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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Laura Drewry: Creative Outlets



At various times over the years I’ve dabbled in weaving, knitting, cross stitching, quilting, scrap booking, looming and card making. The card making I still do, but the rest of it. . .not so much. In fact, last year I finally stopped lying to myself about getting back into scrap booking and gave all of my supplies to my nieces.

I was pretty sure I'd lost my need to do anything else crafty after that, but then one day I was following my sister around Michael's . . .minding my own business I might add. . .when we started down the bead aisle.  Oh. My. Goodness.

I mean, seriously, have you been down these aisles? It's unbelievable! And not only do they have every type of bead, charm, gadget and doo-dah you can possibly imagine, but then they go and put it all on sale AND they offer you coupons through their app! So I ask you, what's a girl to do?

I'll tell you what she does - she stocks up! And while I'd like to say that what you see here has been the limit to my bead-buying, that would be a big fat lie. I've filled four cases like the one above and I have at least half a dozen more containers with various colours and types. One might almost think I've become obsessed. :)


And what am I doing with all of these beads? I started out making wineglass charms to give away at the RWA conference next month and that led me into making earrings and necklaces. It's a learning process, that's for sure, but it's fun and relaxing and the beads are oh-so-pretty! :) 

      

What sorts of crafts do you do? 





Welcome to the Buoys where love comes in with the tide.
"...the perfect balance of sweet, sexy, and wonderfully romantic." 
- Lauren Layne, NYT Bestselling author
USA Today bestselling author Laura Drewry writes fun and sexy contemporary romances filled with heartfelt emotion and characters readers can relate to. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, watching Marvel movies with her boys, Pinning recipes she'll never make, and cheering for the Yankees. Laura lives in southwest British Columbia with her husband, three sons, two dogs, a handful of chickens, and about 30,000 bees.



Saturday, June 24, 2017

When Beauty Meets the Beast


The second instalment of my Wild Warriners series comes out in a few days, this story belongs to the second eldest, Jamie Warriner, the gruff and wounded former soldier. A Warriner to Rescue Her was positive joy to write because I already knew Jamie pretty well from the first book. In fact, as soon as I wrote the words The End on A Warriner to Protect Her, I started this straight after and from the outset it just flowed.

Initially, I had lofty plans to write a story filled with intrigue, using Jamie’s background as a highly skilled officer in covert recognisance. However, as so often happens in my odd head, my characters led me on a completely different path. Instead of going off on an adventure away from home, Jamie stays put. He’s still tortured by his demons, scared of the latent, dangerous violence within him and believes that his life is over after accepting the damage to his leg and broken mind will never heal. While feeling a little bit sorry for himself, he meets the woman of his dreams under quite unusual circumstances.

‘Hello!’ A slightly panicked woman’s voice came from above. ‘Is somebody there?’

‘Hello?’ He hadn’t been expecting to address the sky. The sun pierced Jamie’s eyes to such an extent he could not see a thing except blinding yellow light. The woman’s exact location remained a mystery. Unless she was an angel sent to fetch him and drag him off to heaven, which he sincerely doubted. They had had their chance and failed miserably and if he was bound for anywhere it was probably hell. ‘I can’t see you!’

‘I am in the tree… I wonder if you would be so good as to assist me, sir. I appear to be stuck.’

Surreal words, again unexpected. How did a woman come to be stuck in an apple tree? Jamie did his best to shield the worst of the glare with his hand and squinted through the tangled branches. Two wiggling feet dangled nearly six feet above his head. They were encased in half-boots and were attached to a very shapely pair of female legs, clad in fine silk stockings which were held up with rather saucy pink garters. His eyes widened at the garters. From this perspective they appeared to be completely festooned with flowers. Above them, about an inch or two of creamy thigh was also on display. The rest of the woman was hidden by leaves.


From then on, Cassie Reeves- the effervescent vicar’s daughter with secrets of her own- brings some much-needed chaos and purpose to Jamie’s life. Cassie writes children’s stories involving her horse Orange Blossom, and against his better judgement, Jamie gets dragged into illustrating them. They are an unlikely pair- think Beatrix Potter meeting the Incredible Hulk- but they are made for each other.

Perfect soulmates.

Something everyone else works out very quickly. Everyone else accept for Jamie, of course…


You can read a sneak peak of the first chapter HERE

Friday, June 23, 2017

Read an excerpt from #RebelInASmallTown by @AuthorKristina Knight

Hi, everyone! I'm really excited about the upcoming release of the second book in my Slippery Rock series - Rebel in a Small Town! It's a reunion romance with a secret baby and a town scandal - three of my favorite things in fiction...so I thought I'd share a little excerpt with you today.

The gum-smacking teen pointed a broom handle at her as if she were under fire, and the bored clerk talked animatedly into the phone, waving her hands as she said something Mara couldn’t make out from her side of the thick-paned door.
She motioned to her bag and tried to shout above the racket of the beepers. “I’m with Cannon Security,” she said, but the teenager kept wielding the broom handle at her like it was a machete. “I’m on a security check,” she said, trying again, but neither of the employees seemed able to hear her. Maybe the two of them didn’t want to hear her.
Damn it. She checked her watch. She needed to be at the bed and breakfast in twenty minutes, and she didn’t see that happening. Crap, crap, crap. She never missed Zeke’s postnap snack. Never.
A crowd gathered behind the check stand, mostly middle-aged women wearing jeans and T-shirts and probably boots, just like their husbands would. A few had small children with them and pushed the kids behind their carts as if Mara might be dangerous. “Turn off the buzzers,” she yelled, putting her hands over her ears.
The checker hung up the phone and came over to the glass. She said something that sounded peculiarly like “Criminals deserve discomfort” before backing away to the safety of her check stand. As if Mara was about to draw a gun or something.
“Now I know what the goldfish at the office feels like,” she muttered, still holding her hands over her ears. She pushed one foot against the inner and outer doors, but neither budged.
Finally the beepers stopped and everything quieted. Mara took her hands from her ears and tried the doors again. They didn’t budge. She repeated her call through the thick glass.
“I’m here on a security check. I need to speak with Michael Mallard.” The clerk shot a glance behind her toward an area marked Employees Only. No one appeared. The crowd began to disperse, lessening the goldfish effect.
She tugged at her earlobe when a low siren began to wail. Was this some kind of second-tier warning system? The clerk crossed her arms over her chest as if in triumph. The wailing became louder, and it wasn’t coming from inside the store. Mara pressed her face against the outer door, looking left and then right.
“No, no, no. Please, no.”
The siren grew louder, and a few cars passing on the street pulled to the side.
“Let it be a fire. Let it be a fire.”
But it wasn’t a red fire truck that entered the parking lot. It was a big black SUV with Wall County Sheriff plastered along its side. She was definitely not making it to the B and B for snack time.
As the SUV came to a stop, she could make out the driver, a large man with brown hair and big aviator sunglasses over his eyes—eyes she knew would be the color of molten chocolate. This man had been interrupting her dreams since she’d hit puberty and began to figure out why male and female body parts were made so deliciously dissimilar.
“Crap, crappity crap.”

Rebel in a Small Town releases July 1 - but don't worry, you can pre-order now and it will auto-download at midnight on the first!

Amazon  B&N  iBooks  KOBO  Harlequin

Blurb for Rebel in a Small Town: 

He's not giving up his family without a fight


James Calhoun has never been able to resist Mara Tyler, or her knack for mischief. Her reputation as a reckless teenager drove Mara from their hometown. So Slippery Rock is the last place James ever expected to see her, and Mara's timing couldn't be worse. With the upcoming election for sheriff, she threatens the squeaky-clean image James needs to win. Because Mara has brought with her the result of their steamy affair: his two-year-old son, Zeke. After the initial shock, James is determined to have both his family and career. He just needs to convince Mara that her home is where it's always been. With him.

You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lara Temple: Why writing is like swimming except you don’t need a towel (or do you?)

Before I thought of trying to become a published writer I admit I regarded writing as a bit of a mystical inspiration-driven revelation spilling out like a Roman fountain. Well, that fiction was soon tossed onto the dust heap. A year and a bit after my first book has been published I am at least clear on one thing – writing is a process like any other in our life, riddled with pleasure and pain and predictable obstacles, and I go about it just like I go about other processes, for good and for bad. I write the way I work, the way I parent, even the way I shop. Sad but true. Now I discovered I write the way I swim.

I love swimming – with two little kids and two careers I don’t get to do much of it any more but I love it. While trying desperately to finish the second book in my Wild Lords series which starts in November I escaped to the pool to try and get some perspective and drown out desperation. I went through my usual breaking points:

(1) The first is getting into the water in the first place. I mean – it’s cold! And I’m as close to coldblooded as it gets this side of a lizard. But I curse and weep inwardly and take the plunge, literally, knowing that within four or five laps that at least will be behind me. The same with writing – there are endless ideas for a book but you have to take the plunge and commit to one of them, ready to take it all the way.

(2) The real breaking point comes one third into my swim. I hit fifteen minutes or so and realize – that was only one third? I have two do this twice again? No way! What was I thinking? What am I doing here with all these svelte thirty year old metrosexual men and women skimming through the water in the neighboring lanes, I should just face the middle aged facts and find a more appropriate way of trying to stay fit and sane than torturing myself each time in the freezing waters when I just want to go sit in the Jacuzzi and maybe pray for a margarita.

With my writing this is the 25k word count point – I often love what I have so far but wonder how on earth with so much already fully formed of this story am I going to manage another 50k words? The story is so large in my mind it seems absurd that it is only a third of the way done. I already have HEAs and epilogues bursting the seams of my gray matter but I still haven’t actually written the darn book! I begin to flounder, worrying perhaps this is the one time I really won’t have enough breath to make it all the way. Doubt sets in, dragging all other doubts with it – I don’t have what it takes amongst all those amazing writers out there who are smoother, funnier, smarter than I. I begin to sink.
 This is where I grit my teeth and begin pounding at my keyboard, making gnashing noises as I try to drown out that inner critic until it actually works and then I’m sailing again…These are the great moments because they come after you vanquish doubt.

(3) Somehow I get past this point and then the strangest thing happens when I hit my appointed fifty minutes – I don’t want to stop. There is something wrong about stopping. I OWN this pool. I’m faster than the guy swimming in the other lane. I’m Wonder Woman  gone aqua. Once I stop I’ll just be me again and have to face reality…I don’t even have to explain the analogy. I hate writing The End and saying goodbye to my fictional lovers.

We each have our own writing style and our own way of coping with challenges and pitfalls and joy and our whole life reflects them. At least that’s what I think. I’d be curious to hear if other writers think they write the way they live – or not.


Sneak peek at my Wild Lords book #1: Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Bride (Nov. 2017)

‘I think I might actually enjoy this,’ Nell whispered, and Hunter was surprised to see her eyes brimming with laughter
‘Enjoy what?’ He asked, fascinated by the way her lips warmed to peach.
‘Flirting. I think I’m starting to understand how it works.’
A slap might have been more painful, but no more sobering. For a moment he had actually forgotten why he was doing this.
‘That’s good. Feel free to experiment. Despite my name, I don’t mind being hunted.’
‘I’m not sure how. I don’t think I could ever do what Lady Melkinson does.’
He caught the hopelessness in her voice.
‘You won’t know until you try,’
Her silver irises glimmering through her lashes as they sank to half-mast.
‘Like this?’ Her voice husky, she leaned towards him, the tips of her fingers just brushing his sleeve. Then her lips parted and the tip of her tongue touched her lower lip, drawing it in gently and letting it go. As far as seductions went it was very mild, as hesitant as a girl dressing in her mother’s finery. There was no reason it should feel like the blood was reversing course in his veins.



Book Links:

Author Contact Links
Twitter: @laratemple1
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2mWin9R


Monday, June 19, 2017

June is Bustin’ Out All Over! by Jenny Gardiner

 I should know what that headline means—but I haven’t a clue. It’s probably a song from a musical from the 50’s. Whatever it’s from, it is June and I guess it’s bustin’ out somewhere…

I’m going to make this short and sweet as I have a book due to my editor that’s nowhere near ready—Blue-Blooded Romeo is going to be on it’s way to my editor tonight, come hell or high water. Wish me luck on that! But in the meantime, I wanted to share puppy pictures—yes we had puppy sisters living at our house while our girls were home and I’ve been a little bit (make that exceedingly) puppy crazy! Alas, they’ve all (our kids and their pups) moved on now so it’s super quiet around here. I do miss having everyone here and the commotion (though it was not conducive to getting any work done, hence I’m slammed with that deadline). But I’ve got lots of pictures of those sweet babies so I’ll share them here.

I hope you’ll have a chance to check out Silver Spoon Romeo, which comes out today! And if you’re so inclined to share the release information with reading friends, I’d be so appreciative!

By the way---lots more adorable puppy pictures on my website if you want some more puppy porn! 
Meantime hope your June is bustin’ out all over!

Happy Reading!

Jenny
  





I hope you'll have a chance to check out my Royal Romeos series, which is a spin-off of my wildly popular It's Reigning Men series--I hope you'll be able to check them out!

Happy reading!

    
  



 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Xenakis's Convenient Bride by Dani Collins

The Secret Billionaires - Book Two


On the 16th of May, June, and July, look for interviews with the authors of each book in this fun trilogy about tycoons who go undercover to win a bet and lose their hearts along the way...

How does your hero go under cover?

Stavros Xenakis is sent back to the Greek island of his youth. He arrives to a pair of swim trunks and the realization that he is about to become a pool boy.

What does he think when he finds out exactly what the bet entails? (Share a couple of lines if you like)

Stavros is a good sport about the new job, but he has to face guilt over his father's death when he arrives at his childhood home. He soon sees Calli, the gorgeous housekeeper, but presumes she's the new owner's mistress. 

As he’d followed the map, he had recognized the dip and roll of the road through the hills, eighteen years of changes notwithstanding. His heart had grown heavier with each mile, his lungs tighter.
Then, when he discovers Calli asleep on a floatie in the pool...
Sex with that woman right there would certainly take the sting out of today’s situation. The next fourteen days, in fact.
  
Who is your heroine? What does she think of Stavros when she first meets him?

When Calli meets Stavros, she instinctively knows he's more than what he appears. She had her heart broken by a tourist in the past, though, which makes her wary of the effect he has on her. She tries to take him down a peg. It doesn't go well. (Hint: punishingly tender kiss)

What situations or challenges does Stavros face that risk exposing him?

When Stavros cuts his leg, she has to take him to the clinic, where his name almost gives him away. Then her employer shows up and he can tell something is off with Stavros, but Calli is crushing hard by then and defends him.

What does Calli think when she realizes who he really is?

She's stunned that he has returned when he seemingly rejected her at the end of his 'job.' Now he's proposing? Stavros's grandfather wants him to marry. He knows Calli wants to go to New York and offers to take her there if she'll marry him long enough for him to take control of the family business. He doesn't know she wants to look for the son who was stolen by the baby's father when he was only a few weeks old. Calli sees no need to reveal that, but it's an offer she can't refuse. So even though she doesn't quite trust him, she goes along with the deal.  

Share a few lines of her reaction?
“Calli will be coming to New York with me. As my wife.” 
“What?!” Calli didn’t realize she’d been holding a champagne flute until it hit the tiles and smashed, leaving a wet stain spreading on the fancy new tiles Stavros had laid and now possessed. She swore under her breath and shot an abashed look around
Xenakis's Convenient Bride is on shelves now or you can buy it at your favourite online retailer. 


AmazonUK | US | iBooks | Kobo | Nook 




USA Today Bestselling author Dani Collins has penned over thirty titles for Harlequin Presents, Tule's Montana Born, and herself. 

She lives in an empty nest in rural BC, Canada with her high school sweetheart. 

Join Dani's newsletter group and you'll receive a link to download Cruel Summer as a welcome gift.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Michelle Styles: Acquiring a hen as an editor






Gingernuts and copper black hens 
Getting new hens is always an exciting time.
I have kept hens since my youngest was 3 (he is now 22). It was supposed to be a short term thing as he had a big thing on a book about hens and I wanted to see if keeping hens would stop us from running out of eggs as often.
Copper black hen
 For a number of reasons (including being woken up at 3 am with crowing), we do not keep a cockerel. This means when we want to get more hens, I have to buy them in.  I get them as Point of Lay pullets rather than as eggs (hen eggs need to be continously turned unlike duck eggs which are turned twice a day) or chicks (at the moment we have kitten-cats who would undoubtedly love to play with chicks but I suspect the chicks would be less keen.) Hens in my experience are productive for 3 -5 years. Being a wimp, I tend to allow the old girls to die a natural death. Only 2 remained of our current lot and they both ceased egg production and I dislike supermarket eggs.
Columbines have feathered hats
Our usual supplier had gone out of business and so I needed to find someone else. As luck would have it, the UK largest supplier of poultry,Durham Hens is quite near us and had a wide range of available hens to choose from.  I was very impressed with the range and cleanliness of the operation. They had just won a major business award and it was easy to see why. They also offer poultry keeping classes, a hen holiday service (a bit like a kennel for hens) as well as poultry supplies.
My daughter and I chose 2 gingernut rangers, 2 copper blacks and 2 columbines. The hens settled very quickly and have very distinct personalities. This makes a change from the White leghorns which were just a flock of hens. They are the friendliest of the hens we have had.
Gingernut egg (lighter coloured) and Copper black (terracotta)
Yesterday I decided to write outside and one of the gingernuts decided that she in fact was an editor and was not particularly enamoured of my writing. Later one of the columbines decided to thieve a piece of cheese from the tapas plate my husband had put out for us to eat. This was a first as normally the hens are less bold.  
Hens are relatively straight forward to keep. Poultry layers pellets for food, water and mucking out the hen house every week. The manure goes on the compost heap and helps to fertilise the vegetables.
Gingernut inspecting my work!
 Our hens are completely free range but get locked up at night because we do have foxes about. They normally lay in the hen house but some do take to laying elsewhere and so I do check the known places…If you put an egg in a bowl of cold water, you can tell if it is fresh. Fresh ones sink. Rotten eggs float.  Proper free-range eggs taste that much better. There really is no comparison. If you can’t keep hens, do try to get them from a small local supplier, rather than from a supermarket.
We keep the vegetable patch fenced off but the hens do not really bother with the garden much…sometimes if we have been putting new plants in, the hens will scratch at the earth to get the worms and bugs. They like grass. And along with the ducks, they provide a bit of colour to the garden. And did I mention the eggs?

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romances in a wide range of time periods. Her latest Viking Sold to the Viking Warrior was published in February 2017. To learn more about Michelle and her books visit www.michellestyles.co.uk