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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring JB Lynn

ME AND JANET EVANOVICH



Even though I’m a Jersey girl myself, I’d never read a Janet Evanovich novel until I’d completed my first draft of CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN. Once I’d shared the draft, one of my critique partners asked me if I’d read Evanovich’s books. When I said I hadn’t, she gave me the first few.

I’m glad she did, because otherwise I wouldn’t have understood some of the comments I’ve seen about my book. Things like, “It’s like Stephanie Plum on steroids.” and “CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN reads like the first Plum. But really, really twisted. Peyote twisted.”

Now that I’ve become a fan of those early Evanovich novels, I’m interested in the movie version of ONE FOR THE MONEY starring Katherine Heigl.

I know a lot of people weren’t pleased about Ms. Heigl being cast in the part of Stephanie Plum, but I think she might be able to pull it off. I also think that Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur is BRILLIANT casting and I think Sherri Shepherd might be able to be a convincing Lula. (I heart Lula!!)

It’s the men I’m worried about.

I can’t envision Irishman Jason O’Mara as Joe Morelli and I really don’t see Daniel Sunjata when I think of Ranger.

Are you planning on seeing the movie? Are you a fan of the books? And most importantly: Morelli or Ranger?

JB 

CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN

Maggie Lee is not your average hit woman. For one thing, she’s never killed anyone. For another, after hitting her head in the car accident that killed her sister, her new best friend is a talking lizard--a picky eater obsessed with Wheel of Fortune, who only Maggie can hear.
Maggie, who can barely take care of herself, is desperate to help her injured and orphaned niece get the best medical care possible, so she reluctantly accepts a mobster’s lucrative job offer: major cash to kill his monstrous son-in-law.
Paired with Patrick Mulligan, a charming murder mentor (who happens to moonlight as a police detective), Maggie stumbles down her new career path, contending with self-doubt, three meddling aunts, a semi-psychic friend predicting her doom, and a day job she hates. Oh, and let’s not forget about Paul Kowalski, the sexy beat cop who could throw her ass in jail if he finds out what she’s up to.
Training has never been this complicated! And, this time, Maggie has to get the job done. Because if she doesn’t – she’s the mob’s next target.

Available as an e-book now from all fine e-retailers. The mass market paperback, due out in February, can be pre-ordered.










Sunday, January 29, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Terry Odell

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE OR ROMANTIC MYSTERY?



Congratulations to TrishJ, the winner of Terry Odell's giveaway. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Since this is a blog about romantic suspense, I thought I'd start with a quick "vent" about the genre. According to the publishing industry, romantic suspense includes all romance-themed mystery sub-genres, from cozy to thriller. There's the added hero/heroine story arc, with its requisite Happily Ever After. However, by tacking that 'suspense' term onto the genre, readers might be expecting an actual suspense, not a mystery, and be disappointed.

Mystery isn't the same as suspense. I happen to think I write romantic mysteries, or, as I prefer to call them, "Mysteries with Relationships."

According to the dictionary, suspense is a state of uncertainty, enjoyable tension, or anxiety. A mystery is something you cannot explain, or don't know anything about. It's easy to see how the two overlap.

Often the major difference in writing a mystery as opposed to a suspense will boil down to POV. If there's a villain's POV, then the reader knows what's happened. Suspense. Think Alfred Hitchcock. Do you know the bad guys are waiting in the heroine's apartment. That's suspense.

If there's only the detective's POV (and I'm being simplistic, because often there are multiple POV characters in a mystery, but they're not the villain), then the reader doesn't know what happened. Mystery. Think Sherlock Holmes. Does the heroine show up at her apartment and think something is "off?" That's mystery.

When I started writing my first book, FINDING SARAH, I thought I was writing a mystery. Heck, I'd never even read a romance. But when my daughters, who were reading the manuscript said it was a romance, I figured I ought to read a few. Hundred.

And as I read, I fell in love with the "romantic suspense" genre, although I still think there's room in there for Mysteries With Relationships.

FINDING SARAH starts off as a mystery. Sarah's shop has been robbed and she calls the police. The detective, Randy, tries to solve it. However, later in the book, Randy and Sarah are separated, and Sarah is in danger. Now, the reader will see things through Sarah's eyes that Randy doesn't know, and things through Randy's eyes that Sarah doesn't know. This creates suspense, even though the book wasn't intended as a strictly suspense novel.

In HIDDEN FIRE, the same two characters are part of a more classic mystery. There's been a murder, and Randy must figure out who did it. The reader never sees the killer, so it wouldn't be classified as a suspense, although there's plenty of danger for the reader to worry about.

In DANGER IN DEER RIDGE, because the villain was obvious, I included his POV, and that added elements of suspense to the story. But, in my mind, it's still more of a mystery. If I'd been responsible for labeling romance books that include mystery sub-genres, I'd probably have included a "mystery romance" moniker. But nobody asked me (they never do), so we've got romantic suspense novels that might not have any classic suspense in them. Are they still good books? Of course.

What's your take? Do you like seeing what the bad guys are up to (suspense?) Or do you prefer to follow the protagonists and solve the puzzle with them (mystery)?

Leave a comment, and you'll have a chance to win a download of FINDING SARAH, the romance I thought was a mystery when I started writing it.

Giveaway ends 9pm EST Jan. 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, use the email under the CONTACT page to enter with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Cindy Gerard

SHORT AND SWEET




Congratulations to "Laura", the winner of Cindy Gerard's giveaway. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Short and sweet - that’s what I’m keeping this blog post to today.  We’re all busy, right?  I know I am and I figure you are too, so let’s cut to the chase.

LAST MAN STANDING comes out January 31st (that’s this coming Tuesday) and I want you to buy it. :o)  How’s that for honesty? Okay – you need more than that so here’s the skinny.    LMS is the 7th and final book in my Black Ops Inc series and I’m thrilled to say, it’s one of my favorite.  Yes, it features  Joe Green, a strong, enigmatic alpha male (all of my books feature ‘those kind of guys’) but even better, it features the most transformative heroine I’ve ever written.   Stephanie Tompkins has always wanted to be something she wasn’t.  Had never had the courage to pursue her dreams and then a set of circumstances force her to become the woman she had always hoped she could be.  Here’s a little snippet of Stephanie’s journey to her true self.

…Talk about defining moments.  Talk about revelations.  Now that she had a moment to take a deep breath, sit back and assess, she was seeing herself in a whole new light – both literally and figuratively when she caught a glimpse of her reflection in a wavy, dust-streaked window pane.
Her hand flew to her throat and she leaned in, looked deeper.  It was her alright.  But a high octane version.  A messy one.  Her clothes were rumpled and damp.  Her usually tidy hair was a wild tumble of damp waves around her shoulders.  And her face … her facial appearance even seemed to have altered.  What she’d always seen as soft, unremarkable features had transformed somehow.  She looked … edgy, she finally decided.  Decisive.  Experienced and lean.
Kick ass, she thought with a ridiculous little smile and embraced the idea.
And she looked, she told herself, like a woman who did not need a man like Joe Green to complete her life, but like a woman who could damn well complete his.
They were getting out of this mess.  She was going to make it happen.  And when they did, Joe Green was going to find out that Stephanie Tompkins was a force to be reckoned with….

There you have it.  A little taste of the new improved Stephanie :o).  I think you’re really going to like Stephanie’s journey.  And I KNOW you’re going to love her and Joe together.

Have questions? I’d love to hear from you.  I’m  an open book so ask away to be eligible for a drawing for an autographed book from my backlist.


Giveaway ends 9pm EST Jan. 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, use the email under the CONTACT page to enter with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY. 

CINDY GERARD
In addition to numerous industry awards, among them RT’s Reviewer’s Choice award for best Romantic Intrigue and 2 Reader’s Crowns for best Romantic Suspense, New York Times best-selling author Cindy Gerard is also a 5 time Daphne finalist, a 6 time Romance Writers of America Rita finalist and a 2 time RITA winner. 


LAST MAN STANDING (Black Ops Inc, book 7) will be released January 31, 2012. She’s currently writing her 14th romantic suspense novel for her new One-Eyed Jacks series, a spin-off of her best-selling Black Ops, Inc. series for Pocket Books.

You can catch up on her news at www.cindygerard.com or on Facebook.



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Dana Marton

UNEXPECTED THRILLS



Half-naked man giveaway alert!!

Congratulations to Tammy, the winner of Dana Marton's LAST SPY STANDING. Thank you to all who entered.

I had two fun unexpected thrills lately—coincidentally, both involve half-naked men. (Ha, I dare you to stop reading this blog after that opening sentence! LOL)

So I was looking for upholstery fabric on ebay and came across this great fabric that has the pattern of—I kid you not—half-nakedcowboys. Has to be seen to be believed. Part of me screamed “QUILT!” Alas, I cannot quilt, nor do I have a sewing machine. But, well, the fantasy was nice anyway. Thank you ebay for putting a smile on my face! (Instead of the usual dent in my wallet.)

The second lovely surprise was a link a friend sent me to Carly Rae Jepsen’s new music video: CALL ME MAYBE.  It’s a super cute and fun music video. Very funny. A hot guy in nothing but jeans never hurts any artistic enterprise in my humble opinion. J Oh, but that’s not the best part! The singer in the video is fanning herself with a romance novel. MY romance novel!!! That put a BIG smile on my face. You have to have gunslinger quick fingers to pause it at the right moment, but if you do, the cover reads: Dana Marton, STRANDED WITH THE PRINCE. That just tickled me pink! I’m famous! OK, I would be famous if she wasn’t fanning herself too quickly for anyone to actually see my name. Still, I’m close! LOL

I have to admit, last year was a rough one, but 2012 is shaping up pretty nicely so far (well, unless the end of the world comes and all that, but hey, what did the Mayans know anyway. I don’t see any half-naked cowboys on their wall carvings. Advanced civilization? I think not!:-)
I finally released my entire GUARDIAN AGENTS trilogy, both in ebook and print format.  If you haven’t tried these stories yet, you can download the first one, GUARDIAN AGENT, right now from Barnes and Noble (and Smashwords) for FREE! 

The fabulous Harlequin Intrigue (my favorite series romance line) released LAST SPY STANDING, my jungle action adventure romance (heat warning!) 

And just because they’re a great publisher, Harlequin also released CAMOUFLAGE HEART and THE SHEIK’S SAFETY in ebook format for the first time ever! I’m so excited about this. Both of those books received rave reviews when they came out. CAMOUFLAGE HEART even won the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence.

So the year began with just a lovely bunch of very nice things. I hope your 2012 is going fabulously well! Any happy thrills lately? If not yet, tell me one thing that would make you very happy if it happened to you this year. A half-naked man will be raffled off!!!! (OK, kind of. On the cover of LAST SPY STANDING :) which will be the prize for the winner.) 
Wishing you all the very best,

Dana


Giveaway ends 10pm EST Jan. 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, use the email under the CONTACT page to enter with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Lorelei Confer


Giveaway alert!!

Congratulations to "hregtvedt", the winner of a copy of Deadly Deliverance! Thank you to all who entered.

Good morning! I’m Lorelei Confer and I write romantic suspense.

I wrote my first story in the fourth grade in the form of a play which actually was produced by my teacher for parents and students. I continued writing and majored in English in College. I practice every day to improve my craft. 

An author of romantic suspense I love reading almost as much as writing. I have filled my book shelves with my favorites, i.e. Harlan Coban, Eliza March, Johanna Lindsey, Kathy Carmichael, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Andrew Gross, Terri Garey, Karen Rose, Rocki St. Claire, LuAnn Rice, and Jill Gregory, just to mention a few, as well as all the classics.

I live on a peninsula in the mid west coast of Florida with my husband, two cats, and AJ, my long haired Chihuahua.

I love hearing from readers so please visit my website: www.loreleiconfer.com or blog at www.loreleiconfer.blogspot.com.

In doing research for my first book, Deadly Deception, I learned so much about Human Sex Trafficking and I really wanted to get the message out that this horrific crime is happening in your own backyard. I met with an undercover detective assigned to our local task force for human trafficking and from all the information I gleaned from him and numerous other interviews I have been able to put together realistic stories.
My second book, Deadly Revenge, happens in the North Carolina mountains which is the eighth likely state for human trafficking due to their interstate going north and south and east and west. Who knew?
I’ve just finished my third book in the ‘Deadly’ series, Deadly Deliverance, which is also about human sex trafficking but from an investigators point of view. It’s primarily located in the Washington, DC area and is available from Siren BookStrand Jan 17th, 2012.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy researching and writing them.

I will be giving away an eBook copy of Deadly Deliverance to one lucky commenter!



Giveaway ends 9pm EST Jan. 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, use the email under the CONTACT page to enter with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Norah Wilson

MY COVER MAKEOVER



The beauty of ebooks is that they are not cast in stone. If the author discovers that at the 86% mark, what should have been “her” appears as “he”, it can be fixed. The book can be republished, better and cleaner than before. If the author discovers the same error on p. 272 of a mass market print book, too bad. She’s stuck with it.  Ebook format gives us the flexibility to fix things, or even to change the cover if we find the current one is not working.

I did that recently (changed covers) with my Serve and Protect romantic suspense series, and it was a tough decision. In my case, my covers were working for me. That series has been selling steadily, if modestly, all along. Part of me cautioned that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The old covers were all close-ups of intimate but serious-faced couples. (There is no smiling in romantic suspense. Well, at least not on the covers!) I liked that tight focus on the couple because my brand of romantic suspense is definitely heavier on the romance, and I thought the existing covers did a good job of communicating that. They also had a police tape flash on them, identifying them as part of the Serve and Protect series. On the other hand, the covers were pretty simplistic, and I thought the branding could be better.

So, taking my courage in my hands, I contacted a cover artist (Kim Killion, Hot Damn Designs) and told her what I needed. It turns out the hardest part was finding cover models who could pass as my hero and heroine for each story. I was less concerned about details like eye color or the hair being short/long/curly/straight enough. Rather, I tried to focus on what the couples made me feel and whether that was congruent with the feeling I wanted readers to take away from the story. After a marathon of browsing cover models, I think I accomplished what I set out to do. As I had hoped, the branding is much stronger in the new covers, and I think they still suggest that strong focus on the romance which I didn’t want to lose.

Here’s a before and after of the three novels (and one free novella) in the series:

BEFORE    
                                                                           
AFTER

What do you think, RS fans? Would you be more likely or less likely to click Buy Now for one of these puppies?

BIO: Norah Wilson lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada with her husband and two adult children, a Rotti-Lab mix and numerous rats (the pet kind). She has been writing romance a long while, and has finalled multiple times in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart contest. She also won Dorchester Publishing's New Voice in Romance contest in 2003. Norah also writes paranormal YA stories with writing partner Heather Doherty, under the name Wilson Doherty. She and Heather also write the hilarious Dix Dodd mysteries under the name N.L. Wilson.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Beth Cornelison

NEVER GIVE UP!



As a published author, I often get asked about my best advice for unpublished authors? My answer is the same advice I’d give anyone with a dream to achieve something special. To borrow from Churchill:  Never, never, never give up!

My story- I had been submitting to Silhouette for the Intimate Moments (now called Harlequin Romantic Suspense) line for three years, and every manuscript received the same response. “Close, but not quite right for us. What else do you have?” The associate editor I was working with like my books, my voice, but every trip to a senior editor’s desk resulted in rejection.

My best hope was a book called Reyn’s Redemption, which had done well in contests and had the full support of the associate editor.  Reyn’s Redemption was about a fireman, and I submitted it in August of 2001, one month before 9/11 when firemen became national heroes.  I knew in my bones it was the right book at the right time.  I just needed the right editor to snap it up. Reyn spent two YEARS hoping from desk to desk in New York. First my editor sent the book to the senior editor of Special Edition and was told, “I like this book. It should be bought. But it isn’t a Special Edition.  Try Intimate Moments.”

So the manuscript went to the interim Intimate Moments senior editor while the official senior was overseas on an extended vacation. But this interim editor rejected it because it was too similar to other books they’d recently published.  (Well, yeah! In the two years after 9/11, a lot of fireman books got written because firemen were selling like hotcakes!)  I received the rejection letter AT RWA NATIONAL in New York in 2003. To say I was crushed would be an understatement. Even my agent was ready to give up. In our meeting, she told me she thought we might be beating our heads against the wall at Harlequin, and she challenged me to right a “bigger” book (bigger stakes, more complex characters, more plotlines, bigger everything) to market as a single title.

“Sure,” I said morosely. What did I have to lose?

But while Reyn’s Redemption had been desk hopping in New York, I’d been writing another submission for Silhouette.  I’d titled it Dragonslayer, and it had been doing well on the contest circuit.  As long as it was finished and my Silhouette editor had asked to see it, we decided to send it in as a last shot effort. If they didn’t buy Dragonslayer, I was through submitting to Silhouette.

Meanwhile, I, the girl who’d once written a book in two months, went home and labored for a year to write a single title. For months my heart wasn’t in it.  I was still feeling crushed by my big bad rejection at RWA National.  The research required for the book idea I had seemed to multiply the deeper I got into it. (Nanotechnology, chemical weapons, smoke jumping, non-Western healing—Really? What was I thinking?)  I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by what I’d undertaken, but then a magical thing happened. I discovered I loved the characters, the plot, the subject matter…I loved the story I was writing and couldn’t wait to finish it. I’d rediscovered my passion for writing, and that love showed in the words I put on the page. When I finished Under Fire, I was proud of what I’d created, not only because I loved the story, but because of what it represented.  Under Fire was the book that challenged me to be a better writer, the book that showed me that I was a writer because I couldn’t *not* write. Under Fire was my phoenix book, my ‘rise from the ashes and seize the victory’ book. (Okay, melodramatic, I know but…)

For 10 months, as I was writing Under Fire, we heard nothing definite from Harlequin. Then one day in June (the 17th to be exact!), I came home from teaching Vacation Bible School and had a message on my answering machine from my agent.  “Call me, Beth.  I have good news!”

It took me forty-five excruciating minutes to get in touch with her, but finally we connected. At last I heard those golden words.  Harlequin/Silhouette wanted to buy Dragonslayer for the Intimate Moments line! I was going to be a published author! Dragonslayer was later retitled To Love, Honor and Defend and was released in April 2005. Since then, I’ve sold 15 novels and 2 novellas to Harlequin, and I continue to write for the line that first bought me.

The moral of this story? Never, never, never give up! If I’d given up after Reyn’s Redemption was rejected, I never would have sold to my dream publisher. If I’d quit writing when I was feeling crushed by that rejection, I would never have written (and later published with Samhain) Under Fire, which is still one of my favorite of my books. And I wouldn’t have a job that allows me to set my own hours, work in my jammies and make up stories for the people that live in my head.  Hang in there, my friends. Dreams do come true!

For more information about Under Fire, Reyn’s Redemption or Beth’s latest release, a small-town contemporary romance called Trust In Me, visit Beth’s website at www.bethcornelison.com



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Julie Miller

REFILLING THE WELL



Giveaway alert!!

Congratulations to Valri, the winner of Julie Miller's giveaway. Julie will be contacting you directly. Thank you to all who participated!

This weekend I attended the annual Prairieland Romance Writers retreat. In fact, judging by the way my eyes aren't focusing on the computer screen this morning, I'm still recovering from it. Okay, so that could have something to do with the deadline I’m on, too.  Don't get me wrong, I was a very good girl--I just didn't get much sleep because I didn't want to miss a moment of the wonderful opportunity to hang out with such a talented, hard-working, knowledgeable and entertaining group of writers.

Our group was dubbed "The Small but Mighty" Prairieland Romance Writers by one of our members, 2-time RITA winner Kristin Gabriel (who now writes fabulous, funny cozy mysteries for Guidepost books under the name Kristin Eckhardt, btw).  Our chapter consists of only 11 members (give or take, from year to year), and the majority of us were in attendance at the hotel in the middle of Nebraska we took over this weekend.  So while we're small in number, we have a vast array of talents and expertise.  Personally, I've written over 45 books.  Sherry James rocks the sexy cowboy market.  We have an erotic romance author with numerous awards (Robin L. Rotham).  And we have the hottest thing on the Victorian historical market, Laura Landon (she’s our chapter president, btw, and I’m her ever faithful VP).  We have single title and series authors, romantic comedy and romantic suspense, inspirational writers, aspirings, newly published and multi-published amongst our ranks.  And we all know how to make the most of our annual mini-conference. The trick?  Networking.

Our retreat included a business meeting (which we quickly got out of the way to get to the good stuff!), some private writing time, dinner out, a bottle of wine, chocolate snacks, and several roundtable discussions on topics our members had suggested earlier.  We covered market trends and some changing business practices in the publishing business.  We also talked about social networking, and where and how we could get the best results for our time and energy.  (Thanks, Just Romantic Suspense blog!) But most of our discussions centered about goal-setting, achieving career goals, what makes us feel successful and increasing personal productivity.  There were also some informal discussions (okay, this is where the wine and chocolate became involved, but it was a lot of fun!) about book reviews—coping with the sucky ones, how to deal with the misinformed ones that frustrate us, and celebrating the fabulous ones.  We talked about how our personal lives impact our writing and how we can help each other cope with obstacles and responsibilities while moving toward that the success we crave.

Ultimately, I came away from this weekend inspired to come home and write (which is a good thing since I've got that deadline on my plate and a new proposal to write as soon as I’m finished.   And, of course, I spent some quality time with some really good friends.  Always a good thing.

So, what did you do this weekend?  Get in any good networking?  Learn something interesting?  Spend time with friends?  I invite you to share.  I'll give away a copy of one of my current release, ICE LAKE, a romantic suspense anthology I wrote with BJ Daniels and Delores Fossen, to one lucky poster.  Or, if the winner prefers, I’ll email a download of my latest romantic suspense with a paranormal twist ebook, ALWAYS FAITHFUL.

Giveaway ends 9pm EST Jan. 20th. 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, use the email under the CONTACT page to enter with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY. 


Julie Miller
www.juliemiller.org


***Upcoming Books from Julie Miller***
NANNY 911--Dec 2011
ICE LAKE--Jan 2012
ALWAYS FAITHFUL (ebook only)--Jan. 2012
THE MARINE NEXT DOOR--May 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Mallory Kane

ONCE UPON A TIME


Giveaway alert!

Congratulations to Jane, the winner of an ARC copy of Mallory Kane's PRIVATE SECURITY! Thank you to all who participated.

I am fascinated with the new TV shows about fairy tales.  Once Upon a Time is right up my alley, with timeless, beloved fairy tale princes and princesses trapped in a grim (no pun intended) present-day reality where 'happily ever after' exists only in picture books. Have you noticed that nobody in Storybrook is married??? 


Grimm is --dare I say it--more grim. The clever twist of having a descendent of the Brothers Grimm fighting fairy tale monsters in his job as a police detective makes for interesting TV, especially if, like me, you love fairy tales and  cop shows.


But this is not the first time that fairy tales have been featured on TV. Remember Beauty and the Beast with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman? Digging deeper, there was The Charmings where Snow and Prince woke up in suburbia and had to deal, or Jim Henson's The Storyteller


One of my favorite shows of all time is the 80s series Shelly DuVall's Fairy Tale Theater. Consider Jeff Goldblum as a zoot-suit garbed house-blowing-down Wolf, or Matthew Broderick as Cinderella's prince ("It's hard to be humble when your face is on the money.") Or Robin Williams as the Frog Prince, and you get an idea of how inspired these 'fractured fairy tales were.


Fairy tales and myths appeal to what some scholars call the 'collective unconscious,' that embedded understanding that the world harbors not only love and compassion and goodness, but also darkness and pain and evil. Who hasn't met an evil witch? Who hasn't faced a dark and dangerous forest? Who hasn't dreamed of happily ever after?


My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. I believe that all romance, at its core, is a retelling of that classic tale. The brave and good-hearted heroine is captured by a huge, threatening beast who can only be tamed by love.  Yep, that pretty much describe the romances I love to write and read.


And speaking of romance,


I'm excited to present two new Delancey Dynasty books from Harlequin Intrigue. Private Security, May, 2012, features Dawson Delancey, who has opened his own investigations agency. Dawson is trying to prove his dad's shoddy construction didn't cause the death of a casino manager while the manager's daughter, who fancies herself a private eye, is working to prove he did. 


Then in June, Death of a Beauty Queen will be on the shelves. Twelve years ago, Rosemary Delancey, debutante and Mardi Gras Queen, disappeared, leaving behind her blood-drenched apartment and a haunting mystery. Her presumed death was Detective Dixon Lloyd's first homicide and the only case he's never solved. He still carries a small photo of the beautiful redhead in his wallet. When a comment by a collared drug dealer hints that Rosemary may be alive, Dixon makes it his mission to find her. But finding her will lead danger and violence to her door.


I'd love to hear about your favorite fairy tale and how it resonates with you. Do you notice that your favorite books echo particular fairy tales or myths?


I'll be giving away a printed or digital arc of Private Security on Wednesday, or one of my backlist books--winner's choice (subject to availability.) So stick around and let's talk about our favorite happily-ever-afters.


Giveaway ends 9pm EST Jan. 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, use the email under the CONTACT page to enter with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

RWA Kiss Of Death Guest Blog Tour

                    What the Romantic Suspense Fuss is all About


By Linda Lovely

Congratulations to Jo-Ann, the winner of a copy of Linda Lovely's DEAR KILLER! Thank you to all who participated!

What’s so special about romantic suspense? Romance and danger are two sure-fire triggers to get your heart thumping. This applies to readers and movie fans. Combine romance and suspense and you have a double threat. Inject a dose of humor and, in my opinion, you have the trifecta.

I’m going to use movie examples because I have too many favorite books and authors to single out a handful to prove my point. Classic romantic suspense movies include North By Northwest and Charade. These films endure because they’re loaded with suspense, and they up the personal stakes for the hero and heroine by giving them an irresistible attraction to a love who appears—at least at times—to be the enemy. Add witty dialogue for Cary Grant, the star of both of these films, and you have a barn burner.

Even recent shoot-em-up movies rely on love as an added motive for heroes or heroines to risk all in order to save their sweethearts. Examples that come to mind include Eagle Eye and Die Hard.

These movies have something else in common—strong heroines. That’s something else I look for in romantic suspense novels. Having been raised by a strong-willed single mother, who taught me women can do whatever they set their minds to, my favorite romantic suspense plots feature feisty heroines, who don’t take any guff from heroes and stand ready to act as equal partners.

My favorite romantic suspense novels often feature heroes or heroines who have enough life experience (and baggage) to make them intriguing. In my debut novel, DEAR KILLER, my security guard heroine (ex-military) is smart, athletic and funny. That proves an irresistible combination for the deputy/hero assigned to lead a murder investigation on the Lowcountry Sea Island where she works security. The fact that she’s 52 and he’s 40 adds even more fuel to their internal conflicts.

Linda is one of the many talented authors who belong to the Romance Writers of America’s Kiss of Death chapter. At Kiss of Death we believe that every great romance should include suspense. Whether a spy thriller in Regency times, a paranormal romance with a revenge-seeking zombie, or a traditional serial killer after the heroine, romance relies on suspense, leading the reader through the trials of the heroine and hero to see if they will get their happily ever after ending. If you can call your writing suspenseful, then the Kiss of Death has something for you! 

Find out more and join at http://www.rwamysterysuspense.org and follow us on Twitter at @RWAKissofDeath.

Find out more about Linda on her website at www.lindalovely.com.


Giveaway alert! Please comment about your favorite aspect of romantic suspense. At  9:00pm EST on Jan. 15, one lucky commenter will win a copy of DEAR KILLER.


DEAR KILLER 


Marley Clark, a retired military intelligence officer, works security for a Sea Island community simply to keep busy. A single night patrol transforms the feisty widow’s yawner of a job into a deadly battle of wits when she finds an islander drowned and bobbing naked amid a potpourri of veggies in a Jacuzzi. 


Asked to serve as the lead investigator’s liaison, the 52-year-old heroine is startled to discover she’s become Deputy Braden Mann’s target as well—for romance. Yet their steamy attraction doesn’t deter the pair from sorting through a viper’s nest of suspects as the body count grows and the pun-loving killer plans a grizzly epitaph for Marley.  

DEAR KILLER is the first in a series of Marley Clark adventures that dish up heart-pounding suspense with a side of romance. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Shiloh Walker


Joining us today is the talented author of over 30 stories from Ellora's Cave, and many more!


Damaged

Hello…I'm a writer and I write about damaged people.

It's not necessarily that I like broken people.  It's that they kind of come to me that way.  Although, to be fair, I do my fair share of tormenting my characters, once I have them.  It's fun to do it do that way.  That old nothing worth having ever came easy…or however it goes.  When they've had it rough, it's so much more fulfilling once they reach that HEA I have in store.

It's not that I set out to intentionally write about damaged people.  They just come that way.

Take Hope, for instance. She's the heroine of my upcoming romantic suspense, IF YOU SEE HER.

I didn't exactly know who Hope was going to be when I plucked her out of thin air.  I had this vague image of her hovering in the back of my mind while the first story was starting to form.

I knew she would be the heroine of book 2 or book 3, but that was it. At that time, I knew more about the heroine of book 1, Lena.  And I knew about Law…Lena's friend.  I knew about Ezra, Lena's hero.  But I didn't know about Hope.

I got to know her, though…she was a woman on the run.  Not from somebody chasing her, exactly, although the fear was there.  She was more on the run from her own fear.

Fear of life, fear of what had happened, what she'd let happen, what might happen.

Fear had dictated her life…and just might have continued to do that.  If I didn't throw another curve ball at her.

Another damaged character?

The hero from a completely different series.  I've talked about this guy.  Taylor Jones.  He's the one I call the a------.  Fill in the blank…I didn't have many complimentary terms for him.  Didn't like him. Didn't want to talk about him.

But people kept asking about him. And asking. And asking.  And what happens when you ask writers questions?  They sometimes start asking themselves the very same questions.  I did,  anyway.

And I found the story of a very, very troubled soul.  Another damaged soul.  A guy who'd lost somebody, somebody who'd meant everything to him. His way of reacting was to shut everybody out, focus on doing the one thing he could to cope.  He hunted monsters, because he didn't want anybody else to go through what he went through this.  He kept everybody at a distance, because all that mattered was his mission.  That is THE DEPARTED.

I just feel drawn to write damaged people…I'm not sure why, but I really do think it goes back to the happy ever after.  For some reason, it seems that much sweeter when they struggle for it.




Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guest Blog Featuring Rebecca York


Joining us today is the lovely and talented New York Times Bestselling author,  Rebecca York.

I love writing romantic suspense series where there’s a unifying element that runs through all the books but each story stands alone so readers can pick up the series at any point.
That’s true of my 43 Light Street books for Harlequin Intrigue and my werewolf Moon novels for Berkley.
It also means I don’t have to let go of characters I love.  They can come back to play strong secondary roles in subsequent stories, and readers can find out how their lives are going.
My new indie series, DECORAH SECURITY, available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, revolves around a detective agency run by a crusty old Navy Seal named Frank Decorah.  He looks for agents who have paranormal talents and also takes on cases with paranormal elements.
I set up DECORAH SECURITY to give myself a wide range of plot possibilities.
First up is a short story called AMBUSHED, in which hero Jordan Stone has a sixth sense for danger.  He’s going to need it to save the life of federal witness Elizabeth Bannerman. But he’s not only fighting a group of terrorists determined to kill her.  He’s also fighting his notion of right and wrong, which could prevent him from giving in to his attraction for Elizabeth.
Then comes a novella called CHAINED.  Originally I was thinking I’d make the hero a very sexy ghost.  But how do you have a happy-ever-after with a phantom?  You could transfer his consciousness to some other guy.  In CHAINED, I think I came up with a much more interesting idea, which I’m not going to give away.
Last, but not least, is DARK MOON, where I get to write another one of my alpha male werewolves.  He’s Cole Marshall, sent undercover with Emma Richards to rescue the daughter of a millionaire being held captive on an ocean liner whose owner has turned the ship into a palace for kinky pleasure.
It’s a losing battle when Cole and Emma try to fight their attraction for each other.  But can they complete their mission before the owner of the ship discovers their identities and has them killed?  Will they get caught in the mutiny that’s threatening to send the Windward up in flames.  And what happens when the bad guys capture them naked?
I had a blast writing the first three DECORAH SECURITY stories.  And I’ve already got two more ideas for the series. With two more sexy heroes.  Well, three actually, because the hero of the second one’s got a brother who’s going to play a strong secondary role, then go on to his own story.

Do you like reading series?  If so, what attracts you to them?