Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The top five things business can teach relationships

With: Belinda Williams


In my latest contemporary romance, The Pitch, my lead character Madeleine Spencer is a driven businesswoman intent on landing the next big account for her marketing agency, Grounded Marketing. She’s the first to admit her career-obsessed lifestyle could do with an overhaul—it’s been four years since her last serious relationship—but thinks that relationships could learn a thing or two from business. Take a look:

The top five things business can teach relationships

1. Business pitches: in the business world, you have to pitch for business. Why not apply this theory to relationships? Before you get involved with another person why not have a mutual pitching session where you present the reasons why you would be a suitable candidate for the relationship? Complete with question time of course. A pitch must be in person and should in no way resemble speed dating. Pitches must be well thought out, prepared for and can be validated by other sources, which brings me to:

2. Reference checks: when I interview and hire staff for my marketing agency, Grounded Marketing, I get to run reference checks. It’s not the same when you’re dating someone or considering a relationship. Too much internet research and you start feeling particularly stalker-like. Not to mention that social media profiles are so contrived. Sure, he looks like a great guy on Facebook but who really knows? Wouldn’t it be refreshing if you could just ring around a list of say three or four friends and ex-girlfriends to find out what you’re really getting yourself in for?

3. Work in progress meetings: when you run a business, you constantly manage things. With a relationship there’s a lot of grey areas. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could sit down at the beginning of each week and agree on mutually convenient times to meet up, check in on how each of person feels the relationship is going, and discuss areas for further improvement? Instead couples usually fumble along for a while, not entirely certain what the other person is thinking.

4. Probationary period: when I hire staff, there is usually a probationary period of around three months. If I find it’s not working out, or the person isn’t suited to the role I’ve hired them for, I can decide to terminate the contract. Why can’t we apply this to the first three months of a relationship? If during this three month period either party has valid reasons the relationship isn’t working, they get to end the relationship. No complaints, no online stalking or social media trolling, just a sensible end to an unsatisfactory relationship in a mature manner. 

5. Annual leave: where is it written that just because I’m in a relationship I have to spend every waking minute with you? Yes, I might love you, but it’s also important to take time for yourself or catch up with friends. Why not have a system of agreed annual leave between a couple where it’s expected that each person will take some time away from the relationship when needed, at the agreement of the other person? 

THE PITCH

She’s in a long-term, committed relationship. With her business.

In three years Madeline Spencer has single-handedly grown her marketing agency, Grounded Marketing, into one of the country’s fastest growing companies. But her success has been at the expense of her social life, and her girlfriends have had enough. They’ll do whatever it takes, from speed dating to blind dates, to show her there’s more to life than work.

Only Maddy is having a hard time forgetting about her business. She’s about to pitch for her biggest client ever and the mysterious media mogul, Paul Neilsen, has volunteered to mentor her. Maddy might just be in with a shot of landing the account—if she can keep her mind on the job.

Working with Paul is not at all what she’d imagined, and Maddy finds herself torn between her ever increasing workload and her feelings for Paul. She’s discovering playing in the big league means making sacrifices…and Maddy must decide what she can’t live without.

Purchase links available here.

Release date: 28 May 2015

Where to find Belinda:
@bwilliamsbooks




Monday, May 25, 2015

A Holiday to Remember

Congratulations to Jo-Anne, Bn100 and Colleen C., the winners in Cheryl's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Memorial Day is an occasion for Americans to stop and remember the sacrifices military men and women and their families have made for their country. Whether we spend the day floating on a wave or grilling outdoors with family or stretched out under the air conditioner with a good book, it’s important that we never forget why we have the freedom to do so. Some people are lucky enough to kick off summer with a long weekend. The rest of us will be working, but even so, there’s time to welcome summer with baseball or cookouts or the first road trip of the season. It’s a great holiday to appreciate all the sweet things in life, large and small.

No doubt some of the bookworms out there (me! me!) have grand intentions to clear the to-be-read pile. Or…you could just add more books! I want to tell you about a sweet deal, 14 stories by some really great authors (and me), on sale now for only 99 cents. If you want a sexy summer story to kick off the season of sunshine, give the Summer Lovin’ anthology a shot. My story, “Most Likely to Turn up the Heat,” features a sassy secretary with a “No Soldiers, No Cops, No Coworkers” dating policy, a grumpy security guard whose only goal is to return to the police force, and a Memorial Day cookout.

Giveaway:
To celebrate, I’d like to give away 2 ebooks (Kindle or Nook). Leave me a comment and let me know what you’ve done to celebrate the beginning of summer or to commemorate the service of our military men and women.

Excerpt from “Most Likely to Turn Up the Heat” in the Summer Lovin’ anthology (14 sexy summer contemporary stories)

Max’s rough chuckle was loud in the silence between them. “Winner chooses the spoils. You and me. Dinner.”

“Are you sure you’re the winner?” Sue pursed her lips. “Maybe we’re still playing.”

“I’m not.” Max took her hand in his, reminded of the hot thrill of holding her hand while he ran a finger under the hem of her skirt. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

“I wish I knew the answer.” Sue stepped closer, pulled his head down, and kissed him. Whenever he’d imagined a clench like this with her, it had been hot. But in the dusty gravel lot of the Two Step, she burned him alive. Her lips were sweet against his, but when he teased into her open mouth, she returned the favor. Each brush of her tongue lit a spark.

Pulling her closer was the only option. When she shifted against him, each graze of her soft stomach robbed his brain of important blood flow. The giggles of a group of women walking to their cars, none of whom he recognized, got his attention through the haze of heat.

“Where’s a fireman when you need him?” Sue whispered. “My underwear is smoking.”

Buy Links

About Cheryl Harper
Whether she’s writing, reading, or checking the items off of her daily to-do list, small-town girl Cheryl Harper loves her romance mixed with a little laughter. When she’s not working, you will find her ignoring housework, cursing yard work, and spending way too much time with a television remote in her hand.

Twitter: @CherylHarperBks
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/cherylharperbks

Goodreads: Cheryl Harper

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 26th. 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 maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Q & A With Love, California Style Series Author, Ellen Butler


Congratulations to "Colleen C.", the winner in Ellen's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

How long have you been writing?
I’m relatively new to novel writing. My first publication came out at the end of 2013, and I’ll have five publications out by the end of 2015. Though novel writing is certainly new to me, writing in general is not. Before stepping into fiction, I wrote dry, but illuminating policy papers, articles, newsletters, and promotional copy for a medical association. I would have to say, a creative writing class that I took in college stuck with me over the years and was part of the reason I made the leap to novel writing. 


Are you working on anything new right now that you can share with us? 
I have just completed the third book in the Love, California Style series, titled Art of Affection which will be releasing August 24. Beyond that, I will be returning to a book that I’ve been actively researching for the past two years. It is a WWII novel about a female American spy who goes behind enemy lines and entrenches herself in the dangerous heart of Nazi territory. I hope to have it in my agent’s hands by spring 2016. 

How do you come up with the titles for your novels?
It’s funny you ask, titles are very difficult for me. Normally, I stew and chew on a title name for days, sometimes months. However, books 2 &3 of the Love, California Style trilogy had me dithering with names for a short twenty-four hours because my agent needed me to title all of the books in order to pitch the series to publishers. I’d only completed the first novel, had just begun the second, and really hadn’t fleshed out the third beyond a sloppy outline. I named the first one Heart of Design, based on the fact that, Sophie, the main character was an interior designer. So sticking with the profession of my heroines, I came up with Planning for Love, because Poppy is a party planner, and Art of Affection came about since Holly is an art curator at a gallery. So far I’ve been lucky all of my titles have been accepted by my publishers without changes.  

If your novels were made into a movie, who would you cast as the hero?
For Heart of Design, Ian O’Conner was inspired by Alex O’Loughlin so he’s a shoe-in. In Planning for Love, I think Ryan Reynolds would be a good fit for Adam’s intelligence and kindness. Art of Affection is a hard one, but I think Jeremy Renner would fit Gary Sumner’s tough cop character.  

Coffee or tea?
Tea … unless wine is an option.

Giveaway: 
One reader will receive a digital copy of Heart of Design and Planning for Love


~Love, California Style Series ~

Heart of Design (Book 1) 

His thumb gently stroked the soft flesh. I swallowed. “I would say you’re making a valiant effort to get me into your bed.”

“Maybe.” His eyes smoldered. “Is it working?”

Can Interior Designer Sophie Hartland ignore her traitorous libido and hold her sexy Irish client, Ian O’Connor, at arm’s length until the renovations are finished? Or will she cave in to his pull on her heartstrings, and end up doing the knicky-knacky on the new velvet sofa? 

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ok4ta3k
BN: http://tinyurl.com/ofktptx

Planning for Love (Book 2)

So, my latest computer date was supposed to be a successful marketer. He instead decided to visit an Ashram last week, and while there, apparently found the meaning of life through yoga and wacky tobacky. 

After walking in on her boyfriend in flagrante dilecto, Poppy Reagan decides to take her dating life as seriously as she does her party planning business. As she works her way through a string of hilariously bad dates, she wonders if her soulmate actually lives in California.  Her foolish emotional spirit secretly yearns for the handsome Ohio doctor she met last year. Can Adam convince this California girl to test the relationship waters in the mid-West? 

Amazon: http://tiny.cc/bp42sx
B&N: http://tiny.cc/uq42sx


Art of Affection (Book 3) – Arriving August 24, 2015

“By the way, those were some sexy thigh highs you were wearing.” He winked. 

Mortification burned through me as the door shut with a thump.

Holly Hartland, a transplant to the LA area, recently finalized her divorce from an abusive husband and is getting her career as an art gallery curator back on track. She soon realizes the tough cop who arrested her husband wants more than friendship. Will she give love another go, or will trust issues keep these two apart?

Find Ellen Butler:
Website: www.ellenbutler.net
Twitter:  @EButlerBooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllenButlerBooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EllenButlerBooks

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 24th. 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 maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Disastrous Beginnings Make for Better Endings

With: Jennifer Youngblood

Congratulations to "Bn100", the winner in Jennifer's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

It’s that moment when you’re standing in a crowded room. You look over, and his eye catches yours. You feel a tingle run down your spine, and your insides go warm. And then he smiles. The room contracts, and everything else fades away until it’s just the two of you. Your heart is pounding in your chest as he makes his way to your side, and then he speaks … the rest is history, as they say. 
Okay, you’re probably rolling your eyes right about now, thinking—what planet does this woman live on? Really? She must be delusional!

Yes, as much as it pains me to admit it—you’re right! Life rarely turns out how we expect it to. Kind of like those frozen dinners (the kind you pick out of the freezer section of the grocery store). It looks perfect on the picture, but when you pull it out of the microwave, the vegetables are limp and watery, and the meat tastes like a leather shoe with a rubber sole.

The little girl in me will always love those dramatic scenes where the hero and heroine’s eyes catch across the room, and they know in an instant that they were meant to be together. However, a lifetime of experience has taught me that in real life, romance is sneaky and allusive, striking at the most unexpected of times and in the most unlikely of places. And I’m learning that the spontaneity makes it all the more delightful. Even when things go awry in the beginning, there is hope that things will work out well in the end. So, perhaps on some small level, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too!  

In my novel Beastly Charm, a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast, a disastrous first meeting sets the state for this smart and tender love story that’s set against the splendid backdrop of a sweeping, timeless mansion. 

High-powered real estate executive, Belle Montrose has a lot riding on a deal—a deal that must take place else her career will crumble! Only one man stands in the way—the elusive Sebastian Blake, heir to the valuable Rosewood Estate.  He refuses to sell to Belle’s client, even though Rosewood is on the brink of foreclosure. When Sebastian Blake cancels a conference call, Belle is furious! She jumps in her car and drives to his estate, determined to speak to him face to face. Never mind that it’s coming a blizzard or that she’s sick with the flu. 

Sparks fly when Belle barges into Sebastian’s home and demands that he listen to her. Sebastian Blake is not only devastatingly gorgeous, but he’s formidable and beastly in the way he chomps Belle to bits with a severe tongue-lashing that cuts her to the core. In a rage, she storms out of his house, vowing to never lay eyes on him again, but a twist of fate, throws her right back into the den of the beast, where she finds herself completely at his mercy. 

Sebastian Blake offers her a proposal she cannot refuse, and she’s drawn into his world—an intoxicating world of charm, romance, roses, and dancing. And try as she might, she can’t fight the incredible attraction she feels for Sebastian. Will she risk everything for the man whose beastly charm is captivating her heart, or will her head win out in the end?


Available on Amazon

Giveaway:
I will be giving away one ebook copy of Beastly Charm. 

About the Author:
Jennifer has the distinct privilege of writing with her mom, Sandra Poole. To date, 
they have written seven novels, a collection of short stories, and a children’s book. 
Jennifer now lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. 

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 22nd. 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 maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


Don't forget to check out the JCR SHOWCASE for giveaways!



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Following the path to your dreams after a detour or two

With: Sabrina Sol

Congratulations to "Laney4", the winner in Sabrina's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I’m very excited and happy to share my new release with you. It’s called DELICIOUS TEMPTATION and it’s a sexy contemporary romance featuring a good girl who wants to be very bad with her brother’s ex-best friend. 

And while there are some very steamy scenes and a dirty-talking hero (it’s an Entangled Brazen after all), the heart of DELICIOUS TEMPTATION is really about two people getting their lives back on track and following their dreams. 

The story of Eric and Amara really resonated with me since I know a thing or two about overcoming life’s little detours in order to make your dreams come true. Since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be an author. I was the annoying goody-two-shoes who became excited when the teacher made us write a story using our spelling or vocabulary words for the week.  My love for writing continued through high school and college and eventually I even made a living doing it. But while being a newspaper reporter allowed me to write every day, I wasn’t writing MY stories. Then circumstances changed and I moved into public relations. Again, I wrote pretty much every day, but there was a limit on how creative I could be with press releases.

It wasn’t until about four years ago that I decided to finally listen to the voices in my head. I announced to my husband that I was going to write a book and proceeded to start my first novel. Thousands of words later, it’s still not finished. But along the way, I managed to become published with a different story. And then another one. And then other one…

It wasn’t at all easy. And there were definitely times I thought about giving up. But, in the end, I know all of my hard work and sacrifices have been worth it. 

So worth it.

Giveaway:
Do you have a dream that recently came true? Share in the comments below and be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card. Don’t forget to include your e-mail address.

DELICIOUS TEMPTATION

The only thing naughtier than a bad boy is a good girl…

Amara Maria Robles is a good girl. So good that she gave up her dreams of becoming a renowned pastry chef to help her parents with their struggling Mexican bakery. Yet her parents reject any changes she suggests, and refuse to sell her mouth-watering confections. Clearly being a good girl isn't paying off. So when her brother's sexy ex-best friend walks into the bakery, Amara's tempted to be very bad indeed...

After a scandal twelve years ago, resident bad boy Eric Valencia has returned to make things right with his family and friends. One glance at Amara and her wicked curves, however, and Eric finds himself thinking about how she’d feel beneath him—something he promised Amara's brother he would never think about, let alone do. 

But this bad boy is in deep trouble...because Amara's determined to have her cake, and Eric, too.         

Find it online:
Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Goodreads 

About SABRINA SOL:
Sabrina Sol is the chica who loves love. She writes steamy romance stories featuring smart and sexy Latinas in search of their Happily Ever Afters. She lives in Southern California with her husband, three kids, two Beagles and one Bulldog, and is part of a larger, extended Mexican family whose members are NOT the source of inspiration for her characters. Or so she tells them.

Find Sabrina online:
Twitter: @theromancechica
Instagram: sabrina_theromancechica
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheRomanceChica

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 20th. 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 maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


Don't forget to check out the JCR SHOWCASE for giveaways!


Monday, May 18, 2015

The List


THE LIST

The List. Twenty things every girl must do before she turns twenty. . .

Body piercing
Get drunk
First kiss

But thanks to her crazy, over-protective father, Annie Roth is way behind schedule. Good thing it’s her first semester of college, because Annie is more than ready to start checking off items. . .

Fake ID
Skinny dipping
Road trip!!!

Where it gets complicated? Ryan and Chris. Best friends. Both sweet, funny, totally hot, and totally into Annie.

But there are some things on The List that Annie only wants to do with Ryan. . .

Lose it
Get Heart Broken
Fall in love

Excerpt:
Cami crossed her arms over her chest and frowned. She didn’t
look satisfied. 

“Boyfriend?” I shook my head and she pursed her lips.

“What do you do for fun?”

“I told you, volleyball.” I squirmed while I tried to figure out exactly
what she wanted from me. No matter what I said, her lips got
tighter and her eyes more narrowed until they were nothing but tiny
slits.

She exhaled and puckered her lips before saying, “What else? I
like to go shopping and to the beach, hang out with friends.”

“That sounds like fun.” What did she want me to say?

She was staring at me like I didn’t speak English, shaking her
head. “Are you shy?” I shrugged again and Cami nodded. “We’ll
work on that. I plan on having an awesome time in college, and I’m
taking you with me. Got it?” She tilted her head and grinned at her
plan. Then went back to organizing her things, which were still strewn
all over the place.

My stuff was neatly put away, and it suddenly occurred to me how
grungy I was. I’d taken the red-eye from California. Spent the whole
night either on a plane or scrunched up in airport chairs.

“I think I’m going to take a shower.”

Cami shrugged, but didn’t look up from organizing her massive
earring collection. “Just be ready in two hours. We’re going out.”

My heart jumped and my stomach dropped, but I kept my mouth
shut. The idea terrified me, but at the same time I was more than ready
to do something. For once.



Bio:
Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children. You can visit her at www.katelmary.com

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Faking It


FAKING IT

Vivia Grant couldn’t be happier. She has her dream job and is about to marry her dream man. Does it really matter that she’s led him to believe she’s a virgin? After all, being in love makes every experience feel like the first time anyway! But an unexpected encounter with an ex-lover is about to expose her embarrassing lie…

When Vivia’s fiancé discovers the truth, he ends their engagement—via text—and uses his connections to get her fired. Unemployed and heartbroken, Vivia begins planning her new future—as a homeless spinster. But her best friend has a better idea. They’ll skip the Ben & Jerry’s binge and go on Vivia’s honeymoon instead. Two weeks cycling through Provence and Tuscany, with Luc de Caumont, a sexy French bike guide. Too bad Vivia’s not a big fan of biking. And she’s abysmal at languages. Will she fib her way through the adventure, or finally learn to love herself—and Luc—flaws and all?


Excerpt:
“What do you mean you think the wedding is off?”

I barely open the door before Fanny rushes in, an impeccable vision in knee high black leather boots and a fuchsia Burberry trench. She takes one look at my puffy, tear-streaked face, shrugs out of her trench, and engulfs me in a hug. I must look a wreck because Fanny is not a hugger.

“Tell me what happened, ma chérie.”

We stop hugging and snake our way through a labyrinth of packing boxes until we locate my couch. Fanny sits with her legs crossed, hands folded in her lap, while I assume a fetal position, knees tucked under my chin, a wad of soggy Kleenex clutched in my hand.
Fanny waits patiently until I begin my story.

“I met Nathan at Snob tonight.”

Snob is this super swank wine bar/art gallery in the Mission District. Each month they feature the work of a different local artist. One month, marionettes hung from the ceiling, and the next month, mixed media collages depicting the conflicting patterns found in nature, chaos versus order, covered the walls. I don’t really like wine all that much, but Snob has this hip, laid back vibe that stimulates my creativity. And they serve the best tapas. Nathan thinks the artwork is “weird” and the tapas overrated, but he waxes poetic about Snob’s impressive selection of wines. As I see it, Snob is the perfect place for us.

Make that, was the perfect place for us…

Author bio.
Leah Marie Brown has worked as a journalist and photographer. An avid traveler, she has had adventures and mishaps from Paris to Tokyo. She doesn't buy cheesy tee-shirts or useless bric-a-brac, but prefers friendships and memories as souvenirs from her travels. She lives a bike ride away from the white sand beaches of Florida’s Emerald Coast with her husband, children, and pampered poodles. She is hard at work on the next novel in The It Girls series, but loves to hear from readers. Please visit her website at www.leahmariebrown.com Follow Vivia on Twitter @Chic_Traveler and Pinterest as Vivia Perpetual Grant, Perpetual Virgin.