Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Get lost with debut author Anna Randol



Anna lives with her family in Southern California. She writes sultry, adventurous Regency romances for Avon. Her debut novel, A Secret In Her Kiss, is set in Constantinople and earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it a “...masterful debut…[that] spins a tale replete with mystery, espionage, and memorable romance.” When she’s not plotting fun, sexy storylines, Anna’s usually eating dark chocolate, having wild dance parties with her kids in the living room, or remodeling her house one ill-planned project at a time. She loves hearing from readers at her website or on twitter!


A SECRET IN HER KISS:

A rare beauty, raised in the exotic heart of the Ottoman Empire, Mari Sinclair knows it’s time to end her career as a British spy when she narrowly avoids a brush with death. Unfortunately her employers think otherwise—and they are not above using blackmail to keep Mari in the Game.

Saddled with a handsome, duty-obsessed “minder” to ensure that she completes—and survives—one last mission, Mari is incensed…for her guardian, Major Bennett Prestwood, is simply too dedicated, too unbending, and too disarmingly attractive. But in the face of dark secrets and deadly treacheries, as the true peril to Mari is slowly revealed, loyal soldier Bennett realizes that, to save and win this extraordinary woman, he will have to do the unthinkable and break the rules—rules that passion and desire have suddenly, irrevocably changed.

CAT:  What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
ANNA:  One with a happy ending. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I don’t care how classic the tale or how beautiful the writing, if it doesn’t end happily, then the book is not for me. Does this mean I am missing out on great literature? Probably. But when I read, I want feel happy and giddy. This doesn’t mean the characters can’t suffer (I love a tortured hero. *sigh*), but it does mean that when I turn to the last page I’d better have a smile on my face.

CAT:  What’s the first book you remember reading? 
ANNA:  Old Hat, New Hat by Stan Berenstain. It was only about twenty words long, and every other word was Hat. But I remember being so stinkin’ proud that I'd read a whole book by myself.

CAT:  What’s your favorite fairy tale?
ANNA:  Beauty and the Beast! The more scarred and bitter the beast the better. I like the idea of love having the power to inspire change in the hero, and the heroine having the power to save the hero through love. Also, I adore that their love is never instant and easy. It’s something that they both fight against and eventually, fight for.

CAT:  What’s your favorite cartoon character?
ANNA:  Mulan. She takes control of her life in order to save her family. She fights better than most men and is clever, too. Yet the last thing she focuses on before passing out from blood loss is Shang’s lips. My kind of woman.

CAT:  What turns you off like nothing else?
ANNA:  Facial hair on romance heroes. I cannot take a hero with a mustache seriously. Even if it’s historically accurate, in my mind it is a big, furry caterpillar crawling across his upper lip. Now to clarify, a little bit of five o’clock shadow? Totally different.

CAT:  What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
ANNA:  That I am a huge nerd. Yep, I had posters of the crew of Star Trek: Voyager up on my walls as a teen and I’m still in love with Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly. There. It’s out in the open. Phew. Now I don’t have to try to hide it if we meet for dinner.

CAT:  Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
ANNA:  Hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top. The more chocolaty the better. In fact, I usually add two or three times more chocolate than the directions call for.

CAT:  What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
ANNA:  I always eat Pringles salt side down. (Yes, one side is salted and the other is not. The convex side, if you were wondering…)

CAT:  What’s your favorite kid joke?
ANNA:  Q: Why is an elephant big, grey, and wrinkly?
           A: Because if it was small, white, and round it would be an aspirin!

        

CAT’S GOTTA ASK
If you were a t-shirt, what color would you be and why?
ANNA’S GOTTA ANSWER Black. It’s classic, versatile, and slimming. How could I go wrong? Oooh, and then I could be worn with all the fun, funky jewelry I love!


GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS?
Do you have some quirk you try to hide at dinner parties?

Anna is giving away two books! The winners can choose to have it mailed or Anna can send them an e version if they prefer.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Samantha Grace

GET LOST IN THIS STORY…


HE’LL NEVER SETTLE FOR ONE WOMAN…
Debonair bachelor Lord Andrew Forest lives for pleasure and offers no apologies. But he receives a dose of his own medicine when his family’s entrancing houseguest beds him, then disappears without so much as a by-your-leave. He’d like to teach the little vixen a thing or two about how to love a man…if he can find her…
AND SHE WON’T SETTLE FOR HEARTBREAK…
After the dashing man of her dreams is revealed as a lying scoundrel, heiress Lana Hillary is ready to seek a match with a respectable gentleman—if only they weren’t so dreadfully boring. Unable to rein in her bold nature for long, Lana flirts with trouble and finds herself entangled with exactly the type of man she’s vowed to avoid.



Samantha Grace makes her debut as a regency romance author February 7, 2012 with the release of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel, the first volume in her witty new series about four debonair bachelors who have it all: immense wealth, influence, and women swooning at their feet – in the ballroom and out. Samantha is married to her best friend, strives to stay one step ahead of their two precocious offspring, and lives in Wisconsin. She distracts herself during the bone-chilling months of winter with pilates classes and learning to belly dance.
 
HEATHER: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
SAMANTHA:  It’s hard to choose a favorite movie of all time. There are too many wonderful films, but a few of my favorites are “Gone With the Wind”, “Where the Heart Is”, “Life is Beautiful”, “Groundhog Day”, and “Napoleon Dynamite”. The movie I last saw was the remake of “Footloose”. (Of course, no one is better than Kevin Bacon in the role, but the actor who played Ren McCormick did a very nice job.) The movie was shown during a flight from Miami and Chicago, and I have to say I loved it as much as the original. My kids never saw the first movie, but they thought it was great, too. We all had big smiles at the end.

HEATHER: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
SAMANTHA:  I’ve always been a fan of Beauty and the Beast. I love the theme of seeing beyond a person’s outer appearance and discovering the beauty that resides inside the person. I’m not convinced the Beast ever truly becomes the handsome prince to anyone except the Beauty. She sees his inner self, which he is only able to reveal when he learns how to love himself and in turn, love another.

HEATHER: What turns you off like nothing else?
SAMANTHA:  Probably anything that falls under the category of rudeness, but at the top of the list is correcting others in public. It’s one thing if correcting someone is going to save them from making a mistake with consequences, such as jumping on the wrong train. It’s another story when someone points out a mispronunciation or minor detail that doesn’t matter. The only purpose in such action is to make the person you’re with feel bad and make yourself appear superior. I avoid these people like the swine flu.

HEATHER: What sound or noise do you love?
SAMANTHA:  I love the sound of seagulls. Yes, I know they are dirty birds who fly around trash dumps. We have them all over our town. I’m guessing because we live close to the Mississippi river. But when I hear their call, I’m transported back to the white beaches of Florida, where I have a lot of happy memories. Ooh, and I love the sound of helicopters. I have no idea why.

HEATHER: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
SAMANTHA:  I can only listen to music with no English lyrics when I’m writing. If I’m alone, I don’t listen to anything, but when the family is home, I have to pop in the earbuds and crank the music. My favorite Pandora station is Karsh Kale. I love, love, love the exotic sounds.

HEATHER: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
SAMANTHA:  Both! And I take them the same: cream and Splenda.

HEATHER: What’s your favorite kid joke?
SAMANTHA:  Where does the general keep his armies?  Answer: In his sleevies.

HEATHER: Which is your favorite language other than your native language?
SAMANTHA:  Pig Latin. It’s the only other language I can speak. J Actually, I like sign language. It’s the only language where you have to look at the other person. It just feels more personal and intimate to me.

HEATHER: What would you do if you had a time machine?
SAMANTHA:  I’m not sure I’d want a time machine, but I would love to have one of those Star Trek transporters. If I had one, I’d transport myself to see my mom on a Sunday and catch a movie with her. Or I’d meet friends for lunch that I never get to see. And I’d definitely spend more time with my much younger sister, who I’ve adored since the day she was born.

HEATHER: What is your favorite thing about you?
SAMANTHA:  I think my favorite thing about myself is I like to create fun wherever I am. I like to joke, tease, and laugh, and I don’t mind looking like a fool for the sake of having a good time. I’m the mom that will volunteer to slide down the fire pole on the field trip, or hold her hands up when the airplane takes off and squeal (not too loudly) like it’s a rollercoaster just to make her daughter laugh. I’m sure I inherited this trait from my dad. His mantra is “You can’t stop aging, but you never have to grow up.”
         

HEATHER’S GOTTA ASK – SAMANTHA’S GOTTA ANSWER  J

HEATHER: So, I see that you have a degree in psychology, with a background in behavioral health.  I’d love to hear more about how your background has helped you to write three dimensional characters!

SAMANTHA:  Probably the most helpful knowledge from my background is having an understanding of the process of change. I’m not crazy about perfect characters, and I’m even less enthusiastic about the bad boy who is suddenly reformed when he falls in love with a good lady. If change was as easy as turning on a light switch, we would all achieve our new year’s resolutions by January 2nd. J

What makes a story realistic is having a character realize old ways of doing things just aren’t working anymore then having him go through the process of readjusting how he thinks about himself, his relationships, and figuring out who he wants to be now.

What I love most about Lord Andrew is he’s good at the core. He cares about his family, and he doesn’t set out to hurt anyone purposefully. Unfortunately, he leaves a trail of broken hearts because he isn’t looking back. He’s too focused on what pleasure comes next. It isn’t until he begins to care for Lana that he starts to realize falling back on old habits and risking her heart is unacceptable. Yet, it’s when he’s faced with the evidence of how he has wounded a former sweetheart and feels remorse for what he’s done that his transition hits full stride. I don’t think that would have been possible without Lana, but Drew is the one doing all the work.

GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS?
SAMANTHA:  What are your thoughts on reformed bad boys? Can the wicked ever be tamed?

WILL YOU HAVE A DRAWING FROM THOSE LEAVING COMMENTS?
SAMANTHA:  Yes! I’d be happy to give away one copy of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel to a random commenter today J

WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU ON THE NET?
To learn more about Samantha’s regency bachelors, visit www.samanthagraceauthor.com. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/samanthagraceromanceauthor

Friday, January 27, 2012

IF YOU WROTE ROMANCE


Continuing our Reader Romance...

We posted the beginning of a story on Monday. Now it's your turn. You create the next segment. One line of dialogue or description. Maybe a paragraph. I'll add them to the post throughout the day. Let's see how much of a story we can cover! Don't be surprised if Traz makes an appearance in one of my later books. His character has been bouncing around in my head for about three years, waiting on the right story to grab hold.

Today's your day to direct the story. Let's see what you'd write IF YOU WROTE ROMANCE...

SURRENDER UNDER FIRE
Jack Malcatraz Jr. prefers his college nickname, Traz, to his hometown calling him Little Jack. He’s a man who prefers the simple things: a good football game, friends instead of acquaintances, and the old-fashioned notion a person is innocent until proven guilty. As Sherriff of a small east Texas town, he'd grown up with just about everyone who still lived there. Everyone knew what he did and who he did it with.

The most excitement they ever had was Friday night football and secret keggers at the saw mill. Not too secret, but Traz remembered being in college.

When the pretty blond showed up at the Dairy Queen on his day off, he said hello. Would have been impolite not to. All those booths were taken, and it seemed natural to ask if he could join her. They hit it off over a couple of baskets of steak fingers and extended lunch into the afternoon with a couple of chocolate-dipped cones. What's not to like about a woman not afraid to drip ice cream on her chin?

One thing lead to another and sure enough they ended up spending the entire afternoon together. They were walking across the street to the diner for a piece of his mom's pecan pie when the explosion shook the ground. A couple of car alarms went off. Fire shot into the sky and the smell of ash filled the air quicker than a May rain.

"I've got to find the Sherriff," Toni Lake said using her long legs to sprint back to her car. "I should have found him as soon as I got here."

 "Toni--"

 "I know, but this is about the fire. I've been tracking a man-- Sorry, Traz, I gotta get to that fire."

And before he could open his mouth again to tell her just who he was...she was gone. Gravel spinning under the tires of her Ford.

Before he followed, Traz stopped by his office, grabbing his weapon and the county-issued truck. Looked like his day-off had turned into a wildfire. He put in the calls. Got things started and grabbed the rest of his gear. He'd be lucky to see a bed for the next forty-eight hours and prayed the fire would be relatively easy to contain.

Timing.

Traz raced toward the wildfires hoping Toni had the good sense to stay away. Stay safe. He really wanted to see her again. Right now though, his mind had to be in the game. Traz was surprised when he pulled up and there sat Toni. Who would have guessed this beautiful lady was a detective? Certainly not Traz. (Melanie)

Traz was still thinking about Toni even though the wildfires were blazing. What would the evening be if we didn't have this explosion--is she thinking of me? Will we see each other again? What will her reaction be when she realizes I'm the Sheriff? Hope no one is injured? Will we see one another again? All these unanswered questions? (Carole)

* * *

Toni Lake sighed at the loss of what was working into a lovely afternoon and possibly an even better evening, but she knew that the situation had now become desperate. If this were a perfect world, she could have stopped this latest horror before it happened. The only good thing would be if no one had been injured. What kind of person would the Sheriff of this place be? And would he believe what she had to tell him? One could only hope. And if he didn't, well, then she would be on her own--again. (Juanita)

Toni berated herself for not finding the Sheriff as soon as she got there. Traz easily made her forget everything. She sighed loudly as she thought about him. (Melanie)

When Toni found out who Traz was she didn't want any part of him by him being a Sheriff. Her past was better hidden. She didn't want Traz to find out. She knew if Traz found out about her past she would be in jail. (Virginia)

Toni was rocked to her core as she saw the mindless destruction and controlled chaos of the situation. She knew Traz would have questions for her when this was through, she knew after the time they had spent together in the earlier hours that he'd be stupid NOT to ask her some pertinent questions when the aftermath came, most pertinent of all: who was she and what was she hiding from him? (Lady Red)

When they meet up at the site of the fire, Toni realizes who Traz is and decides that her best option is to tell him what she knows regarding who set the fire. (Cindy)

She is able to describe the person she noticed walking into the building with an odd shaped package earlier in the day. (GirlyGirl)

With the fire still burning hot and flames licking at their surroundings, Toni can't help but feel trapped. She wants to tell Traz the truth but she may have waited too long. Still, she has to tell him. She spies him in the distance and as she makes her way toward him, she hears a crack and looks up to see the branch of a huge burning tree falling towards her. All she remembers is screaming and then everything goes dark. (Na)

Crazy aching head.

Just her luck that the first thing Sherriff Traz would do is verify her credentials. Find the warrant and come chasing after her. It was kind of lucky he pulled her out of the way of the falling tree.

Totally not her day that he didn't believe her story. And of course, how lucky was she handcuffed to his truck steering wheel. If she only had a screw driver. No luck. There wasn't anything except a bag holding the clothes he'd been wearing during their lunch.

IF I only had skipped lunch today and gone straight to the Sherriff's office. But Toni, you'd still be in cuffs and behind bars.

How would she convince the bumpkin of a Sherriff to let her help with the investigation and vindicate herself? Toni stretched and dug under the seat. Thank you! She prayed Traz would forgive her, but the screwdriver was her only hope at this point.

Toni rubbed her wrists where the cuffs had been. Luckily, she'd found a screwdriver under the seats. She was running short on time but as she hurried back to her car she felt a wistful twinge at the way things had gone with Traz. (Robin)

As she drove away as fast as she could, she couldn't get Traz out of her mind. What was wrong with her? He arrested her -- at least tried to. (Molly)

* * *
Traz managed to keep his head about him as he worked side by side with the other local Emergency Response teams. The firefighters were slowly but surely getting the blaze under control. Traz made it his responsibility to ensure that anyone who had been in or near the building when the bomb went off were seen by the EMTs on the scene immediately. Thus far only one seriously injured occupant and a few minor injuries reported, still, he couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible for the devastation he was witnessing. (Lady Red)

Traz was speeding down the two-lane trying to catch his stolen truck. Just as fast as he pushed on the gas, he screeched to a halt. His truck sat at the Dairy Queen. The cute blond Detective sitting at the wheel, hands plainly in sight.

Too bad she was wanted for questioning for two other fires. Dang shame.

He drew his weapon and shouted, “Keep your hands where I can see them, Toni!”

“I have evidence in my car. This isn’t what it seems, Traz.”

“I saw the warrant for your arrest. I saw four injured men at the mill. I can see that you stole my truck.” He pulled the door open. “And I can see your pretty little hide behind bars in my jail.”

“I can understand why you’re angry, but this guy’s going to strike again. Tonight. He always does.”

“Where did you set this bomb?”

“What? No. It’s not me. I’ve been following…”

~ ~ ~
What happens next? You decide.
Will they get together for their Happily Ever After?
Remember to keep it PG13 and HAVE FUN !!
~Angi

HEATHER WILL BE DRAWING FOR a cool book safe -- you know, those nifty boxes that look like books but are hollow inside so you can hideaway lovely things! AND an advanced copy of SWEET ENEMY, her DEBUT release.

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

DON’T FORGET to FOLLOW us on Twitter or LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with all our guest authors and their prizes.

I NEED YOUR HELP...please send a question for the lovely Tawny Weber or one of her characters from her SEX, LIES & ... series. All participants will be added to a special drawing for a set of all three titles. ~ANGI

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mia Marlowe


Today, I'm thrilled to welcome Mia Marlowe back to the blog to talk about her latest novel, Sins of the Highlander, a collaboration with the fabulous Connie Mason.  Since Mia's visited us before (and what a fun interview it was! If you missed it, you really should click HERE and see what talent Mia has that I'm totally jealous of), she's treating us today with a guest post and give-away!

Take it away, Mia!

The Gift of Sight
Nothing is ever wasted on a writer. We store up experiences, emotions and impressions and bequeath them later to our literary children. In SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER, Elspeth Stewart possesses the gift of Sight—the ability to pull back the mist of the future and see what may come. It’s not a gift she’s comfortable with. For one thing, it marks her as different. And people mistrust those who are different.
For another, she can’t conjure it up when she wills. The trances and visions come on her unannounced and unsought. The images are frequently out of context or about people she doesn’t recognize. It’s an uncomfortable talent. But when she feels strongly enough about what she’s Seen, she’ll act on the information.
I can’t claim to have the Sight, but I have had what I call “pinpricks of prescience.” The most dramatic happened years ago when our family gathered to help my grandparents deal with a health crisis. I’d flown in to be there and my mother and younger sisters had driven from several states away. The night before we all had to return home, I started feeling “twitchy” about it. I asked my mom to delay their trip or at least not start out so early in the morning. They had a long drive ahead of them, but she assured me they’d be careful.
I still couldn’t shake my sense of dread. While I waited in the airport, I kept expecting to hear my name called over the intercom and not for anything good. When I arrived home, the message light was blinking on my phone. My mom and sisters had been in a rollover accident after hitting some black ice. The car was totaled, but they had all escaped with only bumps and bruises.  
I wished I’d been more forceful in my warning. I wished I’d had a more definite reason why I felt I had to give it, but it had been nothing more than a feeling. That frustration of not having enough information to act is what I gave to the SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER heroine, Elspeth Stewart. But of course, there comes a time in the story when her visions are clear enough for her to act. Here’s a snippet from Elspeth’s vision:
Brightness burned the backs of her eyes. Then the light dimmed and she could see.
Oh, God! The battle scene. Not again.
Hundreds of bodies littered the field, bleeding into winter-brown grass. Corbeys cried and circled overhead, waiting. Women culled the field for items of value or searched weeping for dead loved ones. A large carrion bird swooped down, impatient for the upright humans to clear the heath so the corbeys could feast on the bodies that remained.
Elspeth wandered through the glen of death, looking for something. She knew not what. The only thing that made it possible for her to put one foot before another was her certainty that she had Seen this battle before. This was all but a vision, as insubstantial as a dream and over as quickly.
Someone groaned, a dying man among the dead. Another bleated piteously for his mother. Whose son was he?
It started to rain, heaven weeping for the fallen.
Oh, Merciful God! This vision was different. She saw something she recognized—a scrap of Stewart plaid. She ran toward it. Her father stared unblinking into the dripping sky. A crossbow bolt protruded from his chest. She sank down beside him, rocking in agony. A soft keening escaped her throat. 
Then a shout drew her gaze. A rabble had surrounded a single man. He fought like a demon, slashing and turning, but there were too many. A blade cut him and he roared in agony. They closed in like wolves around a wounded buck. As he went down, he turned toward her and she saw his face for a blink before they hacked him to pieces.
Rob!
The blades fell like scythes on wheat.
Someone started wailing, a wordless cry with no end.

Hope you enjoyed that taste of SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER. It’s available now at your local booksellers or all the major etailers.  Today you’ll also have a couple chances to win a copy. Leave a comment or question to be entered in the random drawing. Thanks for having me here today, Heather!

Have you ever had a flash of insight about the future or known someone who did?
______________________________
Mia Marlowe writes adventurous, sensual historical romance for Sourcebooks and Kensington. She loves to connect with readers and invites you to visit her cyberhome: http://www.miamarlowe.com . While you’re there be sure to enter her website contest. The Grand Prize is a NEW KINDLE!

Thanks for visiting us today, Mia!  And readers, if you can’t wait to read Elspeth and Rob’s story you can buy it right NOW at Amazon.
Come back tomorrow, when our "If I Wrote Romance" post is continued.  Do your part to continue the story and you'll have your chance to win an early signed copy of my debut Regency, SWEET ENEMY, and a lovely book safe.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Helen Lacey

MADE FOR MARRIAGE



Harlequin Special Edition
ISBN: 0373656483
Equestrian Callie Jones was used to difficult parents at her riding school. But Noah Preston took the cake. How dare he question her teaching abilities, after his headstrong daughter paid no heed to rules—her teacher’s or her father’s?
Single dad Noah was ready to apologize for overreacting. But he wasn’t sorry for the way the stunning American riding instructor made him feel. And he soon learned that there was more to Callie than her smarts, sass and fire: a shattered heart that threatened to splinter even further. Could he make her see that he—and his family—were for keeps?
~ ~ ~
Callie Jones knew trouble when she came upon it. And the thirteen-year-old who stood defiantly in front of her looked like more trouble than she wanted on a Saturday morning. For one thing, Callie liked to sleep later on the weekend, and the teenager with the impudent expression had banged on her door at an indecently early 6:00 a.m. And for another, the girl wasn't anything like she'd expected. Her long black hair was tied up in an untidy ponytail revealing at least half a dozen piercings in her ears, plus another in both her brow and nose. And the dark kohl smudged around her eyes was heavier than any acceptable trend Callie had ever seen.

"I'm Lily," the girl said, crossing her thin arms. "I'm here for my lesson."

Callie opened the front door fractionally, grateful she'd had the sense to wrap herself in an old dressing gown before she'd come to the door. It was chilly outside. "You're early," she said, spotting a bicycle at the bottom of the steps.

The teenager shrugged her shoulders. "So what? I'm here now." Callie hung on to her patience. "I told your father eight o'clock."

Lily shrugged again, without any apology in her expression. "Then I guess he told me the wrong time." The girl looked her over, and Callie felt the burning scrutiny right down to her toes.

Callie took a deep breath and glanced over the girl's head. Dawn was just breaking on the horizon. Another hour of sleep would have been nice, but she wasn't about to send Lily home.

"Okay, Lily. Give me a few minutes to get ready." Callie pointed to the wicker love seat on the porch. "Wait here. I'll be right back."

The girl shrugged. "Whatever."

Callie locked the security mesh screen as discreetly as she could and turned quickly on her heels. She didn't want an unsupervised teenager wandering around her house while she changed her clothes. Dashing into the bathroom, she washed her face and brushed her teeth and hair before slipping into jeans and a T-shirt.

She skipped coffee, grabbed a cereal bar and shoved it into her back pocket. She really needed to do some grocery shopping. But she was too busy. Busy with her students, busy trying to ensure the utilities were paid, busy not thinking about why a recently turned thirty ex-California girl worked twelve-hour days trying to make a success of a small horse-riding school situated a few miles from the eastern edge of the Australian coastline.

Callie grabbed her sweater from the back of the kitchen chair and headed for the front door. Once she'd locked up she pulled her muddy riding boots off the shoe rack, quickly tucked her feet into them, snatched up her battered cowboy hat and placed it on her head. She turned around to find no sign of her visitor. Or the expensive-looking bicycle.

Obviously the teenager wasn't keen on following instructions.

She put the keys into her pocket and headed for the stables. The large stable complex, round yard and dressage arena were impressive. Callie had spent nearly every penny she had on Sandhills Farm to ensure it became a workable and viable business.

Okay kid—where are you?

Tessa rushed from around the back of the house. Still a pup, the Labrador/cattle dog cross bounded on lanky legs and yapped excitedly. Obviously no kid was back there, or Tessa would have hung around for attention.

So, where was she? Callie's intuition and instincts surged into overdrive. Miss Too-Many-Piercings was clearly looking for trouble. She called the girl's name. No answer.

When Callie opened the stable doors and flicked the lock mechanism into place, a few long heads immediately poked over the stalls. She looked around and found no sign of Lily.

Great—the kid had gone AWOL.


MADE FOR HELEN

Helen Lacey grew up reading Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables and Little House on The Prairie. These childhood classics inspired her to write her first book when she was seven years old, a story about a girl and her horse. She continued to write with the dream of one day being a published author and writing for Harlequin Special Edition is the realization of that dream. She loves creating stories about cowboys and horses and heroine's who get their happily ever after.




MADE FOR QUESTIONS
ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
HELEN: Every time I write one. I’m a real panster and just let the story come out without getting too hung up on outlines. But in saying that, I’m usually thinking over and planning in my head for a few months before I start writing. For instance, I’m currently polishing four in my series to send to my editor for consideration, but I’m thinking about book six while I polish. (Book five is already written) When it comes to reading, I love getting lost in the story.

ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading? 
HELEN: Black Beauty. I was six years old and got swept away by the tale of a foal who grew into a horse and the journey he took to get there. It’s still one of my favorite books and I have several copies of it on my bookshelf. That book really highlighted my love of horses and they had been a big part of my life since I was twelve years old. My husband and I now own eight horses.
ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
HELEN: Do I sound like a schmuck if I say my husband? After many years of kissing toads, I found my frog prince. He has more integrity than anyone I have ever met.
ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
HELEN: Beauty and The Beast. I love the way the gruff beast becomes putty in her hands.
 
ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
HELEN: Lady from Lady and The Tramp.
ANGI: What turns you off like nothing else?
HELEN: Meanness.
ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
HELEN: I always have a couple of token songs for my books – if I’m stuck in a spot I’ll switch the songs on and listen to them a couple of times to get my muse going. For Made For Marriage I listen to I Knew I Loved You, by Savage Garden, and When You Say You Love Me by Josh Groban.
ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
HELEN: Well I’ve taken to reading on my Kindle, which I just love. I can take it anywhere.
ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
HELEN: My horses whinnying. The ocean crashing on rocks. The rain on the roof.
ANGI: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
HELEN: Honestly, both. I love Beauty and The Beast and Cinderella, but equally love Independence Day and Die Hard.
ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
HELEN: I was seven and it was about a girl and her horse called Misty. It was sixty four handwritten pages and some really bad illustrations.
ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
HELEN: Rebecca
ANGI: Who’s your favorite villain?
HELEN: Easy – Darth Vader. I love how he's redeemed in the end.
ANGI: Be honest, when reading...do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
HELEN: Not when I’m reading, but always when I’m writing.
ANGI: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
HELEN: The small town called Crystal Point, where I set Made For Marriage and the next two books in the series, due out fall 2012 and early 2013, is based around the small town where I live. It’s situated at the southern most point of the Great Barrier Reef and is a beautiful spot. I’m lucky I can indulge my passion for horses and ride along the beach.
ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: Thanks again for being with us, Helen. Talk about fate… I was skimming Twitter, saw you had a release and contacted you about being our guest. THEN, you reply that MADE FOR MARRIAGE had placed 2nd in the Great Expectations Contest (NTRWA.org) when I was coordinator. Wow…such a small world…even with you in Australia!  So I’m going to ask a bit of what happened after that 2nd place in the GE-- Please tell us a bit of what happened after.
HELEN’S GOTTA ANSWER: I’ve never been someone who enters contests, but a few years ago I put aside my fear of feedback and entered The Great Expectations contest. I was delighted to have placed second. It really gave me the confidence to keep entering contests and to try and avoid the slush pile and get onto the desk of the editor I was targeting. A few months after that second place I won another contest and the final editor requested the full manuscript. Through another contests win I signed with my agent. Eighteen months later my agent called to say Harlequin wanted to buy my book. The Great Expectations contest gave me the confidence I needed to keep trying.
MADE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
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UP NEXT FOR HELEN:
The next book in the Harlequin Special Edition series will be out in fall 2012 and book three in early 2013.
MADE FOR PRIZES  Helen is drawing for a copy of MADE FOR MARRIAGE and at the end of Hellen's blog tour (details on her website) she'll be drawing for the grand prize of a $50.00 Amazon voucher, and for those who like a bit of bling, a fabulous silver Pandora Bracelet with a horse charm.
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed INTERNATIONALLY. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

DON’T FORGET to FOLLOW us on Twitter or LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with all our guest authors and their prizes. Join me next Wednesday when I host the third installment of Tawny Weber's SEX, LIES & VALENTINES. I need your questions for our lovely author and her characters. Each person sending a question will be eligible for the THREE book set of Tawny's Sex, Lies series. ~Angi

HELEN WANTS TO KNOW: I love spending time with my horses – what do you like to do to relax and unwind?
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