Cupid’s Cafe: The Journey Continues

Greetings friends!

Today is the launch of my new release, Painting For Keeps, a contemporary romance and matchmaking story. If you haven’t noticed Cupid and matchmaking are in the air for the month of June, as Lori and I have both have releases that are part of Afterglows Publishing Kismet Line. Want to read more about Lori’s own contemporary romance you can check out her post here.

My book is a second-chance, matchmaking romance about a recovering bulimic nutritionist who’s getting over being dumped by her cheating boyfriend and the bi-polar, brooding painter who seeks to help the only muse for his art. This is the second book in the Cupid’s Cafe series. The first book, Lori’s Exactly Like You, is available now.

A refresher, Cupid’s Cafe is a fictional, magical place set in Louisville, KY off Bardstown Rd. You can catch a more detailed post on the live research Lori, myself, and Cate, the series creator, did in preparation for this series. Each couple is granted a ‘second-chance’ at romance via Cupid, through a handwritten invitation to the cafe. The couples have always met in the past somehow and both hero and heroine have reached their limit or they don’t believe themselves capable of love due to what issues they suffer from.

Painting For Keeps

An invitation to Cupid’s Café will change your life. 

 

Agatha, Aggie, Kakos lost her boyfriend, her apartment, and now, is one brownie bite away from purging her binge when an invitation to Cupid’s Café shows up on her doorstep. Fighting bulimia and her mother’s constant verbal abuse has never been easy, but this nutritionist is determined to be stronger than her weakest link. She’ll meet a secret admirer at Cupid’s for a morale booster if nothing else.  

 

Following a break-in and the destruction of his paintings, starving artist Murphy O’Shea finds himself at wit’s end. Not only does he need to create twelve more paintings, but in the midst of another manic depressive episode, the challenge seems impossible. He’s got two months or he’ll have to cancel his first show. The Cupid’s Café invite offers him a chance to find his muse. He doesn’t expect it to be the woman he’s mirrored the past two year’s paintings on, nor does he plan on being able to offer Aggie the help she needs.  

 

Can they find a way to conquer their inner demons or will they succumb to the idea they aren’t worth a happily ever after?

 

Buy now : Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play

 

This is the second book in the Cupid’s Cafe series, a Kismet book, from After Glows Publishing. Would you be interested in writing for this series? Email me at landra (dot) graf (7) (at) gmail (dot) com.

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Cupid’s Cafe: What’s That About?

Hello, my friends in Romancelandia. I wanted to write a little about my new release (coming June 20th) titled Exactly Like You and the premise behind the series.

My book, about a depressed, former social worker who rehabilitates feral cats and a sexy fireman widower, is the first book in the Cupid’s Cafe series. The books are all standalone. Landra Graf‘s Painting for Keeps (the second book) will be out June 27. They can be read in any order or pick your poison. The common thread is the cafe and the universe in which the story is set.

Cupid’s Cafe is a fictional, mystical coffeehouse in Lousiville, Kentucky. It’s fully functional with lots of patrons and exists, in the stories, on Bardstown Road, an eclectic and exciting part of town.

The characters in the story are usually invited to the cafe by the mysterious Mr. Heart. They receive a letter with a date and time to show up. They don’t know it, but it’s a “date” with someone from their past and their last chance at love.

The manager, Angel, is definitely an omniscient supernatural being and guides the invitees to their appointment with fate. A sense of serenity falls over them when they walk in the door (which tends to make my heroine, Roxie, a little uncomfortable–she never feels “serene”). There’s a beautiful, hand carved bar with mermaids at each end. The baristas may or may not be demi-gods from ancient mythology. They serve everything from coffees to pastries to alcoholic beverages. Anything is possible at Cupid’s Cafe, including a second chance at love.

Exactly Like You

Homeless and jobless, ex-social worker, Roxie Fisher, is convinced she’s cursed to never find happiness and an invitation to Cupid’s Café isn’t going to change that. All the same, against her better judgment, she gives it a try. What else does she have to lose?

After the death of his wife, accountant-turned-firefighter, Aidan Craig, can’t stop taking ridiculous risks and never turns down a dare. So an invitation to Cupid’s Café is an offer he can’t refuse. What he doesn’t expect is to meet the social worker who helped him through the darkest days of his life. Now she’s the one struggling, and he’s compelled to help.

The two of them experience an immediate attraction, but Aidan swore to never become involved in another relationship, and Roxie can’t imagine daredevil Aidan being interested in a boring, cat-rescuer like her.

Will they resolve the problems tearing them apart or lose their last chance at true love?

This is the first book in the Cupid’s Cafe series, a Kismet book, from After Glows Publishing. Would you be interested in writing for this series? Email me at lori (at) lorisizemore (dot) com.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Call Me Cupid via Gina Wynn

Just Call Me Cupid

Thank you to the lovely ladies at Heart Shaped Glasses for letting me loose on their blog.

I have a confession to make. I, too, am a romance writer. But, seriously, writing a romance is more difficult than it sounds. It isn’t just a matter of putting two characters on a page, getting them to mash face and calling a happy ever after. Some days, getting two characters to even maintain a ‘happy for five minutes’ is an achievement. And anything less than chemistry won’t cut it for a reader. They need to believe in the romance, feel the sizzle, and know that those two characters, no matter what the storyline throws at them, are ultimately destined to end up together.

I suppose it’s a bit like finely tuned matchmaking. It’s about knowing which character traits will appeal to the heroine, or a hero, and playing with those. In some ways, it’s about creating a perfect partner. I’m joking, of course. We all know that perfect doesn’t exist. But I can get it fairly close. 😉 In a book, it’s about the dance of flirtation and desire, and stage-managing two people together in a believable way. I keep saying two but, you can insert your own magic number.

Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction, and affection, and that pretty accurately sums up the romance writer’s playground. The characters, whether in a sweet or steamy romance, have to experience a crush or lust before that ramps up to love and forever.

On top of that (heh) the best romances also coax the reader to fall a little bit in love with at least one of the characters or at the every least root for them. If at the end of reading one of my stories, a reader tells me how much they loved one of my characters and claims them as theirs, I’ve done my job. I’m Cupid, and I am a god.

Available now from the Kismet line of After Glows Publishing:

Two By Two by Gina Wynn

A match made in…outer space.

When things at Absolution, the bar on space station The Salvation, take a turn for the strange, witch Penelope Hardacre is thrust into the wacky world of matchmaking. Without the meddling of bar owner Geraldine’s alternate personality, Gerald, it should have all been so easy. But, weres with weres, vamps with vamps, fairies with fairies… Penny’s ordered to pair them all without choice. Is she willing to compromise all of her morals to maintain her safety from Gerald, and what should she do with her best friend Vincent—the kind of fanged best friend who makes her feel safe and loved…and jealous? On The Salvation, two by two won’t be quite what Noah had in mind.

Like what you see, grab your copy: Amazon ~ Kobo

Excerpt:

She steeled herself against another sneeze until her eyes watered, then she shook her head. The creeping, crawling irritation under her skin brought a wave of reminders of spells gone wrong because of the distraction of a sudden itch or sneeze she couldn’t stifle.

“Not at all. I can’t imagine you’d know the difference between a therapist and a hooker because I have no doubt your claims of experience—no, expertise—as a lurve machine are much exaggerated.” She plucked the lemon wedge from the edge of his glass and bit into the flesh as she wrinkled her nose again.

His gaze danced over her face, and his eyes flashed with either amusement or danger…or desire.

She shivered a little in the warm room.

“Just let it go, silly girl. Sneezes are like orgasms. An unstoppable force—though hardly a…delight.” He watched another drip making its way back to his drink from his nail, apparently bored with their conversation.

But she knew better. “Whatcha drinkin’, my vampire friend?” She cooed the words as she twirled her hair around her finger in a playful gesture designed to annoy him as much as he’d irritated her, and nearly let loose a giggle as his expression turned sour.

“My drink.”

“Which is…?”

His eyes flared red for a second at her words. “Something you wouldn’t like.”

“Perhaps you mistake my love of tomatoes.” She kept her flirtatious tone in place and leant to rest her hand on his arm.

He bumped his fist against the table. “Keep your voice down, angelcakes. Can’t a man abide by his principles in peace?”

Glancing out at the dark sky and the pin-prick stars stretching into the unknown distance, she sighed. “A man, Vincent? I thought you’d got over that pipe dream.”

“I am a man.” He ground out the words.

“You’re a vegan vampire, trapped on an old heap of a space station for maybe the rest of your days. That’s a long time.” She spared a look for his tomato juice. “Although maybe not quite so long if you were to give in to your basic instincts and get rid of anyone who annoyed you—which is everyone. At least then you’d be alone with your indignity and plant-based thirst-quenchers.”

He let loose a short, mirthless laugh. “Just me, you, and tomatoes. And you’re a witch who can’t do magic without sneezing and breaking out in an itchy rash.” He shrugged at her, his grin rueful. “What a pair we make.”

What a pair indeed.

One last thing: The Salvation has been opened up as a multi-author world. To play on board The Salvation, please check the details on this page. 🙂 Thank you.

 

 

 

 

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Sharing the Pain…

Marketing can be a painful process, but like many things, it’s easier if you share the pain. Cross promoting with other authors can be fun and is a great way of getting your books in front of new readers.

I love the idea of authors helping authors, and after all, there are enough readers for everyone. So here are a few ways authors can help promote each other…

  • Mention other authors in your newsletter, share their good reviews, release dates, add links to their websites and books. Tell your subscribers what books you’ve enjoyed reading or what books you’re looking forward to.
  • If you have a blog, invite other authors to participate.
  • Or set up a joint blog with a group of authors, like this one.
  • Do a Facebook party and invite your author friends to help you host. Same with Twitter and anywhere else you can party.
  • Tweet about what you’re reading.
  • Facebook about other authors you love.
  • Share their tweets and Facebook posts.
  • Produce a themed box set with other authors in the same genre.
  • Set up group sales or joint giveaways, and promote the other authors and hopefully they will promote you.

I recently released Flying Through Fire, book 6 in my dark Desires series. I shared my release day with fabulous author, Dawn Cartier, who writes wonderful paranormal books based in her home town of New Orleans. And I had the pleasure of meeting Dawn earlier this year in Las Vegas at the RT Booklovers convention.

otherworld_fb

We tweeted and Facebooked about our releases and included links to each other’s books in our newsletters. Hopefully it introduced a few of Dawn’s readers to me, and vice versa. We also did a combined rafflecoptor giveaway which has a few days left. So please, go meet Dawn…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Getting New Things

Today is one of those interesting days where I can look back at the month and be really grateful for all that life has given me. I know I’ve mentioned looking for a new home and trying to get more writing done before. Well…this month…I made both a reality.

We have been blessed enough to have the ability to have two homes and it’s lucky too since my dear husband will be working in both these places. Both homes are rather modest in size and what they have but the fact that one is in Nevada where it’s hotter than hades right now versus the more temperate climate of New Mexico at 7300 feet, makes me jump for joy. Trust me, mountains are the way to go.

It couldn’t come at a better time as I’ve recently discovered, if I get too hot, I just might pass out. Frankly, I think that comes with the territory of getting older…which is another thing that I did this month…and on summer solstice too. It was 115 degrees here that day and boy, I just couldn’t wait to be gone from this summer heat. It’s really sad to realize your childhood home isn’t good for you anymore. But we just might want this place to escape a cold winter in New Mexico, so we’re holding on to it.

The new house will be more of a project as we’re turning a duplex, that had been a single family home at one time, back into that single family home. I have some great plans for it and once my DH heard about them, he was amazed what I felt we could do with the place. Think master bedroom retreat and you’ll get the picture.

Front of HouseWith 2000 new workers coming into the New Mexico area we’re moving to and only 144 homes on the market when we were looking, our choices were limited. We lost our first choice in a bidding war to find the one we learned we were approved for just last week. What is awesome, it’s the same floor plan as the other home but we have to add a driveway and a garage.

Not a small feat but something that we know is doable. And the home ended up cheaper, with more updated items and a seller that was willing to realize his baby needed work. Unlike the home where the owner tried to convince those bidding for it that none of the inspection fixes really needed to be completed. Here’s the house in it’s present state. We’re making a front porch by connecting the two small ones and will be stuccoing the home with the flat type normally found in northern New Mexico for a more farm-style look.

LetterboxLoveStories400x600And as if a house wasn’t enough, I have a new story that just hit the pre-order stage on Friday. I am really excited about the story, Sealed With A Kiss, as it represents a few things for me. First, there’s the fact that this is the first new story I’ve had out there in 3 years. Second, it’s in a genre I totally love and that’s time travel. To find out more about this wonderful anthology that I’m a part of, just click the picture to be taken to the Amazon page. What’s even more exciting…it’s on pre-order sale of just $0.99…but that’s not going to last long with the price going up to $2.99 on July 11.

What exciting things have happened in your life this month? Read any new books? Write any new ones? I’d love to hear all about your adventures…see you next time!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

Guest Post — AE Jones is back!

We are delighted to welcome paranormal romance author AE Jones back to Through Heart Shaped Glasses. AE’s long awaited fifth installment to the Mind Sweeper series comes out next week! Today she talks about one of her inspirations.

How This TV Addict Became a Writer

I am often asked what influences my writing. A great question even if my answer might be a bit of a surprise. I do have a degree in English and I love all kinds of literature, but in all honesty, television is one of the major influences of my becoming a writer. Growing up, I was a TV junkie. You name it and I watched it. And when I didn’t like the way a show was written, I imagined a different ending. Actually wrote it out, so to speak, in my head. And that was the beginning of my ‘writing’. It wasn’t until years later that I started to create my own stories. Even now when I write my scenes, I see them in my head acted out like a TV show.

Where did my love of paranormal and urban fantasy and my decision to write in these genres stem from? That started with sci-fi shows which then morphed over the years into vamps and demons when director/producer Joss Whedon set the stage. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. Shows that were funny one second and dripping with emotion the next. And the humor was smart-funny and so ridiculously sarcastic that it made you laugh out loud.

Where did my love of humor, sarcasm, and angst and applying it to my stories start? See paragraph above re: Joss Whedon.

But one of the biggest influences of television on my writing is that I write series books. TV shows allow you to spend time with the characters who have become your friends and get to know them along the way. It’s not a snapshot in time. A perfect 90 minute rom-com where the hero runs through the airport to find the heroine after realizing (finally) that they are meant to be together. Well, this could happen in one of my stories, but I would have to add fangs and fur and, more importantly, these characters would be seen again in other books in my series. Just as I sat transfixed watching a show and wondering what would happen the next episode or next season (daggone cliffhangers), I write my books in a way that allows me to explore the character not only in one book, but over multiple books.

In my Mind Sweeper series I follow the life of Kyle McKinley, a woman who has the ability to manipulate memories. And that’s a great power to have when you work with supernatural to hide who and what they are from humans. For me, series books allow for the exploration of all kinds of relationships. Not just between the hero and heroine, but between the secondary characters as well. And not all of the interactions are successful or happy. They can often be painful. But the point is to allow the characters to grow, whether over one book or several.

On September 21st, Sentinel Lost, the fifth book in my Mind Sweeper Series, will be released. And in it, Kyle continues to grow and change as do the characters around her. And because I’m writing a series, I am able to delve into my other character lives as well. They want their stories told. And I will oblige them. Ultimately what makes a good book or a good TV show is characters facing conflict. They might not come out unscathed, but readers (or the audience) aren’t looking for perfection. They’re wanting to see these characters, who have become their friends, rise above it in the end.

So television has played a large role in my life as a writer, and I’m proud to admit it!

Sentinel Lost
(Book 5 in the Award Winning Mind Sweeper Series)

How many supernaturals does it take to screw in a lightbulb? For this particular case, way more than Kyle McKinley has backing her up.

When she stumbles upon a dark museum, missing artwork, and a dead security guard, Kyle and her team are thrust into a new mystery. One involving demons. But not your run of the mill demons—realm demons. Tougher, scarier, and banned from earth, they are escaping from the realm and wreaking havoc in Cleveland, Ohio, of all places.

Now the Feds have shown up, and Kyle has to deal with the one person she prayed she would never see again. Dalton. How can she keep the truth of their past from him without jeopardizing the case? Especially when the Key of Knowledge is part of the mystery. The same Key that almost cost Dalton his sanity and is now threatening hers. Kyle is just starting to get her life back together again with Griffin at her side. And now the Fates are forcing her to choose. But when a demon apocalypse looms on the horizon, her only choice is to embrace the Key to save the world, regardless of what it might cost her.

********************

AE JonesGrowing up a TV junkie, AE Jones oftentimes rewrote endings of episodes in her head when she didn’t like the outcome. She immersed herself in sci-fi and soap operas. But when Buffy hit the little screen, she knew her true love was paranormal. Now she spends her nights weaving stories about all variation of supernatural—their angst and their humor. After all, life is about both…whether you sport fangs or not.

AE won RWA’s 2013 Golden Heart ® Award for her paranormal manuscript, Mind Sweeper. Mind Sweeper was also a 2015 RWA RITA® finalist for both First Book and Paranormal Romance.

AE lives in Ohio surrounded by her eclectic family and friends who in no way resemble any characters in her books. Honest. Now her two cats are another story altogether.

Find AE at:
Website: www.aejonesauthor.com
Twitter: @aejonesauthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aejones.author1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8190719.A_E_Jones

Find AE’s books here:
Amazon
Kobo
Apple

About Marin McGinnis

About Marin McGinnis Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. When she’s not chasing after big dogs or watching tweens skate around hockey rinks, she is immersing herself in Victorian era romance. She lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, son, and two standard poodles named Larry and Sneaky Pete. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.