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Shari is this week’s winner! Congrats!

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So the big news this weekend for me wasn’t that the Superbowl was an utter blowout (congrats, Seattle), but that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and there will be six more weeks of winter. I love Punxsutawney Phil, and I *love* the movie Groundhog Day. Seriously, I love it. It’s by turns dark and uplifting, moral and amoral, and Bill Murray just nails the role of the beleaguered weatherman who must relive the same day over and over and over again–Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., to be precise. For those of you who have seen the movie, my favorite scene is the montage where he’s trying to woo Andie MacDowell’s character and trying to walk the fine line between interested and creepy (given that he knows everything about her by the time the twentieth day rolls around).

Anyhow, I LOVE Groundhog Day, but  I have mixed feelings about winter. Especially winter in California. See, we’re in the middle of a drought here (apparently on track to be the worst one in 500 years!), and I know this summer is going to be just awful, but right now, in the early days of February, it’s 70 degrees and sunny. We ride bikes and go on hikes every weekend. We play in the park. We draw with chalk on the sidewalks and wear short-sleeved shirts. It’s wonderful, and yet I feel guilty. Guilty because the polar vortex is gripping the rest of the nation, and everyone is buried in snow and the wind chill makes New York City feel like it’s -30 degrees and it’s not really fair that here it’s so beautiful outside right now with the chirping birds and the sun shining and the trees blooming.

I know I don’t control the weather, but I feel guilty anyway. (Why is it that we can feel guilty about something over which we have no control?)

So to assuage my guilt, I’m doing a giveaway. Tell me what you feel guilty about for no reason at all, and I’ll choose one random commenter to win Toni Blake’s Holly Lane, which is chock-full of snow and blizzards and wintery scenes. U.S. only, please, and you must be signed up for my newsletter to win. Contest ends Thursday,  February 6 at 9pm Pacific.

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ButtonsMom2003 is the winner!

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Fall is so different in NorCal than it is in New England. It starts later, for one. And it just doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t smell the same, either. No wood burning fires, no damp, crushed leaves underfoot–at least not for a long while. But the autumn winds are starting to blow and our neighbor has wind chimes. A little taste of home.

But we really need to get down to business because release day for Christmas in Tahoe is coming up fast! Last week I shared the back cover copy, and this week, I have an excerpt for you. But first, a little set up:

Our heroine, Ann Smith, is an actuary. Yes, an actuary. And our hero, Chase Deckert, is a snowboarding instructor. Her job is to calculate risk, and you can probably guess that as far as living goes, she’s quite risk-averse. He risks his life every time he carves up the avalanche-prone backcountry slopes. A match made in heaven, right?

Well, kinda, yeah. Because she’s not as risk-averse as she seems, and he’s not as risky as he appears, and together, they just work. Trust me on this.

So back to that excerpt. As you know, when I’ve done first excerpts in the past, I like to start at the beginning. And without further ado, here we go!

Christmas in Tahoe by Elisabeth Barrett

Chapter 1

“Mandy, please don’t do this to me,” Ann Smith muttered to herself as she scanned One World Insurance’s well-maintained parking lot for her ride. “Not right before Christmas.”

But Mandy Aligheri’s little blue Prius was nowhere to be seen. Just the usual panoply of sedans, minivans and SUVs.

And a handsome guy sporting a beard, leaning on a huge truck.

Definitely not her ride.

Her gaze slid over him and toward the entrance to the parking lot. Still no Mandy. It was just like her friend to be late, a pattern since college. They used to joke that if they combined Ann, who was always early, and Mandy, who was always late, they’d make one person who was always perfectly on time.

Oh no. One of her colleagues—a guy named Nick who frequently worked on her team—was approaching, and Ann held her breath. With her monstrous pocketbook and her skis in one arm and a giant roller bag on the other, there wasn’t a lot of room to maneuver on the path leading up to her office building.

Of course, Nick came right up to her. “You okay?”

“Yes.” Short and sweet, the way she always answered.

“Going to Tahoe?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” Nick sidestepped her and her bags, gave her a nod, and said, “Glad you’re getting away for the holiday. Have a great trip, and Merry Christmas.”

Releasing her breath, she nodded back. “Thanks. Same to you.” Nick disappeared into the building. And thanks for not dragging me into a ten-minute-long discussion about how I’m doing.

Just as she was pulling her phone out of her voluminous bag to see if she’d missed any messages, Huge Truck Guy peeled himself off his truck and started walking directly towards her.

“You Ann?” he said. Even from twenty feet away his voice carried, a deep masculine rumble.

She nodded stiffly.

“I’m Chase,” he said, holding out a hand. “Mandy asked me to come pick you up.”

Reluctantly, she shifted her skis to her left side and took his hand. Rough fingers slid over hers and gripped her palm. Strong. And warm.

And it wasn’t just his fingers that were rough. It was the whole package. He had on worn jeans and a crewneck sweater, and he was wearing a pair of hiking boots. His hair was a thick, midnight black and so was his beard—somewhere between a five-o’clock shadow and full-on lumberjack, but short enough to display his strong jaw and lean cheekbones to perfection. His eyes were almost as dark as his hair, and they were filled with intelligence.

A crazy pattern of heat played a samba on her skin. When she closed her eyes to get her bearings, kaleidoscope colors flashed behind her lids. Was she having a stroke? The likelihood of that happening given her age, sex, and overall health was less than one percent, as were the odds that she was having a heart attack. Tumor was another possibility, but that was ever rarer, clocking in at zero-point-fifty-five percent probability.

Dawning awareness crept over her and, shocked, she blinked once. Then twice. For this was something that couldn’t be predicted with any probability whatsoever. Something so creaky and rusted from disuse she couldn’t even recognize it for what it was.

Desire.

Excerpt from Christmas in Tahoe by Elisabeth Barrett (c) 2013

What do you think?

There’s a lot more coming. Next Monday, the cover will be revealed on Heroes & Heartbreakers, and if you sign up for my newsletter, there’s going to be an exclusive excerpt. Maybe even the whole first chapter!

And of course, there must be a giveaway! Because I am SO excited about this book, I will send one lucky commenter an official, digital copy on November 11th (release day)! Just let me know what risk have you taken, and why (and whether it turned out well, if you want to share that much) and you’ll be entered to win. Contest ends Thursday, October 31st at midnight Pacific time (boo!), and the winner will be announced on Friday. No geographical restrictions since the winner will be receiving a digital copy of the book.

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Now that things have settled down with the release of Slow Summer Burn, I’ve returned to Romance at Random with my regular monthly guest post. This month, I’m talking about the beginning of fall. There are pumpkins! And wild turkeys! Check it out!

So that’s the virtual, but there is a way to see me in person if you live in Northern California. Along with the lovely Jennifer Ryan, I’ll be hosting a “date night” talk about my writing and giving a reading from Long Simmering Spring at the Village House of Books Grand Opening Week Celebration! There will be books! There will be giveaways! In other words, this is one evening you don’t want to miss. The event is on October, 24, 2013 at 7pm in Los Gatos, California. Please check my appearances page for more details!

And popular opinion has spoken. I’ll be back next Monday for a time-sensitive giveaway. And you’ll just have to join me then to find out what that means!

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The contest is over and the winners are Pat and Melody May! I’ll be contacting you to get you your prizes! 

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Things at the Barrett house have been crazy, what with work, writing, kids, school projects, my own projects, birthdays, anniversaries, and oh, yes, the release of Blaze of Winter (yay!). It is not a coincidence that today I’m at Romance @ Random with a post entitled De-Stressing in Autumn. In it, I lay out five steps I’m going to take to help me relax. They are:

(1) Set aside some serious reading time.

(2) Take a walk outside in the crisp, fall air.

(3) Bake something autumnal.

(4) Listen to my favorite fall music.

(5) Try not to get wrapped up in the little things.

I think these are good first steps, and I want to start on them immediately because goodness knows things aren’t going to get less stressful as we head into holiday season. In fact, I already began by baking pumpkin bread and banana raisin muffins (which admittedly aren’t the most autumnal, but certainly do smell good). I’d love it if you stopped by here or at R@R to give me your best tips on how to relax!

On the writing front, things are going well, but never as quickly as I would like. I’m about halfway through Slow Summer Burn (Star Harbor #4), and I just got edits back for Long Simmering Spring (Star Harbor #3). I’d like to have everything done by the end of 2012, which is extremely ambitious with my work/family schedule. We shall see how things play out.To make everyone (including myself) a little less stressed out, I’m doing another giveaway! Hooray, a giveaway! (See, I’m less stressed already!) I have tons more book goodies from RWA and one copy of Robyn Carr’s Sunrise Point that went unclaimed during my last giveaway. I’ll give two winners a couple of books each from my awesome romance stash.

Rules:

(1) Winner must be a member of my mailing list. Please sign up for my mailing list here.

(2) In the comments section below, tell me what you do to relax.

(3) TWO random commenters will be selected.

(4) U.S. only, please! (I’ll be shipping paperbacks).

(5) Contest ends 10/21 at 9pm, PDT.

Good luck! I can’t wait to hear from you!

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The Random House blog hop is over, and so is my contest. I have chosen three winners for the Blaze Of Winter ARCs (randomly, using one of those random picker things), and they are: Gale D. Sroelov, Karen Phillips and Donna Sing. Thank you to everyone who left a comment, and please stay tuned for more contests!

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Oh, Labor Day! When I was really young, the first day of school was always the Wednesday after Labor Day.  As I got a bit older, the district moved up the start date to just before Labor Day weekend…this made no sense to me but I guess it let the kids get acclimated to school before taking a breather. I always marched proudly in our town’s Labor Day parade wearing my Girl Scout uniform (is anyone surprised that I was a Girl Scout? No?). Regardless, Labor Day was always bittersweet for me, and not just because it was the last day (until May of the following year) that I was allowed to wear white. Or seersucker. All kidding aside, I always thought of Labor Day as summer’s last hurrah—the last barbeque, last long walk on the beach, and the last lazy day to lie in the grass before fall would sweep me up in school, events, and crisp, brisk weather.

To commemorate the holiday (which honors the economic contributions of workers in our country), I’m very happy to be participating in this blog hop, which also commemorates the release of my second novel, Blaze of Winter. This book was one of my favorites to write because it features a sexy-as-hell author of swashbuckling adventure novels named Theo Grayson. When he takes a room at the Star Harbor Inn, Theo thinks he’s going to get some peace and quiet. He finds something else entirely—a gorgeous, guarded social worker who seems to be hiding out. Slowly, Theo breaks down Avery’s defenses until she has no choice but to fall in love with him.

*Sigh*

If you’re interested in reading an excerpt of Blaze of Winter, click here. You can also buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore (Apple)

So, back to the goodies! Random House is giving away some great prizes, including:

  • 10 Free romance books
  • 1 Grand Prize $25 Book eGift Certificate
  • 5 President Winner Prizes – Author Elisabeth Barrett will create a personalized promo prize pack

Sixteen prizes in total, and yes, you read that right! I’m preparing a personalized promo prize pack for five of the lucky winners! The contest ends on 9/15, so get hopping!

How do you enter?

Since I can’t, for the life of me, get the Rafflecopter entry form to appear on this site, please use this link to get to the Rafflecopter entry form.

Also, visit the other sites to get more chances to win!

1. Romance At Random 2. Ruthie Knox
3. Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews 4. Reading Reality
5. Storm Goddess Book Reviews 6. Manga Maniac Cafe
7. Full Moon Bites 8. Reading with Holly
9. Bookie’s Book Reviews 10. All Things Books
11. Good Choice Reading 12. The Write to Make a Living
13. The Book Diva 14. Bea’s Book Nook
15. Shawntelle Madison 16. Elisabeth Barrett
17. Socrates’ Book Review Blog 18. Shelley Munro
19. Insane Hussein Reviews 20. Books R Us
21. Jessica Scott 22. Book Flame
23. Manic Readers Guest Blog 24. My Book Addiction and More
25. SOS Aloha 26. Pump Up Your Book
27. Sharon Cullen 28. Under the Covers Book Blog
29. Musing Of A Bookworm 30. The Book Tart
31. Reviews by Molly 32. Laurie’s Thoughts & Reviews
33. Seductive Musings 34. Romance Junkies
35. Love To Read For Fun 36. Cassandra Carr
37. BookHounds 38. Otterwise
39. From the TBR Pile 40. Love Saves the World (INT)
41. Sharon Cullen 42. So You Think You Can Write
43. Babbles From Scott Eagan 44. Bronwyn’s Writing
45. TE Garden of Book Bloggers 46. Bookshelf Confessions
47. Review From Here 48. Celticlady’s Reviews
49. Labor Day Hop 50. Romantic Reads and Such
51. In Love with Romance 52. The Bookpushers
53. Reviewing Romance 54. Queen of The Night Reviews
55. Queen of All she Reads 56. Romantic Crush Junkie Reviews
57. Saucy & Sinful Reviews 58. Romancing the Book
59. Book Faery 60. Harlies Books
61. Love, Laughter, Friendship 62. Ramblings From This Chick
63. My Secret Romance 64. Rambling Reads
65. Delighted Readers 66. suzy henderson
67. Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance 68. Blackraven’s Erotic Cafe
69. HEA Romances With a Little Kick 70. AJ’s Reading Nook
71. Blackraven’s Reviews 72. The Readers Roundtable
73. Dark Divas Reviews 74. T B R
75. Romance Book Club 76. Seaside Book Nook
77. Cheeky Reads 78. Mimmi’s Musings
79. Kindle Fever 80. Not Now…Mommy’s Reading
81. herding cats & burning soup 82. Kindles and Wine
83. Harlequin Junkie 84. Caribbean Accent Book Reviews
85. Sara Jane’s Eclectic Reading Blog 86. Sharon Hamilton Author
87. Coffey Brown Books 88. From the Bootheel Cotton Patch
89. Teena in Toronto 90. Me and Reading
91. The Romance Dish 92. All Things Books
93. Amber Kallyn 94. Book Review Diva
95. Leigh Ellwood 96. Me Want Food
97. Captain marketing 98. One Word At A Time, Joan Swan, Author
99. You’ve Been Hooked 100. The Things You Can Read
101. The Autumn Review

But wait, there’s more!

In addition to the prizes Random House is offering through the hop, I’m personally giving away 3 signed ARC copies of Blaze of Winter by Elisabeth Barrett. For your chance to win, in the comments section, please tell me the greatest thing you did this summer.

And because this is official, here are the rules for my giveaway (for Random House’s giveaway rules, go to their official blog hop page):

Rules:

(1) Winner must be a member of my mailing list. Please sign up for my mailing list here.

(2) In the comments section below, tell me the greatest thing you did this summer.

(3) Three random commenters will be selected.

(4) U.S. only, please! (I’ll be shipping paperbacks).

(5) Contest ends 9/15 at midnight, PDT.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day, all! Are you wearing green?

I’m featured today on Romance at Random, talking with other Loveswept authors about our thoughts on spring! I looove springtime and have written about what the season means to me, as well as to the characters in Long Simmering Spring, my current WIP and the third book in the Star Harbor Series.

Please stop by to see what everyone has written. Some blurbs are downright hilarious, and others are just beautiful – a real slice of the season.

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