Welcome to the thirty-first day of my Almost Heaven West Virginia Blog Bash.
Welcome to all my followers and visitors, I have been having a month-long celebration in my husbands honor. My husband Denny is retiring from the Navy after serving for 24 years. We are packing up one last time and moving back to his home state of Wild Wonderful West Virginia, we still have a lot of packing yet to do. Each post will start off with a picture to showcase West Virginia. Everyday their will be a prize up for grabs and at the end we’ll be giving away some chocolate.
Coalwood has hosted an anual festival to celebrate celebrates the three years, 1957 to 1960
when author and former NASA engineer Homer Hickam and his friends launched rockets while in high school. They eventually won a national science fair.
Hickam’s novel, “Rocket Boys,” is about those experiences and growing up in Coalwood. The book was adapted into the 1999 movie “October Sky.”
The Cape Coalwood Restoration Association just announced 2 days agao that they have cancelled the festival. Such a shame but planning the festival takes time and energy.
Please follow the rules posted at the end of each post to enter the daily contests and remember you don’t have to subscribe to win but I hope you decide to stick around. Also any post that contain super erotic material will carry the warning label so as not to shock or offend anyone upon opening.
I’d like to say I always wanted to be a writer, but that’s not the case. First I wanted to be a teacher. When I was a kid I used to play school in my friend’s basement. She had actual school desks—and index cards. I’m a list maker, so those index cards rocked my world. Then later on, I wanted to be a nurse. My other friend had a stethoscope and a medical book. I had a thing for props, okay?
But during my early teen years my cousin and I—back in the day before the internet (yes, I am that old)—would exchange scripts we’d written of a popular TV show. No, I won’t tell you which TV show because then you’d know how old I really am. But it was a western with two gorgeous cowboy heroes and we were each in love with one of the main characters. I’d say that was my first foray into writing, and it got me hooked.
As an adult, marriage, work and raising two sons took priority. And while I fell madly in love with reading romance, there wasn’t much time to write it. It’s amazing how much corporate life, soccer games, high school musicals, dinner and laundry can suck out of the average day. But I would occasionally dabble in writing, then put it aside when I got busy. Unfortunately, I was always busy.
Eventually my kids grew up and I was on my second marriage when Biker Dude (what I call my husband because of his love for his Harley Davidson) found out I used to dabble in writing and encouraged me to try again. So I did. It was a romance and I targeted it for Harlequin. Because hey, everyone wants to write for Harlequin. Okay, not everyone, but I’d read so many Harlequin romances over the years I knew this was a publisher I wanted to write for. So I submitted my very first book to them. They rejected it. I wrote another book. Sent it to Harlequin. They rejected it. Fortunately, I take rejection very well. I kept writing. And submitting.
Eventually I sold my first book (not to Harlequin) in 2003, and kept writing and selling books. I’ve been so fortunate. I have a wonderful agent and write for multiple publishers. In 2010 I made the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists. As of the end of 2010 I’ve published forty-five books and am contracted to write ten more.
And guess what? I finally sold to Harlequin, for their MIRA single title line. It was a dream come true for me, one I wanted for so many years. Writing is my full time career and something I love so much I can’t imagine a day that isn’t filled with hot, sexy heroes who save the day, strong, capable heroines who don’t need a man to save them, and the happily ever afters in every book.
Sometimes I even write about teachers and nurses. And hot cowboys.
I live in northeast Oklahoma with Biker Dude and our five dogs. Between us we have three kids who are all grown up and living out in the wild. When I’m not writing I can usually be found in the garden, coaxing the tomatoes to grow, or riding on the back of Biker Dude’s Harley, plotting a book or simply watching the scenery go by. And when I really want to relax I read other authors’ masterpieces or I’m parked in front of the television because I’m a reality TV addict.
Welcome to my world.
Jaci was another author I was trilled to finally meet in person. Yep Jaci is also on the Writeminded Readers yahoo group. I got to meet her at this last years RWA in NYC.
The Kent Brothers Series
» The Kent Brothers series is a contemporary romance series set in a small southern Missouri town. It’s about three brothers—the oldest Wyatt, middle brother Brody, and youngest Ethan, who run their family’s construction company, passed down to them by their now retired father.
» While a tight knit family, the brothers don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything. But when their backs are against the wall or one brother is in crisis, they’ll be there for each other, no matter what. The have two parents they can count on to give advice when needed.
» And when they meet the woman of their dreams, it may be a rocky road to happily-ever-after, but once they get there, it’s forever.
Kent Brothers Book 2 With a disastrous marriage behind him, Wyatt Kent has no interest in getting involved with any woman, let alone his ex-wife’s younger sister. But when Calliope Andrews hires him to build an addition onto her daycare center, Wyatt can’t help but notice she’s a desirable woman, as warm and funny as his ex was cold and aloof.
Calliope fell hard for Wyatt the first time he walked through the door of her family’s home, and can’t believe her sister let him get away. He’s still the star of all her fantasies, and she’s determined to prove to him she’s nothing like his manipulative ex. Wyatt may be all business, but Calliope sees the way he looks at her when he’s supposed to be working…
It’s not long before Wyatt and Calliope are keeping each other warm on cold December nights. But it’s going to take a Christmas miracle for Wyatt to put his trust in love a second time.
Wyatt Kent stood outside Small Hands Day Care Center, debating whether or not he could actually go inside.
He was no coward, but it wasn’t often he was faced with something like this.
He was about to give a bid on a construction job for his ex-wife’s younger sister.
How he’d gotten stuck with this he didn’t know. That was what he got for not paying attention in meetings. He’d been bulldozed by his two brothers along with Tori, Kent Construction’s oh-so-efficient but manipulative office manager.
“No big deal, Wyatt.”
“Calliope Andrews is nothing like your ex-wife, Cassandra.”
“No one else can do the project, Wyatt. It’s either you or the job doesn’t get done.”
Might as well suck it up and get this over with. The wood-frame house was painted shocking blue and blinding white. The sign out in the front yard was plastered with a bunch of multicolored handprints.
So it was cute. The house needed a new coat of paint. Probably would need a new roof within the next year or two, too. But that wasn’t his problem. He stood at the end of the walkway and watched the endless parade of parents driving up to the side of the house. The side door opened, parents dashed in to retrieve kids, then the car drove through to the back alley and the next car pulled up.
Wyatt went up to the front door and rang the bell, then waited for someone to answer. And waited. And waited. He tried the door, figuring he’d let himself in, but it was locked.
He went around to the side and was halted by a tall, thick woman with short cropped black hair and likely more muscles than he had. She wore jeans and a T-shirt and looked more like a wrestler than a day care worker.
She frowned, gave him the head-to-toe once-over.
“Who are you?”
“Wyatt Kent. I have an appointment with Calliope Andrews.”
She laid her hand on his chest to keep him in place. “Stay here. Miss Calliope, there’s a Wyatt Kent here. Says he’s supposed to meet with you.”
“Oh, that’s right. It’s okay, Beth. I’m expecting him.”
Beth tossed a thumb over her shoulder. “Go on back. You’re in my way.”
“Go on back where?”
Wyatt nodded and dodged a bunch of giggling little girls on his way. They were a few years younger than his eight-year-old niece, Zoey, but they were all dressed in pink—Zoey’s favorite color.
Most of the kids must have gone home by now. With the exception of a few stragglers dashing by him on his way down the hall, the place had gone quiet. He found the room Beth had directed him to. It was fairly small and completely empty.
A playroom, it was stuffed with overflowing bookshelves and toys and tables and a giant castle.
He stood in the middle of the room, figuring Calliope had stepped out.
Until he heard a rustling in the castle, then a groan. He turned around and saw one very attractive, jeans-clad butt attempting to back out of the castle opening.
“I swear if my butt gets any bigger I’m not going to be able to clean the toys out of this thing and we’ll need to get a bigger castle.”
He disagreed. She had a great ass.
She flung toys over her shoulder while Wyatt stood there, feeling sort of inept.
“You need some help there?”
She stilled, her head jerked up and she bumped it against the opening. “Ow. Dammit.” She rubbed the wild curls on top of her head, then backed all the way out and sat on the floor, adjusted the tortoise-shell glasses that had ridden down the bridge of her very cute nose.
“Wyatt. I thought you were Beth. You’re not Beth.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Sorry. I was cleaning up in here.” She pushed off her knees and stood, adjusting her shirt over some very full breasts and grinned at him. “I’m so glad you’re here. Let’s go to my office where it’s a little less insane.”
The last time Wyatt had seen Calliope Andrews, he’d still been married to her older sister Cassandra, and Calliope had been—hell, in college? Maybe nineteen or twenty, at most, was his guess. She’d been chubby, her hair a corkscrew of untamed brown curls, and she’d worn really ugly glasses. In short, she’d been a hot mess.
He followed her down the hall, watching the way her hips moved when she walked.
“Here we are.” She opened the door and led him into a small office. Her desk sat next to the window and there were a couple chairs on either side. He took one and she sat across from him instead of at her desk.
God, she was gorgeous.
But she wasn’t at all like Cassandra, who’d been tall, slender and blonde.
And the devil in disguise.
“Thank you for taking on this project, Wyatt.”
“No one else had the time.”
She quirked a brow, then grinned again. “So you’re stuck with me, then?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“You didn’t have to.” She laughed and didn’t seem at all offended. “I know this is probably hard for you, seeing as how you’ve managed to avoid me since I came to town.”
“I haven’t avoided you.”
“Yes, you have. But it’s okay. I understand why. You’re not very fond of my sister, and you think we’re exactly alike.” She patted his hand. “But trust me, I’m nothing like Cassie.”
He blinked, not sure he understood anything that had happened so far. He figured the two of them would dance around the topic of Cassandra, and here Calliope had said her name, torn open the wounds, making them bleed fresh, like it had happened yester…
“Wyatt. Wyatt.” She snapped her fingers. “You okay?”
“I’m fine.” He stood. “Let’s go see where you want this addition.”
“Sure.” She stood, too. “Surely you’re over her by now, aren’t you? I mean it’s been three years. She’s not worth mourning over for that long.”
Calliope opened the door to her office and walked down the same hallway they’d come from.
Her saying it that way made him feel foolish for feeling closed up and angry for three damn years over a woman who’d only cared about herself.
“You are over her, aren’t you?”
God, she was persistent. “Yeah. Over her.”
“Good. Because I want us to be friends.”
He stopped in the middle of the hall. “What?”
She stopped, too, turning and dipping her head back to look into his eyes.
Damn she had pretty eyes. Pretty hair. And she smelled good, too. He couldn’t figure out what she smelled like. Something that made him want to swipe his tongue across her neck.
And he sure as hell planned to stay away from Calliope.
Country singer Riley Jensen would never have returned to her small Missouri hometown if her publicist hadn’t come up with the scheme to tape a Christmas special there. So she never would have known that the man who broke her heart at eighteen—causing her to flee to Nashville—was now a widower with a seven-year-old daughter. Riley has ten years of angst-filled hit songs and Grammy awards to prove she doesn’t need Ethan Kent. But suddenly, she can’t help thinking of all she gave up by running away…
Ethan Kent knew Riley had the talent and the drive to make it as a singer. He also knew she wasn’t going anywhere if she stayed in their nowhere town for him. Then one night and one huge mistake sent her running on the road to fame. Which doesn’t mean he ever stopped loving her…
But with so much separating them, can Riley and Ethan find their way back together one magical country Christmas?
So let’s take a moment to ask Jaci our author questions before moving on to Jaci’s Play By Play series.
J: I choose the genres I want to write in. They’re typically the ones I love to read.
Z: What is your favorite comfort food?
J: Pizza. And chocolate.
Z: I’m having pizza for lunch followed by Deve Milk Chocolate.
Z: Do you have a comfort read? Tell us about it.
J: I read everything I could get my hands on growing up. We didn’t have a lot of money to buy books back then, so libraries were my friend (yay libraries!). I remember reading the Dark Shadows books, based on the old series, when I was a kid (You have to be pretty old to remember those–heh). It was my first foray into what I considered a vampire romantic series (wayyyy before Twilight!). I also read the back of cereal boxes while eating breakfast. 😉
Z: What is something that scares the heck out of you?
J: Losing people I love.
Z: If you could go on the Ultimate Vaca where would you go and who or what would go with you?
J: Any place that’s warm, with a sandy beach and an ocean. And as long as my husband is with me, and my iPad so I could read, I’d be perfectly content.
Z: Who are some of your favorite authors?
J: Oh, that list is so long. But I’ll name a few off the top of my head. Nora Roberts, Nalini Singh, Maya Banks, Shannon Stacey, Jill Shalvis, Julie James
Z: Research? How do you prefer to do it; plane/train/automobile, laptop or library?
J: I usually always attend the Romance Writer’s of America conference, which switches location every year. I don’t do many other conferences, but I have now and then.
Z: What do you like to drink, nibble on or listen to while you write?
Play by Play Series
» The Play by Play series is a steamy, sexy peek into the world of sports as seen through the Riley family. Mick Riley is a professional football player, his brother Gavin plays baseball. Their sister Jenna runs the family sports bar and doesn’t want anything to do with any guy involved with sports. Their parents are heavily involved in their lives and it’s a loving, tight knit family.
» I love sports. I have mad love for football, both pro as well as college. Come Fall you’ll find me planted in front of the television on the weekends to watch the Oklahoma Sooners play on Saturday and the St. Louis Rams play on Sunday. I grew up in St. Louis so Cardinals baseball has always been a big part of my life (Cardinals football was, too, before they moved to Arizona). I still remember as a kid watching one sport on television while my dad would listen to the other sport on the radio. I’m a big fan of NASCAR racing, and world cup soccer. My older son played soccer from the time he was five years old all the way through varsity soccer in high school. While I can’t catch a ball, kick a ball or throw a ball worth a damn, I love to watch it all.
» So having the chance to write a sports series has been a dream come true for me. And what better way to showcase my love for all things sports than to write this series. Hot, sexy, determined to have it all—their successes and their failures pave the way to the biggest win of their lives—that elusive happily ever after.
The last thing Jenna Riley needs is more sports in her life. While her brothers are off being athletic superstars, she’s stuck running the family’s sports bar, whether she likes it or not. Then in walks pro hockey stud Tyler Anderson. As much as Jenna would like to go to the boards with him, she’s vowed to never fall for a jock—even one as hot as Ty.
Ty, intrigued by the beautiful bar owner, becomes a regular. He senses that Jenna wants to do something more with her life. And as he gains her trust, the passion between them grows, as does Ty’s insistence that Jenna should start living for herself. With his encouragement, Jenna starts to believe it, too…
But first, Jenna has to figure out what she wants, what she needs, who she loves, and if she has the passion and pride to take a shot at having it all—including Ty…
She just couldn’t get a freakin’ break. Ty’s gaze met hers as he pulled off his jacket and headed to a pool table. Every ounce of estrogen in her body surged with joy as his lean, muscled frame settled over one of the tables, pool cue in hand.
Her damn estrogen could just calm the hell down. He might have kissed her, and she might have tingled for hours over it, but that was as far as it was ever going to go. He was sports and that meant no.
He leaned a hip against the pool table and accepted the beer Renee gave him, his body ripped and hard all over as he relaxed and laughed with his friends.
Just the sound of his voice made her nipples harden.
Did you hear that, body? No. No, no, no.
Deciding to ignore him, she went into the kitchen and told Malcolm to start the steak orders, then busied herself with her customers. She would not be interested in Tyler, even if her libido was.
But watching him play pool was more than she could take. She wasn’t nearly busy enough. It was late, the crowds had thinned, and it was mostly him and his player buddies, and if she had to wipe down another glass until it sparkled to avoid looking at his ass she was going to hurl said glass against the nearest wall.
Escape wasn’t an option since she was still in charge of the bar, and the pool table was off to the left—in her line of sight whenever she had to grab a beer.
She tried not to ogle, but Ty had a great butt. He was good at pool, too. Of course. Jocks were good at everything, which was why their egos often went unchecked, something she found utterly intolerable about sports figures.
Which was why she never intended to date, have sex with, or otherwise get involved with one. She made a concerted effort not to watch him, instead glancing at the clock and the minutes ticking down to closing time. She decided to do hard liquor inventory to keep her mind engaged on something other than Ty.
“Can I get a beer, Jenna?”
She hadn’t realized time had passed until Ty pulled up a stool at the bar. She glanced over at the pool table. His friends were nowhere to be found. In fact, the bar was nearly deserted and it was closing time.
Renee waved to her on her way out the door with Malcolm right on her heels.
She was alone in the bar again. With Ty. How had she let that happen?
He skirted around the bar and helped himself. She crossed her arms and glared at him.
He popped off the top and took a long swallow, then let out a grateful sigh. “Pool makes me thirsty, thanks. And no, I don’t own this place, but your parents do and they like me.”
“Finish your beer so I can get out of here.”
He went around and took his seat on the stool again. “What is it about me that you don’t like?”
She wiped down the top of the bar, ignoring his question.
God no. He was panty-dropping good looking. Not that she would ever admit that to him.
Utterly annoying. And charming.
Perfect. He always held the door for women and the elderly. He was respectful, not too loud, and never drank too much. For every beer or whiskey he drank, he followed it up with a large glass of ice water. Some athletes wanted all the attention drawn on themselves. Ty liked to blend into the background, preferring to mix with her clientele, not be a showcase because he was a star on the Ice.
“So tell me, Jenna. What is it about me that bugs you?”
She tossed the rag into the bin and palmed the edge of the bar. “I don’t date sports players.”
He quirked a brow. “Yeah? Why’s that?”
She held her arms out to her sides. “Look at all this, Ty. I’m surrounded by it all day, nearly every day. And then there’s Mick and Gavin and all their friends who passed through the house. I’ve had sports ad nauseum all my life.”
He tilted the bottle up to his lips and drank, then handed the empty to her. She tossed it.
“I see. You’ve had your fill of guys like me.”
“Now you’re beginning to see the light.”
“So I’m damned because of my profession. Out of the running before I’ve even had a chance.”
She nodded. “Yup. You’re wasting your time on me. Might as well go find another girl to charm.”
He came behind the bar. “What if I don’t want another girl? What if I want you?”
Uh-oh. Her body was pinging like a Geiger counter and Ty was radioactive. The closer he got, the hotter she became. She took a step back. “I don’t want you.”
“Arrogant men are not appealing.”
“I’m not being arrogant. I’m just good at reading signals.”
“You are so full of shit.” She bent down, grabbed her bag, and held it in front of her like a life preserver. “What signals?”
“You’re breathing fast. Your cheeks are flushed. Your pupils are dilated.”
“I’m exhausted and out of breath from running around trying to close down this place. And it’s hot in here.”
He laughed. “It’s not hot in here. And you’ve been standing still.”
He had her there. “Go away, Ty. I need to close up.” She fumbled in her bag for her keys.
“Go out with me.”
She jerked her head up. “What? No. Hell no.”
“It wouldn’t be so bad. I promise.”
“I’d rather have a root canal.”
He didn’t seem insulted. What would it take to get him angry, to hurt his feelings? To get him the hell out of this bar?
“I promise you that going out with me is way more fun than dental surgery.”
“I’m . . . seeing someone.”
One perfectly formed brow rose. “You’re seeing someone.”
“You don’t know him.”
“How do you know I don’t know him if you don’t tell me who he is?”
“He’s not involved in sports.”
“I know a lot of people not in sports, Jenna.”
She was digging this hole deeper and deeper. “He’s not from around here. And I have to go.”
“Got a date?”
“Yes.” She pushed on him until he finally budged and headed for the door. She punched in the code and hurried outside, tossing on her jacket to ward off the frigid temps.
Of course he just had to walk her to her car. Damn him for being a gentleman. He’d be a lot easier to not think about if he were a prick.
“A little late for a date, isn’t it?” he asked when she got to her car.
“None of your business, Ty.”
“So, it’s a booty call.”
She gasped. “It is not a booty call. It’s a date.”
“He taking you out to dinner at 3 a.m.?”
She clamped her lips tightly together.
“The movies, maybe?”
“You’re an asshole.” She pivoted and got into her car.
“Good night, Jenna.”
He stepped back when she peeled out of the lot, and just like the last time, he stood there watching until she drove away.
Damn him for making her think about him, for making her want him.
Maybe if she found someone else to go out with—and ultimately have sex with—Ty wouldn’t be front and center on her mind.
Win at any cost. That’s always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley, Liz realizes that she’ll have to work extra innings to win him back. It might not be too much of a stretch. She’s had a thing for this player’s moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.
Gavin’s more than ready—especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. And as much of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curve ball Liz’s way to see just how far she’s truly willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of them all.
For years Mick has been taking full advantage of the life available to a pro athlete: fame, fortune, and a different girl in every city. But when he meets and beds confident, beautiful event planner Tara Lincoln, he wants much more than the typical one-night stand. Too bad Tara’s not interested in getting to know football’s most notorious playboy any better.
As the single mother of a teenage son, the last thing Tara needs is the jet-set lifestyle of Mick Riley; even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand was unforgettable. Tara’s life is complicated enough without being thrust into the spotlight as Mick’s latest girl du jour. Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn’t intend to put herself out there again, especially with a heartbreaker like Mick.
But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind.
And to give you a head’s up here comes book 4 in Sept 2012 Playing to Win. God where does Jaci get these cover models, I canna stop drooling, seriously.
Football star Cole Riley is notorious for doing as he pleases—on the field and off. He parties hard and fights harder, but if he doesn’t clean up his act, his career is over—so Cole reluctantly agrees to work with image makeover consultant Savannah Brooks. He’s not used to being told what to do, especially by some (admittedly hot) southern belle. As for Savannah, she’s not convinced she can transform this cocky (and aggressively sexy) force of nature. But she’s determined to give it her best shot.
When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down the ground rules: no personal complications. If she can turn off the tingle she feels every time Cole gives her a hot stare with his gorgeous baby blues, he can turn off his desire as well. But for two people determined to have it all, a hands-off policy can only last so long before one of them yields.
Well I hope you all have enjoyed taking a peek at some of Jaci’s books and meeting Jaci herself. If you want to go check out Jaci you can go here http://jaciburton.com/ or here http://jaciburton.com/blog/ or here http://groups.yahoo.com/group/writeminded_readers/
Today Jaci is giving away a signed copy of The Perfect Play, I will add in a e book of A Rare Gift to another winner.
Z Seawitch…please forgive any typos ,spellcheck isn’t working again.
1. You must leave a meaningful comment, something more than Hi, Hello, or Great Post. Ask a question, squee like a fan girl or whatever you want as long as it’s appropriate.
2. Every comment counts so chat away. Please include your email in your comment.
3. Winners will be drawn 3 days after each post and a master list will be posted on Feb 17th. You will have until Feb 29th to email me at SeawitchReviews @ yahoo (dot) com. I will also send an email to each winner but if I don’t hear from you by the 29th a new winner will be drawn.