Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Taking a Leap?

I wouldn’t normally blog about Leap Year, but considering that today–Leap Day--comes around only once every four years, it’s only natural to . . . well, to take a leap!

Why do we have Leap Year? I’ve been online checking it out, and the scientific reasons are pretty boring. Sun. Earth’s orbit. Seasons. Suffice it to say that we need this extra day once every four years so that the Universe evens out. Pity it also happens in an election year. That means one more day of listening to those god-awful TV commercials.

There are plenty of traditions associated with Leap Day. One from Ireland says that this is the day women are allowed to propose to men. Another from Scotland says that being born this day is bad luck.

A few years ago, there was an episode of Frasier about Leap Day in which Frasier encouraged people to use this gift of an extra day to do something different, to literally take a leap. Of course on the TV show, things went horribly and hilariously wrong.

But what about in real life?

Are you going to take a leap today? If so, what are you going to do? Whether it’s driving a new way to or from work, trying a new food or picking up a book from an author you’ve never read, today seems like the perfect opportunity. Me? I’ll be finishing up the edits on the book that was due to my editor three weeks ago. I’m very grateful for the extra day!






Last Monday, had the opportunity to appear on a panel at Case Western Reserve University on creating alternate worlds in fiction. Here I am (that's me in the middle) with fellow panelists Mara Purnhagen (who writes nice and spooky YA horror) and Mark Sumerak (who writes comic books). Thanks, CWRU! Great panel, good audience participation, great questions!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Raising 'em right

Not too long ago, I let my daughter watch Night At The Museum for the first time. She was really enjoying it, but about half-way through, she turned to me and said, “You know, mom, it would be more interesting if there were creatures trying to eat Ben Stiller.”
I was so proud. And I had to agree with her. So for the rest of the movie, she started suggesting zombies in the Egyptian exhibit (“Mummies would be too predictable”), undead cowboys in the Wild West exhibit and werewolves throughout.
“Werewolves go good anywhere,” she claimed. Frankly, I found it hard to argue with that.
I shouldn’t have been totally surprised. After all, this is the first grader who, when asked to draw her family at the start of the school year, included a werewolf. And being the exemplary parent that I am (seeing as we were hitting up against bedtime on a school night), I told her to just tell her teacher it was a dog.
It’s times like these when I wonder if my career as a paranormal novelist hasn’t influenced the child just a bit. She still wants to be a cashier when she grows up (hopefully somewhere I can get the employee discount) but it’s amazing what she picks up just from hearing me talk to my writing friends on the phone.
Or perhaps it’s in the blood.
On the way out the door to school, she hugged our dog and then me (in that order) and said, she had a new book idea for me. Zombie poodles. I’ll let you know how it goes.
(*Oh and for the record, when I went searching for a zombie poodle image - they're all over. Amazing. Who knew, right?)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Prez Day Giveaway Winners

Happy Monday, all!

Sounds like everyone had an action-packed Monday last week.I'm sure half of you were skydiving or something of that nature and you were too shy to admit it. ;) I actually spent the day working. I didn't get any shopping in at all.  (sad face)

But the good news is that today I get to pick some winners! Now, on to the fun part!

The winner of Monica McCarthy's THE VIPER: SandyG267

The winner of Heather Snow's SWEET ENEMY: Rebe

If you are a winner, send me an email with your addy so I can shoot the fun your way!

Note: I haven't heard from the winners for the Book Signing Giveaway on January 23rd: Linda Henderson - The Dragon and the Pearl and Simply Kayla - The Paris Affair. I'll be giving you some Coveted Swag as well so shoot me an email! I'll keep trying for a little while. Never give up, never surrender!

It's such a beautiful day outside here in St. Louis! I think I'll be taking a brisk walk today to enjoy the fresh air. Anyone else got any sunshine today? Spring and fall are my favorite seasons. Nice and cool, not too hot.

Friday, February 24, 2012

CHILL winners & a h-o-t sneak peek!


Wow! So many entries for the CHILL giveaway last week! With almost 50 entries, we made it up to SIX copies to giveaway! That's fantastic!!! My next giveaway here will be coming on Friday March 16 to celebrate the launch of my new dark & sensual paranormal Order of the Blade series. DARKNESS AWAKENED, book one of the Primal Heat trilogy will be released on Thurs March 15, and the party will be on the 16th! If we can get up to 100 entries next time, then I'll throw in the entire Soulfire series and if we get up to 125 entries, I will even add in the entire set of the Immortally Sexy series (print edition only) to celebrate the fact that another Immortally Sexy book will be coming out later this year (yes, Satan & Satan Jr. will be back!!!).  Books 2 & 3 of the Primal Heat trilogy will be following close behind, with DARKNESS SEDUCED coming on April 15 and DARKNESS SURRENDERED on May 15. I'll be doing giveaways for those releases, so make sure to stop by! 

The six winners for CHILL are: Patti Mann, SandyG265, Amber2424, Julie, Tayia and Tami Bates. If you all could email me either on FB or from my website and let me know whether you want a Kindle version, Nook version or from ARe. Thanks for all who entered, and make sure to enter again on the launch party for DARKNESS AWAKENED. Curious to see what's to come from Stephanie Rowe? Here's a little sneak peek at DARKNESS AWAKENED, just for you guys:

* * *

Quinn Masters raced soundlessly through the thick woods, his injuries long forgotten, urgency coursing through him as he neared his house. He covered the last thirty yards, leapt over a fallen tree, then reached the edge of the clearing by his cabin.

There she was.

He stopped dead, fading back into the trees as he stared at the woman he'd scented when he was still two hours away, a lure that had eviscerated all weakness from his body and fueled him into a dead sprint back to his house.

His lungs heaving with the effort of pushing his severely damaged body so hard, Quinn stood rigidly as he studied the woman whose scent had called to him through the dark night. She'd yanked him out of his thoughts about Elijah and galvanized him with energy he hadn't been able to summon on his own.

And now he'd found her.

She'd wedged herself up against the back corner of his porch, barely protected from the cold rain and wet wind. Her knees were pulled up against her chest, her delicate arms wrapped tightly around them as if she could hold onto her body heat by sheer force of will. Her shoulders were hunched, her forehead pressed against her knees while damp tangles of dark brown hair tumbled over her arms.

Her chest moved once. Twice. A trembling, aching breath into lungs that were too cold and too exhausted to work as well as they should.

He took a step toward her, and another, then three more before he realized what he was doing. He froze, suddenly aware of his urgent need to get to her. To help her. To fill her with heat and breathe safety into her trembling body. To whisk her off his porch and into his cabin.

Into his bed.

Quinn stiffened at the thought. Into his bed? Since when? He didn't engage when it came to women. Not anymore. The risk was too high, for him, and for all Calydons. Any woman he met could be his mate, his fate, his doom. His sheva.

He was never tempted.
Until now.

Until this cold, vulnerable stranger had appeared inexplicably on his doorstep. He should be pulling out his sword, not thinking that the fastest way to get her warm would be to run his hands over her bare skin and infuse her whole body with the heat from his.

But his sword remained quiet. His instincts warned him of nothing.

What the hell was going on? She had to be a threat. Nothing else made sense. Women didn't stumble onto his home, and he didn't get a hard-on from simply catching a whiff of one from miles away.

His trembling quads braced against the cold air, he inhaled her scent again, searching for answers to a thousand questions. She smelled delicate, with a hint of something sweet, and a flavoring of the bitterness of true desperation. He could practically taste her anguish, a cold, acrid weight in the air, and he knew she was in trouble.

His hands flexed with the need to close the distance between them, to crouch by her side, to give her his protection. But he didn't move. He didn't dare. He had to figure out why he was so compelled by her, why he was responding like this, especially at a time when he couldn't afford any distraction.

She moaned softly and curled into an even tighter ball. His muscles tightened, his entire soul burning with the need to help her. Quinn narrowed his eyes and pried his gaze off her to search the woods.

With the life of his blood brother in his hands, an Order posse soon to be after him, and his own body still half in the grave, he should be so focused on business that a woman could dance naked on his chest and he still wouldn't notice. It should not be possible for a woman he didn't even know, hadn't met and barely even seen to rock him on his ass like this simply because he'd caught a whiff of her scent.

He was disciplined, dammit, and disciplined warriors didn't fall for that shit. It made no sense.

His intense need for her felt too similar to the compulsion that had sent him to the river three nights ago. Another trap? He'd suspected it from the moment he'd first reacted to her scent, but he'd been unable to resist the temptation, and he'd hauled ass to get back to his house. Yeah, true, he'd also needed to get back to his cabin to retrieve his supplies to go after Elijah. The fact she'd imbued him with new strength had been a bonus he wasn't going to deny.

But now he had to be sure. A trap or not? Quinn laughed softly. Shit. He hoped it was. If it wasn't, there was only one other reason he could think that could explain his reaction to her, and that would be if she was his mate. His sheva. His ticket to certain destruction.

No chance.

He wouldn't allow it.

He had no time for dealing with that destiny right now. It was time to get in, get out, and go after Elijah. His amusement faded as he took a final survey of the woods. There was no lurking threat he could detect. Maybe he'd made it back before he'd been expected, or maybe an ambush had been aborted.

Either way, he had to get into his house, get his stuff, and move on. His gaze returned to the woman, and he noticed a drop of water sliding down the side of her neck, trickling over her skin like the most seductive of caresses. He swore, realizing she wasn't going to leave. She'd freeze to death before she'd abandon her perch.

He cursed again and knew he had to go to her. He couldn't let her die on his front step. Not this woman. Not her.

He would make it fast, he would make it efficient, he would stay on target for his mission, but he would get her safe.

Keeping alert for any indication that this was a setup, Quinn stepped out of the woods and into the clearing. He'd made no sound, not even a whisper of his clothing, and yet she sensed him.

She sat up, her gaze finding him instantly in the dim light, despite his stealthy approach. They made eye contact, and the world seemed to stop for a split second. The moment he saw those silvery eyes, something thumped in his chest. Something visceral and male howled inside him, raging to be set free.

As he strode up, she unfolded herself from her cramped position and pulled herself to her feet, her gaze never leaving his. Her face was wary, her body tense, but she lifted her chin ever so slightly and set her hands on her hips, telling him that she wasn't leaving.

Her courage and determination, held together by that tiny, shivering frame, made satisfaction thud through him. There was a warrior in that slim, exhausted body.

She said nothing as he approached, and neither of them spoke as he came to a stop in front of her.

Up close, he was riveted. Her dark eyelashes were clumped from the rain. Her skin was pale, too pale. Her face was carrying the burden of a thousand weights. But beneath that pain, those nightmares, that hell, lay delicate femininity that called to him. The luminescent glow of her skin, the sensual curve of her mouth, the sheen of rain on her cheekbones, the simple silver hoops in her ears. It awoke in him something so male, so carnal, so primal he wanted to throw her up against the wall and consume her until their bodies were melted together in a single, scorching fire.

She searched his face with the same intensity raging through him, and he felt like she was tearing through his shields, cataloguing everything about him, all the way down to his soul.

He studied her carefully, and she let him, not flinching when his gaze traveled down her body. His blood pulsed as he noted the curve of her breasts under her rain-slicked jacket, the sensuous curve of her hips, and even the mud on her jeans and boots. He almost groaned at his need to palm her hips, drag her over to him, and mark her with his kiss. Loose strands of thick dark hair curled around her neck and shoulders like it was clinging to her for safety.

Protectiveness surged from deep inside him and he clenched his fists against the urge to sweep her into his arms and carry her inside, away from whatever hardships had brought her to his doorstep.

Double hell. He'd hoped his reaction would lessen when he got close to her, but it had intensified. He'd never felt like this before. Never had this response to a woman.

What the hell was going on? Sheva. The word was like a demon, whispering through his mind. He shut it out. He would never allow himself to bond with his mate. If that was what was going on, she was out of there immediately, before they were both destroyed forever.

Intent on sending her away, he looked again at her face, and then realized he was done. Her beautiful silver eyes were aching with a soul-deep pain that shattered what little defenses he had against her. He simply couldn't abandon her.

It didn't matter what she wanted. It didn't matter why she was there. She was coming inside. He would make sure it didn't interfere with his mission. He would make dead sure it turned out right. No matter what.

Without a word, he grabbed her backpack off the floor, surprised at how heavy it was. Either she had tossed her free weights in it, or she had packed her life into it.

He had a bad feeling it wasn't a set of dumb bells.

Quinn walked past her and unlocked his front door. He shoved it open, then stood back. Letting her decide. Hoping she would walk away and spare them both.

She took a deep breath, glanced at his face one more time, then walked into the cabin.

Hell.

He paused to take one more survey of his woods, found nothing amiss, and then he followed her into his home and shut the door behind them.


* * *

What do you think? It's a lot darker than my Immortally Sexy and my Soulfire series, chock full of emotional intensity, high stakes action, and alot of sensual lovin'.

I know I have a lot coming out this year, so here's a quick list to help you keep track over the next few months. I'll be having big giveaways to celebrate each one, including a very cool one for DAWN AT BIRCH CROSSING, just for all you lovers of paranormal romance who don't think they'd like a contemporary romance...

3/15 DARKNESS AWAKENED (Order of the Blade: Primal Heat trilogy bk 1)
4/15 DARKNESS SEDUCED (Order of the Blade: Primal Heat trilogy bk 2)
5/15 DARKNESS SURRENDERED (Order of the Blade: Primary Heat trilogy bk 3)
6/15 DAWN AT BIRCH CROSSING (Birch Crossing, bk 1) contemporary small town series
7/15 SEIZE WITH YOUR KISS (Soulfire, bk 4)

 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Joys of Research

Okay, I’m tearing myself away from the “Ghost Radar” app that Casey recommended (see the comments that I just posted in response to her blog of yesterday) and am going to write my blog. No, it’s not about things that go bump in the night, but one of the things that I like best about writing—research.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I really do enjoy that part of the whole process…one learns such interesting facts…and let’s face it, I’m an information junkie. And the weirder, the more obscure, the information is, all the better.

Here’s how it works for me—I’ll come up with an idea, say in this case “necromancy” (ie. according to my understanding, the manipulation of souls for ones own purpose.) In the process of reading about that, I come across information about ritual sacrifice and animal mutilation. (I know…gross! But the latter actually has happened in this state with livestock, and I remember all sorts of wild rumors flying about as to what was the cause.)

At that point, my brain starts playing “what if?” For example, what if Ophelia and Abby ran into someone who practiced that black art? What would they do? What would happen? And concerning the animals, as much as Ophelia and Abby respect all living things, they certainly would try and get to the bottom of what was going on, but how? (Yes, I’m thinking about a new O&A…no takers yet, but we’ll see how it goes.)Next thing I know…gee, I’ve got a plot brewing, and that’s all I’m going to mention about said plot. I don’t want to give too much of it away. (However, the tag line is going to be “don’t go into the woods alone.”)

Now will any of the interesting facts that I’m uncovering as this plot simmers ever come up in conversation? Ah, no. Talking about any of the above at dinner is a sure way to guarantee that you’ll be eating alone. Plus I have one daughter who’s convinced that surfing the web for this info will put me on the FBI watch list. (Maybe not, but hallucinogenic drugs that I intend reading about, might.)

I’ll keep you posted, and if this does work out and another O&A does happen, remember folks, you read about it here first!

That’s all for this week. See you next Thursday!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Do You Believe?



Do you believe in ghosts? Mary did. But then, Mary was curious, intelligent, interested in so many things. It came as no surprise to find out she wanted to know as much as she could about the world, both what she could see and what she couldn’t see.
Mary was an RN, an administrator at a nursing facility. She was funny, she was troubled, she was brilliant, she was caring. She faced the world with a healthy and hard-won dose of cynicism, and she didn’t suffer fools wisely. Yet she was able to maintain a sense of wonder, and a desire to find out . . . what if.
She died nearly seven years ago, and I often find myself thinking about Mary. It’s important to know all this before I tell you a story . . .


Last night, some friends visited. Chris has a new job in an old building in Cleveland, and he told us that he and his fellow employees often see shadows walking through the supply areas when they know no one is around.
Of course, this got us talking about ghosts. And naturally, I pulled out my Kindle to show our guests my Ghost Radar Classic app.
Here’s the deal . . . this app is supposed to use the full power of your computer to measure various and sundry fluctuations in an area and tell you whether anything is wonky (my word for all the scientific terms they use) and if there is a possibility of a paranormal presence.
Yes, I’m interested in ghosts and the paranormal. But I really downloaded the app because #1 I had just gotten my Fire and wanted to see if I could download, #2 It was free, and #3 I knew my children would roll their eyes when I showed it to them. (Those of you with children know this is especially important. If you can’t embarrass your children, why have them?)
The app brings up what looks like a radar screen with an arm that sweeps around and around. There are readings at the sides, numbers I don’t understand, and a line at the top where words can appear, supposedly when "someone" (or "something") is trying to communicate.
In the month I’ve had my Fire, I’ve turned on the app maybe three or four times. The radar arm sweeps around and around and around. And nothing ever happens.
Last night as we sat talking ghosts and turned on the app, that radar arm swept around and around.
Blip.
A green blip appeared on the screen.
A few more sweeps and another green blip. Then a blue (supposedly the weakest signal), then a red blip. This is supposed to be the strongest signal.
At the same time, I word popped up at the top.
Mary.
A real message? Or just coincidence? I can’t say, I only know that there were three of us on that side of the room, and we all got the chills.
Anyone else using Ghost Radar Classic? Had a similar experience with our without a program like this? Tell us. There’s nothing like a good ghost story on a cold winter day!



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Angie's book winners


Happy Tuesday! It seems I have some books to give away. Some of these are signed. Others, I wish I'd had signed - I sit next to Addison Fox at all kinds of group signings for heaven's sake. Unfortunately, we tend to talk instead of remember to get each other's books autographed. Grr... But it is an awesome book, so you have to love that.

Prize for the hardest book to give up goes to The Legend of Michael because that cover - yow. Right now, it is standing face-out on my bookshelf (Yes, I am shallow, but have you seen it? I certainly wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers.)

Finally, The Guardian is a really cool book for those of us who love alpha heroes. This one, at times, reminded me of the old romances I read when I first discovered the genre. Yes, it was that good.

Anyhow, The Guardian by Margaret Mallory goes to Louis. Warrior Betrayed by Addison Fox goes to Chrisbails, and The Legend of Michael by Lisa Marie Jones goes to Donnas.

Just drop me an email (angie @ angie fox.com). Be sure to include your snail mail and I'll get those books right out. (Except for The Legend of Michael... No, no, I'll get that one out too.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day Books Giveaway

Happy President's Day to everyone in the United States!

If you're like me, the only thing you ever look forward to today are the sales that run at every mall, store, or any other place with a discount sign. I rarely go out shopping on President's Day--since my kiddos at home from school--so I thought I'd make things lively with a giveaway of some books. One of them I got when I took my mom to her first book signing at Rose's Bookhouse here in Missouri. It was a signing with Anya Bast, Eileen Dreyer,  Heather Snow, and Patricia Rice. The ladies were wonderful and it was a perfect signing for my mother since she loves historicals.

Let's see what we have here!

First up, a fellow Ballantine author, Monica McCarthy's THE VIPER.

Next, my signed copy of Heather Snow's debut, SWEET ENEMY. Heather was nice enough to toss in some bookmarks and Romance Trading Cards, too. Sa-weet.



Want a chance for a book? (I'll be tossing in some COVETED swag as well.) Just leave a comment about what very exciting (heh heh) things you do on President's Day. I'm might be dangerous and bake banana bread. 

Note: I haven't heard from the winners for the Book Signing Giveaway on January 23rd: Linda Henderson - The Dragon and the Pearl and Simply Kayla - The Paris Affair. I'll be giving you some Coveted Swag as well so shoot me an email! I'll keep trying for a little while. Never give up, never surrender!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Launch Party & Giveaway for CHILL (Alaska Heat Book Two)



 (I'm giving away at least three copies of CHILL, and maybe even a complete set of my Soulfire series! See below to find out how to win!)

Affable, heroic Alaskan bush pilot Luke Webber erased his past. New name, new life, no paper trail. No connection the man he used to be, to the violent life he used to live. After eight years of toughing it out in the wilds of Alaska, Luke has become the man he wanted to be, but nothing he does will ever wipe the blood from his hands from the life he abandoned or bring back to the life the two women who died because they made the mistake of loving him. The nightmares will never stop haunting him.

Isabella Kopas is the daughter of the streets and a mother who sold her body to keep them fed. Orphaned at age seventeen, Isabella vowed to create the home she never had, a place of safety, where she would always belong. In college, her talents in the world of antiquities were noticed by Marcus Fie, who took her under his tutelage. In the six years since, Marcus has become the father she never had, the home she always craved. Yes, she knows he has a dark side, but he gave her a gift when no one else believed in her, but she long ago learned to accept the flaws of those she loves, and she will stand by Marcus.

But when the acquisition of a certain necklace gets Marcus kidnapped at gunpoint by his own right hand, who then sends the posse after Isabella to kill her and retrieve the necklace that's in her possession, Isabella knows she's the only one with a chance to save Marcus from being assassinated. But with his own team gone mutinous, and the police already searching for ways to put Marcus in prison, Isabella has no one she can trust to save the life of the man she considers her father... no one except Marcus's estranged son. A man who has the talent, the skills and the knowledge of the business to save the life of his father... and keep her alive while doing it.

When Isabella shows up on Luke's doorstep with a bullet in her shoulder, bringing Luke's past back to life, Luke's first instinct is to disappear again. He must abandon this new life, this one he has come to love, before the people he cares about get caught in the same cross-fire that destroyed him so long ago, before life can force him to be the man he walked away from eight years ago.

But Isabella strikes a chord with Luke he can't resist: the only two women he ever loved were killed by his father, and it was Luke's fault. There's no way Luke can turn his back on another woman whose life is at risk from his father's dealings. Is there a way he can save Isabella without getting sucked back into his life? Is she his chance for redemption from the hell that haunts him at every moment?

What Luke doesn't count on is Isabella's huge heart, her capacity for love, and for her to be a survivor that resonates so deeply in his core. The longer he spends with her, the more difficult is for him to keep emotionally detached... and the more his past life begins to close in on him. Luke is all Isabella has, as the one home she's created for herself is violently threatened, and everything she's believed in is ruthlessly torn from her.

Together, Isabella and Luke must fight for their lives and their souls in a journey that takes them through the passionate and sensual wilds of Alaska to the streets of Boston, the city of blue blood, corruption and shattered dreams.  The battle will risk everything they care about, including their love, their morals, and their very souls, and it will bring their personal demons back to life for a final confrontation.

Apart, Luke and Isabella will die. Together, they might prevail. They choose together.

Interested in learning more about Luke and Isabella? Here's a short excerpt from CHILL:

"Yeah." Luke Webber looked away from his friend. He didn't want to talk about his past. He didn't feel like opening doors with Cort that had stayed firmly closed during their long friendship and eight year partnership of their bush pilot operation.  

He shifted in his chair as he surveyed the bar. The juke box was blaring. A few pilots were hanging around. Some locals. Place was gloomy as hell.

It had never bothered him before. But right now, the moody atmosphere was grating on him big time.

"I'm going outside." Luke shoved his chair back to stand up, and then the front door opened. In walked a woman of the ilk he hadn't seen in eight years, since he left Boston. Her dark hair cascaded down her back. Even in the dim light of the bar it was glistening.

It looked as soft as the fur on a Husky pup.

It reminded him of the kind of hair women shelled out a thousand bucks a week to maintain. Women in Alaska didn't bother. Women in Alaska let their true beauty speak for themselves.

This woman was not from Alaska.

She strode up to the bartender and began hammering him with questions. She was gesturing furiously, her hands flying around like she was agitated beyond hell.

The bartender nodded in Luke's direction, and she turned and looked directly at Luke.

He immediately sat up, his body responding when he felt the heat of her inspection. Her eyes were black as the sky during a stormy night, but they were alive and dangerous. Sensuous and passionate. He knew instantly that this was a woman who ran hot, who didn't hold back from whatever was in her heart. She sort of reminded him of how he used to be, before he'd realized living that way made too many people die.

Her jaw was out, and she looked fiercely determined. Yet there was a weariness to her posture, and dark circles under her eyes, visible even in the dim light. She rubbed her shoulder and winced, her body jerking with pain.

Her vulnerability made him want to get up and haul ass over there and offer her help.

Her eyes widened at his expression, and a hint of red flushed her cheeks. The she plunked herself wearily down on a barstool and turned away from him.

Just as well. Luke still had issues when it came to woman in need. Big issues. The kind of issues that haunted his dreams and brought him screaming to consciousness, his body drenched in sweat.

His skin began to feel hot, and it wasn't just from the strip of smooth skin peeking out between the bottom of her sweater and the waistband of her very low-cut jeans... He peered closer and caught a glimpse of a bit of lacy black thong above her jeans.

He'd seen that action on plenty of women and it didn't do much for him, but on her...shit. All his blood was heading south at full speed. Despite her attire, there was a level of innocent sensuality that was drawing him like a grizzly to a picnic basket.

He inspected her more closely, needing to assimilate as much information about her as possible to explain his reaction to her. Her shoulder blades were strong, and her back narrowed into a trim waist and toned hips. The woman took care of herself. Yoga? Most of those wealthy women seemed to have so much time on their hands, they did nothing but spend hours in the gym to try to attract the powerful, rich men they had their sights set on.

Was that her? It didn't feel accurate. She was more than that. The fancy clothes were window dressing, meant to obscure a deeper truth she was trying to hide.

He narrowed his eyes, quickly tabulating all the data so he could make an accurate assessment. It was difficult to tell from this distance, but the sweater appeared to be cashmere. High quality, given its lines. He'd guess upwards of a thousand bucks for it. And her jeans...he recognized the designer brand on that fine ass of hers. His gaze dropped to her boots...heels were low and practical, but the leather was clearly soft and supple, and the seams had that extra bit of style he recognized from his own mother's closet. In fact, she seemed to be wearing exactly the kind of outfit all his dad's women used to wear, once he got finished dressing them up like the Barbie dolls they were willing to be for a chance at his money and his power.

From the brief glance Luke had at had her face, however, this woman was beautiful in a natural way. She didn't need all the glam to look good, but she apparently went in for it anyway. She was refined and beautiful, she was as far from Alaska and carnage as a woman got, and she was exactly what he wanted to bury himself in right now to forget the hell he'd been in for the last fifteen hours.

She turned toward him suddenly, as if sensing his continued perusal. When she saw him watching her, she sat up straighter, and he saw in her something he hadn't expected. Courage. Strength. The woman was a survivor. Not a weak female. She was strong, and that put him over the top.

After what had happened eight years ago, weak, scared, defenseless woman scared the daylights out of him. But a woman who was a survivor? Hot as hell. The cashmere? It was escape from Alaskan hell he'd been crawling in the last two days.

Her gaze dropped to his mouth, but then she quickly averted her gaze, shutting him out.

"Too late, my dear," he whispered under his breath. "Too damn late."

He shoved back his chair and stood.

"You heading out?" Then Cort followed Luke's gaze, and he grinned. "She's a little too prettied-up for these parts, isn't she?"

"Damn straight she is." And then Luke headed right for her. 

 
Luke must face a past the nearly destroyed him in order to survive. Is there ever at time where you had to face something daunting in order to move forward?  Leave a comment (on any topic!), and be entered to win one of at least THREE copies of CHILL in either Kindle or Nook format (your choice). For every fifteen entries, I'll add one more copy of CHILL to the pot. Contest ends Thursday 2/23 at midnight, and winners will be announced here on Friday 2/24. If we reach 100 entries, I will even throw in a complete set of the SOULFIRE series, so pass the word on!

ICE was originally published in 2009 in mass market paperback by Dorchester Publishing. This it its first publication in electronic format, and it has updated content and fantastic new cover art.

BIO: Four-time RITA® Award nominee and Golden Heart® Award winner Stephanie Rowe is the nationally bestselling author of more than twenty published books with major New York publishers, including HarperCollins, Grand Central and Harlequin. Stephanie has received starred reviews from Booklist and high praise from Publisher's Weekly. Stephanie writes romance (paranormal, contemporary and suspense), teen fiction, middle grade fiction and inspirational non-fiction. A former attorney, Stephanie lives in Boston where she is actively working on her next projects, which include DARKNESS AWAKENED, (3/15/2012) the first book of her new dark and sensual paranormal series The Order of the Blade, which will be launching with a trilogy (DARKNESS SEDUCED, 4/15, DARKNESS SURRENDERED, 5/15). The next Soulfire book, SEIZE WITH YOUR KISS, will be out in Summer 2012. For more information on Stephanie, visit www.stephanierowe.com.

Which cover do you like best? The original mass market cover, or the new ebook? 

 2009 print cover (above)
 2012 eBook cover (above)


Thursday, February 16, 2012

True Friendship


As I said last week, things have been a little crazy. Right now I have a lot of irons in the fire, both professionally and personally, and I’ve been waiting to see how they all pan out. Well, three of those things came to a bit of resolution this week—one turned out as I’d hoped it would and the other two didn’t. (I found this all out on the same day, btw.) Is it the end of the world because they didn’t? No. I knew deep down that the two which didn’t work out were simply a couple of speed bumps in my life and that I just have to deal with it. But at 2 o’clock on Tuesday—(Valentine’s Day, of course!)—I wasn’t quite looking at it that way. I felt old, unloved, unwanted, discouraged, and just generally ticked at the Universe for messing with all my well laid plans. (Yeah, right “of mice and men…” and all that!) I was in the throes of the biggest pity party I’d had in a long time.

Enter my friend, Cindy. After telling her why I was upset, she could have simply said “sorry to hear about it” and changed the subject in an attempt to avoid all the negativity I was spewing that day, but she didn’t. She listened patiently to my rant…laughed a little about the unloved/unwanted part…then proceeded to point a few things out. The news could’ve been a lot worse…the thing that I needed most to work out, did…and the other two things aren’t insurmountable. They might require me to make some changes in my life, but there are others who are facing far worse situations.

Yesterday, when I saw the above picture on my Facebook page, I immediately thought of Cindy. Would she help me whop someone if the need arose? Well, neither one of us are prone to use a baseball bat to solve a situation so I doubt I’d ever need her assistance. However, I do know that no matter what happens she has my back, especially when I’m my own worst enemy. She had pulled me out of my pity party and helped me see that, in the end, I’m really lucky. I have my family and friends like her. I have a warm place to live, food on my table, and with my retirement, the freedom to do what I want as long as I can afford it. Life may not be perfect, but then again, whose is? All I can do is give it my best shot and let the chips fall where they may. By the time our conversation was finished, I was ready to pick myself up, dust myself off, and come up with Plan B. (A much more valuable thing than an offer to help cream someone with a bat! *g*)

So here’s to Cindy and all the women out there who know how to be a true friend! I hope each and every one of you has someone like her in your lives! (With or without the bat!)

That’s it for this week—have a good one!

Best,
Shirley

P.S.
The giveaway last week—everyone who posted is a winner!! I’ve already heard from Zita, Barbara, Tayia, and Chris, but SandyG265, Alainala, and Mish—shoot me an email with your mailing address (Shirley@shirleydamsgaard.com) and I’ll get your signed advanced reading copies in the mail!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine book giveaway!

Happy Valentines Day! Hope you're having a good one, and I'd like to try and make it even better by giving away some awesome paranormal new releases. These are books that I've read and enjoyed this month.

The Guardian by Margaret Mallory
After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past . . . and claim the bride he's long resisted.

Warrior Betrayed by Addison Fox (no relation, which is too bad because she's awesome)
As Montana Grant struggles to lead her late father's company, her estranged mother suddenly reappears, spouting nonsense about Mount Olympus, immortal warriors, and curses. But after an event that puts the company's future-and Montana's life-at risk, she decides to take her mother's last but of advice.

The Legend of Michael by Lisa Renee Jones
One of an army of human soldiers injected with alien DNA, Michael is a legend within this new race, split between good and evil. Untamable, he has walked on the dark side and returned to the light. Feared and misunderstood, he leaves everything behind, including the one woman destined to be his mate.

Just post and let me know what you've been reading and which book you hope to win! Contest ends next Tuesday.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dreams

I have dreams. Big dreams. I've had them for a long time and over the last five years, they have slowly disintegrated one by one. I probably should have given up. There were moments when I felt like I couldn't lie to myself another day and convince myself to hang on because things were going to change, things were going to work out.

Instead of getting better, they kept getting worse. Even when I thought they couldn't get worse, they did. But I kept fighting. I kept trying new tactics. Sometimes, I even gave up, then an hour later, I'd be back at it again.

People told me to give it up for good. To walk away. That it wouldn't be so bad to pack it in and move on. People I loved told me that, but those words tasted so bitter when I tried them on myself. I knew that these weren't simply dreams. They were my soul, my life, my being. To give up would be to chisel off a part of my soul. I realized that I had to keep trying until there was no blood left to wring out of the stone.

Three months ago, I got the final blow. I was out of chances. There were NO OTHER OPTIONS.I cried. I anguished. I asked the universe why this had to happen. I asked for help.  And then I was shown one more thing to try. One more chance. Three months ago, I committed to this new course of action. I decided to give it my all, to give it one last heroic effort.

Three months have gone by. I am laying groundwork. There's no victory yet. No paved road. No beacon of light up ahead to reassure me of my path, but I'm not slowing down. I don't allow doubt. I don't allow hope to fade. I don't allow myself to judge. Doubt, judgement and despair interfere with dreams and destroy opportunities. For the first time in my life, I'm succeeding at keeping those destructive thoughts at bay. Fear of failure, worry about what will happen if I don't succeed, second-guessing each choice--I'm not giving them room. For the first time in my life, it's me & hope, me & determination, me & excitement. We're all alone now, without all the negative words eating away at us. See? A victory already.

I have six more months to make it happen. Six months until the stone is dry. Six months until the window of opportunity is officially closed. I'm giving it every damn ounce of my soul. I'm going to do it this time. This time, I AM GOING TO MAKE IT.

Check back with me in six months. I'm bringing the champagne. We have a date. Rock on, girlfriends.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Free Stuff

Hey, my life has been crazier than normal lately—long story. I missed posting last week and I don’t have a lot of time this week. (Company is coming in about an hour and I just finished cleaning my entire house! Never do today what I can put off until tomorrow…unfortunately my tomorrows are catching up with me!) However during this cleaning frenzy, I have discovered numerous advanced reading copies of THE TROUBLE WITH WITCHES and WITCH HUNT (Books 3 and 4 of Ophelia and Abby.) Anyone want one? If so post a comment telling me which one and I’ll send out at least five copies of each. Call it the “Shirley’s Cleaning Out Her Closet” Giveaway!! I’ll announce the winners next week.

That’s it for now—I will be here next Thursday!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's a Book Launch Without a Party?



Even though the new Pepper Martin mystery, "Wild, Wild Death," has been out for about a month, I've been biding my time with a book launch. With Valentine's Day right around the corner and poor Pepper's love life in its usual state of chaos, I figure this is the perfect time.



Join me! This Saturday, February 11, from 12-5 at:





Something Different Gallery

1899 West 25th Street

Cleveland



You'll get a chance to meet the nicest people in Cleveland and take a look around their stunning art gallery. Of course, I'll be there signing copies of "Wild, Wild Death" along with the other seven books in the Pepper Martin series and "Button Holed," the first of my Button Box mysteries. Have a glass of wine, pull up a chair, and we'll talk books.



If you can't make it to the event and you'd like a signed copy of any of the books, call:



216-696-5226



The gallery will not only ship, but gift wrap.


See you there!






See you there!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Immortally Yours: Cover released

Hey, guess what? The cover for Immortally Yours was released today and I'm posting it here first. How about them apples?

This is the new book that is coming out at the end of August. It's a dark comedy/urban fantasy about a group of paranormal MASH surgeons and frankly, I think it's the best book I've written to date. I absolutely love this one and want it to come out tomorrow. Since that is unlikely to happen (boo), I can at least bring you all the cover.

Oh and the summation as it stands right now. I'm not sure this is the exact copy that will appear on the back of the book, but it is the latest version I have and I'm sure it's pretty darned close:
From bestselling author Angie Fox comes a thrilling new series about ancient gods, modern love, and one star-crossed couple who could use some divine intervention…
IN THE WAR BETWEEN THE GODS…
No one patches up the incoming wounded like Dr. Petra Robichaud. Recruited by the gods for her uncanny medical skills, she’s the best M*A*S*H surgeon in the army. Along with a nosy guard sphinx, vegetarian werewolf, and other paranormal paramedics, she bandages soldiers who are built like Greek gods (literally.) But when one sexy immortal ends up on her operating table—half dead and totally to-die-for—Petra’s afraid she’ll lose her patient and her heart…
NOTHING IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN LOVE
Commander Galen of Delphi is one gorgeous but stubborn demi-god. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, Dr. Petra has to slip it back in—unwittingly revealing her ability to see ghosts. Now that Galen knows her secret, he’s convinced she’s part of an ancient prophesy. If the oracles are right, Petra could lead Galen’s army to peace. And if he seduces her on the way to hell and back? Heaven knows—all’s fair in love and war…

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Winner: Buffalo Chicken Crack Dip

Happy Monday, everyone!

Did you catch the Super Bowl? Wow, that was a nail biter until the last seconds! But a great game overall. Not a lot of interceptions or craziness like in a lot of games. I'm not a NY Giants fan, but congratulations to them! ;)

For the Super Bowl party my family attended, we were in charge of the fruit tray and nacho dip. Getting the tray was the easy part. You can pick up any of those at decent-sized store. For the chip dip, I wanted something fun. Memories of Bunco night with other moms reminded me of an all-time addicting favorite: Buffalo Chicken "Crack" Dip. And there is a reason why it's referred to as a crack dip. There is just something addictive about the taste. I don't know what ingredient makes it so evil!

Normally, I make this dish in a glass pan, but I needed to keep it warm over the party so I used my crock pot. At first, I was concerned that folks might prefer salsa or something less hot, but as we prepared to go home I noticed there wasn't much left at all. :D (Which I didn't save because I knew I'd eat it later!)

So what recipe did I use for my crock pot winner?

I got this recipe from food.com and made a tiny change or two.

3 Rotisserie Chicken Breasts Chopped and Shredded (You can use canned chicken.)
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
1 1/2 8oz packages of cream cheese (I used Philly fat free.)
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 pinches of cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded cheese

Mix all the ingredients together. It will look quite mushy. Add them to the crock pot and set it on low for two and a half hours. It will melt into gooey happiness.

In the beginning, I set it on low for an hour, but as the time got closer to when we should leave, I set it on high and added a layer of cheese on top.

So what food did you eat on Super Bowl night? Anything yummy? Toss ideas my way for next year.

Note: I haven't heard from last week's winners: Linda Henderson - The Dragon and the Pearl and Simply Kayla - The Paris Affair. I'll be giving you some Coveted Swag as well so shoot me an email!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today . . .






OK, so not exactly 20 years. Not today, anyway.


Actually, it was 20 years in January since I published my first book.


Just writing that makes me sit back and think, "Wow." Like all anniversaries, for me, this is a time of reflection. What have I done in 20 years? Well, it goes something like this:


I’ve written and published


10 historical romances


4 contemporary single-title romances


4 category romances


7 YA novels


1 children’s book


5 Cooking Class mysteries


8 Pepper Martin mysteries


1 Button Box mystery
 
Whew! No wonder I’m so tired most of the time!


Which doesn’t mean I’m ready to slow down. The next Button Box mystery ("Hot Button") will be out in June and Pepper Martin #9 ("Supernatural Born Killers") will be a September release. I’m currently working on "Panic Button" and as I mentioned a while back, I’ve got a new series starting soon. I also have news about another sale that I’ll talk about once all the details are hammered out.


Publishing today looks nothing like publishing 20 years ago. Then, we never dreamed of e-rights or e-books or the kind of self-publishing that’s so common now. But one thing remains the same: telling stories. And hey, getting paid for it!


All in all, it’s a pretty darned good way to make a living.