I am so pumped today to play host to Vanessa Kelly. Vanessa is one-half of the husband-and-wife writing team, V.K. Sykes. She’s also a writing pal, a fellow Canadian, and a fellow Rock*It Reads author. Vanessa and her hubby Randy Sykes have a brand new sports romance out, this one an awesome romantic suspense. Take it away, Vanessa!
VANESSA KELLY: Hi, Norah! Thanks so much for helping me celebrate the release of my new VK Sykes romantic suspense, Lethal Confessions.
When my hubby and I were brainstorming characters for Lethal Confessions, we decided we wanted our heroine to be a fish-out-of-water. The setting for the story is the world of minor league baseball in Palm Beach County, Florida. We knew our heroine would be a homicide detective, and we knew she would be smart enough and tough enough to fit into that demanding environment. But we also wanted her to be something of an outsider.
So we made Amy Robitaille a transplanted Francophone from Quebec who emigrated with her parents from Montreal to Palm Beach when she was a young teenager. Amy hated the move to Florida, but over the years she eventually came to embrace her new country. But she never forgot her beloved Quebec, or completely gave up thinking in French. It was a lot of fun to put her in situations with the tough alpha males—some of them good old boys—who work with her in the Homicide Unit.
The brutal murder of her twin sister drove Amy Robitaille into a career as a homicide detective for Palm Beach County. When a serial killer targets the wives of local baseball players, Amy has more than just a professional interest at stake—her only surviving sister fits the profile of the other victims. Amy’s hell-bent on catching the killer, not only to protect her sister but to destroy the demons haunting her since the death of her twin.
Baseball star and former soldier Luke Beckett has just retired from the game and is looking to move on with his life. When he’s asked to consult on the serial killer case for the local police, he finds the challenge he needs—despite the objections of lead detective Amy Robitaille. But Luke has no intention of backing away from the job and every intention of getting to know the intriguing detective.
Amy has no time to babysit a celebrity consultant while trying to catch a serial killer. But Luke is not the man she assumed him to be and he threatens to become a powerful distraction. That’s the last thing she needs, especially when the killer starts closing in on her family. But without Luke’s help, Amy stands to lose everything.
Here’s a little snippet of Amy—the first meet with the hero, former pro baseball player, Luke Beckett.
The tall, broad-shouldered man strode through the double sliding doors of the hospital as if he owned the place, and suddenly Amy Robitaille felt like she was sixteen again. Back home in Montreal with her girlfriends. She didn’t much care for the feeling and almost stumbled over her own feet in surprise.
Luke Beckett. The last time she’d seen the man in the flesh had been when her girlfriends had dragged her to a late season Montreal Expos baseball game to moon over him. Le Grand Luc, the player soon to be named rookie of the year, already darling of the team’s faithful, and heartthrob to practically every silly female in Quebec.
Amy almost laughed. Could it really be fifteen years ago? She felt like she’d aged a half-century in the meantime. But the years had treated Beckett with an easy hand. He was still as hot as the twenty-two year old superstar whose talent and ambition had overshadowed even Montreal’s hockey stars for a few years. Maybe even hotter. Maturity sat well on his lean, handsome features.
As he strode through the lobby in her general direction, she automatically gave him a quick scan. She was used to working with big men—tall, burly cops who threw off guy hormones like a wet dog shakes off water. But Beckett, as big as he was, had more than size and GQ looks. He had the smooth grace of the gifted athlete. And, deep inside, in a place she kept under lock and key, something responded to all that masculine perfection and power, sending a flush of unwelcome heat purring through her body.
Beckett glanced her way, catching her undoubtedly startled expression and the brief hitch in her step. Then he dropped his eyes to the gun and badge on her belt. He veered toward her, his mouth lifting in a dazzling smile that froze her in her tracks.
Amy didn’t want to stop. She had no desire to speak to Luke Beckett, however famous or handsome he might be.
But Beckett clearly had her in his sights. He strolled up to her, assuming, no doubt, that a lowly police detective, especially one of the female variety, would welcome a brief brush with greatness.
“Ma’am, I just thought I’d say hello,” he said in a seductive southern drawl. “I talk to a lot of police officers here at the hospital, but we haven’t met before. I’m Luke Beckett.” He stuck out his hand, a mitt big enough to engulf both of hers. He clearly thought she’d recognized him, and he was right.
Reluctantly, her hand came forward and disappeared into his oversized paw. “Detective Amy Robitaille.” She inwardly cursed the catch in her voice.
He must have heard it, too, because his smile kicked up a notch. He tilted his head, looking curious, and a lock of black hair feathered across his forehead.
Calice, this guy is good. Maybe he practiced in front of a mirror.
“Roh-bi-tie…” He drew the syllables out in a lazy cadence, one she felt down the backs of her legs. “With that name and that accent, I’d guess you’re from Montreal. Did you recognize me from up there?” His dark eyes seemed to laugh at her. “I sure did love that town.”
“And Montreal loved you right back,” Amy said, starting to inch around him. “Yes, I grew up there.”
Beckett shifted a little. Not enough to block her path, but enough to make it clear he wanted to continue the conversation.
She repressed a groan. Beckett reminded her of Gabe Labrash, though admittedly her ex-boyfriend wasn’t as poster handsome as the man standing in front of her. Gabe had taught her the dangers of getting involved with a pro athlete, but that wasn’t a good enough reason to be flat-out rude to a stranger.
His eyes flicked down over her chest to the ID card on her belt. “Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, right?”
“You have sharp eyes,” she said.
“I recognized the colors and the logo right away.” He cleared his throat. “Est-ce que tu viens à l’hôpital souvent?”
Amy gave a reluctant smile at his decent stab at French. His use of the familiar “tu” was a little forward, but she decided not to use the stiff “vous” in response. “C’est beau, ton débit. Tu parles français pas mal,” she said, and then switched back to English. “I’m impressed. Your accent isn’t half bad.”
He shook his head. “I used to speak a fair bit of French, but now I’m rusty as hell. I left Montreal nine years ago, and I haven’t kept it up.”
Amy nodded, knowing how easy it was to lose your French in southern Florida. Sure, there were thousands of Quebec expatriates and snowbirds there, and you could buy La Presse in some Fort Lauderdale convenience stores. But English was too dominant to allow most people to preserve their native language and pass it down. She’d managed, but only through iron will and fanatical determination to spend every vacation in Quebec since her family had forced her to leave. But her younger sister, Marie-Louise, had already lost some of her fluency, and M.L.’s little boy would probably be barely functional in French.
“It’s hard to maintain a language in a foreign environment,” she said, beginning to enjoy the conversation.
Beckett shifted closer. It was an easy, fluid movement, but one which brought her native sense of caution flooding back.
“Are you visiting someone here, Detective?” he asked. “Or working a case?”
Amy cast a pointed look toward the hospital exit. “I dropped in to see a ten year-old girl. A bystander caught in the middle of a double homicide shootout last week. She was transferred down here for follow-up surgery. I was just checking to see how she was doing.”
The tough lines of his face softened a bit. “Poor kid. What’s her name? I’ll drop by.”
Amy hesitated, caught off guard by his offer. “Tanesha Malone. That…that would be nice of you.”
He flashed another devastating grin. “No problem. I’ll make sure I catch her.”
“I guess you’re doing one of those celebrity visits,” Amy said, thinking back to all the times she’d seen athletes, actors, and politicians make whirlwind tours of children’s hospitals.
Beckett’s smile faded. “Not really.” He suddenly sounded cool.
Shut your big mouth, Amy. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to give offense.”
He actually looked kind of pissed. “That’s okay. I just don’t like to be stereotyped.”
She started to back away, hating that her self-assurance seemed to be taking a perplexing nose dive. Thank you, Luke Beckett. “I understand. Well, if you’ll excuse me—”
“Before you go,” he interrupted. “I recognized your ID because a good friend of mine heads up the Violent Crimes Division at the Sheriff’s Office. Kellen Cramer. You must know him.”
Amy knew Kellen Cramer, all right. Her boss, captain and commander of the division that included her Homicide Unit. Talk about a small world. And not in a good way.
She dredged up a smile. “Of course. I’ll mention to him that I ran into you, Mr. Beckett.” She kept backing away. “Have a good day.”
Beckett raised his eyebrows, his gaze latching onto her with a sharp return of interest. Sexual interest, by the look of it. But she didn’t stick around long enough to give him a chance to reply. Every cop instinct she possessed shrieked that Luke Beckett was capable of weaving a web and capturing a victim in the time it took to drink a cup of coffee.
Amy simply refused to play fly to Luke Beckett’s spider. Not after Gabe Labrash. She wouldn’t make that mistake twice.
What’s your favorite type of heroine in romantic suspense novels? One person who comments will win a copy of my award-winning VK Sykes anthology, The Philadelphia Patriots.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Vanessa! If I didn’t already own the book, I’d be off to snag it after reading that snippet.
Okay, it’s comment time! On the line is that awesome box set which contains the three novels, Fastball, Hardball and Bigger Than Beckham.
I am so excited to have New York Times bestselling author Christy Reece in the house today! You know how you scurry around and dust and polish and fret over every little thing when someone special is coming? That’s how I feel to have Christy here. (Sweeps up stuff previously swept under carpet.) Christy is a bestseller for good reason. Her Last Chance Rescue Series is the bomb! Simply put, she rocks. She also writes a completely different (but still awesome!) brand of romantic suspense as Ella Grace.
Take it away, Christy!
CHRISTY REECE: Thanks so much for inviting me over, Norah. I don’t get a lot of visitors to my office–even the hubby cautiously sticks his head in and asks if it’s safe. LOL It can get scary in here sometimes.
These photos were taken long after a deadline and a major office cleaning. It rarely looks like this but I couldn’t bear for you to see just how bad it can get. You’ll get a little taste of my disorganization when you see my stash of books. Seriously need more bookshelves!
The recliner is my writing chair…I’ve written most of my books here. My office is on the second floor of my house and the chair sits beside the window so I get numerous squirrels playing on the roof to distract and entertain me.
Most of my close-up work, like copyedits and galleys, are done at my desk. The manuscript on the corner is Midnight Secrets and the cover flat beside it is for inspirational purposes only. The picture on the wall above my desk is of a young couple saying goodbye at a train station. It was a gift from hubby and I love it! I’ve made up numerous stories in my head about this couple and why they’re saying goodbye. I’d love to write a story about them someday.
Behind my chair is my printer and beside it are all of my published books, along with my Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Last Chance and my Daphne Award for Sweet Justice. More inspiration to help me when I’m struggling with words. The bookshelf is filled with mostly reference books, along with hardbacks of some of my favorite authors.
Above the bookshelf is a saying so appropriate for a romance writer: ‘All because two people fell in love.” Isn’t that a lovely saying? Below the frame, you’ll see lots of different knickknacks, including a rubber chicken in a bikini named Agatha. Doesn’t every writer have one of these?
This sign hangs over my door as a reminder of my ultimate goal as I write.
So Many Books! See how disorganized I really am? Yikes it’s a mess!
This is Blossom who for 13 1/2 years was my best friend, office manager, and muse. I lost her in December and still struggle to work without her. She was a tiny precious tyrant and the perfect writing companion.
This is Prissy (Pea-Pot-Pie) who has interviewed numerous times to be my office manager. However her need for frequent breaks and a treat every few minutes earned her an indefinite suspension. She’s also a drama queen. One of those in the office is quite enough.
This is Boney the Cat who has interviewed several times also. She’s actually a good little worker but has a tendency to walk on my keyboard and type her own words. So far I’ve not been able to interpret the language.
I am considering hiring her as a watch cat though.
The job position is still open but I have three more fur-kids who are anxious to interview. They declined to have their photos taken, citing privacy concerns. LOL Got a feeling I have three divas on my hands.
And that’s my little corner of my writing world.
Thanks again Norah for the chance to share!
Thank you, Christy! And you had me sniffling about Blossom. Although she looks nothing like my homely mongrel Bandicoot who warmed my feet for 11.5 years, she reminds me very strongly of him. And LOL about the job applicants! That’s a tough position to fill, but I’m betting on Prissy to step up. Or she’ll train you, more likely. In my experience, cats are unsuited to managing authors, with our delicate egos. (My cat is looking disdainfully at me from inches away as I type this, whilst my dog is exuding approval from her cushion by my desk. Just sayin’.)
Okay, on to the winning! Christy has kindly offered the following giveways: A signed copy of MIDNIGHT SECRETS (by her equally awesome alter ego, Ella Grace) and a digital copy of CHANCES ARE. (This book has an UNHEARD OF average star review rating of 4.8 on 62 reviews at Amazon. That blows my mind!)
AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, THE HEAT BEGINS
On a hot southern night, with a storm on the horizon, a family is shattered. Three beautiful daughters—Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina Wilde—go on with their lives, each significantly changed, as they bear the memory of the murder-suicide that killed their parents. For years, they have stayed away from Midnight, Alabama. Until Midnight calls them home.
Savannah is the first one back, when a grueling case in Nashville leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family’s dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow façade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Zach Tanner, once the town’s bad boy, is now the new police chief and still has a wild hold over her. Zach can feel it, too, but he hurt Savannah once. As teenagers, they broke every rule together. Now it’s his job to keep her safe, even though he isn’t sure who her enemies are—or which ones might be his own.
She is his dream come true. He is her nightmare.
Angela Delvecchio has always dreamed of being an LCR field operative. As LCR’s main researcher, she’s helped rescue victims, but always from the sidelines. Until now. Last Chance Rescue has been asked to assist the authorities in apprehending a serial killer terrorizing London. Angela knows this is her time and her mission.
After the murder of his wife, Jake Mallory stopped believing in anything good. Now, as an operative for Last Chance Rescue, he’s found a new purpose but he’ll never let his guard down again. The beautiful and much too vulnerable Angela is a temptation like no other—one he dare not take. Hearing that she’s going to be an operative is a surprise, but Jake is stunned to learn her first assignment will be to bait and trap the Red Rose killer. Assigned to be her partner, Jake knows he wouldn’t have it any other way. He failed the last woman he cared about…he won’t fail Angela.
Angela thought going undercover as an exotic dancer would be the toughest part of the job, and Jake thought keeping his hands off his partner would be his biggest challenge. They were both wrong. Taught to expect the unexpected, Angela faces events she never anticipated and Jake must allow the unthinkable. Now it’s a fight for survival because evil has more than one face and to stay alive, death may be the only option.
As always, all you have to do is comment for a chance to win one of these great prizes. And trust me, if you haven’t read Christy Reece yet, this will be a true prize.
Let the commenting begin!
I have a treat for you today – the awesome Kathy Altman. Kathy writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and (in her words) “the occasional ode to chocolate”. She’s published by Harlequin Superromance, and contributes to USA Today’s “Happy Ever After” blog. And she does this on top of her day job as a computer programmer for the Air Force. (Told you she was awesome. She’s not just a Super woman, she’s a superwoman!)
Take it away, Kathy!
KATHY ALTMAN: I’m so happy to be hanging out today with the fabulous Norah Wilson! She’s ultra-talented and uber-generous, and I’m hoping some of her romantic suspense savvy will rub off on me.
At the same time, I can’t help but wonder why I thought it would be a good idea to invite readers into my writing space. Said space tends to be…dusty. And, shall we say, less than tidy. The disorder is usually easy for me to ignore, until the whole post-a-photo thing comes up. Although really, I should be celebrating rather than cringing, because not only do I get to visit with Norah and her peeps, but after some mad action with a dust cloth, a trashcan and the vacuum cleaner, I get a clean workspace! For a day or two, anyway…
But I’ll ’fess up and show you the reality first. So here’s my writing space in all its dust-ridden glory, tucked into the corner of my bedroom. Note the comfy, sturdy, high-dollar office chair. Yeah, I hurt its feelings on a regular basis by choosing to kick back with my laptop in a recliner in the opposite corner.
The stack of books on the far left of the desk are releases I’m getting ready to read and review. I always feel so special when I receive an Advanced Reader’s Copy! The gorgeous lavender mirror leaning up against the file cabinet (because I haven’t decided where to hang it yet) was made by fellow Superromance author Jeannie Watt, and it reminds me that everyone has hidden talents. Some are better hidden than others. Like my flair for speaking Italian and scoring free trips to Venice. Still waiting for those to make an appearance. Here’s a closer view of some of my favorite items:
The ceramic cat sits on top of the filing cabinet. My critique partner, suspense author Toni Anderson, gave that to me for Christmas the year my sweetie and I lost two of our kitties. No way you can look at that little guy and not smile. Beside it is my special Happy Ever After mug, a gift from USA Today blog curator Joyce Lamb. The perfectly pink message reminds me why I write. The timer helps make sure that I do. The paperweight keeps me going when I want to slap the laptop closed (it reads “Never Never Never Quit”). And that magnificent, tumbled rock-encrusted candle holder prompts me to remember that it’s not all about the writing—my nephew Stephen made that for me, so of course it brings to mind all the fun times we’ve had together, and how I’d better hurry up and have some more before he turns 13 and doesn’t want anything to do with me.
When I feel the need to stand (which isn’t anywhere near as often as it should be), I perch my laptop on top of the television in the den and type away. How handy, that I can watch Gilligan’s Island reruns while I type! (Just kidding. I wouldn’t get any work done that way, right? Although there are always exceptions. Like Castle. And Leverage. Maybe Person of Interest. And let’s not forget Rizzoli & Isles or Army Wives or…well, you get the picture.)
Relocating to the den means walking past my inspiration wall. Stephen painted this when he was nearly five, and when I asked him what he planned to call his masterpiece, he answered promptly, “The Promised Land.” Great name, right?! Every time I walk this hallway, I admire his creativity and energy and allow myself to ponder—why isn’t this kid selling paintings so I can write full-time?
Behold the view from my bedroom window. If you look closely, you can see a kitty under the willow tree. Peaceful scene, isn’t it? It’s also deceptively alluring. Believe me, I’ve tried the whole up-against-a-tree thing. Okay, that sounds naughty but what I mean is, I’ve tried writing outside. Sitting at the base of a tree, bellying up to a bistro table on the deck, kicking back in a webbed lounge chair in the shade—all epic fails. Ants, mosquitoes, sunburn and moss stains on your jeans are unpleasant enough. No doubt you’ve already attempted to balance both a laptop and a cat in your lap? How about when the cat is longhaired and your arms and legs are bare and it’s ninety degrees outside and you’re sweating enough for five people? You end up looking like Sasquatch and nothing but a shower can cure that itchy feeling. Which provides the perfect excuse for going back inside.
This is what my desk looked like the ninety seconds it was clean. So much for that!
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Norah! And to anyone who might like a copy of my recent release, Staying at Joe’s, please leave a comment. I’ll pick two names at random to receive either a digital or softcopy version. Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your being here today!
Thank you for the tour, Kathy! That was a blast. BTW, I have also tried the outdoor writing, and it was a bust for me too.
To learn more about Kathy, find her online here:
Okay, to the fun stuff! Giving away two copies of Kathy’s book. It’s hot off the press – just published yesterday! As ever, comment for your chance to win. Here’s a blurb.
A deal she can’t refuse!
Allison Kincaid can make a great sales pitch. But showing up at Joe Gallahan’s motel asking for a favor is her toughest challenge yet. A year ago they were more than just colleagues at a big PR firm. When work came between them, Joe put the blame on Allison…and his opinion hasn’t changed.
She’s shocked, however, when Joe agrees to help. Even though she doesn’t love his terms, she accepts them because she’ll get what she needs. If striking a deal with him means donning a pair of coveralls and swinging a hammer, so be it. Working side by side with Joe again, they might be able to repair the past. They just might get a second chance, too!
I am beyond thrilled to have fellow Montlake author Laurin Wittig with me today. Her Scottish historicals are the bomb. Also, she’s just as lovely as her picture leads you to believe. Welcome, Laurin!
LAURIN WITTIG: Thanks so much for inviting me to share my lair with your readers, Norah! First off, I have to admit that I’m sharing my current-but-not-for-long office. Both of my children have moved out of the house in the last few months so we’re busy repurposing the upstairs. As soon as I get the new office painted I’ll be moving out of my office of the last 14 years – the formal living room that is smack in the traffic pattern at the bottom of the stairs with kitchen and family room just steps away – to the upstairs guest room that is completely out of the traffic pattern. I know, I know, the kids are gone, but my husband works from home two days a week and never fails to cut through my office on the way to or from the kitchen or the family room. Plus, our dog can open the French doors of my current office but won’t be able to do that upstairs!
It’s hard to tell in this picture but the walls are a dark forest green. I just love green. My husband and I found my desk – a 1920s library table – at a local antique store years ago. It’s got a perfect foot perch underneath. My ginormous iMac sits in a place of honor and you can see that I use the bottom of the monitor as a handy post-it note place. I’m flanked on either side by matching bookcases (with doors – I hate dusting!). This one holds my craft of writing books, along with copies of my own books and books by my critique partners, awards I’ve gotten for my books, and a lot of little mementoes from friends, conferences, and my children. Underneath is where I hide a lot of my office supplies.
Here you can see the matching bookcase, just behind my grandmother’s rocking chair. This bookcase holds my research library. See the basket on the right? That’s Anna’s basket. She’s my miniature Eskie and that’s where I pile all the dog toys that mysteriously end up in a ring around my desk chair whenever I sit down to work.
And here is the corner opposite my desk. The bulletin board used to be for plotting, but now it’s where I pin up still more memorabilia, notes from friends and my publisher, and conference stuff. I wish you could see it more closely – one of my prize uber-nerdy things is on that board: a “May the force be with you” button that I got at the second showing of the original Star Wars movie back in 1977. I know, I’m a serious nerd and proud of it!
The picture above is a drawing by my good friend and awesome artist Elizabeth Holcombe. It’s of Symon MacLachlan, hero of The Devil of Kilmartin, my first book. As you can see, I’m a bit of a clutter-bug, and I love to have a lot of trinkets that remind me of people and events that have been important to me.
And now for the moment of truth: I use this office for the business side of being a writer. I do research, my bookkeeping, pay my bills, check my email/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest, update my website, write blog posts, etc. etc. etc. in this office. But I rarely write here.
This is my real writing office:
I use an awesome program, Scrivener, that lets me keep all my plot notes, scene notes, research notes, and manuscript in one place so I have almost everything I need to write my current book right there on my laptop. I take my laptop/office to a local coffee shop every morning, Monday through Friday, where I meet two other writers to work. It’s the only way I can keep myself focused long enough to actually get my books written.
So that’s my office(s)! The book on the laptop is the sequel to my new book that releases on August 6th, Highlander Betrayed. Leave a comment here and I’ll randomly choose two commenters to receive an advance reader copy of Highlander Betrayed. And I’m going to copy my fellow Montlake author, Tracy Brogan, and offer another advance reader copy to someone over on my Facebook page – just mention that Norah sent you! I’ll choose the winners on Monday since my laptop and I are out of town until then.
Hidden deep in the rugged Scottish Highlands lies the Highland Targe, an ancient relic guarded for centuries by clan MacAlpin. It is said the Targe can shield the heart of the Highlands from invaders and now, as part of his plan to crush the Scottish rebellion, the English king wants the Targe for himself . . . .
Rowan MacGregor, orphaned niece to the chief of the MacAlpins and the rock her family depends upon, is worried. With the dwindling health of her aunt, the Guardian of the Targe, the protections that have kept the clan safe and prosperous are fading, and the new Guardian, one of her cousins, has yet to be chosen. Rowan wants nothing more than to see the clan protected again, but when it seems that will never happen, she despairs—even when a handsome and charming stranger comes to her aid.
Nicholas fitz Hugh is not what he seems. Half-English, half-Scottish, he turned his back on his Scottish heritage early in his life, giving his loyalty to England instead. Now he is a talented and cunning spy charged with finding and stealing the Highland Targe for his king.
But when Nicholas finds himself falling for the bonny Rowan and wanting to protect the family she holds so dear, he is forced to choose between his king’s will and his own: Will he betray his king and his mission? Or will he turn his back on the woman he has come to love?
Thanks, Norah, for letting me share my office here!
Bio: Laurin Wittig is an award-winning, bestselling author of enchanting Scottish medieval romances that bring together strong warriors, smart women, and a land that tests those men and women again and again until they ultimately find their happy ever after. Romantic Times says, “She’s well on her way to becoming one of the genre’s finest storytellers.”
Laurin’s next book, Highlander Betrayed, book one of her Guardians of the Targe trilogy, will be released on August 6th and is available for preorder now.
You can find Laurin on-line at her web site LaurinWittig.com, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (links on her web site!).
Thank you so much for that tour, Laurin! And wow, I think I’m going to have to cave and learn Scrivener. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it.
Okay, let’s have some comments! How cool would it be to win an advance reading copy of that book?
Today I welcome a new-to-me author, Wendy Ely, whom I met on some of my Internet travels. Wendy has a new book coming out, so this appearance is timely!
Take it away, Wendy!
WENDY ELI: Norah, thank you so much for letting me be part of Workplace Wednesday! I’m so excited to share this private part of my life.
Here is where the words magically flow from my fingertips… or I bang my head on the desk. HA! My actual work area. I’m so proud of that computer. Pink is my favorite color and my honey picked this laptop out for me because the keys glow in whatever color I choose. Also in this picture is my work bulletin board that is half whiteboard (and I always find loving or silly notes added from my family). I use the other board for inspiration. We’ve recently moved and most of my inspirational items fell off. Right now I have a picture of me with my siblings. I won that board and the animal print pencil container from my local RWA chapter. My desk has an extra pullout shelf for a keyboard. I use a laptop so this extra part of my desk provides extra space to work… usually when I put pen to paper.
This little table sits next to my desk and adds extra storage to my workspace. My kids bought me that clock many years ago. The drawing (that really needs to be framed) hanging on the wall was done for me from a friend. On this table you’ll also notice some essentials such as: Bath and Body Works body spray (Paris), EOS lip balm, and my Post-it note holder. I also keep two books that I always use: The Writer’s Thesaurus and The Emotion Thesaurus. The shelf holds extra copies of my books and my cat often sleeps here. What you don’t see is the double doors near the bottom. I keep stacks of notebooks here.
I have been reduced to 1 bookshelf at this house. Sigh. As you can see, I need a few more. My “to be read” books are here, but I keep my writing resource books and autographed books separate. You’ll also see a black and white photo of my kids when they were younger.
Here is the top of my shelf. My books that are in print are on display here. I also have a little figurine that a former daycare child gave me for my birthday. See that vase of roses? My RWA chapter gives a rose for every book published. I’m so proud of these.
Here is my shelf of autographed books and important things. I love having books autographed by the authors and I’ll keep these books forever. You’ll also notice a hat sitting on top. A dear friend gave this to me. The back reads, “Thomas.” The white container holds my paperclips (usually glitter pretty clips!) and the rest of the figurines were given to me by friends. Can you tell I love fairies?
But the best part of my office is my assistant. Kujo follows me everywhere and often lounges in my office while I work. Here she is sprawled out on my chair. Good thing I looked down before I sat, huh? She used to sleep on my desk, but she doesn’t fit anymore.
Thank you for stopping by my workplace! In honor of my post, I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of my brand new release Dangerous Flames.
Sometimes heroes are taught to do really bad things…
Mikolas Russo is one hit away from becoming part of the Medini crime family. But is this what he really wants? Killing people for money is what he has been trained to do even though he’d give anything to trade the nightmares for sweet dreams of the forbidden Gabrielle. Thinking he has the chance to reveal his feelings to her, he arrives at her house to find her brandishing a loaded gun, ready to take control.
During Gabrielle’s teen years, she attended a private school in Italy. This is where she learns the meaning of Mafia but believed crime families no longer existed. Now back in Las Vegas and demanding answers to the hard questions, she quickly learns that the Mafia still has a hand in controlling society and her father is the Don of the largest mob in the area.
The Mafia doesn’t seem so glamorous any more after a hit is taken out on her father, especially when Gabrielle has reason to believe that her secret love’s safety is in jeopardy too.
Will the truth fulfill her desires, or will Mikolas be the one to shatter everything?
You can find Wendy Ely on the Internet in these places:
Amazon (check out her current releases).
Email Wendy: email@example.com
Thank you for that lovely tour, Wendy! And LOL – I keep my authographed books and special keepers on a different shelf too. They deserve it. ,-)
Okay, my lovelies, you know the drill — comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of Wendy’s new release, Dangerous Flames.
This is a very special Workspace Wednesday for me. Kate Kelly is a writing buddy from way back. We basically learned to write together in a small critique group. Kate and I later went on to final in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart ® contest in the same year (2001), each with our own manuscript, and each story was a romantic suspense with a cowboy at its center. Kate has since self-published a number of her fabulous romantic suspense stories, and she also writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Superromance. If you haven’t read a Kate Kelly novel yet, you should treat yourself. She has an amazing voice!
Take it away, Kate!
KATE KELLY: Okay, before you come into my closet, er…office, there’s something I have to tell you. Like most things in my life, it’s a work-in-progress. My real life hero is building our new house around me, and I get to make choices, like do I want my custom-built desk or do I want a door on the bathroom. So, yeah, no doors on the bathroom. <kidding>
So come on into my office.
Norah said she didn’t want a complete photo album of my office, so you probably can’t see the cool stuff on my desk like the tiny Buddha that’s no bigger than my smallest fingernail. Or the gorgeous cranberry coloured pottery bowl my daughter-in-law made for me. It’s filled with cool rocks and shells. And, ahem, my Daphne du Maurier pewter bookmark I received for placing 1st once upon a time.
Check out how tall my desk is. It might not be pretty, but I love being able to stand up later in the day to work, and I’m told standing is better for you than sitting. The desk has a hydraulic lift, and with one press of the button it can go up, and down, and up, and down. I don’t play with it. Much.
There’s more stuff to see in the office but because the room is so small, it’s impossible to take a picture that includes everything. Unless Norah lets me send the photo album, of course.
The best feature of my office, and the reason I never feel crowded is the view out my big window. Some days the view looks like this.
And sometimes like this.
People often ask me if the view distracts me, and the answer is on occasion. But don’t your best ideas come to you when you least expect them?
Currently I’m working on the third book in my series, Stolen Hearts. The first book is about an art thief, the second an art forger, and the third book, a jewelry thief. The research for these books is absolutely fascinating. Out of Control is a free novella that introduces some of the recurring characters in the series.
And I’m excited to have a Harlequin Super Romance coming out in September, When Adam Came To Town.
Chance Spencer, doesn’t steal. Not anymore.
Suddenly suspected of stealing half a million dollars of original paintings, Chance can’t afford to have the FBI delve too closely into his covert past. When one agent in particular endeavors to put him behind bars, Chance coerces the real thief’s daughter, Sarah O’Sullivan, into helping him flush her wily father out of hiding. Both want him found. Sarah, to warn her father of Chance’s intent to turn him over to the FBI. Chance, to hopefully catch the thief red-handed. To succeed in capturing the thief Chance must keep Sarah close to him. But his plan quickly deteriorates when the stakes for his freedom soar. How can he ruthlessly use the woman with whom he’s falling in love?
Sarah O’Sullivan is also looking for her father, but for different reasons. With her best friend getting married, Sarah realizes she’s alone in the world and needs her family. That would be her father, who has been absent most of her boarding-school life. When Chance arrives in New York to inform her he’s going after her father, Sarah follows him to Canada, hoping to warn him before Chance or the FBI find him. But living in close proximity with Chance, Sarah soon starts falling in love with him. She struggles with her divided loyalties as the FBI and the local police close in for an arrest. Someone has to be arrested for the theft. Chance or her father?
Temptation moves in next door
Sylvie Carson has no idea what she’s going to do with the rest of her life! Artistically blocked, she hopes a prolonged stay in the seaside village she grew up in will help her get over this hump. But when Adam Hunter moves in next door, things only get more complicated, not less.
The artist in Sylvie is immediately intrigued by her new neighbor—the haunting lines of his face, the natural athleticism of his body. Maybe Adam is the muse she’s been looking for…but his shadowed eyes suggest he’s just one more person keeping secrets from her. Though Sylvie can’t deny that Adam inspires passion in her, the last thing she needs is a romance…right?
Thanks for having me, Norah. I love reading this blog and seeing other writers’ workspace.
Thank you Kate! And I can’t believe I’m seeing your new office for the first time in a photograph! I really need the actual tour. But thank you for joining me and giving us this virtual tour. Your view is stunning, as I’m sure readers will agree. Also, I see When Adam Comes to Town is available for pre-order on Amazon. Woot!
Okay, let the commenting commence. One lucky commenter will receive their choice of either the ebook of Sleight of Hand or a print copy of When Adam Comes to Town, available in September. Good luck!
I am super pumped to have Tracy Brogan on my blog today. Tracy is a fellow-Montlake Romance author who has encountered fantastic success. Her debut romantic comedy, Crazy Little Thing, has been nominated for Best First Book by the Romance Writers of America®, and I’ll be there to cheer her on at the awards ceremony in Atlanta next month. Go, Tracy!
TRACY BROGAN: Thanks for inviting me to Work Place Wednesday! If I recall, you invited me once before and I had to cancel because my desk was such a mess that even my computer stopped working! Fortunately I got that snafu worked through and here I am today. The pictures you see are ones taken at various stages. Since I’m currently under a mad-dash deadline, things around here are a little cluttered for my taste. (For those of you who have read my contemporary romantic comedy, Crazy Little Thing, it’s no coincidence that the heroine is a professional organizer. I do indeed have labels on my refrigerator shelves, just like she does. And just like in the book, no one pays any attention to them except for me.)
I work best with a clean space. But I’m also the post-it note queen so there you have my constant internal conflict. What I’ve started doing recently, thanks to a fa-fa-fabulous workshop I took with Cherry Adair, is take post-its with notes pertaining to the scene I’m working on that day, and I stick them all around the edge of my screen. Right now I have notes that say, “Spider, barefoot, and tattoo.” They remind me that in this scene, I want to establish how my heroine is afraid of spiders, my hero prefers to be barefoot, and I need to explain the significance of his tattoo because its meaning plays a part later in the book. Sometimes I will also have “theme” or “ARC” notes, too, such as one saying, “She’s not ready to commit,” or “he’s been thinking about the future,” things like that. I find this helps me keep my characters on task so they don’t go wandering off into the forest and fraternize with mythical creatures or something. Because I don’t write about mythical creatures.
I also have dozens of trinkets. I think I’m constantly on the lookout for that secret talisman that will provide constant inspiration. So far the best I’ve come up with is intro-venous coffee, but that doesn’t stop me from collecting other items. I have a “good karma” bracelet from a critique partner, another bracelet with charms attached to represent each book I’ve finished, bookends that hold up the books of my wonderful writer friends, a tiny bronze Liberty Bell because the heroine of my latest release (Hold On My Heart) is named Liberty Belle Hamilton, and last but sooo not least, I have pictures of handsome men who have served as stars in the mental casting of my books. There are a few picture of the heroines, too, but I don’t pay much attention to them. And those are mostly there so I can say to my husband, “See? I’m working. Not just ogling men.” When it comes to my “casting” though, don’t typically tell people who my “heroes” are because I don’t want to flavor (or tarnish) a readers vision of what he looks like. I want readers to intuit a vision of their own favorites.
I also have a big white board with a grid. This is another trick from Cherry Adair and her color-scheming madness. I won’t go into detail about how her system works but if you’re remotely a plotter, you will love her method. And if you’re a pantser, you would still probably benefit from seeing how she does it because you could set up your grid after you’ve written your first draft to see where your plot holes and pacing problems are. It’s worth the time.
This office is far from perfect. There is no espresso machine, and I can hear every dog in my neighborhood bark all day long, but I’m incredibly grateful that since I’ve sold my first book, and just signed another 3-book deal, I was able to move out the guest bed, sewing cabinet, and buy some real bookshelves for this room. It’s officially MY office. Now if I could just install a lock on the door, I’d be all set.
Thanks for having me, Norah. If you don’t mind a shameless plug of self-promotion, I have a new book coming on June 25, 2013 called Hold On My Heart. Here is a blurb:
To build a future, sometimes you have to tear down the past…
Chicago event planner Libby Hamilton can turn any bland setting into a dramatic venue – but when she abruptly loses her job, and her fair-weather boyfriend moves to another state, Libby suddenly finds herself back in the tiny town she grew up in. Worse than that, her father wants help transforming an old schoolhouse into a vintage ice cream parlor and Libby must trade in her power suits for power tools.
Widowed restoration specialist Tom Murphy can rebuild just about anything – except the shattered relationship he shares with his teenaged daughter. Hired by Libby’s father, Tom isn’t interested in sharing the details of his personal life with beautiful, spunky Libby. He just wants to get the job done. But she is tenacious – and sexy – and it doesn’t take long before she breaks down his walls, builds up his hope, and gets a hold on his heart that won’t let go.
And for a little extra fun, here’s the trailer:
I’d love to give away some copies of this book! So three lucky winners will win a free print copy! Just leave a comment on this blog, and three names will be selected at random. Or come on over to my author Facebook page and leave me a note saying Norah sent you. I’ll draw another name from that list! Four winners total!! Thanks for playing and have a great Wednesday!
Biography: Past or present, Tracy Brogan loves romance. She writes funny contemporary stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and stirring historical romance full of political intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt.
She is a best-selling author, a 2013 RWA® RITA Best First Book Finalist for Crazy Little Thing, and a two-time Golden Heart Finalist in both contemporary and historical romance.
Her next contemporary romance, Hold On My Heart, releases June 25, 2013.
Tracy lives in Michigan with her husband, her children and their overly-indulged dogs. Please stop by her website at tracybrogan.com.
Thank you, Tracy! That was a fun tour. I love your space, and I feel like I learned a lot about you. I wish you’d come organize me!
Okay, folks, you heard the lady. Three of you will win her terrific new book just for commenting, and you have a bonus chance if you drop by her Facebook page. Let the commenting begin!