Essential Beginnings Kennedy Layne
Guest Post

Guest Post: Brighton Walsh on Pitch Wars & Mentoring Fellow Writers

Exposed Brighton Walsh

Today we have author Brighton Walsh, sharing about her experiences as a Pitch Wars mentor. Take it away Brighton!

For many, this time of the year marks new beginnings. Even *mumbles incoherently* years after graduating, I still think in terms of the school year. It’s  a chance to start fresh, work in that schedule you slacked on all summer, and (pardon my French), get shit done.

For writers, it’s much the same. Since 2011, Pitch Wars has provided that opportunity. If you’re not aware of the awesomeness that is Pitch Wars, allow me to school (heh) you real quick. The goal is to pair a seasoned writer with a brand-spankin’ new one to show them the ropes. Brenda Drake, creator of this contest and all around amazing cheerleader for authors, gathers published and/or agented writers and/or editors to be mentors. And then she opens the floodgates. Those mentors post their wishlists on their blogs and hopefuls (unagented authors) sift through to find ones who best fit them (much like querying). Then they send off their baby to up to (this year) five mentors. And then they wait. Once the selections have been made, mentor and mentee spend the next two months shining that manuscript to its highest potential in preparation for the agent round.

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Portland ME Freya Barker sale July
Guest Post

Guest Post: “Happy Endings Can Be Sad…For the Author” by Cecilia Tan

The Poet and the Prophecy Cecilia Tan

Cecilia Tan’s Magic University series comes to a conclusion with the release of The Poet and the Prophecy, out today. Cecilia is happy to bring the series to a conclusion–but also sad to see it end. She explains her mixed emotions below. Thanks, Cecilia!

This week the final volume in my Magic University series has finally hit shelves/Kindles and it seems a good moment to reflect on endings and the ending of a series.

I know not all series are like this. Some seemingly could go on forever. At a panel called “How NOT To End A Series” at the RWA national conference this year bestselling author Shannon Stacey lamented that she had to end her Kowlaskis Series because “I ran out of Kowalskis.”

But in a series like Magic University, which mixes fantasy with new adult romance, I knew I had a set endpoint. Like the Harry Potter series which inspired it, Magic University has one book per year of school. Book four, The Poet and the Prophecy, is Kyle’s senior year. In fantasy, there is always a quest: I combined fantasy and romance here by making it a quest to find true love, a quest that takes four years to complete.

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Sisters in Love Melissa Foster
Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: DEVOTION by Grace R. Duncan

Devotion Grace R. Duncan

Today we’re pleased to have an exclusive excerpt from Grace R. Duncan’s latest release, Devotion, book one of her new Forbes Mates series from Dreamspinner Press. Enjoy and pick up your copy today!

Finley Cooper is tired of waiting for his destined mate to be ready to claim him. In deference to human laws, he’s already agreed to wait until he’s eighteen. But now his birthday has come and gone—and his mate has a new set of excuses. Finley doesn’t understand it any more than his wolf does, and he’s beginning to wonder if fate made a mistake.Tanner Pearce wants nothing more than to claim his mate, but he worries that Finley is too young. Tanner will never forget what happened when his best friend mated at Finley’s age, only to have that mate end up feeling trapped and breaking their bond. While rare, it can happen, and the fallout Tanner witnessed as his best friend tried to deal with the break has haunted him for years.

When Finley finally has enough, he threatens to find someone who will claim him if Tanner doesn’t, and Tanner realizes he needs to come to terms with his fears or risk losing his mate forever.

“Okay, hey, isn’t that the new family?”

Tanner sniffed, noticing a new scent. He turned with his dad to see who’d come in, and the smell that greeted him nearly knocked him off his feet. Pine trees, warmth, and sunshine. Something deeper and masculine woven into it.

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Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Morning Bites

What Eras in Historical Romance Would You Most Like to Read?

She’s a twentieth-century fox!

Historical romance readers have long embraced the Regency era (England, technically 1811-1820, but usually encompassing 1800-1830), with its Empire waistlines, Almack’s, and young ladies making their debut at fancy Society balls.

But there are many other eras available, from medieval to American Western to Gilded Age to Victorian and more.

What historical eras in romance would you most like to read?

Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: BAD ROMANCE: A STEPBROTHER NOVEL by Jen McLaughlin

Bad Romance Jen McLaughlin

Today we have an exclusive excerpt from Jen McLaughlin’s new release, Bad Romance! She’s sharing with us a scene with sexual tension thick enough to cut with a knife. Read on and be sure to pick up your copy today!

Bad Romance

Seven years in the army will change a guy. But after a shoulder wound ends his career as a sniper, Jackson Worthington finds himself back home, fighting a battle that’s all too familiar: keeping his hands off Lily Hastings. She’s still her rich daddy’s little angel, innocent, impossibly lovely, as squeaky-clean as Jackson is dirty. And she’s still his stepsister—forbidden but not forgotten, not after the soul-melting kiss that got him kicked out of the house at eighteen. He couldn’t resist her then. How the hell can he resist her now?

Lily is about to marry a man she doesn’t love, and commit to a high-stress job she hates, all to please the father who controls every waking moment of her life. On top of everything, her teenage crush is back, with a sleek, chiseled body and a trace of the rebellious boy whose lips sealed her fate. Jackson’s timing couldn’t be worse . . . or better. Because Lily’s all grown up, too. She’s aching for another taste. And for the first time, she’s ready to be a bad girl.

Even though the conversation had been innocent and generic, I couldn’t help but think there was a tension to it. A sexual tension we wouldn’t be able to avoid for much longer. But that was just my imagination. He had told me he didn’t want me anymore.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: “Inspiration” by Jodi Thomas

Ransom Canyon Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas’s Ransom Canyon, the first book in her Ransom Canyon series, is more than just a romance between its hero and heroine; it’s got stories of people in a tiny Texas town, all of whose lives converge and change. Jodi is here to talk about her inspiration. Thanks, Jodi!

My newest RANSOM CANYON series has just been released and I am so excited! I think that this series is the best and deepest I’ve ever written.

Like most writers I get the same question again and again. “Where do your ideas come from?

Sometimes I have no idea where the seed of an idea started to grow in my mind. But, then I get out Grandma Kirkland’s button box….

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Giveaway: Win Meredith Wild’s Complete Hacker Series!

Hard Love Meredith Wild

Meredith Wild’s Hacker Series follows Blake and Erica’s journey, from the boardroom to the bedroom. Meredith’s latest release, Hard Love, finds Blake and Erica coming up against the biggest challenge of their lives–and you’ll want to be with them every step of the way. We’re thrilled to be hosting a giveaway for one set of all five books in the Hackers series, along with signed bookplates, so you can find out for yourself just what Blake and Erica are getting up to (it’s hot!). Giveaway is for United States residents only, and ends September 29th. Enter now!

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Meredith Wild is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast with her husband and three children, she refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator, and hopeless romantic. When she isn’t living in the fantasy world of her characters, she can usually be found on Facebook. You can learn more about her upcoming projects at


Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: WHAT LOLA WANTS by Calista Fox

What Lola Wants Calista Fox

Calista Fox’s What Lola Wants brings together old friends who find something new is sparking between them–making for some deliciously hot friends-to-lovers action. And we’ve got an exclusive excerpt from What Lola Wants, which includes a “bad-boy smirk.” Swoon! Thanks, Calista!

Lola knows what she wants…

Lola Vonn isn’t sure exactly when it happened, but sometime between ages seven and twentysomething, her best friend, Alex, got hot.Really hot. He’s hotter than the blazing Arizona sun-and definitely hotter than the nerdy-cute mathlete she grew up with. And, when she needs to crash at his apartment while looking for a place of her own, Alex becomes a temptation she can’t resist. But while unbuttoning Alex’s buttoned-up self is scorchingly fun, wild child Lola fears risking the best friend she’s ever had on a fling.

He knows what she needs…

Alex Reed has wanted Lola since they were teenagers and now that she’s parading around his condo in sexy stilettos and short nighties, he can’t stop the more-than-just-friends fantasies he has every time he looks at his new curvy blonde roommate. Luckily he’s no longer the painfully dorky teenager he once was-and it’s high time he showed Lola that he’s the man for her.

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Giveaway, Guest Post

Guest Post: “The Long Running Series: How Hard Can It Be?” by Marie Force

When you’re writing a long-running series, how do you keep the chemistry between reoccurring characters genuine, and, well, sexy? We asked contemporary romance author Marie Force to tell us how she manages to keep us loving the characters in her suspenseful Fatal Series through nine books and two novellas. (And, as an added bonus, Marie gave us two sets of the print editions of the Fatal Series to give away! See the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.)

Today is the release day for Fatal Frenzy, book 9 in my Fatal Series, which is now five years old with no end in sight. It’s a tiny bit surreal to consider that this series has now gone to nine books—and two novellas—when you consider its somewhat inauspicious beginning. I wanted to write a series that featured the same couple in every book—a female homicide detective who is romantically involved with an up-and-coming politician. Editors love the idea for the first book, but weren’t too keen on the idea of the same couple headlining every book in the series. “It’s simply not done in romance,” one editor famously told me.

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Morning Bites

Morning Bites: Happy Birthday, Betty Neels!

sister peters in amsterdam
Going Dutch?

Today is legendary romance author Betty Neels‘s birthday. Born in 1909, Betty’s romance novels–numbering well over 100–were remarkably chaste affairs (so to speak), and were among the first books published by Harlequin when it launched.

Sister Peters in Amsterdam, published in 1969, was the first Betty Neels book to see publication. Here’s the blurb:

Sister Adelaide Peters was surprised, but also very proud and excited, to have been chosen to represent her hospital in a new exchange scheme. It meant she’d be spending a year in Holland. Adelaide was determined to do her best, and she more than succeeded! She adored Holland, liked her colleagues and even mastered some of the language. She also unexpectedly—and disastrously—fell in love with her new boss. But Professor Coenraad van Essen was clearly out of her league.

Interestingly, Betty herself was a nurse whose husband was Dutch (write what you know, right?)

Have you read any Betty Neels books?