What’s Your Favorite Action Movie?

Guest Blogger-Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep 1Greetings! First of all, I want to say thanks to Rebecca for inviting me to guest blog today. Thanks so much, Rebecca!

If you’ve read my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, then you know that I really, really, really like writing action and fight scenes. 🙂

Bitter Bite, the 14th book in my Elemental Assassin series, will be released on Feb. 23. So by this point in the series, Gin Blanco, my assassin heroine, has been in just about every kind of action scene, fight, throwdown, brawl, and duel to the death that you can imagine, battling everything from vampires to giants to dwarves to elementals.

But every time I sit down to write a new book in the series, one of my favorite things to do is to come up with the big action/fight scenes in the book, especially the finale, and figure out how Gin can use her magic, wits, and determination to defeat the villains. It’s one of my favorite parts of writing, especially when it comes to this character and series.

When I’m not writing my own action scenes, I also really, really, really like watching movies and TV shows that have a lot of great action in them. Here are some of my favorites:

Agent Carter: Peggy Carter is one of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe because she’s smart, strong, and can kick butt whenever necessary (which turns out to be quite frequently in this show).

Arrow: Fight scenes are one of the highlights and trademarks of this show. Often, Green Arrow and his friends will team up and take on all the bad guys at once.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: There are lots of great action and fight scenes in this one, including Cap’s epic showdown with the Winter Soldier in the middle of the movie.

The James Bond series: Few film series do action and stunt sequences better than the Bond films, like the finale of Skyfall, where Bond is severely outnumbered and outgunned as he tries to defeat a whole swarm of bad guys.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: I like all the swashbuckling and swordplay scenes in this one, and Johnny Depp is just awesome as Captain Jack Sparrow.

The Princess Bride: This movie has plenty of action, along with a fun, light-hearted tone and so many great, quotable lines. It’s a classic.

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite action movies and TV shows? What are some of your favorite action-packed books? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of BITTER BITE. (US only)

Bitter Bite (2)BITTER BITE, Elemental Assassin #14, Releases Feb. 23:

Which is stronger: blood ties or a battle-tested friendship? That’s the question Gin Blanco is asking when a friend’s long-lost relative comes strolling back into Ashland under suspicious circumstances. The unexpected reunion is a surprise for everyone—and a big problem for Gin. Book 14 in the New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series RT Book Reviews calls “unbeatable entertainment!”

It’s not easy being queen bee of an underworld abuzz with crooks and killers. Wielding my potent Ice and Stone elemental magic will only get me so far—my real secret is my tight-knit makeshift family, a motley crew of cops and criminals, dwarves and playboys. My foster brother Finnegan Lane is my right-hand man, but when his suddenly not-dead relative comes back into the picture, I’m the one on the outside looking in.

It’s funny how life works: one minute your best friend is rock-steady, and the next he’s doe-eyed and buying into this whole loving-relative routine to the point of ignoring you. I’d like to be happy for Finn, I really would. But all of my instincts are telling me that beneath the syrupy sweet demeanor and old-fashioned charm, this sudden interloper is planning something. The whole shtick leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. This person might have avoided the grave once, but I’ll put anyone who hurts Finn in the ground—for good.

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About Jennifer:

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Bitter Bite, the 14th book in the series, will be released on Feb. 23.

Jennifer also writes the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. She is also the author of the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter (@Jennifer_Estep), or follow her blog.

Posted in Guest Blogger | 3 Comments

Win a Sephora Mini-Emergency Kit!

UPDATE:  Congrats to Reverly Kerner for winning!!!  We’ll get your kit to you!  Thanks to everyone for entering!

Hi all!  Thanks for a FABULOUS release week!  As you know, the release week for Mercury Striking is coming to an end, and I still have a Sephora Emergency kit to give away. So let’s give it away here on the blog.  Before I forget, the 23% off the kindle price is only set until today, and I’m not sure what happens after that.  The regular price is more.  Here’s a link if you want to make sure to get today’s price:  MERCURY STRIKING.

How has your week been?  Mine has been crazy with promo and the fun of Mercury.  I went a little darker with this book (it’s a post-apocalyptic world, after all), and the response and reviews have been awesome.  I’m so glad!  In addition, I went into  my local Walmart the other day, and look what I saw!

WalMartI did a very happy dance and took pictures.  I’m also supposed to be in Target, but I’m not in my local Target.  If you see one of my books in Target, would you shoot me a picture?  I’d really appreciate it!

Here’s a sample of one of the Sephora kits:

Survival kit 1Finally, I’m heading off to Daytona next week for the Coastal Magic Convention and Booksigning.  The public booksigning is on Saturday the 6th, 5:30-7:30 at the Hilton Daytona Beach Resort.  Come by and say hi!

To enter the contest, just answer this question:

If it turned out that the supernatural world existed, and we all had latent genes, I would turn out to be:  (vampire, shifter, healer, psychic, demon, drgaon, etc…)

Posted in Scorpius Syndrome | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

ALTER-EGO EXERCISE: When All Else Fails

Guest Blogger-Sarah Andre

Hi all! I’m Charly, Rebecca’s assistant. We thought it’d be fun to do a ‘Romance: The Good, the Bad, and the Disastrous’ theme with guest bloggers. Every Friday, we’ll have a guest blogger talk about fun stuff like horrible dates, good dates, etc. Some bloggers will have a contest, and some won’t – it’s totally up to them. If there is a contest, I’ll randomly draw a winner from the post comments, send the winner’s email address to the guest blogger, and they’ll take it from there. Rebecca will jump in and blog when she can. For now, enjoy as we play!

 

photo credit: Sarah Levit Studios

photo credit: Sarah Levit Studios

1/1/16: This year I swear I will exercise EVERY day! Off to walk my neighborhood…
1/2/16: Yippee, went to the gym and did 20 min treadmill, 20 min elliptical and 20 min stationary bike. Whew! I’m exhausted but I am a goddess!!
1/3/16: Unbelievably tired today and too busy at work…and I still have a bunch of errands to do on the way home. I swear I’ll do twice as much tomorrow to make up for skipping today…

Sound familiar? That New Year’s Resolution scenario could have come right out of my January, Any-Year journal (if I kept one!) I’ve had exercise-buddies, hired countless personal trainers, tried Jane Fonda videos, step-aerobic classes, Tae Bo dvds, you name it—I paid the money, gleefully convinced that this would be the thing to finally motivate me forever.

Well honey, I’ve been a January Flame Out most of my adult life. I could write a book on my failures, my excuses and my newest Fad Diet (but that’s another rambling blog entirely!) My Point: I was born to curl up on the sofa with a novel. The End.

And then ten years ago the oddest thing happened. A personal trainer uttered four little words that ended up shattering my couch potato mentality.
(Dreamy music and blurry lines here to signify a flashback)
I happened to be over 200 pounds and was lamely following her kickboxing instructions: jab, cross, hook, uppercut. (I had boxing gloves on and she held padded mitts.) I threw a right jab, thwap! Connected solidly with those mitts, yes!

She yelled “Harder!”
What?? That was as hard as I hit. Well, I mentally shrugged, Okay. I reared back and swung a slamming left cross. Thwap!!
She screamed, “Hit me harder!”

Is she insane? I’d punched her mitts with everything I had that time. Another thwap, another goading: “You can hit harder than that!” I was done.
“No,” I gasped, “I really can’t.”
And then came the four words: “Tap into your anger.

I danced back on the balls of my feet in confusion (and secretly to catch my breath.)
“I’m not angry,” I said, in my most polite tone.
“Oh yes, you are,” she spat. “Reach deep and let it out.”

Really folks, I wasn’t angry! But now I was so frustrated with the whole session, embarrassed by my jiggling fat, sick of being yelled at when I was punching as hard as I could and who was she to tell me I’m angry? …I grit my teeth, swung my arm and slammed that mitt with all those emotions. THWAP!!!!

It was such a mammoth, fury-driven hit that I actually grunted on impact. She staggered back and dropped her hands. “Yes,” she said quietly. “There’s your anger.”
And I stood there quivering and alive…and I don’t mean with adrenalin but pure rage. Pouring out of me like Niagara Falls. I felt invincible and powerful and…happy.
“Let’s go again,” I said. (And then looked around to see who said that.)

I’d like to tell you that watershed moment immediately changed my life, but it still took years to keep me motivated. (And she left for Paris months later, picture an enormous backslide in my weight loss.)

But those four words stayed with me and once in awhile I found ways to “tap” into anger during workouts, and guess what? Those sessions would be hugely exhilarating and productive. And I felt light-hearted and free afterwards, which I don’t think was all adrenalin-related. It was shedding that ugly emotion that we were taught as youngsters to stuff down and ignore because to express it is inappropriate and unfeminine.

Beyoncé named her brazenly sexy alter-ego Sasha Fierce, whom she ‘turns into’ the second she puts on her glittering dress. She becomes that person; it’s all-consuming, it’s not an act. Well, I’m here to tell you that alter-ego’s work, and mine is also called Fierce and she exercises like a demented fool. In fact Fierce is so real that I have to be very, very careful to keep my worlds separate!

DSC_1237 new handYou, dear reader, know me as Sarah: a pleasant, friendly romance writer. Ask anyone at my gym or passing me at Memorial Park…Fierce is a snarling, focused terror-to-behold. I found a trainer who instinctively knew this was my motivation and each day, within two sentences of greeting me he can set me off. We spar verbally, escalating to just this side of a UFC Smackdown. Hour’s up, we high-five and part great friends.

Sensory depravation helps me stay in my world of wrath. I don’t make eye contact (and if I do it’s a lethal stare), my music is so loud it covers my asthmatic breathing and I don’t speak to anyone. Unlike Beyoncé’s gowns, I wear rude T-Shirts (“Yet, despite the look on my face you’re still talking” or “I’m not mean, you’re just a sissy.”) My iPod is divided into two categories: soothing music I garden and daydream to, and a loooong playlist labeled ‘Exercise.’ (Wish there was a lightning bolt icon!) In this playlist I listen to some of the most god awful lyrics ever put to music. And to get a spot on that playlist each song must be sung/screamed with intense rage. The angrier the singer, the faster, longer and more determined I run. I would be ashamed to even throw in one iTune link here…THAT’S how much I don’t want you to catch a glimpse of Fierce.

It’s twisted, I get it. And yet, here I am— six years later and 70+ pounds lighter to tell you: Anger works. Any anger. Could be an immediate, one-time event: the driver that cut you off on the way to the gym. Run the treadmill and think of all the ugly remarks you secretly wanted to shout in his face. Could be chronic: your @#$% boss or in-law-from-hell. Could even be petty, envy-related: the fact that you have to exercise until you wheeze while cutie-pie, 20-something strolling on the treadmill next to you, chatting on her cell has the metabolism of a gazelle. Grrr.

The point is, once you admit Anger really is there, unbelievably deep within you and must get out, and once you learn to let it out in controlled, short intervals I guarantee you will look forward to your exercise time. It’s now a recognized toxicity I need to relieve daily or the sludge just builds. I still don’t LIKE to exercise. I still secretly revel in missing a day or two, but guess what happens? I begin to feel like a big, fat Ick. I get snarky at my loved ones. I reach for sweets and junk food. Any of this sound familiar?

If you’ve tried everything under the sun to stay motivated and exercise more often but nothing’s worked, well then…you have nothing to lose…try my bizarre, twisted approach.
Tap into your anger.

ABOUT SARAH:

If daydreaming were an Olympic sport, Sarah Andre would be buried under gold medals! She lives in serene Southwest FL with her husband and two naughty Pomeranian boys, Bo and Taz. When she’s not writing, Sarah keeps busy with various volunteer positions or catching up with all the novels on her ‘To Be Read’ pile. When all procrastination attempts fail, Sarah can be found working on her latest romantic suspense due out in April, 2016.

Website
Facebook
@SarahRSWriter

FAVORITE QUOTE:

He could already see the headlines: Olympic Champion found with SECOND dead body.

Quote from LOCKED, LOADED and LYING

Review Quote: Cheese and monkeys this book is intense! A piece of advice: when you read this make sure you have no other plans for the day because you won’t want to put it down. https://romance4thebeach.wordpress.com/

LATEST RELEASE:

LockedAndLoadedFinal coverLOCKED, LOADED and LYING

He might be innocent. Or he might be very, very guilty…

Olympic skier Lock Roane was on top of the world: smashing Alpine records, collecting medals, and basking in both the love of a nation and his beautiful heiress girlfriend. It all comes crashing down after Lock discovers his girlfriend had an affair—then awakens from a drunken bender covered in her blood. Given his history of violent blackouts, it’s not a big leap for him to believe he did kill her.

On the eve of his murder trial he saves the life of a car accident victim, not knowing she’s his biggest media nemesis. And when Jordan Sinclair regains consciousness, she’ll lie through her teeth to keep it that way.

Jordan is out of options and out of time. To satisfy her blackmailer, she needs the inside scoop (and its tabloid cash reward) on Lock Roane. An attraction to the arrogant athlete was not part of the plan. Neither is trying to find out what really happened that night.

Now Jordan risks everything—including her life—to help Lock. But the more they discover clues pointing to someone else with a motive, the more Lock is also unraveling all the lies Jordan’s fed him. Her betrayal leaves him with two options: take his chances at his murder trial or forgive the woman who’s mesmerized him from the moment he saved her life.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtH8prwvSaA&feature=youtu.be

Amazon  B&N

GIVEAWAY:

Don’t be shy! Share your secret on how you stay motivated to exercise! One commenter wins a $25 iTunes gift card.

Posted in Guest Blogger | 25 Comments

Win Books as the Apocalypse Arrives!

The apocalypse is here!!!  Well, Mercury Striking is here, and it’s a post-apocalyptic romance.  🙂

MERCURY STRIKING

The Scorpius Syndrome, Book #1

Mercury Striking compJanuary 26, 2016 print and eBook release

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…

“Thrilling post-apocalyptic romance at its dark, sizzling best!” —Lara Adrian

“Nothing is easy or black or white in Zanetti’s grim new reality, but hope is key, and I hope she writes faster!”New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione

 [Amazon]  [BN]  [Books-A-Million]  [GooglePlay] [ Kobo ]

Here’s a quick blurb:

Lynne swallowed and stepped back inside to shut the door.  Tears pricked her eyes.  How silly.  What the hell did she care about some crazy woman who didn’t like her?  Nobody liked her, and she’d always be alone.  She placed the soup on the table, no longer hungry.

Even her bones were exhausted, and sometimes she wondered why she hadn’t just died.  What had she done that was so terrible to have deserved this?  Her heart beat steadily, the small glow showing blue through her heart.

A tear fell.

Of course, Jax Mercury chose than minute to walk inside. 

He paused, an ‘oh shit’ expression crossing his rugged face.  She would’ve laughed, but the struggle to step the tears was too hard.  A frown lowered his eyebrows, and he shut the door, placing several guns on top of the useless refrigerator.  “Did I hurt you that badly?” he asked.

She paused and waited until his words sank in. “No.”

He blinked and glanced around the apartment. “Stop crying.”

At the order, a loud sob erupted from her chest.

He stilled.  “Ah, what’s wrong?”

It was a simple question.  A nice question.  One a civilized person would ask.  The easy words ticked through her, and something exploded deep inside.  “Everything.”  She threw out her hands.  “Everybody hates me, the world is dying, and you fucking spanked me earlier.”  She doubled over as the emotional hurt overcame her.

“Well, hell.”  A second later she found herself lifted and cradled in very strong arms.  Jax held her against his hard chest, his mouth near her ear.  “Nobody hates you.”

“Yes, they do,” she hiccupped, crying harder, her body shaking.

He sighed and dropped onto the sofa, holding her closer, tucking her face into his neck.  “We fear things in direct proportion to our ignorance of them.”  His breath brushed her ear, and his size provided safety.

Now for the contest:

Answer the following question in the comments below.  I’ll draw five names, and those winners will get to choose whether they want an ebook of Wicked Ride or Wicked Edge.  Good luck!

Question:  If the apocalypse does come, are you prepared?  If so, how?  🙂

Posted in Scorpius Syndrome | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Memories of Dating

Guest Blogger-Mari Manning

Hi all! I’m Charly, Rebecca’s assistant. We thought it’d be fun to do a ‘Romance: The Good, the Bad, and the Disastrous’ theme with guest bloggers. Every Friday, we’ll have a guest blogger talk about fun stuff like horrible dates, good dates, etc. Some bloggers will have a contest, and some won’t – it’s totally up to them. If there is a contest, I’ll randomly draw a winner from the post comments, send the winner’s email address to the guest blogger, and they’ll take it from there. Rebecca will jump in and blog when she can. For now, enjoy as we play!

_MG_7338-67It’s been “awhile” since anyone’s asked me out. As I’ve been married for a long, long time, that’s a good thing. Fortunately I’m at the stage where short-term memories have a half-life of less than a month while those long-ago moments still ring clear as a bell. Bad simile, but you know what I mean.

So dates …

My first date was to homecoming when I was fifteen. His name was Tim, and he was nice guy, which in fifteen-year-old speak means he wasn’t hot. As the oldest of six children, this inaugural date was really the family’s “first date,” so when the doorbell rang, a cry went up throughout the house, “He’s here!” By the time I opened the door (I had to fight my father for the knob), seven people and two cats were standing in the front hall to greet poor Tim. Sheesh.

The worse part about this first romantic experience was that I dumped Tim the Monday after homecoming when he showed up at school wearing yellow socks. It’s safe to say he should count himself fortunate.

It was downhill from there …

There was the guy who studied me across the table at dinner, then said, “Did you know the two sides of your face don’t match?”

I do now.

One guy, who’d been a friend, decided to dispense with the niceties (since we knew each other, I guess) and get right to the nitty-gritty. “I want you to be my girlfriend, but you have to sleep with me if you say yes.” I said no.

Not that it mattered. Once a sentence like that is out, even the most clueless of guys realize they’ve laid an extra-large, hard-boiled egg.

Dating mystified me. Mostly I wondered what the guy saw in me. Why me? Why not my best friend or my roommate? What do they want me to say? How should I act?

A boyfriend in college wrote a poem about me (at least that’s what he said) and published it in the literary magazine. It was all about how I was his source of strength, his comfort when times were tough, etc. Two months later he dumped me when his old girlfriend came back. Not very cool, but neither was I. For the next two-and-a-half years of college, I refused to talk to him. It felt good at the time.

The best date: The guy who took me to a jazz club on our first date. That was amazing. Then we talked. Then … well, he turned out to be the one. I breathed a sigh of relief. No more dating.

ABOUT MARI:

Let’s start with the fun stuff. I love small towns, mysteries, quiet men, laughter, old-fashioned spaghetti dinners. I love boots and shopping and jokes and Hershey’s dark chocolate and white wine. I love lots of things. But my first love is reading.

I love to read. Just about anything, but it has to be well-written. I go through periods where I am into historical novels or romance or mystery or history or biography. I never know when my desires will suddenly change.

Now for the writer-ish, official stuff: Mari Manning is the author of several contemporary romances and three romantic suspense novels set in the Texas Hill Country. Stranger at My Door is the first in her A Murder in Teas series. The second, Stranger in My House will be published by Entangled later this year. The third book in the series is Stranger in My Bed. Currently Mari is working on a series of cozy mysteries.

She and her husband live in Chicago.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“He studied her as he summoned up an appropriate apology. She wore cut-offs and a white T-shirt. His eyes swept down her slim legs to her bare feet and red toenails before he could stop himself. Why were pain-in-the-ass women always hot?”

Quote from Stranger at My Door

LATEST RELEASE:

Stranger at My Door_mockup2Stranger at My Door

The only thing standing between her and disaster is a man she can’t trust …

As far as Dinah Pittman is concerned, men can’t be trusted. Especially cops. Her own father was a cop and a convicted felon who stole a small fortune before dying in prison. The best part? No one knows where the money is…and someone is willing to kill off everyone who knows anything about it.

And Dinah is next.

Rafe Morales left the Dallas police force to settle down to a simpler life in the small Texas town of El Royo. Instead, he finds himself protecting an infuriating, tough-as-nails, oh-so-sexy victim—and driving himself crazy with a thoroughly unprofessional desire.

But as the body count rises, Rafe and Dinah must find a way to trust each other…before they both end up dead.

Entangled publishing

 

Posted in Guest Blogger | 3 Comments