Cover Reveal – FOR THE RUSH (Playing for Keeps #3)

FOR THE RUSH (Playing for Keeps #3) Standalone football romance
Release date: March 2015
Graphic artist: Kris Pittman

Blurb:

Chloe Martin, Band Geek.

Holden Reece, Popular Jock.

These are their labels. But it’s not who they are.

Chloe Martin loves music. It’s her passion. But being involved in the school band offers more heartache than fulfillment.

Football defines Holden Reece. It always has. He wins football games – not for himself, but for everyone else.

A random encounter at the gym throws Chloe and Holden together. Stripped of their labels they are able to be themselves. With social statuses and expectations set aside, a relationship begins to blossom.

But when they return to school can they abandon the roles that have been forced on them in order to embrace the rush of being together?

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And the the full wrap:

 

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FOR THE GAME released!

Read the conclusion to London and Cooper’s story today! Also, in the back of the book is a sneak peek of the cover for FOR THE RUSH (PLAYING FOR KEEPS #3)!

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London Miller is a survivor. She’s suffered through more than her share of heartache and struggles, but with Cooper in her life, she feels strong enough to overcome anything. Even with him away at college, she knows he is in her heart – and her life – for the long haul.

Cooper Montgomery is a winner. Losing has never been an option for him. Not in baseball, not in school, not in life. He’s worked hard to gain a spot on the Fallbrook Falcon’s baseball team and it should be the best time of his life. He’s living his dream and now that he has London, his life finally feels complete.

When unexpected obstacles arise, both London and Cooper are faced with new challenges that threaten to tear them apart. They’ve fought so hard to be together. Can London survive what fate throws her way? And can Cooper win when there is more at stake than just the game?

To purchase or borrow FOR THE GAME click here!

For me there are no shades of grey – it’s black and white

Since I’m known as a writer of clean romances I’ve been bombarded with messages from readers asking what I think of the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon. I’ve responded to each message personally but decided it might be good to publicly put this out there.

The truth is I’ve never read 50 Shades and I haven’t seen the movie, nor do I plan to do either. Therefore, I can’t in good conscience share an opinion on it. My only knowledge of the material is from blogs and articles I’ve read about it, and I don’t feel that is enough for me to form an accurate opinion.

That being said, my readers know that I write clean romances for a reason. I believe that as an author I have a responsibility to portray healthy and loving relationships in my books. I truly believe that words have power. I don’t think that an author can hide behind this idea that novels are fiction so all bets are off. Our fantasies can easily escalate into reality.

For me the issue of what I want to read and what I want my children to read is black and white. There are no shades of grey. I want to read wholesome books that portray healthy true love, and I suspect if you are a fan of mine then you want to do the same.  So while I won’t slam or condone 50 Shades of Grey, I will only state that I will continue to release clean fiction. I will continue to publish books about upstanding guys who treat girls like they are treasures, and girls who are strong enough to stand up for what they believe.

I will continue to write about the kind of relationships I want my children to experience. The kind of love that always heals, never hurts.

YA Lover’s Blog hop

Thank you for making this stop on the YA Lover’s Blog Hop! I have an exclusive scene from Tammy Blackwell to share with you. Also make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page! And if you missed the first stop on the blog hop make sure you stop in to pick up the first hashtag:http://www.gpching.com/

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This bonus scene is from the Alphas’ honeymoon, which takes place at the same time as the end of Infinite Harmony, the second book in the Shifters & Seers series.

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“Let’s become Canadians,” I said, stretching out on the blanket we’d been using for our picnic. Sunlight filtered through the trees, warming my skin without turning me into a lobster. The wind whispered through the grass and small animals scurried about in the underbrush, but for the most part, the world was quiet. The background noise I constantly had to block out at home was gone. No cars. No televisions. We were miles from civilization, and at that moment, I couldn’t be happier to leave it all behind.

            “I’m already a Canadian,” Liam reminded me as he tickled the inside of my arm with a blade of grass. “And technically, now that you’re my wife, you’re a Canadian, too.”

Wife.

I was someone’s wife.

How in the Hades had that happened?

Well, I know how it happened. It was kinda hard to miss the wedding. It’s not every day I slip on a designer gown, stand in front of hundreds of important Shifters and Seers from around the world, and legally bind my life to another human being. What I can’t figure out is how I, Scout Donovan, found myself married to anyone, least of all Liam Freaking Cole.

Two arms, thick with muscles, bracketed my head.  “You’re freaking out again, aren’t you?” Liam asked. His face was all serious business, but he couldn’t keep the laughter out of his eyes.

“I’m not freaking out,” I said, following the line of stubble clinging to his jawline with my finger. “Why do you always think I’m going freak out.”

This time the laughter made it’s way to his throat. I could feel the vibration in my hand, and it quickly spread to other, more sensitive parts of my anatomy.

“Hmmm… Why would I think you would freak out over something like getting married? I mean, you’ve always been so calm and rational about this sort of thing before.”

I tried to glare at him, but it was hard when all I wanted to do was pull his head down to mine and kiss him until we were both gasping for breath. It was crazy. We’d been together for three years. You would think I would have had my fill of him by now, but it was like my need to be near him, to touch him, grew stronger and stronger with every passing day.

“I am always calm and rational. Have you met me? I am the epitome of calm and rational.”

Liam dipped his head and chuckled against my neck as he placed some much-appreciated kisses there.

 

“Keep telling yourself that, Lilith,” he muttered against my collarbone before trailing his kisses even lower. Or at least he tried to trail his kisses down even lower. His mission was cut short by my growl.

“Don’t. Call. Me. Lilith.” The words were guttural, a sure sign my wolf was dangerously close to the surface, but instead of being properly afraid, my idiot husband laughed again.

“The epitome of calm and rational,” he said before catching my mouth in a crushing kiss. I would have been mad at him for taking advantage of my wolf’s instincts to keep me from giving a proper rebuttal, but I was too busy enjoying the slide of his tongue against mine.

Things were just getting interesting when I heard a familiar “knock” in my head. As the Alpha Female, I’m able to connect with any Seer in the world at any time through a special brain-to-brain communication system. Since Liam and I decided to honeymoon at our cabin in the Canadian wilderness where we first fell in love, we were unreachable by phone. There was only one Seer I’d given permission to contact me while we were away, and she understood that it was an emergency-use-only privilege.

Liam pulled away at the same moment I moved to sit up. The connection between mates isn’t the same as the direct-brain-dial I share with Seers, but he still always knows what I need. At that moment, I needed a clear head, and the only way to achieve that was if he stopped touching me.

“What’s wrong, Talley?” I asked, skipping all the pointless niceties. If Talley was interrupting my honeymoon – the honeymoon I had to postpone for a month due to all the crazy that went down at my wedding – something was very, very wrong. Hellos and how-do-you-dos would only waste time.

“Angel is okay,” she said, knowing the dark, terrifying path my thoughts had already sprinted down. “But Lizzie and Layne…”

There was a hiccup in our connection, and I knew it was because she was crying. Something was happening to my heart and lungs. Something constrictive and painful. Lizzie and Layne were the youngest official members of the Alpha Pack. Lizzie had become like a little sister to me, and I had known Layne since he was a screaming infant.

“Lizzie and Layne what?”

“They were on their way to camp and someone was following them. Lizzie called Jase just before the other car started shooting.”

Liam’s arms wrapped around me and pulled me against his chest.

“Tell me they’re okay, Talley.”

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m so sorry, but you need you to come home. Now.”

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Find out Lizzie and Layne’s fate in Whispered Visions, coming September 2015!

Miss_Tammy

Tammy Blackwell is a Young Adult Librarian from Kentucky and the author of the bestselling Timber Wolves and Shifters & Seers series. You can visit her online at http://www.misstammywrites.com.

#puppylove

Click this link to make the next stop on the blog hop: http://www.misstammywrites.com/

GIVEAWAY

Picking myself up, dusting off and gearing up for 2015

2014 was productive. I released 7 books and 1 novella under my name:

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ForTheWin-ebook

And 1 chick lit book under my pen name:

Confessions-of-a-Harried-Housewife-ebook-web-resolution EK Andrews

I have been a published author for 3 years this month. My first book PROWL released January 20, 2012.

Prowld

As I assess my successes, challenges, disappointments, and highs and lows of the last few years I’m left with these impressions:

1. There is nothing sweeter than hearing from a reader who really “gets it.”

2. There is nothing more disheartening than releasing a book that you love beyond reason, a book that you pour your heart and soul into, and watch it tank.

3. By the same token, it’s amazing when you release a book you’re unsure about and it climbs the charts.

4. Being an author is the best job in the world.

The past three years have been a huge learning experience for me. I went into this business pretty blind. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to write. Stories were pumping through my veins, characters were filling my mind, plot lines were taking over my thoughts. I had no choice but to listen to the voices in my head, and share their stories with the world. For the most part, I write what I hear, I write what I love and then I publish it.

But 2014 made one thing painfully clear to me. That writing in lots of different genres, while fun, may not be the best decision for me financially. As much as writing is a labor of love, it’s also my job. Therefore, I’ve realized that I need to focus in on one genre this year. Last year I tried my hand at a few different genres. I took some risks artistically, hoping they would pay off. To be honest, I wrote what I think is my best work yet. I wrote books that were difficult, and took a lot out of me. I wrote books with crazy plot twists, books that were darker than my usual sweet romances, books that stretched me as an author and a person. And I don’t regret it. I think it made me better. But it didn’t pay off for me financially. In 2014, I realized that my readers like my sweet romances. It’s what sells. It’s what my readers want. And believe me, I’m not complaining. I’m just stating fact.

Taking this into account, I’ve put together my 2015 business/writing plan. My bestselling book of 2014 was FOR THE WIN. It’s become very clear that sports romance fans are awesome. Therefore, I’m dubbing 2015, the year of sports romances. I plan to release at least 5 more books in the PLAYING FOR KEEPS series. The first one, FOR THE GAME, will be the conclusion of London and Cooper’s story. After that I will begin FOR THE RUSH, a football romance.

I also have a secret project in the works. It’s a story my son and I have been brainstorming for the past 6 months. I’m keeping it to myself for right now, but I’m sure you’ll hear more about it in the future.

Thank you for supporting me. You allow me to keep living this crazy dream and I can’t tell you how grateful I am. Praying that this year is filled with possibilities, crazy characters, fun plot twists and happy endings!

Favorite Things of 2014

Usually this post is limited to my favorite books, but I decided to do it differently this year for a variety of reasons. Long before I was a writer, I was an avid reader and I still am. Reading is truly my favorite pastime. I read voraciously, and because of this it’s hard for me to narrow down the hundreds of books I read each year into a tidy little list of ten or twenty. Also, when I started listing my favorite books they weren’t attached to names and faces, lovely people I call friends. But now many of them are, and for this reason it’s hard for me to remain objective. So I figure this year I will share my very favorites in many different categories.

So here it is. My favorite things of 2014

Favorite Book:

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Alice Hoffman is my very favorite author in the world, so it’s no surprise that this is my favorite read of 2014. Her prose is beautiful, her descriptions lyrical and her tone haunting. Her books always leave an impression on me, and I enjoy every moment of them. This book was gorgeous from start to finish. I highly recommend it.

Runner up:

Okay, so in this category I felt that my second pick needed to be mentioned as well. Here is my second favorite book of 2014 –

the kitchen house

I’m not a huge historic fiction reader. And if I do read a historic novel it’s usually royal fiction by Philippa Gregory. But I read this book because a friend of mine urged me to. And I am so glad I did. This book seriously surprised me. The writing was fantastic, the plot interesting and suspenseful, and the characters engaging. I loved everything about this book!

Favorite song:

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Music is my second love and I listen to music constantly while I write. Therefore it was difficult to pick a favorite song. But when I sat down and really thought about it, I knew I had to pick SWEATER WEATHER by The Neighbourhood. I think I actually fell in love with it in 2013, but I’ve listened to it almost nonstop this year. It’s one of those songs that just never gets old to me.

Favorite Band:

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I couldn’t choose so this one is a tie. The Civil Wars have been my favorite for awhile. I love their sound, their uniqueness and their voices. They are perfection in my opinion. But The Neighbourhood swiftly stole my heart this year. Their sound is so different from anything out there, Jesse’s voice is amazing, and the dark quality of their music is so easy to write to.

Favorite Movie:

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This is an easy one for me. I’m not a huge movie-goer but this year I did watch more movies than normal. I think because there were so many books made into movies. But the best movie by far was Gone Girl. I read the book in 2013 and it was one of my favorite reads of the year. It was chilling and dark, and had a plot twist that blew my mind. I had worried that the movie wouldn’t live up to the book, but I felt like it did. The actors portrayed the characters with just the right amount of creepiness. They were perfect. And the plot twist was just as delicious on screen. This movie has haunted me ever since I stepped out of that theater.

Favorite TV Show:

nashville

I don’t watch much TV. In my downtime I would always rather crack open a book then turn on the television. Therefore I usually only have one or two shows I watch religiously. Nashville has been that one show for me for the past couple of years. I love the music, the plot, and the romance of course.

Favorite Wine:

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I love wine. Red wine mostly. Lodi and Paso Robles have been my favorite wine regions for awhile, but Lodi has surpassed Paso for me in the last year or so. And this year my favorite wine is the 2012 Wegat from M2 Winery in Lodi.

Favorite new activity:

biking

Even though we live in a town that is very bicycle friendly with trails everywhere, I’ve never really gotten into biking. However, this year my family all got bikes and we started riding quite a bit. Now I’m kind of addicted.

Favorite writing moment:

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FOR THE WIN was my bestselling release this year. And I was beyond honored when it hit #1 in numerous categories. Thank you to all the readers who picked up and read this book!

Thanks for indulging me. What were some of your favorites of 2014? Share them in the comments below!

 

Birthday thoughts

When I woke up this morning I had two thoughts:

1. I can’t believe I’m turning 37 today.

2. I’m so glad it’s not my 36th birthday.

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Aging is not something I enjoy. I can honestly say that every birthday since 30 has been tough for me. For years, I had irrationally believed that I could cling to my twenties indefinitely and when they were cruelly ripped away I was devastated. Also, my birthday falls right after Christmas, two days before New Year’s, and three days before my anniversary, so it’s not an ideal time. Therefore, my birthday isn’t something I generally look forward to. But that’s not the case this year. This year I woke up excited. I sang joyously while making breakfast, to the point where my daughter actually thought I was hitting the wine bottle a little early. But I hadn’t been drinking. I was just happy…and grateful. Grateful that it isn’t last year.

You see last year I woke up feeling much different on my birthday. I was sick. I was depressed. I was hopeless.

Many of you have followed my journey over the past two years and you know all about my health issues, so I won’t rehash everything. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can read both posts about it here: What I learned in 2013 and Be Still.

Last year my birthday was dismal. I was recovering from surgery, I had contracted C Diff infection and I was still undergoing tests for the mysterious pains in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen.

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On a little side note: if you are reading this because you have C Diff infection, I want to offer you some encouragement and advice. My first tip is, stop googling it! Seriously. Reading about the infection online is so damn scary. I honestly thought the infection would kill me after reading about it on the internet. But it didn’t. I took the antibiotics along with a lot of probiotics (always be sure to take the antibiotics and probiotics at least 2 hours apart). I cut out sugar, caffeine, alcohol and all foods that feed bacteria, and for awhile even followed the Gaps diet. I ate a lot of fermented foods, drank kefir, took vitamin C and D, got plenty of rest, and once I felt well enough, I worked out. Anything to boost my immune system and strengthen my body. And I did pull through. It took only 2 months for me to kick the infection and I consider myself very fortunate. I won’t use the word “lucky” because I don’t believe in luck. I know that God pulled me through and that ultimately he healed me. But I do believe that the choices I made helped too, so that’s why I’m outlining them for you here.

After kicking the infection, I was still sick though. I knew my stomach wasn’t right, and the pain in my side was worsening. So I had more tests over the summer and was diagnosed with gastritis. I’ve been on medication for that ever since, and my body is healing more and more everyday. Some days I even feel 100% better.

When I woke up this morning I realized how blessed I am. I realized what a gift my health is. One I took for granted for 34 years. Much of the past year I have battled fear. Even on the days I feel good, I am fearful. Fearful that the infection will come back, fearful that the mysterious pain in my side really is something bad even though I’ve had every test known to man, and doctors assure me I’m fine.

But God has been so faithful to me in my challenges. He gently reminds me that I have nothing to fear. That he’s in control. That I can rest in him.

And today I feel nothing but gratitude. I have no idea what tomorrow holds, but today I am healthy.Today I feel great. I have a husband who loves me, two beautiful children, a supportive family and loving friends.

Today is worth celebrating.

Later we will go out to dinner and I will eat more than I should and indulge in my favorite red wine. And I will be happy and carefree. I won’t think about the challenges of the past two years. I will think about how blessed I have been in the midst of it all. But mostly I will revel in the moment, savor every second and be grateful for every breath.