Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fame Fortune & Secrets FREE through Amazon

Fame, Fortune & Secrets is FREE through Amazon for these four days only…

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: May 30–June 2

What happens when a secret agent is no longer a secret?

This is the last “Free Days” Promotion for Fame, Fortune & Secrets…Don’t miss it!

Book Feature of the Day: Legal Ease by Lori Ryan

Jack Sutton needs a wife and he needs one now. Jack loved his mother, but she really screwed him over when she set up her will. If Jack doesn’t have a wife by the end of the week, he’ll lose control of the largest chunk of voting stock in his company and will most likely lose his position as CEO as a result.

And Jack’s Aunt Mabry is waiting in the wings to make sure that the terms of the will are enforced. If he doesn’t find a wife, she’ll seize control of the stock so she can install her own son at the helm and she couldn’t care less that her son doesn’t want the job or that he probably won’t be any good at it.

Enter Kelly Bradley, a twenty eight year old college graduate with a spot at Yale Law School but no way to pay for it. Kelly and Jack’s eavesdropping secretary have discovered Jack’s secret need for a wife and Kelly comes up with a plan to fix both of their problems.

Just when Jack needs her, Kelly breezes into his office, introduces herself to his Aunt and cousin, and hands Jack an offer. She will marry him for a year so that he can retain the stock that will keep him in control of Sutton Development if he’ll pay for her to go to law school. Jack has no idea where his beautiful savior came from or who she is but he’s willing to take a chance to save it all.

The deal may have kept Jack in control at Sutton Development but his private life quickly spirals out of control. Just when Jack realizes that he wants more than a year with Kelly, his wealth puts her in great danger and he is left scrambling to save her life and their future together.

Excerpt from Legal Ease
Kelly swallowed hard as she heard Jack’s answer to her ‘proposal.’ She was relieved he was going along with it, but a tight ball of nerves had been growing in her stomach since she walked in the room and she felt that ball taking over her entire being.
Chad, with a look on his face that promised Jack would be grilled for details later, excused himself to return to his office. Kelly watched Jack out of the corner of her eye as she continued to talk to his aunt. She had seen Jack Sutton on occasion coming in and out of the building when she’d met Jennie for lunch and Jennie had told her he was handsome, but handsome didn’t even begin to describe the man.
Jack was tall, at least six foot three or four inches. He had dark brown hair that curled up at the edge of his collar. His eyes were a rich, deep brown, almost mahogany, and his face had chiseled features with a strong jaw. There wasn’t a damn thing about the man that didn’t sizzle.
He wore a suit, but even in that Kelly could see that his body was hard and fit under it – his tall, lean form toned and strong. His intense gaze made Kelly’s breath go ragged and she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be alone in the room with him if he had this kind of effect on her with his aunt and cousin with them.
Jack sat on the edge of his desk, legs stretched out and crossed at the ankles in front of him, arms crossed over his chest. He watched her quietly while Kelly finished chatting with his aunt.
Kelly wrapped things up and ushered Aunt Mabry out the door by four o’clock as she made excuses about Jack needing to get back to work. She closed the door behind his aunt and turned to Jack. That’s when Kelly felt the ground fall out from under her and her world tilt on its axis.
Suddenly, she faced Jack Sutton. Kelly found herself feeling very shaken, to say the least. She looked up at Jack and realized that, in essence, she had just waltzed into his office and proposed.
I can’t believe I just did that,” Kelly began to pace frantically. She wrapped her arms around her waist and circled the room.
Oh God, oh God, oh God,” she said and she began to feel like she might hyperventilate. She slid down onto the couch that sat along the longest wall in Jack’s office and tried to breath but ended up taking in huge gulps of air that felt as if they might choke her. For the first time since she came up with her hair-brained scheme to get her hands on enough money to attend Yale Law School by marrying Jack Sutton, the reality of what she had just done hit her like a ton of bricks.
Meet The Author

Lori has had a number of careers before embarking on her newest adventure of writing novels. After graduating from the University of Connecticut School of Law, she practiced law for three years, working primarily in the areas of utilities law and intellectual property litigation.
More recently, Lori owned and operated a dog training business in Austin, Texas, where she specialized in aggression and became an expert in the field of dog bite analysis. Lori sold her dog training business in 2013 and is now a full time writer and mother of two.

Lori still lives in Austin with her husband -- who is endlessly supportive of her changing career paths -- and her two children, one cat, and three dogs.

How can your readers follow you?

To follow me on Facebook, visit:

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Before you leave be sure to leave Lori a comment.  She will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment at each stop to increase your chances of winning.The tour dates can be found here:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Authors Give Back Blog Hop

Every year Best Selling Author Brenda Novak does an online auction for Diabetes Research.  This year I have joined with a group of other authors and we have donated a Kindle ereader loaded with 40 ebooks from multiple genres to the auction.  A good friend's son was diagnosed with Type 1 last summer, a few months after turning 3.  I regularly see how difficult this disease is for everyone in the family.  I sincerely hope that the money raised each year from Brenda's auction will someday help to fund a cure.

In addition to the Kindle donated to Brenda's auction, the authors from RG2E are giving away a gift card as part of this blog hop.  I am also personally giving away an ECOPY of the second book in my series The Billionaire Playboy.  To enter for a chance to win the Amazon Gift Card follow the link below.  To enter to win a copy of The Billionaire Playboy leave me a comment below and be sure to include your email address.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stress and Writing Part 2

Well, the house has official been on the market for a little over a week.  On the bright side the house looks wonderful.  I have not seen it look this nice since after it was built and we moved in.  On the down side we have only had 2 showings so far and no offers.  How is my stress level?  On a scale of 1 to 10 it is about a 20.

But while the stress is giving me headaches, upset stomachs, and a very short temper, it has not made to much of an impact on my writing so far as I feared it would.  I am the type of writer who needs to write at least a little every day close to every day.  If I let to many days go between work, I fall to far out of the story.  I learned that a long time ago about myself. 

I really feared that all this stress would make it impossible for me to work at night.  Thankfully though over the past 9 days, I have only skipped writing on 3 different occasions and those days never fell in a row.  What strategies am I using?  For me I keep reminding myself, that I need to get the story out of my head otherwise it just sits and distracts me.  I also remind myself that readers are waiting for book 4, and I do not want to let them down.  Finally, I continue to hit the gym about twice a week.  I find a good hour of exercise does wonders for my stress levels.

Will I be able to keep that up if the stress continues?  I don't know, but I guess I will find out.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Featured Book: The Cracked Slipper

When Eleanor Brice unexpectedly wins the heart of Gregory Desmarais, Crown Prince of Cartheigh, she's sure she's found her happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, Prince Charming has a loose grip on his temper, a looser grip on his marriage vows, and a tight grip on the bottle.

Eight years of mistreatment, isolation and clandestine book learning hardly prepare Eleanor for life at Eclatant Palace, where women are seen, not heard. According to Eleanor's eavesdropping parrot, no one at court appreciates her unladylike tendency to voice her opinion. To make matter worse, her royal fiancé spends his last night of bachelorhood on a drunken whoring spree. Before the ink dries on her marriage proclamation Eleanor realizes that she loves her husband's best friend, former soldier Dorian Finley.
Eleanor can't resist Dorian's honesty, or his unusual admiration for her intelligence, and soon both are caught in a dangerous obsession. She drowns her confusion in charitable endeavors, but the people's love can't protect her from her feelings. When a magical crime endangers the bond between unicorns, dragons, and the royal family, a falsely accused Eleanor must clear her own name to save her life. The road toward vindication will force a choice between hard-won security and an impossible love.
The Cracked Slipper is a book club friendly fairytale retelling in the vein of Gregory Maguire, with a dash of romance. Set in a pseudo-renaissance, corset-and-petticoats enchanted kingdom, The Cracked Slipper brings a magical twist to women's fiction.
Excerpt From The Cracked Slipper

He tugged at his earlobe. “I can’t, Mistress, and I would, just to get you out of this hallway, but Prince Gregory is not here.”

Not here? What do you mean? It has to be—”

Two in the morning.”

Two in the morning,” she said. Something icy formed in her chest, and it wasn’t from the cold tiles beneath her feet. “I see. Well, I’ll be going.” She turned slowly.

I’m sorry, Mistress.” The gruff voice followed her, but she didn’t want to turn around and see the sympathy on his face. She started up the steps but stopped midway.

There must be an explanation. She could not face tomorrow not knowing. She would wait and see, and it would all be revealed. Probably just some late-night meeting with his advisers, a problem that must solved before the wedding. She would wait until he returned, and then go back to bed happy.

Exhaustion caught up with her and she sat on the bottom step out of view of the guard. She wrapped her arms around her knees and in spite of the cold she nodded off. After some time, maybe ten minutes or maybe an hour, she heard voices. She sat up.

They were male voices, and some of them sounded familiar. She rocked forward on her numb toes and peered around the corner again.

She recognized Dorian first, and then Brian, Raoul, and several of Gregory’s other friends. Dorian struggled to hold someone up. Her heart sank as she recognized Gregory’s auburn hair.

He could barely stand. His legs kept buckling underneath him. Each time they crumpled he reached up with both arms. He grabbed Dorian’s neck and nearly dragged them both to the floor. The other men kept up a constant stream of harassment. She lost track of who said what, but their words rang painfully clear.

What’s that Gregory? Those two Talessee girls where too much for you?”

We should have quit after the redhead. She took care of him quite nicely.”

Did you see the tits on that one?”

Old Greg was probably seeing four of them. He was so smashed he was already falling over.”

But his flagpole was standing up!” They all roared with laughter.

A fine tribute to Cartheigh!”

Tell me, Gregory, how will your sweet little maid compare with those last two?”

Gregory’s head swung up. “See, what you boys don’t realize…is I can have the sweet little maid and still bang as many whores as I see fit. Benefits of the crown.”

Eleanor could barely breathe. She head Dorian’s voice for the first time. “All right, all
right, let’s get you to bed or you’re liable to pass out on the altar.”

Gregory spoke again. “And you know, boys, little Eleanor is not quite as sweet as you may think— I’ve already had my hands on her—”

Enough, Gregory,” Dorian said. He thrust the stuttering prince off on Brian and Raoul. He took the keys from the guard, who gazed resolutely at the wall.

Tonight was just practice for tomorrow—”

Enough!”Dorian exclaimed.

Eleanor couldn’t take any more. Without any further thought she stepped out into the hallway.

They all froze, a bunch of possums blinded by a woodsmen’s torch. Eleanor couldn’t speak. She simply stood there, staring at Gregory strung between Brian and Raoul like a pair of wet stockings left out to dry. Her hands clenched at her sides in tight fists. Blood roared in her ears, but her eyes were dry.

Dorian finally broke the silence.“Eleanor.”

Gregory cocked his head. “Sweetheart, how good to see you.”

His body jerked and he vomited. It covered his boots, and the sentry’s. The guard never moved. The acidic scent hit Eleanor’s nose and broke her paralysis. She fled up the steps. She heard Dorian calling after her but she didn’t stop. She brushed past her own sentry, threw the door open with both hands, closed it and drew the latch. She leaned against it. She had left her candle in the hallway, but she’d built the fire well and it still burned. She jumped at a gentle tap on the door behind her.

Dorian’s voice through the thick wood loosened the tears that had not come downstairs. “Eleanor,” he said, “please open the door. Let me explain.”

No, go away.”

He’s just drunk. It’s just talk among men. He didn’t mean any of it.”

So where were you all? You weren’t out pitching lawn bolls!”

I don’t deny it, or defend it. But Gregory loves you. He never meant to hurt you. ”

She leaned her head against the door. There was no way she could open it. “I don’t know what to believe,” she said. And then, louder, “Please go away, Dorian. Please.”

As you wish.”

She sensed him standing on the other side, and then his footsteps moved down the hallway."

Meet The Author

Stephanie Alexander grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, the oldest of three children. Drawing, writing stories, and harassing her parents for a pony consumed much of her childhood. After graduating from high school in 1995 she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the College of Charleston, South Carolina. She returned to Washington, DC, where she followed a long-time fascination with sociopolitical structures and women’s issues to a Master of Arts in Sociology from the American University. She spent several years as a Policy Associate at the International Center for Research on Women, a think-tank focused on women’s health and economic advancement.

Stephanie embraced full-time motherhood after the birth of the first of her three children in 2003. After six wonderful years buried in diapers and picture books she returned to her childhood passion and wrote her own fairytale. Her family put down permanent southern roots in Charleston in 2011. Stephanie is an adjunct professor of Sociology at the College of Charleston.

How To Contact Stephanie

twitter: @crackedslipper
Before you leave be sure to leave a comment for Stephanie.  She will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To increase your chances of winning visit the other stops on Stephanie's tour.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stress and Writing

We all have it.  Stress.  But we all handle it in different ways and how it changes our lives is different.  In the past stress has brought my writing to a screaming halt.  The last time that happened was almost 7 years ago.  There were a lot of things going on in my life including a move and the fact that I was pregnant with my first child.  At the time I was only writing for my own enjoyment, so it was not the end of the world.  Well, I have now entered another very stressful time.  We are selling our home and moving out of state.  Already I can tell it is taking a toll on my body, patience and writing.  This time though I can not let it stop me from writing, so I am struggling through it.  Even if I only get out a page or two a night I am considering that an accomplishment for now. 

Over the next weeks and months, I will post about how my writing is going even with my new stress.  But what about everyone else?  Some people thrive under stress.  They wait right up until their deadlines and then crank out a book.  Other people are more like me.  How does stress play into the things you value?  Do you have any tricks for dealing with it?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Teaser Tuesday Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Teaser Tuesday which mean more than 50 authors will be posting snippets from their work on their Facebook pages, including me.  Stop on by my Facebook page, check out what I am working on and get the links to 10 more authors.  Visit each of them and get more links.

Facebook Author Page

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Something Special For Mother's Day

Starting on Friday May 10 and going until May 13, I am hosting a Mother's Day Contest on Facebook.  Each day 2 winners will be picked.  Fifteen fabulous authors have donated books which will be given away during the contest.  Authors involved include: Sandra Marton,  Maeve Christopher, Terri Marie, J.M. Griffin, Liberty Blake, Elaine Raco Chase, Ruth Cardello, Jean Oram, Kate Warren, Melody Anne, Lynn Raye Harris, Christine DePetrillo, Christine Donovan, Lily Silver, and Christina Tetreault.

Stop on by and visit. 

Mother's Day Contest Link

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Romantic Suspense: Blood Bound

Fueled by grief after his fiancée is brutally murdered, Detective Sam Walker focuses on finding her killer -- a calculating predator who binds books with human skin. Dani Barrington, the newest member of NOPD's Victim and Witness Assistance Unit and a survivor of another frightening attack, helps him discover the terrifying link between the monster's known victims. Despite his anguish, Sam is struck by Dani's strength and determination, especially when her inquisitive nature makes her the killer's next target. He must find a way to protect her or risk losing the one woman who can bring his dead heart back to life.

Excerpt From Blood Bound
Kristen was gone.

She wasn't at work. She wasn't at home. She hadn't gone out to run an errand. She had simply... vanished.

New Orleans Detective Sam Walker stood in the center of his fiancée's cluttered bedroom and struggled to piece together the timeline of her disappearance. Last night they were supposed to meet for dinner, but he'd caught a case. They'd talked on the phone around eleven, and he'd asked her to meet him for lunch today.

He hadn't spoken to her since.

She was supposed to arrive at the Victim and Witness Assistance Unit for work at nine a.m., but never made it. One of her co-workers had called him about ten o'clock. He'd tried Kristen again, but she hadn't answered.

So he'd come here and found her car in the driveway.

Yet she sure as hell wasn't here.

Her bed was meticulously made, the way she left it every morning, dumping him out if he'd stayed over. A damp towel lay beside the bathroom sink. Soulful jazz drifted from the iPod dock on her nightstand. What terrified him most, though, was the spot of blood marring the door frame and the lone pink sandal lying in the living room floor beside her purse, keys, and cell phone.

His heart lurched. He couldn't breathe, couldn't think. Simply could not absorb that she was missing. They'd been engaged for five months and three days, with only a month to go until the wedding. They should be mulling over the guest list, squabbling about where to go for their honeymoon, and deciding where they wanted to live.

Instead, Sam stared at an empty bed.

"There's no sign of forced entry, so she either let the guy in or he jumped her when she went after the paper this morning." Major Sabbatini's voice seemed to come from far away. "I'm thinking she fought him off and ran, and he caught her here in the bedroom."

"She would have clawed him." Hell, she would've drawn blood with those nails. Sam should know. He had the marks on his back to prove it. Moisture blurred his vision as he eyed the smudge on the door jamb. "She... she just had her nails done a couple of days ago. They're like talons."

"We'll check the blood for DNA. You know that. What were her plans for today?"

"Um... just work, far as I know. She and I were supposed to have lunch." Sam shook his head. "Then tonight, she was going to a wedding shower. I just--"

"When was the last time you spoke with her?"

"Late -- last night." Sam's eyes fell on a partially-filled mug on the table beside Kristen's favorite chair, where she liked to read. A hard knot formed in the center of his chest. "She didn't... even finish her coffee. She loves coffee."

"We're gonna find her, son."

"You don't know that." Sam's voice cracked. He turned to his boss. "What if I never see her again?"
Meet The Author
Melanie Atkins a multi-published author of romantic suspense, an editor for an online publishing company, and an avid reader. Writing is more than an escape for her—it’s a way of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning stories about her cats. Now she writes gripping stories of love, suspense, and mystery with the help of her furry little feline muses.

Melanie is an active member of Romance Writers of America®, the Magnolia State Romance Writers (MSRW), the Published Author Network (PAN), the Electronic and Small Press Authors' Network (ESPAN), the Electronically Published Internet Connection (EPIC), Sisters in Crime (SinC), the Red Dog Writers, the Gulf Coast Writers Association, the Southern Writers, the Mississippi Authors Guild and the Byram Writers’ Group. She currently serves as Past President of MSRW.
Contact Melanie
Before you go be sure to leave Melanie a comment.  She will be awarding a randomly drawn commenter their pick of a backlist ebook.  To increase your chances of winning visit Melanie's other stops on her tour.