Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Monday

This year Halloween falls on a Monday. The calendar sort of messes with my usual holiday plans, which are to drink wine in a plastic cup while following my daughter from house to house. This year I'm looking for some alcohol-free beverages. The bonus is my daughter can enjoy them too! I found a few ideas on Pinterest. If you're looking for some last-minute Halloween fun, check these out.

The first one is a Bloody Shirley Temple. Nothing says Halloween like Shirley Temple and blood. Click here for the recipe.



These Ghost Milkshakes are really cute. They're sort of a dessert drink. Click here for the recipe.



My daughter loves candy corn, so here's a drink she might enjoy. Click here for the recipe for Candy Corn Layered Halloween Sipper.


What are your plans for Halloween?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Whew! It was a smashing success! Now I have to do it again?

I'll bet a few of you have had these wonderful/terrifying moments. Yes! I did it! Oh, no...I have to do it again.

Whether it's a book that hit a list, or new contract for several books, or in my case...a reader/author conference--first in my part of the country, and it was a big hit!

Regardless, success is awesome! Getting to the top of that goal mountain is part relief and part elation. The view from the top is fabulous.
Until you realize you could get knocked off that peak, and probably will at some point. Life is not meant to be all rainbows and unicorns.

I'm still riding that high as I plan for next year's Fall in Love with New England Romance Reader/Author Conference. It will begin Friday the 13th! LOL. Perfect since we celebrate early Halloween. Don't ask to register yet. We're still creating forms and a website. But it's great to know that authors are already enthusiastic about attending in 2017.

Here's our facebook link. Fall in Love with New England Romance Reader/Author Conference
You can see lots of pictures from this year--including my costume, an Indian goddess with many arms. I was the Goddess of Multitasking. LOL  A lot of us probably wish we had a few more arms and hands! 

So, if you had more hands, what would you do?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My News Addiction

I admit, I'm addicted. With the presidential election campaign in full swing, I have become obsessed with the news. I read the articles, ponder the editorials, and stare into the blue light of the TV as the talking heads comment non-stop on every twist and turn of this election. It's a train wreck…but I just can’t turn away! I can only look forward to the upcoming election as some relief, but I doubt it will be the end of the negativity that pervades the media.

This bumper sticker I saw pretty much sums it up:
Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?

So I've been rethinking my decision to tune in to the news. Of course, I do think it’s important to be aware of what’s happening around me. I don't want to be like an ostrich and hide my head in the sand. But how do you know when you’ve gone too far?

I do love quizzes, so I here is my news watchers quiz:

Watching/reading the news makes me feel:
1.     Happy
2.     Relaxed
3.     Neutral
4.     Stressed
5.     Depressed
6.     Like I want to move to Canada

The time I spend watching/reading the news:
1.     Is barely noticeable in my life
2.     Takes a bit of time but does not interfere with any of my activities
3.     Takes some time, but I can still get things done
4.     Sometimes gets in the way of my to do list
5.     Distracts me from things I want to do
6.     Prevents me from doing my normal activities

Watching/reading the news leads me to:
1.     Take action to help fix a problem
2.     Write a letter/email to my local politician
3.     Shake my head and move on
4.     Complain on social media
5.     Feel anxious leaving my house because the world is a scary place
6.     Grab my emergency stash of chocolate and hide under the bed

Ok, so if you answered any of the following items as a four or higher, you can join me at the next meeting of news watchers anonymous (Is that a thing? It should be if it's not.). So if watching the news is making you feel stressed, taking up your time, and making you want to hide in the storm cellar, it's time to take a break!  Step away! Take a walk in the fresh air. Talk to another human being (not about the election). Take up a hobby. Or my personal favorite - read a good book!!

My next in the Highland Trouble series, My Highland Rebel, will be out Jan, 2017.



So examine the issues and go vote. Then instead of persevering on the latest insult or poll, pick up a good book!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fandoms. (I have them)

Fandom...it's something we all deal with in our lives at some point or another. Whether it's over a TV show, a particular author or book series, a band or musician you can't live without, or maybe a series of movies that you'll never tire of watching. Either way, there's something pretty darn amazing about being part of certain fandoms, and I'm about to admit to you all mine.

Fandom #1: The Walking Dead 

I'll be the first to admit I'm like a sixteen year old, fan-girling over a Beeb's concert every single time this show comes on. Like, I'm scary hardcore about it. So much so my husband thinks I'm insane, and my twelve year old daughter asked if we could travel to Atlanta JUST to see the set. 

I've got a room filled with memorabilia, a drawer full of t-shirts, the key chain for my car keys is a bow and arrow with the words I heart Daryl Dixon on it, and the Pop figures I bought for my kids. (Well, all but ONE Abraham Pop figure, of course. RIP my big, beautiful ginger.) Anyways, I follow blogs, read fanfic with my girls, watch YouTube theory videos on occasion, and go to the Chicago Walker Stalker Convention as well in the spring. I don't do this fandom lightly, that's for sure. 


(YES I'm well aware I shared this the last time I blogged, but...I'm in mourning. I can't help myself.) 


Fandom #2: The Rascal Flatts

At the age of twenty one, this was one band I couldn't get enough of. I went to six of their concerts in two years, traveling all over the Midwest JUST to see them. I was in their fan club, met them four times, and for Christmas that year, my husband had a hoodie made for me with me and these three boys on the front from one of my meet and greets. Under the picture it said: My Boys. Yeah...I had it bad. I was the first in line to get their new CD's, listening to them over and over until I memorized every word of every song. Even now, I write to their music at times, because nothing says tragic break up music like these boys and their music. 

Fandom #3: The Twilight Movies and books

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Don't EVEN get me started on my love for this series. My love for EDWARD, more so. I remember watching the first movie in my living room, how my mom had BEGGED me to watch it and how I'd refused for so long, until...I just couldn't refuse any longer. There I was, six months pregnant with my third daughter, watching and watching, and RE-watching this movie until I had every Edward/Bella scene memorized. Oye. I was a mess over this movie. Then I read the books, over and over and over. So much so, that I read Breaking Dawn WHILE in labor. I went to every movie after Twilight at midnight with my sister in law. I even named my daughter Bella. THEN I bought my daughters shirts that said "Edward fan just like my mom" for my oldest two, and for Bella, I bought a special one that said "I'm just a baby Bella looking for her baby Edward." The proof is in the picture below...



 Needless to say I went a wee bit overboard. 

When I love something, I love it so hardcore that I live and breathe it for months at a time. Sometimes years. I have no qualms with loving something, that's for sure.

Now tell me, what are YOUR fandoms? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Weird things we romance readers love

by Adriana Anders
As the autumn chill creeps into the air and each morning brings a new tug-of-war between the comfort of my bed and the inevitable pull of responsibility, I start fantasizing about my favorite cold weather romances. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE those stories where near-strangers are forced to spend time together… and, of course, they wind up falling in love! It got me thinking about what I love to read in a romance. Here are just a few of my favorite romance tropes:

  • Forced Proximity: Yeah. This is pretty much my favorite. Give me a cozy cabin, two people and a blizzard and I’m a happy camper.
  • Beauty and the Beast: I’m not sure there’s anything I love more than a beast being tamed by his lady love. 
  • Enemies to lovers: Because there’s nothing better than hot-as-hell hate sex, right?
  • Time travel: When it comes to paranormal, a certain kind of time travel romance gets me every time. I cry, usually, so you won’t see me reading these in public.
What about you? Are you a friends to lovers kind of reader or more of an arranged marriage fan? Kidnappings, love triangles, secret babies… the list goes on. What romance tropes are sure to have you one-clicking away? If you're into the tropes that make me tick, pre-order Under Her Skin, the first in the Blank Canvas series, out February 2017!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Under Her Skin
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.


Pre-order: Amazon & Barnes & Noble

About Adriana
Adriana Anders writes romance that's dark, smart, and full of heart. She has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small nonprofits, 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, two small children and fat bastard of a French cat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, gritty, emotional love stories of her heart.Her award-winning debut novel, Under Her Skin, the first in the Blank Canvas series, will be out from Sourcebooks Casablanca in February 2017.
Visit Adrianawww.adrianaanders.com

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sources of Inspiration


Since my debut, Beautiful Crazy, is out next week and I’m currently finishing up book 3 (Beautiful Wreck) in the Rock ’n’ Ink series, I thought it might be fun to share some thoughts on inspiration. Authors, and creative types in general, glean creative kindling from a myriad of different sources. Some authors have dreams that play out as full scenes, others journal, and many use art to light the fire of inspiration. Usually I draw my ideas from the Internet (Yay for Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr), but a lot of inspiration comes from facets of my own life.

Music:

If you know anything about me at all, you probably know I’m a huge music lover. I listen to everything from electroswing to Jack White to heavy metal to rockabilly. Music plays a big part in my new series, Rock 'n' Ink, as it centers around a heavy metal band on the rise. But my tastes are much broader and a lot more eclectic than just one genre. For a sample of some of my favorites, check out my playlists for Beautiful Crazy:

 

Hockey:

I’m not really a sporty kind of girl. I played soccer, did a short stint on the swim team in high school before I discovered music and bad boys, and watch the Olympics with my family, but most sports don't hold my interest for long.

Except one: HOCKEY! I love hockey and I especially love my San Jose Sharks. There’s something about the grace and elegance mixed with the sheer brutality and athleticism that calls to me. Not to mention the players…holy hell, you guys, hockey players are hot!

Check out some of my hockey inspiration on my Pinterest board.

Hallmark movies:

I tend to write a little bit naughty so this might seem odd coming from me, but I adore Hallmark movies. I mean, I LOVE them. They’re my reward for adulting well or meeting my word count. They’re my current drug of choice. Hallmark movies are excellent reminders of how consistent story structure can keep viewers/readers interested despite knowing the outcome will give the characters their HEA.

My life:

Duh, right? It's so obvious, but I really do find that paying attention to the world around me provides the riches soil for story ideas. My relationships with the people I know and love, as well as the stories I weave around people I see just walking down the street tend to offer the most inspiration.

I’d love to know where you find your creative inspiration.


My debut, Beautiful Crazy, releases next Tuesday! I'm so excited to share Kevan and Mason with the world!


"You confound me. You're all these maddening contradictions that don't make any sense... And I can't get enough of your special brand of beautiful crazy."
She's a rocker with attitude and ink...
He's a sexy suit who gets what he wants.

Kevan Landry is trying to keep her life on track and her brother in rehab. If her fledgling marketing firm can sign the hot new band, Manix Curse, it will make a world of difference. Mason Dillon heads the most successful music PR firm in Portland. He's desperate to breathe new life into the company by signing Manix Curse.
The last thing either one needs is a one-night stand with a smoldering stranger...

The stakes are high when a battle for the band-in the bedroom and the boardroom-becomes a battle of the heart. But if these two can set aside their differences, they may find they're the right mix of sexy savvy to conquer both their worlds.
Buy Links 

About Kasey Lane

Award-winning author Kasey Lane writes sexy romances featuring music, hot guys with ink, kick ass women, and always a happily ever after. A California transplant, she lives with her high school crush turned husband, two smart, but devilish kids, two dumb-as-rocks Papillons, and a bunch of bossy chickens in the lush Oregon forest. Visit her on line where you'll find her swearing too much and talking about the San Jose Sharks, tattoos, and Jack White. 

Website - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Pinterest

Friday, October 21, 2016

Six Degrees of Separation with the Donnigans!



I am working on edits for Just the Thing, the second in my Donnigans series. I had planned to write about the Donnigans five years ago, when I first finished The Troublemaker Next Door, the first in my McCauley Brothers books. Of course, back then I’d titled it A Flair For Flynn. And the first Donnigans book would have starred Hope Donnigan. Fast forward several years and Hope is the very last Donnigan (not counting their younger brother Theo) to get her story. 

But as all good things come to a close, they must also start with a strong beginning. And who stronger than Landon Donnigan to kick off the series? He's a former Marine major medically retired due to a bullet to the knee.

Landon is strong, confident, and feels a vast sense of responsibility for his family. I just loved how he and Ava strike sparks off each other. If Ava sounds familiar to any of you, it’s because Dr. Ava Rosenthal helped Beth and James McCauley get through a rough patch in their marriage (in Ruining Mr. Perfect). I had so much fun bringing back characters from that series to play in this new one.

It’s like six degrees of separation with a McCauley!


  • Theo is a McCauley cousin, and Flynn and Brody fought over keeping him as a business apprentice in The Troublemaker Next Door and How to Handle a Heartbreaker.
  • Ava is the counselor who helps Beth and James iron out some personal issues in Ruining Mr. Perfect.
  • Sophie Ayers, sister to Beth McCauley and Linda Donnigan, is dating Liam Webster--Del’s dad. Del fell in love with Mike McCauley in What to Do with a Bad Boy.
  • Landon runs into Sam in this book. Sam works for Del and was briefly mentioned in What to Do with a Bad Boy.
  • Rena, Del’s cousin, is a waitress at Ray’s Bar, where Landon and his brother run into her.
  • The gym Landon works out in is Jameson's Gym, which ties into my series The Works (not a McCauley tie-in, but a tie-in nonetheless)


For more about Landon and Ava, check out A SURE THING, which releases November 1st!



Meet the Donnigans
With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone's mind...

Can this Bossy Badass Marine...
The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life...until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a Marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.

Be her Mr. Right?

Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men-not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Is it All in Your Head?


One of the things I love about writing historical romance is learning tidbits about the past. I’m fascinated by the small things that don’t often make it into history class.
Right now, I'm in the midst of Lord Randolph Gresham's story, the fifth book in my Duke's Sons series. Randolph is the clerical brother, stuck in a parish in the far north of England. But he’s come down to London for the season with the express purpose of finding a wife as lovely as those his brothers have snagged. They made it look easy (kind of), but he finds it isn't. He keeps being distracted by a pert young lady who insists she'd never marry a churchman. Well, who asked her?
Randolph is a bit of an intellectual, and in London he discovers a fad for phrenology – a new “science” that was very popular from about 1810 to 1840. Phrenologists said that the human mind was made up of various faculties, each located in a different area of the brain. They theorized that individual skulls must reflect the relative strength of these traits, like a glove on the hand.


Since this was the case, said the phrenologists, a person's character and temperament could be determined by mapping the shape of his or her head. If you had a strong tendency toward benevolence, for example, that area would be enlarged – a “bump.” If you lacked some trait, like self-esteem, there would be a valley.
In their sessions, phrenologists ran their fingertips and palms over the skulls of their patients to feel for these enlargements or indentations. The absolute and relative geography of each head made a map of character.

I could see plenty of potential for funny scenes there. And if someone really believed that head shape was destiny? Where might that take the story? I wanted to find out!
Although phrenology had some basis in reality – certain functions are in fact located in specific parts of the brain – it’s now regarded as a pseudoscience. I don’t know about you, but I’m relieved that the shape of my head doesn’t reveal all my propensities to the world.
Jane Ashford

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trick or Treat? Halloween Reads!

It's nearly Halloween! Or so my grocery store told me back in June when they first set up the Halloween aisle. Because nothing says "I need a secret chocolate stash!" like having the kids home from school. Stock up! I've already eaten my weight in Kit Kats. Twice.

My favorite Halloween costume as a kid? The ever-threatening Bunny Rabbit. 


Clearly, I wasn't going to grow up and one day write a book about a demon hunting orphan's desperate bid to rid the world of vampyres and save her werewolf lover... Oh. Well, as long as it also packed a few laughs. Jane Slayre has a new low price for the ebook version. Check it out!


Kindle http://amzn.to/2ehBA2f
Nook http://bit.ly/2eC1S2u
iBooks http://apple.co/2dl4lxa

And while you're there, maybe investigate some other fun Halloween reads, like Ashlyn Chase's Flirting with Fangs series (http://amzn.to/2e5yxOB) or Molly Harper's Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs. (http://amzn.to/2ejfzDM).


Or classic horror fiction, like Henry James's Turn of the Screw (http://amzn.to/2dlxzMw) or Stephen King's It (http://amzn.to/2dZntP8).


What are your favorite Halloween books? Best costume? Your Halloween candy of choice? 




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Is it Getting Hot in Here?! Curl up with a hunky firefighter!

Curl up with a hunky firefighter for your next read!  ABLAZE (Dallas Fire & Rescue Series) is now available and I'm so excited to share Dane's story with you! :)


If you read the first book in the series, REKINDLED, then you’ve already met firefighter Dane Chandler. He’d be the first one to tell you that he was a bit of a jerk back then, but he really is a great guy. Just ask Lexi Fletcher, the paramedic who falls for him!

The heat is on...

Paramedic Lexi Fletcher is thrilled to transfer to Station 58. For one thing, her commute time is half of what it used to be. For another, Station 58 has a much better facility and far more exciting calls. It doesn’t hurt that Dane Chandler, the firefighter she’s been crushing on since joining Dallas and Rescue, works there. Okay, to tell the truth, maybe Dane is the biggest reason she requested the move!

But just when things with Dane start to heat up, Lexi’s dream job takes a turn in the freaky direction. Patients she’s been bringing to the hospital are turning up dead, even though they were in stable condition when she dropped them off. Her instincts are screaming there’s something fishy going on, but she can’t figure out what it is, and she can’t get anyone to believe her—except Dane.

Can he help her find the killer and stop him from striking again, or will Lexi become the target of
a madman?


Amazon
http://amzn.to/29W6Frw 

B&N
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1124115753?ean=2940153391144 

Kobo
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/ablaze-10 

iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ablaze/id1135317133?mt=11 


ALSO...

Squee!

The books in my DALLAS FIRE & RESCUE Kindle World are now live on Amazon!  You can check them out at the link to the Landing Page below!


Thank you to the group of amazing authors who made launching my Kindle World possible! :)

Aliyah Burke, Beth Hale-Author, Delilah Devlin (coming soon), Desiree Holt, Donna Michaels, J.k. Harper, KaLyn Cooper, Kandi Silvers, Kate Richards, Laura Reed Garland, Lexi Post, Liz Crowe, Marissa Dobson, Rachel Naquin, Rachel Rivers, Regina Kammer, Siera London, Silver James, Thianna D. Durston, Tigris Eden, Valerie A Twombly, Wendi Zwaduk, and Yvette Hines!

http://paigetylertheauthor.com/BooksDallasFireAndRescueKindleWorld.html 

#DFRKW


Join DALLAS FIRE &RESCUE Kindle World on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/966241843518224/ 



*hugs*
Paige

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cover Reveal: How To Train Your Highlander

It has been a long time in coming...after years of writing and editing, the third novel in my Broadswords and Ballrooms series is finally coming into the world this December. And the lovely artists at Sourcebooks have the cover.


At long last, Mary Elizabeth meets her match in the handsome and reclusive Harry, Duke of Northumberland and faces her mother who banished her from her home. Mary Elizabeth rides a untamed stallion bared-backed, interferes with a fox hunt, and generally makes Harry chase her down at every turn. If he wants her, he has to catch her, but Harry Percy is up for the challenge. Read a preview below as well as a description of the last installment of my Highland adventures among the English ton.

She’s the Hellion of Hyde Park…

A foolproof plan to avoid marriage:
1. Always carry at least three blades.
2. Ride circles around any man.
3. Never get caught in a handsome duke’s arms.

Wild Highlander Mary Elizabeth Waters is living on borrowed time. She’s managed to dodge the marriage banns up to now, but even Englishmen can only be put off for so long…and there’s one in particular who has her in his sights.
Harold Percy, Duke of Northumberland, is enchanted by the beautiful hellion who outrides every man on his estate and dances Scottish reels while the ton looks on in horror. The more he sees Mary, the more he knows he has to have her, tradition and good sense be damned. But what’s a powerful man to do when the Highland spitfire of his dreams has no desire to be tamed...

A bit from HOW TO TRAIN YOUR HIGHLANDER:

Harry—Harold Charles Percy, Duke of Northumberland—was not a man to listen to gossip, especially gossip that found its way so far North, but he knew as he watched his mother’s guests climb out of his own carriage from Town that barbarians were upon them.

He wondered to himself which of the girls was the famous Hellion of Hyde Park, the young lady who had wrestled with the Earl of Grathton in the grass and who had almost cut the man in two with a great steel blade. Neither of the women in view looked capable of such violence, and Harry was about to remove himself and hide among the horses in the stable until it was safe to go back to his work in the garden again when he caught the eye of the slight blonde girl with a voice like a siren’s call.

The girl was a mere slip of a thing, but she was well-rounded, which suited his taste. Harry knew he was a cad for noticing that, but he dismissed his own scruples for the moment; he would take himself to task later for his irreverence toward a lady. As it was, he simply stared at her, taking in the maple brown of her eyes—staring so long that he soon found that her pupils were rimmed with a bit of green.

He had seen many women in his thirty years, but there was something about this one that fair took his breath away.

He stood, staring still, trying to discern what it was about her that held him, as her governess—a lady doing a terrible job of hiding her good looks behind an ugly gown, oversized spectacles, and a lace cap—shuffled his prize off into the house.

Harry made it his life’s mission to avoid all women of good birth save for the occasional merry widow. All women born in the British Isles, some in the Americas, and more than a few in farthest India wanted to marry a duke. And he, God help him, had held that title for the last five years.
But as he watched the little blonde go, he knew that he would make certain to see her again. Surely he might prevail upon her to speak with him without revealing who he was. He did not like the thought of her knowing his title and curbing her intriguing tongue. He wanted to enjoy frank speech with her for just a while longer.

Being a duke must hold some privileges, after all, or what was an august title for?

The large barbarian man who had left the carriage behind the women stepped forward then, placing a gold sovereign in his hand. The Highland Scot handed one to the footman standing by as well, and Harry watched as Charlie slipped the barbarian’s coin into his pocket without a blink.
Harry fingered his own sovereign, trying to remember the last time he had actually held money in his hand. He had an army of stewards and lawyers who dealt with his funds. If he needed something, he asked for it, and it was brought to him forthwith. Money was not something that figured heavily in the daily life of a duke. He raised the coin to the light and watched it gleam in the slanting sun. There was something about the gleam that pleased him. Harry suddenly wished he had earned it.
Before the Highlander could speak to tell him what the coin was for, the lovely woman dressed as a dowd came to his side. She spoke not to Harry, as anyone sane might have done, but addressed herself to the Scot. The two continued their conversation as if Harry were a deaf and blind mule who had simply wandered into the yard.

“Robbie, you can’t tip the duchess’s household,” the pretty woman said.

“Why not?” the Scot asked.

“It simply isn’t done.”

“Yes, it is,” the barbarian insisted. “I just did it.”

Harry stood in silence, listening to their conversation, staring beyond them to the house, where the little blonde had gone. He felt a bizarre and almost overwhelming desire to present himself at tea, and to eat scones among these people who clearly had no idea who he was.

The Scot and his lady bantered on, as if Harry was not even there.

“The duchess pays her own people. It is not for us to pay them twice,” the lovely woman said.
“Northumberland is close enough to the border for these people to know the value of a pound,” the Scot answered her. “If a man, even a Lowlander, is given a piece of gold, he takes it and says thank you.”

The barbarian turned to Harry expectantly. Harry swallowed a smile, for dukes did not smile in company, even among those who did not realize that they were addressing a duke. He pocketed the sovereign.

“Thank you,” Harry said at last, fingering the coin in his waistcoat pocket. He remembered the semblance of his manners and bowed once to the lady before he walked away.

He did not bother with the stables, but went straight to the garden, hoping that some time with his roses might chase the sight of the little blonde from his mind, but it only reminded him of the scent of flowers on her skin. He had taken in a bit of it when she had stood close and handed him her bag.

He pushed the girl from his mind, but her scent would not leave him. His mother might have gathered a house party to marry him off. He might, God help him, have to marry one of the ladies on offer. But the party did not start for three more days. He had three more days to live his life in peace and bucolic harmony. He was not going to let even one moment of those three days of peace go to waste, for they might be the only peace he ever had again.


Harry took up the shovel Martin had left for him and went at the bush that needed transplanting along the eastern wall. He got his hands in good solid earth, but still he could smell blooms warmed not by sun but by skin, and he could see the little blonde standing before him, her leather satchel in her hand.

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. 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 North Carolina.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Aren’t I done with this? #HoldOntoTheLight by Jade Lee / Kathy Lyons



The #HoldOntoTheLight campaign has asked authors to share openly about depression and since I’ve struggled with it all my life, I was asked to participate. The good news is that I’m so much better than I was before. In fact, every day is a joyous smile of yes, yes, yes!  And yes, I’m lying.  The truth is that every day is NOT a glorious wave of internal joy, but on the whole,  it’s way better than it was before.

Depression is hard and thoughts of suicide are real. I know,  I’ve been there. Guess whatwas the most important thing I learned about my depressions.
1.         Johnny Depp did not cheer me up. Even his 21 Jump Street reruns.
2.         Depression is a cycle. Sure I’ll get depressed again. Maybe even linger on (obsess about) suicide. But I climbed out the last dozen times, and I’ll climb out this time, too. That’s a certainty. I just have to hold on until it happens.
3.         The only one putting pressure on myself is me. That means I can remind myself—a thousand times if necessary—that it’s okay to miss a book deadline, soccer game, or PTA meeting. (In fact, I’ve only attended one PTA meeting ever. Oops!)
4.         SRIs (medication) let me sleep. Finally, blissfully, wonderfully sleep. Let me tell you, insomnia always made my depression worse and it was always the first sign. Ugh!
Answer:  2 – The struggle against depression played out in agonizing battles in my brain. A gray fog of awfulness seemed to pervade everything and it constantly told me I was a failure. Worse, a single battle would often take months. And that’s not even counting the eons that passed every night I couldn’t sleep.
              Once I climbed out of my depression and moved on, I remembered thinking—often—thank God that’s over. Which meant that when I hit the battle again, I was triply depressed because I thought I’d finished with that part of my life. Apparently not.
              Once I realized that my depression cycled, life changed immeasurably for the better. Sure, I’ll probably get depressed again. Deeply so. But on the upside, that means I’ll climb out of it, too. I have before, I can do it again. And—bonus—I know better how to handle it. Medication so I can sleep. (I HATE INSOMNIA!) I completely stop all deadlines and let myself binge watch whatever I want even if it’s 20 Jump Street reruns. I do love Johnny Depp. I just don’t think he’ll magically bring me out of my funk. I also take long walks, get a massage, and absolutely find a way to lay out in the sun. (Vitamin D deficiency is a big thing for me.)
              Hopefully, you have no idea what I’m talking about. But if you do, know that there is help. There are counselors, medications, and therapies to get you through. And big hugs from me.
              And now it’s your turn to leave a comment. You can give love to those in the battle or talk about the struggle. One lucky winner will get an e-copy of The Bear Who Loved Me by Kathy Lyons.

About the campaign:
#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.
Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Home for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.


To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors, or reach a media contact, go tohttps://www.facebook.com/groups/276745236033627/.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New Release: True-Blue Cowboy Christmas by Nicole Helm

Celebrate the holidays with True-Blue Cowboy Christmas, the perfect blend of cowboys and Christmas and the third installment of the Big Sky Cowboys series from Nicole Helm.

We asked Nicole what she was most excited about for the release of True-Blue Cowboy Christmas.

About two and a half years ago, as I was struggling to decide what new idea to work on, a good friend of mine said why not cowboys?

I’d been writing farmers and small town business owners and antique airplane pilots (it’s a thing), but that simple question opened up a world of ideas—including a long abandoned story set in Montana about a man named Thackery.

Now, if you’ve read the Big Sky Cowboy series up to this point, you know there aren’t any Thackerys in the first two book. In fact Mel and Dan (REBEL COWBOY), and Caleb and Delia (OUTLAW COWBOY), were completely new ideas—their characters, their plot lines, their conflicts were slowly born out of that what about cowboys moment. Summer Shaw, the heroine of TRUE-BLUE COWBOY CHRISTMAS appears in both books, and was also one of those new characters. Mostly, I started brand new, and spun a world out of Blue Valley, Montana that I’m very proud of.

But Thack Lane, the hero of TRUE-BLUE COWBOY CHRISTMAS has pieces of a character I’d thought up when I was a teenager. I never wrote more than a few chapters of his story, and other than the fact it was set in Montana, and he had a dead wife, it doesn't share a lot of similarities from that old abandoned attempt at writing, but the seeds of a story I tried to write long ago and couldn’t are there in the man who is struggling to raise his daughter in the grief of his wife’s death.

Possibly, I never finished that old story because I was young and still bounced from idea to idea without ever finishing anything, but it could have also been because Thack was waiting for the right woman. I like to think the latter, if only because I’m a romantic at heart.

Summer and Thack get off to a bumpy start in TRUE-BLUE COWBOY CHRISTMAS, as so many relationships do, but as they begin to work together, get to know each other, and confide in each other, they both find those missing pieces of themselves in each other.

Neither Summer nor Thack has had it easy (which doesn't come to a shock to many of my readers, I know), but writing their journey to HEA in the spirit and magic of Christmas while tying up this series was something truly special.

So, that’s a very long way of saying, what I’m most excited about with the release of TRUE-BLUE COWBOY CHRISTMAS is for readers who’ve laughed and cried along with the Shaws in REBEL COWBOY and OUTLAW COWBOY to find that happily ever after, not just for Summer, but for the Shaws as a whole. Secrets are revealed, amends are made, and love and family are celebrated—like the best Christmases offer us.

If you’ve been reading this series, you can probably guess it isn’t perfect, but I do think it’s satisfying. You get to see Mel and Dan with a baby, Caleb and Delia…well, they’re still fighting, but it’s centered in love and their burgeoning family. You get the answers to Summer’s mysterious past, and you get a Christmas gathering of all the flawed and complicated characters who’ve made up this world and found love—in significant others, in friendship, in family.


I hope you’ll find the ending of the Big Sky Cowboys series as satisfying as it was for me to write it, and that whatever holidays you celebrate, they’ offer you hope and love.

Title: True-Blue Cowboy Christmas
Series: Big Sky Cowboys, #3
Author: Nicole Helm
Pub Date: October 4, 2016
ISBN: 9781492641537

BIG SKY CHRISTMAS

Thack Lane has his hands full. For the past seven years, he’s been struggling to move on from his wife’s tragic death and raise a daughter all by his lonesome. He doesn’t have time for himself, much less a cheerful new neighbor with a smile that can light up the ranch.

Christmas spirit? Bah, humbug.

With Christmas right around the corner, Summer Shaw is searching for somewhere to belong. When her neighbor’s young daughter takes a shine to her, she is thrilled. But Thack is something else altogether. He’s got walls around his heart that no amount of holiday wishes can scale. Yet as joy comes creeping back to the lonely homestead, Summer and Thack may just find their happily ever after before the last of the Christmas miracles are through…

NICOLE HELM writes down-to-earth contemporary romance specializing in neighbors who don’t live close enough to be a problem. When she’s not writing, she spends her time day dreaming about someday owning a barn. She lives with her husband and two young sons in O’Fallon, Missouri.

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