Posted in Bad Traveler, Books, Reading

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!

Advertisements
Posted in Books, Conference, For Writers, Guests, Talking with, Writing

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 

 

Posted in Books, childhood, Christmas, Family life, First Friday Five, Lists, parenting, Reading

First Friday Five: Picture Book Bonus

The last two weeks, I’ve treated you to book recommendations for Middle School readers and for Elementary aged readers. This week, I’m sharing five terrific picture books.  I’ve given priority to books that have been released this year. As before, I’m including buy links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble for your convenience. I do not benefit financially in these recommendations, I just want to share books I love to help those who are looking for a book to give to a child.

  1. The Book with no Pictures by B.J. Novak. Yup, I’m starting a list of picture books with a book that has no pictures. Trust me on this one. B.J. Novak, previously a writer for The Office, has a tremendous way with words and a wicked sense of fun. This is the book the kids in your life will want to spring on unsuspecting parents, grandparents, babysitters, aunts, uncles and well, anyone as a bedtime story. The sense of mischief and fun appeals to kids all ages, including those of us experienced kids who have the gray hair to prove it.  Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  2. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers Have you ever looked at a child’s box of crayons and wondered what on earth happened to those once pristine pieces of wax? Jeffers’ playful illustrations are spot on and new readers will be surprised at the emotional depths Daywalt finds in the crayons. This is a terrific gateway for talking about emotions.  Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  3. I Will Take a Nap! by Mo Willems. Mo Willelms is the mastermind behind Knufflebunny, the Pigeon and Elephant and Piggie, stars of I Will Take a Nap. Elephant and Piggie don’t look alike and possess many opposite traits (cautious versus impulsive) that can cause some conflict between the two, but friendship always prevails. Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  4. Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Dan Santat. This came out last year, but it didn’t cross my radar until my ninja loving son brought it home from the library. As I’ve said before, I think Dan Santat is a terrific illustrator and his vibrant images bring this twisted fairy tale to life. This is a fun book to read alongside an original version of Little Red Riding Hood and can lead to great conversation about empowerment and bullying. Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  5. What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss.  It’s not every year you get a new Dr. Seuss Book! For me, it’s no Fox in Sox (my favorite Dr. Seuss), but it is a fun book to read aloud and share with the children in your life. A lot of children will relate to the problem of picking a dream pet and in this book, there are no real life consequences, so bring on the silliness and help kids spark their creativity. Amazon and Barnes&Noble    

 

Kids that are read to from day one are kids who grow up to be readers. Study after study shows the benefit of reading with children. From building vocabulary to creative problem solving, to building empathy, to creating a passion for knowledge, few tools on this earth are more powerful than a book. Please share the joy of reading this holiday season, whether with a special child in your life or by donating a book to a school, shelter, library or program like First Book.

I hope you have enjoyed this extended Friday Five series. If you have books to recommend, or thoughts on this list, please share in the comments.

Posted in Books, Decadent, Giveaway, Lucky Traveler, Writing

Celebrating Lucky Traveler

Lucky Traveler releases today! As a writer, launching a project into the wild is both exciting and scary and Lucky Traveler was a bit of a departure for me. Why? For one, it’s short. I tend to write short, but not novella length. The character development process is different, but I enjoyed it so much, I’m working on some other shorter works.

Lucky-Traveler-300Second – it’s sexy. When I first started writing, the idea of writing a sex scene made me nervous. It still does, but I let my characters dictate the story and Logan and Keira had some specific ideas about what they wanted to do.

I hope my readers, new and returning, will enjoy Lucky Traveler.

To celebrate, I have a month long giveaway for a $10 gift card. a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Here are a few places you can get Lucky Traveler. Enjoy and let me know what you think in a review or through sharing.  Amazon  AllRomanceEbooks iTunes

Posted in Crimson Romance, First Friday Five, Food, Lists, Reading, Winter Fairy

5 Winter Boredom Busters

Cold enough for you? If you’re in North America, chances are high you’re a little tired of winter at this point.  Maybe my “First Friday Five” this month will help.

5) Snow shoe.  If you don’t own a pair of snow shoes (and I didn’t until about two weeks ago), bundle up until you can’t move your arms and take a nature hike.  Chances are a little sunshine and fresh air will do you good.

4) Bake something with cinnamon. Your home will smell warm and cozy. Snickerdoodles anyone?  Or try this recipe from Fleishmann’s Yeast for a One Dish Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake (click for the link). It’s one of my favorites.

3) Do a puzzle.  If you have a cat, you will enjoy a bonus game of hide and seek since the cat will need to sit in the middle of the puzzle before sneaking off with pieces adhered to paws.

2) Crank up  the heat, play beach music and have a limbo contest in your living room. Bonus points for bare feet.

1) Read a book.  If you’ve already read my book, Winter Fairy, then let yourself be transported to a tropical destination. I recommend Hawaii, the setting for Robyn Neeley’s Destination Wedding and Sarah Madison’s The Boys of Summer.

If you haven’t read Winter Fairy, February 2014 is a great time to pick up your copy.  Winter Fairy by Lola Karns is one of many Crimson Romance titles on sale at Amazon for $1.99 all month long.  Winterfairycover