Renewing a hobby: Instagram

I am a latecomer to the Instagram party. I thought about setting up an account dozens of times, but the thought, “I have to learn another social media network,” held me back.

This past month, I took the plunge. I want to learn more about it, because my kids will be on there. Also, I want to get back into photography and this seems like a good place to share work. Instagram has motivated me to make better use of my phone as a legitimate camera, capable of creating artistic shots, and not simply quick snaps because I cannot reach my digital SLR before the moment passes. I have a lot to learn, but I love this shot of a grasshopper.

A guest in my reading nook. #insectsofinstagram

A photo posted by Lola Karns (@lolakarns) on

I have yet to post the obligatory #authorsofinstagram post of my work space.

In the meantime, there will be cat photos. And nature shots, and food, and whatever else tickles my fancy. Follow me, @lolakarns, on Instagram

Spotlight on Private Wolf by TL Reeve

After getting a replacement light bulb, my spotlight is once again functional. This time it found fellow Decadent Publishing author TL Reeve and Private Wolf, part of the Black Hills Wolves shapeshifter series. After reading this tease, I can’t wait to read it. Curious? Read on!

privatewolfShawn Blu, tracker and private investigator, has come home. As a pack tracker, he’s ready to defend Los Lobos and use his contacts to find pack members and bring them back into the fold. So, when Miss Fern, his aunt, asks him to find Brienne Talbert, he’s happy to help out. What he isn’t expecting is to find his mate.

Brienne left home at sixteen, knowing she’d return to the Black Hills and Los Lobos one day. As it stands, in six months she’ll graduate with her master’s degree and there’s no way anyone will stop her now. However, when the hunky slab of wolf Shawn Blu shows up with a tempting offer—a week with her pack, no strings attached—she’s willing to reconsider her harsh stance about not going home.

When one weekend turns into a mating she hadn’t planned on, will she be able to leave it all behind and return to school, or will the call of her pack be too much to turn her back on?

Not convinced? Here’s an excerpt:

Shawn Blu walked into Los Lobos Café and spotted his aunt at a table near the far wall. In front of her sat a paperback book and a mug, along with a pastry. Behind the counter, Ero took the order from a new female. Her long dark hair was pulled into a messy bun, and her gray eyes glittered with—arousal? If the other wolf noticed, he appeared indifferent to it. Oh well. Bypassing his normal routine, of ordering coffee and Danish, he marched over and sat at the table where his aunt waited. Fern glanced up at him. Her warm, affectionate smile greeted him.

“Good morning, Auntie.” He leaned in and kissed her cheek. “That twinkle in your eye says you’re up to no good.”

Fern laughed and patted his hand. “I have a job for you.”

A job. Why hadn’t she mentioned it last night when he came over for dinner?

Why did they have to meet in the café? “Okay. What is it?”

“Well, technically, it is two jobs….”

“Okay.”

Ero approached with a cup in one hand and a sweet treat in the other. “You didn’t order. I see why now.” He grinned then winked at Fern.

“I didn’t want to interrupt your time with Cynthia,” Shawn teased. “She’s interested in you.”

“Don’t I know it.” Ero frowned. “But there’s…the spark’s not there.” He glanced at his brother, Luc, who sat in his usual spot.

“Say no more, I understand.” He did, too. They were waiting for their perfect mate. Might be a while, but Shawn had a feeling it would happen. “Thanks for the coffee.”

“You’re welcome.”

Taking a sip of the piping-hot brew, he waited for Ero to leave before returning to the conversation with his aunt. The way Fern watched him—assessing him—left him uneasy. “Should I be afraid of what you’re going to ask of me?”

“Never,” she assured him. “In fact, you’ll win tons of brownie points with Miss Claire if you do this for me.”

Private Wolf Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2blSSYZ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2cfceo9

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2bv9wqz

Bookstrand: http://bit.ly/2bGeR1F

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2bmzSML

ARE: http://bit.ly/2bFXLfK

iBook: http://apple.co/2bVJX1A

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2bTfD82

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2cieafU

Author Bio

TL Reeve, is a bestselling, multi-published author with Cobblestone Press, Decadent Publishing, Evernight Publishing, Loose-Id and ARe Books. Living in Alabama, TL misses Los Angeles, and will one-day return to Southern California to ride the waves at Huntington Beach. When not writing something hot and sexy, TL can be found curled up with a good book, or working on homework with a cute little pixie.

You can sign-up for her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/bv07fn

First Friday 5 Back to School

My kids (finally) go back to school on Tuesday. They are ready and so am I, especially since those days my husband works away from his home office, I’ll be alone and unsupervised. I’ll be free from the pressure of being a role-model. Here are five things I’m looking forward to doing, although not necessarily all on the same day:

  1. Ice cream for lunch.
  2. A two-hour power nap.
  3. Cake for lunch, possibly with ice cream on the side.
  4. Finish the manuscript I started in April.
  5. Binge watch something. Should I rewatch Firefly, Fargo, or Orphan Black? Should I try something new like Stranger Things or Mr. Robot? What do you suggest?
    With any luck, I’ll get through a couple of programs before the next school break.

Happy Book Birthday to me!

Facebook reminded me that two years ago, Bad Traveler debuted. While it never hit the Bad-Traveler300x450Amazon top 100, I’m amazed how often Bad Traveler appears as a category top 50 seller. I love that readers keep discovering Bad Traveler. Seriously, you readers make me happy.

bookbirthdayswagYou know what else makes me happy? Swag. Who doesn’t love free stuff, especially books, pens, coasters and more? To celebrate my book birthday, I have a Rafflecopter.  My giveaway will include these items, plus whatever else I can fit in the box for domestic shipping (P.S. – this is open to US residents only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to bake a birthday cake. Any suggestions which type?

First Friday Five Lessons from #RWA16

Last month I attended the Romance Writers of America annual conference. Since embarking on my writing career, this is the third time I have been able to attend. The 2016 conference marked my first visit to beautiful San Diego, CA. I wish I could go more often, both to San Diego and to the conference. In the meantime, here are five lessons I learned.

  1. Romance authors are wonderful people. We are smart, funny, hard-working, determined, curious, gracious and generous.

    Fantastic keynote speaker Beverly Jenkins

    Fantastic keynote speaker Beverly Jenkins

  2. Always wear comfortable shoes, especially when volunteering as I did during the Readers for Life Literacy Signing. You never know when you will need to race through the building to lend a hand to one of those wonderful authors.

    Helping at Readers for Life: with author Camille Di Maio

    Helping at Readers for Life: with author Camille Di Maio

  3. Be ready with the one line elevator pitch ANYTIME. I am on cloud 9 that my dream publishing house requested a full manuscript based on a one minute interaction.
  4. Small mental shifts in how one approaches the business of writing can be powerful. Damon Suede and Heidi Cullinan shared ways to make promotion a more playful rather than dreaded part of of being an author. When Mary Burton quipped “It’s not concrete, folks, it’s words,” I found the idea liberating.
  5. Last, but not least, I learned I once again picked up too much amazing swag and too many books. This is small sample. RWA16swagThe books are in another room. I can’t keep it all. Over the next few months, I’ll draw names from my newsletter subscribers and send out some goodies. I even have a few things that I can ship overseas. If you aren’t subscribed, sign up here.

Flash #Sale on Bad Traveler

If you haven’t had a chance to pick up Bad Traveler, now is perfect time. Decadent Publishing is having a flash sale this weekend and Bad Traveler is one of five titles just $.99 at Amazon and All Romance Ebooks!

badtravelersale Read what one Amazon 5 star reviewer calls “Just perfect for curling up after a long day to enjoy yourself in a book.”

 

With half the country under a heat advisory, may as well stay inside and read this weekend.

Be sure to check out the other Decadent titles part of this 99 Cent promotion

Island Pleasures by KT Grant

Blue Moon over Bliss Lake by Cate Masters

Burning Love by Cassandra Carr

Cabin Fever by Stephanie Williams

Happy Reading!

Talking with Nancy Holland

Today I have my fellow Midwest Fiction Writer and contemporary romance author Nancy Holland on the blog. Rather than the usual questions, Nancy stopped by to share some of what she learned at the Romance Writers of America conference held earlier this month in beautiful San Diego. Take it away, Nancy

Three Things I Learned at RWA 2016

Thing One — Beverly Jenkins is the best!

I was able to go to two of the talks by romance legend Beverly Jenkins and both were amazing. She spoke at the Golden Network Retreat (GNR) on Wednesday about creating vibrant characters, and the first thing she said was that characters aren’t characters — they’re people. Light bulb! Then she went over a very helpful list of things that make your characters the people they are:  their inner and outer influences, their physical attributes, the things that symbolize their personalities (such as their homes or clothing), and their setting. She also had wise things to say about how plot is what lets your characters discover who they really are. Needless to say, she was also wildly inspiring in the bargain.

Beverly Jenkins also gave the keynote speech at the Thursday lunch, where she talked about the history of romance and specifically the role of African-American authors and stories in that history. Once again she was awesome and inspiring, especially for those of us who follow her on social media and know the challenges she’s faced lately. And the best part was everyone got a free book and cool Beverly Jenkins notepad!

Thing Two — Branding can be fun (no, really)

Damon Suede and Heidi Cullinan also spoke at the TGN Retreat (they did a workshop for the PAN retreat, but I had another obligation at that time). Damon and Heidi walked (well, more trotted) us through some fun exercises to help determine what our brand is and, amazingly, mine was pretty much what I already thought.  They also shared some great information about how to use your brand in promotions and marketing.  I strongly recommend checking out their website, http://www.your-A-game.com.

Courtney Milan and Alisha Rai did a workshop on how to identify the audience for your books, how to use that information in designing covers, etc., and how to connect with your audience on social media. The session was too short to cover everything they wanted to, but they gave a lot of helpful suggestions that dovetailed nicely with what Damon and Heidi had to say. Thanks to these workshops, I may just have this branding thing down. Sort of. Maybe.

Thing Three — Hanging out by the pool is totally part of the conference

Since the AC in the meeting rooms was set on “arctic,” I left one session early to sit out in the sun by the pool. On the way out the door I met an author with a charming British accent, and we fell to talking (as one does). She looked vaguely familiar, but it took a while before we exchanged names. Turns out she was Stella Cameron, one of my late mother’s favorite romantic suspense authors. We had a lovely chat about anything and everything (as one does), including her personalized recommendations of places to stay when my husband and I go to England next year.

The take-away? Always take time to make new friends at RWA — you might meet someone like Stella Cameron or, as two of my fellow Harper Impulse authors did, end up having lunch with the real-life Rita for whom the Rita Awards are named!

***

Found-OSBLola here, hopping in to add that Beverly Jenkins is amazing. She is a master of research and character and hope. Nancy learned some new promo tricks, but in her note above she was too humble to mention her latest book, Found: One Secret Baby which came out days before we left for the conference.

I make no guarantees regarding the cost and how long the discount will last, but I picked up my copy for the unbelievably low cost of $.49.

LA lawyer Rosalie Walker will do whatever it takes to protect her adopted son. She promised his mother before she died that she’d look after him and keep him safe from his paternal family. So when delectable Morgan Danby walks into her office in search of his nephew, she must keep the baby in her care a secret—even if one look from Morgan makes her want to share everything with him…

As a favour to his step-mother— the woman who actually raised him, unlike his real mother who abandoned him as a child—successful businessman, Morgan is searching for the son of his incarcerated step-brother. He can tell Rosalie is hiding something and the temptation to seduce her for her secret is strong, but will he be able to handle the consequences once all is revealed…?

Found: One Secret Baby is available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble 

 

First Friday: Inventions I love

I missed the First Friday in July because I was traveling to Jamaica and there is nothing like travel to make you appreciate the little things in life. Here are five modern inventions I love and don’t want to live without.

  1. Air Conditioning. Pools are a good way to cool off, but air conditioning is better and it doesn’t make your skin all pruney.
  2. Rolling suitcases. Two wheels are good, four are better, especially when they can pivot in any direction.
  3. Sunscreen. Sunburns are painful. Sunscreen lets those of us who’ve been called “Casper the friendly ghost” get outside and enjoy fun activities like ocean kayaking, water slides and a bobsled ride in the rain forest.
  4. WiFi.
  5. I was going to say airplanes, but then a friend shared this post, so number 5 is the Epipen.

sunset photoJamaica was beautiful. Beaches Ocho Rios offered my family delicious food, terrific hospitality and no end of activities. I still haven’t figured out how to upload the underwater photos I took when I went snorkeling for the first time, so this photo of a sunset will have to suffice.

I’m headed off to the Romance Writers of America next week. If you’re in San Diego on Wednesday, July 13th, I hope to see you at the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing. I won’t be signing, but I will be at the check-out so stop by and say hi. I may even have goodies.

 

First Friday 5: #Summer Fun Unplugged

summer is coming

For many of us, summer means vacation and extra family time since the kids are out of school. In my house, this means hanging out with friends and being outside until past sunset. But sometimes, the weather doesn’t cooperate. For those times we are stuck indoors, we break out the games.  Here are five fun and portable games that are great to play inside or outside, at home, at the cabin or in a hotel.  And yes, these will work for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere too.

  1. Perpetual Commotion. This reminds me of the card game Nertz, which I grew up with, but could never quite explain to my husband and his family. It’s organized chaos. Although the box says ages 12 and up, my 8 yr old loves it. There are even instructions on how to make the game more equitable for younger players. It all makes sense once you’ve seen it in action, so here’s the official video.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88XOzNEfxZI
  2.  Spot It!  We have a lot of Blue Orange games in my house, but none travel more than Spot It.  This matching game has multiple ways to play and many thematic variations (NHL, Frozen, Camping & more). You don’t need much space to play it and the container is pretty small, so we often take it with us when traveling. If you see me on the floor in the airport, stop by, say hi, and I’ll deal you in.
  3. Feed The Kitty by Gamewright – This is a variation of the classic dice game LCR (Left Center Right), but way cuter because you try to get all the mice instead of poker chips. When we travel, we take the dice and mice and leave the bowl at home, but the rest of the time, we use the bowl. Part of our fun comes from making stories about the mice and what they are up to, as well as smack talk.  This is another quick paced game and great for filling in those little gaps of time while you are say, waiting for one person to get ready so you can head out to the park.
  4. Scrabble. Scrabble comes in many forms. We have at least three non-electronic versions, including a travel one that folds up to be the size of a hardback book only much lighter. For my kids, it helps keep them engaged with words and spelling. I get to think about words too, and my husband gets to correct all of our spelling mistakes. In spite of that, we still have fun.
  5. Moose in the House by Gamewright. Because Moose in the House is a card game, it’s portable but you need some space to play. The winner is the one with fewest moose in residence at the end of the game. We love to make bad moose puns and offer up false flattery as to why the moose picked one person’s bathtub over the other. We always end up in giggles, which makes this simple game a winner.
    I’ll save board games for another time, because some of the best don’t fit easily into a suitcase. Since I’m always looking for suggestions, what are your favorite travel games?

Talking with Kristina Knight

Kristina Knight stopped by to tackle the tough questions and share a look at her latest contemporary romance, What the Heiress Wants. Her playlist is perfect reading music.

9781440595776whatheiressWhat inspired you to write What the Heiress Wants?What the Heiress Wants is the second in my Billionaire Cowboys trilogy, and all three books were inspired by Las Vegas. I love Las Vegas, and RadioMan and I try to go every couple of years. I had this idea about three brothers who were gamblers, but not in the casinos…and Jase, Connor and Gage took the books from there.

What types of books do you enjoy reading? What is on your nightstand? – I read all kinds of things. Right now I’ve got Nora Roberts’ Obsession on my nightstand, along with an autobiography of Rick Springfield, and Every Time We Say Goodbye by Liz Flaherty.

Tell me about your favorite place to write.  What makes it special? – I think I’m going to have a new favorite this summer – the swing in our backyard. We just picked it out a couple of weeks ago and I just can’t get enough of it. So me, the iPad and a long afternoon to write sounds heavenly.

Do you listen to music when you write?  If so, what? – I do! And it depends on where I am in the writing process. Drafting calls for light jazz or classical music, after the draft is in I figure out a playlist (they’re usually quite eclectic!) that fits the books – I’ll have songs that remind me of the hero, the heroine, the major story arcs…My playlist for What the Heiress wants had 20 songs and they ranged from 80s hair bands to Dierks Bentley and back around to Smokey Robinson.

Dessert time!  Give me your “either—or” answers

  • Chocolate, fruit or other? – Can I get chocolate with fruit? I could really go for some chocolate covered strawberries right now
  • Warm or cold? – Warm! Flip flop weather for the win!!
  • Buttercream or fondant? – ….hmmm…I’m gonna say neither. Whipped icing is my fave!
  • Cookies or brownies? – brownies, with a little powdered sugar sprinkled over the top
  • With nuts or without? – without. I like my nuts to be solo. And that sounds a little dirtier than I intended. An occupational hazard of writing romance.

9781440595776whatheiress

The Billionaire Cowboys trilogy by best-selling author Kristina Knight continues with What the Heiress Wants.

Denver publishing heiress Miranda Clayton craves more from life than society parties and shopping sprees, but her tycoon father refuses to take her seriously. Her solution? Beat him at his own game by going to work for his top competitor, Connor Reeves, in Las Vegas.

Connor isn’t fooled by Miranda’s new plan for a second. He knows exactly who she is; what he doesn’t know is why she’s pulling him into her games. After their first meeting, Connor knows what he wants – Miranda in his bed! But the more he’s around his new vice president, the more he wants something deeper than a short-term fling. The question is does the lady want Connor – or his business?

 

What the Heiress Wants is available now at Amazon, B&N, iBooks and Crimson Romance

bachelorThe first book in the series, What the Bachelor Gets is on sale the week of May 23rd for less than a dollar.

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

Author Links:

Website: http://www.kristinaknightauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kristinaknightromanceauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authorkristina

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorkristina/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5827833.Kristina_Knight

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+KristinaKnightAuthor/posts

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kristina-Knight/e/B0081LO6DM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1