Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays from @JenLaneBooks #Giveaway


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Readers, Authors, Friends!



(Some of us had a little too much to drink at a recent holiday party.) 

Here are the Peanut Butter Cup Christmas trees I made.

(Using white chocolate "glue", layer a small pb cup, large pb cup, small pb cup, and a Hershey's kiss!)









And here's my friend Jason the Christmas dunce. (Isn't he cute?)










Jason and another friend gifted me this T-shirt:


Rude! I may be single, but my characters Dane and Lucia from college volleyball romance Blocked might not be single for long. *winks*

Blocked's sales have been great! Thank you so much, readers. I'm hosting two Blocked giveaways for the holidays, listed below and on the right sidebar:

1) Enter to win a signed print copy on Goodreads HERE (open internationally).

2) Enter to win a $25 gift card and more HERE if you review Blocked on Amazon.

Both giveaways run until early February.

And my critique partner Nicki Elson has an Amazon gift card giveaway until the end of the year HERE.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: Defenseless by @ElisaDane (The Diamond Girls #3)



Defenseless (Diamond Girls #3)


Release Date: 01/17/15

Swoon Romance


Summary from Goodreads:

High school senior Claire Reilly’s world revolves around All-Star cheerleading. The Diamond Girls are gearing up for a major competition, which, if they win will allow them to compete at Worlds for the first time. But the unimaginable happens, and both Claire and her team are rocked by a devastating loss. Determined to get to Worlds any way she can, Claire finds help from the last person she imagined would give it—up and coming UFC fighter and notorious bad boy, Ryker Vaughn.

Fouled out of the octagon by a dirty opponent and a vicious kick to the head, Ryker loses control when he learns he may never fight again. Angry over the loss of his mother, an unsupportive family, and the world in general, he gives up, gives in, and unleashes his rage—destroying part of his cousin’s cheer gym in the process. Things go from bad to worse when Ryker is given an ultimatum: help the Diamond Girls compete for a bid to Worlds, or go to jail.

Overwhelmed with anger, sadness, and grief, the unlikely pair learn that what you see is not always what you get, and that the most difficult losses sometimes open the door to a frightening, yet amazing new future.


Companion books in this series:
(covers linked to Goodreads)



About the Author: Elisa Dane

I'm a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot!

I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it's my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.
Author Links:


Cover Reveal Organized by:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Seven for a Secret by @RumerHaven #Review #Interview #Giveaway


Today I'm psyched to have author Rumer Haven to the blog! I loved her ghostly historical romance Seven for a Secret. After my review, stick around for the interview and giveaway.

Seven For A SecretSeven For A Secret by Rumer Haven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Secret Lives, Secret Deaths

"There's souls not at rest here. It's a troubled place, this."

A historical romance set in Chicago, one of my favorite cities? Sign me up! The classy cover also drew me in.

In the year 2000, 25-year-old Kate moves into Camden Court, an apartment complex that used to be a 1920's hotel. She meets a cast of quirky elderly neighbors who report they didn't find the former tenant Olive in Kate's apartment until three days after her death. *shudders* Then Kate gets locked in her bathroom, and it feels like she's not alone. Eek!

Kate works at a museum with her boyfriend Dexter. While Dexter is sweet, he's no Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles. (The 80s and 90s references made me happy.) Kate also feels intrigued by her hottie neighbor and wants to take a "break" from her relationship with Dex. (Anyone who knows the Ross/Rachel saga from Friends worries this won't turn out well.)

As Kate gets to know spunky Vera and kind-hearted Leo from the geriatric crowd, they tell her more about the ghostly Olive and her older sister Eva from the well-to-do 1920's Hughes family. The story then travels back through time to the scene of a decadent house party, full of flappers and moonshine. Bachelor Lon meanders through the crowd with cynical distaste, until he comes upon an "exquisite nymph" of a woman, Eva.

Lon first notices Eva's eyes:

They burned with a jade green he'd once seen in a great bonfire, the hottest of flames devouring all they came into contact with.

A bit of foreshadowing, perhaps? Sadly, Eva is betrothed to a man from another of Chicago's socially elite families. But Lon won't give up easily.

The historical romances in the 20s and 00s gradually pulled me in deeper to the point that it felt like I lived in Camden Court myself. The descriptive writing style authentically captures the proper debauchery and impending sense of doom from the twenties. This is a long novel, which allows both stories to unfold at their own pace (unlike my dissatisfaction with jamming two stories into one in Ugly Love).

One story has a happy ending and the other ends on a tragic note, but a common thread woven throughout is the search for love with the right partner, no matter how tangled the threads (or bonds) of life become. Kate's friend Blair tells it so well:

"Kate, trust me. When a guy's genuinely into you, the rules don't apply. Real love isn't a game, and that's how you'll know it when you see it. You'll recognize The One when you aren't overanalyzing him. You'll just ... be, and it'll play out organically."

And Kate responds:

"Why do I always feel like Enya should be playing in the background of your advice? I can almost smell herbal incense spraying out of my phone." Hehe.

View all my reviews


~*~

And now I interview Rumer:

Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome to the blog, Rumer. I loved the uniqueness of Seven for a Secret. What sparked the story for you?

Rumer Haven (RH): Thanks for inviting me over, Jennifer! I'm so delighted that you enjoyed Seven for a Secret and am honored to be at your blog. 

While there were an assortment of inspirations along the way, I suppose the real foundation for this story was a quite literal brick-and-mortar one. I modeled Camden Court after the Hampden Court apartment building in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, where I lived a decade ago. I loved the atmosphere of its vintage interior and exterior, enchanted by the idea that so many different lives had dwelled within those same walls for almost a century, and how so many separate lives continued to coexist in the building—the crowded isolation of people living within feet of each other, vertically and horizontally, hearing each other through walls or seeing each other through windows, yet rarely actually meeting in person…the idea of being both alone and surrounded by people…and the bizarre circumstances it might take for these otherwise parallel lives to intersect. Oh, say, like getting trapped in a bathroom and having to call for help out the window (that happened to me) and an old woman dying in her apartment, which freed the unit for another tenant, whose cat then pawed at the empty air inside it (that happened, too). That last bit was all the encouragement I needed to make this a ghost story. But in general, I gravitate toward stories with a strong sense of setting, so Hampden Court became Camden Court, which in turn became my big ol’ cauldron to fill with characters and bring to a boil.

JL: I also love Chicago! What made you choose the Windy City for the setting?

RH: After relocating from Chicago to London and first writing a manuscript set in the UK, my imagination itched to return home. Without question, Seven for a Secret is my Valentine to Chicago. Not just the 1920s but my twenties there—living in Lincoln Park, working downtown, volunteering at the Adler Planetarium. In addition to its sentimental value to me, its amazing history and architecture provided an ideal framework. So many iconic establishments from the Capone era still stand and serve one function or another, so the city couldn't have been more perfect for a dual-time-period story. Like London, Chicago is living, thriving history. The past so strongly coexists with the present there, and I couldn't help but write about it.

JL: You’re an editor and an author. Which started first? What is your favorite thing about both?

RH: I started writing first and became an editor on the heels of completing my first novel-length manuscript. Working on both sides of the publication fence has certainly been interesting in many respects, but I’d say my favorite thing about editing is working with other authors and being a part of their creative process. I used to be an English teacher, and while there's so much I miss about the classroom, I still get to instruct as an editor—not only with regard to writing but in recognizing people's potential and helping them reach it. That is hugely satisfying and provides an important balance, I think. Because while my favorite thing about writing is losing myself to another place, time, and situation—basically, my favorite thing about reading, too—it's a solitary practice that can make me overly introverted. So though it can admittedly get frustrating whenever more of my time and creative energy goes to someone else's manuscript and leaves me depleted for my own, I'm grateful for that push to get outside of myself and help other writers realize their dreams. I don’t have to do both; I choose to and feel like the luckiest gal in the world that I even have that choice.

JL: What is one thing about publishing that has surprised you?

RH: How much authors have to market their own books! So much momentum goes into writing a book, revising it, then releasing it, and then all of a sudden, it's like...Okay, now what? It’s out there, but how do I get people to know that?? With social media, there are so many ways to interact with readers, which is awesome and fun. I can be social. But I'm not particularly skilled at marketing, nor keen on self-promotion, so when lovely folks like yourself take the time to not only read my book but review it and share it with others, I am genuinely appreciative and content knowing that someone other than me (and my mom, who’s obligated) has enjoyed it.

JL: What are you working on now?

RH: I’m revisiting my first manuscript. It’s similar to Seven for a Secret in certain ways but with a much stronger paranormal element and London setting. It shifts between two time periods, too (present day and Victorian era), but takes place mostly in the present and is somewhat darker, more psychological. A ghost story with a philosophical twist. 

I’m also outlining a new story set in one house over the course of one night, which I've always wanted to try, though it’ll be a challenge for sure to keep that interesting! A rom-com dinner party with a little Agatha Christie and Ghost Hunters thrown in the mix. But aside from crazy chicken scratchings all over the pages of my notebook, I’ve only written a chapter for that one so far.


*****GIVEAWAY*****

Rumer and Omnific Publishing offer an ebook of Seven for a Secret to a lucky winner. To enter, leave a comment. You can choose to answer this question: Would you rather live in the 1920s or 2000s?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Best of 2014 Giveaway Hop


Thanks to Mary from Bookhounds and Kathy from I Am a Reader for hosting!

Wow, I read many wonderful books this year, but my favorite has to be Making Faces by Amy Harmon. See my review HERE.

Making Faces is a New Adult romance that made me sob. We're talking raccoon mascara eyes here. The story has a beautiful message: it's what's on the inside that counts.

(Banner from Aestas Book Blog)

If you're in the US, I'll buy you a paperback copy of Making Faces or a similarly priced book. If you're outside the US, I'll buy you an ebook of Making Faces or a similarly priced book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now hustle over to these blogs to discover their favorite reads:

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Review of Wallbanger by @Alice_Clayton


Looking for a laugh? How about a thousand laughs? Check out this fun contemporary romance.

Wallbanger (Cocktail, #1)Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Woman in Search of Her O, And Clive the Cat Steals the Show

While I giggled throughout Alice Clayton's debut novel The Unidentified Redhead, this book stepped up the zany fun to the point I was laughing almost every page! Added to the humor was compelling characterization, crisp dialogue, and emotional punch that made this a definite 5 star read for me.

Interior designer Caroline Reynolds (hey I just realized that's the name of the evil vice president from the TV show Prison Break) moves into a San Francisco apartment. Her mischievous cat Clive comes with her, but her orgasm does not. It's been missing for months after a not-so-sexy rapid-fire bed battle with her ex Cory, and Caroline is climbing the walls to get it back. It doesn't help when her bedroom wall bangs with the sexcapades of her neighbor Simon and his "harem", including the spankee, giggler, and meower. The meower totally turns Clive on.

description

They say when a soldier loses a leg in battle, sometimes, late at night, he can still feel twinges of that leg -- phantom pain, they call it. I lost my O in battle, the battle of Cory Weinstein, that machine-gun fucker -- and I was still feeling the aftershocks. I'd been feeling twinges of the phantom O all week long.

One night Caroline dons a pink nightie to get in the mood and starts fantasizing about George Clooney. She's about to recapture her missing O when the banging interrupts her, and she flies next door to chew out her man-whore neighbor. It's the beginning of a hilarious wallbanger of a romance.

description

Caroline has no filter, much to the delight of her best friends Sophia and Mimi:

"So, has he been wall banging at all this week?" Sophia asked.

"Relatively quiet, actually. Either he really listened to me and is being neighborly, or his dick finally broke off in one of them and he's sought medical attention," I said, a little too loudly. 


The table of businessmen must've been listening pretty closely as they all choked a little just then and shifted in their seats, perhaps crossing their legs in unwitting sympathy.

Like Caroline, I am dying to visit Spain, and when she discovers that Simon is an international photographer with an upcoming trip to Spain, she likes him even more. When Simon discovers Caroline bakes bread, he goes all mushy. Clive thinks they're both nuts.

description

"You smell GREAT when you're all worked up," he said, waggling his eyebrows at me like the devil.

"Seriously, you pick women up with lines like that?" I turned away from him to take off my jacket and squeeze my thighs together maniacally.


Clive came bounding out of the bedroom when he heard my voice and stopped short when he saw Simon. Unfortunately, he had little traction on the hardwood floor and skidded rather ungracefully under the dining room table, Trying to regain his dignity, he executed a difficult four-foot leap from a standing position onto the bookshelf and waved me over with his paw. He wanted me to come to him -- typical male.


I dropped my gym bag and sauntered over. "Hi, sweet boy. How was your day? Hmm? Did you play? Did you get a good nap?" I scratched behind his ear, and he purred loudly. He gave me his dreamy cat eyes and then turned his gaze to Simon. I swear he cat-smirked at him.


"Zucchini bread, huh? You want some more, I take it?" I asked.


"I know you have more. Simon says gimme it," he deadpanned, making his finger into a gun.


"You're oddly into your baked goods, aren't you? Support group for that?"


Clive gets jealous of any man pursuing "the feeder" Caroline. This balloon won't last long.

description

While the last fourth of the book didn't hold quite the screwball humor and pacing of the prior chapters, overall I loved the story. I adored the unique POV of the last chapter. I thought Clive might turn the bottles of sand into a litter box!

description

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

#IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond & Writing Dialogue


Thank you to Alex Cavanaugh for hosting The Insecure Writers' Support Group, where we journey together down this lonesome writing road.


Have you downloaded your free copy of The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond?


The Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond

Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don'ts that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.

ISBN 9781939844088
235 pages, FREE
IWSG sites – website, Facebook, and Facebook Critique Circle
Find the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords,Goodreads.

I contributed a piece on writing character relational styles, and I can't wait to dive into reading all the helpful advice. Suddenly the writing journey isn't so lonely!

Today I want to share tips for writing dialogue from author Justin McLaughlin:

Check them out HERE

Good tips, you think? 

What do you struggle with when writing dialogue? 

I have been guilty of fluffy tags like "she shouted" or "he groaned" instead of the less distracting "said".

I'm also learning to write with more economy, like "Thought you hated Fox News" or "Kind of tall for a setter, aren't you?"

Happy writing!



 


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