Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Favorite Ways to Unwind

Highest Stakes

By: Emery Lee
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Price: $15.99
Publication Date: April 2010


When Captain Robert Devington returns home from war, this hero's only thought is to win the girl he has loved since first spied her riding hell-for-leather across the Doncaster heath.

In a desperate scheme to win her, he proposes an outrageous racing wager, a wager for love. The horse race, a nail-biter, sets the plot in motion.

In a shocking twist of fate, he loses his love, the life he knew, and his country, but with the passage of time comes the opportunity for retribution.

In the end, the good ultimately triumph, the wicked get their just deserts, and the not-quite-so-wicked are given the chance for redemption. Love, of course, conquers all.

I'm please to welcome Debut author, Emery Lee, Over Coffee. I was curious how she relaxed, especially after a long day of writing. Her answer surprised me.

  • What are some of your favorite ways to unwind after writing?

My Twitter response would be: With a steaming cup of Twinings Lady Grey!

My expanded answer might be something altogether different:
While I have several hobbies I greatly enjoy: reading, riding my horse, and even playing the Celtic harp, I can’t say that I ever need to unwind after writing as writing is how I unwind!

My literary adventure first began nearly three years ago as a badly needed outlet for pent up creative energy. At the time, I was in a very stressful job under a boss who allowed me little freedom or opportunity to exercise creative thinking. It was this frustration in my professional life which initially drove me to explore writing, though I never dreamed it would ever come to fruition.

I have always enjoyed a great book to the point that I might easily have ignored the world collapsing about my head while buried in one, but this absorption magnified tenfold once I found my story in The Highest Stakes and began writing.

Writing for me is such a fantastic sensation—to create, to paint with words the pictures you see in your mind’s eye, to imagine characters and breathe life into them, to instilling in them the thoughts and emotions that emanate from your own soul.

I have never experienced in any other activity the powerful sensations that I discovered in writing.

Time ceases to exist.

Reality fades to black.

The universe becomes my own creation, one that I can mold and shape to my will.

All things imaginable become possible.

Writing for me has become the most liberating experience I can ever describe.
Now, would you care for one lump or two?

  • To readers and writers: How do you unwind?

We have 2 copies of The Highest Stakes to award to 2 people who comment today. US and Canada only. Be sure to leave me a way to contact you.


A bit of Background:

  • All thoroughbred horses in the world to this very day can trace their blood back to three specific Arabian stallions imported to England in the early part of the 18th century. Against this backdrop comes a painstakingly researched novel with breathtaking scenes of real races, real horses, glimpses of the men who cared for them, and the tensions of those who owned and controlled them.

  • In 18th century England and Colonial Virginia, when high-spirited stallions filled the stables of the lords of the land and fortunes were won and lost on the outcome of a race, a love story unfolds between a young woman for whom her uncle's horses are her only friends and the young man who teaches her everything about their care and racing. When she's forced into marriage, his only hope of winning her back is to race his horse to reclaim all that was stolen from him—his land, his dignity, and his love.

Read a Chapter Excerpt

Reviews of High Stakes

~ # ~ # ~ # ~

Emery Lee is a life-long equestrienne, a history buff, and a born romantic. Combine the three and you have the essence of her debut novel: a tale of love, war, politics, and horseracing. A member of Romance Writers of America, she lives with her husband, sons, and two horses in upstate South Carolina.

For more information, please visit

Sunday, April 11, 2010


My guest is Alexandra Ivy. She has written and published over thirty historical novels. She recently hit the bestsellers (New York and USA Today) list with her paranormal series, Guardians of Eternity. She says she never expected it and was surprised.

What I appreciate about Alex's story is the fact that she didn't let years of rejections stop her from reaching out to her dream of being published. She had a goal, a belief in both herself and in her ability to reach the goal. She didn't take no for an answer. Instead she used the rejections as a learning tool to perfect her craft as a writer. I have to admire that sort of perseverance.

Her topic today is about the long road to be published and being in the right place at the right time.

I’m always delighted to be given the opportunity to talk about my writing career. Not because I was a fabulous overnight success. Or because I was pulled out of the slush pile and hit the New York Times bestseller list with my great American novel. Or because the movie deal was in the mail before the book hit the stands.

But because it was just the opposite :-)

I began writing after the birth of my first son, (yep, it was a verrrrrry long time ago) . At first I just wanted to see if I could actually finish a book. Or maybe I was just crazy buzzed with the post –birth hormones. Anyway, it took awhile, but I did at last type THE END. It wasn’t very good, in fact, it was freaking AWFUL, but I learned a lot through the process and it gave me a place to start editing (I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to finish a manuscript). From there I started researching publishers who might be interested in my masterpiece…(clears throat) or rather my lump of coal and started sending that baby out.

That should be it, you say? Presto I’m a published author?

Not quite. In fact, it took ten more years and countless more manuscripts before I ever got the CALL. Most of my friends and family thought I was nuts to keep trying. After all, who keeps putting themselves into the position of being rejected over and over and over and over…well, you get the picture. And each and every one hurt as bad as the first one.

I told myself I was persevering, although I think my husband muttered something about being stubborn, mulish, and pig-headed :). In any case, I at last did make my first sell. It was a traditional regency and while the sales were hardly earth shattering, I was over the moon. I, at last, was doing what I loved, even if I did have to keep my day job.

For several years I continued with the traditional regencies. They had a small, but loyal audience and enjoyed writing them. But it became increasingly obvious that the traditional were a dying genre and so I moved to the longer, meater historicals. Thank goodness I had an editor who believed in me because once again I didn’t set the world on fire. I had decent sales, but the trend was for the tortured brooding hero (which I adore to read) while I always ended up writing a comedy of errors.

I didn’t mind. A midlist author isn’t a bad gig. I loved being able to write and I was delighted to be able to connect with readers. I wasn’t world-famous, but hey, I didn’t have to worry about getting mobbed at the grocery store or having my face pasted all over the web (something I can guarantee that none of us want). I was getting steady contracts and doing what I loved. How many people can actually say that?

Fast forward another ten years and I made the plunge into paranormals. I wrote When Darkness Comes just for myself. I not only wanted to see if I could write the book, but I wanted to do it without the pressure of a deadline. It turned out that I had an absolute blast with the Guardians. I could combine my love of horror with my naturally smart-ass nature…a perfect fit :-)

Astonishingly the book led to more books and I recently hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, which shocked the heck out of me. I never even considered the possibility. Sometimes being in the right place at the right time really does pay off!

In any case, I do have a point to this less than dazzling story of publication :-)

I believe that in the end that it’s the tortoise not the hare who wins the race, and that if you continue to follow your dreams, no matter how many obstacles or set-backs you have to overcome, or how many disbelievers tell you to quit, you will eventually reach your goals.

  • What's your attitude towards reaching goals: Tortoise or Hare?

Back Cover Blurb:

Salvatore Giuliani is not a happy werewolf. It’s his duty as leader to track down the pureblood females who can keep his people from extinction. But the moment he catches scent of Harley, a pureblood held by a pack of mangy curs, his savage need for her obliterates all other instincts. And the only thing worse than being captured is finding that beautiful, independent Harley defiantly refuses to become his mate.

Harley has been taught to distrust all Weres, especially their arrogant king. She won’t be used for breeding or bonded against her will, not even to a man who makes every nerve tingle with awareness. Yet Salvatore is her key to saving the family she never knew she had—if she dares to succumb to his dark, predatory desire, and face a vicious enemy sworn to destroy them both…

Read a Excerpt/chapter

Alexandra Ivy's Blog/News


I’m not exactly sure when I fell in love with books. Probably on my mother’s knee listening to her read Dr. Seuss to me. I do remember that I was barely old enough to cross the street by myself when I discovered the delights of the local library. Could anything be more wonderful than spending summer days surrounded by stacks of Nancy Drew mysteries? Over the years I fell in love with Victoria Holt, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and J.R.R. Tolkien just to name a few. I read poetry, essays, biographies, and plays. In fact, I read anything I could get my hands on.

Years later (no, I’m not admitting how many) I’m still an avid reader, and my tastes are still as varied as they were in my youth, which I suppose helps to explain why I enjoy writing regency historicals under the name of Deborah Raleigh, as well as my contemporary paranormals as Alexandra Ivy. For now that is enough to keep me busy, but who knows what the future might hold!

I do have a few other loves in my life besides reading and writing, the most important being my unbelievably patient husband, David, and my two sons, Chance and Alexander. Without their constant support and belief in me, I never could have been able to follow my dreams. They are truly my heroes.