Genre Spotlight: Cozy Mystery

facebook twitter

If last month’s Historical Mystery spotlight has you itching for more sleuthing, perhaps Cozy Mysteries are the next step for you. Not sure what a Cozy Mystery is? Well, read on to find out more about the genre, as well as three series recommendations to help get you started.

 

Why Mysteries Are Better Cozy… by Julie Anne Lindsey

Nothing improves my day like a Cozy Mystery. Cozies have all my favorite things, like humor and adventure, fun and friends. These mysteries are fast-paced powerhouses that make me smile on page one and hold me captive to the very end. For me, reading a cozy mystery is like catching up with an old friend. The amateur female sleuths remind me of myself or a girlfriend on a mission. Hey, we aren’t licensed private investigators, but we are women and our determination should never be underestimated. Just ask Kate Spade how long the line is on the morning of her “Surprise Sale.” A motivated woman is an unstoppable force, and I’m invigorated by the anything-is-possible feel of a cozy.

If you need a little pick-me-up, want a big belly laugh or a clever puzzle to solve, grab a cozy mystery and join your new best friend on an adventure to remember.

 

Why not try these Cozy Mystery series? 

1) Patience PriceMurder-Comes-Ashore-jpg

The latest in the series: Murder Comes Ashore

Patience Price is just settling into her new life as resident counselor on Chincoteague Island when things take a sudden turn for the worse. A collection of body parts have washed up on shore and suddenly nothing feels safe on the quaint island.

Patience instinctively turns to current crush and FBI special agent Sebastian for help, but former flame Adrian is also on the case, hoping that solving the grisly crime will land him a win in the upcoming mayoral election.

When the body count rises and Patience’s parents are brought in as suspects, Patience is spurred to begin her own investigation. It’s not long before she starts receiving terrifying threats from the killer, and though she’s determined to clear her family’s name, it seems the closer Patience gets to finding answers, the closer she comes to being the killer’s next victim.

Where to start: Murder by the Seaside

 

roomstodiefor2) Murder By Design

The latest in the series: Rooms to Die For

An Eye for Detail, a Nose for Trouble

Interior designer Deva Dunne’s latest project comes to a screeching halt when blood on the carpet leads her to the body of her client, an exotic dancer with a mysterious past. But the murdered woman is not the only resident of the posh beachfront condominium with secrets, and investigating officer Lieutenant Victor Rossi considers them all suspects.

Though wary of working in the killer’s midst, Deva continues decorating the unit for the new owner. When she stumbles upon clues that might help crack the case, she can’t resist doing a little digging of her own, despite Rossi’s orders to quit meddling. Now, she’s juggling the investigation, her career and sexy neighbor Simon Yaeger, who seems interested in more than her etchings.

Deva can’t help but be flattered by all the male attention–that is, until she realizes the killer has designs on her, too…

Where to start: Designed for Death

 

gettingrich

3) A Chef Landry Mystery

The latest in the series: Getting Rich

Book two of A Chef Landry Mystery

Chef Nicky Landry is more than co-owner of Skinny’s; she’s the low-cal eatery’s #1 success story. (According to the billboards, anyway. She’s gained most of the weight back…shh!) Now Nicky and her business partner, Toni, will be on national TV. They’ll be rich. And famous! Which is great, though Nicky would really prefer if people didn’t recognize her when she hits the fast-food shack.

Then one night a deranged woman threatens to kill her. The next thing Nicky knows, a crazy driver mistakes her for a speed bump, her boyfriend is acting strangely, Toni acquires a long-lost sister, and a mysterious fire at Skinny’s leaves one dead.

Murder and mayhem weren’t supposed to be on the menu. So Nicky and Toni start following clues, only to discover that people can be as deceiving as calorie counts, and danger is often closer than you think.

Where to start: Getting Skinny

 

Want more Cozy Mysteries? Click here to view them all. 

Big Bad Wolf?

facebook twitter

Close your eyes for a minute. No, wait, don’t, because you’re reading my blog post and one presumes you want to keep doing so.

Pretend to close your eyes for a moment while reading this blog post and whisper to yourself, “Werewolf hero.”

What kind of image does that conjure?

A hot, sexy bad boy in leather, riding a motorcycle when he can’t run free in the forest? A gruff and hyper-masculine pack alpha determined to keep his people safe and in line? A borderline vicious anti-hero trying to control his literal inner demon? Somebody big and strong and scary enough to make anybody weak at the knees?

What about a nerdy scientist more interested in the biology and magic of the shifting process than howling at the moon and finding a mate?

I know, right? But even in wolf world, it seems like it would take all kinds. You need your alphas and your brooders and your sexy bad boys. But why wouldn’t wolves be scientists and dreamers and artists and, heck, grocers and accountants and nice male nurses (like in the SyFy TV show Being Human)?

They can…in my shifter world.

Marcus Delgado is a werewolf and a scientist. He’s a sexy scientist, of course, at least according to witch-in-hiding Katie Zhang, whom he encounters in the beginning of WITCH INTERRUPTED, my second book with Carina. It’s a paranormal romance set in the same world as PACK AND COVEN, where the speculative elements include wolves (shapeshifting) and witches (magic).

In fact, Marcus, because of certain events in his past, is obsessively curious about why witches change permanently into werewolves when they—spoiler alert for PACK AND COVEN!—have sex with one. However, wolves can never change into witches or obtain the magical powers and longevity of witches. Marcus is determined to find out why, and he decides Katie is the perfect person to assist him…whether she wants to or not.

The intelligence, focus and dedication of a less traditional hero like Marcus made him a very appealing character to write about and hopefully one for readers to meet. So many of the characters who tend to linger with me aren’t necessarily the alphas and the swashbuckling heroes. The clever, background characters, the scientists, the tech gals, the ones without bulging muscles and multiple guns and overriding need to control whatever disaster is going on around them—I remember those characters, too. I love watching them blossom when the story centers on them instead of the obvious alphas.

They’re complicated, layered, and surprising. And they’re smart. I just adore smart!

TV examples include: Simon Tam from Firefly; both Willow and Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1; Monroe and Rosalie in Grimm; and Chuck Bartowski from Chuck and his predecessor, Jake from Jake 2.0.

There are countless examples of these types of characters in literature and cinema, usually relegated to sidekicks or secondary characters. As an author, I get to make them the protagonists and find out what really makes them tick.

Who are your favorite brainy badasses and nerdy but awesome characters in books and TV?

****

Purchase WITCH INTERRUPTED at Carina Press.

About Jody Wallace:

WEBSITE | MEANKITTY | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | PINTEREST

Bittersweet Joy — Not Just A Great Name For A Truffle

facebook twitter

Almost a year ago I released A Fine Romance, featuring a chocolatier hero. I spent quite a few months dreaming up interesting truffle flavor combinations for his book. And since it was only number two in my Aisle Bound series, I couldn’t stop once it came out. More of his delicious truffles had to be dreamed up for the ensuing books (in case you’re wondering, I envision the Bittersweet Joy truffle as a dark chocolate and Chambord combo).

9781426897955_MatchlessRomanceBut this week I am full of the actual emotion of bittersweet joy, for it is the release of A Matchless Romance, the fourth and final book in the Aisle Bound series. Bitter at the thought of no more research about chocolate for me (sigh). Worse yet, it means saying goodbye to a cast of characters whom I love. A world that quite literally changed my career.

I’ll miss Ivy, the romance-a-holic heroine who started the whole thing. I’ll pine for Gib, my unapologetic yet wholly reformed man whore who makes everything a little bit sexier with his British accent. I’ll miss spotlighting the gloriousness of all my favorite spots in Chicago, from the iconic Wrigley Field to the beauty of Buckingham Fountain and the Italian restaurant where my husband and I shared so many terrific, five course wine dinners.

And I’m joy filled, because I’m beyond excited to share this release with the world. As the final book in the series, A Matchless Romance revisits everybody, ties up every loose end. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it is a thoroughly funny and sexy story all on its own. Not to mention accidentally topical, as it features a medal-winning athlete as my hot-yet-nerdy video game designer. When I wrote it, I had no idea it would come out during Sochi—but I’m sure not complaining! Witty banter? Hot sex? Heartfelt connection? It has all those things, just like the other three books in the series—as will the next trilogy, which I’ve already begun to write.

Yup, I have to remind myself that there will be more books—just not a part of this wonderfully wacky wedding-planning crew. There will be more characters and love and laughter. In fact, I’m already crazy about this whole new crew of tight-knit friends that you’ll get to meet in June, when book one in the Shore Secrets series comes out. Which means writing is a lot like life. You connect with some awesome friends, and then life tugs you in a new direction.

But this week I am going to whimper, just a little at having to say goodbye.

Purchase from Carina Press

Website | Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page |Facebook

Author Confessions

facebook twitter

This may not surprise anyone, but here it goes: my name is Anne, and I am a coffee addict.

My first sip of coffee came at the tender age of seven, and it left a lasting impression. I was spending the weekend with my parents, and one afternoon I discovered my grandfather’s coffee mug in the bathroom. He’d probably left it behind after shaving or whatnot, and I was curious about this pale brown brew that he seemed to love. So I tasted it.

It was one of the nastiest things I’d put in my mouth in all of my seven years of life (except maybe for red beets, but that’s another story). I couldn’t imagine why any adult would drink this stuff, let alone every single day.

Fast-forward fifteen years to my college days. one of my roommates was a coffee fiend. She loved flavored coffees mixed with flavored creamers, and I had to admit that they smelled pretty good—especially the amaretto flavored creamer. This was also around the time when Starbucks was exploding, and coffee was trendy in more places that just Seattle. So I begrudgingly tasted a mug of amaretto coffee spiked with sugar and amaretto creamer, and I fell into insta-lust with the stuff.

I have not looked back. I drink coffee regularly, and while I’ll occasionally try a new creamer flavor, I am a creature of habit. I brew my Folgers Special Roast and I add my CoffeeMate  Italian Sweet Cream, a little raw sugar, and call it a day. So it’s probably no surprise that most of my characters drink coffee, or they are around it on a daily basis, and I knew that would happen again in No Such Thing.

Alessandro walked onto the scene needing a job, and what better job for someone with limited opportunities than waiting tables? But I didn’t want to do another diner. The next best thing is a bakery that specializes in unique muffin flavors and brews really good coffee. Baker’s Dozen is the kind of place I’d want to walk to for coffee and a muffin, or even a scratch-made breakfast. And thus No Such Thing had its first major location—and its opening scene.

What’s your favorite place to grab a good cup of Joe and a tasty baked treat?

NO SUCH THING

Twenty-two-year-old Alessandro Silva knows that returning to tiny Perch Creek to help his fo

Jaime Winters spent most of his life watching the world go by, first from a series of hospitals and then from behind big stacks of textbooks. Studying is easier than facing the fact that years of heart failure means he’s still a virgin at twenty-three. Until the new waiter in his sister’s diner awakens desires he’d long ago given up on.ster mother was the right thing to do. With no degree and a delinquent’s reputation, he’s lucky to have landed a job waiting tables. But not everyone is happy he’s back, and the only thing keeping his move home from being a total bust is his boss’s hot brother.

The last thing Alessandro wants is to fall for someone as fragile as Jaime. And Jaime may have a new heart, but he’s scared of what giving it to another person would mean. Their no-strings-attached, instructional approach to sex keeps emotion safely at bay, until a secret from Alessandro’s past forces them to confront their feelings in the present…

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland.  She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop.  When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder.  She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Contact her at am_arthur@yahoo.com with your cooking tips (or book comments). You can also find her online, as well as on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. A full list of A.M. Arthur’s books is available here.

Ready, Set, Write!

facebook twitter

Demon by My SideA question I often get from people interested in my books is what is my writing process? Do I just sit down and the words flow like magic? The answer is my stories are often locked in my head. The actual plots and profiles of my characters are quite easy to put together. The process of pen to paper, or fingertips to keys, is another story.

My “inspiration” is a little different than other writers I know. I can’t just sit down and start typing. Instead I troll the internet for new songs I haven’t heard before. Not an album or a playlist, mind you. No, I look for individual songs. Once I find the right one, inspiration clicks in. Suddenly I can envision staring at a screen for hours as the story locked in my head takes shape on paper. This one magical song often gets me through chapters, or sometimes whole books, on repeat. I listen to nothing else until the section I’m working on is done. The lyrics are engrained in my brain, making me the ultimate karaoke champion for a select, incredibly random variety of songs.

For Demon by My Side my song of choice was Metric’s “Satellite Mind.” I don’t know why I’d never come across it before but I hadn’t. For weeks I listened to that song over and over again. It drove all those around me crazy. Now when I reread my story, that song plays in my head. So there it is. My writing process. I need that one magical song to listen to ad nauseam in order to be productive. Weird, perhaps, but effective, at least for me. Be warned, however, if you try this trick. Once you’re done writing, you might never want to listen to your beloved song again!

Have you ever had a song you just couldn’t get enough of?

 

About Demon By My Side

Darcy Snow is a demon hunter and a damn good one at that.  She’s never hesitated when faced with monsters preying on humans, but the rules changed when the Lord of the Spirits married a mortal. While spirits used to be able to cross into the human realm only on Halloween, they’re now passing freely through a mysterious portal.

Jaral is a demon with a mission. As the heir apparent in the demon realm, he’s been waiting for a chance to finally prove himself to his father. When he’s ordered to solve the mystery of how their enemies are infiltrating the human world, he expects to run up against mortals. One thing he did not plan on, however, is crossing paths with a beautiful demon hunter.

Together, they’ll need to seal the portal and ensure that balance is returned to the realm. But can two sworn enemies ever really trust each other? To prove his intentions, Jared will need to make the ultimate sacrifice…

Demon By My Side is available from Carina Press.

 

Victoria Davies’s love of writing started young. Luckily she had a family who encouraged believing in magic and embracing imagination. From stories quickly scribbled in bright pink diaries, her love of storytelling developed. Since then her characters may have evolved and her plots may have grown decidedly more steamy but she never lost her love of the written word. Writing is not only a way to silence the wonderful voices in her head, but it also allows her to share her passions with her readers.

Connect with Victoria on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her website.

Author Spotlight: Shawna Thomas

facebook twitter

If you’re a fantasy fan looking to dive into a new series, then have we got one for you: reader reviews of Shawna Thomas’ The Triune Stones series praise the witty banter, strong characters, and engaging fantasy elements. Be sure to read on for more information on this wonderful series, but first, for those of you looking to become write a fantasy series of your own and improve your skills, Shawna has provided some organizational advice below!

To Be Or Not To Be…Organized by Shawna Thomas800BW_Photo1

I’ve always been in the camp of if I can’t teach by example, then learn from my mistakes. This is no more or less true in writing than in other areas of life.

When a writer sets out to write a book, he or she has a cast of characters, locations, etc. to remember. It can be daunting, especially if you have a lot of minor character or scene changes. But when you’re writing a series, daunting soars to an entire new level. It becomes impossible to remember every detail.  To add to this, as stories mature, things change. For instance:  Melior in the final draft was absolutely a stallion, but in the first draft, he was a mare, like Tashi.

Mohan started off looking a lot like Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall but as I got to know his character better, I realized he resembled Johnny Depp as a gypsy. Consistency in a series is very important. You can’t have a character in book one with blue eyes and dark hair suddenly swipe the hair away from his deep brown eyes in book three. And the castle that had stone floors in book one, pretty much needs to have stone floors throughout the series.

To keep things straight, I have maps of Anatar, the Faisach, the eastern kingdoms, the chasm, pictures of characters and weapons; I’ve written legends, histories, and if you want the entire Trader’s Creed, I have it.

Now here is where you learn from my mistakes rather than my example. In the Excel sheet for the Triune Stones, there is a tab for each book–places for character descriptions, first appearances, mannerisms, etc. But, as the writing fervor would set in, I guess you could say I was not as diligent as I should have been. Okay, I’d write for weeks, need a detail and stare up at the ceiling wondering what color Mohan’s eyes were again. Brown? Green? Were they blue? The color wasn’t on the ceiling, or in the spreadsheet. Did Ilythra wear gauntlets? Was Melior a roan or bay stallion? I can not tell you how many times I searched for details in the older manuscripts so I could be consistent.  I probably could have written another book in the time it took me to look up things I didn’t have the time to write down when I should have. Okay, that might be exaggerating… a little.

So you see, when I’m asked how I kept so many characters and places straight, I laugh. Maybe not aloud, but I’m scoffing silently at myself, and maybe my editor is joining in.

I’m planning a new series. Not epic fantasy, but fantasy and yes, I already have my excel sheet for the first book. This time, I’m using it.

 

The Latest from Shawna Thomas:

wandererJourney of the Wanderer

Book four of The Triune Stones

To fulfill her destiny as the Wanderer of legend, Ilythra needs to find the last of the Triune Stones. But its music has gone silent, its owner, the dark sorcerer Bredych, nowhere to be seen except in her dreams. Dreams that are getting ever more frequent, and more troubling.

Unrest is sweeping the land, and Ilythra’s allies are paying the price as Bredych subsumes more and more kingdoms to his will. Armed with only her sword and her friends–stoic elderborn Arien and passionate warrior-prince Ryliann–she sets out to win her people back and train them to fight for themselves.

Her cause is clear, but her feelings for the two completely different yet equally admirable men, less so. With the fate of both humanity and elderborn on the line, how can she dare choose love over her destiny?

Journey of the Wanderer will hit ebook shelves on February 24th. Want to start from the beginning? Click here for the rest of the The Triune Stones series.

 

What Other Readers Are Saying About The Triune Stones:

“Beautiful description and strong character development in this coming-of-age fantasy.” — Amazon review, Journey of Awakening

 

“Even better than book one! Beautiful writing throughout this epic fantasy novel.” — Goodreads review, Journey of Dominion

 

“My favourite book in the series so far.” — Goodreads review, Journey of Wisdom

 

Want to keep see what Shawna’s up to? Follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook!

Genre Spotlight: Erotic Romance

facebook twitter

If you’re looking to add a little spice to your romance, the Erotic Romance category should be your first stop! Featuring BDSM, menage, and so much more, the Erotic Romance genre has a little something for anyone looking to take things to the next level. Read on to see author Lynda Aicher’s three key tips for a great Erotic read, as well as some recommendations to get you started.

 

Three Things You Need For A Steamy Erotic Romance by Lynda Aicher

1. The Story. The main thing that distinguishes erotic romance from erotica is the story that goes with the sexy love scenes. The requirements established for a great romance still hold true for an erotic romance. The development and journey of the characters, plot twist, voice, pacing and the ability to hook readers into rooting for the hero and heroine defines a great romance no matter how much sex is in the story.

2. The Emotion. Sex is just an act or a series of movements without the emotion. Choreographing body parts through a love scene can be interesting, but going past the how and digging into the why deepens the story and makes it memorable. Showing what drives the characters and their subsequent response gives readers the whole picture and makes the sexual interaction personal.

3. The Sex. Hot, steamy, intimate love scenes are a must. But more importantly, the sex has to be integral to the development of the characters. Sex for enjoyment is great, but in an erotic romance the love scenes should be driving the emotional growth of the characters. The sex doesn’t have to be exotic—BDSM, multiple partners, etc.—to deem it erotic, but it often is simply because it’s outside the definition of “normal” sex. However, the level of kink is less important than how fundamental each sex scene is to the story and character arcs.

 

Where To Start If You’re New to Erotic Romance:

bondsofdenialBonds of Denial by Lynda Aicher

Book five of Wicked Play

It’s been twenty years since Rockford Fielding’s father punished him for kissing another boy. Now a grown man with a military career behind him, Rock continues to deny his true desires, even while working security at The Den, the most decadent sex club in town. But after a year of watching gorgeous Carter Montgomery come and go on the arms of other men, Rock can no longer resist the cravings he’s denied for so long.

Carter has just four months left on his contract with an escort agency, and he doesn’t know whether to feel relieved or afraid. Being an escort is all he knows. Adding to his confusion is the way his latest client, the sexy but stoic Rock, makes him feel things he hasn’t wanted in years.

One charmingly awkward date turns into two and soon the men are meeting off the clock. But with Rock in the closet and Carter unsure how to pursue a real relationship, how can they build a future both in and out of the bedroom?

 

purelyprofessionalPurely Professional by Elia Winters

Columnist Bridget Hartwell agrees to write about BDSM to impress her new executive editor at Sultry, the “sex-positive magazine for sex-positive women.” Unfortunately, it’s a topic she knows absolutely nothing about…but if she ever wants that promotion, she’ll need to learn the ropes, fast.

English professor Max Harlow is active in the Dom/sub scene, but only for casual play. He’s never found his ideal partner: a woman who is his equal, but sexually submissive. When he’s asked to explain the lifestyle to his cute but obviously inexperienced neighbor, Max is certain it’s best to approach it academically–to keep things purely professional.

Until Bridget’s first article is a huge hit, giving her the perfect excuse to delve deeper into the naturally submissive side of her sexuality. As their encounters intensify and each of her boundaries is skillfully pushed, Bridget must decide what this all means…for her identity, her career and, most importantly, her future with Max.

 

lovemenotLove Me Not by Reese Ryan

Abandoned by a mother who chose drugs over her, Jamie Charles barely got out of her own addiction alive. Now, she pours her pain into her art while pouring drinks at a local bar. To Jamie, love is a four-letter word–until she meets Miles, a charming ad exec with piercing blue eyes who makes no secret about his desire for her.

Miles Copeland has family demons of his own, but his unhappy upbringing drove him toward hard work and success. He’s determined to win Jamie over, and when he finally does, it’s worth every moment he spent waiting. But when he confesses that he’s falling for her, she panics. Sex is one thing, but love requires more than she can give.

Jamie can’t deny her feelings, but she’s haunted by her past. Miles knows his heart, but Jamie’s lingering doubts have him questioning their future. It might take the threat of losing him forever for her to realize that refusing to let love in is the worst mistake of all.

 

thedomprojectThe Dom Project by Heloise Belleau

By day, Robin Lessing has a successful career as a university archivist. By night, she blogs about her less-than-successful search for Mr. Tall, Dark and Dominant. Living up to her handle “The Picky Submissive,” she’s on the verge of giving up and settling for vanilla with a side of fuzzy handcuffs when she discovers her best friend and colleague has a kinky side, too.

Sexy, tattooed techie John Sun is an experienced Dom who never lacks for playmates, male or female. If he can’t satisfy Robin’s cravings, maybe no one can–after all, he knows her better than anyone. So he offers to help her master the art of submission for one month.

Robin eagerly agrees to John’s terms, even the pesky little rule forbidding any friendship-ruining sex. But rules are made to be broken, and once they begin their stimulating sessions, it’s not long before she’s ready to beg him for more–much more…

 

theprincipleofdesireThe Principle of Desire by Delphine Dryden

1 sexy switch + 1 nerdy newbie = a master class in seduction

After several years as a submissive, psychology lecturer Beth is eager to experience being on the other end of the whip for a change. When she meets sweet but socially awkward Ed at a party, it’s obvious the aerospace engineer is interested–and obvious he’s way too vanilla.

When tracking down a friend lands him in a BDSM club, Ed’s eyes are opened to a whole other world–and a whole other side of Beth. Then Beth’s former Master shows up, and Ed agrees to play along as her sub in exchange for a real date. The biggest surprise of the evening? How much he enjoys letting her take control…

Beth’s ex makes it clear he wants her back, but she needs more from a relationship than he can offer–and not just the freedom to explore her switch side. At first Ed is just an enthusiastic student. But the more she gets to know him, in and out of the bedroom, the more Beth wonders if he’s everything she desires…

Looking to expand your Erotic Romance collection? Click here for more.

Starting Over

facebook twitter

I started Reaper’s Touch about three years ago. Some stories you have to work for every word but Reaper’s Touch was easy. Wild West meets bio-plague apocalypse. Cowboys vs. Zombies. The world was interesting, the characters came to me fully formed and whispering in my ear, and the story seemed to practically write itself. So why did it take so long to get here?

After I finished Reaper’s Touch, I jumped right into the second story. It’s a big world and I wanted to explore all of it. But as I started writing that second book, I became dissatisfied with the first. I hadn’t set everything up well enough to support a series. I’d made the story too small, the world too confined. I’d done a disservice to characters I’d come to love.

A new first scene came to me and it was much better than the one I had. From there, I kept going until I had a completely new story. It was a lot longer than the original and a whole heck of a lot better.

It’s funny because starting over is a theme in the book too. For Abby, being a Ranger is the only life she’s ever known and there’s no way out as far as she can see. But she wants better. And that’s the opportunity she’s presented with when she meets Jake. Better. Even though it’s a risk. Even though there are no guarantees that everything’s going to turn out okay. Even though she has to turn her back on the familiar and safe. She reaches for better too.

So, three years. I’m so incredibly excited that Reaper’s Touch is finally out! Have you ever felt like you were waiting for something forever?

***

nullAbby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers—humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers—a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing—until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.

Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.

Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure—or lose the border, and each other, forever.

***

nullA lifelong fan of fantasy, Eleri started reading romance as an adult and was instantly captivated by the strong female protagonists and character-driven storylines. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction and they all end with a happy-ever-after.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

Tackling the MOC ~ Catching Heat

facebook twitter

When you think of popular romance tropes what comes to mind? Enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, secret baby, reunion romances, family secrets, dating the boss? Those are all wildly popular, but the one I love the most is the marriage of convenience. The marriage of convenience (or MOC) is mainly found in historical romances where, for some dramatic reason or another, the hero and heroine get married before they’ve fallen in love. In most cases, the hero and the heroine don’t like each other much, but once they start sharing living space they end up seeing each other in a whole new light and the inevitable happily-ever-after ensues.

Although popular, there are fewer MOC’s in contemporary romance novels. Makes sense, right? Modern-day women support themselves and don’t need a benefactor, they can have a child out of wedlock without fear of being publicly shamed, and most of us could probably get a loan to pay off our beloved father’s (brother’s, uncle’s, cousin’s) gambling debts rather than being offered up as payment.

In Catching Heat, tackling the MOC was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I don’t write historical romance so I had to come up with a good reason why my heroine, Angie DeMarco, would accept J.T. Sawyer’s offer of marriage. As it turns out, unemployed and pregnant are two pretty darn good reasons, and since we all know how expensive health insurance can be, it’s not surprising that Angie accepts J.T.’s proposal…but not until he agrees to her conditions.

It doesn’t take long for Angie’s clever business arrangement to crumble as she realizes that J.T. is nothing at all like she assumed, and that the very last thing she thought she wanted is the one thing she can’t live without…a marriage that lasts forever.

So now you know my favorite romance trope. What’s yours?

~~~

Life has taught Angie DeMarco that all baseball players are womanizers, and her incredible one-night stand with sexy San Francisco Blaze back-up catcher J.T. Sawyer seemed to prove it. Determined not to give in to their sizzling chemistry a second time, she’s kept her distance ever since, focusing on her accounting job with the team. But now she’s laid off…and pregnant.

 J.T. was hurt by Angie’s rejection, but with one more year with the Blaze, he has no time for love. He needs to spend the off season training hard so he can negotiate a better contract with a new team at the end of the year. But when Angie shows up on his doorstep, he‘s overwhelmed by wanting to not just do right by her but pursue a relationship with her. Hoping for a second chance, he proposes.

 Angie agrees to marry J.T. on one condition: the marriage will be purely a business arrangement. But as Angie spends time with him and his family, and J.T. neglects his training to spend time with her, what begins as a union in name only slowly grows into something more—something that looks a whole lot like love and friendship.

Catching Heat is available from Carina Press.

About Alison:

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alison now lives in Southern Nevada where she’s still getting used to the blistering summers and the slot machines in every grocery store.

When not working at the day job that pays the bills, keeps a roof over her head, and supports her book and chocolate habits, Alison spends most of her free time writing. But when she takes a break, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

Connect with Alison on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and her website.

What Carina Press editors are looking for: February 2014 edition

facebook twitter

Looking for the February 11th #carinapitch information post? Click here.

I want to take a moment to say a few words about submissions in general, as well as what’s specifically listed. Just because I list some info about the below genres doesn’t mean that this is all we’re looking for. If we publish it, we’re looking for it and want you to send it. You may be writing something we didn’t even know we want! Last time, Rhonda said this and it always applies: PLEASE note that in the end, what we really want is a good story, so even if yours doesn’t match the descriptions below but fits in the parameters of what we publish, don’t hesitate to send it to us anyway! Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we get it in our inbox.

I also want to remind you that we’re always open to submissions, so even if your book isn’t done now, we’ll still want to look at it once you’ve finished (and polished) it! Don’t rush, we’re always going to have a schedule to fill.

That all said, here are some specific things Carina Press could use:

  1. For 2014, we’re still seeking a romantic suspense novel-length (70k+) series we can launch. This is one of our top holes in the 2014 schedule!
  2. Also for 2014, we’re especially looking for these genres: historical romance, erotic romance, male/male romance, new adult romance and mystery.
  1. Historical romance: we’re looking particularly for someone to write a Scotland-set historical romance for us (we like kilts!) as well as more regency romance.
  2. Erotic romance: Here we’re looking for 70k+ books in particular, something with high sexual tension and series potential. Doesn’t have to be BDSM and, in fact, we’d love to see some non-BDSM submissions (no play on words intended).
  3. Male/Male: In addition to contemporary in this genre, we’d happily look at other subgenres as well as other fiction genres, particularly mystery. And we’d very much like to create a line of books that are new adult m/m.
  4. New Adult: While we will continue to acquire and publish new adult, we strongly believe the genre must branch out in order to thrive. Therefore we’re very interested in other subgenres of new adult, in addition to contemporary romance. And, as noted, we’re particularly looking to see if we can build a strong list of new adult GLBT.
  5. Mystery: we continue to build a healthy mystery list and still have openings for 2014. We’re open to all categories of mystery, including detective, cozy, amateur sleuth and crime fiction.

For my personal wishlist: Though I don’t have a wishlist, like the other editors do below because I’m not quite as actively acquiring, I’m still looking for that one cracktastic project to really pull me in. I’d go to bat in the acquisitions meeting for a great cowboy rebellion-type space opera, still (I wonder how many years I’ve been asking for that Firefly-flavored story? 8? 10?) I continue to happily read sports romance submissions of all sports, but I’d love to see a few break the mold and I wouldn’t mind a super, super sexy (but not necessarily erotic) contemporary romance with sexually charged dialogue, sexual tension build-up and a dirty-talking hero. Oh, and I’ve recently been longing for more motorcycle club-based books (I know, I know), a military romance series, and more books where the heroine or hero has a high-octane job. Sorry, but I’m not a sweet romance kind of girl ;) Basically, in my personal list I’m looking for some things that push boundaries, but I still love the traditional contemporary and erotic romances as well!

~Angela James, Editorial Director

Kerri Buckley, Editor: I’m constantly on the lookout for fresh new voices and time-stealers—the kind of stories that leave you bleary-eyed but exhilarated in the morning.  This applies to all genres, but I’m particularly interested in the following right now:

  • Contemporary romances with atypical heroines, snappy dialogue, and significant external conflict
  • Gritty, groundbreaking New Adult, both contemporary and paranormal
  • Full-length erotic romance (65-70k+) of all flavors
  • Big, juicy Regency romances with feisty heroines, dashing heroes, and off-the-charts sexual tension
  • Romantic suspense with equally gripping romantic and suspenseful storylines
  • Cozy and hardboiled mysteries with dry (or wry) humorous tones
  • Contemporaries, historicals, or alternate histories set in Eastern Europe

Freelance editors actively acquiring:

Rhonda Helms: Here are some types of submissions I’m always eager for:

  • New Adult (contemporary and other genres welcome)
  • LGBTQ romance
  • Romance in any steaminess level from sweet to spicy, though I love super-hot stuff. ;-)
  • Laugh-out-loud romantic comedies
  • Contemporary, historical or sci-fi/futuristic erotic romance
  • Genre blends (LGBTQ western? Paranormal Victorian? Hit me with ‘em!)
  • Multicultural and/or PoC (people of color) submissions
  • Action-packed futuristic/sci-fi/urban fantasy non-romance (or with romantic elements)

And now, a few specific submissions I’ve been craving:

  • LGBTQ romantic comedy
  • A regency/Victorian romance or western romance featuring PoC
  • A fresh take on the upstairs-downstairs romance (like Downton Abbey)–contemporary or historical
  • A sexy romance featuring heroes or heroines who work with their hands, like carpenters or skilled tradesmen/women
  • First-responders romances featuring firefighters, police officers, EMTs, etc.
  • Military romances
  • A dark, atmospheric, super-sexy gothic romance–contemporary or historical

 Deborah Nemeth: More than anything, I appreciate intelligent writing and sharp dialogue, and if your story features quick-witted protagonists, brilliant sleuths, brainy nerds/geeks, clever inventors or explorers, I’d love to read it. I’m also drawn to flawed, strongly motivated characters, high-stakes conflict and solid world-building. In my favorite stories, the protagonists have to suffer before saving the day or getting their happy-ever-after. I find unusual settings and multicultural characters appealing in any genre. I’m especially looking for manuscripts from authors who are interested in writing either a series or multiple books for us in the same genre to build their readership.

Here’s a sampling of my wish list:

  • High-octane romantic suspense that will keep me reading all night, of any flavor—military, revenge, espionage, terrorists, serial killers, smugglers, conspiracies and cover-ups…
  • Mysteries and crime fiction, particularly brain-teasing cozies and gritty procedurals, with strong hooks, unique protagonists and series potential. Also fast-paced capers and heists with elaborate cons à la Ocean’s Eleven and The Thomas Crown Affair.
  • Historical romance that will transport me back in time, especially Regency but also Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, and the courts of the Tudors and Plantagenets.
  • Contemporary romance with a fresh voice, sparkling dialogue, solid conflict and emotional intensity. I enjoy a range of heat levels and tones from dark ’n angsty to lighthearted rom com with clever banter, and I have a special fondness for geeks, soldiers, cops, cowboys, athletes and blue-collar heroes/heroines.
  • For SFF, I’m especially looking for mind-bending futuristic suspense (think Inception), and steampunk, clockpunk and dieselpunk with strong SF elements.
  • I absolutely love stories containing political and palace intrigue, whether in epic fantasy (think Game of Thrones), in historical romance (Tudors), or in the contemporary corridors of power (West Wing, House of Cards, Scandal).
  • New Adult and m/m in any subgenre we publish

 Mallory Braus: Mallory looks for characters first. Three dimensional and relatable characters—with depth and vulnerabilities—pull her into a story faster than anything else. She’s looking for all genres, but there are a few things she’s especially keeping an eye out for:

  • New Adult! I’m especially looking for those that feature paranormal, suspense/mystery, or steampunk elements.
  • Stories with gothic elements
  • I’d love, love, love to find a romantic suspense or contemporary romance that’s set amongst the Amish (non-inspirational)—like Witness or Karen Harper’s romantic suspense series.
  • Psychics – Especially if you have psychic FBI agents or members of a special government agency…
  • I adore stand-out characters. Quirky! Deep, dark, vulnerable! Odd pairings!
  • I’d love to work with more contemporary mysteries/romantic suspense/thrillers. Especially if there is the set up for a series. I recently became hooked on the show Leverage, and the banter and continued growth as we follow the band of thieves kept me hooked to the end.
  • I’m also on the look out for a sweet M/M
  • Historical romance: I’m NOT looking for Regency settings. But anything after that era, up to WWII, is huge on my wishlist.
  • Historical Mysteries. Especially turn of the century, urban settings (like The Alienist).
  • “Band of Brother” type series. Examples would be Nora Roberts’s trilogies, Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters, or J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. Where an emphasis is on the building of multiple characters’ relationships.
  • Stories with unique worlds/setting, including, but not limited to: steampunk, post-apocalyptic, futuristic sci-fi, and urban fantasy. I love stories that cross genres in a unique way.

Alissa Davis:

  • Erotic romance with strong dialogue and great sexual tension—bonus points for heroes and heroines who rock at talking dirty, and I love heroes and heroines with blue-collar jobs.
  • I like books with high-stakes conflict, no matter the genre. Make the characters really work for the HEA and make me believe for even a moment that it might now work out for them.
  • I love New Adult, and I’m particularly interested acquiring more m/m New Adult.
  • Geeky heroes and heroines. The more awkward they are, the more I seem to love them.
  • M/M mystery novel where the guys are solving the crime and falling for each other in the process.
  • Foodie romance where preparing or eating food plays a large role in the plot and is part of how the characters come together.
  • Military romance, m/m or m/f. The hero or heroine can be active military or retired.
  • Angsty, dark historical romance with real, high-stakes conflict keeping the hero and heroine apart.
  • Medical romance.
  • Sports romance, particularly soccer, football, hockey and baseball. I can’t catch a ball to save my life, but I love editing these books.
  • Romantic suspense with high-stakes conflict, twisted plots and awesome heroines who aren’t about to be damseled.
  • I’d love to see a teacher-student scenario where one of the adult characters is in the other one’s adult dance class, cooking class, film, etc.
  • Any combo of the above. New Adult mystery military LGBTQ romance, anyone? :-)

Jeff Seymour: I’m on the lookout for great speculative fiction in 2014. I’m especially looking for:

  • Sci-fi with plausible science and the pacing of a thriller
  • Character-focused fantasy (think less hero/heroine saves the world and more farmer saves her daughters)
  •  Historical fantasy
  •  Any spec fic with LGBTQ elements.
  •  Genre tropes explored, either playfully or seriously
  •  If someone sent me a great m/m steampunk book, I’d be ecstatic.

As always, romantic elements are welcome! I like my heroes sweet-side up and my heroines self-aware and empowered. I’m a sucker for great world building and characters who are unusual takes on an archetype as well. My favorite subs last time included a tongue-in-cheek time-traveling Conan the Barbarian-style romp and a steampunk/fantasy detective story.

Melissa Johnson:  I’m looking for stories with strong conflicts–big and believable ups and downs that keep readers turning the pages. I’m excited to find this in any genre, but am especially yearning for the following (in no order):

  • Contemporary and new adult romance with main characters who are sports stars or have other high-profile careers.
  • Romantic suspense with dangerous intrigue, and heroes or heroines who are knowledgeable and tough.
  • Historical romance with uncommon settings or unusual characters.
  • Paranormal, fantasy and science fiction romance with unique and coherent worldbuilding, as well as heartrending romantic conflict.
  • Genre-crossovers of almost any sort.

Tina Burns: I’m looking for romance, from sweet to erotic and open to any sub-genre. I love unique stories and twists on the norm. I’m looking for flawed but redeemable characters that linger long after I’m done reading. Specifically I would love to see:

  • New Adult (contemporary and mixed genre, New Adult M/M)
  • Romantic Comedies
  • LGBTQ romance
  • Historical Romance – Gothic, Paranormal/Psychic, Alternate, Wild, Wild West-ish
  • Mystery Romance with paranormal/psychic/Other elements.

 Elizabeth Bass: While I’m a sucker for a well-paced story with memorable characters, no matter what genre, what I crave right now is historical romance. Whether your story is humorous, filled with action, or moody and Gothic—any book that successfully sweeps me into a different time period is a treat. I love reading books from all eras, but especially Regencies and Westerns, and anything with a historical mystery slant captures my interest. I would also love to read contemporary romances, particularly ones with humor. Romantic suspense and mystery are genres I always enjoy reading. I’d love to find a mystery series with an offbeat detective team.

 

So, if you have anything that fits an editor request (or even just a great book in general!) to submit, visit our submissions page and follow the directions there. You can address your submission to one of the editors above, or the editorial staff in general. Thanks, and we look forward to reading your stories!