Erin McCarthy | Meet the Nashville Nights
Author Guest / February 28, 2017

“It’s a crazy town full of neon dreams…” From Crazy Town by Jason Aldean Have you ever gone to a new place and thought “why was I never here before?” I have traveled quite a bit in the last fifteen years as a writer and a lot of places have been interesting, but most don’t hit with me that “I could live here. I feel this place.” Yet Nashville hit me that way. It’s hard to believe that I never had any interest in visiting it before until friends kept saying that for a music lover, I had to go. When my husband and I went to Nashville on an extended road trip that included New Orleans, I was immediately in love with the artsy, music vibe. Cleaner than Bourbon Street, more down home than Vegas, it felt like real people hanging out, and real people you might know from growing up together trying to make it big in the music industry. If felt like I was watching the musical version of writers, working hard, feeding their passion, following a dream of success. I started my career alone in my condo with two small kids, pouring my heart into my…

Scarlett Cole | Say hello to a new bad boy rock star in JORDAN RECLAIMED
Author Guest / February 28, 2017

One of the things I love about series romance is the incredibly strong ties you can create between the lead characters. Sometimes it is as simple as the setting, a memorable place where all of the characters live and thrive, that you get to revisit with every new story. Sometimes it is the camaraderie of sports teams or military men, linked by a common purpose or enemy. And sometimes it is a group, like a pack of wolves or a coven of witches which creates a sense of yearning to belong. But one of the perennial favorites, is families. Thankfully, the definition of family has grown to adapt to all the ways life throws a group of people together. Some are functional, some are not, but as Jim Butcher is alleged to have said, “I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you witho flinching, they are your family.” Which brings me to JORDAN RECLAIMED, the first book in my new rock star romance series, Preload. The fact that these men are in a band could be enough to build a compelling series. Plenty of series have been…

Tara Wyatt | Why I think consent matters in romance
Author Guest / February 28, 2017

There are many things I love about romance novels. The brave, hunky heroes. The smart, capable heroines. The eclectic plots, settings, and challenges the characters face while fighting for their hard-earned happily ever after. And while those are all great, I feel that one of the under-celebrated aspects of romance is its willingness to tackle difficult topics, such as infertility, grief, mental illness, sexuality, and intolerance. As a romance writer, one of my goals is to explore some of these tough topics while showing the characters working through their pain and achieving their happy ending. For example, in my new book, CHAIN REACTION, the heroine is a sexual assault survivor. I don’t want to give too much away, but she does have scars and baggage she needs to process before she can have a healthy, fulfilling relationship with the hero. Partly because consent is always important, and partly because Alexa is a sexual assault survivor, it was extremely important to me for 1) the hero, Zack, to know about Alexa’s past; and 2) the consent between them to be crystal clear. Personally, I think it’s always important that the consent between the hero and the heroine is clear, but even…

Elizabeth Harmon | That’s What I Like About You, Pt. 1
Author Guest / February 28, 2017

Conflict drives romance, but my favorite scenes to write (and read) are those that show the hero and heroine discovering why they’re perfect for one another. Whether it’s hot sex, similar histories, or realizing they’re more alike than different, the moment when the hero and heroine make their first real connection, brings the feels that make me fall in love with romance. Because of it’s short length, my new release, HEATING IT UP: A Red Hot Russians novella, offered a unique challenge. Widowed artist Nora and Russian adventurer Alexei don’t have months to fall in love, it has to happen in just three days. Attraction sparks when they’re trapped together during a storm and grows as Nora decides to help Alexei save close-knit Antarctic outpost he calls home from closing. But will the truth about Nora’s role in Amity Bay’s demise doom their romance? Though Nora has her secrets, these five things help her see that Alexei is the perfect man. He loves the outdoors – Nora’s military family lived all over the world, and one of the places she loved most was the icy but beautiful island of Greenland. When she comes to Antarctica, she encounters green icebergs and…

Susan Furlong | Five Things I’ve Learned from Nancy Drew
Author Guest / February 27, 2017

Between third and sixth grade, I read every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on. I followed Nancy through haunted mansions and inside treacherous caves, I rode along in her cute-as-ever convertible and traveled to far-away lands on thrilling adventures. I admired her sleuthing abilities, how she ultimately saved the day and of course, how she seemed to always have the perfect dress for any occasion. Never mind that she was fictional and a bit unrealistic—whose parent would give them all the money they want and let them travel the world to take on hardened criminals? Not mine!—Still, Nancy was one of my favorite childhood heroes and I learned a lot from her. Here’s what Nancy taught me: Be inquisitive, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, and be tenacious Nancy never backed down from a good mystery, even when it put her in danger. She hung in there, pursuing truth and justice with dogged determination. She went after what she wanted, unapologetic and unabashed. Yes, Nancy was the ultimate get-it-done gal. Women can be both forceful and beautiful Who else but Nancy could slip into a cotton sheath, don pretty patent leather pumps and kick…

Guess what I did last year! – By Kathy Lyons / Jade Lee
Author Guest / February 24, 2017

OMG, it’s 2017! Where did the year go? Hmm, let me think. Politics (ugh). Family drama (mostly resolved now, thank God.) I lost weight, then gained it right back. (sigh). FRIENDS! I went to great events like Reader’s and ‘Ritas and had a rip, roaring good time! I travelled to Guatemala to help some schools there. And I did something else that really marked this year. What could it be? I got married! Yup, forget the hubby of 32 years. I ditched him for a hot young model who will star on my book covers despite being covered in horrible back hair. I decided I was going to learn how to cook. My lofty goals were to become a gourmet chef, but by mid-year, I changed that to “not set the kitchen on fire.” All in all…I failed. I hate cooking. But I do have a brand new kitchen (and house) after I burned down the last one. I signed a contract that will make my funky fantasy novel, Seducing the Skeptic by Kathy Lyons into a MOVIE! Yup! Hollywood came knocking and we’ll be seeing a Kathy Lyons book on the big screen in 2018. Whee! I hunkered down…

Barbara Crane | A Sense of Place
Author Guest / February 23, 2017

Until I wrote a historical novel set where I lived nearly all my life, I didn’t really know the place. My latest novel, WHEN WATER WAS EVERYWHERE, explores the lives of a Los Angeles landowner, an immigrant, a young Indian woman, and a Spanish priest during the 1840s when Alta California was a Mexican territory. I had suspected that the landscape was vastly different a century and a half ago. In fact, the seed for the novel came from driving on Los Angeles’ freeways. I’d look down and see a vast plain of houses, stores, and shopping malls. I wondered what lay beneath the concrete. Like most people, I assumed Los Angeles was a desert. Research revealed a place vastly different from the city I called home. It was never a desert. In fact, the landscape was once far more green. Less than 200 years ago, rain flowed down the mountains that rim Los Angeles, swelling its rivers and streams in the rainy season. This rainfall leached into the earth and created large stores of groundwater. Coastal wetlands and inland marshes—important as bird habitats and natural water filters—covered large areas and remained wet all year. As I immersed myself in…

Chris Cannon, Why I Write About Dragons
Author Guest / February 23, 2017

Hello, my name is Chris Cannon. I’m a speech therapist by day, and an author who writes shape-shifting dragons by night. The Going Down In Flames series is about Bryn McKenna, a sixteen-year-old girl who finds out she’s a shape-shifting dragon when flames shoot out of her mouth for the first time. (Surprise!) Bryn is forced to attend a school for shape-shifting dragons where they expect her to sit quietly and do as she’s told. Unfortunately for them, she’s not that kind of girl. Adventure, romance, and snarky banter ensues. FANNING THE FLAMES is the fourth book in the young adult, paranormal romance series and it comes out March 6th. When people find out I write about shape-shifting dragons, they ask some interesting questions. -So you write fiction? “No. It’s autobiographical.” *author shifts into a dragon and blasts flames into the air before launching herself into the sky. -Is it like Fifty Shades of Gray? “No. It’s a young adult paranormal romance. A sweet romance with lots of teenage angst and drama and swoony guys.” -Is it one of those kissing books? “It’s a kick-ass chick who doesn’t take crap from anyone kind of book. And yes, there is some…

Sheryl Nantus | Viva Las Vegas!
Author Guest / February 23, 2017

I remember the first time I visited Las Vegas – striding down the ramp and out into the terminal, eager to pick up my bags and head out for my hotel. It was like any other airport I’d visited, noisy and filled with commuters racing to catch their flights or grab their luggage and head out into the city. But this wasn’t any other airport. Right beside the luggage carousel sat rows of slot machines, waiting to take my money as I watched for my bags to arrive. I couldn’t stop looking over at the noisy, eye-catching displays tempting me with the chance of beginning my winning streak before getting to my hotel. An attendant walked up and down the aisles, exchanging money for eager players. And they won. I saw more than one machine explode into loud bells and whistles, flashing lights as it paid out. It made the usually boring wait for my luggage that much more interesting as I fought to keep from losing all of my gambling money before even leaving McCarran Airport. I went on from there to the hotel and my week-long stay where night only meant it got a bit cooler outside –…

Julie Cross | Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: Examining Sex in YA Literature
Author Guest / February 23, 2017

The room where it happens…keep it lit or fade to black? In her renowned 1975 novel, FOREVER, Judy Blume took teens Katherine and Michael from first meeting to first kiss, first base to second, second to third. Then with the lights still shining bright and no doubt the rapt attention of each young reader, Katherine and Michael had their first sexual experience together–no fading to black, no glossing over the technicalities with flowery ambiguous language. There was no hidden agenda with this novel, no political statement to be made. It was simply there to show us (or remind us) of what it’s like to be a young person in love, dating, having sexual experiences for the first time. I grew up reading Judy Blume, learning about buying a bra and first periods from Margaret, then later learning about sex from Katherine and Michael. In high school, I had my own “Michael” and a first-serious-relationship experience that was frighteningly similar to this fictional couples’ story. So it’s no surprise that when I began writing YA, I took a small note from Ms. Blume. As much as we’d like to say that our characters make these decisions when it comes to sex…