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

Archive for the 'Contest' Category

Late Harvest by Suzanne Barrett plus Contest!

My special guest today is author Suzanne Barrett. I’ll turn you over to Suzanne since she’s done a great job of introducing herself.

I’ve been writing since 1989, and the book that got me started into thinking I’d like to do this is LaVyrle Spencer’s Hummingbird. In re-reading that well-worn paperback, I can see writing errors we try not to do today, however, I didn’t understand those things then. What stood out for me was that the book drew me in like no other. I went on to read every book Ms. Spencer published, but I liked Hummingbird the most.

As for the writing, I did the usual things: joined RWA, my local chapter, joined a critique group and attended workshops, and of course bought every writing how-to book to hit the bookshelves. Of course none of those things got me published. It was more plain hard work, studying my writing and the writing of people who did it better than me, and making changes where necessary and still remaining true to myself.

I entered contests, and worked myself up to finalist status and winner in some. Late Harvest was a Golden Heart finalist one year. That opened doors but didn’t get me a contract. I continued writing and submitting. Finally, after nine years, I sold to Kensington…and went on to sell three more books before they dropped the line.

So here I am with Turquoise Morning Press and loving the interaction with a small press and its publisher who is herself a writer. Late Harvest is my first release with TMP, however, I have five more books coming out in 2011. It promises to be an exciting year.

Now about the book:

Late HarvestLate Harvest was a difficult sell to New York because it’s not formulaic. Too dark, my Kensington publisher said. “We don’t like Germans,” my editor said. “We might be interested if you change those awful German names.”

I didn’t want to make those changes. Late Harvest isn’t just about wine-making, but about the late harvest wine called Eiswein–made from grapes picked after a first frost. It is, of course, a German wine and German wineries abound in the Mendocino area. So Cresthaven was born, owned by the von Daniken family from Germany’s Rheingau. When the story opens, Otto, the patriarch is bedridden by a stroke, unable to speak, and the key to the artificial method for making Eiswein lies with Glenna Ryan who fled the winery some five years earlier. Kurt, Otto’s nephew, now runs the winery and he’s determined to bring Glenna back so she can facilitate the production of this precious late harvest wine. But Glenna has secrets she cannot reveal and agrees to return by exacting a promise from Kurt: her expertise in exchange for surgery for her son.

An excerpt:

Glenna moistened lips that had suddenly gone dry. “Do I pass inspection?” Her voice sounded a little throaty.

“You look…lovely, Glenna.” Kurt continued his perusal, one lean forefinger tracing his full lower lip.

Glenna found the movement of his hand fascinating. Her own grew moist as her mouth turned dust dry. She moistened her lips with her tongue and realized that he was staring.

Raising her eyes to his, she deliberately blanked her expression. “Why did you do it–buy this dress? I didn’t need a new gown for the ball. My blue dress–”

“Was a made over,” he interrupted gently. “I asked Mags what you were wearing. I wanted you to–” He paused, searching for a word, “–have something more personal.”

Glenna tensed. “I would have looked acceptable even in my made-over dress.” She noted the instant thinning of his mouth, and she pasted on a bright smile. “I’ve grown quite socially acceptable in recent years.”

A hardness crept into his eyes. “You were–are always acceptable, as I suspect you know. God, Glenna. Can’t we just….”

The smile left her lips. Once again she dragged her gaze upward. “Call a truce?”

“No, I–” He slapped the magazine down on the table, then stared intently into her face for what seemed an interminable moment. “Yes, why not? Just for tonight, Glenna, let us pretend we met only this last April, when you came to work for me.”

Glenna found herself mesmerized by the smoky depths of his eyes. Warm and friendly on the surface, but underneath….Underneath lay a deep hunger. She saw it, and felt it as a wave of desire shook her.

In a voice that was little more than a thready whisper she said, “Yes, I’d like that. Tonight is our first…” Her voice trailed off. She couldn’t say it.

“Our first evening together, Glenna. And California’s entire wine community will be watching.”
He made a quarter turn, offering her his arm.

Purchase Late Harvest

CONTEST: Suzanne is giving away a Kindle download of Late Harvest to one lucky commenter. Ask her a question or make a comment and you’re in the draw.

Researching Cowboys–the things we writers do….

My special guest today is author Sherry James. She’s celebrating her new release, The Cowboy and the Hellcat and talking about cowboys. One of my favorite topics since I’m a keen rodeo fan. Don’t forget to check out the contest at the end of the post.

The Cowboy and the HellcatHey, everyone! I’m excited to be here today at Shelley’s blog home on the web. Thanks for having me, Shelley! This is an exciting week for me since my latest book, The Cowboy and the Hellcat is being released Wednesday, Nov. 10th from the Wild Rose Press.

Since I’m a writer it’s a good thing I love to do research, especially research that involves talking to real live, in the flesh, sexy cowboys. What a hardship! ;-) I know a lot about rodeo, bull riding, and the western way of life, but it’s always nice to talk to other folks who also live and breathe the life to get a fresh perspective.

I also love to write about cowboys and I always strive to make darn sure I’m depicting the life as accurately as possible for you, the reader. That’s why when my local radio station was giving away tickets to a dinner/meet & greet with PBR (Professional Bull Riders) bull fighters, stock contractors, and bull riders last December, I put three phones to work. My insane efforts paid off and I was the correct caller and got my name put in for the drawing. And by golly, luck was really on my side. My name was drawn out for the big package, including tickets to the bull riding. Yee-Haw! So, I called up my critique partner and good buddy, Julie Miller, and asked if she’d like to go. All in the name of research, of course! ;-) Even though Julie writes about cops in Kansas City for Harlequin Intrigue, she jumped at the chance to experience something new. I mean, what better way to talk bull riding, rodeo, and goin’ down the road then over a nice dinner and a few drinks with handsome men! Handsome men are always good inspiration for us romance writers!

Bull fighter, Cody Hollums of Midland, TX, was gracious and answered my slew of questions. He even asked me if I was going to write a book featuring a bull fighter as the hero. You betcha, Cody! And I can guarantee he’s going to look a lot like you. Keep an eye out.

Stock contractor, Chad (Bubba) Berger of Mandan, ND was a lot of fun, too, and I wish I would have had more one-on-one time to talk with him. Thanks for the beer, Chad!

Sherry & Cody

Then I sat down with bull riders, Markus Mariluch of Elko, NV, and Skeeter Kingsolver of Mclouth, KS. These two were so down-to-earth, just good ‘ol boys, and were more than happy to answer all my questions. We talked about the lifestyle, the travel, and if fear ever enters their minds before they climb onto the back of those 2,000 pound bulls. Markus knows all too well what it’s like to be stomped on by a rank bull. In 2008 he rode a bull who tried to make hamburger out of his face. Amazingly, Markus was back in the chute a week later and ready to take another out for a spin. Now that’s tough. Cowboy tough!

Sherry with Markus Mariluch of Elko, NV, Bart Miller of Oshkosh, NE, and Skeeter Kingsolver of Mclouth, KS

As for Skeeter. Well, what can I say? Skeeter is just as cute as a bug’s ear. I mean this guy is young enough to be my son, but he’s as sweet, polite, and common as they come. I just wanted to squeeze him! And keep your eye out for Skeeter. He’s a rising star in the PBR. Maybe you caught him in the reality TV show, The Posse, which aired on CMT late last year. The film crew followed Skeeter and other pro bull riders around for a summer to give fans a glimpse into the world behind the bucking chutes. Skeeter said it was fun doing the show, although at times he did get a little weary of the cameras being right there all the time.

After chatting with the cowboys that night, I went back the following and took in the bull riding. The bulls were rank, too. Big time. One bull was so rank that after he dumped his rider he decided to take on the outrider and his horse. That cowboy suddenly found himself on an intimate date with the fence, and his horse took a hard ride on the bull! Fortunately, neither the horse or cowboy were hurt, but it sure looked ugly. On a positive note, one young cowboy who’d brought his girl to the bull riding had worked it out to bring her into the arena. Much to her surprise, he got down on one knee in the dirt and proposed! Now that’s romance the cowboy way. And you can bet that’s going to show up in a book someday. To me, that epitomizes the cowboy. He’s a gentleman, shows respect for women and their animals. All the guys we met stood when we stood, offered their hands in a friendly shake, and tipped their hats. To me, they symbolize the honesty and integrity of the American way of life, and showcase the roots of our great country! Long live Cowboys!

So, do you like to read about cowboys? For you, what’s the allure? And do you prefer contemporary cowboys over historical cowboys? Or do you love them both? All of you who comment today will get their name put into the drawing for an electronic download of my new western historical, The Cowboy and the Hellcat. Hellcat is the first book in my Cowboys of the 4 Aces series. Yes, handsome Adam Ford has two younger brothers who have their own adventures to tell! If you’d like to read more about The Cowboy and the Hellcat, or my other books, please stop by my web site, www.sherryjames.com.

I’ll announce today’s blog winner late this evening. And if you want a second chance to win a prize, be sure and check out my T-shirt contest also going on at my web site.

Pix: Bull fighter Cody Hollums of Midland, TX & little ‘ol me!
And me with Markus Mariluch of Elko, NV, Bart Miller of Oshkosh, NE, and Skeeter Kingsolver of Mclouth, KS.

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.