Thursday, January 28, 2010

The End...Or Is It?

I'm blogging today over at the Vauxhall Vixens. We're talking about endings in romance novels and whether they still have to be the of the happily ever after variety. Come join in the discussion.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seriously Awesome!

A seriously awesome review of The Morning After from Seriously Reviewed!

Ho-dee-doe! Really nice shorty with a touch of sneaky, a bit of good and a bunch of YEAH, BABY!!!!!!

Check out the full review here. Thank you!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Missing in Action

Sorry I've been MIA the last little while. You know how real life can start to kick you in the butt and demand your attention? That happened to me. Things aren't close to settling down just yet, so I'll apologize again for the infrequency of future posts. However, please take a gander at some fabulous new and upcoming releases from these fabulous authors:

Available Now:

Storm of Shadows by Christina Dodd

Brilliant but predictable and proper Rosamund Hill has lived her life buried in universities and libraries, discounting the legend of the Chosen as a myth. Until Aaron Eagle shows up at her door. Aaron both unsettles and enthralls her. But she can't resist his irresistible offers of clandestine visits to private museums, the hunt for a mysterious prophecy, or a makeover that unleashes her untamed soul. With the promise of a love that will defy fate itself, Rosamund is forced to confront the truth about the Chosen — and the man who sweeps her into a dangerous world of dark secrets.

Winter Kiss by Deborah Cooke

For millennia, the shape-shifting dragon warriors known as the Pyr have commanded the four elements and guarded the earth's treasures. But now the final reckoning between the Pyr and the dreaded slayers is about to begin...

The mysterious Dragon's Blood Elixir gives immortality to Magnus, the Pyr's greatest enemy, and his minions-so it must be destroyed. Outcast from the Pyr because of his own dangerous impulses, Delaney will do anything to vanquish Magnus-and vows to complete a mission which will either redeem him or end his suffering.

But his plans don't take into account his sudden firestorm-or the hot- tempered Ginger Sinclair. The firestorm reforms Delaney closer to his old self. And when Ginger learns about Delaney's scheme, she cannot resist a strong man with a noble agenda.

Coming Soon:

Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole


Lucia the Huntress: as mysterious as she is exquisite, she harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her -- and those she loves.


Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own.


From the shadows, Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia's greatest weakness -- her wanton desire for him.

No Quarter by Christine D'Abo

When bounty hunter Gar Stitt is on the trail of his mark, everyone knows their days are numbered. When he is given a simple locate and retrieve mission, he’s convinced it is a waste of his skills.

There isn’t a more prolific space pirate in the galaxy than Captain Faolan Wolf. When he walks into a bar with a proposition heavy in mind, he’s not expecting anything to go wrong.

Forced from his solitary existence to work with Faolan, Gar can’t deny his attraction to a man who he should put in prison. When the hunter becomes the hunted, Gar must learn to put his faith in a man he doesn’t know, or run the risk of ending up dead.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Guest Blogging

Hi!! I'm a guest over at Leah Braemel's blog here!

And here at Christine D'Abo's blog!

Come on by for a visit.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Release Day!

It's release day for my new contemporary, The Morning After, and I'm blogging over at the Vixens today to celebrate.

I'm also a guest at The Black Raven Cafe with a really great interview and a giveaway!

Stop on by!

Monday, January 11, 2010

GUEST AUTHOR: Tracey Cramer-Kelly

JK Coi: Everyone please welcome my guest today, Tracey Cramer-Kelly, author of the book Last Chance Rescue. I asked her how her background in the military impacts her writing, and she had this to say:

I wasn’t a very good soldier. In fact, people often react with bemused surprise when they find out. “You?” they say. “You took orders from others?”

Not very well, I admit…but I was young!

I might have made a good officer, though. I was already bossy (as three of my younger siblings can attest to) and a bit of a control freak.

But I like to think I was a good medic. Where I responded to Army ‘regiment’ with near-distain, what I was trained for had the opposite effect: I loved it. I loved splinting a broken leg. Inserting an IV. Dressing a sucking chest wound.

Of course I approached my training with a ‘proper’ level of seriousness…but it was a sort of conceptual play. I joined to help pay my way through college (my real aspiration); never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be activated.

Desert Storm changed that. One day I came home to a blink on my answering machine (remember those?) and a message from my Sergeant: “call me immediately.” My friend said I lost all color in my face; my legs went shaky and I had to sit down. Turns out that the Military Police unit that shared our armory had been activated and the purpose for the call was to reschedule our monthly training. For the first time, it occurred to me that I might have to defend our country somewhere half-way around the world. That was not in my plans!

I had a lot of military friends. My BFF was Air Force ROTC, and she introduced me to my college flame, who was also an Air Force cadet. Today an ex-Air Force physician is one of my SMEs (Subject Matter Expert). Good friends from church lost their son in Iraq. And I have many motorcycling acquaintances who are involved with the Patriot Guard.

There was (is?) also a side to the military lifestyle that challenged every moral I was brought up with: the casual sex, the easy changing of partners, the marital cheating, even borderline harrassment. When you’re immersed in an environment, you start to think it’s perfectly acceptable. Now I find that fascinating as fodder for characters.

The Army that I trained in is undoubtedly a different Army now—it has to be. Instead of broken legs, medics deal with ‘blown-off’ legs (or other body parts). It’s not just bullets that kill; it’s shrapnel. Traumatic head injury—common now—was barely covered in my training.

So how has my experience in the military affected my writing?

I think everything I write is affected by what I’ve experienced. I tend to view my experiences through a lens that others don’t have (‘how can I use this?’) Yes, there’s a healthy dose of imagination and plenty of creative license, but a seed has to be sown somewhere, and for me it is often the dual experience of military training and medical training.

I made the heroine of Last Chance Rescue (Jessie) an Iraq war veteran and gave her some of the qualities I saw in my fellow soldiers/medics (and perhaps myself). I did that because I enjoy writing medical drama, and because it gave her depth and plenty of ways for me to develop her character—and to have an impact on those closest to her (e.g., Brad).

What fascinates me now about today’s military is the juxtaposition between service to country and service to family. This inherent conflict is something I’m exploring in a short story (“The Heroes Left Behind”) and also in my current novel-in-progress (you can read more about that at

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A New Year

We had a blast this holiday season. I'm glad that I had finished my book before Christmas (1 week before) because there was no time from that point until now to do anything but hang on for the ride.

We had a whirlwind Christmas, visiting family and eating great food, and in between I even had to work at the day job a few days.

For New Years Eve we went to Niagara Falls and spent the night at the Great Wolf Lodge--which kiddo absolutely LOVED! They had a great party with lights and balloons and lots of loud, sparkly fireworks. It was awesome. When we got home, it was to spend the last few days of the holiday resting on the couch before school and work started up again this week.

But now that everything is getting back to its normal routine, my writing must as well. Which means I'm in editing mode. I don't mind editing. I like the exercise of going back over my manuscript and finding those gems of beautiful writing. When it can still make me cry or laugh the second and third time around, then I know I'm going to keep it. But part of this process is also to find what isn't working and strive to fix it, which can be challenging, but of course will make the book much better.

In between all of this, I'm excited for my new release. Look for The Morning After very very soon from Ellora's Cave.

I'll also be starting a new project very shortly. I'm not positive on the details yet--the ideas are still turning in my brain right now--but I'll be sure to let you know when I've got worked out.

Monday, January 04, 2010

GUEST AUTHOR: Amber Leigh Williams

Don’t you just love rogue secondary characters? Recently, I blogged at the Romance Junkies about one such character who threw the sync of my entire paranormal series into disarray and now is getting his own book.

The one time I thought I had secondary characters under control—while writing my first western romance, the first novella in my Wayback, TX trilogy BLACKEST HEART—my critique partner practically begged me to write at least one of the heroine’s brothers’ stories. Yeah, okay. The whole Wayback venture had been somewhat of a writing experiment. Not only had I never written a western, I’d never packed a full-blown romance into a 30K novella. Stepping out of my comfort zone paid off big time. The story was contracted by my publisher, placed 1st in the 2009 More Than Magic Contest’s Novella category, and is the subject of most of my fan mail. And it was fun, the whole experience. I decided my CP was right and a short jaunt back to Wayback was in order.

In BLACKEST HEART, we explore not only actress Stella Ridge’s Texas roots and the town of Wayback but the rodeo circuit as well. My one and only time at the rodeo didn’t reel me into western romance. In fact, it wasn’t until I read Nora Roberts’ Lawless and Wendi Darlin’s Cowboy Games and Hired Hands that I fell in love with the genre and all its possibilities. Not only are the heroes of my Wayback trilogy ranch cowboys, they are rodeo cowboys as well. I went into the research open-minded, wanting to explore different aspects of the competition. The hero of BLACKEST HEART, silent cowboy Judd Black, therefore became a bull rider. In his preliminary scene, readers experience what it’s like to spend eight seconds on the bucking back of Jack the Ripper. I loved getting into the mindset of the cowboy, watching videos of bull riders, gauging both the physical and mental approach to the sport.

My CP dropped heavy hints that she wanted to see Stella’s “good boy” brother Casey find love. Probably because I dropped not-so-subtle hints in BLACKEST HEART that he has a thing for the “bad girl” of Wayback, Josie Brusky. With Casey, I had set him up as a calf-roper in the first story and explored that further through research in the second, BLUEST HEART. In the first draft of the manuscript, however, my CP caught my misinterpretation of calf-roping. In the rodeo scenes, Casey throws a perfect lasso over the calf’s head in record time and the crowd goes wild. That was it. The rodeo newbie that I was left out the part where the calf-roper is supposed to jump off his horse and tie the legs of the calf.

Something else that BLUEST HEART taught me was writing the so-called “bad” character. She came into BLACKEST HEART with a reputation. Confronting that in the second story was a daunting process. None of my previous heroes or heroines came into their stories with bad reps. Josie is known throughout Wayback as the daughter of the town bigot and the local harlot. Every straight cowboy of age from Wayback to nearby Moss Creek is said to have knocked boots on Josie’s bed. The contrasts between Josie and Casey, however, seemed to fall to the wayside within the first draft. They automatically clicked. Much of it had to do with their backstory. They fell in love as teenagers before Josie escaped to Austin to pursue an ill-fated music career. Since her return, Casey’s patience is wearing thin waiting for her to realize he’s still in love with her and wants her for all the right reasons, unconditionally. I didn’t expect the character of Josie to turn out sympathetic, but first readers of the final draft connected with her on a level I never expected and even went out and bought BLACKEST HEART to go with it!

When my western editor contracted BLUEST HEART, the oldest Ridge brother, Keefe, really started to nettle my muse. With the final story in the Ridge family saga, I was going from bad girl to bad boy. Keefe is the playboy. The rake. The all-around wild one of Wayback. While Josie’s like tendencies were a struggle to morph into the role of heroine, Keefe turned out to be just plain fun—probably because I threw the bad boy a curveball in the form of Stella’s Yankee talent agent, Calli Morlani. Experiencing the down and dirty western town through the eyes of this city slicker was one of the most entertaining moves of my career. And Keefe the bronc-busting cowpoke allowed me to explore the sexy cowboy hero from a fresh angle one more rip-roarin’ time, rounding out my Wayback journey in an exciting way!

BLACKEST HEART is available now in ebook and in the paperback anthology THE WAY BACK HOME

BLUEST HEART launches January 6th and Keefe’s story, BET IT ON MY HEART, will follow shortly after in the Spring. All January long I’m celebrating western romance at my blog, The Cozy Page, with the Cowboy Lovin’ event. Join western romance authors Alison Kent, Beth Williamson, Wendi Darlin and many more for cowboy excerpts, eye candy, round robins and tons of free goodies up for grabs! Warm up the winter nights, kick up your boots, and join the party!

Many thanks to J.K. for letting me ramble here at Living With Immortals!

Amber Leigh Williams

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Morning After


My new quickie is up on the Ellora's Cave Coming Soon page!! It makes me very excited to be able to let you know that its release date is January 12, 2010.

Here's the blurb and an excerpt to whet your appetite!

Waking up naked in bed with a man’s arms holding you close wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing…except when that man is your husband.

Leslie has tried so hard to put Leo’s betrayal behind her—the ink was almost dry on the divorce papers. But when circumstances throw her in bed with her estranged husband one last explosive time, Leslie learns how quickly anger can turn to passion and hurt can turn to need, even while she knows there’s no way she can ever trust him again.

What Leslie considers goodbye, Leo insists is only the beginning. But the damage between them runs too deep, and sometimes, the only thing more devastating than the night before, is the morning after...


Consciousness came slowly.

It started with a groan, a deep breath, and a fuzzy sense that all was not as it should be this bright new morning. Indeed, the fact that warm light penetrated her still-closed eyelids at all was worrisome, since her large bedroom windows should have been covered by the heavy, thick drapes she’d spent a small fortune to have custom made.

The sunshine wasn’t her only reason for coming to the conclusion that this morning would offer a few extra challenges. The relentless pounding in her temples, and her pasty, dry throat was also a pretty big clue.

Being buck naked beneath the soft cotton sheet was another.

However, the biggest and most compelling sign that Leslie Stevenson was in serious trouble on this particular morning came courtesy of the heavy, even breaths raising gooseflesh on the skin of her nape. The warm, wide chest pressed up against her back. The thickly-muscled arm draped over her waist. The hand cupping the weight of her breast. Especially when her memory of just how the as-yet-unnamed—and very naked—man might have ended up in this bed with her was proving to be an elusive one.

Daring to open her eyes, Leslie bit back an oath as a fresh spike of pain knifed through her forehead to the back of her skull. She didn’t think she’d had that much to drink last night.

How did I get here? Why can’t I remember?

Lifting her arm, she moved to push her hair out of her face, but stilled suddenly as the hand around her breast…squeezed.

She held a harshly drawn breath, waiting nervously. Was her mystery bedmate awake then, or just a grabby sleeper? Could she somehow slip out of here without having to endure the awkward morning after, since it seemed she didn’t even have the benefit of memories from the night before to make said awkwardness worthwhile?

She shifted her hips and started a slow shuffle out from under him, but didn’t get very far. The arm tightened around her waist, pulling her back into the cradle of his solid, warm flesh. She gasped as bold evidence of a raging morning hard-on pressed intimately against her buttocks. The hand clutching her breast repositioned itself, a calloused thumb flicking across her nipple—which tightened beneath this stranger’s bold touch. Her body betrayed her, sending a sharp thrum of intensity to her belly until she wanted to thrust her hips back harder against his erection.

She groaned and shut her eyes tightly as his hips pushed forward, as his cock slid deeper into the crack of her ass. Damn. There should be at least some small nugget of memory to tell her how she’d gotten herself into this particular tight spot, but the details of last night weren’t becoming any clearer, even as soft lips dropped to the curve of her shoulder.

It shouldn’t feel this good. To be held. To be touched.

She remembered her determination to go to the ritzy nightclub last night. Kind of a test. She also remembered forcing her feet to cross the threshold, and then making her way to the bar on the other side of the dark room. She’d ordered a drink in an attempt to numb her scrambled nerves. Leslie and crowds certainly didn’t mix, but she’d been working so hard to overcome the irrational phobia that had made her feel like such a freak for so many years.

But last night she’d felt strong, even though her temples had ached and her fingers shook while she waited patiently for David. Then came the call on her cell phone to say that he was working late and couldn’t make it. And she remembered all her hard-won strength falling away, proving that it had been nothing but a flimsy mask. She had lurched up from the barstool, desperate to be gone from that place.


He appeared across the dance floor.

With a gasp, Leslie clutched the bed sheet to her chest in a tight fist. She twisted around and glared into the face of the last person she should find herself naked in bed with…

Her husband.