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Fangirl Friday – June 16

Happy Friday Everyone! 

It’s big weekend for Dad’s with Father’s Day Sunday. Hmmm…how to spoil the men in our lives??? Perhaps a book would be a better gift (anything would be a better gift!). 

Father's day

Hee! Hee! Now on to the seriously awesome Ruby sales and releases!

Elizabeth Langston’s book released this week!

Wish You Were Here

Book 3 of the I Wish SeriesWishYouWereHereFINISHebook4.21 (2) - Copy

She can’t forget what she’s lost. He shows her there’s more to be found.

Months after the loss of her twin, Sara Tucker is still struggling to recover. She ought to be getting ready for college; instead, she’s frozen in place. But when her plans for the future unravel, Sara knows she can no longer handle her problems alone.

Grant is a supernatural being, dedicated to serving humans in need. He’s enjoying his promotion to guardian, but he’s restless, too. There’s someone he met on a previous assignment that he wants to help–except Sara needs wishes, and Grant’s not a genie anymore.

When his league accepts her case, Grant volunteers to go. As he works beside Sara to fix the mess of her life, they may both discover that, sometimes, the best way forward is to find a new path.

Amazon Link

Barnes & Noble Link

Kobo Link

iTunes Link

Also, Shea Berkley has a book on sale for $0.99 starting Monday!

The Marked Son

will be on sale for .99 cents from June 20-26, this coming Monday through Sunday.

TheMarkedSon-500x750

The first in the lyrical, exciting Keepers of Life trilogy by new talent Shea Berkley.

Seventeen-year-old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him. When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before in his dreams. He’s felt her fear and heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.

Barnes and Noble Link

Amazon Link

Kobo Link

Powells Link

And check out all the new covers in the series! 
TheRisingKing-500x750
TheFallenPrince-500x700

 

 

 

Have a fantastic weekend! Hopefully you’ll get a chance to curl up with a good book. Do you have a release or sale you’d like everyone to know about? List is below in the comments. 

Fangirl Friday – May 6th Edition

Happy Fangirl Friday!  The day when we gush about new books and give you a heads-up on great deals.  As always, feel free to share your own book news (releases & sales!) in the comments but please be courteous and do not repeatedly re-post the same material.  Thank you! 

And now… to the BOOKS!

New Releases:

Diane_AgainstAgainst the Paw by Diane Kelly

Police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner are on the lookout for a convict who has been unleashed. . .

PAW PATROL IS ON THE CASE
Megan has her sights set on finding a convicted burglar who’s broken his parole, and she has the perfect partner to help sniff him out. Unfortunately, her shepherd-mix Brigit’s dog bowl is already full. A Peeping Tom has been spotted in an affluent Fort Worth neighborhood―and concerned citizens are looking for a few good watchdogs…

TO COLLAR A CRIMINAL
To catch the creep, residents start enlisting volunteers to beef up their Neighborhood Watch group. Which is fine with Megan. She needs to focus on catching a burglar who’s still at large. But when the Peeping Tom patrol grows into a virtual vigilante mob, Megan and Brigit have to jump in paws first―before some very angry people take the law into their own hands…

Amazon :: B&N

 

Discounts/Freebies:

CT_Final_Web

MMPFREE for 5/6-5/7 only! Courting Trouble, the most recent release in my Reality Romance series (a series which includes two 2016 RITA Award Nominees for Best Mid-Length Contemporary Romance). FREE from Amazon.

The first book of the series, Marrying Mister Perfect, is also free wherever ebooks are sold:

Amazon :: B&N :: iBooks :: Kobo

 

Discover THE DRAGONFLY CHRONICLES by Heather McCollum – Four powerful sisters, hidden through time, fighting for love and a chance to save the world. Books 1-4 bundled and on sale for only $7.20 from 5/3-6/3 on Amazon! The world-shaking series conclusion, SACRIFICE: Book 5 was just released!

Heather_Prophecy Heather_Magick Heather_Masquerade Heather_Surrender

 

KIM LAW’S TURTLE ISLAND BOOKS ON SALE FOR JUST 99cents THROUGH JUNE 6TH:

Set off the gorgeous Georgia coast, Turtle Island is the perfect destination for fun in the sun—and for finding love when you least expect it. A delightfully lighthearted series of romantic tales from award-winning author Kim Law, the Turtle Island novels feature spirited and charming characters who have survived life’s tougher trials only to find their happily-ever-after against a backdrop of sea spray and warm sands. These heartwarming stories of sweet and sexy getaways are filled with laughs and love.

Kim_Turtle+Island+Series

 

Autumn_ObsessedFrom award-winning author AUTUMN JORDON, comes this fun romantic contemporary with a dash of suspense set in the small town of Mule Post, Texas where the nights can get hotter than the summer days.

Isobel Trinidad vows no man will rope her into the humdrum life of a housewife and take away her dreams of becoming the National Barrel Champion like her father had done to her mother. Her mind is set, until a handsome Yankee comes to Mule Post, Texas and upsets everything she has believed about herself.

A rash of arsons brings State Fire Marshal Warner Keyson to the small Texas community, where a wildfire of a woman stops him in his tracks. Intrigued by Issy’s fire, he contrives ways to keep her close while conducting his investigation. What they create, which neither of them bargained for, is the blaze of a lifetime.

Obsessed By Wildfire is available at all major retailers for the bargain price of $ .99 (Regular Price $3.99). Grab your copy today before the sale ends.

Amazon Link: http://bit.ly/ObsessedByWildfire

Don’t forget to join Autumn’s newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com and receive a free read.

 

viscountforwebON SALE THIS WEEK ONLY FOR 99 CENTS: LARA ARCHER’S BARED TO THE VISCOUNT!!

Poor, plain spinster Mary Wilkins has no business falling in love with Viscount Parkhurst. They may have been best friends in childhood, but he’s the wealthy, powerful lord of the manor now, and everyone knows he’s bound to marry a beautiful local heiress. Mary tries to resign herself to a life of hopeless yearning, but when she and the viscount find themselves entangled in a stand of wild blackberry vines, unexpected passions flare.

The viscount can’t seem to keep his hands off her. But is he planning to make her his wife—or only his secret mistress?

Buy it on Amazon.

 

 

What are you reading this week?

Gravy! (And a Book Release)

Turkey Gravey

Photo by Amy Chan

Thanksgiving is almost upon us and I have a book release today with the appropriate title of Last Chance Family.  It’s got an orphaned girl, a confused gambler, a golden-hearted veterinarian, and lots and lots of cats.  You can’t go wrong with cats and orphans and vets when it comes to holiday books — let me tell you.  I’ll get around to telling you more about the book, but this is Thanksgiving week after all and there are more important matters at hand — like cooking. 

So, I thought I’d bypass the usual book hype and get down to something important, like giving y’all a lesson in gravy-making. You’d be surprised how much a writer can learn from the process of making gravy. Let me elucidate:

Step 1: Plan ahead. Making gravy takes all day. It’s not a flash in the pan sort of thing. You start your gravy by throwing a lot of random (and mostly uneatable) stuff it in a pot and simmer it for a long time. You take the giblets and neck from the bird and put them in a saucepan and cover them with water. Put them on a low simmer and cover. The stock you make by doing this becomes the body of the gravy. Be sure you make enough of this stock, otherwise you’ll end up with not enough gravy for your Thanksgiving crowd.

 Step 2: Take the bad stuff out of your gravy. About the time the turkey is ready to come of the oven, you’ll need to strain the stock and remove the neck and giblets. Throw the neck away. No one wants that stuff in their gravy. If you like giblets, dice up the liver and heart and return them to the stock, otherwise, throw that stuff away too. You only want the good stuff in your gravy. This is important! Pour your stock in a liquid measuring cup so you know how many cups you’ve got. Put the stock aside for a moment.

Step 3: Add the secret ingredient: You’ve come to the secret part of making good gravy. You need grease. Grease is to gravy is what conflict is to story. If you don’t have enough grease, you get crappy gravy. So, for each cup of stock you’ll need two tablespoons of the turkey drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan. Make sure those drippings are really heavy on the grease. The grease is what keeps the gravy from getting lumpy. Put the right proportion of grease into a skillet.

Photo by Amy Chan

Photo by Amy Chan

Step 4: Thicken the plot. . .er stock: You need to turn up the heat on this gravy and add flour, which is the stuff that thickens your gravy sort of like a couple of good plot twists. For each tablespoon of grease, you’ll need two tablespoons of flour.

Step 5: Screw up your courage: Now comes the hardest step in making gravy. You must cook the roux made of grease and flour until it is almost burned. It will undoubtedly stick to the bottom of the pan, and start to smoke, and you’ll be absolutely certain that no one in their right mind will ever want to eat this gravy. And you’ll be sure that this whole roux-cooking exercise is taking way too long. But have no fear. The trick to making gravy is to be utterly fearless when it comes to browning the roux. If you chicken out, your gravy will be pale and uninspiring.

Photo by Amy Chan

Photo by Amy Chan

Step 6: A Big finish. We’ve come to the flash in the pan moment. This is where you take all that grease and flour and combine it with your stock. When the roux is really dark brown, pour the stock into the frying pan. You should have a very long spoon when you do this, and stand back, because the stock hitting the hot skillet will make a big whoosh of steam. It’s mildly terrifying when this happens but incredibly satisfying.

Step 7 Let it simmer for a while: You’ve done all the hard stuff, now you just need to reduce the heat and simmer for a while, stirring occasionally, until the gravy is thick.

  I hope this helps y’all with your holiday gravy-making. And while you’re enjoying the holiday, I highly recommend my latest book, Last Chance Family. Here’s the blurb and cover.

 * * * *

Last Chance Family cover_lo resMike Taggart has always been willing to take a gamble. But these stakes are just way too high – there’s no way he’s prepared to become a legal guardian to his five-year-old niece. His only option is to head from Las Vegas to Last Chance to sort things out as quickly as possible. Problem is, he arrives to find an inconsolable little girl, her sick cat, and a gorgeous veterinarian he can’t get out of his mind.

Charlene Polk has two talents: healing sick critters and falling in love with the wrong men. Mike has trouble written all over him, but she can’t leave him in the lurch. And the more time she spends with the sexy high roller, the more she sees that this ready-made family is the best stroke of luck they’ve ever had . . .

 

 

Bad Girls of the Ancient World with Stephanie Draven

I’m quite pleased to welcome Harlequin Nocturne author Stephanie Draven to the RSS blog. Stephanie’s debut novel, POISONED KISSES, released on the same day as BUTTERFLY SWORDS so I thought it would be fun to do a joint blog on a topic we both hold near and dear: bad girls in history.

Stephanie Draven writes Greek myth-inspired paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne. Her debut novel, POISONED KISSES hits bookshelves October 1, 2011. As Stephanie Dray, she has a forthcoming historical fiction series set in Augustan Age Rome, the first novel of which is entitled LILY OF THE NILE coming from Berkley Books in January 2011.

If you love heroes and heroines with a delicious dark side, I highly recommend POISONED KISSES. You know…the two books do appear conveniently on the same rack in the bookstore this month. 🙂

***

Stephanie: Women who have been vilified in ancient history share a few common traits whether they hail from western or eastern culture. They were usually either warriors, seductresses, or sorceresses. Sometimes, all three!

These women didn’t quite fit into the social strictures of their times; they defied conventional mores and sometimes changed the world as a result. They’re fascinating, inspiring, and an everlasting example of how ancient attitudes about the role of women still influence us. We’re eager to introduce some of these bad girls to you today in the hopes that they will spark a discussion about heroines in fiction today.

Olympias. This Greek princess and supposed descendant of Achilles, met her husband, Philip II of Macedon, while being initiated into the mysteries of an ancient cult. She was always suspected, ever after, of sorcery and congress with serpents. Though she was the fourth of Phillip’s wives, he claimed it was a love match, and she appears to have believed him until he started marrying other women. When Philip married a seventh time, and drunkenly accused Olympias of infidelity, casting doubt upon the legitimacy of their son Alexander, she’d had enough. She packed up her things and left Macedon. Fortuitously, or perhaps not coincidentally at all, her husband was assassinated shortly thereafter, and Olympias was able to install her son Alexander on the throne. He would later go on to become Alexander the Great, ruler of the known world, but Olympias didn’t simply fade into the woodwork. She was an active, if not always welcome, participant in Alexander’s political regime. After her son’s death, though she was in her fifties, Olympias commanded an army in the field to preserve the throne for her baby grandson. What’s more, she won. For a short time, she was the mistress of Macedonia, at the zenith of her power. Eventually, she was defeated by Cassander and executed, thought to be far too dangerous to leave alive, but she leaves behind the archetype of a fiercely protective mother.

Cleopatra. As the consort of not one, but two Roman generals, Cleopatra earned a reputation as a seductress. She was foreign and exotic, and she worshipped all manner of strange gods. What’s more, her enemies believed she was capable of wielding magic. And if that weren’t bad enough, Cleopatra also made war. She’s come down to us as a familiar and iconic image. Everyone has heard about the infamous Queen of the Nile, and there’s a good reason for it. She was, and remains, the most powerful woman in the history of the world. Though we’ve since had powerful queens, the geographic scope of their authority has been smaller. We’ve also had women serve as prime ministers of important countries, but their powers were limited and sharply circumscribed. Cleopatra was not only the queen of Egypt in her own right, but in concert with her Roman husband, the biddable Marcus Antonius, she wielded unprecedented power. Until the Battle of Actium, she was poised to rule the entire world. But for some bad weather and a wildly successful propaganda campaign against her, the world might be a much different place today.

Jeannie: There are some pretty illustrious “bad girls” over in the ancient East as well. These are two of my favorites ladies and ones who very much inspired my heroines.

Lady Sun was an influential figure of the 3rd century during the Three Kingdoms period. Her given name is not recorded in historical records, however in legends she was called Sun Shangxiang. In the famous Chinese epic, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, she was named Sun Ren. Lady Sun was the daughter of warlord Sun Jian and had five brothers. Trained in martial arts from an early age, she was known for being a tomboy and is typically depicted with a sword. She was married to warlord Liu Bei to secure an alliance, but it’s said that he was always a bit frightened when he came to visit his wife due to her unpredictable nature and her female attendants who also all carried weapons. Consequently, here were no children from the union. In addition, Liu Bei’s officers had to keep watch on her or else she’d run rampant in the capital. Ai Li of Butterfly Swords was inspired in part by Lady Sun. For all of Ai Li’s fire, she’s actually a much tamer version of this ancient swordwoman.
Yang Yuhuan was commonly known as Yang Guifei, or Imperial Consort Yang. She lived in the height of the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century. Legends say that the Emperor Xuanzong caught a glimpse of her bathing among other palace ladies and became smitten. After the Emperor took her as his consort and elevated her to the highest ranking of Guifei, he also started promoting members of her family to exalted positions within the court. Usually depicted as a skillful politician as well as a seductress, she formed powerful connections with the head eunuchs as well as the warlord An Lushan. When the warlord rebelled and invaded the capital, the Emperor’s retainers blamed Yang Yuhuan and her family for the collapse. As the Emperor and his court fled the capital, the imperial soldiers demanded Consort Yang’s death. Tragically, the Emperor ordered her strangled and they buried her body in an unmarked grave on the side of the road. It was said that he was so heartbroken, Xuanzong had no more taste for ruling and abdicated his throne to his son soon after. She’s immortalized as one of the Four Beauties of China, usually depicted together in panels. Consort Yang is also known for bringing down the Golden Age of the Tang Empire with her beauty. I always thought it was mighty convenient to exonerate an entire imperial court, including an Emperor, to lay the blame on a single femme fatale.

Who are your favorite bad girls of history? Do you think history has a way of vilifying notable women?

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