Spotlight on: Lie Catchers by Rolynn Anderson

Happy New Year! Yes, I know it’s the 6th. I have no defense. LOL School was supposed to go back today, but the cold and snow has the rock star home for one more day. As if I wasn’t behind enough already!

Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions? I did. Among them to blog more, keep in touch with my readers, and ‘get out’ more even if only on the Internet. (You know writers can be kind of reclusive. After all, we have a bunch of people who talk to us constantly. Even if it is only in our own heads!)

In honor of my new resolutions, I invited my talented friend and fellow author Rolynn Anderson to join us today and tell us about her latest release, Lie Catcher. Be sure to stay tuned…there’s a blurb at the end. And you don’t want to miss this!

SUSPENSE NOVELS SPIKED WITH HUMOR

Amy Lillard is my hostess today, a writer whose signature line says: Live a little; Laugh a Lot; Love for a Lifetime. I write Suspense Spiked with Romance. Today in honor of Amy’s bent toward the light side, I’ll talk about the place for fun and funny in suspense novels.

Real people laugh, even in tense moments. Sometimes they giggle out of nervousness or guffaw at an irony raised by the situation. Amusing sarcastic comments and puns bubble out of our characters at the most unusual times. They’ll smile or laugh at each other during the roughest of circumstances. And the reader is relieved and smiles, too, happy about the brief let-up of tension, entranced by characters who react authentically to events brimming with suspense.

Remember the tumble-in-the-sheets scene with Ellen Barkin and Dennis Quaid in the movie “The Big Easy”? She’s a by-the-book investigator and Quaid is a cop well on his way to the dark side and surrounded by cops more dirty than he is. In a plot thick with suspense, their attraction to one another matches in intensity. The director chooses their first sex scene to be the most awkward, embarrassing and hilarious encounter I’ve ever witnessed. Not only is the event a relief of tension, but it shows the human side of both characters and a glimpse of the potential redemption of the Quaid character. This is funny, with a purpose.

Vonnie Davis, who writes light suspense, has a special skill at crafting characters who fumble in her Red Hand suspense series. Even Niko, the conscientious investigator in MONA LISA’S ROOM (http://amzn.com/1612172962), makes the reader chuckle when he bumps up against Aly, an American woman with disarming skills and foibles. Together, Niko and Aly stutter-step their way to solving crimes and finding love.
My newest release, LIE CATCHERS is darker than Davis’s Red Hand series, but, like Davis, I try to show my hero and heroine as real people. The recession has bumped my hero down from a Treasury office job to a gumshoe; she’s struggling to save a family business as well as find a niche in a hometown she once rejected. They both fumble at their tasks and make mistakes, enough to have us smiling and cheering them on to do better next time.
So thank you, Amy for the chance to talk about the light side of suspense. Clearly both of us relish the opportunity to laugh! Here’s more detail about my new release, LIE CATCHERS, Suspense spiked with romance and a sense of humor.

BLURB

LieCatchers_w7909_300Two unsolved murders will tear apart an Alaska fishing town unless a writer and a government agent reveal their secret obsessions.

Treasury agent Parker Browne is working undercover in Petersburg, Alaska to investigate a money scam and a murder. His prime suspect, Liv Hanson, is a freelance writer struggling to save her family’s business. Free spirited, full of life, and with a talent for catching liars, she fascinates Parker.

Trying to prove she’s a legitimate writer who cares about Petersburg’s issues, Liv pens a series of newspaper articles about an old, unsolved murder. When her cold case ties in with Parker’s investigation, bullets start to fly.

Parker understands money trails, and Liv knows the town residents. But he gave up on love two years ago, and she trusts no one, especially with her carefully guarded secret. If they mesh their skills to find the killers, will they survive the fallout?

http://amzn.com/B00HJDS1LG (Amazon Kindle)

http://rolynnanderson.com/ (Website)

What a fabulous cover! Thanks for stopping in today, Rolynn, and sharing your new book with us!

What do you say, readers? How important is humor in the books you read?

Laura Kaye~part deux

Yep–once was not enough. Had to have Laura back to see if her new release is as hot as her first. (just for the record, I think it’s hotter!)

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just read the excerpt from Forever Freed and see for yourself.

BLURB:

My heart may not beat, but that doesn’t mean it’s not broken.

After an isolated century mourning the murder of my long-ago family, I crave the irresistible scents of joy and love that radiate from my new neighbors, a single mother and her young daughter. I’m starved for their blood, and for the healing respite from my ancient grief that will accompany drinking down their life-giving emotions. Now to lure them in.

But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation—talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man in me. They lure me in.

Aw, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can…

EXCERPT:

I stepped out of the shower and dried off, then flushed the toilet for the show of it. When soft knocks landed on the bathroom door, I secured the towel around my waist and opened it.

Samantha leaned on the jamb, her eyes widening as they locked on my bare torso. She reached up and caught a droplet of water running from my hair down my shoulder. Then she placed her hands on my chest, and the fingers on her right hand caught another stray droplet. When she brushed my Blood Mark, I sucked in a breath. Her lips fell open as she watched a third droplet slide around the base of my neck to my chest.

She leaned forward and kissed my skin over the stray droplet and let her tongue just meet my flesh as she drank the water into her mouth. I closed my eyes at the sensation. Her drinking off me was too fucking close to the fantasy of her drinking from me, and all at once the blood turned molten in my veins.

Oblivious to the seismic activity building under my skin, she continued to kiss across my chest. I wrapped an arm around her waist, the heat of her lust searing me. I burned from the inside and the out.

Ah, Cristo. I wanted her so damn bad.

Between kisses, she taunted, “So, I was just wondering if I could get you to growl again.”

I gripped her more firmly against me, wanted her to feel exactly what she was doing to me. I ground the thick column between my legs into the soft flesh of her belly. She moaned appreciatively. Her heart thundered between our chests. And then she was successful in her quest. She bit me.

She flicked her tongue out against my nipple and sucked it into her mouth. Then her teeth closed around the taut peak in a series of playful nips. And I growled. She couldn’t know the significance of her actions—for vampires, biting was very much a part of sex. And she also couldn’t know how wild her bites made me feel.

Instinctively, I grabbed her roughly with both arms and spun her around so her back pressed against the wall next to the bathroom door. She gasped, but I distracted her with my mouth on her lips, jaw, ear, neck. I pinned her hands next to her on the wall. Her chest heaved against me. The scent of her arousal was thick and sweet in the air, making me want her worse than I already did.

She rubbed her thighs together as I ran wet open-mouthed kisses down into the V-neck of her shirt. I rolled my hips into her. She moaned. My teeth tingled, and I had just enough awareness to keep my fangs retracted. But I wanted to sink myself into her—my fangs and my sex—more than I’d wanted almost anything ever before.

“Lucien.”

My name on her lips was an incredible invitation, so filled with need and longing. “God, I want to touch you.”

Please.”

Toldja!

Don’t forget to leave us a comment or you can find Laura at (the envelope please…)

Website: http://www.LauraKayeAuthor.com

Blog: http://laurakayeauthor.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/laurakayeauthor

Twitter: @laurakayeauthor

Publisher Website: http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=800

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3703867

YouTube book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/user/LauraKayeAuthor?feature=mhum

A multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance, Laura Kaye’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong.  Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with the supernatural.  Though an avid fiction writer as a teenager, a career as a historian took her in other directions until recently.  Now that Laura’s inner muse has awakened, she’s constantly creating new story ideas!  Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Oooh…I almost forgot. Laura has these really awesome trading cards. Check ‘em out–

How kewl is that, huh?

For more information on Laura’s trading cards, see

http://laurakayeauthor.blogspot.com/p/trading-cards.html

Whew! She is one busy lady! Thanks, Laura, for coming by today and giving us a sexy, sexy glimpse into Forever Freed!

Peace and out– Amie <3

Jezebel’s Wish–AJ Nuest

One of the best things to come out of selling a book this year (aside from all the regular, expected kudos) is I’ve met some really great authors. These are wonderful women who have worked as hard as I have to get their thoughts on paper and make their publishing dreams a reality. One of these AWESOME ladies has her novel coming out today!

So I wanted to take the time to introduce you to AJ Nuest and her wonderful story. I know you’re gonna love it so much, I’ve included a buy link at the bottom of the page. <cheeky grin>

So welcome, AJ, and the best of luck in your writing career!

Jezebel’s Wish

Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past—except now she’s stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he’s completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons.

Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can’t she?

Jezebel’s Wish Excerpt:

Jezzy stopped. “I thought I was having a riding lesson.”

“You are.” He nodded toward the empty paddock. “Go in.”

“Go in?” Jezzy propped a hand on her hip. “You sure you know what you’re doing? Because it was my understanding that an actual horse is needed for a riding lesson.”

“Don’t you think it would be wise at this juncture to leave the understanding up to the professionals?”

Jezzy rolled her eyes. “You’re making this way too easy. Professionals? Please. Don’t get me started.”

“Why not? Getting you started is exactly what I’m here for.”

Jezzy’s jaw dropped. She didn’t quite know how to interpret that remark.

He held out the rope. “Now go in. And take this lead line with you.” Steely blue determination glinted in his eyes. There was no way he was going to give in.

Jezzy snatched the lead line from his hand and stormed through the gate, then turned when he closed it behind her.

He put a foot on the bottom railing and rested against the gate, facing the horizon. “Take the chair to the center of the paddock and sit down.”

“And just exactly how is that supposed to teach me to ride?”

He cocked an eyebrow. “You want out of the deal?”

Jezzy’s fist clenched tight around the lead line. What she wanted was to march back to the fence and smack his face.

AJ Nuest lives in northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the author of two contemporary romance novels.

Visit her on the web at:

http://ajbooks.blogspot.com

http://www.twitter.com/ajnuest

Email:  ajnuest@yahoo.com

Facebook: Tattered Pages

Jezebel’s Wish Buy Link:

http://tinyurl.com/446f7r3

Mary Campisi…again!

I have to admit, I so loved having Mary Campisi as my guest yesterday that I invited her back again today. (Okay, the true confession is…I loved reading her excerpt, and I wanted to see something else by her.) And that cover! Don’t forget that awesome cover. Well, she told me her other novel, Innocent Betrayal, had a cover just as beautiful. So I made her send it. And you know what…she was right!! So here it is–blurb, excerpt and cover for Innocent Betrayal. And while I’m at it, I’d like to give a shout out to the cover artist for both. Let’s hear it for Rae Monet. They say you can’t just a book by its cover, but it never hurts to have a fabulous one…just in case!

INNOCENT BETRAYAL by Mary Campisi

English noblewoman, Emily St. Simon wants nothing more than to escape the constraints of a society that demands she turn in her breeches and secure a husband. She cares nothing about men or love until she encounters daring sea captain, Noah Sandleton, a man who steals her heart and her innocence with searing kisses and bold touches.

Noah Sandleton sails the sea avoiding anything that resembles commitment – until he meets the golden-haired temptress with a will to match his own. One night of passion binds them together but a debt of honor forces Noah to abandon his bride. When he discovers Emily is caught in a dangerous game of intrigue, Noah devises a secret plan to return to her side where he will risk his life to protect her and earn the chance to rekindle the greatest love either has ever known.

Excerpt from INNOCENT BETRAYAL by Mary Campisi

“I was thinking of a bath myself,” Noah said, turning toward her, his expression unreadable. “Would you mind?”

The thought of him naked made her hot and cold all at once. When she could find her voice, she stammered, “Why no,” with as much matter-of-factness as she could muster. If he could appear so nonchalant about his nakedness, then why couldn’t she? The truth smacked against her bravado; she’d never, in her entire life, seen a man naked. The very idea was petrifying – and intriguing. “I wish I’d known,” she mumbled, grabbing for something to say, “I wouldn’t have put the lilac water in the tub.”

He smiled tightly. “Consider it just one more step in our ruse.”

She looked at him blankly. “I don’t understand.”

“Don’t you? When my men smell your scent on me they’ll have no doubt that we’re lovers. That’s our plan, isn’t it?” he asked, his voice soft as silk. “Pretend to be lovers?” Without waiting for her response, he turned and began unbuttoning his shirt.

Emily hesitated a moment, unable to look away as he pulled off his shirt to reveal a darkly tanned, well muscled back. When he bent to remove his boots, his tightly clad breeches stretched to expose the finely carved muscles of his thighs and buttocks, leaving Emily a vision of what his unclothed body would look like.

She swallowed. He bent his head as he worked the buttons on his breeches. The breath stuck in her lungs as his strong hands worked the fabric over his slim hips. He stopped and jerked his head around, his dark eyes boring into her.

“Unless you’d like to help, you’d better turn around now,” he said gruffly.

Emily gasped and buried her head in the pillow, but no matter how deep she burrowed, she couldn’t block out the rich sound of Noah’s laughter or the sight of his perfect body.

Now where was that Buy button again? Oh yeah…

www.thewildrosepress.com

Thanks coming by again today, Mary. I can’t wait to read the rest of A Taste of Seduction and Innocent Betrayal! They are both amazing!

My guest today…Mary Campisi

I have to admit that being a part of the Valentine’s Day Blog Tour was more fun than I could have imagined. So… when my fellow romance author Mary Campisi asked to come onto my blog today, I jumped at the chance. And when I saw the title of her blog, I was so glad I did.

So here she is…Mary Campisi who writes about love, hope, and second chances.

First Drafts and Fish Tacos

Over the next several weeks, I’m doing quite a few guest blogs where I’ll talk about my new release, A TASTE OF SEDUCTION, tell you how I came up with the idea, (on a hospital bed), and fell in love with my hero, (Oh, Anthony!) So, I decided this blog will be about something quite different, something kind of laid back and fun. I came up with the “First Drafts and Fish Tacos” title the other day and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that first drafts are a lot like an untried recipe…which for me was fish tacos. I’d never made them before but when I received an online recipe from my local grocery store, I decided to give them a try. I printed the recipe and planned to make them Monday but an urgent dry eye issue sent me to the ophthalmologist and two hours of waiting. No fish tacos that night. I proceeded to plan B; tacos for Tuesday. Catchy little ring, isn’t it? Not intended, I assure you.

I must confess, I have a very bad habit of not measuring exactly, substituting at will and maybe a tad bit too liberally. Oh, and not reading the recipe in its entirety before I dive into it. In writing terms, that might be called panstering because I’m making it up as I go along instead of following a well laid plan, step by step. Case in point; the recipe called for mahi-mahi, swordfish or cod. I had none but I figured the white fish in the freezer that started with a B and reminded me of the word ‘baracuda’ would be fine. I did have the plotting foresight to remove it from the freezer in plenty of time to defrost. I spent the rest of the day at my computer, writing away in utter oblivion. At 4:30, I realized I better get moving because I still had to shower and get those fish tacos going before my husband got home. I’ll share a secret – if I’m showered and dinner is at least started, he has no idea I’ve once again been sucked into my writing world and lost track of time. Therefore, the shower wasn’t optional. I scanned the recipe and darn if I wasn’t supposed to chill the fish in a lime juice concoction for 30 minutes. Panster time again; olive oil for vegetable oil, chili powder for ancho chili powder. What the heck is ancho chili powder anyway? I did have a lime or I would’ve substituted a lemonJ I mixed up the ingredients, plunked the fish in it and stuck it in the fridge.

Next came the quick shower and minimal makeup – I mean, I can’t wear my contacts anyway and between the steroid drops and the ointment what’s the use? Besides, I was really running late now. I finished up, complete with my 5 minutes hair styling and 30 minutes later, I’m dicing onion, tomatoes, and red cabbage for toppings. I also decided we needed black beans and rice- to round out the meal- and a few shrimp thrown into the mix might be good too. I had it all underway and was feeling pretty good about it, when my husband got home. I didn’t admit that I’d just winged most of the meal because then his very logical brain would say maybe I should have followed the recipe….I loaded his taco, the hard shell kind, and waited for his response. He called it good – pause- but bland. Dang! I pulled out Frank’s Hot Sauce. Better. I tried mine- darn but the man was right! I confessed to my panstering the recipe. Honestly, most of the time I can get away with it but not this time. My very honest husband said maybe next time we should try it with chicken and hot sauceJ Okay, that would not be fish tacos.

The point of this convoluted story is that first drafts are like that – messy, inconclusive, bland, and unfocused. But you would never know that if you didn’t try them just like I now know I will not use this recipe again until I discover what ancho chili powder really means. First drafts are just that, and even with all the proper ingredients, like total plotting and writing know-how, and great characters, you might still get a bland result which will then require a bit of Frank’s Hot Sauce, or in simple terms, spice and rewrites . . .aka a chicken taco.

A TASTE OF SEDUCTION, my Regency historical romance with The Wild Rose Press has lots of spice, rewrites, and characters that stayed with me on surgery day, right until the anesthesia kicked in . . .

www.marycampisi.com or contact me at mary@marycampisi.com

blurb for A TASTE OF SEDUCTION:

A young woman of noble blood, raised as a peasant girl

An orphaned stable boy, now grown and the surrogate son of a powerful earl – the same earl who just so happens to be the young woman’s father . . .

Meriel and Anthony have nothing in common – she runs barefoot and talks to animals, he won’t loosen his cravat unless the bedroom door is firmly closed. Meriel believes in love, hope, and happily ever after. Anthony believes in keeping a safe distance from anything resembling an emotion. They have nothing in common but an undeniable, burning desire for one another they can’t ignore or understand, and an ailing ‘father’ who will do anything to see them together. Unfortunately, there are others, who will stop at nothing, willing even to kill, to keep them apart.

Buy Now

A Taste of Seduction…

“Thank you, Anthony,” she said, a small smile lighting her face. “You’re very kind.” She leaned over and planted a chaste kiss on his cheek.

Kind? He wondered if she would still think him kind if he told her that right now all he could think about was tasting her lips, touching her breasts, feeling her bare skin. Kind? Hardly.

He cleared his throat and met her gaze. He had to set her straight before she started imagining all sorts of other crazy things about him. “Kind? That’s not a term that’s usually associated with me.”

She laughed, a tinkling sound that ran through his body like fire. “That’s because you want everyone to think you are some sort of cruel beast. You even had me fooled for a while.” Her voice dipped to a low purr. “But you aren’t a beast, Anthony, not at all. No beast would eat my bread just so he wouldn’t hurt my feelings.”

He frowned, hoping his scar stuck out white and ugly. “You should be afraid of me.” Men twice her size couldn’t look him in the eye.

“How can I be afraid of you when you’ve got butter on the side of your mouth?” She reached out to brush it away with her forefinger. “And all over your lips,” she murmured, tracing her finger over first his upper and then his lower lip.

Anthony caught her hand. She was playing a dangerous game and she didn’t even know it. He opened his mouth and flicked his tongue along the tip of her finger. He heard the small catch in her throat. His tongue traced another finger, and then another. Sweet Jesus, but he wanted her.

“Come to me, Meriel,” he whispered, planting a kiss on the inside of her palm. “Let me taste you.”

What a great story…what a beautiful excerpt. I love your cover and wish you tons of success with your release.

Thanks again for sharing your post with us today. Come back anytime!

My Guest today–AJ Nuest

Well, this is it–the final stop on our Valentine’s Day Blog Tour. And what a great time it’s been. I for one have learned a lot and made some great new friends.

Today my guest is the talented AJ Nuest who’ll be telling us all her secrets for developing unique chacaters (well, maybe not all her secrets <g>).

But first, a little about AJ…

Author AJ Nuest lives in a small farming community in Northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the author of two contemporary romance novels.

Contact Information:

Website:  www.ajnuest.com

Blog:  www.ajbooks.blogspot.com

Email:  ajnuest@yahoo.com

Jezebel’s Wish

Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past—except now she’s stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he’s completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons.

Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can’t she?

 

Jezebel’s Wish Excerpt:

Jezzy stopped. “I thought I was having a riding lesson.”

“You are.” He nodded toward the empty paddock. “Go in.”

“Go in?” Jezzy propped a hand on her hip. “You sure you know what you’re doing? Because it was my understanding that an actual horse is needed for a riding lesson.”

“Don’t you think it would be wise at this juncture to leave the understanding up to the professionals?”

Jezzy rolled her eyes. “You’re making this way too easy. Professionals? Please. Don’t get me started.”

“Why not? Getting you started is exactly what I’m here for.”

Jezzy’s jaw dropped. She didn’t quite know how to interpret that remark.

He held out the rope. “Now go in. And take this lead line with you.” Steely blue determination glinted in his eyes. There was no way he was going to give in.

Jezzy snatched the lead line from his hand and stormed through the gate, then turned when he closed it behind her.

He put a foot on the bottom railing and rested against the gate, facing the horizon. “Take the chair to the center of the paddock and sit down.”

“And just exactly how is that supposed to teach me to ride?”

He cocked an eyebrow. “You want out of the deal?”

Jezzy’s fist clenched tight around the lead line. What she wanted was to march back to the fence and smack his face.

Now put your cyber hands together for the lady herself!

Developing Unique Characters

All authors need to face one very harsh fact: If you can’t develop unique characters, you will quickly be shut out of the game. And to make matters even worse, your characters must not only differ between each manuscript of your own devising, they must also stand out from other novels already in print.

I’ve learned a few things about developing unique characters over the past three years. I’ve read many an aspiring writer’s story, trying to assist them in rounding out the players. Without fail, my advice always comes down to two words: Delve Deep.

I don’t speak for all genres, but if you hope to craft a good (or great) romance story, you must absolutely be prepared to explore the emotional aspect of your characters. Delving deep into what makes them tick will define who they are, and make them stand out from pre-existing characters in all the other books out there (including your own).

Numerous times I’ve critiqued stories where the hero and heroine can’t get together for whatever reason. Some misunderstanding is harbored between them, or someone is keeping a secret, or they take an immediate dislike to each other–whatever reason the author chooses to create tension between the two key players is usually laid out fairly well. However, I can’t tell you the times I’ve been happily reading along, and suddenly the hero or heroine takes some action completely contrary to their character development. In one sentence, the entire story structure crumbles.

Although I completely understand the author is trying to create some sexual tension in these scenes, or maybe holding back some critical piece of information for the big reveal. Whatever the case, unless the motivation behind each character’s behavior is clearly defined, this misdirection just leaves the reader confused. You cannot have your heroine overjoyed to be in the same room with your hero, and then consequently have her slap his face…unless her motivation is crystal clear. She’ll just come off like a psycho.

This leads me to my next salient point. Stephen King once said, “All bad writing comes down to one thing, FEAR.” Bravo! Hear, hear and can I get an Amen! I do not touch upon this topic lightly. Many times I’ve been afraid to broach an angle within my manuscripts for fear of what my readers might think. (Trust me. I live in a small town…and have to look many of my readers in the face. “Holy crap, AJ’s gone off the deep end. Did you read that?”) If you, like me, have struggled with introducing a touchy subject into your storylines, and FEAR of what others might think has stayed your hand, my advice is this: GET OVER IT!

The hard truth is we live in an imperfect world. To create characters that never have an immoral thought or do the wrong thing will make them seem too perfect. And this includes your heroes! In fact, giving your characters flaws will only make them appear MORE real, and in turn they will appeal to the reader, because the reader will be able to connect with them on an emotional level.

My favorite comment from a critique partner is, “Wow, have I ever been there.”

AHA! Even though the emotion my hero or heroine may be experiencing is far from saintly, because I’ve clearly explained the motivation behind these emotions, I’ve built a bridge to the reader’s heart. THAT is where a great romance story dwells.

Become your characters. Get up from the laptop and walk around a bit. Put yourself in their shoes, taking into consideration all the little pieces you’ve put into place, and then decide which reaction is most appropriate. Delve deep, and above all DO NOT BE AFRAID.  In the end your characters will be unique, genuine, and most importantly, real.

Thanks, AJ, that’s valuable advice. FEAR is the exact reason the keyboard has a backspace (well, that and sometimes I get to typing and forget where I put my fingers.<g>).

This is the last chance to win a weekly prize and/or get your name in the drawing for the grand prize,. So don’t forget to leave us a comment.

And take some time to check out what the rest of the talented ladies on our blog tour have to say about how they develop unique characters.

I’m with Caroline Clemmons this week at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com

Then continue on and

Meet author Lynne Roberts at http://authorjenniferjakes.blogspot.com/

Meet paranormal romance author Maeve Greyson at http://www.ajbooks.blogspot.com/

Meet author Amy Corwin at http://lynneroberts.blogspot.com/

Meet contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James at http://maevegreyson.blogspot.com/

Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan at http://amycorwin.blogspot.com

Meet contemporary YA an adult romance author Linda Kage at www.jilljameswrites.com

Meet paranormal, and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons at http://www.katduncan.net/writeabout

Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle at http://lindakage.blogspot.com/

Meet erotic western historical author Jennifer Jakes at www.lillygayleromance.blogspot.com

Good luck and happy reading! AL

AMY CORWIN on Meeting Her Significant Other…

Yay! Third week in the blog tour, and I’m happy to welcome Amy Crowin to the blog today. Amy’s going to  tell us about meeting her one true love! Take it away, Amy!

Finding the Love of Your Life 

If you want to find the love of your life, give up now. Stop looking. You’ll find love when you’re not searching for it and least expect it.

It sounds weird, but it’s true in life and fiction. Pick up a romance and you’ll generally fine a heroine who considers herself out of the dating game for myriad reasons. Take my Regency romantic mystery, The Bricklayer’s Helper. Sam, aka Sarah, is masquerading as a young man. She has no expectations of finding the love of her life and when she meets William, she’s only hoping he’ll help her stay alive after witnessing a ruthless murder.

Charlotte in I Bid One American not only doesn’t want to marry, but views the entire idea as ludicrous. And yet, once she meets Nathaniel, he’s as hard to resist as fate.

Even in my “real life” it took my decision to just give up and move on with my life as a single woman to throw me into the path of my husband. Or maybe it was the decision to follow my passion, bird watching, that did it. But one thing is true, meeting him was as unexpected as any confluence of events in any of my romance novels. I was living my own life and trying to spot a few more birds for my life list when I meet a man doing exactly the same thing. Oddly, he’d pretty much given up the idea of getting married, too, and was pursuing his passion of…bird watching.

Weird.

So the next time you’re complaining that all the dateable men are married and there’s no hope for you, just give up. And follow your mother’s or friend’s advice to pursue your own interests. You never know where they may lead you.

I guess it’s true (and just like my granny always said), we don’t find love…love finds us!

And here’s a little more about Amy’s books…


What would you do if you were a young girl, orphaned during the early years of the 19th century?
Without a family and references, you’d find pitifully few jobs for women, leaving you to face a desperate life of thievery or  prostitution.

Sarah faces this terrible situation in The Bricklayer’s Helper.

When work takes her to London, a man from her past recognizes her and arranges a meeting, only to be murdered before they can speak. Desperate that she may be vulnerable, Sarah hires an inquiry agent from the Second Sons Inquiry Agency.

Unfortunately, her decision may prove dangerous to their heart…if not downright fatal.

* * *

In this scene, Sarah—disguised as Sam Sanderson—meets inquiry agent, William Trenchard, for the first time.

Excerpt from The Bricklayer’s Helper

“Sir,” Sotheby asked from the doorway. “There is a person here.”

William turned his head but didn’t bother uncrossing his ankles. There was a tone in Sotheby’s voice that made William’s chest spasm with a suppressed laugh. “What sort of person?”

“A—a common laborer, sir.”

“Really?” William sat up, removing his feet from the desk. “Well, show him in.”

A laborer? What on earth would a common laborer want with an inquiry agent? He stared at the door which Sotheby held open. The butler’s nostrils pinched as if he smelled a disagreeable odor.

To William’s surprise, a slender man walked in. Small puffs of reddish dust delicately swirled in his wake. The young man examined him while William half-stood, leaning over his desk with a hand outstretched. Finally, the lad clasped him with a firm handshake, his fingers hard with calluses.

“I’m Mr. Trenchard. And you are?” William asked.

“Samuel Sanderson, sir.”

A pair of clear grey eyes met his. Steady, honest eyes fringed with ridiculously long lashes that gave him a faintly feminine look. William sat back in his chair and motioned to his visitor to take the seat opposite the desk.

The man was indeed a laborer. His smudged and torn linen smock had large red patches of brick dust. Grit obscured his face and hands. His short, brown hair had long streaks of blond, bleached from constant exposure to the sun, no doubt. Large, intelligent eyes dominated his face.  He stared at William directly, measuring him even as he weighed his odd client.

Firm mouth, square chin, and a short, straight nose. William instinctively warmed to the lad, feeling a sudden and surprising rush of warmth. He looked like someone’s younger brother, in trouble and manfully resolved to admit it. Although his clean features appeared very young, no more than eighteen, there was something in his gaze that made William think his client was older. Still, Sanderson’s narrow shoulders and slight build spoke of hardship and near starvation, as did the hollows under his stark cheekbones.

Something caught suddenly in William’s chest in a ripping pang of sympathy.

“So, Mr. Sanderson, what can I do for you?”

Sanderson nodded sharply and fumbled under his smock for a moment before pulling out a worn leather purse. “Money’s always first. There is nearly a guinea here. I don’t carry more, but I can pay you an additional sum when the work is completed. Within reason.”

William stared at him, trying not to appear surprised. A guinea? Mr. Sanderson obviously had no idea how much Second Sons normally charged their illustrious—and generally noble—clients. Still, business had been slow. And he had a desire to prove to Mr. Gaunt that he wasn’t just another bored boudoir bantam who thought working as an inquiry agent might be amusing.

And William was curious.

“And what would be reasonable?” William asked.

“Five pounds. No more. That ought to be enough,” Mr. Sanderson said, his chin rising slightly.

“Enough for what?”

“There was a man murdered this morning.” Mr. Sanderson scrabbled about his person again before he pulled out a scrap of paper. He threw it into the middle of the desk.

William picked up the note and read it over twice before raising his brows. “Did you kill him?”

“Certainly not. I was to meet him this morning. He was murdered before I could.”

“Then why come to me?”

Mr. Sanderson’s remarkable eyes stared back. William thought he saw a flicker of disappointment and then fear, quickly submerged into their clear depths. “I want to know what he knew.”

Very intriguing!

Check out The Bricklayer’s Daughter and even more of Amy Corwin’s releases at thewildrosepress.com

Here’s how to find Amy when she’s not hanging out with me–

http://www.amycorwin.com
http://amycorwin.blogspot.com
http://twitter.com/amycorwin
http://www.facebook.com/AmyCorwinAuthor

And don’t forget to leave us a comment! There are still many great prizes up for grabs! AL

Jill James on creative ideas…

And here she is, contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James–

Where creative ideas come from.

As Stephen King has been known to say, we pluck them from the ether. It’s magic.

Of course, it isn’t magic. Everyone gets ideas; writers just do something with them. Everyone plays ‘what if’.

What if Suzy Homemaker across the street is a soccer mom by day and CIA assassin at night? She tucks the kiddies into bed with a babysitter and jets off to Istanbul to take out a third-world dictator there for an arms deal.

What if the CIA decides she and her kids are a liability with the picket fence, Fluffy the cat, and Spot the dog? What if they send hired killers to take out Suzy, the kids, and the pets?

What if she grabs the kids goes on the run to Little Town, USA and hides out? But, Hunk the Sheriff can tell there is something different about Suzy and her giant weapons stash.

Wait! I have to go write this down.

Just like that stories are born. Writers play ‘what if’ a lot. We do it alone, with critique partners, with a group of writer friends. One idea can spill over into a dozen more. One idea can fuel a different story for every member there doing brainstorming.

Reading the newspaper can spark an idea for a story. My local news had the story of J.C. Dugard and her 18-year kidnapping ordeal. How did she stay hidden for so long? How well do we know our neighbors? Suddenly an idea like Suzy the assassin doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all.

In Tempting Adam, I wanted a femme fatale heroine. She is a corporate raider who makes no excuses for what she does. She goes on the inside of companies and pulls them apart, looking for weaknesses to exploit, to take down the CEO, and make the company ripe for the picking. I couldn’t change who she was and have the same story. I had to change how she saw what she was doing from the inside out. She had to grow a conscience.

Tempting Adam started with just a little idea to have a businessman in over his head in the Hollywood movie studio system and a corporate raider determined to take him and his company down. I knew I wanted Adam to be a good man. And for Yvette to try to destroy him, only to discover what she truly wants in the end.

Ideas come from nowhere and everywhere. The magic is snatching them up when they do come and doing something with that little germ of an idea. Making a story and characters come to life. Writer’s magic.

TEMPTING ADAM by Jill James

They both want the same thing – St. Eden Studios.

Corporate raider Yvette Giardino intends to bring St. Eden Studios to its knees. It’s a job. One her grandmother’s health depends on. That Adam St. Eden will suffer isn’t personal. Until he awakens her sympathy and stirs her body in ways she can’t explain.

Adam wants one thing and one thing only – to protect the dream his grandfather began. But when the board demands he work with stunning Yvette, a woman he’d mistakenly indulged with in a little after-hours play, his world turns upside down. Missed meetings, unhappy clients, and nights of intense pleasure – he can blame one person.  Yvette.

With his corporation crumbling around him, can Adam rise above the fallout and see his sexy temptress for what she really is – a victim of manipulation and a woman who desperately needs his love?

Jill has loved to write since she first began putting on puppet shows in her garage for a nickel a person.  Her first love  was poetry until she picked up her first romance novel, Lily of the Valley, after that it was all romance.  She writes  contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance.  She is a member of RWA since 2004 and a  member of the From the Heart chapter, Black Diamond chapter, Kiss of Death chapter, and ESPAN chapter.  She has  been writing romance for a few years with a few poetry contest wins and a published short story, Lunch Break. She  lives in Northern California with her husband, the inspiration for all her heroes.

A little peek at Tempting Adam…


Yvette pulled herself together with a jolt.

 

It’s a job. It’s a job.

 

She repeated the mantra in her head in an endless loop, gazing into deep, blue eyes. This close, she noticed the subtle lines near his eyes from his outdoor living. If he had grown up in Hollywood, he would have had a facelift or two by now, instead of the natural look he pulled off quite well.

Adam helped her rise, his warm hand cupping her elbow. A tingle shot from her arm, to her chest, and to regions much farther south. A sexual moan almost escaped her lips. Yvette shook her head to clear the mental images of her and him and the hotel room. It didn’t help. Memories of that night still had the power to stir her senses. They hit Yvette in a place she didn’t think existed—her emotions.

His eyes darkened to indigo, and he leaned nearer. His fresh, evergreen scent enveloped her. Her head swam, and she tilted on the heels of her shoes. She berated herself for her juvenile behavior, unable to believe the She-shark of business might have met her match. At least in the sexual arena.

Adam wrapped an arm around her shoulders, led her to the bench outside the door, and sat beside her. “I hope you’re doing okay. I would’ve found you a seat inside, but they were getting back to work. I didn’t want anything else to delay the work schedule.”

Disbelief flooded Yvette while she replayed what had just happened. She needed to get a grip on herself and this job. Adam was nice enough overall, and was great—make that fantastic—in bed.

However, he was no ruthless businessman and knew next to nothing about Hollywood. He wasn’t the first CEO she’d taken down, and he wouldn’t be the last.

It wasn’t personal.

Tempting Adam will be available in just a few days! Watch for it February 16, 2011 from The Wild Rose Press

Jill’s Links

Website: http://www.jilljameswrites.com

Blog: http://www.jilljameswrites.com/blog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jill-James-author/172814579396783

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jill_james

Group Blog: http://www.trulymadlydeeplyromanceauthors.blogspot.com

Thanks, Jill!

All right all you sassy readers…don’t forget to leave a comment. There are still prizes to be won and other blogs to see.

I’m with Amy Corwin this week talking about all my “what ifs.”  http://amycorwin.blogspot.com/

And don’t forget to visit the rest of our Valentine’s Day Blog Tour

Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan at http://authorjenniferjakes.blogspot.com/

Meet contemporary YA and adult romance author Linda Kage at http://www.ajbooks.blogspot.com/

Meet paranormal and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons at http://lynneroberts.blogspot.com/

Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle at http://maevegreyson.blogspot.com/

Meet erotic western historical author Jennifer Jakes at www.jilljameswrites.com

Meet author AJ Nuest at http://www.katduncan.net/writeabout

Meet author Lynne Roberts at http://lindakage.blogspot.com/

Meet paranormal romance author Maeve Greyson at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com

Meet author Amy Corwin at www.lillygayleromance.blogspot.com

You can leave a comment on each site for more chances to win!  Thanks for coming by today! <3

Linda Kage on First Lines

And here she is… author of young adult romance and adult contemporary romance, Linda Kage!
Yes, I’m guilty of it.
After I buy a new batch of books, I bypass the back blurb and head straight to the first page.  I scan the beginning lines to each story and whichever one snags my attention the most is the book I place at the top of my TBR pile—unless I can’t put it down at all, in which case I commence to reading at once.
Writing an opening first line is like writing an awesome query letter.  It helps you move through the reader’s slush pile to get your book placed at that top of their interests.  Might not make the entire story better, but it can certainly grab enough attention to get your story noticed sooner…and actually read.
The bottom half of books on my TBR pile usually gets put back on the shelf and forgotten, sometimes never read at all.  So if you want to write a book people will actually read, remember how important that opening line can be—the entire opening scene actually—and make sure it’s intriguing enough to hook your audience’s attention.
Here are a couple FAMOUS first lines:
–Call me Ishmael.
(from MOBY DICK by Herman Melville)
—In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(from THE HOLY BIBLE)
—It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
(from 1984 by George Orwell)
—It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
(from a TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens)
—There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
(from THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER by C. S. Lewis)
—They shoot the white girl first.
(from PARADISE by Toni Morrison)
Here are a couple of my FAVORITE first lines.
—Jumping to your death was a crappy way to spend St. Patrick’s Day
(from HIGH NOON by Nora Roberts)
—Her chances of a decent marriage were about to be dashed—and all because of a ferret.
(from TEMPT ME AT TWILIGHT by Lisa Kleypas)
—“Honey, you need to get laid.”
(from FANTASY LOVER by Sherrilyn Kenyon)
And last but certainly not least, here’s my attempt at a catchy first line, coming straight from my next book, A MAN FOR MIA, releasing in April 2011.
—He’d never tried to stop anyone from committing murder before.
(from A MAN FOR MIA by Linda Kage)
So…which story do you want to begin now?

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now I live in Kansas with my husband, daughter, and our nine cuckoo clocks. My life's been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing's always been a major part my world, and I'm so happy to finally share some of my stories with other romance lovers. I'm a member of Romance Writers of America and a local chapter, Midwest Romance Writers, who meets monthly in the  Kansas City area. I’ve been through a writing correspondence class in children’s literature from The Institute of Children's Literarture, and then I continued my writing lessons by majoring in English with an emphasis in  creative fiction writing from Pittsburg State University. My The Wild Rose Press Books: --The Stillburrow Crush - Young Adult Romance - released February 26, 2010  buy link http://www.thewildrosepress.com/the-stillburrow-crush-p-3892.html?zenid=eb173d435ff79db3f83ce5bbd6afa07a  --The Trouble with Tomboys - Contemporary Adult Romance - released August 6, 2010 buy link http://www.thewildrosepress.com/the-trouble-with-tomboys-p-4158.html --Delinquent Daddy - Contemporary Adult Romance - released October 22, 2010 buy link http://www.thewildrosepress.com/delinquent-daddy-p-4274.html?zenid=d2074fdef3ea3f200ee0c3da0016a6d0  BLOGGING: Linda Kage Blog Page - weekly - http://lindakage.blogspot.com/ Romance Books "R" Us - on the 12th of every month - http://romancebooksrus.blogspot.com/ Climbing Roses of the Wild Rose Press - on the 12th of every month - http://twrpclimbingrose.blogspot.com/ The Writers Vineyard - Every Fourth Wednesday - http://thewritersvineyard.com/ Thanks, Linda for stopping by today!  Everyone remember to leave a comment so you can be entered into the drawing to win fabulous prizes. If I don't  have your email address,then I can't contact you. But it's not the end of the world. If you win, I'll announce  it on the post. You'll just have to check back and see if you're lucky. Otherwise, if you wait too long, the prize may go to the next winner. How long is too long? I dunno. I'm just doing this until my modeling career takes off!  Ta--Amie Disclaimer--I know I'm not the most techie princess out there, so if you have problems with any of the above links, let me know. I'll get with the fabulous Linda and make sure you get all the info you need to get her wonderful books! Don't miss these other great author blogs! Come see me at http://lynneroberts.blogspot.com/ Meet contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons athttp://authorjenniferjakes.blogspot.com/ Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle athttp://www.ajbooks.blogspot.com/ Meet erotic western historical author Jennifer Jakes at http://maevegreyson.blogspot.com/ Meet author AJ Nuest at http://amycorwin.blogspot.com/ Meet author Lynne Roberts at http://www.jilljameswrites.com/blog Meet paranormal romance author Maeve Greyson at http://www.katduncan.net/writeabout Meet author Amy Corwin at http://lindakage.blogspot.com/ Meet contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James athttp://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/ Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan athttp://www.lillygayleromance.blogspot.com

The Trouble with Tomboys

And the hits just keep coming…

Here’s a peek at Linda Kage’s The Trouble with Tomboys

THE TOMBOY

Pilot B.J. Gilmore is Tommy Creek, Texas’s tough tomboy who loves to fly planes and gamble and doesn’t give a whip what anyone thinks or says about her…until Grady Rawlings steps into her life.

PLUS THE WIDOWER
Heir to an oil dynasty, Grady has inner demons to battle. Ever since his wife and unborn child died two and half years ago, he’s developed a deep-seated hatred for sympathy and can’t handle anyone feeling sorry for him or treating him like some pitiful widower.

EQUALS TROUBLE IN TEXAS
Grady hires B.J,’s plane service to fly him to Houston for an overnight business trip. While there, she coaxes him into accompanying her to a late dinner, where she decides it’s time for him to move on with his life. A month later, she turns up pregnant with his baby, and neither of them is prepared for the chaos that follows.

“I heard about five minutes ago that someone had knocked up B.J. Gilmore.”That finally evoked the response he’d expected. Her face drained of color and she dropped her bag of popcorn, spilling kernels around her bare feet.
“Who told you that?”
Grady folded his arms and stared hard. “I overheard Gabe Watson telling Ulrick Pullson about it at Herb’s Quick Stop. Both of them already knew.”
“Who?” she demanded, and then she shook her head furiously. “I…I just wasn’t sure how to say it,” she answered quietly. “I mean, was there any way to break it to you easily?”
Grady opened his mouth, but B.J. hurried to add, “One thing was sure, I definitely wasn’t going to tell anyone else until you knew.”
She stopped suddenly as if just realizing something. Then she scowled and pressed her hands to her hips, snapping, “Wait a second. What even makes you think this is your kid?”
She’d already given it away, but his answer was a quiet, heartfelt, “Because I’m not that lucky.”
B.J. looked like she was going to cry, and he felt like a heel for saying such a thing. He wasn’t typically a rude man. But B.J. wasn’t the type to break down and bawl when her feelings were hurt either. So why did the two of them together seem to bring out the worst in each other?
God, he wanted to scrub his face with his hands and mutter, “What a disaster,” but he didn’t want to hurt her any further. She already looked like she was on the edge and might crumble any second. He sighed then and really did scrub his face with his hands.
“I guess we’ll need to get married,” he announced, sounding none too pleased.

REVIEWS:Long and Short of It Reviews (5 Books) “The Trouble with Tomboys is one of those novels that will stick with you long after you read The End. If you’re looking for an unforgettable read with memorable characters and a story that will stick with you, look no farther than The Trouble with Tomboys. Oh and Kudos to you Ms. Linda Kage, keep up the excellent work.”
Single Titles (4 Stars) “Trouble With Tomboys throws together a by the rules follower Grady, with a feisty wildcat B.J causing quite a ruckus in their wake. B.J. is not one to beat around the bush; her refreshing honesty will have her winning a place in readers hearts. Enormously entertaining and a difficult book to put down.”
Happily Ever After Reviews (4 Stars) “Linda Kage has done it again in a tale where everyone deserves a second chance even a tomboy like B.J. My heart went out for Grady and the heartache he went through in life. Now B.J. is definitely not your usual heroine for she is feisty, courageous but often times scared of life. I loved that these two are so opposite of one another yet have one thing in common they both need love. The passion they share yet deny is so strong it is hard for them to ignore. Linda definitely has a naughty mind when it comes to between them yet so clever in the way they get together. Loved it and can’t wait for more.”
THE TROUBLE WITH TOMBOYS
–Contemporary adult Romance Hot
–buy link : http://www.thewildrosepress.com/the-trouble-with-tomboys-p-4158.html
–Awards : The Trouble with Tomboys was voted BOOK OF THE WEEK at The Long and Short of It Reviews site for the week of August 30, 2010 through September 3, 2010.
–Video link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p34LALqd2uA&feature=player_embedded

And tomorrow Linda Kage herself!

Don’t forget to stop by and leave a comment. Everyone’s name will go into a drawing for great prizes at the end of the week. And don’t forget to come back each Wednesday in February for another chance to win.

And did I mention there’s a grand prize at the end of the tour…?