Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font

Archive for the 'Contest' Category

Interview and Giveaway at Unearthly Musings

I’m visiting Unearthly Musings today and talking about The Spurned Viscountess and other things. There’s also a giveaway. Come over and say hello.

Here’s the link to Unearthly Musings

The Spurned Viscountess Tour: What did they wear?

The Spurned Viscountess

The Spurned Viscountess tour continues today. I’m visiting Night Owl Romances and talking about fashion and what people wore in the eighteenth century. How do we know how people dressed?

Here’s the link to Night Owl Romances

I’m also doing a giveaway – win a copy of The Spurned Viscountess.

I hope to see you there!

Spurned Viscountess Tour at Tia Nevitt’s Blog

The Spurned ViscountessI’m visiting fellow Carina Press author, Tia Nevit today. I’m talking about burnout and inspiration. I’m also doing a giveaway. One person who comments on the post will win a download of The Spurned Viscountess.

Here’s the link to Tia’s blog, Debuts & Reviews

Here, Kitty, Kitty… with Ruth Hartman.

Ruth HartmanMy special guest today is Ruth Hartman. Ruth started out life as a dental hygienist but morphed into a romance writer. She has fun working the dental industry into her romances. While her new release Pillow Talk features a dental hygienist/tooth fairy, her next romance Flossophy of Grace also follows the love life of a dental hygienist. Who knew the dental world was so romantic?

Ruth’s first book was My Life in Chains, a memoir about her struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Ruth, her husband and two very spoiled cats live in rural Indiana where Ruth dreams up new and exciting romances. And flosses regularly. Really!

Maxwell paws at my leg with unsheathed claws. Roxy smacks Maxwell’s skimpy striped tail. Ah yes, it’s the nightly ritual. The time has come for…greenies. Or colors, which is what we whisper when we don’t want to raise suspicion among the cats prematurely.

For those of you not familiar with the tasty kitty treats, greenies are the cat’s meow. Literally. My cats go nuts when we get the package out of the cabinet. Or if we walk near the cabinet. Or even glance in the direction of the kitchen. They can even be sound asleep in a kitty-coma, and if one of us tiptoes into the kitchen, they somehow know.

Cats have always been a huge part of my life. I’m a womb-to-the-tomb feline admirer. Thankfully, I was able to morph my husband into a full-fledged cat person after we got married. At first, he acted as if it bothered him to be around them. He even said, “I just don’t want us to be known as those people at the end of the road with 50 cats.” Although I would see nothing wrong with that, I simply smiled and nodded. But now, he picks the furry creatures up, flips them on their backs, and holds them in his huge arms like babies. And he’s always disappointed if they choose not to sleep with us every night. But no, he’s not a cat-person. Right.

My cats greet me at the door after a tiring day of scraping, polishing, and rinsing teeth. They sit in the bathroom while I’m in the shower, then stare at me when I get out. Disconcerting, yes. But I feel the love, nevertheless. And what could be better at five o’clock in the morning than a freezing wet nose or a fluffy tail in your face? I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

It’s for these reasons that I believe every novel’s main character should have a pet. My heroine, Trixie, has three cats. They keep her company since she lives alone. My hero, Graham, also has three felines. And Trixie and Graham even each have a cat named Cuspid. A shout-out to their respective dental professions, even though Graham doesn’t know about Trixie’s night job as the tooth fairy.

Just as pets add interest and spice to our lives, so do fictional pets of fictional characters. Just because Trixie lives inside the covers of a book, why should she be pet-less? Even figments of our imaginations deserve furry love, right?

CONTEST: Win a copy of Ruth’s book, Pillow Talk. All you need to do to go into the draw is ask Ruth a question or tell us if you like your ficitional characters to have a pet. If so, what type of pet?

(Note – the contest is only available to those who live in America or Canada)

PhotobucketTitle: Pillow Talk
Author: Ruth Hartman
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Contemporary

Synopsis:

Trixie Trident is much too busy to worry about her love life. Her shop Necklaces, Bracelets and Rings, Oh My! has her up to her elbows in beads; Benson the parrot is hungry; and she just chipped her tooth. Plus she’s seriously sleep deprived—that happens when a tooth fairy hits a busy stretch. That’s right, tooth fairy.

But somehow the ideal man drops into her life. Actually she drops into his office. Is it time for Trixie to give up her night job as tooth fairy? Or should she give up the handsome Dr. Graham Keebler? Of course she won’t have to worry about either if he’s stolen from her! Can a magical tooth fairy find true love with a practical dentist?

Visit Ruth at her blog
Purchase Pillow Talk

Kathy Ivan Says Write What You Love

My special guest today is fellow Carina Press author, Kathy Ivan. Her romantic suspense Desperate Choices is out today! Congrats on your release, Kathy. I’m off shopping at Carina Press…

A good friend once told me write what you love and love what you write. I firmly believe that. She said unless you love your story and what you have written, how can you expect the reader to love it? I sometimes forget that’s my job as a storyteller. It’s the reason I love to write. I want to tell people a story, with a compelling beginning, middle, and an emotionally satisfying ending that they will remember and think about after they have “put down the book.”

TDesperate Choiceshat’s the case with Desperate Choices. I loved the story as I outlined it, figuring out who each of the characters was, what motivated them to make the choices they make throughout the book. If I was in the same situation, would I make the same choices?

Back cover: When psychic Theresa Crawford’s former beau walks into her New Orleans New Age shop, she senses trouble. Big trouble. Max Lamoreaux hasn’t come to discuss their relationship—the private investigator is on a case, and he needs Theresa’s help.

Max’s godson is missing. The police have declared Tommy a runaway, but Max’s gut tells him otherwise. While he’s highly skeptical of Theresa’s abilities, her visions provide the only clue as to who’s taken Tommy. The longer Max works with Theresa, the harder it is to resist his desire for the sexy woman.

As they inch closer to finding Tommy, Max and Theresa also discover that time hasn’t diminished their powerful attraction. But Theresa harbors her own dark secrets from her past. Secrets that broke them up before—and could drive them apart again, unless Theresa can learn to trust Max with everything….

Purchase Desperate Choices from Carina Press

For those of you who are readers, there is an excerpt from Desperate Choices on my website. There’s also a book trailer there for the book.

For those of you who are writers (or interested in writing), here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

WRITING TIPS:

1. Never give up. I know everybody says that, but it’s the truth. I decided it was time to retire Desperate Choices. After making a deal with one of my critique partners that I’d send it out one last time (to Carina Press), I gave it one final shot. That was on March 6, 2010. I got the call on May 11, 2010.

2. Get good critique partners. Have people read your manuscript who will give you honest constructive feedback. It’s easy to find people who will read your work and gush and say how wonderful it is, but that won’t get you one step closer to publication; it’ll just make you feel good for the moment. Having people who aren’t afraid of yielding the dreaded red pen and slashing and hacking at your baby may hurt, but it will ultimately make you a better writer.

3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; be true to what you write and write what you love. If you don’t believe and love the story you’re writing, trust me, the reader will be able to tell that in a minute.

CONTEST: Win a download of Desperate Choices by Kathy Ivan! Ask Kathy a question about her book or tell us what your favorite crime/romantic suspense television show is or about a favorite romantic suspense book you’ve read this year.

BIO: Kathy can’t remember a time when books and reading weren’t a part of her daily life. She was blessed with a mother who instilled in her a love of reading at a young age. This progressed into a passion for the written word in all forms, which led to her writing. Every day new stories and new ideas roam through her head, the characters chomping at the bit for their turn to be front and center and have their stories told. That love of storytelling translates into her desire to write and share her stories with others.

Her day job is about as uncreative as it gets. She does medical transcription, spending numerous hours each day trying to decipher the mumbled, garbled, often unrecognizable words physicians are dictating in an effort to make a complete and comprehensive patient record. It’s almost as bad as trying to read their handwriting!

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, she’s lived in various places, from California to Hawaii and back to Florida before finally settling in Texas. Kathy makes her home outside Dallas, Texas. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Dallas Area Romance Authors (DARA).

Visit Kathy’s website

Visiting Risky Regencies

I’m visiting the wonderful ladies at Risky Regencies today and talking about The Spurned Viscountess. I’m also doing a giveaway.

I hope you’ll come and say hello.

Reflections on Three Weeks as a Published Author by Susanna Fraser

My special guest today is Carina Press author, Susanna Fraser. Her recent release The Sergeant’s Lady is garnering excellent reviews, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a great book – go and buy it now. :smile: Over to Susanna…

The Sergeant's LadyIn the last month or two before The Sergeant’s Lady came out, each Monday I’d count the weeks remaining till my Aug. 23 release date and think, “OK. Five more weeks. As long as Carina stays in business and I don’t die, I’ll be an author in five more weeks.” You see, I’m a bit superstitious about counting chickens before they’re hatched and running around the barnyard on their little chicken legs, clucking merrily away. So I decided I wasn’t REALLY an author until my book was actually out there to buy and read. Merely having a contract and the book’s being available for preorder weren’t enough.

Needless to say, Carina is still here, and I made it to Aug. 23 and beyond without succumbing to a car crash, an earthquake, a tsunami (could’ve happened! we vacationed on the Oregon coast and there were tsunami warning signs everywhere!), a rogue tornado, or a premature encounter with the heart attack or stroke family history suggests has my name on it in another four decades or so.

What have I learned, in my three weeks as Really, Truly An Author?

1) You don’t know how your book is going to be received till it’s out there. To prepare myself for the possibility of negative reviews, I made a mental list of all the issues I could imagine a reviewer having with The Sergeant’s Lady. And I’m not going to tell you what those issues were…because not a single one of them has come up yet. Others have, but not the ones I anticipated.

2) You can’t control the process. My book got a mini-flurry of publicity in the week before it released because the humorous last-minute website my husband designed for me went viral (full story here) and because an author in a different genre who’d released a Sergeant’s Lady of his own in 2003 started a discussion thread at Amazon complaining about my book’s title. I didn’t plan either of those things, and it was a bit overwhelming at the time to have so much discussion AROUND my book rather than ABOUT it. Looking back, I’m glad to have gotten the free publicity–and a reminder to stop being such a control freak.

3) You won’t know what your Amazon sales ranking means. This will not stop you from checking it regularly.

4) As thrilling as good reviews and emails from readers who loved your book are, the greatest joy comes from the book you’re writing now and the one you’re planning next. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to finally have an audience beyond my critique partners. But I don’t want to rest on my laurels. Do you love The Sergeant’s Lady? Thanks! So do I–and wait till you see what story I have to tell you next!

Your turn: Writers, what have been the most surprising lessons you’ve learned at each stage of the process? Readers, have you ever been taken by surprise by the reality of a long-dreamed-for goal? One commenter wins a $10 gift card to your choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Books on Board.

Visit Susanna’s website or blog.
Purchase The Sergeant’s Lady

Forbidden Party Starts Today!

To help celebrate the release of Forbidden, Christina Phillips’s debut Roman/Druid Ancient Historical Romance from Berkley Heat, she’s holding a launch party with lots of amazing authors and fabulous giveaways! In addition, Christina’s giving away a signed copy of Forbidden to one lucky person who helps spread the love. All you have to do is mention the party (you can copy and paste this blurb), being held from 1st to 6th September at http://christinaphillips.blogspot.com. You can Tweet about it, blog, Facebook, MySpace or anything! And then drop her an email at ChristinapPh @ gmail dot com (no spaces) to let her know. Please put Forbidden Launch Party (or something similar) in the subject line. The winner will be drawn for that on Monday 6th September.

Shopping and Separation Anxiety with Jenyfer Matthews

My special guest today is author Jenyfer Matthews. She’s talking about a very special challenge she’s facing this week as well as her new release, Separation Anxiety.

You know how it is, you go on vacation and you buy things. Maybe you’re even going to a place where you expect to shop so you travel light going.

Now imagine that you live in a country that not only doesn’t have good malls or decent mail service, but where you can’t even find quality socks when you need them. That’s me, in Egypt.

I’m an American who has lived abroad for eleven years (where does time go??). It wasn’t so bad when I lived in the United Arab Emirates – Dubai hosts an annual Shopping Festival, after all. But even there, in the land of shopping malls, there were still things you couldn’t find easily, like good socks or books (gasp).

Every summer I come back to America with light suitcases and a long shopping list. I’ve got it nearly down to a science now. Each child has their own ticket and we’re allowed two checked suitcases apiece, each weighing 50lbs. I’ve gotten very good at packing things – for instance, I pack all the heaviest items in the smallest suitcase, on the theory that it won’t go overweight because it will be full before I get too much in there anyway. In all my years of bringing back a year’s supply of miscellaneous stuff for a family of four, I’ve only once had to pay an overweight charge. Not bad on average, all in all.

This year, however, I’m worried.

I not only have several large but light, bulky items, but I also have a couple of very heavy things including a Separation Anxietymuch-larger-than-I-expected jewelry chest and a lidded cast iron soup pot that once belonged to my grandmother. Unique challenges to my packing skills to say the least. I travel back to Egypt on Sunday so I’ll have to get back to you on how it all goes.

I’ve traveled a lot in the last decade so I suppose it’s no surprise that I would write a book where the heroine starts traveling after a major life crisis. I have to admit that I when I wrote SEPARATION ANXIETY I was indulging in a major fantasy exercise because not only wasn’t my character dragging two small children in her wake, she shopped as she liked and simply shipped her excess and unneeded items home ahead of her. Bliss.

I’m happy to say that SEPARATION ANXIETY is available in multiple digital formats from Smashwords.com as well as other major ebookstores, including Sony and Apple. SEPARATION ANXIETY is also available in paperback from Amazon.com.

BLURB

Sometimes running away is the first step toward finding yourself.

Aurora has spent her entire married life transforming herself from a regular, middle class girl into the perfect society wife. Life seems perfect until she is unceremoniously dumped by her philandering cliche’ of a husband just before Christmas – and their tenth wedding anniversary. Devastated and unable to face the social ostracism or the holiday parties, Aurora and her best friend Kat plan a trip to Amsterdam for a weekend…then decide to keep going. Aurora attempts to drown her sorrows with wine in Amsterdam and Frankfurt, finds her anger in Athens and Cairo, and reclaims her sexuality in Dubai. By the time she and Kat reach Bangkok at the New Year, Aurora is ready and eager to move on with her life.

Planned as a way to escape her pain, Aurora’s travels instead become a journey to a new sense of self and a whole new world – post-divorce.

EXCERPT

I am standing in the kitchen debating on whether or not baking some gingerbread would be overkill when I hear a car door outside.

My stomach flips and I run to the window to peek outside. It’s Bryce.

I press my hand to my stomach and try to slow my breathing. Hyperventilation and hysteria is hardly the alluring look I’m going for.

I go back to the kitchen, check my lipstick in my reflection on the window, and finger comb my hair. I whirl around and try to appear casual when I hear Bryce’s key in the door.

“Aurora?” Bryce says as he lets himself in.

“Good morning, Bryce,” I say, walking toward him and giving him a big smile. “Good to see you.”

He looks at me with some suspicion as he stands uncertainly in the foyer.

He’s not as impeccably presented as usual. His shirt is wrinkled and he doesn’t look as if he’s slept much. He certainly doesn’t look like a man who is happy with the decision he’s just made. I can feel my hopes rising just looking at him. This might be easier than I expected.

“Don’t just stand there,” I say, “This is your home, come in. I made some coffee. Sit down and have a cup. Can I get you some breakfast?”

“Thanks, but no,” he says, putting his hands in his pockets. “I really don’t have much time. I have an early appointment this morning. I’ll just go up and get my things.”

My smile fades. He’s deviating from my mental script of how this will go. He’s supposed to sit down, have breakfast and snap out of whatever spell Audrey has him under. “What? Just like that? Can’t we even talk about this? About us?”

I hear him sigh. “We already talked last night. What more is there to say?”

“We didn’t talk last night!” I take a deep breath and try to regain my composure. Bryce doesn’t like scenes so screeching at him will hardly win him over or gain his ear. I start again. “We didn’t talk. You made an announcement. I’d like a chance to discuss things with you. Privately.”

“I don’t really have much more to add, Aurora. I’m in love with Audrey and it doesn’t seem…kind to draw this out any more than we have to. I think it’s best to make a clean break.”

“So that’s it? After ten years together? How is it ‘kind’ to just walk out on me with no warning? Aren’t we at least supposed to try counseling?” I ask him as I follow him up the stairs to our bedroom.

Bryce is pulling suitcases from the back of our walk-in closet. “I don’t want to go to counseling.” He pauses to look at me. “I’m sorry.”

I stand there, stunned. He’s not repentant or regretful. He hasn’t realized his mistake. He’s merely uncomfortable with the situation. With me.

How has this happened? Yesterday things were normal. I was buying him an anniversary present. How can he be leaving me today?

He turns and begins to put things in the open suitcases. Shirts, pants, suit jackets, ties. I cross my arms and watch him silently. He picks up a small satchel and turns to cross to the bathroom. He squeezes my arm as he passes me. He is still my husband but already his touch seems foreign.

I can hear him opening drawers and dropping items into the bag. When he comes back out I want to catch his eye — to make him look at me! — but he’s looking down.

“You can’t leave without at least talking to me,” I try again. “You owe me that much at least.”

“I can’t see how talking about this will be helpful to you,” Bryce says, opening a dresser drawer and tossing socks and underwear into his suitcases. “I don’t have much time and endless discussion will only serve to hurt you more.”

“Oh my god — is she outside?” I ask. “Is she waiting for you in the car?” I run to the window to look out, trying to see into his car.

“No. I wouldn’t do that,” Bryce says. “I wouldn’t bring her here. This is hard enough as it is. On all of us.”

I can’t help but wonder whose feelings he is trying to spare because it certainly doesn’t seem to be mine.

It’s getting hard to maintain my composure when things are spinning so far out of my control. But this doesn’t make any sense to me. The situation does not compute. I have to have better answers than he’s giving me.

“What…” My voice breaks. I clear my throat and try again. “What did I do wrong? What do I need to do to fix this?”

Bryce sighs again. He stops packing for a moment and puts his hands on his hips. Finally he looks up at me.

“You haven’t done anything wrong,” he says. “Things just…happened. I’ve changed. I want different things. Neither of us is getting any younger and life is too short not to take happiness where you can find it. None of this was your fault. It’s not you, Aurora, it’s me.”

When I don’t answer him, he turns and starts packing again.

I can’t believe it. It’s been a while since I’ve heard it, but I’m pretty sure my husband of a decade just dumped me with a string of clichés and the old it’s-not-you-it’s-me line.

CONTEST – Jenyfer is giving away a PDF download of Separation Anxiety to one lucky reader. All you need to do to enter the draw is comment on this post or ask Jenyfer a question.

Can Murder Be Cozy?

I have a special guest today–author Amanda Lee who writes cozy mysteries. Amanda is the lady next to you in the grocery line or car pool. She has twins: one boy and one girl, she’s a baseball fan, she likes to decorate cakes, she rocks at Guitar Hero…oh, and she likes to think about murder. But it’s OK! She only writes about murder—a lot.

So what exactly is a cozy mystery? That’s what I asked Amanda…

Amanda Lee Cozy mysteries take place in a small town or confined setting where all the characters know each other. Think Desperate Housewives meets CSI.

Characters are integral to cozy mysteries. Cozy writers use hobbies, professions and even obsessions to make their characters unique. I have an interest in cake decorating, so I infuse my hobby into a profession for my character. Even though I’m a novice cake decorator, I have the knowledge to make my character an expert.

Judith Skillings and her husband own and operate a Rolls-Royce and Bentley restoration shop. Not surprisingly, her cozy mystery heroine works in a classic automobile restoration shop. Ellen Crosby introduces readers to Virginia’s wine country in her mysteries. Camille Minichino has a Ph.D. in Physics. She writes the periodic table mysteries. Sheila Lowe, a graphology expert, pens cozy mysteries wherein the heroine is an expert handwriting analyst.

Some cozy writers add a paranormal bent to their books. Alice Kimberly, author of the Haunted Bookstore Mystery series, employs the ghost of a murdered P.I. to help the heroine solve crimes. Madelyn Alt writes the Bewitching Mysteries, and Victoria Laurie writes the Ghost Hunter Mysteries.

Since many cozy mysteries are series books, the reader has time to develop “relationships” with the books’ main characters. The reader watches the characters grow and interact from book to book. While these might be the most unlucky people on the planet—murder victims are turning up around practically every corner—they’re still falling in love, making new friends, caring for pets and pretty much happily going about their lives. Diane Mott Davidson’s character Goldy has gone through quite a lot of changes since her first book, Catering to Nobody. There we met a divorcee with a young son. Now Goldy has remarried and little Arch is all grown up. In that way, cozy mysteries are rather like a soap opera; only you have to wait a long time between installments. Which reminds me of Lost . . . although my series doesn’t have a dark cloud monster or a plane crash. At least, not yet. :-)

One reviewer said of Murder Takes the Cake, “I could identify with Daphne’s relationship with her family. I think this was the part I liked best. Daphne has a cautious and teeth gritting relationship with her mother, a loving warm one with her father and her sister.” I was surprised that this is what she “liked best” about the book. I’d intended to give the characters depth through their relationships, and I’d tried to make those relationships realistic. In fact, the publisher even asked me to tie up the heroine’s relationship with the stray cat at the end of the book. I couldn’t do that and remain realistic. The cat in book is based on a real cat, and it took me months to establish a relationship with her. The fictional relationship will progress in the next book, as will all of Daphne’s other relationships.

It is really cool how readers of cozy mysteries become attached to characters and loyal to authors. In fact, every year cozy readers gather in Arlington, Virginia for the Malice Domestic “Fun Fan” convention to celebrate cozy mysteries and their authors. It’s quite a coup for an author to win an “Agatha,” the teapot awards given by Malice Domestic. And the convention is a terrific experience. As a fan as well as an author, I was thrilled to meet Dorothy Cannell and Harley Jane Kozak at the Malice Domestic convention a few years back. Both are delightful ladies with great senses of humor. Naturally, I told them I love Ellie Haskell and Wollie Shelley, respectively. And I do. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next.

The Quick and the Thread

The Quick and the Thread by Amanda Lee

Marcy Singer has big plans: a move to the breathtaking Oregon coast, opening an embroidery shop called The Seven Year Itch, a fun grand opening. What she doesn’t plan on is the shop’s old owner showing up—DEAD—in her shop. Some people think Marcy killed him. Some people think she’s the next victim. All Marcy knows is someone has to uncover the murderer before she’s forced to flip the sign on her shop door to CLOSED permanently. And it looks like that someone might be Marcy.

Purchase The Quick and the Thread: An Embroidery Mystery today!

Just Thought You Should Know:
Amanda Lee is also Gayle Trent, author of the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating Series that includes Dead Pan and Murder Takes the Cake. To learn more about Amanda you can visit her website or blog.

CONTEST: Win a copy of The Quick and the Thread – comment on this post, ask Amanda about cozy mysteries or a question about her book and you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of Amanda’s book. Note – contest is only available to those who live in USA or Canada.


Women on Writing

Click to find details of other stops in Amanda’s blog tour.