Pay It Forward Friday – Becky Burkheart

Pay-it-forward-Friday

Pay It Forward Friday is my way of thanking authors who have done something that has helped me either personally or professionally in some way in the past years. Some I’ve only met online, some at conferences, and some have become long-term friends. Others may not even know what they did, or even who I am, but at some point they said or posted something that helped me or inspired me in some way.

They have no idea they are being featured here; I’ve secretly gone to their website and gathered their information. I hope you’ll look up their books and support them by buying a book (or a whole series) because they’re not only great authors but great people too!


On Monday I celebrated the sixth anniversary of PRIVATE PROPERTY’S release — my first published book. I thought it fitting therefore to honor the lady who pushed convinced me to try to get published. Some of you may have heard our story, but here it is again, with a few extra confessions. It’s a long one, so go grab a coffee and settle in a comfy chair…

becky1I first met Becky Burkheart online in an MSN group (remember them?) back in the early 2000s. The group wasn’t about writing; it was a Lord of the Rings fan group where we discussed the movies, and the books and the lore of Tolkien’s realm.

At the time I’d been writing since I was a kid, but I’d never shown anyone my writing. I would write late at night, often opening the document well after 11 o’clock at night, once the kids were finally in bed and I’d finished marking my students’ work  using my writing as a way to destress.  But while I was part of this group,  I discovered several of the other members were writers who were seeking publication. Becky was one of those members.

It was also the first time I admitted to anyone other than one friend and my husband that I wrote.

While I enjoyed writing and creating fictional worlds, I had no intention of ever trying to get published. As I said, writing was a hobby, a way to  have some ‘me time’ and quiet the characters in my head who kept me awake late at night. Becky, however, was serious about getting published. She was working on a historical fantasy manuscript and pitching it to agents and editors. She read some of my work and told me to get myself to a writers’ group and learn more about writing, and that I definitely should try to get published. “Yeah, yeah” I said, and then ignored her. After all, I was having fun writing for myself. Why would I want to put myself up for ridicule or worse, outright rejection?

At some point after I’d been a member a few months, those of us who wrote thought it would be fun to write a round-robin story thread based in Tolkien’s worlds. Each member would assume the identity of a fictional character and we would solve a mystery set up by the thread owner.  One of the rules was we weren’t allowed to use characters from the books, we had to create our own following Tolkien’s canon. To my surprise, most of the other members chose to be female hobbits. (Dare I admit I’m not a fan of the hobbits–I think Frodo was a wuss and Sam was the hero of Lord of the Rings.) I considered being an elf, but there had always been something about Strider, and more specifically the Rangers of the North that had been left out of the movies, and even only hinted at by Tolkien himself in the books. So after a lot of deliberation, I decided to create myself a Ranger. A Male ranger. It was the first time (to my memory) that I wrote from a male character’s point of view.

Becky decided to to make her character a barmaid from Bree.

The moderator would post a set up for the day, and then we’d react to their initial post, waiting for each other’s post so we could respond with our actions/dialogue. We never knew what would be posted or who we’d have to interact with until it was up and then we’d have to formulate a response, staying in character and in the Tolkien realm. There was one particular day when my Ranger had wandered into Becky’s barmaid’s bar seeking a beer and Becky misread my post. Even though the joke is probably just between Becky and me, I couldn’t resist sharing it here. (Now remember, we were to write in Tolkien’s style so it was much more formal and more of the writing style of the 1950s and before (i.e. so young she appeared), and was very different from my current voice. And since there would occasionally be other player’s posts between ours, we’d sometimes summarize what had happened in the post we were responding to…)

Becky’s character: “I mean no offense, Lord,” she stammered, “your whiskers are not unattractive.”

She stood in front of him awaiting an answer.

 

Leah’s character: He quickly scanned the girl who stood in front of him. He thought he detected a blush on her face also, though it was hard to tell in the dim light of the inn. Perhaps she was closer to his age than he had first thought, so young she appeared. She had always been so timid when she approached him.

Perhaps he had been in the wilds too long, he thought to himself as he ran a hand ruefully over his face, realizing the coarseness of his beard. He tipped his head to catch her gaze, smiling to allay her fears, “I had been desiring another ale, but since you seem to think I need a shave perhaps I need both?”

Except Becky misread “both” and thought my character had said…

Becky’s character: Shock at his words drove her shyness away. A bath! He asked her for a BATH!!!!! and with such a disarming smile. OH!! Her hand flew to her rest on her chest and she took a minute to gather her scattered senses.

“Lord,” she gave a shallow curtsey, “I will have water taken to your room.”

…… then turned and rushed away, her heart pounding.

Anyway, we both had a good laugh at Becky’s mistaking both for bath, but we took it and ran with it. As the story evolved, a romance blossomed between our two characters, and I discovered how much fun writing (not just reading) romances were. (Ha!)

After the round robin story was finished some months later, Becky nagged encouraged me to take my fictional Ranger and write more stories about him, and handed her barmaid character to me to develop.  I would write a chapter a week and send them to Becky to critique before I put them live on various fanfic sites. (Yes, the stories are still out there, and yes I still get fanmail about them–which is unusual because in more fanfic realms, true fans generally frown upon original characters being inserted into their worlds. And no, I won’t link you to the stories.) OMG the red ink my manuscripts came back with that.  I’d cringe, yet strangely became addicted to all those corrections because I knew she was making my writing stronger. Becky taught me about point-of-view slides and “show, don’t tell” and caught my repetitions and…oh, I learned so much from her mentoring me.

It took me about a year or more (I’m thinking two) after writing several of my Ranger stories before I joined a local writers’ group. A year later, I submitted the first page of an original manuscript to an event my local writers’ group hosted called “Turn the Page.” They’d invited an editor from one of the major Canadian publishing houses and an agent to read the first pages of our manuscripts and tell us whether they would “turn the page.” (Lots of manuscripts are not read past the first page, sometimes the first paragraph, before being rejected.) Out of 40 submissions, mine was one of two that they both said they would like to read more.

That was a big “holy crap, what the heck am I doing…sh*t’s getting serious!” moment. So serious, and so freaking scary, that I stopped writing entirely.

For almost a year.

I’d never gone so long without opening a document and letting a character spill his (or her) guts onto a page. But writing meant opening myself up to more criticism, by people who knew what they were talking about.

Still, Becky persisted.

Almost exactly a year later, she emailed me about how she was joining Candace Haven’s Fast Draft course and she (Becky) was putting together a team of friends so we could encourage each other. (Back then Fast Draft was a two week free course Candy was just developing. Now it’s a month-long course combined with two weeks of Revision Hell.) Becky wanted me to get back at my keyboard writing and she figured this was a way to get me out of my “I can’t do this!” mindset. (Becky also invited another lady, Terri, who has become a friend and occasionally beta reads for me. Huh, was just checking my emails from back then and discovered one of the other ladies she invited was Janis Susan May, who is now also a published author, her latest is being published by Entangled Publishing later this year.)

And yup, Becky won.

I caved. I joined her team. And all the characters and storylines that had been bottled up for the year exploded from me. I wrote over 80,000 words in 13 days. Mind you, it was absolutely totally crap writing. I refuse to even look at it again because even I knew back then it was bad writing. But the flood gates had been opened and they couldn’t be closed again.

Around the same time, Cathy Witlox, who at the time was an editor for Harlequin and a member of my local writing group emailed me (again) encouraging me to join the Toronto Romance Writers and submit to Harlequin.  I’d been ignoring her too. Because you know, writing is hard! And it’s got a lot of negativity associated with it. All those rejections from editors, from agents, and if you finally do get published you have to face reviewers and readers who are hard to please. Why would I want to put myself in that type of misery?

But between Becky and Cathy’s efforts, and that “Turn the Page” event, I realized that maybe…just maybe…I should take the chance. So I wandered down to where my husband and son were watching television and said “Am I being stupid? Should I be trying to get published? I mean, I’ve got an editor and an agent who said they’d read more, and another editor who thinks I should be submitting to Harlequin…should I?” My eldest son who was figuring out his own career path, chimed in with a resounding, “Yes! You have always told me to follow my dreams. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is.”  It’s hard to argue when your own advice is turned back at you, isn’t it?

So I joined in January 2007, and learned that the RWA annual conference that July was in Dallas — just minutes away from Becky and another friend/critique partner Terri (who Becky had introduced me to as part of Fast Draft.) I still don’t know how it happened, but I found myself signing up for the conference and booking a flight to Dallas. Nope, still don’t know how it happened, but Becky (with Terri backing her up) bullied influenced me.

A few weeks later I found myself signing up for an editor appointment. Which, Becky reminded me, meant I had to have a finished manuscript to pitch. I spent the next couple of months working on an erotic paranormal shifter story set in Banff, Alberta. Again, Terri and Becky tag teamed me to keep me on track. I’d get emails like this:

Terri on writing and Dallas

Becky-B&W-RisckysThe manuscript finished and edited by July, I flew down to Dallas. Terri hosted Becky and I at her house near Dallas. I’ve looked through my photos but I never got one of me and Becky and Terri together! (Terri’s house and where she lived was the inspiration behind Private Property, by the way.)

Each morning we drove into the conference, Becky would grill me about my pitch. And when it was time for my editor’s appointment, she walked me to the hall and stayed with me. Okay, so she had her own pitch appointment too, but she was totally supportive. Though in all honesty I often wonder if she thought I’d back out.

So if Becky hadn’t persisted in nudging me to keep me writing, to make me serious about my writing and seek publication, Sam Watson wouldn’t exist, nor would Ben or Jake Grady. Or Dillon or Brett, Nate or Jackson or any of my favorite characters or stories. Oh, it’s still not easy. I’m far less productive than I was back then because I doubt myself even more than I did when I first met her. But because of Becky, and Terri, and Tabatha and so many others, I’m still putting my butt in the chair and hands on the keyboard and trying…

Oh and that paranormal shifter story that I pitched? I got a request from the editor at the conference and submitted it. But heard nothing back. A year later, I discovered the editor had…well, shall we say, parted ways with the publisher and deleted all the documents so the publisher had no record of any of the manuscripts the editor had looked at or been working on.

I took it as a sign and the shifter story has been tossed in the dust bin, never to see the light of day again. And to be honest, it didn’t bother me because the week I learned about that manuscript’s fate is the same week I received an email from Angela James offering a contract for Private Property with Samhain. I have to confess I phoned Becky about that email before I even told my husband. Because she’d been such a huge part of the journey.


Meet Becky Burkheart

Becky takes frequent flights of fantasy, in real life as well as in her writing.

beriIt’s said that life is stranger than fiction, but Becky’s out to prove it’s possible to integrate it both ways. Whether she’s racing her Arabian horses through the woods, rapid firing her .45 or gargoyling from local rooftops, Becky finds it hard to stay grounded in the real world. Although she has yet to ride in a space ship (she did get to simulate crashing a 727) or to meet a real vampire (that she’s aware of), anachronistic dress, “QaQ poHmey” and pints of brew (yes, it comes in pints) are standard fare on the odd weekend.

Learn more about Becky’s fiction and non-fiction at her website.

Leah here: I will warn my romance readers, though there may be romantic elements to Becky’s books, they are not romances. 

Bloodcup

bloodcup_cover v17c webWhat is it to be a priestess and a queen but a life of service to the people and the gods?

Historic legend tells us Hercules stole the Golden Girdle of War from the Amazon Queen, Hippolyte, at the command of King Eurytheus. Once it was taken back to Mycene – the trail grows cold.

In BLOODCUP the young warrior-priestess Aekhosora seizes command in the aftermath of that bloody theft to lead the army of her people on a vengeful journey south to recover the girdle. Plunging into the marshes of the Danube, through Thrace, past Mount Olympus, with only a brief stop at Delphi, they march on Theseus and all but take Athens before they continue south to death and slavery at Megara.

Suffering the whims of slavery, she struggles to stay true to her god, her goal and the man who takes her home, a man who finds himself the master of a queen striving to restore a lost and scattered people.

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33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make about Horses

33HorsesAvoid 33 common mistakes writers make about horses that drive riders crazy. This book answers key questions non-horseman don’t know they need to ask, offering clear answers for simple issues and research terms for more complex ones. Each of the 33 Mistakes are explained in clear layman’s terms in this quick and hard hitting 10,000 words. As both a rider and a writer, the author offers real world examples and conflicts rather than simply explaining what’s proper. Whether you write fantasy, historical or contemporary fiction, these simple points can easily add layers and depth, a line at a time, and help hook reading horse-lovers into your stories. (Previously published as Sue L. Huffman)

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Pay It Forward Friday – Margaret Moore

Pay-it-forward-Friday

Pay It Forward Friday is my way of thanking authors who have done something that has helped me either personally or professionally in some way in the past years. Some I’ve only met online, some at conferences, and some have become long-term friends. Others may not even know what they did, or even who I am, but at some point they said or posted something that helped me or inspired me in some way.

They have no idea they are being featured here; I’ve secretly gone to their website and gathered their information. I hope you’ll look up their books and support them by buying a book (or a whole series) because they’re not only great authors but great people too!


I met Margaret Moore at the very first Toronto Romance Writers’ meeting I’d ever attended back in January 2007. (Wow, it’s been eight years already?) Every January the Toronto Romance Writers hold a “Romance 101″ session inviting anyone who might be interested in writing romance to attend, whether you’re a member or not. I’ve mentioned it a few times here before and on other blogs but Margaret started off her talk with these very wise words:

Whenever a writer gets up in front of a group and says “I’m going to teach you how to …(fill in the blank)”, what you should also be hearing is “the way it works for me. It may or may not work for you.”

I’m paraphrasing but I think it’s fairly close to what she said that day. To me, who had met a few big name authors already, some of whom were not quite as positive, or very insistent about their way being the only way to write, Margaret came across as a humble and approachable author, one who had succeeded and one I should listen to. After the talk, I had the opportunity to talk with her for a few minutes (there was a line-up of people waiting for her time), she quickly convinced me that perhaps there was something worthwhile in pursuing a writing career.

Because of Margaret’s talk and the positive energy of all the ladies (and a few gentlemen) who attended the talk that day, I went home and promptly joined the Romance Writers of America and the Toronto Romance Writers. 18 months later I got an email from an editor offering me my first contract. Something I’d long dreamt about but never dreamed would happen that quickly. I’m pretty sure that would never have happened if it had not been for Margaret’s talk that day.


Award-winning author Margaret Moore actually began her career at the age of eight, when she and a friend concocted stories featuring a lovely, spirited damsel and a handsome, misunderstood thief nicknamed “The Red Sheik.”

MM1Color300Unknowingly pursuing her destiny, Margaret graduated with distinction from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. During that time, she also became a Leading Wren with the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, where she learned to use a variety of weapons and had the weepy experience of being tear-gassed.

In addition to being a wife and mother of two, she’s also been an award-winning public speaker, synchronized swimmer, an archer, and studied fencing and ballroom dancing.

Margaret sold her first historical romance and the premiere book of her Warrior series, A WARRIOR’S HEART, to Harlequin Historicals® in 1991. Since that time, she’s written over 40 historical romance novels and novellas for Harlequin Historicals®, HQN Books and Avon Books, as well as a young adult historical romance for HarperCollins Childrens Books.

Her books have been published in France, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands, Russia, Poland and India.

You can find out more about Margaret and her books on her website, or you can follow her on Twitter.

(Leah here: And no, you can’t have my autographed copy of A Warrior’s Heart. That’s mine!)



BrideKnight500
BRIDE FOR A KNIGHT is now available!The Promise of the Bedchamber…

After glimpsing a softer side to the stern Sir Roland of Dunborough, Mavis of DeLac is filled with hope for their arranged marriage. So when the wedding night explodes with an exquisite passion, she dares to dream that their newfound bliss will last forever.

But the following morning, convinced he could never make this beautiful woman truly happy, Roland comes cold and aloof once again. And as the newlyweds journey across England to protect Roland’s birthright, it’s up to Mavis to prove him wrong — and unlock the compassion this noble has buried deep inside.

Buy now from
Harlequin.com
Amazon in the U.S. (paperback edition)
Amazon in Canada (paperback edition)
Kindle (available January 1, 2015)

Also available in other digital formats.
“Fans who adore Moore’s high sexual tension and realistic action will revel in Mavis and Roland’s journey from lust to love. There are powerful lessons underlying this heated love story, and wonderful characters to carry in your heart.”
Romantic Times
 

Pay It Forward Friday – Toni Anderson

Pay-it-forward-Friday

Pay It Forward Friday is my way of thanking authors who have done something that has helped me either personally or professionally in some way in the past years. Some I’ve only met online, some at conferences, and some have become long-term friends. Others may not even know what they did, or even who I am, but at some point they said or posted something that helped me or inspired me in some way.

They have no idea they are being featured here; I’ve secretly gone to their website and gathered their information. I hope you’ll look up their books and support them by buying a book (or a whole series) because they’re not only great authors but great people too!


I’ve hosted author Toni Anderson on my blog before, back when we were both part of Carina Press’s original launch back in 2010. Since then we’ve kept in touch, chatting about the industry and life in general. But it’s the times Toni has reached out to me a few times when she’s noticed from my posts on Facebook that I’ve been struggling that have touched me most. Sometimes the simple little “Hey, how are you doing” type messages were the ones I needed when I didn’t even realize it.

Toni Anderson is a New York Times & USA Today best-selling author of Romantic Suspense. A graduate of the University of Liverpool and the University of St. Andrews in Marine Biology, Toni was a Post-doctoral Research Scientist for several years, and travelled the world with her work. After living in six different countries, she finally settled down in the Canadian prairies with her husband and two children. Combining her love of travel with her love of romantic suspense, Anderson writes stories based in some of the places she has been fortunate enough to visit.

Toni donates 15% of her royalties from Edge of Survival to diabetes research–to find out why, read the book!

She is the author of several novels including Dark Waters, The Killing Game, and A Cold Dark Place. Her novels have been nominated for the prestigious Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award, Daphne du Maurier Awards, and National Readers’ Choice Awards in Romantic Suspense.

She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death Chapter, and The International Thriller Writers’ Association. Toni is represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC

Praise for Her Books

“​Powerful suspense and sizzling romance.” ~Publishers Weekly.

“Dark and intriguing, Anderson’s tightly plotted story keeps you guessing.” ~Laura Griffin, New York Times Bestselling Author.

“Action packed thriller from the first moment on the first page to the very last…I thought this was gripping suspense at its finest, couldn’t put it down.” ~Single Titles.

“DARK WATERS could have been a story about two really broken people with a common past coming together. It also could have just been a really taught (sic), fast-paced thriller. Instead it was both, and it got Toni Anderson put on my auto-buy list.” ~Smart Bitches Trashy Books.

Where to find Toni

Visit her website or her blog, Facebook or Twitter (click on the buttons below)

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A Cold Dark Place

Justice isn’t always black or white.

Former CIA assassin Alex Parker works for The Gateway Project, a clandestine government organization hell-bent on taking out serial killers and pedophiles before they enter the justice system. Alex doesn’t enjoy killing, but he’s damn good at it. He’s good at dodging the law, too—until a beautiful rookie agent has him wondering what it might be like to get caught.

FBI Special Agent Mallory Rooney has spent years hunting the lowlife who abducted her identical twin sister eighteen years ago. Now, during an on-going serial killer investigation, Mallory begins to suspect there’s a vigilante operating outside the law. She has no choice but to take him down, because murder isn’t justice. Is it?

Sometimes it’s cold and dark.

When Mallory starts asking questions, The Gateway Project management starts to sweat, and orders Alex to watch her. As soon as they meet, the two begin to fall in love. But the lies and betrayals that define Alex’s life threaten to destroy them both—especially when the man who stole her sister all those years ago makes Mallory his next target, and Alex must reveal his true identity to save the woman he loves.

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cold pursuit

A Cold Pursuit

Single mom Vivi Vincent is thrust into her worst nightmare when she’s trapped inside a mall during a terror attack along with her eight-year-old son. With the help of Jed Brennan, an FBI special agent on enforced leave, Vivi and her son survive the assault. But the danger is far from over.

Vivi’s son may have witnessed critical details of the terrorists’ future plans and is targeted for death, but he’s mute, and he’s traumatized. Still someone launches a strike against the FBI’s safe house, and Jed fears the bad guys have an inside man. No longer knowing who to trust, he hides mother and son in a log cabin deep in the heart of the Wisconsin Northwoods. There Jed and Vivi try to figure out how to unlock the information inside her son’s head. What they don’t bargain for is the red-hot attraction that flares between them, or the extent of the sinister plot that threatens to rip apart not only any chance of happiness they might have together, but also the very fabric of American society.

Book 2 in the series, A Cold Pursuit is available for 99 cents, for a limited time.

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A Cold Dark Place and Cold Pursuit are also available as part of the Cold Justice Series:

Cold Justice series

Cold Pursuit
Single mom Vivi Vincent is thrust into her worst nightmare when she’s trapped inside a mall during a terror attack along with her eight-year-old son. With the help of Jed Brennan, an FBI special agent on enforced leave, Vivi and her son survive the assault. But the danger is far from over.

Vivi’s son may have witnessed critical details of the terrorists’ future plans and is targeted for death, but he’s mute, and he’s traumatized. Still someone launches a strike against the FBI’s safe house, and Jed fears the bad guys have an inside man. No longer knowing who to trust, he hides mother and son in a log cabin deep in the heart of the Wisconsin Northwoods. There Jed and Vivi try to figure out how to unlock the information inside her son’s head. What they don’t bargain for is the red-hot attraction that flares between them, or the extent of the sinister plot that threatens to rip apart not only any chance of happiness they might have together, but also the very fabric of American society.

Cold Light of Day
Physicist Scarlett Stone is the daughter of the man considered to be the most notorious Russian agent in FBI history. With her father dying in prison she’s determined to prove he’s innocent, but time is running out. Using a false identity, she gains access to the Russian ambassador’s Christmas party, searching for evidence of a set-up.

Former Navy SEAL, now FBI Special Agent, Matt Lazlo, is instantly attracted to Scarlett but life is too complicated to pursue a politician’s daughter. When he discovers she lied to him about her identity, he hunts her down with the ruthless efficiency he usually reserves for serial killers.

Not only does Scarlett’s scheme fail, it puts her in the sights of powerful people who reward unwanted curiosity with brutality. The FBI—and Matt—aren’t thrilled with her, either. But as agents involved in her father’s investigation start dying, and the attempts to stop Scarlett intensify, Matt and his colleagues begin to wonder. Could they have a traitor in their midst?

As Scarlett and Matt dig for the truth they begin to fall passionately for one another. But the real spy isn’t about to let anyone uncover their secrets, and resolves to remain firmly in the shadows—and for that to happen, Matt and Scarlett have to die.

Buy all three books as a bundle:

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Cold Justice Series flat

Pay it Forward Friday – Selena Robins

Pay-it-forward-Friday

Pay It Forward Friday is my way of thanking authors who have done something that has helped me either personally or professionally in some way in the past years. Some I’ve only met online, some at conferences, and some have become long-term friends. Others may not even know what they did, or even who I am, but at some point they said or posted something that helped me or inspired me in some way.

They have no idea they are being featured here; I’ve secretly gone to their website and gathered their information. I hope you’ll look up their books and support them by buying a book (or a whole series) because they’re not only great authors but great people too!


Unable to stay focused in school—science and math didn’t equate to happily ever after—Selena Robins excelled in Daydreaming 101 and Creative Writing. Her entrepreneurial skills became evident in the latter part of Junior High when she found herself penning essays and short stories for five bucks a pop. Her future as a writer was foreshadowed by winning first prize in a contest run by the Humane Society—a romance about two race horses who fell in love (the filly won the race and the stud).

Selena has continued her passion for happily ever after both in her life (okay, some days she’s sitting in first class on the Frazzled Express…but still) and in her books.

In love with her family, friends, books, laughter, hockey, lively discussions, chocolate and red wine (sometimes all at the same time), Selena is a dragon slayer who enjoys reading and writing sassy heroines and hot heroes.

After giving up her dream of becoming a movie star/dancer/singer, Selena decided that her second-in-line dream was to be a writer. Even if she never got published, she’d still want to write stories with fun characters and happy ever after endings.

A few years ago, her husband encouraged her to take a leap of faith and write a book. It was one of those “just do it” moments, which she embraced, wrote a short story, entered it into a writing contest and won. This led to her writing her first novel, short stories and another novel.

For more about Selena’s books, visit her website.


 

What A Girl Wants

She’s got the moxie. He’s got the sexy.

“Life’s a beach. Then you have sex on it.”

Robins_WAGWTravel journalist Maddie Saunders has new attitude, and wants two new accessories to go with it. One, turn her triple-X fantasies into reality with Mr. Sex-On-Legs—her friend, Alex Donovan. And two, find her biological father to see if her gene pool has a deep end. She never expected fulfilling both wishes would take her life down a drastically different path.

“Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug.”

Alex, an investigative reporter, grits his teeth when he accepts a joint assignment to Hawaii with Maddie. He’s vowed to never get involved with any woman he can’t walk away from. Maddie falls under the heading of “Look, but don’t touch”. Trouble is, she excels at giving him a hard time—in more ways than one.

He manages to fend off her guerilla seduction tactics until a bone-melting kiss throws his resolve into the ocean. Complicated? Absolutely. Especially when he discovers the real reason they were sent to the island…

Product Warnings
Side effects may include but not limited to, spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter, hot flashes and dangerous chocolate cravings. Contents include, one kick-ass heroine and a sex-on-legs hero whose kiss could singe the eyebrows off a mannequin. Can be read in bed with someone special or a BOB (battery operated boyfriend). Please note: Batteries not included.

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Pay It Forward Friday – Anara Bella

Pay-it-forward-Friday

Pay It Forward Friday is my way of thanking authors who have done something that has helped me either personally or professionally in some way in the past years. Some I’ve only met online, some at conferences, and some have become long-term friends. Others may not even know what they did, or even who I am, but at some point they said or posted something that helped me or inspired me in some way.

They have no idea they are being featured here; I’ve secretly gone to their website and gathered their information. I hope you’ll look up their books and support them by buying a book (or a whole series) because they’re not only great authors but great people too!


If I wrote the story of how I met Anara Bella in one of my books, readers would scoff and say it was unrealistic.

I went to a Sherrilyn Kenyon book signing at our local book store back in 2009. As I was killing time waiting for the signing to start, I grabbed some books — because, hello, bookstore! — and took them to the cashier where there was a lengthy queue (yes, it’s a Canadian term — aka line-up for the Americans.)

The person being served at the cash was having some problems with their debit or credit card, so while we were waiting, as is my wont, I chatted with the lady in front of me.  I (or maybe it was her) picked up a bookmark by the register and made a comment about how I doubted bookmarks for any of my books would ever be openly displayed at Chapters. (This was just after Personal Protection came out, long before 50 Shades of Gray, and at that point in time Chapters would never have featured erotic romance on their main counter. Though at the time they stocked Samhain books and I had hopes that the next year I’d see one of my print books on the shelves. *sigh* A few months later they stopped stocking any Samhain print book. My timing sucks!)

Anyway, back to the story … The lady asked what I wrote and who I was published with and I told her Samhain.

And then she said “So am I!”

Talk about gobsmacked! What are the odds that I’d find an author published with the same at-the-time Georgia-based publishing company? We discovered we live only a few kilometers apart and met for coffee a few days later and found even more in common. Over the years we have gone out for numerous lunches and dinners, few of them lasting less than four to five hours. Every year, along with Mary G, we drive down to Cincinnati for the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together — a nine hour drive that’s filled with lots of chatter and laughter.

Anara Keira Mary and me

Keira Andrews, Anara Bella, Leah, Mary G.

Anara Bella

In addition to having a knack for writing blurbs and kicking at the doubt weasels that plague me, Anara has written six novellas, and she’s part of the Northern Heat: Best Canadian Erotic Romances anthology too.

To find out more about Anara’s other titles, visit Anara’s Website.

Bound and Determined

Falling for a hot guy is not in her plans. He’s got a different agenda.

BoundandDetermined72LGNothing much ever happens in Forsythia Falls—except the only robbery anyone can remember, which leaves Asia Smith tied up in her grandmother’s antique shop. Just her luck, her rescuer turns out to be Marcus Thorne, the single most tempting morsel of male flesh she’s ever encountered. As he unties her knots, his touch sorely tests her resolve to avoid any involvement with the male species.

A bestselling author, Marcus is used to women throwing themselves at him. Asia’s resistance to his charm is a whole new challenge, a temptation he has no intention of resisting. All he has to do is break down her defenses and get at the soft, willing woman he suspects is hiding inside.

As chance—and her meddling grandmother—throw them together, Asia tries to remember why she shouldn’t just follow her friends’ advice to jump on Marcus and ride him until she can’t see straight. In one storm-swept night, she throws caution to the wild wind and savors pleasures she’d almost forgotten.

Except some old hurts just won’t stay in the past. Marcus peels away her inhibitions with sizzling ease. But now comes the biggest challenge of all—winning her trust.

Warning: This book contains a resistant damsel in distress, a sexy-as-hell hero who can cook, adventures with rope, great food, and oodles of red-hot sex.

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Brazen or Bust

Plain Jane Nica has a sexy new look and a brazen new attitude to match. Blindsided and dazzled, Logan doesn’t stand a chance…

BrazenOrBust72webPerpetual tomboy Nica Morelli has wasted years mooning over Logan Donovan. Always viewed as nothing more than an honorary little sister, it’s way past time to make him see her as a desirable woman. A sexy makeover is just the way to do it, and with the new brazen attitude she’s adopted there’s no stopping her. Now, sexed-up Nica is armed to the teeth and taking no prisoners.

Logan doesn’t know what hit him. One day Nica’s the plain, trustworthy girl he’s known since they were kids, the next she’s a sex kitten doing startling things to his libido. Turned on and tied up in knots, he doesn’t know what to do with the intense emotions she’s generating now. And taking the enticingly tasty bait she’s dangling in front of him isn’t an option. If only the forbidden wasn’t quite so tempting…

Warning: This book contains hot ‘n steamy graphic sex brought about by the flagrant use of seduction, near-nakedness and lavish amounts of tempting, teasing and tequila.

Read an Excerpt
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