E.E. Burke's BEST OF THE WEST featuring the awesome ROSANNE BITTNER

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Today's BEST OF THE WEST guest is the amazing ROSANNE BITTNER, who has consistently topped the bestseller charts with her authentic brand of romance set in the American West. 

This month, her classic OUTLAW HEARTS has been re-released (with a gorgeous new cover), and July 13 we'll be able to get our hands on the long-awaited sequel, DO NOT FORSAKE ME. (I've pre-ordered my copy!)

These are books #1 and #2 of a trilogy that is the saga of outlaw/gunfighter-turned lawman, Jake Harkner.  The three books  combine for an incredible love story, as Jake’s strength comes from one woman, Miranda Hayes Harkner, who completely changes Jake’s life and brings him out of the depths of hell.  She gives Jake the family he never thought he would have and helps him face his demons.  Jake and Randy’s deep devotion to each other helps them rise above life’s struggles caused by Jake’s past reputation and his ability to come to terms with his most haunting and devastating sin from his past.  Most of all, OUTLAW HEARTS and DO NOT FORSAKE ME (and LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE coming in 2016) tell the story of a man who deep inside is an abused little boy who wants nothing more than to be loved.  
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Rosanne brings these characters to life in an unforgettable love story that touches the heart and is told with real “Old West” adventure and authenticity. 

Here's a special excerpt from DO NOT FORSAKE ME:

(ake has learned some terrible news – his beloved Randy, the woman he loves more than his own life,  is very ill – she wakes up groggy from sedatives and Jake is trying very hard to lighten the moment, not wanting to tell her the truth (or even face it himself),  which leads to the following conversation after he’s crawled into bed with her that morning …
            (Jake speaking) … “You’ve been out like you went on a drinking binge. You even talked to me, but like a drunk woman.  You don’t remember?”
            “No! I don’t remember a thing!”  Randy turned onto her back.  “What did you do to me after you undressed me?”
            He grinned.  “Unspeakable things … horrible … shameful … unspeakable things. You don’t even want to know. You’d never talk to me again.  I’d be out in somebody’s dog house if I told you.”
            She pushed at him.  “You did not.”
            “Oh, I figured I’d take advantage of the situation and I did all the things you’ve always been too embarrassed to let me do. Only the worst prostitute in the worst brothel in Oklahoma would let me do such things.”
            Randy couldn’t help a smile.  “And how would you know that?”
            “I’ve seen it all and done it all.”  He met her mouth in a deep kiss.  “It was great.”
            “You’d better be lying,” she told him when he moved his kisses back to her throat.
            “I never lie to you.  You have been properly ravished, mi querida.  We had nothing but disrespectful sex last night.”
            Is there such a thing?”
            “You bet.  I got to know things about you I never realized in twenty-six years of sleeping with you.”
            She laughed softly.  “You’re being mean.”
            “Mean is what I’m known for.”
            Randy studied his eyes and saw the hint of fear behind all the joking.  “What did Brian tell you?”
            His smile faded a little.  “He told me it’s okay to have sex with you.”
            Her eyes widened. “ You didn’t ask him about that!”
            “Of course I did. Do you think our son-in-law doesn’t know we still frolic in bed?”
            “Jake, I will never be able to face him again.”
            “Mrs. Harkner, who are you married to?”
            “Jake Harkner.”
            “Do you really think those closest to us don’t know a man like me still enjoys women?”
            Women?  As in plural?”
            “You know what I mean.”
            “I’m not sure I do.  Did you really just take a bath at that brothel the last time you were gone?” she teased.
            “I really did.”
            “And who helped bathe you?”
            “Me, myself and I.”
            Randy grinned.  “I’m not sure I believe that.”
            “Who loves you more than his own life?”
            “And there is your answer.”
            She ran her fingers through his thick hair, sensing his fear.  Losing someone in his family, his only source of love, was the only thing on earth that frightened Jake Harkner.
            “I can’t live without you, Randy.  “I can’t do it.”

Meet Rosanne
Rosanne Bittner
"Queen of Western Romance" - RT Magazine
      Rosanne Bittner has been writing most of her life, beginning with poetry at a young age, then moving on to writing her first book 36 years ago. After writing a total of nine books after that, it was the ninth book that finally sold 33 years ago, SWEET PRAIRIE PASSION, which was then published in 1983 and became the first book of a 7-book series about the settling of Colorado called SAVAGE DESTINY.  All 7 books are still selling and Amazon recently reissued all 7 books for print-on-demand with new covers! Rosanne went on to write 53 more books since then, for a total of 60 published novels to date with #61 coming in 2016.
     Rosanne wrote through many personal challenges and worked full time at secretarial work for the first several years of her writing.   She’s been married 50 years and has two sons and three grandsons, and she helps run a family business in a small town in southwest Michigan.  She attributes her success to the fact that her books are filled with real American history, which she brings alive through her fictitious characters, so well that fans often write wanting to know if those people really lived.  She also writes mostly family sagas, series books and trilogies that take a family through 20 – 40 years of great love stories, the kind of love that holds two people together through danger and heartache and triumph.  Her books span the West, from Indiana to California and Mexico to Canada.
     She has traveled to every location about which she writes, and her love for the magnificent western landscape shows through in her writing with descriptions of vast prairies and plains, and incredibly beautiful descriptions of  the Sierras and the Rockies.  She has a huge library of her own research books and has studied America’s history, especially the Old West and Native Americans, for forty years. 
     Rosanne has won numerous writing awards, including the prestigious WILLA AWARD from Women Writing the West, and was named "Queen of Western Romance" and one of the “legends” of western romance by Romantic Times magazine.

Follow Rosanne via her web site and blog
On Facebook - www.facebook.com/RosanneBittnerAuthor
Twitter - twitter.com/RosanneBittner
Goodreads - www.goodreads.com/author/show/67759.Rosanne_Bittner

Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com/F.-Rosanne-Bittner/e/B000APXL10

E.E. How often do you get lost in a story?  
Rosanne: ALWAYS.  It never leaves me.  I can be watching a movie or carrying on a conversation, while in my mind I am writing my next chapter or mulling over how to solve a certain situation in my book.   I have been “living” in the Old West (in my head) for most of my life.

E.E.: What’s your favorite “love” word?  
Rosanne: It’s a phrase in Spanish.  In my outlaw trilogy, Jake Harkner is half Mexican (mother was Mexican).  When he is feeling especially passionate, either in making love – or sometimes when he’s extra angry and upset – he reverts to Spanish.  I love when he tells his wife, “Tu eres mi vida, mi querida esposa. (You are my life, my darling wife.)

E.E.: What turns you off like nothing else?
Rosanne: Depends what you’re referring to.  If it’s personally, it’s some man telling dirty jokes in front of women, thinking he is impressing them and actually thinking it’s a way of flirting and turning women on.  NO WAY!  What turns me off as far as in a book, it’s sex without commitment – just for the thrill – one-night stands – abusive or disrespectful sex and sex scenes that are written by crudely naming intimate body parts and making it look like all the supposed heroine cares about is six-pack abs and a big ding-dong.  That’s not a love story.  It’s porn.  Although my books are hard-hitting, realistic westerns with gunfights and fist fights and drinking and smoking and cussing and some very realistic “old west” action, the love story involved is always very passionate, very beautiful and the sex gets very intimate but in a beautiful way that is a real turn-on.

E.E.: What sound or noise do you love?
Rosanne: Chirping birds – and the sound of soft rain on the roof.

E.E.: What was the first story you remember writing?  
Rosanne: Poor Mrs. Quack. I was in fourth grade, and now I realize I was writing romance even then.  It was about male and female ducks who were married and the male duck gets shot and the female can’t find him and cries – later they find each other again.

E.E.: What’s your favorite movie of all time?  
Rosanne: That’s a hard one.  There isn’t just one.  I love The Guns of Josie Wales and Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood.  Also absolutely love Quigley Down Under with Tom Selleck and also The Shootist with John Wayne.  I ball my eyes out every time I watch that one because it’s about a dying gunfighter – and John Wayne really was dying of cancer when he made that movie.  What an icon! I also love SilveradoMy favorite comedy is Rat Race. 

E.E.: Is there a “blooper” in your story? 
Rosanne: Yes, and I found it when it was too late.  Don’t know how I missed it.  It’s a wrongly-named gun part – and I know better because I know guns and carry one. I’m not going to say what it is because I don’t want everybody hunting for it.  I think I and the editor were so engrossed in the action taking place at the time that neither of us noticed, so maybe the readers won’t notice either.

E.E.: When reading, do you put yourself in the heroine’s role? 
Rosanne: Of course!!!  The heroine doesn’t do one thing that I wouldn’t do myself, which is why I have never had a heroine have an affair.  She is always devoted to the hero.

E.E.: Is writing, or story-telling, easier for you? 
Rosanne: Definitely story-telling.  I never think of writing as a chore or as a job of writing a book.  I simply love to tell stories.  My agent of many years told me years ago that though I am not a “literary” writer, I am a great “story-teller”

E.E.: Do you write listening to music?  
Rosanne: Sometimes.  When I do, it’s symphonic music and it’s always the big, big theme music from big, big westerns – like Silverado and The Big Country.

E.E.: Which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner?  
Rosanne: Are you kidding?  JAKE HARKNER!!  What a life he’s led – and he’s so complicated yet so much fun in a lot of ways – he’s a man who says it exactly the way it is.  He just comes right out and says what he thinks and he’s amazingly approachable in spite of always being a bit defensive and wary of those around him because he knows there are those who would like the reputation of killing him.  He’s an adoring husband and devoted father – and he’s drop-dead gorgeous.  He carries his age well!

E.E.: What is your hero’s “kryptonite?” (What brings him to his knees?) 
Rosanne: His wife.  He worships the ground she walks on.  He’d rather slit his wrists than to even raise his voice to her.

E.E.: What draws you to Western historical romance?
Rosanne: That’s a little hard to answer because it’s just something that has always been “in” me.  When I was little I loved to play cowboy when most little girls were playing with their dolls.  I was always drawn to books about pioneers and Indians.  As an adult, I think the draw has always been how fast America progressed and how quickly we moved into untamed land and built cities and brought civilization all across the country.  No other country in the world grew as fast as America has, and I think it’s because we’ve always had the freedom of entrepreneurship. People came here to get away from regimes that kept them from expanding their ideas and their right to get rich.  That progress had a stunning affect on our Native Americans that lingers still today.  They have not truly recovered from being displaced or from the government’s efforts to change their entire culture.  Between that and all the exciting historical events that took place in settling this country, food for plot is endless!!

E.E.: What has been your most rewarding publishing moment?  
Rosanne: When my editor asked me to write a sequel to OUTLAW HEARTS.  I had been wanting to write a sequel for over 20 years. Finally getting the chance was a dream come true, and when I finished I knew I had to do a third book, which I am half done with now.  I am so proud of DO NOT FORSAKE ME and thrilled that readers can now continue with Jake and Randy’s beautiful love story.

E.E.: Which movie represents your writing style? 
Rosanne: The TV mini-series, CENTENNIAL by James Michener.  My 7-book Savage Destiny series closely follows the same events.

E.E.: How did you come up with the idea for your book? 
Rosanne: About 30 years ago I was standing in the bathroom getting ready for my (then) full-time job and thought of the idea for OUTLAW HEARTS while drying my hair.  I didn’t have anything to write with, so I wrote it down on the back of a check book with an eyebrow pencil!  I didn’t actually write the story till a few years later – and ever since then I wanted to do the sequel, which now is being published in July (DO NOT FORSAKE ME). 

Thank you for your questions and your interest in my writing!  I hope everyone picks up OUTLAW HEARTS and DO NOT FORSAKE ME.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!  And you will look forward to the third book in 2016 – LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE. Enjoy your summer reading! 

Today, Rosanne will award two people a set of the first two books, OUTLAW HEARTS and DO NOT FORSAKE ME.  Just leave a comment and enter the drawing.

Something I’d like to know from readers is if you are hungry for the big, fat, family-saga type story – tired of paying for thin, one-dimensional stories that you can read in just a couple of hours? 

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was born and raised in Texas, where her love of horses and propensity for telling stories came at an early age.  She credits her dad who regaled her mind with tales of the old west and Brothers Grim and encouraged her to let her imagination soar.  When she isn't writing sexy, modern day romantic stories for Harlequin Desire, Lauren enjoys jamming on the guitar, piano or dulcimer and grooming/showing her Wire Fox Terriers.  

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Her baby's father isn't the cowboy he claimed to be—he's a Hollywood hotshot in hiding! 

Kelly Michaels was fooled once—when a sexy stranger seduced the socks off her. It wasn't until the rancher left her Texas town that she discovered he was Hollywood heartthrob Jace Compton—and she was pregnant with his baby. Now he's back, and Kelly won't be fooled twice. 

Jace bought a local ranch to escape the rat race. But when he runs into Kelly and finds out she's had his child—that settles it. He's ready to make Kelly his, no matter how many demons from the past are standing in his way…


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Twitter  @Lauren Canan1


The contract says she must marry if she wants to save her ranch… 
Because of a two-hundred-year-old deed, modern Texas rancher Shea Hardin must wed wealthy landowner Alec Morreston to save her family home. She says yes—and swears this marriage will be in name only. 
But she underestimates Alec. One look at this suave billionaire and Shea knows staying out of Alec's bed will be the toughest challenge of her life. His hungry lips and skilled touch may seal the deal—and her fate. Will he take her heart and her land? Or, on the brink of losing it all, will Shea gain everything?

Jan’s GOTTA ASK:  
Lauren’s GOTTA ANSWER:  I love ice cream.  Any flavor that’s sugar free.

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Lauren Wants To Know:
Who's the star you'd love to meet and what would you say?


Fun Summer YA Read: Trouble from the Start

Remember those book reports you used to do when you got back to school in the fall. I’m going giving you a before summer ends book report. Here’s a delightful YA I read last month that would be a fun summer read. It features an absolutely dreamy hero, he’s wounded and yet noble, and when he watched graduation from under the bleachers I cried. I’ve included an excerpt that’s written in his POV.



Companion book to The Boyfriend Project
Harper Teen

Some boys should come with a warning label.

Meet Avery: six-foot-tall college-bound brainiac (just don't call her that to her face), and daughter of a cop—which is not helping her dating life. Currently playing third wheel to Kendall, her best friend, and Kendall's boyfriend.

Meet Fletcher: six-foot-three motorcycle-riding bad boy, who is one class shy of a diploma. He can ruin a girl's reputation just by saying hi, but one flash of his grin and they usually don't mind.

Coming from such different circles, it's no surprise that Avery and Fletcher don't cross paths until the end of senior year. But once they do, neither of them can ignore the tug they feel.

On paper, they make no sense, but sometimes you have to throw out the rule book and let your heart lead the way . . . even if it's flirting with disaster.
“This novel would appeal to female readers who enjoy romance as well as high school drama, which makes it a positive addition to teachers’ and librarians’ shelves.” --Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

“...the perfect formula for a lazy afternoon.” –Booklist



I did know her name.
I'd known it since sophomore year when I'd gotten held back because I'd missed too many classes to meet the state requirement for attendance. Even when the counselor warned me that I couldn't have any more absences, I hadn't cared. I'd been too embarrassed to show up to school with bruises.
When I was a sophomore for the second time, I'd spotted her in the hallway, all bouncy and happy. Pretty in a simple way. She didn't. paint her eyes or her lips or her cheeks. She didn't look like a plastic doll. She appeared real and touchable.
She'd said hi to me in the hallway as though I didn't have a reputation for trouble, as though I wasn't a year older than everyone else in the class, as though I mattered.
But then slowly the wariness crept in. I knew she was hearing the rumors, accepting them as truth. The smiles and greetings became fewer. Then they were completely gone.
I didn't know why I'd come to her rescue tonight. The irony was that she'd never realize that I had. Which was probably for the best. Most girls loved when I gave them attention. But not Avery Watkins. She was smarter than four hundred and forty-eight people in our graduating class. And she threw
around fancy words like
novice. She was probably waiting for Mr. Right-someone equally good, naive, and smart, which I definitely was not.
We hadn't had many chances to talk over the years. Had no classes together, and other girls were usually occupying my time in the hallways. I hadn't expected Avery to stand up to me the way she did. Or maybe it had all been the booze talking, making her daring.
Didn't matter. It wasn't like we'd be crossing paths in the future.
I needed to stop thinking about her, figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of the night. I could always go back to the party, but it had been kind of boring, and none of the girls there had really caught my interest.
Except for Avery. And here I was thinking about her again. Her long, willowy body, the way her head fit in the crook of my shoulder, the way I could slip my arm around her without having to hunch over. I liked that she was tall. I liked the way her blond hair caught the moonlight. There hadn't been enough light for me to see the color of her eyes, and I'd never paid particular attention before. But I'd still seen the irritation in them when I first approached her-and the sparkle when she climbed off my bike.
The sparkle made me want to kiss her. I almost had.
What a mistake that would have been.

Read a Longer excerpt at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00MEJP2QM

Win the ebook

If you would like be put in our drawing to win an eBook copy of TROUBLE FROM THE START just make comment and tell us what book (or books) you plan to read this summer.
 (Don't forget to leave an email if it isn't part of your blogger profile.)

 About Rachel Hawthorne

Rachel Hawthorne  is the daughter of a British beauty (her mom won second place in a beauty contest sponsored by Max Factor® during which she received a kiss from Caesar Romero--Joker on the original Batman TV series) and a Texan who was stationed at Bovingdon while serving in the air force. Lorraine was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, but soon after moved to Texas. Her "dual" nationality has given her a love for all things British and Texan, and she enjoys weaving both heritages through her stories.

When she received her BA degree in psychology from the University of Texas, she had no idea she had gained a foundation that would help her to create believable characters—characters that are often described as “real people.”

In addition to writing as Rachel Hawthorne, she writes as Lorraine Heath, Jade Parker, and with her son as J. A. London. 

Win the eBook

If you would like be put in our drawing to win an eBook copy of TROUBLE FROM THE START just make comment and tell us what book (or books) you plan to read this summer.
 (Don't forget to leave an email if it isn't part of your blogger profile.)

Your host today, Kathleen Baldwin, has also written a great summer read: A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS, which New York Times Book Review says is “enticing from the first sentence.”
See it on Amazon: