding time to write them all! I do have consistent themes I tend to return to — family, community, learning to reach out and help others — but since the characters and the situations differ dramatically, the stories are different too. I love discovering where my characters want to take me!

You keep a busy writing schedule in addition to having three children! What do you like to do when you have some spare time? This is a rhetorical question since yousprobably can number your spare minutes using your fingers.
I love to hike and bike in the beautiful mountains near my Utah home. I love to read (mostly romance, of course) and I am a passionate beader, thanks mostly to the research I did for my Hope’s Crossing series, which started in a bead store. I also love to travel — any time, anywhere — and find it enriches my writing and my life. I would love to visit every country in Europe, though to date, I have only hit Italy, Spain and England (and Morocco in northern Africa!) so I have some work to do.

Your brand identity is that you write “Stories of Hope, Healing, Heart”. Why is this important to you?
RaeAnne: During my years working as a journalist, I felt surrounded by the inherent negativity all around as I sifted through the world’s events of the day to decide what would run in my newspaper. There is so much hatred, darkness, ugliness everywhere around us. Sometimes it seems those clamoring voices drown out everything courageous and bright and good in the world. I want to write stories that lift people, that show it is not only possible to fight through the ugliness with dignity and strength but is absolutely necessary in order to have a fulfilling, meaningful life.
You have said you find it inspiring to write about people who have faced difficult times and overcome them. What do you hope your readers take away from these kinds of storylines?

Nobody makes it through this life without experiencing heartbreak or loss. It is as inescapable as the changing of the seasons. I hope to show my readers through my characters’ struggles that even after times of what might feel like unendurable sorrow, eventually the sun always comes up again. My characters inevitably discover the world can still be a bright and beautiful place filled with hope, joy, love. Perhaps as a reader going through a tough time watches my characters soldier on through their fictional problems, it might give her a little bit of strength to struggle through another day. I have a sign in my office that says “I may not change the world, but I can change someone’s afternoon.” That’s all I really want — to make someone’s day a little brighter, their burdens feel a little easier, if only for a moment.
Well I certainly fell brighter after reading Snowfall on Haven point. Actually after reading any of your books. Thank you for the interview. Beloved readers enter below for a chance to win the paperback. US only for this one. Happy Reading

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Robyn Carr's New Book -The Life She Wants. Review and Giveaway.

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 4 comments
In my eyes, Robyn Carr  can't write a bad book. The RWA agrees that she's a romantic treasure. They proved it by awarding her the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors the Romance Writers of America bestows. This award is presented to a living author in recognition of significant contributions to the romance genre.
I am blessed because I got an ARC of this book, so I have a copy to give one lucky reader.
Robyn's newest book The Life She Wants  is a Riches to Rags story.
Emma Compton's financier husband, indicted as the author of a Bernie Madoff-type Ponzi scheme, caps his betrayal by committing suicide. The court acquits her of complicity, but Emma's left as the vindictive focus of the press and disappointed investors. Armed with a small bank balance and very few possessions, she decides to start over in the small California town she left years ago.
But her hometown doesn't want her. The only person willing to give her a job is the woman who caused her to sever ties with the town in the first place. Riley Kerrigan was her best friend until Riley got pregnant by Emma’s boyfriend Jock. The betrayal and the epic quarrel that followed scarred Emma and Riley both.
This is a story of hardship, healing, renewal and family, and, of course, true love. There are other threads and I am going to let you discover them.
In my mind, Robyn Carr can't write a bad book. She always draws me into her world. This stand- alone book is no exception. I loved every minute of it. 
 I received an ARC of The Life She Wants. That’s a lovely gift for the readers of my blog. Because I always buy Robyn’s books and they are all on my keeper shelves.
Robyn Carr is a very busy human being. She began her career as an author more than 25 years ago. “I was trained as a nurse but found it impossible to get work because my husband was constantly being transferred. At the time, I was reading a lot of genre fiction for the sheer entertainment value, and I thought to myself, ‘I can write this!’” 
And how was her first foray into the world of literature received? “It was universally panned. I thought I had written Gone with the Wind, but in actuality it was complete trash.” In fact, it was on her third try that Robyn finally succeeded in becoming a published author.
 Now that Robyn’s two children are grown—and finally out of the house—she has the luxury of a little free time. “Until my kids grew up, I didn’t realize that a person could have hobbies other than laundry,” she jokes. But it turns out not to be hobbies that keep Robyn busy when she isn’t writing— she has found her niche in community service.
 She has mentored a seniors’ memoir-writing group, attends book club chats in and out of state whenever possible and is working with her local library on the Carr Chat Series, a program centered on fund-raising and visiting-author events that bring writers, their books and the community together. “It is the people in my life that fill the well,” she says. “Especially the people who share my love for books and writing.”
Thanks for reading, my friends. Enter below to win the book. I am paying postage on this, so US only. Sorry. Happy Week to you.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Meet Christina Kirby and her Rock Star romance

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 1 comment

Christina Kirby's new book  A Face in the Crowd is a Rock star romance with a different twist. I am delighted to welcome her to the blog. Christina, tell us about yourself

Hi all! Christina Kirby here and I wanted to start by telling you a little bit about me. I attended Auburn University (War Eagle!) and got married two weeks after I graduated. I worked in banking for four and a half years before deciding to become a stay at home mom to my two sons. All the while I was working on my first romance novel at night.
My family has moved seven times in eleven years because of my husband’s job, but it has enabled me to meet all kinds of people and live in several different states, and fortunately writing is something I can take with me no matter where I live. I’m an avid reader of romance, young adult and anything having to do with pop culture. And, I believe a copy of Entertainment Weekly and a chocolate chip cookie can cure anything.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.

Also known as one of the best days of my life! All kidding aside, the real excitement started for me when I received an email request for the full manuscript. I burst into tears because let’s be honest after receiving more than a few rejection letters I was just happy someone wanted to read more of the story. You’ll be happy to know I was more composed when she came back later and offered me a contract. There were no tears, but there was a lot of dancing and several phone calls.

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
Aside from the initial contract, that’s hard to top, I’d have to say the best moment so far was reading a review for my latest release. A reader took the time to write a really long review and she loved the book so much she said she wished she could make it a bestseller. It touched her and that’s the most any of us can hope for.
How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
It happens more frequently than I’d like to admit. So much so, I wrote an entire blog post about this very thing. Check it out here:

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Never stop trying. Writing can be a frustrating undertaking. You will get turned down. You will have days where you feel like you didn’t write anything someone would want to read, but one day you will. One day you’ll get the request from an editor for a full manuscript. One day, you’ll get that stellar review and then all the work will be well worth it. Keep writing and keep learning. Your day will come.

Tell us about A Face in the Crowd

Blurb -
Alexis Hightower considers trust a four letter word, and she has no intention of getting serious with anyone. After all, her day job as a nurse is plenty serious enough. On one of her nights off, she attends a concert for her favorite band and ends up on stage. She never expected to meet the legendary singer in person or that he would be the one to make her question her way of life. But how do you learn to trust again when the one you want is desired by thousands?

Oliver Honeycutt has it all, success, fame, admirers, but when his family is faced with the unthinkable, none of it matters. Stranded in Atlanta, he meets Alexis who’s unlike any woman he’s known before. As his attraction grows, plans for the future change which leaves someone desperate to keep them apart. But Oliver won’t be easily discouraged. To have a future with Alexis he’ll do whatever it takes to make her see the man behind the image.

Buy Link:


Oliver made his way back to the mike and shouted, “Do you want some more, Atlanta?”

Lexie’s scream mixed with the other fan’s and echoed throughout the room as Oliver sang the band’s first number one. As he moved from one side of the stage to the other, Lexie danced, arms over her head, as she let go. In the chaos of the noise, the heat of the bodies moving as one, and the music, she didn’t have to think or feel. She could just be.

A hand reached out for her and Simone hit her arm, mouth open in shock. Lexie blinked once and raised her eyes to meet those of Oliver. Up close, he was even better looking than in the magazines. Her heart stopped or maybe it leaped from her chest. She wasn’t sure. As if controlled by a stranger she reached for his hand and allowed him, with the help of two security guards, to pull her up onto the stage.

With her stomach in her throat, she stood awkwardly while Oliver sang to her. This wasn’t happening. It couldn’t be. Survival never pulled people up onto the stage. At least, they never had. But, there he was, positioned behind her, with his stomach pressed to her back. The heat of his skin and hers, melded together, so hot she feared their clothes would ignite.

Her eyes found Simone’s, who peeked out from behind her cell phone where she was recording what promised to be the best moment of Lexie’s life.

She dared a glance over her shoulder and feared she would faint when Oliver offered her a grin from behind the mike. Dear God, he was hot. He pressed into her closer and placed a hand on her hip. Red, hot heat surged into her face. The move was definitely one she wouldn’t want her dad to see, but she was glad it was happening. As the song wound down, Oliver moved to stand beside her. Over his shoulder she saw his brother, Bailey, wailing on his blue Fender. The entire experience was surreal. His brother looked up and smiled, but something was wrong with his face.

She narrowed her eyes to get a better look, sure the lights were playing tricks on her. At the same time, he swiped a hand over his face and when he pulled it away, blood was smeared across his upper lip. He went back to playing, but his nose continued to bleed.

Her gaze refocused on Oliver. “Your brother,” she tried to explain over the music.

When he didn’t register what she was trying to say, she pointed.

Oliver’s head whipped around. For a brief moment, his eyes widened and then, as quickly as she’d seen it, the look was gone. Oliver finished the song and led her back to the edge of the stage where she was lowered back into the crowd. When she looked up, he met her gaze. The moment was brief, but she felt it. A moment of recognition between them. One that said he was sad it had to end. She wanted to reach for him, but she couldn’t. Instead, she stood frozen as fans around her pushed in and slapped her on the back. Oliver waved to his admirers and rushed off toward his brother.

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Christina's other books are::
The Warm Springs Trilogy: Safe at Home, Running Home, and Protecting Home
Novella – Frozen in Time – part of A Winter Romance Anthology

Thank you for being here! Christina is giving away a copy of  A Face in the Crowd. Enter below,
 Happy reading

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