Monday, July 15, 2019

Guest Author Day with Amber Daulton


Welcome to the Reading Nook blog, peeps and please give a warm welcome to author Amber Daulton as we chat about their new book, Lyrical Embrace as well as a few other items of interest.


Thanks for stopping by to talk a little about your writing! Let's jump right in. When did you begin writing and why?

I read my first romance book when I was 12 after I snuck a Harlequin paperback out of my mom’s bedroom. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I wanted to create my own story about two people having an adventure and falling in love. I wrote with pencil in a spiral-bound notebook and finished that 200-plus page story in about six months.
I published my first book when I was 26, and Lyrical Embrace is now my eleventh book to date. I have about ten more manuscripts on my computer waiting to see the light of day.

Do you have a favorite genre? Is it the same genre you prefer to write?

Paranormal romance and romantic suspense are tied as my all-time favorite sub-genre of romance. Lately, I’ve been writing RS books, but my backlist includes historical, western, contemporary, time travel, and holiday-themed romances. The paranormal books I’ve written haven’t been published yet, but I hope to change that soon.

Do certain themes and ideas tend to capture your writer’s imagination and fascinate you?

I’m very open to what I read and write (I like basically everything), but I do prefer certain tropes like second chances and damaged heroes.

How do you balance long-term thinking vs. being nimble in today's market?

The publishing world is in an uproar, and I doubt it will smooth out anytime soon. You got to be flexible and roll with the punches since not every promotional opportunity will work for every author. A lot of that deals with luck, how much money you spend in order to spread the word about your book, and/or your professional connections.
To be successful, you need to think ahead, know your audience, and market your book to the people who read in your genre. A reader who loves paranormal romance might not be interested in a Regency romance novel, and vise-versa. You gotta do a ton of promoting, whether you pick the free options or the ones that cost a fee. Most publishers offer little assistance, so the responsibility falls to the author. It can be a nightmare, but it’s something authors have to deal with and struggle through. After all, if the reader doesn’t know your name, he or she won’t buy your book.

How do you find readers in today's market?

Social media, blogging, interviews, magazine ads, contests/giveaways, and swag are great marketing tools and ways to draw in readers.

Do you come up with the hook first, or do you create characters first and then dig through until you find a hook?

I always come up with a hook and overall plot before I develop characters and start building my world.

How do you create your characters?

A spark of an idea usually blossoms very quickly into a well-rounded character, especially if I’m developing the hero or heroine. I picture myself in the character’s shoes, think about what I would (or wouldn’t) do in whatever situation I’m putting the character in, and my imagination just flows. Sometimes, my characters take over and twist my ideas into something new and different, taking the story in another direction.

What's on the top of your TBR pile right now?

I’ve read a few books in Maggie Shayne’s Wings in the Night series and I really want to read more. However, I’m busy writing and editing at the moment, so I have to wait a few months before I can take a break and do some reading. I have about 400 hundred or so print books in my office and probably around 1000 ebooks on my Kindle and computer, so my TBR list is swamped.

Tell me a little about the characters in Lyrical Embrace.

Erica Timberly was in a bad relationship and finally found the courage and the means to break free. I think a lot of readers can sympathize with her, especially those who have experienced abuse and neglect from someone claiming to love them.
Dylan Haynes has retired from the New York music scene and now teaches kids how to play instruments. He’s gotten his life back together after all the drama of being a semi-star, and he and Erica have an instant connection.
Despite the dark undertones, this story is fun, uplifting, and hot. The characters are real and flawed. I really enjoyed writing it, and I hope readers will love it.

Where’s the story set? How much influence did the setting have on the atmosphere/characters/development of the story?

Lyrical Embrace, book four in the Deerbourne Inn series, is a multi-author collaboration of novellas set in the small fictional town of Willow Springs, Vermont. I love small town romances, especially ones with an edge and a little bit of danger weaved in. When plotting this story, I first pictured a young woman running away from the big city to escape her abusive boyfriend. She winds up in the middle of nowhere and finds not only a new romance, but acceptance among the townspeople.

How often does your muse distract you from day to day minutiae?

When I’m not writing, I’m usually plotting in my head and thinking about my current or future WIPs. So yes, my muse distracts me all the time.

What do readers have to look forward to in the future from you?

The second installment in the Arresting Onyx series should hopefully be out in early 2020. Arresting Jeremiah follows hardnosed parole officer Jim Borden and his obsession Calista Barlow as they stick their noses where they don’t belong and fall deep into the trouble with the criminal organization known as Onyx. This sexy, dirty-talking romantic suspense series spans five books with a standalone HEA for each rough-and-tumble hero and their spunky heroines. The first book is already published.
I’m editing a book in the House of Darkain series, an on-going set of unpublished vampire novels. I’m seeking representation for the series, and book one is now in the hands of agents and hopefully out of the slush pile.




Lyrical Embrace
Series: Deerbourne Inn (book 4)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Out-of-work violinist Erica Timberly decides enough is enough. She leaves her abusive boyfriend and flees the big city, but then her car breaks down in the middle of the night. Though wary of men, she accepts help from Dylan Haynes, a stranger driving by on the road, and soon recognizes him as the sexy former drummer of her favorite indie rock band. Maybe, just maybe, her run of bad luck is finally turning around.

Music teacher Dylan Haynes knows Erica is in trouble, and her black eye is only the first clue. The stubborn yet vulnerable woman needs a friend, but he’s determined to give her everything she deserves.

Will Erica listen to the music in her heart and trust Dylan, or will her past always threaten her future?

 Excerpt

Dylan deepened the kiss and lightly tugged on her bottom lip. Tears streaked his flushed cheeks as he smiled at her. “I’m so grateful I found you, baby. I heard you screaming. When I saw that bastard press a gun to your head, my heart nearly exploded. I thought I might lose you. I promise you, Erica, I will never control you as Phil did. You will always have the ability to choose. I just want to make you happy.”
She gripped his hand and brushed her lips across his calloused knuckles. “I know. You do make me happy. You took a bullet for me.” A sob constricted her throat, but she pushed it down.
A blast of noise rent the air. Fireworks filled the sky, visible in the alley from the narrow stretch of space between the buildings.
Erica loved the bright colors and designs, but hardly cared about watching the spectacle. She dropped her gaze back to Dylan.
A grin spread across his face. “It’s been one wild Fourth of July. Why don’t we do something more low-key next year? How about no guns and crazy exes? Just us, the creek, and a bottle of wine. Clothing optional.”
She laughed softly, amazed he could make light of the situation. “That sounds perfect. Absolutely perfect.”


Buy Links


About the Author

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
Amber lives in North Carolina with her husband and four demanding cats. Feel free to visit her at http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com.

Social Media Links

Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/amber.daulton.author
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/14JoZff





Friday, July 12, 2019

Release Blitz~ Shayla Black's Devoted to Love


Discover the next addition in Shayla Black's Devoted Lovers series in Devoted to You. 


Devoted to Love
A Devoted Lovers Series Novel
Contemporary Romance


He was sent to guard her body…but he’s determined to steal it—and her heart—for his own.

An all-new sizzling contemporary romance about an alpha bodyguard protecting his small-town Texas siren from lethal danger—from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shayla Black.

Buy Links:
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2pDxUxO
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2yJTVQE
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2SCU5BB
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Qd93g5

Excerpt:
Maggie was shocked to feel her hand tremble when she put her fingers in Josiah Grant’s massive palm. He’d been more than nice to look at, and she’d already entertained more than one fantasy about how hot he might look out of that sharp charcoal-gray suit. But now that she was actually going to touch him, her brain felt in eminent danger of short-circuiting. How the devil would she manage if he actually kissed her? Peeled off her clothes? Thrust his hard cock—which should be large, given the size of his hands—inside her?
She’d combust on the spot.
“Sure,” she managed to murmur while seeming somewhere between cool and detached. It was her signature move.
As they reached the dance floor, the party tune faded away, replaced by Ed Sheeran crooning that he’d love the woman in his arms until he was seventy. As Josiah pulled her close and began to sway to the slow beat, she peered up at him. Her lashes fluttered, along with her heart. She sucked in a breath. God, she had to stop being such a nervous idiot. He was a man. She was a woman. This would probably be nothing more than a fling she’d enjoy the hell out of.
But looking into his eyes, she wasn’t so sure. They weren’t blue or green or brown or even hazel. They were more unusual. They were a glinting gray with a thick fringe of lashes against tanned skin. That gaze, along with the buzz of his brown hair, made him look somewhere between exotic and dangerous. And he was staring right at her, looking entirely serious.
Mercy, what was it about this man?
He swallowed like maybe she got to him, too.
“So . . .” She searched for a conversational topic to cut her nerves.
“So . . .” He smirked in return.
“You actually can dance. I’m impressed.”
He let loose a laugh. “See? I’m a lot of things, but a liar isn’t one of them.”
Josiah glided them around the floor effortlessly, turning her under his arm, reeling her in closer, then settling his hot fingertips in the middle of her bare back before he caressed his way down her spine and placed his palm close to her ass.
Lord, he felt good. Maggie tried not to imagine how his fingers would feel skimming her whole body with that soft, unhurried stroke. “Tell me . . . Were you in the service, like Cutter?”
Josiah shook his head. “CIA.”
Wow. “That sounds dangerous.”
“The mortality rate was higher than, say, for an accountant.”
“Why do I get the feeling that’s an understatement?”
He simply shrugged. Okay, he didn’t want to talk about it. Or couldn’t. She respected that.
“How long have you worked for EM Security?”
“About a year. I signed on because I wanted to learn from the best. Then a few months later, Caleb Edgington retired. Thankfully, his sons have proven anything but amateur. What about you?”
Since he’d done important things like save the world, he would laugh a million times at what she’d chosen to do with her life. At least he’d never guess. It wasn’t as if a guy like him would ever read an Azalea North novel. In fact, no one had figured her secret out yet, not even her sister.
“I’m . . . on hold right now. Shealyn has this big life to lead, and now she’s married. My grandparents are needing more help as they get older. Papa fell last week. Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, but Granna can’t lift him. I barely can. And she can’t remember to take her medicine half the time. They’re little issues, at least right now. But they’re going to require more care in the coming years.”
“What about your mom? Can she help?”
Maggie bit back something pointless he wouldn’t understand and she’d probably regret. “She lives in Costa Rica with her husband and my ten-year-old half brother. Up until the last few months, she really hasn’t been in my life. We’re, um . . . getting to know each other.”
“You didn’t grow up with her?”
She shook her head. “Long story.”
Hopefully, he’d read between the lines. In her book, it was a closed subject. She still wasn’t entirely sure how she felt about her mom. A few conversations didn’t erase a whole childhood of resentment, but Maggie wasn’t the sort to hold on to hate. And it wasn’t as if her youth in Comfort had been terrible.
“What about your parents?” she said to fill what could become an awkward silence.
“Long story, as well.”
In other words, he had secrets he’d rather keep, too. Fine by her.
The silence she’d been trying to avoid fell between them. Surprisingly, it wasn’t awkward at all. But it was tight, full of awareness. She could feel herself yearning to be closer to him. But what blindsided her was his desire for her. It hung so thick in the air it was almost tangible. Like a blanket, it wrapped around her, warmed her from the January chill that blew in under the tent. It left her no doubt what he thought or wanted.
The song ended. Neither one of them moved, simply stared. Those wicked fingertips of his prowled their way up her bare back again, making her shiver, before gliding down in a barely there caress.
“Josiah?”
“How much longer do you have to stay at the reception?”
Half dazed, she scanned the room. Her sister was wrapped in her husband’s arms on the opposite corner of the dance floor. Granna and Papa had already retired. Brea, bless her, had finally managed to calm her stomach enough to enjoy the festivities. The rest of the guests had either left or kicked off their shoes, started their third drink, and gotten ready to party.
“Not another minute. Are you planning to take me to bed?”
He cupped her cheek, looking like he wanted to kiss her. Instead, he backed away, teeth gritted in restraint—for now. She had a feeling that moderation wouldn’t last.
Josiah took her hand. “Yes, I am.”


About the Author


Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than sixty novels. For twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past nine years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.




Book Spotlight/Giveaway~ Out of the Field


Title: Out in the Field
Series: Out in College #4
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Release Date: July 11
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 51K
Genre: Romance, New Adult, College, Coming Out, Baseball, New Adult, Humor, Opposites

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Max Maldonado loves baseball. He knows playing first base at a private college probably won’t get him to the big leagues, but he doesn’t mind. He loves the game and his teammates. If he has to stay in the closet until he graduates, that’s okay. Baseball comes first. Relationships are complicated anyway. And after his recent messy breakup, Max prefers to keep things simple.

Phoenix Bell is a fabulous theater geek. He’s excited about his recent transfer to a new school with an elite liberal arts program. Life has been on hold for a while, but this opportunity feels like the fresh start he was hoping for when he moved to California. And the chance reunion with the hot closeted jock is an unexpected surprise. The two men have nothing in common and their timing couldn’t be worse. However, when their unconventional alliance blossoms into friendship and perhaps something more, it may be time to make some hard decisions. And perhaps risk it all…out in the field.

Excerpt


We were quiet for a moment. We shared his drink in silence as occasional bits of conversation and laughter from the party drifted our way. We were far enough from the action that the excess noise didn’t penetrate our cocoon. Just a couple of strangers in the dark again, minus the club music and lights and unrealistic hopes from the first time. I didn’t know about Phoenix, but this felt cathartic somehow. Like a fresh start.

“What else is going on? You look sad. It’s not me, is it?” I asked with a comedic expression.

He chuckled. “No. This is nice. I just—I tend to get a little blue on the night of the final performance. The anticlimactic feeling sucks, but it’s the nature of the beast. The cycle of slowly learning lines and getting to know your castmates is followed by long rehearsals where everything starts to gel. The excitement builds before the shows and everyone gets better and better and then…<em>boom</em>! It’s over. All that momentum and all the joy that comes from being part of something special disappears overnight. I’m gonna wake up in the morning back at square one.”

“That’s depressing.”

“Thus the vodka.” Phoenix raised his cup and took a sip. He set it between us before flashing a lopsided smile my way. “It’s just part of the process. I’ve been doing some version of this for years. You’d think I’d be better at transitioning from high to low.”

“Hmm. It’s kinda the same in baseball. When we start in January, most of the guys are out of shape and out of sync. We have to get used to a new crew and figure out how to work together. By the time our season ends in May, we’re a well-oiled machine. I’m not always sad when it’s over. Sometimes I really need the break. But by June, I miss it. The best thing to do is to stay in the game as much as possible. Play, watch, read stats. There’s probably a theater equivalent.”

“Sure. It’s called ‘get a new part.’ I’m already memorizing the script for the spring production at the Arts Center. They’re doing <em>Chicago</em>. God, I love that show. So many juicy roles. ‘And all that jazz,’ ” he sang that last line, then took another drink and handed his cup to me for no particular reason.

I widened my legs and propped my elbows on my knees. His gaze dipped briefly to my crotch before he licked his lips and glanced away.

“Who do you want to be?” I asked. “I mean…in the play.”

“In a perfect world, I’d be Roxie. But…I have a dick, so I’ll have to audition for Billy and pretend not to be crushed when they give me the role of prison guard or mafia henchman number two.”

“Why can’t you be Billy?” I asked before draining the vodka cocktail.

“I don’t have the right look. You’d actually be a perfect Billy. Have you ever thought about acting?”

“Me?” I pointed at my chest incredulously. “Fuck, no.”

“Why so adamant? It’s fun.”

“Theater stuff just isn’t my thing. I play baseball.”

“You can’t do both?”

“Nope. Not me. And I’m not interested anyway.”

He sighed dramatically. “Well…you were a good fantasy while you lasted.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked with a faux scowl.

“Just what you think it means. I know close to nothing about you except that you’re a decent kisser and—”

“Decent?” Now the scowl was real.

“Okay, better than decent. You were amazing. A real-life Prince Charming. But we can be friends now and—”

“I don’t want to be your friend,” I intercepted.

“Why not?”

“ ’Cause I like you.”

“That makes no sense.”

“Yeah, it does. I—” I hesitated for half a second before crashing my mouth over his.

And damn, kissing Phoenix was better than I remembered. I caressed his jaw tenderly before tilting my head to deepen the connection. I didn’t want to overwhelm him, but damn, it took everything I had not to put my hands all over him. I licked the corner of his mouth and groaned. He tasted sweet—like cherries or something. That had to be his lip gloss, I mused before driving my tongue inside.

Phoenix didn’t seem to mind. He moaned when I cupped his neck and tilted my head slightly to soften the connection. I flicked my tongue at the corner of his mouth before biting his bottom lip and pulling away. The kiss was sweet but much too short. And yeah, I was incredibly impressed with my restraint, but I couldn’t afford to start something we’d both regret later. Phoenix wasn’t a stranger anymore. He was a fellow student who knew my biggest secret. I should have been more concerned with resetting boundaries and moving on. But it didn’t feel that simple.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were First Place winners in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Guest Author Day with Amber Daulton

Welcome to the Reading Nook blog, peeps and please give a warm welcome to author Amber Daulton as we chat about their new book, Lyrical ...