Friday, August 31, 2012

Did Someone Say Romance?


Welcome to the hop, everybody! Lots of romance for discussion on this one, huh? I love romance novels and I've always been a sucker for a love story. Be sure and check out the other blogs and enter for chances to win great prizes. See the photo of the swag pack! In fact, I even have a prize for you myself: an advanced reader e-copy of The Sky Pirate's Wife which won't be available to the public until September 17. The other prizes available are:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The Swag Pack!


Today, in keeping with the usual bid-ness around here, I'm presenting you with The Friday Five - Five Quotes About Love. Here we go:

"Love is everything it's cracked up to be…It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for." - Erica Jong, O Magazine, February 2004

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love." - Sophocles (496 BC - 406 BC)

"Doubt thou the stars are fire; 
Doubt that the sun doth move; 
Doubt truth to be a liar; 
But never doubt I love." - William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), Hamlet, Act II, sc. 2 (Bonus points* if you tell me which character said this. *Bonus point have no real value toward anything.)

"Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination." - Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

 "Let your love be like the misty rains, coming softly, but flooding the river." - Malagasy Proverb

Okay, if you've stuck through my mushy loves quotes, I have a quick scene from The Sky Pirate's Wife to share with you and then you can leave a comment and enter for your chance to win an AReC of the book before it hits Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Ready?

Coming September 17, 2012
        “Come, Sophie. Stand here.”
Where you are?” She shook her head. “No, I think I'll stay here and watch.”
I insist. Consider it your first lesson in flying.”
We'll crash. I'll mess up the instruments,” she warned. “I don't want to be responsible for bringing down an entire airship.”
I won't let that happen.” Van Buren let go of the wheel and captured her hand, pulling her closer. She had no hope of resisting and didn't try very hard. He put his hands on her shoulders, positioning her in front of him. “Left hand at ten o'clock, right hand at two o'clock.”
She did as he asked, feeling awkward and jittery. “Like this?”
Grip it harder. Firm, but comfortable. It will pull a little when they set us free from the lash lines.” Van Buren placed his hands over hers. His chest brushed against her back.
Sophie's breath caught in her throat. He wouldn't try to kiss her where everyone could see, would he? A spicy bay rum fragrance surrounded him; the scent of a man who spent his life carrying exotic cargo. His hands almost engulfed hers, gentle but firm enough to ensure she wasn't about to flee. As if she could force herself. She tried to toss the thoughts out. Surely he was focused on flight, not on her.
I don't think this is a good idea,” she whispered.
You'll be surprised.” He sounded so confident. A rumble started behind them and the ship shook under her feet.
Her heart was in her throat. “What is it?”
The propellers. You'll get used to it. Now, hold tight.”
She didn't have a choice, because his hands still covered hers. The wheel tipped to one side and he straightened it. The ship groaned and Sophie's heart leaped when she saw the dock slip past them.
We're moving!”
That is the idea.” His mouth was next to her ear. From the corner of her eye she saw his smile. Wonder filled her as the ship drifted into midair. It bobbed a bit, dropping a few inches before popping back up. “The balloon isn't as full as it is when we're in open air. It will take a couple of hours to fully inflate then we'll gain altitude.”
They floated above a level field where long grass grew. In the distance, two ships were coming in, but no one else was leaving. Alone in the sky, they climbed higher steadily.
What do the gauges do?” she asked.
Van Buren removed his right hand from hers and pointed at the leftmost dial. “This one is air temperature. Right now, it's seventy-eight degrees. The one on the right of it is the wind speed; it's about fifteen miles an hour. That's good because we're going against it. We don't have to use much force to push through. This one is our speed. Three knots until we're safely away from the city. And the compass to make sure we're headed the correct direction.”
Like on a sea ship.” She beamed up at him, proud she had some knowledge to bring to the helm.
Aye. This little box is just like the 'gram machine in the office. We program it to the nearest dock and they report the weather to us so we know what to expect.”
What are we expecting?” The idea of storms made her nervous. She'd never traveled in bad weather before.
He pulled open a drawer beneath the helm and flipped through a logbook. “We chart the weather in this. It helps us figure average temperatures throughout the years. Whoever received the last weather report wrote down sunny for today, overcast tonight. Maybe some rain tomorrow, but nothing more than light showers.”
Sophie looked at the book in his hands. No one held the wheel but her. “Alwin! You let go.”
He grinned. “You're doing fine, zoete. Keep her steady, she's climbing on her own.”
It wasn't the idea of being the only thing that stood between them and another flaming airship wreck that made her tremble. It was his smile. The kind that all women yearned to receive from a handsome man. “You should really take the wheel.”
My hands are full.” He waved the logbook at her, but replaced it and remained standing beside her. “You're doing very well.”
Are you certain?” The wind blew her hair and snagged her skirt. The horizon filled her line of sight and she suddenly understood the thrill of piloting a ship. It was like having the same freedom as a bird. She could point the ship in any direction and go wherever she pleased. Nothing had ever made her feel so alive. Except kissing Van Buren. Her head turned his direction like it was on a spring. She covered the sudden movement with a laugh. “I think I'm in love with your ship.”
His eyes darkened from icy gray to the shade of wet concrete. He lowered his mouth to her ear again and put his hand on her back. “Flying is a great deal like making love, Sophie.”
She nearly melted at her name on his lips. “W-why do you say that?”
It's instinctual. The mind and body work together, creating a moment of beauty. The first time is a little frightening, but once you find the rhythm, the proper technique, you have something very enjoyable on your hands. Something that you feel deep within your soul. Something that you never want to give up. With the right person, the kind of relationship you'd die to protect.”
Sophie couldn't find her voice. She stood stock still, staring straight ahead, too embarrassed to look at her husband. His hand moved up her back, over her shoulder until he cupped her jaw and turned her head so that she was looking at him. Their lips were so close together, she thought he'd kiss her again. So much for the idea that he wouldn't attempt to seduce her in front of the crew.
He cocked an eyebrow. “Nothing to say, Sophie? Your heart is racing.” 

Okay, to enter, leave me a comment and your e-mail address. I'll give you a holler when the hop is over and we'll have ourselves a winner! Good luck and happy weekend to all!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Get Ready to Hop This Weekend!


Morning, afternoon, evening and good night, y'all. I'm generic-ing out on you and posting the promo e-mail I received so  you don't have to listen to me blather. Just a friendly reminder that tomorrow the Romancing the Blog Hop starts, so be here and maybe win!

What is your favorite thing about Romance? Well, we authors are ready to share our romantic tips and favorite romance reads! Starting on Friday and ending on August 31st, over 100 Authors and Bloggers will share their favorite things about romance, reading romance, and dating.

And while we do that, we are EACH doing a giveaway. Yep. There will be over 100 giveaways on each blog hosted by that Author or Blogger.

But that's not all....

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 100 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The totally amazing Swag Pack!

Yep. All of that! Be sure to come back here on Friday and over the weekend to enjoy some stories and facts about our favorite Romance events and reads and enter to win!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Author Interview - Michelle Kopra


Hey, y'all, today I've got indie author Michelle Kopra for you. And her book is a real treat, so run right to Amazon and buy it after you read this interview. I swear, you will not be sorry!

What's your book/current WIP about?
Current WIP is Book 5, the last novella in the Shimmy and Steam Series.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?
‘A ball of red flames burst from the heart of the ship. It rose like a phoenix rose into the brilliant blue sky. Then the Gypsy shattered into a thousand pieces.’

What's your next project?
Once I’ve completed this steam punk story, I will switch back to urban fantasy to work on “By the pricking of my thumbs, something witchy this way comes.” A bit of a mouthful I know, but it’s a story about three witchy sisters who compete to become the next leader of a magical community in Fairy, Texas.

Describe your writing in a sentence.
Gosh, with Hexes In Texas I tried to be funny and quirky.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
Heaven forbid I should try to name them. And as for whispering, not bloody likely! My characters charged at me in books stores, grocery stores, parks, and at my kiddie’s schools. Screaming like banshees as they body slam me and demand I write their story.

Plotter or panster?
A story idea will pop into my head. Over the course of a week or so, I’ll put together ideas for it, then once I have the skeleton of the story down, I start plotting out chapters.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
I prefer silence. It’s bad enough I have Griszelda the warty witch cackling madly in the background of my mind.

What are you currently reading?
Kilts and Kraken by Cindy Spencer Pape

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
Question: Do you really think that by making a fairy ring of plastic mushrooms you can catch a fairy and make it give you one wish? I’m mean, you don’t really believe in magic, do you?
Answer: Yes, yes I do.

People think I'm weird because...
Because I argue with invisible friends while I shop. I also like to sing along loudly to Phil Collins in the grocery store...

Blurb:

Fed up with the slushy snow of winter, and the frigid Canadian wizards Julie McNabb wants a transfer to somewhere warm, and where the men are smoking hot!
Instead, she ends up in Bug Tussle. A small wizard farming community in Texas where the unicorns freak her out, and the resident witches watch NASCAR and eat Barbeque.
Despite her goals to get out as fast as she can, Julie makes friends, has fun, and falls for Vance, the hunky animal manager.
Now if only Julie can convince Vance to give up on Mrs. Right, for Mrs. Right Now!


Bio:
My husband says it’s because I’m a crazy writer, and I tend to  agree with him. When I look at the world around me, I see people and places  that take on fantastical attributes. A man walking across the street just isn't a man, he's a troll, on the hunt for the blue fairy. A women speeding down my  street, is being chased by steam punk elves, because she stole their aether converting mechanism.

Luckily for me, my family loves and accepts my unique  brand of crazy. They even encourage me to write down my silly notions. Although  my son will tell you there is far too much kissing in my stories!

Link for Hexes In Texas at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Hexes-In-Texas-ebook/dp/B008G0EQ42/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1

You can find links to my books, my favorite authors, and favorite links on my website at michellekopra.com

Monday, August 27, 2012

Those Crazy Things Running Through My Head


There are always a couple of times when I'm writing a novel that I want to write something really ridiculous. Like the time in The Treasure Hunter's Lady when Abel is face-to-face with Uktena and you know some bad shit is about to go down. For some reason I always pictured this giant serpent as flamboyant. I kept picturing 'the making of' with Uktena sitting in one of those director chairs on a set, wearing a sparkly scarf and a beanie. It would be talking about this scene:


Without warning, Uktena struck. On sheer instinct, Abel slashed the knife across the Serpent's nose. Uktena drew back with a hiss, shock registering in its all-too-human eyes. Tarry black blood welled from the gash. A horrible rumble came from the Serpent's throat. It shook its head, causing droplets to splatter Abel and the ground. 

But if this scene were an outtake in a very artistic serpent's POV, it would go something like this (time to use your imagination): 

Sidney: This was a difficult role for me. I know snakes are almost always portrayed as evil, but I'm such a nice guy. At one point while Cam (author's note: I picture Cam Gigandet in Abel's role) was jabbing the magic knife at my face, I blurted out, "Oh! Kitty's got claws!" It was often hard to stay in character. Cam and Rachael are just a riot to work with! But those horns! Those were a make up nightmare! I had to go in early every day just to let Miguel put them on me and get the effects right.

Okay, stop using your imagination. Obviously a snake with as much charm as Sidney there wouldn't have fit the role of The Horned Serpent very well. 

In one of the scenes from The Sky Pirate's Wife, it went a little something like this: 

Is it just me or does she look happy
and  he looks a little bit frightened?
The front of her dress was open and she didn't even know how he'd done it. The lacy white top of her chemise was exposed, the barest hint of cleavage showing. He peeled the dress down her arms, over her hips, and let it slide to the floor. A man of many talents, he freed her from the corset she detested and tossed it away. 

But I wanted to write something silly and totally inappropriate for the scene. Something like: "Is that a banana in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?" Or: His massive man tool sprang free of his confining trousers like a proud stallion from the barn doors. Or: Her curves were as winding as the road built by a drunk man on a buffalo. Writing sex scenes makes me want to flood the pages with purple prose. Mostly because it's funnier than actually writing a sex scene. 

Thank God I have a brain censor. Fortunately for everyone who's reading the books, they don't have to be baffled by the author's sudden moments of insanity. When I get old, I'll probably be senile and talk about the time I interviewed that snake in the sparkly scarf. The nursing home attendants will just smile and nod.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Friday Five - Monsters In My Head


I'm doing research for my WIP on mythological creatures, because as you know (or don't know, but now you do!) the hero of the novel I just finished, Basil Tinwhistle, is one of an elite group of men who hunts paranormal entities. The next book, tentatively titled The Soul Catcher's Siren, isn't about Basil. It's about one of the characters from The Turncoat's Temptress, as with the other novels in the Legends and Lover Series. Typically the character who made a secondary appearance in a previous novel has been a male. This time I did it a little differently and selected a female character. She's a selkie, of no particular magical power, although she has some strange characteristics.

I'm trying to figure out what's special about the hero when it hits me! I'm not going to tell you because as soon as I did, I'd change my mind and make a liar out of myself. But I'm working on figuring out what kind of Big Bad is going to attempt to destroy their relationship. I don't have it yet, but here are some creepy mythological creatures I've run into on my search.

So . . . I take it there's
no chance for a
second date then?
1) JorĊgumo - Well, this is the shit nightmares are made from, no doubt. A spider that- that . . . I don't even want to say it. A spider that changes into a *shudder* woman. She seduces a man, plays some kind of lute to distract him, and binds him with her silk to later use him as supper. In some versions of the story, she pulls him into a waterfall and drowns him. I think I just threw up a little.

2) Rat King - Rat King, like that story where the little girl has to spend the night alone in rat-infested building (why?) and she draws cats on the walls. When the rats come out at night, the cats come to life and kill the rats? No? You mean a rat king is a group of rats all joined at the tails because they got tangled together due to their own doody? You mean there are actual rat king carcasses in museums? You mean a rat king could be living in the walls of my house right now?! Eeewww. Apparently people believed rat kings were responsible for the way plagues spread. Ick, get the Germ-x and a shovel and a lion. We're killing some rats. Wait, science largely believes rat kings are hoaxes? Whew!
Because no one's been
able to capture one on
film yet. 

3) Krasue - A couple of years ago I wrote a novella about boo hags. These nasty demons from Gullah culture who wear women's skin in the daytime and suck out souls at night. They got nothin' on Krasue. This demon separates from it's body so it's just a pretty young head floating around with intestines trailing from its severed neck. It has vampire teeth with which to devour you. Particularly if you're pregnant and are about to or have just delivered a baby. You can kill it by destroying its body or chopping the intestines off.

I just talk and talk.
I'm the talkin'est damn
thing you ever saw. And
then I'm going to eat you.
4) Gef the talking mongoose - Way less frightening than the others listed here, right? Well, according to Wikipedia, he claimed to be a ghost trapped in the form a weasel (this sounds like a bad Disney movie). The mongoose claimed to have been born in New Dehli, India. Upon investigation, none of the footprints or claw marks made by said mongoose were proven to be made by an actual mongoose. Hair from the animal turned out to be dog hair. The 2011 horror movie Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (excellently creepy) may have been influenced by Gef's meaner "poltergeist" persona. I have the sneaky suspicion that mongeese (gooses?) are in fact evil, just like ferrets. They're cute from a distance, but don't forget they have teeth. Please also refer to rat king.

5) Globster - This just gross, so I had to share. Big, rotting carcasses washed up from the ocean. Ugh. Before DNA testing, people believed they were the bodies of sea monsters. There are a lot of really great blob pictures on the 'net. One of my all-time favorites though is in the book Monsters Caught On Film: Amazing evidence of lake monster, Big Foot, and other strange beasts by Dr. Melvyn Willin. All these photos show people standing out there by big rotting carcasses. I was like "Cool!" until I started thinking about the smell . . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Author Interview - Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy


What's your book/current WIP about?
My current release is a contemporary romance, Heart of the Ozarks. It’s about a man, Cole Celinksi, who lost his family, kids and estranged wife in an accident. He’s a television weatherman and his boss forced him to take some time off to get his head back on straight. Cole heads for the Ozarks, to an old resort he visited annually as a child because he can’t think of anywhere else to go. When he learns his old friend Maggie now runs the place, it’s an extra perk. Their old relationship revives and he begins to heal.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?
He ached to use her like a whore and own her but deeper, Cole longed to become one with her, to twine not just bodies but merge souls.

What's your next project?
My next release is another historical romance, this time set in 1930’s Oklahoma. It’s called Dust Bowl Dreams and it’s the story of a desperate young man. As the novel opens, the family farm is about to be taken by the bank and Henry’s the sole support for his widowed mother, younger brother, and younger sisters. His gal, Mamie, is a schoolteacher but he’s broke so he turns to some desperate measures to survive.

Describe your writing in a sentence.
Blue jeans prose (a reviewer used the line once and I loved it)

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
Sometimes both. I often spend time choosing a name with as much care as I did picking baby names for my kids but there have been times when the character tells me just who he or she is.

Plotter or panster? 
When I start, I usually know the beginning and the end but I’m a pantser in between.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
I can write with background noise and it’s a good thing. My kids tend to be rowdy at times.

What are you currently reading?
Through A Glass, Darkly by Karleen Koen – it’s an old favorite but I love it.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
Question: What was your first word or sentence?
Answer: They tell me my first complete sentence, uttered with stubborn defiance, was “Ann do it herself.” It somehow seems to have become the theme for my life!

People think I'm weird because...
I have very eclectic tastes in music, movies, food, everything. I’m comfortable in my own skin and will do things most people are too inhibited to do – dance in the aisles at the supermarket or say what I think.



Title: Heart of the Ozarks
Author: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
Length: 75,000 words
Genre(s): Romance
Sub-Genre(s) Contemporary
Sub-Categories: Second Chance at Love
Heat Level: Steamy (Hot sex scenes/language, but not explicit)


AVAILABLE AT:
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Heart-of-the-Ozarks-ebook/dp/B008RXW0TG
B&N - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-of-the-ozarks-lee-
ann-sontheimer-murphy/1112352033?ean=2940014934503
ARe - http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-heartoftheozarks-905745-148.html
Bookstrand - http://www.bookstrand.com/heart-of-the-ozarks


BLURB:
After St. Louis TV weathercaster Cole Celinksi loses his almost estranged wife and three children in a car crash, his boss orders him to take a leave of absence.
Against his will, Cole leaves the city in late May to find the rest and relaxation everyone else thinks he needs. Without anywhere else to go, Cole heads for Lake Dreams, a resort on the quiet side of Lake Taneycomo in the Ozarks he visited each summer as a child with his grandparents. Some of his best memories were made in the lakeside vacation haven with his summer friend, Maggie.

Excerpt
Upon his arrival, Cole learns Maggie now runs the place. Twenty years have passed but from the minute he returns, they reconnect and soon their mutual attraction ignites. He fishes in the lake, takes Maggie to visit some of the places he remembers and begins to find out who he truly is. Before he can heal, he must learn to deal with his loss and to see if he can create a new family with Maggie and her children. It’s a task he’s not sure he can handle but if he wants to be with Maggie, he must. A near tragedy brings them all together into a close knit unit and afterward, Cole may be able to make his dreams reality.

Cole’d almost forgotten how pleasant kissing a woman he cared about could be until he kissed Maggie.

Her lips yielded to his unexpected kiss, warm and silky beneath his mouth. Something sparked between them, old and familiar but new too. The kiss kindled desire, his want surging strong and rich through Cole’s body and with it, he felt renewed. Fiery electricity danced through his nervous system, tingling and reviving him. When Maggie touched him and placed her hands on his body she stirred the embers almost faded in the ashes of his soul. His living force within soared, catching fire with a whoosh rocketing from his feet to his head.

Cole didn’t think, just experienced. He inhaled the essence of her shampoo, caught a whiff of her perfume, and tasted lingering coffee on her lips. Her slender body shifted so she stood so close a thin sheet of paper couldn’t pass between them and warmth filled the space. His years, the months of tragic induced agony, the maturity of his third decade, more than halfway to his fourth melted like candy in the rain until Cole felt the wild, heady intoxication of youth. A carnal yearning rose in him like a wild animal’s need to mate and yet something else tempered, a caring sense of connection. He wanted to ravish her and yet nurture her, all at once. He ached to use her like a whore and own her but deeper, Cole longed to become one with her, to twine not just bodies but merge souls.

He deepened the kiss until his tongue worked into her mouth and Maggie moved the rest of the way until her breasts rubbed his chest. She made a soft little mew of pleasure and he knew he could have her, take her there on the living room couch, her body supported against the pillows she’d chosen at Wal-Mart or JC Penney’s. He didn’t doubt it and because he knew, he didn’t. Cole let the kiss wind down, slow and easy. He allowed one of his hands to crawl from her back to fondle her full breasts with a gentle caress. He almost lost control again when she arched her back like a satisfied kitten but he eased back to normal, his breath a little quick and grinned at her. Maggie smiled back with an unfocused gaze. She looked the way he felt when he came out of a movie he’d really gotten involved with, dreamy until he walked into the sunlight and a jolt of reality.

“Oh, Cole,” she breathed, her tone filled with appreciation and what he thought might be affection.

“I guess you liked it,” he said, without planning. “I’m glad. I thought you might slap my face for that.”

Maggie laughed with a musical quality so sweet it ramped up his blood pressure a few notches. “I wouldn’t,” she told him, “But, oh, Cole.”

She shook her head and her hair floated around her shoulders in a cloud. “I’ve been ready for you to kiss me again for twenty years but I don’t know if you are.”

His scarred heart skipped a beat. Hell, he wasn’t sure either but he wanted to be and just that alone equaled a miracle. “If you’d asked me a week ago,” he said, “I’d have said no way. Yesterday I’d thought maybe in a distant future.”

“I don’t know,” he said, “But I want to find out.”

She’d always been mercurial, a creature of many moods and faces so he wasn’t surprised when she put her hands against his chest and said, eyes smoldering, “Kiss me again and see what happens.”

Cole almost did but rational thought stayed him. “If I do,” he told her, without any bullshit, “I won’t be able to stop this time at just a kiss.”

Maggie’s eyes met his and hers were filled with the naked yearning of a hungry bird and the innocent trust of a pet bunny rabbit. “I don’t care, Cole. I want you.”

Everything he longed for in this moment she offered but he shook his head. “I want you, Maggie, in every way a man can want a woman but it’s not the right time. If we do this now, it’ll end up bad. You’re vulnerable and the last thing I want to do is hurt you, honey.”

“I might without meaning to do it,” he said, his voice husky with emotion. “We’ve brought something to life so let’s don’t ruin it before it has time to grow. We’ll be together when its right, I promise.”

Tears shimmered in her eyes and he thought she’d cry but Maggie didn’t. She nodded and put her fingers against his cheek. “You’re being sensible, I guess, Cole. Just tell me it’ll be soon.”

“God, yes,” he said with feeling, enough she laughed.


Book Trailer:



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a full-time romance author. A native of the old historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, one time home to both Jesse James and the Pony Express, she now lives and writes in the beautiful Missouri Ozark region. Her romance novels include Love Never Fails, Witness Protection Program, Sing We Now of Christmas, A Patient Heart, In Love’s Own Time, Miss Good Samaritan, In The Shadow of War, Guy’s Angel, and Heart of the Ozarks, all from Rebel Ink Press. She also has six other novels and several novellas available. Her work also appears in more than twenty anthologies and she has multiple short story/non-fiction credits.

She is a member of RWA, Missouri Writers Guild, EPIC, and the Ozarks Writers League. Her work also appears in multiple anthologies. She earned a BA degree in both English and History from Missouri Southern State University as well as an AA Degree in Journalism from Crowder College. She worked in broadcast media for a decade and also has a background in education. Her weekly column “Hindsight” appears each week in the Neosho Daily News.

She is married to Roy W. Murphy and the couple has three children, Emily, Megan, and Patrick Murphy.

If Lee Ann – or Lee as many of her writing friends know her – isn’t writing, she’s reading or spending time
outdoors.

In Neosho, Missouri, the small town she now calls home, she serves on the local library board, is active in the annual Relay For Life fight against cancer, has worked with the local Arts Council, and is active in her parish.

A Page In The Life: http://leeannsontheimermurphywriterauthor.blogspot.com
Rebel Writer - Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy: http://leeannsontheimermurphy.blogspot.com
Seanachie Stories: Tuesday Tales And More: http://seanachiestories-tuesdaytalesandmore.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/leeann.sontheimermurphy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/leeannwriter
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Ann-Sontheimer-Murphy/e/B004JPBM6I/
ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Check out Lee Ann's other stops on her book tour!  http://cblspromotions.


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by-lee.html

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Author Interview - D'Ann Lindun

I am so pleased to bring you my guest today! D'Ann is one of my critique partners and she is super talented! I got the opportunity to beta read her newest release, Shot Through The Heart and it is wonderful!

What's your book/current WIP about?
 A woman on the run from her brother, who is trying to kill her, and the cowboy who comes to her reluctant rescue.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?
No, I’ll let you read it and see which lines you like best for yourself.

What's your next project?
Published is Vaquero, coming out on September 4th.  Unpublished, I’m bouncing between three projects. Two longer single titles and a shorter suspense.

Describe your writing in a sentence. 
Contemporary western suspense.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
They whisper.  Last night, the name Cortez kept repeating in my head. I know who it belongs to, but that book is about six away, so Mr. Cortez is going to have to wait.

Plotter or panster?
Panster all the way. I see a scene in my head, kind of like a movie, then I figure it out from there.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write? 
Either. Today, it’s quiet. Sometimes I listen to one CD over and over. I kind of tune it out though.

What are you currently reading? 
A Linda Howard, Prey. I want to be her when I grow up!

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
My mind is a complete blank. I don’t know.

People think I'm weird because... 
I am!  LOL


Blurb:
When Laramie Porter’s sister-in-law Julie is beaten so badly by her husband she miscarries her baby, Laramie takes her home from the hospital. But just a few minutes after the women arrive home, Julie’s husband, who also happens to be a drug addict and the local police sheriff, shows up at the house on a murderous rampage.
He kills Julie and attempts to murder Laramie. When he doesn’t succeed, he hauls them into the mountains and throws them off a cliff. Julie’s body lands in a pond, but Laramie hits a ledge, where she perches, terrified.
Derrick Garrison is in the mountains moving his cattle when his dog finds Julie’s body in the pond. Creeped out, Derrick at first doesn’t believe his ears when he hears a girl crying for help. But he finds Laramie and pulls her to safety. Before she can tell him anything, a lightning strike starts a forest fire and they flee to a hidden valley.
Fleeing a drug hazed killer, the fire, and a gun-toting old lady bent on collecting a reward, Laramie and Derrick do their best to evade all three . . . and fall in love along the way.

Buy it at:
Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Crimson Romance


Bio:
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, eight ducks and cats of every shape and color often show up in her stories!

Websites:
http://dlindunauthor.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/DLindunAuthor

And check out her debut novel from Crimson Romance, Wild Horses!
http://www.crimsonromance.com 
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Horses-ebook/dp/B008195GUQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336498540&sr=1-1
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/331523527
http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wild-horses/id523130187?mt=11&ls=1



Friday, August 17, 2012

The Friday Five - The Author's Exuberant Exhibit


I am wicked bad (as in really bad, not good like the kids with the slang) at titles, right? Today marks one month until The Sky Pirate's Wife hits Amazon and B&N. I want to share with you all things Sky Pirate Wife-y.

The cover:

The blurb: 
After a tragic airship wreck, Captain Alwin van Buren makes a drastic decision to obtain a wealthy bride in order to save his flagging business. He meets his match in Sophie Barnes, heiress to an airship empire. After he seduces her and ensures their marriage—igniting a rivalry with her godfather—he learns the green-eyed beauty is as headstrong as he is.

Sophie knows Van Buren's reputation based on a series of dime novels written about his adventures. Determined to be more than an end to a means, she despises him for luring her into marriage. In fiction, he's a no-nonsense captain on the verge of piracy, but the flesh-and-blood man wins her heart by proving she's worth more to him than her money.

Their love is threatened when Sophie learns Van Buren's airship accident was a result of mythical creatures. Winged predators that appear to have a grudge against him, a fact he deliberately hid by accusing her godfather of sabotage. If she can forgive him for that, they still have to face the danger when they're cornered and at the mercy of beasts and the evil that controls them. The real test comes when Van Buren is asked to make a sacrifice that could destroy them both.


The chapter 1 excerpt:
Click Here


The book trailer:


The first kiss:

For a few long seconds, they looked into each other's eyes, each silently daring the other to make a move. They relented at the same time, a meeting of desire and hot flesh. Van Buren's tongue parted her lips. One hand crept into her hair, stroking the soft tresses. Firm breasts pressed against his chest. His other hand slid down the silk dress to cup her bottom.
Sophie didn't struggle. She was almost boneless, pliable against him. Her hands gripped his coat as though she couldn't turn loose. The hot, dampness of her mouth urged him to kiss her with hunger he hadn't realized he'd possessed.
He hadn't kissed a woman like this—ever. Hadn't kissed a woman since before the wreck. He'd forgotten how much he missed having another person in his arms. Still, he couldn't think of a single name or face before Sophie. His hand slipped down her side, hoisted her skirt, and lifted the hem.




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Author Interview - Carrie Ann Ryan



As part of the Dust of My Wings Tour we have author Carrie Ann Ryan on the blog today. Big hand, everybody! 

Hi! Thank you so much for having me and my latest book, Dust of My Wings, here!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I think its keeping your mind open to the possibilities of anything. Lily and Shade are as different as you can be. Shade is a 1000-year old warrior angel who would do anything to protect his brethren, while Lily is a human who doesn’t believe in the unbelievable. I want readers to fall in love with my characters, but really, don’t we all? LOL I’m introducing my readers to a group of seven human women, who after a shocking encounter, may not be as human as we thought. I want readers to believe in the unbelievable and fall in love.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

One that I know personally is Rebecca Royce, she gave me that final push to start writing and figure out what was going on with the voices in my head. But beyond that, an author I look up to and admire is Nalini Singh. Her world building and descriptions are so vivid, I’m in awe.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your first book?

Not really. Though I’d like to have made my first book, An Alpha’s Path, a full novel, rather than a novella, that wasn’t the story that Mel and Kade had wanted to say. I’m happy with what I have out there, and from what they’ve told me, so have most of my readers.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I have a few in the book. I mean, for the first time I got to write about angels and flying! Also, since Dust of My Wings is the first book in the Dante’s Circle series, I got to open up a whole new supernatural world. But I think my first favorite part of the story is in the beginning at the bar, Dante’s Circle, where all seven of my women are having a drink and talking. I really got to see and give a glimpse of each of my girls’ personalities and what their stories could be! I’m excited!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That my characters control me more than I thought! My characters build my world more than I can, and I thank them for it.

Have ever considered writing a different genre than paranormal?

Yes! I’m currently writing 4 (O_o) paranormal series right now, but I think my 6th series will be a contemporary. I need to finish up a few of my current ones before I start on that one. But I do have an idea of the family I’ll be writing about.

Do you prefer writing humor or action in your books?

It used to be sarcasm for me, but I’m starting to like to write more and more action as I go on. I think the more I write the more I’m finding myself changing and having fun with it.


Blurb:
Humans aren’t as alone as they choose to believe. Every human possesses a trait of supernatural that lays dormant within their genetic make-up. Centuries of diluting and breeding have allowed humans to think they are alone and untouched by magic. But what happens when something changes?


Neat freak lab tech, Lily Banner lives her life as any ordinary human. She’s dedicated to her work and loves to hang out with her friends at Dante’s Circle, their local bar. When she discovers a strange blue dust at work she meets a handsome stranger holding secrets – and maybe her heart. But after a close call with a thunderstorm, she may not be as ordinary as she thinks.

Shade Griffin is a warrior angel sent to Earth to protect the supernaturals’ secrets. One problem, he can’t stop leaving dust in odd places around town. Now he has to find every ounce of his dust and keep the presence of the supernatural a secret. But after a close encounter with a sexy lab tech and a lightning quick connection, his millennia old loyalties may shift and he could lose more than just his wings in the chaos.


Blurb:
Lily huffed out a breath and placed another tile. “I don’t hate my job, exactly. It’s just not that big of a deal.” She gave a triumphant smile. “And I win.”

Shade looked into her eyes and groaned. Damn, she was sexy when she looked so confident.

“Indeed you did. Congratulations, Lily.” Now for the part that could hurt them both. “How about I buy you a cup of coffee as your winnings?”

Lily looked taken aback, but Shade didn’t budge. He needed to know exactly what she knew about this dust. Breaking into her lab and stealing it would do nothing if the die were already cast.

“Oh, you don’t have to do that. In fact, I really don’t even know you, so I can’t. But thank you.”

She gathered the tiles quickly and started to stand up, but Shade touched her wrist. She jumped, knocking a few tiles back on the table. A jolt of electricity ricocheted through his arm and they both gasped. His erection pressed against the zipper of his jeans and he groaned, but he didn’t let go. Lily’s breath quickened and her pupils dilated. Her strawberry scent wrapped around him like velvet, intoxicating.

Buy it: Amazon || Barnes and Noble || ARe

About the author:
Carrie Ann Ryan is a bestselling paranormal and contemporary romance author. After spending too much time behind a lab bench, she decided to dive into the romance world and find her werewolf mate - even if its just in her books. Happy endings are always near - even if you have to get over the challenges of falling in love first.

Her first book, An Alpha's Path, is the first in her Redwood Pack series. She's also an avid reader and lover of romance and fiction novels. She loves meeting new authors and new worlds. Any recommendations you have are appreciated. Carrie Ann lives in New England with her husband and two kittens.

Carrie Ann loves hearing from readers. You can find her at:
Website: http://www.carrieannryan.com/
Blog: http://carrieannryan.blogspot.com/
Heartthrob Haven: http://heartthrobhaven.blogspot.com/
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carrie-Ann-Ryans-Author-Page/
243643205647654
Facebook Friend: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002584098860
Goodreads |: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5360266.Carrie_Ann_Ryan
Twitter: @CarrieAnnRyan
Tumblr : http://carrieannryan.tumblr.com/


Bonus:
Carrie Ann will be awarding Dust of my Wings "swag" packs to one commenter at ever stop, a $25 Amazon GC and necklace (pictured to the left) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $10 Amazon GC to the host with the most comments (excluding the author's and the host's).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekend Wonders

We went to the Shepherd of the Hills Super Summer Cruise Saturday night, but I didn't take any photos of the cars. Instead I wanted to bug you (pun!) with some photos of the praying mantises that have been hanging out at my house. These are two different ones, but originally I thought they were the same little guy. Clearly not.
I have green legs.

I have brown legs. See? We're different.

I woke him up early in the morning. Death glare! But hopefully
he ate that spider that made a web on my lemon basil plant.

That lamp post totally photobombed my photo of the
eternal flame in front of the iceberg that sank the Titanic!

One side of the rainbow.

The other side of the rainbow. 
PeeWee socks. They didn't fit very good though. I guess his
feet are even tinier than I thought. These really are for dogs,
 I didn't go crazy and buy tiny people socks or anything.
In other news, I got pretty much nothing done on the writing front. I did write a prologue for a series I've been thinking about writing for a few months ago. There's a very good chance it sucks and God alone knows when I'll find time to do any more than that because I have other things that need doing, but it came to me and I couldn't help but write it down. So there's that. And I did finish my very first read through of The Turncoat's Temptress. It wasn't as bad as I figured it would be. It wasn't ready to publish, by any means, but there are some workable parts.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Friday Five - Five Reasons My Back Is Up Over One Interview


I had a different blog post written for today. It was about mythical creatures and it featured horribly crude drawings by yours truly. But when I read an interview knocking self-publishing, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Here's the deets. New York Times Bestselling Author Sue Grafton had an interview published in her native state of Kentucky. Beautiful place, but I'm not sure what all the hype about blue grass is about. Maybe that's another TFF, things that are a “big deal”, but aren't really a big deal if you actually see them.

So today's TFF is about what Ms. Grafton said in her interview. You can read it here. Please return when you have finished, especially if you find yourself incensed by some of the answers to the interview questions.

Back? Great. Let's crack on.

1) I’m sure every writer suffers unkind reviews. What does that have to do with anything? I love my work and I’m happy being challenged. 
Oh, likes challenges, does she? Good for her! No, really. Because discovering your dream and accomplishing your dream is nothing short of a miracle. It's the best feeling in the entire world. And she's right, there are a lot of people willing to crush your dreams. I was really inspired when I saw that quote. Until I read farther down the page. That’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work. Seriously? Right, I forgot that NYTBSAs are entitled to call everyone else lazy. I bet that's in the NYTBSA clause. Not that I'll ever find out because I'm just a lazy self-published author. I didn't take the time to write a decent novel, polish it until my fingers bled, query and pitch and query and pitch and query and pitch until my tongue and fingers were worn down to numbs. Oh, wait. I remember now. I did my share of querying and pitching. I even wrangled a contract. Just like a real author. But when that went south, already aware that The Treasure Hunter's Lady isn't everyone's cup of tea, I pulled up my big girl panties and made my choice. I didn't realize learning the ins and out of self-publishing was being lazy. Believe me, I've been lazy. After everything I've learned, I should have some kind of damn certificate of achievement hanging on my wall to show for it.

2) Self-published writers are amateurish.
Read them, has she? At least she's following one of the rules of writing—always read. She's setting an example for writers who don't believe they need to that. And she's right, there are amateurish authors who think they've got a world class novel on their hands. But she's wrong in implying that all self-published authors just jump into the pool. I know plenty of self-pubbers and writer who are still striving for the traditional route who take online classes to improve their craft. Who participate in writing groups to hone their skills. It's unfair to lump all self-published authors into one group.

3) The tone of the interview.
It might just be me, what with my back up and all, but it feels like Ms. Grafton is talking about self-pubbers like we're second class citizens. Wait, did I say second class? I meant lepers. Lepers with a dash of H1N1 thrown in for good measure. I do interviews with a lot of self-pubbed authors on my blog. And the more of them I talk to, the more I hear them say, we just wish everyone could get along. I think it must come down to “real” authors think we're competition. We can offer our wares cheaper, we can bring books to the readers faster. I harbor no ill will toward traditionally published authors. In fact, most of my favorite authors aren't self-published. But you know what I'm grateful for? People writing, people willing to tell stories that engage my imagination. Whether they're endorsed by Harlequin, Putnam, Knopf, or Jane Smith from down the road.

4) We're all in it to get rich.
Let's pretend I'm Jane Smith from down the road for a second. I've written a novel .I'll be the next E.L. James of fantasy romance. Let's say I super-freaking loved Thor (because we all know I did) and I was writing Thor fan fiction and I changed the names and the scenaro so it's a (mostly) original story. I hear good things about self-publishing because I watched E.L. James on Good Butt Crack of Dawn North America and Date Formation XYZ. She's famous and I know I can be too! Because fame is one of those things that anyone can get. It's soooo easy to become famous. Readers will be falling all over themselves to get a copy of my book, 99 Tinctures of Burnt Umber. I'll just write dozens of reviews myself so that everyone who sees my book will realize how great it is. Then, while the world is love/hating me just like Ms. James, I'll vacation in Fiji while writing the sequel 99 Tinctures Sulkier.

The reality is that yes, some self-published authors gain a following. They do make money at writing and readers love them and gush to them and can't wait for their next book. But do they gain NYTBSA status in a few months? No. It isn't realistic for an author to believe that'll happen right away, whether it's self-publishing or traditional publishing. We aren't stupid, Ms. Grafton. And there are plenty of established self-pubbed authors who will without hesitation clue newbies in on that.

5) I guess I'm supposed to be ashamed of my actions. 
When I read interviews in which NYTBSAs bash self-published writers, it makes me feel like crap. It makes me feel like if I was at some big convention and I wanted to meet Jodi Picolt or Sue Grafton, I wouldn't have the courage to walk up to them and introduce myself. I can just imagine the kind of looks I'd get if I told them I'll have two novels published this year and another next year. Looks that would amount to the kind of look they'd give a rat king.

The interviewer asked Ms. Grafton what advice she'd give to a new writer. It was don't self-publish. She's right on some aspects. Don't come into this with high expectations. It's hard work, it's pain and tears and struggle to fight your way through the crowd, but if you're dedicated to it, it's worth the trouble.

I've been asked what advice I'd give to new writers. I usually say something inane like: don't quit, always work toward your goal, blah, blah, blah. This is my new answer:

People are cruel and petty and jealous. They'll tell you that you can't achieve your dreams. They'll stand in your face and go for the jugular if they can. Don't feel bad about wanting to be an author. Don't think you can't accomplish it. When someone, I don't if it's a critic, a reader, or a published author says, no, you can't, don't give up. Get mad! Get mad and get better and prove them wrong.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Author Interview - Kristen Beairsto


What's your book/current WIP about?
In Love Like Krazy, Kit Conner is returning to her hometown to be a bride’s maid for her best friend. But while back home, Kit is forced to confront the secrets from her past. All the while, she finds herself fighting an attraction to Ben Mathews, the older brother of her best friend's groom. Despite knowing little will come of an affair, Kit starts to see Ben as an anchor in her emotional storm.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?
I have two favorite parts of the story. The first is the scene in the excerpt where Ben mistakes Kit for a stripper. The below part is another part I really love. Kit has just snuck into Ben’s house and woken him up. He wants to know how she got into the house.

“You’re talking to a girl who lived in New York for close to seven years,” she stated as though that explained everything.

“Making a living as a lock-pick?” Ben asked dryly as he pulled back to look at her face.

Laughing, Kit shook her head. “Actually, I learned that particular skill after I locked myself out of my apartment twice in the same week.”

What's your next project?
My next release is another contemporary romance called Sugar & Spice coming out in early September. It’s about three friends who own and operate a lingerie catalog company and they discover love isn’t something that fits neatly into a schedule.

Describe your writing in a sentence.
My writing aims to put a smile on your face with a lot of fun and a little bit of sexy.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
Occasionally they name themselves, but for the most part I choose the names. I have several different names I like for both heroes and heroines. Usually as the character develops a name starts to fit the personality.

Plotter or panster?
Up until recently I was a panster, but it would take me several months to finish a story. After meeting an author who finishes a novel length story in 7 days (I know, crazy!), I decided to try plotting. My current WIP is the first time I’ve ever plotted a story out completely before starting it and so far I really love it. It’s a much smoother process. I think I’ve secretly been a plotter the whole time. = )

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
I live in a small apartment with a 2 year old and 7 year old. Even if I preferred quiet, I would never get it. = ) Sometimes quiet is nice because it’s different than my normal, but it gets weird really quick so usually I like some kind of music in the background as a minimum.

What are you currently reading?
Divorced, Desperate and Delicious by Christie Craig – Loving it!

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
Oh man, I have no idea. = S How about a non-writing related question? I’d like to be asked: other than writing and reading (and spending time with family and friends is too easy), what kinds of hobbies or activities do you enjoy? And I would answer: I’ve been working over the last couple of years to be >healthier and lose weight and I’ve come to love participating in half marathons. I participated in four of them last year and am doing another one this year. Another interest I’ve developed very recently is archery. I’m still exploring it, but I love it so far.

People think I'm weird because...
How long do you have? LOL! Probably the biggest thing people find weird about me is the fact that I’m such a big sports fan. And with that, the fact that I’m a born and bred California girl and I’m a diehard New York sports fan. (Go Yankees, Giants, Rangers, and Knicks!) People usually give me this dumbfounded look when they find out and then ask how in the world that happened. = )

Title: Love Like Krazy
Author: Kristen Beairsto
Publisher: Self
Length: 122 pages
Genre: Romance
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Dates: July 16-August 31
Features: Giveaways, Guest Posts, Interviews, and Reviews

Available at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Blurb:
Most women would probably be offended at being mistaken for a stripper, but Kit Conner finds the situation rather comical. But despite Kit’s outward appearance of being able to handle just about anything, few are aware of the dark secrets Kit harbors and the demons she hides by cloaking herself in a wall of crazy antics and an outrageous fashion sense. As she returns to her hometown to play the role of maid of honor for her best friend’s wedding, Kit’s determined to hold on to those she holds dear for as long as she can. The only thing standing in her way is the absurd attraction she feels for Benjamin Mathews.

Benjamin Mathews is a guy who appreciates things to be slow, steady, and safe. Ben knows many consider him to be boring,but he’s happy with his life and loves the horse ranch he runs with his brother. The only thing he worries about is surviving the planning of his brother’s wedding.

With a wedding between Kit’s best friend and Ben’s younger brother fraying the nerves of everyone involved,& Kit’s return home brings out her dark secrets into the light. The emotional overload starts to weigh on Kit and she begins to see Ben as an anchor. As their relationship intensifies, Kit struggles to believe they might actually have a future and soon finds herself fighting for the love she never thought possible.

Excerpt:
Ben and Greg arranged things so everyone could relax for the first few hours before the real entertainment showed up. Ben glanced at his watch and noted the stripper would show up in about an hour.

As he grabbed a beer for himself, he started to head towards the poker table. As he moved passed the front window, he heard the music before he saw its source. Loud blaring techno music nearly drowned out the country music behind him. It came from within a black Cadillac convertible pulling into the driveway. The New York plates said KRAZYLV.

The music suddenly died as the occupant in the Caddy turned the engine off. The driver’s head was covered in a red zebra stripped cowboy hat obscuring their face. As the driver climbed out, however, he had no doubt in his mind she was female.

Ben first saw the flame red cowboy boots step out of the car. She turned to close the car door and turned her back to him. Above the boots, red leather pants hugged every curve of two very long legs and wide hips. From there, a red tank top clung with a plunging neckline covering her torso, which included a flat stomach and large breasts. Long blonde hair curled at the ends around her breasts. But as she turned her back to him, Ben discovered the top only covered the front of her and a few crisscrossed strings held the top on in the back, exposing smooth skin. She bent over to grab something from the backseat of the car and displayed a very nice view Ben greatly appreciated.

When she turned to face him fully, he saw she still wore sunglasses despite the sun being almost completely set. Even from the distance he stood, Ben could see the deep red lipstick she wore, the heart shaped mouth practically invited a kiss. But between the sunglasses and hat brim pulled down, he still couldn’t see her face clearly.

She was an hour early, he mused, but he would forgive her since she was sure to stir the party up.

Outside, Kit pulled her backpack from the backseat of her Caddy, turned and glanced up at the two-story house where her best friend lived. She grinned, studying the exterior of the home. Apparently, her best friend was well on her way to becoming a Matthews.

The Matthews were one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the small California town. Raymond Matthews, Greg and Ben’s father, was a banker and venture capitalist. His wife, Loren, up until recently was a highly successful businesswoman and now, from what Kit understood, spent her extra time with her philanthropy. But unlike most of the rich people she came to know and meet, the Matthews were genuine people.

Of course, Ray and Loren Matthews weren’t above using a regal demeanor when the moment called for it, she mused.

Yep, Anne was well cared for, Kit decided as she started up the drive towards the front door. As she stepped closer, Kit realized she heard the low hum of country music and remembered the bachelor party Anne told her about. She smiled in anticipation as she wondered whether or not the stripper arrived yet.

Before Kit reached the door, it opened and Ben stepped out.

He still looked the same, she decided. Tall and handsome, with wide shoulders screaming lean on me, and those piercing midnight eyes.

Kit sighed inwardly as she felt the familiar flutter in her stomach. Damn, she was still attracted to him. Oh well, she dealt with it as a teenager, she could deal with it as a grown woman.

“Hi, you’re early, but that’s all right.” He looked down at her backpack and frowned. “If you don’t have a stereo or anything, that’s fine, but I hope you have your own music. I don’t think you’d like dancing to the stuff we have.”

Ben watched her heart shaped mouth frown, the rest of her face still obscured from view. The backpack she carried didn’t seem to carry much. He certainly hoped she had her own music, for the price they were paying, the least she could do was provide her own music.

After a moment, a seductive smile slipped across her mouth. There was something oddly familiar about her, but unable to see the majority of her face because of her hat, sunglasses, and the dark, Ben wasn’t sure how he might know her.

“Don’t worry, sugar,” she offered in a husky tone, “I’ve got my own tunes.”

He gave her a friendly smile and nodded. “Good. Why don’t I announce you first?” He turned, opened the door and stood in the doorway, blocking the view inside the house. Ben asked someone to turn off the stereo. “Now, gentlemen, I would like to introduce the real entertainment of the night,” Ben announced.

Moving aside, Ben turned and motioned for Kit to step inside. The seductive smile stayed in place as she stepped over the threshold of the door. A few men whistled in appreciation, a few others gave catcalls.

Smugly watching his buddies’ reactions, Ben saw her mouth curve from the corner of his eye. Glancing down, Ben noticed she had yet to remove the sunglasses. Seeing her seductive smile change, something else nagged his brain.

“Honey, no offense, but what’s your costume?” Ben whispered out of the corner of his mouth.

Ben watched the amused smile spread fully across her lips. Pulling her sunglasses down the bridge of her nose, she turned slightly so the light in the room fully illuminated her face. She looked at him over the top of the glasses with familiar wide pale blue eyes dancing with mischief.

Her lips parted to reveal white even teeth. “A maid of honor,” she drawled with a knowing wink.

About the Author:
An avid reader since she first learned to read, Kristen discovered romance novels as a teenager. And what can she say? She was a goner. Kristen discovered she’s a sucker for a good love story, strong characters, and that all-important happily ever after. She wrote her first novel length story at the age of eleven and after falling in love with romance novels, her writing started featuring romantic elements.

When Kristen’s not reading or writing, she’s hanging out with friends, family, her two rambunctious daughters, and her exceedingly tolerate husband. She’s also a huge New York sports fan.

Website: www.KristenBeairsto.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristenBeairsto
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorKBeairsto