Rock*It Reads: Heating Up The Holidays Blog Hop!!

Welcome to the Rock*It Reads Heating Up the Holidays Blog Hop. There are 15 stops on the blog tour. The more blogs you visit and comment on, the greater your chances of winning the grand prize, a $75 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble or Amazon, and a huge collection of books from the authors of Rock*It Reads. Smaller prizes will be available at each stop along the way.

Good luck, and have fun!

As you can tell from that luscious header, the theme of our blog hop is Heating Up The Holidays.  And how are we going to heat up our holidays, you might ask?  I’ll tell you–with sexy men!

It so happens that I have a holiday-themed historical romance that came out in October.  The hero of His Mistletoe Bride, Lucas Stanton, the Earl of Merritt, is definitely one sexy dude.  And it was easy to create him that way because I used a very inspiring template for his character–the drop-dead gorgeous actor, Henry Cavill.

Nice, eh?  My heroine, Phoebe Linville, thinks so too.  Phoebe isn’t very experienced when it comes to men.  After all, she was raised in a small Quaker village in America.  But when she lays eyes on Lucas for the first time she feels a tingle in places that she didn’t even know could tingle!  Lucas certainly heats up her holidays, and if I ever ran into Henry Cavill while Christmas shopping…well, I better stop there or I’ll get in trouble with my husband.

To read an excerpt of His Mistletoe Bride and to get a peek at my hero, Lucas, visit my books page.

I also have another new book out with a hero who heats things up in a big way.  Bigger Than Beckham is my latest sexy contemporary romance, co-written with my husband under the pen name of VK Sykes. We will neither confirm nor deny that a certain soccer player perhaps served as a wee bit of inspiration, but our hero, Tony Branch, is definitely his own man.  And our fabulous cover artist certainly gave us a model to inspire any red-blooded woman, don’t you agree?  Just click on the cover photo for a bigger image of hunky goodness.

Whew!  I’m fanning myself here, but that cover is my idea of heating things up!  Bigger Than Beckham will heat you up for the holidays, too.  Trust me when I say that this is one steamy book.  To read an excerpt from Bigger Than Beckham, book three in our Philadelphia Patriots series of sports romances, please check out our website.  I think you’ll enjoy meeting the sexy Mr. Branch!

Readers, who would be your dream man for heating up the holidays?  Would you like to take a sleigh ride with Henry Cavill, go ice skating with David Beckham, or is snuggling with your honey by the fireside more your speed?  I’ll be giving away two prizes:

One person who comments will win a print copy of His Mistletoe Bride  and a lovely Christmas ornament.

One person who comments will win a digital copy of Bigger Than Beckham and a $10 Amazon gift card.

Leave a comment below to enter for your chance to win!

Don’t forget to visit the other authors on the Blog Hop for more chances to win!

Kris Kennedy Bonnie Vanak Erin Kellison
Sharon Page Lila DiPasqua Elisabeth Naughton
Norah Wilson Jennifer Lyon Monica Burns
Vanessa Kelly Mia Marlowe
Pamela Clare Margo Maguire Rock*It Reads

Rock*It Reads Guest Author: Monica Burns & Giveaway!

Readers today are flooded with reading choices, both in digital and in print.  That’s fantastic, but how do you find the really good books in such a tidal wave of words?  Well, I have an answer for you.

Rock*It Reads.

RIR is an author collective I belong to which includes writers like Pamela Clare, Elisabeth Naughton, Joan Swan, and Erin Kellison.  We’re traditionally published authors who are also self-publishing.  We bring the same level of care to these works as we do to our traditional, New York published books, and when you see the RIR logo on our covers you can be assured that you’re getting a great read.

Over the next few months I’m going to introduce you to the writers in this group, some of whom you already probably know.  And I’m starting off with one of my favorite historical romance authors, the fabulous Monica Burns.

Monica is an award-winning author of spicy historical and paranormal romance.  Her historical book awards include the 2011 RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award and the 2012 Gayle Wilson Heart of Excellence Award for Pleasure Me. She is also the recipient of the prestigious paranormal romance award, the 2011 PRISM Best of the Best award for Assassin’s Heart.

Monica’s latest RIR book is Obsession, a sexy historical romance which got wonderful reviews.

“…a fresh spin on a damsel in distress and… a hero who not only does the rescuing, but needs to be rescued from some demons of his own.” — Romance Reader at Heart

Here’s the blurb for Obsession:

A woman on the edge of sin…

Helen Rivenall is willing to do anything to escape the brutality of her uncle’s home. But a promise of honest employment is a ruse. Drugged and auctioned off in a notorious London brothel, she finds herself won by a man who wants nothing from her except her participation in a harmless charade. Left with no choice, she reluctantly agrees, but as their web of lies grows, so does temptation and the realization that pleasure and sin are often one and the same.

A man about to lose all control…

Sebastian Rockwood, Earl of Melton is haunted by a dark secret in his past. One that taught him control is a personal trait to be valued above all others. He also learned never to give his heart to anyone. The risk is too great. Yet where Helen is concerned, his prized control is slowly giving way to temptation, and all too quickly he discovers nothing can protect him from the ultimate obsession–love.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  And that is one gorgeous cover, if I do say so myself.  If you like your historical romance on the steamy side and with lots of emotion, then Monica’s books are perfect for you.  To read the first three chapter of Obsession and to watch the beautiful book trailer, visit Monica’s website.

For my readers today, Monica is giving away a copy of Obsession.  And I’m also giving away a copy of my latest VK Sykes contemporary romance, Bigger Than Beckham.  For a chance to win both books, just tell me something that you’re obsessed with – books, chocolate, a TV show – I want to know what really turns your crank!

And don’t forget to visit the RIR website to find out more about our authors and to sign up for our newsletter!


Guest Author: Mia Marlowe & Giveaway!

Mia Marlowe writes absolutely gorgeous historical romance, and she’s got the phenomenal reviews to back it up.  Her last book, Touch of a Rogue, was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the Top Ten Romances for Spring 2012.  Pretty cool, eh?

Mia has a new book out, and she’s here to tell us all about it.

Can you tell us a bit about your Touch of Seduction series? What’s the premise behind it?

First of all, thanks for having me here today, Vanessa. My Touch of Seduction series is near and dear to my heart and I hope readers will find it great fun, too.  In each of the stories, my hero or heroine has the “gift of touch”—a psychometric gift that allows them to glean information by touching certain objects. It’s an occupational hazard for my jewel thief heroine in TOUCH OF A THIEF. It’s a help sometimes to my enquiry agent hero in TOUCH OF A ROGUE. And in TOUCH OF A SCOUNDREL, my hero sees it as a curse because in his case, he sees the future but cannot do anything to change it.

Your lovely historicals contain a touch of the paranormal. What do you like about combining historical romance with the paranormal?

I adore both sub-genres. Nothing takes me away quite so well as a historical hero in glossy Hessians with a sword at his hip. My paranormal elements are pretty tame compared to some. I don’t have any vampires or shifters. My characters are ordinary people with extraordinary gifts. I like to think my magical elements are things that might actually happen.

The heroine in Touch of a Scoundrel is a bit different from the average historical miss or seductive courtesan. Can you tell us a bit about her?

Ah, yes. Emmaline Farnsworth, adventurer, dutiful daughter and con artist. She and her foster father have bounced around Europe hocking fake reliquaries. Now they’re in possession of an unusual Egyptian artifact which they hope to parlay into a big score. They’ve convinced Theodore Nash to fund a bogus expedition, but unfortunately, it’s his older brother, Griffin, the Earl of Devonwood who holds the purse strings. And Griffin is no one’s fool. Emma has never run such a trying long con. She’s fending off the offers of marriage from the younger brother while fighting the wild attraction she feels for the elder.

Like so many authors, you’ve been venturing into the realm of indie publishing. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

I’m very excited to be writing for both Kensington and Sourcebooks, but indie publishing is opening up some new opportunities as well. I’ve self-published 4 novels and 3 novellas since last fall and readers have been writing to let me know they love it. I’ve been fortunate to be able to partner up with a group of talented traditionally published authors who are also self-publishing to form a self-published brand called Rock*It Reads. My partners in crime are: my lovely host today—Vanessa Kelly, Pamela Clare, Elisabeth Naughton, Monica Burns, Kris Kennedy, Margo Maguire, Lila DiPasqua, Sharon Page and Joan Swan. Check out my Books page for my Rock*It Reads titles.

GIVEAWAY: Leave Mia a comment or question today and you’ll be entered in the random drawing. One lucky person will win a copy of  TOUCH OF A ROGUE, Book 2 in the Touch of Seduction series and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Top 10 Romances for Spring 2012! Another winner will receive TOUCH OF A LADY, my enovella prequel to the series in your choice of Kindle or Nook format.

Here’s a question to get the conversation going: If you could have any special paranormal ability, what would it be?

Vanessa, here.  Thanks for joining us today, Mia!  Folks, be sure to visit Mia’s website for all her book news (she has lots), and to read an excerpt of her latest book!  And be sure to check the blurb for Touch of a Scoundrel:

Griffin Nash, Earl of Devonwood, wants to believe that he’s seducing Miss Emmaline Farnsworth out of protectiveness for his young brother. After all, if his brother is convinced that the tantalizing professor’s daughter is unworthy of his trust, perhaps Teddy will lose all interest in such an inappropriate choice for his station.

But in truth, something else motivates Devonwood: a scintillating vision he’s had of a future tryst with the lovely Emmaline. A vision too realistic to be doubted–and too scaldingly passionate to be denied.

Yet Emmaline is not as easily tempted as Devonwood might have hoped–nor is she actually in pursuit of a wealthy husband. No, the real reason for her visit to the manor is something much more shocking… though being enticed by a dashing earl may prove to be a most welcome by-product of her schemes…

And don’t forget to answer Mia’s question for a chance to win her books!


We Have Winners!!

We have lots of winners from our Rock*It Reads mega-giveaway earlier in the week.  Here’s the list:

Love’s Portrait by Monica Burns: Landin

Skin Deep by Pamela Clare (Available May 2012): DeborahR

Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare: Fedora

Sweet Release by Pamela Clare: Betty Hamilton

Undone by Lila DiPasqua (Available May 2012): Savannah Miller

Hot Number by VK Sykes (aka Vanessa Kelly): Tonya

Fastball by VK Sykes (aka Vanessa Kelly): Mary Doherty

Hardball by VK Sykes (aka Vanessa Kelly): Mina DeCaro-Petril

His Wicked Revenge by Vanessa Kelly: bn100

Claiming Her by Kris Kennedy (Available May 2012): donna ann

Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton: Megan G

Fever by Joan Swan (print copy): Cate Sparks

Intimate Enemies by Joan Swan: Tina Rucci

And the winner of Kate Noble’s book is Shannon.  Congratulations to all the winners!  We’ll be in touch.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog this week – it was great fun!  Kate Noble will be back next week for an interview, and historical romance author Bronwen Evans will also be stopping by.  Please join us!




A New Era In Publishing & Lots Of Prizes, Too!

I have a fabulous author guest blogging with  me today.  She’s Joan Swan, and she writes romantic suspense for Kensington Brava.  Her debut book, Fever, has gotten great reviews and received tons of attention.  Trust me – if you like gritty romantic suspense, you will love this book.

But like many authors, Joan is also branching out into self-publishing or, as it’s often called, indie publishing.  In fact, she’ll be releasing her first indie book in May.  You can check out all the details on her website.

Joan and I have something in common.  We’re both members of Rock*It Reads, a collective of print authors who are also indie publishing.  I blogged about it a few weeks ago, and Joan is here to give you the latest update, which includes a very exciting announcement.

Over to you, my friend!

The publishing industry has turned the corner into a fast and furious new era.  The changes are undeniably exciting…and daunting.

For authors a whole new area of choices await—how your cover will look, which editor you’ll choose, what story you’ll write next and in what genre.  But there are also more worrisome concerns, like how you can make your work stand out in this overflowing market.

For readers, this new era gives you an amazing body of work to choose from that would not have been available even just a year ago.  Many talented authors, both previously unpublished and traditionally published, have a new outlet for their work—both new and backlist titles.  The low prices associated with most epublished books certainly helps out in tough economic times as well.  Add to that the portability and flexibility of ereaders and you’ve got a near-heavenly situation.

Why just near-heavenly?  Because you, the reader, have to wade through the millions of books available to narrow down your choices.  Might sound easy, but it only takes a few duds to the tune of $3-$5 to make those “off” choices add up pretty quick.  And I have to admit that’s one of my pet peeves – taking a chance on a book — spending the money, investing my time, my hope…and being let down.  For a romance reader, there is not much less disappointing than this.

This is a conundrum that the authors at Rock*It Reads also found troubling.  Rock*It Reads is a group of NY traditionally publishing authors who are also venturing out into indie epublishing.  The coop we’ve created supports a group of authors who get not only goes into a quality read—editing, design, proofreading, etc., but what it takes to stand out in an ocean of unknown titles.

So when you see the RIR, Rock*It Reads logo on a book cover, you’ll know each book has been professionally handled from cover to cover, by authors who have done this many time before in the professional realm of New York publishers.

As authors who appreciate amazing writing and long for an awesome story as much as the next reader,  we have partnered with Barnes and Noble to bring outstanding self published titles to readers’ attention through a brand new review column: Love Rocks.  At Love Rocks, Rock*It Reads authors will showcase a fabulous Indie read they’ve discovered and review the book.  We’ll be focusing on the lesser known authors and titles whose brilliance has yet to be recognized, which I personally find thrilling.  What reader doesn’t love to find a talented new author to read?

Our very first column launches today!  So, swing by Barnes and Noble, catch Love Rocks and stay to chat!  We look forward to seeing you there.

Come back here and leave a comment on your thoughts about the Love Rocks column and you could win one of the following fantastic prizes – donated by many of the RIR authors.

Love’s Portrait by Monica Burns

Skin Deep by Pamela Clare (Available May 2012)

Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare

Sweet Release by Pamela Clare

Undone by Lila DiPasqua (Available May 2012)

Hot Number by VK Sykes (aka Vanessa Kelly)

Fastball by VK Sykes (aka Vanessa Kelly)

Hardball by VK Sykes (aka Vanessa Kelly)

His Wicked Revenge by Vanessa Kelly

Claiming Her by Kris Kennedy (Available May 2012)

Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton

Fever by Joan Swan (print copy)

Intimate Enemies by Joan Swan (Available May 2012)

Vanessa, here.  I have to tell you, I’m very excited about LOVE ROCKS.  So what do you think, readers?  Do you like this new world of indie publishing?  What do you think about this leap into the future?  Leave a comment for a chance to win one of these great books!