A SMART 2013

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The New Year is all about starting fresh, making anew. For many of us its about making goals for the upcoming year.  Resolutions, of a sort. I am a firm believer in making goals. I make yearly goals, monthly goals and sometimes daily goals, especially if I’m not getting my monthly goals done.  Over the years I’ve set goals and failed to reach them, and I wondered why.  I realized I wasn’t setting proper goals. I was actually writing down wishes, or dreams, not goals.  Things like, making the USA Today list.  Well, that’s something I don’t have control over, and is not something I can measure.  So now I use this simple 5 step method to make my goals:

SMART

SPECIFIC – what?

MEASUREABLE – how much or how many?

ACTION ORIENTED – what’s the result?

REALISITIC AND RELEVANT – is this something that makes sense?

TIME BASED – by when?

So now I can write down my goals with confidence and know that at least they make some kind of sense. *side note* I still have make USA Today bestseller list, but it is now in brackets. :)

And to get into the spirit of the New Year, here are Jovan and Skylar’s (from my book League of Illusion: Legacy) goals for the new year:

legacy
Jovan Davenport’s Goals:

  1. Perfect the invisibility spell
  2. Avoid Lord Soren at all costs
  3. Make more amends to Rhys
  4. Learn how to pick any lock ever made
  5. Take Skylar on an airship cruise to Africa

 

Skylar Vanguard’s Goals:

  1. Learn the art of necromancy
  2. Get even better with a bo staff
  3. Learn to make curare
  4. Learn how to skrye in fire
  5. Persuade Jovan to go on an airship cruise to Africa

Relaxing with a good book…

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The Carina Press authors are “Getting in Character”!

What’s your character’s favorite way to unwind and relieve stress?

Seth van Licht is a Nephilim, an angel-born with wings of light who fights evil creatures called Shemyaza, angel-born who have turned to the dark side and feed off of humanity. And that’s only one of his jobs: he’s also an architect who designs custom homes. To unwind after one of those pesky Shem explode all over him (or after a client asks him to move that stupid faucet for the umpteenth time, only to put it back right where it started), Seth likes to play board games and toss back beers with his friends. Most recently, he enjoys watching Abby do yoga. Or cook. Or do anything at all, really.

 

Abby Marcheson, Seth’s SO, is a hairdresser with a tangled past (no pun….okay, yeah. Pun intended. It’s just how I roll.) Before the incident that changed her life forever she liked to hang with friends and go dancing. Nowadays Abby is more of a homebody who enjoys cooking (especially Mexican food) and having quiet lunches with the women she trusts most in the world. She does yoga to keep her mind clear, although recently it feels more like foreplay…

 

All for You by Dana Marie Bell is available now!

 

What’s your favorite way to unwind? Tell us in the comments!

New Year’s Resolutions? Not this time…

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When I think about all the sugar and junk and deliciously bad food I’ve eaten over the last few days, my first instinct is to cringe. To have a wave of massive guilt and say, “At least January 1 is coming, so I can start all over.”

Yes, I am totally that person. The one addicted to doing new personal resolutions each year. Perhaps this could be the year I’d learn to speak German, or lose that extra weight, or read 5000 books, or whatever. Every year, for as long as I can remember, I’ve sat down with my blank piece of paper on December 31, excited about the prospect of how I was going to change myself. Better myself.

I’m not going to do that this year.

Instead, I’m going to try a different strategy. This year I’m going to not write a list of how I can make myself “better”–less stressed, less fat, more educated, more efficient, blah blah blah. This year, I’m gonna focus on all the awesome things I already have and simply being happy with who I am right now.

Loving my job. My body. My family. My life. Stop worrying so much about trying to achieve these goals that will supposedly push me to the “next level” and make my life complete.

My life IS complete. And I should be happy about it. Appreciate it.

What about you? Are you a person who loves making personal resolutions? Or do you prefer not sweating them?

Guilty Pleasures

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The Carina Press authors are “Getting in Character”!

 

What’s your character’s favorite guilty-pleasure snack?

 

In Hollywood, where gaining even a pound is a mortal sin, Kayla Maxwell, an actress on A New Dawn, the number one soap opera in the country, doesn’t obsess about her weight. Kayla likes to eat and is especially fond of dessert. Her favorite guilty pleasure snack is Oreo cookies. As a child, she loved to twist off the top of the cookie, eat the cream center and then put the cookie back together and dunk it in milk. Oreos are a staple in Kayla’s Victorian House cookie jar and she often carries a snack pack in her purse…in case she needs a cookie fix.

Love in the Afternoon by Alison Packard is available now!

 

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

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If you believe the theories, tomorrow, December 21, 2012, is the Mayan Armageddon (and not the good one with Aerosmith tunes and Ben Affleck). Way to ruin my birthday, Mesoamerican Long Count calendar!

Personally, though, I think we’ll all be here come December 22. We better, as I have theater tickets for Saturday and a hard time pronouncing the word “apocalypse.” While I’m not prepared for end times in the stockpile a bunker way, I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two about surviving in a post-apocalyptic world from reading many a book set in the aftermath of doomsday.

But what if “your” world ceased to exist before you were ever born? This question provides the backdrop for Eleri Stone’s Twilight of the Gods series. Although those around them are living in Earth as we know it, there are people for whom the apocalypse has long been a reality. In Demon Crossings, readers were introduced to the denizens of Ragnarok, Iowa, folks who can trace more than bloodlines to mythological times. They’re the descendants of the ancient Norse gods, a people who found refuge on Earth when their own world, Asgard, was destroyed.

What little magic remains in Asgard leaks through fault lines between worlds…but so do demon threats. Imagine being charged with protecting the lives of your own people as well as those of the unsuspecting humans around you. It’s a duty and a burden shouldered by the heroes and heroines who, while never having experienced the old way of life, are stilled ruled by it. But let’s face it, if I was starting over after the destruction of this world, Aiden and his hunt are people I’d want guarding my back!

That tension between duty and the old clan ways and modern, earthly desires is one of the things that make this series so fun to edit—and read. And a conflict that takes center stage in book two, coming in June 2013. Hopefully you’re all still around to enjoy it!

What traditions/customs from our current culture would you want to see make it through to a post-apocalyptic world? What fictional character would you want at your side if you had to go into survival mode?

Love in the Afternoon

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In honor of the release of my debut novel, Love in the Afternoon, I’d like to pay homage to a once thriving television genre that is, sadly, dying a slow death.

Soap operas started on radio, then transitioned to television in the early 1950’s.  The first televised daytime drama was The Guiding Light which, unfortunately, was cancelled in 2009 after a seventy-two year run. At one time there were as many as nineteen soaps broadcast on the three major television networks in the United States. Today there are only four daytime dramas remaining on network television.

I began watching soaps when I was very young. I wasn’t even in school yet, but I became intrigued by the campy goings-on in Collinsport each day when my mother watched Dark Shadows. (What can I say? I was a weird kid).  I didn’t watch soaps again until I was in high school.  One Life to Live and General Hospital were my favorites, although over the years I also tuned into Guiding Light and As the World Turns.

What I love about soap operas is the same thing I love in the books I read—romance. Over the years, I’ve fangurled a lot of soap couples who have fallen in love, then out of love, married other people, and then found each other again. Soap couples don’t stay happy for very long, but if there’s one thing you can count on—if you wait long enough, they’ll eventually get back together.

Below is the short list of my favorite couples:

Todd Manning and Blair Cramer – One Live to Live (now appearing on General Hospital): One fateful August night at Rodi’s Tavern, Llanview’s baddest boy met Llanview’s beautiful trouble-making slut and their lives were changed forever. The chemistry was immediate, but it took a while for these two emotionally damaged people to admit they loved each other.

Jason Morgan and Sam McCall – General Hospital:  The hit man and the con woman didn’t like each other much, but he took her in when she was pregnant with another man’s child and offered to raise the baby as his own. Of course, they fell in love and planned to marry. After a horrendous break-up (aka, the summer of sleaze) they got back together, married and were torn apart again after being terrorized by serial killer Franco during their honeymoon. Just as they reunited and were beginning a new life with their son, Jason was presumed dead, but is he really? Only time will tell.

Jack Snyder and Carly Tenney – As the World Turns:  Sparks flew when Oakdale’s scheming bad girl met one of Oakdale’s finest police officers. Their romance had more ups and downs than the stock market, but when the show ended, Carly and her G-Man had remarried and were expecting another baby.

Robert Scorpio and Holly Sutton – General Hospital:  The most sophisticated soap opera couple ever. Robert married former con artist Holly to keep her from being deported to England. Holly thought the man she loved was dead, but soon found that Robert Scorpio was the love of her life. Oh, and they lived in a really cool apartment that included a secret spy room and a sauna!

Okay, that was my list. I’d love to hear yours.

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Love in the Afternoon is on sale now!

Kayla Maxwell is eager to shed her slasher-flick bimbo image—and she plans to do just that in her new role on daytime’s most popular soap. With a chance to showcase her dramatic range, Kayla will be able to wash away the lingering betrayal and public humiliation left by her controlling, philandering ex-boyfriend.

Sean Barrett, the son of an influential, award-winning actor, is the hottest soap star in the country. Paired on-screen with the talented and beautiful Kayla Maxwell, Sean is determined to keep her at arm’s length, burned before by fame-seeking actresses who had no qualms about using him to get to his famous father.

But when Kayla receives threatening letters, her past as a scream queen seems to be coming back to haunt her. Succumbing to an attraction neither one of them can deny, Sean and Kayla must face down her stalker and their own personal demons before trusting what they both feel—a love that lasts long after the cameras stop rolling.

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Buy Love in the Afternoon at:

Carina Press   Amazon   B&N

Alison Packard fell in love with reading at a very early age. In her early teens, she discovered Harlequin Presents romance novels at the library and read them voraciously. What she liked most about them? The exotic locales and happy endings, of course!  You can find Alison on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, or visit her website for more information.

What’s Your Favorite Book?

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The Carina Press authors are “Getting in Character”!

 

 

What’s your character’s favorite book?

Leah Elliott is an impecunious nobody in Regency England, Hal Forster is Marquess of Denby. Their paths should never cross but even if they do they shouldn’t have anything in common. Except that they do meet and have both read the erotic novel, Fanny Hill. When Leah tells Hal she never intends to marry but is curious about the mechanics of physical love, he arranges for them to reenact scenes from the book, just to give her an idea. Hal thinks that will be perfectly safe, because he’d never take a young girl’s virginity, would he?

Compromising the Marquess by Wendy Soliman is available now!

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What’s your favorite book? Tell us in the comments!

Amy’s Favorite “Geeky” Books in Honour of Hobbit Week

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Confession: I will not be at work tomorrow because I will be seeing the first showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. In fact, I’ve had the day off booked since April. And I’m seeing it again on Sunday.

I have absolutely no problem sharing the fact that I am a geek. Comic Con? Been there, done that. Geek-themed wedding on Star Wars day? That’s what I’ll be doing on May 4, 2013. Love of books that share my “nerdish leanings”, to quote Lisa Simpson? Heck yeah!

In honour of my Hobbit-filled weekend, here are a couple of my favorite geekish books from Carina Press:

Defying Convention by Abby Niles

Journalist Emma Portland would do anything to save her career, even go undercover at the 31st Annual GalaxyCon in search of a story. Emma thinks she’s hit pay dirt when she meets Luke Evans, a bestselling sci-fi author whose readers have turned against him. She has no problem getting close to the sexy writer to get the scoop on his downfall. Except the more time she spends with Luke, the more she has a different kind of exposé in mind…

Luke can’t believe he’s found the one woman at GalaxyCon who hasn’t heard of him and can look that hot in a bikini. For the first time he’s opening up about himself…and the secret that torpedoed his writing career. Too bad his former fans are out for blood—and out to sabotage his budding relationship with Emma.

But amidst rival reporters, eager fanboys and overzealous role-players, it’s Emma’s secret that may put the brakes on their sizzling attraction for good…

True fact: When this came up for acquisition, nobody got a chance to volunteer to read it. Angela said, “So Amy, you’ll be reading this?” right away. And read I did!

No One Lives Twice by Julie Moffett

I’m Lexi Carmichael, geek extraordinaire. I spend my days stopping computer hackers at the National Security Agency. My nights? Those I spend avoiding my mother and eating cereal for dinner. Even though I work for a top-secret agency, I’ve never been in an exciting car chase, sipped a stirred (not shaken) martini, or shot a poison dart from an umbrella.

Until today, that is, when two gun-toting thugs popped up in my life and my best friend disappeared. So, I’ve enlisted the help of the Zimmerman twins–the reclusive architects of America’s most sensitive electronic networks–to help me navigate a bewildering maze of leads to find her.

Along the way, my path collides with a sexy government agent and a rich, handsome lawyer, both of whom seem to have the hots for me. Hacking, espionage, sexy spy-men–it’s a geek girl’s dream come true. If it weren’t for those gun-toting thugs…

Gentlemen Prefer Nerds by Joan Kilby

Self-professed nerd Maddie Maloney is an expert on jewels. Jewel thieves are another matter entirely! So when a mysterious Englishman warns her that a thief known as The Chameleon is after the rare pink diamond on display in her aunt’s shop, she tells herself it’s just a joke. Even if she can’t get Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome out of her mind…

But Fabian Montgomery doesn’t give up easily. He’s everywhere she goes, convinced the thief will strike. And when the diamond does go missing–and Maddie is suspected of stealing it–he whisks her away from the police and together they pursue The Chameleon.

Fabian plunges her into a glamorous world far from her humble workshop and transforms geeky Maddie into a sophisticated siren capable of espionage. Her mission: to seduce The Chameleon and steal back the diamond.

But Fabian isn’t telling her everything–like who he works for, and why he’s so interested in The Chameleon…

 

Are you geeky and proud? Anyone else seeing The Hobbit opening weekend?

Compromising the Marquess

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Entry from Miss Leah Elliott’s Diary – April 18th, 1815

I went to Forster Hall today with a deputation of ladies from the village. Mrs. Wilkinson was keen to ask the marquess about questionable activities at the Boar’s Head. I simply wished to meet the marquess. I’ve heard much about him since moving to the district. If there’s any gossip to interest Mr. Morris’s readers, I feel persuaded it will involve the marquess in some way.

Botheration, the marquess wasn’t at home. We were received by one of his brothers, Lord Gabriel, who was charming but claimed to know nothing about the activities at the Boar’s Head.

Actually, I believe the marquess was at the Hall. When we left I stepped back to allow the other ladies to precede me into Mrs. Wilkinson’s old carriage. As I waited my turn, I happened to glance back at the house and saw a very tall blond man standing at the window, watching us. He wore his hair in a queue and I felt a very strange sensation trickle through me when our eyes locked. It had to have been the marquess and the fact that he chose not to receive us ignited my suspicions. I hadn’t previously taken Mrs. Wilkinson’s concerns about the Boar’s Head seriously. Now I’m starting to wonder. Perhaps Leon will put in an appearance at the inn tomorrow evening and see for himself.

CompromisingtheMarquess

 

April 19th, 1815

I’m disguised as Leon. Jonny and I are on our way to the Boar’s Head. We have Pickle with us. He’s not much of a guard dog but his presence gives me comfort.

Something’s going on. My pulse quickens as we observe a crowd of men—some of them clearly gentlemen—congregated into the space behind the inn. My goodness, it’s a bare knuckle fight. The sheer barbarity of the spectacle is repulsive, and yet strangely thrilling. Jonny is totally transfixed. To my shame, so too am I. I find that muscled torsos, at least when their owners are literally fighting fit, to be strangely compelling. Perhaps I’ll write something about the experience for the paper—give a female’s point of view without making it too apparent that it’s actually written by a woman. Mr. Morris might find that sufficiently different to appeal.

Interesting though it might be, I find it difficult to understand what all this has to do with the marquess. Surely he won’t concern himself with something so provincial? The fight ends as quickly as it started. Against all odds, the smaller man won. I want to cheer but restrain myself for fear of drawing unnecessary attention to my presence.

The crowd disperses and I have a clear view of the man standing across from me. I gasp when I notice how tall he is. He’s wearing well-cut clothes, has his blond hair tied back in a queue, and he’s looking directly at me.

Hal Forster, Marquess of Denby, shoots me an ironic smile and steps towards me as though he too is moving in for the kill.

The Forsters Book 1 / Compromising the Marquess by Wendy Soliman

A sparkling Regency in which a marquess finds his destiny in an impecunious siren with a beautiful voice and scorching pen.

Find out more about me and my books on my website: www.wendysoliman.com I’m on Facebook as Wendy
Soliman – Author. Or follow me on Twitter @Wendyswriter.

Compromising the Marquess now available from Carina Press
Amazon.com http://amzn.to/TZgDHT
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/QllKUf

Thanks for stopping by. If you decide to read Compromising the Marquess I’d love to know what you think of it.

Wendy

More Presents…More Giveaways!

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The Carina Press authors are “Getting in Character!”

 

This week we’re doing something a little different for our Getting in Character post. After you read all about the characters from Red Hot Holiday and Romancing the Holiday  below, comment to enter to win a print copy! We will be giving away one copy of each book. If you have a preference, please indicate it in your comment.

What holiday gift would your character love to receive?

Caitlin McIntyre, more than anything in the world, would ask Santa for her best friend Kyle to be delivered to her bed, wrapped in nothing more than a festive bow. She’d never risk making that Christmas wish, though, because it would devestate her to reveal that longing and discover he didn’t feel the same way. Kyle Lockhart, being both clueless and a stereotypical man, would wish for the latest and greatest techno gadget or gaming system. But chances are good he’ll get more than he wished for this year in Ask Her At Christmas.

Ask Her At Christmas by Christi Barth is a part of our Romancing the Holiday collection. It is also available for purchase separately.

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Tori Lewis from my book The Best Thing loves hair accessories. Her wild red hair is always out of control, so she loves ponytail holders and hair clips and barrettes as gifts. And new boots–the woman loves sexy, stiletto boots. After all, what better way to drive Brody crazy than accentuating her long legs while she’s working away in the office, right? A new pair of tight skinny jeans couldn’t hurt the cause, either. Brody Kent, on the other hand, wants nothing more than a getaway vacation with Tori, away from his nosy, interfering brothers and his well meaning but alway in his business family. After all, he’s fallen in love and he wants to get his woman alone. The best way to do that is to get out of town, where everyone knows their business and is always offering advice. He thinks somewhere warm and tropical would be a great idea.

The Best Thing by Jaci Burton is a part of our Romancing the Holiday collection. It is also available for purchase separately.

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Evan Murphy is in love with a guy whose disorganization and procrastination would drive him nuts if his boyfriend wasn’t so adorably sheepish about it. But sometimes he wonders if they’re speaking the same language. It’s just easier for Evan to take the responsibility of getting it right rather than drag Jonah along. They maybe gay but they’re still guys and communication isn’t exactly priority one.

What holiday gift Evan would most like to receive is something that shows Jonah knows and understands Evan and paid attention to the fact that he left the Brookstone catalog open with the RFID-blocking wallet circled everyplace he could think of that Jonah would see. Or Jonah could really surprise Evan and be on time for something.

Wish List by K. A. Mitchell is a part of our Red Hot Holiday collection. It is also available for purchase separately.

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What holiday gift would Ryan love to receive? Since Ryan has spent so many years separated from Meg, he wants more than just the occasional week with Meg, he wants her with his whole family not just for Christmas but forever. Oh, and he’d like a new anvil.

I Need You for Christmas by Leah Braemel is a part of our Red Hot Holiday collection. It is also available for purchase separately.

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Want to win a print copy of  Romancing the Holiday or Red Hot Holiday? To enter, leave a comment here by December 07 at 11:59pm EST. Winners will be selected by random number draw from all eligible comments and announced on December 10. Open to residents of the United States and Canada only. For full official rules, click here.

Good luck, and please remember to indicate in your comment which book you would prefer!