Posted by Caren Crane Dec 1 2012, 12:21 am in 12 Bandita Days of Christmas, 12 days of Christmas, Caren Crane, coming attractions, Guests, prize winner, prizes
December is always a big month in the Lair. In addition to all our usual book releases, guest authors, witty thoughts and pithy observations, we also have a HUGE Christmas Celebration Blowout! Those of you who have been visiting us for a while are likely rubbing your acquisitive hands together in delight in anticipation of our 12 BANDITA DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!!
Yes friends, starting on DECEMBER 13, we will have extra-special treats in store for you EVERY DAY until Christmas! So shake off your Bah Humbugs and get ready to par-tay! Each day will feature a holiday recipe AND a special prize giveaway for a commenter. Golden Rooster ornaments! Ermingarde the Dragon cookie cutters and sugar cookie mix! Books galore!! On Christmas Eve day, we have a Rooster goodie!!! Then, on CHRISTMAS DAY, we will give away a HUGE prize bundle to one lucky commenter. So be sure to come by each day and see what splendid goodies are on offer.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
And speaking of splendid goodies, here are some of the scintillating events coming up in the Lair this month:
December 2 - Right out of the gate, Caren Crane hosts authors Regan Black, Kimberly Hope, V.R. Marks and Jay Keelan to discuss their Christmas anthology The Season For Romance. “They say home is where the heart is…” and we’ll have fun finding out just where that is for each of these talented authors!
December 3 – To keep our month rolling along, Anna Campbell hosts Lair favorite Maggie Robinson. Maggie will tell us about her latest steamy historical Lord Gray’s List. Maggie is always great fun so you won’t want to miss that!
December 4 – Suzanne Ferrell helps us delve further into the Alpha Pack’s fight with the Unseelie King in J.D. Tyler‘s (our beloved Jo Davis in disguise) Black Moon. Is there any hope for the team or mankind when the Sorcerer Kalen Black is tempted by the dark arts? We’ll find out, but I may still be distracted by Kalen’s picture…
December 5 – Our incredibly talented Regency author Christie Kelley is having a book launch party for her December e-book from Kensington, Bewitching the Duke. I will admit that I am bewitched already!
December 7 – Aussie author Christina Ashcroft/Christina Phillips visits the Lair to tell us about her great new paranormal series from Berkley, starting with the very delicious Archangel Of Mercy. Merciful archangels, what a cover!
December 10 - Anna Campbell is hosting a Christmas launch party in the lair when she tells us all about her latest release, The Winter Wife. We might just get to see Santa do the cha-cha!
December 12 - As the Demon Trappers series comes to an end with the release of Foretold, Jana Oliver joins Nancy Northcott to chat about saying good-bye to a series and characters she loves writing. Even the cover echoes the beauty and melancholy of the series end!
December 13 – Bandita Joan Kayse unveils her debut release The Patrician. Yes, Joan’s Romans have life at long last and we will be partying hard to celebrate their unleashing! (Well, Joan said she would unleash them. Not so sure what will happen once the sangria starts flowing, though! )
December 21- We’ll be Stepping Back In Time with Superromance author Jeannie Watt as she talks about preparing for and attending the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco!
December 27 – Bandita Tawny Weber throws another wild shindig in the Lair to share her latest Karma Cafe novella: Sweet Nothings! What’s a girls determined to get rid of her reputation as being pure as driven snow to do? Find a prince of a guy to help her out, of course. Oh, my! Tawny’s books are always sweet, sexy confections. This one promises to be delectable!
What would the holiday season be without contests?!? Here are a few you’ll want to be sure to enter:
Anna Campbell is giving TWO lucky people the chance to win a matching Seven Nights In a Rogue’s Bed tote bag and signed book. It’s what the fashionistas are carrying this festive season, as you’ll see from the stylish photo of Anna’s good friend and Harlequin Medical Romance author Sharon Archer on the website. All you need to do is tell Anna the name of Book 2 in the Sons of Sin series. You might just find the answer in her latest news: http://annacampbell.info/latest.html. Email Anna on email@example.com with your answer to be in the draw. For more information, please check out Anna’s contest page: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html.
Nancy Northcott is running a contest on Fresh Fiction to win an art glass Christmas tree bottle stopper and a download of Renegade (US residents only). (Also, be sure to check out Nancy’s guest post at Romantic Times where she talks about a girlhood crush!)
MEMBERS ONLY WINNER
We are excited to announce that JOAN WOODS has won the November Members Only prize bundle! Congratulations, Joan, you get rewarded for being our friend!!
To qualify for December’s Members Only prize bundle, simply sign up for access to our Members Den and receive the always-entertaining Romance Bandits Newsletter. Be sure to open the e-mail and read the newsletter. We will choose a randomly-selected winner from the list of those who opened our newsletter. It’s as simple as that!
The Members Only December prize bundle will include:
- An e-book Keeper Kase from Nancy Northcott, with a signed card for her debut release Renegade
- A Kindle or Nook download of Nancy Northcott’s Renegade
- A download of Anna Campbell’s The Winter Wife
- A Kindle or Nook download of Joan Kayse’s The Patrician
- A copy of Tawny Weber’s Nice and Naughty
- An e-book download of Jo Robertson’s The Perfect Gift
- A $10 Amazon gift card from Caren Crane
What are you waiting for?!? Sign up right now!
Wow! I am exhausted just telling you what’s going on this month. It is sure to be super-busy and extra-exciting! Now it’s your turn to tell me a few things.
So, Bandita Buddies, what are you anticipating most highly this holiday season? Lighting candles? Singing songs? Feasting with friends and family? Opening a highly-anticipated gift? Curling up with a terrific book? Hm…my answer may be “all of the above”…
Posted by Anna Campbell Jun 7 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Beauty and the Beast, Blue Mountains, Category Romance, Defying her Desert Duty, Guests, Harlequin Presents Extra, Protected by the Prince, RT Reviewers Choice Award, Sydney, travel, Undone by His Touch, Write Touch Readers' Awards, writing life
by Anna Campbell
I’m delighted to welcome back lair favorite and fabulous writer Annie West who is here to tell us about her latest North American release UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH. UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH recently received a glowing review from RT Book Reviews magazine where they called it “an emotionally compelling read.”
Annie’s books are receiving accolades all over the place. At the recent RT Reviewers Choice Awards, her wonderful PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE was chosen as best Harlequin Presents Extra of 2011 and RAFE’S REDEMPTION recently placed in the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Write Touch Readers Awards.
Congratulations, Annie! I’m not surprised. Your books are fantastic.
You can find out more about Annie and her books on her website: www.annie-west.com
You can also find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annie.west.9619
To buy a print copy of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH, just click on the cover below.
Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Undone-Touch-Harlequin-Presents-ebook/dp/B007BBVEJC/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338847220&sr=1-5
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Undone-by-His-Touch-Annie-West/9780373528691
Welcome back, Annie. Congratulations on the North American release of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH, your latest Harlequin Presents Extra. Can you tell us about this story?
Hi, Anna, and thanks so much for having me back to visit the Bandits. I’m so pleased I haven’t worn out my welcome. I’m waving to Banditas and friends, and putting in my order for a long glass of bubbly if there’s one in the house.
UNDONE is about a scarred, reclusive hero whose main interest is in finding the woman he blames for his brother’s death. Declan is determined to wallow in regret and guilt until Chloe, his new housekeeper, drags him, protesting, to the realisation he’s not ready yet to give up on the world. In fact she makes him feel emotions he’d never expected to experience. She brings him hope. But Chloe’s no plaster saint. She’s got problems of her own and dealing with an anti-social boss is one of them. Until she sees beneath the surface to the man of integrity and honour who’s struggling to find a foothold in a world that’s changed around him.
Of course I had to make it interesting by ensuring each was the worst possible person for the other to fall in love with! That’s where the fun began – and the intensity and passion.
I had a ball writing this dark hero who eventually finds the light. I’ve been having fun lately, thinking of who I’d cast in the role of sexy but prickly recluse and I’m torn between Clive Owen and Hugh Jackman. I think either would be perfect as Declan.
Here’s the back cover copy:
Cast into a world of black, Declan Carstairs is a man in torment. Consumed by guilt, he sees no way out of the darkness his world has become. Only one thing drives him – finding the woman who caused his brother’s death, and the accident that took his sight.
Housekeeper Chloe Daniels refuses to pity her devastatingly gorgeous boss, but treating him as the strong, capable man he is soon proves dangerous. As Chloe falls deeper under Declan’s spell, awakened by his touch, she forgets all about the secret she keeps that may destroy them both…
I loved this book. I think it’s one of your best. What inspired you to write this story?
Maybe it’s your influence rubbing off on me, Anna – the fact that when I read your books I’m so often reading a Beauty and the Beast style story. Who knows? But I can tell you I had two ideas in my head for a long time. One was of a dark haired man with intense eyes and a bad attitude, who’d turned into a recluse after his brother’s death in a climbing accident. The other was of a love triangle between the brothers and a woman. The woman was rather shadowy but fortunately she came to life when I started to write. It just took me a couple of years to pull the various ideas together.
I should add that the settings were part of my inspiration for this book. I had vivid images in my head of both the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, and of inner city Sydney too. I’ve sent through a couple of photos to share with this piece so you can see why the mountains in particular are one of my favorite places to visit. It’s a world heritage site – perfect for bushwalking, climbing and canyoning. But as well as that it’s a plateau studded with quaint villages and gorgeous gardens. It’s just perfect for visitors. I love to go there and pretend I’m fit by tackling one of the walks and then relaxing in a coffee shop or bookstore and feeling I’ve earned a treat.
By the way, thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. You need to add photography to your list of talents! Can you tell us about your next release?
I’d love to. Next cab off the rank is called DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY. It’s out in the U.K. in October but I’m waiting for news on the North American release. The title is a little misleading. Yes, the hero is from the Middle East, but most of the book is set in western Europe – principally France. And boy, did I have a wonderful time with that setting!
It’s a story that owes a lot to the Tristan and Iseult legend. The hero is sent to Paris to bring back the woman who’s been betrothed to the king, ready for a royal wedding. What he doesn’t expect is to fall for the king’s fiancée or to discover she’s falling for him too. Now that spells trouble! Add to that the fact that my hero is absolutely loyal (the king is like a father to him) and my heroine has strong reasons of her own for needing to go through with the royal wedding and the scene is set for drama and high emotion.
I’ve had a sneak peek at this book and it’s a classic Annie West. Romantic, dramatic, emotional, a real page turner. Readers will love it! Can you give us a sneak peek at what you’re currently working on?
I’ve just handed a book in to my editor. Superstitiously perhaps, I don’t want to say too much about it until I’ve had some editorial feedback, but I can tell you it’s a story with quite a twist. It features a very suave and self-assured Italian hero and a heroine who’s just starting her life again after the most horrendous ordeal. Lucy refuses to let anyone, especially a bossy businessman, dictate to her. Lots and lots of sparks in this one, but I hope, plenty of tenderness too.
We’ve had you as a guest so often on the Banditas and I don’t think I’ve ever asked you what you do when you aren’t writing. What sort of things do you like to do to refill the well?
I’m wary about admitting that I do anything other than write, since I don’t want that to get back to my editor. I’m trying to persuade her I’m glued to the computer, slaving over a hot story! Actually I am, most of the time. But as you say, it’s important to fill the well occasionally.
I count my visits to you, Anna, as one of my well-filling activities. Good company, good food, good wine and far too much chat, make for a wonderful time. They always leave me energised to tackle almost anything.
Actually that picture of us together is from a lunch out near when I live when you were up. Always lovely to see you. What else do you like to do?
Other than that, in my down time I like to do some of these:
Reading! Actually, I think you could put this down for my top 5 pastimes.
Walking, preferably in the bush (wilderness if you’re not in Australia) or by water.
Visiting new places (I’m dreaming about another Europe trip). If I can’t travel, then hearing about someone else’s trip or poring over maps and pictures of far away places is fantastic.
Cooking – not the just home and must get dinner organised cooking – that’s no treat. I mean cooking when you’re actually in the mood for pottering and trying something new, or tackling an old favorite. I love it when people ooh and ah over home made baklava for instance, and even better, when the family gets involved in the cooking with me.
Cross stitch. True to my recent resolution I’m trying to find time to get back into the sewing I haven’t touched for years.
Movies. Love them, particularly (yes, I know I’m predictable) if they leave me feeling good. Theatre fits in here too – a real treat.
Long bubble baths with a good book, especially if someone else is cooking dinner while I relax and soak in the tub.
Ooh, lots there to inspire new stories which is what we dedicated fans like to hear. Annie, is there anything you’d like to ask the Banditas and Bandita Buddies?
Since we’re talking about refilling the well, can you share your favorite activities that leave you relaxed and rejuvenated ready to tackle the daily grind? Is there one perfect experience that still makes you smile and feel better every time you think of it? Right now, my favorite perk me up experience is remembering a marvellous high tea at Claridges Hotel in London. So refined, so luxurious and so yum!
Thanks, Annie. Get commenting, people. There are two separate prizes today – a signed copy of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH and a signed copy of Annie’s RT Reviewers Choice Award winner PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE. Great reading! Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 4 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Captain Durant's Countess, Courtesan Court Series, erotic romance, Guests, historical romance, interviews, maggie robinson, Master of Sin
by Anna Campbell
I’m delighted to bring back to the lair for your reading pleasure Maggie
Robinson. Maggie is here to tell us about her latest historical romance MASTER OF SIN.
This book has been garnering rave reviews everywhere. For example, Romantic Times Book Reviews said:
Robinson crafts an intelligent, powerful, emotional, highly sensual love story with a damaged hero and an exceptional heroine, moving the story beyond the typical and into the unconventional. Readers will become so invested in the characters that the fast pace and heated sexual tension only add to the delight. Fine storytelling.
You can find out more about Maggie and her books at her website: www.maggierobinson.net
Maggie, welcome back to the lair! Congratulations on the release of your latest book MASTER OF SIN, the last in the Courtesan Court series. Can you tell us about this story?
I’m thrilled to be back and rubbing shoulders, etc. with the lair’s cabana boys again! The blurb-writers at Kensington are much better at this than I am, so I’ll just cheat and quote the back of the book:
Andrew Rossiter has used his gorgeous body and angelic face for all they’re worth—shocking the proper, seducing the willing, and pleasuring the wealthy. But with a tiny son depending on him for rescue, suddenly discretion is far more important than desire. He’ll have to bury his past quench his desires—fast. And he’ll have to find somewhere his deliciously filthy reputation hasn’t yet reached…
Miss Gemma Peartree seems like a plain, virginal governess—or so she hopes. True, she has a sharp wit and sharper tongue, but handsome Mr. Ross wouldn’t notice Gemma herself. Or so she hopes. No matter how many sparks fly between them, she has too much to hide to catch his eye. But with the storms of a Scottish winter driving them together, it will be hard to keep her secrets. Keeping her hands to herself might prove entirely impossible…
What were the inspirations behind this book?
Andrew appeared as a quasi-villain in MISTRESS BY MARRIAGE, and I just couldn’t get rid of him. I sent him to Italy on the page, but he kept shouting from afar. I’d given him sooo much baggage I couldn’t imagine turning him into a hero, but he was insistent. That makes me sound kind of crazy, but there you go—I wanted to give him his own HEA after torturing him so viciously.
Can you tell us about the Courtesan Court series as a whole? Will you be revisiting this scandalous address in the future?
The series is loosely connected by the un-mistressy women who accidentally wind up living on Jane Street, fictional home to the most exclusive, expensive courtesans in London. I revisit it very briefly (but pivotally—is that a word?) in December’s LORD GREY’S LIST.
I see on your website that you’ve recently sold CAPTAIN DURANT’S COUNTESS to Kensington Brava. Can you tell us about this book?
I’m excited to have a digital-first book fall between LORD GREY’S LIST and LADY ANNE’S LOVER. This is my new series, the London List trilogy, where a newspaper, kind of a combination Craigslist/National Inquirer, links the characters. In CDC, a broke ex-Army officer responds to a most unusual advertisement. He’s desperate for a job, but the requirements for this one may prove to be his undoing.
Ooh, sounds intriguing! What’s next for you?
I’m working on a super-secret project, hopefully another trilogy. It involves research, which I love. Amazon is delivering to me daily.
I’m in awe of your productivity. Do you have any hints on time management for us (um, me?)?
Ha. Well, it helps that my four kids are grown and gone, and I quit my library clerk job when the high school girls wanted to read my books, LOL. My husband is extremely supportive and does almost all the cooking except for holidays, when I still put my arm into the turkey’s nether regions. I get up very early and write until late morning, unwashed and unbrushed, aiming for at least 1000 words a day. In the afternoons I try to be normal, but it’s not working.
And can you give us a taster of your delicious new romance MASTER OF SIN?
Here’s the first paragraph:
Andrew Rossiter was on the cusp of reformation. He could taste it, sweet as the wine Giulietta had passed him at dessert from their picnic basket, bold as the wind that whipped the sails of their little yacht, tempting as the green coast of England would be at this moment. Alas, he was cruising the Mediterranean, the city of Savona in the distance, still steeped in sin, and rather bored with it. The only saving grace was the sight of his little son drowsing on a velvet tufted cushion, his small fist curled under a distinctive Rossiter chin–square, dimpled and determined.
Thanks, Maggie. You have many fingers in many pies right now! Great to get your update and good luck with MASTER OF SIN! Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita Buddies to get the conversation going?
Anna is famous for her tortured heroes, and I hope Andrew Rossiter can hang out with them. Who is your favorite reformed master of sin in fact or fiction? One commenter will win a signed copy of MASTER OF SIN!
Posted by Anna Campbell Mar 6 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Blaze, Debut authors, Fever, firefighters, Guests, Intimate Enemies, Joan Swan, paranormal romance, Phoenix Rising Series, Romantic suspense
by Anna Campbell
It’s always fun to host debut authors in the lair and lately we’ve had a clutch of them! There must be some good writing mojo out there that we’ve got all these great new authors hitting the shelves.
Today, I’m delighted to bring you Joan Swan, whose debut romantic suspense with paranormal elements FEVER is creating enormous buzz in Romancelandia. New York Times bestseller Larissa Ione said, “Swan’s gutsy, jaw-dropping style will have readers talking!” Joan is a triple RWA Golden Heart finalist – as you know, theBandits all met through the Golden Heart contest so we love to hear of GH gals who make good!
You can find out more about Joan and her books on her website: http://joanswan.com/books/
You can also find Joan at Facebook on http://www.facebook.com/JoanSwanAuthor and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/joanswan
Here’s the blurb for FEVER:
Dr. Alyssa Foster will admit to a bad boy fetish…
But when she finds herself face to face with a convicted murderer with determination for freedom and an eye on her as his get out of jail free card, Alyssa knows she’s in deep trouble…. Not just because Teague Creek is a prisoner desperate for freedom, but because his every touch makes her desperate for more.
A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose…
Teague Creek has one shot at freedom, but his plan to escape with a hostage develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives who know of his strange abilities, he needs to avoid trouble, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.
Joan, welcome to the lair! Congratulations on the release of your debut, FEVER, the first in the Phoenix Rising series. Can you tell us about this story?
Thanks so much for having me here! I’ve been a Romance Bandit (and Anna Campbell) fan for a long time.
FEVER is about a man with unusual powers whose been convicted of a murder he didn’t commit and imprisoned for life. He has lost the daughter he lived for, the career as a firefighter he loved and been denied an appeal. With no hope left, he plans an escape. But his plan goes wrong when the woman he kidnaps as leverage to get his daughter back turns out to be someone else. And this woman quickly clues into the abilities he tries to hide, creating a bond neither can afford while they’re on the run from both the cops and undercover operatives who want Teague silenced. This time, permanently.
Hey, thanks for the compliment! What were the inspirations behind this book?
Bad, bad, bad boys! And way too much time around them!
I’ve been a sonographer for twenty years and one of the hospitals where I worked gained a huge prisoner clientele over a year’s time span. I went from scanning two or three prisoners a week to scanning five to eight prisoners every single morning. I spent half my day surrounded by guards and inmates and it didn’t take long to wonder, “What if a prisoner took someone hostage in an escape attempt?”
Can you tell us about the Phoenix Rising series as a whole?
A mysterious explosion at a military warehouse injuries a team of seven hazmat firefighters, killing one. The contents of the building, extremely confidential and dangerous radioactive chemicals used by the Department of Defense in secretive scientific experiments, have inflicted the team with various paranormal abilities. Abilities the government wants to study covertly. Abilities the team wants to understand and expose. With military advancement and national power at risk on one side and personal health and freedom at stake on the other, each group is fighting for precious stakes.
Your next book, BLAZE, is coming out next October. Can you tell us about this story?
In BLAZE two of the firefighters on the team whose relationship suffered physical, mental and emotional trauma from the warehouse fire, come back together, united as stronger individuals for the good of the team and find their love for one another, one that never died, is as strong as ever. But they face an even darker conspiracy than expected, one that will push their bond to the limit.
We love call stories in the lair. Can you give us yours?
It’s been quite a while now – nearly two years ago. But I got the call on my drive to work. I work in San Francisco and park in an underground garage, so I remember having to pull over and stop so I could keep my cell connection with my agent to discuss everything. I remember thinking, “Crap, I’m going to be late.” Then in the next second thinking, “What the hell do I care? Oh, my God. They want to buy my book!”
Cool! What’s next for you?
Hopefully, INFERNO, book 3 in the Phoenix Rising series, with Kensington! My editor currently has the option proposal and I hope to hear about it soon.
I also have an Indie book releasing in April. INTIMATE ENEMIES is a romantic suspense manuscript that finalled twice in the RWA Golden Heart and I’m thrilled I’ll be able to share it with readers.
Ooh, sounds great! Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Learn your craft.
Read a lot.
Trust your gut.
Let your writing be authentically you.
Be patient. Quality takes time to cultivate.
There are no magic beans. (I swear! I’ve turned over every freaking rock out there!)
Learn to take and apply criticism from trusted sources of those equally or more experienced and successful.
Thanks, Joan. Do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita Buddies?
Tips for success cut across all professions and life goals. What advice would you give to someone on succeeding at a large, long-term goal?
Get commenting, people! Joan is giving away a print copy of FEVER to one lucky person who leaves a comment today (U.S. and Canada only). Everyone who comments will also be eligible to enter the draw for a COLOR NOOK or a KINDLE FIRE. For details, see: http://joanswan.com/giveaways/blog-tour-ereader/ Good luck!
Posted by Susan Sey Feb 27 2012, 12:12 am in Guests, Inara Scott, romance bandits, RWA National, Susan Sey
So I achieved a milestone recently. It wasn’t anything quite as awesome as Kate’s hitting the NYT bestseller list (go, Kate!) but it was a milestone nonetheless. One of which I am ridiculously proud.
See, I recently blurbed a book. (This means I provided the little quote on the cover telling the world what a really great book it was, for those of you who don’t speak writer-ese.) See? There it is! Over there, on the cover on the left! I know it’s a little hard to see, but click on the cover to see it live & in person on the internets.
And I didn’t blurb just any book, either. Lord, no. This was a really, really good book. One that I would have been thrilled to blurb no matter who wrote it. But it just so happens that my dear friend & critique partner (and former Romance Bandit) Inara Scott wrote this particular book, thus allowing us to fulfill yet another of our long-dreamed joint milestones.
And what, you might ask, is a long-dreamed joint milestone?
Well, it’s what happens when you put two brand-new, starry-eyed, sky’s-the-limit writers in a room together. Specifically in a hotel room in Reno where RWA is holding its 25th annual conference. It’s what happens when those two writers have a glass of wine (or two) and some ice cream (or a lot) and some chocolate (or a great deal), & start planning their careers with the subsequently lowered inhibitions.
First we’ll land a couple of agents! (That was a few years down the drain but eventually…done!)
Then we’ll both sell books! (A couple more years down the old tubes on this one, but then Inara sold her YA in a two-book deal. I sold my Golden Heart winner in a two book deal not quite a year after. Here’s me & Nara celebrating my GH win in 2008.)
Our careers will then take off like rockets! (We’re still throwing years at this one.)
And then when we’re amazing superstars (not enough years in the universe but okay), we’ll blurb each other’s books & go on tour together & it’ll be our own little fairy tale!
[insert reality here]
Okay, so we didn’t take off like super stars. Nobody has, as yet, decided to send us out on a joint book tour. (Inara did get to do a mini-tour in support of her first Delcroix book but I was not invited. I can’t imagine why not. She was promoting her young adult series at middle schools & I was writing adult romance. What could go wrong?)
But then Inara hooked up with Entangled Publishing, & began to release her adult romances. (There she is in her glammed-up, I-write-romance author photo. Nice!) And guess who she tapped for a cover quote for her latest, the Rules of Negotiation? I’m thrilled to report it was me! And they put it smack on the front cover, too.
I was proud on so many levels–first of Inara because I love this book & I’m so glad it’s finding an audience. Selfishly for myself, too, because I’ve always wanted to blurb a book. It’s a cool thing to be viewed on any level as an authority on what’s good to read.
But I was mostly thrilled with the both of us. (There we are on the left being thrilled together in NYC last summer.) And why? Because seven years ago we were dewy-eyed newbies with more hope than sense, & but we didn’t let that stop us from dreaming. And dreaming big.
And maybe our dreams haven’t all come true but we’ve put our backs into it–put our backs against each other’s, really, & circled the wagons when necessary–& we’re hauling each other into that future we dreamed so long ago. Inch by stingy inch sometimes, but we’re walking that path together.
So here’s to Inara, & her latest release! Here’s to me & my latest milestone! And here’s to the readers everywhere who love a good love story. We write for you. Heck, we are you. So dream big. And take a good friend on that walk with you. It helps.
Inara (www.inarascott.net) will join us in the comments today, & she’ll be giving away an e-copy of The Rules of Negotiation to one lucky commenter. So tell us about your dearest friends–do you have one or lots? Have you known her since kindergarten, college or last week? When has a true friend really made a difference in your life?
Posted by Anna Campbell Feb 21 2012, 12:19 am in Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Cassie's Grand Plan, Debut authors, Emmie Dark, Guests, Harlequin Superromance, In His Eyes
by Anna Campbell
You meet some terrifically nice people in this business and one of the nicest happens to be a debut author for Harlequin SuperRomance in March. I’m delighted to introduce to the lair Emmie Dark from Australia who is here to tell us about CASSIE’S GRAND PLAN.
You can find out about Emmie and her books at her website: http://www.emmiedark.com/
Emmie, welcome to the lair! I’m so excited when an Aussie makes good! Congratulations on the release of your debut for Harlequin SuperRomance, CASSIE’S GRAND PLAN. Can you tell us about this story?
CASSIE’S GRAND PLAN is the story of Cassidy Hartman and Ronan Conroy. Cassie, the operations manager for a chain of furniture stores in Australia, has a plan to get her life under control. First, she’ll get herself promoted. Then she’ll update her appearance. Steps three and four—marriage and family—well, those will have to wait until the work stuff is all sorted out. Then Ronan McGuire shows up. The sexy business consultant has the power to derail Cassie’s plans before she’s even really started—and he’s proving quite the distraction. If he doesn’t approve her promotion, she’ll be back to square one. Cassie needs to keep her focus on that first step, no matter how much Ronan tempts her to skip ahead to the third and fourth ones…
Sounds delicious. A bit Hepburn and Tracy. What were the inspirations behind this book?
The inspiration for Hugh and Cassie’s story came from a number of different places, but primarily it was based my own experience and that of my family. I grew up in a retailing family—my parents owned furniture stores for most of my life (they’re retired now) and my sister worked in a furniture store for a number of years. I grew up with conversations around the dinner table about deliveries and orders and customer service. I’ve had more of a corporate career, so I was familiar with the concept of audits and consultants coming in to review your work. From a plot perspective, I just took those two things and asked myself—what if a consultant came to review a chain of furniture stores? In terms of their emotional journey, I really enjoy stories where the heroine is empowered and strong, and matched with a hero who is just as confident. Cassie thinks she’s got life all under control, but it’s not until Ronan starts probing that she realizes it might not be as solid as she thinks.
We love call stories in the lair. Can you give us yours?
The most amusing thing about my call story is how close I came to missing it! I have a personal work policy that I don’t answer my mobile phone before 8am, otherwise my working day has no boundaries. So when my phone rang at about 7.45am (I was awake, but still in bed with my laptop and a cup of tea—writing!) I considered whether or not I’d answer it. The number was blocked, so I figured I should probably take it. Then I heard my lovely editor Megan’s voice as she introduced herself and where she was from—and then said why she was calling! I jumped out of bed and raced to find a pen and paper to write down what she was saying because I knew I wouldn’t remember any of it. Mostly what I recall is being shocked to the point of speechlessness. Megan asked a few times if I had any questions, but I just couldn’t gather my thoughts enough to be coherent and ask any!
What’s next for you?
My second book is coming out with SuperRomance in August this year. It’s called IN HIS EYES and it’s a reunion story about two teenage lovers reunited after ten years, having been separated by a traumatic event. It’s set in a wine country, and my heroine, Zoe, is a winemaker, while the hero, Hugh, is the owner of a large wine conglomerate. I was able to use all the knowledge I’ve gained over long years of wine tasting to help write the book—I knew all that chardonnay drinking would come in useful one day! I also was lucky to gain invaluable insight from friends of mine who run their own vineyard and winery. That book is now done and I’m working on what I hope might be my third SuperRomance—I’ll keep you posted…
That sounds like fun research! Hic! Can you tell us about your particular corner of the world?
I live in Melbourne, Australia, and I love my city. I feel incredibly fortunate to live in a city that really values things like art, writing and culture. I also live in a very pretty bayside suburb (not too far from where my heroine Cassie lives!) which means I can take a walk along the beach whenever I feel the urge. I hope that people reading CASSIE’S GRAND PLAN might enjoy the insight into Melbourne it gives them and maybe think of visiting!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I remember hearing a quote ages ago that was something along the lines of “the key to success is being ready when your luck arrives”. I think it’s very astute. There IS some element of luck to getting published—you have to have the right story in front of the right editor/agent, at the right time. The real trick though, is that when the planets align in your favour, you have to be ready to grab that opportunity with both hands and don’t let go!
Great advice. You have a really great contest running at the moment on your website. Would you like to tell us about it?
As a new author, I’m still excited about the idea of people actually reading my book. (Although I don’t know if that ever wears off, really!) If you’d like to go into the drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card, all I need you to do is to send me a photo of you, reading my book. Visit my website (www.emmiedark.com) to find out more.
And you’ve got a giveaway for us today too, don’t you? Lucky us!
I’m giving away a copy of CASSIE’S GRAND PLAN to one lucky commenter. Leave me a comment and tell me about your favourite piece of furniture—what makes it special to you?
Posted by Anna Campbell Feb 2 2012, 12:15 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Black Ops Series, Cindy Gerard, Guests, interviews, Last Man Standing, Nancy Northcott, Romantic suspense
Please join Nancy and me in welcoming New York Times bestseller Cindy Gerard on her first visit to the Lair. We both love Cindy’s current series, Black Ops, Inc., as well as the prior Bodyguards series. These books match tough, patriotic men with brave, determined women in stories full of action-adventure and hot romance. The last book in the series, Last Man Standing, was released January 31.
(Nancy) I loved Last Man Standing, a wonderful concluding volume for a dynamic series. How would you describe the Black Ops Inc. series to readers who might not be familiar with it?
I think the best way to answer that is to share the short pitch I made to my publisher when I first created the series – so here goes )
BLACK OPS, INC.
Where patriotism meets the seamy underbelly of a world held hostage by greed, corruption and terror.
Black Ops, Inc. (B.O.I.) picks up where the Bodyguards left off. Where E.D.E.N. Securities showcased the all-American Garretts and their extended family, B.O.I., a private contracting firm specializing in jobs even the military and the CIA won’t touch, features an equally heroic but different breed of men and women fighting a covert war pitting good against evil.
The B.O.I. operatives are shadow warriors – former SEAL, DELTA, Special Forces, and CIA types who valiantly served their country and now fearlessly serve their employer. They are individuals so committed to their cause they’ve lost touch with the concept of baseball, mom and apple pie. Their world, instead, is comprised of bullets and bad guys and a daily fight to save not only the free world but their very lives.
(Anna) Can you tell us about your latest Black Ops extravaganza, LAST MAN STANDING?
Last Man Standing is the 7th and final book in the BOI series and brings the team full circle, tying up an event that brought them together years ago in Sierra Leone when they were all active military. I think this blurb from the back of the book summarizes things nicely:
Special operative Joe Green has gone vigilante. His mission, avenge his Black Ops.,Inc. brother’s death during a bloody ambush years ago in Sierra Leone. He refuses to drag the BOI team or his lover, Stephanie Tompkins, into the hunt for the man responsible, so when he finds himself beaten, starving, and alone after being falsely imprisoned for the murder of a Freetown priest, he knows he’s as good as dead.
Joe meant to protect Stephanie when he walked out on their relationship, but he can’t stop her now from executing his escape. Breaking him out of prison is the easy part. After Joe’s explosive theory pans out and his cunning enemy emerges as the front runner for a high level presidential appointment, he and Stephanie must race to derail the traitor’s conspiracy if they are to save their loved ones, the nation and each other.
Would you like to share an excerpt?
Absolutely! Thanks so much for asking. Here’s the opening scene:
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Joe Green was as good as dead. He’d known it the moment he’d started digging for answers to questions no one wanted asked.
What he hadn’t known was the havoc his hunt would create.
What he hadn’t wanted was for the priest to die.
“No, man. Oh no, man. You—”
“Quiet,” Joe snapped when Suah’s whisper echoed through the cavernous nave of the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The teen-aged boy at his side was frozen in shock. On the cold stone floor, blood pooled beneath the holy man’s head, crept around the base of the chancel rail, then spilled down the step to the altar.
Joe dropped to a knee and pressed his fingers to the cleric’s neck. No pulse. And no life in the eyes that stared blankly at the stained glass windows.
Joe swallowed heavily. “Yeah. He’s dead.”
Regret, self-disgust and defeat pounded through his veins, a reminder that what he had started would come to no good end.
No good end? Jesus. The priest was dead. Ends didn’t come much worse than this.
He glanced up, beyond gold candlesticks on the high altar, above yards of maroon velvet cascading from an alcove that hosted a life-sized statue of a benevolent Christ. Pale candlelight flickered eerily through the church, casting his and Suah’s shadows in tall, wavy relief along the far wall, like ghosts already here to claim the priest’s soul.
He lowered his head into his hand. God help him … what had he done?
The thick wooden doors at the front of the cathedral swung open with a heavy, echoing thud. He whipped his head around to see several uniformed officers storm into the nave. The police – Freetown’s bastion of corrupt law enforcement – had arrived in force and put an end to any hope of a quick search of the cleric’s prostrate body.
“Hide before they spot you,” he whispered urgently when Suah stood there, petrified in fear. “Hurry! Duck under the high altar.”
He shot to his feet and gave the boy a shove as the contingent of gunmen raced down the center aisle between the rows of worn wooden pews. Satisfied that the kid was well hidden beneath the draping cloth, he made certain the men got a glimpse of him then sprinted for the sacristy, leading them away from Suah.
He got as far as the Epistle door and swung it open. The rattle of rifles being shouldered and the ‘snick-click’ of a dozen safeties switching to off position greeted him. The beams of as many flashlights blinded him.
He was surrounded.
“Hands in the air,” a voice shouted from behind him.
Slowly, he did as he was told. Slower still, he turned around … and stared into the dark, angry faces of the men who had passed the priest’s body to get to him.
Without warning, the butt end of an assault rifle swung around hard and slammed into his temple.
He fell to all fours, fighting both a screaming pain and the hard pull of unconsciousness. Yeah, he thought again, just before the darkness sucked him under. He was as good as dead.
(Nancy) Do you naturally create heroes before heroines, or vice-versa? Once you have a hero or heroine, how do you create his/her perfect match?
I don’t have an absolute pattern when it comes to character creations. Generally, however, the hero presents himself to me before I meet his heroine. I have to get to know him before I know what kind of woman will be a good match and an equal. In some cases, my heroes/heroines start out as secondary characters – I love it when that happens. When a character becomes so intriguing that I just know they have to have their own book. Gabe – the Archangel – Jones, the hero of Show No Mercy began as a secondary character and the moment he walked on the page, I knew he had to have his own story. The same thing with Joe Green and Stephanie Tompkins (Last Man Standing) They were never supposed to have their own stories but they just kept showing up and demanding that I let them speak. )
(Anna) I love the Bodyguard series although if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be FEEL THE HEAT. I think B.J. and Raphael were just so perfectly matched, their romance sizzled. Do you have a favorite and why?
Thanks for that. I loved the Bodyguard series as well and hated to let those people go even though I was already in love with the first hero from the Black Ops, Inc series. B.J. and Rafe were a really fun couple to work with. She was so prickly and he was so not wanting to break through that wall she’s built … but fate had other plans for those two. As for my favorite – that is so hard. I love all my characters but if you MAKE me chose, I’ve always had a soft spot for Johnny Reed. He was such an arrogant, womanizing bad boy and yet so irreverent and funny and heroic. I loved watching his veneer get peeled away by Crystal until she uncovered the REAL Johhny Reed. The man who carried a lot of emotional scars and hid those scars behind a bad boy facade. He was a really interesting character to unearth.
But then Joe Green – Last Man Standing – was a huge surprise too. The opposite of Johnny, Joe is a quiet man. And beneath all that somber exterior run a gamut of emotions and longing and secrets. Very intriguing character.
(Nancy) Many of your stories are set outside the United States. How do you research these locations?
The first thing I do is get a map of the country, a Lonely Planet guide and then I haunt travel blogs, any videos that are posted showing the country or city and I read first hand blog journals to get a real feel for the setting. I also belong to several writer’s loops and often I’ll put a shout out to anyone who might have lived there or currently lives there or knows someone who lives there and dig up even more information. People are very generous and I’m grateful for that. But I do a lot of research as I always consider setting as another character in the book and that setting must have as much dimension as the people I write about.
(Anna) What’s coming up next for you?
Oh, I’m really glad you asked me that! As you know, Last Man Standing is the 7th and final book of the Black Ops series … however, you will be seeing the BOI’s again, only as secondary characters instead of in starring rolls. I’ve just begun writing a new series entitled: One-Eyed Jacks which is a spin off of the BOI series. The first book (no firm title yet) stars Mike – Primetime – Brown, a character you first met in With No Remorse (Luke and Val’s book) and who shows up again in an even bigger role in Last Man Standing. Mike – again – was one of those secondary characters who walked on the page and demanded his own book. Here’s a little over view of the new series:
ONE EYED JACKS
The One Eyed Jacks (a multi-branch military task force formed in 2002 and disbanded in 2005) got their nick name because of the uniqueness of their experimental unit, their tight camaraderie, their slightly reckless reputation, their favorite downtime/pastime of high stakes poker and because each of them made a pact to always carry a One Eyed Jack playing card (either a Jack of hearts or a Jack of spades) as their lucky charm and a sign of unity.
Today, only three men of the original detail are still alive – Mike Brown, Bobby Taggart, Jamie Cooper. On their last mission in Afghanistan, all three were dealt a losing hand and now share one common bond: The military that they proudly served had cut them loose eight years ago with a ‘less than honorable’ discharge when their team led a covert operation that went south and the powers that be laid the blame squarely on their shoulders. To the dismay of the prosecutors of the Navy, Army, and Marines military tribunals, the most serious of charges could not be proven, which negated the possibility of court martial and prison but still ended in their separation from the service.
Now Brown, Taggart and Cooper lead separate lives in separate countries, have all dropped out of ‘normal society’ and not only live with the lie that led to their military separation but with the weight of the deaths of both their task force team members and several innocent civilians haunting them. For these three men, life is now all about getting by, about forgetting the past, dealing with the anger and coping with the hand they’ve been dealt. None of them intend to break the status quo – until a mysterious woman confronts and forces Brown to ask questions about what really happened in Afghanistan and how those events played into a current national security threat. She dangles bait Brown can’t resist – the means to clear his name, deliver justice and expose the master mind behind the death of his teammates and his own downfall.
Oooh, way cool! We can’t wait!
Thank you so much for having me here today. And I’d be happy to answer any questions. You can always catch up on my news at:
or on FB at:
Cindy is giving away a signed copy of one of her books (winner’s choice) to one commenter today. Do you have a question for her, ask away. Or tell us, what’s your favorite of Cindy’s books or your favorite other book featuring covert operatives?