December 27, 2013

Please Give A Warm Welcome to Author, Letty James


Welcome to Cheryl’s place! I’m thrilled to have you here.
It’s great to be here Cheryl. You are a peach to have me. (Yes, I was raised in the South.) What a terrific way to start the New Year – talking about books!
Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a late bloomer. I started writing soon after I got married at 29. I had no idea what I was doing – I just needed to get the visions in my head down on paper. Then I went to a writers’ workshop and the instructor introduced a method of plotting involving worksheets, notebooks, tabs, etc. Ack! Who knew it would be so much work? It scared me off, but the visions keep coming. So two kids and many, many years later, I tried again. This time I just wrote what felt right. Something that made me laugh and that I knew in my heart was spot on. And my first story sold to Harlequin – after sitting for a year on somebody’s desk!
What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
I currently teach elementary school art and while that’s not a pastime, I have so much fun planning lessons and trying new things that I’m sure my hourly rate has gone waaayyy down. Then when I get burned out, I curl up with a cup of tea, and the cats, and read, read, read. When I’m feeling fat (which is about every other day) I take a walk with friends.
Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Write, read, repeat. Make friends with writers. Pick writers’ brains. Write what excites you, not what somebody else wants you to write. Write to your favorite writers. You never know who will write back. I find most of them do!
What genre or genres do you write?
Contemporary romance, erotica, and mystery – I can’t seem to stick to one genre and like to mash them all together. I believe every story should have a bit of romance!
Tell us about your latest release(s)?
My latest is an erotica release from Soul Mate Publishing titled The Hot Shoppe. It’s the beginning of a series and is two stories in one book, all of the stories following that initial Harlequin story. Hot men, a group of girlfriends, a small town, food, music, sex, what more could you want? The Hot Shoppe II? Coming soon!
What’s your current WIP?
I am currently working on a contemporary romance set in Scotland and Montana – cowboys in kilts!
Where can we stalk you?
Check out my website www.lettyjames.com where you’ll find all sorts of juicy info about yours truly. Or go to Amazon.com where you will find my current catalogue. Here is a link to The Hot Shoppe. http://www.amazon.com/The-Hot-Shoppe-Letty-James-ebook/dp/B00D69ERHE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386543022&sr=8-1&keywords=letty+james


And finally, please share an excerpt of your book!
Gladly! I’ve included a bit from both stories.

Here’s a tempting morsel from Devilish from The Hot Shoppe.

When developer Stowe Hampstead arrives at Claire Fouchet’s coffee shop, she tries to squash the explosive attraction. Could he be interested in more than just her historical property or is he just the devil in disguise? 

DEVILISH
“Claire’s house of pain. What’s your pleasure?”
“How about a cup of coffee before we get intimate?”
Fuck. I recognized that low rumbling voice—it could melt the chocolate chips right out of my scones. Jonathan Stowe Hampstead, III, one of the biggest developers in Annapolis. How did he get my number? One remark to my real estate agent friend, Christine, about selling the house, and the vultures were on their descent. And Jonathan Stowe Hampstead, III, was a top scavenger, having just bought the stores on each side of The Hot Shoppe, my coffeehouse and personal empire. Rumors circulated that he wanted to buy The Hot Shoppe, too. What was it about developers in this town? Pretty soon, the only historic pieces left of Annapolis would be the facades of Main Street.
“Hello? Are you still there?”
I clicked off the phone and resumed brushing my hair, managing to make a black tangled mess of it with my shaking hands. The man made my body do stupid things every time he came into the shop. Things like drop pitchers of milk, jam the register, and mix up orders.
I was expecting a call from my brother, Gavin, letting me know how the private inspection had gone yesterday. Gavin was chomping at the bit to sell his piece of The Hot Shoppe, so we’d brought in a private inspector for the property. I didn’t want any nasty surprises when the city inspectors showed up. I’d wanted to be there, but Gavin had thrown his macho weight around, claiming I couldn’t keep my feelings to myself and we needed to keep this quiet until we got the full report. I acquiesced. After all, I’d be there for the city inspectors. I’d get the happy job of showing them we were in tip-top shape.
The doorbell rang. I slid down the banister just for fun and flung open the door.
Not Gavin.
Stowe.
Double fuck.
I sucked in my breath and narrowed my eyes, girding for battle. He seemed oblivious to my agitation as he leaned against the doorjamb, showing his perfect teeth, his model-worthy cheekbones, and somehow managing to have his blond hair perfectly aligned on a cold windy day. The devil shouldn’t look so smooth. I wanted to reach up and ruffle his hair just to see what he would do.
Any other man would look way too girly in a yellow polo and khakis. Stowe managed to make them sexy. The little man on the horse galloped over broad pecs. His biceps bulged underneath the slim sleeve band. Visions of pushing him off the porch and into the muddy grass danced through my head. Would he resist or pull me down into the mud with him? Heat flushed my cheeks, but I kept my gaze level on his. I’d never seen his eyes this close before. Blue, with a hint of gray. Smoky. I reminded myself that smoke was very elusive. Sneaky. Getting into places where you least expected it.
“Hello, Claire.” He stood up straight and thrust his hands in his pockets, rattling keys. Somehow, I thought his voice would be different outside the shop. Less seductive. But it held the same low drawl I’d remembered, like extra cream in my coffee, which always made me feel warm and content. Like after good sex.
I snapped back to attention and those smoky eyes gave me the once-over as if reading my mind. Suddenly, I became conscious of the absence of bra and panties. Surely he couldn’t tell what I was wearing, or not, under my ripped tee shirt and too-short sweat pants? Ah, the hell with what he thought.
I’d been planning to work on scone recipes today, not entertain gentlemen callers. Besides, I suspected he was no gentleman. Just like I was no lady.
***
And a peek at Delightful…
When sexy guitarist Gavin Fouchet tricks Molly Cartwright into a date, she wonders about his ulterior motives. After all, he’s thirteen years younger. Will the night be disastrous or delightful?

DELIGHTFUL
 “I really wanted to like him.” Molly Cartwright twirled a lock of hair around her finger. “But when he told me he didn’t like to read, that just killed the date for me. Can you imagine? Not liking to read? Hmph.” She buried her nose in her mug of coffee as her two best friends, Claire and Christine, nodded in commiseration.
“The man’s a moron.”
Molly almost dropped her mug as the deep voice became flesh and blood, straddling a chair, pulling it close enough that if she leaned to the left six inches she could kiss him.
Gavin Fouchet.
How did the man always appear next to her without her knowing? With his long black braid and olive skin, he could have been an Indian scout—and she the deer. Unlike the deer, she would gladly give up her body to this hunter. Molly blushed as she always did when Gavin appeared. Talk about hot triggers. But he was Claire’s brother and way too young for her. Twenty-five to her thirty-eight. Jeez, it’d feel like cradle robbing.
Wouldn’t it?
She hadn’t seen Gavin much since he’d sold out his share of The Hot Shoppe to Claire, but he still showed up once in awhile to help out. That was the problem—she never knew when she’d see him.
“Oh, Gavin, shut up,” said Claire. Gavin had been dubbed the Hot in the Shoppe by his co-workers, but Molly never teased him about it—way too dangerous. She’d flirt, a bit, not too much, because she always ended up blushing and Gavin would give her that slow, sexy grin, making her want to offer herself up to the coffee gods in exchange for just one kiss, one hug.
Man, how did it get so warm in here?
“So did the moron ask you out or was this another one of Christine’s great ideas?” Gavin glanced at Christine, then turned to Molly. Did she only imagine that his dark chocolate brown eyes promised pleasures beyond her imagination? Scratch that, they were certainly within her imagination. She could feel herself blushing all over. Again. Curse of the fair-skinned redhead. She looked down and rubbed the edge of the table with her thumb.
“I resent that, Gavin,” said Christine. She flipped her dark hair over her shoulder, then pointed a red-lacquered nail at him. “If you can do better, be my guest. This guy had potential. Top-dollar real estate agent, good-looking, straight. Let’s see what you can do, Buster. Find Molly a date she actually likes. Someone she might want to have sex with.”
“Oh, God, Christine. Why don’t I just sit here naked? Would it be any more embarrassing?” Molly hid her face in her hands, while Claire and Christine laughed. She peeked through her fingers at Gavin. The sly grin had emerged, making her think he wouldn’t object to seeing her naked. She closed her eyes, but instead of soothing darkness, she saw her and Gavin, here, on the table, extremely naked, having wet orgasmic sex. She groaned. Her mid-afternoon break had not turned out to be very relaxing.
“I could do that,” said Gavin. “I could find Molly a date. A man she might want to have sex with.” He drew the word might out like the last note from his guitar, with all three women rapt until the very end.

Hope you all enjoyed those bits! Drop me a line sometime and keep writing!



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December 17, 2013

Please Give a Warm Welcome to Author, Deanne Wilsted




Welcome to Cheryl’s place! I’m thrilled to have you here.


And I am thrilled to be here! It’s a particularly poignant time to talk about my book, UNTANGLING THE KNOT, since it deals with overcoming grief, particularly that of a child for a parent.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Well, although I’ve always loved writing, growing up I saw myself as a dolphin trainer or carrying a briefcase. Mostly I saw myself making money… so that eliminated both writing and dolphin training. I did the business thing (marketing and strategy). And while this was interesting, I never got over my true love- writing, that is, not dolphin training.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?

I am a fan of all things Italy – so most days you can find me trying out new Italian recipes or surfing the internet looking for villa rentals or Italian houses for sale.

I am also on a campaign to learn how to kick a field goal like the hero in my book, UNTANGLING THE KNOT. I’m attempting to link this goal with a fundraiser for Comfort Zone Camp… a grief camp for kids who have lost a parent or sibling. I’m even in contact with Stephen Gostkowski, the kicker for the Patriots. I’m hoping he’ll help promote the fundraiser. My video blog about learning to kick is pretty darn funny… you can find it at: http://www.deannewilsted.com/untangling-the-knot---field-goal-vlog.html

When did you first get the writing bug?

My mom was an English teacher and had us creating stories and writing poetry for as long as I can remember. I guess you could say I must have been born with the bug.

Any advice for new writers just starting out?

 Keep your goal simple. Don’t think about how you are writing a book to get it published; just think about a goal like finishing a full manuscript. It doesn’t even have to make sense or be polished or even be legible (if you happen to be writing in the car while waiting for carpool pick-ups.) This is why I love NaNoWriMo so much (a challenge of 50,000 words during the month of November!)

What genre or genres do you write?

I writer Comedic, Contemporary Women’s Fiction with Strong Romantic Elements. It is very close to Romance, but the hero and/or heroine’s journeys are primarily about their own growth first, rather than being only about the growth of the relationship between them.

Tell us about your latest release(s)

As I mentioned, UNTANGLING THE KNOT, is a story where the journey is about learning to manage grief. There are also a lot of hilarious scenes as the heroine makes mistakes which potential mess up the wedding she is planning.
Here’s a blurb about it:



“I did what?”


Twenty-eight-year-old Gabriella Bessu is St. Therese’s meticulous wedding ceremony coordinator. So the fact that she has mistakenly registered her newest couple for an annulment, rather than a wedding, sends her Catholic guilt into overdrive.


But who can blame her? The groom is gorgeous and his two kids tug at Gabriella’s heart in a way that overcomes all her best intentions. Before long, she’s in over her head, fixing her mixed-up plans and helping the children and dad come to terms with their haunting grief for the mother and wife they lost years earlier.


Can Gabriella untangle her own fears and accept the messy life that God has handed them?


It was such fun to write because one minute it had me in tears and the next I was laughing out loud at something crazy Gabriella is doing. I think this is why the reviews for the book have been so amazing. Here are two of the many I great ones the book has received.


“A fun romance with endearing characters and a message about love and life lightly intertwined. Captures you and makes you want to read it in one sitting.”


“If you like romance that is centered around characters that are full of heart and soul this might just be for you. A great book from a talented author. I would keep Deanne Wilsted on your list of authors to watch.”


I especially loved this second review as it came from one of Amazon’s official top 500 reviewers.


Please share an excerpt of your book! I’d love to. How about a funny one? In this scene Gabriella has just learned of a new mistake she has made while organizing the church part of the wedding for the hero, Ryan. Peter, Ryan’s 6 year old son, is trying to figure out what is going on.


Ryan strode back to Gabriella, trying hard not to laugh. He dragged her to the car with force and held on as if she might run when he opened the passenger side door for her.


“Where to?” he asked when she was safely belted into her seat.


“The nearest mental hospital?” she answered.


“Ha, ha,” he said sarcastically. “Nice try. I refuse to let you fake a nervous breakdown to get out of the wedding planning.”


“Not for me,” she countered, really starting to lose it. “For you. Are you insane? You’re acting as if this is no big deal. Mandy’s probably in hysterics right now. And, incidentally, I would be too if it weren’t for you and the kids being here to witness it.”


Gabriella stopped talking and started breathing fast. Too fast.


“Don’t hyperventilate,” Ryan warned her calmly.


“And you, you,” she raved, “you just want to go to . . . lunch. Like this is all perfectly normal. Like I send people to the wrong retreat every day of the week.”


Ryan noticed Peter watching Gabriella with concern.


“Don’t worry, sport,” he said quietly. “Girls do this sometimes. It’s called venting. The best thing you can do is stay quiet and let them get it all out.”


“Pull over,” Gabriella ordered suddenly. “PULL OVER,” she shouted. “I think I’m going to be sick.”


What’s your current WIP?

I actually have two right now. I am polishing a new Contemporary Women’s Fiction with Romance called MOLTO MAYHEM. It is set entirely in Italy which made it lots of fun to write! I am also writing on a new creative work set in Mexico.

This is why my tagline is Journeys Inspired by Love – sending my heroines off to foreign places gives me lots of fodder for fun adversities which help them grow.

Do you prefer your men in boxers, briefs, or commando?

I’m more a boxer girl… especially ones with dolphins on them. (Yep, I’m still a huge dolphin fan.)

And finally, where can we stalk you?

Oh yes… please do! I write a twice weekly blog at:



You can also sign up for my quarterly newsletter at my website homepage: www.deannewilsted.com

While there check out my hilarious video blog about learning to kick a field goal and find some favorite recipes from my third book, Molto Mayhem.


Follow me on:


Goodreads - www.goodreads.com/author/show/5294824.Deanne_Wilsted

If you would like to have your hero and heroine visit as well, please answer the following for the hero and the heroine.


     Tell us about the first time you saw theh/h.
  Hero: Ryan- Don’t tell Gabriella, but I thought she was a kid. She was coming down the hall at the church rectory and it wasn’t until she got up close that I realized she was close to my age. As a professional athlete I don’t normally have fanciful thought… but she reminded me of a fairy from one of the picture books I used to read to Chloe, my daughter. Heroine: Gabriella- Ryan doesn’t really remember meeting me at the funeral for his first wife. I’m sure it was all a blur to him. But I remember him very well… the way he sat, stoically with his children, the way the unshed tears made his bright blue eyes shine like sapphires.


       What drew you to him/her? Hero: Ultimately it was her humor and depth, though I never did quite let go of that magical impression I had from our first real meeting. Heroine: I hate to say it, it seems so superficial, but Ryan is just plain gorgeous. I’m happy to say, though, that when we went through the couples survey to get married I learned I also love him for his family values and his strength. But did I mention his amazing blue eyes?


       What is your favorite thing about him/her: Hero: I love that Gabriella can eat anything she wants and still stays skinny. It’s a lot of fun to go out to eat with her and see how much she enjoys her food. Heroine: He’s caring and kind… like how he always adopts stray animals.

Care to share future plans? 
Hero: I’ve accepted a coaching job out west… so no more of the hard physical trials of    training and playing. We’re all going to Italy for three months though, before we move.

Heroine: Peter has already been bugging for a baby brother, so maybe that will happen someday. But for now I just really want to enjoy my time with Ryan, Chloe and Peter

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