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.”

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!


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!


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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guest Post - Sharon Struth

From Daydream to Reality…Sort of.

I’d love to own a vineyard. Daydreaming, I’ll picture myself wandering vine-filled hills on a beautiful sunny day, inspecting the grapes, and choosing artistic labels for our latest Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend. Later, I imagine I’ll greet visitors to my tasting room and pour them the samples from the fruits of my labor. Only reality shouts reminders that that owning a vineyard is hard work. Then I remember how I didn’t even want to empty last night’s clean dishwasher (do we ever?). And, Poof! The fantasy vanishes, but as a writer the idea of a novel about wine and vineyards seems within reach.

The result of my mental musings is my latest release, Share the Moon. A small town, a big lake, old secrets and ever-raw losses set the stage for this series set in beautiful rural northwestern Connecticut. Toss in the very charismatic Duncan Jamieson and set him against hometown gal Sophie Shaw, whose dreams of owning vineyard land are crushed by the handsome developer, and you’ve got Share the Moon. A blurb, trailer, and excerpt are below. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy!

About the book:
Title: Share the Moon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Kensington Books/Lyrical Press
Number of Pages: 285

Sometimes trust is the toughest lesson to learn.

Sophie Shaw is days away from signing a contract that will fulfill her dream of owning a vineyard. For her, it’s a chance to restart her life and put past tragedies to rest. But Duncan Jamieson’s counter offer blows hers out to sea.

Duncan still finds Sophie as appealing as he had during boyhood vacations to the lake. Older and wiser now, he has his own reasons for wanting the land. His offer, however, hinges on a zoning change approval.

Bribery rumors threaten the deal and make Sophie wary of Duncan, yet she cannot deny his appeal. When her journalistic research uncovers a Jamieson family secret, trust becomes the hardest lesson for them both.



Air whooshed from Sophie’s lungs. Pain coursed through her shoulder blades, neck, and spine. The ground’s chilly dampness seeped into her cotton khaki pants, raising goose bumps on her skin. Seconds passed without breath before she managed to swallow a gulp.

Lying flat on her back, she stared at the cornflower blue sky and spotted a chalky slice of the moon. The night Henry died, a similar crescent had hung from the heavens, barely visible nestled among the glittering stars. She prepared for the scrape that threatened to tear the gouge of her scarred heart. Seven years. Seven painful years. She closed her eyes and after a few seconds, the weight of sadness lifted off her chest.

Tears gathered along her lower lashes. She pushed a strand of unruly long hair from her face. Footsteps crunched on the ice pellets and headed her way.

“Matthew Shaw…” Fury pooled in her jaw as she resisted the urge to yell at her son. “You’d better have a good excuse for taking so long.”

A man with cinnamon hair, short on the sides with gentle waves on top, knelt at her side. She studied the strong outline of his cheeks and the slight bump on the bridge of his angular nose that gave him a rugged touch, but he wasn’t familiar.

“Are you okay?” He searched her face.

The stranger hovered above. Tall treetops, clinging to the last of their earth-toned foliage, served as a backdrop to her view. A vertical crease separated his sandy brows. She couldn’t pry herself from his vivid blue eyes, in part stunned from the fall, but also by her first responder.

Author Bio:
Sharon Struth is an award-winning author who believes it’s never too late for a second chance in love or life. When she’s not writing, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail. Sharon writes from the small town of Bethel, Connecticut, the friendliest place she’s ever lived. For more information, including where to find her other novels and published essays, please visit her at

"Heart-tugging small town romance with real emotion. Struth is an author to watch!"

—Laura Drake, author of RITA-award winning The Sweet Spot

"Superb… throw in a hunky dad, a small town and a savvy heroine who gets the job done and you've got me hooked!"

—Rachel Brimble, author of A Man like Him

Share the Moon Trailer:

Buy Links:
Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Kensington Books || Kobo || Google Books || Facebook 

Monday, August 11, 2014

This is a Story about How I Got Hit by a Car

Yeah, a car. Seriously.

It all started Friday night. Husband had been to a funeral--never fun--and was stressed out. For relief, we decided to go see Guardians of the Galaxy (yay!). We were traveling up an on ramp and I heard a noise. I decided to ignore it. Turns out, we had a flat.

My mom saved the day by coming to lend us her jack. It took a little while to change the tire, but husband successfully got the spare on. We proceeded to the movie theater in time to be highly amused by the movie. We went home. I forgot to call my mom and tell her we made it home okay, but we did and I spoke to her Saturday, so it's all good.

Saturday was the Shepherd Super Summer Cruise. You will frequently hear me refer to this as the Midnight Run, because that's what we called it when I was younger. Since it's supposed to start at midnight and all (it never does). We went down to my in-laws' and got the not so flat tire that went flat Friday evening repaired. Turns out the valve stem had a big crack in it. The tire was fine, yay. We had dinner, got Krispy Kreme (that's TM, right?), and found a nice spot to settle in for the evening on the highway so we could watch classic cars roll by.

A couple of noisy hours later, we were hungry again. Taco Bell (that's also TM, right?) was up the road. Not quite a mile away. We decided we could marathon it up there and back, weaving through throngs of others gathered on the sidewalk and sides of the road waiting for the car progression to start. You can't drive, because you will lose your primo parking spot. If you want to go somewhere, you walk. It was quite the battle. We managed to cross the road without getting run over, a miracle in itself, but when we got to a motel parking lot, some dippity-do head was looking into the back seat of his minivan and creeping forward. He tapped my husband. Good job, dude. Five points for the fat guy in the bright yellow shirt. Sheesh.

We managed to get to Taco Bell mostly unscathed. We waited over half an hour for tacos because there's one restaurant on that road and it's fake Mexican food. Actually, that's not true. There's a seafood place, a buffet, and another sit-down and eat restaurant, but it was already slightly after 10 pm and all self-respecting restaurants are closed by then.

I triumphantly held the tacos in my husband's face, we hoofed it out of there and managed to cross the road once again without going splat. Until, not five minutes down the sidewalk, we came to a parking lot. There was a car in the driveway and traffic coming up the road. There was no way this lady could pull out onto the highway. So we stepped in front of her car. See the diagram (I totally drew that myself--I did a spectacular job on the car, right?). There was traffic coming. It was coming very fastly; to pull out in front of it would have been a death wish. I was past the car's emblem, valiantly clutching tacos and my purse, in mid-step, when a giant white hood collided with my thigh. The taco-clutching hand bent under itself, smashing into the hood in a rather painful motion. Behind me, some lady said, "Oh my God!"

I looked up into the bright lights of oncoming traffic and--well, I can't tell you what happened then because my mind went blank. And then it registered that there are cars coming! One was a pickup, but like my brain was worried about the specifics at the time.

The car stopped and my ass was about half on the hood. My husband was somewhere behind me, but I was more concerned about how the oncoming traffic was whooshing by and my guts were not smeared across Shepherd of the Hills Expressway. The last sound I heard was not screeching brakes and I might be able to learn who Peter Quill's father is and PeeWee would not be an orphan, tossed back into the mire that is the animal shelter.

I scooched my butt off the lady's hood and walked around beside the car. I couldn't think of anything to say. Slow brain was catching up--I got hit by a car. A car! Mouth hadn't caught up yet, though. Words would not come forth. I think my husband was saying something, but darned if I know what it was. The lady rolled her window down. She said something about how she was so sorry and she didn't see us. ...We were both wearing neon shirts and were.... totally invisible. Apparently.

Hundreds of people lining the street, traffic everywhere and she didn't see us. Because this is pretty much how every single day of our lives goes. We might've had a little luck saved up and it all went toward not dying as puddles of goo on a busy highway. Expect no miracles for the rest of the year.

Husband says he dented her hood because his foot smashed into the emblem. I probably said something, it probably wasn't brilliant. I mean, when it's so shocking you can't even swear--and I love to swear--you know it's crazy. She apologized, and husband and I walked on. There was no need to call the cops or an ambulance. My wrist hurt, surprisingly my thigh, which seemed to take the brunt of the whack, didn't. Of course, she wasn't moving that fast, thank God. Husband says she got his knee--the same one the minivan guy tapped and it hurt, but I think we made better time back to out seats than we did on the way up there.

Let's see...bucket list, where are you? Oh, here:

Swim with deadly stingrays.
Climb 1000 ft. waterfall.
Get published.
Visit Australia.
Make NY Times Bestseller list.
Get hit by car.
Win the lottery.

Fortunately, neither of us suffered anything more than a scare. And my husband says he peed a little. Nary a bruise nor scratch showed up on either of us.

Oh...the tacos were awful. They were soggy and gross by the time we got back to our seats. It would have been a totally wasted trip if not for the caramel apple empanada I ordered too.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Friday Night Fun

Friday night, this happened:

We all managed to look magnificent and Wanda Kay Fittro had a badass fascinator. Ellen Harger was talking passersby up one side and down the other. She was a remarkable spokesperson. Me, well, it's hard to get two words out of me because strangers = scary. And Beth Carter was able to convince people to buy both her children's books and the six-word memoir she appears in.

It was an interesting night, to be sure. Turns out, people are surprised that we would give away anything free, like chapter excerpts and candy. That is so sad. And it seems very odd to post a sign saying "Free stuff here".

There was free candy on my section of the table. It stayed there until almost the end of the night. Then all but three bags magically disappeared. I think someone just came by and wiped them out. Bizarre.

I was exhausted after sitting there for about three hours. These author appearances are hard work, even if you're just sitting in a chair not really doing anything.

It was fun, though, and a great big thank you goes out to Arts and Letters for letting us occupy some of their space. They had some really neat art things in their shop!