Friday, February 24, 2017

The Ageless Appeal of Rockstar Romance


Giveaway Alert!

While Jordan Reclaimed is my first published rockstar romance, it isn’t actually the first ever rockstar romance I have written. No. For that honor, we have to take a step back in time.

Imagine a non-descript classroom in a working class town in the North of England, filled with thirteen year old children dressed in haphazard variations of the school uniform. It’s the eighties, so the girls have an assortment of uniform amendments - ties worn in reverse so the skinny side shows, leather thongs tied around the wrist, electric blue mascara and Constance Carroll lipstick in Candy Floss (which totally flouts the no-make up rules) … Zoom in closer, and you’ll find me, sitting near the back of the class wearing a bright cerise pink leather jacket writing quotes from Pretty in Pink on my geography book.

a-hah website
You see, before I even knew the term fan-fic or rockstar romance, my friends and I used to write super-hot (for thirteen year olds) stories about Norwegian band, a-ha. At night, we’d write scenes, and in the morning, we’d share them with each other before registration. If your favorite was Magne (Mags) Furuholmen, you might write a double-date which featured whichever friend preferred Morten Harket or Paul Waaktaar-Savoy. Or you might write a more explicit scene to the best extent of your thirteen-year old experiences. It was a strictly girl only thing. Usually for those who’d already read Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, or some tattered copy of Virginia Andrew’s Flowers in the Attic.

One day, I was sitting in my French class with two girlfriends, doing what everyone else in French was doing, ignoring our teacher. We had swapped our juicy stories and were secretly reading them during verb conjugation when our male French teacher swooped in, took one of them and proceeded to read it while we tried to focus on our school work. The miracle was, we didn’t get into trouble. I honestly don’t know why, perhaps he liked a-ha just as much as we did, but I like to think it was because we blew him away with our little rockstar romance story.

Giveaway:
For a chance to win an ebook of Jordan Reclaimed, let me know what the first rockstar romance you remember reading was.

Excerpt from Jordan Reclaimed by Scarlett Cole (contains adult subject matter)

* * *
“You’re looking kind of tense there, man,” Nikan said, flopping down on the sofa opposite him. “You and the lovely Lexi should go burn off some of that frustration.”

“Shut the fuck up about Lexi. She’s not that kind of girl,” he said.

“Oh, they’re all that kinda girl. Doesn’t matter whether they are married, engaged, or single. They all want a bit of nasty every now and then.”

Jordan rolled his eyes and then he spotted Dred talking to a girl who had her back to him. She wore black boots that went over her knees and had heels as high as any he’d seen. They were pretty fucking hot boots, and he was just imagining what they’d look like on Lexi when the woman turned around and walked toward him. He jumped to his feet, uncertain of whether his heart was going to start beating again. Lexi grinned when she saw him.

She was wearing black leggings and a black jersey dress that hugged her ass and slouched sexily off one shoulder. And holy shit, she done all kinds of makeup stuff, like black eyeliner, which he loved. He started to walk toward her and grinned. Perhaps Nikan had a point when he said that they should go burn off some frustration. She looked like a cross between a rock chick and a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Jordan reached Lexi and put his hands on either side of her face, savoring the comfort he always felt when her eyes were on him. “Me and my dick both think you look fucking hot,” he said and kissed her. In the boots, she was much closer to him in height, meaning his cock lined up against her perfectly. Yeah. She’d be leaving them on for him later.

Lexi’s arms slipped around his waist and into the back pockets of his jeans. She pulled back from him a little. “You might have to carry me out later,” she said with a grin. “I almost ruined my dance career attempting to walk from work to a cab. They’re treacherous in snow.”
Jordan laughed. Any other girl would’ve played it cool, tried to seduce him with the sexy outfit. Instead, she made him laugh, and that seduced him more.

“What did you do to score one of these?” Jordan joked, tugging on the all-access pass he’d left for her.

“I promised the bassist a lap-dance,” she said, teasingly.

“Mmm. Yeah, you did. Maybe tonight you and the boots can pay up.”
“You like the boots?”

“Yeah. Me and half the men in this building love the fucking boots,” he said, looking around them.

 JORDAN RECLAIMED

Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.
Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.
Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.
She craves Jordan.
Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he's never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?
About Scarlett Cole:
The tattoo across my right hip says it all really. A Life Less Ordinary. Inked by the amazingly talented Luke Wessman at the Wooster Street Social Club (a.k.a. New York Ink). Why is it important? Well, it sums up my view on life. That we should all aspire to live a life that is less boring, less predictable. Be bold, and do something amazing. I’ve made some crazy choices. I’ve been a car maker, a consultant, and even a senior executive at a large retailer running strategy. Born in England, spent time in the U.S. and Japan, before ending up in Canada were I met my own, personal hero – all six and a half feet of him. Both of us are scorpios! Yeah, I know! Should have checked the astrological signs earlier, but somehow it works for us. We have two amazing kids, who I either could never part with or could easily be convinced to sell on e-bay. I’ve wanted to be a writer for a really long time. Check through my office cupboards or my computer and you’ll find half written stories and character descriptions everywhere. Now I'm getting the chance to follow that dream.
 Connect with Scarlett: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST February 25th. 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. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Welcome to My World: What it’s like to write for Amazon’s Kindle Worlds


Giveaway of $10 gift card!

I recently released my fourth book in Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World and my second book in Erin Nicholas’ Sapphire Falls Kindle World. With six stories set in other authors’ worlds, I’m often asked why I continue to participate. I’d like to share what it’s like to write for Amazon’s Kindle Worlds (AKW) and why I keep going back.


How I got started writing for AKW

In 2013, I published two romance novels. After that, life got a little crazy. Recently divorced, I was working three jobs and taking full-time college courses. Oh, and I had three sons at home. Over the next three years I managed to put out two self-published novellas, but I couldn’t dedicate the time and effort needed to build a serious writing career.

In 2016, I learned Roxanne St. Claire was launching a Kindle World. After researching how AKW works, the idea of participating intrigued me.

·      Since I write to deadline, this gave me a firm due date.

·      The word count was flexible, which meant I could do a short story or novella, which is part of my author voice and style.

·      The most significant advantage was getting my book in front of Roxanne’s readers, since I didn’t have an audience of my own.

My first Barefoot Bay Kindle World novella, Perfect Mismatch, released on April 12, 2016.

Seeing that book up for sale on Amazon gave me a tremendous sense of achievement. After months of not publishing anything, I finally had a new release. Making a commitment to write for Roxanne’s Kindle World provided the structure and incentive I needed.

Why I continue to write for AKW

I often put in 12-14 hour days for my “regular” job, which I love. Still, it makes it difficult to schedule regular releases. When Roxanne announced a second round of Barefoot Bay Kindle World books, I came up with a story idea for one of the secondary characters in my first book. And thus a series was born.


My Perfect Match series includes three other titles: Miss Match (August 22, 2016), Romance Rematch (October 10, 2016) and Matchless Mayhem (February 21, 2917).

I also have a series set in Erin Nicholas’ Sapphire Falls Kindle World. The Natural Love series includes Going Strong (October 24, 2016) and Going It Alone (February 13, 2017).

Right now I have three more books planned for the Perfect Match series and two more for the Natural Love series. All of these stories will be published through Amazon’s Kindle Worlds.

Some authors believe publishing through AKW, which is essentially authorized fan fiction, builds the sponsoring author’s brand and not the individual author’s brand. I disagree. I’ve applied proven book marketing strategies to all of my AKW books.

·      Instead of standalone books, I created a series so each new release automatically markets the rest of the books.

·      All of the books are strongly branded through cohesive cover design and series order

·      I release a new book (on average) every quarter

My approach to writing for AKW

I was a freelance writer for 15 years. During that time, I discovered I write most effectively and successfully when given a specific topic, word count and other parameters. Writing in another author’s Kindle World provides these parameters for me.


My Kindle World romances focus primarily on my characters and settings, with the sponsoring authors’ characters and settings woven into the fringe of the story. My goal is not to write like Roxanne St. Claire or Erin Nicholas, but to replicate the ambiance and emotion their readers adore. In one story, the characters basically breeze through Sapphire Falls, but the rest of the action occurs elsewhere. I worried that I wasn’t giving Erin’s readers enough of the location and characters they’ve come to love, so reading this review reassured me that my approach is working:

“Ms. Connor has done a great job integrating the Sapphire Falls culture & atmosphere into her series.”  -PamD, Amazon

The benefits of writing for AKW

It’s been ten months since my first Kindle Worlds release. Did it help my writing career? Hell, yes!

·      Six published novellas
·      I added subscribers to my mailing list
·      I have a street team / reader group (we’re up to 16 members!)
·      I can count on reviews from “my” readers
·      Stronger connections with other authors
·      Increased brand awareness #sexysassy
·      Royalties
·      I “feel” like a published author now
·      The opportunity to apply book marketing strategies (and see results)
·      My writing is getting better
·      I regained my love for the creative writing process

What readers like about AKW

I was curious about what readers think of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds. I asked a few of them to share what they like about AKW. Here’s what romance readers had to say:

I love visiting a favorite fictional town with new authors for their take of the community. Kindle Worlds is a great way to find new authors in a familiar setting. Normally at a great price too.  –Shari B.

Barefoot Bay to me means ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Ms. St. Claire created the perfect means of escape. Beautiful scenery, heartwarming stories and a bit of romance to brighten up the day. I read Kindle Worlds Barefoot Bay because I enjoy getting the chance to discover new authors but I also get the chance to fall in love with some great characters along the way.  –Isha C.

I love the Barefoot Bay books, and everything the new authors bring to it. When they work the characters into their stories, it makes it fun. What I liked most is the suspense in some, the heat level in the others, and the romance in all of them. –Ramona K.

I enjoy reading a love story. They are a quick read, and you can't wait to read how it all ends.  –Gail F.

If you aren’t familiar with Amazon’s Kindle Worlds, you can learn more here. To visit Barefoot Bay Kindle World, click here. For Sapphire Falls Kindle World, click here.

Connect with EmKay Connor:

Giveaway:
EmKay will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one person leaving a comment or email entry.

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Delta Force Brotherhood


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


Coming February 20, 2017 from Entangled Publishing – The Blind Bet, Delta Force Brotherhood book #1!

I have to confess that I'm a bit of a crime junkie – I've followed big-name cases, bought the books and watched the documentaries over and over again. It's a lovely addiction, trying to second-guess the official police investigations and see if I can come up with the same conclusions or if I disagree, going off on my own path.

And I've played the what-if game, what if the people involved in these horrible situations had someone to turn to, some group that could cut through all the red tape and restrictions working at times to keep the criminals safe. So when I had the opportunity to create a series of rough, tough men who did what no one else dared to do, I jumped at it! Enter the Delta Force Brotherhood – men who do what needs to be done to get justice.

They're not mercenaries, they can't be bought for any price. But if they take your case you can be assured they'll do the best they can to finish the mission and give you what you wanted, what you needed no matter what.

I was thrilled to write the first book in the series, The Blind Bet and hope you'll come along and meet the Brotherhood – men who aren't for sale at any price but who can lose their hearts if the right woman comes along.

Excerpt:

It was hard to suppress the urge to drop onto the bed and pull her into his arms, to kiss the top of her head before moving on to kiss other parts of her body.
Strong. Smart. Sexy.
He couldn’t fault her reasoning, no matter how much he wanted to. She’d seen an injustice inflicted on her family and tried to work within the system to right the wrong. But when she couldn’t, she’d pursued her own path.
Much like he and his men did.
Dylan pushed the thought away. There’d be time later to ruminate on Jessie Lyon and what part she could have in his life. Right now they needed to get up to Mount Charleston, to the cabin the Brotherhood kept for retreats.
He went to the front of the trailer, away from temptation.
A pair of headlights illuminated the small road sign at the end of the lane for a few seconds before going black.
Dylan reached out and flicked the light switch, plunging them into darkness. He peered out the window as the car turned down the road, the engine going silent.
Could be somebody with a wonky car, the engine cutting out and the driver hoping for enough momentum to coast all the way home.
Could be something else.
The driver’s window came down as the car came level with the darkened trailer and something flew out.
It wasn’t a flurry of bullets.
It was much, much worse.


HARD PLAY

Ex-special forces ranger Dylan McCourt is a stone cold killer who cares only about his military brothers and doing what’s right. He’s used to giving orders and has zero patience for bullshit. Most people tremble when they look him in the eye, but not his infuriatingly sexy new rescue mission, Jessie Lyon. She just juts her chin and says she’s not leaving without clearing her father’s name, to hell with his rules. And was that a one finger salute he sees in her eyes or his imagination? Either way, he knows this is one job his training might not have prepared him for.

For fans of Maya Banks’ KGI series, prepare to meet the men of the Delta Force Brotherhood, a sexy new contemporary series where kicking ass and living hard is just how they roll.


About the author:
Sheryl Nantus was born in Montreal, Canada and grew up in Toronto, Canada. She met Martin Nantus through the online fanfiction community in 1993 and moved to the United States in 2000 in order to marry. A firm believer in the healing properties of peppermint and chai tea she continues to write short stories and novels while searching for the perfect cuppa.

She loves to play board games and write haiku, although not usually at the same time.

She has published multiple books with Entangled Publishing, St. Martin's Press/ Swerve, Samhain Publishing and Carina Press. Her website is www.sherylnantus.com

Author Twitter: @SherylNantus https://twitter.com/SherylNantus
Newsletter: Mailchimp


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, February 16, 2017

TANGLING WITH THE LONDON TYCOON

With: Suzi Jennings

Tangling with the London Tycoon is set amongst the romance of contemporary London, England, where pageantry and history meet modern city style. I loved following Kitty and Rosco around London, with the paparazzi close behind them, and I hope you do too. It’s a wonderful city to soak up the atmosphere and experience the thrills and dramas of falling in love.

London publishing tycoon Rosco Redmond closely guards his family, his business, and his privacy. When his sister’s wedding brings the paparazzi baying at his door, wedding photographer Kitty Mayfair unwittingly becomes his decoy girlfriend. But the mysterious Kitty has secrets of her own.
Despite the sexy hint of an appealing Irish brogue, Kitty’s new boss is bent on micromanaging his sister’s wedding and the crazy fake relationship she’s been dragged into. The only thing they seem to have in common, is that neither of them believes in happy-ever-afters. But the more time Kitty spends with the tycoon, the more she begins to suspect there’s a lot of fire beneath his cool facade.

With the past complicating their present, and the zoom lenses of photographers everywhere they go, the commitment phobic control freak and the globe-trotting free spirit clash and ignite.


TANGLING WITH THE LONDON TYCOON

London publishing tycoon Rosco Redmond closely guards his family, his business, and his privacy. When his sister’s wedding brings the paparazzi baying at his door, wedding photographer Kitty Mayfair unwittingly becomes his decoy girlfriend. But the mysterious Kitty has secrets of her own.
Despite the sexy hint of an appealing Irish brogue, Kitty’s new boss is bent on micromanaging his sister’s wedding and the crazy fake relationship she’s been dragged into. The only thing they seem to have in common, is that neither of them believes in happy-ever-afters. But the more time Kitty spends with the tycoon, the more she begins to suspect there’s a lot of fire beneath his cool facade.
With the past complicating their present, and the zoom lenses of photographers everywhere they go, the commitment phobic control freak and the globe-trotting free spirit clash and ignite.




About The Author:

Suzi Jennings lives in New Zealand and writes international stories of love and laughter.
It all started in childhood when she discovered reading, scribbled stories in handmade notebooks, and grew up to spend way too much money on books.
She writes contemporary romance set in beautiful heritage buildings, exciting cities, and picturesque country villages. Think ‘smart city chic with small town heart’ where family secrets, powerful friendships and enduring loves heal hearts and forge happily-ever-afters.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

In Lieu of a Card...



I’ve never been a fan of a card for every occasion. I have friends that are so up on that game, I don’t even try. They’ll have a gorgeous card for me to add my name to, not some 2 for a $1 thing from Dollar Tree that I’d show up with. They shell out $4 of these cards, sometimes more. And they’re fab, but looked at once and recycled.

In my local circle of friendlies, I have my card chicks who make me look like a good friend. In my online world...not so much. So last year, I started sending books in lieu of a card. It arrives instantly, half the time it’s my book, and I get a thank you. Cards don’t get a thank you anymore, unless money is included.

Gifting a book instead of a card is the thing at baby showers now. It’s brilliant because cards get lost in all that gift wrap and tissue paper. But Goodnight Moon is never left behind. Plus, it’s much faster than reading through eleventeen card options, buying one and signing your name. It’s even exchangeable! If you’re gifted a second copy of Just Married, you can return it for The Billionaire’s Runaway Bride. (Shameless promotion right there.)

For all the boyfriends and husbands Googling Top Gifts for Valentine’s Day or Last Minute Valentine’s Gifts for Her, go with a book. Honest, it’s easy. Go on, judge a book by the cover or by the rank on a bestseller list. Extra points if it’s sexy. Go for a locked-in-a-cabin romance if that’s your thing. If you love that she read 50 Shades, look at the ‘also boughts’ on that page. Grab it, send it to her email, type Happy Valentine’s Day in the comment box. BOOM.

You may have to hear about how clever you were to think of it. No worries, I’ll never tell.

PS: Any book with BILLIONAIRE in the title is as good as chocolate. Promise.


The Billionaire’s Runaway FiancĂ©e  

Robyn Tindall’s new boss has a penchant for running off new personal assistants before lunch, but she’s not about to let herself be fired by the billionaire with a bad attitude, no matter how good he looks. She’s determined to be indispensable and unflappable, until he surprises her with a crazy proposal.

Curtis Frye is impressed with his new assistant’s dedication and decides she could be the answer to his publicity problems if only she’ll agree to marry him. It’s the perfect plan. He can offer her the world—everything he thinks a woman desires. But Robyn doesn’t want anything money can buy. She wants a happily ever after with a man who loves her. If only he can convince her love is off the table, not to mention convince his heart of that…


Author Bio:
Jenna Bayley-Burke believes in falling in love, one story at a time. Be that in books, movies, or your honey’s stand-up routine. She tells fantasies of billionaires and beautiful locations, cowboys and fake engagements, women we all want as friends and men that we hope ours act like on occasion. www.jennabayleyburke.com




  

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