Wednesday, February 29, 2012

One White Night with Guest Blogger: Jami Gray

Meet author of Urban Fantasy Jami Gray
today at the Boost!

She's here to chat about The Curse of the White Screen and here's what she had to say...

If you’re a writer chances are you have faced the horrifying reality of a blank screen. Generally this terror strikes when you’ve finally completed the roller coaster ride of your last work in progress. You’re flushed with the sweet knowledge that you manage to get your characters, their world and a magnificent plot etched into electronic stone.

Some writers may decide to take a small breather, a day, a week, a month, before attempting the next great journey. Others (who are much braver than I am) give themselves a whopping hour before setting fingers to keyboard. Regardless of when you start, everyone encounters the same picture-a white screen where words tremble on the edge of existence.

Since I can’t speak for all of us out there (and we are legion!) we’ll say the views stated below are solely mine.

Currently I’m polishing off my second Urban Fantasy, Shadow’s Soul, to send it lovingly packaged to my editor so she can dissect it and throw it back. I actually gave my final draft to my critique group (7 Evil Dwarves) and they returned the bloody carcass.

As I’ve stitched up the wounds, the apparition of my third book looms like a large writer eating slug. It took twice as long as I expected to set the plot. Actually I had the plot all set and then was smacked across the head that it was book four, not three, so back to the drawing board.

Strapped to my office chair with headphones chaining me down and superglue dusting my finger tips, the urge to run is greatly dampened and I face my nemesis. It is decided that book three must follow a secondary character so as to give our main character couple a break to take a breath.

As the screen mocks me, my brain is whirling. Plots and subplots fly around in a maelstrom and faced with the fact that the heroine of my third book is actually a fairly well adjusted, not too tormented being, I’m panicking. I don’t do well-adjusted characters. Dark and edgy are the two biggest components of character creation for me. Granted she can kick butt with the best of them, but she comes from a loving family, she’s confident in herself and her abilities, she’s unique and she just happens to be involved with a not-so-well-adjusted alpha male.

Slowly, bit by bit, I start to carving out the plot, but it’s like pulling teeth-without painkiller. I get halfway through and I’m feeling like I’ve just done a 5K run in flip-flops, so I send out an SOS text to the 7 Evil Dwarves.

“Do I have to do it from her POV?” I whine.

The responses are instantaneous:

“Don’t be wimpy!”

“Suck it up!”

“YES!” and so on.

Resigned to my fate, I set Siri aside and continue on. Years and years later I have a plot. HOORAY! Now I have to come up with the opening scene.


I have to reach into my emergency stash of chocolate and caffeine in hopes together they can save me from the bleak fate waiting for me.

I spend days lost in my head running various scenarios through my head. It gets so bad I end up walking around my house muttering constantly, hair sticking every which way and clothes that show why stripes and plaid should never go together. It’s horrible and my husband seriously considers contacting the local psych ward for help.

Finally I drag my weary, abused mind to the computer. It takes me six hours and all I have to show for it are seven measly pages. Tears of relief play havoc with my vision as I power down the computer. That night I’m thrilled I’ve gotten something down and even manage to go to sleep.

Then morning comes and with it the realization that the scene will not work-not for the opening, and probably not in this book. My creativity threatens to implode! Maybe two books are all I have in me! I’m all written out! My creative well is empty.

As I contemplate new hobbies such as doesn’t involve a microwave or...rock collecting…

A wisp of something drifts through my mind. It teases the edges of my consciousness with subtle pokes and prods and I finally snap out of my self indulgent whine-fest. That teasing temptation whispers, “What if…”

And suddenly I’m tripping up the stairs and stumbling to my desk. Fingers race across the keyboard and the most wonderful sight ever…WORDS! They begin spreading across the white screen.

I have complete confidence that this will not be the last time I face down a blank page. They’ll pop up with frightening frequency…in the beginning of the story, in the middle of the story, at the end of the story. No matter how many times you beat it back, it will endure, but so will you, because that’s what writers do. We endure and push through all those walls and blank screens so we can share the magic of our worlds and introduce readers to our wickedly cool peeps.

A Note from the Book Boost: Jami, I've been there but mine is typically caused by anywhere between one and three of my children vying for my immediate attention. Every time I get back to that blinking cursor, I remember something else I'm supposed to be doing. Painful but promising. Congrats on conquering your "white night" and thanks for joining us today! Please tell us more about your latest.


It takes a monster to hunt one, and for Raine McCord, forged in the maelstrom of magic and science, she’s the one for the job. In a world where the supernatural live in a shadowy existence with the mundane, a series of disappearances and deaths threatens the secrecy of her kind and indicates someone knows the monsters are alive and kicking. Partnering up with the sexy and tantalizing Gavin Durand proves to be a challenge as dangerous as the prey she hunts.

When the trail points back to the foundation which warped Raine’s magic as a child, her torturous past raises its ugly head. Gavin and Raine sift through a maze of lies, murder and betrayal to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.


They were passing two darkened buildings when the hushed sound of metal against cloth whispered through the air. It was followed by the soft sound of water squelching under a

Raine didn’t falter, and neither did Gavin. A couple of steps more and she had both wrist blades in her hands. The black coated blades blended into her own dark garments, their silver runes turned in toward her body so no light would reflect off them. She shot a look at Gavin and saw his hand down by
his thigh, a long darkened blade tucked close to his leg. She’d have to remember to ask where he kept that thing.

His free hand made a series of short motions. She gave a tiny nod to let him know she understood. At the next dark opening, they would turn a corner, and she would fade into the
shadows to wait. The plan was to let the mystery stalker turn the corner and continue to follow them before he realized one of them had disappeared. They were banking on the fact most people wouldn’t be able to see clearly in the inky darkness.

As they turned the corner, Raine made her move toward the shadows. Gavin continued forward. In just steps, both realized they weren’t alone in the alleyway. It seemed the bad guys were a bit more prepared than usual. Three more figures spread out from inside the alley. She spun around, putting her
back to Gavin’s. She was slightly miffed when she saw that instead of one person, two individuals blocked the opening.

Damn, how had she missed the second one?

Want More Jami?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Friends & Family Plan with Guest Blogger: Cathy Yardley

Meet Harlequin Blaze author Cathy Yardley
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about her family of friends and here's what she had to say...

Friends: The Family You Find

I love my family, don’t get me wrong. But we don’t exactly match.

Where they are conservative, I’m a Berkeley “hippie.” I’m a writer – they’re accountants. They read the Times, I read Tarot cards.

And every now and then, they look at me, then murmur to each other with a sort of puzzled affection: where did we get this one, again?

They say friends are the family you choose for yourself, and I’ve got a big, lovely extended family that looks at me, then murmurs: what took you so long?

When I was in college, I wound up camped out on my best friend’s floor quite a bit. We joke that her Mom fed me lasagna and I never left. It was her Mom, her little brother, and her, living in the three bedroom apartment. Her little brother’s best friend also spent a lot of time there, another “adoptee.”

One day, I was doing a big batch of laundry in the apartment building’s laundry room. As I loaded it, a fellow resident (who wasn’t really aware of our “family”) chewed me out for leaving clothes on top of the dryers. “Now they’re dirty again! I’m going to have to do them over, and it’s all your fault!”

I went back upstairs, feeling shaken. Her Mom took one look at me, and asked what happened. “She yelled at me,” I said, still a little stunned.

Mom’s eyes lit with unholy Irish fury, and she headed downstairs. She then tore into the person who yelled at me, pointing out where she was wrong (I hadn’t put her clothes on the dryers) and that she’d better never yell at “my daughter” again.

“Your daughter?” The woman blinked. “Little girl? Asian?”

“Yes,” Mom said, and walked away, leaving her gaping.

It gets better.

She then sent my little brother – the other adoptee – back to the laundry room with two dollars in quarters. “Tell her your mother said this is for the laundry she needs to re-do… and apologize for the inconvenience.”

Keep in mind: my other brother’s about six foot tall, and black.

“My Mom said this is for your laundry,” he said, perfectly politely.

“Your Mom?” Her jaw was now on the floor. “Little woman? Glasses?”

“Yup.” He grinned, put down the quarters, and left.

I still keep in touch with my “family.” We’re still brothers and sisters – and Mom’s still Mom to a large and diverse group of people. They’re the family I found.

I wrote The Player’s Club trilogy based on that philosophy: that even if your blood family loves you, sometimes you need to find the family that fits you, as well.

And once you find them, you’re suddenly unconditionally supported… and able to do just about anything.

A Note from the Book Boost: What a neat family you've found, Cathy! And now you're a part of the Book Boost family. We are also a diverse group and welcome you with open arms--and open books. :-) Please share more about your latest.


The Pledge: Scott Farrell, recovering Boring Guy.

The Goal: Membership in an ultra-secret consortium of urban adventurers.

The Conditions: Select three insane challenges. Tell no one. Survive.

The Complication: Amanda Wheeler, sexy girl next door.

Scott never mentioned The Player's Club, but Amanda's onto him. She'll keep quiet and help him get in…if he'll nominate her for membership.

It's a dirty little deal that launches the normally nice neighbors into a world of skydiving, burlesque—and adrenaline-soaked sex that gets better every single time.

Not everyone's happy about the new recruits, however. And initiation may be a lot tougher than either of them expected….


What are they doing out there?

Scott peered into the darkness. It was three o'clock in the morning on a Saturday. Most of his little neighborhood was sleeping.

Scott had been wrestling with insomnia for the past three months, which was how he noticed the strange goings-on at the closed Chinese grocery store across the street. Men had been showing up for the past hour, and disappearing into the alley. The funny thing was, none of them looked like criminals—unless thugs were starting to wear suits and ties.

There was definitely something strange going on.

He craned his neck, trying to get a better view, but the angle from his window didn't give him a lot of options. He considered going down to the street. But what if they were criminals, and they decided they didn't want some Good Samaritan type snooping?

No, he needed to observe a little more. From a distance.

Abruptly, he realized the perfect vantage point, and without a moment's hesitation he left his apartment.

Padding out into the hallway in bare feet, he opened the window and climbed out carefully onto the fire escape.

Now, almost the whole street was in clear view. It'd be better if I were just a little higher, he thought, then glanced at the fire escape stairs. The metal felt cold under his heels as he climbed up as quietly as he could. It was June, but it was San Francisco—which meant it was brisk, with wisps of fog licking at him. He regretted not throwing a shirt on, wearing only a thin pair of sweatpants.

There were only a few men going into the alley now: stragglers, from the look of it. He barely made out one man ribbing another one as they disappeared into the darkness. He squinted.

One of them looked like…was he wearing a tux?

Who were these guys?

"Nice night."

Scott spun around. There was a woman standing in the open window behind him, wearing a large T-shirt with the slogan Well-behaved Women Rarely Make History. She was also holding a golf club like she meant business, which was at odds with the casual greeting she'd given him.

Scott cleared his throat. "I'll bet you're wondering why I'm out here," he said in a low voice.

Her full lips quirked with amusement. "It did cross my mind."

Want More Cathy?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Do I Measure Up? With Guest Blogger: Olivia Starke

Join romance author Olivia Starke
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about how to beat the drive for perfectionism and here's what she had to say...

I would say the biggest challenge for me with writing is overcoming my need for absolute perfection. Every sentence, every word, I’ll re-read it to make sure it’s just right (like I’m doing now.) This is the inner editor. She is good for fine tuning a final draft, but terrible to deal with when trying to get through the first. When she takes over you can find yourself giving up before you ever finish that first paragraph, defeated before the first page.

It’s odd that I need such control with my writing. You’d think with my complete disorganization in real life, I’d be completely comfortable with a sloppy first draft. I abhor strict control—I resent and will resist authority figures. Yet, I’ll allow this inner perfectionist to control and hamper my ability to get my imagination to the page. Maybe it’s simply one of those contradictions that make us so humanly unique.

I find her when I’m horseback riding as well. I’ll ride through patterns and get frustrated when I can’t get through it perfectly the first time. My riding coach will laugh and remind me to break it down into manageable chunks. Manageable chunks? My perfectionist questions. Get it right the first time, and you won’t look like such a noob.

Writing and riding are important to me, so it’s no surprise that’s where my inner editor takes over. I can give myself over to the flow of life in other areas, but not here. And unfortunately, I only manage to get in my own way.

I’m working on it, though. It’s okay to make little mistakes the first time around. By the time you get to the last round, all those mishaps is a learning process that’s made you fabulous.

A Note from the Book Boost: Thanks for stopping by today, Olivia. I find that perfectionism often stems from the need for control. Sometimes letting go of control is what makes us the most creative. I wish you luck in your writing endeavors and I'm sure your new book will be a success! Please tell us more.


Stranded in the middle of Iowa, Bailey has to rely on the hospitality of a hot redhead with a body to die for. After skinny dipping leads to an incredible night of Sapphic loving, Bailey is smitten by the eager and willing Melanie.

When morning comes, Bailey may find there’s more to Melanie than meets the eye.


I love a woman with stamina.

Bailey cleared her throat. “So, Melanie, you have a husband somewhere?”

She flashed that gorgeous smile. “Nope.”


She shook her head. “Nope.”


Melanie stood in waist deep water. Rivulets poured down her shoulders.

“I-I’ve never been with a woman, actually.” She swept her hands in wide arcs over the surface and small waves lapped at Bailey’s chin where she tread water further from shore. Bailey kicked toward her, then stood and the other woman sucked in a breath, eyes widening. She took a step forward watching closely for any sign that her redhead might shy away.

“Melanie, let me make love to you.”

She peered up through her lashes. “I wouldn’t know how. I mean I know how with a man, but….”

Bailey smiled, reaching a hand to the other woman’s upper arm, letting her fingertips trail to her shoulder then down to the delicate gold chain she wore around her neck. A tiny infinity pendant dangled from it.

Their breaths quickened.

Want More Olivia?

Olivia Starke calls a little town in southern Missouri home. Some of the most beautiful country in the U.S., she loves the Ozarks and hikes, runs, kayaks, or rides horses whenever possible. When not working at her laptop or in her retail management job, she’s playing mom to an ever expanding collection of dogs, cats, and horses who find their way to her little farm.

Visit her on the web here:

Details on Olivia's Upcoming Blog Hop (starting March 5th) here:

Coming Soon from Decadent Publishing!
Click here for updates.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

400th Blog Post Today @theBookBoost!

This post marks my 400th blog post
at the Book Boost!

Wow! That's a lot of words, thoughts, and comments.

It has been a blast sharing the past 2+ years with you all and I'm ready to open up my April guest blog schedule now. I already have about 1/2 of it "pre-requested" so if you want a spot--you'd better hurry.

Or, if you want to get on the advance list for May, I'm taking names. :-)

Contact me here:

In the meantime, enjoy our great line up of authors and thanks for being with me every word of the way.

Wanna hear how the Book Boost got started?

I'm guest blogging at The Speculative Salon today. Come by and read all about it here:

Kerri Nelson

Proud Owner, The Book Boost

Friday, February 24, 2012

Have Books Will Travel with Guest Blogger: Carole Ann Moleti

Win a copy of
Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts and Bites
and chat with author Carole Ann Moleti
today at the Boost!

She's here to discuss her author driven travels and here's what she had to say...

Thanks so much for having me at The Book Boost, Kerri. I'm really excited about the projects I've been involved in this winter, and about upcoming events and appearances I've set up for the spring and summer.

First and foremost, it's been a distinct pleasure to work with editor, author, teacher, and now publisher Rayne Hall on her Ten Tales series of fantasy titles. She has sought out stories from established authors in the fantasy genres. But she has been committed to giving less well-published authors like myself a chance.

The result is line up of anthologies that will be rolled out over the next year, some of which might include more of my work. Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts was published in December 2011 and features short stories in a myriad of styles by, well, ten authors.

My contribution, "Breakwater Beach," focuses on the hero and heroine of my Cape Cod Paranormal Romance novel series. The first two books, Unfinished Business and The Widow's Walk are complete and in the hands of agents right now.

"Breakwater Beach" is a pastiche introducing Liz Levine and Mike Keeny, who share a past they can't recall--because it was in another life. Liz discovers that the ghost haunting Breakwater Beach is her own, the widow of a sea captain who has returned to draw her backward so they can complete some unfinished business.

I'm thrilled to be able to engage readers who love paranormal romance in a contemporary setting with a sharp edge but a gentle hopefully ever after ending. And I'd love to connect with them so I can let them know when the full-length series is available.

Why am I releasing snippets of novels to be? Because after six years of writing, I'm proud of my babies and want to share snapshots of them with readers. So far, the response has been most gratifying. I'm sure all the authors who have contributed to Haunted have their own reasons: connecting with new readers, giving new life to previously published stories, or the thrill of finding a home for something they've worked on for a long time. Some of them might be checking in here today.

And speaking of connections, in addition to my blog and other social media outlets, readers can meet me in person (and take away a small token of my affection) at the following locations:

  • Fantastic Fiction readings, sponsored by Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel, which are held in New York City every third Wednesday of the month at the KGB Bar. No, I'm not reading but try and claim a seat by the bar to watch the stars come out.
  • LunaCon, Westchester County, New York from March 16-18 2012 (Programing schedule TBA)
  • Fiction Fest, sponsored by the Connecticut Romance Writers Chapter of RWA, in Southbury on May 12, 2012. Signings begin at 4pm and are open to all at no charge. I'll be selling all my books (and giving away book cards for my e-reader fans), no matter where and when they were purchased. I assure you it will be worth the trip. Romance writers give out the most incredible swag!
  • ChiCon, the World Science Fiction Convention, in Chicago, Illinois from August 30-September 3, 2012 (Programming schedule TBA)

Rumor has it that some of the authors who have also contributed to Haunted and Bites might join me at some of those venues. If you can't make it to any of the above, ping me and I'd be happy to send you a signed book card or chat about writing online.

Rayne has put together another incredible volume for those who like to stick their necks out and tiptoe onto the darker side. My story, "The Dhampir's Kiss" introduces the characters in my current writing project. A gritty urban fantasy, Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams (also in the hands of an agent), is set in The Bronx, notorious for its gang violence, arson, drugs, prostitution. A beta reader compared it to Sin City, and I describe it as and mix-up of the film Fort Apache, The Bronx and Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities with an updated paranormal twist.

I'll be hanging out here all day to answer questions about my stories, my characters, writing in general, and how I get ideas. Jump into the discussion and ask away.

A Note from the Book Boost: I love to make appearances and travel as well. In fact, I'm heading down to the utterly haunted New Orleans next week. Hope to catch up with you sometime this year. Congrats on the new project and I've worked with Rayne via online classes before--she's a champ! Please tell us more about your story.


Liz Levine is convinced her recently deceased husband is engineering the sequence of events that propels her into a new life. But it's sea captain Edward Barrett, the husband that died over a century ago, who has returned to complete their unfinished business.


A sea breeze blew through wide-open windows, routing the musty, dank smell. The spiders had run for cover. Sunbeams caught the colors liberated from the stained glass and projected rainbows onto the dark wood floors, in a mirror image of its grid and ring pattern.

“Have you linens and towels fer yer room, Miss Lizzy?” Mae helped haul grocery bags out of the trunk.

“Yes, in the car.”

“Bring ‘em up. There’s somethin’ interestin’ to see.” Mae left the kitchen and tromped up the central staircase, dusting the balusters as she went.

Liz put the groceries into the butler's pantry and refrigerator, both of which were spotless. She grabbed three huge bags from the car and dragged them upstairs.

Mae took the bags and tossed them to the girls. “Wash your hands, make up the bed, and fix the bathroom. Lizzy, look at this trunk of things Adele found in the closet.”

Liz opened the lid of a large trunk affixed with shipping labels dated from 1865 to 1875. Inside, neatly folded, were women’s clothes, hats, and shoes. She examined a night chemise that resembled a long slip with lace trim. “This is English linen, Irish lace though."

Mae didn’t answer. Liz peeled away layers of yellowed paper. Silk and velvet dresses with coordinating hats and high button shoes were stored in their original boxes. Undergarments, corsets, garters, and hosiery were wrapped in linen bags. The aroma of lavender lingered in a sachet tucked in the corner.

Mae hung the dresses in the closet and they arranged the intimate garments in the antique dresser. Liz left the shoes and hats in the trunk and pushed it against the wall.

“You won’t be findin’ this clothin’ in the Sea Captain’s Thrift Shop,” said Mae.

“These are valuable,” said Liz. “It’s too damp up here to leave them out. I'll donate them to the Brewster Historical Society and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.”

“Keep this nightgown, Miss Lizzy.” Mae hung it on a hanger over the closet door. “The sachet kept it fresh and the wrinkles will come out in time. A real lady lived here. The best of everything.”

Liz turned to watch the girls fluffing pillows and turning down the covers on the four-poster bed and felt another moment of déjà vu.

Want More Carole?

Visit her on the web here:

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Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Carole and be entered to win a copy of Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts and Bites: Ten Tales of Ghosts.

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month 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 23, 2012

Staying Afloat with Friends with Guest Blogger: Kendra James

Welcome romance author Kendra James
to the Boost today!

She's here to chat about friendship and here's what she had to say...

Friends, Can We Ever Have Too Many?

February is the month we think about the heart. We reflect on family, friends, lovers, and co-workers.

This is a time when I’d like to pay tribute to Katie, a great friend and neighbor.

We’d had our first snowfall. I thought my troubles were over. But the snow melted and was followed by twenty-four hours of rain. Driving rain that flooded my basement with five inches of water. I wondered why the cat was crying down there but wouldn’t come up to see me.

He finally made it up unscathed and still dry. Maybe If he’d been wet I might have discovered the water sooner.

Alas, I came home at 10:30 pm from seeing Breaking Dawn (what an eye opening ending) to find water up to the bottom step. I had to go buy cat food and litter. Their containers were floating around the basement and my cats haven’t graduated their swimming lessons yet.

This is where a friend steps up to the plate. Thank heavens for wonderful neighbors. Katie saw my basement light at 11:30 pm and called to see if I had any flooding. (I had in the spring).

Moments later she appeared at my back door in her rubber boots and sweats. I would have put on my rubber riding boots but did I mention they were in the basement floating in the five inches of water. Barefoot and jeans turned up to the knees was my second option.

Katie and I worked at getting rid of the majority of the water until 1 am. Do you know that a fish tank tubing works great to siphon water? We thought ourselves very inventive considering the time of night.

The water was gone within twenty-four hours but it left me exhausted. I don’t even want to think about all the stuff down that I had to sift through and throw out do to water damage. The poor garbage men. But they were wonderful. I put a big sign, “Sorry, had a flood,” and they took it all.

I took a ‘me’ day from work to deal with the mess and then spent the rest of the day getting some writing done. There were so many ideas floating (oops bad pun) around in my head that wanted to make it onto the page. After I had a snooze, and recuperated, I caught some of those elusive critters and stuck them to a page. A poem of gratitude to thank my wonderful friend.

But I wanted to say thank you to the wonderful givers in this world. I work at a facility for children with behavioral and mental problems. We have a school and a residence where children come and stay for varying lengths of time.

We attempt to teach them better coping skills and how to make more sensible choices in their actions. The children are not our only focus. We also help their families learn more effective strategies to deal with the child and their behavior.

The last couple of years have been hard for families, and this year was looking particularly bleak for some of them. Remember your Christmas tree with the presents under it? Well some families didn't have any this year and had little chance of Santa coming to their house.

That is where the givers of this world stepped up to the plate. I am so thrilled to say that the staff and the community rallied up to our plate and 85 of our families were able to have presents under their tree.

I know its not Christmas now, but February, the month of the heart, is a great time to remember what people with heart do for this earth.

So to all our friends and neighbors and givers of this world, I send you a big, big red heart.

A Note from the Book Boost: Wow! That is quite an adventure and I hope the flood made it into one of your books. I'll bet your cats were giving you the evil eye for a bit--not big fans of water--I know. LOL Congrats on the release and on having such wonderful friendships. And thank you for the work you're doing in your community. Please tell us more about your book.


If you witnessed an accident on a lonely stretch of highway, would you stop or continue on your way?

For nurse Molly Tanner the choice is clear. Risking her own life, she pulls the seriously injured driver and his young daughter from the car.

When Pearce begs her to pose as his wife to keep Gracie from foster care, memories of her unhappy childhood rush back. But can Molly keep up the charade without her own secrets being discovered and her heart from being shattered?


“No one ever said life was fair.” Molly clutched the
leather-wrapped steering wheel of her Cavalier, her grandmother’s favorite saying echoing in her head.

Well, wasn’t that the truth. Fight or flight. Those were
her two options. But was fleeing the right decision?

The sun had set an hour before, and the cloudy sky overhead
hung like a mantle of coal. Molly tried to banish the fatigue descending on her. She should have stopped at that last motel, even if it did look like it would qualify for a five-star roach award. She could add that to her list of regrettable decisions.

The highway, arrow-straight when it left Hillsborough, now twisted and turned like a
corkscrew. Pine trees bordered the roadway, encroaching like shadowy ghosts. Scenes from horror movies with lonely highways sent a shiver down her spine. Why hadn’t she left while it was still light? Molly tried to suppress a yawn. Wake up girl, you need to stay alert.

She flipped the air flow to maximum. Maybe the cool air would keep her going for a few
more miles. She glanced in the rear-view mirror—no one else on the road, nothing to distract her, nothing but blacktop and an inky saw-toothed line of trees. She turned the radio up and listened to the lonesome country tunes.

It wasn’t working. She switched to a rock station.

“I’m not ready to make nice, I’m not ready to back
down.” That was better. Just the way she felt. Molly sang along. Opening the window, she let the pine-scented breeze slap her awake.

A car approached, its bright headlights flickering
like fireflies between the thick trunks of the evergreens. At last, a sign of life, the first she’d seen in the past half hour. The lights came closer, causing the pavement to take on the appearance of a striped swamp snake. The roar of a high-powered engine amplified as the distance between them shrank.

Thankfully, the high beams switched to low.

Molly jerked herself alert. What’s wrong with you?

He’s on his side of the road, and he isn’t speeding.

Why did she have a sudden sense of apprehension?

Calm down. The road’s wide enough to share.

There was a flash of movement. A white-tailed deer darted across the highway fifty feet in
front of her. Instinctively, she white-knuckled the steering wheel. Her foot eased off the gas, and the car slowed.

At least something was going right. Her hands loosened their grip, and she settled back into
the seat. A screech of tires broke into her thoughts. Her back stiffened and her heart rate spiked.

She clutched the steering wheel again, but her palms were sweating and she had trouble
maintaining her grip. The oncoming car veered towards her, its headlights hitting her full in the face, momentarily blinding her. Molly froze.

Oh God,no. Her breath wedged in her throat. There was nothing she could do. Her heart
skipped several beats as she battered the brakes. Too late. She was heading straight for the car.

She hunched forward, bracing for the inevitable crash.

Unable to breathe, Molly watched as the sports car lurched to the left and hurtled away from
her. Hands trembling, Molly relaxed her foot and eased the car to the side of the road. One car out of control was enough. She watched in horror as the Jaguar’s wheels caught the ridge where pavement met gravel. It freewheeled sideways. There was a thunderous crash. A mushroom cloud of sand and gravel littered the darkness, obliterating the car.

Where was her cell phone? She fumbled through her purse.When would she learn to keep it
on? The phone had migrated to the bottom corner of her canvas bag. Her fingers grasped the oblong object, and she flipped it open. Molly pressed the ‘on’ button. Only three numbers, why was she having trouble finding them?

Seconds crawled as she waited for the screen to illuminate. She twisted in the seat. Like a
theatre curtain drawn in reverse mode, gravel and dust sifted back to the ground. In horizontal slices, the car inched into view. The hood and driver’s side were crunched into the base of a large pine tree. Her thumbs finally managed the number.

“911. What is your emergency?”

“There’s been a car accident...on Highway 57...about 15 minutes north of Arva. There’s
someone in the car...he swerved to miss a deer...the car slid into a tree. Get an ambulance!”

Want More Kendra?

Visit her on the web here:

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In Love with LOVE with Guest Blogger: Sasha Summers

Meet up and coming author Sasha Summers
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about the duplicity of romance and here's what she had to say...

I am an unabashed romantic. I love the warm, awkward first glances and the heart stopping dark moment, the slow sizzle from a well-written seduction and the lung swelling moment of declaration. I need my fix of romance as much as I need my morning coffee. And, if you know me, you know that’s saying a lot. This is why I read romance. This is why I write romance. I love love.

I think it’s important to find balance when you write romance. It’s wonderful to get swept away in a book when you’re a reader. But the writer has a certain responsibility to their readers = writing the best book they can.

So, to answer the question...does being a romance writer make you a romantic? I say yes and no.

Here's why:


1. You have to love falling in love, the whole process – from butterflies to the bedroom. If you’re not a fan of romance, or think it’s silly or fluff, you probably won’t be very successful writing it. (But then again, chances are you wouldn’t write it if you don’t like it?)

2. You have to tap into honest feelings and convey that honesty on the page. Sincerity sells. If you, the author, aren’t moved then your readers won’t be either.

3. You need to come up with new ways to say ‘I love you’. And not just with words or in the bedroom. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Remember the whole sincerity thing (#2)? It’s more than just finding new ways to convey these three powerful little words. Its actions and reactions, symbolism and nuance. Inspiring heartfelt sentiments that leave your reader breathless.


1. Writing is a business. Marketing is a HUGE responsibility for today’s author. (I’m not sure I stressed that enough.) Don’t forget finances, research, and the whole writing a book thing too. :)

2. Writing is work (see #1). Maybe not from 9-5, in an office, take a carpool to work kind of thing but it’s definitely hard and, sometimes, slam-your-head-against-your-desktop work.

3. Writing requires commitment (see #1). A pro basketball player wouldn’t show up on the court without practicing, drilling, learning every technique he could to bring his ‘A’ game. And the same applies for writers. Writers must write, attend conferences, online classes, study, critique groups, write, research sessions, write-ins, edits, and more edits…

It’s a process that requires tenacity and determination. And when the first rejection comes, take it in stride and head straight back to the keyboard. Rejection is a big part of the journey, use what you can and toss the rest. (Again, refer to #1.)

But writing romance is also one thing that everyone, romantic or not, can agree on. It’s fun! Romance rocks because love is always triumphant. And that constant is part of the allure of romance. It’s a little magical, really. When real life relationships break down or stall or don’t exist, a romance novel can fill the void – for a little while anyway. :)

A Note from the Book Boost: This is a great post, Sasha and very interesting when compared with yesterday's author blog here at the Boost. You are truly flip sides of the same coin. I'm like you--I love LOVE! And keep the faith that heroes do really and truly exist in the real world. Thanks for joining us and congrats on your upcoming release(s)! P.S. I write young adult and inspirational under pen name K.G. Summers so we are 'summer sisters'. ;-) Please tell us more about your new book.


It's said love can change a person. Medusa wasn't always a monster...

Medusa is ruled by duty, to her Titan father and the Goddess Athena. She's no room for the tenderness her warrior guard, Ariston, stirs. When Olympus frees her from service, her heart leads her into the arms of the guard she loves... and curses her as the creature with serpent locks.

Ariston goes to war with a full heart... and dreadful foreboding. He learns too late of the danger Medusa faces, alone, and a Persian blade sends him into the Underworld. But death, curses, nor the wrath of the Gods will keep him from returning to her.

Poseidon will use Greece's war to get what he wants: Medusa. He does not care that she belongs to another. He does not care that she will be damned. He is a God, an Olympian, and she will be his.

Want More Sasha?

Sasha is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, history, and travel. It's no surprise that her books visit times past, set in places rich with legends and myth. Her first play, 'Greek Gods and Goddesses' (original title, right?), was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She's been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she's doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

Visit her on the web here:

Follow her on Twitter here:

View her book trailer today! Click here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Romance for the Pages with Guest Blogger: Alicia Rasley

Welcome historical author Alicia Rasley
to the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about being an unromantic--romance author and here's what she had to say...

Does Being a Romance Author Make You a Romantic?

I'm glad to be hear to talk to you in this most romantic of months! Of course, it doesn't seem all that romantic to me—February? I live in the midwest. February is gray and slushy. But even if the month were as bright and flowery as June, I wouldn't think it that romantic.

Yes. I'm an unromantic romance writer!

Just ask my husband. He'll tell you romance is wasted on me. He's even learned not to bother getting me jewelry. I always forget to put it on, or my clumsy fingers break the clasps, or I am "brainstorming" my latest plot and forget where I put the diamond brooch. (Usually in the laundry.)

Hey, he's getting off easy! He knows if I want flowers, I'll get some myself—at that most romantic of florists, Kroger's. Yep, after I pick up the dishwasher detergent and the parsnips, I'll pick up a bouquet or two.

And when he asks me what I want for my birthday (unromantically placed the very same week as Christmas), I cogitate for awhile and finally settle on… a new printer cartridge. (Tri-color! Let's really go for the passion!)

I save all my romantic desires for my books. Now here I have very high expectations. In my books, heroes don't just have to buy flowers. They should know enough to steal into a secret garden at midnight and pluck their own bouquet by the light of the full moon while whispering their darling's name! I don't make them slay dragons, but they ought to be willing to do the Regency equivalent.

For example, Michael in Royal Renegade defies his own sovereign and the crowned heads of Europe to save the princess bride from her disastrous royal betrothal. And his half-brother John (in Poetic Justice) endures the storms of the North Sea and a flogging from a sadistic navy captain to get to the church on time for his wedding.

I know I'm not alone. I have a friend who chose Tulsa for her honeymoon because she was setting a book there and needed to research the setting. Another won a free cruise at her job, and gave it away to a co-worker so that she could spend that time at home, writing her adventurous pirate romance. Another says her long marriage is due to her unwillingness to ever date again. What if she would fall in love with a new man? "Why waste all that passion on, you know, a real guy? I could use it to create a new hero!"

In fact, I suspect most romance writers keep their lives prosaic so that they can make their books romantic. After all, if we were constantly seeking adventure and romance, when would we have time to write? How could we cruise down the Amazon into the jungle and still meet our deadlines? (No wi-fi!)

Years ago, during a rocky marital moment (or month, or year), I took a class titled "1001 Ways to Be Romantic." I know, I know. A romance writer has to take a class in romance? But really, it helped! Wow. I still have the textbook. What great ideas, and I put them right to work! "#627: "Interview his mother, father, siblings, friends and colleagues to learn about his unique quirks, likes, dislikes, hobbies and passions."

I did a brainstorming exercise, free-writing in their voices, and I learned so much about my hero! (Oh. You mean the "his" refers to the husband? Now you know why it was a rocky marital moment for me. :)

And then there was #628: "Pretend you're millionaires! Window shop and choose expensive items for yourself as well as your lover." Boy, did that give me a great scene where the hero and heroine, newly destitute, walk down Bond Street and point out the luscious luxury items they'd give each other if the villain hadn't stolen all their money!

Well, the class didn't do much for my marriage, but it sure livened up my romance novels! (Actually, the marriage survived. There are worse things for a man than to be married to a woman who prefers print cartridges to diamond rings. And it's sure easier to be a hero when the most dangerous mission is installing a new printer to my laptop.)

At any rate, if you want romance, don't ask a romance writer. Just read our books. That's where we put every romantic impulse and instinct. Why waste those on our own lives, when we can share them with millions (well, thousands) of readers?

A Note from the Book Boost: Very funny post, Alicia but I have to admit that I'm a sucker for romance. I do hold out for the special dinners, the rose petals and the trips abroad. I married my own romance hero and even honeymooned in Ireland. I believe in happy endings and try to hope that there really are still good people out there in this harsh world. They say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one (oops, I think that might be a song lyric). Anyway, thanks for joining us and please tell us more about your latest.


A renegade rare-books dealer and a heiress-in-waiting must embark on a sham betrothal for the loftiest of literary aims– to prove that Shakespeare really was... Shakespeare.

John Dryden is on the trail of the greatest acquisition of his checkered career– a play manuscript written in Shakespeare's own hand. Between him and his prize is an obsessed librarian who wants to destroy it... and the heiress who can lead him to it, but only if he's willing to risk his life, his freedom, and his loner's heart.


John said, "I've had enough of noblewomen thinking of me as some diversion from their own kind."

"Diversion? What do you mean?"

"The peasant blood. Makes a man virile, you know."

The scathing tone of his voice indicated that he was quoting this. From whom, Jessica didn't want to imagine. But the implication that she might agree made her furious. "That's absurd! I don't see you as a diversion! From what would you be diverting me?"

"I've heard all about what in-breeding has done to the British peer— made him effete and effeminate and weak-boned, unable to perform. That's what rough-hewn virile peasants are meant to make up for."

It was so nonsensical that her anger vanished and she almost laughed. But she couldn't let him go free so easily as that. "Well, you don't seem the least rough-hewn to me. Your manners are every bit as insolent as a prince's, and you must count your moral authority somewhere up there with the Archbishop of Canterbury's. If all peasants in England were like you, we'd have been able to give the French lessons in revolution!"

"I have never set myself up as a moral authority."

"You just did! Accusing me of desiring to kiss you for any reason beyond— well, desiring to kiss you! And, as for that peasant virility— " She broke off, and stalked ahead. "Never mind."

"Oh, no, please do go on." Now there was laughter in his voice, but she chose to ignore it. "I wait with bated breath to hear this. As for my peasant virility—"

"I have only your word that it exists. Indeed, you are so sensitive about this virility issue, I must wonder. Have you cause?"

In response he took her arm and drew her to him. "Usually, when my manhood's questioned, I resort to cutlasses. But in this case...."

Pressed against his chest this way, she could hardly find the breath to speak, but she said, "There are other ways, you know."

And just as he bent his head, she raised hers, so that their mouths met. This kiss wasn't tentative or onesided, but a lingering exploration of the possibilities. John's rough sailor's hand was gentle on her cheek, his mouth softened in response to hers. She closed her eyes, letting him draw her closer, opening her mouth to his searching. It was dizzying, dazzling, impossible.

Want More Alicia?

Visit her on the web here:

Or, here:

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

Friday, February 17, 2012

Giraffe Kisses & Cat Missives with Guest Blogger: Kate Lutter

Win an I-Tunes Gift Card and meet
debut author, Kate Lutter at the Book Boost!

She's here to tell us of her long neck-ed adventures and here's what she had to say...

Hi, my name is Kate and I blog about my exotic travel experiences with my hunky husband. The blog is called Hot Blogging with Chuck. But to be completely honest, Chuck isn’t my husband, he’s my cat.

Not many people take their cat with them when they travel. I know this. And Bob, my husband, does not jump with joy to know that Chuck is coming with us, stuffed in my carry-on, all the air deflated out of him, only to be pumped up upon arrival and raring to go.

But it is a reality born of necessity.

You see, Chuck was bored at home, and he was developing into a “over groomer.”

Feral and homeless, we adopted him, expecting some problems, but we did not expect that this cute and very adorable orange and white tabby would turn into an obsessively clean cat or that he would begin to groom the fur right off his body. In spots, of course.

The vet said Chuck was bored. He needed stimulation. Travel. Fun. That’s how it all began.

And when Chuck discovered that I had written a novel called Wild Point Island . . . well, that clinched it. Chuck wanted to go see the island, which was a bit difficult. So we began to take Chuck with us as we traveled around the U.S. and the world.

Even when we flew eight hours to London and then another ten to Kenya, Afrrica. ON SAFARI.

Yes, we figured it would be a bit risky to haul a rascal cat with us as we trekked across the Serengeti Plain in search of adventure, but little did we realize the number of scrapes the Chuckster would drag us into.

One in particular I have not revealed until now, but this is a story of friendship and love and perfect for Valentine’s Day . . .

We had stopped to visit the Giraffe Sanctuary in Nairobi when I was offered the unique opportunity to kiss a giraffe. Now I can imagine what you’re thinking. Would any sensible person put themselves in that position? But here I was--face to face--with the most beautiful giraffe I had ever seen. Her name was Daisy, and as we stood on the platform overlooking the fields where Daisy and other giraffes were romping around, one of the attendants at the sanctuary made the offer when all the other tourists disappeared into the gift shop.

“Would you like to kiss a giraffe?”

At first, I was appalled and then the idea became irresistible.

Because of Chuck.

He pushed me into it. He looked at me with that disappointed look on his face as if to say that his entire trip would be ruined if I didn’t do this thing.

But still I hesitated.

A giraffe’s tongue is long and very slimy looking. It darts in and out of its mouth with lightning speed.

I had been standing there for about an hour feeding Daisy pellets of food, and I had felt that tongue on my hand.

Chuck, perched in my smart bag, had been peeking out and watching the entire show. Now he whispered a quiet meow that sounded a bit like “chicken.”

All right. And I suppose the writer in me saw the story potential.

I agreed.

The attendant modeled how to put a pellet of food between my lips, which would lure Daisy to make contact and voila--the kiss.

My knees were shaking, but I did as he said--I placed the pellet between my lips, half closed my eyes, and waited for Daisy to swoop down. Her lips gently touched mine. Her touch was as light as a feather. There was no sliminess involved.

Oh, my.

“It was wonderful,” I whispered to Chuck. “It was the sweetest kiss. I am so glad I went through with it.”

And, frankly, I was quite giddy with excitement.

Chuck was smiling. But not at me. At Daisy. Well, mooning actually, as if he wanted to kiss Daisy, too.


He had a kind of misty look in his eyes.

I held out a pellet. “All you have to do--”

The rascal boy looked slightly unsure as I helped him out of my smartbag and onto the railing of the platform.

After all, a giraffe’s head is huge and compared to my Chuckie’s head, well . . . and what if Daisy decided to nibble on Chuck rather than kiss him. All these thoughts rambled through my mind.

But I figured Chuck wanted to make friends and you can never have too many friends.

Finally, Chuck opened his mouth, and I carefully placed the pellet in.

Daisy sauntered over.

“Courage, little man.”

Daisy has the most beautiful eyes. She leaned in and the Chuckster straightened up because I suspected he was quite mesmerized.

The pellet was exchanged, which meant DAISY KISSED CHUCK and Chuck began to purr.

Now, both of us were in love. Daisy would be a friend for life.

How fitting to tell this tale to honor Valentine’s Day!

A Note from the Book Boost: This is one wild story, Kate! I thank you for sharing it with us during this week of Valentine's love. You and Chuck are very brave indeed. Most romantic place I've kissed--hubby and I took our honeymoon in Ireland and enjoyed a romantic kiss at Ladies View in Killarney (the name stems from the admiration of the view by Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting during their visit there in 1861). Congrats on your upcoming release and I wish you much success!


Banished from Wild Point Island as a child, Ella Pattenson, a half human-half revenant, has managed to hide her true identity as a descendent of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Thought to have perished, the settlers survived but were transformed into revenants--immortal beings who live forever as long as they remain on the island.

Now, Ella must return to the place of her birth to rescue her father from imprisonment and a soon to be unspeakable death. Her only hope is to trust a seductive revenant who seems to have ties to the corrupt High Council. Simon Viccars is sexy and like no man she’s ever met. But he’s been trapped on the island for 400 years and is willing to do almost anything for his freedom.

With the forces of the island conspiring against her, Ella must risk her father, her heart, and her life on love.


He leaned in. “May I?”

I wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, but I nodded.

He touched my hair, running his fingers through the strands as if he were caressing delicate gold filaments. “When I look in your eyes, I see reflected there the life you have lived, the places you have been to.”

I heard regret, the sad awareness that he hadn’t seen all those places I could travel to on a whim, places he’d been kept from.

I reached out. The tips of my fingers skimmed his cheek, feeling the rough, uneven day’s growth of beard.

Here I was touching him. For the first time in my life I wanted someone. I felt desire. Despite the taboos that existed, I wanted him.

I leaned closer, arched on my toes, and in the fullness of need and want, not knowing how he would react, I kissed him.

Want More Kate?

Kate Lutter believes she was born to write. She wrote her first novel when she was in eighth grade, but then almost burned her house down when she tried to incinerate her story in the garbage can because she couldn’t get the plot to turn out right. Now, many years later, she lives in NJ with her husband and five cats (no matches in sight) and spends her days writing contemporary paranormal romances, traveling the world, and hanging out with her four wild sisters. She is happy to report that her debut novel, Wild Point Island, is scheduled for release in 2012 by Crescent Moon Press. She is busy writing the sequel and her exotic travel blog entitled Hot Blogging with Chuck, which features her very snarky & almost famous cat.

Visit her on the web here:

Follow her blog here:

Coming Soon from Crescent Moon Press!
Click here for details.

Contest Time:

His Honor, Judge Chuck

Describe in 25 words or less the most romantic location where you have ever been kissed. The top two entries—judged by Chuck—will win a $20 I-Tunes gift card. Please include email address when responding.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's Sew Cozy with Guest Blogger: Melissa Bourbon

Meet the mysterious & magical
Melissa Bourbon today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about cozies with the most appeal and here's what she had to say...

You can never predict where your interests will take you, or what path they will provide for you to follow. Love for my husband and his Mexican culture led me to create the Lola Cruz mystery series (Bare-Naked Lola, book 3, comes out in April).

I never imagined I’d write a second series, and I certainly never imagined that learning to sew when I was in elementary school would factor into the concept behind that second series.

I learned to sew in elementary school. It takes determination, fine motor skills, patience, and sheer will to learn to sew, especially when you’re young. And I had those things. I was a homebody, even then, and sewing quickly turned into one of my favorite things to do. If Project Runway had been around then... watch out!

Fast forward to post college. I spent hour after hour making the bridesmaids dresses for my wedding--and I had 7 bridesmaids in a very traditional Catholic ceremony! A few years later, we were having kids and I sewed and dressed my children in homemade wonders which makes them burst out in laughter over now. “Mom! We looked like clowns!”


I’m not inordinately skilled at sewing, so simple works best ;) Baggie one piece outfits were my specialty for a while. And infant and toddler clothes should have tons of color, que no?

I also love magical realism and pretty much wish it was the way the world really worked. And old outlaws? There’s just something about them that gives me a thrill.

So (sew) when it came time, eons later, to develop a book concept (you know how cozy mysteries need that all important hook), sewing was the first thing that popped into my mind. I added a touch of magic, and a few old outlaws, and, voila! A Magical Dressmaking Mystery Series was born.

From Pleating for Mercy, book 1:

All the Cassidy women possess special gifts. Harlow Jane Cassidy’s is creating beautiful dresses. But she’s about to discover secrets in her own family, and another gift—one that can reach beyond the grave…

When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But soon after she opens Buttons & Bows, a custom dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow begins to feel an inexplicable presence…

One of her first clients is her old friend Josie, who needs a gown for her upcoming wedding. But when Josie’s boss turns up dead, it starts to look as if the bride-to-be may be wearing handcuffs instead of a veil. Suddenly Josie needs a lot more from Harlow than hemming a dress. Can Harlow find the real killer—with a little help from beyond?

I love Harlow’s world, intertwining history and ancestry with her contemporary world, and most of all, I love all the books on fashion I’ve had an excuse to buy... all in the name of research!

A Fitting End just released this month and I’m so excited to share Harlow’s continued journey in Bliss, Texas. You don’t have to love sewing in order to be spellbound by the Margaret Moffette Lea Pageant and Ball and the mystery at the Bliss Country Club.

From A Fitting End:

Former Manhattan fashion designer Harlow Jane Cassidy has a gift for creating beautiful dresses. But when Harlow becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation, she’ll more than her sewing skills to unravel the mystery…

Business is booming at Harlow’s custom dressmaking boutique, Buttons & Bows, even with the presence of her great-grandmother’s ghost hanging around the shop. But thanks to the fast approaching Margaret Moffette Lea Pageant and Ball, Harlow has her work cut out for her when Mrs. Zinnia James hires her to make her granddaughter’s pageant gown.

With the debutant ball getting the whole town of Bliss, Texas into a tizzy, Harlow knows her dress has to be perfect. But when a local golf pro is found stabbed to death with dressmaking shears, the new deputy thinks Harlow and Mrs. James conspired to commit the crime. Now Harlow has to finish the dress on time and clear her name before the next outfit she designs is a prison jumpsuit…

So tell me... if you were to write a cozy mystery series, what would the hook be?

A Note from the Book Boost: Melissa, you must've read my mind! I've just pitched my first cozy series and I'm awaiting the results. I can't share the hook yet but I love your premise and will most definitely being sowing my cozy oats with your fantastic series! Thanks for joining us at the Boost.

Want More Melissa?

Visit her website here:

Follow her on Twitter here:

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Chat with Author Marcia James Today @ The Boost!

Win a copy of At Her Command and welcome
our featured author Marcia James
to the blog today!

We recently had a chat with pet-friendly Marcia and here's what she had to say...

TBB: Welcome to the blog, Marcia. We are excited to host you as our featured Book of the Month author for February.

MJ: I'm thrilled to be a guest on The Book Boost this month as February is traditionally associated with romance -- and romance novels. Valentine's Day (the Queen of romance holidays) falls within February, but the month features other romantic dates, such as the Celebration of Love Week (Feb. 12 - 18), International Flirting Week (Feb. 13 - 19), and World Marriage Day (Feb. 12).

Since my romance novels always feature dogs, I noticed that February also includes a number of animal-friendly holidays, such as National Justice for Animals Week (Feb. 19 - 25), Sled Dog Day (Feb. 2), and Love Your Pet Day (Feb. 20).

No matter what holidays you celebrate, I hope your February will be very special and filled with love!

TBB: How did I know you'd bring those furry friends into the mix? ;-) Can you tell us a little about your writing background?

MJ: I've always enjoyed writing and remember penning poetry as early as seven years old. At the University of Virginia, I minored in Creative Writing, and at American University, I received a Master's in TV production and scriptwriting. Then, after years as a freelance advertising copywriter, I decided to try my hand at romance writing. I'm a sucker for Happily Ever Afters!

TBB: How did you come up with the idea for this particular book?

MJ: I have a sense of humor that's been described as "offbeat." ;-) And the premise of the series appealed to my slightly bent funny bone. The idea of a female sex therapist/amateur sleuth offers lots of comic possibilities, especially if the homicide detective hero is a "meat-and-potatoes" guy sexually (read "prude"), who's not too keen on the heroine's profession.

Dr. Ally Skye's specialized knowledge, however, proves useful to the police when they're trying to solve sex-driven crimes. I had a great time writing about these two very different characters who are drawn together by murder and an inconvenient -- put powerful -- attraction.

TBB: Oooh, I can't image the hot detective being a prude. Too funny. How did you come up with the title for this book and will this be a series?

MJ: I wanted to give readers a clue to the order of the books in the "Dr. Ally Skye, Sex Therapist" comic romantic mystery series, so the word "single" in the title (Sex & the Single Therapist) is the hint that it's the first book. My second book, which I'm writing now, is titled, Death & the Double Entendre. The third will be Murder & the Menage a Trois. In addition to the books' sequence, the titles refer to the murder that kicks off each book's mystery.

For example, in Death & the Double Entendre, someone is murdering clients of phone sex services.

TBB: Love, love, love those titles. I'm a title kind of girl. Well, when you're not busy writing, what are you reading?

MJ: Smooth Play by Regina Hart. I enjoy contemporary romances, like Regina's emotional "Love 'N Hoops" series featuring a fictional NBA team. I'm also partial to romantic comedies, like those of Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

TBB: I'm reading an "oldie" by Jennifer Crusie now, Tell Me Lies. Very good stuff. I chose it because it is labeled as being her "Break Out Novel". As a successful author yourself, what advice to you have for other writers out there?

MJ: As important as it is to learn the craft of fiction writing, it's equally important to learn the business side of publishing. For example, I teach author promotion workshops, and I see how unprepared most new authors are when it comes to promoting their brand and their books. There is so much an author can do before getting "The Call" to learn about marketing and to establish his or her pen name.

In addition, aspiring authors should understand basic contract information, research agents and editors, be familiar with what publishers are looking for, etc. The best way to do this is to learn these things simultaneously to perfecting one's craft. And joining a professional organization like Romance Writers of America can speed up the process.

TBB: I couldn't agree more. I, in fact, took your amazing promotions workshop a few years back. That's why I always write my website name as ( now with the capital letters. :0) See what a good student I was? (wink, wink) Have any interesting writing quirks to share?

MJ: I'm a plot-driven author, so I know the important milestones in a book's plot before beginning to write it. However, I often do a draft of the love scenes before starting the first chapter and writing the rest of the book chronologically. I love writing kissey-face scenes!

TBB: That is interesting. I always write my love scenes last. You have so many projects in the works, do you have time to do anything else these days?

MJ: I'm brainstorming plots and "researching" love scenes with my husband and hero of many years. ;-)

TBB: Zoiks! You go girlfriend! Guess you had a stellar Valentine's Day then.

But before you go, please give us a blurb and teaser for your newest book and thanks for joining us at The Book Boost and for your continued support of finding a cure for Juvenile Diabetes (from which my 11 year old daughter suffers). Big hugs to you from us, my friend.


A crime of passion…

To clear an innocent friend, sex therapist Dr. Ally Skye investigates a patient’s murder. Soon she's trading heated words and hot kisses with a sexy cop. Can this free-spirited amateur sleuth and her posse of Vegas insiders solve the crime before the killer targets her?

A sexy complication…

Cynical homicide detective Zack Crawford has the murder to solve. The last thing he needs is a red-hot sex therapist who haunts his dreams. Ally is trouble and, given her job and his luck, she'd probably grade his performance in bed.

A dynamic duo…

Zack and Ally form an uneasy and sexually charged alliance. Murderers, extortionists and psychos are no match for these reluctant partners. Crime-solving was never this sexy or this fun!


The front entrance of Dr. Ally Skye's office cracked open, and Gladys poked her head in. Her perfect French twist sprouted wisps of hair, her silk scarf was askew, and she’d nibbled off her lipstick. In the five years since Ally had established the practice, her unflappable office manager had never been shaken.

“There’s a cop out here.” Gladys hissed the words in a stage whisper before Ally could speak. “There’s been a—”

The woman squeaked as a wide, tanned hand grasped the edge of the door above her head and shoved it fully open. A long-limbed, broad-shouldered man stepped around Gladys and closed the door in her face.

The grim man strode forward, impatience shimmering off him in waves. Holy guacamole, as her mother used to say. Beneath her clamoring fight-or-flight instinct, Ally recognized a thoroughly female reaction to his overt maleness...a sexual awareness that buzzed like a low-voltage current.

Lean but muscular, he wore a short-sleeved shirt revealing powerful, sun-darkened arms. His untucked, orange-and-turquoise Hawaiian shirt hung over dusty jeans that molded to his thighs. And there was a bump under his shirt tail. A belt holster?

A desert tan gave the cop the look of an Old West lawman despite his vibrant shirt. His hair, unruly and the color of espresso, brushed his collar. The room’s diffused lighting glinted off gold highlights probably threaded through his dark mane by Nevada’s relentless sunshine.

Fine lines emphasized the man’s vibrant cobalt eyes and full, sensual mouth. The cop’s serious demeanor fit the sharp planes of his handsome face. He halted in front of her, and Ally fought the knee-jerk urge to retreat.

“Detective Zack Crawford, Las Vegas Metro Police Department.” His gruff introduction wasn’t accompanied by an offer to shake hands. The man’s gaze drifted over her, insolently assessing, before his eyes returned to her face. “I need to ask you some questions.”

Ally met his cool stare, tilting her head to adjust to the good half-foot differential in their heights. He was deliberately crowding her personal space, probably attempting to make her nervous. Well, she didn’t intimidate easily. “Could I see some identification?”

He rolled his eyes before producing his shield from a back pocket. Ally didn’t need her grad school body language courses to spot the exasperation in his posture and expression.

Unable to resist needling him, she plucked the shield from his fingers and studied it for several long seconds. Then, returning it to him, she extended her hand and completed their introductions. “I’m Dr. Ally Skye.”

Crawford took her hand, gave it a single shake and dropped it. During the brief contact, she felt the warm, rough texture of his calloused fingers and awarded him points for giving her a firm but not vise-like squeeze. He might be impatient and aggressive, but he’d taken care not to crunch her knuckles.

Ally motioned to her client chairs. Crawford slid a hip onto the arm of the nearest one, ensuring he would hover over her if she settled onto the seat of her chair.

So that’s your game. She almost grinned, enjoying their non-verbal jockeying for dominance. It was easy to spot a control freak when you had a few of those tendencies yourself. Unwilling to sit submissively below his level, she perched on the arm of her therapist chair, glad she’d chosen to wear the linen pants suit and not a dress that morning.

His lips tightened. Oh, he’d noticed the power play but didn’t comment. Instead, he took a notebook out of his shirt pocket and flipped it open. “I’m here about a patient.”

The disdain he'd layered on the last word was crystal clear, and Ally sighed. As a sex therapist, she was accustomed to unenlightened people denigrating her work. “I can’t discuss my clients.”

His eyes narrowed in a look that probably made criminals cower. “Don’t pull that confidentiality bullshit, Doctor Skye. I know what services a surrogate performs.”

Ally ground her teeth. He assumed she was a sex surrogate, which many considered synonymous with “call girl.” No wonder he thought he could push her into discussing her clients.

“Detective Crawford,” she mimicked his derisive tone while chiding herself for letting him push her buttons. “I’m a licensed therapist, not a sex surrogate. And my clients are entitled to the same confidentiality as those of any doctor.”

He leaned toward her, his musky scent sending an olfactory jolt to her brain’s lust center. Ally shallowed her breathing in self-defense.

“This is a homicide investigation,” he announced. “Tug Shaffer’s been murdered, and we’re questioning his wife.”

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