Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book Giveaway:

Spellbound



Spellbound

Her desire becomes his pleasure...

Max Westin. Sex incarnate. She could smell it, feel it with his proximity. Everything about him was a little rough, a little gritty. A primitive creature. Just like she was.
He held her hand a little too long, his thickly-lashed gaze clearly stating his intentions to have her. To tame her…
“Victoria.”
Her name, just one word, but spoken with such possession she could almost feel the collar around her neck.
“It’s in your nature,” he murmured. “The desire to be taken.”
In this game of cat and mouse, everything is an illusion but the passion is as real as it gets…


To win a copy of this book, please post a comment.
Winner to be announced later this week.
Open to US mailing addresses only. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Q & A wirh Heather Lin!





1.     Tell us about your newest release.

Rosa's Story is a sequel to Westridge. Westridge focused on Gabby and Jason's romance, and it also happens to be free on Kindle today! This novella takes place a few months later and focuses on Jason's ex-wife, Rosa, as she struggles to deal with letting Gabby into her daughter's life. She feels lonely and insecure, even as she tries to keep a brave face. When she meets a rugged construction worker named Dylan, she thinks he's exactly what she needs to get through it.

He's tall, dark, tattooed, mysterious, and pretty damn sexy. He's also crazy about Rosa. But there are things about Dylan's past that he's too embarrassed to tell her, things that would definitely make her think twice about getting involved with him. When those details are revealed, their newfound relationship may stay short-lived.

2.  What makes your story special to you?

As with Westridge, Rosa's Story holds a lot of precious childhood memories. Going to church at a little white church, zucchini bread, trips to the library, etc. Writing about the town of Westridge is always nostalgic. But Rosa's story is especially important to me because we're finally getting to see Gabby and Jason from Rosa's point of view, and we also get to see her find her own happy ending.

3.  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Writing was just this natural sort of hobby I always had. I think it was because my mom read to me from the time I was an infant until I could read myself (and even a little after that), and she encouraged me to write my own stories, too. I guess I always thought the idea of being a writer was romantic and wonderful, but I didn't really recognize that potential in myself until college. I wrote my first sexy story, won a contest, and thought "Hey, I might have something here!" Then I was accepted into a few anthologies, had some standalone stories published, and I just couldn't stop. :)

4. What is a typical writing day like?

Is there such a thing as a typical writing day?? Haha. Most of the time I squeeze in writing while the little girl I nanny for is sleeping or after work. I have a few writer friends (Horror writers, actually. Go figure.) and we get together one or two days a week after work to write/discuss the industry. Occasionally, I'll get a whole morning on the weekend to myself. On those days, my husband plays video games in the computer room, I fix myself a cup of coffee, and I sit on the couch with the cat and/or dog and write on my iPad.

5. Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?

I act out really angsty scenes in front of my bathroom mirror/in the shower/in the car before I write them. It helps me better describe facial expressions and tones and stuff. It's gotten harder to execute said weird habit since getting married, though. He wouldn't judge me, but I'm still grateful I've never had to have the "Um....who are you talking to?" "My....muse?" conversation.

6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned as a published author?

Big house publishing isn't all it's cracked up to be. I had a very important conversation with a fellow romance writer, Shari Slade (Three Nights With a Rockstar? Have you read it? Do it! ;)), and she pointed out that authors can make a really great living through self-publishing ebooks as long as they work to develop a fan base, consistently put out good work, and are willing to put in the time and effort. And to be honest I've found self-publishing very freeing. I still like submitting to anthologies, but not having to worry about acceptance or rejection letters, managing my own cover art, and making my own executive decisions on my novels and novellas has been tons of fun and has actually freed up a lot of time to write.

7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

Carly Phillips was the first romance writer I ever read, so she was definitely an influence. My mother's always been very supportive, as has my husband. Since my best friend and I used to spend our weekends writing boyband fanfiction I have to say she was a pretty big influence, too. Haha. I'm very lucky. I have a great support system.

8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?

They're very supportive. Even my grandparents read my stuff. If you look at Scandal and Other Erotic Tales on Amazon there's a review that says "Anyone who does not like this does not like erotic literature. No matter your age this is the book you should not miss." and that's totally from my Grandpop. I should probably feel more awkward about it than I do....Haha.

9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

Reading, kids, Pinterest, travel, Netflix, coffee, board games...Anything that might appeal to an introvert!

10. Can you tell us about whats coming up next for you writing wise?

Thanks for asking! I've just finished the first draft of the last novella in the Westridge trilogy. It's called Caitlin's Story and it should be out in early November. :) After that, I have a futuristic romance trilogy planned as well as a standalone contemporary romance novel.

11. How can readers connect with you online?

Like Heather Lin on Facebook, follow @heatherlin88 on Twitter, or visit my website at http://www.heatherlin.com.

Thanks for stopping by!



Blurb

Rosa has a beautiful daughter and a great relationship with her ex-husband, Jason. But when his childhood sweetheart returns to the small town of Westridge, she begins feeling left out and insecure. She just can't get used to the idea of sharing her daughter with another woman, and their picture perfect love story makes her lack of a love life feel like a glaring failure.

In the midst of her emotional upheaval, she meets Dylan, a burly, tattooed construction worker who soothes her wounded pride and aching heart. They enter into a fast-paced, passionate affair, and Rosa finds herself falling for him in just a matter of weeks.

Against his better judgement, Dylan falls for Rosa, too. But he's in no position to be in a relationship. He doesn't have a car, he doesn't have a place of his own, and he has the kind of past that matches his rough appearance. He's made mistakes Rosa couldn't possibly forgive, and he may never get up the courage to admit to them.

The result? A ticking time bomb of a romance that's sure to rock both their worlds and leave neither unscathed.

Excerpt

“Mommy, I want to pick flowers.”
            Rosa glanced in her rearview mirror. Penny was strapped in her booster seat, looking out at the wildflowers by the edge of a wide, green cornfield.
            “Later, baby.”
            The field belonged to Mr. Dawson, and half a mile back it met with the Joneses' field. In one more minute, they’d be at Jason’s house, the one he and Rosa had once shared and he now shared with Gabby Jones. The families were all connected, as if it were always meant to be.
She was separate, living ten minutes east, close to the library where she worked, barely outside of the tiny trailer park in which she’d been raised. She was back to being Rosa Nelson, mother of Penny Dawson, ex-wife of Jason Dawson, and, as she pulled into the familiar driveway and parked in front of the garage, intruder in Gabby Jones’s new home.
            Rosa had been the one to leave. She’d taken Penny and moved out after a year of trying to make it work, a year of trying to be someone she wasn’t. She was happy for her ex-husband. She’d encouraged him to reconcile with his childhood sweetheart, but she couldn’t help feeling tiny stabs of jealousy and disappointment. She didn’t fit in.
            “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb…”
            Penny swung her legs back and forth, singing to herself, waiting patiently for her mother to release her from her restraints. This was the first time Rosa would be dropping her daughter off at the house without Jason present.
            Gabby had been back in Westridge for two months now, except for a brief trip to the city to get her affairs in order. The pretty redhead was set to open a new branch of Flowers by Gabby in Middleford in one month. Today, Rosa had to work, and Jason had an emergency repair. “Why not let Gabby have her?” he’d said. He’d meet them in the afternoon for lunch.
            Rosa couldn’t say no. Of course leaving her daughter with Gabby was fine. Why wouldn’t it be fine? Rosa was Penny's mother. She couldn't be replaced.
            She glanced in the mirror again, this time angling it so she could see herself. Her curled hair was perfect, shoulder-length at full volume. Her ruby red lipstick was flawless. She was in great shape.
She was not the type of woman whose confidence should be failing.
            Rosa readjusted the mirror and stepped out of her car. She opened the back door to let Penny out of her seat.
            “Are you ready to visit Gabby, baby?” she asked the four-year-old.
            “Yes, Mommy. We have fun together.”
            “I’m glad you do.”
            Rosa lifted the round-faced girl into her arms. She was the spitting image of her mother—those same big blue eyes and curly blond hair. Rosa had relied too much on those good looks in high school, throwing herself at boys and compromising her self-respect. She was ashamed now of the way she’d acted, especially toward Jason. She prayed every day her daughter would make better decisions than she had.
            They approached the front steps of the white and blue rancher. The door opened, and Gabby stood there with a friendly smile. She wore a cute, dark blue romper that screamed city girl, but the flannel shirt—which Rosa was quite sure belonged to Jason—spoke of her small town roots. She was cute. She’d grown up.
            “Hi, Rosa,” she greeted. Her tone was pleasant enough, but Rosa knew she still wasn’t comfortable around her. “And hello, Penny.” She smiled warmly and tugged gently on the little girl’s hair.
            “Hi, Gabby.” Penny squirmed, and Rosa let her down, smoothing the little yellow dress her daughter wore before letting her run inside to play.
            The two women were left standing alone together. Rosa was a pro at seeming confident, even when she wasn’t. Gabby never had been. Her hazel eyes flitted nervously between Rosa and the door. Neither of them knew what to say. Rosa held nothing against Gabby, but that didn’t mean it was easy to see her standing in the doorway of her old home. And she was sure it was just as difficult for Gabby to see her boyfriend’s ex-wife standing in the doorway of her new home.
            “Would you like to come in for coffee?” Gabby asked.
            Rosa blinked. She hadn’t expected that. She knew Gabby only said it to break the awkward silence. She expected Rosa to politely decline and be on her merry way. But Rosa didn’t have the desire to make it that easy. They were in this together, no matter how awkward it was, and they needed to be able to sit down and have a cup of coffee together.
            “Sure,” she agreed.


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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Q & A with Jennifer Hayward!





1.  Tell us about your newest release.


Changing Constantinou’s Game is the story of New York City reporter, Isabel Peters, who is on the verge of her greatest career breakthrough as she auditions for an anchor job. However her first and only one-night-stand with a gorgeous Greek is about to complicate things as he becomes her biggest story and Izzie is forced to choose between her career and love.



2.  What makes your story special to you? 


My heroine, Izzie, really makes this a story that hits me deep down. She embodies so many of the hopes and insecurities we all have as women, yet when fate puts her in the path of the man of her dreams, she doesn’t shy away from the chance encounter like many of us have done – she goes for it! It may get her into hot water after the fact, but she never regrets her decision to seize the moment after her and Alex’s near death experience.



3.  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 


I wrote my first manuscript for Harlequin when I was nineteen and I knew then that that was what I wanted to do. But I didn’t have enough life experience to write those types of deeply emotional books. So I took my very nice rejection from a senior editor and carried it with me through a career in journalism and PR. But I always came back to the love of writing. When my bosses would ask me in performance reviews, “Where do you want to be in five years?”, I would say, “Writing books…” Not career limiting… really. Then later on in life, I finally cut back on my work schedule so I could write more and was having some success with submissions when I won Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write competition in 2012 and my first book contract.



4. What is a typical writing day like? 


I drop my son off at school, answer a few emails, find out what’s going on in the world, then I sit down and write until I pick my son up from school. Sometimes I will have freelance PR work to do and I slot it in either then or at night. I’m a very disciplined person, working at home has always been about working. If I’m on deadline or working on a scene my head is really deep in I might write again at night, but I’m trying to avoid that as the brain needs a rest to remain creative.



5. Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?


I’m a planner with my books. I need to know my characters inside out before I begin and at least my key turning points of the story/plot. But I just realized with my last synopsis, I don’t like to commmit on an ending – I’d rather write – “I’ll do something really fun here to tie things up” to my editor. Because I want the book and the characters to tell me the ending. And it often changes. Sometimes twice J Some writers are like this with beginnings – for me it’s endings. They are so crucial to me because they’re a reader’s last impression, what will be in their heads when they see another of my books on the shelf. I want to knock their socks off.





6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned as a published author? 


I’m not sure anything really surprised me. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is the need to tune out the noise. You’re trying to sit down and write the best book you can, but there is so much else going on – promoting  your book, reviews, sales, responding to readers. It’s been interesting to me that some of the things some readers love about my books, others don’t like at all. So I’m learning also that I can’t be all things to all people – I have to be true to myself in the books I write. I’m not saying I’ve mastered this J I think it takes time.



7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?


Oh gosh, so many. I developed so many friendships when I participated in Mills & Boon’s New Voices competition that carried through to So You Think You Can Write. We have supported each other in the most amazing way. I would say authors like Judith McNaught and all those amazing Harlequin Presents authors like Michelle Reid, Sandra Marton, Sarah Morgan and Kelly Hunter – they just wrote such great stories that made me want to write a Presents. And then there’s the great mentors I’ve had to get me here – Sharon Kendrick, Linda Style and Connie Flynn – they've played a big role as teachers in getting me where I am.



8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?


They love it! My dad, who’s a surgeon, chats me up at medical dinners – I just love that. And my brother has helped me with my website. My sister, a big fan of romance, has trooped along to conferences with me. And my mother is my biggest fan – that’s special. And I can’t forget my husband who let me quit my job to write – he’s amazing!



9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?


I am a huge fan of travelling, pretty much anywhere a plane will take me. I also love to exercise and hike in beautiful places – my trips to Tuscany have been amazing for that. I’m also a member of an eleven-year-strong book club with ten amazing women I adore.



10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise? 


My next release after Changing Constantinou’s Game is in Dec for Harlequin Presents. It’s called The Magnate’s Manifesto. I’m really excited with this one as I wanted to push the boundaries with this heroine. I saw a TV show about a Las Vegas stripper who had bought herself multiple properties and really set herself up economically for life as a dancer. And I thought what if I create a heroine in Bailey, who comes from a poor background, who puts herself through school as a stripper, becomes a high-powered marketing executive and then one day, her past comes barreling back to haunt her just when she thinks she’s put it all behind her. I actually interviewed a former Las Vegas stripper for the book and it was fascinating. In the Magnate’s Manifesto I paired Bailey with a Silicon Valley billionaire who writes a manifesto about women that creates an incident of international female indignation – he’s her boss. You can imagine what happens when you put these two together! Both of them learn some big lessons about who they thought they were. You can find a teaser here.



11. How can readers connect with you online?


You can find me at my website where you can sign up for my quarterly newsletter. Or you can find me on twitter and facebook. I love to hear from readers!





Changing Constantinou’s Game - Book Blurb

One kiss couldn't hurt, could it? 

Alexios Constantinou is notorious for his lethal charm, so when the exquisite Isabel Peters is—literally—dropped into his lap during a hellish elevator ride, he doesn't waste the opportunity! With tensions sky-high after their near-death experience, an insatiable desire ignites between them, and all bets are off. 

But when Alex discovers that reporter Isabel's next story is him, he's furious…yet determined to use it to his advantage. He's calling the shots, but the closer Isabel gets, the closer she comes to discovering his carefully concealed secret. Now, with everything at stake, he'll need a whole new game plan….


Changing Constantinou’s Game - Excerpt



Izzie focused on forking the small amount of food she thought she could consume into her mouth at the small candlelit table Alex had set on the terrace. The herbed pasta was delicious, but it was hard to eat when her heart was still pounding and her hands trembling so much negotiating a fork seemed like a new and highly complex activity. And why wouldn't it when she had literally jumped into the deep end and invited the most spectacularly good looking man she'd ever met to kiss her--and he had!  Not to mention the fact that the kiss had been the most incredible of her life and all she could think about was experiencing more of the bone-meltingly delicious heat that had coursed through her veins. It was like every nerve ending in her body had been switched on for the first time and she wasn't sure whether to revel in it or be completely terrified of what she was feeling.

She swallowed hard, forced down the food. The fact that she'd been right--that Alex was attracted to her--made her head feel like it was going to blow off.  Maybe Jo was right. Maybe it had been her defensive attitude that had turned men off in the past and not the fifteen extra pounds she'd been carrying. Which had always been her excuse.

She took another sip of the rich, full Cabernet that was going a long way to mellowing her out. But the wine didn't seem to be having the same effect on Alex who'd glowered at her throughout the entire meal-as if she'd committed a crime rather than simply kissed him.

She risked a quick glance at him.  He was still watching her with that same, implacable frown on his face, that penetrating blue gaze of his impossible to read. And it occurred to her she hadn't fully thought through her plan. She had the mind numbing confirmation he was attracted to her...the question now was what was she going to do about it?

Her heart pounding in her chest, she set her fork down with an abrupt movement, and the sound of metal clattering against fine china echoed in the still night air.

He gave her half-empty plate a narrowed glance. "That's all you're going to eat?"

"It was delicious, thank you. I think that's about all I can handle.'
"All right." He laid his fork down with a deliberate movement and pushed his plate away.  "Let's talk about what happened."

Gladly.  She took another sip of her wine to fortify herself and set the glass down.

"That kiss shouldn't have happened."

She was ready for that one.  "Why not?

"I'm much more experienced than you, Isabel. I'm not interested in relationships, in fact mine never last longer than a few months, and the women I date are well aware of that."

"So?"

He did a double take at the belligerent note in her voice. "You're also probably still in shock from what happened today."

"I'm absolutely fine," she countered.  "In fact I feel like I have more clarity right now than I've ever had in my life."

He sat back in his chair, his gaze on her face.  "What kind of clarity?"

She twisted the stem of her wine glass on the table, watching the blood red liquid shimmer in the candlelight. "That was my worst fear today. Facing it-getting through it-" she paused, looking up at him, "--it's made me realize how much of my life I've lived in fear...how many times I've not gone after what I wanted because I was afraid I wouldn't get it or it would explode in my face."

He gave a wary nod.  "That's a good realization."

She shook her head.  "I'm not looking for a relationship, Alex." A husky laugh escaped her.  "In fact, that's the last thing I need right now."

His eyes narrowed. "Then what are you looking for?"

"I don't want to live with any more regrets."

He shook his head, a wry smile curving his lips. "You're twenty-five, Isabel. How many regrets can you have?"

She took a deep breath, meeting his gaze head-on. "I will regret it if I walk away from tonight without exploring the attraction that's between us."

A muscle jumped in his jaw.  He sat there completely silent, staring at her.  "I'm not sure you know what you're doing."

She shook her head.  "I know exactly what I'm doing."

A long moment passed, it might have been four, five seconds, she wasn't sure. All she knew was that she was holding her breath, sure at one point he was going to reject her. The warm night air pressed so heavily against her lungs she thought they would burst.  And then something shifted, morphed on the air between them. And she got her answer in the darkening of his eyes.



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Bio



JENNIFER HAYWARD has been a fan of romance since filching her sister’s novels to escape her teenaged angst.
Her career in journalism and PR, including years of working alongside powerful, charismatic CEOs and traveling the world, has provided perfect fodder for the fast-paced, sexy stories she likes to write, always with a touch of humour. You can find out more about Jennifer and her books and sign up for her newsletter at her website. Or you can find her on twitter and facebook.

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