Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Strong Heroines Who Believe In Themselves



Giveaway Alert!


FEELING FIERCE – The words were emblazoned in pink and silver block letters on the little girl’s size tee shirt in the store. No question. That shirt was just made for my young granddaughter. This was one purchase I was not going to pass up. Especially when, frugal shopper that I am, I noticed the Buy One Get One Half Off sign across the top of the display. Perfect.

Several bright pink tee shirts on a nearby rack emblazoned in more silver block letters declared AWESOME STARTS HERE. Perfect times two.

Strength and self-esteem are two virtues I worked hard to instill in both my daughters. Now the time had come to help instill those same attributes in my granddaughter as well. These two tee shirts would help me do that.

Strength and self esteem are two virtues I work to instill in my fictional heroines as well. The women in my books aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves, especially when wronged. And to give the men lucky enough to be part of their lives, a run for their money in proving themselves worthy to love.

Like Jenny Reynolds of Book 1, ON THE SURFACE when Brad Collins, police officer turned bounty hunter posing as a handyman, reveals his true identity and motive.

Excerpt:

“You couldn’t be honest with me?”

Her words snapped him back to the here and now. “I was going to

“What? Reveal as much to me as I did to you?” Chin to chest, her voice broke, yet she went on anyway. “When, Brad? When? After you” Her head jerked up. A fiery gaze latched onto his. “Oh, wait. I’m sorry. That probably isn’t your real name. Aside from a couple of things I’d like to call you, Brad is the only name I know you by.”

Then there’s Sydney from Brothers In Blue Book 2, ON THE FORCE when undercover officer Vince Miller comes clean about his true identity as well.

Excerpt:

“It would have compromised the assignment.”

After she finished the sentence for him, he nodded. “Exactly. The feds were involved. I couldn’t do anything but keep quiet. Those guys don’t take kindly to having civilians interfere in their operations.”

“Interfere? Really?” Her tone deepened to one of disbelief. “And after the feds left the case?”

He took a moment to swallow. “We…you and I…never seemed to have the time.”
“That is so lame, Vince. In all the alone time we did spend together the past couple of weeks.” A fast breath huffed out of her. “You couldn’t take five minutes?”

“Five minutes wasn’t going to cut it. We’ve been at this a lot longer right now, and nothing’s been resolved.”

“You couldn’t even try?” Tears moved up to tinge her voice. Even as she clamped her mouth shut, her chin continued to tremble.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to. Didn’t think about it a lot.” He lifted an arm toward her then, thinking better of it, let it drop. “You were always so busy with your new job.”

“Seriously? You not being able to tell me the truth was my fault?

Jenny and Sydney are two heroines in my latest series Brothers In Blue, four heroes who met at the police academy to become life-long friends. Books 3 and 4, On The Make and On The Move, will have their own feisty heroines for their heroes to deal with.

To serve and protect was never more personal



99 cent SPECIAL PRICE!
ON THE SURFACE is just 99 cents now through February 22nd at all major e-book venues. I’d love for you to give it a try.


He sought vengeance only to discover love.

Blurb: Wrongly convicted ex-con and recent parolee Jenny Reynolds wants to forget her tarnished past and focus on a brighter future. One that begins with a return to the small tourist town where she grew up. The restoration of her family’s once proud Rest Easy Bed and Breakfast is the only thing on her mind. Fleeing an ex who refuses to let her go, what she doesn’t need to complicate her already problematic life is another man. Enter handsome handyman Brad, a man who seems to care as much about restoring the B and B as she does. A man who soon becomes ready, willing and able to steal her heart. A man, as it turns out, with more than a few secrets of his own. A dropout from law enforcement, the real Brad Collins will use anyone and anything to fulfill a personal vendetta. When two pasts collide and danger threatens, their budding love for each other may be the first casualty.

Then if you like that one, Book 2 ON THE FORCE is now available too.

Losing her job and reputation is nothing compared to the prospect of losing her life

Blurb: Top notch CFO Sydney Raines is devastated when her coveted job working for a high-profile conglomerate is yanked out from under her. Determined to restore a mangled reputation, she finds her second chance when the owner of an upscale art gallery hires her as his personal assistant. Straight arrow cop Vince Miller is assigned to crack an international art theft ring. Working undercover, he never counted on meeting Sydney Raines, let alone falling in love with her. Then an unexpected twist in the case reveals the identity of a serial killer, along with the shattering realization that Sydney could be the psycho’s next victim.

Giveaway:
Reader’s Choice Giveaway: I’m pleased to offer one commenter a format of choice, e-book or print copy, of Brothers In Blue Book 2, ON THE FORCE  (Print book available in the US only.)

Please visit me at these locations as well.

FaceBook     Twitter     Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

Bio: Award winning author Margo Hoornstra writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, always providing that happily ever after for her characters. A big city girl turned country woman, Margo enjoys hiking and walking around the wide-open spaces near her home, especially in the fall, hates to cook and loves to read.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST February 20th. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@justromanticsuspense.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Researching Columbia

With: Kat Martin

Sometimes what you think is going to be a great idea for a novel turns out to be a whole lot of work!  That’s what happens when you realize the idea you are now in the middle of isn’t going to work the way you thought it would.

In THE CONSPIRACY, I got the idea for a book that started in Texas, moved to the Caribbean, and ended up in Venezuela.  With all the trouble country is having, I thought it would be a great setting for a Romantic Thriller. 

Unfortunately, after I was well into the book and started doing the necessary research for that segment of the story, I realized the geography I needed and the rural setting didn’t exist in Venezuela. 

I spent days digging around in South America, looking for a rainforest that could be reasonably reached from the Caribbean island of Aruba.  Nothing worked. 

Finally, I realized there actually was spot that exactly fit the image in my head.  (This happens to writers all the time.  No one knows why.) The spot was in Colombia, a place I had no desire to write about, but fit the story exactly. 

So I went to work researching a remote area of Columbia accessible from Aruba. 

Chase Garrett, the hero of THE CONSPIRACY, with the help of Harper Winston, the woman who hires him to find her missing brother, wind up in extreme danger in the  Columbian tropical forest.  It’s a very unusual place that required hours of research, but in the end, it was worth it.
I had my work cut out for me, finding which animals, reptiles, and birds lived in the area.  Reading about the customs of the indigenous tribes, and the politic.  Rebel armies inhabit the forest and they don’t like intruders. 

The research made THE CONSPIRACY one of the most challenging books I’ve written, but hopefully its one of my most interesting.  I hope you’ll look for THE CONSPIRACY, the first of my Maximum Security series, and that you enjoy.  

Until next time, very best wishes and happy reading, Kat     

THE CONSPIRACY

Harper Winston’s brother has disappeared. Pursuing his dream of sailing the Caribbean, Michael hasn’t responded to texts or emails in days. When even the Coast Guard can’t find him, Harper is forced to take desperate measures. Which means going to Chase Garrett, once her brother’s best friend, now the only man she can trust…or so she hopes.
As the successful owner of Maximum Security, Chase has learned to trust his gut. He knows Harper’s father is mixed up in a deadly business, and suspects there’s more to Michael’s disappearance than meets the eye. Getting involved again with the Winstons goes against everything he stands for, yet old loyalties die hard, and as the case draws him closer to Harper and deeper into the Winstons’ snarled crime family, he is forced to put everything on the line to keep Harper safe…and both of them alive.

Excerpt:
Chapter One
Dallas, Texas
She knew who he was. The only man at the gala in a black tuxedo and shiny black alligator cowboy boots. Chase Garrett. The man she intended to hire to help her find her missing brother.
Harper Winston had known Chase since the day her father had thrown an obnoxiously extravagant party in honor of her sixteenth birthday.
Chase had attended with her older brother, Michael. She had spotted Chase in a swimsuit standing next to the pool, tall, with a lean, hard-muscled body, whiskey-brown eyes and thick, dark blond hair. In the sun it had gleamed like pirate’s gold.
Aside from the close-trimmed beard along a jaw that had hardened with maturity, Chase hadn’t changed. He still had the perfectly symmetrical features of a movie star combined with a toughness that appealed to a legion of women.
Now that she was thirty, Chase thirty-five, Harper still found him ridiculously attractive, though he’d never given her more than a passing glance.
He didn’t notice her tonight, though she wore an elegant strapless black gown that hugged her slender curves and set off the pale blond hair she wore long and slightly turned under. She glanced over to where he stood next to a stunning brunette, a successful lawyer in Dallas, the typical sort of woman Chase dated. Self-made career women, professors, bankers, stockbrokers. Not someone like her, the daughter of a wealthy Texas businessman, a woman who had attended Sarah Lawrence along with a bevy of other rich socialites from around the country.
It didn’t matter that she was nothing like they were. That she hadn’t the least interest in society. Her interests lay in the business world, in Elemental Chic, the company she had started, a line of affordable, stylish and well-made casual clothing and accessories.
She wasn’t cut out for teaching or social work, she had discovered during a year of volunteer work in South America, an adventure she had undertaken mostly because her father disapproved.
Harvard Business School was where she was meant to be, she had grudgingly conceded. As her father had insisted and was eager to pay for—business being one of the few interests she and Knox Winston, a self-made multimillionaire, had in common.
Unlike her father, Chase Garrett came from big money, which he disdained, though he and his two brothers had inherited a not-so-small fortune from Bass Garrett, Chase’s dad.
Harper lifted a champagne flute off a passing waiter’s tray and took a sip. Chase might not notice her tonight, but he was the reason she was there. She hadn’t seen him in years, but when she had read in the newspaper that he would be attending the gala, she’d seized the opportunity. She wanted to see the man he had become, the man she would be facing tomorrow morning.
It didn’t matter what he thought of her as a woman. She needed his professional assistance. Her brother was in trouble. She knew it deep in her soul. Mikey had disappeared, and Chase was among the few people she trusted to help her find him.
Chase owned Maximum Security, a firm that specialized in private investigation, bail enforcement, personal protection, business and residential security. She had done her homework, knew he had offices in Phoenix and San Diego as well as here in Dallas. Chase was wildly successful, his reputation impeccable.
No matter his opinion of her, he had once been a close friend of her brother’s, a man Michael trusted completely. She needed Chase’s help, and she was determined to convince him.
She wouldn’t give up until she did.

About Kat Martin:
Kat Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty historical and contemporary romance novels. To date she has over 13 million copies of her books in print in seventeen countries, including Sweden, France, Russia, Spain, Japan, Argentina, Poland, and Greece. Kat and her husband, author Larry Jay Martin, live on their ranch outside Missoula, Montana, and spend winters at their beach house in California. Kat invites you to visit her website at www.KatMartin.com.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

To hear or not to hear


Congratulations to "Janet K.", the winner in Maureen's giveaway. 

When I was a kid our local radio station used to produce a scary story every Wednesday night at 11:00pm. I would sneak my radio under the covers, lower the volume, and press it up against my ear so my parents couldn't hear. I was already an avid reader at this point, but hearing the story took on such a different feel. With Halloween approaching the radio station announced that they were going to have a contest. You could send in your scary story and they would pick one to read on the radio. I hopped into action, crafting a marvelous haunted house tale that I quickly mailed in. At the ripe old age of eleven I experienced my first rejection letter. :) 

When I listened to my first audiobook the fascination with those nighttime radio shows came back to me. The pleasure of the tale was there, but it was also the magical inflections that made the story come to life. Similarly, I would experience this with my uncle who would come over every Sunday and tune into the Giants football game on the radio. I would say, "But the game is on TV," to which he startled me by replying, "There is something romantic about listening to a sporting event on the radio." 

Later in life, I understood what he was saying. One of the definitions for romance is, "a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life." That is what he was getting from the audio broadcast. Mystery and remoteness. That, and the fact that he enjoyed the announcer's commentating.

How about you? Do you ever find yourself enjoying just listening to something instead of seeing it with your eyes? Does anyone even listen to local radio stations anymore? Do you like podcasts?

This week my romantic suspense novel, SHADOW released as an audiobook. The talented narrator, Brandy Skelly took us across the pond, and it was much less expensive than buying an airline ticket! :) Listen to it FREE with a 30-day Audible trial!


SHADOW

From USA Today best-selling author Maureen A. Miller comes this romantic thriller that spans the Atlantic. 

Sophie Diem's boss has skipped town, abandoning their counseling firm and taking her investment money with him. As she seeks to rebuild her professional career, she is distressed by the appearance of a stranger. The man keeps to the shadows, but he is definitely stalking her.  

In an attempt to flee him, she accepts a job offer...in London. Surely, crossing the Atlantic would be enough to deter her shadow. 

Glenn Barber is a desperate man. He sorely wants answers. The man who can supply them has gone missing, though. Now, all Glenn can do is go after the next best thing: the man's former employee, Sophie Diem. 

Sophie is shocked to spot her shadow in London. What she learns is that Glenn, the shadow, is not a stalker but rather her only protection. 


As her attraction to Glenn grows, together, they conspire to locate her former boss and stop him before he can harm others.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Appeal of the Friends-To-Lovers Trope


Congratulations to "Trude V.", the winner in Jacki's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize!


What is your favorite romance trope? Secret baby? Marriage of convenience? Fish out of water? One of my favorites is friends-to-lovers. It’s one of the tropes that inspired the romance between Sophie Dean and Finn Jenkins in my new military romantic suspense, Mission: Impossible to Surrender (release date 2.21.19).

Sophie and Finn have been friends for years, but the rock-n-roll bad girl and the disciplined Navy SEAL seemed ill suited as a love match. Years later, Sophie’s still nursing a secret crush and Finn can no longer deny that he has feelings for her.

So what now? How does an author get her characters from friends to lovers?

You’ll have to read the book to find out how it happens for Sophie and Finn, but here were some of the strategies I used:

·      Give them a common cause
·      Add a little competition for the girl’s affections
·      Let the hero do what he does best and be himself
·      Put everything they value most at risk

I loved writing Sophie and Finn’s story and helping these two friends find true love and their happy ever after while battling threats and confronting danger. The greater the risk, the sweeter the rewards, especially when that reward is a sexy military hero!

Here’s an excerpt from Mission: Impossible to Surrender:

Finn Jenkins punched numbers into his cell phone as he walked away. Unlike the men Sophie hung with, Finn paid little attention to his appearance as evident by his disheveled hair, frayed jeans, faded black t-shirt, and scuffed boots. No designer jeans calculated to look worn and torn or expensive wind-blown tussled haircuts held in place by product. Why should Finn go to fashionable lengths when he had the confident, male swagger nailed down? He was a walking version of sex on a stick, and didn’t everyone woman know it? And Sophie had years of watching women pant and beg for that overloaded testosterone.

Familiar with the way he held himself, knowing every gesture of the wild boy she grew up with from the tilt of his head when he was concentrating, to the way his pale eyes lit up when he grinned after one of his practical jokes, or the way he ground his teeth when frustrated—she detected a change.

Something was off in his usual sexy saunter. He was leaning heavily to his left side. His alpha-assertive stride was gone. Had he been injured on his last mission? Knowing the pig-headed man, he’d never admit to being injured or anything that might resemble a weakness, never even admit to being human.

“You look upset, Sophie, what did he say to you?” Alex Hardy, a rock star who wasn’t used to being ignored, startled her out of her absorption with Finn. “I don’t take that kind of shit from my security. Remember, he works for your father. You don’t have to do what he says.”

By the way Finn clenched his phone and his jaw thrust forward, he was giving the IT guy a hard time. This was her fault. She wanted to make Finn laugh, find a way back to their close teasing relationship before her kidnapping, before Finn became tense, on the edge around her. “He didn’t say anything to upset me. He’s just doing his job. And he’s an old friend, so it’s different than your guys.”

“Friend? Are you kidding? The guy’s got the hots for you.”

Sophie jerked back. No way! Finn never showed interest in her. Sophie grew up watching the parade of women pursue Finn and had seen how he let the really blatant ones catch him.

Finn was the reason she went through her bad-boy phase. She always wanted to know what she was missing by the sensual promises in Finn’s seductive smile, the way his body angled toward the woman in his possessive, domineering way. She wanted to be the focus of all that hot male attention.

“No. Never.” Sophie shook her head. “If anything, Finn’s always been in love with my sister.” Finn had to be hurting with the loss of Jordan to another man, not just any other man, but a friend Finn had served with.

“Sophie, trust me. The territorial vibes were strong and clear. Finn doesn’t want me dating you.”

“No, he’s protective. Always been that way.” It had been tense between them after the abduction, but she thought it was her and her hyper-awareness of every little thing around her. Knowing how protective and how committed Finn was, he was trying to come to grips that he somehow failed her. And since Finn blamed himself for her abduction, he’s gone off the charts to Attila the Hun protector mode. Like the abduction was his fault. Like it was anyone’s fault but evil men.

Sophie looked back at Finn who was watching her and Hardy. She smiled, not sure what had just happened. Always ready for a quick comeback, all she could do was stare when Finn had told her in that low warm rumble that she didn’t know everything about him. His look, his eyes had been filled with promise, sensual promise of long nights…

She was making the whole episode weird. This was Finn, her childhood best friend.

Giveaway:
Are you a fan of the friends-to-lovers trope? Comment and tell me why for a chance to win an advance reader copy of Mission: Impossible to Surrender.

Love military romantic suspense? Read Mission: Impossible to Resist, book 1 in my Impossible Mission series featuring Sophie’s older sister, Jordan, and Delta Operator Aiden Foster, who becomes her temporary bodyguard.

*****

About Jacki Delecki

Jacki Delecki is a bestselling romantic suspense writer. Delecki’s Grayce Walters Series, which chronicles the adventures of a Seattle animal acupuncturist, was an editor’s selection by USA Today. Delecki’s Romantic Regency The Code Breaker Series hit number one on Amazon. For more information, visit http://www.JackiDelecki.com.


To learn more about Jacki and her books and to be the first to hear about giveaways join her newsletter found on her website. Follow her on FB at Jacki Delecki; Twitter @jackidelecki.

Newsletter:  http://bit.ly/2D7yoFt

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST February 8th. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@justromanticsuspense.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

My Happy Place


Congratulations to "Patricia B.", the winner in Diane's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize.

Your happy place is where you’re at peace. It might be your back deck where you drink your morning tea and watch the sun rise while birds fill the air with song. Or the beach where you can dig your toes into the hot sand and listen to the crashing of the surf. Mine is the Eastern Sierras of California where the trees stand tall, the sky is achingly blue, and the views stunning.

Idyllic childhood memories play a part in making this corner of the world my happy place. Back in the 1970’s, if you took the turn for Convict Lake off of Highway 395, you’d soon arrive at a resort that looked like it had come right out of the Old West. We (Mom, Dad, me and my sisters, Ellen and Sandy) all stayed in one of the tiny, rustic cabins built back in the ‘30s. There was a small general store where you could buy Baby Ruths, comic books, and salmon eggs for bait. Horses hitched out front stood ready for pack trips into the backcountry.

In the early mornings, Dad would take his girls to the lake with their fishing rods so Mom could sleep in. We girls would spend the hot afternoons with the absolute freedom to hike through the aspen groves and clamber around the creek as much as we wanted, until we returned in time to eat grilled trout for dinner. Then of course there was the summer when my older sister, Ellen, discovered boys. There was apparently a cute one staying a few cabins away from ours. She’d make us walk back and forth, nonchalantly, of course, in front of his cabin, hoping to get noticed.

Fast forward to 2009. Dad had passed away from cancer in 2006 (don’t smoke folks, cancer is a horrible way to die), and Mom in 2008, from multiple system atrophy. MSA is a horrific degenerative neurological disease. We’d had some tough years. Ellen had the idea that we should rent cabins at Convict Lake on the one-year date after Mom’s passing. Sandy couldn’t come, but Ellen and I packed up our families and took that long drive north. The resort had changed, more upscale and more expensive than it used to be. The market is still there, though the horses have been moved. The little cabins remain, and best of all, the crystal waters of the lake still reflect the soaring granite peaks of the Sierras. It was the perfect place to remember our parents.

I’d been thinking of getting back into writing, and that trip sparked in me the idea to use the Eastern Sierras as the setting for a series I wanted to write. The germ for the idea of my fictional town of Hangman’s Loss came from the history of Convict Lake. The resort that Emma inherits from her grandfather is inspired by my childhood memories of the resort at Convict, and the town itself is a melding of the towns of June Lake and Mammoth Lakes, both not far from Convict. It thrills me to bits to share with my readers my love for the Sierras by making those beautiful mountains a character in my books.

For the past several years, my husband and I have managed to take camping trips to the Eastern Sierras a couple times a year. Our kids are grown, so it’s especially nice that our son will occasionally join us. This past summer we hiked farther into the back country than we’d ever gone before, and were rewarded with some of the most awe-inspiring views you can imagine. Those trips are when I can unwind and soak in the peace and beauty of my happy place.

Giveaway:
Where’s your happy place? What makes that place special for you? Comment for a chance to win a digital copy of DEADLY PURPOSE!

DEADLY PURPOSE

THE SILVER LINING

Meghan Bennett is a desperate woman running for her life, and the one place she's sure she'll be safe is the old cabin in the Eastern Sierras she inherited from her father. Exhausted, and fighting a nasty flu, Meg can't believe someone is squatting in her cabin. The tall, handsome, bearded stranger who answers the door is her worst nightmare. Grumpy, growly and intractable, she can't convince him to leave. When she nearly collapses, she finds herself on the couch in front of a welcome fire. Over the next few days she thinks she can trust this man with more than her safety. Too late, she learns he has betrayed her, and he shatters her trust right along with her heart.

Declan Murphy has been trying to rebuild his life, and he revels in the solitude his old friend and mentor's cabin provides. When a gorgeous, pissed-off woman shows up in the middle of a cold, snowy night insisting the cabin is hers and he needs to get out, Dex is ready to shut the door in her face - until he realizes she's sick, and even he's not that big a Neanderthal. When he finds out she's the daughter of the man who'd owned the cabin, and that she's the biggest asset in the investigation he's working on with the FBI, he can't believe how screwed he is. He's fallen hard for the stubborn, independent beauty, yet he can't tell her the truth about what he's doing. He knows when she finds out, he's going to lose the woman he hadn't been looking for but needs more than his next breath.





Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST February 6th. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@justromanticsuspense.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

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