Books: So Real You Can Taste Them

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I must always be hungry when I write because I can’t create one of my small-town contemporary romances without including all sorts of food and drink. Running the Red Light, book #2 in my Texas Nights series, is no exception.

Some of the foods are inherently sexy…like Butterfinger™ pie.

She might be able to resist him in a suit and tie, but with him dressed in jeans and old running shoes, she was toast. The crunchy black-edged kind that always seemed to come out of her oven.

“Thought you might like this.” He handed her a small pink-and-green sack.

Inside, she found a triangle-shaped container and a fork. Toast? She was crumbs.

“It’s Butterfinger pie.”

She closed her eyes and moaned because she could already taste the sweet, creamy crunch on her tongue.

Jamie cleared his throat and she realized she’d been standing there with the bag clutched to her chest. “Umm…you want to have that now?” he asked.

God, no. Not unless he wanted to watch her have a food-gasm.

Other foods are a statement about setting and culture, like chicken-fried chicken. Yep, it’s a real dish. Almost as popular as chicken-fried steak in Texas and served the same way—with mashed potatoes, cream gravy and fried okra.

Jamie watched Roxanne grab her steak knife and saw into her chicken-fried chicken like she might be imagining it was his heart she was carving up. Something in her face mirrored her description of the old Victorian. A woman with determination, dedication, and the drive to create something beautiful and strong from what looked like a pile of kindling to him.

In my stories, food often helps indicate a character’s state of mind.

“Brody’s back,” he said, looking Cameron straight in the face. “I saw him in Houston earlier this week.”

Cameron’s eyes went flat, like a deceptively calm lake with a monster just beneath the surface. “You are shitting me.”

“I wish.” Jamie vaulted out of the car and paced over to the dorm fridge tucked under the workbench. He grabbed a soda and downed half in two swallows, but the cold drink didn’t calm the flames igniting his gut. “Wouldn’t have believed it myself, but he was standing in front of me.”

Cameron shot to his feet. “Did that SOB come around asking you for money?”

“No. The whole thing was a fluke. Caroline Webster and I were at the opera earlier this week.” Cameron and Beck made skunk-smell faces, but Jamie continued, “This guy in a janitor’s uniform caught my eye as we were leaving. I made some half-assed excuse to Caroline and dumped her in the lobby while I dragged dear old Dad out of sight.”

“Why didn’t you just act like you didn’t see him?”

Jamie flexed his fingers on the soda can and studied his brother. “What would you have done?”

Cameron ran a hand over his hair where oil and sweat worked like maximum-strength gel, cementing the dark strands into mild-electric-shock style. “Kicked his sorry ass.”

“In a suit? In front of your date?”

Cameron’s fists clenched and unclenched, the veins shifting under his skin. “What did you say to him?”

“I don’t completely remember.” The back of his neck burned. “But I gave him some cash.”

“You what?

“You heard me.” Jamie threw his nearly empty drink against the wall. Droplets of soda rained down like black tears.

Do you notice the food an author includes in her stories? Do you think it makes a richer experience for the reader? (I’ll give away a copy of Personal Assets–Texas Nights Book #1 to one commenter!) Also – see the Rafflecopter form below for my Share & Win giveaway!

Kelsey Browning writes sass kickin’ love stories and cozy Southern mysteries. Originally from a Texas town smaller than the ones she writes about, Kelsey has also lived in the Middle East and Los Angeles, proving she’s either adventurous or downright nuts. These days, she hangs out in northeast Georgia with Tech Guy, Smarty Boy, Bad Dog and Pharaoh, a Canine Companions for Independence puppy. She’s currently at work on the next book in her Texas Nights series and The Granny Series. Give her a shout at Kelsey@KelseyBrowning.com or drop by www.KelseyBrowning.com. For info on her upcoming releases, subscribe to her Sass Kickin’ News.

Running the Red Light may be purchased at your favorite book retailer: Carina PressAmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes.


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How Hot is Too Hot?

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Some people like their romance sweet, some readers like the characters to steam up the page. I’ve written a lot of romance, much of it erotic. There’s not a lot of sexual content I shy away from. I’ve published over 50 books and novellas, and each one has had at least a few fairly explicit sex scenes. But what does a writer do when sex just doesn’t fit the book?

In Ashes & Alchemy, I decided not to force it. Even though morals are a little different in my steampunk version of 1960, my hero, Seb, is still a gentleman, through and through. He not only falls in love with Minnie, the heroine, but he also respects her deeply. Minnie, mind you, doesn’t necessarily agree with this waiting business. She’s not an innocent young maiden—she’s a mother, after all. But she’s had a rough life and Seb’s out to prove that he considers her just as special as any diamond-studded debutante. So…no sex until after they’re married.

I had a choice. I could tweak Seb’s character and have him give in. It’s a novella, so it’s not like there’s room for much extraneous fooling around. Or, I could wait until the very end to slip in a little heat. Since I fell so deeply in love with Seb on my own, there was no way I was going to weaken his resolve. In this case, the characters won the battle. Seb and Minnie will have the rest of their lives together to heat up the sheets. I hope my readers aren’t too disappointed they’ll only get a taste.

So tell me, what would you prefer, as a reader or writer? Stick with the author or series’ standard heat level, or follow the characters and the story? I did struggle with this question and would genuinely love to know your opinions, since I’m sure it’ll happen again. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my peek at how the middle class lives in the world of the Gaslight Chronicles.

Ashes & Alchemy
Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance e-Books.

London, 1860
Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes alongside the Order of the Round Table. If his wifeless, childless life feels a little empty sometimes, that’s not too great a price to pay in the name of duty.

Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian’s doorstep. Her daughter Ivy has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness—the same illness, it seems, that’s responsible for taking the lives of many of Ivy’s classmates.

Seb sniffs a case, and taking in Minnie and Ivy seems the only way to protect them while he solves it. But as mother and daughter work their way into his heart and Seb uses every magickal and technological resource he can muster to uncover the source of the deadly plague, it’s he who will need protecting—from emotions he’d thought buried long ago.

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Contest: a Rafflecopter giveaway  Win a custom piece of steampunk jewelry or pocket watch from The Spectra Nova. Enter again by following my Bewitching Book Tour over the next two weeks!

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Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. An award-winning author of 18 novels and more than 30 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, two sons, a granddaughter and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.

Connect with Cindy on Facebook, Twitter, or her website and sign up for her newsletter group!

Secondary Characters Who are Second to None

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Writers are normal people. Well normal except maybe for the voices.  My husband finds  it odd that my characters speak—especially those times I tell him that I sat down to write a scene but the characters were talking so fast I could barely type quickly enough. But my fellow writers out there will know that when that happens. Bliss.resize book photo f150ca3b-4278-4d88-9ca6-3a9cbcd3d1ec_zps551d0bc1.jpg

I guess in order for characters to gain dimension for the reader, they must first become real to us.  So we delve and snoop and research until we get to know these people that inhabit our thoughts. But every so often, there’s a character that seems to stretch, take a breath and just be.

I honestly believe that the magic of writing is when something or someone we’ve created becomes so real that it exists beyond our  imagination. In Journey of Wisdom, Book Three of the Triune Stones, that happened to me with Mohan.

Mohan was only supposed to play a small part in Journey of Dominion (Book Two). He was featured in a simple scene to help me highlight some of Ilythra’s talents, but he had other ideas, and in my opinion, he stole the scene. Not only that, his chemistry with Ilythra was one of those joyful discoveries writers love.  I had intended him to look a little like Brad Pitt circa Legends of the Fall, but he had ideas about that too. He ended up decidedly similar to Johnny Depp. Think The Man Who Cried.

When I sat down to flesh out the rough draft that would become Journey of Wisdom, I really missed Mohan. I thought I’d bring him back for maybe one scene. He wouldn’t leave. His presence not only shaped Journey of Wisdom, but the entire series into avenues I didn’t expect. And for the better.

Mohan is one of the leaders of the Benai, roving entertainers who are known for their slippery morals and quick hands. Ilythra meets him as he’s trying to steal her horse, but for a good cause of course.

In a word, he’s a thief, pickpocket and womanizer. So what do I love about Mohan?  His witty banter? Suave good looks? Skill with a blade? His sex appeal? Yes all of that, but more. His heart is what sets him aside. He would die for Ilythra, and almost does.  His belief in her and what she stands for is without, well, almost without fail. Mohan is, after all, human, and because of this, he does have a few faults. Ilythra wouldn’t be the same Ilythra without Mohan. Their relationship isn’t always smooth. But then with two strong personalities, relationships seldom are. But there is a friendship there you can feel. Besides Ilythra, if I could have one other character at my back, it would be Mohan hands down.

 

Here’s an small taste of Mohan from Journey of Wisdom:

“Can you climb?” Ilythra asked.

“I am a man of many talents. Most of which are sadly going unused.” He raised an eyebrow. “After you, my lady.”

Flipping on her stomach, Ilythra lowered herself down the rock wall. She found a toehold and, trusting her sense of touch, slowly made her way down until she could jump onto solid ground.

Mohan casually leaned against the wall on the road next to her. His lithe body relaxed as though he were standing surrounded by his troupe.

How had he beaten her down? “What are you doing?” Ilythra brushed the dust off her leggings.

“I was enjoying the view.” He winked.

Journey of Wisdom, as well Journey of Awakening and Journey of Dominion, the first two books in The Triune Stones, are available at Carina Press or your  favorite online vendor!

 

In honor of this release, I am giving away a replica of Ewen’s pendant, Ealois. This is the pendant of Wisdom. Perfect for the new year.

 

Click the link below to enter
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The Secrets Characters Keep

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Love Me Not by Reese RyanWe all have secrets. Some are insignificant, even silly. Most entail some level of shame or embarrassment—warranted or not. The secret may be linked to a dark corner of family history, poor choices made in the past, or a deeply hidden desire.

Sometimes, keeping the secret becomes more destructive than any damage that might be caused by its revelation. Such secrets influence the choices we make.

When we meet someone new, especially romantically, we present our best selves. It’s human nature. However, as the relationship develops, the shields come down. Usually this happens slowly, creating the dilemma of what to reveal and when. Because when it comes to secrets and matters of the heart, timing is everything. Reveal too much too soon, and it can destroy the relationship before it begins. Wait too late, and the other party’s trust is completely shattered.

TakeMeHomeInezKelleyCharacters also have secrets—big and small. It’s fascinating to watch those secrets unfold in a story. The revelation of secrets can instantly shift the balance of power and transform the nature of relationships. Friendships and uneasy alliances are forged. Others are shattered. Revealing secrets in an intimate relationship can either bring the couple closer or drive a wedge between them.

Say a character has a huge secret, like Matt Shaw in Inez Kelley’s Take Me Home. When should he reveal his secret? Revealing it at the outset might damage any prospects with the heroine from both a business and romantic aspect. Once a relationship begins, the hero knows he must come clean, but he feels a deep sense of shame in relation to the secret. Has he passed the point of no return? Is it too late to reveal the secret and still salvage their relationship?

Slow Ride Home by Leah BraemelThen there are family secrets and those held by characters other than the hero and heroine, as in Slow Ride Home by Leah Braemel. This steamy contemporary romance served with a heaping side of family drama features the respected ranching family, the Gradys. At the outset of the story the Grady ranch is in jeopardy when a claim is made against it by a rumored, unknown heir. As the hero and heroine try to discover whether this heir is fact or fraud, other secrets begin to unfurl that could either bring them closer together or destroy any possibilities for a second chance at love.

In my latest release, Love Me Not, the painful secrets of the past have taught my heroine, Jamie Charles, not to let anyone too close. So when it comes to relationships, she doesn’t believe in playing for keeps. Yet, Miles Copeland is determined to have her heart. When Jamie is revisited by her past she gets the opportunity to loosen her grip on the painful burden that stands in the way of finding happiness with Miles. But is she prepared to take it?

How do you feel about stories in which secrets are revealed? Share your favorites in the comments, but don’t reveal any spoilers. Then be sure to enter the Love Me Not Blog Tour giveaway below.

The Love Me Not Virtual Book Tour

About the Book

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.

Read an excerpt of Love Me Not.

About the Author

Reese Ryan writes sexy, contemporary fiction filled with colorful characters and sinfully-sweet romance. She secretly enjoys torturing her heroines with family and career drama, reformed bad boys, revealed secrets, and the occasional identity crisis, but always rewards them with a happily ever after. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides in Central North Carolina.

Visit Reese online at ReeseRyan.com. Follow her on Twitter @ReeseRyanWrites. Connect with her on Facebook or Goodreads.

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The Path to The Furnace by Timothy S. Johnston

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TSJ, 2013

Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries inspired me to write The Furnace. It may sound bizarre, but there’s something calmly comforting to me about a secluded and claustrophobic location, a small cast of characters complete with one investigator and one killer, a rising body count, extreme paranoia, and a setting that will surely kill if any one of the characters tries to leave. That being said, it wasn’t enough for me to just write a mystery of this type. Instead I wanted to transform it into “techno-thriller” status. That is to say, I wanted to incorporate a scientific plot line into the actual murder. It had to be something that the protagonist had to uncover and understand in order to solve the mystery. Michael Crichton is another inspiration for me, and so it could be said that The Furnace is “Agatha Christie meets Isaac Asimov with added Crichton for flavoring.” (In fact, that quote is from eBookanoid.com’s review. And yes, that was extremely gratifying for me to read—to know that someone got it.)

However, before I wrote the book, I had to decide on a location. I knew that, once I’d settled on the science behind the murder, the setting was key. It had to be hostile. Since the investigator was going to find himself behind the eight ball from the second he arrives at the station where the murder occurs, I wanted an environment that mirrored the mystery’s tension. There have been many settings used for books of this type—snow storms (The Mousetrap by Christie), small secluded islands (And Then There Were None by Christie) and a variety of remote places like cabins in the woods—but I wanted a unique and dangerous location appropriate for my techno-thriller.

I settled on the sun.

A space station in close orbit around the sun, to be precise.

The techno-thriller nature of the book allowed me to use a location like this. It’s a futuristic thriller, after all, and this opened up a myriad of options for me.

But why the sun?

I wanted the investigator, Kyle Tanner, to be on his heels and reeling from the hostile situation. He had to be the target of people’s scorn from the second he arrives. His very presence needed to cause friction among the station’s personnel, and I knew this would ramp up the page-turner aspect of the novel. Also, the heat of the sun increases the tension of the investigation. In a big way, this mission is a descent into hell.

The Furnace  is a murder mystery with a scientific plot element that the investigator must solve in order to survive. The environment created an intensely dangerous situation for the characters, and the paranoia as the story unfolds is palpable.

An Excerpt of The Furnace by Timothy S. Johnston:

“What are your procedures for a situation like this?” the Captain asked in a whisper.

“Truthfully? I’ve never been in one.”
“Never?” He was incredulous.
“Usually I chase a killer when they have a place to run. I’ve never backed one into a corner like this and not known who it is. Most often they make a mistake and I make a capture. In this situation, who knows what he’ll do? His behavior is escalating, there’s no doubt of that.”
“Why do you think he’s killing?”
I frowned. “I don’t think it’s random. There’s more going on here than three murders.”
A heartbeat, and then, “What do you mean?”
“I can’t tell you until I know everything. But there is definitely a reason for the killer’s method.”
He grew furious. “This is my station, Tanner. I demand to know —”
“I can’t tell you. It’s as simple as that.”
“Why? Because the Council sent you? Because you’re the best at this job?”
“Because frankly, Captain, you could be the killer.”
He looked down and saw my hand on my pistol. His jaw dropped. “You’re serious.”
“Absolutely.”

Thanks for joining me today to discuss this type of murder mystery. I’d like to leave you with a question: Why do you think these types of mysteries appeal to us? Why are we attracted to the murder of innocents and the resulting investigation (a “procedural”) to uncover the killer?

Thanks for spending your time with me today.

Timothy S. Johnston
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(Giveaway contest details below)

 

The Furnace by Timothy S. Johnston Back Cover Copy

Dead Space, 2401 AD

Kyle Tanner is about to die. Alone, floating in a vacsuit only a few million kilometers from a massive, uncaring sun, he has barely enough time or juice to get out a distress signal before either his oxygen runs out or he succumbs to the radiation.

When the CCF sent investigator Kyle Tanner to SOLEX One, a solar energy harvester past Mercury, he thought it would be an open-and-shut murder case. A crew member was found dead, minus his head and hands. Not the worst Tanner has ever seen, but the deeper he delves, the more nightmarish it becomes. A shadowy figure, bleeding from his hands, assaults Tanner in his quarters. Then two more turn up dead, missing their heads and hands as well.

With no one to trust and everyone a suspect—even the intriguing chief engineer, Shaheen—Tanner must navigate a crew on the brink of madness to uncover a conspiracy that could threaten the whole of the human race. Even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice…

 

Giveaway

I’m hosting a giveaway of The Furnace by Timothy S. Johnston during my blog afternoon on December 24! From 3:15 to 5:15 PM, email me at  tsj@timothysjohnston.com using “Carina Giveaway” as the subject heading.  Specify the format you’d prefer (.mobi or .epub). I’ll email the winner.

 

Timothy S. Johnston’s Bio

Timothy S. Johnston is a lifelong fan of techno-thrillers and science-fiction thrillers in both print and film. His greatest desire is to contribute to the genre which has given him so much over the past four decades. He lives on planet Earth, but he dreams of the stars.

Connect with Timothy on Twitter, Facebook, and his website (which includes reviews of The Furnace)!

****-Me Pumps, A Behind the Scenes Look at Shoes and Toys in “The Dom Project”

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Hi, I’m Heloise Belleau! Today on the Carina blog, I’ll be talking . . . shoes! Coming from a background writing M/M, I was jumping at the chance to write a sexy and sexual heroine–especially her fashions! It was part satisfying to my Barbie-doll-dressing-up childhood self, and part to my attracted-to-well-dressed-women adult self. One thing I particularly enjoyed was picking out her shoes for every scene, whether we ultimately described them or not. Robin uses shoes as a source of sexual confidence, as a form of self-expression, and even to give her a boost in her professional life. Of course she has a varied collection, and as a penniless writer myself, I had a great time vicariously shopping for designer shoes.

Today, I’d like to share with you all a few links from my list of “visual references”, also known as “shoes I wish I could own”.

Let’s start with the basic day-to-day look. Robin’s short and self-conscious about it, so her shoe of choice for work is something classic, neutral . . . and with a hidden platform, like these Prada shoes.

When she heads to the BDSM club Miss Kitty’s, she tells her blog followers to look for “the petite sub in Louboutins.” Maybe these? They certainly do fit the bill for couture-meets-kink!

And for one of her sessions with John, a scene with a decidedly “red” feel from Robin’s lingerie right down to the toys they play with (those last two links NSFW!), there’s nothing sexier than this pair of shiny, mouth-wateringly candy apple red pumps. Don’t those metallic spike heels just add the right amount of edge? These definitely aren’t wholesome ruby slippers.

Dressed in vintage style for a sex party wearing a long string of vintage pearls, she opts for this pair of “understated” pink kate spade new york pumps. Yeah, “understated”, okay Robin. ;)

One of our goals writing The Dom Project was to write a heroine we’d like to read about–one we really respected and empathized with. So while Robin is a fashionista, and a submissive, she’s so much more, too: she’s a respected, driven professional. She’s type-A and brainy, but her best friend is a tech-geek slacker who’d rather watch old movies than spend a moment in a library. She loves clothes, but she edits her collections so she never needs a walk-in closet. She knows what she wants sexually, but she’s having a hell of a time finding it. She’s not an ideal heroine or an ideal submissive . . . but she does have the ideal shoe collection. Well, we’ve all got something.

What about you? Does a heroine’s fashion choices add to the fantasy and the wish-fulfillment . . . or is it just a silly, materialistic distraction from what matters? Any well dressed heroines or heroes you’ve enjoyed in romance or elsewhere? Got a pair of shoes you dream about but are way too expensive to ever own? Tell us all about it!

The Dom Project is a friends-to-lovers BDSM and is out December 23rd from Carina Press and all your favorite e-tailers. And be sure to check out its sequel, The Submission Gift by Solace Ames, coming out next year from Carina!

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…

For more erotic romance, visit Solace Ames and Heloise Belleau online!

A simple grey pearl necklace plays a large role in the story, and in Robin and John’s relationship. Enter our giveaway to win this baroque grey pearl set! The necklace length is 17″ while the bracelet measures 7.5″.  Both pieces close with a sterling silver lobster claw and eyelet.

Just click the link below for instructions on how to enter.

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Get Your Geek On!

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Lexi Carmichael, geek girl extraordinaire, is back and this time she’s going to Rome! For those of you not familiar with the series, Lexi is a geek first-class—a gamer, hacker, book nerd and fangirl who double-majored in mathematics and computer science, and has zero social skills. Her day job for a hot new cyber-intelligence firm has landed her an exciting case on behalf of the sexiest überhacker in the universe, code-named Slash.

Slash’s uncle in Rome has been accused of siphoning money from the Vatican Bank and it’s up to Lexi to hunt the hacker and clear his name. There’s only one problem: Someone doesn’t want Lexi messing up their grand plans, meaning she may be the next target. Suddenly she’s on the lam in Italy with the sexiest guy she’s ever met, and his interest in her seems more than friendly. How’s a geek girl to know for sure?

Now all she has to do is find the hacker while figuring out how to handle Slash, if that’s even possible. Between Slash’s hilarious grandmother, a strange cat, a handsome guy from the Pope’s private Swiss Guard, and a curvaceous Italian agent who has the hots for Slash, things get a bit crazy. When the trail leads Lexi to the secret Vatican archives, she realizes there is a lot more at stake than just money. She’ll be lucky to get out of Rome alive.

Here is a short excerpt from the book:

I’ve loved listening to music since I was a little girl. Not because I’m musically gifted, but because notes, themes, chords and tempo all have an intrinsic mathematical logic that speaks to me. After all, music is defined by its numeric divisions, such as a beat, a measure or a bar. Musical scales are actually harmonics based on the numerical ratios present in the Fibonacci series, which are a sequence of integers beginning at zero and one and continuing with each new number being the sum of the previous two.

I know all of this because I’m a geek first-class. My name is Lexi Carmichael and I’m a mild-mannered twenty-five-year old who, thankfully for music aficionados, is not employed in any part of the music industry. By day, I work as the Director of Information Security at a hot new cyber-intelligence firm just outside of Washington, D.C. By night, I’m a gamer, book nerd and fangirl (Bond, Star Wars, Dr. Who, Lord of the Rings). I’ve got long brown hair, no discernible curves and zip in the social skills department. I double-majored in mathematics and computer science at Georgetown University with a specialty in cybersecurity. Ask me to talk about a rigorous axiomatic framework or computational complexity theory, and I’m all over it. Ask me to make small talk and I’ll imagine myself jumping off a bridge.

I love writing about Lexi, her friends and their adventures! Who knew geeks could be so much fun? If you’d like to read NO PLACE LIKE ROME you can download from Carina Press, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble, and wherever ebooks are sold! NO PLACE LIKE ROME is also an audio book. Click HERE to download or hear a sample.

Haven’t tried a Lexi Carmichael adventure yet? Well, you’re in luck! The first book in the series NO ONE LIVES TWICE, is now available everywhere ebooks are sold for ***FREE***. But hurry, this offer ends on November 30!

If you’d like to download NO ONE LIVES TWICE from Carina Press, click HERE.

Thanks to everyone for getting geeky with me! I appreciate you stopping by. Just for commenting on this blog, I’ll enter you in a random drawing to ****WIN*** any book of mine (paperback or ebook of your choice—check out my books on my website) and some geeky swag to go with it!

Feel free to drop me a line at my website, my Facebook page (and don’t forget to “like” me, please), or on Twitter. I really enjoy chatting with readers, writers, and random people!  :)

Julie Moffett is a bestselling and award-winning author who writes in the genres of mystery, historical romance and paranormal romance. Learn more about Julie and her books on Facebook, Twitter and her website. She has won numerous awards, including the EPIC 2011 Award for Best Action/Adventure Novel, PRISM Award for Best Romantic Time-Travel and Best of the Best Paranormal Books of 2002. She has also garnered several nominations for the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Holt Medallion and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.                                                                                                                                                                    

 

 

Let’s Talk It Over

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I once offered to babysit for a friend while she went out on a date with her husband, where they could sit and talk over good food and good wine.

Her response was: we’d have nothing to talk about. 

Yeah, it surprised me, too, particularly as I remembered this couple as being really good friends before they married. Now they barely speak to each other. I noticed that those of my friends and family who had recently separated or divorced had a similar cry – we didn’t/couldn’t talk or agree anymore.

This concept, this lack in effective communication, inspired For Her Eyes Only’. Vicky and Ryan are used to talking, to sharing – but not the important stuff, and that’s lead to a lot of assumptions, and consequently actions and reactions that have created pain and anger, resulting in a deep chasm between the two.

My hero and heroine, Ryan and Vicky, are old friends, and we’ve met them in previous novels in the McCormack Security Agency series. I love these guys – they’re sassy, they’re sexy – and they can be so very good for each other, and yet so very wrong. Here’s a blurb on the book:
For Her Eyes Only photo Carina_1113_9781426897313_ForHerEyesOnly.jpg
Ryan Brennan has worked plenty of jobs for the McCormack Security Agency, so going undercover at a couples resort to identify a pair of killers should be easy. Except his assigned partner—uh, “wife”—is Vicky Hastings. It takes all his willpower to keep their relationship professional, even when they’re not sharing a secluded cabin.

Finally out from behind her desk, Vicky can’t wait to prove herself in the field. But with Ryan? Their office flirtation cooled when he turned her down after a scorching kiss at the office Christmas party. Working together while sharing close quarters certainly isn’t making it easy for her to stop thinking about him.

 After a series of escalating “accidents,” including Vicky’s near-fatal fall from a tampered bridge, the two have to work together to wrap up this case fast, before more than hearts get broken.

I like to really test my characters, so my first thought was – what kind of undercover situation would be absolute hell for Vicky and Ryan? It didn’t take long to come up with a couples counselling retreat, where every attendee is not only completely dysfunctional in their own relationship, but also a suspected killer.

Conversely, I also had a culprit couple, which was a first for me (and many thanks to Dr. John Barletta for insight into the twisted psyche of a killer couple). Unlike Vicky and Ryan, this couple are totally in sync. They know each other so well, they know how the other thinks, they can anticipate the other’s action, and they provide support for each other. The problem is, they can’t really interact nicely with society on account of all the killing they do together. You know that old chestnut, a couple who kills together, stays together…so how is it that this psychotic couple can triumph where my heroic couple flounder?

I talked to a few relationship counsellors for research for this book, and one resounding element for strengthening a relationship that came out of the research is not just the ability to ‘talk it over’ with your partner, but the ability to actively listen, and then empathise – and how a regular date night can be so very important for reviving a relationship.

I’m the first person to recommend ‘me’ time to my friends and readers, that time where you can do something for YOU, spoil yourself, pamper yourself, take the time out to focus on YOU. In this case, I’m recommending ‘US’ time. Time to focus on you AND your partner, to pamper, refresh and relax as a couple.

Giveaway alert!
What would be your favourite date night? What have you found works well with reconnecting with your partner? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment to enter the draw for a chance to win one of two copies of my new book, For Her Eyes Only, and a special, limited edition  ‘For Her Eyes Only’ Date Night Have-A-Chat conversation starter kit!

If you can’t wait for the announcement, you can get your own copy of ‘For Her Eyes Only’ here.

I love to hear from my readers, so please feel free to get in touch with me:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Shannon.Curtis.Writers.Ink

Twitter: https://twitter.com/2BShannonCurtis – or follow @2BShannonCurtis

Website: http://www.shannoncurtis.com/

Blog: http://shannoncurtis.wordpress.com/

Throwback Thursday–Hold Me

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Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we highlight one Carina Press backlist title we think you should check out! Each week we’ll choose one book (published at least one year ago) to feature and give away!

This post was written by Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, Carina Press

I knew when I first read the submission that this was a book I had to work with. The heroine, Katie, is so funny and witty that she drew me in immediately, from the opening pages where she catches her fiancé cheating on her and kinda…snaps. She has quite the mouth on her and gets herself into trouble because of it. I laughed my way through the story.

I also swooned. Oh man, there’s such delicious sexual tension between Katie and Lucas. And he is so. Dang. Hot. Finding out about Luc and Katie’s history added a layer of depth that made me girl-sigh. He’s so protective of her, and I was rooting for them to work through everything for that happily ever after ending we love in romance. This story delivers the goods and left me with a satisfied smile when I finished it.

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Katie McCabe’s life is going nowhere fast when FBI Special Agent Lucas Vasco jumps into her car at an intersection. Luc, his undercover guise blown, is on the run from the Mafia and expects to be killed at any moment. What he doesn’t plan on is finding himself attracted to the firecracker beside him. He feels compelled to protect her when her life is threatened, and insists she stay with him for her own safety.

After learning she has become the target of a psychotic hit man, Katie is whisked off to Luc’s house to hide. Once there, she’s shocked to discover that she and Luc have an unexpected connection–a connection Luc already knew existed, but withheld. Will their intense attraction reach flashpoint despite their misunderstandings and the pain of the past?

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Comment below to win an epub copy of Hold Me!*

*small print: Contest closes 11:59 EST Thursday, September 26. North America only. Winner will be chosen at random.

Throwback Thursday–Dark Vow

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Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where we highlight one Carina Press backlist title we think you should check out! Each week we’ll choose one book (published at least one year ago) to feature and give away!

Today’s post was written by Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, Carina Press

“A western with a magical bent, Dark Vow‘s aim is true.” —RT Book Reviews, Top Pick

Within the first few pages of picking up this western fantasy submission, I knew I was going to acquire it. I love the tone, the richly rendered setting, the heroine, Jaines, who’s on a quest for vengeance against the sinister man who murdered her husband. This story knocked me off my feet. To be only 65,000 words, it has the feel of a longer novel because of how intricate and well-developed the author’s world is. And yet, when I reached the end, I wanted more.

Obsidian, the hero, is flawed, sexy and so interesting. I love the way these two damaged characters begin to open up to each other, to fall in love—the romantic arc’s pace is perfect. Their quest evolves and becomes bigger than their own personal grievances. Simply put, this story has everything I love in romance—a strong narrative, fascinating characters and a romance that hooks me.

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Jaines Cord plans to kill the man who murdered her husband, even though killing a Bounty Hunter is said to be impossible. One bullet took away her livelihood, her home and her love. One bullet made by her. Fired from the gun she completed for the Arcane Bounty Hunter.

Obsidian wears the scars of disobeying the powerful Arcane Union. He barely escaped with his life and now lives quietly, in a town the lawmen forgot. When Jaines arrives asking too many questions, he’s faced with a decision. Help her or run…again. Obsidian knows that if he flees he’ll always be looking over his shoulder. His name is one of the first on the Bounty Hunter’s death list.

Yet when Obsidian is offered an opportunity to stop the stone taking over his body in exchange for retrieving the gun, he asks Jaines for her help. Now Jaines must choose: a dead man’s vengeance or a living man’s hope?

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Comment below to win an epub copy of Dark Vow!*

*small print: Contest closes 11:59 EST Thursday, September 19. North America only. Winner will be chosen at random. Full rules here.