Here's a smaller teaser this week. I'd love to know your thoughts!
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She rose to meet him, her finger poking him in the chest. “And you don’t know that I am!” Almost immediately, she pulled her hand back and he wondered if she felt the same jolt of energy in that tiny touch that he had. “Look,” she continued. “I’m not a novice when it comes to danger.” He couldn’t help but raise his eyebrow at the thought of her anywhere near the things he had seen. “There’s a lot about me now that you don’t know. I’ll keep an eye out. I’ll report anything unusual. But, I want to go home.”

He opened his mouth to insist on an escort but she beat him to it. “Alone, Mark. I want to go home alone. If anything happens, your department will be the first to know.”

Hastily, she grabbed her few belongings. “Mandy, get your stuff.” She stalked to the door and turned, practically challenging him. “I assume we’re free to go.”

Without waiting for an answer, she stormed out of the small room leaving Mark to watch her walk away from him for the second time in his life. 

 
 
Here's the second teaser from ALWAYS TRUST - Book 1 of the series, Teaching the Heart. Hope you enjoy!

Mark wanted to reach forward and grab her twisting hands, partially to calm the nervous witness in front of him and partially to comfort the beautiful woman from his past. Reluctantly, he did neither. “You said he called out?” his voice broke the silence.

“Mm hmm,” she nodded. “He said he would find her.”

His fingers moved over the pages in the report looking for the exact wording. “He said specifically that? Called her by name?”

“No.” Melissa’s eyebrows scrunched in a way Mark had seen hundreds of times before and he had to bite back a smile. “He said, ‘I will find you. I promise you that.’”

His chest faltered for a moment, the breath caught deep inside. Mark knew this guy, better than he ever wanted to admit and there was no way Mann was talking about the victim. Without even thinking about it, he dropped the professional tone. “Melissa, did he see you?”

“Of course he did.”

“No,” urgency laced his command. “Did he see you? Did he stare at you long enough to see what you look like?”

“He stared down the alley, but I’m sure he was just looking for the woman, Karen. She’s the one he was talking about.” Mark closed his eyes and forced out a breath as the naivety of her words hit him. “Right?” he barely heard her ask.

There were moments Mark knew he was destined to be a cop, moments like this when his gut was practically screaming at him. They had a problem; every fiber of his being told him Johnny Mann had picked a new target. Stalking to the door, he flung it open calling for the two rookies. “I want any information of surveillance in and around the club.”

“Sure thing, Detective,” Officer Landrum replied. “But we all know there weren’t any cameras in the back. There’s no way he would have been there otherwise.”

“I’m not looking for that,” Mark ground out. “Just get me the information.”

The door was cool against his back but it couldn’t seem to battle the fire raging in his veins.

“Hey! Detective Cheat!” Mandy called out from behind him and he turned just in time to see Melissa softly backhand her friend in the arm as she bit back a smile. “You gonna fill us in or do we not get to know what’s making you pace like a crazy man?”

“Lis,” he practically whispered as he walked back towards both ladies.

“Don’t,” Melissa’s hardened voice ground out.

“Don’t what?”

“You don’t get to call me that anymore. You lost that right a long time ago.”

Mark raised his eyebrows in confusion. He was so caught up in concern for what he was afraid would be a horrific nightmare for her, he hadn’t even realized his old nickname for her slipped out. “I’m sorry, Ms. Smith. I meant no disrespect.”  She nodded her head and the vinyl of the chair crinkled under his weight as he returned to his seat. “I’ll be honest. I think you’re in danger.”

Both women exchanged quick glances “Of what?” they asked at the same time.

“Johnny Mann.”

 
 
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I'm so excited to start a new monthly feature - Author Spotlight. These are some of my favorite authors, or friends I've made along the way on my journey as an author. 

My first author spotlight is Peggy Henderson. If you have not read any of her books run, don't walk, to start one today! 

Her bio can be found on her website and in each of her books. But, I wanted to get to know her more. So,here's a little interview I did with Peggy to find out a little more about this fantastic author. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

First of all, thank you so much, Marisa, for inviting me to do this interview. What an honor!

I guess I consider myself the “accidental author.” I’ve always loved writing, but it’s not something I ever considered to do for a living. English is my second language, and I used to make up stories in German when I was little.

My background is in veterinary medicine and lab sciences. I’ve always been an animal nut. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two boys.

My husband and I have loved going to Yellowstone since we graduated from high school. One summer, I went on a girls-only trip with a good friend, who was also my boss at the time. I came home from that trip with a story in my head. It stayed with me for over a year until I finally started writing it down. That’s how my first book, Yellowstone Heart Song, was born. I found someone to critique the story, and she urged me to pursue publication, which I balked at until I had three more books written. I was writing for my own personal enjoyment, not to publish, but I’m glad I finally took her advice. It’s led me to an entirely new career path.

You have several ongoing series: Yellowstone Romance, Teton Trilogy, Second Chance Time Travel Romance, and Blemished Brides Western Historical Romance. How do you determine which series you plan to work on next?

I guess I let my characters determine who gets their story told next.  My readers are fairly vocal on which series should be next in line for a new book. The Teton Trilogy is done, so I don’t have to worry too much about it (except for a novella or two in the future). It really depends on which characters are loudest in my mind at the moment. Sometime I try and work on two books in different series at one time, and then one of them always tends to take over and I finish it and then go on to the next one.

How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?

For some books, I have to do more research than for others. Sometimes I’ll spend an entire day on something minor that may be brought up in only one scene, but it’s important enough to get right. Names in particular, are very important to me. Names and name origins, and their significance to the story and the characters. This is especially true for the Yellowstone Series. It wasn’t at first, but in the newest books it’s become very important. I spent an insane amount of time researching names.

In general,  I would say I spend equal amounts of time researching things than I do writing.

What works best for you in writing novels? Do you plan and outline first or do you just start writing and let the story unfold?

It depends on the story. I’ve never written an outline and stuck to it. Most of the time, a story starts out as a single idea, usually for a specific event for a character, and from there, it evolves. I’ve been trying to do more outlining, but I’m not a hard-core plotter.

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

I get to make stuff up and entertain people! And I don’t have to do it by standing in front of a crowd. I’ve always been a better communicator in writing than by speaking, so that’s what’s so great about this job. I also have the freedom to live exciting adventures through my characters.

What is your least favorite or what do you struggle with the most?

In crafting a story, the things I struggle with the most is writing dialogue and writing action sequences.

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of writing your books? What about marketing?

The most challenging aspect of writing is marketing. Writing a book is the easy part. Getting the word out and selling it is complicated, and something I don’t like to do. I think it’s something with which all writers struggle.

If you had to pick a favorite pairing in your novels, who would it be and why?

That’s a difficult question to answer. That’s like asking, who’s your favorite child. I like to think I paired my characters to complement each other. Of course, Aimee and Daniel will always be my favorites since they were my first. Dani and Josh are another great couple, and then there was Lucas and Tori. I think those two rank right up there with my favorites. Lucas was such a fun character to write. Such a daredevil, without a care in the world, and he gets the surprise of his life when he falls for Tori. He wouldn’t have fallen for anyone else but her. She’s just as adventurous as he is, and the two of them are just made for each other.

What else do you have in store for your readers?

I have to finish the Yellowstone Series (2 full-length books to go in the series, and I’m sure there will be some more novellas), another Second Chances book, more Blemished Brides, and I’ve got three potential new series on the backburner that I’m slowly trying to develop in the next year.

And now, a speed round of favorites:

Favorite color: royal blue

Favorite drink: raspberry ice tea

Favorite food: chocolate

Favorite movie: Hallelujah Trail

Favorite music to write by: country, but I don’t usually listen to music while writing. I require silence to write.

Favorite accessory: my cat (my writing assistant), or if you mean outfit accessories, I don’t really have any. Maybe my hair scrunchy to tie my hair in a ponytail.

 

Thanks so much, Peggy! Here are some links to find her books and follow her in social media. 

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Blog |Facebook |

Facebook Group | Pinterest | Twitter |mailing list

And, here are some of her beautiful covers 


 


 
 
Here is our 2nd Fan Friday post. Remember - you can submit any type of question to me at any time. So, send them in!

Our question today comes from Amy. She asks:
What made you decide to write clean romances?


I'd love your thoughts - leave them here or on my Facebook page but let me know what you think!
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I’ve had several people ask me why, in the days post Fifty Shades, I would even attempt to write clean romances. According to them, people do not want to read about heartfelt romances. They do not want to read about meaningful connections and the trials couples can go through on the way to building a solid relationship. I disagreed and argued that is what life, what love, is about. They may eventually agree, but only with the huge caveat that reading about romance is only interesting with the sex.

To that, I say absolutely not.

Sex is a vital part of any healthy marriage. It is exciting, passionate, and necessary – and it was designed to be that way. I will not deny that, nor will most other people. But, I also think there is more to every relationship than sex and I firmly believe people can get lost in a love story without needing the intimate details.

But the unnecessary description of sex is not the only reason I chose to write clean romances. In fact, it’s not even the primary reason. No – that reason is sitting in the other room at the moment, cuddled up on her bed with a book. For nine years, this precious little girl has graced my life. I watch in awe as she experiences the world, learns to navigate friendships, and understands trust. My heart breaks as I realize how fast she is growing up and I anxiously and hesitantly wait to see what kind of woman she will become.

She is the reason I write clean romances. I want her to be able to talk freely about what Mama does, to be able to tell people about Mama’s books and never have to be worried. More importantly though, I want her know that while sex is beautiful, wonderful and even fun, it does not have to define her relationships. I want her to know that trust, love, commitment, friendship, and respect are just as equally important in a relationship. One day, my daughter will delve into the pages of my books just like she gets lost in the pages of Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and the Dork Diaries. When I write, I think about the basic truths I want her to know about romance and love and try to incorporate those into my books. It is part of my legacy to her.

Writing clean romance was never a lifelong goal I had. I’m not opposed to sex. In fact, if you look at my book list on Goodreads, you will see I have a pretty eclectic reading list, including many traditional romances that have varied scenes. But I have been gifted with the responsibility of raising a precious young lady and I want the words I write to mirror the conversations I have with her and the hopes I have for what she will learn as she grows.

Every author has to write what they feel and what they think is best; nothing is necessarily ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. This variety is what makes the literary world so fantastically beautiful. This is just my contribution to that world. 

 
 
I am so excited to participate in the Happy Endings blog hop which begins today. Not only is this my first blog hop to participate in, but it is always one of my favorite topics. I'm a sucker for happy endings and often get quite frustrated when I read a book, and become totally invested in it, only to have a sad horrible ending. Yuck!

In this post, I'll start with a link to the blogs participating in the hop. You can visit each of their sites during the week. Next, I'll share my personal happy ending story. Finally, I'll end with the giveaway for this site. Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Here is the link to the blog hop.
Happy endings romance giveaway hop

#HEGIVEAWAY

See my Happy Ending story below!

 

The Happy Endings Giveaway Hop was organized by Reading Romances!

What you can win here: a copy of IS LOVE ENOUGH and $25.00 Amazon gift card

Number of winners: 1

Open to: US readers

How to enter: Rafflecopter entry below

So what is my personal happy ending? I have two that I tried to choose between, and of course, could not. Finally, I just decided to share both. 

First - meeting and marrying my best friend. I was a freshman in college when we met. As a student at Texas A&M University, I was caught up in the excitement of building Aggie bonfire. My dorm was paired with a brother dorm and I met him during our first trek into the woods to participate in cut. Once that busy, busy day was over, we all went to Whataburger where he strategically placed my drink across from him so I would have to sit there. We had our first date that night and the rest is history. By February, we were engaged and we married a year and a half later. I was young and in love, and about a month before we got engaged, he offered me the opportunity to date other people; he said he knew what he wanted, but he wanted me to be sure. I made my choice then, and almost 17 years later, am so thankful I did. 

My second happy ending was the birth of our daughter. After years of infertility treatments and heartache, we finally had a successful IVF treatment. We placed 3 embryos inside and she promptly kicked the other two out! But, in her excitement to meet Mama and Daddy, she kept trying to come too early. My asthma couldn't handle things well, so I spent the last 11 weeks of my pregnancy on bed rest. She was born a month early and it was one of the happiest moments of my life. This precious angel is the epitome of the happy ending that you get to enjoy over and over again and I am so thankful for her!

Readers and blog hop participants - enjoy the week by reminiscing about your own happy endings. Take time to reflect on those moments that have brought you pure joy. 

Enter the giveaway below, either with your email address or your Facebook account for the chance to win a $25.00 Amazon gift card and a copy of IS LOVE ENOUGH and celebrate Jason and Rebekah's happy ending as well. 

Sign in to the Rafflecopter ticket below to enter this site's giveaway.
 
 
I'm excited about my newest novella which I am currently in the process of finishing. It features Danny and Nikki from IS LOVE ENOUGH and it should be with the editors next week!


In the meantime...here is a tiny teaser from Chapter 1. I hope you enjoy. 

“We just put the girls down. Emily is going to be so excited when she wakes up in the morning.” Rebekah said as she led Nikki into the kitchen. The warm, spicy scents filled Nikki’s nose as they walked, reminding her of the cozy home she and Danny shared together. Shaking her head, she worked to quickly rid her mind of any images or thoughts of him.

“I cannot wait to see my girls,” Nikki gushed. “The most recent pictures you sent of them were absolutely adorable! I can’t believe how big Elizabeth is.”

Rebekah sighed almost wistfully. “I know. It seems like just yesterday that we were in New York having her. Now, Emily is almost five and Elizabeth just turned two.” Turning back towards the cabinet, she pulled down two mugs, asking Nikki, “I made cider earlier. Would you like some?”

Nikki inhaled deeply, letting the scent fill her senses. “That’s what I smell that is so wonderful. You know I love your cider, Beck. I can’t wait to have some.”

Rebekah flashed a smile as she pulled down a third mug. “If I’m going to heat us some, I might as well heat some for Jason, too. He loves the stuff almost as much as you do.” Soft music filled the kitchen, drifting from somewhere else in the house; the quiet melodies usually bringing her such peace. But even with the friendly banter, the music did nothing to relieve her stress.

“Mmmm,” Jason practically moaned from behind her as he walked into the kitchen. “That has to be one of the best smells in the world.” He walked behind Rebekah, smiling as he snaked his arms around her waist and pressed his lips against her neck before turning to Nikki. “Do I have the best wife, or what?”

“No,” she replied with a laugh. “I have the best friend. You just lucked out when she let you hang around.”

He glared pointedly at her with a smirk of his own as he joined her at the kitchen table. “Need I remind you that I was the one who met her first? You are the one who is lucky she tolerates you.”

“Do I need to be here for this conversation?” Rebekah called out as she carried the steaming mugs to the table. “Cause, I don’t have to tolerate either one of you.” Her eyes twinkled with merriment despite the stern look she tried to plaster on her face.

Rebakah mock glared at both of them and before she could control it, laughter bubbled from Nikki. For several minutes the combined hum of their laughter filled the kitchen sounding like happiness and home. But Nikki’s heart could barely contain the extra emotion and before she knew it, she found her eyes filling with tears. “Oh honey,” she heard Rebeakh whisper as her friend reached across the table and pulled Nikki’s hand into her own. She saw the concerned glance between her friends and knew the question was coming before it was even asked. “You know we love you, Nikki. And,” she continued. “You know you are welcome here anytime. But this is different. What’s going on, Nik?”

She closed her eyes and fell back against the chair afraid to say the words out loud but knew she had no choice. “Danny’s having an affair. He’s planning to leave me at the end of the month.”

Silence filled the kitchen as she looked imploringly at her friends. She had known Jason for half of her life; he was her brother in every sense of the word and more than anything, she needed him, needed both of them, now more than ever before.

 

 
 
I am excited to participate in the 2013 Reading Romance Challenge. I plan to be a Romance Lover and read 2 to 3 books a month! Look for my posts throughout the year. You can follow the link below for more information. 

reading romances reading challenge 2013
Here are the themes for each month of 2013.
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Nearly a decade ago, I started writing my first official novel. I wrote in a spiral  notebook, jotting down quick ideas whenever I had the opportunity and slowly started blending those ideas into conversations, scenes, and chapters whenever I had the chance. I had every intention of completing the novel as quickly as possible.

But, real life got in the way. Between my time as a mom, wife, graduate student, and public school administrator my writing got lost along the way.

One year ago, I decided to change that. Although I still hold many of the same job titles, I realized my writing would never be a priority in my life if I did not make it that way. So, I dusted off that early manuscript and got to work.

Finally, on October 17th, that first novel will be available for release. Is Love Enough reminds readers it is never too late to find the forever kind of love we all long to have. The release of this novel is the beginning of a new adventure in my life; it is my promise to myself, my husband, and my daughter to always follow your dreams.

 
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reading romances book blog