red-letter day

Okay, maybe more like pink.

My plan for today’s post was to share the two places you can find me and HERO’S HOMECOMING today – and I’ll still do that. But first I want to share the unbelievably exciting news that Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books not only reviewed HERO’S HOMECOMING, she didn’t hate it! I saw the review on Twitter and inevitably my crappy African internet service chose that moment to crash out, but after several tense minutes of refreshing and watching the little loading circle swirl around and around, the grade appeared in a big pink font:

B+!

So without further ado, let me direct you to the best B+ I have EVER gotten.

PHEW! Breathing, breathing, still breathing. If you’d like to read an excerpt from the B+-receiving novella, I’m sharing one over at the Contemporary Romance Cafe. And if you want to hear the story of the B+-receiving novella’s composition during last year’s NaNoWriMo, the fabulous PJ Schnyder has kindly hosted me at her blog.

Exciting times, faithful readers!

guest post and giveaway

I’m talking about holiday traditions over at RR@H Novel Thoughts today, and one commenter will win a free copy of Hero’s Homecoming!

http://rrahnovelthoughts.com/2013/11/22/heros-homecoming-by-rebecca-crowley-guest-blog-and-giveaway/

Release day went off without a hitch and I have a few more exciting guest posts on the way, plus I got some GREAT news yesterday, but I’ll hold off on sharing it for now – everyone loves a bit of a suspense, right?

 

guest post – Kathy Bosman

I’m so excited to welcome South African author Kathy Bosman to the blog today – and be sure not to miss her great giveaway at the bottom of the page!

Today is my first stop for my first ever proper blog tour. I’m giving away a $10 Amazon voucher and five swag bags for the whole tour. I’m going to be posting a different slant to my book every post so it’s not going to be boring. We’re going to have fun. If you want to enter the giveaway, go to the Rafflecoptertable at the bottom of the page.

Dragonfly Moments was published with Decadent Publishing in May this year. The book was first written in 2010 (then called Tessa’s Choice) and was so different to what it is now. By the time it reached publishing stage, I’d learned so much about writing after having worked with editors in my previous books and with the wonderful Decadent editor. I have a sludge pile on my computer of books I wrote but have never published. Of course I never will – shudder, shudder. You could call those my study courses because really every bit of writing is learning. Tessa’s Choice kept on calling me though. I couldn’t ignore the story of a love from long ago coming back into Tessa’s life so I rewrote the book.

Tessa had a serious crush on her best friend’s boyfriend when she was just out of school. They had a friendship but nothing more. She loved him so much that she sent him a letter after she moved to college professing her undying love for him.

Little does she realise how much that letter opens up feelings Ryan had ignored towards Tessa. He keeps the letter but only contacts her seven years later when she’s opened up her own art gallery in Nelson Mandela Square.

Ryan is disappointed to discover that Tessa is already in a serious relationship. He doesn’t know how obsessed she’s become in starting her own family. But her relationship starts to crumble and Ryan helps her with her art and business. He’s just the friend she needs at the moment but can she risk her life dreams to allow her heart to love him again?

“You’re making a mistake, Ryan. Coming in here and trying to bring up the past. It’s too late now. I’m committed to Mark and have found a life for myself. You never wanted me then. You loved Annie.”

“I didn’t love her. I loved you. And you promised forever….”

His voice was resigned, and then he winked at her as if to dispel the tension. It did no such thing.

The letter at the back of the sketch had promised she would love him forever, hadn’t it? She had believed she would never love anyone as much as Ryan and that he showed her what true love was.

“You never loveDragonfly-Moments300x450-1d me.” She dropped her gaze onto her lap. “We were just good friends.”

Pushing up her chin to pretend that her heart wasn’t zinging with emotion, she started to walk toward the one wall to adjust a painting. He grabbed her hand. She tried to pull away, but he firmly pulled her close.

Heat and energy radiated off him and his manly scent encompassed her. Even his breath was a sweetness she wanted to drink in. She took in the shape of his face, his mouth which drooped slightly to the left, his skewed jaw line and the prominent cheek bones. His eyebrows were dark and perfectly shaped, and he had such long eyelashes. Yanking her burning hand away, she made sure her back was facing him.

“I was blind to the true treasure. All the time when I was going out with Annie, I really wanted you, but I couldn’t do that to her—dump her for her best friend. I’ve loved you for years, Tess. I’ve been trying to find you. No other woman has measured up, and I’ve had several relationships. And you’ve become so beautiful.”

She faced him, her mouth partially open, devoid of words. He’d loved her? Why didn’t he tell her then before it was too late?

His gaze followed her from head to foot, and heat branded her face while a spark ignited her body.

“But I wasn’t then. You thought I was ugly. You must have because Annie was so beautiful and you never looked at me.”

“I did. Besides the kohl and black clothes, you were adorable, especially in your pajamas.”

Tessa wasn’t usually one to blush easily, but fire lapped up her whole face and neck. “But the way you used to look at Annie. She had the most stunning legs. Long and muscular.”

Ryan smiled. “You have better legs than Annie.”

She pulled back. For a moment, he had her in a trance. Maybe she should leave Mark and pursue this. Jump right in. No, of course not. Who was Ryan now, anyway? She hardly knew him. He could disappear again. Mark cared for her and he was the perfect match to build a family. That’s all she needed.

Dragonfly Moments is available now from Decadent Publishing, Amazon, Amazon UK, ARe, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Kathy loved reading and writing from early childhood, but her dream to write books was put aside until her kids were small, and she had little mental stimulation. The writing became a passion as well as her love for romance. She hasn’t looked back since writing her first romance novel in 2007. She homeschools her three children so in between deciphering algebraic problems for her teenage son (with little success), conducting science experiments, and tackling piles of laundry and dishes, she miraculously finds time to write books and read many others for fun.

Connect with Kathy Bosman online at her website, Facebook page or Twitter.

Click here for a Rafflecopter giveaway

guest post – Zee Monodee

Since I’m caught up in the endless admin that surrounds an intercontinental move, I’m excited to welcome Zee Monodee to the blog with a stunning excerpt from her latest release, The Other Side!

Set in Mauritius, The Other Side is the first book in the Island Girls Trilogy and follows Lara Reddy on a rocky journey back to her parents’ culture-driven homeland after divorce brings her life in London to a screeching halt.

Once she’s back in the place she fled a decade earlier, Lara has no escape. Not from the gossip, the contempt, the harassing matchmaking…and certainly not from the man she hoped never to meet again. The boy she’d loved and lost—white Mauritian native, Eric Marivaux.

Lara now stands on the other side of Mauritian society. Will this be the impetus she needs to take a chance on Eric and love again? The Other Side is a sultry, sensual romance available now from Decadent Publishing and Amazon, and as one of Africa’s most recent transplants I’m delighted to be able to share this excerpt:

The-Other-SideEric Marivaux stood in the office of his private practice, staring out of the window at nothing in particular. The Grand Baie summer sun beat down on the pane and licked at his skin, burning him with the rays that passed through the glass, but he paid the physical sensations no heed. All his focus lay on his memories, especially of the encounter he’d had with Lara earlier.

Lara, whom he’d loved and lost so many years ago.

How did meeting her again make him feel? He didn’t have a clue, and this uncertainty rattled him beyond the pale. A part of him didn’t dare browse his feelings for the full effect this meeting with her had had on him. But he couldn’t hide, and the sooner he faced the truth, the easier it should be for him to keep on moving forward. At least, he hoped.

He didn’t want her back. Not in his proximity, not in the same place, not on the same soil. The more distance between them, the better. He’d had to work so hard toward finally accepting such a reality, so why had fate chosen that precise moment to put her back onto his path?

He ran a hand in his hair, letting his fingers work at untangling the knots. He should cut the long locks, but damn if he found the time.

Why now? He’d recently reconciled to the idea none of his relationships would work out, because she was the only woman he’d ever love. Peace with that notion had come hard. If he hoped to settle down someday, he’d do so for convenience and companionship, but never for love. It took one face-to-face meeting with her to send his certitude spinning like a crazy top.

No, she shouldn’t be here. He had no desire to see her and be reminded of what he’d let go. He’d wanted to run when upon recognizing her earlier. Run as fast as his legs could carry him. Run away from the hurt and the anger that inevitably crept into his whole being and consumed him completely whenever he even thought of her.

Yet, he hadn’t been able to resist. One glance at her, and he’d been a goner. Again. So he’d given in, and revelled in those short but sweet moments they’d shared. She’d felt so good in his arms—

He sighed and ran his hand over his face again in a gesture fraught with weariness and frustration. Lara. He’d stumbled aback when he recognized her. She’d changed in the past twelve years, since the last time he’d seen her.

She was a woman and not a skinny seventeen-year-old anymore. The long hair had also tricked him. The straight black locks framed the sides of her face, whereas in the past, she used to draw it into a high ponytail that bounced with her every step. He loved to tug on her long hair, which would annoy her so much, and when she frowned and narrowed her gaze at him, he would swoop in and steal a kiss. After which she would smile. Reluctantly, but she’d smile nevertheless.

Why was she back? He had returned to Mauritius because she wouldn’t be there. Her life was in London. What was she doing here? He prayed she was on vacation.

He closed his eyes and let his head touch the surface of the window. The glass felt hot against his skin. As drained as he felt, he couldn’t bother with a possible burn to his sun-sensitive skin. Meeting her again had shaken him up. More so, because he couldn’t bear to see her and know she belonged to another man now. To that darkly handsome husband of hers, who, he’d been loath to admit, resembled Tom Cruise, Lara’s teenage crush. The guy also had brains, since he was some hotshot actuary or something, working in investment. And Lara had seemed happy with him. He remembered the joyous expression on her face when he’d seen them once on Piccadilly Circus in London.

That day, he’d known for good she was lost to him, stupid fool he was. He’d been an idiot to leave so abruptly for France all those years ago, his relationship with her hanging as unfinished business.

But it had all been a long time ago. A different lifetime, even. He forced his eyes open, and rubbed the nape of his neck as he peeled himself from the window and stepped closer to his desk. No use pondering the past, especially one that had not gone as planned.

Would they have worked out, the two of them? He’d never know. Better this way.

guest post – Romy Sommer

Whilst preparing for my ever-nearing move to South Africa, I stumbled upon ROSA, a local community of romance authors. The warm welcome and unfailing support I’ve gotten from this bunch has already been staggering, and one of the best introductions to my new home I could’ve hoped for. Today I’m delighted to welcome Romy Sommer, a ROSA member and one of the newest names at Harper Impulse, to the blog!

On the Yahoo loop for South African romance writers, we recently had a discussion about choosing settings for books – do we set our books in places we know, or do we set them in exotic locales we’ve only researched?

I’m definitely in the latter group, because (for me, at least) where I live isn’t that exciting.

Part of the fun of writing is getting to research these exotic locations, and I think I’d feel cheated if I didn’t get to spend hours of internet time surfing for pictures of Caribbean islands, visiting tourism blogs, or scrolling through maps of places I’ve never been.

Waking up in Vegas starts in Vegas (where I’ve never been) and ends up in a fictional European nation that I’ve certainly never been to (because it doesn’t exist).

My 1920s novellas, published under the name Rae Summers, also require large amounts of research and even larger leaps of imagination, even though two have been set in places I’ve actually visited. Because let’s face it, things were different back then!

For me, the trick to writing about a place you’ve never been is to research, research, research. And not just the usual touristy spots and websites that only show one side of the place, but read blogs of people who live in those places and talk to people who’ve been there.

ImageWith Vegas I got lucky – one of my CPs got married there, and one of my work colleagues spent a raucous boys’ week there (guess who was the most help with finding outrageous stuff to do, and who could tell me what the inside of a Vegas hotel room looked like!) And another writing friend had an engineer hubby who’d worked on constructing Vegas hotels and could tell me exactly how far the windows could open!

But it was in writing the second half of Waking up in Vegas that I had the most fun.

ImageIn creating my own fictional nation of Westerwald, getting the details right mattered much less, and the setting could serve the story rather than the other way around. Since the place exists entirely in my own head, I didn’t have to worry about practicalities like building safety regulations and how far the windows could open!

My preparation for writing this book included creating a rough map of Westerwald, putting together photo albums, and even wrote a history for the little nation. While almost none of that made it into the final novel, it gave me a much clearer picture of the setting and I hope provides the story with a much richer backdrop.

Please read the novel and let me know if I succeeded! Do the settings in Waking up in Vegas work for you? Or have you been to Vegas, and did I get it abysmally wrong?

ImageAnd if you’ve read the book and wish you could visit Westerwald … you can! My fictional nation is based on the Rhine River area in Germany.

I love hearing from readers, and if you’re a writer please tell me: do you set your stories in places you know – or in places you wish you knew?

ImageWhat happens in Vegas…

Waking up to the bright lights of Vegas in an unfamiliar penthouse suite, cocktail waitress Phoenix Montgomery finds she’s covered from head to foot in gold glitter and not alone – aside from the empty bottle of champagne, there’s a mystery man in the shower and a huge sparkly ring on her finger!

Stays in Vegas?

There’s no denying Max Waldburg’s demi-god sex appeal but commitment-phobic Phoenix doesn’t do relationships. Only it seems her new husband (agh!) has other ideas…he’s trying to keep that ring on her finger and his wife firmly back in his bed. The only question on her lips is – why? Or maybe, why not?

Waking up in Vegas is published by Harper Impulse, a division of Harper Collins, and is available from the following online retailers:

Amazon * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * Kobo * iTunes

You can follow Romy on Twitter, Facebook or on her blog.