Claiming My Valentine Shifter Antho – Coming Soon!

Curious about the inner workings, the ‘stuff’ that goes on in authors’ heads as they create stories such as the 14 included in this sexy shifter anthology? A few of my fellow authors in this anthology have been blogging about the stories contained within, on the authors themselves, even featuring characters from the books.

Check out the blogs below, and don’t forget to grab your copy of CLAIMING MY VALENTINE. Remember, all proceeds will be donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital!

Savannah’s Though Garden

Josette Reuel’s Blog

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PS – Here’s how to snag your copy:

 

 

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Mountain Gorillas, Armed Rebels, Love, and a Character Interview

I am pleased to welcome one of the main characters from Kim Hotzon’s recent new release, Hands Full of Ashes, to today’s blog. Olivia Daniels has a great many obstacles to overcome in this action-packed, heart-wrenching drama. Before we get into Olivia’s interview, here’s what the book is about:

Olivia promises to fulfill her dying husband’s wish – to scatter his ashes around the world. After journeying to Africa, Olivia plans to follow through on this promise while working as a volunteer at an orphanage.

On a weekend trip to see the famed mountain gorillas, Olivia attempts an escape from an ambush by armed rebels. During her recovery, she falls in love with the man who saved her.

As her new love blossoms, Olivia is unaware that the director of the orphanage has fallen in love with her. His attempt to find her coincides with an event that will change Olivia’s world forever.

This interview, like the book, has some powerful messages. Let’s get to it. Hello, Olivia. Thank you for joining us today. It looks like your author has put you into some incredibly intriguing (and dangerous!) situations. In fact, it doesn’t sound like there is a dull moment in the entire book. Tell us, what do you think readers will like best about you, in this book?

Olivia: They will be happy to know that although I have suffered in life, I persevered. I was unwilling to give up or give in, even in the toughest moments.

Tami’s Thoughts: Is there anything readers may not appreciate about your character?

Olivia: They may not understand why I left Roger and why I didn’t tell him my secret.

TT: Roger? Is he your significant other? Are you married?

Olivia: I am now happily married. Hint: he has a heart of gold.

TT: Okay, let’s have a little naughty fun. Favorite place to seduce your partner?

Olivia: Outdoors. Africa has the biggest sky and it is there that it is the most beautiful and memorable.

TT: What do you wish Roger understood about you?

Olivia: My continued need for independence – my choices and decisions affect our future as well.

TT: If you could rewrite one scene in the book, what would it be? How would you rewrite?

Olivia: I would save my friend. Or I would handle things differently with Roger.

TT: Has your author ever put you into an embarrassing situation? How did you handle it?

Olivia: I was trying to be so helpful with the children at the orphanage but it turned out they knew more about survival than I did. The memory of the water pump stands out. I wanted the children to view me as their saviour, but in the end I learned that we saved each other.

TT: Is there anything specific in this book of which you are particularly proud?

Olivia: My survival, my marriage, and my child.

TT: Would you like to add anything else?

Olivia: I hope someday that readers will find the courage to make their own journeys and find the love they deserve. The sky is the limit.

~~~

Sound like a fascinating story? Hands Full of Ashes is a new release, and can be purchased through Amazon.

Pick up your copy today and don’t forget to let Kim know what you think of the book by leaving a review when you’re done reading!

Want to know more about the author? Connect with Kim Hotzon:

Kim Hotzon_Author Pic

Website: http://www.kimhotzon.com/        

Facebook:      http://www.facebook.com/HandsFullofAshes

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimHotzon

Pinterest:       https://www.pinterest.com/kimhotzon/hands-full-of-ashes/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6491250.Kim_Hotzon

LinkedIn: Kim Hotzon | LinkedIn

Thank you for joining us today!

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Undercover Heat – Character Background – Release Day

It’s release day for Undercover Heat, the second in my Tough Love series. This series focuses on men and women in “tough” careers who sometimes need a little help finding (and believing in) happily ever after.

Undercover Heat_CoverIn Undercover Heat, two FBI agents are assigned to an undercover assignment, posing as husband and wife. Going in, neither has any expectations aside from solving the case. It doesn’t take long for those expectations to turn carnal, and soon they are fighting an ever-increasing attraction, in order to close their case.

In honor of the release of this steamy read, I got to sit down with a fellow reader and talk about the two main characters in this book, Kyra Sanders and Quinn Daniels. Below is the interview, which gives you a little history on Quinn and Kyra’s personalities.

Reader: Thank you, Tami, for visiting. And congratulations on the new release!

Me: Thank you! I’m super excited. I fell in love with Quinn and Kyra as I wrote their story, and I think I fell even more in love after my editor got ahold of them. There are two very powerful personalities in this book, which makes for good writing and (hopefully) even better reading.

Reader: Two powerful personalities, I like that. Okay, tell us about Quinn first.

Me: Besides the fact he’s super sexy (duh!), he’s a little bit of an anti-hero. Quinn’s parents had him young – straight out of high school, actually. When his mother realized she was pregnant, his father did the right thing and married her. Except it wasn’t really the right thing. Lawrence Daniels, you’ll learn in the book, is not exactly the best husband or father figure. In fact, he’s a career criminal who likes to beat up on his wife and verbally abuse his son every chance he gets.

Growing up in that environment, Quinn could have gone either way – follow in dear ole’ dad’s footsteps or rebel against everything he ever stood for. Lucky for us, he opted for choice number two. He worked his ass off and was accepted into the FBI. He’s one of their strongest agents, mostly because he views the world in black and white, or good and bad. There is no gray area for Quinn Daniels. If you break the law, you should be punished, period.

He has a lot of internal angst, though, as a result of his upbringing. He doesn’t have many friends, he avoids relationships at almost all costs, and when he isn’t on the job, he tends to hit the bottle pretty hard, so as to avoid dealing with his demons. Oh, and he volunteers weekly at a church located in his old neighborhood, because the priest there helped him out a lot when he was a kid. But he doesn’t tell anyone he does it, and he gets pretty ticked off when Kyra finds out.

Reader: Doesn’t sound like he’s exactly primed to find love.

Me (laughs): Not really. But it usually happens when you’re least expecting it, right?

Reader: True, true. All right, tell us about Kyra. What makes her special enough to butt heads with Quinn?

Me: Kyra comes from an unpolluted background. Her parents have been married – happily – for thirty-five years. They both have successful careers outside the home, and they have always encouraged Kyra to follow her dreams. A fascination with Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys (yeah, I know they were before her time, but they’re classics!) led to a love of Julie Garwood’s Buchanan-Renard series, which ultimately led Kyra down the path to FBI field agent.

Kyra was lucky enough to be assigned to the regional office in her hometown, Dallas. She threw herself into her work with gusto, and was eventually assigned to a huge Ponzi scheme case that could have been the pinnacle of her career. Meanwhile, she had struck up a relationship with a fellow agent, even though her director frowned upon interoffice affairs. But Kyra thought the relationship was serious, that they would eventually get married and have babies and live happily ever after – like her parents. Except Keith, her boyfriend at the time, cheated on her. To make it worse, he cheated with the perp Kyra was trying to nab. And his cheating ultimately allowed the perp to get away.

Eventually, Kyra gets reassigned to the Detroit office – where Quinn works – because she refuses to give up closing that particular case. In fact, it’s that case that leads she and Quinn to end up working undercover as husband and wife. Except by this point, Kyra has lost all faith in happily ever after, and Quinn, of course, never believed in it at all. So you can imagine the resistance when they start feeling an attraction to one another.

Reader: These two sound like an unlikely couple. And yet, hope springs eternal, right?

Me: My goal in all of my books is to figure out a way for the hero and heroine to find their happily ever after. With everything I put them through, they deserve it.

Reader: One more question, before I let you go to celebrate your release day. What’s your favorite scene in the book?

Me (gnawing on lower lip): What an impossibly hard question. My mind instantly hops to the final scene in the book, but that’s because I’m a sucker for happily ever after, and I adore Quinn and Kyra’s HEA. But I’d rather readers read the book before we discuss the ending. So let’s see…. This is really hard. Okay, the one I keep coming back to is when Quinn finds out Kyra has been hiding something about the case, and he confronts her, and she gets angry – at herself and him. She storms out of the room and heads down to the basement, where they’ve set up a home gym of sorts. The scene that follows was so fun to write… and so steamy to read. Just thinking about it now makes me want to fan myself. When Kyra and Quinn finally succumb, they certainly do it in style.

Reader: Wow. I know I’m curious! If you are too, I’d better give you a few buy links:

Crimson Romance: http://www.crimsonromance.com/contemporary-romance-novels/undercover-heat/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undercover-Heat-Tough-Love-Tami-ebook/dp/B00R6TPT90

Google eBooks: https://books.google.com/books?id=smHhBQAAQBAJ&pg=PT1&lpg=PT1&dq=buy+undercover+heat+by+tami+lund&source=bl&ots=AjMsly9rqR&sig=cathISxD41Pj-F2DMd8DkB9SHCs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-LC5VNuFENP8yQTJkoCQDQ&ved=0CEkQ6AEwBw

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/undercover-heat-tami-lund/1120945425?ean=9781440588914

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/undercover-heat-1

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-undercoverheat-1711668-152.html

Oh yeah, and there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway! Three prizes:

* The entire collection of The Resort series (5 e-books)

* $20 gift card to Amazon

* Candy Crush e-book

Enter here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c48fa52711/?

Thank you, dear readers, for stopping by today. If you have any questions, ask in the comments below, and I’ll give you an answer as quickly as I can. And don’t forget to charge that e-reader, so you can start Undercover Heat — today! 

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Want to Unwrap Love with the Writing Wenches?

On December first, the Writing Wenches released their first anthology. I say “first” because believe it or not, we’re already knee deep in planning for a summer anthology! But let’s talk Christmas first.

Unwrapping Love is a collection of twenty-one short stories, all revolving around the Christmas holidays, all revolving around finding love. Some have bad girls and good guys; some have bad boys and good girls. Some are sweet; some are quite naughty. If you’re concerned (or curious) there are snowflakes at the beginning of each chapter – the more snowflakes, the naughtier the story. Yeah, go ahead and skip ahead if you want. Just make sure you return to read the rest. They’re worth it, trust me.

PerfectChristmas-AMy contribution is called The Perfect Christmas. It’s about in the middle of the (really crazy ass big) book, and it’s three snowflakes worth of naughtiness. There’s some long-suppressed attraction going on that culminates on the couch shortly before Christmas. So yeah, things get a little steamy.

Oh wait, you probably actually want to know what it’s about, huh? The Perfect Christmas is about Anna, a girl who comes from the perfect family, and is anything but. Her perfect older sister married the perfect man and had the perfect daughter, and Anna has to watch from the outside while they live their perfect lives.

Except, that perfection turns out to be a facade, and much to Anna’s shock, delight, amazement and any other surprise-like adjective you can think of, it turns out her brother-in-law Jesse has feelings for her, too.

Or does he? Does he really like her, or was he using Anna to get revenge on his wife? As impossible as it seems, this story really does have a happy ending – I promise!

This week, a few of the Writing Wenches are hosting a blog hop to showcase our super cool (and outrageously huge) anthology. Each wench is hosting a giveaway, and telling you a bit about her part in Unwrapping Love! Be sure to stop by each website to learn more about the anthology and enter each individual giveaway, which will be posting over the next several days.

Kay Blake contributed Winter’s Gift. Her site is http://www.authorkayblake.wordpress.com

Christine Cacciatore wrote Noah Cane’s Candy. She blogs at http://poopwafoley.blogspot.com/ .

Patricia D. Eddy wrote On The Eve of Love. Her website is http://www.pdeddy.com/holiday-blog-hop.A Little Snow Music

C. S. Kendall is the author of Second Chance Girl. She would love it if you would visit her at http://www.cskendall.net

Tami Lund is the author of The Perfect Christmas. You can find her at http://tamilund.com/?page_id=91 .

Misti Murphy contributed Christmas Candy. Her site is http://mistimurphy.weebly.com .

Quenby Olson wrote First Position. You can visit her at http://quenbyolson.wordpress.com/ .

CoverShutUp&KissMeKeisha K. Page contributed Rhythm of Love. Her website is http://thewordmistress.blogspot.com/ .

Grace Ravel wrote Shut Up and Kiss Me. Her site is www.graceravel.com

Jennifer Ray wrote Declan’s Special. You can visit her at www.adventuresinjentopia.wordpress.com .

Jennifer Senhaji is the author of Angels in Disguise. You can find her at http://jennifersenhaji.blogspot.com/ .

A.E. Snow contributed Miles and Mae. Her site is at www.aesnowauthor.blogspot.comWinters Gift_K Blake

Sheri Williams wrote Numb, and is sharing the blog hop from the Writing Wenches main website at www.writingwenches.com.

S. K. Wills wrote Hanley’s Secret. Her website is http://skwills.com/blog/ .

Allison Winfield is the author of Stay With Me. You can find her at http://alwinfield.com .

Other stories in Unwrapping Love were contributed by:

Melody Barber

Sonja Frojendal

Melina Gillies

Michael Simko

Beth Stanley

K.R. Wilburn

And now for my giveaway! Want a copy of my romantic suspense, Candy Crush? I’ll make it easy. In the comments below, tell me your favorite kind of romance. Do you like the opposites attract concept most of us used in the anthology? Do you like suspense or mystery with your romance? Do you like historical romance? Do you like baby romance or lost loves or love-at-first-sight? Paranormal? Fantasy? Fall in love with geeks romance? December-May romance? Tell me in the comments! At the end of the tour, I’ll randomly pick a winner and that person will get a copy of Candy Crush. And don’t forget to visit the other blogs noted above. Everybody’s giving away *something*!

Candy Crush Nook-150

Don’t forget to follow the Writing Wenches on Facebook and Twitter!

And if you want to buy Unwrapping Love, here you go: Amazon

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Meet Tanner Lyons from Into the Light

I figured since Dawning of Light, the second book in the Lightbearer series, is coming out tomorrow, I’d reblog this interview with Tanner, the hero from the first Lightbearer book, Into the Light.

~~~~

It’s a beautiful summer day, and I’ve managed to catch Tanner Lyons during a rare moment of downtime. And alone, as well, which is unusual for the shifter to whom other beings tend to migrate. We are sitting outside a local brewery (his choice, not mine; I would have chosen a winery), in a roped off area that allows us to watch the foot traffic in this small town, and still be able to enjoy the craft beers he seems to favor. Tanner has, not surprisingly, situated himself so that his back is to a solid brick wall, and he can still keep an eye on his surroundings. My first question is a blurted, “Are you looking for someone?”

 He arches one black brow and gives me a cool look. “Have you met my father?”

This interview is not starting on the right foot. I need to try to make up for my blunder. “Tell me about yourself,” I encourage.

“What do you want to know?”

Tanner, I know from the book, Into the Light, is not a man of many words. I suspect this will make the interview a bit of a challenge.

“What do you do for fun?” I ask.

“Fun?” he repeats with another eyebrow arch.

“Yeah, you know: movies, reading, going to the beach. Fun.”

“I have inherited a small pack of lightbearers with no fighting skills whatsoever, my practically invalid mother, and a female shifter with a young child and who is about to whelp her second any day now. Fun doesn’t exactly fit into the equation at the moment.”

I am at a loss for words now. If he isn’t willing to open up to me, I’ll have no material for my blog post. I don’t know what to do.

Abruptly, he softens. “I know you are only trying to do your job,” he admits as he leans back in his chair and takes a long drink from the dark beer he’s selected off the extensive menu. “I’ll tell you what. Let’s talk about Olivia.”

“Olivia? The lightbearer princess?”

“That’s the one,” he agrees, and I cannot help but notice his eyes are glowing faintly. I look around, wondering if any other humans in the vicinity have noticed.

“Humans only see what they want to see,” he says, accurately reading my thoughts.

“Oh. Right. So … tell me about Olivia.”

“She’s beautiful. Strangely delicate and yet impossibly strong all at the same time. She has been forced into a situation she doesn’t want, just because of who she was born to.”

“To whom she was born,” I automatically correct him. Stupid grammar Nazi author.

“Whatever.”

I clear my throat. “So what does that have to do with you? I mean, what’s your relationship?”

“She was captured by my father. He meant to kill her. I rescued her and now have to return her to her coterie.”

“What’s a coterie?”

“It’s this place where all the lightbearers live. It’s protected by a bunch of magical wards. Few lightbearers ever leave those protective wards, and as a result, most shifters assume they’ve gone extinct.”

“Except your father.”

“Yes.”

He clearly does not enjoy discussing the topic of his father, but I press anyway. “Why did he believe they were still alive, when everyone else didn’t?”

Tanner leans forward, those still faintly glowing eyes watching me with an intensity that is utterly unnerving. I want to look away. Actually, I want to run away, but it’s like he’s holding me prisoner, without even touching me.

“Shifters are a highly obsessive group of beings,” he explains in his low, gravely voice. “When we latch onto something – such as an idea or a person – we do not easily let go, if ever.”

“Such as Olivia?” I dare to ask.

“Are you implying something?” he growls.

I shrink away from him. “It’s just that every time you talk about her, your voice softens and your eyes glow and …”

He takes another drink of his beer, shifts his gaze away from me. “She is … special,” he states, almost grudgingly.

“Are you two …?”

“It’s complicated.”

“Relationships usually are.”

“We do not have a relationship. At least …”

“What?” I prod, anticipation thrumming through my system. Is he about to divulge something no one else knows?

He lifts the pint glass, drains the contents and places it back on the table. And then he stands, his gaze sweeping over the groups of humans wandering about the quaint little downtown area. “We’re done here,” he says, and then he is gone. I don’t even know in which direction he went.

And I have no idea how this interview veered so far off course.

~~~~

Haven’t yet read Tanner’s story? Want to? Click HERE. (It’s on sale for 50% off right now!!)

Tami Lund Headshot 2014I’ve written multiple self-published books as well as published books through Crimson Romance (Crimson Romance/Naked Truth) and Liquid Silver Books (Liquid Silver Books/Into the Light and Liquid Silver Books/Love Gumbo). The second in the Lightbearer series, Dawning of Light, will be available as of tomorrow! You can pre-order here.

Into the Light dawningoflight_Cover

My goal is to live, love, and laugh, and I want the characters in my books to do the same. After they’ve overcome a few seemingly insurmountable obstacles first, of course.

I also love to be stalked on social media. My website is: http://tamilund.com and I can be found on nearly every social media outlet. Just type “Tami Lund Author.” I’m probably there.

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Mark Virtue from Tyburn Gets Sassy with the Interviewer

Authors are many things, or maybe it is that we wear many hats. Whatever the appropriate verbiage, this author loves to blog. I especially love to feature other authors on my blog, because I am also a reader, and I personally love to fall in love with new books. I am also one of those readers who believes in the recommendations of her friends. If someone I respect (or at least shares my same reading interests) suggests a book or a new author, I will usually rush right over to Goodreads to add them to my To Be Read List.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), that list seems to be forever growing. Sometimes it’s hard to choose which book to read next. Well, after reading this interview, I can tell you without a doubt that I know which book is next on my TBR list. Mark Virtue is sassy, flirty, and utterly charming. I want more. I cannot wait to read this book. Keep reading this post. I’m sure, by the end, you’ll agree.

~~~

 

The Rose and Crown. Southwark 1671

I am sitting in the back corner of the Rose and Crown staring into the blackest cup of coffee I have ever seen. It smells like burnt popcorn and it’s so thick you could stand a spoon in it. Starbucks, this is not. Feeling adventurous, I take a cautious sip.

This coffee is more than Turkish; it tastes like mud, ashes, soot, and a little bit like burnt sugar. Really burnt. So burnt that it has become one with the cast-iron pot that burned it. If I drink the whole cup, I will be able to see through time.

I look up when I hear the laughter start.

The laughter is coming from a man standing just beyond my table. From the dimple in his scruffy cheek, I can tell that he’s trying not to laugh harder. He sets two mugs of beer on the table and takes the stool opposite.

I accept one gratefully. “How did you know?”

“Good guess,” he replies with a half-smile that can only be described as disarming.

This has to be Mark. I fight the urge to fix my hair.

Nick Virtue’s older brother is the Master carpenter in these parts. Going on his physique alone, I could have guessed. Well, either that, or he bench-presses baby elephants. For all the women staring at him right now, he’s not exactly handsome. His skin’s a little darker, a bit weathered for a man his age. His dark blonde hair needs a wash, and he hasn’t shaved in a good week. His nose has been broken a few times, but the flattened bridge is strangely charming. He has a look of mischief about him that is intriguing, to say the least.

Before he even finishes his beer, a stunning, curvy blonde sets a second one in front of him and shoots me an icy glare before returning to the bar.

Mark: That’s Bel. She’s one of the Henshawe sisters. (He lowers his voice and wiggles the fingers on his right hand) There are five of them.

Jess: You’re very popular with women. What’s your secret?

Mark: Would you like me to show you?

Jess: (chokes on beer, changes subject) Name your favorite place to seduce someone.

Mark: Anywhere there’s a bed. Or chair. Or floor. Or wall. Once I did it in a cockpit. Not just a clever name, hey? (laughs) Filthy, that was.

Jess: Describe your ideal woman.

Mark: What’s ideal got to do with it? I’m not one to choose favorites. All woman are lovely in different ways, and I like to show my appreciation as often and inventively as possible.

Jess: There are some people who think you fancy Sally. What do you have to say about that?

Mark: Sally is a treat. When Nick told me he fancied a… er, well, an actress, I pictured someone like Nell Gwyn: a shrill-voiced little orange seller with her tits out. Sally was completely unexpected. Gorgeous, yeah, but with this great air of tragedy about her. She’s had a rough past, but she doesn’t talk about that. She wants to help everybody, and has this need to feed people. She can’t help it. I’m not complaining, mind, but she needs to laugh more. So does Nick. They’re perfect for each other, but neither one of them’s figured it out yet. See? Perfect for each other. Kind to a fault, but very stupid.

Jess: No chance of you stealing her away, then?

Mark: And break my brother’s heart? Never. Nick’s a good sort, and he’s never really a had a sweetheart or anything. He takes everything so seriously. At any rate, me and Sally understand each other. One whore always recognizes another…

Jess: What do you mean by that?

Mark: (shrugs) I think you know.

Jess: I hear you’ve been looking for an actress of your own. What’s the story there?

Mark: Not just any actress. My actress. I met her down at the Three Compasses awhile back and I’ve been down to Drury Lane every night this week trying to find her again. Strange thing is, nobody knows her. Do you know where she is?

~~~~

tyburn (2)

So what’s this Tyburn book about, anyway? 

Sally Green is about to die.

She sees Death in the streets. She can taste it in her gin. She can feel it in the very walls of the ramshackle brothel where she is kept to satisfy the perversions of the wealthy. She had come to London as a runaway in search of her Cavalier father. Instead, she found Wrath, a sadistic nobleman determined to use her to fulfill a sinister ambition. As the last of her friends are murdered one by one, survival hinges on escape.

Nick Virtue is a tutor with a secret. By night he operates as a highwayman, relieving nobles of their riches to further his brother’s criminal enterprise. It’s a difficult balance at the best of times, and any day that doesn’t end in a noose is a good one. Saving Sally means risking his reputation, and may end up costing him his life.

As a brutal attack throws them together, Sally finds she has been given a second chance. She is torn between the tutor and the highwayman, but she knows she can have neither. Love is an unwanted complication while Wrath haunts the streets. Nick holds the key to Wrath’s identity, and Sally will risk everything to bring him to justice.

Unless the gallows take her first.

Want it? As of December 8th, you can buy it here:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tyburn-Southwark-Saga-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00PQV6H9Q/ref=asap_B00PVDV9EW_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417043784&sr=1-1

Liquid Silver: http://www.lsbooks.com

Who is this author anyway?

Jessica Cale_Author Pic

Jessica Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at www.authorjessicacale.com.

Want to Stalk Jessica?

Website: http://www.authorjessicacale.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicacale

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaCale @JessicaCale

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JessicaCaleWrites

Tumblr: http://authorjessicacale.tumblr.com/

Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/rainbowcarnage

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Cale/e/B00PVDV9EW/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9819997.Jessica_Cale

That’s all folks. Tyburn is available for sale as of December 8th. Pick up your copy today! I know I will….

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Unwrapping Love… For Your Reading Pleasure

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It’s release day. Unwrapping Love, an anthology of 21 holiday-themed short stories, is officially available for purchase, via ebook or legit paperback. Your choice. If you were one of the lucky ones who pre-ordered it, the book is on your kindle right now, waiting for you to power up and get down to the business of reading. If you haven’t purchased it yet, you can do so here. If you want to join the Release Day Party, you can do so here. Free stuff, author takeover, and hot guy pics galore.

Not enough incentive? Okay, let me tell you about my contribution to this amazing anthology. It’s called The Perfect Christmas. Why that title? Well, initially, it’s a tongue-in-cheek title. Anna, the heroine, has, generally speaking, a pretty shitty life. Nothing goes right for her, largely because her older sister is so damn perfect, and Anna just can’t compete. So she learned long ago not to bother.

The Perfect Christmas begins just a few day before Christmas, with Anna’s sister, Jessica, more or less bullying her into babysitting, so that she and her husband can go out – separately, of course. Because that’s what they do.

Anna doesn’t really mind, though, because she utterly adores her two year old niece, and bonus when her brother-in-law’s plans get cancelled, and he ends up staying home and hanging with her and Cora. Oh, did I mention that Anna has a big fat crush on her brother-in-law?

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Once Cora is asleep, things happen, and then more things happen, and… well, I’ll let you read it for yourself.

What you can’t read anywhere else is what happened last Christmas. That particular Christmas is alluded to in the beginning of The Perfect Christmas, so I thought, instead of leaving it to your imagination, I’d actually let you know what happened… Last Christmas. So here it is, the prelude to The Perfect Christmas, one year previous….

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Anna hated Christmas. Mostly because of the gift-giving and the spending-time-with-family. Which, really, pretty much summed up the holiday. She didn’t even like her family, yet she felt obligated to purchase gifts and force grimace-like smiles when they opened said gifts and pretended to like them.

Usually, she plucked something from the shelves of the pharmacy where she worked. That way, she didn’t have to actually put much effort into it, and when they returned the gifts, it was a painless process, since everyone in her store knew her family. They’d come to expect her mother, shortly after New Year’s, after the crowds thinned, gift receipt and unopened package in hand. She always exchanged it for the same thing, too: vitamins or face cream on which the packaging swore it would make one look ten years younger. Her sister, Jessica, always demanded the cash, and then would scowl at the bills, presumably insulted that Anna had spent so little on her. Her dad was the only one who didn’t make an appearance, but that’s because her mom took care of that responsibility.

Jesse and Cora were the exception. She actually put forth the effort for their gifts. Anna admitted — if only to herself — that she loved to wander the aisles of Toys R’ Us, seeking the perfect gift for her perfect niece.

And then there was Jesse. She didn’t know him well, but she liked him better than anyone else in her family. Cora had been born two years ago this coming spring, and he and Jessica had gotten married pretty much the moment they figured out Jessica was pregnant. She’d met Jesse a few days before the wedding, and they’d not said two words to each other. Instead, she and Jessica had exchanged insults, which, frankly, wasn’t different from any other day of the week.

She’d known him for two years, and she genuinely liked Jesse. if she was perfectly honest with herself, she would admit that it was more than a simple like. But Anna was used to dealing with denial, so she rarely went there, even in her own mind.

Still, she wanted to buy him a gift he would appreciate, something sincere, something that said, You are important to me.

And it was exactly that theory that made the search for his gift so damn hard. Everything was too little or too much. Too personal or not enough. Too … telling of her feelings, feelings she wasn’t even ready to admit to herself, let alone the recipient.

In the end, it was Christmas Eve and she hadn’t yet found whatever the hell she had been looking for, and in an act of utter frustration, she’d snagged a hat from the very place she worked, the exact place she had no intention of buying a gift from. It wasn’t even in the seasonal section. Someone had obviously picked it up, walked around the store and then changed their mind. When she’d grabbed it, it had been stuffed on top of a shampoo bottle; clearly in the wrong place. Feeling desperate, Anna had lifted it off the bottle and strode to the check out register, using her discount and paying cash. She’d forgotten to ask for a gift receipt, but who really cared? She’d been working at this store for years. She’d probably die here, since they had a lousy retirement plan.

****

Jesse unwrapped the black and gray knit cap. “Cool. Thanks, Anna.” He pulled the cap out of the bag, tugged off the tag and stuffed it onto his head. “You bought me a black hat to go with my brown jacket.”

Shit. She hadn’t even thought of that. The color scheme hadn’t even occurred to her. Clearly, she was nothing like her sister. “Sorry,” she mumbled, feeling unaccountably embarrassed. “I can exchange it.”

While her sister and mother made degrading comments about her taste in head attire, Jesse smiled so brightly he could have lit the room without the help of the tree and lamp, and said, “No, it’s fine. Really. I love it.”

Was she imagining the inflection on the word love? Probably. Undoubtedly. Jesse had Jessica, and she was as perfect as it was possible for a human being to be. Anna could dream all she wanted, but the reality was, she would never be good enough for someone like her brother-in-law.

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Intrigued? The Perfect Christmas is part of the Unwrapping Love anthology. It’s available now, exclusively through Amazon. You can download, or buy the real deal, and they’ll ship you a book.

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In the meantime, if you have any questions about the anthology, or the Writing Wenches, ask in the comments below. Otherwise, happy reading!

PS – Stay tuned, because in a few weeks, probably shortly before Christmas, I’ll post the epilogue to The Perfect Christmas, here on my blog. The epilogue was actually supposed to be included in the story, but for one reason or another, my editor and I both decided to nix it. Well, not nix it entirely, just cut it from the anthology. Luckily, I saved the copy to my computer, and I’ll be able to share it with you all, right here. But first, I figure I’ll give you a chance to read the story. THEN you can head back over here to read my super-adorable epilogue.

And in the meantime, how about a contest? There’s a big prize involved. By big, I mean BIG. Check it out here. Good luck. and ’til next time … Read On!

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