Friday, December 27, 2013

Last Friday of the Month Recipe: Gingerbread Pancakes From Katya Armock and an Excerpt from Book 2 To Growl or Groan

 
 


From Kayta Armock.  I gotta tell you these pancakes sound delish, maybe for
New Year's Day?




The basis of the pancake recipe came from my great-great aunt. I adapted it to make the gingerbread version, which is a family favorite in winter.

Gingerbread Pancakes

1 to 2 cup(s) flour, depending on how thick you like your dough
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup brown sugar
2 t. ginger
1 cup buttermilk (powdered buttermilk is a good option, if you don’t use buttermilk often)
½ cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 c. molasses

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir gently by hand until just mixed. Lumps are OK. Note that these are thin pancakes, so you won’t need much batter to make a nice-sized pancake, as the batter will spread on the griddle. If you want them to be thicker, add more flour.



Blurb:
To Growl or to Groan, Hidden Lines Book 2:

Her gift could save a missing girl…or destroy her relationship forever.

After receiving a troubling Tarot reading, Chloe just knows something big and bad is about to happen. Her ability to communicate with animals and shape-shifters is going awry, and her growing psychic abilities are beginning to scare her. Despite her unease, she won’t let anything interrupt her trip to Scotland to spend the holidays with her shape-shifter boyfriend’s family. Jorge is everything she’s always wanted, and the fire between Chloe and the passionate panther-shifter burns hot. But meeting his family has her nerves in knots.

When Jorge’s sister goes missing, Chloe’s psychic abilities might be the only thing that can help them find her. But things don’t go as planned, and with confusing psychic visions clouding her judgment, Chloe makes a mistake and an animal is injured. And Chloe fears she might hurt Jorge as well…


Excerpt:

“Break it up, you two lovebirds. I have rum popo.” Alice walks into the room carrying a tray of glasses filled with what looks like eggnog.

I jump back from our kiss, but Jorge keeps an arm around my waist. Alice hands us each a glass. I take a swig, and my eyes start to water.

Jorge laughs. “It’s heavy on the rum, not so much on the rest of the ingredients.”

“I just wasn’t expecting it to be so strong.” I take another much smaller sip, then turn to Alice, who is also laughing. “It’s actually quite good.”

Alice raises her glass to us. “Wouldn’t be a Christmas drink without a kick in the ass. It’s a tradition in Belize.”

“Do you normally require such strong drinks for Christmas? I usually associate heavy drinking with awkward dinners.”

She pulls me in for a raucous hug, dragging me away from Jorge and almost causing all three of us to spill our drinks. “Well now you’ll learn to associate strong drinks with fun afternoons, dinners, and parties. Speaking of which, we’ll be having an open house for the neighbors tomorrow and I need to finish decorating. Would you like to help, Chloe?” 

I look at Jorge, questions in my eyes. The place is already crammed full of decorations. 

He shrugs. “In Belize, the tradition at Christmas is to super clean your house and then decorate it to the nines. We had fake pine trees in Belize, although my grandparents always had the real ones in Ohio.”

“Any other traditions I need to know about?”

“Yeah. All the woman have to dress up as elves.”

“What?” 

Alice breaks into peals of laughter, and Jorge follows soon after. She hip bumps me, which reminds me I still don’t quite know how to handle Jorge’s family. “Ah, it’s so good to see my serious Jorge teasing you. It brings my heart joy.” She gives us a look very similar to the one she gave us our first day here when she talked of marriage and grandbabies. 

The room starts to close in on me a little, and I set my glass on an end table.

Buy links:
Etopia
Amazon
BN
AllRomance
Amazon UK
Amazon.ca



Author Bio:

I like books that are funny and fun to read (and hot!) but also make me think or look at the world in a new way.

These days you’ll find me writing, pet sitting, juggling a number of freelance gigs, and reigning as my home’s domestic goddess. I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband, dog and cats. Alas, I have, as of yet, been unable to teach my husband how to purr.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas To All


I hope your Travels are safe,
your Christmas is Merry and filled with Joy,
and your New Year Peaceful and filled with Happiness.




Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Signing Fun and Lessons Learned

I was part of a group book signing at Barnes & Noble in Loveland CO, Nov 30th.  My first ever. I had a blast and even sold books.

I learned a couple of interesting lessons and I was totally broken-in by being asked the dreaded question; "Can you tell me where the bathroom is?"

Lesson #1.  Romance, oddly, doesn't appeal to everyone:)  And while my books have romance in them, I turned off a couple of people by stating they were "romances." Now I'm going for Adventure with Romantic Elements, or A Christmas Story with Romantic Elements, hoping that by saying that, it will continue the conversation.

Lesson #2.  I knew this, but got to put it in action.  Don't sit behind your table all the time.  Stand and greet people. Some will drop their gaze to avoid a conversation, but saying hi is better than not saying anything. Engage, you never know where it will take you.

Pictures from the signing.
 
Just about to get in the groove.  Really the only time I sat.

My set-up. Notice the candy :) and the sign-up book.
Looks serious.  Richard Lawrence and me.
Audra Harders, buddy and author extraordinaire


Richard, Audra and L.A. (me)


Marilyn Leach, Jill Haymaker & LeAnna Shields

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Holiday Gift To You, A FREE copy of Be Mine This Christmas Night


Yes, you read that right.

BE MINE THIS CHRISTMAS NIGHT is free for a very limited time (12/18-12/20) at Amazon.

Why, you ask?


A couple of reasons. I want people to read it.  Free is good...for a limited time and hopefully you'll like it so much you'll want to write a short review. If so, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Reviews are the life's blood of an author.

Second, if you download it, it raises my sales rank, at least for awhile and that is also a good thing.

Third...if you like this one, maybe you'll try my other books. That would be totally awesome.

So go HERE and download it, cozy up and read this heartwarming story set in snowy Boulder, Colorado and fall in love with Annie, Cole, Josh and Peter...don't forget Jen and even Mitch.

Thanks!!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukah, and if I missed your holiday, I'm sorry, but celebrate with a great book :)

Peace to all.
L.A. Sartor

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Excerpt From Meredith Bond's Magic in the Storm





I was lucky to meet Meredith Bond when I asked her about her classes on formatting a digital book. 

I took the class, and while it was intense, it was worth the time and effort to learn the tricks.  I already knew some HTML and knowing where to put the code and how it affects the manuscript was worth the price alone.  If you know nothing about coding, Merry tells you why this and that is done and what it will do. 

If you'd like to be on her mailing list for the next class, please email her directly at
merry@meredithbond.com or find the sign-up on her website www.meredithbond.com.

Now you get to read a bit of her latest book and wow, what a cover!


Blurb:
In the magical world of the Vallen, it has always been the high priestess who was the most powerful. Tatiana Vallentyn has long anticipated the birth of her daughter, Morgan, who was prophesied to be the most powerful priestess in generations – until the child born turned out to be a boy. Now a man, Morgan, must find his place in the world on his own. In the magic of a storm, his potential appears in a form he never would have expected.

Regency society is not kind to orphan girls. Adriana has been at the mercy of her cruel guardian since she was a young child, and now she is being married off to the highest bidder—but she will not go without a fight. She’d rather sell her precious paintings than marry Lord Vallentyn and have to deal with his scheming mother. But everything changes with the wind of a storm that blows her into a world she could never have imagined existed within ordinary society.

Excerpt:
She turned off the path and picked her way through the wood toward the sounds.  There was a clearing not too far ahead, but Adriana was stopped by the sound of a voice — a man’s voice. More carefully and quietly now, she made her way to the edge of the clearing and peeked out from the trees.

Adriana’s breath caught as she watched a dark head emerge from under the water.
It was him!  He hadn’t been a dream or her imagination. He was real! 
Morgan flipped his long black hair back out of his face, sending a spray of water flying toward Adriana. As he did so, he turned around to face her and she very nearly took a step forward to let him know that she was there. Her hand was half-way raised, her foot in mid-air about to step out from the trees when she noticed that he wasn’t wearing anything – at all.

Adriana stopped and caught her balance on a tree. How embarrassing! 
She couldn’t allow Morgan to see she was there, not when he... she could feel her face heat and was sure she was blushing furiously.
She resolutely tried to keep her eyes on his face, but they disobediently darted down his exposed body. Strong muscles defined his bare shoulders and chest. Below that Adriana couldn’t see anything because of the water, and she was extremely grateful. She had never seen a naked man before, and was certain that she never should – at least not until after she was married.
In her mind, Henrietta’s stern voice told her in no uncertain terms she was to leave immediately. Adriana knew the voice was right – she shouldn’t be here at all. She started to turn away, but Morgan gave another bright shout of laughter. She looked over at him playing in the water and knew she just couldn’t go.
The thought of leaving without drawing even one little sketch of Morgan and the river was unthinkable. Surely it was all right from an artistic point of view.  Men painted naked women, so why couldn’t she draw a naked man? 
No, neither Henrietta’s voice in the back of her head, nor the threat of being caught in so compromising a position could force her to leave. She would stay, but only for a very short time. Just long enough to do one quick sketch, she told herself sternly.



Bio:

Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published paranormal romances. She is known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart.”

Meredith’s second favorite pastime is teaching others to write and format books for
self-publication.

Find Merry at:

Facebook
Twitter















 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holidays and Home, Peace, Hope and Love

http://bloghops.marketingforromancewriters.org/holidayhop/#mfrw


Christmas has always been my favorite holiday.  The magic, hope and peace that I would love to have surround me all year seems stronger at this time. And home seems to bring those wishes all the closer.

That's why I had to write a Christmas book.  I had to.  Filled with that same hope, peace and love that I so believe in. 

BE MINE THIS CHRISTMAS NIGHT is available on Amazon only for the holidays in both digital and paperback.

The Children's Author …
Annie Hamilton's children's series Star Light~Star Bright is a mega hit. She loves kids and wants nothing more than a family of her own, but twice burned, thrice shy. When a gorgeous man with two young boys moves next door, Annie can't help but dream her impossible dream.

And The Widower Who Moved Next Door...
 Cole Evans is a brilliant scientist, but finds fatherhood a challenge. When his son develops a bond with their enchanting neighbor, the boy’s favorite author, Cole discovers just how much he's lost—and how much he needs.

Will Their Wish Come True This Christmas Night?
Can Cole overcome family meddling and alleviate Annie's fears so they can be a ready-made family?


And please check out the other authors on this blog hop.

It's truly Home For The Holidays.


 
 
 
 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Annual Reminder: This Could Be One Of The Most Important Posts of the Year



Nope it's not a writing tip, it's a career saving tip.


A friend just wrote that her computer crashed and she hadn’t backed up in a while and she
was so sick to her stomach, unsure if her work could be retrieved.

And more than once, I couldn’t find two of my folders, which concerned me enough to run a scan on my computer, then reboot. I know I had backups, but still I was nervous.


So I decided this post was going to be an annual reminder to all of us...

Syndee
...Several years ago, I read a post by Syndee Rogers-Nuckles about the importance of multiple or redundant back-up systems. (The original post in full was on Five Scribes Dec.
2011 )

This is what she says:

Have you ever had your heart sink? Feel the sting of tears streaming down your face as you realized all your files had disappeared?

I have. In a total panic I searched my computer looking for any sign of hope, I shook my head trying to awaken out of what had to be a nightmare.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone reading this, other than LA, her buddy and me?

Or were you one of the few lucky ones that had backups of all your files on another EHD (external hard drive) or DVD's?

Or perhaps it's just been another thing on your ‘to do’ list?

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to backup your files, but it can be so time consuming and overwhelming. Like so many of you I am stretched to the limits of available time so after trying at least a dozen different strategies for backing up I finally hit upon something that really works for me.

Now, I use the ‘triple threat’, not just having a single backup copy but two so that you have three copies of all your important files.

For instance I have the following:

1- Original files: all my business files like documents are kept on my computers built-in hard drive. My original design files are kept on my main External Hard Drive.

2- Backup 1: I try to make copies of all my important files as I create them to a second EHD that I keep hooked up to my computer. I try to back this up at least once a week.

3- Backup 2: This is where the online backup service comes in. I LOVE this! I use Backblaze which just runs in the background whenever my computer is on saving all my files for me! My files are backed up to a secure offsite server so if something were to happen to my computer I can still get to my files from another computer!

Online Backup Services:

Backblaze
http://www.backblaze.com/

This service was easy to install and was backing up my files in minutes! One of the best things about this company is that it features unlimited storage. I was using Mozy before and they changed their pricing structure so much that it priced them right out of my budget. have been so happy with this service, I totally forget it’s running on my computer!

(LA) This is what I use. It took over 45 days to get all my data uploaded, but it was done everyday behind the scenes, I really didn't notice it at all.

Carbonite
http://www.carbonite.com/

I have heard good things about Carbonite. The biggest drawback is that they do not offer backups of your EHD’s, which is something I can’t live without. But if you are not using any EHD’s they are worth looking in to.

Mozy
www.mozy.com

I had trouble installing Mozy on my Mac when I switched over from a PC, and when I contacted customer support and followed the instructions they gave me it still did not work. It was around the same time they changed the pricing structure so I cancelled my account and signed up with Backblaze.

(LA) I have friends who swear by Mozy, so check them out.

Keep in mind that these online backup services are not meant to be an addition storage system, if you delete the files off your computer these companies will delete those same files after 30 days.

Thank you Syndee for your research!!

Back up your career, and have a wonderful and hopefully now, a worry free Holiday Season.

Ciao
~LA


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Excerpt From Stacy Juba's Sink or Swim


 

BLURB:
It's hard enough being famous and not rich. When a stalker enters the picture, reality TV has never seemed so real. Ambitious personal trainer Cassidy Novak has gained fame for starring on Sink or Swim, a hit reality show. Not only does she lose and have to walk the plank, but after the game show ends, the terror begins. Upon returning home, Cassidy discovers she has attracted a stalker masterminding his own twisted game. She struggles to focus on her health club job and celebrity endorsement opportunities, but her stalker has other plans. As her former competitors get knocked off one-by-one, Cassidy refuses to play by the stalker's bizarre rules.

She's also being shadowed by hunky cowboy photographer Zach Gallagher, who has been assigned to capture her personal moments for a spread in the local newspaper. She wants to trust the mysterious Zach, yet fears he may not be what he seems. When the stalker forces a showdown, Cassidy must once again walk the plank...this time for her life. A #1 Kindle Bestseller in the Women Sleuths and Romantic Suspense Categories, a Nook Top 100 Bestseller, and a fun beach read endorsed by contestants from Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race.

EXCERPT:

Look! There she is!" A few hundred spectators pointed and gawked as Cassidy entered the ballroom of the Starlight Sensation. She gulped and smoothed down her sleeveless emerald pantsuit.

Deniz Jewell had called the other day with an offer for Cassidy’s first public appearance, and conveniently, it was only forty-five minutes from home. A cruise line had asked her to headline the grand preview of a new luxury ship, docked at the Black Falcon Terminal in the South Boston Waterfront District. They wanted her to sign autographs and socialize with the guests who’d paid to attend a cocktail party and information session.

Cassidy would have preferred something more fitness-related, like an exercise video or sneaker endorsement, but Deniz said she was putting out feelers and that in the meantime, her client should take any work she could get.

Although a cruise ship wasn’t what Cassidy had hoped for, she appreciated the marketing department’s interest in her and liked that the event was in Boston. Even better, the cruise line had sent a black stretch limo for her and her companions from the Garrett Daily News.

Lynn, the cruise line’s six-foot plus brunette director of publicity, rubbed her hands together in anticipation. Barrettes fastened sausage black curls off her rawboned face, lengthening her giraffe neck. Her springy ringlets bounced as she talked. "We’re delighted to have you here, Cassidy, especially on such short notice. We just knew you’d be the perfect ‘face’ of the Starlight Sensation. When we have our maiden voyage this fall, we’d love for you to cruise with us. We could do a huge publicity campaign."

"Oh ... wow, that sounds like fun," Cassidy said.

First SOS. Then the cruise runner-up prize. Now this. How many ships was she doomed to ride? 

"As you can see, you’re a big hit." Lynn waved toward the guests murmuring and sneaking glances from round tables festooned with drinks and appetizers. "You’ll sign autographs in here and our staff will be sure to keep the line orderly." 

Good to know, but Cassidy half-wished she’d jumped out of the limo a few miles back at Castle Island, a spacious urban park and her favorite spot in Boston. She loved walking or jogging around Castle Island and the peaceful Pleasure Bay, enjoying views of the ferries and vessels passing in the harbor, the low airplanes descending toward Logan International Airport, and the tourists milling about the historic Fort Independence. She’d give anything for a hotdog and ice cream at Sullivan’s, the popular family-run restaurant that serviced visitors. Alas, she’d get no relaxation today.

As Lynn conferred with a co-worker, Cassidy turned to her own personal news team. "Boy, does this beat the Atlantic Devil in the luxury department," she muttered.

"No kidding." Alison scrawled into her wire-bound notebook. With her sleek helmet of blonde locks and designer wardrobe, she looked more like a TV anchorwoman than a small-town newspaper reporter.

Zach Gallagher, her photographer, pulled his Nikon digital camera out of a padded bag and removed the felt Stetson from his wavy black hair. "I wouldn’t mind taking a trip on this baby myself." His flash blinked, triggering a half-dozen cameras from other parts of the ballroom.

"Cassidy! Cassidy!" An acne-scarred young man rushed over to them. Lank greasy blond strands hung ragged past his shoulders, limp as a used mop, and a torn tee-shirt with Cassidy's blurred likeness fell to the waist of his ripped jeans.

He cupped a camera to his heart. "Please, could I pose for one picture with you? I know this is a huge favor, but I can’t stay that long."

Lynn gave her a subtle nod. "Yeah, sure," Cassidy said.

She positioned herself beside the kid and Lynn snapped the photo with a cheerful "cheese."

His lip trembling, the kid stared at Cassidy. "You don't know what this means to me. You should have won. Reggie was a loser."

How could he say that? Reggie was dead. There were more important things than winning. Like living. Cassidy clamped down on her lip to keep from retorting. Telling off a fan wouldn’t exactly endear her to the cruise line. Being the "face" of the Starlight Sensation could mean a lot of money in her bank account. They were already shelling out $1,000, plus the expense of a limo, for her to scribble her name and act amiable.

Luckily, the rest of the fans acted more restrained. Cassidy spent a pleasant hour and a half smiling and signing autographs. Afterwards, the last group streamed out the French doors, heading to the theater for the travel spiel. She snagged a finger sandwich and a couple wedges of cubed melon off a platter before strolling toward Alison, Zach and Lynn in back of the room.

Lynn gathered papers into a folder and stretched to her Amazonian height. "Thank you, Cassidy. That was fantastic. The next presentation should be starting if you’d like to watch." 

"Great. I’m still shocked all those people waited in line to meet me. Thanks so much for inviting me today." Cassidy popped a piece of fruit into her mouth.

As Alison asked the publicist a few questions, Zach plucked a long-stemmed red rose off a vacant chair and extended it to Cassidy. "For you, my lady."

She looked at him over the blood red petals. Young face, mature eyes. Wisps of dark bangs straggled under the brim of his cowboy hat, which he had replaced after he finished taking pictures. He definitely improved the view around here. The harbor outside had nothing on him.

"Thanks," Cassidy said after she swallowed the melon.

Zach offered a sheepish grin, tanned olive skin setting off even white teeth. "It's not from me. I would have bought you a dozen if I knew you liked them. A little girl asked me to give it to you." 

Cassidy read the tag taped to the stem. "You're the flower of my life. My love for you is blooming. Miles."

Hair on the back of her neck bristling, Cassidy dropped the rose to the hardwood floor and spun around. All she saw were white-jacketed waiters, glittering crystal chandeliers and their own reflections in the mirrored walls. "Was she with a man? What happened? What did the girl look like?"

"She was five or six. Long blonde hair pulled to the side, pink shirt, blue jeans.  She came up to me on deck while I was walking around and said, 'This has to go to Cassidy.' I said, sure. I didn't see a parent, but I wasn’t paying much attention. You okay?" Frowning, Zach touched her arm.
 
Buy Links for Sink or Swim:

Amazon http://ow.ly/kEygv
Barnes & Noble http://ow.ly/kEywi
Kobo http://ow.ly/kEz7K
iBookstore http://ow.ly/kEzdS
Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_5?asin=B00CO9M4J0&qid=1367976480&sr=1-5
Full list at: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/books-2/sink-or-swim/

                        

BIO:
Stacy Juba has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers. She has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag. She pursues whatever story ideas won't leave her alone. Browse her website www.stacyjuba.com for more information on her books for adults, teens, and children.

Find Stacy:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stacyjuba



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Meet Author Stacy Juba and Her Latest Novel ~ Sink or Swim




Today we get to meet Stacy Juba.  I love reading the interviews, learning more about what makes this author tick, how much alike or different I am. 

Read on and get to know Stacy Juba.
 
And don't forget her excerpt from Sink or Swim will be here Saturday.

SJ: Hey L.A, thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog. 

LA: I'm so pleased you're here today. How much time do you spend promoting your books? What works best for you? 

SJ: I go through cycles of intense promoting and then I get into a maintenance mode for awhile where I can cut back on marketing and focus on writing. During an average month, I'll spend about an hour per day on marketing tasks such as Twitter, Facebook, blogging, doing interviews, guest blogs, networking with other authors, and coordinating ads. During a big promotional campaign, I might spend a few hours per day for over a month on marketing tasks. 

LA: What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help? Use a publicist?

SJ: I've worked as a publicist so I do it all myself though I belong to some wonderful author networking groups where we help each other out. I've developed campaigns such as the Who Killed Diana Ferguson campaign for my mystery novel Twenty-Five Years Ago Today. I had a series of paid ads and supplemented the ads with blog posts revolving around my murder victim Diana Ferguson as well as a lot of tweeting. I participate on tweet teams with other authors and am active on the blogger community Triberr, in which tribe members share each other's posts on Twitter. I focus on giving different books center stage at different times. For example, I do a lot of promotion for my children's book The Flag Keeper, and my Teddy Bear Town Children's Bundle (which includes The Flag Keeper) in June leading up to Flag Day and July 4th.   

LA: What is your writing routine like? 


SJ: I use an outline and try to stick to the outline for the most part. I know exactly what scenes are coming up when I sit down to write. Sometimes I'll meet another writer friend at the library and we'll write for a few hours, and sometimes I'll type on my AlphaSmart word processor and then send the file to my computer. I get more done when I'm away from my main computer, as I can get easily distracted by marketing.

LA: Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

SJ: The most rewarding thing is seeing five star reviews from readers who loved the book and they say they're going to look for my other books! 

LA: What themes do you like to write about?

SJ: I write a lot about young women finding themselves and getting on the right life path. My mysteries/romantic suspense novels Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and Sink or Swim, for example, are both about young women in their mid-twenties who are at a crossroads about what to do next. The safe, keep-doing-what-they're-doing road will lead to the same discontent, but the other road of taking a chance and going in a new direction leads to the scary unknown. Twenty-Five Years Ago Today also deals with themes of guilt and redemption, while Sink or Swim focuses on trusting others and having the courage to take a risk and "sink or swim."
LA: What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

SJ: I sit down and fill out character sketches for the most important characters and determine their strengths, weaknesses and how they need to grow and change by the end of the book. Then I focus on plot and write an outline, but I make sure to track character development in the outline alongside the plot.

LA: You’re having a dinner party. What character from your novel do you hope doesn’t show up? Why?

SJ: Spike, Cassidy's weasly boss from the health club Spike's Muscle Madness in Sink or Swim. He's just annoying. And he has tanning beds in his club, and those are unhealthy as they significantly raise the risk of skin cancer. We'd get in an argument over the ethics of putting a tanning bed in a club that's supposed to be devoted to improving health. Cassidy has that argument with him all the time.

LA: Coffee, tea or other?

SJ: I don't like coffee as it gives me heartburn and I just drink tea if I have a cold. I tend to mostly drink ice water though lemonade is a special treat!

LA: Ha, I get heartburn and still drink the stuff :)  What is your Favorite Chore?

SJ: As my husband will tell you, I don't have a favorite chore....

LA: Societal pet peeve … sound off.

SJ: Children using social networking sites such as Instagram and having hundreds of followers. Children and teens taking their devices out in public and spending the entire time texting and playing games rather than focusing on who they're with. Killing time while waiting for a doctor's appointment is one thing but I see them immersed in it during social functions with friends and family. While technology is wonderful and has helped me as an author, there are drawbacks. I'm really concerned that kids are being robbed of their childhoods.

LA: Children and adults!  When writing, do you listen to music?

SJ: I can't listen to music when I write. I need it quiet to concentrate. But when I'm marketing, I do sometimes listen to Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, and Aerosmith to break up the monotony!

 
 
 

BLURB:
It's hard enough being famous and not rich. When a stalker enters the picture, reality TV has never seemed so real. Ambitious personal trainer Cassidy Novak has gained fame for starring on Sink or Swim, a hit reality show. Not only does she lose and have to walk the plank, but after the game show ends, the terror begins. Upon returning home, Cassidy discovers she has attracted a stalker masterminding his own twisted game. She struggles to focus on her health club job and celebrity endorsement opportunities, but her stalker has other plans.

As her former competitors get knocked off one-by-one, Cassidy refuses to play by the stalker's bizarre rules. She's also being shadowed by hunky cowboy photographer Zach Gallagher, who has been assigned to capture her personal moments for a spread in the local newspaper. She wants to trust the mysterious Zach, yet fears he may not be what he seems. When the stalker forces a showdown, Cassidy must once again walk the plank...this time for her life.

A #1 Kindle Bestseller in the Women Sleuths and Romantic Suspense Categories, a Nook Top 100 Bestseller, and a fun beach read endorsed by contestants from Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race.

Links to Buy Sink or Swim:

Amazon http://ow.ly/kEygv
Barnes & Noble http://ow.ly/kEywi
Kobo http://ow.ly/kEz7K
iBookstore http://ow.ly/kEzdS
Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_5?asin=B00CO9M4J0&qid=1367976480&sr=1-5
Full list at: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/books-2/sink-or-swim/


BIO:

Stacy Juba has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers. She has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag. She pursues whatever story ideas won't leave her alone. Browse her website www.stacyjuba.com for more information on her books for adults, teens, and children.

FIND STACY AT:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Juba/100155471301
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stacyjuba
 
Don't forget to come back Saturday for Stacy's excerpt from Sink or Swim!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saturday Excerpt: Pamela Stone's Undercover Heart




Today we get an excerpt from Pamela Stone's Undercover Heart


Blurb:

Hard-edged DEA agent Shayne Kelley grew up fast, shuffled from one foster family to the next. But it made him tough. And damned good at working undercover. But when an idealistic schoolteacher reunites him with the father who abandoned him as a child, his well-ordered world is shaken. He can’t seem to resist the naïve teacher and her reckless optimism. Can her sweet love crumble the wall of bitterness around his heart?

Raised by loving parents, middle school teacher Dani Cochran wants to make a difference in the world. She works with troubled teens during summer break, believing that everyone deserves a second chance. Especially Shayne Kelley. She sees through Shayne’s defenses and enlists his aid with her juvenile delinquents. Will he teach them his cynical view of life? Or will Dani convince her students--and Shayne--that love is the strongest force on earth? But can she risk loving a man who seems destined to break her heart?

Excerpt:

“I knew you could be a hard ass, but didn’t take you for a sexist!” she snapped. “Never mind.
It’s not your problem.” She spun toward the house.

He grabbed her arm. “Let me guess. You think you can love their problems away?” He shook his head, released her arm, and glanced at his car door. “You know what, you’re right. It’s not my problem if you want to risk your life with a bunch of juvenile delinquents.”

She leaned against the car door, preventing his escape. “You always have to have the last word, you couldn’t let me storm off.”

“I make a point not to waste my time arguing with people bent on making stupid mistakes.”

“I am going to help these kids.” Her pretty little jaw jutted out. “You could make a difference in their lives and you know it. Take Calvin for instance. He’s in a foster home and feels like nobody cares.”

“Nobody does!”

“Wrong!” Dani’s dark eyes snapped. “I care.”

“Maybe you should focus on your own safety before you get hurt. You can’t save the world, Dani.”

She stepped closer. “We have to try.”

Shayne closed his eyes and his nostrils filled with the scent of peaches. He opened them and almost drowned in her warm brown orbs. The tip of her tongue moistened her lips and he tried not to think about how incredibly sexy that one innocent gesture was. “Cut to the chase. What do you want from me?”

“I want you to be honest about your feelings. Why do you keep glancing at your car like it’s a lifeline? You aren’t running from your father, or Kyle, or the family. You handle them like you’d handle your job. Why do I make you so nervous?”

He gulped then slid a hand down her cheek. “I’m not a relationship guy, Dani. And you aren’t a one-night stand sort of girl.”

She covered his hand and held it against her face. “I think the attraction between us is too strong to just walk away. I think we owe it to ourselves to see where it leads.”

God, those eyes were incredible. “And I think you are way too innocent for your own good.”

She leaned forward and covered his lips, her mouth warm and inviting. Her breasts pressed against his chest. “I’m not nearly as innocent as you think.”

He gripped her shoulders and set her away. “Find someone else, Dani.”

Available at:
Amazon
iBookstore
Barnes & Noble


Bio:

One might ask how an accounting graduate who spent twenty plus years in the technology field became a romance writer. Well, it’s quite simple. I’m an only child whose classy mom put her energy into my wardrobe, dance, and piano lessons. Add an amazing father who added go kart racing, slot cars, water skiing, and a pony to the mix. Toss in a wild imagination and summers in the country: lazy walks on my grandparent’s farm and another grandmother with a shed full of Harlequin romance novels to while away hot afternoons and voila.

Writing is pure escapism. Childhood imaginary friends developed into teenage fantasies. Later as a mother of two young, rambunctious sons, I began writing to keep in touch with the adult world; at least it was worth a shot. I continued writing as a method to wind down in the evenings from long, exhausting days spent in Corporate America. Anybody notice a pattern here? Not enough adult socialization – write. People overload – write. Either way, writing keeps me sane. Cheaper than a therapist and tons more fun.

I still reside in Texas with my childhood sweetheart and husband of; well we won’t mention how many years. In my spare time I enjoy traveling. From Hawaii, to California, to Florida, to the Caribbean, if there’s a beach, I’m there. I also love spending time with friends and family, especially four adorable grandkids. I love writing romance and sold my first novel, Last Resort: Marriage, to Harlequin American on Friday the 13th, June 2008. How’s that for luck!


Find Pamela:
www.pamelastone.net
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Last Friday of the Month Recipe: Lentil Salad From Jana Richards and her Excerpt from There Goes the Groom





Jana Richard's Lentil Salad


Ingredients for salad:

19 oz. can lentils, drained
 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed


Dressing:

2 T. lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together, then toss with dressing. Let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.


 

Blurb:

Eight years ago Tony left Olivia at the altar. He was sure she didn't really want to marry him. Now he's back, and they're forced to work together.

Coming home isn't easy for Tony, because his father wanted him to work at a trade instead of going off to college. Their relationship is still unsteady. Even before Tony's return, Olivia began questioning the depth of her love for her fiancé, a man she chose because he was safe and reliable. The last thing she wants is a loveless, faithless marriage like the one her parents suffered through.

When Tony, who never stopped loving her, insists her fiancé is the wrong man for her, Olivia sets out to prove him wrong. But the sexual chemistry between them is still strong, and so are her feelings for him. Even so, how can she break her engagement, hurt her fiancé as she was once hurt?
And how can she trust Tony not to abandon her like he did before?

                                                                If anyone does the jilting this time, she will.

To Buy:
http://www.uncialpress.com/there-goes-the-groom.html




Bio:

Nothing makes Jana Richards happier than pulling back the layers of her characters’ www.janarichards.net
psyche to see what makes them tick. Unless, of course, it’s creating a romance that makes readers laugh one minute, cry the next, and wonder how her hero and heroine will ever make it to their happily-ever-after. When she’s not writing, Jana works as admin assistant, and lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren and her Pug/Terrier cross Lou. You can reach her through her website at


Meet Jana:






 






Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Signing at Barnes & Noble


I'm so excited. This is my first signing and it'll be fun along with at least 5 other authors

I'll have all three books, and remember, they make great Christmas presents.

Hope to see you there.



Local Author Extravaganza
Author Event
Join Barnes & Noble between 2:00 and 4:00 pm on November 30 as we celebrate local and upcoming writers. Authors include L.A. Sartor, LeAnna Shields, Audra Harders, Richard Lawrence, Jill Haymaker, Reid Rosenthal and more!
Saturday November 30, 2013 2:00 PM

The Promenade Shops at Centerra
The Shops at Centerra, 5835 Sky Pond Drive, Loveland, CO 80537, 970-663-9473


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Meet Author Pamela Stone: An Interview

Today I'm pleased to introduce Pamela Stone. Don't forget her excerpt from Undercover Heart will run Saturday.

LA: Hi Pamela, tell us about your current series.

PS: Undercover Heart is a single title romance about a 26 year old guy who grew up in foster care and comes face to face with his biological father. This book is darker than my other books, but I hope everyone loves Shayne as much as I loved writing his story.

LA: What’s next for you?

PS: I have a trilogy plotted out and ready to write. I call it the non-brother trilogy. A man is suddenly killed in a car accident and his three grown sons meet for the first time and discover that their father had three separate families. They have to get past their shock and anger and work together to solve the mystery of their father.


LA: How has your experience with self-publishing been?

PS: I’m a control freak so I love it. I love being able to write the story I want without the restraints of a publisher or line. I love the control over the cover. It’s great, but then again, I’m a little OCD.

 

LA: Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?

PS: Holding that book in my hands. It’s surreal.


LA: Which aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

PS: I love all aspects of the writing process from rough draft to polished manuscript. The promo and marketing is a bit of a challenge for an introvert.


LA: Describe for us, if you will, your writing style, as in plotter vs. seat of the pants, and do you put more time into developing characters or plot or are they equal?
 
PS: Character - 100%. I start with a basic premise on plot, but my characters drive the story. I don’t sit down to the keyboard until I know at least my two main characters intimately. Luckily one of my critique partners is plot driven. We wouldn’t make it alone. We tell people that her characters do a lot, but she has no idea why until she’s almost done with the book. Mine on the other hand know exactly why they do everything they do, they just don’t always do much. Ha.


LA: What themes do you like to write about?

PS: I finally realized that the one thing that runs through most of my stories involves characters and their relationship with their parents. My characters are typically late 20s to early 30s and not all, but most are still struggling with one of their parents. The hero in my new release was given up for adoption by teenage parents when he was two and comes face to face with his biological father.


LA: Key advice for other writers?
 
PS: Write what you love to read. Never give up. Every time you get a rejection, celebrate. You eliminated one way that didn’t work, but you’re one step closer to the one that will.  There is a quote similar to that about life and I’d love to give credit, but I have no idea who said it.


LA: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be, and what would you talk about?
 
PS: My dad. He passed in 1987 and I miss him every day. I’d use him for a sounding board to help get a handle on some of the family stuff going on in my life. He was a master at helping me figure out which battles to fight and which ones to let go.

LA: Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?
 
PS: Writing, cheaper than a therapist and tons more fun.

 
BLURB:

Hard-edged DEA agent Shayne Kelley grew up fast, shuffled from one foster family to the next. But it made him tough. And damned good at working undercover. But when an idealistic schoolteacher reunites him with the father who abandoned him as a child, his well-ordered world is shaken. He can’t seem to resist the naïve teacher and her reckless optimism. Can her sweet love crumble the wall of bitterness around his heart?

Raised by loving parents, middle school teacher Dani Cochran wants to make a difference in the world. She works with troubled teens during summer break, believing that everyone deserves a second chance. Especially Shayne Kelley. She sees through Shayne’s defenses and enlists his aid with her juvenile delinquents.

Will he teach them his cynical view of life? Or will Dani convince her students--and Shayne--that love is the strongest force on earth? But can she risk loving a man who seems destined to break her heart?

Available at:
Amazon
iBookstore
Barnes & Noble

BIO:

One might ask how an accounting graduate who spent twenty plus years in the technology field became a romance writer. Well, it’s quite simple. I’m an only child whose classy mom put her energy into my wardrobe, dance, and piano lessons. Add an amazing father who added go kart racing, slot cars, water skiing, and a pony to the mix. Toss in a wild imagination and summers in the country: lazy walks on my grandparent’s farm and another grandmother with a shed full of Harlequin romance novels to while away hot afternoons and voila.

Writing is pure escapism. Childhood imaginary friends developed into teenage fantasies. Later as a mother of two young, rambunctious sons, I began writing to keep in touch with the adult world; at least it was worth a shot. I continued writing as a method to wind down in the evenings from long, exhausting days spent in Corporate America. Anybody notice a pattern here? Not enough adult socialization – write. People overload – write. Either way, writing keeps me sane. Cheaper than a therapist and tons more fun.

I still reside in Texas with my childhood sweetheart and husband of; well we won’t mention how many years. In my spare time I enjoy traveling. From Hawaii, to California, to Florida, to the Caribbean, if there’s a beach, I’m there. I also love spending time with friends and family, especially four adorable grandkids. I love writing romance and sold my first novel, Last Resort: Marriage, to Harlequin American on Friday the 13th, June 2008. How’s that for luck!

Find Pamela:

www.pamelastone.net
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
DON'T FORGET PAM'S EXCERPT ON SATURDAY
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Formatting Class For Self-Publishing ... Don't Miss This!

"Your book is completed and you finally wrote the words “The End!” Now you have to publish it. This class will teach you how simple it is to format and upload your manuscript for self-publishing. We will go over advanced techniques in Microsoft Word, learn the basics of HTML to create a beautiful e-book, and format for CreateSpace. Join traditionally and self-published author, Meredith Bond, for this interesting class on what to do next." ~Merry Bond

Wow, did that blurb intrigue me.

But I had questions so I emailed Merry.  Here is her answer.

"Hey Leslie!
Actually, I've designed this class so that advanced writer/formatters will be able to get as much out of the class as absolute beginners.
 
I know that I love taking formatting classes just to find out how other people do it, so I've designed the class with such people in mind.
 
As I'll explain on the first day of class, I've got a teenage daughter who is always keeping me up to date on the latest "tech speak" and memes. Over the summer she told me about this thing that was popular -- tl;dr (too long; didn't read). It's basically a summary of everything that came before it (or after, in some cases). I make use of this and all of my lectures have a tl;dr section which allows people who know what they're doing skip the detailed explanations written for those to whom this is a whole new world. So you can read the tl;dr section and jump right into your formatting.
 
If you don't "get" something, you can then go back and read that section of the longer explanation. And if you still don't get it, I'm always around to answer questions, and I'm more than happy to discuss any and every aspect of the formatting process. :-)
In the class I'll teach you how to format your book into HTML to be converted into a mobi and epub document. KDP itself does not recommend that you upload your book in a Word document because they can't guarantee that it will look the way you want it to on all devices. HTML is the way to go. 
 
It's just a really intense one week with lectures every day detailing the formatting process for that day or discussing self-publishing (and I'm really hoping to make use of everyone's knowledge and experience to have a good discussion).
Because it is so intense, I make myself available afterward to answer questions (which reminds me, I need to check with Savvy to see how long they'll keep the bulletin board open for these discussions -- if they close it early, I'll ask people to switch over to a yahoo group I've got already set up).
If you have any other thoughts or concerns (or suggestions), please write back!
Thanks so much!
Merry"

Okay, I'm in, how about you?  Want to be truly independent?  Fix everything that needs fixing without waiting? 
 
Check out the link below, and hope to see you in class.
 


Saturday, November 16, 2013

As Promised, The Excerpt from Lisabet Sarai's Challenge To Him

 
Leave a comment on this post, with your email address, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a free e-book copy of Challenge to Him! 


BLURB:

All the wealth in the world can't buy willing surrender.

Andrew MacIntyre, heir to a vast empire of railroads, mines and mills, is the second or third richest man in America, and by far the most eligible bachelor among the society folk summering in Newport, Rhode Island. His mother has filled their opulent mansion with marriageable daughters of bankers and industrialists, but Andrew knows none of these callow young women can satisfy his perverse sexual needs. No respectable girl would ever consent to being bound and beaten, to serving and obeying him the way he craves. His money gives him the freedom to purchase anything except his heart's desire—a submissive partner to share his life.

Independent, progressive and well-educated, labour activist Olivia Alcott has dedicated herself to improving the lot of the workers who toil in the factories that have made Andrew and his class so wealthy. The strike she organizes triggers a confrontation between her and the handsome billionaire. Although their disparate backgrounds and values make them natural foes, something stronger draws them to one another—an intuitive recognition of complementary fantasies.

Andrew offers Olivia a bargain—better working conditions for the mill staff, in return for a weekend of her unquestioning obedience. Olivia will help him deflect the attentions of the potential mates assembled by his mother, as well as providing more intimate services. Given Olivia's origins, a more enduring relationship appears impossible—but Andrew is not the sort to give up something he wants.


EXCERPT:

Olivia, I have a proposition for you.” She did not resist when he led her to the automobile and installed her inside. As he breathed her lilac perfume mingled with her clean sweat, his erection grew more insistent. “There’s to be a ball this weekend at Wavecrest, my house in Newport. My mother has invited what she considers to be the cream of society, including every eligible—that is, single and wealthy—female she can think of. She’s determined to marry me off to one of these creatures, regardless of my wishes.” 

“What does that have to do with me?” Her frown of perplexity delighted him. He could practically see the wheels turning in her agile mind as she tried to understand his motives.  

“I need an escort, a woman to keep at my side all weekend so I can fend off the advances of all these would-be Mrs MacInytres. Come back to Newport with me. Spend the weekend. If you do, I’ll seriously consider the question of raising the workers’ salaries.”

Olivia laughed, a bright, clear sound that sent a stab of want to his groin. “Me, a poor professor’s daughter, at a society ball? I’d be as out of place as a Hottentot in the White House! I don’t have the airs and graces of a Rockefeller girl. And what would I wear?” She indicated her dusty brown frock. “I doubt very much this would be appropriate.” 

“No one need know who you are—we’ll invent some mysterious identity for you. You can be the illegitimate American child of a Hungarian prince, how’s that? As for clothing, I will supply everything you’ll need.” He gave her luscious body a frank once-over that brought the blush back to her face, to his immense satisfaction. “I suspect your measurements are quite comparable to my sister Ann’s. You could wear one of her dresses. But no, that won’t do—you must be the most resplendent creature at the ball. We’ll stop at Ann’s dressmaker on the way and have you fitted for a new gown. With adequate monetary incentives, I’m sure the dress can be ready by tomorrow evening. We’ll pick up a whole kit for you, tennis and boating outfits, morning attire, underclothes. With jewels to match each ensemble, of course…” 

“Mr MacIntyre, doesn’t the impropriety of what you’re suggesting bother you in the least?” 

Her critical tone brought him up short. What would people say about a single young woman, unchaperoned, in Andrew’s constant company? He’d hoped she was less conventional than the women of his regular circle, but, given the importance of reputation, he couldn’t blame her for her concern. 

“You’re essentially trying to buy my sympathies, aren’t you?” she continued. “You suppose that if you lavish enough money upon me, I’ll drop my support for the strike and encourage the workers to return to their looms, correct?”  

“Not at all…” 

“Well, it won’t work. I intend to spend every minute we are together reminding you of the plight of these poor women. I shall work upon your conscience, sir, until you have no choice but to do the right thing.” 

“What? Then—you agree? You’ll come to Newport?”  

“How could I pass up the opportunity to do so much good?” A smile played at the corners of her compressed lips and Andrew understood that she was teasing him. Yes, she was serious about her cause, but she wanted to join him for other reasons. Hope flared in his chest while desire hardened his loins. 

“Thank you, Olivia.” He clamped his hand down upon her smaller one. Her breath hitched with excitement she could not hide. He focused all the force of his will upon her, compelling her to meet his gaze. “There’s one more thing to which you must assent.” 

“Yes? What’s that?” She was brave, this woman. The girls on the lawn this morning would have wilted under that stare, but she held her own. 

“You must agree to follow my orders in every particular and without question. Otherwise, your charade may be unmasked and we’ll both suffer.” 

“In every particular? Even if you should command some indecency?” Her hand still lay beneath his. The pulse fluttered in her wrist like a captive bird.  

“In every particular, as I said, and without question.” Full of anxiety, he searched her lovely face. Would she change her mind? “I promise I won’t allow any harm to come to you, Miss Alcott.”  

She allowed the smile he’d seen her fighting to bloom. He released the breath he had not realised he’d been holding.

“I agree, Mr MacIntyre—Sir. Shall we be on our way?”
 
 
 

BIO:

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was
four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over fifty single author titles, plus dozens of short stories in various erotic anthologies, including the Lambda winner Where the Girls Are and the IPPIE Best Erotic Book of 2011, Carnal Machines. Her gay scifi erotic romance Quarantine won a Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention.

Lisabet has more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by her chosen genre. She has traveled widely and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her indulgent husband and two exceptional felines, where she pursues an alternative career that is completely unrelated to her creative writing.

For more information about Lisabet and her writing, visit her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/). You can also find her on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/lisabetsarai) and Goodreads(http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/83387.Lisabet_Sarai) and at the group blog Oh Get a Grip (http://ohgetagrip.blogspot.com/). Join her announcement and contests list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lisabets_list

Leave a comment on this post, with your email address, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a free e-book copy of Challenge to Him!




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