Archive for January, 2014

Books Recommendation Palooza!

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Today I thought I’d recommend books to you that I’ve loved and been impressed with recently and in the past that made an impact on me and/or entertained me significantly. Some of them are fiction and some not. I hope you’ll give them a read! I’ll do this now and again because I couldn’t hit you all in one blog with every book I love. Please click on the links imbedded in the titles. Enjoy.

Non Fiction

The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker

The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson

Fiction

These two books by Connie Brockway (especially As You Desire) are among my favorite historical romances ever!

My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway

As You Desire by Connie Brockway

Hope you get a chance to check out these books. Be sure to click on the highlighted titles to go right to Amazon and check them out!

 

 

Your Writing & Joy. Own it.

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Once in a while I see something on another blog, on Twitter, or on Facebook about writers facing book bigotry. Yep, that’s what I’ve decided to call it. Book bigotry. What is it?

It’s when an author (published or not) is being shamed for what they write. This bigotry comes in many forms.

1. Why are you writing male/male, lesbian, ménage, shifter, vampires, military characters, billionaires, etc. ?

2. How can you write erotic romance? Or why are you writing erotica? (Yes, there IS a difference).

Let me qualify some things. I personally don’t write male/male, lesbian romance, ménage, shifter, vampires, domination, billionaires, etc. right now. Will I ever? I never say never. In fact, I’ve written four vampire stories (three of those were in a trilogy). I do have a trilogy of werewolves stories half written that went on the backburner when I realized I wasn’t feelin’ the love with the stories and wanted to write something else. I frequently write military characters because I like to and feel a connection with it. Shifters, in general, just don’t interest me to write or to read. Neither does domination, ménage or lesbian romance. NOT because I have anything against people who write any of those things. They SHOULD write it if they love writing it. Go for it. Don’t let any one hold you back. Do I write erotica? No…because I like romance with a happy ending. Do I write erotic romance. Sometimes. Then again, sometimes a story just doesn’t feel like it should be erotic romance. In fact, I wrote a book recently set during World War 2 that is a romance but it’s one of the tamest things I’ve ever written. The book just wouldn’t have worked any other way. I couldn’t have forced it to be something it wasn’t supposed to be.

So how does this work into book bigotry? A lot of people find family members or friends giving them a difficult time because they want to write romance period let alone sexier, hotter, off-the-charts romance. God forbid. Sometimes because those people have religious feelings against it.

Here’s what I say. Recognize the only way you’ll be happy is to truly write the truth as you see it. Without lying to yourself and prettying it up and making things tamer than you feel. That’s the only way people will eventually leave you alone. It works. Stand up to the book bigots. Don’t shove it in their face. Just write it. Some of the best books I’ve written were when I told myself to get the hell out of the way and just write what I meant. As soon as you hesitate, as soon as you pretend to be anything else on the page…they’ve won. You’ve defeated yourself. I don’t care who the book bigot is. Really. Let them dictate to you what to write about, to allow them to shame you for writing it…they’ve won and you’ve lost. Write your truth. Don’t ever give up. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

One London Night Preorder & Discount!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

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Hey everyone! I’m back from a short break to celebrate my 23rd. wedding anniversary. We had a nice relaxing time. I thought of a few blog topics while I was away. Today I’m announcing pre order status for One London Night, my upcoming World War II romance novel (January 27, 2014). Please stop by this link to pre order and receive a discount. You can also stop here for more information on the book.

Thank you so much!

 

Excerpt 1: One London Night (World War 2 London)

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

I’ve been jumped by a lot of work in the last couple of weeks, so I’ve posted the Under Fire contest because it goes until January 31. So if you haven’t participated, you still have time. Today I’d love to share with you an excerpt from One London Night, which is truly a book of my heart. One London Night debuts on January 27, 2014. Over the rest of the month I’ll have some more snippets for you from this novel. Enjoy!

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War Time London, 1940

A time when uncertainty festers within even the strongest of men.

A time when fear rules everyone’s lives.

A time when love dares to defy the devastation of war.

After years away, American war correspondent Sylvie Hunnicut returns to England determined to put aside tumultuous memories and muster the courage to cover the war in Great Britain. Guilt she harbors over a horrible accident that permanently injured childhood friend Alec Kent threatens to destroy their relationship. Secret longings for him remain in her heart, even if he wants nothing to do with her.

Alec Kent’s disability works against him in serving his country, until he signs on with the Auxiliary Fire Service. Sylvie’s return brings to the forefront Alec’s hidden love for her and a determination to prove himself to his disapproving father.

But war promises to destroy the possibility of love and bring a great city to its knees.

**

Riding in the car with Alec, Bent, and Felix as they towed a pump toward Howard’s Timber Yard was about the most exciting thing Sylvie had ever experienced. She acknowledged a part of herself, right then and there, she hadn’t known existed before tonight. Adventure ran in her blood. Of course she should have known this before. She’d gotten into jams more than once with her stubborn insistence on challenging established rules.

As they rolled through the streets, the glows from more than one fire reminded her this wasn’t an adventure but deadly business. Nervous but thrilled to ride along, Sylvie caught herself talking too much.

“She’s quite the pip, ain’t she?” Felix asked.

Sylvie turned toward Felix—he sat right next to her in the back seat. “I’m right here, Felix. You’re talking about me as if I’m not here.”

A bashful look came over his face. “Sorry, miss.”

“I’d watch out, Felix. She is a pip,” Alec said.

She wanted to pop off with a snappy something that would show them all her mettle. Instead she kept it professional. As the dark buildings went buy, light from the fires ahead made the way easier to navigate. Tension traveled up her body, her muscles going tight.

“Here we go.” Bink’s voice reflected concern. “Straight into hell.”

Sylvie decided to remember what he’d said. Darkness prevented her from making notes. Time passed slowly as they continued slow progress along the streets.

“No wonder things burn down around here. We can’t move any faster,” she said.

“Can’t be helped,” Bink said from the seat in front of her. “We run over a civilian, there will be hell to pay.”

She didn’t want them to think she criticized their efforts. “Of course. If you crash, you can’t help anyone else.”

When they reached the timber yards a long time later, Sylvie quickly discovered her ignorance about firefighting. Walls of flame shot upward from the timber yard despite the efforts of dozens upon dozens of pumps on the scene. As Alec pulled the pump into line with the others, Felix and Bent bailed out to get orders on where they were needed the most.

“My God. Where do you start?” she asked.

In awe and fear, she watched the flames devour everything in their path, barely held back by the firefighters’ efforts.

“Damn good question.” Alec handed her something from the front seat. “Wear these.”

In the dark she almost couldn’t tell what was in her hand. “What is it?”

“Gas goggles. You don’t want eye injuries. I’m wearing a pair.” He slid a balaclava over his head and fastened the goggles in place before putting on the helmet. Then he handed her an extra helmet.

“What…” she started to say.

“Get rid of the fancy hat and wear the helmet and goggles.”

She stared at him for a few seconds.

“I’m serious, Sylvie. Wear it.”

Despite the bossy tone, she knew he was right. “Sparks off the fire.”

With the goggles and other head covering, he looked like some sort of weird creature from a nightmare. “That’s right.”

She worked on removing the hat and tossed it aside. Her hair tumbled down, but she ignored it. She didn’t have time to braid it. She’d have to work the situation with what clothing she possessed.

Felix opened the door. “When you two are done playing, we’ve got a fire out here. They want this pump over on the north side.”

She heard Alec curse under his breath. “Get in.”

As she plopped the helmet on her head, Alec drove them to the north side. As the fire drew nearer, she could feel the heat in the car. Tension rose inside Sylvie. Her stomach tumbled and flipped with an anxiety she couldn’t contain. She’d never crept closer and closer to a fire this huge in her life. She leaned forward to look out the windshield as fear threatened to derail her plans for calm.

You’re a journalist, Sylvie. No matter what you’re feeling, you have to do this.

She drew in a breath and let it out slowly. Noise outside the car hid the sound. Good. If they knew how nervous this made her, they’d believe all the things said about women as war correspondents. It didn’t matter if this whole thing scared her to death, she couldn’t show it.

The car and pump drew to a halt. Her heart raced as Alec and the other men hurried out of the car. She sat there a second too long before she noticed Alec, Felix, and Bink manned the hoses. She wished she had a camera, but her memory would have to do the trick, and maybe she could write some notes if the fire made it light enough. She hesitated, the fierce flames sending a primitive fear through her she’d only experienced once before.

Her mind flashed back to being fourteen and hearing Alec’s cry of agony as glass tore into his right eye. Recalling that horrible experience hurt enough, but the flames…the flames dove into everything primitive inside her. She’d been prepared, hadn’t she? She’d imagined this scene before.

She forced herself out of the car but stood near it, as if it would be a bastion of safety if things got out of control.

Heat blasted her, and she took an involuntary step back. Glad for sturdy shoes and practical clothing, she directed her attention toward recording everything she could in her mind’s eye. Water spouted from the hose Alec and the other men pointed at the relentless conflagration. Streams of water came from another hose manned by other men. They’d hooked up the hose to a hydrant. She shoved aside all apprehension and allowed her senses to absorb the situation. She’d need all this for her article. Fear sliced like a knife through her, but she closed her eyes and listened.

An angry roar and snapping sound told her the fire had no mercy. It was a beast without conscience or morals. Heat came in waves. Snaps and crackles mingled with the ping, plop, and zing of mortar popping and melting. Bricks crumbled and fell. The noise almost eclipsed the drone of Germans flying overhead and the ack-ack noise of anti-aircraft guns.

She opened her eyes and matched what she saw with the hellacious sounds. Fire shot up from the center of the building and made the windows look like yellow eyes staring at her in condemnation. An element of helplessness overwhelmed Sylvie. She took out her notebook and managed a few perfunctory notes. She couldn’t fight this fire, and the men nearby put their lives on the line doing what they could to tame this beast. Shouts mixed with grunts of exertion. She was hot and tired already, and the night was certainly young. She remembered them explaining that if it was an oil bomb fire, they’d take care of it with a special foam. But this wasn’t that type of fire, apparently—she didn’t see any crew using foam. As time dragged on, the pumps at the fire started to make progress. She wandered away from the car but kept herself far away from the timber yard and other buildings.

A roar came from somewhere nearby, and someone shouted.

“Sylvie!”

Alec’s voice reached over the horrible sound of hell coming undone, and she realized the building behind her was listing to the side and new flames had cropped up. Sparks had found their way over her head.

“Sylvie, get away from there!”

Alec raced toward her, and she darted toward him and what she hoped was safety.

 

 

Under Fire Contest!

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Happy New Year! May 2014 be prosperous and bright for all my readers. I appreciate you more than I can say. Under Fire was released January 1, and it is the second story in my Love Under Fire Trilogy. I’m holding a contest until the end of the month to celebrate!

UNDER FIRE BOOK LAUNCH CONTEST!

UNDER FIRE is out! Come help me celebrate with this brand new awesome contest! I’d love help getting the word spread around that UNDER FIRE is available at Ellora’s Cave (it’ll be at other venues soon, too.) As I discover the book is available at other venues, I’ll let everyone know. UNDER FIRE is the second novella in my military romance trilogy Love Under Fire. You can find a blurb and excerpt at this book page. 

TO ENTER this giveaway, spread the word that UNDER FIRE is out.

HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST

You can post about the book on Facebook or Twitter.
If you’ve read it, you can leave a review.
You can blog about it.
You can add it to your Goodreads to-be-read list.
Each action counts as one entry, so there are multiple chances to enter. The contest is open from now until January 31, 2014 at noon EST.

For all tweets, use the hashtag #UNDERFIRE so I can log your entry from Twitter.

You only need to tell me once in the comments section below what your twitter handle is and I can track your entries with the hashtag (#). For all other entries like Facebook or blogging, please post a note in the comments section here on my blog letting me know everything you’ve done so I can log your entry! (And please include your email address so I have a way to contact you if you are a winner.)

Under Fire is currently on sale at:

Ellora’s Cave

Amazon

Barnes & Noble (coming soon)

Kobo (coming soon)

iTunes (coming soon)

THE PRIZE

One winner: $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble eGift card

*International entries accepted as long as I can email you your prize.

Need a sample tweet with a hashtag? Here are some examples:

#UNDERFIRE is out! http://www.ellorascave.com/under-fire.html #militaryromanticsuspense

Love military romantic suspense? #UNDERFIRE by @DeniseAAgnew is out! http://www.ellorascave.com/under-fire.html

Military romance novellas don’t get hotter than this #UNDERFIRE by @DeniseAAgnew is out! http://www.ellorascave.com/under-fire.html

Thank you so much for participating!!!

 

 

Cover Reveals! One London Night & Before There Was You

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Howdy everyone! I wanted to share two new covers for upcoming books. I don’t have exact release dates for One London Night or Before There Was You quite yet, but I can give you covers.  Blurbs will come in a new post very soon!

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Baby It’s Cold Outside Blog Hop: Maneater!

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Hey everyone! Welcome to the Baby It’s Cold Outside Blog Hop! I hope your holidays were merry, bright, and just a darned good time. Here’s to a wonderful 2014.

With the Baby It’s Cold Outside Blog Hop there are tons of author sites to visit, so be sure to click on the banner at the bottom of this blog to register to be entered for all the prizes and to visit each author’s site. There’s a grand prize and most authors in the hop are also offering another book or swag as a prize. My prize, to be drawn after January 5, is Love From The Ashes, my 1906 historical set during the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

Below is an excerpt from Maneater, the first story in my Special Investigations Agency series at Ellora’s Cave. Maneater is what I’d describe as a tongue-in-cheek paranormal romantic suspense because of the humor. It’s over the top! In this scene, the hero and heroine are trudging through the snow and revealing things to each other. Beware the gritty language because this is an erotic romance. Hope you enjoy it.

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When Destiny Tremayne and fellow agent Mac Tudor are assigned to investigate mysterious disappearances at a strange lab high in the Colorado Mountains, they clash at every turn. Destiny thinks Mac is a throwback. Mac thinks Destiny hates any man who has balls. When they realize something monstrous stalks the secluded high-mountain lab, they’ll face a terrifying enemy—and a blazing sexual inferno they may not survive.

* *

They left the wreck and trudged up the road. Wind rustled pine needles and created a backdrop to the winter wonderland. As her breath puffed out in front of her, a frosty tribute to winter, she matched his brisk pace. She’d be damned if later on he said she couldn’t keep up. Besides, she enjoyed physical challenges that kept her in tiptop condition.

For about a mile they stayed mum and conserved energy as wind whistled and blew snow into their eyes.

Destiny decided to broach a question spinning around in her mind for several minutes. “I’m guessing the Hummer was from the lab. I wonder why they didn’t stop and help?”

Mac shrugged, all but his eyes, nose, and mouth obscured by parka hood and knitted face mask. “If something weird is going on up there, like a serial killer, maybe the rest of the lab occupants decided it was time to cut and run.”

“Did you see how many people were in the vehicle before it ran us off the road?”

“One, I think. I was pretty busy trying to keep us from plunging into the sweet by and by.”

Again they lapsed into silence. As dry snow made a fluffy white carpet beneath her feet, she wrestled with unexpected feelings. She didn’t like this rising sense of admiration she felt for Mac. No, that wouldn’t do at all.

“I don’t suppose a rousing rendition of song would be appreciated?” she asked.

“Why? Can you sing?”

“Not worth crap.”

He chuckled. “That’s what I like. A woman who doesn’t give a rat’s butt what anyone thinks. I think you’re up for the world championship title.”

“Is that what you really think? That I’m just a big-mouthed ass?”

His glance zipped from her head to her butt and held there. “Well, your butt is world class, and your mouth is warm and—”

“Stuff it, Mac. That’s not what I meant and you know it. Don’t try to get out of answering the question.”

“Okay, okay. Yes, I think you can be pushier than you need to. I hear people making comments, especially men who don’t always want to be around you because you’re almost too assertive.”

She absorbed the words and tried not to react. It didn’t work. “Too assertive how?”

“Men rarely hit on you right?”

How did he know that?

“Not lately, but they used to when I first joined the Agency.”

“Why do you suppose that is?”

“Because I kick male chauvinist ass and they don’t like it?”

“Partially. But there’s more to it. Many men want a woman who can stand up for herself, but not one with a cast-iron bitch façade plastered on their face three hundred and sixty-five days a year. You never let up. It’s always work, work, work and no relationships allowed to form.”

Shocked to the core by the brusqueness of his evaluation, she almost struck back with a snappy comment. Instead, she stewed.

He spoke before she could. “This isn’t just a case of some men saying that if you’re assertive you are a bitch. Those men aren’t worth your time, Tremayne. They aren’t looking for the real woman inside. But what about the men who would love to get to know you, but they can’t make it past the message in your eyes that says ‘don’t bother’?”

Destiny let the silence stretch as she absorbed what he’d said. “So you’ve been gossiping about me?”

“No, but I hear rumors just the same. And I overheard two guys last week in the gym talking about wanting to get up your skirt.”

“Ha!”

“I’m not saying you should let those two particular guys get up your shirt.”

“Who are they?”

“Uh…”

“Right, right. Sure. You’re making up this crap, Mac.”

“I am not.”

“You are, too.”

“Bullshit, Tremayne.”

“Exactly.”

He veered towards her and stopped in front of Destiny.

“What are you doing?” she asked. “We haven’t got all day to get to the complex.”

“Not until we have this out. Right now. I heard those two Neanderthals say that about you and it sickened me. Not because I thought it was disgusting they wanted you, but because they would talk about you like a piece of meat right there where everyone else could hear them. That’s what pissed me off. And because…”

“Yes?”

He shook his head and surveyed the forest surrounding them. “Because they’re cowards with no balls. They wouldn’t know a good woman if she sat on their face.”

“And you’re not that kind of man?”

Anger tightened his mouth. “I’m no coward.”

“Of course you’re not.” She spoke hastily, worried their partnership could be shot to hell if she didn’t explain. “You’re a great agent, Mac.” She smiled a little. “Even if you are a Grade-A pain on some days.”

Mac seemed to relax, and although the face mask obscured his expression a little, she could see the softening in his eyes. “You just need to ease up a little so a man can get through. You might be missing out.”

“I’m not giving up who I am to assure some man might want to date me.”

“What I’m saying is you shouldn’t be surprised by men’s reactions when you come on like queen bitch of the universe.”

“Queen bitch—I ought to—you—”

“Spit it out, Tremayne.” He turned away and started walking.

“Who are you to give me advice?”

“A fellow agent who would like to be your friend, if you’d let me.”

Within her an echo rang. He wanted to be her friend?

Part of what he said made sense. Other than Mac, she couldn’t recall the last time a man attempted to strike up a conversation that showed he wanted to know her either mentally or physically.

As she followed along beside him, she glanced at Mac through the blowing snow. “Why do you want to be my friend?”

“Because you’re extremely intelligent, a crack agent, and tough.”

She snuffled a laugh. “Sounds like a resume for a guard dog.”

He shifted the big pack with a shrug of his shoulders. “You have some of those qualities, too.”

“Wonderful. Now you’re calling me a mutt,” she said in half seriousness.

“No way, Tremayne. You’re a babe.”

Heat filled her face at his blunt compliment.

“You’re a gorgeous woman who drives me beyond crazy,” he said. “I want to strangle you sometimes as much as I want to fuck you.”

To her mortification, a shocked gasp slipped out of her mouth. “Mac!”

He laughed. “Come on, if you don’t know I want to get inside of you by now—”

“All right, I get the picture.”

Her entire body reacted to his no-holds-barred statements. Warmth spread into her abdomen and down to the sensitive folds between her legs. Her breathing quickened and her heart followed the pace. Whether Destiny liked it or not, his admission turned her on, and the power it gave her added to the aphrodisiac. She wanted to challenge him, to play a game to prove she didn’t want him.

“We’ve already crossed a line, Mac. If Quinton found out anything was going on between us…” She faded out, afraid to say it.

“At least you’re admitting there’s something between us. And it’s pretty damn powerful.”

Overwhelmed by confusion, she didn’t know how to respond and didn’t wish to confess. Instead she went silent.

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