Welcome!

Grab your favorite beverage, relax, and let me tell you a story…

After Midnight - Black Phoenix #1

Re-edited, revised edition October 2013

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December 31, 2011

Ring in the New Year with a book!

'Tis the season of giving. Of family gatherings, parties, and...reading? I wish! Amidst all the cleaning, wrapping, the cooking and travel time, reading drops to a spot just below sleeping on my list. Until now.

It's New Year's Eve and while a lot of my friends are planning on attending yet one more party, I'm planning on spending the evening at home. Reading. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? It does to me. Before I can do that, I need to do a bit of shopping. You see, my Kindle Fire is a bit empty right now. So last night I logged onto my laptop and guess what I discovered?

My books, along with many others, have been reduced at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. Shopping for new books just got a lot more FUN!

AFTER MIDNIGHT

Thirteen years—that's how long Isabeau Montgomery has been living a lie. After an automobile accident took her mother's life, Izzy hid herself away, surviving the only way she knew how. Now she is happy in her carefully reconstructed life. That is until he walks through the door of her bar...

Black Phoenix singer/front man Noah Clark came to Long Island City with a goal—one that doesn't include an instant, electric attraction to the dark-haired beauty behind the bar. Coaxing her into his bed won't be easy, but he can't get her pale, haunted eyes nor her skill on the piano out of his head.

Can Noah help Isabeau overcome the past? Or will her need to protect her secret force her back into hiding and destroy their chance at happiness?

He leaned into her. “If you still want me to stay away from you, you’d better tell me now.”

“Noah?”

“Yeah?”

“Kiss me.”

She didn’t have to ask twice. He dipped his head, settled his lips on hers and plundered. He dragged her against him, and drank in the hot, potent taste of her as he fed on her mouth like a starving man.

She softened, a tiny sound of passion slipping up her throat—an urgent invitation. His pulse leaped. So did other parts of his anatomy. Her fingers burrowed through his hair.

He deepened the kiss, stroking his hands down the sides of her body to settle on her hips. He used them to guide her as he stepped forward once, twice, until her back settled against the trunk of the maple. Awash in the smell of her, the feel of her, he pressed closer, until no space existed between them. Her breasts flattened against his chest, her hips arched into him. Heat from her body flowed into his, sparking a fire. His heartbeat echoed in his head.


"After Midnight is an emotional, beautifully constructed contemporary romance...I quickly became captivated by Ms. Grimm’s vivid descriptive prose and exemplary characterization." -- 5 Bookies and Best Reads of 2011, Book Lovers, Inc

New Reduced Price at AMAZON / THE WILD ROSE PRESS  



NOT WITHOUT RISK

The last thing he wanted was what he needed most...

Six agonizing months after a slug collapsed his lung, Sergeant Justin Harrison manages to return to the one place where he shines—the San Diego homicide division. Nothing will stand in the way of proving he is fit for active duty. Especially not the long-legged brunette who just stumbled into his crime scene.

Photographer Paige Conroy spent years hiding from her past. Then a late night telephone call brings it crashing back. An old friend is in town and needs her help. When she arrives at his hotel room four hours later, he's dead. Suddenly, she's the target of a madman, and Paige must turn to Sergeant Harrison for protection.

But who is the bigger threat to her... the faceless assailant she fears will steal her life or the dark-eyed detective she knows could steal her heart?

Each stroke, each caress of her hand pushed his blood pressure up another notch until he had to steel himself from closing the distance and pulling her into his embrace.

Want consumed him. He wanted her hands on him, not just on his car. He wanted to taste her, feel her, to fist his hands in her hair and sink into her warmth. It’d been too long, far too long since he’d been with a woman—six months, ten days and twenty-two hours to be exact, and he missed it. He missed it more than he missed nicotine, more than he missed being able to draw a deep breath without the slightest twinge of pain.

"Ms. Grimm takes readers on an amazing journey, a trip where her wonderful talents as a storyteller bring the tale to life...If you, like me, enjoy fast paced, nail biting, page turning, edge of your seat suspense, then by all means get on board and try Not Without Risk."-- BEST BOOK of 2010 Nominee, Long and Short Reviews


New Reduced Price at AMAZON / THE WILD ROSE PRESS

December 29, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Liz Flaherty



Thanks for having me, Sarah. I hope you had a great Christmas.

Before the lights have even dimmed on the Christmas tree—which they seem to do the minute the presents have gone from underneath—I begin thinking about the New Year. I don’t make resolutions anymore, at least not out loud where anyone I don’t pray to can hear me, but I do contemplate what I might do differently after the ball drops. Here is my list so far.

  1. I will write every day. Unless I don’t feel like it, then I will sew. Either way, I will Have A Good Time.
  2. I will laugh out loud every day.
  3. I will find the joy in whatever I’m doing and pursue it.
  4. I will sing because I like it. I’m not any good—matter of fact, I’m beyond awful, but the term “joyful noise” crops up occasionally in the Bible, and I’m pretty sure it’s about me.
  5. If I screw up, which I’m assuming I will do on a regular basis, I will not beat myself up over it.

Oh, there, that’s it for me, and I think that last one is most important. One reason I will screw up so often is that I’m not good at very many things (This is fine with me, by the way; I have no problem with average.) and if I stop making messes, it means I will have stopped trying new things. This takes me back to Number Three, about finding…well, look up there, you can see it. Or to Number Two, because maybe laughing at myself is a central part of the laughing. Or Number Four, because any time I sing, it is a screw-up. Or Number One, because both my quilts and my books have…er…errors in them, but they are such fun to create. They are all about Having A Good Time.

Of course, there are caveats that go along with it. You know, Don’t Hurt Anyone. Don’t…well, I guess that was the one that counted. Happy New Year. Have A Good Time.

Oops, almost forgot (well, okay, not really), One More Summer will be out from Carina Press on January 2. Here are some Buy Me! links. I hope you do and I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by.



I’d love to have you visit my website http://lizflaherty.com/ or http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/ where I hang out with some of my best writer friends.



Grace has taken care of her widowed father her entire adult life and the ornery old goat has finally died. She has no job, no skills and very little money, and has heard her father's prediction that no decent man would ever want her so often she accepts it as fact.

But she does have a big old house on Lawyers Row in Peacock, Tennessee. She opens a rooming house and quickly gathers a motley crew of tenants - Promise, Grace's best friend since kindergarten, who's fighting cancer; Maxie, an aging soap opera actress who hasn't lost her flair for the dramatic; Jonah, a sweet gullible old man with a crush on Maxie.

And Dillon, Grace's brother's best friend, who stood her up on the night of her senior prom and has regretted it ever since. Dillon rents Grace's guest house for the summer and hopes to make up for lost time and past hurts - but first, he'll have to convince Grace that she's worth loving...

Excerpt:

“This is supposed to be a prom.” Dillon pushed aside his dessert plate. He gestured toward the backyard. “The dance floor waits.”

Grace got to her feet. “Remember how fragile these glass slippers are.”

He nudged one of her bare feet with the toe of his sandal. “Damn near invisible too. Isn’t technology something?”

Dillon and Steven had placed citronella torches in the yard, and the scent of the oil blended with that of the flowers. The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” filled the air and Dillon put his arms around Grace’s waist. Gently, not pulling her close. She rested her hands lightly on his shoulders, suddenly shy. Other than aerobics classes in the church basement that Promise had dragged her to, she hadn’t danced since high school.

As they moved across the lawn, however, his arms tightened and her hands crept up around his neck, the left one with its glaring white bandage held palm out. His muscled legs moved against hers, but the motions they made were liquid, graceful, and she wished whimsically for a waltz and a flowing dress.

The song changed, and he sang close to her ear. The grass dance floor was cool and damp beneath her feet, the star-filled sky a splendid ceiling, the flickering torches the most romantic of lights, the subtle scent of roses a seductive aroma. Almost against her will, Grace’s eyes drifted closed as his lips lowered to hers. The ambiance was lost on Grace as Dillon’s kiss took over her senses. All she felt were his hands splayed on her back, his body flush with hers. All she smelled was the pleasant mingling of charcoal smoke and Irish Spring soap that lingered on his shirt and his skin. She tasted only his mouth, flavored with wine and coffee, and she couldn’t get enough of it.

After the third kiss, when her insides were a roiling mass of sensation and emotion, she murmured, “Geezy Pete.”

He said, “You got that right,” and stroked a hand up her back. “What’s this? You didn’t wear a bra to the prom?”

She brought her injured hand into his line of vision and waggled it. “I couldn’t fasten it.”

His hand came around between them to cup one small, denim-covered breast. “What a shame.” He found her nipple and worked the bead of its tip between his fingers.

A low moan slipped uncaught from her throat. Clutching her composure like a lifeline before it disintegrated completely, she said, “The music’s stopped.”

“Do you really think so?” he whispered, and teased her lips with the tip of his tongue until they opened.

They had danced their way to where they stood among the trees. When she opened her eyes again, she caught sight of a torch to their left, anchored into the ground beside the single step that led inside the gazebo.

The gazebo.

“No decent man in his right mind’s going to want you, girl.”

“No, Papa,” she whispered, caught in the horror, and moved restively in Dillon’s embrace.
“Gracie?” His voice was soft, gentling.

“I need to go in.” The words sounded much more urgent than the situation demanded, but she couldn’t unsay them.

“Okay.” He answered immediately, and turned her toward the house, but didn’t release her. “I’ll take you back.”

Steven and Promise weren’t on the back porch. The candles had been snuffed, but the dishes remained on the table. “Leave them,” Dillon said, leading her firmly past the mess and into the house. “Steven and I will take care of it. You go on up.”

She nodded and moved toward the stairs, but turned when she stood on the second one. “Dillon?”

“Yeah?” He smiled at her, the expression not erasing the frown of concern between his eyes.

“Thank you. The ‘prom’ was wonderful.” Without waiting for a reply, she ran the rest of the way up the stairs.

December 27, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Louisa Masters

'Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, chaos ruled.

I don't know about your house, but the day after Christmas, mine resembled a bomb site, and I didn't even host Christmas!

I spent Christmas Eve at my parents' place and stayed over, Christmas lunch with one aunt, and dinner with another. Most of Christmas Eve day I was baking, so there's a pile of dishes that was left to air-dry on the draining board. I'm actually quite impressed that I washed them right away!

Gifts are scattered haphazardly around the room, the result of several stop-ins to drop off presents and pick up more between events. Torn wrapping paper is piled mixed in with the piles.

And, of course, there are rolls of wrapping paper, ribbon, tape and scissors on the table, where I left them after I finished wrapping the last of the presents.

The fridge groans with the amount of food packed into it—leftovers sent home with me. Even as I write this, my stomach growls at the thought of the truly excellent ham waiting for me. The Christmas tree looks forlorn without gifts beneath it, as if it knows it's time on display is nearly over for another year.

I look around and dread the thought of putting everything back in order. Instead, I'm going to settle comfortably onto my couch and find something to read. Naughty? Perhaps. But after the crazy lead-up to Christmas, culminating in the chaos of the last two days, I think I'm entitled to a little indulgence. Don't you?

If anyone else feels like being a bit naughty, Inter-Office Relations is a great way to indulge. The best part is, it's short enough to lessen the guilt!

With her resignation submitted, Jeannie Price has one last task she’s itching to perform before leaving her job. After months of sitting next to hot, sexy colleague Tim Harding, it’s time to turn fantasy into reality with a scorching invitation to collaborate on matters of the flesh in Conference Room B. Then she can walk away without regrets.

Tim’s dreams of wild, sweaty sex with Jeannie come true when he accepts her offer, but he’s stunned to learn she doesn’t want to see him again after their steamy tryst. She may be trying to brush him off as just one more item on her To-Do List, but he’s determined to convince her there’s nothing taboo about inter-office relations.

You can buy Inter-Office Relations here, or read an excerpt here. I'll be selecting one lucky commenter to receive a title of their choice from Sarah's backlist. I won't be choosing until midnight Thursday, so there's plenty of time to recover from Christmas!

Big thanks to Sarah for hosting me, and I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays


Here's wishing you a happy and hopeful year end and start for 2012.



December 22, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Jennifer Ann Coffeen

All I want for Christmas is… a final, completed, fully edited draft with no typos, plot holes, or one dimensional characters. Oh! And a great love scene.

I know, I know, Santa can’t work miracles. But I can always ask, can’t I? I’ve been wrestling with the third draft of my latest WIP since it was still warm enough to wear open toed shoes (and I live in Chicago so that means something). My deadline for the final final draft was Labor Day, which stretched into Halloween, and now Christmas is fast approaching and I am still stuck. This draft refuses to end! Are my characters not working? The plot confusing? Or it is a curse from that barista I forgot to tip back in June?

I decided the only way to find out is to go back to basics.

1. Ask your characters what they want. Sounds simple right? I’m always surprised by how quickly my character’s wants can become muddled on the page. Sure my heroine wants the hero, everyone knows that! Except for my heroine. What she really wants is to marry the dashing Viscount who dresses divinely, writes her poetry, and has only recently become engaged to another woman.

2. Outline your plot. I am the last person to take this advice. I like to keep the writing process as messy and creative as possible until the very end. It’s a strong signal that I’m nearing the end though when I just can’t seem to move forward because my plot (or lack of) is slowing me down. At some point in the process you have to make sure A leads to B, C, and D. For some writers that means creating a beautiful outline complete with color coding and charts. For others it means jotting your storyline down on a napkin. Do whatever works for you, but if you find yourself stuck in a draft, try outlining the plot.

3. It’s time for a reader! And I’m not talking about your mom. 9 times out of 10 when I can’t move forward with a draft it’s because I’ve become too close to it. I need a fresh pair of eyes, someone I trust to understand my vision for the story but not mince words when it comes to critique. If you belong to a writing group try asking for readers, or even find a trusted friend. Sometimes entering your first chapter in a contest is a great way to get some feedback.



“The French Blue diamond must be destroyed.” Haunted by the words of her dying father, Lady Madeline Sinclair arrives for the London Season with more than parties and the latest fashion on her mind. She has sworn a vow, and the beautifully headstrong and fearless Madeline will allow nothing to distract her…until she meets the infamous Lord Colin, Duke of Douglas, a man known for his scandalous past engagement. With a dark grin and stormy eyes, he threatens to make her forget her duty, along with her manners.

Bound together by the mysterious diamond, Madeline and Colin soon succumb to the passion raging between them, even as the diamond eludes their grasp. But the true threat lies in the hands of an enemy whose dangerous obsession with the past has the power to destroy them both.

Available at The Wild Rose Press.

December 20, 2011

Open Promo For Authors ~ January Releases

Welcome to Open Promo for Authors!  Once again I've decided to open the floor (or blog post as the case may be) and allow you, my fellow romance authors, a chance to tell me about your book. Do you have a new release next month? Then I want to hear about it!

I do have a few pesky rules though:
  • The book has to be a romance. I don't care what genre romance, but my readership is romance so we're going to give them what they love.
  •  You can post for yourself or you can post about a fabulous new book you can't wait to get your hands on and you think we should all run out and buy.
  • If you include a short excerpt in the post, please include a rating AT THE BEGINNING of the post. Let's be thoughtful of those readers who are uncomfortable with some heat levels.
  • Also, I reserve the right to delete a post if it promotes objectionable content. (incest, rape, etc.)
Simple enough, right? Post away!


December 17, 2011

The Page 99 Test ~ After Midnight

The Page 99 Test is simple: After reading page 99, would you want to turn the page and keep reading?

Let's have a look at my current release, After Midnight:


  
    His mouth curved. "I guess it was."
    "He loves you, he didn't want to see you waste away."
    His smile faded as he gazed at her. She curled her left hand around his wrist. "What's the matter?"
    "Henry's not a young man any more. I'm worried about him. I could see the last time I spoke with him that his health is failing."
    Without thinking, he slid her hand down and linked her fingers with his. She ached for him, knowing how difficult it was to lose a loved one. "When is the last time you saw him?"
    "Right before I moved to the new house. About six months ago."
    "You should go see him again, once your demo is done."
    "I plan to." He shifted their joined hands, used his free hand to trace the length of her pinky and ring finger. "Your fingers are cold."
    "They always are. They sustained too much damage in the accident."
    "Any nerve damage?"
   "Yes. Not the way you'd think though. They're actually more sensitive than the other fingers." Overly sensitive. The brush of his fingertips sent a shock of electricity up her arm, jolting her already raw nerves. Her body hummed as his warmth began to seep into her hand, then into her bloodstream.
    "It's a miracle you can still play at all," he commented softly.
    Her stomach crawled into her throat. At one point in her life she would have agreed with him, but that time was long past. "I don't play anymore."
    His hand tightened on hers as she tried to pull away. "Because you choose not to."
    "Yes."
    "But you regained the ability, should you ever change your mind."
    She met his gaze. "I won't change my mind."


So what do you think? Would you keep reading?
Want to join in the fun? I'd love to read your page 99.
Post it on your blog and let me know where to find it.



December 16, 2011

Going Indie with Catherine Bybee

Hi Sarah, thank you for having me here today.

I’m going to talk a little bit about Self Publishing… or going Indie as people are starting to say.

I need to start by saying that Self publishing isn’t for everyone. An author may think that if they self publish they get to skip a few steps, get published faster. Although there is some truth to the ‘getting published faster’ part, there are more steps to doing it yourself than there is when going with a publisher. However, and this is a BIG however, Indie publishing means you need to hire a editor, hire a cover artist… might even have to hire someone to format your work. You have to set up all of your reviews and do all of your promo without the help of a publisher.

There is a ton of work…. However, the pay off can be huge.

I decided to self publish Wife by Wednesday not because I couldn’t sell it, but because I wanted to get it out there. I wanted control over my release, over the price, over how many copies I gave away. I could have sold Wife to any number of small press publishers and done just fine with it. But I wanted something else… I wanted more readers that happen when you price a book low enough to get it into new reader hands. This was my first contemporary romance, my readers were paranormal readers, time travel readers… erotic readers. I needed to find new readers. Indie publishing was perfect for this book.

Did I say the pay off can be huge yet?

Let me tell you just how huge.

Wife by Wednesday made the Amazon Bestseller list for contemporary romance just 35 days from her release. I released Wife on Oct 5th. By Thanksgiving I had made the #1 position in Romance on Amazon… then in the next couple days made the #2 spot on ALL ebooks on Amazon.

Are you seeing the HUGE part yet? Getting on these bestseller lists gives the ball a steeper hill to roll down, or for me up… up in readers, up in sales. I managed these lists by having a marketable product, great cover, and a .99 cent price. For me this worked and I can now call myself a USA Today Bestseller.

I’m so happy I made the decision to go Indie… so happy I didn’t stray from my path and go a more traditional route.

So if you’re tired of hearing the word no from publishers yet everyone who reads your work says they think it’s good (Not your Mom, she’s always gonna tell you what you want to hear) then what do you have to lose?

Go Indie.


A Contemporary Romance with a dash of humor and a whole lotta sexy…

Blake Harrison:
Rich, titled, and charming… And in need of a wife by Wednesday so he turns to Sam Elliot who isn’t the business man he expected. Instead, Blake is faced with Samantha Elliot, engaging and spunky with a voice men call 900 numbers to hear.

Samantha Elliot:
Owner of Alliance, her matchmaking firm, and not on the marital menu... That is until Blake offers her ten million dollars for a one-year contract. All she needs to do is keep her attraction to her husband to herself and avoid his bed. But Blake’s toe-curling kisses and charm prove too difficult to combat. Now she needs to protect her heart so she can walk away when their mercenary life together is over.

December 14, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Jeanette Grey

These Words Aren't Precious

Three separate times in my life, I decided I was going to be a WRITER. One of those serious ones that bleeds for her art. The first time, I was sixteen, and I immediately went out and bought a fancy leather-bound journal and a fountain pen.

I still have that journal. I even wrote in seven of its pages.

The second time, I was twenty. Cue another expensive journal, another pen. This time around, I also started a Word document and made a whole new folder on my computer for all my genius words. I filled ten pages that time and started three documents, each less than three pages long.

It's hard to quantify exactly why those efforts went so wrong, but I think the fancy journals had a lot to do with it, even if the end they were just symptomatic of a bigger problem. Every word I wrote was belabored because it had to be good. It had to be genius – worthy of my ambitions and of those elegant, hand-made paper pages.

At age thirty, I looked at my life and didn't like what I saw. All the little stories that had been running through my head for the past decade started whispering to me more loudly. And then, one day, I started scribbling them down. There were no pretty notebooks or cool pens. I wrote on the backs of crossword puzzles and the edges of receipts. On loose leaf paper and my husband's graph paper pads.
My words didn't matter. And because of that, my ideas became free. And suddenly, for the first time, my stories came to life.

Somehow, that new mentality carried over, even when I started writing on my computer. Once I decided my words weren't precious, it not only got easier to write them, it also got easier to rework them, rewrite them or just plain delete them.

So this post is in celebration of letting go, throwing carefulness to the wind, and seeing where just playing can get you. How many people find their soulmate after they stop looking? Or get a promotion after they decide to just be themselves at work?

Or write their first book, right after deciding their words weren't precious at all?



Plix spends her lonely, gritty life trying to solve the mysteries her father left behind. Armed with a variety of cybernetic enhancements and a talent for getting into places she shouldn’t be, she searches for clues to his murder—and who’s responsible for poisoning her city.

Waking up on a street corner with her brain wiring fried to a crisp, she figures she must have gotten close this time. There’s only one man she trusts to pull her back from the brink: a tuner who can retrieve the evidence hidden deep in the recesses of her mind. A man she dares not let too close to her heart.

When Edison downloads a secret SynDate schematic from Plix’s burnt-out circuitry, he knows with dreadful finality that nothing—not even the fiery kiss he’s been holding back for years—will stop her from pursuing her quest past the point of insanity.

All he can do, as he helps her plan her final mission, is ease her pain, watch her back…and hope one of them doesn’t pay with their lives.

Buy your copy today at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Samhain Store.


After brief, unsatisfying careers in advertising, teaching, computers, and homemaking, Jeanette Grey has returned to her two first loves: romance and writing.

When she isn’t writing, Jeanette enjoys making pottery, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and her pet frog. She lives, loves, and writes in North Carolina.

She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Carolina Romance Writers.

Website: http://www.jeanettegrey.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/jeanettelgrey
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeanettelgrey
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4507045.Jeanette_Grey 

December 13, 2011

Spotlight On...Calvin Davis

Welcome, Calvin. Tell us about The Phantom Lady of Paris and where we can find it.

Who is the Phantom Lady of Paris? I knew her well. I lived several years with her, haunting me day and night. Contrary to what her name might suggest, she was not some paranormal creature prowling the streets of the French capital, or a blood-sucking vampire, the type quite popular in fiction. On the contrary, in my novel, the Phantom Lady was a somewhat ordinary, but a highly extraordinary female who lived in the City of Light. Why was she there? That she would not reveal to anyone. Not even to Paul, the man she fell in love with.

The reason for her being in France, aside, she was quite a woman, with many of the good and bad attributes mankind possesses. At times she was whimsical. Other times, morose. She was a walking contradiction. (Aren’t we all?) But always, she had compassion for the disposed and voiceless. She struggled to find meaning for her existence. (Like the writer and, no doubt, the reader.) The Phantom Lady possessed a passion for life. She had a sense of humor. She could laugh at herself, at Paul, her lover, and, as equally important, could chuckle at life and its multitude of ironies.

What distinguished the Phantom Lady of Paris from others was the rare dream she pursued. Not unlike most, she yearned to be free. But she sought a special kind of liberation, the freedom, she said, an eagle feels when “flying mountain high, soaring above snow-capped peaks,” merging with the infinity of space, time and self: silent and alone…but free. She shared her dream with Paul, her American lover. At the close of the novel (after French police investigate her and after she and Paul are trapped in a Left Bank student riot), she discovered the freedom she sought. But it came not in the way she hoped.

The Phantom Lady of Paris is available on Amazon.com (in softcover and e-book form). It is also available through Barnes and Nobles website and the Second Wind Publishing Company website.

How did you start writing?

My desire to write came when my high school English teacher introduced me to Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and to Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter and other classics. Following the meeting, I realized that such works are potent forces with the explosive power of several mega-ton nuclear bombs. I fell in love with words, their sounds, definitions, music, and poetry. I fell in love with how a good writer could compose a symphony using only the instruments of words, could score word-concertos filled with crescendos and whispering lyricism Doubt the latter? Consider this: “But soft, what light through yon window breaks. It is the east and Juliet is the sun.” That is music, sensual music. Words, I realized, were beautiful things. I wanted to explore them, to use them…to write a novel. At the time, I didn’t know how difficult doing that would turn out to be. Since then, I have written three: The Event at Fourteenth and U, a Christmas Story (available through Amazon. com); Love in Opposing Colors (an interracial love story, available through the author at caldavis307@yahoo.com) and finally, the Phantom Lady of Paris. It took five years to finish the Lady, and I feel it comes close to accomplishing what I had in mind when I set out to write it: pen a novel that is a verbal concerto of words with a heart-touching final movement.

As an author, what makes a book great in your eyes?

A great book or play is one that that haunts you long after you put it down. It illuminates the human condition, dealing with things that all mankind has dealt with since the beginning of time: greed, love, hate, altruism, betrayal, loyalty, guilt, conscience, etc. Case in point: recently in Washington, DC, a man approaches a cop and turns himself in, saying he committed a crime fourteen years earlier and was tired of looking over his shoulder, tired of the guilt. Maybe if the criminal had read the Scarlet Letter or Macbeth when a teen, he might have known the excruciating penalty conscience exacts, a punishment that never lets up and is far more severe than any judge can order. Knowing this, perhaps he wouldn’t have committed the crime.

If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?

My Life? Ups and Downs, Smiles and Frowns, Cheers and Tears. Bumpy, Yeah, But What a Ride!


An educator, Calvin Davis spent a year in Paris (1968-69), during most of which time he sat at outdoor cafes on boulevards Saint Michel and Saint German, observing the endless streams of passing humanity and writing The Phantom Lady of Paris, all the while downing countless cups of midnight-black java. The experience taught him a lot about writing and also how to wear out the seats of a half dozen trousers. So, he’s out of six pairs of pants. No big deal. That’s a small price to pay for bringing such a wonder child into the word…the remarkable phantom lady of Paris.

Calvin Davis is also the author of two other novels; Love in Opposing Colors and The Event at Fourteenth and U: A Christmas Story.

December 8, 2011

Spotlight On...Linda Engman

Today I have fellow Wild Rose Press author Linda Engman with me at the keyboard, talking about her wonderful new release, Manhattan Holiday. Welcome Linda, what surprised you the most when you became a published author?

I have to say I was surprised how many people it takes to get a book from manuscript form to a published novel. At my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, there is my wonderful editor, senior editor, copy editor, talented cover artist, marketing, promo, and office staff, besides many others involved---and all were dedicated and truly behind each of my romance novels all the way. I can’t thank them enough.

Tell us about Manhattan Holiday and where we can find it.

Manhattan Holiday is a sexy, fun, fantasy come true kind of romance set amongst a backdrop of snowy Manhattan at the holidays. It takes place over a New Year’s weekend. The hero, Roman Vasquez is powerful, sexy, and knows just how to wrap a woman around his finger. Needless to say my no nonsense heroine, April Sutton is not impressed and is a good match for him. She agrees to help him out of tight situation and ends up married to him. I had so much fun writing this story I didn’t want it to end. I’m thinking of writing another set in Manhattan at the holidays.
Readers can find it in eBook/Print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at The Wild Rose Press.

Here's the Blurb:

Get Ready For a Very Romantic Holiday

Recently jilted, legal assistant April Sutton is ready to find a way to forget her ex-fiancé and the heartache she’s been carrying around snowy Manhattan. With the New Year holiday approaching she’s determined to restart her life. Never in her wildest dreams does she expect a last minute marriage to dynamic Roman Vasquez, along with a sultry weekend trip and a romantic dream wedding, to do the trick.

In order to meet the New Year’s Eve deadline of his grandfather’s will, successful developer Roman Vasquez will do whatever it takes. Even if it means giving up his bachelor status and convincing an unwilling April Sutton to tie the knot. Although he finds all it takes to persuade her is—one kiss, a contract, and the wedding of her dreams.

Will Roman and April keep it all business...or let the magic of the holiday season, along with meddling friends, family, and hidden feelings turn their temporary whirlwind marriage into everlasting love?


Manhattan Holiday sounds like a book I need to read! Why did you choose your genre? 

I’ve always loved reading contemporary romances so it was a natural fit when I started writing to choose this genre. I love creating sexy rugged hard working heroes and fashionable career-minded heroines. My first two books I’ve Got You and Falling For You are set in a small town and Manhattan Holiday of course in a big city.


When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Definitely when I signed that first contract for I’ve Got You. Although whenever I do an interview such as this, or write an article, I also really feel like a writer.

What comes first, plot or characters?

I’d have to say characters. Usually I’ll come across an interesting character and the story takes off from there. That was the case in my first three romance novels. The romance I just finished and sent off to my editor is another matter. My teenage daughter wanted me to write a story about a wedding planner and I thought it was a great idea. This story is a sexy, sizzling, fun book where the heroine, a wedding planner, gets a little too involved in one of her weddings. The hero is a sexy secondary character from MH. Sorry, that’s all I can say for now.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you began your writing career?

To have a website in place before you contract, be prepared for lots of promoting, and never feel the need to follow what others are doing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to shop with my daughter, have lunch out with my girlfriends and my two sisters, chat with my mom on the phone, play tennis, hike, and ski with my family. My great love is photography. I also love to read and cook when I have the time. Mostly on the weekends.

What’s next for you?

I’m writing another sexy contemporary romance as we speak, a follow up to the wedding planner story, and I have the first of my four Navy SEAL’s romance novels just about ready to send off. It’s an exciting and busy time for me.

Where can we find you on the web?

Readers are welcome to visit me at www.lindaengman.com
I update my website monthly with new information, reviews, and fun things on my blog. You can also find me on Facebook. I love it when readers send me friend requests.

Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

I don’t have any questions but I’ve sure had lots of ladies asking about the gorgeous man on the cover of Manhattan Holiday. I’ve even had women ask if he’s real. Yes! Cover model Jimmy Thomas and I are even Facebook friends…and he’s as nice as he is handsome.

Thanks Sarah for having me here today. I’ve had a great time and happy holidays! Linda

It is a very nice cover! Thanks for visiting with me today, Linda.

December 6, 2011

Spotlight On...Vonnie Davis

I'm so excited to have the fabulous Vonnie Davis with me at the keyboard today. Vonnie not only shares with us an emotional excerpt from her book Storm's Interlude, but she's agreed to give a copy of the book to one lucky commenter. 

Welcome, Vonnie! What surprised you the most when you became a published author?

The reviews. When I received my first one, my heart beat so hard and heat infused my body like a super hot flash. My eyes quickly skimmed over it, looking for words like junk, boring, inept, horrible. But the reviewer liked it, and I was thrilled. The second positive review was an even bigger shock, and so on. I guess I didn’t expect anyone to enjoy what I’d written. Aren’t we usually our own worst critics? I know I am.

I'm definitely my worst critic. Tell us about Storm’s Interlude and where we can find it.

Nurse Rachel Dennison comes to Texas determined to prepare her new patient for a second round of chemo. What she isn’t counting on is her patient’s twin brother, Storm Masterson.

Despite her initial attraction, Storm has two things Rachel can’t abide: a domineering personality and a fiancée. Half Native American, with the ability to have "vision dreams," Storm dreams about Rachel for three nights before her arrival. Both are unprepared for the firestorm of emotions their first encounter ignites.

Ultimately, it is Rachel’s past—and abusive, maniacal ex-boyfriend—that threatens to keep them apart…and Storm’s dreams that bring them together again.

Buy Links for The Wild Rose Press

For Amazon


What is the most emotional scene you had to write in this piece?

The scene I refer to as “the closet scene.” Rachel opens her closet to find her maniacal ex-boyfriend standing there. Writing violence is not my thing, but I forced myself to do it. I had to, Sarah.

In doing my research about domestic violence I noticed only six states have a felony statute on strangulation, a terrifying crime that research has shown affects about one of every five battered women. SIX states! Can you believe it?

Only six?  That's heartbreaking.

Not only that, but many emergency room personnel and first responders don’t recognize red eyes as a sign of strangulation. They often figure the woman has red eyes from crying. Strangulation forces blood into the white of the eyes and also damages the wind pipe and vocal chords, altering the victim’s voice for months.

It infuriates me that legislators don’t see non-lethal strangulation assaults as one of the “red flags” of deadly family violence. The more I read about this, the angrier I got. So, for all the victims of such abuse I had to incorporated strangulation and its long-lasting effects into my story—and I cried as I pulled all those emotions from my soul to write that scene. I had to avenge battered women, you see. Had to.

Excerpt:

When Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding out for a Hero” floated from her stereo speakers, Rachel turned up the volume to enjoy the effects of the drums in the song. Pretending she was pounding the drums with imaginary drumsticks, she turned to open the closet door to choose something to wear to dinner —and gasped a silent scream.
Phillip stood before her.
Silent.
Ominous.
Menacing.
Her mind tried to accept what her eyes saw—and couldn’t. She wanted to scream, but fear, cruel and strong, jumped up and grabbed her by the throat, squeezing and blocking air to her lungs. A squeak escaped, but before it morphed into a scream, Phillip had one hand over her mouth and the other viced her windpipe. She hit, scratched and kicked; futile attempts for he easily overpowered her. “Surprised to see me, bitch?” he hissed in her ear. “Didn’t I tell you I’d come for you?”
In the midst of their struggles, they fell to the floor. She rolled over in an attempt to escape. “Storm!” Damn those drums! No one could hear her over them. Phillip grabbed her ankle and twisted it. Pain ripped up her leg like a buzz saw. He was going to dislocate her knee. She rolled over, easing the pain. He struck her face. Another scream escaped seconds before he covered her mouth again. He punched her stomach, momentarily knocking the air from her.
With one hand over her mouth and his other clamped around her arm, he yanked her from the floor and tossed her onto the bed, where he held her down with brute force. She tried to break free, but his hold was too strong. Could anyone hear their grappling over Bonnie Tyler singing and all those pounding drums? If only she hadn’t turned up the volume.
She struggled to escape, struggled to live. He sat on top of her, his eyes full of maniacal rage. She pushed and hit. “You’ve become a fighter, I see. I wasn’t expecting that. I’ll show you what happens when a woman fights back.” He circled his iron-like fingers around her throat and slowly began to choke her. He reached into his back pocket for a roll of electrical tape, bit off a strip and pressed it to her mouth. She’d seen this expression of madness before and knew what was coming.
How would anyone hear the beating she was about to receive over the volume of the music? Why hadn’t she played Brahms or Mozart? His hold over her windpipe tightened. He punched her in the eye, and she saw a shooting shower of stars. His second blow landed on her jaw. Her lip split. Blood trickled down her chin. Through his beating, her mind raced, trying to come to grips with the shock of finding him in her closet. How had he gotten inside the ranch house? Didn’t anyone search her room?


Wow, what a powerful scene, Vonnie. I can see why that would be difficult for you to write. Whew, I hope that bas...ahem, Phillip...get's his in the end.


Cast the movie. Who would you choose to play your hero and heroine?

I don’t know. I’m so out of touch with young actors. I do have pictures I used as visuals as I wrote.




I LOVE visuals. And holy cow what a visual! Helllooooo, Storm!





And this beauty must be Rachel. 


Very nice, Vonnie. Thanks for sharing.




What comes first, plot or characters?

I get a germ of an idea for a plot and then ask myself what kind of characters would bring it to life. I tend to create my characters from the inside out. I ask myself what my character’s points of pain are. We all have them: Past experiences that push our buttons. Using myself as an example, don’t treat me as if I’m stupid. Why? I stuttered as a child and was regarded by many as being non-intelligent. I had to work extra hard to get stellar grades to show my teachers I was not mentally-challenged…just tongue-challenged. **grins** Storm’s point of pain is his mother abandoning him when he was younger. Rachel’s points of pain are her past abuse with an ex-boyfriend. Once I get those things nailed down, I decide on education levels, how they earn their living and finally how they look.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

If I’m not writing, I’m reading. Why life revolves around words.

What’s one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

I used to write plays for a non-profit theatre group and I’m also a trained draftsman, or would that be draftswoman?

That's so cool! What’s next for you?

I have a short story under contract with The Wild Rose Press for their Honky Tonk Hearts series—Those Violet Eyes. I’m expecting edits soon for Mona Lisa’s Room, the first book in a trilogy. I’m frantically writing the trilogy’s second book, Rain is a Love Song. This is requiring great effort on my part, because I have two short stories bouncing around in my head, getting louder and demanding my time. I want to stop this project and work on the short stories for a couple days. But since my agent has Rain on her reading schedule for the week of December 19th, I must keep writing it. She does a strict edit of my books. Just when I think I’m getting stronger as a writer, she sends me back a manuscript marked up with a gazillion edits…sigh…so much for my ego.


Where can we find you on the web?

www.vonniedavis.com
www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com


Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Yes, lots, but I’ll try to control myself. What types of stories pull at your heartstrings? Which do you enjoy more? A book that makes you laugh or one that makes you cry?

December 5, 2011

Favorite Reads of 2011



Book Lovers Inc is spotlighting some of their favorite reads of 2011. Each day during the 24 days until Christmas they're offering a great read along with a giveaway
and today's spotlighted book is AFTER MIDNIGHT.

Stop by and check it out for your chance to win a copy!
Don't forget to check back daily to discover
all of their favorite reads of 2011.
Your TBR pile will thank you. :-)


December 4, 2011

Snippet Sunday

I spent most of yesterday working on the promotional items for After Midnight that I'm putting together special for RT 2012. So today I thought I would share with you the first kiss between Isabeau and Noah. Enjoy!



His shirt sleeve slipped down as she pressed the warm cloth to his skin. She shoved it back out of the way.

“Wait,” he said as it slipped a second time. He reached his arm over his head. Fisting his hand in his shirt, he pulled it off.

There was something so inherently male about the move that she didn’t look away. Then, once he stood before her wearing nothing but his jeans, she couldn’t look away. He was built. His body was sleek, smooth, and leanly muscled. Lightly tanned, with hard six-pack abs and a dark blonde line of hair that started below his navel and trailed down to disappear beneath the waistband of his jeans.

Not that she was looking.

Or drooling.

There was no doubt about it, he looked better than most men half his age.

“Is something wrong, Isa?”

Arousal clouded her mind. Her body thrummed with it. “What? No.”

But as she pressed the cloth against his skin, her hands shook.

She tried to keep her focus on the task at hand and off his chest, but it was right there. Suddenly she was hyperaware of the heat coming off him, of the scent of musk and man that swam through her senses.

“So what do you think?” he asked, his voice a whisper against her temple.

She thought she wanted to reach out and see if his skin was as soft as it looked, his body as hard. She swallowed. Her dry throat stuck together. “What do I think?”

“About the tattoo.”

“The tattoo?” Perfect. She sounded like an idiot. Heat flooded her cheeks. She could feel his eyes on her and knew he noticed. He had a habit of watching her in a way that made her toes curl, her stomach turn over. She’d caught him doing it on more than one occasion and knew if she tipped her head up, she’d catch him doing it now.

So she focused on his tattoo, and smiled.

Thomas had given him a small skeletal body, wings and a halo above the over-sized and even more animated skull. “It’s perfect.”

Trading the wet washcloth for a clean, dry one, she patted his arm dry, then applied a thin layer of ointment. “There you go.”

“Thank you.” Reaching up, he tucked a stray wisp of hair behind her ear.

Her breathing shallowed when his fingers grazed the side of her throat, caught as his other hand settled on her hip. Slowly her eyes raised, moved up his throat, past his dangerously tempting mouth, before she met his gaze and felt a punch of awareness.

“You have the most beautiful eyes,” he said, and shifted just a little closer.

Never had her eyes been called beautiful. Strange? Yes. Beautiful? Never.

“They change color depending on what you’re feeling, did you know that?”

“I…no.”

“Right now they’re blue—a very pale blue. What does that mean, Isa? Tell me what you’re feeling right now.”

Desire. Need, unlike she’d ever felt before. She’d had no idea how much she’d craved a physical touch, his touch. Her stomach fluttered. Her heart skipped a few beats. She slicked her tongue over her lips, and his hand flexed against her hip.

“I have to know,” he murmured.

“What?”

“Your taste.”

He slipped his hand from her hip to the small of her back, pulling her against him. Their bodies molded, soft to hard. His thigh slid between hers and desire curled her toes, tightened her nipples into hard, aching points. And still, he didn’t kiss her. Why didn’t he kiss her? Then he did. Finally, he did. He teased her lips with his tongue, and she opened to him, drank in his dark seductive flavor.

She settled her hand against his chest, reveling in the feel of hard muscle and hot male. Good God the man could kiss. His body surrounded her, engulfed her as his mouth continued to seduce. She arched into him, and as his erection pressed against her stomach, she couldn’t hold back a moan.

December 1, 2011

Spotlight On...Melinda Leigh

**WINNER: Christine Warner - see Melinda's msg for you in comments**

My special guest today is award winning author Melinda Leigh. Melinda is here to tell us about her thrilling new romantic suspense, SHE CAN RUN. Make sure you leave her a comment as she's decided to give away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter!

Welcome, Melinda. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, Sarah, and thanks for inviting me to your blog today.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since my kids started school full time years ago. I love spending time with my family. Cooking and cleaning, not so much. My favorite clothes are my pajamas. I wear them whenever possible. When my butt is not in my office chair, I try to stay active with karate, yoga, dog-walking, and regular but reluctant trips to the gym.


Tell us about SHE CAN RUN and where we can find it.


SHE CAN RUN is my debut romantic suspense. Here’s the official blurb:

Ten months ago, Elizabeth Baker uncovered a dangerous secret about her politician husband—a secret that nearly got her killed. Now she and her children are running for their lives. When Beth is hired as the caretaker of a remote Pennsylvania estate, she dares to hope she has found a corner of the world where Congressman Richard Baker can’t find them. But when her new boss dies suddenly and his nephew inherits the estate, Beth is faced with outwitting a former homicide detective who is very smart, very suspicious—and very attractive.


Forced into retirement by an injury and grieving the loss of his uncle, Jack O’Malley is unprepared to share his new home with a strange woman and her two kids. He is even less prepared for the instantaneous attraction he feels whenever Beth enters the room. She is beautiful, intelligent, kind…and obviously terrified of someone or something. As Jack’s investigation uncovers the shocking details of Beth’s past, the rural community is shaken by the murder of a local woman. Driven by instinct and desire, Jack is determined to keep Beth and her children safe, even if doing so means putting his heart—and his life —on the line.


You can find out more about it on my website, MelindaLeighAuthor.com, and you can buy it on Amazon in Kindle or paperback. The paperback is also available through other booksellers.


 

What is the hardest scene you had to write in this book?
 
I don’t think there was a particular scene that was the most difficult, but I find the murder and mayhem bits of a romantic suspense much easier to write than the emotional elements. I grew up reading my mother’s extensive collection of Agatha Christie mysteries, and in high school I discovered I preferred Stephen King to the classics. 


 

Who would you cast to play your hero and heroine in a movie?

This is a tough question. I watched the movie, The Losers, last weekend, so I’m casting Jeffrey Dean Morgan to play Jack. He’s big, rugged and hot, with that all-important sense of humor. For Beth, I’d pick Ashley Judd. She has the perfect mix of beauty, wholesomeness, and smarts for the role. 


 

I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan! How did you start writing? 

I love being a stay-at-home mom, but when my kids went to school, I needed some sort of mental stimulation beyond playing name-that-stain. Being a writer had always been a secret fantasy, and suddenly (if I ignored housework) I had a few free hours every day. Once I began the process, I was hooked. Writing a book became my ultimate challenge, with flexible hours and an awesome commute: coffee machine to desk. Doesn’t get much better than that. 



Which comes first, plot or characters?
 
I develop the plot and characters together. I start with a situation, an incident, and then throw a few characters into it. From there, I determine the first turning point and write to it, developing the characters as I go along. This usually give me somewhere around 50 pages. That’s where the work really begins, and I start laying out plot points. 



When did you first consider yourself a writer?


After I finished the first draft of SHE CAN RUN, which took nearly two years, I didn’t know what to do with it. I found the Romance Writers of America on the internet, joined the New Jersey chapter, and submitted the manuscript to their Put Your Heart in a Book Contest. Much to my surprise, I won. As I learned more about writing, I found out the book still needed a lot of work, but at least I knew I had the potential. I hadn’t spent the last two years writing total jibberish. 


Putting my work out there, letting someone else (besides my husband) read it was the biggest and most difficult step in the whole journey. Submitting my work to professionals for criticism was the thing that made me feel like a writer, not just a mom with a geeky hobby. Until that point, no one outside of my immediate family knew I’d been writing a book.



What are three things you wish you’d known before you began your writing career?


  1. There are technical elements to writing a book. SHE CAN RUN wouldn’t have gone through so many revisions if I’d have learned some of them before or while I wrote it.
  2. There are professional groups that will help you learn the process. Romance Writers of America is a great resource for both aspiring and published writers. Also, smaller organizations, such as the Liberty States Fiction Writers, provide both information and support at monthly meetings. I can’t express the importance of making time every month to come out of your cave, blink at the sun, and mingle with other writers.
  3. Publishing is the slowest process on the planet, right up there with forming glaciers. It takes a long time to get a book published. Sheesh, even after it sells, there’s still at least another year to the process. Persistence I have in abundance. Patience is not one of my virtues. 

It's not one of mine, either. lol  What’s next for you?
 
I have a paranormal novella, AMAZON HEAT, co-written with my awesome friend Rayna Vause, releasing on January 12, 2012 from Carina Press. Right now I’m working on another romantic suspense, featuring some of the characters from SHE CAN RUN. So far, Police Chief Mike O’Connell is frustrated by a crime spree, a feisty horse trainer, and her vicious stalker. 



Where can we find you on the web?

Readers can learn more about me and my books at MelindaLeighAuthor.com. They can also connect with me via Facebook and Twitter. I also run a blog with my writer friends, Rayna Vause and KM Fawcett: Attacking the Page, a blog about martial arts and action-packed fiction.



Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
 
What is your favorite theme in romance fiction? Are you a closet secret baby story addict? Or does a wounded hero melt your heart?

Thanks for joining me today in the celebration of my debut release!


Thanks for visiting with us today, Melinda. To answer your question: I have a soft spot for wounded heroes.

Readers, don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of SHE CAN RUN!





Melinda Leigh started writing when her youngest child entered first grade as a way to preserve her sanity. Her paranormal romance and romantic suspense fiction has won writing awards across the country. Melinda holds a 2nd degree belt in Kenpo Karate, studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and teaches women’s self-defense. She lives in a messy house in the suburbs with her husband, two teenagers, two dogs and a neurotic cat with an inexplicable fear of ceiling fans. With such a pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination.

Find out more about Melinda at melindaleighauthor.com.
Order SHE CAN RUN on Amazon