Posts tagged with: anthology

Love, Holidays, Bookish Besties…AND A LAUNCH PARTY!!

AJewelinTimefinal

Do you have a Best Friend? Most of us have more than one. And most of us have a circle of acquaintances who we call for lunch, or a movie, or even a night out on the town.

But that best friend? She’s the one you call when your boss just made a pass and you don’t know what to do. Or he’s the one you call when you need to write a breakup letter to your boyfriend. Or the guy-friend or girlfriend you call to be your “date” for a wedding you don’t want to go to, but have to, and you know your ex-boyfriend/husband/lover will be there.

Besties are all that. They’re moral support. They help you talk things through – whatever those “things” may be. They’ll laugh with you till you both nearly wet your pants. They’ll help you pack when you have to move, and share the box of tissue that you both need to have because you’re moving.  They’ll be there till the last box is packed.

Besties are just that…the best.

They answer the phone at 2 am, when they see your number come up on the screen. They tiptoe out to the driveway in their PJs at nearly 4 in the morning to give you your spare keys, when you’ve been at a party and you’ve lost your house keys.

They tell you the truth when shopping – “Yes, it DOES make you look fat. Here, try this one!” And when you talk about that guy you met on Friday who drives the Mercedes? “No, I don’t think he’s divine. I think he’s a moron!”

When you’re a writer, your Besties take on a new set of challenges. You MAKE them read your stuff and tell them to be honest. Put on the spot, they have to tell you what they think. Ohhhhh, that is a minefield! It’s worse than the dress thing or the boyfriend-is-a-moron-thing.15072009067

It’s dangerous to the friendship. It’s like callin’ the baby ugly, as we say down home.

But your REAL Besties won’t let you down. They’ll still be sweet. They’ll tell you it’s a good first draft (even when you and they both know it’s the 12th draft.) They’ll tell you they like the story, but honey, you SO need to work on your spelling! (“OMG! Didn’t we both have Mrs. Jones for English in 9th grade? Did you SLEEP through that class?”)

And when you get past THAT stage, and maybe a few more, they’ll say, “HEY! Let’s write a book together!”
Nothing is more fun.

I have the privilege of introducing two of my absolute Besties today. We met at the Denver RWA Conference in 2001 and have been laughing all the way ever since.

And yes, we wrote a book…TOGETHER!! WOOT!!!

Y’all have had fun with my friend Barbara Devlin several times before, here in the Lair, starting all the way back to her first novel in this series, ENTER THE BRETHREN. Welcome Barb!!

And Bandits and Banditas, may I introduce debut author Caitlenn T. Ainnsley!!

WOOT!! SVEN!! We need drinks!!  Snacks!  Canapes, streamers, and yes, more cabana boys!

We’re celebrating because, Barbara, Caitlenn and I are, collectively, The Sultry Sisters. And we’re the proud authors of a holiday anthology called A JEWEL IN TIME (Isn’t that cover – above – lovely!? Thanks Lyndsey Lewellen! You can click on it and it’ll take you to Amazon if you’d like take a look!)  The anthology stories follow a magical, gold and gem-studded glory of a brooch through the centuries, as it passes from mother to daughter. The beautiful gem is a master jeweler’s work, and it’s key to each young woman’s fate. The jewel is passed down in the Douglas-Gascoigne-Lake family (whom we first meet in ENTER THE BRETHREN), and it passes each generation to the eldest daughter.

Here, in brief, are the three storylines:

Three incomparable women, one incredible jewel…

It is the Age of Sail, and First Lieutenant Mark Douglas of the Royal Navy has set his sights on a fiery society miss with a spirit to match his own. What happens when Lady Amanda Gascoigne-Lake’s father rejects the sailor’s suit, and an ancient brooch with mystical power portends doom?

In WWII Europe, Lady Grace Corvedale flees Paris as the Germans approach, but Hitler has learned her brooch may have mystical powers, and he vows to possess it -at any cost. Lt Robert “Dix” Dixon, an unofficial attaché to the British Embassy, is dispatched to rescue her, but can he outwit The Führer to save Grace?

When a series of tragic events leaves Olivia DuBois stranded in Boston during a blizzard, a handsome Brit rides to her rescue, and the California girl falls hard. Emerson Gascoigne-Lake manifests the quintessential knight in shining armor, but does a family heirloom foretell true love or destroy it?

CaptainofHerHeartfinalJeanne: Barb, most of our Bandits and Buddies are familiar with your Brethren of the Coast books.

Book FIVE, CAPTAIN OF HER HEART launches on FRIDAY, right alongside the novella! Tell us a little about it!

(Oh, and by the way, join the facebook Launch Party today…’cause we’re shutting the doors and having the throw-down party Friday night!! https://www.facebook.com/events/596338027155028 )

Barbara: As for CAPTAIN OF HER HEART, it’s Book 5, as you mentioned. It tells the story of Lady Alexandra Seymour and newly commissioned Nautionnier Knight Jason Collingwood. We got to know Jason and Alex in book 4, ONE-KNIGHT STAND, when they conspired to help Lance and Cara to the altar.

And as for my novella in our anthology, “Loving Lieutenant Douglas,” it goes back in time, 27 years, to 1785, when then Lieutenant Mark Douglas romanced Lady Amanda Gascoigne-Lake.

Jeanne: And Caitlenn, my friend, you’ve been writing for a long time as well, but gave fiction a rest for a few years as you worked on non-fiction. What made you come out of “retirement” to write this story?

Caitlenn: The easy answer is my friends–you and Barb–made me do it! LOL It came about when we had a girl’s weekend at Barb’s house in January this year and we celebrated her success as a self-published author and your decision, Jeanne, to go Indie. I guess it finally occurred to us how fun it would be to do a project together. Following pedicures and rolling enchiladas we birthed the theme and the element that would tie all the stories together.

Jeanne: That was SO fun!!

Barbara: It was wonderful to have you both here to celebrate!!

Jeanne: Yes, we got to REALLY celebrate too, because Barbara’s books hit the Amazon Bestseller lists and we were there to witness it! WOOT!!!

Caitlenn: It was fun, and so special too, because of the bestseller “win”!! For me, it was also especially touching that you wanted me to be a part of A Jewel in Time since I had put my fiction writing on the shelf while I ran my coaching and training business and wrote non-fiction. But, I guess that’s that what besties are for. They don’t let you give up on your dream.

Writing fiction is in my DNA and this project and your unwavering support has jumpstarted my fiction career. In 2015 I’ll be introducing an NewCaitlennamazingly fun, kind of crazy, heroine who’ll be the star of my series the CONSCIOUS GYPSY CHRONICLES.

I am excited that my debut is alongside two of my close friends. And I’m looking forward to making friends with my readers and giving them sneak peeks at what’s to come through my newsletter, Love Notes, that’s available from my website www.caitlenn.com.

Jeanne: You can also connect with Caitlenn and Barbara on their FaceBook Fan pages by the way! www.facebook.com/caitlenntainnsley and https://www.facebook.com/barbara.devlin

So, today, Bandits and Buddies, let’s talk about Besties!

Do you have a BFF? The kind who would bail you out of jail? (Or better yet, one who’d be in the cell with you, saying, “DAMN, that was fun!”)

What’s the craziest situation you and your BFF have gotten into? Did it involve the police?

Do you believe in fate or destiny when it comes to love?

If you could go back in time, to WWII, the Regency, when Barb’s other books are set, or even further, what time would you pick?

Have you ever been caught in a blizzard? Would you like to be?

If you get snow where you are, what’s the most you’ve ever seen?

Comment today for a chance to win! To kick off the release of the anthology, we’ll be giving away FIVE copies of A JEWEL IN TIME!

booksstackedAND…for MORE chances to win, come to Facebook tomorrow night from 7-10 so remember to join the group today so you can be in on the fun at our HUGE CELEBRATION!! We’ll be giving away books, prize packages, and a Kindle!!

To celebrate the dual release, Barb is also giving away Enter the Brethren and My Lady, the Spy, books 1 & 2, for the first time, ever, from Nov. 14-18 free via Amazon!

Go to Amazon NOW and get them!! And Captain of Her Heart is currently available for only 99-cents, through Nov. 21.

Love in the Land of Lakes!

WinterSnowQueenbyVictorHabbick

So you all know I’m from up north, right?  

Now, when I say “up north” I’m talking about that hardy, chilly stretch of the north-central U.S. bordering Canada.  Let’s say roughly Wyoming through Michigan.

Up north is where it snows October through March, & we take it in stride.  

Up north is where we have mosquitoes the size of bread plates, and people insult you by saying simply, “Well, that’s different.”

MosquitoInNaturebySweetCrisis

 

Up north, we’re at the very top of what folks on either coast refer to as “fly-over country.”  Because they prefer to just fly over it.  Nobody in their right mind would go there.  Because–did I mention?–snow.  Plus large mosquitoes and deadly subtle insults.

Me?  I love it here.  But I didn’t always.

WearingWarmCoatbyStuartMilesNow I was born and raised up north.  In Michigan, to be precise.  (The mitten state!)  But I knew I wasn’t made for winter.  My senior year in college cemented this conviction.  I remember the day itself–April 1, 1994.  I had just walked to class through a blinding snow storm, the kind with such fierce winds that you have to empty your pockets of snow upon arriving at your destination.  And as I was scooping snow from my coat pockets (I am not making this up), I said to myself, “That’s it.  I’m getting out of here.”

I graduated one month later & took the first job south of the Mason/Dixon line that came my way.  (Thank you, Houston Independent School District, for the opportunity.  I quite enjoyed Texas.) 

That said?  I lasted three years before I moved back up north. To Minnesota this time.  And I haven’t budged since. 

At this point, you may be questioning my sanity.  (Because, to recap:  snow, mosquitoes, insults.)  

AlligatorbyMichaelElliott

But here’s the thing.  In exchange for snow, mosquitoes and “that’s different,” I got heat, bigger mosquitoes (!) and “bless your heart.”  Even exchange, that.  But I also got snakes (the large, poisonous kind) and alligators.  (Alligators!)  

In exchange for wind chill factors, fall colors and spring flowers, I got a rainy season.  And I discovered that I will happily take a few weeks of -50 windchill over three months of 37 degree rain any old time.

But it was the water that finally did it. 

at the cottage

I missed the lakes.  

I might’ve mentioned that I grew up in Michigan, also known as the Great Lakes State.  Fun fact?  You can’t go more than six miles in any direction in Michigan without hitting a body of water.  You’re never more than 85 miles from a Great Lake, either.  As a result, we Michiganders view time in & on the water as our birthright.

I spent my childhood summers at the family cottage, right near the tip of the mitten.  (I’m the little one in the photo, if you’re wondering.)  Days at the cottage were all about fishing, swimming & water skiing ourselves into exhaustion, then baking ourselves dry on hot wooden docks.  Nights were all about bonfires on beaches, storytelling under the stars, then bunking down in rickety screened-in porches where we slathered our peeling backs with Noxema and listened to loons laughing on the lake.  

Alligator GarNow, it must be said:  they do have lakes in Texas.  Of course they do.  But when we say “lake” up north, we mean deep, clear, cold water you can swim in.  When they say “lake” down south, they mean warm, shallow, muddy water full of crazy things I don’t want to swim with. (Alligator gar, anybody?  See photo.  See also:  yikes.) 

So I realized–finally–that up north is simply who I am.  It’s in my blood.  It was no mistake that I wound up making my forever home in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. For me, home is always going to be the place where the trees are tall, the winters are white & the lakes are so clear you can see straight to the bottom.  

FINAL Kiss the Girl frontSo when my local RWA chapter decided to put together an anthology centered around falling in love in the Land of Lakes, I couldn’t resist.  I don’t often write short–it’s crazy painful for a long-winded girl like me–but if you read my summer release KISS THE GIRL, you know that my heroine Nixie is saddled with…let’s call it a difficult family situation. Specifically her aging sex-pot of a movie star mom.  Ah, Sloan.  The villainess everybody loves to hate.  Now Sloan ended up with a happy ending of her own, but because it happened largely off stage, even I didn’t know quite how Sloan bagged her man.  And I was curious. 

So I wrote it.  

Love in the Land of LakesIf you’d like to know exactly how that played out, check out UNWRAPPED, my contribution to LOVE IN THE LAND OF LAKES which is–of course–set proudly on the shores of Lake Superior.  

Click here for more, or just check out Susan’s website!

So tell me, is there a place in the world that particularly speaks to you? Do you live there, or just yearn for it?  What says home to you like nothing else?  Did you always know that, or did you have to move somewhere that didn’t have it before you realized how important it was?

One lucky commenter will win her own e-copy of LOVE IN THE LAND OF LAKES, so don’t be shy!  Share!

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.  Mouse over for artist attribution.

 

 

 

 

A Holiday Anthology For Everyone!

I’m excited to host some old Romance Bandits friends here in the Lair. Some of you may recall a previous visit from the gorgeous Regan Black. Well, Regan is back with a great anthology she’s put together with three other fabulous writers! Joining Regan is my long-time friend Kimberly Hope, plus new friends V.R. Marks and Jay Keelan.

Guys, we adore anthologies here in the Lair and we also adore holiday stories. So a collection of holiday novellas is sure to delight Banditas and Buddies alike. What can you tell us about this promising collection?

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Thanks, Caren, for having us here today.  Our holiday anthology, A Season for Romance, started as a bright idea over the phone one day when we were steadfastly avoiding work and a thousand miles separated us all. “Oooh. We should write a holiday anthology of short stories. We have plenty of time!” Things went downhill from there, kind of like this:

 

Kimberly Hope: I’m writing a Christmas story.

 

Jay Keelan: I’m writing a Christmas story, too.

 

Regan Black: {blushing} My story’s YA.

 

VR Marks: Mine’s a Thanksgiving story. Don’t give me any grief. You know we men are all about the food.

 

Kimberly: I’m writing a contemporary reunion story.

 

Jay: I’m writing a contemporary reunion story, too.

 

Regan: Mine’s a contemporary story. With a paranormal angle.

 

VR: No reunion. Sorry. But it is contemporary.

 

Are you sensing a pattern here? This is what happens when you throw four independent authors into one mix. Contemporary. Paranormal. Suspense. Multiple holidays. Yeah, our cover artist loves us. But there’s something in A Season for Romance for everyone.

 

All of the stories are set in small town North or South Carolina. Except Snow Covered Resolutions by Regan Black. That’s set in the Midwest.

 

So as release time closed in, we searched for any common ground beyond ‘contemporary’ and started shooting random interview questions back and forth via email. Here are the highlights:

 

Which Disney character would you be?

Kimberly: Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (unless someone knows where to find the Hunstman from Once Upon a Time… then I’ll be whoever he wants me to be).  :-)

 

Jay: Rapunzel, because I have a frying pan and I’m not afraid to use it.

 

Regan:  Mulan because she can kick butt like my daring, adventurous heroines.

 

VR: The Genie from Aladdin. (short answer wins!)

 

What kind of pets “help” you write?

 

Kimberly: My Doberman keeps me at the keyboard, sometimes she even lets me type.

 

Jay: Like Kimberly, my dog keeps my toes warm after she steals my slippers.

 

Regan: Our two greyhounds usually let me write while they’re napping.

 

VR: Two cats. {crickets chirp in the silence} But they’re manly, Maine Coon cats.

 

“Common ground” might be a pipe dream in this anthology. Clearly, we’re all a little whacked. But the one thing that ties all our short stories together is that they’re all about discovering what matters most about heart and home.

 

So, it’s the holiday season. While you’re playing ’12 Days of Christmas’ on your iPod, we’re playing Sesame Street’s ‘Which One of These Things Is Not Like the Others?’ As illustrated here:

 

Kimberly: In my first sassy contemporary romance, The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé, Jessica’s Grandma Violet is the town matchmaker. In my Meddling with Mistletoe in the anthology, we see Violet’s first matchmaking attempt, involving Jessica’s parents and a wine cellar.

 Jay: In Finding the Focus, when Ethan Myers, an award-winning photographer who is short on inspiration, leaves his studio for the road, he never predicted he’d run into the one woman he had never forgotten.

 

VR: We meet Sheriff Cochran in my romantic suspense novel, The Thief, but we don’t learn exactly how he feels about Ruth Williams, the owner of the local diner, until her annual Thanksgiving feast in The Sheriff’s Proposal in the anthology.

Regan: In Snow-Covered Resolutions, it’s New Year’s Eve and all the Pixie Chicks from my previous YA novels have someone special to kiss at midnight – except Austin. In this season of resolutions will she stick to hers, or will the snow-covered magic of Hobbitville sweep her up in a whole new adventure?

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In addition to the short stories, Kimberly Hope and VR Marks have both added the first chapters of the first books in these series to the anthology. And in the spirit of the season, we’re giving away one copy of the anthology and one of each full-length novel: A Season for Romance, Kimberly Hope’s The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé, and VR Marks’s The Thief.

To enter, all you have to do is post a comment telling us which Disney character you’d be and why! Okay, Banditas and Buddies, which one will it be? I’m off to do some animated movie watching…I mean, research…

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Be sure to come back to the Lair on December 13 when we kick off the annual 12 BANDITA DAYS OF CHRISTMAS! Prizes and recipes every day!! Roosters. Books. Starbucks goodies. Books. Dragons. Books. Cookies. Books. Godiva. You know you want the cookies, for sure, so come home to the Lair for the Holidays! Who knows, you might win something, and you’ll be guaranteed to have fun!! (Did we mention there might be books?)