Simply Surviving isn’t the Answer…It Can’t Be.

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Let’s face it. Until the reality of an actual apocalypse hits, not many of us will have a Go Bag. Nor will we have listened closely to all those “in the case of emergency” talks for various situations. And when it does happen, no one will like you if you make a crack about a zombie apocalypse not qualifying as an unforeseen circumstance.

We’ll probably react with fight or flight. If we survive the initial panic, we’ll have to go into survival mode. But surviving is such a loosely defined goal.

Key aspects of any sort of survival over time are finding things: water, shelter, food. Weapons are high on the list too. What else is a priority?

Find your loved ones? A bit more defined, and potentially in direct conflict with the first goal. Plus once you do find them, what do you do then to ensure you all last the coming days or weeks or months—hell—years until the human race recovers?

Hopefully, after the initial scramble is past, some of us will be able to think on a way to recover. Some of us might search for a cure or a way for the human race to continue living as a whole. Others might establish civilization again, albeit a defensible version of it. Regardless, life will go on and it’s the vision of the future that will spur us toward goals. They might start small, like surviving to see the sun rise. Then they’ll get bigger and more ambitious. Or at least, that’s my guess.

Carina_0414_9781426898174_SurviveToDawnI hope you’ll enjoy Survive to Dawn, the close of a trilogy in the London Undead series. Danny, the London werewolf pack’s healer, is searching for a way to deal with the zombie infestation and human witch, Deanna, might have the key to a cure.

It’s not just about surviving anymore.

About PJ Schnyder

Born and raised in the North East, PJ Schnyder spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every fantasy and sci-fi novel she could borrow from the local and school libraries. She scored fairly high in the verbal portion.

She was introduced to romance a decade later by her best friend at an anime convention in Seattle.

PJ recently received the Golden Leaf award for Bite Me, Book 1 of the London Undead series. She has also won honors from the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal RWA PRISM awards for her novella, Hunting Kat, Book 1 of the Triton Experiment series.

Play find the PJ around the Internetz:


Get in the Car! No Time to Explain! — R.L. Naquin

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Are we really on book four of the Monster Haven series already? We must be, because here I am, back for another visit. You look great! Are those new shoes?

Golem in My Glovebox is a little different from the previous three books in the series. This time, I took Zoey and her reaper boyfriend, Riley, on a cross-country road trip. I’m not gonna lie to you. The research for this book was way more fun than it needed to be. I kind of overdid it.

Call it procrastination. Call it self-indulgence. Myself, I like to believe I did it for my readers. I’ve always believed the more ridiculous the story and characters are, the more realistic I need to be in everything else.

Okay. No. It was totally self-indulgence.

I went to AAA for a map and hung it on my wall so I could draw all over it. I Googled the heck out of all the locations Zoey and Riley visited. By satellite, I examined the Cadillac Ranch in Texas where ten cars are buried nose down in the desert, tailfins to the sky, waiting for tourists to spray paint them. I watched YouTube videos of an abandoned theme park featuring dozens of cracked and peeling concrete dinosaurs towering above the cameraman. I spent hours finding new places to go on the Roadside America website.

And I convinced my husband to join me on a trip to see the exact center of the contiguous United States.

It was magnificent. No, that’s a lie. It was a strange little island of grass in the middle of nowhere. The only things to see were the plaque declaring the location’s authenticity, some picnic tables and barbecues under an overhang, and the tiniest chapel I’ve ever seen in my life.

Center Chapel - RL NAQUIN

Center Chapel: Tiny, adorable pews in a tiny, adorable shed.

I swear, I would have made the trip for the chapel alone. It wasn’t too much bigger than an outhouse, and it contained a podium and four one-person pews. As weird as my books can get, I cannot make this up. Take at look at the photo. I was standing outside when I took it.


Center of the U.S.: Perfect for an ice cream social or a secret hangout.

Center of the U.S.: Perfect for an ice cream social or a secret hangout.


The true center of the contiguous U.S. isn’t actually located on this little strip of tourist-friendly land. It’s off to the right in the middle of a farmer’s field. Of course, I use this fact in my books. This is where the mysterious government, the Board of Hidden Affairs, is located. And that’s why Zoey and Riley have to go there—and why I had to go, too.

For you. I went for you. Truth in storytelling is so important.

It doesn’t hurt that I also saw a public restroom built to look like a giant toilet, the Garden of Eden, and the World’s Biggest Ball of Twine along the way.

Seriously. I love road trips.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen on a road trip? Can I get directions?

Golem in My Glovebox is available now at Carina Press and wherever great ebooks are sold.


In her role as Aegis, Zoey Donovan has rescued and cared for hundreds of monsters and mythical creatures. Now humans are the ones in need of her help. Someone with a personal vendetta against the Board of Hidden Affairs has kidnapped all the other Aegises in the country—including Zoey’s mother.

With the Hidden government in shambles and a string of deadly clues to follow, Zoey and her reaper boyfriend set out on a cross-country chase to stop the kidnapper from killing the captured Aegises. Along the way, they pick up a miniature golem who’s on a quest to find his humanity…and may be the key to solving the grisly clues.

If Zoey succeeds in defeating this new evil, she’ll finally be reunited with the mother she lost over twenty years ago. But if she fails, she’ll become the final victim.

About R.L. Naquin:

Rachel writes stories that drop average people into magical situations filled with heart and quirky humor.

She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids and a crazy-catlady starter kit.

Come hang out with her: Facebook Twitter Website & Blog Newsletter


Let’s Hear It for the Girl – Rebecca Crowley

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There’s so much to love about professional athlete heroes. They’re rich, famous, and have jobs in which six-pack abs are practically a requirement. But they’re only half of the story.

Women’s sports changed forever when Title IX was signed into law in 1972. Suddenly high schools and colleges across America were required to invest just as much into girls’ athletics as boys’. In a world where cheerleading was often the only sport available to female students, the idea that women could excel in track and basketball and tennis was almost inconceivable. Forty years later, it’s almost inconceivable that anyone ever believed they couldn’t.

Many women’s sports still face challenges their men’s equivalents don’t. Prize money is unequal, premier broadcasting slots are elusive, and too often female athletes find their appearance to be a hotter topic than their athletic talent. A lot of female pro-athletes can’t just play their sport, they have to advocate for it too, and it takes a lot of strength to do both – a strength that the heroine of Love in Straight Sets, Regan Hunter, embodies to a tee.

To say professional tennis player Regan Hunter is high-strung is an understatement. She’s smart and resilient, but she’s also neurotic, tempestuous, and sometimes even a little irrational. She’s defied physical and socioeconomic odds to excel at her sport, and it takes a special kind of hero to see past her take-no-prisoners exterior to the flawed, tender woman beneath.

Do you have a favorite women’s sport? Are there any sports where you prefer the women’s game to the men’s?

CARINA_0414_-9781426898297_LoveInStraightSetsLove in Straight Sets

Regan Hunter came to tennis late in life, but she’s worked hard to become one of the world’s top players. Beating the odds has made her unstoppable on the court and neurotically controlling off of it. So when her manager hires a new coach, a has-been who left the sport after a scandal, Regan wants him gone, fast.

Ben Percy, a former Grand Slam winner, is well aware of Regan’s reputation for driving coaches away—usually screaming. But working with the notoriously mercurial Regan could be just the break he needs to take his career to the next level, and he’s never been one to scare easily. He must stick to only one rule: hands off Regan.

Keeping his distance from Regan is more difficult than Ben ever imagined. Behind her tough, sexy exterior is a woman he wants to get to know better. And Regan feels a connection with her patient, easy-on-the-eyes coach that’s hard to ignore. But with the biggest championship of all on the line, romance may be completely out of bounds…

Love in Straight Sets is available now from Carina Press * Amazon * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * Kobo

Rebecca Crowley writes contemporary romance with smart heroines and swoon-worthy heroes, and never tires of the happily-ever-after. Having pulled up her Kansas roots to live in New York City and London, Rebecca recently relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Find her on the web, at Twitter or on Goodreads.

Heel hook. Haymaker. Omaplata. — Michele Mannon

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Some of you might be nodding your heads, hip on the terms associated with the fastest growing sport in the country (and hot romance genre as well!). Others might be scratching your heads, wondering what on earth these terms could mean? Honestly, I had a few hearty laughs myself over them.

Welcome to the world of MMA.

In Tap Out, the second book in my MMA series Worth the Fight (Knock Out is book one), my goal was to make this ever-so-popular sport reader-friendly. Where references to fighting terms wouldn’t feel like first-year French. Where readers would instantly connect with my characters passions and hardships, yet be introduced to the world of MMA in an unintimidating, approachable way.


The heroine in Tap Out, fallen late night shock-jock Sophie Morelle, develops her own interpretations for moves within a sport foreign to her yet oh-so popular to everyone else. Each chapter begins with her humorous explanations.

I thought it would be fun to share some of the more interesting MMA terms along with Sophie Morelle’s laugh out loud interpretations.

I hope you find them amusing and discover that picking up a romance featuring a sport foreign to most readers doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. The opposite, I’m thinking.

Oh, and I invite you to “get your Sophie Morelle on!” If you’d like to share your own interpretation of these MMA terms, come and share them on the following link: Take the MMA Challenge

I’ll be posting the best—funniest, quirkiest, overall gems—everyday until April 24 on this blog as well as on my facebook page at Michele on Facebook. Please visit to see if your comments have been posted!

I hope you enjoy Tap Out!





A fighter trained in multiple disciplines that make up mixed martial arts

A fighter with thick boxer arms, a massive wrestler chest, formidable kickboxer legs, and an ego rivaling any professional athlete’s – According to Sophie Morelle


A submission move where the ankle is trapped in a hold, directly on the Achilles tendon which is then manipulated

When a fighter grabs his opponent by the ankles and holds on for dear life


When a fighter’s head ends up in an opponent’s armpit and the air is choked out of him/her

A move a fighter had best beware of, especially if his opponent is French


When pressure is applied to the heel and then the joints are manipulated

Typically employed by a female fighter, when she sticks a stiletto in her opponent’s eye


Use of the legs to lock an opponent’s shoulders

What a fighter says when his plate’s empty


A series of maneuvers with the goal of getting a fighter down onto the mat

When a fighter gives up and uses hair gel


A lethal, diving punch. If landed, it will likely change the outcome of a fight

A good ole fashioned punch, most often witnessed in barnyards


When a fighter taps the mat to signal his/her defeat

When a fighter taps the mat to signal his defeat

michelemannonheadshotAbout the author:  Michele Mannon is an avid fan of traveling, skinny cinnamon lattes, and gawking at shirtless men on television–jocks, MMA fighters, vampires, bikers alike.

With a love for different cultures and rich characters, she earned a degree in French, taught English in Japan, and worked in the NYC fashion industry. Now, she puts her experiences to pen, by creating sassy heroines and oh-so sexy alpha males, and throwing them into the situations they’d never dreamed of being caught in.

Stay connected: Website / Facebook / @MicheleMannon

Confessions of a Hockey Fanatic — Kate Willoughby

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Hi, I’m Kate Willoughby and I am a somewhat rabid fan of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team—I follow the players on Twitter and Instagram. I keep up with milestones their personal lives, like when Anze Kopitar got married or when Dustin Brown and his wife Nicole had their fourth child. I love to see pictures of their dogs or candid shots of their teammates sleeping on the plane or being silly. I eat stuff like that up like the calorie-free treat it is. (Note to self: next time you’re hungry, turn to Twitter.)

Willie BaileyRecently, I went to a player appearance where defensemen Slava Voynov, Willie Mitchell and the Kings mascot, Bailey, were signing autographs. Holy moly, I had so much fun, even though I was totally nervous and tongue-tied. Slava said hi, but that was about it. (I think he’s self-conscious about his English.) Willie was charming and has a devastating smile. Bailey doesn’t talk at all, but he’s adorable anyway.

In my book, On the Surface, Erin meets Tim (an NHL player) at a similar fan event, except she wants the autograph for a doctor she has a crush on. She has never even watched a hockey game, so she’s not quite as excited as I was. No. The excitement at her fan event was a fistfight in which Tim takes on a jerk who pushed Erin to the ground. (If that sounds interesting to you, pick up a copy of On the Surface at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Carina Press, or iBooks.)

So, my question to you is, have you ever had an encounter of the celebrity kind, even if it was over the interwebz? Were you still smiling about it days later? It’s okay to tell me. I won’t judge you. Leave me a comment and we can squee about it together! Oh, and if you want to keep in touch, I’m all over the place.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

CARINA_0414_9781426898235_OnTheSurfaceBook one of In the Zone

 NHL player Tim Hollander lost his temper one time and threw a water bottle at an abusive fan. After “Bottlegate,” he’s traded to the San Diego Barracudas, where he’ll need to keep the bad publicity to a minimum while proving he can still compete with the younger guys on the ice.

Erin Collier is a pediatric nurse who’s never seen a hockey game, but gets in line for Tim’s autograph at a PR event in hopes of impressing the doctor she has a crush on. When an obnoxious fan gets pushy toward Erin, Tim rushes to defend the pretty stranger, throwing a punch in the process.

Grateful for the rescue, Erin agrees to stand by Tim during the resulting press conference and host him at a hospital charity event. Their chemistry is palpable, and soon their lives are intertwined. But Erin doubts a hockey player is capable of anything resembling a real relationship. And if Tim can’t get her to see beyond what’s on the surface, they’ll never last longer than a single season…

Why Rugby is the Sexiest Sport in the World — Kat Latham

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Sculpted abs. Thighs like redwoods. Bums hard as flint. Rugby players’ bodies are the stuff of dreams. Need evidence? Here’s a video of the French national rugby team shooting their annual calendar. (Warning: not safe for work—unless your boss is cool with you watching videos of lots of nekkid man bums and one nekkid woman.)

Still with me? No? Okay, watch it again then come back to me.

That video helped inspire one of the scenes in my latest contemporary romance, Playing It Close, which features Liam Callaghan, the captain of my London Legends rugby team. It was one of my all-time favorite scenes to write, and I can tell you that the hours (and hours) of research I did watching videos like the one above nearly killed me.

But, honestly? Rugby bodies aren’t the real reason I think rugby’s the sexiest sport in the world.

If you’d told me when I was a kid that I would end up writing books about rugby players, I’d have said, “What’s rugby?” Like most Americans, I couldn’t have identified a rugby ball if someone booted it at my head.

But right after I graduated from college, I moved to Prague in the Czech Republic and met a British guy who loved rugby like I love cake. I started watching rugby as a way of spending more time with him, but the first match I saw was so exciting, such an adrenaline rush to someone used to the slower pace of American football, that I was hooked.

That Brit (now known as Smarty Pants to my blog readers) joined a local Czech rugby team, and most of my weekends became dominated by the sport. I watched him play, and I hung out at the rugby clubhouse with young men who thought nothing of dropping their towels and dancing while they sang “Father Abraham has many sons.” (Yeah, there are loads of weird rugby traditions.)

Smarty Pants and I couldn’t afford to get more than three TV channels on our black-and-white TV—and all of those channels were in Czech—so we went to sports bars to watch international rugby matches. Those bars had the most unbelievably disgusting bathrooms and were filled with cigarette smoke (have I mentioned I’m allergic to smoke?), so that should tell you how much I loved the sport and Smarty Pants.

As I fell in love with my British rugby player, I fell in love with rugby too. And that’s why I think it’s the sexiest sport in the world. It reminds me of falling head over heels for the perfect man for me.

Do you have any happy memories associated with a sport? What do you think is the sexiest sport in the world?


I’m running a giveaway for people who help me spread the word about Playing It Close. Some of these are things you can do without having read the book, but you can also earn extra points if you read the book and review it this week. Read the T&Cs to see what counts as a review. Hope you enjoy Playing It Close!
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CARINA_0414_9781426898211_PlayingItClosePlaying It Close

Book two of the London Legends

Where do you go to escape everything when you’re one of the most famous rugby players in the world? For Liam Callaghan, that place is a remote lodge on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. Perfect, except he doesn’t exactly want to be alone with his thoughts. Enter Tess Chambers, the ultimate distraction.

Still reeling from a professional disaster that’s made her all but unemployable, Tess understands the desire to move through life as somebody else. So when instantly recognizable Liam uses a fake name, she runs with it and creates a temporary new identity of her own.

Their time spent together in paradise is idyllic but brief—after one passionate night, Liam wakes up to find Tess gone. Returning to London, he’s shocked to learn she’s taken a job with his team’s new sponsor. As the Legends’ captain, he’ll have to not only figure out how to work with the one woman who ever left him wanting more, but also convince her that their feelings in the present mean more than any lies they’ve told in the past. | | Barnes & Noble | Carina PressGoogle Play | iBooks | Goodreads

Read Chapter One

About Kat Latham

Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s traveled to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to meet heroic people helping their communities survive disasters. She would love to hear from you!

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Detroit Sports City – Rhonda Shaw

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CARINA_9781426898204_TheAceThe Ace, book two of Men of the Show, features Jerry Smutton, the Ace of the Detroit Rockets and some people might wonder why I picked Detroit as the hometown for the team.  Detroiters are passionate about our city, even if we don’t live in it, but also our cars and most definitely our sports.  We root for our teams with a fervor and we don’t like outsiders knocking them.

Opening Day of the baseball season is a holiday in Detroit.  People play hooky from work, flocking down to the city, whether they have a ticket or not.  The party atmosphere around the park is unparalleled.  The Tigers are one of the best teams in baseball, but even when they were one of the worsts and lost one hundred nineteen games, fans still packed the stadium.  Detroiters know what it’s like to be down and stomped on, and so we support our own even in the worst of times.

Speaking of the worst, every Sunday during football season, tailgaters are everywhere.  Not only that, but it’s actually difficult to get tickets for most of the games.  As bad as the Lions can be (they do have some good moments), we love them.  They’re our football team and we’re behind them no matter what.

Detroit, or Hockeytown, is the home of the Red Wings.  The Wings, an original six in the NHL, is one of the elite teams in hockey especially after their back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in the mid-nineties.  They were not always so good before this, but we still filled Joe Louis Arena, refusing to give up hope.

The Pistons, unfortunately, are an anomaly as they are the one team that no longer plays in Detroit.  There’s still a devoted fan base, however, with supporters continuing to attend their games even with their recent struggles.  We’ll ride out the storm until the championship days are back and we have no doubt they will be.

Every game day fans fill the streets, sporting their jersey of choice, coming down to the city to spend the entire day.  If they’re not at the game, they’re watching on television at home or in a restaurant.  When the team is on the road, Detroit fans travel with them.  So why Detroit?  In good times or bad, Detroiters are forever loyal.

About the Book

Book two of Men of the Show

“Love ’em and leave ’em” has been real estate agent Karen Bently’s motto for as long as she can remember. She doesn’t need a man, except to make her toes curl. Or so she thought, until her longtime crush, Ace pitcher Jerry Smutton, sets his sights on her.


After signing one of the largest baseball contracts in history with the Detroit Rockets, Jerry enlists Karen to help him find the house of his dreams. Their connection is instant and electric, but neither of them is the relationship type. When Jerry proposes a friends-with-benefits arrangement, that suits Karen just fine.

Passionate sleepovers soon turn into long, romantic evenings… Still, Karen and Jerry refuse to acknowledge they’re a couple. Karen insists that she’s immune to Jerry’s heart-melting charm. Jerry’s not ready to settle down. Denial is the name of the game, until one pitch changes everything…

Meet Jerry’s teammate Chase Patton in The Changeup!

About the Author

After writing one mind-numbing technical document after another, Rhonda Shaw decided to combine her love of writing with her love of reading romance. Born in California, but transplanted to the Midwest, Rhonda is a warm weather girl to the bone. She works in the software development industry and was a lifelong dancer until her body told her it was time to come down off her toes.

For more information about Rhonda and her books, please visit her website.  Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook.

Eat Dessert First! — A.J. Larrieu

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You know that saying, “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first?” Well, when it comes to writing romance novels, I have a little secret: I write the sex scenes first.

Creme Brulee

For my first course, I would like crème brûlée.

It’s not because they’re the most fun (although they really are). It’s because sex scenes (good ones, anyway) are often major turning points in the plot of a romance. I think of them as turning points for the story, the moments when things change, often irrevocably, between the couple. After they fall into bed (or onto the kitchen table, or against the wall…), things start moving in a new direction, and there’s no turning around.

I’m not a “plotter”—I don’t plot my books in advance.  I get to know the characters for 10,000 words or so first, and it’s not until I understand them inside and out that I know what’s going to happen to them. As soon as I have an idea of what that plot will look like, I make sure my laptop screen has it’s privacy filter on, and I sit down and write the sex scenes. Once I know where those turning points are, I can see the twisted path between them, and the winding road to the happily-ever-after.

Here’s a snippet from the very first scene I wrote featuring the hero and heroine of Twisted Miracles. When I started writing it, I knew everything about Cass and Shane—their secret fears, their desires, their flaws, their complicated past together. What I didn’t know was how they were ever going to overcome the obstacles between them. By the time I finished writing the scene that begins below, Cass and Shane were farther apart than ever—but I knew how to get them closer. Which meant I had more scenes to write.

(To understand this scene, you need to know that Cass and Shane are telepaths and “converters,” meaning they can convert energy from one form to another using their minds.)

 I went out the back door and crossed the small patio to the abandoned exterior kitchen. It was leftover from the 1840s, and Lionel was using it as a storage shed. I leaned against its small chimney and watched as all the lights in the house went off. The building next door was dark, too. A cool front was moving in, and I wrapped my arms around myself against the first bite of fall as I walked to the fence, looking over it into the neighbors’ backyard. The grass there hadn’t been cut in a while.

“Aren’t you cold?”

I whipped my head around, but I already knew it was Shane. He was standing on the back porch. He’d changed into track pants and a dark T-shirt, and I noticed, not for the first time, that he’d bulked up in the years I’d been away. His feet were bare.

“It’s not so bad,” I said.

“Why’re you standing out here in the dark?”

“I’m not tired. Still wound up after the party, I guess.”

“Yeah, I figured.” He stepped off the porch and crossed the patio to stand next to me. The dim light cast shadows under his cheekbones, and I tried to force my attention to the brick wall, the patio table, anything but him.

“What do you mean by that?” I’d meant to sound casual, teasing, but the words came off defensive.

“Just that I know you don’t like being reminded of what you left behind.” He moved to face me, and I took a step back, rubbing my hands together in the chilly air.

“Here,” he said, taking my hands in his and drawing them forward. Soft warmth radiated from his palms, and my fingers tingled from the sudden heat.

“I can do that myself.”

 “Then why don’t you?” His deep voice echoed in my head as if it were the only sound in the universe. Fear and desire built in my chest, making me tremble.

“Get out of my head.” I tried to pull away, but he held on.

 “Why? What are you afraid of?”

The question brought up a barrage of memories—his lips against my shoulder, how I’d felt snapping the rope when we’d stolen the boat, the touch of his mind when we’d held hands out on the water. I shook my head as if I were chasing off flies.

Shane stepped closer, but I didn’t move away. “You can’t keep ignoring what you are.” The image of my trashed bedroom in San Francisco flashed through his mind. “Stay,” he said, but I wasn’t sure if he’d meant me to hear.

 “Get out,” I said again, this time mindspeaking, not able to fight the connection anymore. But I didn’t mean it, and when he turned my chin and put his mouth on mine, I let him.

Want to know what happens next? Buy your copy of Twisted Miracles from Carina Press and add it to your Goodreads:

Read the first two chapters on my website!


More about Twisted Miracles:

Cass Weatherfield’s powers come with a deadly price.

Cass knows it was her telekinetic gift that killed a college classmate five years back, even if no one else believes her. She’s lived in hiding from her fellow shadowminds ever since, plagued by guilt and suppressing her abilities with sedatives. Until the night her past walks back into her life in the form of sexy Shane Tanner, the ex-boyfriend who trained her…and the one she left without saying goodbye.

When Shane tells her that his twin sister, Mina—Cass’s childhood friend—is missing, Cass vows to help, which means returning to New Orleans to use her dangerous skills in the search. But finding Mina only leads to darker questions. As Cass and Shane race to learn who is targeting shadowminds, they find themselves drawn to each other, body and soul. Just as their powerful intimacy reignites, events take a terrifying turn, and Cass realizes that to save the people she loves, she must embrace the powers that ruined her life.


photo credit: Johnny Chauvin

photo credit: Johnny Chauvin

A.J. Larrieu grew up in small-town Louisiana, where she spent her summers working in her family’s bakery, exploring the swamps around her home and reading science fiction and fantasy novels under the covers. She attended Louisiana State University, where she majored in biochemistry and wrote bad poetry on the side. Despite pursuing a Ph.D. in biology, she couldn’t kick the writing habit, and she wrote her first novel in graduate school. It wasn’t very good, but she kept at it, and by the time she graduated, she had an addiction to writing sexy urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Her second manuscript, Twisted Miracles, was a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart® competition in 2012. The book kicks off her dark, romantic urban fantasy series, The Shadowminds, which follows a group of humans with psychic powers through New Orleans’ supernatural underworld. A.J. is currently a working biophysicist in San Francisco, where she lives with her family and too many books.

You can find out more about A.J. (and her books) on her website. She loves to hear from readers! Email her at, follow her on twitter at @ajlarrieu, or sign up for her newsletter to get exclusive excerpts and prizes.

My Name is Emma and I Like Politics — Emma Barry

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My name is Emma and I like politics.

Like with the fundraising and the flag waving and the filibustering and the voting and the endless running of campaign ads? Okay, not so much the campaign ads, but everything else, yes.

If you’re like most people, this is the part where you pat me gently on the hand and change the subject, but hear me out: at its best, politics can be a place where we work out our differences. Where we say, “This is who I am and this is what I believe. What about you?”

I am not naïve. I realize that politics isn’t only that. I’ve seen it up close. I know about the money and the corruption, the lying and the dishonesty. But underneath it all, politics makes me hopeful because it suggests when we recognize our common humanity and work together, we can achieve great things.

It’s a lot like love.

Every romance is, at some level, about two people finding common ground. Romance novels are about power imbalances, about individuals and society. Romance is about politics.

During the summer of 2012, during the heat of a very intense presidential campaign, I started writing a book about two political aides, a book that became Special Interests. I finished it during National Novel Writing Month in November of that year and pitched it on Twitter in April 2013. (Here’s that story.) And today, it’s available at fine retailers like Amazon, B&N, Carina, Kobo, and All Romance.

What do you say? Want a side of politics with your romance?

Carina_0414__9781426898143_SpecialInterestsCompared to love, politics is easy…

Union organizer Millie Frank’s world isn’t filled with cocktails and nightclubs…until she’s turned into an unwitting minor celebrity. As if being part of a hostage situation wasn’t traumatizing enough, now her face is splashed across the news. But Millie’s got fresher wounds to nurse—like being shot down by the arrogant bad boy she stupidly hit on.

Parker Beckett will do whatever it takes to close a deal for the senate majority leader, including selling out union labor. Charming and smart on the surface, he’s also cynical and uncommitted—an asset on the Hill. But something about Millie has stuck with him and when negotiations bring her to his office, Parker breaks his own rules and asks her out.

Parker can’t understand how Millie has retained her idealism in a place like D.C. Millie can’t believe what Parker’s willing to sacrifice in order to pass a budget. But as they navigate their political differences, what grows between them looks a lot like a relationship…and maybe even a little like love.



Emma Barry is a novelist and full-time mama and graduate student. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves hugs from her toddler twins, her husband’s cooking, her cat’s whiskers, and Earl Grey tea. You can reach her on Twitter: @AuthorEmmaBarry or on the web at

What makes a song timeless? — Delynn Royer

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My book, It Had to Be You, opens on Thanksgiving in Manhattan, 1924. It was the first year Macy’s sponsored its parade. It was also the year Isham Jones and Gus Kahn published a catchy tune called “It Had to Be You.”

Their ditty was a big hit, but, depending on the list you choose, it wasn’t the number one song that year. It had stiff competition. (Remember “The Charleston?”) Since then, “It Had to Be You” has emerged as one of the most enduring romantic songs of the twentieth century.

Ever wonder what makes a song timeless?

Is it a series of notes that causes the toe to tap? Brings a tear to the eye? Words that ring true to even the most jaded heart? That’s simplicity at its finest. And it stands the test of time.

Our favorite books and movies are no different.

When I started It Had To Be You, I wasn’t sure if it was a mystery or romance—as it turned out, it’s both—but I knew exactly what I wanted it to feel like. Timeless.

I wanted readers to step from our hectic, internet-saturated twenty-first century into the soft, sepia-toned set of a classic movie. You know the kind… The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon, His Girl Friday.

I had the place—1920s Manhattan—and two leads made to order. One bright girl reporter who could give Lois Lane a run for her money and one homicide detective with a seen-it-all, Philip Marlowe kind of attitude. Toss in a murdered gangster and a sultry ex-fiancée, and I was primed. A little mystery, a dash of noir, snappy dialogue and a splash of romance…

Some things never get old.

What’s your favorite film, song or book that has stood the test of time?

ithadtobeyouIt Had to Be You

New York City, 1924
Determined to pursue her dream of becoming a crime reporter, heiress Trixie Frank believes she’s off to a running start when she lands a job at the most successful tabloid in Manhattan. Unfortunately, her high hopes fade fast when she’s assigned to the rewrite desk.

Sean Costigan is a demoted homicide detective on the commissioner’s blacklist. The last thing he needs complicating his life is a perky debutante with delusions of becoming the next great American journalist. Too bad she happens to hold one of the keys to solving his latest case, the Central Park murder of a notorious gangster. The other key? Sean’s childhood sweetheart, the victim’s widow, who has gone missing.

Sean soon has more trouble with dames than any good man deserves. But that’s the least of his worries. When he suspects deadly corruption within his own department, it’s not just his and Trixie’s careers that depend on finding the killer. It’s their lives.

Find It Had to Be You at Carina Press.

Delynn Royer writes historical fiction for the light of heart. Aside from the research that inspires her novels, she enjoys classic movies and yoga. Stop by her blog or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.