Get to Know True Horizon

Untitled design (2)

 

Meet Grace Murray, heroine of True Horizon

Profession: Cyber Security expert, self-employed

Relationship Status: Currently engaged to Tyler Ross, the man she’s crushed on since high school.

Hobbies: Now that Grace is home at True Horizon Ranch to prepare for her wedding, she enjoys horseback riding and play Solo (Uno) card games with her nieces.

Things she finds unenjoyable: Cleaning out the horse barn (don’t lose a bet to Heath) and having to say goodbye to her fiance while he pursues advancing his career.

Dreams for her future: Grace once dreamed of marrying Tyler and living in the city. Since she’s been home on the ranch, she finds the quiet country life calling to her heart. Heath Carter, her dad’s temporary ranch hand, calls to her heart as well.

Favorite Line: “Ever since I’ve moved home, I’ve felt this shift inside me. This place is reshaping me into the person I used to be. And you know what? I like it.”

Advertisements

Morning Coffee Break

coffee-2440017_1920

Why my characters aren’t ‘saved by love’

Welcome to the first post in my new blog series called “Morning Coffee Break”!

Today, I’d like to talk about a decision that I’ve made to avoid the ‘saved by love’ plot device. I write romance, so love always factors into the character’s emotional growth and healing. But I didn’t want to use the love of another person as a magic wand to wipe away all life’s problems.

In Home Field, Julie is deeply grieving the loss of her husband. When she first meets Reagan, falling in love again is not even a blip on her radar. In the end, she does open her heart to Reagan (what girl could resist?) but not after some time to let herself heal. I felt she needed time alone to come to terms with the loss and then find the strength to let herself fall in love again.

In True Horizon, Heath Carter suffers from severe PTSD. In an effort to be true to the struggle, I did not want to downplay the work that goes into recovering from the effects of war. Heath falls in love and love is his motivation for wanting a better life, but his healing only comes after professional therapy and hard work. In real life, most people with PTSD will still experience symptoms even after therapy. They learn techniques to cope. I wanted Heath’s journey to reflect that reality as well as offer hope.

Through out the rest of the books in the Warriors of the Heart series, I’ve tried to maintain the same model. My characters use love as a motivation to grow, but the real change comes by their own strength of will.

A New Balancing Act

 

What do publishingand running have in common-

 

Why can’t someone create a day between Sunday and Monday? An extra day to get caught up on all the little things that continue to get pushed back onto the to-do list.

Recently, I’ve made writing a priority in my life. Which means that pesky things like cleaning the house and doing laundry often become secondary to finishing my word count for the day.

Now that I have three books contracted for publication, I’m really finding it a struggle to find balance. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into getting a manuscript ready for publication. Then, there’s the marketing and promotion an author needs to do months in advance of the book’s launch. And during this time I have to have faith in the stories I’ve already written, along with all the ones yet to come.

So that extra day…probably not something I’ll see anytime soon. I’ll just have to continue to squeeze in a load of laundry in between editing sessions. And always remember to close my laptop when it’s family time.

What’s your secret to finding a good work/life balance?

 

Breaking Her Rules

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter to win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon gift cards
Book Description:
Walker Adams was supposed to follow in his lawyer father’s
footsteps, but instead he’s training to be an MMA fighter. And while he works
for his chance to make it in the Maximum Fight League, he’s bunking on his baby
sister’s best friend’s couch. Gracie Andrews is all grown up—in all the right
places. But she’s engaged to the fight match-maker who holds Walker’s career in
his hands…

Gracie had almost convinced herself that she’d put her silly
childhood crush on Walker to rest. But the sight of him sleeping in only a pair
of boxer briefs makes it clear that some things never change. And as old sparks
turn to flames, Gracie is forced to decide between the future she thought she
wanted or the man she’s never stopped loving…

Review:
What could go wrong when Gracie Andrews agrees to let the brother of her best friend crash on her sofa for a few weeks…the brother who she grew up having a crush on…the brother who is now a hunky MMA fighter. Or should I ask…what could go right??

While Walker Adams is trying to breaking into the UFC, he is totally reliant on Grace’s ‘good graces’. She gives him a place to stay, helps him find a job and a gym to train at, and leaves his head spinning. Grace is now engaged to a powerful Vegas fight match-maker and has no interest in turning her back on a stable relationship for one with Walker, a man with no career and no money. (Don’t worry Walker, I’d take you regardless)

The chemistry between Grace and Walker was red hot! I loved the push and pull as they tried to figure out how to make it work between them. Jennifer did a great job of creating believable characters, ones that I was cheering for in the end.

I loved this book and I can’t wait for the next one in the series.

**I was given an ARC for an honest review

Bio:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton,
Alberta with her husband and four year old son. She is a member of the Writers
Guild of Alberta, the Romance Writers of America, the Canadian Author
Association, and SheWrites.org.  She is
also a regular blogger on the Heartwarming Authors site and is a contributing
author to Mslexia Magazine, WestWord Magazine and RWR. She has also taught RWA
Chapters courses online.  Her 2013
Holiday Romance-The Trouble With Mistletoe was a finalist in the 2014 Golden
Quill Contest and the Heart of Denver Aspen Gold Contest.

Her publishing credits include two
holiday novellas, previously published by The Wild Rose Press, now re-released
or being re-released as self-published editions through Amazon. The Mistletoe
Fever was an Amazon bestseller for two weeks in the category of Kindle Short
Reads. Her six book small town, Brookhollow series is published through
Harlequin Heartwarming and she has a new MMA sports romance series releasing
through Berkley/NAL Intermix in 2015. RT Reviews has given each of her
Brookhollow series books 4 stars.

She also hosts an annual SnowGlobe
Award contest in recognition of holiday themed romance stories, with over forty
entries each year, with participants ranging from new authors to NYT
Bestselling authors, such as Brenda Novak and Sarah Morgan. More information
about the contest can be found at http://www.snowglobeawardcontest.vpweb.ca

She is active on her website,
Facebook, Twitter, and various blog sites and has a monthly author newsletter.

Web links

Buy Links

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

REVIEW – Homefront

cover63072-medium

Review of Homefront by Jessica Scott

After reading Ms. Scott’s Back to You, I was very excited about her new release, Homefront.

This story follows a formerly married couple, Gale and Melanie Sorren, and their teenage daughter, Jamie. Gale is a career soldier, who has always put his commitment to the Army before anything else, including his family. Being a soldier is the only thing Gale feels he’s ever excelled at. As a husband and father, well, to be honest…he kinda sucked.

Now, having been stationed at Fort Hood, Gale’s living close to his ex-wife and daughter. He wants another chance to make things right. Only Melanie has been burned by him before. She’s spent fifteen years raising their troubled daughter, all on her own. Why would she want to take Gale back?

That is the million dollar question in Homefront. Mel stills carries a flame for Gale, and Gale is obviously still in love with her. Neither one has found someone else to fill that void.

Fifteen years is a long time to be apart, and not just – hey, I’m living on the other side of town, but I’m living on the other side of the world. Their daughter has more than her fair share of teenage angst, and Mel has been having to deal with that all on her lonesome for way too long.

I’m a sucker for second chance romances, and there is plenty of conflict preventing Gale and Mel from getting back together. I liked both characters. Ms. Scott did a great job bring them to life, faults and all. Her writing style is gritty and real, and doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff.

My only complaint is that I felt Mel was way to easy on Gale. I would have made him grovel a bit more, but maybe that’s just me.

If you like military romance and second chance love, pick up Homefront.

* Reviewer was given a free copy from NetGalley for a fair review

Review – Raising the Stakes

Raising the Stakes banner
This is my stop during the blog tour for Raising the Stakes by Karen Rock. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 1 till 7 April, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

Raising the Stakes CoverRaising the Stakes
by Karen Rock
Genre: Adult
Age category: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 1 April, 2015

Blurb:
Hiding from the world…

Tucking herself away in the Adirondack woods was supposed to keep Vivienne Harris safe. From dark memories of the Bronx, from danger, from entanglements. But when an orphaned bear cub raids her pantry and conservation officer Liam Walsh appears with news of poachers nearby, her private, peaceful world is turned upside down!

Suddenly two forces are drawing her out—Button, the cub who needs her help, and Liam, the man who’s dead set against her rehabilitating the bear. If she can just win Liam’s support, Vivie knows she can give Button a good life. And maybe find the courage to embrace a future with Liam…

My Review:

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but look at that cover. Isn’t that sweet, little bear cub enticing you to grab that book and start reading?

Raising the Stakes by Karen Rock is an animal / romance lovers dream. Vivienne Harris left the large city for the safety of the Adirondack Mountains. When a cub breaks into her house in the middle of the night, Vivie’s life is about to take a ‘wild’ turn.

Liam Walsh, a wildlife officer, answers the call about the stray bear cub. With the cub’s mother killed by poachers, Liam believes the little guy should be put down.  But Vivie won’t hear of it. Can the stubborn Liam talk Vivie into doing what’s right in his eyes, or will Vivie’s kind heart win in the end?

I loved all the animals in this book, from Vivie’s old dog and curious cat, to Buttons the bear, and Liam’s dog – Extra Pickles. (I still can’t get over that name!)

The love story between Vivienne and Liam starts and stops…then starts again, only to have them pulled back apart by their different opinions about Buttons care and Liam’s desire to take a new post in Yellowstone.

Karen did a good job of revealing the character’s back story in bits and pieces throughout the story, so as a reader, I was intrigued up until the end. I won’t say what happened to the little orphan cub, you’ll have to read the book and find out yourself. Let’s just say my eyes were a little damp at many points throughout the book, and especially when I was finished reading.

The reviewer was given an ARC for an honest review.

You can find Raising the Stakes on Goodreads

You can buy Raising the Stakes here:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Harlequin

karen in gardenAbout the Author:
Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer. Currently she writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and her first novel for the line, WISH ME TOMORROW, has won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and a finalist in the Published Maggie Awards. The first novel in her co-authored YA series, CAMP BOYFRIEND, has been a finalist in the Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.

You can find and contact Karen here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Tumblr
Quarterly Newsletter
Amazon Author Page

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Raising the Stakes. These are the prizes you can win:
– a 100$ Amazon gift card (INT)
– a set of signed paperbacks of Wish Me Tomorrow, His Hometown Girl, Someone Like You and A League of Her Own (US only)
Raising the Stakes Grand Prize

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Lola's Blog Tours

Blog Hop – Sun vs Snow

Welcome to the Sun vs. Snow blog hop!

As part of the Sun vs. Snow contest, I am publishing a short pitch and first 250 words of my work in progress, True Horizon.

Side note- Check out my Paper Dreams book club post! Paper Dreams is a totally online book club. A new book each month. No getting out of your pajamas in order to participate!

Title- True Horizon

Genre- Contemporary Romance

Word Count- 73,000

Short Pitch-

Struggling with PTSD, a former soldier never thought he’d find something to live for. Until the woman he rescues from drowning makes it her mission to save him.

First 250 words-

Each loud firework explosion pushed Heath Carter’s cautious self-control closer to the edge. He blocked out the noise and focused on his surroundings. With every deep inhale and exhale, the rapid beat of his heart began to slow, warm air filled his lungs.  Looking down at his hands, he saw they were once again steady.  While he had attained the ability to control his rage, Heath knew it would never go away. It always kept company with the guilt and sorrow that would also rise up without warning.

He was safe, for now, in a cheap hotel room in Galveston….not in Afghanistan. In order to keep the panic from rising up again, Heath hit the volume button on his iPod and Highway to Hell blasted into his ears. “Fifty more,” he said, tucking his bare feet under the ugly floral chair, then laying his back down on a long towel set on the floor. Sweat dripped from his body as he flawlessly executed the sit-ups. “Duty…Honor…Country,” he repeated the chant, his body moving in rhythm with words from another life.

Finishing in an upright, seated position, Heath grabbed the towel thrown over the arm of the chair and wiped his face. The air conditioner unit that stuck precariously out of the wall started humming its death throes. His hotel room must be ninety degrees by now, but that discomfort was nothing compared to what awaited him if he opened the window to let in the cool night breeze.

Romance Throwdown ARMY vs NAVY

IMG_1163

The romance genre has had a long love affair with the military hero. Nothing beats a man in uniform. But who wears it better? And who makes a better Black Ops warrior in a romance story- Navy Seals or Army Special Forces? The various branches of the US military are notoriously competitive. Ask any Sailor, Marine, Airman, or Soldier, and they will insist that their branch is far superior. And when they’re forced to share the same space, like a base in Afghanistan, their competitive nature really is displayed.

When I started researching for my book, Home Field, I looked for first person accounts of military forces deployed to Afghanistan. I became drawn to the stories of Special Forces soldiers.

There were two books that I found extremely helpful in understanding the Special Forces soldier. First was Lions of Kandahar by Major Rusty Bradley. Second was Gentleman Bastards: On The Ground In Afghanistan by Kevin Maurer. Both books I found extremely enlightening. I learned the complex command structure of a SF A-Team, their specialize combat training, their selection process, the different specialties that make up each twelve man ODA, and their motto-DE OPPRESSO LIBER.

Special Forces are called the Quiet Professionals. Most go about their important work, not seeking fame or glory. They are trained to be peacekeepers and work with indigenous peoples to gain there cooperation and support. Instead of blowing things up, they work to hold things together.

Special Forces teams have been involved in the Black Hawk Down incident, the hunt of Saddam Hussein, and many other important missions around the globe.

So, can you see why I chose to represent Special Forces in both my books. Unfortunately, it’s the death of a SF soldier that is the catalyst for the events in Home Field. (Yes, I did feel really bad about killing him off) My second book, True Horizon, follows a SF veteran who is suffering from PTSD.

I know you can pick up hundreds of romance novels staring Navy Seals. The Navy Seals have earned their fierce reputation. It takes incredible courage and fortitude to make it through BUDS training.

But once I learned about what makes the Army SF so special, I wanted my story to highlight those brave men.

What’s your preference…Army or Navy? (or maybe one of each)

Review – A League of Her Own by Karen Rock

iphone pics 094

Write from the Heart Review

A League of Her Own

by Karen Rock

I first became introduced to Karen Rock through her book, His Hometown Girl. So, when I saw she had a new book out, I quickly downloaded it onto my Kindle.

I have a long love story with sports. Not that I have any natural athletic ability (I trip over my own feet). In high school, I worked as an usher for my hometown pro-baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers. Sport heroes are some of my favorite to read about in romance, and Garret Wolf does not disappoint!

Garret Wolf is a minor league pitcher who gets a second chance with the Falcons. Heather Gadway is a former college softball pitching star and daughter of the Falcon’s owner. When Heather’s father becomes ill and threatens to sell the team, Heather makes a deal…she will step in as manager for the rest of the season and try to turn the team around.

Garret and Heather butt heads right off the bat (I love baseball puns!) but eventually come to an uneasy alliance. They both want the team to succeed, each for their own reasons.

I loved the fact that Heather stepped into a minor league manager position. It took a lot of guts to stand in a locker room full of male professional athletes and attempt to gain their support….kinda like wrangling kittens. Heather didn’t let her own insecurities or rocky history with her parents become an excuse to quit.

Any book with such a sweet love story and a strong female lead will get a strong recommendation from me.

I rate A League of Her Own  5 hearts

heart-512x512heart-512x512heart-512x512heart-512x512heart-512x512

Laurie

Holiday Query Blog Hop

Below is my *revised* entry for Michelle4Laughs Holiday Blog Hop.

True Horizon is a WIP, Contemporary Romance, at approximately 73,000 words.

Dear Fabulous Agent,

After a decade of fighting, Special Forces soldier, Heath Carter, is living with war’s tragic consequences. Struggling with anger and guilt, he embarks on a journey across Texas, adrift and alone. When he jumps into a river to rescue a drowning woman, his fortunes start to change. Offered a temporary job on a cattle ranch by her grateful father, he slowly begins to open up to Grace, the woman whom he saved.

Grace Murray, former ugly duckling…now turned swan, has moved back home to her family’s ranch in order to prepare for her wedding. When she accidentally performs a head dive into a river, a  strange drifter, covered in tattoos and a scruffy beard, saves her life. Now they’re both living on the ranch and she can’t help but be drawn to the troubled Heath Carter. As days go by, Grace begins to question her choices and starts to crave the freedom she had growing up on the ranch. Only her fiancé won’t hear of it. He wants her to move back with him to Dallas, just like they’d planned.

Grace’s time spent at the quiet country ranch and Heath’s steady companionship leave her ready to trade one dream for another. Only Heath’s past is standing in the way. He sees himself as tainted by the tragic mistakes he made in Afghanistan, not worthy of Grace’s love. Now, Grace needs to decide if she can stand by Heath’s side and share his burden, or are the realities of life with PTSD too much for their new relationship to overcome.  

True Horizon is written as a standalone novel, but also has series potential. I believe it would appeal to fans of Nicholas Sparks’ The Lucky One and Karen Rock’s Someone Like You. Thank-you for your consideration and I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind Regards,

Laurie Hoffman