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Mondays are for Excerpts

15 Sep

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

Cristian stopped laughing then put a hand on top of hers, squeezing it. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. What’s done is done. I’m assuming you had a good reason for getting drunk and I’m actually glad you called me—even though it wasn’t for the right reason.”

Tessa sighed, feeling remorse and sadness. “I need to know: did I . . . did we?”

“Have sex?” Cristian finished her sentence when she couldn’t. “No, we didn’t.” He looked at her with sad eyes and pressed his lips tight.

“Thank goodness!” she exclaimed. A sigh of relief escaped Tessa, then she saw his face go pale, and hurried to say, “Cristian, please don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mean it that way.”

He tried to walk away, but she grabbed his wrist, forcing him to stop, and looking deep into his blue eyes she said, “You’re one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. You’ve been my friend now during a period of my life when I couldn’t trust anyone. With your candor, your patience, your sense of humor, your passion, you helped me learn how to let people back into my life. I wish I could give you what you want, but I can’t.”

Tessa sighed and swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. “Yesterday was one of those days I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life. I was driving to see my therapist and this young man jumped out of nowhere in front of my car and I got out and saw him on the ground. Then another driver came and when I asked for help he said the kid was pretending and I should kick him aside, get in my car and drive away because I was blocking the traffic.

“Then he kicked my car and began insulting me. I was taking all that abuse while people crowded around us to see the scene and . . . something I don’t know what, made me stand up and follow the man back to his car and I . . . I hit him in his crotch.”

“He insulted you and hit your car? You hit him?” Cristian stared at her with incredulous eyes.

“Yeah. I hit him. I hit him for the teenager hurting on the ground, for all the women that are out there taking the kind of abuse we take when men think that we can’t drive, or all we know how to do is whore around. I’m so sick of this mentality. Maybe that’s why I want so desperately to have this event we’re working on so we can change something. Why do people have to be so hateful? Why is there a need for so much abuse?”

Cristian pulled her up and wiped off her tears with his thumbs. His face came down to her, as if he wanted to kiss her, then abruptly he hugged her and rocked her side to side.

The embrace felt warm. Tessa closed her eyes and let Cristian rock her—it felt good. He held her for a while, resting his chin atop her head.

“You don’t stop amazing me. I wonder if there are stores around that sell armor, or something,” Cristian said after a while, and when she didn’t say anything, he looked down at her and said, “You know, for protection?”

Tessa pinched his arm then said, “Keep teasing, then no armor will protect you from me.”

“So.” Cristian titled his head. “Are you going to tell me why you need a therapist?”

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VBT–Dancing with Raven by S.G. Rogers. Spotlight and Giveaway

12 Sep

 

Dancing with Raven Cover

Dancing with Raven by S.G. Rogers

Tori Moss is no stranger to heartbreak. Raised by a foster mother since the deaths of her parents in a horrific accident, she’s poured herself into ballet. A disappointing audition sends her into an emotional tailspin, but it’s the strangely intriguing new guy in school who catches her as she falls. Although Tori and Raven seem to be nothing alike, they share an uncommon ability to see the sudden flood of demons pouring into Los Angeles. When she discovers a plot to bring about the Apocalypse, Tori must decide whom to trust. One wrong step may cost her everything.

 

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SG RogersAuthor S.G. Rogers:

Currently residing in beautiful Savannah, Georgia, S.G. Rogers writes historical romance, fantasy, and romantic fantasy stories. She’s owned by two hairless cats, Houdini and Nikita, and lives on an island populated by exotic birds, deer and the occasional gator. Tab is her beverage of choice, but when she imbibes, a cranberry vodka martini doesn’t go amiss.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 9/24/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Interview with author Susan Squires. Giveaway

11 Sep

Susan,

Thank you for accepting to be a guest on my blog. You and I can talk for hours about the same passion that brought us together in the first place—writing—but I’d be selfish keeping you just to myself. Can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedule and sitting down with me for a cup of . . . wisdom, writing and romance.

Last week I posted a review of your novel titled THE COMPANION which I absolutely loved for its raw emotions, heroes with more than just good looks and a storyline that kept me awake late in the night. This novel redeemed for me the entire vampire species, it truly did and I thank you for it. Along with the review I promised my fans an interview with you so, here I keep my promise. Shall we? 

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey.

I had always wanted to write. When I was 12 I started a novel written from the point of view of my dog and got 36 painfully typed pages done. When I was 16 I was sure I would be a writer. But I had other interests too. I was a theater major in college and did some acting, got a Masters Degree in English lit. And then life got in the way. Neither writing or theater seemed like a practical way to make a living. (I was right about that!) Nobody was getting work teaching. I went to work in the business world, had some luck, got to be an executive in a Fortune 500 company, but I always felt something was missing. In one of my many mid-life crises, I decided to write a book. That was difficult for me. I’d studied great literature. I knew I probably wouldn’t turn out to be the next Jane Austen. But I read a novel with an exciting premise on the back blurb. The actual book didn’t seem to deliver. I remember finishing and saying to myself, “I may not be Jane Austen, but I can do better than THAT.” So I wrote a book. It was awful. I had to decide whether I was going to put the effort in to get better at this thing. So I took classes, and got a critique group. I sold the second book I wrote, DANEGELD, about Vikings and Saxons in Dark Age Britain. It got some attention. I was on my way… 

When did you write THE COMPANION and what was the inspiration for it?

I had written five books and wanted to return to an idea I’d had some time earlier. During the early years of the AIDS epidemic, many people blamed the people who had the disease, as if it was a punishment for being bad. I didn’t believe that. I had just watched (again) the old movie of Dracula with Frank Langella, and I thought to myself, “What if vampires can’t help what they are? What if they just have a disease, and everyone just thinks they’re evil because of it?” So my vampires have a parasite in their blood that gives them eternal life, and strength, and the ability to influence weaker minds, but it also extracts a terrible toll. The world of the Companion was born. And, of course, some things we all believe about vampires are myths in my stories. I wrote some of my vampires as Italian—so of course their aversion to garlic was a myth. So was the stuff about crosses. Just superstitions! I also wanted my world to be a little kinky but with real people who experienced real emotions. I wanted readers to experience what it would really be like to be a vampire, or to be in love with one. 

Why did you pick the Regency Era for your novel? 

See above—all those references to Jane Austen? I loved the Regency period. I had read every Georgette Heyer book I could get my hands on. I thought they were pretty perfect, except they didn’t have enough sex (or any!) I had done an earlier vampire story called SACRAMENT that first laid out the world of the Companion and I wanted to revisit and expand that world. I had already accumulated a lot of research materials on the Regency, and I’d been to England several times. So I combined my two interests, and did Regency vampires. 

I know there are 6 novels in the series called COMPANION (can’t wait to read them all!). The second novel titled THE HUNGER follows Beatrix Lisse, who you introduce to your readers during THE COMPANION. Why out of all your secondary characters you chose her to become the main heroine in the second novel?

Cami, you are so perceptive! I had a special love for Beatrix. She was based on a character I loved from my first vampire novel. That novel was far, far too long, and in order to publish it I had to cut it in half. (It was still published and more than 120,000 words.) So my beloved character hit the cutting room floor. But when you are a writer, those characters can live again… and I brought her back as Beatrix Lisse.

Is it true that each novel in the series follows a character you introduce in the previous novel?

No. Some books follow characters you’ve never met. Sometimes characters from previous books show up. Sometimes a villain reappears. Each can be read as a standalone book. In some cases, all they share is the world construct. 

A series of 6 books must be hard to write. You need to remember when and where each story begins/ends, keep track of all heroes, etc. Can you tell us which book was the easiest to write and which the hardest? Were you stuck at any given time and if yes how did you overcome it? 

Because the Companion series doesn’t follow a single, overarching story arc, they were much easier to write than a series where each book follows the same character group and occurs immediately following the previous book. I had more freedom that way.

Of course the first book in a series is often the easiest. It seems to just flow out, because the idea is shiny and new and you just want to live the story. But in ONE WITH THE DARKNESS, I had an experience that was very hard, and that turned into something very easy. It’s the sixth book in the series. I had submitted an idea my editor didn’t like. I was crushed. She started trying to suggest what I should write. I not only didn’t like her ideas, I got angry (though she probably never knew that. I was nice—she was my boss after all.) I told her I’d go away and think about it. I was in Philadelphia for the day job at the time, trying to get home on a Friday night. The plane broke. I had to stay over night. And while I was having a very lonely dinner at the Ramada Inn coffee shop, I had the idea that would become ONE WITH THE DARKNESS. I thought to myself that I really needed to come up with a character I cared about. Immediately I thought about ONE WITH THE SHADOWS, my last Companion book. The hero’s mother, the Italian Contessa who was also a vampire, stole almost every scene she was in. She had a great tragedy in her past. During the Roman Empire, she had let the love of her life, a barbarian slave, age and die rather than make him a vampire. She lives with horrible regret. Why not, I thought, allow her to go back in time and try to change that? The idea of Leonardo DaVinci’s time machine was born. (I liked it so much I wrote three more books using that device called the DaVinci Time Travel series. The first one even has a vampire heroine.) Who, after all, was better to invent a time machine than Leonardo? Of course, it’s not as easy to change history as one would think. J I won’t say more than that. But I got to research Caligula’s Rome, and barbarian slaves, and…. And I love that book. Once I got going, it was easy to write.  

Ah, I love the Starz’s series called DaVinci’s Demons! So amazing you were able to incorporate his history into your novels. As much as I’d love to continue talking about the COMPANION series, I’m also interested in what you’re working on now, what genre and when should we expect its publishing? 

I’m currently working on the MAGIC series. There are seven books planned. It’s about a big modern family, the Tremaines, who have inherited Merlin’s DNA. When each sibling finds their destined mate, another with the Merlin gene, they are instantly attracted, and their gene is activated. They get a magic power. You’d think that would be just great, right? But the bad boy brother is an outsider who doesn’t want to believe it will happen to him. The oldest sister is sure of her destiny, until the man who raises her power is an alcoholic still in love with his dead wife. And I won’t even talk about the middle sister, poor thing. Then, of course, there are those who got their magic from Morgan Le Fay. They don’t have quite the same goals as our heroes. The family is as much a character in these stories as any individual. I’ve fallen in love with all of them as I’ve been writing it. My writer friends say it reads as much like a contemporary romance as a paranormal. One friend says it’s a paranormal romance for readers who don’t like paranormal romances (that would be her.) This is a series that should be read in order. It’s also the complicated kind of series. Everything is intertwined, and all the characters appear in all the books. I plotted out six books before I ever started writing. The first book (about that bad boy brother) is DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?, followed by HE’S A MAGIC MAN and WAITING FOR MAGIC. NIGHT MAGIC, the 4th in the series, is out starting September 8th. There’s also a novella that tells the Tremaine parents’ story, YOUR MAGIC TOUCH, available only in digital formats (but at least it’s only $.99!) I’m currently working on THE MAGIC’S IN THE MUSIC, which will be out next year. By the way, I planned only six books in the series, but a new character just showed up, and he won’t be denied. So the series is seven. 

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A lot of my readers are aspiring writers. What is the one piece of advice you have for them? 

Hmmm. One piece of advice? That’s really hard. How about two pieces? The first is to learn the craft. My first book was not good. But writing is something you can learn. I put in the work, and two of my books were named Best Books of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly, and I have Reviewer’s Choice awards, Rita nominations and other contest wins now that were a direct result of doing the work to get better. People may read you once based on a blurb or a cover, but they keep coming back if the books are good. 

The second piece of advice is a direct corollary of the first. Stick with it. Most people who want to write don’t finish a book. Most people who finish a book don’t really polish the whole thing. Most people who get a finished product don’t keep at it until they sell to the buyer who can really get them the distribution they need. So decide on what you want for your book? Supermarket shelves everywhere? Or do you just want to see your title available on Amazon? Know what you want for that book. Then pursue that goal and don’t stop. 

I couldn’t agree more, Susan. Being so experienced, my next question is: what is your take on traditional publishing versus self-publishing?

This is a publishing world where everything is possible. Isn’t that an improvement for writers? We’re in the driver’s seat. We can self-publish, publish with an e press, a small press, or go for an agent and a New York house. I published 17 books with New York houses, and got all the benefit of that. I am self-publishing my new series and it’s given me both a wonderful freedom and more control over the end product, though it also has brought more responsibility. Bad cover? I approved that, and I can’t blame my publisher. I will say, that while we can all point to instances of lightning striking for self-published authors, most authors build their audience over multiple books. It makes it easier to sell self-published books if you already have an audience built with a publishing house. That said, NY publishing is harder to get into these days, and traditional publishers are pretty clueless about how to promote digital sales. If you need proof, just look at the price of digital copies for traditionally published books. Digital copies of THE COMPANION are only 50 cents cheaper than a paperback copy was. I can hardly wait to get my rights back! So in the end, the awful truth is that the choice is yours. And that’s both frightening and empowering. The only obligation you have is to yourself and your readers to write the best book you can. 

Susan, thank you so much for your time. I had a tremendous time interviewing you. Good luck with your upcoming release (love the cover, by the way!) and can’t wait to see you again. For those interested where to find Susan please visit:

http://susansquires.com

Facebook/AuthorSusanSquires

Goodreads.Susan_Squires

twitter.com/SusanSquires

And now to the much promised giveaway: I decided to offer one e-copy of Susan’s upcoming novel titled NIGHT MAGIC to one lucky winner. What do you have to do for it?

Add NIGHT MAGIC to your to-be-read list on Goodreads and leave a comment with the link you did so. I’ll have the giveaway running until September 24th with the winner announcement on September 25th. 

Good luck everyone!

 

Mondays are for Excerpts

8 Sep

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

“Since when?”

“Since when what?” Tessa said, losing her patience.

“Since when do you two hang out together, silly!”

“We don’t hang out. We work together, it’s different. Sometimes we have lunch together, sometimes dinner. It’s really a lot of work to put together such an event, you know, especially when it has never been done before. And quit asking all these crazy questions. There are other more important things I want to talk to you about.”

“So, how long?”

Tessa sighed and rummaged through her brain, trying to remember when she first went out with Cristian.

“About five weeks ago.”

“How often do you see him?”

“Chiara, I’m going to hang up on you. What are you trying to find out? There is nothing else, but two people that have something in common with the same goal. Quit drilling!”

“I’ll call back, so you might as well answer anyway. Now stop getting mad, and answer my last question: how often?”

Tessa shook her head. “Almost every day, depending on what we’re working on. The days we don’t see each other, we speak a few times on the phone.”

“Is he cute?”

Tessa thought for a second and said, “Yeah, I guess.”

“You just guess, you’re not sure?”

“What’s your point?”

Tessa heard a teapot whistling in the background, a cup placed on a saucer and the sound of liquid pouring into a cup. The noises came so clear through the phone line, she got up and walked mechanically to the kitchen to start a cup of green tea for herself, still waiting for Chiara to respond to her question. She heard Chiara blowing in her tea, taking a sip and then, “Gottverdammt!”

“Wow, nice language,” Tessa said, laughing.

“I just burned my tongue,” Chiara laughed, too. “Going back to our discussion. The reason I asked all those questions is because when the construction crew came to work on your house for the first time, you freaked out. Remember, you called me from your bathroom, after you locked yourself in and I tried for how long to convince you that no one would harm you?”

“Uh-huh . . .”

“Now, four months later you are actually able to be in the same room with a man, without feeling threatened, talk with him and behave normally. You’ve found something you’re passionate about, maybe not as rewarding financially as you were used to, but it gives you a new goal and perspective on what really matters to you. My point is that you might not see it, but you’ve made progress. You renovated your house, and at the same time, you’ve also healed. Maybe not completely, but you’re on your way to a full recovery.”

“Do you think?”

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Mondays are for Excerpts

1 Sep

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

The next morning, Tessa decided to do something she hadn’t done since Daniel’s attack. She found a gym and went for her first workout. She paid for the membership, checked the class schedule and opted for a step class. She knew she’d be sore afterward, but at least it’d give her a new focal point that would help her forget about Alessandro and his new girlfriend.

By the time the class finished, Tessa was out of breath, soaking wet and totally spent. She left the class and decided to swim as well. She went first to the lockers to exchange her clothes for a swimsuit. It seemed everyone around her had the same interest—Cristian, the step class instructor.

“I’ve never seen a man as well built as Cristian,” one woman said.

“I should take a picture of him and glue it to my ceiling. Each time I’m having sex with my husband I can look at it,” another one said, and several women burst into laughter.

“Oh, God, he is the best trainer ever, and his routine is really designed to make us sweat,” another one said. “I’m taking all his classes from now on.”

“That toned body, those muscles screaming out, yum! And his blue eyes—I swear he’s like looking right through me. And his lips, so kissable, and . . .”

Tessa tuned the chatter out. She didn’t observe any of those things her fellow classmates gossiped about. She left the locker room, and went to the swimming pool.

On her way, she saw Cristian talking outside the pool area with two other girls. He inclined his head toward her and continued his conversation. She went in, swam ten laps and, exhausted but refreshed, went to take a shower. She finished with fifteen minutes in the sauna, then took one last shower, and prepared to leave. Her body ached already, and from past experience she knew she’d pay a hefty price for exercising so much in one day after such a long absence. Tomorrow she’d be lucky to make it out of bed. On her way out, she saw Cristian. She passed by and went out to the parking lot.

“You’re quite a pro,” Tessa heard someone say as she arrived at her car. When she turned, she saw Cristian approaching her quickly. She looked around, unsure if he’d spoken to her or someone else, but there was nobody around.

“Yes, I mean you,” he said, still walking her way. “I don’t very often see women working out so much in one day. An hour is the most they’ll hang out in a gym, including their chit-chat,” Cristian stopped in front of her.

“I guess I’ve more time on my hands than the others,” Tessa said, not sure why he had engaged her in conversation.

“So much time on your hands that you could have lunch with me?” came his blunt question.

Tessa raised a brow. “Do you do this a lot?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, inviting your students for lunch after you just met them.”

“Not all students. Just you,” he said with a confident smile.

“How many times have you said this before?”

“I don’t usually ask my students out. But throughout my entire career as a trainer I rarely have met hard working people like you, so I’m just curious to know you better.” He shrugged while he pulled his car keys out of his pocket and lifted his gym bag over one shoulder.

“I’m afraid I’ve other plans. But thanks for the invitation.” Tessa turned around, dropped her gym bag on the back seat and drove away.

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Mondays–going on Wednesday are for Excerpts

27 Aug

Hi peeps! I usually have excerpts coming out every Monday but I had to post something different the past Monday so here  we go. Enjoy!

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

“Alessandro . . .” His name felt like a balm on her lips. She turned half his way, but couldn’t muster the courage to look into his eyes. “Listen, Alessandro . . . I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I just want to tell you how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. So, thank you.”

He took a step closer and that threw her off balance. She gripped the stone shelf, backed against the wall and shook her head.

He stopped. “Sorry,” he muttered, bowing his head.

“I need you to go.” Tessa fought to swallow the lump in her throat. “I need you to go and never look back. I can’t  . . . I can’t be with you. I need my space, I need to find who I am. Tessa, the woman you knew . . . she doesn’t exist anymore . . . she’s dead. Please, go.”

It hurt to say it, but she had to. She held her scarf with both hands and squeezed it tight, so tight her fingernails dug into her palms. Her heart hammered and the wave of tears threatened to spill on her face.

He looked confused, like she spoke a foreign language, a language he didn’t understand. “What? Why? Why don’t you let me stay and take care of you?”

“Because it’s wrong. You and I, us . . . it was wrong all along and I . . . it’s better this way, trust me,” she whispered.

“But why?” his raised voice resonated in the house.

Octavia and Chiara hurried into the room, looking concerned.

“Leave us. I need to talk to her,” Alessandro said without even glancing at them but rather fixating Tessa with his stare.

Tessa nodded at her sisters and they retreated to the kitchen.

“Look, I know it’s been hard on you, but I don’t want you to waste more time.” She put a hand on her chest, then made a half circle with her arm. “I’ve nothing left to give and I’d be selfish to want you to stay with me when I’m not who you need. It’s been a lie all along, so please go!”

She felt the urge to run—run away from him, run away from the pain she’d caused him. She tried to rush out of the room, but he stopped her. His imposing stature overwhelmed her and forced her to take a step back.

His voice cracked to a whisper, “If this is what you really, really want, then I won’t stop you, Tessa. Just promise me, when you find what you are looking for, you’ll let me know. I’ll be waiting.”

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Meet my Character Meme–Blog hop

25 Aug

images

Peeps, prepare to go behind the scene, inside my novel in ways you haven’t ever expected. My dear friend Noemi Ghirghi writing as Mimi Sebastian tagged me and I thank her for the opportunity. What are the rules for what’s called MEET MY CHARACTER Meme? It’s simple:

This highlights a main character from one of my soon to be published work. Here are the questions to answer about the main character from a WIP (work in progress):

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Her name is Jane Sullivan and she’s a fictional person. 

2) When and where is the story set?

The story is set in present day, part of the novel happening in the US (Arizona and California) and part of it in Paris, France.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Jane is a widowed make up artist whose goal is to keep her husband’s memory alive and raise their 4yr. old daughter, Ella Rae. She’s very traditional, uptight and lives a simple life. Arrogance and shallowness rub her the wrong way–always. She doesn’t believe in second chances.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

She gets unwanted attention from Lucas Oliver, an acclaimed model whose face and chiseled abs appeared on thousands of romance novels.   

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

Jane is passionate about writing and pursues her dream of becoming a published author.  

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The working title is Me Tarzan–You Jane. Momentarily I’m shopping around for an agent. More updates soon!

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

We’ll have a press release in the next few months.

I hope you had fun learning a few things about my newest finished work. Now hop over at Mimi’s blog to see what she has in store for you (she writes incredible urban fantasy).
To keep the game going I’m tagging the following authors:

Ana Calin and Carmen Stefanescu. Both women are fellow Romanians writing in English and their prose is outstanding. Check it out for yourself.

Thanks for playing!