Saturday, December 20, 2014

Free Romance Novel Finds for the Holidays

Here is the first installation of free romance stories for your holiday reading. Perfect for whenever the snow is coming down or you're resting after all the cookie-eating. Best of all, these are free romance novels and stories, so no need to worry about spending dough on yourself.  Happy Holidays!

First up is a Hanukkah romance called Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

You can get it here:

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Frozen: a Winter Romance Anthology BlogTour

Thanks for coming to the next stop on the blog tour. The holidays are right around the corner and so is all the great music that brings to mind good times with family, romantic evenings in front of the fire, delicious food and too much eggnog, mistletoe and twinkle lights. Just one song can transport you. 

Music is a huge part of my writing process. Every story I write gets its own playlist of songs that have moods and words that inspire me. Today I present to you my playlist for Falling on Ice, my story in Frozen: a Winter Romance Anthology.  I really love this playlist and I hope you do too. It's a great mix of songs that fit Sam and Jake's journey. 

Ice sculptor Sam McLeod, during hard times. She's lost her boyfriend and business partner and she's on the brink of losing her business after a competitor steals all of her clients. But Sam is tough. She is not going down without a fight. Her last chance is to take top prize at the Annual Ice Sculpting National Championship held in her hometown of Rigby, Alaska.

Formerly famous Jake Pane fled the New York art scene and came to Rigby to reinvent himself and his art. He wants back in, and all he has to do is show everyone that he can produce something new and amazing. In the meantime, he's taking the ice sculpting world of Rigby by storm.

When Sam slips and falls off of an icy ladder at Nationals into the arms of Jake Pane, it seems like the last thing she needs. Nothing good could come out of getting romantically involved with her competitor. Or maybe together they can win the greatest prize of all.
My story is the final piece of a beautiful anthology. It is preceded by 10 stories written by 10 talented authors. Check them out below, along with links to find the book.

The Ice Hotel Wedding Test
Charmaine Pauls
Jess and Derrick have been together for twelve years. When Jess finally gives Derrick an ultimatum, tie the knot or set her free, he proposes a bizarre test to decide their destiny.

South-African born Charmaine Pauls is a gypsy at heart who loves to look at the world through the lens of her camera. Before taking up writing full time, the novelist worked in public relations, advertising, journalism and marketing. She resides in Chile with her husband and children.

Love Thaws a Frozen Heart
Valerie J. Clarizio 
Casey is hell bent on getting Noah to sign divorce papers. Hiding out at his camp, Noah is hell
bent on not signing. Procuring a snowmobile, Casey sets out in a blinding snowstorm to find
him. After crashing, she is near death when Noah finds her. Will a few cabin-bound days cause
either of them to change their mind?

Valerie Clarizio grew up in the north woods in a house full of brothers. She can hunt, fish, and survive in the great outdoors with the best of them.

Lord of Ice 
April Marcom 
Jack Frost gave his heart to Lilly the day she was born, making her the perfect leverage for a fire
spirit whose heart is set on becoming Lord of Ice.

April Marcom is a teacher, author, and mother of three who enjoys the slow, peaceful life of the countryside.

Frozen Moments ('A Waiting For Dusk' story)
Nancy Pennick 
Drew keeps proposing. Kate keeps saying no. It’s their little game. Can the holiday season
change that? Kate has lost her best friend, and Drew does his best to cheer her up in this
delightful story of love and memories.

Nancy Pennick had a great career in teaching, before finding a second calling as a writer. She loves to travel, garden and have a good cup of tea nearby.

Frozen In Time
Christina Kirby 
Lizbeth travels the world as a freelance photographer and answers to no one. After her last relationship, that’s exactly how she wants her life to be, easy and all her own. 
Jonas is staying at his family’s cabin while he deals with the loss of a fellow fallen solider. He wants nothing more than to be left alone and to avoid Christmas. Neither plan on spending Christmas with a
stranger or finding the person who’s exactly what each other needs.

Christina Kirby is a stay-at-home mom who loves books and traveling, though with two small kids the love of books is more convenient.

Frozen With Possibilities
Rhonda Brutt 
A resort on the shores of Lake Superior in the middle of December was not exactly what Tiffany
had in mind for a mid-winter vacation. But when she agreed to accompany her progressive
grandmother on this frozen trip, she discovered that life is filled with possibilities, if you only go
after them.

Rhoda Brutt lives in the Minneapolis metropolitan area and enjoys swimming, concerts, and making up excuses to get out of cooking.

Frozen Heart Thawing
Nicole Angeleen 
In the depths of winter, Thomas Everett grudgingly meets his betrothed, Nila Sarvani, the
daughter of a powerful sheikh. The passion they share takes them both by surprise, but the
ruthlessness of American business threatens to tear them apart. Nila must decide if her dreams
can be realized if she allows herself to fall in love.

Nicole Angeleen is a writer from Shawnee, Kansas. When she is not writing, she spends her time on the beach, traveling, and being a rabid and obsessive sports fan.

Frozen Dreams
Elena Kane 
In a world surrounded by snow and magic, Cara finds herself grossly out of place. Ridiculed by all, she lives her life in terror from perpetual bullies until she runs into a stranger in town. 
Ben is everything she always wanted, but never expected. Better yet, he sees past her differences.
Could Ben be her dream come true?

Elena Kane is a country girl living each day to the fullest; creating characters that touch the heart and stick with you.

Her Frozen Heart
Tara Fox Hall 
Alaric has always loved the winter season, second only to his love of spells and sorcery. When
his beautiful neighbor Cassandra reveals she’s a natural witch, he’s instantly smitten, even as he
despairs of attracting her interest. Is there hope for a magical couple who thrive in different

Tara Fox Hall divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, 
chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. 

The Thawing of Holly’s Heart
Marilyn Gardiner 
What happens when a single mother meets an old friend and, despite the conviction that she
will never again open her heart to another man, finds herself falling in love?

Marilyn Gardiner has published in many newspapers and magazines, taught a creative writing class, tutored adults learning to read, and volunteered in the public school system. Her book shelf holds eleven published novels, and two more not yet published.

You can find this wonderful anthology here:

Satin Romance


Barnes and Noble

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Five Random Facts About Me

I'm trying very hard to be good.  And that means finishing edits on Chasing Storm and working on getting past this 40,000 word sticky point that I am in in my current work. I love writing romance, and while love is a very strong theme in this new WIP, it is definitely not a romance novel. It isn't coming easily. It's painful. I've started my typical late night show watching avoidance. I'm not ready to share. So I thought I would share a few things about myself instead.
Without much further procrastination, here goes:
Five facts about me:

1) I use my delightfully dirty mind to write contemporary romance novels. But I write other things too. I have written (and desperately need to finish revising) a YA novel. I finished it before I started using Scrivener and it is just a monster to try and fit it together. I also write literary fiction too.

2) I once went on a beautiful trip to Costa Rica with my husband and now I only have a taste for coffee from there. Right now, I'm out of my CR coffee and am drinking some Kona blend from target. I'm sorry, Hawaii. It's not you, it's me.

3) I'm 35 and wish I had a pony. Actually a horse, but I also insist on calling all horses "pony". I have a 5 year old, so I believe this is acceptable. True horsepersons probably find this irritating.

4) My favorite desert is Baked Alaska. Of course, I am now allergic to almost every ingredient in it, but a girl can dream. Now I eat frozen grapes and strange hypoallergenic cookies. My life is rich and fulfilling.

5) For a large portion of my youth, I was in love with Spot Conlon from Newsies. Never fear Brooklyn is here. Pardon me, I just realized that I need to go buy my husband a slingshot. And a cane. And a newsie cap.

Bye for now,
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Project

I got so excited about the release of Falling on Ice in the Frozen anthology that I dreamed up (okay, started writing, I'll admit it) a prequel.  It's the story of Sam before everything falls apart. But it's also the story of her best friend, Polly.  Sam is fighting to stay in Rigby, the only place she's ever known, and Polly is just coming back from 10 years away.  She shocked everyone when she split the day after high school graduation. She went to the city and never looked back--but now that she's back and trying to open her own restaurant, she has to face the past she tried to leave behind, which just might come in the form of her former high school flame turned smokin' hot handyman.  Right now I'm calling it Serving Up Love, but that might change.

Check out my inspiration board for the project on Pinterest!

 I have boards for almost all the projects I am currently working on so make sure to follow my pins to stay up to date on all my stories.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Getting Inspired

I've told you a little about my writing process, so you now know that I get most of my crazy ideas right as I am about to drift off to sleep. I decided to take go one step deeper and make my storm of ideas into a Pinterest board.  Frozen: a Winter Anthology released yesterday (wahoo!!), so to celebrate, I made an inspiration board for my contribution to the anthology, Falling on Ice.  I hope you enjoy it!  My original thoughts about the town of Rigby, some of the settings for important scenes, and the main characters are all there for your visual enjoyment.  Check it out, and follow me on Pinterest.
Stay tuned for a Chasing Storm Pinterest board.  In the meantime, you can purchase Frozen and read my story here.

Have a delicious Halloween!
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

How I Write

Here is a glimpse into my writing life. For the most part, I write late at night. A cup of tea, some music, and my laptop. I like to make a playlist using google play (which is awesome!) when I get an idea. Then I make a "sort-of" outline, including character sketches with pictures (I love this part.  Channing Tatum may or may not be a character inspiration for a character in the new book I'm writing. Eye candy!).  I use Scrivener for this. It's a wonderful program. Other times I like to write in the morning at a coffee shop. I generally write about 2000 words in a sitting, and try to average that per day. I like to read passages aloud as I edit on hardcopy, but sometimes I do it on screen.
I get my ideas mostly when I am getting ready to go to sleep, so I keep a notebook to write down everything.
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Friday, October 10, 2014

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

What I Am Reading-October Edition

Let's see...I finished Ocean at the End of the Lane. Loved it. It was literally perfection.  Not a romance really, but it was magical, horrible, and exquisite all at the same time. I'm still thinking about it.

Also, I really liked I Want Candy, which featured the world's longest sex scene, that was pretty hot, but also kind of weird. I can't decide if it was hotter or weirder. A tie, I guess. But still a very fun book.

Okay, so now for this month.
The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
Okay, so I l didn't love the cover, but I loved this book. It was a different kind of romance set in an amazing restaurant in Nantucket and the descriptions of menus and imagery were really fabulous. I felt like the characters were believable, the loyalty in the story was just...sigh. My only sort of criticism is that there was a long part toward the end that I felt like kind of dragged out a bit, and then the resolution was sort of dealt with too quickly and incompletely. Even so, I really liked this book. It left me hoping for a sequel. Elin Hilderbrand is a wonderful writer.  She almost made me forget that my only experience with Nantucket was a police officer accidentally accusing me of being nude when I was wearing my light pink J. Crew bikini on a trip there in high school.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
 One of my delightful book-club friends picked this book for our read this month.  It's really interesting. I was hooked right away. Secret codes, ancient tomes, hackers. Um, yes. Sign me up. I'm not too far in but I'm sort of hoping it's going to be like Alif the Unseen meets the DaVinci Code.
Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly
 I'm about halfway through this and I'm not loving it. If I have an extreme change of heart, you might here more from me, otherwise, eh.

And below are the Bookbub deals I got this week (FREE! Yay!) and will read this month as soon as I'm done with the rest of the group.  I'm really looking forward to them all.  They're totally different from each other and should be quite entertaining.

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It's Almost Time...and a Giveaway!

My story Falling on Ice comes out in Frozen A Winter Anthology on October 29th!  To celebrate we are holding a giveaway!  The prizes are pretty great, so enter and share with friends!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We're also having a facebook party with more games and prizes and a chance to meet the authors.  Don't miss out!  Search for New Release Party-"Frozen" on Facebook and put it on your calendar.

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A New Kind of Story

I've been working on something different. It's a love story of sorts, but not in the traditional way, and I'm really enjoying the departure.  It's beautiful and painful and very slow going.  Anyway, that's why I've been so quiet. I am completely lost in a world of mysteries and lost love and redemption.

I'm not ready to share yet, and about this story, I may not share until it's ready to come out in print.  But I promise lots of juicy tidbits from my other romance pieces soon. For now, I will just leave you with this quote, by Margaret Atwood.  She said exactly what I want to say.

“When you are in the middle of a story it isn't a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It's only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or to someone else.”

― Margaret AtwoodAlias Grace

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What I'm Reading--September Edition (So far)

It's been a busy month!  Finished a novel, getting ready for my short story to be published, sending kids back to preschool, traveling to Maine for my best friend's wedding, and going to Disney World (in a few days).  So here's my current reading list.
So far I am loving this one by Susan Donovan, set in North Carolina.
I can't wait to find out what happens. I'm finding the hero pretty darn delicious right now.
So far, this is beautiful and dark.  I'll let you know what I think when it's finished.  
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What I read--August

I read some really great books in August.  I went on a bit of a crazy Lauren Oliver and Veronica Roth binge-reading fest and loved it.  That's what trilogies are for, right?  Here they are in no particular order.

Lauren Oliver shows a mastery of the voice of a high school mean girl in this poignant work.  I really love her writing style and found this compelling and heart-wrenching.  

Though this one was very well-written, I didn't love it.  I just wanted to solve the mystery and felt like I wasn't into the storytelling enough to exercise patience.  I might have skimmed just to find out what happened.  Not the uathor's fault.  But when I start out knowing that there's a mystery to be unravelled, I sometimes do this.

I liked this story.  I definitely want to find out what happens next.  I could stand with a little less architectural description and I'm not sure I love the ghost, but neither thing made me not really like the book. 
I really loved this trilogy.  Even if at times I found the concept a little more than improbable. Oliver's writing is so descriptive, and even though it's maybe a little flowery, it was perfect.  I practically fell in love with the coupling myself.

I'll confess, I watched the movie and then had to know what happened.  Loved the premise.  I'm still reflecting on the last book and trying to decide if I'm cool with it or not.  

So Stephen King basically tells us how he writes in this memoir and manual.  Much of it was great advice and I will consider it when I am crafting from now on.  But not all of it.  It may be okay to plot in advance and not mean you are dull.
I would actually recommend all of these books.  Even if you aren't into YA, I really think that Lauren Oliver's trilogy is so full of beautiful and heartbreaking romance that any romance novel fan would be sucked in, lifted up, destroyed, and fulfilled by it.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Working on a little cover fun.  Which one do you like best?

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Did you know that you can get the Elements of Style by William Strunk for free on Kindle?  I've had my copy since 10th grade, but it never hurts to have a second one.
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New Work

I've been working on some new things while taking some time away from Chasing Storm before I dig in to work on a second draft.  This is something exotic and different, a departure from my usual work. I'm calling it Hotel Hedo for now, but that will probably change.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this scene.

The rubber tires screeched as the plane touched down at the Princess Juliana International airport in St. Maarten.  The landing was a bit rough—though the sky had cleared, the wind still gusted.  Kate gathered her bottle of water and her bag onto her lap while she waited to deplane.  She felt a little woozy after the turbulence and the groping and the stiff drink.  She wiped a finger across the screen turning her phone’s power back on to check her messages.  Nothing from Moira.  Eight new messages from work, all about the new advertising and PR campaign for SED, Incorporated.  It was probably the most important pitch she’d ever worked on—it would be worth more than 50% of her firm’s total income for the year if her team got it.  But, she reminded herself, everything was done from storyboards to mockups.  The only thing any of her co-workers should’ve been doing was polishing and perfecting.  
Kate glanced at the emails and shot back quick responses to the questions.  Font, Frutiger.  Color, Maroon.  The first tagline.  Not a comma, a period.  Conde Nast.  The pressure on the inside of her skull was mounting—a sure sign of a major headache.  Martin had stepped out into the aisle and was actually waiting for her to go first.  She slid the phone into the pocket of her linen pants and stepped out of the row.  She glanced up and reached with her hand toward the overhead compartment where she had stowed her carry-on, but it was already open, and empty.  She had completely forgotten about the luggage falling out during the rough flight.  Her eyes searched and then came to a rest on a completely horrifying sight.  Her bag had come unlatched, and all of her clothes, toiletries, and lingerie were strewn about the first-class cabin.  A stewardess caught her mortified expression and made a dash toward a particularly lacy black pair of panties.  Kate stumbled toward the suitcase, tripping over someone’s protruding briefcase, and snatching up her bikini and a silk camisole as well as her makeup bag.  She stuffed them back into her suitcase and slammed it shut.  
Her hair had fallen in her face and her blouse had come untucked during the mad scrambling.  Holding her damaged suitcase firmly in her right hand, she walked back to her row, where Martin was still standing.  He had an incredibly devilish grin on his face, and she cocked her head in confusion—that is until the red silk thong dangling from his finger caught her eye.  Her cheeks matched her panties, as she snatched them out of his hand and stuffed them into her pocket.  Then she swung her bag up onto her shoulder and stomped off of the plane.  
“You’re welcome,” Martin called after her.  
Kate didn’t look back as she marched down the stairs and along the path marked with orange cones to the gate door for the terminal.  Inside, she quickly located the transportation sign and headed toward it without looking back.  She couldn’t even think about facing that cad.  I mean, who does that…picks up a lady’s underwear and holds it up for all the world to see.  The airport was crowded with tourists, flowing caftans and Hawaiian shirts abounded.  Kate could see a small desk with a stack of brochures and one small man trying to serve the long line of stranded, disgruntled passengers.  She took her place at the end of the line, which was clearly moving on Caribbean time, not New York time.  The weekend would probably be over before she made it to the front.
“What are you doing?” Martin’s sexy voice and breath on the back of her neck made her jump.
“What’s it look like?”
“I’ve got my own transport.”
“How nice for you.”
“Is this about the panties?”
Kate spun to face him, her arms crossed firmly across her chest, anger blazing in her hazel eyes.  She was silent as her glare burned into him.  He threw his hands up in surrender, but his eyes were still smiling.
“You don’t even feel bad about that, do you?”
“Not really.  Nice choice though.  Red suits you.”
“You’re a pervert.”

“I’m not the one who left my undies all over a plane.”  He extracted gunmetal grey aviator shades from his pocket and slid them on his nose, a look of smug satisfaction on his face.  Then he grasped the handle of her smashed roller bag and started toward the glass door, a spring in his step.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Finally done with the first draft of my latest work, Chasing Storm.  It's full of strong tornadoes and even stronger chemistry.
Here's an excerpt.  Enjoy!
“Alright, I’m here.  I’m here.”  Jen pushed past Anna through the open doorway.  “I brought the wine,” she announced swinging the bottle over her shoulder as she strode into the kitchen.
“Pour me a big one,” Anna said as she tagged behind.
Anna’s kitchen was a small galley style with a cutout that faced into the living room area.  It was modern and clean with bright pendant lighting, glistening stainless steel appliances, and white cupboards and quartz countertops, which were covered with small takeout boxes from the local thai place.  Jen looked over the selection and scooped out some rice and cashew chicken.  She pushed herself onto the counter and immediately started pushing the food into her mouth with chopsticks.
“Spill,” she said through a mouth full of food.
Anna filled a goblet with the Georgia scuppernong and took a large swig, filling her mouth with the spicy sweetness before she spoke. “They want us to share the show.”
“You got the show!?  That’s great! I thought you called me to mope.  This is a celebration!”
“Jen, are you listening?  They want me to co-host the show with that…that Creighton.”
Jen plucked Anna’s glass off of the counter and took a gulp.  “Creighton?  I thought he was hot…Wow, I picked a good one.  I forgot how much I love scuppernong.”
“Mmmm…I hadn’t noticed,” Anna lied.  
“Yeah, right.”  Jen eyed her critically as she filled her own glass neatly to the brim.  “Just the fact that you’re denying means you thought he was really hot.”
“In that case, I admit that he is reasonably attractive.  But that’s not the point.”
Jen sighed audibly.  “What’s the point then?”
“I can’t do it.”
“Of course you can.”
“Nope, it would be torture.”
“Oh, yes, the absolute torture of being on a television show with a gorgeous hunk.  The horror!” Jen mocked.
“Jen!  I’m serious—I can’t stand him.  The last thing I would want to do is be associated with him.  It would ruin my credibility.”  
Jen rolled her eyes.  “Give me a break, Anna.  It’s a show.  I doubt it’s going to mar your scientific record.”
“He’s a glorified tour guide who spent all of last season following me around.”

“I’d like to have him follow me around,” Jen muttered from behind her wineglass.  
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Falling on Ice

My novella "Falling on Ice" will be released in late October as part of Melange books Frozen Anthology!  I couldn't be more thrilled.  In fact, I got so excited, I made a fake cover.  I couldn't help myself.  Consider it a little amuse-bouche before the main course.  Until then, here it is.

After the horrible year ice sculptor Sam McLeod has had, 
falling off a ladder at Nationals into the arms of her nemesis 
is the absolute last thing she needs.  Or is it?

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