Monday, June 29, 2015

Six Tricks for Happier Marriage

With: Boone Brux

I’ve never been a bridesmaid, nor have I attended many weddings. For a long time, the possibility of me tying the knot seemed slim. All my friends had married, divorced, and remarried by the time I’d worn down—I mean, won my husband’s heart and finally made it to the altar. Sure, by then we owned a house, a dog, two cats, a business, and had two kids, but, one can never be too careful when it comes to shackling themselves to the person they plan on spending the rest of their life with. 

Sorry if that didn’t sound very romantic, but let’s face it, fairytale fantasies quickly fade to reality after the thank you cards are sent and the honeymoon is over. That’s why I’m here—to gift you with my six pearls of wisdom about making marriage work.

1. You’re not going to change him—much. Sure, you might be able to banish a few of his idiosyncrasies, but the majority of his annoying habits won’t budge. So make sure his love for all things NASCAR won’t make you want to smother him in his sleep.

2. Just do it. Fart in front of him as soon as possible. Pretending that you don’t pass gas is a waste of time. First off, he knows you do it. You’re not fooling him. Secondly, do you really want to fight that for the next fifty years? I say own it. That goes for peeing in front of him as well.

3. On the opposite side of that coin is not getting too comfortable. There are somethings he just doesn’t need to see. Struggling into your Spanx, the mechanics of feminine products, etc. Keep a little mystery for everybody’s sake.

4. Fact: Men aren’t complex creatures. They can’t read your mind. More than likely his deep look of pondering has nothing to do with your relationship and everything to do with whether or not he should put cheese on his sandwich. A short and to the point request will get you a faster response than explaining your reasoning and feelings about why you need the step ladder out of the shed. Actually, you can probably just grunt and point and he’ll get it.

5. Know this, if you complain to him about anything, your job, not knowing what to have for dinner, your hair, he’s going to try and fix it—unless it’s about your relationship, then he’ll suddenly need to clean the gutters. Men don’t understand that sometimes we just want to vent. They’re not programmed for that. That’s what girlfriends are for.

6. Last but not least, don’t sweat human nature. Men are going to look at other women, and if you think you’re guy isn’t, you’re na├»ve. That doesn’t mean he loves you any less. And can any of us deny the pleasure we get one of those hot guy photos posted on Facebook? I think not. My motto is, until my husband gives me something to worry about, I’m not going to worry. 

After being together for over twenty years, he still tries to lure me into our bedroom with promises he may or may not be able to keep. The best part? I still want to let him try.

Bridesmaid Blues 
by Boone Brux
Release date: 6/30/15

Maid-of-Honor Dani Brown can handle anything that comes her way when it comes to her best friend’s wedding. That is, until the bride asks for a huge favor—Dani needs to distract the best man, who happens to be Dani's ex. The ex she has fantasized dismembering for a year now. The ex she’ll have to suck it up and play nice with if this wedding is to go off without a hitch.

Businessman Jamie Kingsland is back in Seattle for a wedding. There’s just one problem – the maid of honor wants him dead. Except she doesn’t. Even though he knows he broke her heart last year when things got too serious and he panicked and left, she’s being way too nice about it now. And it scares him.

Something is up with his favorite bridesmaid, and he’s determined to find out what…
Find it online:

Amazon  
B&N 

About Boone Brux:
As a multi-published and an award winning writer, Boone's books drips with experiences from real life. Addicted to anything that might make a good story, she weaves tales that range from dark fantasy to humorous romance. Settled in the icy regions of Alaska with the love of her life and twin daughters, it's not uncommon to find her tapping away on her iPad on a windy beach or the barren tundra. Be warned, anyone and every even is fodder for one of Boone's novels.

Find Boone Online:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Facing Our Fears

With: Gail Chianese

A few years ago a friend of mine was heading up a conference for our local writers’ group and she needed help, so she reached out to me. I like to help, to give back and I said yes. Little did I know exactly what I was getting into. The countless hours of work, I could handle. No, it was the “other” that had me shaking in my heels. They made me the co-chair and told me I had to get up and give a thank you speech. 

Eek!

For as long as I can remember I’ve been afraid of talking in front of people (my 9th grade English teacher gave me an award for the fastest speech he’d ever heard). I hate being the center of attention (which is hard when you’re an author). Well, I survived that day (obviously) and have since made it a point to put myself out there. I’m better now with public speaking, however, I’d still rather be behind the scenes.

My heroine from BACHELORETTE FOR SALE, Cherry Ryan isn’t the most outgoing person either. She’d rather be behind the scenes, giving back quietly. The story starts out with her and her best friend co-chairing a gala fundraiser and singles auction to rebuild their community center. When one of the local celebrities doesn’t show, Cherry’s best friend corners her to step up and be auctioned off. Cherry’s first thought was to ditch the four-inch FM heels and make a run for it. 

However, Cherry owes the center for helping her out a long time ago. So, she put on her big-girl-panties and strutted her stuff across that stage, which of course, led her to the prize of a lifetime. But before she can find her happily-ever-after she’ll have a few more obstacles to jump over and have to re-face her fear of being back in the spotlight

While I can’t say facing my fear of public speaking has led to any huge payoffs like finding the love of my life (already found him), it has given me more confidence in my self. 

So tell me, what are you afraid of and how do you deal with it?

BACHELORETTE FOR SALE

This sparkling debut dives right in to everything funny, flirty, and fiery about modern dating with the tale of a sexy singles auction that comes with the prize of a lifetime…

As far as Cherry Ryan is concerned, the bright lights of Hollywood are nothing but glare after her heart is broken on a reality show for millions to see. Instead she’s throwing herself into fundraising for the local community center that was a priceless lifeline to her as a kid. But when a volunteer for the singles auction bails at the last minute, Cherry finds herself on the block—and sold to Jason Valentine, a handsome contractor with a gorgeous body—and a really bad attitude about her days in the limelight…

Cherry soon finds that Jason’s more than eye candy, and not entirely sweet—especially his quest to win the bid for the center’s renovation. Mixing business with pleasure doesn’t seem like such a good idea—until Jason has a chance to reveal the big heart beneath his surly exterior. Cherry’s falling for him hard, but trust isn’t easy when you’ve been burned. To conquer her fears will take a giant leap of faith—straight into the spotlight again…


Author bio: 
Gail Chianese's love of reading began at the tender age of three, when she'd make her grandpa read Fourteen Country Rabbits over and over and over again (and correct him when he skipped parts). While she's branched out over the years by reading mystery, women’s fiction, and urban fantasy, she always circles back to romance in the end. That's probably because she's married to her real life hero. Her wonderful hubby has served in the US Navy for the past twenty two years and he’s done things he can’t tell her about. But it doesn’t stop her from being extremely proud of him and the sacrifices he makes for her, his family, and his country. He’s also uber-supportive of her dreams and of their three children. Living in Mystic, CT and a member of Connecticut Romance Writers of America, Gail loves to hear from readers. Visit her online at GailChianese.com, follow her on Twitter @Gail_Chianese, or send her an e mail at gail.chianese@yahoo.com.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Live on the Edge of Ecstasy


Now You Have 2 Ways To Win With Isabella Willow

First:   PURCHASE


For a Limited Time it is only $.99. Leave a review and receive Absolutely FREE
YOUR CHOICE OF


…the romantic, sensuous, and sometimes hilarious, saga of Samantha Rose. Escaping from a psychopath she runs to Hollywood, falling in love with rich, powerful men. Her mother interferes from heaven, causing men to become infatuated with her, hoping that they will protect her.   
OR:

 
Or Unexpected Lovers, An Extraordinary Romance upon its release later this month.
Alex Donahue has divorced her husband, Derrick, the sleaziest of sleazy lawyers and taken a job as the foundation director for a large corporation. She never expects to fall in love with her boss, Murphy Finch. She needs her job and he has made it clear that he never becomes involved with employees. When she meets Dr. Tony Rosen she has fun, loves his seduction, and can almost see a future with him. He tells her that he loves her, but she can never say the words back to him. She can’t stop comparing him to Murphy. 

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See what’s in store for you with your exciting free subscription of the
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Quickie Schedule:

It’s so easy to begin, simply go to the website and sign up, at IsabellaWillow.com

I have now selected short stories exclusively for you, to take you to the world of romance and imagination. I am happy to share what you’ll receive every month, because everyone needs a quickie.

For July, 2015
I’ll Find You:

Molly loved to hike through the woods especially on mornings after a rain, when the light was extraordinarily beautiful. Her favorite thing to do was photography and she had gotten up before dawn to catch the early light.
She discovered a man, Nate, trapped, and badly injured from a rock slide. He was pale and fading in and out. She was terrified that he was dying and help wpuld arrive too late.

“Just keep talking. Are you married?”
“No. You?”
“Nope.”
“Good. ‘Hate to think I’d go through all this, just to meet a beautiful woman, only to find out she’s married.”

For August, 2015 A Summer Scorcher
Heat

Grace’s best friend, Anita, wanted to meet that great guy, get married, and have kids. There was just one problem, Anita lost her sight following an accident.
She didn’t believe that she would ever find that great guy, or get married, or have kids. But Grace wouldn’t give up on her and helped her sign up on an internet dating site.
Steve, the man who seemed most interesting, also seemed to have a problem, something he wouldn’t tell her, and kept referring to his mysterious friend, Michael.
When Anita and Steve finally met there was an instant, powerful attraction. When Grace met Michael, however, there was an instant, surprising heat.

“This is the first time in a very long time I’ve made it out of this house. I have agoraphobia, I wasn’t sure what you’d think.”
“I am so very happy to meet you—that’s what I think,” she said.
After dinner Michael and I watched the sunset.
“I think it’s great what you’ve done for him. Must be hard on your marriage.”
He leaned forward. “Not married,” he whispered. “Your boyfriend must be curious about tonight.”
“’Don’t have one.”
“Imagine that.”
“Imagine that.”

For September, 2015
Once in the Whole Wide World

In the middle of a rain storm a large dog had pushed their back door open, wandered in, and settled down in the middle of Jackie’s bed.
When she and her kids found the grateful owners Jackie was surprised to meet someone who was avoiding dating as much as she was.

“Yes, you and my Marco.  You have given up on love.  He doesn’t date either. Engaged. Then not engaged. We must thank you for saving our Princess, come to our restaurant tonight for dinner…”
Marco came in just as we were about to leave. 
“I’m sorry I couldn’t get here earlier,” he said, handing me roses.  “I managed to take off a little early. But, it’s true.  I haven’t dated. I tried…it didn’t feel right.  But if you don’t date then, I thought maybe we could both not date…together.”

For October 2015, a Ghostly Surprise
Aunt Sarah’s House:

Ashley and her sister, Liz, inherited Aunt Sarah’s house, the old Victorian that had been the gathering place for the family. But now Liz was getting married and she and her son, Bobby, would be moving away. Just like Aunt Sarah, Ashley would be alone in this big house.
Bobby was turning sixteen and is an aspiring engineer. For his birthday she went to the hardware store to buy tools for him, and ran into Parker, an old friend. In the midst of Bobby’s birthday party Parker showed up with two gifts, one for Bobby, the other wrapped with a large, satin bow.

“This one, this is chocolate covered strawberries. I thought perhaps we might enjoy them after dinner tonight.” 
“I just haven’t dated in a long time.”
“It’s just dinner,” he whispered, “and a few luscious, delicious, irresistible strawberries.”

For November, 2015
The Trouble With Hedges

Bill was a retired FBI agent. He never thought that he would find a dead boy in his hedge, or that the neighborhood would turn to him for help, or that his new, irresistible neighbor would be in his kitchen.

“Hey, FBI, don’t have a heart attack, I’m just making you an omelet,” a female voice yelled up from the kitchen.
He rushed down the stairs, pointing his gun at a woman in a long, swirling skirt cracking eggs into a bowlful of flour.
“Who the hell are you?”
“Sarah Jamieson.”
“What are you doing?”
“What’s it look like I’m doing? Making biscuits. I’m your neighbor Sarah.  And I’m making you a nice breakfast before the block meeting.”
“What block meeting?”
“The block meeting you’re about to have, of course. Smile, your neighbors and future best friends just started up your front steps.” She kissed him letting her breasts brush against him.

For December, 2015
Together Alone

December could not be a worse time to travel but Dana was determined to see her daughter. When she heard the announcement that all flights were cancelled due to a huge winter storm she settled in to wait it out. She never thought she would meet a fellow traveler who would make waiting a very exciting adventure.

Visit me on my website at
And on:

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Titles by Isabella Willow:

Unforgettable
Unforgettable, Too
Forgettable (Second Edition soon to be released.)
Forgettable, Too (Second Edition soon to be released.)

Unexpected Lovers, An Extraordinary Romance (coming soon)

Incubus, the erotic tale of a skilled, ancient seducer.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Join me…living on the edge of ecstasy.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bad Boy Friendships


Writing male friendships is one of the most enjoyable aspects of creating a story. Not only do I get the chance to create some comic relief and give the hero some time away from the heroine to think, but we learn the most about our hero when he’s around his friends. Unless you’re writing a friends-to-lovers type situation, the man is not his usual self around the heroine (at first), so we find out more about his sense of humor and how he treats others. Even the way his friends treat him back is a testament to the hero’s character.

I had a really fun and easy time writing the male friendships when I wrote cops. They were good guys who wanted to unwind with a beer and talk baseball. And women, because hey, we’re writing romance here. With this new cast of antiheros I’m writing in my Crossing the Line series, however, I quickly realized the repartee and ball breaking wouldn’t be quite so easy. Bowen and Connor (my heroes from books one and two) are hardened criminals that don’t trust easily, meaning it takes a little more than wings and a Mets game for them to bond. Since they’ve been placed on an undercover squad that is required to work as a team, they can’t avoid each other, so their interactions are mostly stilted insults that serve to give us insight into their personalities, while giving us a break from the drama and romantic storyline as well.

The challenge has been awesome, though! I’ve found it really rewarding when something small creates a tiny, new increment of trust between two stubborn, wounded, hardheaded, loner males. With these guys, the simple act of thanking each other for having one another’s back can create a sense of the bond I achieved in my earlier series with beer and baseball. And somehow it makes it all the more poignant when the eleventh hour arrives and they have to rely on one another to get a job done.

UP IN SMOKE

Never start a fire you can't control...

Connor Bannon is supposed to be dead. Dishonorably discharged from the Navy SEALs, he's spent the last two years working as a street enforcer in Brooklyn for his cousin's crime ring. Through a twist of fate, he's now in Chicago, working undercover to bust criminals. But when a cute little arsonist joins the team-all combat boots, tiny jean shorts, and hot-pink hair-Connor's notorious iron control slips.

Erin "she's getting away" O'Dea knows two things. She hates authority. And... Nope, that's it. When she's forced to operate on the "right" side of the law, her fear of being confined and controlled blazes to the surface. The last thing she expects is a control freak like Connor to soothe her when she needs it most. Worse, something behind the sexy ex-soldier's eyes ignites a dangerous inferno of desire. One that invites Erin to play with fire. And one that could get them both killed...


About Tessa:
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband of seven years and three-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Find Tessa online:


Friday, June 19, 2015

Authors not only love writing books, we love reading them


I have a confession to make. Other than as a freelance copy editor, I haven’t read a contemporary romance novel, especially one that features an alpha male hero, in several months. This includes the other wonderful titles in the Men of the Zodiac series. When I’m working on a book, I try not to read anything similar to what I’m writing. And Brody Flynn in “Revenge Best Served Hot” is definitely an alpha. And the book is, of course, contemporary.

Giving up contemporary romance for a time has been difficult since like all writers, I am an avid reader. I love this subgenre of romance. And, now that my kids are 10 and 15, I actually have time to indulge myself without feeling guilty.

Before my first book was published in 2000, I devoured as many as four books a week. I’d come home from my job—I worked full time as an editorial writer for the local newspaper at the time—make dinner for my husband and me, and then I’d curl up on the couch with a romance. For a while after we adopted our first son, the only reading I did were books that involved a cat in a very large hat or nonfiction tomes on parenting. 

I think it’s good for writers and readers to try new genres and subgenres from time to time. I sneak in a good historicals and romantic suspense every now and then, and last year I plowed through half a dozen dystopian titles in the span of a couple months.

Good books all have three things in common: Strong characters, a believable plot and natural-sounding dialogue that moves a story forward. That’s why reading, regardless of the type of book, ultimately makes writers better at their craft.
  
But contemporaries are what I love best, both as a reader and a writer.

Revenge Best Served Hot

Revenge is a dish best served cold, but Brody Flynn’s is sizzling hot.

Brody has waited more than a decade to pay back the man he blames for his parents’ death. Finally that time has come. Thanks to the hostile takeover of Douglass Shipping Solutions his nemesis is out. Now CEO, Brody decides to keep his enemy’s beautiful daughter on the payroll. But can he keep himself from falling under her spell?

Kate Douglass is determined to hold on to her birthright any way she can. But sexy Brody is a hard man to figure out. Is his interest in her real? Or is it just another way to get even with her dad?

The only thing burning hotter than Brody’s desire for revenge is their passion for each other. Can love overcome mistrust?

Amazon | B&N

Author Bio:
Jackie Braun is the author of more than 30 romance novels. She is a three-time Rita finalist, 
a four-time National Readers’ Choice Award finalist, and was short-listed for RT’s Series 
Storyteller of the Year in 2008. In real life, she is happily married to her own hero and the 
proud mom of two sons.

Author Website: jackiebraun.com


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Kissing in California


I have the worst memory in the world, but I remember my first kiss with my hubby like it was yesterday. It was after our first date. We’d gone on a hike with another couple and then returned to my house to go in the hot tub. (I know! Totally cheesy, but this was uh, a long time ago.) My parents weren’t home. My younger brother wasn’t home. It was getting dark, and the other couple was taking their sweet time, so what else were we supposed to do under the first twinkling stars?

I should back up for a minute. I’d hung out with my hubby two other times with friends before our official date. I was a sophomore in high school and he was a senior. When he called me on the phone to ask me out, I was giddy. I had a huge crush on him. Then he got mono. <insert sad face> But we talked on the phone every day for two weeks so when we finally met up again, kissing was inevitable. 

We kissed in that hot tub for a really long time and I was smitten.

In my newest release, Blame it on the Kiss, my hero and heroine’s first kiss takes place during a bachelor/bachelorette party, and let’s just say things are never the same for them after that. Here’s a little peek…

     “I think game time’s over,” Honor said.

     “I think the only game that comes to my mind that’s played in a closet with a beautiful girl has got to do with kissing. Seven Minutes in Heaven or something like that. And since we are in the wedding party, it’s our duty to follow through, right?”

     He thought she was beautiful? 

     Tingles swept over her lips and down the backs of her arms. 

     “Am I right?”

     She cleared her throat and told her body to ignore any more tingles, quivers, flutters, shivers, trembles, prickles, or shudders he might instigate. Bryce belonged to her best friend, even if she wasn’t here to claim him. “Yes, it’s a kissing game. But the rules say one minute.”

     “So you planned to kiss the guy that found you in here?”

     “Yes.”

     “On the mouth?” he asked, surprised.

     “Yes. But no tongue.”

      The small space between them dissolved as he canted his head down to talk in her ear. “I think it’s our obligation to play, Honor. It’s just a game, so can I kiss you?”
*** 
I’d love to hear about your first kiss—or a favorite kiss—in the comments. I’ve also been posting some kissing shots on Instagram with the hashtag #KissingInCali. Come check them out and share your pictures with me!

Thanks so much to Maureen and Just Contemporary Romance for having me here today!

P.S. Yep, I got mono. ;)


BLAME IT ON THE KISS

The one guy she shouldn't want...

Honor Mitchell has lived with guilt and regret for a long time, so when she promises to do the things on her dying best friend's wish list, she's determined to follow through and do something right for a change. But when she's thrown together for wedding duties with the one man who complicates her vow--just by looking at him--she has to put her faith in Bryce Bishop's pledge to help her, no strings attached.

Bryce's near one-night stand with his ex-girlfriend's best friend a few months ago might have been a mistake, but helping the beautiful, free-spirited Honor with her promise isn't. His trust in women is shot, but he can't help but play his best man card to his advantage and help Honor tick off the items on his ex's list, even if it puts him in a no-win situation. Because his assistance might get Honor what she wants, but suddenly being the do-good guy puts his plans--and heart--in serious jeopardy. 


Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What makes that competitive edge enter your veins?

With: Cindi Madsen

In Crazy for the Competition, the hero and heroine are competing for a property they’ve both wanted for years. It was fun pitting them against each other, while also having them have to work together on a float for the town’s upcoming Frontier Days Celebration. When it comes to sports, I’ve never been very competitive—mostly because I’ve also never been very coordinated when it comes to full-contact sports. I was more competitive when it came to getting good grades. Yep. I was that girl. I also competed in dance with my school’s drill team, and I had a blast doing that. So I thought it’d be fun to talk about things I get competitive over—probably even a little too competitive sometimes.

Scrabble. Words are my thing, so I hate to lose at this game. And I’m not proud to admit this (ok, I’m a little proud) but when I play with my husband and brother-in-law, who aren’t the best spellers, I use extra letters in my words.

When someone tells me I can’t do something. There’s nothing that’ll light a fire under me quite like someone telling me I’ll fail at something or what I can and can’t do. It’s helped me push past rejection and keep writing until I had my first publishing contract. (I think this one is a good one, as I might’ve otherwise given up)

Dance. I still get competitive over it. More than that, I love it, and I so rarely get to do it, that when I go to events that have dances, you’ll find me on the floor. I’ve always wanted to have a dance off, actually, and last October at a writing conference in Phoenix, some of us broke into two groups and had an epic dance off. It had me laughing and dancing like crazy, and is one of my favorite memories.

The other area I get competitive in is super nerdy. Because it’s with myself. I push myself to break past records for daily or weekly word counts. I like to push my boundaries a bit more. Write something that makes me blush or squirm a bit.

So there you have it. What about you all? What makes that competitive edge enter your veins?

CRAZY FOR THE COMPETITION

The road to trouble is paved with sweet temptation...

Always the rebel in her ultra-conservative family, Quinn Sakata dreams of quitting her dad's real-estate business and restoring the old Mountain Ridge Bed and Breakfast in her hometown of Hope Springs. Except that Quinn's not the only person bidding on it. Worse still, her competitor is her high school crush, Heath Brantley, who is all kinds of ripped, tattooed hotness...

So much for her "nice, conservative boys" rule.

Heath has his own reasons for bidding on Mountain Ridge, and he won't give in without a fight - even to the red-lipped hottie with a sailor's mouth. But when their rivalry shifts into an unexpected zing of chemistry, Heath realizes he's in deep trouble. Because it's inevitable that emotions will get involved, and he needs to keep his eyes on the prize before they both get hurt.