Tuesday, January 17, 2017

An excerpt and a book trailer.

With only three more weeks until my release, I've started to get a case of the jitters. Of course this is normal. (Probably for all authors, no matter the stage of their careers.) Question is, does it get easier? God, I hope so. This anxiety thing is killer. For now though, I'll just let my hands shake against the keyboard, and accept that my heart will rarely not skip whenever I think of what's about to happen in twenty-one days.

With that being said, I'm sharing a couple of things on the blog today. One? An excerpt from my gruff hero's POV. Collin is an impulsive, alpha sort. He also doesn't get told no too often. And when Addie tells him no? Yeah, everything is oil and water, then a whole lot of spark.


My body went stiff at her voice. Not thinking, I turned off the water, whipped the shower curtain open, and wrapped a towel around my waist.

“Holy shit,” she whispered.

I grabbed her wrist and pulled her fully into the room with me, shutting the door behind her.

She covered her eyes and fumbled until she landed on the toilet lid. “Give a girl a warning before you go caveman, would ya?”

Snorting to myself, I moved to stand in front of her. “How ’bout you learn to knock?”

A noise sounded in the base of her throat. “I did knock, you idiot,” she grumbled.

Needing to see her face, I peeled her fingers away from her eyes. “Look at me.”

Her mouth fell open, then closed, but her eyes stayed shut even after I took her hands in mine.

“I can’t.”

“Why?” I asked.

“It’s, um… I…”

“You got something to say to me, then say it. Don’t be afraid.” I rubbed my knuckles down her pink 

“Well… See, you…”

Loved how I could make her speechless. “Open those pretty eyes, Addie. See me.”

Just when I thought I’d completely terrified her to the point of no return, her lashes began to flutter against her cheeks, and she lifted her chin to meet my gaze.

“I like those eyes on me. Want them always on me, nobody else.”

“You’re insane.” Her jaw worked and she stood, still facing me. “No way can you tell me who I can and cannot look at.” She shoved me back against the wall.

Leaning closer again, I lowered my lips to her ears. “No, I can’t, but when I want something, I want it fully. Completely.” And I want you.

“So, what exactly are you saying?” Her voice was low and husky. This woman made me crazy with lust, and I wanted inside her so bad I could damn near taste it on my tongue.

“Saying that starting tonight, you’re gonna stay here in my house, and we’re gonna try this out. Me, you, together—officially.”

“What?” Her lips twitched, and my cock jumped through the towel. She stiffened, eyes going wide, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

“He’s not in charge, you know,” she grumbled, curling her lips.

I laughed harder—so hard my chest ached. So hard that after a while, she started laughing too. And I liked the sound. A lot. Liked it so much I couldn’t stop myself from leaning forward, tucking my hands around the back of her head, and capturing it with my mouth.

She gasped against my lips, but like yesterday, she didn’t pull away. Instead, she reacted—always so receptive to my touches—by wrapping her hands around my naked shoulders. Fingernails scraped lightly across my skin and I shivered, tasting her, loving the soft moan coming through when I touched my tongue to hers.

Girl built a fire in my chest that burned through my body. Now this could very well be the best kiss of my life.

The next thing I'm sharing? My homemade book trailer. One I spent an entire Sunday crafting. I tend to do it for all of my releases (it's more of a stress reliever than anything else,) and was especially excited to do one for Reckless Hearts.

So, without further ado, my trailer.

Three alpha men and a baby.
What could possibly go wrong?
From boot camp to the Iraqi desert, best friends Collin, Max, and Gavin have been through hell and back. But these rugged Marines might need help facing their biggest challenge: raising Collin's nine-month-old daughter, Chloe.
After the death of his girlfriend in an accident, Collin Montgomery has sworn off serious relationships. His buddies have his back—and convince him it's okay to cut loose for once. Enter the hottest, smartest girl he's ever met. But what he really needs is a nanny.

Addison Booker needs a job desperately—and fast. She shows up to interview for the nanny position only to find the sexy, cocky man she can't get out of her head. Collin knows hiring her is a bad idea—they disagree about almost everything—but Addison is so good with little Chloe. And there's no substitute for chemistry, right?

Pre-order on Amazon for only 2.99

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rainbow Sparkle Unicorn and Other Inspiration for 2017 - by Adriana Anders

I know we’re tired of all the New Year’s resolutions, so I won’t bore you with mine, which is to be more positive (oops. Okay, I lied. There it is.) What I’d like to share with you, however, is my list of Heart Words for 2017 (a term coined by my six-year-old son). They’re for inspiration, mostly, like when I get lost writing a book, I go back to those bare bones ideas I’d come up with in the beginning. These words are my 2017 road map—my sign posts to happiness: 
  • Family: Part of being positive is recognizing all the good stuff and I’m one of those very lucky people whose life is chock full of family. I have a ridiculously supportive husband, I have two children who are healthy and happy and who light up my life. I have parents and brothers and lots of family close by and some far away and they are all amazing and wonderful.
  • Friends: You know that feeling you get when you meet a new person with whom you just click? Well, last year was full of moments like that. Add to it the friends I’ve been lucky enough to keep over the years and I’m pretty sure I’m the luckiest person in the world. Something to remember in the lonelier moments.
  • Community: For those of us who are fairly new to writing romance, the sense of community here is unlike any other. I’ve encountered women (and some men) whose generosity is legion, their kindness unmatched. My goal for this year is to pay it forward.
  • Love: Duh.
  • Inspiration: This is an interesting one. For years, this word eluded me. Any time I tried to use it in writing or a sentence, it would hover on the tip of my tongue, but I’d have to wait hours before it showed its pesky little face. I no longer have trouble finding the word, which I take to be a very good sign. I wish for lots of it this year—for all of us.
  • Rainbow Sparkle Unicorn: Okay, this is three words, but they’re pretty freaking awesome. Besides, my four-year-old told me to include them and she’s usually right.

What words might inspire or guide you along this rocky road into the future?


About Adriana Anders:
Adriana has acted and sung, worked for start-ups, multinationals and small non-profits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, and two small children in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Hang with Adriana: www.adrianaanders.com

UNDER HER SKIN - out February 7th!
Her Body is His Canvas
A darkly possessive relationship has left Uma alone and on the run. Beneath her drab clothing, she hides a terrible secret-proof of her abuse, tattooed onto her skin in a lurid reminder of everything she’s survived.
Caught between a brutal past and an uncertain future, Uma’s reluctant to bare herself to anyone, much less a rough ex-con whose rage drives him in ways she will never understand. But beneath his frightening exterior, Ivan is gentle. Warm. Compassionate. And just as determined to heal Uma’s broken heart as he is to destroy the monster who left his mark scrawled across the delicate tapestry of her skin.

Praise for Under Her Skin:
“The perfect romance…a hint of danger, a whole lot of spice, and an HEA you believe in.” - Anne Calhoun, award-winning author of Under the Surface
"Passionate and heart-wrenching." - HelenKay Dimon, author of The Fixer

Thursday, January 12, 2017

I'm a Mental Health Therapist. Here's My Story.

I'm a mental health therapist. 

Here's my story.

Stay tuned for how you can win an ecopy of RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN.

I’ve been a therapist for almost seventeen years. Wow. That makes me sound old. I spent the first five years of my career working at a community mental health agency. That job more than any other influenced my writing because there were many, many, many times I was actually frightened while working there. I was twenty-five and fresh out of grad school when started that job. It taught me a lot about the ugly side of humanity. It shoved the ugliness in my face and made me deal with it one-on-one in my office.

I saw everyone in that job. Kids. Adults. And nearly every mental disorder that exists. 

We were an agency that contracted with our local children’s services, with the courts, and parole boards. I saw men who’d been repeatedly convicted for domestic violence, who hated women and were outwardly demeaning to me because I was a young, semi-attractive woman. I saw numerous women ordered by children’s services for therapy because they caught their daughters being raped by their husbands and were angry with their daughters for enticing him. Sick, right? I saw men newly released from prison for murder. I saw sexually deviant men who fantasized about murdering and raping women and weren’t shy about telling me.

You get the idea why I was scared.

And that’s not even mentioning all the times I had to go over the emergency room to see clients who were in the middle of a psychotic break or who’d tried to kill themselves or someone else.

My bosses at that agency didn’t care if I was frightened. They simply said, “Every employee here is expendable.” Such a lovely attitude for a mental health facility. But I did get a ton of experience in those five years. And I unconsciously stored away lots of idea kernels for the books I would eventually write.

That job was not uplifting to my spirit.

If I hadn’t gotten my current job—in private practice—when I did, I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn’t be a therapist today. For years after I left that old job I had a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder. And even now when I talk about my old job too much, I’ll have nightmares. Usually the nightmare goes something like this: I’m roaming the hallways of that old job, my arms full of charts, and I’m crying and muttering, “How did I get here? I swore I’d never come back here. I don’t want to be here.”

But on to my current job.

This job has fed my soul. The people who come in to see me, come because they want to get better—not because someone is making them! They are hungry for tips, tricks, and techniques to help them. They follow through. They put effort in. They inspire me.

Don’t think all my clients at this job are just the worried-well. They aren’t. They suffer from deep depression, debilitating anxiety, post-traumatic stress, general life stress, and horrific childhoods.

These clients have taught me about the resilience of the human spirit. They’ve made me appreciate my life all the more and see how downright lucky I’ve been to have been born into the family I was born into. How lucky I was to have married the guy I married. How lucky I was to find a day job (and night job—writing) that feeds my soul instead of sucking it dry.

The odd thing is... I don't think I'd write dark novels if it wasn't for that first job. I realize how lucky I was to have that job because it helps me to write the books I write today.

One person will win either Nook or Kindle copies of RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN. But you have to follow all the instructions. All you have to do is:
1. Subscribe to my NEWSLETTERIf you've already subscribed then like my FACEBOOK PAGE.
2. Leave a comment telling me which one you used.
3. Pinky swear in your comment that you'll leave a review on Barnes and Noble or Amazon if you win. 
4. And be sure to include the email address you use with your Nook or Kindle in your comment. It's the only way I'll be able send your books if you win!

*Winner will be randomly selected on January 19th*

Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine the same happy ending she wishes for all her clients. 

You can find her here: 
WEBSITE --Be sure to stop by on Tuesday and Thursdays for Author on the Couch: The psychology behind your favorite authors.
NEWSLETTER --Sign up for exclusive content and secret giveaways! 
FACEBOOK --To keep up with my daily happenings.
DANGEROUSLY DARK DARLINGS FACEBOOK GROUP --To know about all things Abbie Roads before anyone else! Super Special Giveaways and Exclusive content found no where else!
TWITTER --Because Tweets are sweet!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Food for Thought

Happy January 11th, everyone! I'm Katie Ruggle, author of the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue series and the upcoming Rocky Mountain K-9 Unit series.

When I'm not writing, I'm usually baking up a storm at my day job (well, more like my night job). During my time at the bakery, I've come to find that creating food for people is surprisingly similar to writing a book.

To make caramel rolls, for example, I first weigh out the ingredients and mix them together in a bowl that is big enough for me to bathe in (although I never would, because that would be gross). This is like writing a rough draft. My frequent advice to aspiring authors is to finish that first draft. Once it's done, then you have the raw dough to shape how you wish. Without it, you just have honey, flour, butter, eggs, milk, yeast, salt, and an idea.

After it's mixed, I oil up the table, roll out the dough, cover it with butter and cinnamon sugar, and turn it into a boa-constrictor-like tube that I can cut into individual rolls. This is similar to the editing process, where you pound your rough draft into something resembling the final book.

Then, the rolls are placed in pans with the caramel mixture and baked (which is like the...uh, printing process, maybe? Yeah, I know, I'm reaching).

Presenting the caramel rolls for sale reminds me of promoting my books by encouraging people to eat (or read) this delicious-looking item. Pretty book covers help.

 Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle

The only thing left to do (with either a caramel roll or a book) is enjoy! May your 2017 be filled with lots of sweet treats and good reads.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Obsession with the Swedish Royal Family and their Gowns (by Asa Maria Bradley)

Happy 2017! Hope you've had a great start on this new year. For this post though, I'm going to rewind to exactly a month ago: December 10th. That's the day when the Nobel Prize is awarded each year. As much as I'm always interested in who gets the prize in Physics (I teach this topic at college level for my day job) and Literature (Bob Dylan for 2016!), my true pleasure in keeping watch of the event is the amazing dresses the guests wear for the big party after the ceremony. Especially the dresses of the royal family.

The Swedish royal family attracts a lot less international attention than their UK peers, but they rule the tabloids in their native country and never more so than when they are all gussied up for an official event or wedding. In case you are not up to date with the Swedish royal house, here's a quick tour of the female members of the family and the outfits they wore to the 2016 Nobel Prize evening festivities.

Let's start with Sweden's future queen, Crown Princess Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée. When she was born, only male heirs could inherit the throne. But three years later, the law was rewritten and a very cute toddler version of Victoria became Sweden's official Crown Princess. She's studied both in France and at Yale here in the States, but she started her academic career in regular public school. Her mother was a fairly new queen when Victoria was born and her decision to have the young princess attend regular school won the hearts of the Swedish people. Her daddy the King also charmed his subjects by asking photographers to not take pictures of the young queen because he thought they would scare her. To keep the paparazzis away, he instead promised all the tabloids pictures that he himself took and then donated the proceeds of the images to charity.

The Crown Princess now has her own family. She married a regular man of the people in 2010. Her groom used to be her personal trainer.

This is Crown Princess Victoria's sister-in-law, Princess Sofia Kristina Hellqvist Bernadotte. Note that she's using a double last name, she kept her maiden name, which I absolutely love. Millions of women had their hearts broken when Sofia married Prince Carl-Philip in 2015. To see why, do a Google image search on Swedish Prince Carl-Philip. Not only is he a real prince, he's a very good-looking prince. (I'll warn you in advance of the shirtless pictures of him on the beach. You may not want to put those on your screen while at work. ;-) )

Princess Sofia used to be a model, has been in a reality TV show, and spent many years doing volunteer work in Ghana. In addition to her princess duties and being a new mom, she is the co-founder of a non-profit organization who works with disadvantage youth in Cape Town, South Africa.

One of my favorite stories about Princess Sofia has to do with her many tattoos. The Swedish court asked her to remove them, or at least cover them up for the royal wedding. She chose a gown that covered most of them, but rebelled a little by choosing a neckline that allowed a glimpse of the tattoo she has on the back of her neck.

Princess Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine is Victoria and Carl-Philip's little sister. She studied in London, loves riding horses, and works for the World Childhood Foundation that was founded in 1999 by her mom, the queen.

The tabloids used to love the youngest princess. She had a reputation as a party girl and was a frequent visitor at some of the glitziest nightclubs in Stockholm and around the world. Often together with her lawyer boyfriend who came from one of Sweden's upperclass families. The couple had a very stormy relationship for eight years until a Norwegian tabloid exposed that the boyfriend had a one-night stand with a one of that country's former handball stars. (I'm not making this up!) Madeline at first forgave her boyfriend, but when it became clear that he had had many other affairs--including getting one of his coworkers pregnant--she called off the engagement.

She's now married to an investment banker who has dual British and American citizenship. I especially admire the guy because he decided to keep his job and his foreign citizenships at the expense of becoming a Swedish prince. (According to Swedish law, you have to be a Swedish citizen and not work in industry in order to be a royal.)

Last, but not least, here is the matriarch of the Swedish Royal House.  Queen Silvia Renate was born a regular person in Germany, to a German father and a Brazilian mother. She holds the record as Sweden's longest serving queen, a title she gained when she married King Carl Gustaf XVI in 1976. The couple met during the 1972 Olympic Games where Sylvia worked as an interpreter. The queen speaks 7 languages fluently.

At age 27, year after he'd met Silvia, Carl Gustaf inherited the throne after his grandfather's death. (His dad died when he was only 1 year old.) When Carl Gustaf and Silvia wed, it was the first marriage of a reigning Swedish monarch since 1797. If they had married during the reign of Carl Gustaf's grandfather, the young prince would have lost his position as heir-apparent to the Swedish throne. His grandfather believed that royalty must marry royalty. (Romantic side note: Carl Gustaf's uncle, Prince Bertil, did not marry until after the older king's death on purpose. Bertil was second-in-line to the throne until his nephew produced an heir, and was therefore unable to marry the Welsh commoner with whom he had been in love for decades.)

And speaking of royal weddings, here is a picture of the most current Swedish one: Prince Carl-Philip and Princess Sofia's wedding in 2015.
(See how I managed to work in a picture of the prince after all? ;-) )

Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired the immortal Vikings and Valkyries in her paranormal romances. She came to the US as a high school exchange student and quickly fell in love with ranch dressing and crime TV series. Asa currently resides on a lake deep in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest with a British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. Booklist has attributed her writing with “nonstop action, satisfying romantic encounters, and intriguing world building.” Her debut book, Viking Warrior Rising, was a 2016 double RITA® finalist and her  most recent release, Viking Warrior Rebel, received Top Pick! status by Romantic Times Book Reviews, which described the book as “filled with action and passion from the first page until the last.”
Visit her at www.AsaMariaBradley.com, follow her on Twitter @AsaMariaBradley, or connect with her on www.facebook.com/AsaMariaBradley.Author.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Band on the Run

I love music.
Like seriously love music.
So it's kind of amazing to me that it's taken me five years to create a hero who is a musician.

Last month I released the book THIS IS OUR SONG - book four in my Shaughnessy Brothers series.  The hero - Riley - was the lead singer for one of the biggest rock bands in the world.  The band is on hiatus and each member (there are four of them) is embarking on solo projects while also dealing with life outside of the the band.  There was security in them being together as a unit and now that they're on their own?  Well...let's just say that things aren't quite so secure.

Originally, I was going to write Riley's story and the rest of the band was just going to be implied, but as I got going I realized that these guys had stories to tell too. 

And Band on the Run was born.

So it's a new series but NOT a new series.  I mean, Riley Shaughnessy is going to appear in each of the books and with him, updates on his family.  Knowing that, we could say that Band on the Run is a spinoff of the Shaughnessys or an off-shoot of the series.  Either way, this trilogy about the ban is going to have characters that you've already met and there is comfort in that.

The first book in the series - ONE MORE KISS - comes out next month.  February 7th to be exact.  And it focuses on lead guitarist Matt Reed.  
What makes this series different from any of my others is how all of the heroes are in total crisis mode and each of them are dealing with deep, life changing issues that go beyond the average romance hero.

And these guys are sexier than anything I've written before!

Needless to say, I am VERY excited to kick this series off.  It's new and fresh and fun and involves music!  I'm married to a drummer and have been around a lot of bands in our 27 years together, and I always found the dynamics of a group to be fascinating.  The combination of talent, personalities and ego are really something to watch.  The one area that my husband says that I got wrong with this series is that my guys all like each other.  He swears that is rarely the case.  But I'm an optimist and in my world the guys from Shaughnessy may not always get along and they are all very different personalities, but at the end of the day, they are friends.

Here's a small excerpt from Matt's story:

Together they sat on the piano bench and Matt set up the sheet music and started to play.
Only…he couldn’t.
At least, it’s how it seemed to Vivienne.
He seemed stiff and uncomfortable and finally she placed her hand over his and stopped him. “You need to relax a little. You’re still too new at this just to jump in. I always had to do warmup exercises before my instructors would let me play.”
“I always thought it seemed like a waste of time,” he said. “You think it’s necessary?”
“Technically, you’re a beginner. So I would say yes. Just to loosen your hands up and get you comfortable with the keyboard.” Then she started playing some five-finger exercises she remembered from when she was a kid and then encouraged Matt to do them. Then they easily moved on to “Chopsticks.” And from there she moved on to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” They both laughed as she played it and Matt sang along and then he played it back for her, teasing that she needed to sing it to him.
She declined but laughed the entire time. There was no way she was singing for him – she knew her strengths and weaknesses and singing was not a strength.
“What about this one?” he asked and started the very basic beginnings of “Heart and Soul.”
“Oh,” she sighed, “this is one of my favorites.” She joined in and together they went on to play a duet – with Matt doing the A-section and Vivienne doing the chords. Their shoulders bumped together as they played and she couldn’t help the tingles she got as Matt quietly sang the lyrics beside her.
When she turned her head and caught him watching her with an odd expression on his face, she began to wonder if maybe he was remembering – the way he’d held her that night and kissed herand let her go.
She jumped up from the bench so quickly she stumbled and almost fell over onto her butt. When she righted herself, Vivienne looked at him with wide eyes, her heart beating madly. “Sorry.”
“You okay?” he asked, obviously concerned.
“Um…yeah. I had a…a um…leg cramp and I needed to get up and move.” Way to sound like an eighty-year-old woman, Viv, she cursed herself. Trying to prove she wasn’t lying, she limped around a bit and then sat back down on the very edge of the bench – effectively putting space between the two of them. “So…I think you should be good to go. Why don’t you play something for me?” Her voice sounded weird even to her own ears.
Matt was still looking at her funny, but he didn’t say a word. He cleared his throat as he turned and put his focus on the keyboard and began to play. It was slightly off and riddled with mistakes, but he kept going. Vivienne was learning more and more about him, but she could tell he was tempted to stop and start over again with every mistake. But he didn’t. He kept on playing and singing.
He opted for the Elton John tune, and as he had before, he sang as he played. Vivienne could only stand and listen, his voice washing over her. She knew he hadn’t purposely chosen this song –the lyrics weren’t his – but for one brief moment, she let her imagination run wild. A small sigh escaped her lips as she imagined it was her own sweet eyes he was singing about.
Matt was looking at her again, and Vivienne felt hot all over. She was feeling things she shouldn’t. He was making her feel things she shouldn’t. Or maybe he was just singing lyrics, and she was reading too much into them. When he turned back to the piano and continued to sing, she told herself that was all it was – her imagination.
Her stupid overactive imagination.

ONE MORE KISS is up for pre-order now and you can find all of the links and an another excerpt HERE.

You can also get a glimpse at the first three chapters of ONE MORE KISS in the ecopy of THIS IS OUR SONG!

Happy Reading, Friends!  See you in February!!