Friday, August 29, 2014

Escaping Into Story

Giveaway Alert!

I've often heard that the best ideas for a story come from real life. That was certainly my experience in writing my time travel romance trilogy, Moonseed. My heroine first came to me when I was on holiday in beautiful California wine country and going through a particularly painful time in my life.

Victoria materialized in my imagination already fully formed. The first thoughts she shared with me told of her longing to escape her meaningless life and to find love and purpose and belonging. Intrigued, I began to follow her into a story that troubled me, challenged me, and ultimately gratified me as she found answers and solutions to problems that we both shared.

Of course, I had the fun of providing her with all the elements that personally satisfy me most in a story: romantic intrigue with a hero worthy of her, mysteries to be solved, and truths about life to be discovered. I got to visit old San Francisco at the turn of the century and to live the slower paced life of rural California that has always appealed to me.

I believe we read to discover ourselves in a character's reflection or to learn something new and interesting about how life works. Although it's true that we can't travel through time to escape our troubles, we can follow a character into her story, adopting her reality and caring about how things turn out for her, and in that imaginary escape discover real relief and pleasure and satisfaction for ourselves.

Borrowed Promises

On the night of the new spring moon, a near-fatal accident propelled Victoria Reeves-Ashton over a century back in time to awaken in the body of Katherine Kamarov.

Now, after three months of pretending to be Katherine and laboring to repair relationships damaged by Katherine's brash and selfish personality, quiet and gentle Victoria finds that her heart is putting down roots in Katherine's world, in her family relationships, and especially in a deepening friendship with Katherine's winsome cousin Michael.

Hidden letters reveal the story of other moonseed, time travelers like herself, and Victoria realizes that she and Katherine will likely be returned to their own times the following spring. Tension mounts when a rich and handsome suitor applies to marry her, and Victoria must choose whether to accept him for Katherine's sake or to follow her own heart.

Purchase Links:
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
Barnes and Noble

Author Bio: 
Judith Ingram weaves together her love of romance and her training as a counselor to create stories and characters for her novels. She also writes Christian nonfiction books and enjoys speaking to groups on a variety of inspirational topics. She lives with her husband in the San Francisco East Bay and makes frequent trips to California's beautiful Sonoma County, where most of her fiction characters reside. She confesses a love for chocolate, cheesecake, romantic suspense novels, and all things feline.

Author web links:
Website, blog and free weekly devotional:

If you could change places with someone for one year, would you prefer to live in the future or the past, or would you stay in the present time, and why?  Comment for a chance to win a bundled set of paperbacks: Book One and Book Two of the MOONSEED trilogy: Bridge to the Past and Borrowed Promises.

Book Excerpt:
    I couldn't allow Michael to guess where my heart was taking me—because of Raymond.

    Although many things were unclear to me, one fact seemed certain—Katherine must marry Raymond Delacroix and have at least one child with him. If I gave in to my new feelings for Michael, and if I were cruel enough to let him see them, then I risked both hurting him and ruining Katherine's chances with Raymond when she came back to her own time.

    And Katherine would come back. I was convinced of it, all my desperate wishes to the contrary. She would marry Raymond, give birth to Elise, and secure a future that would eventually lead to her daughter painting a picture of Katherine and me at the bridge over Two Trees Creek. By the same token, I would return to life as a lingerie model and a cold marriage with Ryan Ashton. Ryan.

   "What?" Michael's voice made me jump and turn my head.


   "You said 'Ryan' again."

   "I did?"

   Michael had removed his glasses, and he blinked at me from only a foot away. God, he has beautiful eyes, I thought. Soft gray-green depths that held me breathless, fighting a slow, aching pull to be in his arms.

   "He's…nobody," I said.

   Michael was studying me, his eyes so solemn and searching that I couldn't look away. He didn't speak, but in that moment my heart yearned toward him, and he saw it. His expression changed. His gaze moved slowly from my eyes to my mouth.

   I turned my face away and shut my eyes over a sudden sting of tears.

    "Kat?" he said softly.

    His voice held a new, cautious note of intimacy. A moment later his thumb brushed my wet cheek, and the tenderness of his touch wrenched a low cry from me. I pushed his hand away and struggled to sit upright.

    "Don't touch me!" Pain made my voice sharp. "You can't touch me, Michael!"
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug. 30th. 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 with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Congratulations to "Bn100" and "Brooke B", the winners in Susan's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated. 

My romantic suspense novels usually feature a law enforcement hero or heroine, and the other in the romantic pair will be an ordinary person forced into extraordinary circumstances, life or death situations. I love torturing my people—virtually, you understand—and making them face all sorts of dangers and decisions that also draw them together and challenge their beliefs and needs. I love building the tension between them, so they’re hot for each other but circumstances or their own fears make them hesitate.

This is exactly what I’ve done with my characters in Task Force Eagle. DEA Agent Rick Cruz, the hero of Never Surrender, appeared as a secondary character in my first book for Harlequin. Ever since, readers have asked when I was going to publish his story. It took years, but finally I found the perfect heroine and a story that would challenge him and his task force partners. I added ATF Agent Jake Wescott and DEA Agent Holt Donovan to the task force and the series was born. 


NEVER SURRENDER  - When charming DEA Agent Ricardo Cruz has a lead in Maine to the cartel that killed his brother, his vanished suspect’s loyal sister, the beautiful Juliana Paris, refuses to cooperate. Threats force her to accept Rick’s protection, and their search leads them into deadly danger and each other’s arms.

ONCE BURNED - ATF Agent Jake Wescott, undercover in his hometown to find a link to the Mexican smugglers, becomes the reluctant protector of Lani Cameron who was scarred in the long-ago fire that killed her twin. As they uncover secrets, intimacy ignites passion, and they face dangers more explosive than they feared.

TWICE A TARGET - Disaster hits DEA Agent Holt Donovan twice. A gunfight ruins his mission and a car crash kills his brother and sister-in-law. Home on the Colorado ranch to raise his orphaned nephew, Holt hires a nanny, Maddy McCoy, who once jilted his brother. Can danger and a shocking discovery bring them together?


The agent regarded her with professional suspicion. Mocking her efforts at cool control, her cheeks burned under the scrutiny. She made a production of stashing the flashlight, cracked and probably useless, in her bag.

“I suppose you’re who you say you are, but what are you doing in my brother’s apartment—in the dark?” Straightening to her full five-foot-three, she folded her arms. 

“Your brother.” The DEA agent rubbed his knuckles on his jaw. “Can you prove that Jordan Paris is your brother?”

She would not be reduced to jelly by a good-looking man with a sexy voice. “Prove? Not really.” She rummaged in her bag. “But here’s my driver’s license.” 

Agent Cruz didn’t take the license from her, but framed the hand holding it with his own. “Portsmouth, New Hampshire? You drove here this afternoon?”

She nodded.

He continued to grip her hand. His tanned fingers contrasted starkly with her pale redhead’s skin. When he released her, she snatched back her hand as if from a flame.

“Why the flashlight?” 

“Sometimes Jordan forgets to pay his electricity bills. My brother has issues but he’s no criminal.” For the first time, the condition of the room registered. Everything strewn around. One hand flew to her throat. “What’s going on? What have you done?”

“First explain why you’re here and what you know about Jordan’s recent activities.” He gestured for her to take a seat.

Until he sat, she would stand. She wasn’t about to have him looming over her. “I’m not sure what Jordan’s been up to lately. That’s sort of why I came.” 

“You must know where he works.” His gaze concealed whether he knew the answer.

“Until two months ago, he worked for Vinson Seafood on a dragger. When the boat went in for repairs, he was laid off. He’s been out of work since.”

Juliana wished he wouldn’t keep looking at her with such concentrated focus. It was unnerving. She licked her lower lip.

As if too warm, the agent threw off his windbreaker. His black flak vest emblazoned with the yellow letters DEA confirmed his status. His black turtleneck and pants displayed a trim yet powerful build. With a cape, this man would make a better Zorro than that Spanish actor. No, she wouldn’t think of him that way. She blinked away the image.

I am giving away 2 digital copies of the Task Force Eagle bundle to two lucky readers posting a comment or sending an email entry.

Susan Vaughan wanted to write as soon as she learned to read. Her favorite books have always been mysteries and romances, so the mix in romantic suspense was a natural. Her books have won the Golden Leaf, More Than Magic, and Write Touch awards and been a finalist for the Booksellers’ Best and Daphne du Maurier awards. A former teacher, she’s a West Virginia native, but she and her husband have lived in Maine for many years.

Twitter: @SHVaughan

Individual books in print and digital at most online retailers

Never Surrender – Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes  

Once Burned – Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes  

Twice a Target – Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iTunes  

Task Force Eagle (ebooks 1-3) Amazon 

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug. 28th. 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 with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Balancing “reader” and “writer.”

Congratulations to "Willa" and "Donna S.", the winner's in C.A.'s giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

I have always been a reader AND a writer. I started writing my first book when I was about 8, but I didn’t finish a book, writing anyway, until I was 17. 

I tend to “binge” anything I like to do, LOL. So I will go through long periods of JUST writing, where I don’t even think about any books but my own. Or get frustrated with myself because I “missed out” reading a new release from one of my fave authors because I just had to finish the book I was writing.

Reading has always been the same for me. When I am having a streak, I can read 4-5 books a week. I discovered a new author (to me) a few weeks ago (The FAB Coreene Callahan) and burned through ALL her books in the last three weeks.

It’s harder for me to read AND write at the same time, but I find that as a person, it makes me happier when I do. 

Binging is bad.

When I do one and not the other, I MISS the other. And I find when I don’t write it’s worse than when I don’t read. I get grumpy. LOL.

So what works best for me is writing daily, then making myself see the reading as a reward for the work I got done. Sometimes works fabulously. 

Other times I just want to watch TV in my downtime, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. LOL (I watch way too much TV!)

I feel like writers SHOULD read. I don’t know about other writers, but if I do nothing BUT write, I get too much up in my own head, if that makes sense. It just wraps me up and gives me trouble spots in my stories.

It’s good to see what else is out there, what other awesomely creative people are doing. I love it! And I love to explore different genres.

Some authors will tell you not to read the genre you write, but I personally will read anything as long as it’s a good story. 

Historicals (especially Scottish Highlanders) are one of my fave things to read. And I love to read paranormal, and of course a fab romantic suspense, almost as much as I like to write it. 

Balance seems to be key for me in anything I do. Blame it on being a Libra, I dunno. Just seems when I have balance I function better, especially with reading and writing.

How do you find balance? When you read, do you prefer one genre over another, or are you good-story-driven like me?

Two winners will be selected from all the commenters, and I will give away an ebook to each! Winner’s choice of Collision Force (Crossing Forces Book One), Chance 
Collision (Crossing Forces Book Two) OR Calculated Collision (Crossing Forces Book Three)! Please make sure you leave your email with your comment!


Special Agent Lee Dawson has secrets. Secrets that forced her from Dallas to New York City in disgrace two years ago.

Dallas County Assistant District Attorney, Nate Crane, visits New York and witnesses the brutal murder of a friend. When Lee is assigned to the investigation, her personal and professional life collides. She can’t avoid the man she ditched six months ago. 

She’s the one Nate can’t stop thinking about. The one he let get away. He’s determined to get her back, no matter what she thinks she wants. Being a witness in her case puts them close—and Nate intends to keep it that way.

After Nate’s attacked at a safe house, Lee knows there’s a leak – a dirty FBI agent working with the human trafficker her unit has been hunting for years.

Can Lee protect her witness and resist the heat between them or will she succumb to her desires and throw them both into danger?


Sweat broke out on her brow and Lee gripped her Glock tighter instead of wiping the moisture away. She bit back a curse.

What’s taking so long?

They should’ve already heard shouts of “Federal agents!”

She hated being in the back. Being back-up. 

Lee and her partner, Clint Downs, were the lead agents of their unit, and usually headed raids.

Not today. 

Their boss, Special Agent Olivia Barnes, wanted them—Lee in particular—to take a breather from going hard and fast. 

Nothing wrong with the passenger seat, right? 

Maybe if she kept telling herself that, it’d sink in.

Hard and fast was all Lee knew. How she got the job done. But even her partner had reminded her there were twelve members of their human trafficking unit. They were all partners. 

Ugh. She’d rather hang a ‘Doesn’t play well with others’ sign around her neck. 
“You good?” 

Her partner’s gravelly voice made Lee tense. “Yup.” She didn’t look his way.
“You seem shaky.”

“I’m good.” Flexing her fingers on her gun’s grip, she inched forward. “Wanna get this done.”
Downs didn’t have a chance to answer. The battering ram exploded the door in front of them and wood splinters went flying. 

Collective shouts of “Federal agents!” coupled with “FBI!” surrounded her and she rushed forward behind her teammates. In correct formation, head in the game.
We’re doing this.

Screams and whimpers greeted her ears. Her heart used to jump with the fears of the victims every time they did a raid, but not anymore. Instead it was steel, and her gut made of iron. 

Lee was used to seeing tears, and hearing them cry. What she’d never get used to were the bruises and skimpy clothing on kids that were less than half her age. 

Babies. They’re all babies. 

Most weren’t even sixteen, yet in a lot of cases they’d been bought, sold and forced to have sex with more pieces of scum than she could count. The lucky ones got owners that didn’t beat them, but a sex-slave was still a sex-slave. 

Bastards. They all needed to die.

The relief on the girls’ faces when they first realised they were being rescued was always a reward. Reminded Lee she was a good person—why she did the job. If only the sentiment lasted in her mind. 

A shot rang out and her instincts kicked in. She dropped to the dingy carpet and rolled to the nearest cover—a dark-coloured couch. 

Someone returned fire just as her partner crouched beside her. “Shit,” Downs spat. “It’s going south, fast.”

Lee smirked and raised her Glock. “Nah, we got this.” She popped up over the couch for a quick survey. A bullet whizzed overhead and her partner yanked her back down.

“Don’t be reckless.” 

When he flashed his perma-scowl, she almost rolled her eyes. How many times had he said that? 

Welllllllll, for today it’s probably the first time.

Orders to drop weapons went unheeded as more bangs made her ears ring. She risked another look over the couch. Other members of their unit had taken cover, but several were returning fire. 

Buylinks for the Calculated Collision:

Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon | KOBO | Barnes and Noble | Totally Bound | Are

Where to find C.A.:
Twitter: @caszarek

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug. 26th. 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 with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nothing Like A Little Bad In My Good Guy

I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about the hero with the heart of tarnished gold—the Bad Good Guy. Tough enough to throw a punch, strong enough to take one, smart enough to know when it’s worth it. They can be reformed bad guys, good guys in disguise or my favorite—the borderline tough guy, the one who had decide which side of the law he’s going to be on. Sigh… I just love a man who has enough bad in him to keep him interesting. They can be my good guys any time.

*wipes off drool*

So let’s talk about the qualities we like and why they work for us.

1) A Bad Good Guy knows he looks good: He didn’t get those rock hard abs on accident. He knows he smolders or he wouldn’t use it against you. Preferably against a wall…

2) A Bad Good Guy is very clear about his thoughts that YOU look good: Let’s face it, nice guys are prone to polite compliments. A quiet guy you sometimes have to guess what he thinks. A Bad Good Guy tells you with seductive whispers in your ear, clear, frank language often accompanied by illustrative strokes of his hands. Bad Good Guys know how to show their appreciation.

3) Bad Good Guys aren’t afraid of a competent woman: They rather enjoy the challenge of a smart female who doesn’t fall all over herself to get his attention. And if she can pull her own weight, even better.

4) A Bad Good Guy can kick some serious ass: Granted, he’s probably not the most diplomatic of souls, but he fights to win, even if that means getting dirty for the right reason.

Lucky for us, Bad Good Guys are everywhere. From film characters like Wolverine and Riddick to the UK’s gritty police procedural Luther and tv’s favorite sarcasm machine, House, there’s hardly a venue we can’t find one. I mean, really, do we all watch Hell’s Kitchen for the culinary lessons? I think not. We just love ourselves the naughty and that’s awesome.

So share with me a few more. Who are your favorite Bad Good Guys? 


The only thing more dangerous than passion is the truth.

 Former Marine and new Sheriff’s Deputy Cade Evigan is hanging onto his damaged soul—and his personal code—by a thread. His current mission? Weed out a violent motorcycle crew from a small mountain town. The problem? Katrina Killian, a woman standing firmly on the other side of the law, smack in the middle of the gang he’s there to destroy. She may get under his skin, but the sultry biker has criminal written all over her. So why can't he see her like any other convict?

For two years, Katrina has been a DEA agent hiding in plain sight amidst a pack of killers, working to put an end to the gang that has terrorized her hometown. The last thing she needs is to fall in love with a man who could blow her cover—and her heart—to pieces, but Cade’s become an addiction she can’t break. Unable to risk either of their lives with the truth, she plays both ends against the middle to keep him safe. But lies can only last so long, and Katrina’s time has just run out…

Barnes and Noble 

Entangled Page

Author Bio: 
Dee Tenorio has a few reality issues. After much therapy for the problem—if one can call being awakened in the night by visions of hot able-bodied men a problem—she has proved incurable. It turns out she enjoys tormenting herself by writing sizzling, steamy romances of various genres spanning paranormal mystery dramas, contemporaries and romantic comedies. Preferably starring the sexy, somewhat grumpy heroes described above and smart-mouthed heroines who have much better hair than she does.
The best part is, no more therapy bills!

Well, not for Dee, anyway. Her husband and kids, on the other hand…

If you would like to learn more about Dee and her work, please visit her site at

Friday, August 22, 2014

Office Romance

With: Cathy Perkins 

Congratulations to Erin F., the winner in Cathy's giveaway on JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE!

“Office romance” conjures up images of an assistant – usually the heroine – walking into the corner office to takes notes for either an unrequited love interest or a crusty/pompous/ice-cold guy who’s going to actually have a heart of gold. A wee bit outdated, wouldn’t you say? Today, the roles are likely to reverse (anyone else love The Proposal?) with a female executive leading the company and the notes may be via IM, while the lovers hope the company isn’t logging keystrokes. 

When I started playing with ideas for CYPHER, my latest release, I thought, What if? What if I turned the idea of an office romance completely on its head? What if instead of a person at the office, it was the company itself that everyone wanted? Although Caroline (Cara) Wainwright says she’s perfectly happy working for the advertising agency, what if she really wanted to work for the family business like her brother, if only to snag her father’s attention? The rest of the “what ifs” about Cypher, the family’s corporation, might give away plot twists, but from the beginning, Cara wonders: since her father has always made the business a higher priority than his family, how far will he go to protect it? 

With Cara pulling on family dynamics inside Cypher, Detective Davis Morris can push from the outside, tying together pieces of forensic evidence. He’s also falling for Cara, which makes him wonder if their attraction is desire, manipulation…or real. Talk about your personal conflict! David is investigating the murder of Cara’s friends—with everyone in her family hiding secrets and on the suspect list, including Cara. Unless they overcome their distrust and work together, more people will die. 

I love it when the stakes are higher because the hero and heroine stand to lose both personally and professionally.

I had a lot of fun writing CYPHER. It’s been tagged, A twisty mystery with a compelling romance. 

What is your favorite romance trope? Are you a traditionalist or do you prefer stories that take the trope in a new direction?

Comment to enter the giveaway – any book in my backlist, reader’s choice!

In this section, against her attorney’s instructions, Cara Wainwright has arranged to meet Detective David Morris at the hospital where her terminally ill mother is a patient. Newspaper coverage speculating about her murdered friends and Cara’s role in their death prompted her to give him a different perspective on all of them. Through his investigation into Cara’s life and personality, David is already fighting his attraction to her. He doesn’t know if she’s the murderer, a co-conspirator—or innocent.

    Before Morris could ask [Caroline] to explain the “error in judgment” or prod her about Reese’s drugs, she said, “There may be another possibility.”
    “Oh?” His attention immediately sharpened. They’d already covered his primary motives.
Her fingers drummed the table. “As far as I know, no one hates me. My family has money, but most of it’s tied up in Cypher. The company’s never been an active target before.”
    Before? “Is something different this time? Have there been threats?”
    “I’m not aware of any.”
    She was hedging. “Anything from a disgruntled employee?”
    “It’s just a feeling. That something’s going on. With the company.”
    He found himself in the uncomfortable position of pulling a Pennell. He couldn’t take her instincts to court. He needed something solid. “You aren’t involved in the company?”
    Caroline shook her head. He tried to focus on the subtext of her words rather than her perfume and the way her chest rose and fell sharply when she tried not to cry.
    “It was a mutual decision. I enjoy my work with Robeshaw Advertising. I called Crystal earlier today. She said the police were there. Was that you?”
    He wasn’t going to let her off that easily. “I could talk to your father about threats to the company.”
    Her body language said, Good luck with that one.
    The corner of his mouth twitched. “Already tried that, huh?”
   “He’s big on Need to Know.”
   “What about you?” He tried to say it neutrally. He didn’t want to be attracted to her, but he wasn’t looking forward to hearing about her love life either.
   “Me? I’ve already told you, nobody’s threatened me.”
   “This could be directed at you personally rather than your family. Maybe an old boyfriend?”
    She recoiled as if he’d slapped her. “Bill would never—”
    “If it is directed at you,” he interrupted, “the guy could try again. We need to consider the possibility.”
    For a long moment, she stared at him. Then she released a slow breath and relaxed her shoulders. “You can take my old boyfriends off your suspect list.” A wry expression twitched her mouth. “I can think of one guy who broke my heart back in college, but I didn’t exactly leave a trail of crushed men in my wake.”
    Don’t sell yourself short.


Cara Wainwright thinks life can’t get tougher when her mother's cancer becomes terminal—until she returns home from the hospital and finds a courtyard full of police officers and her houseguests dead. 

Greenville, SC Detective David Morris, is unsure if Cara is the suspect or the intended murder victim. Searching for insight into her family, their mounting secrets, and the conflicting evidence from multiple crimes, his attraction to Cara complicates his investigation. Is the lure need, manipulation—or real?

While David pursues forensic evidence, Cara pushes for answers about her father's possible involvement, for at the center of the mystery stands Cypher—the company her father built and will take any measures to defend.

When the assassin strikes at the heart of the family, Cara and David have to trust each other and work together to stop the killer before he eliminates the entire Wainwright dynasty. 

Author Bio:
An award-winning author, Cathy Perkins works in the financial industry, where she's observed the hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. She writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters' lives. A member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America (Kiss of Death chapter) and International Thriller Writers, she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, handles the blog and social media for the ITW Debut Authors, and coordinated for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, the setting for CYPHER, HONOR CODE and THE PROFESSOR, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd. 

Social Media
Twitter @cperkinswrites  

Book links 
ISBN 1942003005 
ISBN13 978-1942003007
Barnes and Noble

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug. 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 with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.