Archive for August, 2017

RomanceAwarenessMonth1

 

Just a few weeks ago, I was happily surprised to find that August is Romance Awareness Month! I can’t find an origin, but it’s a real thing, and I’m ALL FOR IT!

To celebrate, I sent an *all call* to some of my favorite romance authors, asking each of them the same questions about romance (their own, their favorites, and their characters). All month long we’ll be sharing the authors’ answers, and EVERY ONE OF THEM is offering a giveaway!

 

Today’s author just had a brand new website overhaul, in advance of two brand new series coming soon! Whether you’re in the mood for thrilling romantic suspense, or paranormal shifter romance, Kait Ballenger will deliver!

With the success of her paranormal Execution Underground series as a jumping off point, Kait has plans for a new shifter series next summer…

As well as a romantic suspense series…

I, for one, am super excited to all of these new goodies hit the shelves!!

 

RomanceQ&A

What is your simple definition of “romance”?

A relationship where love blossoms and grows, usually ending with a happily-ever-after.

What is the most romantic thing someone’s done for you?

After I sold my first book series, my husband and I went backpacking through Europe. We were newlyweds at the time and our one year anniversary was only a month away. He surprised me with an early anniversary celebration when we were in Paris. He took me on a Michelin star dinner cruise down the Seine, and then we went up the Eiffel Tower to see the city at night. It was February and it was one of the rare and few occasions that it actually snows in Paris. I remember walking down the streets of Paris at night, the Eiffel Tower in the distance and sparkling snow falling all around us. Someday I’ll put it in a novel. My husband is a real life romance hero.

Do you have any “romance mishaps” you can share?

I can’t think of any personal romance mishaps, so I’ll share a career one…One time my editor misread one of the sentences in my sex scenes. When I read her comment, I was totally confused by what she was talking about. When I called her and asked, we realized that she had missed a key word in the sentence as she was reading. But the way she had read the sentence, the hero was essentially just shoving his junk in the heroine’s face mid sex-scene for no reason LMAO. We had a good laugh about that. Not how I’d intended that sentence at all haha…

If your own romance was a novel, the title would be…

Currently, it would be “And Baby Makes Three” lol. We have a two year old.

What is the most romantic thing one of your characters has done for their love interest? 

I don’t know if I could choose just one, so I’ll go with my upcoming release. The hero of the first book in my new series, The Seven Range Shifters (Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2018), risks his life to save the heroine’s, even though she’s a total stranger. I think that’s pretty romantic.

Do you have a favorite romance trope? (Either to read, or write.) If so, which one?

Enemies to Lovers is by far my favorite. I love to write that one. It’s my most frequent. I also love when the heroine falls in love with her older brother’s best friend; that’s another favorite. Best friends to lovers is also a great one.

Who is your favorite (aside from one of your own) fictional romantic couple?

Currently, I’m reading Sarah McClean’s “The Rogue Not Taken” and I can’t put it down, so that’s my favorite at the moment. Though I’m always a sucker for Jamie and Claire from the Outlander series.

 

RomanceGiveaway

Today, Kait is offering up a signed copy of MIDNIGHT HUNTER to one of you lucky readers!! (US only this time). To enter, comment below with which YOU prefer, paranormal romance, or romantic suspense. One winner will be selected, at random, from all entries posted by August 15th, and notified by email. Full winners list will be posted on September 1st.

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Dee Davis Q&A and Giveaway: Romance Awareness Month

Posted August 7, 2017 By Jennifer

RomanceAwarenessMonth1

 

Just a few weeks ago, I was happily surprised to find that August is Romance Awareness Month! I can’t find an origin, but it’s a real thing, and I’m ALL FOR IT!

To celebrate, I sent an *all call* to some of my favorite romance authors, asking each of them the same questions about romance (their own, their favorites, and their characters). All month long we’ll be sharing the authors’ answers, and EVERY ONE OF THEM is offering a giveaway!

 

 

In today’s post, we welcome bestselling romantic suspense author Dee Davis!

Dee is celebrating the recent release of the first book in her new Triad series, FADE TO GRAY.

 

Nothing is ever black and white…

When Emily Masterson wakes up in a strange bed with a dead man, she does the only thing she can think to do.  She calls the one man who can help her.  A man who betrayed her years ago—the only man she’s ever loved.

Gideon Sloan might be in the business of helping people, he just never thought one of them would be Emily.  After using all his resources to help her, he swears never to see her again, but a second attempt on her life leaves him racing against a clock to keep her alive.

Even as the killer circles closer, passion reignites, but secrets from the past threaten to destroy their fragile truce.  Only together can they find answers and—if they survive—a second chance at love.

 

 

RomanceQ&A

What is your simple definition of “romance”?

A look, a touch, a spark, a sigh. Souls forged in a fire of passion and commitment.

What is the most romantic thing someone’s done for you?

When we were moving to Vienna, we sold a lot of our things in a garage sale (tag sale for your northeasterners). One of the items I sold was an old mixer (the kind with two white ceramic bowls that spin) that belonged to my grandmother. We had a new Kitchen Aide and so I decided that I didn’t have room in the shipping boxes for two mixers. It sold the very first day. and I was heartbroken, but certain I’d done the right thing. Fast forward five years, and I’m back in the US, my grandmother has died and I am lamenting the fact that I let the mixer go. It represented so much of my grandmother to me. That Christmas I opened a very large present from my husband only to find my mixer. Not a replacement but my grandmother’s actual mixer right down to the electrician’s tape on the cord. He knew that some day I’d regret giving it up. And so he took it off the table that first day–then waited until the right time to give it back to me. And here I sit twenty years later…and the mixer is sitting on the counter right next to the Kitchen Aide.

Do you have any “romance mishaps” you can share?

When I was in 10th grade, there was a guy in my neighborhood that I really liked. Once Saturday he knocked on the door. My dad answered. My six-foot two, linebacker looking dad. And when the guy asked if I was home. Daddy (who was actually quite shy) panicked and told him I wasn’t home-and wouldn’t be anytime soon. I was upstairs reading…and he knew it. The guy never made any further attempt to see me. Thanks Daddy.

If your own romance was a novel, the title would be…

Wherever You Lead…

What is the most romantic thing one of your characters has done for their love interest? 

Travel 500 years through time.

Do you have a favorite romance trope? (Either to read, or write.) If so, which one?

I have a thing for arrogant dukes and feisty heroines who take them on. (Pride and Prejudice anyone?)

Who is your favorite (aside from one of your own) fictional romantic couple?

Darcy and Elizabeth. Although Emma and Knightly are really a close second.

 

RomanceGiveaway

Dee has quite a few different series for readers to enjoy, ranging from funny contemporaries, to time travel, to the romantic thrillers she’s known for. If you’re new to her writing, or if you’ve not started her Liar’s Game series yet, you’re in for a treat! Today’s giveaway is one digital copy of EYE OF THE STORM, the first book in the series. To enter, comment below with your favorite romantic trope to read. One winner will be selected, at random, from all entries posted by August 15th, and notified by email. Full winners list will be posted on September 1st.

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Many of you are heading out to see the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower this weekend. Many more of you have read the books the movie is based on. Today we get to chat with the man responsible for bringing new life to the book covers, and impacting the visual for the next wave of readers for this series.

Tony Mauro is an artist who has been working in the movie poster and book cover illustration world since the early 1990’s. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’d bet a quarter you’ve got one or more books with his designs on your bookshelf! (He’s done over 350 for authors including Nalini Singh, Yasmine Galenorn, Delilah S Dawson, Jennifer Estep, Keri Arthur, Jamie McGuire, Kelley Armstrong, Jack McDevitt, Wilbur Smith, James Wesley Rawles, John Connolly, James Rollins, and many more.)  You can check out a bit of his cover art gallery, here.

I’m a MASSIVE fantasy art fan, and am especially drawn to the artwork that supports the books I love. I have quite the collection of cover design prints, to which Tony has contributed heavily. I’m thrilled to get the chance to talk to him about his art, and in this case, the recent re-cover project for the Stephen King catalog.

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1) Your portfolio contains hundreds of illustrations, covering every genre and media format available. Do you still get “excited” about particular pieces? Not just happy to do them, but actually EXCITED about a particular job?

 

I learned a long time ago that every project is only what you make of it and its up to you as an artist to find something about every project to get excited about.  That being said…when I got the call to do the trade paperback edition of Under the Dome by Stephen King I was REALLY excited. That was the first King cover I got the call for and was largely the reason why so many others followed.
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2) Are there any kinds of projects you *haven’t* worked on, that you’d like to? Murals on public buildings? Paint the nose of an airplane? Anything?

 

I am absolutely obsessed with automobiles. New and old and I would really love to do some work for the automotive industry. I couldn’t think of a better job than being able to combine my two greatest passions. I keep thinking how sweet it would be to establish a working relationship with an exotic car manufacturer with some kind of barter situation or even just be able to get an employee discount LOL.

 

3) Do you create artwork for yourself? Just spend an afternoon goofing around and come up with something cool to hang in your hallway? If you do, who’s work would it be hanging *next* to? Who are some of YOUR favorite artists?

 

I do actually and it’s funny that you worded the question this way because the last thing I did for myself is literally hanging in the hallway outside of my office. As far as what’s next to it, I have a fine art piece by Craig Elliott hanging in the same hallway and Brom’s work hangs in my office. I did a lot more for myself when I was putting out my When Darkness Falls wall calendars for Tide-Mark press. Those ran for 10 years and always gave me an excuse to keep creating new images. Unfortunately 2016 was the last year of the calendar so i don’t really have a home for those personal projects anymore beside my website. I may sign up with another publisher in the future but my commercial work keeps me pretty busy so I can’t say I totally miss it. It was stressful having to create 12 images a year outside of my regular workload.

 

I draw inspiration from lots of different people but if I had to pick a favorite it would have to be Brom. In addition to being a phenomenal illustrator he’s also an excellent designer and surprisingly enough those two things don’t always go hand in hand. I often look to his work for inspiration and can always appreciate the way that he constructs an image. The other illustrator that was an exceptional designer and a master at leading your eye around an image was Norman Rockwell. I have a growing interest in doing some teaching and I know I could do at least a full day on Norman Rockwell and some of the design techniques he used.

 

4) Is there any book (aside from the Stephen King titles, and we’ll get to those in just a second) that you love, that you would like the chance to re-cover? Any favorite book that you wish someone would ask you to work on? (I asked Dan Dos Santos this, and his answer was Frank Herbert’s DUNE.)

 

My favorite author is James Patterson, I would absolutely LOVE the opportunity to work on his Alex Cross series of books. I’ve read every one of them and really think I could knock that out of the park. It is possible to be too close to something though so as much as I’d love to do it I know I’d be really stressed over it at the same time. lol

 

Re: The Stephen King re-covers

 

5) HOLY FANTASTIC JOB OPPORTUNITY, BATMAN! How in the world did this project come about, and did you make the *squee* sound out loud? (You can tell us, we’re all friends here.) Have you read any of the books? (Full disclosure, I have not… his stories are a bit too creepy for me. But I’m seriously impressed by his storytelling, based on friends’ reactions.)

 

LOL, YES!!! It was a fantastic opportunity and although I may not have let out an audible squeal I was definitely excited about it! As I mentioned earlier I did the Under the Dome Trade paperback a couple years ago and that was my first Stephen King cover. By the time the rebrand came about I had already done 4 or 5 other King titles and they were going over well with the King camp so they called me to take on the rebrand. Although a did a large majority of the titles in the rebrand I should mention that there was at least one other artist working on the list at the same time. There were simply too many titles to be done in a relatively short amount of time.

 

I have read a bunch of the books as well as seen all of the movies. There are a few books in there that I haven’t read but there was enough information out there for me to go off of.

 

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6) Were you given some kind of direction from Simon & Schuster about what they expected, or did you come up with the concepts for each one on your own? Did you approach each as an individual, or try to create an overall feel to the catalog?

 

I received more direction on some titles over others. There were so many on the list that we tried to discuss where I was going to do with each one on the phone first to avoid too much back and forth. That approach worked out really well it certainly helps that I’ve been working with S&S long enough that they really know what to expect from me.

 

Each book was treated as an individual book because we knew they’d all get the same Stephen King header which would make it very clear that they were all part of the same rebrand.

 

7) With the Dark Towers movie being released, more people (if possible) are being introduced to Stephen’s stories, and that series in particular. Did you feel any added pressure, knowing that your artwork was going to be the first impression many would have of this story? Did you feel an obligation to keep parts of the original cover designs, as a nod to the existing fans of the series?

 

It’s always a little tricky when working on a project that is SOO well known. I certainly tried to retain elements from the previous artwork that’s out there and believe me…there’s a lot of artwork out there on this series. At the end of the day any re-brand’s purpose is always to introduce the story to new audiences, so luckily I didn’t have to worry too much about what had been done before. But it would be foolish to ignore it as well.

 

8) This project was a HUGE undertaking. Knowing that you generally work on multiple commissions at a time, were you able to work on other art during this, or was all of your time dedicated to the re-covers? 

 

I was able to make time for other projects and am really happy that I did because as an artist it’s always good to get away from what you’re working on and do something different just to keep things fresh. In the beginning of the process I had a list of around 10 King books that needed to be done in a relatively short period of time so during that time I was pretty exclusive to the rebrand. After that initial push the remaining covers came in at a slower pace and were spaced out over the next year or so. It’s very rare that I’m not working on multiple titles at a time and I learned to juggle a lot of projects when I was working in the movie business. That’s also where I learned that I do my best work under pressure. Too much time on any project can be a de-motivator. (is that a word? lol)

 

9) These covers are DEFINITELY works of art. If fans want to take a bit home, are you selling prints of the covers in your online store?

 

Funny you should ask…I actually just teamed up with Suntup Press to offer limited edition signed fine art prints of the Dark Tower murals. I’m very excited about that partnership, they are creating really beautiful prints over there. Here’s a link to their blog post from August 1st when they announced the prints being available for pre-order. The Dark Tower murals are only available through Suntup but if anyone was interested in any other prints they can always email me for pricing at tmauro@earthlink.net

 

DarkTower_TM

 

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10) So, what’s next? What should we be on the look-out for?

 

What’s next?? That’s always a great question when speaking to a freelancer LOL. The exciting thing about my job is I never really know what’s coming next. I’m always looking forward to what the future will bring and what projects may cross my path. I’ve got several books on my plate right now as well as some pretty interesting private commissions that I’m excited about.

 

firbornRedQueenShadowofGods_7TM.

 

I’d like to thank Tony for taking time away from his work to chat with us a bit. If you’d like to check out our first interview with him, click here.
So… what do you think of the new Stephen King covers? Are you planning to see The Dark Tower or It in the theatre? Are you a cover art fanatic like me? Do you have a favorite designer/artist?
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RomanceAwarenessMonth1Just a few weeks ago, I was happily surprised to find that August is Romance Awareness Month! I can’t find an origin, but it’s a real thing, and I’m ALL FOR IT!

To celebrate, I sent an *all call* to some of my favorite romance authors, asking each of them the same questions about romance (their own, their favorites, and their characters). All month long we’ll be sharing the authors’ answers, and EVERY ONE OF THEM is offering a giveaway!

 

Ashley Gardner has established herself in the historic mystery / romance world, but her “alter egos” have done pretty well, themselves. You may recognize her as Jennifer Ashley and/or Allyson James!

 

The newest in Ashley’s mystery world is a novella that starts a new series, full of gladiators, set in ancient Rome.

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Blood Debts

Book 1: Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries

Leonidas, freedman, once the most popular gladiator in Rome and champion of the games, now must fight for his life outside the arena. A man who owed him money was murdered, and Leonidas is a prime suspect.

With the formidable assistance of Cassia, daughter of a Greek scribe who was bestowed upon him as his slave, Leonidas fights for justice in the back lanes of Imperial Rome.

Cassia has no idea how to cook and clean or mend and weave, but she is very good at finding things out and writing things down, able to work through a dozen mathematical problems by the time most people can think of a sentence. Knowing both intuitively and empirically that Leonidas is innocent of the murder, she resolves to help clear him of the crime.

It’s the least she can do for a man who has proved to be far less brutal than his reputation and who protects all who come within his sphere.

And if Leonidas loses, he faces a short, painful future back in the amphitheatre, this time without hope of survival.

RomanceQ&A

What is your simple definition of “romance”?

Happy Ever After–A very satisfying one

What is the most romantic thing someone’s done for you?

My husband leaves cards around the house where I’ll stumble across them–he never says a word, just lets me find them. For birthday, Christmas, anniversary, or Just Because.

Do you have any “romance mishaps” you can share?

Does thirty years of marriage count?

If your own romance was a novel, the title would be…

Two Clumsy, Geeky Booklovers Fell In Love …

What is the most romantic thing one of your characters has done for their love interest? 

In my very first novel, the naval officer stickler-for-the-rules hero abandoned his assignment and turned his ship around to go after the heroine, who had caused him nothing but trouble up to that point. But he refused to go on without her.

Do you have a favorite romance trope? (Either to read, or write.) If so, which one?

Fish out of water (hero or heroine must adapt to totally new setting / time / life situation with the help of the heroine / hero).

Who is your favorite (aside from one of your own) fictional romantic couple?

Remington Steele and Laura Holt

RomanceGiveaway

With a wide variety of romances to choose from, this giveaway might prove hard for it’s winner! Ashley is offering a lucky reader their choice of one title from any of her series. This might also be a good time to start her Mackenzies & McBrides series (as Jennifer Ashley), if you haven’t, since book nine, ALEC MACKENZIE’S ART OF SEDUCTION will be out in November! Be sure to comment with the book you’d like to win, and one of you will be selected, at random, from all entries posted by August 31st, and notified by email. Full winners list will be posted on September 1st.

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RomanceAwarenessMonth1Just a few weeks ago, I was happily surprised to find that August is Romance Awareness Month! I can’t find an origin, but it’s a real thing, and I’m ALL FOR IT!

To celebrate, I sent an *all call* to some of my favorite romance authors, asking each of them the same questions about romance (their own, their favorites, and their characters). All month long we’ll be sharing the authors’ answers, and EVERY ONE OF THEM is offering a giveaway!

If you love shifter romances, you’re going to be thrilled with today’s author, Terry Spear!

August 1st was the release date for Terry’s newest in her SEAL Wolf series, SEAL WOLF UNDERCOVER, (book 5). In addition to her wolf books, you can find cougars, jaguars, bears, and even a few non-shifting highlanders!

sealwolfundercover_select

No wolf is safe in USA Today bestseller Terry Spear’s new installment of the SEAL Wolf series.

Never be so foolish as to fall for the enemy…
Special wolf agent Jillian Matthews has joined the jaguar-run United Shifter Force to track down a deadly criminal. She’s even willing to work with PI Vaughn Greystroke—until the hot, growly SEAL wolf makes the mistake of getting in her way. Naturally, she shoots him. Who could blame her?

Vaughn Greystroke has always worked alone. But when a string of attempted murders puts him in the crosshairs, teaming up with the Shifter Force begins to sound like a good idea. Even if he has to work with alluring—and potentially treacherous—Jillian Matthews. Vaughn is a trained SEAL, after all. He can surely keep his distance from Jillian…no matter how much she’s getting under his skin.

 

RomanceQ&A

What is your simple definition of “romance”?

Enjoying another person’s company through love, laughter, and loyalty.

What is the most romantic thing someone’s done for you?

Taken me to Hawaii to enjoy the tropical paradise.

Do you have any “romance mishaps” you can share?

On our pre-honeymoon, we were married, but didn’t have time to take off from work to go to Hawaii, so we went on a ski vacation. I had a mixed drink at the ski resort, but the sugar was bad, and I was sooooo sick. My husband had finished off my drink, and we were both sicker than dogs– on our wedding night. lol

What is the most romantic thing one of your characters has done for their love interest? 

In Savage Hunger, the heroine has been sick with some kind of jungle fever, and he carries her to a waterfall and underneath it, he washes her, but he’s also trying to determine if she’s been turned by his sister. They are jaguar shifters. But it’s very sexy, jungle-like, cat-like.

Do you have a favorite romance trope? (Either to read, or write.) If so, which one?

I love when a hero or heroine has amnesia. In To Tempt the Wolf, the hero is a wolf, the heroine isn’t. And when he’s trying to rescue his sister, he’s knocked off a cliff over the Pacific Ocean, and ends up on the beach, no longer a wolf, but a naked man, and it’s winter, where the heroine has her own cabin. She is in danger. He doesn’t remember who he is, but instinctively, he’s there to protect her at all costs.

Who is your favorite (aside from one of your own) fictional romantic couple?

The characters from The Princess Bride.

RomanceGiveaway

As I mentioned, Terry’s got a whole menagerie of shifters for readers to enjoy. As a gift to one of you, she’s offering an ebook copy of COUGAR’S MATE, the first book in her Heart of the Cougar series. To enter… what is one kind of shifter you HAVEN’T seen in any romance series? Do you think it would work well? Would you read a story with that kind of shifter? One winner will be selected, at random, from all entries posted by August 15th, and notified by email. Full winners list will be posted on September 1st.

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