Hot Rebel is out today!

The newest book in the Hostile Operations Team Series is here TODAY! If you’ve been waiting for some more HOT action, then now is your chance!

A rebel on the run…

Victoria Royal is a traitor. Or so the U.S. government believes. Victoria was once a promising sniper in the Army, but now she’s gone rogue—worse, she’s just landed in the middle of a Hostile Operations Team mission in the desert and blasted it all to hell.

Nick “Brandy” Brandon doesn’t expect to run into Victoria when he’s bugging out from a mission gone wrong. It’s been more than three years since she disappeared from the sniper course they were in together, and he’s finally stopped thinking about her killer curves and smart mouth.

But now she’s back—and she’s far more dangerous than Nick ever believed possible… Is she really a traitor? Or is there something more at stake? He has to decide fast—because time’s running out and too many lives hang in the balance…

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1p66kie
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/XcaVcm
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Zo2HQ6
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1o0imus
iBooks: http://bit.ly/Y0mvIy
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1mgY70t
Google Play: http://bit.ly/YWizZF
Nook: http://bit.ly/1uVR7oD

What are reviewers saying?

“This is quickly becoming one of my favorite military romantic suspense series.” — Saved by Suspense

“Just when I thought this author could not possibly make this series any better she goes and writes a book like this. It was simply outstanding from start to finish.” — Romance Book Haven

“I really enjoy reading these fast paced, extremely sexy military romances.” — NetGalley Reviewer

“This book is just plain fantastic! […] It reminded me of Suzanne Brockmann’s series and even going back to Catherine Coulter and some of Cherry Adair’s books.” — NetGalley Reviewer

“My favorite so far. I absolutely loved Nick and Victoria, the chemistry between them was sizzling.” — NetGalley Reviewer

“…this book starts off with a bang and grabs your attention right away and holds it till the end. There’s action, a little bit of mystery, a little bit of drama, a little bit of sexiness.” — Busy Bumble Bee Book Reviews

“Another great HOT book. Victoria and Nick were just perfect. Lots of action and romance.” — NetGalley Reviewer

“I loved the story of Victoria and Nick and as usual it was action packed from start to finish. Oh and did I mention the panty melting scenes as well….mmmm HOT indeed!!!” — NetGalley Reviewer

“This series has become one of my favorites and should be on everyone’s TR list. You will not be disappointed, they give just the right amount of romance, hot sex, suspense, action and comedy to keep the pages turning very quickly.” — NetGalley Reviewer

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Hot Ice Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

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When fire and ice collide, you get steam…

Grace Campbell leads a privileged life. The daughter of a United States senator, she moves within the social circles of the rich and famous. But Grace is also a scientist, and when someone learns she possesses the knowledge necessary to create a new super virus capable of destroying entire nations, she becomes a target for terror groups and foreign governments alike.

Garrett “Iceman” Spencer didn’t join the Army’s elite Hostile Operations Team to babysit a spoiled rich girl, but when his superiors insist on assigning him to a senator’s daughter as her security detail, he has no choice but to comply.

It’s a shock to find that beneath the glasses and serious scowl, Grace Campbell burns hot. And Garrett, who’s been burned before, suddenly wants to immerse himself in the flames.

Keeping Grace alive—and keeping his hands off her—is a full-time job for this HOT soldier. Failure is not an option…

HOT ICE releases December 29th. You can shelve the book on Goodreads here. You can also pre-order it at iBooks (coming to other retailers soon!) here.

Need to catch up on the H.O.T. series? I’m hosting a giveaway for a set of print copies of Hot Pursuit, Hot Mess, Hot Package, and Hot Shot.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And a huge thank you to the blogs that participated in the reveal including:

RT Book Reviews
Busy Bumble Bee Book Reviews
Raven Night Book Review
Fab Fantasy Fiction
Lisa’s Loves (Books of Course)
Dirty Girl Romance Blog
Ms. C’s Diversions
Romance Reads To Love
It’s A Reading Thing
Paranormal Raven
Escape by Fiction
Pure Jonel
Smart and Savvy with Stephanie
KT Book Reviews
LeAnn’s Book Reviews
Drue’s Random Chatter
Eskimo Princess Review Blog
Clue Review
Crystal Blogs Books
A Book, A Beer, and A Dream
Cat’s Reviews

And don’t forget that HOT REBEL, Book 6, is coming on September 29th!!!

HotRebel_600x900

A rebel on the run…

Victoria Royal is a traitor. Or so the U.S. government believes. Victoria was once a promising sniper in the Army, but now she’s gone rogue—worse, she’s just landed in the middle of a Hostile Operations Team mission in the desert and blasted it all to hell.

Nick “Brandy” Brandon doesn’t expect to run into Victoria when he’s bugging out from a mission gone wrong. It’s been more than three years since she disappeared from the sniper course they were in together, and he’s finally stopped thinking about her killer curves and smart mouth.

But now she’s back—and she’s far more dangerous than Nick ever believed possible… Is she really a traitor? Or is there something more at stake? He has to decide fast—because time’s running out and too many lives hang in the balance…

Pre-order your copy today!

Amazon | iBooks | Google Play
(Other retailers will be added as they come available.)

Shelve at Goodreads here.

Happy Reading!!

It’s Coming — Dangerously Hot (Hot #4)!

I am *so* incredibly excited that it’s almost time to share DANGEROUSLY HOT with you! So much is happening in the world of publishing today, and I’m thankful that those changes mean I can finally bring my Special Operations team of HOT military guys to you. You have embraced these men — and their ladies — and made me so happy to be a writer.

Not gonna lie — I was told just five years ago that these guys weren’t what the market wanted. Stories not dark enough, I was told. Not enough evil on the page. Well, you know what? I like romantic suspense that’s heavy on romance and has a rollicking adventure. I don’t need a dark and twisted murderer hanging out somewhere, threatening to commit evil at every turn. I think my bad guys are pretty bad. And I think they get their just desserts, you know? I wrote the stories I wanted to read — and lo and behold, you want to read them too!

I think we all win. And I’m so very glad you’re loving the HOT guys and looking forward to their next adventure. Right now, I’m working on Jack “Hawk” Hunter’s story. If I’m lucky, and things keep going really well, you’ll get to read all about Jack and Gina this summer. And don’t forget, if you love my Harlequins, I have a sheikh duet coming out this year! First in May is GAMBLING WITH THE CROWN and then the follow up story is called CARRYING THE SHEIKH’S HEIR. Both featuring delicious sheikhs! Probably some of my favorite characters I’ve ever written. Seriously.

But first up, DANGEROUSLY HOT!

Dangerously Hot

The world’s most wanted man is back from the dead. And only one woman can stop him…

Former Army linguist Lucky San Ramos escaped with her life, but the scars an evil terrorist leader left on her skin are a constant reminder of her captivity. Now her tormentor is back—and so is the sexy Special Operations soldier she once loved.

HOT operator Kevin “Big Mac” MacDonald rescued Lucky the last time. And then he walked away when he couldn’t be what she needed. When Lucky married his teammate, Kev knew it was for the best. But now Marco is dead and Lucky is no longer safe.

When Kev and Lucky team up to capture a terrorist, they’ll have to pretend to be man and wife on an explosive military mission to a war-torn nation. With time running out and the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Kev and Lucky play a perilous game of cat and mouse with a madman during the day.

But at night, they battle the secrets of the past and the sizzling attraction that threatens to endanger the mission. Lucky shouldn’t want the man who abandoned her once before. But the passion between them is sinfully, sensuously, dangerously hot… and proving impossible to resist.

Here’s a never-before-seen excerpt for your reading pleasure!

She tapped her fingers on the armrest and stared straight ahead. “The closer we get to going on this mission, the more I worry about the things I never did. What if I never get to do them at all?”

A chill slipped down his spine. “That’s the beer talking.”

She shook her head. “I don’t think it is. I think it’s a real concern. These next few days could be all I have left.”

Kev gripped the wheel tight. Dammit. “I told you I won’t let him get you. You’re coming back. We’re all coming back.”

“You can’t guarantee that.”

Kev whipped the truck into a fast food parking lot and shoved the gearshift into park before turning to look at her, fury rolling through him. He didn’t want to hear her talk that way. He didn’t want to hear the fatalistic tone in her voice. It wasn’t right.

He’d lost Marco out there. He wasn’t about to lose Lucky, and he wouldn’t have her talking as if fate had already decided it for her. Her eyes were wide as she stared at him.

“Attitude is everything out there,” he grated. “You can’t go in with the idea this is the end. You have to be comfortable with yourself, sure, but it doesn’t do any good to think this is where you will die. If you think like that, you put us all in danger.”

“All right.” Her voice was soft. Her eyes slipped over his face and her throat worked. He had a sudden urge to haul her in his arms. He resisted, but barely.

“Just stop thinking it’s over, okay?”

She nodded. “But there are still things I never did. Things I wanted to do. It’s not fatalistic to wish I’d had the courage to do them.”

He shoved a hand through his hair and growled. “What is it you want to do so bad? You have a few days yet if it’s important to you.”

The air in the truck grew thick with silence. And then she reached out with trembling fingers and touched his mouth. Her fingers were light, soft, ghosting over his lips so carefully. His blood beat hard in his veins and his chest grew tight. She was going to drive him insane before this was over.

“I want to be with you.”

If you’re on Goodreads, you can add this book to your TBR shelf here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20810214-dangerously-hot.

And if you want to be among the first to know when it’s released, be sure to sign up for my newsletter here: http://bit.ly/14xyA65.

Get ready for more HOT! It’s coming your way sooooonnnnnn….. 😉

2013 in Review – Lessons and Thoughts

Warning: Long Post

It seems as if everyone is doing a post where they review the year that ends today. I like that idea. It’s a bit of housecleaning and throwing down a welcome mat for 2014. So here’s my 2013, along with lessons learned, thoughts, and what to expect in 2014.

First, the good stuff for readers. In 2013, I had (counting fingers) 8 books out (including novellas and shorts). There were five stories from Harlequin (six if you count the 2-in-1 that came out this month) and three stories in my Hostile Operations Team series. There was also my freebie short story, Maddie’s Marine, which I didn’t count in the total because it’s been available on this site for free for a long time.

I had a lot of fun bringing those stories to you, and I’ve heard from so many of you who seem to love what I write and want more. Thank you so much for sticking with me. 🙂

What’s coming in 2014? From Harlequin, you’ll get my sheikh duet about two brothers and the Crown of Kyr. In May, the first book, GAMBLING FOR THE CROWN, will be out. In July, the second book, CARRYING THE SHEIKH’S HEIR, will follow and finish the story arc. Two yummy sheikhs, y’all! I just love sheikhs.

In December (I think), you’ll get an as-yet-untitled story from me featuring a Greek tycoon (my first Greek!) and the hotel heiress who works for him.

That’s only three Harlequins, I know, but that’s because I’m also writing the HOT series and I want to get you more books sooner in that series. This spring will see the release of DANGEROUSLY HOT, the second full-length book in the series. HOT SHOT will follow in the summer. After that, I’m not sure which story I’ll write next. But I can say that Colonel Mendez may just get a story of his own!

I’m also working on a secret project that I hope to publish this summer too. I want to put up three books in that series at once, so we’ll see. It’s my first foray into first person storytelling and I’m loving it very much.

Now, thinking about the lessons of 2013, this is where a lot of the post centers on writing and writers.

Lesson One: Sometimes you have to explore new territory. And when you do, you discover amazing things.

I went into 2013 as a traditionally published author at a major romance publishing house. But I was self-pub curious and I was determined to explore those waters. RT 2013, in Kansas City, became a watershed moment for me in that journey. After meeting and hearing such authors speak as Liliana Hart, Jasinda Wilder, Abbi Glines, Shayla Black, Theresa Ragan (who I already knew), Jana DeLeon, and a host of others I can’t remember at the moment, I felt like I’d attended a revival.

I left KC determined to become a self-published author in addition to writing for Harlequin. And I did. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Lesson Two: Eject the people who don’t support your career choices.

I had to part ways with my agent, which was hard in some ways because the dream for so long had been a NY agent and a traditional publishing contract. I had what I’d always wanted — but now it didn’t fit anymore. I learned that sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone and do what was unthinkable to you only a year before. My agent and I split — and I haven’t regretted it for a moment. My former agent — who was and is a good, honest agent — didn’t want me to self-publish. I think she would have been happy selling the HOT series straight to digital with no guarantees of advertising or support from the publisher. Why should I do that when I had the tools to publish myself? Why would I give up that kind of control?

Lesson Three: Self Publishing is a BIG job.

Don’t half-ass it, because it *will* come back to bite you. So many people act like self-publishing is a gold rush and they have to get in NOW or they won’t get any gold. But I’m telling you, if you get in now with a shoddy product just because you’re worried about getting a piece of the pie, the readers will respond. And probably not in the way you hope. Don’t rush the work to market, y’all. It won’t do you any favors.

By the same token, don’t take two years to polish one story. You have to keep producing product if you want to succeed in self-publishing. It works a lot like traditional publishing, except the timelines are much faster. Write, revise, send to editor, begin new story while waiting for more revisions. The difference is that at the end of the cycle, you can publish right away instead of a year from now.

I repeat, self-publishing is a big job. But it’s not impossible and you CAN do it. Just remember that whatever you put out there is your first impression and now that the field is getting crowded with self-published books, readers have more choices than ever. If your book is poorly written and edited, they aren’t going to buy you.

Writing is like any other skill. It takes practice. You wouldn’t begin piano lessons today and book Carnegie Hall for six months from now, would you? So why do you think you can set fingers to keyboard and have something publishable, something people will pay money for, as soon as you’re done writing it? It doesn’t work that way. Pretty much every overnight success story you’ve heard comes from someone who was writing for a very long time before success came — even if they weren’t trying to get published, they were writing.

Lesson Four: There will always be people who annoy you. Stop paying attention to them.

It’s not worth your energy. If they drag you down, ignore them. Stop reading their posts. Don’t engage. There will always be those who seek attention. They may brag about their success, or they may say things that require a “But you’re smart and everyone likes you!” response so they won’t sink into a wallow of self-pity. You are not required to respond either way. Eject negative people or people who damage your emotional well-being. You can’t stop them, so eject them.

Lesson Five: The truly successful don’t have to brag because they don’t have time for it. They’re too busy working.

I’ve met some really awesome people this year, and so many of them were willing to hold out a hand and give me advice and information when I needed it. They are the ones I admire, and one thing I’ve discovered about most of them is that they are often very successful — but they don’t brag about it. They just keep working.

Lesson Six: There will always be someone who judges you.

This is a crazy business in some ways, and one thing there will never be less of are the judgmental attitudes. If you self-publish, someone thinks you’re insane and that you’re selling out. If you traditionally publish, someone thinks you’re insane and too lazy to publish yourself. If you do both? Someone thinks you can’t do both and you’re going to have to choose one or the other pretty soon. And yes, someone said that to me. Maybe they’re right, but I make my decisions as they make sense for me at the time. Which leads me to the next lesson…

Lesson Seven: Everything changes. And probably faster than you can keep up.

Self-publishing today is not the self-publishing of last year or even the year before. Things are constantly in flux and it’s up to you to keep abreast of the changes. Some things that worked last year still work phenomenally well. Others don’t. The only way to know is to keep your ear to the ground and your head out of the sand. Self-publishing isn’t going away. I don’t think traditional is either based on the sheer number of writers I know who are still writing and submitting the old-fashioned way. Writing is a business, now more than ever since so much of it is in a writer’s control, and you MUST act like a business person, not just an “arteest” who types all day while little birds sing and festoon you with garland. Head in the sand is NOT a viable option for growing a career. I am constantly reading books on business, on publishing, and I follow several blogs where conversations are taking place every day about what the future of publishing holds.

Lesson Eight: Be kind to everyone.

This isn’t really a lesson from 2013. It’s a lesson from life. My personal code of conduct demands that I be nice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from writers who say that someone was nasty to them and therefore they won’t ever, *ever* buy that person’s books — or recommend their friends buy that person’s books. Writers are readers too. Why would you look down your nose at someone who is a potential customer just because they also write? I get that we all have personality differences and that when we get together in our local chapters, for instance, some annoy us more than others. But be nice and approachable and you may be surprised. You could gain a new fan, a champion for your work to others, and a friend all at the same time. By the same token, give someone a break if they are less than gracious to you — you never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. If they are always snotty, well, that’s different.

Lesson Nine: There are no excuses

Do you know how you get ahead in this business, especially today? You write A LOT. You don’t have to be fast, but you have to be consistent. If you don’t want to write a lot, and you don’t want to put out more than two books a year, that’s perfectly fine. But you probably won’t get the success you want as fast as you want it. Again, it’s all relative. But writing is my full-time job, so if I write two books a year and complain I can’t get ahead, I’m stupid. I’ve done a lot this year to look at my productivity and see how to increase it. I wrote eight books this year of varying lengths, and I’m planning to write that many or more in 2014. There are no excuses not to work hard if this is what you want. (Okay, there are some excuses: illness, death in the family, relationship issues, etc. Not writing because you had to clean the house first is not an excuse.)

Thoughts

And now I come to thoughts. The above lessons are my opinion and not gospel. The only writing police in existence are readers and they vote with their wallets. If you can be nasty to other writers, throw up first drafts, half-ass your way through self-publishing and readers STILL buy your books in droves and demand more, then you are a frigging rock star. So don’t listen to a word I say.

Final thoughts for 2013 are that writing is a tough, rewarding business and I love it even when I hate it. Also, life will throw you curve balls and some of them will devastate you. Not writing-related, but if you’ve been following me for a while you know I lost my most beloved cat back in February and it devastated me. She was only 5 years old and no way did I think I could lose her to heart disease at that young age. I still cry over her sometimes.

But I look forward to 2014 with hope and excitement. It could rock or it could bring devastation. We just never know, do we? I hope and pray that your 2014 is awesome.

For my readers, y’all are amazing and I will continue to write as many books as I can and I hope you will continue to read them.

For the writers who are visiting, I hope you get something out of this post. To some of you, I am wildly successful. To others, I’m doing okay — or maybe not all that good at all, LOL! It’s all relative, y’all, which is the point of this post. I want more success, which is why I’m all about working harder, but I’m grateful for what I have, too.

Here are a few posts I’ve read lately that got me to thinking. Your mileage may vary.

Joe Konrath’s Publishing Predictions
Ten Things I Learned About Independent Publishing in 2013
Three Things I realized in 2013
Five Mistakes Killing Self-Published Authors

Have a safe and happy New Year’s!!

The Indie Journey

This post is for the writers among you. Publishing is changing and there are more opportunities for authors than ever before. We finally have the ability to take charge of our careers in ways we couldn’t before Amazon brought out the Kindle. Seriously, the Kindle was a game changer. Add in all the other e-readers, and the invention of the iPad, and we’re rolling along into a revolution that finally gives authors the means to reach readers directly in far greater numbers than they ever could before (printing books and selling them out of your trunk will only get you so much exposure).

Many of the Indie authors who’ve paved the way have been so generous with sharing their numbers, so I decided I’m going to do the same. I am what is properly termed a “hybrid” author. I’m self-publishing and writing for a traditional publisher. I believe there is sense and value to both things, so I’m straddling that line and having some fun. I’m learning a lot too.

Today is officially one month since HOT PURSUIT has been for sale on Kindle. It went live on Kobo and Apple on July 17th, though it was in pre-order at this stage. And it was live on Smashwords and B&N around the same time as Amazon. HOT PURSUIT is a departure for me in terms of the kind of books I am known for with Harlequin. I write for Presents, the line that’s all about angst, passion, glamor, billionaires, etc. I love those kinds of stories! I also love romantic suspense, and I love anything to do with a military special operations team. Which is where my HOT series goes.

I am a known author and I have hit the USA Today list back when they only counted print sales. So how would that translate to my self-published books? Pretty well, it turns out, though not well enough to propel me onto any lists. Everyone says you need more than one book in a series to really see an effect, and I only have one book out there (plus a free short story that’s military but not in the same series) but I cannot complain about the numbers thus far. In one month, I’ve sold 1800 books and made nearly $4k. No, that’s nothing like my Harlequin numbers (which are still primarily in print), but self-publishing is long tail and this is only one month worth of numbers. In the same amount of time with a Harlequin, I can expect to sell far more books. And, in some respects, the Harlequin sales are long tail too because of the foreign translations. And now, with ebooks, if someone discovers you, they can go back and read all your books. That’s a nice departure from the days where you could only get the books for a month and then never again.

HOT PURSUIT was a Golden Heart finalist in 2008. I had hoped my agent could sell it for me, but she didn’t think it was ready. And it wasn’t. I had some hard work to do first, and once I did that work, I decided I’d rather put it out there myself and see how it went than sell it to a publisher and take my chances. At least this way, if the book (and series) failed, it was all on me. But I don’t think it’s failing. Your emails, blog posts, and reviews tell me it’s not. You seem to like this story and you seem to want more. And that makes me *very* happy!

So, one month, 1800 books sold of a book I was told that New York wouldn’t want, and sales show no sign of slowing down. This is only the beginning. HOT MESS (Book 1.5) will be out sometime in September, and I’ve been asked to contribute to an anthology of holiday novellas by some of your favorite Indie authors. That story will be a HOT story, and then I’ll follow it with DANGEROUSLY HOT, which is officially Book 2 in the series (though maybe I need a new numbering system since there will be another novella before that, LOL!).

If you are a writer who is looking at self-publishing, there are a couple of things you need to do. First, you have to spend money to get a good cover and good editing. You’re going to need developmental edits, not just copy edits. I’ve written nearly 20 books with Harlequin and I still paid a developmental editor for my HOT books. I need editing and so do you. Readers will notice if you give them crap and they won’t buy you anymore. There is a difference between not liking a story because it’s not your thing and the story being poorly written and edited. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest, save money until you can afford the editing at least. Trade services with other writers who are good at things you aren’t (like cover design, maybe). Do everything you can to put out the best product you can. Self-publishing is NOT a get rich quick scheme. It takes money, time, and a commitment to the process to do it right.

Here are the things I did for HP: hired a developmental editor, hired a copy editor & proofreader, hired a cover designer, hired a formatter. I’ve not really advertised HP, other than on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I decided not to advertise yet because I only have one book in the series. I might do something when the next story comes out next month. Or I might not. This is a marathon, y’all, not a sprint. If HP continues to sell at the level it’s selling for an entire year, well, that’s a living. I can’t predict that, of course, because things happen and books fall off the radar. But I hope readers are excited enough about this series to try the next one and to recommend the books to their friends.

So there it is. My Indie Journey, one month in. Any questions?