RWA 2014: Literacy Signing

The Romance Writers of America’s 2014 National convention took over the Riverwalk this past weekend in San Antonio. RWA brings together a great gathering of romance authors from all over the country–and the world–where we recharge our creative batteries while meeting and talking shop with other authors.

IMG_0233I’m local, so I didn’t have to comply with those pesky airline regulations to keep two bags under fifty pounds. Instead, I got seriously nostalgic for the golden age of travel while trying to pack most of my clothes and all of my shoes.  A steamer trunk or two would have come in handy.  But I did manage to keep it to one suitcase. And a hanging bag. And a roll-around carry-on bag. And a shopping bag of gluten-free goodies.

The big event of the conference, the RWA “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing, took place Wednesday evening. Readers lined up hours before the doors opened for the chance to meet their favorite authors and to bid on fabulous baskets in the silent auction. Over 450 romance authors signed their books.  Proceeds exceeding $53,000 were donated to ProLiteracy Worldwide, Literacy Texas, Restore Education, and Each One Teach One San Antonio.

The Literacy signing was crowded and crazy, but so much fun! If you were there, thanks for coming out.  If not, see you next year in New York City!


 

Boxed Set News and Cover Reveal!

On July 17, Highland Healer is coming out in a boxed set with three other Scottish romances from the Wild Rose Press! You’ll get four great books at one great price!

A HIGHLANDER’S DESTINY

Strength, Love and Courage

This digital boxed edition contains 4 complete novels.

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Highland Healer

Willa Blair

He needs her for his clan. He wants her for himself. Can he have both?

Toran Lathan never expected to become Laird, and never expected to meet a woman like Aileanna Shaw. Her healing ability is just what his people need, but Toran cannot resist her beauty. Yet will loving him destroy her ability to heal?

Aileanna Shaw has a healing touch–and a special talent she must keep secret. Stolen from her home by a marauding army, she’s kidnapped again by the Highland Laird she heals. Is she a prize of war, or the prize of his heart?

While Toran battles the invading lowland army, he also battles his desire for Aileanna. And Aileanna must decide if she can trust her secrets to this fierce warrior who needs her talent, but wants her love.

Beyond a Highland Whisper

Maeve Greyson

The last time Latharn MacKay walked among his kinsman was in Scotland of 1410. Sensuous and charismatic, all the women wanted him, but none could capture his heart. Latharn’s charm became his curse when a dark sorceress didn’t take rejection well. She snared his soul into a crystal globe until the one woman destined to be his love whispered his release. Now all Latharn has to do is find her and guide her to him without speaking a word.

One of the youngest archeologists in St. Louis of 2010, Nessa credits one thing for this achievement: the recurring dream of a heart-stopping Highlander since the summer she turned eighteen years old. Little does she know, he’s not some fantasy cooked up by her subconscious. He’s a trapped soul determined for Nessa to end his six centuries in hell. Can love prevail over the dark magic of a woman scorned?

Into The Scottish Mist

Beth Anne Miller

Abby Sanders returns to her beloved Scotland after a long absence, seeking peace after a terrible tragedy. A chance detour reunites her with Ian Mackenzie, the love she left behind four years ago. Their attempt to rekindle their romance along the shore of Loch Ness is cut short when Abby vanishes.

After a desperate search for the woman he’s spent four years trying to forget, Ian is forced to believe the unbelievable: he must travel through the mists of time to find Abby. But finding her is just the beginning. Trapped four hundred years in the past, Abby and Ian must find a way to end a bitter clan feud or sacrifice their return to the present and their future together.

Immortal Justice

Faith V. Smith

Over a millennium ago, Highlander Darach MacRath was murdered. Resurrected by the Archangel Michael to fight demons as an Immortal Executioner, Darach now opposes all evil in the mortal world. His life is solitary—but when he rescues a young woman who not only sees demons but battles them herself, he is captivated by her courage and beauty.

Abigail Dupree is not looking for love. But when a tall, dark demon fighter with a sexy brogue intervenes in her hunt, she’s fascinated. She should run away—but then his gentle yet sizzling touch ensnares her heart.

When a demon from Darach’s past sets his sights on Abby, Darach will do anything to protect her—but for Abby, losing him would be worse than death. Together they must fight the demons of past and present, and the possibility that evil could destroy them both, before they find the gift of love.

Rating: Spicy
Page Count: 1362
Word Count: 361988

On sale from The Wild Rose Press.  Get your copy today!

And while you’re at it, check out the Scottish romance boxed set that came out last week:  A Highlander’s Legacy – Fiercely Loyal, Passionate and Powerful.

HIGHLAND SEER Wins RONE Awards Honorable Mention

What a lovely surprise! At the InD’Tale Magazine RONE Awards on Friday, 11 July, HIGHLAND SEER was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Historical Medieval category!

I’m thrilled for HIGHLAND SEER to get this recognition! If you haven’t read it yet, it’s available in ebook, print and audiobook formats from your favorite retailer!

Highland Seer Audiobook Release Day!

Today is the release day for Highland Seer (Highland Talents Book 2) on audiobook!  Yes, you have another Scottish romance, filled with those sexy rolling r’s that glide across your skin and make your ears happy!

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Donal MacNabb is loyal to his adopted Lathan clan, yet he resents being a pawn in their treaty negotiations with the struggling MacKyries. The MacKyrie clan needs his skills as an arms master, but its Laird is bartering for more than Donal is prepared to give.

Ellie MacKyrie knows the Lathan treaty will help protect her clan from the neighbor determined to seize her holdings any way he can—including forcing her into marriage. But she has another reason to want the Lathan alliance. She has Seen the stubborn Donal MacNabb reaching for her in her dreams.

While Donal fights to save a clan in trouble, his desire for the MacKyrie Seer wars with his obligation to his Laird. Before she is forced into a marriage that will destroy her clan, Ellie must find the heart behind Donal’s gruff exterior and convince him he is the man of her dreams.

Get your copy of this 2014 Readers Crown and RONE Award finalist and from Amazon, Tantor Media or audible.com today!

Narrated by Derek Perkins

Cover Reveal! Kissing the Highlander

I can now share with you the cover for Kissing the Highlander, the anthology I’m doing with best-selling authors Terry Spear, Eliza Knight, Vonda Sinclair and Victoria Roberts.

Kissing the Highlander will be out on Valentine’s Day 2015.  In the meantime, you can enjoy the cover!  We’ll post some hints now and again about the novellas it contains.  We’ll also have a Facebook group where you can keep up with developments.  Check back here for details!

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Isn’t it fabulous!  Designed by Vonda Sinclair, a wizard with cover art as well as a great author and fabulous person.

Worldwide Release Day for The Healer’s Gift!

Prepare to party!  Today is the Worldwide Release Day for

The Healer’s Gift (a Highland Talents Novella)!

It is, or soon will be, available at all your favorite retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, KOBO, AllRomanceEBooks, and others. To celebrate, I’m doing a little party from 6-8pm CDT on Facebook, and you’re welcome to drop in, say hi and maybe even win something!  In fact, if you leave a comment here, when you join the party, you’ll get an extra chance at winning a prize.

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What Do You Call 100 Men in Kilts?

What do you call a hundred men in kilts?  A Pinehurst Scottish Bagpipe Tattoo!  Four groups of pipers of both genders from all over North Carolina, along with drummers, dancers, and a very Scottish drum major, brought a bit of the Highlands to the Sandhills last week to celebrate Pinehurst #2 hosting both the men’s and women’s golf US Opens.

They marched into the Pinehurst village green from different directions to the stirring sound of Scotland the Brave, which brought everyone to their feet. By the time the last notes of Amazing Grace died away at the end of the program, there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen.

The Moon in June

969799_574156059282858_1066414219_nCan you believe it’s June already?  I certainly can’t.  But since we’re here, let’s talk about it for a moment.

Besides school letting out for the summer (if it hasn’t already) and trips to the pool or the beach, June is the traditional month for weddings.  It’s also the last place where the word troth is in common usage – as in plighting your troth in wedding vows.  An archaic form of the word truth and the root of the word betrothed, now it’s in the working title of my next book, Highland Troth.  

Jamie Lathan is a favorite secondary character from my earlier books.  My readers love him and wanted him to get his own book.  So did I.  Highland Troth is Jamie’s story!  And yes, there’s a wedding.  So it’s all good.

 Jamie Lathan and fosterling Caitrin Fletcher were close as children, but after tragedy struck Jamie’s family, she was sent home. He never expected to see her again.  He certainly never imagined he’d be called upon to escort her to be betrothed to another man.

Caitrin can always tell when someone lies, but she’s learned to hide her talent. Jamie hides a long-buried fury behind his affable demeanor.

When their attraction reignites, Caitrin must choose between her father’s plans for her marriage-of-alliance with a man her talent tells her is not what he seems, and Jamie, the lad she’s loved for years.  He must find an honorable way to ensure Caitrin’s future, even if it means sacrificing his own.

I shared an excerpt in my last newsletter.  What?  You didn’t get my newsletter?  Here’s the Link to Join so you’ll get the next one.  Or click on that pretty blue envelope up near the top righthand corner of any page on my website.  There’s no telling what I’ll share next month, but you can’t be the first to know if you don’t subscribe.

Highland Troth is going to my editor later this week.  I’m hoping to have it in your hands before the end of the year.

In the meantime, I’ll take pity on those of you who missed the excerpt and share it.  Here’s it is!  

“Dinna think to wander away.”

Jamie was suddenly beside her the moment Caitrin took two steps downhill. Without slowing, she told him, “I’ll no’ go far, but I wish to refresh myself in the stream we crossed.”

“Then I’ll go with ye.”

She stiffened, acutely aware of every sensation in her body as the numbness from hours in the saddle wore off. “Jamie Lathan, hear me well. I’m no fainting lass to be guarded night and day. I can find a clump of bushes and be back before ye ken I’ve gone. Besides, from here ye can be at the stream in moments, should I scream.”

Jamie appeared to be counting under his breath. Caitrin hid her delight at having aggravated him. She figured she owed him six years worth.

Finally, he pasted a patient smile on his face. “I ken ye’re a canny lass, I do. But I also ken what would happen were I to lose ye or see ye harmed on the way to yer betrothed. So I will go with ye…”

“Jamie,” Caitrin interrupted, but he gave her no chance to finish.

“I’ll keep a proper distance, but I will be closer at hand than the top of this hill. Now go.”

Caitrin frowned but turned and made her way down toward the stream. Jamie’s expression had been pleasant enough, but she knew his iron will, and he had the right of it. Too much was at stake, now her father had involved the Lathans. Were anything to happen to her, not only would her father fail to make the match he hoped would improve his clan’s circumstances, but Lathan honor would be impugned. Clan war was not out of the question.

As she walked, she collected deadfall twigs and small branches in her skirt. Jamie gathered larger branches in his left arm, leaving his right hand free. He did that, she knew, not just to pick up more wood, but, if need be, to wield the short sword on his belt.

On the mossy slope, her foot suddenly slid out from under her. She gasped and fought for balance as her gathered twigs went flying. The slope of the hill defeated her. But instead of landing flat on her back as she expected, Jamie’s hands scooped under her arms and lifted. Distantly, she heard the clatter of dropped branches as he pulled her back against his hard chest.

“Caitrin!”

The concern in his soft cry thrilled her. His heat against her back nearly scorched her through both their clothes. Her heart beat fast – from the near fall or from the touch of Jamie’s strong hands? The reason didn’t matter. This was a close as she’d been in years to the lad she’d never been able to forget. Her knees wanted to give way beneath her, but he held her securely as he shifted his hands to her waist. It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

“Have a care, lass. Ye willna wish to limp to the MacGregor.”

She sighed, closed her eyes and leaned her head back against Jamie’s shoulder, promising herself she’d only steal this moment with him. Even with his arms around her, his fingers splayed on her ribcage, he was intent on delivering her to another man. The affection that had existed between them as youths was not enough to make him risk both their clans by claiming her for himself.

Then he lifted one arm across her breasts to grip her shoulder, pulling her tighter against his chest. “Are ye well, Caitrin lass? Did ye twist yer ankle?”

She dared not answer. His breath warmed her cheek so she knew he’d canted his head to the left to peer at her face, likely seeking tears of pain, thinking her injured. She held herself still, soaking in the sensation of being in Jamie’s arms, if only for this moment. Finally, Caitrin shook her head and opened her eyes to the waning daylight and the end of her dreams. “Nay, Jamie. I’m well.”

RomCon 2014 Readers’ Crown Finalists!

8048ea2d28f90da4fa4ded1f585d5778-1.image.383x550 36841b084a7ba0f35d0f751223ddf148.image.383x550Two of my books, Highland Healer and Highland Seer are 2014 RomCon Readers’ Crown finalists in the Medieval category!  If you don’t have them already, here are two ways to get them: 

1. Place a Bid in Brenda Novak’s auction for Diabetes Research for a signed set of my books, including Highland Healer, 2014 RomCon Readers’ Crown Historical Finalist and Highland Seer, 2014 RomCon Readers’ Crown and InD’Tale Magazine RONEAward finalist (Historical Medieval), plus a signed copy of my latest release, The Healer’s Gift (a Highland Talents novella).  If you place the winning bid, you’ll not only get a great prize, but you’ll have the satisfaction of helping a worthy cause.  

2. Sign up for my newsletter for a chance to win a signed set of my books. And other prizes.  And goodies.  For instance, my May newsletter, coming out late this month, will include a never before seen excerpt from Highland Troth (Highland Talents Book 3) — exclusive for my newsletter subscribers!

Don’t wait another minute.  Place your bid and sign up now for your chances to win.  

Give Back…and Win!

We all love books, or we wouldn’t be here.  Guess what, you can do what you love and  help other people, too!  

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I believe in giving back in many ways, which is why I’m donating a set of my print books, signed, to Brenda Novak’s online Auction for Diabetes Research.  Find out more HERE about the annual auction and the fabulous goods and services being auctioned.

Authors, do you need fresh eyes on your manuscript?  Several authors are offering critiques.

Authors and Readers, there are books galore to bid on, and lots of other goodies, too.  Check it out.

Oh, and if you want to bid on a Signed set of my Print books, click HERE!

Just make sure you bid before the end of May!  Most items close at the end of this month.

 

Diana Cosby’s Readers Build a House of Love

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And while we’re talking about worthwhile causes, Diana Cosby has an ongoing effort to raise money to build a house for Habitat for Humanity.  USAToday’s HEA blog did a story about this last year. You can read it HERE.

If you want to donate, click HERE to donate via PayPal using the Donate link under the heading Diana Cosby’s Readers Build a House of Love in the upper left of the home page of Grayson County’s Habitat for Humanity website. You can also donate by mail (just mention Diana Cosby) :

Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County

901 N. Grand Avenue

P.O. Box 2725

Sherman, TX 75091

 

If you donate to either of these worthy causes, whether you win anything or not, I guarantee you’re going to have a great day!

 

HIGHLAND SEER is a RONE AWARD Finalist!

200x2014_RONE_Final_historical_medievalHighland Seer is a RONE Award finalist! I’m thrilled and grateful that so many of you voted for my book.

The finalists are now being read and judged by industry professionals.  

Winners will be announced on July 11th at the InD’Tale RONE Awards presentation at the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas.  

Thanks to each of you who voted.  Whether Highland Seer wins the RONE or not, your support has already made it a winner!

CONTEST!

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Would you like to win a signed copy of my new novella, The Healer’s Gift?  

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Then click HERE to enter my Goodreads Giveaway.  

I’ve got four print copies up for grabs (to US and Canada).  

Winners will be notified by Goodreads after the 24 May closing date for the contest. 

Good luck!

Newsletter subscribers, I’ll have another opportunity for you to win my books in my MAY Newsletter. What?  You’re not on my mailing list?  See that nice little newsletter envelope, surrounded by a lovely shade of blue, at the top of the page on the right?  Click there, or HERE, to subscribe. You don’t want to miss out on all the fun, now do you?

Z is for (in the) Zone

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays. Last year, my theme was Scotland. This year, my theme is The Writing Life. Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year. For instance:

keep-calm-and-get-in-the-zone-10Z is for (in the) Zone.  As writers, the Zone is the place we long to be.  When the words are flowing freely and fast, there’s no better time for a writer.  Neil Gaiman said, “Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the the good writing days nothing else matters.”  How right he is!

This is the second year I’ve done the AtoZ Blogging Challenge.  I was lucky enough to be in the zone for some of this month, but even if I wasn’t, doing these posts was a lot of fun.  I hope you enjoyed them and learned a thing or two along the way.  

Here’s wishing you lots of good writing days with time spent in the zone, finishing your books and enjoying the process!  

Y is for (be) Yourself!

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays. Last year, my theme was Scotland. This year, my theme is The Writing Life. Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year. For instance:

We’ve all heard the expression “a writer’s voice.”  But what is that “voice?”  Simply put, it’s the way each writer uses language.  It’s unique to them, even as they portray different characters in their writing who speak, think and act differently.

tokenz-nahprd538When we write, we can’t help but be ourselves.  We use all of our education, experience, and emotion in creating our stories. It really doesn’t matter whether we’re writing an autobiography or a paranormal fantasy – what shows up on the page is going to be a reflection of who we are, not someone else.   

So don’t try to force your writing to look and sound like any other author.  Write and enjoy it.  Be yourself!

 

X is for (e)Xperiment!

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays. Last year, my theme was Scotland. This year, my theme is The Writing Life. Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year. For instance:

 X is for (e)Xperiment.  When is the last time you took a chance?  Tried something new?  Read a different kind of book than your usual fare?  Wrote a story instead of a full-length book?  

Being a writer means keeping your nose to the grindstone many hours a day for, possibly, the rest of your life.  If you don’t mix it up, try new things, read and write in a different genre now and again, you may get stale.  You’re a writer because you love writing, right?  You’re creative.  Imaginitive.  Sameness is comfortable, but it’s also stifling.  

W is for Write!

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays. Last year, my theme was Scotland. This year, my theme is The Writing Life. Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year. For instance:

W is for Write. Just write.  If you can, write every day.  Don’t worry about whether it’s any good.  If you don’t write, you’ve got nothing to edit later.  So today’s lesson is simple: WRITE!

V is for Virtual Assistant

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays. Last year, my theme was Scotland. This year, my theme is The Writing Life. Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year. For instance:

V is for Virtual Assistant.  As your writing career progresses, you’re going to get busy.  You think you’re busy now?  Ha! Just wait.  You can’t write fast enough for the slowest of your readers.  And even if you could, you couldn’t do that and do all the promoting and social networking required in our profession nowadays.  

adminThe answer?  Hire a virtual assistant.  There’s nothing virtual about them, of course.  They’re a real person.  They just happen to live in another town, or state, or country.  Or they might live across the street.  But they take care of things you don’t enjoy doing or just don’t have the time to do.  They might start out as a college student majoring in writing who can do an internship for credit.  They might be someone who works part-time for several writers, and that can include you.  Some authors have worked with the same virtual assistant for so long that they are now the VA’s only client.  

Whatever you need — a few hours a month or full-time support — you can find help.  Believe me, a good virtual assistant is worth every penny.

T is for Tools

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays. Last year, my theme was Scotland. This year, my theme is The Writing Life. Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year. For instance:

T is for Tools.  Whether your tools are real or virtual, they will make your writing life easier and more productive.  Here are some you will want to add if you don’t have them by now:

Red BooksReference books such as dictionaries, a thesaurus, baby name books, grammar and punctuation texts

Craft books on writing, world building,

Useful websites (check my Links page), including your favorite search engines

Excellent word processing or manuscript composition software such as Word, Pages, Scrivener

Social media force multipliers such as Hootsuite for Twitter and Facebook

Foreign language dictionaries

550px-NZL_orthographic_NaturalEarth.svgMaps, atlases, or Google Earth and map software such as Mapquest, Google maps, or even Apple maps

Pictures of the locations in your book, or that look like the fictional places you’ve made up

If you write historical novels, histories, biographies, books for children on how things were back then (trust me – the explanations are usually clearer and provide more of the kind of information you need than wading scholarly tomes — unless you just enjoy wading through scholarly tomes)

Broadband internet (how can you do online research without it?)

ID-100131568Post-it notes, multicolored post-it flags, paperclips, a good supply of red pens – or bright blue pens – ink that will show up on the page so you can find your edits

To-do list notepads

And last, but not least, chocolate!Chocolate-Bar

 

 

 

S is for Street Team

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays. Last year, my theme was Scotland. This year, my theme is The Writing Life. Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year. For instance:

Big-Army-Street-Team-ClickS is for Street Team.  A street team can be many things, but most simply, it’s a group of readers – fans and friends – who love your books so much that they want to help you get the word out.  

On the plus side, they network, tell their friends, leave bookmarks at libraries and bookstores, flood Twitter with hashtags related to your writing, help publicize book launches, etc., etc., etc.  You give them challenges and reward them with incentives such as books, t-shirts, or deleted scenes that no one else gets to see.  

A street team, like any group of special friends, can take a lot of time to set up and run. If you’re very lucky, one or two members will be so enthusiastic, they’ll wind up running the team for you.  Planning ahead and creating incentives and swag are critical to having rewards in place for your team.  And you need rules – what is acceptable and what is not for interaction with you, among team members, and with the public.  

Some authors disband their street team and then rebuild it in time for each new book release.  Others keep the same team for as long as any member wants to belong and be active.  How you run yours is up to you.  But you must weigh the pros and cons before you set up a street team and decide if one is right for you.

R is for Research

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cThis month, as I did last year, I’m participating in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. The first post is A, the next is B and so on every day this month, except Sundays. Last year, my theme was Scotland. This year, my theme is The Writing Life. Check back here every day this month to follow along and find out what I’ve learned in the last year. For instance:

R is for Research. If you write in almost any genre, but especially if you write historical, research is a fact of your writing life.  

earth_and_magnify_glassI used to dread it, but I’ve come to enjoy following virtual rabbit trails around the internet as one interesting fact or tidbit leads to another.  You never know where your next story idea will come from.  Sometimes it comes from something obscure you find while looking for something else. 

So enjoy the time you spend on research.  You never know where it will lead.

 

 

 

Check out the others participating in this month’s A to Z Challenge!