AFK: aka ROAD TRIP!

I’m not here.

Seriously.

I’m not. I’ve left home; I’ve even left my country and headed south to Cincinnati and Lori Foster’s Reader and Author Get Together.

If you’re in the Cinci area, I’ll be part of the book signing session on Saturday afternoon from 2 until 4 — the public is welcome.  I’ll be gawking at my favorite authors such as Lori Foster and Jill Shalvis and Sherrilyn Kenyon and Carly Phillips and HelenKay Dimon and … oh the list is huge — go here to see who all is going to be there.   And if you’re there, stop by and say hi.  I have chocolate.  Seriously. I have a LOT of chocolate to give away. Or I did when I arrived. By the time the signing starts, a lot of it may be gone…but still stop by and see. It’s Canadian chocolate.

It’s good.

REAL good.With names like Mr. Big.   How can you go wrong with a chocolate bar called Mr. Big?  Oh oh, I bet Inez Kelley would make a joke about that. ;)

And if you can’t make it, don’t worry. I’ll be back home on Monday, hopefully with lots of fun pictures.  See you then!

Only a few days left to help stomp out diabetes

Brenda Novak’s online auction to raise money for diabetes research is winding down so if you have had your eye on any of her items but haven’t bid yet, what are you waiting for? The auction closes May 31st!

auctionofyear

I’ve donated a first chapter critique and the bidding is currently at $37 $42. I’ve also contributed to the Carina Press Authors’ items — there’s a Kindle Fire, Kindle 3G Keyboard, lunches with editors and authors, critiques by Carina Press editors, and all sorts of other critiques and packages by other authors too.It’s not just for writers, but for readers too. You can bid on once in a lifetime items like stays at Nora Roberts’ Boonsboro Inn, tickets to orchestra row seats to CeeLo Green’s show in Las Vegas, a chance to meet Celine Dion in Las Vegas, getaways in wine country California, or Sydney Australia. There’s even an African safari up for bid.

Diabetes research is personal to me — Gizmo Guy was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago, and since it’s in his family’s history that means our sons are more likely to develop it at some point later in their lives. Within months of his diagnosis, he started losing the feeling in his feet thanks to diabetic neuropathy. He has to go to the optometrist and be checked out regularly as diabetics’ sight is often affected too. That diagnosis has changed how we’ve had to shop — we’ve been avid label readers looking for those hidden sugars, even items that claim to be sugar free often have fructose and other hidden sugars that are equally dangerous to his health. In other words, we have to worry about it affecting every aspect of his health and our future together.

If you don’t want to bid on an item, or if you lose out your bid but would still like to donate, you can make a cash donation and participate that way. It all helps. But the auction ends on May 31st. So don’t delay.

Snippet Saturday: My choice!

I love the Author’s Choice days on Snippet Saturday even though it often means it takes me twice as long to choose which snippet to use because I have so many favorite scenes. Today I’m posting one of my favorite scenes between Troy and Sandy from Hidden Heat. To me, it’s one of those earth-shifts-beneath-their-feet moments, when their relationship begins to change. In this case, it’s the start of their relationship…


Hidden Heat

Copyright © 2012 Leah Braemel
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

[I]’m still ticked off with you, you know.”

Placing his hands gently on her shoulders, Troy turned Sandy to face him. “Same goes. You need to be more careful about who you trust. There are some nasty types out there who will gobble a pretty girl like you up for a snack.”

He couldn’t resist playing with her collar as a way to cover his need to touch her hair. To touch her.

Her expression softened. “I know about the nasty types, Troy. I have to file the reports that agents submit, as well as sit in on the initial meetings with clients, which means I know exactly why they require bodyguards. I also volunteer with the Safe and Sound program. I’ve seen what those women have experienced before they made it to the shelter.”

a story that is complete with lots of push and pull, sexual desire, and heat…a wild ride readers will relish ~ ShannonThe Romance Studio

When she shook her head, her hair brushed the back of his hand in a soft caress.

All his protective instincts bristled that she could be put in danger from one of those abusers. “Tell me no one’s been harassing you from there. None of the husbands who think it’s easier to blame you than himself.”

Her eyes closed briefly and a soft huff of exasperation escaped between her lush lips. “I’m fine. And stop trying to distract me about how you interfered back there. I’m still mad at you.”

Smart girl. He caught a strand of hair and rubbed it between his fingers. “He wasn’t your type.”

“And you are?”

Not hardly. “No. I’m the big bad wolf. That’s why you need to trust me that he wasn’t right for you.”

“What big eyes you have, Grandma?” Her lips compressed though the corners twitched as if she were trying not to smile. Then she tilted her head until her ear touched his thumb and the ground slid from beneath him. Why was it so hard to breathe from such a simple touch?

He gave in to impulse and lowered his head. Her eyes widened briefly, then they closed as he took the kiss he’d dreamed of for so long.

She tasted of strawberries and sugar. And everything good that must be found in heaven. Heaven became even more attainable when she slid her hands beneath his coat, around his waist and flattened them over his back, pulling him closer. He sank deeper into the kiss, her innocence a benediction, a cleansing of all his sins.

The Honda parked beside his SUV beeped and its headlights flashed, breaking the trance he’d fallen into. He couldn’t remember a time when he’d ever been so reluctant to break off a kiss, but he forced himself to lift his head. To step back.

As the owner of the Honda cleared his throat and gestured to the door Troy was blocking, he took Sandy’s hand and led her to the front of the car. She didn’t say a word as she followed, but the look of complete trust she gave him wracked him with both guilt and desire. Her tongue darted out to moisten lips swollen from his kiss. In what seemed to be an unconscious gesture, she touched a hand to smooth the hair he’d managed to further tousle. Is this what she’d look like waking up beside him?

Stop it. She’d run screaming if she knew you killed an unarmed man this morning.

Read an excerpt | Read the Reviews


Buy it now from Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Samhain
 Diesel Books | Kobo | Sony Reader


Don’t forget to visit the other Snippet Saturday participants:

Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Rhian Cahill
Eliza Gayle
Jody Wallace
Mandy M Roth
Lissa Matthews
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Shiloh Walker
Shelli Stevens
Zoë Archer
Lauren Dane

Playing Catch-Up

Hey, it’s almost the end of May already. The leaves are on the trees, the A/C went on this week (that’s early for my part of the world), and yet I can’t say I remember seeing a lot of it happen.  Between Hidden Heat’s release (which I’ve sadly not given the attention it deserved), writing the Christmas story for Carina (it’s finished, edited, and subbed) and preparing for my upcoming trip to Lori Foster’s event,  I’m finally tackling a lot of the things I’d shoved aside to work on “later”.  So I’ve been spending this week trying to catch up…

First off, there are only a few days left to bid on my First Chapter Critique that I’ve donated as part of Brenda Novak’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research.  You can also bid on a number of other items donated by the Carina Press authors, including a Kindle Fire, an Amazon Kindle 3G, a 30 page critique by Carina’s executive editor Angela James along with a breakfast, a 60 page and synopsis critique by my editor Rhonda Helms (her suggestions have definitely strengthened my books, do not pass this one up if you can afford it.)

If you subscribed to my newsletter, my latest one had a contest in it for a Leah Braemel T-shirt.  That contest is now closed (thanks to everyone who entered) and the winner is Stephanie!  (Stephanie, I’ll be sending your t-shirt and swag from Cincinnati next week.)

My family hasn’t escaped this week either.  I’ve had them weeding and helping tame the back yard which had started to resemble a jungle. (We discovered a rabbit’s warren in one corner, and didn’t want to disturb the baby bunnies. They’ve finally grown up and moved on, so we felt it safe to start hacking the weeds in that corner now.) Since Gizmo Guy is taking next week off while I’m away, he’s got a heck of a honey-do list to keep him busy.

And Seamus finally got taken to the groomers.  He was starting to look like a miniature Old English Sheepdog. Now he looks like a lamb.  (I’ll post pictures of him on Sunday — the best ones I have of him are on Gizmo Guy’s camera and he hasn’t sent them to me yet.) He looks so different we’re having trouble seeing him as “our dog” any more.  It’s like owning a completely different dog.

Now the most pressing issues have been taken care of, I am sitting down making lists of everything I need to still buy for my trip to Cincinnati next week. I want to buy some special little gifts for some special people who have gone above-and-beyond the call of duty for me but I’m coming up dry with ideas. I still have to get together all the swag I need to take with me and make sure I’ve got enough. (Too late to order more if I haven’t. Yikes!) And I’m trying to figure out my schedule.  Then there’s figuring out my wardrobe, and packing, and getting my hair done … so much to do, so little time.

Oh, and in the middle of all that I’m plotting out Scott’s story, which will be book 6 and will wind up the Hauberk series. (I think.)  I’m putting not just Scott and his heroine through hell, but all the folks over at Hauberk … fun times. :D

 

Stacey Joy Netzel: More Than a Kiss

**Stacey has a special offer at the end of the post, so make sure to check it out. (Hint: A limited time FREE book is involved—plus sale prices on three of her other books, including new release MORE THAN A KISS.)

Thank you for being my guest, Stacey Joy!

You’re published with The Wild Rose Press but you’ve also ventured into self-publishing. What have you learned about the differences between the processes?

Two things…one, self-publishing is A LOT of work. I mean, writing is hard work to begin with, and I certainly didn’t expect the publishing side to be easy, but there is a lot of time and effort involved in formatting for each ereader/distribution site (Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Smashwords, ect.), not to mention having a cover designed, writing back cover copy, pricing, uploading, and then you still have to promo and write the next book! The second I’ve learned about and really like is the absolute freedom you have as your own publisher. I swear I’m not a control freak, but I love having final say on my covers and being able to price books so they’re affordable to all readers. Not to mention being able to offer sales when I want! (don’t forget to check below!)

Did anything surprise you?

Honestly, the increased income was a very pleasant surprise. I’m not getting rich, but I’m finally making enough to pay some bills instead of just buying dinner every three months. Though an indie-pubbed author totally earns the higher royalty rates with the extra work they’re putting into the publishing side, not to mention the hours and hours spent writing the book in the first place.

Your tag line is “Rugged Heroes, Resilient Heroines, Heartwarming Romance.” Tell me about your latest Rugged Hero and Resilient Heroine. (I love that line, by the way.) 

That would be Zach and Sadie in MORE THAN A KISS. Self-made millionaire Zach might be a whiz in the boardroom, but when it comes time to protect a woman, he’s got no problem stepping up. And because he received a cheap shot before knocking out the jerk, Sadie makes sure to offer a proper thank you. (see excerpt below) Sadie’s resilience stems from her determination to make it on her own and not depend on her stepfather’s wealth. She’s a bit prickly about the whole money issue, and does her best to avoid her rich, rugged hero, but luckily he’s persistent in his pursuit.

What’s next for you?

Coming up next is another Welcome To Redemption story, HOLD ON TO ME, (release date TBA), and any day now I should be hard at work on the sequel to my romantic suspense LOST IN ITALY. I say any day because while I’ve started Ben and Evalina’s book, my flower and vegetable gardens have been monopolizing my time.

Do you have a favorite book (someone else has written) that you keep as a ‘comfort read’?

I kinda wish I did, but books take so long to read (comparatively), that when I’m looking for comfort I turn movies like The Cutting Edge, Ever After, Sahara, While You Were Sleeping, or about 20-30 other options in my DVD library. Besides, for books, there are SO many out there, and so many by new friends I’ve made in this business, I just don’t have time to reread books even though I am a fairly quick reader.

If you could go back to meet yourself as you were just getting out of high school, what advice would you give yourself?

You know, I don’t think I’d have any sage advice, really. I am who I am because of the road my life has taken and the things I’ve experienced on the journey. Sure there have been some decisions that weren’t very smart at the time, but I wouldn’t trade the results for anything, and I wouldn’t be where I am now without those decisions. I’m happy with my life and what I have—a great family, a good job and a dream that I’m living in my writing.

Random question! Sandy Caribbean beach in February or Scottish castle in June?

This one’s easy—Scottish castle! I am not a sit-on-the-beach person at all. I get bored. Not to mention, I’m a red head who burns easy, so I prefer the shade to sunscreen, and I’d much rather be hiking somewhere in the mountains. :) Highlands would be pretty cool, too.

Leah here: Then Stacey definitely wouldn’t like the Sandy Caribbean beach in June. I wonder if Stacey would like the Scottish castle in February, especially if it’s in the Highlands. ;)

I’d like to share an excerpt, and after that, details about the indie-author Beach Book Blast event going on May 23-25th with FREE and discounted books by more than a dozen authors!

MORE THAN A KISS

When a kiss…

All reporter Sadie Barton wants is to be taken seriously and judged on her own merits, not her stepfather’s money. She and her actress sister left Wisconsin to get out from under his controlling thumb and leave behind the malicious whispers that they’re no better than their gold-digging mother. But California isn’t all sun and fun, and paying the rent while trying to prove herself is harder than she ever imagined.

…is more than a kiss…

Something about Sadie drew self-made millionaire Zach Robinson—and it wasn’t just the amazing kiss they shared as impromptu actors in his company’s commercial. He’s used to women being interested in his wealth, and Sadie’s fierce independence is an enticing breath of fresh air. He’s falling fast—until his brother suggests acting runs in her family and Sadie might not be exactly what she seems…

EXCERPT from MORE THAN A KISS

copyright © 2012 Stacey Joy Netzel

“You should’ve iced this right away.”

The first touch of the cold cloth on his sore lip triggered a reflexive jerk away. He hissed air through his teeth before relaxing to let it out slow.

She raised her other arm and laid her palm along his stubble covered jaw to hold him still. It seemed strange, her fussing over him like this when he could take care of himself. Warmth spread from her touch and started his heart thudding in his chest. As if someone smacked him upside the head, he realized this was the closest she’d gotten to him since they’d kissed on the set of the commercial. Voluntarily, anyway.

With her concentration fixed on his mouth, Zach let his gaze wander over her long, down-swept lashes, smooth skin, and enticing lips. Discomfort shifted to center below the waistband of his shorts. Didn’t help that she had the corner of that lush, lower lip caught between her teeth again. He wanted to nibble.

When he raised his gaze to find her watching him, his pulse stuttered. Color stained her cheeks, but she didn’t break the connection.

“I didn’t thank you yet,” she said softly.

“Sure you did.”

His grip tightened on the cold bottle in his hand. Shut up, idiot! Let her thank you however she wants.

“Not for taking me to get Gemma, I didn’t. Or helping us get out of there and taking the hit for us.”

“Two,” he reminded, throwing in a grimace for good measure. “I took two hits.”

A smile tugged the corners of her mouth upward. “Don’t worry, I was counting.”

“Good.”

She lowered the hand with the ice pack to rest on his shoulder, bracing herself as she leaned closer. The minty freshness of her breath filled his nostrils and he swallowed hard at the thought of tasting it on his tongue.

“So…anyway…thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Zach held still, afraid to even breathe in case she changed her mind. Anticipation sizzled through his body and what had been a refreshing ocean breeze now became a teasing caress on his heated skin.

Sadie’s lashes lowered as she closed her eyes and pressed her lips to his. Stomach muscles tightened in his effort to lean into the kiss, but she pulled away.

Well, damn. He had two chances here and one was already over? To hide his disappointment over the all too brief contact, he joked, “That’s one.”

The thumb of her right hand whispered across his lips. “How does your mouth feel?”

“Cold.”

He barely had a chance to draw a breath before she leaned in for take two.

~~~~~

Want to read the entire book? Pick up a copy now for $0.99 before it goes back to regular price of $3.99! MORE THAN A KISS, DITCHED AGAIN, and DRAGONFLY DREAMS are all on sale for $0.99 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble May 23-25 as part of the Beach Book Blast.

MORE THAN A KISS links:

 Amazon: 

Sand cover          Dark Cover

Barnes & Noble

Sand cover          Dark cover

LOST IN ITALY, my 2012 Romantic Suspense finalist in the Write Touch Readers’ Award, is FREE at Amazon May 23-25 as part of their Select program.

Amazon

Want more FREE and discounted books? Head on over to the Beach Book Blast and check ‘em all out!

Thank you for having me here, Leah! I enjoyed the interview and look forward to talking with everyone.

Stacey Joy Netzel

Stacey Joy Netzel fell in love with books at a young age, so for her the graduation to writing them was natural. An avid reader and fan of movies with a happily ever after, she lives in her native Wisconsin with her husband and three children, a couple horses and some barn cats. She works part-time as a travel agent, and in her limited free time enjoys gardening, canning, and visiting her parents in Northeastern Wisconsin (Up North) at their cabin on the lake.

Learn more about Stacey Joy and her books at her website and Blog: http://www.StaceyJoyNetzel.com or at Facebook: Facebook.com/StaceyJoyNetzel or follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StaceyJoyNetzel