Monday, June 18, 2018

Heart of a Seal NBtM

Blurb:
They’re brothers in arms, Navy SEALS risking their lives for their country… and the women they love.

This is Luke Harding’s story.

Six months in a desert hellhole taught Navy SEAL Luke Harding things he never wanted to learn about life and death. Only tender memories of the beautiful brunette he met a few weeks before his deployment helped get him through the torturous days and nights. Back in the States after a perilous rescue, physically and emotionally damaged, Luke’s about to plunge into a new kind of war. In a seemingly bucolic Idaho town, Sally Duncan faces real—and unpredictable—danger.

All Sally ever wanted was a safe place to raise her nine-year-old daughter. Her identity hidden behind a façade of secrets and lies, can she trust Luke—a man she barely knows—with the truth? Even as they give in to long-denied passion, a killer with a personal vendetta is setting an ambush that will leave them praying for a miracle and fighting for the future they may not live to see.



Excerpt:
“Are you Petty Officer Second Class Luke Harding?” The man in battle gear
knelt beside him.

As hard as he tried, Luke couldn’t make a sound—or even nod his head. All he could do was stare until his eyes misted, and he squeezed his eyelids shut so he wouldn’t humiliate himself.

They know my name. Somebody knows who I am. Gratitude washed over him even as sorrow intruded into his momentary peace. Except for two short weeks, he could have celebrated with Ian.

The warrior reached for Luke’s hand, gripping it firmly. “It’s okay, Son. You stay with me. You hear me, Sailor? That’s an order.” He leaned over Luke and there was understanding in his eyes. “We’re here to get you home alive, and failure is not an option. You copy that?”

Luke would have smiled if he could have. Did the guy know the phrase he uttered so effortlessly was the only thing holding Luke together?

“Medic!” the man yelled over his shoulder, and two seconds later another warrior stuck his head into Luke’s space.

It was getting harder to breathe. His rasping and gurgling grew louder and filled his ears.

“Chest wound.” The second man applied pressure, none too gently, to the hole in Luke’s torso.

Jesus, you stupid SOB! Luke would have given anything for the strength to shove him away, while using every four letter word he knew, but the most he could manage was a pained groan.

“Hang in there.” The first man pulled Luke’s attention from the medic. “I know you’re in pain. The chopper will land any second, and we’ll get you onboard. Next stop—a nice clean hospital and then…stateside. We’re going to give you the good stuff so you can sleep through this next part. You’re going to make it, Sailor, so start planning your homecoming.”

Sally. The image of the sweet brunette he’d promised to return to flashed in Luke’s mind. He barely felt the prick of the needle before his eyes fluttered closed on his last memory.




It’s a pleasure to be here on the Sharing Links and Wisdom blog. Thanks for hosting the tour for my new release, Heart of a SEAL. This book is the first of three books in the Hearts of Valor series and my seventh published book. I only mention that because this weekend I ran across the first manuscript I ever wrote, buried in my office, along with several started but unfinished projects. It was quite a trip down memory lane!

There was good reason why that first manuscript, which I entitled “Dani” after the heroine and later changed to “Get Out Alive,” was not published. IT WAS SO AWFUL! I almost feel bad for the handful of editors and/or agents I submitted it to back in 1997.

As I’m sure most of you know, authors don’t just decide they want to write a book and then sit down to create a masterpiece worthy of a literary prize. Far from it. There was so much I didn’t know about the craft of writing, and I’m still learning. My seven books are small potatoes compared to the backlists of awesome powerhouse writers in my genre who’ve been at this writing thing a whole lot longer than me. I am sure, when I have two or three times that number under my belt, I’ll still be learning and trying to keep up with an ever-changing industry.

I had one thing going for me when I wrote “Dani”—a story idea. That’s important, but I didn’t have a clue about character development, passive sentences or points of view. I wanted to write a romantic suspense novel, but I didn’t know there were taboo subjects (according to publishers who still get to decide those things, even in the age of self-publishing.)

Much later, after acquiring representation through an agent, I learned that publishers would reject, without reading, a romance whose heroine is married at the beginning of the story and later divorces. I learned that two points of view were the established norm, one was acceptable, three was reason enough to land on the rejection pile and head-hopping screamed newbie like nothing else. I learned how to ‘hook’ a reader in the first paragraph and tie up all the loose ends before the final page. And I learned SO much about sentence structure, paragraph structure and those troublesome commas. (Oh, who am I kidding? I still get the commas wrong!)

If you decide to pick up Heart of a SEAL and give it a read, and you find that first sentence/paragraph/scene/chapter that makes you say: “Oh my, I would have done that a little differently,” just know I’m still a writer-in-training, always will be and my next seven/fourteen/twenty-one books will be better!

To prove a point, I’m now going to do something that no author in her right mind would do. I’m going to share the opening paragraphs of “Dani”, aka “Get Out Alive”, exactly the way I found it in my slush pile! Please…be kind!

The forest was quiet. The moon had risen to its full height in the night sky, and begun its descent toward morning, its luminescence covering the forest floor with a silvery hue. The branches of the pines swayed gently in the wind causing the pattern of shadows beneath them to shift and change. On a ridge, beneath the cover of a stately ponderosa, within its deepest shadows, a man stood, statue-like. He had been there for nearly an hour, watching and waiting silently. Just below his hiding place, a small herd of deer crossed the meadow, grazing unhurriedly until the night wind carried them his scent and they raced away, the sounds of their flight blown elsewhere on the breeze.
Tucker carefully surveyed the meadow and the tree-line surrounding it, listening expectantly for sounds that did not belong. Shifting his position slightly to ease the discomfort of tense muscles, he wondered impatiently what was keeping his contact. He couldn’t wait here much longer. He would need to start soon to get back before he was missed.
As he again searched the trees on the far side of the meadow, a tall, lean form separated itself from the shadows and stood for a moment in full view. From his place atop the ridge, Tucker removed a shiny metal object from his shirt pocket and allowed it to briefly catch the moon’s rays, causing it to glint dully. Watching the figure melt back into the darkness, he knew his signal had been received.

Wow! That was painful—but I think I’ve got the omniscient point of view down pat, don’t you? Not only that, I apparently didn’t know how to use contractions in 1997! If you suffered through that, I applaud you, and each and every one of you deserves to win the gift card in the Rafflecopter drawing, so don’t forget to enter.

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by, and I sincerely hope I haven’t scared you off from giving Heart of a SEAL a try! If you like action-packed romantic suspense, I think you’ll enjoy this book.



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Author Bio and Links:
Dixie Lee Brown lives and writes in Central Oregon, inspired by gorgeous scenery and at least three hundred sunny days a year. Having moved from South Dakota as a child to Washington, Montana and then to Oregon, she feels at home in the west. She resides with two dogs and a cat, who are currently all the responsibility she can handle. Dixie works fulltime as a bookkeeper. When she's not writing or working, she loves to read, enjoys movies, and if it were possible, she’d spend all of her time at the beach. She is also the author of the Trust No One romantic suspense series, published by Avon Impulse.

Please visit her websiteFacebook author pageTwitter, or join her street team.

Order today at:
Amazon    |    Barnes & Noble    |    iTunes    |    Google Play    |    Kobo

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Away VBT

Blurb:
Grim Morrigan, Guardian of the Ward and part-time private detective, polices the Folk, the clans of fairies who live in the foothills outside Denver. But his main job is concealing their true nature from the mortals around them.

Enter mortal Annie Duran, who hires him to look for her brother Richard, missing and presumed dead for ten years. Annie has seen Richard in the parking lot of the nightclub where she works. Now she wants answers, and Grim’s supposed to find them.

The quest for Richard ensnares both Grim and Annie in a sinister conspiracy involving kidnapped women and outlaw magic. But they also discover their own overwhelming attraction to each other.

When Annie herself disappears, Grim’s need for answers becomes even more urgent. With the help of a dissolute prince and a motley crew of unlikely fairies, Grim confronts a rebellion among the Folk.

And it may take more than just magic and luck to save both Annie and Grim this time.



Excerpt:
He leaned toward her, slowly, slowly, and she moved to meet him. His lips were softer than she remembered, gentle, brushing against the side of her throat. She took hold of his sleeve, her hand closing on the cool smoothness of the leather.

He pulled away, stripping off his coat, then edged in closer, catching her chin between his fingers. Not a gentle kiss this time, but a claiming that burned her skin, set her pulse racing. His hand cupped the back of her skull, holding her tight so his tongue could plunge deep into her mouth. She moaned, fumbling with the buttons on his shirt, feeling the coarse crinkle of hair and the heat of his skin. Her own desire built like a drumbeat.

And then he was lifting away, resting his forehead against hers, panting. “Wait.”

****

Wait? With every cell in his body screaming for her, he’d suddenly grown a conscience? Why the hell had his long-lost ethical sense decided to reappear now? Wretched timing, Grim. Just your style. He closed his eyes, catching his breath while he worked out what to say to Annie Duran that wouldn’t sound either insulting or insane.

“Wait?” She was staring at him, eyes shining with desire—and confusion.

He was such an idiot he felt like moaning.




Blurbing
If I were given a choice between writing a synopsis and writing a blurb (and believe me, that’s a horrible choice), I’d go with the synopsis. Synopses are basically summaries, and most of us have some experience with summarizing. You’ve got three or four pages for the whole thing, and your main job is to pick out the major incidents of the plot without getting too bogged down in detail. And, of course, you have to make the prose flow without constantly saying And then. They’re not fun to write, but I can usually knock one out in a couple of hours.

Blurbs, on the other hand, suck.

Blurbs are the copy found on the back of print books or at the front of ebooks. They’re also the copy that shows up in ads for the book and on Web pages. While you have three or four pages for synopses, you’ve got three or four paragraphs (at most) for the blurb. And the language has to be sort of “peppy.”

Basically, you’re writing ad copy, and for those of us who have never been in the advertising or marketing business, the process can be excruciating. My first impulse is always to overdo the peppiness. I use many, many exclamation marks!!!!! I may use italics with abandon. If I’m blurbing a paranormal romance like Away, I emphasize danger, danger, danger.

After I’ve read over the first draft and started to groan, I settle down and try again. This time I try to think about what’s really going on in the book. What’s the real reason a person might enjoy reading it?

The extreme brevity of the blurb means I’m never able to include everything that happens in the book, but I try to suggest the major themes, or at least some of them. Chances are, though, I’ll end up leaving out something crucial just because I have to.

So about the blurb for Away. I wanted you to know about my main characters, Grim and Annie, of course. And I wanted to set up the basic conflict in the book. Annie’s urgently searching for answers: why did her brother disappear, and why has he come back now? Grim actually has some information that could help, but he’s sworn to secrecy. Yet as the situation becomes more perilous for both of them, he finds that he has to break his vows and tell Annie what’s going on around her. It’s a lot more than she can take in, but in the end their relationship makes them both stronger. Here’s my blurb.

His job is keeping secrets, but she needs the truth.

Grim Morrigan, Guardian of the Ward and part-time private detective, polices the Folk, the clans of fairies who live in the foothills outside Denver. But his main job is concealing their true nature from the mortals around them.

Enter mortal Annie Duran, who hires him to look for her brother Richard, missing and presumed dead for ten years. Annie has seen Richard in the parking lot of the nightclub where she works. Now she wants answers, and Grim’s supposed to find them.

The quest for Richard ensnares both Grim and Annie in a sinister conspiracy involving kidnapped women and outlaw magic. But they also discover their own overwhelming attraction to each other.

When Annie herself disappears, Grim’s need for answers becomes even more urgent. With the help of a dissolute prince and a motley crew of unlikely fairies, Grim confronts a rebellion among the Folk. And it may take more than just magic and luck to save both Annie and Grim this time.



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Author Bio and Links:
Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her newest series, the Folk, is a paranormal trilogy set in Colorado. Meg’s Konigsburg series is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box and Brewing Love trilogies are set in the Colorado Rockies (both are available from Entangled Publishing). Along with contemporary romance, Meg is also the author of the paranormal Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers. 

Meg’s website is http://www.MegBenjamin.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at meg@megbenjamin.com.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Love. Local. Latebreaking. NBtM

Blurb:
Professional passion in the tradition of Julie James, Love. Local. Latebreaking. is a page-turning romance shining a spotlight into television news.

"Heart-tugging relational tension but with a sophistication that raises it above the romance genre." -- Jlaird, verified purchaser

"Mr. Lareau manages humor beautifully--I was able to envision certain scenes/situations/people so clearly that I was chortling into my coffee. I highly recommend this novel as a light-hearted (and sexy) diversion." -- Sarah K. Clark, verified purchaser

"The heroine had a career that she worked hard for and that she didn't give that career up simply because she'd found love" -- A. Geek, verified purchaser

Local TV news reporter Karli Lewis has one goal: escape Iowa's cornfields and podunk local news scene to hit the bright lights of the Chicago's newsrooms. Karli’s career is on the rise, thanks to her talented, dizzingly handsome, yet enigmatic news photographer, Jake Gibson, a dedicated hometown boy who is staying put. Will Karli listen to her heart, or will she choose a dateline over her favorite date? Can she reconcile her unbridled ambition and her longing for the man she could lose forever?



Excerpt:
Her eyes and the smell of her skin and the pulse beating in her neck all told Jake that she was ready to be his. Her raised eyebrows and her erect, squared-off posture told him to stay away. He saw all of this in an instant, then fumbled for something to do that wasn’t kissing, in spite of the thudding pulse and the insistent twitch that urged him—now—to find the sweetness of her lips.

Jake wasn’t thinking through the feelings, the urges, the choices. Evolution or God or something had equipped men—and Jake more especially than most—with a finely calibrated system to gauge a woman’s readiness. Something—the pheromone density in the air or her posture or the pace of her breathing or some combination of those things or some other primal indicator—wasn’t yet right. One more moment of intimacy, though, and they would both be ready. Instinct guided him to the movie’s moment of consummation.

“When the heroine finds out that he really does love her and wants to marry her—that’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?”

Jake knew immediately that he’d said the wrong thing. Karli shook her head slightly and turned her blue eyes from his. She reached up and took Jake’s hand and the napkin it held from her face.

“Shut up,” she ordered him. “You think I was rooting for that insipid girl?” she asked. “No, Jake, I don’t identify with girls who need men to define them. I was cheering for the reporter. He had finally found his way to a real news job in a real market. He had escaped Des Moines.”





Strong Women are Front and Center in the Newsroom Romance Series

Interviewers often ask me how a man can write romance, as though there is something preposterous about the mere idea. When I remind them that—in hetero romances, at least—half of every couple is a man, that’s often brushed off as an insignificant detail. Romances are for women, after all, aren’t they?

Empathy is the centerpiece of every good fictional experience. Not just empathy for the romantic heroine, either. Readers come to novels to experience the feelings of even the peripheral characters—who doesn’t love a good villain, after all, or the walk-on parts played by memorable character actors? Fiction has meaning for readers because they’re engaged with the characters’ journeys and feelings—as long as they are accessible and truthful to human experience.

The hero in Love. Local. Latebreaking. has a uniquely masculine way of processing grief over the death of his karate student in this passage, which concludes a training session where the class was conducted entirely in silence:

Finally, Sensei Jake seated everyone on the back edge of the mat and then strode to one of the gear lockers. He took a two foot-long polished wooden case with a glass front from the locker and walked to the center of the mat. There he bowed formally to all the students and marched close to where they sat on the back edge of the mat. He placed the box down reverently and so the closest students could see the black belt inside with Darrin’s name embroidered in gold thread. As Sensei Jake turned and went toward an equipment rack, students who could see the belt whispered and gestured to the others what was written upon it.
His back to the class, Sensei Jake took a breath deep into his body and visualized each movement of the bo staff kata he had planned to teach Darrin for the January tournament. Finished, he opened his eyes and took a staff from the rack. He then snapped into rigid martial formality and marched to the front of the mat. He bowed crisply to the class and began the kata. Each time Sensei Jake stepped into one of the kata’s many stances, his legs, hips, and core took on a granite-like stability. Extending from that stillness, his arms propelled the bo staff into a furiously blurring aura of wood. The dojo was no longer silent as the staff’s wood stroked the air into a series of humming vibrations, the canvas of Jake’s uniform snapped, and the hissing of his intensifying breath all communicated the irresistible power he focused into each movement.
The performance transfixed everyone in the studio. Mary Rose sat cross-legged on the edge of the mat, a hand under each knee holding her own toes, her astonished mouth hanging slightly open. Senior students watched with rapt attention. The parents and other guests in the gallery sat forward, leaning in to better focus their attention on the barely contained explosion that was Jake’s performance.
Jake finished the kata with a two-beat pause followed by a powerful final strike and a thunderous yell from deep in his abdomen, karate’s spirit-yell or kiai. Coming after more than an hour’s attention to the subtle sounds of a silent training session, the kiai startled everyone in the studio—on the mat and in the spectator’s gallery alike. Sensei Jake then snapped back to attention, breathing heavily, as the small cries of surprise tapered off. He bowed to the room, took up the polished wooden box and placed it with the bo staff on a table a few feet off the training mat. An open book and a pen rested on the table for people to sign and jot memories of Darrin. He signed the book, paused to regard box and staff for a final silent moment, then walked quickly to his office, closing the door behind him.
The sweaty students left on the mat began to murmur questions about what was going on. They were cut off by the man who’d stood when Sensei Jake walked onto the mat, who held a stern finger to his lips and shushed them. He bowed as he left the training surface and went to the locker room without looking back to see that the others would follow. Some headed straight for the locker room, others went to the table to look at Darrin’s posthumous black belt and to sign the book. Others paused in indecision, then headed for the showers so they could sign without dripping sweat all over the book.
As the mat silently cleared and it became obvious that training was over for the night, one of the parents, who needed to talk to Jake about past-due tuition, knocked on the office door.
Quiet sobs from behind the locked door were the only answer.

Good romances share genuine truths about couples’ attraction, conflicts, and fulfilling love. Even men—heck, even a man who is a lawyer by day—can understand those emotional truths. Putting them into a story that is faithful to genuine life experience is manifestly not only feminine territory. Sylvain Reynard is a personal favorite among many authors who bring their male voices and perspective to truly fantastic romance novels. My ambition is to tell good stories where the male half of the romance is not just a heartthrob of a book-boyfriend but also a genuine contemporary man. Billionaires, kilted Scotsmen, and vulgar pirates with hearts of gold are too far removed from real life to be the kinds of men my heroines are interested in.

My heroines are strong women all, and they are front and center in the Newsroom Romance series. Powerful and brilliant women work in television newsrooms across the country, and television newsrooms are uniquely fertile places to grow attraction and conflict. Broadcast journalists work under intense deadline pressures and under microscopic public scrutiny. The wages are typically bad, so most journalists are trying to do work that’s good enough to propel them to bigger cities where they can cover bigger stories and earn something like a living wage. The competition among colleagues is fierce, but the work requires a huge amount of collaboration, too. Here, our heroine, Karli, encounters both the tension and collaborative energy that pull at the heart of most newsrooms:

The day had been so fraught with different, intense emotions that she didn’t think she could’ve handled one more temperamental coworker. Not only had Jake gone bonkers on her right after the bust, she’d had to coax her news director, producer, and assignment editor into letting her do the follow-up series of reports. Which was crazy, since she had enterprised the whole thing, doing preliminary research on drug-induced homicide, cartels in the midwest, addiction rates, and overdose deaths all in addition to the story and all in a single day.
Well, whatever. This was going to be the series that busted her out of Des Moines and into a real market. She had thought deeply about it, and the stories had all the ingredients: her writing and Jake’s shooting would bring out all the sweeping effects and deep public interest in the state’s—no, the region’s—drug problem, as well as the effects that almost certainly were felt as far away as, say, Chicago. Karli knew where this was headed: straight to a major market.
Karli spent the rest of the newscast going over the printouts of her research and her handwritten notes, making to-do lists and outlines for the upcoming series. As she was wrapping up her work for the day and putting her papers in a folder to be organized later, the newscast ended.
“What the hell do you think you’re up to?” Sophia Refai’s deeply feminine voice rolled across the newsroom like autumn thunder. Karli saw the lean, dark figure striding across the room toward her with less of Sophia’s usual runway-model’s stride and more the march of a uniformed officer about to enforce the law.
Oh, no, thought Karli. I’d forgotten about this angle. She looked around, as though the question must have been directed to someone else. But there was nobody else in the newsroom.
“Yes, you, Karli Lewis. The police beat is MY beat, and I do not appreciate you elbowing your way onto my turf,” Sophia said. Karli could tell that the anchor was only barely in control of her anger. “And I’m glad you’ve started the background on the series. Your research will come in handy as I report those stories.”
Karli was taken aback to see Sophia’s elegantly manicured hand outstretched, palm up, waiting to receive her notes and research. “You can’t have this stuff,” Karli gulped. “This is my work. And Jerry already assigned the series to me.” Karli slid the folder between the chair seat and her rear end, then leaned back and folded her arms.
“We will see who gets the series. But I warn you, stay off my beat, or life here will become very difficult for you.” Sophia turned and marched back to the news set to record the evening’s promos to air during prime-time commercial breaks for the 10 o’clock show.
Mary Rose, returning to the newsroom after putting away the camera and light kit, turned to watch the pacing fury, then turned back to Karli with her eyebrows raised in unspoken question.
“Just a little jealous that I covered a police story without her permission,” Karli said in answer to Mary Rose’s eyebrows.
“Just a little?” Mary Rose asked. “That’s enough that I’d change all my passwords and lock my desk if she was stomping around pissed at me like that.”
Not wanting to show that she’d been intimidated by the anchor’s fury, but grateful for the suggestion, Karli began clicking and typing to change her login password. She looked up at Mary Rose while she was making sure she could remember the new password and said, “I’d invite you out for a drink to celebrate the story, but I have to get my hair done. Maybe tomorrow?”
“That would be fun,” Mary Rose said, grinning while holding her lip-ring between her teeth. After a pause, she let go and said, “I really enjoyed working with you on the edit today and that animation a while ago. I’d like to do more stuff like that, but they always have me stuck in the studio or the control room. Let’s try for tomorrow.”
“Great,” said Karli, gathering her notes and purse and phone and stuffing them into her pack. “See you then.” And she grabbed her diet Dew and headed for the door before Sophia could come back off the set.

 To see Jake and Karli come together, read Love. Local. Latebreaking. They’re characters you’ll come to know and root for through their travails and triumphs. They continue their romance in Traffick Report (already available), where journalists continue their good work and come face-to-face with the powerful figures of the legal system.

Here’s to your happily ever after!

Please reach out to me at hllareau@icloud.com, or connect at my website; FB: Twitter; or Amazon.



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Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.



Author Bio and Links:
H. Laurence Lareau fell in love with romances the first time Pride and Prejudice came home from the library with him. Since that high school summer, he has earned an English degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, worked as a television and print journalist, built a career in law, and has remained a Jane Austen junkie through it all.

The Newsroom Romance series draws from his careers, his voracious reading, and his curiosity about the tensions between real life and real love.

Real life now is dramatically different from the real life of Austen’s times—privileged women no longer choose between eligible members of the landed gentry, nor are they imperiled by the sexist mysteries of the entailed fee simple estate in land.

Modern women with the privileges of education rather than birth now embark upon careers that can satisfy many personal and material dreams. Seemingly inevitably, though, careers fall short of the promise that they’ll fulfill women as people.

Strong, modern women have defined Lareau’s professional and personal lives, and strong women fully occupy center stage in their own newsroom romance stories. Their high-profile journalism and legal careers matter deeply to them and to the people they serve.

Then love comes walking in. These book boyfriends don’t have kilts or billions or pirate ships, though. Their career goals meet and often clash with their romantic counterparts, requiring both the men and women to make hard choices about what happily ever after should look like and how to achieve it.

When he isn’t writing, practicing law, or raising children, he’s working on martial arts and music.

Available on Amazon

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Stranded in Love VBT

Blurb:
If a gold medal was awarded for Worst Day Ever, Laney Calderone would win it today, hands down. She’s just discovered she's pregnant, her fiancé abruptly dumps her when she tells him, and her new car refuses to start as a brutal snowstorm hits Toronto.

Good Samaritan Tyler Hammond offers to take her home; however, with the heavy snow falling and his patience dwindling, Laney’s gold medal day isn’t over yet.

Storms intensify both outside and in as Laney finds herself inexplicably attracted to this tall, dark and very handsome but infuriating stranger.

Can Laney fight her unwanted yet increasing desire for this man long enough to get through the relentless storm? And will Tyler let her walk out of his life as easily as she came into it?



Excerpt:
Laney slammed the door shut then lifted the hood. Now, she thought, what exactly is it I’m supposed to be looking for? Her eyes roamed the assorted engine circuitry wishing she could see a flashing neon sign with the words Push this Button to Restart Engine.

No such luck. The heavy, wet snow covered the engine and she shivered again trying to brace herself against the powerful squalls.

“Need any help?” a deep voice penetrated the howling wind.

Laney heaved another sigh as she looked up and saw someone approaching. “No, of course not!” she snapped, in no mood for stupid questions. “I often come out here late at night during raging blizzards to study the complexities of my car engine! Would you like to join me? Perhaps later we could pop into the coffee shop down the street for a latté and scone, just to finish the evening off right.”

A low chuckle escaped the stranger’s lips. “All right, as you seem to have the situation under control, I’ll leave you to it. Goodnight.”

“Wait —” Through the swirls of snow Laney was now very much aware of the man approaching. Her eyes took in his massive shoulders hidden beneath a black leather jacket, and as he got closer, her gaze wandered higher taking in the full lips creased in a smile, a finely chiselled nose and steel grey eyes that seemed to be twinkling, then thick, dark curls which refused to be flattened by the huge, wet flakes.




Victoria, thanks so much for stopping by. Tell us a little about yourself.
It’s a pleasure to be here, thanks for letting me stop by!  I was born in England, my family moved to Canada when I was almost 7, and I have a strong love of humour and tea. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, a glass of wine and a good book.


How did you get started writing?
I’ve always enjoyed spinning yarns, even as a child.  My parents told me I was always very creative (still am) and I even had imaginary friends.  So, it wasn’t a huge leap to try my hand at writing and writing a romance novel interested me the most.  I took Creative Writing courses in school and college and always got top marks.  I love that I can escape into the pages and create a different world, even if it’s just for a while.


What was the inspiration for your book?
I glanced out of the window one day as the snow began to fall.  Huge, wet flakes covered everything so fast and my mind drifted. I wondered what I would do if I got stuck in a wicked snowstorm, miles from home, and my car wouldn’t start - what would happen to me?  Where would I find shelter? How would I get home?  Would a handsome Good Samaritan come along to rescue me?


What’s a genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I would love to try my hand at a murder mystery. I’ve always enjoyed reading Agatha Christie, Martha Grimes and Louise Penny, I’m just not sure I could keep the real clues and the red herrings under control until the last page.


Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
Science Fiction. I love Star Trek and Star Wars, but this very popular genre doesn’t inspire me to add a contribution. There’s a plethora of talented authors in this genre, so I’ll leave it to them and stay in romance.


What are you up to now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
Stranded in Love is Book #1 of the Calderone Family Romance Series. And as Laney, the heroine, has four older brothers, I decided to give each of them their own love story.  Book #2, Write to Love, will be released next year, and is the story of Noel Calderone, the youngest brother, and what happens when he meets a raven-haired, violet-eyed mystery author. Book #3 will continue with the brother’s love lives, Charles is next, followed by Stephen then Jamie. To wrap up the series, Book #6, which I’m currently working on, will be about their parents, Eve and Boyd, told partially in flashbacks, to recount their love story.


Alright, now for some random, fun questions. Favorite color?  
Red


Favorite movies?  
The Way We Were & Love Actually  


Book that inspired you to become an author?  
Oh, so many!! Too many to list!


You have one superpower. What is it?  
Invisibility


You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Agatha Christie, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, my Grandmother


Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
I don’t think I’m like any one of my characters. What I do think is that parts of me (some great, some tiny) come through in all my characters.  I’m creating them, placing them in situations, putting words in their mouth, giving them issues and stressors to manage, etc., so my feelings, emotions, wants and needs can’t help but sneak out and come through in their actions and dialogue on occasion.   


That’s all from me, thanks for taking the time to stop by!
Thanks for inviting me in!  I really enjoyed this interview.



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Author Bio and Links:
Born in England to a Monty Python-loving dad and a Lawrence Welk-loving mum - tea drinkers all - we moved to Canada when I was seven. "Say book, say look" my new classmates would hound me just so they could have a good chuckle at my accent. But being incredibly shy, this was a great way for me to make friends.

My love of words and a creative imagination prompted English teachers to urge me to write for a living, especially after I got a letter from the Prime Minister who thanked me for writing to him!  So cool for a twelve-year-old!

Through the years, I wrote while I earned a living as an Administrative Assistant in various companies; then I owned a Wedding Coordination business for six years (talk about romance!), all the while being happily married to the love of my life.

These interesting jobs plus wedded bliss gave me oodles of ideas for romantic plot lines, tall, dark and handsome heroes and feisty, beautiful heroines, and, of course, the happily ever afters.

I currently live in Mississauga and spend time with family and friends, and struggle daily with the wine and chocolate that somehow magically appear in my house...

And, amidst the endless cups of strong tea, while the dead parrot sketch and Cole Porter songs whirl around in my brain, I write. I will always write romances because I love creating fascinating characters whose lives I can make completely miserable before I give them their happily ever after.
Victoria

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