Thursday, September 29, 2016

Get AVENGED with Marnee Blake!

I'm super excited to welcome Marnee Blake to Get Lost in a Story. It's her first time on the blog - so lets give her a warm welcome!  Marnee was a 2016 RITA® finalist for Best First Book! (Congratulations again!) The effervescent Marnee is also one of my Dreamweaver Golden Heart sisters. :-)

Before we get to the good stuff--don't forget to comment and leave your email address below for a chance to win a AMAZON gift card.


Award-winning author and RITA® finalist Marnee Blake used to teach high school students but these days she only has to wrangle her own children. Originally from a small town in Western Pennsylvania, she now battles traffic in southern New Jersey where she lives with her hero husband and their happily-ever-after: two very energetic boys. When she isn't writing, she can be found refereeing disputes between her children, cooking up something sweet, or hiding from encroaching dust bunnies with a book.

Stay connected with Marnee by signing up for her newsletter at:

Nan: I don't miss the days of referring disputes! And your high school students must have wondered if you were old enough to teach!!

Let's talk about AVENGED, Book 2 in the Altered Series.

Three terrifying months.
That's how long Kitty Laughton has been at the mercy of the scientist who experimented on her town, killing over a dozen people and giving the rest of them unique powers. But Kitty doesn't feel powerful, especially when she learns the crazy man plans to test his research on more unsuspecting people. She refuses to let anyone else die, but trapped with no one to help her she's out of options...that is until sexy and exasperating Nick Degrassi arrives.
Special-ops soldier Nick blames himself for Kitty's capture, and he'll do whatever he can to free the quiet beauty, but close quarters and a shared secret bring an attraction that neither of them expected. With the organization that started it all making mercenaries for hire, Nick and Kitty must save themselves and stop a madman...before it's too late.
Nan: Hot cover! And love the blurb.
Check out the first chapter of AVENGED, The Altered Series – Book 2, on my publisher’s website!

Nan: Love it!

 Amazon    Barnes & Noble     Kobo Books     Google Play       I-Tunes 


NAN: How often do you get lost in a story?
MARNEE: Well, recently, I found both Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen’s books. I’ve read a bunch of their books now and each time I’ve gotten lost in their tales. They write some amazing characters that I really root for.  That’s what makes readers want to stay in a world, I think, and both of these authors know how to do that.

NAN:  Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
MARNEE: Action Adventure. There are times I like a good fairy tale, but most of the stories I love have heroines who kick butt and heroes who appreciate them for it.  I love a fast-paced story with lots of high stakes.

NAN:  Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
MARNEE: There is a playlist on Spotify for each of the books in the Altered Series.  Feel free to check them out!

NAN:  What was the first story you remember writing?
MARNEE: In sixth grade, my creative writing teacher asked us to pretend we were an inanimate object and write from its point of view.  I wrote a story about being a pencil, about how hard it would be to be a pencil in an elementary school with students rubbing my head against paper all day and then sharpening me when I got dull. My teacher loved it. I was hooked after that.

NAN: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
MARNEE:  Coffee and wine.  (Oh, that wasn’t an option? It should be, Nan…)  I take my coffee with cream, and my current obsession is International Delight’s Cinnabon creamer. I am sure it’s got who even knows what kind of preservatives in it, but it’s so delicious. And wine? Anything white.
Nan: I need to add wine to the options! (Prosecco!)

NAN'S GOTTA ASK: What will always make you smile, even on a bad day?
MARNEE'S GOTTA ANSWER: I have two elementary-aged boys. They make me laugh, and they remind me not to take myself too seriously. Those boys are sunshine.
Nan: I think they got their sunny disposition from their mom!

Marnee, thank you for spending the day with the crew of GLIAS!

Twitter: @marneeblake

(I’m not under contract, Nan, but I’m working on it!)
Nan: Excellent!


MARNEE WANTS TO KNOW:   The Altered Series revolves around a group of people who are changed by an experiment gone terribly wrong, but they find love in those hard circumstances.  Can you tell me about something that happened to you that changed your life forever—for the good?

One lucky commenter will win a $5 Amazon Gift card. Please remember to leave your email address!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

E.E. Burke's Best of the West: Kaki Warner Returns with a new release, TEXAS TALL

It's no surprise to me that Kaki Warner has won multiple awards, including the coveted RITA for Best First Book. Her novels are as sumptuous as a fine feast, and the latest one is no exception. 

Today, I have the great pleasure of welcoming her back to Get Lost In A Story as my BEST OF THE WEST guest. We'll be featuring her new release, TEXAS TALL. 

She's giving away 3 signed copies, so be sure to enter the drawing!

Amazon | B&N
Tyree Benton joined the Texas Rangers to enact justice on the men who murdered his parents, but his brutal actions still twist his conscience. Now he’s found a woman he could love, but she deserves more than a man who makes a living getting shot at. Plus, the Frontier Battalion doesn’t take married men. If Ty were honorable, he’d leave her alone. But he can’t seem to stay away….

Orphaned at fourteen, Charlotte Weyland has used her talent for numbers to build enough of a fortune to fund Ty’s dream of owning a ranch…if he’s not too stubborn to accept her help. But when Charlotte’s past catches up to her, she finds herself on one side of the law with Ty on the other. To keep their dreams alive, they’ll have to make compromises, but doing so might cost them everything they have...

Here's an excerpt:

“Miss Lottie?”
Crossing her arms, Lottie turned to confront the man who had been following her. “What do you want?”
“To apologize.”
Why did he look so irritated? She was the one who’d been insulted. “You already did.” She started to turn.
His voice brought her back. “And, to thank you.”
“For what?”
This was the first time they had faced each other while standing and she hadn’t realized how big he was. She was almost five and-a-half feet tall, herself, and it wasn’t often her eyes were level with a man’s shoulder.
“For trying to help me after I was shot.”
“Anyone would have done the same.”
“But anyone didn’t. Only you.”
He had a nice voice. Deep and mellow, with a slow drawl that marked him a Texan, but not enough twang to make him sound straight off the farm.
He shifted his weight, stared down at his dusty, surprisingly large boots. “And I, uh, wanted to say I made a foolish mistake earlier when I thought you were a whore. I’m sorry for it.”
The pretty phrases had a rehearsed ring to them, but Lottie nodded anyway, just to put the ordeal behind her. “Fine.” Again, she started to turn.
This time he stopped her with a hand near her shoulder. A hand that completely encompassed her upper arm. “Could I buy you dinner to make up for it?” Not a very gracious invitation, since he was frowning when he issued it.
She gave his hand a pointed look.
He released her arm.
“No,” she said.
If possible, his frown deepened. “You won’t have dinner with me?”
“Why not?”
Did he truly think she would enjoy a meal spent with a man who didn’t smile, barely looked at her, and acted as if every word he spoke was dragged out of him by force? “It’s not necessary.”
Ignoring her refusal, he pressed on. This time, there was a hint of desperation in his tone. “I hear the restaurant at the hotel sets a fair table.”
“Passable. But as I said, it’s not necessary.”
He let out a deep breath and scratched the whiskers on his square jaw. “Well, that’s the thing. It is necessary if I want to go into the Spotted Dog again.”
And suddenly it made sense—his irritation, the forced words, his inability to even look at her. “Juno’s making you do this, isn’t he?”
“Well . . . he does own the only saloon in town.”
“And brothel.”
At least he had the grace to blush.
She didn’t know whether to laugh or hit him with her reticule. And maybe hit Juno, too. The absurdity of the situation put the devil in her mind. If the ranger was being browbeaten into taking her to dinner then, by God, she’d make sure he had a miserable time of it. He didn’t like talking to her? Well then she’d make him talk by asking him every question she could think of. Then she’d go after Juno.
“Fine. The hotel it is.” Smiling through clenched teeth, she tucked her hand at his elbow. “Shall we?”
He wasn’t a talker, was even worse as a smiler, and wasn’t anything like the handsome hero her imagination had painted him to be. But his arm felt solid and warm beneath her hand, and his sturdy form made her feel almost dainty.

She was glad she’d bought a new dress.

Meet Kaki 

In between her years as a mother, teacher, commercial artist, reluctant collection agent and surly secretary, Kaki fooled around with writing. Finally, after twenty-five years of procrastination, she sent her first manuscript out into world. Berkley bought it and later that year, it won the 2011 RITA for Best First Book, and she was off and running. Now she has nine books in print (number 10 comes out on 10/4), one digital novella, and a story in an anthology (BOOTS UNDER HER BED). She and her husband (of 50 years—Yikes!) are happily retired on a mountaintop in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, doing whatever they feel like doing—which in her case is writing and enjoying the wildlife, gardening, and thinking up stuff for her husband to do. It’s a grand life.
You can follow Kaki on Facebook:

What are the next five books on your ‘to be read’ pile?

In ROMANCE, I’ll be diving into WILD HORSE SPRINGS by Jodi Thomas, and DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL by Tessa Dare, and MIND TAMER by Moriah Densley.

As far as THRILLERS go, as soon as I finish BETRAYAL by Tim Tigner, I’ll probably get another of his books. He’s new to me, and like Jack Reacher (in Lee Child’s books), Tigner’s heroes are men of character, lethal, and take no prisoners. My kind of guys. I’ll probably follow that up with Lee Child’s next one, NIGHT SCHOOL. I might also check into John Hart’s latest. I absolutely loved his debut novel, THE LAST CHILD.

 What has been your most rewarding publishing moment? 

Signing my first contract with PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE was pretty rewarding. As was winning a RITA. But some of my best moments are when I get amazing letters and emails from readers who’ve been touched by my books. That’s validation on the highest level. And I’ll always remember the day I got an email from a man named Brady Wilkins (the name of the hero in PIECES OF SKY) wanting to know how I came up with that name. I couldn’t tell if he was happy or upset but I was shocked that there was an actual person with that name.

Be honest, when you put yourself in the heroine’s role?

I have to laugh at this one since my task is to take myself OUT of my heroine. In fact, I have a dear friend (who’s more normal than I am…mostly) who reads every word and keeps me on track by saying “She would definitely be crying here.” Or, “No, she wouldn’t do that…she’s not crazy.”  Or, “Make her softer, more empathetic. No one likes a hard ass.” So even though I’d like to put myself in my heroine’s role, I know I wouldn’t fit very well.

What is your favorite tradition from your childhood that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?

The “last time bell”. I wrote about it in my first book, PIECES OF SKY, when the heroine was trying to mark the “last time” incidents in her life and wished there was a bell that would remind her that certain moments would never come again so she’d best enjoy them to the fullest while she could. Recently, my son said he often thought of that bell as he watched his youngest child grow from toddler to first grader. He said he wanted to remember every moment he has with her since it all passes so fast. 

What sound or noise do you love?

I think the sounds we love change through the years, depending on which phase we’re in. As a child, I loved the sound of mourning doves, cicadas, night crickets and whippoorwills, and the tick-tick-whirr of big hayfield sprinklers. After I married, I was always comforted by the sound of my husband breathing beside me (except when he added snores—then I fantasized about smothering him.) When I had small children, the sound of their laughter always made me laugh, too. (Now it’s coming around again with my grandchildren—YAY!) And now that I’m retired and living a mile past where God buried his socks, I love the sounds of the wildlife around me—meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds, cows, horses, my hound dog howling when we drive up to the house. No cars, no sirens, no sounds of other people. I guess we’re sort of reclusive.

What does it mean to love someone?

As my DH and I celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on Oct. 1st, I feel I’m fairly qualified to answer this. Loving someone means you give up total self-absorption and include another person in your life, warts and all. In other words, it’s not only about you anymore, so get over yourself. It means you accept the other person as he/she is, not as you wish he/she could be. You have to learn to trust, to forgive, to support, and to wisely pick your battles. Keep your expectations real, your demands reasonable, and your promises true. And if you don’t get back the same respect, honor and love you offer, then kick him /her to the curb and move on. Life’s too short and you deserve to have the best one possible.

What do YOU think loving someone means? 

Leave a comment and your name’s in the hat for one of three print books that I’m delighted to give away. And many thanks to Elisabeth Burke for her kind invitation to visit GET LOST IN A STORY today.

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