Thursday, November 26, 2015

Why tough girls deserve love too

One of the wonderful things about writing contemporary romance is the variety. Stories can be set almost anywhere provided it’s modern day, and there’s no limit to the type of characters an author can write about.

I love setting my novels in cities. I’m a city girl at heart (who loves a weekend in the country and the occasional read of a rural romance), but cities offer no end of inspiration for me.

In my City Love series, I’d already written the bubbly, positive heroine in The Boyfriend Sessions. Then I’d moved onto the independent, career-driven, go-getting leading lady in The Pitch.

In my latest release, I’ve tackled the tough girl. Scarlett Wong is the heroine of the third book in the series, Modern Heart. I must confess I was equal parts excited and daunted about writing Scarlett.

You know the type? She doesn’t do relationships (only one night stands) and she doesn’t let people get too close. This absolutely fascinated me. How would a woman like this find love?

It turned out to be quite a journey. Obviously it required a hero who was up to the challenge: enter John Hart, the good guy. I loved playing these two off against each other. Scarlett’s grumpiness and sarcasm, against his positivity and ability to laugh at the world. It was definitely a case of opposites attract.

One thing I discovered about writing tough girls is that you need to break them down first before they can be open to love. This is because they’ve built walls to protect themselves, but it doesn’t mean the vulnerability isn’t there. It’s just harder to reach. And when someone does get past the hard outer shell, there’s a whole new layer to explore.

I knew in writing Scarlett that she would elicit strong responses in readers. For instance, even my beta readers were divided. One beta loved Scarlett so much she claimed it was the best book in the series to date, but another beta didn’t share that view.

Either way, I’m glad to have given a tough girl a voice. It’s important to explore different—and sometimes difficult—characters. It’s what makes the contemporary romance genre so relevant. And who says tough girls don’t deserve love too?

I hope you’ll give a tough girl the chance to win your heart in my new release, Modern Heart.



Scarlett Wong has a reputation for toughness. A talented and often feared Creative Director at an award-winning Sydney advertising agency, she doesn’t do relationships, she doesn’t invite men home, and she never stays the night. The only people who see her softer side are her three closest girlfriends, and they’re finally convinced they’ve found her perfect man: John Hart.

Scarlett’s never been one to back down from a challenge and she’s not going to start now. But when John secures Scarlett an invitation from one of New York’s leading galleries to exhibit her artwork, it means putting herself out there like never before. Scarlett’s perfect man wouldn’t interfere in her life like this – would he?

For a woman who thinks she’s not scared of anything, Scarlett is about to discover she’s not as tough as she thinks. Will she take the chance to turn her secret passion into a career, risk the safety of her advertising career and let John in? Or will old habits die that little bit too hard?

Release date: 26 November, 2015.

Where to find Belinda:
Twitter: @bwilliamsbooks

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Music Research

Giveaway Alert!

For every book or novella I write, I always have to do some research. When I had the idea for His New Jam, I realized I would have to do a whole lot of research. All I know about music is that I love to listen to it.

I know absolutely nothing about playing music. I’ve never picked up an instrument—not even the plastic recorders my kids first learned on in third grade. In addition, I went to a college so small that we didn’t have a marching band. I had no idea how to create characters who live that kind of life—they’re band nerds after all.

Lucky for me, I have kids who have all taken music lessons and I have a friend who played in her college marching band. And of course, YouTube became my research partner.

Because I know nothing about how to read music or play an instrument, I found myself asking my kids stupid questions like, “Can you play any song on a saxophone?” (Two of my three play the sax.) I was often met with a sad shake of their heads before getting an answer. I then turned to YouTube and discovered Justin Ward. He’s a sax player who does covers of all kinds of songs, so I used his playing for inspiration for Hunter.

Then I created a questionnaire for my friend who played in the marching band and she was kind enough to not only answer the questions, but she also passed them on to another woman who played in the band at another school. Being able to get multiple perspectives always helps. They answered questions about practice times and schedules and games and cliques within the band. They also taught me about the good-natured teasing and name calling between groups.

I took all of that information and applied it to my imaginary school (which doesn’t even get a name, but is very loosely based on Northwestern University) and His New Jam was born.


Sydney Peters can’t wait to finally drop the cymbals in marching band and devote time to her true love: drums. With the semester coming to a close, she’s blocking out the cacophony during practice, especially sax serenades from Hunter Reed. But when Hunter offers her a paid gig as a drummer in his band, Sydney quickly changes her tune. The two favor different styles, but they make beautiful music together…in more ways than one.

Hunter is fascinated by Sydney’s distant allure. He might be a ladies’ man on campus, but the sarcastic cymbalist is impervious to his advances. When Hunter sees how passionate Sydney is behind the drums, he orchestrates a plan to find out if she kisses like she plays. What he doesn’t anticipate, however, is falling so hard. But will the repercussions of his past crash down on his chance at something real?

Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo 

Author contact:

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends finding love. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Taking a (Giant) Leap

The craziest, most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done is take an unexpected trip to Rio de Janeiro to jump off a cliff. 

I was a junior in college and studying abroad in northeastern Brazil, and I had the chance to tack on an extra six weeks of travel after the program ended. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I’d had a bit of a romantic entanglement in one city I’d visited, and we’d kept in touch as my program took me other places. When Romantic Entanglement (RE) invited me to come back, it seemed as good an idea as any. 

One afternoon I was flipping through my Lonely Planet guide, killing time before a phone call I’d scheduled with RE to confirm my visit, when I saw an inset about hang gliding in Rio. I’m not big on heights. Jumping into water, even from the edge of a pool, terrifies me. But I had this moment that felt partly like an epiphany and partly like a punch in the gut. 

Why had I committed to going back to a city I already knew, to visit someone I wasn’t in love with, when there was a whole world waiting for me—a world symbolized, in that moment, by wings soaring over the sea? 

I didn’t know how to get out of my commitment to RE. At the time, it didn’t really occur to me that I had that choice. But in the end it was RE who let me off the hook. I called when I said I would, only to find out that I maybe shouldn’t come to visit because there was maybe sort of almost a hundred percent definitely another girlfriend coming to visit at the same time. (It was suggested that I come later instead, an invitation I not so politely declined.)

In HOW TO FALL, the heroine, Julia, realizes that she didn’t come to Brazil to meet someone, and that she really is okay traveling on her own. Julia and I are different in a lot of ways, but her moment of realization stems directly from the time when I was twenty-one and suddenly found myself with six weeks in Brazil and zero plans.

But I’d traveled alone before, and I’m pretty good at winging it. I took a bus to Salvador, then São Paulo (36 hours!), and then to the waterfalls where my hero and heroine meet. I attended the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. I volunteered for a group of scientists and cleaned dolphin skulls with a toothbrush (perhaps a story for another time). I spent a week in Rio over New Year’s with friends. And you’d better believe I jumped off that cliff, hollering all the way down. 

What’s the craziest, most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done? Share in the comments!  


Julia had never been with a stranger. Never had a one-night stand. Ever since the summer after her senior year in high school, when Liz discovered what could happen when boys said I love you, Julia had been so, so careful not to get hurt, physically as well as emotionally. But if she’d ever wondered whether there was some piece missing, now she knew exactly what it was.

Because she’d never felt herself fall apart like this, her whole body unraveling from the feel of his strong arms circling her waist and pulling her close as his lips found hers. It was everything she’d felt in the cab, everything she’d let run through her mind as she lay awake. Everything she’d never before let herself dream.

She couldn’t stop kissing him. Literally could not. There could be an earthquake, a fire, an explosion—who would notice? The whole world could come crashing down and it wouldn’t be enough for her to pull away. She’d always wondered what other people were talking about when they got that misty look in their eyes, going on about passion and fireworks and how just kissing someone could make them entirely melt.

Now she knew. There seemed to be a direct line from her lips to her thighs, because the deeper Blake kissed her the more she felt it all the way down.

Her hips pressed hard against his. Ordinarily she would have felt self-conscious about so obviously signaling her desires. But that little voice she always carried around—the one that watched everything while recording a tally of all her rights and wrongs—was oddly silent now.

Or maybe that was the same voice making an unholy chorus of pants and whimpers in Blake’s ear. When he slid his palm under the cup of her bikini, the feeling of skin on skin made her moan. It felt so good that Julia bucked her hips forward and widened her legs around his waist. How could she be this breathless when they were still—technically—clothed?

How to Fall

One week of adventure might just lead to love…

Julia Evans has always put others ahead of herself—her high school math students, her troubled best friend, and her ex. But with New Year's approaching, she buys a round trip ticket to Brazil. For one week, she can put her needs first. She can meet a stranger in the hotel pool at midnight and dance all night on the beach.

Screenwriter Blake Williams has to keep moving before Oz’s latest scandal catches up to him. But the dark-haired beauty with a backpack and an adventurous streak is messing with his plans. He can’t seem to walk away from her. But secrets have a way of coming out, and when the week is up, Julia and Blake will have to decide if they’re jumping into the biggest adventure of all or playing it safe.

Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them. She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx.

Find Rebecca on Facebook [], Twitter [], Instagram [] and Google+ []. Check out her books and sign up for her newsletter at

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tell Me You Need Me

With: Joya Ryan

Giveaway Alert!


Playing dirty can be the best kind of fun…

Chloe Franklin wouldn’t call herself a commitment-phobe, so much as she’s allergic to anything long term. She loves the sexy, sweaty and intensely hot hours of the night that come before the sun rises, though. Especially when those nights are spent with Search-and-Rescuer Gage McGraw…

Gage loves his job, but there is one thing he’s starting to like more than the rush of a mission—a stacked blonde with a mouth that haunts his dreams. Every time he steps foot in the sleepy town of Beaufort, he hooks up with Chloe. But he’s tired of hooks-ups. He wants more.
Just the sight of G
age gets Chloe’s blood going. Hot, bothered, and finally naked, she’s ready for their night to start. But before he takes her, he whispers what his intentions really are…and then the games really begin.

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Author Bio:
National and international bestselling author Joya Ryan is the author of more than 15 adult and new adult romance novels. Passionate about both cooking and dancing (despite not being too skilled at the latter), she loves traveling and searching out new adventures.

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Friday, November 20, 2015


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

Hi, everyone! So happy to be back at Just Contemporary Romance and among fellow romance lovers! 

Where do you go to heal? Where do you go to forget a horror that’s seared in your memory? This is the problem facing my hero Ethan Saunders in Once Touched. A photojournalist who was been embedded with an army unit in Afghanistan, he’s returned to the United States wounded in body and spirit. 

Ethan heads for Silver Creek Ranch, a sprawling sheep and cattle ranch in Northern California that’s run by the Knowleses, long-time friends of his family. Silver Creek is a beautiful place. More important for Ethan, it’s one where four-legged creatures far out number the two-legged variety. Determined to hide away, he doesn’t want to have to deal with people and their questions.

It’s too bad Ethan hasn’t taken into account that little Quinn Knowles, the pig-tailed kid he used to lead around on her pinto pony, is all grown up. Now a spirited and beautiful woman, he finds himself reluctantly drawn to her.

Were Quinn Knowles to be handed a frog with the promise that her kiss could transform the amphibian into a prince, she’d open her fingers and let it hop away unbussed to the nearest lily pad. She’d much rather the frog remain a frog. What would she possibly want with a human male--prince or commoner--hanging around?  

Quinn seems to have it all: She has a great job caring for the livestock at Silver Creek Ranch and rescuing animals she finds in need. She has wonderful friends and a supportive family. But no one’s life is perfect, not even Quinn’s. She’s guarding a secret fear, a deep-seated anxiety. She needs someone she can trust to help her overcome her problem. And that someone can’t be from her circle of friends or family. 

When Quinn’s father asks her to supervise Ethan as he takes on chores at the ranch, she’s hesitant, believing the photojournalist still too injured to subject his body to physical labor. But there’s another reason for her hesitancy. Something about Ethan calls to her as no man ever has.   

It’s possible that Ethan Saunders might be the man whose kiss changes everything...

From Once Touched:

A dusty red truck pulled up alongside him. The girl jumped out of it. He still couldn’t think of Quinn Knowles as anything but a little girl. Of his memories of Silver Creek Ranch, the ones of her as a pigtailed kid stood out.

She’d been kind of cute, with a cowboy hat that was a couple of sizes too big for her. It used to slip forward, covering her face, and he would tip it back up just to see how long it took before it slid down again. Each time he adjusted it, she’d give him a gap-toothed grin. She’d been one happy kid on the back of that shaggy Shetland.

Because his parents had drilled home the fact that he was extremely lucky to be riding out with the Knowleses and learning how to cut cattle from the herd and rope them, he was okay with leading her around—it gave him a chance to study the horses in the corrals and pastures. He’d lift her onto the saddle, guide her pink cowboy boots into the stirrups, and walk by her pony’s side while she chattered to the pony as if he were her best friend. No matter how long they walked, she never wanted to get off that pony. What had she called it again?

He hated that his memory, like his body, kept failing him.

He frowned as he tried to retrieve the name. He’d been able to identify all the horses on the guest ranch—they’d been his gold standard against which every horse he’d ridden since was measured.

No matter how spotty his memory, it was hard to reconcile the pipsqueak that she’d been with the Quinn Knowles of today. With her coltish legs, she stood nearly as tall as he. She must be in her twenties . . . so, not a girl. Yet she nevertheless struck him as impossibly young. Not surprising when he felt as old as death.

Giveaway Alert!
I’m going to be giving away a copy of Once Touched (paper or e-book, winner’s choice--U.S. residents only, please) and a $20.00 Amazon gift card. To enter, just leave a comment below. The winner will be chosen at random by Just Contemporary Romance.

Once Touched

The youngest of the three Knowles siblings, Quinn has in her blood the love of the land and its beautiful creatures. Raising enough money to build an animal sanctuary is a dream Quinn lives every day—while fending off her family’s well-intentioned matchmaking schemes. Though harboring secret fears about intimacy, Quinn soon realizes she cannot fight her growing attraction to a man who has suddenly entered her life.

Scarred by his months in Afghanistan and the violence he witnessed there through his camera lens, photojournalist Ethan Saunders throws himself into hard ranching work as a prescription for healing. But falling for Quinn has given him the one thing he thought he’d lost forever: hope. Ethan discovers that Quinn, like the innocent animals she rescues, is shy, and afraid of entrusting her heart to a man. Passion soon awakens Ethan’s strength, and his tender seduction may be just what Quinn needs to believe in herself—and in his love.

Buy Links for Once Touched:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Kobo | iTunes

Author Bio:
Bestselling contemporary romance author Laura Moore's first story filled a coffee-stained notebook before she realized she might actually have written a love story that others would enjoy. Ride A Dark Horse was published a year later.

An accomplished equestrian and lifelong animal lover, Laura Moore lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two children and their black Lab. Their cat, Zevon, keeps them all in line.

You can find Laura at her web site: -- And do please sign up for my newsletter!
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Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Nov. 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. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Vacation Inspiration!

Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes it's a scene from a TV show or lyric of a song on the radio. Other times it's seeing someone or something happening around me—a tidbit of a conversation, a glance between friends or lovers, a giggle and a shy smile. Anything can be the initial trigger to a full story inspiration.

For THE HOMETOWN HOAX inspiration came from trying to plan a family camping trip. I spent a week researching different campgrounds and cabins within a reasonable driving distance and was trying to find the perfect one for a summer weekend getaway with the family. At the same time, I was trying to brainstorm ideas for a new Entangled book. I knew I wanted to write a book about going home for a family commitment but I wanted it have some twist. Before I knew it, I wasn't researching cabins for our trip anymore, but was doing book research instead. Suddenly the mountain town of Cutter's Creek and Miller's Campground were created! By the end of the week, I was no closer to booking a family vacation, but I had most of The Hometown Hoax plotted out! 

We never did go camping this past summer…

As I write this, I'm sitting poolside in Mexico. We're here for a week for a family wedding and tagged on a few extra days to just relax and hang out with family we don't get to see often enough. I swear all we do each day is eat, swim, and drink! lol. We've settled in fairly well to the party pool lifestyle. Even though I'm on vacation, that doesn't mean I'm not still thinking about what I'm going to write next. And wow, is there every a lot of inspiration here!! Maybe it'll be a book about a heroine who shows up solo to her brother's Mexican wedding and falls for the Mariachi guitarist...or the other solo guy on the Bride's side of the family! Maybe the heroine's signed on to be a new resort poolside entertainer but has the hots for her new boss or a very intriguing guest. The possibilities are endless!

Even last night, at the wedding reception, there was a moment when my in-laws were dancing that was so romantic, I just know it's going in a book someday! I never know when or where inspiration will hit--if it'll be for a story line, scene, character, or simply a place. But any one of those simple triggers can spiral into a full-fledged novel!

~ Heather Thurmeier

The Hometown Hoax

Leaving was hard, but staying away might be impossible.

Tessa Cutter escaped her tiny hometown and chased her artistic dreams straight to Manhattan. Now she’s home for a camping trip with her family. To keep them off her back, she makes up the perfect pretend boyfriend—successful, important, and most of all, permanently located in New York.

Logan Ridley lost everything when his Manhattan-based personal training studio shut down. Luckily, a friend got him a position as a gym teacher in the small town of Cutter’s Creek. He’s heard a lot about the infamous Tessa, but she’s even better than he imagined. Except, she seems to hate everything about the small town he’s growing to love. 

The chemistry sparking between them is impossible to ignore, but falling for Logan will trap Tessa in the small town she worked so hard to escape. If they have any hope of a future together, he’ll have to convince her that everything she wants has been in Cutter’s Creek all along…


About Heather Thurmeier:
Heather Thurmeier is a lover of margaritas and a hater of spiders. Born and raised in the Canadian prairies, she now lives in New York where she’s become an odd Canuck-Yankee hybrid. Heather’s currently writing her next romance, which will probably be filled with sassy heroines, sexy heroes that make your heart pound, laugh out loud moments and always a happily ever after. She loves to hear from readers on social media and at 

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Compromising Her Position

Giveaway Alert!


He's not who she expected, but he's exactly the man she needs…

When Chelsea Wayne drags Santa into a supply closet for a little office party nookie, she assumes the man in the suit is her on-again/off-again coworker boyfriend. Instead, it's Rafe St. Sebastian, a man known for his hard-driving ways in business as well as the bedroom--and, kill her now, the brand spanking new owner of Las Ventanas--who grants her naughtiest Christmas wishes.

So much for her reputation, not to mention her career.

Rafe needs to close three acquisitions to prove to his father he's ready to take the helm of St. Sebastian Enterprises. A hot interlude in a supply closet after deal number two seems like the perfect illicit Christmas bonus. Unfortunately, when that "bonus" becomes the key to the final deal, he finds himself back in bed--so to speak--with Chelsea, and after their steamy tryst, he's not interested in keeping things professional…
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Author Bio: 
Wine lover, sleep fanatic, and USA Today Bestselling author of sexy contemporary romance novels, Samanthe Beck lives in Malibu, California, with her long-suffering but extremely adorable husband and their elementary-aged stuntman-in-training. Throw in a furry ninja named Kitty and Bebe the trash talking Chihuahua and you get the whole, chaotic picture.
When not clinging to sanity by her fingernails or dreaming up fun, fan-your-cheeks sexy ways to get her characters into compromising positions, she searches for the perfect cabernet to pair with Ambien.
Author Website:
Author Twitter: @SamantheBeck1

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