Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mother Daughter Camping

I'm not a camper. I like indoor plumbing and my adjustable tempurpedic bed and wifi. But when my daughter and I were invited to go to a mother-daughter weekend at a girls' camp, I agreed to go. After all, just because I don't like camping doesn't mean she won't like it.

The good news was that the camp's cabins were air conditioned and had indoor plumbing. The bad news was that our little party was assigned to a wagon (which did have AC) but which was a bit of a walk to the restroom. Of course, Princess Galen thought the wagons were the best thing ever.

She also thought the best thing ever was our first activity bright and early Saturday morning: climbing wall. Yes, she wanted me to climb a 40-foot wall at 9 in the morning after sleeping on a bunk bed. Here we are suited up in our harnesses.

Did I climb to the top? Um, no. I had to save my strength for the day (and night) ahead. Princess Galen climbed to the top. Twice. This was the second time. She's on the left.

More my style were our other activities that day--reading a book about butterflies and cooking donuts.
I also found out that though I've never found coloring particularly relaxing, I do enjoy making friendship bracelets. Here are some bracelets we made.


After s'mores and campfire songs, we went to bed (Princess Galen was finally tired) and got up the next morning, dressed in our hats for the Mad Hatter Tea Party.






And then it was back home to my lovely, lovely bed, where the worst thing I have to climb is a flight of stairs.


Camping: love it or hate it or never tried it? I have a mystery goody bag from the Sourcebooks party at the RT conference to give to one person who comments. (Winner randomly chosen and notified on Sunday).





P.S. Just a note for our frequent visitors, we'll no longer publish blogs on Saturdays. Please stop by Monday-Friday for new content daily! And check out our Facebook page for even more news and fun stuff.








Friday, April 29, 2016

It's Coming!! Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply!

AmazoniBooks | BAM! | B&N | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo
 An alpha werewolf meets his match in this sizzling paranormal romance from USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear

THERE’S A NEW WOLF PACK IN SILVER TERRITORY

Wolf shifter and park ranger Eric Silver is committed to his job policing spectacular San Isabel National Forest, and he’s hot on the scent of some mysterious wolves who are up to no good. When Eric’s investigation leads him to cross paths with forester Pepper Grayling, he’s fascinated to learn this she-wolf is her pack’s leader—strong, independent, and definitely not looking for a mate.

AND THIS TIME THE LEADER’S A SHE…
With unknown dangers on the prowl, Pepper is tempted to give in to her attraction to Eric and align her pack with his. But Pepper’s been pursued by many an alpha male out to take over her pack and gain her hard-won territory—and Eric is a born leader. How does Eric earn the trust of a she-wolf who’s been betrayed so often in the past?

AND all of the Silver Wolf Town books are on 99 cent sale for a limited time!! Get yours now!

 https://terryspear.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/silver-town-wolf-price-promotion-graphic.jpg
My puppy is so excited about it, he was doing a jig!
And there's a giveaway for Billionaire in Wolf's Clothing!
Okay wrong cover, but he's sexy too. He'll be coming in October.
Yes, that's the one I was thinking of. Okay, hot and hot and hot! No matter what level the temperature is outside.

sea turtle and fish (640x480) and reflection 

I was having some fun with this sea turtle and created a reflection of it underwater. Isn’t that cool? My son actually was scuba diving with his army friend. He's in the AF, and they got together in Hawaii where his friend is stationed.

But I'm working on SEAL Wolf Undercover, though it's cold in Oregon, and no warm water like this there!

Wouldn't a wolf story, or jaguar, set in Hawaii be a super cool idea? 

Have a great day!!

Terry
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
Website: http://www.terryspear.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear
Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Home Improvement Junkie


I confess, I have a problem.  It started innocently enough.  Last December I had a bad cold and spent a week in bed.  Flipping channels I came across HGTV and watched my first home improvement show.  It was amusing. It was fun.

It was…addictive.

At first I would just watch a little Fixer Upper, you know, just for fun. Then it was Property Brothers, Love It or Leave It, Flip or Flop, and before I knew it I was watching YouTube videos on how to tile a shower at 2am.

The worst part was the discontent I now felt towards my own home. Was that peeling linoleum on the floor? Peach tile in the bathroom? And (horror of horrors) laminate counters in the kitchen? Gasp!

After a few months I became convinced that not only did my entire house need to be refinished, but that I could remodel my house with nothing but a charge card and my how to videos. Oh yes, I was going to be a Do-It-Yourselfer!

Nope.

I thought I would start easy. I would replace a door. How hard could it be? I see them do it on the home improvement shows in about 30 seconds. I managed to rip out my old door with a crow bar (that part was fun).  Then I attempted to install the new door with my level, a pneumatic nail gun, and one million shims.

After my near-death experience with the attack door and the nail gun gone mad, I have decided to call a contractor.  Suffice to say, my home improvement addiction has cost me plenty.  My husband has made futile attempts at banning me from watching home remodel programs.  He is convinced every show costs him money.

He’s right.

But oh, I need me some shiplap and a French door!

Has anyone else been bitten by the home improvement bug?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

VIKING WARRIOR REBEL Cover Reveal! (Asa Maria Bradley)

It's been quite a year for the Viking Warriors series so far. Immortal Viking King Leif snagged double RITA nominations for the first book, VIKING WARRIOR RISING, and this October Valkyrie Astrid arrives to kick ass. Check out the amazing cover that the Sourcebooks Casablanca team created for VIKING WARRIOR REBEL!


 She can’t let him discover…Immortal Vikings are among us.


Astrid Irisdotter is a Valkyrie, a fierce warrior fighting to protect humanity from the evil god Loki and his brutal minions. She’s on an urgent mission for her queen when everything goes hideously sideways. Undercover agent Luke Holden arrives on the scene just in time to save her life—and put his own on the line. Luke may have saved her, but that doesn’t mean Astrid can trust him. Tempers flare as they hide secret upon secret from each other, but Astrid’s inner warrior knows what it wants…and it will not take no for an answer.

Pre-order links:
Barnes & Noble: http://hyperurl.co/2ojqh6

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2016 double RITA finalist 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 arrived in the U.S. as a high school exchange student and quickly became addicted to ranch dressing and cop shows. 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. She graduated from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers program at Eastern Washington University with an MFA in creative writing and also holds an MS in Medical Physics from University of Colorado. Visit her at www.AsaMariaBradley.com, or follow her on Twitter @AsaMariaBradley.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Books That Inspired Me by Linda Broday



As with all writers, my path to publishing was paved by the books I read that shaped and molded me. These books still remain on my keeper shelf. The first romance I ever read was Angelique by Sergeanne Golon which was a French husband and wife team. I checked this book out of my high school library and fell in love with the characters. Angelique was auctioned off to a horribly scarred nobleman by her despicable father. She ended up falling hopelessly in love. Ahhhh, such a satisfying story and sparked my imagination. After that I became fascinated with pirate and Gypsy books. Publishers saturated the market with them back then.



Then, along came Kathleen Woodiwiss. Oh my dear Lord! I devoured every book she produced. I think all of us might've been influenced by Kathleen because she really was the one to pave the way for us. Wonderful stories that captured my heart and fed my love for strong men with honor.




A lot of books followed--too many to count. But I think the next big author to come along was Bertrice Small. I'll never forget SKYE O'MALLEY and that entire series!



Johanna Lindsey was another with her Mallory series. Oh those handsome Malory men! They swept me away.

But the one book I think that set me on the path to writing historical westerns was ANGEL by Johanna Lindsey. A hunky gunslinger/outlaw who was called The Angel of Death because he rode into a place and left dead men in his wake. After reading this book I knew I wouldn't be satisfied writing anything other than western romance. We all have to find that one niche that fulfills us and feeds that burning desire like nothing else.



These are but a fraction of the books that carved the path for me. It's impossible to list them all.

Are any of these familiar to you? What books are on your list that linger in your heart for years after you read them?


Here are the books in my Bachelors of Battle Creek series. They're all available in bookstore and online everywhere.


You Can Contact Me:




Monday, April 25, 2016

A BOW OF RESPECT

If you open a nineteenth century etiquette book like, The ladies' hand-book of etiquette and manual of politeness, you will find rules for everything. Rules on how to properly address a letter, how to meet someone in a demure fashion, what to do if a gentleman is vulgar, or how to stand or walk the proper distance from your betters.

Huh?

Many of these rules are common sense and still apply today. Some however, to repeat a cliché, have gone with the wind. For example, anyone familiar with social media must realize that nineteenth century rules of modesty have been forgotten.

One of the charms of historical romance is to spend a few moments in the graceful past. While I’ve never come across someone standing a few paces behind a Duke in romance novels, there are many other aspects of etiquette that do grace their pages. Who does not like a gentleman who would place his cape over a mud puddle so my lady may not get muddy?

Sigh.


One other form of etiquette I admire is the habit of taking a bow of respect. Forget the etiquette of gentlemen standing upon a lady’s entrance (that might resemble whack-a-mole and give me an outbreak of the giggles), but who wouldn’t enjoy a brief bow of respect every once and awhile? I wonder if my husband would do this? He’ll give me a wink and probably say, “I’ll give you an occasional bow if you walk two paces behind me.”

Here’s an excerpt from TO CATCH A RAKE when the hero behaves like a gentleman, even though he might not be feeling that way.

“Halfway to his destination, he observed three lovely ladies approaching him on the pathway. The first lady caught sight of him at a hundred paces and stopped in her tracks. The other women then stopped too. The group conversed for a minute before giggles erupted.
George hated giggles. Women were not high on his list of favorite things at the moment. They ranked right up there with over-flowing privies. None of them could be trusted, because they were all inveterate tittle-tattlers, bags of maudlin sentiment, and silly book writers.
“Oh look, that’s the very man himself,” the first lady said, immediately pulling back her hand when caught pointing at him.
He lengthened his stride, hoping to pass them in seconds.
“Are you certain?” the second lady said.
The first lady furtively nodded.
Ten feet before their paths crossed, he caught a white flash out of the corner of his eye. Upon further examination, it appeared the first lady had dropped her handkerchief on the pavement in front of him. He ground his teeth. Then swore he had no intention of picking it up. Very likely his chivalry toward the fairer sex may have escaped him permanently. He quickened his step.
A foot away, the second lady dropped her handkerchief right in his path. If he stepped on it, the handkerchief would be ruined, so he had to stop. Glaring downward at the offending cloth, he mumbled a strong swear word under his breath. He inhaled, tipped his hat, and bowed. “Ladies.” He then addressed the third one. “Would you care to drop your handkerchief too? It’s more efficient if I pick all three up at the same time. Besides, I would hate to leave a member of your party out of my gallantries.”
All of the ladies beamed.
The third one shook her head. “I forgot to bring my handkerchief,” she said in a disappointed tone.
He feigned a smile. “My loss.”
They all continued to smile and repeatedly nodded at each other.
He bent over to pick up the two white linen squares. At the very moment his hand grabbed the first one, a flash of silver and a heavy thump sounded as a silver reticule dropped on the pavement in front of his nose.
Seemingly without a handkerchief, the third lady had thrown in her reticule.
A moment of uneasy silence followed. Finally, he straightened and burst out in laughter.
The three women joined him, and they all laughed together.
After regaining his composure, he shook his head and bent over to pick up the small collection of items on the pavement. He then gracefully handed each piece to the correct owner, followed with a deep bow.



What is your favorite form of etiquette practiced by your favorite romantic heroes?






Friday, April 22, 2016

Pretty Covers with Marie

Today, since I'm late putting up my post (dratted West Coast time!) I thought I'd share some of my ARC cover flats for my Body Shop Bad Boys series. And my favorite McCauley covers below...

Enjoy!

Coming in June, Test Drive


Coming in September, Roadside Assistance



And those amazing McCauleys...

Welcome to the rough-and-tumble McCauley family, a tight-knit band of four bachelor brothers who work hard, drink beer, and relentlessly tease each other. When three independent women move in next door, all hell breaks loose.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Poem in Your Pocket Day



April is National Poetry Month, inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. According to the Academy it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.
            And as a part of it, today is Poem in Your Pocket Day. People are encouraged to carry a poem with them and share it with others throughout the day. Parks, libraries, schools, workplaces and bookstores will have events. In past years, librarians have distributed poems to local hospitals, shop owners have handed out books of short poems to shoppers, and food vendors have put poems in lunch sacks.
            Now I can see the potential for this to be annoying. If every step you took all day someone was stopping you to read a poem, you might get testy. But I like the idea of pockets full of poems. So here’s a favorite of mine.

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Romantic Times Recap

Vegas, baby! That's where many of us just gathered for the Romantic Times Readers Convention, at the Rio (which, let me state for the record, is probably no one's favorite hotel). But shoddy decor and miles to walk between rooms and the Convention center did not deter us from having a fantastic time, and staying active whether we wanted to or not. Ten thousand steps? Easily before noon.

The Con kicked off with what RT used to be best known for besides romance reviews, the cover model pageant! What a spectacle indeed. Our brave five contestants were put through rigorous tests including answering a series of tough questions and engaging in improv dance which had to end with the contestant topless. Can you guess who won?

The guy with the guitar who serenaded the audience and had abs of steel, of course!

Next came more serious business-- presenting workshops to readers and other writers. I took part in the Carnival of Romance, a good time visiting your favorite authors to win prizes, and enjoy some music and popcorn. But the publisher spotlights were perhaps the most informative events. Sourcebooks is looking for well-written romance fiction. Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical, Romantic Suspense, they want it all!

Speaking of Romantic Suspense, we all got Katie Ruggle's new book Hold Your Breath in our goody bags. I'm reading it now and it's really good! Yay, Katie! Many of us signed books at the big Book Fair, too. We all love meeting readers.

I did manage to get out and see some of Vegas. My first time. Dinner at Lago at the Bellagio with a view of the fountains and a lovely French meal at Bardot in the Aria were some highlights. Oh, and a show, Penn and Teller. The "Best Breakfast in Vegas" was right there at our hotel, the Hash House a Go Go. And if you ate there, they delivered a meal that could count as all three meals and feed four hungry authors as well. Huge portions!


If you love to read romance (who doesn't? I don't want to know) and enjoy meeting your favorite authors, consider traveling to Atlanta for next year's Romantic Times Convention. We hope to see you there! Any questions? Feel free to ask! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New Release - SEAL FOR HER PROTECTION (SEALs of Coronado 1)!

I’m so excited to be here to talk about SEAL FOR HER PROTECTION, Book 1 in my brand new military romantic suspense SEALS OF CORONADO Series.

I write a lot of romantic suspense, much of it with military and action themes. But out of deference to my husband—a 20-year Army veteran—I’ve always refrained from writing anything in the Navy SEAL world. I typically lean on him for the guy’s perspective and military expertise in my suspense/action stories, and he was never thrilled with writing about something so far outside his wheelhouse, but then Cat Johnson (she of the Hot SEALs fame) asked me to write a story in her HOT SEALs Kindle World Series and that changed everything!
Cat has helped me out with so much, from boxed sets to promo suggestions, to the best way to increase my indie sales, I simply couldn’t say no when she asked me for a story. Besides I’ve wanted to write something involving SEALs for a while and this seemed like fate calling.
So I plied my husband with compliments and pizza until he agreed to help me, then dived into the world of the Navy SEALs. In between my other book commitments, I knocked out MY SEAL BODYGUARD and had an incredible time writing it. Once I got hubby involved in the research and action sequences, he started enjoying it too (though I’m sure he’ll never admit it).
When I got done writing with that first SEAL story, I knew I couldn’t stop. I was hooked! So I thought about it for a while and came up with the SEALs OF CORONADO, a series featuring the guys on SEAL Team 5 in San Diego and the women who fall for them. I figured everyone was showing all kinds of love to the SEAL guys on the East Coast, so I decided the ones on the West Coast should get the same attention. The first book in the series—SEAL FOR HER PROTECTION—hit the shelves on April 12th and I’m stoked! I couldn’t be more excited to plunge into the world of those hunky Navy SEALs! Hope you are, too!

He saved her from danger once before. Can he save her again, this time from danger he doesn't even see coming?

When investigative journalist Hayley Garner is kidnapped by terrorists, she's sure they're going to kill her. But in sweeps handsome Navy SEAL Chasen Ward to rescue her. After getting her to safety, he disappears into the night before she can even thank him.

Weeks later, while covering a story on the local navy base, Hayley runs into Chasen again. Even though she didn't see his face that night he rescued her, she can't forget his beautiful blue eyes. The attraction is immediate and intense, and Hayley finds herself falling into a fiery romance with the hunky hero out of her dreams. Guys like this aren't supposed to really exist, but Chasen does, and damn is he hot.

But ever since she got back home, Hayley has had the feeling someone's been watching her. Is it post-traumatic stress or does she have a reason to be afraid? Good thing she has a Navy SEAL to protect her.








Want more hunky Navy SEALs? Then don’t forget to pre-order STRONG SILENT SEAL, Book 2 in the SEALs of CORONADO Series!

Wedding planner Felicia Bradford is in trouble. Mercenaries are holding her sister hostage and threatening to kill her unless Felicia helps them steal top secret information from the Navy’s Special Operations Headquarters. Having no other way to access the base, she pulls a gun on the first man in a Navy uniform she finds, demanding he get her through the gate.

Navy SEAL Logan Dunn just got back from a mission in Syria and is looking for a little down time to relax. That plan goes out the window when a beautiful woman shoves a gun in his back and begs him to do something he can tell she doesn’t want to be part of. Logan does what any Navy SEAL would do in the same situation—he saves the girl and takes out the bad guys.

But their actions that day kick off a crazy chain of events, including a fast-burning whirlwind romance, an out-of-control sister, an insane covert plot involving a defecting Russian pilot, a mercenary bent on revenge, and a sunrise wedding for a bride who never wakes up before noon.

Getting through her sister's kidnapping will look like a piece of cake compared to what comes next.









Monday, April 18, 2016

Romance Novels and Little White Dogs

In my upcoming release, HOW TO TAME YOUR HIGHLANDER, Mary Elizabeth's little cousin, Connie, has a West Highland terrier named William Wallace. This little dog may look like a cream puff, but she's fierce.



There is also a white puppy in my novel, THE QUEEN'S PAWN. King Henry gives this purebred to Princess Alais in order to woo her in his underhanded way, and the dog is so cute, it works. Little Bijou is a Bijon, or in modern parlance, a Bichon Frise like the puppy below. Bijou has a lot of personality and likes to spend its time asleep on Alais' shoe, unless it's eating one of them.


With all these little dogs in my fiction, I think I need to get one for myself. I've got my heart set on a Coton de Tulear, like this one from the American Kennel Club website. They are small dogs with very calm and sweet dispositions, Just the kind of dog that will be patient as I sit and write yet another revision before we go out and play in the yard.


Basically, I think I want a lap dog. One who will be content to watch it snow in the winter and play in the leaves in the fall. I won't take her on long hikes though. She'll be too fancy for that.

What is your favorite kind of dog? A big outgoing Lab? Or a sleepy hound dog? Or are you a cat person? Leave a comment and let me know...


  
Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. Sometimes an actor, always a storyteller, Christy works happily with Sourcebooks Casablanca to bring the knife-throwing women of her novels to life. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in western North Carolina.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Can I Borrow Your Muse?


I recently turned in two manuscripts. The first was the copyedits for AS RICH AS A ROGUE by Jade Lee.  Isn’t the cover pretty?

Next, I turned in the revisions for the first book in Kathy Lyons’ new grizzly shifter series, THE BEAR WHO LOVED ME. No cover for that yet, but I promise, it’s coming.

Anyway, having turned everything in, I took a few days off. But now it’s Monday morning and it’s time for me to get to work on the next book. Wouldn’t it be nice if I had a plot? Or a clue? Guess what I do to try and stimulate my muse. And then guess if you think it works or not. (hint: it can and is more than one of the following.)

1.      Take a nap. For a week.
2.      Go rollerblading.
3.      Eat yummy things.
4.      Watch TV.
5.      Read.
6.      Play with my cat.
7.      Meditate.
8.      Clean house.
9.      Skydive.
10.   Spa appointment.

Answer: well, let’s just take them one at a time.

    No -- I hate naps. I take them occasionally, but only reluctantly and with the full knowledge that I won’t be able to sleep at night. So I don’t do this one on purpose. I have been known to “meditate” for a long time in a hot bath though. With my eyes shut while a gentle snore fills the bathroom.
2.      It works, but I never do it -- I love rollerblading, but the weather has to cooperate. Not too hot, not too cold. No wet, no ice and no insects. And no people walking their children or dogs. That’s the big problem because if the weather is perfect, then other people want to enjoy it, too. So if the conditions are perfect, this does help my creativity, but the conditions haven’t been ripe for this for months.
3.      Yes, but it doesn’t work – I do eat yummy things as a celebration, but never, ever has it happened that I took a huge bite of hot fudge sundae and suddenly a new story concept has dropped into my brain. But that doesn’t keep me from trying!
4.      Yes, but it doesn’t work – I do very much enjoy television. Favorite shows include Supernatural, Blacklist, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I wish I could say they stimulate my creativity, but I’m so caught up in the story there isn’t much room for something else. And as for John Oliver, well I’m usually caught up in tweeting things like #MakeDonaldDrumfAgain (Best Segment Ever!)
5.      Yes and Yes! -- Turns out reading is slow enough that I can immerse, enjoy, and still let my imagination wander in other directions. A really, really good book will inspire me. A simply good book will make me happy (which the muse likes). And a mediocre to bad book really gets me going on ways I would make it a great book. All good things!
6.      Yes, but it rarely works. -- I love my cat, have tweeted pictures about my cat, and generally love interacting with the feline as the scratches on my hands and arms will attest. However, as much as she rocks my world, she doesn’t inspire me except in the Get-Kathy-To-Her-Happy-Place way.
7.      Yes and Yes – Meditation works. But slowly. And I get impatient. But that just means I need to meditate more. Ohm!
8.      Yes and Yes – Cleaning house is a necessity but the drudgery of it lets my mind wander to fun places where hopefully a new book idea resides.
9.      No and no – Never gone skydiving. Thought about it for a while, but nope. I took it off my bucket list.
10.   Yes, though it only worked once – I love spa appointments. Massage, facial, mani/pedi – these are words I adore. And once during a facial, I got an awesome story idea that became Kathy Lyons’ book ONE NIGHT IN THE SPA. But once is good enough for me to try it again and again!





So what about you? Anything you do to keep the muse coming back?