Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Pen Pals with Lauren Linwood and her new book Ballad Beauty

Blurb for Ballad Beauty:

After ten years apart, Boston schoolmarm Jenny McShanahan receives a letter from her beloved father that instructs her to join him in Texas. She has no idea that he’s become Famous Sam McShan, the Robin Hood of the West. She arrives to find Sam already gone, but he left instructions for Jenny to hire a guide and rendezvous with him in Nevada.

Texas Ranger Noah Daniel Webster knows Sam personally because his father, Pistol Pete Webber, was Sam’s longtime partner in crime. When Pete is killed during their last big score, Noah requests the assignment to bring Sam to justice. Going undercover, he volunteers to act as Jenny’s escort across the dangerous prairie, using her to track her outlaw father’s location.

As they journey through rough country, love blossoms—but Noah knows the second he arrests Sam, his betrayal will kill Jenny’s love for him. Should the lawman do his duty as a Ranger, or should he let love rule? The choice Noah makes will change their lives forever.

Excerpt: (1st meeting between H/H)

Noah watched Jenny McShanahan turn and walk up the street toward him, a determined look set on her lovely features. He’d been slumped against a hitching post for an hour, waiting for the two o’clock stage to arrive. He’d been wary, too, sure that Sam McShan would meet his only daughter when she arrived in Apple Blossom.
Thank God for his connections at the telegraph company. It had been his most solid lead up till now. Everything else sure dried up.
Just then she passed him, still walking down the middle of the street. He wondered where she was going. He also wondered if she realized she’d left her case.
Noah tipped his hat and called out to her. “Ma’am?”
She turned, a puzzled look on her face.
“You left your valise.” He pointed to the lone satchel sitting in the middle of the road.
It surprised him when the corners of her mouth turned up slightly. “So I did.” She looked him up and down, and he almost blushed. “Thank you, sir. Perhaps I’ll retrieve it . . . and what’s left of my brain, as well.”
She started back toward the case. He moved quickly and stepped in front of her. “I’ll get it, ma’am.” He ambled along and picked it up and returned it to her.
“If you’ll tell me where you’re headed, I’ll make sure you and your bag get there.”
He watched her think this over, and then she nodded. “Thank you, sir. I’m headed to the local hotel.”
She took off in long strides despite her tight skirt. He studied her carefully from the back as he followed her to her destination. She was tall and thin, with the tiniest waist he’d ever seen. He was sure his hands could easily span it with room to spare. Her hat was slightly askew, revealing thick, honey blond hair twisted up in some womanly way.
But he longed for a glimpse from the front again. She had the most enticing eyes he’d ever seen on a woman, a striking moss green, with long, thick lashes surrounding them. A man could get lost in those eyes. Or her mouth. Her lips were a soft rose and looked good enough to lick.
Now where had that come from?

Bio & Social Media Links:
Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire and yearning for one another grow into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters addicts.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Friday Pen Pals with Zen DiPietro

An earth-like world of high-tech humans faces the reality that their world is not as safe as they thought it was. Five people are thrown together to quietly get to the bottom of an unfathomable mana event that must stay quiet. If the population of Terath becomes aware of the truth, it will spark a civil war. That war would pit the majority of the population against the powerful minority with the ability to harness and manipulate mana. The resulting cataclysm would decimate the population and tear apart the foundation of society.
 The five people chosen for this must reconsider everything they thought they knew about mana, even as they learn to trust one another’s abilities. They must embrace everything they never wanted in order to prevent the devastation of their world. One of them will be forever changed. Love will be denied, badassery will be unleashed, and Terath will never be the same.
Even success comes at a price.

Not an hour into her lone vigil, Izzy twisted around to see Arc bursting out of his tent. Emotional upheaval and determination rolled off him like a windstorm. Without even glancing toward Izzy, he marched to the shiv’s tent.

Izzy scrambled to her feet and managed to intercept him before he got a hand on the flap.

“You can’t.” She stood between him and the tent.

“How can you ignore the pain? You must feel it.”
“Are you kidding me? All I can think about every second is how much I feel it. But it has nothing to do with you right now.”
“Nothing to do with me? Now who’s kidding who?” he snapped. “It has to stop.” He put his hands on her shoulders and reversed their positions. He forced his way into the tent and snapped it shut behind him.
“Well good luck with that,” she muttered to herself. “I’ll be out here hoping both of you aren’t dead shortly. And by the way, it’s ‘whom,’ not ‘who’.”
Bad(ass) Romance: What I Love in a Love Story
Writing a badass heroine in love has its challenges. Love requires vulnerability, which means letting down one’s guard. It definitely means taking a leap of faith. Plus, it takes a very special love interest to handle the intensity of such a heroine.
I pretty much require a badass heroine in the books I read (and write!). I do love a good love story, too. When I find a good heroine and a good love story together, I get very excited. I’m listing my favorite bad(ass) romances from book and screen.
Leeloo and Corbin Dallas (The Fifth Element)
She’s a supreme being and he doesn’t want to be there. Until he does, and then he’ll be there forever. Love and multipasses for all.

Devi Morris and Rupert
Okay, so I was hoping she’d kill him, but that was only because I wanted her to be badass enough to do it. I wasn’t sorry to see Rupert live. I can’t imagine anyone else who could be a match for Devi.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Without even knowing each other’s real selves, they are so into each other that they’ll take on the world together. They’re both deadly, they’re both gorgeous, and they have amazing chemistry. This just works on all the levels.

Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Neither starts out very badass, but they grow into pirates together. They double-cross each other, fight on opposite sides, and marry in the middle of a battle. Because pirates. And love. And arrrgh.

Richard and Kahlan (Wizard’s First Rule)
She gets her con dar on when she thinks he’s dead. He surrenders his soul to her. Two sides of a lot of guts-out love. Plus, magic.

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
That’s right. I said it. Because she was proud and he was prejudiced and both of them were right and both of them were wrong. She refused to get married to the wrong man merely to secure her future. She preferred to face potential poverty than sell herself for the price of a household. He overturned his better judgment and committed to his love for her. For their point in time, they were uber badasses in love.

So there you are! What are your favorite badass romances?

Zen DiPietro is a lifelong bookworm, a fantasy/sci-fi writer, a dancer, and a mom of two. Also red-haired, left-handed, and a vegetarian geek. Absolutely terrible at conforming. Particular loves include badass heroines, Star Trek, British accents, baba ganoush, and the smell of Band-Aids. Writing reviews, author interviews, and fun stuff at Very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.