Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Vault of Secrets Super Book Blast


VAULT OF SECRETS
By
Hawk McKinney

BLURB:  

Vault of Secrets is a compelling tale of intrigue, murder, deception and redemption that leads retired Navy SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram in search of the connection between seemingly random murders and a banking conspiracy.  Working with the local homicide investigator, who just happens to be a former Navy buddy, Craige Ingram's attempts to protect a lonely widow and solve the case before another person dies are only thwarted by a psychotic killer whose motivation is based on pure pleasure.  The instincts and skills Ingram and his buddy acquired as Navy SEALS are tested to their limits.



EXCERPT 3

Predawn risers were at Duke’s breakfast diner in booths and at tables.  The aroma of fried eggs, pancakes, grits, bacon and country ham filled the air.  Gray caught Craige up on Sedgewicke’s autopsy reports—chronic degenerative heart condition, sky high cholesterol and arterial disease.
“His heart wasn’t what killed him.  Got us a crafty one here,” Gray sighed.  “CDC Atlanta verified Fred’s gas chromatography runs on the poison.”  Handed Craige the folder.

Craige’s eyes zeroed to the big, bold word—ACONITE.  “Lethal dose of aconite in Royce’s tissues,” Craige said.  “Gives the how but not the way it was slipped to Sedgewicke.” He looked through the rest of the toxicology report.  “Not very original.  Rome’s Julio-Claudian's treacherous family of brigands was in some ways a lot more honest than most of us and far more sophisticated with aconite.  They called it wolfsbane and used it often.  Wife of old Octavian Augustus, a determined old dowager, the Empress Livia, it was rumored to be her favorite method for eliminating rivals.  She kept her supplier on call.  Augustus wouldn’t eat anything except food prepared by his own slaves.  Livia wanted her son Tiberius to succeed to the purple.  She was afraid Augustus meant to be rid of Tiberius, so she dusted her husband’s figs with the bane.  People do get away with murder and simple makes for better odds.” Craige glanced at the next page.  “This gone beyond your office?”

“Only CDC,” Gray said.  “Your crack about possible killings we don’t know about keeps troubling me.” He scratched his wiry mustache.  “Marshall’s suicide, Sedgewicke murder, two women dead, the Stanley break-in.”

Craige closed the folder, his face stony serious. “I’ve never done, what I’m about to do.  Ask you for a favor...”

“No…”  Craige’s monotone hardness surprised Gray.  “But I gather that’s about to change.”






AUTHOR INFORMATION:

With postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.

Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention.  Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012.

"Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy--these are the things that take Hawk's main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation's capital and across Europe and the Middle East."

Barbara Casey, President
Barbara Casey Literary Agency




 One randomly drawn commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card. Follow the tour: the more comments you make, the better your chances of winning.

 http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/10/super-book-blast-vault-of-secrets-by.html


Monday, November 25, 2013

Entangled Edge November Release Day and Giveaways


Edge, a digital-first single-title romance line from Entangled Publishing, takes its lead from our popular Select imprint but gives its novels an edge in the marketplace by bringing great stories to readers at reasonable prices in a quick-and-easy way. Whether sexy or sweet, traditional romance or love and lust with a women’s fiction bent, at the center of every Edge book is heart. From Urban Fantasy to Contemporary Romance to Science Fiction Romance, Edge has a book for all romance readers—and right at their fingertips! As they say, all’s fair in love and war. To find out more about our titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow us on Twitter, and like our Facebook page.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Edge's November releases!!



Some Like it Sinful by Robbie Terman
Perfect Recipe #2

Their attraction is sinfully delicious…

A struggling business and one act of vandalism may have brought them together, but bakery owner Chloe Nelson and professional hockey player Griffin Lange get along like chocolate and pickles. Chloe needs the famous (and famously unattached) Griffin to attract people to her pastries, and Griffin needs the curvaceous and fiery Chloe to keep him out of trouble. A fake relationship to keep the media interested seems like the perfect plan.

But when temptation throws them into bed together, a new plan arises. Why not make the fake real? Griffin’s winning every home game, and Chloe’s business has never been better. Both know it’s only physical—and only temporary. But can they drop their defenses for love, even if it means getting a little bit sinful?




Wild Card by Jamie Wyman

It was bad enough that gods gambled with human souls, but Catherine Sharp’s soul just had to be won by the Greek goddess of Discord, Eris. As if working a dead-end tech support job didn’t suck the life out of her as it was. Now, Cat finds herself performing random tasks for the goddess in her free time.

But when Coyote, the Native American trickster himself, claims to have won her own soul in Mayhem's weekly poker game, Cat wants in on the action. With five sneaky gods upping the ante, Cat needs to find a way to collect the winning chips that could save her soul.

Marius, a handsome yet irritating satyr with his own debt to Eris, might finally come in handy for something. If they play their cards right and work together, Cat and Marius may just get their freedom back. If they don't kill each other or fall in love first.




a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Covet November Release Day Bash and Giveaways


Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. They are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules, alike. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, LIKE their Facebook page, and join the Book Club.


Today I'm happy to be featuring Covet's November releases which is very exciting because in celebration of these three great new books, they are on sale for just $0.99 for the first week of release only. So they are perfect to download and read over the long holiday weekend between all the hussle and bussle for a nice little break.

Also, make sure to hop on twitter tonight, 11/25 at 8PM to join in the #CovetBash. The authors of these fabulous books will be joining in the fun, and there will be lot's of chances to win prizes, including a grand prize giveaway of Covet's entire backlist to one lucky winner! Details here.

Join the twitter party! http://www.entangledinromance.com/2013/11/25/twitter-party-covetbash-2/


Parts & Wreck by Mark Henry

Wade Crowson, a brutish and brooding playboy and veteran vivisectionist for the Parts Department, runs into more than he bargained for in new partner, Lucid Montgomery, a quirky beauty with a bizarre secret and a string of psychiatric diagnoses she tries hard to keep hidden. Loving Luce will stamp a demonic target on her back and thrust Wade into a frenzied whirlwind of hilarious misunderstandings and, quite possibly, a stripping gig for emptynesters. Can they withstand the savagery of an exorcism (with or without the split pea soup) and come out alive and …in love?



Operation Saving Daniel by Nina Croft

At eighteen, Melissa seduced her best friend Julia's brother only to run away shortly after. While Daniel was her fairytale prince, Lissa didn’t believe in happy ever afters.

Ten years and a near death experience later, Lissa is ready for a husband and family. But a cry for help from Julia puts that dream on hold. Daniel is acting weird and he’s about to marry his long term girlfriend—AKA The Evil One. Someone needs to save him.

Daniel has never stopped loving Lissa. Ten years ago when he gave her a little freedom, he always intended that one day they would be together. Right up until the moment he was bitten by a werewolf. Now, Daniel has to hide what he is. He won’t risk anyone else, especially the woman he loves.

But Lissa is back. Their attraction is stronger than ever and Lissa is nothing if not tenacious.




The Awakening: Britton by Abby Niles
The Awakening #3

"I would lick that man up one side and down the other."

Half-shifter and lead SPAC agent, Val Calhoun, has listened to women gush over the Don Juan of the precinct for the last four years. Yeah, Detective Britton Townsend is hot and has stunning blue eyes, but that foul mouth he saves only for her? What a waste of good looks. And no way does Val want that mouth anywhere near hers.

When the shifter community is threatened, Val is assigned to the case…and fails. So the High Council turns to the rogue shifter they'd sentenced to twenty years as a human--that same obnoxiously sexy Detective Townsend. And sends the two arch-enemies deep into the North Carolina Mountains-—together, and alone.

Being stuck in a tiny honeymoon cabin with Miss Castration and only one bed is definitely not Britton's idea of a good time. But the High Council doesn’t take no for an answer. After his shifter abilities are restored, Brit is once again susceptible to the dreaded, irreversible bonding instinct, the Drall. Thankfully, all he’s ever felt for Val is intense loathing, no reason to worry. Right? All he has to do is solve this case pronto, and he can go back to his footloose Casanova ways. That is, if they don’t kill each other first. Or worse...fall in love.



Missed the first book in the Awakening series? While these books stand alone, it can be fun to go back and see how the other couple got together. And in celebration of book #3's release, book one, The Awakening: Aidan is on sale for just $0.99 as well, so grab it while you can!


The Awakening: Aidan by Abby Niles
The Awakening #1

Is the gift of eternal love a blessing or a curse? After years of counseling grieving shifters, psychiatrist and half-shifter, Dr. Jaylin Avgar has become jaded on shifter mating. She wants to marry a human and forget about the love for eternity crap. Then she meets Aidan O’Connell, an infuriatingly laid back shifter who represents everything she doesn’t want. Yet, the more he pursues her, the more she craves a future with him. Only one thing stands in her way: death. Can she overcome her fear of losing Aidan to the one guarantee in life? Millionaire consultant, Aidan O’Connell knows he’ll one day meet a woman who’ll awaken an unrelenting mating instinct. Unfortunately, that woman is Jaylin, who has no qualms about telling him that he and his so-called eternity can shove it. When she pushes him away, he takes a drastic step so she can no longer escape. The close proximity throws the instinct into overdrive. Can he control the need engrained in him until he’s certain she will reciprocate the bond, or will a moment of weakness doom him to hell on earth?



a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ever After: Christmas Past Release Day Book Blast and Giveaway




Find Your Ever After in Under An Hour


Ever After features paranormal, sci-fi, and horror novellas, all with the romance you've come to love from Entangled--just in a shorter format. Make sure to like their new Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Ever After's November release!


Christmas Past by Susanna Fraser

Time-traveling PhD student Sydney Dahlquist’s first mission sounded simple enough—spend two weeks in December 1810 collecting blood samples from the sick and wounded of Wellington’s army, then go home to modern-day Seattle and Christmas with her family. But when her time machine breaks, stranding her in the past, she must decide whether to sacrifice herself to protect the timeline or to build a new life—and embrace a new love—two centuries before her time.

Rifle captain Miles Griffin has been fascinated by the tall, beautiful "Mrs. Sydney" from the day he met her caring for wounded soldiers. When he stumbles upon her time travel secret on Christmas Eve, he vows to do whatever it takes to seduce her into making her home in his present—by his side.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 22, 2013

Into the Fire Super Book Blast


INTO THE FIRE
by Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

The Virus changed them, but that was only the beginning…
…death…mutation…insanity…corruption…terror…
…all that remains is hope.

In the wake of destruction left behind by the Virus, it took Dani and Zoe months to find each other. But their reunion was short-lived. Dani has been taken, and though little distance separates them, they might as well be worlds apart.

From the moment she hears Dani’s scream, Zoe’s only goal is to save her best friend. She and her companions scramble to come up with a rescue plan, but when a ghost from Jake’s past reappears, lines are blurred, decisions become harder, and secrets are revealed…and some secrets are best left buried. To keep heartache and fear from consuming her, Zoe must cling to her determination. She will see Dani again.

Dani awakens inside the final hold-out of civilization: the Colony. Remnants of the former world surround her—electricity, safety, social order—but all is not what it seems. As she faces her most manipulative adversary yet, she loses sight of who she is and who she can trust. Friends become enemies, enemies become allies, and allies will betray her.  Dani will have to decide what she’s willing to do and whose lives she’s willing to risk if she is to have any chance of breaking free.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Excerpt 2 (Zoe): 432 words

I froze. He’s leaving. I glared at Jake’s back, but feeling his misery, my anger quickly subsided. “We can figure something—”

“Stop!” He pulled his arm back and slammed his fist into the wall, denting it. “There’s nothing to figure out. My sister will not be used as a pawn.” His face fell. He leaned back and brought his hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose. “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”

He’s already made up his mind. Instantly, I started to question everything about Jake and me…about us. My reservations from the first time I met him—the first time he saved me, opened his mouth, and pushed me away—flared to life, and I chided myself for being so na├»ve. I knew something like this would happen. 

The questions jumped off my tongue before I could contain them. “What about Dani? What about me? You’re just going to leave?”

When he didn’t respond, reality burst overhead like a looming storm cloud, clearing away the fog that had settled in my heart and mind. How could I have been so stupid?

The conversation we’d had on the dock back in St. Louis resurfaced from under a month’s-worth of foolhardy emotions. Jake’s words replayed in my mind.

“For whatever reason, I know you don’t want to let me in…or maybe you just don’t know how…what are you afraid of?”

This. This feeling of inexplicable loss was what I’d been afraid of—the living lump of hysteria swelling in my throat, the desperation in my heart. I couldn’t swallow it away.

Biting the inside of my cheek as hard as possible, I willed myself to calm down. Keep it together, Zoe.

Jake strode past me to Becca, pulling her up to her feet.

Lunging at him, I pushed against his chest as hard as I could. “You’re leaving?” He stumbled away from Becca, and I pushed him again. “You’re going to kill Dani!” I shoved against his shoulder. “You’re going to kill us all if you take her!” I smack his chest. “I won’t let you ruin everything.” I won’t let you break my heart! I pushed, shoved, and slapped him again and again. “You son of a bitch!” 

Jake gripped my arms firmly, immobilizing me and forcing me to look up at him. His eyebrows lifted with sympathy…or is it sorrow? I was too upset to differentiate between his emotions and mine.

“Let go,” I warbled.

As he opened his mouth to speak, a gunshot cracked through the air, and Jake yanked me down to the floor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lindsey Fairleigh lives her life with one foot in a book—as long as that book transports her to a magical world or bends the rules of science. Her novels, from post-apocalyptic to time travel and historical fantasy, always offer up a hearty dose of unreality, along with plenty of adventure and romance. When she's not working on her next novel, Lindsey spends her time reading and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She lives in the Napa Valley with her loving husband and confused cats.

Lindsey Pogue has always been a little creative. As a child she established a bug hospital on her elementary school soccer field, compiled books of collages as a teenager, and as an adult, expresses herself through writing. Her novels are inspired by her observations of the world around her--whether she's traveling, people watching, or hiking. When not plotting her next story line or dreaming up new, brooding characters, Lindsey's wrapped in blankets watching her favorite action flicks or going on road trips with her own leading man.


Links:



Buy links:

Amazon: 
Into The Fire (The Ending, #2) - not available yet
After The Ending (The Ending, #1) - http://www.amazon.com/After-Ending-ebook/dp/B00BJDUBLU

Barnes & Noble:
Into The Fire (The Ending, #2) - not available yet

Smashwords:
Into The Fire (The Ending, #2) - not available yet  
After The Ending (The Ending, #1) – not available yet



Kobo:
Into The Fire (The Ending, #2) - not available yet  
After The Ending (The Ending, #1) – not available yet

Win a gift card! Fill out the form below! Leave a comment and follow the tour for more chances to win!

 http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/10/super-book-blast-into-fire-by-lindsey.html

Swept Away For Christmas Blurb Blitz


SWEPT AWAY FOR CHRISTMAS
by MJ Fredrick, Tanya Michaels and Trish Milburn

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Christmas isn’t always snow-covered with a frosty chill in the air. Sometimes it’s sandy beaches with balmy breezes.

And sometimes we find love in the most unexpected places, a place like Starfish Shores.

Here Comes McBride

Shelby James has only truly loved one man — but Finn McBride broke her heart when emotional baggage from his past came between them. Now, Shelby is serving as maid of honor at a beach wedding where Finn is the best man. Will reuniting with Finn be a Christmas miracle, or the worst mistake she's ever made?

Two Hearts a Leaping

After a break-up with her high school sweetheart, Harley Blume retreats to her brother's home in Starfish Shores to lick her wounds and figure out what she's doing next. But her brother is in the Coast Guard reserves and heading out of town, leaving her in the care of Liam Channing, his best friend since they played college football together. She's never been able to keep her tongue in her mouth when good-looking, easy-going Liam is around. How is she going to find her way if she can't keep her balance?

Cruisin’ for a Kiss

When Avery Phillips loses her magazine job right before Christmas, she heads back home to Starfish Shores to spend the holidays with the grandparents who raised her. The plan is to hit the job search hard so that she has a new position when the New Year arrives. What isn’t part of the plan is heading up a remodeling effort at her family’s beach motel or falling for the man helping to save the business into which her grandparents put a lifetime of work. As Christmas draws closer, will Avery stick to the original plan to leave town again or take a chance with Luke Taylor and a new life she never expected?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Excerpt Three from:

Cruisin’ for a Kiss
By Trish Milburn

If the last contractor didn’t present her with a more reasonable figure, she’d start all over tomorrow. Surely there was someone out there who’d be grateful enough for work this time of year to cut her a nice deal.

When the door opened, she glanced up expecting to see another middle-aged guy who’d gone a little soft around the middle. At a glance, she was going to guess there wasn’t anything soft about the man staring back at her. Tall, lean, dark blond hair and light eyes. It wasn’t until he shot her a hint of a grin that she remembered it wasn’t nice to stare at hot strangers.

Way to go, Phillips.

She resisted the urge to check her mouth for drool.

“You called about an estimate,” he said as he sauntered up to the front counter.

Hoping her legs supported her, Avery stood. “Yeah. We want to give the place a new but vintage look.” She broke eye contact and took her time rounding the counter so she could try to corral her suddenly raging hormones.

She led him to the area they used for continental breakfasts and told him about her idea for a soda fountain, black-and-white checked floor tiles and a pressed tin ceiling.

“I know all that might not be possible, but I’m just looking to get ballpark figures now.”

“I think we can work something out.”

Something about his voice seemed familiar, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. She allowed her gaze to stay focused on him a little too long as he wrote in a small notepad. He smiled, more fully this time, when he lifted his eyes to catch her watching.

“You don’t remember me, do you?”

She was supposed to know him? Surely she would have remembered someone that good looking. Not only remembered but had wild, steamy dreams about him.

“I’m sorry.”

She expected him to give her his name, but he didn’t. No, he left her dangling on the hook, desperately searching her brain for the names of every man with whom she’d ever crossed paths. He looked about her age. A classmate? He acted like he had some sway with whether his company took the project or not, so maybe he was the owner? The names of all the companies she’d called the day before floated through her head until one clicked. Taylor Construction.

Surely not. It couldn’t be.

“Luke?”

“Bingo.”

This definitely wasn’t the Luke Taylor she remembered. The one she knew had been more on the nerdy end of the scale than the make-me-pant end. He hadn’t been ugly, but he’d rarely looked up from his books. And he’d lived behind glasses and worn clothes that were either forgettable or further proclaimed his geekitude. She’d expected him to grow up to be a medical researcher or rocket scientist, not a construction worker.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Review:

This collection was a breath of fresh air just in time for the holidays. If you love books that take you into the lives of characters you can love and you wish you could know in real life, then this is the book for you. Starfish Shores is a place I would love to go to and maybe catch a ride on a boat or maybe, just maybe take a walk on the beach and stare up at the stars. This book felt like going home for the holidays-to a place that wrapped you in a blanket after the world kicked you in the butt and left you hurting. I loved it and am looking for the next collection by these talented writers.

4.5/5

AUTHOR Bios and Links:

MJ Fredrick knows about chasing dreams. Twelve years after she completed her first novel, she signed her first publishing contract. Now she divides her days between teaching elementary music, and diving into her own writing—traveling everywhere in her mind, from Belize to Honduras to Africa to the past.

She's a four-time Golden Heart Award finalist, and she won the 2009 Eppie Award with Hot Shot and the 2010 Eppie with Breaking Daylight. She was a 2012 Epic Award finalist with Don’t Look Back.

Connect with MJ online.

Four-time RITA finalist Tanya Michaels is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than thirty books. Her stories incorporate the same elements she values in real life—community, family and a sense of humor. Her current releases include the popular Colorado Cades trilogy for Harlequin American Romance.

She lives in Atlanta, GA with a very patient husband as well as two kids and a dog who are plotting against her. When not writing, reading, or spending time with her family, Tanya watches entirely too much TV. She’s also made Twitter her virtual home. Join her there to hear about her life as a writer and the outrageous things her kids say.
Website: http://www.tanyamichaels.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTanyaMichaels
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tanyamichaels

Trish Milburn is the author of contemporary romance for Harlequin American Romance, paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne, young adult fiction for Bell Bridge Books and indie publishes her romantic suspense, women’s fiction and other titles. She’s a two-time Golden Heart award winner, a fan of walks in the woods and road trips, and is a big geek girl, including being a dedicated Whovian and Browncoat.

Twitter: @TrishMilburn



The authors will award a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Billionaire's Matchmaker Virtual Book Tour


Billionaire's Matchmaker, an Anthology
by Shirley Jump, Susan Meier, Jackie Braun and Barbara Wallace

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Can a feisty four-legged matchmaker help four best friends find the romance of their dreams?

Driving Mr. Wrong Home by Shirley Jump: When a handsome man from Gabby’s past agrees to a cross-country road trip, her master plan to re-launch her art career quickly morphs into an unexpected, romantic reunion.

The Sheriff’s Secret by Susan Meier: Marney’s 9-1-1 emergency help arrives in the form of a rugged, blue-eyed cop. Now she has the perfect bodyguard to keep her safe during those dark, steamy nights…

Love Unleashed by Jackie Braun: The last thing Mia wants is a relationship…yet the headstrong florist can’t keep her hands off her sexy-as-sin ex-boyfriend.  Will she open her heart before he leaves town for good?


Love in the Shadows by Barbara Wallace: Jenny is a woman on a mission – she’ll even resort to dognapping to make her point! But can she teach a reclusive, emotionally-wounded tycoon that love heals all thing?


Excerpt from Love Unleashed by Jackie Braun in The Billionaire’s Matchmaker anthology

Marney leaned down and patted Charlie’s head. “Bye, boy. Don’t let her do anything I wouldn’t do.” He let out a soft yip, almost as if he understood.

Mia, however, wasn’t sure she did. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing. Be good.” Marney pointed a finger at the dog. “Charlie’s going to be on his best behavior for me. Aren’t you?” Mia said.

Was it her imagination or did the little dog wink?

“You just keep telling yourself that. Well, I’d love to stay and chat, but I have to run.” Marney was halfway out the open front door when she called over her shoulder, “Oh, by the way, Charlie has a checkup with the vet at five-thirty today. Don’t be late.”

The door closed on Mia’s shocked expression. By the time she made it to the porch, Marney was already in her car driving away. Tires actually squealed. Mia scowled. The only veterinarian
in Chandler’s Cove was Gideon Roth, hence Marney’s speedy getaway.

Gideon was a prime specimen of a man with a muscular build, thick sandy hair, rich brown eyes that could undress a woman with a glance, and a mouth that could turn her most wanton fantasies
into reality. Mia knew all of this firsthand.

Gideon Roth was her ex-boyfriend.

She’d broken up with him six months earlier. Marney and Gabby, as well as Jenny Travolini—the other woman who formed their close quartet of friends—had been surprised. And no wonder. Gideon was a prize. Not only gorgeous and gainfully employed, but smart, funny, and abundantly decent.

Mia’s reason for dumping him? He’d said, “I love you.”

Three little words that most women longed to hear. Not Mia. Especially when Gid had gotten down on one knee on Christmas Day and backed them up with a diamond engagement ring large enough to have its own ZIP code.

Panic had bubbled up, burning her like lava. God help her, for one foolish moment, hope had as well—a geyser’s worth of it had shot up and then rained down on the old, painful memories. But
nothing could wash away the past, which was why Mia had come to her senses.

Why did Gid have to go and ruin a really good thing with a declaration of love and a proposal of marriage?

Mia trusted neither.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~


HOW TO BEGIN A BOOK WITH A BAM!

            Those of you who are participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this month might be struggling with creating a strong opening for your novel. I know how challenging that can be, so I sat down and analyzed how I, and other authors, do it so well.
On the Food Network, there are a few stars that stand out, whose cooking methods have created buzz all over the country because they have a powerful delivery. My favorite of all of the chefs used to be Emeril Lagasse and his signature “Bam!”
            Books that are memorable, that stand out in your memory, also have Bam. They start with a bang, drawing you in and keeping you there, page after page.
            You may look at those books and wonder how the author did that, how she got all that power into one little opening. There are a few tricks to the trade to create a powerful opening, as follows:
  1. START WHERE THE TROUBLE STARTS: After judging dozens of contests over the years, the number-one mistake I see new writers making is starting off too slow. They ease into the book--and end up leaving the reader wondering when it’s going to get interesting. They often feel they need to pump in all this back story, so the reader will “know” the character. The point of a book is for the reader to GET TO KNOW the character, as the person’s layers are peeled back one at a time. Don’t start with all that blah-blah about the character’s background. Start with the trouble, the inciting incident that gets the character smack into something new--something life changing.
  2. START OUT ACTIVE: If you can, try to avoid using passive phrases in your opening lines. Sometimes, they can’t be avoided, but by and large, if you want a powerful, active opening, you need to use powerful, active words. “She was tired” isn’t nearly as powerful as “Jane Doe took the last step she had in her, then collapsed.”
  3. GIVE THE READER A LITTLE LIGHT: Often, the lesson of not inserting back story into the beginning of a book is taken too literally and writers put absolutely zero back story in, leaving the reader with too many questions. What happens is that the characters are two-dimensional because they lack the element that gives them life--a past. You want to HINT at the back story, not lay it all out in twenty-five paragraphs of narrative. Give us a tease, a reason to keep turning the pages to put more of the puzzle together.
  4. SET THE TONE: What kind of book are you writing? A comedy? A drama? A thriller? Whatever you are writing, that tone should be set from page one. If you’re writing funny, start out funny. If you’re writing a thriller, start out scary. There’s a book by Bill Johnson called “A Story is a Promise.” The basic premise of that book is that your novel is a promise to the reader. What the reader sees on the opening pages should be indicative of the book’s overall tone. Don’t start out funny and then have a serial killer come in and wipe out all your characters in a grisly scene. Make a promise--and stick to it.
  5. GIVE US A REASON TO CARE: In one of my earlier columns, I wrote about characters that readers care about. Readers latch onto characters. If you want your reader to form an attachment to your character, give them likeable tendencies. They should be flawed human beings whose stories you can relate to. Look at “Lost,” the hit ABC series that ran for many seasons and created a whole subculture of followers. In each episode, the writers focused on one of the characters, peeling back a little more of their story. You cared about everyone, even Sawyer, because you had seen them cry, mourn, celebrate and struggle over their lives. They were relatable people with strengths and vulnerabilities.
  6. LOOK AT GOOD EXAMPLES: Pick up five books (or more) that grabbed you from the beginning and look at the first paragraphs. The first lines. The first five pages. What did the author do in those pages that hooked your attention? Most importantly, what was their opening line? Most authors I know struggle with that opening line, revising it a hundred times before they are happy. It is, after all, the most important line, the one readers look at when they are skimming a book, deciding to buy it. Agent Evan Fogleman once told a group of writers that he knows within three lines if this is a book he wants to see more of or not. After judging a lot of opening chapter contests, I agree with him. I can often tell within a few lines if the author has what it takes. Does that mean that if you don’t have powerful opening lines in your work today you can’t write great opening lines? Absolutely not. Writing powerfully CAN be learned. If you have good basic storytelling skills, all the rest is honing your technique. Think of it in terms of coaching athletes. Many have wonderful raw, natural talent, but they need to have that talent honed and cultivated to fit the dynamics of the team, the game, and the coach. They are taught to use their strengths and improve on their weaknesses.

      Writing a powerful opening creates a story that literally comes to life. Whether you are writing novels or articles, powerful openings will make the difference between your piece being read--or being pushed aside for another. Learn to grab your reader from the start with a little Bam! and you’ll be holding his attention for pages to come.
           


AUTHOR Bios and Links:


ABOUT SHIRLEY JUMP

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance and women’s fiction to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. She cleverly finds writing time by feeding her kids junk food, allowing them to dress in the clothes they find on the floor and encouraging the dogs to double as vacuum cleaners. Look for her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon and Nook, and the debut of her Sweetheart Club series for Berkley, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN in September 2013. Visit her website at www.shirleyjump.com or read recipes and life adventures at www.shirleyjump.blogspot.com.

BOOK TITLE: “Driving Mr. Wrong Home” in THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER, Indulgence

www.shirleyjump.com



About Jackie Braun

Jackie Braun is the author of more than 30 contemporary romance novels.  She is a three-time RITA Award finalist, a four-time National Readers’ Choice Award finalist and was nominated for Series Storyteller of the Year by RT Book Club in 2008. She lives in Michigan with her husband, their two sons and a former shelter dog named Pip.

Anthology name and my title: The Billionaire’s Matchmaker/Love Unleashed.




Blogging 2 Tuesdays each month on The Chocolate Box: www.chocolateboxwriters.com



About Susan Meier

In 2013 Susan Meier lived one of her career-long dreams. Her book, THE TYCOON’S SECRET DAUGHER was a finalist for RWA’s highest honor, the Rita! The same year NANNY FOR THE MILLIONAIRE’S TWINS was a Book Buyer’s Best Award finalist and National Reader’s Choice finalist.

Susan is the author of over 50 books for Harlequin and Silhouette, Entangled Indulgence and one of Guideposts' Grace Chapel Inn series books, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS.

One of eleven kids, Susan never lacks for entertainment or amusement from her over thirty nieces and nephews. Her family’s Wednesday Morning Breakfasts are the highlight of her summer. And with lots of her nieces and nephews now in their twenties, wedding season is in full swing!

Susan lives in west central Pennsylvania with her husband, son and two crazy cats.

THE SHERIFF’S SECRET in the THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER anthology for Entangled Indulgence

Connect with Susan at
susanmeier.com
Twitter: @susanmeier1



About Barbara Wallace

Barbara Wallace has been a life-long romantic and daydreamer so it’s not surprising she decided to become a writer at age eight.  However, it wasn’t until a co-worker handed her a romance novel that she knew where her stories belonged.  Her first Harlequin Romance debuted in November 2010.

Barbara loves writing sweet, smart, ‘it-could-happen-to-you’ style romances.  She lives in Massachusetts with her other loves – her husband, their teenage son, and three very spoiled pets (as if there could be any other kind).  She also loves hearing from readers. 

You can find her at her website (www.barbarawallace.com), on Twitter (@BarbaraTWallace) and on Facebook.

The authors will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more exciting guest posts and chances to win!