Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spotlight and Giveaway -- Kindling Flames: Stolen Fire (Urban Paranormal Romance)

We're spotlighting Julie Wetzel's new book Kindling Flames: Stolen Fire, published today by Crimson Tree Publishing. If the enticing cover isn't enough to light your fire, check out the hot excerpt below. This book is recommended for 18+.

Excerpt from Kindling Flames: Stolen Fire

“We are at your call, Master.” A male voice rang out across the room, drawing everyone’s attention.
Darien turned in his chair to see Josh coming through the doorway. His brother was only a step behind.
“I don’t have full control over my powers at the moment.” Darien stood up as he addressed the new vampires. “What I ask of you could be dangerous.”
“We know,” Josh answered as he leaned his hip against the railing that divided the room. “We were wondering when you were going to bring this problem to us.”
“Yes.” Jakob continued down the steps towards Darien. “A few of us have felt the subtle shift in power.” He stopped to look Darien over. “How much of your power do you have left?”
Darien tensed at the question. “Practically none,” he admitted. If he wanted help, he was going to have to be up front and honest with these people.
An evil glint flickered in Jakob’s eyes as he stepped around the end of the couch.
Darien turned to face him.
“So, I could bleed you out, and there’d be nothing you could do about it?” A hint of fangs slipped past Jakob’s lip as he spoke. The cocky smile vanished from his face as Elliot’s hand closed around his neck.
Vicky blinked in surprise. She hadn’t even seen him move.
Darien smiled at him. “Yes,” he admitted. “You could bleed me dry right now, and there would be nothing I could do about it.” He looked pointedly at Elliot’s hand, pressed into Jakob’s throat. “If you managed to survive the night, my death would leave you tied to this inexperienced rogue. And, if he isn’t stopped, the Council will hunt him. They now know he has my powers, and Clara will stop at nothing to destroy him, leaving this kiss masterless.” Reaching out, Darien drew Elliot’s hand away from the stunned vampire. “Who do you think will take you in, then?”
Understanding flickered in Jakob’s eyes. Hurting Darien would be a death sentence for all of them. “Forgive me, My Master.” Jakob dropped to a knee in front of Darien. He raised his hand to his heart and bowed his head.
Darien reached out and touched him on the shoulder. “Remember this.”
Jakob looked up as Darien spoke.

“Just because someone is down, doesn’t mean they don’t have unseen strength.”

Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Spotlight: Arielle Immortal Struggle (Paranormal Romance)

The highly-anticipated seventh novel in the Immortal Rapture Series by Lilian Roberts is out! Arielle Immortal Struggle is the second to last book in the series, which is planned to conclude this summer. 

About Arielle Immortal Struggle 

A desperate abduction…
Sebastian Gaulle has been targeted by the Russian Mafia, who will stop at nothing to force him into giving up documents containing his company’s most valuable secrets. Sebastian has always outsmarted them before, but now they’ve taken the thing he holds most dear, his beloved fiancee Arielle Lloyd. 

A coordinated strike…
Sebastian is consumed with worry and determined to rescue his only love, but even after she’s safe in his arms the threat to her and everyone they love will not end until the criminal organization is eliminated for good. With the help of his immortal allies, Sebastian leads a global attack on the Mafia’s goons, saving the most deadly foes for himself.

An immortal wedding…
Eva and Ian are finally getting their dream wedding, and Arielle and Sebastian couldn’t be happier for their friends. Arielle wants nothing more than to tie the knot with her own dream man, but will the immortal villain Annabel ever allow that to happen or will she torment Arielle until she ultimately succeeds in taking her life?


About the Author

Lilian Roberts is a corporate engineer. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and their golden retriever. She is an avid reader and loves novels that feature characters draped in passion, mystery, and adventure. She is especially fascinated with the concept of immortality.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why We Need More Vegan/Vegetarian Characters in Books, Film, and TV

Photo Credit:
Even though vegans have been around for decades, it's only recently that vegan characters have shown up in movies, TV shows, and books. They're usually the "bitch," the hypocrite, or the comic relief. Despite a vegan lifestyle showing self-love (there are numerous health benefits), love of the environment (factory farming is the #1 cause of global warming), and love for our fellow animals (no, they're not munching on grass and living it up on idyllic farms), vegans are shown as arrogant anti-heroes. The ironic line about Chris Evans' vegan character in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World comes to mind: "being vegan just makes you better than most people."

No kid is going to watch movies like this and think, "When I grow up I want to be a vegan!" They're going to think it's weird, thereby missing the whole point, and choose to eat meat because that's what gets you the girl in the end. Or, they're going to think that being vegan means you have to give up your personality and personal style and become the anti-social, geeky, or spacey kid who only wears hemp and showers once a week (not that there's anything wrong with hemp. Renewable resource, anyone?).

This is why we need more vegans in books, films, and TV shows. The only vegan heroine that comes to mind is Glee's Rachel Berry, and the only time her being vegan was truly addressed in the show was when other kids were egging her. Of course, that show has finished filming, so we can't hope for any pro-vegan storylines there.

Even though a long list of celebrities themselves are going vegan (some who seem to actually mean it), they still aren't getting to play vegan roles. We see a few more vegetarians at least. Although vegetarian characters were once the freaks that vegans are now, there at least appears to be a few vegetarians who are not mocked or otherwise demeaned for their commitment not to eat dead flesh.

When I wrote my romantic comedy novels, the Between Boyfriends series (and later the erotic spinoff series,  All for You) I didn't set out to write novels to convince people to choose a vegan, vegetarian, or pescitatarian (someone who doesn't eat animals except fish) lifestyle, but I did want to show how people might choose the lifestyle and how that didn't turn them into condescending crazy people overnight. I did have to ease people into it, jokingly referring to my health nut character, Lisa, as a part-time vegetarian. But who doesn't know someone who is an on/off vegetarian or who "cheats" regularly?

Which brings us to an important point: vegan and vegetarian characters don't have to be perfect, they just have to be realistic. Most vegans didn't start out as vegans. They made the change and were still the same people, albeit with nicer looking skin and hair, and sometimes a few less pounds. So why can't characters who naturally love animals, who are health conscious, who care about world hunger, or who care enough about the environment to drive hybrid cars and recycle not be vegan/vegetarian? It's a natural extension.

So then show readers and viewers that perspective: that people who love animals don't financially contribute to their torture; that people who love humans won't contribute to the meat-eating practices that are responsible for millions of children dying annually from starvation; that people who love the planet wouldn't exacerbate the problem that is draining resources (land, clean water, grains) and causing enormous pollution. Anyone who is practical will see that eating meat is not a sustainable option with the way the human population is growing (but there's research to support this if you won't take my word for it). Another logical reason to make the switch now.

There are plenty of reasons to make a character the butt of every joke. Let's not make compassion one of them.

Additional Reading/References

Why the man who brought us the glycemic index wants us to go vegan 
Rolling Stone - In the belly of the beast
UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet
Global hunger: The more meat we eat, the fewer people we can feed
Scientific America - How meat contributes to global warming 
How factory farming contributes to global warming 
For support, recipes, and legit product recommendation for a vegan and gluten-free lifestyle, join this Facebook group

Spotlight: Falling in Love with 'Falling for You'

Nothing beats meeting a sexy new guy and falling in love, especially after some guy tramples on your heart. For Dr. Lisa Ellis, that new man is a hot dance instructor ready to sweep her off her two left feet. But can she trust him not to love her and leave her like everyone else?

Falling for You is the new romantic erotica novel from SJ Miller. The All for You series follows four women in LA -- the brainy doctor Lisa, the sweet social worker Becki, her new wife Alex, and the reformed dateaholic Jan.

About Falling for You

SJ Miller's "Aching For You" left fans aching for more. In this sizzling new sequel "Falling for You" comes more fun and games for four women trying to find that perfect balance between work and play...

Jan and her sexy husband are living the dream, buying a house in Hollywood and growing an ever-expanding business--but will a flourishing business cut into their dwindling sex life? At least Jan has a sex life. Her best friend Lisa loves being a pediatrician but struggles with the fact that her job ruined her relationship. Still, there's always that sexy dance instructor who might sweep her off her feet if only she could trust someone again. When things get serious between the doctor and the dancer, there's a revelation that rocks Lisa to the core. Then there are the newlyweds Becki and Alex who are looking to become parents. Will the adoption process work for them, or will it be too much too soon?

In this scintillating sequel, it's all go as Jan, Becki, Alex, and Lisa try to navigate their way through life, wife and men... Stop whatever you are doing, grab a hot chocolate, and snuggle up with the new winter warmer "Falling For You." You won't regret it!

Available exclusively on Amazon and Amazon worldsites, including Amazon UK, Amazon AU and Amazon CA. Free with Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime.

More Books by Sarka-Jonae "SJ" Miller

Aching for You  Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

Between Boyfriends Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble

Between the Sheets Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU  |  Barnes & Noble

Between Heartbreak and Happiness Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU  | Barnes & Noble

Friday, February 13, 2015

Why is 'Fifty Shades of Grey' so popular?

I was recently contacted by the San Diego Union Tribune to answer this very question (Check out "Naughty? Nice? A 'Fifty Shades' guide" here). The article became more of a pros and cons story, well-written and well-balanced, but not answering the original question. Although it's impossible to say definitively what factor, or more likely combination of factors, led to the 100 million worldwide sales of the Fifty Shades books, I have my theories.

I think the success of Fifty Shades of Grey was due to several factors. E.L. James had experience as a television executive, which I believe helped her craft a love story that would be both boundary pushing and commercially appealing. People seem to accept nudity, sex, and violence in TV, even in shows aimed at teens, but they'll denounce and be embarrassed by reading books that contain some of the same content. I think these taboos prevented many authors from exploring ideas in literature meant for mainstream consumption that a TV exec wouldn't have shied away from.

Another aspect was the packaging. Instead of a half-naked couple on the cover and a title with words like "passion," "rapture," and "devour," Fifty Shades had a cover and title that didn't give away its sexual content. The first time I saw the book I thought it was a thriller. Moms could be seen reading it in public without anyone knowing she was reading an erotic romance novel. Friends could talk about the book and saw the title aloud in a coffee shop without people knowing what kind of book they were talking about. Word of mouth can make a book a success, especially a self-published book like Fifty Shades of Grey originally was.

And then there's the Twilight connection. Fifty Shades started as fan fic. People knew about it in that context and liked it. Everyone loves Twilight! But what people love most is the love story between Bella and Edward, two opposites drawn together by a force stronger than a vampire's uncontrollable thirst. James kept that love and attraction sans vampire blood.

What do you think made the stories so popular? Comment below.

About the Author

Sarka-Jonae Miller is a publicist and the award-winning romantic comedy author of the Between Boyfriends series. She writes romantic erotica under the name SJ Miller. This includes Aching for You and Falling for You, books 1 and 2 of the All for You series.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Valentine's Day Drama: Romance Authors Showing No Love at Barnes & Noble (Humor)

San Diego authors behaving badly.
What began as a lovely Romancing San Diego Author Panel and Q&A at Barnes & Noble this evening turned into a cat fight when a traffic accident on the 15 combined with poor weather left slim pickings for four local authors on the hunt for readers. Sarka-Jonae Miller, Jennifer Coburn, Juliette Sobanet, and Jan Moran were all smiles upon arrival, complimenting each others books and thanking their host. But after an hour of playing nice the four divas decided to eliminate the competition. 
At the beginning of the event, the authoresses are on good behavior.
The ladies started an epic cat fight that got cheers from audience members. Cameras flashed and images uploaded to Instagram before anyone could discern what started the fight. Community Relations Manager Jonny Holt exclaimed that he'd never had an author brawl at his store before. 

Thankfully none of the authors were seriously injured during
the fight. More thankfully still none of their autographed books were damaged. The survivors will be available for purchase at the Grossmont Center Barnes & Noble until supplies run out. Drop by the store to pick up a signed copy of one of the brawling beauties' books, or order online.

Sarka-Jonae's Romantic Comedies from Barnes & Noble
(Sarka's ebooks are exclusively on Amazon, including her erotic romances)

Jennifer Coburn's Books
Juliette Sobanet's Books
Jan Moran's Book

  *Very little of this story is actually true. Intended for humorous purposes only. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Book Discussion at the Santee Library was a Blast!

My library event went great! Thank you so much to everyone who came to talk about my Between Boyfriends Series and ask questions. I met a lot of nice readers and sold some books :)

Special thanks to Cheryl (pictured left) who organized the event and did a fantastic job getting the word out. We had a wonderful turnout.

Friday, December 19, 2014

WIN Heiress, P.I. and After the Rain by award-winning writers!

The best-selling YA cozy mystery Heiress, P.I. and the romantic comedy novel After the Rain are two of the funniest books I've ever read. And now you can win both! Heiress, P.I. is written by Readers' Choice Award Winner Amanda Mahan. After the Rain is by Jo Watson, winner of the Harlequin 'So You Think You Can Write' contest. Enter below. Please remember not to only hit "tweet" or "visit us." Follow all the directions for your entry to count.

Also, Heiress, P.I. will be on a super After Christmas sale of 99 cents starting 12/26!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watch the Heiress, P.I. trailer :) 
Watch the After the Rain trailer :)