WELCOME BACK TO THE BLOG JOAN!!!
In her day job, she works as a sonographer for one of the top ten medical facilities in the nation and lives on the California central coast in beautiful wine country with her husband and two daughters.
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I believe I’m the baby of the group. I write for Kensington, and my debut novel, FEVER, released in March. Book 2 in the series, BLAZE, comes out this October and agreed to continue the series with Kensington with two more books next year.
I love writing for Kensington. My editor, Alicia Condon has a talented eye for the big picture, while also keeping her finger on the market’s pulse. So when she suggests a change in my work—a plotline, a character, I trust her judgment. She’s also flexible and open-minded, ready to consider my ideas and how they fit into the greater puzzle. Her editing skills brought out the very best in FEVER, which in turn taught me valuable lessons I applied to BLAZE. As a result, BLAZE needed very little editing (and I believe it’s a kick-ass book, though I could be a little partial. )
Experienced editing is only one example of what traditional publishers offer authors. As a person who is always looking for ways to grow as a writer and perfect my craft, I am certainly interested in any opportunity where an industry professional with over two decades of experience is willing to work one on one with me. In my opinion, having a strong partner to collaborate with in an effort to strengthen my work is worth more than any monetary value I could assign.
As we all know, the industry is changing. I’ve worked in many fields over the years—high tech, computer, medical—and I know change is inevitable. I try to look for opportunities when change comes along, as uncomfortable as it may be. Self publishing offers many benefits and rewards as well. The ability to write in a genre that may not be selling to New York, but is selling well online. The ability for control—over cover design, content, promotion, etc. Sales information at your fingertips. And more. These rewards do not come free. Venturing into self publishing requires substantial commitment, the willingness to invest your time in learning and perfecting the business side of writing.
So when I was introduced to Rock*It Reads by my critique partner Elisabeth Naughton, I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in. Rock*It Reads authors are focused on delivering the best of themselves in every book they create. I can definitely identify with that. Everyone in the group has a variety of experiences within the industry, and by sharing that information, we all benefit.
My first foray into self-publishing will be with INTIMATE ENEMIES. This is one of my favorite books, a double RWA Golden Heart finalist and one that I’ve wanted to reach readers for a long time. Because romantic suspense is still a bit of a hard sell in traditional publishing, I decided to self-publish.
To bring the book up to my current writing standards, what I thought would be a revision has turned into a rewrite. But I love this book so much, I’m really enjoying the process. The characters are richer, the storyline far more compelling, the prose smoother and more meaningful. The book will release later than I anticipated, but it will be a work I can be proud of because I’ll know I gave it the best I had.
Hopefully, it will be a work my readers can love and appreciate as well.
I’ve provided an excerpt here. Hope you enjoy!
“At this time of night. In the dark. You…” —Her tone said idiot—“…are crazy.”
“You aren’t the first to say so.”
Rio ruffled the wet, black waves of his hair in a careless, absentminded way. Cool seawater sprayed Cassie. A laugh popped out of her mouth, surprising her and easing the lingering tension between them.
“Hey.” She held her hands up as if that would keep her dry. “Stop it.”
He lowered his hand, grinning. A sheepish, slightly mischievous, tiny bit guilty, lopsided smile. “Are you going to melt?”
Cassie’s stomach squeezed and twirled the way it did when she’d thought about seeing him again.
Then he dropped his head and shook it. That wet-dog-just-out-of-the-bath shake. Water sprayed in every direction. Little arcs splashed Cassie and she squeaked at the cold against her skin. Then laughed with the sheer pleasure of his playfulness.
God, dimples? Really? Like he wasn’t gorgeous enough without them?
Her joy must have risen too high, reached some internal warning level, because as quickly as it had filled her, that happiness took on an edge. Something that nagged at her like anxiety.
She broke his gaze, one she hadn’t realized she’d been holding until she looked down at the sand, and lifted both hands to her face to wipe at the water. The back of her arm pulled and burned. Cassie hissed in a breath and twisted her arm to look at the back.
“Let me see.” His voice was close and she looked up to find him there, already reaching for her arm, leaning in to inspect the scratch.
He eased her arm across her chest and turned her into the moonlight, giving him a better view.
“It’s nothing.” Her voice came out breathy. She didn’t like sounding—or feeling—nervous. “I’m fine.”
“Mmm-hmm,” he dusted dirt off the wide scrape. “You said that about you knee, too. At least this one isn’t dripping blood everywhere.”
“It’s not too bad, but it’s dirty.” His voice was near her ear and either the sound of it or the heat of it raised gooseflesh along her neck. “Sorry I scared you.”
She turned her head and found her mouth just an inch from his ear. A perfectly shaped ear. One with a curl of wet black hair arcing over the upper lobe. She should pull away. Go inside where she was safe. Instead, she reached up and pushed the curl behind his ear with one finger. Let her touch slid down the side of his face before her hand drifted away.
He froze. His eyes darted toward her in a sidelong look, then back to her arm. “And, I’m sorry about…earlier, too. I wasn’t expecting anyone and—”
“I’ve thought of you…since the funerals.” The words just came out. “I would have…you know…called, but I realized later that I didn’t know who you were.”
Rio’s jaw muscle tightened beneath tanned skin and dark stubble. She wanted to lay her lips there so badly. Almost did. Then his eyes slid closed and Cassie found herself staring at the length of his lashes, the beautiful curve of them against his cheekbone, the way the sight of them heated and softened her chest at the same time.
“Me too,” he said, voice low, rough. His eyes opened, but instead of looking at her, he kept his eyes toward the sand. “Thought of you, I mean. But I didn’t think it was…I don’t know…appropriate, I guess, to call.”
He lifted his head. Met her eyes for a brief second, their mouths just inches apart. Two very conflicting emotions coiled in her chest—fear and desire. One should smother the other, but both feelings were so strong they continued to battle.
Cassie couldn’t help but think kiss me. Please. Kiss me.
His eyes lowered to her mouth.
Then slid away.
“I’ll…um…” His voice rasped. “Just go get—“
Screw it. A spark of determination burned a millisecond before she put her free hand against his jaw and pressed her lips to his.
Warmer than Cassie had imagined, softer than she’d expected, his lips felt wonderful on hers. Absolutely wonderful. And right. So right. He didn’t pull away, so she let her lips linger there. Let them slide. Let them taste.
Her sexy haze slid into embarrassment. She took a step back, but Rio leaned in and slid an arm around her waist. A quick move. A deliberate, strong move that made her draw a breath. Made her body tingle. Made her mind go cloudy again. He eased her close, his arm tightening low on her back until they were pressed together, hips to chest.
And, holy hell, wow. Wow. She couldn’t think much beyond... Just wow. His body was hard. Cool on the surface, sending a shiver across her skin. Warm beneath, urging her to burrow closer. Her nipples tightened and her breasts swelled in response. Her breathing quickened.
She rested her hands on his chest, an awkward location, but she wasn’t sure what else to do with them. Her body urged her to do crazy things, urgent things she hadn’t done in a long time. Her mind struggled to understand her powerful response to him. And not a damn thing was meshing.
“I’ve been wanting to thank you,” she stared at his throat, rambling to fill the silence, but her voice gave away her nerves with a soft, uneven quality, “for your kindness…you know…at the cemeter—“
He bent his head and kissed her. She pulled in a little gasp of surprise. Every muscle tensed. But then his mouth moved over hers. Gentle pressure, firm, slow kisses. She softened against him, and he welcomed her with the strength of his body. The same way he’d taken her in at the cemetery, with warmth, acceptance, affection.
Oh, he had nice lips. Full, warm, supple. And he knew what to do with them. How to entice, to seduce. Not at all like the hurried, greedy men she’d been with in the past. Rio gave. He gave with the slow suckle of her upper lip, kisses to the corner of her mouth, the slid of his tongue over her bottom lip.
A soft moan slipped out of her mouth. His arm slid lower on her back, pulled her hips tight against a generous erection that had the potential to unsettled her all over again. But his other hand sweetly caressed the nape of her neck, and his palm settled there.
With his fingers deep in her hair, body flush with hers, he tilted his head and opened his mouth. Cassie followed with a sigh. Without thought, without question. Met his tongue impatiently. Recklessly. Completely lost herself in a heady rush of lust, the heat of his mouth, the texture and talent of his tongue.
He tasted of tangy sea salt and male heat. And for the first time in years, she found herself hungry for more than just this, just kissing. So much more.
Excerpt from Intimate Enemies ©2012 by Joan Swan
She is on a quest for answers; answers that could just get her killed.
Six months after the mysterious yacht explosion that killed Cassie Christo’s mother and stepbrother, authorities still have no answers to the cause. Searching for closure, Cassie returns to her childhood home on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Mexico, where she launches her own investigation into the accident. She never expected to find an adversary in the man who had once touched her heart with kindness in her darkest moment.
Rio’s been fantasizing about reconnecting with Cassie for months. But not here and sure as hell not now. As an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he’s working the biggest sting operation in all of northern Mexico, and he definitely doesn’t have time for the wild attraction he feels for Cassie.
Not only is his cover on the line, so is his heart. Because as the end of a yearlong operation draws closer, Rio knows if he tells Cassie the truth about who and what he is, it won’t only jeopardize his mission, it may result in him losing her forever. And if he doesn’t, his lies and deception could get them both killed.
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A huge thank you to Joan for sharing a little bit about her writing journey as well as for the giveaway copies of Fever and Intimate Enemies.
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