Breaking His Rules ~ Another Excerpt and a Giveaway

With release day quickly approaching (can you believe summer’s almost over?) it seemed like the perfect time to share another excerpt from Breaking His Rules and, of course, do another giveaway!

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It was after ten when Jake pulled up to the curb in front of her townhouse. The porch light was on and bathed the small garden and walkway near the front door in a warm golden glow. Inside, the house was dark. Paige was either upstairs in her bedroom at the back of the unit, or she’d decided to spend the night with Rob.

“You talked to Gentry, didn’t you?” Melissa asked the question that had been on her mind ever since she’d seen Trey head toward the men’s room not long after Jake had done the same thing.

“We had a brief discussion.” Jake’s fingers tightened on the steering wheel. “I didn’t lay a hand on him. If that’s what you’re worried about.”

“The only reason I’d worry is because I wouldn’t want you to get into any trouble because of me. Him, I couldn’t care less about.”

“My father taught us to respect women. What Gentry said to you was out of line. I took it upon myself to call him out on his behavior.”

“I guess he thought I’d be flattered that he found me attractive.”

“His success has gone to his head. He’s got women panting after him all the time and he takes advantage of that situation on a daily basis, according to J.T.”

“Well, he picked the wrong woman tonight. I wish I would have had the nerve to deck him. Paige would have done it in a heartbeat.” She sighed. “Paige thinks I need to stand up for myself more. She says I always turn the other cheek and let people like Shauna and Denise get away with insulting me.”

“Is that true?”

“Yes,” Melissa admitted, with a tentative nod. “I was always heavier than all the other kids. When they made fun of me it was easier to pretend it didn’t matter instead of confronting them.”

“But it did matter, didn’t it?”

“It hurt.” Her heart clenched at the thought of those painful times. “A lot. Luckily, I had Paige. I don’t think I would have gotten through school if she wasn’t there with me. She fought my battles for me. No one would dare say a word to me when she was nearby.”

“You’ve never struck me as the kind of person who wouldn’t stick up for herself.”

“That’s because you don’t really know me.”

“I think I do.” Jake reached up to brush a lock of hair from her cheek, and then quickly lowered his hand. “That strength you think you don’t have is there. Inside you. One day you’ll figure that out.”

Breaking His Rules will be released on Monday, September 8, 2014 and is available for pre-order now at the following e-book retailers:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | KOBO | iBooks | iTunes | Carina Press

And now for the giveaway! Just leave a comment on this blog post and win an e-book copy of one of my books: Love in the Afternoon, The Winning Season, A Christmas for Carrie or Catching Heat OR you can choose a print copy of either Love in the Afternoon or The Winning Season. The contest is open internationally and will close on Friday, August 29, 2014 at 9 pm PST. Good luck!

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Crystal Perkins, up and coming New Adult author of Gaming for Love (and my friend), tagged me for this blog hop. See the author I tagged below (another talented friend, Heather Lire), who will post her answers on her blog next week.

1. What am I working on right now?

At the moment I’m working on final edits to my upcoming release, Breaking His Rules. The fifth book in my Feeling the Heat series, Breaking the Rules will be published on September 8, 2014 by Carina Press. If you read Catching Heat, then you probably remember J.T. Sawyer’s brother Jake, the owner of a gym called Jake’s Joint, and Melissa Atherton, whose quest to change her life led her to join Jake’s gym and sign up for his personal training sessions. Jake has an ironclad rule against getting involved with his clients, but his attraction to Melissa just might have him rethinking that particular rule.

Breaking His Rules started out as a novella, but I’m happy to report that a novella wasn’t long enough to tell Jake and Melissa’s story. It now comes in at over 70,000 words!

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?

This is a tough question to answer. I believe every single author is unique. What I mean by that is each author has a different voice, or their way of telling a story. I’d like to think one of my strengths is to inject my stories with humor, as well as emotion. I love writing a series because it gives me (and the readers) a chance to revisit the characters they fell in love with in previous books.

3. Why do I write what I do?

This one’s simple. I write what I love to read. Contemporary romance has always been my go-to genre, so it just made sense that when I decided to start writing, I’d write contemporary. My first book in the series, Love in the Afternoon, is an homage to soap operas (which I grew up watching), and my second book, The Winning Season, is a sports romance. Soap operas and sports wouldn’t seem to go together in a series, but somehow it worked, and I couldn’t be happier to combine two things I love in one series.

4. How does my writing process work?

I have a pretty simple process. Once I decide on the characters, I write a loose outline of the story and then just start writing. For me, planning out every single scene or detail is too restrictive. I love it when I’m writing and something that never occurred to me pops into my head and takes the story in a direction I never thought it would go.

Because I also have a full-time day job, my writing time is limited to after work and weekends. Like a few of my author friends (Tera Lynn Childs, I’m looking at you), I can’t write in Starbucks or other public places. I need complete silence to concentrate. And I’m not sure if this is odd, but I actually like working on revisions because it’s a second chance to make the story and the characters shine.

Next week, the lovely Heather Lire will be answering these same questions on her blog. Heather’s first book  Second Chance at Forever is a wonderful story of lovers reunited. Read about it, and her writing process on her website.

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Feeling the Heat aka My Series Finally Has a Name!

Happy DanceWhen I wrote my first book, Love in the Afternoon, I wasn’t planning too far ahead. But then a funny thing happened. I liked my secondary characters, Matt and Kelly, so much that I had to write about them in The Winning Season, and then I liked the secondary characters so much in that book that I had to write a book about them too. And so now I have a series! Very cool, right? Yes, but not so cool if you can’t come up with a series name.

A series name is crucial these days when so many authors write books with characters that are connected in one way or another. It lets readers know that a) you have a series and, b) what order to read your books in if they aren’t familiar with them already.

The biggest problem I had when I tried to come up with a series name was that I’d started the series with a book set in Hollywood (with two soap opera actors) and then moved it up to San Francisco, where my hero plays for the fictional MLB baseball team, the San Francisco Blaze. My upcoming release, Catching Heat, also features a player from the Blaze, and my holiday novella released last month (A Christmas for Carrie) is connected to the series as well.

For months I racked my brain trying to come up with something—anything—that would tie all the books together, and after a few truly cheesy ideas (Hearts Ablaze, Hearts on Fire), I finally came up with one that I thought could incorporate all the books in this little universe I’ve created. So I sent my latest idea to my editor, Angela James, at Carina Press and, lo and behold, she liked it and shared it with the team. And they liked it too! So now when someone asks me what my series name is I can finally tell them!

It’s Feeling the Heat.

PS: That little stick figure doing the happy dance at the top of this post is how I would look if I had a picture of me doing it…only skinnier.

Giveaway Winners

WinnerDrum roll, please!

It is now time to announce the four readers who have won a print copy of Love in the Afternoon.  And they are:

Commenter #1 Mel
Commenter #6 Alex Margaret
Commenter #7 Nicole P.
Commenter #12 Tracy

Congratulations to the winners, and for those who entered but didn’t win, I’ll be giving away more print copies in the not too distant future, so please try again.

FYI – I selected the winners at random.org. Some day, I’ll figure out how to use that raffle copter thing, but until then, random.org’s number generator works for me.

To the winners, I’ll be contacting you via email to find out where you’d like me to send your print copies to, or if you’d prefer an e-book rather than a print copy.