June 11, 2010

Today is the last day of my Week to celebrate the Launch of Carina Press. And what a last day it is! This morning I posted my review of THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN by Joely Sue Burkhart and to close the week off, I have an interview with the wonderful author: Joely Sue Burkhart, one of my favorite author discoveries of last year and one of the most friendly and generous persons I've encountered in the romance community. 

EXTRA GIVEAWAY! 
In addition to being entered in the CarinaWeek giveaway that's been running all week, your comment on this interview will enter you for a chance to win an e-copy of THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN. And let me tell you, it's a book you'll definitely want to read if you like paranormal romance that's suspenseful, dark, action-packed and filled with fascinating mythology.

I'd like to thank everyone for making this a memorable and fun week: The staff at Carina Press, Angela, Ginny, Shannon, Kelly, Joely, my hubby who made the awesome banner and button, Leontine who helped me pimp this week and listened patiently to me whenever I went into my raving monologues about Carina Press and their books and of course everyone who came by and commented. So without further ado, I hope you'll all join me in welcoming Joely! 

Let’s start with some QUICKIES to warm up…


Victor or Conn? Geez, the very first question is a toughie! I'd have to go with Conn, I guess—Victor can be pretty scary. * shivers delightfully *

Reading or Writing? Both, but I read less so that I can write more.

Digital or Print? Both! More digital lately since I got my iPhone.

Pantser or Plotter? Mostly plotter, but I pants my way through when I need to.

Cookies or Chocolate? Cookies (although homemade bread is my real weakness)


Q. Please could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
A. I'm married, have three monsters (girls) under the age of 11 and we live in Missouri, USA. By day, I work as a computer programmer for an insurance company, and in the dark hours either early morning or late night, I write my fanny off.

Q. Your book THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN comes out June 14th. This is the first book in a new series. Please tell us a bit about this book and the series.
A. The original premise was a Maya Stargate, a mix of mythology, romance, and science fiction, which became a thriller once I realized that demons had escaped from the Maya hell (Xibalba). Everyone keeps talking about the Maya prediction that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012. I asked myself what if that wasn't when the world would end...but when the Maya would return through their gates? Then the Bloodgates were born!

The official blurb for THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN:


Worlds within worlds await through the Maya Bloodgate…

Dr. Jaid Merritt doesn't do digs. The last time she ventured into the jungle, someone died. Now she's content to decipher Maya gyphs from pictures sent to her by her famous archaeologist father. But when he goes missing while trying to perform a ritual based on her translations of ancient codex, Jaid must put aside her fears and travel to Guatemala to find him.

After misusing misusing the Bloodgates to bring his twin brother back from the afterlife, the Maya priest known as Ruin was cursed by the gods to stand as the guardian for all time. He was unable to stop Dr. Charles Merritt from opening the gates, and now demons roam this world. The last thing he wants to do is hurt the beautiful woman who is somehow infused with his magic, but if she uses the codex to retrieve her father, Ruin must do his duty. And this time, he won’t fail. Even if it kills him. Again.


Q. You write Contemporary Erotic Romance, Fantasy Romance and Paranormal Romance. These are three very different genres. What genre are you most comfortable writing?
A. Probably the speculative genres, because I control every aspect of the world in which I'm writing, but I do enjoy the challenge of writing in various genres.

Q. How long have you been writing, and how did you get your start?
A. Back in September 2003 my beloved sister (Molly Burkhart, http://mollyburkhart.net ) called to tell me she'd just finished her first book. I was so excited for her that I accidentally admitted that I'd been writing a book too. She nagged, I mean encouraged! me to finish that book, which went on to become The Rose of Shanhasson.

Q. Do you have a favorite place or time to write? Do you try to keep to a specific writing schedule and strive for a certain amount of work per day?
A. Because I work full-time, the best time for me to write is “dark and early” before work. I try to get up between 5:00 – 6:00 a.m. and write before I start work. I can do that for a month or two at a time, but then I need to take a break and sleep in a little! If I didn't have to work, I'd stay up all night writing because I love the wee hours of the darkness while everyone else is sleeping.

Q. Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us?
A. I'm in the brainstorming stage for a Science Fiction Romance series that I'm really excited about, while Victor (HURT ME SO GOOD) and RETURN TO SHANHASSON (Blood & Shadows #3) are in production. I'm also working on the next Maya Bloodgate novel and at least half a dozen other scribbled ideas! Whew, no wonder I'm exhausted!

Q. If you could change places with any of your characters which one would it be and why?
A. Ha, I wouldn't trade places with any of my characters – I put them through too much grief!

Q. Which character did you have the most fun creating and why?
A. It'd have to be Gregar. He walked on stage and just got better and better – while I take no credit whatsoever in his development. I didn't know what I had in him until much later, but he taught me so very much.

Q. What is your day job, if you still have one, and what do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A. Oh, yeah, still have the “Evil Day Job” and if I have my way, I always will. I've been with the same insurance company 15 years as a computer programmer. I telecommute from our house, so I don't actually have to be “in” the office at all, I love the people I work with, and the work is challenging and yet mostly fun too. (P.S. It's not really an “evil” job!)

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A. Coffee. I know that's probably cheating, but I make mine strong enough I can almost eat it with a spoon.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Right here doing what I'm doing, only I'd double the hours in each day so I'd have more time to write. Eventually, I'd like to move us all out to the country so we can have chickens and horses.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions! I have truly enjoyed getting to know a bit more about you and hope my visitors will too!

Thank you so much for having me, Pearl!



GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY

As announced last week my Carina Week will not be without a fabulous giveaway, courtesy of Carina Press! Up for grabs here on the blog is one coupon code worth $ 15 to spend at Carina Press, buying the books you'd like to try out. Believe me, if what I've read is an indication, there is something for everybody and the books I've read were gems in their genres, each and every one of them. Okay, now to the important part. How can you win this coupon code? That's easy.

  • Just leave a (meaningful) comment on the posts during my Carina Week.
  • Each comment will give you an entry.
  • There will be 6 Carina Week blog-posts so that gives you a maximum of 6 entries if you comment on every post. Mind you, you don't have to comment on every post, it just gives you more chances if you do.
  • Make sure you leave your email address with your comment (or email it to me, through the contact link in the left sidebar if you don't want to publicly leave your email address) because it's needed to be able to claim the code.
  • On Saturday June 12th I'll tally up the entries and pick a winner via random.org


I also announced last week that there would be 2 coupon codes of $ 15 each so you might wonder, what of the other code. That one will be the prize in a Twitter-giveaway so if you want another chance at it...keep an eye on my Twitter-account this week and get tweeting because each tweet including the hashtag #CarinaWeek will be entered for the Twitter-giveaway.

So there you have it...2 chances to win an opportunity to get your mitts on some Carina Press gems!

Have fun! And hope to see a lot of you this week!



Worlds within worlds await through the Maya Bloodgate….

Dr. Jaid Merritt doesn’t do digs. The last time she ventured into the jungle, someone died. Now she’s content to decipher Maya glyphs from pictures sent to her by her famous archaeologist father. But when he goes missing while trying to perform a ritual based on her translations of an ancient codex, Jaid must put aside her fears and travel to Guatemala to find him.

After misusing the Bloodgates to bring his twin brother back from the afterlife, the Maya priest known as Ruin was cursed by the gods to stand as the guardian for all time. He was unable to stop Dr. Charles Merritt from opening the gates, and now demons roam this world. The last thing he wants to do is hurt the beautiful woman who is somehow infused with his magic, but if she uses the codex to retrieve her father, Ruin must do his duty. And this time, he won’t fail. Even if it kills him. Again.

When her father goes missing while opening the gates to the Mayan underworld, Jaid Merritt must put aside her fear of digs and head to the last place he was seen alive, a Mayan dig in Guatemala. There she not only discovers her father’s whereabouts, but a Mayan Warrior and the people her father was working for also hunt her. Rescue and help come from an unexpected corner in the form of Ruin, a Mayan Priest and shifter, cursed to be the Gatekeeper to the Mayan underworld. While trying to undo the damage her father did and finding him, Ruin and Jaid grow closer and an impossible and heartbreaking love story develops.

Jaid is brave, smart and stubborn. She lives and breathes Mayan glyphs and has dedicated herself to helping her father in order to gain the approval, love and admiration he’s always withheld from her

Ruin is broken, loyal and so powerful power just radiates off him. He oozes danger yet at the same time he has this vulnerable side that comes out when he’s with Jaid. He acts impulsively out of the love he has for the people close to him, which leads to unintentionally hurting them, and this eats away at him.

I struggled a little bit in the beginning with all the different creatures, characters, terms and world building but that was soon forgotten when I was pulled into a fascinating tale of Mayan mythology and romance. With every turn of the page fascinating events unfolded in developments and revelations that kept me riveted to the pages, enjoying the engaging characters and the thrilling plot. It didn’t take me long to become completely immersed in the story.

THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN is a very dark paranormal romance and thriller and I must say it hovered on the edges of my comfort zone. I am not one who easily reads about gory stuff like people getting gutted, with intestines tumbling out and blood spurting around. There were two scenes in the beginning and one in the end that were pretty graphic in violence but I must say Joely Sue Burkhart pulled it off for me.

The ending was action-packed and nerve-wracking for a moment but I got the HEA I was rooting for so for that I thank you, Joely Sue! The ending also set up the next step in the overall story arc that can’t but become ongoing. Though Jaid and Ruin have their HEA the world is about to be devoured by evil, an evil they have to stop somehow and I am very curious to read how.

This was my first taste of Joely Sue Burkhart’s non-contemporary/erotic work and I definitely want to read more of it. I absolutely loved the extensive look into the Mayan world of mythology. It was truly fascinating and worth reading through the few violent scenes. THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN is suspenseful and brilliantly set up. Romance is not the focus of this book in the first part of the book and that was absolutely okay with me as I was entranced and captivated by mythology, magic and plot. However, this doesn’t mean the chemistry between Ruin and Jade wasn’t impressive. It was definitely there, threaded through everything else going on in a subtle, clever way. To me the romance took a secondary role in the first part of the book due to the room needed for world building but it became a very strong emotional element in the last third of the book, which I loved.

THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN once again proves that Carina Press has committed to bringing the reader exceptional, unusual books that definitely aren’t a-dime-a-dozen and books that give the reader an amazing reading experience.


Quote:
He’d forgotten. In all these years of trying to die, he’d forgotten how good something alive could feel.

8.2 out of 10

GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY

As announced last week my Carina Week will not be without a fabulous giveaway, courtesy of Carina Press! Up for grabs here on the blog is one coupon code worth $ 15 to spend at Carina Press, buying the books you'd like to try out. Believe me, if what I've read is an indication, there is something for everybody and the books I've read were gems in their genres, each and every one of them. Okay, now to the important part. How can you win this coupon code? That's easy.

  • Just leave a (meaningful) comment on the posts during my Carina Week.
  • Each comment will give you an entry.
  • There will be 6 Carina Week blog-posts so that gives you a maximum of 6 entries if you comment on every post. Mind you, you don't have to comment on every post, it just gives you more chances if you do.
  • Make sure you leave your email address with your comment (or email it to me, through the contact link in the left sidebar if you don't want to publicly leave your email address) because it's needed to be able to claim the code.
  • On Saturday June 12th I'll tally up the entries and pick a winner via random.org


I also announced last week that there would be 2 coupon codes of $ 15 each so you might wonder, what of the other code. That one will be the prize in a Twitter-giveaway so if you want another chance at it...keep an eye on my Twitter-account this week and get tweeting because each tweet including the hashtag #CarinaWeek will be entered for the Twitter-giveaway.

So there you have it...2 chances to win an opportunity to get your mitts on some Carina Press gems!

Have fun! And hope to see a lot of you this week!


June 10, 2010


Five years in prison or five years working as an undercover agent?

Not the easiest choice for Ana Moreno, who has a history of B and E convictions and a problem with authority. But it's a decision she and four other felons are willing to make to stay out of a jail cell.

When a deadly shipment of Ecstasy heads for San Francisco, Ana's team is sent to stop it. Ana's task: get close to the handsome and dangerous Jonas Saven, right-hand man of a suspected drug dealer with a deadly agenda. As Ana uncovers a web of secrets, betrayal and revenge, her heated attraction to Saven grows.

But with time running out to stop the dangerous drug lord, Ana must complete her mission—even if it costs her everything...


Ana Moreno is fearless, a fighter and stubborn. She was raised in foster care, being of mixed race (white and Latino) she feels unaccepted by both parts of her roots. This impacts the way she sees herself and the way she thinks others see her. I thought Kelly Lynn Parra incorporated this tricky theme very subtly into the storyline and the romance. It was genuine and believable without taking the foreground but still very important in defining Ana’s character.

Jonas Saven is one of the main suspects and Ana’s job is to get close to him. Jonas is mysterious and it’s very clear he has some hidden agenda and deep down he is not the man he shows to the world. Ana turns his world upside down and soon his long-life mission, as well as his heart, is on the line.

I am not summarizing the book, as I believe the blurb gives enough information about the plot and any more information would ruin the suspense and the reading experience. I can say that about halfway the book, the villain is revealed and I didn’t mind this at all as CRIMINAL INSTINCT is a romantic suspense that’s not about who did it but how to catch him in time and stop awful things from happening. And of course not everything is not as it seems and not everyone is whom he or she is portrayed to be, making the suspense even better in my eyes.

What truly got me hooked were the amazing fight scenes, the action-packed suspense and the subtle yet beautiful romance. The chemistry between Ana and Jonas is sizzling, dangerous and forbidden. The sex scenes were intense and hot and the combination of action/suspense and romance was excellently balanced.

I loved the set-up, world building, characters and romance. They all blend together to form a gritty, fast-paced, thrilling story without info-dumps but still all the back-stories are cleverly imbedded into the action. And there are so many possibilities for future books in this series. I was immediately drawn to Jax (Billy) and can’t wait to see what Kelly Lynn Parra has in store for him, both to know what woman could be able to tame him and what kind of trouble he could get him self involved with. But I would definitely also love a follow-up on the tension between Romeo (Aaron) and Digit (Julia). Finally the Kara/Ray storyline was very intriguing too. In short, I am ready for more SIDE (Secret Informant Drug Enforcement) and romance.

Kelly Lynn Para wrote a romantic suspense that hit the right note with me. I read it breathlessly from first to last page and the ending had my mind spinning. Those last few chapters were heartbreaking, spine chilling and filled to the brim with action. When I was finished my first thought was: “I want –no I NEED– more of this!! I love all things (movies, TV shows, books) crime and (romantic) suspense, always have, and CRIMINAL INSTINCT definitely goes on my list of favorites in this category.

CRIMINAL INSTINCT is another perfect example of what Carina Press has to offer in terms of unique, unusual stories, characters and books that stand out in the their subgenres.

Quote:
He tipped her chin up with a finger. He wasn’t looking into her eyes, but staring at her lips. “What if…I still want you in my bed?” he murmured.
A fly ball coming out of nowhere, it took all her will not to duck and run. “You’re not serious?”
“You were willing to get close to me for your job. What’s the difference now?” His eyes flared. The amber in them glistened like gold. “I still want you. For now.”
For now. “I never intended on sleeping with you for information.”
“When your tongue was in my mouth you seemed pretty damn encouraging.”
9.0 out of 10


GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY

As announced last week my Carina Week will not be without a fabulous giveaway, courtesy of Carina Press! Up for grabs here on the blog is one coupon code worth $ 15 to spend at Carina Press, buying the books you'd like to try out. Believe me, if what I've read is an indication, there is something for everybody and the books I've read were gems in their genres, each and every one of them. Okay, now to the important part. How can you win this coupon code? That's easy.

  • Just leave a (meaningful) comment on the posts during my Carina Week.
  • Each comment will give you an entry.
  • There will be 6 Carina Week blog-posts so that gives you a maximum of 6 entries if you comment on every post. Mind you, you don't have to comment on every post, it just gives you more chances if you do.
  • Make sure you leave your email address with your comment (or email it to me, through the contact link in the left sidebar if you don't want to publicly leave your email address) because it's needed to be able to claim the code.
  • On Saturday June 12th I'll tally up the entries and pick a winner via random.org


I also announced last week that there would be 2 coupon codes of $ 15 each so you might wonder, what of the other code. That one will be the prize in a Twitter-giveaway so if you want another chance at it...keep an eye on my Twitter-account this week and get tweeting because each tweet including the hashtag #CarinaWeek will be entered for the Twitter-giveaway.

So there you have it...2 chances to win an opportunity to get your mitts on some Carina Press gems!

Have fun! And hope to see a lot of you this week!


June 9, 2010

My Week to celebrate the Launch of Carina Press continues with an interview with the awesomely lovely debut author Ginny Glass. I hope you'll all join me in welcoming Ginny, author of the first book in the Dirty Laundry series, Coin Operated. (Oh and don't forget to check out the CarinaWeek giveaway at the end of this post)


Let’s start with some QUICKIES to warm up…

Coffee or Tea?
Is this where I say “or me?”
Coffee. In mass quantities. Daily. Usually black, unless some spectacularly exotic creamer comes along.

Twitter or Facebook?
Twitter. Facebook has too many gizmos for me! I don’t want to farm, I don’t want to be a mobster, I don’t want to poke anyone virtually. I just want to impose my silliness on the public in creatively character-restricted ways. That said, I have both, I just frequent twitter more often.

Digital or Print?
I profess a genuine excitement for both. I love to hold a physical book in my hands, and there is something about the smell of books that you just can’t replace.


However, Carina Press digital-first is such an innovative direction for Harlequin to take; I’m thrilled to be part of it. The immediacy of product availability via digital publishing is a big, big plus for authors and readers both. The digital market gives platform to new genres, new voices and more range than I feel is commonly available in a brick and mortar store.


I’m looking forward to a long and satisfying career in digital publishing, but I think every author yearns to see his or her name in print. We’ll see where the industry takes me!

Pantser or Plotter?
Rabid pantser, and I usually write a sex scene first, no matter where it eventually ends up in the book.

Cookies or Chocolate?
White chocolate macadamia nut cookies.

Q. Please could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m twenty eight, I’m a Sagittarius…(oh, wait, this isn’t a date!). I grew up in rural Tennessee; I’m a transplant to Arizona and I love it here. I’m loud and silly in real life. I love to cook. I love anything vintage. I have a mutt dog named Piper who randomly eats bizarre items from around my house and I have a husband who is part comic book geek and part romance novel hero.

Q. Your book COIN OPERATED comes out June 7th. This is your debut book and the first in the Dirty Laundry Series. Please tell us a bit about this book and the series.
Coin Operated is the first in Carina’s Dirty Laundry line – all about hot secrets and taboo desires! It’s a marvelous theme premise. Not only are there three books coming already, but myself and Inez Kelley, we’re writing like mad on at least three more! I see a lot of Dirty Laundry in the future, ideas for the line are nearly endless.


Here’s a blurb for Coin Operated:




When Elijah Elliot leaves a cushy job at a prestigious Atlanta advertising firm to strike out on his own, he recruits co-worker Beatrix London as his business partner. She’s smart, capable and, turns out, mouth-wateringly tempting. Now Eli has to keep his hands to himself, despite the very vivid daydreams he has involving his deliciously attentive associate. Daydreams that involve less administrative duties and more “yes, sirs” - less clothing and much more personal “activity reports”.

Bea’s attention to detail has only part to do with her work ethic. From the moment she first laid eyes on Elijah, Bea has had some pretty lathered-up fantasies about her brooding coworker. When a racy new advertising campaign sparks a test of their boundaries, Bea pushes Eli to cross the line he’s drawn between them – the one that keeps him from doing all the hot, sinful things she imagines he’s capable of.

A kiss that could ignite a cubicle’s carpet leaves Bea wanting more than Eli is willing to give. Eli’s reticence isn’t strictly an objection to a little office hanky-panky; his desire for Bea runs to the darker side of vanilla, and the gentleman in him just can’t seem to embrace the inner beast. But during a sexy showdown in a laundry room, everything comes out in the wash-- hot, steamy and coin operated!
Note from interviewer: I had the pleasure of advance reviewing this book for ROOB. Click HERE for the review!

Q. I know book 2 in the series is co-written with Inez Kelley. Could you tell us a bit about what it’s like to write a book with someone else?
I loved it. I think with the right writing partner, cowriting can be easier than writing solo. You have someone there to motivate you, to bounce ideas off of, to pass the manuscript to when you’re exhausted from real life and to talk you off the ledge when you want to delete the whole damned thing and start from a blank Word file.
Inez is smart, dedicated and hilarious. We get along well, our personalities are similar and we temper each other’s writing flaws – she pushes me to be more daring and I (try to) rein in her purple prose.

Q. How long have you been writing, and how did you get your start?
I’ve only been writing romance for about a year and a half. I have written some short fiction, but not with any romantic elements. I’ve always been an avid romance reader and one day I just decided to try my hand – hey, if I could tear through a Harlequin book in a day, surely I could write one in a matter of weeks? So, so wrong. I joined the writer’s forum Romance Divas to learn whatever I could about the industry and the craft of romance writing. Then I sat down and started writing. It’s been a lot of work, but worth it.

Q. Do you have a favorite place or time to write? Do you try to keep to a specific writing schedule and strive for a certain amount of work per day?
I work a very demanding day job, so all of my writing occurs at night or on weekends. I did just redo the loft in my house as an official office. I have a cool little sectioned off desk that is littered with Starbuck doubleshot cans and about half a dozen pairs of earbud headphones. I always write to music. When I’m actively writing, I never know what the word count will be on a given book, so I like to set a page number goal per day. I write until it feels done.

Q. Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us?
More Dirty Laundry, of course, but I also have a fun, full-length contemporary in final polish mode and almost ready for submission. I have an ongoing paranormal free read series on my website called “The Fix” and few (zillion) other ideas on the back burner.

Q. If you could change places with any of your characters which one would it be and why?
Well, the heroine, Bea, doesn’t make out too bad on this one, so I’d have to say her!

Q. Which character did you have the most fun creating and why?
Both mains were a lot of fun, but Eli was probably the most. He was fun to torture and frustrate.

Q. If you weren't writing, what would you want to be doing for a living and what do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I wanted to be (alternately) a theater actress or a newspaper reporter when I was growing up, but I ended up with a very different grown-up job in the medical field. When I’m not writing, I like to go antiquing (I collect vintage kitchen things – right now I’m working on a complete set of Corningware’s blue cornflower pattern), watch movies (I especially love foreign films and indie flicks), read, and I love to travel.

Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
That’s a hard one! I would have to say anything Mediterranean.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
I’ve always wanted to go to Greece or Italy, but I also would love to visit more within the States. I’ve never even been to New York – maybe soon I’ll have a reason to go!

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions in this wonderful way, you've been a joy to interview! have truly enjoyed getting to know a bit more about you and hope my visitors will too! I
Thanks for having me, it’s been my pleasure!




GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY

As announced last week my Carina Week will not be without a fabulous giveaway, courtesy of Carina Press! Up for grabs here on the blog is one coupon code worth $ 15 to spend at Carina Press, buying the books you'd like to try out. Believe me, if what I've read is an indication, there is something for everybody and the books I've read were gems in their genres, each and every one of them. Okay, now to the important part. How can you win this coupon code? That's easy.

  • Just leave a (meaningful) comment on the posts during my Carina Week.
  • Each comment will give you an entry.
  • There will be 6 Carina Week blog-posts so that gives you a maximum of 6 entries if you comment on every post. Mind you, you don't have to comment on every post, it just gives you more chances if you do.
  • Make sure you leave your email address with your comment (or email it to me, through the contact link in the left sidebar if you don't want to publicly leave your email address) because it's needed to be able to claim the code.
  • On Saturday June 12th I'll tally up the entries and pick a winner via random.org


I also announced last week that there would be 2 coupon codes of $ 15 each so you might wonder, what of the other code. That one will be the prize in a Twitter-giveaway so if you want another chance at it...keep an eye on my Twitter-account this week and get tweeting because each tweet including the hashtag #CarinaWeek will be entered for the Twitter-giveaway.

So there you have it...2 chances to win an opportunity to get your mitts on some Carina Press gems!

Have fun! And hope to see a lot of you this week!


June 8, 2010


When Keri Daniels’ editor finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job.

Joe’s never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he’s intrigued to hear Keri’s back in town—and looking for him. Despite his intense need for privacy, he’ll grant Keri an interview if it means a chance to finish what they started in high school.

He proposes an outrageous plan—for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping and four-wheeling trip, Keri can ask one question. Keri agrees; she’s worked too hard to walk away from her career.

But the chemistry between them is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe’s sister is out to avenge his broken heart and Keri hasn’t ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri & Joe 2gether 4ever.

Big city girl Keri Daniels is a reporter for a glossy entertainment magazine and has been forced into getting an interview with her high-school sweetheart now turned famous and reclusive author. It’s either that or she loses her job as her pit-bull boss has put it. With her job on the line, she heads to her hometown in New England to see if Joe will still give her the time of day after she left him to chase a career under the bright lights of big city Los Angeles. Joe is going out of town on the annual camping vacation with his family and presents her with a challenge: He wants her to come with them and for every day she sticks it out with them, she gets a question asked and answered.

EXCLUSIVELY YOURS was funny, touching, endearing, sweet, hot and high on family dynamics. I think this book was contemporary romance at its best. The characters had a highly realistic feel to them and were easy to relate to. They weren’t picture-perfect but flawed and yet very likeable despite those flaws. They aren’t afraid to admit mistakes and own up to them and their own behavior. The Kowalskis are a day-to-day family with day-to-day issues. A family that laughs, fights, talks, bonds, has fun and goes through rough patches together. They were all amazing characters and I loved them all, from Leo to Bobby and from Mary to Steph.

I loved the clean, crisp writing style. I laughed out loud on numerous occasions. The brotherly humor between the Kowalski men and the way the characters were able to make fun of themselves, the children, especially Bobby with his camera, I gobbled it all up and loved it. The humor is what totally reeled me in with this book. I read it in almost one sitting because I just couldn’t stop reading. Books like these make me want to abandon other subgenres in romance and stick exclusively to contemporary romance.

Despite the flaws, issues and problems within the Kowalski family EXCLUSIVELY YOURS is a feel-good romance if I ever read one. When I finished it, I was hoping Shannon Stacey would treat us to more of this family and this kind of books and luckily for me, she’s confirmed that book 2 is scheduled to release this fall and will be Kevin Kowalski’s story. This made my day because I loved Kevin in this book and can’t wait to read his story in UNDENIABLY YOURS. In the meantime I have Shannon’s other books to read because I could smack myself for not reading her work sooner, it’s damn good writing! I am going on a Shannon Stacey complete backlist reading binge and she’s shot straight to my auto-buy list.

People who know me know that the thought of camping makes me break out in hives. I’ve gone out camping twice in my life and both times were disastrous. The fact that with EXCLUSIVELY YOURS Shannon Stacey made it sound fun and even have me thinking of giving it another try maybe, says enough about how much I liked this book and her writing powers of persuasion. I am so very glad I requested to review this book for my Carina Press Week because if this is a taste of what Carina Press has to offer I am going to be a very happy reader!

EXCLUSIVELY YOURS is one of the best contemporary romances I’ve ever read. It’s the epitome of a character-driven story that’s bound to nestle in your heart and head and remain there for a long time. Though not high on the kind of emotional intensity that blows you away, it definitely tugs on the heartstrings with a cast of endearing every-day characters, their problems and the way they try to work through them. With EXCLUSIVELY YOURS Shannon Stacey has earned the first perfect 10 of 2010 for an eBook release on my blog.

Quote:
Keri to Terry: “People sometimes hurt the ones they love trying to protect themselves from being hurt. Love means second chances sometimes.”

10 out of 10


GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY

As announced last week my Carina Week will not be without a fabulous giveaway, courtesy of Carina Press! Up for grabs here on the blog is one coupon code worth $ 15 to spend at Carina Press, buying the books you'd like to try out. Believe me, if what I've read is an indication, there is something for everybody and the books I've read were gems in their genres, each and every one of them. Okay, now to the important part. How can you win this coupon code? That's easy.

  • Just leave a (meaningful) comment on the posts during my Carina Week.
  • Each comment will give you an entry.
  • There will be 6 Carina Week blog-posts so that gives you a maximum of 6 entries if you comment on every post. Mind you, you don't have to comment on every post, it just gives you more chances if you do.
  • Make sure you leave your email address with your comment (or email it to me, through the contact link in the left sidebar if you don't want to publicly leave your email address) because it's needed to be able to claim the code.
  • On Saturday June 12th I'll tally up the entries and pick a winner via random.org


I also announced last week that there would be 2 coupon codes of $ 15 each so you might wonder, what of the other code. That one will be the prize in a Twitter-giveaway so if you want another chance at it...keep an eye on my Twitter-account this week and get tweeting because each tweet including the hashtag #CarinaWeek will be entered for the Twitter-giveaway.

So there you have it...2 chances to win an opportunity to get your mitts on some Carina Press gems!

Have fun! And hope to see a lot of you this week!


June 7, 2010




My Week to celebrate the Launch of Carina Press starts of with a guest blog by a woman I truly admire for how she manages to combine professionalism, knowledge and social skills. I hope you all join me in welcoming Angela James, Executive Editor with Carina Press on this first day of Carina Week. (Oh and don't forget to check out the CarinaWeek giveaway at the end of this post)

Take a Journey with Me

In the past few years of working in digital publishing, when people have asked me and wondered about its growth, where it's going and if it will go anywhere, the one question they always asked was: what large traditional publisher do you think will be the first to get into digital-first publishing? My answer was always the same: Harlequin.

I hadn't been between jobs for more than a day (possibly not even a full day) when I got a phone call from Harlequin last September: we've been discussing the possibility of a digital-first imprint, would you be interested in coming to consult with us? Of course I said "yes" so fast I'm pretty sure I may have spoken it in a language closely resembling Tongues.

So of course, I wasn't there for the conception stages of Carina Press, but when I hear the story told by one of the digital team (such as Malle Vallik, Aideen O'Leary-Chung, or Eleanor Elliott) this is what I hear "We had been discussing starting this imprint, but were still in the planning stages when we learned you were available. Choirs of angels started to sing and words of rejoicing were heard ringing around the Harlequin offices. We dropped everything and called you immediately, because we knew this was the sign the imprint was meant to be and we couldn't possibly do it without you."

Okay, possibly I paraphrased a lot and am relating that through my own personal filter but I'm pretty sure that's REALLY close to how it went. Well, kind of close, anyway...in some small way.

Getting Carina up and running has been a learning experience for all of us, though. I was brought on because of my experience with the digital-first industry and my understanding of behind-the-scenes workings and details of digital-first. Harlequin and the Harlequin team bring to the table a few years (you know, just a few) of successful publishing and innovating. The digital-first business model is a bit different than that of a traditional publisher such as Harlequin and we've had an exciting time working out how the two can come together to create Carina Press in these past few months.

The authors who've been contracted to publish with us have been experiencing the Carina model behind-the-scenes in a variety of ways. Today, readers will finally get to experience how we've brought that together in the form of everything from the editorial content to how we've packaged the books (take note of what's at the front of the book versus what's at the back). It's a tremendously nerve-wracking time for me, waiting to see the response, but at the end of the day, I'm so incredibly proud of how our team came together and created Carina, that I feel we've managed to build something amazing and awesome. Now we have the opportunity to show it to you, the readers, not just today, but in the weeks, months and years to come. I hope you'll take the journey with us.

~AJ

Angela James is the Executive Editor at Carina Press
You can find her on Twitter, the Carina Press website and her own blog

GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY

As announced last week my Carina Week will not be without a fabulous giveaway, courtesy of Carina Press! Up for grabs here on the blog is one coupon code worth $ 15 to spend at Carina Press, buying the books you'd like to try out. Believe me, if what I've read is an indication, there is something for everybody and the books I've read were gems in their genres, each and every one of them. Okay, now to the important part. How can you win this coupon code? That's easy.

  • Just leave a (meaningful) comment on the posts during my Carina Week.
  • Each comment will give you an entry.
  • There will be 6 Carina Week blog-posts so that gives you a maximum of 6 entries if you comment on every post. Mind you, you don't have to comment on every post, it just gives you more chances if you do.
  • Make sure you leave your email address with your comment (or email it to me, through the contact link in the left sidebar if you don't want to publicly leave your email address) because it's needed to be able to claim the code.
  • On Saturday June 12th I'll tally up the entries and pick a winner via random.org


I also announced last week that there would be 2 coupon codes of $ 15 each so you might wonder, what of the other code. That one will be the prize in a Twitter-giveaway so if you want another chance at it...keep an eye on my Twitter-account this week and get tweeting because each tweet including the hashtag #CarinaWeek will be entered for the Twitter-giveaway.

So there you have it...2 chances to win an opportunity to get your mitts on some Carina Press gems!

Have fun! And hope to see a lot of you this week!


June 4, 2010


It's Friday June 4th so I owe you guys two winners!

First is the winner of ATLANTIS UNMASKED:


Congratulations Blodeuedd!!!
I have emailed you to get your mailing address.


And now for the winner of SKIN TIGHT:




Congratulations Sabrina (about happy books)!!!
I have emailed you for your mailing address.

Thanks to everyone who participated in these two giveaways. Hope you all have better luck next time.

I hope to welcome you soon...Next week I am having a Welcome Carina Press Week and there will be a giveaway linked to it, so if you're curious about this new e-publisher, make sure you check back next week ;)
June 2, 2010


UPDATE-UPDATE-UPDATE-UPDATE-UPDATE


Carina Press Giveaway!
Today I received word that next to the reviews, interviews and a guestpost to enjoy, there will also be an awesome giveaway during my Carina Week! 
Up for grabs are two coupon codes of $ 15 each so you can indulge in some of the wonderful Carina e-books! Is that awesome or what! 


Make sure you return next week to see how to win! 



When I read on Twitter and several blogs/websites last year that Harlequin was starting a new digital-first publishing venture, Carina Press, I immediately got excited and started following anyone involved in the project as to not miss a thing about it.  Then towards the end of the year, author names, titles and unofficial blurbs started showing up and my excitement only grew as there were several familiar favorite author names being mentioned and also enough enticing new author names.

Then in the beginning of 2010, covers and official blurbs were being announced, and more author names, new and enticing ones. More and more twitter announcements of acquisitions and contracts until about a month ago the official list with Carina Press Launch titles and authors was announced and I got as giddy as anyone can get over names and titles, covers and blurbs.








An idea started to take form and the Launch contest/giveaway was the little fuel I needed to turn the little idea into a blaze...called Carina Week at Pearl's World of Romance. So without further ado I hereby announce my tribute and welcome week for Carina Press:


For the past 2 weeks I have been engrossed in the world of really good stuff Carina Press has to offer. Not only for my personal book-blog Pearl's World of Romance but also for the Realms on our Bookshelves-Blog.



I've enjoyed a short and scorching erotic romance with a wonderful co-workers to lovers trope, a lovely historical romance set in Austria with an enthralling and endearing couple, an amazing   contemporary romance with family dynamics that will rip your heartstrings apart and put a smile on your face at the same time and a romantic suspense that will send chills down your spine and make you bite all your fingernails to the flesh.
At the moment I'm reading a paranormal thriller that is taking me to the edges of my comfort zone in a very good way!



So what's in store during my Carina Week:

Monday June 7th: 
Guestpost: Carina Press Excecutive Editor, Angela James
Review: Carrie Lofty's SONG OF SEDUCTION on the ROOB-blog

Tuesday June 8th:
Review: Shannon Stacey's EXCLUSIVELY YOURS
Review: Ginny Glass' COIN OPERATED on the ROOB-blog

Wednesday June 9th:
Interview: Ginny Glass

Thursday June 10th:
Review: Kelly Lynn Parra's CRIMINAL INSTINCT
Guestpost: Carrie Lofty on the ROOB-blog

Friday June 11th:
Review: Joely Sue Burkhart's THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN
Interview: Joely Sue Burkhart



After this week I will leave on much anticipated holiday but this doesn't mean the Carina-love will end on the 11th of June. There will be more reviews on the ROOB-blog (by fellow ROOB-gal Leontine) and more Carina Press books will be reviewed here too as I will have purchased my load of Carina books that are now still lingering on my wishlist, but which I will be able to get my paws on after June 7th! 

In conclusion, having had a taste of some of Carina Press' releases I can confirm that their tagline is absolutely accurate. No great story goes untold at Carina Press and if I go by what I've read so far 'great story' is a big fat understatement! 



Hope to see you all next week so you can help me welcome Carina Press!


June 1, 2010

Today is a special day for me. A day of firsts. 1st of June, 1st author interview.

I am very proud and honored to welcome Ava Gray (aka Ann Aguirre) on my blog who was so gracious and nice to spend some time answering a few of my questions. I read SKIN TIGHT a while back. Click HERE to read my review and was so blown away by it that I took a sip of courage and decided to ask Ava Gray for an interview on my blog to celebrate the release of this awesome book.

Because I loved this book so much I'm also giving a lucky commenter a chance to win this book. Look below the interview for the giveaway-rules but first, sit back, relax and get to know Ms. Gray a bit better.

Let’s start with some QUICKIES to warm up…

Spiders or Rats?
Spiders.

Alpha or Beta?
Alpha.

Batman or Spiderman?
Batman.

US or Mexico?
Mexico.

Pantser or Plotter?
Pantser.

Sci-Fi or UF?
Both.

Early Riser or Night Owl?
Night owl.


INTRODUCTION
Q. Please could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
A. I’m a national bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before I began writing full time, I was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. I grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now I live in sunny Mexico with my husband, children, two cats, and one very lazy dog. I like all kinds of books, emo music, action movies and Dr. Who. I love playing video games, as long as there’s a strong story component, and I think most games could benefit from more sex to go along with the violence.


Q. For readers out there who are still unfamiliar with your work, please tell us what kind of books you write.
A. I write urban fantasy (the Corine Solomon series), romantic science fiction (the Jax series), apocalyptic paranormal romance (the Ellen Connor books with Carrie Lofty), paranormal romantic suspense (as Ava Gray), and post-apocalyptic dystopian young adult fiction.

Q. Your book SKIN TIGHT is comes out today. This is the second book in the SKIN series. Please tell us a bit about this book and the series.
A. SKIN GAME is the first, and it’s helpful to read the first one beforehand, I think. I’m pleased with the series overall. So far, we’ve sold SKIN GAME (which is now available in Thailand), SKIN TIGHT, SKIN HEAT, SKIN & BONE (novella), and SKIN DIVE. It’s like a dirty & violent blend of Fringe and Heroes, so that should give you some idea what to expect. Interestingly, this is the only series I have sold on proposal. Each book follows one couple’s romance while also being full of action and intrigue. I have some pretty complicated subplots running through, and they aren’t always wrapped up in a single book, although the primary romance is. This series should appeal to those who enjoy Larissa Ione’s books.

Q. The next book in the SKIN series is SKIN HEAT. Could you give us a sneak peek about what’s in store for us in that book?
A. You meet the hero of SKIN HEAT in SKIN TIGHT, but he only speaks one line there at the end. Then in book three, you follow him home to Alabama. Here’s the blurb: 





More wild thing than man…
Zeke Noble has escaped from a secret facility; he has no idea why he was abducted, but the experiments were cruel, soul-killing, and they changed him forever. Now free, his natural affinity with animals has evolved into a dark and dangerous instinct, a curse that costs him too much of his humanity. But he has to rebuild his life, or his tormentors win. To that end, he goes looking for work and finds so much more.

Born to be wild…
Veterinarian Geneva Harper finds herself reluctantly drawn to the lean, mysterious young man to whom the wild is second nature, but she has troubles of her own. She’s the black sheep in an old moneyed Southern family, and she never had any interest in learning the family business, or being the good debutante daughter.

Though Zeke’s wanted Neva for as long as he can remember, their attraction can never go anywhere. They both know that for different reasons. But when a killer starts leaving behind a trail of victims, Zeke’s need to protect her is as fierce as his desire to claim her as his mate. And love may be the only thing that can save them both…



WRITING
Q. How long have you been writing, and how did you get your start?
A. I’ve been writing since I was nine. I’m thirty-nine now, so unless my math fails me, that’s thirty years. It depends on what you mean by my start. My big break came when Laura Bradford signed me and she sold Grimspace. She offered representation at the end of March in 2007; we pitched on April 11, which is my husband’s birthday. Good omen? I think so. By May, we had an offer, and the rest has been a fabulous ride, full of hard work and wonderful rapport. She will always be a fairy godmother in my eyes.

Q. Do you have a favorite place or time to write? Do you try to keep to a specific writing schedule and strive for a certain amount of work per day?
A. I write in my office, on my couch, or in bed. It really depends on my mood and the type of scene. As for time, I try to get my work done first thing. I do keep a rigorous schedule. With deadlines like mine, I cannot fall behind. “Do or do not; there is no try!” Each book is predicated on 3K a day, 5 days a week, for 6 weeks.

Q. You write Science Fiction Romance, Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense with Paranormal Elements, YA and Paranormal Romance. That’s quite some genres. What genre are you most comfortable writing?
A. My books share one common thread; they’re character driven. So as long as I’m connecting with my protagonists and writing the story they need to tell, it’s all good.

Q. Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
A. I try not to.

Q. Do you have a dream project that you haven't written yet?
A. I have quite an extensive idea file, but I’ll get them all in time.


CHARACTERS
Q. Have your characters ever taken off in a direction that you didn’t expect?
A. Sure.

Q. If you could change places with any of your characters which one would it be and why?
A. Since I tend to torture my characters, I’d rather write their adventures than live them.

Q. Which character did you have the most fun creating and why?
A. I love the one I’m with, which at this time, is Gillie and Taye. They are so bent, and I adore them for it.


OTHER STUFF
Q. If you weren't writing, what would you want to be doing for a living and what do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A. I would be married to Andres for a living. Movies, music, yoga, walking the dog, hanging with my family, and playing video games comprise the bulk of my non-book related interests.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Right here at home with my beloved family.

Q. What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
A. Tell me about the feral demonic monkeys in Shady Lady. Did you really have them on your boat in Catemaco?

Q. What question are you most sick of answering in interviews?
A. Tell me about yourself.


Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions! I have truly enjoyed getting to know a bit more about you and hope my visitors will too!

GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY-GIVEAWAY


And now for the giveaway!!

* To enter all you have to do is leave me a comment stating why you would like to win SKIN TIGHT and a way to contact you.

* Giveaway is open to all (as long as The Book Depository Store delivers where you live)

* On Friday June 4th I will pick a lucky commenter who wins a copy of SKIN TIGHT

Nice to meet you!

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Pearl
Netherlands
39, married to my real life romance hero, addicted to TV shows, reading romance novels and Twitter. I'm a chronic (e)book hoarder and my absolute favorite genres within romance fiction are contemporary romance and romantic suspense, but I don't shy away from historical, paranormal or erotic romance either. Even the occasional (urban) fantasy romance, futuristic and sci fi romance may make it to my Mount TBR. This is my corner of the world wide web where I let you know what books I'm hoarding, reading and reviewing.
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  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

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  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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