Sandra Lake | If a Viking had an iPod…

Music can be the sound track to our emotions. A great song can not only change your mood but also change your day. When a song speaks to you and knows your heart, you bond with it. I thought it would be fun to pick my characters brains and pick the top 5 songs for Hök Magnusson and Lady Sovia, the hero and heroine of my new Viking romance, THE NORTHMAN’S BRIDE.

To give you a touch of context, my young Viking warrior Hök Magnusson gets his heart clawed out by his first love, Lady Sovia. Seven years later and his wound has yet to heal. Don’t judge my book by the cover models. I promise Hök is not always that grumpy looking.

Hök’s Playlist would be:

  1. Bite Hard by Franz Ferinand. After Sovia tossed Hök’s love aside, he’s gutted and understandable ill tempered. This song is about breaking hearts and breaking minds.
  2. Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons. Scorned and feeling he has dishonored his family, Hök volunteering joins the neighboring counties civil war to secure his families boarders.
  3. Tick Tick Boom by The Hives. Years later, on his second encounter with Sovia, Hök is a ticking time bomb of a Molotov cocktail of rage, vengeance and unrequited love for a woman he is convinced will be nothing but destruction for him.
  4. Viking Death March by Billy Talent. Protective and possessive is an understatement when it comes to Hök’s feelings towards his bride, therefore it is never wise to threaten the life of a Northman’s bride.
  5. Love Song by The Cure. Under all his armor and lethal glaring, Hök is a big, mushy, poet. Spoiler alert! Eventually, Hök will help heal Sovia’s past wounds with adoring devotion and loving care.

Lady Sovia has been used and abused by her father for her entire life, yet she has a strong, deep inner strength that she is unwilling to be surrendered. Unjustly labeled a whore at court, she refuses to apologize but continues to hold her head high. Her unbreakable spirit becomes her most adored quality by her husband.

Sovia’s Playlist would be:

  1. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division. After a lifetime of pain, Sovia does not believe in romantic love, believing it is a grave disease of the mind.
  2. What Kind of Man by Florence and the Machine. Sovia can never forget her brief encounter with the young Northman. Hök has haunted her dreams.
  3. Kiss with a Fist by Florence and the Machine. Once Hök takes her as his bride, she believes she is beyond redemption and is resigned to living in a contemptible marriage, never believing she is worthy of his love or kindness.
  4. Superwoman by Alicia Keys. To protect her family, Sovia will stop at nothing; prepare to sacrifice her pride, her vanity and even her life for their security.
  5. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler. Once Sovia admits to herself that she loves Hök and always has, it opens her up to surrender to her fears of losing him, knowing she wants him, and deserves him will be one of her greatest challenges.

About THE NORTHMAN’S BRIDE

The Northman's Bride

Passions flare in the icy north in the third Sons of the North Romance novel from the author of The Warlord’s Wife and The Iron Princess…

Sovia, daughter of Baron Losna, is on a mission to seduce Stål Magnusson, firstborn son of Swedish warlord Jarl Magnus Knutson and heir to his seat. With a civil war on, the stakes are high. The Baron needs the money and political alliance that Sovia’s marriage to Stål would secure. Fortunately, Sovia’s skill with men, not to mention the rugged good looks of her target, makes the assignment all too easy. But the tables turn when Sovia realizes she has taken the wrong Magnusson— Stål’s twin brother Hök—to bed. Wrong brother or not, Hök is enamored, and offers to marry Sovia. When that offer is rejected by her father, Hök’s heart and pride are broken.

Seven years later, as Lady Sovia is about to be executed by Norway’s usurper king, Hök, now a battle-hardened warrior, comes to her rescue—by finally taking her hand in marriage. Though his intent is to take revenge, as well as her hereditary land, he cannot help but be impressed by her unbreakable spirit. But Lady Sovia has secrets that will make it nearly impossible for them to live happily ever after…

Includes a preview of The Warlord’s Wife

Buy THE NORTHMAN’S BRIDE: Kindle
| BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Sandra Lake

Sandra Lake

Sandra Lake was born somewhere in the wilds of Sweden. Surrounded by shirtless, blond men, she learned to sail, swing a sword and skin a bear when she was only three–wait no, that was Davy Crockett…

The real Sandra was raised in rural Canada. (close enough to Sweden) She married her childhood sweetheart (who is blond and on occasion shirtless). They are currently living happily-ever-after along with their kids and unruly husky in Quebec, Canada.

Sons of the North

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | PINTEREST

Sandra Lake | If a Viking had an iPod…

Music can be the sound track to our emotions. A great song can not only change your mood but also change your day. When a song speaks to you and knows your heart, you bond with it. I thought it would be fun to pick my characters brains and pick the top 5 songs for Hök Magnusson and Lady Sovia, the hero and heroine of my new Viking romance, THE NORTHMAN’S BRIDE.

To give you a touch of context, my young Viking warrior Hök Magnusson gets his heart clawed out by his first love, Lady Sovia. Seven years later and his wound has yet to heal. Don’t judge my book by the cover models. I promise Hök is not always that grumpy looking.

Hök’s Playlist would be:

  1. Bite Hard by Franz Ferinand. After Sovia tossed Hök’s love aside, he’s gutted and understandable ill tempered. This song is about breaking hearts and breaking minds.
  2. Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons. Scorned and feeling he has dishonored his family, Hök volunteering joins the neighboring counties civil war to secure his families boarders.
  3. Tick Tick Boom by The Hives. Years later, on his second encounter with Sovia, Hök is a ticking time bomb of a Molotov cocktail of rage, vengeance and unrequited love for a woman he is convinced will be nothing but destruction for him.
  4. Viking Death March by Billy Talent. Protective and possessive is an understatement when it comes to Hök’s feelings towards his bride, therefore it is never wise to threaten the life of a Northman’s bride.
  5. Love Song by The Cure. Under all his armor and lethal glaring, Hök is a big, mushy, poet. Spoiler alert! Eventually, Hök will help heal Sovia’s past wounds with adoring devotion and loving care.

Lady Sovia has been used and abused by her father for her entire life, yet she has a strong, deep inner strength that she is unwilling to be surrendered. Unjustly labeled a whore at court, she refuses to apologize but continues to hold her head high. Her unbreakable spirit becomes her most adored quality by her husband.

Sovia’s Playlist would be:

  1. Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division. After a lifetime of pain, Sovia does not believe in romantic love, believing it is a grave disease of the mind.
  2. What Kind of Man by Florence and the Machine. Sovia can never forget her brief encounter with the young Northman. Hök has haunted her dreams.
  3. Kiss with a Fist by Florence and the Machine. Once Hök takes her as his bride, she believes she is beyond redemption and is resigned to living in a contemptible marriage, never believing she is worthy of his love or kindness.
  4. Superwoman by Alicia Keys. To protect her family, Sovia will stop at nothing; prepare to sacrifice her pride, her vanity and even her life for their security.
  5. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler. Once Sovia admits to herself that she loves Hök and always has, it opens her up to surrender to her fears of losing him, knowing she wants him, and deserves him will be one of her greatest challenges.

About THE NORTHMAN’S BRIDE

The Northman's Bride

Passions flare in the icy north in the third Sons of the North Romance novel from the author of The Warlord’s Wife and The Iron Princess…

Sovia, daughter of Baron Losna, is on a mission to seduce Stål Magnusson, firstborn son of Swedish warlord Jarl Magnus Knutson and heir to his seat. With a civil war on, the stakes are high. The Baron needs the money and political alliance that Sovia’s marriage to Stål would secure. Fortunately, Sovia’s skill with men, not to mention the rugged good looks of her target, makes the assignment all too easy. But the tables turn when Sovia realizes she has taken the wrong Magnusson— Stål’s twin brother Hök—to bed. Wrong brother or not, Hök is enamored, and offers to marry Sovia. When that offer is rejected by her father, Hök’s heart and pride are broken.

Seven years later, as Lady Sovia is about to be executed by Norway’s usurper king, Hök, now a battle-hardened warrior, comes to her rescue—by finally taking her hand in marriage. Though his intent is to take revenge, as well as her hereditary land, he cannot help but be impressed by her unbreakable spirit. But Lady Sovia has secrets that will make it nearly impossible for them to live happily ever after…

Includes a preview of The Warlord’s Wife

Buy THE NORTHMAN’S BRIDE: Kindle
| BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

DiAnn Mills | Social Media and Writers

Hey Writers, are You afraid of Social Media?

I’ve been in your shoes. In fact, I wore out several pairs called, “I can’t do social media.” They pinched my toes and hurt my feet. So I tossed them in the trash and bought a new pair titled, “I’m not afraid of social media.” Those shoes were made for success, and I wear them every day.

My real issue was fear. I thought I couldn’t learn the different platforms. Questions hovered, like where does my brand and genre fit? How many platforms must I use? I’m foremost a novelist, not a guru in mastering the social media universe. It made sense to me that doing nothing meant no risk of failure.

Wisdom marched in with clarification: Doing nothing meant I’d always regret not trying, and I was limiting my exposure to readers.

That’s when I made up my mind to educate myself in the art of social media. I made slow but steady progress and climbed a mountain. So much satisfaction at the top. Now I can look down and see where I’ve failed, pick myself up, and climb a taller peak.

Good news! My readership has increased, which means higher sales, and I’m often asked to guest blog.

The best way to walk proudly is to take one step at a time. Here are five tips to help you get started with social media.

Allow 30 minutes a day to study social media.

  1. Set up a Facebook page. link
  2. Set up a Twitter page. link
  3. Get involved with Facebook and Twitter. Build a community of new friends. This isn’t about you but ways to help others through your experiences and expertise.
  4. Research the value of blogging, either on your own website or on a site that is highly respected and has lots of followers. Study other blogs before establishing your own.
  5. Research and follow bloggers who are known for their expertise in writing and those who are professional social media experts. Here are a few outstanding sites.
    • The Write Conversation – link
    • The Author Roadmap – link
    • Social Media Examiner – link
    • Pro Blogger – link

Now’s the time for you to get started. How do you approach Social Media?

Veronica Forand | When Twelve Heartbreakers Are Better Than One Hero

I love romances. Not only writing them, but reading them as well.

When I was invited into the Heartbreaker and Heroes anthology, I was not only excited to write with some of my favorite authors, but I also had the chance to read the stories before anyone else!!!

A few things I learned about our heroes:

  1. They all had rough childhoods, whether from abuse, neglect, or caught in a bad situation.
  2. Most of them don’t want to fall in love, but their hearts override their fears.
  3. Falling in love with men who have had a difficult past isn’t easy, but the heroines are tough enough to handle what ever comes along.
  4. Whether billionaire, biker, cop, or cowboy, heroes are all around us.
  5. Sometimes heartbreakers should be left in the dust. Other times, they are completely redeemable.

I must admit I threw in some thriller elements to my story. I can’t help it. The story of a cop who tries and fails to rescue a woman from an abusive father had to go somewhat dark. But between writers like Jennie Marts and Jodi Linton, there are lots of humorous stories in the mix as well.

About HEARTBREAKERS AND HEROES

Heartbreakers and Heroes

A brotherhood of twelve men bound together by their troubled youth and one mentor who taught them the rules for becoming men of honor. But some of them haven’t been following those rules…

Get your hands on TWELVE sexy HEARTBREAKERS AND HEROES- all new romances from USA Today bestsellers and your favorite contemporary authors that are sure to get your heart pounding.

Love doesn’t always play by the rules…

HIDING WITH THE HEARTBREAKER by USA Today bestseller Virginia Nelson
Rule: Protect the innocent.
Making people laugh for a living is easy, but when a beautiful stranger needs Aloysius Sutton’s help, he has to find a way to become Jude’s hero.

HOW TO UNBREAK A HEART by USA Today bestseller Jennie Marts
Rule: If you love her, don’t let her go.
Solitary cowboy, Trip Turner finally has a chance to correct the mistakes he made when he let the woman he loved walk out of his life twelve years ago. But now that Bre Wilson is back, will he be able to unbreak her heart?

SECOND CHANCE HERO by Michelle Major
Rule: A real man doesn’t build himself up by tearing someone else down.
Travis Jackson might not be the white knight Hailey Moore needs, but he’ll risk his future to win her heart.

HERO IN DISGUISE by Sharla Lovelace
Rule: A real man doesn’t buy respect, he earns it.
Billionaire playboy Jake Jericho thinks he has it all, until one phone call reminds him otherwise. Can one week in disguise reform this trust fund playboy, or will his deception destroy the only real love he’s ever known?

HER HEARTBREAKER BOSS by Carmen Falcone
Rule: Never leave your woman unsatisfied.
Can Stefano and Roxie resist the heat flaring between them or will working together force them to face their rocky past and give them the happily ever after they deserve?

HOW TO BE A HEARTBREAKER by Codi Gary
Rule: A real man never kisses and tells.
When an A list actor returns to his hometown, old wounds and fresh gossip emerge… along with a second chance at love, if he’s brave enough to stick around.

REFORMING THE HEARTBREAKER by Christine Glover
Rule: A real man never breaks a woman’s heart.
Can Olympic mountain bike champion Ryder Bennett and his public relations rep Addison Carrington keep things professional between them this time around, or will they risk a sexy scandal for a chance at love?

HER UNWANTED HERO by Veronica Forand
Rule: A real man always helps someone in need… he may be the only one who does.
A disenchanted police officer must choose between keeping a woman’s affection or keeping her alive.

ONCE A HEARTBREAKER by T.J. Kline
Rule: A real man never lies, especially to a woman.
Ty Preston ran out on the woman he loved twelve years ago, but now he’s back to prove he’s a changed man. However, Rayne can’t risk getting her heart broken by the cowboy again.

MAKE MINE A HEARTBREAKER by Jodi Linton
Rule: Love should always be fun.
She’s about to change this playboy’s rule book.

HOMETOWN HEARTBREAKER by Heather Long
Rule: A real man always puts his best foot forward…
Zeke always planned to steal her heart, but she left him on base. It’s the bottom of the ninth, and Charity is up to bat. Can she tell her two-all stars the truth or will a foul end her best chance?

TUTORING THE HEARTBREAKER TO LOVE by Hayson Manning
Rule: A real man never touches the hired help.
Can Savannah teach serial heartbreaker Walker to be domesticated in ten days and convince him that maybe they can have a shot at a ‘them’ or can Walker convince Savannah there can be a ‘them’ on his terms only?

Buy HEARTBREAKERS AND HEROES:

Kindle | BN.com | Kobo | iTunes | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Cindi Madsen | What is it about opposites that attract?

What is it about opposites that attract?

You could say that the heroine and hero in THE BAD BOY’S BABY are an opposites attract kind of couple. Admittedly, there are sometimes that I wonder how my husband can think so opposite of how I do. Last summer we remodeled, and our taste were so opposing that I often wondered how we ever managed to buy a house together in the first place. So there was some compromising on both ends, and we both loved the finished product. So I thought I’d explore what it is about opposites that attract.

  1. A new way of looking at things – I always like learning the way certain things affect another person and comparing it to how they affect me. Like music. I love asking what songs speak to someone and why, because I think it provides a great insight to other people.
  2. The challenge of stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things that the other person likes. In THE BAD BOY’S BABY, Emma loves carnival rides and Cam would never set foot in what he thinks of imperfect machines made by imperfect people. Not to mention he doesn’t like confined spaces. Yet he’s willing to ride them because Emma likes them. And when Emma’s with Cam, she finds her adventurous side comes out and that she likes who she is around him.
  3. Different strengths and weaknesses. Opposite personalities have different strengths and weaknesses, but working as a team helps both people balance that out. My husband is a math teacher, so whenever my kids come to me with their math homework, I just point them toward their daddy. When it comes to English homework, he points them to me. As for the other subjects…Well, we’re not above a game of rock, paper, scissors to sort that out. LOL
  4. What is it about bad boys and good girls? I think that sometimes good girls would like to be bad, and who hasn’t been a little attracted to a bad boy before? But I think the real allure is finding out that there’s more than meets the eye. While Emma doesn’t get a chance to see what that is until Cam comes back from his time in the army and discovers they have a little girl, once Emma gets to know him on a deeper level, it makes him even more irresistible.
  5. I think in a lot of ways, having someone who might have some opposite qualities helps balance us out. When we’re stressed, it’s nice to have someone to calm you down or make you laugh. And when we might need a little more structure in our lives, it’s good to have someone who knows more about that too.

What do you all think? Did I leave any out? I’d love to hear your take on why opposites attract, and even who some of your favorite TV, movie, and book couples are who are a good example of it.

About Cindi Madsen

Cindi Madsen

Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She 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 pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and 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, WY | Taking Shots

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

About THE BAD BOY’S BABY

The Bad Boy's Baby

There are certain words that have always described Cam Brantley: Town bad boy. Soldier. Protector. But never, ever dad. Until he returns home from his latest military tour to discover the girl he had one smoking-hot night with is now mom to the adorable two-year-old Zoey. Who has his eyes.

Plenty of words could describe Emma Walker these days. Mom, dutiful granddaughter, budding designer, the town’s golden child. But when her longtime crush Cam Brantley comes back to town, she knows the perfect word to describe herself: screwed.

Cam and Emma are both shocked to discover he truly wants Zoey in his life. But Cam’s not sure he’s ready to be a dad, and Emma can’t gamble her daughter on maybes. As the long-simmering heat between Cam and Emma reaches a boiling point, he’ll have to work past his demons in order to be the man both girls need.

Buy THE BAD BOY’S BABY: Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Falguni Kothari | Interviews Simeen, the voice of MY LAST LOVE STORY

First off, thank you for doing this interview for us. I know you don’t have time for frivolous activities these days, what with your IVF cycle and your husband’s chemo.

Simeen: It’s okay. I actually could use a break from all that. And from checking off items on Nirvaan’s tedious Titanic Wish List.

What’s the Titanic Wish List?

Simeen: Nirvaan’s bucket list. You know he doesn’t have long, so he wants to do all the things that matter to him before…he succumbs.

I’m very sorry about Nirvaan’s cancer…

Simeen: Thank you. But it’s okay. We’re okay. We’re dealing. So ask away.

Right. Um, so…let’s start with, What’s the secret to having a good marriage?

Simeen (grinning): A kinky spouse.

Interesting answer. It certainly broke the ice. Next question, What’s the most fun party you ever attended?

Simeen: The beach party where Nirvaan, Zayaan and I met for the first time. It was our fifteenth birthday—you know the three of us share our birthdays, right? So, we met at Dandi Beach, one hot summer night long ago.

Wow. That’s some coincidence—the three of you sharing a birthday.

Simeen: That’s not all we share. No pun intended. We also lived on the same street back in Surat, while growing up.

I know that you’ve been best friends for fifteen years. So, what are the most important qualities in friends?

Simeen: Giving each other space. Trust. Unequivocal support, to begin with.

What got you into trouble when you were young?

Simeen (laughing out loud): With those two rascals flanking me, what didn’t I get in trouble about? We were not called the Shaitans of Surat for nothing!

 

(Shaitan means devil, for those who didn’t get the reference.) What’s the funniest advice your mother gave you?

Simeen: Mumsy always gave me good advice. It’s Daddy who was weird about things. He made me wear rubber bands on my teeth for a whole month when I was twelve because I’d asked for my teeth to be straightened. He refused to pay an orthodontist for something that had a home remedy.

You’re kidding. Rubber bands on your teeth? Did it work?

Simeen shows her not-quite-aligned teeth: It did not, as you see.

Ah. Hm. So, what’s your favorite quotation?

Simeen: Something my father used to say and which Nirvaan has taken to quoting with gusto: Love is a dish best served naked.

I like that one. It rings of fun and seriousness both. On a more serious note, is justice or forgiveness more important?

Simeen: Justice. But that’s not in our hands. Forgiveness is though. But I’m not big on it.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Simeen: Saying goodbye.

Oh. Yes, that is tough. And, appropriate as we seem to have run out of time for this interview. Once again, thank you for indulging us, Simeen. And we wish you the best with the Wish List.

About Falguni Kothari

Falguni Kothari

Falguni Kothari is a New York-based hybrid author, and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful and cultural threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. She’s published in India in contemporary fiction with global e-book availability, and will launch her mythic fantasy series, The Age of Kali, in November of 2015. When not writing or dancing or being house-wifey, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with readers.

Age of Kali

WEBSITE | BLOG | GOOGLEPLUS | GOODREADS | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About MY LAST LOVE STORY

My Last Love Story

Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart, and shattered my soul.

I love my husband, and he loves me. But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy. But he is asking for the impossible.
He is asking me to make lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

I can’t.
I don’t want a baby. I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story.

Buy MY LAST LOVE STORY: Amazon.com | Kindle
| BN.com | Kobo | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Rachel Thomas | Time Out

Taking time out to enjoy yourself is essential and it’s something I look forward to. I spend part of my day working on the farm and part of it writing, but I enjoy nothing better than to do something completely different.

I have always had an interest in history and love visiting castles or grand old houses. I usually take my camera with me as it gives me a chance to indulge in that little passion too. Whilst the splendour of large stately homes is fun to see, it’s the castles I like best. Usually they are ruins, but I love to use my imagination and build up a picture of what life must have been like all those hundreds of years ago.

Of course it doesn’t have to be time away or a day out. Just an hour or so to myself to relax and do something I want to do, which for me would be losing myself in a good book. Again, it’s history which draws me and this or romance is my chosen genre.

At this time of the year, as summer is arriving and the days are becoming warmer and longer, I enjoy spending time in the garden. Whether I am a successful gardener is another matter, but I usually manage to produce a decent crop of tomatoes and strawberries – although not very many strawberries make it to the table!

One of the best things I do each day to give myself just a little bit of time out is walking the dog. Poppy is a Golden Retriever and at six months old is full of energy and mischief, but seeing her explore the world always brings a smile to my face, even on the dreariest of mornings.

What is it you like to do relax?

About THE SHEIKH’S LAST MISTRESS

The Sheikh's Last Mistress

Promoted to Princess!

Destiny Richards knows she is playing with fire when she accepts charismatic Sheikh Zafir Al Asmari’s job offer, but it seems like a fair price to pay to start her life over again. Until the temperature reaches the boiling point and Destiny finds herself spending one out-of-this-world night with the sheikh!

When powerful Zafir seduces English rose Destiny, he never anticipates she’ll hold the title of his Last Mistress. But their scorching affair has shocking repercussions. Now, before their nine months are up, Zafir must convince Destiny to make their arrangement more permanent!

Buy THE SHEIKH’S LAST MISTRESS: 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

About Rachael Thomas

Rachael Thomas

Rachael Thomas grew up in the Midlands in England, but when she moved to Wales, over twenty years ago, she found a place to finally put down roots. She married into a farming family and embarked on a massive learning curve which also saw her learning Welsh when her two children were small.

Writing is something she has always wanted to do and she can still remember the thrill of one of her short stories being held up as an example to the class when she was about nine. It wasn’t until her own children were in school that she seriously started to pursue her dream. She joined a local writing group which met every Monday afternoon and being with like-minded people was the boost she needed.

Reading romance had always been her first love, and just about every short story she wrote was romance, so she decided to write her first book. During that process she also attended her first weekend writing course with Kate Walker and joined the RNA’s fabulous New Writers’ Scheme. A short time later she joined Romance Writers of Australia and learnt a lot from entering their competitions. She sought out courses and you can imagine her joy when she discovered Sharon Kendrick’s course in beautiful Tuscany.

Behind the Scandalous Façade, her SO YOU THINK YOU CAN WRITE entry, is her thirteenth book and although only eight have those magic words ‘the end’ written on them, the others are definitely part of the learning process she has enjoyed over the last six years.

She loves to escape to distant shores with her characters, entering their glamorous world and feeling all the emotions they experience as they discover their love for one another. A love so strong it will overcome all obstacles eventually, leading to that promised happy ever after.

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | GOODREADS | FACEBOOK

Jessica Jayne | Why Do Firefighters Make Such Great Romance Heroes?

When I was asked to do a little piece for Fresh Fiction, I knew I wanted to tie it to my new book, THE MISBEHAVED, which released—May 10th—from Totally Bound Publishing. It’s a friends-to-lovers romance involving a frisky bartender, Natalea Jones, and her best friend and most eligible bachelor, Drake Harte. The story opens at Natalea’s bar where she is hosting the charity reveal of the firefighter calendar, which includes as Mr. December—her best friend Drake.

Yes, the hero of THE MISBEHAVED is a sexy firefighter. Not uncommon. Not unheard of. Who makes a more desirable hero than a firefighter? The interesting element for me is that I find myself drawn to them in my writing. I have three books that thrust a firefighter hero into the spotlight. Why? What makes these guys such great romance novel heroes?

I’ve asked myself that question numerous times as I drive past our local firehouse and find myself slowing down in hopes of getting a glance of the firefighters out washing the trucks or shooting hoops in the driveway—with their shirts off, of course! And I’ll admit, some days I’m one lucky lady! J

Is it the hard bodies? Maybe. As a warm-blooded female with a very healthy sexual appetite, I like a hard body like the rest of you. But it’s got to be more than the uniform (or lack thereof) that makes these guys a top fantasy for most women and the perfect hero for a romance story. For me, it comes down to two words: Selfless and Courage.

Selfless. Firefighters may have some downtime during their shifts (and thank God—when else I would I be able to catch them outside the firehouse horsing around), but when a call comes in, it’s all work and no play. And that’s because lives could be at risk, including their own. They suit up in their turn-out gear and boots, heading to a scene not knowing exactly what they may have to face. However, they show up ready and willing to face any danger that may await them, even at the risk of their own lives.

Courage. Firefighters face precarious situations on the job. Saving the cat thirty feet up in a tree, rescuing a child from the fourth floor of a burning apartment building or pulling a man from the wreckage of a car—these guys save lives! Every. Day. They are heroes! Forget Superman. Move over, Batman. Firefighters are for real!

Mix the courage and the selflessness in a pot of hotness and you have yourself he perfect recipe for the perfect hero. At least, that’s been my experience!

About THE MISBEHAVED

The Misbehaved

Friends to lovers—can Natalea Jones and Drake Harte break through their friendship barrier and find happiness?

Natalea Jones has had a rough life. An absentee father. A gambling-addicted mother who seems to show up only when she needs something—preferably money. Natalea survived her childhood and teenage years because of her best friend, Drake Harte, and his family. Even though she’s been in love with Drake for years, she refuses to let her lust get in the way of their friendship. Life without Drake is not possible and sex would certainly complicate things.

Drake Harte is not only known as the most eligible bachelor and firefighter in Gamble Park, Florida, he’s also known for sexing the ladies and leaving them. Only he knows the reason he can’t make a commitment to the women throwing themselves at him—he’s in love with his best friend. It’s time he either goes for it or moves on…and he’s going after Natalea with everything he’s got.

Buy THE MISBEHAVED: Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Cate Cameron | Pros and Cons of Loving the Same Sport Your Boyfriend Loves

  • Pro of Same-Sport Loving – If you’re really dedicated to excellence, you have to spend a lot of time working out, practicing, and otherwise perfecting your game. If you have school or a job as well, there isn’t much time left for a relationship. But if your work out and practice time is ALSO relationship time, you’re all set!
  • Con of Same-Sport Loving – One of you will probably be better at the sport than the other. This isn’t necessarily true, but it’s pretty likely. What effect will that have on the relationship? And if both of you are equally dedicated and equally skilled, how will it feel if the difference is based on something neither of you have any control over? Like, say, your boyfriend hit a growth spurt at puberty and turned into 6’2” muscle-man, and you? You didn’t.
  • Pro – You’re both probably pretty fit. Nice muscles, strong bodies, lots of endurance… hard to argue with any of that!
  • Con – You’re both probably pretty competitive. This can work well if you’re both on the same team, but if you face off against each other? Look out!
  • Pro – Passionate competition can lead to other kinds of passion. After all, you won’t always be playing your sport.
  • Con – Some sports have a lot of gear, and gear can take up a lot of space. Not that big of a deal when you’re a teenager and you’re both still living at home, but when you get older? If you want to live together? Can your garage hold two bags of hockey gear? (Can your garage hold the smell of two bags of hockey gear?) How about two rally cars?
  • Pro – Again, for older couples, sports can be expensive, and if your finances are combined it might be a bit hard to explain why you absolutely need to spend a lot of money on a new tennis racket (or a new horse!) It’s not nearly as big of an argument if your partner already understands your passion and also understands the demands of the sport.
  • Con – There aren’t that many sports that are equally popular with women and men. Soccer, basketball… equestrian events… maybe a few more. But in general, if you both like the same sport, one of you may be “crossing the aisle” and playing a sport traditionally favored by the other sex. Male synchronized swimmers, female football players—it’s not easy to challenge stereotypes or to carve out a spot for yourself.
  • Pro – If you are playing in a sport where you don’t always feel welcome, you need someone to have your back. And if you happen to have a boyfriend who loves your sport and loves you, he can give you a lot of support. Yeah, you’re tough and you don’t need his help… but it’s kind of nice to have it anyway.

In WINGING IT, Toby and Natalie grew up together, both totally dedicated to hockey. Then Toby got drafted to the OHL and his career took off, while Natalie’s… didn’t. The difference drove them apart for a while, but when Nat’s crazy “fake boyfriend” scheme brings them back together, it doesn’t take long for them to realize that they may not be on the same hockey team anymore, but they’re still definitely playing on the same line.

About WINGING IT

Winging It

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains adult language, ice-melting kisses, and a swoon-worthy hero. This fake relationship romance will have you wishing for a hockey player of your own…

Natalie West and Toby Cooper were best friends growing up, on and off the ice. But when Toby’s hockey career took off, their friendship was left behind. Now Natalie has a crazy plan to land her crush—Toby’s biggest rival—and she needs Toby’s help to pull it off.

When Nat asks Toby to be her fake boyfriend, he can’t say no. Not when it means getting his best friend back. But Natalie is all grown up now, and spending time with her—even when it’s just playing hockey together—stirs up a lot of feelings, old and new. Suddenly pretending to be interested in her isn’t hard at all…if only she wanted him and not his enemy.

Buy WINGING IT: Kindle
| BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

Corrigan Falls Raiders

CENTER ICE

#1
Amazon.com | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

PLAYING DEFENSE

#2
Amazon.com | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

WINGING IT

#3
Kindle | BN.com | iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Anya Summers | An Interview with Tobias Ford, hero of TO MASTER & DEFEND

What is your name? Do you have a nickname?

My name is Tobias Ford. I also answer to Master, Sir, or Master T.

Where were you born? Where have you lived since then? Where do you call home?

I was born in Tucson, Arizona. My mother still lives there. I’ve lived all over the world with my stint in the military. Currently, Pasedena , California is where I call home.

What is one strong memory that has stuck with you from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

My alcoholic father left my mother and I when I was five. It’s tempered my need to control my life. I never have more than a drink or two, the disease that drove him from our lives resides in my veins, so I’d prefer not to go down that road. Combined with my PTSD from my tours in Iraq and Afghanistan it would be a bad mixture all together. And I don’t have relationships with women who have children, I know how much that can mess with a child’s mind. I prefer my subs unattached and unfettered.

You’re getting ready for a night out. Where are you going? What do you wear? Who will you be with?

I own a BDSM Club which is where I spend most nights. I’m typically in leather pants and a Dungeon Pleasures tee-shirt.

Where do you go when you’re angry? What do you do there?

I box. It helps to get the energy outside of myself and is a stellar workout.

Have you been in love? Had a broken heart? Who was it and what happened.

Yes, and I’d prefer not talk about it. Let’s just say she couldn’t handle my PTSD.

What is your biggest fear? Who have you told this to? Who would you never tell this to? Why?

That I will get sucked into a PTSD episode and not come out of it. I have a brotherhood of support from other vets with PTSD. We meet and talk about it once a month. More if needed.

If you had to make a meal for me right now with only the ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry, what would you make me?

I like cooking. It calms me. You’d find steak and green beans, maybe some sweet potato fries.

Look down. Describe what you’re wearing. Is this the way you’re normally dressed? If not, what do you normally wear?

I just returned from a shift in Dungeon Pleasures and needed a shower. I did a scene in the Lair, so I’m still in a towel from my shower.

What’s the one thing you want out of life that you don’t think you can have? Why can’t you have it?

I want a wife and family of my own but I think my PTSD is too violent to subject innocent bystanders too. It’s worse at night and I’d never forgive myself if something happened to them under my watch.

Giveaway

Anya is giving away five (5) copies of MASTER AND DEFEND!

About TO MASTER AND DEFEND

To Master and Defend

TO MASTER & DEFEND (The Dungeon Fantasy Club Series, Book 2)

Ophelia Mills is coerced by her friends into having a fashionable night out, where she discovers the newest night life destination is actually an exotic BDSM Club named Dungeon Pleasures. She’s always been curious about the lifestyle, but her reserved nature has so far held her back from exploring her desires. When an over enthusiastic club goer goes overboard with his intentions and attempts to force her into submission, the club’s owner comes to her rescue, defending her honor. After a scorching one night stand with her knight in shining armor, Ophelia discovers that the fantasy was one for the record books.

Tobias Ford likes his life just fine. At the helm of two successful businesses, he’s a Dom with a checkered past and isn’t looking for anything permanent. He’s perfectly content to enjoy the submissive offerings at Dungeon Pleasures, as well as his membership in the exclusive Dungeon Fantasy Club. Then Ophelia Mills stumbles in, needing his protection, and bringing forth every dominant urge he possesses. After a torrid night he cannot forget, he devises a campaign, laying siege to her heart even as he spanks her bare bottom for disobedience. With every one of her pleasured cries, Tobias falls further under Ophelia’s spell as she surrenders to his mastering.

As he indulges her newfound carnal appetite, Ophelia will have to face old hurts, and decide whether or not she can trust him with the most precious of gifts…

Buy TO MASTER AND DEFEND: Kindle | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Anya Summers

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a M.A. in History.

Anya is a #1 Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance under the name, Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the midwest with her two furry felines.

Dungeon Fantasy Club

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Don’t miss these exciting titles by Anya Summers and Blushing Books!

Dungeon Fantasy Club Series

  • Her Highland Master, Book 1, April 15, 2016
  • To Master & Defend, Book 2, May 15, 2016
  • Two Doms for Kara, Book 3, June 12, 2016
  • His Driven Domme, Book 4, July 2016
  • Her Country Master, Book 5, August 2016
  • Love Me, Master Me, Book 6, September 2016
  • Submit To Me, Book 7, October 2016
  • Her Wired Dom, Book 8, November 2016