Thursday, October 8, 2015

What I've Learned About Dogs

In July I made the mistake of stepping into a dog rescue storefront with my daughter. I came home with a foster dog, who is now our adopted dog.

Who didn't see that coming, right?

How could I resist those eyes? My daughter looks pretty pitiful too...

I have always had cats (still have 2 cats), but I thought I understood dogs. Not so much. I didn't realize dogs will eat anything. Flattened frogs, poop, mulch, rocks, acorns, anything...

Sparky, our dog, chews up her toys like they grow on trees. I have some cat toys I replace once every couple of years. I have to replace the dog toys twice a month. Unlike my cats, the dog also has her favorites, and she likes to snuggle with her bear (when she's not biting it).

Dogs are also more patient than cats. Sparky will happily (sort of) consent to wearing dresses and other accessories.

Cats like to be petted, at least mine do, but they like to make it seem like your idea. Sparky is pretty shameless when she wants to be petted.

Also, dogs like to lay right next to you. I mean, Sparky sticks like glue. If I get up, she steals my spot too!

I recently read dogs are as intelligent as a two-year-old child. They can understand 250 words. Sparky only seems to understand the words she likes--"walk," "dinner," and "treat."

But the best thing I learned about dogs is that they are always happy and excited to see you. I feel like a celebrity when I walk in the door every day.

Do you have a dog or cat? Or maybe you have something more exotic...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Release: First Time With A Highlander by Gwyn Cready

People often ask me why I like to write time travel romance, and it’s a two-part answer, because there are really two questions in there—why do I like to write romance, and why do I like to write time travel.

I began to write with the intention of getting published in June, 1997 to honor my younger sister, who was a poet and photographer and who had died suddenly the month before. The sort of book I wanted to write was a book like the one a friend had given me a few months earlier—Outlander. At that time, I’d never read a romance before, and I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. Jamie is the best sort of hero—devoted, funny, brave, smart, and supportive of the heroine. I was so hopped up on the first three Outlander novels, it was pretty much all I could talk about in the spring of 1997—and it was one of the things I talked to my sister about since her college boyfriend had been named Jamie and like the heroine in Outlander, my sister’s name was Claire. It was the last conversations I ever had with her.

So there I am, in 1997, wanting to honor my sister with a book, and certain the book I want to write is a romance like Outlander. Time travel fit in nicely for me. Outlander is a time travel novel, of course, but I’d been a time travel fan before that. The Back to the Future movies are my holy grail of time travel. I loved Somewhere in Time, of course, as well as the Terminator movies, Time After Time, and Groundhog Day. Time travel lets you quickly throw your character into adversity and see if he/she sinks or swims. The question you want readers asking in romance novels is “How, with all these challenges, will the hero and heroine still end up together?” Time travel adds another layer to that tension, specifically, “How will they end up together when each is destined to be in his/her own time?” In my mind, one of the most heroic things a character can do is give up his own time in order to be with the person he/she loves, and that’s always a tender and gripping moment to write in my books.

Which brings us to First Time with a Highlander. Serafina and Gerard were such fun characters to chase through a novel. As with Just in Time for a Highlander, the first book in the Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands series, I wanted to shake things up a bit by having the hero be the person who travels to the past. Gerard is an ad man—and since I spent twenty years working in brand management at a big pharma company, I know what ad men are like. The women in this series hold positions of unusual power for women in the eighteenth century, and Serafina is no exception. She inherited a shipping concern from her father, but her blackguard of an ex-fiancé has run the business into the ground. He’s ruined her socially and financially, but Serafina is not one to take things lying down. She uses herbs she’s, ahem, “borrowed” from a famed spell-caster to summon a man to help her claim the cargo from the ship’s final voyage before her fiancé can get his hands on it. She only needs a man for one night and…well, you can imagine what that leads to in the hands of an inexperienced spell user. But Serafina is willing to pay the price—in fact, she’s quite willing once the smart, dashing Gerard appears.

I hope you enjoy it.


Title: First Time with a Highlander
Author: Gwyn Cready
Series: Sirens of the Scottish, #2
Pubdate: October 6th, 2015
ISBN: 9781492601968

From the “master of time travel romance”, award-winning author Gwyn Cready continues her steamy Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands series.

She needs a man—but only for a night
What do you get when you imbibe centuries-old whiskey—besides a hangover the size of the Highlands? If you’re twenty-first century ad exec Gerard Innes, you get swept back to 18th-century Edinburgh and into the bed of a gorgeous, fiery redhead. Gerard has only a foggy idea what he and the lady have been up to…but what he does remember draws him into the most dangerous and exhilarating campaign of his life.

Be careful what you wish for…
Serafina Seonag Fallon’s scoundrel of a fiancé has left her with nothing, and she’s determined to turn the tables. If she can come up with a ringer, she can claim the cargo he stole from her. But the dashing man she summons from the future demands more than a night, and Serafina finds it easier to command the seas under her feet than the crashing waves he unleashes in her heart.

Gwyn Cready is a writer of contemporary, Scottish, and time travel romance. She’s been called “the master of time travel romance” and is the winner of the RITA Award, the most prestigious award given in romance writing. She has been profiled in Real Simple and USA Today, among others. Before becoming a novelist, she spent 25 years in brand management. She has two grown children and lives with her husband on a hill overlooking the magical kingdom of Pittsburgh.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

New Release: A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas by Kim Redford

It's release day for A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas, the first in Kim Redford's new Smokin' Hot Cowboys series! To celebrate, we've got an exclusive excerpt to share:

“You’re a deputized firefighter now,” he said.

“That can’t be legal.” She attacked the grass with renewed energy. They were actually making good headway now.

“If there’s trouble, everybody pitches in.”

“Police? 9-1-1?”

“We’re the first responders.” He struck hard at the ground with his towels.

“There must be a county sheriff. Highway patrol.”

“And the Wildcat Bluff Police Department.” He stomped at the blackened grass. “How long do you think it’d take help to get here?”

“Good point.”

“We all depend on the Wildcat Bluff County Volunteer Fire-Rescue.”

“That’s why you deputized me? I’m a total stranger! I could have been—well, big trouble. I actually thought you were, at first.”

“But you aren’t,” he said with another charming grin.

She couldn’t resist cracking a smile back, even despite the circumstances. She shrugged, beginning to understand that life out here was different than in the city.

Sweat trickled down her body. Soot tasted bitter in her mouth. Sunlight beat down on her head. If she came out of this with nothing more than sunburn, she’d be lucky. Yet, that didn’t matter. She was helping stop a fire. She was saving lives and property. She was taking a step toward recovery.

As the flames dwindled in size and scope, she edged toward him. Soon they worked side by side, putting out the remaining hot spots. He loomed well over six feet and made her feel diminutive, even at her perfectly respectable five seven.

Finally, he stopped and stretched his back.

“Fire’s out?” She wanted him to confirm what she saw with her own eyes.

“Yep. Looks good.” He scuffed his boots across the crusty grass. “Can’t thank you enough. If you hadn’t come along when you did—”

“You’d have thought of something.” She interrupted to keep him from saying another word. His melodic voice with the deep Texas drawl couldn’t help but put her in mind of hot, sweaty bodies sliding across cool satin sheets.

“I needed a miracle and prayed for one the minute I saw the fire.” He walked over to her. “I heard my answer in your car coming down the highway. I headed back to the road, running flat out. And there you were in your pure white SUV, looking so cool and unafraid of the wild man pounding on your window. You had a miracle in your car. Towels. Not many people would have had them just waiting on a backseat.”

She didn’t feel so cool and unafraid. Who had this guy been looking at? Still, his words made her swell with an unusual type of pride. “Like I said, I always do. Just in case.”

He clasped both towels in one hand, and held out the other. “Thank you. You’re my Christmas angel.”

“Just plain Misty Reynolds.” She shook his hand, feeling his strength, his heat, his calluses.

“Pleased to meet you.” He rubbed the back of her hand with his rough thumb, and then slowly released her. “Like I said, I’m Trey…Trey Duval.”

For a moment, she couldn’t remember the polite response required of her. She was caught in the magic of his touch, the mesmerizing sound of his voice, and the unusual color of his eyes, circles of gold, green, and brown. She glanced away to release his spell. “Good to meet you, too.”

Title: Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas
Author: Kim Redford
Series: Smokin’ Hot Cowboys, #1
Pubdate: October 6th, 2015
ISBN: 9781492621478

Warm up this Christmas with a sexy cowboy firefighter who knows how to ignite flames as well as put them out…

Trey Duval is a rancher, proud as can be of his Wildcat Ranch. He’s also the top volunteer firefighter of Wildcat Bluff, Texas, the town that pulls out all the stops for its Christmas festivities.

City girl Misty Reynolds comes to Wildcat Bluff just in time to help Trey put out a suspicious fire, leading him to dub her his “Christmas angel.” Unfortunately, Misty’s past has left her with terrible memories of fire, and of Christmastime.

As the two are thrown together again and again, Trey finds himself wanting Misty more and more, and Misty feels stronger and braver when Trey is around. Though their trust grows slowly, their passion for each other is burning hot…

Kim Redford draws her inspiration from a Texas lifestyle of cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, rodeos and small towns to create her bestselling novels. When she’s not writing steamy romances, she’s a rescue cat wrangler and a horseback rider. She divides her time between Texas and Oklahoma. A Cowboy Firefighter for Christmas is first in her Smokin’ Hot Cowboys series with Blazing Hot Texas Cowboy coming soon. Visit her at

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Who Doesn't Like a Bargain?

Nobody! So keep your eyes open tomorrow for the release of my first twofer. My novels First Season and Bride to Be are being reissued in a single volume. That’s a lot of story in one place – more than 500 pages. Inside, you’ll find an errant cat, eccentric highborn artists, an infuriating little sister, intrigue, and of course, happy endings for two pairs of lovers.
RT Book Reviews called Bride to Be...“a fast-paced story and Ms. Ashford is adept at adding humor and madcap characters to the story of a man searching for the true meaning of his life.” Regency Retro Reads found First Season…“an extremely well written book -- all the characters are distinct individuals, even the kids and the cat -- yet it's done with a marvelous economy of words. There is a gentle wry undertone throughout; the comedy scenes aren't overdone and the serious ones are thoughtful, not heavy-handed. She does a great deal with just a few words.”
Two stories in two different moods. Great idea!

Print and electronic versions can be found around the web:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

What to Wear for Halloween

by Amanda Forester

The beginning of October brings the all-important question – what are you going to be for Halloween? In thinking about my costume this year, I have put costumes into a few different categories.

Halloween:  These are all time Halloween favorites, the witch, skeleton, ghost, vampire, pumpkin, Frankenstein, or zombie. Any one of these can be made to be scary or friendly, depending on how you work it.

Vocations: Want to dress up like an astronaut? A police officer? An army ranger? This category has a vast array of various occupations from football player to the president of the United States.

Fantasy:  An ever-popular category for everyone who ever wanted to be a princess or a superhero. Or a superhero princess. With the popularity of the Marvel films, there will be no shortage of comic book inspired heroes and villains this year.

Naughty: Have you noticed that most of the costumes for women available at large chain Halloween stores look a bit risqué?  You have the naughty nurse, the naughty nun, naughty cop, and of course the naughty French maid. Of course it doesn’t end there, how about the naughty cave woman, the naughty pirate, the naughty witch, the naughty princess, the naughty fairy, and the naughty school girl. But wait, there’s more – don’t forget the naughty panda bear, the naughty mime, the naughty ninja, the naughty raccoon (I swear I’m not making this up!) and the naughty magical unicorn.  By the time I got to the naughty monarch butterfly, I knew I’d seen too much!

You may think this is a sad commentary on the objectification of women in our country (and you’d be right!) but I’m pretty sure it’s also a conspiracy by the costume industry to save money on yardage by making every skirt no longer than 6 inches.  Well played costume industry.

Historical:  Since I am a historical romance author, you would be right to guess this is the category I love the best.  I would love to dress up in an exquisite regency dress, or a velvet medieval gown. Simply gorgeous.  Other historical favorites are Elizabethan (yo Shakespeare!) Roman gladiator, Egyptian (Cleopatra is always a favorite), ancient Greece (toga!), Victorian, 1920’s flapper, or the classic look of WWII.

Miscellaneous: There are endless costumes for the creatively minded person.  Want to go as a TV dinner, a playing card, or a lamp post? Good for you!  My son once dressed up as chicken pox.  This category is only limited by your imagination!

Cosplay and LARP: for the serious costumers who have meticulously crafted costumes bringing anime characters, comic book characters, steam punk, Lord of the Rings, and fantasy medieval characters among others to life.  These costumes are for folks who don’t want to only wear their fabulous creations once a year, but will get together for live action role plays (LARP) or conventions to really embrace their characters.  Only at Comicon can you see a vast array of costumes from super heroes to Sailor Moon to Darth Vader holding a baby Princess Leia. Too fun!

So what am I going to be for Halloween?  The scariest thing of all—the frazzled mom!  My kids made me into a “Mother” Pokémon card and gave me the power to make my opponent “do their homework before they can continue battling.” Love it!

So get on the internet or head down to your local costume shop or Goodwill and get to creating your costume. What are you going to be for Halloween?