Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Get Lost in Marsha West's Vermont Escape








Only Jill Barlow’s grown children remain. Her husband and father, caught in his fight to keep casino gambling out of Texas, are murdered. She’ll do whatever it takes to ensure her kids’ safety. Jill flees from the gambling syndicate that will kill again for the damning evidence she possesses.

Excerpt: Vermont Escape

Jill Barlow reached for her make-up kit and brushed against the one thing she’d been doing her damnedest to avoid. Her heart rate tripped into overtime.

The package she received days after her dad was murdered. One month ago, but she couldn’t face opening a reminder of the nightmare.

Pictures of her vigorous father mixed with recent images of his closed casket. Nausea hit. Again. Damn. Why would someone blow off her father’s head? She didn’t stay to find out. She ran.

She’d pushed herself on a four-day trip from Texas to Vermont. Emotionally and physically exhausted, all she wanted to do was unpack her pajamas and climb into bed. Habit required she clean and moisturize her face. Habit provided comfort when life was chaotic. Habit could get her through the worst. Or not.

In the Woodstock Inn suite, her hand trembled when she removed the package and dropped it onto the bed where it lay on the white coverlet like a scorpion.

Hands propped on her knees, she leaned over, drew in needed oxygen. A minute passed, and then she straightened. “Okay, open this. Every time you’ve come across the thing, you implode, morphing into a quivering mass of mush.


VERMONT ESCAPE is available now at:  Barnes & Noble   Amazon   MuseItUp



Meet Marsha R. West: Marsha is a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and threatre arts teacher. She writes romantic suspense where experience is required. Her heroes and heroines, struggling with life and loss, are surprised to discover second chances at love.

Marsha, who loves to travel, lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. They’ve raised two daughters who’ve presented them with three delightful grandchildren. She admits to being at the beck and call of two dogs, who run her home. She’s currently editing her latest work in progress.

Jillian: How often to you get lost in a story?
Marsha: Not nearly as often as before I became a writer when I’d read one to two books a week. That’s while I was teaching and looking after my mother. Now I read during TV commercials in the evening. Not the most satisfying way for sure. Going on vacation is fun because, besides the enjoyment of the new location, I get longer chunks of time to read.

Jillian: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Marsha: I read Dana Girls Mysteries when I was in elementary school, just inhaled them. It was like Nancy Drew but with twin girls. As an only child, I liked reading about the sisters. Probably the book that made the most impression on me was GONE WITH THE WIND. One night in eighth grade, I stayed up to the wee hours to finish it and then sobbed uncontrollably at the ending. LOL Set me up to always want a Happily Ever After.

Rocky coastline in Maine.
Jillian: What sound or noise do you love?
Marsha: I love the sound of the ocean waves. We go to sleep every night listening to those sounds on a CD. Now my preference is to be somewhere with the windows open and going to sleep listening to the real thing.

Jillian: What was the first story you remember writing?
Marsha: In 8th grade I wrote a play set during the Civil War and based on a real person, a Confederate hero nick-named the Gray Ghost. I don’t remember much about it, but there was danger and romance. (Always romance and danger. Never one without the other. )
Even when I began writing the first book, I wrote the first scene in the form of a play. I finished the scene and thought, “Hmmm. This doesn’t look much like a novel.” 145,000 words later, I stopped. It’s that book of my heart that keeps the dust bunnies company under the bed.

Jillian: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
Marsha: Two things. One is that my stories have heroes and heroines who are older. So far, they are 40-55. They may have grown or teenage kids and most have older parents. Real love isn’t restricted to young people. The second thing I’d like fans to know that I hope they enjoy the story of Jill and Jerrod, and that I’d love to hear from them.

Jillian: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Marsha: When I began writing, I didn’t understand craft or the business. I just thought I’d write the book and “poof” someone would love my story and publish it. Even in this day of indie-publishing and with the abundance of small e-presses, this is a tough business.  VERMONT ESCAPE is my first published book. I came very close to quitting a couple of years ago when I was president of my local RWA chapter. Despite finalling in a couple of contests, I’d hit a number of walls, and I began to think maybe this wasn’t going to happen for me. When I first saw the book in my publisher’s bookstore, at B & N, and Amazon, it was like the Fourth of July with all the fireworks going off! I’m proud I stuck with the process. I’m proud I was willing to do the work to learn the lessons I needed. It took me longer than some to get published and less time than others. It’s a journey. I’m glad I’ve gotten to this point in that journey and look forward to what else I have to learn on my travels to the next stop along the way.

Jillian: What color would you make the sky if it wasn’t going to be blue anymore and why?
Marsha: I’d make the sky turquoise, because it’s my favorite color. Makes me feel good.

Jillian: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
Marsha: I’m not sure it’s the most interesting quirk, but it drives my family nuts. I talk out loud. To myself. Whether anyone else is around or not.  Quite a few years ago, I trained to get certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Some of you may be familiar with the personality inventory. I learned that my preference is to process information out loud. What I say at the beginning is not as important as what I say at the end as I work my way through a problem situation. It’s made for interesting confusions with my DH and the kids before I and they realized I do this.

How to Contact Marsha:

Website: http://www.marsharwest.com/category/blog for Thoughts on Thursday and Tuesday Author Chats 
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/marsha.r.west 
Twitter: @marsha.r.west http://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  

Marsha's got a question for commenters: After years of wearing suits and heels, I’ve found my favorite clothes to wear now are jeans, a t-shirt, and sandals. What clothes are you most comfortable in?

Marsha is giving away two small lavender sachets to two lucky commenters. In Vermont Escape, the heroine, Jill, buys a crystal store that has the same lovely scent! If you wish to be included in the drawing for the sachet, please leave your e-mail contact information along with your comment. And good luck!

***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America  addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.







Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Liz's 2013 RWA Flashback




I’ve now had a full week to recover from and muse over RWA 2013. I thought maybe the shine would fade from the high I got in Atlanta this year. Honestly, however, it has not. This remains my second-favorite conference of all time. I have to admit that I have a bias (along with our illustrious Angi Morgan) for the 2010 conference in Orlando. That was where Angi and I became Golden Heart sisters AND winners together.  Here we are in a blast from the past.
Liz and Angi in 2010 with Golden Hearts

But that was then. This time, I attended RWA for the second year as a published author. Last year was a little like being in limbo. I was published but not PAN (RWA’s Published Author Network) and I was an Avon author but nobody except my editor and one friend at the publisher knew me.  In Atlanta, I came as part of a family. Of several families! 

Here are a few of my Avon sisters—family #1.
L-R: Avon authors Margo Maguire, Gayle Callan, Laura Lee Guhrke, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Kaye, Kay Thomas, Liz (Me!), Lena Diaz and Carla Swafford.
 
Here are a few of my Golden Heart sisters—family #2:
Golden Heart Sisses from 2010


Me with the adorable Rochelle Staub

Jacqui, Angi, Rochelle, Katrina, Lee, Liz, Linda
 Here are some of my Minnesota (Midwest Fiction Writers) sisters—family #3:
Me, Nan Dixon, Gail Buell and Kathryn Ster

 Here are my GLIAS sisters – family #4:
Clover Autry, Heather Snow, Maureen McGowan, Angi Morgan & Liz Selvig
 
And here are some real-life heroes—(my adopted-without-their-knowledge) family #5:
Lori Wilde!!!

Blythe Gifford!!!

Keely Thrall!!!

Important People in the Bar

This year it was so amazing to find I was NEVER lonely, and that's probably why it was such a favorite. There was always someone around to visit.  BUT—I didn’t only visit with my friends. Even though my very best talent in the whole world is talking, I did sit through some workshops and some meetings and actually learn a few things.

For example: through Avon I learned that the future is always right on our doorstep. I got to participate in an electronic booksigning, which was completely amazing. Authors were able to use iPads and styluses to sign pre-designed pages and e-mail them along with their books to fans. The signed pages ended up right in the e-books, after the cover—voila, a personally signed e-copy. We had so much fun!

Autography electronic signing.

I also learned that it pays to get up in the morning, however early, and take a nice long walk before the humidity hits. It gets the juices flowing and exposes you to a little of the city culture. I didn’t get to the art museum where Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” was being featured, but I did walk past the Margaret Mitchell home several times. I guess that counts as culture.
Where Margaret Mitchell wrote that book she wrote.
I learned about street teams and healthy eating and social media at the PAN retreat groups. I met with my editor (worth the price of going right there). And, I re-learned (because I learn this every year) that everybody looks awesome when they dress up for the RITA/Golden Heart Award Ceremony. 
Angi Morgan, Hope Ramsay and Me
 So, if you didn’t make it to RWA 2013—try to come sometime. I didn’t get famous. I didn’t find the magic bullet to success. But I sure did get a renewed understanding of why I chose this writing career: the fun, the friends, the learning.

If you’re a writer and went to RWA, what did YOU think? If you’re a reader—what kinds of conferences have you been to in your life?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Get Lost in the Bermuda Triangle

Today I'm so happy to welcome debut author Kimberly Ann Miller! Congratulations to her on her first book!!!!

KIMBERLY ANN MILLER

Kimberly Miller received Bachelor's degrees from Georgian Court University and Rutgers University and a Master's degree from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She is an avid reader and particularly enjoys true crime and young adult novels.

She grew up in New Jersey and currently resides in Monmouth County with her husband and three cats. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel to sunny islands where she snorkels by day and stargazes by night. She always takes her Nook with her.

TRIANGLES

A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that these "alternate realities" could become

permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

Buy Triangles:


GET TO KNOW KIMBERLY ANN MILLER

MAUREEN:   What’s your favorite holiday?
KIMBERLY:  Thanksgiving. I love that it's all about family time and being grateful for what we have.

MAUREEN:   Where do you most like to read and how often?
KIMBERLY:  I love reading on vacation, especially on the beach. I usually devour up to five books during a week away!

MAUREEN:   What’s the first book you remember reading?
KIMBERLY:  The "I Can Read" series are the first books I recall, and I loved them all!

MAUREEN:   Who was your favorite teacher in grade school? Why?
KIMBERLY:  Mrs. Margaretta - and I still keep in touch with her! She was my first and second grade teacher and is so proud of me for writing a book! She inspired my love of reading and learning, and for that I will always be grateful.

MAUREEN:   Do you believe in ghosts?
KIMBERLY:  Yes. I grew up in a neighborhood with a "haunted" house. Strange things happened there - doors opening and closing, lights turning on and off, rooms getting cold. The family even had a medium come and learn about the ghost and to help him move on.

MAUREEN:   Where in the world would you most like to visit?
KIMBERLY:  Hobbiton, in New Zealand.

MAUREEN:   I love New Zealand. What’s next for you as an author?
KIMBERLY:  Write, write, write! I will continue working on the companion novels for Triangles as well as some other middle grade and young adult books I have in the works.

MAUREEN:   Cats or dogs?
KIMBERLY:  Cats.

MAUREEN:   Hiking boots or high heels?
KIMBERLY:  Boots

MAUREEN:   What sound or noise do you love?
KIMBERLY:  The birdsong in the springtime during the day, and the insects and tree frogs at night.

MAUREEN:  Vanilla or chocolate?
KIMBERLY:  Vanilla

MAUREEN:   What’s your favorite dessert?
KIMBERLY:  Key Lime pie

MAUREEN:   What do you like on your burger? (and do you take your burger veggie or beefy?)
KIMBERLY:  100% beef with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, and mayo. Well done.

MAUREEN:   What do you do to unwind and relax?
KIMBERLY:  READ!!!!

MAUREEN:   Do you believe in alien abductions?
KIMBERLY:  Yes.

MAUREEN:   What was your favorite subject in school and why?
KIMBERLY:  Science. I love knowing about the world around me.

MAUREEN:   Do you remember your grade one teacher’s name?
KIMBERLY:  See above...Mrs. Margaretta.

MAUREEN:   Salsa or guacamole?
KIMBERLY:  Salsa

MAUREEN:   Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
KIMBERLY:  I would love to invite Joey to dinner, because he's such a nice guy.

MAUREEN:   Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
KIMBERLY:  Tea, especially Chai with skim milk.

MAUREEN:   What color would you make the sky if it wasn’t going to be blue anymore and why?
KIMBERLY:  Purple, because purple is my favorite color.

MAUREEN:   Ah! Luckily I picked a shade of purple as the theme color for this post. (I actually chose it from the skirt on the girl on your cover.) What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon?
KIMBERLY:  Relaxing in the sun with a great book!


GOTTA ASK -- GOTTA ANSWER 

MAUREEN: Have you ever traveled through the Bermuda Triangle? If yes, did anything unusual happen?
KIMBERLY:  I've been through the Triangle multiple times, and I'm sorry to say nothing happened other than having fabulous vacations! I've stayed in Bermuda and have cruised there several times. Each trip was amazing and fun. I'd recommend it to everyone!


KIMBERLY ASKS READERS

KIMBERLY:  Has anyone experienced anything unusual in the Bermuda Triangle?


GIVEAWAY

Kimberly's publisher is giving away a cruise!!! You read that right. A cruise!

Find the details here. But comment here too and show Kimmy some love!

In fact, as a special bonus giveaway, (and because I blew it and this post didn't go up on Kimmy's release date),  I'll give away one copy of TRIANGLES to one random commenter.!!! 

FIND KIMBERLY ONLINE

Twitter: @KimberlyAnnNJ

Blog: http://writersbytheshore.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000972287894

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13610402-triangles

Email: KAMillerWrites (at) aol (dot) com

Website: kimberlyannmiller.com

Sunday, July 28, 2013

OUR READER WINNERS


CONGRATULATIONS
please note: if an international name is drawn for a U.S. or North America only giveaway, we will draw again.

BEST FIRST BOOK
an autographed copy of 
Anna Lee Huber's 
THE ANATOMIST'S WIFE
WINNER: MAY P.
(posted twice--1 winner)


autographed copies of 
Tracy Brogan's 
CRAZY LITTLE THING, HIGHLAND SURRENDER, & HOLD ON MY HEART
WINNER: RENEE SMITH


CONTEMPORARY SINGLE TITLE
a digital copy of 
Ruthie Knox's 
ABOUT LAST NIGHT 
WINNER: DEB F.
autographed copies of 
Roxanne St. Claire's
BAREFOOT IN THE SAND& BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN
WINNER: ANGELA M.O.




an autographed copy of 
Roni Loren's 
MELT INTO YOU 
WINNER: SUE G.


an autographed or digital copy of 
Barbara Freethy's 
ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS 
WINNER: VIRGINIA H.



a digital copy of

Barbara Hannay's 
ZOE'S MUSTER 

WINNER: DEANNA S.

International Giveaway 
an autographed advance reader's copy (ARC) of 
Kim Law's September release 
SWEET NOTHINGS
WINNER: LISA J.W.




HISTORICAL ROMANCE
an autographed copy of 
Lori Austin's 
BEAUTY AND THE BOUNTY HUNTER 
WINNER: CINDY C.


an autographed copy of 
Sabrina Jeffries's 
A LADY NEVER SURRENDERS 
WINNER: RHIANNON R.


an autographed copy of
Cara Elliott's 
TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE 
WINNER: CAROLYN R.





International Giveaways 
an autographed copy of
Pamela Clare's 
DEFIANT 
WINNER: ALINE T.

a digital copy from 

Jade Lee's 
backlist 
WINNER: LINDA T.




INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE
an autographed copy of 
Missy Tippens' 
A HOUSE FULL OF HOPE 
WINNER: BRENDA R.
International Giveaway 


an autographed copy of 
Jennifer Delamere's 
AN HEIRESS AT HEART 
WINNER: DONNA H.D.






LONG CONTEMPORARY SERIES ROMANCE
an autographed copy of 
Karen Templeton's 
A GIFT FOR ALL SEASONS 
WINNER: MARCY S.


an autographed copy of 
Michelle Celmer's 
NO ORDINARY JOE 
WINNER: LAURIE G.



International Giveaways 
a digital copy from 
Jean Brashear's 
TEXAS HEROES series 
WINNER: BN100


an autographed copy of 
Pamela Hearon's 
OUT OF THE DEPTHS 
WINNER: MARY P.





NOVEL with STRONG ROMANTIC ELEMENTS
an autographed copy of 
Anna Lee Huber's
THE ANATOMIST'S WIFE 
WINNER: MAY P.
drawn & posted with the Best First Books category



an autographed copy of 
Kristina McMorris's 
BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES 
WINNER: IVY D.T.

an autographed copy of  
Maria Geraci's 
A GIRL LIKE YOU 
WINNER: DONNA H.D.
International Giveaways 
an autographed copy of  

Pamela Hartshorne's 

TIME'S ECHO 

WINNER: LISA J.W.



PARANORMAL ROMANCE

an autographed copy of 
Angie Fox's 
IMMORTALLY YOURS
WINNER: BARBARA E.
International Giveaway 






an autographed or digital copy of 
Cynthia Eden's
ANGEL IN CHAINS
WINNER: SHERYL S.N.





ROMANCE NOVELLA


an autographed copy of 
Sophie Jordan's 
FIRELIGHT 
WINNER: ANITA H.

an autographed copy of 
Sally MacKenzie's 
BEDDING LORD NED
in the DUCHESS OF LOVE 
WINNER: SANDY X.



a digital copy of 
Ruthie Knox's 
NAUGHTY & NICE  
WINNER: ADA H.



ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

 an autographed set of 
Sharon Sala's 
NEXT OF KIN, 
DON'T CRY FOR ME & 
TIL DEATH 
WINNER: CAROL F.
an autographed copy of 
Laura Griffin's 
SCORCHED or TWISTED  
WINNER: MAUREN C.

SHORT CONTEMPORARY SERIES ROMANCE
an autographed copy from 
Robin Perini's 
backlist
WINNER: ALISHA W.


an autographed copy of
Christine Rimmer's
The LAST SINGLE MAVERICK 
WINNER: MAY P.



an autographed copy from 
Susan Meier's 
backlist
WINNER: TAMMY Y.
WINNER: LISA J.W.
WINNER: BN100
International Giveaways


autographed copies of 
Loreth Anne White's
SAHARA KINGS 4 book set: 
SHEIK'S COMMAND, SHEIK'S REVENGE, 
SURGEON SHEIK'S RESCUE 
& GUARDING THE PRINCESS 
WINNER: DONNA H.D.
a digital copy of 
Day Leclaire's
BECOMING DANTE or another of her 
WACKY WOMEN BOOKS 
(winner's choice) 
WINNER: LISA J.W.
a digital copy of 
Lilian Darcy's
SAVING GERDA, 
ALL DRESSED UP or 
CAFE DU JOUR 
(winner's choice) 
WINNER: MAY P.
WINNER: LISA J.W.
WINNER: KAREN J.

an autographed copy of 
Jessica Hart's 
WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS 
WINNER: LINDA T.

YOUNG ADULT ROMANCE
an autographed copy of 
Emily McKay's 
THE FARM & a FARM backpack 
WINNER: KAREN J.
Congratulations to all the 2013 RITA® NOMINEES!
AND A HUGE THANKS to the authors who donated books
to help us CELEBRATE their success.
~ ~ ~
JOIN US tomorrow as GLIAS author interviews return with  Donnell hosting Anne Marie BeckerDon’t forget to FOLLOW us on Twitter #GetLostStories or LIKE us on Facebook.
~ ~ ~
THANKS TO EVERYONE
for making our CELEBRATION
a huge success.

All winners have been notified.