Posted in Blog Hop, Books, Christmas, Giveaway, Winter Fairy

Presents or Gifts? Choose your #ChristmasTreats

christmas treats buttonWhat are our favorite Christmas Treats? Books, of course! Stop by each blog for a chance to win fabulous books & gifties for the Holidays!  

As part of the Christmas Treats giveaway hop, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Tidings of Love: 7 Holiday Romance Novellas, which contains my Winter Fairy, AND a $5 gift card to Starbucks so you can treat yourself to a yummy coffee drink.

As the end of the year giving season grips so many of us in its clutches, I’m often struck by the absurdity of the Christmas morning ritual of ripping off piles of shiny wrapping paper to unearth items I bought for myself a month ago. Since reaching adulthood, I tend to get a lot more presents rather than gifts. What is the difference you ask? I’ve given this a lot of thought. Probably too much thought for the relative weight of the issues, but here goes.

A present is presented to you. The giver gives you something you requested. They spent the money to buy a specific item on your list. Or maybe, they wrote you a check or gave you the cash to buy the item for yourself for the express purpose of having something to unwrap on Christmas morning. There is not much thought behind a ritual presentation of an item you want, but a present shows the giver listened.

A gift is an item given from the giver’s heart. It is unexpected but thoughtful. The gift can be big or small, useful or not, but it expresses the relationship between the giver and the recipient.

I love giving gifts, but find it hard this time of year when I am under the obligation to shop and buy specific items for so many people. I spend a lot of time buying presents, but I try to include a few gifts as well. I shop for gifts year round, or more to the point, gifts shop for me. I can be purchasing the most banal household items and something will catch my eye. It could be a goofy paper napkin pattern or a sale on a flavored coffee that a dear friend loves. A gift something that will bring joy to a recipient, which in turn gives joy to the giver.

Books make terrific gifts and terrific presents. There are loads of books and other goodies up for grabs in the Christmas Treats hop. Enter my rafflecopter here to be entered for the ebook and giftcard and be sure to visit all the authors through the linky-list.


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Posted in Blog Hop, Giveaway

Laughing Vixen #Giveaway

Spring is here and it’s time for a big giveaway from Laughing Vixen Lounge. 11 shops have come together to create one amazing Prize Pack ($280+) full of Jewelry, Perfume, Clothing, Vintage and much more! Many of the shops offer items perfect for any book lover along with lots of other unique, handcrafted and custom designs.

The Fabulous Spring Giveaway is open worldwide. 1 winner will win the Prize Pack. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below. Please visit the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog and the Main Giveaway Post HERE to see the full prize list, participating shops and daily features during the giveaway.

Since Summer is right around the corner the giveaway theme is Vacation Memories. Each of our participating shops, and many of our blog sponsors, will be sharing some of their favorite vacation photos with you.

Giveaway runs May 4th – 18th. Laughing Vixen Lounge is responsible for all giveaway details. See full details HERE.

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And don’t forget, to enter the Summer of Love giveaway  The grand prize winner will get books all summer long.
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WOW! That’s a lot of free stuff!
Posted in Blog Hop, Books, Decadent, Talking with

Talking with Tara Quan

Hi Lola! Thank you so much for interviewing me today. I’m really excited to show off the cover for my upcoming Beyond Fairytales release, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

OperationOwl_300x450On that note, let’s get started. What inspired you to write this book?

Lots of different things. First off, this book was written in answer to Decadent Publishing’s submissions call for fairy tale adaptations, and I was assigned The Owl by Brother’s Grimm. At around the same time, I was feeling a bit glum about having to leave D.C., so I decided to channel my energy into writing a romance set in the capital area. Dulcis in fundo (Last but not least), my Italian class did a field trip to the National Gallery, which turned out to be the perfect place to set the opening scene of my story.

What is your favorite part about being an author?

Well, I love writing, so there’s the perk of actually liking one’s job. On top of that, it’s the most mobile career imaginable. My husband’s employer requires us move to a new country every now and then (as I type this interview, the movers are packing us up for the 4th time in 5 years). I’ve been very lucky at finding work in both the UAE and Pakistan, but job-hunting every time he gets new orders isn’t a viable long-term solution. Being an author means making a lot less money, but it’s a steady career as opposed to an unending chain of short-term positions. I can certainly relate – although my husband’s job keeps us domestic.

If your hero were babysitting my kids (age 6 & 10) what would the night be like?

Hmm… Zack is a bit of a geek, so they’d likely be playing video games into the wee hours of the night. Since your kids are on the younger side, he probably won’t go for a first-person shooter, but there are always party games like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, or something on the Kinect/Wii.

We’re at a bar with your hero and heroine, what are they drinking?

Zack is a beer guy. Having gone to MIT for college, he’s developed a taste for the various permutations of Samuel Adams, the seasonal ones in particular. Maya Jain, the heroine, was inspired by an Indian friend of mine. She prefers wine with food, but at a bar she’d go for a Belgian Ale such as Stella Artois.

Last but not least, it’s dessert time! Give me your “either—or” answers

Chocolate, fruit or other? – This is a tough one. The part of me trying to be healthy will have to answer: fruit (persimmons and mangoes, if at all possible).

Warm or cold? – I get cranky when the temperature deviates from a comfortable, non-humid, 68-75F. But if I had to pick between the two evils, I’d go with warm (I tend to hibernate in winter).

Buttercream or fondant? – Buttercream for sure!

Cookies or brownies? – Cookies (Oatmeal Raisin, please).

With nuts or without? – Depends on the nut, but without is always the safer choice.

Great picks. Thinking of which, Operation Owl looks like a great read. Where OperationOwl_300x450can readers get it?

Operation Owl

Five years ago, Maya Jain kissed her best friend only to have him run out of her dorm room and leave the state. When he shows up in Washington, D.C., a wanted fugitive sought after by every branch of the US government, she can’t bring herself to ignore his plight. As their physical relationship picks up where it left off, she decides it’s time to make him see her as more than the bespectacled, bookish girl he once called “Owl.”

After being accused of espionage and treason, Zack Strong needs a forensic accountant to help clear his name. Not knowing who he can trust, this white-hat hacker has no choice but to ask his former best friend and math tutor for help. Together they unravel a cyber conspiracy at the Barn, an NSA facility tasked to intercept electronic communications. But as they traverse the nation’s capital to avoid capture, Maya insists on letting their simmering sexual tension take its natural course. Even though he’s never been able to shake the memory of their one kiss, he refuses to let her give up her life for a man with no future.

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy, Multicultural

 Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | AllRomance | Decadent | GoodReads

About Tara Quan   TaraQuan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at www.taraquan.com

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon

You can join Tara as she tours the internet and maybe win a gift card.

Click the picture to go to the Rafflecopter Giveaway – $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

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http://www.taraquan.com/owl

 

 

Posted in Bad Traveler, Blog Hop, Books, For Writers, On Writing, Winter Fairy, Writing

My Writing Process.

The lovely Lynn Crandell

invited me to discuss my writing process. You can find her at http://thewritewaycafe.blogspot.com/.

1) What am I working on? I’ve been doing some rewrites on a first person New Adult before sending it to the agent who expressed an interest. No names or details yet, but I’m excited for this manuscript to emerge from its chrysalis. I’m plotting a follow-up to my forthcoming release. And Bad Traveler will be available soon from Decadent Publishing. I’ve gone through several rounds of edits, but am pleased with the final product.

Winterfairycover2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? A fellow writer once described my work as “sophisticated.” The word applies to my first release, Winter Fairy, but I also try to blend highbrow and lowbrow culture and humor. Also, I’m inclined to give at least one if not both of my main characters an unusual job or hobby. I have so much fun doing research. Did you know there are professional pet food tasters?

3. Why do I write what I write? People are fascinating, especially when they interact. When I sat down to write my first book, I knew relationships would be at the core. In my first two published works, the romantic relationship takes the lead, but I’m still experimenting with genre. I love an optimistic ending. I hope my readers do too. When life seems overwhelming (the cat’s sick, the toilet flooded and the hubs has to work late again), laughter and hope between the pages of a book can be a lifeline to sanity.

4. How does my writing process work? Slowly. My process evolves with every IMG_0477book. In my first manuscript, I struggled with character consistency. I’ve tried fill-in-the-blank sheets for characterization, but this last time I tried using a bubble-idea chart. I love the organic nature of it. I identify the GMC for major plot points before I begin writing, but I allow fluidity in how I get there. I also tend to hand write my first drafts. The motion of the pen on paper helps me focus. It probably slows me down because of the duplicate writing time, but I find I don’t obsess over the little squiggly lines on the computer screen.

Want to read the results?  Winter Fairy is available now at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble , Google Books and more.

Sign up for my newsletter or follow this blog to find out the release date for Bad Traveler.

I have tagged three wonderful writers, Jenna Jaxon, Karen Y. Bynum and Tamara Hughes to continue the fun. Since Tamara does not have a blog (yet), I’m hosting her answers next Monday. See you then!

Posted in Blog Hop, Giveaway, Winter Fairy

TRR YES! party and giveaway

Hope you’re having fun at The Romance Reviews’ Year End Splash Party!    I  love a party, especially one with good food and better friends and prizes.  There are more than 400 participating authors and publishers, which means there are more than 400 prizes up for grabs during the whole month of November. The Grand prize is a $100 Gift Certificate! Now that’s a party!

Widowed doctor, Carson Langley, hero of my contemporary romance, Winter Fairy, also enjoys good food. He may not care much for ballet, shopping and prizes, but he would like to become better friends with his daughter Eloise’s  ballet teacher, Penelope, especially after she offers to babysit Eloise so he can do some Christmas shopping. Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to answer the question at the main TRR site for your chance to win a copy of Winter Fairy and more.  The question for my site goes live on NOVEMBER 5TH

Winterfairycover   Wandering in and out of stores, he covered most of his list. He had so many bags for Eloise he’d put one round in the car already, but the feeling that he was forgetting something—or someone—nagged at him. Checking his watch, he had plenty of time before the stores closed. He looped past the food court and theater as a movie let out. Couples spilled out. Everyone seemed to be holding hands and smiling, except him. As he walked past a store with frilly shiny and sparkly bangles and baubles, he decided to pop in to find a headband to go with the bright red holiday dress Eloise picked out in a catalog. Seeing the silver fairy necklace as soon as he entered, he realized who he left off his list.

    He thought about Penelope more than seemed appropriate. None of Eloise’s other teachers invaded his thoughts the way she had. He had physical needs and desires. But the frequency with which she appeared in his dreams left him restless and tired. Every morning, he ran through his personal litany of objections. She was too young. She had to be at least twelve years younger than him since she went to high school with John.  She acted too much like a kid to be capable of disciplining one. She was going away. She would leave him and Eloise and break both their hearts. He couldn’t go through that again.

   He should put down the necklace before he reached the register, but it still hadn’t left his hands, even as he sorted through the headband display. The chain caught on one of the bands—what could have become a tangled mess actually turned out fortuitous. When he reached for the chain, he spotted a headband the perfect shade of red to match his daughter’s dress. As he gently unwound the chain from the headband’s bow, the fairy charm fell against his palm. The fairy’s legs crossed delicately about mid-calf. Penelope had folded her legs the same way at the kitchen table last week. He grinned as he paid for both items, and not because he had finished his shopping.

  Walking across the parking lot, the cool air slapped his face. Stars twinkled, a sight leaving him awed. Perhaps, he should stop moping and move on. Damn the consequences.

Penelope is waiting for Carson to return home.  Read Winter Fairy to find out what happens next.

To be entered to win your copy of Winter Fairy and be eligible for the $100 Gift Certificate, visit Total Romance Reviews Year End Splash!

Sign up for the newsletter here

Before you leave, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.

Posted in Blog Hop, Food, Giveaway, Reading, Winter Fairy

Holiday Gifts of Love

CWelcome to the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop, one of many hops run by the fabulous Carrie Ann Ryan.  Be sure to comment so you can be included in the grand prize drawing and for your chance to win an adorable  Penelope fairy custom made by Sweet Baby James Stitches.

While you’re hopping, chances are I’ll be baking or candy-making.  Spending time in the kitchen with my children (ages 9 and 5) and husband is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season.   We will bake at least five types of cookies and deliver them to neighbors, while keeping a tasty portion for ourselves and Santa.  Baking together makes a huge mess, but the joy on their faces is too good to miss.  We’ll start with sugar cookies.  Then, we’ll move on to Mint or Kiss Surprises, Chocolate Crinkles and Oatmeal Butterscotch. For something new, I think we’ll try a recipe I found for chocolate-chip-peppermint-crunch cookies.  Somewhere in there, we’ll dip pretzel sticks in white chocolate and turn them into snowmen with gum drop hats and fruit leather scarves.

By the end of the day (days? Sometimes we make the dough in advance), we’ll be covered in flour and have sugar oozing from our pores, but more importantly we will have laughed, created a precious memory and shared some happiness with special people in our lives.

I’m pretty sure young Eloise, the budding ballerina at the center of my romance WinterfairycoverWinter Fairy will be busy making cookies this weekend too.  She’d also love to win the custom fairy since it looks like her ballet teacher, Penelope.  You can meet Eloise, her father Carson and Penelope in Winter Fairy, available now in ebook and paperback at Amazon, iTunes, B&N and more.

The Rafflecopter giveaway allows extra ways to win the custom fairy. Sorry overseas fans. I can only ship to US addresses.

Let me know your favorite cookies to make (or eat) in the Comments below. Be sure to include your email to be entered to win one of three grand prizes including your choice of a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, a $200 gift card to your choice of Amazon or B&N, or a Swag Bag (swag is US shipping only).

To get additional entries to the grand prizes, click here and visit other participating Authors and Bloggers. There are over 200 giveaways in all!

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Posted in Blog Hop, Crimson Romance, Reading, Uncategorized, Winter Fairy, Writing

Escape with me

Escape with me into a moment from Winter Fairy.  Early in writing the story of Carson and Penelope, the romance could have unfolded anywhere. I had no setting until they went to the Art Institute of Chicago. No other museum or city would do.  Penelope takes Carson and his daughter Eloise to a Degas special exhibit. As they walk to the cafe, Carson pauses to look at the striking piece that is one of my favorite escapes.

I first visited the Art Institute of Chicago on a school field trip in fifth or sixth grade.  My mother chaperoned. As our docent guided us through the maze of hallways, my mother pulled me aside and whispered, “That’s a Chagall.”

I fell in love. I fell hard and fast for the myriad blues, askew cities and figures untethered by gravity. The more I looked, the more I saw and further I fell into Chagall’s world.

Over the years, I have spent hours looking at Chagall’s America Windows, getting lost and escaping to a world I cannot physically visit. I could write at length about the meaning and significance of Chagall’s work, but I don’t want to. I’d rather imagine myself in front of the America Windows escaping to a world where people and dreams can fly.

Be sure to comment below for a chance to win the Eloise Fairy made by Sweet Baby James Stitches and one of three gift cards being offered as part of the Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop.  To be considered for the gift cards, please include your email in name(at)provider(dot)com format.  Remember, the more authors you visit, the more chances you have to win.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Beckey!  She’s the lucky winner of the Eloise Fairy.