Monday, March 19, 2012
Casey Crow returns to Football Romance to kickoff her DWAM release party and blog tour.She's also giving away a mini-MP3 player March 20 at www.caseycrow.com to celebrate the release of DWAM.
Thanks you so much for having me today, KT. I’m a big fan of your football romances and get a kick out of how we share unwavering love for the Crimson Tide! ROLL TIDE national champs! I’m super excited to announce that DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE will be released tomorrow!
KT: Will you please share a short bio with us?
Casey: I’m a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of Alabama with degrees in Business Management and Dance. I received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Mobile. In addition to writing “Sexy, Sassy & Southern” spicy contemporary and erotic romance, I also work as a dance choreographer, pageant coach, professional emcee and model, and certified Miss America preliminary judge. I guess my claim to fame is being a former Miss University of Alabama and NASCAR spokesmodel.
My debut CAN’T FAKE THIS, a f/m erotic, was named 2011 Best Contemporary at Love Romances Café, a Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist, and winner of a Gold Star from JERR.
KT: Tell us about you newest release.
Casey: My long-awaited DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE is coming March 20 with Siren Publishing. When I say "long-awaited," I'm not kidding. This was the first manuscript I ever wrote - meaning I started it in 2006. When I woke up, I immediately sat down at the computer and pounded out everything I could remember. I never picked up a "how to write" book or had this great vision to become a writer, although I'd been thinking for a while "I could that" every time I read a Harlequin.
I piddled around on the story for a few years, which was originally entitled PAS DE DEUX but my mom made me nix that since most people don't know what that means. When l I joined RWA in 2009 and got serious about getting published, I went back and rewrote it then let it sit as I got busy with other projects. Finally, I submitted it to Siren and now here it is. Talk about a dream come true - literally!
Here’s the blurb: Southern belle Campbell Layne is the rising star of the Manhattan Ballet Theatre, providing she lands the upcoming principal role. The stage heats up, however, when Rod Carrington steps in and teaches her more than she ever expected.
Campbell is determined to stay focused on the audition that will push her into stardom, but the dazzling attorney she meets at a gala proves to be a major distraction especially when he ends up being her professor in a college class she’s taking in her spare time. Campbell humiliates herself on their first date, but that doesn’t stop Rod from whisking her off to Italy and turning her into quite the vixen. Too bad he also had to use his powerful influence to secure the lead for her. Now she’ll never know if her talent was real or “bought” by the man she thought was the love of her life.
KT: You’ve long been a fan of romance novels. What prompted you to cross over to the writing side of things?
Casey: In high school and college, I only read text books so I didn’t even get started on romance until I was twenty-five. Oddly enough, my mom, an avid reader of all romance genres first encouraged me to write. About the time I started thinking, “I could do this,” she said, “You can.” Thank goodness too, because I love it and turned the hobby turned into a serious career two years ago.
KT: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Casey: I’m a plotter for sure, but the outline is very vague so if my characters want to take a detour, I’m okay with that.
KT: Is there a genre you’d like to write?
Casey: I’d love to write YA. Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of teenagers either as a dance instructor or pageant coach, and it fascinates me how they flip flop between still being kids and being incredibly mature.
KT: What are your three major addictions in life?
Casey: Awe, I have to pick just three? Okay, dancing (I used to own a dance studio) and working out are major passions and they compensate my Barq’s root beer addiction. I also love pageants. Seriously - but not the Toddlers & Tiara glitz kind. I’ve been an emcee and pageant coach for over twenty years, and I still get such an adrenaline rush teaching modeling and interview to girls of all ages. It’s incredibly rewarding to see one’s self-confidence grow with each lesson. Finally, I’m not a huge TV watcher, but I’m addicted to Castle and Revenge.
KT: I’d love to hear more about your pageant life. What was that like?
Casey: As a dancer and gymnast, I was on stage my whole life, but I began competing in pageants at fifteen to prepare for Jr. Miss (now Distinguished Young Woman). I’ve done everything from glitz to natural. I prefer youth development programs where talent is the primary focus. I’ve competed in the Miss America and Miss Universe systems. I have to say it was pretty cool being Miss University of Alabama, but my most memorable reign was Miss Motorsports, where I got to be a NASCAR spokesmodel and hang out with all the famous drivers.
Pageants typically have a negative connotation, but the friendships, public speaking skills, and confidence I gained make me a firm believer in the many positive aspects they provide.
KT: What is one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done?
Casey: Learn to play the violin, or as we say down South, the fiddle.
KT: If you cook, do crafty stuff, or have a hobby, please share the details with readers.
Casey: I do cook and love crafts, but considering I’m about four years behind on scrapbooking, I don’t think it counts if it stays in a box under the bed. I really enjoy playing pool, golf, and tennis, but never have the time to practice so I’m pitiful at all of them. The one thing I do make time to do is take a dance class each week. I’m in a class with a bunch of other teachers, former dance competitors, and even a couple of professionals so it’s not easy by any means. The best part is that we rock the house during recital time. Old ladies, apparently, still have it.
KT: What’s next for you?
Casey: I have two other manuscripts on submission right now with various agents and editors. HUSTLER’S DREAM is about a southern socialite pool shark who hustles the wrong guy, or is he? FEELS SO RIGHT is about a country music agent and her ex-boyfriend songwriter. I’m also half way finished with FAST DREAM, the sequel to HUSTLER’S DREAM, about a female NASCAR tire changer in love with the driver.
I swear these are not autobiographical! But, I’m passionate about the things I enjoy, and they invariably make their way into my writing. My tagline is “Sexy, Sass & Southern” and all my heroines are just that.
Here's an excerpt of DWAM:
“That’s well-rehearsed, Miss Layne. Tell me, though, do you turn on the southern belle charm for all your fans or only the gentlemen ones?”
Her mouth fell open, but she snapped it shut. “How dare you? “First of all, I’m from Alabama which makes the accent genuine, and secondly, that’s…the rudest, most ungentlemanly thing to say.”
“I never said I was gentleman and readily admit to be undeserving of your sweet façade. I’d much prefer the real you.”
She propped her hands on her hips. “And precisely what, may I ask, do you assume to be the real me, seeing as our acquaintance has a life span of what? Thirty seconds?”
Rod glanced at an expensive-looking gold watch. “Forty-five.” He stepped closer.
She did not see that coming and stumbled back only to become trapped between the wall and his body. The hard, cold stone competed against his warm, harder presence. Damn it, the latter won out. She ground her traitorous fingertips into the wall in an effort to prevent them from brushing away the stray curl that fell across his forehead.
The hem of his jacket brushed her hip as he moved in to splay his hand over her waist. The pressure built as he gathered her an inch closer. She caught a faint whiff of his woodsy cologne.
“In fact, I’d like to get to know every inch of you.” Another sharp tug had her chest pressed against him.
Her blood boiled in a delicious rhythm. Obviously, the vibrator thing was getting old if this jerk was turning her on. Campbell flexed her fingers and pushed against his shoulders. “Let go of me, you arrogant pig.” A lion, cougar, leopard—anything powerful—seemed a more apt description though.
Rod chuckled and loosened his hold, enough to insert his finger between them. It followed the line of fabric at her shoulder slowly, very slowly, across her chest. As he glided over her cleavage, he said, “You’re mistaken. It’s confidence I possess.”
“More like cockiness.” She couldn’t take her gaze off his finger or steer her attention from the hunger that swept through her so intensely she instinctively arched her back, lifting her breasts to beg for more.
“Either way, but I always get what I want, and in case you need me to spell it out” —he slid his finger up her throat to tilt her chin, forcing her to look at him—“I. Want. You.”
Her breath hitched. No, stopped. Campbell literally thought she might pass out, only she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
Feigning haughty sophistication wasn’t in her repertoire, but there was a first time for everything. She raised a brow and allowed her gaze to wander his body as he’d done to her. The black tux cut a dashing figure, making her mouth water for a taste of what laid beneath. His bowtie was a little askew. She reached to straighten it, brushing against his neck. She sensed, rather than saw, the restrained quickening of his jaw. She inwardly smiled, but those treacherous fingers battled back, wanting to still the muscle of his clean shaven jaw with a gentle caress. She balled her fists in reprimand, uncaring that her short nails dug into her palms.
Campbell shot him what she hoped was a contemptuous glare. “Take your hand off me.” She made a dramatic showing of enclosing her fingers, one at a time, around his wrist and tugged his finger away from between her boobs.
Nothing happened. Well, almost nothing. He managed to do that trick when one eyebrow lifts higher than the other.
She sighed loudly and exceedingly unladylike. Then she pulled. Hard.
Finally, he broke contact by approximately six inches when twelve would have been much closer to the acceptable personal space limit. Too late to hide her puckered nipples, she still folded her arms across her chest. “An apology would be appropriate at this time.”
“Ah, but then I’d have to, in fact, be sorry.”
He said that? Seriously? She stood there, gaping.
“What? No response? I assume that negates the possibility of you actually wanting an apology.”
Again, nothing. She felt like a fool, but her mind remained as blank as the sky on a cloudy night. So much for feigning haughty sophistication.
“Um…” Okay, it wasn’t a three-point goal in the final seconds of the game, but her voice hit a few decibels nevertheless.
Rod’s deep chuckle reverberated throughout the alcove as he captured both of her shoulders. He laughed at her. Worse, he was going to kiss her. She knew it. Right here, right now. In front of everyone. A complete stranger. Well, not completely, she knew his name at least. Knowing the first name made it all right, didn’t it?
Lord, what am I thinking? She did not go around kissing strangers. Hell, she didn’t go around kissing people she knew. What would her mama think? She’d die of shame, that’s what.
But heaven knew Campbell wanted to taste those beautiful, full lips. She closed her eyes and barely swallowed the lump stuck in her throat before licking her lips, preparing for the inevitable. He leaned in and…bypassed her lips altogether. Her eyes popped opened, and she experienced a moment of utter humiliation before all her attention once again focused on him. His cheek brushing hers as he brought his mouth to her ear.
Whispering in a low, sexy baritone, he said, “Forgive me, Campbell. I’m glad to see New York has not jaded you, and that you still maintain an impressive degree of sweet innocence. Combined with your beauty, that’s an irresistible combination.”
Holy gamolely. He’d called her beautiful. And innocent. Now, that was a compliment every girl wanted to hear. Actually, he was wrong, thanks to her so-called “boyfriend” at seventeen.
Unknowing how to respond, she lamely replied, “You’re forgiven, but how do you know my real name? Everyone here knows me by my stage name, Bella.”
“Let’s just say I’ve done my homework on you.”
Visit Casey at http://www.caseycrow.com Follow on Twitter @caseyecrow and Facebook Casey Crow DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE EXCERPTS
DWAM coming March 20 from www.SirenPublishing.com CAN’T FAKE THIS buy Kindle version on www.Amazon.com and all versions at Loose-Id.comCAN’T FAKE THIS Excerpt
See the CAN’T FAKE THIS book trailer
Monday, March 12, 2012
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy returned to the Sports Romance Blog to discuss her latest book, In Love's Own Time.
Do you believe in ghosts? Lillian Dorsey doesn’t, at least not until she arrives at the Edwardian home she just inherited from her unknown grandfather. She never believed her mother’s tales of a ghost who haunted the place and her plan is to clean out the three story mansion, then sell it. But the house captivates her with its’ old-fashioned charm and soon she ponders making it her home, moving to the small time from the Kansas City area. Lillian comes across an intruder in her home, a dapper and handsome man dressed in old-fashioned garb as he plays the piano with skill. She orders him out but he insists he’s the original owner who died there in 1905. Her disbelief soon turns to an unlikely friendship – and more.
Relationships can be, well, complicated at the best of times but when your significant other is a ghost, complicated soars to new levels. It’s a little hard to seek a shot at that happily-ever-after thing when your man lacks a corporal body and vanishes when his energy levels drop. Sleeping in the room where he died over a hundred years ago has to be a real downer too.
But for a stubborn woman like Lillian, following your heart might not be impossible after all. Once she comes to terms with the reality Howard is both dead and a ghost, she decides to figure out how they could get around the facts.
When a moment of play acting, a pretend tea party as if Howard were alive and the calendar reads 1904 inspires Lillian to go purchase a vintage outfit to wear, she didn’t have any clue their little fantasy would turn real. But when the couple realizes they’ve somehow made it to 1904, they touch for the first time. Just when Lillian thinks they’ve accomplished the impossible, however, she finds herself back in the present.
She’s hard to stop, however. The one thing she learned is it can happen so she studies time travel and together they make a plan.
Here’s the blurb and an excerpt plus links:
There may be no place like home and nothing like love…..when history teacher Lillian Dorsey inherits a three story Edwardian brick mansion from the grandfather who banished her pregnant mother decades before, it’s a no brainer. She’ll visit the place, see it and sell it. Instead Lillian’s captivated by the beautiful home and intrigued by the ghost of the original owner, Howard Speakman. Soon she’s flirting with the charming, witty gentleman who’s been dead for more than a century and before long, they admit it’s a mutual attraction. Still, when she’s alive and he’s dead, any shot at being together seems impossible.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way….one afternoon while pretending to visit the past the impossible becomes a brief reality. If they visited 1904 before, Lillian knows they can do it again and if so, she can prevent Howard’s untimely death. With a combination of love, powerful hope, and stubborn will, Lillian bends time to her will and returns to the summer of 1904. But Howard’s death looms ahead and if she’s to find a happy ending, she must save him from his original death.
“Damn!” The aggravation would kill her if the suspense didn’t. Love relationships were hard enough with a flesh and blood partner but Howard’s disappearing act was beyond difficult. There must be some way, she thought, to cross the boundaries of time so she and Howard could be together and Lillian resolved to figure out how.
Although she would rather bawl with frustration, she took action. The local library was the only place which might have the materials she sought so she Googled Einstein’s theories on one of the public computers. What she read led to her read about Goedal, the other Princeton scientist she mentioned to Howard and to others, everyone from Stephen Hawking to Igor D. Novikov. A search of simply “time travel” linked to Washington Irving’s legend of Rip Van Winkle, King Arthur’s daughter Gwenth, to Carroll’s Alice, and even to Sleeping Beauty. The mish-mash of information was confusing but as she sorted through it, reading and considering it all, a sense of excitement crept over her. Repeatedly from very diverse sources, she read time travel might be possible, not from crackpots or harebrained pseudo scientists but from people at the top of their field.
No one explained how it worked but most acknowledged the possibility. As she surfed the World Wide Web, she jotted down books to read and movies to watch. Dean Koontz wrote a novel about time travel called Lightning and a woman named Diana Gabaldon penned an entire series of novels based on time travel. Movies like Kate and Leopold and Somewhere in Time, the last based on a novel by Richard Matheson, intrigued her.
Lost in research, Lillian didn’t realize how long she’d been there until the librarian tapped her shoulder.
“I’m sorry but we close in fifteen minutes.”
Head aching with fatigue, mind whirling with information, she gathered up her copious notes and walked out to the parking lot. Her car was alone beneath the vapor lights and although she was weary, Lillian was too restless to go home. Instead, she drove across town and up the business highway to where Howard’s farm once existed.
The neat orchards she hoped to find were gone and instead a housing subdivision sprawled over the fertile ground, the foundation of Howard’s fortune. Most of the ranch style homes dated to the late 1950’s or early 1960’s but on the far edges, newer homes ringed the original neighborhood. The railroad track she recalled from her dream and the hills with a few gnarled old apple and peach trees were all remaining of the former fruit farm. The idea brought sadness and Lillian knew Howard’d feel the same. As her headlights swept through the subdivision, she searched for any other signs of Speakman’s Farm but found none so she retreated to Seven Oaks.
In the humid summer night, her fatigue felt like a heavy blanket and Lillian was almost too tired to drag herself up the stairs. As she wandered through the dark downstairs rooms, she called his name but Howard didn’t answer. Missing him was an ache and so weary, emotions drained, she lay down across the bed, too tired to even undress and fell asleep.
Shadows of the tree branches made lacy silhouettes across the ceiling of the bedroom when she woke, moving shadows dancing with the wind. Although she’d no clue what time of day it might be, Lillian felt too somnolent to rise so she lay, tangled in the bedspread and tried to sort her myriad emotions. Joy at Howard’s declaration of love dimmed when she considered the difficulties of their unique relationship and a strange prickling delight came as she remembered visiting 1904. As the wind rushed through the trees like whispers, she struggled to make sense of time travel, to figure out a way to make it possible on a permanent basis.
Details, theories, and thoughts warred until she sat up, limbs protesting the motion after too many hours of deep sleep, with a revelation. They didn’t need the books, she wouldn’t have to know the properties of relativity after all, and there was no set format certain to succeed. It didn’t matter because she’d done it. If they managed once to travel to the past without trying, they could and would by design.
“Elementary, my dear Watson,” Lillian murmured, stretching as she swung her legs to the floor. “It’s simple, really.”
With one ear cocked for any sound to indicate Howard’s return, Lillian bathed and dressed, brushing her teeth to rid her mouth of an unpleasant film coating both teeth and gums. She picked up her watch from the dresser and nodded. It was just now noon; she’d not slept away as much of the day as she’d guessed, a good thing since she needed to handle many details. Singing, she floated with elation downstairs to make coffee and a list. Time travel was possible and she’d do it or die. Either way, she’d end up Howard.
By the time, he appeared, dapper in a blue and white checked Madras shirt worn over dark brown trousers held up with suspenders striped the same colors as the shirt, she’d scribbled half a notebook full of things to do or buy or look up. Intent on the next item, she didn’t realize he was with her until she felt his spirit caress, light as a breath, across the back of her neck.
“What are you plotting, my dear heart?” He asked, sitting down across the kitchen table.
“We can do it, Howard.” She put down her pen to reach out for his hand and then remembered she couldn’t hold it. “Time travel, I mean. All we have to do is believe it and live it. If we could do it when we were just pretending, we can do it. Everything has to be just right and I’ve so many things to get and things to do but we can. Isn’t it wonderful?”
Find me at
Facebook: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
A Page In The Life: leeannsontheimermurphywriterauthor.com
Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
I also have a book trailer here: