Thursday, April 24, 2014

Women at Work: Sneak Peeks of the Ladies' Works in Progress

From the desk of Jennifer Lohmann:

I'm finishing up the final proofs of my September, 2014 release right now: Winning Ruby Heart. No cover yet, though I'm really looking forward to this one!

"Ruby almost didn’t hear the knock on the hotel room door over the runner describing an injury and the painting that had resulted from it. The shuffle of her bare feet was silent on the carpet. Through the peephole she only saw the door of the hotel room across the hall and the thick fingers of a man’s hand, distorted by the glass. She was debating ignoring the prank when she heard, “Ruby Heart, I know it’s you.” It was Micah.
Her shoulders fell, causing a ripple of soreness through her body. I almost got away with it. The story of her life.

Winning Ruby Heart is available for pre-order

From the desk of Julie Johnstone:

This is from my wip tentatively titled My Fair Duchess. 

Amelia moved back a step, and as she did, banging started at the front door. “That has to be Philip!” she cried, her heart pumping with relief for his sake and theirs that he was home. She flew to the door and threw it open, her brother’s name dying on her lips.
“You’re not Philip.” She could think of nothing more to say, at least nothing sensible. Her mind seemed suddenly dazed by the towering man before her with the sun kissed skin that showed above his cravat and peeked out from under the golden whiskers covering his face. Maybe it was his great height, or the fine-drawn bones making her thoughts scatter. She sucked in her lower lip under her top teeth, her thoughts tumbling one over the other. Perhaps it was his startling hazel eyes and sinful black lashes. Yes, that was most certainly it. All of those attributes plus the wavy hair that gleamed like dark gold. Yes, yes. Each of those things muddled her head but mostly it was his eyes―assessing, by the slant, and in turn amused, by the fine lines suddenly crinkling around the edges―that confused her the most.
Blast! She was not a silly, senseless girl, but he was too handsome to be real, yet his wide chest rose and fell with each breath proving her most assuredly silly. “You’re not Philip,” she murmured again, suddenly hot and her tongue thick.
“I am not,” he agreed, surveying her with interest. He scrubbed a large hand over his face, a massive gold crest ring on his finger catching the candlelight and glinting as he moved.
“Who are you,” Amelia demanded, feeling foolish for the way he had affected her. While she did not know everyone in town, she had lived here all her life and knew most people or had heard about them. No man who filled out a kerseymere coat as exquisitely as this man did and stood four powerfully built inches taller than all other men she knew could avoid being the talk of the town. There were far too many single ladies here. Amelia set her hands on her hips as she felt her mother and Lord Worthington come up to stand behind her.
The stranger raised his brows at her question. “Who am I? Don’t you recognize me?” His mouth twitched with an almost smile.
Amelia furrowed her brow and shook her head. “No. Should I?”
He eyes raked over her from head to toe, traveling with a sort of insolence over the drab gray dirt-smudged gown she wore and lingering with an odd look of amusement on her hair. Amelia raised a hand to her head and grimaced. Her knot had come partially loose, and soft edges of hair poked out in every direction from the lump atop her head.
He smiled, and the way it lit his eyes to a brilliant green made her catch her breath. Offering a partial bow, he said, “I suppose Harthorne didn’t regale you with stories about me as he did me about you. I’m undecided whether I should be offended or grateful.”

From the desk of Samantha Grace:

I'm happily writing the third book in my Rival Rogues series, A Good Rogue is Hard to Find. It's predecessor, In Bed with a Rogue, will be released September 2, 2014 and it's available for pre-order! The third book in the series is about Eve Thorne, Baron Thorne's poor jilted sister, and the man who left her at the altar two years earlier, Benjamin Hillary. I hope you enjoy the sneak peek.

PS - I debated inserting a filler for my "XXX code", but I decided to leave it so you get a true peek at the process. One of my critique partners giggles every time she sees my triple X designation.  

Ben continued a slow circle of the brightly lit ballroom, stopping occasionally to study the couples as they sashayed past, their cheeks pink from exertion. After several moments, he was satisfied Lord Wellham wasn’t among the dancers, not that Ben was surprised. If his memory served, the earl favored gambling over gamboling.
Reaching a secluded corner near a dark alcove, he paused to check once more for his quarry before he sought out the card room. He didn’t want to overlook Wellham and miss his opportunity to speak with him after the trouble he’d gone through to gain access to the ball.
“What are you doing here?” a voice hissed. “You are not on the guest list.”
“Pardon?” Ben spun toward the speaker and came up short. His eyebrows veered toward each other. “How do you know?” he whispered back to the mass of green palm fronds. 
“Because I helped make the list.” The plant’s fronds parted, and Eve Thorne’s stern glare greeted him. What the devil was she doing?
Her frown deepened when he simply stared, at a loss for words. “Do you have a death wish, Mr. Hillary?”
The corners of his mouth twitched up. “Let me guess, you’ve been attacked by a man-eating plant. Are you in need of rescue, kitten?”
She growled softly and the fronds snapped back into place. Ben checked the surrounding area to be certain they hadn’t earned any unwanted attention, then peered around the massive greenery. Eve was wedged against the wall, her XXX (color) skirts crushed against the large pot. Her chest rose and fell in rapid movements, drawing his attention to the modest swell of her breasts peeking above her lacey neckline. A rosy glow infused her ivory skin, making the sprinkling of freckles across her cheeks almost unnoticeable.
God, he had missed her—her freckles, her pouty lips, her soulful brown eyes. He had been smitten from the moment he had spied her at Almack’s her first Season, and two years on a faraway continent had done nothing to lessen his ardor.  
“What are you doing back there, dearling, and shouldn’t you have a chaperone?”
She crossed her arms as if erecting a wall between them. “God only knows why, but I am trying to save your skin, Benjamin James Arran Hillary.”
Damnation. He had forgotten he’d been burdened with so many names, or that she had a habit of invoking every one when she was perturbed. His smile spread. Despite her pretense of indifference, she was worried for him. “Am I to conclude your skulking about means you still care?”

Giveaway!!! Julie is donating an ebook copy of What a Rogue Wants to one Lady Scribes commenter today. Just let us know in the comments that you are interested in be part of the drawing, and please don't forget your email so we can contact you if your name is chosen. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's Up, Wednesday?

This week's question…
Earth Day was yesterday. Have you made any energy efficient changes in your household? What were they? Maybe we can all get some good ideas!

I've done lots of small things like changing my light bulbs, unplugging electronics, etc. I also have one really big one. When my HVAC unit broke (dead, leaking carbon monoxide and thousands of dollars to fix), I shopped around for a month or so for ideas. Eventually I got a groundsource heat pump. It was expensive in the outset, but after tax credits turned out to be only a couple thousand more than replacing the HVAC with a newer version of what I'd had. And, since the super-efficient groundsource system saves me almost a thousand dollars a year in heating and cooling bills, I've made that money back quickly. The initial quote from Green Horizon (the company who installed the system) was a bit hard to swallow! The decision's not for everyone, but I'm glad I made it.
~Jennifer Lohmann 

My changes are also small. I switched to all energy-saving bulbs, and as I've replaced appliances (the washer, dryer, stove, and fridge all bit the dust last year) I've made sure they were Energy Star designated. I installed a couple of ceiling fans to help in the summer so the AC doesn't have to be turned as low. And it isn't household related, but I recycle cardboard and plastic--fortunately, my town has great curbside recycling pickup.
~Suzanne Johnson

I haven't made any changes, but I've been arguing against my husband getting a car--does that count? I haven't owned a car since I left the U.S. almost twelve years ago. We travel around town by bike (gotta love the Netherlands) or bus. But I fear it's a battle I'm losing--especially as our family grows and so does the amount of stuff we seem to cart around.
~Kat Latham

Ugh. I don't feel like we do enough. Right now I'm trying to get the kids to remember to turn off the lights. That will be a major accomplishment if it ever happens. We recycle religiously, but our town has a great recycling program that makes it easy. We did choose a low-flow toilet when we remodeled the bathroom, and we'll have energy efficient windows placed in the basement during our current remodel. And we've also had the thermostat down lower than normal to pay for our basement remodel. At some point I'd like to replace several outside doors to make them less drafty. I guess our washer and dryer are energy-efficient too. I forgot we replaced those a few years ago.
~Samantha Grace 

Congratulations to Carolyn Mccanna, winner of last week's drawing for a copy of The Heart of a Duke! Please watch your email for a message from Samantha arranging for you to receive your copy. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spotlight on Jerrica Knight-Catania

I am so excited to welcome a fellow Regency romance writer, the very talented Jerrica Knight-Catania to Lady Scribes where she's giving us a look at her recent release, "The Temptation of the Duke", Book 5 in her Wetherby Brides Series! Jerrica will be giving away a copy to one person who stops by and comments! (Winners are notified in the Comments section the following day!)

So allow me to present...the cover!

I give you the Blurb... 

Grace Clarke is no longer willing to accept the position of "poor relations." Her sister has married well and taken her under her wing, so with her new connections, it ought to be a breeze to find a wealthy, titled gentleman to help elevate her station in life. Of course, she never expects for him to find her. Especially not in such a compromising position. But once she gets over her humiliation, she discovers that the duke next door is far more than just a duke. He's a man that sets her heart--and other parts of her--aflame. 

Evan Gilford, Duke of Somerset, has spent the last fifteen years trying to avoid his destiny: marriage. But he can't ignore his duty anymore, not with his guilty conscience nagging at him all the bloody time and a betrothed waiting to become his duchess. So he returns to London, only to discover that he has a new and rather enchanting neighbor who soon makes him question where his loyalties lie: with his family or his heart.

And Excerpt! 
It was times like these Grace was grateful she wasn’t musically inclined. If she were, she imagined she’d be having a worse time than she was at this very moment. Goodness, but these poor girls were horrific musiciansif one could even call them that. According to the program, they were playing a piece by Haydn and Grace was certain the composer was turning circles in his grave. It sounded as if a bunch of barnyard animals had gotten into a row.
Chloe put a hand on top of Grace’s in an effort to still her fidgeting. Grace cast her sister a sidelong glance that said, If you had let me stay home, you wouldn’t have had to put up with me. Of course, Chloe couldn’t be bothered to look at her, so she probably didn’t pick up on the silent message, but still. They’d argued about this earlier in the day when Grace had begged to be allowed to stay home. Granted, it wasn’t like her, despite not being terribly fond of musicales. She normally didn’t like to miss an opportunity to meet an eligible gentleman, but ever since her walk in the garden with Evan, she couldn’t seem to think of anyone or anything else. He was forbidden, of course, but it didn’t stop her from daydreaming about him. Or pining for him. And it certainly didn’t stop that swirling in her belly that made her want to toss up her accounts.
The music came to a stop, and the audience applauded politely despite how dreadful it had been. Grace glanced down at her program again, praying it would say the concert was over, even though she knew very well they were nowhere near the end. When she looked back up, her gaze landed on the small group of people who had arrived late to the event. Her stomach plummeted, and her heart sped to a frighteningly dangerous speed. Heat infused her cheeks, and everywhere else for that matter. Why did her entire body feel aflame?
She snapped open her fan and began to wave it frantically in front of her face as the party, which included Evan and his betrothed, took their seats a few rows back.
Blast this heaviness in my chest! Was this what love felt like? Or was it merely infatuation? Goodness, if this was only infatuation, she was doomed if she ever fell truly in love. Perhaps this was why their society looked down upon love matches. What if everyone walked about with racing hearts and churning stomachs all the time? The city would be in a state of total chaos, wouldn’t it?
Should she dare a glance behind? Just to see where they were sitting. Surely no one would notice. She placed her fan in her lap and then rubbed her hands down her dress as the musicians started the next piece.
“Would you stop fidgeting, Grace,” Chloe whispered through clenched teeth.
Grace stilled her hands, though her whole body felt as if it were running a race. “Sorry,” she whispered back. And then she did it. She dared a backward glance, only to be met with Evan’s piercing blue gaze.
Good heavens! He was looking at her, blast him. And he had the audacity, sitting there next to his fiancée, to wink at her. But not just any wink. This one was accompanied by a wry smile that sent Grace into even more of a dither than she’d been in previously. What did it mean anyway? Was it a wink of friendship? Or was it more? Was he being flirtatious?
No, he wouldn’t dare. Not with his fiancée sitting beside him. Heavens, what kind of man would that make him?

About the Author...

Jerrica Knight-Catania knew from an early age that she was destined for romance. She would spend hours as a young girl sitting in a chair by an open window, listening to the rain, and dreaming of the day Prince Charming would burst in and declare his undying love for her. But it wasn't until she was 28-years-old, tired of her life in the theater, that she turned her focus toward writing Regency Romance novels. All her dreaming paid off, and she now gets to relive those romantic scenes she'd dreamt up as a child as she commits them to paper. She lives in sunny Palm Beach with her real life Prince Charming, their Princess-in-training and their aristocat, Dr. Snuggle.

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