Review Contest for Play Hard!!

PlayHard RIR cover

Fellow fab wordsmith Jennifer Lyon is running a great contest for our new sports anthology on her website.  Play Hard includes books from me (writing as VK Sykes), Jennifer, and Juliana Stone.  Hop on over to Jen’s website for a chance to win a $15 gift card for Amazon or B & N!

Play Hard Now On Sale!!

Under my V.K. Sykes pen name, I’ve just published a contemporary romance anthology with two fabulous authors.  Play Hard is a three book bundle of sports romances, written by Juliana Stone, Jennifer Lyon, and moi.  And for a limited time, it’s only 99 cents!!

Each story revolves around a different sport and one sexy, uber-alpha hero–we’ve got baseball, hockey, and Mixed Martial Arts, so take your pick!  Play Hard is now on sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and All Romance e-Books.  It will soon be available in the iTunes store, too.

So, what are you waiting for?  It’s time to Play Hard!

Guest Author: Judy Griffith Gill & Giveaway!!


I’m very pleased to have Judy Gill on the blog today. Judy is the bestselling author of more than three dozen contemporary romance novels, including twenty-three titles for Bantam’s popular Loveswept imprint. She’s also a pioneer in digital media, as you’re about to find out.

 Books are my drug of choice. For years, I never went anywhere without a book plus a backup, because what if the car broke down and I had to wait for a tow-truck? Then, in 1998, along came a heavy (22 oz.!), cumbersome (hard to hold) but absolutely irresistible Rocket e-Reader from NuvoMedia. I’d written a book my NY editor wanted me to change so drastically it wouldn’t have been the same story. I refused and, having heard about e-publishing, then in its infancy, submitted Seekers of the Dawn to HardShell Word Factory, one of the first e-publishers. They loved it, gave me a contract and a Rocket e-Reader. Oh! The sense of security! That started my love affair with e-books. I’d always have up to forty books waiting to be read. I kept its little memory  bank full and then the main worry became hunting down the nearest electrical outlet.

The entire concept excited me. It was my firm and undoubtedly annoyingly, tediously repeated opinion that everyone should have an e-reader, that all books should be produced digitally as well as in paper and glue format. I envisioned every high school and college student throwing away those heavy, shoulder-stressing backpacks full of wildly expensive 20-lb. textbooks and carrying one small device with all the information they needed in one hand and their laptop in the other. Then I learned ‘everyone’ didn’t want to read “on a computer screen.” ‘Everyone’ (well, nearly everyone I knew) refused to be convinced. I couldn’t have been more disappointed if I’d had stock in NuvoMedia. Sales of Seekers of the Dawn were downright dismal. Not enough readership. Or maybe my editor was right and the book stunk. I don’t know, but I’m not one to give up.

While I continued selling to print publishers and my books still appeared regularly in stores, I was a believer in the future and the future was now. When I reclaimed the rights to a few dozen of my novels as publishing houses changed focus and/or succumbed to economics and went out of business, I licensed those books to digital publishers. As it became easier to get one’s work produced electronically, a lot of not-so great books hit the Internet and e-books quickly got a bad name. (“Oh”—sniff—“you can’t sell to a real publishing house? Tsk! Well… good luck with your little hobby.”)

Happily, that attitude is fading fast as more as more good writers begin self publishing, cutting out the NY houses, and offering books to readers at a good prices, sometimes even free, to the detriment of the print houses who have finally begun selling their books in electronic formats, though, in the opinion of most readers, at much too high a price. With a lot of my backlist handled by Open Road Media who’ve made it available now in most formats, including audio, I’m delighted I never gave up my belief in digital publishing. I’m about to take a firm jump in a direction The Dawning and Whispers on the Wind led me—into SF, not “Science” Fiction, but “Speculative” Fiction, because little real science is involved—think telepathy, a future Earth or humans on a far planet, but not fantasy. The Stories of Storn, Book One, Refuge! will be up on Kindle Select a month or two after you read this, soon to be followed by the second in  the four-book series, The Dirtsiders. The last two, as yet unnamed, are in still planning stage.

You can find  The Dawning and Whispers on the Wind on Open Road Media.

Sadly, none of my backlist or new books is formatted for the Rocket e-Reader. Oh well, mine got broken anyway. Kindle’s Paperwhite is a more than adequate substitute.

     Vanessa, here.  Thanks so much for blogging with us today, Judy.  I have to say, I can’t wait to read your books! Readers, Judy is giving away a copy of A Father for Philip, a sweet contemporary romance.  For a chance to win this lovely book, just tell us whether you’re a digital pioneer or whether you prefer to read in print–no judging from us, one way or the other! One person who comments will win Judy’s book.

Guest Author: Bronwen Evans & Giveaway


I’m thrilled to have romance writer Bronwen Evans guest hosting on the blog today.  She writes fabulous, award-winning Regency-set historical romance, and her books have garnered much well-deserved acclaim.  Today, Bronwen is talking about romance series and why we love them, both as readers and writers.

Although I’m a romance writer, I’m also a ferocious romance reader, and a fabulous romance ‘series’ wins hands down when I’m looking for something to read. I don’t know what it is about a series, I suspect it’s that I get to spend a bit longer with my favorite characters.

So, it’s probably no surprise that I also love writing a romance series.

Last year, I wrote a long novella series called, Wicked Wagers. Three notorious rakes, and three determined ladies, collide in this set of three linked Regency romance stories, all based around a series of scandalous dares, wagers, and challenges. The trilogy stories are available in separate eBooks, or you can buy Wicked Wagers, The Complete Trilogy eBook and it’s also now in book format (Amazon only).

Writing a series book isn’t as easy as some believe it to be.  At the end of book one, I’ve set a reader’s expectations, and as the author, I must strive to maintain the momentum created in book one. So it was particularly nerve-wracking when the first story in the Wicked Wagers trilogy, TO DARE THE DUKE OF DANGERFIELD, was a Top 5 Finalist in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012.

Then you have to write book two! I was focused on not disappointing my readers, while remembering to remain true to my characters. Story two, Marcus’s story, TO WAGER THE MARQUIS OF WOLVERSTONE, is a bit darker. I had to ensure he was still the tortured, and pain-filled rake he was in book one. As I’ve had several Top Pick reviews for Marcus’s story, I think I managed to hold the readers interest and still stay true to his dark and tortured nature.

Story three, TO CHALLENGE THE EARL OF CRAVENSWOOD, was always going to be both sad and a joy to write. Henry was such a loveable rogue, and the only hero in the series who was desperately looking for love. Such fun!

While it could be considered risky to write a series, the rewards far outweigh the risks. I love how readers get completely embroiled in your characters and their world. That is all the reward I need. I found it really sad to write Henry’s story as it was the final book—did I say final? Already readers have asked me for more books in this series, and they’ve given me some great ideas (did I mention I love feedback?).

I hope you’ll check out my Wicked Wagers Trilogy. I’ve detailed each of the books below. To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield is on sale at the moment for $0.99.

Tell me why you enjoy reading a series in particular, and one lucky commenter will win a copy (book or eBook) of Wicked Wagers, The Complete Trilogy.

Story One – To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield

Let the Wicked Wagers Begin…

Lady Caitlin Southall’s temper has finally got the better of her. She’s challenged Harlow Telford, the Duke of Dangerfield, the most notorious rake in all of England, to a wager. She wants her house back. The one her destitute father lost to Dangerfield in a card game. But if she doesn’t win their bet, she not only loses her home, she loses her dignity and pride and damn it all, maybe her heart… For the handsome Duke has decreed, when he wins, she must spend the night in his bed.

Harlow Telford is amused by his hellion neighbor, Caitlin, or Cate to her friends, who seem to encompass everyone on earth except him. When she bursts into one of his private gatherings, he mistakes her for the entertainment. Her slap across his face sets him straight and raises the absurd desire to seduce the unconventional beauty into his bed. When she issues her daft challenge to win back her father’s pile of rubble, the terms are set.  And he’ll do anything to win—except fall in love…

Top 5Finalist in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012

Story Two – To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone

They Say Revenge is Sweet…

 Marcus Danvers, the Marquis of Wolverstone, is renowned for his cynical demeanor. It’s rumored that long ago, a beautiful woman broke his heart. Now he lives life for pleasure. He’s the consummate, handsome rake. If anyone tries to get too close—let’s just say his bark is as bad as his bite.  That is, until the beautiful, as she is deceitful, Contessa Orsini re-enters his life with a wager he cannot resist.  When he wins, he’ll have Sabine exactly where he wants her—in his bed and at his mercy.

Forced to return to England and avenge her father’s death, Sabine knows the one person who can help her is the only man she has ever loved—Marcus.  The man who hates her with as much passion as he once loved her.  But Marcus doesn’t know that by winning the wager he’ll also be getting his revenge.  For there are some secrets best left buried…

Story Three – To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood

To live happily ever after…

Henry St. Giles, the Earl of Cravenswood, longs to find his soul mate. Now that his two best friends, both reformed rakes, are happily married, the need becomes an obsession. When they challenge him to find a wife by the end of the season or marry his neighbor, the innocently alluring Lady Amy Shipton, he can’t believe his luck. He wins, either way. But a darkened garden, a case of mistaken identity, a drunken kiss, and a dropped emerald earring, leads Henry on a Cinderella hunt. He knows the woman he held in his arms could be the one he’s searched for all his life. He just has to find her.

Lady Amy Shipton is determined to marry for love instead of sharing her husband like her mother did. So why did she let her handsome neighbor and romantic fantasy, the Sinful Saint as he’s called for his bedroom prowess, seduce her in his garden? And what can she do when in the middle of their passionate encounter; he whispers another woman’s name. Now Henry is hunting the owner of the earring Amy left behind, and she’s determined to retrieve it before her identity is revealed. She’s not about to give her father the ammunition he desperately wants to force her down the aisle.

Vanessa, here.  Doesn’t this trilogy sound awesome?  To win a copy, just tell us why you enjoy reading series and what are some of your favorites.  One person who comments will win a copy of Bronwen’s trilogy.  And don’t forget to stop by her website to read the excerpts from all three novellas!


Guest Author: Terese Ramin & Giveaway!


I’m very happy to be hosting romantic suspense author Terese Ramin on the blog today.  Terese writes multiple award-winning romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and thrillers.  She has a new book out—let’s find out about that, and ask Terese a few other questions, too!

You won the prestigious Golden Heart Award, sponsored by the Romance Writers of America.  What book was that for and did it launch your career?

I won the Golden Heart Award for the first book I ever completed – Water From The Moon. I had two editors request the book and after six complete revisions of the second half of it (!), it was published. It launched my career in romantic suspense / romantic adventure.

You write romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and thrillers.  Do you prefer one genre to another?

You know, it just depends upon the characters. I love all of the genres I’ve written in, but my writing also seems to go through cycles. I’ve just completed work on a thriller and gone straight into a paranormal romance that feels like it’ll be the best book yet (with writing partner Dawn Johanson). After that I’ve got a historical suspense whose characters are yelling at me to Give Them Their Time. *grin* I love all these personalities and the fact that I can switch gears in a way I never used to be able to. But honestly, suspense is probably the biggest part of any genre I write.

Your latest book is GUARDING GRACE.  What’s it about?

Guarding Grace is about a widowed mom in her early 30s with four kids. Her hero is a 6’4″ US Marshal hunting down a federal witness who left Witness Protection. Mal Kwarles is the sexiest, funniest hero I’ve had the pleasure to write. Just love him. My editor asked for him and I resisted at first. She was right – he arrived full blown on his “Bad to the Bone” classic motorcycle and let me throw everything at him. He just laughed and said “bring it on.” Great fun, loved the romance between him and Grace, who is decidedly feisty herself.

What’s up next in your writing world?

Next…I’m in the completion stages of the first book of a new paranormal series Lords of Light. It’s different than anything I’ve done previously and it’s allowing me to explore aspects of my work that never occurred to me – and working in collaboration with my writing partner is absolutely freeing. We bounce things off one another, come up with story and action points and it’s simply a wonderful experience. The book’s characters are different – a fallen angel / psi-vamp and a human woman with extraordinary gifts she doesn’t know about. It’s set in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities, and is probably the sexiest thing I’ve ever written. I’m really looking forward to exploring the entire series!

Thanks so much for coming on the blog, Terese!  Readers, Terese is graciously giving away three digital copies of Guarding Grace – which sounds totally awesome, by the way.  Just tell us what are some of your favorite romantic suspense or thriller books or TV shows for a chance to win!