Posts tagged with: new releases
Posted by Elizabeth Essex Aug 26 2014, 12:01 am in Elizabeth Essex, giveaway, new releases, Regency Historical Romance, Ruby Release
Huzzah! Today is my release day celebration of my 9th book, A SCANDAL TO REMEMBER, the 5th book in my Reckless Brides series.
I am both excited and happy to final bring this book to you. Why ‘finally’? Because writing this book nearly killed me. Actually, it was appendicitis that nearly killed me, but it was because I was deep in the process of writing this book, and hard up against a deadline, that I ignored my body’s rather strenuous objections and warning signs until it was nearly too late.
In the aftermath I realized that I had written my own drama into the book: I had created two characters who fail to recognize their own warning signs of impending disaster until it is very nearly too late for them.
Interested? Here’s an excerpt:
Isle of Wight, and the whole of the coast of England, was slipping away to the stern. Nothing could stop Jane Burke now. Not Sir Richard, nor the snide derision of the crew. Nor even Lieutenant Dance’s strange ability to soothe and discompose her all at the same time.
Perhaps the Bible verse had it wrong—it was not the truth, but her lie that had set her free. The irony could only make her laugh.
“You seem well entertained this morning, Miss Burke.” While she had been watching the isle, Lieutenant Charles Dance had been watching her.
Jane tried to combat the rising heat in her face by turning into the wind. “It has been a most instructional morning.”
A twisted-up half-smile threatened to steal across his face. “And have all your—what did you call them?—collecting expeditions been as instructive?”
“If only.” But Jane thought it best to say no more on the subject of instruction, and what she had learned this morning. And so she instructed herself to smile more serenely while she prayed that her face did not color with betraying heat. “But I am very much looking forward to learning more.”
The lieutenant’s sharp, all-seeing glance slid across her face so fast she was surprised it didn’t cut her.
Oh, Lord. And there was the suffocating heat. It was a good thing the wind was chilling, or she would be as overheated as a boiled turnip. “I mean, I am very much looking forward to this overseas expedition. I have never collected outside of Britain, nor taken such a long expedition before. Two months is hardly the same as two years.”
“Yes, hardly the same.” His green, green gaze, which had moved on in a constant inspection of all the various and different parts of the ship, came again to rest upon hers. She could feel the pressing weight of his regard as if it were a stack of books sitting upon her chest.
“You do know, Miss Burke, that the Admiralty’s estimation of two years is based upon a sort of minimum requirement for getting to the other side of the earth and back?” His gaze spared her for a moment as it swept up the bowsprit. “Two years is the least amount of time it could take, barring bad weather and unforeseen circumstances, which, I will scruple to tell you, can be counted upon to plague us every sea mile of the way. The truth is, it will undoubtedly take far longer than two years.”
The news jarred the breath from her. She had not known, though clearly she should have. She had planned both her stores and her funds for reprovisioning at the standard stops of Madeira, Salvador de Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Valparaiso—just saying the exotic names had made her giddy with delight—to last only those two allotted years.
No, she had been careful in her preparation and generous in her funds. And besides, she had provisioned for two people—Papa and her, before he had changed his mind and decided they were not to go—when she would be only one. And those provisions had been a keepsafe—something to go along with the meals she would take sharing the captain’s table along with the rest of the expedition, as had been arranged. She would be fine—although she was certainly hesitant, as well as curious, to meet the captain after the lieutenant’s cryptic but descriptive comments upon her arrival.
“And if you were asked instead of the Admiralty, Lieutenant, how long would you have said the voyage was to last?”
“I would have said that we will be lucky to see England’s shores within five years, Miss Burke, not two. That is, if Tenacious lives up to her name, and doesn’t sink us all long before that.”
Jane absorbed the second blow in silence. She had thought only of what she might accomplish on such a journey, and not of the passage of time. In five years’ time she would be one and thirty. She would be the thing she had not wanted to admit to being, the thing that she told herself was not important. Being recognized as a talented, dedicated, scholarly conchologist had been what mattered. But the inescapable truth was that in five years’ time, after having taken herself across the globe and back, she would be irrevocably ruined for marriage. She would be a spinster set firmly upon the shelf.
It was a bitter tonic to swallow at the very start of her triumph. It was almost frightening.
Oh. This time it was she who looked more closely at the grim pleasure on the lieutenant’s face. “I see. You mean to frighten me, Lieutenant Dance.”
He nodded, all purposeful admittance. “I do, ma’am, I do. I mean for all of you, from Sir Richard on down the Royal Society’s muster roll to you, J. E. Burke, conchologist, to be frightened into understanding what might come. Sir Richard spoke of hardships. Make no mistake, Miss Burke, there will undoubtedly be hardships, but there will also be danger—very real, threatening danger. The dislike of the crew, and the resistance of Sir Richard will seem like nothing compared to it.”
He meant it, this sharp-eyed, grim-faced man. He believed the truth of every word he spoke. “You’re a cynic.”
He laughed into the wind. “Assuredly, Miss Burke. But at least I am not a worthless drunk.”
I don’t think it will be too much of a spoiler to tell you this is a ripping good yarn of a shipwreck story. And things will most assuredly heat up on the beach for our hero and heroine, and for one lucky commenter who will win a copy of A SCANDAL TO REMEMBER. Just leave a comment to enter!
Got to have it now? Links to all major retailers can be found on my website: http://www.elizabethessex.com/a-scandal-to-remember/
Posted by Jamie Michele Dec 6 2013, 12:01 am in Foreign Affairs, Jamie Michele, new release, new releases, nikki navarre, romantic suspense, Ruby Release
SUBJECT: Ex-KGB Agent Nikolai Markov, hero of THE RUSSIAN TEMPTATION by Nikki Navarre
State secrets have never been this sexy.
INTERROGATOR: CIA Agent James Riley, hero of AN AFFAIR OF DECEIT by Jamie Michele
LOCATION: CIA Interrogation Facility, Washington, D.C.
RILEY: Given these anomalies in your travel documents and your, ah, colorful history, you’ll understand why we need to ask a few questions, Mr. Markov. Mind if I call you Nikolai?
MARKOV (lighting a Gauloise cigarette): I’d prefer it if you didn’t, Dr. Riley. As I’ve explained repeatedly to your CIA underlings, my name is Nikolai Kirov, and I’m an independent security consultant. A simple case of mistaken identity, no doubt, that you seem to have confused me with this ex-KGB hit man I take it you’re looking for.
Posted by Hope Ramsay Nov 20 2013, 12:01 am in contemporary romance, Hope Ramsay, Last Chance, new releases
In celebration of the release date of Last Chance Knit & Stitch, I asked Ricki Wilson, a long time resident of Last Chance, South Carolina, and the day shift waitress at the Kountry Kitchen Café, to join me on the blog today. Ricki knows more about what’s going on in Last Chance than just about anyone, except perhaps Ruby Rhodes, who as y’all know is the proprietor of the Cut ‘n’ Curl.
Me: Welcome Ricki.
Ricki: Hey, y’all. I can’t say I’m a regular reader of your blog, since I have no desire to become a writer. But I do love the books y’all write. I’m afraid that these days my love life is pretty much lived vicariously.
Me: Why is that?
Well, I’m made a bunch of bad mistakes when I was young and stupid. I could have married Clay Rhodes after we ran off to Nashville together, but I dumped him for my ex, Randy, who turned out to be a no-account loser who embezzled a bunch of money from the Music City record company he worked for. He left me flat broke with nowhere to go but back home to east nowhere South Carolina. I arrived just in time to see Clay make a fool of himself over Jane Coblentz. Now he’s a married man with a baby on the way. And all I can do is feel sorry for what I lost. My only fun is going down to Dot’s Spot on Wednesdays and Thursdays to listen to Clay play fiddle. I know I shouldn’t be doing that. But, you know, it’s hard sometimes to be alone. Course, the older I get the harder it is to wait on tables all day and try to line-dance with the boys at Dot’s on a Wednesday evening. You know what I mean?
Me: I guess being a waitress is a tough job, huh?
Ricki: You have no idea. If I don’t get tips I don’t make ends meet. And to think that once I used to buy all my clothes at designer stores in Nashville. Now I wear a uniform to work. ‘Course all of the money Randy supposedly had never did buy me love. I know in my head I’m better off alone. But in my heart, maybe not so much. Like you said in your nice introduction, there are some up sides to being a waitress. I hear a lot of gossip before anyone else does.
Me: So what’s new in town?
Ricki: Simon Wolfe has come home. Do you know Simon? He’s the former place kicker for the 1990 Champion Davis High Rebels– the one who won the big game for us with his boot. Well, anyway, he left town 18 years ago after a big ol’ row with his momma and daddy. I don’t really know what the fight was about, only that he never again set foot in this town until just a couple of days ago. He’s back on account of his daddy’s death –Ira Wolfe keeled over right there in the showroom at Wolfe Ford. I tell you, I heard that Ira’s business is in deep trouble. Folks are saying the dealership might close down altogether now that Ira’s gone. And I don’t expect Simon to have any interest in keeping a car dealership running. I’ve heard he just wants to settle his daddy’s estate and get on back to California where he’s been living all these years. But I heard Thelma Hanks say that the estate is in such a mess that Simon’s gonna have to stay for a while to untangle things.
Me: Anything else going on?
Ricki: Well, aside from Ira’s death, the only other gossip in town is about Pat Canaday, the owner of the Knit & Stitch yarn shop. She’s up and run away from home. She left home while her husband was on a fishing trip with his bass-hole buddies. You won’t believe this, but she put a note on the front door of the yarn shop telling everyone in town that she expects her daughter, Molly, to take things over.
It’ll be a cold day in July if that happens. Molly’s a mechanic working for LeRoy down at Bill’s Grease Pit. She and her best friend, Les Hays, are restoring an old Shelby Mustang they’re planning to auction off. Molly never was a girly kind of girl, you know? So if this is Pat’s way of trying to force Molly become a girly girl and give up her car business for the yarn shop, I think it’s going to fail.
Course the knitters of Last Chance are up in arms over this. They aren’t going to let the yarn shop close without a big fight. Molly’s going to have to figure something out.
She’s also got a big real estate problem. Simon Wolfe’s leased the old abandoned building right up the street. I heard he’s using the place as studio space for his painting — he’s some kind of fancy artist or something. But Molly wanted that building for her car business and with the Ira’s dealership closed Molly doesn’t have any place to work on that Shelby Mustang. Molly is fit to be tied about this. I’ll tell you what.
I predict the sparks are gonna fly between those two. Not that I’m predicting anything matrimonial, you know. I’m just saying that you’ve got two bull headed people fighting over one abandoned building.
Me: Speaking of forecasts has Miriam Randall handed out any advice recently?
Ricki: No, ma’am. Not that I know. I sure do wish Miriam would give me a forecast. I’m tired of being alone, and it seems like all the really good-looking men in town are either married or too young for me. I tell you what, that Molly Canaday should treat Les Hays a lot better than she does or she’s going to lose that boy. I only wish I was young enough to make a play for him, myself. That is one nice looking man.
But, you know, I reckon every single waitress in the world sings the same blues. We’re all just waiting on the day when Prince Charming comes waltzing through the doors, sits down, and orders a cup of coffee.
And there’s no chance of that happening. So, I reckon I’ll be reading a lot of romance books late at night. Charlene Polk suggested that I get a cat, to keep me company. But, to be honest, I don’t really like cats and I don’t see myself as a crazy, single cat lady. Maybe I should get me one of those cute little dogs you can dress up. That might be fun. What do y’all think?
Me: I’m a cat person Ricki. But maybe some of the Rubies have ideas for you on what kind of pet would be right for you. And in the meantime, I wouldn’t give up on Prince Charming just yet. You just never know what’s going to happen in Last Chance. Things have a way of working themselves out in your little town.
Ricki I sure do hope so. And I do thank you for having me here today. Y’all take care now, and come on by and visit at the Kountry Kitchen if you’re ever in town.
* * * *
One lucky commenter on today’s blog will win an autographed copy of Last Chance Knit and Stitch.
Buy it at Amazon.com Buy it at Barns & Noble Buy it at Walmart
Posted by June Love Aug 8 2013, 12:01 am in Harlequin Desire Release, new releases
Today, I’m honored to host the release of Ruby sister Dani Wade’s HIS BY DESIGN. This is Dani’s first release with Harlequin Desire. One of the perks of hosting a release is getting to read the book. Let me tell you, it is AMAZING. I read the first three chapters and had to force myself to put it down because other duties called. Then, when I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. Seriously When I read the end, I looked at the clock and was stunned to see 4:15 a.m. flashing at me. It has been a long time since I’ve stayed up all night reading. I loved that it grabbed me and didn’t let go.
After reading HIS BY DESIGN, I had a few questions for Dani. Before we get to those, here’s a blurb from the book.
He’s her boss. He’ll do what he wants with her
Ziara Divan came from nothing and worked hard to earn her position at Atlanta’s most prestigious bridal fashion house. So when her new boss Sloan Creighton tries to seduce her in a power play, she’s not having it. She won’t climb the corporate ladder right into the boss’s bed…even if he’s irresistible.
Sloan will have his way—in business and in pleasure. He’ll regain control of his father’s company, and he’ll have this woman—not necessarily in that order. But just as his plans fall into place, Ziara’s past threatens to tear them apart at the seams….
ME: Dani, I absolutely loved this story. The characters, the setting, the conflict, the heat…ooh la la. What made you decide on wedding gown designer for your setting? From your vivid description of fabrics and design, I’m wondering what type of design background you have.
DANI: Honestly, none. But at the time I was brainstorming this book, my husband had a cousin who interned with a famous designer in New York City. I called to ask her about the design industry and procedures for presenting designs to buyers, and she’s the one who told me there was a wedding gown industry based in Atlanta. I knew Ziara was tactile, sensual, and filled in the details from there.
ME: Wow. I am impressed. I could’ve sworn you were going to say you’d taken some fashion courses. Another area in which you did a fabulous job was characterization. I don’t want get too detailed for obvious spoiler reasons, but Ziara’s conflict tugged at my heartstrings. I wanted to tell her she had no reason to feel ashamed. I felt for her, for what she’d endured and for how far she’d come. Can you give us some insight on what process you used to create your characters?
DANI: I’ve never been a fan of character interviews and such. Over the years, I’ve paired down my character development to 3 things I need before I start writing, the rest I discover as I go.
First, I explore the goals, obstacles, conflicts, and emotional hang-ups of my characters. I don’t care what kind of car they drive YET, I want to dig into their psychy: what do they care about and how does it affect this story?
Then I need (2) a photo (this gives me a visual starting place for picturing them in the scenes, even though it may not be exact), and (3) his and her theme songs. Each of my characters has their own “music” that I listen to in order to slip into their heads. It helps me flesh out their feelings and actions, and reconnect when I have to set the writing aside for things like line edits.
As I said, the rest will flesh out during the actual writing.
ME: I also like to have an image in mind for my characters. I don’t necessarily have theme songs for my characters, but I do listen to a created playlist. I guess in a way, I do choose songs that reflect the emotional aspect of the story.
Being a lover and frequent visitor of Vegas, I loved that aspect of your story. By introducing Patrick, you once again proved you are a master of increasing the stakes. He was the worst possible person for Sloan to involve in his scheme against Vivian. When the story was at the beginning stages, did you know Patrick’s Vegas connection?
DANI: Oddly enough, I’ve never been to Vegas–but it sounds like a really cool place! I knew Patrick would be a costume designer, but I didn’t know where until I saw a segment on a TV show about a hookah lounge in Las Vegas. There’s actually a scene set there that was cut from the final book.
ME: If you ever get the chance, go to Vegas. Not everyone loves it, but you should at least experience it…once. One last question, plotter or pantser?
DANI: Plotter, most definitely. I love to explore the scene possibilities, highs and lows, and how I can wring emotion from my characters — I just do all that at the plotting stage. Then I flesh those ideas out during the draft and revision stages. That doesn’t mean the plot never changes, but I just can’t handle the stress of possibly writing myself into a corner and having to cut a chapter or two to fix it!
Congratulations, Dani, on your release! It truly is a wonderful read. I wish for you many, many sales.
Dani Wade astonished her local librarians as a teenager when she carried home ten books every week—and actually read them all. Now she writes her own characters, who clamor for attention in the midst of the chaos that is her life. Residing in the Southern U.S. with a husband, two kids, two dogs and one grumpy cat, she stays busy until she can closet herself away with her characters once more.
Posted by Kim Law Jan 2 2013, 12:01 am in contemporary, new releases, Ruby Release, small-town
Welcome to Sugar Springs! My second book, SUGAR SPRINGS, released over the holidays, and though it was a bit overwhelming to have a book release on the same day that I was at my family’s house celebrating Christmas and opening presents, I did manage to enjoy both events!
I am so excited to be releasing this book. It’s my 2009 Golden Heart winner, and what brought me to know all my wonderful Rubies! It’s also the first in my small-town contemporary series, and I’m a total small-town girl at heart.
Posted by June Love Oct 30 2012, 12:01 am in Charley series, Darynda Jones, new releases, Ruby Release
FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET IS HERE!
I have both the honor and privilege of hosting the celebration for the latest installment of the Charley series, which is authored by the lovely and talented Ruby sister, Darynda Jones.
This book is the fourth, and yes, I do like stating the obvious, book in the Charley series. It follows FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT, and THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD. If you’ve never read any of the Charley series, then I’m sorry for you because you’ve missed a boatload of laughter, romance, and entertaining relationships.
I must admit I’ve been concerned about Charley. Seriously. After what she went through in THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD, who wouldn’t be? Right? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to read the book.) I’m not only talking about her physical well-being, but also about how she’s dealing with the men in her life. Her father’s betrayal was bad enough, but Reyes? So heartbreaking. How will he ever redeem himself? How will she ever forgive him? And, then there’s Garrett. I want to know how he’s coping. And, I’m excited about Artemis. You gotta love Artemis.
In case you don’t know anything about Charley, (seriously, after reading and commenting on this blog, get the series and read it) I’ll introduce you. Charley is the Grim Reaper. Yeah. Really. She is. And, she’s a damn good one. She’s also a great juggler. Look at her relationships. They run from borderline psychotic to one with a devotion so intense it transcends the corporeal world. Speaking of corporeal, Reyes is so hot. I’m not saying that just because he’s the son of Satan. Although, he is. As in, he grew up in Hell. But, I digress. We were talking about the release of FOURTH GRAVE. You know I just realized Charley’s ADD could be why I like her so much. Not that I’m ADD or anything like that.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah. The interview. I decided since Charley was recuperating, I wouldn’t bother her with a bunch of questions. (If you’re wondering why she’s recuperating, then <sigh> read the series.) Instead, I decided to interview the men in her life. Although, I’ll have to admit some weren’t very cooperative. Far be it from me to be petty and mention names, but like father, like son comes to mind. Anyway, I gave it my best shot.
Me: LELAND, as Charley’s dad you’ve known about her gift for years. When she was only a child, you used her to help you solve cases for the APD. Now that you’ve retired from the force and your little girl is grown, you’re not too happy with her career choice as a private detective. Seriously, dad, what did you expect her to do with her life? Yes, it’s dangerous. Yes, she’s had her share of bruises. However, let’s not forget you almost got her killed when you painted a target on her back and sent a parolee her way. That was all on you, Daddy Dearest. We know you love and care for her, but trying to have her arrested and her license revoked wasn’t cool. A parent will do whatever to protect their children, but seriously, what were you thinking? Without giving us any spoilers, can you give us a hint if you’ll work to repair your relationship with your daughter, or if you still think you did the right thing?
Leland: I agree and couldn’t be more saddened by my own behavior. Would it help to know that I had my reasons? One actually. And it’s a pretty good one. Without explaining completely, I will say that I just wanted to make sure she would be okay if anything were to happen to me. I wanted her out of that business (yes, the business I practically forced her into) and I just didn’t know what else to do. Charley is stubborn. I knew that if she was arrested and convicted of a crime, she couldn’t be a licensed PI. So I went about trying to get her to quit the wrong way. I am trying to make amends. Not an easy thing with my daughter, but I am trying.
Me: UNCLE BOB, as an APD detective, like your brother, you call upon your niece to help you solve cases. The difference is you respect what she does, and you don’t coddle her. You’re more aware of the extent of her gift than her father is. I know you were upset with your brother for the stunt he pulled in the hospital. However, let’s face it, Charley is the Lucy Ricardo of detectives. If it’s going to happen, you can rest assured it will happen to Charley. How do you deal with her on-the-job pain and suffering while using her as her dad did?
Uncle Bob: The way I see it, Charley is going to do what Charley wants to do. I worry about her, especially after what she’s gone through. But she has this way of pulling through the most life-threatening situations virtually unscathed. At least until recently. And her gifts have saved countless lives. I do call upon her but she does the same with me. I see our relationship as mutually beneficial. She helps me solve cases and I come to her aid in legal situations. It works out well, albeit more for me than her. And I not only respect her but am in awe of her. While I would love to know what she isn’t telling me, the whole story of who and what she is, part of that respect is recognizing her right to privacy. I figure she’ll tell me when she’s ready.
Me: GARRETT, you’ve come a long way, baby. When you were first told about Charley’s gift, you tormented her. You really were an S.O.B. Yet, underneath all that closed-minded derision, you were like a schoolboy afraid to let a girl know he likes her. Between coming to terms with her being the Grim Reaper and having to deal with her obsession over Reyes, you still toyed with relationship thoughts. You still adored her. Above all, you still had her back. Oh, how I love a man who has a woman’s back. Things drastically changed in THIRD GRAVE. You saw first-hand her Grim Reaper capabilities. Heck, you even saw Mr. Wong. With this huge insight into Charley’s world, how will this change your relationship with her?
Garrett: That is a very loaded question, one that even I can’t answer. I saw a lot more than Charley as the grim reaper. I saw a lot more about this love interest of hers. Of what he’s capable of. Of what he was sent to do. I am still coming to terms with everything I’ve seen and learned, but I will say one thing: If Reyes Farrow thinks he will use Charley in the way that his father wishes, he will die knowing otherwise. <Interviewer’s comment: See? What did I tell you? He has her back.>
Me: REYES, aaah Rey’aziel. Son of Satan. Where do I begin? I know you love Charley. I mean, you defied your heritage and took on a human form just to be with her. Maybe things didn’t turn out exactly as you’d planned, and yes, maybe she did bind you for all eternity, but in spite of all that, you love her. I know it. You know it. Yet, you don’t trust her. In fact, your distrust brought her a pain that no one should have to bear. Why was it so difficult for you to trust her? That is something that has me baffled. And, don’t give me some cop out by saying it was because she bound you. Son of Satan or not, that won’t fly, buddy. Oh, and notice I let you off the hook by not asking how you plan to woo yourself back into her heart. You just better be sure you do.
Reyes: I’m surprised you’d talk to me in such a way knowing what you know, but I’ll let it slide for now. You seem to have Charley’s best interest at heart, something we have in common. Trust does not come easily for me. Her binding me did affect my perception of her, but not in the way that you think. I thought she knew what she was capable of, what she could do to me with the slightest wish. She didn’t. She still doesn’t realize her true potential, but at the time I was afraid she did. Or would soon. And I had that one blinding goal driving me, to find the man who sent me to prison, to prove my innocence, to sever his spine. I was afraid she would stop me. She is the only one who could. I’m not out to woo myself back into her heart. I have ruined that and I know it. But I am out to keep her alive. To keep her safe from others like me, others from my world. She may not like it, but when she sees what has come after her now, she won’t have a choice. And if she just happens to end up in my arms in the process, if my mouth just happens to find hers, then that just makes my job all the more pleasurable, because while I want her safe, I want her just a little bit more. <Interviewer’s comment: Fanning self…and that’s why I LOVE Reyes.>
How do you feel about the men in Charley’s life? Aside from Charley, who is your favorite character in this series?
One lucky non-Ruby commenter will be placed in a drawing for an autographed copy of FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
Posted by Amanda Brice Oct 24 2012, 12:01 am in book promo, books, cookbook, cooking, ebooks, excerpt, inspiration, new releases, promo, recipes, Ruby Release, writer's life
The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood — publishing quality non-fiction since 2012.
Well, actually that’s not quite true. If you count our blogs posts — most of which are on craft of writing and business of writing — then I guess we’ve been publishing quality non-fiction since 2009. But I don’t mean blogging. I mean actual publishing . . . of ebooks!
Yes, that’s right, Ruby Readers. The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood has just released our very first ebook — a cookbook! Introducing Eat, Read, Love: Romance and Recipes from the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood!
Cute cover, huh? Special thanks to Laurie Kellogg for designing it. Editing and layout done by Amanda Brice and Kim Law.
So what is Eat, Read, Love? Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s a literary cookbook. We’ve compiled 59 recipes inspired by the pages of our books. Whereas some cookbooks pair their recipes with wine, ours are paired with excerpts. In some cases, the characters actually do eat the meal in the excerpt!
And the best part is that it’s 100% FREE. Yes, you read that right. It’s our gift to our readers, old and new.
So what dishes can you expect to see? It’s a very eclectic — and delicious — list!
Allergen-Free Pad Thai (from Codename: Dancer by Amanda Brice)
Chinese Sausage and Sticky Rice in Banana Leaves (from My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin)
Pernil Al Horno (Puerto Rican Roasted Pork Shoulder) (from Avenging Angel by Anne Marie Becker)
Jalapeño Chicken (from Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell)
Grandma Rose’s Varenyky (Ukrainian Pierogies) (from Pas De Death by Amanda Brice)
Angelo the Mobster’s Pasta Primavera (from The Good Daughter by Diana Layne)
Olivia’s Seafood Salad (from Under Fire by Rita Henuber)
Alaskan Crab Cakes (from The Doctor’s Mile High Fling by Tina Beckett)
Easy-Peasy Meatloaf (from Chase Me by Tamara Hogan)
“Hide the Peas, Please” Chicken Pot Pie (from Intrusion by Cynthia Justlin)
Cole’s Poorman Stew (from In the Presence of Evil by Autumn Jordon)
New Mexican Green Chile Stew (from First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones)
Cock-A-Leekie Stew (from Prophecy by Heather McCollum)
Almost Medieval Leek Soup (from Lady Unbound by Elise Hayes)
Henri’s Turtle Soup (from A Kiss in the Wind by Jennifer Bray-Weber)
Caruru do Pará (Brazilian Shrimp Gumbo) (from Doctor’s Guide to Dating in the Jungle by Tina Beckett)
Abram’s Game Day Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (from Under the Autumn Sky by Liz Talley)
Abby’s Fatten-up-Mac Green Bean Casserole (from The Memory of You by Laurie Kellogg)
Millie Polk’s Squash Casserole (from Home at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay)
Bacon and Egg Fried Rice (from Taste Me by Tamara Hogan)
Sultana’s Rice (from Kismet’s Kiss by Cate Rowan)
Stasia’s Vinegret (Russian Potato, Beet, & Carrot Salad) (from Underhanded by Shoshana Brown)
Violet Easley’s Okra and Stewed Tomatoes (from Last Chance Christmas by Hope Ramsay)
Eat These Fries (from Kiss that Frog by Cate Rowan)
Dare To Be Different Barbeque Sauce (from Snow Bound by Dani Wade)
Alex’s Killer Pasta Sauce (from His Witness to Evil by Autumn Jordon)
Annie’s Favorite Hot Sauce (from Waters Run Deep by Liz Talley)
Devil’s Dust (from Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones)
Triple Chocolate Cake (from Caught on Camera by Kim Law)
Summer’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (from Perfect Summer by Katie Graykowski)
Ryker’s Favorite Mint Brownies (from Her Own Best Enemy by Cynthia Justlin)
Tiramisu (from Thoroughbreds and Trailer Trash by Bev Pettersen)
Profiteroles (from Party Like It’s 1899 by Amanda Brice)
Hannah’s Heavenly Cinnamon-Almond Squares (from Hypnotic Seduction by L.L. Kellogg)
Picou Dufrene’s Infamous Pecan Pralines (from The Road to Bayou Bridge by Liz Talley)
Tara’s Mother’s Southern Pecan Pralines (from Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly)
Maggie’s Amazing Pecan Pie (from A Little Bit of Deja Vu by Laurie Kellogg)
Jenny Carpenter’s Secret Pie Crust (from Last Chance Beauty Queen by Hope Ramsay)
Cream Cheese Pie (from Only Fear by Ane Marie Becker)
Nicole’s To-Die-For Apple Pie (from Seized by Darkness by Autumn Jordon)
Susanna’s Sonker (from Whisper Falls by Elizabeth Langston)
Fried Banana Nuggets (from Edge of Light by Cynthia Justlin)
Betts’ Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Place Your Betts by Katie Graykowski)
Jilian’s “Best of Earth” Cookies (from The Source of Magic by Cate Rowan)
T-Bone Carter’s Biscuits (from Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsay)
Cinnamon Rolls (from Sugar Springs by Kim Law)
Sausage Gravy & Biscuits (from Jimmie Joe Johnson: Manwhore by Lindsey Brookes)
Lucy’s Rum Cake “Stud Muffins” (from The Ghost Shrink, The Accidental Gigolo, & The Poltergeist Accountant by Vivi Andrews)
Sam’s Keep-Dani-Healthy Greek Omelet (from The Great Bedroom War by Laurie Kellogg)
Huevos Rancheros (from Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones)
Lucky’s Lucky Charms (from Getting Lucky by Katie Graykowski)
Dani’s Mango Madness Smoothie with Raspberry Swirl (from Pointe of No Return by Amanda Brice)
Homemade Skinny Latte (from Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte by Diane Kelly)
Parish Cocoa (from Ghosts of Boyfriends Past by Vivi Andrews)
Captain Drake’s Rum Drinks (from The Siren’s Song by Jennifer Bray-Weber)
Cookie’s Mucho Magnifico Margaritas (from Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones)
Bonnie Pratt’s Easy-Peasy Peach Sangria (from Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria by Diane Kelly)
Sample Menu from 1890s Dinner Party (from The Vanishing Thief by Kate Parker)
16th Century Herbal Remedies (from Captured Heart by Heather McCollum)
Hungry yet? I know I’m starved just reading the list!
You can grab your own copy from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, or download a PDF copy right here from this website! (It isn’t at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Sony, or Diesel yet, but we expect it to be soon.)
Be sure to spread the word, and happy cooking!
(By the way, by downloading a copy, you’re actually doing us a big favor, by helping get our numbers up, which increases our exposure. So if you’ve ever been entertained or informed by our blog, this is a great way to thank us!)
Posted by Laurie Kellogg Sep 14 2012, 12:01 am in Book Covers, Laurie Kellogg, Marketing, new releases, Ruby Release, The Parent Pact
At some point in your life, I’m sure you’ve read a book and hated the cover and wondered why on earth the publisher used it. Maybe you’ve even received cover art for your own novel that you don’t feel fits your story. Romance readers get totally bent out of shape if the hero and heroine isn’t depicted accurately on the cover as compared to how the author describes them.
Many of you may recall my debut novel, The Memory of You, had an extremely different cover when I first released it. All of my romance-writer friends told me how much they loved it. I don’t know if they were being honest or just sparing my feelings. In any case, I really liked the cover.
When my son, who has a master’s in marketing, saw it, he hated it—which frankly didn’t surprise me. I have a have an honest open relationship with my kids, and they have no problem telling me when they think something I’ve done sucks the big one. Normally, I might shrug off his opinion, but this time I couldn’t, because I knew on this particular subject he spoke as an authority. His father and I spent a lot of money helping to educate him in his chosen field, and he made us extremely proud by graduating just a hundredth of a point shy of summa cum laude (and don’t think that didn’t royally tick him off).
He told me my first cover made him think of an old lady story about a funeral. He reduced the image to thumbnail and pointed to the vase of hydrangeas and said, “What is this? It looks like a purple tree. And who’s that guy in the background? Is he a ghost? Is this a paranormal story? What’s that gold blob in the corner. You’re selling your books on the Internet, you need a design with pictures and fonts that readers can see in a thumbnail.”
I loved my cover and didn’t want to admit he might have a valid point. So I did what mother’s do best, I argued with my son, and tried to explain what the book is about. I showed him other covers on Amazon that were no different than mine. That’s when the poop hit the fan. “Are you a writer or a cave painter?” he asked in a not so soft voice.
“I’m a writer,” I answered defensively.
“Then stop trying to tell the story with pictures! The only thing your cover needs to accomplish is to get people interested enough to find out more about your book. You only have to catch their attention and give a sense of the genre and the tone. It doesn’t matter if the artwork matches the story. Covers are designed for shoppers. The inside is for readers.”
Well, I still don’t totally agree with that, but I understood the lesson he was trying to teach me. Giving the shopper an impression of the type of story is far more important than the accuracy in the cover art. My son then explained many NY publishers are still designing covers for brick and mortar bookstore shelves instead of the digital market. He reworked my first two covers to illustrate what I should use to sell my work.
Many were disappointed by the new cover for The Memory of You (like my 80-year-old mother, who is one of the little old ladies my son mentioned) because they’d truly loved the original. I had to explain time and again that, although the first cover might have been aesthetically pleasing, it was a lousy representation of what the reader should expect from the book.
From that point on, I took my son’s advice and made sure L.L. Kellogg’s first cover gave the right impression of Hypnotic Seduction’s genre and tone, which is a red-hot romantic comedy that’s A Little Bit Naughty and a Lot of Fun. The Great Bedroom War’s cover told readers they were going to get a fun, sexy, contemporary read.
While choosing the cover art for my new release, The Parent Pact—book three of The Return to Redemption series, I somehow forgot my son’s marketing lesson and began cave painting again. I designed a cover I absolutely love and which illustrated the story wonderfully. The kids look exactly like the little boy and girl in my novel, and there’s even an issue with the heroine’s son kissing the hero’s daughter against her will. I’d already finished the cover before the Anaheim RWA conference, so I naturally included the cover image for my upcoming release on the promotional material I distributed in the Goodie Room.
As I was admiring my handiwork on the flight home (in coach), my flamboyant alter-ego, L.L. Kellogg, sauntered back from first class to gloat about how much roomier her seat was than mine . Since my butt is twice the size of hers, you can bet she grated on my nerves.
She snatched the promotional card I’d distributed at the conference from my hand. “What the hell did you do!” she shrieked loud enough for the passenger in the closet-size john at the rear of the plane to hear. She pointed at the sweet covers for my next two releases. “These are awful! Where’s the sexy hero and half-naked heroine? Is this a romance between children?”
“No,” I answered, “but the hero and heroine are both single parents.”
“Aww, isn’t that sweet.” She tossed the card over her shoulder and into the lap of the sixty-ish female passenger on the opposite side of the aisle. “Change it,” L.L. demanded.
“Why should she?” the passenger interjected. “This looks like a wonderful book. Exactly the kind of heartwarming story I’d like to read.”
“Do you like hot, sizzling love scenes?” L.L. asked the woman. “Because I forced her to make the hero walk in on the heroine while she’s bathing in his huge whirlpool tub, and things get mighty steamy—and not from the hot water, if you get my drift.”
The woman blushed. “Well, I don’t mind a little kissing, but I really don’t prefer explicit love scenes.”
“Then this book ain’t for you, lady. It’s hot! Especially the skinny-dipping scene when they finally get it on.”
The woman dropped the promotional card as if it were covered with the Ebola virus.
L.L. picked up the card and flapped it in my face. “THIS is exactly why NY wouldn’t buy your book. Their marketing department couldn’t think of a way to illustrate the fact that, although your stories are heartwarming, they’re far from sweet. You’re cave painting again. Remember what your son taught you.” She turned and wiggled her way back up the aisle to first-class and shouted over her shoulder, “Are you a writer or a freaking cave painter?”
As much as I hated to admit it, L.L. the bimbo-beeyotch was 100 percent right. Granted, the marketing blurb (see below) makes it crystal clear it’s a sexy story, but the title and graphics indicate the exact opposite. The passenger across the aisle had given me a glimpse of the awful reviews I could expect from outraged readers who didn’t bother to check the blurb before clicking the buy link. And the saddest part was they would have every right to be upset about not having their expectations met.
Naturally, as soon as I arrived home, I immediately redesigned the cover. I don’t like it nearly as much as my original cover art (I love the adorable kids), and it’s not accurate to the story. At no time does the heroine run around the hero’s kitchen half naked.
However, this IS a sizzling, different worlds, Cinderella story. The contrast of a sexy, barefooted, penniless heroine kissing a successful lawyer who’s wearing $900 Italian leather shoes is a much better marketing tool and will give shoppers a more accurate impression of what they’ll get when they buy The Parent Pact—Steamy, Heartwarming, Romantic, Fun!
Cinderella and Prince Charming never had to consider the welfare of their children
When widower Tyler Fitzpatrick meets Annie Barnes at his daughter’s school, his libido goes tilt. The sexy single mother is everything he and his grieving little girl need. Unfortunately, Annie flatly refuses his dinner invitation. She wants a husband and a father for her son—not just a boyfriend. And the last time she checked, wealthy, summa-cum-laude lawyers didn’t marry high-school-drop-out housekeepers.
Tyler concedes there’s a vast difference between their experiences and lifestyles. Still, he’s inexplicably drawn to the impoverished young woman—even though her little boy reminds Tyler of an underprivileged past he’d rather forget. While becoming better acquainted, he offers Annie a job caring for his daughter and home in Redemption, PA. He also proposes a Parent Pact—an agreement to become role models to each other’s child and to fill one another’s needs as single parents while they continue to search for true love.
Accepting Tyler’s offer would solve a lot of Annie’s problems. However, surrendering to her weak-in-the-knees attraction to the irresistible widower could very well leave her and her son heartbroken. Yet, when circumstances threaten her ability to feed her child, Annie reluctantly agrees to the pact, making it clear she has no desire for Tyler to fill her so-called needs in bed. It’s a bald-faced lie, but she knows the man’s desperation to give his daughter the nurturing she needs will compel him to accept a purely platonic relationship.
Now, Annie’s only problem is resisting the overwhelming temptation to let sin-in-a-tailored-suit Tyler seduce her.
So the next time you pick up a book with a cover that doesn’t accurately depict the story, think about why the publisher chose the picture they did to market it. And if your publisher gives your novel a cover you hate, consider the marketing aspects. You may realize that, even though the artwork may not be pretty or accurate, it’s eye-catching and a great selling tool.
Now I’d like you to share your experience. Can you think of a cover you really didn’t like, but you can see why the publisher used it? Have you ever quit reading a book simply because the picture on the cover didn’t accurately illustrate the events or characters in the story? What do you envision as a cover for your WIP and why?
Leave a comment to enter a random drawing for a free digital copy of The Parent Pact, available now at Amazon and soon to be released for the Nook and paperback.
Posted by Shelley Coriell May 15 2012, 12:01 am in amanda brice, new releases, Ruby Release
Gotta Dance! or How Hobbies Sneak into Our Writing
Today I’m wearing an old pair of battered pointe shoes and dancing on my toes as we celebrate the release of Amanda Brice’s young adult novel, Pointe of No Return. The second book in the Dani Spevak Mystery Series, Amanda’s latest novel for teens/tweens is a charming blend of compelling mystery, quirky humor, and a dash of sweet romance. Bonus points for her rich, fascinating dance world setting. More on that below, but here’s a quick peek at Pointe:
Aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak’s visions of sugar plums are dashed when she’s assigned to understudy her nemesis, Hadley Taylor, in the Nutcracker. Pretty, popular, and rich, that girl has all the luck. Or so she thought. When Hadley mysteriously disappears with opening night just around the corner, Dani can’t sit idly by, even if it means losing the part. Now she’s running all over Phoenix in a race against the clock. From reality TV trophy wives to sleazy real estate developers to a possible drug ring, the cast of suspects begins to add up. Will she find Hadley before the curtain rises?
Shelley: As the mother of three teen-aged ballerinas, I adored the dance world you created. Seriously, Amanda, you absolutely nailed the passions and pains I see daily in my daughters and their dancer friends. Why did you choose to write about dancers?
Amanda: Amanda: Awww, thanks, Shelley! I’ve been dancing almost my entire life. My parents enrolled me in dance classes at age three because I used to jump up and dance around the room every time the Coke commercial came on. I got serious around eleven or twelve or so, and danced through my tween and teen years in a pre-pro company. I then took ballet, flamenco, and ballroom in college (and competed at the intercollegiate level in ballroom), but got away from it when I was in law school because I just didn’t have the time. Then I came back to ballet as an adult around age twenty eight, although actually I haven’t been to a class of my own since August when I was about five months pregnant. (And I totally hit those double pirouettes despite a messed up sense of balance, too! Go me!) But my almost two-and-a-half year-old is taking ballet these days, and while she doesn’t really pay too much attention during class, she’s constantly regaling us at home with her prowess at pliés, elevés, passés, and arabesques. As well she should.
Anyway, when I think back to my teen years, dance was the constant, and it’s what jumps out at me the most, so it just seemed like an obvious plot device for me. I basically wrote the kinds of books I would have loved to read when I was that age.
Shelley: Are any of the scenes, characters, or plot threads yanked from your life as a dancer?
Amanda: Well, it’s fiction, so I definitely made up a lot of it. I didn’t have a beyotchy nemesis like Hadley, nor did I ever solve mysteries like Dani, but when I gave the first book to some of my old dance friends, they agreed they felt like they were reading themselves on the page. Sadly, the eating disorder subplot was pulled from my own experience, and several of the scenes in dance class were as well. But the specific plots of each book are pure imagination.
Shelley: Most of our Ruby Blog readers are writers, and I can’t help but point out that this is a classic case of “writing what you know.” What are the upsides of using your hobbies in your writing?
Amanda: My dirty little secret is that I’m basically lazy. (My Ruby sisters are laughing at me, but it’s true!) Between a full-time job as a lawyer and a full-time job as a mommy to a rambunctious toddler and an adorable infant — as well as serving as president of my local chapter, Washington Romance Writers — I don’t have much time for writing, so I certainly don’t have time for research. Thus, I subscribe to the “write what you know” school of thought, and when it comes to my teen years “what I know” is dance. So it was the logical backdrop for my series. I think (hope) that it makes for a richer experience for the reader.
I think you also write what you know, right? If I recall correctly, you were an editor for a food magazine, and I definitely noticed the prominent role that cooking and baking plays in Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe. I couldn’t imagine that book without tamales de dulce.
Shelley: Guilty. I’m a food writer, restaurant reviewer, and avid foodie. I included the tamales de dulce recipe in my YA debut because Chloe cooking with her two best friends played a huge role in creating their friendship years ago. Honestly, I was shocked when my editor at Amulet allowed me to keep it in because not many YA books includes recipes. Now, any warnings to our blog readers who want to incorporate hobbies – like dancing or cooking – into their WIPs?
Amanda: It can definitely put you in your comfort zone, but that runs the risk of becoming blind to the rest of the world’s knowledge of the subject — or lack thereof. Finding the right balance between too much lingo and not sounding authentic can be tricky. I can’t assume my readers are all dancers (although many are!), so I need to explain what the terms mean, but I don’t want to sound clunky, either. In my first drafts I tend to just write and then need to incorporate some in-text explanations in the second pass.
Shelley: With so many young dancers out there, including my little band of pancake-tutu-obsessed ballerinas, it seems that this is a perfect opportunity to target the world-wide dance market.
Amanda: Miriam Landis-Wenger, a former ballerina with the Miami City Ballet and the author of Breaking Pointe, called me the “queen of the ballet mystery.” I was thrilled, but I think I’m probably the only author writing ballet mysteries! With so many dance shows on TV these days — Dance Academy, the upcoming Bunheads on ABC Family, as well as the old standbys Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance — it struck me as the right time to publish. Although I have readers who know nothing about the dance world, I’ve found that I have good luck when I promote to dance students. Last year Dance Spirit Magazine featured my debut book, Codename: Dancer, on their website and in their e-newsletter. I’ve also run ads in recital programs, including Ruby Sis Anne Marie Becker’s daughter’s program.
I’m also finding success in using Facebook ads. I love these inexpensive ads, because you can narrowly target your audience (I like to show the ad only to people who have “liked” Dance Academy or the School of American Ballet because I know that these people are likely to be interested in a book set in a ballet boarding school). And you can run them for as little as $1/day.
Shelley: Sounds like smart marketing, Amanda, and a great tip for our published blog readers to incorporate into their own promotions strategies. And thanks for the insiders’ look at your dance and story world. Now it’s your turn, Ruby Readers. Do your personal interests or hobbies sneak into your books? One commenter below will win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble.
Pointe of No Return has been chosen as a “Nook First Pick” by Barnes & Noble and released exclusively for the NOOK on May 14. It will be available everywhere else on June 13. You can visit Amanda and find out more about her Dani Spevak mysteries at www.amandabrice.net.
Posted by Sara Ramsey May 3 2012, 12:01 am in author interview, new releases, Ruby Release, Vivi Andrews, writing romance
I’m thrilled and delighted to host the release party for Superlovin’, the latest novella from Vivi Andrews. Vivi shared an advance copy of this book with me, and I ADORED it…and then kept trying to recommend it to people who were looking for things to read, only to be reminded that it still wasn’t out.
But now it *is* out, and you can find out how amazing it is for yourself! Superlovin’ is all about an evenly matched superhero and supervillain who have to get over their preconceived notions (and their own reputations) to recognize that they just may be perfect for each other. It’s fast-paced, fun, and thought-provoking, and I loved every second of it.
Enough gushing from me, though — you’re here to see Vivi. Even though she’s holed up in her secret lair in Cannes (lucky woman), she took the time to respond to a few of my questions (which let me pretend to be an intrepid newspaper reporter – every superhero story needs one of those, right?). And if you leave a comment, you have a chance to win an ebook of Superlovin’!
Sara: What drew you to superheroes after spending so much time with your more paranormal-tinged Karmic Consultants series?
Vivi: I don’t think of them as so very different – psychic powers and super powers. The super world really is just turning up the volume and taking everything to the extremes, and I do love me some extremes. I’ve always loved superhero stories – good versus evil! With great power comes great responsibility! – and so when my editor put out a call for superhero stories, it seemed like the perfect time to try my hand at writing one. And I got addicted. I absolutely love playing in the super gene pool.
Sara: I love how you played with traditional superhero tropes – particularly the idea that people get typecast as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ and then can’t shake their reputations (deserved or not). What was your inspiration for these characters?
Vivi: I’m totally fascinated by the Good Guy/Bad Guy polarity and the PR maneuvering that goes into public perception. Yeah, Superlovin’ is a romance about superheroes, but I wanted it to also be about the grey areas. Lucien and Darla are both legacy supers – their parents are famous… or in Lucien’s case, infamous. As I was playing with the idea, I couldn’t stop wondering what life would be like as the kid of a supervillain… or the daughter of the world’s most famous superhero power couple. How much choice would you have about who you grew into? How long would you fight against being typecast before giving in to your inevitable role? How would a super kid rebel? The odd blend of celebrity and righteous crime-fighting duty was just too tempting to ignore.
Sara: Lucien and Darla are so evenly matched – it’s really refreshing to see a hero and heroine who can match each other. They fight each other rather aggressively while trying to meet their goals, which I haven’t seen in a lot of romances – the only scenes I could think of that would come close are in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (and just to be clear, I adored both that movie and this book!). Did your editor or beta readers have any issues with the hero and heroine’s fight scenes?
Vivi: Dude. I LOVE Mr. and Mrs. Smith. And you know, none of my betas or editors seemed to have a problem with the fact that Darla and Lucien wale on each other. It probably helps that the two of them are pretty much impervious to harm so the beat down is all chaos, no bruises. Interestingly, one advanced reviewer was bothered by the fact that Darla is initially very superficially attracted to Lucien’s mega-strength (though she said I pulled it out in the end, despite her initial reservations). But nope, so far no one has been wigged out by the fight scenes. At least not that I’ve heard about.
Sara: Superlovin’ was tightly plotted and well-crafted, and I didn’t feel like it was missing anything – a feat that not all novellas (or novel-length works!) achieve. I’m in awe at how you get such a tight, cohesive story into a novella-length work. Any tips for those of us who struggle to write short?
Vivi: Thank you! I try not to think of it as cramming a whole book into a novella. Writing short to me is an opportunity, not a limitation. An opportunity to write a more tightly focused story – really zeroing in on the hero and heroine. Or an opportunity to skip the parts that I don’t feel like writing. You can’t wander with a novella. Each scene has to have a purpose – preferably two or three purposes. It’s a great way to force yourself to stay focused as a writer, knowing you only have so many words to tell the story you want to tell. Big stories need big books, but not all love stories are massive and epic. I think of novellas as pocket-sized romances.
Sara: I’m super jealous of your current escapades – spending a few weeks in Europe sounds way fun. How do you balance your writing with your amazing traveling lifestyle?
Vivi: It’s easier than you might think. And it probably helps that I’m a compulsive list-maker. Mostly, I just bring my little mini laptop with me everywhere and when I feel like I’m falling behind on writing tasks I’ll take an apartment for a week or a month to get myself caught up and then I’m off again. Right now I’ve got a cute little apartment in Cannes to use as my home base during release week (and do laundry) then next week I’m off to Italy – with plans to work on edits on the train. I’m a lucky brat.
Sara: What’s coming out next? More superheroes, or something else? Is Lucien’s sister Mirabelle going to get her story?
Vivi: Yes! There are more superheroes on the way – including Mirabelle’s story, Superbad, which will hit ereaders in July – but in the mean time, just next month actually, I have a sexy reboot of Rumpelstiltskin coming out called Spinning Gold, in which the prince is the villain and a studly gold-spinner steps in to save the fair maiden. Not your everyday once upon a time.
Sara: I cannot wait for Spinning Gold! Or for Superbad, but I’ll take whatever I can get as soon as possible
Vivi, thanks for answering these questions!
And now, here’s an excerpt from Superlovin':
He heard the distant electrical whine of a train coming down the tracks. Three minutes, give or take…
Lucien let the icy-hot pain starting to spike in his temples show on his face. “I could come quietly,” he said, making his voice tight with strain. “For a price.”
“I don’t negotiate with supervillains.”
“Not even for my surrender? My complete surrender.”
Interest lit her up-tilted emerald eyes, but her jaw remained clenched in an unyielding line. “No deals. I won’t bribe you to play nice when you’ve already lost.”
“But all I wanted was a kiss.”
She went motionless above him, as if she’d forgotten the need to breathe.
“One little kiss,” he purred. “And I’ll go meekly to my jail cell. No tricks. No trouble.”
He couldn’t read her expression. Something odd and almost hopeful colored the suspicion in her gaze. She hesitated. The train rattled closer. Her fingers eased their death grip on his hair.
“Are you kidding? I’ve always wanted a shot at the great Darla Powers. Who hasn’t? That Maxim spread changed my life.”
Her eyes darkened. “That damn magazine—”
“Hey, don’t damn that magazine. I could compose sonnets to that magazine. Especially your issue. I think you single-handedly launched a generation of twelve-year-old boys into puberty with that spread.” The picture had become a cultural icon. Darla Powers, the super answer to Marilyn Monroe. “Tell me you still have the bustier and I’ll die happy.”
She blushed. “That is none of your business.”
Dear God, she still has it. Unwholesome interest stirred below Lucien’s belt. He’d been joking, but now he couldn’t get the image out of his head. Her incredible figure overflowing the snug black lace with a shimmering red D curled under one breast in a parody of her suit. Maybe she still wore it. Maybe she put it on for the schmuck boyfriend who’d let her walk out on their date. Jealousy gave his gut an ugly twist, but he ignored it. She wasn’t with her schmuck boyfriend now.
“One kiss,” he said, the words coming out as more of a demand than he’d intended, his voice so dark and hungry he barely recognized it. “One kiss and I’ll do whatever you want.”
The words were supposed to be a lie, but at the moment he almost believed them himself. Darla Powers was a woman who could own a man’s soul if she put her mind to it. If she could let herself be that bad…
Hot, right?! Comment to win an ebook! And thanks again, Vivi!
If you can’t wait to buy Superlovin’, it’s available on Kindle, Nook, or at Samhain.com. Go! Go now!
Sara Ramsey writes fun, feisty Regency romances. Her latest book, SCOTSMEN PREFER BLONDES, is out now, and features a secret Gothic romance novelist and the earl she’s forced to marry (because nothing says love like being compromised). To find out more about her books, visit www.sararamsey.com.