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Saturday, November 22, 2014

For Better and Worse


Giveaway Alert!

FOR BETTER AND WORSE

Coming out of hibernation, Danielle Shumaker has put behind her the pain and misery she’s caused Victoria and Joshua. Blinded by her selfishness her ultimate goal is still her main one. As far as Danielle’s concerned Joshua belongs to her, always has and always will. No amount of therapy can cure her love addiction and no matter what anyone says she will fight for him, even if she has to kill someone AGAIN. 

Wedding bells are in Victoria and Joshua’s future, Victoria is excited to be Mrs. Eubanks. However, when she closes her eyes at night, Greg invades her dreams, the passion and love leaves her wanting more and waking with doubt about her upcoming marriage. How will she get over this man or does she even want to?

Available at Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble

About the Author:
Stephanie Nicole Norris is an author from Chattanooga Tennessee with a humble beginning. She, along with her six siblings, was raised by her mother, Jessica Ward. Growing up a lover of reading, Stephanie loved to read books by R.L. Stine. She always had a natural talent for writing and 2010 was the beginning of her journey. In early 2012, her debut novel, "Trouble In Paradise", was published.

Seven months later, Stephanie released her sophomore title, Vengeful Intentions, which is part 2 of Trouble In Paradise. For Better and Worse, part 3 of Trouble In Paradise was released September 27, 2014, In the works is her first Christian fiction romance, "Catching Bees with Honey".  She has a series of short stories that releases throughout the year called The Lunch Break series. These stories are not continuations of the same story and can be read in your lunch break hour. The Lunch Break series, which features titles like Wreckless and Broken, can be found on Amazon, Kobo and Barnes and Noble. Stephanie’s words tell stories of love, drama, deception, suspense, and restoration.




Giveaway:
A winner will receive a paperback copy of one of the three books in the series, Trouble In ParadiseVengeful Intentions or For Better And Worse by leaving a comment or email entry. Once the comment is posted Stephanie has asked that you subscribe to her monthly newsletter.  Link here.  The winner will be highlighted on a blog post on Stephanie's website.  

Find Stephanie:

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST November  23rd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What's Love Got to Do With It: Marriage with an Agenda


While some cultures still practice arranged marriages, most contemporary societies believe the foundation for marriage should be love. This is a fairly recent shift in perspective. For many centuries, marriage was a strategic decision made for political alliances, financial gain, expanding land holdings or advancing social status.

"What marriage had in common was that it really was not about the relationship between the man and the woman," said Stephanie Coontz, the author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage (Penguin Books, 2006) in the article History of Marriage: 13 Surprising Facts. "It was a way of getting in-laws, of making alliances and expanding the family labor force."

For historical authors who incorporate suspense and intrigue into their plots, the "strategic marriage" concept opens up the potential for all sorts of emotional conflict and plot twists. My series, the Code Breakers, is set in Regency England, and I've had great fun with this angle. During this time period, British and French aristocrats were all were connected by marriages and alliances, and the division of classes also meant they socialized together. This makes a great area for creative license to develop spies who are conflicted over family loyalties vs. country loyalties. And it also makes for excellent double agents which I did in A Code of Love, Book 1 in the Code Breakers Series. In A Christmas Code, the romance is derived from the familiarity within the closed aristocratic society. Gwyneth is in love with her brother's best friend. She has grown up with him and now is in constant contact in the small social circle of the Ton.

What are your thoughts on how historical authors use social norms as part of their story plots?

A CHRISTMAS CODE


Ash, recently returned from three years undercover in France in His Majesty’s service, wants nothing more than to complete his final mission and retire to his bucolic country estate. However, what seemed a simple assignment to protect the Prince Regent at a Christmas party turns into a maze of intrigue, desire, and treachery. 

Adding to the perilous secret operation is one problem Ash never anticipated: The appearance of the reckless, enticing Gwyneth, who has blossomed into a gorgeous woman and self-appointed spy. When a snooping Gwyneth uncovers a shocking secret, she puts herself in mortal danger. 

Can Ash protect Gwyneth and the Prince from French assailants and, at the same time, win the passionate lady's heart? 

Can Ash and Gwyneth both triumph as winners in the game of spies and love? 


Excerpt:
Chapter One

Hot and breathless from performing the newly imported French dance steps of the quadrille, Gwyneth paused during the break in the music. She fanned her heated cheeks repeatedly, attempting to cool herself. Lord Henley glanced down at her. His lips were tight, his eyes dark with need. She had seen the same look on the faces of many men, but never on the face of the only man who mattered. 

She wanted to see the same burning desire and possessiveness in the eyes of her childhood infatuation as she knew blazed in her eyes when she looked at the impossible but dazzling Viscount Ashworth. 

The gentleman, newly arrived, had barely glanced at her despite the new gown made especially to entice the hard-headed rake. Her friend and dress designer, Amelia, obsessed with the simplicity of Greek togas, had crisscrossed sky blue silk across Gwyneth’s ample chest with a dramatic d├ęcolletage. The back of the gown was draped in the same manner with a revealing V. It was a simple design, but sensual in the way the fabric clung to her body. 

She felt alluring and hopeful that tonight Ash would finally throw off all the restraints. She had felt his eyes on her back, knowing he watched her as she gaily danced the intricate pattern she had recently learned from her French dance master.

Lord Henley offered his arm as the quadrille ended. “May I take you to the refreshment table for a glass of punch? This new French dance is very demanding.”

“Thank you. I’m not thirsty. Can you please take me to my dear friend, Miss Bonnington?”
Lord Henley’s eyes clouded with emotion. Gwyneth couldn’t refuse the dance, but she needed to escape the gentleman before he embarrassed himself. She wanted to spare him the pain of rejection. After five marriage proposals this season, she had become somewhat of an expert in recognizing the signs of imminent declaration.

“Thank you, sir, for the dance.” Gwyneth did a brief curtsy.

Lord Henley bowed. “It was my pleasure.” He hesitated, then sharply nodded his head. She didn’t want to be unkind, but there was no reason to pretend interest and encourage hope when there was none.

They watched Lord Henley circle to the other side of the room.

Amelia hid her face behind her fan, her bright eyes dancing in merriment. “Another stricken gentleman.”



Author Bio:
Descended from a long line of storytellers, Jacki spins adventures filled with mystery, healing and romance. 

Jacki’s love affair with the arts began at a young age and inspired her to train as a jazz singer and dancer. She has performed many acting roles with Seattle Opera Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her travels to London and Paris ignited a deep-seated passion to write the Regency Code Breaker Series. Jacki is certain she spent at least one lifetime dancing in the Moulin Rouge.

Jacki has set her Grayce Walters Mystery Series in Seattle, her long-time home. The city’s unique and colorful locations are a backdrop for her thrilling romantic suspense. Although writing now fills much of her day, she continues to volunteer for Seattle’s Ballet and Opera Companies and leads children’s tours of Pike Street Market. Her volunteer work with Seattle’s homeless shelters influenced one of her main characters in An Inner Fire and Women Under Fire. 

Jacki’s two Golden Labs, Gus and Talley, were her constant companions. Their years of devotion and intuition inspired her to write dogs as main characters alongside her strong heroines. A geek at heart, Jacki loves superhero movies—a hero’s battle against insurmountable odds. But her heroines don’t have to wear a unitard to fight injustice and battle for the underdog.

Look for more heart-pounding adventure, intrigue, and romance in Jacki’s Code Breakers Series. A Code of Love is the first book in the series. A Christmas Code—A Regency Novella, is now available at all retail sites.  A Code of the Heart will be released on Valentine’s Day 2015.

To learn more about Jacki and her books and to be the first to hear about contests and giveaways join her newsletter found on her website: www.jackidelecki.com. Follow her on Facebook—Jacki Delecki; Twitter @jackidelecki.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Food Can Comfort Us


Food can comfort us, nourish us, or be deadly as sin. The 1963 movie of Tom Jones, a rollicking historical comedy, set in Britain during the 1700s is a great example. Albert Finney and Joyce Redman are seated at a table by themselves. They begin their repast. Everything begins proper enough, but soon each bite and lick turns into a seduction.  In Tom Jones, the two took it one step over the line until it became foreplay. Ah the power of a turkey leg.

I’m a retired personal chef. It was my job to understand how people responded to my menu suggestions. It never ceased to amaze me how specific a person was when it came to their food. To some it’s fuel to keep them going throughout the day, others are addicted to sweets or anything hot and spicy. And then there’s chocolate—need I say more? Food can also be a guilty pleasure. My weakness is for little powdered sugar donuts. Don’t ask why. I couldn’t tell you.

Being a former personal chef gives me a chance to use what I know and throw in a bit of murder for fun. Chefs handle knives, rolling pins, whisks, and other utensils which can whip up an omelet, or take out a killer. A kitchen is a deadly place to make a wrong move.

This was supposed to be a cozy—a nice little book about chefs who solve crime. Instead, it turned into a spicy mix of humor, mischief, and danger. Between watching all of the ‘foodie’ and forensic shows, is it any wonder this book evolved into a romantic suspense with a big helping of death? I once told a writing panel that I wasn’t satisfied with my books unless three to four bodies hit the floor by The End.

Celebrity Tilly Danes and Jordan Kelly aren’t above taking a few competing potshots at each other. If their taste in food is different, so is their approach to solving murder. Tilly leads with her heart, Jordan goes with the evidence, but the opposite holds true in romance. Jordan finds himself drawn to the prickly Tilly – she doesn’t trust her judgment when it comes to men. 

They are thrust together to find the right recipe for love, and identify a killer, before it’s too late. If they don’t they may be next on the murderer’s menu.

RECIPE FOR MURDER


Eat. Love. Murder.

Sparks and insults fly when Celebrity Chef Tilly Danes matches wits with the annoyingly sexy Jordan Kelly. As members of the judging panel for the Culinary Channel’s Personal Chef Showdown, they agree on only one thing:  Maxwell Etheridge, the third judge on their panel is an arrogant pain in the butt. Neither one would mind seeing him strung up like a ham hock. When their nemesis shows up not only dead but also missing an important body part, Tilly and Jordan are thrust smack in the middle of TV's most shocking homicide...


Everyone is a suspect: the show's host, the contestants, and even the victim's lover. When Tilly and Jordan are pulled deeper into the investigation, those pesky sparks of antagonism transform into undeniable, incredibly inconvenient, red-hot attraction. And if they thought the sparks were hot while fighting, the heat between the sheets is an inferno. As the bodies start piling up, Tilly and Jordan must find the killer—and a recipe for love—before they become the murderer's next course!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WRITING THE WEST TEXAS WATCHMEN


Congratulations to "LS", the winner in Angi's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

My first three book series hits shelves next month. They are a follow-up to my first West Texas story: PROTECTING THEIR CHILD. I loved going back to Marfa and some of the characters there. I found it challenging to develop three additional heroes that had their own unique situation…all from the same area and storyline. My cowboys normally have second careers, writing about a rancher who truly was a rancher…was a challenge itself. I definitely wanted it to be realistic.

So here’s a little about the Watchmen. Crossing my fingers you’ll enjoy each of their stories.


PETE, THE SHERIFF
A family secret can cause Pete to lose everything. Writing a hero from a small town who’d never been serious about any of the women he’d grown up with…well, that was easy. Pete’s not a playboy but he’s had his share of dates. He was practically raised by the citizens of Marfa, so a secret that can destroy his world is significant. But it’s also difficult to become your own person, when everyone thinks they have an opinion on how you should live.

“Morgan’s newest not only has an independent and quirky heroine, but an adorably quirky–and steamy–romance between the hero and heroine. While the playful banter was a nice addition, the storyline also felt fresh and full of intrigue.”  ~4 Stars, Romantic Times Magazine


NICK, THE CATTLEMAN
A lot of Nick’s story is separate from the Marfa characters because it takes place on his ranch. Nick has also isolated himself after a close-call in Protecting Their Child. As a result, Nick’s character has completely changed from the first time he’s introduced to readers. He’s much more serious and withdrawn. After writing and worrying about getting the ranching scenes correct, I sent the story to a friend of mine who is a rancher and cowboy. I was thrilled when he gave me a big thumbs up. 

“I just finished reading your manuscript… The story was accurate in detail and descriptive of ranch life! To be completely honest, I got caught up in the story and could relate quite well with the PTSD that you described so well. The way you drew a picture of the west Texas terrain was spot on! It took me back to the area and the natural beauty of the west Texas desert. The plot line is intriguing and timely considering the issues all along the Texas border at this time. Nick and Beth's story, as told by you, is as Texas as the bluebonnets in spring (and the rattlers that hide among them!). Great read !!!! Congratulations, Angi !!! I can't wait to see it on the shelves!!!!”  ~Ron H.


MITCH, THE RANGER
Writing an undercover agent is normally difficult. Writing Mitch…well, his desire to take care of the heroine and her son made the writing a little easier. He’s the only Watchman that doesn’t wear a Stetson and might occasionally smell like auto-grease instead of horses. Mitch is undercover throughout the series. I loved wrapping everything up around his story with Beth. And I hope everyone else loves it too.

ANGI MORGAN writes “Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love.” She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Angi's work has been a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award, Romantic Times Best First Series, Carolyn Readers Choice, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Daphne du Maurier.

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Giveaway:
WHEN YOU THINK OF A COWBOY, DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE A “REAL” OCCUPATION? Leave your opinion for a chance to win a copy of THE SHERIFF.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST November 18th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Justice isn’t always black or white


Congratulations to "Rachel B", the winner in Toni's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Justice isn’t always black or white
Sometimes it’s cold and dark

This is the premise that started the Cold Justice Series. But what does it really mean? 

In the Cold Justice Series things aren’t always what they seem on the surface. The books feature characters struggling with moral dilemmas. What happens when following the strict letter of the law will make a situation worse and innocents will suffer? Naturally the books have fabulously sexy heroes and feisty heroines who are falling in love (ready or not!). Unfortunately (some might say) some of those same heroes and heroines are also capable of cold-blooded murder. 

What can I say? I like shaking things up.

The third book, COLD LIGHT OF DAY, pairs a nerdy heroine with a Navy SEAL-turned-FBI agent hero. They are probably my least morally derelict couple and yet the story opens with Scarlett Stone committing a crime. It’s all about the motivation, right? I’m hoping readers enjoy the third book. It takes place over 36 hours and ends on Christmas morning with a guaranteed feel good moment—the way all Christmas stories should end. 




COLD LIGHT OF DAY

Physicist Scarlett Stone is the daughter of the man considered to be the most notorious Russian agent in FBI history. With her father dying in prison she’s determined to prove he’s innocent, but time is running out. Using a false identity, she gains access to the Russian ambassador’s Christmas party, searching for evidence of a set-up.

Former Navy SEAL, now FBI Special Agent, Matt Lazlo, is instantly attracted to Scarlett but life is too complicated to pursue a politician’s daughter. When he discovers she lied to him about her identity, he hunts her down with the ruthless efficiency he usually reserves for serial killers. 

Not only does Scarlett’s scheme fail, it puts her in the sights of powerful people who reward unwanted curiosity with brutality. The FBI—and Matt—aren’t thrilled with her, either. But as agents involved in her father’s investigation start dying, and the attempts to stop Scarlett intensify, Matt and his colleagues begin to wonder. Could they have a traitor in their midst?

As Scarlett and Matt dig for the truth they begin to fall passionately for one another. But the real spy isn’t about to let anyone uncover their secrets, and resolves to remain firmly in the shadows—and for that to happen, Matt and Scarlett have to die.



Come join me on Facebook to celebrate the release of the third book in my Cold Justice Series, COLD LIGHT OF DAY. A few hours of fun and some excellent prizes! Guest authors include (so far) Catherine Bybee, Leah Braemel, Allison Brennan, Lori Ryan, Maureen A Miller, Julie Moffett, Kendra Elliott, Rachel Grant, Melinda Leigh, Dana Marton, Kathy Altman and more!

COLD LIGHT OF DAY is available at:
Amazon | iBooks | Kobo
Coming soon on Nook and Google Play!

Giveaway:
I’m giving away a digital copy of A COLD DARK PLACE to one lucky commenter. Thanks for joining me today!

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST November 17th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.