They’re in danger of losing everything…including their hearts. The Negotiator by @HelenKayDimon #Romance #Suspense @InkSlingerPR


Today we have the release day blitz for The Negotiator by HelenKay Dimon! Check it out and grab your copy today!
Title: The Negotiator
Author: HelenKay Dimon
Genre Romantic Suspense
About The Negotiator:

Lauren Gallagher’s life changed almost three years ago. After her husband disappeared at sea, she was left with a failing pleasure boat company and more than a few secrets. Now, after years spent rebuilding the business and paying off the pile of debts, she finally feels in control. But when she finds her husband, actually dead, on the floor, she becomes the leading suspect in his murder investigation.

Garrett McGrath wants Lauren in his bed, not his heart. He doesn’t do emotions, but every time he sees her, holding himself back gets harder and harder. When Lauren comes under suspicion for killing her previously presumed-dead husband, he knows he has to help her, any way he can.

But as the danger becomes more intense and Garret and Lauren grow closer than either planned, they’re in danger of losing everything…including their hearts.

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The Negotiator:
The Fixer
The Enforcer
The Pretender
Exclusive Excerpt:
He rose from the dead.
Lauren Gallagher couldn’t come up with any other explanation. Her once-dead husband was very much alive and standing on the other side of her front door…and she felt nothing but numbness spreading inside her.
For a man who supposedly washed overboard in the middle of a violent storm, he looked pretty healthy. Big smile. Bright white teeth. Khaki pants and deck shoes. She forgot how much she hated the deck shoes.
The wattage on his super smile dimmed a bit as he shifted his weight from foot-to-foot and rubbed his hands up and down his arms. “Aren’t you going to let me in?”
Her mind went blank. The world literally flipped sideways on her and her stomach rolled. The whole time she could hear him talking but the words didn’t make sense. None of this made sense. She opened her mouth but nothing came out but a tiny whirling gasping sound. That’s all she could muster as she blinked, trying to process what she was seeing.
“Lauren? Why are you just standing there? Open this door.”
An order. The sharp smack in his voice sounded far too familiar. That fast it brought her crashing back to reality.
She really wanted to say no to his command. Not that she hadn’t mourned him. Even with the dysfunctional state of their faltering marriage at the time he disappeared, she had. She’d grieved for what could have been and dreams that fizzled out early in their time together. She grieved for his loss as she would an old friend, not as a person she viewed as her soulmate, if there even was such a thing.
That was less than three years ago. The police arrived and she dropped to her knees feeling sick and hollow at the idea of Carl gasping for breath as the water he loved so much overtook him.
Months had passed slowly after that. She’d been locked in a perpetual state of shock, topped off with a wallop of guilt because she’d visited a divorce attorney for the first time just before he disappeared. With him gone she’d found about the lies. His hidden debts and how he’d taken their business to the brink of bankruptcy, all while showing her fake bank statements he’d manufactured. He’d gone to a lot of trouble to carry on the ruse of pretending their finances were fine.
And then things had gotten even worse. All those whispers about Maryanne, the girlfriend who seemed to be an open secret to everyone except Lauren. The one who, unlike Lauren, did not have any debts or an unpaid mortgage or a business and house on the verge of bankruptcy. Maryanne Lightwood, the same woman who mysteriously walked out on her rent and left town right as Carl’s boat disappeared.
Lauren prided herself on being practical. She was skeptical of coincidences and not stupid, so confusion had turned to fury in record time. As the cool December wind blew in the front door of the small cottage now she realized the fury still simmered inside her.
She lived far enough from the water that the breeze wasn’t frigid, but it carried a bite. For the past few years early winter in Annapolis, Maryland meant an unwelcome amount of snow. This year had been mild. As someone who ran a pleasure boat and fishing tour business and depended on tourists, she thought she might get lucky this year and only have to survive a short off-season.
Apparently her luck had just run out.
“Lauren, honey?” Carl pulled on the handle of the screen door. When it didn’t immediately open, he shook it, rattling it on the doorframe. Still, it didn’t move.
She’d never been so grateful for her lock-the-door paranoia. He should be happy, too, because the thin screen might be all that was saving his sorry lying ass right now.
Under the numbness and shock lurked a layer of bubbling resentment and rage. She’d kept up the outward farce of being fine for so long that she’d started to believe it. Now the mask slipped. She wanted to throw open the door and pound on his chest and make him apologize for every wrong.
But Carl had never taken responsibility for anything in his life. Even now he had the nerve to stand there with a stupid look on his stupid face, as if she were the unreasonable one in not welcoming him home with a big hug. So, yeah, the door stayed closed for his protection because she knew once she unleashed she would not stop.
“Hey, what is this?” Carl’s hand dropped to his side as he frowned at her through the mesh screen. “Honey, I’m back.”
Honey? What kind of man checked out of his life for almost three years and expected to step right back in it, no questions asked? It’s as if he were empty inside, without a conscience. And he was so close to getting a kick in his junk.
“Yeah, I can see that.” She tried to swallow but couldn’t choke down the lump of anger racing up her throat. “Tell me where have you’ve been.”
“Lauren, Jesus. It’s freezing out here. Let me in.” He pulled on the handle again as if he expected a different result than last time. The door made a thumping sound as it hit against the frame. “What’s wrong with you? Snap out of it.”
He kept up that tone. Short, dismissive, demanding. The only time he hadn’t been obnoxious was during the years when she thought he was dead. Even then…
That’s all it took. Something inside her snapped and wave after wave of uncontrolled, boiling hot rage raced through her. He wasn’t the only one filled with attitude who possessed an I’m-done tone. “Where the hell have you been, Carl? You don’t contact me at all and then you just stroll up to my door. You rip my life, my work – my everything – apart and now act as if you’ve only been gone for an afternoon. What is wrong with you? What happened?”
“I was left for dead.” His surfer boy good looks faded a bit as his eyes narrowed. “Thanks in part to you.” Wherever he was he must have forgotten how locks worked because he rattled the door one more time. “Now open this.”
He was blaming her. Of course he was. She likely was as fault for the fact his hair wasn’t the same sunny blond it once was and he now had a few wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. He was forty-one, having celebrated two birthdays while he was gone. She doubted he was taking the transition out of his thirties all that well.
She’d been thirty-three and inching very close to thirty-four when he went missing and already back then he’d mentioned “hip spread” to her more than once. Hers, of course. Not his. She’d expected him to battle aging as fiercely as he’d fought to be the only one in charge of handling the bills. Now she knew why…because he hadn’t bothered to actually pay any debt with her name on it.
“You disappeared.” Right there, in that moment, she kind of wished he’d do it again and had to push back a wave of guilt that came with that realization. She’d had no idea how much hate festered inside her until he popped up again. The frowning, his ridiculous summer shoes in winter, that voice – it all worked on her nerves and it had been less than ten minutes.
“A wave hit the boat. It tipped and I went overboard.” He shrugged. “Are you satisfied now?”
Not even close. A hundred questions filled her head. “Who could be satisfied with that? What’s the rest of the story?”
His body language and easy dismissal of how his terrible choices impacted her life only made her more determined to understand what his days looked like during the last few years. Then maybe she’d let him in, but probably no.
He waved her off. “None of that matters now.”
“It does to me.” His short non-answers ticked her off even more, and she wouldn’t have said that was possible. “I deserve an explanation. A real one. All of the facts, not just pieces.”
He leaned in closer as his jaw tightened. “I said later.”
Wariness surged through her. She wasn’t afraid. No, scared wasn’t the right word. Carl had never been violent, never raised a hand or threatened her. But near the end he’d been distant and that had turned into flashes of meanness. Snide comments about how he’d married a woman but got stuck with a fisherman. Sneak attacks of blaming her that they didn’t make more money in the boating business.
So much confusion swirled around him and his stories and all that deception. She’d convinced herself he ran off with his girlfriend. Not that she ever admitted that to anyone or said the words out loud. No, there had been too much at risk.
To save her house and business she’d needed the insurance and a final judgment from the court about Carl’s fate. A confirmation that he was legally dead. She had to pretend to believe it. It had taken her almost two years to persuade the court and wrestle the business and house away from the legal No Man’s Land it landed in when he disappeared. The insurance company still had refused to pay on the claim. That meant she’d had to salvage what she could with him gone.
Now he was back, and as much as she hated it, they needed to talk. She tried even though as her brain screamed for her to slam the door. “I think we should–”
“I can’t believe you’re being a pain in the ass.”
Her head snapped back at the fury lacing through his voice. “Me?”
“Jake warned me you’d gone from grieving to stone cold in a matter of months.” Carl shook his head. “I didn’t believe it. Not after everything we’d been through.”
She lost the thread of the conversation as soon as Carl mentioned his brother. “Jake?”
“That’s where I’ll be. At his house.” Carl started to shift away from the door. “But get your act together and do it fast, Lauren. I plan on being in this house and back at work by Christmas.”
“That’s two weeks away.”
“I’ll be back tomorrow.” He made a face that suggested he was sick of her again already. “Be over your shock and ready to talk by then.”
Lauren watched Carl walk back down the path to the car parked on the street. She recognized the dark sedan. It belonged to Carl’s brother, which meant Carl went there first.
Her mind spun with questions about where he’d been and why he was back. She had no idea how he planned to explain and argue his way out of this…or why he thought he could walk back into her life now without any real explanation or sign of remorse.
A gust of cold air got her moving. She slammed the front door closed and rested her palm on it. Tried to breathe in, to think.
Her usual calm detachment abandoned her. Jumbled thoughts crashed into her brain. Panic rose in her chest, threatening to swamp her. Finding a lost husband should be a good thing. For her, it amounted to a nightmare. Her world tilted and all she wanted was to tip it right again.
Help. She never asked anyone for help. Not ever. She’d learned long ago that needing someone, depending on them, lead to heartache and disappointment. But Garrett McGrath’s face kept flashing in her mind. Sarcastic, charming, sinfully handsome Garrett. They’d met in the summer and he’d been asking her out for two months. Hanging around, texting, insisting he’d wait for her to be ready to date again.
The guy honed his Tall, Dark and Smoldering look and for some reason he’d decided to aim it full force at her. Probably had something to do with the thrill of the chase. That was the only answer she could come up with. Because once he knew her, really knew her, he’d back off. Any sane person would.
But right now, as the walls closed in and she struggled to hold onto a coherent thought, all she could do was think of his face. The dark brown hair and those big green eyes. That firm chin…and his uncanny ability to solve complex problems while making a joke and without breaking a sweat.
She glanced around her cottage. It had a beachy vibe with weathered white beadboard walls overstuffed blue furniture. It consisted of two small bedrooms, a bathroom and a joint living and eating area. Her refuge. The place she rented when she lost everything else. The same place Carl for some reason thought he had a right to live in.
She grabbed her cell off the couch and dialed the number Garrett had put in there when they first met. The phone rang and his deep voice came on the line. Voicemail.
She waited a few minutes. Gave herself a bit of a pep talk and mentally insisted she could handle this, just like she handled everything else.
Instead of leaving a message she texted him. She tried to think of the right thing to say. She went with the only words that made sense to her… You were right. Carl is not dead.
About HelenKay Dimon:

HelenKay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a…divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over forty novels and novellas to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Kensington, Harlequin, Penguin Random House, Riptide and Carina Press. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. She is on the Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America and teaches fiction writing at UC San Diego and MiraCosta College. You can learn more at her website: http://www.HelenKaydimon.com

Connect with HelenKay:

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Enter to win all of the “Best First Book” #RITA nominated books (2 winners!) #giveaway @InkSlingerPR


Today we are sharing an incredible giveaway hosted by the 2017 ‘Best First Book’ RITA Nominated Authors! They are giving away 2 prize packs! The grand prize winner will receive a paperback copy of each of the 6 nominated books. A second winner will receive an ebook copy of each of the titles. Be sure to sign up below and check out the authors who are participating and their incredible novels!

 

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PARTICIPATING AUTHORS

ALTERATIONS by Stephanie Scott

Book Blurb:
If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they’d think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn’t know that all the plans she’s made for them are just dreams, and that she’s the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.

When Amelia’s abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can’t imagine leaving Miami–and Ethan–for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan’s awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.

As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The “new and improved” Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she’d have to make.

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THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z by Natalie Blitt

Book Blurb: 

This full-length novel by debut author Natalie Blitt is a pitch-perfect blend of Stephanie Perkins and Miranda Kenneally that proves the age-old adage: opposites attract.

Seventeen-year-old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to wear baseball caps and jerseys every day.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between who she is and who he is is worth the risk.

Epic Reads Impulse is a digital imprint with new releases each month.

 

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BEFORE GOODBYE by Mimi Cross 

Book Blurb:

Music means more than anything to high school student Cate Reese; it’s also what unites her with Cal Woods. Devoted classical guitar players, Cate and Cal are childhood friends newly smitten by love—until a devastating car accident rips Cal out of Cate’s life forever. Blaming herself for the horrific tragedy and struggling to surface from her despair, Cate spirals downhill in a desperate attempt to ease her pain.

Fellow student David Bennet might look like the school’s golden boy, but underneath the surface the popular athlete battles demons of his own. Racked with survivor’s guilt after his brother’s suicide, things get worse when tragedy darkens his world again—but connecting with Cate, his sister’s longtime babysitter, starts bringing the light back in.

As Cate and David grow closer, the two shattered teenagers learn to examine the pieces of their lives…and, together, find a way to be whole again.

Before Goodbye Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7rSFs19LKQ

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ONCE AND FOR ALL: AN AMERICAN VALOR NOVEL by Cheryl Etchison

Book Blurb:

The Rangers of the 1st/75th fight hard, train hard and play hard. They are physically strong and mentally tough, disciplined and courageous. But all their military training hasn’t prepared them for falling in love.

Rule #1: Military and matrimony don’t mix.

But if there’s one person Staff Sergeant Danny MacGregor would break all his rules for, it’s Bree–his first friend, first love, first everything. Maybe he likes playing the hero. Maybe he’s trying to ease ten years of guilt. Either way, he’ll do whatever he can to help her.

Wish #1: A little bit of normal.

Bree Dunbar has battled cancer, twice. What she wants most is a fresh start in a place where she can find a new job, and where people aren’t constantly treating her like she’s sick. By some miracle her wish is granted, but it comes with one major string attached– the man who broke her heart ten years before.

The rules for this marriage of convenience are simple: when she’s ready to stand on her own two feet, she’ll walk away and he’ll let her go. Only, as they both know all too well, things don’t always go according to plan…

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CLOSE TO YOU by Kara Isaac

Book Blurb:

A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

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SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods

Book Blurb:

Fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Jenny Han will fall in love with this heartfelt and humor-laced debut following one zodiac-obsessed teen as she struggles to find the guy of her cosmic dreams.

As the daughter of an expert astrologer, Wilamena Carlisle knows that truth lies within the stars. So when she discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love. But Wil must decide whether to trust her heart or her chart when she falls for a sensitive guitar player whose zodiac sign points to cosmic disaster.

If Wil’s fate is truly written in the stars, then this summer is about to go supernova. . . .

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WHAT TO DO WHEN THE BOOK IS WRITTEN


 

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So now you’ve written, rewritten, revised, edited, critiqued, and hopefully had beta readers look at your baby and tell you how great it is, right? RIGHT?

What’s next?

We’re lucky enough to be publishing now when there are so many options available.

  • E-book publishers– Lyrical Press, Montlake, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain, & many more.
  • Traditional Publishers– The big five as they are affectionately known. In the romance genre, this would be, Harlequin, Kensington, Avon, Hachette, & Penguin. Some of these will let you submit without an agent, check their guidelines and follow them, exactly.
  • Self-publishing– This is becoming more and more popular as authors get tired of waiting for their manuscripts to find first an agent and then a publisher, all of which could conceivably take years. Self-publishing puts the onus on the author to pay for everything it takes to get the book in front of the public eye.

Some of the things you need to plan for are: Covers, editing services, formatting, advertising.

Writer groups such as both local and on-line RWA chapters, and internet searches are vital research tools. Use them.

The best advice I could give is to remember why you’re doing this. For myself, it’s because I love books, everything about them. This community suits me and my goals.

What about you? Why do you write?

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter, exciting news is on the way. 🙂

 

 

 

Writing Contests


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Today was a very good day for me. I won second place in a writing contest from my home chapter, VIC-RWA.
This was a huge stepping stone for me and validation that what I’m writing is worth reading. I think as authors, whether pre-published or not, this is something we all fight with.
I mean, I know my characters are incredible and my Mom says they’re great, but what about strangers, what do they think?
This is why I think entering contests are so important.

1)Feedback- Even if you don’t manage to final in a contest that you’ve entered, you will still receive constructive criticism from at least two, most often three authors. Quite often these are published, PAN members of Romance Writers of America, invaluable.

2)Finaling- If your work finals, awesome, congratulations pat yourself on the back because you deserve it. 🙂 Finaling means your work goes before a panel of agents, editors and published authors- a real honor. This gives you the inside track straight to the finish line, (if there’s a God )

3)Validation- Now you have many different eyes on your baby. Scary? You bet it is, but it’s also exciting, gratifying and satisfying.

I think this is a necessary step on the road to publication, both for your manuscripts sake, and for your own.
So don’t be frightened, jump in with both feet and enjoy the ride. 🙂

Learning to love that critique


So I’ve finished my MS, now what? Publish, Publish, Publish. BUT WAIT!! Not so fast. You want to put your best foot forward right? Right.
First, go through and line by line, edit your work, be brutal. I know, I know, it hurt me too, watching all those precious words that I slaved over get erased by the backspace button. So what if there’s a few extra That, and, as, and the’s in there. It reads just fine, sort of.
Okay, you’ve polished that baby so much you need sunglasses if you’re within five feet of it, now what? This is the time to let others see your baby for the first time. Look for some contest you can enter for valuable feedback and maybe even catch the eye of an agent or publisher.
Go online and look for some critique groups. I joined Scribophile and The Romance Critique Group through RWA. I was also invited through my local RWA chapter (you’ve joined one right? Invaluable, go do it, now) to join a group of four ladies, two of which are multi-published.
Best thing ever. We exchange a certain amount of work and then meet once a month to go over any issues. I attended my first meeting last week, and though I was nervous as hell to go, (us writers are an introverted bunch) I was so glad I did.
They were all gracious and kind to the newby. We hashed out ideas and
elements of plot structure. They helped me with my questions on the Word program, and gave their take on publishing today.
Before I knew it three hours had flown by and it was time to leave. I came away with a plan for revision that will strengthen my story. Because they were right.
Can’t wait for next month. 🙂
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