The geeks are back!

Saint Patty’s day is approaching, and so it’s fabulous timing that two of my favorite [fictional] Irishmen are back (at least at Amazon) and they’re cheaper than before.
Saint and Scholar by Holley TrentCalculated Exposure by Holley Trent
Each book stands alone, BUT, Grant’s story happens before Curt’s. You’ll want to read both before Seeing Red comes out in September. Reading them first will make certain running gags in Seeing Red even funnier.

I should disclaim here that each book in the series escalates in terms of heat level. Saint and Scholar is sensual, Calculated Exposure is spicy, and Seeing Red is…well… *twirls hair*

If you’ve read those, I’d suggest you check out Colleen’s Choice next. It’s also got an American heroine and a foreign hero. Alan Prevost is fr– Nah. You’ll find out on Monday.

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Chronicles from the Road I

I’m back in my home state of North Carolina for the first time since 2011. I feel…some kinda way about this. (If you’re not Southern enough to catch the implied meaning of that statement, basically it means something is throwing me off my axis, though I can’t figure out what.) Anyhow, I hope to get out into the countryside and reconnect with the Eastern North Carolina ghosts as soon as I have a big enough hole in my schedule. Right now, I’m at an Extended Stay recovering from the past couple days of traveling before I meet up with my family. (I’m fairly certain my children haven’t noticed I’m missing.)

Yesterday, I hung out at Book ‘Em North Carolina, where a kindly gentleman told me I was the prettiest lady he’d seen all day. (Southern men are champion bullshitters, but they’re so charming about it. [Take note, young bucks.])

Oh. I also wore bright red lipstick.

File this under "I'm older than I look."

File this under “I’m older than I look.”

Here’s me on a panel with Phyllis Locklear (if you’re intrigued by Lumbee culture, check out her debut novel Seven Seasons of Black and White and the charismatic Regina Jeffers (Jane Austen and regency romance fans – check her out).

notsideeye

I’m not actually giving Regina the side-eye here. It’s just an unfortunate angle.

For this event, I was accompanied by my number 1 hooligan (and bestie of enough years that I won’t say how many) whose name I won’t type here because Google is a powerful thing and she’s actually a friend I brazenly stole from another friend way back when. *twirls hair*

My hooligan, my friend.

My hooligan, my friend.

You’ll likely see her again in San Antonio if you’re going to the RWA national conference. If she’s tottering and swaying a bit, it’s probably my fault. I’m a bad influence.

I haven’t had a square meal in days, and so I ordered Chinese delivery last night…

Yum, right? Nope.

Yum, right? Nope.

There was so much wrong with that order that I won’t get into it. Suffice it to say that I’m still waiting on a decent meal. I imagine there’s going to be a barbecue sandwich happening in my very near future. (And, no, that beer isn’t any good. Don’t buy it unless you like your booze to taste like seltzer.)

I’ll check back in when I have a good internet connection. I’m likely going to be hit with a few sets of edits while I’m here in the Old North State. As soon as I get back to Colorado, I’m going to have to really crank. I’ve got a Den of Sin novella to finish and I need NEED need to finish Following Fabian before my busy editor locks me out of her queue. *makes pleading eyes in editor’s general direction*

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(Contest closed) Let’s See Your Boots!

Thanks for entering! A winner has been notified. (If you’re not sure if that’s you, see the name in the Rafflecopter widget below!)


Let's See Your BootsGreat googly moogly, it feels like I’ve been running contest after contest, but I reckon it’s that time of year. It’s yucky outside and folks want to give stuff away.

Speaking of yucky situations, the heroine of my March 3 release Colleen’s Choice–Colleen, obviously–manages a failing commercial farm. She has a minor obsession with a certain item of footwear, because before she became Split Acres’ operations manager, she worked for a rugged apparel company called Markson Outfitters. At Markson she was a paper-pusher, but every now and then she designed the company’s kitschy rain boot art. (But, shh! That’s a secret. She doesn’t want the folks in Emerald Springs to know. It’d ruin her street cred.)

Colleen's Choice by Holley TrentTo celebrate the upcoming launch of Colleen’s story, I’m running a fun contest. I’m giving away a pair of women’s L.L. Bean Wellies ($70 value) to one lucky entrant, but I’m going to make y’all work for them!

Here are the rules and terms:

  • Boots can be shipped to US residents only (sorry)
  • Must be 18+ to enter (kids, don’t give strangers on the internet your address)
  • No purchase required for entry
  • Winner must claim prize within 48 hours after end of contest close or an alternate winner will be selected.
  • L.L. Bean is not a sponsor of this contest. I just like them (and I imagine so does Colleen). Prize disbursement will be facilitated by me, but the boots will be shipped by the folks at L.L. Bean.
  • One-time entries can be earned by liking me and the Emerald Springs Legacy series on Facebook, following me on Twitter, subscribing to my newsletter, or posting your honest review to the previous ESL book: Adam’s Ambition. Daily entries can be earned by posting pictures of your rainy day (or snowy day) footwear on the Emerald Springs Legacy Facebook wall. You get five entries per boot picture and 22 contest days. That’s a lot of entry opportunities.

I’ll also be giving out copies of Colleen’s Choice to the first person to post a boot picture to the ESL wall, and then will pick random winners every few days until the contest ends. Winning a book copy will not disqualify you from winning the grand prize.

Good luck! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Melting Hearts and Hopping for V-Day! (Contest ended)

Valentine's Day Gift HopMelt My Heart anthology coverHoliday romances are probably my favorite kinds of stories to right because revisiting them later in the year is so much fun. I’ve got a couple of New Year’s Eve stories, two set at Christmas, a Saint Patrick’s Day romance, and now a couple of Valentine’s Day stories. I think Valentine’s Day gives people permission to be a bit more open to connecting. It may be a commercial holiday, but I think people sometimes need a little nudge toward romance — they may even think, “It’s Valentine’s Day, so why not?”

My newest Valentine’s Day story is included in the Melt My Heart anthology, a 2/10 release. It’s a paranormal romance set in the Sons of Gulielmus world, and it’s really sassy. (If you’ve read A Demon in Waiting, then you already know that.)

The anthology also includes fabulous, short contemporary romances by Rachel Cross, Debra Kayn, and Nicole Flockton. Paranormal and contemporary can sometimes play nice together, right?

To celebrate the release of Melt My Heart and this hop, I’m giving away two 2-book bundles–paranormal OR contemporary–from my backlist. Winners will have their choice of books.

Entering is easy-peasy. Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget, and good luck! When you’re all done here, click back to the main hop page and see what other prizes are up for grabs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Love is in the [Wyoming] air! (contest closed)

Tomorrow is the official release of Teaching the Cowboy – my most gigantic book to date. It’s snarky and sexy and I’ve been waiting for it to see the light of day since November 2012!

If you’re a fan of dark humor, you’ll love this one. Here’s the summary:

She’s a Carolina beauty queen, not a cowgirl.

A year in godforsaken Storafalt, Wyoming? No big deal…or so traveling tutor Veronica Silver tells herself. She needs hands-on experience with a special group of students to qualify for a grant, and her assigned passel of ranch kids are special cases, all right. Ronnie loves a challenge, but pitted against a small town’s far-too-active grapevine and a woeful lack of amenities, she worries she won’t be able to hack it.

Teaching the Cowboy by Holley TrentWith the education system in Storafalt sorely lacking, rancher John Lundstrom thought hiring a private tutor would ease some of his considerable stress. What he didn’t expect was a powerful mutual attraction with Ronnie or her steadfast refusal to let him properly court her. She’s on a one-year assignment and wants no entanglements when it’s time to go home to North Carolina.

An unplanned pregnancy and Ronnie’s ensuing deception spins the Lundstrom ranch into a major upheaval. John refuses to let Ronnie run away with his daughter, but he may be forced to compromise when her homesickness threatens to drive a wedge between the two lonely hearts once and for all.


To celebrate the launch of my big single-title baby, I’m giving away a $10 All Romance eBooks gift certificate (international) and an e-book copy of one of my backlist books. Be sure to check out the terms and conditions in the widget, and when you’re done entering, scroll back up to the hop button and check out the next blog in the list!

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Baby, it’s cold outside, so warm up with a book!

Cold Outside

Polar vortex got you down in the dumps? Up to your shins in icy cold stuff? Forget dragging the trashcan to the curb. Stay inside and read.

Some friends and I have teamed up to help you add some new romances to your e-reader. You can win one of many book prizes from myself and other western romance authors like Cate Baylor and Cora Seton. There are also hot books from erotic authors like Roxie Rivera and Sidney Bristol.

One person will win a $40 gift card to the eBook vendor of his or her choice and winners will be announced on or around 3/2.

Keep keep checking back for new entry methods. The contest runs all February long.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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On sale in February: Snark and Sizzle

Valentine’s Day? Pffft. How about Valentine’s Month? To put you in the mood for romance, there are lots of deals on great books throughout the month of February.

Those other books can take care of themselves – I’m going to tell you about mine.

Teaching the Cowboy by Holley TrentFirst – mark this down, because this one is good only for launch week – Teaching the Cowboy will be offered at a special introductory price. For one week, you’ll be able to get my dark humor contemporary romance for $2.99. The permanent price will settle in at $4.99 by the 14th.

Just seven days, y’all, so February 7 through February 13. That’s less than a buck per sex scene. (Yeah, I really just typed that. Actually, I can’t remember how many sex scenes there are in that book, but I can say for sure that in 95,000 words, there are more than three.)

Next, all of my 2012 and 2013 Crimson Romance titles will be on sale for $1.99 all February. That’s these books:
cover art My Nora by Holley TrentSoldAsIs200

All three can be read alone, and in fact, A Demon in Waiting is the first in a series. The second installment will be going out to the publisher soon, but if you’re the instant gratification sort, a spin-off short story set in that world is featured in the Melt My Heart anthology coming 2/10.
ParanormalFeb
That one will be full price, but in addition to my succubus story, there are three fantastic contemporary romance novelettes by Rachel Cross, Debra Kayn, and Nicole Flockton.

Banish boredom. Read snarky romances!

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The Brownest Person in the Room

Teaching the Cowboy by Holley TrentWhen I was revising Teaching the Cowboy before submitting back in 2012, I struggled with a few scenes. I worried they’d be offensive to people who don’t get my humor or who didn’t grow up in the sort of cultural climate that I did.

At its heart, Teaching the Cowboy is a fish out of water story, wherein the heroine, Ronnie, leaves her comfort zone behind for a new experience that may yield her a lucrative grant. She’s a North Carolina girl, raised in Fayetteville by a Lumbee mother and a black father.

I describe what she is because it’s important, not just to the plot, but to her as a human being. She’s not only proud and intelligent, but also extremely self-aware. She left North Carolina knowing she was in for a culture shock, and she sure as shit got one.

On the Wyoming ranches where she’s employed, she’s not only an outsider, but a brown one…the only one for miles and miles. The people around her don’t seem to react to this–at least outwardly–but that doesn’t stop her from having a heightened sense of exposure. In fact, her ethnic and religious dissimilarities from the Storafalt, Wyoming bunch became a bit of a running gag that starts in Chapter One.

When I was writing the first couple of drafts, I put those jokes in because I wanted to be outrageous. I wanted to make my mainstream readers a little bit uncomfortable, because if I had shortchanged Ronnie regarding her self-awareness, I wouldn’t have forgiven myself. It would have been unrealistic for her to not be thinking the things she does given her worldview.

…but after submitting, I thought, “Shit, what did I just do?”

I’m not an “issue” writer. I write ball-busting heroines and dish out snark as if it were after dinner mints. Dark humor and sarcasm are my hallmarks.

Well. Teaching the Cowboy is certainly snarky. It’s the book that I’ll probably get more than a few “Damn, she went there!” comments for.

That said, if I had to write over again, I wouldn’t strip out the observational comedy that are the heart and soul of the book. I’d leave in all the Baptist jokes (I should make a disclaimer that I modeled Ronnie’s mother after people I am very closely related to), and I’d leave in all the bits that make Ronnie uncomfortable.

Like this one:

She took a deep, steadying breath, and pushed open her door as a horde of blond-haired, blue-eyed Vikings in cowboy boots descended upon her car.

“Oh, shit,” Phil moaned. “Are we about to get lynched?”

She grinned broader and said through her clenched teeth, “Let’s just think happy thoughts, shall we? Mind over matter.”

“You mind your own matter. I’m staying in the car.”

She turned around and bared her teeth at her childhood friend. “What were you saying about big balls?”

He growled and yanked his door handle, muttering under his breath.

She closed her door, smoothed the wrinkles from her coral silk shell the best she could, and made sure her smile was big and broad. She’d won five pageants with that grin.

“Hi, I’m Veronica Silver.” She extended a hand for whomever to take. “You can call me Ronnie.”

The broadest of the male Vikings, a man of around forty with hair going slightly gray at the temples, and a bit of a paunch hanging over his belt, strode forward with a shit-eating grin on his face.

Ew.

He clasped his two big, rough hands around hers. “How’re ya? I wish you would have let us fly you out. Must have been an awful borin’ drive. I’m Ted. This here’s my wife Becka.”

A woman, presumably Becka, hurried forward wiping her hands on a dishtowel. She gave Ronnie’s hand a vigorous shake and returned her overzealous grin with one of her own. Ronnie thought Becka’s, however, must have been her usual state given how crazed it was. She couldn’t blame her, considering the environment.

“I bet you’re exhausted. Have you eaten? Please tell me you haven’t eaten. I’ll be so upset if you have.” Her smile wilted.

Before Ronnie could answer, a young voice from the back of the congregation piped up, “Are you black?”

Yeah. So. Your eyes are probably like this right now–> O_O

Guess what? I’ve had kids ask me what that kid [Peter Lundstrom] asked Ronnie. Peter wasn’t asking from a malicious place, but from a unfiltered/ADHD/lack of impulse control sort of place (I have one of those kids). Of course, Ronnie has no way of knowing that, so the question made her arrival at her temporary home that much more uncomfortable.

As a humorist, I believe in keeping it real. What would you expect from the author who cast a white homeboy for comic relief in Bryan’s Betrayal?


Look for Teaching the Cowboy on February 7.

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Reviewer Alert: Teaching the Cowboy

My February 7 book is at the starting line, waiting for release, and I’ve got PDF ARCs for reviewers. (If you’re not a reviewer, stay tuned – newsletter subscribers will have a chance to win a copy next month.)

Here are some things you should know about Teaching the Cowboy (a.k.a. my list of content warnings):

1) If your site is on the auto-recipient list for Musa Publishing/Calliope Romance, you’ll probably hear from them directly so you won’t have to request it from me.

2) This is a long single title romance – at around 95,000 words, it’ll keep you preoccupied for a couple of days.

3) It’s a dark humor book. If you enjoy sarcasm, you’ll relate to these characters. (If you can’t connect with sarcasm in print, this book won’t work for you. I have to be very candid about that.)

4) This book has interracial elements.

5) This book has very important gay secondary characters.

6) There are several tongue-in-cheek remarks about certain Protestant denominations. (I grew up Southern Baptist.)

7) The characters swear prodigiously.

8) Heat level? Probably 3 out of 5. There’s a lot of sex, but it’s pretty vanilla…except in one scene where… *ahem.*


Teaching the Cowboy by Holley Trent

If you want to request it for your review queue, here’s a handy-dandy form for you:

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Buy a book and stop a crook.

BookEmNCHey, North Carolinians!

Have you heard about Book ‘Em North Carolina? It’s an annual writers conference and book fair in Lumberton. There will be a full day of signings, talks, and activities for book lovers of all stripes, and I’ll be there!

Not only am I bringing three of my books (My Nora, Sold As Is, and A Demon in Waiting) to sign and sell, but I’ll be sitting on a romance panel called “Affairs of the Heart” along with authors Regina Jeffers and Phyllis Locklear. (Want to see a romance author blush? Ask her questions about her books’ heat levels.)

The event will be held on February 22 at Robeson Community College. It’s free to enter, but if you’d like to hear music by Jamie Oldaker and John Regan, you’ll have to show a receipt from a book fair purchase.

Adam's Ambition by Monica TillerySee you there!

(Oh! By the way, if you can find me, ask me about getting a sneak peek of Colleen’s Choice.

Read Monica Tillery’s Adam’s Ambition first (it comes out 2/3), and I’ll make starting a new series worth your while. Check back here in the next couple of weeks and I’ll tell you what you need to answer to get yourself a copy of Colleen’s Choice before it hits stores.

That’s right. I’m giving you a chance to read it weeks before release. How’s that for instant gratification?)

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