Guest Author: Sophia Knightly & Giveaway!

I’m very pleased to have best-selling contemporary romance author Sophia Knightly featured on the blog today.  Some readers may know her as Victoria Marquez, but regardless of pen names Sophia is a fabulous writer who writes sexy, very fun books.  And lucky for us, she’s putting out some truly beautiful digital editions of the books in her Tropical Heat Series.

The first book in the series is Wild for You, which received 4 stars from RT Book Reviews.

Awesome cover, right?  Here’s the blurb for Wild for You:

To Love, Honor, and Protect

Detective Clay Blackthorne has his hands full when he promises to safeguard an old college pal’s sister without letting her know what he’s up to. He never imagines that lively Marisol Calderon will knock his socks off and put a ring on his finger—and all at his suggestion! Their marriage of convenience is meant to protect her and Clay doesn’t plan on being hitched for long to the tempting beauty. But the honeymoon sure feels real to him…

Sassy Marisol is used to doing whatever she wants—and right now her plan is to shake up the hot detective’s hard-edged demeanor. But the fun turns to danger when a mystery stalker bent on marrying her marks her as his prey. Temporarily becoming Clay’s wife seems like a practical way to thwart the stalker. But as passion ignites and Marisol falls for the tender heart buried beneath the tough detective’s chest, Clay’s true identity is revealed and she begins to wonder who—if anyone—she can trust…

I read this book just recently, and I can assure you it’s a very sexy and very entertaining book.  Marisol and Clay are both wonderful characters, and I enjoyed their story.

Sophia also has another book in the Tropical Heat series, entitled Sold on You.  This book received 4-1/2 stars and a coveted Top Pick from RT Book Reviews, and it was also a finalist in the prestigious Maggie Awards.

Here’s the blurb for Sold on You:

Just Say Yes!

Confirmed bachelor Dr. Marcos Calderon is in hot water. He needs to come up with a fake fiancée fast or he’ll disappoint his beloved grandma who’s arriving on the next flight to meet her. Proper social worker Gabriela Morales should fit the bill—but tonight, in that sexy, slit-to-there red evening gown, she looks anything but proper. 

Gabriela only volunteered for the hospital’s charity bachelorette auction to benefit a cause dear to her heart. Now she’s reeling from the hot doctor’s bid of fifteen thousand dollars for a weekend date with her! She’s not sure what Dr. Handsome has in mind, but the smoldering look in his eyes is unmistakable…

What fun!  You can get the details on both books in the Tropical Heat Series and on Sophia’s upcoming release from Samhain Publishing, Grill Me Baby, on her website.

For my readers today, Sophia is giving away a copy of Sold on You.  Let’s keep up the heat, shall we?  If you could go on a tropical vacation with a sexy hero, where would you go?  What would be your favorite destination for hot days, sizzling nights, and lots of fun?  One person who comments will win a copy of Sold on You.

News flash!  Sophia has let me know that Wild for You is currently free at Amazon!



Guest Author: Jenna Bayley-Burke & Giveaway!

Do you like contemporary romance that’s sexy, funny, and still has a lot of warmth?  Then you’ll love my featured author today.  She’s Jenna Bayley-Burke, and she writes for Mills & Boon and Samhain Publishing.

Jenna’s first book was Just One Spark, which according to Cataromance is a “romantic sizzler which is packed with passionate love scenes, delicious humor, and exhilarating romance!”

Sounds like my kind of book!  Cooking Up A Storm followed, along with several single title romances from Samhain.  All of Jenna’s books got great reviews, emphasizing her smart, sexy writing, appealing characters, and humorous elements.  Here’s what what RT Book Reviews had to say about Jenna’s bestselling romance, Compromising Positions:

“This thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy has likable characters and a smart, spitfire heroine…Bayley-Burke delivers a really fun read.”

Luckily for her readers, Jenna has two new books out right now.  The first is an e-book called For Kicks.

Here’s the book blurb:

Breeze Cohen senses something is missing from her life, but her career doesn’t leave time for anything but retail business strategy—particularly the upcoming product launch for her cornerstone client, Nitrous.

No way is she going to let live-for-the-moment Logan Chandler tarnish her professional reputation. Even if the ex-athlete poster boy for Nitrous makes her heart pound like she’s run a marathon.

After surviving a near-fatal accident, Logan doesn’t want to waste a minute of life. It’s meant to be lived, ravished, enjoyed—and there’s no one he’d like to ravish more than Breeze. There’s a deep pool of mutual desire beneath her icy façade. He can feel it every time they touch.

When a training snafu at Nitrous launches Breeze into damage control, Logan is ready and waiting to lace up and take her for a run on the wilder side—if he can catch her.

Warning: Side effects may include a desire to melt chocolate with body heat, spontaneous phone sex, and an intense drive to find loopholes in your workplace fraternization policy.

Romance Divas calls this book: “a little spicy, a little sweet, and very fulfilling.”

Jenna’s other book is Private Scandal, which is out in print.

This book got 4-1/2 stars from RT Book Reviews, who called it “as juicy as a soap opera and more fun than a day at the beach!”

Here’s the blurb for Private Scandal:

Three months ago, Megan Carlton had the world on a string. That was before the man she loved took over her family’s hotel business and wiped out a family fortune it had taken generations to build. And before she caught him kissing another woman.

Her only solace: the secrecy of their affair saved the family from public scandal, and kept her embarrassment private. Meanwhile, with a mountain of self-confidence to rebuild, she trades her Manolos and late-night parties for coffee-stained sneakers and early morning barista shifts.

Brandon Knight had everything he ever wanted—then the woman of his dreams disappeared without one word of explanation. When he finds Megan serving coffee, he wonders if the socialite is suffering from amnesia. A hot venti to the chest proves she recognizes him. But she’s got the situation—and him—all wrong. All he has to do now is prove it.

That sounds like total fun, doesn’t it?  You can visit Jenna’s website to read more reviews, and to find out all about her books.  She’s got excerpts too, so be sure to check those out.

For my readers today, Jenna is giving away a copy of Private Scandal (I really want to read this one!).  To be eligible to win, just leave a comment.  Since Jenna’s heroine in this book is a barista, let’s talk coffee.  What’s your favorite coffee drink?  Do you like a mocha latte, a soy latte, or just a plain old cup of coffee?  Or maybe you prefer tea?  Whatever, let us know what’s your choice of hot beverage.  One person who comments will win a copy of Jenna’s book.

Guest Author: Jody Wallace & Giveaway!

I’m very pleased to have multi-published romance author Jody Wallace guest blogging with me today.  Jody writes in several genres for Samhain Publishing and Carina Press, and most of her books have what she calls a “fantastical bent.”  Jody has a new book coming out this month called Pack and Coven, and it’s a paranormal romance.  I’d like to hear more about it, so take it away, Jody!

The Same but Different, or Different but the Same?

Let’s talk about werewolves in romance fiction. Certainly werewolves didn’t start out as hero or heroine material. Poor, unfortunate souls savaged by other werewolves and condemned to terrorize the neighborhood during the full moon, this guy was not the one you wanted leaving his boots under your bed. Or his pelt.

It wasn’t until the paranormal romance genre increased in popularity in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s that wolves and their kin began appearing as desirable lovers. They often came packaged with loyalty, mate bonds, the ability to transform their lovers into wolves, pack politics, and enhanced, ah, abilities. You know…strength and eyesight and hearing. That’s all I’m talking about!

One might even say that in 2012, werewolves, along with vampires and other supernaturals, have become ubiquitous. The classic romantic triangle lends itself so perfectly to the paranormal genre that you’ll probably find more triangles with a vampire, a werewolf and some lucky lady (and do they walk into a bar??) than three regular humans. This is, of course, when the triangle is a standard triangle and not a threesome of hair, teeth and hijinks.

And male werewolves? Down, boy. Are they ever alpha! Some paranormal romances and urban fantasies portray werewolves as existing in a structure somewhat like actual wolves, with an alpha male and an alpha female at the head of the pack, while others take different paths. However, I don’t think I’ve read any werewolf romances in which there were no alphas, particularly those romance staples, the alpha males.

It’s an excuse to write an alpha male so alpha he’s actually Alpha instead of just a Duke who’s used to getting his way, know what I mean?

So why write another paranormal romance with werewolf characters? What have I done in Pack and Coven that’s the same but different, and different but the same? For one, there are no vampires in Pack and Coven. Instead, I’ve got witches who use organically-based magic. For two, no triangles…unless you mean the scrumptious shape of a slice of pie. For three, our hero Harry might be an alpha genetically, but no WAY does he want to be in charge of some whiny pack of quarrelsome shifters. For four–see, I promised, no triangles–our heroine June is the plot instigator in the beginning, rushing in on her white horse, which looks an awful lot like a Smart car, to save her friend Harry when the local pack tries to conscript him.

So hopefully those and other aspects of Pack and Coven will be different enough to set my werewolf and witch tale apart, while being familiar enough to interest paranormal romance readers. Maybe even Regency readers! Hey, an author can dream.

Thank you, Vanessa, for inviting me to your cyber-house today. You must all be sure to check next week at my blog when Vanessa is going to be interviewed by Meankitty (the alpha of the Wallace household), and then Meankitty, who took a liking to Vanessa despite her catless state, is going to “fix” one of Vanessa’s books and covers with a spot of cattification.

Vanessa, here.  Jody, thanks for the fantastic post!  I must admit to being a little nervous about my interview with Meankitty, though.  I hope she takes pity on me!  Meanwhile, here’s the blurb for Pack and Coven:

Harry Smith is a lone wolf, and he likes it that way. When he’s targeted to be co-alpha of the local pack, there is only one thing he can do to maintain his freedom: flee. But it’ll take a miracle to stay a step ahead of shifters in their own territory.

June Travis has been in love with Harry for years, but he doesn’t know her real identity. He sees her as the sweet owner of the local tearoom—the facade June presents to humans and werewolves to keep them from finding out she’s a witch. She may not be able to offer Harry a miracle, but she can help him escape.

Harry is drawn to this new side of June, and not just because he’s grateful for her help. With her magic temporarily hiding Harry from his pursuers, the witch and the wolf explore their mutual attraction. But there are consequences for witches who bed down with wolves…

For more info on Jody’s books, check out her website.  You might also want to stop by her blog and see what’s happening with Meankitty!

For my readers today, Jody will be giving away a copy of Pack and Coven.  Let’s talk paranormal heroes, to continue the theme of Jody’s post.  Who’s your favorite alpha paranormal guy from books, TV, or movies?  One person who comments will win a copy of Jody’s book.

Guest Post: Phoebe Conn & Giveaway!

Multi-published, multi-talented author Phoebe Conn is back on the blog with us today, guest blogging about her latest books.  Phoebe has written so many wonderful novels over the course of her distinguished career, and I would urge my readers to check out her extensive backlist on her website.  Right now, I’m going to turn the blog over to Phoebe, who’s going to tell us how she researches the settings for her wonderful books.

People often ask me if I travel to do research. When there’s an opportunity, I quickly pack my bags. When my husband served as an Army officer, we lived in Germany and used every day of his leave each year to tour Europe. We took photos and I made notes in a journal. The Internet is terrific for research when I can’t visit the site of a book for colorful detail. I also use travel guides with plenty of photos and essential facts to base my stories in reality.

For DEFY THE WORLD TOMATOES, a Samhain contemporary, I chose a town up the coast from Santa Barbara for the setting and named it Monarch Bay. I crisscrossed the downtown, which was filled with shops catering to tourists. I bought frozen yogurt and watched the people passing by. There is a beautiful outdoor nursery and gift shop there, and it was the inspiration for the Defy the World Tomatoes nursery my heroine and her best friend open. I used a historic mission style inn in Riverside for the inn Griffin and Darcy visit. I had a fictional town, so anything needed for the story could easily be shifted to a new location.

There is a stately Langham Hotel in Pasadena, I chose the setting for a reunion party  in TANGLED HEARTS. I visited on a rainy afternoon in my trench coat carrying a clipboard. I walked around the hotel making notes on the décor and bought postcards in the gift shop. (I once heard no one questions someone with a clipboard because they appear to be working.) Favorite restaurants appear in my books. There’s no reason to invent a café when there are so many delightful ones, and it’s a perfect excuse to dine out! Takeout menus provide tasty ideas for meals and are a wonderful resource.

Setting a scene in an actual location adds to the readers’ experience. When a scene is rich in detail, the story comes alive. I toured Scandinavia to collect background for my February Samhain Retro release, CAPTIVE HEART, a passionate Viking adventure. I’ll give a free copy, print or ebook, to one of the people who comment. It’s one of my most popular books and a New York Times bestseller. I love to hear from readers. Please send me an email at:, or visit my website.

Well, you heard the lady! Let’s start leaving those comments.  Just tell me what country or place you dream of visiting more than any other to have a chance to win Captive Heart.


Marie-Nicole Ryan & Giveaway!

The last few years have seen massive changes in the publishing world, and savvy readers know that more and more talented authors are to be found into the digital realm of e-books.  My featured author today typifies this development:  she’s award-winning author Marie-Nicole Ryan, and she writes very sexy romantic suspense.  Whether Marie-Nicole is writing about the most contemporary of heroes and heroines or a cowboys from the Old West, you’ll be sure to get a great romance, with highly-charged love scenes and some danger to kick things up.

Marie-Nicole has finaled in numerous contests and won some too, including an EPPIE Award for her Samhain release, Too Good to be True.

Wow!  Now that’s what I call a sexy cover!  Like Marie-Nicole’s other books, Too Good to be True got great reviews, including this 5 hearts review from The Romance Studio:

“This was a gripping tale filled with edgy twists and turns…Rilla and Mac smolder when they’re near each other…erotic scenes are very well written and very intense…recommend this to anyone looking for a great story to really get lost in.”

Sounds good to me!  You can check out all the details on Too Good to be True on Marie-Nicole’s website, which includes excerpts, book trailers, and info on all her books.

Like many authors these days (including moi), Marie-Nicole has also branched out into the world of indie publishing.  She has a new book out, and it looks great.

Broken Promises features a sexy FBI Agent and a Mafia princess–talk about your high concept.  I love it!  Here’s the blurb:

An FBI agent and a Mafia princess in love–career suicide.

FBI Special Agent Alex MacGregor has a bad habit of making and breaking promises. Over the years this habit has brought him heartbreak…and broken some hearts as well. But now his older sister has disappeared. Vowing to find her, he takes leave from the Chicago FBI field office’s Violent Crimes Task Force and heads to upstate New York. This is one promise he’ll keep. Even if it means facing Bette Smithson again, the beauty he rescued six months earlier and left behind with a kiss and a broken promise.

Broken Promises has all Marie-Nicole’s trademark elements, including lots of suspense and a steamy love story.  If you like your romantic suspense on the hot side, I think you’ll love Marie-Nicole’s books.

For my reader’s today, Marie-Nicole is giving away a digital copy of Broken Promises.  Let’s talk about TV shows, shall we?  What’s your favorite suspense or cop show?  Right now, I’m really enjoying Person of Interest.  Tell me what your fave show is to be eligible to win a copy of Broken Promises.