Book Release - A FALLOW HEART

Monday, December 31, 2012
January 1, 2013 marks the one-year anniversary of my dad being gone. After he died, I wrote like a maniac to finish my farm boy story in honor of him, since he was a farmer.

This Fall, I finally contracted my story to Sweet Cravings Publishing. It was scheduled to release in May 2013 but got a way-early release for December 28th, which I have to say is perfect for this upcoming anniversary.

A Fallow Heart is dedicated in memory of my dad and I'm very honored to be able to share it with the world.










In loving memory of :
Glen Criss Crumpacker
Hard-working Farmer
Devoted Husband
Dependable Dad
Honorable Man
1932-2012 
 



I'd like to thank Carol Kilgore for helping me so much with my Texas research. And lots of love to Ivy Bateman for her helpful critique. Then more hugs to Megan and Renee at Secret/Sweet Cravings Publishing for their awesome editing expertise.

In other writing news, I sold a new story!!! But we'll talk more about that later. Today, I'm ending the year with a book trailer for A Fallow Heart!

 
Hope you all have a happy new year!

Merry Christmas 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012
From my house to yours, I wish you all a very merry Christmas tomorrow!!!

May you have lots of books in your stocking, or at least lots of gift cards to buy lots of books!

I'm off work at the day job this week, so I'll be enjoying some time with my family and probably reading, due to all the purchases I'll be making on the Kindle gift card I already know I'm getting for Christmas from my wonderful, amazing husband!!

I finally have all my Christmas shopping done and all my Christmas cards sent out! Yeah, me! This silly pose was the kiddo's favorite picture to take for our Christmas card pictures.

She's been begging for two weeks to open all her presents under the tree. It's the first year she's really been aware of Christmas, so it's a blast to watch her get so excited about all the decorating and present opening.

The hubby and I had a little too much fun buying presents for her too. Since Little Miss Personality has developed such a personality, we kept saying "She'd love this, oh, she'd love this," in just about every aisle of Toys R Us that we shopped.

But seriously, she is so going to love the things we got her!

I hope you love your Christmas holiday as well. God bless and take care.


Baby, You're Cold Inside

Friday, December 21, 2012
Today, I'm going to let Ivy Bateman take it away and chat a bit about her newest book, which is...whew...hot, hot, hot and yet oh-so cold!

~*~

Hello Everyone

Thank-you for stopping by and thank-you to Linda who is kindly helping to promote me and my latest release from Breathless Press, Baby, You're Cold Inside, on release day!

2012 has been quite good to me. At this point last year I was eagerly awaiting the release of my first book Between the Lines and now here I am, only a year later, out and about, promoting my third book. Also, at this time last year, I didn't have a sweet clue about how to promote myself. Blog tours, blog hops—these terms were completely foreign to me! However, once I figured out what they were, I knew that they were something I was going to have to get on board with pretty quickly or I'd be stuck at the back of cyber shelves everywhere, but how?

I'll tell you how I learned the ropes: support. Through my own blog and forcing myself upon other blogs, I've met some great writers this past year, writers that I now not only consider my friends, but who have been an incredible source of friendly advice, patient guidance and when I need it, constructive criticism. Also, they are writers whom I've been able to turn to when I'm not feeling the love from other places and they are writers I can just chat with about things that have nothing to do with writing. I'm not sure where I'll be writing career wise a year from now, but I can tell with all honesty that one of the best things that has happened to me because of writing is the connections I've made both in my face to face world and on the internet.

To me, that spells success.

The main character in my book Baby, You're Cold Inside, Lily Sinclair, was incredibly fun to write. She's confident, says things out loud that no one should ever say, but she is strong and completely at ease with the person she is. Far too many of us live our lives as people who we really aren't. We are shadow figures, representations of what people around us expect us to be. In February, I'm turning 40 and it's only been in the past few years, and especially since I've taken up writing as more than a hobby,  that I've stopped my shadow charade. I am who I am and if people don't like this dramatic, very silly, a bit odd, quick to laugh at nonsense, passionate (ok, emotionally volatile) person who stands before them, that's ok. I've found people like me, supportive people, people who also want to be themselves and not  pretend to be someone else and as I hit the big 4-0, I'm happy to say that, much like Lily Sinclair, I finally know who I am.

However you celebrate the holidays, I hope you are sharing them with loved ones and friends who offer support and kindness and help you to be the person you really want to be.

--Ivy Bateman

~*~


Blurb for Baby, You're Cold Inside, By Ivy Bateman

Lily Sinclair isn't in the Christmas spirit.

Successful, sexy and headstrong; being nice is too overrated when being naughty is so much more fun. However, there are those who believe that her cool interior stands in her way of true happiness. On the night when something a little bit colder than Lily takes her on a journey to her past, she goes along for the ride, but...

Will her guide show her just what it will take to melt her icy soul?


~*~

Excerpt from Baby, You're Cold Inside By Ivy Bateman
*Erotic Bits - Beware*

"Why'd you bring me here?" I gesture to the circle of trees.

"So you assume that I arranged this?"

"Well, I don't see any other magic, frost people around," I say, trying to keep my sarcastic tone in check.

"Well, yes...it was me, but why aren't you more shocked? A lot of people freak out when this kind of thing happens to them! I thought for sure that even you would be impressed to be taken back to a point in your past. But no, you're just as full of attitude watching your past as you are in the present! The guys and I really thought we'd be able to break your hostile exterior." He genuinely seems hurt, but it doesn't faze me.

"The guys? What guys?" I put my hands on my hips and face him.

"Yes, the guys, well and some girls, my co-workers, we who work for St. Jude."

"St. Jude."

"Yes," he says, his voice filled with pride

"The saint for hopeless cases?"

"Exactly."

Our banter is interrupted by a loud groan. We look over at Cory the rutting wonder and past Lily. I can tell Phillip assumes the noise came from Cory, but I remember it was me, expressing my sour mood. This guy had one move; put it in, pull it out and repeat. It got old fast.

I shake my head and look back at Phillip. "They can't see us, right?"

"No, they can't see us, or hear us, or anything like that. So getting back to St. Jude..."

"Yes, ok...you work for the saint of hopeless causes, Phillip. I got that. So why are you here? Oh wait!" I put my hand up to stop him from talking. "You and the guys think I am a hopeless case or cause or whatever! That's a riot! Are you here to help me?"

Frozen Phillip momentarily transitions into assistant Phillip. He looks down at his feet and scrunches his face. He appears embarrassed. I laugh loudly.

"You are! That's insane! I don't need any help!"

"Well, Lily, we disagree," he starts speaking very slowly, as if he was talking to a child. "We've been watching you for quite a few years. Your attitude toward your fellow man has been a bit...off kilter for more than a little while and we think it's time to intervene. Most people who are not very nice eventually have an epiphany, a sort of a wakeup call and change their ways, but not you. You seem to thrive on making people miserable, but in the end it's not going to help you." Phillip stops and looks into my eyes. He's probably trying to see if this is moving me at all. I stare blankly back at him, crossing my arms under my breasts.

"And?" I snap at him.

Phillip swallows before he continues. "And every Christmas season, because at this time of the year people are often at their kindest, we are all given a 'hopeless case,' a person to turn around. This year I was given you as my project. I've been sent by the powers that be to help you find your kinder side. We think that somewhere under your cold exterior lies a warm heart, a gentler person and we'd like to bring that out in you."

I howl with laughter. "Wow, Phillip, do I feel sorry for you! How'd you get stuck with me? Did you draw the short straw?" I'm laughing so hard I'm in tears, but I stop soon after. The snow suit is too tight for a lot of mirth.
"Lily, I'm quite serious."

"Oh I believe you, my dear. Don't worry. The icy get up, the trip to the past, it's all very dramatic, but come on, Phillip! Why on earth do you and your guys care about one bitchy woman? Besides, I don't think I'm a hopeless case. I think I'm fabulous. You're wasting your time. Aren't there people who have seriously hopeless cases that you could be working on?"

He smiles brightly. "See right there! The fact that you can think of people other than yourself, that you can imagine there are suffering people who need help shows that you have a bit of warmth in your soul."

I scoff at him. "No it doesn't. Phillip, I think most people are hopeless. If you helped people based on what I think, you'd never stop working. The only person I care about is me." I pat his frozen cheek and walk over to watch the action in the center of the trees.

~*~

Cover Art for "A FALLOW HEART"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Christmas came early for me this year!!!  I received the cover for A FALLOW HEART, which is coming out in 2013 from Secret Cravings Publishing!!



I particularly like the bow on top (in the form of the shirtless farm boy, of course!)

And here's a teaser:


With its bed loaded with toolboxes, the small vehicle hid under a thick layer of red dust. And behind the steering wheel sat temptation himself.

Her pulse lurched.

Unable to stop herself, she lifted the space a little wider in the window blinds and craned her head to see him better. For a moment, she lost sight of him as he drove around a corner. Then the engine of his UTV stopped and the cadence of boot heels striking against the Gerhardts’ concrete patio echoed through the front screen door, their rhythm telling her he was sauntering at a leisurely pace. Her stomach churned in anticipation.

Unexpectedly interested to catch her first glimpse of him for the day, she pressed closer to the window—the glass almost smashing her nose against the blinds—just as he stepped into her line of sight.

Even knowing how well he’d turned out, her mouth simply dropped. “Well, God bless Texas.”

In a dark t-shirt, dirty boots, a beat up straw cowboy hat, and greasy denim jeans held up by a huge belt buckle, he personified the perfect farm boy, the perfect man actually. Lust pooled warm and fluid in her limbs.

He paused, and Jo Ellen had to stand on her tiptoes and winch her neck just a little more awkwardly to continue seeing him. He took off his hat, revealing a head full of damp blond hair matted to his head. Helpless to control her eyes, she licked her lips as her gaze wandered south. My, oh my, but the man knew how to wear a pair of jeans.

With his hat off, he palmed the crown and used the back of his forearm to wipe at his sweaty face. Then he did the unthinkable. He paused at a water pump, which looked as if it might connect to an old-time, hand-dug well. Then he set his hat aside and pumped the lever a handful of times, the muscles in his arms and back bunching and shifting under his tight shirt. When water gushed from the spicket, he leaned down to stick his head under the stream.

Jo Ellen pressed her hand against her chest, hoping she didn’t have a heart attack before he was done because there was no way she wanted to miss the rest of this show.

The cool well water sluicing over his heated body made a slight steam rise around him and as wet cloth plastered itself to his torso. He drenched his hair, making it a shade darker than its usual light blond. After rinsing, he shifted his face around to the flow and opened his mouth, welcoming a nice, hearty drink.

Never in her life had Jo Ellen thought a man getting a mere drink of water could look so intoxicating. She watched his throat work as he swallowed. Then his eyes closed as he finished and he lowered his head to the spray again, obviously relishing his rinse down.



My 2012 Reading Favorite!

Friday, December 14, 2012
I read soooo many good books this year.  Actually, I read good books every year, but this year I thought I'd try to list out my absolute favorites and give them a special THANK YOU for existing so I could read their greatness!! 

So these are the stories that for-some-reason rose above the rest to stick in my mind and stay with me. They didn't all release this year, but I read them this year.  I decided to pick out twelve, one for each month!

Here goes:

Contemporary Adult Romance
-Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas
-Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn
-The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

Historical Adult Romance
-Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt

Contemporary New Adult Romance
-Easy by Tammara Webber
-Losing It by Cora Carmack
-Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Mcguire


Contemporary Young Adult Romance
-Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
-His Kiss by Melanie Marks
-Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent

Contemporary Paranormal YA Romance
-Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout
-Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I just noticed that I read nothing buy romance books this year.  Hmm.  Strange.

Anyway, what are some of your absolute favorites that stick out in your head?

The 411 about my Next Book!

Monday, December 10, 2012
Good morning!

First of all, happy release day to Jennifer Shirk!!  Her newest story, Kissing Kendall, is out today!! It's an ebook exclusive, so don't miss out!

We finally got our tree up at home.  I wish I could've recorded Lydia's reaction when I started opening the boxes of decorations.  She oohed and awed over everything and had all the containers emptied with their contents spread across the floor within two minutes. 

Then, as she was helping me hang ornaments, she kept singing, "Oh Christmas Tree." Since those were the only three words of the song she knew, she kept saying it--"oh Christmas tree, oh Christimas tree"--over and over again.

I seriously love watching her personality develop.  And can't believe she's going to be THREE in two months from today. Sniff. It's going too fast.

Other than all that, I am still batting zero in the Christmas present buying corner AND the Christmas card sending corner.  But, hey, one out of three is better than nothing, right?

Anyway, since I've sent off edits for the next book I have releasing, I thought I'd give it a little shout out today!

A Fallow Heart
is coming in May 2013
from Secret Cravings Publishing!!

This will be a contemporary adult romance story with a couple steamy scenes.  It's a companion story to The Trouble with Tomboys.  So...if you're a Tomboys fan, this is Cooper and Jo Ellen's story (yes, it chronologically comes before Tomboys. I know, I'm strange. I don't write my books in order), and another yes, it does have some cameo appearance of B.J. and Grady from Tomboys!

Here's a blurb, if you're curious about it:

Ten years ago, an oil tycoon’s daughter and a farmer’s son shared a moment neither would ever forget. When she left town in disgrace, a piece of her stayed locked deep within his soul. And like the ground he tended, his emotions lay fallow for years. Cooper Gerhardt’s deeply buried feelings for Jo Ellen Rawlings grew more fertile over time, just waiting for the day she would return to release his deepest desires.

When she strolls back into Tommy Creek, Texas for her ten-year class reunion, Cooper shows her farmboy-style exactly what she missed by leaving. Starting a short-term affair is simply unavoidable. But when the week is over, can either of them let go of the responsibilities and apprehensions keeping them apart? Or will their fallow hearts learn to flourish together? 

My longest published book yet, it will be 93,000 words long!

I have two manuscripts sent out to publishers for submission.  Honestly, I think I'm more excited about hearing back from them than I am for Christmas!  Is that wrong? 

What are you most excited for this month?

Happy December!

Monday, December 3, 2012
Please tell me it's not December yet.  I'm not ready!!!

I don't have any Christmas shopping done.  I don't have have my Christmas cards (bluck) prepared.  I didn't reach the November NaNoWriMo goal (if I'd been in Nano). I only wrote 31,000 words. 

So, really, what HAVE I done?

Don't you just love December?! Cuddling in front of the fire place (or you know, in front of the TV). Hot apple cider. Happy holiday music (my two-year-old is learning Jingle Bells. It's so cute). Warm fuzzy sweaters. And looking back to see what you've accomplished.

I think I've finished less things than I haven't finished this year.  But that's kind of a depressing thought, so I'll list what I HAVE done to make myself feel a little better!!

--I finished writing three stories (one 93,000-word story, one 85,000-word story, and one 60,000-word story). YAY!

--I've taught my kiddo how to do the hokey pokey AND the chicken dance (she still needs work, but what she lacks in coordination, she totally makes up for in enthusiasm!)

--I reached my Goodreads reading challenge and have read 73 books so far, when I only challenged myself to read 70 this year!

--and I've...hmmm.  Well, I'm sure I've done something else that needs some kind of grand recognition, but I can't think what it is yet.  Have to get back to you on that one.

So, there's my list of 2012 accomplishments.  What have you done this year that you'd like to brag about?? 

**Oh, and hey, I also received a happy review on Clean Romance Reviews today.  Check that sweet baby out!**


Happy Cyber Monday

Monday, November 26, 2012
Since I'm not the brave sort to get out into the crowds on Black Friday, I adore a good Cyber Monday.  A couple of my books are for sale today on AllRomance Ebooks and my publisher's website. But I didn't see any for sale on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  I know, depressing, huh?

Anyway, I had a good Thanksgiving, saw some family...and then some more family. And a couple more family members. Some of us many family members saw the last Twilight movie together, and we were totally taken in by the trick scene.  We bought it hook, line, and sinker! But someone (the lying meanies) had told us that the movie wasn't like the book. So when all these crazy things started happening, we totally flipped out, buying it all. 

Does it ever upset you when the movie strays from the book?  I'm still all "why did the Weasley's house have to burn down?" from the Harry Potter movies. Though sometimes, I do like how movies put a new twist on it that's better than the book.

Last night, my hubby was wrestling around with the two-year-old. She accidentally scratched him in the eye.  Yes, IN THE EYE!  He's still in pain this morning. So, we may be taking him to the doctor to make sure he didn't hurt his cornea or anything like that.  Though, if he ended up with an eye-patch, I have to say, that might be sexy.  I've had a major thing for pirates since they introduced Hook to the TV show, Once Upon a Time (and I didn't get to see last night's episode yet, so don't tell me what happened!). But isn't he the yummiest looking pirate you ever saw?  Meow!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I really don't have much to say today.  So that's all I have to ramble about.  How was your Thanksgiving and Black Friday? 

"Next Big Thing" & Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I'm only doing one blog post this week, so I decided to do it today because...

1) I entered my book trailer for The Color of Grace in the You Gotta Read video contest and voting starts today!  So if anyone wants to vote, you can go here http://yougottaread.com and my video is Entry # 3.  Voting ends November 26th!

and

2) The lovely author, Ivy Bateman, tagged me to do one of those "Next Big Thing" things, and today is my day to do that.  So here's a little something about the book I finished writing in October.


What is the working title of your book?

Cry


Where did the idea come from for the book?

I don't know for certain. Probably from the story Lily by Cindy Bonner. The heroine falls in love with a hero that is completely unacceptable for her. I liked the forbidden love aspect, and wanted to write a love story that happened between feuding families.


What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary New Adult Romance


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I always suck at this question and can never think up a good match. But here goes...


Kristen Stewart - for Paige, the heroine

Josh Hartnett (from his college years) - for Logan, the hero


What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

Forgiving your brother’s murderer may be noble, but falling in love with him is tantamount to treason.


Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

Probably represented by a publishing house if anyone will contract it!


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

2 months. This one spilled out very quickly once I got started.


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre.

-Easy by Tamarra Webber
-You Against Me by Jenny Downham
-Losing It by Cora Carmack


Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I saw a blurb for You Against Me by Jenny Downham, and that story sounded similar to an idea I had for a book, so I decided to write my book before someone actually came up with the same exact idea I had (though I have a bad feeling it might already be out there somewhere).


What else about your book might interest the reader?

Umm...I plan on making it the first in a series.

So there is my next big thing entry!!  I didn't tag anyone. It seems like everyone has already been tagged, so I didn't bother!

And that's all I have today, folks!  
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate! 

I Survived a Book Signing

Friday, November 16, 2012
So I made it through the local author open house I went to last night! My first author appearance.

They had ten different tables of authors displaying their books.  I was the only romance author there, the only one with an iPad slideshow, with free pencils, and free suckers, and a giveaway drawing...oh, and the only one with a table cloth on my table (my husband said that was a nice touch--a thank you very much!). So when anyone came by my table, they were like, "Well, you've done this before."  But, nope, I hadn't. I just researched what I should do.

I was definitely the youngest of the group, so I got one, "You're not old enough to have written this many books."  I also had the most amount of books at my table.  Everyone else brought one or two of their stories.  So I heard a lot of "Wow, you're prolific," and "Did you write all these?" (I tried to make one sarcastic joke of, "Nope, I stole a couple of them," but that didn't go over so well, so I didn't give that  answer again!)

My mom (who'd just made it home from Montana) and a couple of my sisters showed up. They went around to all the tables, and I could hear Mom saying, "That one over there is my daughter." Yep, nothing beats good PR like a proud mama!

Then another lady, who worked with one of my sister's came to buy two of my books that she hadn't read yet. I was so nervous signing her books that my signature was atrocious. And since her maiden name is my married name, I wrote a really corny line like "it's an honor to share a name with you." I know...what was I thinking?

Anyway, one of the other authors bought one of my books, and yeah, that was pretty much the extent of the book-selling portion of my evening.

There were probably only a handful of people that didn't have a table set up who came to the event, but all the authors milled around to all the different tables all evening, which made the place look busy and active.

It was nice to meet other authors who live in my area. I only knew one of them before last night, and she was my creative writing professor in college (she's also my boss's wife). I was glad our tables were set up next to each other so we could talk.

Since I had worked at that library a few years ago, it was really nice to see the librarians again.  It reminded me how much I loved working with them, and it made me miss them. They took a copy of each of my books for the library circulation.

All in all, it was a good learning experience and showed me that I CAN survive a book signing...and where I need improvement. I saw how easily other authors talked about their books, so I know that's what I need to work on the most. Thankfully, no one asked me what any of my stories were about, because I knew I'd flub that up. They just picked the books up and read the back blurb to find out for themselves.

Ann Dee, one of the librarians, went around taking pictures.  So, she'll probably have those uploaded later today on their Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/#!/PPLonline  I'll be the one wearing my "Be Careful or you'll end up in my novel" t-shirt if you want to hope over and take a look!

So that was my book signing experience in a nut shell! Now I think I'll go back to the part of being an author I like most: just writing a story.




Book Signing Preparations

Monday, November 12, 2012

My mom has left to attend her sister's funeral. There is supposed to a blizzard, or blizzard-like conditions, where she's going, so I hope they all travel safely.

Here at home, the weather has dropped. A lot. What was in the sixties yesterday morning is in the low twenties this morning. Bluck. I'm not ready for winter yet.

But I'll tell you what I AM almost ready for.  Thursday!  There are three days left until my first public appearance as an author!!  I don't yet know how many other writers will be at the local author reception I'm going to on Thursday, but I hope there's a bunch so I don't stand out too much.

I have lots of stuff to take (besides my books, of course). My iPad is ready to give a slideshow of my books, plus I stole some dum-dum suckers from my husband to give out with my free postcards I'm going to take as well.  I also bought some flouresent-colored pencils and printed out my email address on some clear postage labels to stick on the pencils.  It doesn't look as home-done as I feared it would. So, check, on the free pencils I have to give out.  And I have my little fish bowl ready with a sign pasted on it for the giveaway I'm going to do.

I still need to get some extra cash in case someone actually wants to buy one of my books...I may need change to give back.  Then I wanted to get a few pens so people can fill out their names on the giveaway forms. And I'm hoping I can find a black plastic table cloth to put over the table and give it a little more pizzazz.

Watching me all aflutter this weekend as I prepared everything, my husband just shook his head and grinned at me. He thinks it's cute how excited I am.

So, that's what I'm all about this week.  I just hope I don't flub anything up.

In other news, I did a word count this morning, and if I was participating in Nano this month, I'd be just a little behind on my wordage.  I have 15,000 written so far this month. To be a track, a person should have 20,000 words done by the end of the today.  But I guess, the morning is still young.  Maybe (doubtfully) I can still plug in another five.

What are your big plans for this week?

First Author Appearance

Friday, November 9, 2012
Hey, I forgot I had a blog for a week or so there!  But I really didn't have anything to write home about so, yeah, I just didn't write.

But now I do. Both good news and sad news.

My aunt passed away on Tuesday. This hasn't been a good year for my mother. First her husband, then her sister. It's going to be so strange without Aunt Ruth. She lived the farthest (furthest?) away but she was the one who never missed out on sending a birthday card and always wrote a nice letter with it. It still amazes me when someone is that good about always getting out birthday cards, especially when you come from a huge family.  I never send them, and am still spotty on the whole Christmas card thing. 

Anyway, the world lost a very fine lady this week.

My mom will head out with some of her siblings on Sunday to attend the funeral in Montana. While she'll be gone, I'll have my first public appearance as an author.  The public library in Pittsburg, Kansas is starting an annual local author reception, and their first one will be next Thursday (November 15th) from 6pm to 7:30pm.  They sent out a call for any author in the area to reserve a spot at the reception. So, I contacted them. I'll have a table, where I can sign and sell some of my books. 

Every time I think about it, my stomach does all these weird twists and gurgles. So, I try not to think about it too much, because I'm all shy and awkward out in public, and I know I'll totally suck at this.  But I'm still really excited about it too (strange, I know).

I have pictures of all my book covers on my iPad, so I can set it up and run a repeating slide show at my booth. I also have an idea to put out a giveaway drawing where the winner can have any book of their choice. Do you think that would be an okay idea? Oh, and I have some freebie postcards and stuff people can take.  I wish I had pens or highlighters (as Jennifer Shirk says are really good freebies), but even if I ordered them now, they wouldn't be here in time.

Oh, well. We'll just see how it goes.

I got my new iPad this week.  And Amber Skyze was soooo right.  Lydia saw the new one and wanted to play on it instead.  But she hasn't gotten too upset when we told no.  She still has her own to play with. She and I sat on the couch last night and wasted the whole evening on them.  At one point, she lifted up her iPad to bump it with mine and said, "Cheers." I thought that was too cute.

And...that's about all I have to report today.

Oh, oh, oh! I guess I did have another thought. I've been reading a lot and I've discovered one thing I really like about some of my favorite romance stories: the amount of face time the hero and heroine have together.  It's making me worry I don't give my heroes and heroines in the stories I'm writing now enough time ALONE together to connect, and talk, and argue...and other things. I really like those scenes best where it's just the two of them sparking and creating chemistry.

What are your opinions on the subject?  Do you like a lot of background, outside characters and subplots taking away from the main romantic focus of the story? Or do you prefer most of it to be just the two of them doing their thing?

The iPad Thief

Friday, November 2, 2012
My thoughts and prayers are for everyone who was in the path of Sandy this week. I hope you're all doing okay. I'm also worried about my mom's oldest sister, Ruth from Montana, who's been in the hospital all week. She has some organ damage (I'm not sure if she had a stroke, heart attack, or what) but she now has some brain activity which was better than she was a few days ago.

Since all the big, bad stuff is happening everywhere else, it's pretty quiet in my little nook of the world and surprisingly warm weather for the end of October, though the cold is supposed to come in next week. No creepy-scary Halloween stories for me either. But my house did see A LOT more trick-or-treaters than it's ever seen before. That means, I gave candy to to nine kids--seven of them relatives, of course!

So I noticed during the set up for my book blog tour for The Color of Grace, that some people didn't receive some of the emails I sent them, or I didn't receive some of the emails THEY sent me. And I figured out the source to one of those problems the other day.

My daughter has taken over our iPad.  Yep, that's why. Whenever an incoming email comes in and pops up a message at the top of the screen, she gets excited and says, "I have an email!" Then she touches the message, which brings her into the email section. She must've watched me delete spam--a lot--because once she gets into the email screen, the first button she touches is the trash button.  So, yes, my kid has been deleting my emails as soon as they come in.

The iPad has become a glorified babysitter for whenever mom and dad want to get anything done, and she screams and rolls around on the floor throwing a fit whenever we "ground" her from it, plus it's good motivation device to get her to do something ("Oh, you want the iPad, huh? You have to eat your supper first. Ha!"), we can't keep it away from her forever.  Well, I guess, we could.  But she has us too well trained.  So our solution....

We've ordered another iPad. Yes, I'm humiliated to admit, the two-year-old has won this round.  All those times she's said, "It's my iPad," and we argued, "No, it's OUR iPad," well...we were just deluding ourselves. It was really her iPad.  So, mommy and daddy have ordered another for just them.

We'll see how this turns out.  And, yes, if you ever sent me an email to which I never replied, go ahead and send it again because it's possible the little heathen--I mean, angel--deleted it!

What kind of embarrassing things have your kids or pets trained YOU to do?? And please tell me this doesn't make me an awful parent...just really weak!

Just Another Monday

Monday, October 29, 2012
After being inside nearly all weekend with my kiddo, and the husband occasionally popping in and out with a couple of his friends dropping by while he was around, I was actually ready to come to work this morning, just to have a change of scenery.  It made me realize...I don't get out much. Hmm.  That's depressing.

But I did get some books read this weekend while my two-year-old was recuperating from her cold. It's been so long since I got to read, it was nice, though I had to steal the iPad while the kid wasn't looking to sneak in my reading time.

After that, there's not a whole of of excitement to share. 

Oh, except I got a nice review for The Color of Grace over on the blogs, Book Nerds Across America and LovLivLife Reviews. But to counter-balance them, I got a not-so-glowing one on Goodreads.

Oh, and the contest finalists for the 2013 Epic Awards have been announced. My buddy Miranda is a finalist for her romantic suspense, Framed as a Killer, but I didn't know any other finalists, just recognized a few names.

So, yeah, not lots going on with me. Reading, writing, working, spending time with the family.  What's up with you?

TGIF

Friday, October 26, 2012
Ack, it's Friday and I had nothing planned to talk about.

My kiddo's been sick this week.  She hasn't been sick since February, so I guess that was a good run. Running nose and constipation. It's actually number two (er, actually the lack of #2--hee hee, pun intended) that I'm most worried about. I just tried a couple things to help that along. NOT FUN.  My fingers are crossed that it works.

I'm still psyched about about the story I just finished writing!  The first person to read it (says she) stayed up until 1a.m. to finish it, liked the interesting plot and concluded that it was a great mature YA story. But she did have a few comments for correction. So, I'm looking into some solutions to correct them.

Otherwise, not much is going on with me.  Oh, I did read a blog post this week--an author interview--that really resonated with me.  I can't remember the blog name OR the author's name (sad, I'm only 33 and losing my memory this bad) but I remember (basically) what she said.  So I gotta share this tip that I loved.

In writing a romance, one thing that really gives the main couple good chemistry and romance is for the hero to actually adore the strangest, quirkiest features about the heroine. Everyone else can think she's weird for it, it may possibly make her an outcast, but it's actually what the hero likes most about her, because it makes her uniquely her!

Anyway, she said something along those lines. And I was like, holy cow, that's so true. It's one of those obvious kind of things but never really mentioned aloud.  But now that I've read it, I'm going through all these romance stories, thinking "Check! This story has that. Yep, that story has it too."

So, that was my revelation for the week. I know, I know. You all are like, "Congratulations, Linda. Welcome to 2012." But it's still all cool, newbreaking info for me, so WOW!  There's a good writing tip for you romance lovers out there.  You are welcome!

Hope you have a happy enema-free Friday...unlike my poor, little miserable two-year-old.




Author Secrets Revealed!

Monday, October 22, 2012
On Friday, we had some wonky facts listed and you had to see if you could guess which author was attributed to each fact!

Well let's see how well you guessed!



The Answers Revealed!

author of: IMMORTAL SURRENDER
Dark, Sexy Timeless Romance



C: I studied classical piano for close to fifteen years.

-I once owned a goat that walked on its two front legs in a continual handstand.

-Years ago, a roommate of mine set up a lunch date with Gerard Butler (prior to his fame) via connections with a charitable organization...then I kicked my roommate out and totally lost my chance to meet Gerard.  Oops!


~*~

author of: BALANCING ACT
Contemporary New Adult Romance



I: I fell off my bunk bed in college and ended up on crutches for two weeks. Never think you can just 'jump down' when startled; I wrestled with my desk chair and ended up spending two hours in the ER.

~*~

3. Marie Rose Dufour 
author of: SADDLE UP 
Contemporary & Paranormal Erotic Romance
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads

D: As a teenager, my dancing landed me a tv commercial and a segment on a local news broadcast.

-My dancing career ended when the director of a local ballet company told me I had a body better made for the Foxy Lady (a strip club) than the ballet stage.

-I still remember the license plate number of the first boy I ever had a crush on.

-When my husband walked through the door at Friendly's Ice Cream when I was 16, I knew I was going to marry him.

-My entire extended family is addicted to going to Disney World.


~*~


4. Diane Estrella
author of:  THAT'S WHAT I'M HERE FOR
Middle School Storyteller, Blogger Extraordinaire
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads

E: I flew out to Arizona to go to the set of The Young Riders so I could meet the cast.

~*~


5. Laura Josephsen
author of: RESISTANCE
Science Fiction Adventure
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads

H: I spent my honeymoon in the hospital because my husband contracted malaria in Panama's Darien Jungle several weeks before our wedding. Then he got pneumonia on top of it.

~*~

6. Linda Kage
author of: THE COLOR OF GRACE
Contemporary YA & Adult Romance
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads

F: In junior college, I had a suite mate who was a hermaphrodite that liked to smoke pot and wanted to be a minister when she (he?) graduated.

-Oh, and I played clarinet in the middle school band.

~*~

7. Carol Kilgore
atuhor of: IN NAME ONLY 
Crime Fiction with a Kiss 
website | blogfacebook | twitter | goodreads

G: I once received applause for parallel parking outside a busy restaurant … because it took me ten minutes to get the car into the space.


~*~

8. Nancy J. Parra
Author of GLUTEN FOR PUNISHMENT
Cozy Gluten-free Bakery Mystery
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads

A: Up until 14 years ago I was terrified of dogs...

~*~


9. Jennifer Shirk
author of: SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM 
Fun, Feel-Good Romantic Fiction
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads

B:  I was once in a beauty pageant my senior year in high school (Miss Cosmopolitan). The winner went on to be Miss New Jersey, who then went on to be Miss America. I played piano as my talent.I didn't place, but the judges did send a message to me saying they wanted to see me again the next year. But I ignored it and gave up pageants when I went to college thus ending my beauty contestant era.

~*~

So...how many did you get right??:

Name that Author!

Friday, October 19, 2012
I was in the mood to have a little fun today, so I enlisted the help of a couple friends to get this post set up!

First, I'll introduce the authors who decided to play and give you some of their details, and links, and such in case you feel the need to research their background first.

Then I will share an unknown tidbit or two or however many that author gave about themselves (sorry, I couldn't choose just one), and you try to match up which author said what.

These ladies may be masters of the craft of make-believe, but all their facts here are true. Honest! 

Okay, let's play!

Introducing the Authors:

1. Claire Ashgrove
author of: IMMORTAL SURRENDER
Dark, Sexy Timeless Romance
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads


2. Molly Daniels
author of: BALANCING ACT
Contemporary New Adult Romance
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads 


3. Marie Rose Dufour 
author of: SADDLE UP 
Contemporary & Paranormal Erotic Romance
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads


4. Diane Estrella
author of:  THAT'S WHAT I'M HERE FOR
Middle School Storyteller, Blogger Extraordinaire
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads


5. Laura Josephsen
author of: RESISTANCE
Science Fiction Adventure
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads


6. Linda Kage
author of: THE COLOR OF GRACE
Contemporary YA & Adult Romance
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads


7. Carol Kilgore
atuhor of: IN NAME ONLY 
Crime Fiction with a Kiss 
website | blogfacebook | twitter | goodreads


8. Nancy J. Parra
Author of GLUTEN FOR PUNISHMENT
Cozy Gluten-free Bakery Mystery
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads


9. Jennifer Shirk
author of: SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM 
Fun, Feel-Good Romantic Fiction
website | blog | facebook | twitter | goodreads



And Here Is Their Spiel:

~*~

A: Up until 14 years ago I was terrified of dogs...

~*~


B:  I was once in a beauty pageant my senior year in high school (Miss Cosmopolitan). The winner went on to be Miss New Jersey, who then went on to be Miss America. I played piano as my talent.I didn't place, but the judges did send a message to me saying they wanted to see me again the next year. But I ignored it and gave up pageants when I went to college thus ending my beauty contestant era.

~*~


C: I studied classical piano for close to fifteen years.

-I once owned a goat that walked on its two front legs in a continual handstand.

-Years ago, a roommate of mine set up a lunch date with Gerard Butler (prior to his fame) via connections with a charitable organization...then I kicked my roommate out and totally lost my chance to meet Gerard.  Oops!


~*~

D: As a teenager, my dancing landed me a tv commercial and a segment on a local news broadcast.

-My dancing career ended when the director of a local ballet company told me I had a body better made for the Foxy Lady (a strip club) than the ballet stage.

-I still remember the license plate number of the first boy I ever had a crush on.

-When my husband walked through the door at Friendly's Ice Cream when I was 16, I knew I was going to marry him.

-My entire extended family is addicted to going to Disney World.


~*~


E: I flew out to Arizona to go to the set of The Young Riders so I could meet the cast.

~*~

F: In junior college, I had a suite mate who was a hermaphrodite that liked to smoke pot and wanted to be a minister when she (he?) graduated.

-Oh, and I played clarinet in the middle school band.

~*~

G: I once received applause for parallel parking outside a busy restaurant … because it took me ten minutes to get the car into the space.

~*~

H: I spent my honeymoon in the hospital because my husband contracted malaria in Panama's Darien Jungle several weeks before our wedding. Then he got pneumonia on top of it.

~*~

I: I fell off my bunk bed in college and ended up on crutches for two weeks. Never think you can just 'jump down' when startled; I wrestled with my desk chair and ended up spending two hours in the ER.

~*~

We'll reveal which author goes with which interesting fact on Monday!!!













Blog Tour WINNERS!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WINNERS

Ellen Gault
-The $30 Amazon gift card tour-wide prize.

Ana @ BookSpark
-A hardback of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants from My Blog
-A hardback copy of Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke from My Blog
-A hardback copy of Dead Girls Don't Write Letters by Gail Giles from My Blog
-A hardback copy of Hoot by Carl Hiaasen from My Blog
-A hardback copy of Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli from My Blog
-A hardback copy of Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix from My Blog
-A hardback copy of The Candidates by Inara Scott from My Blog
-A hardback copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak from My Blog

Jennifer Shirk
-A hardback copy of The Hunger Games from My Blog

Melanie G.
-A paperback copy of The Stillburrow Crush by Linda Kage from My Blog
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ Readergirl

Deborah Malone
- Color of Grace eye shadow and illuminator from Diane Estrella's Blog

Heather Poindexter
-A paperback of The Color of Grace from I Am a Reader Not a Writer

Mary Vine
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace by Linda Kage from My Blog

Caitlin Greco
-A paperback of The Color of Grace from Goodreads

Andrea N.
-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ Me, My Shelf, and I

Vic
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace from Books For Company

Jaclyn Hall
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace from A Tasty Read

Yahong
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace from Book Labyrinth

L. Lam
-An ebook copy of The Color of Grace from The Romance Reviews

Christina T.
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ I Heart YA Books

Alex S.
-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ Totally Bookalicious

CONTEST OVER - But Winner Not Yet Drawn


-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ Mom Loves 2 Read

-Fingerless red and black striped gloves @ Mom Loves 2 Read

-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace One A Day Y.A.

-A rose necklace @ Reading Angel


Contests Still Open:


-An Ebook of The Color of Grace @ Tumbling in Books (Contest ends Oct 18th)

-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ Squiggles Reviews (Contest ends Oct 19th)

-Red & Black arm warmers @Squiggles Reviews (Contest ends Oct 19th)

-Touch screen gloves @ Books and Beyond (Contest ends soon)

-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ BookSpark (Contest ends Oct 21st)

-A paperback copy of The Color of Grace @ Romancing the Book (Contest ends Oct 21st)

Okay, It's OVER!!

Monday, October 15, 2012
Since I've been going a little insane promoting my new book in a blog tour for the past two weeks, I kind of checked out on my regular ol' blogging for a while. So, while I've been blabbing on about the story that shall not be named today, here's what I was up to in real life:

-Had a birthday. My husband got me some shelves to organize my finished manuscripts in my library closet. Now I can pull out any given box I need without having to remove the seven boxes piled on top of it first!!

-Carved a pumpkin with the kiddo and hubby! Our first family jack-o-lantern...awww!


-Got my hair chopped short! (as you can probably see in the picture)

-Learned a fellow author at Champagne Books had died. The only contact I had with Jim Woods was when I interviewed him on my blog back in 2010. HERE. His interview had one of the biggest turnouts my blog has ever seen, so I can tell he must be missed by many right now.

-I contracted a story to a new publisher. Woot! (more about that later)

-I finished a writing a WIP. 80,000 words scribbled out in two months. I'm impressed with myself. It's my first attempt at new-adult (new adult = too old for young adult, too young for straight adult).

-I started a couple other WIPS!

-I visited some family I hadn't seen in a while.

-I finally read Fifty Shades of Gray. Took me a while to get through it, so it's the only thing I read these past two weeks.

-And....I got through my latest book blog tour. It was fun, challenging, I met lots of wonderful new people, got some amazing reviews for my story, and am satisfied with the results. But next time, I think I'll just pay someone to take care of it...see what the difference in the two are!

I'll announce all the different prize winners from the tour on Wednesday! Your name may be on the list, so make sure to come back and check it out!

What have you been up to in these last couple of weeks?

Win a Copy of "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

Friday, October 12, 2012
LAST DAY!

YAY!!! We've made it to the twelth and final day of my big blog book tour for The Color of Grace. Whew!

Today, the grand finale book to win here is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

To get a hardback copy of The Book Thief, simply play the scavenger hunt by visiting every stop on the tour for today and finding the answer to this question:

On which month and day did Linda Kage's (that's me's) first kiss happen?

When you have your answer, type it in the comments section on this blog post. One lucky name I draw from all the correct answers, WINS the book!

Today, I’ll be at five different places.

So, you are cordially invited to attend:

#1

What : An interview.

Hosted by : Ivy from Ivy B Misbehavin'

Where : at http://ivybmisbehavin.blogspot.com/ *Caution: There is an adult content warning on this blog, but today's post is all-age friendly*

Why : Because it’s the grand finale for my Book Tour!

Prizes : If you visit Ivy and comment on my interview post before October 15th, you will have a chance to win the tour’s grand prize – a $30 Amazon gift card.

#2

What : A Guest Post (called "That was so five-minutes ago")


Hosted by : Fran from Books and Beyond

Where : http://www.booksandbeyond.net/

Why : To celebrate the last day of The Book Tour!

Prizes : If you visit Books and Beyond and comment on the post there before October 15th, you will have a chance to win the tour’s grand prize – a $30 Amazon gift card.

PLUS, there is also a chance to win a totally awesome touch screen gloves on Books and Beyond today.

#3

What : An ebook Giveaway of The Color of Grace


Hosted by : The Romance Reviews

Where : http://www.theromancereviews.com/

Why : Pretty much to celebrate the END of this tour, woo hoo!

Prize : an ebook of The Color of Grace.

#4

What : A puzzle plus a paperback giveaway of The Color of Grace


Hosted by : Romancing the Book Blog

Where : http://romancing-the-book.com/

Why : Because it's all over!

Prize : a paperback copy of The Color of Grace.

#5

What : A review and giveaway

Hosted by : Fara from Tumbling in Books

Where : http://tumblinginbooks.blogspot.com/

Why : The fat lady is SINGING!

Prizes : If you visit Fara and comment on the post there before October 15th, you will have a chance to win the tour’s grand prize – a $30 Amazon gift card.

PLUS there is an added giveaway for an ebook of The Color of Grace on Tumbling in Books today as well!

***
Have fun hunting for that answer...and maybe learning a little about my new book while you're at it!

All the winners of all the tour prizes will be announced Wednesday, October 17th!

Win a copy of "The Candidates (Delcroix Academy #1)" by Inara Scott

Thursday, October 11, 2012
DAY ELEVEN!

Today is the second to last day of my book tour for The Color of Grace and if you want to win a book, you've come to the right place.

On Day Eleven, the book to win is The Candidates (Delcroix Academy #1) by Inara Scott.

To get a hardback copy of The Candidates, simply play the scavenger hunt by visiting every stop on the tour for today and finding the answer to this question:

In the Color of Grace, who said "How pathetic do I have to get? I’m asking why you don’t like me."?

When you have your answer, jot it down in the comments section on this blog post. One lucky name I draw from all the correct answers, WINS the book!

Today, I’ll be at three different places.

So, you are cordially invited to attend:

#1

What : A review of The Color of Grace.

Hosted by : Val from Stuck in Books

Where : at http://stuckinbooks.com/

Why : Because it’s Day ELEVEN for my Book Tour!

Prizes : If you visit Stuck in Books and comment on the post there before October 15th, you will have a chance to win the tour’s grand prize – a $30 Amazon gift card.

#2

What : An Interview and Giveaway

Hosted by : Stacey from Squiggles Reviews

Where : http://squigglesreviews.blogspot.com/

Why : To celebrate the second to last day of The Book Tour!

Prizes : If you visit Squiggles and comment on the post before October 15th, you will have a chance to win the tour’s grand prize – a $30 Amazon gift card.

PLUS, you also have a chance to win a paperback of The Color of Grace AND a nifty red and black striped pair of arm warmers!

#3

What : A Guest Post (Vote on a quote battle between characters in The Color of Grace)

Hosted by : Kayla from Bengal Reads

Where : http://www.bengalreads.com/ (Kayla became a busy college girl this year, so she might be too preoccupied to get the post up today. Since today's question comes from her blog, I'll give you a hint: that quote comes from the hero. Now all you have to do is figure out his name!!)

Why : A little louder this time...To celebrate the second to last day of The Book Tour!!

Prizes : If you visit Bengal Reads and comment on the post there before October 15th, you will have a chance to win the tour’s grand prize – a $30 Amazon gift card.

***
Have fun hunting for that answer...and maybe learning a little about my new book while you're at it!