Holiday Travel Survival Guide from the Carina Press Team

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While we at Carina Press are wrapping up 2014 in a nice and tidy bow before the holidays start, we haven’t quite talked about the amazing, crazy and sometimes challenging period called “Holiday Travel Season”.

Our fearless leader, Angela James, has documented proof that the very best planned itineraries don’t often go smoothly.

So what do you do to maintain your holiday cheer in the midst of travel delays? Or how do you ensure road trips don’t get sidelined? Here are some tips from the Carina Press team (a.k.a. your holiday travel experts) to help survive the season!

“Put any liquids in Ziplock bags – spills in suitcases happen!” – Amy Loosemore (@amy_loosemore), new homeowner and packing expert!

“Wear festive gear if you can get away with it. Last year, a reindeer headband got me a business upgrade for free!” – Patty Anasco (@pattyanasco), holiday cheer-leader

“If travelling by car, assume the trip will take twice as long as you think, due to weather and/or traffic. Plan to leave early and kill time sightseeing if necessary.” – Jenny Bullough (@jennybullough), road warrior

“(For airport delays) Make sure you talk to a rep and be super nice and see if you can get a free hotel stay or free meal vouchers. Oh and make sure your Kindle/ebook reader is fully loaded with books beforehand.” – Carly Chow (@carly_chow), world traveler

And speaking of books, heed Carly’s advice and make sure you plan ahead for your holiday reads starting today! Here are a few recommendations to keep you entertained on that trip back home:

  1. The Season for Love: A Shannon Stacey Holiday Box Set – Three holiday themed stories to keep you in the spirit of the season during your travels. Only $0.99 until January 2, 2015!!
  2. A Christmas Reunion by Susanna Fraser – A romance set in regency England, Susanna Fraser tells us about a romance between a soldier of the British Army and a lady engaged to someone else. It’s a compelling read even while under an airline blanket.
  3. All I’m Asking For: A Contemporary Christmas Anthology featuring stories by Christi Barth, Brighton Walsh and Kat Latham – Last year’s anthology will warm your heart wherever you are.

We’re sending positive vibes that your holiday travel is on schedule and filled with free meals and seat upgrades! And may your road trips be filled with scenic routes and open highways!

Now it’s over to you, dear reader. What are the best holiday travel tips you’ve received?

Carina Press Team Share Their Favorite Holiday Moments

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The holiday season is upon us, and what better what to spend the festive season than doing the things we love with those we care about. The Carina Press team has come together to share some of their favorite holiday moments.


 

Angela James, Editorial Director, Carina Press

2012-12-25 10.34.42 I like presents as much as the next girl, but my absolute favorite part of the holidays is the traditions we’ve established since my now 10-year-old daughter was 3. For the past seven years, we’ve created traditions that she already loves and enjoys every year. On Christmas Eve, we all go as a family to a nearby town and ride the “train” through the park, where a giant light display is set up. From there, we go out to dinner as a family, then sprinkle reindeer food on the front lawn for Santa’s reindeer (recipe here) and put out milk and cookies and a letter to Santa. Every year, my daughter and I wear matching Christmas pajamas to bed and then wear them when we open our stockings and gifts on Christmas Day! On Christmas morning, we have homemade monkey bread and mimosas (for the adults), open gifts, and then play board games together in the evening, after a special dinner of prime rib.  I love our traditions!

 

Kerri Buckley, Senior Editor, Carina Press

My college friends and I do  a crafty Christmas, meaning we exchange only handmade gifts. Always on “Friends Christmas Morning,” always the day after a massive rager of a holiday party in NYC.

It’s highly secretive and usually one concept per person, produced on a small scale. In other words, everyone makes one craft and makes enough for everyone. The circle has grown to include spouses and kids, as you do, but we’ve been going strong with this since 2004. It’s always a lot of work, sometimes a hysterical misfire, but usually just a really good time with a lot of thought behind it.

Ana Luxton, Marketing Director, Single Titles

ana holidayMy favorite part of the holiday season is the tradition of St. Nicholas. In Many European countries, on the night of December 5th kids shine up their boots and leave them by the front door for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts and treats overnight. At the same time, he checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful over the last year. If they were not, St. Nicholas will have a tree branch in their boots instead. My husband and I have started this tradition with our kids and I love seeing how excited they get and how seriously they take it.

 

Heather Goldberg, Marketing Coordinator, Carina Press

ChanukahThough I don’t celebrate Christmas, few things get me in the holiday spirit as much as the first playing of Josh Groban’s Drummer Boy. I reserve listening to this until that first day when it’s so cold that there’s no denying that winter is on its way.

My favorite Chanukah moments are gathering with loved ones to light the chanukiya, followed by eating crispy latkes and sweet soufganiyot.

 

 

Alissa Davis, Freelance Editor

101My favorite part of the holidays is when my little girl and my husband dance together in our local production of The Nutcracker. Last year, when Virginia turned four and was finally old enough to get cast as a party guest, my husband agreed to play Drosselmeier. Virginia strutted around like a peacock in her party dress, telling all of the big girls that Herr Drosselmeier was really her daddy. When the holidays rolled around this year, Virginia was quick to inform Jeff that this was their holiday tradition and that he had to be Drosselmeier again. I suspect he’s stuck in the role until Virginia graduates from high school, so it’s lucky that he’s both a good sport and a daddy who really does enjoy dancing with his little girl.

 

 

Jenny Bullough, Manager, Digital Assets

There’s a word in Danish, hygge, (pronounced like an old-timey car horn sound), that has no direct English translation but that succinctly sums up everything I love about the holiday season. Put simply, hygge is the warm, cozy feeling of being surrounded by loved ones enjoying good food and drink and conversation. During the parts of the holiday season that are stressful – shopping in crowded malls, driving in bad weather – I look forward to the times that will be hygge: Christmas dinner at my mom’s, cuddling up with my kids on the couch watching classic holiday movies, having hot cocoa after playing in the snow.

 

Malle Vallik, Editorial Director, Author Engagement

My favorite part of the holiday season are gingerbread cookies. My mother did not bake but she made these every year and despite the fact that they were usually burned, I liked them. True story: my mother heard this weird noise in the house in my brother’s room (he was about 7). She investigated but didn’t see him in the bedroom, then she heard the loud sound again coming from the closet. She found him inside, with a glass of milk, hammering her cookies into smaller pieces to eat. Yes, the cookies were that hard.

 

Brendan Flattery, Assistant Manager, Digital Commerce

My favorite part of the holidays is breakfast on Christmas morning. Every year we slowly rouse, open a few gifts then make crepes with fresh fruit, freshly whipped cream, chocolate and other delicious toppings, enjoy Bailey’s in our coffee and/or a mimosa (or two!), and generally relax before opening the rest of the gifts. Spending time with the people I love, truly enjoying our holiday from work and the day-to-day, and eating/drinking our favorite things.

 

Patty Anasco, Assistant Manager, Website Operations

Gingerbread022The Digital team runs a gingerbread house competition each year. These have been the highlight of my time at Harlequin and honestly, it gets more fun every year! The other competitors get really into it so we constantly have to up our game…and this year is no different!

Watch for Patty’s monthly blog posts that will take you behind-the-scenes of day-to-day operations at Carina Press, starting in January.

 

Jennifer Gould, Designer

My favourite part of the holiday season is watching ‘A Christmas Story’. It is a hilarious tradition that we have kept up every single year since its 1983 release in the theatres.


From all of us to all of you, we wish you and yours all the best for a happy and healthy season of celebration and a wonderful year ahead. 

 

Favorite Part of the Holidays

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By Shannon Stacey and Jaci Burton

The backstory… When asked to do a joint blog post about our favorite holiday things, Jaci and I agreed. We diligently added it to our calendars and I set up a reminder on my phone, imagining a work session involving a Word document and possibly bullet points. But, as best friends, Jaci and I have chatted every morning with Messenger and coffee for years, so it simply became a conversation. —Shannon

The following conversation takes place between 10:00am and 11:00am… cue ominous clock sound.(Sorry. Jaci and I are both 24 fans, too, which has nothing to do with the holidays.)

Jaci:  So hey, Shan, it’s the holiday season. Is your tree up yet?

Shannon:  Not yet. We have a fake tree and it’s stored in the basement. I was thinking of just throwing some decorations on it and we can have Christmas morning in the cellar this year.

Jaci:  Sounds good to me. Since our kids are grown and gone, we have a one foot Christmas tree with fiber optic lights. And three ornaments. It’s worse than a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but hey, it works for us. But it plays music! Bonus points for that, right?

Shannon: Of course! I would have to hack into it so it plays Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” over and over and over and over.

Jaci: As long as we can also add Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” to the loop. Sorry, I’m a traditionalist

Shannon:  Okay, so our favorite things about the holiday season…mine’s the food. It’s always the food.

Jaci:  I love holiday food. Turkey and dressing, of course. I can’t seem to get enough of it this time of year. And I love rum balls during the holidays. My favorite, though, has to be pie. Every year I make a chocolate cream pie and a coconut cream pie, recipes from my mother-in-law, who made the best pies ever. What’s your favorite holiday food?

Shannon:  It’s no secret I can’t really cook. And by “can’t really”, I mean not at all. But I do have three fun, very-bad-for-you dishes I only make for the holidays. Cracker Candy, using the recipe from our editor, Angela James, is a huge hit with my family. And we all gather for a Christmas morning breakfast, to which I bring Sausage Balls (also one of Angie’s recipes) and Crack Potatoes. They started as a way to make sure I got a delicious (naughty) Christmas breakfast despite my egg allergy and have become my “signature dishes”. (People who know me well just snickered.)

Jaci:  I also make cracker candy and sausage balls. Yummy stuff. Clearly, we both like food during the holidays.

Shannon:  I also love presents, but I don’t love wrapping them. Gifts from me tend to look like they were wrapped by drunken elves and the recipients have to gnaw their way through the excess tape. What about you?

Jaci:  I love buying gifts during the holiday season. It gives me such joy, though I think the UPS man hates me the entire month of December because boxes come to my house every day. Though really, shouldn’t he be enjoying those overtime paychecks? But wrapping. Oh, I hate the wrapping. Gift bags are your friend, Shan.

Shannon:  My UPS guy actually asked me one year if I could make lists and shop once a week instead of making him stop by every day in December.

Jaci: Hahaha. Poor UPS men. I feel kind of bad for them in December.

9781426898969_p0_v14_s260x420Intermission:  About five minutes of Shannon watching an old repeat of Keeping Up With the Kardashians while Jaci chats with her son on the phone. Then more minutes of talking about our kids while Shannon thinks about the slice of leftover pizza in the fridge.

Shannon:  Okay. One of the best parts of the holidays is, of course, holiday romances! Have you read your first one yet?

Jaci:  The first holiday romance I read was yours, actually. I loved Her Holiday Man. It was sweet and emotional and really tugged at my heartstrings. The story between Christina and Will—the hardships they both faced in life and how they fought through them together, was the perfect touch of tender, heartbreaking emotion and uplifting romance. I loved it.

Shannon:  Aww, thank you. (I inserted the little emoticon guy who’s crying into the conversation here, and then we commented on the fact he looks like he has a runny nose, which is a little gross.) I have your Holiday On Ice ready to read, but my first holiday read of 2014 was The Twelve Nights of Christmas, a Harlequin Presents by Sarah Morgan I somehow missed in 2010. So recommended! And, speaking of holiday reads, we both have a box set of holiday novellas this year. Tell me about yours!

Jaci:  I know, how exciting is that? My Kent Brothers Trilogy is now available as a boxed set. Three brothers, three holiday novellas, all together in one easy-to-buy boxed set. What about yours?

Shannon:  I love connected novellas, and I loved your Kent Brothers, so everybody should grab that boxed set if they haven’t! Mine is The Season For Love: A Shannon Stacey Holiday Box Set and has “Holiday Sparks”, “Mistletoe and Margaritas”, and “Snowbound With The CEO”. My novellas each stand alone, but they’re all fun Christmas romances.

Jaci:  Okay, I have to go let the dogs out–Hey, now that we’re totally in the holiday spirit, we should put antlers on our dogs. Or no?

Shannon:  Yes! I’m going to add Christmas dog antlers to my shopping list right now. (Poor UPS guy.) I’ll skip the cat antlers, though. They have no sense of humor.

9781426899355_p0_v3_s260x420 9781426895685_p0_v1_s260x420

About the authors:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Jaci Burton and Shannon Stacey would probably get more done if they spent less time talking to each other, but good friends are a precious gift, especially during the holiday season.

Jaci’s Website/Twitter/Facebook

Shannon’s Website/Twitter/Facebook

Submissions Call/ Freelance Editor Alissa Davis Wants Your LGBT Romance!

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Dear Authors,

I’m Alissa Davis, one of Carina’s freelance editors, and I live in Mississippi, where U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves has overturned the state’s gay marriage ban. Hooray! The state will appeal this decision, but I still want to celebrate. To that end, the first fifteen authors who submit LGBT romance to my attention at Carina Press will receive personal feedback from me. From those fifteen, I will select one author/manuscript to receive personal feedback AND a ten-minute phone convo with yours truly.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. (Yup, even celebrations have rules.)

* Your manuscript must be a romance and it must meet the Carina Press submissions guidelines: http://carinapress.com/blog/submission-guidelines/

* The main characters must be LGBT and the story needs to end with them getting an awesome HEA.

* I’m happy to see any heat level and any Romance sub-genre–New Adult, Historical, Erotic, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, etc.

* Only the first fifteen submissions will receive personal feedback, but I will evaluate all submissions directed to my attention. I’m always looking for more great LGBT romance to add to my list!

* The authors of the first fifteen submissions will receive a response letting them know they will be receiving feedback. All authors will receive an automated response acknowledging receipt.

* Manuscripts must be submitted by 1/10/15 to be considered for this opportunity.

* I will provide the feedback via email by 2/1/15, at which point one author will receive an email to set up our phone call.

* Please upload manuscripts to Submittable HERE

* Submitting and receiving feedback does not guarantee acquisition by Carina Press.

Even if you don’t have a manuscript to submit, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this wonderful first step on the path to bringing marriage equality to all Mississippians. If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is.

Alissa Davis

Freelance Editor, Carina Press

How to Have Fun During the Apocalypse

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By Anne Tibbets, author of THE LINE BOOK TWO: WALLED

When faced with the end of the world, remember, it’s not doom and gloom all of the time. When the police force is in chaos, and riots riddle the streets and scores of unsettled citizens attack one another, it’s the perfect opportunity to do some light “shopping.”

You’ll find scads of storefronts, shops, and food carts are either abandoned, or insufficiently guarded, and steals are ripe for the picking! Help yourself, by all means. The owners aren’t going to need the merchandise anymore, not where they’re going, so help yourself. You know what I always say: if it’s not nailed down, it’s mine.

Another fun-time Armageddon activity is touring the wonders of your post-apocalyptic world. Can you say “vacation?” Now’s the perfect time to see the other sectors of your heavily-guarded, militarized and oppressive hometown. Yes, breach those borders and do some sight-seeing! Nothing says “fun” like rushing the gates and mobbing the confused border patrol so you can see another run-down, dilapidated part of your dystopian society. Sounds like a party to me!

Lastly, for some great apocalyptic excitement I recommend spending time with your loved ones. Nothing says family togetherness like a pilgrimage to a new territory, especially when the old one is burning to the ground! Pack light, wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring a weapon to defend yourself against marauding crowds – but most importantly take the opportunity to share your feelings with your husband and kids, because truthfully, there may not be a tomorrow! Literally.

Please remember, the end of the world doesn’t have to be a total drag! You know that saying? “Yolo?” Well, now’s your chance to finish that Bucket List. You have 24 hours to make it happen!

I believe in you.

9781426899294-COVFreedom means making brutal choices.

Rebel lovers Naya and Ric have survived one year in hiding, raising Naya’s twins from infants to toddlers in the shadow of the brutal Auberge dictatorship. They’re alive, and they’re together, but the city is crumbling around them and the haunting memory of Naya’s dark days on The Line have never fully left them. Living in isolation won’t be an option forever.

When a mysterious revolutionary seeks their help to infiltrate Auberge’s electronic heart and shut it down, it’s an opportunity—it’s risky, yes, but if it works they’ll get out of the city and taste freedom for the first time. Naya needs this. They need this.

Beyond the broken walls of Auberge, Naya and Ric find the paradise they’ve always longed for. But with anarchy reigning and Naya’s children lost amidst the chaos, they’ll need to forfeit their post-apocalyptic Eden…or commit an unspeakable act.

ATibbetsauthorpic3Anne Tibbets lives in Los Angeles-ish with her family and homicidal pets. You can find more of her sarcasm on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

What We Want—Erotic Romance!

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Going Under Sharp Love Shattered Bonds Of Shadows and Ash

We’re always on the lookout for fresh new voices in erotic romance. Erotic romance is wonderfully varied; see the above examples for some of Carina’s stellar offerings. Here are some specific types of stories our editors are looking for:

Angela James, Editorial Director, is looking to acquire a dark erotic thriller that pushes the edges of exploring forced seduction, fantasy and eroticism.

Kerri Buckley, Senior Editor, would like to see:

  • Fantasies of control, set outside of the BDSM club world
  • Erotic romances that revisit the same sequence of events from alternating h/h POVs. Think Showtime’s The Affair.
  • Dark, erotic romantic thrillers with an underlying sense of real danger and/or suspense.

Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, would like to see:

  • Hot historical romances, sexy dark gothic romances (historical or contemporary), and romances featuring first responders or military; people of color/multicultural & LGBT welcome!

Deborah Nemeth, Freelance Editor, would like to see:

  • Erotic romance with couples who are in competition or have hidden agendas, and who work out trust issues while pursuing a physical relationship. 

  • Historical erotic romance, especially Victorian, Regency, Tudor, Georgian, Edwardian and Jazz Age.

  • Multicultural/interracial erotic romance, including historical, contemporary, NA or m/m. An erotic NA Bollywood romance would be right up my alley.

Submit your erotic romance to Carina Press now, right here!

Nothing Says Love Like…SPAM?

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By Kelsey Browning, author of DESIGNED FOR LOVE

I’ve chatted about food here on the Carina Press blog before because I’m incapable of writing a book without food popping up again and again. Can you tell I’m from the South?. And since the Texas Nights series is—sadly—coming to a close Designed for Love, this is the perfect time to recap what I consider the most important food in each of the four books and leave you with a recipe for one of my dad’s all-time favorite meals (bless his heart).

Personal Assets – There are tons of food mentions in the first book since the hero’s mom is a fabulous baker. But what causes the most brouhaha is when Cameron accuses the heroine, Allie, of conspiring with his mother to bake cookies in the shape of a guy’s goods. :-)

Running the Red Light – The heroine, Roxanne, is a major fan of pie. She’s pretty much an equal opportunity pie consumer, but the Butterfinger™ pie that Jamie brings her one night? Oh, that’s a foodgasm on a fork!

Problems in Paradise – Since the heroine, Eden Durant, owns a café, it’s not surprising food plays a major role in this book. Although Eden cooks healthy organic dishes, Beck prefers to stuff his face with junk food. In order to convince Eden to go out with him, she insists that he give up his SlimJim habit. And that, my friends, is a real sacrifice for this guy.

Designed for Love – Although beer weenies and chocolate-covered cherries do appear in this story, SPAM is the real culinary star. I don’t want to ruin the story by giving you all the details, but that canned ham could be the thing that kills the relationship between Ashton and Mac.

And so to celebrate Designed for Love’s release this week, I give you…

Eddy’s Weeknight Canned Gourmet

  • 1 can of SPAM
  • 1 hunk of rat cheese (not familiar with rat cheese? It’s basically a hunk of sharp cheddar)
  • 1 can of green beans

Open green beans, dump in a pan and heat on the stove or nuke.

Slice SPAM into quarter-inch slices. Slap one or two slices of rat cheese on top of each SPAM “steak” and arrange them on a shallow baking sheet. Crank up your oven’s broiler and shove the pan in. Broil the hell out of it the cheese bubbles and the SPAM is browned around the edges.

Remove from oven and serve with a side of limp green beans.

Enjoy!

Want more delicious ways to enjoy SPAM? Join Mac, Ashton and Napoleon in Designed for Love!

Get your copy from your favorite online retailer: Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo

Nothing says love like SPAM, right? What are some other romantic foods you eat with your significant other?

CARINA_1114_9781426899256_DesignedForLove1DESIGNED FOR LOVE by Kelsey Browning

Ashton Davenport: Hot blonde. Old Money. Off-limits.

That’s how Mac McLaughlin sees her, anyway. And now that he’s enduring a temporary self-imposed exile in tiny Shelbyville, Texas, he’s seeing her way too often. Mac only wants to succeed as the contractor for the Lily Lake development in order to rebuild his reputation and return to Dallas, pronto. A sexy distraction like Ashton was not in the plans.

Mac McLaughlin: Hot builder. Cash poor. Hands-on.

Ashton kissed her trust fund goodbye and left her life as a society princess to prove she could make it on her own. Developing Lily Lake is her big chance, but it’s hard to stay focused working side-by-side with bossy, rough-around-the-edges Mac. Especially when he pulls off his shirt.

When the discovery of an endangered species derails the project, Mac can’t afford to stick around for a stalled job. His and Ashton’s explosive chemistry aside, he’s outta there…unless she can convince him that they just might be able to build something together.

Kelsey Browning - HeadshotKelsey 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, and Bad Dog. She’s currently at work on the next book in her Texas Nights series and The Granny Series.

Connect with Kelsey: Email | Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

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:

Behind_every_bitch

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.

 

Carina PressAmazon US  |  Amazon UK  | iTunes |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  | Google Play

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 www.joshlanyon.com

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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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