Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Gotta Be Me

Giveaway Alert!

What do you want to be when you grow up? Some people know the answer to that question like its engraved on their bones. Some struggle before finding the answer. Some never find out and languish in careers that are just the means to a paycheck. 

Becca Chen, the heroine of my latest hockey romance, Across the Line, is one of the lucky ones who knew what she wanted to do, but she still struggled because her parents were adamant that she become a doctor, like the rest of her family. Cooking was not an auspicious profession.

Calder Griffin, the hero, also knew from the time he was a boy that he wanted to play professional hockey, perhaps because his dad dreamed of his sons playing for the National Hockey League and even named them after NHL trophies. But unlike Becca, Calder wanted to play hockey. He ate, breathed, and slept hockey. Lucky for him, he had the talent and the drive to make it big.

Across the Line (In the Zone book 2) 
by Kate Willoughby

Calder Griffin needs to get back in shape. Sidelined last season by a knee injury, he's determined to return to the San Diego Barracudas and play the best hockey of his career. This might even be the year he gets out of his talented older brother's shadow.

For months, Becca Chen has poured her energy into Cups, the restaurant she owns, desperate to prove to her parents that she can succeed in the career of her choice, not theirs. But after she spends a five-hour plane ride flirting with charming, magic-on-the-ice Calder, she tells herself she needs a fling.

Becca and Calder can't keep their hands off each other, but they know the relationship can't last. They live on opposite coasts, and they're both too devoted to their careers. All they have to do is prevent their feelings from crossing the line from lust to love...

Amazon | Carina Press | iTunes | Barnes & Noble 

"With this second book in the series, this author just made my "auto-buy author" list!!" - 5 stars, Christi of Smitten With Reading

"As long as Kate Willoughby keeps writing, I will keep reading her wonderful books." -  4.5 stars, Steffi from Swept Away by Romance.

"I enjoyed the book so much that I have gone back and purchased the first book in the series..." -5 stars, Christine Mize, Goodreads

Tell me about your passion—whatever it is that feeds your soul—and you could win a copy of either of my In the Zone hockey romances: On the Surface or Across the Line

Author Bio:
Kate Willoughby happily writes her hockey romances in Southern California. She is married and has two sons, a dog, and a betta fish. When she’s not writing, she’s watching hockey. When it’s not hockey season, she whines a lot.

If you’d like to keep up with Kate’s new releases, subscribe to her newsletter. You can also watch her succumb to her Twitter addiction, laugh while she flails around on Facebook, or ogle the man candy, among other things, on Pinterest.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug. 28th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Monday, August 25, 2014

In Praise of the Village People

There are as many ways to find success as an author as there are people in the world. But one thing every author has in common is access to a village. Everyone knows it takes a village to raise a child—but it also takes a village to write a novel. In my case, in fact, I sometimes think it takes a large metropolitan area. 

Think about the list of services and experts authors use throughout the writing process: brainstorming groups, critique groups, professionals for researching purposes, technology experts to make the computer work again when it goes kablooey in the middle of a chapter, beta readers, editors, copy-editors, formatters, cover designers, people with marketing ideas and expertise, Mark Zuckerberg (for all the new and inventive ways Facebook changes to make our writing lives easier, duh), and our families and friends for being our first book shills. 

Add to mine:  cheerleaders, hand-holders, drill sergeants (to crack the whip and make me write), and an agent. The list seems endless.  

But then come THE READERS. Wow, to the readers! The whole rest of the village, tribe, town, city, or megalopolis might just be superfluous without an audience.

It’s taken me a while to start building my group of readers—one that doesn’t include only the members of my big village. I didn’t start writing with a bang and a huge break into popularity. My audience has come to me in a trickle that is slowly becoming a stream—approaching a steady stream. And I’m like a kid at Christmas with every new message from someone who isn’t my mom. 

Now that I’ve finished four books and, as I’ve shown above, know what it took to get them published, I definitely feel a sense of obligation to all the friends and fans who’ve paid to take a chance on my stories, and an obligation to those who helped me get the books into the world. I want to do my best work for them. I want each book to be worth their time.  This is a rather subjective goal, of course, because not everyone will love every book no matter how much care I put into it. But with luck, good craftsmanship will carry me through. 

Which, however much I said it wasn’t necessary without readers, brings me back to my village. Without it, my craftsmanship definitely suffers. So maybe my village people aren’t superfluous at all. This might be a chicken-and-egg dilemma:  Which is more important, writing partners or a writer’s readers? I haven’t any idea. I don’t want to get along without either. I’m pretty sure my fellow authors feel the same. 

It just so happens that as I write this I’m at an annual retreat with my critique partners. Maybe that’s made me overly warm and fuzzy toward these women who are my mentors and friends, and is why I’m writing this tribute. All I know is, I’ve got a new series of books that need to be started. My excitement is huge, but even so I haven’t been able to write word one on them until this week when I’ve had this opportunity to gather my CPs’ wisdom and encouragement.

At the same, maybe I’m feeling all squishy inside about my readers because I have two already-written books coming out back-to-back in September and October. The first, BEAUTY AND THE BRIT, has just received its first pre-release reviews, and a brand new-to-me reader gave it wonderful praise. I’m humbled by the “other half” of my writing team coming through in such a positive way. 

See? It’s not possible to be an author without practically a whole East Coast of the U.S.-sized group helping you along!

So, this IS a tribute and a thank you—to everyone who is a part of my life and to ANY writer’s life. READERS:  you need to know how much we think of you as the rock stars. We love you.  CRIT PARTNERS (and everyone else mentioned above):  you need to know how indispensable you are. Because . . . you are!

Please tell me all about the person or people who is/are indispensable in your life. And, if you’re interested in those two new books of mine coming out soon you can check them out or pre-order them! 

Beauty and the Brit:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Good Guys Wear Black:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Giveaway Alert!

Hey there. I’m Ophelia London, author of the shiny-new “Love Bites,” and I’m cray-cray about love stories. So I’ve decided to take this opportunity to talk about my favorites books with romantic hooks. *rubs hands together* Let’s get started!

“Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austen
Two words: Mr. Darcy. We might as well get this out of the way: I love P&P. I read it as a teenager and never really got over it. Not only is the story timeless, but the traditions and manners and charm Austen’s paints of Regency England makes me sob for a time machine. 

“Jaws” by Peter Benchley
I know, I know but hold on. Yes, the blood-bath-of-a-movie is uber-famous, but it was taken from a 1974 novel. For the most part, the movie holds pretty true to the action of the book, except for one huge thing…the romance. Funny thing is it all takes place in one chapter and is barely touched on again. But can I tell you…it’s hot! Oh, and I love sharks, too. Heehee

 “Outlander” by Diane Gabalon
Speaking of time machines… Even if this wasn’t a “time travel” book—which turns a surprising number of people off before they’ve even met sexy Jamie Fraser—(swoon!), it’s adventurous, romantic and has all the feels. So excited it’s finally coming to TV.

“Anybody Out There?” by Marian Keyes
Marian Keyes is the master at taking tragic subjects and adding warm and wet-my-pants humor. Her talent never ceases to amaze me. And if you’re not following her on Twitter, start now!

“Austenland” by Shannon Hale
This book is about a woman who is obsessed with Pride & Prejudice; more specifically, the 1994 BBC version of P&P staring Colin Firth. I mean, hello?

“Losing It” by Cora Carmack
The last chapter and epilogue still make me giggle and stare off into space. I love tidy wrap-ups to swoony stories.

“Anna & the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins
Good golly, do I love a great YA. Maybe it was my own boring high school experience that made me live vicariously though this lucky high school senior who spends her senior year in Paris only to fall in love with a dreamy boy with an accent.

 “I’ve Got Your Number” by Sophie Kinsella
What I love: Who knew a page of “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx” could make one so giggly? 

“Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare
Enemies-to-Lovers has always been my favorite type of storyline, and the Bard’s rom-com from circa 1599 hits it out of the park.
“I do love nothing in the world so well as you—is not that strange?” 

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” by Helen Fielding
Honestly, I can’t say enough about this book. It was my first proper P&P retell and done so perfectly. Who didn’t melt when dreamy Mark Darcy told a mortified Bridget that he likes her just as she is?

How do you like your romances? Perfect Matches or Enemies-to-Lovers? And don’t forget to enter my rafflecopter for a chance to win some pretty awesome prizes!


Falling in love is like swimming with sharks...

Sharona Blaire is only in Australia for a business audit, but she’s determined to make the most of her one free night. So when she spills her drink on a handsome stranger and they end up flirting, she does something completely out of character—she kisses him. But the prospect of taking it further totally freaks her out…almost as much as discovering the next morning that the man she’s auditing is the sexy, tanned stranger she left with zero explanation.

Amazon | Barnes and NobleEntangled Publishing

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Scene Stealing Secondary Character Actually Stole a Book!

Congratulations to "Marcy", the winner in Tracy's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Are you ready for some football?  Meet the Baltimore Blaze, the team behind my Out of Bounds series of sports romances.  My latest release is Risky Game, the story of Blaze tight end, Brody Janik.  I know I’m not supposed to admit it, but Brody is my favorite child among all the players on the fictitious Baltimore Blaze football team.  But if I’m telling the truth here, the book I was supposed to release today was never going to be Brody’s story.  As a matter of fact, my favorite child was actually *cough* an accident.  

You see, I never saw Brody on the horizon when I was plotting out the books I was contracted for.  He just appeared on page thirty three of Foolish Games, wearing his trademark neon sneakers and lounging on Will Connelly’s sofa.  Loose-limbed and carefree, the blue-eyed jock breezes through life with his charming smile and athletic grace.  I was immediately smitten.  But there’s more to Brody than just his cover boy good looks and all-pro ball handling skills.  He’s vulnerable on many fronts and he’s trying his best to hide it from the world.  

But as most superstars discover, their life is not always their own.  Brody’s being dogged by a blogger who could possibly bring down his career.  He’s used to women selling him out to the tabloids for their fifteen minutes of fame and some cash, but the health condition he’s keeping secret could change the course of his life.  That has Brody in a panic because he isn’t really sure what he wants to be when he’s forced to give up the game and “grow up”.

I had a lot of fun writing Risky Game.  He’s a sort like a modern day Peter Pan. The woman I put in Brody’s path—Shannon Everett—is smart, sassy and not blinded by his shine.  Finally, a woman who “gets” him.  Readers will also get to reconnect with Shane and Carly from Game On and Will and Julianne from Foolish Games, as well as many of the Blaze secondary characters.  Because Brody’s story takes place during the season, they’ll be some on the field action, too.

So tell me, are you a fan of sports romances?  If you are, do you like them to include scenes from the playing field?  Obviously, I’m a big fan of the genre.  Here are a few of my favorites:

   Body Check by Deidre Martin
   This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
   Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis
   See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson

Leave a comment or share the title of your favorite sports romance books and I’ll select one reader to win a signed copy of Risky Game.  

Book Blurb:

Brody is at the top of his game… until Shannon changes the rules. 

Baltimore Blaze tight end Brody Janik is a natural-born football star. At twenty-seven, his record-breaking athletic performance and his cover-boy good looks have turned him into a household name. But Brody’s hiding a major secret behind his charming public persona: a health condition that may cut his career short.

PhD candidate Shannon “Shay” Everett works multiple jobs to put herself through school—including an unpaid internship with the Blaze training department. Strapped for cash, Shay answers the call of an NFL gossip blogger to uncover personal details about the Blaze players. Sneaking into the locker room one night, she gets entangled in Brody’s secret…and swept up by his charm.

Brody isn’t sure what to make of the gawky girl with the whiskey eyes, especially when he discovers she was snooping. His first instinct is to turn her in as a snitch, but she could destroy him by sharing his secret. Instead, he decides to keep her close…perhaps closer than either of them originally intended.

Buy Links:
Amazon; Barnes and Noble; Books A Million; iBooks; Indie Bound; Google Books; Powell’s Books
Available as an audio book August 27, 2014.

Where to find Tracy: 
Facebook: Tracy Solheim Books
Twitter: TracyKSolheim

Author Bio:
After years of writing reports and testimony for Congress, Tracy Solheim decided to put her fiction writing talents to better use.  In 2013, Berkley Publishing launched her Out of Bounds series, featuring the fictional Baltimore Blaze football team.  She lives in the heart of SEC country, also known as the suburbs of Atlanta, with her husband and their two works-in-progress.   When she’s not at the barn with her daughter or working out with friends (i.e. lifting heavy bottles of wine), she’s writing.  Except for when she’s reading, but according to her, that’s just necessary research.  

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug. 23rd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Batter Up

Giveaway Alert!
Hi Everyone!

I’m so excited to be visiting Just Contemporary Romance with an excerpt from Batter Up, my super cute romantic comedy that has just a touch of magic. Check it out, and be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Batter Up

She mixes more than flour and sugar into her cake batter, and he’s about to find out if a little bit of magic is to his taste...

Bakeshop owner Emma Stevens has a secret — a delicious, slightly unorthodox secret. Each Monday, she mixes up a premonition to share with the bachelors of Buttermilk Falls, and sets one lucky man on the path to true love.

When reporter Jason Levine finds himself mixed up in a Las Vegas bachelorette party, he hears the strangest rumor: the marriage is happening thanks to magic cake batter. Seriously skeptical, and sick of frauds, Jason journeys to the backwater town of Buttermilk Falls to expose the baker and release the townspeople from her evil clutches.

But when Jason meets Emma, tempers flare and sparks fly. Will Jason cling to his logic at the expense of a future, or will he let himself fall under Emma’s spell?


‘Hey, ease up on the handle, will ya? What did that flour ever do to you?’ Abby had joined her in the kitchen.

Emma sighed. ‘Just trying to get this batch in the oven.’

‘Well, that might have to wait. You have a visitor out front.’

Emma flipped around. ‘Who?’ She reached behind her and started to untie her apron. ‘Michael?’

‘Your fling.’

‘Oh,’ she said flatly, retying the strings behind her. ‘What does he want?’

‘To see you, silly.’ Abby walked up behind her, swatting Emma’s hands away from her apron’s ties. ‘You’re not wearing this.’

Emma sighed and took off the apron. ‘Why won’t he go away?’

‘Um…because you bought him.’

‘Don’t remind me.’ Emma started to stir her mixture, flipping her recipe book with her free hand. She was trying a new vanilla bean cupcake concoction with exotic vanilla flavoring.

‘You need to go talk to him!’

‘Fine.’ Emma reluctantly set her wooden spoon down and rinsed her hands.

‘You know, dear cousin, there could be worse ways to spend your summer than hanging out with Mr. Tall, Dark, and Sexy.’ She shrugged her shoulders. ‘I’m just sayin’.’

Emma smoothed her hair. ‘I’ll sell him to you for five thousand.’ She peeked out the kitchen doors. ‘I wonder what he wants.’

Abby laughed. ‘Oh, I know what he wants.’ She swatted Emma on the butt.

‘Really, Abs?’ Emma rolled her eyes and pushed open the swinging doors. She took a deep breath. There at the counter sat Jason Levine - her summer fling - dressed casual in a royal V-neck T-shirt and jeans. He was hunched over reading the local newspaper she’d left on the counter for patrons. No laptop in sight.

‘Hi.’ She walked up, inhaling the delicious spicy scent that surrounded him. God, he smelled amazing. 

‘Good morning.’ He looked up and smiled, showing his sexy dimples.

‘Can’t you put those away?’

‘Put what away?’

‘Nothing.’ Emma, get a grip. They’re just dimples. She reached for a full coffee pot behind her and refreshed his cup. 

Purchase Links
Barnes and Noble

In Batter Up, the Sugar Spoon bakery is the hot spot for match making every Monday night. The bachelors of Buttermilk Falls flock to the counter to watch Emma do her magic, whipping up the name of one lucky guy’s soul mate in her cake batter. Share your favorite bakery treat, and you’ll be entered to win an electronic copy of Batter Up. Thanks for stopping by!

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug. 21st. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Bybee Process of Writing.

With: Catherine Bybee 

Giveaway of a Kindle Fire and more!

I know, I know… I’m here to talk about my latest book, but when I asked my street team what they wanted to most know about me, it was all about my writing process. Where my ideas come from…am I a plotter or a pantser. Those kinds of things. So here it goes. 

I’m not a plotter. I’ve tried, good lord I have tried…but I just can’t do it. Writing a synopsis isn’t something I do well because I can’t tell you what is going to happen in a book until I start writing it. 

The best way for me to answer the questions about process is to explore it as I’m doing it. 
I’m about to begin writing __________ by Thursday. The blank is killing me, because I often have the title of the book before I begin to write.  

I know who my heroine is…you will all meet Gabi in Seduced by Sunday, April 2015. 
Gabi is a wounded heroine…crazy that, right? The process with this book is a little different than my others, because this book will complete the entire series. There is a bit of pressure on my end to make it better than all the rest…or at least compete for top billing. 

I know I want the series to come full circle. To get back to the bones of the series, and that would be Sam’s business…Alliance. 

I also know that I want Gabi’s hero to not fall into any cliché. He might come off as brass…but he will be the man she needs to grow. 

Yeah…that’s it. Seriously. That’s all I have until I sit and write that first chapter. 

Let’s talk the day to day writing of Bybee’s life. 

I try and get to my boot camp class 3 – 4 times a week, and run if I can a couple of the others. I get that right about half the time. Not enough to be a size 8, but hey… don’t judge. *wink* 

After much time procrastinating online…aka, Facebook and twitter… I jump on email, answer questions from fans… check my stats… yeah, I’m a little OCD when I have a new release.  Refresh…refresh…refresh… 

With any luck, I’m writing by noon… or in the case of today, I’m editing Seduced by Sunday, so that will be my job all day long. I grabbed a hot dog my 18 year old cooked, have my bottle of water, and Pandora is playing while I type this out. My desk looks like New Orleans after Katrina. My office is just as bad. Strange because the rest of the house is in order…and my car is always clean. *sigh* 

Writers Block?  Yeah…no… I don’t think there really is such a thing. When I find myself stuck with a blinking cursor asking myself ‘what comes next’ for too long, I go back and re-read my last chapter. Sometimes, rarely, I’ve written something that doesn’t fit…I need to fix it in order to continue. 

I rarely edit as I write. I send off each chapter, in its completely raw state to my critique partner… poor lady has to read my stuff when it’s shit… but she offers feedback that I can’t live without. Sometimes she asks me… “Do you know where this is going?” To which I answer with a pop of my gum… “Nope.”  or  “Maybe.” 

Once my first draft is done…again, if I’m on my game, 2-3 months per book, I give myself a pat on the back…drink champagne, then dive into edits. I can usually tell by THE END that there are things that need to be worked on. A character that needs better flushing out…a loose end I didn’t tie up. 

I send my edited manuscript to my critique partner…who reminds me I can’t spell. (Seriously, I can’t do this shit without spell check) Then I get the book back, play, tweak…(meanwhile I started on the next book) Then send it to my publisher and repeat. 

Okay… I think that’s it. The Bybee process in a nutshell. 
Character’s first…title of the book… plot. Yeah. 

My note to fellow writers… this is MY process, it isn’t right nor wrong. It’s what works for me. I’ve written a book in as little as two weeks, (Not Quite Dating) and others take five months (Highland Protector). Every book takes me on a different journey. 

Now back to my edits…


The Weekday Bride Series, Book Five
Montlake Romance, Contemporary
August 12, 2014, First Edition
Paperback & Kindle

College graduate Judy stands ready to conquer the world…if she can find a job. Hoping to transition from aspiring architect to famous architect as quickly as possible, the dark-haired beauty moves to LA, staying in the home of her celebrity brother, Michael Wolfe. But it’s hard for Judy to focus on work when the sexy bodyguard she fell for last summer keeps showing up in her life and leaving her breathless.

With his hard body, green eyes, and easy smile, Rick could have any woman he wants. But the Marine-turned-bodyguard only has eyes for Judy and her spitfire attitude. When a faceless villain attacks Judy, Rick will stop at nothing to protect the woman who opened his heart from the monster hunting her.

Readers will fall in love with Rick, who is the ultimate book boyfriend with his good looks and bad-ass attitude.”  –RT BOOK REVIEWS, TOP PICK!, 4 ½ STARS

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BAM | BOOK DEPOSITORY


A throaty laugh made him pause. 

He knew that laugh. 

The smile on his face suddenly felt more genuine. His gaze slid across the room when she laughed again. Her back was to him, but it was her…Utah. She held her cue stick and pointed at a corner pocket. “Watch ‘em and weep.” 

She sunk the eight ball like it was her bitch and the guys around the table groaned. A short-haired blonde lifted her hand and made a grabby motion with her fingers. “Pay up!” 

Utah laughed, laid her cue on the table, and grabbed the bottle of beer at her side. All the while Rick just watched the interplay. She wore tight jeans, a tucked in tank that hugged her waist in a mouth-watering way …over the ensemble was a jean jacket that he could easily picture draped over the handlebars of his motorcycle. 

“I think we just got hustled,” one of the young college kids said as he shoved his hands in his wallet to pay his debt. 

“I tried to warn you.” 

Judy’s friend shoved the bills into her pocket faster than the waitress had. “Anyone else? Twenty buck minimum with a round of drinks.” 

This might be fun. 

Rick took a step forward and lifted his voice above the crowd. “A hundred bucks.” 
Utah froze, but didn’t turn around. He wondered if she recognized his voice. Had she thought about him in the last year? With the exception of her brother’s divorce party, he hadn’t seen her…not outside of a wet dream or two. 

The blonde swiveled her head like a snake to prey and her eyes did that sweeping thing that happened to him once in a while. Rick knew he wasn’t hard on the eyes, knew he filled out his shirt like a Marine should. His thick shoulders and neck screamed military or linebacker. He did play a little football in high school. 

“Who the hell are you?” the blonde mumbled. 

Rick chuckled. 

Judy slowly turned and had to tilt her head back to look at him. “Green Eyes.” 

“Hey, Utah.” 

“You know this guy?” The blonde shoved next to Judy and nudged her arm. 

God, she was even more adorable than he remembered. He didn’t let her eyes go, just matched her stare. A blush rose to her cheeks and a few freckles peeked through. Her snarky remark about his presence was a heartbeat away. He’d lay another hundred bucks on the table as a bet that the next words out of her mouth would shock everyone within earshot. 

“Did the steroid train stop in town when I wasn’t looking?” 

The blonde started to laugh.

Rick stepped even closer so barely an inch separated them. The smile never left his face. “I hear steroids shrink dicks.” 

As if she couldn’t help herself, Judy glanced down and it was Rick’s turn to laugh. He brushed the edge of her body with his and removed the cue from the table. “What do ya say, Utah? I’ll even let you break. Ladies first and all that.” 

Rick knew they were drawing a crowd, but the interplay between them matched the sparks that hovered over them like a damn rainbow, and he was powerless to care what anyone thought. 

“A hundred bucks is steep, Judy.” 

“S’okay, Meg…Rick’s a big talker. Besides, he doesn’t know what I’m capable of.” 

Rick shook his head and clicked his tongue. “Now, now…don’t want to show all your cards.” 

“She’s really good, dude,” the guy she’d relieved of twenty bucks said from across the table. 

Rick lowered his voice. “Will you go easy on me, Babe?” 

Judy regained some of her lost composure and pushed away from his personal space. “Not on your life. And I’m not your babe!” 

We’ll see about that. He couldn’t stop smiling. 

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her husband and two teenage sons in Southern California.  


  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Perfect Wedding...

With: Kara Braden

Giveaway Alert

Love is different for everyone. Candlelit dinners and flowers don’t work for every couple. And I’ll admit, I based the hero and heroine of my debut novel, The Longest Night, on my own experiences with romance. Cecily, like me, is definitely not the romantic type. She’d much rather have a comfortable date with good food and better conversation.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t fall in love. It just takes a special person to see beyond the ordinary to get us to open our hearts. What’s my proof? Today’s my second wedding anniversary!

We met through online dating and grew close through our shared love of playing video games. When he moved in, we actually had to sort through our libraries, because we both had thousands of sci-fi/fantasy novels, many of them identical.

My husband had just put in for retirement after over twenty years with the US Air Force. We’d been living together for a year and had plans to marry, but we were in no rush. Our families are in Florida, and we’re in Arizona, so a big wedding would be a nightmare of logistics. Besides, this would be the third try for both of us. (Lucky three!)

But suddenly, we had potential job prospects at an overseas base, and being married would let us live together. We discussed marriage on a Friday afternoon, ordered a titanium wedding ring from Amazon, and got our documents in order. The following Friday, we had an after-hours appointment with a justice of the peace at our local courthouse.

Now, I’m a jeans and T-shirt type, and that’s exactly what I wanted to wear. It would have even been romantic, since that’s what I wore to our first date. But he wore an Iron Man T-shirt to our first date, and he didn’t think that was appropriate for a wedding. He ended up in a button-down shirt and slacks, which left me scrambling. Other than two evening gowns I’d bought years ago for company holiday parties, I own one little black dress, so that’s what I ended up wearing, along with heels that I can’t stand. My feet were aching before I even made it to the truck.

Let’s not even bring up the difficulty of getting in and out of a full-sized pickup truck in a short skirt without flashing the world!

We were the second couple called into the courtroom, and that was when we found out we were supposed to bring witnesses. Fortunately, the parents of the next bride in line were willing to come in with us, so they got to attend two weddings that afternoon, rather than just one.

And you know what? It was the perfect wedding for us! We’re not the tuxes and gowns, destination wedding, band and videographer kind of couple. We go to Five Guys for burgers and talk about video card upgrades. This year, for our anniversary, instead of jewelry or perfume, he got me a Macbook Air so I could travel and keep writing.

I can’t wait to write Ian and Cecily’s wedding. Ian’s from a large, wealthy, traditional family, and Cecily is eminently practical. Ian’s not the type to elope, which means that it’s going to be bride versus mother-in-law-to-be. Thankfully, Cecily’s got an ally on her side.

Who is it? You’ll have to wait to see!


This could work, whispered the little voice in the back of her mind, the voice that had been silent for seven years…

She sought solace in solitude

Years ago, former Marine Captain Cecily Knight fled her dark past and the nightmares forever haunting her nights. Alone in the remote Canadian wilderness, she survives day to day…until Ian Fairchild comes storming into her life and shatters her protective seclusion.

Until one touch bared her soul

Aloof but intriguing, defensive but undeniable, Ian is everything Cecily shouldn’t want but can’t ignore. He watches her with shrewd blue eyes, as if determined to decipher her secrets…and for the first time in years, she finds herself coming alive beneath the hands of a man with too many scars to count.

As the hushed and harsh winter closes in around them, two lost souls find themselves on the precipice of a love that could save their lives…or destroy them forever.

Buy Links: 
Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Books A Million , Hastings , IndieBound , Indigo , iTunes , Kobo

Author Website:
Twitter: @KaraBraden

Author Bio: 
Kara Braden makes her debut in modern romance with a story of love in isolation. She believes that engaging, romantic fantasy can be found everywhere in the world, even in the most unlikely places. With the support of her wonderful husband, cats, and dogs, she writes from her home office outside Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends her time hiding from the sunlight and heat.

Enter Kara's Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win one of 10 signed ARCs of The Longest Night.