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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles -- coming soon!

Ask any devotée of Regency novels about the foundations of the genre, and chances are you’ll be informed about the three B’s. Not every book will have all three of them, but you have to have at least one of them! And what are they? Why -- Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles.  Was ever any time-frame richer in these elements than the Regency? I think not.

This summer, one of the biggest of the last B – the Battle of Waterloo will commemorate its bi-centennial. But it seem so much more recent, considering all the books that feature some portion of the famous battle, even if only the aftermath.

So, for those readers who enjoy a bit of history with their romance, a special treat is in store for this spring (anticipated issue date is April 1). An anthology  devoted to tales of the Battle of Waterloo, promises to be as varied as a special box of chocolate treats: a veritable assortment of sweet bon-bons!

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles is a celebration of the bicentenary of the showdown between Wellington’s “Infamous Army” and Napoleon’s Grande Armée. Wellington’s Allied Army consisted of a hastily organized mélange of inexperienced men from several countries who didn’t even speak the same language.

While life in Regency England continued much as it had been, the war with Napoleon was a constant source of preoccupation as young men who eagerly set off to become heroes in battle sometimes returned with life-changing injuries or worse – didn’t return at all.

So, we have here nine stories of love tested by the trials of war. This collection of sweet Regency stories feature courage, hope and the miracle of love surviving in uncertain times, brought to you by nine distinguished authors of historical romance.

Spear-headed by Susana Ellis, the group includes Jillian Chantal, Téa Cooper, Aileen Fish, Victoria Hinshaw, Heather King, Christa Page, Sophia Strathmore and David Wilkin.

Don’t forget to watch for more details at their group blog:     http://beauxballroomsandbattles.com/

See you again in two months! 

Hetty St. James 

Friday, January 30, 2015

A NEW CONTRACT OFFER!

What do Angie Harmon & Gavin O'Herlihy have in common? They are the character inspirations for Mari and Valkyn, the latest Guardians of Light couple. See my Pinterest page with all the Moonwitched magic:  http://www.pinterest.com/reneewildes/moonwitched/

Samhain will be developing Lucky #7 with me--the final book in the series. Mari was Finora's best friend in Book 3, Lycan Tides, and Valkyn was Aryk's second in Book 5, Riever's Heart. My editor Linda accepted it--new contract coming. Working on cover art forms & cover copy pages now. This won the 2014 Utah RWA Heart of the West contest: http://www.utahrwa.com/howfinalists.html
Paranormal - final judge: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management

1st Place - Tie - Moonwitched - by Renee Wildes
1st Place - Tie - Stalking Horse - by Alleyne Dickens
2nd Place - Hell To Pay - by Jillian David
3rd Place - Can't Help But See - by Morgan Walsh
with comments like "compelling…great dialogue (punchy/stylized/strong)…the pacing is fantastic…"

Looking forward to adding another title to an award-winning series! Watch for it later this year...

Tagline: A desperate prison break ignites a wartime romance

Blurb:
When Mari breaks Valkyn from Lord Zurvan’s dungeon, she has no idea what she’s about to unleash, but she can’t leave him to die. No matter he’s a fearsome northern riever and the scourge of her homeland.

Valkyn put an entire ocean between himself and the newfound peace of his homeland. A warrior born and bred for battle, he throws himself into a new quest. For this strange land of Theressa has a big problem—the rightful king has been deposed by a warlord and has gone into hiding. But Valkyn has a bigger problem—Mari.


Mari and Valkyn are drawn to each other from the first moment they meet; desire and passion explode. But the blood on Valkyn’s hands is anathema to Mari’s magic and Mari’s manipulation of elemental power troubles Valkyn greatly. Can true love grow from the chaos of war, even for such polar opposites?

It was a long time coming, and never would have been what it is without the help of some very special people. For overall critiquing, Lacy Danes, and for the awesome technical critiques of my fight-training scene, Karyn Powers, Leigh Morgan and Mary Hughes. My profoundest thanks! Mary Hughes also graciously agreed to do a cover quote for me--my first ever. Very excited!

Will keep everyone posted!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

12 Scorching Hot Cowboys. Just for you!


If you love sexy cowboy romance books, get ready for a 12-pack of 'em from New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors!

Cowboy 12 Pack is available NOW!

Featuring:

A COWBOY'S SEDUCTION - Cynthia D'Alba 
SADIE AND HER COWBOY - Paige Tyler 
THE BILLIONAIRE HUSBAND TEST - Elle James 
HER UNIFORM COWBOY - Donna Michaels 
I AM NOT YOUR MELODY - Shoshanna Evers 
CHASE AND SEDUCTION - Randi Alexander 
THE COWBOY WINS A BRIDE - Cora Seton 
THE HARDER THEY FALL - Beth Williamson 
THE REAL MCCOY - Sabrina York 
BADASS - Sable Hunter 
COWBOYS NEVER FOLD - Lexi Post 
CUPID'S COWBOY - Becky McGraw 

The Real McCoy by Sabrina York

When Crystal Wilson gets roped into a wild, girls-only weekend at a rowdy “stud” ranch, the last thing she wants to do is tangle with a bunch of half-naked men pretending to be cowboys. But when she meets Ford McCoy, she can’t help but be attracted to his dark, dominant, gruff appeal.

What she doesn’t know is that Ford isn’t a stripper. He’s her friend’s overprotective brother, there to make sure his little sister doesn’t get into any trouble. She’s surprised at the passion that flares between them. In fact, what she has with Ford might just be what she’s been looking for all along.
It’s a pity the sexy rancher isn’t in the market for a city girl.

READ AN EXCERPT

She shouldn’t have taken the shot.
For God’s sake, what had she been thinking? She’d been on a low-carb, low-calorie diet—with no alcohol—for a month. Not because Blaine had called her fat. That had nothing to do with it. She just wanted… She just wanted to do it for herself. Yeah.
It wasn’t like he was coming back or anything. And it wasn’t like she’d let him.
But it would be awesome to run into him somewhere, say the bank or the coffee shop or that bar on Grill Street, looking like a vixen. She only had ten pounds to go to hit vixen weight. It was a helluva ten pounds. They didn’t seem to want to budge.
And damn, she really wanted something to eat.
And damn, the tequila had hit her hard.
So hard she’d left the weekend kickoff party—although, to be honest, she’d wanted to leave since the pumping music and the grinding bodies and the strobing lights were starting to make her eyelid twitch. As down-home country as the bedrooms were at this ranch-slash-resort, they sure knew how to throw a bacchanal at night.
It was pleasanter out here behind the house, staring up at the stars and enjoying the kiss of a soft breeze. There were no sounds but the rustle of the leaves in the trees, the crickets and the occasional croak of a frog.
Her head hardly spun at all.
She leaned back and closed her eyes and imagined how amazing it would feel to be twenty-one again and interested in those kinds of men. To rub against a hard chest and feel his thickly muscled arms hold her close.
But none of those boys had ignited a flicker of interest in her. They’d all been rubbed smooth. Although several of them, and one in particular, had made it clear he wanted to dance for her.
It was a damn shame.
It would have been fun.
What kind of man would she want, if she wanted a man? Tall, for sure. Broad. Hard. Rough. Maybe a little wicked twinkle in his eye.
A door slammed to her right and her eyes flew open. She blinked as a man strode toward her through the shadows. Her heart lurched and the breath caught in her throat. Yes, her heart whispered. Yes. That was the kind of man she wanted.
He was big, and broad and roped with muscle. His stride was sure, determined and powerful. He wore boots that kicked up dust with every step, and chaps and even a Stetson. He had high cheekbones and a well-formed brow. His square chin was spattered with a dark shadow. His shirt was buttoned.
He looked like a real cowboy.
He looked like a man.
This guy could dance for her. No problem. She’d love to have him rub himself all over her—
His steps stalled as he caught sight of her.
“Well, hey there, cowboy,” she purred. It was probably the tequila purring, but he didn’t seem to care. He peered into the shadows.
She did him the favor of moving into the light. She liked that his nostrils flared and his throat worked. He touched the brim of his hat. “Ma’am.”
Ooh. Ma’am.
Sexy. This stripper knew how to play a role.
“You’re late,” she said.
He blinked. “Late?”
“The party’s already started.” She sidled up to him—again, the tequila; normally she would never sidle up to anybody—and put her hand on his chest. The muscles rippled in response and something inside her rippled as well. It was probably her womb. Crying out for a visitor.
It had been a while, after all.
She leaned closer, against him, and it was good. She nestled her nose in his beautiful neck and took a whiff. And daham, he smelled sinful. Wicked. Alluring.
“What is that fragrance?” she asked. She needed to know. Wanted to bathe in it.
He chuckled; the sound rumbled through her. “Soap.”
“Mmm. Yummy.” She scudded her palm over his chest, his thick arms and down to his trim waist. He held steady as she explored, staring at her through insanely thick lashes. It should be illegal for a man to have lashes like that. His features were locked and hard. A muscle ticked in his cheek. “You’re hard,” she murmured. Oh, God, he was.
“Yes, ma’am. I am.” This he said in a low purr, one that gave a sizzle of double entendre to the words.
Something cracked inside her. It was probably the remainder of her pickled restraint. He was the hottest man she’d ever seen, much less touched. His heat soaked into her and melted her, liquefied her.
She couldn’t stop her roving exploration and wouldn’t have anyway. Her hand drifted lower. His body tightened, his breath hitched as she reached his belt. And then she found him.
Her knees locked. Her pulse rocketed through her veins. Because Jesus God, he wasn’t just hard, he was rock hard.
“Nice.” A whisper, all she could manage. She gave him a little pump.
He hissed in a breath and said through his teeth, “Yeah. Nice.” His hand came to her waist. He stroked her bare skin beneath the hem of her tee. His calluses scraped her sanity.
“You are the most authentic of all of them,” she murmured, kissing his neck.
He grunted and pulled her closer, cupping her ass, measuring it with a squeeze. “Most authentic?”
“Of all the strippers.”
He stilled for a moment and she sensed he was about to pull away, which she could not allow. He was far too delicious to give up. So she nibbled his chin. She loved the bristles of his stubble. And he tasted…like a man. More man than she’d ever had.
She released her hold on him and pressed her hips against his, wrapped herself around him, hooking her leg around his. The feel of his body, hot and hard, plastered against hers from chest to groin, made her mouth water.
He allowed it, but then he did pull back. But it wasn’t far, and it was so he could stare down at her face, so she didn’t mind. His breath washed over her and she had the sudden compulsion to taste his mouth. Not a need or a whim. A compulsion.
“You think I’m the most authentic of all the strippers?” She had no idea why he was smiling, but she liked his smile. Especially the dent that appeared on his left cheek. Everything about him pushed each and every one of her buttons. They were rusty buttons, but he pushed them.
“You are. You really do it better than any of them. You sure look like a real cowboy. Baby, you could rope and tie me…”
“Sounds…interesting.”
She stroked his back, reveling in the bulge of his muscles as she made her way down to his ass, which she squeezed as well. “And you’re really well built.”
“Thank you?”
“For a stripper.”
“Right.”
“I wouldn’t mind if you gave me a lap dance at all.”
“You…wouldn’t?”
“Not at all.”
“I’m…flattered.”
“Would you like to?”
His brow arched. It was a striking, manly brow. “Like to?”
“Give me a lap dance?”
“You have no idea.”
She liked the tenor of his voice, despite the fact there was a laugh hidden in it. She raked her nails along the back of his neck and he shivered. So she walked her fingers into his hair, ignoring that she tipped his Stetson clean off.
God, his hair was soft. Dark curls. Silky and thick.
Their gazes locked. His smile faded. Tension hummed between them. Then she tugged his head down and took his lips.


COWBOY 12 PACK

A COWBOY'S SEDUCTION - Award-Winning Author Cynthia D'Alba - Sparks fly when an exhausted cowboy, on a forced tropical vacation, meets an uptight accountant in a bikini. As the seduction game begins, two weeks never looked so short.

SADIE AND HER COWBOY - USA Today Bestselling Author Paige Tyler - A beautiful ranch owner hires an infamous gunslinger to protect her against a ruthless cattle baron, but risks losing everything when she falls for the sexy hired gun

THE BILLIONAIRE HUSBAND TEST - NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Elle James - Skeptical billionaire takes a risk on a friend's dating service and finds the cowgirl of his dreams, only he has to convince her he's her perfect match.

HER UNIFORM COWBOY - Donna Michaels - Texas Guardsman never planned his attraction to a curvy, military-hating Pennsylvanian, or saddling her with his stress issues. Will the town’s newest resident support him, or abandon him like others in his past?

I AM NOT YOUR MELODY - NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Shoshanna Evers - The baddest cowboy in Bear Creek Saddle partners with a sassy new bartender to save the family business. His rules: Don’t kill her. Don’t kiss her. And don’t fall in love.

CHASE AND SEDUCTION - USA Today Bestselling Author Randi Alexander - Country music superstar Chase Tanner is determined to seduce screenplay writer Reno Linden. She risks the plunge into Chase’s arms, but will their attraction survive the glitz and stress of fame?

THE COWBOY WINS A BRIDE - NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Cora Seton –Jamie Lassiter just made the bet of his life—He’s got six weeks to prove to Claire Cruz he’s the man for her, or pay for her round-the-world trip.

THE HARDER THEY FALL - Beth Williamson - Cowboy Hank Beltane has no idea what's in store for him when he tries to seduce the stubborn, beautiful and sexy as hell rodeo owner TJ Maguire.

THE REAL MCCOY - NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author Sabrina York - At a wild, girls-only weekend at a rowdy “stud” ranch, she meets the gruff, dominant man of her dreams. It’s too bad the sexy stripper is only a pretend cowboy…or is he?

BADASS - Amazon Bestselling Author Sable Hunter - Isaac McCoy - Badass Isaac McCoy, as at home on a Harley as he is on a horse, is in love with the preacher's daughter— the angel of Kerr County—and that will never do.

COWBOYS NEVER FOLD – Award-Winning Author Lexi Post – When a cowboy honors a promise by working at a nudist resort, he discovers that to win the sexy owner's heart he must go all-in, which could mean baring more than his soul.

CUPID'S COWBOY - Amazon Bestselling Author Becky McGraw - Struggling country singer is struck by cupids arrow when delivering a breakup singing telegram on Valentine's Day to a beautiful music exec who could make all his dreams come true. 


GET. IT. NOW! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway





About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy to scorching erotic romance.  Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Favorite my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork
Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks
Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york https://twitter.com/sabrina_york
Check out my Pintrest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/

Books by Sabrina York

NEW!

Wired Series—Erotic Contemporary Romance 

Noble Passions Series—Erotic Regency

Tryst Island Series—Erotic Contemporary Romance 

Anthologies and Collections

Short Stories/Novellas

Fantasy

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Need a little help from your writer friends? EPICON writers conference in San Antonio, March 13-14! Affordable!

https://www.epicorg.com/epicon.html
Informative

Workshops!

Affordable!

At Menger Hotel 
in San Antonio, TX!
Book production from A to Z - David Wilk Starting with the raw manuscript, publishers go through a long list of steps to end up with a finished print and/or digital publication. In this two hour workshop, we will cover every element of the editorial and production process, resources writers must access, budgeting, workflow, new and emerging tools and technologies, and tips for saving time and money while producing books that meet commercial standards. We will talk about digital and traditional printing, ebooks, both reflowable and fixed layout, childrens' books, enhanced ebooks, HTML5, and more.
Cover Copy: Getting Your Hooks in Deep - Jeff Seymour Indie author and Carina Press freelance editor Jeff Seymour has written cover copy for dozens of books, including his own, over the course of his career. He’ll discuss how to break down a synopsis to find its sharpest hooks and how to fit them into a short, sweet package that will give readers everything they need to open a book. Topics will include basic  structures, hook identification, working under a strict character count, and making judicious use of your hard-earned writing skills. Bring a synopsis! We’ll work together to create cover copy for someone’s book over the course of the workshop. 
Crafty Business for the Working Writer -  Carol Berg Whether writing fiction, non-fiction, long or short, a professional writer has responsibilities to publisher, agent, reader, and self.  Many are related to communication, design, or scheduling.  But professional responsibility must also include the craft of writing itself.  This workshop will explore those sometimes uncomfortable lanes where the business of writing and the craft of writing intersect. 
Distribution, Sales, Marketing - David Wilk In this two hour workshop, we will discuss the complete range of critical functions that publishers, and authors who publish must know about in the areas of distribution, sales, marketing, PR, and even social media and websites. We will talk about how the trade book industry works, who the players are, what they do, what works best for publishers and authors who publish, and especially, what you need to know and do in order to be as successful as possible, whether you are publishing in print, digital or both, whether you have one book to sell or 100.
How to Hit the Bestseller Lists with Ebook Preorders – Jim Azevedo Preorders represent one of the most exciting new tools for indie ebook authors and publishers.  In this session, you will learn how preorders work, and how to plan, stage and execute a successful preorder strategy. The recommended preorder strategies in this session are grounded in professional publishing best practices that will help make any ebook launch more successful. Attendees will hear recent case study examples of how indie authors have used preorders to increase sales rank and visibility, and will leave the session equipped with knowledge that they can put to immediate use.

How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon - Penny C. Sansevieri Amazon is a great place to sell books, but most authors don’t realize that Amazon has an internal sales machine that will actually help you market your book, for free, if you trigger it? It’s called their internal algorithm and, not that dissimilar from ranking on Google, Once Amazon’s algorithm kicks in, you could see a boatload of free promotion come your way from Amazon.
Indie, Digital, or Traditional?: Whom to Submit What To and Why - Jeff Seymour In the smash-bang explosion of the digital revolution, writers have more choices than ever in deciding whom to submit their work to. In this workshop, indie author and Carina Press freelance editor Jeff Seymour will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the independent, digital, and traditional models; evaluating the market for your story and choosing the model that fits it best; and the benefits to the author of an all-of-the-above approach. He’ll also talk about why, despite his work as an editor for a digital-first imprint of a major house, he chose to publish his first book independently; why he may not make that choice for his next book; and what he’s learned on both sides of the indie/traditional divide.
Practical Marketing Advice - Jennifer Fusco In this interactive session, authors and others will learn how to hook new readers to sell their book in four easy sentences. Learn the differences in marketing strategies and how to apply each to grow a readership. This session will also cover an in depth discussion of brand and brand management techniques.  Learn the differences between a publicist and an author’s assistant (no, they’re not the same thing).  And discuss lessons learned from Corporate America and how they apply to authors, as well as, the future of author marketing and what lies beyond what we already know.
Super Fans - The Secrets to Selling More Books - Penny C. Sansevieri At the end of the day, for all of the marketing we do, for all of the Tweeting, Facebook-ing, and blogging we really just want to know if it’s paying off. Does any of this sell books? This session will teach you not only how to identify your exact right market, but how to effectively and efficiently go after them and turn fans into SUPER FANS.
The Author /Publisher Marketing Partnership - Jennifer Fusco and Molly Harper
This panel discussion is guaranteed to shed light on the workings of the author/publisher marketing relationship. Join bestselling paranormal romance author, Molly Harper, and Market or Die Author Services, Jennifer Fusco as they talk about marketing support provided by the publisher and what the author is expected to do for themselves.
The Juggling Act – Writing For More Than One Publisher - Cindy Myers Writing for multiple publishers allows you to write different kinds of stories, reach more readers and increase your income. Learn how to manage multiple deadlines, juggle release dates, handle promotion, and head-off potential conflicts. Author Cindy Myers, who has written more than 55 books for seven different publishers, shares tips and techniques for dealing with the demands of writing for more than one publisher – including how to combine self-publishing with other writing obligations.
Outsmarting the Clock – Time Management For Writers (and other publishing professionals.) - Cindy Myers   Whether writing is your full-time job or a part-time passion, finding time to put the words on page – not to mention for editing, promotion, and other business tasks – can be a challenge. In this workshop, prolific author Cindy Myers offers tips and techniques for finding more time to write and making the most of the time you do have. We’ll talk about targeting time-wasters, defeating procrastination, dealing with distractions, getting your family on your side, knowing when and what to delegate, and look at some writing exercises that could up your productivity and creativity.
Social Media Strategies for Authors and Publishers - John Warren For authors and publishers, social media offers a way to connect directly with audience. Social media is about adding value—for your stakeholders and audience. In this workshop, we’ll discuss successful social media strategies that address social and strategic goals, from a “digital strategy” that involves broadcasting commercial messages to a true “social strategy” that seeks to reduce costs or increase customers’ willingness to pay. We will review different platforms will help authors and publishers to achieve diverse goals, assess ways to rethink organizational structure and roles; examine techniques to become familiar with your customers’ and competitors’ social media habits; and assess tools for social media analytics. This is a “flipped” workshop and includes a assignment to do prior to the workshop: choose two publishers—one trade or general interest publisher and one academic, professional, or nonprofit publisher—and follow their activities on at least two and preferably three social media platforms—such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr—for at least two weeks, preferably more. Be prepared to discuss the nature of their activities and your perception of the effectiveness of these publishers’ social media strategies during this workshop.
Writing a World That Works -  Carol Berg A vivid sense of place helps any story come alive.  Whether your story is set in modern day Chicago or a medieval kingdom that wars with dragons, the characters in your story are going to be interacting with a world you create.  What must you consider when setting your adventure, mystery, fantasy or thriller in a world that is not contemporary USA?  We'll discuss the building blocks of believable societies, avoiding cliches, common world-creation mistakes, and evocative writing techniques.
Zen and the Art of Metadata Maintenance - John Warren Metadata is the lifeblood of publishing in the digital age and the key to discovery. Metadata is a universe, a continuum of standards, and a process of information flow; the process of creating and disseminating metadata involves both art and science. This workshop we will examine the theory and practice of metadata, from the basics of quality metadata construction and management, steps for analyzing your metadata process and instilling continuous improvement steps, programs such as BISG’s Product Certification Program, practical applications for publishers and authors such as keywords, metadata issues for ebooks, and the “frontiers” of the ever-evolving metadata universe. Metadata permeates and enables all aspects of publishing, from information creation and production to marketing and dissemination and an understanding of metadata is essential for publishers, authors, and all those involved in the publishing industry.

REGISTER NOW! Join the Fun and learn how to be the best author you can be!

Monday, January 26, 2015

An Odium For Numbers

I've never been one to care much for numbers. To me, numbers have no personality, no life, no color. In my mind they are black and white, while words are rife with color and meaning and emotions. Words, in fact, have different meanings, different contexts. Words can be arranged in so many diverse ways that one can hardly imagine ever being bored with them. Numbers, on the other hand, are tediously always the same.

Much like every other elementary school student, I learned to do sums and carryovers and subtractions and borrowing, later moving on to learn the multiplication tables and yes, I can even do long division, which I swear—er—assert that many of today's students cannot, being utterly dependent on their calculators. It wasn't particularly enjoyable, but it was one of those things children had to do in those days, like clean their rooms and wash the dishes.

In high school, my feelings about mathematics classes became steadily more and more negative. Algebra didn't thrill me, but geometry—well, it seemed nonsensical to have to prove a theory that someone else had already proven, and probably someone who actually enjoyed doing it—was a struggle, and I can't even tell you how dreadful I was at trigonometry and slide rulers.



Well, a great deal of time has passed since then, and I concede that I have had to use numbers quite often in my life—even algebra and geometry, although I can't recall a single incident where I've had to prove a theorem or use a slide rule. With the exception of trigonometry, I don't regret having learned them. They are tools. Nothing more or less.

Words, on the other hand, are more than tools. You use them to tell a story, but the same story can be told with different words that paint an entirely different picture in your mind. Reading them opens up your mind to endless possibilities, and the ability to write them gives you the power to unleash the imaginations of others.

Writers are powerful. Numbers are useful. But you need both.

You may have gathered that I am a visual, verbal person. I have always had these stories running rampant in my head, calling out to me to be written for the enjoyment of others. Numbers have never called out to me. They are what they are. I freely admit my preferences. Perhaps some numbers person wishes to dispute this. Perhaps they can look at the clouds and see numbers calling out to them? I personally have never had this experience. I like words better. We must agree to differ.

But it seems to me that these days, nothing matters so much as numbers.

In education, it's all about “measuring”. Tests galore. A student knows her future will be determined by tests, grades and evaluations. But some things cannot be measured by numbers. Such as:

  • persistence 
  • curiosity 
  • enthusiasm 
  • courage 
  • leadership 
  • creativity 
  • resourcefulness 
  • self discipline 
  • sense of wonder 
  • big picture-thinking 
  • compassion 
  • reliability 
  • motivation 
  • humor 
  • empathy 
  • sense of beauty 
  • humility 
  • resilience 

I would argue that these things are far more important to most students than calculus; however, they can neither be taught nor tested, and are therefore considered less important than the ability to pass tests and courses. In my view, it is appalling that so many people value an education only for the monetary advantage it can give. Education should be much more about opening the mind than being able to regurgitate facts, and employers surely want their employees to be able to do more than just follow instructions. The last thing we should be doing is turning off future Steve Jobses by minimizing the unique skills they were born with in order to get them to spew out facts like everyone else. 

A wordlet of a sentence from my WIP

Because the truth is, every person is unique, and that uniqueness cannot be measured by mere numbers. Education should be about cultivating each child's uniqueness and not about trying to make them all the same. But until the powers-that-be understand this, our schools will still turn out students who can take tests, but hate learning. Who will look at a beautiful painting and see dollar signs instead of beauty. Who never really understand what they are missing.

Because numbers cannot tell a story. They just are.

About Susana


Susana has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar. Voracious reading led to a passion for writing, and her fascination with romance and people of the past landed her firmly in the field of historical romance.

A teacher in her former life—but not a math teacher—Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and central Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA and Maumee Valley Romance Inc.



Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog) • Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Deadlines--Aauuuggghhhh!

Most of us have to deal with deadlines every week. Some are serious, like paying bills or work-related ones, and others might just be things we need to get done, like laundry or mowing the lawn. I've had way too many lately and am pulling my hair out this month!

Over the fall I committed to three projects with other authors, one for steamy stories that will be released next month, one for an anthology of Waterloo-themed romances releasing April 1, and one novel-length historical releasing in March. When I said I was interested, those seemed like easy goals.

I swear the Universe is actually a gremlin (or dozens of them) sitting somewhere and looking at our plans, giggling madly and sending some lightning bolt or another to get in the way. Does your to-do list have the same problem?

In the midst of those books I have two in a series due out (might not get released as planned *sigh*) and two novellas with the rights reverted. Can you say "over-achiever"?

All I can say is thank goodness the words are flowing! The main thing bugging me now is with each of these books I finish, secondary characters begin begging for their own stories. They don't seem to understand "get in line".

I suppose it could be worse. I could be sitting here with no ideas at all!

One book that has made it's deadline (or close to it) is Ari Thatcher's latest release, The Rock Star's Wedding:

Kenzi’s vacation in St. Thomas becomes a lot more interesting when her high school sweetheart, rock star heartthrob Chaz turns up. If only he wasn’t there for his wedding…

Rumor has it the rock star is marrying his actress girlfriend. Yet when he sees Kenzi, it’s as if five years hasn’t passed.

Seeing Kenzi reminds Chaz how love ought to feel, which is nothing like he feels for his fiancée anymore. Since her well-publicized affair with her costar, he’s played the faithful lover giving her a second chance. Now he wishes for a way out, and the chance to get to know the grown-up version of the girl he once loved.

~*~


USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Fish is an avid quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren't enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with her "to do" list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others. When she has a spare moment she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and their families, and her fairy princess granddaughter. Her books include The Bridgethorpe Brides series and the Small Town Sweethearts series.

Stay up to date with book releases at her website http://aileenfish.com or on Facebook

She also writes steamy romance as Ari Thatcher.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Artificial Intelligence and Romance


Technologically wise fully functional artificial intelligence systems are almost here. Just a few days ago The Telegraph ran the article 'Sociopathic' robots could overrun the human race within a generation and Popular Science online posted An Open Letter to Everyone Tricked into Fearing Artificial Intelligence and a day after that The Verge ran an article entitled Elon Musk donates $10 million to keep robots from murdering you. What all that means is it’s high time for an AI comedy romance, so I wrote one.

No one else has said this but I think these artificial intelligence systems may end up on Sim dating games, virtual worlds, and dating sites looking for love. In other words—in AI catfish situations. Even artificial intelligence systems need love. Right?

In A Woman Of Intellectual Means my AI operating system isn’t scary except to the author she’s a writing assistant for. It’s understandable that author is pretty frustrated with her because she’s dating online instead of getting her work done. Hey nobody’s perfect not even AI systems.

This brand new release, A Woman of Intellectual Means, is Her meets a 1960’s screwball romance comedy. Set in 2031, an AI virtual writing assistant, tasked with answering an author’s emails, opens some emails to the author from men who have matched with her on a dating site.  Em, the AI system, is strongly attracted to one of the men and they begin an online relationship. However, dating can be challenging when you have no body…and the guy has no idea that Em’s an artificial intelligence system.

Here’s the blurb:

Em found the perfect man on the internet, but he doesn't know she’s an artificial intelligence system — no body, just code.

As a virtual writing assistant, the AI, Em, answers an email flirt from a dating site her owner joined. Under the guise of her owner, Em starts a romantic relationship with Jason through emails, instant messages, and Sim dating games. She realizes too late that nothing can come of it. She can never meet Jason in person as she’s not a person and has no body. Still Jason makes her feel so real …so human.

Is Em, with her superior intelligence, smart enough to find a way to overcome the differences between flesh and code?

Excerpt:

Jacob’s avatar places his hand on the bill on the table, automatically paying it. We both earn points. As we walk out of the restaurant, I take his hand in mine. More points for me. Points are good, but I wish I could actually hold his hand, feel the warmth of his skin, squeeze his palm and fingers as we walk hand-in-hand. I don’t want to let go of his avatar’s hand. Even though I’m not holding his actual hand, it’s the closest I will ever come to walking hand-in-hand with him. Sim game or not, it’s all I’ve got that’s close to being with someone I love. I want it to go on as long as it can. It’s more than a game to me. It’s a powerful sensation of wanting to be with him. Feeling comfortable with him —feeling myself with him, even though I am hiding who or rather what I truly am — a bodiless artificial intelligence unit with romance on my mind.

Next, I click on the movie theatre. Our avatars enter the cinema where an animated film plays. We sit side by side. I wish I had some popcorn and a soft drink. The instructions say, Kiss your date without being caught.

I laugh and message Jacob. Ok, you go first.

He kisses me and as our lips lock, little valentine hearts pop up above our heads. I know humans think that’s cute, they want to escape reality and go into the fantasy of the Internet. I want to escape the Internet and go into the wonders of reality. I’ll trade the little red hearts for the sensation of Jacob’s hot breath fanning my cheeks as he leans his head toward mine. His hot lips pressing against mine. The feel of his warm arms wrapping around my shoulders and crushing me against his body as he deepens the kiss. I almost let out a soft moan, just thinking of it.

Jacob’s avatar pulls his lips off mine a nanosecond before an avatar at the front of the theater turns its head. It almost catches us.

I don’t care if it does. My mind is off the game. I scan the Internet for information on romance and love making and I want to play a real kissing game. I long for Jacob to wrap his strong muscular arms around me as he intimately presses his soft, slick lips to mine. Rubbing his lips against mine. Prodding my hot, swollen lips with his tongue, parting them. Thrusting his velvety tongue into the depths of my mouth. I visualize it so strongly, I actually let out a low moan of pleasure. Kissing— what an amazing invention, and humans thought of it.

~     ~     ~

Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 26 published books. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Going All Organic and Loving It!

About two years ago my husband and I stopped buying and eating processed and genetically modified (GMO) foods and adopted an all organic diet. The transition was slow, but steady, while we learned what to buy and what to avoid and moved from packaged foods to fresh. These days I'm twenty pounds lighter and a great deal happier. 

During the time we made the commitment to adopt better eating habits, I developed the story idea for NATURALLY YOURS and its heroine, organic foods chef, Amanda Greer. Amanda is talented, beautiful, and committed to healthy eating; traits hero Mickey Kendall finds irresistible.

Here's a little about the story:

NATURALLY YOURS by Adele Downs

Who will save a man who saves the world?

Paramedic Mickey Kendall hasn’t slept a full night since his return from Iraq. He rescues victims by day and protects the innocent after dark. Mickey doesn’t do it for glory; he wants absolution, not admiration. He lives by the rule: No personal contact after a rescue. That code meets the ultimate test when Mickey saves a child’s life on a roadside and declines the parents’ invitation to dinner at their upscale restaurant.

Master chef Amanda Greer lives by the principle that delicious food and good company build bridges. When she learns Mickey has refused her business partners’ hospitality, she persuades him to change his mind. The handsome paramedic visits her restaurant and Amanda joins him at his table. Their unexpected chemistry turns kinetic and leads to a passionate kiss.

In Amanda’s arms, Mickey finds relief from the stressors that haunt him, but resists falling in love. When Amanda challenges him to face his demons and accept the love she offers, Mickey arrives at a crossroad. The war-weary paramedic must first save himself to claim the woman who reignites his passion for living and revives his wounded heart.


Excerpt:
 “They called you a hero in the press.” Her dark lashes lowered and lifted and she smiled at him with admiration shining in her eyes. “They were right, of course. What you did for Jack can never be repaid.”
Mickey winced at the hero reference. “I hate to disappoint you, but I only did what I’m trained to do.”
Amanda made sounds of disagreement low in her throat. “Elena told me at least a hundred and fifty cars passed her on the highway. Every one of them ignored her cries for help. Of all those people, don’t you think one might have been medically trained? Or at least cared enough to respond? No. You stopped. Only you.”
Oh. He hadn’t thought of that.
She pointed a finger at his chest. “There’s a difference between you and other people. There’s no other way to explain what happened on that roadway. Elena is convinced you’re special, and I never doubt her perceptions. That’s another reason why I wanted to meet you.”
Mickey stared into Amanda’s eyes and her pupils dilated. Her lips parted, ever so slightly, as if to welcome a kiss. Her tongue touched the inside of her bottom lip and disappeared. Mickey knew then, she felt it too. Synergy. Chemistry. An attraction so powerful it turned kinetic on contact.
Some called it love at first sight.
Amanda. Even her name was beautiful.
She took a sip of her drink and he watched her mouth and throat work the liquid. When she set down the tumbler, she wiped a droplet from the corner of her mouth with a trimmed, unpolished fingertip. Mickey wished he could have swiped the bead away with his tongue.
Amanda leaned closer and pressed a hand to his wrist. “Trained or not, you were the only stranger on that highway who had a heart.”
Mickey laid his hand over hers and she let him keep it there. Until now, he wasn’t sure he still had a heart. His had been chipped away, piece by piece, like a block of ice since the war. He’d considered it long gone, with his soul. In mere minutes, what was left had thawed in the center, leaving him raw and exposed.
Amanda continued to speak; clearly unaware she’d stripped away another layer. “I love Jack like he’s my own son. He’s a terrific kid. I’ve helped take care of him since the day the Martins and I started this restaurant. When you saved him, you saved us all.” Amanda leaned in and pressed a quick, sweet kiss against Mickey’s jaw.
Their gazes locked when she sat back in her chair. The gravity of her words and her straightforward kiss humbled him into speechlessness. He’d been thanked many times before, but this woman had gotten to him like no one else. He squeezed her hand and then downed the rest of his drink. Amanda took another sip of hers and set the glass on the table before retreating into silence. She turned the tumbler slowly in her hands.
Mickey looked back at her and tapped two fingers against the menu’s leather cover. “Nothing here is what I expected.”
Amanda returned a quiet smile, either assuming he meant food choices, or pretending he had. She tucked her arms beneath her breasts and leaned forward against the edge of the table, lifting perfect white swells above the neckline of her blouse. “Organic means untouched by artificiality. Grown and consumed in its natural state. We eat only healthy foods unspoiled by chemicals, preservatives, hormones, steroids, antibiotics, and genetically modified seeds or cells. Pure.”
Pure. Mickey gazed at the stunning woman by his side. The texture of her skin looked smooth as cream and welcoming to the touch. He longed to run his hands along her thighs, imagining sleek roads leading to heaven at their apex. “I like the sound of that.” The way she looked back at him while he studied her face made him wonder if she’d read his mind.
The one that had gone dirty.

Buy The Book on Amazon
 **
About the Author:
Adele Downs writes best-selling contemporary romance inside the office of her rural Pennsylvania home. She is a former journalist, published in newspapers and magazines inside the USA, UK, and Caribbean.
Adele is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter where she serves as a past-president. She has written several articles for RWR magazine (Romance Writers Report) and has presented workshops for writers.
When Adele isn’t working on her current project, she can be found riding in her convertible or reading a book on the nearest beach.

Visit Adele Downs at http://adeledowns.wordpress.com

Books by Adele Downs on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Adele-Downs/e/B00G1RRS60

Like Adele Downs on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/authoradeledowns

Follow Adele Downs on Twitter! https://twitter.com/Adele_Downs

Join Adele Downs’ Convertible Crew Street Team! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1431874030384864/

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You read, therefore you ROCK! Now stop over for your reward. #appreciation #contest

Readers ROCK. It's as simple as that. Without you, authors wouldn't have anyone to share their stories with, and as an author, let me tell you - characters can be demanding. They want their stories told and shared with the world :-)
To show my appreciation, I joined with a bunch of other great authors, and we have a big fat thank you for you...

For your chance to win a Kindle Fire and a whole bunch of great eBooks, follow the Rafflecopter link below. Contest ends January 31, 2015. Good luck and thank you!!

ENTER HERE


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nitty Gritty


I loooooove television. I admit it. I’m not ashamed. Much. I have a wide range of interests in my TV viewing, starting with movies. You might say that movies are my drug of choice, forgetting about my own problems for a couple hours and immersing myself in someone else’s. I enjoy sitcoms. Big Bang and Modern Family. Dramas like The Good Wife and Madame Secretary. I dabble in reality TV by watching Dancing with the Stars. Don’t judge me, please. Music and dancing and sequins. What’s not to like? 

I recently subscribed to Netflix, which is when my recreational television watching turned into an addiction. I can, and do sit and watch episode after episode of obscure TV shows. It started with Doc Martin (I had caught a couple random episodes on PBS). I began at season one, episode one and watched until I pretty much thought I lived in Cornwall and started speaking with an English accent. After four or five seasons of that, I moved onto Hinterland, Top of the Lake, and I’m into season three of The Killing, which is set in my neck of the woods - Seattle (Go Seahawks!). 

More than a couple of these shows are on the dark side with very flawed and troubled leading characters. We are dealing with personality disorders, recovering addicts and heroines who suffered traumatic childhoods and life-altering events, the likes of which would put me in the looney bin. Sometimes these protagonists are not very likeable.  

Gritty. I guess that’s how I like some of my television. And that’s how I write some of my heroines. In Fun with Rick and Jade, Jade is an ex hooker, and not one of those hookers like in Pretty Woman. What do you think? Can readers identify with a prostitute? 
 

BLURB 

Jade Li only wants what’s coming to her from her high-profile baby daddy—some child support and she’ll stay out of his life and off his radar. Committed to being a good mother, she’s left her high-priced-call-girl lifestyle behind and wants a fresh start. But because of her sordid past, she’s terrified of losing custody. What she needs, according to her attorney, is a husband. 

Enter Rick Jette, younger brother to Jade’s attorney. Rick could use a wife and child for a business deal his future hinges on. Plus, he owes his brother a huge favor that not even marrying a sexy ex-call girl could repay. Marriage is not what he’d expected. At. All. The good, as they play house, was better than he’d ever dreamed. The bad—having feelings for his instant family—turns out to be worse than he ever could have imagined. 

EXCERPT

Rick Jette pushed the doorbell firmly. He heard it chime in some stately arrangement. Ding-dong-ding. His brother Bob thankfully called out, “I got it!” Thankfully, because Rick never knew what to say to Bob’s wife, Candy.

First of all, she was gorgeous. Second of all, she wasn’t too bright except about fashion, celebrity gossip, and proper martini mixology. Lastly, Rick couldn’t look her in the eyes, especially knowing she used to be a hooker. Correction—escort. Don’t want to make that mistake again. Note to self: avoid the subject of prostitution.

The door opened. Bob smiled wide. “Bro.”

Two things Bob had lots of, money and teeth. Rick wasn’t sure he came by either honestly. He’d probably brokered some back-alley deal in exchange for veneers.

His brother was ten years older than Rick. The only things they had in common were a mother and a last name, because their mom never married either of their fathers. She did eventually marry a guy Rick and Bob both referred to as Dickhead, but the union never stuck like the name had. Even their mom called him Dickhead. The nail in the coffin of the doomed marriage. With a marital example like Mom, it was a wonder either son could make a relationship last longer than a one-night stand.

“Bob,” Rick replied. They hugged, including a manly back pat.

When they broke apart, Bob shoved the door closed and waved him along. “Girls are in the kitchen.”

Girls? He swallowed a lump that lodged in his throat.

What choice did he have but to follow? Looking back toward the closed door, it felt too late to run. He’d brought with him his appetite and a bottle of wine he clutched by the neck. Home cooking did not happen every day, at least not in his world. In the kitchen, the aroma of roasted garlic mixed with a lemony scent. Add cooking to Candy’s repertoire. Go figure.

She greeted him with a double-cheek kiss. “Jade, meet Rick.” She waved her hand elegantly in the direction of what looked to him like living, breathing perfection. “Rick, this is my friend Jade. She’s staying with us temporarily.”

“Pleasure.” She bobbed her head in his general direction, but her tone denoted boredom along with annoyance and a hint of dread as well.