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Sunday, January 19, 2014

THE ROAD TO YOU ~ 99-Cent Special & Book Club Event!!

Something awesome is coming up in February!! I've been invited by the wonderful Deb Haupt (B&N General Fiction Book Club Moderator) to be her first book-club guest of 2014 on her blog, The Reading Frenzy! We're going to be spending the month reading & chatting about THE ROAD TO YOU, starting on Feb. 3rd.

Right now, as part of a special Reader Appreciation sale, the ebook is priced at only $0.99 for a very limited time on Amazon (worldwide), B&N, and Apple/iTunes!! If this coming-of-age romantic mystery is a story you or someone you know may be interested in, I hope you'll grab a copy now during the promotion! And please know that you're ALL welcome to join in the Book Club event, too, with Deb and me, if you'd like to discuss the novel or even just want to pop by and say hello :).

There's also a Goodreads giveaway going on right now for 2 signed paperback copies (US & Canada). And for anyone who's a print lover, the Kindle Matchbook program has a deal for THE ROAD TO YOU. If you buy a new print copy of the novel from Amazon during the time of this promotion (or even if you already bought a new copy of this book from them in the past), you can get a Kindle copy of the ebook for yourself, too, for FREE!! Amazon has the details on both the paperback and the Kindle pages. (Here's the link to the print copy -- just scroll down to "Product Details" and look on the right-hand side of the page under "Kindle Matchbook.")

THANK YOU so much for being such wonderful friends & readers! I'm incredibly fortunate to have such fabulous and supportive people in my life!! xo

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

All I Ever Wanted ~ Out Now for 99 Cents!!



We've been sharing this all over the Internet, but just in case you haven't yet seen it...it's Release Week for ALL I EVER WANTED!!!

It's been tremendously fun to get to finally share this sexy/new-adult winter anthology with everyone, and it was a pleasure to write these four linked novellas with my author friends, Rhonda Helms, Lexi Ryan, and Caisey Quinn!

In celebration of the release, the ebook is just $0.99 for a limited time and available at most vendors already:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1eLU2bN

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1afKrai
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1kuT4rj
BN: http://bit.ly/1exe616
Kobo: http://bit.ly/JPIwmf
iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/all-i-ever-wanted/id794517215?mt=11
And it's also available in paperback on Amazon for all print lovers!!


If you'd like to get a taste of the story, below are four short excerpts -- one from each of us -- that'll give you a brief introduction to the characters:

From ALL ABOUT US by Marilyn Brant

Alex slipped through the swinging door off to the side of the counter and joined me. 
I was still holding the plate with the scone out for him. He took it from me this time…and immediately set it on the counter.
“Oh, sorry! Did you want a fork?” I asked, reaching toward the drawer with the silverware.
But he put his hand on mine, stopping me. “No, Samantha,” he whispered. “That isn’t what I want.”
He swallowed again and nudged me toward the kitchen wall nearest us until my shoulders were touching it. Until the zipper of his leather jacket pressed against the red Abbott’s Sweet Confections apron I was wearing. Until I could feel his breath on my forehead.
He looked into my eyes and waited. Waited until I’d tilted my head up toward him and licked my lips and leaned a little closer. Then he smiled and brought his mouth down on mine.
Everything about our kiss said hunger to me. We were in a place filled with heaping platters of food, but Alex was the only thing in the whole building I wanted to devour. It was like my dream from this morning, only better because it wasn’t a simple dream. Because I could really feel the roughness of his stubble on my cheek, smell the crisp January air when he exhaled, taste the warmth of his tongue as it mingled with mine and left me wanting more. More of him. All of him.

From ALL I NEED by Caisey Quinn

Somehow it had become bigger than us. Bigger than a couple of kids playing around in the garage. At our last few shows, we’d been approached by managers and even a few small record labels.
I gripped the steering wheel so tight to keep from reaching over and putting my hand on her knee that my knuckles ached. As much as I wanted to comfort her, I knew if I ever touched her like that I wouldn’t be able to stop. A hand on the knee would turn to a hand on her inner thigh. Which would turn to… Jesus. I could not go there while operating a motor vehicle. Think of the band, dude.
We were on the brink of something huge, and in a way, it was fucking terrifying. What was even more terrifying was that every second of the day I knew I was one wrong move from ruining all of it. From destroying Ev’s dream of the band making it big before she’d even had a chance to live it.

From ALL FOR LOVE by Rhonda Helms

With her eyes fixed down at the table, Maya’s voice was soft as she began to organize the trays for easy carrying. “I’m not a little kid anymore, Oliver.”
No, she wasn’t—she was nineteen now, no longer that scrawny pre-teen girl our family had unofficially adopted. My gaze was drawn to her face, and I studied her like it was the first time I was really seeing her. Her high cheekbones, the bridge of her small nose, the proud thrust of her chin.
My focus moved to her mouth, and I detected a slight sheen of pink gloss on her lips. 
Funny, that color made her mouth look more plump than usual.
My throat tightened.
“What are you thinking about?” she suddenly asked as she turned to face me. Her intense brown eyes locked on mine.
I swallowed; my heart gave a knock against my ribcage. “Um, what?”
Maya took a step toward me, and her tongue darted out to lick her lower lip. My eyes darted down and I noticed her coat was unzipped a touch. Enough for me to see right into the curves of her cleavage.
A strange stirring pumped through my torso, a throb that ended at my crotch and caused my back to stiffen. I ripped my attention away from her chest and looked back into those eyes that were staring so innocently up at me. What the hell was my problem today? Was I seriously just checking out Maya—my friend?

From ALL OR NOTHING by Lexi Ryan

“So, are we going to pretend it didn’t happen?” he asked. His voice was low and rough, and I wanted to rub against it, nuzzle it like a cat. You’ve lost your mind, some sane part of my brain told me. “Because I think we should talk about it.”
My head snapped back and my eyes went wide. “Talk about what?”
“October? You showing up unannounced? Naked in my bed? Ring any bells?”
This was not the conversation I’d expected to have tonight. Didn’t he want to pretend it hadn’t happened even more than I did?
His dark eyes softened as he studied me, and I stiffened at his pity. I hated that he felt sorry for me.
“Yes,” I finally said. “Yes, we’re going to pretend it didn’t happen. I hardly remember it anyway. You know me. I get drunk and do stupid things.”
“And then you avoid my calls for months? Fuck that, Bree.” I tried to escape his embrace, but he drew me tighter against him and whispered in my ear, “I’m not going to let you throw this friendship away just because you’re embarrassed by some dumb drunken mistake.”
Dumb drunken mistake? Five years of unrequited love and he thought the night I found the courage to act on it was a drunken mistake?

We're also hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway for 4 x $10 Amazon/BN gift cards! If you're interested, you can enter HERE! (For "Follow this Blog," you can just write in mine: Brant Flakes. ;)

My heroine in "All About Us" is famous for her Mexican Hot Chocolate, so I'm sharing Sami's specialty with all of you (see one version of the recipe below). Enjoy and please stay warm!!


MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients
6 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 (12-ounce) bags semisweet chocolate chips (recommended: Hershey's)
Cocoa powder, for serving

Directions
For stovetop: In a large pot over medium heat, whisk together milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Add chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted. Cover and turn heat to low for 5 minutes.

For slow cooker: In a 4-quart slow cooker, whisk together milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg. Add chocolate chips. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with a dusting of cocoa powder.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy 2014!

Happy New Year!!

I don't know about you, but our 2014 is off to a VERY chilly start. However, school kids all over Northern Illinois (and much of Wisconsin, from what I can gather) are pretty excited to have at least one extra day added on to their winter breaks... Many schools have already been called off for tomorrow because of the crazy, subzero temps...

If you happen to be in any region that'll be hit with these Arctic blasts, please stay warm! And, while champagne is traditional at this time of the season, now that New Year's Eve is gone, maybe consider switching to some hot mulled wine or cider?!

Here are the basics:

While red wine and apple cider are the most traditional of the spiced winter warmers, you can also use cranberry juice, white wine, hard cider, or ale. All of these beverages take very nicely to mulling--which is simply adding spices to them and warming them up.
  • The primary spice combinations for mulled wine or cider almost always include cinnamon sticks and whole cloves.
  •  Nutmeg, mace, star anise, allspice berries, cardamom pods, slices of fresh ginger, orange slices and lemon zest are also good additions.
  • To infuse without making the drink cloudy and gritty, use whole spices rather than ground.


How to Mull

Bring the mixture to a very gentle simmer over low heat.
  • Don't let it boil: this can cause spices to turn bitter.
  • To really allow the flavors of the spices to infuse into the beverage, you should allow the mixture to simmer on the stovetop for at least half an hour.

It's fine to keep the pot warm for several hours, allowing everyone to sip holiday cheer throughout the night: a slow cooker on low heat is ideal. Ladle into mugs and serve, garnished with an orange slice or cinnamon stick.

Enjoy!! And best wishes to you all for a fabulous year ahead. xox  :)