Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NAked with Kait Ballenger!

Today, we're getting NAked with Kait Ballenger, 

author of 



Who are you and what should we know about you in 50 words or less?
I’m Kait Ballenger. I write paranormal romance and I’m the author of the Execution Underground series. The first novel in the series, Twilight Hunter, debuts August 27th. A prequel novella to the series, Shadow Hunter, is featured in an anthology titled After Dark alongside NYT Bestselling Author Gena Showalter. 

Which one: chocolate or bacon?
Bacon! Though both are delicious.

What is the name of your book and what is it about in 50 words or less?
My upcoming release is Twilight Hunter and it’s about a werewolf hunter who partners with a female alpha wolf in order to catch a sexual sadist. It’s the first in my Execution Underground series about an international covert network of men who hunt the supernatural creatures threatening humanity.

Tell us your main character’s name and 3 adjectives that describe him/her.
Jace McCannon: angry, stubborn, hero
Frankie Amato: head-strong, intelligent, werewolf

Who is your current book boyfriend?
My current book boyfriend is David Aronowitz, the hero of the second novel in the Execution Underground series, because I’m currently finishing his book. His novel, Immortal Hunter, releases on January 28th, 2014.

Enter below for a chance to win a signed copy of Twilight Hunter! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sexy New Cover Reveal!

WARNING: This post contains adult content. (Pretty much all sins are covered.)

Hello darlings,

Melanie here.

So the craziest thing happened last week.

SPEAK EASY came out. People read it (wheee!) and loved it (I want to hug you!) and reviewed it (thank you!). I got to hear readers' thoughts for the first time ever--readers who are not my family/friends/bartender.

And I discovered something. Well, a few things.

1) New Adult readers are reluctant to pick up up a non-contemporary romantic story.

2) Historical is a dusty word.

3) Once people DID pick up Speak Easy, they were surprised at how sexy and modern it felt, even though it was set during the 20s.

What's a girl to do?

Since Speak Easy is my first book, I turned to bestselling authors who have more experience and asked advice--and because this community is so awesome, I got it. Here's what they said...

Change your cover and your description. Make it clear it's not your grandmother's historical novel. It's a hot smexy read and readers of contemporary New Adult will eat it up when they realize the historical setting only adds to the sexy feel.

So guess what I did?

And while I loved my pretty cover (and if you order the print version, you will still get that one), my sexy one makes me giddy like a Bombay Sapphire martini (extra dry, two olives, thanks).

Want to see it?

OK, just for you.

Because I'm all about giving in to temptation. ;)

And here's the new description...

**Warning** This is not your grandmother’s historical romance. If you’re looking for blushing maidens or proper gentlemen who ask permission to kiss the girl, this is not the book for you.

But if you like strong female heroines who take what they want and sexy dangerous men who can’t be trusted, look no further. If sizzling sexual tension and fast-paced action against a backdrop of Prohibition-era ambience sounds like your kind of cocktail—enter here. But beware…

Temptation is everywhere. And anything goes.

By day twenty-year-old Tiny O’Mara works for her father’s smalltime bootlegging operation, and by night she craves the roll-your-stockings-down lifestyle of a flapper—until her father is kidnapped by a mobster in Detroit's exploding organized crime scene, and it’s Tiny who has to come up with the ten-thousand-dollar ransom…in one week.

Suddenly she’s thrust into an intoxicating underworld of greed, lust, lies, and betrayal.

Enzo DiFiore is the son of the mobster holding her father hostage, but his screen idol looks and dangerous charm leave her breathless. When the forbidden spark between them refuses to burn out, she tries to use their powerful chemistry to buy more time. And irritatingly handsome childhood pal Joey Lupo has the street smarts Tiny needs to make a quick ten grand, but he’s got his own agenda where gang rivalries are concerned.

Deciding whom to trust isn’t easy in a world where everyone wants something—be it booze, money, power, or sex—and no one cares what it takes to get it.

Now, are you ready for a little Monday morning sizzle?


Here's an excerpt--an early scene between Tiny, the feisty heroine, and Enzo, her dangerous bad boy.

“Satisfied?” He set the phone down and raised his eyebrows at me.

“I guess.” At least I knew Daddy was still alive, and conscious enough to speak on the phone. My job now was to get the money. But even if I sold the twelve cases I’d pick up tomorrow night, I’d need to sell seventeen more to come up with five grand by Tuesday. It couldn’t be done—I needed more time. But what leverage did I have to bargain with? I looked at Enzo, my mind and heart racing.

No. You can’t.

“We should go. I promised to return you within twenty minutes.” Enzo gave me that slow smile, which made my belly go hollow. “And I do rather value those body parts your friend threatened.”

“Right.” I licked my lips as I walked to the door, and Enzo waited until I reached it before turning off the lamp. His silhouette came closer in the darkness, and my insides tightened.

Oh yes, I can.

“If you’ll move, I’ll unlock the door,” he said.

Fear and some other untamable feeling buzzed through me. “No.”


“We still have five minutes.” I rushed forward and threw my arms around his neck, crushing my lips to his. 

For a moment he was stunned; I heard his keys hit the floor. Then strong arms locked around my back, and his mouth opened wide over mine, his tongue lashing inside with deep, demanding strokes. My body ignited in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Keep your senses. This is just a ploy. You’re angry with him. Our mouths battled each other with such ferocity I couldn’t breathe, and I imagined the fire between us consuming all the oxygen in the room. He tasted like temptation—whisky and smoke.

Pressing my forearms against his shoulders, I jumped up and wrapped my legs around his waist. Enzo pushed my back up against the door, his hands slipping beneath my dress to the undersides of my legs, his fingers gripping the bare skin above my stockings. Gasping, I squeezed his torso between my thighs as his mouth traveled across my face and down my neck. His fingers edged inside the lace of my step-in, teasing the soft pink folds at my center while his tongue lingered in the hollow at the base of my throat. Something deep and powerful surged within me. Threading my fingers through his dark hair, I pulled his head back and we stared hard at each other before our mouths slammed together once more. He shifted my weight under one arm and found the side fasteners of my dress with the other. 

Somehow, he undid seven hooks and eyes with one hand. 

His fingers slipped inside my dress and pressed against the bare skin on my lower back. Then he swung me away from the door and moved to the desk, setting me on its edge with my dress bunched up around my hips. Standing between my knees, he ran his hands up my pale white thighs, which glowed in the dark above my stockings. My chest heaved with ragged breaths as he shrugged off his coat and loosened his tie. My hands itched to touch him, to travel under starched cotton and over hot skin, to reach low and feel exactly how he wanted me. To know for certain what he could to do to me, if I let him. For a moment, I forgot every circumstance that brought me here and nearly reached for the buttons on his trousers.

But just for a moment.

“Enzo,” I whispered instead, gripping the edge of the desk. “We can’t.”

He put his hands on my buttocks and pulled me flush against him. “You said we had five minutes.” He pressed the hard length of his cock between my legs.

Oh God, that feels so good. I struggled for control. “It’s been five minutes. And neither of us wants to get caught here.”

He paused. “You’re right. Besides, what I’d like to do to you takes more than five minutes.” 

OK, I'd better stop them there...but I promise you they get more than five minutes alone eventually. They get a whole lot more than that.

Want to know what they do with it?

Easy. Click.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Speak Easy Tour & GIVEAWAYS

Hello, darlings!

Melanie here. Today is very exciting for me because it is Speak Easy's official book birthday and the first day of the blog tour!

Book Description...

Temptation is everywhere.

It's July, 1923. By day twenty-year-old Tiny O’Mara works for her father’s smalltime bootlegging operation. By night she craves the roll-your-stockings-down lifestyle of a flapper, but with her mother gone, she’s usually stuck at home with two younger sisters—until her father is kidnapped by a mobster in Detroit's exploding organized crime scene, and it’s Tiny who has to come up with the ten-thousand-dollar ransom.

In one week.

Enzo DiFiore’s screen-idol looks and dangerous charm leave her breathless, even though he’s the son of the mobster holding her father hostage. But when the forbidden spark between them refuses to burn out, she tries to use their powerful attraction to buy more time.

And then there’s Joey Lupo, the irritatingly handsome pest from her childhood who’s got the street smarts Tiny needs to smuggle enough booze to make a quick ten grand. But he’s got his own agenda where gang rivalries are concerned, and despite his promise to protect her, Tiny isn’t sure she can trust Joey—or stop her growing feelings for him.

To save her father’s life, she’ll have to choose between them. But deciding whom to trust isn’t easy in a world where everyone wants something—be it booze, money, power, or sex—and no one cares what it takes to get it.

I even have purchase links for  Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

So for this stop on the tour, I thought I'd share some cool stuff about the book. Most of the other stops are doing reviews or excerpts--if you'd like the tour schedule, click here. You'll also get to see some of the swag in the grand prize pack! :)

10 Fun Facts about Speak Easy

1. The OʼMara family is entirely fictional, but during the early 1920s the Detroit area was full of smalltime bootleggers like Jack (Tinyʼs father) who brought carloads or boatloads of whisky and beer across the narrow waterway separating Michigan and Canada.

2. In the early days, theyʼd just cover up the bottles with a blanket--women and children were good to have in the car or boat because they made it less likely you would be stopped and searched.

3. Here are two photos from Detroit during Prohibition. How cool that someone labeled them with bootlegging terms!

4. The individual names of each gangster are ficticious, but River Gang and its “taxi service” were absolutely real, as were the police station murders and the peace pact Joey describes to Tiny.

5. I was inspired by this quote from the Ken Burnsʼs documentary Prohobition: “Itʼs not that sin is so terrible; itʼs that itʼs very attractive. Thatʼs why weʼre always tempted to do it.”

6. The headlines from the newspaper Tiny reads on the street are authentic (from the Detroit Free Press in the 1920s) as are the quotes in the article--only the names are changed.

7. The only person based on a real life figure is Raymond DiFiore; there was an actual guy in the Purple Gang who messed up words all the time. “Pishmission” was one of them! ;)

8. The meat sauce that Joey makes at Tinyʼs house is based on my Italian grandmotherʼs recipe. I will share it in a future blog post! Joey cooks more in the sequel as well...

9. I interviewed a guy in his 90s who told me how his father used to remake old Cadillac hearses for bootleggers...it gave me a great idea. Hereʼs an example of a 1920s hearse:

10. And finally, my favorite picture of all. Speak Easy is about temptation, and Tiny spends a good amount of time in the book trying to fight an attraction to bad boy Enzo DiFiore--for good reason. But she's not terribly successful, and nor would I be since in my mind Enzo looks like this:


And now for the giveaways! Good luck!

US ONLY: One grand prize swag pack which includes: Valentine Vodka Swag, JewelNinjas Agatha Bracelet, Chrome Cocktail Shaker, MAC Lipstick, Great Gatsby Soundtrack or $10 iTunes gift card, Gatsby Style Flapper Headband, Signed Copy of Speak Easy, $25 Amazon Gift Card: Total Value: $150 USD
INTERNATIONAL: Eight (8) eCopies of Speak Easy: mobi or ePub only; value $3.99 USD

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

If you love someone, write a review

Last month I posted on another blog about a very important topic. Today, I'd like to revive that post here.

I’d like to chat a bit about love. Love of a book, to be precise. We all can name at least one book we absolutely love, right? We’re all book lovers here, so I imagine that for most of you, favorite isn’t a title it’s a category. I have so many favorite books I couldn’t begin to name them all. I’m betting most of you are the same.

So let me ask, when you love a book so much that you can’t stop thinking about it and you have book hangover for days, what do you do about it? Do you tell everyone you know? Again, I bet a lot of you do. Some of you might even tweet the author or write him an email or like her Facebook page. But how many of you write a review? I’m not just talking about clicking 5 stars on Amazon or Goodreads. I mean write a review with words and descriptions about exactly what you liked about the book.

I’m guessing most of you do not.

Until I started writing seriously, I never wrote reviews. It never occurred to me because who would even care about what I had to say?

Here’s the thing I didn’t know until recently when my writer friends started getting books published. I’m going to bold this because it’s the whole point of my post. Writing a review is the number one best way to tell an author you loved their book.

It’s not because writers are dying for validation and happy words written about them (though we do love that too). It’s because sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Goodreads place books with more reviews more prominently on their website. In other words, a book with lots of reviews will be seen more (and probably purchased more) than a book with no reviews. For writers with a huge following, your little review might not make a bit of difference. But for newbies such as myself and even your average run of the mill authors who have been around awhile, your review can absolutely change how successful a book is. Even a three sentence review counts.

Maybe it seems crappy and greedy to talk about helping an author get sales, but the truth is, most authors do not make enough money to make a living at it. It’s a second job. For me, it’s a third job. For people like me, every sale counts. And the more reviews writers like me get, the more likely I’ll get seen. The more likely I’ll get a sale and I’ll get to keep writing for people like you.

For those of you who write reviews on a regular basis, THANK YOU! Thank you to all you bloggers who write reviews all the time. Thank you for making it possible for writers to continue giving you the words you love.

And for those of you who’ve never written a review, we authors love you too. For buying our books and telling your friends. But we’d also like to ask, if you really loved a book, please consider taking a moment to tell us by writing a review.

Monday, July 15, 2013

NAmazing Race

A bunch of us are part of the NAmazing Race this week. It's going to be a blast, so get on over here for directions on how to participate. There's lots of prizes and new NA blogs to discover!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dog eat dog...

This business of writing.

It's a dog eat dog world. You've got to watch your back. Trust no one with your ideas. Play everything close to your vest.

And for GOD'S sake, don't help anyone along the way because,
A) They've got to pay their dues (YOU had to learn the hard way, why should it be easier for THEM?)
B) The people you help along the way will only BECOME YOUR COMPETITION!!!!!

Of course, ALL of the above is bullshit. But it's an attitude that far too many writers have.

Yes. Publishing IS a tough industry, which is why we all need to educate ourselves about it. Read widely so you know what's out there in your genre. Invest in a Publisher's Marketplace so you can see what the deals are. Check out Predators and Editors and Absolute Write to check out agents and editors.

If you're self publishing, TALK to other writers about the companies they worked with. Nothing like an unbiased opinion to get the behind-the-scenes reality of a situation, good or bad.

This goes for agents and editors too. Clients talk. :)

But you know what's awesome? Helping people and not expecting anything back. And you know where there's a lot of this?

The writing community.

(And don't even get me started on how much I love you all for helping me during my time of flooded-out need that I am STILL going through. <3)

I've never been a hoarder of knowledge. I resent when people know things, and don't share that knowledge with others out of some old school attitude that because THEY had to learn the hard way, EVERYONE should. I'm all for making people's lives easier. Because why not?

As for not helping people because they might become your competition, that's just sad. How insecure are you in your abilities that you think helping someone hurts you? Your work should stand on its own merit. Helping someone else doesn't hurt you.

I've helped people out. My CP Jessa Russo and I threw a contest (PitchMAS) before either of us even had an agent, just because we wanted to HELP other writers!

I've helped other people with free critiques. They've gotten agents, and book deals, and editors. You know who it hurt? NO ONE! It made me PROUD thinking maybe I had a tiny tiny little part of their journey to their dreams.

Did I think, 'OMG I've created competition!!! CURSE MY ALTRUISM! NEVER AGAIN!!!'

NOOOOO. Because I may have contributed, helped nudge someone in the right direction, but ultimately, THEY did the work and got themselves where they are. It would be super egotistical to think I *made* someone, or was the only reason they became a success.

And maybe they WILL be my competition on the shelves. GOOD! I want AMAZING people on the shelves with me! I don't want to be number one because everyone below me is inept and talentless. I want to be number one because I "beat" TALENTED, tough competition!! (Really, there are no 'winners' except for the readers who find the *right* book at the *right* time).

I have FABULOUS Crit partners who are STELLAR writers. When they write gorgeous manuscripts that make me wish I'D written them, do I feel mad? NO! Well, some teeth gnashing at their brilliance may occur, but I value them because it makes me strive to improve, to hone my craft. To write a MS that will make THEM rend THEIR garments!!!

Help people. Be there for them. Make their journey easier. LIFE is hard enough without us actively contributing to it, or even just not helping out when we can.

Maybe publishing is a dog eat dog business, but you don't have to be a bitch.



Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Blitz: Catching Liam by Sophia Bleu

It's here, it's here, it's here! Our very own Sophia Bleu's debut New Adult novel Catching Liam is available now!

As part of the Book Blitz, we have Liam's waffle recipe.

Liam’s “Caught You” Waffles

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups warm milk

1/3 cup butter, melted

Secret ingredient #1: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Secret ingredient #2: 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon


This recipe will make about 10-12 waffles. The perfect amount to impress any roommates that straggle in, or to feast on if you’ve pulled an all-nighter.

1. Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature. I like it really hot. I know, I know. That’s what she said. Now would be a good time to make sure you push the iron far enough back on the counter to avoid any burns through accidental contact of your hands...or other areas.

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar, and I do mean sift. Don’t just throw it all in the bowl. You have to give it a little attention. Mix it up a little. Don’t just set it aside.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Here’s my trick. If your girl’s still sleeping, separate the eggs first. Whip the egg whites like they’ve been naughty until soft peaks form. Stir in the milk, yolks, butter and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix together until combined, but don’t overdo it. Too much attention and they’ll come out tough instead of crisp and slightly chewy.

4. Ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron. Don’t get burned. Cook the waffles until golden. Refrain from getting distracted with extra-culinary activities.

5. Serve before she or the waffles get cold. 

 Here's a reminder about the book:

Twenty-one year-old Jillian Nichols only has one rule when it comes to boys: catch and release. Boy-catching isn't just a game for Jillian and her friends, it's a lifestyle. After all, boys might be good for a dance or a drink and certainly a little under-cover action of the scandalous variety, but expect much else and you're bound for heart ache.

So when her best friends and fellow boy catchers start dropping like flies junior year, Jillian is determined to keep boys in her bedroom and out of her heart. Until she meets Liam McAvoy, the kind of guy that sticks around to make waffles and who can't—or perhaps won't—take a hint.

Study abroad student Liam doesn't want to be another notch on Jillian's bedpost. Actually he has much more interesting ideas for Jillian and her bedposts, but his student visa's set expiration date means he can't promise her forever. That doesn't mean he's going to walk away from the challenge of discovering why Jillian is hell-bent at keeping people at a distance.

Before long, neither is sure who is catching who—or if they're playing for keeps. Jillian knows one thing though: falling in love will not only break the only rule of boy-catching, it could also break her heart.

“One of the swoon-worthiest male leads to date, Catching Liam is a sexy and sweet romance that stayed with me long after I finished the book. Completely unexpected. Move over Cam, because Liam is to drool for.” Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

"A hot, heartbreaking and hopeful story that had me from the first steamy chapter. I'll never think about waffles or kilts the same way again..." - Chelsea M. Cameron, New York Times Bestselling Author of MY FAVORITE MISTAKE

"CATCHING LIAM will delight anyone with a pulse. Bleu gives us a confident yet vulnerable heroine matched with the perfect hero in sexy Scot Liam, who made me believe, if only for the duration of the book, that perfect men really exist. The two of them crack and pop with chemistry, sweetness, and the kind of anticipation that kept me turning pages until I ran out." - Lyla Payne, USA Today Bestselling Author of BROKEN AT LOVE

"Funny, sexy, and page turning...Sophia Bleu knows how to write a smoldering hot and emotional love story. Liam will top book boyfriend charts for sure!" - Julie Cross, International Bestselling Author of The TEMPEST series


iBookstore: Link coming soon
Site Design By Designer Blogs