Lori Wilde…Somebody to Love

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNERS!  WINNERS!  The lucky winners from last week’s blog with Shauna Allen are: Kathleen O., bn100, Mina Khan, Sarah S., and Warinda.  Email me at christie (@) christie-craig.com to claim your Amazon e-book.  Congratulations!

Today is a special day.  My good friend Lori Wilde’s latest book, Somebody to Love, releases today and she’s here to tell us a little about it!  I’ve been very excited about this one, and to celebrate I’ll be giving away TEN copies to some lucky commenters, so stick around!

So, Lori, tell us a little about your hero in Somebody to Love, Jericho Chance.

Jericho is a cowboy archeologist specializing in the American west. He’s long and tall and dark with Native American roots. And he’s falling in love with his best friend, Zoey McCleary

I hear a rumor that Jericho wasn’t always his name.  Why did you change it?

When I turned in the synopsis, his name was Chance Minton, but as I started writing the book, I kept putting his name down as Jericho. So I changed his name to Jericho Chance, but forget to tell my editor. When she showed me the back cover copy, I read it and thought, “Who’s Chance MInton?” I’d forgotten that had been Jericho’s original name. Clearly, he wanted to be a Jericho.

Give us three words to describe your heroine, Zoey.

Free-spirited, fun-loving and passionate.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The scene where Jericho realizes he’s in love with Zoey, but she’s still clueless about her feelings for him.

What is something about Lori Wilde that the readers may be surprised to know?

Much like Jericho and Zoey did when they were children, I once tried to dig a hole to China in my family’s backyard.

LOL!  Do you have a New Year’s Resolution?

To be more mindful. I’m starting to focus more on the moment, less on the future or the past, and I intend to continue that journey into 2014. Ways I plan to accomplish that: 1) Daily yoga practice. 2) Going back to the gratitude journal I started years ago. 3) Becoming more aware of what I’m feeling, but not allowing those feelings to overcome me.  4) Listen to music more often. 5) Take time out to just breathe.

Those are wonderful resolutions that we could all benefit from.  Now, tell us more about Somebody to Love and where to find it…

get-attachment-2Sexy cowboy-scholar Jericho Chance always knows exactly what he wants and how to get it. And after sauntering back home to Cupid, he’s shocked to discover that he wants Zoe McCleary. After years from home, he takes one new look at his bubbly best friend, with her lightning smarts and luscious body, and it hits him like a bolt: she’s his somebody to love and he’s not leaving town again without her.

Settling down always seemed like a time waster to Zoe, a man magnet with a trail of broken hearts behind her. She’s not meant to settle down—but how can she resist someone as persuasive as Jericho? There’s no way they can ignore the explosive chemistry seething between them . . . even if it means risking their friendship . . .

Available at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ojoh7z7

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/lkcm54w

Sounds wonderful!  Can’t wait to read it!  How about you?  Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?  Ten lucky winners will win Lori’s book.  Check back next week to see if you’ve won.  Good luck! 

Angels Among Us…

The Cop Who Stole ChristmasWINNERS!  WINNERS!  The winners from last week’s blog with Colleen Thompson are: bn100 and Sarah S.  Email me at: christie (@) christie-craig.com and I’ll get you your Amazon e-books.  Congratulations!

First, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas.  I hope your holiday is filled with peace, joy, love, and most of all, lots of laughter!  I’ve had a wonderful year, in no small part because of you…my wonderful readers, friends and fans.  THANK YOU!

Today, I’d like to re-introduce a special guest who’s been with us a few times here on Laugh, Love, Read.  And, because her books are filled with not only sass and sexiness, but love, emotion, and angels, I thought she’d be a great way to send us off into the Christmas holiday.  Please welcome, my friend (and assistant!) Shauna Allen, and be sure to stick around and comment because I’m giving away TEN copies of her newest book, Wounded Wings!

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Hi Christie and fans!  Thank you SO much for having me back yet again, what an honor!  I’m super thrilled to be here celebrating the release of my latest book, Wounded Wings, and especially as we ease into the Holiday season. 

For blogs and interviews, I’m often asked ‘How do you come up with your stories?’ or ‘Where did you get the idea for your angels?’  That is a great question.  And I don’t really have a good answer.  After all, how do you explain the human imagination?  But, what I can tell you is that after writing a few other manuscripts, I was tinkering with the beginning to a new one.  I didn’t know what I was going to write about yet, I was pretty much just free-writing and seeing what would come out on the page.  Well, that day, the prologue to Inked by an Angel, the first of my Cupid Chronicles flowed out of me, including the fateful line, spoken by my hero: “The Angel made me do it.”

Now, at the time, I had no idea why I’d written that, what angel he was talking about, or what the heck I was gonna do about it.  I just wrote what came out of my heart. 

So, I sat back, thought about it a while, and eventually, Michael my matchmaking Cupid was born.  Then I wrote an entire book, and eventually an entire series, around him and that one little line of dialogue.  Pretty magical if you ask me. 

So, I finished writing that story and ended up falling in love with my hero and heroine and my angels. (Yes, there’s more than one!) And, I decided this would be a trilogy.  Work on book two, The Halo Effect, commenced . . . Awesome!

Now, fast forward several months.  Fate, the wonder that she is, brought me into orbit with the wonderful Hope Ramsay and Carla Kempert.  They listened to the tale of my angels and were intrigued.  But, they started asking me tough questions . . . things I’d never asked myself.  Things like ‘What rules do the angels have to follow?’ and ‘What’s the worst thing an angel can do?’

Uh, I dunno.

That was a fateful day.

Out of that one conversation, my angels’ entire world was deepened, their Commandments were created, and most importantly, a very specific angel began to take shape in my mind.  One who had done the “worst” thing an angel could do.  At least to him.  And I had to know what happened next.  So, Elijah and his story of redemption, and ultimately true love, was born.

I decided to write Wounded Wings and bump my originally planned third book and make it a four-part series instead.  And, I have to say it was one of the most emotional and joyous experiences I’ve had as a writer to date.  I hope you’ll pick up your own copy, and if you do, I really hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing about my wounded angel.  What can I say?  The Angel made me do it.

Merry Christmas.

~Shauna

P.S. As a little gift to you today, here’s one of my favorite excerpts from the book.  Enjoy!

WoundedWings3_850

Eli gripped her chin and forced her to look up at him. “Are you sure about this?” he asked, indicating the space between them.

Was she sure about what?

Naomi stared into his deep, dark, endless eyes and tried to fathom what in the world he was talking about. But, for the life of her, she was lost. Her emotional radar felt skewed as her heart raced to the rhythm of her zipping nerves.

He stepped closer, his breath mingling with hers. Sweet. A hint of chocolate. She licked her dry lips and his eyes dipped to watch the motion of her tongue.

His hand, still on her chin, moved to cup her neck. She automatically gripped his waist.

Please, her mind screamed. Please kiss me without retreating and calling me a sin.

He seemed to read her thoughts.

He dipped his head and nuzzled the corner of her lips. She sucked in a breath and squeezed a fistful of his T-shirt.

He sucked on her full lower lip then trailed to the other side of her mouth. “. . . because I’m not . . .” he whispered against her cheek.

Her eyes fluttered open. “You’re not what?”

He rested his forehead against hers until they were nose to nose. “Sure.”

She flexed her fingers, gripping his shirt tighter. “About what, exactly?”

His eyes closed momentarily. “You.” He opened his eyes. “Me. Us.”

And women were supposed to be the ones who overthought everything. “Well, I’m not, either. But not everything is a sure bet. Why can’t we just enjoy each other right now? Leave what happens tomorrow for tomorrow.” She pecked a kiss to his frowning lips. “Don’t be so serious, Eli. I know nothing’s forever.”

If anything, his brows dipped further. “Really?”

She tugged his pelvis toward her until they were as close as they could be with clothes on. “Yes. Really. Now kiss me again.”

He studied her face for a few seconds as if trying to see if she was serious. She smiled and shoved back any doubt. He was a temporary treasure. Perfection for her to hold today. And she fully intended to do just that. The possible pain of losing him could wait. She’d be stronger tomorrow, after another taste of him. She sucked it up and tipped her face in silent invitation.

Finally, something clicked in his features and she felt the melting in his muscles as he relaxed into her arms. He hugged her tighter and pressed his lips to hers in a kiss that whipped through her system, as potent as any drug. As his tongue parted the seam of her lips, there was no mistaking the possession of his body around hers. Or the response of her heart.

His.

***

Can a Cupid lead a fallen brother to love?  Is such redemption possible?

Wounded Wings: Book III of the Cupid Chronicles

Available now at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/nt85v3h

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Wow!  Thank you, Shauna!  Love it! 

Now it’s your turn…tell us about something joyous you’ve experienced, then check back next week and see if you’re one of the TEN lucky winners of Wounded Wings!  Good luck! 

***

89480010Shauna grew up an only child with two open and loving parents in Central Texas.  She’s married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother to three fantastic (no, that’s not a typo!) teenagers—one she’s about to send off to the Air Force. 

When she’s not writing, editing, or acting as a personal assistant to two NYT Bestselling authors, Shauna enjoys reading, movies with Gerard Butler, vacays to the beach, and hangin’ with the kiddos–even if they don’t like hangin’ with her!

Shauna would love for you to visit her at her website and blog at: www.shaunaallen.com

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/shauna.allen.12

Twitter : http://tiny.cc/s0dlmw

Goodreads : http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6916632.Shauna_Allen

Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/shaunaallen7/

The Best Victim

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNERS!  WINNERS!  The winners from last week’s blog are:

ARC of Texas Hold ‘Em: Anneliese Carinc and Jeanette Blanco

Everything Guide to Writing Romance: Megan, Abigail Beal, and Erica Thompson

Please email christie (@) christie-craig.com with your mailing addresses and I’ll get you your prizes.  Congratulations!

Today, I have yet another special guest for you, and I have to thank her because she’s stepped in and helped me out at the last moment here on Laugh, Love, Read.  She writes for both Harlequin and Montlake and she’s a wonderful friend.  You’re gonna love her!  Please welcome Colleen Thompson!

Your book, The Best Victim, is part of a Montlake serial.  How is that different than writing a novel?  Have you found that to be more challenging?  More fun?

Writing a serial is very different from writing a traditionally published novel in that I’m writing and editing in “episodes,” each of which ends with a cliffhanger to keep those readers coming back. It’s a daunting challenge, in that I’m often writing one episode, doing edits on another, and working through copyedits over the same very short period of time, and I’m unable to go back and make changes, so I had to plan more carefully. But it’s exciting and fun, too, getting the story to the readers more quickly and getting immediate reader feedback, which is helping me to shape the story’s ending. Romantic suspense, I think, is the perfect genre for this form, since the danger and excitement translates into great hooks.

Name the three best or worst qualities of your hero/heroine.

Lauren Miller is one of my favorite heroines ever. She’s not only a computer security consultant and part-time “hacker of conscience,” she’s a loner with a number of quirks and phobias—someone who would likely be diagnosed as having Asperger’s syndrome. Though she bonds with very, very few people, she forms very intense attachments to those few, along with her sidekick, Dumpling, a fat, white-muzzled little dachshund she rescued from a roadside.

What is the last great book you read?

Defending Jacob, by William Landay, was absolutely riveting suspense. Best book I’ve read since Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

What is in your TBR pile?

I am dying to read another great family drama, Barbara Taylor Sissel’s upcoming Safekeeping. Happily, I have an advanced reader’s copy at the top of my towering TBR!

If you had to be locked in the closet with your hero/heroine for 12 hours, what would you do or talk about?

If I were locked in a closet with obsessed former FBI Special Agent Brent Durant, I’m not sure I’d waste time talking, since in my mind, he looks a whole lot like a younger version of George Clooney! 😉

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Write fearlessly, research diligently, edit ruthlessly, and dream extravagantly. Then dare to believe you have a story that’s of value to the world. 

Great answers, Colleen!  Can you tell us a little more about The Best Victim and where we can find it?

ColleenThompson_TheBestVictim_Front_FinalYou don’t deserve to live.

The ugly words delivered online finally hit their mark. The younger sister of web security specialist Lauren Miller took the taunts to heart—and took her own life. Devastated, introverted Lauren has nowhere else to turn but the arms of a man who shares a similar pain…and a burning need for vengeance.

FBI agent Brent Durant is determined to unmask the Troll King, a vicious Internet stalker he suspects of preying on the weak, goading his victims into suicide. Victims like Lauren’s sister. Working off the grid as a rogue agent, Brent risks it all—even his freedom—to bait the clever killer. But when he involves Lauren in his deadly game, their unexpected chemistry complicates an already tangled web. With his dark obsession all-consuming, can there be any room in Brent’s life for the passion Lauren stirs within him?

Available exclusively at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/n69bwmd 

Sounds intense and fantastic!  Thanks so much for being here, Colleen!  Now, tell us what’s in your TBR pile and two lucky commenters will win a copy of Colleen’s book.  Check back next week to see if you’ve won! 

***

Colleen2From the historical novels that began her writing journey (written as Gwyneth Atlee and Colleen Easton) to the riveting romantic suspense that has become her trademark, Colleen Thompson writes stories that show us that sometimes, love can kill.

In 2004, Colleen Thompson’s first  romantic thriller, Fatal Error, launched Dorchester Publishing’s new line of fast-paced, steamy romantic suspense.  The book was nominated for the RITA Award for Best Romantic Suspense and won the Texas Gold for Best Mainstream Fiction.  Other honors received by her books include a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, a Readers’ Choice Awards, nominations from the Reviewers International Organization, Top Pick, KISS awards, and a reviewers’ choice award nomination from Romantic Times Book Club Magazine, and a Perfect Ten from Romance Reviews Today.

Now residing in the Houston area with her husband and son, Colleen works with children in addition to her writing and speaking. When she’s not on deadline, she can often be found hiking with her family, playing with her pets, fiddling with her computer, or with her nose stuck in a good book.

 

 

 

Y’all Ain’t Gonna Believe This…

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNERS!  WINNERS!  The winners from last week’s blog with Heather Ashby are: Annie and Belinda Harbuck Joyner!  Email me at: christie (at) christie-craig.com with your choice of Amazon or B&N for your e-book.  Congrats!

It’s practically Christmas.  I hear the music playing when I’m out at the stores.  The chill of winter is sneaking under my sweater.  Even the scents of fresh cut trees and gingerbread float on the air.   

christmasBut recently, it wasn’t the smells of pine or cookies that took my breath away.  It was . . . well, if it smells like a dead body, has flies on it like a dead body, and there’s something coming out of the ground that resembles a body part . . . it might be a dead body. Or it could be . . .

Before I tell you, let me explain what happened.  My son-in-law was over and I was giving him a tour of my new property, showing off the grounds of my new house.  It was warm for late November, just the right amount of chill in the air hinting at colder weather to come. 

We had just cut around one corner of my house when the smell hit.  The smell of death.  We both stopped and looked at each other with funny faces. 

“What is that?” Jason asked.

I frowned.  “I’ll bet Lady killed something,” I mumbled, with a hand pressed across my nose and mouth.  (Lady being my dog.)

All of a sudden, my son-in-law pointed to a swarm of flies hanging out behind a shrub lining my house.  The closer we got, the stronger the smell became.  Of course, being who I am, I imaged the worst.  No, I didn’t envision a squirrel, a possum, or an armadillo.  In my mind, there was a body behind that shrub.  But who?  And how?  (Was there a plot in this I could use for my next book?)

Sure, I’d teasingly threatened to kill a few contractors—who, by the way, still aren’t done with my kitchen—but I hadn’t done them in  yet.  Yeah, I write about murder, but . . . let’s face it, I’m no killer.  Murder just makes my books a little more entertaining.  But, with each step Jason and I took closer to that swarm of flies, and to the smell, the more frightened I became.

My son-in-law moved faster and peered over the shrug.  And the look on his face was pure . . . befuddlement. 

He shook his head, put a hand over his mouth and nose, and looked back at me.  “That just isn’t right.”

What wasn’t right?  My heart raced.  Was my worst fear confirmed?  Was there a dead body hidden behind my shrub?  I could already see the headlines: Body found at mystery writer’s new home?  She’s got some explaining to do.  They say any press is good press, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there.

I forced myself to move in, to see what had caused such alarm in Jason’s expression. One step.  Two.  I saw it.   I was . . . shocked.  Stunned. Then I burst out laughing.  It couldn’t be a  . . .  I mean, it looked like a  . . .  And I had to see it with my son-in-law!

Seriously, all it lacked was a ribbon wrapped around it to remind me of my book, The Cop Who Stole Christmas. 

The Cop Who Stole ChristmasMy son-in-law quickly pulled out his phone and did a search on the strange looking object.  And he found out exactly what it was.  So, to finish off my above statement: If it smells like a dead body, has flies on it like a dead body, and there’s something coming out of the ground that resembles a body part . . . it just might be a dead body. Or it could be a stinkhorn mushroom.  Yup, they are known for both their hideous odor and their tubular shape.

Okay . . . so today I’m giving away five prizes.  No, not a stinkhorn mushroom, but I’m giving away three copies of the book that I co-authored with Faye Hughes, The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel, and two ARCs of Texas Hold ‘Em.  So make sure you leave a comment telling me what book you are reading right now to be entered.  Oh, and if you aren’t a writer and you win “The Everything Guide . . .” I’ll exchange it for a copy of any of my other books.  And, for all my Wattpad readers and writers, just let me know in your comments you’re from Wattpad.  My Everything Guide is great for all you budding novelists.  (***P.S. Please note, today’s contest is open to U.S. entries only.)

And I’ll leave you with the complete list of the twelve things you’ll learn from reading The Cop Who Stole Christmas.  And the wish I have for all of you is an abundance of laughter this Christmas season.  So spend some time with a funny book, (Hey, The Cop Who Stole Christmas is available) a hilarious movie, or some friends who always make you laugh.  If you need a chuckle right now, take a peek at the picture I took of that stinkhorn mushroom.  Yes, I photographed it.  Because I knew no one was going to believe me if I didn’t have proof.  But, before you take a look, let me warn you, if there is such a thing as mushroom porn, this is it.

IMG_0195Merry Christmas and keep laughing, keep loving, and have a great holiday.

                   12 Things You’ll Learn from The Cop Who Stole Christmas

12.   Not all Santas are saints.

11.    The price of a gift doesn’t mean a hill of beans.  It’s the thought that went into the gift that can melt your heart.

10.    Be cautious of how you use words that have two different meanings.  Gas and uh . . .  gas.

9.        The “morning after” can still feel awkward even when the night before was more than you’d dreamed.

8.        Being orphaned sucks, even when you’re in your late twenties.

7.  Being orphaned on the same day you find your husband in bed with his work associate makes for a really bad year. 

6.  What’s worse than being accused of murder? How about having your two best friends accused instead, and told one of them may be framing you for the crime.

5.  Shaving those legs can be a royal pain in the a$$, but he might be worth it.

 4.  There are different kinds of kisses, and some are really hard to walk away from.

3.  Being naughty or nice isn’t always an either/or scenario.  You can be both and still not get coal in your stockings for Christmas.

2.  The rule of never dating the girl next door can be remedied by simply moving in with her.

1.  Tripping and falling in your own kitchen is a downer, but tripping over a body can really put a damper on your evening.

 

Forget Me Not

texasholdem_cover (2)WINNERS!  WINNERS!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  My lucky winners from last weeks blog are:

Lyndsey Orr – A copy of The Cop Who Stole Christmas

Phyllis Laatsch – ARC of Texas Hold ‘Em

Clara – $50 Visa Gift Card

Email me at christie (at) christie-craig.com with your delivery information and I’ll get your prizes to you.  Congratulations!

Today I bring you another wonderful author and the opportunity to win more books just in time for the holidays!  Let me introduce Heather Ashby, author of Forget Me Not, a part of the Love in the Fleet Series.

OK, Heather, if your book were an ice cream flavor, what flavor would it be?

Snickers Mocha S’mores– Forget Me Not provides plenty of snickers when Sky Crawford, an ADHD Navy pilot, repeatedly shoots off his mouth before loading his brain. Fortunately he’s always focused when he climbs into his MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, commonly known as a “Romeo.” That makes Sky a Romeo Pilot who’s a Romeo pilot. Talk about branding. Mocha Snickers S’mores is Slow Churned, just like the sexual tension in this story, and All Natural, just like the heroine, Daisy Schneider. S’mores? Once you get a taste of Sky Crawford, you will definitely want s’more. And the Mocha part? I’ve heard you’ll need the caffeine for staying up late to find out what happens when Sky and his crew take on drug runners in a Counter Narco-Terrorist interdiction.

 Yummy!  Gimme three words to describe your book.

Hot, Humorous, Harrowing – What could be hotter than a Navy pilot in a flight suit trying to woo a reluctant heroine? And what could be funnier than Sky Crawford when he trips over the thoughts in his head and says the wrong thing at the right time or the right thing at the wrong time. However, this story is also filled with pathos and suspense as Sky deals with his PTSD and Daisy grieves for her lost pilot husband. Throw in a firefight at sea, and both Sky and Daisy will face their worst nightmares.

Love it!  Now, tell me, what is your favorite thing in the world?

My first grandchild. I’ve been blessed with two books and a grandson coming out in 2013! Heather Ashby babyInterestingly, we found out he was on the way the same week my publisher expressed interest in my “Love in the Fleet” series. The baby was born the same week the first book, Forgive & Forget, launched. He arrived at my house for Thanksgiving vacation within the hour of the first printed copies of Forget Me Not arriving on my doorstep. (It’s been rumored Baby Boy is the real brains behind the series. Here’s a photo of him devising a plot twist.)

I can totally relate! Now, I have to know.  What scene was the most fun to write?

The opening scene where Sky and Daisy meet at her Veterinary Clinic. Sky blurts out one faux pas after another while trying to hit on the lovely, elusive Dr. Daisy. I set out to write an opening chapter that would grab the Golden Heart® judges’ attention. Apparently, it worked. Either that or Sky sweet-talked them, which wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Forget Me Not was a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist under its original title: Cat On A Hot Steel Flight Deck. Finaling in the Golden Heart® was my ticket to publication. Because this author leans toward the ADHD side of life—and since I love high, dry, and wry humor—I delight in writing Sky Crawford, who appears in all four books in the “Love in the Fleet” series.

That all sounds great!  Can’t wait to read it!  Can you tell us a little more about it?

forget me notSuffering from Peter Pan Syndrome and survivor guilt, Navy helicopter pilot and renowned playboy, Brian “Skylark” Crawford, swears he’ll never marry, uncertain he deserves happiness—besides there are too many hot chicks to choose from. War widow and veterinarian, Daisy Schneider, swears to love only animals after her Marine pilot husband is killed in Afghanistan—but work fails to ease her loneliness or the guilt that she might have saved him. Between one stray, matchmaking cat and a fiery battle with drug runners at sea, the fur flies as Sky and Daisy learn valuable lessons about life, love, and second chances.

Available at Amazon: http://alturl.com/wb6ru

Great!  Thanks for being here, Heather!  Now, two lucky commenters will win a copy of Forget Me Not . . . what is your favorite thing in the world?

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Heather Ashby militaryHeather Ashby is a Navy veteran who taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In gratitude for her Army son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, she now writes military romance novels, donating half her royalties to causes that support wounded warriors and their families. Her debut novel, Forgive & Forget was voted “Best of 2013” by Suspense Magazine. She lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her husband and 3 rescue cats.

 www.heatherashby.com

Twitter: www.@HAshbyAuthor

Facebook: Heather Ashby Author