Monday, November 2, 2015

#NewRelease: First Love Again

It's release week, everyone! This fall has been BUSY with new releases - there were Anthem releases in August, September and October, and November means my second Harlequin Superromance is out on store shelves!!! I'm so excited for this book to be here. I had an absolute ball writing Emmett and Jaime's reunion story - even moreso because I set the book right here on the North Coast of Ohio. For those of you familiar with the area think of a cross between Put-In-Bay & Kelley's Island...for those unfamiliar, some people call PIB 'Key West North'. Of course, my fictional island, Gulliver, is much slower than Key West...but there is a lot of small town goodness to be had!

Here's a little peek inside the book:

Emmett Deal stood there, listening to her argument with the trustees. Sunlight glinted off the pristine windshield of an unfamiliar work truck. Stenciled on the side were the words Deal Construction. Here was Emmett and here was his truck. She blinked and he was still standing at a table near the front door. She wasn’t imagining him.
His eyes were bluer than she remembered. More of a cerulean than the baby blues that invaded her dreams when she was overly tired. He was taller, too. Not by much, maybe an inch. His shoulders more broad and his hips— Jaime gave herself a mental shake and brought her gaze back to Emmett’s beautiful face. Chiseled jaw…hint of stubble.
Before he’d left Emmett had hated that he couldn’t grow a proper mustache. It didn’t look as though that was a problem any longer. Black, black hair flirted with the collar of his tight tee.
He seemed to look straight past her, though. Jaime swallowed and tried to ignore her rapidly beating heart.
Okay, so looking at his face wasn’t the right thing to do, either. She turned back to the men at the table.
“An alarm.” She swallowed, hating that her voice slid up an octave. “An alarm system is a good start, and better than razing a building that is important to Gulliver,” she said, this time keeping her voice steady. “We can hire another reno crew.” Somewhere in the state of Ohio there had to be a construction crew available. There had to be. “With so much activity, the kids will stay away.”
“Even during overnights and weekends?” Her father shook his head and folded his beefy arms over his chest. He sat back in his chair. “We don’t have the staff to run over to the school every time a squirrel sets off the system. We should re-allocate the budget into tear-down and creating a city park on the land.”
Jaime cleared her throat but her mind was blank. “A memorial park isn’t better than a building that has stood watch over this town, this island, for two hundred years.”
Emmett refilled his to-go coffee cup at the counter. “A good system will know the difference between a squirrel and a person. Parks are great things but there is plenty of undeveloped land on the island that could be used for a new park. Not that it’s any of my business.” He paid Anna and faced the table while he sipped his drink.
Jaime wasn’t sure if she should hug Emmett for taking her side or demand that he let her handle this on her own.
“No, it’s not.” Her father’s words were curt. “This is a township decision.”
Demand he leave. Definitely, definitely demand he leave. Mason was about to go ballistic about outsiders versus islanders. “Thank you—”
Emmett cut her off. “I may not live on Gulliver any longer, but my father does. He came close to having the school declared a historic landmark a few years back.” He sipped his coffee, looking at the men at the table and studiously avoiding the section of the diner where Jaime now stood. That annoyed the bejesus out of her.
“As I said, this is a township decision. Before we spend more money on another crew that will leave us high and dry, I think we should seriously consider demolition. And as you said yourself, you’re not part of the township. Haven’t been for ten years.”
“Seems like it wouldn’t take much work to fill in the gaps in that old application. Renovating is never cheap but a lot of times it is cheaper than tearing down.”
“Maybe you should stick to what you know.” Mason’s voice was low in the quiet diner.
“As it happens, I know old buildings. I could take a look at it.”
“And then leave when things get tougher than you imagined?”
Color flooded Jaime’s cheeks. This wasn’t about the school building; not any longer. Her father was being his usual bull-headed self. Blaming Emmett for something that wasn’t his fault.
Before her father could say something he didn’t mean Jaime pushed back into the conversation. “Then the township should decide, not just the board of trustees. During the island’s bicentennial last summer every Gulliver business benefited from the increased tourist traffic. If the school is renovated, we would have that kind of draw all the time. A few artists stop every summer to paint the old building. Renovation will give them more of a reason to come back than a park.”
From the hand in his pockets to the hunched shoulders, Emmett looked anything but comfortable. As if this conversation was not going the way he’d thought.
Well, then, he should have butted out from the beginning.
“Are you willing to take a look? So we know exactly what to talk to demolition or renovation experts about.” Tom Gulliver practically preened as he said the words.
“I’ll be on the island for a few weeks. Whatever you decide, I can offer my opinion.”
The bell over the door tinkled as Emmett pushed through it. He got into his truck without looking back and drove away.
Jaime realized she was staring—again—and looked back at her father.
“I still say we should vote on demolition at the meeting tonight,” he said from his side of the table.
“The Deal boy might have the right idea. Could be cheaper to restore the building, I’ve said that from the beginning. It’s part of island history.” Rick Meter picked his teeth with a toothpick and Jaime shivered. Of all the times for her to agree with Rick Meter. “We hired Luther’s crew after a light appraisal from Troy Turner at the real-estate office. Emmett will know better what exactly the building needs and we can go from there.”
Jaime clenched her hands. Emmett will know better, indeed. He knew all about running away, but staying? Fixing what was broken?
 “Restoring the building will bring more tourists to Gulliver, and not just during the summer months. Tourists already visit the islands to see Perry’s Monument—” she mentioned the memorial at Put-in-Bay “—and the Marblehead Lighthouse. Gulliver School could become one of those draws.”
“Getting a true estimate before we start the hiring process, for demo or reno, is smart.” Rick leaned back in his seat and plucked another toothpick from the table dispenser. He stuck it between his teeth and then put his hands behind his head. “Even if we voted tonight we wouldn’t have the permits or contracts for demolition before the summer is over. We’ve already got permits for renovation.”
Tom nodded. “Mason?”
“We should just vote. That building is a menace.” Her father tapped his fingers against his biceps as if his opinion settled everything. Probably he thought it did.
Jaime held her breath.
Finally, Tom said, “Okay, we’ll get that estimate. I’ll call over to the Deal house this afternoon.”
“I’ll do it. You asked me to head the project, which includes estimates and new hires.” Jaime kept her voice steady and looked from Rick to Tom and then to her father.
Mason’s expression remained impassive but his eyes studied her as if she had two heads. Maybe she did. She hadn’t left her father’s house for weeks after the senior trip. Then Emmett had stood her up on prom night. She hadn’t mentioned his name in years. Now she was suggesting the town hire him for a job that would keep him around for an extended amount of time.
Well, she wasn’t the same girl she’d been when he’d left.
Emmett being back didn’t change that.

And here's the back-of-the-book blurb: 

Some loves deserve a second chance… 

Coming back to Gulliver Island after a ten-year absence to take care of his father should have been simple. Emmett Deal would fix and sell the family home, and return to Cincinnati with his ailing father in tow. Yet something compels him to stay a little longer. The beautiful, bright eyes of Jaime Brown.

Ten years ago, traumatic events changed the course of Jaime's life forever, catching her in a small-town life she can't escape. Emmett's return stirs up the memories she wanted to ignore…and dreams she had forgotten. Now she finds herself with a rare opportunity—a second chance. Only this time, it's not just for love…

Buy First Love Again: Amazon  B&N  iBooks  KOBO  Harlequin

Thursday, October 15, 2015

#NewRelease: Company Ink by Samantha Anne

I'm very excited to welcome Crimson Romance author Samantha Anne to the blog today! Samantha's got a great new workplace/foodie romance (it just got a 5-star review from In D'Tale Magazine!) that I can't wait to read, and she's going to share an excerpt with us today!

Company Ink Blurb: 

After heartbreak threw her years off track, Violet Young is finally making her dreams come true. She’s just landed a sweet position with Wynne’s Kitchen, New York City’s world-renowned bakery at Rockefeller Center.

Ben Preston rose to greatness as a general manager at one of the finest dining establishments in the Big Apple only to fall from grace when life dealt him a rough hand and his wife left him. A phone call from the hiring manager at Wynne’s Kitchen is the catalyst he needs to start over.
Sparks fly when Violet is asked to train her new boss, who stands between her and the next promotion she needs. Worse still, she and Ben must fight not to fall in love … because there’s a fine line between a delicious affair and dipping your pen in the company ink. Will Ben and Violet turn up the heat or do their careers take the cake?

Excerpt From Company Ink: 

Twenty minutes later, Violet had hand-iced sixty Devil’s food cupcakes, each with a Wynne’s signature swirl of cream cheese icing. Ben had destroyed a total of six cupcakes attempting to create a swirl similar to Violet’s work and still hadn’t managed to ice one. He did, however, manage to get tiny globs of icing all over his hands and wrists. With every cupcake he wasted, Violet’s tolerance for his clumsiness wore thin; letting out a small grunt under her breath, she looked away as she boxed her finished cupcakes, telling herself that the swirl wasn’t easy for everybody. So what if it had only taken her three days to perfect? Patience, girl, patience.
When she finally looked up, she noticed he’d gotten a glob of icing on his cheek. “Oh God, Ben—how?”
With a perplexed expression, he asked, “What?”
“You have icing on your face.”
Ben grinned shamefacedly, putting down the icing wand and a maimed cupcake.
“Whoops. That’s not cute, is it?”
“Not after your first birthday,” Violet answered. “You know, you’re pretty bad at this, Ben.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, this is going to take a while. What’s the point of this, anyway? I’m the general manager; why do I need to know how to ice?”
“The more available hands we have to ice, the better. That way, if there’s a cupcake emergency, we’ll be able to—”
“A cupcake emergency? You can’t be serious.”
Violet frowned, taking offense at Ben’s lighthearted laugh. She didn’t enjoy feeling like her passion was being mocked. “I realize it sounds funny, but it’s a legit issue. I mean, what happens if one of your white-linen paradises runs out of an item?”
Ben continued wiping icing off his hands and wrists. “We eighty-six the item, period.”
“We see more people at this bakery in a day than any of your fine dining
establishments see in a week. Eighty-sixing an item isn’t an option here. We’re ready for
Violet stared at him pointedly, trying to convey the irritation that consumed her. Their eyes finally met, and a strained moment of silence extended between them. All around them customers and counter staff buzzed with life; to Violet, it felt like a tension-filled bubble had just expanded around them and cut them off from the rest of the bakery. She thought it might go on forever, but Ben stepped back.
“You know what, there’s a couple of things I have to take care of downstairs. I’ll
come back up in a little bit.”
Violet nodded wordlessly and watched as he made his way past the beverage counter, then the cupcake counter, finally disappearing down the small hallway that led to the steps into the basement. She turned back to the counter with a groan—that didn’t go well. She grabbed a trio of chocolate cake layers and vanilla buttercream to ice her next order. Once she’d completed the orders on her list and it was time to set up the production schedules for the night and overnight bakers and icers, she was completely aware that Ben hadn’t returned. In her mind, he must have planned it that way—the situation got intense and he took off instead of dealing with it. She knew it was because she’d made sure he knew she was offended, and she wouldn’t apologize for that. Well, Ben ol’ boy, now you have no choice but to face me.

Buy The Book: Amazon  Google Books  Barnes & Noble  Kobo  iBooks

All About Samantha Anne
Samantha Anne is a writer/musician born and raised in New York. She is a punk, a friend, a sister, and, at her core, a hopeless romantic. Her specialties include romance, playing bass, and a penchant for lady jokes, tomfoolery, and naughty bits. Find Samantha Anne at, on Facebook, and on Twitter @SamiAnneRT.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

What's Your Playlist?

I know several writers who listen to a specific playlist from the start of a project all the way through edits. I don't do that. My writing process requires different types of music for different areas: when I'm drafting, it's light classical or jazz. No Muzak and no instrumentals of popular songs because I'll wind up singing and not writing.

Once the draft is in the can and I'm on to edits, my playlist comes into play, and it will have a little bit of everything from pop and rock to country and even some oldies thrown in for good measure. While I'm editing, the songs on  my playlist will help me remember the mood of a scene or the crux of my hero's or heroine's problem...or the song will remind me of the book in general.

Here's a sampling of the playlist behind my first Harlequin SuperRomance, The Daughter He Wanted:

(Kissed You) Goodnight by Gloriana
Love Somebody by Maroon 5
Sing Together by Train
A Life That's Good by The Cast of Nashville
Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars
Friday Night by Lady Antebellum
I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes by Dierks Bentley

Book Blurb:

The Daddy Surprise 

Since the loss of his wife, Alex Ryan has been living a half-life. But with one phone call, Alex discovers he's the biological father of a four-year-old girl…and everything changes.

Single mom Paige Kenner preferred to have a family without the man. Now suddenly there's Alex, who desperately wants to be a father to her little girl. A gorgeous, kind and committed father. Letting a stranger into their lives is far too dangerous—especially if his presence stirs a part of Paige that she longs to forget…

Buy The Daughter He Wanted:  Amazon  B&N  iBooks