Monday

Guest Post: Carol Kilgore

I'm excited to have Carol Kilgore here today--and happier she has another book out in the world. I love the title! 


JALAPENO CUPCAKE WENCH
A Hot and Spicy Taste of Murder – and Beyond

Law enforcement consultant Gracie Hofner is assigned to a trendy San Antonio pastry shop to watch for a delivery. In addition to the intoxicating aromas of sugar and chocolate, she also has to fight her own attraction to the man working beside her, Donovan Beck. He’s a hunk and a half and perfect for a spring fling.

If she had more time, Donovan would rank higher on her to-do list. But the number one spot is occupied by her search for a missing little girl, the target of a killer. Gracie needs to find her pronto, and the odd super-instinct quirk that’s started plaguing her may help. If not, she can always see what happens if it tells her to buy a lottery ticket.

Jalapeno Cupcake Wench is the first book in The Amazing Gracie Trilogy, a story so big, it takes three books to tell it.

AMAZON 

Excerpt:

JALAPENO CUPCAKE WENCH
Chapter 1

Cold! Cold! Gracie Hofner looked down. I can’t believe I did that. While reaching for her buzzing phone, she’d poured the remains of her water bottle, intended for her impatiens, over her bare feet. She pressed the button. “Hi, Nicky.”
“Morning. I’ve got something you may want to see.” The voice on Gracie’s phone belonged to Nick Rivera, her partner.
Former partner. Their paths had been the same—patrol, homicide detectives, and then detectives in the San Antonio Regional Intelligence Center—SARIC. San Antonio Police Department all the way. Except unlike her, Nick had found his niche there.
In addition, they were friends. “Fun or work?”
“Nothing fun about murder, Gracie.”
She went inside for a pad and pencil, greeted by the aroma of the coffee that had brewed while she jogged. “Are we cleared?”
“Negative. Double homicide. Missing family.”
“If the family’s missing, who’s dead?”
“Hector and Therese Cantu. You ever heard of Cantu Electric?” 
“Don’t think so.”
“Good reputation on the West Side. They’ve been around since my dad was a kid—started by Hector Cantu’s father back in the fifties. The old commercial was like Cantu can do. Hector’s son runs the business now. Mr. Cantu’s retired. Rephrase—now he’s good and retired. He and his wife are the deceased.”
She moved to the table and put her phone on speaker so she could take notes. “Who’s missing?”
 “The Cantus have three kids, two daughters and the son, all grown. Besides the electrician business, the son owns an upscale retail lighting store. High end only. Kim and I went in there after we bought our house. I couldn’t afford a switchplate, much less a lamp or fixture. The son and his family are missing.”
“How many?”
“Three. Husband, wife, daughter.”

Visit the "Look Inside" feature here for more:
AMAZON


About the Author:


In addition to Jalapeno Cupcake Wench, Carol Kilgore is the author of three romantic suspense novels: In Name Only, Solomon’s Compass, and Secrets of Honor. She’s married, guardian to two quirky dogs, and lives in San Antonio, the setting for the trilogy.

Guest Post: Patsy Collins

I'm excited to have Patsy Collins here discussing her new romance novel, and how it was written during her travels with her husband in their campervan. I don't have a campervan, but do have a travel trailer. I think that shall be my new goal once the kids are in college (not so many years off, scarily): a super long vacation in the camper just so I can write.

***

Although my latest novel, Leave Nothing But Footprints isn't autobiographical, there are ways in which it mirrors my own life. For a start it's a romance and I'm very happily married to the lovely Gary Davies. The book is about a gifted famous photographer (Eliot) and the girl (Jess) he's teaching his craft to. My husband is a talented photographer and he's spent years training me up as his assistant.

The main similarity though between the book and my life is that Jess and Eliot are working from a campervan. Gary and I spend about four months a year in our van; him to use it as a base for photography and me as a mobile writing retreat. The fictional Eliot uses his van for most of his 'on location' assignments and, as I know from personal experience, the small space means it's almost impossible for there not to be some level of intimacy and it's great for showing a relationship in its true light. That's really what gave me the idea of using a campervan as the location for a romance. The characters can't hide from their emotions and will be forced to either reveal them or take action to conceal how they feel. Both are good for building up tension and the storyline.

Just like Eliot, I like to write on location whenever I can. That includes taking lots of photos as I use them for reference once I'm back home. I find the places I visit and the people I meet often inspire my writing. I love South Wales and wanted to capture a little of the drama which is to be found in the hills and coastline as well as the beauty of the wildflowers, gorgeous sunsets and friendly people. Leave Nothing But Footprints gave me the opportunity to do that.




To start with Eliot doesn't really want Jess along and had to be practically bribed and emotionally blackmailed by her millionaire father to do so. He gets his revenge by making her trek up steep hills, down rocky paths and along sandy beaches, all the while carrying camera equipment. To be honest, Eliot is jolly grumpy at times, although he does have his reasons for that. My husband isn't so hard on me, but we do walk a lot, searching for good locations, so I know that as well as being tiring, this is a great way to appreciate the landscape. I get tired too and that's when I decide to take a close look at the wildflowers, so I gave Jess a breather in the same way. Eliot's speciality is ecology, so she gets away with it.


The van is a brilliant place to work from. There's a kettle within reach, far fewer distractions than at home and a different inspiring view every day. Even the fact that I can't always get wifi has the advantage of reducing the ways in which I can procrastinate – although I admit the inspiring views tends to cancel that one out.

Blurb - 

Jessica Borlase always gets what she wants. From cocktails in the exact shade of her manicure, holiday on Capri with friends, to a spacious apartment, her father's money makes it possible. She enjoys the luxurious lifestyle and is grateful for his support, but frustrated to always be treated as Daddy's pampered little girl. She tries to break free, by leaving Borlase Enterprises and studying photography.

Now what Jess wants is the utterly gorgeous Eliot Beatty; a world famous photographer who often uses his talents to benefit conservation projects. Her father attempts to bribe Eliot into taking Jess on an assignment in order to teach her the skills she'll need to develop a career. Although annoyed at the interference, she's delighted to discover this means two weeks with Eliot in the beautiful countryside of South Wales and close confines of a campervan. Trouble is, the man can't be bought.

Jess eventually manages to persuade Eliot to take her. She believes she can earn his respect and that she's ready for the hard work, long hours and living conditions far short of those she's used to. She's wrong on all counts. Can Jess learn to cope with the realities of the trip, and is Eliot really worth the effort?

Patsy's Bio -

Patsy Collins will write anywhere she can reach in her campervan. She's the author of five novels; four contemporary romances and one coming of age story with a difference. Hundreds of her short stories have been published in magazines in the UK, Australia, Sweden, Ireland and South Africa. She's also co-author of From Story Idea to Reader – an accessible guide to writing fiction.


Patsy blogs about free entry writing competitions - http://patsy-collins.blogspot.co.uk and runs the womagwriter blog http://womagwriter.blogspot.co.uk which is handy for magazine guidelines.

Friday

Feeling Lucky?

Friday the 13th and it's my turn in the Sex Scene Championship hosted by Scorching Book Reviews.

I struggled over which scene to use. Whether I should go with something already published or from one of my WIPs. In the end, I decided to use a scene from the one that will be published next, LAST CALL, a story about the very late coming of age for both a married-too-young divorcee and a spoiled lifelong actor.

Here's a short prequel to actual scene in the contest:

“That’s the thing about men and women of a certain age.” I shoved his jacket to his elbows, flicking my tongue across his chin, nipping it, kissing. No longer giving a damn about the what-ifs. Or consequences. It was all about the right freaking now. “I’m in my prime and you’re on your downward spiral.”

“Oh, you’re wrong.” He dropped his arms to let the jacket fall to the floor and slid his warm hands inside my robe, gliding around until they clasped behind my back. He swung us around so he was against the door then pulled me into his hard frame. “Very, very wrong.”

I'd love for you all to hop over and check out the rest.

On Monday I'll have a guest host. Patsy Collins will be discussing her new romance release, Leave Nothing But Footprints, and how she wrote it while traveling in her campervan (so jealous!).

And Carol Kilgore has a new one coming out Monday, October 16th. Jalepeno Cupcake Wench. Love that title.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone.

Monday

Romance It Is

I've blogged about reading many genres, but my fallback is always romance. I'll read just about any subgenre of it, romantic suspense probably being my favorite. Heck, once in a while I'll even read mediocre writing or poorly plotted romances so long as the characters are good and have great chemistry.*

For me, it's all about the escape from reality. I get enough--way, way too much lately--pain and suffering just watching the news these days. Or reading my FB and Twitter feeds. Sometimes I want nothing more than some happy, happy, joy, joy. So as long as it's mostly light reading and I get my HEA, it's all good.

My Kindle is running low. Anyone have any good recs in the romance department? Pimp your book, or your friend's, or your favorite author's, or...

*This happens when I'm out of books on the Kindle and it's late and I just run through the Zon's freebie list and start downloading. I end up deleting quite a few after a couple pages, but I have found some really fantastic reads this way, too.

Chemistry

I write romance. I read romance.* From both points, it’s all about that undeniable chemistry between the two main characters.

There are arguments spread out across the board on novels:
It’s about the plot!
It’s about the prose!
It’s about the characters!

Thing is, it’s all of those rolled into one. Each of the above needs to be present, whether or not one element stands above the others, and each of them stems from one thing:
The writing.

The character chemistry is no different. And it isn’t always about meeting the hottest guy/girl in the entire town. Nor does it have to be about a literal jolt of sparks, or amazing monkey sex.  But it has to be something. 

Chemistry also has to be shown quickly. It can be something small that sets it off, like a shared interest in music or hobbies that gets them talking and ignites it. Or it can be that literal jolt from touching. But if something doesn’t gel, from early on, the reader won’t feel much of a spark when, all of the sudden, out of nowhere, two people are in lust then, ultimately, love. 

There are tried and true tropes: hate to love, where the initial chemistry is shown through aggression of some sort before boiling over to desire; friends to lovers, where long-term friends already have a camaraderie that builds through a slow burn; long-lost lover, where old flames reconnect with an immediate reigniting of the old spark… and so on.

My favorite thing, which isn’t necessarily a trope—but can be, is a meet cute. I am a sucker for a, um, cute meet-cute. Do you have a favorite romance trope?

*I read lots of genres, but not in the vast quantities I consume the lurve stories. 



LAST CALL (Tara Watson)

meet-cute

[My ex-husband hung up and I lifted the phone to text my older kiddo.]
Scott was probably out with his girlfriend by this time on a Friday night. If I called, he’d be sure to give a lecture that would put his father to shame. Another future lawyer: just what our family—and the world—needed. I tapped Tyler’s name instead. At the same time, the sticky mat under my feet vanished. Both of my heels slid over the slick tile, my left not stopping. I twisted my right ankle, tumbling backward and flailing out to grab hold of some anchor.
I sunk fingernails into something soft and warm.
“Crap.” The word huffed out as my back hit the ground and I lost half my breath. A weight crushed my chest and claimed the rest of the air from my lungs. My head hit the rubber floor mat and bounced. Smack into a very hard part of the thing that had landed on top of me.
My hand flew to cover my stinging nose and I squeezed down the tears that leapt into my eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” said a deep male voice from above.