July-August 2015 issue of BTS Emag

The July/August 2015 issue of BTS emag is available for free here:  http://issuu.com/BTSeMag/docs/julyaugust2015

BTS 2015

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Love Struck Valentine’s Day Blog Hop

This blog hop is officially over.  All winners have been contacted.  Congratulations to them all!!

Welcome to the Love Struck Valentine’s Day Blog Hop hosted by romance author JA Garland and going on from February 10-14, 2014.

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Valentine’s Day, from our first year in school we discover this special day.  Some of us are taught to cut-out great big hearts from red reconstruction paper.  Others are told stories about Cupid aiming his arrow at unsuspecting recipients, skewing their hearts with the sharp tip and putting them under the magic spell of love.

Valentine’s Day goes hand in hand with hearts and lovers.  Over the years, I’ve had a number of Valentines, some real, some imaginary, some I’ve kept a secret, and others I’ve flaunted.  Valentines stir warm sensations.  A good Valentine story, not necessarily one taking place on Valentine’s Day, will make you lightheaded and giddy, immersed in passion and euphoria.

Some Valentines I’ve enjoyed reading about include:

Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
Everyone picks Romeo and Juliet to be their favorite Valentines conjured up by Shakespeare but Petruchio and Katherina always seemed more real to me, like they were people I’d find in my own world.  The clash of their fiery personalities creates a sexual tension that brings out another side of them.  Kate rouses the gentleman and devoted protector in him, and Petruchio brings out the obedient wife and loving partner in her.  They are enduring and adorable Valentines making the audience happy when the two finally come together as lovers and husband and wife.

Mistletoe Fever by Jennifer Snow
In the spirit of social networks like eHarmony and Match Maker, Piper Johnson has convinced herself that posting a personal ad in The New York Times is the way to finding a companion who will share her interests and enjoy spending leisurely time with her.  A prospective partner comes to her in an email signed Mistletoe Fever.  Discovering the identity of Mistletoe Fever is a fun ride for the reader and for these two Valentines.  It’s a lighthearted story that readers can translate to their own lives — everyone should marry their own personalized Mistletoe Fever.

The King Maker by Susan Frances
Two years after my book has been published and I still enjoy the love match of its Valentines, Nina Holt and Cullen Danes.  He, an investigator for the British Ministry of Aviation, and she, a temp worker for the aviation convention at the Jacob Javits Center, are brought together when a crime ring endeavors to have Cullen join his dead friend, American pilot Steve McKenna.  Lethal threats pull Nina and Cullen into each other’s lives.  Their time together turns intimate, disarming them and exposing their vulnerabilities as they find security being with each other.  Nina and Cullen could be your best friend or your next door neighbor.  They show that love is attainable in this lifetime.

Who are your favorite Valentines from romance books? One commenter will be chosen from my post to win a free ebook copy of  A Bolt from the Blue by Georgia Fox

To enter your name in the Rafllecopter for the grand prize, go to:
http://jagarland.blogspot.com/2014/02/its-love-struck-valentines-day-blog-hop.html

Grand Prize:
Kindle Paperwhite plus over 43 e-books including my romance novel The King Maker

You can visit the other authors participating along the blog hop below:
Celia Breslin: http://celiabreslin.com/blog/

Pippa Jay: http://pippajay.blogspot.com/

Mimi Sebastian: http://www.mimisebastian.com/blog/

Cecilia Dominic:  http://ceciliadominic.blogspot.com/

Jude Johnson: http://wordsthatremain.blogspot.com/

Isabella Norse: http://isabellanorse.com/blog/

Dani Harper: http://waypastnormal.blogspot.com/

Rita Bay: http://ritabay.com/

Allison Knight: http://www.allisonknight.com

Joyce Proell: http://www.joyceproell.com/Blog_Stops.html

Holly Hunt: http://rhythempoets.wordpress.com/

Ceci Giltenan:   http://cecigiltenan.com/

Ute Carbone: http://ute-carbone.blogspot.com/

Cassiel Knight: http://cassielknight.net

Audra Middleton:
http://www.audramiddleton.com/1/post/2014/02/valentines.html

Angela Kay Austin: www.angelakayaustin.com/writing-dreaming-living

Morgan Wyatt:
http://writerwonderland.weebly.com/7/post/2014/02/love-struck-valentine-hop.html

Liz Crowe: http://lizcrowe.com/

Susan Frances: https://susanfrancesny.wordpress.com

January Bain: http://january-bain-science-fiction-musings.blogspot.ca/

Linda Rettstatt: www.onewomanswrite.blogspot.com

Dani Collins: http://www.danicollins.com/category/blog/

Kelly Martin: http://www.kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com

Pauline Creeden: http://paulinecreeden.com/

Christina Cole:  http://christinacoleromance.com

Graeme Brown: http://www.graemebrownart.com/index.html

New Year’s Blog Hop

This blog hop is officially over.  All of the winners have been contacted. Check out my Events page to find more blog hops that you can participate in during the coming months.

 

Welcome to the New Year’s Blog Hop which will be going on from January 1 – 6, 2013. Happy New Year everyone and thank you to Carrie Ann for doing a wonderful job (as always) in organizing these blog hops.

The New Year, for many, means coming up with a New Year’s resolution. Oftentimes, these resolutions are goals that have been impossible to reach in the past, and somehow we think that in the New Year that will change.

Past resolutions for me have been to pay my respects to my grandmother at her grave site. to finish one of the romance novels that I began and for some reason lost the impetus to finish it, but one of my favorite resolutions that I have yet to remain committed to is to stop eating JUNK food. How do you say no to Doritos, Pringles potato chips, or chocolate covered pretzels? These are energy food, aren’t they? That’s what my mind keeps convincing me to think.

A New Year’s resolution is a commitment one makes in an effort to become a better person and led a better life. These vows are made at the start of a new year believing it is a new beginning, a fresh start wiping the slate clean of past transgressions and bad habits. Sometimes, we can convince ourselves that the past is behind us and a new and better person will emerge in the new year, but usually you can’t change a pattern, a routine, a way of life that you are used to and carved out for yourself as an adult.

These New Year’s resolutions, promises, and commitments are peppered throughout history. The Babylonians started this cycle believing to have made promises to pay back debts and return borrowed objects at the start of the new year. The Romans adapted this custom into their own culture renewing promises to their pagan god Janus in the new year. Medieval knights recited vows to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry after Christmastide, and Christians take a pledge to be nicer people, more charitable people in the new year.

Making a New Year’s resolution has become a type of epidemic that transcends nations and cultures. People are often compelled to rectify a flaw in their behavior, personality or treatment of others. Maybe it’s the intention to become a better person that matters more than actually being able to live up to the image of becoming that person. In this vane, it is appropriate that in the movie When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal’s character Harry Burns makes a transformation on New Year’s Eve revealing his love to Sally Albright played by Meg Ryan along with his intention to be the man that she deserves, though we all know Sally has to accept Harry’s flaws because he can’t change those.

What is your New Year’s resolution? Post your comment and enter to win one of the three great prizes in Carrie Ann’s New Year’s Blog Hop contest. Your comment will also enter you to win an ebook copy of The Magic of France by Susie Kelly from me.

Here are the grand prizes:
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $300 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more

To move onto the next blogger on the hop, go to: http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=168190

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My romance novel The King Maker is available at Lendink.com to borrow for free. Go to: http://www.lendink.com/ebooks/B0064XDKLS/The-King-Maker

Print and ebook copies can be purchased from the publisher, Champagne Books here: http://champagnebooks.com/shop/index.php?route=product/manufacturer&manufacturer_id=117

Holiday Gifts Of Love Blog Hop

This contest has officially ended.  All winners from this blog have been contacted.  To see a full list of the winners go to:  http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com   You can also go to my Events page to find more blog hops to join in the coming months.

Welcome to the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop which will be going on from December 14 – 17, 2012.  Thank you to Carrie Ann Ryan for organizing the Holiday Gifts Blog Hop.

What kinds of Holiday gifts are expressions of love?

It’s likely every individual will have a different idea about what gifts express love during the Holiday Season. In William Sydney Porter’s (aka author O Henry) Christmas story, The Gift of the Magi, the couple sells their most prized possessions to buy each other the gift they desire most. Della buys her husband Jim a platinum fob chain for his watch by selling her hair, and Jim sell his watch to buy Della an assortment of hair combs to adorn her long locks. Giving people you love something they’ve been saving up for is one type of gift that expresses the spirit of the Holiday Season.

Sometimes a Holiday gift of love isn’t about material possessions but about reuniting past lovers, who had previously diverged and end up crossing paths later in life. In Nicola McCornick’s historical romance The Pirate’s Kiss, Lucinda Melville and Daniel de Lancy had been lovers until Daniel set off on a naval career and left her behind. He mistakenly becomes a notorious pirate but is pardoned when he inherits a barony. He returns to serving the British Crown, though he is continually threatened by the pirates who knew him. Lucy, on the other hand, marries a man who abuses her. When he dies, Lucy is forced to earn her living as a governess. She and Daniel meet up again when he is on the trail of a criminal who means to smear his name. He realizes he wants a second chance with Lucy and give her the gift of a husband‘s love and protection, but can past paramours overcome rifts that tore them apart?

A third type of Holiday gift of love is performing an unprofitable deed that brings joy to others. In the 1945 film The Bells of Saint Mary‘s, businessman Horace P. Bogardus purchases the property next Saint Mary’s school with the intention to convert it into an office building. Sister Mary Benedict, played by Ingrid Bergman, has a different idea and envisions the building converted into a new school for the children of Saint Mary’s. With the persuasion of Father O’Malley, portrayed by Bing Crosby, Horace donates the building to Saint Mary’s in the spirit of the Holiday Season, performing a good deed with no strings attached.

What are some Holiday gifts that show love to you? Post your comment and include your email using [at] and [dot] in the address to be entered in the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop contest.
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

One commenter from my blog will win an ebook copy of The Lady of the Lake by Mariapia Messina. Good luck to everyone.

Go on to the next blogger on the hop found here:  http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com/

or at:  http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=164243

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My romance novel The King Maker is available at Lendink.com for a free read. Go to: http://www.lendink.com/ebooks/B0064XDKLS/The-King-Maker

Print and ebook copies can be purchased from the publisher, Champagne Books here: http://champagnebooks.com/shop/index.php?route=product/manufacturer&manufacturer_id=117

Coffeetimeromance.com has ebook copies of The King Maker for $3.74 here:  http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookStore/pubs_product_book_info/champagne-books-c-25/the-king-maker-p-6294

Merry Menage Giveaway Hop

This contest is officially over.  All winners have been contacted.  Please check out my Events page to find more blog hops in the coming months.

Merry Ménage Giveaway Hop (December 1 – 8, 2012)

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Welcome to the Merry Ménage Giveaway Hop. Thank you to Mysecretromancebookreviews.com for organizing this event and to you for visiting the participating bloggers who make up this merry ménage.

What makes your household a merry menage for Christmas? Likely you’re decking your home with vestiges of merriment to ring in the Holiday Season. Transforming your home into a merry menage takes three easy steps.

The Christmas Scenery
Furnishing you home in emblems of Christmas is chiefly based on European traditions inciting the visual senses. The evergreen tree in the main parlor with branches decorated in lights, ornaments, and tinsel can be traced back to the German households of medieval times.
Strands of garland draping the walls, boughs of holly, ivy and mistletoe strewn over doorways, and stockings hanging from the mantel on top of fireplaces with wooden nutcrackers flanking the crackling fire have come to represent images of Christmas. A nativity set or diorama under the tree, a Victorian village set up on a sideboard, and snow globes scattered around the home are 20th century additions to the merry ménage.

The Christmas Mood
Creating the Christmas mood excites the aural senses such as the tradition of caroling during Christmastime which peaked in the Victorian Age. Today, music fills the home by means of CD players and home stereo systems. Some folks like the traditional tunage of Burl Ives, Nat King Cole, and Bing Crosby. Others might gravitate to modern versions of Christmas classics recorded by the likes of Michael Buble, Blake Shelton, and Mariah Carey.
Christmas movies also put a household into the Christmas spirit adding to the merry ménage. The Christmas catalog ranges from cartoons like Charlie Brown’s Christmas to drama like A Christmas Carol and comedies like Christmas Vacation. Christmas movies are also a 20th century addition to the Holiday Season.

Christmas Foods
The foods of the Yuletide also contribute to the picture of a merry ménage. The baking of butter cookies, gingerbread houses, and petite fours or square tortes in the kitchen are time honored traditions. Cheese wheels, roasted chestnuts, cooked ham, and smoked sausages often adorn depictions of the Christmas dinner.
When looking for ideas to put together Christmas meals, modern families turn to online catalogs such as Swisscolony.com, Hickoryfarms.com, Smithfieldmarketplace.com, and Omahasteaks.com, unless of course, families have inherited their own customs for Christmas meals passed on from generation to generation.

What traditions do you follow to create a merry ménage during the Holdiay Season? Post your comment and include your email using [dot] and [at] in the address and have a chance to win one of the grand prizes in the Merry Ménage Giveaway hop.

One commenter from my blog will win an ebook copy of The Highlander’s Hope: Book One by Cali MacKay. Good luck to everyone. To continue along Merry Ménage Giveaway Hop, go here: http://www.mysecretromancebookreviews.com/2012/09/merry-menage-giveaway-hop.html?zx=c5c8727c8a8a85da

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My romance novel The King Maker is available at Lendink.com to borrow for free. Go to: http://www.lendink.com/ebooks/B0064XDKLS/The-King-Maker

Print and ebook copies can be purchased from the publisher, Champagne Books here: http://champagnebooks.com/shop/index.php?route=product/manufacturer&manufacturer_id=117

Romancing the Hop

Romancing the Hop (August 31 to September 3, 2012)

This contest is now over.  Congratulations to Melissa for winning an ebook of my contemporary romance The King Maker.  All winners of the hop are announced here:  http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com/

Masquerade Balls

Whenever romance authors want to add a little spice to a story they often put a scene set at a masquerade ball. It works in Nicole Jordan’s novel To Bed A Beauty to stun the Duke of Arden when he discovers that the sexy Little Bo Peep he has his eye on at a courtesan’s masquerade ball is the sister to his best friend’s fiancé and the woman whom said friend picked out for the duke. The surprise hooks the reader into a sequence of situations that blossom into a warm romance.

Masquerade balls are an effective way to bring together two strangers and steer them towards a romantic interlude without needing to follow the protocol of linking them through a mutual friend, a commonality in their avocations, or in a business arrangement. It’s ironic that with masquerade balls where the individuals are disguised, somehow the characters guard is down and they can reveal vulnerabilities which otherwise would be kept hidden. Masquerade balls are an effective tool in romances for the characters to find true love.

These costume parties can be traced as far back as 14th century France as a favorite pastime of the ducal court of Burgundy. King Henry VIII of England was notorious for holding masquerade balls at court as were the Italian dukes of the Renaissance period. The participants were encouraged to dance in pairs as a live orchestra performed music amidst a carnival-like setting.

The magic of masquerade balls were depicted in literary works such as Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” when Romeo sneaks into the Capulet’s masquerade ball and first falls in love with Juliet, and again in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” about a figure who is exactly what his costume purports him to be, the Grim Reaper. A masked ball is also the pivotal scene in “The Phantom of the Opera” when the Phantom spies the lovely Christine Daaé, and is the first Act of “Don Giovanni” describing Don Giovanni remains masked from the women whom he sets to conquest at the ball.

Today, masquerade balls are synonymous with Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Halloween costume parties. Like their 14th century counterparts, modern masquerade balls create an ambience for its guests to partake in fantasy games. There is something magical about masked balls where the unexpected can happen, which makes them excellent tools for romance writers to use when figuring out how to bring together two strangers and engage them in a romantic interlude.

Post a comment (please include your email address in the post) and enter to win a free ebook copy of my book The King Maker.   If you are signed up at lendink.com, you can borrow The King Maker for your Kindle or Nook here:  http://www.lendink.com/ebooks/B0064XDKLS/The-King-Maker

From now until September 10, 2012, Champagne Books is offering 50% off their ebooks using coupon code BTS4FALL and free shipping for print books using coupon code FREESHIP during checkout. The King Maker can be found here: http://champagnebooks.com/shop/index.php?route=product/manufacturer&manufacturer_id=117

Also by posting a comment, you will be entered to win one of the three prizes offered during the Romancing the Hop contest. After posting a comment, go to http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=150398

or click on the jpeg below to move onto the next blogger. Good Luck!!