Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop--Reckless Endangerment



Welcome to the NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop.

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for readers to discover authors new to them. 

I hope you'll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy. 
On this stop on the blog hop, you'll find a bit of information on me and one of my books and links to five other authors who I'm tagging to showcase their next big thing next Wednesday.

My gratitude to fellow author, M.L. Ryan, for inviting me to participate in this event. You can click the following links to learn more about M.L. and her books.
M.L. Ryan’s Next Big Thing: http://coursodondimension.blogspot.com


In this blog hop, my fellow authors and I, in our respective blogs, have answered ten questions about our current book or work-in-progress (giving you a sneak peek). 

We've also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write--the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. 
I hope you enjoy it!



Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?  Reckless Endangerment

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?  Current headlines about wounded soldiers with PTSD and also human trafficking.  It makes for a complicated storyline but one I hope the readers feel is compelling. 

3: What genre does your book come under?  Romantic Suspense

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  
Channing Tatum as ColonelMichael Cedars
Jessica Chastain and Channing Tatum

5: What is a brief synopsis of your book? 
  
Colonel Michael Cedars doesn’t feel like much of a war hero despite his medals.  Partially paralyzed and transitioning from marine to civilian isn’t easy, especially when he’s married to a woman who seems to always find trouble. He’s not sure he wants to be married anymore; then again, he’s not sure what he wants anymore in the face of his new reality.  
Jessica Chastain as Hope Shane

Hope Shane is a battle scarred war correspondent who’s returned to Denver, Colorado, to fight for a normal life with her husband and to leave the chaos behind. Now a local journalist, she becomes immersed in a human trafficking story that threatens their futures, tests their courage, pushes them both toward each other and forces them to fight for love and justice.  

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?  Under contract to be published (I haven’t done any self-publishing at this point).

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Six months

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'll go ahead and say my current romantic suspense, Riptide, because of the highly emotional plot line and relatable characters.  Reviews of that one have also said that it reads like a true life story, as if it were taken from the headlines.  No, that's not a shameless plug...perhaps I work too much or something because that's the title that comes to mind.  

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The characters always come to me first.  I simply had ideas for the two characters, Hope and Michael.  The story unfolded from there. Originally, I wrote it as beginning in Afghanistan, but I changed that so that it begins once they’re home. 

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s relatable.  These characters are both war torn and wanting a normal life back in the US.  They’re not perfect people, but they have such great souls that you’ll find yourself rooting for them to find their happy ending.  

An excerpt of Reckless Endangerment:
He nodded slowly, not taking his gaze from her face.  Anger long gone, heartache remained.  All words sounded inadequate in his brain.  He wondered what had happened that she hadn’t written about, wondered if he would ever know.  Sorrow clung to her.  He had not only failed as a husband, but also as a friend.  
They had once been the best of friends.
“What do we know about being married?” she asked, her gaze focused on a distant spot on the tiled floor.  “Maybe you’re right.  I’m a mess.  You’re a disaster.  Neither one of us is being honest.”  She met his gaze.  “We’re just a couple of liars who enjoyed the danger of sneaking around in a war zone.  We’re the good story without a happy ending that we’ll think about when we’re old and alone.”
He winced.  He deserved that. Hell, he’d been singing the same song.  It felt like a boulder crushed his chest as he waited for the final blow.  
“I understand,” he said. “You don’t need to make any apologies.  I’m a lot to handle.  A disaster, like you said.  Just give me the divorce papers and that will be that.  End of our story.”
“You never really loved me, did you?  Look how easily you’ve discarded us, everything we were.”
“I’m sure you weren’t lonely.  A woman like you doesn’t stay alone for long.  If you need someone’s shoulder to cry on, I’m sure you’ll find a willing guy in a few hours.”
Nothing he said anymore made sense, even to himself.  Frustrated, he left her alone in the bedroom.  All those months--after all of those notes postmarked from around the world--all of those images of her on television--he’d imagined the men drawn to her.  He had imagined her lonely and hurt by his silence seeking comfort from another man.  Hell, maybe it had been easier to imagine that instead of believing his actions hurt her.
“You don’t have any faith in me at all, did you?” She stood behind him.  “Not one ounce of faith.”
He flinched.  Needing more space, he moved to the kitchen and preoccupied himself with looking into the refrigerator.  What to eat, what to eat...
Arms folded across her chest, she stared at her feet. “God, I’m an idiot.  A big fool, that’s what I am.”
“I have faith in you.  It’s me that I’m not so sure about these days,” he said to the orange in his hand.   He peeled the orange without looking at her but knew she paced next to him in the small kitchen.  He chanced a glance up at her and winced at the distant expression on her face.  He hated looking up at her.  Hated it.  He had once been able to lift her up and screw her against the wall if he wanted, but now...now he peeled an orange and wondered what the hell to say next. 
It would be easy to let her back in, as easy as breathing. Talking to her felt like a much needed shot of normalcy.  He dropped the orange to the counter.  “You said we don’t know anything about being married and you’re right.  We don’t.  So what do you want?”  
She perched on the counter, her dress rising up her thighs again.  “I’d like to eat the Chinese I brought.  Devon’s picking me up in a few hours...We’re meeting a source in the park at midnight.  There’s someone we need to find...anyway, I needed a break and, for some reason, I thought you’d be a nice change of pace.”
He grinned without looking away from the skin exposed between the hem of her skirt and the top of her boots.  “You dress like this for a source?”
Her fingers touched his forehead.  “I never really got to dress sexy for you, except in Greece.”
He dragged his gaze over her body before looking in her eyes.  He had no idea what to do with her.  “Who’s Devon?”
“My producer slash photographer.  She’s good...annoying at times, but I like her.”  She caught her lower lip between her teeth and stared at him.  
“Meeting a source at midnight sounds dangerous.”  He smiled because he knew it probably was and that she’d always tempt Fate.  People like her ran in when others ran out.  His smile faded at the memory of her running back into the line of fire to save him.  “I thought we were fighting a minute ago, now you want to eat Chinese with me?”
“Yeah, well, I’m unpredictable like that.” She broke the gaze and reached for the bags he hadn’t noticed sitting next to her hip.  
His hand smoothed up her thigh.  Her skin felt like heaven beneath his fingers.  His thumbs pressed against her inner thigh.  Both hands moved up her leg.  He wanted to undress her.  Taste her.  
She opened her knees...just a little...enough.  He pulled her close and kissed her knee.  She tasted better than heaven.   Fingers moved over red silk panties.  
“I don’t want to hurt you and am afraid I might.  I hear stories of men turning on their wives in the middle of the night, being lost in a nightmare...”  he said against her skin. 
“I can handle you.”  She pulled his hair.  “Have a little faith.”  
“Do you really want to deal with me?  Isn’t your life complicated enough?” Damn, she felt good.  He slid his hands over her hips.  
“Not really.  I’ve been a little bored.”  She inched toward the edge of the counter.  
He didn’t know what he was doing.  Stay.  Go.  Fight.  Flee.  But he did know that this felt right.  Being with her was the only thing in months that felt real, that felt natural.  

Below you will find authors who will be joining me virtually, via blog, next Wednesday. Please be sure to bookmark their sites, and add them to your calendars for updates on their upcoming books! Happy Writing and Reading!

Bonni Sansom

Monday, January 14, 2013

Open Mic Monday presents Author Tabitha Foster

It's the first Open Mic Monday of 2013!  Can I get a drum roll please?  Today is a quick feature of Tabitha Foster's new release, "Short Order Daddy, Surprise Billionaire" via CBLS Promotions.  
Enjoy the blurb and excerpt! 
(Unless otherwise stated, Open Mic Monday is not an endorsement of any particular book or author, simply a forum to help promote fellow authors.)


Short Order Daddy, Surprise Billionaire
by Tabitha Foster
Contemporary Multicultural Romance
Published by Chances Press, LLC
Released on September 19, 2011
Heat Level: Steamy
Length: 162 pages

Blurb:
Stranded on a sweltering Arizona roadside, billionaire CEO, Max Van Buren, is rescued by the gorgeous, independent, and sometime tow-truck driver, Allie. For several years her life has been devoted to raising her young son and running a very successful restaurant. When she offers the seemingly down-on-his-luck traveler a temporary job, she may not want to resist opening her heart for much longer.

Excerpt:
Maxwell Van Buren had never been this hot in his entire life. Sweat poured from his body and highlighted his defined biceps and pecs while also soaking his old Guns N’ Roses t-shirt. His muscles tensed. It felt like he was on fire. In some scenes, his appearance might even be sexy at that moment. Wet. Hot. Breathing heavy. Unfortunately, there wasn't a damn thing erotic about his current situation.

“Piece of junk!” he exclaimed kicking the tire of his steaming rental car in frustration. This is what he got for renting a car from some place called Rent-A-Deal. The luxury convertible he had ordered for this trip had been mistakenly given to another customer, and all rental car places in Phoenix were booked due to ten simultaneous conventions except for...you guessed it...Rent-A-Deal which specialized in rental cars that had passed their prime many years earlier at other companies. If Max was going to continue with his trip, he had to have a car...any car. So, the 2001 Corolla seemed reliable enough at the time.

Now, he stood along a deserted highway in northern Arizona right smack in the height of summer. Max couldn't even begin to guess the temperature out here. He took off his sweaty t-shirt, wiped his brow with it, and tied it around his waist. He looked at his watch. When he called them, his auto club had said a tow truck should have been there ten minutes ago.

“Stupid idiot,” Max muttered under his breath. This whole plan had been his own cockamamie idea to get back in touch with “the people,” to find out where his company went wrong, and to see where they could inject new energy into their restaurants. But it looked as if things would be a bust from the word “go.” 

His family, the Van Burens, owned a chain of Mexican restaurants called Tio Jose's, or TJ's for short. The initial business had been started by his Mexican great-grandfather, Jose Hernandez Gonzalez, who sold fresh tacos from a cart in Los Angeles before upgrading to a small stand. His daughter was Max's grandmother, Carmen Santana, a woman said to be so beautiful and voluptuous men would skip a breath at the sight of her. She married Carlson Van Buren, much to the moneyed Van Buren family's shock and dismay. When great-grandfather Jose died, Carl Van Buren suddenly noticed how successful the little taco stand had become and additional dollar signs flashed before his eyes. Carl, with Carmen's blessing, took the initial restaurant idea and turned it into what would become a 200 location national restaurant chain specializing in mid-priced Mexican food, using Jose's old recipes of course.

Years later, Max had inherited the CEO position, but under his watch and with the downsizing economy, TJ's had begun to lose ground and fast. At the last board meeting, Max had been told to turn things around quickly or expect to be replaced.

Maxwell Van Buren, thirty-two years old, six foot two, dazzling smile, well-defined body and charm that could talk a Catholic nun into giving up her habit had never grown accustomed to failures of any kind. Failure had simply not been a word in his vocabulary. He sure as hell would not start now. After studying piles of customer survey data with his younger brother, Stuart, Max noticed a trend. Customers felt that TJ's offered nothing special that could not be found anywhere else and for a cheaper price. The customer service rating also left a lot to be desired.

That's when Max had what he hoped would be the saving idea to turn things around. He gathered a team of assistants to research small-town Mexican restaurants that were thriving, even in this economy. He wanted to see firsthand what these establishments were doing that his big chain company didn't do. No contracted out research company for him. Max wanted to get into the nitty-gritty himself. 

A one-week trip with ten stops through Arizona, Nevada, and California was planned. Max instructed his staff to only contact him in an emergency and left everything else in Stuart's hands. He wanted to have a clear head during his expedition. He wanted to see what was needed to bring the heart back to TJ's and its customers back to the dining room.

“So much for careful planning. And I wanted to get into the nitty-gritty…,” Max said to himself, glancing down at his watch, feeling hot and tired.

He hadn't even made it to his first stop in Primrose, Arizona.
Finally, in the distance, he saw a tow truck approaching.

“About damn time,” he growled, his mouth feeling as dry and rough as the surrounding landscape.

The tow truck skidded to a stop behind his Corolla and to his utter surprise, a tall, alluring Latina, with long curly dark hair hopped down from the bed of the truck. She wore a green t-shirt which read “Find THE Flan at Tia Maria's” and a pair of worn jeans. She sauntered up towards him and called out, “Having some problems?”

Available at:


About the Author:
Tabitha Foster grew up in the Santa Barbara wine country and not far from the beautiful Pacific Ocean coastline.  She currently lives in the Los Angeles area and is hard at work on the next installment in the Van Buren Brothers series.

Connect with Tabatha Foster:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Being a pink spotted elephant: Life as a Writer--Writers & Authors Blog Hop

Thanks for stopping by the Writers and Authors Blog Hop where some of us creative types are sharing our thoughts on the writing life.  

Being a pink spotted elephant
by 
Amber Lea Easton

A  lot of people think writers are a bunch of drunks with disheveled hair, messy desks, snarky attitudes, and borderline personality disorders with a dash of arrogance thrown in for flavor.  Think Hemingway drunk off his ass running with the bulls in Spain...or me in my pink pajama pants running from a bear in my backyard.  

Okay, so I'm not Hemingway and Colorado bears aren't exactly the bulls of Spain, but I must admit that some stereotypes do apply.

As a writer, I like to think of myself as unique...then I attend a writers' conference and realize I'm not unique, I'm simply an author.  There's nothing better than thinking you're a misfit and then landing amongst your own kind.  Maybe that's why I've always had a soft spot for the toys on the Island of the Misfit Toys in the movie, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  


That's how I felt most of my life...like someone who wanted to be accepted, but was always just a bit off from the norm.  Sure, I held mainstream jobs.  I've been a journalist, a trader at a brokerage house, and a marketing executive; but they never felt right.  I'd put on my suit, smile, do the job, but I'd find myself staring out the window daydreaming at odd times.  I felt like that little pink spotted elephant on the Island of the Misfit Toys most of the time.  


But then I surrendered to my calling and embraced my unique way of being in the world. I immersed myself in the telling of stories, the study of humanity and the craft of writing.  What a relief to stop hiding those pink spots!  I can easily spend a week immersed in words without knowing what time or day it is.  My hair becomes a tangled mess from being stuffed into a clip or wrapped into a sloppy twist.  I'll lose track of conversations with living people because my characters are so much more entertaining...and demanding.  I drink when I want because I really don't give a damn and I'm well over the age of 21.  I'm snarky because it entertains me.  I'm sure there are people who would agree my bursts of drama and sensitivity are proof that I'm "borderline" nutty.  And, sure, I'm a tad bit arrogant at times because writing and publishing (rejection, revision, repeat kind of publishing) is a hell of an accomplishment, especially when I started out as a nine year old scribbling in notebooks on my parents' roof with nothing but a dream and no clear path to attain it.  

So, you see, some stereotypes are dead on.  

I'm still a bit left of center, tend to hang out with my family or a close knit group of friends and observe the mainstream with curiosity.  I wonder...are there any other pink spotted elephants out there pretending to fit?   


Keep hopping along--see what the other writers have to say!  Leave comments, share your insights, broaden our horizons, give us a reason to drink more. Ha. 



Friday, January 4, 2013

Let's get naughty in 2013

You may be a good girl by day, but why not turn up the naughty factor by night?  It's 2013, a new year full of possibility.  I'm not one who makes the usual resolutions--because I usually break them within the first week--so this year I thought I'd do something a little different and make a list of naughty (or in some cases, simply empowering) goals for the year.  

Between work and parenting, I'm serious most of the time.  Heck, life is serious, right?  But it doesn't need to be that way 24/7.  Here are some of my naughty resolutions for the new year, feel free to borrow some and/or add a few of your own in the comments below. I don't know about you, but I'm looking to add more fun to my life. 


  • Embrace the power of sexy.  If a man's in bed with you, he's obviously attracted so stop being self-conscious about the lights being on or whatever the hang up of the moment is. Whatever it is that makes you feel sexy--painted nails, bikini wax, new lingerie, a new "toy"--do it for yourself. 
  • Take the lead.  I'm done with waiting for a man to take the initiative.  I'm a strong woman who knows what I want so why shouldn't I take it?  Maybe it's intimidating for some women, but if you want pleasure, you need to take matters into your own hands (sometimes literally) and simply go for it.  
  • Ask for what you want...and except nothing less.  This translates to a wide variety of things, but right now I'm talking about relationships and a sex life. We are each responsible for our own happiness and our own pleasure.  Speak up.  Don't like something? Say it. Want more of something else?  Let him know.  If you don't ask, you don't get.  
  • No more over-thinking things.  Let's face it, we all have insecurities. I'm going to stop over-thinking about my 40 plus year old body's stretch marks and cellulite and start being present with what marvelous things it can do.  Over-thinking insecurities gives them more power than they deserve.  No. More. Over. Thinking.  
  • Make-out more.  I admit that I missed a few opportunities for this in 2012, but no more!  I intend to take every opportunity to slow down the kisses, extend the foreplay, tease, flirt, rev up the engine and genuinely prolong the experience of enjoying my man. 
  • Have sex on different surfaces to spice things up.  Floors, truck beds, kitchen counters, yoga balls, sofas, washing machines...whatever!  Beds are fun, but why not explore options?  Maybe I'll make a list and start checking it off, see how many interesting places I find by year's end.
  • Get frisky in public.  Ahh...this reminds me of college, but I digress.  I don't know where or when and I sure as hell hope I don't get caught, but I want to have sex on a beach beneath a towel or in a park after dark or in the back seat of a car in a crowded parking lot (after dark, though).  There's a sense of breaking the rules with this one that I particularly like.  After all, I want to amp up my naughty factor so this is perfect. 
  • Take a sexy field trip.  Dates can get dull--relationships may involve the same old take out every Friday night--why not deviate from the norm, grab your guy/gal and head to an adult toy store for some fun?  The upside is then you get to try things out when you get home. 
  • Go on a couples' spa date.  Mmmm...a couple's massage followed by a long soak in the jacuzzi that ends up with your newly soft and relaxed bodies rubbing against each other in bed.  Sounds like a plan! 
  • Treat myself for every resolution I keep.  Yep, I operate on a rewards based program, especially for myself.  For every resolution I keep, I'm going to either indulge in a new pair of shoes, a manicure or...maybe...a bowl of cookie dough ice cream! 
Novels by Amber Lea Easton are available on Amazon, AmazonUK, Barnes and Noble.com and Bookstrand.com.