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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Romance to DIE for


The romantic suspense series Blood Money follows the five deadly Faraday siblings across the globe as they face danger and fall in love in equal measure. The first book in the series, Blamed, was just released and author Edie Harris shares with us some awesome sharable quotes: 

Blamed has danger, excellent fight scenes, world travel and of course, a romance to die for. Beth and Vick have a love that spans continents and many, many different bedrooms. Here are some sharables you can take for your own Twitter, Facebook or website:

Praise for BLAMED
“The two main characters share a long, passionate history and, boy, do they sizzle. The heroine, with her tough-as-nails personality, and the hero, with his moments of vulnerability, complement each other quite nicely. Here’s to looking forward to the next book in the series!”RT Book Reviews
“Blamed is a mind blowing-ly crazy story. Right from the first page it’s adventurous and addicting. It doesn't stop until the last page in the book.” Night Owl Reviews
“If you want a very fun, very sexy, very action-packed romantic suspense, read this. The start of what I think will be a great series.”Smexy Books
“Beth and Vick have the most twisted romantic story that steals it your heart.”Fresh Fiction
“Heartbreakingly wonderful.” Smart Biches, Trashy Books
“Edie Harris gives us the best of the spy game in Blamed.”Heroes and Heartbreakers 
“Great suspense and intrigue with reunited lovers make this book a great read.” Red Hot Books

BLAMED
Born into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager.

That part of her life—the American spy royalty part—ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgivable. She's worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the family business.

But someone, somewhere, hasn't forgotten what Beth did in Kabul. And they want revenge.

As the Faraday clan bands together to defend Beth and protect their legacy, Beth is forced to flee her new home with the unlikeliest of allies-MI6 agent Raleigh Vick, the only man she's ever loved. And the one she thought she'd killed in the desert.

Book one of the Blood Money series

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Carina Press | Kobo 


Bio:
Edie Harris studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa and Grinnell College. She fills her days with writing and editing contract proposals, but her nights belong to the world of romance fiction. Edie lives and works in Chicago and is represented by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency.

You can visit Edie at: 

Monday, November 24, 2014

WHOA! THAT GUY ON MY COVER IS H-H-HOT!


Giveaway Alert!

The response to the cover of To the Breaking Pointe has been nothing less than entertaining. Every time I show the book to any woman I get the exact same reaction. First their eyes widen—sometimes I think I’m going to have to pick their eyeballs off the floor for them, then their jaw drops open, they suck in a little air—let it out slowly, and then they all say the same thing: “Oh my God, he is sooo hot!”

Yep, and that’s when the questions start. “Who is he?” 

They are always amazed when I say that I know who he is and I have talked with him through Facebook, and made arrangements for the photograph through the same social network. That’s right, I found Stuart Tomlinson on Facebook. I also found Stuart Reardon—from the cover of Into the Crossfire (book #1 from First Force) on FB. 

See? Social networking does work!

Mr. Tomlinson was a pro footballer in the UK until a knee injury. Most recently he has taken on another career (quite successfully) as a model. He has been featured on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine several times. He is also part of the WWF and WFC in Orlando. I’m not absolutely certain, but I believe that he is available, ladies!

Anyway, Stuart is always posting his latest modeling photos on his FB page, and when this particular picture came through my feeds I immediately thought it would be perfect for the cover of To the Breaking Pointe. That’s not to say that the photograph didn’t have to be “edited”. Stuart has a huge tattoo that stretches across his expansive chest and all the way down his right arm. Because the First Force storylines are about special operatives, the tattoo could not be left in the picture. Special ops are not permitted to have large tattoos such as the one that Stuart wears because of identification purposes. My graphic designer worked for several hours to remove the tattoo from the photograph and to blend the skin tones. We also had to make my name on the cover larger and add some shading to hide… stuff. 

So, is the story within the pages of To the Breaking Pointe as hot as the cover? I think so. My first book series, Unbridled, has suggestive scenes within its storylines, but for the First Force Series I have tossed my inhibitions into the wind to write those bedroom scenes that I’ve longed to pen but was too shy while working with my first series. The Unbridled Series will continue to have suggestive material for those who prefer the love scenes to be a little less descriptive, but in the First Force Series I won’t be slamming the bedroom door in the reader’s face. That said the storylines will carry all the suspense, twists, and turns that I love to write, and characters that you will miss after you’ve finished reading the book, and have you clamoring for the next book: Into the Dark—coming in 2015.

For more information on To the Breaking Pointe or Into the Crossfire/First Force Series and all of Cindy McDonald’s books please visit her website at: www.cindymcwriter.com

To the Breaking Pointe

Five years ago First Force operative, Grant Ketchum, let the ballerina of his dreams dance right of his life. Silja Ramsay returned to her birthplace, Russia, to take the position of principal dancer for the Novikov Ballet Company.

The owner and director of the ballet company, Natalia Novikov, has a dark secret: her beloved ballet company is almost broke. Natalia forces her dancers to prostitute themselves to financial contributors at exclusive after-show parties. Silja has been exempt and kept in the
dark about the parties—until an American financier offers to bail the failing ballet company out. His prerequisite: Silja must become his personal companion, live in his home, and fulfill his every desire. Against her will, Silja is taken to the American's mansion, but before she goes she manages to send a text to the only man who can save her,

Grant: HELP!



Excerpt:

Yekaterinburg, Russia:

A crowd had gathered in the reception room in the basement of the Mockba Theatre. The room wasn’t particularly large, yet it was quite elegant with red velvet swags hung in the archways, gilded crown moldings, and crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. A bar was set up in one corner while a violinist played softly in another.  

“It is ridiculous! An outrage! Dominik Potrovic should be included in the auction!” Ivan Belsky bit out in Russian. “A choice, that’s what the contributors’ should have! We spend a lot of money at these parties!”

Natalia waved at the bartender for a glass of wine. “I have already explained this to you, Ivan. Dominik is in a relationship with our choreographer, Edvar. He is not available for the auctions.”

“Several of the dancers are married! Yet here they are—to be auctioned as the rest. I understand why Silja Ramsay is not present—she is an American, but there is not excuse for Dominik!”

“I do not understand. You always choose from the box filled with the ballerina’s shoes, not the male dancers. So why do you fuss?”

“I enjoy the girls very much. But Dominik—”

“If you are not happy with our selection of dancers, pull your bid and be on your way.”
Red-faced with frustration, Belsky let out a loud harrumph, and then stalked into the party just as Ballard Crafton rounded the corner.

“Where is Silja?” he asked Natalia as he searched through the party guests. The room was filled with men, a few older women, and most of the dancers from the Novikov Ballet Company. Only one dancer in particular was missing... Silja Ramsay.

“As always, there are plenty of lovely ballerinas here to choose from this evening, Ballard. Forget Silja for now. I will keep working to make her come around. 

“No. I am tired of spending time with ballerinas that I don’t want. I only fantasize that she is Silja. I want Silja!” Ballard said. 
                                                                   ****** 
Giveaway:
Have you ever taken dance classes? How has social networking benefited you?
I will be giving away a digital or *print (winner's preference) copy of TO THE BREAKING POINTE to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry. 

Author Bio 
For twenty-six years Cindy’s life whirled around a song and a dance: she was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. She often notes: Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course—I’ve never been murdered!) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack. Viola! Cindy’s first book series, Unbridled, was born—there are four books to that series so far.

Cindy is a huge fan of romantic suspense series, and although she isn’t one to make New Year’s resolutions, on New Year’s Day 2013 she made a commitment to write one, Into the Crossfire is the first book for her new series, First Force.

People are always asking Cindy: do you miss dance? With a bitter sweet smile on her lips she tells them: Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books, and I love sharing them with you.

For more information, book trailers, and excerpts for all of Cindy’s books please visit her website: www.cindymcwriter.com

Social Networks:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cindy.s.mcdonald.3
Twitter: @CindyMcDonald7

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Nov. 25th. 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. *Print copy for US residents only.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

For Better and Worse


Congratulations to "Bn100", the winner in Stephanie's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

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!