Get It While You Can

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Hidden Heat Facebook ad

Sizzling with passion and suspense, perfect for fans of Joanna Wylde and Julie Ann Walker, the Brothers of Mayhem series revs up as a headstrong beauty faces off against an outlaw motorcycle club—and falls for the bad boy she never saw coming.
 
Cassidy Ryder refuses to be intimidated by anyone, even the hell-raising, hard-drinking Brothers of Mayhem. The daughter of their former president, she’s not above smashing a few heads to keep her teenage brother safe. But when Cassidy’s big mouth gets her in trouble, the only thing that saves her is some quick thinking from the Brothers’ bartender. He’s commanding and strong, and as smooth as the whiskey he pours: the ultimate temptation for a girl who swore she’d never be a biker’s plaything.

But Thorn Savalas is no ordinary biker. He’s a cop, and he’s worked too hard earning the Brothers’ trust to blow his cover over a female—even one who rocks a pair of jeans like Cassidy. The only way to protect her is by claiming she’s his old lady. Trouble is, Thorn can’t just pretend. He wants Cassidy, and every scorching touch tells him she feels the same. But acting on their hottest fantasies could leave them both exposed . . . even if nothing else has ever felt so real.

 

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“Hidden Heat is a keep you on the edge suspense with a sizzling hot romance.” ~~ I Heart YA Books blog

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Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Heat-Brothers-Ma…/…/B00XSSYW3M

B&N
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hidden-heat-ca…/1122088105…

Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hidden-heat-2

iBooks
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hidden-heat/id1037737285…
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Haiku for Circle of Desire

Some years ago, another author interviewed me and asked for a haiku about my debut book, Circle of Desire. So here it is.

Even wintry men
Find women to be a test
In their heated beds

That was fun. I’m not saying I’m good at it, but I do believe I found something new.

CircleofDesire mm cShe also asked, what makes the hero and heroine in Circle of Desire so perfect for each other?

At first glance, Olivia and Collin appear to be cut from the same cloth, deadly killers pushing their own agendas. But as you get to know them, you realize Collin sees through Olivia’s sultry pretense to the abused little girl inside. In turn, she sees through his coldness to a leader who worries that he may not be man enough for the job he inherited. They soon discover in each other what they each need. Olivia finds a man she can trust, and he finds a woman who believes in him. Besides, two strong-willed people clashing in and out of bed make some interesting reading.   

Same Tale, Different Story

Some years ago, I had an interviewer to ask me, how does it feel to compete with Businessman Wearing Capeestablished writers?  I thought you might like to see my answer.

Wow! That’s really a good question. I guess I’ve never really thought of my becoming published as a competition with other authors. Maybe because I’m aware of the vast opportunities to take one story and turn it into a hundred directions. Over the years, I’ve heard we basically have a certain number of plots to write. Seven to ten are the most common quantities given. A good link to go to that explains this is HERE.

With those basic plots, we have an indefinite number of stories to tell. Since everyone has their own way of speaking, in this case, writing a story, we can have thousands, even millions of authors and never hear the same story, especially word for word.  Plus each reader has their own special need inside that drives them to purchase certain type of stories. I personally love forced marriage plots, contemporary or historical, along with CircleofDesire mm canything involving spies and assassins. The last two are why I wrote CIRCLE OF DESIRE, my debut book. Most authors do write what they want to read. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Readers want their need fulfilled more than once a year. Some have a monthly, weekly, and for those fast readers, a daily addiction. My addiction can be seen in the stack of novels waiting in my shelves to be read and the same number downloaded on my iPad

What I’m getting at is there’s room for many authors. Some who will be an instantaneous best-selling author (al la Stephenie Myer) and others who’ll take a few years to reach that same point of success (the fabulously talented Sherrilyn Kenyon). Of course, the publishing world has room for all of us in between authors.

What Did You Say?

Beautiful Woman Enjoys CoffeeSo you’re planning to speak to a group of writers. Most guest speakers will give a little spiel about themselves.  All good. Be sure to tell the things that have relevance to what you’re going to talk about. Sure, you can include a short little story about that time you climbed a mountain, but make sure it’s funny or interesting. Otherwise, drop it.

So you want to enlighten your audience on how your company or organization came to be? Or how the industry changed over the last few years. Be sure to keep it short. Chances are you’re telling your audience what they already know.

I have found that I rarely hear a speech that inspires me. When I do, it is usually because they have told me something I didn’t know, and/or I find it to be of use.

If I can read your slide(s), and they follow along with what you’re saying without adding anything, then they are defeating the purpose. You’ll bore your audience.

You’re probably asking, what should I do?  Of course, follow the major key points on the slides, but colored in between the areas with more information or explanations in your speech. In other words, be sure to explain (in an interesting way) publicwhy those key points are important.

Include “real life” points. That’s when I love hearing about the speaker’s life and their experiences. Or maybe their friend’s or information about a stranger’s experience that’s been verified. Or a funny or emotional, fictional the-moral-to-the-story point. If you’re not funny (personally, I’m sarcastic, not funny), place unexpected pictures or comics in the middle of your slides. It will wake your audience up. Be sure to keep it relevant, borderline relevant is okay.

Be sure to keep your pace steady, but take a couple seconds in between points. Breathe. Do not over explain. Modulate your voice. NO!  Not into a monotone. More into a good rhythm. Stopping and going in a middle of a sentence will make the audience wonder if you know what you’re talking about. UNLESS, you’re using it to make a point or draw attention. Do be sure to practice the presentation. And it’s okay to be excited at times about what you’re talking about. Try to smile though most of the speech. It will come through in your tone.

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(Don’t be a dinosaur)

Do you stand behind the podium? Do you stay in a chair? NO! Get up. Move around. Use your hands. Wave them around on occasion. Like everything in life, do not overdo. Spread the love in various ways.

The most important thing to remember is DO NOT READ YOUR SPEECH.  🙂  Print out an outline of the key points you want to tell the audience. If you’re near to being blind like me, blow up the print. And again, practice your speech.

What the heck…

Young Couple Sharing Special Moment and PresentLately, I’ve been struggling with my writing time. So much going on in my life. Nothing bad, just a lot of things and several changes. One is that we’re moving this summer out of our home of twenty-four years. Plus the summers are crazy at the day-job. Lots of overtime. And I need to learn to say no with volunteer work, but I love helping people.

I’m not sure when I’ll finish the book I’m working on. Only ten chapters left before I write the two most beautiful words in an author’s work: THE END. Luckily (oddly), no editor is waiting for it, but my agent wants to see it.

Funny, but I rarely talk about my current manuscripts, not because of superstition. It’s because I don’t want to hear someone say, “Oh, that’s like so-and-so’s book.” That always pisses me off. No one writes a book like I write. Yes. I do understand what they’re saying. The book is similar in a key point of the plot, character(s), or location of the other author’s. I can tell you most authors don’t want to hear that. We all think our books are unique. In one way particularly. Our voice. That is, our word choices and rhythm.

But, here I am writing a blog post, and telling you about a book I listened to. Another time suck, but one I love to do it. Side note: this isn’t a review site, but I love books. That’s why I love to read (or listen) and write them. So I figured when I especially enjoy one, I would pass on a little recommendation.

CAKE by J. Bengtsson   (Audio)

For the blurb, click on the link above. As many current contemporary romance books, the hero and heroine are 23 years old. The girl is sweet and pretty level-headed.  No diva attitude or oversexed heroine. Considering my heroines are very demanding sexually, 51jggA8BjOL._SL300_that’s saying something about the author’s writing. HA! For it held my attention. And if you’re wondering, the hero wasn’t a horn dog. They were very likable. Great sense of humors for both.

Overall, I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys a soft “rock star” book (pun intended). No drug use by main characters, no drinking, or too crazy groupies. Light on the sex. It played with how to have a relationship with a celebrity. How people have certain expectations from those who are famous, including expecting they do not deserve privacy.

A thread in the story included that the hero had a horrible trauma when he was a young, and it comes up throughout the story, but not in a heavy angst-y way.  In fact, I thought the author handled very well.

Only negatives were, their families were near to perfect. If you read any of my books, you know my heroes’ and/or heroines’ families were more like real ones. Neurotic, self-centered, demanding, in general, big pains in the butt. Or is it only my family? Hmm.

By the way, it does not end in a cliff hanger though you will think so at first.  Good twist. I don’t consider that a spoiler. For I freaking hate cliff hangers. I was getting mad, and so I searched on the review site to see if someone talked about it. There wasn’t one, so I continued on and was very happy with the ending.

I checked out the second book in the Cake series. It’s the middle brother (though the blurb mentioned he’s a younger brother).  Looks interesting, but I think I want a hot book next. I can take all the sweetness between the two and their families only so much.  Maybe I’m jealous of the couple.

Almost forgot, the narrators did a great job.  Once again, I was so happy to come across a male narrator who didn’t make a woman sound whiny.

My Latest Recommendations

Woman Reading a DiaryAs I mentioned before, I listen to audio books on my drive to the day job and back. Well, actually anywhere that takes tens minutes or more, such as trips to Nashville (Go Preds!), luncheons, conferences, and writers’ meetings.

This week, I enjoyed Shadow Music: A Novel by Julie Garwood. A story set in the Middle Ages (King John). In the range of my favorite time period. Plus, it reminds me  of why I love Ms. Garwood’s books. The story is captivating, lightly sexy, charming, and well-written. A note about the story: some people may think the heroine is too accommodating to the hero’s dictatorial attitude. But I think it’s perfect for the time period. Besides, the heroine knows when to pick her battles. She’s a sweetheart. The hero gives in when she explains her reasoning. A great balance. Makes you fall in love with both of them.

The icing on the cake is the narrator. Davina Porter is massively talented. I love her Scottish accents. If her name sounds familiar, she was/is the narrator for the Outlander series. Her narration got me through the first three books of that series and thoroughly made me a happy girl with this book.

In April, I listened to Maya Banks’ The Enforcers series: Mastered, Dominated, and Kept. I will say I would have enjoyed this series better if I had read them. The narrator had an awesome voice, but the female voices and nuances were off.

When it comes to reading, I’ve gone through about six books since my last recommendation with a few DNFs. Only one is worth mentioning, and I’m not finished with it yet. Not that it’s great, it’s kept me reading. The writing is rich with wonderful detail. That can be a catch-22. It can drag down the story. The title is The Warrior’s Game by Denise Doming. Another one set during the King John’s reign. I guess I’m stuck in that era.

Happy reading!

 

Researching Mundane Words

photo meThe things you learn when you double check something you’ve never really thought about such as the difference between button-down and button-up shirts. I’ve always called a dress shirt (besides dress shirt) a button-up shirt. Well, it turns out that’s wrong. A button-down shirt includes the button on each collar to hold it in place (that’s the button-down part). The button-up does not. AND a dress shirt will always have the buttons on the collar. Thus always a button-down shirt. The things authors have to know.

By the way, my mom would always correct me as a kid when I referred to my top as a shirt. She said boys wore shirts, girls wore blouses. I can see that except when it’s a t-shirt. (Of course, the spelling of t-shirt is another argument. ) HA!

Giveaways!

I have two paperback books (six copies of each) in the Goodreads giveaways.  In fact, one of them is actually two novellas. Anyway, check it out. Giveaway ends May 15, 2017.  USA only. naked-heat-coverSorry, but I have to pay the postage.

Click here for the NAKED HEAT: A Brothers of Mayhem novel. The 1circlelast book about the Brothers of Mayhem.  This is Wolf’s story.  His brother was in the first book, HIDDEN HEAT.

Click here for THE CIRCLE NOVELLAS: Circle of Dishonor and Circle of Defiance.  They are the last two books (short ones) from my Circle series about a secret organization of mercenaries. For those who may have noticed, the paperback has a new designed cover.

By the way, I’m planning on autographing them.

Thanks.

 

Enough is Enough

1pic for blog[Reprint of post from Romance Magicians’ blog May 29, 2011]

This still applies and maybe will help others to understand the need to continue and be dedicated in becoming published with a traditional publisher or in finishing a novel and becoming self-published.  

When is enough enough? I’ve thought about this a lot the last couple years. My first submission was sent out in 1992 and I didn’t send anything else out for ten years. Partly because I had no self-confidence and partly because life got in the way. In 2002, I decided I wasn’t getting any younger and if I really wanted this, I had to find out what I was doing wrong. Nothing has been as important to me to accomplish since I wanted a second child. She was born eight years and 12 hours of labor after the first one. This delivery was a hell of lot longer.

I worked on improving my grammar, bringing out my voice and learning how to pitch to editors and agents. I practiced writing query letters, talking to an editor and agent at conferences, and being the best I could be as a writer. For the next nine years, I drank, ate and slept writing. Am I perfect? Oh, goodness, no! But I have ten books to prove my perseverance. Being at my RWA chapter meetings helped and encouraged me to keep trying.

One evening at a conference, I had the pleasure to relax with Sherrilyn Kenyon in her hotel room, and we were talking about what it takes to be a published author. Sherrilyn’s road to publication and staying published was a hard one. If you ever get a chance to hear her talk about that road, do so. It’s scary but also an uplifting story. Anyway, she mentioned how sad it was that a friend of hers had given up on writing. She’d read her work and hadn’t understood why an editor hadn’t snatched it up. She encouraged me to keep trying.

Since I couldn’t quit my day job, I gave up watching television, having floors I could eat off of, and reading one book after another. All my spare time was dedicated to what I wanted most. To be published. But my rejections continued to come in.

So the question is still how to know when enough is enough?

I believe it is when you can say, I quit it all. When you no longer have a story nagging at the back of your mind, or you read a book and say I can write better than that or I wish I can write a good story like that. When you don’t imagine dogs and dragons in the clouds or hear words of mystery and intrigue whispered in your ears by the wind. When you can close your eyes at night and don’t feel the presence of someone looking over you (good or bad). When you can ignore the wide-eyed pleads of your children or nieces and nephews to repeat the stories of your childhood or the made-up scary ones. Then that’s enough.

I came close, but thanks to the Good Lord, I wanted more.

This post was written just after I had gotten my first call from HarperCollins. Now it has been three books with HC and two books with Random House (Loveswept). So see, hard work pays off. Keep trying and decide what you want and be willing to change.  Goodness knows, the publishing world changes often, and as an author you need to be willing to do that too.