Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Beginnings

I love this time of year! It’s a time of new beginnings and fresh starts. No matter what you've done up until now, you can start over with a positive energy and hope for all the possibilities the brand new year brings.

Every year around this time, I begin planning for the next year. I start to think about what I’d like to do differently when the calendar year flips over, and I take stock of the past year, examining what worked and what didn't. I begin to make my lists. I dream big and I dream small. I broad-brush my goals, then I go back in and paint in the details by making sub-lists under those bigger topics.

After I've finished my plans, I post these goals on my office wall--yes, on an easel-sized post-it note to myself. So that all year long I can check off my progress. Usually, by the time June hits, I’m ready to re-evaluate my yearly goals, update and make new lists. Last year I found that by June, I’d accomplished everything I’d set out to accomplish for the year. So I had to plan again. Now, looking back at the list I had for myself in June, I've also accomplished the majority of those tasks and met those goals. It feels good to see a physical “track record” ... and to know that all the time and energy and sweat I exerted really did pay off in big and small ways for me.

One of those payoffs for me this year debuts later this week. My contemporary romance, Essence, will be released  on January 2, 2014 by Soul Mate Publishing. As you can imagine, I’m a little excited and a lot nervous. I have published a few Indie titles myself, but this is the first book of mine that a publisher has picked up. And it’s my first contemporary romance. The journey has been a good one. I've loved working with SMP. And I think this is a good next step for me. Okay, so I’ll squee now! All right, all right. Maybe not. I’ll wait until the pub day to do that because my control freak side worries about everything that can go wrong between now and then. Even though I really know better. It’s going to be fine.

So I’ll go back to focusing on my lists for a few more days, hammering out all those fun and exciting things I want to explore this year and the number of ways I hope to develop my writing career. Then, come January 2nd, I’ll add learning the ins and outs of marketing a book to my daily and weekly writing routine.

Yes, one of my big goals this year is to figure out how to promote a book effectively. I've already begun to promote Essence and will start a blog tour January 27th to get my name out there, and hopefully sell a few more books in the process. I’d love to see you on the virtual road! Check out my website for details on the full line-up of my blog tour toward the end of January.

So what do you do at this time of year? Do you set New Year’s Resolutions? Do you set personal goals for yourself? Do you re-evaluate and take stock of where you’ve been and where you’d like to go? I’d love to hear what you’ve found successful or helpful over the years & if you have one or two goals you’ve set for yourself, shout them out! It always motivates others to know those around them are reaching for the next rung on the ladder or the stars.

Buy your copy of Essence starting January 2, 2014 at and be sure to tell me what you think in a review on Amazon & at Goodreads. All my Indie published titles are currently available at To find me on the web, go to If you’re on Facebook, look me up at: MackenzieLucasFanPage or on Twitter at: @MacLucas_writer.

Book Giveaway:
Readers who comment on today’s blog by sharing one of their goals for the new year will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Essence.

$50 Spa eGift Card Giveaway:
And two lucky followers who LIKE my Facebook page MackenzieLucasFanPage between today and January 15 will each win a $50 SpaWish eGift card.

So come on, let’s play! Comment, like, and share. It’s always fun to have as many participants as possible in these contests. As Misha says, join in my reindeer games. It’ll be fun!

Happy New Year and happy goal setting. Let's see what we can do in 2014!

More about Essence. More about Soul Mate Publishing.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays!

From our families to yours, may your holiday season be blessed with abundance and love. And may the warmth and spirit of the season dwell in your hearts all year long. 

Happy Holidays from the R8. 

Thanks for another wonderful year! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

All I want for Christmas is . . . a Good Holiday Story

By Hope Ramsay

I’m an avid reader.  Like most authors it was reading that lead me to this writing life.  And when it comes to pleasing me at Christmastime, all you have to do is give me a good book.  In fact, I plan most of my holiday festivities for Christmas Eve, so on Christmas day I can relax, curl up with a hot toddy, and crack a good book, hopefully one of many I’ve received from friends and family.

So, if you have an avid romance reader in your family and you’re wondering what to give her for Christmas.  Here is a rundown of some terrific holiday stories.  Many of these reads are less than $2.00 in digital format, so you could easily buy them all and load up the e-reader of the bibliophile in your life. 

Perfect by Autumn Jordon
Dylan Kincaid totally screwed up Thanksgiving and now he's faced with Christmas. Thrown into the frightening role of both mother and father while his brother and sister-in-law are off serving their country, all Dylan wants is to make Christmas perfect for his two nieces. But time is running out.

Down on her luck Charleston, S.C. restaurateur, Darcy Witherspoon is licking a wounded ego when she arrives in Black Moose, VT and meets the handsome Maple tree farmer. Wanting a happy holiday herself, she teams up with Dylan to make a perfect Christmas.

Neither is interested in a holiday affair, but the magic of Christmas has something more everlasting in store for the couple. An absolutely perfect love!

Hunk for the Holidays by Katie Lane
Always putting business before pleasure, Cassie McPherson works hard for her family's construction business. That might explain why she doesn't have a date for the company Christmas party. But it doesn't quite explain why she's crazy enough to hire an escort for the event or - crazier still - why she's dying to unwrap him like a present . . .

With whiskey-colored eyes and a killer smile, James is one gorgeous hunk who really knows how to fill out a tuxedo. He charms everyone, including Cassie. And when the night ends, the party doesn't stop. As Cassie falls, literally, into his bed, James falls head over heels in love. Now he has to figure out a way to tell her the truth: he's not an escort. He's her family's fiercest business rival. But all he wants for Christmas is her .... The digital version of this book will be on sale for $1.99 starting in mid-December.

Trouble with Christmas by Debbie Mason
Resort developer Madison Lane is about to lose the one thing she loves most in the world - her job.

Dubbed "The Grinch Who Killed Christmas," Madison spoiled a deal that would turn quaint Christmas, Colorado, into a tourist's winter wonderland. Now the citizens want her fired but the company gives her one last chance, sending Madison to the small town to restore the holiday cheer.

For Sheriff Gage McBride, no hotshot executive from New York City is going to destroy the dreams of the people he loves. But one look at this beautiful woman and it's his heart that may be broken. In just a few days, Madison causes more trouble than he's had to deal with all year. He can't decide if she's naughty or nice, but one thing is for certain- Christmas will never be the same again.. The digital version of this book will be on sale for $1.99 starting in mid-December.

Spirit of Christmas by Liz Talley

Brennan Henry doesn't have time for holly and jolly. He's been too busy boosting the bottom line for the family business. That is, until his eccentric grandfather hands over a lot of money to a stranger on the street. Some nonsense about her being the true spirit of Christmas. Yeah, right. All Brennan can see is he's now got a situation on his hands with one Mary Paige Gentry.

Then he meets Mary Paige. And no matter how deep he searches, it seems she's the real deal. Kind, compassionate and just enough sass to keep him very intrigued. The spark of attraction between them could land him on the naughty list! But his is still a dollars-and-cents world…unless she can prove there's more to the season—more to life—than money.

And if you’re looking for an anthology of shorter Christmas Stories, pick up the digital anthology A Christmas to Remember, with stories by Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Molly Cannon, Marilyn Pappano, and me. Click here.

Happy holiday reading to one and all.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book Signings and Visions

Over the years, I have been to many book signings. Some have been small, some huge, some unbelievable. Back in the olden days, I worked for Crown Books. Then, authors were magical creatures. I would get a little giddy when someone came and offered to just sign her stock. Because, wow. She was an author. To me, she was a celebrity. Even if I'd never heard of her book. And back in those days, the late 80s and early 90s, publishers actually took their people on tours. From city to city. To meet their readers. O. My. Freaking. Giddy. Aunt. You mean, I said to my district manager (called the DM, or Dungeon Master), you mean I might meet... Nora Roberts?

Well, no. I didn't. She'd pop into the store in White flint. To shop. And I'd miss it. Dave from Berkeley would talk about how pleasant she was, how great she was to work with. And instead, I was stuck with Jay Leno, Brett Butler, Michael Moore, and Naomi Judd. Ok, ok. I did get my biggest absolute squeeing oh wow oh wow oh wow when our store hosted... (are you sitting down? diagnosed with vasovagal?) (Ready?) Yes. It's true. Julia Child. THE Julia Child. J.U.L.I.A. C.H.I.LD. Her. Tall. Funny. Cooks. A lot. Yeah. I met her. And it was amazing. And I have two cookbooks autographed by her. I do. Yes. Julia Child. And what struck me then, what I've kept with me always, is that the people around her, her publicists or whoever they were from the publisher, treated her exactly as they should. Like she was a National Treasure. They handled her the way I saw artifacts handled at the Smithsonian when I interned there during college. The other thing that struck me was her fans. Not the number, but the diversity. Young, old, every race and color, wealthy and modest. There was no pigeon holing a Julia Child fan. They are everyone. And they were legion. And she was gracious and kind to every single one of them.  It was a lesson for me. There is always room for graciousness when it comes to your fans and readers.

Not that I have any. Yet.

A few years ago, I attended the Literacy Signing at Romance Writers of America annual conference. It was in Orlando that year. Hot. Sticky. And you have never, ever seen the like of a book signing until you attend this one. Row after row of published authors, selling books to raise money for literacy charities in the States. It was amazing. And I nearly became legless with euphoria. Because Carole Mortimer was there. In Orlando. At RWA. Signing. I got my picture with her. I gushed. I had read her since I was 14. I could site plot lines and characters.  I mean, I'd been reading her since high school, if not junior high. And there she was. It was amazing. My reading tastes have changed, I have other authors that I read, but Carole Mortimer made me a romance reader. And she made me want to write romance. Getting the chance to meet her was like candy and pecans and champagne and creme brulee all rolled up in one.

Probably my next favorite book signing has been those for friends of mine, signing their first books. Leigh Duncan. Michelle Monkou. Heidi Betts. Kathryn Caskie. It is the greatest, proudest feeling watching them smile at a reader and ask her name. And then sign theirs.  On the title page. Awesome.

Oh, and I did get to meet Nora. Finally. At a writer event. She signed my well loved hard back copy of Honest Illusions. Funny. I don't re-read this one any more. There are other books by her that I turn to again and again - the trilogies, usually. But she was another one who taught me about graciousness. I've attended several author events at Turn the Page in Boonsboro, Maryland, the line is long. The store is packed. And she smiles and greets every reader as though she were the first person in the line. (instead of the 112th).

Tell me about your favorite book signing. Maybe you were signing a book or maybe you attended one of a favorite author? Will you go see the same author again and again? (but can't yet be construed to be a stalker?)  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Perfect Gifts for Mystery Lovers

Hi, everyone. My name is Jessica Tribble and I’m a book lover. I also happen to be Publisher at Poisoned Pen Press. Poisoned Pen Press is one of the largest publishers of hardcover mystery in the country, and as of April, we will begin publishing Young Adult Mysteries as well. I consider this a smart move, one in which we will be providing the gateway book: we need a new generation of people who are as hooked on mysteries as we are.

As mystery lovers, you know how important it is to find great new reading material. And in the holiday season, you can’t help but share your book love with your closest friends and relatives.  Or, in my case, a bunch of readers who should be my friends.  You want to be my book buddies, right? Friends don’t let friends do without scintillating readings materials.

Many of you may already be familiar with Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series. (A series that has recently been adapted for the small screen by Australian TV). Phryne is fun, flirty, and an embodiment of 1928 culture. But not many people know about Kerry Greenwood’s other historical series that gives new life to the women of Greek myth. The Delphic Woman series, begins with Medea, story of the woman made famous by her encounter with Jason and Argonauts. Greenwood’s Medea is a beautiful, conflicted woman whose struggle reveals Greek myth and history in new light. No wonder Publishers Weekly and Library Journal both gave the novel starred reviews. I read this novel in a single sitting, despite the need for sleep and for food.

Kerry Greenwood has done for Ancient Greece what Reavis Z. Wortham has done for Texas. Wortham’s 1960s Texas, like Cormac McCarthy’s, is full of complex characters with humanity. Wortham’s In his first in the series, The Rock Hole, Wortham introduces Constable Ned Parker a man who recognizes the gravity of the recent crimes in Center Springs, Texas. This is no average criminal. This is a man who has no feelings, no boundaries, and no morals. This is a criminal who introduces evil to a community that has been shielded from the civil rights changes and even most violence. Named one of Kirkus Reviews best books for 2010, Ned Parker is a police officer worth following, and Wortham is an author worth reading as he works now on his fourth in the series.

Clearly, I love a mystery with an unusual twist or turn. I’m compelled by characters who feel real and three-dimensional. That’s why I love The Dangerous Edge of Things, by Tina Whittle. This first in a series introduces Tai Randolph new owner of a Confederate-themed gun shop she just inherited. It also introduces Trey Seaver, the man who will become her love interest, in addition to helping clear her of homicide charges. I could talk about the plot of this book (which, by the way, is great), but it’s the characters that have kept me reading as this series has continued to develop. Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal each awarded starred reviews to this excellent installment.

I’ve talked a lot about books in series. For me, series reading is part of why I love mysteries: I get to stay with characters over many books and adventures. In Margit Liesche’s Triptych, I get everything I love about a series in a single book:  characters with history and stories across multiple generations.  In this story about two sets of mothers and daughters,  the reader bounces from 1956 Budapest to 1986 Chicago and reveals themes about redemption, trust, and, of course, murder. Unlike anything we’ve published before, this book is sure to appeal to the history and modern mystery lover alike.

At Poisoned Pen Press we never have a shortage of books to read, and I’m excited to share some of my favorites with you. We have something for everyone. All you need to do is browse your favorite kind of mystery on our webpage. Happy holidays and happy reading!