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Debriefing Desert Dreams Conference

15 Apr

It’s been over a week since I’ve returned from the Desert Dreams Writers Conference held here in Tempe. I wanted to write and publish this post right away but I also realized I needed to decompress in order to gather my scattered thoughts. Overloaded on the amount of information, the thrill of spending time with fellow writers I call friends, meeting new ones and being scared out of my skin for meeting face to face for the first time with agents and editors I kept going and going for three days. By the end of the third day I was ecstatic for several reasons but also extremely tired.

I’m back to normal, whatever normal means. I have a lot of things I’d like to share with you so here it goes:

Best moment when . . . I was asked for a full manuscript of my newest novel titled Me Tarzan–You Jane, a contemporary romance with strong humorous elements. I won’t give any more info on this one so I won’t jinx it. But I promise once I have news worth sharing I will make the big announcement.

Worst moment when  . . .  at the end of Friday I was still unsure about my pitch (for those unfamiliar with what that is, a pitch is the essence of your book compressed in a few sentences). Arrived home around 10pm and went back to the board to draft yet another pitch. Close to midnight I had something that I liked better than the previous one, but still didn’t feel any goosies about it.

Aha moment when . . .  seating in the hotel’s restaurant Saturday morning and mulling over a bagel with my dear friend Shanyn Goodnight Hosier I wrote by hand another version of the pitch (can you tell I’m a perfectionist?) and reading it aloud I got all choked up and said, “This. Is. IT!”

Most painful moment when . . . I literally wanted to wrap my feet around my neck, they were hurting that much. I wore 2-inch heels which is a big no-no during conferences, but I couldn’t make myself wear anything else. Beauty suffers–I think that’s the saying. I need to “thank” my parents who couldn’t add to my DNA a little bit more height.

Funniest moment when . . . exiting my bathroom stall I saw Mrs. Sue Grimshaw of Random House coming my way. Without thinking too much I said, “I know I shouldn’t approach you here, but I have a copy of the February Issue of the Phoenix Magazine where you were cited during my interview. I thought you might like a copy of it. If you don’t mind I’d like an autograph on my copy.” She takes it from my hands, looks through it and, laughing she said, “Wow, I had no idea they published it. Thank you for bringing me a copy. Let me finish here and I’ll autograph it for you.” At this time my mind was already in panic mode for two reasons: 1). You NEVER EVER approach an agent or an editor during bathroom breaks and 2). I handed her a copy of the magazine without washing my hand. Mrs. Grimshaw was really candid about it and laughed when I said to her, “I apologize I gave you the dirty copy, BUT I’ll give you mine which I didn’t touch it until after I washed my hands.” She laughed, signed my copy and we made plans to meet during lunch. I hope she won’t always remember me as the “freak from the bathroom.”

One in a lifetime experience when . . . entering the elevator I realized that the one person standing in front of me was no one else but Mrs. Sylvia Day. The other lady I assume was her assistant. Sylvia smiled and said, “Lunch time?” I smiled, “Yeah, I need to feed the monster in my tummy.” She laughed and said, “Oh yeah, I know how that is.” Under different circumstances I would’ve run the other way, too shy to ever approach a person of her caliber. I’ve never read any of her book but I sure know of her fame. I hope one day I’ll be there myself…

Most inspiring moment when . . . during lunch time on Saturday we had the honor to listen to Mrs. Christie Craig talk. In the picture below she shows us how many rejections letters she got throughout her career. No one offered to count them, but they filled a plastic bin, that many.

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Her humor got us laughing out loud quite a few times. Her story brought tears to my eyes twice. What a woman! Diagnosed in third grade with dyslexia, high school drop out at 16, Mrs. Christie is nothing but the quintessence of perseverance and humility. There were several things she said that hit home and I will forever cherish them as part of the most treasured gifts I’ve ever received. Some of those gifts are: Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t; you know better. Surround yourself with people that look forward. Persist. If you fall, stand up and try again. It might not come to you overnight, but when it comes be prepared to say: I did it. Celebrate even the tiniest success. 

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I couldn’t ask for a better photo bombing although Shanyn tried to convince me the lady in orange was actually looking at my boobs. I can’t disagree more with her.

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Most relaxing moment when . . . Saturday night after the book signing event finished around 8:30ish we went out to celebrate each other.  Eager to apply what we learned from Mrs. Craig’s speech, we made the best out of it.

To old friends and new beginnings: cin cin everyone!

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April Kindle Fire Giveaway

11 Apr

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!

The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

Kindle Fire April

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

All New Kindle Fire HDX 7″ Giveaway

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7″ Kindle Fire HDX (US Only – $229 Value)

Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

Giveaway Sponsors:

I Am A Reader
Feed Your Reader
Inspired Kathy
Author Rachael Anderson
Author Carolyn Cooper
Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Laurie Here – Contemporary Fiction and MORE
Fabio Bueno, YA Author
A Book Lover’s Retreat
Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Becoming Books
Fae Books
Author Christie Anderson
Author David Pandolfe
Jetpack Dragons
Clutter Your Kindle
Crossangels
Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke
Alexandrea Weis Author
Addicted Readers
Author Alecia Stone
Tressa’s Wishful Endings
Author Rae Z. Ryans
Bella Street’s Weird Romance
Bonnie Blythe’s Pure Romance
Author Inger Iversen
Author M.A. George
Theresa DaLayne
Buried Under Romance
Author Myrna Mackenzie
Owl Always Be Reading
Jacqueline Diamond
Author Joan Leacott
Free Bookster
Emma Michaels
Jennifer Laurens – author
My Nook, Books & More
LOVE. WITHOUT YOU
The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something year Old Girl
Bound 4 Escape
Reviews from a Bookworm
The YA Buzz
Claudia Burgoa
Lynda Raymond Books for Young Children
A. Wrighton, Author
Author Niki Danforth
Lori’s Reading Corner
Hearts On Sleeves Book Blog
The Forever Girl Series
Author Crystal Donahue
A Leisure Moment : A Casual Conversation about our love for Literature
Author Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows
Me, My Shelf and I
Author FA Michaels
The Reporter and The Girl
Author Ashley Stambaugh
Extaordinaryreads
Laurie Treacy, Author
Faithful Acres Books

Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Giveaway here:

http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups

Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7″ HDX (US Only – $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).

There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7″, $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash.

Ends 4/30/14

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 participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A to Z Challenge–Letter H

9 Apr

Last week I was fortunate to start the A to Z Challenge on Rosie Amber’s blog where my novel A World Apart was making headlines for the letter A. Thank you Rosie for the incredible effort to organize this event, the love and support you show all of us, and thank you to everyone leaving comments and showing interest in my novel.

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Today I’m back again with yet another novel of mine covering the letter H in the challenge. Hidden Heart is my debut novel I published 3 years ago, a multicultural romance set in Romania and Italy, modern day. With stellar reviews, 100+ ratings and almost 1,000 readers adding it to their to-read-shelves on Goodreads I couldn’t be happier with the way people around the world received it.

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One of the latest reviewers calls Hidden Heart, “Drama galore, a hero to die for, a heroine with brains, that’s my kind of book. Hidden Heart delivers that and more.”

Please hop over at Rosie’s blog to see what else she has in store. Along with Rosie there are 2,000 bloggers from around the world featuring throughout the month of April authors from all kind of genres and what books you can read next. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Happy reading!

Winner Announcement for the Fool For Books Giveaways Hop

8 Apr

The Fool For Books Giveaways Hop is over. Using random.org the lucky winner taking home e-copies of my novels is . . . Natasha D.

Giveaways at Night Owl Reviews

2 Apr

A while ago Night Owl Reviews or NOR for short opened their doors for giveaways sponsored by authors willing to spread the love for their novels.

I recently decided to take on their offer and created 4 different giveaways, for each one of my books:

Hidden Heart

A World Apart

Born In Vengeance–Dacian Legends, book #1

Born In Sin–Dacian Legends, book #2 

The giveaways run for another 3 weeks (the first three) and a month the last one. They are also posted on NOR’s site. If you click on any of the above titles you will be redirected to their site and able to enter the giveaways.

Good luck!

A to Z Challenge 2014

1 Apr

A while ago my dear friend from across the pond Rosie Amber told me she signed up for the A to Z Challenge 2014 and if I wanted to be part of it. You kidding me? Of course I want to be part of it! I can’t thank Rosie enough for her support and friendship; she’s been one of the best people I met on the blogosphere, always ready to reach a helping hand, always friendly, fair and professional.

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So what is the A to Z Challenge? It’s 26 blogs using the letters of the Alphabet all through April taking Sundays off. It’s a chance to find new friends, get new followers and promote books and your blog content across the world. This will be the 5th Year of the challenge first introduced by Arlee Bird in 2010 and it has grown in success each year. Last year over 1600 bloggers entered and during the challenge we are encouraged to visit as many of the participants as we can and leave comments. I think it is a fantastic opportunity to expand your blogging world. Find out more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

For A, the first letter of the alphabet I’m honored to be the first to kick off the A to Z Challenge featuring my military romance A World Apart.

 AWA-FINAL small cover 1200dpi

In a war that’s not hers she loses everything.

Everything she loses is because of him.

Forgiveness is not an option.

Or maybe …

To find out more about my book and see what other bloggers have in store for the A to Z Challenge 2014 hop over at Rosie‘s and other blogs all over the world.

Have fun!

 

Fool For Books Giveaway Hop

31 Mar

Woot! Woot! Finally a blog hop. I have to admit I was missing doing one because not only all bloggers have awesome giveaways, but it also gives you the chance to make new friends and discover new sites.

Fool for Books is organized by Kathy @ I’m A Reader Not A Writer and runs between April 1st and April 7th with my winner announcement on April 8th.

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Open internationally I’m giving away e-copies of all my novels (feeling generous today):

BIV COVER

BIS-web COVER

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MOCK1-WINNER LR

 

For your chance to win all you have  to do is FOLLOW THIS BLOG BY EMAIL by clicking on the button to the right called “Sign me up!” (atop all images) and leave your answer to the question:

What was the best prank anyone has ever played on you?

 

Book Blast–Unplanned Motherhood by Lena Sledge

29 Mar


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Unplanned Motherhood

Unplanned Motherhood is a non-fiction collection of short stories written by moms and dads about their funny inspirational or motivational journey as a parent. Unplanned Motherhood is based on the web series created by Lena Sledge.
Unplanned Motherhood is a comedy web series for perfectly imperfect families, starring Lena Sledge as Layla, a wife and mother of five that gives parenting advice on her real life mommy blog. Her unique parenting style contradicting with her perfect parenting advice lends to a distinct brand of humor. With each episode we see Layla teaching her kids life lessons as she discovers more about herself and the advice she gives to her readers. Unique to this web series is the actual blog that Layla writes where she gives the perfect parenting advice and after many of her posts, follows the tag line; to see how I really handled the situation watch this week’s episode.
This web series is special because the viewers of the web series and the readers of the real life blog get to interact with Layla and let her know if her advice is on the money or share their own parenting advice. To follow the Unplanned Motherhood blog go to www.lenasledge.com. Stay tuned. Unplanned Motherhood debuts March 28th!!!!
If you’d like to submit a short story to be included in the book Unplanned Motherhood, send 500 words or less tosonnybrookfilms@yahoo.com. Short story must be clean, family friendly as well as funny, inspirational or motivational.

Unplanned Motherhood Cast

Unplanned Motherhood Cast

Starring Morgan Hamilton as Sonny, Stefani Colvin as Brooke, Grayson Kilpatrick as Deacon, Aidan Heuer as Spoon, and Ari Heuer as Ari.

 

LenaAuthor Lena Sledge

Lena Sledge is an awarding winning author. Her first book, a collection of short stories called If I Had My Way, won the 2012 African American Literary Award for Best Short Story/Anthology. Her short film, Grandma’s Hands, won 3rd place at the River City Film Festival in March 2014. Her most recent project, a comedy web series called Unplanned Motherhood debuts on March 28th on Youtube. Lena Sledge has collaborated on many literary projects as well as tv and film projects. She offers advice, resources, and tips on writing, navigating the independent film industry as well as reviews and highlights about upcoming books and authors. Lena Sledge also enjoys photography, you can view some of her photography work on her website as well as Flickr.

Youtube * Facebook * Twitter * Website

Flickr * Pinterest * Blog * Goodreads * Amazon

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Blast Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 4/21/14

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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Seven Bestselling Novels of Love and Suspense Boxed set only $.99

25 Mar
Breathtaking: Seven Bestselling Novels of Love and Suspense
Boxed set is only $.99 March 24th through March 29th. 

Unbelievable by Sherry Gammon

Deliah Dreser’s in town to take care of family business. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but there’s more to Lilah than meets the eye. Cole’s in danger of losing his heart when this firestorm throws sparks his way. Is she simply playing him for the fool in order to exact revenge for her brother’s murders?

Bestselling author Sherry Gammon’s reviewers exclaim; “She has a gift for touching her readers with beautiful, gripping stories that you can’t put down.”

Home Before Dark by Christy Barritt

Nothing good ever happens after dark. Those were the words country singer Daleigh McDermott’s father always repeated.

Now her father is dead, and Daleigh finds a hidden journal hinting that his death was no accident. Small town mechanic Ryan Shields is the only one who seems to believe Daleigh. As the two work to unravel the mystery, it becomes obvious that someone wants them dead. They must rely on each other—and on God—if they hope to make it home before the darkness swallows them whole.

Award-Winning Suspense Novelist and Bestselling Amazon Author, touted as “scary, funny, passionate, and quirky” by USA Today.

Baggage Claim by Amanda Tru

Rachel Saunders is looking forward to her all-expense paid weekend trip to New York. But, when her luggage is lost and she is accosted by an infuriating Homeland Security agent, events take a dangerous turn.

Amanda Tru, Bestselling Amazon Author of Romance and Suspense. Discover the author who, as an Amazon reviewer raves, “continues to impress me and dominate my time with a book I can’t put down even after it’s ended.”

Cassie’s Cowboy Crave by Kimberly Krey

In a moment of weakness, Shane steals a kiss.

In return, Cassie steals his heart…

When Cassie is forced to join the witness protection program, she fears her life is over… but then she meets Shane Emerson — the hunky cowboy posing as her husband. Will this sham marriage turn into the real thing, or will a hidden danger put it all at risk?

Kimberly Krey writes romance that’s clean without losing the steam. What’s Beyond Forks calls this Best-selling Western Romance author “the master of romantic tension.”



A Perfect Fit by Heather Tullis

Cami DiCarlo is not happy when her father forces her into heading up guest services at his newest five-star hotel and unveils the existence of four half-sisters at the same time, insisting they live together while they launch the new resort.

When she meets Vince, the sweet, sexy landscaper her father would never have approved of, Cami can’t say no. If only she could be sure she is on the right track—and that they will be able to stop the person who is trying to destroy everything.

You Belong with Me by Shannon Guymon 

Layla Kendall is a burned out social worker one step away from a major depression. When she and her sisters inherit their grandmother’s bakery, she doesn’t know if she can trust her good fortune or not. But the chance to be with her sisters and get away from the heartache and pain she’s faced day in and day out is a chance she’s going to take. With Layla’s new life, come new friendships, including Michael Bender, a single dad. She doesn’t trust men but Michael’s little girl grabs her by the heart and won’t let go.

Shannon Guymon is an Amazon Bestselling Author of lighthearted and clean romance who according to her many fans, has the ability to paint pictures of her characters so real that readers would know them if they saw them walking down the street.

Blog This by Cami Checketts

Devastated by the loss of her brother, Natasha Senecot exposes the dangers of Matthew Chrysler’s violent video games, bankrupting and humiliating him. Chrysler sends a hit man after her. In a race against time, can Natasha expose Chrysler before his assassin murders her family and shatters her world?

Bestselling author Cami Checketts has been touted as, “A genius! She writes about topics that aren’t widely discussed, and she does such a brilliant job of crafting these things into wonderful stories that touch your heart and remain with you for days afterwards.”

Virtual Book Tour– Andromeda’s Fall by Abigail Owen. Guest Post

24 Mar
Andromedas Fall Tour Button
Title: Andromeda’s Fall
Series: Shadowcat Nation #1
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance (18+)
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Synopsis

Andie Reynolds is being hunted. After witnessing her mother’s violent death at the hands of a pack of wolf shifters, Andie has devoted her life to protecting her community of cougar shifters from a similar fate. But now, a greater threat lies within her own dare, and she must run. If she stays, Kyle Carstairs will try to force their Mating, seeking the added power their union would provide.

Andie would rather chew off her own foot than end up with Kyle. Though, knowing him, she won’t live long either way. Andie’s only hope of survival is to Mate the Alpha of the Keller Dare with which she is seeking asylum. But before she can get to him, Andie must first go through A.J., one of the Alpha’s Protectors. The incredibly frustrating shifter insists on challenging her story, her skills, her trust… and her heart.

Andie is running out of options and out of time. But risking the life of someone she loves – just to save herself – goes against every instinct she has.

 
Buy Links

Amazon Barnes & Noble

Author Bio
Abigail Owen

Award-winning author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe. 

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by obtaining a degree in English Rhetoric/Technical Writing. However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

 
Social Media Links
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest
Giveaway: There is a giveaway for this tour. $40 Amazon Giftcard or PayPal Cash. Open Internationally. Ends 4/7. For your chance to win click HERE

Guest Post–My Relationship With Romance

My love affair with romance has stayed strong and developed over decades. It started, of course, with Disney princesses. Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty. I loved watching them find their princes (still do). Even better… as I’ve grown up, the princesses have too. The prince now has to earn his princess’s love and trust – not just ride in on a white horse. And sometimes, it’s a sister’s love that saves the day, not a man’s.

When I hit about twelve or so, I realized that the stacks of books in my mother’s bookshelf were all romances – mostly historical… Georgette Hyer, Jane Smith, Marion Chesney. Mom wrote – on the inside cover of each book – the age at which I was allowed to read it based on the content.  Now, in those days, the racier content still wasn’t all that racy. Things have changed a bit. Lol. I went through all of my mom’s books pretty fast and wanted more.

Then I bought a stack of old romances from a used book store and fell in love with contemporary romance. Still the older stuff, mostly from the 70s – Betty Neels, Kerry Allyne, Dorothy Cork, Sheila Douglas. The stories then were sweeter, more innocent. I still love those authors, and buy their books from used bookstores whenever I find them. Just recently, I was thrilled to find that Kerry Allyne’s books are now digital on Amazon. Good thing too, because I’m on my 4th copy of Summer Rainfall. I keep rereading it until the pages fall out of the binding.

The older contemporaries led to the new contemporaries starting when I was in High School – Penny Jordan, Sandra Marton, Miranda Lee, Emma Darcy, Katherine Spencer. I read some of their first books, and many of those authors are still writing today. The women got more independent, and the men changed from domineering to commanding. (Yes there’s a difference.) I still read contemps regularly. These days, the love scenes are more explicit. (Not that I mind. Haha.)

It’s only in the last five years or so that I’ve added the paranormal romance category to my relationship with romance. When I’d looked for this type of book in the past, the stories were cheesy or mostly about the paranormal or science fiction plot line. But these days, more and more authors are writing these interesting worlds with wonderful romance added in. Does it get any better?

It’s been 25 years or so and I’m still reading great books and authors. Who doesn’t love to just escape into a story with strong heroines, alpha males, sassy exchanges, a growing connection, and, eventually, a happy ending. I think I’ll be 95 and still in love with romance.

What got you started?

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