Monday, 21 July 2014

My history by JM Stewart

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m not very inspired by this month’s topic. I hated history. lol Though I do loving read it. In fact, up until I started writing, historical romances were all I read. I had a monthly subscription to Harlequin’s historical romances, and I devoured all four every month and eagerly waited for the next month’s shipment.

And I did have that one Civil War class my senior year of high school. My teacher was a total geek, but managed to make that class fun. Out of what was a horrible year for me, that class is one I’ll never forget. I can’t even remember her name, but I have to give her kudos. She instilled a love of the era for me. I used to adore Civil War romances.

So I got to thinking and thought I’d talk about my own history, though I see that idea’s already been taken. So, I’m not being very original, but it’s a topic I don’t discuss much. Because you can’t live in the past, and with PTSD, I’ve done way too much of that.

I’ve lived in quite a few places over the years. In fact, if you ask me where my hometown is, I have a hard time deciding which place to technically call “home.” We moved around a lot when I was little. I was born in New York City, New York. Most of my family was born and raised in Queens. I still have family in NYC, but slowly over the years, most of them have moved away. So most of the grandchildren were raised elsewhere. I have two cousins who were raised in New Jersey.

When I was around three, my parents moved to California. We lived in North Hollywood, in Los Angeles. I have memories of sitting at some outdoor tables at some eatery, staring at that huge sign. That’s my claim to fame. lol I remember my mother worked at a Taco Bell and I went to Oxnard Elementary school. I’m told though that around that time we also lived in North Carolina for a while, though I have no physical memory of it. I think I might have an aunt down there.

My parents' love story doesn’t have a happily-ever-after though. They got divorced when I was around six or so. Funny enough, they’d always remained friends. Despite that my father, who was a long haul trucker, met someone else during his travels (the women he eventually married), they never spoke ill of each other. They simply said they’d married too young.

We eventually moved up to Spokane, Washington. Up until recently, I might have told you that was my hometown, because it’s where I spent the most time growing up. I have the most memories there. Junior high, when boys became more than just an annoyance. High school, where I was a band fag (sorry, that’s what we called ourselves). I played the clarinet, third chair, thank you very much, in Lewis and Clark High School’s marching band. God, those uniforms were ugly. Our mascot was a tiger, so our colors were orange and black. Guess what color our uniforms were? Yup. Bright, pumpkin orange. This was also where I met my first love and got my first heartbreak. sigh Yeah, I wouldn’t be a teenager again if you paid me a million bucks. lol

When I was around 16, my mother and her bo split up. The reasons are ugly, and I won’t bring y’all down by reliving it. Let’s just say he believed in polygamy and I didn’t and leave it at that. Okay, pardon my y'all there. I've been editing Whatever It Takes, and the hero, Jackson, is from the south. His accent is in my head!

Eventually, though, we moved out to rural Pennsylvania to live with my grandparents. When they left Queens, my grandparents bought a little house in a small town just outside of Point Pleasant (another tiny, but scenic, little town). In fact, Point Pleasant was closer to our house than the post office for our town was, though for the life of me I can’t recall what our technical address was anymore. They lived on a little “bridge” between the Delaware River and the Delaware Canal.

There's a bit of history for ya. Apparently, the canal was used as a system for transporting goods up and down the east coast in the 1800's. Though nowadays it's just a pretty little walk and some beautiful waterfalls from the water overflowing the locks. In fact, we lived not far from Washington’s Crossing. If you’d like to see pictures of the area (and the canal), go here: . It’s really a very beautiful area.

Of all the places, I think that house on the canal is one I would have called home. I spent every summer there when I was little. I loved that house, though they’ve since sold it and both my grandparents are gone now. I still have some family in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, though. An aunt and her daughters.

Okay, this has nothing to do with history, but… today is the first day that Her Knight in Black Leather is on sale. From July 21-31, it’s only 99 cents. In fact, on my own blog today, I’ve posted an excerpt that was cut from the book during its many edits. You can read that here.

You can get your own copy here: Amazon /Barnes and Noble /Kobo

Joanne Stewart w/a JM Stewart
Author of, Risking It All, releasing Sept 16, and Whatever It Takes, releasing Dec 16
Website /Blog /Twitter /Facebook

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Saturday Promo - Please welcome, Peggy Bird...

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life.
Romantic moments were few and far between with my husband. A former Army officer, he didn’t do romance. When he brought home roses for Valentine’s Day, he’d come in grinning from ear to ear because he’d found a deal: “Look! A dozen red roses and they only cost $9.99! Isn’t that great?”
It took a long time for me to come to accept I’d never have love letters, spontaneous serenades or surprise romantic dinners for two in an exclusive hotel suite. When I did, I realized sometimes romance doesn’t present itself the way it does in the books I write.
Sometimes romance is making sure the oil is changed, the windshield wipers are fresh and the tires inflated properly before I go on a long business road trip. Or cutting down, dragging home and setting up a Christmas tree for me even though he’s Jewish. Or sitting through Chekov, Irish playwrights and Shakespeare even though he’d rather see X-Man. It’s all in how you look at it.

Name two romances you’ve read more than once.
I’ve read “Gone With the Wind” and “Doctor Zhivago” a half dozen times and seen the movies even more times. I’ve read all of Bella Andre’s Sullivan series more than once. And I’ve read my own books more times than I care to count.

If you had your choice between diamond earrings, a strand of pearls or a gold navel ring, which would you prefer?
Definitely a string of pearls. But then, my given name, Margaret, means pearl. So what’s the surprise?

Blurb for “Sparked Again”
Some fussy artist is making Shannon Morgan’s job with the city of Vancouver, Washington, harder than it should be. She’s organizing the huge annual Independence Day celebration, and he’s being impossible. But then, he’s like a couple other men she’s known - her mostly absent father and her disappearing ex-boyfriend, for example.
All Leo Wilson wants is an okay for his plans to install glass fireworks at Fort Vancouver on the Fourth of July. With thousands of people there to see his work, it could be his big career break. If the crabby bureaucrat will get him the permits he needs.
When Leo confronts the cause of his trouble in person, he’s surprised to find a beautiful young woman. Shannon is equally surprised at meeting a sweet, sexy man. Dinner, a movie, and a few torrid kisses take it from spark to flame.
But then the father she’s always wanted as part of her life reappears, accompanied by her ex-boyfriend. Shannon has to decide how far she’s willing to go to have her father around. And find out why he’s with her ex.
If she makes the right decisions, she and Leo will privately create fireworks that rival the pyrotechnics that light up the sky on July Fourth.

Excerpt from “Sparked By Love”
A beautiful golden retriever pushed between (Shannon and Leo. Leo said,) “Oh, and this is ... ”
“Walter,” (Shannon) finished. She knelt, put the bottle on the floor and put out her hands, palm up, so he could sniff them. “Hi, boy. Aren’t you pretty?” Stroking down his sides, she continued making friendly noises as the dog licked first her hands, then her face, his tail wagging and brushing against Leo’s legs.
“I don’t believe it,” Leo said. “He’s usually shy with strangers until he’s been around them for a while. But he obviously has good taste in who he warms up to so fast.”
“He recognizes a dog lover when he smells one.” She stood up, bottle in hand, and headed for the kitchen. Walter followed her without waiting for a signal from his owner.
“Hey, Walter. Remember me? The guy who pays your vet bills?” Leo said as he trailed after his dog.
“He must know I have a treat for him,” Shannon said as she pulled a biscuit from a paper bag and fed it to him. “There’s this great bakery in downtown, Bleu Door. They make wonderful bread and bake dog biscuits, too. I got some for him when I got bread for our dinner.”
“He’ll never go home with me now.”

“I doubt he’s so fickle.” Shannon opened the refrigerator door and brought out a beer.
“He follows his stomach.” Leo took the beer, shook his head at the proffered glass, and twisted off the cap. “Actually, so do I. And something smells good in here.”

“It’s cioppino.” A panicky feeling swept over her. “Oh, my God, I never thought to ask. You’re not allergic to shellfish, are you? Or are you vegan? Gluten sensitive? Anti- GMO?” She took a breath and was about to say, “Lactose intolerant?” when he interrupted.
“No. No. No and no. Do you quiz all your dinner guests this way?”
“Only the ones from Portland.” She gave him a smile she hoped was innocent looking, even if the remark wasn’t.
“Well, us guys from Troutdale aren’t so fussy. You can stop looking like you’re about to have a panic attack.” His smile in return wasn’t at all innocent, which made her quite happy.
Links for Peggy Bird

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Good Old Days… Ellen Butler

After reading Dixie Brown’s blog from Monday I began reminiscing about the things I miss from the
past or better known as “the good old days.” Those days when things were easy, before lawyers, criminals and terrorists made a mess of it. So, in carrying on with Dixie’s theme let’s reminisce
together. For instance remember when we were kids and there were no car seats, or you were out of them by the time you were 2 so you don’t actually remember being in a car seat. Now kids have to remain in their car seats until they’re practically tall enough to drive the car. Heck, when we were kids my parents would throw us in the back of the pick-up truck with the family dog and a lawn chair. If you were lucky you’d get a bungee cord to keep it from sliding around. But those days are ancient history now.

Remember the days of flying when security lines moved faster than beached whale speed? Those were the days, before you had to remove shoes and practically strip down to your underwear before being felt up by the TSA? History. Yes I'm speaking of the days of legroom and when actual food was served on flights lasting more than 1 hour, not just nuts or pretzels. All history. I read an article recently where a plane made an unexpected landing due to bad weather at its destination; the pilot was lauded for purchasing pizzas for the passengers who had to wait on the plane until it was cleared for take-off. Kudos to the pilot, but this wouldn’t have been a problem if airlines actually served food?

My final reminisce is the reason I no longer go into the city for the 4th of July to see the fireworks. See I live not far outside of our Nation’s Capital. And DC does know how put on a fabulous fireworks show. Back in the good old days it was easy to get downtown. The metro would put up big buckets at the gates and the trip cost $.50, you’d throw in your quarters and the crowd of thousands moved quickly to the trains. Gone are the days of “make it easy.” Now everyone must have a fair card. For the regular commuters, this is no problem – pop the card in, gates open, grab your card on the way through. But with the holiday, comes thousands of tourists, and there is a bit of a learning curve, creating lines queued all the way up the staircase and crowds around the limited fair machines. Unfortunately that’s just the start of the lines. Back in the old days once you arrived downtown, you could just wander to an open spot on the Mall or around the Washington monument, plop your stuff down, and wait for the show. Now there are temporary fences all the way around, everyone goes through checkpoints (more long lines), and everyone’s bags are searched. It’s almost as fun as a TSA pat down. I know we can blame terrorism for this joy and the security creates a “safe” environment, but I sure do miss the good old days.

What do you miss from the good old days? 

Now that I’m done dreaming of the good old days, I’m providing ya’ll something new. A short blurb from my newest release Heart of Design, and a Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom for readers to enter. Don’t forget! 

Sophie Hartland has recently turned 30, and is five years out from a confidence crushing divorce. She’s sworn off men in favor of making her interior design business a success when her best friend introduces her to LA Heat’s hot, new star, Ian O’Connor. He’s one of Hollywood’s beautiful people, with an Irish accent that makes Sophie’s toes curl. Ian hires her to renovate his home, and at their second meeting he initiates a scorching kiss that knocks her socks off. Even though she would love to drop down and go for it on the funky kitchen floor, Sophie sticks to her guns and enforces her “no dating clients” rule.

The tabloids portray flirtations Ian as Hollywood’s latest playboy who has women falling at his feet, and Sophie refuses to be another notch on his bedpost. But Ian isn’t the type to take no for an answer, and he finds Sophie a refreshing change from the actress wannabes trying hop aboard his new gravy train of success. Using his charm, he tries to persuade Sophie to break the rules.

Can Sophie ignore her traitorous libido and hold Ian off for the next five or six weeks until the renovations are finished? Or will she cave in to his pull on her heartstrings, and end up doing the knicky-knacky on the new velvet sofa? More importantly, can she protect her heart in this game of wills?

Amazon                    Barnes & Noble

Ellen Butler is the author Poplar Place, and Second Chance Christmas, a USA Today Recommended Read. Excerpts and purchase links can be found at: 
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Monday, 14 July 2014

The History of Me by Dixie Lee Brown

History they said! What do I know about history worth writing about? Not quite enough to fill a teacup!

So, I started thinking. There’s the history of the world, which could mean either billions of years or a couple thousand years, depending on whether you subscribe to the theory of evolution or whether you believe the earth was created in seven days by a supreme being.

Both of those possibilities take history to a whole new level—somewhere out in the stratosphere! I wanted to bring this history discussion a little closer to home. So here you have—the history of me! You might recognize a few of these historical points or feel compelled to add some of your own.

My 20s are very definitely history! 30s, 40s, and 50s followed far too quickly down that same road. Often I’ll catch myself watching a 30-something person acting like the world belongs to them (which it does for the time being), and I want to say: Good luck! I hope you possess the courage to grow old, because it ain’t no easy thing!

Being fanatical about a clean house — history…thank the Lord!

Holding my tongue instead of speaking my mind —history! I have to say, I thought this one would go the other way. You know…wisdom and all. Maybe it’s actually wiser to speak up.

Waiting around for a man to take my car to the shop — history. Face it…men are really only good for a few things and this is one of them. But I can do it too, even though I don't like to!

Turning down that scrumptious desert at lunch — history, history, history!

Watching TV — history! This one went away with the beginning of my writing career. I don’t miss it.

Sleeping before midnight — history! Again, writing late into the night takes a huge divot out of my beauty sleep, but like TV, it had to go. I do kind of miss this one though.

Shopping for the fun of it —history, and I can hardly believe I ever enjoyed this.

Buying bathing suits — Oh my God — history!!

Fishing — history — I used to love fishing…getting up at the crack of dawn, threading a barbed hook through the center of a worm (why has no one taken on the plight of the fishing worm?) baking in the sun until I could fry eggs on my skin, getting yelled at by the hubs because I didn’t load or unload the boat quite right. I must have been friggin’ nuts!!

I have one or two of these!!

Reading a real book made of paper and ink — moving ever-closer to history — I love
books, but my Kindle has won out. Many times, though, if it’s a book I thoroughly enjoy, I’ll order a hard copy for my bookshelf.

Holding grudges — history — such a colossal waste of time, plus the grudgee is never as devastated by your childish antics as you’d like to think.

I could probably go on forever, but I think it would be more fun to see some of the things you’ve committed to the annuls of history. 

Dixie Lee Brown, author of the Trust No One Series, romantic suspense.

All Or Nothing; When I Find You; If You Only Knew; Whatever It Takes

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Saturday Promo - Author Sharon Ashwood

Welcome Sharon Ashwood,who's visiting us today to discuss two of her Harlequin Nocturne releases and tell us a little bit about herself. 

**Prize Alert** 
Leave a comment and entering a drawing for a signed copy of POSSESSED BY A WARIOR!

   1)   Did you set any goals for 2014?

I have some books due this year, so those goals are kind of made for me! Besides that, I want to really think about what comes next in more ways than just my writing life. That means my health, my job, and my immediate community. I’m looking forward to a trip to visit family this summer. Sometimes in order to look forward it’s important to see where you are.

    2)   How long does it take you to write a 50,000-60,000 word manuscript?

My books are typically 80,000 or longer. How long it takes me to write something is directly connected to how much time I have!  50,000 can be done in a month or as many months as I can get. I like to write at about 1,000 words a day. I can do that easily in an evening after work. Usually I have to do more, though.

3)   Tease us with a blurb/short except

Okay!  Here’s the setup:  Chloe has inherited a wedding dress that is possibly linked to a crime. Sam (a vampire secret operative code named War) is investigating.

Chloe was standing in the middle of the room with her back to the door, looking sleek and polished from her high-heeled shoes to the twist in her dark blond hair. She was staring at the dress. It was hooked to the front of a huge, mahogany wardrobe, the dark wood showing off the white foam of lace.
Sam knew nothing about gowns, but he was pretty sure this one was exceptional. There was something in the proportions and detailing that said this wasn’t some off-the-rack number.
The same could be said for Chloe. The curve of her spine drew his eyes, his gaze lingering on her exposed neck. Ever since he’d arrived at Oakwood, she’d drawn him. Sam desired women and had them, well and often, but few provided more than a moment’s interest. War was not prone to the softer emotions—they were anathema to everything he was.
This woman, though, brushed his senses like the scent of a delicate perfume. She was pretty, but it was a sense of poised energy that made her remarkable—like an arrow about to fly. He couldn’t help watching, expectant for the moment, wondering what would happen if she finally sprang loose.
Sam imagined that release of energy, feeling it with his whole body. It would be exquisite. The thought made his fangs descend, and he quickly began thinking of dull paperwork instead. Shes not for you. Women like her die around creatures like you.
She turned, her brows drawing together when she saw him there. “Something I can help you with?” Her words were quiet and low, but her voice resonated right through him.
You have no idea. A sudden stab of hunger pushed to the fore, reminding him again of what he was: a weapon meant for blood sports. She looked soft and delicious, as if she would taste of summer. Once again, his body tightened in anticipation.
Sam swallowed hard, wrestling himself as he had the werewolf, holding back the snapping jaws of the beast. Small talk. Make small talk.
You can read full excerpts from the first two books of the Horsemen series here:

4)   Tell us about a new author you’ve recently discovered.

Julia Quinn, who writes historical romance. I know she’s a well-established author, but I had just never read her until now. I absolutely adore her work!

5)   Name two romances you’ve read more than once

I have so little free time, I rarely reread and when I have done so it was usually for course work in university. I’d have to say it was something like Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre. I’ve probably read The Grand Sophy more than once. And Dracula, but that’s not exactly a romance.

6)   Tell us about your first car.

That was a white Hyundai Pony, which I bought new. I was inordinately proud of that car and it served me very well for 20 years. I finally traded it in when it began to rust and I felt like a terrible person. We’d been through so much together.

7)   Tell us something you’ve lied about?

Probably my weight on a driver’s license application. Who hasn’t?

8)   Kissing in public? Yes or no?

It doesn’t bother me. I’d rather see people kissing than grumpy.

Please leave a comment on this post to enter a draw for a signed paperback of POSSESSED BY A WARRIOR.

A dazzling dress is wreaking havoc—and costing lives?
The violent death of her uncle sends Chloe Anderson reeling—and rushing to his estate. As coexecutor of Jack’s will, she assumes that he has left her something. What she doesn’t expect is a bejeweled wedding gown with a note warning her to trust only his business partner—dark, mysterious and sexy Sam Ralston.
Chloe’s been burned in love, but never bitten, and there’s something about Sam that keeps drawing her in, despite her fears. The attraction is mutual, intense, and it takes all of Sam’s willpower to hide his fangs. With Chloe’s career at stake and murderous thieves hot on their trail, the vampire vows to protect her. But can he save her from himself?

Can a mother in jeopardy melt the heart of a jaded vampire?
After witnessing a murder, Bree Meadows is on the run with her young son. But the bad guys are in hot pursuit. Dropped in the middle of nowhere amid a torrential thunderstorm, things look pretty grim. To make matters worse, her son is in desperate need of medical attention.
Mark Winspear has been alone for too long. When the vampire senses a gorgeous female nearby, he discovers that her swift, selfless courage pulls at his instincts.The doctor has history with the same men who are after Bree—and he’s ready for revenge. Working together now, they discover an attraction that might save them both—if they’re lucky.

Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.
Sharon is the winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.

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