Thursday, June 26, 2014

Author Spotlight - Dani Collins

Minxes are thrilled to welcome Harlequin Presents author Dani Collins to our spotlight today :) Dani is generously giving away a copy of her latest book An Heir to Bind Them to a blog reader so don't forget to leave a comment!

Dani Collins’ first Harlequin Presents, Proof Of Their Sin, won this year’s Reviewer’s Choice by Romantic Times Book Reviews for Best First In Series. This summer she has five hot books from Harlequin, starting with An Heir To Bind Them in June. In August, watch for The Ultimate Seduction, the second book in the Harlequin Presents 21st Century Gentlemen’s Club mini-series. Also in August, she debuts with HarlequinE with The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection containing two titles: Playing The Master and Mastering Her Role. She also has an online novella with The Chatsfield series, The Secret In Room 823.

Dani is celebrating her sexy summer books by offering you a chance to express your secret desires from behind a masquerade mask. Enter Dani Collins’ Masked Desires Contest here. 

1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself

I tend to feel like the most boring person in the universe. I grew up in a small town outside of Vancouver, BC, married my high school sweetheart and we moved to a different small town when we had children. I’ve travelled some, but usually packaged stuff to civilized places. We’re the equivalent of middle American except in Canada. Sometimes I blame my bland existence for the 25 years it took to sell a book. No drama to draw from.

2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)

An Heir To Bind Them is my fifth published title with Harlequin. I have a romcom (Hustled To The Altar) that I indie published and a fantasy romance with a small press (The Healer.)

3. What inspired this book?

This book grew out of the story that was my First Sale, No Longer Forbidden? The hero in that book, Nic, told the heroine he had a half-sister and two brothers. I started wondering what had happened to them and wrote about their sister, Adara, in More Than A Convenient Marriage? This is Theo’s story and their youngest brother, Demitri, will have his story written later this year.

4. Who or what was the inspiration for your hero? [Pictures are welcomed!]

I don’t often use photos as inspiration. I’m personally in love with the iconic alpha male as depicted in Presents—tall, dark and handsome. Don Draper from Mad Men is a great example of my ideal. When I try to describe them, I consider their genetic background and figure out what skin tone they’re likely to have. I even had a blond hero, but even though I try to provide snapshots for the reader’s mind, I’m far more interested in my characters’ inner workings and spend a lot of time there. In terms of what inspires that side of things, it really does grow organically as I write the book.

5. Have you any burning ambitions to write a story in a different genre?

As mentioned above, I have dipped my toe into different romance genres. I have a pair of erotica romances coming out in August with HarlequinE (The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection). I’ve also written several different lengths which has kept me limber and learning new things. My journey to publication was a very long one. I took many detours along the way and have several manuscripts meant for different markets. I believe some can be rescued so I expect to appear in different genres of romance, but I am a die hard romance reader and writer. I don’t see myself making a big jump to horror or mystery or anything really different.

6. In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?

I treated writing like a job long before I published so there isn’t much that has surprised me. I’ve received more accolades than I expected (Reviewer’s Choice Award from RT Book Reviews, for instance.) That blew my mind after so many years of feeling like a failure. I expected a slow build and it’s turned into a meteoric rise. Some of that is planned. I am doing everything I can to finish books and get them published, but I really didn’t grasp how all that would feel. It’s great, but a lot more busy and demanding than I expected.

7. What was the most fun part of writing this book?

I loved pushing Theo out of his element with the babies. He comes to Jaya fed up that he can’t get a diaper on right. We’ve all been overwhelmed with childcare at some point and then cuddled a sleeping baby or been the recipient of a beaming smile and felt like a hero. I liked doing that to Theo.

8. Which of your characters would you most like to be?

That’s a really tough question because I tend to fall deepest in love with the ones who rise above the worst circumstances. Do I wish that on myself? No way! But do I want the sky-high standard of living my heroines enjoy at the hands of the hero? Um, YES.

9. Do you have a writing routine? Do you write every day, and is there a time of day that works best for you in terms of being productive?

I prefer to hit the computer first thing with coffee and still in my jammies. Lately I’ve been messing about on the internet for about an hour, which I’d like to scale back, but since quitting my ‘real’ job, I’ve been very good about getting real work done for a good six to nine hours with a walk in the middle of the day. Now, often this ‘work’ includes writing blog posts, organizing travel and planning promotions and related materials. I’d like to find a way to do less of that and more genuine writing, but this is the sort of demands I alluded to above that I didn’t realize were such a big part of being a professional author.

10. How long does it take you to complete a book?

Depends how long it is, what kind of story it is, and whether I work on it every day. I wrote the second erotic romance, around fifty-thousand words, last December. I worked full time until the middle of the month, then had twelve days off through the holidays. That was a really intense month and the manuscript needed quite a bit of revision. I wrote the Chatsfield novella basically over three long days and neither I nor my editor made any big changes. I was in the zone on that one, I guess. Contrast that to the fantasy romance which took years, but it’s an epic story with a ton of action and politics. The romcom was complex as I juggled several points of view and all the action takes place in one day, so I spent a lot of time figuring out the logistics. When I was working outside the home, I often gave myself a goal of a thousand words a day, which usually took about ninety minutes, Right now I’m planning to write over fifty thousand words by the end of June, basically my own Nano, and I don’t think that’s an unreasonable goal.

11. Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?

I often go back to the beginning and make sure I haven’t taken any wrong turns. Sometimes I find that I’ve had the character choose something that isn’t working, or I haven’t properly figured out why they chose that action. Long walks help, as does cleaning house. Sounds like punishment, but if I channel my frustration into dusting and scrubbing, at least I have a clean house when I’ve worked things out.

12. Are your family and real-life friends supportive? If so, in what ways? If not, do you have another support network for your writing?

I realized a long time ago that the writers whose husbands could afford to financially support them had a leg up. This allowed them to stay home and write and, as I observed it, they seemed to achieve publication sooner than I was able to. That wasn’t a luxury I had, but my husband has always pitched in with making supper or getting kids to practice so I can write. I dedicated my first book to a pair of friends I refer to as my kids’ Other Moms. We shared a lot of childcare over the years and it was a huge help in allowing me to make progress with my career. Among writers, one of my closest friends is Cathryn Parry. She’s incredibly positive and smart and always listens to me whine when publishing has hurt my feelings, then helps me put it in perspective and get back on the horse.

13. Where do you write?

Our house has an attic that was converted by previous owners into a playroom for their kids. It’s a perfect office so long as I don’t stand up too fast; the ceiling is slanted and I’ll hit my head. I sit at a computer desk older than my daughter (she’s leaving for second year university in the fall) and I sit on a ball.

14. Do you connect with your readers at all, and if so which is your favourite platform for reaching them?

I love hearing from readers and try to be accessible where they like to play. I’ll admit I’m fairly hopeless on Pinterest or Tumblr, but I go on Facebook and Twitter daily and glance at Goodreads fairly regularly. Here are my links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

And, please join my newsletter to be informed when a new book comes out.

An Heir to Bind Them

Off the boss's payroll…and into his bed

Jaya. Her name reverberates around Theo Makricosta's head in time to the whirring blades of his private helicopter. He must find her; only Jaya can help with the care of his infant niece and nephew…. It's not because he hasn't stopped thinking about the single night of mind-blowing passion he shared with the exotic beauty.

Jaya Powers couldn't refuse her gorgeous millionaire Greek boss when she worked for him, and she can't refuse him now! Only this time she has a secret. Their night together had consequences that will change Theo's perfectly ordered existence forever!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Spiral - Zara Cox (with giveaway)


After the phenomenal success of High and Higher, now comes Spiral!! Put the date in your diaries - 24th June!!

Go back to the Indigo Lounge and meet Leia and Noah!



Seven Nights. Seven Highs. 

Welcome back to The Indigo Lounge, the scandalously sexy sky-high playground where anything can happen…


SPIRAL is the latest story in the sizzling Indigo Lounge Series, geared for fans of The Crossfire and The Stark Series.

Sinfully sexy venture capitalist, Noah King - a man with a haunted past and dark cravings - is a short fuse away from being consumed by his needs. When his desires propel him to the Indigo Lounge, there’s only one course of action - unleash his innermost hunger or lose his mind.


Leia Michaels has spent the last five years trying to find her way out of a shattered labyrinth of pain and tragedy. In a daring move, she takes a chance on a sizzling adventure aboard the Indigo Lounge.Within seconds of meeting on the luxury, decadent adults-only jet, they realize they're better off apart...but their chemistry defies logic and their needs have gone far too long unanswered.


Seven Nights. Seven Highs. He will strip away her inhibitions and show her that edgy existence between pleasure and pain. Will she survive his dark secrets and risk revealing her own, or will her world spiral out of control?


Available here: Amazon UK & Amazon US from 24th June!!

Because Zara is such a special friend of the Minxes, we are hosting a brand new giveaway leading up to the release of Spiral on 24th June!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Author Spotlight - Sharon Ashwood

Thanks so much for being here with us, Sharon!

Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.

What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)

Not counting the books under the bed (which will stay there!) this is around number twelve.

What inspired this book?

I was out for a walk by the beach and thinking about the next book I wanted to write. It was a perfect, sunny summer day and a bridal party drove by in a big white convertible decorated with yellow pom-poms. One fell off at my feet and I took it as a sign! So the series centers around a royal wedding—what I was really after was all the hope and joy and excitement I saw in that couple driving by.

Who or what was the inspiration for your hero?

I was entertained by the notion of James Bond with fangs. The heroes of the four books are named after the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (War, Plague, Famine, and Death) and are three vampires and a werewolf. If I had to pick actors for War and Plague (aka Sam and Mark) I think Sam would look like John Hamm from Mad Men—that sort of classic, clean cut but suave type—and Mark would be more a Joe Manganiello model. Imagine Joe in a doctor’s white coat coming to check your pulse!

Have you any burning ambitions to write a story in a different genre?

I’d like to try a straight mystery. I’d also like to write an epic fantasy someday—I think it would be a bit like climbing Everest!

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?

I didn’t anticipate the amount of publicity I’d end up doing. It takes a completely different skill set. I was fortunate enough to be taking business classes around the time I got published, so I signed myself up for one on marketing. I’m not sure whether or not it helped, but I love throwing around terms like “early adopters” and “SWOT analysis.” I’ll be fine as long as I don’t delude myself into thinking I know what I’m doing!

Do you write every day, and is there a time of day that works best for you in terms of being productive?

I work full time, so I write in the evenings. I CANNOT write in the mornings. I’m a drooling idiot before at least 9:00 a.m. and anything I write is pathetic drivel. I peak at around 9:00 p.m. and hit about a two-hour patch of focus where the best work gets done. I do believe in writing every day. There are times when enthusiasm tanks and habit is the only thing that keeps you going.

How long does it take you to complete a book?

How much time is left before the due date?

Do you have any tips, tricks or sacrificial rituals you do when you hit a story roadblock?

Sleep. Usually problems are because of fatigue. If that doesn’t work, I ask the question of where the book is going. I think the subconscious knows when the story goes off track and puts the brakes on even before the conscious mind figures it out.

Do you connect with your readers at all, and if so which is your favourite platform for reaching them?

I send out a newsletter periodically, but my favourite is one on one communication. Email me or contact me on Facebook. Sometimes I take a bit of time to respond if I’m racing to meet a due date, but I do respond to each and every one.

Contact: Sharon@SharonAshwood.com

Sharon has kindly offered a signed paperback of POSSESSED BY AN IMMORTAL to any commenter!! (international okay)


Possessed by a Warrior

A dazzling dress is wreaking havoc—and costing lives…

The violent death of her uncle sends Chloe Anderson reeling—and rushing to his estate. As coexecutor of Jack's will, she assumes that he has left her something. What she doesn't expect is a bejeweled wedding gown with a note warning her to trust only his business partner—dark, mysterious and sexy Sam Ralston.

Chloe's been burned in love, but never bitten, and there's something about Sam that keeps drawing her in, despite her fears. The attraction is mutual, intense, and it takes all of Sam's willpower to hide his fangs. With Chloe's career at stake and murderous thieves hot on their trail, the vampire vows to protect her. But can he save her from himself?


Possessed by an Immortal

Can a mother in jeopardy melt the heart of a jaded vampire?

After witnessing a murder, Bree Meadows is on the run with her young son. But the bad guys are in hot pursuit. Dropped in the middle of nowhere amid a torrential thunderstorm, things look pretty grim. To make matters worse, her son is in desperate need of medical attention.

Mark Winspear has been alone for too long. When the vampire senses a gorgeous female nearby, he discovers that her swift, selfless courage pulls at his instincts. The doctor has history with the same men who are after Bree—and he's ready for revenge. Working together now, they discover an attraction that might save them both—if they're lucky.


Excerpts available for both books at Sharon's website.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Minx Birthday contest -- WINNER!!!

Huge congratulations to entry #269 Tamara S!!!

We were thrilled with the almost 500 separate entries in our competition. Thank you so much to everyone who entered, your support is much appreciated :)

We are hoping to make contests/giveaways a regular thing on our blog so please do watch this space!

We now have a Minx newsletter (sign up for this is in the right side bar). Handy hint: some of our contests will be for newsletter subscribers only!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I'll love ya, Tomorrow...

It's only a day, away.


Tomorrow is release day for my second entangled novella in the Under the Hood Series - Love for Beginners, and I'm excited! I'm shamelessly hogging the blog today to tell everyone about it, and to say that if you intend to buy, tomorrow - 27th May - would be the PERFECT DAY to do so, as it will give the book a good launch day boost. Of course, if you like it, I'd also appreciate a review in any of the regular places. You know me, I love writing sexy, funny heroes, and Heath is one of my favorites. I had great fun writing this one - it pairs capable mechanic and co-owner of Under the Hood, Melody Swan with Alice Starr's (who was the heroine in the previous book, Under the Hood) brother, Heath - known far and wide as The Ladyslayer.... 





She needs a lesson in love, and he’s the perfect teacher.
Mechanic Melody Swan is looking for a man who can share her hopes and dreams, but she swore she would never lose herself to passion. When sexy Heath Starr agrees to temporarily sub in the Under the Hood garage for his sister, Mel sees the perfect opportunity to enjoy being with a man without becoming attached.
Heath came to Meadowsweet to photograph nature, not find a hookup, especially since his last relationship ended in disaster. He vowed he’d never break another woman’s heart, and in turn, protect his own. Still, when Mel offers to serve as his outdoor guide, he can’t refuse.
Mel may say she’s only looking for right now, but her body is speaking a whole different language. And Heath’s viewfinder is drawn to her time and again. When the two find themselves isolated in a rustic cabin, they could both break their promises if they aren’t careful…