Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It's Snarktember - For no Rhyme or Reason!

Read my post at http://www.snarkymomreads.com/?p=11536 

It's that time again when Snarky Mom celebrates September (aka Snarktember) and invites us to come along for the ride. This Snarktember, every day's a holiday! We're marking every single possible commemorative day in September, most of which you've probably never heard of. For instance, did you know that today is National No Rhyme or Reason day? No? Neither did I, but you can read all about at my post at Snarky Mom's blog. I'm giving away a $5 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. Just follow the directions on my post to enter. I'll be drawing the winner at the end of the month.

But the prizes don't stop there. There are grand prize draws for a Kindle, books and other swag. Just enter the Rafflecopter below to be eligible.

And make sure you visit all the other participating authors this month. Every day in September two authors will write about a different nifty and original National holiday or something-the-other. Each post will have a contest just like mine where you can enter to win neat prizes! So make sure you visit us every day in Snarktember at http://www.snarkymomreads.com!

And hey, don't forget my contemporary romance, ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE, (ebook version) is on sale for .99 cents until September 3, so get your copy now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Book Boyfriends Scavenger Hunt!


If you're looking for the Book Boyfriends Scavenger Hunt, you've come to the right place! Check this post for the Book Boyfriends icon and the code word. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win gift cards from Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

From now until September 4, my contemporary romance (ebook version) ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE is on sale for .99 cents! Here's the blurb:


Dr. Alex Campbell has an agenda—finish his contract to provide medical services in Maine, pay off his medical school debt, and head back to his real life in San Diego. But when he meets Julia, all his carefully laid plans are put in jeopardy. 
Julia Stewart, Lobster Cove’s high school principal, swears she’ll never let another man drag her away from the home she loves. Her aging parents need her, and the Cove is where she wants to raise her daughter. When her mother’s illness brings her and the big city doctor closer together, panic sets in. Her marriage taught her men don’t stay.
Can she put aside the heartaches of the past and trust Alex enough to accept the love he’s offering? Or will her fear of abandonment mean she’ll send him away forever?

Excerpt:

“How are your mom and dad?”

“About the same, I guess. Dad’s still deep in denial. He’s taken her to Dr. Willson for some initial medical tests, but he’s been putting off making an appointment with the neurologist Dr. Willson wants her to see. And my mom is still…”

She looked away, on the verge of tears. Alex closed the distance between them and pulled her into his arms.

“It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.”

Holding her securely with one hand around her waist, he tucked her head under his chin. She held her breath as if to keep from crying, her hands clutching the front of his T-shirt, her body tense. He slid his hand up and down her back, trying to soothe.

“It’s okay if you want to cry, Julia.”

“I’m afraid if I start crying I won’t be able to stop,” she said, sniffing.

“You don’t have to be strong all the time.”

She sighed and relaxed against him. “Sometimes I feel about as strong as a wet noodle. Superwoman I’m not.”

He held her a little closer, burying his smile in her silky hair.

“I don’t know. With a cape and some tights, you could definitely pass for a superhero. You could be Super Principal, defender of defenseless students.”

He heard her chuckle. She looked up into his face, her eyes smiling into his, even though they were wet with tears.

“I couldn’t be Super Principal. I look terrible in a cape.”

He laughed softly. “You couldn’t look terrible if you tried.”

“Thank you,” she said softly.

“For what?”

“For making me laugh when I felt like crying.”

“My pleasure.”

Alex’s heart thudded against his chest as she stared into his eyes. He couldn’t look away. He lifted his hand and gently trailed his fingers across her full lips, her eyes, her cheekbones. Slowly, he lowered his mouth to hers, sighing at the feel of the softness of her lips. Her scent, something floral and sweet, surrounded him, intoxicated him. Need pulsed through his veins, but he held back, keeping his kisses light and tender when he wanted to mould her against him and explore every inch of her body with his hands and his tongue. She made a little sound of pleasure deep in her throat and, straining upward to wrap her arms around his neck, flattened herself against him, breast to chest, sex to sex. Restraint snapped. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. She opened her mouth to him and his tongue swept every corner, mating and dancing with her tongue. Placing his hand on her buttocks, he pulled her against his growing erection, rubbing against her mound. She moaned in response, moving against him.

“Mommy, are you going to tuck me in?”

Julia pushed away from him at Ava’s plaintive call from the top of the stairs. Shock registered in her eyes as she stared at him, her chest heaving with her labored breath. Arousal, exhilaration, and complete and utter surprise pounded through his blood. He hadn’t expected fire to ignite between them, hadn’t expected her response. Hell, he hadn’t even expected his own response. He knew he was attracted to her, but the need he’d felt, the all-consuming desire, had completely blindsided him.

“I…I…should see to Ava,” Julia stammered, her eyes still wide with shock. Her hair was tousled, her lip gloss smudged. The taste of her was still in his mouth. He still wanted her, but instead he took a step away.

“I should go.” But he couldn’t make his feet move any further.

“Yes,” she whispered. She stayed rooted to her spot.

He wanted to touch her again, to kiss her, but he knew if he did he wouldn’t be able to leave. They were both on the edge, and it wouldn’t take more than a touch to set the flames ablaze once more.
And this time he didn’t think either of them could stop.

He closed his eyes, his hands clenched at his sides. That might be okay for him, but he knew Julia wasn’t ready. She’d hate herself if she lost control and had sex with him now. Worse, she’d hate him.

“Go see to Ava.” He heard the husky note in his voice, the unmet need.

“Yes.” Still, she didn’t move.

Their eyes met, desire dancing between them. It took every ounce of strength Alex possessed to turn away and walk out of her house. To walk away from her.

ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE is available for .99 cents until September 3 at these fine ebook retailers:

The Wild Rose Press                    All Romance Ebooks

Amazon                                        Bookstrand

Barnes & Noble                    Kobo


Here's some examples of other great books on sale during the scavenger hunt:

Available for $0.99





Available for $0.99





Available for $2.99




  




Available for $0.99

Here is the Rafflecopter HTML and URL: a Rafflecopter giveaway



Code Word - CARING

Friday, August 21, 2015

Boosting the Signal with Angela Highland


I'm at Angela Highland's blog "Boosting the Signal" about my contemporary romance ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE. I'm doing something I've never done before. I've asked my heroine from OMSC, Julia Stewart, to tell us, in her own words, what's going on in her life, especially the things that challenge her and scare her. She really opened up so I hope you enjoy her story.

http://www.angelahighland.com/2015/08/21/boosting-the-signal-one-more-second-chance-by-jana-richards/

And -- drum roll please! -- ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE (ebook version) goes on sale for .99 cents today! It will be at the following fine e-retailers:

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Bookstrand

All Romance eBooks

iBooks

Google Play

The sale lasts until September 4!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#LASR_Anniv Scavenger Hunt - One More Second Chance

I'm participating in the Long and Short Reviews 8th Anniversary Scavenger Hunt from now until August 28. There are some fabulous prizes to be won, including a $100 Amazon or B & N gift card, gift cards from several publishers, ebooks and other prizes. All you have to do is to tweet or comment or answer some easy questions. I'm featuring my contemporary romance ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE, which will be on sale for .99 cents (ebook version) between August 21 and September 4. I'd love for you to join me! Check me out at the LASR 8th Anniversary Scavenger Hunt.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

SEEING THINGS on #MFRWHooks


I'm very happy to be back on Book Hooks today! Here's the blurb for my paranormal romantic suspense SEEING THINGS:

When psychic Leah McKenna “sees” the abduction of a small boy, she knows she must help find him, no matter the danger to herself. David Logan, the boy’s uncle, doesn’t believe in psychic phenomenon. He believes Leah knows who kidnapped his nephew, and plans to stick close to her to discover the truth. As they search for Jeremy they uncover truths about themselves and the way they feel about each other. Can Leah convince him her visions, and her love for him, are real before time runs out for all of them?

Here's a few lines from SEEING THINGS:

Leah stooped to retrieve a couple of plastic toys left abandoned on the floor. She stared at the bright red brontosaurus and the purple stegosaurus as if waiting to hear them speak. David straightened the unmade bed to give himself something to do, his hand brushing against a lump under the blanket. He pulled Jeremy's well-worn Teddy bear from its hiding place.

"He never goes to sleep without Mr. Cuddles. He'll be missing him..."

David's hands clenched into fists as rage poured through him. What kind of monster takes a child away from his mother, from everything that's familiar to him? When he got his hands on the bastard who did this, he'd make him pay.

SEEING THINGS is available from Uncial Press, Amazon and many other ebook retailers.

Check out other offerings on MFRW Book Hooks this week at http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com


Friday, August 7, 2015

Welcome Frances Evesham and DANGER AT THATCHAM HALL #TWRP

Today I'm happy to welcome Frances Evesham to Journeys With Jana. She's going to talk about her novel DANGER AT THATCHAM HALL. Hello Frances!

Thank you so much, Jana, for welcoming me so kindly to your blog, and asking such interesting questions. I’m really looking forward to reading your latest story, One More Second Chance and I love that we share a publisher, the Wild Rose Press.

I'm very happy to have you here. Where did you get the idea for your new novel? 

Danger at Thatcham Hall is the second in my series of Thatcham Hall Mysteries. It follows on from the first novel, An Independent Woman, although it stands alone as a story.

I’m fascinated by the stories of strong women. Olivia, my heroine, lives at a time when convention dictated poor but “genteel” ladies should confine their activities to the home, or become companions or governesses. What a dreadful prospect! The real lives of women were often much more interesting and adventurous.

Several women dressed as soldiers, and fought in the battle of Waterloo. The Bronte sisters wrote under male pseudonyms in order to find a publisher. Fanny Mendelssohn wrote songs that Queen Victoria loved, even though she had to publish them under her brother’s name.
It’s that resourcefulness and refusal to give in that my heroine Olivia shows. She’s a clever, talented pianist and composer, and won’t submit to spending life as a governess.

Why did you choose this genre?

I’m intrigued by history, crime, mysteries and romance. I love to lose myself in another world, living the upstairs glamour and downstairs intrigue of an English country house.

I also adore the challenge of the twists and turns of a mystery plot. Who has a motive? What’s the secret everyone tries to hide? I live in a state of excitement when I’m writing, desperate to read the next chapter even though I haven’t written it yet!

A writer has to enjoy the process of writing since she spends so much time with her story. If she doesn't think it's exciting, no one else will either! What do you want readers to come away with after they read your book?

I once went on a training session where, in groups of four, we each told a very short story to the others. One told of opening a bag of marbles and drawing out each glass globe. Another spoke of a day in the playground with her child. A third of walking down the road and seeing cracks in the pavement.

Afterwards, the trainer asked which story we liked best. We found it impossible to choose. Every single story told us something, opening our eyes to new ways of looking at the world. To me, that’s the wonder of storytelling: everyone can take something from the experience.

I hope every reader finds something for him or herself in Danger at Thatcham Hall. When you finish the story, I hope you’ll feel moved by their struggles and satisfied that Olivia and Nelson have tried their best to overcome difficulties and discover what truly mattes. I hope you’ll feel a little bit better about the world.

Did you always want to be a writer?

As a child, I read stories about horses, and longed to write my own. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a horse, had only ridden a handful of times and knew less than nothing about them. Those stories are, fortunately, long lost, but I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom, scribbling in a notebook, losing myself in the joy of another world.

I never thought it possible to write for a living. Writers, I imagined, were special people, not ordinary like me. Instead, I channelled my love of words and language into becoming first a speech and language therapist and then an intermediary. I worked with people with communication problems who have the misfortune to appear in the criminal courts, whether as victims, defendants or witnesses, helping them understand what was going on, and showing the lawyers how to put together clear, simple sentences.

It feels as though all this, plus the blessing of three healthy, happy children and four blossoming grandsons, has led me full circle toward my current career as a writer. I’ve never been happier.

What comes first for you – plot or character?

I have an idea for a plot, first. I know what will happen at the end. Then, I round out the characters of the people it will happen to. What is it about them that leads to unhappiness and mistakes, and what character strengths do they have that enable them to come through their adventures?

Olivia envies her richer, prettier friend, Selena. Haven’t we all had friends who seemed to own all the gifts and advantages of life in one golden package? Oh, how jealous we feel. It’s so good when we look back over our lives and realize how little looks, money and influence really mattered.

Nelson, the soldier-turned-lawyer, grapples with demons, living with dreadful memories of war, injury and rejection by a heartless woman. How it must hurt to have your future torn away like that. No wonder Nelson struggles with his feelings, just as we all battle with feelings of injustice and sorrow.

Once the characters have become real, well-rounded people, I plot out the detail of the story, outlining each chapter, making sure the structure of the book works. Then, I start typing and of course, everything changes. The people in the stories constantly surprise me, just as people do in life, and they write their own story.

I know exactly what you mean, Frances. No matter how well I think I know them, my characters always surprise me, too. Name two authors we might find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.

I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie, who seems to have thought of every plot in the world, and of Jane Austen. I love to savor Austen’s wonderful, elegant sentences, and the real passion her people hide under their carefully correct manners. I cry every time I read the story of young love allowed to escape in Persuasion, and watch it rekindled as a grown-up, true emotion.

What are two (or more) of your all-time favorite books in any genre?

Just recently, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy: fiction set in the 20th century, taking us through both World Wars to the fall of the Berlin Wall. I’m so impressed by the way he manages to place his characters at important events, while remaining true to historical facts.
I also have a very soft spot for The Grand Sophy, one of Georgette Heyer’s most intelligent, feisty heroines.

But then, I also love a nice, juicy crime or police procedural: Kathy Reichs or Mark Billingham…

Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?

I’m so lucky to live in Somerset. My husband was in the Royal Air Force, so we travelled around every two years. Then, when he left for a civilian life, we could choose where to go. Not many people have that freedom. We decided to find a place we wanted to live, and worry about finding work afterwards.

I can walk to the sea, eat ice cream sitting on the sand, and take the grandchildren down to make sand castles, or I can walk in the other direction, across the fields of the flat Somerset Levels, meeting nothing but cattle and sheep.

I has such fun writing the first chapter of Danger at Thatcham Hall, where Olivia, a town-dweller, takes a walk in the countryside near the Hall and encounters something she hadn’t expected…

What do you like best about your hero? 

One of the pleasures of writing is the opportunity to draw a hero just as I’d like him. He’s intelligent, maybe a bit too clever for his own good. He’s flawed: at the start of the novel he’s so disillusioned he’s just out for what he can get. As the novel goes on, he has a few of his rough edges knocked off. He’s also tall. I do like a tall hero!

What do you like best about your heroine? 

I love Olivia’s determination not to give up. She’s thoughtful and kind, but she’s also competitive and argumentative: she wants to solve the mystery before Nelson does, and she likes that she’s better at persuading people to tell the truth and part with their secrets than he.

They sound like wonderful characters. How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?

Finding great names is a challenge. Nelson, a military man before the story begins, is named after Admiral Nelson, the English naval hero. I try to keep the names appropriate to the time of the story, and they have to fit the picture of the person I have in my head.

Epiphanius, a tramp, is named after one of my husband’s ancestors, a sculptor, and Theodore is the name of a late Victorian vagabond who lived near my mother’s family, out in the Cotswold countryside.

I don’t use real people as physical models for the characters, because their personalities are in place before their physical appearance. Their hair color, body shape and features then arrive, fitting their flaws and qualities until I can see them, walking, talking and arguing in my head.

I feel the atmosphere of place in the same way. Thatcham Hall is a real building to me, with an old disused chapel. I imagined the chapel and shivered, then decided what it was that gave me that feeling of disquiet. Was it the old, cold stones, or the draught that whistled through gaps in the windows, or the way a door slammed shut in the distance?

Tell us a little about your current work in progress.

I’m writing the third novel in the Thatcham Hall Mysteries series. I’m still planning it, and getting more and more excited about it. I’m hoping it will be out next summer.

What’s your tagline? Why did you choose it?

I’d love some help from readers on this. In England, we have a brand of cakes called Mr Kipling’s, with the tagline, “Mr Kipling makes Exceedingly Good Cakes.” My mouth waters every time I hear it.

I’m liking the idea of “Frances Evesham writes Extremely English Mysteries.” What do you think? Any better ideas?

I like that tagline! I'm curious to hear what others think. How can readers reach you or find you online?

Oh, how I love to Tweet. It’s my favorite social media. Here are a few contact details.

Website:  http://www.francesevesham.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/francesevesham

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/frances.evesham.writer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33000478-frances-Evesham

Thanks so much for being here today, Frances. I enjoyed meeting you!

Here's the blurb for Danger at Thatcham Hall:

      Ambitious lawyer Nelson Roberts,  jilted by his fiancĂ©e and embittered by war, trusts no one. He jumps at the chance to make a name for himself solving the mysterious thefts and violence at Thatcham Hall, a country house in Victorian England.

     Olivia Martin, headstrong and talented, dreams of a career as a musician. She’ll do anything it takes to avoid a looming miserable fate as a governess.

     The pair stumble on a body. Is the farmhand’s death a simple accident, or something more sinister? Who attacked the livestock at the Hall and why are the villagers so reluctant to talk? Can Nelson and Olivia overcome their differences and join forces to unravel the web of evil that imperils the Hall?

Excerpt:

Aghast, Olivia slid to a halt, half-lying in the stream. Water seeped into both boots, chilling skin, bone and muscle. Her woollen skirt mushroomed, the dress absorbing moisture until damp fabric outlined every curve of her body.

     The stranger watched, eyes widening. Oh! He was staring at her—at her—no, Olivia could hardly even think the words. He could see her—her shape. Shame drove out the chill, reddening her chest, and heightening the dreadful humiliation.  Oh, if only the earth would open and swallow her whole! She gulped, strove for words, but none came.

     Wait. The stranger wasn’t watching her at all. His gaze travelled further, coming to rest beyond Olivia. He stared, the knowing smile fading, and Olivia’s insides turned to horrified pulp. What could he see? Something terrible? Slowly, heart hammering inside a tight chest, she twisted, awkward in the flow of water, to peer over one shoulder.

     A brown boot, heavy and cracked with wear, wavered in the stream, barely an inch from Olivia’s fingers. She gasped. A swollen leg bulged from the battered leather, the pale stretch of waxen flesh exposed through torn brown trousers. Olivia snatched back her hand, biting the knuckles to stifle a scream.

     The man’s body lay on its back, head half-submerged, as the current stroked wisps of black hair across a pale cheek.

Author Bio:

Frances Evesham can’t believe her luck, spending her days writing and collecting grandsons, Victorian trivia and stories of ancestors. She’s fascinated by the Victorians, especially the women in England, so complex and human, hiding longings, ambitions and repressed passions under society’s stifling conventions. 

Cooking with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, Frances devours books full of mystery, murder and adventure, pages spattered with olive oil and scented with rosemary and garlic, spines propped up on piles of lemons and oranges in the kitchen. 

Writing the Thatcham Hall Mysteries leaves just enough time to enjoy bad jokes and puns, and wish she’d kept on with those piano lessons.

Buy links for Danger at Thatcham Hall:






Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I'm at Contemporary Romance Cafe today!

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, and that means I'm at my regular gig over at Contemporary Romance Cafe. This month's theme is all about food and wine in romance, and I'm sharing a few of my favorite food/wine scenes from two of my own books, and two from a couple of my favorite authors. Stop on by and tell me what your favorite find of wine is!