Friday, September 27, 2013

CAUGHT IN THE CROSSHAIR


Caught in the Crosshair
by Barb Han
Romantic Suspense
Categories: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Self/Indie
Release Date: June 17, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count/Length: 60,000 words/244 pages

Description:
Lauren James had ignored the recent spate of calls from her brother. After all, he was a big player linked to a major cartel, and he’d been dead to her for nearly a decade. Then she receives the one call she can’t ignore—her brother’s been kidnapped and will be killed if she doesn’t bring money. No matter how far gone her brother is, Lauren can’t turn her back on him completely. Deep down she’s always wanted to save him. Now, she’s forced into action because he’ll die otherwise.

Ex-Special Forces sniper Jaden Dean owns a private security firm and after losing his older brother to gang violence, needs to take down as many scum bags as he can—single-handedly if need be. And he was the best. Until he trusted the wrong woman on his last assignment and ended up nearly dead in the street.

On a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in, Lauren and Jaden will need to work together to survive and find her brother. The cartel seems to be one step ahead, and Jaden’s operatives are being killed one-by-one. He will have to use all his specialized training and risk everything, including his heart, to outwit the deadly group and keep Lauren safe. Their magnetic attraction isn't helping matters... because even a slight distraction might just get them both killed.

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.

Excerpt:
An untraceable call. A hundred-fifty thousand dollar loan. An express ticket to a money launderer’s favorite drop spot. And an innocent woman caught in the middle.

And the dog really ate your homework, didn’t it, sweetheart?

Jaden Dean raked his fingers through jet-black hair, ignoring the icy chill running down his spine. This was supposed to be nothing like his last assignment, and yet the early warning signs screamed otherwise: a so-called innocent woman trapped in a sting by a family member. Experience had taught him there was no such thing as straightforward when it came to family ties and criminals.

A month ago, one of his best operatives had been killed in South America. A week later, Smith took a bullet. Jaden should be dead too. He ran his hand over the stubble on his chin. What the hell was happening? He’d spent the past couple of weeks recovering while trying to connect the dots. Something big was going down. 

He picked up Lauren James’s picture from the file of intel and studied it intently. Jogging shorts and a tightly-fitted tank revealed flawless ivory skin. Her curly mane of red hair was pulled back into a ponytail exposing her bare neck.

Her body? One look at her perfect, long runner’s legs said she’d picked the right sport. Her lean taut body was built for the track. To say she was attractive was a lot like saying a motorcycle had two wheels.

Under normal circumstances, she looked exactly like the kind of woman Jaden would want to get to know better. Except he felt another niggle of déjà vu along with a very real surge of attraction.

The flight attendant was working her way toward him on her third round to see if he needed anything, emphasis on the word anything, while flashing him another seductive little smile.

His athletic height and rugged good looks elicited more than a few second glances from women. His legendary charm proved immeasurable in getting information he needed from the opposite sex. He was ManTech’s best operative as well as its owner. In part, because he didn’t leave any loose threads. His best trait? Not being noticed when it served his purpose. It didn’t matter on this flight.

He fired off a wink and thanked her, leaving no question about her dismissal in his tone.

The rush of color to her face outlined her embarrassment at her failed attempt to strike up a conversation, as the captain’s voice sounded over the PA. Local time was ten after eleven. VC Bird International Airport was their final destination. They had an expected arrival time of eleven fifteen.

The attendant sauntered off with a calculated look back. It scarcely registered with Jaden. His thoughts were locked on the contents of the manila file folder sitting on his lap.

If Lauren James wasn’t mixed up with her brother, why had she just secured a sizable loan and dropped everything at a moment’s notice to run off to the Caribbean after receiving an untraceable phone call?

Jaden sighed sharply.

“Like hell, you’re not involved,” he said under his breath, tucking the folder beneath his arm and stretching long, lean legs after the four-and-a-half-hour flight from Dallas. The memory of his recent encounter with his buddy’s wife when he’d had to deliver the news that her husband had died on assignment rolled around in his thoughts. The anguish, the crying, the whole scene had nearly done him in. He did emotion about as well as he did family. In his line of work, there was room for neither. Smith mistakenly thought he could have it both ways. He left behind a heartbroken wife and two kids in diapers. Jaden’s shoulders tensed and his heart squeezed. It had been his responsibility to deliver the news. He tucked the picture back in the file and closed the folder of intel marked with Lauren’s name.

Available at:

About the Author:
Barb Han is the author of romance novels and romantic suspense. Her debut romantic thriller, GONE, was released January, 2013, and features a desperate woman who wakes in a mental institution determined to find the son she's told never existed.

Her novella, Seducing Avery, was released early this year, and has received much acclaim due to her unique storyline that features an Asian hero. Another Asian hero romance, The Billionaire Bargain, released early this summer exclusively for Kindle. The wide release is scheduled for late August. Her romantic suspense, Caught in the Crosshair, features a determined sister and an ex-military sniper on a tropical island with a hurricane brewing and dangerous men closing in. This story is now available exclusively for Kindle.

Barb is under contract with Harlequin Intrigue. Her first book featuring a rancher from North Texas will be published in early 2014.

Barb belongs to Romance Writers of America, DARA, KOD, and NTRWA where she volunteers as often as she can. She graduated from The University of North Texas with a bachelor degree in journalism.

She lives in North Texas with her own Asian-hero husband, has three beautiful children, a spunky Golden Retriever/Standard Poodle mix, and too many books in her 'to read' pile. In her down time, she plays video games and spends much of her time on or around a basketball court. She's passionate about travel, and many of the places she visits end up in her books.

Connect with Barb Han
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/barbhan/

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
Prize is 3 eBook copies (1 each to 3 winners) of “Caught in the Crosshair”. Contest is tour-wide, open internationally and ends Sept. 28. Must be 18 years of age of older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LINK TO SCHEDULE OF PARTICIPATING TOUR BLOGS:
http://www.cblspromotions.com/2013/09/blogbarrage-caught-in-crosshair-by-barb.html

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

WICKED PLEASURES

Sexy Wolf
by Rhonda Lee Carver

One commenter will receive a free e-book copy of Wicked Pleasures.

Why are wolves the subject of so many sexy romances? What is it about them that draws a woman in? Maybe the real question is, what makes it sexy for a writer to write about wolf romance? I’m far from the seasoned shapeshifter writer, but after writing one wolf romance, Wicked Pleasures, and working on Book 2 of the Wicked Wolves series, I’m finding that I love it. Now, when I say wolf, please erase the image of a furry, gray-haired, long-toothed, dog-like specimen. Insert an image of a brawny-shouldered, long-haired, slender-hipped man who has the ability to shift into a wolf. Still don’t see the appeal? Hate to say it folks, but if you don’t find it sexy, you might be the minority. I’m going to tiptoe out on a limb here and say I know what the appeal is. Let’s face it, we like the inconceivable.  We enjoy having the deep recesses of our brain tickled with the unimaginable.  And come on, have you ever imagined what it must be liked sleeping with a wolf. Okay…okay…stop there. I’m not talking beastiality (excuse me while I choke on my vomit). My characters sleep together in human form…ONLY!

How about checking out my newest release, Wicked Pleasures, and seeing if erotic paranormal is for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Pleasures-Wolves-ebook/dp/B00F1JX2X2/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_imgnr_1


Blurb:
He’s her captor, but the passion he ignites within her is beyond anything she’s ever imagined…

When Bronte Sheridan is kidnapped and taken to an isolated house in the Colorado woods, she is determined to free herself from the wolf, Roark, who claims he is protecting her. As the story unfolds, Bronte is stunned to learn there is truth to his story. And even more shocked to discover the explosive sexual chemistry between them.

Roark needs Bronte for more than sex. She holds the key to saving his family. But what happens when she discovers the true nature of the evil spell that has loomed over the pack for a century? Human and wolf aren’t meant to mix, but the hot sex factor is off-the-charts. Can either of them walk away from the magnetism, and history, that draws them together? Can Bronte ever truly love a half-wolf?

Excerpt:
Disappointment twisted its way through his chest. A lot rested on this strange woman sitting before him. He realized she had no clue of her power, and proving it to her would take time. His heritage couldn’t stop with him and he’d do almost anything to prevent that from happening. Others counted on him as their leader and letting them down wasn’t an option, even if that meant he’d suffer the consequences.
The silence became overbearing and he growled in irritation.

“I’ll remove the mask,” he whispered and waited for a response, but nothing came.

He moved in and slowly lifted the cover from her head as if he opened the door to a panther’s cage. A large mass of black curls rolled onto her shoulders and down her back. Her face lowered and the hair blanketed her features.  His fingers itched to touch the length and he started to reach to satisfy his need but caught himself. He moaned deep in his throat as he forced the desire away and replaced it with anger, which numbed any other feeling.  He’d gotten used to putting up walls of fury.

Frustration spiraled through him like barbed wire.  “Lift your head, woman.”

Nothing. He didn’t have the time for this. He grabbed her chin and lifted. 

She clamped her teeth down on his thumb and he jerked his arm back, causing her to release her grip. He looked down at the teeth marks and the blood oozing from his skin. “Good try, but I’ve been bitten harder by a flea.” He laughed. At least he’d gotten a reaction from her.

Caught up in the moment, he hadn’t expected her next move. She brought her knee up and planted it into his crotch. Humor fled as he fell to his knees, a sickening pain flooded him and bile rose into his throat. He coughed and sputtered as his vision blurred. “Why does every woman have to go for the balls?” he said through tight lips. He heard rustling and looked up as the woman darted from the chair.  “Fuck!”

Pushing past the throbbing ache between his legs, he reached out and grabbed her ankle, sending her falling face first onto the thick rug. While he had her foot trapped in his grasp, she brought the other up and kicked him hard on the chin. He heard something snap in his jaw but it was nothing compared to the misery he felt in his balls.

Grabbing the other leg, he held her as she squirmed like a fish on land.  “We can do this all night,” he said. “Do you really believe you can get away?”

“Let me go!” She continued to struggle against his grip.

Shaking his head, he waited until she finally quit moving, and then loosened his grip on both of her legs. “One thing I know, as feisty as you are, I’m much stronger, but I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Leave me alone!” Her scream resonated off the walls and pounded through his skull. She jerked and whipped around, attempting to free herself from him again. Her fist came up and connected with his nose and he squinted. He felt wetness and wiped his face across his shoulder, seeing a trace of crimson.


“That’s enough blood for one night!” He crawled on top of her, pinning her under his two- hundred-twenty pound frame, securing her wrists high above her head while his body constricted her movement. She still thrashed underneath him although it was unproductive. “Give up,” he whispered next to her ear. 


“Screw you.” Her lips trembled.

He stared down at her, the pain in his groin forgotten as the warmth of their bodies pressed together stirred other sensations. His sore cock twitched and attempted to rise. He almost found it embarrassing that she had that much control over his nether region.  

With each rapid breath she took, her firm breasts pushed against his chest, sending waves of longing through him. Her long hair was scattered across the floor and tendrils rested on her face. He blew the wisps away. He wouldn’t have been more stunned if someone had punched him in the stomach. Her eyes…they were an amazing deep green, just as he’d dreamt night after night. They reminded him of cat eyes, two glimmering mirrors that could see through a person and into their soul.

Taking a deep breath, he refused to let her shake him—not in his heart, his mind, or anywhere else. He had a slip up in his barrier, but he’d make sure he kept his walls up.


“Who are you and what do you want with me?”  Her voice was low and hoarse, her eyes narrowed.

Once he was certain that his voice worked, he said, “You should know, but your memory fails you.”

Confusion took the place of annoyance in her expression. “I’ve never met you. Tell me why I’m here? Why did those men bring me?” she said in between filling her lungs with air.

Bitter veracity rose in his chest.  “How sweet it must be to live each day without knowledge of the pain you’ve caused. And yet, I’m responsible for watching over you.”

“I have no clue what you’re saying. You must have the wrong person. Now let me go!” Mist appeared in her eyes.

“Not only do I have the right person, but it’s time for you to correct what you wronged.”


“You’re insane. You are out of touch with reality.” Her lips clenched.


“Insanity would be a welcome break from this life of torment,” he said.


“Do you want money? I don’t have a lot,” she said.


“Money is useless to me. You will give me a child.”


Her eyes widened and her mouth parted. “Are you crazy? You’d better let me go. My fiancé will have the entire city looking for me.” Her words came out in spurts. “If you don’t let me go, you’re going to regret it. I promise you.”


“Unfortunately, your fiancé isn’t expecting you. I’m sure he thinks you’re on a flight to paradise.”


“How did you know?” she asked.


“It’s taken months to see this through.” He shifted his hips to release the strain in his cock. The zipper in his pants didn’t stretch far enough.


“You…you jackass!” She tried pulling her hands away from his hold. “You can’t keep me against my will. How dare you!” 


His nostrils filled with her scent. “Stop fighting. We’re not strangers.”


“I’ve never seen you before in my life. You’re a lunatic!”


“But I know you.” He smiled. “You can refuse me all you want, sweetheart, but until you deliver me what I request, no one will see you again. The sooner you understand those words, the better for the both of us. I’m only heartless if the need arises.”


Her eyes glistened like emeralds. He thought she’d cry but she didn’t—he guessed she had too much pride. “I’d rather die than give in to whatever you’re asking,” she spat. Determination cocked her chin.  “You and your hooligans can go to hell!”


“Well—” Roark slid the tips of his finger along her jaw line and down the smooth curve of her throat. He stopped at her collarbone and splayed his palm over her chest. “—your wish came true long ago.” A tear slid from the corners of her eyes and moistened her pale skin.


“You’ll have to kill me,” she whispered.


“Too bad I need you alive.”


“Then go ahead! Do what you need to do. I’m not afraid of you!”


She lied—he knew she was frightened. He could smell her fear and it burned the back of his throat. He loosened his hold but remained on top of her. Why couldn’t this be easy? “Can we do this a way that’s constructive?  I’m telling you that you’ll be here for a while. Believe it or not, it’s by your spiteful hand that you’re here now. You could even say that I’m saving your life.”


“If it’s by my hand that I’m here, then I choose to leave.”


“Not a possibility, at least not until you give birth.”


“And that’s not a possibility,” she said through clenched teeth. “I’m not even pregnant!”


“First things first.” He lowered his gaze and saw that her hand was bleeding worse. “You’re soiling my expensive rug.”



More Rhonda Lee Carver:


Double Dare  www.lyricalpress.com
Diamond in a Rose  www.thewildrosepress.com
Second Chance Cowboy  www.lyricalpress.com
Delaney's Sunrise    www.lyricalpress.com
Castle's Fortress     www.lyricalpress.com
Dreaming Ivy    www.lyricalpress.com

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

THE WEEKEND PROPOSITION

Tuesday Tantalizers is happy to welcome back Ella Jade, with her new release The Weekend PropositionElla, please tell us about your new book.

I’m thrilled to announce the release of my latest book The Weekend Proposition. Thanks so much for helping me celebrate. Please check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post.

One weekend—no strings, no expectations, and no commitments. On Sunday afternoon it all ends, or does it?
No-nonsense businessman Spencer Cannon has a dilemma. He’s headed to Connecticut for the weekend to attend his cousin’s elaborate wedding. His whole family will be there in addition to his obsessed ex-girlfriend Ava. According to Spencer’s brother, Ava has been telling her friends she’s planning a magical reunion with her favorite ex-boyfriend. Spencer’s not in the mood to deal with her, but he can’t miss the wedding. He needs a plan.

Struggling Brooklyn waitress and aspiring graphic designer Dakota Vercelli has fallen on hard times. College debts, pending eviction, and her sick mother are taking a toll on her. A chance encounter with Mr. Cannon, CEO of Cannon and Carrington Advertising, leads to a proposition that may be just the thing to solve both of their problems. Spencer’s offer—spend four days with him during the wedding festivities and keep his ex off his trail. In return, he’ll compensate her generously for her time. He needs a weekend girlfriend, and Dakota needs the cash.

It was just supposed to be a business deal, but after sharing a room, kissing under the stars, and attending a wedding, their attraction is undeniable. Will the illusion end when the weekend is over or is the proposition just the beginning?

Content Warning: contains mature language and graphic sexual content

Ella, where can we buy The Weekend Proposition?

How about an excerpt?
“I have a proposition for you.”

“A proposition?” What could he possibly have to offer her?

“I have to attend my cousin’s wedding this weekend. Actually, I have to leave tomorrow afternoon. I don’t want to go alone for reasons I don’t wish to discuss right now. I need someone to accompany me. I’m offering that to you.”

“And you think I’m ‘to the point’?”

He smiled but didn’t say anything. She couldn’t stand the silence. She wanted to figure out his game. There had to be some sort of catch.

“You want me to go to a wedding with you?”

“It’s in Connecticut. I would require your services until Sunday afternoon. All of your expenses would be paid, including a wardrobe which would be yours to keep after the weekend.”

“You need a date?”

“I would need you to appear as my girlfriend.”

“Is this a joke?”

“I wouldn’t joke about something like this. I’ve thought the entire thing through.”
“A man who looks like you should have no problem finding a real girlfriend to buy clothes for and flaunt in front of his family.” She thought for a moment. “Unless there’s something wrong with you.”
“There’s nothing wrong with me.” He raised his voice a bit. “I had planned on attending alone but circumstances have changed. I’m in a bind and from what I gather, you are too.”

Her instincts screamed to run in the opposite direction. She’d never been the type to fall for a scam. “I’m not interested in—”

“I’ll pay you two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for your time.”

“What?” Apparently a side of crazy came with those good looks.

“One hundred and twenty-five thousand today, if you agree.” He pulled out a check from the inside pocket of the jacket he had draped on the back of the chair. He slipped the mint green paper across the table. “You’ll get the rest on Sunday afternoon.”

“That’s fifty grand a day.” She studied the check. It would take her years to make that kind of money working these shit-end jobs.

“I’m aware.” He nodded as if the money meant nothing. “I’m asking for your time, a commodity I believe should be well compensated.”

Too good to be true.

“Do you make it a habit of paying women to be your girlfriend?”

“Pretend girlfriend,” he reminded her. “You would be the first.”

“Why me?”

“Does it matter?”

“What exactly do you expect me to do for that money?”

“I told you.” He narrowed his eyes. “I need a date for a long weekend. Everyone needs to think we’re a couple.”

“You’re willing to pay me to go away with you for four days. I’m supposed to take your word we’re going to a wedding in Connecticut? How do I know you won’t kidnap me and want to do all sorts of kinky stuff to me? You could be some sex-obsessed lunatic.”

“Kinky stuff?”

“Yeah, you know, like bondage and blindfolds.”

“Do you like that sort of thing?” He tried to conceal his smirk.

Tell us a bit about Ella Jade, please.

Ella Jade has been writing for as long as she can remember. As a child, she often had a notebook and pen with her, and now as an adult, the laptop is never far. The plots and dialogue have always played out in her head, but she never knew what to do with them. That all changed when she discovered the eBook industry. She started penning novels at a rapid pace and now she can't be stopped.

Ella resides in New Jersey with her husband and two young boys. When she's not chasing after her kids, she's busy writing, attending PTO meetings, kickboxing, and scrapbooking. She hopes you'll get lost in her words.


Ella, where can we find more about you?
You can find Ella here…

GIVEAWAY

Please enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a coffee mug with The Weekend Proposition cover on it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

UPON YOUR RETURN

Tuesday Tantalizers is pleased to welcome Marie Lavender, interviewing her character Lina Devereux, the aunt of Fara Bellamont from her historical romance, Upon Your Return. Some Like it Hotter is all yours, Marie!

How do you feel about being a character in a book?
I haven’t thought much about it.  I simply live my life.  When Marie approached us about writing the book, I was astonished.  I could not image what would make her want to write about my family.  But, I believe the book turned out well.

Who is the most interesting secondary character you’ve met and why?
Eric Caron, Captain Hill’s valet, has been very kind, very generous to my family.  He has certainly gone beyond the bounds of his station, and he has never asked for anything in return.  He is a good man and I am proud to be acquainted with him.

If you could change one thing that the author wrote about your life, what would it be?
I always wanted to go on adventures.  I wish there was more embellishment about my life sometimes in the book.  But, then I realize that I would change nothing.  I am where God placed me.  I had certain experiences in my life, actually a bit of adventure in a way, and I was able to tell the author all of that.  She has promised to include some of those experiences in the third book.  I am happy that my story will finally be told. 

What’s your favorite pastime?
Knitting.

Who is your favorite relative and why?
My niece, Fara.  She has more courage than I could ever hope to have.  I wish I could throw off the reins of society as she has done now and then.  I know that has also made her life more difficult, but I respect her need for it.

Do you have any pets?  If not, which pet would you choose to own if you could?
I do not have a pet.  I might choose a small dog, perhaps a Pomeranian.

If you could change one thing about another character in the book, who and what would it be?
I wish Captain Hill could contain his desire for my niece.  I certainly respect the man, but it could become a problem.

What makes you happiest?
I love having a family to be with.

What annoys you the most?
I do not take it well when people spread rumors, especially about anyone I love.

Some Like It Hotter: Back to Marie, tell us a bit about Upon Your Return.


Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life. But, Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position. Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms. Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society…


How about an excerpt?
She sipped a little wine as she glanced around the room. Couples danced once more, and the music was perfect for the usual waltz. As her gaze wandered, one figure caught her eye.

The woman looked splendid in a gown of crimson velvet, which showed off her bosom well. She was much older than Fara, yet still beautiful. Seated across the room, she had no companions at her side, but her appearance and obvious status certainly warranted otherwise. Her hair was brown and her eyes were blue. Fara glanced over at Michel de Bellamont, who leisurely sipped wine. He stared at the woman with a look of disdain. “Oncle?”

He turned to his niece. “Oui?”

“Do you know that woman? What is her name?”

“Tis' Madame Devereux, Fara. She has been a widow since you were a child…”

Mockery laced his tone. Fara lifted a brow. “Should I recognize her?”

“No, I do not see why you should. You may have seen her when you were much younger, but that was too long ago.”

She frowned. “Do you know her, oncle?”

“I knew her once. It's been awhile.”

“But…” The look he shot in her direction warned Fara she risked his wrath by pursuing this curiosity. She closed her mouth and looked away. For a few moments, she was content to watch the couples on the floor. Then she grew restless and wondered what her potential suitors were so afraid of, they would not approach and ask her to dance.

“Mademoiselle, you are indeed the picture of innocence and beauty this night.”

Fara looked up into the handsome features of Grant Hill. He was dressed in somber black, yet still contrived to look better than the other gents in the room. She flushed at his compliment, but did not look away. 

“Merci, Capitaine,” she said softly.

“It would be a great honor, Monsieur, if you would allow me a dance with your niece,” he asked her uncle while keeping his gaze fixed on her.

She looked at her uncle, who was obviously weighing the consequences of the decision in his intelligent mind. 
“Twill' be all right, oncle. I will not make a scene of it.”

He nodded grimly. “Very well, Capitaine Hill. I expect Fara back at my side in one piece.”

“Oui, Monsieur,” he replied as he pulled Fara to her feet and led her to the floor. Grant led her through the steps as they danced and occasionally glanced over at her uncle, whose gaze bore into them as though he feared Grant might steal her away at any moment. “Is he concerned about me or merely the population of gents requesting your company at this ball?” he quipped softly.

She sighed. “He is not an easy man, Capitaine--”

“Grant,” he corrected.

“Grant…I do not understand him. He has not allowed me one dance tonight except for this--”

“No one else has asked, Mademoiselle,” he reminded her.

Her eyes flew to his face and she wondered just how long he'd been observing her before he'd sauntered over.

Marie, please tell us where we can buy Upon Your Return.

And give us a little information about yourself.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.

At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child's play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted - to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.

Since then, Marie has published sixteen books. Marie Lavender's real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. Upon Your Return is her first historical romance novel. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:
Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return
Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom
Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life
Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Where can we find out more about Marie Lavender?




Tuesday, September 3, 2013

LADY SCARFACE

Tuesday Tantalizers is pleased to welcome Divine Ortiz, an author with an interesting background.  Welcome.  Will you share a little bit about yourself? My name is Divine Ortiz and I am a 45 year old Puerto Rican man born in The Bronx, NY.  Bronx River Projects to be exact. Even though I didn't come from a "bad home", I still took to the streets like a fish to water. We left NY in my early teens (Father was in the military) and I ended up in FT Bragg, Fayetteville, NC. By the time I was 19, I was back in NY and locked up on New York's notorious Riker's Island. 3 days after my release from Riker's, I ended up in the NC DOC with a 13 year sentence. Once released from the NC prison system, the streets called me again, but hustling and drug dealing just weren't enough, and I ended up in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for Armed Bank Robbery. It was during my third time in the Federal system that I decided that I had had enough. Five prison sentences was all the time that I had in me to give, but I knew that if I wanted to change the pattern that my life had followed up to that point that I had to change ME. So when I was incarcerated in 2007 with 70 months for the crime of Possession of Counterfeit Monetary Funds, I decided to make the necessary changes. I always knew that I could write and after reading the same old recycled urban fiction novels over and over again, I told myself that I could do better. So I started writing. The first novel that I wrote was titled Treacherous Times. It was good. I passed it around and got nothing but praise. I didn't stop there. My second book, Lady Scarface, which became the first book I had published was an instant hit among my fellow inmates. I didn't stop there. When I was finally released in 2012, I had written 15 books and began at least 6 more.

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)? I do read, though I haven’t read a book in a while. When I do sit down with a book, I look for a good James Patterson or Jeffery Deaver novel.

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like? I just like to be sitting comfortable with my dictionary and thesaurus at my fingertips.

What is your favorite writing tool? Nothing beats a good pen!

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream? I didn’t really have those kinds of dreams  growing up. Never really gave it much thought.

What were you like as a kid? Nerd? Cheerleader type? I was the kid that other parents didn’t want their kid to play with. I was the one who was always getting suspended and expelled for fighting.

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If you’ve never been, which one would you like to visit and why? I have never been to any theme park. The largest thing I have ever been to are county fairs and things of that nature. I have never been on a rollercoaster and I would like to go on the biggest rollercoaster in the world.

Is there a secret you’d like to let readers know about you? One that isn't in the book perhaps? I have been incarcerated five times. Once in NY, once in NC, and three times in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Tell us what you’re reading at the moment and what you think of it. Does your favorite genre influence your writing? I am actually about to start reading the TYCE series by Shareef Jaudon. I figured that since Shareef is my publisher, and since him and I are kicking around the idea of a collaboration in the future, I should know how he writes.

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share? “Fuck it”. Oh wait, that isn’t really a quote. 

Who are your mentors or inspirations? My father has been a mentor of sorts for me, but he has definite been an inspiration in my life. Him, my mother, and my wife. The three of them inspire me to be the best that I can be.

Tell us about the journey that led you to write your bookI have always known that I had exceptional  writing skills, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I realized that I could write on the book level.  I was incarcerated in a federal prison and as one of my hustles I would write erotic letters for other inmates to send to their wives, girlfriends, etc.  Well, one day I was approached by two brothers on the yard. They said that they were writers and they had heard that I could write. One of them asked me to take a look at an outline he had written and asked me if I thought I could do something with it. The next day I met them on the yard and I had produced a 25 page beginning to a book. The brother liked it so much that he told me to keep it. When I was released soon after that, I took those 25 pages with me. It wasn’t until 2008, during my last incarceration that I started to really write. I sent for those pages and began writing. Those pages became my first novel---an urban fiction novel titled Treacherous Times. Not yet released by the way.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream? I don’t “dream” about my stories, but I do envision the scenes that I want to write about. I would lay in bed and try and plan out the next scene with the intentions of writing that scene the next day, though they don’t always come out the way I envision them.

What gave you the idea to write your book? And where to set it? I just wanted to write something different. Give the readers a new storyline for a change. I set Lady Scarface in New York and Atlanta because I know those cities. I was born in The Bronx, NYC and I have lived in Atlanta as well.

What inspired you to write about the theme? Again, just to bring a new look to the urban fiction genre.

Please tell us more about your current release. Lady Scarface was the second book that I wrote but the first published.  I was originally signed to a very nice publishing deal in 2009 with one of the most well known urban lit publishers in the game, but that entire deal turned out to be an illusion and it left me very leary of dealing with publishers. As a result, all of my books just sat in boxes in my home collecting dust. Lady Scarface went through three different edits and was typed and ready for submission, but I didn’t trust anyone enough to send it to. Then one day I was online and I saw that Shareef Jaudon was running a contest. He posted that he was having a contest and accepting manuscripts from unknown authors. He stated that he was looking for an author to publish. I spoke to Shareef, then I researched who he was. I eventually sent him my manuscript. A few days later he called me. He said that he doesn’t have to read the rest of my book to know that he doesn’t have to read anymore manuscripts. A contract was drawn out and I signed with Shareef’s publishing company---Write Now Books Publishing. Lady Scarface was released on August 1st, and since its release it has reached the number one spot on Amazon’s Hot New Release list as well as the number three spot on Amazon’s Best Sellers list (both in the Urban Fiction genre).

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I like to write with some slow music playing and I like to hand write my books in pen.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding? The most challenging thing I face when I write is trying to figure out what I am going to name a character and also what kind of car I want them to drive. The most rewarding is watching my characters come to life.

 How much editing do you do? And when and how do you know that the manuscript is ready? Since Lady Scarface is the only book I have had published, I can only use that book as an answer. I went through three of my own edits with LS, but it went through two more before it was ready to publish. 

What’s your favorite part of this writing process? The idea? The structuring/outlining? The writing? The finding a publisher or self-publishing? The marketing? My favorite part of the whole writing process is seeing the reaction of anyone who has read my books.

How do you develop your characters? 
I actually don’t develop them---they develop themselves.

How do you go about the writing process? Are you a strict outliner, a seat-of-the-pantser, or somewhere in-between? I do indeed outline, scene by scene, but once I put pen to paper the outline starts to fade away and the story goes in the direction it wants to.

What you need your surroundings to be like when you are writing? Are your needs different to write than to edit? I need nothing around me except some mellow, quiet storm type music and something to drink. Juice or water is what I like. 

Tell us about the story behind your book cover. There is no real story to tell. We bought the photo, and about seven others from a company that sells stock photos. She was the one that fit the description of Lady Scarface.

What steps have you taken to marketing your book? I am constantly online promoting my book. I have also hired a publicist to market and promote Lady Scarface. Social media has been my primary tool to get the word out there. I have also done several interviews and have several more coming up.

What book on the market does yours compare to? How is your book different? None at all that I know of.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why? I created the character of Tiana Brantz, Lady Scarface, with Stacy Dash in mind, so I would like to see her play that part when Lady Scarface becomes a movie. If not her, then Sanaa Lathan.

Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.

Divinity was in line at a Chinese restaurant on 161st street, up the block from Yankee Stadium. Mecca was
waiting in the car, which was parked right in front so she could keep an eye on Divinity. Mecca was very protective over her younger cousin. She knew that Divinity was young and sometimes a bit immature. It didn’t help any that she was fine as hell and bowlegged, which always attracted plenty of attention. It didn’t matter though because she loved Divinity and would never let anything happen to her. While Divinity was waiting on her food, an older Puerto Rican walked in. After placing his order, he looked over at Divinity and decided to get his mack on.

“What’s up mami?”

He said as he took his food ticket and leaned on the counter, undressing Divinity with his wolfish eyes.

“Do I look like your fuckin’ mami nigga?” Divinity said as she rolled her eyes at him.

 “Damn, it’s like that?”

“It’s like what?” Divinity spat as she turned back around to face him. “Why the fuck are you still talking to me.  Muthafucka, you know me or something?” 

She turned to walk away from the counter but they called her number so she picked her food up. However just as she took her food from the counter, he reached out and lifted her skirt to peek at her ass.

“You aint all that anyway Puta! Take your stank ass on.”

No he didn’t, Divinity thought to herself furiously as he paused for a second, just briefly enough to flash him a quick smile before she headed out the door towards the car. Mecca had seen the exchange and saw the attitude on Divinity’s face.

“What was up with dude in there? You alright cuz?” She asked as Divinity got in the car and sat the food on the floorboard in the back.

 “Yo, I’m about to shoot that nigga. What car he pull up in?”

“The grey Cutlass over there.”

 She pointed to a shabby gray Cutlass Supreme parked at the end of the row of cars. It was empty.

“Alright look, when he gets in his car I'ma head over there real quick. As soon as I get in his car, start the car and gimme 30 seconds before you pull over there.”

 “You want me to roll with you?”  Mecca asked her.

 “If you roll wit’ me who’s gonna drive the car, duh. Just chill and let me do this. Nigga put his hands on me and tried to diss me. Yo, there he go.”

 As he came out of the Chinese spot, Divinity reached in the sac of food and took out a smaller bag of shrimp rolls. She dumped the rolls into the bigger bag and put her baby .380 automatic inside. She gripped the gun and got out of the car. She went around to the passenger side of the Cutlass and knocked on the window, showing off her dimples as she flashed a seductively sexy smile. When he saw her he smiled back and hit the button to let the window down.

“What’s up ma?”

 “Nothin’. Let me holla at you so I can apologize the right way papi.”

“Ok, see that’s what I’m talking about. Get in mami.”

And with another push of a button the passenger door unlocked.  Divinity opened the door and slid into the car.

 “Whatchu wanna holla at a player ab...”

 Before he got a chance to lay his game on too thick, Princess Divinity pulled her .380 from the small bag it was in and pushed it into his groin.

 “Whoa shorty, what’s up with that! Yo, I was just fuckin’ around in there! Be careful with that shit!”

 “What’s up now, Puta? Take that fuckin’ chain off and empty your pockets on the dash!” He did as he was told, careful not to bump Divinity’s hand so that no accidents would happen.

“It aint got to be like this shorty.”

“Shut the fuck up wit’ yo stank ass.”

 Divinity scooped up all of his jewelry and money from the dashboard, pushed the gun hard into the Puerto Rican brother’s balls and pulled the trigger twice.

“You aint all that!” She said.

 She got out of the car and jumped right into the bowling ball green Acura Integra that was waiting for her.

“Let’s go girl before the food gets cold. I’m starving like hell.”

Tell us about Lady Scarface and where it's available.
 NOOK: 
AMAZON:

Can we look forward to reading about you again anytime soon? Yes. Lady Scarface II is due out on October 1st ,  and I am about to release two erotica projects.

Where can readers find you on the web?
On Facebook: Author Divine Ortiz.
Twitter @AuthorDivineO


Divine, thank you for being here on Some Like It Hotter for such wide-ranging and interesting interview! Readers, as always, happy hot and sexy reading.