Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Addison Fox has a SURPRISE!

Hi everyone!  I'm pleased to welcome Addison Fox to the blog today!  We both write for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and we both wrote stories in the new Coltons of Texas series (Addison's book is #2 in the series, and mine is #3).  I got a sneak peek into the other books as they were being written, and I can tell you this is one suspenseful series that I think readers are really going to enjoy!  Please join me in welcoming Addison to the blog!



Meet Addison!
Addison Fox can’t remember a time when words weren’t a part of her life. In addition to being an avid reader, she loves writing novels about strong-willed and exciting heroes and heroines – individuals who are meant for each other and who deserve their happy ever after. After she makes them work for it, of course!

Colton's Surprise Heir
Harlequin Romantic Suspense
With an imprisoned serial killer for a father, rancher Ethan Colton never planned on continuing the tainted family name. But six months after a night of passion with a woman from his past, Ethan discovers he's about to be a dad. Beautiful, independent Lizzie Conner turns up at his Texas ranch expecting nothing but protection from the guarded cowboy. A stalker is fast on her trail, leaving creepy gifts and notes threatening her and the baby. Now all that matters to Ethan is keeping his unexpected family safe—and out of a killer's clutches.



Here's a snippet!
A small voice kept beating against his skull that bringing a child into the world was a bad idea, but it was increasingly outshouted by the image of a tiny infant, snuggled warm and safe in her arms. His child.

Their child.

The panic he’d have expected at the news swarmed through his bloodstream but never seemed to land anywhere. Never seemed to settle.

Ethan wanted to be angry—hell, he expected that reaction—but no matter how he turned the raw play of emotions threatening to swamp him, he couldn’t quite manage to hang on to a single one.

Except need.

A sort of bone-deep desperation that simply cut a man off at the knees.

A strange reality settled over them, charging the quiet air with sparks of electricity.

Chemistry.

They’d had it, even as children. His sister needn’t have bothered with her admonishments to be nice and friendly. He’d always had a soft spot for Lizzie Conner. And long after the visits to see Josie at her foster home had stopped, he’d had fond memories of the endless, carefree days they’d played hide-and-seek and tag and dodgeball.

He hadn’t had many carefree days in his life, and he cherished the memories.

“I’ll figure out the acceptance part later. Right now, let’s focus on what’s happening. You’re having a baby. My baby.”

The fierce possession that fired his blood was even more surprising than the visions of a tiny infant wrapped in her arms.

He was going to be a father.

And despite the piss-poor example he’d been given, he would do everything in his power to do right by his child.

Lizzie’s gaze lifted to meet his once more, and something he couldn’t quite define lit up those verdant green depths. It was too soft to be anger, yet too mild to be anything near acceptance. “This is my child, and there is nothing I won’t do to protect him. Or her.”

“Likewise.”

“Good.” She laid her hands over her belly, and he wondered if she even realized the gesture of protection for what it was. The tightness in his gut ever since he saw the bump beneath her sweatshirt loosened another few degrees, and he latched on to something a bit easier to handle.

“You really don’t know if it’s a boy or girl?”

“I wanted it to be a surprise.”

“But you’ve decorated?”

“A few things. Just some of the basics, really. The rest will come.”

The hands that had cradled her stomach settled in her lap, twisting over each other. That small show of nerves released another layer of tension, and he had to admit it had taken real courage for her to come to him this morning.

“I don’t want to rehash old territory, but you made it clear to me you didn’t want children. What’s changed your mind?”

Reality.
_______________

Lara: How often to you get lost in a story?
Addison: As often as possible!!! I’m an avid reader and always have several books going at once.


Lara: What’s your favorite “love” word?
Addison: Understanding.

As humans we desperately wish to be understood but we often struggle to give someone else the same degree of understanding. Loving others means working to see their point of view, what they need and why they behave as they do. I don’t mean this to simply excuse bad behavior - we’re all responsible for our actions - but understanding one another takes patience and an open mind.


Lara: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Addison: I typically don’t. I love music and I often get lost in the music if it’s got words. Since I hate listening to songs I don’t like, I am typically only playing music I DO like and then I’m back to getting lost in the song.

Very long answer to…no, I don’t! :) [Lara: same here!]


Lara: What do you do to unwind and relax?
Addison: I’m a big believer in the therapeutic benefits of a long walk.  Fortunately I adopted a beagle back in May who agrees with me. I also love spending time with family and friends, enjoying a good bottle of wine or a big favorite - reading!


Lara: What is your hero’s “kryptonite” – in other words, what will bring him instantly to his knees?
Addison: I loved writing Ethan Colton - he’s got incredible layers and has survived a tremendous amount in his not-quite 30 years. His history is dark and deep, with a serial killer for a father and then being the one to discover his murdered mother, his father’s last victim.

He’s not interested in happy ever after and he’s certainly not interested in being a father. But a childhood friend, Lizzie Conner, has a way of breaking down those defenses.

To that end, I’d say his kryptonite is sort of this duality between the two - what he believes he doesn’t want and what he sees in Lizzie which is his future. He’s mired in one and deeply drawn to the other. {Lara: Can't wait to read this one!  It's on my nightstand now!]

Lara: What drew you to write in the genre(s) you do?
Addison: I love writing romance. I’ve been a lifelong romance reader and I never questioned that I wanted to write in the genre as well. While I love the core story - two people falling in love in their own unique way and time - I also love the creativity. Romance readers are so diverse in the stories they will read - from romantic suspense to contemporary to paranormal to historical. It’s wonderful knowing readers will come on the ride with you - it’s incredibly freeing creatively and FUN!

Lara: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Addison: Since I’m usually finishing that book around 4 in the morning (not to give away trade secrets!!) it’s off to bed. But the next day I usually do something pampering-esque, whether it’s an extra long time with whatever I’m reading, a glass of wine or dinner out (or maybe all three!)
  
Lara: What does it mean to love someone?
Addison: I think the beauty in that question is that there’s no one answer or “right” answer. Love is so complex and takes so many different forms in our life that it’s different for every person and every relationship. That said, I do think there are a few things that are essential. First, love for another means you care deeply for their well-being, both physical and mental. You want the best for them. You want them to reach their goals. You want them to be the best version of themselves. And when they do those things, you’re their biggest cheerleader.

I think loving someone also means accepting them for who they are. They aren’t going to be your personal ideal - they are themselves. Loving that person means accepting that - and accepting them. One of the things I love most about writing romance is exploring that very idea. Putting two people on the page who have different goals and different plans - and then helping them find their common ground and their fall into love. [Lara: great answer! :)]

Lara’s GOTTA ASK:  Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Addison’s GOTTA ANSWER: I don’t read reviews and I made that decision before my first book came out. I write the very best book I can and put my all into it. But once the book is out of my hands, it belongs to the reader. While I deeply respect the reader’s right to their opinion, I can’t let that influence my work. I have to tell myself the story first and make it the best I can, as close to the way I see it in my own mind.

Where can you find Addison?
Blogs: I participate in the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog

What's next?

THE ROYAL SPY’S REDEMPTION  - an April 2016 Harlequin Romantic Suspense release


GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!!!
Addison is offering two books as prizes.  US and international readers.

ADDISON WANTS TO KNOW....

Do you enjoy getting lost in all types of stories or are there certain genres that tug at you and keep you reading up late into the night?

Thanks again for stopping by, Addison! :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Karen Whiddon Really Rocks!

Welcome another first-timer on the blog, Harlequin Romantic Suspense author, Karen Whiddon!!
 
What's not to love about a baby on the cover of any book?

Two babies in jeopardy…two powerful stories in one! 
When an unhinged cult leader escapes custody, he'll stop at nothing to get to two innocent babies…and the foster mothers who stand in his way. 
CLAIMING CALEB by Karen Whiddon 
Michelle Morgan must protect her newborn nephew, Caleb—and even work with her ex-fiancĂ©. FBI agent Garrett Ware never wanted children, but now he'll sacrifice everything for this baby…and this woman.

GUARDING EVE by Beth Cornelison 
Lila Green goes from foster mom to bodyguard when a storm traps her and six-month-old Eve in a remote mountain cabin with a killer on their heels. Can her neighbor, wounded veteran Dean Hamilton, help them survive? 


Award winning author Karen Whiddon spun fanciful tales for her younger brothers as early as the age of eleven.  Growing up in the Catskill Mountains of New York, then the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, she found enough magic in the rugged peaks to keep her imagination fueled for years. 

Now making her home in North Texas, she shares her life with her hero-like husband and four doting dogs.  In her spare time, she volunteers for Legacy Boxer Rescue, Inc.  She has published around 45 books.  Currently she writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne.



READ A LITTLE, BUY THE BOOK


Jan Schliesman: How often to you Get Lost In A Story?
Karen Whiddon:  Writing wise – every single day.  Reading wise – I try to read every day (especially since the Rita Books are here to be judged) but I don’t always make it.

Jan: Since your new release has a baby on the cover, tell us how long has it been since you rocked a baby? 
Karen:  Haha!  It’s been a looong time.  My baby girl will be 36 next month!


Karen & Jan--2014 Harlequin Party
Jan: How long have you been writing?
Karen:  I wrote my first book in 1988.  So 28 (gulp) years. 


Jan: How did you meet your husband?
Karen: My husband and I met at work in 1982.  I worked in the accounting department and he worked in the finance department.   We dated for 4 years, lived together for 1, and married in 1987.  Best decision ever.  He’s my best friend!

Jan: Tell us about your involvement in the Legacy Boxer Rescue.
Karen: I am passionate about my rescue work.  We have a large team of dedicated volunteers in North Texas.  I’ve done shelter evaluations, transport, fostering, and worked on various committees.  One of my favorite things ever is seeing a dog who was about to be euthanized in a shelter get healthy and find their forever home.

Jan: Does your heroine have any of your character traits?
Karen: I think it’s unavoidable that some of the writer’s character traits leak through, but this heroine is fiercely independent, and I am too. 

Jan: Most writers have to find their zone before the words start flowing. Describe your ideal writing day.
Karen: Ideal would be a snowstorm outside, fire in the fireplace, cup of hot cocoa with whipped cream on top, sitting in my recliner and smelling the scent of something delicious cooking in the crockpot.  Unfortunately, since I live in North Texas, snow days are rare here.  But I love when I get them!

Jan: How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Karen: A long time ago, my husband and I used to go out for a fancy dinner.  We’d battle the crowds, get dressed up, and go.  Then several years back, we cancelled our reservations at a swanky Italian place and went to Chili’s and had hamburgers.  The hamburgers became our Valentine’s Day tradition, though lately we’ve gone to Red Robin instead of Chili’s.  No crowds, relaxing, and good food.

Jan:
Karen: I’m not really an ice cream person (ducks and hides) but my hubby is – he loves the stuff.  If I were to get ice cream for myself, it would be chocolate.  The darker the better!




KAREN WHIDDON:
Twitter: @karenwhiddon

UP NEXT FOR KAREN:  Tempting the Dragon from Harlequin Nocturne in July 2016. 

THANKS SO MUCH, KAREN, FOR SHARING SOME OF YOUR WORLD WITH OUR READERS!! IF YOU'D LIKE TO WIN A COPY OF KAREN'S LATEST RELEASE, ROCK-A-BYE RESCUE, SCROLL DOWN TO THE RAFFLECOPTER TO ENTER.




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Friday, February 5, 2016

Secret Valentines


Creepy or Cool?

I asked the GLIAS Crew if they'd like a Secret Valentine. Interesting answers.


As for me? I was given two dozen long-stemmed red roses (back in my youth). At first it was extremely flattering...then a little frustrating...then just a bit creepy that the admirer never came forward. So the romantic suspense author in me has to go with creepy if it's really a secret.

Check out the GLIAS features on my current releases: Bulletproof Badge & Shotgun Justice.


JAN
I've never had a secret admirer, but if this is a safe forum to admit that I shamelessly stalked my husband until he asked me out...yeah, I did that:)  My fondest memories of Valentine's Day as a kid are the times in grade school when we got to decorate a shoe box. Cutting a hole in the lid so classmates could drop a card inside. Cutting pink and red hearts out of construction paper and gluing them on the box. It was COOL to get an unsigned valentine...especially if it was a mushy one:)

REGAN
Oh yes, I'd love a secret Valentine. And I have had them in the past. One Valentine's Day I got flowers from a secret admirer. Very fun. Of course, the person eventually made himself known (they usually do). But the surprise of roses with a cryptic message was
cool.

Little notes are nice, too. And chocolate! Did I mention chocolate? But it's best sent with the giver's name so you know it's ok to eat them. Ha!

Meanwhile, if you're looking for a story with a secret Valentine to put you in the mood, how about my Regency Valentine's story?... THE SHAMROCK & THE ROSE. While the secret admirer is kinda creepy, there's a very gallant Irish hero who comes to the rescue!

AVRIL




Creepy. 

I like a hero who is out-there about who and what he wants (which is what I love best about my latest hero Nick Savage).

E.E. BURKE
Antique Victorian Valentine
Note: "secret" Valentine
is missing his head!
Coming Feb. 14
I just recently found out I had a secret admirer when I was eight ... after he started stalking me on Facebook. (There are reasons to stay off social media!) Pretty creepy.

The only man to ever send me roses is my husband. Are you feeling sorry for me? Don't. He's done a pretty good job of making up for my deficit, and our 30th anniversary is coming up on Valentine's Day! Pretty cool, huh?

Here's a secret for y'all...a sneak peek at the cover for my new release, Valentine's Rose, coming up February 14, the first book in my new series, The Bride Train.

LIZBETH


I haven't ever had a secret valentine--creepy or otherwise. The closest were two non-secret boys. The first, when I was way too young (6th grade) to "get it" was Ken Anderson (he wasn't cute but was way nice), who admitted on the last day of school that he really liked me. The second, in high school, was Craig Jensen who sent me a note that said he liked me "a lot" and would I please come to his wrestling meet? Sadly, I had a boyfriend at the time. Those two weren't secret but they were admirers. And I thought they were cool. Now I've had 41 years (+ dating before that) with my perfect valentine and, I guess sort of obviously, he isn't creepy at all but totally, perfectly cool as well. 

Here's a perfect Valentine for the cool admirer in your life:  my brand new book "The Bride Wore Starlight" comes out on Tuesday (February 9th). The third book in my Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys series!
NAN




In high school a Valentine Days' fundraiser was guys could buy roses that were delivered anonymously to your homeroom.  

I got one that was from a secret admirer.  I later found out who it was and wanted to give the rose back.

I thought it was creepy.


ALEXA



Secret Admirer? Uh, no thanks. I've always thought about some hunky guy sending flowers and chocolate, then sweeping me off my feet. Knowing my life and the fact I (like Angi) write suspense, it would probably be some psycho killer who escaped from prison. I'm going with creepy.


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ANGI'S back next Wednesday with
UP NEXT ON GLIAS:  Karen Whiddon

Get Lost on Goodreads, Facebook

or @GetLostInAStory  #GetLostStories

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK? Are secret admirers Creepy or Cool?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Starlight's Cowboy Alec: Strong and Flawed Enough to be a Hero



Yesterday I introduced you to Joely Crockett, the heroine of my new book The Bride Wore Starlight. Today I’d like to tell you how excited I was when she met her hero Alec Morrissey. Joely needed just the perfect match because she was so completely wounded. Not only was she scarred in her car accident, but she’d been rejected by a husband who never wanted her to be anything but a trophy wife. How do you learn to believe that anyone will love you for being you—scars and all?
You meet someone who’s been through similar traumas to yours, who’s strong enough to go through your dark times with you, but who has his life together so you can lean on him.
Alec is almost all of that.
He’s definitely been through the trauma and that has absolutely made him able guide Joely through her dark moments. And when we first meet him, he seems to have his life together.
          


 Here’s an excerpt:

“It was a lovely wedding,” she said.
“Lovely?” He grinned. “That sounds a little understated. I saw you hip-hopping your way out here. Thought you said you couldn’t dance.”
That did it. The man was nothing but a one-annoying-trick pony. Same lines over and over. Her fog cleared and she leaned forward herself, bringing their faces just inches apart.
“Knock it off,” she said. “I don’t like the dancing jokes. I don’t like the pretty Joely jokes. Stop ruining the wedding for me.”
Once again he seemed anything but taken aback. He straightened and smiled. “It won’t seem like a joke once you’ve danced with me.”
The smallest hint of something more than teasing glinted in his eye, but she couldn’t read it. It had to be the wedding buzz—everything about it, people included, was affecting her brain.
“I’m not dancing with anybody,” she said.
He stood and shocked her again by holding out his hand. “Fine. Then at least walk with me down the outside stairs. It’ll be faster than going all the way around the back to use the ramp.”
“I’m perfectly happy to use the ramp.”
“No you aren’t. You don’t want to stand out, right? Just stick with me and you won’t.”
The man was unbelievable. What was his obsession with torturing her?
“I can grab three strong guys to help me haul you and the chair down together, like a queen on her litter. Would you rather that?”
“What is wrong with you?”
“Not a thing.” He laughed. “What’s wrong with you?”
She couldn’t believe this conversation was taking place moments after a beautiful wedding ceremony, with Bruno Mars still singing the guests out of the church. Alec Morrissey was a lunatic. A borderline mean one.
“Would you like a run-down?” Petulance and anger mixed to form a sort of hissing retort, like she was a cat being forced to swim.
“Of what’s wrong with you?” he asked. “Other than being the most defensive maid of honor I’ve ever met, you mean? No. I already know you have a leg that doesn’t function properly, and I totally understand that. I’ve also heard you can stand on your own, so I assumed you could hop down the steps if forced. I’m willing to act as a helper, that’s all. Other than that, the list of what’s wrong can’t be all that long.”
Cramps and muscle spasms when she did try to hop, a crooked spine that loved to cause her pain, scars on more than her cheek . . . She thought about throwing all the proof of how wrong he was in his face, but a stab of pride kept her from letting them fly. How did he know so much about her anyway?
“Why?” she asked.
“Why what?”
“Why have you chosen me to pick on? Because I’m the poor girl in the wheelchair? Do you have a bet with one of the other guys that you can get me to dance and make a fool of myself? Are you fascinated with disfigurement?”
“Hey.” He stopped her with the firm word and the first flash of anger in his eyes. “I don’t do things like that. I don’t know anyone who would. And you need to stop doing them to yourself. I saw a beautiful woman who intrigued me, so I asked about her. That’s the whole of it. So stop making yourself more important than you are, stand up, and take my arm.”
She covered her mouth with one hand, thinking it would hold in a stream of furious retorts. What flowed around her palm instead was laughter—first a snort, then helpless giggling, and finally a full-fledged laugh.
“Unbelievable,” she said, when she could. “You have to be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met.”
“Why, thank you, ma’am.”
“As well as a liar. Alec Morrissey. No cowboy my broken ass.”
He leaned down again and whispered this time. “Your ass ain’t what’s broke. I asked. If it were, we’d have come up with a different plan.”
Once more her mouth opened in surprise, and then she caught an unmistakable glint in his eyes. She snapped her jaw closed and released a resigned sigh. “I can’t deal with you. Go away.” But the corners of her mouth twitched mutinously.
“C’mon, Joely.” He took a step back and held out his hand. “I’m not proposing a lifelong commitment. Just let me take you on a short walk, and then you can be done with me.”
“That’s all it will take?”
“For now.” He raised and lowered his brows in an abbreviated waggle.
“Heck,” she said. “That’s no kind of promise.”
He smiled. For the first time, she noticed he had two shallow, handsome dimples.
Dang.

 
But things unravel quickly for Alec and Joely after this. What Joely doesn’t know is that Alec lost a leg below the knee while searching for his missing cousin (his best friend) in Iraq. He has learned to move so perfectly on his prosthetic limb that nobody who doesn’t know about it can tell. And while he seems to have come to perfect terms with his loss, he had to walk away from his rodeo dreams. He’s also walked away from letting himself get too close to people he might lose.
So as much as Joely needs help learning to trust and believe in her inner beauty, Alec needs to learn that hiding his past doesn’t make him stronger—it makes him weaker. And falling slowly for Joely makes him see the weaknesses clearly.
It’s hard for him to stay casual, however. The two of them have far too much in common—a love of horses, a love of laughter, a love of family. It’s the combination of their fears that almost proves stronger than their growing love.


It’s Alec’s giant of a dog and nemesis of a horse that end up pushing the stubborn humans together. Although Alec has refused to go anywhere near a rodeo since his injury and Joely refuses to bond with another horse since she lost her favorite in the accident that wounded her, they can’t resist the pull of the animals they both love.
Ghost Pepper the veteran bucking horse—is the only saddle bronc Alec was never able to ride.  Rowan the Irish Wolfhound sends Joely on a long-distance ride she never believed she could make when the dog is severely injured far from home.
What happens once Alec and Joely overcome not just wounds but fears is nothing short of a miracle—and a triumph of true love.

I’m giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card and several books including one of our own Angi Morgan's latest romantic suspenses. Enter the rafflecopter to be eligible, but then tell me your what things would scare you to try. For me? Skydiving. I would be terrified!

Here's where you can find The Bride Wore Starlight and pre-order it for delivery on
RELEASE DAY - FEBRUARY 9th!!
  Amazon 
And be sure to check out the first two books of the Seven Brides For Seven Cowboys series:

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