June Preview

It’s summer!!!! And we’ve got some great new releases coming up 🙂

Toni Kerr’s Unleashed, book 2 in the Makai series, releases June 5th:
front UNLEASHED 051214Tristan can’t wait to get to Darnell—a place where people have similar powers to his own and won’t know about the horrific events that led to being exiled from his previous home. Unfortunately, they do know, and so does Lazaro, a ruthless man determined to regain possession of the powerful emerald Tristan stole.

And Lazaro isn’t the only one on a quest for Tristan’s blood.

A secret society of overzealous dragon slayers believes Tristan is a worthy target to hunt. When he is captured and put on trial for being an abomination to mankind, his continued denial of dragon ancestry won’t keep him safe for long. The Slayers have been hunting for generations, and in a private museum of artifacts and past conquests, Tristan discovers a handful of gems akin to the emerald and a new mission—if he can survive long enough to escape captivity.

But then…no amount of protection or denial can save him from himself.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22075712-unleashed

Michelle McLean’s Romancing the Rumrunner releases from Entangled’s Scandalous on June 9th:
RTRR 300x450Prohibition Era Chicago

She’s worked too hard to be run out of town…

Jessica Harlan spends her nights as The Phoenix, the owner of the most popular speakeasy in town. Her days are spent running her respectable butcher shop and dodging prohibition agents and rival club owners who all want to put her out of business.

He’s worked too hard to let his heart get in the way…

When the opportunity arises to go undercover for the Feds to catch The Phoenix, Gumshoe Anthony Solomon jumps on it. But he never suspected the notorious rumrunner would be a dame – or that he’d be so drawn to the feisty little minx.

They play a dangerous game of cat and mouse, knowing they can’t trust the other, but unable to walk away. While their hearts dodge the crossfire, the mobsters raise the stakes, and even The Phoenix may not rise again.

Kelly Hashway’s The Monster Within releases from Spencer Hill Press on June 17th:
TheMonsterWithinfinalcoverFLATcropped (2)The moment seventeen-year-old Samantha Thompson crawls out of her grave, her second chance at life begins. She died of cancer with her long-time boyfriend, Ethan, by her side—a completely unfair shot at life. But Ethan found a way to bring her back, like he promised he would. Only Sam came back wrong.
She’s now a monster that drains others’ lives to survive. And after she kills, she’s tortured by visions—glimpses into her victims would-have-been futures had she not killed them. Barely able to live with herself and trying to make things right, Sam ends up a pawn in a vicious game of payback within the local coven of witches.
But when the game reveals what Ethan had to do to save Sam, she must make a choice that will change all their lives forever.

Jennifer Allis Provost’s Copper Ravens releases from Spencer Hill Press on June 17th:
copper ravensSara should be happy. She has what every girl wants: a man who loves her, a beautiful home, and wealth beyond imagining. She rescued her brother from the Peacekeepers, destroyed the Iron Queen, and doesn’t have to go to her boring job any more. And yet Sara still doesn’t know if her father is alive or dead. Her mother hides in the garden, brooding about her missing husband. Her sister, the Inheritor of Metal, is scared of her own shadow, and her brother spends his days fighting and gambling. To add to Sara’s misery, the new queen (gold, of course) is more than a bit crazy, she misses her life in the Mundane world, and, worst of all, Micah wants to have children. A lot of them. As Sara wavers between happiness and homesickness, a conspiracy emerges against the Raven clan, implicating them in a plot to dethrone the Gold Queen. How can Sara prove her family’s innocence, and become the consort Micah needs her to be, without losing herself in the process?

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Our theme this month is a free for all! Can’t wait to see what our authors come up with 🙂

January Preview

Happy New Year!!! We are back for another great year, more fun releases, and more wonderful posts from our amazing authors 🙂

Speaking of new releases, this month we’ve got:

Kelly Hashway’s Face of Death, releasing from Spencer Hill Press on Jan 28th:

Face of Death_front cover (2)Having fallen at the hands of Hades, Jodi’s enduring torture like she never imagined. Worse, she has to watch her Ophi friends suffer along with her–the punishment doled out by the very people she’d sentenced to life in Tartarus. Hell. This is one reunion Jodi hoped would never happen, but now she must find a way to free them all.

Except the underworld is nearly impossible to escape.

Jodi’s one chance may rest in raising the human soul she killed when she drank Medusa’s blood.

But splitting her human soul from her Ophi soul means living a double life: One as an Ophi experiencing unspeakable torture and the other as the human she could have been if she never came into her powers. With her two worlds colliding, Jodi will have to make the toughest decision she’s faced yet.

And Michelle McLean’s third and final installment in her Blood Blade Sisters trilogy, A Bandit’s Betrayed Heart, releasing from Entangled’s Scandalous on Jan 13th:

Betrayed heartNot your typical Southern belle…
Lucy Richardson’s bandit sisters may have taught her to sling a gun and pick a stubborn lock, but nothing prepared her for the agony of her first heartbreak. Her sisters taught her to fight like hell for what she wants… and she wants Finn.

Not your proper Southern gentleman…
Finn Taggart is bad news. His dark and tortured past always catches up to him, and Lucy deserves better than to be tainted by his touch. He couldn’t have her years ago, and he can’t have her now, no matter how enticing she is. If only he can convince her of that before the danger that follows him brings them both down.

Not your classic love story…
Danger doesn’t exactly scare a girl like Lucy, and she knows how to use all kinds of weapons… including her feminine wiles. Finn doesn’t stand a chance. And if they need backup… the Blood Blade Sisters are never far away…

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Our topic this month is What’s New in Our World – stay tuned to find out what our authors are up to!

Writing retreat…then and now…

Me & CP, Emily McKay

Me & CP, Emily McKay

Sometime in 1998 I formed a critique relationship with another unpublished romance writer. She wrote short category romance, something I’d not read up until we started working together, and I wrote historicals. We didn’t know each other well initially, but slowly we forged a bond and together found magic. In the beginning neither one of us knew much about what we were doing, so we learned how to write, we studied craft, we found our writing styles and our strengths and weaknesses.

the beach house we used to visit - lost in Hurricane Ike

the beach house we used to visit – lost in Hurricane Ike

In those early years we would go, with two other writer buddies that we worked with, to one said writer buddy’s beach house. We’d go for a long weekend and we’d work and plot and laugh and have more fun than you can imagine while also accomplishing a ton of work. The first night there we’d set our goals for the trip and the rest of the time it was work, work, work, with the occasional nice walk on the beach.

Flash forward to now – 4 kids later (2 for each of us) and we’re back at the beach together, just the 6 of us and we’ll see how much work we can actually get done with a 3, 4, 5 and 8 year old with us. We haven’t set goals, though we’re both on deadline. Instead we plan to spend time together – which is more difficult now with our families – let our kids play together and hope to get work done in the down time.

100_1892I bring all this up not so much to brag on my amazing relationship with my critique partner, though really y’all should be jealous because we work so well together (and she just won a RITA, Go Emily!) but instead to discuss the merits of writing retreats. They’re quite popular these days. I know RWA chapters plan them and host them periodically and lots of critique groups get together for writing retreats.

There’s something quite magical about getting together and spending time focusing on your writing with other writers. Especially when you can do it with a lovely bit of nature near by – the beach, mountains, a lake or forrest. And you know it’s good for our kids to see their moms working and having co-workers, even if our jobs are more unconventional than some of the other parents.

So how about you? Ever been on a writing retreat? What are yours like or what would make the perfect one for you?

August Preview!

We’ve got some great releases coming up this month!

First up, Immortals (Runes #2) by Ednah Walters – Releases August 5
Immortal_couple_Huge_with_logoNothing can stop Raine Cooper when she wants something
Raine finally knows that her gorgeous neighbor, Torin St. James, is a legend straight out of Norse mythology, and that her feelings for him are strong. Torin is crazy about Raine too, breaking the one rule he lives by: Never fall for a mortal. The problem is he no longer remembers her, his memories erased by Norns—Norse destiny deities—to punish her for defying them.

So Raine comes up with a plan…

She will make Torin forget his one rule a second time and fall in love with her all over again. But she quickly learns that well-laid plans do not work when dealing with deities and supernatural beings. Desperate, Raine makes choices that could not only tear her and Torin further apart, but
lead to the destruction of everything and everyone she loves.

Robyn DeHart’s A Little Bit Scandalous – Releases from Entangled’s Scandalous August 12
A Little Bit ScandalousA woman in search of a gamble…

Mathematics prodigy, Caroline Jellico, plans to support herself by winning big in the gaming hells of London—while dressed as a boy. She’s tired of waiting for the elusive Roe to notice her. She’ll marry him or no man.

A gambler in need of redemption…

Monroe Grisham, Duke of Chanceworth, needs to marry off his beautiful young ward and ensure she attaches herself to the right man, not an irresponsible cad like him. But all grown up now, Caroline’s presence is an utter distraction. One he can neither act on nor deny.

A game of seduction…

But when Roe and Caroline meet across the gaming table, all bets are off. Seduction is in the cards and the winner will take all…or lose everything.

Kelly Hashway’s Stalked by Death – Releases from Spencer Hill Press August 13
15980368

Jodi knows that any slip-ups made by the Ophi–a special group of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac–will fall on her shoulders… and that Hades is just waiting for them to screw up so he can wipe out the Ophi line.

Unfortunately, Jodi has only convinced one Ophi to join her school: A hot guy named Chase who jeopardizes her relationship with Alex. Jodi loves Alex, but Chase can enhance her powers with just a touch—making her stronger than any Ophi has ever been.

Her mixed emotions send her powers surging out of control, and the dead start rising without her conscious summoning—exactly what Hades doesn’t want! If she chooses Alex over Chase, she may lose the battle to Hades, leading the Ophi race to extinction. If she chooses Chase, she might be able to stop Hades for good… but lose everything else.

Jodi needs to figure things out fast–because death is stalking her at every turn.

Ellen Booraem’s Texting the Underworld – Releases from Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers August 15

texting the underworldPerpetual scaredy-cat Conor O’Neill has the fright of his life when a banshee named Ashling shows up in his bedroom. Ashling is—as all banshees are—a harbinger of death, and she’s sure someone in Conor’s family is about to require her services. But she’s new at this banshee business, and first she insists on going to middle school.

Even as Conor desperately tries to hide her identity from his classmates and teachers, he realizes there’s no way to avoid paying a visit to the underworld if he wants to keep his family safe.

Fortunately, he has a cell phone, and his computer-geek friend, Javier, will be holding down the home front.

“Got your cell?”

“Yeah . . . Don’t see what good it’ll do me.”

“I’ll text you if anything happens that you should know.”

“Text me? Javier, we’ll be in the afterlife.”

“You never know. Maybe they get a signal.”

Discover why Kirkus has called Booraem’s work “utterly original American fantasy . . . frequently hysterical . . . smart, earthy and thoughtful.”

Dominus by Christine Fonseca – Releases August 31
(Cover Tease)

DOMINUS teaser bookcover
Sometimes death is the only way to save a life.

Nesy knows who she is now, knows what she’s lost. Determined to save Aydan from his fate, she confronts the only one she blames for everything – Azza. But how can she fight the devil when she is nothing more than human.

The fate of Celestium, Infernum and humanity rests in Nesy’s hands. Can she find the strength to confront demons she’s never imagined, face fears she’s never voiced, and release the one things that has held her world together – her love for Aydan. Some sacrifices should never be made…even for love.

Author’s Note:
Each character’s decisions, each twist of fate has led to this – a time when confusion reigns supreme, when up is down and down is up. And when the fate of humanity rests in the balance. In this final installment, the decisions of the past have come back to haunt the future, and the fates of Nesy and Aydan, Zane and Cass, Celestium and Infernum, hang in the balance. The only question is, who will survive?

This story is filled with anguish and betrayal, love and sacrifice, as I bring the series to an end. It’s a story that has been part of my life for many years. Saying “goodbye” to these characters will be a profound experience for me. I hope all of you have enjoyed their stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

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Another exciting month coming up for the Scene 13ers!

This month’s posting theme is a free choice, so each author will post whatever crosses their fancy 🙂

Be sure to check out our Blog Tours tab for ongoing blog tour links!

Once upon a summer day…

In a perfect world I would be able to spend a few weeks this summer doing nothing but lounging around reading. But I have books to write and two small children and a husband who teaches summer school so I won’t have that luxury. That being said I will take the time to indulge in some books. Here are the top 5 titles currently sitting on my Kindle waiting to be devoured…

12929918Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins. I really can’t wait to dive into this one if for no other reason than it takes place in the same town as Catch of the Day and rumor has it Maggie and Malone make an appearance. I’d read just about anything to spend a bit more time with Malone, that being said I’m a big fan of Kristan’s so I know I’ll love this one.

Instant Mom by Nia Vardales. This is actually a non-fiction all about her experience with foster-adoption. This is the same way my husband and I became parents and I love that she’s getting the word out about this invaluable way to build your family.

Something in Death by JD Robb. Okay so that’s not really the title, but I’m somewhere in the middle of the series and can’t really remember which book is next. This is a go-to series for me though because I know that all it takes is one page and I’m immersed in Eve Dallas’s world and ready to catch the bad guys.

GraveDanceSomething by Suzanne Enoch. Another go-to author for me. And again, no specific title, but only because I have a handful of hers that I haven’t yet read and so I’m not sure which one will come next. I love her heroes, they are always to-die-for and she writes great heroines with wonderful humor.

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price. I read the first in this urban fantasy series, Grave Witch a while back and I so loved it. I loved the world and especially the protoagonist’s voice. It was refreshing and irreverant and just plain fun.

Since I have a book out right now I’ve got to pimp it out a little in case y’all are looking for some summer reading suggestions.

releases June 18th

releases June 18th

A lone witness finds her protector… 

Since losing her sight in a childhood accident, Mia Danvers has resided in a small cottage on the vast Carrington estate. Thought to be dead, Mia lives a life of virtual seclusion—until one night, while walking home, she happens upon a horrendous crime.

Alex Foster, Eighth Duke of Carrington, lives according to society’s expectations for him. He’s never met the woman who lives in the cottage at the edge of his property. But when she arrives at his door in the pouring rain terrified and claiming she has witnessed a murder, she seizes his attention.

Mia is determined to help the authorities track down the culprit, even though the only person willing to accept her aid is the handsome, arrogant duke. Working closely together proves difficult as Mia’s beauty and independence tempts Alex to ignore convention and follow his desire. But what neither of them know is that this murderer has struck before in Whitechapel, taunting the British press only to vanish—a ruthless killer who knows that Mia is the only living witness to his crime…

Of misery and springtime

A-Little-Bit-Sinful-800-166x250It’s spring. For some of you that might mean that you’ve still got snow, but here in Central Texas everything is blooming. The world is green and it’s beautiful and I’m miserable. Spring means allergies, at least for me. I’m itchy and sneezy and wheezy and drippy – really the worst of the Seven Dwarfs. But y’all probably don’t want to hear me describe my allergy woes, so instead I’ll talk of new beginnings because that’s what spring is, right?  (this is my new book so I have to stick it in here so you’ll get my subliminal message & go buy it – go ahead…I’ll wait…)

Well, for writers we get new beginnings all the time. They come in the form of new books, new story ideas, first chapters and the like. Like spring, the beginnings of books kinda make me miserable. I know lots of writers who love beginnings. They love them so much they have 40 manuscripts started and they never finish any of them because they get a rush out of that first blush of a story. For me, the beginning is like wading through molasses, I know I’m going somewhere, but it’s murky and slow and sticky and really uncomfortable. But I keep going because just around the corner is my favorite part….ready for it?

The middle! Okay I know some of you writers out there are scratching your heads thinking I’m totally nuts. You’re probably right (on so many levels) but hear me out. The middle is where the characters start falling into place, the plot starts moving and all the exciting (and sexy) stuff happens. If there’s a villain then he (or she) is causing all kinds of trouble and the hero and heroine and stuck together trying to solve a problem, find a treasure, catch a killer or just trying not to kill each other. It’s all the good stuff. We read the beginnings of books to get to know the characters so we can get to the middle cause that’s where the story is at. (how’s that for great grammar?!)

So how about you? Are you a fan of Spring or are you suffering with allergies like me? And if you’re a writer, what’s your favorite part of the book?

Luck versus Perseverance

1158905_good_luckWhen it comes to publishing, I think it takes both luck AND perseverance to succeed. But if I had to choose which was more important, I’d go with perseverance hands down. Why? Because what if your lucky break is just around the corner but you give up too soon? What if a new agent who would really love your manuscript is getting their website all polished up with a brand new submissions list ready to go live on Monday morning and you quit Sunday night?

All the luck in the world won’t do you any good if you give up before you get some 🙂

When it comes to perseverance, I come down on the “stubborn as a mule” side of the coin. If there is something I want, and I mean REALLY REALLY want (like a published book for instance 😉 ) nothing is going to stop me from going after it.

Take To Trust a Thief for example. I queried various versions of that book for years. For five years, to be exact. That poor book was rejected more times than even I (a notorious over-sharer) want to admit. And frankly, the first several versions should have been rejected. The basic bones of a good book were there but they needed major polishing. Each version got closer and closer but I queried it much sooner than I should have. Though even once I had a really good book, it was still rejected, mostly for things like “the market”, or a too similar book already on the list, etc.

But I just pulled up my stubborn little bootstraps and kept at it. I wrote other books, but I never stopped looking for opportunities to get my beloved first book out in the world. My former agent (who’d signed me for my non-fiction book that came out in 2011) decided that she wanted to stay focused on non-fiction while I wanted to change directions and focus on fiction, so we parted ways and I queried again. Got a few good nibbles as I always did. But nothing solid. Since I’d queried it so many times in the past, I felt I couldn’t query it again, even though it was now a completely different book from where it had started.

But there were a few new publishers who’d sprung up. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give them a shot real quick, along with a few more established pubs who accepted non-agented materials. And finally, my luck hit. With a speed that left me dizzy. Within weeks, I had a handful of full requests and two offers of publication (with a third publisher who was very interested but wanted a little more time). Those who didn’t know how long I’d been trying to find this book a home thought I was extremely lucky. And I was. But without my perseverance, I never would have had the opportunity to BE lucky.file3421235021179

When it came to choosing who to go with, I do think a little luck was at play. I didn’t know much about the two publishers who had offered. I researched as much as I could, heard good things from both. Spoke with the editors.

And finally went with my gut. It was the best thing I ever did. I now have five books published or under contract with Entangled with several more projects underway. It’s been amazing and I look forward to a long, happy career with them.

Yes, I’ve written other books along the way and I’m sure one of them would have made it (especially since one of the manuscripts I pulled out of a drawer is releasing in two weeks 🙂 ) But it was the little book that I refused to give up on that gave me my “lucky” break. The book that almost everyone told me to let go. The book that I was too dang stubborn to put away 🙂

So yes, luck helps. That right combination of the right manuscript finding the right person at the exact right time. But if you give up along the way, luck won’t do you an ounce of good.