Author Archives: Katie Reus

Guest Author Kaylea Cross

Please welcome guest author Kaylea Cross! She writes fast-paced, uber sexy military romance and now her first paranormal romance is close to releasing (Darkest Caress, 4/23/2012). She’s a very dear friend of mine and an incredibly talented writer and I’m thrilled she’s here today! So without further rambling from me…here’s Kaylea!

The Setting That Left a Mark

Normally I write military romantic suspense, but after one particular trip I took a couple years ago, I decided to write something different. Way different. And all because the settings I’d seen were too awesome to pass up.

It’s a long story, but even though I hate flying, somehow in the fall of 2009 I wound up in the Baltic States with my father, stepmother and favorite cousin, Mike. He’s really the reason I went on the trip in the first place, leaving my hubby and young children for three weeks. The fact that I actually gave in speaks volumes about just how much I love the guy.

On one particular leg of this trip we were in Lithuania, visiting various spots with our suddenly enthusiastic tour guide, Jurate (the J is pronounced like a Y, and her name means “mermaid” in Lithuanian), who is from the capital city of Vilnius. We’d already been with her over a week in Latvia and Estonia, but I’m telling you the moment we crossed the border into Lithuania, the woman suddenly lit up.

One early October day we drove out to a Catholic shrine dating back to the 19th Century, called the Hill of Crosses.

The sky was clear and blue…except for the roiling mass of black clouds closing in from the south as we approached the shrine. And I do mean black. The approaching storm looked like something you’d expect to see right before a tornado hits. That should have been our first clue to turn around, but no, we carried on and climbed out of the vehicles to visit the shrine, which is smothered in crosses and crucifixes of every shape and size.

No sooner had we reached the edge of the hill than the heavens opened up. It felt like the Big Guy Up There had turned on a faucet all of a sudden. Buckets of rain poured down, and the wind picked up suddenly, blowing so hard we could barely stay on our feet. Hail began to pelt us, raining down from the boiling clouds like stinging bullets. We all huddled together, leaning into the wind to stay upright as the icy pellets pelted our faces and hands. Mike reached out blindly to grab the closest thing to him—a six foot tall cross, and hung on for dear life while we all laughed hysterically at the situation. We withstood the storm for a few more minutes, then abandoned Juarate, who was bravely still trying to give us the grand tour, turned and ran back to the vehicles at a dead sprint while the wind shoved at our backs. My stepmom fell headlong into a gigantic puddle lake that had formed on the sidewalk. Jurate kept shouting at us, trying to call us back. As a staunch Catholic, this was a sacred spot to her and she’d been waiting for almost ten days to show it to us. We all kept running.

By the time we got to the vehicles and piled into them, we were soaked through. It looked like we’d dived headfirst into a swimming pool fully clothed, we were that wet. And we still had another four hours of driving to reach the town where we were staying the night. It was a long, cold, clammy ride, with torrential rain, wind and flashes of lightning that slowed us to a crawl along many sections of the highway.

This is the stuff of adventures, people. And as someone that doesn’t travel much, it certainly left an impression on me.

The next morning we found out it hadn’t been just a storm—it was an anticyclone that felled trees and power lines, killing half a dozen people in the immediate area.

O_o

Was it mere coincidence that the storm hit the very instant we set foot onto sacred soil? No way. I still think it’s because my father is a non-believer and my cousin and I were never baptized. Someone Up There was ticked at us.

It was the very next day while visiting the picturesque Curonian Spit and the seaside village of Nida that I learned about the folklore which ultimately gave rise to Darkest Caress. But you’d better believe I’m going to find a way to include the Hill of Crosses and the anticyclone in the next book! I included a note about it to cousin Mike in the dedication.

Has a book’s setting ever made such an impression that it’s always stayed with you? For a chance to win a digital copy of Darkest Caress, please leave me a comment.

Two-hundred-year-old Daegan Blackwell is one of the last remaining Empowered, an ancient magical race. Daegan’s duty is to lead and protect his remaining Brethren in the coming war foretold by prophecy. The last thing he expects is to meet the one woman who will either save or destroy him—his destined mate.

Fiercely independent Realtor Olivia Farrell believes darkly handsome Daegan is simply a prospective client. Until she’s attacked by a man with a strange aura—and Daegan fights him off, taking away her pain with just his touch. At first, Olivia refuses to believe she’s part of a magical race, yet mounting evidence and her powerful chemistry with Daegan are too strong to deny.

But as Daegan’s partner, Olivia becomes a target in the battle between good and evil that threatens her life, as well as the very existence of the Empowered. And the only one who can save her is the man claiming to be her destiny…

Happy reading!

Kaylea Cross is an award winning author of edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense and hot paranormals. A Registered Massage Therapist, Kaylea is an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, bellydancer and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband. You can find her on Twitter, her blog, Goodreads, and Facebook.

New Release + Other Stuff

My newest paranormal novella, Protector’s Mate, is officially available from Harlequin Nocturne Cravings this month! I hope you don’t mind a little straight promo right now, but I’d love to share what it’s about:

Protector’s Mate

After two years in a war zone, werewolf Felicia Serna has finally returned to find another pack has taken over her territory…and the new second-in-command is the very man who haunts her fantasies.

Alaric has wanted Felicia from the moment he laid eyes on her, and now he’s ready to claim her. When a threatening shifter begins stalking them, he’s determined to protect her…even if it means putting his seduction on hold. But even in the heat of danger, their red-hot passion cannot be denied.

Available as an ebook from all major digital retailers including Harlequin, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books on Board.

If you decide to check it out, I hope you enjoy it!

Now onto something less awesome… Sadly I’m leaving the Darker Temptations blog. With contractual obligations and a little one who is increasingly taking up more time with his new mobility (which I love!) I’m being stretched too thin and have to take a step back from a few things so I can focus on writing. I’ll still be very active on Facebook and twitter so look for me there! It’s been fun blogging with such lovely ladies and while I’m sad to be saying goodbye to the blog, I know I’ll still be seeing all of you around! I have a fabulous guest author visiting on 4/17 so that will be my last official day.

Guest Author Wynter Daniels

Please welcome guest author Wynter Daniels! Not only is she a talented author, she’s a dear friend and I’m so happy to have her here today!

First of all, big thanks to my friend Katie for inviting me to Darker Temptations today! I’ll be giving away a copy of my brand new release, Dear Annie to three commenters.

What do you think of advice columns?  I’m not a fan of those dealing with cleaning problems or auto maintenance, but I’ve always loved the ones that offer advice about life and love. They give a glimpse into the inner workings of some deep, dark problems—just the sort of stuff a writer harvests for use in creating flawed characters. I grew up reading Dear Abby and Ann Landers, soaking in the common sense. Often the solution was obvious, but many times it seemed the letter writer’s every option was terrible. Until the columnist applied a liberal dose of wisdom.

I recently had a situation in which I got to play advice guru. A friend told me about her sister, who complained every year about her birthday gift. This year, the birthday girl actually had the gall to send back the gift! My friend asked me what I would do. So I helped her compose a note to inform the sister that they should refrain from exchanging birthday gifts from now on and instead, send a thoughtful card and have a phone conversation. My friend loved the idea and even suggested I start an online advice column. I don’t think I’ll be going that far, but at least I did help one person!

What do you think of advice columns? Do you read them? Do you usually agree with the advice they dole out?

Sex advice columnist Dear Annie—aka Suzanne—shuns relationships after growing up in a dysfunctional family. She takes care of her sisters and her mother but refuses to indulge in pleasures of the heart. When she meets a man who makes her toes curl, she’s terrified of letting him hang around long enough for her to start caring about him.

All Alan wants is a chance, but the blonde beauty keeps putting a time limit on their relationship. He charmed his way into her bed, but now must convince her to let him into her heart.

Purchase Dear Annie HERE.

Wynter Daniels lives in Central Florida with her husband of more than twenty years and their two college age children. They are all the slaves of a very demanding cat. After careers in marketing and the salon industry, Wynter’s wicked prose begged to be set free. She has authored more than two dozen books for several publishers including Carina Press, Ellora’s CaveLoose Id and Red Sage.

Finding Balance

The past two months have been a lesson in finding balance between work and motherhood. My son is about seven and a half months old right now and just starting to crawl, but even before this new phase in his life, he was a very active baby. The first couple months after he was born I’ll admit that I got a ton of writing done. Seriously, all he did was eat, sleep, poop and look adorable all day long.

Now he’s still adorable but oh my, he’s a little bundle of energy. Not only is he crawling but he’s discovered a new love for his walker. Since we have hardwood floors, it’s the perfect surface for him. He’s created a racetrack path around the house and he runs until he literally falls asleep. It’s pretty impressive to watch, actually.

Currently I write during his naps and then late at night once he’s gone to sleep, but that means my writing is cutting into time I like to spend with my husband. So finding that balance has been full of trial and errors and yes, guilt. It’s like I’m being pulled in a hundred different directions. Luckily I have some wonderful writer friends who are also moms and have been where I am before. It’s nice to realize I’m not alone. Since the childcare in the area where I live isn’t the best that’s not an option. But I think I might have discovered an option where someone will come to my house and watch him here at home a few afternoons a week for a three hour stretch while I work. Three whole hours of uninterrupted writing? Sounds beautiful!

Any writers out there or any mothers who balance working from home while raising a kid(s), I totally commend you. In fact, I commend all moms. I never truly understood how much motherhood would change my life. Now that my little guy is here, I can’t imagine my life without him, but I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for help and I don’t have to feel guilty about that.

Release Day!

Today is my release day so I hope ya’ll don’t mind if I share a little about it! But first I want to apologize for missing my last post day a couple weeks ago and being very absent here at the blog! I honestly had no clue how much time went into promoting a new release and I’ve been guest blogging all over the place in addition to normal writing stuff like editing (and writing!) and of course, having fun with my six month old who is *so close* to crawling. Man, he is trying so hard! I have a feeling in the next month he’ll be moving everywhere.

So…release day is finally here! It feels like forever from when I first received ‘the call’ from my agent until final production. After edits, line edits, copy edits and another final read through (and maybe some more steps I’m forgetting!) Alpha Instinct has finally been unleashed into the world. There are a few who have received ARCs and contest copy giveaways early but now it’s available to everyone and I couldn’t be more excited!

What is Alpha Instinct about, you ask?

Alpha Instinct official blurb:

Fear has a scent. So does desire…

Ana Cordona has been a strong leader for the lupine shifters who survived after all the males and most of the females in her pack were mysteriously poisoned. As tough as she is, with no Alpha male, the pack is vulnerable to the devious shifter Taggart, who wants to claim both their ranch and Ana as his own. When Connor Armstrong comes back into her life, promising protection, it’s almost enough to make Ana forget how he walked out on her before—and reluctantly accept his offer to mate.

The minute Connor sees Ana again, it reawakens a raw hunger. He must have her for his bondmate—his wolf cries out for it. But his human side knows he must proceed with caution because of their complicated past. If he is to truly have her body and soul, he must go beyond his burning desire and win back her heart. Whatever it takes, he is determined not to leave her side again.

But Taggart and his rival pack are not their only enemies. A human element in town is targeting shifters. Their plan not only threatens Ana and Connor’s future, but the lives of the entire pack…

If you check it out, I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Welcome Guest Author Shawna Thomas

Please welcome guest author Shawna Thomas! A very talented writer, and fellow Carina Press author, she’s here today talking about goals for the new year!

Can you believe we’re almost half way through the first month of 2012? I can’t. Where does time go?

I don’t make resolutions, but I did make some important decisions and set some firm goals for this year.

I won’t bore you with why I don’t make resolutions or what the difference is between resolutions and goals, at least in my mind. You’ll just have to trust me.

A lot of those goals and decisions involve my writing career. Last year was a year of change. I got married, expanded my family by a stepson and got pregnant. Also in the middle of all that, Carina Press published my first book, Altered Destiny.

Taking Altered Destiny through the publications process with Carina was a dream come true. Because of all the wonderful and good changes, I didn’t spend the time I should have promoting the book. Most writers will tell you promotion takes a lot of time and energy. Two things I have in short supply.

Also, even though Altered Destiny has received some pretty good reviews, one book does not make your career. I have several partial finished manuscripts needing to be edited, polished and submitted. Queries and synopses need to be written and…you guessed it. Time.

Time is a fickle thing. While waiting in the doctor’s office, an hour drags. At home, an hour isn’t enough to clean out my email inbox.

So my goal for this year is to spend more time writing. You’d think it would be easy. I love to write. Spending time doing what you love should be easy. But every writer will tell you, there’s just not enough hours in the day.

You see, writers work from home. At home you will also find laundry, dishes, dust and a hundred tasks to be done. There are often also children, husbands, dogs and phone calls. All of which take…time.

Barring the discovery of a Tardis machine or Hermione loaning me her time turner, time to write means some difficult choices. Maybe a little less House Hunters, Facebook and Twitter. Maybe some creative crockpot cooking.

So did you make any resolutions or goals this year? Have you kept them?

For more information on Shawna, please visit Shawna’s website or her page at Carina Press.

The Year Winding Down

I still can’t believe it’s already December and rolling into January 2012! This year has flown by at a crazy fast pace, probably because roughly two months (right after the birth of my son) are a total blur to me. Feedings every couple hours, no sleep, a bazillion dirty diapers…all you moms know what I’m talking about. It’s like the entire summer is one giant haze. 🙂

Luckily the haze faded and it’s been pretty awesome ever since. This is my last post of the year so I just want to say that it’s been so much fun blogging here at Darker Temptations with such a fabulous group of authors and I’m really looking forward to the New Year! What are my plans for New Years Eve, you ask? Staying home with a bottle of champagne and we probably won’t even make it to midnight. I’m not even ashamed to admit it 😉 Whatever you do for New Years Eve, I hope you stay safe and have a good time and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year. My next blog post is 1/10/2012 (omg, I love typing 2012!) and I’ll be hosting a fun guest author and giveaway so see you then!

Image source: http://www.clker.com/cliparts/8/6/e/0/12065619481148431133Muga_Glass_of_Champagne.svg.med.png

Holiday Goodness

I was checking off the people I’ve already bought gifts for this year, feeling all proud of myself that I’m ‘officially’ done when I realized I’ve managed to get all my presents early but ONE. Normally my mom is the hardest person to shop for, but this year I knew exactly what to get her. And normally my husband is the easiest, but this year it’s like their roles reversed. I’ve bought my husband a few small things, but we usually get each other one big present in addition to the little ones and for some reason I sort of skipped him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some ideas, but one of them involves going into a sports/fishing/hunting store and the most ‘guy’ section there. Don’t know if I’m brave enough. The closer December 25th gets, the more I’m dreading making that final shopping trip.

Since my mom sometimes reads my blogs I won’t say what I got her, but I did get my new baby a bunch of fun interactive toys, stacking blocks, books (which he’s definitely too young for but come on, I had to get him a few), a toy phone which I think he’s going to love since he’s always trying to take my real one and a giant stuffed penguin. He doesn’t have a lot of stuffed animals and the penguin is kind of for me because penguins are awesome!

So what about you? Who do you find it easiest to shop for? Who do you find it hardest to shop for? And why?

Best Things about the South

Please welcome guest author, Casey Crow! She’s one of the sweetest authors I know and I’m happy to have her here today!

Thank you, Katie, for having me today! I’m so excited about all the recent success and releases you’ve been having! I’m excited, too, to share my debut CAN’T FAKE THIS which comes out Dec. 6th with Loose Id. On that day, I’m having a blog party at Casey Crow where twelve authors are doing twelve give-aways to go along with the Twelve Days of Christmas theme in the story. Mark your calendar to win some great books by best sellers from all genres!

CAN’T FAKE THIS is about a divorcee ready to reenter the dating world. Anna Ryan is determined to be the best “product on the market,” which requires a lot more experience so she propositions sexy police officer Chase Harris to teach her how to make hot, passionate love as opposed to just having sex. He takes it a step further, instructing each lesson based on The Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…temptation in a hot package. For more, check out the book trailer and excerpt!

The story definitely has my “Sexy, Sassy & Southern” trademark. Speaking of the South, I’ve put together my list of Top 10 Favorite Things about the South.

1. Sweet tea and sweeter accents

2. Macaroni & cheese is a vegetable and pecan pie is a staple

3. Y’all is a proper noun

4. Smocked dresses and hairbows as big as a little girl’s head

5. Front porches are wide and words are long

6. Sultry summer nights that start in April

7. Mardi Gras

8. SEC football

9. Pageants are serious business

10. Everything is darlin’ and someone’s heart is always blessed

So what are your favorite things about where you live? I hope you’ll take advantage of the uniqueness of your area and enjoy it, no matter where you hail.

Visit Casey at http://www.caseycrow.com.  On Facebook at Casey Crow and Twitter at caseyecrow.

Casey Crow is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of Alabama with degrees in Business Management and Dance.  She received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Mobile.  Casey resides in Mobile where she stays busy with her two young children.  She also works as a dance choreographer, pageant coach, professional emcee and model, and certified Miss America preliminary judge.  In fact, she is a former Miss University of Alabama.  Casey writes erotic and spicy contemporary romances with the tagline “Sexy, Southern & Sassy.”  Visit her at www.caseycrow.com.  Follow her on Twitter – caseyecrow and Facebook – Casey Crow.

Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest

Since I’m on deadline and slacking just a bit about blogging, I decided to post about something awesome my local RWA chapter is putting on. The Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest is now open for entries! Here are the full details:

***PERMISSION TO FORWARD GRANTED AND APPRECIATED***

The Gulf Coast Chapter of Romance Writers of America is pleased to announce that the 2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Award is open for entries! The Star contest is a reader’s choice award, judged by readers of romantic fiction.

Eligibility: This is an all-electronic contest. Entries must be received by January 5, 2012. All works must have an original publication date between January 1 and December 31, 2011. Re-released works with an original publication date before January 1, 2011, are
not eligible.

Entry fee: $20 for Gulf Coast RWA members, $25 for all others

Prizes: Winners from each category will be included in an RWR advertisement (featuring all the first place book covers). Winners will also receive a certificate of recognition, a starfish award from the GCCRWA, and a winning icon to place on their websites.

Finalists will be announced on February 15, 2012. The winners from each category will be named at the 2012 Silken Sands Conference. The awards ceremony will be held on the evening of Saturday, March 17, 2012.

The following categories are included in the Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest:

Short Story (contains between 5,000 and 19,999 words)
Novella (a word count between 20,000 and 40,000)
Single Title Contemporary
Single Title Paranormal
Single Title Romantic Suspense
Single Title Historical
Single Title Inspirational
Young Adult

All entries will be scored by three judges, with the lowest score dropped. Ties will be broken with the lowest score.

If you have questions about the contest, please send an email to GCCStarContest@gmail.com. For complete details on the contest, please click here. And online entry form can be found here.

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