Perfectly Honest (Guest Post – Linda O’Connor)

Cover Perfectly Honest I’m excited to share the first book in the Perfectly Series. The Perfectly Series books are stand-alone stories, some of them featuring doctors, all of them quick, fun, entertaining reads.

Perfectly Honest
You never know where your words will take you…
When Mikaela Finn agreed to be Sam’s ‘fiancée’ for a weekend, she probably should have told him that she’s a doctor. Sam O’Brien, aka ‘Dr. Eye Candy’, is trying to shed his playboy reputation and convince a small town hospital that he’s ready to settle down. But when his ‘fiancée’ helps deliver a baby in the middle of the meet and greet, it’s a bit of a shock. If he’d known the whole truth, he might have done things a little differently because somehow his ‘fiancée’ ends up stealing his job and his heart. Not exactly the change he wanted. Lies and deceit – it’s a match made in heaven!

Excerpt from Perfectly Honest, Book 1 in The Perfectly Series:
Mikaela woke with a start to the sound of voices. Disoriented, in unfamiliar surroundings, she looked down at her short shorts and loose shirt covered with spatters of paint. Painting, of course. She must have fallen asleep in the chair, and checking her watch, she saw that it was two o’clock in the morning. She rubbed her eyes and yawned. Pulling herself out of the chair, she listened to the voices. One voice was female, sounding impatient and unhappy and one male, sounding apologetic and resigned.
“I know it’s not ideal, Sophia, but it’s what I want. I’m tired of the large city, the tertiary care center, and all the politics. I’m tired of all the meetings and all the committees. I want a smaller hospital in a smaller city. I want a life.”
“Nonsense, Sam,” the woman shot back. “You don’t know what you want or what’s good for you. You need to pay your dues now to reap the benefits later.”
“Look, I don’t expect you to understand. I’m grateful you’ve agreed to help me out, but . . . ”
Mikaela wandered into the hallway and stopped when she saw the two of them at the front door. The woman had unbuttoned her coat, and as she put her hands on her hips, there was a flash of the red cocktail dress she wore underneath. The man was a foot taller and wearing a suit. A very nice fitting suit, Mikaela mused, as she came up behind him.
The woman noticed Mikaela first, and her startled gasp had the man looking over his shoulder. Mikaela wasn’t sure who looked more shocked, the man, who moved to shield the woman, or the woman, who raked her gaze over Mikaela from head to toe. As Mikaela fought the urge to straighten her shirt and fix her hair, she decided, definitely, the woman.
The woman’s eyes narrowed, the hands on her hips became clenched at her sides, and her face flushed red. Mikaela held her breath.
The woman pushed at the man’s shoulder and spun him around to face her. “Why you! You! ‘I can’t invite you in, the house is being painted,’” she mimicked. “Is that the new code word for ‘mistress?’ You could have just told me we were through. Well, I’m done. This is the last straw. You pig!” The woman spun on her heel and wrenched the door open.
“Sophia, wait!”
“No, wait,” Mikaela added. She lurched forward, now wide-awake.
The woman stormed out and slammed the door.
The man turned to Mikaela. “Who the hell are you?”

Linda O'Connor authorLinda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at the local home décor store. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories :D ). She hangs out at www.lindaoconnor.net.
Laugh every day. Love every minute.

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Enter To Win and More Summer Fun!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
Check out all of Tara’s events HERE.

We’re blitzing The Friendship Tour Grand Finale for:
The Friendship Pact
&
Once Upon a Friendship
By Tara Taylor Quinn

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know more about Author Tara Taylor Quinn and the friendships in these two stories throughout the tour. If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out…

Launch - Introductions

Intro to The Friendship Pact

I’ve written a lot of books. From thriller/suspense to romance, I’ve given you many kinds of stories. This one isn’t like any of them. It’s a story of heart. Of soul-searching. Of tough questions with no easy answers. It’s a story of relationships. Of friendship. It’s the story of two very different women who, as children, make a pact to travel life’s journey together.

Intro to Once Upon a Friendship

On the surface, Once Upon a Friendship was kind of ordinary when I started writing. . . . But as I’ve come to accept over the years, the book wasn’t really mine. The story belongs to Liam and Gabi and Marie. And the things that happened to them are not mine to change.

Christian Chick’s ThoughtsOnce Upon a Friendship Review

“I definitely felt the chemistry between Gabi and Liam, and I pulled for their happy ending. I also enjoyed a couple other non-romantic relationships that Liam developed throughout the novel. The touch of mystery also added to my enjoyment of the novel. And now I’m very curious about where Marie’s story will go.”

undercover book reviews – Promo

underneath the covers – TTQ Signature

Both books celebrate friendship. Both come straight from my heart and soul to yours. I can promise you that, if you read them, you’ll take an emotional journey. You’ll be made to question a thing or two that matters to you. And you’ll find something to take with you, too.

deal sharing aunt – Elderly Couple

In Once Upon A Friendship, three friends buy an old apartment building to prevent the elderly people who’ve been living there all their lives from being put out on the street. They had no idea what a bounty their investment would be to them in terms of the gifts they’d get in return from the residents they’d saved. But I knew. And I had a great time showing them what I knew.

Diana’s Book Reviews – Reviews

The Friendship Pact: “As I started getting into the story, I really couldn’t put it down, had to finish it all, but of course there is life, work and dinner to be cooked. But this story really touched my heart, and even a lesson in this story. Each person in this story had something to give and take, and the emotions were raw and real.”

Once Upon a Friendship: “I just love the way Tara Taylor Quinn writes, you can feel the emotion in her stories, the people seem real, and I love to read stories that seem real.”

beck valley books – 70th Book

The release of Once Upon A Friendship this month marks my seventieth published novel with the Harlequin/MIRA/Harper Collins team. When the publisher sent me the list of my titles recently, telling me that I was at number 70 – a number they consider a milestone – I took a quick glance. I knew I’d written close to seventy books. But then a title caught my eye. Not because of the particular title. Or because of the particular book. But because I’d written the book years ago, saw the name, and got that rush feeling in my stomach that you get on Facebook when you see that an old friend has found you.

Mel’s ShelvesOnce Upon a Friendship Review

“I love a good romance, especially when there’s a secondary storyline and this book delivered! I wasn’t expecting the mystery so that was a pleasant surprise. I had a pretty good idea of who was behind the scheme early on but there were still some twists and turns along the way that I didn’t see coming.”

Words for the JourneyOnce Upon a Friendship Review

“True to Harlequin Heartwarming’s style, Once Upon a Friendship is a clean story centered around traditional values of family, friendship, and personal growth. These are so rare nowadays, it’s always a joy to find one!”

Wishful EndingsOnce Upon a Friendship Excerpt

Liam didn’t remember getting back to his car. He knew he’d done so on his own. Without escort. He climbed behind the wheel, starting the car with a calm he’d probably feel if he felt anything at all.

Christy’s Cozy CornersOnce Upon a Friendship Review

“If you like sweet romance stories with endearing characters, you will love Once Upon a Friendship by Tara Taylor Quinn. It is filled with emotion and it will keep your attention throughout!”

Getting Your Read OnOnce Upon a Friendship Review

“I did enjoy the cast of characters here. It was easy to feel their camaraderie and loyalty to each other. Friendship is the best base for a romantic relationship, I think. Well, friendship and attraction. :) This was an easy going book. It was gentle in nature and never really got my heart pounding but it was solid and had a good flow to it.”

Life as LeelsOnce Upon a Friendship Review

“I will say, the big twist in the mix really through me for a loop though. It wasn’t what I expected and left me turning the pages to see what was all going to come of the entire situation. While it wasn’t my usual type of read, I did enjoy it and recommend that if you are looking for a good, clean read; this is it!”

Colorimetry – My Best Friend

I learned the value of friendship at a very young age. I was five when I met my best friend. Not a best friend in the moment. Or a bestie. Not one of several. Just…the one. She was four at the time. I don’t know why she was different from every other person I would meet in life. No clue why she was the one.

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Closest Friend

And this is the message I hope you get from The Friendship Pact and Once Upon A Friendship. Cherish your friends. Tend to them. Let the little things go. Work through the big ones. Because they are the ones who will always be there to catch you when you fall. To hold you up. And help put you back together again.

Hardcover Feedback – Reviews

The Friendship Pact: “The story was in a way like riding a roller coaster, because it would be so sweet in one moment and so heartbreaking the next, but strangely enough I liked that. For the most part it felt extremely realistic and I just couldn’t put it down.”

Once Upon a Friendship: “I enjoyed that this wasn’t just a romance, but a story about a father and son and their relationship with each other. I didn’t see the ending coming, the part without the romance, and that’s always nice. If you enjoy these type of books I recommend you give it a read.”

Just as the social sharing contest Tara is running through all her tour events this summer (details here) she’s also hosting a giveaway for those who share quotes from her about friendship. There are three different choices all provided below to share. Share one or all just once or every day this week!

QUOTE #1

QUOTE #2

QUOTE #3

Prizes include:

US PRIZE: Girlfriend note cards, mini-book full of quotes, “friends” picture frame, friends wall plaque, and ebooks of The Friendship Pact and Once Upon a Friendship.

INT PRIZE: Two (2) winners will receive ebook copies of The Friendship Pact and Once Upon a Friendship.

*Share must be public to be eligible. Can share once each day. Ends July 17th. Enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

The Friendship PactThe Friendship Pact
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Romance, Women’s Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 245 pages
June 1st 2014 by MIRA

This is a story for every woman who has a best friend…

Bailey Watters and Koralynn Mitchell consider themselves “sisters of the soul.” Their circumstances growing up couldn’t have been more different; Kora came from a wealthy, privileged family, while Bailey’s home life was hard. They’d do anything for each other. “I’d give you a kidney,” they always say. There are no secrets between them–until there’s one secret Bailey can’t share.

This is a story for every woman who’s been in love.

Danny Brown is the only man Kora’s ever wanted, ever loved, and her marriage seems as flawless as everything else in her life. Bailey, however, doesn’t want a husband. She does want a baby–but only by IVF. And the perfect donor, the perfect biological father, would be a man like…Danny.

What happens when love and friendship collide?

Kora might be willing to give Bailey a kidney. But what about a baby?

Once Upon a Friendship
(The Historic Arapahoe #1)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
July 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming

They’re a team…not a couple!

Falling for Liam was unthinkable. He and Gabi had been best friends since college, nothing more. And crucially, now Liam was her client and needed her to be focused on his case. Gabi could never risk their friendship — or Liam’s freedom — over these feelings. They could never be a couple, anyway. He was Liam Connelly, the handsome and privileged son of a billionaire. She was Gabrielle Miller, the girl who’d fought her way out of poverty and put herself through law school. They were unlikely friends to begin with. Anything more was impossible. Unless…he felt it, too.

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. She is known for delivering deeply emotional and psychologically astute novels of suspense and romance. Tara is a recipient of the Reader’s Choice Award, a five time finalist for the RWA Rita Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award and appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists. Tara is the past-president of Romance Writers of America and served eight years on that board of directors. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning and is a frequent guest speaker. In her spare time Tara likes to travel, climb Arizona mountains, and inline skate.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

Tour Giveaways

$10 VISA Gift Card & ebooks of The Friendship Pact and Once Upon a Friendship (INT)
Print copy of Once Upon a Friendship & a Spend the Summer with TTQ T-shirt (US only)
ebooks of The Friendship Pact and Once Upon a Friendship  (INT)
Ends July 17th

(All to one winner – US only.)
$10 VISA Gift Card
Copies of all five books on Tara’s Summer Tour
Spend the Summer with TTQ T-Shirt
Ends July 16th

The Friendship Tour!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
Check out all of Tara’s events HERE.

We’re launching The Friendship Tour for:
The Friendship Pact
&
Once Upon a Friendship
By Tara Taylor Quinn

Friendship is an intricate part of all our lives. The good memories of summers spent with childhood friends when there were no cares, to later in life having a friend to lean on. We hope you enjoy getting to know more about Author Tara Taylor Quinn and the friendships in these two stories throughout the tour…

Intro to The Friendship Pact
From Author Tara Taylor Quinn

I’ve written a lot of books. From thriller/suspense to romance, I’ve given you many kinds of stories. This one isn’t like any of them. It’s a story of heart. Of soul-searching. Of tough questions with no easy answers. It’s a story of relationships. Of friendship. It’s the story of two very different women who, as children, make a pact to travel life’s journey together.

I had a friend just like Koralynn has Bailey. Or Bailey has Koralynn. Like them, we met when we were just starting school. We were connected, Siamese twins of the soul, from the very beginning. Whenever I was with “J” my whole world lit up like Disneyland. I’ve never understood why she brought such magic to my life, but throughout our growing up and into adulthood, she was more special than anyone else.

We ended up at different ends of the country, but her presence in the world was a star in my heart, giving me strength beyond anything I would’ve had alone. I could do whatever I had to because I knew “J” was there to pick up any pieces; I knew she could always put them back together.

Until life handed us something tragically unexpected. My “J” was killed in a car accident fourteen years ago this summer. But she was right here with me, speaking through my heart, a voice in my head, as Koralynn and Bailey came to life. And as this book comes to you, my goddaughter is bringing her firstborn, a daughter, MJ (the “J” is for her mother), into the world, a reminder that love—connection—never ends….

The Friendship PactThe Friendship Pact
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Romance, Women’s Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 245 pages
June 1st 2014 by MIRA

This is a story for every woman who has a best friend…

Bailey Watters and Koralynn Mitchell consider themselves “sisters of the soul.” Their circumstances growing up couldn’t have been more different; Kora came from a wealthy, privileged family, while Bailey’s home life was hard. They’d do anything for each other. “I’d give you a kidney,” they always say. There are no secrets between them–until there’s one secret Bailey can’t share.

This is a story for every woman who’s been in love.

Danny Brown is the only man Kora’s ever wanted, ever loved, and her marriage seems as flawless as everything else in her life. Bailey, however, doesn’t want a husband. She does want a baby–but only by IVF. And the perfect donor, the perfect biological father, would be a man like…Danny.

What happens when love and friendship collide?

Kora might be willing to give Bailey a kidney. But what about a baby?

Intro to Once Upon a Friendship
From Author Tara Taylor Quinn

I am very happy to be joining the Heartwarming family and look forward to many more stories of the heart to come.

An editor once said, a long time ago, that when you read ttq books, you live the life. My hope is that when you read my books, you get something to take with you in your life. Even if it’s just a smile. A renewed memory. The hope of happily-ever-after in the real world.

On the surface, Once Upon a Friendship was kind of ordinary when I started writing. Three friends who buy an old apartment building together to keep the senior citizens who live there from being kicked out onto the street. But in the first chapter a Ponzi scheme appeared. And one of the friends could be involved. His father is arrested. I wanted to stop it all from happening. After all, this was my sweet apartment-building book. But as I’ve come to accept over the years, the book wasn’t really mine. The story belongs to Liam and Gabi and Marie. And the things that happened to them are not mine to change.

They belong to you now.

Once Upon a Friendship
(The Historic Arapahoe #1)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
July 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming

They’re a team…not a couple!

Falling for Liam was unthinkable. He and Gabi had been best friends since college, nothing more. And crucially, now Liam was her client and needed her to be focused on his case. Gabi could never risk their friendship — or Liam’s freedom — over these feelings. They could never be a couple, anyway. He was Liam Connelly, the handsome and privileged son of a billionaire. She was Gabrielle Miller, the girl who’d fought her way out of poverty and put herself through law school. They were unlikely friends to begin with. Anything more was impossible. Unless…he felt it, too.

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. She is known for delivering deeply emotional and psychologically astute novels of suspense and romance. Tara is a recipient of the Reader’s Choice Award, a five time finalist for the RWA Rita Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award and appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists. Tara is the past-president of Romance Writers of America and served eight years on that board of directors. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning and is a frequent guest speaker. In her spare time Tara likes to travel, climb Arizona mountains, and inline skate.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

Click on the banner to take you to Tara’s landing page for all her tour events.

As part of Spend the Summer with Tara Taylor Quinn, Tara is holding a contest for those who share on social media about how they love life during the summer! Each day you can share an image, picture, or quote, linking to her events’ landing page (http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/Summer%20With%20ttq.html) to enter to win ONE BIG SUMMER BASKET!!! We’ll be pulling the best submissions and voting for the top one during her Facebook Party on July 16th. Pull out your creative juices and share your joy of summer, be it with friends, family, or the love of your life!

Beach-themed basket will include: shell wind chime, shell choker and matching bracelet, beach/flip flop note cards, picture frame, 4×6 picture album, plus some surprise print copies of Tara’s books (including Once Upon a Friendship).

Share must be public to be eligible. Can enter once each day. US only. Giveaway ends July 16th.

Tour Giveaways

$10 VISA Gift Card & ebooks of The Friendship Pact and Once Upon a Friendship (INT)
Print copy of Once Upon a Friendship & a Spend the Summer with TTQ T-shirt (US only)
ebooks of The Friendship Pact and Once Upon a Friendship  (INT)
Ends July 17th

(All to one winner – US only.)
$10 VISA Gift Card
Copies of all five books on Tara’s Summer Tour
Spend the Summer with TTQ T-Shirt
Ends July 16th

The Good Father Tour Grand Finale

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
Check out all of Tara’s events HERE.

We’re blitzing the Grand Finale for
The Good Father
By Tara Taylor Quinn

If you missed any part of this tour, including any of the excellent guest posts (some of the best we’ve had the chance to promote) go back and check them out now, along with some excellent reviews…

Launch – Intro to The Good Father

This is the story I sat down to write. What happened on the page was, as usual, a total surprise to me.

Colorimetry – Excerpt

His father had failed first.

And then, according to his mother, she’d failed, too.

Brett didn’t agree with her assessment, knowing that when she’d lashed out at him the afternoon of Livia’s funeral, beating him on the chest with blows that didn’t even leave bruises, she’d been railing at life, distraught with grief, and clinging to him as much as pounding her fists against the wall he presented between her and her need to die…

“The characters are so realistic and lovable, I mean how can you not love them with everything that they have been through.”

underneath the covers – The Dark Night of the Soul

In every good story there has to be ‘that’ moment. The one in which the reader can’t see how the characters are going to get past their hurdles. The one that keeps the reader turning the page to find out…

Mel’s Shelves – Promo

Pieces of Whimsy – Excerpt

Still in the navy blue suit he’d worn to attend the morning board meeting, he’d loosened the knot of the red tie a bit. His one concession to relaxation. His wing tips were shined. His smart watch in place.

Brett’s life was a mission—and all pieces were accounted for.

Bookworm Lisa – Promo

Brooke Blogs – I Am A Survivor

When my story went public, my editor gave me another purpose. She wanted me to write a series of books revolving around a domestic violence shelter. I’d never felt more in commune with a project in my life. And so The Lemonade Stand was born. The Lemonade Stand, Where Secrets Are Safe. It’s a very unique women’s shelter. One that I wish so badly had been there for me to run to all those years ago. One that I wish existed today.

Copywrite1985 – Review

“Tara Taylor Quinn weaves a story here that grabs you and doesn’t let go until well after you turn the last page. The characters are compelling and realistic, their motives clear, and the conflict is high stakes and seems insurmountable. Ms. Quinn doesn’t shortchange the reader by giving us a pat ending that doesn’t take into account all that has gone on before, but gives the reader both a satisfying and realistic ending that makes the ride worth it–just like she promised.”

Paranormal Books – Excerpt

He’d been celebrating. Ten years since he’d sold the dot-com he’d started his junior year in college. A decade of his life had passed, and here he was. Standing alone in the walk-in shower in his elegant, historical, two-story walk-up across a quiet street from a flowered lot that led to the ocean beyond.

Beck Valley Books – The First Five Books

The books revolving around The Lemonade Stand are not all interrelated. Many of them don’t even feature characters who lived and breathed in previous books. The books are connected by a place. The Lemonade Stand. The series started out with ideas for three books. I am currently working on an eighth one and number nine is on its way, too. So for anyone who is new to the series, and for those of you who want a reminder, I’ll give you a one liner look at the first five books.

“I really loved this story, I loved that it shows there are help for women out there and there is also love out there, even when it is hard to realize.”

My Devotional Thoughts – The Food of it All

It was right then that Brett told me about his favorite meal. He told me, not to fill in background noise, but because it showed me the conflicted man he was. His favorite meal was a peanut butter and bacon sandwich. He loved them. And as he scarfed one down, he was angry with himself, too. Because his father had introduced him to the delicacy when Brett was a young boy. And Brett, the adult, hates his father with every dark crevice in his being.

Wishful Endings – Flowers

I sat down to write the first book in the Where Secrets Are Safe series, Wife By Design, and the hero shows up at The Lemonade Stand – the unique women’s shelter around which the series is revolving – as a landscaper. Kind of threw me for a loop. I know very little about landscaping. I tried to convince him he was something else. He kept coming back as a landscaper. So I did some research.

The Good Father

The Good Father
(Where Secrets Are Safe #6)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
June 1st 2015 by Harlequin

Starting over…again

It seems a lifetime ago that Brett Ackerman wanted to share his life with Ella Wales. He really believed he could put his abusive family history behind him…until he realized it would always be part of him. Then he pushed her away. Hard.

Now Ella’s back as part of the High Risk Team at The Lemonade Stand, the unique women’s shelter Brett founded. And she needs his help with a family crisis. But even now, Brett can’t admit he still loves her. Until one night of passion with Ella turns Brett into the one thing he fears the most—a father.

Also in the Series

Tara Taylor Quinn

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. She is known for delivering deeply emotional and psychologically astute novels of suspense and romance. Tara is a recipient of the Reader’s Choice Award, a five time finalist for the RWA Rita Award, the Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Bookseller’s Best Award and appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists. Tara is the past-president of Romance Writers of America and served eight years on that board of directors. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning and is a frequent guest speaker. In her spare time Tara likes to travel, climb Arizona mountains, and inline skate.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

Click on the banner to take you to Tara’s landing page for all her tour events.

As part of Spend the Summer with Tara Taylor Quinn, Tara is holding a contest for those who share on social media about how they love life during the summer! Each day you can share an image, picture, or quote, linking to her events’ landing page (http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/Summer%20With%20ttq.html) to enter to win ONE BIG SUMMER BASKET!!! We’ll be pulling the best submissions and voting for the top one during her Facebook Party on July 16th. Pull out your creative juices and share your joy of summer, be it with friends, family, or the love of your life!

Beach-themed basket will include: shell wind chime, shell choker and matching bracelet, beach/flip flop note cards, picture frame, 4×6 picture album, plus some surprise print copies of Tara’s books (including Once Upon a Friendship).

Share must be public to be eligible. Can enter once each day. US only. Giveaway ends July 16th.

Tour Giveaways

$10 VISA Gift Card & ebook of The Good Father (INT)
Print copy of The Good Father & a Spend the Summer with TTQ T-shirt (US only)
ebook of The Good Father (INT)
Ends June 18th

(All to one winner – US only.)
$10 VISA Gift Card
Copies of all five books on Tara’s Summer Tour
Spend the Summer with TTQ T-Shirt
Ends July 16th

Bestselling Collection for 99 Cents! (Alicia Rasley)

Thanks to Lynn and the other Broads for hosting me today! My name is Alicia Rasley, and I’m most famous for my role as Lynn’s navigator on several driving trips in England. (Or maybe I should say that Lynn was “my chauffeur”.)

Actually, when we were getting lost in the English countryside, Lynn and I took the time to plot a ghost story. Gwen’s Ghost has now been reprinted in a boxed set with five other Regencies. So I thought I’d explain a bit more about the project, and ask you all a question: Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had an experience with ghosts or hauntings? If you comment, you’ll be enrolled in the Story Broads raffle for a free Kindle Fire! 1 regency masquerades 3-d

When Lynn and I wrote Gwen’s Ghost, we wanted to explore one aspect of “ghost-ness,” the idea that “unfinished business” is one purpose for lingering after death. From that theme came the story of Valerian Caine, the Georgian dandy (complete with high-heeled pumps and velvet face patches) killed in a duel and brought back almost a century later to fix the family feud his death had started. Of course, he can’t appear in 1816 as himself, so he poses as Jocelyn Vayle, a man who has lost his memory. The only one who sees through his masquerade is Gwen Sevaric, the acerbic descendant of the man who had killed him a century ago.

This book joins five other Regency romances in a boxed set dedicated to that theme of “masquerade.” The Regency Masquerades set offers six different views of romantic masquerades, with reasons ranging from the pragmatic to the desperate.

In The Lady from Spain by Gail Eastwood, the hero and heroine are disguised for the very good reason that they must hide their identities to survive in a time of war.

The Earl’s Revenge by Allison Lane is a tale of two people who – like so many authors—are using professional identities to present their work (illustration and satire) while protecting their positions in society.

In Daring Deception, by Brenda Hiatt, Frederica dons a disguise and obtains a domestic post in the household of a man she will be forced to marry. Posing as a frumpy housekeeper, she knows she can learn what this lord is really like, and what secrets he is concealing.

In The Redwyck Charm by Elena Greene: An heiress yearning for adventure, Juliana Hutton masquerades as an opera dancer to escape an arranged marriage. Her erstwhile betrothed uses an assumed name to have one last adventure before he too is forced into this marriage.

And then, in Lynn’s other book anthologized here, Lucy in Disguise, the young heroine has disguised herself as a witch to scare away those who might harm her best friend. At the same time, the hero chooses to take up the role of a smuggler to escape the restrictions of his high social position.

This leads to another question—why is disguise such a compelling theme in romance? Usually the characters have what they think is a good practical reason to hide their identities. But there’s a deeper need underlying the use of the masquerade. I think that perhaps what we conceal is what we reveal, that donning a mask lets us paradoxically be more ourselves. In some ways, most of us are often pretending even without a disguise, aren’t we? Yet true love can come only when we reveal our true selves.

The masquerade allows simultaneous concealment and revealing. And let’s face it—masks and ghosts are just plain fun, or we wouldn’t be celebrating Halloween every October!

To see how each type of masquerade plays out, buy Regency Masquerades, a digital boxed set containing six full-length novels by award-winning authors. For a short time, this set is just 99 cents! Buy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books.

My Writing Process (Parker Blue/Guest of Lynn Kerstan)

Whenever I speak on writing, I’m almost always asked about my writing process. I have no idea why this is so fascinating to aspiring writers. Maybe because they think I have the magic secret that will help the words flow effortlessly from brain to keyboard, or maybe they’re trying to validate their own methods by finding someone who has the same peculiar rituals they do. Either way, learning about my process probably won’t be helpful, but here it is, for better or worse.

I’m an engineer by degree and training, so it’s probably no surprise that I’m a plotter. Unfortunately, the first part of the process is the hardest for me—I have to let the story gel, which is mostly mental. I think about the story endlessly and find a blob of something that sounds intriguing, then grab another little bit that I finagle to see if it will stick to the first blob, then play with ideas until I have enough amorphous puzzle pieces stuck together to make something resembling a story.

To force this sloppy construct into some sort of coherent shape, I write a synopsis. Yes, I know many people hate writing the things, but I find they help me ensure I have all the character and plot development laid out in a logical manner and that the story actually flows and makes some kind of sense. Once the synopsis is approved by my editor, I use a plotting board with colored sticky notes to note what is going to happen in each scene. Since I’m not totally anal, there are usually some gaps after the first few chapters where I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen. It gives my right brain something to play with and by the time I get there, it’s usually obvious what has to happen next. Because, you see, I have that next plot point to work up to.

Now that I have the skeleton of my story, you’d think I could start writing. Not so much. Now, I have to sit down in bed the night before with a pen and paper (graph paper is best), and write out a quick version of the scene longhand, with all the main points I need to hit. I think that, because my subconscious has a chance to play with the scene overnight, the writing flows much smoother the next morning. I have no idea why I have to use pen and paper in bed, though (probably some Freudian thing I don’t care to have explained).

Since I work full-time, I only write on the weekends, and my best time to write first draft is in the morning. Mind you, I’m not a morning person, but because I’m not, my left brain is disengaged and allows my right brain to come out and play. Once I sit down at the keyboard, my goal isn’t to write X number of words, or a certain amount of pages; I write the entire scene (about ten pages). Sometimes it takes a couple of hours, sometimes it takes five or six (especially if I was lazy and skipped the pre-writing the night before), but I don’t allow myself to quit writing for the day until I finish the scene. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment to complete something, to check that box done. Engineer, remember?

So, that’s my messy first draft process. Illuminating? Not really, but it works for me. The takeaway here is that, if you’re a writer in search of a process, don’t let anyone tell you there’s one right way to do it (this certainly isn’t it!). Experiment with tried-and-true methods touted by other authors and even try some oddball rituals until you find something that really works for you.

So, if you’re a writer who already has a working process, do you have any unusual rituals or methods you’d like to share with the group? Please, tell me I’m not alone in my weirdness.

And if you’re not a writer, I hope you’re not thinking we’re all loonies in search of a bin….

Parker Blue writes snarky YA urban fantasy, with the occasional paranormal romance story on the side. Her werewolf paranormal romance novella, “Wolf Rising”, is available now in the Magick Rising anthology, and the fifth book in the Demon Underground urban fantasy series, Dare Me, comes out this month.

Art Journals (Kat Garbera, Guest)

I want to say thanks to Lynn for inviting me to blog with you all today.

My recent procrastination technique is moving me away from the internet and the social media games I used to play.  It’s an art journal. I feel the need to qualify this and let you know that I have zero art skills.  In my high school humanities class when we got to the part of the course where we were required to bring in a canvas, I attempted to recreate Monet’s Impression Bleu with Impression Purple (very original, I know). My father took one look at it and said it looked more like Impression F. And he wasn’t wrong. But when I shared his comment with my teacher, she kept the canvas, gave me an A, and shared the story with the other classes of how art is in the eye of the beholder.

Cut to years later and I’m still probably at the Impression F level, but I enjoy, so it doesn’t matter to me.  And I’ve been learning techniques I didn’t even know about before.  One thing about moving from a writer to a published author is that now, writing is a job, whereas before, it was fun. I was making up people and places for myself and I’m still doing that, but I have pressure to deliver a book on time to my publishers and stories that meet my readers’ expectations.

With my art journal, there is no expectation at all.  Since I’m not even good at art, I can put anything down and be happy with it.  I’m not happy, though. I keep at it until it fits the vision I have in my head.  I use that art journal as a way to express my thoughts about my life, and to uncover things about my characters I didn’t know before.

I also use it to write about the secret things that make me proud of my kids or my husband, or sad about things in the world.  It’s my place to just let go and not worry about what anyone else has to say.

And I love it.

Is there something that you do just for yourself?  Tell me about it in Comments and I will enter you to win a copy of my latest release, His Instant Heir.

The Basis of Comedy (Carolyn McSparren)

I can’t remember who said that survived disaster is the basis for comedy.

How many times have you retold some family story about an event that seemed like a mess at the time, but once you were happily through it, became funny in the retelling?

James Thurber was a genius at this. One of his stories is entitled, “The Day the Pig Fell in the Well.” Then there is Eudora Welty’s, “Why I live at the PO.”  Take a serious look at what actually happens in each of these stories, and you’ll discover the events weren’t funny at all while they were happening.

Disaster that is not survived is just disastrous. Nothing funny about it.

But the perfect day isn’t funny either. Nobody laughs at things that go right. Happy events, nice people, no conflict… No laughs. Comedy, unfortunately, arises out of pain. But remembered in safety.

People tell me I write funny. My latest romance for Harlequin is about retraining five wounded vets to drive carriages. Not funny, huh? But there are definitely funny elements in it, as there are in both my published mysteries for Belle Books, One Hoof in the Grave, and The Cart Before the Corpse.

Because we human beings are psychologically pre-disposed to hope, to pick ourselves up once we are on the other side of whatever bad thing has happened, we look back and laugh. We turn the event into a myth, and a funny myth at that. Of course, we pick and choose what to highlight and what to downplay, but then hyperbole is another element of comedy.

Case in point. My husband, George, is recovering from a mild stroke that has left him with hallucinations. He’s aware of it. We make a game of it. One morning last week I was drying off from my morning shower when he banged on the bathroom door and informed me that there were three Chinese ambassadors waiting for me in our bedroom. Could I please come and speak to them right away. I told him to tell the ambassadors that I was buck-nekked and would see them after I got some clothes on. He did, and they immediately disappeared.

Where in his psyche did they come from? Who knows, but they solved his problem of worrying about the closed bathroom door. Later, when we talked about it over lunch with no hallucinations in the neighborhood, he thought it was hysterical.

Someone told me I should keep a journal. I’m planning to call it, A Journal of the Plague Year.  Take that, Daniel Defoe.

 

 

 

Don’t Think Horses Get Hurt Feelings? Guess Again! (Guest blogger Carolyn McSparren)

Anyone who says animals can’t have hurt feelings hasn’t been around animals much.

Usually, even when I’m pushing to meet a deadline, as I was this May for Harlequin, I manage to sneak away to ride my horse. I was also marketing my new Belle Books carriage driving mystery, One Hoof in the Grave, the sequel to last year’s The Cart Before the Corpse.  Okay, crunch time, but I could still squeeze in an occasional ride.

Until my husband was hospitalized for surgery, and had a stroke that requires extensive rehab. Crunch time turned into gridlock.

I ignored my big dressage horse, Sailor, a seventeen-two hand half Clydesdale dressage horse, from the end of April until last week.  He was well taken care of. Not only his physical needs, but as much attention as my trainer had time to give him.

But she isn’t me. She says that every morning he would come up to be fed with the other pasture horses, and if anyone was brought into the barn for any reason, he’d stand at the gate saying a silent ‘pick me, pick me.’  It broke my heart, but between going back and forth to the hospital, and then looking after my husband at home, Sailor had to take a back seat.

So did my endorphins. If I don’t get me some horse at regular intervals, I get grumpy.  So last week while his caregiver was at home with George, I put my britches and boots and went out to my trainer’s barn to reacquaint myself with Sailor.  Since he hadn’t been ridden in four months, and I am no spring chicken, I planned just to walk a few minutes.  Being in the saddle would be enough.

First I loaded the pockets of my britches with treats.  Carrots, apples, and best of all, horse peppermints.  Horses feel about peppermints the way I feel about chocolate.

Sailor loves treats. I felt certain I could woo my way back into his affections by comforting him with apples. If it worked for Solomon and Sheba, it ought to work for me, right?

Sailor was out in the big pasture in the shadows when I arrived, standing in the center of the herd of six geldings.   They all took notice of me at once, and on the off chance that I might be carrying treats, they came up to let me rub their noses and give them each a peppermint.

Everyone, that is, except Sailor.  He took one look at me and turned his back. He didn’t actually walk away, although he’s been known to do that when he didn’t want to work.  No, this time he was telling me that if I hadn’t known him for four months, he no longer intended to know me.  He looked everywhere except at me, even when I walked straight up to him and slipped his halter over his head.  I held out a peppermint—sure to do the trick. He refused to touch it.

He came with me into the barn peaceably enough and allowed himself to be crosstied. He basically gave me permission to brush, curry and love on him all I liked, while he made it clear that getting back in his good graces was going to take a while.

I did climb into the saddle for a few minutes. My endorphins soared, my mood lightened.  Never mind Chanel No. 5 or Joy. Give me Eau de Cheval any day.

The difference between horses and people is that horses don’t hold grudges for long. Sailor allowed me to cosset and pet him to earn my way back into his good graces.  By the time I brushed him off after my ride, gave two apples, a carrot, and half a dozen horse peppermints, we were friends again.

Except that when I offered him his final carrot once he was back in the pasture, he took one look at it and at me, and I could hear him thinking, “Hah! She’s going away again, and she thinks she can con me with treats.”

He took the carrot in his teeth, stared straight at me, and spit the whole thing on the ground.  I got the message. I’m riding at least once next week.

CONGRATULATIONS, DARLA!!! (The Storybroads)

There’s No Stopping A Broadie

Broadies Are Strong, Determined, Resilient

Congratulations, Darla!

 

 

You Are An Inspiration!

From Maggie!

 

Our friend and fellow Broadie, Darla Ray was thrown a curve ball.  She caught it.

She grieved.

She smiled through her tears.

She decided to play the game.

And on Saturday, May 19, 2012, she graduated at the top of her class.

We're Proud of You Darla! Woof Woof!

 

We Knew You Could Do It

 

Darla, after all that hard work you can borrow my pad! Congratulations! Mandy (and her Mom, Suz)

 Congratulations, Darla!  You Made it to the Top of the Mountain!