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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shattered Secrets


Giveaway Alert for 5 lucky winners!

When my agent first told me that I was getting a reputation for writing exciting enclave novels, I said, “Writing what?”  Well, duh--enclave novels, in my case, romantic suspense novels set in small towns and the surrounding rural areas.  In the rom/sus books I’ve written, I’ve used Amish settings, small town Alaska and now, again, the edge of Appalachia, an area I know well.  My new trilogy THE COLD CREEK NOVELS:  SHATTERED SECRETS (Sept.); FORBIDDEN GROUND (Nov.): and BROKEN BONDS (Jan.) take place in the dramatic, scary area of the Ohio Appalachian ridge, an unique enclave unto itself.

I did my undergrad work at a college in that area, even student taught at a high school with some small town and “backwoods kids.”  What suspense writer could ignore settings such as a defunct coal mine; a run down hunting cabin; an abandoned insane asylum; and deep cornfields surrounding an old farm house?  Cell phones don’t even work in some spots.  How perfect for a heroine and her small town sheriff love when they are trying to solve a terrible crime.  

For the first book in the trilogy, I suppose it might have seemed logical to begin with the oldest of the three sisters and keep them in order.  But it’s the terrible thing that happened to the youngest that gets things rolling, so book #1, SHATTERED SECRETS, belongs to Tess Lockwood.  Years later, a childhood tragedy still impacts her as well as her oldest sister, Kate, and her middle sister, Char, and the men in their lives.

Tess was abducted from the cornfield behind their house when she was young.  She somehow escaped after several months but remembered nothing of the trauma.  The family fell apart and left Cold Creek.  Now an adult, Tess is back to sell the old homestead.  But another local child, the third taken, disappears during her brief stop in town.  Though Tess wants nothing to do with reliving her past, she promises to help the sheriff, Gabe McCord, solve the crime.  Tess can’t wait to have it all over and get out of town, but…of course, romantic and fearful consequences follow.

One thing I love about this trilogy is that the books come out very close together, every other month.  That made it easy for the new heroines/heroes in each book to appear in support roles in the next novels.  The dynamics among three sisters can be surprising and fascinating, as any of you with multiple sisters know.  There can be tension, but when trouble looms, they stick together.  The three heroes all have relationships too, but that doesn’t make them seem any less dangerous at first to the heroines.

Booklist said of book #1 in my previous trilogy:  “Harper, a master of suspense, keeps readers guessing about crime and love until the very end.”  (Starred review for FALL FROM PRIDE.)  I hope the same is true for this new trilogy.  I think the villain is one of the most unusual yet.  Please let me know (at Karen.Harper.Author@gmail.com) if you guess who it is before the trap closes on Tess and Gabe in scenic but scary small town Appalachia.  

Website is http://www.KarenHarperAuthor.com 

Giveaway:
Karen will be giving away 5 copies of SHATTERED SECRETS to 5 lucky readers who stop by and leave a comment to say hello.

SHATTERED SECRETS

Every town has its secrets… 

Returning to Cold Creek, Ohio, is an act of courage for Tess Lockwood. Abducted and held captive as a young girl, she is unable to remember anything about the crime that destroyed her childhood and tore her family apart. Now a grown woman with a bright future, she is certain she has put the past behind her. But when she inherits the family home, Tess must confront the demons that still haunt her and the town of Cold Creek. 

Gabe McCord has always blamed himself for what happened to Tess. He had been a teenager when she was snatched from the group of children he was responsible for watching. Now Gabe has taken on the role of sheriff and hopes to shed new light on the cold case, especially given his growing feelings for Tess. 

Tess isn't ready to recall what happened to her, and she has no intention of digging up any details that might remind her of the truth. But when another child in the town goes missing, she's certain it's related to her return to Cold Creek. Together,Tess and Gabe will have to work to unlock their painful memories in order to save another child and heal their damaged souls, for good….

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Harlequin

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 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. US Postal addresses only.

Monday, September 15, 2014

NO DAMSELS IN DISTRESS ALLOWED


Congratulations to "Brooke B." the winner in Denise's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

The villain raises his hand to strike the heroine. She shrinks in fear. “No, no, please don’t hurt me.” Her eyes glow with terror. The villain utters the cliché, “Bwah ha ha.” In her heart she wonders where is her hero. She clutches her chest. Why hasn’t he found her and rescued her yet? No, he won’t abandon her in her hour of desperate need. He’s the hero! That’s what heroes do, right? Save the day? Enter the Hollywood handsome hero, a combination of Superman, Prince Charming, and that other guy, what’s-his-name. He breaks the door down, punches the bad guy in the nose, and saves the damsel in distress. This day, the heroine will NOT be tied to a railroad track while the villain twirls his mustache.
No, no, no. The modern romantic suspense reader doesn’t want the heroine to cower in fear. She expects her heroine to be a strong, independent, sometimes sassy woman with enough smarts to evaluate a situation and at least try to figure out how to get out of a scrape on her own.

One of the most disheartening reviews I’ve ever received complained that my heroine in An Impostor in Town covered (I think the reviewer meant cowered) in fear. Really? My heart sank, because I’d designed the heroine to be a woman who overcame her fears and stood her ground in the end. A woman who punches the bad guy while he’s driving a car on a mountainous road is NOT a damsel in distress. She’s a fighter. Okay, maybe she shrank when someone shoved a gun in her face, but who wouldn’t? Today’s heroine needs to be courageous and bold, but she also shouldn’t cross the border into unreality.
Romantic suspense readers want a heroine who can handle just about anything while still choosing to lean on her man...if that’s what she wants to do. No more damsels in distress. Oh sure, the heroine can find herself in a distressing situation, but she’s just as capable of handling it as her love interest, the hero, is.

One of my favorite heroines is Tess from Crisis of Serenity. She can handle just about anything. In the following scene she’s decided to take control of her destiny.

Would Jake come to my rescue? Would he once again be willing to become my knight in shining armor? I still didn’t need someone to protect me. I was still capable of taking care of myself, but this time...this time I needed him to rescue Joyce. She had needed protection and I had failed her. Could Jake help me fix what had gone horribly wrong?

Footsteps pounded on the dirt floor on the other side of the door. I braced for the impending confrontation. My back pressed into the rough siding of the barn, a splintered piece of the wood wall sticking into my skin. I shifted, ignored the sting of the fresh puncture wound, and reminded myself to bend a little. If I locked my knees I might pass out. I was already on the verge of fainting. My blood pulsed through my veins at a frightening rate.

I held my breath as the footsteps drew nearer. The door swung open and I pounced, jumping onto New Man’s back and wrapping my legs around his waist. I pounded him on his shoulders and the side of his face with my fury-driven fists.

“Where is she? What have you done with her?” I yanked at his long blonde hair. “She better still be alive.” Even in my frenzy, I realized a bold attack such as this might not have been the best offensive maneuver.

If you enjoyed this excerpt, you can read more of Tess in Crisis of Serenity. The book can be purchased on Amazon and at 5 Prince Books. Here’s the back cover description.

CRISIS OF SERENITY

Tess Copeland lives a quiet life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thanks to the government’s witness protection program, she enjoys the freedom of never having to glance over her shoulder to see if someone is following her. Life has become safe, serene...and boring. Her heart longs for something more than just existing...until a ghost from her past shatters her serenity.
Once upon a time, Tess was stuck between the FBI and the men the feds were trying to take down. Jake Coleman is the U.S. Marshal who extracted her from the jam she was in with the FBI, a man she could have fallen for...hard...if she had let herself. It’s been a year since she last saw Jake, and in all the months that have passed, he’s never tried to find her. The longer he keeps his distance, the more she wonders why his absence hurts so much.
When a stranger comes to town searching for her, all of Tess’ old fears are resurrected. Asking Jake for help with her current crisis might lure him into a dangerous trap involving murder, kidnapping, and revenge. When Jake and Tess come face-to-face with the past, they will have to use all their wits to survive.

Giveaway:
I’ll choose one person at random from commenters on this post to receive a free ebook copy of Crisis of Serenity.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 16th. 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. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Inspiration Behind Saving Sophie


Giveaway Alert!

Cate Beauman is back with the seventh installment in her bestselling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County.  Saving Sophie is on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes! 


WHEN THE ONLY CHOICE IS TO RUN…

Jewelry designer Sophie Burke has fled Maine for the anonymity of the big city. She’s starting over with a job she tolerates and a grungy motel room she calls home on the wrong side of town, but anything is better than the nightmare she left behind.

Stone McCabe is Ethan Cooke Security’s brooding bad boy more interested in keeping to himself than anything else—until the gorgeous blond with haunted violet eyes catches his attention late one rainy night.

Stone reluctantly gives Sophie a hand only to quickly realize that the shy beauty with the soft voice and pretty smile has something to hide. Tangled up in her secrets, Stone offers Sophie a solution that has the potential to free her from her problems once and for all—or jeopardize both of their lives.  

Read an excerpt from Saving Sophie:

Sophie glanced around one last time at the town she’d called home for more than twelve years as Dylan merged south on the onramp towards Brunswick, knowing she would never come back to the place where she and her mother had made their fresh start. 

“Your train leaves at nine. We should make it in plenty of time.”

“I’ve never traveled by train.”

“Me neither.” Dylan moved into the right lane, letting faster traffic pass. “Have you decided where you’ll go?”

She shook her head, even though she’d thought of little else since she woke this morning, knowing today had to be the day. “Somewhere big. Somewhere where he can’t find me.” She swallowed. “He’ll look. He’ll never stop,” she said, staring into the side mirror, waiting for the black Mercedes to rush up behind them and force them to pull over. “You have to be careful.”

Dylan huffed out an amused laugh. “That bastard doesn’t scare me.”

She wished he didn’t scare her either. “Be careful anyway.”

“I will, but he’s a coward.”

“No more than me,” she murmured, glancing down at the hints of bruised skin peeking out from under her sleeves.

Dylan tossed her a look. “Don’t go there.”

She sat back fully in her seat, unable to take her eyes off the mirror until Dylan eventually exited the interstate and drove toward the center of town, stopping in front of the Amtrak station as the train pulled up. 

“Looks like you won’t have to wait.” She set the emergency brake and searched through her purse. “Here’s my license.” She handed over the Maine ID and paper ticket she’d bought and printed when Sophie gave her the green light from her kiosk at the mall. “We don’t look all that different with your wig, so this should get you your next ticket in Boston.”

“Thank you.” Sophie leaned over and gave Dylan a big hug. “Thank you so much. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.”

“Don’t look back, Sophie.” Dylan eased away, squeezing her hand. “Get out of here and never look back. Here are the phone numbers for the Stowers house shelters in Baltimore and LA I told you about—just in case.” She handed over the March copy of Trendy magazine with papers sticking out from the edges.

“Thanks. Please don’t forget to put flowers on my mother’s grave.”

“I won’t.”

She nodded and hugged Dylan for the last time. “Bye.”

“Bye. Take care of yourself.”

“I will.” Sophie got out, sliding her backpack on her shoulder as she made her way to the bored-eyed man at the ticket kiosk.

“Ticket and ID, Ma’am.”

Sophie handed over both, holding her breath, waiting for her plan to fall apart.

“Safe trip.” He gave them back.

“Thank you,” she murmured, letting loose a shaky exhale as she turned and moved toward the train, wanting to run instead of walk. She boarded the first available car and stared out the window as she sat down, watching Dylan pull out of the lot in the rusty hatchback, already missing the only person she’d had a connection with. She bobbed her leg up and down, struggling to keep her fidgeting at bay. Minutes passed, feeling like hours, until finally the doors closed. The train jerked forward, moving toward Boston—the first stop on her journey to freedom. 

Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book here! 

The Inspiration Behind Saving Sophie

Stone and Sophie are as opposite as can be—or so it seems—and that’s why telling their story was so much fun!  Readers met Stone in Justice For Abby.  He’s a gorgeous bad boy, more interested in taking care of himself than worrying about anyone else.  Stone’s a hard-ass.  There’s no other way to say it, but everyone has an achilles’ heel.  That’s what drew me to Ethan Cooke Security’s latest bodyguard.  I kept asking myself what type of woman had the power to bring a man like Stone McCabe to his knees.  Enter Sophie Burke, a shy jewelry designer dealing with lots of trouble, and you just might have your answer.

I hope you enjoy Sophie and Stone as much as I enjoyed writing them!

~ Cate

The Unofficial Saving Sophie Soundtrack

Here are a few of the songs that I had on “repeat” while I created Stone and Sophie’s story!  You can listen to them on my website www.catebeauman.com.

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Saving Sophie:
Grey Street by Dave Matthews
Sleep by Plumb
Come To Me by The Goo Goo Dolls
All I Want by Staind
I’d Come For You by Nickelback
Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran
In My Veins by Andrew Belle
Only You by Matthew Perryman Jones
Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk



About the author:
Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County.  Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.

“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, four years later, I’m currently working on my eighth novel, Reagan’s Redemption, which I plan to release in early spring of 2015.  I’m very grateful for the support and success I’ve had.”  - Cate 

Contact Cate
Amazon Author Page

Social links:
Twitter: @CateBeauman
www.catebeauman.com
www.facebook.com/CateBeauman
www.goodreads.com/catebeauman


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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spotlight with Tiffany Snow


Giveaway Alert!

660e8-aboutthebook1
Author: Tiffany Snow
Release Date: August 25, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Thursday, September 11, 2014

COVER REVEAL!


Cover Reveal!

FIREWEED is the 3rd book in the Wild Women of Alaska Series and considered a standalone story. But those of you who have read my other books will get a treat as I pull in some familiar characters. There are updates from Eva in SHIVER (that is surprising), more about Shyla, Judd, and Garrett from BAIT and HOOKED. It was a blast bringing them back and catching up with them. FIREWEED turned out much sweeter than I had planned and I completely fell in love with Briar and West. They only have one night together with no hope for a future, and boy do they make the most of it. 

A few notes of interest, fireweed is a wildflower that can grow six to seven feet tall and is abundant all over Alaska. In August when the stalks are in full-bloom, many people gather the flowers and make jellies, syrups, teas, oils, and soaps. Bees also take advantage of the sweet nectar and make fireweed honey. But what astounds me the most about this hardy plant is that it’s the first flower to bloom after a wildfire. Fireweed is beautiful, resilient, nourishing, and above all, wild. Much like my heroine, Briar.


FIREWEED is available for a discounted pre-order price of only $.99!


FIREWEED


He kidnapped her but she took him hostage.

He's an escaped convict…

Sentenced for a murder he didn't comment, West McAllister is wanted dead or alive. On the run with a statewide issued manhunt for his capture, he won't last long unless he finds shelter. But what he finds is the one woman who tempts him at the worst possible time.

She rehabilitates wild animals…

Wildlife veterinarian Briar Levine gets along better with wild animals than people. But when she is taken hostage by West McAllister and forced to spend a night alone with him, her life isn't the only thing in danger, so is her heart.

Available at Amazon


About The Author:
Raised in Alaska, I spent many long, dark winters as a teenager escaping the forty below temperatures by penning romantic adventures. I attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks where I met a man who swept me off my mukluks and promptly married him. The 90's were spent playing mommy to four children, and on the glorious day my youngest entered kindergarten, I set up camp at the keyboard. 

I write mystery/suspense (just can't  keep the bad guys out) and contemporary romance (for when I need to  lighten things up). Part of my year is spent landlocked in Utah and the other part commercial fishing on Alaska's Bering Sea (read HOOKED). During my landlock months, I create wheel-thrown pottery (read SHIVER), moonlight for Barnes and Noble, and race around with my top down on my convertible (read TOPLESS). 

Some of my favorite things are muscle cars, sun worshiping, kayaking, fishing, and Green Tea Frappuccinos!