Monday, February 28, 2011

Judge a Book by the Cover with Guest Blogger Luxie Ryder

Win a copy of Worth Dying For and meet author Luxie Ryder today at the Book Boost!


Here's what she had to say...



Do Authors judge their own book by the cover?

Recently, I've been talking to a lot of other authors about the e-book covers being produced by some of the newer e-publishers I work with. Everyone I speak to is so impressed. The designs are simple but stunning and, for me at least, sum up the feel of the stories within so well. I've had a few of covers in the past from some other artists that I loved as much but then again, I've had others I can barely stand to look at, which leads me to wonder - what is it that makes me either love or hate a cover?


I worked with a publisher once when writing under a different alias (no names mentioned for obvious reasons) and I know from experience that a disappointing cover changes the way I feel about the story. The quality of the art work is far more important to me than the images used, because I guess nobody was ever going to 'see' the characters the same way I did.


But for me, if a cover looks cheap and tacky, it's like I've been sent out into the world wearing my best dress, but with the hem tucked into the back of my knickers, or with toilet roll stuck on the bottom of my shoe. It's not a big deal but it's not quite the image I wanted to project.


I don't have an agent so the covers of my books speak for me, not just the story. They are my representatives in places I cannot be. They are my pimps. I want them to make a good impression and put my best foot forward in my absence. A tacky cover makes your book seem a little bit Megan Fox when what you were going for was Angelina Jolie.


But on the other hand, at least a dodgy cover isn't 'all fur coat and no knickers', as my old mum would say! If I have a cover that I absolutely love, then I begin to worry that the reader might be disappointed if the story doesn't live up to the glorious images seducing them into making the purchase.


I have the world of respect for cover artists. I wouldn't want the responsibility of trying to create images that work for the author, the publisher and the public. That's why my preference is for the kind of covers where you don't always see the models faces - although I don't mind looking at the gorgeous Jimmy Thomas all day long!


I can't remember how many times I have been reading someone else's novel and the image on the cover doesn't match the picture I have in my mind. So is that proof that any concerns I have about getting a perfect cover image are wasted, because the reader is just going to let their imagination take flight and conjure up the type of hero they prefer anyway, as I often do?


I wonder if cover artists are wracked with the same self doubt as the authors they design for. If so, it's a miracle that any books ever get released!


So what do you think?


A Note from the Book Boost: Luxie, you are a riot! Your post was so much fun and made me laugh out loud. I love the analogy you used when describing our covers as the clothes we wear as authors. Great stuff! Thanks for joining us today and please tell us more about your book.


Blurb:


Is a vampire's love worth dying for?


Malachi Bane had been condemned to live forever without the woman he would love until the day he died. He waits out eternity in isolation, on a small island in the Maine Archipelago. When a visiting couple threatens his peaceful existence, Bane prepares to kill them if he has to, in order to defend his home and protect his privacy. Instead, he is compelled to save the life of the woman he has become strangely fascinated with, not realising the consequences of his actions at first.


Amber Kirkwood isn't impressed by Bane's macho attitude and has no idea how she got embroiled in the mess her life has become. Her rescue from the island and subsequent arrest for her colleague David's unexplained death, sets off a chain of events she has no control over and no desire to be a part of. On top of that, she is then kidnapped by Bane and held hostage so he can protect her from Katerina, the vengeful female who created him and has never forgiven him for leaving her.


When the physical and emotional bonds begin to grow between the unlikely couple, Bane longs to 'change' Amber, in order to save her life and keep her with him forever. But she fears for her immortal soul and, with so much at stake, Amber can't be sure that what she feels for Bane truly is worth dying for.


Excerpt:

Amber’s mind had stopped automatically rejecting every new thing it was being forced to deal with.


Travelling at speed across the gulf in a small inflatable boat—propelled only by the power of a superhuman being—was insane
enough. She laughed, then cried, then laughed again as she watched his huge arms powering through the water, the moonlight glistening along his wet skin the only reason she could see him at all. The motion forced her to relax and the gentle sway of the dinghy as it glided almost silently across the ocean lulled her to sleep.

Bane apologised when he woke her up and, despite her protests, refused to let her walk. The terrain they encountered
minutes later would have been impassable even in daylight and she found herself admitting that he’d been right to insist on carrying her on his back again.

A fog had rolled over the hillsides, smothering the ground. It swirled around Bane’s feet and rolled up towards her,
evaporating against the heat of her legs and leaving small drops of water instead to soak into her clothing. The trees around them frightened her, seeming like dark, hulking shadows waiting to attack. Amber closed her eyes and clung on tighter. Every night she’d ever spent on this island had terrified her.

The mist cleared higher up the mountain, disappearing altogether by the time they reached a dense patch of trees covering
the entrance to a cave. The foliage rendered the opening invisible from only a few feet away. Bane carried her to the lip and she clutched at him in fear. The mouth of the cave looked dark and bottomless and Amber tensed as he walked towards the edge without hesitation.

“You’re safe,” he said, as if sensing how afraid the idea of going in there with him made her.

“You’ll like it inside. I
promise.”

He stepped off into the void. She screamed and clutched at his shoulders, squeezing her eyes tight shut. A gentle bouncy
feeling told her they had landed seconds before he put her down in the darkness.

Amber suddenly knew what it would feel like to be deaf, blind and vulnerable as she waited in the pitch black. An overhead
light came on without warning, causing her to scream again. Bane stepped away from her, a frown on his face as he rubbed his ear.

“I’ve got really sensitive hearing,” he said when he caught her looking at him. “If you can help it, try not to scream in
here. The sound is intensified and it’s agony for me.”

So, he had a weakness. Amber couldn’t help but relish the fact. She stored the information away for future use, empowered
by the knowledge. Bane’s quiet laughter drew her attention back to him.

“I said it was agony, not that I couldn’t tolerate it, so you can forget whatever you are thinking behind those pretty
green eyes of yours.”

The urge to hit him almost overwhelmed her.

Smug…arrogant…domineering. The words raced through her head and she bit her lip
against the desire to scream them at him for as long and as loud as she could. Let him be the victim for a change. Let him wish someone gave a damn about how he felt. But he walked away, forcing her to forget the pathetic mutiny she was planning and follow him through a narrow corridor into the living area.

“Wow. Where’s Ursula Andress?” she muttered under her breath, smothering a laugh when what looked like a secret,
underground lair from a James Bond movie came into view.

The centre of the cave rose cathedral like above the modern, sparsely furnished living area. A couple of leather sofas
lined the walls and an entertainment centre with a large flat screen TV dominated another.

The opposite side of the room
had been turned into an enormous storage space filled with thousands of books. Amber estimated it had to be twenty feet tall by almost as wide, with shelves carved out of the rock face.

“Sit down.” He didn’t wait for her reply and gave her a gentle shove.


“This is crazy.”


“What did you expect?”


“I don’t know. Bearskin rugs and a log cabin, I guess.”


Bane snorted. “Like some kind of savage, I suppose?”



Want More Luxie?

Visit her website here: http://www.LuxieRyderOnline.com

Watch the book trailer! Click here.

Pick up your copy of the book today! Click here.




Contest Time:

Visit Luxie's website here (http://www.LuxieRyderOnline.com) and send a message, question or comment using the contact form. The fifth person to comply will be the winner!


**Winners for Book Boost February prizes are drawn the first week of March and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Artist Conundrum with Guest Blogger: Karen McCullough

Meet mystery author Karen McCullough today at the Book Boost.

Here's what she had to say...


Authors – Are We Artists or Content Producers?


Some days my mind isn’t really interested in doing the hard work of extracting a story from my brain and splashing it across a computer screen. At those times, my brain meanders in odd directions. A day or so ago, while it was refusing to ponder the next jam my heroine would be getting herself into, the odd thought that is the title of this post passed through.


At first glance, the answer is: we are both. The two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, should they? Why can’t an author be both artist and content producer? When we write, we strive to fulfill our own unique vision in the words we set down, but at the same time we very much want to see our work spread out and be widely read.


And there’s the rub, by golly. Most writers know there are times when what we want to write is over-ruled by our brains telling us, “You can’t do that.”


Why not? Because the book won’t sell if I do it.


There are rules about what you can and can’t do in novels. Not just the rules of the language, grammar and usage, but genre conventions as well. Romances require a satisfying outcome to the main relationship. Mysteries must show that justice is served in the end. Thrillers had better have you on the edge of your seat with suspense.


But there are unwritten rules as well. Major outbreaks of violence and gore are okay in horror, but not in most other genres. And no matter what the genre, you don’t kill the dog.


I write primarily to entertain—first myself and then others. And I really do want others to enjoy the stories I tell. That implies the need for some self-censoring. Of course, all story-telling is self-censoring in a way. We pick and choose which details and events to tell and which to leave out in order to create the most vivid image possible in the readers’ minds. So it shouldn’t be hard to leave out the things no one wants to read.


But sometimes the story seems to demand some of those things.


In the book I’ve recently republished in a Kindle edition, A Question of Fire, I have a scene where the bad guy (and he really is a nasty customer!) captures the heroine and wants information from her. I debated for a long time what I could reasonably have him to do to her. And even that turned out to be too much for my test readers. The story as finally published had the guy beat her up a bit and threaten her a lot more, before she finally caves in and tells him what he wants to know. (But she has a plan! Yes, she tells him the truth, but she figures out a way to use that information to defeat him. No, I’m not going to tell you. You’ll have to buy the book to find out what she does.)


Anyway, back to the scene. I had to make some trade-offs. It probably diluted the nastiness of my villain to tone down his actions, but it made the story more readable. Or maybe it didn’t, since I’d already showed that this villain had tortured another character for the same information, though that was all done off-stage.


I had a dilemma of a similar sort with my current release, A Gift for Murder. The original manuscript had a scene I liked very much where my heroine observed some artwork that was in one of the booths at the trade show and was struck by the way some artists deceived the viewers, suggesting things that weren’t true or weren’t quite what they seemed.


I thought the scene had a lot of philosophical resonance with the fundamental nature of trade shows, marketing, selling, and also covering up murders. My very good editor had a different take on it. The scene didn’t really say much about the character, slowed the pace, and didn’t advance the plot at all. She was right, of course, and so it came out. The scene is on my website now for anyone who might want to read it. (Go to the book page for A Gift for Murder and click on the “Deleted Scene” link.)


In both cases, my “artistic” sense of the story included scenes that I strongly felt should be in the book. But that bumped up against editors/beta readers who had other opinions. Guess whose opinions carried?


I want others to read my books and enjoy them. I want readers to enjoy them so much they’ll buy all of my stories. Whatever artistic vision I might have (and I don’t delude myself into thinking I write great literature) can and will work through what stays in the story. That’s good enough for me.


A Note from the Book Boost: Karen, I appreciate your take on this topic. How we (as authors) end up editing our work in order to make it work in the marketplace is probably much different than what we'd end up with if it was left entirely up to us. Whether the "industry" or the "artist" is right will probably never be truly decided. Thanks for joining us today. Please tell us more about your book.


Blurb:


When Cathy Bennett agrees to attend an important party as a favor for her boss, she knows she won't enjoy it. But she doesn't expect to end up holding a dying man in her arms and becoming the recipient of his last message. Bobby Stark has evidence that will prove his younger brother has been framed for arson and murder. He wants that evidence to get to his brother's lawyer, and he tries to tell Cathy where he's hidden it. But he dies before he can give her more than a cryptic piece of the location.


The man who killed Bobby saw him talking to her and assumes she knows where the evidence is hidden. He wants it back and he'll do whatever it takes to get it, including following her and trying to kidnap her.


Cathy enlists the aid of attorney Peter Lowell and Danny Stark, Bobby's prickly, difficult younger brother, as well as a handsome private detective to help her find the evidence before the killers do.


Excerpt:


(NOTE: This is a different excerpt from the one on my website. It’s from a scene well into the book that shows a lot about the characters. One name is starred out to prevent spoilers.)


Peter shook his head, then drew her close and squeezed her briefly against his body. He glanced back up the hill at the rock that had been home to them last night. "How's Danny?"


"Still asleep. He needs it. I don't know how he kept going as long as he did."


"I don't either." His eyes narrowed and darkened. "This morning I put the windbreaker back around him. I saw... burns on his arms. And those weren't all scratches from bushes."


She nodded in answer to his unspoken question. His green eyes blazed with a rage akin to what she'd felt last night when she'd seen the marks on the boy. Still felt when she thought about it.


"Who did it?" he asked in a cold, tight voice.


"I don't know. ***** probably; if he didn't do it himself, it was his idea, and he gave the orders."


"Damn him." Peter clenched his hands as though wishing the man's neck was in his grip. "I'd like to have fifteen minutes alone with him." He grinned wryly. "I know—unorthodox sentiments from an upholder of the law. Still, what I’d like to do to him right now isn't legal."


He looked out over the hill, into the distance, but he wasn't seeing the landscape. The bright fury in his face faded into that familiar brooding look as he stood still and quiet. Cathy thought she knew what he wrestled with and didn't have the words to help him. She could love him for the loyalty that inspired his overactive sense of responsibility, yet still be appalled by its effects on him. Was that what Danny saw in him, one of the things that inspired his admiration? Possibly. If it took one to know one, Danny should certainly recognize it in someone else.


The irony of the situation struck her and she laughed aloud at the humor of it. Distracted by the sound, Peter turned a questioning glance on her.


"It's my weird sense of humor again. Look, we're a fine trio of guilty consciences." She tried to stifle the laughter that made it difficult to talk. "You feel guilty about pushing Danny into hasty action. Danny feels guilty because his words put us in danger, and, worse yet, because he couldn't hold out against their torture and threats. And I have to learn to live with my mistakes. I never should have trusted *****. If I'd reported what happened last Friday and gotten the police involved... Who knows? And if I hadn't stopped you from talking to Danny right away last Saturday, none of this might have happened."


"The thing is," she continued, "we're the victims here! The villain is wandering around the countryside, killing, kidnapping, and torturing without a single qualm, except about how he's going to get back that incriminating book."


Peter listened with stunned amusement, then started to laugh also as she finished. He sat on the side of the hill and wrapped his arms around his knees, still shaking with mirth. For an unguarded moment, his face was bright, vivid, and handsome, lit by his own amusement and the morning sun.


A painful twisting somewhere inside made Cathy back away a step. Unfortunately, when she put her foot down, something, probably a pine cone, unbalanced her. She fell backwards, painfully and embarrassingly. Peter stopped laughing and came to her. In response to his query, she shook her head, denying any discomfort. He was too observant to be fooled, but wise enough not to push it. He helped her get back on her feet.



Want More Karen?


Karen McCullough is the author of ten published novels in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres and has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. She’s also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. Her most recent release is A GIFT FOR MURDER, published in hardcover by Five Star/Gale Group Mysteries.


Visit her website here: http://www.kmccullough.com

Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Best of the Beasts with Guest Blogger: Kari Thomas

Meet paranormal author Kari Thomas today at the Book Boost!


She's here to discuss all things beastly, here's what she had to say...


"Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!" Those words used to represent the presence of such beasts, but now days to a romance author or reader they mean something more primal…and SEXY too!

Today's romance fiction has heroes portrayed as any animal imaginable –and even some "created" species. Shapeshifters run amok in the paranormal romance genre, and readers can't get enough.

As a reader too, I devour this genre of books. I also write paranormal romance and most of my heroes are sexy shapeshifters. In Temptation Unleased, Aiden is a Cougar. In Hunted Mate, Logan is a mountain Lion. In Prey For the Wolf, Kane is a wolf. And in Under a Shifter's Moon, Lyon is a jaguar.

What can be more sexy than a hero who is not only Alpha –but primal too –and can overcome any obstacle? Super strength, sexy "quirks", and a primal protectiveness that would make any heroine sigh. Gotta love them!

In Under a Shifter's Moon, Lyon Savage is in a race against fate and time to claim the Alpha leadership of his Pride. But when the Pride Decree says he must marry one woman –and he's in love with another –what can he do?

If he chooses his Truemate, his Pride might loose everything, lives included. But if chooses his destined bride, then he looses his "everything". Either way, his Truemate looses her life. And there's nothing Lyon can do about it. Or is there?


A Note from the Book Boost: I'm a fan of shifters as well. I've written about several including a forest ranger who turns into a mountain lion. They are so fun to write and to read. Thanks for sharing your menagerie with us today, Kari. Please tell us more about your book.


Blurb:

He was fated for another but created to love her…

Decreed by Elders, alpha Jaguar Shifters Lyon Savage and his brother must decide Pride rule in a way not seen for centuries. Under a Shifter's Moon, a mating can take place with a chosen human to produce a child, and the father of that child will become the one Alpha. Now Lyon must choose the love of his Truemate –or accept the Decree to save his Pride and secure his future.

Strong and selfless, Kitlene is a rare woman whose blood, like her niece's, carries something of the Shifter within its DNA. Willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of family, she offers herself to the Alpha Cat whose very presence pulls at her soul –and whose love brings with it a deadly complication.


Excerpt:

Zachary waited until he sat back down. Then continued, “Our
history as Shapeshifters in a world mostly human has been filled with danger, strife, and the inevitable threat of extinction. Throughout the centuries we have had need of more than the normal Shifter strength to win battles that might otherwise destroy us all. At those times, our Alphas have needed help.

“A child born of one of these special women and an Alpha, as a
result of a sanctified mating on the night of a Shifter’s Moon, will become a rare Alpha possessing enhanced powers and incredible strength. He will have a longer than normal lifespan. His rule will be iron clad. Undefeatable.”

“Say it, old man,” Bryce growled out the words. “You know as
well as we do that a war is coming. An Alpha like that just might be our only salvation.” He stood up, throwing back his shoulders, standing aggressively. “But we don’t need a new born babe to lead us. We have the power to defeat our enemies. Now. With me as Alpha.”

Lyon came slowly to his feet, muscles tightening and his hands
already changing into clawed paws. “Then we have the Challenge now, brother. I will take great delight in proving you wrong.” His body started the shifting process before he even finished speaking. His jaguar counterpart pushed forward, primal instinct surfacing in a hot rush of adrenaline.

“Stand down!” Zachary roared the command. “The first man to
strike will be the first to die at my hands.”

Primal, ferocious growls filled the room. Mason abruptly
stood next to Lyon and began his own shift. Lyon knew if they had to fight, with only the two of them, they would kill a lot of the men here … but most likely wouldn’t come out of this alive. He didn’t want to take the chance that Bryce might live if he died. He swallowed down the primal fury, and then forced back his change, the restraint painful in its intensity. Then, he clasped Mason’s arm.

“Hold,” he told him. He looked first at Bryce, then to Zachary.


“Finish your words, Elder.” Then, I’ll decide if any of you deserve
to live.


Want More Kari?


Visit her website here: www.authorkari.com
Watch the exciting trailer! Click here.
Pick up your copy today. Click here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Casting Your Characters with Guest Blogger: Kim Bowman

Win a copy of Wayward Soul & Sylvia Browne’s Contacting Your Spirit Guide today at the Book Boost!




Here's what author Kim Bowman had to say about casting her characters...

I don’t know about other writers, but trying to describe what my characters look like is the hardest part of writing for me. I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, although maybe that’s what this is. I know what I want to happen and how I want my characters to react and feel. The problem I sometimes have is translating that onto paper. Maybe that’s what writers block is. Just a lack of knowing the right words to use rather than a lack of words.

Anyway, I digress.

My problem was solved when I bought my husband the Hoyle Card Games (click here to learn more). He LOVES Euchre, Hearts, etc. and I thought it would be great if he could sit with his Net book and play cards while I wrote to my heart’s content. Guess what? You get to design your own player! I thought I would have some fun so I started designing my husband’s avatar.

When I finished I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had created the likeness of my hero. WHAM! I just stared at the screen. I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing a description of what I saw: strong chin, wavy auburn hair, deep, soul-searching blue eyes. I suddenly saw what was in my mind’s eye.

I decided to try it with my heroine. I already knew she had emerald green eyes, but I couldn’t visualize how to turn a spirit guide into a human. I started moving face shapes around, trying different noses, lips, eyebrows. All of a sudden she was looking out at me. Her beautiful, raven hair and emerald green eyes accentuated her oval face and sharp chin. Her eyes were beautiful but sad. She was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

I knew my villain would be tougher. Mostly because he was part werewolf and there were no werewolf avatars. I wanted him to be dark and mean but believable. This took some time to come up with. But, eventually I had my villain. And what a villain he turned out to be! The minute I saw this picture I thought, “this is not someone you want to meet in a dark alley”.

Pointed nose, high forehead, perched lips, dark, sinister eyes. The brown hair had to be back and off his head, perfectly in place.

Amazingly, if you look at the heroine and hero on my book cover, you see how spot on Elaina Lee got them. They were so close to the images I had in my head and the avatars I came up with (and, no she had no clue I had created these) it was uncanny. The only thing she had to go on was the general description I provided her with, yet she captured the essence of my characters perfectly.

So now, the Hoyle Card Game character creator is my new best friend when it comes to constructing characters in my stories.

It has solved the whole brain freeze problem I had going on. A strange and unusual way to write, but it works for me!

A Note from the Book Boost: I'm a big fan of finding a method that works for you and sticking to it. Sounds like the card game software did the trick for you. How great! Thanks for sharing your tips with our readers. Please tell us more about your book.

Blurb:

When Zanna Seoul accidentally causes the death of a fellow spirit guide’s charge while trying to save the life of the man she loves, she is stripped of her position and banished to Earth to die.

In the spirit world, one doesn’t mess with what’s written. With Zanna no longer guiding him and his memory of her erased, Owen Nash is left wide open as the target of the vengeful spirit guide who feels he’s been wronged. A guide who also happens to be a werewolf.

Once on Earth, Zanna refuses to stand by and watch Owen die, so she intervenes again, setting off a chain of events that could mean death for all of them if she doesn’t go back and undo the mess she’s made. Can Zanna succeed before the werewolf does?


Excerpt:


Zanna awoke gasping for air. At first, she thought it was the impact of her spirit body returning to her physical body. The force of the two slamming back together after astral travel was uncomfortable. She expected the heavy pressure on her chest, the elevated heart rate, and the momentary paralysis reentry caused, but she’d never been breathless.

Fear took over when the weight increased, crushing her ribcage. Zanna’s hands flew to her throat where they encountered
fingers wrapped around her neck, squeezing the life out of her.

She blinked many times before her burning pupils adjusted to the bright overhead lights. The swirling white beacons made
her eyes water, blurring her vision. Tears streamed down her face and her empty lungs screamed.

Panicked, she placed her feet on the floor and bucked. She clawed at the hands around her neck desperate to loosen their grip. The vice-like hold only intensified, continuing to push down until she was sure her neck would break. Biting pain stung her smashed windpipe and deflated lungs.

“Cease,” a male voice ordered. The authoritative sound resonated all around the space.


Her attacker’s lethal hands fell away. Her compressed arteries opened, sending blood coursing through her veins so fast her
head spun. She took a deep breath. The air stuck in her crushed throat made her gag and cough. She rolled into a ball, clutching her chest. Several agonizing moments passed before her aching lungs filled with oxygen.

As her physical pain subsided, the dam in her mind broke, flooding her senses with the sound of gunfire, the smell of burning gunpowder, and the sight of blood spraying. Her heart cried out in grief as the horrible memories assaulted her mind. The man she loved was dead.



Want More Kim?

Visit her blog here: http://kimbowmanauthor.blogspot.com/

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.



Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Kim and be eligible to win a PDF copy of Wayward Soul and a hard copy of Sylvia Browne’s Contacting Your Spirit Guide.


**Winners for Book Boost February prizes are drawn the first week of March and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Black Out with Guest Blogger: Sandra Cox


Win a copy of Vampire Island or Moon Watchers today at the Book Boost! Sandra Cox is here today and here's what she had to say...


What is it About Black Leather?

What is it about black leather? Jolene Sayer, werewolf hunter, and her cousin Zoe Tempest, vampire hunter, love their black leather coats. It’s no surprise about Zoe. She’s the best dressed hunter in the universe.

But Jolene? Jolene has no time or inclination to mess with makeup and fashion. She says she likes it because the full-length coat hides her weapons. Me? I think she knows how great it looks on her tall, toned body.

Tell us about your favorite type of clothing? What "does it" for you?


Excerpt:

I have two weaknesses. Even if I’m not fashion conscious I love boots. I’ve got nineteen pair.


My other weakness…mochas. Hot in the winter, iced in the summer. But where I’ll get a decent one in Moon Watchers, the little town nearby, is the million dollar question.


I trotted into the bedroom, rummaged in the closet and pulled out my suede boots. The bed dipped as I sat on the edge and pulled them on. The shoe itself is lined with lamb’s wool. The leg portion molds to my jeans, to keep the snow out, and stops just short of my knees.


I put a small ladies derringer, a switch blade, and my credit card into a black leather shoulder bag and reached for my leather coat. Then sighed and put it back in favor of my hooded, down-filled parka.


Okay, I have three weaknesses. I love my long black leather coat. Makes me look like a real bad-ass Were fighter, not to mention it hides my weapons.


I reached for my keys on the nightstand, pulled out my gloves that fit like a second skin then headed for the door. Wolfie watched me quivering.


As soon as he realized I was heading outside, he nearly knocked me over in his haste to get through the door. He took a leap off the stoop and landed in snow up to his chest. I stared in misgiving. Wolfie is the size of a small horse. The snow must be deep.


I took a deep breath. “All I’ve got to do is make it to the H1.” Housed inside the detached garage was one bad boy Hummer. A rich grateful client had given it to Dad. My father’s timely intervention kept the man upright and vertical instead of howling when the moon turned full.


Thank the gods for credit cards or the Beast, as I called the Hummer, would be sitting unused in the garage. To keep this baby’s double-tank filled with diesel isn’t for the faint hearted.


I planted one foot in front of the other and twisted from side to side as I plowed my way through the thigh-high snow. By the time I reached the garage, I was panting and sweaty. Woofie waited for me at the garage door. His wagging tail made a miniature snow angel.


“Crap.” I stared at the garage’s entry pad and tried to remember the code. It came to me.

“Duh.” I punched in h-u-n-t-e-r. “The cold has frozen my brain.”


“Woof.”


“You don’t have to be so quick to agree.”


The garage door rolled open. I all but fell inside. Wolfie bound in then shook himself. Snow flew everywhere. I stomped my feet and brushed at my legs. Puddles formed around my boots.


I opened the car door and Wolfie leaped in. I hoisted myself onto the seat and turned the key. The Hummer roared to life. My breath fogged up the bullet proof windows. No Were would get in this baby. I felt safer than a newborn in its mother’s arms.


I put the Beast in reverse and backed out. It plowed through the drifts like a tank. I hit the road and put it in first. We were on our way.



Want More Sandra?

Visit her website here: http://sandracox1.com/

Pick up your copy of her books today. Click here!


Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Sandra and be eligible to win a download of Vampire Island or Moon Watchers—winner's choice.


**Winners for Book Boost February prizes are drawn the first week of March and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Monday, February 21, 2011

For the Love of It with Guest Blogger: J.F. Jenkins















Meet author J.F. Jenkins today at the Book Boost.

Here's what she had to say about writing for the love of it...


Back to the Roots: Writing Because You Love It


Being an author is not easy. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I have a love/hate relationship with the art. I work with a lot of people who come from different paths of life and different passions. One co-worker of mine went to cooking school, did the externship at a high class restaurant, and returned home with this piece of advice: “Being a chef is a lot like being an artist. It's a lot of work with little payout, and if you don't really love it, you should probably do something else with your life”. Maybe not exactly verbatim because this conversation happened almost a year ago, and my memory isn't the best, but the general message resonated with me.


Unless you have a lot of luck, the chances of hitting it big a slim. You've got to work your way up to the top, there's a lot of competition, the pay is not great, and you put in a lot of hours for a job where you get little recognition. The same can be said of any artform. It can definitely be said of writing.


It's what I hate most about writing, and even talking to other writers. There's an expectation of instant success out there, and it's not a realistic one. It's a nice dream, sure, and it's easy to look at people, friends even, and see whatever they write turn to instant gold and not think the same thing will happen to you. I know I've thought like that on more than one occasion. My disappointment when it happens is never less even though I should know better.


Writing is a labor of love. I see a lot of people who think it's something anyone can do, and who don't love it with all of their being. Those are usually the people who end up quitting, or grudgingly continue on their project with no motivation. It's easy to quit something you don't love. A lot of people I know quit when they don't have the instant bolt of lightening strike their brain and wake up their muse. A lot of people quit when they get their first rejection letter from an agent/publisher. A lot of people quit when they try to make writing more about a business than art.


A friend of mine who donated artwork for my book trailer told me another thing that resonated with me. Again, I can't say what it was verbatim, but the general concept was this: art stops becoming art when you stop making it because you love it. Art is a gift. A gift to yourself and a gift for others. For this reason, he didn't take any kind of monetary compensation even though I offered it to him. He told me he wanted to give me his art as well as keep it as a gift for himself. Why? Because he loves it so.


While being an author is like being a business, I encourage you to go back to the roots of why you started writing to begin with. As we close up the month so known for being about love, return to your true love when it comes to writing. Write because you love. Even if it's just for one day, don't take it too seriously and let your passion flow from you again.


A Note from the Book Boost: J.F., I loved your post today. As a fellow "writer/artist" it gave me chills. I agree with you 100%. Write because you love it and want to share it with others. Don't let the business of being an author get in the way of your business of being a WRITER! Please tell us more about your book.


Blurb
:


Darien Oceina is the youngest son of the Great Dragon Lord of the Water. For years he's loved and cherished Tai Dawson from afar. Tai is a simple, ordinary girl who doesn't even know Darien exists.

On his eighteenth birthday, he chooses her as his wife. But there’s one problem: She thinks his choice means she's going to be offered as a sacrifice to the Dragon Lord, but instead, she’s forced to move to his home, far away, to give up her life and be his bride.

When she first sees Darien after the ceremony, she doesn’t expect to feel anything but hatred toward him. The two are struggling with the complications of a new marriage when their nation is attacked by a rival dragon species. Together they learn to love one another while they struggle to stay one step ahead in a game where the prize is their survival.


Excerpt:


She giggled a little and went back to nuzzling him gently before daring to finger the buttons on his shirt. “So if you’re my husband that means you love me right?”


“More than anything,” he replied honestly. He’d loved her since he first saw her six years ago.


“I want to see it....”


“I, are you sure?” Darien took a moment to swallow and then caught his breath. Did she really mean what he thought she meant? She must have. The smell of lust practically poured off of her. It smelled sweet, kind of like cinnamon, but there was also another more subtle flavor to it as well. He couldn’t put his finger on it.


He wanted to be with her, to be one with her, and it was the only thing he’d been looking forward to for months since the day he decided she was it for him. But as much as he wanted to be with her, he couldn’t help but be weary of the idea. He couldn’t tell if she meant it, and he wanted this moment to mean something. This would be the first time for them both. It was supposed to be special. The atmosphere was perfect though, and they were married. What could make it more special than that?


“Of course I’m sure.” she said. She stared up into his eyes and he was completely swept away in hers. They were filled with certainty, and when he looked into them he did not see a dreamy, dazed, or confused look. Her pupils appeared normal, even her smell suggested she was recovered from the spell well and returning to her right mind. Her smell told him she lusted for him. If anything, she looked determined. Love at first sight? He’d heard a lot of stories about it, and while he had been hoping for it, he was also a little skeptical about the idea. Love at first sight had worked for his brothers, but it seemed too good to be true. Now he realized how much he worried over nothing. His dreams from the past six years were now coming true. That reassured him, and so did her words.


“If you’re my husband, that means I love you more than life. I need you to love me. I want you. I feel safe now. Love me and protect me from the dragons.”


He planted a soft kiss on her forehead before placing a shaking hand over hers. “I will always keep you safe. I promise you that the dragons will never hurt you.” He leaned in to give her another kiss. He shook slightly from his nerves. He still felt a little hesitant, but he could feel her confidence in her kiss and that seeped into him. All of the worry he felt over whether or not she would accept him faded from his mind. She was attracted to him. He made her feel safe. He was capable of being what she needed. It felt nice to be worth something to someone. It felt warm, and it gave him a new kind of energy and boldness that he’d never experienced before.


He wasn’t sure what he was doing exactly, but he’d find a way to learn for her. If there was one thing he wanted to be sure of in terms of his duties as a husband, it was that he would do his best to give his bride everything she wanted. He began setting that standard when he took her as his own before once more returning to his home with her in his arms.


Without any hesitation, her arms wrapped around him and her fingers grazed his hair as she kissed him back. He pressed himself closer to her, daring to open his mouth a little as he started to feel a lot less shy. He’d seen that on the television once, and it looked like it might feel good. She must have thought so as well because she let out a quiet, happy sounding moan. Her hands moved from his hair and to underneath his shirt. She firmly traced the muscles on his abdomen and chest before undoing his shirt button by button.


That was all the convincing he needed to know she really did desire to make love to him.



Want More J.F.?


Visit her website here: http://jfjenkinswrites.wordpress.com

Watch the book trailer! Click here.

Pick up your copy on February 22nd. Click here!

Friday, February 18, 2011

On a Wing and a Metaphor with Guest Blogger Jeanne C. Davis














Meet author Jeanne C. Davis and win a copy of Sheetrock Angel today at the Book Boost!

Here's what she had to say...


ON A WING AND A METAPHOR

Writer’s block never has been a problem for me. I have projects on my desktop lined up like aircraft awaiting departure at LAX. The problem is allowing my work to take off. Wait, let me de-ice that stale metaphor. Doesn’t that characterization need more lubrication? On closer inspection, I don’t know… the landing gear on that plot looks a little dicey.


My novel, Sheetrock Angel, was in and out of the hangar for over a decade. I’m hoping to get my next book, My Pan Am Memoir: a Novel, off the ground in a fraction of that time. One of the problems is that I’m not content to travel from point A to point B with fuel efficient dispatch. I meander down enticing taxiways, double back and turn three times, then challenge myself to find point B’s direction. A fun game when actually traveling the world, but it causes a great many delays when writing. Most of the explorations end their literary lives in the edit pile, but occasionally, that corner turned, that stream followed, that stair climbed, brings me to an unexpected wonderland, often leading me to the correct path rather than the one I had dictated for myself.


So while I’m carefully structuring my chapters to reflect the progressive years of my employment, I will allow myself to meander within those years to see where the side trips take me.


One such path seemed well trod. The first thing a stranger will ask when they learn of my 18 years with Pan Am is, “Did you ever have a close call?” Everyone has had one if they have traveled extensively and I recounted mine in a linear fashion.


It occurred three months after I had graduated from Pan Am’s flight service academy in Miami, Florida. The captain had pronounced the dreaded words over the PA: Will the in-flight director please report to the cockpit. We were lucky in that we had a seasoned veteran, a German woman who inspired confidence in her abilities. This was particularly helpful because out of sixteen flight service that day, I was fourth on the seniority list. That meant that most of the crew had been flying less than three months.


Because Pan Am had no domestic routes at the time, we had an interchange program with a domestic carrier and our crew would hop on one of their 747’s to take the flight from Washington D.C. to London. It seems that the other carrier hadn’t kept accurate oil consumption records because they were used to short haul flights and if they were a bit low, they’d just dump in a little extra oil. So when the director told us that an engine overheated and the captain had to shut it down, we didn’t really worry… even though we were a fully loaded 747. The next time the captain called the in-flight director to the cockpit, we learned that another engine had to be shut down and that we were to prepare for a water-landing. Now the bulk of the crew had just been through the procedure weeks before in the pool in Miami, so we were too stupid to know what very real peril we were in.


But here’s the side path. I’ve told the story enough to know the details, but I really have only two visual memories that have stuck with me over the years. The first is looking down at my life-vest and seeing stenciled in large black letters, DEMO. Though I’m sure that you all pay close attention to the safety briefing, you may not have noticed that the flight attendants yank pretty hard on the red tabs of the life vests, and yet, they don’t inflate. That’s because they are not really supposed to be used as flotation devices. I scrambled to retrieve my functional vest and managed to get it on before I had a heart attack.


The second image is of the face of a young mother holding her infant and weeping softly, saying, “What about the baby, What about the baby.” I experienced one of those moments of pure empathy. I felt the clutch in my stomach at the prospect of being responsible for such a treasure. It filled me with fear where none had been because I had been in emergency mode where all is action. I slammed that door as quickly as it had opened and went back into the rote lessons we had learned. I assured her that the baby would be fine as we all would. I could say it with confidence because I was too stupid to know differently. Only a short time later I would learn that had we hit the Irish Sea, we most assuredly would have broken to bits and had we not, had we been able to get out of the wreckage in our life vests, we’d have had approximately 90 seconds of useful mobility due to the frigid waters. Thanks to Thomas Gray for hitting it on the head: "Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise."


And that digression is more important than the details of the near miss for me. It surely had a more lasting impact. So yes, meandering off your writing’s beaten flight-path may cost time and add to your recycling basket, but it also can be a better destination than the one you determined. Follow those contrails.


A Note from the Book Boost: Wow Jeanne! This is an amazing story. I'm dying to know what happened next. Guess I'll have to wait for your next book. Thanks for joining us today and please tell us more about your current book.


Blurb:

Why is Audrey James fearful? Why now? Is it because she is getting a divorce? Moving to a run-down house? Possibly succumbing to the stress of her job at the Santa Monica DA’s office? Or is it just something she ate? At thirty-five, she figures she has missed the boat to schizophrenia where her mother now dwells. But now, questions surface, like, what happened to the guy who taped her drywall? Was one of her friends involved?


Having grown up with a mother who often conversed with people who weren’t actually there, Audrey does her best to deny that it could be happening to her. Is she seeing what everyone else is? Are the current men in her life—the drywall taper, her ex-husband and his best friend—who they represent themselves to be? Audrey ponders all of these notions when she is presented with murder, kidnapping and a situation where any or all of her closest friends and colleagues could be involved. How can you know whom to trust when you can’t trust yourself?


Her voyage of self-discovery coincides with her wade through the lies and half-truths woven for self-protection or in self-interest by her friends and acquaintances. When she begins to see that guilt and innocence are not always sharply delineated, she must finally make a conscious decision to trust. That decision allows her to be at peace with the result of both the mystery and her question of her own mental competence.


Excerpt:

Audrey jogged along the bike path as the sun continued its ascent. She needed something to clear her head and, since sleep had become elusive, running had to substitute. In her travels, she had found that exercise mitigated the effects of jetlag, had invigorated rather than enervated her when sleep was scarce. As she breathed in the salt mist, she could almost feel her mind clearing. The familiarity of movement warmed her, reminded her of jogging along some eastern seaboard or European coast. As she passed early morning moms with strollers, her step lightened. Focused runners passed her, heads down in concentration, bodies slightly forward for momentum. She could feel herself relaxing. The world continued and that amazed her, continued to spin on its axis while individuals like Frances careened out of control. But what about the kidnapper. He was certainly out of control. What information was so important that a life had to be taken, that another hung in the balance? Or was this his daily bread? Was mayhem as much a routine for him as her deposition reading was for her? She imagined some shadowy figure pondering his Day Runner and worrying that he might not be able to fit in an extortion between Thursday's murder at noon and the five o'clock kidnapping. Yes, running lightened her spirit. She was beginning to feel almost human.


The vision was at a distance, yet so intimate to her that her breath caught. She thought of turning around but the figure drew her like a magnet, like an electromagnet with the power to transform her coppery glow of ephemeral contentment into the dusty verdigris of renewed doubt. A transient stood on a jungle gym in a children's play area and spoke in angry tones to the wind. The wind evidently answered, since the transient's side of the conversation acknowledged the other party. Her childhood eagerness to see what her mother had seen surfaced and melded with the present. To whom was he speaking? Was it his own personal Fred? She tried to force the scene through her intellect. What a travesty our mental health system has become. This man needs help. His clothes and emaciated body speak of chronic neglect. His personal hygiene hasn't crossed his ravaged mind in days. Someone should help him. As she moved closer, a tightness which had begun in her throat now seemed to reach around and constrict her chest like a boa squeezing the life out of its prey. The vision was leaking into her soul. His tapes had taken control of his reality. He needed no private moment to indulge in his fantasy. The tapes had sucked him into theirs.


She pulled a twenty from her running pouch and flung it at the man. He looked at it, seemed fascinated by the arc of its flight but not even a glimmer of recognition of its value lit those eyes, which were sunk in bony sockets. When the bill landed, it no longer held his interest. He returned to his oratory and she, to her fears.


Keep it together. Stay focused. Fantasy tapes of her rescuing Frances threatened to halt her momentum. She knew she was slipping, knew it would take an increasing amount of strength to hold herself together. She would have her hereditarily ordained, richly deserved nervous breakdown after she found Frances.



Want More Jeanne?



Visit her website here: www.sheetrockangel.homestead.com

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.



Contest Time:


Leave a question or comment for Jeanne and be entered to win a copy of Sheetrock Angel.


**Winners for Book Boost February prizes are drawn the first week of March and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Playing the Game of Love with Guest Blogger Nana Malone

Meet romance author Nana Malone today at the Book Boost! Here's what she had to say about romancing the romance writer...


Ahh, romance, that all elusive things that women and men alike look for. Candles, moonlit picnics and hot air balloon rides.


Romantic right? Well if you’re into that sort of thing. What if watching your man do the dishes is what you see as romantic. All power to you. Good luck getting that to happen, though.


When people hear I’m a romance writer they assume I’m a flowers and sweep off the feet kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong, flowers on Valentine’s day, birthday, or just because, are totally awesome (BTW, thanks to DH for the lovely roses) but what really gets me is the thought that goes into a gift. The most romantic gift, DH ever got me? Apple Jelly.


Several years ago when I was living in London, I’d been moaning about how I couldn’t get apple Jelly anywhere to save my life (If you’ve never had it, it’s delicious). Well, Dear Hubby was Dear Boyfriend at the time and he came for a Christmas visit carting with him a gorgeous necklace and earing set, which I was thrilled with. But when he pulled that little clear jar of apple jelly out of his bag, I squealed and ran around the room doing my best booty dance. He still laments about how he could have saved himself some cash that Christmas. It was all about the thought and effort that went into finding the perfect the perfect thing to make me happy. And let’s not get it twisted, I won’t turn down diamonds in favor of Apple Jelly.


I feel for men who often get left out of the romancing. In all my years working in corporate America, I’ve never seen a man receive flowers from his wife. Granted I can imagine the ragging that would occur from his buddies. It started me thinking, what do women do to romance their husband?. If you ask the men, they’ll say lingerie and a babysitter for the night. I do love that men are a little easier to please. Generally a beer, some food and a little nookie and they’re in heaven. But whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Christmas or just plain old Tuesday, a little thought goes a long way.


I think that’s the true art of romance. Though admittedly, sometimes I go a little overboard with the gift giving. I keep thinking in grand gestures and not the little everyday ones. So far I’ve covered every death defying idea I can think of for “romantic” presents. Race car driving, a ride in a bi-plane, sky diving, motorcycle lessons. And no, I’m not married to Evil Knievel. But this Valentine’s Day, I’m going to keep it simple. A babysitter and some time alone.


Am I a romantic t heart? You bet. As a romance writer, I believe in love. I believe in the intricacies and nuances. I love nothing more than to watch relationships unfold. But my husband will tell you the true path to my heart is through apple jelly, not flowers.


The most romantic advice I can give is don’t forego the everyday little gestures. They can go a
long way.


A Note from the Book Boost: What a great story, Nana! Thank you for sharing it with us. And apple jelly is the bomb. ;-) Please tell us more about your book.


Blurb
:

Off the court, tennis star Jason Cartwright’s playboy image is taking a public beating. On the court, he’s down forty-love.

A knee injury is shutting down his game, and the paparazzi are splashing his love life on every magazine. A comeback is in order, but the makeover he needs to save his faltering career is in the hands of the woman he loved and left fifteen years ago.

While single-mom, Izzy Connors, sees people for who they really are through the lens of her camera, even without it, she knows Jason isn’t the star he appears to be. Although his charm and good looks haven’t dimmed since he broke her heart, all she sees is his wasted talent and playboy lifestyle.

Can Izzy put the past behind her and help Jason get his game, and his image, back on track? Or will the click of her camera shatter his world as well as his heart?


Excerpt
:

Dark glasses masked his eyes, but Izzy knew behind them, she’d find intense heat able to strip her to the soul. His tousled blond hair just as she remembered it, a little unkempt, as if he hadn’t bothered with it. He was every bit the Hollywood playboy portrayed in the press. And that devil-may-care sexiness was going to be the death of her.


Before she could say anything else, his strong arms and a warm musky scent enveloped her. Involuntarily, her body stilled like an ice sculpture as her breasts came into contact with the hard planes of his chest. Unable to process the situation, she heard a faint clatter as his sunglasses fell to the floor. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried not to think of the last time she’d seen him, the last time he’d abandoned her for Sabrina.


“Damn, Izzy, you look amazing.” He set her down, but kept hold of one of her hands. Whiskey eyes poured warm amber over every inch of her body. “How’ve you been?”


The source of her greatest humiliation wanted to know how she’d been, as if they were old buddies. She reminded herself they, for all intents and purposes, were old buddies, until she’d made the mistake of pegging him as her first lover.


Behind Jason, his companion, with his rugged dark good looks and infectious smile, saved her from having to speak. Not that she could have. “Did I miss something, Jase? You two know each other?”


Jason’s smile flashed, making her want to do all manner of inappropriate things. Smash his head in with a frying pan? Strip him bare and see if he still looked as good as he promised? Launch a full TET offensive on him with her lips?


Not necessarily in that order.




Want More Nana?



Visit her website here: www.nanamalone.com

Or her blog here: www.nanamalone.com/blog

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A World of Friends with Guest Blogger Nell Dixon


Meet author Nell Dixon today at the Book Boost! Here's what she had to say about taking your friendships international...




The subject of international friendships struck a chord with me. I’m a UK author living in a small spot called The Black Country, in the centre of the British Isles. Although I work three days a week at my day job – I manage a therapeutic horticulture project for a disabled people’s charity – writing is a solitary occupation. Or at least it would be without the company of my friends.

Locally, I have the support of ‘the coffee crew’, who are fellow authors, Phillipa Ashley and Elizabeth Hanbury. We meet up every few months to talk about writing, whinge, laugh, drink coffee and eat cake. You can check out our joint blog (click here) to see what we’re up to.

In the UK I have a wonderful network of writing friends from the RNA, that’s the Romantic Novelist’s Association. I meet them in person every year at the annual conference and in between times we talk on twitter, via email, and via our blogs.

Internationally though, I have the most fantastic network of friends. My critique partner, Kimberly Menozzi and I met through Romance Diva’s. Kim is an American living in Italy. We met in real life this Autumn when her first book, Ask Me If I’m Happy was released.

I have the Batcave, we met and still meet at eHarlequin. We share a zany sense of humour and outlook on life. We have, over the years, supported each other through the loss of partners, divorce, severe health issues, house moves, meteorological disasters and all the ups and downs of daily life.

There are also my fellow sweet romance author friends at Sweeter Romantic Notions. We share a love of warm hearted feel good sensual romance.

People often question how ‘real’ a friendship can be when the people involved haven’t met and only know one another through the internet. I think the answer is much the same as in the people you see every day. Some people are acquaintances, work buddy’s, someone you know from the school gate or the gym. You know them a little, you chat, you might have coffee but that’s it.

Then there are the friends you’ve known for longer, maybe a neighbour or an old school friend. Again you know more about each other, maybe in the past or during a crisis you shared confidences. You might go for dinner or spend an afternoon, do each other the odd favour.

Finally, there are your soul friends. The one who if you rang them to confess to murder would simply ask if you needed help to bury the body. The ones who would do whatever they could to support you and you would do the same for them. Those friends are rare and precious but they can be on line as well as close to home. They can be international or next door.

I’m a lucky woman, I’m blessed with all those kinds of friends, and yes I have them at home but I have some internationally too in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt and South Africa. And, I hope that circle of friends continues to grow especially as the world gets smaller thanks to the wonders of modern technology. You’re welcome to join my circle by friending me or following me, commenting on my blog or by subscribing at my website to a free quarterly newsletter. I’ll look forward to getting to know you!

A Note from the Book Boost: Nell, I love this notion of worldwide friendships and I am blessed to have the same. I laughed out loud at your "friends that you can ring up and confess murder to". If only we had more of those type friends, eh? ;-) Thanks for joining us from across the pond and please tell us more about your book.

Blurb:

Cassidy Jones needs a holiday and her friend's cottage in New Bay sounds perfect. The beach could heal the bruises from losing her job and her fiancé. Perfect for some time alone to gather her thoughts and heal her broken heart.

Josh Parker is also looking forward to a much needed break after eighteen months of non-stop work. His out of town friend offers her cottage and Josh thinks it would be just right for some time to let his hair down and revive his social life with his old surf buddy's.

One cottage, two unsuspecting occupants, a recipe for romance or disaster?



Excerpt:


An outside table stood empty in the far corner near the seawall under the shade of a gaily striped umbrella. Cassidy took a seat and pulled off her hat, dropping it on the table. She ruffled her hair with her hands in an attempt to restore some bounce to her smooth auburn bob.

The pretty blonde waitress was busy taking an order from a group of surfers crowded together on a couple of tables near the outdoor service hatch. Cassidy sat back in the shade to wait her turn.

The male surfers were all wearing black or blue wetsuits, unzippered and rolled down to the waist. Pretty girls in tiny bikinis laughed and chatted as the group placed their orders.

One of the guys with his back toward her seemed strangely familiar. It was something about his stance and the untidy mop of dark brown hair. Cassidy sat up straight, willing him to turn around so she could see his face. Her heart thumped in a mix of fear and anticipation as she watched him chatting to the girls.

The waitress came toward her with a pad and pen in hand. Cassidy ordered a fruit juice, her attention still focused on the man with his back to her. Then, just as the waitress left to take Cassidy’s drink order inside the caf√©, he turned around.

“Cassidy? Cassidy Jones?”

Her heart sank. It looked as if she had been wrong about not meeting anyone who knew her here in New Bay. Of all the people she hadn’t wanted to bump into,

“Hello, Josh, what a surprise to see you.” Josh Parker was definitely one of them.

He crossed the paved area between the tables to come and stand at her table, a bewildered expression on his face. “What brings you here? I thought you and Ethan were supposed to be headed for the Seychelles.” He looked around as if he expected Ethan to suddenly materialize beside her.

Cassidy bit her lip. It looked as if her famously work-obsessed boss hadn’t heard the news.

“I didn’t get married.” She tried not to sound terse. In her head she’d practised how she would tell people and explain to them what had happened. Now, confronted in the last place on earth she had expected to see someone she knew, all her carefully chosen phrases deserted her. “Ethan dumped me.”

Josh looked confused. “So, you’re not married?”

Cassidy clenched her teeth. “No.”

“Oh.”

She did a mental eye-roll. For a supposedly intelligent man who’d built up a thriving dotcom marketing business, Josh could be mystifyingly dense. “Are you here on holiday?” She prayed he’d say no, that he was just a day tripper. He hadn’t taken a holiday to her knowledge for over a year.

“I’m here for three weeks. I’m staying in a friend’s cottage.” He made a vague gesture in the direction of the cliffs.

Cassidy’s heart sank. Not only was he staying in New Bay, but her cottage was on the cliffs overlooking the sea, too.



Want More Nell?



Nell Dixon is a Black Country author, married to the same man for over twenty-five years she has three daughters, a tank of tropical fish and a cactus called Spike. Winner of the RNA’s prestigious Romance Prize in 2007 and 2010, she writes warm-hearted contemporary romance for a number of publishers in the US and the UK including Samhain Publishing, Little Black Dress, Astraea Press and Freya’s Bower. Her latest titles include Animal Instincts, Just Look at Me Now, His Darling Nurse and Making Waves.

Visit her website here: http://www.nelldixon.com

Or her blog here: http://nelldixonrw.blogspot.com

Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Boost Blogger of the Year Announced!


AND the Winner is...


MAYA JAX


The Book Boost congratulates Maya Jax on winning the First Annual Book Boost Blogger of the Year Award! She came in strong with 48% of the votes!

Maya wins the following prizes:

  • A year of FREE cover ad promotion at the Book Boost;
  • A custom designed trophy (for bragging rights, of course); and
  • A special gift selected for the individual winner!


And to thank all the folks who came out to vote...we've selected a participating voter to win a Book Boost bundle prize pack. That winner is...PoCoKat! Congrats!


Thanks to all who voted and commented on our blog. We appreciate your support and we love our readers & authors!

Also, we gave away some prize on our V-Day Giveaway from yesterday.

The author winner of a free one month cover ad is...Dominique E.

The reader winner of a special choice of prizes is...deb2cool4u


Congrats to all!

**Please note: we'll be contacting all the winners by week's end to make arrangements for getting your prizes to you.**

Make Fast Friends with Guest Blogger A.D. Blackburn













Win a copy of Possession and meet talented author A.D. Blackburn today at the Book Boost!


Here's what she had to say about making fast friends...


“Authors have giant egos.”

This is the most ridiculous statement I have EVER heard. Maybe the big name, big time bestsellers who own New York penthouses and can afford to pay for thousand dollar entrees, but the authors that I have had the pleasure to get to know over the last few months do not fit this misnomer.


As a new author, I plunged into the literary world with both feet, and more trepidation than I could shake a stick at! My first published work was included in an anthology with some newbies, true, but there was some serious talent packed into it, talent that I myself had read before.


I was a fan becoming a colleague.


You wanna talk about nervous? Yeah, I was so nervous. Of course, when I began to wade into the waters of social cues, I came to realize one very real fact...


ROMANCE AUTHORS ARE THE FRIENDLIEST PEOPLE ON EARTH!


That's right people! I said it. You ever seen the movie She Devil, where Roseanne Barr's husband leaves her for a romance novelist? She's played by none other than Meryl Streep. The character lives in a pink mansion, wears pink silk robes with ermine cuffs. Her Latin pool boy runs around shirtless and her breathy cadence is the only forgiving thing about her snarky, snappy attitude towards, well, everyone. That is what I think most people see when they envision romance writers.


Snooty, over-sexed old women with too much chocolate and not enough humanity.


I will admit some trepidation on my part, but when I opened up and acted like myself, well, I found that a great many of the gals were like me. Smart-asses with a love of great stories, hot heroes, and steamy sex. They didn't prance around in silk robes, ordering around their pool boys! They were working on manuscripts between picking up their kids, kissing their husbands and making sure that they had their work done for the day.


We share a common bond. The love of the story. Every single new found friend I have that shares my occupation is warm, and funny, and supportive! I can't tell you how many times I've had a panicked moment about a possible review or my sales and another, wiser and probably sexier fellow author has given me the pep talk I needed to calm it right on down.


As my debut hits the virtual shelves and I work on its sequel in addition to several other monstrosities, I am comforted to know that out there, in the world, even though most of us as scattered to the four corners of the earth, it is always nice to know that no matter how hard my characters are making me work or how hard it is to get the words to flow out of my cerebellum, there is always someone out there, who knows exactly how it feels to struggle with a story. My new friends know the joy, the pain, the agony and the unparalleled ecstasy of how it feels to read those four little words.


“We accept your submission.”


I would be remiss if I didn't mention that one of the dearest friendships I have forged in the last few months is with none other than the Book Boost's own, Kerri Nelson. She is, after all, my girl crush!


A Note from the Book Boost: Well, color me flattered, my sweet potato pie with whipped cream on top. xoxo I know exactly how you feel but trust me (from one of those "oldies" that has been struggling to get published and stay published for 15 some odd years--you've come a long way in a short time, baby. And that means one thing--this girl is going places. I'll be so glad to say I knew you "back when". ;-) Thanks for joining us today and just so you know...I'm picking up my copy of Possession today over at Evernight with my handy discount code (good for everyone this week on any e-book purchase! Here it is: (Code: QDK8F2NK6T during checkout save 25%)! Go forth and purchase!


Blurb:


In the epic battle between Heaven and Hell, there are angels and demons…and then there’s James.


Tall, dark and deadly, James Gunn is the President of the Diabolus Venator motorcycle club, a group of one time outlaws turned gun-toting, sword-wielding, ass-kicking demon hunters. His no-holds-barred style of dispatching hell's darkest minions has earned him quite the reputation, but when he fights a low-level demon that warns him that his soul is in danger, he laughs it off…until he discovers that they mean to steal his heart to obtain it. When James realizes that a
high-ranking demon has marked him for a prime spot in hell, he pulls out all the stops to protect the one thing he loves more than his own soul— his girlfriend, Maddy.


What James doesn’t count on is that this particular demon knows a little bit more about the art of possession than the average minion and he’s forced to make the ultimate choice between the love of his life or his own soul.


Excerpt:


The door jerked open violently, James' body taking up most of the space between the door frame. Her eyes shifted and she drank him in from head to toe. Long black hair with the strange silver strands hung down passed his shoulders in thick wet ropes. The steel metal grey of his eyes bored into her. They were tired and worn. His rugged face was gaunt and thin, like he wasn’t eating or spending entirely too much time working. The angel versus demon tattoos that covered his upper arms and his chest danced as the muscles underneath twitched. And there it was, staring back at her, twisting her belly in knots. Her name, in her own handwriting, a beautiful flourish of red and black, was inked on his abdomen, right below his belly button for the entire world to see.


It was too much. She had to turn away.


“I just... I just wanted to make sure you were okay. Padre told me what happened and... I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come.” She choked on hot unshed tears. “I will just have Caius get the rest of my clothes later.”


She turned towards the club's bar room but his hand on her wrist stopped any forward motion.


“Maddy, please.” James pulled her closer towards him. “I didn't want it to be this way. I told them not to call you.”


She stared at the stitches on his forehead. The wound underneath was no longer red and angry but the thought of him being touch and go for two days without her by his side was a heartache she never wanted to live with. The levee was breaking. The tingling sensation of his skin against hers was enough to shatter the last sad remains of the barriers that she’d built. There was no sweetness left. What vestiges of the sweet simple Maddy remained were thrown by the wayside.


A fire of pure unadulterated anger was what he’d left behind in her now.


“I spent days begging you to change your mind James.” The tears behind her eyes began to trickle down her face. “You’re right. It didn't have to be this way. But you and whatever convoluted thought processes govern you, decided that this was what was best for me.” Her voice grew louder. She didn't notice that James had already pulled her into his room.


“You
made the choice. You called the shots and I have to live with it, but damn it, you can't expect me to turn off my feelings for you.”


“I didn't ask you to stop loving me, Maddy.”


She stared blankly at him for a moment. “You ass!” She smacked him in his chest and instantly regretted it as her small hand met with solid muscle. “What kind of statement is that! Of course I'm not going to stop loving you, but what the hell am I supposed to do with it? Because you’re scared I can't see you. I can't talk to you. I can't fuck you. What the hell, James.”


“Damn it woman.” He slammed the door shut and stood directly in front of her, glaring down at her. His chest was heaving, his arms shaking. “Do you see this?” He pointed at the stitches on his forehead. “You knew this was a possibility when we met. When we got together I told you what we do and you accepted all of the terms. This is the kind of shit I get into. This is what happens to us when we do what we do. You think I want you to live through this?” He stepped back and sat on the bed, sucking in slow, steadying breaths. His elbows rested on his knees as he laced his fingers through his hair.


“You don't know what they are like, what they do. I never wanted to hurt you. All I ever wanted to do was make you happy and keep you safe, but for real? We called this off just in time, Maddy.”


She cocked an eyebrow and put her hands on her hips. “What is that supposed to mean?”


“Nothing. Just... look, I love you. I know I've said it before and hell, I think I've pretty much branded by self,” he pointed towards the flourishing M-A-D-D-Y tattoo on his belly, “but I would rather love you from a distance than watch one of those bastards eat your soul.”


Maddy seethed. Every fiber of her being was lit on fire. “Let them eat it! They can take it for all I give a shit. I'd rather loose my soul than spend the rest of my life knowing that they are the reason I lost you.”


James stood, his body seething. He went from contemplative to nuclear thermal pissed in a nanosecond. “Fuck you and your dramatic Heathcliff bullshit.” With every word he stepped closer and closer towards her. “I’ve said just about all I can say. I love you. I will go to my grave loving you but I cannot risk something happening to you!”


Maddy tensed up, tilting her face upward. She glared into his eyes, the fire in her blood made her cheeks hot. “You mope and talk about sacrifices you’ve made for my well-being and I’m dramatic? Spare me your sob story pal! We were good together and you know that! You and me were something different, something that could last. You think I’m a big pussy, that I can’t take care of myself, but you don’t have to watch over me like I’m some simpering infant. And to be honest, if that’s the way you see me, then maybe you are right. Maybe this,” she pointed back and forth between herself and James who were now only a few inches apart, “this just needs to be over. So fuck you very much.”


She turned to leave, but before she could fully grasp the door knob James jerked her up off of her feet and planted the two of them firmly against the wall. He gripped her entire body against his, his iron-corded arms holding her tight against him. James stared down into her face before seizing her mouth with his. His tongue was hot and hungry. His hands cupped her ass and lifted her up. She instinctively wrapped her legs around his waist, hooking her ankles.


“Let me go,” she whispered between the angry kisses.


“Shut up,” he whispered back. He cupped her face and looked down into her eyes. “Just this one time.”


Want More A.D.?


Visit her website: www.adblackburn.com


Pick up your copy of her book today. Click here!




Contest Time:

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**Winners for Book Boost February prizes are drawn the first week of March and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**