Wednesday, July 27, 2011
SECOND CHANCE Trivia Winner
Congrats to Elke! She's the winner of the SECOND CHANCE trivia contest!
Thanks to all who played!
Mark your calendars for August 23, which is our next and last LCR discussion for countdown: LAST CHANCE. Looking forward to chatting with you about Lucas, Jamie and the evil Damon!
SECOND CHANCE Discussion Winner
Thanks for taking a walk down memory lane with me yesterday and chatting about SECOND CHANCE. So good to hear your comments about Cole and Keeley's story.
The winning commenter of yesterday's blog was Jane. Congrats, Jane! Email your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can get your signed book and Amazon gift card to you.
There's still time to play the SECOND CHANCE trivia contest. Check out the questions below this blog and email your answers to email@example.com. I'll announce the winner at 3:00 PM (CST) today.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
SECOND CHANCE Trivia Contest
Email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. You have until 3:00 PM tomorrow to get your answers in to me. Prize is a signed copy of the 2010 LCR trilogy, NO CHANCE, SECOND CHANCE and LAST CHANCE.
1) What are the first names of Keeley's daughters?
2) What was Keeley's mother's name?
3) How did Keeley's mother die?
4) What happened to Cole's first wife and daughter?
5) What was Wesley Tuttle's last meal before he met his demise?
6) What was the name of the children's shop where Keeley brought her daughters' clothes?
7) What was Keeley's deceased husband's name?
SECOND CHANCE Discussion
Continuing our countdown to the release of SWEET JUSTICE, welcome to our discussion of SECOND CHANCE! Hope you’ll grab your favorite beverage and a snack, then settle back as we chat about Cole Mathison and Keeley Fairchild, along with some evil and just downright wicked people of Fairview, South Carolina. Beware: plot points will be discussed and spoilers will be revealed!
SECOND CHANCE holds a special place in my heart for a lot of different reasons. For one, it features my most tortured hero. If anyone ever earned an HEA, it’s Cole Mathison. I received more emails about Cole than any other LCR character. I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see him get a SECOND CHANCE at happiness. Cole is good guy who suffered and lost so much. Giving him his own book was a must!
Cole’s horrific experience in RUN TO ME was painful to write and to read. I didn't know until the middle of writing the book who that tortured man was...I thought, just like Shea and the rest of the world, that Cole was dead. When I realized who he was, I was determined to get him rescued but still had no idea if he would have his own book. Then when Shea is going through her things in that storage shed and comes across the newspaper article about Cole and his family, I hurt for him all the more. And that's when I knew I had to not only tell his story, I had to give him back everything he had lost.
And then came Keeley Fairchild--one of the more challenging female characters I’ve written. She wasn’t an LCR operative, she was a mom. She was also a bit naïve and not very sophisticated. I enjoy writing strong women and I thought she might be more difficult to write. Fortunately, Keeley stepped up. Her strengths weren't in physical prowess or street smarts. She wasn't a woman of the world. What I found was a woman with unique strengths--a woman who loved fiercely and loyally. Her love and devotion for her daughters was all-consuming and she was determined to get them back. She worked tirelessly to make that happen.
Cole’s need to help her find her children gave them a common bond. Though Keeley didn’t know the truth behind his need, it created a partnership that led to love.
Another difficulty I had with writing SECOND CHANCE were the children. I know many talented authors are able to write books where children are harmed and it works fine for them. I can’t do that. I can write vaguely of certain aspects of abuse, but I can’t hurt a five year old child, even in words. That became a challenge on its own. Thankfully, having them kidnapped and sold to families fit perfectly for the storyline. The children were never meant to be hurt—their mother was the real target.
Many people say they knew who the real villain was from the beginning. Some guessed but weren’t sure and then some had no idea. Honestly, I didn’t know until the middle of the book. My goodness, there were so many choices. The evil mother-in-law, the too good best friend or the secretive sister-in-law. Or it could have been some surprise unknown villain from the town. And wasn’t Wesley Tuttle deliciously slimy? I must say that his demise caused me no problem to write at all.
One of the many things I loved about SECOND CHANCE was the opportunity to revisit characters from previous LCR books. Eden and Jordan, Shea and Ethan and, of course, Noah. I loved catching up with them and finding out what they’d been doing. And I enjoyed introducing a new character--FBI agent Honor Stone. She intrigued me from the beginning and I just knew she had a story to tell. Especially when she mentioned to Cole that she’d had a bad break-up. And man, did she ever! (A little plug for SWEET JUSTICE. Can’t wait for you to read her story!)
Another challenge I had with SECOND CHANCE was the romance. I love reading and writing sensual love stories. However, having this sensual love story happen while Keeley’s children were missing was somewhat difficult to pull off. Thankfully, (although I know some disagreed) I think the way the story played out very well for both characters. If they had stopped searching for the children just to play around with each other, that would have been one thing. But making love and finding comfort in physical intimacy is a very human and natural thing. And it helped create a bond between them. When Keeley learned the truth, a level of extreme trust had already been established. Go back and read the hotel love scene with the mirror. Now that takes trust!
One of the more delightful aspects of this book for me was the confrontation between Cole and Elizabeth Fairchild. What fun I had with that scene! At last, someone was telling the woman the truth and not kowtowing to her because of her wealth and influence. I don't know how many times I laughed as I wrote that scene!
So, what about you? Do you have a favorite scene, line or moment in SECOND CHANCE? What aspects of the story do you want to talk about? Was there something you would have liked to have happen that didn't? Any questions for Cole, Keeley or any of the other characters? (I'll even ask Wesley, if you have something for him.)
I’ll come back in a few hours and post a SECOND CHANCE trivia game. Winner will receive a signed copy of the 2010 trilogy.
And one blog commenter will receive a signed copy of SECOND CHANCE and a $25 Amazon card.
Now, let’s chat!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Good Monday Everyone!
Sorry I'm late. Had Blogger problems this morning, but now it seems to be working. Fingers crossed that continues.
How was your week and weekend? Did you do anything fun you want to share? What about great reads? What fabulous books are you recommending for us today? I have a recommend! Over the weekend, I read A Little Bit Wicked by Victoria Dahl and really enjoyed it. Fun, witty and different!
Last week was another eclectic kind of week for me. Lots of promo preparation. And then the inevitable and necessary staring into space. Planning what I'm going to write next is both frustrating and fun. As soon as something appears in my mind, little devious doubt demons attack with: That's silly, that's stupid, that's been done a 1000 times. Man, I hate those little creatures! (:
Did you notice that we are only 42 days away from the release of SWEET JUSTICE? Yahooooooooo! I'm so excited about that. I can't wait for you to read Seth and Honor's story. I do believe the SWEET books are my best LCR books yet (and yes, I may be a little prejudiced) but I've had several early readers tell me the same thing too. Hopefully you'll feel the same way!
With the release coming closer, I wanted to give you a heads-up that prizes and contests are coming your way. Since SWEET JUSTICE and SWEET REVENGE release so close together, I thought it'd be cool to have a giveaway everyday from September 6 (SWEET JUSTICE release) to September 27 (SWEET REVENGE release). That's more than 3 weeks of giveaways! With all the books I brought back from conference, I'm well stocked with prizes and ready to have some fun!
Did you notice the excerpt of SWEET REVENGE is now up? It's the full prologue and gives you insight not only into Jamie and Dylan's characters but also what they might be facing. Hope you'll give it a read and let me know what you think!
Now, on to something kind of serious. I need your honest feedback, either here or you can email your thoughts to email@example.com. Are you happy with Recommend Monday? I know for a few weeks I wasn't able to respond to all comments and I'm not saying that's not going to happen again. When I'm writing and on deadline, everything gets put on hold until I finish. And honestly, I figure you guys would rather me be writing...At least I hope you want me to write. (:
But do you want to continue with Recommend Monday? Though Monday is still the most visited day on this blog, our comments have slacked off considerably. For those of you who come by every week, let me say a huge THANK YOU! You've made Recommend Monday and I sincerely appreciate you. We've had so many wonderful recommendations! I love getting input and suggestions for great books, but I also want to make sure you're getting what you want. So, tell me, should we stick with Recommend Monday or do you have another suggestion? Would you want it on a different day? Would you want a chance to guest host and chat about your recommendation? What would make this blog better for you? I'm all ears! (That saying has always seemed strange to me, but you know what I mean) (:
Don't forget that tomorrow is our continuing countdown to the release of SWEET JUSTICE with our discussion of SECOND CHANCE--a favorite for many of you and the most requested LCR story, because of a certain guy named Cole. We'll start around 10:00 AM, so come on by and let's chat about Cole, Keeley and all those evil people in Fairview!
Okay, that's it for me. I'm headed to do some major thinking, dreaming and hopefully writing. And, if you'll recommend a great read for me, I might just do some reading too. So tell us, what great books are you recommending today?
Friday, July 22, 2011
SWEET REVENGE Excerpt
I promised I'd pop in and let you know when the excerpt went up. It was posted last night (on the SWEET REVENGE page). Hope you enjoy this little glimpse into Jamie's and Dylan's upcoming adventure!
Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here for Recommend Monday!
Monday, July 18, 2011
Good Monday Everyone!
Hope you had a spectacular week and a fabulous weekend. Can't wait to hear what you're recommending today!
My week consisted of a lot of busy work. Having let everything go but the bare necessities to get SWEET REWARD turned in caused me to be way behind on so many things. And though there's still lots to do, at least I can see the bottom of my desk, which is definitely progress.
One of the many things I worked on last week was getting ready to promote this upcoming SWEET trilogy. Buying ads, arranging blogs, readying excerpts, putting verbiage together for my bookmark designer. Lots and lots of stuff to do. I really want these books to do spectacularly well so if you have any ideas, feel free to throw them my way. (:
In the midst of all my busy work, I did manage to read Karen Rose's You Belong To Me and all I can say is: Karen Rose is brilliant! Mystery, romance, suspense, great characters, superb writing--You Belong To Me has everything. I absolutely loved it! And though I know many of you have already read and loved it, if you haven't, I highly recommend the book--actually all of her books are awesome!
Oh, before I forget, an excerpt of SWEET REVENGE is coming this week. I didn't get it to my web designer in time for her to put it up last week, but it should go up this week. As soon as it does, I'll jump on and let you know. If you want to read the very beginning, there is a short excerpt on my Facebook page, here's the link:
And can you believe we're below the 50 day mark for the release of SWEET JUSTICE? Yay!!! Reviews are already coming in and I'm so excited because they're fabulous. Will share some with you soon!
Next week, I'm going to make some announcements about upcoming contests, so stay tuned for that! Also, if you haven't signed up for my newsletter, be sure to do so. There will be a special giveaway for newsletter subscribers only. The link to sign up is on the lower right hand side of my homepage.
Okay, I'm headed back to my writing cave for some writing and planning. Have a great week! Now, tell us what great books we should be reading!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
NO CHANCE Winners
I'm posting the winners early. Got some errands to run and was afraid I wouldn't be back in time to post. Thanks again for the walk down memory lane with Gabe and Skylar. I'd forgotten how much I loved NO CHANCE. It was such fun visiting these characters again.
The winner of the $25 gift card and signed copy of NO CHANCE is Angela!
Everyone who entered the trivia contest got all the answers correct. You guys are good! Congrats to Allison for winning a signed copy of the 2010 LCR trilogy!
Angela and Allison, if you would both email your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org, I'll send you your prizes.
Thanks again to all those who came by and commented. In two weeks, (July 26) we'll be talking about SECOND CHANCE! Hope you enjoy your reread of Cole and Keeley's story!
Have a great Wednesday all!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
NO CHANCE Trivia Contest
Here's a quick contest on NO CHANCE. To enter, email your answers to email@example.com by one o'clock (CST) tomorrow afternoon. From those who answer all questions correctly, I'll randomly choose a winner. Prize is a signed copy of my 2010 LCR trilogy. Good luck!
1) Gabe and Skylar met on a fictional island in the South Pacific. Name that island.
2) What was the name of Kendra's boyfriend?
3) After Skylar was rescued, what was the name of the man McKenna stay behind to rescue?
4) When Kendra was taken, she was responding to an ad in the newspaper. What was the ad for?
5) What was the name of Skylar's pretend boyfriend?
6) What name did Skylar not like to be called...except by Gabe?
7) What did Skylar do to distract Gabe in the elevator to keep him from thinking about his claustrophobia?
8) Skylar wore a chain around her neck, hidden from the world. What was on the chain?
9) At the end of the book, where did Skylar and Gabe move to live?
NO CHANCE Discussion!
Hi Everyone! Welcome to the discussion of NO CHANCE, Gabe Maddox’s and Skylar James’s story. Wow, can you believe it? We’re halfway through the LCR countdown to SWEET JUSTICE. Yay!
Before we get started, just wanted to warn you that there are some major spoilers in this post. So if you haven't had the chance to read NO CHANCE, you might want to wait to read this blog. But if spoilers don't bother you, then read on. Hopefully it will entice you to read the book!
NO CHANCE was a bit of a departure for me and for LCR stories. For the first time, I had a married couple to write about. What fun! Also, I devoted a lot of the story to one of the victims that LCR was trying to rescue. And, I had an opportunity to write about a young couple falling in love without all the baggage that sometimes inhibits falling in love at an older age.
Though Gabe definitely had plenty of emotional baggage from losing his father and brother, being the lone survivor of a mining accident and then being held captive for over a year in a war torn country. Whew! Just typing that out was exhausting. Poor guy.
I’ve mentioned many times that Gabe irritated me in a couple of books. I didn’t particularly like him in RETURN TO ME and it wasn’t until the end of RUN TO ME that I began to warm up to him. In fact, I even thought he might have been the mole in that book. So glad he wasn’t!
I didn’t know what Gabe’s problem was for a long time. I knew he had issues with closed in spaces and that he didn’t trust women. He revealed both of those in RUN TO ME. When he admitted to Ethan that he was still married, I thought wow, Gabe, you’ve got some secrets you need to be talking to me about, buddy. And then, finally, thankfully, he gave me a significant lead near the end of RUN TO ME with this inner dialogue: ...he’d just as soon eat coal dust as delve back into his own past. That’s when I realized Gabe had a coal mining background. And he had an interesting and heartbreaking story to tell.
Skylar was a little less complicated to get to know but still fascinating, especially eight years after her marriage to Gabe. She’d grown up wealthy, surrounded by the best of everything--a little spoiled, but basically a good person. She’s a young woman who sees the shallowness that surrounds her and accepts that as the way things are…until she meets a man who makes her view the world in a different way.
My first draft of NO CHANCE started when Kendra was taken. The sentence: By the time you read this, I'll be gone had been revolving around in my head for days and that's how I wanted to begin the book. I had planned to do a couple of flashbacks of Gabe and Skye’s first meeting, but hadn’t planned on showing them meeting or falling in love. My editor wanted me to show them at the earlier age. I’m glad she asked for that. It was interesting to see their innocence and excitement of falling in love and then compare that to what they were like eight years later.
Jeremiah James, Skylar’s father, was an intriguing person to write. He loved his daughter. In his own selfish, misguided and elitist way, he believed he was doing the right thing for her. What he did was deceitful and wrong but it wasn’t done out of malice. Even though I despised what he did, I couldn’t really hate him. I would imagine the fear of Skylar learning the truth weighed heavily on his shoulders.
For those who know my writing style, you won’t be surprised to learn that NO CHANCE surprised me throughout the story. For instance, I knew Skylar’s father set up the whole fabricated scenario to keep them apart, however, I didn’t know until Gabe told Skylar that he had tried to see her several times and Jeremiah James’s goons had beaten him up. How hard that must have been for him to admit. LOL Even now I want to hug the poor guy! And I was surprised when I learned that Skylar almost died trying to find Gabe. Now I want to hug her too. (:
I know some people believed that Gabe going without sex for eight years was unbelievable. Which made me doubly glad that I showed what kind of man Gabe was when he was younger. He was an idealist and a dreamer. He believed in a once in a lifetime kind of love and though he became a hardened and bitter man, his core values never changed. He was still married and refused to cheat on his wife. It was that simple. As a romance author and a romantic, I believe that kind of love exists. Is it rare? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there.
One of the things I enjoy about the first book in a back-to-back trilogy is the chance to introduce the characters for upcoming stories. I loved having readers get to know Cole Mathison better. And through his amusement at watching Gabe and Skylar, we learned what kind of husband Cole might have been. I think we can all agree he was a good one. And I got to introduce McKenna Sloan, one of the most intriguing characters I’ve ever written. Once I finished, I was so excited to get back to Cole’s story and I couldn’t wait to find out more about McKenna. Such a fascinating young woman!
I had a love/hate relationship with Kendra. I hated what happened to her. She paid a high price for her poor judgment and desire to be famous. I hurt for her and wanted her to be able to get retribution against William. Having her get a little of her own vengeance against him near the end was fun. I sincerely hope I can write her story someday. I already have her storyline in my mind, so we’ll see.
And William? What can we say about him but that he was a pervert, rapist and all around evil person? The contrast between him as a doting father and what he did to women somehow freaked me out even more.
I thoroughly enjoyed writing NO CHANCE—the characters came alive in my mind and sometimes I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with them. Gabe and Skye’s heartbreak felt so real, as did their powerful love for one another.
So what about you? What did you think about NO CHANCE? Any issues you want to discuss? Would you have made Skylar’s father suffer more? Was Skylar too forgiving of her family? Did it make you mad when Gabe left at the end? And what about Kendra? Do you think her goals and values changed after what she went through? What questions do you have for me or the characters?
One random commenter will win a $25 gift card to the bookstore of your choice and a signed copy of NO CHANCE.
I’ll come back at noon and post a short NO CHANCE trivia contest. You'll have until noon tomorrow to answer the questions. Random winner of the contest will receive a signed copy of the entire 2010 LCR trilogy, NO CHANCE, SECOND CHANCE and LAST CHANCE.
Both winners will be announced at two o’clock tomorrow.
Okay, let’s chat!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Good Monday Everyone!
Hope you had a spectacular week and weekend. Did you do anything fun and exiting? Did you read anything awesome you can't wait to share with us? If so, please let us know!
My week was fantastically busy. Last Monday, July 4, I had a wonderful celebration with my family. Laughed a lot, ate too much and got caught up on everyone. So much fun! Then, it was back to work for me. My agent had suggested an epilogue for SWEET REWARD and she was so right. Have I mentioned how very excited I am about this book? Truth is, the SWEET trilogy is turning into my very favorite trilogy. I cannot wait for you to read them!
After I sent in the revised SWEET REWARD, with epilogue, it was time for lots of catch up. When I'm on deadline, so many things get put on the back burner, such as ordering bookmarks, planning promotions for the upcoming releases and oh yeah, the promised excerpt for SWEET REVENGE. It is coming! But to give you a little flavor, I'm posting a short excerpt on my Facebook page today. Will post a longer one here on my website later this week or early next week--depending on when my website designer can add it.
Friday afternoon was (my first in a very long time) date night with my hubby. Actually it was date afternoon but that doesn't have the same cache, does it? Anyway, we ate at Red Lobster. Since we had 2 giftcards, the meal ended up costing a whopping $10--LOL, that's my hubby's favorite kind of meal. Then we went to an ice cream shoppe and shared a sundae. After that, we saw Super 8 and it was so much fun! It reminded me a bit of the movie from years ago called The Goonies. Have you seen Super 8? There were lots of things blowing up, a sweet love story, a few tears and lots and lots of laughter. Hands down Friday was the most fun I've had in a long time. Do you have date night with your hubby or significant other? If not, I highly recommend them!
Over the weekend, I read two novellas that I really enjoyed. Allison Brennan's Love is Murder, which is a standalone prequel to her fabulous Lucy Kincaid series. And, thanks to Ronlyn, I downloaded Pamela Clare's Heaven Can Wait, which was sweet, sexy and lots of laugh out loud moments. Thanks Ronlyn for the suggestion! Also, though I recommended this book weeks ago because I thought it looked like a good read, I hadn't had a chance to read Jami Alden's Beg For Mercy. Based upon the comments of those of you who had, I knew I'd made a great recommendation. And though I'm still about 100 pages from the finish, I wholeheartedly agree. It is a great read! If you haven't read it and love dark and sexy romantic suspense, then I highly recommend it...once again. (:
This week, I'm continuing with some catch up stuff, along with a few other things I can't share with you yet, but hope to soon! Tomorrow? What's tomorrow, you ask? It's our continuation of (and previously postponed) countdown to SWEET JUSTICE with a discussion of NO CHANCE. Hope you'll join me as we discuss Gabe and Skye's story. There will be spoilers, a trivia contest, a chance to ask questions and prizes!
As I mentioned last week, I picked up lots of great books at the RWA convention and over the next few months plan to share them with you. Allison Brennan's novella Love is Murder was released as an E-book only, but Allison had printed copies made and was giving them away at the conference. I was fortunate enough to snag one. And, because I love you, the first person who comments with: "I want a signed copy of Love is Murder by Allison Brennan" wins this signed copy!
Hope everyone has a fabulous Monday. Don't forget to come back tomorrow and lets chat about NO CHANCE!
Now, tell us what great books you're recommending today.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Recommend Monday and Happy Birthday, America!
Good Monday Everyone!
Hope you had a fabulous week and weekend. Summer is such a joyous time for me. It brings back so many great memories of hot sultry days, lying in the shade, drinking SWEET iced tea and reading a wonderful book. During an interview last week, I was asked why so many romance writers seemed to be southern or have southern roots. My answer was the heat. Hot, sultry and slow moving, the atmosphere is thick with promise and anticipation. Lovely fragrances wafting through the air delights the senses and entice and lure you to think of delicious, bone-melting pleasure. LOL I think I'm in the mood to read a romance today!
Last week was so much fun! RWA and NYC just seem to go together. Being in the middle of Times Square and experiencing the atmosphere of that place was marvelous. Everything about that city fascinates me. I posted a few photos on Facebook, so come on over and take a look. I'll try to add a few more throughout the week.
The conference itself was wonderful too. I am always amazed at how very smoothly things run. I know many people put hundreds if not thousands of hours of work into making that happen. I can't say enough good things about the RWA staff and the hundreds of volunteers.
I arrived in NYC earlier than most. Since my page proofs for SWEET REVENGE were due, I thought having those extra days by myself would be perfect for finishing them up. And it was, however, I will admit, as much as I loved this book--and I do LOVE this book--I wanted to go out and play in the city. I limited myself to a once a day walk through Times Square. I turned in the finished page proofs on Wednesday. Yay! After that, it was time to enjoy the conference and being in the midst of the publishing world. I had lunch with my agent, got to visit the Random House offices and met with some wonderful editors. I also attended some great workshops and went to several signings. The literacy signing was as wild and crazy as ever and I had the chance to meet some lovely people there, including Taryn!
All in all, it was a wonderfully successful week but I admit, I am so glad to be home. There's lots to do between now and September 6 and I can't wait to get started. Before I forget (Just kidding, because it's too good to forget) my agent read SWEET REWARD and LOVED it! She said this one was in the running for her favorite LCR book and that, out of all my heroes, Jared might well be her favorite. Yay!!!! I admit, the book turned out even better than I had hoped but to hear her say those words was just magical. My editor has been on vacation but when she returns she'll read it and fingers crossed, she'll feel the same way.
Oh, and SWEET JUSTICE got a fabulous review from Publishers Weekly. Yay!!!!!!!Here's the link if you'd like to read it:
Can you believe it's only 63 days from the release of SWEET JUSTICE? Seems like it's been forever, doesn't it? I can't wait for you to read it, along with SWEET REVENGE and SWEET REWARD. I honestly believe these are the best books I've ever written. I hope you'll love them too!
As you know, I always return from conferences with lots and lots of books. This was no exception. Some are signed, some aren't, but they all look fabulous. And you know I want to give them to you! Stay tuned for those opportunities!
I haven't read anything new in weeks but I plan to make up for that soon. And I need your help. If you had but one romance book to tell me to read immediately, what would it be?
Can't wait to hear what you've been up to, what you've read and want others to read too and, oh, what you're doing for the 4th of July?
As for me, I'm spending the day with my family, eating barbeque and feeling incredibly blessed and thankful to live in this great nation.
Happy Monday and 4th of July everyone!