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I have a very special post today. Jules Barnard, an all-around awesome woman and a fellow Roguer, asked me to help with the cover reveal for Blue Crush, the second book in her Blue Series which releases on June 3rd. Jules writes new adult fiction, and this series is set in Tahoe (yay!). I don’t get to do these too often, and even less frequently for a friend, so I’m quite excited. Without further ado, here is the cover:

BlueCrush Amazon GR SW

Gorgeous, no?

And Jules has been kind enough to provide the back cover copy:

Blue Crush (Blue Series, Book #2) 

On the cusp of a humiliating breakup from the safe, conservative boyfriend, who ended up betraying her, Genevieve Tierney moves to Lake Tahoe with her best friend after college to lick her romantic wounds. Earning cash at one of Lake Tahoe’s lucrative casinos before grad school in the fall and keeping a safe distance from cheating jerks seems like a good plan, until she meets the one guy tempting enough to drag her back down. 

Lewis Sallee is six and a half feet of perfectly sculpted mountain man, who captures Gen’s attention from the moment he walks in the door. Her play-it-safe approach to relationships flies out the window as Lewis’s presence awakens a sex drive she never knew she had. Lewis is in a complicated relationship with one of the most beautiful women Gen has ever seen, and despite all logical reasons to stay away—and she’s a logic devotee—Gen can’t seem to control her body’s attraction to him.  

Feeling like a magnet for the worst sort of guys, Gen’s desperate to win the battle for self-control around Lewis and put the sleazy casino men pestering her in their place. To boost her confidence, Gen steps out of her comfort zone and signs up for the Alpine Mudder, a gritty endurance race. But as she prepares for one of the biggest physical challenges of her life, her emotional strength is pushed to its limits when she needs Lewis’s help to train. He tests her willpower and has her fighting her body’s attraction—with her mind and heart not far behind.  

 

JulesBarnard_editedAbout Author Jules Barnard

Jules Barnard is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended UC Davis, whose college landscape often finds its way into her New Adult novels. She has a Master’s degree and spent many an hour running statistical analysis, until she realized her favorite part of the job was writing reports. She decided to cut out the math and add in some hot guys, and so began her career as a novelist.

Jules is a Northern California native living on the coast with her husband and two children. She has no impulse control around cupcakes and credits herself with the ability to read while running on the treadmill or burning dinner.

www.julesbarnard.com

 

 

Yay, Jules!

And because this is a special post, I’m giving away a special book — one digital copy of the first in Jules Barnard’s Blue series, Deep Blue. To enter, just leave a comment letting me know what you think about the cover, and you’ll be entered to win. The contest is open to everyone and ends Thursday, April 17 at 9pm Pacific.

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Brenda Hook is this week’s winner. Thanks for your comments!

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Starting a new book always feels a little weird to me. There’s so much to hash out, so much to think about, and I’m often torn between plotting and just writing. I spent a week-and-change plotting and jotting down ideas for the novella I’m working on, and starting tomorrow, I’m going to be back on a pretty strict schedule until I finish. I’m excited to get back into the (writing) swing of things, even though it’s only been just over a week since I was in full-on writing mode. So, yay!

In life-news, I recently re-watched the 1996 Kate Beckinsale version of Emma, which I like fairly well. I don’t often have time to watch TV or movies or really anything, since I have a pretty full schedule, but when I do get a few free moments, I typically go for what Mr. B affectionately refers to as “wigmen” shows, since many of the characters wear wigs. Anyway, I like this version of Emma because Mark Strong is so severe as Mr. Knightley, and the age difference is pretty believable. I felt that difference less in the 2009 Romola Garai version, with Jonny Lee Miller (she was great and I liked his acting, but I felt he wasn’t forbidding enough). At any rate, I actually like Kate Beckinsale as an actress, and I thought this version was rich and credible.  I like both versions much better than Gwyneth Paltrow’s 1996 version. They’re a little less glossy, but that adds to their charm. For those of who who’ve seen these movies, feel free to weigh in? Which do you like, and why? And for those of you who don’t watch “wigmen” stuff, what other movies do you compare/contrast?

And for this week’s giveaway, and sort of in keeping with the theme, I have two books (not versions) in one: Midnight Special by Tawny Weber, which also contains Coming on Strong. Leave a comment, and one winner will be chosen at random. U.S. only, please. Contest ends Thursday, March 13th at 9pm Pacific.

p.s. Blaze of Winter is still on sale!

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Ann Waters is this week’s winner! Thanks to everyone who commented!

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So Blaze of Winter is still on sale for 99 cents (grab it while it’s hot), and I have news. Last week, I told you I really, really, really wanted to get that Connecticut contemporary manuscript finished, to the point of saying it will happen. Guess what? It did.

Aw yeah.

I finished it up early–Wednesday!–and promptly sent it to my awesome agent to see what she thinks. Fingers crossed she loves it as much as I do.

I spent the latter part of the week brainstorming for my next book, and writing down everything I could think of to make this book gel, but it just . . . wasn’t. I had the heroine (Mandy, from Christmas in Tahoe), but nothing else. It was making me nuts, until I kind of wrote off Friday and just dealt with life and the kids and other stuff.

Then, when Mr. B and I were talking about the (failed) brainstorming, he inadvertently gave me a gem of an idea that I think might *just* be the hook for this book. He didn’t even realize he’d done it until I started jumping around and raced for my laptop. We’ll see how it develops. I’m having dinner on Wednesday with two of my best pals, who are fabulous sounding boards for this kind of stuff, and if it passes their tests, we’re a go!

So this week’s giveaway question deals exactly with what I experienced this weekend: Have you ever had someone say something in passing that gave you an awesome idea? Drop a comment below and I’ll send you a paperback copy of Sabrina Jeffries’s What the Duke Desires . . . ’cause it’s still winter and it’s fun to curl up with a great historical when it’s freezing outside! U.S. only, please. Contest ends Thursday, March 6th at 9pm Pacific.

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Thanks to everyone who commented! Lisa Downs is this week’s winner!

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Hey, all. Long time no blog. I’ve been crazy life-busy over the last two weeks, with work, spring break for my oldest, visits from relatives, and doing a lot of solo parenting (Mr. B has had a lot of work lately). This weekend I was supermom. Seriously. Super. Mom. Here’s a partial list of what the kids and I did:

*made banana-chocolate-chip muffins
*visited the SF Zoo
*hiked and sketched the tidepools at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
*rode bikes for hours
*went grocery shopping
*practiced telling time
*read tons of books
*went on a bug hunt (no bugs were harmed)
*built awesome Lego stuff
*had fun

It’s tough making all three of the kids happy, but I did my best. And I really wore them out. On both days I had them solo, they fell asleep as soon as their little heads touched their clean pillowcases (I also did 7 loads of laundry. And made homemade meatballs.). Mmm . . .  I keep saying supermom, but really I should just say crazy.

Unsurprisingly, the kids aren’t the only ones who are worn out, but mama can’t take a break because I need to edit the first book in my Connecticut contemporary series, which needs some tweaking before it goes to my agent. This tweaking will happen this week since all three kids are in school and I only have one relative visiting. See what I did there? I put it in bold so it will happen. There. I did it again.

I’ll check in with you next Monday to let you know how it all turns out.

I’m really anxious to finish up this book, not just because people are waiting for it, but because there are other things I am chomping at the bit to write, and I want to get this off my desk before I start on something new. I wonder, do most people work on lots of different projects at once, or do they work on one at a time? In life, I juggle many things and don’t mind working on tons at once, but with writing, I like just one project. Strange, huh?

Anyhow, a giveaway is in order. This week, it’s a signed copy of Rachel Gibson’s Rescue Me. Let me know what will happen for you this week in the comments and you’ll be entered to win. It’s a paperback, so US only, please. Contest ends Thursday, February 27, at 9pm Pacific.

Also, Blaze of Winter, featuring the fabulous Theo Grayson, is on sale for two weeks for 99 cents. Please pass the word along!!

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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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The winners are bn100, Kimberly Dawn, and mamawj99. Your books are winging their way through the interwebs as I write! Thanks again for joining me!

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Star Harbor Series CoverToday, I am super excited to announce that you can now have a Grayson brother for every season in one package! That’s right! Seb, Theo, Cole and Val are all in one four-book bundle, because the Star Harbor Four-Book Bundle set, including Deep Autumn Heat, Blaze of Winter, Long Simmering Spring, and Slow Summer Burn is officially on sale as of today! It’s selling for $8.99 (a steal, given that each book alone is typically $2.99), but you can get it at Google Play and Amazon for even cheaper at $7.69 (an even bigger steal!). This is the perfect chance for you to introduce your friends to the Graysons of Star Harbor!

Buy links are here: Amazon | Barnes & NobleApple | Google | Other Places

FLASH GIVEAWAY:

We’re doing something a little different today. Typically, Monday giveaways run until Thursday evening, but this giveaway is only 12 hours long! In honor of the fact that Long Simmering Spring is still on sale for 99 cents, I’m going to give away three digital copies of the book! Like I said, the contest ends today, so sign up for my newsletter here and be quick with your comments because it will wrap up tonight at 9pm and books will be sent immediately. Please use the email you want the book sent to (won’t be made public) and your reader of choice (will be made public). International entries okay, since it’s all digital!

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Thanks so much to everyone who commented! Donna is this week’s winner!

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I’ve been with the kids all day (thank you, MLK, for making this country a better place!), but I had to check in this week to tell you that I am up to my earlobes in paper, but it’s all good because this paper is getting organized and most of it is going out the door.

I’m talking full-on organization/filing/recycling/etc. which is quite timely because last Saturday, I gave a talk at the Silicon Valley RWA about organizing. It happened to be about organizing time to write, which was also timely because it’s the new year (goal-setting, resolutions, etc.), and I have noticed that when different aspects of my life start overlapping it’s time to sit up and pay attention. As an aside, I did get a lot of great comments on my talk, which I’m really happy about. Organization is not a one-size-fits-all prospect, especially as it pertains to writing, and one of the main messages I tried to get across was that you need to do what works for you to keep moving forward.

So, anyway, back to the paying attention: After I dove head-first into my filing cabinet of doom and began pitching papers right and left, I started to wonder what else the universe was telling me. I definitely heard Mr. B telling me he could see the dresser because I’ve been doing a great job of giving away all my swag, which is awesome, but as for the universe, I’m not sure yet. I think I have to listen harder. If I hear anything, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, this week’s giveaway is for Jennifer Ryan‘s Lucky Like UsJenn is one of my very good friends and fellow Roguer, and I’m very happy to be sending book 2 in her Hunted Series out into the wide, wide country for someone to enjoy. Contest ends Thursday,  January 23 at 9pm Pacific. U.S. only, please, and you need to be signed up for my newsletter to win. Just let me know if the universe has told you something interesting lately! :)

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This week’s winner is Susie! Thanks to everyone who left a comment. Stay tuned for more giveaway fun next week! 

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What is it about the word “sale” that makes us perk up our ears? When I hear it, I automatically give whatever is on sale a second look. This happens most frequently in the stores I love–cooking supply stores, like Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma. Something in my brain pings a little and I think insane things like, Wow, I could really use that extra ball of kitchen twine, or It doesn’t matter if I have a perfectly good cheese grater; that one has three sides!, or Another KitchenAid utility stand mixer won’t take up *that* much room on the counter.

And then, typically, I end up coming to my senses and not buying the thing I think I might need. And Mr. B is very happy with me because he is all about uncluttering our home and frugality and having counter space.

So, I’m pretty good about sales. Except when it comes to books. I always buy those, especially if they’re on sale.

I only mention this because Long Simmering Spring is on sale for 99 cents for the next couple of weeks, and you should definitely buy it (if you haven’t already, which, if you’re reading this blog, you probably already have) because Cole is super awesome, and Cole and Julie together are h-o-t and that is all I will say about that because you should just go read the blurb already.

Did I mention Cole is super awesome?

Also, did I mention I’m doing another giveaway? Gotta get things uncluttered for Mr. B! Talk to me about uncluttering your space. I know it’s a little early for spring cleaning, but I need inspiration! Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win! This week, I’m giving away a copy of A Rogue by Any Other Name by the amazing Sarah MacLean. You want this. Contest ends Thursday, January 16, at 9pm Pacific, and winners will be announced on Friday. US only, since this is a paperback.

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Thanks to everyone who left a comment! Vickie Dailey and Barbara Hopkins are the winners! 

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Happy New Year! I’m very glad to be back after taking the last two weeks of December off for vacation. Mr. B and I took the kids to Los Angeles. We skipped Disney, but had all sorts of other excellent adventures. My oldest is really into art, so we hauled over to the new Getty, and let him sketch to his heart’s content. Of course the little two followed suit, so I have a ton of photos of all three of them spread out in every single gallery, sketching away in their pads. We also visited the Peterson Automobile Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits (huge hit!), the beach, the Griffith Observatory, the Santa Monica Pier, and on our way back north, the Mission at Santa Barbara. Did I mention we drove? Oh, yes. We drove–our longest road trip to date, and all in all, I’d say it went really well. It was a really nice way to close out a very busy year.

Writing-wise, things were very busy. I had three releases in 2013 . . . the third and fourth Star Harbor books, Long Simmering Spring and Slow Summer Burn, as well as a holiday novella, Christmas in TahoeAlthough I only have one release currently slated for 2014 (an omnibus of the Star Harbor series containing all four Star Harbor books, which is on sale January 27th), there may be others, so stay tuned for news! Releases aside, I have an ambitious writing schedule ahead, including the first two books of my Connecticut contemporary series, as well as another novella! And I have a few speaking engagements and appearances scheduled so far, including later this month at Silicon Valley RWA, and at the Redwood Writers Conference up in Sonoma in April. I’ll also definitely be at the big national RWA conference in San Antonio in July.

I didn’t make goals for 2014, per se. I just did a detailed analysis of my work schedule, built the writing into it, and am going to hope for the best! We’ll just have to see whether I get it all done when I check in next January, but I’m optimistic. After all, most of the talks I give are on organizing time to write, so I’d better be good at organizing my own time!

One thing I absolutely must do is give away my huge pile of books/swag. I know I’ve said this before, but these books are taking up most of the available space on my dresser, and I think Mr. B is getting rather annoyed by the clutter. So let me welcome in the new year by giving away two (2) copies of Emily March’s excellent Reflection Point. Love this series, love this woman, and contemporary small town romance is the perfect way to start off 2014! Leave a comment letting me know if you have made any resolutions this year (or if you believe resolutions are simply made to be broken!). Contest ends Thursday, January 9 at 9pm Pacific and winners will be announced on Friday. U.S. only, please, since these are paperbacks!

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Sarit – you’re the winner! Thanks to everyone who commented!

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First of all, thank you all for making release week for Christmas in Tahoe such a success. It’s still not up at iTunes yet (I’m working on it), but the launch was successful at  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. The book got some lovely reviews (Heroes & Heartbreakers and Guilty Pleasures, to name just two), and readers seem to be responding really positively to the work, which makes me very, very happy!

So now I’m back to my regularly scheduled life, which means writing, teaching, ferrying children around to school, activities, and appointments, and generally not taking care of myself (more on this in a bit). I have two writing projects I’m *really* jazzed about . . . one is that Connecticut contemporary I’ve been talking about for a while. I’m about 40K words into that, but I temporarily set it aside to get out Christmas in Tahoe, and I’m super psyched to get back to it. The other is Tahoe‘s follow-up novella, which I’ve started to map out.

But . . . and this is a big but . . . during release week, my mentality shifted. Not a huge shift, but enough to make me realize that for most of October and the first couple of weeks of November (in essence, while I prepped for Tahoe‘s launch), I completely neglected myself in every possible way. And I needed to do something about it. Those who know me well know that I am a take-action kind of gal (sometimes this gets me into trouble). But my point is that I was going to act, instead of thinking about acting.

This is what I did: On Saturday morning, I woke up and got my kids breakfast. Then I rummaged around my room for my exercise clothing. It took a long time to find everything. Not a good sign, but I persevered. I ended up wearing a pair of street leggings, but I put them on because I was wasting time trying to find my exercise leggings. Then, before I could lose my nerve, I told Mr. B where I was going and ran out the door. Yes, that’s right. Ran.

I was going to run around my neighborhood once. It’s a horseshoe-shaped street that hooks onto a larger road, and I thought, “okay, I’ll just run around the block once and call it good.” But as I ran to the main road, I thought, “go big or go home.” So instead of going around my tiny neighborhood, I ran around the big block. I wasn’t sure how fast I should go, or if I’d even make it around the big block (I’d clocked it before with my car’s odometer as being a mile), but I started it anyway. My goal was to keep running, no matter how long it took, and not to stop. That was it. Don’t stop. Keep going.

Immediately, my glasses fogged up, I started breathing really hard, and my chest started to hurt, but I didn’t stop. Not even when the sweat slipped down into my eyes.

I wanted to give up so many times, but the one thing that kept going through my mind was that this stupid run around the block was a metaphor for EVERYTHING in my life. Don’t stop. Keep going.

So I did.

I made it home in one piece, but I’m embarrassed to say I promptly collapsed on the living room couch. My kids crowded around me. “What’s wrong with mommy?” one of them said. “Why is her face all wet?” said another. (This is how often they see me exercise.). Mr. B came and gently shooed them all away and kept them occupied while I collected myself.

I tell you this in the hopes that if I tell as many people as possible that I’m trying to turn over a new leaf — not so much in terms of the mentality to keep going, but the idea that I can take care of myself, in addition to taking care of everything/everyone else–then it’ll actually happen. So I’ll keep at it, and keep you posted.

And just for getting to the bottom of this ramble, I’m doing another giveaway! Because release week went so well, I’m giving out a bonus digital copy of Christmas in Tahoe to one lucky commenter. In the spirit of taking action, tell me what you’ve done recently for yourself. Contest ends Thursday, November 21st at 9pm Pacific.

Oh, and one more thing: Slow Summer Burn still seems to be on sale everywhere for 99 cents. Enjoy it while it lasts!

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