GUEST BLOG and Giveaway by Julie Ann Walker

Military Heroes…

The Top Five Reasons They Are Holy-Moley-Hot

 Leave a comment to win a print copy of Rev It Up (Book 3 in the Black Knights Inc. Series, and where readers first meet Rock and Vanessa, hero and heroine of Thrill Ride). US and Canada only please.

Hey, all you romantic suspense fans out there!  Julie Ann Walker here, author of the bestselling Black Knights Inc. series.  And I’m super psyched to be on Long and Short Reviews, talking about those military heroes we just can’t seem to get enough of.  I mean, they’re hot, right?  Like two syllable hot.  As in, haw-aht!

But what makes them so lip-smacking delicious?  What is it about the military hero that automatically makes us drool like we’ve just come back from a root canal?  Well, I don’t know about you guys, but for me there are five things.  Five very specific things that… uh… shall we say, ring my bell?

So, without further ado, I give you the top five reasons why I think military heroes are holey-moley-hot…

 5.)  They use really cool lingo.

“Roger that!”  “Charlie foxtrot!”   “Watch your six!”  “Fubar!”  “On the double!”  I mean seriously?  I read that kind of dialogue and instantly my temperature jumps ten degrees.

4.)  They know how to handle their… erm… guns.

No, not those guns, you gutter-minded readers.  :-)  I’m talking about real guns.  The ones with triggers and clips and bullets.  And, perhaps it’s a throwback to earlier times when in order to survive we women needed our men to know which end of the spear was up, but for me, there’s just something fundamentally sexy about a man who has the skill and the confidence to operate a weapon.

3.)  They’re loyal, patriotic, dependable, and courageous.  Basically, they embody all things that are good and admirable in a hero.  Enough said.  ;-)

2.)  They’re very fit… and usually tattooed.

Now this may just be me, but one sure way to make me go weak in the knees is to show me a nice tattoo inked atop a big, bulging muscle.  Can you say, “mama likey,” boys and girls?

And last, but not least…

1.)  They look damn good in their uniforms.

But don’t take my word for it.  Just check out these photos of some of our favorite actors.  And, granted, they’re sexy without the uniforms.  But with the uniforms?  MEOW!

 

LAS Ben Affleck Photo LAS Channing Tatum Photo LAS Eric Skarsgard Photo LAS Jeremy Renner Photo LAS Josh Duhamel Photo LAS Richard Gere Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Long and Short Reviews for having me on today!  It’s been a blast!

 

THRILL RIDE BY JULIE ANN WALKER – IN STORES APRIL 2013

 

4_1 Thrill Ride CoverHe’s Gone Rogue…

Ex-navy SEAL Rock Babineaux is as Cajun as they come—spicy, sexy, and more than a bit wicked. But would he actually betray his country? Even his best friends on the special-ops Black Knights team aren’t sure they can trust him. Now the target of a massive manhunt, Rock knows the only way to protect the team—especially his partner, Vanessa—is to run…

 She Won’t Back Down…

Rock might think he can outmaneuver them all, but he hasn’t counted on how stubborn Vanessa Cordero can be. And she refuses to cut him loose. Sure, her partner has his secrets, but there’s no one in the world she’d rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good because she and Rock are about to get very tight…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 4_1 JulieAnnWalker

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She’ll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. Look for the first four books in her fast-paced series: Hell On Wheels (August 2012) In Rides Trouble (September 2012) Rev It Up (October 2012) and Thrill Ride (April 2013). For more information, please visit www.julieannwalker.com or follow her on Facebook www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor and/or Twitter @JAWalkerAuthor.

 

To Purchase Thrill Ride

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Books-a-Million

IndieBound

Target

Sourcebooks

Discover a New Love

Why Scotland? by Victoria Roberts

Thank you so much for having me today.

Why Scotland?

As soon as I picked up my first Scottish historical, I recognized this is where my path led. Everyone has different ideas of escape, and mine happens to be in Scotland with kilted men riding gigantic steeds and wielding broadswords. Have you seen pictures of Scotland? The countryside alone is breathtaking. Add a few Highland lairds and a couple of feisty heroines and it makes for a steamy romance of epic proportions.

My latest release, X Marks the Scot, is the second book in the Bad Boys of the Highlands trilogy. Declan MacGregor (Laird Ciaran MacGregor’s bad boy brother from Temptation in a Kilt) is back with a story of his own. Our heroine is none other than the bloody Campbell’s sister from Temptation in a Kilt, Lady Liadain Campbell. These two actually made quite the pair.

Here’s a fun excerpt.

“MacGregor!”

With lightning speed, he bolted through the trees toward the sound of her voice. He spotted her still form and stopped. Cautiously, he raised his bow while searching the surrounding landscape. Once he knew for certain there was no viable threat, only then would he attempt to approach her.

He remained alert, trying to decipher what was amiss. The healer was frozen with her skirts lifted up, giving him a perfect view of her creamy thigh.

Tears choked her voice. “Please, MacGregor.”

Following her wide-eyed stare, he recognized the reason for her distress. The culprit was making a beeline toward her. Lifting the bow, Declan took his shot, and as soon as the arrow made impact, he realized his mistake.

When the tip penetrated the reptile, the snake involuntarily jumped…right onto her foot. Her shrill screams rang through the trees and she jerked back several feet. To his surprise, the lass did not stop there.

She hiked up her dress even higher. She bounced up and down as though her feet were afire. Curses were thrown like stones as she swore like a man in the heat of battle. The shocking spectacle made any words that came to mind wedge in his throat.

The lass suddenly turned and raced back through the woods. Declan gaped as he caught glimpses of her bare, shapely legs fleeing through the forest trees.

What the hell was that? He threw back his head and roared with laughter. Who would have thought that the woman who resided under the same dangerous roof as the bloody Campbell was deathly afraid of snakes? Hell, she had lived with one. The idea was truly unbelievable. Honestly, he had never thought of her as faint-hearted.

He shook his head and walked back to the horses. He hoped the lass had enough sense to stop running and that he would not have to chase her down. Although the way she behaved, nothing would have surprised him.

The healer sat upon her mount, her back stiff and straight. When he approached, she cast her eyes away from him and shifted in the saddle.

“Why did ye run? The snake was dead.”

“I donna like snakes. I donna, donna, donna. I really donna. It touched my foot,” she blurted out and then shivered.

Declan tried not to chuckle, but one involuntarily escaped him. “I gathered that ye donna favor snakes, but ’tis dead.” He extended his hand to her. “Come down and stretch your legs before we ride again.”

She waved him off. “Nay, I am fine right where I am,” she said as she studied the ground. “I had more than enough stretching.”

“There are nay more snakes, lass. Come down.”

“Unless ye intend on pulling me from my horse’s back, I am nae moving,” she said stubbornly.

The words were out of Declan’s mouth before he had a chance to stay them. “Ye know, they could as easily be in the trees above your head as they could be upon the ground.” He patted her horse on the rump. He was teasing her, affectionately, not maliciously.

She paled and became watchful of the branches above. “Ye know? Ye may think ye are humorous, but let me assure ye that ye arenae.”

“Suit yourself.”

It was so much fun to be here. Thanks for having me.

Sourcebooks will give away one copy of X Marks the Scot (US and Canada only, please) to a lucky commenter. Where is your favorite place to travel?

2_27 X Marks the Scot Final

He was a Highland Rogue—Wicked with a Bow and Just as Wicked with the Ladies.

Declan MacGregor hadn’t a care in the world beyond finding a soft bed and a willing woman…until he had to escort Lady Liadain Campbell to the English court. The woman needles him at every turn, but he can’t just abandon her to that vipers’ nest without protection.

She Never Asked for a Bodyguard…

Liadain wasn’t thrilled to be left in the care of her clan’s archrival. It was as if the man never had a lady tell him no before! And yet as whispers of treason swirl through the court and the threat of danger grows even sharper, her bitter enemy soon becomes the only one she can trust…

Praise for X Marks the Scot:

5/5 – Reviewer Top Pick
“Enthralling Highlander romance. One of the best Highlander stories I’ve ever read. This is one author who just keeps on getting better.”

―Night Owl Reviews

“For a complex story brimming over with pride and passion, betrayal, trust and most of all the power to make a bad boy a hero, pick up this read.”

―RT Book Reviews/4 ½ Star Review

About the Author: Victoria Roberts writes sexy, Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. She was named by RT Book Reviews as “one of the most promising debut authors across the genres” and is also a 2012 Reviewers Choice Nominee for Best First Historical novel for her debut, Temptation in a Kilt.

Her second novel, X Marks the Scot, is available February 2013 and the third, To Wed a Wicked Highlander, September 2013.

Victoria is a member of Romance Writers of America®, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Western Pennsylvania Romance Writers, as well as a contributing author to the online magazine, Celtic Guide.

Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of nineteen years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish romp, she enjoys reading, nature, and antiques.

Purchase/Links:

Sourcebooks: http://www.sourcebooks.com/store/x-marks-the-scot.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/X-Marks-Scot-Victoria-Roberts/dp/1402270097/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357084005&sr=8-1&keywords=x+marks+the+scot

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/x-marks-the-scot-victoria-roberts/1112689759?ean=9781402270093

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M27gsMb4Ro

Website: www.victoriarobertsauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/victoria.roberts.395

Celtic Guide: www.thecelticguide.com

INTERVIEW and Giveaway: JOANNE KENNEDY

Long and Short Reviews is happy to welcome Joanne Kennedy, whose newest book Cowboy Tough was released this month from Sourcebooks—who is giving one lucky commenter a print copy of the book (US and Canada only please).

Joanne started writing because of boredom—and a backache. She worked in retail bookselling for many years and decided, at the age of 45, that it was time to give her body a break and get a sit-down job…so she decided that medical transcription would be fun.

“Fun. Medical transcription. What was I thinking?” she asked rhetorically. “Sure, I like to type, and I loved having an excuse to use big words like borborygmi and verbigeration. But when I got to the part where you listen to actual doctors droning on and on about these things (borborygmi is rumblies in the tumbly, and verbigeration is ‘senseless repetition of the same words,’ an ailment that seems to afflict all doctors during dictation), my mind wandered. And wandered.

“Finally, one day, I stared up at the screen and realized I had typed an entire nonsensical paragraph that began ‘A chicken will never break your heart.’ I liked it, so I took off the headphones and kept going. That paragraph grew to become Cowboy Trouble. So a chicken might not be able to break your heart, but it can make you flunk out of medical transcription school.”

She has since had six books published (with a few extras she wrote along the way that are still waiting their turn at the spotlight). Cowboy Trouble was her first book, and Joanne believes it’s still her funniest one. One Fine Cowboy earned her a RITA nomination and she thinks it’s main character, Nate, might be her favorite cowboy hero ever. Cowboy Fever is about therapy riding and has one of her favorite characters in it—Troy, the hero’s brother, who has Downs Syndrome, but is as ‘cowboy tough’ as they come. Joanne admitted she learned a lot by seeing the world through his eyes. Tall, Dark, and Cowboy is her sexiest book, and Cowboy Crazy is the most touching one. It makes Joanne cry about six times every time she reads it. Her newest book, Cowboy Tough, has another favorite hero, Mack Boyd, who is a good father as well as a great cowboy.

“The real favorite is always the one I’m working on now,” she told me. “Except for the part where I have the nervous breakdown. Then it’s my least favorite.”

There’s a serious side to Cowboy Tough that took Joanne by surprise. The heroine, Cat Crandall, is an artist who quits her safe, stable advertising job to guide aspiring painters through the scenic backcountry of the Boyd Ranch. Her sister’s death from breast cancer has made her realize she needs to make the most of her time and talent.

“I finished the book in August 2012. In September, I myself was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Joanne told me. “I’m going through chemotherapy now, and I’m going to be okay. But there was a point where I wondered if I’d done enough, and if I could be proud of what I was leaving behind. Happily, the answer is yes – if Cowboy Tough turned out to be my last book, I’d be proud of my accomplishments, and I’d feel like I left something valuable with the world.”

Thankfully, Cowboy Tough will not be Joanne’s last book. She’s nearly finished with the first draft of the first volume in a new series, The Cowboys of Decker Ranch.

The new series is about three men who were adopted as teenagers by the same old rancher. He taught them about roping and riding, love and loyalty, and being a family. But trust doesn’t come easily to them, especially when it comes to women.
In the first volume, the foster home where they lived as boys reopens. Social worker Sierra Dunn knows she can’t give the boys in her care a real home, with a mother and father, so she decides she’ll give them a real hometown. She enlists the help of the middle brother, Ridge Cooper, in bringing the dusty, sorrowful town of Wynott, Wyoming, together to give a bunch of misfit kids the kind of childhood they deserve. Ridge doesn’t have anything else to do, since his march to the national bronc riding championship was just derailed by a career-ending injury. But he’s hardly an expert on happy childhoods.

“How do you develop your plot and characters?” I wondered.

“In an incredibly disorganized fashion. I start with the characters and the trouble they’re heading for. Then I work out a rough plot, which loosely follows the screen writing template from Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat. I follow my outline until the characters rebel and pull me off-course. Then I stop, rework the plot until they’re happy, and write some more.

“This goes on until very close to the end, when I have a total nervous breakdown and cry because nothing’s working right. Then I go back and rewrite. That’s when everything falls into place and I realize what the book’s really about. The ending becomes clear, and I sail on to the last page.

“Miraculously, the finished product usually follows the template pretty closely, even though I’ve totally chucked my original outline. So the book is done, I’m happy, my characters are happy, and my husband is really, really happy because the nervous breakdown is over.”

Joanne has met a lot of cowboys in the course of writing, promoting, and researching her books, and the most surprising thing she’s discovered is the true nature of the men she writes about.

“I always thought ‘cowboy tough’ meant riding a bucking horse for eight seconds, but it means so much more than that. Being ‘cowboy tough’ is the kind of toughness that makes that same rodeo cowboy ride a hundred miles over rough roads with a broken pelvis and a busted rib because he doesn’t want his friends to miss their chance at the next rodeo. It’s the kind of toughness that lets you patiently nurse foolish mama cows who scorn the warmth of the barn and insist on having their babies out on the windy plains of Wyoming every year, without fail. ‘Cowboy tough’ means sacrificing for your loved ones, doing a hard job and doing it right, and taking care of the land even when it means a smaller paycheck come fall. It’s being tough enough to hold onto history, to value the traditions that built the West, and to keep them alive for coming generations.” She paused, “Okay, now you’ve made me cry.”

I pass her a tissue and ask her if she’s ever eaten a crayon.

“No, but I have eaten a stick of butter. I was a toddler, and my mother took me grocery shopping and put me in the little seat in front of the grocery cart. While she was picking out produce, I got hungry and leaned back to check out the contents of the cart so far. Mmm. Butter. I opened the box, shook out a stick, peeled it, and ate it like a banana. She didn’t catch me until it was almost gone.”

“Speaking of your mother, what’s the most embarrassing thing she’s ever done to you?”

“Let’s see—tell the butter-eating story at swanky dinner parties, tell the butter story to my first date, and tell the butter-eating story to my husband.”

“What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?”

“I went horse shopping in prison. Is that weird enough for you?” she replied. “Seriously, I went to the Colorado State Prison to see the BLM Wild Horse facility. The lands that support our wild mustangs are dwindling, and the homeless horses end up in holding facilities. At the prison, inmates train the horses, which are then sold to the public at auction. I suspect the horses train the inmates, too. There’s no better teacher than a horse if you want to learn about cooperation and true partnership.”

About the Author:2_15 interview joanne kennedy author photo Joanne Kennedy’s lifelong fascination with Wyoming’s unique blend of past and present inspires her to write contemporary Western romances with traditional ranch settings. In 2010 she was nominated for a RITA award for One Fine Cowboy. At various times, Joanne has dabbled in horse training, chicken farming, and bridezilla wrangling at a department store wedding registry. Her fascination with literature led to careers in bookselling and writing. She lives with two dogs and a retired fighter pilot in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/ and on Facebook.

 

 

2_15  interview Cowboy Tough CoverShe’s hardly a cowgirl…
Cat Crendall left a successful advertising job in New York to teach art workshops in the Wild West. The Boyd Ranch is hardly her dream destination, but if the outing’s a success, the company will send her to more exotic locations.

But once a cowboy…
Mack Boyd was in the middle of the best bronc-riding season of his life when his mother asked for help with an artists’ retreat at the ranch. Mack might be able to ride a wild stallion to a standstill but he can’t say no to his family.

Cat and Mack are complete opposites…but when the ranch is threatened financially, can they set aside their differences and work together?