Friday, August 30, 2013

Along Came a Spider Blog Tour

Pens and Peonies is super thrilled to welcome back to the blog Kate Serine during her Along Came a Spider Blog Tour! She's agreed to share with us an exclusive excerpt from her latest Transplanted Tales novel, and wow! Just wow!

Here's a bit about Kate:
National Readers’ Choice Award Winner Kate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) faithfully watched weekend monster movie marathons while growing up, each week hoping that maybe this time the creature du jour would get the girl. But every week she was disappointed. So when she began writing her own stories, Kate vowed that her characters would always have a happily ever after. And, thus, her love for paranormal romance was born.



And now... for the exclusive excerpt:

Excerpt from Along Came a Spider (Transplanted Tales #3) by Kate SeRine

Behind me, the door slammed shut, startling a scream from me. I whirled around and grabbed the knob to pull the door open, but it wouldn’t budge. I gripped it harder, my knuckles turning white as I strained to turn the knob, but it was like someone was on the other side, holding it shut. I rattled the door, trying to jerk it open. No go. My chest heaved with panicked breaths as the walls in the tiny bathroom seemed to be closing in, slowly squeezing the air out of the room.

Great—perfect time to become claustrophobic.

“Let me out, damn it!” I yelled, pounding on the door with my fist, trying desperately to keep it together, rein in the fear and not let it take over. I had to keep calm, use my head. I let go of the door and took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. “Okay, okay, okay,” I muttered. “There’s a logical explanation for all of this, Trish. There’s nothing in here with you.”

In response, the lights began to flicker, creating a strobe effect against the bright white tile. I spun around and pressed my back to the door, my eyes searching the intermittent darkness. Well, shit, there went that theory. . . .

“Knock it the hell off!” I screamed. “Leave me alone!”

The giggle came again, bouncing off the walls, the sound distorted and disorienting. The sink faucet splurted to life, spraying out water with such force it overflowed the sink to splatter the mirror and rain down over the lip of the vanity and onto the floor. Then the shower came on, the water so hot, steam began to fill the air almost immediately. I turned back toward the door, fear making me pound on the door so hard, I thought my hand would break. But I didn’t care—I just wanted out.

“Help me!” I shouted over the roaring water, my feet now damp from the overflowing sink. “Someone help me! Please!”

As if on cue, the bathroom door exploded inward, smacking me in the forehead and knocking me on my ass. I slid with the force, nailing the back of my head on the toilet. For one terrifying, dizzying moment, the world went black, but I forced myself to keep it together and shakily managed to drag myself toward the open door. My apartment tilted precariously, and my stomach lurched, but I forced down the rush of vomit and grabbed the doorjamb, pulling myself to my feet.

The moment I was upright, the faucets abruptly shut off and the strobe light ceased, plunging the bathroom into darkness. I stumbled through the open doorway, shaking so violently I was barely able to control my legs beneath me. As soon as I was through the door, I pressed my back to the wall, my chest heaving. I gulped down the bile rising to my mouth and was glad for the distraction of the burning sensation as it went back down. I shook my head. Fuck this! I was taking my cat and getting the hell out.

I pushed away from the wall and all the lights I’d left on throughout the apartment blinked out at once, sending a fresh shot of fear-infused adrenaline through my veins. “Oh, God,” I moaned, dropping back against the wall. I squeezed my eyes shut for a few seconds, steeling my nerves, praying like hell that I wouldn’t see someone standing in front of me when I opened them again. I blew out a couple of quick breaths, then forced my lids open, scanning the room at a quick glance as my eyes adjusted to the darkness.

            “Sasha,” I called, my voice little more than a strained whisper as I continued to watch for any movement. “Sasha!” I heard her answering mew coming from my bedroom and nearly wept.

I edged along the wall, creeping toward my room, and heard a soft thud as Sasha jumped down from her usual perch on the window seat, but she didn’t emerge as I expected. Then I heard her low growl and glanced around frantically, wondering what she saw that I didn’t. A single bead of sweat trickled down between my shoulder blades as if in slow motion, ratcheting up the persistent niggling of dread creeping under my skin. “Sasha, come here, baby!”

With a trembling hand, I pushed open the bedroom door, wishing like hell that I had a gun or a baseball bat. Of course, even as I wished it, I had a feeling neither weapon would’ve been much use against the invisible creature who had invaded my home.

            As the door swung open, I darted inside and flipped on the light. Startled by my sudden movement, Sasha yowled and bolted from the room, nearly scaring the shit out of me in the process. “Damn it!” I cried as I stumbled backward, crashing into the door, the doorknob jabbing me painfully in the kidney. “Shit!”

            I winced at the pain and rushed back through the doorway, only to stop dead in my tracks. The man standing in my living room reached out and pulled the chain of my desk lamp, turning on the light. I gasped at the sight of him. He’d ditched his fatigues and was now dressed in a black turtleneck sweater and black slacks that hugged his athletic physique in all the right places. For a split second I thought he might be a figment of my imagination, but then he pegged me with that intense amber gaze of his, and I knew he was real.

            I was so shocked and relieved to see Nicky, I didn’t even care why he was there. Without stopping to think, I rushed to him, throwing my arms around his neck in a fierce hug, squeezing my eyes shut to hold back the tears. After a brief hesitation, his arms came around me, hugging me back, holding me as I clung to him.

            “Hello, doll,” he whispered in my ear, his voice so soft and soothing, I wanted to melt into him…

~~~

WOW! Thanks, Kate, for that teaser!

Check out her buy links for Along Came a Spider (Transplanted Tales #3):

 
 


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Kate's hosting a giveaway! Good luck!


 
 
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Connect with Kate:
 
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Thanks for stopping by!
xoxo ~Marisa
 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Interview: Natalie Damschroder

Hi, Marisa! Thank you so much for hosting me today!

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

It actually took me a surprisingly long time, when you look back and see all the clues in my life. :) I started writing when I was about 6 years old. My best friend, David Pleau, and I would pretend to be the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (my poor little brother had to be Oscar Goldman—he’s nearly 40, and is still traumatized by it!), and I wrote some short stories that featured Jamie Summers as the main character. Through my tween years and probably into my teens, I plotted movies and acted out scenes with another best friend, Tammy Moran. I still have a notebook with some of the treatments we came up with.

I’ve been a voracious reader since I was 4, and in high school was always praised for my writing. But I hated it. My mother was a writer, and part of me wanted to have my own thing. But I hated it because nonfiction has never been my thing. I finally started writing fiction right after I graduated from college, and never looked back.

What has been the most thrilling part of being published?

I’ve had a pretty slow-growing career, so all of my thrills have been little things. But that means I get thrilled just about every week. :) When a scene is flowing perfectly, when I reread something I wrote a long time ago and it’s actually good, when I get a good review or a lot of hits on my website. Royalty checks of any size are thrilling, as are good Amazon rankings and sales at Diesel eBooks featuring one of my titles. I love it all. The most thrilling, though, are when readers or reviewers say something that tells me they really got what I was trying to do. Someone e-mailed me a little while back asking if one of my villains would get his own book, and she felt the same way about him that I do. That makes any challenge this business throws at me worthwhile.

How many books have you written, and which one is your favorite?

I’ve written 23 full-length novels (17 of which will be available for sale by January), and it’s really hard to pick a favorite. Almost impossible if you throw in the 29 short stories and novellas. :) They have to fall into different categories of favorites. Soul of the Dragon was my first single title romance and my first paranormal, the first true “book of my heart.” But Under the Moon was pure joy when I first wrote it, something I’ve never recaptured to the same extent. My favorite short is Lost Our Forever/Rebuilding Forever, two novellas I did in conjunction with four other authors for the Blue Silver collection. I am so totally in love with the band we created, those are the only stories I go back and reread once in a while for no good reason.

What books have influenced your writing?

Every single book I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way, most as inspiration to evoke the same emotions in readers that those books evoked in me.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Boring stuff. Reading, of course. I’ve become a total TV junkie, and I love movies, not just to watch, but the entire process of making them. My kids and I, and sometimes my husband, love going to see the local pro soccer team play in the spring and summer, and come fall, it’s all about the NFL.

What are your pet peeves?

My biggest one is slow people. Walk slowly, talk slowly, drive slowly, you’ll drive me insane. I also hate generalizations (in general! LOL), especially those that expose a gender bias. And I have a completely unreasonable animosity against the idea that it’s bad for people to say “happy holidays.” You don’t want to get me started on that one. :)

Do you have a nickname?

Since the day I was born, it’s been Nuj. When I was little, it was Nujie, or Nujie-Budge. It comes from my original initials, NJJ.

Fast Facts:

Coffee or tea?

Mocha in the morning, tea all day long

Morning or night?

Night, sometimes extending into morning

Rivers or oceans?

I like both, but my heart belongs to the ocean

White wine or red?

Ugh.

Champagne or liquor?

Liquor, but only because champagne is only for special occasions, and I never think about it when they come along. LOL

Laptop or desktop?

Desktop, because it’s way more comfortable, though I love my laptop beyond reason.

Casual or couture?

Casual!!!

Ponytail or headband?

Mostly neither.

Shower or bath?

Shower. I love baths, but there are very few tubs that can do it right.

Summer or winter?

Fall! LOL

Motorcycle or bicycle?

I ride a bicycle more, but motorcycles are way sexier. Unless you’re Joseph Gordon-Levitt (man, those calves…).

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You can learn more about Natalie and her books at her website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. She blogs with a number of fantastic romance authors at Everybody Needs a Little Romance and just to hear herself talk at Indulge Yourself.

Natalie's Latest Release

Heavy Metal (Book 2 in the Goddesses Rising trilogy) Paranormal Romantic Adventure Entangled Publishing, August 27, 2013 ISBN 13: 978-1622668908

The world is not what Riley Kordek imagined. On the run from those who’ve targeted her, all Riley wants is a chance to figure out her new ability to bend metal’s energy. When a hot guy who knows more than he should helps her escape her attackers, she thinks she might’ve found someone who can lead her to the answers she needs.

Three years ago, Sam Remington walked away from his employer and the woman he loved, and now, all he’s looking to do is fill the gaping hole left behind. Except, when Sam takes Riley to the Society for Goddess Education and Defense, the stakes rise beyond what either of them could have imagined.

After being alone for so long, falling for Sam would be far too easy—and far too painful, once his old flame calls needing his help. Worse, Riley uncovers a plot with disastrous ramifications not only for herself, but for Sam and the people he loves—and potentially every goddess in the country.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | iTunes/iBookstore | Goodreads Page

About the Author

Natalie J. Damschroder grew up in Massachusetts, and loves the New England Patriots more than anything. (Except her family. And writing and reading. And popcorn.) When she's not writing romantic adventure for Carina Press and paranormal romance for Entangled Publishing, she does freelance editing and works part time as a chiropractic assistant. She and her husband have two daughters they've dubbed "the anti-teenagers," one of whom is also a novelist. (The other one prefers math. Smart kid. Practical.)

So excited you stopped by to read about Natalie and her fabulous new release!

Care to share the excitement with a tweet?

Happy Book Birthday to @njdamschroder & HEAVY METAL! http://pensandpeonies.blogspot.com/2013/08/interview-natalie-damschroder.hmtl #amreading @entangledpub

xoxo ~Marisa

Monday, August 26, 2013

Spotlight: Laura Simcox

Happy Book Birthday to Laura Simcox and her Entangled Edge novel: Ivy Entwined!

After spending twenty years in professional theater as a costume designer, with a few of those years also spent as a college instructor, Laura abandoned the nomadic lifestyle to sit in a comfy pleather office chair at a beat up ginormous second hand oak desk and write. The result? Romance novels! Her favorite thing ever since she was, oh, about twelve. She writes contemporary, light novels and enjoys creating quirky characters and funny dialogue. Still, the love story is the focus and Laura has a huge soft spot for a sappy, happy ending. She lives in North Carolina with her husband (true love is real!) and her adorable, high energy four year old son who is currently obsessed with pirates. When not playing mamma pirate, she loves hearing from readers and you can find your favorite way to say hi from the social media buttons on her website: http://www.laurasimcox.com.

Book Description:
When Ivy Callahan returns to her hometown as mayor, she doesn’t expect much to have changed. But now her ex-fianc√© is the town planner, the biggest business is closed, and the only store interested in Celebration, NY is a Megamart. On top of it all, the liaison for the big, bad, box store is Marcus Weaver, her childhood crush. And he’s still as dangerously delectable as ever.

Marcus unwillingly spent his teens in Celebration with his vindictive, drunken uncle. As far as Marcus is concerned, the town’s only use is to cement his rise up the corporate ladder. He needs that Megamart opened, and Ivy is his ticket. But the sexy, stubborn mayor could also be his downfall.

As the unemployed townspeople put on the pressure, Ivy needs to do something. With a fresh downtown-renewal project in the works, Ivy could stop Marcus and his Megamart before they kill the town’s spirit. But with sparks flying between Ivy and Marcus, they each need to decide what’s more important: their careers or their hearts.


*** GIVEAWAY ***

Laura's spotlight is part of The Seymour Agency's Progressive Giveaway, so CLICK HERE to find out how you can enter and how you can help add more prizes to the prize pack.

Laura is donating a swag bag of goodies to the Progressive Giveaway, so be sure to "Follow" Laura on Twitter: http://twitter.com/simcoxwriter.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm super happy this Entangled Edge book released! Do you believe in pre-orders? What books have you pre-ordered?

xoxo ~Marisa

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Interview: Mary Sue Seymour

How cool is this?!? Pens and Peonies would like to welcome, for the first time ever, The Seymour Agency founder Mary Sue Seymour!
Mary Sue collaborated with a 10-year-old art student to create a children's book! What?!? Yes, that's right. The illustrator is 10-year-old Samantha Flynn, and the author is Mary Sue!

The book's title is Friends in a Storm.

Blurb:Squirrel is locked out of his house in a rainstorm. He's standing at his door as the rain pours down. His fur is soaked, and he is cold! So Owl takes him home to warm him up. Squirrel finds his key but stays with his friend for a while. Suggested age range for readers: 2-8.

In light of this wonderful collaboration, and on the verge of the second book, Pens and Peonies begged Mary Sue for an exclusive interview.

P&P: Hi, Mary Sue! So great of you to take time to answer some of our burning questions. We're excited to hear that you wrote a children's book. First question: What made you decide to write a children's book?

Mary Sue: I was teaching elementary school at the time right out of college and wrote it for my class.

P&P: So many authors have great call stories. Would you tell us a little about how your book came to be published with Guardian Angel Publishing?

Mary Sue: I met Lynda Burch at a writing conference in Kansas City 2 years ago. Told her I had some picture books I’d written way back in my teaching days, she asked to see a couple and bought them.

P&P: We're interested in hearing how you collaborated with a 10-year-old. Where did that idea develop?

Mary Sue: Samantha had some health issues at the time I asked her to illustrate the book. I knew how talented she was and thought it would be good for her. Her mom loved the idea! She did some of the illustrations 3, 4 and 5 times. What patience!

P&P: Are there any more books in the future for you?

Mary Sue: Yes, Where Will We Fly will be released soon but that will be illustrated by artist friend, Cheryl Spadaccini.

P&P: Okay, last question. Do you have any advice or words of wisdom you'd like to share with our readers?

Mary Sue: I wrote those books over 20 years ago! Never give up.

~~~
Isn't Mary Sue amazing?!? We're so glad she stopped by today. So... what do you have buried from 20 years ago?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spotlight: DOON by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

Happy Book Birthday to DOON by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon! Isn't the cover fabulous?!?

Here's the blurb:
Veronica doesn't think she's going crazy. But why can't anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes?

When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months. But the Scottish countryside holds other plans. Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna's great aunt---and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation.

Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica's daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they've longed for... or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.
 
 


Connect with Carey and Lorie on Twitter:
 
 
 
 
The more congrats, mentions, and followers they get, the more prizes will be added to The Seymour Agency's Progressive Giveaway!
 
Want to enter the Progressive Giveaway? Be sure to click HERE.
 
Want to share the book birthday love on Twitter?
 
Congrats to @careycorp and @lorielangdon for their new release! DOON is finally here! http://pensandpeonies.blogspot.com #amreading
 
 
Thanks for stopping by!
xoxo ~Marisa
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Spotlight: Macy Beckett

Today's spotlight is shining on one of my favorite contemporary romance authors: Macy Beckett! From her super cute website to her smoking hot heroes, this author's Sultry Springs series makes me want to move to this small town!

Macy writes hot and humorous romance set in the fictitious town of Sultry Springs, Texas, where first loves find second chances. Her debut novel, Sultry with a Twist, released in October of 2012 by Sourcebooks. Macy likes to say she grew up everywhere. A former military brat, she graduated from high school in Munich and went on to earn a BA in English from Texas State University. After residing in eleven different states, she finally abandoned her nomadic lifestyle and settled in the heart of Ohio with her husband and three spirited children. When Macy’s not writing, she’s reading across all genres and quite possibly obsessing over Battlestar Galactica. Come learn more about the Sultry Springs series at www.macybeckett.com

Feeling the Heat

How do you stay under the sheriff's radar in a town that prides itself on knowing everyone's business?

Leah's not sure it's possible, but she's determined to avoid Colton Bea for as long as she can. Seeing him again would be too heartbreaking-and she knows from experience his bone-melting kisses are way too tempting.

Colt still hasn't forgiven Leah for her sudden disappearing act ten years ago. He may no longer be the hellion he was in high school, but he's still willing to play dirty to get what he wants. And he won't let Leah get away again. Armed with chocolate éclairs, a killer smile, and an adorable niece, he will make sure that this time the love of his life has plenty of reasons to stay.

Task:

"Like" Macy Beckett on Facebook

Why?

Because she's awesome! But also because "Like"-ing Macy's Facebook page will add prizes to the Progressive Giveaway. The more "Like"s she gets, the more prizes added!

Click HERE to "Like" Macy's Facebook page.

Want to enter the Progressive Giveaway? Be sure to click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you've read the first two books in her Sultry Springs series. I did, and I loved them.

xoxo ~Marisa

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Spotlight: Kate SeRine

Kate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) faithfully watched weekend monster movie marathons while growing up, each week hoping that maybe this time the creature du jour would get the girl. But every week she was disappointed. So when she began writing her own stories, Kate vowed that her characters would always have a happily ever after. And, thus, her love for paranormal romance was born.

Kate lives in a smallish, quintessentially Midwestern town with her husband and two sons, who share her love of storytelling. She never tires of creating new worlds to share and is even now working on her next project.

Find out more about Kate at www.kateserine.com.

Along Came a Spider (Transplanted Tales)

Along came a spider. . .
When Trish Muffet is attacked at a grisly crime scene, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is Nicky "Little Boy" Blue. But since walking away from everything two years before, Nicky's been doling out vigilante justice as "The Spider," taking on the vicious predators of the night in hopes it'll lead him to his ultimate target--Vlad Dracula. And he needs Trish's help.

Although Nicky's renegade style goes against everything Trish stands for, she'll do what she must to bring Dracula down. With danger stalking her, Trish knows the only person she can count on is the one man who has the power to leave her breathless. There's no way she's letting this spider frighten her away. . .


Task:

Follow Kate on Twitter.

Then, check HERE to see how many prizes were added to the Prize Pack.

As always, commenters rock!

...and don't worry about entering to win just yet... we want to build the prize pack first and then the entry form will be posted.