Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lynne Silver's First Match

We at The Rockville 8 are pleased as punch to help with the launch of Lynne Silver's prequel to her fantastic Coded for Love series, 
First Match

Below is her SWOON worthy cover, how to find the book, how to stalk Lynne via social media, and not one, not two, but THREE mega-licious story excerpts.

Allison Macclesfield wants—no needs—to be a rock star, and what better decade to do it in than the ‘80s? Music is her passion. She’s got her future mapped out. Move to New York, find a job, audition to be lead singer in a band.

Plans don’t include giving it all up for Peter Shepard, the sexiest guy she’s ever met. He’s nothing like the guys she’s known. Peter’s life is full of mystery, and though they believe they’re a perfect match, she can have him or her rock star dreams. But not both.

This is a Coded for Love Prequel

About the Author
 Romance author, Lynne Silver, writes the popular Coded for Love series and other hot contemporary romance novels, such as Love, Technically. Before writing romance, she wrote fiction of a different sort, drafting press releases for technology corporations. Washington DC is her home (non) state, where she resides with her husband and two sons. She is represented by literary agent, Jessica Alvarez of Bookends LLC.

Buy Link:

Stalker links:
Twitter: @LynneSilver

“And yep, this is cannabis. Reefer. Pot. The old Mary J. Have a toke; it won’t hurt you, and maybe you’ll loosen up and enjoy yourself.”
He moved closer to the blonde. “I am enjoying myself.”
She laughed, and it was a throaty noise he felt in every inch of his skin. “Dude, you’re a terrible liar. If you were any stiffer, you could double as one of the beams holding up the stage.”
“This is my first concert,” he confessed, deciding it wouldnt hurt to get closer to someone who so obviously was enjoying herself.
Her eyes widened. “For real? No way?” She shook the shoulder of her friend who’d melded in a bit more with the crowd. “Amy, get this. It’s his first concert ever. He’s a virgin.”
Peter felt his cheeks heat as she boldly and unintentionally stated two truths about him. He’d never been to a concert, nor had sex.
She glanced at him and started laughing harder. “Dude, relax. You’re blushing as if I announced you’re actually a virgin.”
He had no response. If she were male and had made a physical threat, he’d know how to react. He’d eliminate the threat in seconds without breaking a sweat. As she was a beautiful girl and only a threat to his emotional equilibrium, he went for the fight or flight response, and chose flight.
He was five feet away when she caught up and grabbed his shoulder. It was the first time he’d ever been touched by a woman who wasn’t his mother, and his whole body stiffened.
“Wait!” The blonde had come running after him. She was breathing a little hard from her sprint, and he was tempted to tell her she should stop the illegal drugs if she wanted to be in better shape, but he kept his mouth closed and watched her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. You’ve got to mellow out.”
Something made him blurt the words, “Will you teach me?”

Peter leaned in until their faces were inches apart. “I am nothing like the other guys you know.  If my life were my own, I’d buy you a house in the suburbs and marry you and make babies. But I don’t have that to offer you, and, trust me, you don’t want what I have to offer.”
“Marriage? Babies? We’ve known each other two days. And I’m going to—”
“New York. I know,” he said almost bitterly. “You’re going to be the next Blondie, and I will not stand in your way.”
“Then what do we have?”
“This,” he said, and leaned in to find her mouth and take her in a deep kiss. As soon as his lips touched hers, all her fear and anger morphed quickly into passion, and she tugged him down to deepen the kiss. Just like at the concert, their passion exploded into an inferno. His large body pushed her willingly back into her mattress, and the comforter crushed up between them as an unwanted barrier.
She couldn’t get enough of his mouth and ached for more. “Get under here,” she ordered and tugged the blanket out from between their bodies. She heard him kicking off his boots and she sat up to yank her extra-large T-shirt over her head. Her panties were next. Peter stood next to the bed, ripping off his clothes silently and quickly.

“I’m in love with you, Peter, but—”
“I know you can’t be trapped here. You have a family and other dreams,” he said, feeling a piece of his heart crumble.
“Is there no way we can stay together but not here on campus? Could you come with me to New York?”
“I don’t think so,” he said. “No one’s ever done that before.”
“Why not?”
“Well, first of all, I was bred to be a soldier for the US government. If other countries ever discovered that our country was enhancing humans, it’d get ugly. The Soviet Union would retaliate. Or they’d try to copy the science.”
She shivered. “Enhanced Soviet spies. Scary stuff.”
“Also, my family is here. I don’t always love living here, but it is my home. And what about our kids? They’d have to grow up here,” he said. “They wouldn’t fit in at a normal school. They’d be smarter and stronger than the teachers.”
“But you…”
“I what?”
“You hide it well,” she said. “I thought you were a little weird, but nothing too different.”
“But I am,” he said. “Remember when I fought those jerks in Annapolis?” he asked.
“Yeah. What about it? You kicked their butts.”
“I was holding back. I purposely didn’t break bones or kill them. I could’ve killed them in a heartbeat.” He watched her to see how she handled that revelation.
Allison held very still watching him carefully.
“It would take only a loss of temper,” he said. “Regular humans wouldn’t stand a chance. And getting into your house at night was a piece of cake. Any door, any window, any room. Nothing would’ve stopped me from getting in.”
“Peter, stop, you’re scaring me.”
“Sorry, but I want you to understand who I am, Allison.” He knew he was being harsh and a little scary, but he had to make her understand why she had to leave and pursue her dreams in New York. If she stayed, he’d have to watch her inner flame burn lower by inches year after year. It would kill something inside him.

Allison is faced with an impossible decision: choose love and give up on her dreams or pursue her dreams and say good-bye to her perfect match. Have you ever run into an either/or dilemma like this? How did you solve it? 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Guest Post: Reissuing Mary

Mary Blayney has been writing both contemporary and regency romances since 1986, though her writing began in earnest at age fourteen when she drafted a script for her favorite TV show. While her attempt never made it to the small screen, she eventually pursued writing as a career, first with contemporary romances for Silhouette and later with historicals set in the Regency period.

That's from her official bio.

Off the record, I can tell you that Mary Blayney is a Lifesaver. And one of my critique partners. And that makes me lucky because she's also one of my favorite authors. so I am very happy to have her as a guest here on the Rockville 8!


This past year with the essential and knowledgeable support of my writing group I dipped my toes into the world of epub. The five of us each wrote a novella and published them in an anthology (Paper AND ebook) titled ONCE AND FOREVER. You may have heard about it here one or five times since the remarkable writer Evie Owens is a member of the Rockville8 and our writing group. Her novella in ONCE AND FOREVER is a stand out. It alone is worth the price of the book. [Note from Evie: *blush*]

So my next big step is to reissue the five stories I wrote for Kensington in the early part of this century. (I recall I was just sitting down to work on the second book in the series when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Needless to say, with a son working in New York, it was a few days before I got back to work.)

The first of the series, HIS HEART’S DELIGHT will be out some time this week – I promise that as soon as the date is firm it will be announced loud and clear – a promise I make to all the marketing mavens who have been so helpful.

These stories are what I would class as “comfort” reads – a subject discussed recently in a blog post by Mackenzie Lucas. Comfort Reads (my term) are stories you turn to when your world is stress filled and you want to escape, not to someone else’s pain and torment but to a world that is a little kinder and more gentle than your own. The Braedon Series books are romantic, but not erotic. They are short but not novellas. The characters are real but far from perfect. And, praise heaven, they live happily ever after.

So I have three questions for you. Feel free to answer one, two or all:

  1. Do you have any suggestions on how to find the market for my comfort reads?
  2. Do you have any suggestions on the best places to get the word out that there is a new player in the game?
  3. And did any one else think Louise Penny’s second mystery was awful after a terrific first, prize-winning effort? 

Comment here for a chance to win the kindle edition of Mary's lovely story, Father Christmas.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Professor Cancer

The last year has been difficult.  Four surgeries and a cancer diagnosis have taken a toll on me.  I wasn’t always able to get in front of the computer.   But I didn’t give up writing.  I may not have been writing with regularity but I did carry my notebooks and pens and wrote in them.  I brainstormed in the hospital.  Some of the ideas conceived on the pain meds aren’t fit for public consumption.  But I did keep my brain percolating.

When something negative happens, I like to find the good parts of the situation.  I thought about what I learned this past year and came up with this list.  Though some of these have been said before, I found out they really are true. 

You can get through this.  Even if you think you can’t. 

Don’t allow yourself to dwell on what might happen.  Set short-term goals to get from one thing to another.  Only think about the next step in the process.  Example: Doctor’s appointment on Tuesday.  

You are stronger than you think.  I found that I could take a lot more than I thought.  So can you.   

There are many people who love you and who would miss you.   People tell you how much you mean to them when they think they will lose you.  One friend sent me a utube video of friends who shaved their heads for the friend who had cancer.  She told me she was glad she didn’t have to do that for me.  This was one of the handful of times that I cried.  But it was a good cry.  

Don’t worry so much about small things.  Like cream, what’s genuinely important rises to the top and the trivial sinks to the bottom.

You are not in control. The more tightly you hold on, the less control you have.  All you control freaks, please take note. 

Reach out to others when you need them.  I often feel badly for asking for favors. Learn to do that when you need it.  Plus, others will often volunteer before you even have to ask. 

Let yourself deal with your issues in your own time and in your own way. Realize that you will be dealing emotionally with this long after it is over.  Accept the fact that facing your frailty can be a long process. 

I want to write more than ever.  Looking forward to being able to get back to my normal writing schedule kept me going.  Focus on the things you love, and visualize doing them. 

I enjoy helping other people.  I want to pay forward the wonderful things that people did for me since I realize that it won’t be possible to pay each and everyone back in kind. 

People and things that I love, I love more deeply.  People and things that I dislike, I dislike with less intensity. I focus on what I truly care about.   What I don’t like, I’m able to let it roll off my back more easily. 

Be careful with what you consider important. You only have a certain amount of time on this earth.  Spend it doing things that are important to you. 

People act differently when they hear you have cancer.  You have to show them that it’s permissible not to.  My family didn’t treat me as they normally do.  You have to be as normal as possible and honest about your feelings and it will help them to do so as well. 

It’s good to cry when you need to. It loosens the knot in your stomach and eases the tension.  But don’t let it go on too long.  Otherwise, you won’t be able to function.  Keeping your usual routine is key. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Romance Novels: Why I’m Still Standing

Photo Credit
Life hit me pretty hard in the month of August. Just this past week, I sent my oldest off to college (yes, my first to fly the nest). If that isn't enough to send a mom into a tailspin, then having to do it while holding down a demanding day job that sucks more and more family/personal/writing time would certainly push most people over the edge.

Yes, the day job went from zero to eighty in the month of August. Perfect timing, right? Not so much. By Thursday of this past week, I was at the end of my rope--emotional from leaving the kiddo 2oo miles away, I returned to a job that keeps changing from hour-to-hour. That day, I was pulled off one project to start another. Add to that a vehicle breakdown and another personal family crisis that blew up, and I was holding on to the knot on the end of that rope and felt myself slipping. 
Photo Credit:

What did I do? When the dust settled and I got back home and crawled into bed, I did as any good romance reader-writer would do, I pulled out my Kindle and I fell into a romance novel.

The only thing that has kept me sane this month has been my love of reading romance novels. Seriously. It’s why I started reading romance in the first place. When my life is crap, I can escape into someone else’s world. I can push aside everything that’s wrong for just a little while and get a break from the emotions, the stress, the demands that seem to claw at me 24/7. Yeah, I’ve got one of those minds that won’t shut off. I don’t find oblivion in a bottle, I find it in a book.

What I’ve learned is when I hit that wall, or I’m hanging on by just a thread, when my life rockets to out-of-control, I need to take a breather, pull out my Kindle, and read a romance. Only by submersing myself in story--in a romance novel, where a hero and a heroine have problems that they overcome to find their happily-ever-after--can I find rest. Some might say, oh, well, you’re burying your head in the sand. Ignoring your problems. No. I’m finding a spot of peace in a chaotic world that at that moment I can’t handle. It’s my only harbor some days. And I clutch it tightly with both hands. Yes, I’m a romantic. I’m in love with falling in love. I’m an optimist. Life can suck that all out of you if you let it.

Photo Credit:
So when life gets me down and pushes me too hard, I turn to my safe harbor, my Zen place, and I read a romance. I know I’m not the only one who does this. I hear it again and again from women who read romance. How they find respite from the hardships of their lives when they read romance novels. I applaud them and I say hell, yeah, go for it. I know, firsthand, how hard life can be and how often I can attribute my ability to push through a tough situation or to remain standing in the midst of a crisis to some great romance novel that has swept me away for an hour or two and given me a break from my own life.

And this is also why I write romance novels. There are women out there just like me who need to find that next demilitarized zone so that they can handle whatever it is that life is throwing at them. There is peace from the chaos. Grab it with both hands--and if it comes through your Kindle by way of your favorite romance author--even better. At the end of the day, all that’s important is that you maintain your sanity and you’re still standing. If you’re still standing when the dust settles, you are stronger than your problems. Plus, when you give your brain a break, you can usually figure out a solution to overcome the slings and arrows of life.
Photo Credit:

So, go, find your Zen place today. Pick up a book. Be good to yourself. I’m here cheering you on.

I’d love to hear from you if you've ever experienced the saving grace of reading in times of trouble. We all like to know we’re not alone. ;0) And that’s what romance does for us, it helps us build community. So give me a shout out and comment if you've been there.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Opportunity Costs - Balancing Yes and No

Over the past few days I've been thinking about opportunity costs. Here is a highfalutin' definition that I don't quite understand, but sounds official and deep and all, just in case you're interested in the real deal. My own home grown take:

An opportunity opens itself up to you. What will it cost you to say yes to it? What will it cost you to say no? What will it cost you to make a yes/no decision and then change your mind?

One weekend this spring my day job and my writing life collided in the form of two conferences that fell on the same dates. My options were attend one or the other. I couldn't do both.

"Torta casera argentina con crema chantill√≠ y duraznos" by Carlosdisogra - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - 

I couldn't have my cake and eat it too, dang it. 

I chose the writing weekend, which worked for me, but the costs included: I had to pay my own way (literal cost), I missed out on time with my work colleagues, I missed out on some professional training (ephemeral, but no less real costs).

In fact, I felt so bereft that I arranged for some of those day-job colleagues to come to town for a weekend getaway - a mini-conference of our own. In saying yes to this gathering, I had to say no to the August session of Lady Jane's Salon Silver Spring, where the Rockville 8's own Mackenzie Lucas was reading from her upcoming release, Courting Cinderella.

It's times like this when I wish I had a clone so I could be in two places at once.  

Now, in the scheme of things, one might say neither of these examples was a high stakes decision. But in each case, I had to do weigh the costs of saying yes or no.

This fall, I will begin a term on a non-profit board that meets on Tuesday nights once a month. Saying yes to this means I miss the opportunity to attend my Tuesday Nights Write group on the night(s) in question. I will lose butt in chair, fingers on keyboard time, but I will trade the time for a chance to expand my knowledge about something important to me and give back to the community.

Saying yes to a night of TV can help relax you after a stressful day, or spark story ideas, or create a situation where you'll overeat, or keep you from writing. Saying yes to a publishing contract can net you a monetary advance and increased distribution/visibility, but it might tie up your rights for longer than you're comfortable with. Saying no to a volunteer position might mean more time to spend on your writing or your family, or it could keep you from expanding your network of contacts and/or being Jill On The Spot when other opportunities arise.

This week I'm plunging into a Fast Draft session. For the next two weeks, I'll devote my "free" time to working exclusively on my book and post my progress on a social media accountability group. Saying yes to this, means I'll have to say no to: TV, pleasure reading, pool time, video games, hanging with friends who aren't writing (and cleaning the house, which is possibly not that big a loss....).

Do you ever wonder about your opportunity costs? Has there ever been a time when it hurt to say yes to one thing because it meant the other opportunity/ies were lost forever? When saying no was the stupidest decision you ever made?

Just how do you balance yes and no?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Five Places to Find Bargain eBooks

by Misha Crews

I love a good bargain, don't you? Regardless of what we're buying, saving a few bucks always makes the find even sweeter.

And as for books... well, books are pretty much the greatest things in the universe, am I right?

So I thought I'd share a few of my favorite sites to find free and bargain eBooks. Hope you enjoy!

Pixel of Ink

A pioneer in the "free books to your inbox" field, Pixel of Ink has been around since the beginning of the eBook revolution. Visit their website, subscribe to their mailing list, and you'll receive a daily email of free and bargain books. And if you're interested in faith-based books, you can also visit their Inspired Reads website.

Free eBooks Daily

This plucky newcomer likes to specialize in indie books, which makes them very near and dear to my heart! Visit their website, or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter to get instant updates on free books.


As a reader, the thing I like most about BookBub is that you can customize what kind of books are emailed to you every day. BookBub has built a reputation for providing subscribers with excellent reads. Visit their website to subscribe to their daily newsletter. 

Book Gorilla

With a name this silly, it's got to be a good service! Sign up for Book Gorillla's daily email newsletter to learn about free and bargain books from new authors as well as bestsellers.

Ereader News Today

Specializing in Kindle books, Ereader News Today offers readers an email newsletter service where we can choose the genres of books we'd like to hear about, and a highly searchable website where free and bargain Kindle books are listed. It's the best of both worlds!

Have you ever tried a bargain book email newsletter or website? What do you think of them?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

That Post-Conference Pay-Off

You came. You saw. You conquered . . . almost.

For writers, conferences like International Thriller Writers' Thrillerfest, Romance Writers of America's National Conference, and Killer Nashville are golden opportunities to learn, connect, and have fun. But just like gold, conferences can be costly. Between travel, hotel, plenty of meals, the cost of conference registration, maybe a new outfit or two, and--let's face it--all the awesome books you'll buy in addition to the ones you'll be given, a writer can spend a pretty penny. So how can a writer be sure to get her money's worth? She needs to focus on the post-conference pay-off.

Without focusing on the post-conference pay-off, a writer is only making a partial return on her hefty investment. But that doesn't have to happen to you. Here are my top tips for making the most of your conference experience after you come home.

Step one: Put those business cards you collected to work for you. After the event and while some names and faces are still fresh in your mind, jot a few notes to yourself about the people who gave you those cards. What did you talk about? Did you like the same books? Did you write in the same genre? Send a few of those folks an email letting them know how much you enjoyed discussing common interests or wishing them good luck with their queries. Sure, it can be daunting to email someone you just met, but you're investing in others and there's never anything wrong with that. Down the road, you might find you've developed a real friendship or a helpful professional contact. That person might faithfully buy all your books one day--or become famous and blurb them.

Step two: Put a technique to work for you. If you sat-in on a great seminar about plotting or a panel about breaking through to a larger readership, study your notes once you're home and set aside time to give this new technique a try. Change can be hard, but by tackling one technique, perhaps over a weekend, you're ensuring the money you spent to hear about that idea was well spent. This is an investment in your skill set. And any investment in you will pay-off after the long haul.
Step three: Put it all in perspective and let a fresh mindset work for you. By the time you leave the conference and walk through your own front door, chances are you'll be beyond exhausted. But then, it's back to the day job, the laundry, and life. From that perspective, it may look like you slid backwards instead of gaining ground at the conference. So print off a few photos and put them in your work space to remind you of the fun you had at that publisher's party or out to eat with your pals. And in the coming week, eliminate one chore so you can catch a little time on the couch or chase some more shut-eye. If you say it's all right to skip mowing the yard, odds are it really is all right. So let yourself relax and recover. Remember, we don't have to do it all. And we don't have to do it all right now. Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. And going to a conference can be as high a priority as doing the dishes. So invest in your mindset. It's worth everything.

Now, there you have my top tips for the post-conference pay-off. What do you do after you get home to make the most of a conference?