Teaser Tuesday – A Heartwarming Christmas!

Hi, everyone. It’s great to be here today! But how can it be November already? Thanksgiving isn’t far away now and then the Christmas season begins. I can feel time racing toward the holidays, but I haven’t even thought about turkey or gift shopping yet!

 

In the meantime, however, I’m thrilled to report that A Heartwarming Christmas has made the USA Today Bestseller List!!

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This holiday season, warm your heart with 12 wholesome holiday romances from 12 Harlequin Heartwarming writers who are USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors.

There are four connected anthologies in A Heartwarming Christmas. That means each set of three novellas shares characters and storylines all set in Christmas Town, a location introduced in the 2014 Harlequin Heartwarming release, Christmas, Actually. This year’s A Heartwarming Christmas will bring you laughter, tears, and happily-ever-afters (no cliffhangers), for more than 1200 pages. Foreword by small town lover and New York Times bestseller Kristan Higgins.

 

In my novella, “His Christmas Gift,” Cara Crawford, who runs a tree lot, doesn’t want to have Christmas this year. But park ranger Brady Sullivan has other ideas. And determination is his middle name.

 

After a scandal years ago ended Brady’s dream to play in the NFL, he left Christmas Town. Now twelve years later, he’s back to clear the record. Unfortunately, his estranged family is nowhere to be found. And Cara, the sister of the woman whose life Brady supposedly destroyed years ago, still blames him for what happened then.

 

It’s up to Brady to tell Cara too the truth at last. Can he convince her he was innocent all along? And win not only Cara’s trust—but also, this time, her love?

 

Here’s a brief excerpt from the story:

 

A sharp rap at her front door made Cara almost drop her cup.

Who could be here this late at night?

“Delivery,” Brady said in her doorway. “Got your tree for you. A rescue.” He shouldered his way inside with a gorgeous, bushy seven-foot scotch pine.

“Do you know what time it is?” Cara asked.

“Time to pretty up this baby. Go get your decorations.”

“Has anyone ever told you you’re pushy?”

“You need pushy.”

Cara glanced at her teacup on the table. He wasn’t taking no for an answer. She didn’t really want him to.

“You wait any longer,” he said, “Christmas will be over.”

And Brady would be gone. She had to remember that as well as the heartache he’d caused her sister years ago.

Yet Cara couldn’t deny they had fun while Brady set the tree in its stand then helped her hang ornaments—so many she’d loved in years past—and, finally, sprinkled the pine with old-fashioned tinsel.

Before she knew it, he’d playfully tossed a few strands at her hair. His laughter warmed her heart and Cara couldn’t help but join in. She had no choice but to return the favor until they both looked as glittery as the tree.

“You actually like this,” she said, feeling breathless. “Some men don’t. My father never put the lights on our tree without having a meltdown.”

“Christmas has always been my favorite time of year.” He grinned. “Snow, presents, wreaths and candles…family all around. What’s not to like?”

Cara wondered why Brady was staying then at the Pine Tree Inn instead of at his parents’ home, but she hesitated to ask and break the mood they’d shared. And Brady had stopped laughing. The moment hung between them like the silver star he’d fastened to the top of the tree. With a slightly shaky hand, he reached out to pull a piece of tinsel from her hair, his touch lingering.

“I like you all…sparkly,” he murmured, his voice husky. “I like you, Cara.”

 

The whole set of 12 novellas is for sale now at the incredible price of $.99! Get your copy today before the price goes up. Buy Links for A Heartwarming Christmas:

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1TDjGEK
iTunes: http://apple.co/1OkXsV9
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1CEnSA7
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1J0Qg08
B&N: http://bit.ly/1LaVnNT

 

Bio: Leigh Riker can’t imagine anything better than to curl up with a good romance novel to read—unless it is to write one! She loves being a Harlequin Heartwarming author. When not working, she likes to garden, play the piano, and travel. At home in the Southeast, with her Maine Coon cat perched on her desk for inspiration, she is at work on her new HW novel, Lost and Found Family, to be published in April 2016.

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For more, here’s where to find her:

Website: http://www.leighriker.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@lbrwriter

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

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As promised…

I went to New York for 5 days to attend the Romance Writers of America national conference. Here are some highlights of my trip to NYC for RWA15.

Wednesday:

Travel was smooth as silk. After discovering that we’d be on the same flight, I hooked up with fellow writer Renee N. Kelly in Atlanta and we shared a ride into Manhattan together. I even brought Pocket Jamie along for the adventure!

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Got checked in, changed, and ready to head down to the Harlequin author Meet & Greet when who did I spy waiting for the elevator on my floor???

SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS!!!!!

I have no photo because, frankly, I was too busy trying to fangirl without actually dropping to the floor and worshiping the ground she trod upon. Those of you who know me know that I am wary of meeting my idols live and in person. I hate it when they disappoint me by being human. I’m happy to report that SEP is everything gracious and lovely. We had a nice chat on the ride down, and apparently no restraining orders were filed.

Wednesday night was the huge Readers for Life Literacy signing. Here’s my set up:

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My friend and roommate, Karen Booth was signing as well:

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Now, some of you may have noticed that there was no mention of food so far in my post. That’s because, other than a bagel at the airport, I had none. The schedule was so jam-packed, and I didn’t want to miss a thing to take time out to eat. You can bet your bippy I did once the signing was over. Back in comfy clothes, I ventured across the street to Junior’s Famous Cheesecake for fortification.

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Thursday was my busiest day.

I started out by attending some publisher spotlights and signings. Here I am with my new BFF, Lisa Kleypas.

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After offloading books and other goodies in my room, I joined my DSRA pal, Mia Kay, for a walk up to the Random House offices. There we had lunch and listened to their editorial team talk about their digital first imprints, Loveswept and Flirt. Here are some highlights from the walk up Broadway:

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Upon our return, I worked the line for the Kensington Books signing, handing out my nifty ‘How deep is too deep?’ promo buttons for GOING DEEP (September 15, 2015).

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Then, I ducked into a fabulous workshop on Conquering High Concept led by Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Avon editor, May Chen.

After that, it was time for the Carina Press wine break, where I got to schmooze and booze with my fellow Carina authors.

The next thing I know, it’s time to slip into my party dress and head off to the Bowery district for the Kensington Books party at Duane Park jazz club. I was lucky enough to hook up with fellow Kensington authors Sharon Struth, Terri-Lynne DeFino, and Sonali Dev in the cab line.

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There were cocktail and passed hors d’oeuvers. We had a great time mixing and mingling with publisher, Steven Zacharius, and the whole Kensington team, including my acquiring editor, Martin Biro.

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Upon my return to the Marriott, Karen and I slipped into our PJs and headed downstairs for the Harlequin.com pyjama (they are Canadian, after all) party where we sugared ourselves up good before heading off to bed.

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Friday we hit the ground running with a keynote address from historical romance mega-star, Julia Quinn. After that, more spotlights and signings. Here I am with my fellow diamond, Elle James:

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And the always charming and glamorous, Olivia Gates:

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As the morning wound down, I slipped out of the conference to meet up with fellow Gilmorian and NYC native, Marla, for a fabulous lunch at Arriba, Arriba and my very first caramel frappachino.

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Back at the hotel, I slipped into a session on developing characters given the incomparable Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Copious notes were taken, but will make sense to no one but me. Then it was on to another publisher spotlight before I dashed up to the ninth floor to help set up for the Passionate Ink RWA speakeasy party:

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Sadly, I couldn’t stay long once the festivities started to heat up, because I was due to change and head for the historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for the Harlequin authors Black and White Ball!

There were a bunch of us in the cab line, so the doorman cut a deal with a limo driver, and nine of us arrived at the party in style!

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Once there, we drank, ate delicious desserts, then donned our dancing socks – yes, socks – and boogied the night away.

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I’m proud to report that my partner in crime and I shut that baby down!

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Saturday was tennis shoe day.

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It was also the easiest day in my schedule. I attended workshops and leadership meetings, slipped into a great seminar on dialogue led by Alyssa Day, Elizabeth Hoyt, and my other new BFF, Kristan Higgins (squee!):

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After that, the roomie and I decided it was time to slip out for a little John’s meatball pizza, and a walk in the lovely low-80s evening before dashing back to dress up one last time for the RITA and Golden Hearts awards ceremony.

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I had a few author pals who were finalists. so the cheering was loud and proud. So happy for fellow Team Megibow (kt literary) client, Tiffany Reisz. She won the RITA for best Erotic Romance for THE SAINT.

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She even let us touch her RITA. Very gently. And with great reverence.

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We shared a celebratory cocktail in the bar after the ceremonies, where I posed with my RITA. She’s a little smaller, and made of chocolate, but someday….

The following morning, I hugged my roommate extraordinaire goodbye while she stood in the FedEx line, then hooked up with my travel partner, Renee, for the trek back to JFK.

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And that, my friends, was how I spent my summer vacation. Want to share in a little of the loot from my trip to NYC? Over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving away goodies to random winners chosen from my mailing list and from my Maggie Wells Street Team.

Sign up to be a part of one or both today!

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 3/15/15

Well, I’m trying another project on for size. I’m calling it Play Dates and I’m hoping it will be the first in a series featuring single dads. Here’s the scene in which our heroine, never-married-never-wanted-to-be, Monica Rayburn first spots Colm Cleary whilst on an outing to the park with her niece.

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Monica Rayburn inched closer to the picnic tables littered with diaper bags and juice boxes and lifted her cell just a centimeter higher. The angle was just right. Years of after-work happy hours had allowed her to acquire a skill most people never master—the sly snapshot.

A quick glance at the enormous play structure mounted in the center of the playground verified that her niece, Emma, was safely ensconced in one of the numerous hamster trails that lead from one slide to another. Wiggling her thumb over the screen as if frantically typing a text, Monica tipped the phone up just enough to ensure that her quarry was centered in the frame. The whir of a fake shutter marked her success, but just in case, she gave the photo a surreptitious glance as she lowered the phone.

Perfection.

Now all she had to do was determine the handsome hunk of a man leaning against the wide trunk of an oak tree was predator or parent.

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That’s all I have for now. Be sure to check out all of the Weekend Writing Warrior posts here.

Happy Sunday!

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Happy New Year!

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The Winner of The Last First Date and Lisa Fox’s fabulous One Kiss is:

Lindsay Cross!

Congratulations, Lindsay and thank you all for stopping by to check out my new blog. I hope to have more fun and giveaways for you all in 2015!

 

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 12/28/14

 

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The winners of the Amazon gift cards are:

Neva

Veronica

and

Jess

Thank you all so much for making 2014 a great year!

This week, I’m sharing 8 from my New Year’s Eve gone wrong story, The Last First Date:

“You seriously think I let my grandmother set me up on a blind date on New Year’s Eve in hopes of getting laid?”

“Maybe?”

Reluctant laughter expelled a little of the heat inside him, but he still simmered when she met his gaze. The stark vulnerability he saw in her eyes leached the fight from his bones. “Trust me, if I was after sex I’d keep my grandmother as far from the mix as humanly possible.”

Jessica looked up at him from under her lashes. “If not sex, then why? I can’t imagine you have a hard time finding a date, and you don’t strike me as the kind of guy who can’t get enough of doing the Electric Slide.”

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Be sure to check out all of the Weekend Writing Warriors excerpts and come back next year!

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It’s release day!

Now you can get The Last First Date as a single title release!

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First date number forty-eight comes to a screeching halt for Detective Langley Sheppard when his date lifts a pack of gum from the local convenience store. But things start looking up when he encounters spunky damsel-in-distress Jessica Vickers, who’s stranded in the store parking lot. Now Lang is about to discover that on a night when everything goes wrong, falling for Jessica feels spectacularly right.

The Last First Date was truly a labor of love. There’s nothing I love more than a messy love story, and this one takes the cake when it comes to things going wrong. It also has what The Romance Reviews said, “contains what I can only describe as THE best meeting between a couple in any book ever.”

As part of the Harlequin-E Contemporary Romance boxed set, The Last First Date was a recommended read on the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, and is now available as a single title release.

Get yours here:

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

All Romance e-Books

Harlequin

Tell your friends!

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 08/17/14

Here’s a test – is distracted writing dangerous?

Here are 8 sentences I wrote while conversations swirled around me at my local RWA meeting. Since I managed exactly 8, I said I’d post them for my WWW entry. What do you say? Help a distracted writer out?

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Gazing up at her from the depths of his pillow, Lang wondered why he ever thought leaving this apartment was a good idea. What could be better than being fed lo mein noodles by a beautiful woman? Jessica still wore his old uniform shirt but, like him, it was completely undone. She straddled him, smiling as she swirled the bamboo chopsticks in the take-out container. Hot pink handcuffs dangled from one wrist as she held a clump of lukewarm noodles over his mouth.

“More?”

Instead of opening up, he shook his head. “More of you.”

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Fingers crossed, this story will turn out to be the sequel to my current Harlequin-E release, The Last First Date. Your input is welcome and most appreciated!

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Be sure to check out the posts from my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors here!

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 08/10/14

I have to be quick because I have company in town this weekend. Here are a fast eight from the first draft of the story I wrote the synopsis for last week. 🙂

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Jessica bit the tip of her tongue as she watched him fit the key into the ridiculous heart-shaped cuffs.

One of them had to be sensible. That’s what she told herself each time she stifled the urge to doodle his initials or draw hearts in the steamy bathroom mirror. They’d only known each other six weeks. They’d been together only eleven days longer than the free trial on her Netflix account. True, she hadn’t been completely sold on the need to stream television shows when the membership fee hit her account, but she figured it was a damn sight better than buying season after season on DVD untested. And Langley Sheppard made no bones about the fact that he was looking for the lifetime membership type of relationship. He told her so seconds after their first kiss.

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Want to find out how Lang and Jessica met? The Last First Date is available as part of the Harlequin-E Contemporary Boxed Set, or pre-order the single title (coming September 1, 2014)!

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That’s it for this week. Be sure to check out all the excerpts from my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors!

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Weekend Writing Warrior – August 2, 2014

One of the more painful parts of being a writer involves the dreaded synopsis. This weekend I wrote one, therefore today I will share eight sentences from a work almost in progress. Here’s what I have started for the sequel to The Last First Date.  The working title is First Shot at Forever.

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Langley Sheppard’s Valentine’s Day isn’t going quite the way he planned. When he called his girlfriend of six weeks, Jessica Vickers, she said she was ready for their date. But when he knocks on her apartment door, he’s greeted by a flash of long, bare leg and the sight of the woman he loves dressed in nothing but his old patrolman’s uniform shirt and hat. He doesn’t have to wonder how she swiped it because Jessica confesses. She broke into his house and stole it right out of his closet. After she snooped through all his stuff.

Instead of feeling violated that she invaded his space, he’s excited. This is the first time Jessica has blatantly gone out of her way to show that she thinks about him as much as he does her, and the first time any woman has dangled a pair of pink padded handcuffs in front of him, demanding he take her into custody.

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Want to find out how Lang and Jessica met? The Last First Date is available as part of the Harlequin-E Contemporary Boxed Set, or pre-order the single title (coming September 1, 2014)!

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Weekend Writing Warrior – 5/25/14

Just a little over a week until The Last First Date releases as part of the Harlequin-E Contemporary Boxed Set Volume 2!

Here are a fast eight from The Last First Date:

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“We could have been in your bed by now.” Her voice was a low, husky taunt. Her smile was pure temptation. “Kiss me.”

His resolve crumbled like a stale saltine. He crossed the line without another moment of thought, cradling the base of her skull and pulling her into the abyss with him. Their tongues tangled and her hands cruised over the front of his shirt.

“We could pretend this is our third date and work backwards from there,” she whispered.

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Available June 2, 2014!

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If you want to read more snippets, please be sure to check out the posts from my fellow Weekend Writing Warriors!

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