Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Music Behind What the Gambler Risks

It's no secret that music plays a big part in all of my books, whether they are stand-alone books or parts of a series. Music actually plays a big part in my life - from the time we wake up in the morning until we go to bed, music is usually playing somewhere in the house.

What kind of music is the best music? All of it, really, depending on what else is going on. When I'm cooking, I'll shuffle through all 1432 songs on my iPhone. I have a playlist for when I'm working out, another for when I'm waiting in the carpool pick-up line at bebe's school. When I'm drafting, I'll either have my white-noise app playing (a mix of nature and mellow guitar music) or turn on the light classical station on our TV.

As I'm drafting, though, I'm thinking about pop, country, oldies, rock, and even holiday songs that fit my characters or the plot or a specific scene. And, when the draft is turned in and I'm beginning to think about polishing and revising, those songs become a new playlist - one that gets a pretty heavy workout of its own.

I'm just finishing up my Billionaire Cowboys trilogy - book three released earlier this month - and for that series I actually had a series-specific playlist, and each book had it's own playlist, too. Some of the artists that made the series playlist include Elvis (how could he not? the books were set in Las Vegas, after all!), Kenny Chesney, Smokey Robinson, Train, and Wilson Phillips. Here's a peek into the songs that spoke to me while I was writing What the Gambler Risks: 

Brothers Osborne - 21 Summer
Zac Brown Band - Beautiful Drug
Ashes Remain - On My Own
A Thousand Horses - Smoke & This Ain't No Drunk Dial
Chase Rice - MMM Girl
Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble
Dierks Bentley - Riser

But the song that got the most play? Sugarland's Run - here's the video, which I absolutely really evokes both Jase and Sabrina, for me:

<iframe width="360" height="215" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Okay, readers, your turn to share - does music play a part in  your life? Who are some of your favorite artists? 

Kristina's third Billionaire Cowboys book, What the Gambler Risks, is available now from Crimson Romance. Here is a bit more about Kristina's book:

What the Gambler Risks: 

Best-selling author Kristina Knight's Billionaire Cowboys are back for one final ride with this seductive story of long-simmering feelings and hot Vegas nights.

Twenty-something ice queen Sabrina Smith enjoys the fame and fortune she's found writing self-help books for a largely female audience. Her readers hang on every word of how the Vegas Virgin - an unflattering and inaccurate moniker given to her by a local shock jock - juggles dating, working, and friendships in Sin City.

And that's why Jase Reeves spells trouble.

Jase knows Sabrina's secret - that she's not nearly as cold as she would like people to think - and he's through keeping it. He didn't intend to have a one-night stand with the Vegas Virgin, but now he can't get her out of his head. And he can't keep living this lie.

With Jase back at the tables in Vegas, Sabrina has one goal: stay away from the handsome gambler before he melts her career - and her heart.

Buy What the Gambler Risks: Amazon  B&N  Kobo  iBooks

You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Friday, October 21, 2016

Barbara Ankrum: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like October - and a Giveaway!

October’s finally here and with it comes awesome fall weather, changing leaves in the mid-west and (Tah-dah!) my newest, shiny book from Tule Publishing, THE COWGIRL’S CHRISTMAS WISH. I’m so excited about this book, not only because it’s my very first Christmas book, (why did I wait so long??) but because my wonderful publisher gave me a beautiful cover for this book, designed by the talented Lee Hyat herself! Isn’t it gorgeous?

When I started writing this book, (the third book in my Canadays of Montana series) I only knew a couple of things. One, there would be a feather involved. Two, a reindeer. And three, there would be some mystical, Christmas-y magic afoot. Now, I don’t want to spoil the fun for you, so I hope you’ll buy it to see what I got up to with Dr. Ben Tyler and my third Canaday sister, Eve. These two were the definition of opposites attract and did not make it easy for me. But as is true with all my books, I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with them both as I wrote their story. In this one, I explore themes near and dear to me about faith, destiny and choices, and how in control of things we really are. I still find it fascinating that the things that call to me in my own life, the questions that haunt me (or sometimes, bless me) are the same ones that end up finding their way into my writing. So, when I say this was a personal kind of story, I mean the themes my characters explored really touched me and I hope they do the same for you.

THE COWGIRL’S CHRISTMAS WISH is available for presale everywhere e-books are sold and will appear on your e-reader on October 24th! Just in time to get a little holiday escape in before the November craziness sets in. I love hearing from readers and hope you’ll let me know what you think.
Here’s a little sneak peek of my book THE COWGIRL’S CHRISTMAS WISH:

He slid his hands down her neck and bracketed her shoulders from behind, staying any intentions she might have had to ask for a kiss.  For a long moment, he didn’t speak. Didn’t say anything. As if he were trying to find some point of balance he’d lost.  Then he pressed his mouth against the side of her throat in a kiss that reached all the way to her toes.
 “I promised I wouldn’t do this,” he said against her skin, sliding his mouth up the length of her neck.
He nibbled on her earlobe and Eve felt her knees go weak.
“You did. You absolutely did.” She let her head fall back against his shoulder. Heat smoldered through her.
“With good reason,” he added, dipping his tongue into the edge of her ear.
“What reason was that again?”
His arms curled around her waist. “I can’t remember.”
“Oh, wait. Wait. It’s coming to me. We’re trying to get out, unscathed.”
“Impossible,” he said, “and, I’m thinking… highly overrated.”
“Is it?” She rested her hands on his strong forearms. “Why, again, is that?”
He turned her in his arms. “Because no one gets out unscathed. No one.”
Dropping his mouth onto hers, his kiss this time was almost nothing like the last one. This kiss was not apologetic or even tentative, but, instead, full of all the angst and craziness of the last few days. All the moments he’d looked in her eyes and admitted there was more to them than simple friendship.
His tongue plundered her mouth and she welcomed him in. She tasted the sweetness of his breath and the snow-fresh air from outside on him. But all she could think was, finally. Threading her fingers into his hair, she pulled him closer still and any space left between them vanished. No mistaking his desire for her as it pressed up against her. Dampness gathered between her legs.
No one gets out unscathed. True enough. For she could already feel her heart breaking with the hunger of his kiss.
He backed her up against the bed and together they dropped down against the mattress, her atop him. Her breasts pressed up against his chest and in this dress, she imagined she was practically indecent.
Breaking the kiss, she swallowed thickly before lifting her head to look down at him. “So,” she asked, with a small grin, “what are you saying?”
“I’m trying not to talk,” he said, still breathing hard from the kiss. “Talking just screws everything up. I’m better with my hands.”

To celebrate, I’ll give a copy of A COWGIRL’S CHRISTMAS WISH to one lucky commenter. Just tell me your favorite part of the holidays—whichever one you celebrate. Winner will be chosen at 5pm on 10/23 to give everyone a chance to enter. Please check back to see if you’ve won. Winner will have until 10/25 to respond. After that, I’ll choose another winner! Good luck!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Maggie Marr: Strong Women

Recently I was thinking about the women I write in my stories. I was thinking about who they are, what they want and trying to see a common thread with regards to their character. It's interesting to me that I found a couple common elements in all my books. First, the women I write usually aren't, in the beginning of the story, aware of their strength. I see them as strong and perhaps even the reader sees them as strong from the beginning but they (the character) may not believe that they are strong even though they all seem to have some aspect of their lives together. Whether it be that they are smart, articulate, or have a business, all the women in my books have something going for them but they can't yet acknowledge or maybe realize their innate strength. 

They all have a flaw--as do each of us! That flaw is what is preventing them from fully realizing who they are and it is that flaw that isn't allowing them to fall in love with the hero in the book. My hero's don't *fix* the women, as I don't believe another person can *fix* you. I believe that each of us must confront our flaws on our own, but what this hero does (and what I am blessed to have happened in my own personal life) is this hero provides these women a safe space in which to confront their flaw. Almost as though he loves them through the flaw. 

Finally the women I write embrace their sexuality. Even the women I write who at the beginning of the book have not experienced sex, it isn't because they are afraid of sex or they think sex is wrong or dirty--it is often because they've chosen to wait for sex, or they never met or dated a man they wanted to sleep with. My women embrace their sexuality, they see their sexuality as powerful and an expression of pleasure and love. 

All of the above came into my mind as I prepared to write my latest book Wonderf*$k A provocative title with a provocative premise. 

I've enjoyed writing this book which is a romantic comedy. Both the hero and the heroine are fabulous, confused, funny people who think they are doing all the right things and also avoiding love only to discover that love is exactly what they need. Wonderf*$k is available for pre-order now and will release December 22, 2016  I hope you enjoy reading about the Wonderf*$k as much as I've enjoyed writing the story. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Susan Stephens: Excitement in Sheffield

And a wonderful event to celebrate all things romance...

I was honoured to speak at this event. Part of Sheffield’s Festival of The Mind, I sat on a panel alongside editors, academics, and another romance author. It’s only when we talked about what romance means to us and heard readers expressing their thoughts that I truly realised what a wonderful life-enhancing experience we’re all engaged in. Love is a unifying force that brings people together from all across the world, and long may the world of romance prosper.

The general opinion of the academics was that love stories reflect the fashions, manners and politics of their time, and as such are extremely valuable records. Readers talked of how they escaped into the stories, and how those stories helped them, cheered them, warmed them, and left them with an optimistic feeling. It was humbling for me to hear this, though I recognised at the time, that I feel the same. There’s nothing better than a good love story to lift the spirits and put a smile on my face, and I know they do the same for you.

Here are some pictures from that memorable day. The event was held in an antique Spiegal tent, and you can see that the setting for our talk was quite spectacular.

Here’s the interior of the ‘tent’, (which was actually quite a solid structure), before our talk began.

Originally used for burlesque shows, the images depicted on the outside of the Spiegal tent were quite bizarre, but striking and beautiful in their way.

This image is particularly disturbing – note the claws on the little cherub, and those blood-red lips, are actually red with blood.

My next love story tackles a real dilemma for both the hero and heroine. A marriage of convenience—with a difference—as it’s my heroine Rosie Clifton who proposes marriage to proud Spanish grandee, Don Xavier Del Rio.

Rosie will do anything to protect her share of the island she loves and the people who live there. She will even marry this arrogant, heartless man, if she must.

I’m also very excited about my Christmas book, which heralds the start of a brand new red-hot polo series...

 With a hard Russian hero just for you...

This is book 1 of 4 in my new romantic suspense series, Blood and Thunder.
1. Christmas Tsar
2. Argentinian Billionaire
3. Spanish Gold
4. Cold Cache

Release date for Christmas Tsar is November 8th but it is available for pre-order now!

Are you signed up to my Newsletter for regular giveaways and scoops?

I look forward so much to seeing you there!

Speak soon,
Love Susan x

Sunday, October 16, 2016

I know, I know! It's too early!

But shhh... Christmas is coming.

I know it's too early to think about that, but I'm excited. The book releases on Oct 27th and I've been waiting so patiently. It's a particular favourite of mine, partly because I was able to go back and visit Marietta, but also because the hero completely stole my heart.

You see, Quincy didn't know he had a son until the boy's mother passed away. Then he got a call from a lawyer that he had custody. He's kind of freaking out. So he hires Nicki and she's cute and funny and I just adore her. In fact, I loved the story so much, I had a book trailer made.

Watch Book Trailer Here

And, since the story revolves around an Advent calendar of activities, I even had a designer create a calendar you can print out and put together with your own little elves.

The one on the right is what I took to the designer and the one on the left is the almost-finalized mock-up. The kit includes the pages you print and colour, some recipes and some ideas for other activities and crafts. You'll find the link in the back of the book. 

So you see, Christmas is coming. And it's going to be a good one. Want to be sure you get this craft? Pre-order the book or join Dani's newsletter. (You'll also get a free download of my short ebook romance, Cruel Summer as a welcome gift.)

His Christmas Miracle, Montana Born Books, Oct 27, 2016


Nook | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay 

And if you are thinking it's too early for Christmas, His Christmas Miracle will put you in the spirit. I promise.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Jumping the gun, Harlequin's mega sale and paradors in Andalucia

This morning, my twitter feed brought the lovely news that BookScream  had featured AN IDEAL HUSBAND as one of their bargains of the day for 14 October  at $1.99. In fact all my novels are for a limited time $1.99 as part of the Harlequin mega digital  backlist sale. The sale was supposed to start on 18 October but some e-book retailers have jumped the gun and discounted early. Harlequin wanted to keep things quiet until the 18th but…I couldn’t resist sharing after my book was highlighted. The sales officially runs until 25 October but who knows if it will last longer with e-book retailers.
Malaga parador's view

On to paradors and AndalucĂ­a. At this point last month Spanish sunshine and soft sea breezes filled my days, instead of typical British autumn weather . My husband and I discovered paradors some years ago – these are state run hotels which feature comfort, good regional food in stunning locations (often former government buildings that have been put to good use).  They are quite good value.
This year, it was southern Andalucia with Cadiz and Mazagon being the outstanding highlights. Some legends claim that Hercules founded Cadiz and that it served inspiration for tales of Atlantis.
El Rocio near Mazagon -- a town with unpaved streets 
It is certainly old and the region has had earthquakes in the past. The buildings actually hum with insect life.  The Phoenicians  were there and people have lived there ever since. The market still uses the Roman market with its colonnades, for example.  The entire coast was very wealthy during the Roman period because of the fish. It used to produce most of the fish sauce (garum) that the Romans used to season their food. More recently  Nelson bottled up the Spanish fleet in the harbour. However, now it is a bit of a forgotten backwater which slumbers in the sunshine.
The Caduz parador was recently rebuilt and with its infinity pools, electronic blinds and glass cube rooms reminded me of a James Bond movie.  At the restaurant I made two discovered — first sea urchins taste great if someone else has prepared them and that ice cold Pedro Ximinenez served with rich black coffee is a perfect dessert. Pedro Ximenez is a very sweet sherry which tastes like you are drinking  raisins but it is best served ice cold. It should be more popular other places as it is excellent. If you ever get a chance, try it.
View from Ronda parador's balcony
One of my husband’s great joys is bird watching. We tend to take holidays in places which are good  for it. When we arrived in Mazagon which is further along the coast towards Portugal and has golden beaches, my husband set up his telescope so he could do a bit of birdwatching. A man ambled up and said in a tone of great delight –oh you have my book.  By chance we had run into the man who wrote a series of books on where to watch birds in Spain.  In some ways it was a James Bond moment because of  course Ian Fleming got the inspiration for the name from a birdwatching guide. I had him sign the book because it is always pleasant to encounter authors in the wild.  
We also went to Ronda and had a spectacular view from the bedroom balcony. There was a music festival so we were serenaded by a harpist and singer. They mostly played  1960’s folk tunes. SO it was very much figure out the song while watching various birds glide past.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods. Her next book SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR will be published in February 2017. You can learn more about Michelle and her books on

Friday, October 14, 2016

Christina Hollis—You Can Do It If You Really Try...

Whenever I’m asked to talk about my work, someone in the audience always says: ‘I wish I could write a book…’

There’s only one answer to that. You can—so get started!  Writing a book is no picnic, but I've found it’s a lot easier than trying to lose the weight you’d put on from taking part in a picnic. 

Writing is a great pastime. It's helped me in lots of ways. I’ve met loads of good friends through local, national and international writing groups. Pouring out your thoughts onto paper or a screen is a wonderfully freeing experience. Many years ago, I had problems beyond the dreams of analysts—or so I thought.  I piled them onto one of my troubled heroines. Reading through and refining her life story a hundred times gave me new insight into my own, real world. From that moment, things looked up for me.  They got even better when that heroine’s troubles won me a short story prize. I was on the road to recovery, thanks to the healing power of words.

In my third novel, One Night In His Bed, the hero Garett tells Sienna:

‘You can have everything you want.  Just reach out.  There are no limits…’
Writing fiction is a great illustration of this. You know the kind of book you like to read.  That’s the story you’re best placed to tell, so why not give it a go? Write from your heart, and you’ll engage with your audience. It’s always easier to work with themes and characters that inspire and interest you.  That’s why I write about complex men and independent women. Some days the rain never stops, and all I want to do is hibernate. That’s when I add exotic settings to the mix. Putting all these things together, and devising plot twists to stop my hero and heroine reaching their happy-ever-after ending too soon is the perfect distraction from everyday life.   
If you need any more encouragement to start a writing project, investigate the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. It’s the chance to have your manuscript, or its first few chapters, reviewed by professional writers. You can find out all about it here.
Find out more at
Start now, and if you only write a hundred words a day between now and the New Year, you’ll have produced around eight thousand words. Polish and perfect them, and you’ve got a submission. 

I'll be posting my collection of hints and tips for Writing Your Book on my blog over the next few months. You can find the first one here, and for more writing news, tips and extracts, join me on my Facebook author page at

When she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping, Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women.  Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold nearly three million books worldwide. Catch up with her at, on Twitter, Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at
Her current release, Heart Of A Hostage, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available at  worldwide, and from in the US.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Grownup Clothes

So, I'm heading to New Jersey Romance Writers conference this weekend and realized yesterday, I have to pack.  Yes, I realized that fact as I sat in holey jeans, a t-shirt and a buffalo plaid flannel shirt.  Let's just say it...I don't do grownup clothes very often.  Hardly ever, truth be told.

I walked to my grownup clothes closet and stared at it.  And then I hit on a plan...
You see, I'm going to New Jersey because I've getting a Hall of Fame Award (you can read about it here).  And two of my books are finalists in the Golden Leaf Awards.

And all the books that are part of that Hall of Fame Award and in the Golden Leaf Award are set here in Erie, PA.  (What, you mean Erie isn't your first thought when you think of romantic cities?? Maybe it should be! LOL) So, if I wore some of my very cool Erie t-shirts (thanks Erie Apparel) I wouldn't be avoiding grownup clothes, I'd be marketing my books.  Yes, that's right, those t-shirts are branding.  And branding is smart and business savvy.  

So, if you see me in New Jersey wearing my t-shirts (and non-holey jeans and a nice cardie) don't think, boy that writer seems less than grownup dressed.  Think, wow, that writer is very market savvy.  She's a branding dynamo.

Uh, did you buy that??

New Jersey here I come!!  And if you're looking for a romantic city...maybe you should be thinking Erie??  You can visit Visit Erie to find out a bit of what we have to offer...or you can pick up a Holly Jacobs' book. (Oh, I think that was more marketing savviness right there!)


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Sky Blue Anniversary! with Kate Walker (and giveaway)

I  have a song that keeps going round in my head  this month – it’s that Beatles'  classic
‘Will you still need me,

Will you still feed me
When I’m  64’.

But in my case, I have a personal version which goes:
Will you still need me,
Will you still READ me
When I’m 65!

That’s because my latest novel – which is out on the shelves right now, Indebted to Moreno is my 65th published title!   

No I can ‘t quite believe it either. People keep asking me how I got to this  milestone and the only answer I can come up with is ‘one word at a time.’ Oh – and to say that – obviously – I started writing very young.  

The 65th anniversary is a bit of a strange one – almost a non event, in wedding anniversary terms. It doesn’t really have a real symbolic name – apparently it’s called the ‘sky-blue anniversary.’ That could cause problems when trying to choose a gift! And when it comes to marking publishing milestones, it’s  not really noted either.  I got a silver pin for my 25 th book, (Wife For a Day) a gold one for my 50 th (The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge)  and now I need to wait – and write – until I hit the magical #75 before the next official award.  I’ve already started on that – I sent in what I hope will be my 66th title last week and I’m started on the potential 67th.

But 75 does seem a long way away! So I’m going to celebrate this 65th title   anyway – and  when(if) I get to that 75th  we’ll have a really big celebration!

So I’ve been looking at the stocks of my backlist books I still have available and I’m going to share these with my readers to mark the publication of Indebted to Moreno. Some of them have already been given out – but I’m also offering a small giveaway here to mark this important book. Well, it’s important to me!

So here’s a little puzzle for you – if the 65th is the ‘sky-blue anniversary’  - what would you think would be a suitable gift for someone who was celebrating that big event?  I have  a choice of these books to giveaway  for the best suggestions  - well, the ones that Charlie the Maine Coon and Ruby his little black and white sister cat  - pick out from the names in the comments. So put your suggestion in the comments  - and add the title of the book you’d choose if you win – and see if Charlie and Ruby can help you celebrate along with me.

You can choose from:
The Devil and Miss Jones
Destined for the Desert King
Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride
Konstantos Marriage Demand
A Question of Honour
Olivero’s Outrageous Proposal
The Greek Tycoon’s Unwilling Bride
Cordero’s Forced Bride

Bedded By The Greek Billionaire
Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife
Kept for Her  Baby
A  Throne for the Taking

You can find further details on all of these books over on my web site.

Meanwhile the 65th title Indebted to Moreno is in the shops now. Sorry, but this one is not included in the special giveaway – not this time. But perhaps when I reach that magical 75th!!

In the meantime, any other celebrations will be posted on my blog or my Facebook page. 


I'm in a happy mood with celebrating  - and I just had a bit more good news this morning too  so Charlie and Ruby are happy  to pick winner(s)  - and they've picked -   ALL 4  OF YOU  who commented!!  

So  Debby -  A copy of The Devil and Miss Jones
Laney - The Konstantos Marriage Demand
Denise . . .????  Can you let me know your choice of book.

and Mary  - I'll replace that copy of Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride!

Pleae email me katewalker @ with your postal address 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Carole Mortimer: Autumn has arrived in England

Hi Everyone,

Wow, autumn really feels as if it’s arrived here in England. The weather has turned to rain, and it’s very blustery, blowing all the leaves off the trees. I’m one of those people who love the Seasons, so for me this is a welcome change after a very hot summer.

Our youngest son has now returned to university, after taking a year’s break away from academia. We wish him well on his new course. Most of all, we hope he’ll be happy. And that he doesn’t bring too much washing home for Mum on a weekend!    

Challenging Gabriel (Knight Security 2), the third story in my contemporary romance series, was published on September 23rd. Gabriel is a particular favourite character of mine, and his story takes place in London and on the island of Mallorca. Mallorca is somewhere my husband and I visit regularly, and it proved to be the perfect location for the hideaway villa necessary to Gabriel’s story.   

I have now finished writing Pleasured by a Duke (Regency Unlaced 7). If you read book 6 in this Regency series, Captured by a Gentleman, then you will have already met Sebastian Falkner. I think you are going to love his story, and this 7th book also introduces the hero of book 8 in the series, which will be available for pre-order soon and released in December. Pleasured by a Duke is available for pre-order, and will be released October 28th. 

As always, the stories in my Regency Unlaced, Knight Security, and Alpha series are all romances with added suspense and/or danger. They are also more explicit in their language and sexual content than my other books. In other words, they’re hot, so you have been warned!

Love Carole x

Buy links for Challenging Gabriel (Knight Security 2)
Also available ibooks, Kobo, and Smashwords

Buy links for Pleasured by a Duke (Regency Unlaced 7)
Also available ibooks, Kobo, and Smashwords

Monday, October 10, 2016

Moving, moving, moving

This is my moving crew, ready to roll. Two more trips...
Does the moving process ever end? As near as I can tell, no.  I'm about to embark on yet another long drive from Montana back to Nevada to pick up yet another load. This is almost...but not quite...enough to make me a minimalist. Almost.

Rumor has it that in only two more trips, we will have transferred everything from one place to the other. Call me a skeptic, but I'll believe it when I see an empty house on one end of the trip and a full house on the other.

I've written quite a few books this year, despitethe never-ending move in addition to my son's wedding this summer. I'm not sure how I got all the books done, to tell you the truth, although the other day I glanced over at my husband and murmured, "I'm so looking forward to not writing in the car."

If all goes according to plan, I will be living in only one house, instead of two, by the end of this month and I will be writing at a desk instead of on a lapboard.

I'm very excited about the Tule books I have in the works. Catch Me, Cowboy released last month, and now I'm working on an International Bull Rider book that will release next spring and have contracted to write a book for a fun series set in a Victorian hotel next fall. In addition to this, I have more bull rider books coming from Harlequin Western and more Brody's of Lightning Creek coming from Harlequin Superromance.

It's been a productive year, despite the chaos and I'm looking forward to doing a lot of Montana research for my future books--just as soon as the dust settles.

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Seeking hero inspiration - Kandy Shepherd

Hello from Greece! I'm on the last day of a fabulous ten days in Crete. What a wonderful place - history (in spades!), hospitable people, great food and the most beautiful waters I've swum in.

The water is important as I've just completed a guided swim trip of six days swimming in glorious waters off the south coast of Crete - clean, clear and in hues ranging from palest aqua through cerulean blue. Swimmers' heaven!

But for romance readers the water might not be what they most admire about Greece. Yes, there is good reason for the enduring popularity of the Greek hero - Greek men really are handsome and charming and very manly! What inspiration for a romance writer. I was actually on deadline while away and had the delicious experience of writing in Greece surrounded by hero material wherever I looked.

Egged on by some fellow (female!) swimmers, I actually asked a perfect hero could I take his photo as we all thought he was so handsome. He smilingly obliged. I'd love to share the photo but it would possibly be an invasion of privacy for me to publish. But watch out for a particularly attractive Greek hero coming in a romance novel from me soon!

I have two novels featuring Greek heroes from Harlequin Romance coming up: Greek Tycoon's Mistletoe Proposal in November and Conveniently Wed to the Greek sometime next year. Now I have inspiration for many more!

Do you have a favorite romance hero? I'd love to read your comments. I'll be in transit on the long flight home but will reply as soon as I can get online!

PS. I can't seem to load new photos on intermittent Internet for travelers !

Kandy Shepherd

Friday, October 07, 2016

The unexpected consequences of research...

I'm writing a book - nothing new about that, it will be my 66th for Harlequin Romance. There was a time when if I wanted to know anything I went to the library and either spent a few hours in the reference section or brought a pile of books home.

Barbara Cartland once said that she read twenty books for background research for every one she wrote. I've certainly come close, not only writing about somewhere I haven't actually been, but even when I'm writing about somewhere I've been more than once.

These days it's all so much easier.

My hero owns a fleet of commercial aircraft (not that big but it was the only picture of an aircraft I have a licence for).

I needed to get a feel for them, what they carry and so I Google aircraft of all shapes and sizes. I have to create a fictional range of aircraft so I need to check out my ideas against what models are already in production. Cats of all sizes are very popular, I discovered. I need to know how fast they fly and some information on how many hours you have to fly to maintain your licence. Actually I didn't need that last one in the end but a lovely man from a flying school took the time to explain it all to me.

I needed a Mediterranean island to inspire the creation of a brand new kingdom and spent several delightful hours surfing through Pinterest and the 'net.

I needed a villa by the sea, a very special beach, a hot spring and it's all but a click away.

I'm writing a paragraph and I need to work out when my heroine's baby is due. I Google a "due date calculator", check the size of the embryo and Bob, as they say, is your uncle. Not mine, actually. I had a James, a Charlie, a Harold, a Victor and an Albert. No Robert.

So these days, when I pop over to Facebook, because that's what you do when the word flow stops and the brain needs time to download the ideas as that have lurking in the back of the brain, the 'bots have been knocking themselves out. Along with the usual ads offering me courses on how to sell my books and grow my email lists, I have advertisements offering me pregnancy "counselling", nursery furniture, Italian holidays, villa rentals and light aircraft.

Life, as they say, is never dull!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Addison Fox: Ending & Beginnings

I’m fascinated by change. As humans we resist it more often than not, but change is the catalyst that moves us forward. Change is what brings new things into our lives. Change, whether we like it or not, is a guarantee.

I was thinking about this relative to a colleague who is moving on. He’s been at my company for 9 years and is off to a new opportunity that will be exciting and challenging. We gave him a going away party last night and over and over – even with the sadness he had saying good-bye to everyone – there was a smile on his face.

It was that smile that got me. He’s excited about what comes next.

As a writer, life changes are the core focus of my work. Stories, at their very essence, are about change. In order to have a story that captures attention (and lasts for 300+ pages!) you need something to happen to your characters. Something that takes them out of their comfort zone and pushes them forward.

So as I sit here typing this, I know I will miss my colleague. He’s someone whose opinion I value and someone who I’ve always appreciated having in my corner at work. But I’m also excited for him. There are new things to learn and new challenges to rise up to.

Endings and beginnings. They’re intricately linked. And they are the things that move us forward.

Thanks for joining me today!

Despite early ambitions of being a diver, a drummer or a doctor, Addison Fox happily discovered she was more suited to life as a writer. She lives in New York and - thankfully - doesn't have to operate on anyone. You can find her at her home on the web at Her next two releases, AT LAST from St. Martin’s Swerve and A HUNTER UNDER THE MISTLETOE from Harlequin Nocturne will both be out in November. You can visit her at her website at 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Roxanne Snopek: The Season of Anticipation

I love autumn. Always have. Maybe it’s because I was one of those kids who liked school, (even though simultaneously riddled with anxiety on that first day.) I also love, love, love the colors and crunch of leaves as they begin to drift from the trees, the fresh smell cool rain on thirsty earth and how great hot oatmeal tastes on a chilly morning.

Fall also begins the countdown to Christmas, Hallowe’en and in our house, several birthdays, so there’s much to look forward to as the season changes.

This year, there’s another thing to look forward to: the launch of a new book series. If you read yesterday’s post by C.J. Carmichael, you’ll be familiar with Love At The Chocolate Shop. If not, and you enjoy heartwarming romances and, ahem, chocolate, then you’ll want to pay attention. The first, Melt My Heart, Cowboy, by C.J. releases tomorrow, October 6. I’ve already read this story and readers, it’s wonderful.

There are six talented authors writing a total of 12 books, to be released one per month for an entire year. A year of chocolate and love, people! How great is that? Along with C.J. you’ll be treated to stories by Melissa McClone, Debra Salonen, Marin Thomas, Steena Holmes and me, Roxanne Snopek. The cover art for my first book was just released so I’m thrilled to share it with you. Isn’t it beautiful?

Sign up here to make sure you don’t miss the announcements:

And please stop by our Facebook page to join in the fun and get an invitation to our launch party next Wednesday, October 12.

Happy Fall!

Roxanne Snopek

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

CJ Carmichael: Writers Can Play Nice With One Another. It Happened Once.

Writing can be a solitary pursuit, until you agree to be the front man for a twelve-book series, working with five other authors, and then suddenly, it’s not solitary at all!

The idea for a series focused on a chocolate shop in small town Montana originated in February, when my publisher, Jane Porter, suggested that readers had loved my Sage Carrigan and her Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop (from my book, Promise Me Cowboy). I agreed there was potential to build a series around Sage and her shop, but I was leery of signing on to write too many books. I was also leery of working with a group of authors on the project because I’d been involved in other multi-author series and ended up pulling out great clumps of my hair on a daily basis.

It did occur to me, though, that the right group of authors might make all the difference. What we needed was talented authors—but no divas. We needed to work together in building our world and our stories, plus we also needed team players willing to do their share when it came time to promote and spread the word about our books.

Tentatively I sent out a few emails, and to my surprise and delight managed to snag some pretty amazing talent. Before I knew it we had set up a Facebook Group. Contracts were signed and story planning commenced. Suddenly, via Facebook and email, I was in daily contact with five creative authors, and I’m happy to say not a temper was frayed. Melissa McClone, Debra Salonen, Roxanne Snopek, Marin Thomas and Steena Holmes...all are such a treat to work with.

Melissa is incredibly organized and business-minded. She keeps us focused. Debra is wonderfully fun and enthusiastic... she’s positivity personified. Roxanne is incredibly creative. She came up with this wonderful caption for our series: “What Love Tastes Like.” We use it in all our promo because we think it captures the spirit of our books so well. Marin Thomas is a Facebook guru—she and her wonderful assistant Denise have a million excellent ideas for promoting our books. And Steena Holmes is our self-professed chocolate expert. She’s so committed to the cause she actually volunteered to visit Paris on our behalf and report back on all the best chocolatiers she discovers. Now that’s sacrifice.

So here you have it. A documented, real life example, of six authors managing to work on one series and not drive each other crazy. On top of that, I believe we’re coming up with some excellent stories for our readers. Happily, our very first book, my own Melt My Heart Cowboy is being released this month on October 6. Finally we’re going to be able to share some of the fruits of our hard work with our readers. Of course, Melt My Heart Cowboy is just the beginning. There are eleven books to come, one a month, until the series wraps up in September 2017.

If you want to join in the fun, please do like our Facebook Page and request our notifications. There are going to be so many parties, giveaways, laughs and stories in the year to come, and the more along for the ride the better.

Also, I’m hosting a special Love at the Chocolate Shop giveaway on my website this month and I invite you to enter that contest as well.

Hope to see you on Facebook soon!

C.J.Carmichael, author