Posts tagged with: New Release


That’s right, you heard it here first!  It’s finally TIME FOR TROUBLE!  Just yesterday, I released the final book in my Blake brothers trilogy.  It was touch & go for a while there but the Book The Would Not End has finally ended.  And though I know I haven’t caught all the typos (they are legion, & I suspect they’re reproducing), I published it anyway.  Because lordamercy I needed to cross that finish line.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00036]Why?  Well, this series has produced three full-length novels & one novella.  That’s a lot of words for one writer, & committing them all to the page took me the better part of three years. (I’m a tragically slow writer, as I might’ve mentioned in the past.)

Now, setting aside the fact that readers like to be fed, and quickly, being a slow writer isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I mean, I met TIME’s hero, Drew, back in the first book of this series, TASTE FOR TROUBLE.  He was just a kid back then, barely 20. When TIME picks up, he’s nearly 30.   I’ve given him about ten years of story-world time to grow up, but he’s also been living in my head–talking to me, arguing with me, nudging me–for the better part of three real-world years. It’s a good long while to live with somebody.

Taste For TroubleAnd that’s kind of a luxury when you’re writing a book.  I usual get one year, tops, to live with my heroes.  And I have to start the book when I barely know the guy. But I got three whole years with Drew’s voice in my head.  It allowed me to really get to know him, inside & out.  I watched him grow up.  And that gave me plenty of time to dream up his One True Love.

Which is how I met Meghan Wise, & she’s a firecracker.  Which is, of course, exactly what our easy-going, lazy-bones, baby-brother Drew needed.  Meg’s driven & smart & sharp, and she doesn’t suffer fools lightly.  She’s totally worthy of him, but better yet?  She makes him want to be worthy of her.  Which could’ve been a tough sell, because Drew’s a lover, not a fighter.  But I’ll tell you what–the second somebody threatened his Meggy, he discovered his inner hero, no problem.  Quick, fast & in a hurry.

And it was absolutely delicious.

keep-calm-and-family-first-8Meg & Drew’s happy ending was exactly right for them.  And it was right for me.  As I said, I’ve lived in this world for a looooong time.  I’m ready for something new, something fresh, something exciting.  Something that pushes me in new creative directions & stretches me as a writer & a thinker.

But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss these guys.  The Blake brothers showed me what family could be.  What it could mean.  Their bedrock belief in putting family first, in valuing each other above all else, reminded me of what’s important.  Spending time in their world every day made me want to be a better sister, daughter, wife & mother. I might be moving on to other stories & other worlds, but I’m leaving a little piece of my heart in theirs.

Which is how every good story should end, don’t you think?  If the author does it right, you really ought to leave a little chunk of your heart in the book.  And take a little chunk of the book into your heart.

So what about you?  Did you ever read a book–or a series of books–that kept a little chunk of your heart?  Is there a story-world that lives in your heart?  That you revisit every now & then like comfort food?  What is it?  One lucky commenter will receive a free Kindle copy of TIME FOR TROUBLE!


Close To Christmas Weddings

Wh2c32c4b2bf91d7a296545f98fd37ee1aen I was a teenager, my older cousin Cindy got married.

It was in Ohio.

In December.

In the cold and snow.

I was all of 13, but fit in well with two of her sisters who were a year older and younger than me, so I was quickly enlisted in the bridesmaid corp. It was my first winter wedding. It was my first wedding as part of the wedding party.

We wore burgundy velvet, floor length gowns. Our hair pieces were head bands with silk poinsettias glued to them and instead of bouquets of flowers, we carried white furry muffs with another poinsettia pinned to the front of them. It was an afternoon wedding, but the grey winter sky that threatened more snow made it feel like late evening, almost dusk.

I remember little about the ceremony itself. My cousin married the man who is still her husband nearly 40 years later. My cousins and I had fun getting ready, doing our hair, walking down the aisle and partying with everyone later.

That was a much different wedding than the other important December wedding in my life, the one that took place between my mother and father.

They decided to get married 3 days before Christmas. They had very little money, so they just went to the Justice of the Peace in their little hometown to elope. No months of pre-wedding planning. No bridesmaids, no bestmen/ushers, no flowers, no cake. Just two people deciding they wanted to spend their lives together.

And they did.

For the next 61 and 1/2 years they stayed together. Through thin times (and there were many of those in the beginning) and through thick. Through rich and poor. Through sickness and health. Through three kids, three in-laws, eight grandchildren, and a bunch of great-grandkids. Through ups and downs. They stuck it out. Close to Christmas final

The last fall I was home before my daddy passed away, I noticed something. They touched each other often. Daddy would walk by Mom as she sat at the table talking to me. He’d just pat her shoulder and she’d reach up and pat his hand. Then he’d head to the family room. This happened several times a day. It seemed the older they got, the more the need to touch each other became. When I asked Mom about it, she said, “We just like to remind each other we’re glad we’re here.”

When I moved away from home many, many years ago, I decided it would be fun to send my parents a flower arrangement for their anniversary. It was usually a centerpiece of holly and evergreen and red candles for their dining room table or poinsettias for their fireplace. Sending it on the twenty-second let me surprise them on their anniversary and know they could enjoy them through the holiday season.

The last two years, since Daddy died, I’ve made sure there were red roses in the arrangement. See, he grew roses, Mom’s favorite flower, and every day during rose season, (May-Sept in Ohio), he’d cut fresh roses for her vases in the kitchen and family rooms.

So, when I decided to write a Christmas novella for the Westen series, I naturally titled it CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS. And when I think of the phrase close to Christmas, it reminds me of my parents anniversary which was always…close to Christmas. 🙂 And winter weddings can be such fun.

Here’s the blurb for the novella:

It’s been a long dangerous year for the town folks of Westen. A celebration is just what they need. It’s four days before Christmas and the town is not only decked out in their holiday best, but looking forward to the wedding of Sheriff Gage Justice and his love, Deputy Bobby Roberts.

First Bobby’s lawyer sister, Chloe comes to town looking over her shoulder, which has the quiet deputy, Wes Strong wondering what has her running scared. Then problems start to happen with the wedding plans.

Has Chloe brought trouble to Westen?

Or does someone in town want to ruin the wedding this close to Christmas?

And I even borrowed my parents wedding anniversary for the date Gage and Bobby are getting married. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

So, do you know anyone who was married close to Christmas? Have you ever been in a winter wedding? Do you think they’re romantic? Have you been a bridesmaid? How many times? (I was 6 and a matron of honor once.) 

Since this is a little launch party and I’m celbrating my parents anniversary in two days, how about I give out 2 print copies for CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS as part of the Bandita 12 Days of Christmas?


I didn’t mean to

My youngest child has a catch phrase:  “I didn’t mean to.”

It’s become sort of her signature song.  Break something?  “I didn’t mean to!”  Forget something?  “I didn’t mean to!”  Tackle her older sister to the ground under the guise of giving her a hug?   “But I didn’t mean to!”

What she’s saying (as I understand it) is that she didn’t intend to hurt her sister.  But, yes, she fully intended to tackle her.  In her seven-year-old mind, these events are completely unconnected.  A hug is fun! Affectionate!  A flying tackle of a hug is only more so. But, wait, somebody got hurt?  Whoa. Didn’t see that coming.

This, as you can imagine, frustrates me.  (Her sister is equally frustrated, though more bruised.)  But I gained new insight–sympathy, even–when I recently found myself in a similar situation.  

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00036]

You see, I have just today released the second book in my Blake Brothers trilogy, TALENT FOR TROUBLE. Now this trilogy was originally conceived of as a trio of straight-up contemporary romances about three brothers.  The first book, TASTE FOR TROUBLE, was the middle brother’s story.  (Imagine David Beckham, if dear ol’ Becks came up dirt poor in West Texas.  Now imagine a hot, young Mary Poppins who reluctantly takes him (ahem) in hand.  Throw in a bunch of pie, & you’ve pretty much got it.)  

TALENT FOR TROUBLE, the follow up I have just released, is the oldest brother’s story.  This would be Will.  He’s a super-smart, super-arrogant uber-alpha male who’s been brought low.  (Book one was rough on him.)  He’s rebuilding himself into the man he was always meant to be before tragedy threw a wrench in his works.  

And I accidentally made it a paranormal romance. 

But I didn’t mean to.

Honest, I didn’t.  

Taste For TroubleHere’s the way it went down:  In book one (TASTE) I had to kill off a secondary character I really loved.  Really, really loved.  It hurt, but you have to do what the story demands, & I’m a big girl.  There’s no crying in baseball.  I got over it.  Or thought I did.

So then I was writing along on book two (TALENT) and that character’s voice–his very distinctive voice–turned up in my hero’s head.  Only this voice?  It wasn’t exactly the same as it had been in book one when that character was alive.  He was recognizable still, but exaggerated.  A little more unhinged.  A little more honest.  He was..oh, let’s be real:  he was foul-mouthed, abusive & hilarious, & I couldn’t give him up again.  So I let him stay.  And now I have a…ghost story.  Sort of. 

Except that everything else about this story–everything you’d expect from a straight-up contemporary romance–is still there!  You have a complicated family situation, you have witty repartee, you have a blistering love story between two reluctant, damaged souls.  

You just also have…a ghost.  Or two.  I don’t know.  It got crazy in there for a little while.  

I gave it to a few reviewers & one of them said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “You could never have gotten this story published in NYC.”  She meant it as a compliment, & I took it as one. This story goes unexpected places, & in ways you didn’t see coming.  And while I think that’s a good thing, it does make it hard to figure out which shelf it belongs on in the bookstore. But at the same time, it still delivers every ounce of the romance & the community you expect from a contemporary. It’s a genre-bending mash-up, & I’m a little worried about it.  I didn’t intend to break any rules.  I didn’t intend to freak anybody out.  I just wanted to write Will’s story.  And I ended up writing ghosts.  

But I didn’t mean to. 


How about you?  Have you come across anything lately that surprised you?  In a good way?  In a bad way?  How did you respond?  I’d be happy to gift one lucky commenter with a copy of TALENT FOR TROUBLE of their very own, & you can make up your own mind about how/if my little accident is working out.  Would love to hear what you think!

Interested in an excerpt?  Click here!

Hearts and Sorry images courtesy of Free Digital Photos.  Mouse over for artist attribution.

Release Party for The Greatest Lover Ever!

Brooke-The Greatest Lover Ever

Hello, Bandita Buddies! It’s that time again–THE GREATEST LOVER EVER is in stores now and ready to warm the cockles of your, er, cockles this winter (or to make your summer even steamier if you’re from the southern hemisphere!)

I have a special prize lined up for you today, so I hope you’ll join in the fun!

Here’s the blurb:

Passion to last a lifetime…


Beautiful, exuberant, and stubborn Georgiana Black has more spirit than sense—which she learns when an ultimatum to the Earl of Beckenham ends their engagement. Six years later, Georgie is less concerned with impending spinsterhood than with making sure her young sister doesn’t make the same mistakes she did. But soon Georgie stumbles into a scandalous encounter with none other than her former fiancé. Beckenham is still breathtakingly desirable—and as implacable as ever…


Beckenham’s brief engagement to Georgie taught him one thing—when it comes to a wife, he wants a woman who will do her duty and cause no trouble. When the fiery Georgie falls unexpectedly into his arms, Beckenham remembers just how lushly delectable she is. Suddenly, the idea of actually marrying Georgie is irresistible. Convincing her will take more than a simple proposal, however. In a battle of wills, can passion conquer pride?

RT has given THE GREATEST LOVER EVER a Top Pick! and said this:

Brooke delivers what readers want — a smart, witty, sexy and just plain delightful romance — in spades. She takes time-honored themes and makes them fresh, funny, charming and sizzling with sexual tension. This tale will brighten the darkest winter’s day. Ann Margret3

When my editor came up with the title for Beckenham’s book–it’s a doozy, isn’t it?–THE GREATEST LOVER EVER, my first thought was, “That is a lot for Beckenham to live up to!” I considered legendary lovers like Casanova and co. My other problem was that my heroine was hardly in a position to judge whether or not Beckenham was the greatest lover ever. Or even the greatest she’d had. He’s the ONLY lover she’s had!

“I wish I could pleasure you half so well,” she told him, with a tinge of chagrin at her lack of experience.

That made him laugh so hard she had to clap her hand over his mouth out of concern that someone would hear.

“I don’t see what’s so funny,” she said, frowning. “You must have had a lot of practice to make you the greatest lover in the history of the world. This is only my second time.”

“You don’t need to do anything at all.” Still smiling, he gripped the wrist of the hand that had covered his mouth and pinned it down on the pillow next to her head as he rolled to loom over her…

Very soon, I realized that it wasn’t a case of how great Beckenham is in bed–although he is rawther marvellous in that arena! It’s that he loves with that focused, passionate intensity that borders on obsession. Unlike other men who drool over Georgie’s amazing looks (that’s how I imagined her, above, as Ann Margaret), Beckenham loves the whole package:

What they never saw was the strength, the wit, the godawful temper, willfulness, the compassion and courage that made up the woman. They never saw past her spectacular looks.

The sort of love that comes from knowing a person’s foibles, faults, dreams and hopes and loving them for all of those things, unconditionally, is what great love is all about.

“We belong together, Georgie,” he said. “Don’t deny it. Don’t lie to yourself.” BanditBooty

Sigh! I hope you enjoy Beckenham and Georgie’s story as much as enjoyed writing it!

What about you? Who do you think is the greatest lover ever in fiction, movies or real life, and why?


Amy Andrews is in the Lair!


Christina Brooke: It’s my pleasure to bring back to the lair someone who needs no introduction. The fabulous Amy Andrews! Her new book, HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO is out rocking the romance world. Congratulations on the new release, Amy!

Amy Andrews: Thanks to Christina and everyone at the Bandits for having me once again. I feel like it’s been ages since I visited and I’d forgotten what a seriously cool place it is to hang out.

I don’t know about you but whenever I read the words Holding out For A Hero my head fills with the husky, sexy tones of Bonnie Tyler.Thanks also for letting me talk about my new book – Holding Out For A Hero, my first ST contemporary romance. It’s been sitting on my computer for years now and I’m just so thrilled that Jake, Ella and the whole crazy crew are finally getting a chance to shine.

Or maybe I’m just showing my age because when I went on to youtube to find Bonnie’s clip, I discovered there’s a HOFAH for everyone!

There’s this one Or this one

And for the Richard Armitage fans out there there’s this one and this one and, oh my, this one

It seems every movie, every TV series, every period drama has its own version. There’s even one for the W


hovians out there

Or better still – a Doctor v Richard one!!

I hope y’all appreciate how much research I had to do for this blog. How many hours I had to spend on You Tube. How many clips I had to watch. It’s okay, don’t fret, what can I say? I’m a perfectionist – I suffer for my art.

But all this “research” got me thinking about heroes and particularly about Jake, from HOFAH – a very reluctant hero. Jake Prince DOES NOT want to get involved with Ella Lucas’s problems. He’s a retired national footy legend, he’s running a pub, he’s drinking Coronas for a living.

He’s wastin’ away in Margaritaville where it’s always five o’clock.

Life is good. At least on the surface anyway.


He certainly doesn’t want to get involved with a woman from his past. Especially when she’s asking him to step back into a world that held him up high then cut him off at the knees – football.

But then this happens –

“Hi, Cam,” Ella said trying to sound casual and friendly. Cameron grunted at her. “Can you let me know when the footy’s finished? I need to talk to you.”

Cameron rolled his eyes. “Shit, Ella. Nag, nag, nag. That’s all you do,” he said, glaring at her as he grabbed his phone.

“Cam,” she called after him as he turned to go back inside.

“Fuck off,” he threw over his shoulder.

Jake blinked at Cameron’s profanity, shocked by his utter rudeness. He looked at Ella and saw her complexion pale as her knuckles grew white against the back of the chair. Then her cheeks turned pink as everyone at the table sat in uncomfortable silence.

He felt a white-hot welling of anger bubble up inside him. No wonder Ella had looked so strained earlier. Her brother needed a serious attitude adjustment. But amid the heat simmering inside him was a kind of primal recognition.

Cameron Lucas was a product of Huntley.9781760080327_Holding-Out-for-a-Hero_cover1 As he had been.

Cameron Lucas was him—before football.

“Okay,” Jake said. He stood to leave. If he stayed he may be tempted to give Cameron the whopping he deserved right now instead of making him pay for it on the field.

“I’ll be there Monday at three o’clock. You got yourself a coach.”

And I think maybe that’s what makes a hero. Or at least one kind of hero, anyway. Someone who does something for somebody else, even when they don’t want to, even when they’re going to be forced to confront their own baggage, because it’s the right thing to do.

And let me tell you, Jake – when he finally steps up to the plate – is one hell of a hero

So, tell me, for a chance to win a digital copy of Holding Out For A Hero, does the reluctant hero do it for you? Or do you prefer for the hero to jump right into it and get the job done? What’s one trait you admire most in a hero? And, btw, you are absolutely allowed to say, a six-pack or buns of steel – no judgement in the lair!

Launch Party: Sugar and Spice


Did you hear?

Tawny’s got a book out.”  

Sven dropped his head to his hands and groaned.  Not another book launch party.  They were always so, well, crazy. Especially with those Naughty Banditas and their rafter swinging, cabana boy roping, chocolate indulging ways.  And the Bandita Buddies?  Oh, they were just as wild.  The amount of booze and chocolate and feathers that were used at these parties was crazy.  And now it was time for another one?

He sighed on his way to the storage room to haul out the margarita machine and chocolate fountain.  Then, since it was Tawny’s launch, he looked for the Johnny Depp cardboard cutouts.  They were nowhere to be found. Figured.  She was on deadline again, so she’d probably snuck them into her writing cave. How the woman could write with that guy in full Edward Scissorhands regalia, staring at her, was a mystery. 


“Well, c’mon,” Sven told the cabana boys.  All with their  noses pressed against the eReader, they jumped, one tucking the device behind his back as if they hadn’t just been reading the juicy parts.  “Set up for the party.  You can read the naughty scenes later.”


Woooot!!! It’s party time.  I’m so excited you’re here to celebrate the launch of Sugar and Spice: A Karma Cafe Novella with me!!  I’m so excited to be launching it, too LOL.  I have been playing with this series idea for a long time.  The concept of three magical women: Maiden, Mother and Crone weaving their way through a series of stories was something I love.  A chance to bring in bits and pieces about the tarot, astrology, magic and such is something I loved. And the idea of a series of love stories, all based on fairy tales, all taking place in a funky little apartment above the Karma Cafe appealed to me so much.  

With the doors wide open in indie publishing right now, this seemed like the perfect project to dip my toes in, too.  I started with Sugar and Spice, my twist on a sexy Cinderella tale, and will release Sweet Nothings next month –complete with juicy red apples and a Snow White inspired heroine.  And at the end of the year I’ll offer up Decadent Desires, a sexual awakening that does Sleeping Beauty proud.  In early 2013 I’ll have another 3 fairy tale novellas to add to the Karma Cafe series, as well.  


Wanna see the part the cabana boys were reading?  Here it is: 

Anja handed her a deck of old, fragile looking cards with  that she shuffle them.  When Dedra handed them back, the gypsy dealt them in the shape of a star on the sparkling glass table between them. 

Then she leaned forward to inspect them for…  What?  A message?  Dedra leaned forward, too.  But all she saw were mostly naked people, a few weapons and a lot of flowers.  The men were impressively endowed, the women in fabulous shape, but other than a suggestion to spend more time at the gym and a reminder that she wasn’t getting laid, she couldn’t see any messages herself.

“Ahhh.”  Anja’s tone was deep and triumphant at the same time.  “I see.”

“See what?”

“I see why you’re leaving.  You’re in love with Paul.  I thought it was just a crush, but this is deeper, stronger.” 

Shock ringing in her ears, Dedra stared, first at Anja, then at the cards, them back again.    

“Is not,” she hissed, giving the wall a worried look just in case Paul might be peeking through a crack somewhere. 

“Of course it is.  It’s all right here.”  Anja waved her ring-laden hand over the display of cards.  “So is the answer you need.”

“Where?”  Dedra leaned so far forward, she almost fell out of the swing.  She barely noticed, so focused was she on trying to see answers.  Was there a way to forestall the board takeover?  To keep them from forcing Paul to marry?  Some brilliant strategy that would give him fifty-one of the shares or drag one of the curmudgeons over to vote with the Chastain brothers? 

If there was, none of the naked people on the cards were saying.

“You need clarity and closure.  By getting it for yourself, you’ll be able to move forward with a clear mind, and help Chastain succeed at the same time.”

“Oh, perfect.  That’s something I’d love to do,” Dedra said with a delighted laugh.  “So what’s the answer?”

Anja leaned back, wrapping both hands around her knee and offering a smile that had probably broken the hearts of dozens of men.

“The answer is sex, of course.” 


 Well, there ya go. The perfect answer, right?  I hope it is, for Dedra’s sake LOL.  

So – ready to help me celebrate?  I’d love to kick this off with a big whoohooo.  To do that, I’m going to give away two downloads of Sugar and Spice to two fabulous commenters today.  All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is answer three questions (because three is a magical number, of course).  

1.  What’s your favorite fairy tale
2. Do you leave reviews on places like Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, etc?  if you enjoy a book?
and 3. Have you climbed on the digital, indie reading bandwagon yet?  If so, how are you liking it?  If not, what would it take to lure you over? 

Interested in seeing a little more?  You can check Sugar and Spice out on my website.  And it’s for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other fine bookselling establishments 🙂