Monday, September 1, 2014

Cover Reveal - Cowboy Up!

Seven men as tough as the west…
Seven women who know how to...
Cowboy Up

A boxed set of seven romantic novellas by seven award-winning authors experienced with writing about the men of the West.

Coming September 8, 2014!


Always, Cowboy by Allison Merritt
Blurb:
The past is better left behind, unless it offers a brighter future.
Brody Longtree's first love was bull riding, but he loved beauty queen Libby Dempsey equally as hard. When she turned down his marriage proposal, everything from his rodeo career to his love life went to hell. His love ran too deep for blame, so he made the best of what life threw at him. Things finally get back on track...and then she almost runs over his dog.
When her pageant dreams died in an embarrassing display of nerves, Libby made a new, cowboy-free life for herself. One where she could train other girls who want to be pageant princesses. One that doesn't give her any reason to dwell on what might have been with Brody until his dog bounds into her heart. And she bounds into Brody's bed.
Despite the differences in their lives, they mesh together, the way Brody always knew they would. No matter what, he's waiting until he's certain Libby is ready to get married before he asks again, but their relationship comes under fire when one of her friends reveals a secret about a little girl Libby is awfully attached to—a girl who's the right age to be Brody's daughter.

Excerpt:
Under that snap front western shirt, did he still sport six-pack abs? She couldn't count the number of times she'd helped him out of a similar shirt and put ice on his bruises after a ride. Or how often they'd parked at the lake and explored one another under the stars.
“Hot?” Brody asked.
“What?”
“You're flushed. We could go sit in the stands, maybe catch a breeze.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Can I ask you something, Lib?” Brody rose. His dark eyes were serious and a few lines bracketed his mouth. “Why'd you come tonight?”
Libby swallowed hard. “You asked me.”
“Really?”
“I only live an hour away and I didn't have anything else to do tonight.” Tell him you miss him.
“You used to be more honest.” He slipped his hand around her wrist. “You missed me.”
“I—” Electricity buzzed through her from his touch. “Maybe a little.”
“Maybe a lot.” He pulled her into his arms. “You wouldn't be here otherwise.”

About Allison Merritt:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town  in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in  national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.


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Cowboys Don’t Cry by Vickie Taylor
Blurb:
A broken cowboy with nothing left to lose…except his heart.
Dash Connaway is hell-bent down a highway to nowhere. But he can’t outrun fate. Just a few months ago, he’d had a new album shooting up the country music charts, a luxury tour bus prepped for gigs in 39 cities, and a live-in girl friend he’d been thinking of asking to marry him. Now he’s just another drifter with an old guitar, a beat-up pickup, and a dog named Bill for a bed mate…until he meets Maggie McCain.
Maggie isn’t your ordinary Oregon rancher. She’s more into organic gardening and hand-spinning yarn from the fleece of her prized alpacas than breeding stinky old cattle. She’s a nurturer, a giver, so when Dash steps into her life from nowhere, she’s ready to trade in her solitary existence on the farm in favor of a husband to grow old with and a passel of children to care for.
But when she learns the real reason for Dash’s commitment to life on the road, she’s faced with a difficult choice and a lesson in the fallacy behind the old saying “Cowboys don’t cry.” Only time will tell just how potent the healing power of love can really be.

Excerpt:
“It’s a girl,” he pronounced cradling the newborn alpaca in his arms.
The woman wiped her grimy chin with the back of her grimier hand. Tears tracked through the dirt on her cheeks. “You did it.” She pushed to her feet, but her legs looked none too steady. She picked up the rifle and leaned on it like a crutch.
Dash went to her, ready to catch her if she fell. “We did it,” he corrected.
“Yes, we did.”
He smiled and reached out to her free arm. It was meant to be a celebratory brush, a comfort…but it lingered a moment too long. The air changed.
Without warning, she swung her rifle up and rested the barrel against his chest. “Now who the hell are you, and what are you doing on my land?”

About Vickie Taylor:
Vickie Taylor published her first book in 1999 and quickly rose to the ranks of national best-selling and award-winning author. She enjoys all types of books, but especially paranormal, suspense, and western contemporary with the unifying theme being romance. Vickie always enjoys a good love story. She is the author of sixteen published novels and is a four-time nominee for the Oscar of the romance world, the Romance Writers of America Rita award. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s usually out riding horses, training search and rescue dogs, or volunteering with her local humane society. She is an avid supporter of the campaign to preserve America’s wild horses, and her latest release, Cowboys Don’t Cry is the first book in a new series featuring her beloved mustangs. Sign up for her newsletter to be notified when the next book in the series, The Horseman’s Widow, coming October, 2014, is available. Vickie loves to hear from readers and can be contacted via the methods below:
 

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A Cowboy’s Heart by Leslie Garcia
Blurb:
Teenage lovers torn apart by betrayal. Have seventeen years changed everything—or nothing?
Star-crossed lovers in their south Texas hill country high school, torn apart by a best friend’s lie, a mother’s cold hatred, and a father’s lack of trust…
High school junior Illy Kingston turns to varsity football star and cowboy in training Gil Salas when her father, a Border Patrol agent, is killed under suspicious circumstances.
Their hormone-fueled, all or nothing affair ends when betrayal tears them apart.
Years, later, Illy returns home, at loose ends after her disastrous marriage to a reality show rock star ends with an embarrassing photo gone viral and a divorce.
When Gil and his mounted Border Patrol make an unannounced civic call at a local elementary school, Gil is shocked to see Illy lurking in the shadows, threatening to upend his existence once again.
The old passion still burns—but neither can go back to the innocence of their high school affair. Illy swore never to love a man wearing a uniform that didn’t involve jeans, a western hat, and boots. Gil has a price on his head.
And star-crossed love doesn’t usually work for cowboys, either.

Excerpt:
He stopped abruptly. Illy had told him to stop, and he hadn’t thought she meant it. The memory of her reacting to him, caressing him, wanting him, stormed back. And then, when Emma called, she’d turned off and fled in a fury.
Did she think he’d seen the picture? He’d seen it online, like the entire world had, according to all the social media. What if she thought he was just acting out what he’d seen? No matter how much the photo enraged and sickened him, he could only imagine her horror that her marriage was over, but that episode never would be.
Did she feel strange at all, being in his arms after that very public display with her ex-husband? His heart thudded dully. She must know he’d seen the picture, but what would it do to her if she knew the truth?
He closed his eyes. She was out of his life, and that was best for him. Because truth be told, he didn’t know if he could take her again and not remember the second most painful night of his life. The night he’d happened on Illy making love to her rock-star husband in public.

About Leslie Garcia:
Leslie P. GarcĂ­a grew up lost among a crowd of six siblings and a menagerie that included more than twenty horses and ponies, uncounted dogs and cats, possums, raccoons—even a lion and monkeys. Then she moved to Texas, fell in love, was disowned—and embarked on her real adventures, raising 4 children, teaching hundreds, and loving 9 grandkids through forty years of marriage. The fabric of that colorful life has always been writing. In A Cowboy Heart, Leslie celebrates two of her passions—cowboys and the ever present chance at redemption in spite of past mistakes. Leslie loves hearing from readers and can be found all over cyber space.

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The Heartsong Cowboy by Melissa Keir
Blurb:
Can two people, one horse and the power of love cure a little girl?
Angela French blames herself for her daughter’s lack of voice. Determined to do anything to correct the situation, she seeks out Jake Kyncade, the owner of The Heartsong Ranch.
Jake Kyncade hides his own sorrows behind his no-nonsense demeanor. Helping children becomes one way to correct his past. Using equine therapy, he sets out to make a difference.
Can Jake help Angela’s dreams come true or will Jake’s past bring more heartache? Will love save them all?

Excerpt:
With Taylor asleep on the couch, Angela snuck the magazine out of her daughter’s sleeping hands before carrying her to her bed. After making sure her baby was tucked in, she turned out the lights and went to the kitchen. She sat down at the table to study the article about the horse whisperer. The photos gave off a peaceful feeling—so much so, she longed to jump into the images. Along with the horses, there were shots of children laughing and petting the animals. The article mentioned a little boy with Down’s Syndrome whose language increased after a week of animal therapy. The Heartsong Ranch. Even the name sounds encouraging. Dare I get my hopes up?
One photo in particular captured her attention. The owner, Jake Kyncade, wore jeans and a cowboy hat as he stood next to the ranch sign. She took a deep breath as butterflies circled in her abdomen. He’s sexy. Very different from Mike. Mr. Kyncade has this wounded look in his eyes. I wonder what his trauma was. I’ve gotten better at noticing it in others. Still, he’s good looking. Probably married with his own children.

About Melissa Keir:
Melissa Keir has always wanted to be an author when she wasn’t hoping for a career as a race car driver. Her love of books was instilled by her mother and grandparents who were avid readers. She’d often sneak books away from them so that she could fantasize about those strong alpha males and plucky heroines. In middle school and high school, Melissa used to write sappy love poems and shared them with her friends and still has those poems today! In college her writing changed to sarcastic musings on life as well as poems with a modern twist on fairy tales and won awards for her writing. You can find many of these musings along with her latest releases on her website and blog.
As a writer, Melissa likes to keep current on topics of interest in the world of writing. She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America, Mid-Michigan RWA Chapter, and EPIC. She is always interested in improving her writing through classes and seminars.
Melissa doesn’t believe in down time. She’s always keeping busy. Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a movie reviewer, an owner of a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature happy endings and is often seen plotting her next story.


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Cowboy Trouble by Autumn Piper
Blurb:
She’s decided to make some bad choices this weekend.
Susie Howell has always done what her family expects of her, but they don’t know about the divorce papers she’s just signed, or the secret torch she carries for sexy ranch hand Cash. When keeping the secret gets to her, she flees her brother’s wedding reception. Determined to live a little, she swipes the nearest truck from the ranch and heads to Sin City.
Cash Acosta has worked hard for everything he has, and nobody is taking off with his truck. When he sees it driving away, he jumps in—and becomes the unwilling passenger of a ready and willing woman he’s forbidden to touch. Hell-bent for trouble, the boss’s sister has already earmarked him as one of her “bad choices”.
And Susie intends to get what she wants.

Excerpt:
“So that’s why you’re runnin’.” Under the parking lot lights, his eyes were pitch black. He thumbed a tear from her cheek.
She tried for a more ladylike sniffle, blinked away her tears. Nodded, for lack of a better reply.
“When I hear a beautiful woman wants to make some mistakes, my gut instinct is to help her out with that.” His thumb brushed her lower lip. “Hearin’ she’s single…that’s another checkmark in the pros column.” Hypnotized, she barely breathed as he cupped her jaw in his fingers and that gaze riveted on hers. “Seein’ her cry? What choice do I have?” He bent to her, his lips hot and strong, skilled as they teased hers apart, his tongue waking feelings she’d forgotten. And Lord, it may be too soon, it may be wrong, but she wanted. Wanted Cash, his hands, his mouth, his… She grabbed onto his hard shoulders, slipped her hands up his neck, buried her fingers in that thatch of hair. And kissed him like there was no tomorrow. Of course there was. Sexy, brooding, womanizing Cash wanted her, and he’d be hers, at least for this trip.

About Autumn Piper:
Born and raised in itty-bitty Rifle, Colorado, Autumn Piper studiously avoided trouble…but is now inclined toward it, particularly in her novels. She thinks the best things in life are funny, and the runners-up, romantic.
An admitted carb addict, Autumn writes, edits, manages two teenagers, two cats, a box turtle with a huge personality, one husband and many supersize houseplants, and does the cooking and cleaning when forced to.

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Chasing a Cowboy by Sara Walter Ellwood
Blurb:
He’s running from heartbreak. She’s chasing after love… Their hearts will never be the same.
Paige Morgan has lived her entire life in the glare of her fraternal twin sister’s star. Although the sisters are as different as sun is from the moon, Paige fell in love with the same man as her famous swimsuit model sister. When country superstar Chase Jordan is dumped at the altar by her twin, Paige sees an opportunity to go after the one thing of her sister’s she’s always wanted. She finds Chase in Cabo San Lucas nursing his broken heart in the true country song fashion—with a bottle of Jose Cuervo—and reminds him of the desire he once felt for her. Will this singing cowboy change his tune as they set the tropical nights on fire? Or will Paige be the one singing the blues when her sister shows up wanting her man back?

Excerpt:
All of his hopes and dreams shattered on what should have been the happiest day of his life. Today, instead of settling in for their two-week vacation and only getting out of bed to eat, he was nursing a bottle of Jose Cuervo. Why had he come here? His brother was right; he could have easily eaten the cost of the trip. Chase had insisted that he had to escape for a little while, lick his wounds and come up with a plan before he had to go back on tour in a few weeks. Jack accused him of wanting to punish himself. Why else would he go to the place he and Kayla were to have their honeymoon? Had he come here to remind himself of what should have been? He shook his head, hoping to dislodge the thoughts, and turned to gaze out the other side of the bar.
A woman stood on the walkway staring at him through a pair of Aviators. Her long blonde ponytail shimmered in the sun like spun gold. He narrowed his eyes. Was he now hallucinating?
She entered the bar and headed toward him. Sitting on the stool beside him, she removed her sunglasses to reveal a pair of expressive hazel eyes. “Surprise.”
“Paige? What the hell are you doing here?”

About Sara Walter Ellwood:
Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Sara Walter Ellwood is a multi-published author and publishes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.


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Cowboy Bred, Cowboy Born by D’Ann Lindun
Blurb:
Freedom or family?  Only love can make the choice.
Photographer Alannah Murphy refuses to be tied down. She watched her parents struggle to hold onto their dairy farm until it killed them. The mere thought of the same fate makes her shudder. When she meets rancher Sterling Gentry she has to face her fears, or lose him.
Sterling Gentry longs for someone to hand his ranch down to. Like his father before him, he has sacrificed everything to hold onto the land his ancestors settled. But finding Ms. Right proves harder than he imagined. Then he meets Alannah Murphy with her big city ways. How he can ever take a chance with a woman exactly like his mother, who abandoned him when he was a child?
Despite their determination to stay the course they’ve each chosen, attraction pulls them together as steadily as a nail to a magnet. Can these two find a way to mesh Alannah’s need for freedom and Gentry’s desire to hold onto his land?

Excerpt:
Still snapping photos, the woman approached him. When she came within speaking distance, she waved. “Hello.”
“Who the hell are you? And what are you doing in the middle of the road? Don’t you know better than to stand in the way when somebody’s herding stock?”
Her mouth opened and closed a couple times. “I didn’t think—”
“Hell no, you didn’t think,” Gentry shouted. “Damn it anyway.”
“I’m sorry,” she said in a small voice. “The shot was just so good…”
The shot? She’d ruined hours upon hours of exhausting work because she’d wanted a picture? Who the hell would do something so stupid?
Only a damn greenhorn.
For the first time he noticed her get-up. A straw hat only a city girl would wear, floaty pink top with tiny straps that left her bare shoulders exposed to the unforgiving Arizona sun, cut-off jean shorts and red cowboy boots. Daisy Duke personified. He shook his head in disgust.
Reality crashed over him.
The New York photographer his mother had enticed out here, hoping an article in The Cowboy magazine would bring attention to the Santa Gertrudis cattle they raised.
Damn.

About D’Ann Lindun:
Falling in love with romance novels the summer before sixth grade, D’Ann Lindun never thought about writing one until many years later when she took a how-to class at her local college. She was hooked! She began writing and never looked back. Romance appeals to her because there's just something so satisfying about writing a book guaranteed to have a happy ending. D’Ann’s particular favorites usually feature cowboys and the women who love them. This is probably because she draws inspiration from the area where she lives, Western Colorado, her husband of twenty-nine years and their daughter. Composites of their small farm, herd of horses, five Australian shepherds, a Queensland heeler, two ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in her stories!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Hooks - A Look at The Wrong Brother's Bride


Marketing For Romance Writers does this cool thing every Wednesday where you can post 6-8 lines of your book, sign up on the linky list, and go around visiting other authors who are participating too. So let's hit it!

This week, the excerpt is from The Wrong Brother's Bride. August has just returned home to more startling news than his brother's death:

She gripped the sideboard, her knuckles as white as her face. “I’m pregnant.”

Loyal waited for August’s famous temper to reach boiling point. Making her announcement to him was worse than telling her father. Warmth crept up her face as August stared.

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he digested her words. “Jeremiah’s?”

She grimaced. “There was never anyone else.”

Blurb:
After a tragic accident leaves Loyal Redfearn alone and pregnant, she writes to her deceased fiance's ne'er-do-well brother, August O'Dell. Her hope is he’ll help save her beloved home. What she doesn't expect from him is a proposal so soon on the heels of his brother's death. Although they grew up together, she’s never thought of August as the man she would marry, even as a means to save face with her family and friends.

Although returning to the township where August spent his troubled youth means facing the past, he sees an opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of the woman he's loved since boyhood. They agree the marriage is in name-only, but August works to earn Loyal's trust and waits for the day she'll see his hard work as proof that she didn't marry the wrong brother after all.

When evidence from a crime committed years ago points to August as the culprit, he and Loyal must face the reality that their newly forged family may be torn apart.

Get it at: Kensington || Amazon || B&N || Google || iTunes || Kobo

Monday, August 25, 2014

Paws for the Cause

Hey, y'all.

Remember last week when I talked about PeeWee's hurt neck? I was really distraught the day we took him to the vet because I just knew they were going give me bad news. She thought it was a soft tissue injury and prescribed him some high-dollar pills right when I was on the verge of selling my soul to make sure he'd be all right, because he's only six (based on what the people at the shelter thought four years ago) and he's just a baby and I made him swear he would outlive me. He's okay now, obviously feeling the best he's felt in a long time, because holy moly, I can't get him to slow down. He was tearing back and forth across my mom's living room and terrorizing my brother's dog all weekend. He's better and I'm so, so glad.

How can you not want
to cuddle with Billy Bob?
Now let me introduce you to Billy Bob. I'm friends on FB with his brother Oliver J. Chin, who owns Donna Vardaros (you guys know why I say they own her, not the other way around, right?). Well, Billy Bob was her and her husband's first chin and he's very special. Like my PW Monster, Billy Bob is in the peak of his life, but he has a hip injury from his time in the puppy mill (boo, hiss, puppy mills!).

Billy Bob's injury causes him pain and pins and needles in his leg. Donna says he chews on it because he's trying to get the feeling to come back in. Ugh, you guys know how annoying pins and needles are, not to mention that pain is no fun either.

They've tried a lot of treatments for him over the last five years, including:
-Laser treatments (3 times)
- Neurontin
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Pain meds
- Glucosomine and fish oil

This stuff isn't working. So they started looking into stem cell treatment. They gathered enough information and watched the results on other dogs. And when the results looked good, they started thinking maybe this is the treatment that will help ease Billy Bob's suffering.

You can see in the image of his x-ray how his little hip bone doesn't look right. It looks like it hurts pretty bad to me.

And whether you're a chin owner (if you're not, you're really missing out) or a dog owner or own a pet of any kind, you understand that your pet is family. You'd do anything to keep your family from suffering.

Donna hated to ask anyone for money, because there are so many fundraisers out there and it seems selfish to ask people for money when times are hard all around. Sometimes you have to let pride go and see about alternatives. She's already raising money for Billy Bob, people are seeing the posts about him, but they still have a long way to go.

The stem cell treatments aren't cheap. I wanted you all to see the breakdown so you know what Vardaros family is facing.

$2400    for the initial treatment (it's scheduled for this Thursday!). They pull enough stem cells to put some in the bank for future treatments.
$185      to the cell bank for opening an account.  
$150/yr  to store in cell bank
$200      to pull cells from the bank
$400      Approx. additional procedure or more depending on the cost at that time

Now, I know because this is the world we live in, you're going, what if this is a scam? Maybe they're gonna buy a ton of candy bars with the money instead of treatment. First of all--pssssh. That's just ridiculous. If you knew the community of chin owners, you'd know how super dedicated we are to our furbabies. And especially the Vardaros family. I mean, look at these babies on her couch:

This is a house filled with sassy, you can tell.
Second, you don't have to donate on the fundraiser page. You can directly contact the vet at:
Animal Hospital of Towne Lake
3105 Parkbrooke Circle
Woodstock, GA 30189
(770) 591-9500

UPDATE: Because of the fee the fundraiser page charges, it would actually be better if you could call the vet's office. That way Billy Bob's family gets 100% of your donation!

Here's the link to the fundraiser page and here's one to the group page where you can get updates about Billy Bob.

And here are more photos of him because he's utterly adorable and you wish you had him on your lap right now.





This is when he first came to live with the Vardaros.
Look at that sweet baby face.
Even a little bit helps, so please make a donation for this sweetie today! He will send you virtual internet licks a millions times a day for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Little Things

Sometimes you have to be grateful for the little things in life. Like:

  • Doggy kisses.
  • Significant other kisses.
  • Shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
  • A pen that works when you need it.
  • Funny memes.
I mention doggy kisses because last week PeeWee scared the ever-loving tar out of me by making horrible screeching sounds an animal of his size shouldn't ever make. Turns out he'd hurt his neck. One expensive vet visit later, he's doped up on some muscle relaxers and pain meds. And it's pretty funny. But I practically cried all the way to the vet's office because my furbaby was in awful pain and I was half expecting the diagnosis to be bad. Bad like, "we can't fix your dog". Fortunately, he seems to be recovering, acting like his usual goofy self.

Also, sometimes I look at my husband and I think, "I really love you". Like unfathomable amounts.

And I hate wearing shoes at work, so taking them off is nice.

And pens always come in handy.

And sometimes I need a soul-bolstering laugh that only a funny meme can provide.

On top of that, I made the decision to cut my word count back on the historical novel I'm writing. I feel better about it and not only that, but now I'm halfway finished. Woohoo! It's not a finish, but it's closer than I was even a few weeks ago. That feels good.

On top of that top, I also got a goodly chunk of Tell done in the last couple of days. Things are moving right along.

I'm kind of waiting for the universe to smack me in the face now, what with all this good going on, but if it does, at least I have funny memes to fall back on.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Click Some Links, Do Some Things

First off: Good news!

I signed the contract with Samhain Publishing for Eban (The Heckmasters, Book 2) on Monday morning. I want to do the evil villain laugh every time I think about someone reading it, because it's so dark and yet at the heart, it's still a romance. I can't wait for you all to get your little hands on it. My editor said she stayed up late the night she read it because she couldn't put it down. I love reading those words. So look for Eban in April of 2015!

Second:

My former editor at Breathless is hosting a book giveaway of Wildwood Spring. You could win, all you have to do is enter! Go here to do that!

Third:

I'm looking for hosts for when Wystan (The Heckmaster, Book 1) comes out. You got a spot for me? I can guest blog, or send the stuff for a book feature, or if you have time, I can set you up with a copy to review. Just click here.

Now, it's Friday. Go, be, do.