Grand Slam by Heidi McLaughlin – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Grand Slam, now in print for the very first time. Please enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win your very own print copy.

**Now Available in Print for the First Time!**

Win the game. Lose your heart.

Everyone knows who I am and that I could have any female fan I want. That’s supposed to be the “perk” of playing left field for the Boston Renegades. But I don’t want just any woman; I want her.

She should be just another face in the crowd, but I can’t stop thinking about the one night we spent together-and her look of regret the morning after.

Because Saylor Blackwell is the kind of woman who haunts a man. Smart, sexy as hell, and one of the best managers in the business. She’s every ballplayer’s dream woman. And I’d do anything to make things right with her.

I’m done sitting on the bench when it comes to Saylor Blackwell. Time to swing for the fences.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Whenever I wake up with a hangover, I often ask myself why I drank so much and promise that I’ll never do it again. That promise is something I’ve been breaking for the past few days, and up until now, I didn’t care.

I had hoped the booze would muddy my memory of last night, but it hasn’t. Every word she said, every expression she had, every punch to my chest to get me out of her apartment is crystal clear. I fucked up, and I don’t even know how. All I know is that the sobs I heard on the other side of Saylor’s door last night were enough to sober my stupid ass up.

For hours, I sat against her door, until a resident suggested I leave or they were going to call the police. If I hadn’t been arrested earlier, I probably would have encouraged them to dial Boston’s Finest. Another man might understand my plight. The woman that I want to be with kicked me out of her house, and while I probably deserved it, I didn’t want to leave until she stopped crying. I didn’t want to be the one to walk away in her time of need.

But as egos go—and believe me, mine is huge—I couldn’t let it get in the way any longer, so I walked my drunk ass back home with my tail between my legs, only to stay up all night while the booze wore off, knowing that I had to live with whatever I’d done to Saylor.

She’s the last person in the world who I want to hurt, and she’s the one person who can save me. Not only from a life behind bars, but from myself. When I’m with her, I’m a different person. The cocky son of a bitch whom everyone is used to doesn’t exist when she’s near me, and frankly, that is the man I like, or at least I used to. It’s easier being a fucking douche. It’s second nature to me and comes with the territory of being named one of the city’s most eligible bachelors.

Except when I’m with Saylor, I can be the man who hides in the shadow of that Travis Kidd. I can be the kind of man who doesn’t have to have a one-liner available or wink in order to get a phone number. When I’m with her, life outside of baseball starts to have a meaning, a fucking purpose.

About the Author: Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, Jill.

When she isn’t writing one of the many stories planned for release, you’ll find her sitting courtside during either daughter’s basketball games.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Google Play, iBooks, IndieBound, or Kobo.


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The Lawman’s Apache Moon by Debra Holt – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will win a $10 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

“No more detours!” That was the promise Angelina Lord made to herself when she accepted a ride from a wedding in Texas, with the best man to her destination in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What could possibly go wrong?

Angelina is focused on one thing–opening a fashion boutique in Santa Fe. What she really doesn’t need is one full-of-himself lawman with his aggravating air of superiority and soul-searing eyes…not to mention heart-stopping kisses…coming to her rescue. If she lets him get too close to the truth, he could bring down the wall she erected around her well-ordered life and her heart.

United States Marshal Jace Blackhawke holds family and traditions as the center of his life. He isn’t part of Angie’s world and she certainly isn’t part of his. Will their differences prove to be too insurmountable in the face of the truth that will not stay silent?

Enjoy an Excerpt

At first, Clay remained silent. When Jace was about to prompt him again, he finally began to open up. “A long time ago, I thought I did the right thing. It hurt like hell to do it. Then I did something else that seemed to be the honorable thing. And that went bad, too. I paid for it all for twelve long years. Now, Kaitlyn comes back here because her grandmother needed to see her. I thought I was beyond all the feelings, all the memories and the pain from a dozen years ago. But turns out, I am still the world’s biggest fool. I put my heart out there once again. But I should have known it was too late.” He’d probably left out the more personal details, but what he told Jace was enough to have him shaking his head when Clay finally finished with his departure from the ranch that morning and his arrival at Lou’s Bar.

About the Author: Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).

When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

Debra invites you to visit her website at She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at

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Inspiration – It comes on Four Legs by Patricia Yager Delagrange – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Patricia Yager Delagrange who is visiting with us today to celebrate yesterday’s release of Maddy’s Phoenix. Leave a comment or ask the author a question by Friday, August 11, to be one of two readers to win a free print or eBook of Maddy’s Phoenix (winner’s choice). Patricia will announce the winner in comments on Saturday, August 12.

Inspiration—It Comes on Four Legs
by Patricia Yager Delagrange
I have two chocolate Labradors: Annabella and her son, Jack. Jack and I have a special bond; he’s my baby. He was born with a long-undiagnosed condition with a name my young daughter loved to tell anyone who would listen to her say it, over and over: cranial mandibular osteopathy. Jack’s head was literally expanding and contracting, making one eye close shut. Hence the nickname, One-Eyed Jack.

Jack was in a lot of pain, and before the vets arrived at their “ah-ha” moment, my husband suggested we put him to sleep. I said no—not until I had a diagnosis and if there was no cure. Long story short, we learned it’s a self-limiting condition, which stopped after two months, leaving Jack with a golf ball-size lump of bone under his chin. A totally cosmetic problem he can live with.

So Jack became a happy little Labrador, and we developed a very special bond during his struggles. I have difficulty writing without him plastered to the left side of my leg while I sit on the couch, working on my books. Knowing he wants to be that close makes me happy. It lifts my spirits that he’s alive, snoring comfortably cuddled next to me. I reach over, stroke his silky smooth ears, and it relaxes me. I hold his paw, which is like grasping that of a small lion’s since he weighs 105 pounds.

I need peace and quiet while writing. No music. No television. No beeping cars. And with Jack by my side, I get that. I feel the quiet. I can write.

Jack inspires me to figure out the problems my characters face and how they struggle to overcome them and find romance. Similar to the outcome of Jack’s health crisis, my characters must have their happy endings, too.

Another big boy helps me with my writing—my Friesian horse, Maximus. This 1,425-pound guy lives in a huge stall with a million dollar view of the tall trees and thick, green foliage in the rolling Oakland hills a short drive from my home on Alameda Island. Our routine is almost sacred. I groom him, brush his jet-black forelock that hangs past his dark chocolate eyes, swing the small English saddle over his back, tighten the girth around his extra-large tummy, and jump on his back.

On our favorite trail, dense, overhanging trees form a magnificent tunnel along a meandering path. My peaceful place, the perfect venue for working on my plot and characters. No interruptions. I don’t even take my cell phone when I ride him. Just the chirping of hidden birds, the tramping of the occasional hiker with an unleashed dog. And always the greeting, “Is that a Clydesdale?” To which I answer, “No, sir. Maximus is about a thousand pounds shy of being a Clydesdale.” Too, his long, regal neck and Spock-like ears distinguish him from the Budweiser commercial stars.

When I ride Maximus, I drift into my writing zone. No need for a computer. My state of mind in the woods on his regal back is perfect for figuring out how I’m going to solve my characters’ problems. How I’ll help them find their happy ending.

I recall a time when I was in the early stages of writing my August 8 release, MADDY’S PHOENIX. I’d been pondering a plot problem in the beginning of the story, so off I went to ride Maximus. On the trail, he pulled one of his shenanigans and coaxed out of me the direction the plot should take. He loves to raise his hoof and splash water, so I let him walk through a huge puddle. On his back, I’m usually safe from the muddy spray he creates, but this time he decided to lie down and roll in the puddle. All horses roll. It’s their comfort thing. But this is a dangerous situation for the rider, so I quickly pulled him up, and we continued on our merry way.

But that little scenario triggered a thought in my mind. How was I going to pull Maddy out of her dilemma, out of her mud puddle? The struggling waitress has just discovered a baby in a dumpster behind the café where she works. A few days ago she miscarried a second time, and she desperately wants to keep this precious, discarded infant, whom she names Judith. But how can she keep little Judith without going to jail?

Amazingly, the solution popped right into my mind. Maddy had to leave the little town of Monte Rio in northern California on the Russian River and go to a place where no one knows her. Where she—and Judith—can begin a new life without fear of discovery. I thought, Oakland. That’s where she would go. Problem solved. Thanks, Maximus!

So my beautiful fur-legged family members are not only loving companions, they inspire me and even help me with plot problems. Do these beautiful creatures sense I need a nudge, a little help here and there? Who knows?

Tell me about the four-legged members of your family and how their unconditional love helps you. Two Long and Short Reviews readers who comment below by Friday, August 11, 2017 will win a print or digital copy of MADDY’S PHOENIX—their choice!

Maddy McCray lives a hard scrabble life, working as a waitress at the Monte Rio Café in a little town on California’s Russian River. Abandoned by her mother when she was a teenager, then by her two worthless boyfriends, she is nonetheless grateful for the rustic cabin where she lives—and for Cheryl, the older and wiser waitress who watches over her while Maddy anticipates the birth of her baby.

Then one night Maddy goes into labor prematurely and loses her precious baby. The loss is almost more than the distraught 22-year-old can bear. A few days later she discovers a tiny infant in a dumpster behind the café. An abandoned baby, a baby no one wants, a baby who will wind up in a string of foster homes. But Maddy wants the baby. She names her Judith.

Maddy resolves to take the money in her tip jar and move to the Bay Area, where she can get a better-paying job and study to become a nurse, to be better than the things her momma said about her. But how can Maddy take care of little Judith, work and go to school? Help comes from Cheryl, who helps Maddy move to the Oakland area, where the young mother goes to school—and meets a man on the college campus, who sees something special in her. But can she trust her heart again?

About the Author: Fascinated by broken-hearted couples and atypical families, Patricia Yager Delagange weaves engaging tales of men and women who create cohesive families where love reigns supreme. She sprinkles her books with intriguing characters who struggle to find balance in life after tragedy. Whether an unwed teenager, desperate widow, abandoned father, or a couple who stray from their marital vows, her characters form relationships impacted by their desire to create a family.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Patricia attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, where she studied Psychology and Spanish. She spent her junior year abroad at the University of Madrid studying Spanish, then transferred to UC Santa Barbara, where she received her B.A. in Spanish. She went on to get a Master’s degree in Education at Oregon State University.

Patricia lives with her husband and two children in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, along with two very large chocolate and a rescue terrier mix. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, Patricia enjoys riding her Friesian horse Maximus, who lives in the Oakland hills with a million dollar view.

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Love on the Risky Side by Mariah Ankenman – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mariah will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Falsely accused of the murder of her best friend, Kayla Jenkins is on the run for her life. She ends up lost in dark, snowy woods off some backcountry road in the middle of nowhere. Frightened and colder than she’s ever been in her life, she almost thinks she’s hallucinating when a warrior on a white steed saves her.

In all his years as the sheriff of Peak Town, Colorado, Jake Ryder has never come across a half-frozen woman alone in the woods. She’s terrified…and lying to him, yet something about her calls to him on a primal level.

Even with her trust of law enforcement lower than the harsh temperature, Kayla finds it difficult to keep her secrets hidden from the kind and far too handsome sheriff. But as her faith in Ryder grows, she not only risks the real murderer finding her, but losing the one thing she has searched for her whole life and only just found…love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“My name is Jake Ryder, but most folks call me Ryder.” When she didn’t return the introduction, he continued. “Can I ask how you came to be all the way out here in the middle of the night?”

Giving a guarded glance from the horse back to him, she simply said, “Got lost.”

And they say women were chatty. Hell, he had a pet parrot as a kid that talked more than this woman. Not a problem. As sheriff, he was used to interrogating uncooperative suspects. Not that she was a suspect, yet.

“Got lost…” He looked her over. Big, red, winter coat, long dark slacks and—were those high heels? “…shopping?”

Honestly, who the hell wears heels in the woods?

She scowled, wrapping her arms around herself. “My car ran off the road. I—I got out to find help. Wandered off the road and got lost.”

Something about her story smelled like Wind Chaser’s stall after feeding time. “Why didn’t you call Triple A?”

Her gaze darted to the side. “Cell died.”

Yeah, and I’m the King of England.

“You need a ride back to your car?”

Her eyes widened. “On that thing?”

“Her name is Wind Chaser, and yes. Did you think I had a car hidden in the trees?”

Her jaw clenched at his sarcasm. Well, excuse him. It was dark, cold, and the last thing he wanted to do was be out here trying to pull a story out of Ms. Lying-Crazy-Lady.

About the Author:RWA® Golden Heart® Nominated author Mariah Ankenman began writing at the tender age of five. Her first book “George and the Green Glob” received high praise from her mother. Many years, and green glob stories later, Mariah received a playwriting degree from the University of Wyoming. After a few years in Hollywood, working in “the biz,” she came home to the beautiful Rocky Mountains. When she’s not writing Mariah loves to read, crochet, and play her ukulele. She loves to hear from readers.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or The Wild Rose Press.

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Top Five Favorite Foods by Jodi Ellen Malpas – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jodi Ellen Malpas who is celebrating today’s release of The Forbidden. Enter to win a copy of the book.

Top 5 favorite foods

1.Giant Strawbs. They’re actually Jack’s favourite in The Forbidden, too. J
2.Prawn linguine
3.A good cheeseburger
4.Bacon sandwich
5.Anything cheesy. I love cheese. It’s a MAJOR vice

A new story of dangerous temptations from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the This Man trilogy.

Annie has never experienced the ‘spark’ with a guy – the kind of instant chemistry that steals your breath and blindsides you completely. Until a night out with friends brings her face to face with the wickedly sexy and mysterious Jack. It’s not just a spark that ignites between them. It’s an explosion. Jack promises to consume Annie, and he fully delivers on that promise.

Overwhelmed by the intensity of their one night together, Annie slips out of their hotel room. She is certain that a man who’s had such a powerful impact on her and who could bend her to his will so easily, must be dangerous. But she’s already in too deep. And Jack isn’t only dangerous. He is forbidden.

“Every kiss, every sexy scene, every word between this pair owned a piece of my soul. I could read this book a hundred times and still react as if it was the first time. The Protector is a top 2016 fave for me.” –Audrey Carlan, #1 bestselling author of The Calendar Girl series

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Thank you for your help,” I say quietly, studying him, definitely detecting that he’s deep in thought. Don’t ask, don’t ask, don’t ask. I need to get back into my apartment without engaging with him, which could prove tricky when he’s blocking the doorway and looking like he has no intention of shifting to let me in.

“Annie,” he breathes. “I’m struggling so badly.”

“I’m not doing this.” I swallow, pushing my way past him. He grabs me by the top of my arm and holds me in place. “Let me go, Jack.”

“I’ve already told you I can’t do that. Annie, I’m drowning here. I’m going out of my mind, and the more time I spend with you the fucking worse it’s getting. Listening to you, talking to you, sharing a passion with you that goes way beyond the amazing time we had in bed together.”

“You have to forget!” I yell, knowing anger is the only way forward. Be angry with him. Let it dominate me and rule me, because the alternative scares me to fucking death.

He pushes me into the hall and slams the door behind us, forcing me to back up. “No,” he says, straight and even. “No,” he repeats, moving one more step forward, except this time I don’t retreat. Because I can’t. Because he has me locked in place with those grey eyes, and now they’re back to their full glory. Sparkling, even if it’s with anger. He reaches for his shirt and starts unbuttoning it before shrugging it off and throwing it to the floor, revealing the chest that’s haunting me.

I quickly look down at the pile of material, my mind reeling. His chest. His perfect damn chest. “What are you doing?”

“I have no fucking idea.” He reaches for me and slides a hand around my neck, pulling me to him. Our chests meet, and my determination to repel him vanishes under our connection. Wrongs turn into rights. Conflict turns into craving.

“I can’t get you out of my head, Annie.” His forehead meets mine, his palm massaging away the tightness in my neck muscles, softening me up until I relax in his hold. “I want you all over again, and I can’t even find the will to worry about how much more that’ll make me want you.” He breathes down on me. “I’ve played that night on repeat. I’ve dreamed of holding you in my arms again. I’ve craved the sound of your voice, the feel of your touch, the softness of your lips on mine. I know I shouldn’t want you. But I do. Nothing has ever made me feel this insane with need. Nothing has taken up so much space in my head. I can’t fucking help it, Annie.” His grey gaze sinks into me, my heart steadying to an even thrum. His head starts to shake mildly, his splayed hand moving up to the back of my head and fisting my hair. “I don’t want to help it,” he growls. “I want you. I don’t care how wrong it is.” His clenched fist tightens, gripping my hair harshly. “I know I’ve been on your mind since I fucked you every which way in that hotel room. Stop denying it. Don’t insult me and tell me you don’t crave that amazing feeling all over again. I can see it in your eyes every damn time I look into them. You. Want. Me.”

It’s me who moves in first. All me. I lunge forward and smash my lips to his, the magnetic force winning. His words winning. Jack winning. My heart winning. I coax his mouth open with hard, hungry kisses. I’ve lost my mind to a craving too powerful to fight off. And, like Jack, I don’t care how wrong it is.


Yet as he walks me backward until my back slams into the wall, I feel found again.

I cry out, and Jack moans. We’re clumsy and desperate. He’s pushing me up the wall with the force of his kiss, then he’s rolling away, taking me with him until it’s his back slamming into the wall. It’s the elevator all over again. The atmosphere is sizzling. I’m on fire. He scoops me up, pinning me to him, and carries me into my bedroom. I focus on him. Only him and the return of feelings that I’ve fantasized about since that unforgettable night. All the guilt is abandoning me, and I let it, unprepared to let anything stop me from taking the forbidden.

About the Author:

Jodi Ellen Malpas author photos

Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands’ town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys. Working for her father’s construction business full-time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing until it became impossible. She wrote in secret for a long time before finally finding the courage to unleash her creative streak, and in October 2012 she released This Man. She took a chance on a story with some intense characters and sparked incredible reactions from women all over the world. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters have become her passion, a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.

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One of My Favorite Places to Go on Vacation by Julia Talbot – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Julia Talbot, author of Sparkle and Shine, which is newly re-released by Dreamspinner Press.

One of my favorite places to go on vacation

Hey y’all! I’m Julia Talbot, and I’m here to combine one of my favorite places to go on vacation with shouting out my latest release at Dreamspinner. Sparkle and Shine is one of my favorites, and Dreamspinner Press is being kind enough to release it for me again!

Evan and Brooks are rodeo cowboys in the story, trying to find their way with the rodeo, a little girl, and a friends to lovers situation.

So, I decided to tell y’all about Las Vegas.

Now, the average American probably doesn’t think rodeo when they think about Las Vegas. Rhinestones and neon, casinos and mobsters; that’s what we associate with that town. Buffets and steak houses, if you’re old school, celebrity chefs and designer clothes if you’re hip. (I haven’t been hip since the 90s, I’m afraid).

But when I think of Vegas, I think of three things. The PBR (professional bullriders) finals in October. The National Finals Rodeo in December. And country music concerts.

I’ve been to the PBR finals 5 times. I’ve seen Tim McGraw twice in Vegas. I’ve never been to the National Finals because, well, someone has to die for you to get good seats, and it comes right before Christmas, but someday I plan to go.

I love Vegas. I love the glitz and glamour of the strip. I love the weird themed hotels, though I have to admit, it’s gotten fancier over the years, less individual and kitschy. The first time I went, I was just going with friends, and I stayed at the Luxor, which back then had a scale replica of King Tut’s tomb, and an Imax ride Egyptian Adventure. I think there’s a Mexican restaurant now where the tomb used to be…

I’ve seen an exhibit of the Titanic, the wax museum, a collection of Liberace’s costumes (talk about rhinestones! Google him, y’all) and a PBR bar with a bucking machine inside it. We’ve watched rodeo cowboys play poker, and being the uber fans we are, we made $5.00 last three hours on a nickel slot so we could stalk them. We’ve taken weird little trains from one end of the strip to the others, listened to hundreds of languages, and people watched until we couldn’t take anymore. We’ve eaten at the Border Grille, at Chef Ramsey’s place in Caesar’s, and had steak frittes at the Paris. We’ve walked the strip for miles, even when the wife had the flu, and we’ve seen a bazillion shows, from Cirque de Soleil to Absinthe to concerts.

In short, there’s an awful lot to see, even if you don’t like rodeo, but really, how can you not love cowboys?


All that glitters is not gold. No-frills cowboy Evan learned that lesson the hard way while married to a rodeo princess, a relationship that was all flash and no substance. At least Evan held on to his daughter, Cheyenne, and his best friend, Brooks, when the sparkle wore off and things fell apart. Life could be a lot worse.

But it could also be better… if Evan and Brooks took a step beyond friendship. Just as they start to explore their feelings, Evan’s ex-wife sticks her nose in to sabotage them. Suddenly everything is up in the air, and they have difficult choices to make about the rodeo, Cheyenne, and the romance they both want so badly to pursue.

First edition published by Torquere Press, November 2007

About the Author: Stories that leave a mark. Julia Talbot loves romance across all the genders and genres, and loves to write about people working to see past the skin they’re in to love what lies beneath. Julia Talbot lives in the great mountain and high desert Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Dreamspinner and Changeling Press among many others. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. She also writes BDSM and erotic romance as Minerva Howe. “The mountains are calling, and I must go”

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Amy Lane Interviews Karen Rose – Special Exclusive Interview

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amy Lane who is visiting with us to celebrate the recent release of Red Fish, Dead Fish, which is currently on sale for just $0.99!

Suspense that comes up Rose’s
by Amy Lane

Okay folks—so, I’m here today to promote Red Fish, Dead Fish, my latest story in the Fish Out of Water series.  Now, usually in a blog tour, we talk about ourselves and our newest book until we can’t hardly stand it—but this time out I decided to do something different. I’m going to talk about other people’s books—because I know some amazing romantic suspense authors, and I wanted to celebrate them instead. So Red Fish, Dead Fish is out on Amazon, it’s the second in the series, and I think you’ll like it very much a lot! That being said, let’s talk about Karen Rose!

When Karen Rose e-mailed me last year to say she enjoyed my work, nobody was as surprised as I was. I had just bought the first three of her books (and now I’m on like, the tenth!) because she writes romantic suspense and that is just my favorite candy of all times. So to see that she had read me first? I was all aflutter.

She is possibly the dearest person I’ve ever met.

You would not expect that from someone who rips her characters apart and puts them through the wringer and then pounds them on the head and then brings them back for their own book, but she’s absolutely lovely. She believes that a HEA is possible for everybody—but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to hack through the blood and the bodies to get it.

Her thrillers are tense, intricate, exquisitely plotted and full of the most amazing details—but always, always they come back to character. People come first with her—both in her life and in her wonderful, gritty, tense, angsty, fantastic crime thrillers that will captivate and enthrall you.

Genre expectations are fairly important–in YOUR words, what are the differences between romantic suspense, mystery suspense, cozy, noir, and thrillers?  Which do you feel you write–and why?

I’ve always seen thriller/suspense/mystery as concentric circles, like a target. The mystery is in the center and the unknown can be who, why, or even how the villain will be brought down and how many victims will he take before his defeat? Suspense is an additional layer, the heart pounding nearness of the villain or the danger to the hero, heroine, or someone in their sphere. A thriller is the mystery and suspense, but with elements of action – car chases, fights, bombs, or bullets – or all of the above.

A cozy is a mystery in which the personal stakes don’t feel as intense. Normally there is no explicit sex or gory violence. Low body counts (if any). Noir evokes more of a gritty, menacing mood – it often features hard boiled private investigators, gangs and molls, good and bad cops and cynical, snappy dialog.

Any of these can be mixed with romance. I consider myself an author of “romantic thrillers,” but, truthfully, I use “romantic suspense” almost interchangeably. For me, it’s a nuance.

The most important factors for romantic thrillers/suspenses/mysteries are: 1) the happy ending (or else it’s NOT a romance); 2) the relationship between the hero and heroine – they must work together to solve the mystery and to avert whatever disaster is pending. They grow together as a couple as well as individually, becoming – by the end of the book – stronger than the villain. Both should participate in the villain’s downfall. And to be a true romantic thriller/suspense/mystery, the romance has to be so integral to the plot that removing it creates a different book.

What do you think is the most delicious part of a suspense novel or a mystery?

When the killer is SO CLOSE that he could touch the hero and/or heroine and they HAVE NO IDEA. But the reader knows. It’s ever more delicious if there are elements of betrayal, i.e., the villain is a friend or confidant who has both proximity and information that can cause the hero/heroine the greatest pain.

Of course, the unveiling is the best part – that can be the identity of the killer or his motivation if the reader already knows who he or she is.

Tell me about body counts–seriously. How many corpses make a good suspense novel, and why?

My villains normally have at least a dozen victims by the last page. There at least has to be one, in my opinion. The villain creating a path of destruction and loss as he/she moves through the story is one way of ratcheting up the tension and portraying the depths of the villain’s true evil nature.

Dish about TV shows–which ones do you love and which ones do you hate from a suspense POV? Which TV show/movie do you most want your books to resemble?

I am a long-time fan of Law & Order and I mourned the passing of Jerry Orbach (Lenny Briscoe). Cold Case is one of my favorites as it delves deep into the motivation and emotion of all the characters – police, victims, families, and the villain.

When you read outside your genre, what’s your candy? (I ask everybody this–I think it’s fascinating!)  

I rarely read suspense and never horror. (Gives me bad dreams!) I love romances – paranormal, LGBT, and fantasy. I find many of these have a suspense theme running through them, though. 

Have you ever freaked yourself right out by writing a suspense scene? Which scene, and do you think it made the book better?

I’ve frightened myself a few times. One that comes to mind was YOU CAN’T HIDE (2006) in which the villain hides cameras in A/C vents. I was writing the book in a hotel room in Reno (during the 2005 RWA conference, actually), and there was a broken A/C vent. I kept staring at it until I finally had to climb on a chair and check for cameras. There weren’t any. Whew.

Thanks, Karen!!

For more interviews and author close ups for Romantic Suspense, check out the rest of the blog tour—

July 28 – MM Good Book Reviews Amy Lane
July 28 – Alpha Book Reviews (Just a little about Jackson in Fish Out of Water)
July 31 – Open Skye Book Reviews Andrew Grey
August 1 – Two Chicks Obsessed Kim Fielding
August 2 – My Fiction Nook Rayna Vause
August 3 – Tammy’s Two Cents Ava Drake
August 4 – Happily Ever Chapter Melinda Leigh
August 7 – Long and Short Reviews Karen Rose
August 8 – Love Bytes Charlie Cochet
August 10 – The Novel Approach Tere Michaels

They must work together to stop a psychopath—and save each other.

Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.

Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.

Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

About the author: Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.


Buy the book at Amazon or Dreamspinner Press.

Ava Hayden on Her Favorite Vacation Destination – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Ava Hayden to celebrate the recent release of The Valentine’s Day Resolution.

Ava Hayden on Her Favorite Vacation Destination
Thanks to Long and Short Reviews for hosting me today and giving me a chance to talk a little about my new release, , and tell you about a place I love.

I can’t honestly say I have a single favorite vacation destination, because I have a long list of places I loved visiting and want to visit again. But I can say that there’s one spot in the world that keeps drawing back me almost as if I have some kind of homing instinct for it, and that place is Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

In The Valentine’s Day Resolution, Paul loves to vacation on Vancouver Island, but his favorite spot is Tofino. It’s just one of many beautiful towns on the island, and it’s known as a surfing and storm watching destination.

If I tried to talk about every single locale I love on Vancouver Island, this post would run really long, so I’m sticking to Victoria, the capital city. Here are my top five things to love about Victoria, BC.

1) The Royal BC Museum. I scheduled two of my trips to Victoria just to see special exhibits in the Royal BC Museum (Vikings and Mammoths). The permanent exhibits are always worth a repeat visit as well. And if you have a few hours before your flight or ferry, you can pop in and watch an IMAX flick or two, something I seem to end up doing every trip.

2) The inner harbour. Victoria harbour is gorgeous, and there’s always plenty to see: quirky and unique houseboats, busy waterways and the marina, float planes landing and taking off non-stop, eateries on the water. I like to walk a big loop all around the harbour, which requires a water taxi transfer, and the water taxis are totally adorable and fun to ride.

Adorbs! Okay, one more:

Victoria BC water taxi. #vancouverisland #victoriabc #victoria #canadaflag

A post shared by Ava Hayden (@avahayden.ab) on

3) High tea. Victoria has a reputation as being one of the most “British” cities in British Columbia. You can find high tea all over. The most famous high tea is served at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, but my favorite so far is the Big Muckle Giant Tea for Two at the White Heather Tea Room. Oh, yes, gentle reader—we ate the whole thing (and I hope to do it again soon).

4) Rebar Modern Food. I have a friend who eats at Rebar every day when she’s in Victoria. Located in historic Bastion Square, Rebar is liquid nitrogen levels of cool without the attitude. Among its greatest hits: Classic Almond Burger. O.M.G. If you have never had one, you probably think almond burger? What’s the big deal? I know, because that’s what I thought until the first time I ate one. I repeat, O.M.G. Everything else is good too, just for the record.

5) Okay, I’m having a hard time narrowing my list down, but I’ll go with Murchie’s Fine Tea and Coffee. (Sensing a theme here?) Just try not drooling.

Eat up. Drink up. And then go for a long walk around the harbour!

Huxley carries invisible scars from a near-fatal car accident. He sleepwalks through a job at his father’s company, marking time until he can quit and pursue his own dreams. Everything changes the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger while riding to work. It’s as if he’s been shaken out of his stupor, and Huxley vows to find the man.

Thanks to a thieving ex-lover, Paul’s florist shop is on the brink of closing down. He needs to milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth—and the irony that a day dedicated to love might help undo the damage of a failed relationship is not lost on him.
When Huxley finds Paul at his shop, both men feel an instant attraction. Before long, they’re falling hard, but Huxley holds back. If Paul knew all the baggage he’s carrying, he might run.

Paul’s gut tells him Huxley is hiding something. Huxley looks like a keeper, but Paul can’t go through another disastrous romance.

When Valentine’s Day arrives, will they have anything to celebrate?

About the Author: Ava Hayden lives and writes in Alberta, Canada. When not writing, she loves reading yaoi manga and gay romance, baking, seeing plays, hearing live music, and hiking (even though she once came face to face with two grizzlies on a trail). Most of the time her life isn’t that exciting, and that’s fine by her.

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Somewhere My Lady by Beth Trissel – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Beth Trissel will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Lorna Randolph is hired for the summer at Harrison Hall in Virginia, where Revolutionary-War reenactors provide guided tours of the elegant old home. She doesn’t expect to receive a note and a kiss from the handsome young man who then vanishes into mist.

Harrison Hall itself has plans for Lorna – and for Hart Harrison, her momentary suitor and its 18th century heir. Past and present are bound by pledges of love, and modern science melds with old skills and history as Harrison Hall takes Lorna and Hart through time in a race to solve a mystery and save Hart’s life before the Midsummer Ball.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Something about him held her spellbound…the tilt of his head, arch of his brow, glimpse of his profile… She followed his every move with the fixity of an owl.

He turned blue-gray eyes toward her and sensuous lips curved into a smile on his handsome face. Hands down. No contest. He was the hottest guy ever. Her heart beat a thrilling new rhythm.

He circled closer to where she stood rooted in the foyer, not moving a toe, scarcely drawing breath. Did he truly see her backed tremulously against the wall, or did it only feel that way?

Unlike the others in the ghostly assembly, his eyes didn’t skirt past her. He paused in the dance. Bending at the shoulders, he tipped his hand to her in a genteel flourish.

He’d freakin’ bowed. Her jaw dropped. He most definitely saw her. And she sure as heck saw him.

A sparking sizzle jumped between them, awakening her as she’d never been roused before. Even more than when the house charged through her at her arrival. It was as if she were plugged in—to him.

How that could be, she had no idea, but when he gazed into her eyes, time seemed to stop. She spiraled into moonless stars, and back again to this dizzying realm. To him. Even if she were dreaming, she’d never forget this moment.

About the Author: Married to her high school sweetheart, Beth Trissel lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by her human family and furbabies. An avid gardener, her love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into her work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans, and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of her inspiration. She’s especially drawn to colonial America and the drama of the American Revolution. And she loves a good ghost story. In addition to Young Adult and New Adult fantasy romance, she also writes historical, time travel, and paranormal romance, plus nonfiction.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

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The Lady’s Arrangement by Colleen L. Donnelly – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Colleen will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.

Ranger Rex Duncan needs a false identity—just long enough to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves. Answering Regina’s ad for a temporary husband, he leaves his beloved red dirt of Oklahoma to assume that disguise. But the most obstinate woman he’s ever known confounds his assignment, and with hair the red color that has always made his heart beat a little faster.

Regina Howard needs a new Mrs. in front of her name—just long enough to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch, since Kansas law won’t allow women to own property. When Rex answers her ad for a husband who can take orders as part of a brief business arrangement, she finds this stubborn man ignores her every command. Yet a good man is far more than just a name…

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt

I came off the wall and stepped along the inside of the barn doorway. I peered through one of the gaps between the boards. Doc stood near her, very near her, looking down in a way the widow deserved. “Thank you, Doc,” I called and waved as I strode out where they could see me. Doc and Regina each took a step back from the other.

“No—thank you.” Doc nodded, but I caught the baffled look on his face. “And thanks to your horse, there, also. Walter.” He tipped his head toward Walter.

I could see the ready in his eyes, the ready that would take care of Regina and Jess, whether they were ready or not. I waited for Regina to chime in, say anything to either him or me, but she didn’t. Her face picked up a sheen. A crimson flush that made her look right attractive where she was, here on a ranch instead of somewhere frilly back east. Red. I was way too fond of red. I felt a similar sheen creep up the back of my neck.

“Thank ya,” I said again. I rubbed my hands along my trousers, making old memories sting. Doc needed to go. I dropped my hands. No, he needed to stay. I watched him and Regina. If I’d known the rules for moments like this, Becky wouldn’t be Becky Carson right now. Doc was reserved, but he seemed to know how to stand and how to look. “Anything special I can do for Jess?” I called across the brown dirt to where they stood.

“Ben…” Regina looked my way. We stared at each other across that color of ground I didn’t care for, her red on the other side like a rising sun.

Doc should go. No, he should stay.

“Thank ya again, Doc.” I knew I should hie it back into the barn. Doc would love that woman, but he sure couldn’t lead. Ted would run over him every chance he got. So would she. It was the look on Regina’s face that gave me what I needed to leave them alone. I dragged one boot backward, and then the other until I was on my own in the barn’s dim light. Walter nickered from outside the doorway as they began to speak again. To each other. Soft, so I couldn’t hear. I went back to the low wall and bent forward, bracing myself against it with both arms. I leaned into my fists and listened until Doc Harris’s buggy finally rolled away. Wheels grinding into the solid dirt, the crunch getting farther and farther from Regina.


I heard her behind me, the step that said West as much as East, the clip of her deceased husband’s boots stopping not far from my back. I knew what I had to do. I drew in a deep breath and turned. She opened her mouth the same time I opened mine.

“Will you marry me?”

About the Author: Born and raised in the Midwest, Colleen earned a four-year degree in Medical Technology and used it to travel and explore other parts of the country while working in the field of science.

Outside the laboratory she delves deeply into literature, both reading and writing, her interest piqued by tales involving moral dilemmas and the choices people come up against.

A lover of the outdoors as well as a comfy living room, Colleen is always searching inside and out for the next good story.

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Buy the book for only $0.99 at Amazon.

Also available at Amazon:

Mine to Tell
Love on a Train
Asked For

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