Monday, April 27, 2015

Civil War Weekend

So basically I dragged my family on a weekend of Civil War goodness. I know, that sentence doesn't make much sense. It was a long and bloody war with practically no good coming out of it. But it makes for some interesting history.

Our first stop was the Battle of Hartville, a reenactment of the battle that took place January 9-11, 1863. I like the camps best, which represent the soldier's lives. Although I'm pretty sure they didn't have port-a-potties.





After we got home, there may or may not have been a discussion about going to Petit Jean and/or Pea Ridge. I very plainly stated while standing under my mother's car shed, we would be leaving at 9 am the follow day for Pea Ridge. All day she thought we were going to Petit Jean.

This happened instead:

Canons on the battlefield.


Bluff.


Elkhorn Tavern.

Walkway to the corrals at the tavern.

Elk horns (they're actually antlers) on the roof.

1848 bed donated to the park by the Bentonville Hotel.


Obelisk dedicated to the reunion years after the war.


This crazy t-shirt I almost bought because it was only $1.
This was at Wal-Mart, not the military park. I tried to get
the whole family to get one and wear it with me, but
they're a bunch of sticks in the mud.
The Battle of Pea Ridge was a devastating blow to the Confederates after successfully taking Wilson's Creek. They lost three commanders here and it sealed Missouri for Union protection. The battle raged from March 7 to the 8th.

I may have inadvertently insulted the man dressed in period costume by stating that Elkhorn Tavern wasn't as fancy as the Ray House at Wilson's Creek. What I meant was, the Ray House is decked out in period decor. The tavern was a lovely building, although it isn't the original that was standing when the battle happened. Bushwhackers burned it a few months after the battle, but the Cox family rebuilt it and it stands today. If I was rich, I would totally donate period authentic items to the tavern so they could spruce it up a bit like it might have been in the 1860s.

It was a lovely drive, although kind of windy yesterday. I'd been itching to get down to Pea Ridge for a while. I should have mentioned sooner that I wanted to go to Prairie Grove, but I didn't, so that's a trip for another time. Probably after we get down to Petit Jean.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Pencil Me In

Here we are in the last full week of April and I'm watching it slip by (slowly, this has been a long week), thinking, holy cow, May is right around the corner and it's going to be a busy one.

We're kick off book promotion next month by occupying BookMarx during Authors at Art Walk. I'll be there with authors Heather Snow, Rosalie Stanton, and Yvonne Irwin starting at 5:30 pm. Of course, I'll have books and FREE candy.

Then on May 3rd from 6 to 8 pm CST, I'm going to be on Authors in the Round. You can listen or watch online here. I'll be Skyping. Must raise computer so I don't look weird on the screen. That's an important note. This should be really exciting, but alas, you must bring your own candy.

On May 16, I'll be sharing table space at Meet the Authors with Lisa Medley at Nature's Treasures in Eureka Springs, AR. We'll be there from 10 am to 2 pm, peddling books and...you guessed it, FREE candy! I'm looking forward to this, because it'll be a nice little getaway to one of my favorite towns.

Also, please bear in mind that today is Day 5 of voting for the Historical: Post Medieval category in the 2015 RONE Awards. Wildwood Spring is waiting for your click. You can vote here.
Read the review!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Feature & Guest Post - Quest For Redemption by Sheri Velarde

Writing is a very solitary profession. It’s usually you and a computer (or pen and paper). That’s it. You and the blank page. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. Sometimes it can be discouraging. Sometimes it can make you want to give up and go be “normal”. That is why I think it is important for authors to have a good support system around them. I can tell you that if it weren’t for my support team as I call them I would have stopped writing and would be suffering for it. Writing is part of who I am, but sometimes I need to be reminded of that and to not give up on my dreams. My biggest supporter is my fiancé William. He believes in my like no one else, encourages me when I am down, helps me with ideas and lets me run things by him when I am working. He is even helping make my dream of writing full time slowly become a reality. When I feel like throwing my hands up and giving up, he is there to tell me I am a good writer and to keep going, keep believing in myself. I don’t know what I would do without him. I also happen to know some amazing authors and friends who won’t let me quit. They know the struggle with self-doubt too and they cheer me on through mine, helping me to come out the other side. We are the Musketeers and without them I would not be here today. And I am always here when they need me too. Without my support team I seriously doubt I would be where I am today.

Blurb:
The fate of the realms rests on the hands of an elven princess yet to prove herself and an orphan just learning his powers.

Zanna is an elven warrior princess, who seems to have it all, yet really has nothing. Her fate is not in her own hands. Instead, it is bound to an ancient magic she has no control over. She wants to rule the elves, yet must prove herself worthy before she is accepted. She also wants to find her mate, but after two thousand years, didn't hold much hope. Her existence has become mundane, and she craves something new. A routine assignment suddenly turns into something bigger that could ruin all of them. Is she strong enough to save the world and find her own happiness too? Can she change and help change the fate of the world with her?
Will is an orphan who has always been confused by his strangeness. He keeps himself apart, separate from those around him. A chance meeting with a remarkable woman changes everything. He not only learns about himself, but about a whole other world that he is a part of by birthright. However the father that abandoned him as an infant stands to ruin his future and the future of the world unless he can be stopped.
Will and Zanna must face loved ones who work against them and their past as well as find the strength to fight a bigger enemy and save the realms from evil. Can love, friendship, family, and acceptance defeat evil before it brings the realms crashing down? Can Zanna prove herself worthy to rule the kingdom?

Excerpt:
Zanna stood, stunned into immobility. While with Alana, she would have to travel the human way. The thought slightly annoyed her, yet fascinated her at the same time. "I do not travel by vehicle, so I will be forced to ride in yours." She could still smell and see the fear in Alana, so she tried to lighten the mood. "You know I have never actually ridden in a car before."
"Really?" Alana seemed shocked.
"I have never had the need. I simply come and go in this world when I want. I usually arrive and leave the very spot I wish, and there is never a need for me to travel from place to place while in this realm. Not to mention I find the transportation of humans to be quite slow and cumbersome." Nonetheless, Zanna elegantly bent her long frame into the passenger side, slightly curious to see why many humans loved their cars so much. Sitting inside one, she felt rather cramped and uncomfortable, and while it was a fast means of transportation for a human, she didn't understand what was so special. Maybe one had to be human to fathom why vehicles fascinated them so.
Alana very nervously started her car and began to pull out. "Aren't you going to put your seatbelt on? We don't want to get pulled over."
"Excuse me?" Zanna had no idea what the sprite spoke of.
"The human law enforcement requires all people within a vehicle to wear a seatbelt." She pointed to the belt around herself.
As she pulled the belt and fastened it like Alana's, Zanna asked, "What is it for?"
"Protection in case of an accident. Stops you from flying through the windshield," she explained.
"How curious. You know it is completely unnecessary for me. But if it will keep human law enforcement from interfering, so be it. The less I have to deal with humans, the better."
The drive to Alana's home did not take as long as Zanna expected, especially considering she was used to arriving in places almost instantaneously. She actually found the trip rather interesting, seeing the human world in a way she had never experienced before. The tall metal buildings and the harsh exteriors held a beauty to them in their angles and order that she had never realized before. While she could never give up the open airiness of the magical realm, viewing this realm as a human gave her some insight into humans and their nature. Alana pulled into the parking lot of a very tall and nice-looking apartment building. She turned off her car and Zanna could see that she was once again trembling.
"What are you going to do to me and my mother?" She spoke so quietly that a mere human would have had a hard time hearing her.
"I am going to gather information. The more I hear about how little you know, the less inclined I am to punish you. I would like to know why you and your mother, who have magical blood, cannot enter our world. It is your birthright. If you cannot enter our world and have not been allowed those privileges of being two-natured, then I cannot punish you for not following our laws." Zanna tried to smile and reassure Alana that she meant her no harm. Judging by the look on her face, it worked. Zanna had been told before that when she smiled at humans and stared directly into their eyes they believed whatever she said. It came in handy when questioning them before erasing their memories.
Alana took a deep breath and stepped out of the car. Zanna attempted to follow, but forgot to take off the seatbelt and found herself still restrained. To her surprise, Alana giggled, and after a moment, so did Zanna. That shocked her even more. She rarely laughed, let alone giggled like a young girl. Kalan had been right saying that something was up with her tonight; she definitely was not herself.
As Alana took the lead, she said, "My mom's going to freak out that an elf is coming to our home. She always talks about how strong, powerful, and beautiful elves are. She's going to be so pleased, but mad that I didn't call to warn her that you were coming."
"I told you I mean no harm to your mother. There is no need to warn her."
"No, you misunderstand. She's going to wish she had time to clean and dress nicely for you. To make our home and herself more presentable to you," Alana explained.
Zanna was about to answer that this would not be necessary, but they had just walked inside the apartment building and a young man in the lobby, apparently leaving, walked right toward them. Alana and Zanna both stopped talking, not wanting to be overheard. Zanna also noticed that Alana's posture stiffened, and she could smell a little fear coming off her once more. She could tell that, this time, she was not the one causing the reaction. Zanna glanced and saw that Alana was blushing and peering shyly at the young man coming their way.


Get it at: Three Worlds Press || Amazon ||  ARe || Google Books || Kobo

About the Author:
Sheri Velarde is an author, artist, independent comic creator and jewelry designer out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a creative soul with eclectic taste and style when it comes to her art and writing. Sheri is a multi-publisher romance author who is now branching into fantasy as well with her Defender of the Realms series. When not creating (which her fiancé argues is never), Sheri can be found spending time with her fiancé and their two dogs, reading, watching fantasy movies, attending metal concerts and just taking time to stop and enjoy life. 
You can view Sheri’s work on her website/blog: http://sherivelarde.weebly.com/, on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sheri-VelardeKelly-Ryan/, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Sher_V.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wildwood Spring & the Oscars of Indie

Sounds a bit like a children's book. It's not. Voting for the 2015 RONE Awards starts today, and as you know by now, Wildwood Spring is nominated in the Historical: Post Medieval category. If you wanted to tap dance over there and vote for it, I have a magic link.

Remember, though: You must have an account with InD'Tale to vote. It's really painless, I swear, and they have a really lovely magazine that they send you once a month for free with reviews, articles, and all sorts of things to keep you up on the indie and small press world. Painless. You have my word. Just create an account at InD'Tale and then you can click InD'Scribe / RONEs and select 2015 RONE Awards from the drop-down menu, then select Week Two or you can click here and be magically taken there.

Voting goes through April 26, so if you don't have time today, you have all week, but don't put it off until you forget, because...well, you'll have forgotten. Don't say, "Oopsey". Then you're sad, I'm sad, and we'll have to eat ice cream with our tears in it instead of victory ice cream. Think about it--you want victory ice cream. We all want victory ice cream.


Also, very important news. This weekend, I was able to get Wildwood Spring uploaded to Create Space and now it's available on Amazon in paperback form. Ebook form is awesome, paperback is very, very awesome. You can get it here or here.

DID YOU KNOW: RONE stands for Reward of Novel Excellence? Neither did I. Read about the RONE Awards here.

Then go vote, for heaven's sake!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Endings & Beginnings

It's hard to believe we're already halfway through April. I'm not sure what happened. Probably a lot of excitement last week made it go by really fast.

Not to mention my rush to finish Tell, because I was at that way too long. It was hard, there's no denying. I'm going to miss my Heckmasters when the editing is all done. For now, I've got the book and the synopsis written and I plan to let it stew for about another week before I look at it again. Then, barring changes, away it will go. I'm pretty happy with it (actually, I think it's sheer genius). Let's hope my editor likes it too.

Also, final steps are underway to bring Wildwood Spring back to Kindle and (finally) to print. I'll let you know what that happens. Just a reminder, it was nominated for an award under the Historical: Post Medieval category and I need YOUR vote. There are a lot of really good authors in the same category, so I don't expect to win, but I'd love your support, because Wildwood Spring is a special, fun romance. So don't forget on Monday morning to visit this page and vote for Wildwood Spring by Allison Merritt. I made a pretty graphic so you'll be sure to take notice and remember. Your help means the world to me! If you haven't read the excellent review Wildwood Spring got from InD'Tale magazine, it's here.


And I'm really happy with the way my current historical WIP is going. Since I joined the Savvy Author's boot camp, I'm up to 13000 words. I've been trying to do about 800 to 1000 a day, but sometimes that doesn't happen. I was a little stunned when I reached 13k, because I was like, wow, this is going insanely fast.

What with getting Tell finished, I also have to think about a couple of sooper sekrit projects that will come out this fall. Yes, more fantastic goodness from yours truly this fall, which will be here before we know it at the rate the year is flying by. Also hard to believe, but true. I should be ready to start writing on one or the other in the next couple of weeks. They both have due dates in November. I should be well done before then and with a lot of luck, the WIP I've got going now will be done by the end of May.

And another spot of good news: The weekend is almost here. Patience, kids. We'll get there.

UPDATE: Amazon is super fast today and Wildwood Spring is now L-I-V-E! You can check it out here. For a mere $2.99, you can immerse yourself in a Beauty and the Beast-esque tale full of danger, desire, mystery, and a little Wildwood magic.

Monday, April 13, 2015

When Everything Comes Up Allison

Last week was a big, damn, glorious week. As I said on a status update: Everything is coming up Allison.

The lovely shine of two book releases and the Cowboy Up 2 box set going to #1 has yet to wear off. Her Heart's Surrender made the top 100 list on Amazon and got a pretty silver star on ARe. Plus, I got Wildwood Spring formatted in both ebook and print, so you'll want to keep you eyes peeled for that. The proof shipped and I can't wait to hold it.

Also, there was the issue with the car I was worried about--we thought something was wrong with the brakes, the brake guy couldn't find anything, and so my husband and father-in-law took it apart. They thought it might be a wheel bearing, but of course, wheel bearings for this model are impossible to find on short notice. Thank heavens they took it apart first, because it turns out some part of the drum on the back was rubbing something else. It cost $0 to fix, hooray! Seriously, it was a fantastic week.

I'm kicking this week off with a first draft finish. I've also been writing nearly every day. I finally finished the first draft of Tell. It has several rough spots, but I was like, yes, this is crap, but it's better than no crap. Plus, despite my intentions of not wanting to write two books at once, I've been plowing along on a new historical romance. It hit 10k last night. That's 20% finished at a goal of 50,000 words.

Of course, believe it or not, I actually have two sooper sekrit projects I'm semi-sort of plotting right now. One involves cowboys...ooo. And another involved a fairy tale you've probably never heard of. But you will. *evil laughter* Enough blogging. Write. Write. Write.

Oh, and I don't even know how I forgot this, but Wildwood Spring was nominated in the RONE Awards too. Voting for its category starts Monday the 20th. I'll post a link.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Her Heart's Surrender Release Day!

You know what day it is! It's the glorious day in which Vikings are bursting into your world and stealing you away from the humdrum day you're having. It's Her Heart's Surrender release day!

You might remember me talking about this book last summer. The one that finally picked me up out of that fizzled-out stage I was in and launched me into something exciting. Ever written about Vikings before? Nope. All I knew was, I needed something different.

Vikings it was!


I have to thank some folks, because without them, this story isn't possible. First, D'Ann Lindun, because she never said, "What the hell is this?" She just said, "Give me more!" Love you, D'Ann. Second, my critique group, Traci, Allison, Faye, and Catherine. They saw the problems and helped me fix it.
Amanda, because Amanda is a wonderful, understanding editor who knows right where to polish.
All the folks at Three Worlds Press for taking a chance on me. Thank you guys!

Yeah, I was a little nervous about this story, even considered making it a fantasy for a while, but in the end, the Vikings prevailed. They are dying to battle their way onto your e-reader. Give them a chance?

Amazon || B & N || Google Books || iTunes || Kobo || ARe

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Hell of a Release Day

Relax, we can all breathe again--Eban is here. The doctor is in the house. Form an orderly line to see this half demon hottie. No pushing.

When I first contracted Eban with Samhain Publishing, I was like, April?! It's coming out in April? That's right around the corner. That was in August. Everyone was like, that's nine months away, it's forever.

But for me, it wasn't. Actually, while I'm doing edits and a little re-writing to make the story better, times flies. I get a deadline and there's some panic, but I almost always make it on time. It's when the edits and the galley are finished that the waiting begins and I'm going, April? That's forever!

I can't believe we've reached the middle. I had my doubts, for sure, about whether Eban's book ought to be the middle one. He's the middle brother, so it makes sense if we're going by age, but with some of the events at the end of the book, I wondered if those should have happened yet. The answer is...yes, of course. Deep and dark and troubling as the plot of Eban is, it's really the big clash before we get to Tell. Yes, Tell, who's book I haven't yet finished. I'm getting there, I swear. Can we focus on Eban on his day?

I've got a bunch of spotlights and guest posts coming up to promote Eban, including a giveaway of both Wystan and Eban and one for a $5 Amazon gift card. So stay tuned for chances to win.

I hope you'll consider buying Eban, though. I have his links all ready for you. 
Samhain || Amazon || B&N || ARe || Kobo || Google Books

But you can totally enter the giveaway for books here too in case you've been eyeballing both of them.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

On this special day, I have to give a shout out to my editor Holly and all the fine folks at Samhain for helping me introduce my Heckmasters to the world. Samhain is full of good people. I love them. And Holly is a great editor who really gets me. I couldn't ask for more.

For your reading pleasure, I give you a little bit of Eban today.

Eban had traced the sigil in cinnamon liberally sprinkled across his bedroom floor. The second he closed the circle around the image, the air rippled and parted like a curtain. Seere stepped through the rift, standing at his full height, his shoulder-length blond hair blowing in a breeze Eban couldn’t feel.
Although the Heckmasters didn’t have a liege, Eban bowed out of respect. Their father had broken with Astaroth well before his children were born, but prior to that, he’d had no minions of his own. His low status on the demon chain of command left his half-blood sons even lower.
“Prince Seere. Thank you for responding to my summons.”
Seere glanced around the room, curling his lip in obvious disgust with his surroundings. Impeccably dressed in the finest clothes a demon could buy—Seere’s riches were reputed to be so large no living man could count them—he was easily mistaken for a tycoon. Not a hair out of place or a wrinkle in the navy blue suit that complemented his golden features. The demon prince looked more like an angel and he’d used his looks for centuries to lure in unsuspecting souls.
“Heckmaster.”
Not the worst greeting he could’ve gotten. Gathering his courage, Eban decided to get to the point. “I need a favor.”
“Of course you do. Why else summon me?” Seere toyed with the chain of his golden pocket watch. “Don’t tarry.”
“I want you to banish Rosemar from Beryl Brookshier’s body.” Eban winced at his own choice of words. I want wasn’t exactly the way to gain Seere’s help.
Seere’s cool blue gaze didn’t waver. “You’re aware I have no boons to repay. In fact, it seems that you and your brothers are in debt to me. Deep debt.”
Eban gritted his teeth. There wasn’t any denying it. They owed him for the silver weapons they used to slay escapees from the Pit. They also owed him for warning Wystan that Noem was after Rhia, and he’d placed Rosemar beside her for protection and as a warrior to help defeat the chief demon. Neutral though he claimed to be in the war against Hell, Seere had done his share of work for the Heckmasters.
“I know.” He straightened his shoulders. “But Noem is gone, Rhia’s under Wystan’s protection and Berner’s a safe haven for demons looking to straighten out their lives. I don’t think Rosemar is necessary any longer.”
Seere smirked. “You presume much. You should have stopped at Noem is gone. For now, but not forever. He’ll suffer at Astaroth’s hand, and he will never come into favor again, but he may escape Hell one day.”
Eban’s heart sank. “What about Beryl?”
“Is one human worth the price of Hell on Earth?”
He bristled at the notion that human lives weren’t worth caring about. Seere more or less echoed Tell’s sentiments.
“Maybe she is.”
“Rosemar proved herself bold in the face of danger, did she not? Are you displeased with my minion’s performance in the first battle for Berner’s safety?” Seere brushed his fingers over his coat lapel. “She does not please you?”
“She did fine, but she’s killing that body. She can’t stay in it forever. It’ll begin to rot sooner or later. Perhaps before we’ve dealt with Astaroth.” He knew that fight was coming, but he hoped to be long gone before it arrived.
“Rosemar cannot use her true form to assist you. The human body must suffice.” Seere tilted his head, his gaze almost as penetrating as Tell’s. “Your little brother thinks it would be best to behead her now. He foolishly believes this will remove a problem from your lives.
Inform him that he’ll not enjoy the consequences if he destroys my minion.”
“I’ll let him know, but I doubt he’ll care.”
A wicked smile curved Seere’s mouth. “Perhaps I should have turned Rosemar’s sights on him instead.”
Eban frowned. “What?”
“It’s you she craves. That thread of humanity, the likes of which a lust demon cannot know. If you gave her half a chance, she’d make you her consort in the Gray Lands once the war here is done. I can’t imagine many demons turning her down. The body would be unaffected by rot if she were to return.”
Eban’s stomach churned. “That’s what she’s planning, isn’t it? She’ll do your bidding here, then as a reward, she’ll strip every bit of Beryl away and claim the body as her own.”

Oh. Shit. We can't let that happen. Guess you'd better read the book to find out what Eban does to prevent it. Teehee.

Monday, April 6, 2015

In Case You Missed It-Wildwood Spring Has a New Cover!


Thursday night while I was probably whacked out on cold medication (this thing just lingers and lingers), I decided to reveal the cover for Wildwood Spring. I meant to re-release it in the fall and maybe do a big cover reveal, but then...I just thought, tha heck am I keeping this to myself for? See, sounds like whacked out cold medicine thoughts, huh?

Cover. Pretty. So perfect. I did it myself. Okay, I didn't cut those nice people out, I hired someone to do that, but I did the rest. Not only does it have an all-new cover, but it also has an all new tagline and blurb. Here's that thing for you:

Rumors of the legendary healing waters of Wildwood Spring feed Celia Landry's belief there's a chance to save her ailing mother. She'll brave harsh weather and even the spring's reclusive owner in order to fill a bottle.

When Celia appears at Turner Wildwood's gate half frozen and babbling about curative water, his first inclination is to turn her away, but her bravery wins his admiration and he sends her home with a bottle full of hope even as he warns her there is no magic at Wildwood.

She returns to the manor seeking solace and finds it in the wondrous rooms at Wildwood and in Turner's arms. But sins of the past haunt the house and another threat seeks to unlock the secrets of Celia's checkered background. Old prejudices could destroy the couple's happiness before they discover the true miracle of love.


Keep your eyes peeled--the release date is coming sooner than you think!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Spring Fever - Love Is In The Air Blog Hop


Good Friday morning, kids!

Welcome to day 1 of the Spring Fever Love Is In The Air Blog Hop. I'm delighted to join in as I haven't blog hopped in a quite a while. 

I love spring mornings, even though I'm not a morning person, because they always seem so full of promise. Today, I offer you the promise of reading! If you comment and leave your email address on my blog, you'll be entered to win a copy of Cowboy Up 2, a box set of contemporary cowboy novellas from six hot western authors! Yay!

I thought you'd like that. And of course, don't forget to visit the other blogs on this hop, because you could win the grand prize, a gift card! That's one of my favorite prizes.

Back to that spring thing--I'm so glad it's finally spring. Some of the trees are starting to leaf out, more have pretty little blooms, and the daffodils have popped out of the ground. The grass is so green and bright, it's almost hard to look at. There are new spring babies everywhere. My favorites are the newborn calves. We have lots of cows around here.

I typically write romances set in the spring or summer. Winter is good for cuddling, yes, but the green seasons are my favorite and there's nothing hotter than a sultry kiss, a warm breeze, and maybe getting undressed beneath a starry sky. Um...I'm not going to admit either way if I have any personal experience with that.

Maybe my love for a romance set in the spring has a little something to do with my own--I did meet my husband in the spring. We had a summer wedding. I'll admit, it was hot (in more ways than one *wink, wink*), but the perfect time of year for a wedding.

In Good Ride, Cowboy, I don't necessarily specify the time of year, but it is warm. My characters attend a formal birthday party for one of the hero's friends and they spend some of the evening in a well landscaped garden full of rose blooms. Romance cliche? Eh, maybe, but who doesn't want to kiss a hot cowboy amid a bunch of fragrant blossoms?

Want a little taste of that kiss? Well, okay.

“Well slap my butt and call me Sally. Perry's got him a girlfriend.” Ashley beamed, but then a flash went off in front of them. “Mama wants lots of pictures. Don't pay any attention to the cameramen. Tell me the meet-cute story.”
Perry blinked, blinded by the camera flash. “We're old friends from high school.”
“Aww.” Ashley tilted her head and smiled as she looked between them. “That is just darlin'. I wish I could have a story like that someday, but we all know the boys at my school just like me 'cause of Daddy's money.” She grabbed Sommer's arm and pulled her close. “Don't you dare let this one go, Sommer. He is the best cowboy in the world and an even better friend, which is so important in a relationship. If I was older, I'd have snatched him up in a second. As it is, I have too much travelin' and too many oats to sew. Perry won't wait for me.”
Sommer's face strained in a frown. “Um, yes. He's been a really good friend.”
“You two don't stay too late at the concert, you hear?” Ashley wagged her finger at them. “You go back to the suite and enjoy yourselves.” She pulled Sommer into a hug. “I'm so happy you're with Perry. I hate seeing him alone.” Then she turned and sashayed away.
“What?” Sommer blinked. “That was like...”
“Sort of like a tornado.” Perry shrugged. “She comes by it honest.”
“I noticed. Wow.” Sommer shook her head. “I kind of expected her to claw my eyes out when she saw me with you. That...that was not what I imagined.”
“You've been away from good people too long. C'mon. I need a drink and maybe some air before they call supper.” He took her arm and led her from the entryway. Her hand was soft and relaxed on top of his wrist. The contact made his blood sizzle. “She's right, you know. I am the best cowboy in the world.”
Sommer laughed. “Is that so? For what it's worth, you're the best looking cowboy in a tux on this property.”
“But not all of the men here are cowboys.” He arched a brow. “Well, I'm not passing out awards for the best looking man overall yet. I have a whole night ahead of me.”
“I see how it is. Get an invitation to the cool kids' party and the cowboy is acceptable as a chaperon, but you keep shopping for something better.” He directed her out a door to the rose garden on the east wing of the house. The soft fragrance of hundreds of roses drifted on the air. The sun had set and strands of white fairy lights stretched between the trees, casting enough light to see the river rock paths through the bushes.
Sommer's features were shadowed under the dim light, but that shiny lip gloss wouldn't let him forget her lips.
“Perry, I'm teasing, you know that, right? I'm so honored you'd introduce me to your friends when I'm practically a hobo you found in a gutter.”
“Sommer, be quiet.”
“What?”
He leaned in and cupped her jaw. Their lips met. For a few heartbeats, she seemed surprised, but she relaxed and kissed him back. The faint notes of the string quartet playing in the house reached the garden and the night insects symphony hummed around them. The humid Texas night didn't warm him the way holding her close did.

Blurb:
Thanks to her ex-boyfriend, Sommer Allen's life is in shambles. She's headed home to Courtland, Texas for her sister's wedding, but when a quick stop a gas station ruins her plans, she's left stranded and at the mercy of a handsome cowboy.

Perry Glidewell is on his way back to Texas after winning another championship in the arena versus a bull. When he finds Sommer having a meltdown in the middle of a parking lot, he knows he can't leave her alone. Since her hometown is near his, it makes sense to hit the road together.

Sommer never imagined falling for a cowboy. His manners and gallant attitude win her over quickly, but with her future uncertain, she's not quite willing to give her whole heart to Perry. He'll do whatever it  takes to break the walls around Sommer's heart, because beneath her tough-talking exterior, he sees she's the type of Texas girl he's always dreamed of.

All right, let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Tell me about your favorite season or your wedding (real or dream), and I'll pick a winner at the end of the blog hop to get the Cowboy Up 2 box set!

Don't forget to visit the other blogs for more chances to win other great prizes!












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Book Feature - Seeking Love by JM Maurer

Title: Seeking Love (Emerging From Darkness Book 1)
By: JM Maurer @JMMaurer1
Publish Date: April 2, 2015
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Humor, Woman’s Fiction
Get it at: Amazon || B&N || Apple || Kobo || Amazon Author Page || Smashwords || ARe

Blurb: 
Every day, Jessica Winters does what she does best—bury herself in patient care within the walls of the neuro intensive care unit, keeping herself busy to escape the dark sadness that controls her life. But the day she sees Matthew Moi, the intriguing man seated at her new patient’s bedside, her shattered heart begins to frantically beat once again.

As Matthew pins his mesmerizing gaze upon her, trying to distract her with his humorous and playful banter, she does her best to ignore him. Somehow he already knows a great deal about her, breaking down Jessica’s barriers and awakening her soul, drawing her out of the darkness and into his arms. When her painful past resurfaces, revealing truths that threaten her future, Jessica struggles through her issues and fights to stay on a healing path . . . seeking love.

Excerpt:
One thing I knew: I wasn’t that woman anymore. I wouldn’t be her anymore.

My heart was racing at the thought of being separated from Matthew by only the door, and I watched as it opened, knowing he stood mere feet away. I drew in a deep breath to calm my frantic nerves and steady my racing heart. It was the moment my eyes would seehim again, and the same moment I knew all involuntary muscle movements would cease.

 As Matthew stepped in and around the door, his alluring eyes captured me. The feeling was nothing new. I’d been imprisoned by his gaze before. And locked in it again, I watched as he drifted to me, the indisputable chemistry between us palpable and absolute.His mesmerizing eyes had hypnotized my burning soul, completely bewitching me.

“Hello, Jessica,” he murmured, pointing to an open area of the bed. “Mind if I sit?”

I gave a slight shake of my head, having difficulty forming the simple word “no,” and watched as he made himself comfortable facing me. His crisp charcoal-colored trousers bunched as he scooted on the bed. My sight roamed along his classic plum-colored dress shirt and stopped searching once I focused on his face.

About the Author:
JM Maurer lives with her family in Chicago. She makes it a point to never work on a full moon and cringes when a coworker uses the “Q” word—never, ever say, "It’s a quiet day today," at her day job.

Known for being overly superstitious, she can usually be found scraping at the remnants of a Nutella container, screaming at a hockey game, or putting pen to paper, allowing the "real" crazy voices in her head to come alive. And after all this, it’s no wonder she’s an incurable romantic and loves escaping the rat race of life to immerse herself inside the world of a really good romance book . . . because, after all, what’s better than a happily-ever-after?

Visit her online:
Website: http://jmmaurer.com
Blog: http://jmmaurer.com/blog.html
Fecebook: https://www.facebook.com/JMMaurerAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMMaurer1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13459844.J_M_Maurer
tsu: http://www.tsu.co/JMicheleMaurer

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Progress = Relief

At Savvy Author's Bootcamp, no one is really going to scream at me if I don't write. I like to pretend they are, though. So here we are, April 2, and I've started a new historical romance. I'm suffering from some guilt because I should finish the one I started last year. Like Tell, this has gone on way too long and it's downright pitiful.

To that negative voice, I say, shut your cakehole. I have a fresh new idea, 61 days to write 50,000 words (as opposed to Camp NaNo where I'm pounding out a sometimes strenuous 1,667 to make 50k in a month), and so far it's going really great. Normally when I start a new book, I sit down and write the first 2000-3000 words. This time, I wrote about 1100, didn't finish the scene, and said, okay, now I've got to work on Tell. Today, I talked myself into writing another 900 so I'd be at 2000 and it's time to work on Tell. There's no rush, no fuss, I'm just going at this with a determined pace. I'll probably fail and then the negative voice will scream at me, you spent $10 on a two-month novel writing thingy to FAIL?! You can see why I wouldn't want that to happen.

So, 2k on my all new western historical romance. One thousand words closer to finishing Tell. Progress. (Also, we're just five days away from the Eban (The Heckmasters Book 2) release! Woohoo!)

Get on up now! Photo credit: Svilen Milev