Posts tagged with: Suzanne Ferrell

Winners of Kay Thomas’ Elite Ops downloads

1BanditBooty

We have 3…yes that’s THREE lucky winners today of downloads from Kay Thomas’ ELITE OPS SERIES!!

CONGRATULATIONS…HELEN, HEATHERCM and BRENDA RUMSEY!!!

You get your choice of HARD TARGET now or PERSONAL TARGET when it releases on July 29th!!

Please send me your snail mail addy to suzanne AT suzanneferrell DOT com and I’ll see your information gets forwarded to Kay ASAP!

Kay Thomas

olp_2496d_final_headshot_medOkay, everyone, pull up a seat and hold on tight. Kay Thomas is back in the Lair, and you know what that means, action, adventure, bullets flying and very sexy heroes! Kay’s here to talk about her second book in her Elite Ops series from Avon Impulse, PERSONAL TARGET, which will be released on the 29th of this month in e-book form. And in honor of Kay’s visit, Sven has Prosecco chilling behind the bar for everyone!

Welcome Kay!

Thanks, Suz. And thank you, Sven. You know how I love bubbles!

So, tell us a little bit about PERSONAL TARGET.

Kay: A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn’t stop his enemies from coming after him, or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law’s best friend…a woman from Nick’s past.

One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she is abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first “customer” arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now as they race for their lives, passion reignites as old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?

At its core, the book is about a case of mistaken identity and a very personal vendetta. PERSONAL TARGET takes the reader from Dallas to Mexico, across the African Savanna, to the shores of the Mediterranean in a race against time for Nick to save the woman he loves but lost ten years ago.

Suz: We’ve met the oh, so, sexy hero Nick Donovan in HARD TARGET and he was in a bit of a pickle then, wasn’t he? (Can you tell I like Nick…a lot?)

Kay: I’m pretty partial to Nick myself. As I said, Nick and Jennifer “have a history together,” but their summer affair was over long ago. In this scene—one of my favorites in the book—Jennifer has been kidnapped, and Nick has come to take her away from the people holding her captive.Eonly_9780062290878_Cover

The woman at the vanity turned, and Nick’s breath caught in his throat. He had known it would be Jenny, and despite what he’d thought about downstairs when he’d seen her on the tablet screen, he hadn’t prepared himself for seeing her like this. Seated at the table with candles all around, she was wearing a sheer robe over a gray thong and a bustier kind of thing, or that’s what he thought the full-length bra was called.
He spotted the small unicorn tat peeping out from the edge of whatever the lingerie piece was and his brain quit processing details as all the blood in his head rushed south. He’d been primed to come in and tell Jenny exactly how they were getting out of the house and away from these people and now . . . this. His mouth went dry at the sight of her. She looked like every fantasy he’d ever had about her rolled into one.
He continued to stare as recognition flared in her eyes.
“Oh my God,” she said. “It’s . . .”
She clapped her mouth closed, and her eyes widened. That struck him as odd. The relief on her face was obvious, but instead of looking at him, she took an audible breath and studied the walls of the room. When she finally did glance at him again, her eyes had changed.
“So you’re who they’ve sent me for my first time?” Her voice sounded bored, not the tone he remembered. “What do you want me to do?”
What a question. He raised an eyebrow, but she shook her head. In warning?
Nothing here was as he’d anticipated. He continued staring at her, hoping the lust would quit fogging his brain long enough for him to figure out what was going on.
“I’ve been told to show you a good time.” Her voice was cold, downright chilly. Without another word she stood and crossed the floor, slipping into his arms with her breasts pressing into his chest. “It’s you.” She murmured the words in the barest of whispers.
Nick’s mind froze, but his body didn’t. On autopilot his hands automatically went to her waist as she kissed his neck, working her way up to his ear. This was not at all what he’d planned.
“I can’t believe you’re here.” She breathed the words into his ear.
Me either, he thought, but kept the news to himself as he pulled her closer. His senses flooded with all that smooth skin pressing against him. His body tightened, and his right hand moved to cup her ass. Her cheek’s bare skin was silky soft, like he remembered. God, he’d missed her. She melted into him as his body switched into overdrive.
“What do you want?” She spoke louder. The artic tone was back. He was confused and knew he was just too stupid with wanting her to figure out what the hell was going on. There was no way the woman could mistake the effect she was having.
She moved her lips closer to his ear and nipped his earlobe before she spoke in a hushed tone. “Cameras are everywhere. I’m not sure about microphones.”
And just like that, cold reality slapped him in the face. He should have been expecting it, but he’d been so focused on getting her out and making sure she was all right. She might be glad to see him because he was there to save her, but throwing her body at him was an act.
He had to get them both out of here without tipping his hand to the cameras and those watching what he was doing. He was crazy not to have considered it once he saw those tablets downstairs, but it had never occurred to him that he would have to play this encounter through as if he was really a client.
He slipped her arms from around his neck and moved to the table to pour himself some wine, willing his hands not to shake. “I want you,” he said, clearly and loudly enough for any microphone in the room to pick up.
She smiled, but her expression wasn’t warm. “Do you now?” Her frigid tone was so at odds with the woman he’d known years ago.
He knew what he had to do. Monique and company were expecting them to have wild sex. If they’d been truly alone, it wouldn’t have been a hardship. And regardless of the circumstances, that’s exactly what he was going to have to pretend to do. He had to make love to Jenny knowing others were watching, at least until that distraction of Bryan’s came through.
There wouldn’t be any sneaking out of the room or the house before then. Guards were most likely gathered around security monitors at this very moment, drinking beer and taking bets as to how long Nick would last before he came. They were expecting to see some action.
“What do you think I want?” His voice was pitched low but loud enough for the mics as he took a sip of the wine. “Didn’t they tell you what to expect?” 
Copyright © 2014 by Kay Thomas. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. 

Suz: I love former lovers reunited stories. Did you find this easier to write or did their past cause you as much problem as it did them?

Kay: That’s a great question. This was the first “lovers reunited” story I’ve ever written, and I had a blast. It was fun creating Nick and Jennifer’s backstory and weaving that into their present day adventure. Because I’m a pantser when I write, I wasn’t really sure what their history would be until I was working my way through the first draft of the book. It made the discovery part of the writing process particularly interesting.

9780062290847-2_medSuz: Most heroes have a core value, the one thing that matters above all to them. What would you say is Nick’s core value?

Kay: Taking care of family (the people he loves) is the most important thing to Nick Donovan. But for years he’s been turning off his feelings, so he can do his job with the CIA. Seeing Jennifer from his past, tears down the wall he’s built around himself and his heart. Jennifer turns everything back on. Those feelings and emotions all reignite with a vengeance. And yes, fireworks ensue.

Suz: As you know, I had a huge emergency last week. I ran out of M&M’s. Writing came to a standstill until I resupplied. What is the one thing you must have to write? Your favorite music to write to? What do you do to take a break and re-energize to write more?

Kay: I need a quiet place to write. I can write in a Starbucks in a pinch, but I put headphones on with instrumental music or lyrics in another language besides English. Otherwise, I’ll get caught up in what I’m hearing instead of what I’m writing.

Hanging out with my family re-engerizes me—eating dinner together, watching TV, or just sitting around and talking. This summer my teenage son has been taking a summer school course and in the evenings we’ve been watching “The Walking Dead” together. But only after we eat! We’ve had such fun doing this. My husband likes to watch us (and laugh at us) watching the series. We put on quite the show ourselves with our cringing, gasping, and shouts of “No! I can’t look!” We’ve only got one season left to go till we’re caught up with the current schedule. Any suggestions for what we should watch together next?

Suz: Okay. I cannot get into zombies of any kind. I think it’s a nurse thing with the whole decaying flesh thingy of zombies. (shiver). What’s next in the Elite Ops series? Any other news?

Kay: I’m working on Book 3 and I’m having a great time with it. I don’t have a title yet. It’s Bryan Fisher’s (Hollywood’s) story. I’m just getting started but I’m very excited about how things are shaping up for him. ELITE OPS 3 will be out late next spring.

As to news, I’m headed to San Antonio next week for the RWA National Conference, their big Literacy Signing, and the Greater Detroit RWA Booksellers Best Awards Reception. HARD TARGET: Elite Ops – Book 1 is a nominee for Best Romantic Suspense of 2014. I’m very excited.

If you haven’t started the series, each book stands alone. HARD TARGET is on sale for the next two weeks for $0.99 across all ebook platforms. It’s a great chance to grab it at a red hot price and meet the men of Elite Ops. And please join me on July 29th for an online PERSONAL TARGET Pool Party to celebrate the release of Book 2 in the series. We’ll have lots of prizes and special guests, (including Suz herself!)

Question for the readers:

I find I’m reading more and more on my ereader these days, but sometimes there is nothing like the feel (and smell!) of holding a real book in my hands. When you read a print book, do you break/crack the spine or keep it pristine?

Kay is giving away 3 prizes today: 

3 winners….each has choice of either an ecopy of PERSONAL TARGET when it releases on July 29 or an ecopy of HARD TARGET right now.

Check out my Rafflecopter, a Rafflecopter giveaway

too for this awesome Pride and Prejudice Infinity Scarf!

4th of July Booty winners!!

1BanditBooty We have TWO winners today for the Booty from Addison Fox’s post on July 4th.

The winner of a signed copy of THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER is … LAURIE G!

The winner of all 4 books in The House of Steel Series is … DI R!

CONGRATULATIONS, LADIES!!

If you’ll send me your contact information to suzanne AT suzanneferrell DOT com I’ll be sure Addison gets those prizes to you ASAP!

Addison Fox

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Welcome to the Lair on this our American birthday. For a wonderful treat I’ve invited my dear friend, contemporary and romantic suspense author, Addison Fox to stop by and tell us all about the fourth book in her House of Steele series: THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER. Take it away Addison!

My thanks to Suz and the Romance Bandits for inviting me back to the Lair! And for those of you here in the US, wishing you a very happy Independence Day! (Am I the only one picturing very tight, very cute red, white and blue trunks on the Cabana Boys?!?!?)

For the last year I’ve been hard at work on a fun, sexy romantic suspense quartet for the Harlequin Romantic Suspense line called the House of Steele. And in thinking about today’s blog post I realized the subject of independence was a fortuitous fit as that description matches my hero, Liam Steele, to a “T.”

The four Steele siblings run a high-end security firm. The fourth book – THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER – features the most illusive Steele sibling, Liam. I had an absolute blast writing this book and I think what I enjoyed most was how the book evolved between what was in my mind and what ended up coming out on the page.

I expected to write a book about a suave, sexy, James Bond-esque character romancing his total opposite: our shy, reserved, scientist heroine, Dr. Isabella Magnini. What ended up coming out instead was a suave, sexy, James Bond-esque character who had to deal with two nosy sisters, a nosy sister-in-law and a woman who was more than his match in every way. THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER ended being a family book and it was great fun to see how Liam not only fell in love with Isabella, but how he had to find a way to get closer with his family and re-engage as part of their family unit as well.The Manhattan Encounter_Cover

I suppose in a lot of ways, that’s life. The things we often expect to happen don’t, but what takes their place is exactly what’s meant to happen. Life has a very funny way of unfolding in its own time and in its own way.

I pulled a quick passage to share…since it’s the 4th of July I thought I’d shoot off a few sparks! <g> As quick set up to this scene, Isabella’s learned some disturbing news about the individuals who are after her and her research (the reason why Liam’s protecting her). She’s done the proverbial “I can take care of myself” dance and he’s forced her to own up to it.

Something dark and raw churned under her fury, erupting from her in a wash of flame.

“You know nothing about my life. About the humiliation of what I’ve lived with. About the betrayal of not one parent, but two.”

She dashed away the hot tears that fell freely down her face, clogging her throat in a tight fist, determined to get out the rest of it. “And you sure as hell don’t know what it’s like to live like a freak. Someone whose intelligence and drive and innate sense of freaking order scares the hell out of everyone around her.”

18468034“Isabella—” he reached out but she flung off his hand, stepping back from the sheer weight of the pain that threatened to drag her to her knees.

“You can’t know what it’s like. You have a family who loves you even though you keep them at arm’s length for some puzzling reason known only to you. You have a reputation that’s sterling. You even have an endless parade of women content to share their time and attention. I have nothing.” He reached for her once more, but she flung him off. “Nothing!”

And then he had his hands on her and he was dragging her close and she was trying to breathe through the tears and the need and the most desperate desire to connect with someone.

No, she amended as his mouth crashed on hers with the force of a hurricane. She had the desperate desire to connect with him.

With Liam.

Hot, wild need sparked under her skin everywhere he touched. His hands were on her shoulders, on her lower back, roaming over her stomach before reaching up to cup her breasts.

She should have been shocked or felt some sort of embarrassment that she’d been wearing the same clothes for nearly twenty-four hours or that her stomach wasn’t flat enough or that her slacks hadn’t been ironed but none of it seemed to matter to the man who had her in his arms and demanded she give him everything she had and then some.

And oh boy, did she own up to the task.17738200

Her hands matched his for fervor, the hard lines of his shoulders a sensuous feast for her fingertips. She explored his body, even as their mouths never broke contact and as he walked her backwards toward the wall. She willingly let him lead, ready to follow him anywhere.

His tongue thrust into her mouth, a carnal feast that mimicked a joining of their bodies and she sucked hard before biting his lip.

Isabella felt his fingers lock with hers and then he had her hands up on either side of her head, holding her steady as he plundered her and still, she gave it all back to him, every move countered with one of her own.

The temptress she never knew lived inside of her skin came to life under his tutelage and, if the low moans echoing from the back of his throat were any indication, was having a grand time teaching Liam Steele a thing or two about desire.

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I had so much fun bringing this couple together and I so appreciate you spending some time with me today! And as an extra special treat, two commenters will win today! One will win a copy of THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER and one will win all 4 books in the House of Steele quartet – THE PARIS ASSIGNMENT, THE LONDON DECEPTION, THE ROME AFFAIR and THE MANHATTAN ENCOUNTER.

My thanks – as always – to the Banditas for hosting me and for the very warm welcome to the blog!

XO,

Addison (http://www.addisonfox.com/)

(Don’t forget, if you want to download the ebook copy of any of these books, click on the picture.)

Sandy Blair guest booty winner!!

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WE HAVE A WINNER!!

The winner of the autographed copy of THE THIEF by Sandy Blair is…………..

ALYN!!

CONGRATULATIONS, Alyn!

Please contact me at suzanne AT suzanneferrell DOT com and I’ll see Sandy get you your prize ASAP!

Night Shift…no more.

imageWho’s stayed up late at night reading a book?

Come on, raise your hands. You know as avid readers we’ve all done it. Some of us on a more regular basis than others, I bet! :) So, now you’ve been up most, if not all night. You’re exhausted. You’ve got what we call “book hangover”.

Now, imagine doing this 3-4 times in a week. Often in a row. Feel tired?

Now, imagine doing this 3-4 times a week, 50 out of 52 weeks in a year. Exhuasted?

Now, imagine doing this 3-4 times a week, 50 weeks a year for 25 years. Welcome to the world of a night shift nurse!

Now imagine all that and being expected to function on a high level of expertise with people’s lives and futures in your hands. A little daunting, huh?

Did you know that, according to WebMD.com, “In the U.S., about 8.6 million people perform shift work, whether they have a night job or rotate shifts during the week.” The article also goes on to say, “Experts say that shift work could have a serious impact on our health in at least two ways. Some of it may have to do with the lifestyle that shift work encourages. The rest has to do with our biology.”

This causes sleep disorders and actual increase in disease risks for things like stroke, heart attack and diabetes.

Sigh.

So, for both mental health and physical reasons, I made the decision to come off nights.

Now, this left me with two options. Go to working day shift at the hospital. Which as you know from the Bandit Newsletter this month, I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. Nope. Not going to happen. No amount of caffeine would ever make it work for me. Co-workers and doctors would find themselves in jeopardy if I had to be awake and functioning by 0530 every day. Shoot me now!

Luckily for me, (and numerous peppy morning people),  my writing career had taken off enough that I could finally afford to take time away from nursing completely to focus on writing. (Yea!!)

Now that I’m home every night,  sleeping at night on a regular basis would be heavenly, right?new-moon-energetics-energy-medicine1

Well, not exactly. See, I knew that I’d trained myself to sleep 5-7 hours every day after I worked a shift. A nap on every day off helped me keep what I called “a modified night shift” schedule at home. According to medical research, that was actually better for night shift workers than trying to switch back and forth. Apparently, I figured this out organically before anyone even started studying the cause and affects of shift work on workers.

So, I told Jazzman…”I’m going to work my way to going to be between 10 pm and midnight every night.” This was to help get my hormones and biorhythms back in sinc.

How’s it working?

Wellllllllllll, most nights it’s between 11 pm and 1 am. Not too bad. I discovered that if I go to bed before 10:30, my brain fires on at 4 am in complete “GO!” mode, but fizzles out by 9 am and then screws up my whole day/night cycle for the next day. (Remember that trained to sleep 6 hours thingy above!) And if I get to watching a movie or started on a good book…then I’m up all night, and again blow the whole day/night cycle again.

So here are my rules for getting to bed:

1. No new books started after 9 pm.

2. No starting movies after 11 pm.

3. Afternoon naps may only be 90 minutes long. (Long nap…up later.)

4. Nothing sweet after 10 pm, including fruit

5. Exercise in some form 3-4 times a week, (walking, swimming, aerobics)

I also take my vitamin and magnesium pills at bedtime. Vitamins because I’m old and need them. Magnesium to help prevent leg cramps, indigestion and they make me sleepy.

Added benefit to all this? I seem to be getting more writing done during daylight hours!! YEA!!

So, how about you? Any tricks for getting to sleep at a descent hour? Tricks to staying asleep? Do you limit your reading so you don’t get book hangovers often? What do you to get over a late night book binge?

 

My Great, Bad and Ugly Vacation–Sandy Blair

316_Sandy_portraitMy dearest friend and critique partner, Sandy Blair, is back in the Lair with us today to share with us her latest vacation adventure, a cruise around the Mediterranean! (CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO SEE THEM BIGGER!) She also has a new release coming up of THE THIEF, previously titled A Thief In A Kilt.

It’s also her birthday!! We don’t discuss age in the Lair, as you all know, but let’s just say she’s old enough to vote! :)

Happy Birthday, Sandy!! Welcome back and take it away!

Thanks, Suzy! Hello Banditas and Bandit Buddies. I love visiting here in the Lair and always a pleasure to be invited back to spend some time with you.

The Scot and I looked forward to our Eastern Mediterranean cruise for months. We’d shopped, dieted, and walked miles in preparation for the many ruins we expected to explore. We were meeting up with dear Texas friends Matt and Patty, who’d initiated this trip to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Wanting to explore Rome, we agreed to arrive in Rome two days before our cruise ship’s scheduled departure.

After a 10 hour flight, we arrived at our small boutique hotel located a short walk from the Spanish Steps. There we learned the Scot would be a thorn caught between two roses. That’s right. Patty was in the hotel’s grand wedding suite as expected but…alone. Yup, no Matt. (Long private tale I’ll skip.)

So, we made the best of it by commiserating that night on a beautiful, bougainvillea-bedecked roof top balcony overlooking the Eternal city with wine and local cheeses.

Day 2: Up early. Since our pre-booked Skip-the-Lines private tour of the Roman Coliseum wasn’t scheduled until the 3:00PM, we decided to explore on our own. We climbed the Spanish steps, threw coins in the Trevi Fountain, and explored churches— each more elaborate than the last, and then bought an all-day bus pass to travel to sites farther out…and got lost.

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Not until we tried to get directions back to our hotel did we discover most Roman residents don’t understand English. (We just assumed they did because up until this point everyone—hotel, restaurant and shop employees–we’d come in contact with had spoken it. Silly us.)  Anyway, a few hours and a subway ride later, we spotted a subway stop we recognized, hopped off and walked the final mile.

The Coliseum: We picked up a few interesting tidbits.

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Did you know the Roman Coliseum isn’t owned by Rome…or the state of Italy? Nope. It’s owned by a business consortium. A famous designer is currently footing the $3.2M bill for cleaning the exterior. And the stairways leading up to the seats were known in Latin as the “vomit steps” because when the events were over people poured out of the Coliseum like…well, you get the idea.

Next stop, Vatican City. Amazing and crowded beyond belief. Most shocking: Seeing alter bases made of glass sarcophaguses containing long dead popes. (I found this macabre and I’m Catholic.) According to our historian guide Michelangelo did not paint the Sistine Chapel while lying on his back. He stood on scaffolding and craned his neck, a lit candle for light attached to his forehead. He documented that it took months for his neck to straighten again.

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Michelangelo

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Day 3: Time to head for the cruise ship. We’d booked a shuttle for the 1 ½ hour drive. Just five miles from the port, our shuttle blew its front driver-side tire. Since we were trapped at the side of a major highway with no speed limit and feared a rear-end collision, we all piled out. I stepped back and fell 3ft down a–until then unseen—cement culvert. And broke my right foot. (4th break for this foot. Sigh.) Turned out to be my R big toe. The Scot, shocked to find me in the ditch, hauled me out. We were thankful it hadn’t been worse–I could still walk…sort of, hadn’t knocked myself unconscious—so the tire was fixed and I soldiered on.

Day 4: At sea in a comfortable suite with balcony. Limping with toes taped.

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Day 4, ready to get on the tender that took us to Santorini

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What I woke up to on Day 4.

 

Day 5: Santorini, Greece. Gorgeous, windy and arid town at the top of cliffs. Tourism, capers, olives and wine keep the economy afloat. It’s so windy they have to train their grapevines to grow in bird nest-like circles. Spectacular views and great food. Lots of walking.

Everywhere everything was white and blue.

Everywhere everything was white and blue.

 

The town is perched on cliffs

The town is perched on cliffs.

Day 6:  At sea. No formal gown and sexy heels for me tonight. In strictly sneaker mode.

Day 7: Istanbul, Turkey, where the continent of Europe meets Asia, once the seats of the Byzantine, Greek, Roman and Ottoman empires. Now a Muslim republic that tolerates other religions, we were encouraged to dress “appropriately.” (No exposed arms or knees and head scarfs had to be worn when entering mosques, many of which were once churches.) Rugs, leather goods and gold jewelry were the dominant items for sale in this—the world’s largest–bizarre. Barter was the name of the game, which we found intimidating. Left without buying a thing. Walked 4 miles+ on the tour. :)

Day 8: Istanbul. Did you know the first–and world’s 3d largest–domed cathedral is here? Built in 503AD,  is decorated with beautiful mosaics and was the model for St. Peter’s, the world’s largest domed cathedral. (London’s St. Paul’s is the 2d largest.)

The main--royal-- mosque. The number of turrets indicates the wealth of the donor-builder.

The main–royal– mosque. The number of turrets indicates the wealth of
the donor-builder.

You would NOT believe the jewels in this place. Emerald coated water pitchers and swords. Diamonds the size of large eggs.

You would NOT believe the jewels in this place. Emerald coated water
pitchers and swords. Diamonds the size of large eggs.

Day 9: Ephesus, Turkey. Large hill top city ruins with a nice amphitheater. I didn’t know prior to this trip that coliseums are/were triple concentric circles with roofs while amphitheaters are/were only single layer, ¾ open-air arcs with seating specifically designed to amplify sound.  Yup. Walked 3.5 miles. Foot not happy.

The largest library of its time.

The largest library of its time.

Temple ruins.

Temple ruins.

Day 10: Mykonos, Greece. Popular picture book vacation village. Finally had an opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean Sea. So excited. But cold! Cold, cold! Discovered too late that no matter how careful you tried to be that rocky beaches still aggravate fractures.

Day 11: Athens, Greece. The Scot has apparently seen his fill of ruins. (He’d spent the better part of day 9 muttering about everything around him “needing a good bit paint and love.”) So when I said, “Honey, I’m sorry but can’t do another 5 mile hike today. You’ll have to see Athens without me,” I wasn’t exactly shocked when he jumped up and said, “Nonsense! I wouldn’t dream of leaving you alone.” He cancelled our tour and we spent the day reading and admiring Athens—today a huge urban sprawl–from our balcony.

Athens from my balcony and this is as close as I got.

Athens from my balcony and this is as close as I got.

Day 12: At sea and resting up for a seriously busy tomorrow.

Day 13: Naples, Sorrentino, the Amalfie coast and Pompeii. Serious walking day and mini bus trip up the coast. Naples, lovely with loads of pedestrian ways. Great shops and gardens everywhere. This is the heart of Lemon Cello country. Lemons are everywhere and incorporated into everything from soap to pasta.

Great pedestrian streets.

Great pedestrian streets.

 

The Amalfie Coast is simply spectacular…if you’re not afraid of heights. We ate at a restaurant situated below the yellow balcony used in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. (I.e. Our heroine, hurt by love, finally decides to trust her new love interest after much wooing by him, only to arrive at the guy’s seaside home and find the guy on the balcony kissing another woman.)

Sorrentino beach, along the Amalphi coast. Town where we saw the Under the Tuscan Sun balcony.

Sorrentino beach, along the Amalphi coast. Town where we saw the Under the Tuscan Sun balcony.

Amalfie coast...Roads were frightening!

Amalfie coast…Roads were frightening!

On to Pompeii, another set of interesting ruins atop yet another hill. When tons upon tons of hot ash and pumas flowed into building through broken windows and fill them to their ceilings (i.e. the bathhouse), the building and its priceless art were preserved. Building that didn’t fill completely collapsed from the weight of 12+ feet of ash on their roofs. What I found most surprising: their public baths had central heating and hot water thanks to volcanic hot springs, pizza ovens haven’t changed much over the millennium, nor have water fountains.

Pmpeii...Bath house. Had central heating!

Pompeii…Bath house. Had central heating!

Pompeii pizza oven. Nothing much changes. :)

Pompeii pizza oven. Nothing much changes. :)

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00027]Day 14: Arrived back in Rome then caught our flight home, only a wee bit worse for wear, J and where I immediately got back to work readying book #3 in the Castle Blackstone series, THE THIEF, for re-release. I love its cover designed by Suzy’s daughter Lyndsey!

So, where did you go on your last vacation?

Sandy

www.SandyBlair.net

Sandy will be giving away a signed copy of The Thief to one reader who comments today.

Fast Five Favorite Heroes

We love our heroes here in the Lair, don’t we? :) So I’m going to share with you some of my favorites.

download (1)1. Gabriel  MacBain. Okay, if you know me then you know SAVING GRACE by Julie Garwood is my all time favorite Romance Novel. There is so much to love about this book, but one of the best parts is the hero, Gabriel. The heroine is a widow. Her former husband beat her, often on the advice of his Bishop. She doesn’t want to marry again, but for her safety sake, she must. Her step brother, an Englishman brings her to Scotland to the fiercest, most honorable man he knows. Johanna is still fearful, especially after she meets the large brawny Scot. Then she hears his name. Gabriel, the same name as the patron saint for protection of women and children. And it simply gets better from there!

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2. Hawkeye. I have to tell you this is one of those instances when I loved the movie more than the book. LAST OF THE MOHICANS by James Fenimore Cooper is a classic novel of the American Frontier during the French and Indian Wars. The language is old and the telling very old. But when you see Daniel Day Lewis play Hawkeye. Oh My! And when he takes Clara’s face in his hands and tells her “Stay alive. I will find you!” Oh. Yeah!!

97803129924223. Vane Kattalakis. The very first wolf shape-shifter hero I ever fell head over heels for. Why? Because he loves Bridie McTierney, a plus-size woman with a heart of gold. :) He loves her, he woos her. She’s his mate for life. Vane is the leader of his clan and he protects what’s his, especially Bridie! Yummo! Trust me when I tell you Sherrilyn Kenyon’s NIGHT PLAY is one of my favorite books and Vane is one of my favorite heroes! I’ve loved the were-hunter books because of him. 

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4. Mr. Darcy, of Jane Austin’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Of course. Is there a romance reader who hasn’t fallen for him? I loved him in the book. I loved him in the movie. I loved him in a car. I loved him in a bar…okay, so I’m channeling a little Dr. Seuss here, but let’s face it. I love Mr. Darcy ANYWHERE! My favorite video incarnation is Colin Firth, but I’d take Matthew MacFadyn’s version, too! 

428995. Wrath. The Blind Vampire King from JR Ward’s DARK LOVER and THE KING. Yes, a hero worthy of not just one book, but two! While all the heroes of the Black Dagger Brotherhood are pretty drool worthy, Wrath has held my attention throughout the series. Because of his heroine Beth, he does the one thing he never thought he would, ascends to the throne that is his birthright. Because of her, he fights to keep it. Even when his eyesight leaves him completely, because of her faith in him. Sigh.

 Okay, so these are my five favorite literary heroes. Who are yours? Do you lean more contemporary or historical? Got any vamps or shape-shifters on your list? A movie you watch anytime it’s on, just because HE is the hero?

Bandit Booty for Jane Graves’ BABY, IT’S YOU!

BanditBooty

The winner of a signed copy of Jane Graves’ new release, BABY, IT’S YOU, is AMY CONLEY! 

CONGRATULATIONS, AMY!!

Send me your snail mail addy to suzanne AT suzanneferrell DOT com and I’ll see that Jane gets your prize to you ASAP!

 

 

 

Jane Graves returns to the Lair!

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Bandit Buddies, it’s always fun to invite an old friend back to visit. This time my friend, author Jane Graves is back to spend the day and she’s got a new book out, BABY, IT’S YOU. So pull up a barstool and a cold drink.

Take it away, Jane!

Writing has been a challenge lately. See, we sold our home of twenty-three years and bought a new one. It’s a cool house. Or it’s going to be once we bring 1984 into 2014. Unfortunately, our contractor screwed up here and there, and our house that was supposed to be finished by the time we moved in wasn’t. We were living on concrete floors with a microwave and a coffee maker in the master bathroom because we had no kitchen countertops. And from there, everything that could go wrong did, which meant that concentrating on my current book has been an exercise in futility.baby-its-you-225

In the past month, I’ve dealt with three Time Warner guys, two plumbers, two electricians, two air conditioning guys, an incompetent team of landscapers, an amazing team of hardwood floor installers, and a sprinkler system repairman I swear I know better than my own relatives by now. Still to come is a brick repairman, another plumber to install a gas line, a pest control guy to rid our attic of roof rats, quartz countertop installers, and a landscape guy to take out a tree that’s one good gust of wind away from crashing into our house. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but I bet I’ll remember when something leaks, falls, or explodes.

cowboy-take-me-away-225As you can see, I’ve been a bit distracted lately. Just when I think I have everything under control, something else goes wrong, so writing has been nearly impossible. But book releases stop for nothing. BABY, IT’S YOU, the second book in my Rainbow Valley series, came out May 27 in the midst of all the chaos. It’s the story of a runaway bride who lands on the doorstep of a winery owner in the Texas Hill Country one stormy night, complicating his life in ways he could never have imagined. Early reviews have been amazing, including a Starred Review on Booklist, the review publication of the American Library Association.

Have you ever done any home renovation that didn’t turn out quite like you expected? Some of you are bound to have a few horror stories. Tell me what’s happened to you!

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