Guest Blogger – Zoe York

There’s nothing yummier than a man in uniform. Soldiers, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, I love them all.

When I first started writing romances, I resisted the military hero because I’m married to one in real life, and my mother-in-law reads my books, and it all just felt a little too close to home. But after writing a SEAL novella for the Seals of Summer military romance superbundle, I had the bug in a big way.

My new series, Pine Harbour, is a spin-off of my first series. I call it Wardham with choppier waves and craggier bluffs. It’s a small-town contemporary romance series, but it centres on two families, the Fosters and the Minellis, who have a long record of military service. Eight heroes, tied together through blood, friendship and a sense of duty.

The first book in the series, Love in a Small Town, comes out next week.  And I’m happy to report that while Rafe Minelli is an army reservist like my husband, that’s where the similarities end. Well, except for the kissing, maybe. But for the most part, my fears about writing so close to home were unfounded. Love in a Small Town is 100% Rafe and Olivia’s story, and I really loved writing it.

Here’s an exclusive sneak peek at one of the release day teaser quotes: LiaSTreleaseTEASER1

“You smell pretty,” she whispered as she sashayed past him. He was going to miss that little apron when she stopped working there. He wanted to fold her over his lap and spank her soundly for being cheeky. “And you look…frustrated,” she added after she filled his cup. She set the carafe to the side and leaned across the counter, kissing him lightly on the cheek.

He shot his hand out and cupped the back of her neck, holding her in place. “That’s not a good morning kiss,” he muttered, trying to keep a smile at bay.

She arched one eyebrow and took a deep breath, her pupils dilating. “Oh no?”

He shook his head and pulled them back together, ignoring the dozen or so other people in the place. They could all go to hell. There was only one way he wanted his wife to kiss him in the morning—long, hard and dirty.

Blurb:

SixLoveInASmallTownAug2014medium (2) years. Two break ups. One divorce. They should be over each other.

Police officer and army reservist Rafe Minelli knows better than to tell his wife no, particularly since they aren’t married anymore. She can’t hightail it out of town, though, not when they’ve finally broken through the post-divorce cold war status quo.

Olivia Minelli needs to leave Pine Harbour. It’s just too hard to see Rafe moving on without her—even if he says he doesn’t want to. But when a new and exciting job falls into her lap, she needs to choose: protect her heart, or take the new job and risk getting emotionally entangled with her ex-husband. Again.

Love in a Small Town is available now for pre-order at the following retailers: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

 

Biography:1932292_1460623590821883_899296854_n

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Zoe York is a busy working mom of two young boys, wife to a very understanding soldier, and creator of modern, sexy, small town contemporary romances. She lives in London, Ontario and is currently chugging Americanos, wiping sticky fingers, and dreaming of heroes in and out of uniform.

Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and on her website.

About Molly Mclain

Molly is a talker. Get her chatting about books (or book boyfriends) and she can go for hours. Socializing is her favorite part of blogging with a bunch of like-minded authors. It's like having coffee with your friends at all hours of the day. Molly also likes coffee. A lot. Blogging at HSG? It's a win-win in Molly's book!

Summer? Meh.

I don’t love summer.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t. (My son read the title of this post and gasped in dramatic horror.)

There are definitely some things I like about summer–wonderful fresh local food, evenings on the patio with a cold glass of wine, lazy afternoons at the pool. I like that I occasionally get a vacation. I like that I don’t have to argue with the kid about homework, and I don’t particularly mind taking a break from hockey rinks. I’m very happy that it’s not snowing.

But other than that, summer feels much like every other time of the year, except hotter and with more bugs. I still have to work. Unlike other parts of the country, not everything is air conditioned in Northeast Ohio, including my house, so I spend much of the summer sweating and uncomfortable. And although I suspect this reveals more about me than I really ought to share, summer seems to me to be full of expectation, almost pressure. There’s a feeling that because it’s summer, something wonderful should happen. Sometimes it does, but when it doesn’t, there’s an odd sense of wastefulness–how could I have let it slip through my fingers?

Nevertheless, it’s summer and summer book lists are everywhere. Many of them contain relaxing, feel good reads, and so I feel compelled to add my own. Here are some great books that fit my summer mood, in no particular order and for no particular reason:

The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (also known as J.K. Rowling).  — I will admit I read this just because Rowling wrote it. I tried to read her other non-Potter book but couldn’t get through it. This one, however, is brilliant.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds, by Cat Winters. — A captivating debut novel set during the influenza epidemic of 1918, I actually read this one because of the cover. Seriously–Google it, then read the book.

Not a Drop to Drink, by Mindy McGinnis. — Full disclosure time: Mindy is my cousin (about 20 times removed), but I would love this book even if she wasn’t.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells. — There’s something about the steamy south that appeals to me in the summer.

Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. — See above about steamy south, then throw in magic and teenage angst.

The In Death series by J.D. Robb — I enjoy most of what Nora Roberts writes, but I particularly like this series. It’s gritty and dark, with wonderful, likable characters and some very steamy sex. What’s not to like?

The Heir, by Grace Burrowes. — Although I adore both reading and writing historical romance, I generally don’t read them in the summer–I save them for winter.  This one, though, is a perfect fit with my summer mood.

Which books capture how you feel about summer?

About Marin McGinnis

A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She's spent almost half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She's been married to the same great guy for over 20 years, and has one teen-aged son. They all live together in a drafty old house with their two standard poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete. While her very first book will languish under the bed, the next book, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next two books, Secret Promise and Tempting Mr. Jordan, are also available from Wild Rose Press. Marin currently serves as President of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Romance Writers of America and is hard at work on the next book. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Hot Summer Nights

Everyone likes to do something different in the summer. For many years race tracks were my thing. I know, how smart do you have to be to drive around in circles, eh? Most people would tell you, not very. But it’s not the driving that gets me. Sure, that’s part of it, but it’s the challenge of racing. Taking a bare chassis and building something piece by piece until you have a car. Directed primarily by a loose set of rules, each part thought about, calculated into the whole, saved for and pushed to the limit.

At the track, it’s dark, it’s loud, and it’s endless. There are so many tasks to perform before a race, during a race, after a race and during the week. And that doesn’t count what you have to do if you manage to wreck the car. Primarily it’s the mental challenge that drew me. The math, the calculations all done at every instance just to make sure your machine goes faster than someone else’s. I realize competition is a dirty word these days, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything.

I know how far I can push myself, physically and mentally, and it’s much further than I ever dreamed. Those hot summer nights are something I’ll never forget. The winning, and the blood, sweat, and tears. The losing, the sweet smell of fuel additive and best of all, dinner with friends at three in the morning.RTW 250x400 11.17

When it came time for me to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and write my first book, I wrote what I knew. Literally. If I had a question, I knew the right people to ask. I’ve been able to use many of my experiences as a basis for incidents in my books.

This left me able to concentrate on the writing. Exciting beginnings, no sagging middles, and the prerequisite HEA. It’s with a grateful heart that I post about my latest release, Running Three Wide. It wouldn’t be finished without the help and encouragement of the Passionate Critters. Thanks, Ladies!

Here’s the blurb:

Drive hard. Turn left. Find love…and danger.

Sarah Miller has finally become crew chief for a racing team, but her dream job comes with a hitch—dirt late model driving sensation and the man she swore she’d never see again, her old flame, Damon Blade.

Damon has too many women trying to run his life: his mother, his sister and his boss. Getting stuck with a female crew chief is the last straw…until he discovers its Sarah. And that someone else from his past is holding a grudge and determined to kill them both.

Balancing dirt track racing and staying away from a murderer has them running three wide. Headed full speed into the turn, will there be room for romance?

If you’re interested you can buy it here.

Here’s wishing each of you a great season. What do you love to do in the summertime?

 

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Guest Post — Lynn Cahoon

Researching or how to make it to the front of the line at the bookstore.

When I was thinking about The Council series, I wanted to be accurate in my portrayal of a witch out of water. Parris McCall doesn’t know she’s a witch when the story starts. Sure, weird things are more likely to happen to her than to others. And once, when head cheerleader, Brittany the bright, made fun of Parris, one too many times, the queen bee’s hair turned pink.  In English class. In front of the entire junior class.

amemberofthecouncilWhen she got home from school that day, Gran had weaved this fairy tale about her powers and her parents, but even then, Parris had refused to accept or even listen.

So what was an unknowing witch to do?

I didn’t have a clue.

As in most cases, when I’m looking for answers, I visit the information mecca. No, not the internet. I went to the library. There I found all sorts of historical books about the Salem witchcraft trials along with some basic Wiccan handbooks. Not a lot. Most of the how to books were in the area of Tarot reading or horoscopes. I live in a small, conservative town.

After racing through all those books, and probably getting a warning code attached to my library card in case of a plague of locusts or roving witch hunters, I hit the book store.

Visiting the book store actually gave me more options in books. I bought a handbook of spells, one on elementary magic, and one boasting an encyclopedia of spells, castings, and potions.

When I got in line with my treasures, you could see the tension when people around me noticed my choice of reading material. Several stepped aside, mumbling how they’d forgotten something.  And I hadn’t cast even a little spell.

I’m still researching for the last book of the series. Picking up bits and pieces here and there, I’ll use my writer magic to weave together into a story that finishes Ty and Parris’s quest. Or at least that’s my plan today.

What’s the most unusual subject you’ve researched?

 ****

A Member of the Council – The Council #1

A rogue hunter, a clueless witch and a mission to save an unknowing world.

Parris McCall, owner of the dive bar, The Alibi, has finally constructed a life where her

little quirks don’t show or matter to anyone. As for her grandmother’s warnings that she’s different, well, she’ll cross that bridge if she comes to it.

But when Ty walks into her bar, both lives are instantly changed.

Buy Links – http://www.amazon.com/Member-Council-Lynn-Cahoon-ebook/dp/B00IPQX0AI/

****

CahoonBIO – Lynn Cahoon’s a multi-published author. An Idaho native, her stories focus around the depth and experience of small town life and love. Lynn’s published in Chicken Soup anthologies, explored controversial stories for the confessional magazines, short stories in Women’s World, and contemporary romantic fiction. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

Contact Lynn at her website: www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/LynnCahoonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnCahoon

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Guest Post — Ashlee Mallory

First connections and why I wanted to become a writer

I would like to thank Through Heart-Shaped Glasses for having me on today! I love your blog and don’t know how you come up with ideas so prolifically! It was actually in reviewing your first month of blog topics of “Firsts” that I came up with my own topic for today. It had me thinking about how and why I am where I am.

We probably all remember the opening scene in Romancing the Stone, where Joan Wilder, A.K.A. Kathleen Turner, finishes her book and goes in search of a tissue but finds her apartment a mess with post-it notes reminding her to pick up tissue? Her only company a hungry cat? Had I known just how spot-on that writing scene was from that scene, where there was no glitz, just Joan and a typewriter, would I still have chosen writing as a profession?

Yeah. Most definitely.

Because despite the sometimes lonely existence even with my family surrounding me and pets vying for attention, there’s still the thrill of putting together a particular scene that has me smiling to myself, and the hope it might even draw a chuckle from readers.  Or writing that one suspenseful scene that will send chills up readers’ spines as they worry and wonder what happens next. Those are the moments that I love about writing.

One of the first romance books that I remember totally loving for the range in emotions it wrought from me—from spurts of laughter after reading a particular witty comment that the heroine threw at the hero, to full tears at the emotional and physical pain the hero endured to show her his love—was Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of dreams.  When I finished that story and every time I read it afterwards, I knew I wanted to aspire to writing just like Ms. McNaught. To draw readers in to my story, the character’s life, where they experience their joy and pain along with them.

YouAgain (2) (1)I’ve only just debuted my first book and it feels like the dam has broken. Ideas are bubbling and waiting to be let out.  I only hope that I’ll be able to capture all the emotions as capably as Ms. McNaught. And even though the house is in shambles and the laundry is several feet high and the kids are eating cereal for dinner (although that seems to be by their choice, thankfully), I wouldn’t change any of it.

My debut book, YOU AGAIN, is now available for purchase on most major E-retailers as seen here http://www.entangledpublishing.com/you-again/  I also love to connect with readers and fellow authors and you can find me on:

My web page, http://www.ashleemallory.com/

Twitter:  @ashleemallory and

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ashlee.mallory.50

Bio:

AshleeMallory.AuthorPhotoAshlee lives with her husband, two kids, a dog, and cat surrounded by the majestic mountains of her hometown in the greater Salt Lake City area. When she’s not writing the boring legal stuff for her day job, she gets to immerse herself in writing stories about love, life, and the occasional murder.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Traditions to Keep (& a gingerbread recipe!)

2013-12-15 18.38.05Twenty-one years ago we invited my best friend and her two little boys over to make gingerbread cookies with our 1 year old son. It’s a holiday tradition that has continued in my house every year since.

Our families grew, the cookies changed from innocent creations to being pulled apart on the trays and mutated into whatever was popular at the time and for their ages. We’ve had cookies that were anatomically correct and a few years, instead of men the cookies became guitars and swords.  And I have pictures of all seven kids growing up around my dining room table – smiling, happy and enjoying something together that they’ll remember forever.

This year, the oldest child is engaged and asked me if he could bring his fiance – because they want to continue our tradition and “it just wouldn’t be Christmas without coming and baking cookies!” Wow…I cried, and my heart swelled with pride – I’ve certainly done something right. This is certainly a tradition worth keeping and passing down.

Here is the Gingerbread recipe that was given to my by my mother-in-law twenty-one years ago and used every year since:

1 Cup margarine

1 Cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 Cup dark molasses

2 tbs vinegar

5 Cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp all-spice

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

Beat margarine until creamy. Beat in sugar and salt. Stir in eff, molasses and vinegar. Beat well. Sift flour, baking soda and spices together. Stir into molasses mixture. (Dough will be STIFF) Chill dough at least 3 hours. Roll dough to approx 1/8 inch thick (up to you, really) on a lightly floured board or pasty sheet. Cut shapes with cookie cutter, decorate if desired (we load them up with all kinds of candy!) Place on a greased cooked sheet one inch apart at 375 for 6 minutes – or until light brown and puffed up. Cool slightly and remove to wire rack. If you prefer, you can decorate with royal icing after they’ve cooled. This same recipe can be used in molds to make houses and trains too. Makes approx 8 dozen.

What traditions did you start years ago became permanent parts of your holiday celebrations?

And don’t forget…every comment earns a chance to win ONE of our holiday books up for grabs this month! Including mine:

MuffinsandMistletoe 200x300

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

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