Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Thursday, 31 May 2012

A Warm Welcome to Rebecca Lee Smith

First Rebecca tells us a little about herself:

Hello, world. I live with my husband in the beautiful, misty mountains of East Tennessee, where the people are charming, soulful, and just a little bit crazy. I’ve been everything from a tax collector to a stay-at-home-mom to a house painter to a professional actress and director. My two grown sons live nearby and still have the power to make me laugh until I cry. They are great friends, and will always be the best things I’ve given back to the world. It took me a lot of years to realize that writing is my true passion.When I’m not churning out sensual romantic mysteries with snappy dialogue and happy endings, I love to travel the world, go to the Outer Banks for my ocean fix, watch old movies, hang out at the local pub, and make my day complete by correctly answering the Final Jeopardy! question

Link - Follow Rebecca's tour

Now for the blurb from Rebecca's latest romantic suspense novel
'A Dance to Die For' available from The Wild Rose Press - BUY link

Annabel Maitland believes in destiny and following her heart—Trent Sheffield realizes his destiny is to believe in her.

Annabel destroyed her Broadway dancing career trying to save her friend Quinn's life. Convinced Quinn’s death was no accident, Annabel follows a clue to a North Carolina mountain inn and discovers that everyone who knew Quinn—the real Quinn—wanted her out of their lives, including the sexy innkeeper whose laid-back charm and megawatt grin take Annabel's breath away. The physical attraction between them is undeniable, the cerebral attraction irresistible. But trusting her heart means ignoring evidence that plants him firmly on the list of suspects.

Determined to keep his family’s financially strapped inn afloat, the last person Trent needs working for him is a stubborn, impossibly long-legged dancer whose sharp wit and silver eyes keep him scrambling to stay on his toes. He's falling hard, and he wants to trust her, but Annabel's connection to his ex-fiancée makes him question her motives at every turn. When a string of mysterious accidents threaten Annabel’s life, they must unearth Quinn's killer before it's too late. But what if Annabel was the target all along?

Rebecca Reveals:

In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?           
           Trent Sheffield, the hero of A Dance to Die For, has always felt compelled to fix things, whether it’s a leaky faucet or his irresponsible brother’s broken heart. Protecting the brother he’s practically raised and keeping their family’s financially strapped inn afloat are his priorities, and he tries to do the best he can. Later, as he’s falling in love with Annabel, he doesn’t hesitate to add her to the list of things he cares most about and wants to protect. I love his dry, self-deprecating sense of humour, and the way he “gets” and appreciates Annabel. What I like about him least is the fact that he believes with all his heart that he knows best, and that isn’t always the case. 
And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
            My heroine, Annabel, is an off-Broadway dancer who suffers from a condition known as dancer’s hip. She injures herself and destroys her career, trying to save her friend Quinn from falling off a platform. Determined to find out the truth about Quinn’s death, she follows a clue to a North Carolina inn where she falls in love with Trent, Quinn’s ex-fiancée. Depending on her level of activity, Annabel is in some form of pain throughout the book, but never thinks of herself as a victim and handles her own challenges and setbacks with humor and spirit. I understand that kind of coping, and hope I’m like her. At least a little bit. When I turned forty, I found out I had been born with a hole in my heart. The corrective surgery to repair it left me with an irregular heartbeat that pretty much ended my acting career. The stress of being onstage would set it off when I least expected it. I couldn’t trust it, so I began directing. Now, I control the irregularity with vitamins and supplements, but I know what it’s like to have to stop doing the thing you love most and switch to Plan B.
Who controls the story – you or your characters?
            I control the story. At least, I think I do. But sometimes the characters come to life and say or do something I didn’t expect at all, and I’ll think, Where the hell did that come from? I love it when that happens. For me, it is one of the coolest, most magical, and fun things about writing.
What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?
            A successful book is one that engages your mind, touches your heart, and keeps you snuggled down on your side of the bed, blinking under the glare of your tiny reading lamp, turning pages long after you should be asleep.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What would be your tips to overcome it?
            If I’m away from writing for more than a few days, for whatever reason, it takes me a while to get back into it. The juices stop flowing and every idea, every piece of dialogue, seems stale. Or stupid. If I’ve really hit a roadblock, it’s usually because the plot or the characters are going in the wrong direction. But I’ve found that if I can’t seem to get back on track, just sitting and writing anything will shake it loose. I’ve read about other writers working on several manuscripts at once to keep that from happening, but I just can’t do that. One is hard enough.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
            Besides reading (and re-reading) Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, I have three quotes I keep by my desk that inspire me every day. One is printed on a small river rock, and says, “Nothing is written in stone.” The second one, by E. L. Doctorow, says, “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” And the last one, and probably the one that soldiers me through the most, is by Nora Roberts: “You can fix anything but a blank page.”
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
            Another book, I hope. And then another, and another, and...
What would you most like to accomplish this year?
            I’m almost finished revising a romantic mystery/suspense I wrote two years ago and shelved before I finished the last two chapters. I want to polish it and send it to my editor. I’m also working on a contemporary romantic comedy that’s probably going to turn into a mystery. I hadn’t thought it would, but I’m kind of stalled on it now, and as Lawrence Block once said (another writing quote I love), “When your story slows down, throw another bear in the canoe.” In my case, it will be a dead body.
What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult? Are you currently reading anything?
            As a child, I loved a book called They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth, about an orphan girl who goes to live with an Amish family. I think I kept that book checked out of the school library for two years running. As a teen, I was drawn to love stories and mysteries. My favourite was The Moon-spinners by Mary Stewart. As an adult, it’s a tossup between Persuasion by Jane Austen and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Those are two of my favourite movies, too. I’m currently reading The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie and...A Dance to Die For. Yes, I know it’s my own book, but it’s the first one I’ve published, and it’s a dream come true to actually hold it in my hands and read it. So far, I haven’t found any typos. Which is a good thing. LOL.
What is your culinary speciality?
            I make a mean lasagna. My kids requested it for Christmas Eve dinner four years in a row. On the fifth, I said, “Lasagna?” And they said, “Works for us.” My apricot nectar cake is pretty amazing, too, and I’m not a baker. I wish I could make decent cornbread and biscuits, which is almost a requirement here in the South. My mother spent her life looking for the perfect pound cake recipe, and never found it. My son is studying to be a chef, and is a wonderful cook, so it’s nice to know I didn’t pass along my defective culinary genes.
Any exciting plans for the near future?            A weeklong trip to the Outer Banks on the coast of North Carolina to spend time with my family and to get my ocean fix. I have always lived in the mountains, but now that I’m older, my soul feels more at home by the sea. I calms me down, it comforts me, and it makes my imagination soar.
Now for A Taste of Rebecca:

Rebecca's LINKS: Website BUY Amazon   The Wild Rose Press

Something zinged past Annabel.

It cut and ruffled the new growth of hickory leaves beside her shoulder, like a bird soaring through the trees at warp speed. Her head jerked around. Trent was running toward her with his arms airborne, his beige raincoat ballooned behind him like a cape.

He pushed her off the path, then hit the ground sideways. He slid into the underbrush, shoulder first, and roughly pulled her down on top of him.

Another high-pitched crack echoed across the meadow.

Trent's hard body jolted beneath her.

He enveloped her in his arms and rolled her to the side, pressing her head into his broad chest. The musky scent of his aftershave mingled with the pungent tang of dried weeds and earth sent her senses into overload. The weight of his muscular thighs pushing against her equally muscular thighs sent a shudder pulsing through her. “It's okay,” he whispered. “I've got you.”

They lay motionless in the tall warm grass, side by side, for what seemed an eternity. Until the only sounds she could hear were the soft, protesting whir of insects and the rapid, steady thumping of his heart.

Annabel lifted her head and stared at the line of dark stubble along his chin. “What the hell was that?”

“Probably a poacher.”

“A poacher? Are you serious? Here?

He loosened his grip on her shoulders. “The forest across the road belongs to the inn. There's no fence. All we can do is post No Hunting signs and hope for the best.”

“So, how do your guests feel about dodging bullets? I bet this place stays packed.”

It's been a pleasure to meet you, Rebecca. Thanks for dropping by and good luck with the rest of your tour!
Now leave a comment for the chance to win a $20 Amazon GC 

Monday, 28 May 2012

A Warm Welcome to Clayton Bye
Clayton Bye, the Publisher of “Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road” speaks about the unique project.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you collected a diverse group of talented authors from around the world and asked them each to write for you a new short story that would give their audience a different kind of reading experience? I did. And when the project came to be, I also decided to take away all the rules. It would just be the authors and their talents going into the collection.

I found 14 authors willing to take on this project. And, as a nod to their lack of writing parameters, I decided to call the book Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road. As in life, so it is in art—these wrong side of the track/road authors not only surprised me with their imagination and their dedication to their craft, they’ve surprised a few reviewers, as well.
“I enjoyed each story and can’t decide which was better. I got started reading and really
couldn't stop—wanting to read more or continue on to the next hair-raising story. I like a book I
can pick up and not put down and was surprised how much this read kept me coming back for
more. Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road certainly did it for me. From the umber-creepy to
the tragically bittersweet, this anthology has it all.” –CK Webb (WebbWeaver)

“The editing by Sassy Brit and C.C. Bye is excellent, and the entire presentation is beautifully
professional. If you like the short-story genre and want something unique and innovative, you
might consider this read. My personal favorite was Malpas, a novella, by Marion Webb-De
Sisto, an erotica beauty and beast.” –Kaye Trout, Midwest Book Reviews

“This anthology contains some of the creepiest and unusual stories I’ve read in a long time.
While a few of the selections seemed out of place either by caliber or by genre, the best works
in this anthology truly set the bar for greatness in speculative fiction. As a whole, I rate Writers
on the Wrong Side of the Road at four stars and recommend it as a great addition to any
speculative fiction library.” –L. Lane, Cerebral Writer
Links: BUY at Amazon or Chase Enterprises 
Clayton adds:
 I think Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road is a difficult book for reviewers. The only theme is the challenge to write something truly different. This is why the last reviewer couldn’t get her mind around what appears to be a children’s story right in the middle of a collection of dark fiction. But I don’t think the story is just for children; I think this was a successful attempt to meet our mandated “untheme.” It, more than all the brilliant stories found in this 312 page paperback, belongs in our anthology.
However, it’s also a fact that any criticism launched against this anthology can be challenged by the fact that these stories are printed exactly the way the authors wanted them printed, with some proofreading thrown in, of course. So, whether they are good or not should be glaringly clear.

Want a read that doesn’t just promise to be different? Then pick up a copy of Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road. If your local store doesn’t have the book, get them to bring it in. We’re distributed globally.
Thanks for dropping by today, Clayton, and congratulations on having courage to spearhead this unique project!
Read more about Clayton at  his website

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Warm Welcome to K.Reed  Romance author with an historical twist

Too many post-apocalyptic stories, movies, and what-ifs crowded her head, and K Reed decided to do something about it. So she plotted one out, decided an historical post-apocalyptic romance was the way to go, and wrote that one instead.
A lover of all things historical, of strong heroes with equally strong heroines, and of sexy pirates, she’s going to explore the post-apocalyptic world of plague-ridden 1804 and the gritty criminal element of Victorian England.
Luckily she has an understanding family, supportive friends, and a day job that offers her the flexibility she needs to plot, plan, and write. Sure, one day she’d like to travel the country in search of fantastic storylines and great locale pictures, but for now she’ll stick to the east coast and the internet.
Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire by K. Reed
The once glittering ballrooms of Regency England now lay desolate. A plague has ravaged the countryside. The government has fallen. What vestiges of order remained have been consumed by the endless funeral pyres.

Grayson, once the Baron of Harwich, sought only to protect his people. Rescuing a half-dead woman was not among his plans. But something about her pulled at him. Perhaps it was her beauty, still evident beneath the pallor of loss. Perhaps it was the recently fired rifle at her side. Or maybe he was simply tried of death. All he knew was that the plague had taken too much already. He couldn’t let it take her as well.

Lady Juliette Adair had been ready to die with her brother. She didn't expect to be shown mercy in a world that had no room for mercy. When Grayson saved her she questioned his motives but soon found herself intrigued by him, drawn to him.
Societal rules were a thing of the past, dead along with the ton. Juliette had no manner by which to measure her growing closeness to Grayson any longer. But when she discovers he may not be the man she thought she knew more is at stake than just her heart. The secrets she carries could make a king or destroy one.

Before treating us to an excerpt K.Reed Reveals:

From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write Fallen Empire?
My latest book is very much out of the norm for a “Regency Romance.” I enjoy writing historicals greatly but I wanted a way to distinguish myself in the Regency marketplace. So one afternoon I was watching the history channel and they had a special on the French Revolution. Something in my brain clicked and I started wondering what it would be like to bring that kind of fear to England. A long winding road in my brain later and I came up with the idea for Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire.
In Dark Inheritance; a plague has devastated England and the book opens after the government has fallen and the country is in chaos. It was simply too delicious an idea not to write!

In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character. What do you like best/least about him? And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
The Hero in Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire is named Grayson Merrick, Baron Harwich; often referred to as the Baron or Harwich. Grayson is a survivor, yes, but he is also more. He has taken responsibility for his people, his estate and for whatever his part will be in the future politics of the country. He is willing to do what he has to do to protect what he believes in and sometimes that makes him more of a gray character than a white hat. The fact that he is a man simply trying to do the best he can is what I like best about him. He doesn’t have super powers just his own, sometimes flawed, judgment.
As to the heroine; her name is Lady Juliette Adair and like Grayson she has her own flawed judgment to deal with. She carries a secret and the weight of the responsibility behind that secret is something she takes very seriously. I think most of us can relate to someone who has a very difficult decision to make.

Who controls the story – you or your characters?

I control the story for the most part but on occasion the way a character is written or the way a bit of dialogue or even a body or background movement is done might inspire a slight change of direction. For me the story is an ever changing and growing entity until it is complete.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?
I hope that my readers are taken away to the setting I’ve place the story in. I hope they are involved with the main characters on a level that also inspires an emotional response from them.
Some of the best compliments I’ve ever received relate to a reader having been brought to tears or being on the edge of their seat until that particular part of the story progressed. But in the end I simply hope they really enjoyed a good story!
What do you like best and least about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is the creative process. Inventing the characters, deciding on the setting and really getting into the nitty gritty of the emotional development of the romance.
Do you have a writing routine?
Every spare moment I have I am either writing, thinking about my writing projects, working on something writing related or taking a break and feeling guilty that I am not creating at that moment! However, on a normal day I do set aside time for prep work, ancillary work and actual scene creation. I do try to take at least one day a week and rest but since I also have a ‘normal job’ too; I try to dedicate what I can to writing.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
To read “The First Five Pages” by Noah Lukeman. It is a wonderful book of advice for the young writer. 

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?

The first book after Dark Inheritance: Fallen Empire that I will publish will be a Victorian Romantic Suspense featuring a sadistic serial killer out to cause havoc in 1883 London. It is the first in a trilogy that will explore not just the motivations of the killer but the effect on a developing romance involved in solving the crimes.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I’m a big movie buff so I often enjoy a trip to the multiplex. And an afternoon playing with the dog or gardening is always pleasant.

What would you most like to accomplish this year?
Hitting the New York Times Bestseller list! Keep your fingers crossed, please!
Follow the rest of the blog tour
And now for A Taste of Fallen Empire
He didn’t know what made him look, what sound captured his attention, but he suddenly knew he was not alone. Cursing his carelessness, he drew his sword and looked around. There, on the opposite side of the bed, pushed against the wall.

She lay on a settee, head resting on one arm, dark hair falling down the side of the sofa. He glanced to the bed, to the man there, and wondered who the dead pair were. She looked to have survived the plague; her face and neck were thin and smooth. Died of neglect, then. The last living being in the house and she couldn’t summon the strength to feed herself.

His eyes locked on the rifle lying just under her reach. Sheathing his sword, it was then he noticed that powder marks blackened her hands and were smudged along her face and neck. He quickly scanned the area, a small bag of powder and a case of shot rested on a nearby chair.

Cautiously walking closer, Grayson crouched before the prone figure and surprised himself by reaching out to touch her. He stopped just short of her cheek, curling his fingers into a fist. He took a brief moment to admire her beauty.
Even in death, she captivated.

Standing, he picked up the rifle and backed away, turning to search the rest of the room before he’d take the powder and shot.

That was when he heard her moan.

LINKS: Read more about the author at  email BUY link Amazon 

Many thanks for dropping by today. Sounds great. Fingers crossed to see you on the NYT bestseller list!
Now leave a comment for the chance to win one of these great prizes: A post-apocalypse survival basket which includes tea, a fan, a shawl, a bracelet and more -- Plus ONE Grand Prize basket will include an iPod Touch (US/Canada)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Warm Welcome to Pauline Baird Jones

Pauline Baird Jones began her writing career penning romantic suspense (fictional murder doesn’t get you strip searched!) but she had a secret longing to ramp up the spills, chills and daring do.

By chance she wrote a science fiction romance, realized she’d been mixing fiction into her science since high school (oops, sorry science teachers!), and thought, why not go where she hasn’t gone before? After that, it was easy to stir in some steampunk.

The Key was the first in her Project Enterprise series, which concludes with Kicking Ashe. To find out more about her and her books visit:

Here's the blurb for Kicking Ashe:

A science fiction romance novel
  When you save Time's tush - or its version of one - it ought to cut you a break, not kick your tush some where and some when. Though boo yah on providing a hot guy in leather to pull that tush out of the impact crater that Ashe so did not make despite the somewhat damning evidence to the contrary.
So, the siterep:
  • She's stuck on primitive planet
  • Time Tracker suit down
  • Lurch (her nanite) unable to connect to any tech (see primitive above)
  • Surrounded by a bunch of buccaneer types who haven't been around nubile, young women cause it's against their law
  • The one guy (Vidor Shan) she'd like to kiss on the mouth is off limits (time rule)
  • Someone gunning for Shan from somewhere in time
And, oh yeah, some really strange meteorites are making landfall in some very strange ways. Seems Time has a new hobby: kicking Ashe (and shame on It for doing it when she’s down). 
Not that she plans to stay down. Or give up the guy. 

Before treating us to an excerpt Pauline Reveals:

In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?
Vidor Shan started out as a lesser villain in Girl Gone Nova, so the plan was to dislike him with maybe one or two qualities to make him not cardboard. But as I wrote him, I developed—not a soft spot exactly—but a sort of, “Hmmmm. He might be reclaimable in another book.” It was interesting getting to know him, though it took three tries to find him a heroine who could sufficiently humble him for the role of hero.
So, what I ended up liking about him was his persistence, his refusal to give up or take no for an answer. Oddly, this was also what I found annoying about him. LOL! But in the end, it allowed him to be redeemed and get a girl.
And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
There are some heroines that I relate to instantly. Ashe…well, she took me a while. When she first stalked onto the page in Steamrolled I had not planned to feature her in her own novel. She was a minor heroine who was supposed to “star” in the subplot. She totally annoyed Doc (who starred in Girl Gone Nova and made a guest appearance in Steamrolled).
So even though I got to know her pretty well in Steamrolled (and yeah, she kind of annoyed me, too) I had to go deeper to relate to her in Kicking Ashe. In the end, what helped was her dealing with being so completely lost. Now I’ve never been lost from time and in space, but I have been lost and felt disoriented. I used that feeling to connect to, and help make, Ashe softer and less of a twit.
It did make my eye twitch a bit, but I got over it.
What do you most enjoy about writing romance?
I love watching people fall in love. I LOVE making them earn that perfect person for them, making them prove they are worthy of another person’s trust. As Doc realized in Girl Gone Nova, it was easier for her to risk her life, than her heart. And if the love seems impossible? Well, that just makes it more satisfying when the last barriers fall.
What do you like best and least about writing?
I love meeting my characters, I love “reading” my story as it unfolds over time and I love that surprised and delight I feel when I work it out and stumble across the finish line with my characters.
What I dislike is the business part of writing. Figuring out the money (though there’s not always a lot of that), the taxes, where and how to promote, the rejections that steal your creativity if you let them, the reviews that are less than glowing—all of it can take a toll on your Muse.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What would be your tips to overcome it?
I have suffered from two kinds of writer’s block. One comes from Life. There is just too much happening in my real world. Sometimes there just isn’t any escape from reality and I’ve had to trudge through until the situation eased enough for creativity to flow again.
The second kind comes from trying to a) start a story too soon or b) push it in a direction the characters don’t want it to go. I solve this one by back tracking to the point where my plot went wrong and then striking out until I find the right path.
Anything special you require to keep the creative juices flowing?
Diet Dr. Pepper. Chocolate (type varies by mood and availability) and a playlist. I fashion a playlist for every book. It seems to help jump-start the Muse. If I have Diet Dr Pepper and chocolate. Sometimes I need a salty munchy, too. Like right now I am trying out Tostitos Artisan Baked Three Cheese Queso. It makes a nice contrast with the Dark Chocolate Mint M&Ms chased down by a cold DDP.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
I am currently at work on a steampunk novel that has no name and only two characters so far. Yeah, I write into the mist and its pretty heavy right now. (Bringing out the bright light. Okay, that doesn’t work in the creative mist either….)
How do you like to spend your free time?
Well, obviously I love to read. I also enjoy Angry Birds, TV (Big Bang Theory, Phineas and Ferb, NCIS and classic shows like Scarecrow and Mrs King), movies (also a lot of diversity in my movies, though currently focusing on SF and SFR) and jigsaw puzzles to unwind (and drive myself crazy in a different way than plotting—though there are similarities).
What would you most like to accomplish this year?
I would like to finish my new novel and organize my upstairs. It is the Final Frontier in our house. It sits in splendid (well, not so splendid) isolation, wholly separate from the rest of the house. It used to be our joint office, until circumstances drove both hubby and I downstairs. I could tell you why, but I’ve been married 37 years and would like to make it across the 50 years finish line, so we’ll just leave it at that.
What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult? Are you currently reading anything?
Anne of Green Gables. Though I was not an orphan, I really identified with Anne’s love of reading and her huge imagination. And when my brothers were a pain? I sometimes wished I were an orphan.
I have a terrifying TBR pile, both literal and virtual on my various ereaders, but when I am writing, I don’t read a lot. It tends to distract me from my own book and I seem able to do that without help from other authors. I do read non-fiction, though,  and I am currently reading Are You There Author? It’s Me Blog by Kristen Lamb. It’s a really good book on social media for authors.
Any exciting plans for the near future?
I am planning to survive this year and hoping my trash doesn’t get quite as thoroughly kicked as last year. And if things go really well, and I get my new book well in hand, I am hoping to reduce my TBR pile. I really miss just sitting and reading!
You mentioned different characters making guest appearances in later novels. Can you explain the order and connected books you’ve written?
Some years back, I took a right turn into writing action/adventure, science fiction romance. I had such fun writing it, and got requests to write more in the world I’d created, so my Project Enterprise was born. Though the novels were written to be stand alone, I’m told enjoyment is increased if you read them in order:
The Key, Girl Gone Nova, Tangled in Time (novella), Steamrolled, and Kicking Ashe.
There are also two connected short stories that released in two different anthologies:
Men in Jeans from A Death in Texas Anthology
Steam Time from Dreamspell Steampunk, Vol 1 anthology

Now for A Taste of Pauline:

Excerpt from KICKING ASHE:
A chill, one more persistent the than others trailed down her back and the hairs on the back of her neck rose. Never a good sign. Ashe pulled her weapon, because in her experience, when the hair on the back of her neck rose, shooting at something would soon follow. Turned back to the empty corridor. Light stabbed down between the walls. Nothing. Gray, gray and more gray. So why couldn’t she look away? Why did if feel as if her life depended on not looking away? She backed toward Shan not caring if the whole building came down because of it. Neither building nor the floor appeared to be impacted by her passing as Lurch cranked her gravity inhibitor higher. Her toes dragged through the dust, just enough contact to keep her moving now. The soft rustle seemed more pronounced. Or she was getting paranoid. Not that paranoia seemed contraindicated in the situation. In fact, it felt wise. When Lurch didn’t mock or disagree, the hairs on her neck rose some more.
Did—was the floor…moving?
“Yeah?” Her voice had more quiver than she liked.
“I will try the controls and if it is safe—”
Black slits, or maybe knotholes began to dot the walls and the floor, popping out of the mass of gray. Her light could be adding shadow, but the angles weren’t quite right…
“I don’t think we have time to wait for safe.” Safe was an illusion. Family saying three hundred and something. She moved her head, tracking the light across ceiling, walls and floors, her weapon following the same path. The rustle increased in intensity, as if the light bothered something. Or attracted it.
And a few awesome review quotes:
"If you love science-fiction romance, then you will want to read KICKING ASHE by Pauline Baird Jones." Romance Junkies
"Jones concludes her Project Universe series with this fun, fast-paced tale. Ashe is a tough, no-frills heroine with plenty of spunk and a lovable companion, her nanite Lurch, who steals the show with his snark. Filled with plenty of humor and sexual tension, this quick read is ideal for lovers of sci fi romance." RT Book Reviews
"This is a series of stories that I can see myself revisiting again in the future when I want something fast paced and fun with strong heroines and hunky heros, even if some of them are completely alien!" Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
"Pauline's novels are perfect for smart women on the move. Her heroines love adventure but are, at the core, still women….Kicking Ashe is an awesome read, so don't pass up the chance to experience Ashe, Vidor and Lurch's adventure." FirePages

Pauline's links:

Now leave a comment for the chance to win a $10 GC for AnaBanana Bath and Body Treats

Many thanks for regaling us today, Pauline. Great to host you!

Friday, 11 May 2012

A Warm Welcome to Alison Stone
Growing up, Alison Stone never imagined becoming a writer. She enjoyed math and science and ultimately earned a degree in engineering. Go Yellow Jackets!

After the birth of her second child, Alison left Corporate America for full-time motherhood. She credits an advertisement for writing children’s books for sparking her interest in writing. She never did complete a children’s book, but she did have success writing articles for local publications.

Finally, Alison got up the nerve to try her hand at full-length fiction. After completing a handful of manuscripts, she sold her first book to Samhain Publishing in 2011, followed a few weeks later by a second sale.
Now, Alison has the best of both worlds. From her home office in Western New York, she writes fast-paced romantic suspense while her four children are in school. It never fails to amaze her how soon the afternoon bus arrives.

Random Acts  by Alison Stone
BLURB: Second chances can have a terrible sense of timing.
As a child, watching her mother always pick the wrong man left Danielle Carson wary of opening her heart to anyone—except Patrick Kingsley. But circumstances came between them and left Danielle with a broken heart. Now she buries the pain of what might have been by channeling all her energy into her career. When a family crisis brings her back to her hometown, she is forced to face the past—and the disturbing fact that her sister’s car accident was staged to mask a brutal beating.

A police officer and widower, Patrick guards his heart as fiercely as he guards his beloved daughter. Seeing Danielle again unexpectedly reignites their old flame, but no way will he introduce a woman into his daughter’s life. Certainly not one whose values on faith and family are so different from his own.

Despite their best intentions, they are drawn together—until Danielle learns Patrick had a hand in putting her sister in harm’s way. Her fragile trust is crushed, but Patrick is the only man who can help her stop the villain before everything they both love is destroyed. Faith, family…and their second chance at forever. 

Before treating us to an excerpt, Alison Reveals...

Who controls the story – you or your characters? Oh, this is a great question. I think it’s a little bit of both. Of course, I come up with the idea that sparks the story. I usually make note of a few plot points and maybe I have a vague ending in mind. But I find I get the greatest ideas when I actually sit down and write the story. The characters take over. Sometimes I have these moments where I think, “I so didn’t see that coming.” That’s an awesome feeling.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book(s)? I don’t usually write with this in mind. I just tell the best story I can and hope my readers truly enjoy it. If something in my book sticks with them long after they’ve finished it, that’s a bonus.

What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book? Each character has to have a goal, motivation, and conflict. The goal has to be a worthy one, the motivation has to be believable, and the conflict shouldn’t be easily overcome. And just when it seems the character is about to overcome an obstacle, another one has to be thrown in their path.
What do you most enjoy about writing romance? I enjoy showing the hero and heroine falling in love. I write romantic suspense, so it’s an interesting challenge to show this progression while keeping the villain at bay.

What do you like best and least about writing? I love the creativity and the flexibility. The latter is especially key because I have four children. My least favorite thing about writing is the rejection. It’s heart breaking. A writer can spend months, years even, on a manuscript only to have it rejected. I often joke that it’s not like we’re producing widgets. I don’t always have another one in my back pocket. It takes time to then get the next manuscript completed. I am working hard to become more prolific.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What would be your tips to overcome it? I don’t know if I suffer from writer’s block. I think for me, it’s more a case of procrastination. There are so many bright and shiny things on the internet to grab my attention. However, I find if I just shut the world out and open my Word file and start writing, the words come.

Do you have a writing routine? I don’t have a rigid routine, but I do try to make the most of the hours my kids are in school. I’m very fortunate to write full-time. So, I get my 4 kids off to 3 different schools, then I sit down at the computer. I usually check e-mail, social media, and blog posts. Then I get to the business of writing. I tend to leave my office multiple times a day to do laundry, volunteer at school, or start dinner. In my efforts to become more prolific, I’m trying to better guard my writing time. It’s a process.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future? I have another romantic suspense, Too Close to Home, coming out from Samhain Publishing on August 7, 2012. It’s thrilling suspense…heartfelt romance. (I had to get my tagline in there! J)

How do you like to spend your free time? I enjoy spending time with my family. It could be something as simple as watching a movie, taking a walk, or hanging out in the yard by the pool.
What would you most like to accomplish this year? As a new author, I would like to find more balance. I’d love to find a way to get all my writing-related work completed during the day so I can have my evenings free. So far, I haven’t figured out how to do this. I usually return to my computer after dinner.

Now for A Taste of Alison

End of opening scene of Random Acts by Alison Stone:He bobbled her body, freeing his hand to grab the handle of the driver’s door. It opened with a groan. He loosened his jaw and let out a quiet breath. A dog barked in the not-too-far distance. An incessant bark, as if the animal sensed the girl’s plight.
His stomach tightened. His actions took on a renewed urgency. Swallowing hard, he maneuvered the girl’s body behind the wheel—no small feat, despite her small frame. Her lifeless body had a will of its own. Her head dipped toward the passenger’s side, physics demanding her body follow suit. His jaw clamped in frustration. He grabbed her shirt sleeve and yanked her back into position. With a flat palm, he pushed the door closed, careful not to make a sound this time. He reached through the open window to adjust her body one last time. Fastening her seatbelt would be counterproductive. He shook his head. Silly girl had only herself to blame. Ducking his head, he reached into the vehicle and stretched across the steering wheel to put the car in neutral.

With his plan coming together, he relaxed his shoulders and strolled to the rear of the vehicle. Some things were meant to be savored. He lifted a dusty boot to the plastic bumper.

And pushed.

The tires gained traction. The vehicle rolled forward. Arms crossed, he watched the vehicle pick up speed as it raced down the steep hill, heading toward the crop of trees at the bend in the road.

Just as he had planned.
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Review links: Library Journal Reviews  Long and Short Reviews
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Thank you for having me! ~ Alison Stone                                             
Thank you for being here, Alison. Great to meet you!

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Alison will be awarding autographed bookmarks at every stop, as well as a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. She will also give away a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to host with the most comments.