Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Love and Other Games is now here! Today you can get your own copy of this great collection of four romances taking place at the Winter Olympics. 

Title: Love and Other Games (Collection)
Author: Melinda Dozier, Ana Blaze, Aria Kane, Kara Leigh Miller
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Format: eBook

Love and Other Games Book Blurbs: 
LOVE AND OTHER GAMES is a collection of four sexy new adult stories centered around athletes competing in the Winter Games by Ana Blaze, Melinda Dozier, Aria Kane, and  Kara Leigh Miller. 

Worth More Than Gold by Ana Blaze  

Amy Pierce, the klutzy sister and manager of America’s Skating Sweetheart, is used to being invisible. But when a friend drags her to a party near the Olympic Village, Amy catches the eye of a sexy Norwegian ski jumper. It’s a magical night, but an awkward next morning has her running. Everyone knows Erik Andresen’s best shot at an individual medal was back in 2010, before an injury pulled him from the competition. He’s there for his team, but a hot night and a remarkable final training session have him wondering if a gorgeous good-luck charm could give him another chance at the podium. With a little bit of luck, these two might have a shot at something worth more than gold.  

Trouble With Gold by Melinda Dozier

US snowboarder and notorious prankster, Ty (Trouble) Madsen is only getting a taste of his own medicine when his Olympic teammates shackle him to a fence wearing nothing but his boxers.  Reception and protocol volunteer, Nadia Hoffman, gets up close and personal with the sexy snowboarder to rescue him, but she's not the kind of girl who lets her hormones get in her way.  A professional performance could help her land her dream job at Olympics Committee Headquarters, but her new assignment supervising the rambunctious US Snowboarding Team is making that difficult.  Can she see behind the snowman in the community center bathroom and into the warm heart of the man everyone calls Trouble?

The Girl Behind the Gold by Aria Kane

Greek aerial skier Lia Milonas’s parents are about to lose the family farm. Saving it means medaling and landing a huge sponsor. While her no-nonsense attitude has her well on her way to a medal, it hasn’t won her a place in fans' hearts. “Come back with a story that will make readers cry, or don’t come back.” This is what Brandon James’ boss told him before he left New York to cover the Winter Games for Moment Magazine. With a wink and a smile, he can charm his way into any invite-only party, but that career-making story is nowhere to be found – until he meets Lia. The two strike a deal that should get them both what they want - but neither would have guessed they’d also find what they need.

Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller 

Colton Campbell thrives on the fast paced, adrenaline rushed lifestyle of being an Olympic hockey player. Despite Brenna Jessup's abhorrence for the games and the athletes, she's hand-picked as the official photographer for the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. When a faux pas by Brenna almost costs Colton his career, she owes him. Too bad for her, Colton doesn't want apologies -- he wants retribution! And he knows just how to get it -- and her -- in the process. 

Melinda Dozer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelindaDozier
Aria Kane on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aria_Kane
Kara Leigh Miller on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraLeighMille1
Swoon Romance (publisher) site: http://www.myswoonromance.com/

Monday, September 16, 2013

FALL GIVEAWAY! (Autographed copy of Gated by Amy Christine Parker and $25.00 Visa gift card)

Last weekend, my friends and fellow authors (Larissa Hardesty, Christy Farley, Jessica Souders, and Sarah Nicolas) took a road trip to Tampa. Our destination was Inkwood Books for our friend's debut novel launch party—GATED by Amy Christine Parker.

The place was packed with friends, family, and fans. There were lots of goodies and giveaways. Amy proudly but humbly talked about her journey to publication then did a short reading. Her story gives her version of what life is like growing up in an apocalyptic cult. She did extensive research before taking on this story, studying the interaction between teens and families within these kinds of societies. 

(Joe and Lisa Iriarte, Larissa Hardesty, Amy Christine Parker, Jessica Souders, Christine Farely, Tara Gallina-me, Krystalyn Fowler, Vivi Barnes, Lucienne Diver)

(Tara Gallina-me, Larissa Hardesty, Jessica Souders)

(Amy Christine Parker)

The concept behind Gated is a unique one, with interesting yet scary information about the warped thinking of people in cults. It's a fast-paced read that follows a girl (Lyla) and her struggle to break free of the cult life.

Book flap cover:

Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen in?

In the Community, life seems perfect. Lyla Hamilton believes she is one of the chosen. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited her family to join the Community and escape the evil in the world. They've thrived under his strict, charismatic leadership. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her Intended.
The end of the world is near.

Pioneer has visions of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must prepare to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the Silo, the underground shelter where the Community will wait out the apocalypse.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but a chance encounter with an unchosen boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community--everything. She needs time to figure out the truth. But with Pioneer's deadline for the end of days fast approaching, time is the one thing she doesn't have.
Enter below to win an autographed copy of Gated and a $25.00 Visa gift card to purchase more books of your chose!


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How Productive Was Your Summer? Mine kinda sucked.

School started this week and I feel like my free time has been given back to me.  As far as writing goes, my summer was less productive than previous summers. Of course, we vacationed multiple times this year, so much so, on our last trip the boys said, “We vacation too much.”  Lol. 

I also have been indecisive over what to do with Club Neverland after learning that a scarily similar novel sold in January. That novel frightened off potential agents who had Club Neverland’s full and really like it but—with the similar book having just sold—didn't think they could sell another. 

The good news is each of them asked for other work of mine. Unfortunately, at the time I only had two other completed novels ready for submission. One is a paranormal, which we all know is a flooded genre. The other is a sci-fi/fantasy that because of the mix seems to be a tough sell.  I pitched to the agents a YA contemporary romance I’d just completed but hadn’t begun editing.  Even though I wrote a spur of the moment query for each agent, they happened to like it and asked that I submit the novel to them once it’s ready. 

Shortly after, I received four R&R’s for CN, which seriously threw me. But my confidence for Club Neverland selling had been shot to the toilet. I thought, Those agents just haven’t heard of the other book yet.  I couldn’t decide what to do—move on with my YA Contemp or rewrite Club Neverland.  My heart was still in Club Neverland, so after a period of “Why me? Why did this happen?” I decided to do the revision’s for Club Neverland.  They took much longer than anticipated and the middle to end of the book changed completely. I did, however, feel it was much stronger than before.  My critique partner agreed and said she “Felt it” when reading it.  That helped my confidence toward the rewrite.

But then summer came, the boys were home with me, we vacationed and my final read through dragged on and on. Here and there, I started editing my YA contemporary and my adult romance, which I wrote last year and never finished edits because it’s something I never planned to write. It just came to me on a whim and what a naughty whim it was.  LOL  Again, I was deciding which book to pursue next, especially since an adult romance agent, who by chance read Club Neverland and really enjoyed it, was interested in any adult novels I had.

I pondered—procrastinate—that for a while, then learned I had to have gum surgery. Since I can’t take pain meds and am extremely sensitive to anesthesia—both make me vomit for days—I was terrified to go through with it.  I did, however, and thanks to a nasal mist pain medication and lots of Phenergan mixed with my anesthesia, I didn’t vomit at all. It was the first time EVER!  I couldn’t believe it. Still can’t. 

But since I’m allergic to the world and all that it produces, my immune system took a beating and I got sick with the flu. So after two weeks of healing, I was down again.  But I’m feeling much better finally, as I said, the boys are back in school. I’ve decided to push myself to finish the edits on my contemporary romance and work on editing my adult romance, hoping to reclaim the intense and productive writing groove of my past. 

I’ve also decided to submit Club Neverland to Entangled in the hopes that it will still get published. When I discussed my frustrations over the novel with friends, writers Joe and Lisa Iriarte, and Vive Barnes, explaining that I sent out close to 90 queries for Club Neverland but only received 40 responses, 22 of which were full requests, they felt I didn’t query enough and that I needed at least 100 rejections before I stopped submitting a novel.  But those who know me well know this is my typical behavior. I shop a book minimally, receive a high request rate, and then after a few rejections I quit. LOL  I know. I know. I know.  I seriously need to stop doing that. 

I plan to. Well, I’m going to try. In today's crazy, flooded YA market it's all we can do. So much has changed in the industry over the years because of the economy, the popularity of e-books, and the success of small press and indie authors. The are many opportunities for writers to get their story out there, depending on what they want or need, their finances, and their goal for their novel. It can become confusing, especially when the rejections start rolling in. Perhaps, I should change the name of this blog to, To publish traditionally, or not to . . .   LOL

Now that I’ve vented about my life, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the writing industry, your struggles and fears, and your motivation.  Thanks for stopping by and happy Tuesday!  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Who can pass up a book with a title like this? 

If you like re-tellings with a unique plot and zombies, you'll love this adult novella. It's an entertaining quick read that delivers! Check out an excerpt below.
Aria Kane's ONCE UPON A DARKNESS launched last week at a charming coffee bar in Winter Park. Many local writers were there, including mùa. It was a great launch. Congrats again Aria Kane!

Title: Once Upon a Darkness
Author: Aria Kane
Publisher and Imprint: Entranced Publishing, Kissed
Genre: Paranormal romance/post-apocalyptic
Release Date: June 17 2013
Length: 61 pages

Gretchen and her twin brother, Hank, were abandoned to a zombie horde when they were five years old. Intended to be a sacrifice by their zealot parents, they were instead rescued by The Company. Raised to become soldiers in the war against zombies, they now provide safe passage through danger zones, one contract at a time.
Clint's only skill is war, but he's weary of killing other men. When his contract with the Marines runs out, he takes a job on Gretchen's team, hoping that the search-and-rescue life will suit him better.
On Clint's second day, their four-man team is attacked, drugged, and taken to a prison full of frightened civilians. The only way in or out is by helicopter and, here, their enemies are human. One by one, the captives are culled from the holding area. Rumors say the facility director uses the prisoners as experimental subjects for the testing of a zombie cure.
When Hank is culled, Clint and Gretchen must put aside their personal feelings and find a way out of the prison, surrounded by thousands of starving zombies, before Hank becomes just one more disposable guinea pig in the hands of a twisted mad woman.


It was late morning before Clint and Gretchen woke up. They had even somehow slept through the daily drop helicopter. Clint smiled at the sleeping Gretchen, thinking he could get used to waking up with her legs and arms draped across him.
"Contrary to popular belief," Gretchen grumbled. "It's creepy to watch a girl while she sleeps."
Clint shrugged and smiled. "Sorry, I guess I should've just woken you up."
"Like hell. You're better off being creepy." She pulled the pillow from underneath her head and smacked him with it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Last week, I received some valuable advice about keeping your focus on your goal. He suggested keeping what you dream to achieve, no matter how out of touch it might seem, in front of you for inspiration.  If you have a daily reminder of what you want to achieve—dream to achieve—you will gravitate toward that goal. 

Since my novel Club Neverland is no longer sellable in the market due to multiple Peter Pan retellings being tossed around and sold at this time, I've made a book cover to inspire me to keep going with the novel, whether it be through a small publishing house or by self-publishing.

Today I encourage you to create, buy, or find a focus for inspiration so you keep following the dreams in your heart.

My cover:  I'm quite proud of myself for this. (No, it's not the official book cover, just an inspiration photo for the time being)

PS. I had a super fun dinner at the Melting Pot with a bunch of writers last Sunday—some local, some in for work. Friends and fellow writers are also great inspiration. Here's the pics from that delicious night.

From left to right: Larissa Hardesty, Christy Farley, Amy Parker, Lisa Iriarte. Across from her Joe Iriarte, Heather Burch, Krystalyn Drown, Lucienne Diver, and Me.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


If you know me, you know I like to write my ya novels with steamy romance.  I don't force it, but it often fits with my characters and I want to be true to them.  Emotions and hormones run high in teenagers.  Pretending they don't isn't realistic.  It's a time for experimenting, taking risks, and pushing the limits.

For a while I thought I was alone in this, until I came across the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles. I'd always seen it in the bookstores but never read the series.  I'm so glad I did, because it was hot, hot, HOT! I loved it!

Then I read everything else she's published, and I wanted more.  I found Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry, and Jennifer Echols Forget You and Going Too Far.  It opened my eyes to a whole new world in young adult novels.

I realize these books might not be for everyone, since they have some really steamy scenes and, yes, sex!  Which is why I'm adding this post today.  I found a blog from Shelly Watters--IS IT HOT IN HERE, OR IS IT THIS BOOK?--about this very thing.  As I read it, I thought, This is exactly how I feel.  So, of course, I had to share it with you.

Check it out in the link below and please leave your thoughts on this subject for me.  I love hearing them!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Importance of Writing Believable Characters

How badly do you struggle with this?  For some people it comes naturally.  For others it's a challenge.  I understand that making a character real and flawed adds to believability, but I also find my mood effects how well I write them.
My goal is to write characters that make you . . . 


Gasp with fear      

Fall in love        

While searching the internet for helpful ways to accomplish this, I found a list from Melissa Donovan and thought I'd post it below.
12 Character Writing Tips To Help You Develop Characters That Feel Like Real People:
1.    Backstory: we are born a certain way, but our life experiences continually mold and shape us. Each character has a life before the story. What is it?
2.    Dialogue: the way we talk depends on the language we speak and where we live (or grew up) but there’s also something unique to each person’s style of speaking. We repeat certain words and phrases, inflect certain syllables, and make certain gestures while we speak.
3.    Physical Description: our primary method of identifying each other is the way we look; hair and eye color, height and weight, scars and tattoos, and the style of clothing we wear are all part of our physical descriptions.
4.    Name: Esmerelda doesn’t sound like a soccer mom, and Joe doesn’t sound like an evil sorcerer. Make sure the names you choose for your characters match their personalities and the role they play in the story.
5.    Goals: Some say that a character’s goals drive the entire story. He wants to slay the dragon. She wants to find love. Goals can be small (the character is shopping for a new car) or big (the character is trying to take over the world). Come up with a mix of small and large goals for each character.
6.    Strengths and Weaknesses: Villains sometimes do nice things and heroes occasionally take the low road. What are your character’s most positive and negative behaviors and personality traits?
7.    Friends and Family: these are the people in our inner circles, and they have played important roles in shaping our personalities and our lives. Who are your characters’ friends and family before the story starts? What new friends will they meet once the story begins?
8.    Nemesis: a nemesis is someone with whom we are at odds. This character doesn’t have to be a villain, but the goals of the nemesis definitely interfere with your character’s goals.
9.    Position in the World: what do your characters do for a living? What are their daily lives like? Where do they live? What is a character’s role or position among his or her friends, family, or coworkers?
10.  Skills and Abilities: a character’s skills and abilities can get him out of a tight spot or prevent him from being able to get out of a tight spot. Skills can be useless or they can come in handy. Does your character have an education or special training? What can he do?
11.  Gestures, Mannerisms, and Quirks: One character chews her nails while watching movies. Another runs his hand through his hair when he’s trying to figure something out. Give your characters identifiable quirks and behaviors, like real people.
12.  Fears: An old fiction writing trick is to figure out what your character is most afraid of, then make the character face it. We all have fears. Characters should, too.

Although some of these techniques seem long, I've heard them mentioned at SCWBI conferences by many published authors. 

One thing I like to do to get in the mood is listen to music that fits the scene or chapter I'm about to write.  I once read that to create a real character you have to go deep and reveal secrets and traits that show fault and vulnerability.  It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable to do this, because we usually hide these things in ourselves—keep them private.  But showing the dirt is what makes us real and is what will make your character/s relatable on a profound level.  Isn't that what we strive for as writers and what we love as readers?

If you have helpful tricks or techniques you use to create believable characters, please share them below in a comment.  As a writer, you can never get enough advice. 

Thanks and have a creative day!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pinterest. How Did I Ever Live Without You?

Finally started my Pinterest page.  At first, I wasn't interested in making one, but now I find it addicting.  As in, I could spend all day doing that and nothing else.  So not helpful.

Anywho, photos that relate to each of my three completed novels, including Club Neverland, are up for your curiosity.

If you have a Pinterest page and find it addicting, too, tell me about it in a comment below so I can check it out.

 Checkout my Pinterest page.  Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You Might Pee A Little

This weekend I googled Funny Animal Pics. I don't know why or where the idea came from, but I had some seriously good laughs over what I found.  In the hope of starting your week off with a smile and maybe a few hard chuckles, I've posted my favorites for you.  Beware I favored  A LOT.  lol.  There are some that were just too cute to pass up, too.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Bad Boy Rehab Hop!!!!!!

Announcing the Bad Boy Rehab Hop

January 10 – January 17, 2013
Hosted by 
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, http://www.iamareader.com/  and 

The Book Hookup http://thebookhookup.com/
We tried giving up Bad Boys for our New Year’s Resolution…..
but try to make me go to rehab and I said no no no.
Bad Boy (n.) person
1. A guy who has many characteristics of a naughty, naughty boy. 
2. A heartbreaker with a five o’clock shadow. 
3. Independent and willful. Does what he wants when he wants. Never follow trends, they follow him.
4. Someone that’s not looking for trouble, but there’s a serious sense of danger about him. 
Usable Note: A bad boy is a gorgeous man with MANY layers and is INSANELY irresistible to women.

 My bad boy pick for this year's blog hop is Daemon Black from The Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout.  I don't think you get any badder (or hotter) than Daemon. 

Need I say more!

In honor of the blog I'm giving away a $25.00 gift card to The Book Depository so you can buy all three of these amazing novels and get your bad boy on!
I love the book blurp to Obsidian the first of the series and will leave you with that.

Starting Over Sucks

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And Then He Opened His Mouth

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The Hot Alien Living Next Door Marks Me

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I Don’t Kill Him First, That Is

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