Are We Having Fun Yet?

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By Jean Harrington, author of THE DESIGN IS MURDER

When you decide you want to write something that’s happy and light-hearted and fun, your mind doesn’t necessarily turn to murder . . . or does it?  Call me wacky, but in my case, that is what happened.  Well, let me qualify that.  In my Murders by Design Mystery Series, a murder occurs—sometimes more than one—in each of the five books.  But heroine Deva Dunne takes these deaths seriously and works her tail off to solve every single one.  In her world—which happens to be subtropical Naples, Florida, justice prevails and good trumps evil.

Are we having fun yet?  No.  The fun comes in as Deva, with her quick wit and no-nonsense approach to life, tackles the bad guys (who are sometimes gals).

Number 5 in the series is The Design Is Murder.


In this story, Deva has some help from Charlotte, a five pound Maltese puppy.  (BTW, the operating principle here is: Small car, big key; small dog, big name.)  A little spirited ball of energy, Charlotte is the pampered darling of one of Deva’s prime clients.  She’s the proud owner of a collection of couture leashes, has a favorite veterinarian and a chiropractor and adores, absolutely adores, her daily cocktail dog walks.  Best of all, she plays a major role in nailing the killer, and how many five pound dogs can say that?

So Charlotte is fun, and so is Deva’s attitude.  Widowed a few years earlier, in the first book in the series, she flees to Naples to rebuild her life and start her own interior design business.  Doing so was very difficult, but her basic optimism prevailed, and over the series, the sunshine and flowers and sea breezes—plus studly Detective Victor Rossi–helped her laugh and love again.

With Rossi, Deva lives a life of crime—busting–though he keeps telling her to stay out of his cases, let the police do their work.  But Deva can’t ignore telling details.  They keep cropping up, in her design projects and in the crimes she’s forever stumbling across, including those in her latest caper,  The Design Is Murder.

Jean Harrington is the author of the tongue-in-cheek, Naples-set Murders by Design Mystery Series.  The books feature an interior designer as amateur sleuth with a studly, tough-talking detective as her soft-at-heart love interest.  A former English professor at Becker College in Worcester, Mass, Jean now lives in Florida and writes for the exploding field of electronic publishing.  She’s awed by its impact on readers and writers alike.  Excerpts of this witty series are posted at

In The Design Is Murder, Deva employs a graphologist, or handwriting analyst, to narrow the suspect list.  Do you believe graphology is a valid tool to use in helping to reveal a murderer?

Interior designer Deva Dunne should be focusing her attention on buying a new home with Lt. Victor Rossi. But in typical Deva-style, she’s got her mind on everyone else’s abodes. Keeping her busy are her two newest clients, who have a lot in common. They both live on Whiskey Lane, and both were involved with the same woman. Coincidence or competition?

James Stahlman believes Stew Hawkins moved into the house across the street to terrorize him after he became engaged to Kay, Stew’s ex-wife. But Stew is over it. He’s remarried–and to someone much younger. When both women are found “accidentally” dead weeks apart, Deva thinks there’s something afoot on Whiskey Lane. Coincidence or murder?

Deva can’t stay away…as much as her protective fiancé would like her to. And it’s becoming clear that someone thinks Deva’s seen too much. With the list of suspects growing, and Deva and Rossi that much closer to becoming homeless–really, where are they going to live?–she’ll have to sift through the clues herself, or there’ll be no happily ever after.

Romantic Suspense Sale!

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The exciting genre of Romantic Suspense is all about combining some mystery with the romance genre we all know and love. From November 20–26, fill your eReader with eight romantic suspense titles for just 99¢ each!


Lauren Dare is in deadly danger. But anyone wishing her harm will have to pass through Jacko Morton, and Jacko is a hard man to kill.


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She trusted him with her secrets and he betrayed her. Can she trust him with her life?


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DEADLY DESCENT by Kaylea Cross

They never expected to find love in a war zone. Now Cam will risk everything to protect the woman he loves, never realizing that a trap is set for him….


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DEADLY BONDS by Anne Marie Becker

A dedicated profiler. An unrequited love. A terrifying killer.

Deadly Bonds final

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MAN LAW by Adrienne Giordano

Some women are worth breaking the man laws for…


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CLOAKED IN DANGER by Jeannie Ruesch

Aria Whitney will go to any lengths to find her missing father, even if it costs her life.  The Earl of Merewood will go to any lengths to keep his family secrets, even if it costs his freedom.


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FIRST TO BURN by Anna Richland

 An immortal soldier must save the army doctor who knows his secrets.



40 SOULS TO KEEP by Libby Drew

40 Souls to Keep

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Do you have a favorite Romantic Suspense book? Let us know in the comments section, and don’t forget to visit Carina Press for more from this genre.

Excerpt: Blade on the Hunt

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By Lauren Dane, author of BLADE ON THE HUNT

The third book of Lauren Dane’s Goddess series is available now! Today she shares an exclusive look at her latest release.

CARINA_1114_9781426898983_BladeOnTheHunt“When you awaken, you will have to find her yourself. Or she will find you.”

These were the words given to Rowan Summerwaite by the Goddess as Rowan lay clinging to life. Broken–but not defeated–by the ancient Vampire Enyo.

After weeks of mandatory down time, a recharged and vengeance-fueled Rowan heads out from her father’s Keep, leading a team of some of the most terrifying beings on earth with one goal in mind–track and eliminate the Vampire who attacked her.

But as the team moves across Europe and is hit with wave after wave of attacks, the tensions between Clive Stewart–the haughty, stylish Scion of North America whom Rowan grew even closer to during her recovery–and a rival Vampire ramp up. Befuddled, confused, flattered and annoyed, Rowan’s the woman in the middle. She’s not used to being claimed in a way that’s not about how strong her sword arm is or who raised her. Clive Stewart is everything she shouldn’t want in a man–he’s bossy, he’s a Vampire, and he considers her his–but she’s past denying how it makes her feel that he fights for her the way he does. She’s past denying she’s in love.

In contrast to the uneven footing falling in love has given her, Rowan is utterly certain she will locate her quarry. She’s stronger and more powerful than she’s ever been after the tests and bloody lessons of the last years. Her connection with the Goddess is seamless and the light of her mission burns from within. And she’ll need all the help she can get because it’s not very long before Rowan and her team realize the threat is far greater than one crazy old Vampire. There’s a war brewing and Rowan will fight it to the death. It’s what she was born to do.

BLADE ON THE HUNT IS available from Carina Press and online retailers!


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Rowan had suggested the Vampires fly ahead and she and David would follow by private plane.

Clive had just looked at her, appalled by how easily she put herself out front to attract trouble every time.

Recht had only given her a face, shaking his head.

“I think it would be a wise use of time if we worked.” Clive simply walked onto the waiting plane instead of arguing with her. He wasn’t going to Prague any other way but with her on this plane and she needed to understand that.

He saw the lines around her eyes. Not wrinkles, but worry and upset. She’d taken tea with her father and he knew a lot of that worry had to do with The First. But he wanted to fix it and knew she wouldn’t allow it if she caught him at it.

Which was fine. Because she might be great with a sword, but he’d been alive far longer and knew a few things about manipulation. He’d do all he could and that was that.

David put an accordion file in front of her, along with a cup of coffee and backed off, sitting nearby but giving her space.

Clive didn’t care about that. Space would allow her to keep a wall up. He didn’t mind her walling the world out as long as he wasn’t included. So he sat next to her and when she moved just enough to touch her thigh to his, he was glad he had.

They took off quickly and would be in Prague in less than two hours, but of course Rowan began to look over the map again.

The Five had come up with three possible Enyo sightings but they’d triangulated and they all had a strong feeling it was Prague.

Clive would come back with her to Prague after all this was handled. He loved the cobblestone streets, the bridges. Few cities loved art as much as Prague. They could stroll the city at night, just the two of them in a city teeming with magic.

He had places to show her. Restaurants he knew she’d enjoy. He’d coax her into art galleries under the pretext that he was looking for something and buy a present for her instead.

Smiling, he sat back and readied himself for landing.

Once deplaned, she heaved a sigh when she caught sight of the sleek limos waiting for them on the tarmac.

“Subtle. You really think with such long lives you guys would understand subtle.”

“There’s no need to ride in a jalopy. We’re far from the only ones who will be picked up by private car at an airfield.” Clive indicated she get in. First because he was a gentleman, second because he got a great look at her arse, and third because David had already slid inside, which meant she’d be effectively trapped between them and unable to escape easily in a fit of pique.

Clive sort of liked her fits of pique. Especially when they weren’t aimed at him. But he wanted to get settled at this house the Nation had arranged and then she could be grumpy and he could tempt her away from a bad mood with sex.

They glided down narrow streets, through a series of gates, climbing until they reached a final set of wrought iron gates with the Nation’s crest worked into the design where they met. The two limousines paused, waiting to be admitted.

Rowan’s sigh was so fantastically laden with unspoken complaint and criticism he was truly impressed.

“I’m surprised there aren’t any neon bits or inlaid gems. You guys are classy that way,” she muttered.

David handed her a little wrapped square. “Caramel chocolate. Your favorite.”

She unwrapped it and popped it into her mouth. “Is this your way of keeping me in a non-killing mood, David?”

Clive didn’t say a word as her assistant blushed but wisely also said nothing.

“I sure hope there’s enough room for us all,” Rowan said—though less viciously—as they were cleared and the gates slid open.

“Your apartment is at least six thousand square feet. Hypocrite.” Clive winked at her.

“So? You can’t even compare this. Moreover, I do it better. And when Vampires come to call, I need the room for their giant egos.”

“I figured you liked the giant other things,” he said in her ear as he walked past her as they entered the home.

Servants quietly moved through the space, which was spotless and clearly ready for guests.

“I’m going to have to take a closer look at your friends, Scion. They’re obviously a bad influence on you.” One corner of Rowan’s mouth tipped up.

He approved of her turn of emotion.

Until she rounded on a Vampire who’d been stalking David. She shoved him, hard and he stumbled away. “You, back off or I’ll rip your head off and shove it up your ass.”

“I’d like to see you try,” this obviously stupid Vampire tossed back at her.

Before Warren could complete three words of warning to his underling, Rowan had already punched him so hard—and unexpectedly for that Vampire—he wiped blood from his lip, blinking his confusion.

But the punch hadn’t made him any wiser. The Vampire growled at Rowan, starting in her direction. “You think you’re tough?”

“I think you’re stupid.” Rowan squared her shoulders and adjusted her stance. “I know I’m tough.” She grinned and he came at her, as she’d planned.

Two quick moves and the Vampire ended up on his back, cupping his balls, blood freely running from a nose she’d broken.

The Rowan Summerwaite break-the-nose-knee-the-balls one-two.

“Golly, I’m feeling tough right now.”

Lauren Dane is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels and novellas across several genres. She lives in the Northwest with her patient husband and three wild children.

Visit Lauren on the web at


Twitter: @laurendane

You can write to her at: PO BOX 45175, Seattle, WA 98145

Coe’s Story

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By Stacy Gail, author of WHERE THERE’S A WILL

Coe is so pushy. Hmph.

From the moment I created Coe Rodas in Starting From Scratch, he wanted his story told. He told me who he was—a mechanical genius who was motivated to prove he was as good as anyone in town. While I was trying to get SFS to my editor under the deadline, Coe was yapping on about the hell he’d lived through as he grew up on the crap-end of town. I knew him inside and out.

But I couldn’t really “see” the heroine.

Don’t get me wrong—I knew what she had to be in order for the story to work. I even knew the look of her, because Coe’s got a thing for blondes. She also had to be from a wealthy background, with exquisite manners that could be used as ice-cold weaponry. Basically she had to be everything Coe wasn’t. But I didn’t want her to be unrelatable. Then I ran across a graphic online that I personally could relate to very well:


And there it was, the last piece to my heroine puzzle. This phrase is totally Miranda Brookhaven when she first reunites with Coe. Once I had that last piece, it was her turn to let her guard down and talk to me. I realized just how deeply shattered this character was. She was totally alone, and so exhausted from trying to keep her defenses up that there were times when she made me cry. The cracks in her armor weren’t flaws—they were wounds.

Wounds that Coe had dealt her long ago.

From the beginning of SFS, Coe proved himself to be a natural-born protector. Now that quality gets to shine while he does his best to heal his broken lady love with bottles of milk, dinosaur bedding and the legendary twenty-second hug.

Since Coe has long since proven himself to be so freaking pushy, I suspect Miranda won’t be alone—or broken—for long. ;)

Favorite line: “My only point here is that you’re not doing yourself any favors by holding onto all the anger I can see boiling away in you. So please, for your own sake, lighten the hell up and stop letting the assholes of the world get you down.” ~ Coe, Where There’s A Will



CARINA_1114_9781426899287_WhereTheresAWillWHERE THERE’S A WILL

Miranda Brookhaven returned to Bitterthorn, Texas to fix the past. Years ago, her father used her teenage romance with Coe Rodas to steal the prototype for a groundbreaking new automotive invention. Now her father’s dead, and thanks to the convoluted will he left behind, she’s stuck in town until she rights the wrong that lost her the man she loved.

Coe learned early on that life never goes according to plan. His dreams of hitting it big vanished when Miranda all but invited her father to take the only thing of value he ever had. But now the once-pampered princess is holed up in a condemned trailer on the edge of town…and everything he thought he knew about her—and about what happened between them back then—seems completely wrong.

Miranda’s determined to give back to Coe all that he lost. If she can do that, maybe she can move on from the past. But Coe seems to be more interested in their rekindled passion than claiming what she thinks he deserves. She’s got sixty days to convince him to cough up evidence that he’s the original inventor—after that, the only way to transfer the patent rights over to him would be to make him part of the family, and she’s not sure her heart can take another hit.


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A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail began writing stories in between events to pass the time. By the age of fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a figure skating coach who was also a published romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from steampunk to cyberpunk, contemporary to paranormal at night, both dreams have come true.

Connect with Stacy! Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram |  Newsletter

If you’ve made it all the way down to here, you deserve a reward! Enter my WHERE THERE’S A WILL giveaway, and you could win a $20 Amazon GC, or one of two $5 Amazon GCs. Good luck!

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Is There an Echo in Here?

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By Josh Lanyon, author of FAIR PLAY

I have a confession. Originally I intended Fair Game to be a standalone novel. As both a reader and a writer, I actually prefer standalone to series. With a standalone there are no loose threads, no need to hold back anything for the next book. The stories are always more intense, not least because there are no guarantees. You can’t count on anyone surviving to the next book because there isn’t going to be a next book.

Except…when there is.

The idea for a sequel occurred to me before Fair Game was complete. I loved the juxtaposition of an FBI agent saddled with a 60’s radical father, and Roland was such a strong character in his own right that I could hardly help noticing that there was a lot of story potential there. Especially with Roland writing those potentially explosive memoirs of his. Even so, I resisted temptation. And I kept resisting when readers began asking for more of Elliot and Tucker, though I became less and less sure why. In fact, I’m not exactly positive when I officially changed my mind — it might have been listening to the audio book.

I’m glad I did relent because I’ve loved writing Fair Play, the second book in the All’s Fair trilogy. (Er, yes. Trilogy.) The mystery is a fun one, but what I really enjoyed was having the luxury to explore the relationship between Elliot and Tucker. And also the relationship between Elliot and his father. This is definitely a book about connection; the ties that bind. And it’s a book about family. The families we are born into and the families we choose.

So what about you? Do you prefer standalone or series? Why? Answer below and I’ll pick two random names for an audio download of Fair Game.

CARINA_1114_9781426898976_FairPlayFair Play by Josh Lanyon

Fifty years ago, Roland Mills belonged to a violent activist group. Now, someone is willing to kill to prevent him from publishing his memoirs.

When ex-FBI agent Elliot Mills is called out to examine the charred ruins of his childhood home, he quickly identifies the fire for what it is—arson. A knee injury may have forced Elliot out of the Bureau, but it’s not going to stop him from bringing the man who wants his father dead to justice.

Agent Tucker Lance is still working to find the serial killer who’s obsessed with Elliot and can’t bear the thought of his lover putting himself in additional danger. Straightlaced Tucker has never agreed with radical Roland on much—“opposing political viewpoints” is an understatement—but they’re united on this: Elliot needs to leave the case alone. Now.

Tucker would do nearly anything for the man he loves, but he won’t be used to gain Elliot access to the FBI’s resources. When the past comes back to play and everything both men had known to be true is questioned, their fragile relationship is left hanging in the balance.

Buy at Carina Press.

About Josh Lanyon

A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Find out more about Josh at


Five Things I Learned About Flying by Researching My Pilot Heroine

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By Kat Latham, author of TEMPTING THE PLAYER

One of my favorite things about plotting a new book is coming up with my heroine’s job. I write a series about English rugby players, so I already know the heroes’ jobs, and I love giving my heroines cool careers that say something about their personalities.

In Tempting the Player, Libby Hart is a commercial airline pilot. Like many non-military pilots, she started her career as a flight instructor so she could build her flight hours and get hired by an airline. As it turns out, her experience makes her the ideal person to help her best friend Matt overcome his terror of flying, a phobia that’s holding back his rugby career.

I can identify with Matt more than Libby. I’m scared of flying, and I have to do it a lot for my job and because I live in a different country than my parents and my in-laws. As part of my research, I took a flying lesson, I interviewed pilots, and I read books by people who spent their careers in the cockpit. Here are a few of the facts I learned that amazed me. I hope they amaze you too!

1. Forget engine failure. The thing that scares pilots most is…

Charlie Beauchesne, a retired airline pilot, told me, “In the flight simulator, we regularly practice having engine failure at takeoff—the most critical point. Pilots aren’t going to take off with a single pound more than the plane can handle with one engine. Our biggest fear is in-flight fire. If that happens, we put on our oxygen masks, disable the electrical system to the point where we can still fly the plane, then put it on the ground.”

This conversation brought back a terrifying memory I have of the overhead compartment in my row bursting into flames over the Atlantic when I was 15. I also remember the flight attendants running up and down the aisle yelling, “Where’s the fire extinguisher? I can’t find the fire extinguisher! Don’t use it all, we may need it again!”

And then my brain melted down.

2. Flight attendants were the first group of people to use antidiscrimination legislation to fight for equal employment rights in the U.S.

This is a bit of a cheat because I actually read about this long before I started writing Tempting the Player, but it’s so interesting that I still think about it. In 1965, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was set up in the U.S. to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” Notice that gender wasn’t on that list. It was really a commission to address racial discrimination. But the first people to bring a complaint to the commission were female flight attendants.

I read about it in Gail Collins’ brilliant history When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present. She talks about how flight attendants had strict weight requirements (they couldn’t be bigger than size 4) and couldn’t be married. One woman she interviewed recalling having a colleague who had secretly gotten married without telling the airline. Soon after that, during a layover, some men boarded the plane, grabbed her and marched her off. She lost her job.

These brave women brought their complaint to the commission and were mocked. This New York Times review sums up what the women faced even before they brought their complaint to the commission. “In a 1964 Congressional hearing, when airline executives testified that it was imperative for businessmen that attractive women light their cigars and fix drinks, Representative Martha Griffiths said, ‘What are you running, an airline or a whorehouse?’ and the conversation began to change.”

So if you’re glad that your employer can’t (openly) discriminate against you because of your gender, thank a 1960s flight attendant.

3. Most pilots get their initial training from the military, which is why it’s traditionally been a male-dominated profession.

Flight training is really expensive, so most pilots have a military background. Since women have only recently been able to become military pilots (and that depends on the country you’re from), the job has been dominated by men. But more and more women are finding their way into the profession—whether through the military or private flight schools or getting a college degree and joining an airline’s flight program. Hopefully there will be a balance of power soon!

But, during my research I found another, more subtle barrier to women becoming airline pilots: height requirements. Lufthansa, for example, requires pilots to be 5’5” tall. Considering the average woman is 5’4”, this seems discriminatory. A judge in Cologne, Germany, recently criticized the airline for indirect discrimination. Of course, pilots have to be able to touch the pedals, and there’s also an upper height limit that’s likely to make it difficult for very tall men, but perhaps the design of cockpits on certain planes needs to be looked at so more women can become airline pilots.

4. Promotion is determined by seniority, not skill.

Your hire date is the most important factor in when you’ll get promoted. For those of us who are scared of flying, it’s a sobering thought.

5. There’s a whole website dedicated to barf bag design.

Yes, let’s end on a light note. People collect airsickness bags. They do. Seriously. I’m not joking.

Hopefully they only collect unused ones, but I guess you never know. And please don’t ask me how many hours I spent transfixed by this website. Probably as many hours as I’ve spent stuck on planes this year.


9781426899218Tempting the Player

Book three of the London Legends

Best friends make the best lovers.

Libby Hart and Matt Ogden are perfect for each other—as friends. They’ve known each other for ages. They act as each other’s plus-ones. They even share custody of a dog. And if there’s always been a little spark between them, so what? It’s never been worth jeopardizing their friendship.

Professional rugby player Matt is fighting for a starter position with the London Legends—and that’s not the only thing he’s fighting. A crippling fear of flying means he’s struggling to get his career off the ground. He has no time for a relationship, even if Libby does make him ache. As an airline pilot, Libby’s looking for a stay-at-home husband so she can have a family without sacrificing her high-flying career. Matt’s certainly not that man.

But just because they don’t have a future together doesn’t mean they can’t have a right now. When Matt asks Libby for help overcoming his fear, they agree to take a vacation from their platonic relationship—whenever they fly together, they can have sex. It’s the perfect way to resolve all that built-up tension. As long as they can avoid getting a little too comfortable…

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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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We Must Never Forget

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By Julie Rowe, author of the War Girls series


“To the ever glorious memory of the one who died and to the undying honour of those who served.” ~ Epitaph of Sergeant Joseph William Lapp, 48th HC, 3.10.43 (age 31). This is an epitaph on a World War Two soldier’s grave in Europe, one that gives a perfect dedication for what today is: A day to remember and honor our war dead. In the last one hundred years, millions of soldiers have given everything, their sanity, safety and, all too often, their lives to defend and protect our way of life: Freedom. It is our responsibility to never forget their service and sacrifice, no matter how long ago their battles were fought. There are no living soldiers or veterans left from World War One, and time and age has taken many of our veterans from World War Two, Korea and Vietnam. It is up to us, their legacy, to keep their memory alive and say their names out loud. Here are a few of those names, with epitaphs from their graves, from the book WORDS OF VALIDICTION AND REMEMBRANCE by Eric McGeer.

Till justice rules there is no liberty. I died for it. ~ Epitaph of Flight Lieutenant Arthur Grant Longwell, RCAF, 14.2.43 (age 29)

Though they sleep, their glory fades not, their deeds can never die. ~ Epitaph of Flying officer Wendell Stuart Curtis, RCAF, 7.11.44 (age 21)

In thought, faith. In deed, courage. In life, service. In death, victory. ~ Epitaph of Lance Corporal Clare Davidson Kines, RWR, 8.6.44 (age 29)

Sleep, dear son. Honour, justice, duty, all survive by your mortal fall. ~ Epitaph of Lieutenant Mackay Mackay, PPCLI, 27.8.18 (age 28)

Sleep peacefully, dear daddy. ~ Epitaph of Corporal Walter Oscar Rintala, QORC, 26.4.45 (age 32)

His task is finished, ours just begun, to bring peace. We shall not fail him. ~ Epitaph of Private Clive Austin Mills, ASHC, 24.10.44 (age 19)

He is not dead whose memory still is living within a nation’s heart. ~ Epitaph of Major Norman Campbell Pilcher, 5th CMR, 19.5.16

The blood of heroes is the seed of freedom. ~ Epitaph of Private Ivor Powell, 87th BCI, 4.9.18 (age 39) Dury Mill

Keep alive their pride, remember how they lived, remember why they died. ~ Epitaph of Private Gordon William Gurden, RHLI, 19.8.42 (age 22)

  Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!”. In addition to writing contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, Julie has short stories in Fool’s Gold, the Mammoth Book of ER Romance, Timeless Keepsakes and Timeless Escapes anthologies. Her book SAVING THE RIFLEMAN (book #1 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. AIDING THE ENEMY (book #3 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2014 Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Canadian Living. You can reach her at , on Twitter @julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page:

Is Your Tree Real?

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By Shannon Stacey, author of HER HOLIDAY MAN

There’s a story in my family history which centers around the real Christmas tree versus artificial Christmas tree debate and may or may not be true. (While I happen do it professionally, I’m not the only one in my family with a flair for fiction.)

The story goes something like this: my grandmother had a very strong fear of fire and would not allow a real Christmas tree in the house. Arguing with my grandmother was as futile as trying to catch rainwater in a colander. (Non-fiction.) Year after year, the family tree was fake.

Mothers have a tendency to say “When you grow up and have a house of your own, you can…”. For example, I grew up in a weird blue tooth gel household and, when I would complain I was told when I grew up and had a house of my own, I could buy white toothpaste. Needless to say, the Stacey household uses white toothpaste. Sometimes daughters just need to do things differently than their mothers did.

The first Christmas after my grandmother’s passing, I guess my aunt (who had stayed in the house to care for her ailing parents, so hadn’t yet had “her own house”) decided to do things differently and the family had a real Christmas tree for the first time. They put it up, decorated it and left the room.

The tree “fell over”.

These things happen, so the tree was righted and the decorations re-hung with care. The tree was shaken and wiggled and declared sturdy and level and secure.

Until it “fell over” again. Strangely enough, none of the artificial trees that occupied the same spot in the years to follow ever fell over.

I have an artificial tree. Not because I fear my grandmother’s ghost (I don’t think she knows where I live), but because the last time we had a real tree, it suffered some kind of premature needle loss. As I was dragging it outside, the branches caught on the living room doorjam and SPROING! I was vacuuming pine needles until spring. While I miss the scent of a real Christmas tree (thank you, Yankee Candle, for making the Mistletoe scent, which is close), I like the fact I can put the (pre-lit) tree up in November and not spend the holiday season picking dead needles out of my Shih Tzu’s tail.

What about you guys? Real trees or artificial ones for Christmas?

CARINA_1114_9781426898969_HerHolidayManChristina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she’s left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she’s learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she’d be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail’s son comes home, Christina’s vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.

Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being “that poor man” who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it’s time to go home. Only his mother’s not alone. She’s taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.

As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.

About the author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. She can also be found blogging (almost) daily on her website, and is often spotted running amok on Twitter and Facebook. Her current release, Her Holiday Man, is available now from Carina Press.

Bring It, Proust! Edie Harris Tackles the Proust Questionnaire

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By Edie Harris, author of BLAMED: A BLOOD MONEY NOVEL

Though the Proust Questionnaire is typically reserved for people far more famous than I, for today, I’m pretending I’m important enough to answer a handful (or two handfuls) of the queries found on this infamous interview structure.

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    Sleeping past 8am on a Saturday morning, blankets pulled to my chin, and nothing on my To-Do List but reading all day.
  2. What is your greatest fear?
    Drowning, even though I can swim. Very large seaworthy vehicles are also rather intimidating (e.g., cruise ships, submarines).
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
    Prejudice, which is invariably a combined byproduct of ignorance and fear.
  4. What is your greatest extravagance?
    Books. There is an inherent privilege to owning books, and it’s a privilege I indulge often these days.
  5. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
    …I’m just saying there ought to be a rule that, after the age of twenty-one, you no longer have breakouts.
  6. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
    “You know what I mean?” Yes, Edie, they all know what you mean. Stop it.
  7. When and where were you happiest?
    October 22 (my birthday) of 2013; I took the Eurostar from Paris to London and spent the drizzly day in Hyde Park (my single favorite place in the world), then hopped a train to Lewes to see an evening opera production at Glyndebourne. I spent the night in a hostel (first time ever) near King’s Cross, then headed back to Paris in the wee hours of the morning. I think I smiled the entire day.
  8. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
    Probably a fluffy king-sized comforter for my bed.
  9. What is your most treasured possession?
    I inherited a 60s-era gold-and-diamond cocktail ring from the woman who was my surrogate grandmother. She taught me how to play Old Maid and Go Fish, read me all the Beatrix Potter stories, and served McDonalds cheeseburgers and champagne for our Christmas meal. I miss her every day.
  10. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
    The loss of hope.
  11. Who is your hero of fiction?
    Jo March, a flawed, compassionate, brilliant risk-taker.
  12. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
    I’m a published author…how can I top that?

Answer a Proust Questionnaire question of your own! Who is your favorite hero/heroine of fiction? 

blamedBorn into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager.

That part of her life—the American spy royalty part—ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgivable. She’s worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the family business.

But someone, somewhere, hasn’t forgotten what Beth did in Kabul. And they want revenge.

As the Faraday clan bands together to defend Beth and protect their legacy, Beth is forced to flee her new home with the unlikeliest of allies—MI6 agent Raleigh Vick, the only man she’s ever loved. And the one she thought she’d killed in the desert.

Read an excerpt of BLAMED: A BLOOD MONEY NOVEL now!
Enter to win 1 of 5 BLAMED prize packs here!

Edie Harris studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa and Grinnell College. She fills her days with writing and editing contract proposals, but her nights belong to the world of romance fiction. Edie lives and works in Chicago and is represented by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency.

Connect with Edie Harris! Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Edie’s website


An Outtake from IN THE FIRE

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By Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin, authors of IN THE FIRE

When Jamie’s stomach growled I looked down and sighed, resting my forehead against his shoulder. “Breakfast. Then you. However I can get you.”

“I second this plan. Have you ever had a Nutella and banana sandwich for breakfast?” He pulled away, tugging me into the kitchen after him.

“For breakfast?”

He nodded solemnly. “It’s seriously the best thing you’ll ever put in your mouth.”

I snorted, “Yeah, I beg to differ. The best thing I’ll ever put in my mouth—”

He cut me off with a laugh. “Okay, the second best thing you’ll ever put in your mouth.”

I leered at him as he bent down to grab a frying pan from a cabinet below the counter. “I’m sorry, what am I putting in my mouth again?”

“Yeah, you’re a lousy, pervy sous chef. Hand me a spatula please and make yourself useful.”

I rolled my eyes at his bossy tone and handed him the spatula. “Yes, Chef. What do you want me to do?”

“Well, if you’re going to assist, you can slice some bananas for me.”

I smirked and slowly peeled the banana he handed me, watching how his gaze followed my movement. He watched me out of the corner of his eye as he smeared the chocolaty looking spread on a piece of bread, laid some of the bananas on top and added another piece of bread.

“So, this is a healthy breakfast?” I watched as he carefully laid it down in the buttered frying pan.

“Yeah, not so much but it’s good every once in a while. I learned it from a friend when I was in Paris.”

“It looks all melty. Is the banana supposed to dissolve like that?” I wondered as I peered over his shoulder.

“That’s the best part.”

I brushed my lips over his shoulder as I watched him prepare another sandwich, loving the shiver that moved through his body as he closed his eyes.

“You’re very distracting. No one likes a burnt sandwich.”

“Just observing the greatness.” I hid a smile at the almost reverent way he removed the sandwiches from the frying pan and gently laid each one on a plate. He cut each of them in half and slid a plate across the counter to me.

“The trick is to eat them when they’re still warm but not burn your tongue off with the molten chocolate goodness.”

I held his gaze as I took a large bite, eyes closing in pleasure as the chocolate melted on my tongue.

I moaned as I licked my lips and opened my eyes again as Jamie stared at my mouth. “Oh my God, that’s so fucking good. It’s like the chocolate and banana are having sex in my mouth.”

I reached down and closed my fingers around his wrist, raising the sandwich back to my mouth, loving how his pulse sped up under my thumb.


In The Fire

By Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels

Because the way to a man’s heart…

Eight years ago, the world was their oyster. Until, that is, competing chefs Ethan Martin and James Lassiter’s hot and heavy relationship fizzled after Jamie left for an internship in Paris. Even though Jamie’s career has taken off since his return to the States, with his own television show and a lot of fame, his feelings for Ethan have never quite gone away.

Ethan’s culinary career has developed more slowly, but he’s almost saved enough to buy the restaurant where he works and re-open it as his dream spot, Bistro 30. If only he could get the sexy chef who loved him and left him out of his mind.

But when someone starts sabotaging the restaurant and a fire threatens to take away everything Ethan holds dear, his only option is to rely on Jamie for help. Back in close quarters, the two men will have to find a way to work through their past if they hope to save the restaurant—and their future.

See how Ethan and Jamie’s romance began in In the Raw, available now!

Read an excerpt of In The Fire HERE.

What is one of the most sinful, decadent, or just plain yummy comfort foods you like to make for yourself or share with others?

Carina PressAmazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks


Eileen Griffin lives in the southwest, but loves to travel and has spent many summers crossing Europe with nothing but a backpack on her back. She enjoys TexMex, lives for good wine, and has a certain penchant for purple unicorns. She loves reading all genres of books, but her current obsession is writing M/M romance.

Website and Blog | Twitter | Facebook Author Page | Goodreads


Nikka Michaels lives in the Pacific Northwest where she spends her time cooking up romantic tales to satisfy her craving for HEAs with heat. A voracious reader, novice knitter and music lover she’s been known to multitask without breaking a sweat. She loves to read and write M/M romance but believes everyone deserves a love story.

Website | Twitter | Facebook Author Page | Goodreads

Stay tuned for the continuation of the In The Kitchen series with Tyler and Trevor coming from Carina Press in 2015.