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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Guest Blog: Lynda Bailey: Happy Birthday - to ME!

Yes, today is my birthday… First I want to thank Romancebooks4us for hosting me on the anniversary of the day I was born. To celebrate I’m giving away presents! *** Leave a comment for the chance to win one of my digital titles plus a $5 gift card. (I’m also running a month-long giveaway over on my website,, for a $100 GC. All you have to do is sign up to be on my mailing list before Nov. 30th!)

Okay. Birthdays. More specifically…my birthday. While I’m not going to a reveal just how old I am, I will tell you that I remember (barely) where I was when President Kennedy was shot, when the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show – hell I remember Ed Sullivan, the (first) Hula Hoop craze and watching news feeds from the war in Vietnam. In other words, I’m part of the 80,000,000 who make up the *Baby Boom* generation; those individuals born between the years 1946 and 1964. Everyone from Madonna to Oprah and Bruce *the Boss* Springsteen to Barack *the President* Obama.

What does all this mean you ask? Truthfully, I’m not exactly sure. But I think it has something to do with me not having an accurate perception of age – or at least not having an accurate perception of MY age. I find myself doing things today that I did twenty years ago when I was…well…twenty years younger. Things like sitting cross-legged in my easy chair. (I don’t think I ever saw my mother sitting cross-legged, not even on a picnic…) Things like giggling. Not laughing…giggling. Things like running through leaves in the fall just to hear the whishy, crunchy sound. Things like wanting to buy a Jeep. Not a Jeep Cherokee mind you, but a circa mid-1970’s Jeep Wrangler, complete with a badass stick shift between the bucket seats.

What’s causing my age misperception? I believe that answer comes in the 80,000,000 number I quoted above. Companies understand they can’t afford to alienate such a large number of customers. They know it’s in their best interest to cater to this huge – and aging – demographic. That’s why Diane Keaton and Andie MacDowell (two more famous Boomers) are major spokeswomen for L’Oreal makeup and hair products.

But probably the real reason I don’t have a good grasp on my age is because I don’t want to have a good grasp on my age. It was the same when I was younger; I never wanted to “act my age.” Why change now? Things are just getting interesting…

So what *generation* do you come from? Are you a Boomer like me, or from the X-generation? Are you a thirty or forty something? What’s YOUR perception of age? Remember to leave a comment for the chance to win your choice of my titles + a $5 gift card. And pop over to my website and sign up for my mailing list for the chance at a $100 GC.

Now here’s a sneak peek at my newest release, GRACE, the third novella in my Heartache and Hopeful series, coming soon!

On the Corner of Heartache and Hopeful…

Revenge is a dish best served cold—and according to Grace Harrington, while wearing three inch stilettos and wielding a flogger. No longer the bullied, nerdy kid she was in high school, Grace is now a take-charge corporate lawyer in Omaha, Nebraska. She’s also a take-charge Top in the bedroom. The last thing she wants to do is go back to the small town of Tatum, but to save a treasured landmark from destruction while exacting retribution on the guy who ground her heart to dust? Hell yes!

Seth Reisner never wanted to leave Tatum. He thought being a country lawyer slash gentleman farmer would be the perfect life. But his agricultural kingpin uncle had other ideas. And when dear uncle foots the bill for law school plus signs your paycheck, you suck it up, alter your plans and move to Dallas, Texas. Now Seth divides his time between litigating on behalf of his uncle’s company and trying to find his “Mrs. Right.” When the opportunity to return to Tatum comes up, he’s grateful for the chance to go home.

Grace and Seth end up on opposite sides both in and out of the courtroom. Grace is determined to get her vengeance while Seth only wants to make up for his unintended past transgressions. When the verdict is read, who will win—and at what cost?

I’ve always loved stories, especially romances. For me the only thing better than reading a romance is writing one. That and drinking red wine while eating dark chocolate.

My romances are full of passion, with heat levels that range from hot to sizzling! I’m proud to have been a 2010 finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart®. I hope you’ll join me for laughter and love, and where the good guys always win in the end.

I live in Reno with my husband of thirty+ years and our two pampered pooches.

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Thanks again to Romancebooks4us for letting me hang out on my birthday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Can we sit down and have a chat about writing Navy SEALs?

Think it's time to talk a bit. We've seen things in the news concerning reveals about Navy SEALs and their tactics, their mental capabilities and their planned missions. There is a lot of controversy about this, and I am not clear on which side of the fence I stand, except to say that I want our bravest and best-trained warriors protected, at all costs. There's a mystique to being a SEAL because much of what they do has to be kept secret. And we all know there is temptation not to keep those secrets.

So, as a writer, I walk a fine line between accuracy and storytelling, all the time worrying about protecting the fine men and women who put themselves in harm's way so we can write the crazy books we do, and go run around and do unmentionable things with our lives. Our SEALs signed on for this. They are our warriors and they want us to have a normal life.

There are details in my books I've written on purpose incorrectly. There are probably details in my books I've written incorrectly by accident. I don't think I've gotten wrong the community or the character of the men who serve as SEALs. The how of what they do might vary, but the why and the way they are I believe is as accurate as I can make it. I love the smack talk and the sense of humor these usually soft-spoken warriors have.

Now we have hundreds of writers thinking they can write Navy SEAL romances. I love reading the blurbs where SEALs perform jobs real SEALs would never do, or serve in capacities they would never serve under. Reviewers don't pick these up, and I think that's fine. The bottom line is that it's good all this misinformation is out there. I hope our enemies are reading all the Navy SEAL romances, because they'll get pretty confused when they do. If they read my SEAL stories they'll get a lot of sex education too. Some of our enemies I think might need a little of this.

And that would probably make a SEAL chuckle to himself. He'd never tell you that you are an idiot writer getting facts and figures wrong, well, maybe if you knew him well enough he would. Have I been an idiot? You bet. Proudly. Will I continue to be? Hey, the more newbie SEAL writers there are out there the better I look. LOL. Seriously. We're talking about FICTION. We aren't writing Tom Clancy or WEB Griffin or Dick Couch.

As one SEAL told me, "Just make it up. If you can imagine it, it probably happened."

And so I have.

You can watch my Chapter One Live read of SEAL's Promise here. Some adult content language some of my fans think is funny seeing me say.

SEAL's Promise Excerpt (TJ Talbot and his best friend are talking about dating and other unmentionable things - strong language here). Hear the buttery, romantic voice of my Warrior Storyteller, JD Hart, as he breathes life into my words. The audio book will be out any day now.

SEAL's Promise is available on Kindle, and iTunes, Nook and Kobo.

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Guest Blog: Melodie Campbell: MY CHARACTERS HATE GOING TO BED aka Why We Write Romance

(As usual, this post will sit on the wacky side. But there is a serious message behind it all.Why?Why do we spend hours and hours alone in our garrets, piecing together romance stories that may never earn us a living wage, or even see the light of day? Are we insane? Or, as I pose, does writing keep us sane?)

Rowena is arguing with Thane. Cedric meets Soren the demon for the first time. Kendra can’t choose between Richard and Logan…or is it that young cousin of the Viking Warlord, what’s his name?

Gina and Nico are planning an art gallery heist. Uncle Seb is about to kick the bucket, and he didn’t die ‘cleaning his gun.’ Pete is caught with counterfeit moolah, and slips through the portal to Land’s End…

No, wait a minute. Wrong book. Wrong series. Even wrong genre! Plots, you’re getting yourselves mixed up.

It’s 3:15 AM, and all is not well in my head.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my characters hate going to bed.

Like little children, they race around in my head, determined to have yet another adventure. Problem is, they stumble over each other in their bid for freedom. Series start mixing in decidedly zany ways.

(Okay, back to the point of this blog.)

We authors control what our characters do during the day. It’s one of the things I love about writing: the ability to control the world in a way we can’t do in real life.

I can’t control the real world. Sometimes the script being directed from above is pretty painful. In my case, it contains an autistic brother and heartbreaking care-giver burdens I can do nothing about.

But I can control the world I create in words.

In my romance fiction, I control my characters, put them where I want them, alter their lives, change the time, the year, the setting, give them astonishing adventures and dramatic endings– it’s glorious, unfettered control.

But at night, even they go wild.

In the wee hours of the morning, my head is a playground for creative creatures, both human and fantastical. They have adventures even I haven’t thought of yet.

So here’s a job for you scientists out there. Figure out a way to capture the nocturnal plotlines that create havoc for us authors as we struggle to give our brains some needed snooze-time.

And in the meantime, can you guys please keep it down in there?

Melodie Campbell. Billed as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy" by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014), Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.

Winner of 9 awards, including the 2014 Derringer and the 2014 Arthur Ellis (Canada) for the screwball comedy, The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books), Melodie has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and seven novels. She is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

Top 100 Amazon Bestseller)

“Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?”
When Rowena falls through her classroom wall into a medieval world, she doesn’t count on being kidnapped – not once, but twice, dammit. Unwanted husbands keep piling up; not only that, she has eighteen-year-old Kendra to look out for, and a war to prevent.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Coming Very Soon!!

Coming very soon, in fact that first week in December.
And yes, we are that near to Xmas. Fortunately I love all the fuss and my kids take over the cooking so it's win-win for me.

The Marquis is an arrogant seducer who can't even imagine settling down to one woman. He has no idea he's about to turn about and still not get even a smile from the girl he truly wants. And on a houseparty, things go further to hell when a guest kidnaps Abigail.

Here's an excerpt from the houseparty, when Jason lets loose a little of his true feeling and Abigail (almost) responds.

Abigail called after them. “Galoshes are by the back door. Gloves and scarves also. You don’t want to wear your best clothes on an expedition like this, gentlemen”
She leaned back in her chair and watched them go. Startled, but pleased, she hurried to her own rooms to change into riding clothes and tall boots.  She adored tramping in the woods and how could she not join in the search for the perfect Yule log?   After scarcely a thought she pulled on the breeches she wore when she was riding at home with no one caring what she did. She pulled on her riding boots, although she picked her second-best pair. Who knew what such wonderful snow would do to good boots?
She ran lightly down the steps to the back door. A small screech escaped her when the felt herself hauled against a strong chest, and looked up in astonishment at a livid Jason glaring down at her. Maybe not Jason, right now. No, definitely the Marquis.  An irate Marquis, giving her a good swat on her rear and glaring at her.
“Don’t you even think of trying to escape me, you little fool. You’re not at your country home. You’re at mine, with some of the most licentious noblemen in London who’d be delighted to see you so scantily clothed. Do you want them to line up at your door tonight, you vexatious idiot?”
Abigail simply stared at him for a moment, her temper ready to boil over, when he suddenly softened, ran his hands over her hips and around her waist and pulled her against him.  His kiss was hot and blazing, lingering at her lips with his tongue pushing into her mouth in a dizzying display of passion that had her clinging to his coat lapels.
“My god, Abigail, how am I going to stay away from you?”
He lay his forehead softly against her hair and softly caressed her well rounded bottom.
Stunned, she couldn’t think of a thing to say. She wrenched herself away and fled back to her room. She’d simply not thought of anything but her own comfort and that wonderful snow. Of course a woman didn’t appear in breeches at a house party for London aristocrats! Not unless there was a hunt scheduled or good riding was available.
She was an idiot.
How could she face Jason, and indeed her grandmother? And she herself was supposed to be chaperoning Bettina?
Burying her face in her hands, she tried to shut out her regretful thoughts. The fact that her every thought centered on Jason and his reactions didn’t even occur to her.
       She didn’t see the lascivious face of Lord Wilcombe, earl of Wilmington, watching them from a corner of the hallway. 

This will be my first release from MuseItUp, where I am transferring all my books and have five more scheduled at three weeks intervals throughout the new year. I'm very happy with my new home. 
Do comment, or send me an e-mail at LOVE to talk to readers...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Guest Blog: Em Petrova: Damaged Goods

You’ve probably heard the old writing advice of “torture your characters.” As authors we’re supposed to happily tie them up in knots—real or emotional—and make their bad day into stuff of legend.

We’re also supposed to give our characters flaws. I’m not talking about a freckle that’s three inches too far to the left. I mean real down and dirty problems that make their lives hell. Why?

Imagine you’re reading a book about a heroine—5’6” tall, slender, long legs, great breasts. She rolls out of bed with perfect hair for her dream job. She has the best boss in the world, supportive parents and great friends. She meets a gorgeous rich man and bleh bleh bleh. Yes, that’s me retching. Because where is the fun if the world is pink cotton candy and rainbows for this woman?

Now let’s imagine she looks the same but she walks with a limp. Immediately she’s more intriguing. What happened? She bears the stigma of walking differently. She’s flawed—damaged goods. And we like her a lot better because she’s imperfect and so are we.

In my latest biker romance HEART TIES (book 2 of Club Ties, the main characters are far from perfect. They’ve been hurt by others or have self-destructed to the point of doing real damage both physically and emotionally.

Delta has been beaten down by the people who are supposed to love her. No one calls her by her name. In her motorcycle club, she’s known as Girl. And she knows how to take a blow across the face by a man wearing knuckle rings.

Ex-Marine Drake has seen and done horrific things. As a result, he’s drowned his memories in a bottle of Scotch. He has no one to blame for his tragedies but himself.

Drake and Delta are two half-completed puzzles. Together they fit. The image on the jigsaw isn’t perfect either, but it’s okay because they’re happy without the rainbow and cotton candy.

My advice as a reader AND a writer is yes, go ahead and heap troubles and flaws on your characters. A well-thought out character will have problems that mesh with the plot and at the end of the day, the character has growth and your readers have a new best friend or book boyfriend.

Thanks for reading! Please enjoy a description of HEART TIES and enter my Rafflecopter giveaway to win a photo of Jax from Sons of Anarchy autographed by Charlie Hunnam!

The only thing keeping Ex-Marine Drake from drinking himself into an early grave is his love of leather, horsepower, and his motorcycle club. Battling to adapt to a world where he isn’t blowing everything up, he roams the highways to keep his mind off his past. But after a mission to kidnap the curvy, tattooed goddess, Delta, he finds avoiding the bottle a little easier. Especially since he can only dream of finding solace against her silky body.

Delta would do anything to escape a life where pain and fear control her. She’s lived as a slave and outsider since she could walk. When a scary biker clan storms into her life and introduces her to her long-lost sister, she’s shocked to find warmth and comfort. While Delta knows better than to hope for a life she can’t have, Drake refuses to let her slip back into the hell she knows.

Plunged into a world of gambling, guns, and drugs isn’t her idea of paradise, but hunky Drake makes her pulse pound. Is it too much to believe that Drake can save her from her torment? And what can she do about extinguishing that burning, haunted look in his eyes?




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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite year-end holidays!

Thanksgiving is like a light in the window on a dark night...

It welcomes a sense of warmth in the cold...and reminds us to share the bounty of the harvest with those less fortunate.  If you have a homeless shelter in your city, drop off some old, clean blankets, or shoes that might be welcome to someone whose feet are cold.  Donate a couple of turkeys and some canned goods to the food bank for those who can't afford to spend so much on a hot meal.  Old socks are always welcome on cold nights...they cover hands as well as frozen toes.  I like to go buy a couple dozen pairs of those "one-size-fits-all" knit mittens and donate them to the shelter.  Old coats that are just hanging in the coat closet will make someone happy.  At our homeless shelter, a gift of $25.00 feeds 30 people a Thanksgiving feast.  At our food bank, a gift of $25.00 buys a couple of cases of canned meat and veggies, and a can-opener to boot.

Old clothes in decent shape will help a family in need.  Snow boots still in decent shape can help keep a homeless person from getting frostbite, along with those old socks.  Gift sacks filled with a comb, brush, toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo, and scented soap left at the shelter can help someone clean up to look for work.  I save wrapped soaps that I get at my condo and hotels and give the entire bag to the shelter. Bags of handkerchiefs, packs of tissues, and even single wrapped rolls of toilet paper are a godsend to some folks.

Giving someone a case of cooked, ready-to-eat stew or chili with pull-top lids is a good thing.  I buy fruit and veggies and chili and stew with pull top lids because often, people don't even have a can opener.

Sub for Santa is a wonderful thing, but there are so many people who have learned how to play the system and get on multiple lists...asking for expensive items that they can return to the store for cash.  I was stung twice...the only two times my office tried to do the Sub for Santa thingy.

Now I give where I know my offerings will do the most good.

What do YOU do for Thanksgiving?  I know we all have big dinners and those who have family try to get together and enjoy each other...but what do you do for your communities and those in need? Share your ideas with us. And have a marvelous Thanksgiving holiday.


Fran Lee

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