Monday Mayhem – Makeover Edition

New year, new website, new combined blog…what does it all mean? Well, hopefully it will translate into a whole lot more action around here. With Facebook tightening the clamps on what you can see on my author page and Twitter becoming more and more negative, I plan to take refuge here on my blog.

With you.

Introvert

Combining my pen names will certainly make it easier to maintain things, but I want to have more of a chance to interact with readers. Therefore, I will continue my Weekend Writing Warrior posts on Sundays and my usual Monday Mayhem mumbling, but I’m going to add in some days to talk about the stuff we love.

Please join me (and bring your friends) for Whatcha Reading Wednesdays (there will be book giveaways) and Fangirl Fridays to celebrate all we love that is shippable, but won’t fit in a box. Yes, I need people to talk about Scandal, Downton Abbey, Outlander books and series, Chicago Stars novels… You see where this is going?

So yeah, lots going on here. Be sure to click the email subscription box on the sidebar so you’ll receive notifications of new posts in your inbox!

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Monday Mayhem – Notice anything new?

Christmas may be over, but I’m still unwrapping stuff on the new website. I believe my #8Sunday post went live, but I forgot to update the new blog address for the sign-up list. I’m scheduling this post for Monday morning. If you see it, I didn’t screw it up….

So, how do you like the new digs? Click around a bit, let me know what you think.

My Christmas was fabulous, and I hope yours was too. I’m looking forward to a quiet New Year’s Eve. At least, as quiet as it can be with the fireworks stands open this week.

But I’m happy to make your 2015 a little spicier. That’s why I’m giving away a copy of my New Year’s Eve gone wrong story, The Last First Date PLUS a copy of my pal, Lisa Fox’s One Kiss to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is answer one question: Are you more likely to kiss or be kissed?

Please share this post with your friends! I’ll pick a winner from all comments made before Midnight, December 31, 2014!

onekiss The Last First Date_Maggie Wells

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Monday Mayhem – Hopping along

It’s bunny season, so it seems only right that I participate in a blog hop, right?

The fabulous Karen Stivali tagged me for the hop. Be sure to check her answers as well! Here goes:

1) What are you working on? At the moment, I’m writing a battle of the sexes type romance between a college football coach and the women’s basketball coach. At the moment I’m calling it Full Court Press. It’ll probably end up in Maggie’s wheelhouse. Seems like everything does these days. 🙂


2) How does your work differ from others in the genre? I think the biggest difference is that I’m not afraid to feature heroes and heroines who are a little more…seasoned than most. Yes, age does leave your characters at the mercy of gravity, but I think age adds depth to the character’s motivations. And to the steamy scenes as well.


3) Why do you write what you write? I guess this is where I fall back on the old ‘write what you know’ bit. Living inside the head of a nubile, young virgin would be a bit of a stretch for me at this point in my life.


4) How does your writing process work? Ha! I don’t really have much of a process. I am a pantser by nature, but have learned to use a loose sort of outline to keep my works on track. Other than that, all I require would be some background music and the occasional box of Cheez-Its.

Now I’m tagging Linda Rettstat, Bobbye Terry, and Evelyn Jules. Watch their blogs for their take on the same questions!

Happy Monday, my friends!

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Monday Mayhem – I’m off again!

I’m going off to play with with the readers and writers at the 2013 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention this week!

Yay!

Not only do I look forward to the interaction, but it affords me the opportunity to use my favorite Paris Gellar line from the Gilmore Girls:

“Quick, Bob, get the children in the minivan because the world is obviously coming to an end.”

Mwahahaha! I can’t wait!

If you’re in the Kansas City, MO area, be sure to come and see me at Thursday’s EXPO. I’ll be signing copies of Commitment, Inamorata, and Spring Chickens from 4-6PM.

A few of the other events I’ll be attending:

Wednesday: 3:45-4:15pm – Carina Press publisher spotlight

Thursday: 10:00 – 10:30am – Club RT

4:00 – 6:00pm EXPO

Friday:   10:00 – 10:30am – Club RT

1:15 – 3:15pm RT Book Awards

Saturday: 7:15 – 7:45pm Fan-tastic Day Party

8:00 – 9:00pm Carina Press cocktail party

9:00 – 11:00pm Harlequin dance party

The rest of the time I’ll be attending programs, fangirling my favorite authors, and participating in very important meetings in the bar. I’m sure there will be pics, but I can’t guarantee they will be ones I can publish.

So let me ask you this…If you could meet any author, who would it be? Anyone you want me to stalk  meet for you?

See you next week! *blows kisses*

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Smoochy talk! Giveaways! This is what happens when Taryn Raye is on my blog!

You write WHAT?!?!

Since starting my writing journey, I’ve had a good majority of family and friends who encourage me to write the stories of my heart. That just so happens to be romance, but I have encountered the fair few who think that what I write falls into their “less than” category of what constitutes a good book or a great read. They don’t come right out and say that they think what I write is “smut” but I believe they are under the notion, and quite possibly the misconception, that any books that are classified under the heading of “romance” are “those kinds of books.”

I have no problem with most genres of books—I’m a book hog of the best kind and tend to follow my nose into a variety of genres looking for the best “truffles.” Oh the spoils I enjoy because you just never know what you might miss if you snub a book based on its genre. When I run across family and friends who do view the world from a book-snobbish view such as this, I find it rather silly and cynical.

I’ve had some people tell me I might want to reconsider how I categorize my novels lest I be pigeonholed and snubbed, because romance is not “worthy” reading material, that it’s not the kind of books libraries tend to shelf and that they’re basically the “trash” of the book world. I should aspire to mainstream or I might as well give up having my books noticed at all, so said a former librarian friend of mine. I’ve been encouraged to write and illustrate children’s books instead of what I LOVE to write because I’m such a “wonderful artist” and it seems a shame to squander my talents. I haven’t been interested in drawing in years, unless it’s to scribble doodles for my kids. Bless my grandmother’s heart, but children’s books and illustration are not where my stories tend to lead me.

I grew up on fairy tales and in a family where I knew very little of divorce, though I had plenty of friends who grew up between two households. I believed when you said I do, that stuff is suppose to stick. I believed in LOVE. I believed in the everlasting kind of love, that conquers all, that is in fact strength rather than weakness. It’s glue that holds families together. It’s magic that has held my parents’ marriage together for nearly forty years and the bond that kept my grandparents bound to each other until death did them part. I believe in that power, that strength, because it’s something miraculous and special and it inspires me.

Sure, I grew up to see that sometimes not all relationships work out, that sometimes people need to go their separate ways or their time together was cut short, but that doesn’t mean they won’t find love again. It’s the reason why I write happily-ever-after romance, because I believe everyone deserves that chance whether it’s the first time or a second or third chance at love. Especially for those who’ve been through a lot, who’ve had their hearts broken and who have nearly lost all hope that they will ever be loved for who they were or who they are and who they will become. I believe they deserve that HEA ending, fictional or otherwise.

So, what is it about “romance” that gets certain people’s panties in a wad to the point they refuse to give a book the benefit of the doubt just because wears it’s heart on its sleeve? (In this case, when it is categorized that way on its spine…)

Maybe it’s what romance represents, that the mere mention of the word implies intimacy and sensuality. Perhaps that represents insecurities for some, as well. It’s okay to be loved, but heaven forbid if we are romantically inclined. That might mean we love on a physical level as well, that the laws of attraction and sexuality also bind us to another.

I’ve often wondered how “romance” became such a dirty word. Is there something wrong with having a connection to someone, on all levels, mental, emotional, and yes, even physical? I say, no, there’s nothing wrong with it at all. That’s why I will still write the stories of my heart and I will keep the flame of romance alive between the pages of my stories, where love and romance go hand in hand, just as I believe they should.

To  those fair few I know who poo-poo romance, I say Bah Humbug to you!

Christmas with Catherine & Dawson, the heroine and hero from my debut historical romance, CASTAWAY HEARTS, published by Turquoise Morning Press is going on now over on my blog. Though the 1st giveaway I had last week is over, I do have the 2nd giveaway going on over on my blog now and a 3rd one coming up next week.

 

I know Catherine & Dawson would love the company, comments are welcome and entries in the giveaways are a must if you’re interested in winning a little something special this holiday season- please feel freel to swing by.

 

I will also be giving away 2 KINDLE EBOOKS of CASTAWAY HEARTS here at Margaret’s to 2 lucky readers who leave comments~ winners will be chosen on Sunday and posted her Monday, December 10th. Oh! And all commenters are automatically entered for Margaret’s reader appreciation gift card drawing too!

Do you read just certain genres or are you like me, and believe variety is the spice of life?

Castaway Hearts Blurb

Twice orphaned, Catherine Barrett arrives in Virginia a stranger to her closest kin and secretly engaged to the one man her family would disapprove of- her seafaring grandfather’s apprentice. Add to her troubles, the rich and intriguing older brother of her secret betrothed, Dawson Randolph, a plantation owner who is as heartless as he is handsome. Heartbroken when her intended sets sail for his maiden voyage, Catherine finds it difficult to adjust to her new life, hoping to befriend the one man who is, undoubtedly, the match her grandparents wish for her. Dawson’s distaste for her secret engagement to his brother makes it clear he has no designs for marriage to anyone. Especially her.

Ten years since the tragic loss of his young wife and infant son, Dawson Randolph is convinced love and marriage is a fool’s game and resents being pardon to his brother’s hidden engagement. Damned by his instant attraction and his own growing desire, Dawson vows to befriend her against his better judgment. Determined to bring her happiness in a time of fear and uncertainty, Dawson puts aside his animosity to become her confidant, only to realize Catherine holds the key to his heart. When tragedy strikes at sea, Catherine’s guilt pushes Dawson to the fringes of her life as madness consumes her.

Can his love save her before she drowns in her own grief? Or is he doomed to love her from a distance, always in the shadow of her love for his dead brother?

 

Castaway Hearts is available in eBook & print from my publisher-

Turquoise Morning Press

Also available on Amazon for-

Kindle

Print

 

On Nook from B&N

In Print from B&N

Various formats on

Smashwords

All Romance Ebooks

OmniLit

Bookstrand


Here are just a few places you can find Taryn Raye-

Website

Blog

@ScribblingTaryn on Twitter

FB Page

Goodreads

Google +

 

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Monday Mayhem – Reader & Cookie Appreciation Month

It’s been a whirlwind of a year for me. I had three novels release, changed positions at the day job, flirted with empty nest syndrome, discovered I’m going to be a grandma next year, and by the end of December, will have tracked over 400k words written.

In other words…I’m tired.

So I know we’re all busy in December, so I thought I’d dedicate this month to two things very close to my heart. You, my dear friends, and cookies.

Notice how I put you first? I’m feeling schmoopy today.

I will have a couple of guest bloggers this month, and I’m really excited to have them here. Big things are happening for these ladies, and I think you’ll enjoy getting to know them.

Wanted to share a new holiday cookie recipe, too. These are not just yummy things I snagged off Pintrest, either. These are tried and true family favorites that I’ve been baking for years. If you missed last year’s Lime Cooler recipe, you can get it HERE.

Everyone who comments and shares a favorite holiday recipe/craft/tradition on my post will be entered into a drawing. Each Sunday, I will draw the name of one winner for a $5 Amazon gift card and their choice of one of the books from my digital backlist (a great gift for a friend!). I’ll also be picking names in the weeks when my guest bloggers post, so be sure to comments on their posts as well.

I know it’s not much, but I want to do something to show how much I appreciate you and the support you have given me and my authory friends throughout the year.

Sooooo. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Today’s cookie of choice are these delicious Almond Butter Cookies. I discovered this recipe in one of those checkout stand books Land ‘O Lakes butter put out about fifteen years ago. I still have the book, and I still make these melt-in-your-mouth cookies every year.

 

Almond butter cookies

Mmmm. Enjoy!

Oh! And happy book birthday to my pal, Renee Vincent! The Temperate Warrior releases today from Turquoise Morning Press!

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Monday Mayhem – Moonlight Madness

I’m away again this week, my friends, but I’m leaving you in good hands! Meet my good friend, Sandra, who writes historical romance and loves Duran Duran! Be sweet to her – I’ll be back next week!

****

When people learn I’m an author, they usually ask, why historical romance? Why not mysteries or novels or picture books? I think it comes back to what awakened me to adult romance in the first place.

I’ve always been an avid reader, but making that leap from adolescent reader to adult reader took a very special author. I remember the first time I read a Johanna Lindsey historical romance set in England. The heroine had long flowing hair and a dress that I, as a very girly twelve year-old, would’ve killed for. As much as I enjoyed the sexy hero and the trials of the heroine, it was the setting that hooked me. I fell in love with the rich descriptions of places I would never see in modern times. I loved the language, the manners, and the pomp of the era.

The heroine of my new historical/time travel romance Moonlight Madness adores history, too. A high school English teacher, she teaches Shakespeare to unappreciative teenagers and attends Renaissance fairs whenever she can. But her orderly world gets shaken to the core when she encounters a real, live 17th century rake intent on seducing her!

To celebrate the Kindle release of Moonlight Madness (book two of the Circle of Destiny series), I’m giving away a signed, print copy of Wish for the Moon (Circle of Destiny book one), or a free e-book download of any of my titles. All you have to do is comment with your favorite historical era. I’ll choose one lucky winner at random.

In the meantime, here’s the blurb for Moonlight Madness and an excerpt!

While visiting Wales, Rance Kingsley, Viscount Waldenham, receives a warning that his daughter will soon be kidnapped by Spanish enemies. Before he can aid her, Rance tumbles into a mysterious portal to the future. His only hope is to find his soulmate, the key to returning. However his curse continues when all signs point to Tess Hartman, a straight-laced teacher, as his match. After a cheating boyfriend, the only male Tess wants in her life is Dante, a troubled teen she would like to adopt. To bond with the boy, Tess brings him on a class field trip to Britain. But the Shakespeare experience becomes too real when sexy, eccentric Rance seduces her. When Tess falls for Rance’s kisses and travels with him across four centuries, she’s convinced he’s made a mistake. How could she love a man who deceived her, separating her from everything she cares about, a man with MOONLIGHT MADNESS?

Excerpt:

“Thou art madder than I. Or mayhap more brave. The lightning.” Rance pointed to the roiling sky above.

He held his open doublet over their heads, blocking out some of the rain at his back.

The sight of him, so thoughtful, damp and sexy, set off seismic tremors in her stomach. An earthy masculine scent, his scent, drifted down from the doublet, and its warmth wrapped around her.

“Danté came back inside,” he told her. “Mayhap the rain will be gone soon. Probably by the time we reach the castle if we leave now.”

She couldn’t possibly spend another moment with this much temptation. Already, her fingers curled at her sides, craving to reach out and touch his rippling body, so plainly visible beneath the damp shirt.

She took a deep bracing breath. “Kiss me.”

“What?” Rance’s expression froze.

“I said kiss me. Now before I change my mind.” She tucked her dripping hair behind her ears and stared up at him in challenge. “You said if I kissed you you’d leave me alone. So kiss me, and then you can go on your way. I’m calling off the trip to Chepstow Castle. I’m soaked and the rain’s not letting up. You can call a taxi to come get you, and you could be back at the theater before the next performance.”

“I did say as much, but art thou sure? Is that what you want, what you truly want?” His gaze dropped to her mouth before floating back up to her eyes. A slight frown formed between his brows.

“Yes. Let’s be done. If all you’re after is a kiss, then do it already—”

His lips stopped hers, cutting off her words and stealing her breath.

Moonlight Madness—available now on Kindle only (until January 18)

Medieval, Renaissance, Regency, Victorian…whatever, I love all historical settings. Just give me a hero with an accent and charming manners and I drool! Now, what’s your favorite historical era?

I love to hear from readers. You can find out more about my books at www.sandrajonesromance.com

Twitter: sjonesromance

Pinterest: sandrawrites

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Monday Mayhem – Cobbled Together

You remember the old saying about the cobbler’s children having no shoes? Well….

I was so busy writng blog posts and answering interview questions that I forgot to write a post for my own blog. How nutty is that?

All is well. I’m crazy busy, both with the day job and the writing. I’ll be traveling quite a bit in coming months. Also trying to meet some deadlines. I plan to take a deep breath somewhere around April.

I think.

Want to know where you can find me this month? Look for me here:

Thursday, October 4, 2012 Everybody Needs A Little Romance >> I’m a regular now! Visit me there the first Thursday of each month!

Friday, October 5, 2012 Diamond State Romance Authors Blog >> I post the first Friday of every month!

Thursday, October 18, 2012 Karen Stivali’s Blog >> Guest posting! Stop by to score my recipe for Chicken Chili!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 Sharon Buchbinder’s Blog >> Interview and thoughts about my latest ghostly read, Inamorata!

Oh! And if you like your reading a bit on the steamy side, don’t forget to check out my very close personal friend, Maggie Wells. She has a new short story out this month, a series of sizzling hot novellas coming in 2013, and a slew of smokin’ hot short stories on the horizon. You can get a taste of the delicious things to come by scrolling through her Six Sentence Sunday tidbits!

So….yeah. Other than that, I’ll be around.

I’m here. I’m always here.

Even if I’m not wearing shoes.

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Monday Mayhem – Drive-by posting

I have nothing prepared. Nothing at all.

Therefore I was share a few tidbits with you.

First, this GIF post from Nathan Bransford about killed me. There’s no go way to explain the highs and lows in this business, but this comes pretty darn close.

Second, I’ve been invited to join a group blog! My first post at Everybody Needs A Little Romance will go live on Thursday. 😀

Third, my evil twin has been hogging most of the writing time this year, but I have an idea and a little vacation time over the holiday weekend. I’m going to lock Maggie in a closet and let Margaret run wild!

Last…my friend, Evelyn Jules, has a smutty short story called Blind Faith you should read, and my friend, Karen Stivali’s first full-length novel, Meant To Be released this week. What are you waiting for? Run! Run! Read!

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Fresh meat!

I’m traveling quite a bit over the next few weeks, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce you to a few of my author buddies. I’m kicking this little foray into the unknown with a complete unknown. I’m crazy like that.

Meet my very funny friend, Evelyn Jules. Her debut story, Blind Faith, will be released by Turquoise Morning Press later this summer. I had the opportunity to read this sizzling little story, and trust me, you’re going to want to read it too! Without further ado…Ms. Evelyn Jules!

*****

Hi everyone! I’m taking over Margaret’s blog today. *maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh* If only you knew how long I’ve wanted to do this. But now I have special permission seeing as how I’m an official author and everything. Yep, it’s true! I signed my first contract with Turquoise Morning Press in April! It just magically floated into my inbox one day. Okay, that’s not exactly how it happened. You want the real story? Here goes….

It all started about a decade ago…Oh. You want the Cliffs Notes version? Hmmm. So a year ago I went to the Lori Foster Reader/Writer Get-together in Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended as a ‘reader’ but I was also there to support my incredible author friend, Margaret Ethridge. I follow her wherever she goes. True story. During the get-together there was a raffle with fabulous prizes. One of those prizes was a professional critique of 10 pages of manuscript from Kim Jacobs at Turquoise Morning Press. Guess what? I love watermelon gum. Oh, and I totally won the critique! 😀

As soon as I got home I started writing like a fiend. It took me close to two months before I had something I thought was presentable. This was my big chance. I didn’t want to waste it. They always say the waiting is the hardest part. Hardest. *giggles* Yeah, I write smut. I might as well come out and say that right now. Anyway, it was another two months before I heard anything. Kim gave me tremendous feedback, offered several suggestions on improvements, and in the final line of the email she told me that if I was willing to make the revisions, she was very willing to look at it again and offer me a…contract. *gasp* The ‘C’ word! What every author and aspiring author dreams of!

So I went back to my writing cave, added another four thousand words to my story, polished it, hugged it, kissed it, and forced Margaret to edit it more times than I can count, then I held my breath and resubmitted it. Fast-forward to April 1st (also known as April Fools’ Day). I got an email from Kim. She said my story made her laugh and cry. She loved it. More importantly…she wanted it! Happy, spastic dancing ensued. But it all came to a crashing halt when I recalled what day it was. Wait a minute. This wasn’t a joke, was it? I wasn’t entirely convinced either way until I received that ‘C’ word. My very own contract! Happy, spastic dancing ensued once more, this time accompanied by fits of sobbing. Margaret can tell you all about that. She was the recipient of a very watery phone call.

And I suck at Cliffs Notes. But I would like to share one last important detail with you. My first story, an erotic romance entitled Blind Faith, will be released this summer. Here’s the blurb:

Faith Lawson is just your average, wholesome librarian with a dirty mind . . . until a chance encounter with a handsome stranger brings her fantasies to life in a frantic night of passion. But when he walks out her door, he leaves a piece of his past behind that changes everything.

Sounds good, right? Just smile and nod. Oh, and please come visit me on my blog, twitter, and facebook for updates, news about future releases, fun games, contests, and general dirtiness! Thanks so much to Margaret for having me here! Don’t tell her I told you this (because she gets all weirded out when I get schmoopy) but she’s totally my favourite author.

So to leave you all with a question, what will you be reading this summer (besides Blind Faith)?

*****

Thanks, Evelyn! I’m going to bypass the schmoop and post a few links. Be sure to like/follow/bookmark these babies so you’ll know when Blind Faith becomes available!

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