Archive | June 2014

ORACON 2014 and the Ozark Romance Authors

ORACON 2014, put on by the Ozarks Romance Authors (“ORA”), will take place this year on September 20, 2014. This one-day conference is a gem tucked into the heart of the Missouri Ozarks. In addition to panelists talking about publishing today and the craft of writing, attendees to the event receive a goody bag filled with generous gifts from authors.

The event is not just for romance authors.  The fundamentals of good writing are universal, and attendees will learn vital information about the publishing industry, no matter the genre they write. In addition, the winner will be announced of the 2014 Weta Nichols Fiction Writing Contest, named in honor of novelist Weta Nichols, the woman who founded ORA in 1987. (The contest is open until July 15, for those interested in submitting the first chapter to an unpublished novel.)

ORA also offers a promotional opportunity to writers. Specifically, ORA invites authors to send 100-120 items of non-paper promo for inclusion in the gift bags for attendees. Items such as pens, note pads, books and lip balms are all very much appreciated. In addition, authors can submit paper promotional items for a fee of $10. Items must be sent by August 21. Details can be found at ORA’s site.

ORACON will be held at the University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center in Springfield, MO. Registration also entitles attendees to sign up for one 10-minute pitch session with one of the following persons, based upon availability:

The lineup of speakers and panelists include each of the foregoing, and:

  • Angie Fox, New York Times bestselling author of books about vampires, werewolves and things that go bump in the night.
  • Mia Marlowe, award winning author and RITA award finalist for her novel PLAID TIDINGS.
  • Leigh Michaels, Author-Editor-Teacher, author of nearly 100 books, including 80 contemporary novels, three historical romance novels, and more than a dozen non-fiction books.

ORA’s membership is open to all genres. ORA not only has romance authors, but its members include writers from all genres — mystery, mainstream, Christian romance, inspirational, YA, paranormal, science fiction, memoirs, non-fiction and many more. Feel free to contact ORA at OzarksRomanceAuthors@gmail.com for more details, or join ORA at The Library Station (Frisco Room) in Springfield, MO, the first Saturday of each month (except this July).

Rita Nominees: Focus of Short Contemporary Romance

The Rita Award finalists for Short Contemporary Romance are novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are less than 65,000 words in length (within a 5% margin of error). The main focus of the novel and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic.

Below is a rundown of the finalists in this category for the 2014 award.

Short Contemporary Romance

A Conflict of Interest
by Barbara Dunlop
Harlequin, Desire
Charles Griemsman, editor

She tried to stay away from him….

More than once, White House PR specialist Cara Cranshaw has considered that reporter Max Gray might want her only because he can’t have her.

Given their work, a relationship is dicey—and impossible now that the president has taken office.

For Max, their relationship may be a lark, a fling—maybe she’s just another woman in the long line that forms a part of his bachelor lifestyle.

But for her, what they have is different. She’s all but given him her heart. And now she is having his baby.

Free Fall
by Karen Foley
Harlequin, Blaze
Brenda Chin, editor

Subject:
Lt. Commander Jack Callahan

Mission:
A high-flying maneuver…with tantalizing perks!

Being stationed at a naval base on Whidbey Island is a dream come true for Navy pilot Jack Callahan. But when a late-night encounter on a beach with a stunning woman turns scorchin’ hot, Jack’s dream starts resembling an X-rated fantasy….

Three weeks in her hometown is nothing short of torture for photographer Maggie Copeland. The town hasn’t forgotten she was dumped at the altar by an aviator, and neither has she—until her naughty rendezvous with the oh-so-scrumptious stranger! But then Maggie learns that Jack is a pilot. Can she resist the force of their sexual chemistry…or will she find herself falling for another flyboy?

Her Accidental Boyfriend
by Robin Bielman
Entangled Publishing, Bliss
Stacy Abrams and Wendy Chen, editors

Kagan Owens has a secret. One she thought she’d escaped by leaving New York, but when her past follows her to her temporary new life, Kagan lets a teeny lie slip. And now the town’s biggest playboy and flirt, Shane Sullivan, has become her pretend boyfriend—just until she’s ready to return to NYC. But the handsome, fun-loving Shane makes it tough to determine where their friendly agreement begins and ends…

Shane has no intention of settling down—in fact, his job depends on it, and nothing’s more important than his work. Still, he can’t help but agree to Kagan’s scheme, if only to find out more about the mysterious beauty. But when every touch from her sets his heart and body on fire, he realizes playing an accidental boyfriend may be more than he bargained for—and more than he can give.

Her Secret, His Baby
by Tanya Michaels
Harlequin, American Romance
Johanna Raisanen, editor

Surprise! You’re a Daddy!

Life’s been full of surprises lately for rancher Garrett Frost-and not in a good way. His mother has just dropped a bombshell about his past, so Garrett takes some time away to come to terms with family secrets. And who should he run into but Arden Cade, the beautiful photographer who shared a single night of passion with Garrett six months ago. He is even more shocked when he discovers she’s pregnant-and he’s the daddy.

To make matters worse, Arden hadn’t even planned on telling Garrett about the baby. Despite her lies, Garrett is determined to be a good father. He’s not the type to cut and run, and he can’t deny that he’s falling for Arden all over again. But he’ll have to find a way to forgive her betrayal…and make peace with that skeleton in the family closet.

A Royal without Rules
by Caitlin Crews
Harlequin, Presents
Megan Haslam, editor

The most debauched man in the kingdom of Kitzinia— if not the entire world!

Royal PA Adriana Righetti is no stranger to scandal. But Prince Pato takes it to a whole new level. His infamous liaisons make for exceptionally disreputable reading!

Her latest assignment, keeping the playboy prince out of the headlines before his brother’s wedding, is mission impossible. Particularly as Pato is intent on ruffling her seemingly uptight feathers!

But when the cameras aren’t looking, Adriana sees behind his careless facade, and wonders—is there more to this rebel royal than the world knows?

Why Resist a Rebel?
by Leah Ashton
Harlequin KISS
Meg Lewis, editor

Giving in to temptation never felt so good!

Ruby Bell has put scandal and relationships behind her to forge a successful career in film. Then the talk of Hollywood himself, actor Devlin Cooper, strolls onto her Outback set—fired from his two previous movies, and looking decidedly tempting! The last thing Ruby needs is Dev making outrageous demands and causing her to question her “no romance at work” rule….

But what’s a girl to do when Dev’s taking her on a lavish date one moment, then calling “cut” on their growing closeness the next? What exactly does he want with her—and what’s causing the shadows behind those famous blue eyes? Now she’s too intrigued to walk away….

Rita Nominees: Focus on Paranormal

Here is a rundown of the 2014 finalists in the category of Paranormal Romance for this year’s RITA AWARDS:

The Burning Sky
by Sherry Thomas
HarperCollins Publishers, Balzer & Bray
Donna Bray, editor

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he’s also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

Caged Warrior
by Lindsey Piper
Pocket Books
Lauren McKenna, editor

The first installment in this fierce and sensual new paranormal romance series features demonic gladiators, ruthless mafia villains, and a proud race on the brink of extinction.

Ten years ago, Audrey MacLaren chose to marry her human lover, making her an exile from the Dragon Kings, an ancient race of demons once worshiped as earthly gods. Audrey and her husband managed to conceive, and their son is the first natural-born Dragon King in a generation—which makes him irresistible to the sadistic scientist whose mafia-funded technology allows demon procreation. In the year since her husband was murdered, Audrey and her little boy have endured hideous experiments.

Shackled with a collar and bound for life, Leto Garnis is a Cage warrior. Only through combat can Dragon Kings earn the privilege of conceiving children. Leto uses his superhuman speed and reflexes to secure the right for his two sisters to start families. After torture reveals Audrey’s astonishing pyrokenesis, she is sent to fight in the Cages. If she survives a year, she will be reunited with her son. Leto is charged with her training. Initially, he has no sympathy for her plight. But if natural conception is possible, what has he been fighting for? As enemies, sparring partners, lovers, and eventual allies, Leto and Audrey learn that in a violent underground world, love is the only prize worth winning.

Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar
by Lexi George
Kensington Publishing Corp., Brava
Alicia Condon

Lexi George blends “hilarious one-liners, sexy alpha males, and plenty of mayhem” (Publishers Weekly) in the third of her paranormal series set in a small Alabama town filled with demonoids…and those who hunt them.

Rebekah “Beck” Damian runs a demonoid bar where everyone’s welcome—even a reformed flesheater who’s strictly vegetarian, a musical ghost who’s looking for a piano bar, and a feline harbinger of doom named Wampus Kitty who’s scaring the customers. So when a big strapping demon-hunter walks into the bar, Beck knows it’s not the end of the world. She’ll treat him like any other customer.

If only she could. Conall Dalvahni is the toughest, meanest, sexiest demon-hunter Beck’s ever seen—and she’s finding it hard to hide her attraction. As far as Conall’s concerned, the feeling is mutual. But how can he trust a beautiful half-demon babe like Beck—when her demonic friends have the perfect weapon to destroy every hunter on earth?

The Devil’s Heart
by Cathy Maxwell
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Lucia Macro, editor

New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell returns with her most unfortgettable novel about the Chattan family yet…

They call her the Unattainable. Lady Margaret Chattan spurned every suitor for her hand, vowing never to marry. The only way to break the curse plaguing her family for two centuries is this ultimate sacrifice. But now her brothers’ lives are in danger. Determined to save them, she risks her very soul by traveling into the heart of the highlands to battle a force that has transcended time.

Heath Macnachtan is not superstitious. Laird of the most independent, nonconforming, madly infuriating clan ever to grace Scotland, he believes he has his hands full. And then, a woman lauded as one of the most beautiful in England, arrives on his doorstep with wild accusations and a mystical quest . . . one that just might help him discover who murdered his own brother.

But the real danger for Heath and Margaret is not a supernatural foe, but a very real love that could destroy them both.

Diamond Dust
by Vivian Arend
Samhain Publishing
Anne Scott, editor

She can’t shift, but she can shake their world.

Caroline Bradley is having one hell of a week. Her wolf lover has sniffed out his mate, making her an instant free agent. Not only that, Takhini territory has been overrun with aggressive bear-shifters electing a clan leader, and the wolf pack is feeling the effects—pushing her diplomatic skills to the limit.

Tyler Harrison is a grizzly on a mission. If he’s going to win the majority of the bears’ votes, he needs one final thing: a female companion. The only woman in town with influence over wolves, humans, and more bears than he’d like to admit, is Caroline.

Despite the sexual pull between them, though, Tyler’s not seeking a permanent relationship. And Caroline isn’t looking to be anyone else’s political pawn. But she should have remembered that when shifters are involved, changes happen in the blink of an eye.

Warning: Billionaire bear hero plus kick-ass human heroine equals a sexually volatile power struggle. Get ready for what might be the naughtiest game of tag that’s ever been played in the great outdoors.

The Firebird
by Susanna Kearsley
Sourcebooks, Landmark
Deb Werksman, editor

Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird—the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.

Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

 

Heart of Obsidian
by Nalini Singh
Berkley Publishing Group, Berkley Sensation
Cindy Hwang, editor

Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world…

A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.

From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career—one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.

His Clockwork Canary
by Beth Ciotta
Signet
Jhanteigh Kupihea, editor

 

1887

London

Simon Darcy seeks time-travel engine to restore fame and fortunes.

Old flame Wilhemina Goodenough, disguised as tabloid reporter Willie G. “Clockwork Canary” needs his story to keep her job and family safe from villain Lord Bingham, also behind contest.

‘Mixed race’ ‘Freaks’ have kaleidoscope eyes, mind powers; Willy sees another’s memories.

Immortally Ever After
by Angie Fox
St. Martin’s Press
Monique Patterson, editor

In The Heat Of Battle

The hard-won cease-fire between the battling immortals doesn’t last long. In the blink of an eye, human surgeon Dr. Petra Robichaud is back on the frontlines, and starring in yet another of the oracle’s prophesies. As the only healer who can talk to the dead, Petra doesn’t have much choice about her role—even when her breathtaking ex-lover shows up at exactly the wrong time…

Two Hearts Fight To Survive

Petra may have moved on when Commander Galen left her, but she never forgot him—and the passionate moments they shared. Seeing him again is a distraction she really doesn’t need with both armies honing new weapons, and wounded all over her M*A*S*H unit. But how can she resist him? It’s now or never for the demi-god Galen to become Petra’s mate…but with the fate of humanity at stake, will their desire be worth the cost?

Shadowdance
by Kristen Callihan
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Once a heart is lost in shadow…

Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she’s been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case—and the last thing he relishes is a partner.

Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.

Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years. He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights—even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack’s dark secrets are a chasm between them.

With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past…or risk losing Mary forever.

Skies of Gold: The Ether Chronicles
by Zoë Archer
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Impulse
Amanda Bergeron, editor

Two Lonely Hearts . . .

Kalindi MacNeil survived the devastating enemy airship attack that obliterated Liverpool, but even her engineering skills can’t seem to repair her broken heart. Seeking to put her life back together, Kali retreats to a desolate, deserted island–only to discover she’s not alone. Captain Fletcher Adams, an elite man/machine hybrid, a Man O’ War, crashed his battle-damaged airship into the island after the destruction of Liverpool, never expecting to survive the wreck. But survive he did.

One Desire . . .

Believing he is nothing but a living weapon, Fletcher is wary of his newfound companion–a pretty, damaged, but determined young woman. Together they are stranded on the island, and it is only a matter of time until desire gets the best of them both. Soon Kali and Fletcher each find that they may be just what the other needed. But a danger from beyond the island puts them to the test. Will it rip them apart or bond their hearts forever?

Teardrop
by Lauren Kate
Random House Group, Delacorte
Wendy Loggia, editor

Never, ever cry… Seventeen-year-old Eureka won’t let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning.

She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean.

And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea.

Suddenly her mother’s death and Ander’s appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don’t make sense. Can everything you love be washed away?

Witch Bound
by Eleri Stone
Carina Press
Gina Bernal, editor

Book two of Twilight of the Gods

Raquel Lindgren knows what her future holds. An arranged marriage. A new home in Ragnarok, Iowa, with another clan of refugees from Asgard. She should be happy. But there’s a mental block preventing her from tapping in to her true abilities as a witch. And she’s more attracted to the best man than she is to the groom…

Fen can’t believe he’s falling for his best friend’s future wife. As a hound, a wolf shifter, his duty lies with the pack. He’s seen too many hounds destroyed by love, and he’s sworn never to take a mate, never to have children of his own. He can’t deny his desire for Raquel, but she deserves more than he can offer her.

Raquel’s been raised to trust in magic, her clan and her destiny. But when a vengeful demon threatens to break out of Asgard and destroy the clan, Raquel learns she must trust in love if she is to take the future into her own hands.

For more tales of modern-day Vikings, check out Demon Crossings.

Summer Digs–a Fresh Look at Fun in the Sun

 

Not everyone’s vacations are the same. In fact, many archaeology students and others interested in the field look forward to spending their summer vacation months in the dirt at an archaeological dig. HEARTS IN RUIN, by J. C. Conway, presents a story that takes place at such a summer dig.

Every summer archaeology digs are conducted by universities, museums, and historical societies all over the planet. Most trips are organized through universities or university-related programs. In HEARTS IN RUIN, a Southwestern university initiates a dig as an instructional site for a number of years and then abandons the project. That summer, a Midwestern college takes up the project to continue the dig. Following is an excerpt of HEARTS IN RUIN, providing just a taste of the project and the conflicts in play. Following that is a list of some of the archaeological digs expected to be conducted in the West and Southwest this summer.

HEARTS IN RUIN EXCERPT

The following scene takes place as routines are beginning to set in at the dig. Andrea and Daniel have had an intimate moment recently, but have not discussed it since. Andrea is skeptical of Daniel’s theories about the age of the site. But in this scene, Andrea discovers something she does not expect–in fact, something far outside her expectations that changes the course of conflicts in the story.

Under the mid-morning sun, Andrea helped Chloe and Courtney with an interesting shard. She noted the position and strata evidence and corrected Chloe’s photographic technique. But the item seemed, even though the evidence was sound, to be in the wrong place.

She scanned the area. The strata was clear. She decided to check it against the vertical. Daniel was there, lost in thought. “You mind?” she interrupted.

????????????????????????????????????He looked slightly startled. “No, of course not.”

Andrea stepped past him.

He jotted notes in a field book, closed it, and walked away toward the lab tent.

Is he trying not to talk?

Andrea shrugged it off. She reviewed the strata and crouched at the two-thirds point. A strata mix caught her eye. Where the lines should have continued consistently from one side to the other, a gap appeared, line after line, creating a very thin column of earth-tone that interrupted the lines. It appeared to be a hole—a hole that had been carefully dug and filled ages ago. Only the smallest part of it showed. The vertical trench had either almost completely dug up what had been the fill in the ancient hole, or, if she was lucky, had only barely sliced into it. She scraped slightly. The column broadened. Most of the hole and its fill were still there, intact. Yes! These were the nuggets of the past archaeologists lived for. She took photos and notes, meticulously recording all pertinent data, and then traced the column to its bottom, searching for whatever had been, hopefully, buried there.

In her experience, not many things were buried during the Clovis period. She might find remains. That would be a score. She might find trash. Also a score from an archaeological perspective. But when she located the bottom, she noted an object that might not be either. She brushed away at it, taking notes and photos as she progressed.

Finally, the nature of the small object was clear. A small vessel. A bowl. It was wrapped in something, leaves, large leaves, something organic. But the entire setup was puzzling. Even the top of the hole was too low according to Daniel’s numbers. But there it was. There were clear, unbroken strata directly above it. The hole had been dug unbelievably early. Pre-Clovis.

She studied the artifact in place. It appeared to have artwork, but also…no, that wouldn’t be possible, not for something this old. It had to be something else. But its markings had the unmistakable characteristics of…written language?

SUMMER DIGS

Many of the following digs continue from year to year. Some are certain to take place again this summer, while a few are merely highly probable. This list focuses on the west and southwest. But there are digs all over the United States and the world and it would not be hard to find a dig close to you, wherever you are, with a little diligent internet searching”

Chaco Stratigraphy Project (New Mexico)
University of New Mexico. Chaco was the center of an unprecedented cultural development between ca. AD 800 and 1200 known as the “Chaco Phenomenon.” During this period, people living in and around the canyon experienced an explosive episode of economic growth that culminated in the construction of large masonry buildings called “great houses.”

Cooper’s Ferry (Idaho)
Oregon State University. Cooper’s Ferry is an early Paleoindian site in the Salmon River valley of Idaho since 2009. The site has a long record of repeated human occupation, beginning with a Western Stemmed Tradition/Paleoarchaic artifact assemblage. See the article Fieldwork in Focus: Cooper’s Ferry for additional information.

Area of Archeological center in Anasazi territ...

Area of Archeological center in Anasazi territory. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Crow Canyon Archaeology Adventures (Colorado)
The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center continues its on-going research on ancient Pueblo Indian communities with weekly dig programs for adults, teens, families, teachers, and other groups.

Greater Yellowstone (Montana)
Indiana University. This field school is a holistic, field-based program in the social history and human ecology of the Northwestern High Plains and Middle Rocky Mountains with a special emphasis on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. If you like camping, hiking, and archaeology, this field school is for you

Rock Art Ranch (Arizona)
University of Arizona. Rock Art Ranch contains some of the most spectacular rock art in the Southwest, dating from 6000 BC to AD 1400, all of which has been documented. The ranch lies in the high desert at 5100’ elevation, in an area used over the past eight thousand years by mobile hunting and gathering groups, early farmers, and later, after A.D. 500, by more sedentary farmers representing archaeological cultures of the adjacent Mogollon Rim and Colorado Plateau regions.

Totah Archaeological Project (New Mexico, USA)
San Juan College and B-Square Ranch. The Totah Archaeological Project Field School is being offered and supported by San Juan College in partnership with Tommy Bolack and the B-Square Ranch. The goal of the project is to provide archaeological educational opportunities for San Juan College students, local community members, and visitors to the region, and to contribute to research on the Anasazi culture in the Totah area.

Wind Wolves (California)
Institute for Field Research (UCLA). Since 2005, the Enculturating Environments Project has been investigating rock-art, habitation, and special-purpose sites throughout the Wildlands Conservancy’s Wind Wolves Preserve. This field school will continue this work throughout the preserve with particular focus on the only known Chumash cache cave having extensive perishable material remaining in situ.

 HEARTS IN RUIN

For a page-turning taste of archaeology with a touch of passion, read HEARTS IN RUIN. About its take on archaeology, reviewers have said, among other things

  • “…a realistic view of the challenges involved with an archaeological dig”
  • “…a wonderful portrayal of sexy archaeologists doing a legitimate archaeological dig.”
  • “This is an entertaining and informative novel where the author has taken us on a dig with him. Never had an idea of how complex this is as a long, arduous task where dedication and discipline (and some times years) is required.”
  • It is that rare combination read of intelligence, suspense, and a building love story(ies) that makes you snarl at family members who break in on your reading time because it’s time to fix dinner. It also made me chew over my life choices as to why I didn’t become an archaeologist and is it too late to start a new career.”
  • Use of details about how a dig comes about and is managed entertain and move us through the plot to become an integral part of the story.”

For more about HEARTS IN RUIN, visit AMAZON or see the HEARTS IN RUIN WEBSITE, which explores the background and theories behind the conflicts in HEARTS IN RUIN. For more about the author, see J. C. Conway’s web site.

Rita Nominees: Focus on Romantic Suspense

Continuing our series of examinations of the Rita Award nominees by category, here is a rundown of those finalists in the Romantic Suspense category–a sub-genre that definitely has appeal for both genders:

Romantic Suspense

Justice for Sara
by Erica Spindler
St. Martin’s Press
Jennifer Weiss, editor

When seventeen-year-old Katherine McCall awakened one morning to find her beloved sister, Sara, brutally murdered, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye. Kat was named the prime suspect and, on a string of circumstantial evidence, charged and tried. While the jury found her innocent, not everyone else agreed, and her only choice was to go into hiding. But she carried a dark secret with her, one that made her worry she might actually have had something to do with Sara’s death . . .

Now, years later, Kat is still haunted by her sister’s unsolved murder and continues to receive chilling anonymous letters, but she has tried to move on with her life. Until, on the tenth anniversary of Sara’s death, she receives a letter that makes the past impossible to ignore: “What about justice for Sara?” What about justice for Sara? And for herself? Kat realizes that going back to Liberty, Louisiana, might be the only way to move forward and find some peace. And there’s a killer out there who was never caught.

But the town she’s come back to is hardly different from the one she left. The secrets and suspicions still run deep. Kat has an ally in Detective Luke Tanner, son of the former Liberty police chief, but he may be her only one. With plenty of enemies, no one to trust and a killer determined to keep a dark secret buried, Kat must decide if justice is worth fighting—and dying—for.

The Killing Game
by Toni Anderson
Self-published

Wildlife biologist Axelle Dehn isn’t about to let anyone harm her endangered snow leopards—not the poacher intent on killing them, nor the soldier who wants to use them as bait. But Axelle is unknowingly entangled in a conflict that stretches back three decades, a conflict that could spark a war between two of the world’s great nations.

​British SAS soldier, Ty Dempsey, is on a mission to hunt down an infamous Russian terrorist in a remote region of Afghanistan. Dempsey hasn’t failed a mission yet, but when Axelle is kidnapped by the Russian, he is forced to choose between duty and his heart. He risks everything to save the determined, prickly woman he’s fallen for, but in doing so sparks a deadly series of events that threaten to expose the most successful spy in history. A spy who will destroy anyone who gets in his way.

Off the Edge
by Carolyn Crane
Self-published

SHE MAY BE HIS WORST ENEMY…
For deadly secret agent Peter Macmillan, language is a weapon—one he uses to hunt criminals, destroy plots, and charm enemies. Seducing information out of a beautiful singer in Bangkok hotel should be easy…except this particular singer has the power to destroy his cool façade, and with it, his last defense against a dark past.

HE MAY BE HER ONLY HOPE…
He tricked her. He helped himself to her body and her secrets. He has enemies everywhere. Laney Lancaster should hate Peter, but when she discovers him shirtless, sweaty, and chained up in the hotel’s dungeon, all she can think about is freeing him. Because she knows what it’s like to be trapped and alone. And she could use a dangerous friend.

They may be wrong for each other, but the instant they join forces, Laney and Peter are plunged into an odyssey of hot sex and dark danger. To survive, they must trust each other with their lives—and their hearts.

Thrill Ride
by Julie Ann Walker
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Leah Hultenschmidt, editor

He’s Gone Rogue

Ex-Navy SEAL Rock Babineaux’s job is to get information, and he’s one of the best in the business. Until something goes horribly wrong and he’s being hunted by his own government. Even his best friends at the covert special-ops organization Black Knights Inc. aren’t sure they can trust him. He thinks he can outrun them all, but his former partner—a curvy bombshell who knows just how to drive him wild—refuses to cut him loose.

She Won’t Back Down

Vanessa Cordova hasn’t been the team’s communication specialist
very long, but she knows how to read people—no way is Rock guilty of murder. And she’ll go to hell and back to help him prove it. Sure, the sexy Cajun has his secrets, but there’s no one in the world she’d rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good, because they’re about to get very tight…

Flapjacks and Romance

I think food and romance go together quite well. I don’t write foodie romance, but even in my historical romance food naturally plays a part. Back in the 19th century women were expected to be better cooks than they are today. After all there was no such thing as McDonalds!

In Midnight Kiss, Matt Seever hires April to be a nanny to his two children. He has been a widower for four years. She doesn’t mind cleaning up his messy house and cooking his meals too. What she did not realize was flapjacks could lead to romance.

Matt can’t cook. Most of what he cooks himself comes out of a can. As an officer on the steamer the Queen Bee he had his meals provided for him. Now that he quit and took a job in St. Louis, Missouri working for his brother his supply of good meals has disappeared. Fate brought him and April together. He and his children like anything she cooks – but their favorite is flapjacks.

10325301_599937046769219_3081054280277268741_nExcerpt:

April wanted to scream and cry at the same time. Mr. Seever had her so mixed up. The ruggedly handsome white man expected her to take meals with him. Every day he did something to surprise her. Her original plan of not spending much time with him had crumbled. The prospect of two and possibly three meals a day with him and the children was enough to leave her head spinning.

She hadn’t said much at breakfast because one look at him tied her tongue. He put in her in precarious position. She didn’t feel like merely his nanny, but she didn’t want to overstep. She had to figure out this puzzle on her own. There was no doubt his brother, Boyd, viewed her as hired help.

April walked to her room in the loft and sat on the pallet trying not to picture Mr. Seever wearing nothing but a nightshirt. Or maybe on these hot nights he slept naked. She closed her eyes and rubbed her eyelids as if trying to massage away the image.

He was tall and handsome and charming and white.

White.

Despite the heated looks he’d sent her, they should never be together. Mr. Seever would just use her and throw her away like Mr. Bowden. If she was going to get married it would need to be with a black man.

But her body betrayed her common sense. Mr. Bowden had swept her off her feet when she was merely a girl. She’d thought she was attracted to him but the pull was nothing compared to what she felt toward Mr. Seever. Merely a glance from his sultry eyes made her hum in anticipation. Why…was it because forbidden fruit tasted sweeter? How much would one kiss hurt?

Her curiosity to know his intimate touch could cost April her heart. And so much more…

Blurb:

Unjustly accused of stealing, nanny April Windmire is turned out on the streets without pay. With no place to go and no friends, she stows away on a Mississippi River steamboat. Her hopes to hide through the journey to St. Louis are dashed when a handsome white officer finds her. But instead of turning her in, he takes her to his private quarters where she fights her growing attraction to a man she cannot have.

Matt Seever’s wife died four year ago, leaving him alone with two small mulatto children. But his job as an officer on the Queen Bee isn’t family friendly. He knows he needs a new wife, but no southern white woman will marry him. When April lands in his lap, his prayers are answered. Or are they? April’s not the trusting type and racial prejudice runs deep in post-Civil War Missouri. Just when Matt convinces April he loves her, his new family becomes a target and there’s no backing down from this fight.

Together, April and Matt must brave heinous race prejudice crimes to find an enduring love.

Buy Links:

Liquid Silver Books | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Amazon UK | ARe

 

10306088_599937106769213_8416629929260774001_nAuthor Bio:

Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical fiction and historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy. Visit Haley’s website at http://haleywhitehall.com.

 

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