The Latest from Tracy

On The Record… with Ashlyn Macnamara

Macnamara-AMostScandalousProposalCoverWelcome to ON THE RECORD where I chat with romance authors about their favorite topics, which usually includes writing but almost always includes handsome men!

Welcome, Ashlyn Macnamara, debut author of the fun and sexy a MOST SCANDALOUS PROPOSAL, which released on February 26, 2013!

TB: Today, we’ll start with an easy question first. Ash, what is A MOST SCANDALOUS PROPOSAL all about?

AM: The short version is it’s Sense and Sensibility with sex–although it’s not a completely faithful retelling of Jane Austen. It can’t be. It has love scenes! It also takes place in Mayfair for the most part, rather than the country, and the characters are possibly a bit higher up the social rank than Jane wrote about. Not so much country gentry but relatives (some more distant than others) of titled people. On the other hand it does feature two romances, and the plot intertwines around both of them. I feel it’s important to mention this, because the blurb on the back of my book might lead you to believe this is your usual Regency with one main romance.

TB:  I love the duality of having two heroines. Although I know the book is primarily about one sister, it was refreshing to see an alternate viewpoint within the story. Very clever you is!

AM: Why, thank you! *Curtseys (and probably trips. Pretend you didn’t see that.)* By the way, I’ve only just noticed my initials spell out AM, and I am *so* not a morning person. Why didn’t I think of that when I chose my penname?

TB:  Typically you Beau Monde gals are hardcore with your historical accuracy, particularly with regard to social customs. What are some constraints about this time period that impact your writing?AMDRCover

AM:  What a brilliant excuse to segue into my second book! See, Isabelle, the heroine of my second book is a Regency-era single mother. As you can imagine, depending on a woman’s social rank, having an illegitimate child wasn’t exactly the done thing. And I wanted to portray realistically what might have happened to someone like that. Oh, I probably could have made things worse for her, by forcing her to sell her favors for a scrap of bread here and there and dying horrifically of some venereal disease, but then I wouldn’t have much of a HEA. But she does pay a price in her reduced circumstances, and even her neighbors in the village where she’s settled don’t give her much of a break.

TB:  It’s true. Venereally ever after does NOT have the same ring to it. So I’m glad you kept your heroine STD free. Tell me about your heroes. Do have images in your mind about what he looks like? Do you have a celebrity muse?

AM: Oh dear. I have several… Benedict from my first book bears a striking resemblance to Gerard Butler. Highgate, also from my first book (since there are two heroes), might possibly remind readers of Alan Rickman. George Upperton from my second book is more along the lines of Russell Crowe, only younger and not quite so scruffy. Muttonchop sideburns aside, they weren’t too big on facial hair during the era. Oh, and if my cover model is to be believed, he also has buns of steel. J

IRichardArmitage’m working on a new series right now, and my current hero may just look a bit like Sean Bean. But I’ve also been thinking of the book after that. See, I’ve been glomming the BBC series Robin Hood on Netflix for one reason and one reason alone: Sir Tall, Dark, and Brooding himself, Guy of Gisborne, AKA Richard Armitage. So if you notice one of my upcoming heroes has long dark hair, green eyes, and a deep, gravelly voice, you’ll know where I got it from.

TB:  Why, I declare, my dear Miss Macnamara, what lovely taste you have. Sean Bean was a favorite of mine from days past and Gerard Butler has graced MANY pages without knowing it! And ahhhh…. Richard Armitage. Perfect blend of brood, but humorous, too. Bright green eyes AND an accent? Lawd, where are my smelling salts? You’re not the first historical writer with a taste for R.A. Henry Cavill is a favorite of many, as well. I used to adore Adrian Paul from the Highlander TV series! But, alas, I heard him do an interview once where he was very ungracious and it ruined the illusion. Plus he’s cockney!!! Didn’t see that one coming!! Now, on to something else. What five things would you take to a deserted island if you were going to be there for say…. One month?

AidAnTurnerAM: Richard Armitage, Sean Bean, Gerard Butler, Aidan Turner, and Daniel Day-Lewis as he appeared in Last of the Mohicans—not that I have a thing for  men with long hair. And I want to stay more than a month. That’s not cheating is, it?

TB:  Now that’s what I call Fantasy Island!! I’d like to visit there myself! But there is AidAn Turner, and then there is AidEn Turner. I always mix them up but either is mighty fine! And I loooove the movie Last of the Mohicans. James Fenimore Cooper had it all wrong. Hollywood made that story so much better. (All the dead historical fiction writers are rolling in their graves right now!)DDL

AM: I don’t know. I think Mark Twain would agree with you… Although in true romance fashion, I would have loved for Alice and Uncas to have survived and had their HEA.

TB:  Ah, yes. Uncus! He did not hold up too well in real life! And now DDL looks like Lincoln. But they’ll be forever young and beautiful in our books and in the movies. Well, Ms. Macnamara, this has been a lovely chat. But might I add that no trip to a tropical island is complete without a great book to read. Such as…A MOST SCANDALOUS PROPOSAL! Here is wishing you loads and loads of success. I loved that book and I know everyone else will, too. Thanks for visiting with me today!

AM: Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s been fun. And I can’t wait to read HOLD ON MY HEART! I adored both HIGHLAND SURRENDER and CRAZY LITTLE THING, especially for the humor laced throughout your contemporary work.

TB:  Why thank you. Just for that, you may visit me again someday. 

Ashlyn_Macnamara_Headshot_medAshlyn Macnamara writes Regency romances with a dash of wit and a hint of wicked. She considers this writing gig her mid-life crisis, but figures it’s less dangerous than hang-gliding or sky-diving. Despite her insistence on looking toward the past, she can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

 

An Honor Just to be Nominated!

It’s an honor just be nominated.

I know that’s a cliche, and we writers are supposed to avoid those… like the plague…

But it happens to be true.

Today, my debut novel CRAZY LITTLE THING, was nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award for BEST FIRST BOOK. I’ve seen the line up of fabulous writers sharing the category with me and I can sincerely say, in that fine complany, it IS an honor just to be nominated.

Thanks readers, and thanks judges for enjoying this book! Now on to Atlanta!

On The Record… With Kimberly Kincaid

Headshot RedWelcome to ON THE RECORD where I chat with romance authors about their favorite topics, which usually includes writing but almost always includes handsome men! Today I’m thrilled to be chatting with debut author Kimberly Kincaid!

TB:  Kimberly, you’ve just released your first novella! Tell me about it!

KK:  LOVE ON THE LINE is the story of a gruff police detective injured in the line of duty, and the heart-on-her-sleeve personal chef who throws him for the loop of his life as he recovers. It was a blast to write because the characters (Violet and Noah) were so opposite, yet deep down , they were a perfect match. I really loved watching that transformation!

TB:  And readers will love it, too! How does writing a novella differ from drafting a full length novel?

KK:  It’s deceptive, because you’d think novellas are easier since they’re only a third of the word count. But oh no! Just because they’re shorter doesn’t mean they’re “less”. You’ve got to get all your story elements, characters arcs, and plot events into a limited space. It’s like packing for a month-long glamorous vacation, and all you’ve got is one suitcase. It takes a lot of moving and shifting to get it just right!

TB:  Having shared a hotel room with you, I know you do not travel light so the packing analogy is very apt! How long did this novella take you to write?Portrait of young attractive happy amorous couple in bedroom

KK:  I am notorious for the “feast or famine” method of writing (sorry for the foodie pun!) It took me nearly ten days and two false starts to get LOVE ON THE LINE plotted out. But once I typed Chapter One, I wrote and edited the entire draft in 30 days.

TB:  Yes. You did. And I hate you a little bit for that! Just kidding, of course. I know it took “awhile” (in Kim time!) to choose this story as your first novella but once you started, you ripped through it at an amazing pace. Do you have writing rituals or can you write anytime, anyplace?

KK:  I am actually really uptight about writing in a vacuum—it must be pin-drop quiet, otherwise nothing’s getting done. Otherwise, no. I can write in a ball gown (I highly recommend this, actually) or in my ratty PJ’s (I recommend this even more though).

TB:  Long live the ratty pajamas! What are you working on now?

KK:  I am working on a companion novella to LOVE ON THE LINE, featuring Violet’s brother Jason as the hero. I’ve also got a book proposal in the works for my foodie series with Kensington.

TB:  You currently have a three-book series with Kensington, and an anthology coming. What are the titles of those books?

KK:  I’m thrilled to have collaborated on a Christmas anthology with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angel, titled THE SUGAR COOKIE SWEETHEART SWAP, which kicks off my Pine Mountain foodie series. That releases in October. My first full-length novel, TURN UP THE HEAT, will follow in February 2014.

TB:  I cannot wait to see them in print! What is something you know now that you did not know a year ago?

KK:  There are conservatively a billion answers to this question J But if I had to pick just one, I’d say I’ve learned that patience goes a long, long way in writing and publishing. When I first signed with my agent in 2011, contemporary romance was a hard sell. But we hung in there, and when the tides turned, it happened!

TB:  Where would you like to be in five years?

KK:  Right here, doing exactly this, only more! I am in this for the long haul. As long as the stories whisper to me, I’m going to want to write them.

TB:  That’s a great answer. I know not everyone gets to do a job they love so I’m super grateful to be where we are! What would you tell an aspiring writer?

KK:  One word, and it’s the kind of word you want to write on sticky notes and slap onto every available surface in your house. PERSEVERE. Rejection happens. You’ll fall down a lot (and here it is—everyone. Falls. Down. Anyone who says she doesn’t isn’t being truthful with you!) Get back up. Believe it will happen. PERSEVERE.

TB:  Amen to that. Not only do we fall down. Sometimes we are pushed! But you have to get back up! Describe your writing space.

KK:  My office is the only room in my entire house that is not beige. It is cranberry red (hello, color of love, and all!) I have books from floor to ceiling on one entire wall, and an idea board over my laptop with all my “stuff” (pictures, recipes, sticky notes with plot ideas) for whatever I’m writing at any given time. Right now there’s a lot of Taylor Kinney going on up there. What can I say? I have a little crush!

TB:  Excellent choice. There is more than one reason they call that show Chicago Fire!  Okay, random question time. Do you have a pet? Tell me about it?

KK:  We are ridiculously pet-free in my house because my kids have bad allergies. But that doesn’t stop them from asking if we can get a dog or cat every single day!

TB:  That’s pretty funny that your pet-peeve involves a pet! Describe your favorite pair of shoes. (I know this is going to be a tough one for you!)

KK:  Picking one favorite pair is like picking your favorite child. You really can’t! But my signature pair of shoes is pair of lipstick red patent leather Mary Jane pumps. I wear them whenever I need to feel fantastic about life. It always works!KK Shoes

TB:  I love those shoes. And that picture. If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would you choose?

KK:  Jo Bourne’s Adrian, from The Black Hawk. Dark, dangerous, handsome, *and* can teach me all kinds of stealthy spy stuff? Come on! What girls says no to that?

TB:  Oh, good choice! You have to love a man who could assassinate a bad guy with a butter knife.  Is your perfect man: Alpha or Beta? (I already know your answer!)

KK:  Capital-A-Alpha. Every time!

TB:  Yep! I was right! And I’m with you on that. Alpha with a side of Beta. What do you usually think of when you first wake up, or when you’re trying to fall asleep?

KK:  I am about to out myself as a writing Fembot here, but I noodle plotlines. A lot. And it is the reason I have a whiteboard next to my bed.

TB:  I don’t have the white board but I definitely fall asleep while plotting! I will dream full stories. Once I even critiqued my own dream while I was in the middle of it! I wonder if all writers do this? Shifting gears again. Where would you like to travel to?

KK:  As a foodie, I am down with anywhere the food is good, and local food? Even better! I would love to do a food and wine tour of Italy, and am dying to eat freshly-picked pineapple in Hawaii.

TB:  What food can you not live without?

KK:  This is a changeable answer for me, but I am a huge fan of food that comes directly from the earth. Peaches still warm from the sun, perfect, fat heirloom tomatoes, crisp, tart apples…I could live on produce all by itself, I mean it!

TB:  You’re making me hungry. I’m going to go have a snack and re-read LOVE ON THE LINE!

Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber”, she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. Kimberly resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.

 

BLURB FOR LOVE ON THE LINE:

 

Violet Morgan puts the personal in personal chef, catering to clients who want the full cooking experience rather than a culinary drop-and-dash. But when her brother’s police detective partner is injured in the line of duty and needs help during recovery, she makes an exception. Violet lost her father to the job seven years ago, and worries for her brother’s safety every day. The last thing she wants is to get up-close with her brother’s career-cop partner…again.

For Noah Blackwell, being a detective isn’t just a lifestyle, it’s a legacy. So when he’s forced to take mandatory leave and deal with the trauma amnesia keeping him from identifying his shooter, it’s a literal case of adding insult to injury— and now he’s got to deal with an unwanted culinary caregiver on top of it. Never mind that he and Violet shared a steamy, secret kiss last New Year’s Eve. She rejects everything related to the job, and Noah’s not about to be distracted from recovering his memory and getting back to what he does best. No matter how pretty Violet is.

Despite their differences, Violet and Noah share a surprising bond in the kitchen that grows into something neither of them expect. But as Noah heals and their feelings for each other extend from the kitchen to the bedroom, Violet knows she must make an impossible choice. She may wear her heart on her sleeve when it comes to food, but can she risk it all to put love on the line?

 

On the Record with… Kim Law

 kim -headshotToday on On The Record, I’m chatting with the fabulous Kim Law, author of SUGAR SPRINGS, CAUGHT ON CAMERA, and the serialized EX ON THE BEACH. Keep reading and find out how you might win a Kindle Fire HD!!

TB:  Kim, it’s so great to be chatting with you today! I’ve heard a rumor you are writing something called a serial. What’s that about?

KL:  It’s about foreplay 😀 At least, that’s what I always think. Serials are full length books that are released in episodes. So every two weeks, readers are getting another 30-40 pages of the book until the full book is released. To make it really successful, the author’s goal is to leave each episode on a cliffhanger. That means the reader will then have two weeks of tittering anticipation 😉 as they wait for the next episode. Thus…foreplay. J

TB:  Oh, my! That is intriguing! People today are so accustomed to instant gratification that the allure of delayed gratification gives the book an air of mystery! And everyone loves a cliffhanger. How does this format impact your writing style?

KL:  Well, I always try to leave chapters and scene with some sort of hook, but with episodes, I have to refocus and make sure I leave that last scene with a much bigger reason to make the reader want to turn the page! I also have to make it fit within the word count of the episode, so that gets a little tricky. Some episodes are a little longer and some a little shorter, but I still have to keep it within the right range. That impacts what I do/don’t do in some of my scenes.

And as for everyone loving a cliffhanger…some people don’t. Some are just brutal when they get one! After this last episode, I got a comment “Can they just have sex already!” There was more to it than that, but it wasn’t all polite. So suffice it to say, that person was not pleased with the cliffhanger strategy. (Yet, each time I hear people railing about the injustice of not havExontheBeach-covering more to read… RIGHT NOW, I do feel I’m doing a good job 😉

TB:  There is something to be said for leaving the readers wanting more! The title of your first serial is EX ON THE BEACH. I love that title! What is this story about?

KL:  Thanks! I get to take credit for that title, though it’s the only good one I’ve ever come up with! EX is a fun, sexy contemporary about a wedding planner who has to pull off the wedding of the summer to save her business…then discovers that the ex who once left her at the altar is the best man!

TB:  Titles are devilish little necessities. But it’s rare to find on that really captures the essence of the story so good job with that one! And what a great story premise! Do you consider yourself a thorough plotter who knows how a story will end before you begin writing, or are you a seat-of-your-pantser who just takes two characters, puts them in a virtual room together, and waits to see what happens?

KL:  Funny you asked that the way you did. I’m a total plotter. Throw me two characters together in a room and I’ll sit and think about them for a week. And then I’ll make them do something. So yes, I figure out characters and I plot like a loon. HOWEVER, things always change as I’m writing, and I never…ever, ever, ever…know exactly how a book is going to end until I get to the ending. It’s frustrating, and that’s the part I hate writing the most. I’m currently STUCK on the ending of EX (did I also mention the episodes start releasing as the author is still writing the book? *sigh*) because I don’t know what they need to do!

TB:  I’m a plotter, too. To my detriment. Whenever someone says, “How long did it take you to write that book?” I usually say it took three months to write, but about six months to THINK about! Here at On The Record, we like to talk about men. Do you “cast” your books with real life individuals, celebrities maybe? Or even photographs of hunky men? And maybe women, too, since not every heroine can look exactly like us. Do you create story boards?

KL:  You know, I think I’m one of the few who does not cast my heroes. I do tend to look up celebrities for my heroines, but rarely do I think one looks like a certain person. It’s more of, they have this person’s hair and this person’s eyes, etc. And I have no idea why I don’t find hot, hunky men to be my heroes. Apparently I have an active enough imagination on that front 😉 And no, no story board. Unless you want to count sticky notes with scene notes on them. But that’s more plotting. I don’t do the picture thing. I’ve simply found it doesn’t help me.

TB:  I’m switching gears here. It’s random question time. What five non-sentient things would you take to a deserted island?

KL:  Wow. That requires thinking. I’m on deadline. There is no thinking! OK, I’m going to pretend my deserted island has electricity. Can I do that? I would take a fully loaded Kindle, my Kindle charger, a truckload of mint M&Ms, a freezer to keep my M&Ms frozen because that’s how I prefer to eat them, and hmmmm….I guess another truckload of wine. German Riesling J Boring, huh? Mint M&M’s, white wine, and books and I’m a happy girl!

TB:  Actually I think you’re on to something lovely here. Books, alcohol, and chocolate. Sounds like perfection to me! Speaking of perfection, describe your perfect writing day.

KL:  Glad to know I’m not the only one who could live on such! My perfect writing day…they rarely happen because I tend to procrastinate too much, but my perfect writing day would be me waking (without an alarm clock or the blasted cat meowing at me!!) at about 7:00. Then I sit down and write, churning out a couple thousand beautiful words, knocking off about 11 or so. I’ll then break for lunch, maybe take a nice walk out in the sunshine, then handle a few business related tasks. Next I shower, make myself look like I haven’t just spent the morning in my PJs, and sit down for a couple more hours to knock out a thousand more beautiful words. End of day, greet the husband when he gets home, chill together in the evening. Ahh…it would be a nice life. It’s rare. You’ll usually find me at the computer well into the evening, and sometimes throughout the night. And I won’t even talk about how I’ve forgotten what a “weekend” is!

TB:  Ah, yes, “the weekend.” That sort of loses its meaning when you work at home, and like many writers, it sounds like you don’t always have a set schedule. Now before we say goodbye, tell me about this contest and how people can be entered into the drawing to win a Kindle Fire HD!!

Amazon_FBadFnlKL:  To encourage readers to give serials a try, Cheryl Bolen, Patrice Wilton, and I are giving away a Kindle Fire HD on April 1st. To enter, all readers need to do is come to our website and answer an easy question about our serialized book. Go to all three of our websites, answer all three of our questions, and be entered three times!

TB:  That sounds fun!!! Here are the links to their pages:

www.kimlaw.com/contest

www.cherylbolen.com/contests.htm

http://patricewilton.com/contest

Thanks for joining me today, Kim!!

Biography: Kim Law wrote her first story, “The Gigantic Talking Raisin,” in elementary school. Although it was never published, it was enough to whet her appetite for a career in writing. First, however, she would try her hand at a few other passions: baton twirling, softball, and music, to name a few. Voted Bookworm and Most Likely to Succeed in high school, she went on to earn a college degree in mathematics. Law spent years working as a computer programmer and raising her son, and she now devotes her time and energy to writing romance novels (none of which feature talking raisins). She is a past winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and currently serves as president for her local RWA chapter. A native of Kentucky, she lives with her husband in Middle Tennessee.

 

 

 

 

 

5-Stars for Highland Surrender!

Highland Surrender

Highland Surrender is a complex, suspenseful and fascinating story. The author weaves a tale of intrigue, duty, honor and romance. Fiona and Myles face a difficult path. I so enjoyed their banter, trials and, especially, their undeniable attraction. The story unfolds layer upon layer, giving the reader a sense of the history and conflict of that turbulent period. Wonderful secondary characters and engaging subplots kept me enthralled. Fiona and Myles have a passionate relationship and it shines through whether they are fighting or loving. I truly enjoyed this story. It has all the ingredients of a great historical romance. A good love story is not enough, I need to ‘feel’ the history. Ms. Brogan does just that with this book. Highly recommended!

Fiona has been sold off to the enemy. Her brothers have given her to the hated Campbell clan; Myles Campbell to be exact. She has no choice but to marry him, but she doesn’t have to surrender to him. Betrayal, loyalty and intricate plots follow Myles and Fiona after their vows. Can the truth free them to find love and honor after clan honor and lies threaten to tear them apart?

Tracy Brogan Newsletter

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Free Booty!

CRAZY LITTLE THINGI’m cheating on my own website today and hanging out over at Lisa’s Reads!! She’s got booty in the treasure chest! Go check it out and you could win a free, autographed copy of CRAZY LITTLE THING! 

http://lisasreads.com/2013/03/06/there-is-new-treasure-in-lisas-booty-2/

 

Three Books – One Best Selling List!

Here is a bit of fun Tracy Brogan trivia! 😀

I currently have three books on the Amazon “Best Sellers in Family Life” list!

CRAZY LITTLE  THING is #3.

HIGHLAND SURRENDER is #12.

And my upcoming release, HOLD ON MY HEART, is already at #94.

CRAZY LITTLE THING has been in the top 25 “Best Selling Contemporary Romance” category for 125 days.

HIGHLAND SURRENDER is currently #3 in “Best Selling Historical Romance.”

I don’t like math, but I do enjoy numbers like these!

For the Love of a Good Book

I’m featured today on my web designer’s site as part of FOR THE LOVE OF A GOOD BOOK, along with two other 2012 Golden Heart Finalists!  Check it out here!

Happy Family Life!

fam life rank

I am pleased to report I have not one, but TWO books at the top of several Amazon sales lists.

In the category of Best Selling Family Life Fiction, CRAZY LITTLE THING is #1 and HIGHLAND SURRENDER is #4. That certainly makes my family life happy!

CRAZY LITTLE THING is also #1 in Domestic Life Fiction and #5 in Contemporary Romance.

HIGHLAND SURRENDER is #2 in Historical Romance.

And (*cue drum roll*) in the Top 100 Best Selling books on Kindle across all genres, CRAZY LITTLE THING is #8, and HIGHLAND SURREND is #89!

Thank you, book buyers, for loving these books!