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Treat to Give Away #contest #WIN #romance

There’s a Spookapalooza party going on over at The Romance Studios, and I’m running a contest for party-goers.  I’ve decided to let my website visitors in on the fun, too  Click on the link below, hold out your plastic pumpkin, and say “Trick or treat!”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest ends Halloween at midnight.  One random winner will be chosen.  Sorry, but gift code only works in the U.S.

Courting Innocence Amazon Giveaway Contest #contemporaryromance

CourtingInnocence_webI’m running an Amazon Giveaway.  12 copies of Courting Innocence will be given away to random winners.  Enter now for your chance to win.

Courting Innocence

Even Nice Girls Have Needs.
Erin starts using matchmaker Luxxor Limited, not realizing that
the company is truly an escort service. But she gets more than
she bargained for when Luxxor sets her up with her big brother’s
best friend.

Courting Danger off to Copyeditor

I’m so happy. All the content editing has been completed on Courting Danger and it’s off to the copy editor.  Soon, it will be real book.

Just for fun, I’m sharing my flash cards for both Courting Innocence and Courting Danger.  This is a technique I’ve developed to help me organize my thoughts and (knock on wood) prevent writer’s block.  Courting Innocence is on the left.  You can see that some of the cards were labeled “no” and weren’t used.  When I’m writing the cards, I start by creating a card for each idea.  Most of the time, it’s a plot point.  Sometimes it’s a point about the characters.  The idea is to brainstorm as much as possible.  Those rejected cards were trails the story could have taken, but were rejected.  Think of them as the road not taken.

Courting Danger has a more intricate story line, and I started with fewer flash cards.  The brain just wasn’t storming.  For that story, I had to spend more time figuring out cards to insert to carry the plot from Point A to Point B.  In the end, it needed more cards and more detail than the other book.  But it made it to the end, and the editor just approved it.  Yay!  You’ll see the end result soon.

2015_0207CI0004_web - Copy

Courting Innocence Contest Winner & Survey Results

Congratulations to Diana for winning the Lenox Opal Innocence vase set giveaway!

I’ve also collected the results of the survey.  I just find these things so interesting.  Here is a breakdown of how you responded:

Poll: When do you post an online review of a book?

38% – All of the above (except never)
27% – When I love it
14% – I never post reviews.
12% – When it causes an emotional reaction (love or hate)
5% – When the book is original or different
3% – When my opinion differs from all the other reviews already posted.
1% – When I hate it.

 

Avoiding the Sophomore Slump

Series are fun to write, and readers love them, but writers need to have a plan.  There are so many things to consider.  Are you creating a world and exploring how people live inside it?  Is there an over-riding story arc that carries throughout the series?  Do characters appear in multiple books?  Can each book stand alone?

Book 1 needs to set the stage.  Characters are introduced and the series premise is set.  There’s a lot to cover in Book 1, and you want readers to get hooked on the whole series.  But how do you keep that interest going in Book 2 and avoid the dreaded sophomore slump?

Courting Innocence is the second book in my Courting series about Luxxor Limited, a high-end escort service.  The first book, Courting Trouble, told the story of Sienna, a young woman who joins Luxxor to pay her bills, but ends up falling for the man she’s escorting.   To keep things interesting, for Courting Innocence, I chose a storyline that came from the exact opposite direction.  The heroine, Erin, is naive and doesn’t know the score.  She’s not coming to Luxxor as an escort, but as an unknowing client.  Sienna and Jason, the hero and heroine from Book 1, appear as supporting characters.  It was a blast to continue their relationship.  I also gave hints about relationships that will appear in future books to make the whole series cohesive.  I’m really happy with the result, and Courting Innocence has been getting great reviews.

How do you like your series?  Do you like visits from old characters?  What do you like to see in connected books to keep you interested in reading?

Courting Innocence Bonus Excerpt

CourtingInnocence_webCourting Innocence – coming July 30!

Only one more day until Courting Innocence releases.  Until then, here’s a short scene to tie you over.

Courting Innocence Excerpt

The Apple Tree Grille was busy on Friday mornings. Working stiffs from all the nearby office buildings dropped by for a hearty breakfast to power them to the weekend. None of today’s patrons was as anxious as Erin, though. She followed the restaurant’s hostess to a booth, but stepped aside when Colton directed her out of the way of a waitress delivering an order.

His touch at her side was warm and protective, and she wanted to curl into it.

He’d been quiet in the car on the ride over. Too quiet. It made her worry that he was upset or angry again.

A table of diners stood, blocking their path, and his hand slipped all the way around to her stomach. She leaned back against him and savored the butterflies that rose under that touch. No, he didn’t seem angry.

‘I’m sorry,’ one of the men said when he saw them. ‘Excuse us.’

Erin was disappointed when the group moved out of their way. Colton’s touch left her, but he helped her with her coat. ‘Thank you,’ she said, glancing over her shoulder.

A thrill went through her when she caught him looking somewhere other than her face. The jeans had been a good idea.

His gaze jerked away. He hung up her jacket and slid into the opposite side of the booth. By the time they were both seated, his jaw had firmed and his lips had flattened.

Erin sighed. She really didn’t want another apology, and she’d thought after last night’s intimate call . . .

She cocked her head. Wait a minute.

He was quiet, and he was moving carefully. That expression on his face wasn’t grumpiness. It looked more like pain.

‘Are you hung over?’

His eyes narrowed, which must have been difficult to do, given the way he was already squinting against the sunlight coming through the window. ‘What was your first clue?’ he grumbled.

A grin pulled at Erin’s lips, lifting the corners until she was smiling like a lottery winner.

‘It’s not funny,’ he said.

‘I’m not laughing at you.’ No, she was just tickled pink. He’d gotten drunk over her.

Excerpt from Courting Innocence

She sensed him.

Maybe she’d caught a glimpse of his tall form out of the corner of her eye, but she knew that Colton was behind her. A sense of exhilaration came over her, along with a dash of impulsiveness.

Stopping, she braced one hand against the wall and lifted her foot behind her. Arching her back, she toyed with the high heel as if it needed adjusting. Carefully, she turned the bracelet on her ankle so the charm lay on the outside of her foot.

Her breath caught when he was suddenly on her.

His arm swept around her waist as it had when he’d caught her in the kitchen, and he pressed her against the wall.

‘Colt –’

She didn’t get his whole name out, because his mouth was suddenly covering hers in a kiss so hot, she worried her shoes would melt.

He caught her wrists and pressed them flat against the wall on either side of her head, and arousal gushed inside her. Slick and viscous, it filled her veins, making her muscles tense and relax at the same time.

It had been good when she’d kissed him before. Fantastic.

This was the first time he’d taken the lead, and the sensuality was insane.

He tore his mouth away from hers. His chest was rising and falling in jagged movements. ‘You have to stop this,’ he said hoarsely. ‘You have to stop teasing me. Stop tempting me.’

‘No, I don’t.’ Her breaths were coming hard, too, and she ran her tongue over her lips. ‘Give in.’

‘Erin.’ His voice was sharp, like when he went after someone on the stand.

She arched sexily. She wanted him to come after her.

I have,’ she whispered.

His eyes flashed to nearly the colour of midnight. His fingers bit into her wrists, and Erin revelled in it. A sound left the back of his throat, and his mouth came down hard on hers again. Their lips sealed tight, and his tongue laved hers.

‘Mmm,’ she hummed when her need cranked up a notch.

He had her trapped, held down, but she arched her back to rub against his body. His weight pressed against her as he leaned in, his chest hard against her breasts, plumping them and making her nipples pinch.

The kiss went on and on. It had been years in the making.

‘Take me upstairs,’ she whispered when they were forced to come up for air. ‘To my old bedroom.’

His curse echoed in her ear. ‘Do you really want my head on a platter?’

She didn’t understand. She wanted his body on a bed. Or the floor. Or right here.

His mouth ran down the side of her neck, and his teeth closed around the muscle that led to her shoulder. She let out a moan and twisted into him. The sound echoed down the hallway, but he cut it off with another blistering kiss.

Erin strained against her constraints. She couldn’t touch him, couldn’t hold him. It was hot as hell, but so frustrating.

‘Let me touch you.’

‘Not going to happen.’

Yet he didn’t stop kissing her. Or rubbing intently against her breasts.

But he deliberately kept his hips away. She could feel his hardness barely brushing against her belly. She wanted more. She needed to feel his hot, muscled body against hers.

She did the only thing she could; she climbed him like a tree.

Swinging a leg high around his waist, she hitched herself up. His hips swung forward, almost as if they had no other option. She took advantage of the opportunity. Knowing he wouldn’t drop her, she hopped up and wrapped both thighs around his waist.

When she settled down, his erection was right where she needed it the most. Big, hard and hot. They both shuddered when she ground against him.

‘God! Sunny, I can’t do this. Not here.’

‘Then where?’

‘No.’ He shook his head as if to clear it. ‘That’s not what I meant.’

Erin had never felt a desire so intense or a need so strong. She had to be with him. She needed to feel him inside her. It was the only thing that would douse the heat in her core. She was ready to burst into flames at the smallest spark.

She rolled her hips almost frantically. This was no dry hump this time. Just a few more strokes, and she would be ready to come. He pumped up to meet her, and she let out a whimper of need.

‘Erin?’ They both froze when her mother’s voice came down the hallway.

Colton tore his mouth away from hers, and his muscles went taut.

‘Yes?’ Erin called, her voice squeaky.

‘Could you bring me a cup of tea, dear?’

Erin swallowed hard, but her voice still came out all wrong. ‘Sure, mom. Just . . . ohhhh . . . just give me a moment.’

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