Archive for March, 2014

Double Threat Releases April 11

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Woot! Double Threat (Love Under Fire Trilogy Story #3) is out April 11. I should have excerpt and blurb out on my website soon, but I wanted to let everyone know that it’s coming. But in the meantime, if you haven’t seen the delicious cover, here it is!

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To give you a tidbit of what the story is about:

Book three in the Love Under Fire series.

As a therapist, Lena has worked with damaged vets—and never wants a relationship with one. As a result, her lust at first sight with sexy Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Rick Frasier is off the fulfillment menu, no matter how intriguing she finds him.

Rick has never shied from danger or risk-taking but the overwhelming attraction he feels for Lena sends him into a tailspin. As they escape a gunman intent on mayhem and battle their feelings, they’ll find there’s a firestorm of desire inside them as furious and intense as any threat.

Inside Scoop:  The couples in the Love Under Fire series find love through the crucible of a mall shooting event.

How Not To Be Interviewed On The Radio: Reader POV

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

I’m coming at this from a purely reader POV even though I’m a writer. As a writer I’ve been interviewed by podcast/radio and even TV once about writing and paranormal investigation subjects. I feel fairly comfortable being interviewed on the radio because I’ve done it enough times now that it’s somewhat old hat.

Do I have all the answers on how to “be” interviewed? Nope. Not at all. I figure I could use some tips/training in that respect. Most readers, though, don’t appreciate when you play games with them.

I frequently listen to podcast interviews where the interviewer is talking to people who’ve written about some aspect of paranormal investigation. Most authors being interviewed do a great job, and I’m interested in looking for their book on Amazon and perhaps purchasing it. Win win for the author and me. Some authors, though, are fixated on selling their book in the wrong way (in my opinion). They’ll hedge when the interviewer asks them details about the experience/experiences that form the book. They’re apparently afraid they’ll give away too much and people won’t buy their book. As if you could give the reader all the good stuff.

From a reader’s POV, I can’t tell you how frustrating that is to me. If you’re not going to discuss the book, if you’re going to obnoxiously hedge when the interviewer is asking questions…well, as a reader there is no chance I’m ever going to buy your book. I’m stubborn that way, and my guess is there are plenty of other readers out there just like me. Now if there is something you can’t remember about the book (because like me if you’ve written quite a few you do forget details), that makes perfect sense. But the interviewer and the reader can tell when you’re doing this on purpose. I’ve even heard writers say to the interviewer things like, “Well, I’m not going to give that up…it’s in the book.” That stubborn part of me, the reader, kicks in. I say things like, “Then I’m not buying your book.”

Trust me. If I like your interview and it sounds like a great book, I’m going to buy it! Just don’t tell me that “nanny nanny boo boo I’m not going to tell you because you have to read the book.” 🙂 What do you guys think about this subject? I’m curious.

Two Seekrit Projects!

Monday, March 24th, 2014

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Seekrit projects. They hide in the shadows where they tempt you to walk down the long, dark tunnel with no flashlight. Ahem. Well, that’s what they’re like for me. Most every author I know alludes to a secret writing project now and then. You know. The writing projects that jump up and bite us in the rear and demand to be written. I’m not usually secretive enough to announce to the world that I’m being quiet about about a current work in progress. 🙂

For the last month or so I’ve done research for a book I’ve wanted to write for some time. Unable to think of a decent title for it, I’ve just decided it’s called That Novel About That Thang. 🙂 Early last week I got another idea for yet another project which may or may not turn into a trilogy. I do have a title for that trilogy and the first story. After additional research, I decided to jump into the brand new project at the same time as That Novel About That Thang. Just call me creative this month.

2011-09-15 Denise Agnew Guest Pic

So with that in mind, I won’t linger too long in that dark forest without the flashlight. Off I go!

Five Truths About Writing You Don’t Often Hear

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

I’ve been motivated by my creativity surge in the last week to state some creativity and writing truths. Obviously they are just “my” truth, but I think they often apply to other people in the writing industry.

1.  If you wait to be motivated to write, you may not finish the book. So write whether you’re inspired or not.

2. Writing every day isn’t necessary, but if you don’t write for more than a specific amount of time you’ve set as a vacation, you might want to ask yourself if you’re avoiding writing all together.

3. Write the weird ideas. The ideas that make you want to to explore, to research and make you so excited you can’t stand it. Write the ideas that make you wonder what other people will think if you DARE write them. Those are the book your soul, your creativity knows you were meant to write. If you’re genuinely excited to write a certain story, don’t let anything get in your way. That includes publishers, agents, spousal units…other family members and friends.

4. Monetary success has nothing to do with the quality of a book.

5. Writing from the heart is almost always far more satisfying then writing to formula or shoulds.

Those are your five writing truths. 🙂 I hope they make you think about your writing journey.

My Social Media Experiment & Creativity Surge

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Hey all. 🙂 I hope you’re having a great week already. I thought I’d pop in and say thank you to everyone who has picked up Before There Was You since it released March 10. I really appreciate it!

Next, I wanted to report on my social media experiment. Since last Thursday I decided I’d take a month off from Twitter and Facebook. Okay, I lied. I had a stop over last night on both to say OMG about the last episode of The Walking Dead. It was so fantastic I had to say something. 🙂

Anyhoo, my social media experiment is going well. It’s been a great rest for my brain. My primary goal was to see how much more creative I felt overall if I didn’t feel I needed to participate in social media. Thursday I immediately got an idea for a new story. A disaster story. I know, I know, I am the queen of the disaster romance…the kind where hero and heroine have to battle for their lives through a a disaster, some of which are real situations in history.  This story idea included zombies at first, but I decided that was a no go. I also haven’t figured out if it will be a novel or three novels. I do have a title for the story.  Anyhoo, we’ll see how that goes.

That Novel About That Thang? It’s still in the research stage. I got another research book Saturday and I was so excited. You know you’re really into your creative mode when a research book is thrilling!

Plus, I have three novels in a trilogy to revise and haven’t gotten around to that yet. But you know what? I feel no sense of urgency. It’s all good at the pace I’m going.

So that’s what I’m doing right now. Back to research and creating novels. Talk again soon.

Before There Was You New Links!

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

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Good day everyone. I’m off line for about a month taking a social media break, but I wanted to make sure to update you on the newest buy links for my contemporary military romance Before There Was You. While you can find an excerpt by clicking here, all of the buy links are:

Liquid Silver Books

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

All About Romance

Thanks so much and I’ll be chatting with you soon. 🙂

Book Release: Before There Was You Is Out!

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Hey all, my latest story, Before There Was You, is out! You can find the link at Liquid Silver Books here. It will be available at Amazon and other outlets in the following days. I’ll update you on availability as I get the information. In the meantime, here’s the blurb and excerpt for those of you who may not have seen this one before. Thank you so much for your support! Warning: this excerpt has some spicy language.

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Kidnapped in a foreign country, Lana Burns’ faith in herself and the world has been shaken to the core. Once home, she finds her world mangled into nightmares and depression. Refusing to give in to fear and torment, she searches for answers. Now she must escape a dark mental place before it swallows her whole.

Former Force Recon Marine Aaron MacPherson made it through war without a scratch, but he doesn’t count thick scars carved into his mind, threatening to unhinge his happiness forever. His equilibrium teeters on the edge, his battle moving from combat to everyday life. One wrong word from a total stranger sends him on a path to destruction.

Both Lana and Aaron have seen hell, and group therapy might show them the way out. Forging a link between them could prove perilous to their hearts. When danger strikes without warning, Aaron and Lana must use their bond to create a way to survive the night.

**

June

As the big guy in the plain brown T-shirt, jeans, and athletic shoes walked into the group therapy room, Lana Burns went on alert. Her skin prickled and her breath shortened. She hated the reaction, automatic, like the flip of a switch. The man swaggered into the room with an air of total self-confidence and competence, and maybe a small order of arrogance on the side. His military-short, light brown hair was shot with red highlights as the overhead lighting glinted on his head.

One part of her reacted to his virility like most other healthy young women would. His clothes betrayed a lean, muscular body built for action. He was over six feet tall and moved with an animal male grace that screamed power and purpose. And more than all that, his face had a brutal sort of masculine beauty. No one would call him handsome. Scary, maybe. Intimidating, most certainly.

Before she could spend much time admiring him, she noted the way his watchful gaze scanned the room, as if he expected an attack from all quarters. Fear returned with laser intensity inside her.

She was alone in here with him. The soothing baby-blue room with six hard plastic chairs formed in a circle didn’t comfort her. She’d thought she was safe with other people at one time, a busload of people to be exact. She’d been wrong. Dead wrong.

Though she couldn’t prove it by his actions, she literally felt the jumpiness inside the man coming toward her, the ugly need for violence. He could be lethal, unwavering in his need to capture and conquer. He didn’t smile. He was all hardness.

Struggling with a desire to jump from her chair and run, she closed her eyes, and for a second she sat on a cold, damp dirt floor, the smell of filth in her nostrils and hunger growling in her stomach. Her body tightened, muscles betraying her. She cursed in her head, her mind filled with obscenities. A man’s cruel words cutting her like a knife.

Bitch. Whore.

Leetle girl, what kind of cunt do you have? I’ll bet it’s real tight. Come here.

“Stop.” The word was out of her mouth like a gunshot as she opened her eyes.

Halfway across the room, the big guy halted and stared at her with curiosity. “What’s wrong? You all right?” he asked.

His voice rumbled deep. One of those incredible voices that mixed a soothing quality with sexual undertones. Against her will, her body betrayed her, tingling with an odd, disturbing attraction that shot through her like lightning. Oh, now I know I’m screwed up. Terrified and aroused? All at once? She’d heard it was possible, but she’d never believed the two reactions could occur at the same time. The harsh look on his face disappeared as he stared at her, and even though her face burned, she couldn’t look away from him.

Surprised by the concern in his voice, she couldn’t speak. Before she could find a response, Addy Linden, counseling therapist, strode into the room from the opposite direction. Middle-aged and short, she wore frumpy formless tops with long sleeves even in summer and long pants too big for her. Her make-up free face and long gray hair put her around fifty-five perhaps, but Lana couldn’t judge age worth a damn.

“Hello, Lana. Welcome, Aaron. Good to see you again. Come in,” Addy said, her huge smile a ray of sunshine.

Relief flooded Lana. She’d met with the therapist once last week before she was placed into the group therapy session. It was nice to see a friendly face. Mrs. Linden seemed genuine and competent.

Lana smiled. “Hi, Mrs. Linden.”

“Addy please. Don’t stand there, Mr. MacPherson. Have a seat.”

MacPherson didn’t smile, but he lowered himself into the chair across from Lana. Good. She didn’t want him anywhere near her. He sat with his legs spread wide and his arms crossed. She caught a glance at a tattoo on his left bicep, but from this distance she couldn’t read the insignia and lettering beneath it. It looked military. Her father had been in the Army for four years way before she was born and her parents had moved to Montana. She hadn’t had much contact with the military until she’d moved to Colorado Springs. This city had military out the wazoo. The Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, Schriever Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain, and Peterson Air Force Base. The city bristled with testosterone.

The guy cleared his throat, and Lana realized he’d caught her staring at his tattoo. When her attention shot up to his face, she didn’t see one hint of softness or welcome in his eyes. Green eyes of startling emerald stared right back. Had she imagined the softening earlier when he’d asked if she was okay?

What type of post-traumatic stress could he possibly suffer? A big, intimidating man like him? She reminded herself that anyone, no matter who they were, could find Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on their doorstep in the right situation.

She tore her gaze away as Addy pulled another chair into their circle and sat.

Addy smiled. “You’re both early.”

“I’m always early,” the man called MacPherson said quietly. “Almost always.”

“Good.” Addy held a large notebook, and she opened it and started making notes. “What about you, Lana?”

Lana didn’t know why the therapist asked. “Usually I’m early. Too early, really.”

“Sometimes it makes sense to be arrive ahead of the pack. Scope out the enemy ahead of time,” the man said.

Lana’s mouth dropped open. “Enemy?”

A hint of a smile, a tiny quirk of his mouth, came before he said, “Sorry. Bad joke.”

“Lana Burns, this is Aaron MacPherson,” Addy said with a wry smile. “Aaron was in the marines twenty years. Military speak is in his bones, right, Aaron?”

Aaron stretched his legs out and crossed them at the ankles. He slouched and folded his hands over his flat stomach. “Yes, ma’am.”

Addy snorted. “Oh, Lord, please don’t call me ma’am. I feel like an old woman.”

Aaron nodded. “Yes, ma…I mean Addy.”

He stood and walked across the few feet between Lana and him. He held out his hand as he towered over her.

“Pleased to meet you, Ms. Burns,” he said.

She didn’t get the chance to rise to her feet before he was there. As he towered over her, that little spike of fear roared to life. She shook his hand, and as his palm and fingers encircled hers, a tingle raced up her arm. His expression was neutral, but curiosity burned in his eyes. The tingle also danced in her lower stomach, and she recognized it immediately as purely primal.

MacPherson’s sheer masculine presence sent those two sensations through her again. Avoidance and attraction. No, no, no. She couldn’t afford an entanglement. It would never work in this environment, and she couldn’t date or act on attraction when she didn’t have her act together.

His eyes were cool and still watchful as he released her hand and turned back to his seat. It was almost as if he waited for something, and that made her even more nervous than she’d been earlier when he’d walked in the door. She sensed danger around him, and that uncertainty meant she had to stay away from him. She shifted on her chair as the hard plastic seemed to dig into her muscles.

 

Excerpt: Before There Was You

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

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Howdy all! I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

March 10 is the release of my latest novel, Before There Was You. You can preorder your copy for 20% off if you go directly to the publisher before the official release date.  Click here to get yours.

In the meantime, here’s the blurb and an exclusive excerpt to tantalize you!

* *

Kidnapped in a foreign country, Lana Burns’ faith in herself and the world has been shaken to the core. Once home, she finds her world mangled by nightmares and depression. Refusing to give in to fear and torment, she searches for answers. Now she must escape a dark mental place before it swallows her whole.

Former Force Recon Marine Aaron MacPherson made it through war without a scratch, but he doesn’t count thick scars carved into his mind, threatening to unhinge his happiness forever. His equilibrium teeters on the edge, his battle moving from combat to everyday life. One wrong word from a total stranger sends him on a path to destruction.

Both Lana and Aaron have seen hell, and group therapy might show them the way out. Forging a link between them could prove perilous to their hearts. When danger strikes without warning, Aaron and Lana must use their bond to create a way to survive the night.

* *

When they reached the steps outside the clinic, people headed into the parking lot. All except Lana. She looked for Jillie’s car. No sign of her. She checked her watch. The group had broken up on time.

The outdoors rushed at her, and a blast of fear grabbed her by the throat. At this time of the year, the sun hadn’t yet dropped below Pikes Peak. Temperatures had dropped into the high seventies. Aspen and Ponderosa pines planted many years ago surrounded the building and branches swayed in the breeze. Leaves and pine needles rustled and whispered. Honking horns and other sounds of traffic filtered up from the street. She rubbed her arms as a breeze drifted over her. She drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. Half her battle came in remembering to breathe. She leaned back against the door. The fanny pack around her waist acted as the only barrier to the world. No. No. I’m not going to panic.

Aaron had started down the steps, but he hesitated and looked back up at her. He returned to the top step.

“You okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine.” All her senses heightened as a prickle went over her skin. She didn’t want him close to her.

“You need a ride somewhere?”

“No. I’m waiting for Jillie to pick me up.”

He nodded. “Your friend that was on the bus with you.”

“Yes.”

Damn it, Jillie. Couldn’t you be on time for once?

She didn’t want to be ungrateful. She was damned lucky Jillie was willing to drive her.

He tilted his head to the side and looked her over with one swoop. Not an insulting once-over, but with a smooth, admiring gaze she recognized as masculine appreciation. Okay, so he liked what he saw. She didn’t want him to notice her that way.

He shoved his hands into his jeans pockets. “Then I’ll wait with you.”

“Oh, no. You don’t have to do that.” Please don’t.

“Yeah, I do. Doesn’t look like there’s anyone else around, and I’m not leaving a woman here by herself.”

Okay, so he was thinking more of her as a woman alone and not a woman he wanted to hit on. Good.

“Thanks,” she said, feeling twenty types of lame in that one moment. “But I’ve got pepper spray.”

He smiled, and this time it was a genuine, amused expression with real warmth. It changed his look from bad news to drop-dead hot in a heartbeat. Her pulse thrummed. Oh, no. No. She wasn’t going there. Now was not the time to find a beat-up, violent, unpredictable man attractive. She didn’t do relationships with broken men. Not now. Not ever.

“It’s okay.” He leaned against the wall next to the door quite a distance from where she stood. “I’ve got all the time in the world.”

What could she say to that? Her fingers curled around the metal railing at the top of the steps. “That’s very chivalrous of you.”

“My parents taught me right.”

“Well…thank you.”

He tilted his head slightly to the side. “Do I make you nervous?”

She didn’t expect that question, but she’d always been a direct person…at least she had been until a few months ago. “Honestly, yes you do.”

“Don’t worry. I’m not a violent guy normally. When I hit that idiot in the diner…I’d never done anything like that before. And I’d never put my hand on a woman in anger. Ever.”

“You think you were justified in hitting him?”

He smiled and shifted on his feet. He stuffed his hands into his front pockets. “Hell, no. I knew better. I just couldn’t control it. Something snapped.”

“Yet you don’t think you have PTSD? What do you think is wrong?”

His face turned stony. “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll figure it out coming to this group.”

“What would you be doing if you weren’t here?”

“Tuesday and Thursday nights are the same as any other night for me. I haven’t done much since I retired in April. You heard me say I was going to get my Masters in History. Obviously that isn’t happening.”

She was curious. Way too curious. She wanted to ask him dozens of questions, and that surprised the hell out of her. No, it shouldn’t. If she talked, she wouldn’t think about the world rushing in at her.

“Do you have agoraphobia?” he asked suddenly. “You look like you wish you were back in the building.”

Surprised, she said, “Yes. No. Not really. It’s a sort of half phobia. I get nervous driving…it’s a part of the PTSD. Jillie takes me shopping and…” She trailed off, aware that she was babbling, talking about herself too much. Okay, so she’d pushed that far enough. “I wouldn’t be this nervous, but my time in Costa Rica sort of screwed with my sense of safety.”

“You went through a lot.”

“Hardly combat.”

He shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. Even a marine put in that situation would have stress trying to survive.”

She slowly released the railing and then rubbed the back of her neck.

They fell into a silence with questions hanging between them.

“Your friend always late picking you up?” he asked.

“Not always, but she is chronically late for a lot of things.” Once the words came out of her mouth, she wished she hadn’t answered. Fear spiked inside her. Not a smart thing to tell a stranger her plans. Anger at herself replaced the fear.

His eyes narrowed in disapproval, and she could see questions running around in his head again. “But she helped get you out of Costa Rica.”

“Yes, she did.” She drew in a slow breath. “You’re very direct.”

“One of my many faults.”

The cocky side of her, which she’d subdued since the kidnapping, returned in a heartbeat. “What other faults do you have?”

He lifted one eyebrow in apparent surprise. “I’m anal. A bit of a control freak.”

“Hmmm. I leave the toothpaste cap halfway off. I don’t roll the tube from the bottom. I don’t organize the bills in my wallet so all the numbers face one way.”

“Damn, well, that’s a deal breaker.”

She gave a half smile, genuinely amused for the first time in days. “Deal breaker?”

“Yeah. I was considering asking you out.”

A snappy comeback almost came out. Almost. No. Don’t do it. Memories flooded her of time in the hut in Costa Rica, The Cave, as she’d named it in her mind. She drew in a deep breath, remembering how her therapist had coached her to regain her confidence, to find her way back to her true self.

“Really? No sweat. I wouldn’t have said yes anyway,” she managed to get past her lips.

A big smile broke over his mouth, a genuine grin reaching mesmerizing green eyes that made him look twenty times less intimidating. God, was he a walking, talking poster for marine hottie? Yep, he was.

Delicious and Unique Historical Romance Novels

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

There’s few things I like more than a read that doesn’t follow all the conventions. In historical romance novels, I love settings that aren’t the same old same old. My next historical novel (which I’ve named temporarily That Novel About That Thang because I can’t think of a good title yet) is set in an extremely unusual setting for a romance. With that in mind, I wanted to recommend some historical romance novels that I love set in unusual times/places. I sincerely hope you’ll pick up a copy of these fantastic books. I’m splitting the recommendations into more than one blog.

Bonnie Vanak has written a wonderful set of novels set in Egypt during the Victorian and Edwardian time periods.  Check out her webpage here for all the details. I love these books! You can find all her Khamsin Warrior books at Amazon. Hope you’ll click on the links below and pick up a copy of each and everyone of these books!

The Falcon & the Dove

The Tiger & the Tomb

The Sword & the Sheath

The Panther & the Pyramid

The Scorpion & the Seducer

The Lady & the Libertine

The Cobra & the Concubine

Another fantastic historical Bonnie has written set during the American Revolution is:

The Patriot’s Conquest

I hope you’ll check out her fabulous historical romances. Next time I’ll have some more historical romance recommendations for you.