Sunday, November 8, 2009

RomCon & Spotlight Authors

Current Read: ROMEO, ROMEO by Robin Kaye

As most of you know or have figured out, the majority of my time is going into RomCon, a comprehensive venture to address the needs of romance READERS!

We have a website with blogs in the Contemporary World, Historical World and Fantasy/Futurisitic/Paranormal World. Readers can also enter and rate author's websites, review sites and bookstores! We'll be launching our forum soon also.

We just launched our first annual published authors contest, The Readers' Crown, judged almost solely by readers. Check out the website for more information about becoming a judge!

Finally, we'll be having our inaugural romance readers convention, RomCon, next July in Denver! Here are our Spotlight Authors for RomCon 2010:

Anna Campbell
Brenda Novak
Christine Feehan
Carly Phillips
Cindy Gerard
Elizabeth Hoyt
Hannah Howell
Jo Beverley
Julia Quinn
Jeaniene Frost
Lori Foster
Melissa Mayhue
Nalini Singh
Susan Mallery
Tara Janzen

Talk about a star-studded line-up!!! But we're not done yet! Be sure to watch the RomCon website for updates of authors attending RomCon as Featured Authors!

I hope you'll all join us as judges for the contest and then at the RomCon convention next July!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brenda Novak is at RomCon!!!

Brenda Novak is guest blogging at RomCon today! She's offering a super-spokky giveaway, too. Stop by to hear all about her Halloween...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's Finally Here - RomCon!

Okay, ladies. You've guessed and waited and now the day is finally here. I can announce the amazing new venture in which I'm involved...

RomCon - Where Romance Rules!! Its like ESPN for romance readers - all romance, all the time!

We just launched our website on October 1st. Come by and check it out: It's packed full with information a romance reader needs: upcoming releases, blogs from your favorite authors, events. You can rate your favorite bookstores, review sites and authors websites. You'll also find all of the details about our published authors contest, The Reader's Crown, and our first annual RomCon - a fan convention for romance readers!

That's right - a convention just for readers. I'm soooo excited! Hope to see you all there checking it out.

I had to choose two winners, because both answers were correct! The winners of the $10 Borders Gift Cards are:




Send me a quick email and I'll get your gift cards headed your way!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hush-Hush Happenings!

I swear I haven't forgotten about you, my wonderful Armchair Heroines' readers! I've been working on an amazingly exciting, hush-hush project with two of my writing colleagues. We're getting really close to our official launch so I'm going to give you a little teaser in the form of a riddle:

It's a magical place.
Every reader has a smile on her face,
When it comes to romance fiction,
You can find it all, we cry with conviction!

What do you think it is? One lucky winner - maybe whoever is the closest - will win a $10 Borders Gift Card!

Good luck and keep watching for more information!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Featured Author: Loucinda McGary

TGIF, everyone! I have two randomly generated (thanks to winners of Loucinda's books!

Are you ready?

Sitting on the edge of your seat?

Can't wait--

Oh, alright, I'll quit messing with you!

Congratulations to:

Razlover's Book Blog (you've won The Treasures of Venice)


Mariska (you've won The Wild Sight)

I've forwarded your contact information to Cindy, and she'll be in touch soon!

Enjoy your long weekend, and thanks for reading Armchair Heroines! Another big thank you to Cindy for joining me this week. :0)

Please welcome today's featured author, Loucinda McGary!

Thanks for joining us today, Cindy! You have an interesting moniker, Aunty Cindy. Care to share the story behind it?

I have only one son, but I happen to have seven nieces and four nephews. Most of my nieces are now married and several have off-spring. They all, nieces, nephews, spouses and kidlets, call me Aunty Cindy. Since Cindy is a very common first name, I wanted to distinguish my online self from all the other Cindys in cyberspace, and so many people already called me Aunty Cindy, what was a few more?

You are now a multi-published author as Loucinda McGary. Congratulations! Tell us about your newest release, The Treasures of Venice.

I am thrilled to have this story finally make it into print because it was the very first romantic suspense I ever wrote! It was also a finalist in the prestigious Golden Heart contest in 2006.

The Treasures of Venice is a romantic suspense with paranormal elements and a dual storyline set in both contemporary and 1485 Venice. It opens with the heroine, Samantha Lewis sitting alone in a café in St. Marks Square feeling a bit sorry for herself because this was to have been her honeymoon but her fiancé dumped her three weeks before the wedding. Suddenly a handsome stranger approaches her and acts as if they know each other. When he asks her to play along with him, on impulse, she does.

Irish rogue, Keirnan Fitzgerald has a problem that for once, he may not be able to solve with his charm. His sister, a Renaissance scholar, believes she’s discovered the whereabouts of the legendary Jewels of the Madonna, missing for over 500 years. Unfortunately, others believe she has too, and kidnap her. Keirnan’s plans to locate the jewels and ransom his sister, do not include becoming involved with a beautiful American tourist. But he and Samantha seem destined to be together, perhaps in the same way as another couple in 1485 Venice, and all their fates are inextricably linked to the Jewels of the Madonna.

Sounds awesone. You are part of an indomitable group of ladies who blog as "The Romance Bandits". Would you like to tell us more about the bandits?

We are a group of 20 wildly divergent writers and personalities. We have members from Australia, Canada, England, and all across the US. Our one common thread is that we were all finalists in the 2006 Golden Heart contest, which means that when we met, we were all unpublished. But we were all confident we wouldn’t remain unpublished, and we wanted a way to promote ourselves and our writing, so we decided to form a group blog and the Romance Bandits was born!

I think the thing that makes us stand out in the world of the blog-o-sphere is that we all genuinely like and respect each other and we have a really good time interacting with one another and our blog readers. This was no accident. We talked and planned and hashed things through for several months before we ever ‘officially’ launched our blog. We each made a serious commitment to the blog and each other, and I think that shows. I’m also happy to say that 12 of the 20 Banditas have sold one or more books, and we’ve garnered many, many awards! I believe it won’t be long until the other 8 Banditas also sell.

Well, I certainly enjoy the blog. :0) Your stories take place in exotic locations. Have you visited these places? If not, how do you research them, bring them to life in your stories?

I’m a travel fanatic, so yes I have visited the places I’ve written about, at least in general. I will admit that when I went to Venice, I did not visit San Michele en Isola, the cemetery isle, and of course, I wanted to set some key scenes in my book there. Luckily, I have a very good friend (Tina Ferraro, who writes YA romance) who has family north of Venice. While I was writing the book, she visited her family and made a special trip to Venice to the cemetery isle and sent me back dozens of photos and even a map of the place!

To date, I’ve visited 47 states and 26 foreign countries (including most of Europe, China, Thailand, and most recently Turkey), so I don’t anticipate running out of exotic settings for quite awhile. J

Wow, that's crazy - 26 foreign countries! Want to tell us about your first book, The Wild Sight?

I would LOVE to! The Wild Sight was my first published romantic suspense. It takes place in Northern Ireland and features a hero with what the Irish refer to as “the Sight.”

What's next for Loucinda McGary?

I recently completed my third contracted romantic suspense for Sourcebooks.

Congratulations! Great to have you here today, Cindy!

AH readers, let us know what's on your mind, ask questions, make comments. Cindy is graciously giving away a copy of The Wild Sight and The Treasures of Venice! And be sure to also visit her website at . It's gorgeous!

Good luck and happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Featured Author: Anna DeStefano

I'm thrilled to chat with our newest feature author here on Armchair Heroines! She has a new release that just hits shelves yesterday. Please welcome romance author Anna DeStefano.

You have a new release out this month, Dark Legacy. Tell us about it!

Dark Legacy's an exciting paranormal romantic suspense (more of a thriller, really), about psychic twins who are battling their centuries-old legacy and the government scientists who are trying to exploit their powers. When the idea of writing about the family dynamic between feuding twins came to me, I first thought of writing it into one of my more classic romances. But I've been in love with dream theory for a while, and I wanted the drama between my twins to be about more than sibling rivarly. I wanted a story line where the future of the world itself was at stake... So, I decided to weaponinze day dreams and turn them into direct strike global weapons. Bwahahaha... Maddie Temple needs her sexy psychiatrist's help. Without Jarred, she'll be overwhelmed by her pyschotic twin's nightmares. Both Maddie's and Jarred's lives hang in the balance once Sarah escapes from the scientists manipulating her powers, and the race is on to stop Sarah from unleashing her psychic dream control on the world.

Wow! My spine is tingling already! :0)I believe Dark Legacy is part of a series...would you like to tell us more about it?

I'm working on the sequel now--Secret Legacy (Sarah's love story, and an even more "thrilling" race to uncover even more secret
s). The Legacy Series is an open ended concept, based on there being other families with latent abilities that must be guarded from falling into evil hands. The overriding story arc is based on a brotherhood of "watchers" who track and protect these special families--and, at all costs, stop their abilities from being warped and unleashed on the world.

Ooh, I love open ended concepts. It keeps me from that sense of loss as I finish each book. Eleven of your novels have been published since 2004. Congratulations! Do you have a favorite in there?

I love all the classic romances I've written for Harlequin and Silhouette up 'til now ;o) If I had to chose a favorite, it would have to be my author-driven series, Atlanta Heroes, that I'm currently writing for Superromance. They've allowed me to specialize in romantic supsense--in a line that's typically more about home and family than anything else. With my Heroes books, I explore the emotional richness of community and relationships, then I layer on the fast-paced, suspenseful ride that's inspired my creative ideas the last few years. I think creating Atlanta Heroes prepared me to take on something as ambitious as my Legacy series. Readers and reviewers are definitely responding to my Harlequin suspenses. Last years To Protect the Child won a 2008 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. And I'm putting the finishing touches on my April The Firefighter's Secret Baby (the heroine in this one is on the run in witness protection, a-la In Plain Sight). I can't wait for another Hero to hit the shelves ;o)

Sounds great, and congrats on the RT nod. I'm putting your Heros on my TBR list right now. You are doing some special contests to celebrate the release of Dark Legacy. Care to share?

A local jewelry designer created a line of necklaces called Dream Flutters, based on the
dream images on Dark Legacy's cover. One was spotlighted in my "Dream On" article in the September Romantic Times. I'll be giving away these one-of-a-kind pieces in Septemb
er on my blog, to celebrate Dark Legacy's release. And I've been giving away designer purses on my blog for years--look for signature XOXO and COACH butterfly purse giveaways in September, too. Butterflies are a symbol of new beginnings, and I've claimed that for myself from the start ;o) Don't miss any of the fun at !

You write in several different genres. As an author, was it hard to make the switch?

Actually, I think all my books have a similar theme--community, family, emotional growth and killer pacing. I always delve into the psychological side of things, because I think the changes going on inside us can be just as fascinating to watch as what the world sees on the outside. With my more classic romances for Harlequin and Silhouette, I have a category reader's expectations to meet, and it's wonderful to write for that anticipation of a happily ever after ending that wraps everything up in a safe place. The fun thing with my new paranormal series with Dorchester has been to do the same thing (a happy ever after for the hero and heroine) while not having to wrap up everything in such a tidy bow. Writing more mainstream fiction allows for a more realistic edge to my books that I'm in love with.

Interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing those differences myself. Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

I have very eclectic reading tastes, so my faves are all over the place. I've been a Bronte girl all my life--I still re-read Wuthering Heights at least once a year, and I LOVE Jayne Eyre. And fantasy/sci fi was a big part of my early reading--T. H. White's The Once and Future King was an 8th grade book report, all 1100 pages of it. And I read the early Start Treck novels, back when authors like A. C. Crispin were writing them (if you're a Spock fan, read Yesterday's Son and The Entropy Effect). I discovered authors like Elizabeth Lowell when she was still writing historicals like Untamed, Enchanted and Forbidden. And then there is Susan Elizabeth Phillips, whom I discovered with Dream a Little Dream (though Ain't She Sweet is my fav. SEP to date) and Linda Howard--the first I read of hers was Shades of Twilight. At the moment, I'm swinging back and forth between gobbling up Lisa Gardner's backlist and Janet Evonavich's. Oh, and I just picked up Pat Conroy's South of Broad. See...It's impossible for me to stick to one genre...

That's great - keeps your reading fresh. I just read my first Susan Elizabeth Phillips book myself. I was crying, "Where have you been all my life, SEP!" It was Natural Born Charmer. I'm preparing to tear through her back list. :0) Besides writing, what do you like to do for fun?

Oh, shopping. Purses and bags are my current obsession. And exercise--either tennis or running at the gym or yoga or Pilate's. Whatever it takes to clear the cobwebs from my mind and get the blood moving. I feel so much more creative after a work out. I know it sounds cliche, but I totally believe in the mind-body connection. And art--looking at art and listening to amazing music and reading my favorite classics. And more than anything else, spending time staying in the moment with my family. My son and husband are my life.

Nice, and I completely agree. I do my best work after a jaunt around the neighborhood. How do you juggle your busy life teaching, writing, promoting?

I keep a lot of lists and try not to drive myself crazy with them. And I've become pretty aggressive about scheduling in down time. Time when I'm not online and not available by email or phone--even if it's just an hour or two a day, I need time where I'm not responsible to anyone outside my immediate family. All this helps me when I come back to the work, because it keeps me loving what I do. Teaching is such a source of inspiration for me, being around other writers and sharing their dreams and their process. Writing has to stay a passion, or the creativity will dry up and then where will I be? So I protect a writing above all else and try to maintain a calm, safe writing space. Promoting is a part of the job where you have to pretty much stay constantly on your toes. But I'm promoting my books, that people are buying and reading and telling me how much they like. How can that be a bad thing, no matter how much time it takes to keep the buzz going? When I keep my priorities in mind and make sure to stay focused on the positive side of all that I do every day, it's impossible not to feel like a very lucky girl ;o)

No kidding! I learned the hard way about scheduling down time. Nothing like being sick for a week to clarify one's priorities!Where can readers find you (facebook, website, etc)?

My website ( is good for those who've never read me before and want to discover my books and backlist and reviews and workshop descriptions and events and stuff like that. My more interactive content (both for writers and readers) is on my blog ( )--and my running contests! And I've jumped into social media this year, with an active presence on Facebook and Twitter (look for Anna DeStefano in both). I'm really excited about the extended writing community I've found on Twitter--the #writegoal tag I created is a place writers visit every day to set goals and report progress and to support one another while we all work toward finishing our next projects. Come friend, tweet, comment and chat with me when you get the chance!

Thanks for being here today, Anna. Looking forward to reading Dark Legacy and watching the series unfold.

AH readers: Anna is kicking off a full on blog tour! Be sure to check out the schedule on the calender at Anna's website. And visit her blog to get into those contests!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wonderful Writers, Amazing Women! AKA An Award, a Contest and a Trailer, Oh My!!

Current Read: Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins

An Award

I was thrilled to receive this "One Lovely Blog" Award from Chiron O'Keefe who writes one lovely blog herself, The Write Soul. This is a first for Armchair Heroines!

So, now I have the privilege of passing on the award. There are a couple of rules:

1. Accept the award and post back to the awarding person.
2. Pass the award on.
3. Notify the award winner/s.

Here are my picks:

1. Five Scribes - packed with information for authors and readers alike! These five scribes are wonderful writers and amazing women.

2. Romance Bandits - another blog packed with wonderful writers and amazing women. There's something for everyone here. This blog is also the home of the dashing Golden Rooster.

3. MamaWriters - I suppose this could be construed as cheating, because I'm a member of the MamaWriters...but it's yet another blog filled with wonderful women who are, you guessed it, amazing writers as well as supportive and encouraging friends and colleagues. I'm honored to be a part of it!

So, thank you again to Chiron and congratulations to the winners I've chosen. Be sure to stop by and say "hi" to them!

A Contest

Another wonderful writer, amazing woman and colleague of mine, Delilah Marvelle, has a new book out. I loved the first one and am saddened to hear that the series has been dropped. Help a girl out and go by the new book, Lord of Pleasure, today. I'm telling you, the Earl of Hawksford is going to be entertaining to say the least!

A Trailer

In case you haven't yet been spurred to action, here's the trailer for Lord of Pleasure.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Contest Winner

Current Read: Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole (I'm on a paranormal kick!)

Congratulations to...


Chiron won the copy of The Trouble with Moonlight by Donna MacMeans. Chiron, I know how to get a hold of you so we'll connect, and I'll get TTWM winging its way to you!

Thank you to all of you who joined in the conversation, and a special thanks to Donna for taking time to sit down and *chat* with us!

Have a wonderful weekend. Here's a little fun and happy to get it started:

This always makes me smile! We should all break out into spontaneous dancing (maybe even singing) everyonce in awhile! :0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Featured Author: Donna MacMeans

Current Read: Atlantis Unleashed by Alyssa Day

Please welcome today's featured author, Donna MacMeans!

I just read The Trouble with Moonlight and loved it! Could you tell us a little about it (for those
of us who haven't read it)?

First, let me thank you for having me here today, Tiffany. You may regret it as you can see, short answers are not my thing J

Hahaha! Are you kidding? We're perfect for each other - short questions and short answers aren't my thing, either! :0)

The Trouble with Moonlight is my second Victorian romance and my one and only historical paranormal. It involves an invisible heroine – she turns invisible in moonlight, she can’t help it, and it’s just her, not her clothes. She’s a bit of a thief, so if your husband is so foolish as to gamble away your jewelry – my heroine will get it back for you…but it has to be during a full moon and she has to be naked.

BTW, The Trouble with Moonlight won the 2008 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Historical Love and Laughter and received third place in Light Paranormal category for the Prism Award. It’s a finalist in the paranormal category for the Book Buyers Best contest. (winners announced in August).

I have to tell you – I loved writing this book. The idea came to me as I was despairing of ever publishing. I had just received another rejection on my first Victorian historical, The Education of Mrs. Brimley, this one complaining about the striptease premise. Okay, I figured. I’ll show them. I’m going to write something so fresh, it’ll be rejection proof. I look ed around at what was popular…Heroes on TV, super hero movies on the big screen, and I thought – that’s what I’ll do. I’ll give my Victorian heroine a super power. Flying wouldn’t work – all those clothes? No way! Then I thought of invisibility and everything fell into place. I started working on the story and was so wrapped up in it, I sort of forgot that The Education of Mrs. Brimley was still making the rounds. Then it won the Golden Heart for best long historical manuscript. A month later it sold in auction! 2006 was an amazing year.

Congratulations! It reminds me of the Elaine Paige song "A Perfect Year". The Trouble with Moonlight involves the Nevidimi. Do they really "exist" or did you invent them for the story?

Well gee, Tiffany, it’s not like I’ve seen them (grin) but they cou ld be out there.

OK, that was a dumb question - they are invisible! :0)

One of the things that sold me on the book was the story of the headle
ss horseman. In my world, he was one of the Nevidimi. He was there. You just couldn’t see him because he only rode in public during a full moon. You could see his clothes, but not his head – loved it.

I came up with the name Nevidimi after I’d come up with the concept. I wanted something Russian sounding as the hero had a problem with Russians and this would add to the conflict. Nevidimi is part of a Russian word for invisible. It just rolls off the tongue…Nevidimi. I was hooked.

Brilliant! You had a new book come out in April. Tell us about it.

Seduction of a Duke came out in April and it’s the sequel to The Education of Mrs. Brimley. It’s a straight historical – no woo-woo in that one, but lots of yummy sexual tension.

It’s loosely (very loosely) based on the story of Consuelo Vanderbilt. The duke who is the brother to Nicholas, the hero of Mrs. Brimley, needs cash . So he marries – sight unseen – an American heiress. The heiress, of course, isn’t fond of the idea and doesn’t want to move to England. The hero is shocked at how quickly the marriage is put together. He figures the heroine must be pregnant. This doesn’t bother him too much as he’s getting a ton of money out of the deal – but he wants to know if the child – if there is one – is his. Only one way to find out – don’t consummate the marriage. That way he should know in just a month or two if his bride starts to show. The heroine, on the other hand, discovers a loophole in the marriage contract that says she can return to America if she gets pregnant. So she’s trying to seduce the duke to
get pregnant as soon as possible while he tries to hold her off at arm’s length. Fun!

Sounds wonderful! I've heard of Consuelo Vanderbilt. I love how you connect everything to up the conflict - that's something I struggle with in my own writing. What are you working on now?

I’m working on the final story of the Mrs. Brimley set. This one I’m calling The Redemption of the Rogue. It involves the sister of the two other heroes, Arianne. This is a kidnap story and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

Another one to put on my "must buy" list. :0) I hear you have a
bit of a reputation regarding choclate and alcohol (two of my favorite things, I might add). Can you elaborate?

Ah, Tiffany, we’re obviously two of a kind (grin). I have a reputation for many rather ornate desserts that must include chocolate and copious amounts of alcohol. A group of friends have met every couple of months for years and I always bring the dessert. The two most requested desserts are my Fuzzy Naval Cake ( peach schnapps) and Mississippi Mud Pie (Jack Daniels and Kahlua). Must say, I have a very well stocked liquor cabinet for someone who doesn’t really drink…much.

That's awesome! Thanks for humoring me with an answer to suc
h an impertinent question. :0) Maybe you should write a book about a Victorian baker and include some yummy recipes? (Hint, hint!) OK, back to business: You just returned from the big Romance Writers of America National Conference (I'm jealous, by the way). How was it? What were the highlights for you?

I had a great time! The internet allows us to have so many close friends amazing distances away. It’s so cool to meet these people face to face! I blog with the Romance Bandits which is a group of twenty authors – eleven published – that originally met as finalists for the Golden Heart back in 2006. Two of the authors are from Australia, one from Eng land, one from Canada, the rest spread all across the country. We only get to meet once a year at National – so that was fun. Plus I get to meet with my agent and editor – that’s important. Plus I attended a workshop with Susan Elizabeth Philips – my hero! Next year the conference is in Nashville. Can’t wait.

I'm saving my pennies so I'll see you next year in Nashville! Your stories take place in Victorian times. What draws you to that era?

Before I wrote The Education of Mrs. Brimley, I wrote contemporary romantic suspense. About that time, I learned that Lori Foster had a contest requiring a scene with great sexual tension. Her editor, who read the finalists, had a reputation for picking up the winners for a novella. Sounded good to me!

I thought of an idea involving a reluctant striptease – but didn’t think it would work as a contemporary. We wear too few clothes! So I decided to set the story in a historic period when the women not only wore a ton of clothes, but the morals of the time made the concept of a forced strip tease especially emotional. As I researched the Victorian period I loved it. Unlike the regency period there’s hot water and indoor plumbing (grin), and the women wore those sexy form fitted corsets. .

I love hearing how inspiration hits you. Have you read any great books lately

Most of the books I read are research related to add authenticity to my stories. Plus I get the best ideas from the actual events found in the research. Right now I’m researching sailing vessels of the 1880s. Not exciting stuff.

Oh, I don't know - I imagine you'll make it very exciting! :0) Besides writing, you work as an accountant. How do you balance your time? When do you write - certainly not during tax time?

Yes, I’m a CPA – fortunately a self-employed CPA so that gives me some flexibility. I try to write every day even during tax season. It’s harder then and I don’t get to spend as much time as I like at my laptop. I try to write like crazy in the months leading up to tax time – but that can be hard as well. It seems there’s always something…

Do you like to listen to music when you write?

Sometimes…and sometimes not. I don’t have any special mus
ic (although I’ve always found the soundtrack to The Last of the Mohicians great for romance ). If the environment is noisy or distracting then I slip on noise reduction earphones and plug in my ipod. I might have to pause in my writing to belt out a favored song, but otherwise it works for me (not sure the other people around me would agree ).

Hehe, great visual! What is your favorite thing about summer?

It used to be water aerobics, but I didn’t sign up th is year L. I think being able to write on my porch outdoors is a biggie. It’s where I’m most productive. (Doesn’t work so well when there’s snow outside J). Ice cream tastes especially great in summer – but that doesn’t stop me from indulging the rest of the year. I love being able to open windows in good weather, (I’m not a fan of the recycled air inside a house in winter.) and barbeque – loved the smell and taste of barbeque anything!

I agree! Thanks so much for joining us today, Donna! This interview was a kick. :0)

AH readers be sure to check out Donna's website at Donna also has a story in the Tails of Love anthology so check it out.

I have a signed copy of The Trouble with Moonlight to give away so share your thoughts and aske some questions. Donna is all yours today!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Featured Author: Sara Taney Humphreys

Current Read: Atlantis Unleashed by Alyssa Day

Please welcome today's feature author, Sara Taney Humphreys! Some of you may recognize Sara from the Happily Ever After group interview from February.

Tell us about your first book, The Amoveo Legacy.

I'm really excited about it. I've always loved vampires but shape-shifters are particularly interesting to me. I had the idea for the series for a long time but finally sat down to write it last year. It's set in Westerly, RI, which is where my family has a summer home. There's something so beautiful and mysterious about the beach and it just felt right to set the first book there. I'm actually doing a book signing in Westerly at Paddy's Beach Side Restaurant, which is highlighted in the book.

Here's a little burb about The Amoveo Legacy:
What if everything you knew turned out to be a lie? You find out that you aren't even human - at least not entirely. What if, one day, you realize your world will never be the same again? These are the questions that Samantha Logan must face in The Amoveo Legacy. A dream on her thirtieth birthday compels her to leave her artists loft in New York City and move back to the beach with her grandmother, Nonie. However, the instant Samantha steps foot on the salty shores of her childhood home, she realizes the landscape has changed.

The moment she encounters the mysterious, arrogant neighbor Malcolm Drew, her life is never the same. Through a seductive courtship, he introduces her to the magical, mystical world of the Amoveo: the dream walking, telepathic, shape-shifters that he claims are her true heritage. However, Malcolm holds back a secret that could destroy them both. Will he be able to protect Samantha and convince her of the secret legacy buried deep inside her?

I'm hooked! Is this book part of a series? Tell us more about it.

This series is about The Amoveo people; they are an ancient race of shape-shifters who have lived secretly among humans for thousands of years. The Amoveo are made up of ten different animal clans; Eagle, Lion, Panther, Tiger, Bear, Wolf, Falcon, Fox, Cheetah and Coyote. They are telepathic, dream walking, shape-shifters that are born with a pre-destined soul mate. If an Amoveo does not find their mate by the time they reach the age of thirty they begin to lose their abilites and eventually die. They can only have children with their life mates. They are physically beautiful, incredibly strong and once they are mated have considerably longer life spans than humans. However, the limitations with their breeding patterns, makes their race extremely fragile.

Only two branches of humans know of the Amoveo's existence; the Caedo family and the Vasullus family. For generations, the Caedo family has dedicated their lives to the annihilation of the Amoveo. Like so many others, they are driven by fear and ignorance. They have hunted the Amoveo to the brink of extinction. When an Amoveo is killed, their mate eventually dies and any children they would have had are lost. The Vasullus family, however, serve as protectors for the Amoveo.

The first book which is set on the misty, summer shores of Rhode Island, focuses on the courtship of Malcolm Drew of the Eagle Clan and his mate, Samantha Logan. Sam is the first of her kind. She's a hybrid; half human and half Amoveo. Her very existence challenges everything that the Amoveo have known. Her parents were killed in an accident when she was an infant, and she was raised by her human grandparents. As a result, Sam was never taught any of the Amoveo ways and her abilites have lay dormant all of her life. At least until she meets Malcolm. A dream on her thirtieth birthday compels her to leave her life in NYC and move back home with her grandmother, Nonie. The novel focuses on the quickly evolving, passionate coupling of Malcolm and Samantha. He introduces her to the magical, mystical world of The Amoveo people and her newfound legacy. Their courtship is complicated by the looming threat of the Caedo that are hunting them. Can Malcolm convince Samantha before it is too late?

Very creative and unique - I can't wait to read it! What has surprised you most about being a published author?

The incredibly small amount of marketing that is done by the publisher. All of it falls on the author.

I've heard that from several other authors as well. You have four children - four boys. How in the world do you find time to write?

That is a consistent challenge! I do most of my writing at night after they're settled. I have a very patient husband.

Thanks goodness for sleeping children and patient husbands! Do you listen to musci while you write? If so, what are some of your faves?

I love Billy Joel, Maroon 5 and Nickelback. I used to be an actress so I have a lot of show tunes on my IPod...much to my hubby's dismay. Currently my absolute favorite artists are Amy Petty and The Strike Nineteens. Amy is an incredible musician! Her music really speaks to me and wakes up my muse. Amy is actually playing with me at several of my book signings. You can find her musci at her site: . My faves are "Honey On the Skin" (which she and her label let me use for Book 2's trailer) and "Long Way Down".

I'm definitely going to check her out. That's so cool that you got to use her song on your trailer! Do you ever get "writer's block"? If so, how do you deal with it?

Two ways. First, I'll talk out possible directions of the story with my husband. He really is such an incredible sport! He has patiently listened to all of the Amoveo adventures (or possible adventures). Also music. Amy Petty's music in particular.

Good strategies. Read any good books lately?

I just finished Christine Feehan's new novel in her Carpathian Series, Dark Posession. It was great! I love her work.

I'll have to add that one to my "to be read" list. If a book club was discussing your book, what would drive the conversation?

Interesting question. Probably the twist to the story...who's the real bad guy.

Now I'm really intrigued. What's next for Sara Taney Humphreys?

Book 2: An Amoveo Heart is in the works now and will hopefully be out in September. I'm also working on a vampire series. It's kind of "Sex and the City" with vampire chicks.

You're running a very special contest right now as well as donating proceeds of your book to a special cause. Tell us more about that.


As a special thank you to our service members and their families I am running a very special contest for Military Wives ONLY. This contest will run from June 1st to August 31st, and during the contest months a portion of the proceeds from ALL of my book sales will be donated to the ASMBA STAR Foundation. The mission of the ASMBA STAR Foundation, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is to improve the quality of life of the military service member, veterans and their families, by contributing to the financial, educational, social, employment and medical needs unmet by the U.S. government. The Foundation has awarded grants to organizations such as the National Military Family Association, Helping our Veterans, Operation Stand Down, and many others.

How to enter:

Send an email to with a picture of you with your spouse in uniform and a little bit about what branch he serves in, where you've been stationed, challenges you've been presented with, etc., for two entries into the contest. If you purchase The Amoveo Legacy, email the receipt along with your photo for eight more entries in the contest.

Please put "Military Wives Contest" in the subject line.


Once a week, one entrant will be chosen and featured on her blog. These weekly entrants are the semi-finalists. Over the Labor Day weekend, one winner will be selected by Sara from the semi-finalists. The Grand Prize Winner is to have her name used as a character in one of her books and a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

First Prize is a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

Second Prize is a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

Thank you to all of our military for their service!

You can see the weekly Semi-Finalists on my blog .

What a wonderful way to give back, Sara! What is your favorite thing about summer or favorite thing to do in summer?

Definitely family BBQs. No doubt. Those Rockwellian moments that we remember forever will color our memories of the entire season. I just try to make sure I stop and recognize them when they happen.

Sara is running a contest for Armchair Heroines readers. If you sign up for Sara's newsletter, you get 10 entries into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift certificate. If you purchase Sara's book, email proof of purchase to her and you'll get an additional 100 entries into the drawing. Be sure to comment below and let us know what you did so she knows to include you in the Armchair Heroines contest.

Thanks and have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just For Fun: Sand Castles

Current Read: Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon

It's overcast and a bit gloomy today in Colorado so to bring some sunny, beach fun to Armchair Heroines, here are some sand castles from the annual sand castle contest at Cannon Beach in Oregon. It takes place in June. To see even more amazing creations you can visit the contest site at:

Have fun, and don't forget to join me tomorrow for Sara Humphreys' feature!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why do you love romance?

Current Read: Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole

Why do you love romance? I blogged about why I love it over at the Mamawriters blog. Stop by and let me know why you do!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Book Trailers to Kick Off the Week

Current Read:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Author Feature: Liana Laverentz

Current Read: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Please welcome today's featured author, Liana Laverentz!

Tell us about your new release, Ashton's Secret.

Ashton’s Secret is the story of a woman who knows what she believes in her heart, and isn’t going to stop asking questions until she gets some answers that make sense about the death of her sister five years earlier. Unfortunately, the only person who can help her refuses to for reasons of his own. Here’s the blurb:

From the moment he'd caught her snooping in the loft of his barn-turned-garage, Meghan Edwards knew Nicholas Hawkinson was the man she’d been looking for. Given his unfriendly attitude, unshaven face and the Harley hidden in the shadows, she was willing to bet this was the man her sister Heather had referred to as Hawk. But would this dark, secretive stranger help her solve the mystery of her sister's death?

Nicholas Hawkinson wanted nothing to do with the city-girl photographer who asked too many questions. He'd had his share of trouble five years ago when the people of Ashton had been so quick to accuse him of murdering Heather. The townsfolk still considered him the town's black sheep, a bad boy at best and a killer who got away with it at most. Both he and Meghan would be better off if they went their separate ways and never spoke of Heather again.

All of Ashton saw Nick as a dangerous man. But Meghan was trained to observe, and it didn’t take long to find the pain of betrayal and unexpected gentleness he hid behind his hard stare. Her sister was dead, and Meghan knew it wasn't suicide. So did Nick. Whether he liked it or not, he was the only one who could help her now. And Meghan wasn't leaving Ashton until she'd unraveled this sleepy little town's secret--or died trying.

Sounds great! You and I met through a mutual friend and realized our heroes are both "Jakes". Would you like to tell us a little about your Jake's story?

Jake in Jake’s Return is the story of a small town bad boy who keeps running from the woman he loves. The only person in the world who believes in him one hundred percent. He’s so determined not to ruin her life that he doesn’t realize he IS her life, by virtue of her love for him and the daughter he never knew he had. Even when he learns about their daughter, he still feels its best to stay away, to protect them from the taint of his past. But as stubborn as Jake can be, Rebecca is even more stubborn, and in the end he realizes his own worth, and the value of a good woman who will stand by him through thick and thin. Here’s the blurb for Jake’s Return:

The last person small town bad boy Jacob Donovan expects to find when he returns home in disgrace after serving time is Rebecca Reed, head librarian. Rebecca had always had much bigger ambitions. Jake hadn’t wanted to stand in her way, so after one night of passion with his former best friend, he’d hit the open road.
Rebecca refuses to believe Jake is guilty of murder. The boy who’d been her friend and protector when they were town outcasts together could never have killed a woman. Not to mention the tender, loving man who’d given her their daughter, Katie.
But who is Jake now? That’s what everyone wants to know, including the town council chairman, who is determined to send Jake back to prison, by any means available.
Jake’s been running from love for all of his life. Will he find the courage to defeat his demons and stay this time?

Another one for my to-be-read pile. :0) You've had some interesting experiences with collaging. Would you tell us a little more about that?

I’ve done three poster-size collages. The first was when a friend and fellow author I get together for lunch with occasionally showed up at my house with a huge box of magazines and said, “Today we’re going to rip pages out of magazines.” Just rip them out, anything that speaks to you, don’t stop to think about it. Then, she left me with some poster board and glue and said, “Make a collage of all the things you’d like to bring into your life.” I finally finished it a few months later, just before we got together for lunch again—nothing like a deadline to get a project done—and after an hour and a half of arranging and gluing, framed it and put it up on the wall.

About three years later, I was looking at it one day, and realized that everything in there had indeed appeared in my life. The realization was staggering. In the interim, I’d done another collage, about a relationship I was in, and how I wanted that to work out. Again, everything in the collage had appeared in my life and my relationship. Spooky, I know. So at the beginning of this year, I created a third one, again with the theme of things I wanted to bring into my life. I didn’t like the first version I laid out, so I tried again, using the art of Feng Shui. Wow. What a difference. There are nine sections in the collage. For prosperity, fame, career success, relationship success, good health, friends, family, creativity and wisdom. I’ve yet to see how it all turns out, but based on the success of the other two, I’m feeling optimistic . If you want to see a picture of it, go to

I've been gathering pictures for months. I'm going to work on the actual collage today - try a little experiment of my own. :0) Your take on balancing life is inspiring! I'd love for you to share a bit about it.

My main theme in balance is to set your priorities and do nothing that doesn’t fall in line with one of your priorities. I’ve whittled my list down to seven priorities, which I review periodically and change as needed. Without resorting to list-making, I try to hit each priority twice a week at a minimum. These could include spending time with friends and family, making soup, exercising, meditation and prayer, reading, doing things that are good for me, that refuel me mind, heart, body and soul. Then, by the end of the week, when I look back at what I’ve done, I can see I got a lot more done than I thought I did, and it’s all fairly balanced. For more information, go to my Musings page and read my article on Finding Your Balance.
I also do a weekly chat on Balance at The Bookspa Yahoo Loop on Tuesdays and anyone is welcome to stop by and join in.
I do the same the first Thursday of each month over at the Long and Short Romance Reviews Yahoo Group.
The next chat there is tomorrow, July 2 . For more information on any of this, go to

Give us three words your friends or family use to describe you?

My faith-sharing group once described me as honest, loyal and dedicated to self-improvement. We had to each write on a piece of paper three words we would use to describe each member, and those were the words that came up the most for me.

And three words you use to describe you?

Kind, caring and compassionate. I’ve got a real soft heart, and I’m always trying to look at both sides of any situation. My motto is seek first to understand, then to be understood.

How do you define your writing?

I write about real people facing real issues, and try to make my characters as compelling as possible. The stories may have a dark side to them, but they’re also stories of love, hope, and forgiveness. I’ve found a recurring theme in my books is that one character has a family he or she doesn’t get along with or appreciate, and the other has none and longs for one. In Jake’s Return, however, neither of them had a family to speak of, and so they had to create their own.

Interesting - I love stories about characters searching for family (in whatever shape and form that may take). What are you working on right now?

I’m working on some ideas for a new romantic suspense story. I love romance, and I love suspense. I think I’d like to try inspirational suspense, so I’m reading a lot of those, getting a feel for what works and what doesn’t. I’m also working on a non-fiction book on women’s health and wellness, PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) in particular. As part of my research, I’m looking for stories from others who either have or live with/love someone who has PMDD. For the details please go to then email me with your story. Thanks!

What is your favorite thing to do in the summer?

Summer tends to blow by me. But every chance I get, I like to attend an ethnic festival and or outdoor concert. We’ve been to some amazing street concerts, and I make it a point to get to a concert at the Chautauqua Institution at least once a year, usually around my birthday. I also enjoy locally grown strawberries and cherries and peaches, so I tend to visit those festivals, as well. I just love the food and the atmosphere.

Happy summer birthday! If I remember correctly, you're going to offer a copy of Jake's Return in a drawing?

Yes, an autographed print copy of Jake’s Return. What I’d really like to hear are ways people try to balance their lives. I’d like to know people are out there trying, not just getting swept away by their to-do lists. Make them stop and think a moment, maybe plan something special just for them and possibly their loved ones. Then I’ll just pick a winner from the comments if that’s okay. An idea that sounds like a lot of fun.
So, you heard Liana, people. Let us know how you balance your lives, and you'll be entered in the contest! Thanks to Liana for joining us today and thanks to all of the AH readers!

Congratulations to...


Robyn, I forwarded your mailing address to Liana so Jake's Return will be headed your way shortly!

Thanks, everyone, for joining in the conversation!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oh, Hail!

Current Read: Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

This was supposed to post yesterday, but I messed up the scheduling. Oops!

Anyhoo, I was whining last week about the hail storm we got here in Colorado so I thought I'd share pictures. I wish I had some before pictures...of course, pre-hail I kept thinking, "I should take some pictures of the yard. It's looking so good!" Too late now.

The damage to our backyard in no way compares to the loss those hit by hurricanes or tornados or floods experience, but it did give me a tiny glimpse into the desolation I would guess they feel.

The hail broke chunks off my square pot.

Look at the leaves littering the patio.

This poor Black-eyed Susan was stripped of its leaves. Amazingly the one next to it didn't suffer as much damage.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...Wait! It's June!

This is one of the golf ball size hail stones my children "salvaged" and put in our freezer (see below).

I do have to say the storm gave me a nice little creative burst. It inspired a scene in my vineyard manuscript!

The following morning my husband and I were having coffee before he left for work like we always do. We were wandering the yard, feeling a bit sick to our stomachs, when we noticed four house finch babies hanging out in our lilacs, cheeping and chittering like crazy. It made me smile in a circle-of-life kind of way. My plants will grow back and rebloom and, in the meantime, the neighborhood birds will still hang out in our backyard.

Have you ever lived through a crazy storm? What was it like? Were you able to find good things before, during or after?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Book Trailers for Your Viewing Pleasure

Current Read: Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Happy Monday! Here are a few book trailers for your viewing pleasure

Friday, June 12, 2009

Contest Winner

Compliments of our winner is...


Congratulations! Email me at and At Her Command will be zinging your way through cyberspace!!

Once more a big thank you to Marcia and all of you for joining us! See you next week and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Author Feature: Marcia James

Current Read: Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Today I'm pleased to welcome colleague and friend, Marcia James!

*** Big round of AH applause ****

So, Marcia, one of your stories, “Rescue Me”, is part of the Tails of Love anthology that just came out this month. Tell us about “Rescue Me”.

In “Rescue Me”, ex-quarterback Adam “Nuke” Baumgardner saves a starving stray, and Buddy, the Chinese crested hairless dog, returns the favor by reuniting him with his lost love, veterinarian Claire Mendelsohn. Reviewers have described the story as heartwarming and humorous. One of the reasons I enjoy including “crestie” dogs in my stories is I love the comic contrast between a tough, Alpha-male hero and a tiny dog. And I’m a sucker for a pet who’s also a matchmaker. By the way, I have an excerpt of “Rescue Me” on my Web site’s Books page:

I checked it out and it's great! How did you get involved in the Tails of Love project?

Tails of Love (Berkley, June 2009) is NY Times bestselling author Lori Foster’s pet project, pun intended, and she invited me to donate a story to the anthology. I was thrilled to be asked. Lori supports many charities and spearheads a benefit anthology each year. 100% of the author and agent proceeds from Tails of Love will go to the Animal Adoption Foundation, a no-kill animal shelter in Hamilton County, OH. Lori contributed a story to the anthology, along with mine and those of award-winning and bestselling authors Kate Angell, Stella Cameron, Dianne Castell, Anne Christopher, Donna MacMeans, Sarah McCarty, Patricia Sargeant, and Sue-Ellen Welfonder. Each of the stories features an animal--from dogs and cats to a goat and a monkey. Lori created a cute book trailer for Tails of Love that I have on my Web site:

What's next from Marcia James?

The first in a comic romantic mystery series I’m writing, featuring a sex therapist/amateur sleuth, is with Berkley Publishing. The heroine “writes” a sex advice column on my Web site ( Dorchester and Sourcebooks have requested the manuscript I’m finishing--a funny contemporary set in a clothing-optional Caribbean resort. Beyond Tails of Love, I don’t have a release date for my next book. There’s a lot of “hurry up and wait” in publishing.

You're not kidding. But how exciting for you! Tell us seven things we couldn't possibly know about you.

I have a list of “fun facts” on my Web site’s bio page (, and the following is from that:

1. As a volunteer at charity events, I’ve met a lot of celebrities, including Tom Selleck, Paul Newman, Michael York, and Bob Hope. I have photos with some of the stars on my site (

2. My wedding was covered by People Magazine because we encouraged our guests to donate to charity vs. giving us wedding presents.

3. I worked as a sound technician for an NBC-TV affiliate in Maryland. (This was a challenge, given the weather girl’s sometimes salty language.)

4. I was a movie extra in a church scene for the War and Remembrance miniseries. (The part required 1940s dress, hairstyle and make-up but no acting, thank goodness.)

5. I participated in a March of Dimes Celebrity downhill ski race in Big Bear, CA. My team captain was Olympic gold medal pole vaulter, Bob Seagren.

6. I wrote, produced and directed training videos for the U.S. Navy. We videotaped aboard nuclear subs, a minesweeper, a destroyer and a tender.

7. I once asked actor David Niven, who was appearing on The Charlie Rose Show, what Scotsmen wear under their kilts. (The answer? Nothing.)

Hahaha, that's an amazing list! What's the craziest place you've found inspiration?

Before I moved to Ohio, I worked in video production in Washington, D.C. I was involved in shooting a Chinese beer commercial and learned firsthand how difficult it is to get the necessary filming permits from the various federal and D.C. agencies who have jurisdiction over the nation’s capital. That lack of interagency cooperation gave me the idea for my first book, At Her Command ( The premise question for that comic romantic suspense: What might happen if the DEA, FBI, and D.C. police unknowingly put operatives undercover at the same sex club? The comic and sensual possibilities were endless. ;-D It was a fun book to write.

I'll bet. You've had a lot of varied experiences (jobs, travels, etc.). How do those experiences contribute to your writing?

As a freelance video producer/scriptwriter and advertising copywriter, I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects for corporations, nonprofit organizations, government, and the military. That gives me a lot of experiences to draw from when I write my contemporary romances. And the sense of humor I’ve needed to deal with many of the personalities I’ve encountered serves me well when writing hot, humorous fiction.

What's your best marketing advice for new authors?

My best advice is not to ignore the business side of publishing when learning the craft of fiction writing. Learn about promotion and branding before you sell. Once you’re a published author, choose those self-promotion options that work best with your budget, time constraints, books, and personality. I present author PR online workshops (check my site’s Schedule page for upcoming workshops:, and I see how stressed authors can get from attempting to do too much promotion or the types of promotion that don’t come easily for them--such as a technologically challenged person like myself trying to learn Web design. Since authors’ Web sites are our most valuable promotional tool, it’s important the sites look professional. I also recommend understanding what your brand is and making sure your Web site and PR materials reinforce your brand. Jenn Stark is the go-to person on author branding, and she has information on her site ( to help authors determine their brands.

Great advice! I can't wait to take your PR class in September. If you could invent a new holiday, what would it be and why?

I’d establish “Read a Romance Week” for people who have never tried a wonderful, feel-good romance. It’s ironic that most of the people who denigrate romance novels have never tried one--at least not in this century. In addition, I could definitely get behind a “Support Your Local Author Day”. ;-)

Love both of those. :0) What's your favorite thing to do in the summer?

I’m not a beach person, but I definitely enjoy relaxing with my husband on our patio after dinner, reading a good book and watching the chipmunks and rabbits who like to hang out in our back yard. I also enjoy road trips through Ohio and neighboring states, especially when we come across small-town street fairs and yard sales. And year-round I like to get out from behind my computer to meet friends for lunch. Writing is a solitary job, so I enjoy socializing online, on the phone, and in-person.

I'm a backyard hanger-outer myself! I'm so sad - our plants got stripped last evening during a gargantuan hail storm. I'll post pictures on Friday...

Thank you so much for being here, Marcia!

AHers, a copy of Marcia's book At Her Command is up for grabs today. Comment, ask questions, just let us know what you're thinking for your chance to win! The winner will be announced Friday in a new blog post.