Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Storm Inside is One!

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Holy cannoli! The Storm Inside is a year old! I’m not gonna bore you with all my exclamations.

No, I totally am.

Shut the front door! It’s been a freaking year?? No wait, you’ve got to be kidding…it’s only been a year? It was last summer the power of romance compelled me to tell Jake and Eve’s story. I was obsessed. I didn’t bathe. I didn’t eat (no seriously, I forgot to eat and lost, like, ten pounds. I do NOT endorse the obsessed authors diet. It is BAD for your health).

But I had to tell this story about two people hopelessly in love. Jake was stuck in my head. This guy who was so incredibly scarred by life, but was so in love with Eve that he was willing to do anything to keep from hurting her–including breaking her heart so he could get better. And he did. He became this incredibly strong, wise, freaking hot dude. And of course that meant he needed to get his girl back.

I still love this story like I love my kids. Ok, maybe a little different than my kids, but it’s my book-kid, and as such it has a very special place in my heart. Not just because of the story itself, but because of what that story did to my life. The Storm Inside brought me my critique partner, Julia Kelly. And Julia widened my circle of writer friends so much larger than I dared to hope it could get.

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It made me closer with my other writer friends Mary Chris Escobar, Lashell Collins, and Tracie Puckett. Tracie became my angel when things got ugly this year, and then she pushed me when I needed a good push.

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Then The Storm Inside brought me A.L. Parks, who then brought me T.J. Kline. It connected me with readers. It reconnected me with old friends like Mychele and Jennifer S (I didn’t put your full names since I didn’t ask permission!). It gave me the courage to have fun and finally write Tease and Undressing Cara for One Week in Wyoming.

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It made me closer to my hot hubby.

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And all of this, all of you, made my dreams come true. This is the life I always dreamed of having: family, friends, and the ability to write. I feel so incredibly blessed and I don’t know what to do with myself except tell all of you over and over how grateful I am to have each of you in my life, no matter how brief.

It scares me to think that I almost chickened out on this. That I almost let the nay-sayers and negative Nellies, convince me to keep my stories to myself. That one little leap of faith has changed my entire life from top to bottom.

If anyone out there is thinking of pursuing a dream, all I have to say is this: You can’t be afraid to fail and you can’t listen to anyone else but you. If you feel like your dream is real and you are willing to work very hard for what you want, then don’t let failure or doubters hold you back. Have faith in yourself, trust yourself, and have the courage to believe in you.

Be like Jake and Eve.

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For fun I’ve included a little excerpt from When Lightning Strikes, the third book in The Storm Inside series. It is Greg’s book and I’m working as fast as I can on it. Hopefully it will be out in November. Keep in mind this is completely raw and unedited. The only person who has seen this before now, is me!

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“Greg Hamilton.” He said it, almost curtly, thrusting his hand out.

I looked down and cocked my head to the side. This was an interesting turn of events. “Marie,” I replied simply. My last name tended to give me away more often than not, and I had a feeling I didn’t want to be exposed to this man in that way.

I shook his hand and tried my damndest to not get lost in his blue eyes, because damn, they were intense. It felt like he could see beneath my skin and into my soul. They were even more penetrating up close than they were from across the bar.

“I just wanted to come over and tell you that you have the best laugh I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Was that a line? Because if it was, it was one of the oddest ones I’d ever received. “Thank you?”

Greg shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t hear laughs like that very often, and yours was particularly beautiful. I just thought you should know.”

My laugh was beautiful. Not me. Not my dress or my hair. Not even my body. “Well thank you very much. Can I get you a drink? I was about to order us some fresh ones.”

Greg looked down at his mostly full glass. “No, I’m fine, but thank you.”

I leaned my hip into the bar and signaled the bartender. He gave me a wink and held up a finger letting me know he’d be over in a moment. I turned back to Greg. “So is that really the only reason you came over?”

He chuckled and took a drink, a wry smile pulling at one side of his lips. “Look sweetheart, you’re a beautiful woman, I don’t think you need me to tell you that. Or maybe that’s what you prefer?”

Oh…this dude had an attitude on him. “Actually I can’t stand it. I was just trying to figure out what your game is. One minute you’re pissing off Tyler Jones and looking like you’d rather eat nails than be in this bar, and the next you’re over here smiling and telling me my laugh is beautiful.”

I couldn’t decide if Greg was a genuinely interesting mystery or just another half-drunk jackass bored and looking for a quick fuck, or a fight, on a Thursday night.

He took a step toward me. Even in my three-inch heels he had a couple of inches on me, which wasn’t saying a whole lot, I wasn’t exactly tall, but I had to look up to see into his eyes. “I have a policy to always tell people when I admire something about them. Life is too short to keep shit like that to ourselves.”

Oh, that was very interesting. Greg Hamilton had a history, of that I was sure. “That sounds like a very sound policy. For the record, you have the most amazing eyes I’ve ever seen.”

Those baby blues widened and then darkened. Hot didn’t begin to cover it.

“And, just for the record, you do have a beautiful body.”

For some reason, that made me blush. His gaze flicked to my cheeks and neck, and then he took a step back, as if realizing he’d embarrassed me and felt bad. But having him step away made me sad. There was something about having him close that I very much enjoyed. His presence was immense. The closer he got, the more intensely I felt it. The air was charged and his scent—some sort of manly Old Spice-type musk—was everywhere.

It was like a little taste of heaven and I wanted it back.

He cleared his throat. “Sorry.”

“Why are you sorry for telling me that? I thought it was your policy to always tell someone when you admire something about them. Unless, you were lying?”

He frowned and cocked an eyebrow. I had a feeling this was a typical expression for Greg. The lines on his brow creased and deepened as if this was the normal position for his skin. “No, I wasn’t lying. But you turned red.” He waved his glass in a circle over my face.

I smiled. This man was a very interesting enigma. “So?”

“So I felt bad.”

“Why did you feel bad for complimenting my body?”

He looked at me like I was crazy. “I just…” he ran his hand through his hair, messing it into a totally different configuration. A totally tuggable one at that. “I just didn’t want you to think I was that kind of guy.”

“And what kind of guy is that?” I knew I was being difficult, but Greg was making it so much fun.

“The kind of guy who picks up women in bars.”

“That’s not the kind of guy you are? You’ve never picked up a woman in a bar before?”

I was absolutely positive that Greg had picked up his fair share of women over the years. He wasn’t exactly young, but he wasn’t old either. My guess was mid to late thirties. A wonderful age for men. They were still young enough to have fun, but old enough to have learned from their mistakes.

He glared at me. “Yes, I occasionally meet women in bars.”

“Then why don’t you want me to think you were trying to pick me up?”

Greg looked completely exasperated by me. His brows were furrowed, he was frowning, and his glass was almost empty now.

“What can I get you?” The bartender had finally made his way back down to me.

“Another white wine and a whiskey and tonic.”

“The Glenlevit?”

“Please.”

The bartender looked over my shoulder. “Another Knob for you?”

When I looked back at Greg I realized he was staring at me.

“What?”

“Nothing,” he replied quickly. “And I’m fine, thanks.” The bartender nodded and got busy making our drinks.

Whatever Greg was thinking, it was not nothing. I didn’t know what it was…but I sure wanted to find out. “So Greg Hamilton, drinker of Knob Creek and occasional picker-upper of women in bars. What are you doing over here talking to me?”

He swallowed and shook his head. “I think I might be getting picked up by you.” A huge grin split his face, lighting up his eyes.

I looked Greg up and down before meeting his eyes again. Was I picking him up? I hadn’t done anything that ill-advised in years, and yet…I kinda wanted to see what would happen. I bit my lip while I debated, and Greg’s eyes narrowed. Oh, this was nice. I had an effect on this man. “I haven’t decided yet,” I finally said.

Greg stepped up so that our fingertips were touching. “Well, then let me help you decide.”

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My Shelf Monday: Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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So…I’m being pulled into a series. A paranormal series at that, by a friend who likes to get me addicted to sinfully fun books to read. She handed me Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon a few weeks back, but I got caught up in the busy end of summer and kinda forgot the book was sitting next to my purse (so I wouldn’t forget to return it).

Well, she texted me this week to see if I was ready for book two. So the book has moved to Defcon 1 and is on my nightstand! I will start it tomorrow… however, I’ve heard this is a highly addictive series. If any of you out there have read it, hit me in the comments with some information! I need to know how lost to reality I am about to be!

I can’t start it today because I’m finishing a different book tonight. The super secret-advanced-copy-from-a-favorite author kind! I will of course share the details of that on release day!

In the meantime, join me in reading Born of Night, or grab a fancy new paperback copy of One Week in Wyoming which is now available in all formats! (The paperback is super duper awesomely priced right now) and the ebook is only $0.99.

If you are looking to find a new author, take a peek at the new box set Up All Night! It is also only $0.99!

Happy reading!

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One Week in Wyoming is out now!

One Week In Wyoming Available September 9, 2014

It’s release day for One Week in Wyoming! Four interconnected love stories in one steamy book!

Four couples, seven hot winter nights…
When best-selling romance author Joan Halliday invites four single female writers to stay at her family’s luxurious Wyoming lodge, she’s counting on a quiet week of bonding on the slopes and in the spa.

Bruce Halliday was looking forward to a relaxing reunion with his college buddies in the wilds of Wyoming…but when his wife’s group meets Bruce’s unattached friends, the sparks start to fly.

Four stories by Alexis Anne, Audra North, Julia Kelly, and Alexandra Haughton heat up the page in one sexy anthology.

The eBook is available everywhere now, and the paperback will be available in about a week!

Buy Links:

iBooks: One Week in Wyoming – Alexis Anne, Audra North, Julia Kelly & Alexandra Haughton

Amazon: One Week in Wyoming (One Week in Love)

Nook ♥ Kobo ♥ Goodreads

Read an early review here!

Undressing Cara by Alexis Anne

Eli Pierce is Seattle’s most eligible bachelor. He’s sexy, rich, arrogant…and completely wrong for Cara Sinclair—not that it stopped her from using him as the inspiration for her latest best-selling novel. In fiction, she stripped away everything she didn’t like about Eli, and replaced it with the makings of a true romantic hero.

There’s only one problem: Cara has no idea she’s about to spend a week with the real Eli Pierce at her friend’s Wyoming lodge—and in a unexpected twist, Eli’s had a crush on Cara all this time. What happens when Cara learns that Eli is a lot more like her fictional hero than the man in the tabloids? Can a week in the snow turn two long-distance crushes into true love? There’s One Week in Wyoming to find out!

Off-Piste by Audra North
Leah Christos is about to give up on her dream of becoming a writer because she’s afraid of taking chances. Quitting her job to write full time is simply too risky. Jasper Brandt is looking for excitement to liven up his dull life. He’s the last person that safe-loving Leah should be hooking up with. But when they get together at their friends’ Wyoming lodge, they might end up taking the greatest chance of all…

Seduction in the Snow by Julia Kelly
Lydia Reed’s had her heart stomped on one too many times, so when the gorgeous, glasses-wearing Evan Sullivan winds up at the same Wyoming lodge as her she sees the chance for the a short, hot fling with a definite end date. There’s only one problem: Evan. He might have agreed to their just-for-fun romance, but just a few days with her and he wants more. Now he must convince the headstrong writer that falling for him is worth the risk.

Love is Here to Stay by Alexandra Haughton
Romance writer Callie Emerson can’t resist a good story or a good secret, so when she finds herself more interested in unlocking a surly rancher’s secrets than in making her deadline, she knows she’s in big trouble. Win Carter is too busy resuscitating his family’s legacy to invest time in a relationship, especially one with his sister’s spoiled society friend. And though she has her head in the clouds while his feet are rooted firmly in the ground, maybe one week in Wyoming is all it will take to start writing their own happily ever after.


 

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My Shelf Monday: the awesome has exploded (and it’s all over everything…)

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Woot! It’s another beautiful Monday in Booklandia! I finished reading Before Jamaica Lane, One Week in Wyoming is out tomorrow, and First Draught had a fantastic chat last week (see the video below!). So basically this post is chock-full of awesome. It’s getting all over everything, seeping into the nooks and crannies. Strap into your safety harness and keep reading!

Boom. Let’s get the My Shelf Monday out of the way first. Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young was fan-freaking-tastic. It’s written in the same style as all the Dublin Street books: female 1st person POV. It’s told in that same easy “we’re just BFF’s talking about life” style I love so much. And the characters were both grappling with a few things I find quite real in my own life. Plus, the hero was named Nate, so reading about all that great sex was extra fun for me (hehehehe!). Nate is awesome. He’s a genuinely broken-hearted bad boy (how can you not love that??) who is hopelessly and secretly in love with Olivia (because he simply can’t ever love again). He is very honest and a very good man underneath all the sex. Olivia is like a lot of us, she’s let some life and doubts overwhelm her to the point that she’s forgotten how awesome she is. Together they find a way to live life to the fullest again. I thoroughly enjoyed their story and have a fairly severe book hangover. I’m nursing with coffee and writing about Travis and Kristin in Stripped #1.

Which bring me to One Week in Wyoming!!! It’s is almost here (finally!) You guys know by now I have zero patience. I can’t sit on a story to save my life. So going through the paces of an extended release like this (gosh I want to make dirty jokes left and right…) is pretty much driving me crazy! But the waiting is over. Tuesday morning the book will be out in the world! Over on the One Week in Love website we’re blogging about how the book came to be. You can hop on over and entertain yourself there! You can also pre-order the book right now at iBooks so you don’t miss the release!
Pre-order link: One Week in Wyoming – Alexis Anne, Audra North, Julia Kelly & Alexandra Haughton

Julia Kelly also has a couple of excerpts from her story “Seduction in the Snow” over on her website. You can check out an excerpt from me below the First Draught video.

Which brings me to First Draught! We had a great chat last week. It was all about research and the stuff we need to do to get setting, people, careers, clothes, dialogue, and sex correct in our books. You can check out the show here (Wow..I’m making a rather interesting face in the freeze frame…):

And here is an excerpt from “Undressing Cara” in the One Week in Wyoming anthology: 

“Eli, this is amazing,” she breathed, placing her hand on his arm to balance while she looked out at the scene below them.

He was grinning like a fool. “I knew you’d love it. I can’t wait to read about it in one of your books.”

“You really read my books?” she asked. It seemed so illogical that this insanely busy man had time to read.

He rolled his eyes. “Yes, I really read them. I like all your books, but Midnight was special.”

“Special how?”

He shrugged, and his cheeks flushed. “Um, I guess because it felt real. That book, more than anything else you wrote—more than anything else I’ve read in a long, long time—felt real. I know a lot of people probably say this, but I felt like you wrote that book for me. Like I was Will and maybe that meant there was an Amy out there somewhere for me.”

“You want an Amy in your life?” Three days ago she would have laughed, but now, after having a chance to get to know him, she realized how wrong she’d been.

Eli grinned. “Amy is probably the exact woman I’ve been looking for my entire life.” He shook his head and chuckled. “I finally found the perfect woman, and she’s fictional. This probably explains why I’m still single…Joan was just teasing me about that the other day.”

She had put so much of herself into Amy. It was the most personal character she’d ever written. She thought that raw reality was a lot of the reason the book was performing better than her other novels, but maybe that was also what brought her to Eli. “Why is Amy the perfect woman?”

He turned toward her, and she felt the air around her shift. Hell, she felt the whole world move, like the entire Earth had just shifted on its axis. “She’s smart and funny, loves adventure and travel, and was willing to risk everything to make it work with Will.”

“You want a woman who will give up everything for you?” That wasn’t who Amy was, and it sure as hell wasn’t who Cara was.

“No,” he said firmly. “Absolutely not. But I do want a woman who is willing to fight for the man she loves as fiercely as he is willing to fight for her. I admire what they both sacrificed in the end. Neither of them gave up everything, but they both did what they had to in order to make their relationship work. It was so real. When the book ended, I was sad. I just wanted to stay with Amy and Will in their world for a little while longer.”

So did she. “I can write you a sequel.”

He gazed down at her. His breath was warm as it danced across the exposed skin on her face. The world was spinning, and her knees felt like they might give out at any minute.

“No,” he finally replied. “Don’t ruin the ending—it was perfect.”

“I’ll see if I can find you a real Amy, then?”

He shook his head again. “I just want you,” he breathed.

Oh. “Why me? Why are you so sure?” This was all so insane. They barely knew each other.

A smile pulled at the corner of his lips as his eyes searched her face. “You’re different. I knew it from the very first picture Joan showed me.” Then he reached up, cupping her face with his gloved hands, and pulled her lips to his.

At first she was too shocked to do anything but absorb the rush of sensations. Eli’s lips were so soft against hers, and his body was firm.

But then she kissed him back, and the whole universe seemed to explode. Everything else faded into darkness, and the only thing that existed was Eli and the way he made her feel.

She pulled back and realized he was panting. “Are you okay?”

He swallowed and kissed her again, harder this time. “I’m better than I’ve ever been. You can kiss me any time you want.”

My Shelf Monday: is overflowing with Awesome! (and Before Jamaica Lane)

HELLO PEOPLE!!! It is not MONDAY! Yesterday was Monday, and that Monday was a holiday. Therefore, I forgot to post my weekly shoutout of the book I’m reading (which is Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young). But this works out well for me because I have a lot to tell you and I’d rather do it all at once!

So, before I talk about Before Jamaica Lane, here’s what is up:

Wyoming Blog Schedule@2x

  1. One Week in Wyoming releases one week from today! We have a series of blog posts up on the One Week in Love website full of fun information. Today was my day to post. You can see it here.
  2. I have a book signing on September 13th in Tampa, Florida! You can find details here. I’ll be signing fresh new copies of The Storm Inside and the very first paperbacks of….
  3. Tease. The entire five-volume collection is now in paperback! I will have my very first set at the book signing. If you’d like to order a personalized copy, send me an email. In person copies are $10 and mailed copies (in the US) are $15.
  4. I will have swag packs and gift sets of all kinds of goodies ready to go out next week! Be sure you are following me and signed up for my newsletter if you want to win stuff! 
  5. FIRST DRAUGHT is back tonight! This month we are talking about research! You know, that stuff we do before, and during, our writing to make sure it is accurate! Our special guest this week is AL Parks. She is currently doing a bunch of research and she’s super smart and funny! RSVP now so you can watch it live, or follow the link to YouTube any time to watch. You never know what is going to come out of our mouths next!
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Tease: the paperback!

Alright, book time! This week I’m reading Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young. She’s my favorite author and my go-to for books that take me away from real life. My favorite thing about every book in the On Dublin Street series is that, from page one, I feel like I’m sitting down with a group of people I love, can relate to, and I’m simply listening to their love stories. I always feel swept away and like I know each of these characters personally. I’ve just started the book, so check Facebook, Twitter, and such for updates or to keep the discussion going! I love to talk about books! 

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