Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's Up, Wednesday?

This week's question…
Earth Day was yesterday. Have you made any energy efficient changes in your household? What were they? Maybe we can all get some good ideas!

I've done lots of small things like changing my light bulbs, unplugging electronics, etc. I also have one really big one. When my HVAC unit broke (dead, leaking carbon monoxide and thousands of dollars to fix), I shopped around for a month or so for ideas. Eventually I got a groundsource heat pump. It was expensive in the outset, but after tax credits turned out to be only a couple thousand more than replacing the HVAC with a newer version of what I'd had. And, since the super-efficient groundsource system saves me almost a thousand dollars a year in heating and cooling bills, I've made that money back quickly. The initial quote from Green Horizon (the company who installed the system) was a bit hard to swallow! The decision's not for everyone, but I'm glad I made it.
~Jennifer Lohmann 

My changes are also small. I switched to all energy-saving bulbs, and as I've replaced appliances (the washer, dryer, stove, and fridge all bit the dust last year) I've made sure they were Energy Star designated. I installed a couple of ceiling fans to help in the summer so the AC doesn't have to be turned as low. And it isn't household related, but I recycle cardboard and plastic--fortunately, my town has great curbside recycling pickup.
~Suzanne Johnson

I haven't made any changes, but I've been arguing against my husband getting a car--does that count? I haven't owned a car since I left the U.S. almost twelve years ago. We travel around town by bike (gotta love the Netherlands) or bus. But I fear it's a battle I'm losing--especially as our family grows and so does the amount of stuff we seem to cart around.
~Kat Latham

Ugh. I don't feel like we do enough. Right now I'm trying to get the kids to remember to turn off the lights. That will be a major accomplishment if it ever happens. We recycle religiously, but our town has a great recycling program that makes it easy. We did choose a low-flow toilet when we remodeled the bathroom, and we'll have energy efficient windows placed in the basement during our current remodel. And we've also had the thermostat down lower than normal to pay for our basement remodel. At some point I'd like to replace several outside doors to make them less drafty. I guess our washer and dryer are energy-efficient too. I forgot we replaced those a few years ago.
~Samantha Grace 

Congratulations to Carolyn Mccanna, winner of last week's drawing for a copy of The Heart of a Duke! Please watch your email for a message from Samantha arranging for you to receive your copy. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spotlight on Jerrica Knight-Catania

I am so excited to welcome a fellow Regency romance writer, the very talented Jerrica Knight-Catania to Lady Scribes where she's giving us a look at her recent release, "The Temptation of the Duke", Book 5 in her Wetherby Brides Series! Jerrica will be giving away a copy to one person who stops by and comments! (Winners are notified in the Comments section the following day!)

So allow me to present...the cover!

I give you the Blurb... 

Grace Clarke is no longer willing to accept the position of "poor relations." Her sister has married well and taken her under her wing, so with her new connections, it ought to be a breeze to find a wealthy, titled gentleman to help elevate her station in life. Of course, she never expects for him to find her. Especially not in such a compromising position. But once she gets over her humiliation, she discovers that the duke next door is far more than just a duke. He's a man that sets her heart--and other parts of her--aflame. 

Evan Gilford, Duke of Somerset, has spent the last fifteen years trying to avoid his destiny: marriage. But he can't ignore his duty anymore, not with his guilty conscience nagging at him all the bloody time and a betrothed waiting to become his duchess. So he returns to London, only to discover that he has a new and rather enchanting neighbor who soon makes him question where his loyalties lie: with his family or his heart.

And Excerpt! 
It was times like these Grace was grateful she wasn’t musically inclined. If she were, she imagined she’d be having a worse time than she was at this very moment. Goodness, but these poor girls were horrific musiciansif one could even call them that. According to the program, they were playing a piece by Haydn and Grace was certain the composer was turning circles in his grave. It sounded as if a bunch of barnyard animals had gotten into a row.
Chloe put a hand on top of Grace’s in an effort to still her fidgeting. Grace cast her sister a sidelong glance that said, If you had let me stay home, you wouldn’t have had to put up with me. Of course, Chloe couldn’t be bothered to look at her, so she probably didn’t pick up on the silent message, but still. They’d argued about this earlier in the day when Grace had begged to be allowed to stay home. Granted, it wasn’t like her, despite not being terribly fond of musicales. She normally didn’t like to miss an opportunity to meet an eligible gentleman, but ever since her walk in the garden with Evan, she couldn’t seem to think of anyone or anything else. He was forbidden, of course, but it didn’t stop her from daydreaming about him. Or pining for him. And it certainly didn’t stop that swirling in her belly that made her want to toss up her accounts.
The music came to a stop, and the audience applauded politely despite how dreadful it had been. Grace glanced down at her program again, praying it would say the concert was over, even though she knew very well they were nowhere near the end. When she looked back up, her gaze landed on the small group of people who had arrived late to the event. Her stomach plummeted, and her heart sped to a frighteningly dangerous speed. Heat infused her cheeks, and everywhere else for that matter. Why did her entire body feel aflame?
She snapped open her fan and began to wave it frantically in front of her face as the party, which included Evan and his betrothed, took their seats a few rows back.
Blast this heaviness in my chest! Was this what love felt like? Or was it merely infatuation? Goodness, if this was only infatuation, she was doomed if she ever fell truly in love. Perhaps this was why their society looked down upon love matches. What if everyone walked about with racing hearts and churning stomachs all the time? The city would be in a state of total chaos, wouldn’t it?
Should she dare a glance behind? Just to see where they were sitting. Surely no one would notice. She placed her fan in her lap and then rubbed her hands down her dress as the musicians started the next piece.
“Would you stop fidgeting, Grace,” Chloe whispered through clenched teeth.
Grace stilled her hands, though her whole body felt as if it were running a race. “Sorry,” she whispered back. And then she did it. She dared a backward glance, only to be met with Evan’s piercing blue gaze.
Good heavens! He was looking at her, blast him. And he had the audacity, sitting there next to his fiancée, to wink at her. But not just any wink. This one was accompanied by a wry smile that sent Grace into even more of a dither than she’d been in previously. What did it mean anyway? Was it a wink of friendship? Or was it more? Was he being flirtatious?
No, he wouldn’t dare. Not with his fiancée sitting beside him. Heavens, what kind of man would that make him?

About the Author...

Jerrica Knight-Catania knew from an early age that she was destined for romance. She would spend hours as a young girl sitting in a chair by an open window, listening to the rain, and dreaming of the day Prince Charming would burst in and declare his undying love for her. But it wasn't until she was 28-years-old, tired of her life in the theater, that she turned her focus toward writing Regency Romance novels. All her dreaming paid off, and she now gets to relive those romantic scenes she'd dreamt up as a child as she commits them to paper. She lives in sunny Palm Beach with her real life Prince Charming, their Princess-in-training and their aristocat, Dr. Snuggle.

Buy Links:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Countdown to RT - Samantha's SWAG

In just a little over four weeks, my husband and I will be on our way to New Orleans for the 2014 Romantic Times Convention. This year Julie Johnstone and I are co-hosting the Cajun Queen Riverboat Casino Morning Mixer on May 15th with twenty other authors. 

Come one, come all, down the Mississippi to New Orleans… Join some of your favorite authors aboard The Cajun Queen where we’ll deal out the cards & you’ll rake in the booty! Enjoy N’awlins eats, southern concoctions and get your dance on to the live zydeko beat.
Hunk Sticks lip balm
This is my second time to take part in the morning mixer, and I’m really looking forward to meeting readers. One of my favorite parts of the event is planning for the gift bags. All the authors contribute swag and books, so every guest leaves with quite the stash of goodies. Last year some of you might recall the Hunk Sticks I had made special for the event, and I wasn’t sure how I could possibly come up with a fun idea to rival that one. Well, with the help of a wonderful friend who makes all natural soaps, I think we’ve come very close.

Nettie's Natural Soaps

Each hero from my Beau Monde Bachelor series and Lord Ellis from One Rogue Too Many have their own designer soap in the shape of something representing their character’s hobby or likes. The fun part for me was choosing the shapes, finding the molds, and writing the descriptions for the tags.
Lord Andrew Forest (Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel) has a horse

Mr. Jake Hillary (Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half) is represented by a boxing glove. My favorite!

Captain Daniel Hillary (Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie) has a ship.

Lucas Forest, Duke of Foxhaven (Lady Vivian Defies a Duke) loves his chess pieces. 

Anthony Keaton, Earl of Ellis (One Rogue Too Many) wanted a dog, so we were happy to make his dreams come true.

But holy cow! 500 soaps are a lot to package, but I have some wonderful friends who were very happy to help.

I wish I could see each of you in New Orleans, but I know it’s not feasible for everyone to make it. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out completely, though. My friend made enough soaps for me to share with a Lady Scribes reader. Just tell me which hero sounds like your type of man and include your email address to be entered into the drawing.