Author Archives: ChristineWarner

RELEASE DAY BOOK BLAST ~ Corsica Gate by Robena Grant ~ Giveaway

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A heroine who has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings, Dia Sophia Romani, jilted three days before her wedding, has lived with Mama in San Diego’s Little Italy for six months. She’s tired of everything Italian, and is ready to move on…

Enter an unlikely hero. Carlo Antonelli is of Italian descent. He adores Dia, but he’s willing to take his time and not rush her. When he learns she will be vacationing in Italy and Corsica, he must step up his game.

Will a wish made at a magical gate destroy, or strengthen, their newfound love?



“You mean…?” She looked back at the guy.

Nah, impossible. I’ve never been that lucky.

“Yeah, that’s Carlo Antonelli.”

“You don’t want to accept the date, just make up whatever excuse you want.” Tony beckoned.

A jolt of heat spread through her abdomen when Carlo grinned and waved. He ducked through the slow moving traffic and stopped in front of her smiling a crooked smile. Pushing his sunglasses onto his head, white teeth flashing, and mahogany eyes sparkling, he held out his right hand.

My wedding date? Her heartbeat pounded, and her mouth went dry.

“You must be Dia.” He tucked the book underneath one arm and held her hand gently with his other big warm hand. “Carlo Antonelli.”

“Yes.” The word came out on a soft breath. She swallowed hard. “Tony mentioned you wanted to speak to me about Marco’s wedding.” Something inside of her shifted, as if a huge iceberg started to melt in her chest and slide sideways, leaving a pool of cool, blue, bubbling water. She floundered for a minute wondering what to say next, because she couldn’t use the word date. Not while looking into his magnificent eyes. Then she remembered he was Italian, or at least part Italian.

Strike one.

Her shoulders stiffened. She had no interest in Italian men. She hitched up the purse onto her shoulder, and squinted from behind the dark sunglasses.

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Robena Grant writes contemporary romance about ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances. Travel and discovering new places brings Robena great pleasure, and she often includes these discoveries in her stories. She is Australian by birth, lives in Southern California, and has two grown children. Robena may be contacted at her website.


Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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BOOK BLITZ ~ I DO! by Rachel Gibson ~ Giveaway


I Do!
Lovett, Texas Novella
By: Rachel Gibson
Releasing January 20th, 2015
Avon Romance


In New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson’s newest novella, Vince Haven and Sadie Hollowell are headed to the altar, and all their friends are headed to Lovett, Texas, to join them for the party of the year.

But Becca Ramsey doesn’t have time for all that. Fresh out of beauty school, Becca’s all business … and the last thing she needs is bad boy Nate Parrish anywhere in her life.

In the past, Nate was trouble. He’s been trying to repair his reputation—heck, he’s even got just one girlfriend. The problem is, she isn’t Becca. Now Nate’s in a whole lot of hot water. He needs to get Becca from “I won’t” to “I do” … but how can he do that when she won’t even say “I might”?

Link to Follow Tour:
Goodreads Link:

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Author Info

Rachel Gibson lives in Idaho with her husband, three kids, two cats and a dog of mysterious origin. She began her fiction career at age 16, when she ran her car into the side of a hill, retrieved the bumper, and drove to a parking lot, where she strategically scattered the car’s broken glass all about. She told her parents she’d been the victim of a hit and run and they believed her. She’s been making up stories ever since, although she gets paid better for them nowadays.

Rachel Gibson

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Goodreads


*Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway of a Print Book Bundle including: DAISY’S BACK IN TOWN, RESCUE ME, RUN TO ME and WHAT I LOVE ABOUT YOU*



Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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What to Read Wednesday with Chelsey Krause author of Can’t Always Get What You Want ~Giveaway

YAY~it’s time for another round of What to Read Wednesday! Please help me welcome author Chelsey Krause to the blog. She’s talking about where ideas for stories come from (one of the most asked questions, I think, authors receive). I think you’ll enjoy her post. Afterward, take a look at her release Can’t Always Get What You Want. Just the title alone makes me want to learn more. And the cover…L O V E  I T!!

And, don’t forget to check out her wonderful giveaway! The link is at the end of the post :)

Take it away Chelsey…


Where Do Your Ideas Come From?
By, Chelsey Krause

Have you ever read something and it made you wonder, “Where did the author get the idea from?”
To me, most stories can be summed up by asking “what if.”
What if you died, and five people were waiting in heaven to explain your life to you? What if you hit your head, and woke up married to a hot gazillionaire and had your dream job? What if your “perfect” new life wasn’t everything it seemed?
All of these “what if” questions come from somewhere.
Let’s examine the “what if” behind two of my favorite books: “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, and “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk.
Suzanne Collins, author of “The Hunger Games” trilogy, says that the idea came to her while watching tv.
“I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’ story came to me,” Collins said. “On one channel there’s a group of young people competing [in reality programming] … and on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story.”
Read the full interview here:
Interesting, eh?
And now, “Fight Club,” by Chuck Palahniuk.
Chuck Palahniuk wrote “Fight Club” on a boring afternoon at work. He came up with eight rules for a club where you could essentially go and fight.
In the “afterword” portion of “Fight Club,” Chuck writes that at the time, he had a black eye, and no one asked him about it (which struck him as odd). He’d recently seen a documentary about street gangs, and how they were really just young men who had been raised without fathers, and were trying to build a masculine identity. At the same time, book stores will filled with “clubby” type books for women. The Joy Luck Club. How to Make an American Quilt.
There were no such books for men.
And so, on this quiet afternoon at work, with nothing but the spark of an idea, he wrote a seven page short story (which is now chapter 6 of Fight Club).
If you want to learn more about how this short story transformed into a cult classic, then I highly recommend this free podcast on iTunes.

For me (and for most writers, I’m sure), a story never comes from a single idea. Rather, it’s the merging of several ideas. And the more compelling the “what if” question, the better the story.
Now, consider for a moment. What if your favorite author let their ideas slip away?
What if they forgot about it, and never wrote the book that you love?
Writers aren’t the only people who have thoughts like these.
People have ideas like this every day. They see something and go, “Hey, wouldn’t it be weird if…..” or “Wouldn’t it be cool if….”
But most people don’t do anything with them. They just go about their day, and a potentially brilliant thought is gone.
Ideas can come from anywhere. Everyday life. A conversation you overhear. News headlines. Dreams.
Follow your ideas! Let them combine and morph into a completely new question.
And I can’t stress the next point enough.
Write your ideas down.
Even if you think they’re dumb.
Take a pen and paper everywhere. Email ideas to yourself. Keep notes on your phone. Whatever it takes.
And secondly: Surround yourself with positivity. To paraphrase an idea from Kevin Smith, it’s important to surround yourself with “Why not.”
(And yes, I mean that Kevin Smith. The “Jay and Silent Bob” Kevin Smith. Don’t judge me).
You can hear him talk about it here:
(Beware. He loves f-bombs.)
If you have an idea for a book or a new invention or painting or whatever, most people are bound to ask, “Why?” Or, “Why you? Why do that? Why try?”
The trick is to ask yourself, “Why not?”
Isn’t that a powerful concept?
So go out there. Ask “what if” and “why not.” Pursue your dreams, ask others what inspired them. Because an idea can come from anywhere. The only thing that matters is what you do with it.

– Chelsey


Can't Always Get What You Want

Can’t Always Get What You Want
By: Chelsey Krause
Releasing January 13th, 2015


Fans of Ruthie Knox, Rachel Gibson, and Molly O’Keefe will love this deeply romantic and uplifting debut novel about losing everything you thought you wanted—and getting exactly what you need.

Sophie Richards has been looking forward to a much-needed girls’ night out: a Rolling Stones tribute-band concert, a few drinks, a distraction from her grueling nursing shifts in acute care. But when her best friend bails, Sophie gets stuck with a blind date.

Although Brett Nicholson may be the hottest carpenter alive, and Sophie may technically be single, she isn’t exactly on the market. Six years ago she found The One. He was everything Sophie dreamed a man could be—and then she lost him. In an instant, her whole life changed, and she forgot all about happily ever after.

But as she gets to know Brett, Sophie starts to wonder about the future for the first time. With a broken heart still clouding her mind, jumping into a new relationship feels impossible. When she’s in his arms, walking away feels even harder. Now Sophie faces an impossible choice: living in the past or choosing love in the here and now.

Link to Follow Tour:
Goodreads Link:

Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo

Author Info

I was born and raised in Canada, and live with my husband and two children. I’ve been a nurse since 2009. An essay I wrote on intercultural nursing has been published in a nursing anthology.
I love thrift shops, repurposing old junk and learning new belly dance moves. I can’t decide if my favorite movie is either “Bridget Jones’ Diary” or “Fight Club.”
I’ve always wanted to be a writer and in the spring of 2013, I finally sat down and wrote my first book. Now that that’s done, I’m working on my second.
I believe that the best way to become a great writer is to read.

A lot.
And then read some more.
I absolutely love books and would live at the library if they’d let me.

Chelsey Krause

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


($25.00 Book Seller eGift Card and Loveswept Mug & Tote)



Posted by on January 28, 2015 in What to Read Wednesday


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INTERVIEW with author Robin Antelak author of The Grown-Ups ~ GIVEAWAY

Today we have author Robin Antelak in the hot seat. She’s an interesting lady and I enjoyed having her visit for an interview. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her a little better and learning about her latest release The Grown-Ups.

Afterward check out her blurb and don’t forget to enter her giveaway. The link is at the end of the post :)

1. Tell us three things about yourself that not many people know.

I don’t always enjoy being the leader even though I’m often in that position, I’m mildly superstitious, and I’m a lazy chewer. That last one might be the reason I don’t eat meat. Seriously, I’ve been a vegetarian for years and years.
2. What’s your favorite hot beverage?

Coffee, hands down.
3. What genre (s) do you write?

I suppose it’s called Literary Fiction, although that’s not my label. I just write and worry about that stuff later, if ever.
4. One of my favorite parts of the writing process is choosing character names, how do you go about choosing yours?

Sometimes a character just ‘feels’ like a name… does that make sense? I’m drawn to simpler more traditional names: Sam, George Michael, Kate, Suzie etc. Sometimes I might mix it up, like I did for Finn in The Summer We Fell Apart and Bella in The Grown Ups. But I usually don’t venture into the top ten baby names list.

I tend to shake it up with character names. Sometimes I like the traditional and sometimes I like something a bit different. Thank you for sharing how you choose your characters names. I always find the answers very interesting :)
5. Finish this sentence : If I had to sum up The Grown Ups : A Novel by Robin Antalek in one sentence I’d have to say…

The Grown Ups is about families and friendships and the different ways, all our lives, together or apart, we continue to grow up.

Nicely done!
6. What’s the first sentence from your book?

It was the summer all the children in the neighborhood caught a virus.

Now the last.

“My boys,” He said gesturing with the frame towards Sam, “my boys.”

This is a favorite question of mine…love your first sentence!

7. What makes your book stand out from others in the same genre?

That’s tough. But I’m going to say a compelling story about everyday, ordinary people. I hope I’ve told it in such a way that the reader will identify with the characters and see pieces of themselves, their friends, their families.
8. Did you have to do a lot of research for this book and if so how did you go about it?

I had to do some research, not a lot. Mostly about rehab facilities, medical schools, alcoholism and neurological disorders. As I write that it seems like quite a varied list – a depressing list! But it was far from that. Luckily, I have some amazingly accomplished friends and I was able to turn to them with specific questions.
9. Describe your writing work space.

We live in a drafty old Victorian house in upstate New York. I’m always cold, and I crave sunshine. So my desk, an eight foot long oak library table that I was lucky enough to get when Vassar College Library underwent a huge renovation is shoved into a semi octagonal bay beneath three floor to ceiling windows. My desk is covered with papers, notebooks and trays that contain a leaning tower of Pisa like arrangement of even more paper. Also in my space are overflowing bookshelves, photos, artwork, and usually my constant companion, my dog Elle.

LOL…love the sounds of your writing space. Sounds inspirational and interesting.
10. What’s your go to snack when you are writing?

Coffee, coffee, coffee.
11. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I had recently shelved a novel that I had worked on for two years, and was still dealing with the after effects of that decision. I was sitting on the floor of the used book shop in our library, surrounded by books, eavesdropping on the conversation of the two elderly volunteers manning the desk, when one of them said to the other: ‘It was the summer all of the children in the neighborhood got that virus’. I don’t know why but it intrigued me enough to write it down on the inside cover of one of the books I was buying. That sentence wouldn’t go away. Before long I had the character who voiced that sentence and then a group of characters, and a neighborhood and a virus. I wrote the first chapter as if someone were dictating it to me. It was crazy.

Robin, this is such a great story…and once again, that first sentence is awesome! So fun to hear how it came about :)
12. Would you give us a sneak peek into what your current WIP is?

It’s about a woman married to a larger than life artist and the choices she must make in order to save herself and her daughter.


The Grown Ups
A Novel
By: Robin Antalek
Releasing January 27th, 2015
William Morrow


From Robin Antalek, author of The Summer We Fell Apart, comes an evocative and emotionally resonant coming-of-age novel involving three friends who explore what it means to be happy, what it means to grow up, and the difficulties in doing both together. Spanning over a decade, and told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them. It is the addictive and moving story of these old friends who wind up confronting their past in order to find happiness in their adult lives that make this novel an anticipated winter release.

Sam Turner, the summer he turns 15, feels lucky enough to enjoy the unexpected attention of his friend Suzie Epstein, even though it’s only a few secret months. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand—and will never question—the budding relationship is kept hidden from their close circle of friends. But before their summer tans can even start to fade, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving away to save their marriage, and his own mother has suddenly left the house, leaving Sam’s father alone to raise two sons.

Watching as her parents’ marital troubles escalate, Suzie Epstein takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers while simultaneously planning an early escape to college to seek independence. Though she occasionally thinks of Sam, it’s her oldest friend Bella Spade she finds herself missing. Embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie could call home, Suzie makes no attempt to reconnect with the one person she needs. Its years later that a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother Michael will reunite her with both Sam and Bella—finally forcing her to confront her friends, her past and what she left behind.

After losing Suzie, Bella surprisingly finds her first real love in Sam. But his inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. Watching Suzie and Michael as they seem to have worked it all out, Bella’s only to wonder where she went wrong and how to make it right.


Mrs. Spade died in the winter of their junior year of college and they all returned home for the funeral.

Bella had called from Vassar to tell Sam. He’d picked up the phone and heard his name and then nothing, just a rush of air across the wires followed by what sounded like a far away howling. Bella and Sam had continued, despite distance and any real commitment, to find their way back to each other. She surprised him first at school, showing up at his door, and they had fallen back onto his twin mattress as if they were starving.   It felt exotic, somehow, to be in a place where no one knew them as a couple. To hold hands as they shared crummy food off Sam’s meal ticket at the dining hall, to drink dollar pitchers at The Rat, to wake up next to each other and have sex without talking, like they had the map of what they liked inked indelibly in their brains. By the time Sam’s roommate returned from his girlfriend’s place, the weekend ended, the buzz would wear off, and Sam would think they wouldn’t do it again. Until one of them showed up on the doorstep of the other’s room and it started up all over again. Sam thought this thing with Bella was casual, comfortable. They had never labeled what they were or talked about where it was going. He thought that was what they both wanted. Or maybe they were just too scared to bring it up. Sam liked things the way they were until something like this happened, and he had no idea how to act or what they meant to each other.

Link to Follow Tour:
Goodreads Link:

Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | IndieBound

Author Info

Robin Antalek is the author of The Summer We Fell Apart. Her nonfiction writing has been published in literary journals and in several collections, including The Beautiful Anthology; Writing off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema; and The Weeklings: Revolution #1 Selected Essays 2012-1013. Her short fiction has appeared in 52 Stories, Five Chapters, Sun Dog, The Southeast Review, and Literary Mama among others. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.


Author Links: Website | Tumblr | Facebook | Goodreads


*Avon is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for Three Print Copies of THE SUMMER WE FELL APART by Robin Antelak*



Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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BOOK BLITZ ~ Beyond Limits by Laura Griffin ~ Giveaway


Beyond Limits
The Tracers Series #8
By: Laura Griffin
Releasing January 27th, 2015
Pocket Books


FBI agent Elizabeth LeBlanc is still caught in the aftermath of her last big case when she runs into the one man from her past who is sure to rock her equilibrium even more. Navy SEAL Derek Vaughn is back home from a harrowing rescue mission in which he found evidence of a secret terror cell on US soil. Elizabeth knows he’ll do anything to unravel the plot—including seducing her for information. And despite the risks involved, she’s tempted to let him. . . .

On the surface Derek’s offering a simple deal—Elizabeth provides him with intel, he delivers the terrorist. But he knows nothing about Elizabeth is easy, and now their volatile relationship threatens to distract him from the most important mission of his career. Together with the forensics experts at the Delphi Center, he and Elizabeth are closing in on the truth, but it may not be fast enough to avert a devastating impending attack . . . or stop a ruthless enemy from escaping to kill again.



It was full-on rush hour by the time Elizabeth reached the city, so she crossed Starbucks off her list, although she sorely needed caffeine. Even without the call-out, she’d had a bad night. Most of it had been spent curled on her sofa, flipping channels and determinedly avoiding CNN as she downed chamomile tea, which was supposedly a natural sleep aid. After weeks of drinking the stuff, she’d discovered it worked great when accompanied by Ambien.

She pulled into the bunker-like parking garage and found a space. Flipping down the vanity mirror, she checked for any telltale signs of fogginess. Her eyes were bloodshot, her skin sallow. She smoothed her ponytail and fluffed her new bangs. She’d had them cut a few months ago in an effort to hide her scar, but she wasn’t crazy about the look. A little too schoolgirl, which wasn’t helpful. As a five-four blonde, she already had enough trouble getting people to take her seriously.

She flipped up the mirror, disgusted. She had more important things to worry about today than her appearance. Such as her boss’s reaction when he heard about the murder of her newly recruited informant.

Elizabeth’s stomach tightened with nerves as she walked into the office and rode up the elevator. The doors slid open. She made her way toward her cubicle and saw Maxwell talking to a pair of agents outside his office. He’d probably heard by now. Would he dress her down at the staff meeting or call her into his office beforehand?

He spotted her, and the grim look on his face told her he’d received the news. Elizabeth changed course, bracing herself for a blast of criticism as she approached.

“Sir, I need to talk to you about—”

“Save it. You’ve got a visitor.” He tipped his head toward one of the men standing nearby.

“Hello, Elizabeth.”

She blinked at him, taken aback. “Gordon. What—”

“Feel free to use my office,” Maxwell told him, then gave her a sharp nod. “We’ll talk later.”

Gordon watched her, his look unreadable. He was based in Washington, but if he’d spent the morning on an airplane, you’d never know it from his immaculate suit and shiny wingtips. Agents who worked for him sometimes called him “Wall Street,” and she hadn’t figured out whether it was because of his clothes or because his all-business demeanor reminded them of Gordon Gecko.

He gestured toward the empty office. “After you.”

Polite as always. She stepped inside and felt a chill down her spine as the door thudded shut. She glanced through the window into the bullpen and caught the baffled looks of her coworkers, who were obviously wondering why the Bureau’s newly promoted assistant director of counterterrorism wanted to see her.

Gordon tucked his hands into his pockets and stepped past Maxwell’s desk. He had an athletic build, good posture. His salt-and-pepper hair was trimmed short, as she remembered it. Despite the demands of his job, he took care of himself.

He turned to look at her. “How have you been?”

She started to say “Fine” but remembered something else she’d learned about him a year ago. He was a human lie detector.

“Busy,” she said.

He lifted an eyebrow, then turned to study Maxwell’s ego wall, which featured his Princeton diplomas, along with several framed photos of him rubbing elbows with VIPs: the FBI director, a few senators, the Texas governor.

“Have you been following the news out of Afghanistan?”

She cleared her throat. “You mean the hostages?”


“The newspaper said they were rescued by NATO forces.”

The paper hadn’t specified what type of forces. But since meeting a SEAL team last summer, Elizabeth had been paying close attention and had learned to read between the lines. A team of commandos storming a compound and plucking civilians from the hands of Taliban insurgents? The mission had SEAL written all over it.

“Many of the details weren’t made public.” Gordon turned to face her. “The team that conducted the raid recovered some interesting info during their SSE sweep.”

SSE. She racked her brain.

“Sensitive site exploitation,” he provided.

“You mean computers?”

“A laptop, a thumb drive. The information there was surprisingly minimal, but they also collected a cache of papers, including several detailed maps of Houston.”

Houston. Not D.C., not New York, but Houston, Texas. Elizabeth’s palms felt sweaty and she tucked them into her pockets. “What’s in Houston?”

He smiled slightly. “You mean besides six million people? Three major sports venues, a world-renowned medical center, a Christian megachurch.” He sat on the edge of Maxwell’s desk. “Not to mention the corporate headquarters of some of the world’s largest energy companies.”

She clamped her mouth shut. Maybe she’d look less ignorant if she let him talk.

“It was a take-no-prisoners raid,” he continued. “However, when the commandos saw this cache of intel, they grabbed a young man who’d been subdued, hoping some of our CIA guys could persuade him to talk.”

“Did they?”

His mouth tightened. “He’s no longer cooperating.”

What did that mean, exactly?

“And unfortunately, after poring through all the intel, our analysts believe the terrorists planning the attack were not in the compound when the raid went down. As far as we know, they’re still at large.” He paused and watched her. “Homeland Security’s staffed up a joint task force to investigate this potential plot and interrupt it.”

Elizabeth’s mind was reeling. She’d admired Gordon since the day she’d met him, both as an investigator and as a leader. The thought of working with him again made her giddy and nervous and terrified all at the same time.

He stepped closer and gazed down at her.

“Your SAC says you had a rough spring. He thinks you’re not up for this assignment.”

Anger welled in her chest.

“If you join my team, I need to know that you’re one hundred percent. Are you?”

“One hundred and ten. Sir.”

He held her gaze, the human lie detector. Her heart thudded so loudly she could hear it. Time seemed to stretch out. He glanced at his watch. “Be at San Antonio International Airport in two hours. Pack light.”

Relief flooded her. “We’re going to Houston?”

“California. Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, to be precise.” He crossed the room and reached for the door. “We need to interview some SEALs.”


Link to Follow Tour:
Goodreads Link:

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes |iTunes | Kobo

Author Info

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book. Visit Laura at or

Laura Griffin

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


*Laura is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway of TWO Print Bundles including SCORCHED and TWISTED*



Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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SPECIAL GUEST ~ Shannyn Schroeder author of Just A Taste ~ Giveaway

Please help me welcome our special guest Shannyn Schroeder to the blog today. She’s talking about the research she put into her latest release Just a Taste. Afterward, check out a blurb and excerpt.

And…don’t forget to enter her awesome giveaway!!!

Take it away Shannyn…


The Story Behind the Story – Just a Taste
By: Shannyn Schroeder

Although Liam O’Leary appears in other O’Leary books, readers don’t really get a sense of who he is until Catch Your Breath (O’Learys 4), which is Moira’s story. There they got to see a bit of his personality and his restlessness in relation to his job.

When I sat down to write Just a Taste, I knew I had to shake Liam up. He’s a steady, quiet guy who isn’t quick to make decisions. He’s a chef, working at a popular restaurant and he’s successful, but he wants more. In earlier books, he mentions possibly opening his own restaurant. Instead of giving him his obvious dream, I wanted to challenge him, so I decided he needed to work on a food truck—limited space, limited options, limited control. All of these would test a guy used to running a kitchen and telling everyone what to do.

I think this book probably took more research than others because there was so much I didn’t know. Although food trucks have been popular around the country and on TV, they’re relatively new to Chicago. I did a lot of reading about the history of trucks in the city and spent even more time learning about how hard Chicago is when it comes to the rules and regulations for food trucks (oh, the pages and pages of regulations). It’s kind of crazy, and I still don’t know how these guys can stay in business.

Beyond having to learn about food trucks, I also needed to learn some about food in general. What kind of food would Liam make for a special date with Carmen? (lamb and polenta – which I’ve never eaten) Liam has to relearn how to make Mexican food, and I wanted Carmen to be able to bring something to the table, even though she acts like she hates cooking. I wanted her to teach Liam to make her dad’s mole sauce. So of course, I had to look up a bunch of recipes. I didn’t actually make these recipes because I’m lazy and I live in a city with access to good Mexican food. I chose mole sauce because I like it, but I’m not brave enough to try to cook it. I did, however, experiment with cheesecake recipes for Liam. I love to bake, so developing my own recipe was fun.

Towards the end of the book, Carmen goes to Mexico, so I had more research to do. I’ve never been there, so I needed to figure out where her family might’ve come from and what she would want to see while there, as well as ideas for food for her to bring back.

While I’d never consider myself a “foodie,” this book has definitely given me an appreciation for those who spend their lives cooking for others. The real kick in the pants for me is that I’ve spent so many hours learning all of this and only a tiny portion shows up in the book. I begin to wonder if readers even notice.

When reading a book, do you assume the author did her research, or do you question things?


Just a Taste
The O’Learys # 5
By: Shannyn Schroeder
Releasing January 19th, 2015


Grief has brought them together again—will love open the door to their future? When it’s an O’Leary in the picture, finding out is just part of the adventure…

Carmen Delgado is left reeling when her father dies. Taking care of him has been her sole purpose for so long, she’s forgotten what it’s like to have dreams of her own. And with steady, sexy Liam O’Leary inheriting a share in her dad’s successful food truck, Carmen is suddenly free to explore her life’s possibilities. She never expected Liam to provide the kind of temptation she’s not sure she can resist…

A talented chef, Liam O’Leary has been itching to open his own restaurant for years—and the death of his mentor is a reminder that time passes too quickly. Gus’s Taco Taxi isn’t exactly what he dreamed of, but he can’t desert Gus’s daughter. Working side by side is an unexpected pleasure—and grownup Carmen is alluring in all new ways. Is love on the menu—or will old fears and insecurities drive them apart?


“Are you trying to get me drunk?”

“I’m not trying to, but if it happens, so be it. Everyone needs to cut loose on occasion.” His glass was still near full. “I’ll make sure you get home safely.”

She sighed. Safe had been her whole life. Maybe she was tired of being safe. The waitress brought her second drink and Carmen wondered what she and Liam would talk about. The alcohol was loosening her up, but she found that he was okay with sitting in silence.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t. “Are you naturally antisocial or what?”

Somewhere in her brain, she knew the question probably came out sounding rude, but she didn’t have the skills to fix it at this particular moment.

“No. At least I don’t think so. Why do you ask?”

“When you worked at the restaurant, it felt like you were always on your own. I’d talk with the other staff, both front of house and back, but you kept your distance.” She wanted to ask why he’d avoided her, never asked her out like the other guys had. She’d never taken any of them seriously, so she’d always turned them down, but she probably would’ve said yes to him.

He shrugged. “I didn’t feel welcome most of the time.”

Liam had felt like an outsider? The thought had never occurred to her. “That’s too bad. I would’ve welcomed you.”

He smiled again, the lines in his cheeks deepening. “You were usually looking for a way to escape. Why did you hate working there so much?”

Blowing out a breath, she raised her drink to her lips. How she could explain her need to avoid the temptation of food. By the age of seventeen, she’d already been teased so much about her weight, that all she wanted was to be thin. Being in the restaurant, around her favorite foods, made it near impossible.

She looked into Liam’s cool blue assessing eyes. And lied. “I didn’t hate the whole restaurant. Just the kitchen stuff. I don’t like to cook. It’s not my thing.”

“Maybe I should give you lessons.”

She thought of his strong, capable hands, the roped muscles in his forearms, and suppressed a shiver. What was wrong with her?

“What is your thing?”

Hmm…the question was innocent enough, but she’d spent so much time with Rosa and the alcohol filtering into her brain made her thoughts not so innocent. She was beginning to think he might be her thing. “Business. That’s what I majored in for college. I’ve been taking care of the office stuff for my dad since I’ve been home.”

He pressed his lips together like he had to consider her answer. She drank some more. The second margarita went down even smoother than the first and she was reminded why she’d gotten drunk so easily. Liam’s glass was empty.

“Do you want another, or do you have to go?” she asked.

“I’ll get you another. I’ll stick with water. I’m driving.”

See, she knew he was one of those super-responsible guys. That’s what her dad always said. Liam is a good boy. Find a man like him, Carmen, and you’ll be fine. “My dad really loved you.”

Liam froze, his arm in the air again to get the waitress’s attention. When the waitress came over he ordered for them. Then he turned in his seat to fully face her. “I loved Gus too. I’m sorry I wasn’t around more.”

“Shoot. I didn’t say that to make you feel bad. I was thinking about him and you and stuff he always said.”

“I know, but I do feel bad. We talked on the phone sometimes, but I should’ve made time to visit.”

She reached out and rubbed his forearm. Her dark skin contrasted sharply with his pale complexion. “He understood. He liked that you were going after your dreams and finding success. You were like a son to him.”

The alcohol had her babbling and she hadn’t even started on her third one yet. She didn’t want to stop, though. Allowing the alcohol to relax her was freeing. She didn’t have to put on a brave face for anyone. She didn’t have to pretend to know what she was doing or that she had her shit together.

Right here, in this moment, she could just be a halfway drunk girl hanging out with an old friend. A cute old friend, which made the evening better.


Link to Follow Tour:
Goodreads Link:
Buy Links : Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | Kobo

Author Info

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

Shannyn Schroeder

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


*Shannyn is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a $10.00 Amazon or B&N eGift Card, DVD of the Movie CHEF and Three Keeper Kases with O’Leary’s Cards*



Posted by on January 23, 2015 in Blitz/Bonanza Spotlights


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What to Read Wednesday with Rhenna Morgan author of Unexpected Eden ~ Giveaway

I’m so glad you joined me for What to Read Wednesday. Today we have debut author Rhenna Morgan visiting. She’s talking about labeling her work and sharing her debut Unexpected Eden! Love the cover and I think you will too. 

Don’t forget to enter Rhenna’s giveaway as well…the link is at the end of the post!

Take it away Rhenna…


Categorizing a Melting Pot Romance

Hey, Christine! Thank you so much for hosting me today and sharing all the details on my debut release, Unexpected Eden.

Writing this book was definitely a challenge. Not so much from a story perspective, but from the learning side of things. I’ve had lots of people tell me, “I’ve thought of writing a book myself,” but few people really dive into the process and have the opportunity to learn just how much (and how many iterations) go into the final product.

Oddly, it wasn’t all the edit rounds that gave me the most struggles. Nor did the title or the blurbs (those handy summaries on the back of the books). Those were relatively easy—once I stopped procrastinating in the form of man-candy research on Facebook and Pinterest, of course. J

No, the hard part for me came when it was time to label my work. The first time someone asked me what the genre was, my mouth shot open to answer, and then promptly froze. There wasn’t one easy answer.

My first thought was paranormal. It seemed a catchall placeholder for all things not possible in today’s world. (Well, not so far as we’ve been able to prove anyway. J) But the more I thought about it, it seemed the paranormal genre targeted mostly vampires, shape shifters, angles, and demons. That seemed all wrong for Eden and the Myren race.

So, I hopped to Fantasy. The look and feel of Eden is very old world in much of its architecture—no power lines in site, pure, rainbow-laden skies, and vibrant colors that would make Avatar’s world of Pandora seem pale in comparison.

But there’s a modern edge to Eden too. A new-agey mysticism born from their deeply spiritual connection to The Great One. And they interact with the modern human realm whenever they need to—even though we humans aren’t aware of it. Hard to keep modern attitudes and slang out of a culture when you’re visiting a modern world for trade or vacations, right? I was afraid if I called the genre Fantasy Romance, I’d give people the impression it was more along the lines of Lord of the Rings, when in fact, everyone’s up to speed on Google and the almighty dollar.

Where I ended up – Contemporary Fantasy Romance. Kind of a Thor setting with a Black Dagger Brotherhood attitude.

Clarifying the heat level wasn’t any easier. To this day, I’m still not sure how I’d categorize where Unexpected Eden falls on the naughty scale. It’s certainly not all about sex, but I sure didn’t pull punches on the intimate parts. Suffice it to say, I panic every time someone from church says they wanted to read it…and my daughters aren’t allowed to touch it until they’re twenty-one. I think that gets you in the general ballpark.

My question to readers is this—how important is categorization to you when selecting a book? Are you a die-hard fan for only certain genres? Or do you flit between whatever suits your current mood? Do you like the books that blend many genres into one? Or are you more of a purest?

If you’re up for some blurred lines, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Unexpected Eden and join Eryx and Lexi in their adventures. I know they’d be happy to have you along for the ride…just don’t leave it laying around for the under eighteen crowd.

Thanks again for having me today! Hope to see you in paradise soon!




Unexpected Eden
The Eden Series # 1
By: Rhenna Morgan
Released December 29th, 2014
Lyrical / Kensington


Most people believe Eden no longer exists. Lexi Merrill’s about to learn they’re wrong. A hard-working bartender with a self-sufficient backbone and a wary nature, she knows pickup lines like a second language. So, when Eryx Shantos barges into her world with too-smooth words and a body to back it up, she locks up her libido and vows to keep her distance.

Eryx has other ideas. As king of the Myren race, Eryx is duty-bound to enforce the laws preventing exposure of their existence to humans. Yet The Fates have led him through his dreams to Lexi, a temptation he doesn’t want to resist. The question is, is she Myren, or human – which makes her forbidden fruit?

When Eryx’s nemesis tags Lexi as his next target, Eryx insists on taking her home where he can keep her safe. Lexi had no idea “home” would mean the one-and-only land of creation…or that she’d trigger a prophecy that could doom her newfound race.


Link to Follow Tour:
Goodreads Link:


Buy Links Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo | ARe
All Romance:


Author Info

Rhenna Morgan writes for the same reason she reads—to escape reality.
Yes, her life rocks—two beautiful little girls, a great husband, a steady job, and the kind of friends that would take you out back if you hurt her. But, like most women, she’s got obligations stacked tight from dusk to dawn. So, when the world gets her down, she slips into something…less realistic.
Romance is a must. So is a steamy romp (or four). Nothing thrills her more than the fantasy of new, exciting worlds, strong, intuitive men, and the sigh of, “Oh if only that could happen to me.”
So, if you’re picking up one of her books, expect portals into alternate realms and men who’ll fight to keep the women they want. Romantic escape for the women who need it.

Rhenna Morgan

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |Google+ (@RhennaMorgan)


*Rhenna is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for:*
Grand Prize: $25.00 Amazon Gift Card, Print or eBook copy of UNEXPECTED EDEN, Eden Series Tote Bag, Coffee Mug, Pen/Stylus and Post Its.

Runner Up: $25.00 Amazon Gift Card and eBook of UNEXPECTED EDEN


Posted by on January 21, 2015 in What to Read Wednesday


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