Lucy Arlington | Adventures of a Literary Agent

When I first started writing, literary agents were an enigma to me–mystical creatures, who I imagined spent their days reading inspiring works, dining with editors in fancy New York restaurants, and jet-setting off to Hollywood to negotiate lucrative film deals for clients. And sure, some of that really does happen. But when I was fortunate enough to land one of those agents, I quickly came to realize that a typical day for a literary agent includes much less glamorous activities: Reading query letters from hopeful authors includes sending them a disappointing “No thank you.” Editing book proposals demands hours of word-smithing. And matching a prospective book project with the right editor at the right publishing house takes networking, persuasion, finesse, and lots of just plain work. In short, a literary agent is like a tireless gatekeeper to the world of publishing, a writer’s travel partner along the bumpy road to publication, a dream maker.

That’s exactly why I enjoy writing the Novel Idea Mysteries featuring Lila Wilkins, literary agent and amateur sleuth. Lila sees herself as someone who helps authors realize their dreams. I depict her working life with both the glamorous aspects she enjoys and the tedious efforts her career requires. More important, I get to show the thrill—for her and the writer—when a publishing contract lands on her desk. By creating Lila’s adventures, I can live vicariously through her and experience a bit of what it might be like to open the publishing door for aspiring authors. Of course, along with finding amazing authors, Lila also happens to discover her fair share of dead bodies. (Something I have no desire to do in real life.) But in the end, she always gets a publishing contract for her author… and brings the killer to justice.

Susan Furlong

About OFF THE BOOKS

Off the Books

Literary agent and amateur sleuth Lila Wilkins is back to seal the deal in the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mystery series.

Lila is showcasing some of her biggest authors at a bridal expo. But when the joyous event turns deadly, she’ll have to figure out who penned the perfect crime…

The Novel Idea Literary Agency has planned a wedding-themed week for Inspiration Valley, celebrating not only North Carolina’s best vendors but also some of the agency’s most popular bridal books. The fact that Lila can use the event to plan her own impending nuptials is just the icing on the cake.

But wedding bells turn to warning bells when Lila finds a dead man facedown in the frosting. Soon it’s discovered that the victim was connected to several Novel Idea authors, all of whom quickly become suspects in the case. It’s up to Lila and her fellow agents to find the real killer before one of their clients winds up scribbling stories from behind bars…

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About Lucy Arlington

Lucy Arlington

Lucy Arlington was originally conceived by the writing team of Ellery Adams and Sylvia May, two friends who collaborated on an idea that became A Novel Idea Mystery Series. Together, the duo penned the first three books in the series: BURIED IN A BOOK, EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK, and BOOKS, COOKS, AND CROOKS. As time passed and their personal writing workload grew, the two decided to pass the baton to another terrific author: Susan Furlong. In addition to writing as Lucy Arlington, Susan Furlong is the author of the upcoming series, The Georgia Peach Mysteries.

A Novel Idea Mystery

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M. L. Buchman | A Series Is My Favorite Thing

No, I didn’t have Julie Andrews dancing in my head when I wrote that title…well, not much…okay, you caught me. I wanted her to be my mom when I first saw The Sound of Music all those years ago. One of the curious side effects of that feeling, is that I’ve tended to focus on finding my “favorite things” right through my adult life as well. I’ve often changed career paths to seek it and I held out until I met the most amazing woman.

As I became a writer, I didn’t start with short stories and work my way up, I jumped straight into novels. And by my fourth book I dove off the high board and into my first series. I enjoy short stories, have read them since forever, and now write a dozen or so new ones every year. And novels are great too. But what I loved was series. Give me Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Asimov, Nora, high fantasy, Cussler thrillers…all of it. I love it.

Of course, the next challenge was that while I wrote novels, actually writing a series is a whole different animal. I floundered, I flailed, I wrote, and I (sometimes massively) discarded. But as I learned more and more about writing in series, I eventually discovered that not only was it a passion, but I couldn’t imagine going back to the “simple” novel at all.

A series offers so many things that I love as a reader:

  • The world grows ever deeper. At the end of a novel, I have just come to know the world. By the end of three in the same series, I can imagine living there. By the end of five, I often think I have lived there and I love that feeling.
  • The world of a story is never a simple thing. When writing, I must choose which path will lead me to the best story for those characters. But there are other aspects to these worlds that will interact differently with new characters. That’s fun!
  • Ever-changing relationships. People interact differently with each other as they grow and change. I enjoy watching that interplay. For example, the unholy mess (her own words) that is Emily Beale in Night Stalkers #1, THE NIGHT IS MINE, becomes the matriarch of the clan. It is a role that suits her almost as much as it surprises her at unexpected moments. A good example of that is her flight with Lola LaRue in NS#4, TAKE OVER AT MIDNIGHT.
  • The people go on. This may be my single favorite thing. I love the evolution of characters. Even though their role may have shifted from the foreground to the back, their lives are not stagnant either. Not only do their relations with others change, but their relationship with themselves evolves as well. I love writing the little bits where we get to see behind the fold into their personalities.
  • It satisfies me the reader. Each of the characters in each book in a series tells me a new story, one that makes me sigh, giggle, and sniffle. I grow to love each character and the chance to sit down at the keyboard and write the crowd of old friends I’ve spent so many long hours with is my single most favorite thing about series.

I’d love to hear some of yours.

Giveaway

One commenter who tells us at least ONE thing they love about a series will win a copy of BY BREAK OF DAY

About BY BREAK OF DAY

By Break of Day

M. L. Buchman raises the stakes-and the heat-in the return of the acclaimed Night Stalkers series

NAME: Kara Moretti

RANK: Captain of the Army’s stealthiest remote piloted aircraft (Don’t call it a drone)

MISSION: To be the eyes of the team

NAME: Justin “The Cowboy” Roberts

RANK: Captain of the Army’s most powerful helicopter

MISSION: To redeem the past, at any cost

They Put Life, Limb, and Heart on the Line
Two new captains join The Night Stalkers with two different strategies in life, love, and combat.

When Brooklyn-raised Kara joins the crew, she knows one thing as an absolute truth: to stay safe, keep everything and everyone at a distance.

Born in Texas, Justin knows only one honorable way to make up for losing his first crew to a suicide bomber: he flies with all his heart. When Kara and Justin collide on a top secret mission deep in the Israeli desert, then the battle truly begins.

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About M.L. Buchman

M.L. Buchman

M.L. Buchman has over 35 novels and an ever-expanding flock of short stories in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year,” Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” and RT “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of the Year.” In addition to romantic suspense, he also writes contemporaries, thrillers, and fantasy and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.

He is now a full-time writer, living on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing at www.mlbuchman.com.

Night Stalkers | Night Series | Story Bundle May 2014 | Firehawks | Delta Force

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Erica Kudisch | Why I Chose THE BACCHAE as Inspiration

Hi all! Erica Kudisch here, promoting my debut novel THE BACKUP, queer urban fantasy with a side of myth and music. Thanks so much for keeping up with the blog tour! Be sure to swing by the other stops for awesome multimedia content and a $50 prize package giveaway!

Why The Bacchae

I have a copy of D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths in the underwear drawer of my childhood bedroom. It’s in pieces. It’s been in pieces since I was nine years old. Even back then I knew I wasn’t getting the whole story, so I got my hands on other versions as soon as I could. My grandmother and I read the Iliad together when I was twelve, and watched the entirety of the BBC’s I CLAVDIVS, and I probably experienced the demythifications of Mary Renault a little too early in my emotional development, but there you go.

Around the same time, I was taking drama classes at school, and we learned about Greek theatre and the roots of Western drama. I loved the scope of the stories, loved seeing all those myths I’d read as a child brought to life and somehow humanized. We read through the Oedipus trilogy, Elektra, and Antigone, and studied the megaphone masks and the elaborate dances, and tried to incorporate them into modern theater. It didn’t always work, but I saw the immediate connections between Greek theatre and musical theatre, especially opera. The stories are larger than life, and so is the language they use, and just because the acting isn’t naturalistic or cinematic doesn’t mean it’s false. The world of Greek drama, just like Greek mythology, is a heightened reality, a distorted mirror of our world.

I first came across Euripides’s THE BACCHAE in my local public library when I was about thirteen. I’m pretty sure it was because I was terrified by the ending of THE KING MUST DIE and wanted more dirt on Maenadic ritual. I don’t even remember whose translation of the play I found, but I tracked down another and read them side by side. The shape of the story was the same–Dionysus comes to town and ruins his cousin’s life–but there was something in the differences between them that struck me. One was sympathetic to King Pentheus for trying to keep order in his city: another made it clear that his hubris made him deserve everything the God gave him.

So imagine gawky, adolescent me, with my characteristically teenaged black-and-white view of the world, trying to make sense of the disparity. How could a play have two diametrically opposed morals? How could Dionysus and Pentheus both be right? Honestly, I’m still not sure. But I know they both think they’re right, and that it’s the context that determines the moral.

In the intervening years, I’ve read and watched a dozen other translations. One in particular, Hans Werner Henze’s opera, The Bassarids, was a huge inspiration for THE BACKUP. In The Bassarids, Pentheus’s music is strict but dissonant, completely beholden to the academic conventions of the 1960s; Dionysus’s free atonality is expressive but unpredictable, and just as aurally unnerving. And the rules of the opera, the choices Henze makes, are broken one by one, leaving the audience just as lost and manipulated as Pentheus.

That’s what this myth is capable of: showing us both the prides and pitfalls that can come when we break the rules of the Gods.

The Giveaway

To celebrate the release of THE BACKUP, Erica is giving away iTunes and Riptide credit totaling $50! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 30, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway!

About Erica Kudisch

Erica Kudisch

Erica Kudisch lives, writes, sings, and often trips over things in New York City. When not in pursuit of about five different creative vocations, none of which pay her nearly enough, you can usually find her pontificating about dead gay video games, shopping for thigh-high socks, and making her beleaguered characters wait forty thousand words before they get in the sack.

In addition to publishing novellas and short stories as fantastika-focused alter-ego Kaye Chazan (What Aelister Found Here and The Ashkenazi Candidate, both available at Candlemark & Gleam) Erica is responsible for the BDSM musical Dogboy & Justine, and serves as creative director and co-founder of Treble Entendre Productions.

She also has issues with authority. And curses too f#cking much.

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About THE BACKUP

The Backup

I’m supposed to be better than this. I’m supposed to have a tenure-track job teaching music history to undergrads, writing papers about Bach, and proving to kids like me that you can work your way out of Harlem. I’m not supposed to be following a rock star around the country, fetching his mail, making sure his groupies are of age.

I’m definitely not supposed to be sleeping with said rock star, who claims to be the Greek God Dionysus. At first I thought it was a load of crap. Nik’s fans might think his music captures their hearts—and souls—but I knew better. Until one of Nik’s orgiastic concerts gets out of hand and I don’t know which is worse: that he might be a god after all, or that he has a body count.

Nik doesn’t care what I want or what I should be. He wants to tear down the world I’ve built, warping all I am, until his music is all that’s left of me. I can’t let him do that. I shouldn’t believe in him. I’ve seen what happens to the people who believe in him.

But I can’t get his song out of my head.

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Pre-order THE SUTHERLANDS for only 99¢

Pre-Order THE SUTHERLANDS For Only 99¢ and Help The Reach Out and Read Charity

Looking for a way to do good and read hot? Check out THE SUTHERLANDS, a sexy contemporary romance anthology that tells the story of one family with 11 brand-new, full-length novels and novellas for only 99¢. Twenty percent of the royalties earned from each sale will go to the Reach Out and Read charity, which incorporates early childhood reading into well child doctors’ visits.

Inside The Sutherlands you’ll find:

  • SHADOW RANCH by USA Today best selling author Robin Covington – Passion and secrets thrive in the dark…
  • WRECKED by Wall Street Journal best selling author Terri Osburn – Revenge is always personal…
  • BOUND TO DO DAMAGE by Avril Ashton – When protecting you heart is no longer an option…protect your neck.
  • FOOLISH EXPECTATIONS by Alison Bliss – Forever is the last thing they expected…
  • UNDER THE EVENING STAR by Shyla Colt – They must choose between the past that hunts and a love that can heal…
  • BRAZEN by Avery Flynn – This bad boy boxer just met his match…
  • SCREWED by Kelly Jamieson – The only time losing is more fun than winning is when you’re fighting temptation…
  • STRIPPED by Abby Niles – She’s going to strip him bare…
  • NOT THE MARRYING KIND by Julie Particka – Faking it never felt so good…
  • LUST AND LOATHING by Joya Ryan – Sometimes loathing your boss turns into the best kind of lust…
  • SWEET SURRENDER by Naima Simone – The price of surrender is passion…

Pre-order your copy today: THE SUTHERLANDS: Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Twenty percent of the royalties earned from each copy of THE SUTHERLANDS sold will go to help Reach Out and Read, a non-profit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.

This year, over one million children in the U.S. will enter kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn and succeed. As these children progress through school, they are more likely to fall behind, and stay behind. When families read aloud to their young children, they can give them a better start to life. With unparalleled access to families with young children, Reach Out and Read medical providers give books to children at more than 10 well-child visits from infancy until they start school. More importantly, they encourage families to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers every day.

Reach Out and Read currently serves 4.5 million children across the U.S., half of whom are from low-income families. Children like Ruby, a seven-year-old girl who faced significant challenges in her early childhood. Fortunately, Ruby’s pediatrician is a Reach Out and Read doctor, who has encouraged her mom to read aloud to her every day, and given her books of her own to keep. He says, “With Ruby’s background, I would have expected her to struggle at school, but at her last checkup, her mother told me that she is in advanced reading and attributed her success to the Reach Out and Read program.”

Research shows that Ruby is not alone – our program results in more frequent reading at home, accelerated vocabulary and critical brain stimulation. And because over 21,000 medical providers voluntarily integrate Reach Out and Read into pediatric checkups, it costs only $100 to support a child for the full 5-year Reach Out and Read program.

About THE SUTHERLANDS

The Sutherlands

The Sutherlands: One Family Saga, 11 Sexy Stories

This Texas oil family doesn’t break the rules…they make their own.

These brand new stories are sexy full-length novels and novellas about the Sutherland family alpha heroes and kickass heroines, from USA Today best-selling author Robin Covington, Wall Street Journal best-selling author Terri Osburn, Avril Ashton, Alison Bliss, Shyla Colt, Avery Flynn, Kelly Jamieson, Abby Niles, Julie Particka, Joya Ryan and Naima Simone. You’ll find your next book boyfriend in this family saga filled with stories featuring cowboys, boxers, millionaires, interracial love, gay romance, straight romance, action-adventure, new adult thrills and second chance romance.

This box set will only be available until April 15, 2016 and 20% of royalties earned from the sale of the box set will be donated to Reach Out and Read.

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based, non-profit organization of medical providers who promote early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by integrating children’s books and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud into well-child visits. Reach Out and Read builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning in infancy. Reach Out and Read serves nearly 4.5 million children and their families annually.

Pre-order your copy today: THE SUTHERLANDS: Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

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Jenn McKinlay | Are the Characters Me?

For Scarlett Parker, part of the fun of living in London is celebrating the British holidays, and she’s excited to share her first Bonfire Night with her cousin Vivian Tremont. Invited to a posh party by their friend Harrison Wentworth, Scarlett and Viv decide to promote their hat shop, Mim’s Whims, by donning a few of their more outrageous creations. The hats prove to be quite the conversation starters as the girls mix and mingle with the guests—never suspecting that one of them is a killer.

It’s a cold, clear night, perfect for the British tradition of tossing a straw stuffed effigy of Guy Fawkes, traitor to the crown, onto the bonfire. But instead of a straw man, they realize in the heat of the moment that the would-be Guy Fawkes is actually Harrison’s office rival and he’s been murdered. Before the smoke has cleared, Harrison is the Metropolitan police’s prime suspect, and Scarlett and Vivian must find the real homicidal hothead before their dear friend’s life goes up in flames.

Frequently, I am asked if my characters are me. Is Mel Cooper, who runs the bakery in the Cupcake Bakery series and has a severe sweet tooth, me? Is Lindsey Norris, who has my former occupation of librarian, in the Library Lover’s mysteries me? Is Scarlett Parker, the customer contact for the London Hat Shop mysteries and a real people pleaser, me? Or are these characters based on people that I know? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

I’d be lying if I said these character’s lives aren’t based a little bit on my own. It’s only natural, I suppose, that much of my life experience is siphoned off a bit into each character. But I’ve noticed that while a character might start out with some of my idiosyncrasies or personality traits, they usually morph into their own person by the end of the first book and if the series runs even longer, they are fully developed with little to no resemblance to me by book three.

Such is the case with Scarlett in COPY CAP MURDER. When it comes to her business manager Harrison Wentworth, Scarlett has quite the jealous streak. This amused me to no end while writing it because I don’t have one. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I did when I was younger but then I dated this one guy who thought it was great when I was jealous when he hit on other girls because it made him feel valued. Yeah, that did it. I broke up with him and vowed to myself that I would never ever be jealous again. In hindsight, he did me a big favor. Jealousy is a pretty lousy emotion and as far as I can tell a complete waste of time. That being said, it was fun to revisit the old green eyed monster in the guise of my character Scarlett. Because she’s feisty and fiery, she made it work so much better for her than I ever did for me.

Of course, Scarlett has no need to be jealous where Harrison is concerned. He is as smitten with her as she is with him. But still, when a calculating ex-girlfriend of his arrives in the picture, Scarlett can’t help feeling a bit turfy about Harry, especially when Tuesday Blount makes it clear that she is determined to win Harrison back and there is nothing Scarlett can do to stop her.

Having made a vow that she wouldn’t date for at least one year after her last disastrous relationship, Scarlett is thrown into quite a quandary. Should she break her promise to herself and grab Harry before the hideous Tuesday can get her mitts on him? Or should she stay the course, wait out the year and hope that Harry is still available when she is ready to date? Decisions, decisions. Sadly, I guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out what Scarlett does. Sorry, no spoilers here!

With that in mind, I hope you enjoy reading COPY CAP MURDER as much as I enjoyed writing it. Scarlett and Viv sure do keep me guessing and I hope they do the same for you!

Cheers!
Jenn

About Jenn McKinlay

Jenn McKinlay

Jenn McKinlay took her first decoupage class when she was twelve years old. Since then, cutting and pasting have become a way of life. With two small children at home, she finds decoupage a fun craft as well as a very handy tool, especially when used to cover up doodles made in permanent marker on otherwise lovely furniture. And yes, they know her by name at her local Michael’s Craft Store. She is the author of three previous novels under the name Jennifer McKinlay and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her musician husband Chris, their two sons, two cats, one dog and one fish.

Library Lover’s Mystery | Cupcake Bakery Mystery | Hat Shop Mystery

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About COPY CAP MURDERER

Copy Cap Murderer

The New York Times bestselling author of At the Drop of a Hat returns to her London hat shop with a fresh tale of milliners and murder.

For Scarlett Parker, part of the fun of living in London is celebrating the British holidays, and she’s excited to share her first Bonfire Night with her cousin Vivian Tremont. Invited to a posh party by their friend Harrison Wentworth, Scarlett and Viv decide to promote their hat shop, Mim’s Whims, by donning a few of their more outrageous creations. The hats prove to be quite the conversation starters as the girls mix and mingle with the guests—never suspecting that one of them is a killer.

It’s a cold, clear night, perfect for the British tradition of tossing a straw stuffed effigy of Guy Fawkes, traitor to the crown, onto the bonfire. But instead of a straw man, they realize in the heat of the moment that the would-be Guy Fawkes is actually Harrison’s office rival and he’s been murdered. Before the smoke has cleared, Harrison is the Metropolitan police’s prime suspect, and Scarlett and Vivian must find the real homicidal hothead before their dear friend’s life goes up in flames.

Buy COPY CAP MURDERER: Amazon.com | Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Laura Kennedy | Goggie And Me

Who was the greatest influence in my life? I can only answer my mother. For me, the stars were aligned perfectly when I was born to a successful writer. A preemie, I debuted six weeks early at four pounds two ounces, forcing me to spend time in an incubator at Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis. My mother, Marguerite McClain, a sophisticated Barbara Stanwych look-a-like, visited me every other day, calling the hospital alternate days to ask what I’d gained in fractions of an ounce. Once I’d reached a hefty five pounds, I was released to my glamorous mother and handsome dark-haired father who brought me home to my two-year-old brother Mickey who called me his little hitta.

Soon after the toddler stage, I discovered that all mothers didn’t write stories. They didn’t sit in the attic two hours a day, sweltering in summer and freezing in winter, tapping on the keys of a black standard typewriter.

GoggieLaura2

“I’m going upstairs to write” my mother would announce to my brother and me, and off she’d go, armed with cigarettes, a Coke and a Hershey bar. Mickey and I never touched her stash of goodies, intuitively realizing it was what kept her going.

At the start of her career, my mother wrote for small markets such as Oral Hygiene, a dental magazine, Hi and The Catholic Miss, magazines for parochial school children. Located in a beautiful mansion perched on a hill in historic Groveland Terrace.

On arrival inside, she’d announce herself to one of the staff women scattered around what had once been the living room. After receiving the okay to see editor Harold (Sandy) Sandberg, we’d tackle two flights of stairs up a grand staircase to his office. Ecstatic to have reached the third floor, we would find Sandy holding court behind his huge wooden desk.

“How the hell are you?” he would ask, offer each of us a chilled Coke in a green glass bottle from a tiny refrigerator. Amenities over, my mother would hand him her manuscript. Waiting, I would study his face from where we sat on leather couch facing his desk. After ten minutes or so of silence, he’d speak into his intercom, ordering an assistant to cut a check. Another sale!

By the time my brother and I were in our last years of grade school, my mother had a monthly column for the Miss called “Sally Says” in which she gave advice. But to Mickey and me, the most exciting thing she wrote was a comic strip called “Linda Laing, Airline Stewardess.” Six pages in length, the stories revolved around Linda and her escapades as a stewardess. Sometimes we would even be asked to help with plot ideas.

“Okay,” my mother would ask, corralling us in the living room, “what can Linda do this month?” Being only ten or eleven, I don’t remember coming up with a single idea. But using us as sounding boards most likely helped her create several story lines which often involved jewel thieves disguised as nuns and talkative parrots.

By this time, my mother was cranking out two romance stories a month. Referred to as the pulps because of the paper on which they were printed (versus the slicks i.e. Good Housekeeping and Redbook printed on glossy paper), Confessions helped us maintain a comfortable lifestyle. It also created a reputation for my mother as being one of the country’s top romance writers.

Belonging to the Minneapolis Writer’s Workshop, a group established as a WPA project during the ‘30s, she was in her element. Originally meeting at the humungous granite library on Hennepin Avenue, the group eventually migrated to the 620 Club a few blocks down the street. Comprised of thirty plus writers, they met every Wednesday evening at eight o’clock, regardless of the weather.

Adding to the usual drama of any writing group was the fact that a member could not only get a critique and a sandwich those nights, he could get a drink of alcohol. Considering the fragile ego of most writers, it was a natural recipe for disaster.

Years later after we’d moved to California, my mother would return to Minneapolis regularly. Telegraph length letters from her went something like this.

Went to Workshop last night… Sandy and Edythe had a fight… No longer speaking…

Looking back, I realize I wanted to be a writer from the age of five. It was meant to be. And I would have had it no other way.

Kerry Adrienne | What makes Mari a heroine worth reading about?

Mari is a mermaid who wants to have her independence. She runs a small touristy beach souvenir shop (located in the building the hero owns) and she plans to prove her mother and family wrong. She can make it on her own. She is betrothed to a merman from another tribe, but she has no intention of marrying him. She’s trying to figure out how to best break the news to everyone. She cares about her mom’s feelings, but there’s no way she’s marrying the guy someone else picked out for her.

I’d hope that readers would be drawn to Mari’s independent spirit. She faces obstacles with a pretty good attitude, usually by whistling and taking a swim to think about things. Overall, she has a pretty balanced mood—maybe leaning more toward the glass half full personality.

She also has saved her man from death. So, she’s strong! Not just physically, but emotionally. She’s had to live with the knowledge that she saved him without telling him—so it’s been difficult for her to love him from afar. But she keeps a good mindset and enjoys her fantasy life about him. She’s really good at pretending he’s a pirate.

When he tells her he’s selling the bar and moving inland, she is upset but she immediately starts trying to come up with a plan to keep him on the island. Bondage is out, though she does consider it briefly. I hope readers will like Mari’s quirkiness and problem-solving skills.

She isn’t afraid of a hard day’s work doing manual labor. She may not love it, but she does what is needed. She isn’t a fragile flower that needs tending. She is able to get in there and help out. I think that is important.

Oh, and Mari loves pink. She wears it a lot and seems to prefer it everywhere. I think it’s a happy color and something she can latch onto as a sign of light-hearted happiness.

Even when she and Chase are faced with a strong hurricane and the threat of losing everything, she stays pretty calm under all the pressure. I think readers will find her believable, but not stupid. She knows about hurricanes, and the eye of a hurricane and barometric pressure and the changes in wind direction. She may be a freedom seeker, but she isn’t stupid. She really tries to get Chase to see a different perspective and I hope readers like that in her. It’s always good to at least try to see things from another person’s viewpoint.

About Kerry Adrienne

Kerry Adrienne

Kerry Adrienne loves history and spends large amounts of time wondering about people who lived and walked on Earth in the past. She’s a mom to three daughters, six cats, and various small animals, including a panther chameleon. Her shoe horde will attest to her fine shopping skills.

In addition to writing, she’s a college instructor, artist, costumer, and editor. Her new love is her Mini Cooper Convertible, Sheldon, and they have already gone on many adventures.

Wicked Tale

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About STORM DAMAGED

Storm Damaged

In a world where humans don’t know mermaids exist, Mari leaves her home in the ocean to escape her mother, her betrothed, and her tribe’s expectations in order to make a go of independence on land. Chase, former Navy diver and self­ appointed curmudgeon­ who ­isn’t ­worthy­ of ­love, lost his brother in a freak diving accident and now fears the ocean he once loved.

When a hurricane threatens, they have to work together to save everything they’ve worked so hard to build. With Mari’s betrothed on the rampage over a centuries ­old vendetta, the storm isn’t the worst thing they’ll have to face.

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Olivia Dade | Top Ten Erotic Romance Favorites

The heroine of MY RECKLESS VALENTINE, Angie, wrote this annotated guide to some of her favorite erotic romances before meeting straitlaced Grant Peterson, her hero. I think she was planning to use the list in one of her library displays, but then changed her mind after—

Well, I don’t want to spoil the book. Never mind about that.

Enjoy the list!

Olivia Dade

P.S. While MY RECKLESS VALENTINE is a bawdy romantic comedy, rather than an erotic romance, I still thought my readers might enjoy this glimpse into Angie’s fevered brain.

P.P.S. Presumably, she would have censored some of her saltier language before using the list, but…really, there’s no telling when it comes to Angie. So I redacted a few choice words on her behalf, substituting gentler alternatives in brackets.

P.P.P.S. These are all real books, by the way. I didn’t make up a single title! Not even the one with horny blue aliens!

* * *

ANGIE’S LIST OF KICKASS SMUT

  1. Ruby Dixon’s ICE PLANET BARBARIANS

I’m starting strong, people. This series boasts giant, mate-hungry blue alien heroes with horns and enormous, ridged [manly protuberances].

Let me repeat that, in case you didn’t catch it. ENORMOUS, RIDGED [MANLY PROTUBERANCES]. The hero in the first book greets the heroine by [providing an intimate massage] with his equally-ridged tongue. And the heroes also have little “spurs” above those AFOREMENTIONED ENORMOUS, RIDGED [MANLY PROTUBERANCES] that work as either [tumescent pearl] or [chocolate starfish] stimulators.

I expect someone to design a vibrator shaped accordingly. Now. Chop-chop.

  1. Mia Hopkins’s COWBOY OVERLOAD

Two cowboys. Silk rope. Various sex toys. Lots of lube. Oh, yeah. Ohhhhhhh yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaah. I’m ready for my harness, cowpokes.

  1. Liliana Lee’s THE OBSESSION

Badass bitch heroine has a 30-dude harem. I mean… ::one-clicks::

  1. Mariah K. Quinn’s UNLOCK ME

Sexy, Irish chef stepbrother hero. BDSM. An entire hand going somewhere hands typically don’t fit. Well, I guess we’re stretchy down there for a reason, huh?

  1. Tessa Dare’s BEAUTY AND THE BLACKSMITH

I’ll be straight with you: This is not an erotic romance. But the dude is so strong he [um…vaginally services?] the heroine standing up, without any additional support. In the middle of a smithy. When he’s filthy and sweaty and lifting her up and down with nothing but the strength of his muscled arms.

So…yeah. New life goal: Colonial Williamsburg trip, because if their blacksmiths can do that, I’ll rock a goddamn petticoat and cap. Not a problem.

  1. Lauren Hawkeye’s SEDUCED BY THE GLADIATOR

Gladiators. Gladiators. GLADIATORS. Did anyone else here truly start puberty when they witnessed Russell Crowe in a little miniskirt and breastplate? No? Just me? You’re all [very naughty] liars. Plus, the heroine is a gladiator too, so that’s right up my alley.

Not in a dirty way.

Well, kind of in a dirty way.

  1. Joey W. Hill’s THE VAMPIRE QUEEN’S SERVANT

A vampire heroine full of femdom badassery. If she isn’t sexually satisfied, she can literally drain the life from her lovers.

So [heartily dismiss] Colonial Williamsburg. New life goal: Become a vampire queen. Should be easy enough. Tomorrow, I’ll start looking for sparkly, brooding stalkers with great hair who can turn me.

  1. Sierra Simone’s PRIEST

Never looking at anointed oils the same way again. Sacrilicious.

  1. Alisha Rai’s GLUTTON FOR PLEASURE

Two tall, dark, handsome, and damaged twin brothers want the same good-girl chef. At the same time. Sweet. Funny. Like Cowboy Overload, a ménage à trois story. Because apparently lots of hot men work in pairs and target normal, everyday women, so WHY HASN’T THIS HAPPENED TO ME YET???

::sobs::

::reaches for vibrator::

::sobs again when realizes vibrator isn’t ridged::

  1. Rebekah Weatherspoon’s SO SWEET

Made me laugh-snort, which most erotic romances don’t. Also made me wonder where all the hot billionaires are hiding in rural Maryland. Does the dude in overalls at the feedstore secretly flog innocent virgins in his red BDSM room between business deals? I mean, in a sexy, non-criminal way?

If this is happening and no one has informed me, let me tell you something: You people are in deep [intestinal discharge].

About MY RECKLESS VALENTINE

My Reckless Valentine

TEMPTATION FROM A TO Z
Library manager Angie Burrowes is in trouble again. Her superiors have never approved of her unconventional methods, but the latest warning is serious—another complaint from the administration or a patron, and she’s fired. With a steamy Valentine’s Day contest to conceal and her career on the line, the last thing Angie needs is a near-accident while driving home. At least, until she meets the tall, dark, and sexy stranger responsible for her very own spicy plot twist…

Straight-laced Grant Peterson has only one thing on his mind: making a good impression as the new Director of Branch Services at the Nice County Public Library. On the eve of his first day, however, a lusty encounter with Angie unleashes a desire unlike any he’s ever known. Their tryst may be one for the record books, but when he learns he’s Angie’s new boss, will Grant need to check out on love?

Buy MY RECKLESS VALENTINE: Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Olivia Dade

Olivia Dade

While I was growing up, my mother kept a stack of books hidden in her closet. She told me I couldn’t read them. So, naturally, whenever she left me alone for any length of time, I took them out and flipped through them. Those books raised quite a few questions in my prepubescent brain. Namely: 1) Why were there so many pirates? 2) Where did all the throbbing come from? 3) What was a “manhood”? 4) And why did the hero and heroine seem overcome by images of waves and fireworks every few pages, especially after an episode of mysterious throbbing in the hero’s manhood?

Thirty or so years later, I have a few answers. 1) Because my mom apparently fancied pirates at that time. Now she hoards romances involving cowboys and babies. If a book cover features a shirtless man in a Stetson cradling an infant, her ovaries basically explode and her credit card emerges. I have a similar reaction to romances involving spinsters, governesses, and librarians. 2) His manhood. Also, her womanhood. 3) It’s his “hard length,” sometimes compared in terms of rigidity to iron. I prefer to use other names for it in my own writing. However, I am not picky when it comes to descriptions of iron-hard lengths. At least in romances. 4) Because explaining how an orgasm feels can prove difficult. Or maybe the couples all had sex on New Year’s Eve at Cancun.

During those thirty years, I accomplished a few things. I graduated from Wake Forest University and earned my M.A. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at a variety of jobs that required me to bury my bawdiness and potty mouth under a demure exterior: costumed interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, high school teacher, and librarian. But I always, always read romances. Funny, filthy, sweet–it didn’t matter. I loved them all.

Now I’m writing my own romances with the encouragement of my husband and daughter. I found a kick-ass agent: Jessica Alvarez from Bookends, LLC. I have my own stack of books in my closet that I’d rather my daughter not read, at least not for a few years. I can swear whenever I want, except around said daughter. And I get to spend all day writing about love and iron-hard lengths.

So thank you, Mom, for perving so hard on pirates during my childhood. I owe you.

Lovestruck Librarians

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Victoria Vane | Capturing the Urban Cowboy

Many readers by now are familiar with my transition from historical romance to contemporary western romance a little over a year ago. In all of my books to date, I have endeavored to put a whole new twist on the cowboy archetype. Wade Knowlton, the hero of SLOW HAND was a small town Montana lawyer and part time rancher. Dirk Knowlton, Wade’s brother who is a former pro bull rider and injured vet is the hero of ROUGH RIDER. Reid Everett, the hero of the third book, SHARP SHOOTIN’ COWBOY is a former Marine scout sniper and Wyoming hunting guide. All of these stories are set in Wyoming and Montana.

My hero Ty Morgan in HELL ON HEELS and TWO TO WRANGLE is a departure from my more traditional cowboys. Ty is a flawed character. He’s a divorced playboy who loves woman—in single serving sizes. He also has an alcohol problem that he’s mostly overcome. He’s got a smart mouth and talks a lot of smack about his ex-wife, but deep down takes responsibility for the failed marriage. He has countless “friends” but doesn’t let anyone get too close, with the exception of Oklahoma billionaire, Tom Brandt, his father’s business partner who took Ty under his wing after Ty’s father’s tragic death. After following too closely in his father’s footsteps, Ty leaves the world of professional rodeo to manage Tom’s Las Vegas hotel. The Hotel means everything to Ty. It’s his family and his future but Ty knows its days are numbered.

Excerpt#1

“You want anything from the bar, Mr. Brandt?”

“Nothing thanks,” Tom replied, looking her over with overt appreciation. He might be getting up in years but he still admired a good looking women as much as the next man.

“All right-y then,” she replied with another flash of white teeth. “Be back in a jiff.”

Both men watched her ass sway as she walked away. She noticed, caught Ty’s eye, and winked. His prick stirred to life. Hell, it was only a wink. Was it that long since he’d been laid? Weeks probably, he realized dismally. But he’d been so damned busy lately. He decided then and there to add that to his agenda once this meeting was over. Hell, if things turned out as he feared, he’d have to flag it as a number one priority—right after getting shit-faced.

“I didn’t call sooner because I wanted to meet with my banker, accountant, and lawyer before answering you,” Tom replied at last, his perfectly impassive expression giving nothing away.

“And?” Ty prompted.

“I’m sorry to say they all counseled me against it, Ty. The ROI is piss-poor compared to what I’d make on the shale fields. You know how those bean counters are.”

Ty’s gaze darted to the bar where the waitress was flirting with a brawny blond bartender. He really needed that bourbon. Now.

“We both know the place is well past its heyday,” Tom continued. “It hasn’t made a profit in the past decade. I hate to say it Ty, but my financial advisors want me to pull out of the hotel altogether and put the money where it’ll grow—into hydraulic drilling and exploration.” Tom sat back with a thoughtful look. “Ironic isn’t? My granddaddy made a fortune wild-catting, lost most of it in the depression, and now fracking the very same sites has made mine.”

The waitress returned with his drink, but this time Ty answered her inviting smile with only a curt nod and a terse thanks. Pretty blondes, even ones with nice racks and pert asses, were now the last thing on his mind.

Tom’s decision to pull out was a blow he’d half-expected, but still wasn’t completely prepared for. But with no wife or family, and nothing but old scars, broken bones to his credit, the hotel and casino was all Ty had left. He took a long drink, savoring the bourbon bite while struggling to collect his scattered thoughts. After another fortifying swallow he set his glass on the table. He still believed he could save the place and wasn’t about to give it up without a fight.

Little does Ty know that his fight will be with Tom’s invest-banker daughter, Monica Brandt. Monica has arrived in Vegas to take care of her father, which also includes taking control of his assets. She is fiercely protective of Tom, the only person who’s ever cared about her, and doesn’t trust Ty. Their story is fast paced, loaded with conflict and sexy as sin!

Excerpt #2

“Alright, cowboy,” Monica said. “You want it straight? I’ll give it to you. You and I both know my father is a very wealthy man. He’s also now completely incapacitated. I have to wonder what really happened at this meeting of yours? What caused his blood-pressure to skyrocket to the point of stroking out in the parking lot?”

He towered over her flushed-faced. “You think I had something to do with that?”

“I think the circumstances are highly suspicious. You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t accept everything you say at face value.”

He took a breath, opened his mouth as if to speak, but then closed it again. He jammed his hat back on his head and made to leave, but then turned back with his hand on the door. “Look, Ms. Brandt. I gotta get something off my chest right here and now.”

“And what’s that?” Monica asked warily.

“I get that you trust me about as much as a rattlesnake dozing in your boot. And part of me appreciates your suspicions ’cause you don’t know me from Adam, but what you need to understand is the man in that bed right there,” he jerked his head toward Tom, “means every bit as much to me as he does to you—probably even more, given that I’ve known him twice as long. Hell, he practically raised me.”

“I’m sorry if my style is too direct for you, cowboy, but I’m only acting in my father’s best interest.”

“I’ve got nothing to hide,” he said. “But if this is the way you’re gonna go about things, you don’t know Tom at all. But given we both want what’s best for Tom, you can consider me at your disposal.” He tipped his hat and walked out.

She looked after him thinking disposal might be exactly the right word.

About Victoria Vane

Victoria Vane

Victoria Vane is a #1 bestselling award-winning author of smart and sexy romance. Her works range from comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance and have received over twenty awards and nominations including: a 2015 Red Carpet Finalist for Best Contemporary romance (Slow Hand), 2014 RONE Winner for Best Historical Post Medieval Romance (Treacherous Temptations), and Library Journal Best Ebook Romance of 2012 (The Devil DeVere series). Victoria also writes romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee. She currently resides in Palm Coast, Florida with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

Devil DeVere | Hot Cowboy Nights | Hotel Rodeo

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About HELL ON HEELS

Hell on Heels

PLACE YOUR BET…
The Hotel Rodeo in Las Vegas has seen better days, but managing partner Ty Morgan has come up with a way to return it to its former glory. His plan looks promising until the unthinkable happens. Suddenly Ty is working for the boss’s daughter. And Miss Monica Brandt, hot as she may be, doesn’t share his vision

ROLL THE DICE…
She left a fabulous career and a frustrated fiancé in New York to move to Vegas and save her father’s investment. But now Monica is locking horns with a sexy cowboy-turned-businessman. What does Ty think he can do that she can’t? All Monica knows is that she doesn’t dare trust him—or is it herself she doesn’t trust…

AND WIN…
The battle lines are drawn. The stakes are high. And the attraction can’t be denied—especially the more closely Ty and Monica have to work together. Some odds are just meant to be played, and with chemistry this electric, it may be time to grab life by the horns…

Buy HELL ON HEELS: Kindle| BN.com| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Praise for SLOW HAND

“Well-paced, scorching scenes and witty banter…”

Publishers Weekly

Slow Hand by Victoria Vane is delightful, funny, page-turning steamy sexy, and the romance between Wade and Nikki make you wish you could pull Victoria’s characters straight off the page and into real life…”
—Unwrapping Romance

“For erotic passion and one-liners, the first book in Vane’s new series will satisfy…Vane’s latest gets a big yee-haw.”

RT Book Reviews

Cindi Madsen | Crush-Worthy Professional Athletes

Let’s face it, there’s something hot about sports players. From the way they handle the ball/hockey stick/bat to all the muscles it takes to play competitively.

In ANATOMY OF A PLAYER, Whitney goes undercover as a sports reporter, her assignment to expose all the unfair perks the college championship hockey team receives. But she’s completely unprepared for Hudson Decker, the bad boy of the hockey team, and once he turns his charms on her, she has a hard time not falling for the guy.

Since we’re talking about irresistible athletes, I thought I’d talk about the professional athletes who make me swoon. The ones I’ve sometimes wished didn’t have to cover their pretty faces with helmets while they played. I mean, safety first and all, but would it kill the cameramen to show them without them on a little more?

My five most crush-worthy sports guys.

  1. Eric Decker – As a Broncos fan, I was especially proud hottie was part of my team. When he was traded, it was a sad day, and the games have had a little less eye candy ever since.
  2. Gabriel Landeskog – Hockey player for the Colorado Avalanche. Another guy who plays for the home team!
  3. Tyler Sequin – This hockey player inspired Hudson, and I had to suffer through a lot of research when it came to finding the right picture to help me describe him. Hehe
  4. Bryce Harper – One of my baseball-loving friends introduced me to this guy. I’ll admit that baseball isn’t my first go-to sport, but with him on the field, I think I’ll fit in a few more games.
  5. David Beckham – Really, do I need to say more? He’s David Beckham, after all :)

So, who’d I miss? Which sports player goes on your list?

About Cindi Madsen

Cindi Madsen

Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

Accidentally in Love | Hope Springs | Hope Springs, WY | Taking Shots

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About ANATOMY OF A PLAYER

Anatomy of a Player

This bad boy is about to get played

After getting her heart broken by a player again, Whitney Porter is done with men. She’s focusing on her future career and her first assignment at the college newspaper: Posing as a sports writer for an exposé on the extra perks jocks receive. But Hudson Decker, the bad boy of the hockey team, is about to test her resolve. To keep herself from breaking her no-sex rule with the temptingly tattooed athlete, she decides to use him for a side project: Anatomy of a Player, to help Whitney—and women everywhere—spot a player, learn what makes him tick, and how to avoid falling for one.

With his life spiraling out of control, Hudson Decker’s looking for a distraction. When his teammates bet him that he can’t land the gorgeous but prickly new reporter, he accepts the challenge, boasting he’ll have her in bed by the end of the semester. But Whitney is so much more than Hudson expected, and soon enough, he’s in too deep. The last thing he needs is another complication, but staying away isn’t an option. One thing’s for certain: this girl totally throws him off his game.

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