Is Amazon Really the Bad Guy? By Lynn Lorenz

NoGoodDeed_LL_432I’m guilty of it – blaming Amazon for creating a world where most writers can’t make enough money to pay for extras, let alone their bills.

Admit it — you started writing because this story kept working its way into your brain. You couldn’t stop thinking about it, playing it over and over in your head, until you finally had to write it down or explode. That’s how it was for me.
Until I sold my first book, and realized I was now in the “business.” And I sold the next book. and the next.
And the money rolled in – and I bought stuff for my family – new washer and dryer, vacations, etc. I had a day job that paid the bills, but this gave me wiggle room.
But things change…

Back when I started writing, in 2006, Amazon wasn’t really a major player. There was Fictionwise, ARe, and the publisher sites. Most publishers would release a title for 2 weeks to a month exclusively on the site – then send it out to the third party vendors.
I loved it! I could make the bulk of my money at the site, getting the full royalty percent of my 35% – the publisher got their 65% – and everyone was happy and costs were met. Yay! My main publisher would pay monthly, so I knew there’d be a big payout the first month I published, then another hit when the title went to the vendors a month later. I’d see that reduced % of money show up a few months later. More money!

No one bitched about paying $4.99 to $7.99 for an ebook from a well known and respected publisher. I sold tons of books at these prices. I bought a freaking car on those prices. Nothing special, but it was new. Every year I’d been doubling my sales income.

Then something happened. Amazon became important. So important. Necessary. So very necessary. And publishers let them be important and necessary. Now, they released their titles on Amazon the same day, because wow! We needed the reviews and the rankings. So we can sell more books, because, look, it’s so easy to buy and download to our Kindles. So everyone took a hit for what was supposed to be “more sales.” Amazon takes quite a bit on the books to “let” you publish, leaving less money for everyone. Except Amazon. My 35% became less. The publisher’s 65% dropped. We started to see a few epublishers quietly disappear.

It became this game of rank and reviews and people paying for reviews and reviewing books that weren’t even out yet, and angsting over bad reviews that could kill your Amazon ranking! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! And hitting the top of the lists meant your book didn’t die a horrible death.
Because readers stopped buying at the publisher sites. They might have gone there to see what books came out that week, but gee, you can do a search on Amazon for your publisher and wham! Click and buy.

How did we forget that Amazon was a business? In the business of making money not in the business of being good to authors. Fair maybe, but not kind or generous. Hey, if it quacks like a duck…so why were we so shocked when we woke up and Amazon ruled the publishing world, changing business models on the fly and on the whim?

Then the storm gates opened. The world of self-publishing arrived and anyone who could figure out the formatting started writing and publishing, and the flood of new authors and books drowned everyone. Suddenly, in the LGBT genre lists, the ranks swelled to tens of thousands. The number of pages you had to wade through to see books you might want to look at grew to beyond what any normal person would even conceive of searching through. If your book was on page 6 of the list, goodbye sales! No one ever got there.
And as for searching, Amazon’s search engine sucked, so the value of their best lists increased, and ranking, and vote for me, and, and, and….panic ensued.

So people started lowering prices. Not just by a buck or so, but by all the bucks. Free! $.99! and the best ranks swelled with those cheap books and the readers loved it! And Dinosaur sex! And novellas for a buck. And then box sets! All ten books for $.99! And readers loved it!
Authors were scrambling. Like me. I wrote shorts stories so I could have something in the $.99 range. Did a free book with 10 authors, short stories. Readers downloaded over 10K copies. For free. It would boost my sales! Nope. I didn’t see it. Frankly, I have no idea if anyone read my story, because I’m pretty sure the fan bases of the other writers read their fav writer and then put it away. That’s what I’d have done. Skimmed the blurbs and put it away. We did another free set, same thing. No boost in sales, but thousands of downloads.

Then KU!!! Readers could by a subscription for 10 bucks, and read all these great books! Yay! Only authors had to split a pot of lucre and not put their books up anywhere else than Amazon. Ouch! Some did great, or said they did, but Amazon did best of all! Sort of. So they changed the rules and started paying on the number of pages read. For me, most of my sales are actually on AllRomanceebooks. I sell a lot of pdf and mobi there. Why would I give up the lion’s share of sales to sell only at Amazon, where I’m not really selling that much. But hey, I’ll give it a try.

I tried one book on KU, a $2.99 novella, right when they went from reads to pages read. I won’t be buying that vacation on that money. I hear readers who have KU complain they can’t find any gay romance there. I’m waving over here! See my book! It’s there! But with the tens of thousands of books on KU, how the hell can anyone find my book? It’s free! Sort of.
I’m pulling it at the end of the 3 months, by the way.

And Facebook – the place we thought we could reach out to reader and friends and promote our books? Well, seems like FB holds back on the % of “friends” who can see you posts. Like only 3% on average. I have 2K friends, but only about 60 of them see my posts. So FB has “author pages” where you can pay to boost those posts so more of your readers can see them and know about your books! Yay? And then, you might get cornered by FB and have to prove you’re an author or have your page, that isn’t really helping you sell a damn thing, taken down. Not sure that’s such a bad thing.
But you can host a group of readers who love your books, if only all your friends could see the invite or without having to tag people to let them know, and then FB comes along and stops it, cuz, dayum, you’re doing too much sharing!

Bloggers became burned out and quit. Some are so overrun with books to review they shut the doors to work on what they have already. Everyone is scrambling for promo ops that WORK. I have no idea what that means. Honestly. I’ve done the blog tour. Results? Not really.

So, circling my wagons back to the title of this – Is Amazon the bad guy in all this?

My answer is we ALL own a part of this nightmare –
Amazon sure didn’t help authors. But they made it easy for authors to take control of their publishing lives, good or bad. But they produced a flood of badly written, poorly if at all edited, books, which gave self-pub a bad rep. But they paved the way for authors, who couldn’t find a publisher due to content, or didn’t want to play the publishing industry games, a place to be discovered.
And why would they let someone read a book and then return it?
But neither did the publishers, when they gave in to pressure and gave away a chunk of their money, and author’s money, to get the front of the line, only to be swallowed up in the massive slush pile of Amazon. And paying quarterly, holding up money due authors and publishers, who now have to run the bulk of their business 90 days in arrears. Which means they pay their staff 90 days after the money comes in or they have to float their payroll. And that’s never a good thing, unless you’ve got a lot of money sitting around.
And neither did readers, who flocked to the cheaper books, leaving the publisher house books with their more expensive prices to flounder in the flood. How can anyone resist a sale? Most readers don’t have a lot of money. I get that, it’s why I’ve always written books of all lengths for my publishers, so the prices of my books spanned from $2.99 to $7.99 Still, some readers are loyal and will look for their favorite author’s books, if they know about them.
But FB? How do they know about them? Gah!
I saved authors for last. We didn’t help ourselves either. We shot each other in the foot. Self pub authors crashed prices, undercutting each other until there was no room left and we were giving our hard work away for free or $.99. We should have gotten together and refused to sell below a certain price, but that’s price fixing and illegal. Dayum.
Quality dropped, and readers started to return books.
Some for reviews from non-real readers, tipping the scales. Some of us used those “street teams” to post a flood of reviews or just “pick my book to read” on Goodreads, which now circles back to Amazon. My mind boggles. Panic isn’t pretty.

Deep breath. Inhale and exhale that breath I didn’t know I was holding.

What’s the best advice I can give you about writing?

It would have to be the same thing I said eight years ago.

Write another book. Write for the love of it and for getting it out of your head. But please, for God sake, learn the craft of writing. Never stop learning. Learn how to edit. But most of all, write the damn book.

Holley’s winner (and a loser, too).

Happy Thursday, folks! The winner of my giftcard contest is Joy Ota! (Yay, Joy! Check your email.)

Designated Hitter

Now for the “loser” part of the deal.

As I mentioned before, the heroes in my Reedsville Roosters series are from a minor league baseball team with a history of losing. Sometimes the feeling of incompetence bleeds over to other parts of their lives, and the guys decide they’ve had enough.

Here’s ex-player (and ex-loser) Quinn Hathaway in a little excerpt from Designated Hitter, which you can get in the At Her Service anthology for just 99¢ through 3/17.

She narrowed her dark-as-night eyes at him again. Maybe her expression would have intimidated other men, but Quinn was around women like her all the time. He’d gotten so he preferred ladies who were a little bossy—who’d tell him what to do and then make him do it.

Yeah, he’d enjoy that. Missed it. It’d been too long since he’d given up control to someone. Not since Emilie Beaudelaire, and he couldn’t have her anymore. She was off the market, and cohabitating with a couple of ex-Roosters who’d likely stomp him into the earth if he ever happened to cross their paths. It wasn’t his fault that Quinn and Ren always went after the same chicks. Quinn sure as shit wouldn’t have done it on purpose. He didn’t want anyone’s sloppy seconds.

“I can tell you this, though.” He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his sweatpants. Marina’s gaze tracked down his chest to the bulge of one pocket, then the other, and then fixed on the bulge in the middle.

He jiggled it.

She looked up.

He grinned. “Caught you looking. Go on and look. It’s an occupational hazard for me, I assure you.”

“Thank you for the kind offer, but I’ll pass. I believe you were going to tell me something.”

He would have rather showed her something. Something that was getting hard and long, and he wasn’t going to try to hide it. He wanted her to see it—to pay attention to him, especially since it seemed to be such a chore for her. Her ignoring him seemed to make him even needier for praise. “I could tell you so many things,” he said low.

“I bet you could, you slick-tongued bozo. But we were talking about your client. What were you going to say about her?”

“Oh. That.” He sighed dramatically and leaned against the doorway again. “Only that a certain baseball team owner was looking for a good reason to cut me since that happened. You know, he would have never found out my name from the agency. He didn’t get it from them.”

“So, you’re saying my stepmother told him?” She narrowed her eyes and muttered, “That cheating strumpet. I told him—”

“Now, now.” Quinn wagged a finger at Marina and suppressed the urge to follow up on that surprising aspersion. Apparently, Marina wasn’t as fond as her dear-old stepmother as Quinn had assumed. “I’m not telling you that.”

“Right, right.” She rolled her eyes. “Confidentiality.”

“Yep. You’re gettin’ the gist.”

“The gist I’m getting is that you’re passing the buck to me, and yet I had absolutely nothing to do with your circumstances.”

“Maybe you didn’t, but if you had any goodness in your heart, you’d want to do a little bit to fix them.”

“I’ve got plenty of goodness in my heart. I write a check to the local women’s shelter in my city every month and I let kids whose mothers’ need emergency babysitting so they can go to work hang out at my house when I’m there. Don’t assume that just because I’m not falling for your flimflam means that I’m a cruel, cold-hearted bitch.” She gave his shoulder a poke. “It just means I’m smart.”

Quinn bobbed his eyebrows and let out an indignant huff. “Hooray for you. You oughta get a trophy for winning at life.”

“That sounds like something someone who’s used to finishing in last place would say.”


She barely heard the snarl before she felt his gentle grip on her upper arms, and herself being pulled close to him. He held her tight and glowered down at her with his brow furrowed and mouth a stern slash. “I am not a loser,” he ground out.

Body tight and tongue arrested, Marina couldn’t move. Couldn’t breathe. She was rendered paralyzed by her own words. She wasn’t the sort of woman who enjoyed wounding people on purpose, emotionally or otherwise, but he kept setting himself up for it. He kept instigating her bad behavior as if it were the only way he knew how to get her to respond.

And, oh, she was going to respond. She couldn’t help but to.

“Why are you so mean to me?” His tone was desperate and a bit pleading, like some little boy who didn’t understand that sometimes people were shitty. But Marina wasn’t one of those shitty people. She tried to be kind as much as she could be, but she had her walls up for a reason. Her trust was a hard thing to earn.

Her lungs relaxed enough for her to draw in a deep breath, and she let it out slowly, keeping her gaze fixed on his intense glare. “Unhand me, Quinn.”

“I’m sorry.” He let go of her and took a step back—out onto the doormat.

“You behave as if I’ve prejudged you, but I haven’t. I’m treating you this way because it’s what you’ve fed into. Do you understand me?”

Brow furrowed, he ground his jaw.

“You want to flip the script now and say you’re an okay guy? That’s not what your body of evidence supports.”

“No one ever gives me a chance.”

“And so, what? You lash out at them for treating you the way you’ve trained them to? Well, let me tell you something.” She fisted the front of his shirt and yanked him back over the threshold. She didn’t want the whole damn neighborhood craning its collective ears toward the house.

Closing the door, she said, “If I’ve learned one thing as a woman, it’s that sometimes, we’ve got to put up with a lot of bullshit. Lots of unfair treatment that’s usually based on spurious reasoning. We get prejudged for what’s between our legs and what people think is missing from between our ears. I get treated like garbage, actively and passively, all the damn time. And you know what? I suck it up because I have to.”

“I can’t.”

She shrugged. “And that’s the difference between you and me, I guess. I can put my pride aside to accomplish things, even when I’d rather not submit myself. Is it fair?” She scoffed. “Hell no. But that’s life. You surf it the best you can, and if it takes you under with a big wave, you just hope you can find your way up to the surface before you drown.”

Quinn raked a hand through his short, dark hair, and stared at her some more. There was no more malice in his expression, but the anguish that had replaced it didn’t relax her any.

In fact, it made her sad for him.

What happened to him?

Learn where to get At Her Service here.

Hot SEALs Kindle World Tour

I’m so excited to be part of this Hot SEALs Blog Tour!!  Check out all the books recently released with my Claimed by a SEAL (Cancun/Hot SEALs Crossover).

And the best news is that each book is ONLY $1.99!!! 

Never heard of Kindle Worlds? It’s a special place where famous authors – like New York Times Best Seller Cat Johnson – invite other authors to write a story blending the Cat Johnson characters you love with characters from books written by your other favorite authors. Cat Johnson has more information about the Kindle World on her website, and there is also FAQ’s section.

About the Hot SEALs Kindle World

With years of dedication to the Navy, SEAL Jon Rudnick and his teammates have confirmed one thing – they are not afraid to risk life and limb for their country. But when navigating military red tape begins to present more challenges than the enemy, this band of combat-hardened veterans is divided. While some remain serving on Active Duty, others take their drive, skills, and expertise to the private sector, where they form GAPS (Guardian Angel Protection Services). In these roles, will the SEALs fight for the women they love with the same vigor they use to seek out enemy threats? Which battlefield will they face next?

Claimed by a SEAL by KaLyn Cooper

Claimed cover w KW logoThree years ago, Stacie Vandercoy was stuck undercover in Iraq for six months with Jeff “Rock Star” Lennon, the arrogant SEAL who thought he was God’s gift to women. But he couldn’t have her. Fraternization is against the rules. And still is as they infiltrate home-grown terrorism in Norfolk, Virginia. Can she continue to resist him? Does she have to?

Jeff Lennon had been forced to do things he didn’t like as a Navy SEAL, and now as an agent for the terrorist division of Homeland Security’s Border Patrol. For years, his only real regret has been what he couldn’t to do to Stacie back in Iraq. He’s been given another chance to claim her heart, body and soul. In the meantime, they have to stop a terrorist attack somewhere in the Norfolk area, during Fleet Week.

Even the agency’s psychologist isn’t sure Stacie can pull off pretending to be Jeff’s wife. What lengths will Stacie and Jeff go to assure the mission’s success? And what will they both lose in the process?

Buy on Amazon –

My SEAL Bodyguard by Paige Tyler

She writes about danger for a living and now she find herself in it. Only a Navy SEAL can save her.

When someone breaks into romance author Peyton Matthews’ Virginia Beach home to steal her newest manuscript, her publisher hires Noah Chase, a former Navy SEAL and the newest member of GAPS to be her bodyguard.

Peyton thinks the idea of needing a bodyguard is ridiculous, but she can’t help appreciating how gorgeous Noah is. And while she thought that having a stranger hanging around 24/7 would mess with her creativity, the Navy SEAL definitely comes in handy when she’s choreographing fight scenes. All that hand-to-hand action and rolling around on the floor with him gets her pulse racing, but while Noah is falling for Peyton too, he doesn’t act on it. He needs to keep his head in the game and focus on the job or he could end up getting her killed. She might not think she’s in danger, but his gut tells him differently.

The threat to Peyton is closer to home than she realizes however, and it will take all of Noah’s SEAL training to save her life.

Buy on Amazon –

Revealing Love by Maryann Jordan

Saints Protection & Investigation

A private investigation business, pulling together men from the CIA, FBI, ATF, DEA, Border Patrol, SEALs, and police, devoted to the missions that no one else wanted or could solve.

Jude Stedson was a SEAL…at least until an injury while on a mission left him with an honorable medical discharge and no direction. He even relegated his girlfriend to friend only status until he could decide what he wanted to do with a life that had been dedicated to the SEALS.

Sabrina Taggart loved the man…not the career title. But until she could prove that their love would continue, she took the role of friend…just to stay close.

When a con artist set his sights on her family, Jude steps in, willing to work with her cousin, a member of the Saints P&I. Keeping Sabrina safe gave him a new mission. Discovering that mission gave him purpose. When her life was threatened, Jude knew that nothing would stop him from saving her…or admitting his love for her.

Can he prove that he has what it takes to be a Saint?

**Due to adult sexual scenes and adult language, 18+ readers only!**

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SEALed in Texas by Marissa Dobson

After sustaining injuries in the line of duty, Trever Alexander was forced to leave his SEAL team and all he worked for. In the midst of considering a job offer with GAPS, he was thrown into an assignment, one that brought him face to face with the woman he’d left behind.

One day Allyson Mason is living a normal, quiet life, and the next she is on the run. She doesn’t know who or what she’s running from. All she knows is that if she wants to stay alive she has to keep moving. She calls the only person she knows that might be able to help.

Chased by both physical and mental horrors, Trever and Allyson must put their emotions aside and work together.

Buy on Amazon –

A Daye with a SEAL by Donna Michaels

A DAYE with A SEAL by Donna Michaels/Dangerous Curves/Hot SEALs KW Crossover

Medically discharged after a mission gone bad, Navy SEAL Gabriel ‘Hawk’ Barrett regains his sight, and when hired by GAPS and the Knight Agency, most of his self-worth. Assigned to go undercover as a gun for hire, he’s determined to do whatever it takes to complete the mission, but his restraint is tested when his buddy’s hot sister becomes mistakenly involved.

When her brother disappears, coffee shop owner Gina Daye seeks help from his former teams members, only to have the almighty Hawk turn her down. But before she realizes he’s in the middle of an assignment, she’s embroiled in the mission.

Sequestered together to avoid an international incident, the pair face down the enemy, a multitude of bullets, and even more dangerous—their long denied attraction.

Buy on Amazon –

Herding Cats by Sabrina York

The scorching sequel to Guard Dog

A Hot SEALs/Stone Hard SEALs Crossover Novella

It’s insane to want him, this beautiful, strong, sexy man. Not just because her hot bodyguard is tasked with herding her safely through the exotic night markets of Hong Kong. And not just because she’s his boss. But because they are worlds apart. What they have can only be a fling. It can’t last forever.

But Garrett has other ideas.

Scorching military romance adventure featuring a woman who thinks she’s too old for him and a hot alpha bodyguard who won’t take no for an answer

Buy on Amazon –

Protecting Julie by Susan Stoker

Julie Lytle is working hard to turn her life around. Being kidnapped by sex traffickers changed her drastically, but having grown up the spoiled daughter of a senator, Julie wishes she could’ve changed just a little sooner. Shamed by her behavior toward the woman rescued alongside her, and further embarrassed and guilt-racked over the way she treated the SEALs who risked their lives on her behalf, Julie is desperate to make amends.

With help from Missy Greenwood, a D.C. acquaintance who’d endured her own harrowing experience, Julie connects with Patrick Hurt, Commander of the SEALs who’d saved her life. If she can prove she’s not the same person who mistreated his team, he’ll grant her request to meet them—but not before the protective, sexy man makes a surprising request of his own.

**Protecting Julie is a Kindle World crossover novella with the SEAL of Protection Series and Cat Johnson’s Hot SEALs Series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but we recommended reading the other books in the SEAL of Protection Series in order to get maximum enjoyment.

Buy on Amazon –

 Darwin’s Evolution by Siobhan Muir

Sometimes retirement is a helluva lot of work…

Retired Marine Master Sergeant Sadie Hawkins is ready for a quiet life with her mother in northern Arizona. No more recon, no more shots fired. Hell, she might even give romance a try if she finds the right guy. Like the one asleep on her shoulder on the train.

Cyrus “Darwin” Finch retired from the Navy SEALs and now runs Ultimate Recon, a security, surveillance, and rescue company employing retired members of the four branches of the U.S. military. He’s on “forced” vacation and is supposed to relaxing, dammit. Until he meets Sadie.

When they discover a foreign enemy setting up a domestic retreat in Sadie’s backyard, romance and vacations take a backseat. There are no calm seas or clear skies with bullets flying, and no time for a Happy Ever After. But SEALs never give up and Marines never surrender.

Buy on Amazon –

Surrender to a SEAL by Normandie Alleman

Recently retired Navy SEAL Luke Paulson feels strangely comfortable in a war zone—it’s adjusting to the real world and all its challenges where he falls short. When his sister becomes ill and his mother’s Alzheimer’s care lands solely on his shoulders, Luke needs cash. Protecting an international law student who is as intelligent as she is beautiful seems the perfect fit.

In Washington, D.C., Chief Justice Thornhill is being threatened by a domestic terrorist group, and his granddaughter Charlotte is their target. Initially she seems none-too-pleased with her new bodyguard shadowing her every move, but a night on the town with a few too many cocktails quickly changes the way she views the sexy SEAL.

But when Luke deceives her to get the upper hand, he realizes too late he’s risked losing it all, including the girl who has turned his life upside down by stealing his heart. His toughest mission yet may be convincing her to trust him again.

Buy on Amazon –

About the Authors:

Cat Johnson

A top 10 New York Times and 7 time USA Today bestseller, Cat Johnson is known for her creative marketing. She has sponsored bull riding cowboys, promoted romance using bologna and owns a collection of cowboy boots and camouflage for book signings. A fair number of her research consultants wear combat or cowboy boots for a living.

Since 2006, Cat has put approximately one million digital and print stories in readers’ hands. Never miss a new release, sign up for alerts at

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KaLyn Cooper

KaLyn Cooper’s romances blend fact and fiction with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense.

Twenty-two years as a military wife has shown KaLyn the world, and thirty years in PR taught her that fact can be stranger than fiction. She leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination.

She, her husband, and bird dog live in Eastern Tennessee on a micro-plantation filled with gardens, cattle, and quail. When she’s not writing, she’s at the shooting range or paddling on the river.

I still read over 100 books a year, mostly audio books, and write every day.

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Paige Tyler

Paige is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy romantic suspense and paranormal romance. She graduated from The University of West Florida with a degree in education in 2000, but decided to pursue a full-time career as a writer in 2004. Since then, she’s written over fifty books in several genres, including paranormal, contemporary, western, sci-fi and erotica. She loves writing about strong, sexy, alpha males and the feisty, independent women who fall for them. From verbal foreplay to sexual heat, her stories of romance, adventure, suspense, passion and true love will leave you breathlessly panting for more.

She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines who fall in love with them.

When not working on her latest book, Paige enjoys reading, jogging, P90X, Yoga, Pilates, going to the beach, watching NFL football, watching movies and hanging out with her husband (not necessarily in that order!)

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Maryann Jordan

I have always been an avid reader. I joke that I “cut my romance teeth” on the old bodice ripper romance books. Last year I started a blog to showcase wonderful writers. In 2014, I finally gave in to the characters in my head pleading for their story to be told. Thus, Emma’s Home was created.

I work as a counselor in a high school and have been involved in education for the past 30 years.  I have been married to a wonderfully patient man for 32 years and have 2 adult, very supportive daughters.  When writing, my dog or one of my cats will usually be found in my lap!

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Marissa Dobson

Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Marissa Dobson now resides about an hour from Washington, D.C. She’s a lady who likes to keep busy, and is always busy doing something. With two different college degrees, she believes you are never done learning.

Being the first daughter to an avid reader, this gave her the advantage of learning to read at a young age. Since learning to read she has always had her nose in a book. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that she started writing down the stories she came up with.

Marissa is blessed with a wonderful supportive husband, Thomas. He’s her other half and allows her to stay home and pursue her writing. He puts up with all her quirks and listens to her brainstorm in the middle of the night.

Her writing buddy Cameron (a cocker spaniel) is always around to listen to her bounce ideas off him. He might not be able to answer, but he’s helpful in their own ways.

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Donna Michaels

It’s all my mother’s fault.

She read to me before I could read and opened up that magical world where I still reside today. Then came television and movies. Now I had three avenues that fed my imagination…and boy could I eat! As you no doubt figured out, this lead to my writing career. I’m a NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon Bestselling Award winning author. Phew, that was a mouthful! Multi-published in e-book and print with several publishers, I certainly have a ton of voices in my head.

I’m happily married to a military man for 28 years. We have four children and several rescued cats. Michael’s been in the Army National Guard since before he graduated. The Guard has been a part of our lives right from the start. It was only natural for the military to spill into my writing. God bless the military and their families. Thank you all for your sacrifices.

You already know my mom inspired my love of reading, but it was my dad who got me hooked on movies. Even now, if I had the time, I could happily go from one movie to another all day long. They are the reason I love mixed genre and why I can’t just stick to just one in my writing, although, as you can tell, I have a soft spot for cowboys and the military.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for getting to know me a little better. Remember, keep reading to your children. The journey you’re igniting is precious. And the next time you’re at the movies, turn around. I just might be the person sitting behind you. No, not the one throwing popcorn (it’s too expensive to waste). I’m the one already imagining the sequel.

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

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Sabrina York

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. With over 25 titles her books range from sweet & snarky to scorching romance. Visit her webpage at to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Represented by Lane Heymont with the Seymour Agency.

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Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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Siobhan Muir

Siobhan Muir lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with her husband, two daughters, and a vegetarian cat she swears is a shape-shifter, though he’s never shifted when she can see him. When not writing, she can be found looking down a microscope at fossil fox teeth, pursuing her other love, paleontology. An avid reader of science fiction/fantasy, her husband gave her a paranormal romance for Christmas one year, and she was hooked for good.

In previous lives, Siobhan has been an actor at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, a field geologist in the Aleutian Islands, and restored inter-planetary imagery at the USGS. She’s hiked to the top of Mount St. Helens and to the bottom of Meteor Crater.

Siobhan writes kick-ass adventure with hot sex for men and women to enjoy. She believes in happily ever after, redemption, and communication, all of which you will find in her paranormal romance stories.

Siobhan’s latest release, Darwin’s Evolution, is book 1 in the Ultimate Recon series. Bronco’s Rough Ride, The Navy’s Ghost, Rimshot’s Hard Target, and Bam-Bam’s Inked Hart belong to the Bad Boys of Beta Squad series. She has published A Hell Hound’s Fire (a free read), The Beltane Witch, and Cloudburst Ice Magic in the Cloudburst Colorado series, Second Chance Succubus and Order of the Dragon as stand-alones, and Take the Reins and A Centaur’s Solstice Wish in the Rifts series. Siobhan has also published Not a Dragon’s Standard Virgin and Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack through Siren Publishing, and Her Devoted Vampire through Evernight Publishing.

Siobhan has published through Evernight Publishing, Siren Publishing and Three Lakes Books.

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Normandie Alleman

A former psychologist, Normandie has always been fascinated by human behavior. She loves writing quirky characters that are all too human. Fiber arts, baking, and Pinterest are a few of her favorite pastimes. A shamelessly proud basketball mom, Normandie lives on a farm with a passel of kids, an adorable husband, and a pet pig who’s crazy for Red Bull.

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Taking It With You- By Annie Anthony


Sweet Home Chicago (view from Lake Shore Drive)

Over the last 15 years, I’ve lived in one home for a decade and moved five other times. Most of those moves have taken places over the last three years since I left Chicago for Los Angeles. When I “go home” that means I’m going back to the place where I grew up, and for me, that means Chicago.  My apartment in Chicago is the place I experienced almost every significant event of my adulthood: marriage, divorce, coming out, then sickness and health. (I never did do things quite according to plan.)

In Chicago I was offered my first job in publishing and my first contract to publish my own written work. In Chicago my mother, brother, grandmother, and infant cousin are buried. In Chicago I still have boots and coats, gloves, and enough books to keep me entertained for weeks should I be snowed in during a visit. I even have a pretty well-stocked kitchen (tool-wise, not food!) and of course… yarn.

When I visit home, it’s like taking a trip in a time machine.  The memories are so real. The rooms and the streets, stores, and restaurants are all alive with memory. Since I moved to LA well into adulthood, I have dozens of friends and people who I consider family there, so every visit is an opportunity to reconnect with people whose bonds time and distance have not weakened.

When I lived in Chicago, I volunteered every week for four hours (sometimes more) for seven+ years with children who had special needs, many of whom were technology dependent. I keep in touch with many of the children I worked with and visit them on occasion when I go home.  This most recent visit home I was able to attend a birthday party for a little boy whose life story, family, and journey are so miraculous that every birthday deserves a ticker-tape parade. There is so much in richness at home, so much life.

I say that but then I board the plane.  I go back to my sunny apartment.  To a life devoid of old friends, and places I have been going for years, things I have relied on for decades to define, comfort, and entertain me. I play with my nieces—the new family that brought me west.  I settle into the bed, read the books, and explore new restaurants that are becoming trusted favorites. When I’m home, I text the people back in LA how much I miss them.  When I’m in LA, I text people in Chicago the very same things.

In moving to Los Angeles, I discovered something about home. Unlike the dozens of books I could not box up and drag to LA, home is something I have taken with me everywhere I have gone.  While going home is comforting, familiar, and full of joy, the new opportunities in a new place are just as important and motivating… which is why every time I board the plane and head home, I do eventually pack up and head back west.

I find that I’m less attached to objects (although let’s be real, my 10-year old King size pillow top bed in Chicago is SO superior to my barely-better-than-a-sleeping-roll Ikea mattress in LA) but I am equally attached to my old life and my new life. In fact, the constant in both lives is me, and I feel grateful that no matter where I am, I am . And in that sense, anywhere I’m comfortable and safe, happy and motivated is a place I can feel at home.

Annie Anthony blog header

Pacific Ocean

Where do you feel most at home? What little comforts can you not live without? Have you ever had to make tough decisions about leaving things, people, places behind?

More about Annie Anthony

The Romance Reviews Mega Anniversary Valentine Party by Jianne Carlo!

Notorious-Jianne_Carlo-200x320The Romance Reviews is having a Huuuuge party! And the  giveaways and prizes are incredible. Here’s a list of them:

Major Prizes

First Prize

$200 Amazon Gift Certificate, sponsored by The Romance Reviews

Second Prize

$100 Amazon Gift Certificate

sponsored by The Romance Reviews, Soul Mate Publishing and Spunk Books

Third Prize

$50 Amazon Gift Certificate, sponsored by The Romance Reviews, Soul Mate Publishing and Spunk Books

Fourth Prize

Forever Romance, KISS Prize Pack (print)  Includes: Every Little Kiss by Kim Amos, A Rake’s Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell, It’s in His Kiss by Jill Shalvis, Kiss Me in Christmas by Debbie Mason, Kiss the Bride by Lori Wilde

Fifth Prize

Forever Romance, LOVE Prize Pack (print), Includes: A Love to Call Her Own by Marilyn Pappano, Accidentally in Love with…a God? by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis, Something Like Love by Sara Richardson, Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Molly Cannnon

Sixth Prize

Forever Romance, HEA(r)T Prize Pack (print), Includes: An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere, Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen, Heart of the Demon by Cynthia Garner, Wild Heat by Lucy Monroe, Feel the Heat by Kate Meader

Seventh Prize

Pocket/Gallery Books Prize Pack 1 (print), Includes: An Ounce of Hope by Sophie Jackson, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert, Before by Anna Todd, Nuts by Alice Clayton

Eighth Prize

Pocket/Gallery Books Prize Pack 2 (print), Includes: Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren, Appealed by Emma Chase, Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole

In addition to all of the above, my book, Notorious, is also offered as a giveaway. Stop by, play games, read lascivious excerpts, and enter to win! Here’s the link:

Have a Marvelous Monday!



How Real Are My Books? – Tami Lund Confesses

I’m writing this post the Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday. We’re having a few friends over to eat and watch the game. My husband and I each have distinct roles on the day before such events. I compulsively clean the house, while he does everything he can to ensure the party is really about his food, not some super potentially epic football game.

While I sweep and mop and dust and mull over whether there’s time to touch up the paint on the floorboards near the backdoor, he pours over his extensive recipe collection, trying to gauge what will both impress and please our guests. (I should note our “guests” are neighbors and dear friends who don’t care if our house is clean and would be happy if we ordered pizza, and are always thrilled with whatever he makes.)

Are you wondering what this has to do with my books? Well, it occurred to me that this scenario connects closely to my books. There’s an age-old question about what authors write: Is there something of yourself in your books?

The basic answer is yes, of course. Every author pours his or her heart and soul into her (we’re sticking with “her” because I’m, well, a her) books. The stories are plucked from our imaginations and with the help of a good editor, molded into something someone else might want to read.

But let’s go deeper. Is there really something of myself in my books? The answer is still yes. The Super Bowl scenario makes me think of my book, Delicious Deception, which is about a restaurant owner who wishes she could do something else with her life and a chef who wishes he could be famous for what he does. Let me break down all the ways this book is pulled directly from my life…

Delicious Deception.jpg

  1. It starts in Shreveport, Louisiana. I lived in Shreveport for eleven years. Went to high school there. And college. Met my best friend there. Have lots of friends there. Moved my husband there, early in our relationship. My dad currently still lives there (well, in Bossier City, which is right across the river). Shreveport is near and dear to my heart.
  2. It also starts in a casino. The casinos moved into Shreveport/Bossier City right around my twenty-first birthday. Yeah, I’ve been to the casinos a time or two.
  3. The story then moves into the bayous of Caddo Lake, and to a restaurant located on one of those bayous. In the book, the restaurant is called Louisiana Kitchen, but… In 2012, my family visited my dad down in Bossier City, and he took us for a boat ride on Caddo Lake. We launched the boat at the very boat launch referred to in the book, and we cruised up and down the same bayous Connor does in Delicious Deception (except we weren’t lost, like he was). We were all hungry—just like Connor—and happened by a large banner strung between two trees, facing the water, proclaiming “Delicious Louisiana Food.” We docked outside the reCaddo Lake_Uncertain Wine Glassstaurant and headed up the hill and had an incredibly enjoyable time eating hush puppies and calamari and fried shrimp and gumbo and all sorts of Louisiana-type fare. I drank wine while my dad and husband sampled locally brewed beer, and the kids marveled at the decorations and plaques with funny sayings tacked to the walls. The restaurant was called Uncertain General Store & Grill, and it was located in Uncertain, Texas, right on one of the bayous of Caddo Lake.

  4. There’s a sexy scene during which Connor is making chocolate molten cake, and Emily Kate walks into the kitchen. He offers her a sample of the batter and her response is, “It’s orgasmic.” Yes, yes, this has happened between my husband and me, although I refuse to acknowledge how accurate the rest of the scene is…

So yeah, I guess I do put a lot of myself in my books.

PS – Delicious Deception is on sale right now for only $1.99. Here’s the link: AMAZON

PPS – Here’s the chocolate molten cake both Connor and my husband make exceptionally well. It’s courtesy of Anne Burrell (my husband’s chef girlfriend):

molten-chocolate-cake-with-crushed-candy-canes_s4x3  Anne Burrell

Molten Chocolate Cake with Candy Canes


1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter

Granulated sugar, for the ramekins

1/2 (6-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

3 eggs

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus a little more for dusting

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 candy canes, smashed to bits

Special equipment: 6 ramekins or aluminum soufflé cups


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Melt 1/4 a stick of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Paint the inside of 6 ramekins or aluminum souffle cups with butter. Coat the inside of each ramekin with granulated sugar. Reserve.

Put the remaining stick of butter and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Set the bowl on a saucepan filled with about 1-inch of boiling water. Be sure that the bowl is not touching the water. Gently stir the butter and the chocolate together until melted and the mixture is smooth. Turn off the heat and reserve.

Combine the eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. (This can also be done with a hand beater.) Beat the egg mixture until it doubles in size, and gets very thick and very pale.

Gently whisk the melted chocolate and butter into the egg mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently stir in the flour. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 14 to 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the ramekins, and arrange them on individual serving plates. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with crushed candy cane.

Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell

Read more at:

Get ready… It’s orgasmic!

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author and wine drinker. She also loves romance. And she’s writing happily ever afters, one book at a time. Stalk her website here: TAMI LUND


Playing Favorites – Author Confessions from Sara Daniel

full Bridal Party series verticalWith the reminder that every child is different, parents are often admonished not to play favorites. The same advice can often be applied to an author’s books. Each one is different and develops in slightly different ways. Sure, because they’re part of the same family (i.e. written by the same author), they share certain characteristics. But no matter how equally the author approaches them, they each turn out a little bit differently.

There’s the book that’s so fun and interesting that you’re sucked into the world and the characters. ( One Night with the BrideBefore you know it, you’ve decided to write a series!

There’s the book where you think you’re doing everything right, but nothing’s working out until you chuck the original premise (and the hero!) and start over. (One Night with the Bridesmaid)

Then comes the book where you feel like you finally got it right and you know what you’re doing, but you had to work hard to get there. (One Night with the Groom)

Oh, and surprise! You’re having twins…er, I mean, another book! (One Night with the Best Man)

Then comes the book that starts out solid, then has a major teenage rebellion, then settles down and becomes a good, upstanding adult. (One Night with her Husband)

No matter how much I’m not supposed to have a favorite, I’m having a hard time being impartial. One Night with his Wife, the final book in the One Night with the Bridal Party series, is my “miracle baby,” the story that came out exactly right the first time with characters who took on a life of their own and lodged themselves—and their emotional journey—in my heart.

I hope you enjoy Luke and Rosalind’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you’ve been with me from the beginning, I’d love to hear which book is your favorite. If this is your first introduction to the series, welcome! The books can be read in any order, and you’ll find special appearances by familiar characters along the way.

One Night with his Wife

After a grenade took Marine Luke Cox’s leg and ends his career, he cuts ties with his wife to free her from the burden he’d become. On the day his divorce is to be finalized, he travels to meet a woman for a 1Night Stand date—a woman who doesn’t care about his missing leg or his sudden wealth from a business venture. However, things don’t go as planned, and when he arrives for his date, he’s still legally married.

 Rosalind Cox tends to the horses on her cousin’s ranch resort, her love for the animals the only thing keeping her going since her husband turned his back on her. When he appears at her stables, all the longing and rising hope is crushed by the realization he’s only sought her out to gain his freedom.

She’ll give him what he wants, but she can’t resist taking one last kiss for herself. The kiss reopens emotions and attraction that neither can deny. To give in will only complicate the tangle as they try to unwind their lives. But even though Rosalind doesn’t care about Luke’s missing leg or his money, as long as he refuses to accept himself as whole, one night with his wife will be his last.

Sara Daniel One Night banner

Me and Holley sitting in a…boxset… by Emilia Mancini

As the amazing Holley Trent pointed you yesterday, we’re in an awesome upcoming boxset, At Her Service.

I have a confession to make. This is my first non-LLL anthology! I’m snuggled up with some really amazing authors and I couldn’t be more excited.

Check this out!


LACE FOREVER by Nicole Flockton
None of designer Lily Green’s careful lists can prepare her for her meeting with Grayson Warren–a bodyguard desperate to get his business back on track.

EYES OF THE WOLF by Emilia Mancini
Private detective Jake McDonnell has been hired to make sure Maria Rodriguez isn’t involved in illegal activities. What he discovers will leave his senses reeling and his body thrumming.

When Quinn Hathaway arrives on Marina Cassevete’s doorstep for a job, her instinct is to send the troublemaker away, but she can’t afford to tell the charming hustler “no.”

When a romance novelist hires disgraced football player Jude to help her block scenes, business turns to pleasure as the heat slowly turns up.

Sadie thinks her new neighbor Cole is an escort. He’s not. Given his womanizing past, she doesn’t believe he can be true. Could playing the part of hired boyfriend be the ticket to changing her mind?

Adam is a BDSM slave who, desperate for employment, has become a manservant. Although anxious about his new gig, he’s determined that his brand of submission is what lovely, heartbroken Helen requires.

Brody Kent wants to leave his rock star alter ego in the past. Is taking a gig as personal assistant to a pop princess Skylar Samuelson worth the risk of exposing his sordid past?

PERFECT ON PAPER by Kristina Knight
For three weeks, Daisy MacIntosh has been stringing Nick Vega’s firm along and they badly need the influx of cash a new contract will bring. Stepping in to become Daisy’s ManServant isn’t the best idea, but it’s the only one he’s got.

Go preorder now! The set is available February 16!


Holley tells you where all the men are. [Giftcard contest!]

smatherservice3dOkay, maybe just eight of them. Still, eight is a lot, especially when they’re all in one place.

Me and some friends, including our own Emilia Mancini, have a sexy novella collection releasing next week called At Her Service. Every story features a hired man. (Not in that way, although a few them kinda toe the line a little.) The economy sucks a little. Sometimes folks do what they have to to pay the bills, right?

To celebrate the launch of the collection, I’m giving away a $10 giftcard to either Amazon US or All Romance ebooks (international). To enter to win, just comment on this post answering this question:

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

This contest will remain open until midnight on 2/25. I’ll pick a random winner using’s number generator. Make sure you leave an email address I can get in touch with you at in case you’re the winner!

You can pre-order the spicy collection now. It’s 99¢ for a limited time.

Get it here:
Amazon · Barnes and Noble · Google Play · iBooks · Kobo

Men vs Women on Valentine’s Day

PechangaGreatOak-couple-dining_smWhen February rolls around, most women start to think about chocolate hearts and roses and maybe even strawberries dipped in chocolate. A nice dinner out, without kids, at a restaurant with a real tablecloth and cloth napkins where the menus that aren’t sticky, would be heaven. Add a bottle of wine to that fantasy and she’d do anything he wanted. Even that.

mardi grasMen on the other hand, according to Macho Marine, start out the month trying to find a way to finagle a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras where “they celebrate the way men should “.  I guess that means a place where testosterone skyrockets and pheromones saturate the air as mass quantities of alcohol are consumed and inhibitions are shrugged off at the city line.

lovely-red-roses-and-chocolate-heartOnce men realize that they are in a committed relationship, in love, married, or just want a guarantee to get laid, February takes on a whole new meaning. Anticipation (or substitute dread, fear, horror) builds as the days tick near the 14th. What the hell are they going to get her for that terrorizing holiday, Valentine’s Day. Some men go with the tried and true basics; heart-shaped box of candy–that Whitman’s has made $millions off of since 1842– and overpriced red roses that will die within a week.

Ladies, I suggest this year you tell men what you really want….a romance novel. Offer to even pick one out or put several on HIS Amazon Wish List, that way you’ll be surprised when it arrives. Hey, it won’t make you fat. It doesn’t die after a week. You can return and read it again whenever you want. You can even share it. 🙂

man n woman in bed w bookThen give him what he really wants…..

Take the book into the bedroom and slide naked between the cool crisp sheets which don’t begin to diminish the heat of your body. Look at him with love in your eyes as you hand him the book and ask, “Can we start on page 152 and try that?”

Who is with me ladies? Let me hear from you in the Comments and you’ll be entered to win the Diamond Jewelry Set shown below…

Come join me as 35 fantastic authors drop in tomorrow at

Hearts and Heroes with Happily Ever Afters Facebook party.

That’s Thursday, February 11 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST.

Hearts Heroes HEA 3 w prizeClick on the banner above to JOIN in the fun!

Play games, chat with authors, tons of prizes including this Diamond Jewelry Set. COMMENT below and be entered for the Diamond Diamond Jewelry Set.

Authors Dropping In:

KaLyn Cooper               Sharon Hamilton               Becky McGraw
Paige Tyler                    J.M. Madden                      Normandie Alleman
Maryann Jordan           Sabrina York                      Donna Michaels
Yvette Hines                 Gennita Low                      Marissa Dobson
Robyn Peterman          Rosanna Leo                      Hildie McQueen
Sandy Sullivan             Teresa Reasor                    Ranae Rose
Jean Joachim                Monette Michaels             Deanndra Hall
Tami Lund                   Emelia Mancini                 Deborah Grace Staley
Marci Boudreaux         Marianne Rice                   Parker Kincade
Tara Quan                    Wendi Zwaduk                  T. M. Cromer
Annette Mardis           Olivia Night                       Rachel Rivers
Jennifer Sage               Vikki Vaught                     K.R. Grace

Windy City Giveaway–by Annie Anthony

I’m super excited to  welcome a guest author to the Love, Lust, and Laptops party!  Remi Hunter is special… she is not only a recently retired Chicago police officer, but a dear, dear friend.  Her suspense novel, Windy City Heat, has enough passion to satisfy the most devoted romance reader, and enough true-crime to keep non-romance fans turning those pages.  I LOVED this book.  I love Gina and her sassy mouth; Sean and his complicated family and complex ties to Gina’s past and future; and Ray… oh, Ray. The partner who has a way with the ladies…

So you can celebrate the re-release of Windy City Heat, we’re offering one free e-book copy to a lucky winner! All you have to do is comment on this post today before 8pm PST and we will randomly select one winner.  You’ll need to provide an email address and let us know which book format you need, so make sure you check back on this page to see if you’ve been selected!

So please join me in welcoming author, friend, and (once-a, always-a) cop, Remi Hunter!!!



Tactical cop, Gina Aletti, doesn’t see a problem with bending rules to catch the bad guys. Sometimes, that’s what it takes in the endless battle against gangs, drugs and chronic crime on Chicago’s West Side. Her new boss doesn’t agree.

Fresh from a Spec Ops mission in Afghanistan, Lieutenant Sean O’Connor has zero tolerance for maverick cops. The battle lines are drawn; Gina and her new boss clash over everything, rules, regulations, and a career breaker, high-profile case.

When Gina’s informant goes missing, her search for him uncovers corruption inside the Chicago PD. Evidence surfaces that points at Gina as a dirty cop. The fight to clear her name may cost her everything…her badge…the man she loves…and her life.


Q & A with Remi Hunter

Remi, what will romance readers find in Windy City Heat? What about crime fans?

Windy City Heat, the first in the Windy City Cops series, is suspense with romance woven in. Crime fans will enjoy a peek into the real world of a plainclothes tactical cop, and romance fans will love the roller coaster romance and the HOT sex scenes.

Tell us about the challenges of writing crime stories with your background.

You’d think writing detective or suspense fiction would come easily to a cop. But the truth is the complete opposite. 

There’s a TV show that’s popular right now about a crack team of plainclothes cops. I tried watching it one day, because it was getting rave reviews. While entertaining, it was so ridiculously far fetched, it started to annoy me. But I can understand why the writer(s) threw everything but the kitchen sink into the plot. Real police work, while dangerous, is never that complex.

My biggest challenge as a cop slash writer is creating a mind-boggling mystery with lots of twists and turns. Honestly? That is not what the average cop deals with on a daily basis, especially beat cops. The John Wayne Gacy cases are far and few between. Most crimes are gang and drug related and not that mysterious. Pretty mundane stuff.

 I’ve dipped into my stash of creative liberty to pump up the adrenaline in WCH. And I’ve had a few fellow cop-friends call me out on it, too.

Tell us about your non-writing work before you retired and how that influences your stories.

I worked some of the toughest streets in the city of Chicago. I worked patrol in a blue and white, and like Gina and Sean, worked plainclothes in tactical. I taught for a few years in the police academy. My favorite assignment was in a patrol car, which is why my books all feature beat cops.

What are readers going to love about Gina?

Gina Aletti is never boring. She doesn’t always heed that inner filter that should keep her mouth shut. Sean would say she has no fear. She has a good heart, but it usually gets her into trouble. But she is endearingly naive for a big city cop, and she struggles to find a balance between being a hard-ass policewoman and … a girl. Readers will discover a bit of themselves in Gina Aletti.

What about Sean?

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “I fell in love with Sean O’Connor.” He’s Army special forces, a war veteran and American hero, a reformed bad boy who worked his way up the CPD ladder. He’s a gentleman, which wins Gina’s reluctant heart, but his by-the-book standards make her crazy. He will tease Gina one minute and comfort her the next. And, of course, he’s a genuine badass. I like Alpha males, so Sean is all Alpha male.

Ray Lopez, Gina’s partner, is the ying to Gina’s yang. He has a quirky sense of humor and an easy going, it’s all good in the hood, kind of attitude toward life, even the difficult stuff. He tries his best to reign Gina in, and usually fails. While Gina will get easily frazzled, Ray is as calm as a bowl of jello. Ray Lopez is based on my first partner, Ray Saragosa. I’ve tried my best to make Ray Lopez as close to the real guy as possible, lol! 

If you don’t win the giveaway, you can buy Windy City Heat here: Buy Windy City Heat

Keep in touch with Remi and the Windy City Cops series here: Facebook Remi Hunter