Welcome to Readers & Ritas Countdown Week 3 Heather Long Edition! Heather and I have a special friendship and she is one of my favorite people. We met as fellow readers and she blossomed into a wonderful author. I love when my friends follow their dreams and live their passions!
First off, let me say thank you to Felicia for asking me to participate! She’s one of my favorite people so it was a real kick in the pants to get an invitation. Readers & Ritas is one of my favorite conferences. The 2013 conference will by 4th one that I’ve attended and my second as a featured author. I thought I’d be a little random—okay well the truth is I’m always a little random, but here we go.
What I Love About Readers & Ritas
The readers – it’s a laid back conference and you get a lot of face time with readers. For me, that’s the best part of any conference. Authors spend a lot of time at their computers, and we’re always working on the next book. It is a solitary existence. When I go to a conference, I get to sit and chat with readers, about what they like, what they enjoy—etc. It’s perfect
The location – I travel a lot to go to conferences out-of-state, and Readers & Ritas is right here in my backyard. It’s fifteen minutes from home, yet when I’m at the conference I’m there. When it’s time to pack it in, I’m home a few minutes later. The transition is a little surreal.
The costume contest – Every Saturday night, folks dress up and there’s a parade of the costumes. It’s always a treat to see how creative folks are and what they come as—since we’re only limited by imagination, it can be very inventive.
The lunch interviews – I love the meet and greet the authors get to do, but there’s always something special during the big luncheon, a time for headliners to get interviewed and we always learn something quirky or interesting that we may not have known before.
My coffee happy hour – 2012 was the first time I did this and it was so much fun! In many ways it went better than I was expecting, and we had a lot of readers come in, visit and gave away prizes, drank coffee, ate treats and generally talked books. I can’t wait to do it again this year.
SPECIAL NOTE: This year I will be using the Coffee Happy Hour at R&R as a chance to donate a toy for Toys for Tots. I will be taking all the Toys collected to a local collection center. Also to note that all of the books in the holiday Marine series (all five: A Marine of Plenty , A Candle for a Marine , Marine under the Mistletoe, Have Yourself a Marine Christmas, and Lest Old Marines Be Forgot ) will also have a portion of their profits donated to Toys for Tots.
Felicia Note: I will be gifting one lucky commenter a copy of A Marine of Plenty by Heather on Wednesday October 23rd! So you have until Tuesday October 22nd at Midnight CST to comment on this post with your favorite Holiday tradition or question for Heather! You know I am sucker for charity type things and this is right up my alley! This is open to everyone 18 years or older (it is adult content) There is a Rafflecopter form at the end of the excerpt !
Hanging out with my friends, readers and authors alike. I’ve met some great people through R&R and every year, it’s a treat to see them all again and to visit. So for me, R&R is like a high school reunion, without the angst or a better description, a small town square filled with folks that you know and the new people that you’re looking forward to meeting.
Always a Marine
A Marine of Plenty
by HEATHER LONG
Serving overseas is a lonely duty…
Captain Charlie Sparks faces an impossible task—assigned to a security detail for the sister of a fallen Marine. The last thing Charlie wants is this beautiful woman in the middle of a base in Afghanistan no matter what holiday she plans to help them celebrate. But no one asked for his opinion, and worse, she’s everything he adores in a woman and more…
Mourning what might have been is a terrible burden…
Jana Grimaldi had a plan—a plan to help her brother when he came home, but his death in Afghanistan left a hole in her heart and a desperate desire to do something. With the help of Congressman Sparks, she heads to Afghanistan to bring Thanksgiving to the men and women who served with her brother. Nervous and uneasy, she finds an unexpected—and familiar ally in Captain Sparks…
Not all wounds heal…
Charlie was one of the first people to reach out to Jana, communicating via email when her brother died—but coming face to face in the lonely desolation of the holiday connects these two wounded souls…
Can Charlie and Jana find hope amidst the heartbreak this Thanksgiving?
A Marine of Plenty
Always a Marine
Release Date: October 9, 2013
About the Author:
National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
Enjoy the following excerpt for A Marine of Plenty:
“Miss Grimaldi?” A deep, smooth, masculine voice pulled her back to the present and the officer dressed in the deep dark tan and olive MARPATS waiting inside the door. He stood easily over six-foot. The uniform did little to disguise his broad shoulders or thick muscular arms.
Rising, she adjusted her bag and held out her hand, fumbling for a greeting. “Hi. Captain…?”
“Sparks.” Quiet hesitation arrested his features and a muscle ticked in his jaw.
The congressman’s brother was her escort.
Her heart thudded against her ribs and her nerves stretched taut. Captain Charles Sparks gave the order that led to her brother’s death—a communication failure. She understood all the terms, the reasoning, and the apologies. Even his letters expressed his heartfelt condolences and apologies. Letters she’d answered, and he’d returned regularly.
He grasped her hand and the world seemed to shrink away, as though someone dropped her in a drum and banged it loudly from the outside. His words had provided a desperately needed source of comfort—straightforward, blunt, and without any pretty excuses. A mistake had been made, one costing a good man his life. He didn’t ask for her forgiveness. He’d never asked her for it, no matter how many exchanges they’d had.
Staring into his coffee-brown eyes, she knew he hadn’t forgiven himself. And that’s why Congressman Sparks offered his help and asked for mine. Weak-kneed, she sat abruptly. Her fisted grip on the captain’s hand pulled him forward a step.
Concern rippled across his face. “Ma’am? Jana?”
Unexpected grief locked her throat and tears filmed her vision. She held up her other hand and he wavered. Fighting the urge to sniffle, she squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated on breathing. Grief might be the one emotion everyone had in common, but acceptance came in its own ways, on its own time. Understanding the concept intellectually and experiencing it, however, were two completely opposite things, because the crappiest part of her grief lay in how she couldn’t control it.
“I’m okay.” She fought to get the words out. “I’m sorry.”
“No,” he said, his voice gruff. “I should apologize. I thought you received my e-mail about being your escort.”
“I haven’t looked at my e-mail since leaving Dallas, I’ve been so focused on getting here.” Moistening her lips, she struggled to bring her tumbling emotions back into focus. It would be easy to hate the man, to blame him for what happened, and to let anger take over her grief.
But easier didn’t make it right or fair.
Belatedly, she glanced up, surprised at her white-knuckled grip still firm on his hand. He didn’t pull away or try to let her go, but sadness clouded his eyes—sadness, and quite possibly regret. “I didn’t mean to fall to pieces on you, Captain Sparks.”
Here are the attending authors for 2013: Shannon K Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, Jade Lee, Connie Cox, Winnie Griggs, Nikki Duncan, Heather Long, Morgan Fox, Diane Kelly, Liliana Hart, Tracy Deebs, Lorelei James, Jenn LeBlanc, Karen Erickson, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Mary Burton, Liz Talley, Sasha Summers, Candace Havens, Sylvia McDaniel, Roz Lee, Felice Fox, C.J. Ellison, Melissa Bourbon, Tonya Kappes, Nancy Naigle, and Missy Jane
You can go here to Register
In the weeks to come I will be featuring Nikki Duncan and Missy Jane! The final week I will talk about my past experiences at Readers N Ritas! Seriously this is one of my favorite conferences and you won’t be disappointed if you come!
I am going to be giving away a signed copy of Styxx! Yes I will stand in line for you people! (If for any reason Sherry can not attend Readers & Ritas I will still giveaway a copy of Styxx and also another signed book by one of the other authors in attendance) Rules:
Open Internationally–I will pay for the shipping since I think this was an AWESOME book
Must be over 18 due to subject matter
Only one winner will be chosen
Ends 11/10/2013 at Midnight CST