1st, I'm on Daily Dose of Decadence talking about why I chose to write a contemporary Scottish setting.
2nd, I'll soon be picking the winner of a free copy of my book on the Get Lost in a Story blog. Leave a comment to be in the running!
3rd, people who won prizes during my release party. I haven't forgotten you! I'm sorry I haven't mailed your prizes out yet. I will send them soon. PROMISE!
With the book released, I've now been able to get back to the business of writing. My current project came alive yesterday, and then.....my laptop died. I'm trying not to panic yet because, of course, I didn't back it up.
Friday, March 30, 2012
You can get it on Amazon or the Decadent Publishing website.
To celebrate, I have 2 things to share with you. First, on the Get Lost in a Story Blog I'm sharing pictures of how I'm celebrating this release. (Hopefully it's the 1st of many!)
2nd, I'm giving you a second excerpt from the book!
She slipped into the study, the room between hers and Malcolm’s, and flipped on the lights. It would be a few more hours before the house would come to life with Mary and the girls preparing breakfast for the eager tourists who had no cares in the world. None of them had been attacked. None of them had been close to dying.
A shiver raced along her spine. Heather walked straight to the wet bar, grabbed a glass and the bottle of Glenmorangie whisky. The neck of the bottle clinked against the rim of her glass as she poured. Without putting the cap on the bottle, she took her first swig. The liquid burned as it traveled through her system, but she welcomed it. It meant she was alive.
"Can you not sleep?" Malcolm spoke softly.
"No, too many thoughts." Heather whirled around with the glass in her hand. He stood in the doorway with gray sweatpants on and no shirt.
Her mouth went dry. She’d imagined him to be fit, and after the fight with Sutherland, she expected as such, but the contours of his abs stirred to life every sexual need within her.
Good God, he was beautiful. Her fingers itched to trace the muscles of his chest, to see if they were as hard as she imagined. An ache sprang to attention behind her breasts, between her thighs.
He wandered casually toward her. "Sutherland?"
Sláinte," and took a sip.
"Among other things." Like how to keep her hands to herself. Another sip.
"Are you sure this will help?" He tapped his finger on her glass.
"It can’t hurt." Another sip. Her eyes remained fixed on him, on the chest inches from her, on the overnight stubble covering his chin.
She closed her eyes and gulped down the last of the harsh liquid.
Glass clinked against glass.
When she opened her eyes again, Malcolm held the bottle. The liquid swished as he poured himself a drink and then refilled her glass. Once he returned the bottle to its place on the bar, he clinked their glasses, said, "
"I’m sorry, Malcolm."
"For doubting you in Edinburgh, for that comment about payment. It was like the first test of my faith in you, and I failed. For that, I’m sorry."
"I’ve already forgotten it." He cupped her cheek and brushed the pad of his thumb along her skin for a few seconds.
Not nearly enough.
"I’m confused, Malcolm. For a man who claims to want nothing to do with me, you’ve made it a point to spend a lot of time with me."
"It’s not that I want nothing to do with you. It’s that I have nothing to offer you."
She grabbed both their glasses and set them on the bar. She caressed his cheek. His stubble prickled her skin and stirred her hot desire. She might not know everything, but at this moment, in this room, she knew she wanted this man. "Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?"
Thursday, March 29, 2012
As of today I am now a member of the Get Lost in a Story Blog!
Today through Saturday I am featured as the newest member of the Get Lost in a Story Crew! If you're not familiar with the blog, it is a place where readers and authors can hang out. Crew members bring new and not-so-new authors to their readers through interviews, blurbs and excerpts.
To start off my 3-day adventure on the Get Lost Blog, today my good friend Cat Schield is interviewing me.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Folks, I just want to go on record and tell you that promo work is fun but VERY TIME CONSUMING! I don't know if it's because I'm totally new to all this so I'm still figuring out what works and doesn't work for me or if promo work is always like this. I thought, before I sold, that I understood because I've had several published friends talk to me about it. BUT I was not prepared.
If it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm not. I wouldn't give this up for the world and I look forward to finding what works for me. I'm just stating the fact that it's a lot different than I thought it was. So, be prepared!
Now, for the moment you've been waiting for......
Diva, congratulations! Please email me at Alexa AT alexabourne DOT com with your snail mail address.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
The time for playing is almost over. Thank you all for spending time with me this week and making my 1st book release so special. I appreciate your support! There will be one more prize for today, another gift card for Amazon, and then I'll be drawing for the GRAND PRIZE tonight after midnight. Be sure to comment for your chances to win!
So, what's next on my agenda? Of course, I'm back at work on a different project. I have submitted the next novella to Decadent Publishing and I'm waiting to hear if they want it. (Keep your fingers crossed!) That story, called Fractured Paradise, is set in northern England and will star the IPN's technical analyst. Here's a sneak peek:
In a perfect world, Rachel Grant would be sitting on the back porch of her grandmother’s English cottage sipping a pint of lager while watching the boats ferry tourists across the North Sea.
But this wasn’t a perfect world.
The small cottage she’d been sent to “tidy-up” stared at her with broken windows, exterior walls missing slats of wood and stone, and a thousand years of neglect. Uncontrolled grasses choked the once vibrant and sweet-smelling gardens. Her sanctuary, Nan had called it? Maybe sometime in the last century.
Rachel dropped her suitcases and flexed her fingers. She’d come to do a little dusting, a little washing and poof, she’d have the cottage ready for Nan’s return. But this...eyesore required extensive renovations. As a technical analyst for the International Protective Network, Rachel worked with computers and digital research. Manual labor was way out of her comfort zone.
Thunder crackled above, and Rachel squinted up to the sky. An impending storm prepared to drench her at any moment. Not that it would make much difference. She’d soaked herself through when she’d rowed out to this isolated, pathetic piece of dirt.
She shivered against the cursed wind, ran her fingers through her hair and blew out a slow breath. Now what?
She’d given up her seat in front of a flat screen and a keyboard back in Edinburgh to execute Nan’s fanciful ideas of returning to Sunderland. Rachel had agreed only because it was for Nan, but...
“This, I did not sign up for.” Tears pricked at the corners of her wind-burned eyes, threatening to rip her resolve to shreds. Getting here had been hard enough. It wasn’t fair that her island of paradise looked like the summer cottage from a teenage horror movie.
So, what do you think?
Besides this, I'm revising novella #3, waiting to hear on another submission and I'm working on revising a requested partial.
If you haven't had enough of me yet, come visit me on any one of my guest blog spots I've lined up. There will be character interviews, more in depth details and more chances to win copies of my book or other prizes!
Wild Woman Author blog- 3/26
Fierce Romance blog- 3/27
The Book Boost blog- 3/28
Get Lost in a Story blog- 3/29
And don't forget you can check out my website where I've got more guest spots lined up for April and May. PLUS, I'll be going on a blog tour in April to promote Her Highland Champion. I hope you'll join me along the way!
Congratulations, Andrea! You have won a Celtic bag and a copy of Scottish Life magazine! Please email me at Alexa AT Alexabourne DOT com with your snail mail address.
Thank you to everyone who has been commenting so far! Remember, there is 1 more prize for today's comments (an Amazon gift card) and then one GRAND PRIZE for all the comments throughout the week! As long as you comment you'll be in the running!
Friday, March 23, 2012
A Decadent Honor Guard story….
Heather Winchester leads a charming life. With good friends, a beautiful flat in one of the most amazing cities in the world, and a promising future once she finishes her Ph.D, she is finally pursuing her own dreams instead of catering to everyone else’s…except she doesn’t remember any of it.
Malcolm Fraser has returned to his Highland village to forget his failings as a professional bodyguard. Believing he could just lose himself in the mundane activities of running his bed & breakfast, he finds a woman’s lifeless body by the loch instead….
Captivated by the Heather as she regains her memory, Malcolm is thrown into the line of duty. As danger comes knocking on their doors will he be strong enough to love her and keep her safe?
She turned to the bedside. A man stood there dressed in dark green sweats, with both hands clenched around the silver bedside bar. He was handsome, with light eyes, dark hair cropped close to his head, and a firm jaw. It was his hands, though. They drew her attention. Clean skin, defined knuckles, large fingers. Hands rough from a hard day’s physical labor, and yet, she imagined, gentle enough to caress the afternoon’s sufferings away.
“It’s good to see you awake.” He smiled. “You gave us all quite a fright.”
Okay, the Scottish accent drew her attention, too. At once, it both melted away some of her fears and sparked a whirlwind of questions.
“Where am I?” Her throat scratched like sandpaper.
“St. Catherine’s Hospital.”
She swallowed hard. “Where is that?”
“Fort William.” He reached for something on the table by her bed and brought back a plastic cup with a straw. “Here.”
“Thank you.” The warm water coated her sore vocal cords. She handed the cup back to him.
Wait a minute. Fort William? The only Fort William she knew was in Scotland. “I don’t understand. How did I get here?” Ignoring the aches in her body, she pressed both palms to the sheets on each side of her and pushed herself up. The blanket fell away from her chest and a new chill surrounded her. “What’s going on?”
Her arms shook, and she collapsed back to the bed.
“Relax.” The man set his palm on her shoulder, as if to keep her flat against the mattress. The heat of his fingers seeped through her hospital gown and into her skin. “I found you unconscious on the beach in Glenhalish. I called for an ambulance, and they brought you here.”
“I was in Glenhalish?”
“Aye, on a three day tour of the Highlands. Do you not remember being there?”
“No.” She squinted and studied him. No memories surfaced. “Do I know you?”
He shook his head. “Only from the beach. I’m Malcolm Fraser.”
She opened her mouth and then closed it again. Her gaze drifted to her lap as tears burned in the corners of her eyes. Panic swelled in her chest and into her throat.
“What is it, lass?” he asked with such tenderness.
"Can you tell me my name?"
If you buy Champion next Friday, I hope you enjoy it! Feel free to let me know what you think!
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Earlier today I shared the books that steered me in this direction. This afternoon I want to share the boys who steered me in this direction.
The original Highlander movie (with Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod) was my biggest inspiration for setting a story in Scotland. After a rough day tour from Sunderland, England when I was 10 to Scotland where I ate a burger in a Woolworth's type place, I vowed never to set foot in Scotland again.
When I watched this movie again and again, I fell in love a bit more with the scenery and the idea of Connor (and later Duncan) coming from the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel. Combined with the books I mentioned this morning, I changed my opinion and suddenly couldn't wait to visit the Scotland in this movie and the books. In 1997, I did set foot in the country again and made my first visit to Glenfinnan, which eventually became the inspiration for Glenhalish.
(Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod in Highlander: The Series)
(Cast of Monarch of the Glen, a contemporary Scottish soap opera)
While people raved about Mel Gibson as William Wallace, I LOVED Liam Neeson as Rob Roy.
The rest of these boys I added just because...
And well, how could I NOT include Sir Sean (who was also in the original Highlander movie as Juan Ramirez)?
Today I've decided to share with you the books that steered me in the direction of writing something set in Scotland. For each one I'll explain why it was important to me.
Monica McCarty's 1st book was a great read for this Scotland lover, but it was a HUGE help for me as a writer. It was the first time I truly saw and understood the concept of GMC, goal, motivation and conflict. I'd always been a plot oriented writer- bombs, kidnappings, murders, car chases. But the concept of characters changing over the course of a story had always been difficult for me to "get" as a writer. Other writers talked about the magic of Deb Dixon's GMC book, but that hadn't worked for me. But somehow, someway, Monica's book helped me finally make that transition from amateur to true, professional author.
Diana Gabaldon's Outlander was what I consider sealed my fate as a romance novelist. I read that book, LOVED it and decided then and there I HAD to write. I wanted to affect readers the way her characters affected me. (I mean, come on. Who doesn't love Jamie Fraser????)
Katie McAlister's Men in Kilts had me laughing so hard I had tears falling down my cheeks. I was thrilled with the opportunity to read a contemporary romance set in Scotland. Sure, I loved my Scottish historicals, but wanted something different. You might say Katie's books gave me the OK to write a contemporary Scottish story. Her success told me that there was a market for these types of stories.
Terri Brisbin's Taming the Highlander. I was just at the start of my "I love all things Scottish" phase and so I read the back. I glanced at the other books in my hand, added up the cost and put Terri's book back. But I couldn't stay away. I can't remember if I put something else back or I just sucked it up and bought this one as well, but I was thrilled I did. I've since read several books by this author and I've loved them all.
So there you have my list of my favorite Scottish stories that played some part in getting me where I am today. If you haven't read these, I hope you look into some of them (if not all)! Let me know what you think. If you've read any of these leave us your comments.
Later today I'll be sharing some other inspiration! Don't forget to come back and see!
Have you read any of these?
Congratulations, Sue! You have won a "win it before you can buy it" copy of HER HIGHLAND CHAMPION! Please email me at Alexa AT Alexabourne DOT com so we can work out the details.
Thank you to everyone who has been commenting so far! Remember, there are 2 more prizes during the week and then one GRAND PRIZE at the end of the week! As long as you comment you'll be in the running!
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
As promised, here are the FUN FACTS for my characters! Enjoy!
MALCOLM FRASER (the hero)
*He was adopted by Mary and Donald Findlay when they found him huddled behind their house in the snow. He was 6.
*His biological father killed his biological mother. (He kept his mother's maiden name as his last name.)
*He met his best friend and IPN colleague, Ian MacKenzie, in school shortly after he moved to the Findlay's home.
*Ian actually recruited Malcolm to work in the International Protective Network.
*He was engaged to be married once. The woman called off the wedding when she found out about his violent childood and because she was afraid he'd turn into his abusive father.
*His adoptive father taught him to use running as a way to deal with his anger and his feelings. He's run ever since no matter which country he's in.
*He listens to alternative music when he runs.
HEATHER WINCHESTER (the heroine)
*Her favorite movie is Indiana Jones-Raiders of the Lost Ark
*She grew up in Cooperstown, New York
*She's an only child whose parents were killed by a drunk driver. She was raised by her mother's sister.
* She received her Bachelor's degree from Byrne College, a fictional school in New York City.
*She'd read about the archeological sites in Scotland, specifically Skara Brae and Mae's Howe, while she was in high school. During her studies as an undergrad, she "fell in love" with Scotland and decided to research an exchange program for her graduate degree.
*Jamie MacDougall (the pub owner) proposed to Mary (Malcolm's right hand woman) during half-time at a football match.
*Mary said no. It took Jamie 2 more times proposing before she said yes. They've been together for 11 years, married for 6.
*Hagrid from the Harry Potter series was the inspiration for Jamie.
*Meggie MacDougall, the village gossip queen, tells everyone she'd like to get out of Glenhalish, but secretly she's terrified of leaving.
*Inspector Patrick Cameron became friends wih Malcolm and Ian when they moved to Edinburgh.
*Ian MacKenzie makes an appearance in Her Highland Champion and the next story, Fractured Paradise. He will be the hero of his own story hopefully later this year.
*The Kierlain House, Malcolm's bed and breakfast, was created after I stayed in the Glenfinnan House Hotel in Glenfinnan, Scotland.
So, do any of these FUN FACTS make you more curious about the story?
*I have to write out of sequence. I tried writing a book (that I had plotted/outlined) from page one once, and I got bored by page 20.
*My very first completed romance was about a singer and a football player. I finished it in the late 90s. It's been buried deep in my storage unit since.
*The characters from Her Highland Champion first came to life in 1998, when I wrote my 1st suspense story. I had visited the Highlands for the 1st time in the fall of '97, which had sparked the story to life for me.
*In 2009, I got to the UK twice. 1st was in March to bury my grandfather. 2nd was in June. It was the first time I'd made one of my dreams come true. I'd always said I wanted to go to Sunderland, write during the day, take a stroll through town, visit the local pubs, and write some more. I actually got to do that. It was perfect.
*If I could support myself with my writing and editing, I'd move to the UK tomorrow.
*The heroine's original lst name didn't work in this version. I was scrambling to find something that fit and felt right. Winchester was inspired by Sam and Dean Winchester of Supernatural.
*Each story/couple gets its own theme song.
*My favorite snack to eat during my writing is peanut M & Ms.
*I need to know the cast of my story before I can truly get into the writing. I usually print pictures of the actors and post them on my cork board above my computer while I'm writing.
The Story Behind the Story
In 1997, I made my first long trip into Scotland and instantly fell in love with it. When I got back to the States, I began writing my 2nd romance, Treasures of the Heart. It was a fabulous story...to me. In reality, it sucked. It had 2 heroes (Malcolm and Ian) and a hundred other things wrong with it. But I didn't know any better, so I sent it out to agents and editors and quickly began gathering rejections.
Eventually, I put the story under the bed to collect dust bunnies, but I always believed I would bring those characters back to life when I learned more about writing. They were near and dear to my heart, and I can still remember working on the story in my bedroom with my Celtic music playing softly enough so I wouldn't disturb my 2 roommates. I believed I just had to find the right moment and story for each of the characters.
Camryn Rhys emailed me with news that one of her publishers was starting a new line of novella stories and she thought I'd be perfect. The line, Decadent's Honor Guard Series, has alpha males with international settings and local flavor. Camryn knew I was a traveler, knew I had several books from my earlier years of writing, and suggested I submit something to Decadent Publishing. And the rest, as they say, is history!
So, did you learn anything new about me? **wink, wink**
Come back later today and I'll have FUN FACTS for my characters.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Welcome back! Today is Day 3 of my Release Party for Her Highland Champion! Today I'm sharing pictures of various Scottish scenery. Some of the pictures I took, and some of them were taken by one of my brothers. If you take a look, you'll see why I couldn't resist setting a story here.
Outside the front door of the Glenfinnan House Hotel
View of Loch Shiel from the front lawn of the Glenfinnan House Hotel
Glenfinnan as seen from the train
Coast off the Isle of Skye
Somewhere in the Highlands
Isle of Skye
Glenfinnan Monument on the shore of Loch Shiel
Loch Shiel at the end of the day
So which one is your favorite picture? Can you choose?
I know I'd have a hard time!
Remember to comment today to be in the running for prize #2, a "win it before you can buy it" copy of my book!