Friday, June 27, 2014

Tempting the Ringmaster Teaser

A little something to get you excited about Tempting the Ringmaster available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
His lips were rough against her mouth, and she didn’t care. All night long he’d been a perfect gentleman, but the truth was she’d been dreaming about this moment ever since he’d asked her out. She’d been fantasizing about his mouth on hers, his hands grasping at her breasts, and his erection hard against her thigh through so many layers of fabric.
He was a cop, she tried to remind herself, a hometown hero with a badge and an attitude.
Only, he didn’t look like a policeman with the dark bruise under his eye.
He looked like a highwayman, ready to pillage, plunder, and take whatever he wanted.
Even her.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Liza O'Connor's Worst Week Ever ~ SALE!


Worst Week Ever
Liza O'Connor

Humorous, Contemporary, Disaster Romance

Fabulous News!
 Worst Week Ever has been nominated by the IRC as
The Best Contemporary Romance of 2014

So to celebrate its grand achievement,
I’m offering it to the world for 99 cents
From June 23 –June 29th

What do reviewers say?

By the time I got to the chocolate turtles I was laughing so hard I was literally crying” 5*

“Funniest book I have ever read”

Don’t wait! Grab your copy now!


What do you get when you put a hardworking, can-do middle-class young woman together with an egoistical, outrageous, billionaire boss, then throw in the worst week of disasters imaginable?

Book 1 of the 4 book series A Long Road to Love, named Worst Week Ever.

Trent Lancaster spends one month without his Executive Assistant (or as his driver refers to Carrie: 'Trent's brain, left hand, and right hand'). He's had a miserable month without her at his side and to ensure it never happens again, he intends to marry this brilliant beauty. Only given all the times he's threatened to fire her, he's not sure she even likes him. However, the future of his company and his happiness depend upon him succeeding, so Trent begins a slow one week seduction that happens to coincide with Carrie Hanson's Worst Week Ever when everything that can go wrong does so in hilarious form.

(Hilarious to the reader, Carrie is not having much fun this week.)

Carrie squeezed her eyes shut, waiting for the thump of a body against the limo’s hood.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have insisted Sam take a shortcut,” Trent muttered beneath his breath.

She groaned softly. If her boss questioned his actions, then matters must look grim outside. She tensed even further, expecting to hear multiple bodies slam into the car.

Sam braked hard, turned right, and resumed driving a billion miles an hour. If not for the seat belts, she and Trent would’ve sailed into the front seat, and then plastered against the door. To secure her further, Trent protectively placed an arm around her shoulder and pulled her against his warm chest.

She focused on the thumping of his heart. It beat once to three of hers. God, how can he be so calm?

Determined to match his bravery, she tried to raise her head, but he wouldn’t let her.

“Just a little longer, I hope. Sam, when do we depart this third world country?”

“Two more blocks, sir.”

“Thank God. You’ve terrified poor Carrie to death.”

Instantly, the limo’s speed dropped.

She turned her head sideways so Sam might be able to hear her words. “Your driving doesn’t frighten me, Sam, the neighborhood does.”

As if on cue, a round of three loud pops sounded, followed by three thunks into her side door. She squeaked like a mouse at the first thunk. By the third, her body shivered in fear.

Trent’s arms tightened around her as the limo picked up speed again. “We’re okay,” he assured her, then his lips pressed against her temple. His calm certainty silenced her tremors.

Having successfully soothed her, he released his outrage upon Sam. “Why the hell did you drive us through here?”
Sam calmly replied as he drove the car at a billion miles an hour, taking corners at deadly speeds. “I warned you the locals might not welcome us.”

“Someone just shot at us?” Trent yelled.

Sam’s nonchalant reply sounded almost surreal. “I’m sure they didn’t mean for you to take it personally, sir.”

Maybe none of this is happening. Maybe I fell asleep in the traffic and my dream has gone rogue.
Her heart calmed and she nuzzled closer to Trent, breathing in his masculine scent. Secure in her dream, she confessed something she never would in real life. “You smell good.”

Trent’s arms relaxed a bit and he chuckled. “It’s called Trent. I had the cologne custom developed. They assessed my natural odors and then determined the optimal combination of scents to create my unique smell.”

She snorted. Even in her dreams, he remained the strangest man she’d ever met. If she had all the money in the world, she’d try to end poverty and violence in…whatever hell they’d just driven through, not have some custom designed perfume created so she’d smell really, really good.



Teaser Tuesday: Tempting the Ringmaster

Today's #TeaserTuesday is from Tempting the Ringmaster... available now!

“Now you know what gets me off,” his voice was husky, deep, and full of barely controlled desire. “Any questions? Or, do I need to give you another demonstration?”
What—“ Her eyes snapped open. “No, thank you. That won’t be necessary.”
“Are you sure?” he asked. “It wouldn’t be any trouble. Really.”
“Uh huh.” If he gave her another demonstration, who knew where they might end up? Naked and in bed. His hands trailed across her body, callused fingers rough against her skin as he brought her to climax over and over again.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Write What You DON'T Know... Research, Research, Research!

Writers of the world, aren't you sick of being told to 'write what you know'? Sure, E.M. Flemming was a British secret agent with a house in the Caribbean--lending ultimate authenticity to James Bond--but not all of us are lucky enough to live a life of murder, mystery, and intrigue.

Instead, we have to take an ember of authenticity and fan it into a roaring fire of truth. Mr. Flemming probably didn't have a flying car (I'm saying probably because British secret agent), but he still managed to write the heart warming family adventure Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang (dirtiest theme song for a Disney movie ever, seriously, think about it). 

So, you've decided to write the next best selling spy novel and you're not an ex-secret agent?

Step 1: Pick a theme, something that you can talk to in a truthful authentic way. Whether it's true love, tortured souls, or the thirst for adventure. There should be something about your characters that you can identify with. While you're picking a theme, go ahead and pick up a few tropes. What is your story about?

Step 2: Research. Read a few books on the subject. Read the Wikipedia page. Go to the bottom of the Wikipedia page and check out the sources. Read the sources. Contact your friends--are any of them secret agents?--try and find someone who knows about the topic at hand.

Step 3: Write your novel! (This is the hard part.) Sit down at your computer and bang out 50 to 100 thousand words. Then do it again.

Step 4: Research some more. Go through your manuscript and double check every single fact. How does that gun work? Who's the most important man at the Pentagon? Then check for tone. I know, tone's not a fact but it is a feeling and it's almost more important. If you're writing a novel about a cop and a circus ringmaster then it better have a light jaunty feel (check out my new novel Tempting the Ringmaster for an example!), but if you're writing about a tortured secret agent whose been kidnapped by the enemy then your tone should probably reflect the situation.

If you do the work then there's no reason you can't turn the old 'right what you know' advice on its head and kick ass writing what you don't know.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cover Reveal: Because of You by Lea Jerancic

Displaying smalljacket(1).png

What would you do, if you lost the one person in your life that you could count on?


These are the things, that Aaliyah Thomas had to cope with, all of her life. After the person, who meant the most to her and who made her life worth living, is murdered, she escapes and flees to the other side of the country. She enrolls in a college, determined to go on with her life. What she does not know, is that the killer is looking for her and will do anything to find her.

Ryder Knight lives for basketball. He is one of the most popular guys on campus, with a lot of friends and a good heart. The only thing he misses is honesty. Most hang out with him because of his money, so he isn't sure who is sincere and who has hidden motives.

The attraction between Ryder and Aaliyah is immediate, but Ryder's distrust quickly ruins any chances of them becoming friends.

Is he ready to open up his heart and once again let love enter his life? Will Aaliyah break down the walls, that she set up around her heart and finally start trusting others?

Will they get their forever? Or are their hearts too broken?

Goodreads link:
Author page:
Genre: Romance, suspense

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why you should also read... Lee Child

So, this is the spot on the blog where I recommend authors you should read... besides me (roflmao). And, I've got to give a big five stars to Lee Child whose first novel The Killing Floor introduced us to one of my favorite heroes of all time: Jack Reacher.

Reacher was played in the movie by Tom Cruise (not exactly my first choice) and they based it on One Shot--not the first, second, or even third Jack Reacher novel--but it's still pretty good. You should watch the movie, and then you should go read the books, over and over again. Reacher's the dude. The lone stranger who wanders into town and takes out the bad guys. An ex-Army cop he lives on the road, buying new clothes instead of carrying a suitcase, going to war with random bad guys all over America (and, on one memorable occasion, in England). He's a one man army, and he does pretty good with the ladies too.

If you want an alpha hero who can take on fifty men with a hard look and a harder right hook then check out Jack Reacher today. He's my favorite book boyfriend... and I've read 50 Shades of Gray.

Aleah Barley

Small town cop, big top girl ~ Buy Tempting the Ringmaster today!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

4 Rules for Formatting in Createspace... Without Losing Your Mind

I'm using Createspace as the printer for Tempting the Ringmaster paperbacks (available soon! I'll even sign 'em if you want), and I've learned a couple of things along the way.

1. Buy a cover. I don't care if you're the grand poo-bah of paint. Unless you're a certified genius graphic artist (Jenna Bennett does her own covers... and her books are fan-freaking-tastic too) then you need someone else to do the cover. Hire a designer. Find someone who's just starting out. Get a premade (just google premade cover designs and buy one that doesn't suck). Don't do it yourself. Your paperback is one place where you really want to be a professional.

2. Do your own formatting. Formatting's hard, but it's not impossible. Do it once and you'll be able to do it a hundred times (and you won't have to pay for it a hundred times). More importantly, most of the formatters I reached out to took forever to get back to me ~ and I like having the control. Go control! Again, you want it to look professional, but you can do that by buying a template or using one of the free templates offered by Createspace. Also, get legal fonts. Really legal fonts. Go to font squirrel now. Go. 

3. Get someone else to double check. I sent out all my final preview copies with the Createspace formatting, better to have someone giving me a review come back and be like 'is this the final formatting because there's an entire page covered in cheese' then to send it out to the masses.

4. Put it all together and get a physical proof. Online's great, physical's better. Check it once, check it twice, and only then should you press approve. 

Those are the four rules for formatting in Createspace... without losing your mind. If you want to check out the createspace formatting for Tempting the Ringmaster then here's a sneak peak at the (formatted) first chapter.

Aleah Barley

Small town cop, big top girl ~ Buy Tempting the Ringmaster today!

Monday, June 16, 2014

5 Rules for Writing Your Novel

1. Write your novel. I don't care whether it's romance, mystery, or sci-fi. If the aliens invade the White House and end up taking the president out for drinks then good for you. Just write. Sit down at your laptop and write. Why are you still reading this post? You should be writing!

2. Read alot. Okay, sometimes you shouldn't be writing. Sometimes you should be reading. Everything. Read your genre, read another genre, read a classic, read the New York Times. Eat some cheese. Read some more. Why are you still looking at this post? You should be reading!

3. Edit like a mad fiend. Seriously though, most of writing is rewriting. Everything you've written should be rewritten at least twice then handed to a friend who can tell you it's crap so you can edit it again. Go edit something, this post will wait.

4. Take a deep breath, relax, eat some ice cream. Writing is about taking care of yourself. Unless you're Ernest Hemingway, in which case it means being an alcoholic. Check yourself, are you Ernest Hemingway? Do you live in the Florida Keys with a metric ton of six toed cats? Do you have a white beard? Do random people call you Papa? (Those last two might also be signs that you're Santa Clause) If you have checked yourself and you've come to the conclusion that you're Hemingway then please turn yourself in at the nearest hospital. If you're not Hemingway then there's no reason why writing should be a destructive process. Go get some ice cream, right now.

5. Do it all over again...

What do you think? Do you have any advice for writing? What do you like to see in a writer? Are you Hemingway? Leave a comment below!

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tempting the Ringmaster--Blurb

My upcoming novel is Tempting the Ringmaster. It's also going to be my first self published book. Below is the back copy that I've come up with... what do you think? Comments and questions are eagerly awaited!

Welcome to Buck Falls, Michigan, where the gossip is fresh, the people are feisty, and the circus has pulled in for a limited engagement.

The last thing police chief Graham Tyler needs is a ragtag bunch of circus freaks rolling into town.

Then he meets sassy, spirited, ringmaster Belle-Anne Black.

Belle-Anne's got a rule against dating townies, and she's not about to break it... even for the spicy hot lawman who makes her insides sizzle. Then Graham makes her an offer she can't refuse: one night only, no repeat performances.

Of course, in the circus nothing ever goes exactly to plan.

Let me know what you think of the blurb! And, add it now on goodreads:  

As a place holder until I get my cover, here's a picture of a cat!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Coffee, Tea, or...

So, I'm a big freaking coffee drinker. It's in the title of the blog. Of course, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, which means that I also like tea. I buy tea from two sources, a woman who sells her own mixes in Detroit's Eastern Market on Saturday morning and bagged tea from the cheese/tea/everything store (also in Eastern Market). The bagged tea is usually Harney & Sons, I'm not going to say they're the best (there's a lot of tea out there) but it's damn good and seeing the pretty tins makes me happy. The loose leaf is fantastic too!

What about you? Do you have a favorite writing drink? A favorite reading drink? Coffee, tea, or...?

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

What should I write next?

Yep, I'm a crazy person. I've got one novel about to come out (Tempting the Ringmaster) and a complete manuscript in the can (The Pop Star Next Door--Might get a name change). Ringmaster is the first book in a new series, and I've got about 10k words done on the sequel. I'm also working on the first book in my paranormal series (tentatively named Dead City).

What should I work on next?

Angels & Demons

Exes & Ohs

What do you want to see?

Tempting the Ringmaster Blitz Sign Up!

Okay, my peeps! I need a favor. I'm launching Tempting the Ringmaster at the end of the month, and I desperately need people to help me out during the launch week by talking it up and putting it on their blogs/facebooks. If you think you can help out then please sign up now!

And, to help convince you, here's a picture of a cat!

Podcasts I love: The Rachel Maddow Show

For those who don't know: Rachel Maddow is an awesome journalist who does a nightly show on MSNBC. It's fresh and interesting, it lets you know everything you're supposed to know, and it's now available through ITunes (and other places, I'm sure). 

Upside: Cable news for freeeeee!

Downside: It's not posted until the next day. But, if you listen to it in the morning then it's still news!

Recommendation: 5 stars, definitely worth listening to. I'm obsessed.

What about you? Do you have any podcasts to recommend?

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why you should ALSO read... Robert B. Parker

Okay, this is a romance related blog. I am a romance author and a romance reader. On the other hand, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." You can't just read romance (although I know some of you try) which leads us to the latest segment of A Cold Cup of Coffee titled "Why you should ALSO read..." Today's ALSO read is Robert B. Parker. He's dead. It's tragic. His books live on.

Robert B. Parker was the dean of American crime fiction. That means he wrote hard core, hard boiled, gum shoe novels with more than a few high brow literary references thrown in. The man wrote his PhD thesis on the noir novel... and then he used that thesis as the template for his first noir novel The Godwulf Manuscript. His most prolific character was Spenser whose adventures as a gumshoe were turned into a television show... I hear (I'm too young to have seen it)... and whose girlfriend troubles mirrored Parker's own life. He also wrote about a studly small town police chief (currently played on television by Tom Selleck) starting with Night Passage, a spunky female P.I. starting with Family Honor, and a pair of gun fighting cowboys (Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenson in the movie, le sigh) starting with Appaloosa.

And those were just his more well known series. Robert B. Parker wrote over seventy books in his lifetime and each one of them is a fast paced joy to read... and reread. They're littered with literary references and inside jokes, and as I read more over my lifetime I always find something new to enjoy. (Of curse, you'll still love them even if you've never read The Faerie Queen).

That's why you should ALSO read Robert B. Parker.

Who else should you ALSO read? Post below in the comments!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why you should ALSO read... 50 Shades of Gray

I know, you're all like "Listen, I've heard about 50 Shades of Gray. Everyone's reading it. It's not a romance novel, and I don't read porn" unless you're like "Read it, loved it, recommend more porn."

Here's the thing about 50 Shades... I'm not recommending it as a romance novel. I'm recommending this under the 'humor' category and the 'fantasy' category. Let's be honest, the sex in 50 Shades may or may not be realistic (I'm trying not to crush anyone's hopes and dreams) but there's a heck of a lot about this book that still counts as farcically funny fantasy, starting with...

1. The main character just graduated from college and doesn't own a computer.

2. All the cars are Audis.

3. He tells her to eat all the time.


4. SHE DOESN'T HAVE A COMPUTER. Seriously, she wa s an english major. It's crazy.

50 Shades is polarizing. Some people love it, some people hate it, I stayed up all night laughing my ass off. I recommend that you pour yourself a drink, pull up a chair, and read it proudly while your internal cheerleader does jumping jacks in the corner.

That's why you should ALSO read 50 Shades of Gray.

Who else should you ALSO read? Post below in the comments!

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Podcasts I Love: The Self Publishing Roundtable

If you're a self publisher... or any kind of publisher/author... you should be listening to the Self Publishing Roundtable. They talk about everything from writing, editing, formatting, and advertising. They talk about multiple genres. And, they've recently changed their format from a news review show (which was cool) to an interview format... which is the most awesome thing ever!

Authors they've interviewed include Brenna Aubrey and Hugh Howie.

Recommendation: 5 stars, seriously check it out. Go there now.

What about you? What podcasts do you love??

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Monday, June 9, 2014

4 Reasons Self Publishing is For Me

When Entangled Publishing contracted my books Too Hot to Handle and Leaving Las Vegas... those were two of the most exciting moments of my life. Seriously. I became a published author with the backing of a great publishing house, and I got the opportunity to work with two rock star editors.

Now, I'm going solo with my next book: Tempting the Ringmaster.

Why the heck would I do that?

1. I got rejected. Lol. Seriously though, everybody loved my book (my editor managed to convince me to submit it multiple times because she liked it so much) but it didn't fit in any of Entangled's fabulous lines. Honestly, I feel pretty good about it. Because of the way romance lines target readers (building loyalty for the line and not necessarily the author), I would have needed to change my book dramatically before it could be contracted through my publisher (either taking out the suspense subplot, adding more suspense, taking out the sex, adding in more sex, etc.). I love this book. I think it's fantastic. It's smart, funny, and unique. (Okay, I've actually read one other circus book Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, I read it like ten years ago and don't remember the plot. There was a tiger. My book doesn't have a tiger.).

2. Control. I get to do it all myself. I don't have to change my book. I get to contract my own editor and my own cover designer (both of whom I love).

3. Creativity. I get the chance to experiment with marketing. Should I launch my ebook and my paperback at the same time? Should I launch them a month apart? Should I reach out to all my facebook friends (I have too many facebook friends) and market that way? Or, should I pay for marketing?

4. The Upside... Self publishing means that I get to build something myself. This isn't my first book (it's my third, and I've learned something new with every book I've published) and it won't be my last. Word on the street (okay, Hugh Howey, JA Konrath, and the knights of the Self Publishing Roundtable) is it takes five books before an author 'makes it overnight' (unless you're Hugh Howey, there's an exception to every rule). I'm going to write a heck of a lot more than five, and I'm going to enjoy my overnight success when it finally happens.

What about you? Any indie writers out there? What about readers?

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