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J.C. Conway Guest Post ~ Hearts in Ruin

Hearts in RuinEverything Andrea has worked for is being threatened … and she’s not going to just stand still and take it! Passion, lies, and betrayal clash in the wake of a plot to destroy an ancient truth. You’ll love Hearts In Ruin, the hot new romance from the pen of author J. C. Conway.


Andrea had one goal in life, a quiet career as a mainstream archaeologist—nothing more nothing less—and she’s one ancient secret away. When she is teamed with maverick prodigy Daniel Fuchs at his controversial pre-Clovis dig on tribal land, she soon realizes his wild theories may sidetrack her career. Her smartest move is to expose him and that is exactly what she plans to do. Except…he’s hot, sexy, and there is a chance his theories may be right.

As the dig deepens and outside forces mount, Andrea and Daniel find their careers and their shaky relationship on the brink of ruin. Who can she trust? To survive professionally and emotionally, Andrea must decide between what is expected and what she believes, because time is running out and the developers’ bulldozers are poised to level the site.

Delve into the mystery and excitement of an archaeological dig in the New Mexico desert and experience the drive, determination, and passion surrounding the quest to unlock the Paleolithic past in this contemporary, romantic suspense. Hearts In Ruin…no shovel required to join this adventure to discover an ancient truth!

Available at:

About the Author

J. C. Conway is a romance, science fiction and fantasy author, writing novels and short stories for adults, young adults and teens. Hearts in Ruin is his debut novel. He is a grand prize winner of the Yosemite Romance Writers Smooch contest. He will have short stories published this summer by The Colored Lens and Comets & Criminals. His writing passion began with a grade-school assignment to write anything he liked, which, at the time, included dinosaurs, robots, army heroes and alien invaders. Since then he’s added deep simmering passion, tense internal conflict and emotional dilemmas. To learn more, visit his website at, his Facebook page at, or follow him on Twitter at Also feel free to visit, the website dedicated to his debut novel.



Mate For Two

Good afternoon, all. I’m very excited to let everyone know that Mate For Two is now available for pre-order in digital copy. The paperback will be available in the spring of 2013.

Order it now for a 15% discount until November 27, 2012 at

Want to find out all the good stuff first? Find me on Facebook at

for information on new releases, sales and other random stuff!


Dealing with Writer’s Block

Finding a topic to write about is always quite difficult for me. No, don’t get me wrong. My head is full of people demanding that I write their story. They are so demanding, in fact, that sometimes they keep my up at night. But I digress.

After many minutes staring at a blank computer screen, with that blinking cursor taunting me, I finally thought I would write a blog post about…Writer’s Block! Fitting, right?

Now, many people ask me how I deal with writer’s block. There is really no simple answer to that question.

First, I am a heavy outliner. Sometimes my outlines are half the length of the book. I find that by outlining so much of the book, I rarely run into true writer’s block. I know what’s going to happen and when.

Outlining has given me a distinct advantage in my writing process. I used to try and write by the seat of my pants. It seems so much more romantic, doesn’t it? But I found I would write myself into a corner with no conceivable way out.  Without a way to believably way to advance the plot, without using the “it was all a dream” plot device, I ended up with multiple half-finished books cluttering up my hard drive.

Now that I outline my books, I can see those plot holes and fix them before I get into the nitty gritty.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally lose focus on whatever manuscript I’m working on at any given time. I get bored easily and sometimes the process of writing a believable story, developing characters and even advancing the story arc becomes overwhelming. My solution was to have multiple projects going on at the same time.

I used to try and only work on one story at a time, figuring that I would get that book done much faster. Recently, however, I’ve discovered that by having multiple works in progress can keep me productive. If one book is giving me problems I can simply switch projects.  Once I return to the original project, I am refreshed and ready to go.

For the odd time that I do truly run into writer’s block, I simply let things…simmer. The answer usually comes to me at the oddest times, like when I’m changing a diaper or cleaning the bathroom.

Naturally, my question today for authors is: how do you deal with writer’s block?

What’s In a Name? Naming Your Characters

One of the questions I get asked most often is, “how do you name your characters?”

The answer to that is…it depends. Sometimes I come across a name and I love it so much, I base a character around it. Caden, for example. Do I know anyone named Caden? Nope. But to me, the name Caden imparts a large, dark and dangerously handsome man but one who has a soft side.

Add Kane as the last name for alliteration (okay, not technically since it starts with a different letter) and you have…instant superhero! It reminded me so much of Clark Kent that I just had to make Caden Kane into a superhero.

Throw in Lana Lewis, this time with true alliteration, and BANG! Sci-fi superhero book. This, by the way, was exactly how my book SHI Guy came to be.

For the most part, though, there are a few hard and fast rules that I stick to.

Be different

There are stereotypical names out there for every genre. Why does everyone name their contractor hero Joe? Not that there’s anything wrong with the name Joe. I’m sure there are very nice men out there who go by Joe. But it’s commonly overused in the Romance industry. Try searching the internet for baby names and find something that speaks to you.

But not too different

As nice as it is to use uncommon or exotic names, I’m always cautious of giving my characters a name that is difficult to pronounce. Nothing pulls me out of a story more quickly than when I have to stop and wonder how to say a character’s name. Too me, a name like Eion (apparently the Irish version of John), throws me off. Now, if you’re Irish, or well-versed in Irish names, you probably know exactly how to pronounce Eion. The majority of my readers are not Irish and will probably never know how to say Eion.

If any of you know how to pronounce Eion, please do tell me. I still don’t know how to say this one!

If you feel you need to name your character by a potentially difficult name, please at least tell me how it’s pronounced.

The one exception that I make to this rule is if I’m reading or writing a sci-fi book about a race of human-like aliens. Then go for the most unpronounceable name you can make up. If you name your six foot, seven inch alien warrior ZERBTTZX and tell me it’s pronounced Bob, I’ll probably believe you. But see rule number one…Bob falls into that.

Consider the time period of your book

Please don’t name your 17th century duchess Tiffany. Or Brittney. Nuff said.

By the same token, please don’t name your contemporary heroine Gertrude. I know there are many lovely thirty-somethings that are running around with this name but honestly, if I see Gertrude, Bessy, Bertha or Nellie as a character in a contemporary romance, I’ll probably laugh. Every time I see it.

Be careful with the gender neutral names

I know there is a trend out there to give babies gender neutral names. Just as I know there are plenty of now stereotypical girls’ names that started off as boys names. In fact, I know several men by the names of Kelly, Lindsay, Shannon and Ashley. Just as I know women called Shawn, Riley and Bailey.

I’m enlightened, I swear. Name your child anything you want. Within reason, of course. Please don’t saddle your kid with the name Airplane Inspector. In fact, the heroine of one of my favorite series is name Riley.

Seriously though, I don’t want to spend the whole book trying to remember who the male is and who the female is.

Consider your characters

Even though my hero of SHI Guy, Caden, was based around a name, there have been plenty of times when I’ve agonized over what to name a character. In fact, I’m working on an outline for a new book and I can’t decide on a name for the villain, so I’ve pretty much substituted the words “that guy” for the villain.

For me, what happens most of the time is that I create a character. I study their flaws, their strengths and get to know them really well. And then I match the name to the character. If a hero is particularly aggressive, I will look for a very masculine, very assertive name.

J.R. Ward does a fabulous job of naming her heroes in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The big, strong, alpha, very aggressive males have names like Wrath. Actually, I could go on and on about J.R. Ward and everything else she does well, but I’ll stop the fangirl babble there because you probably don’t care.

Final thoughts

Much like naming children, careful thought needs to be put into what you name your characters. Maybe even more thought, since people can change their names and your characters can’t.

These rules are ones that I stick to and for me, they hard and fast. So my question to authors is: how do you go about naming your characters?

To readers: do you have a pet peeve with character names? If so, what are they?

My daughter has decided that she wants to go by the name of Super Fun and I told her that she was stuck for life with the name we gave her. So please don’t tell my children they can eventually change their names.

SHI Guy now available for pre-order!

I’m so excited to announce that SHI Guy is now available for pre-order at Bookstrand! Hurry, from now until Feb. 10th, you can get it for  10% off for only $4.05.

Superhero Incorporated hero Kaden Kane has been in love with the company geneticist for years but has been too afraid of rejection to act on his feelings. When she is kidnapped by his archenemy, it is up to him to save her. Once he has her in his arms, he realizes he can’t live without her anymore. Now all he has to do is convince her of his love. That and make her fall in love with him, which is far harder than any other assignment he’s ever tackled before.

Lana Lewis has always been desperately attracted to Kade. So attracted, she can barely form a sentence in his presence. When he rescues her from a mad man, she takes the opportunity to make her fantasies come true.  But now that she’s had Kade in her bed, can she live without him in her life? 

Story Excerpt

Brightly colored little dots swam before Kade’s eyes as the world tilted on its axis. “Breathe, sugar. Breathe.” Jesse hissed in his ear. Two more hands joined Jesse’s, one gripping his shoulder and one pressing squarely into the middle of his back. Since Jesse didn’t have three hands, he guessed Chris and Russ had joined in the effort to keep him on his feet. He certainly would have crumpled to the floor if it hadn’t been for them propping him up.

The president was talking, but all he could hear was the roar of blood rushing through his ears and Jesse still frantically ordering him to breathe. His heart was about to beat right out of his chest, his lungs screamed for oxygen, and he was pretty sure the pizza, beer, and salt ’n’ vinegars were going to make a repeat performance.

Damn it all to hell, he needed to pull his shit together and start concentrating on what he needed to do to get Lana out of whatever situation she was in, alive. He sucked in a breath and spoke up. “I’m sorry, sir, but could you start from the beginning again? I want to make sure we have all the details straight.”

Kade braced himself for a blistering reproof from his boss but was totally thrown by the sympathetic nod. Apparently the man knew about his feelings for Lana. And judging from the rest of the crowd gazing compassionately at him, so did the rest of Superhero Inc. Any other time, that would have bugged him. Right now he didn’t give a crap who knew that he had long carried an unrequited love for the scientist. All he needed to know was how to get her back alive and unharmed.

Steady on his feet now, Kade technically didn’t need the other three men to hold him up, but his friends remained where they were, silently offering their support. He was grateful for said support when another picture flashed up on the screen. His assigned villain, Helter Skelter, what a stereotype, leered at them from the screen. “Are you sure it’s Helter?” Kade asked, clearing his throat when his voice sounded as if he had swallowed a piece of sandpaper.

A video clip began playing on the screen. One of Helter Skelter’s known underlings had been caught on a security camera posted at an ATM. It showed him bundling a woozy Lana into a car and driving off. No one had paid the slightest attention to the faintly odd scene, probably because Lana had gone so willingly. “I would bet my balls that she was drugged somehow.” Russ growled menacingly, his hand still pressing solidly into Kade’s midback.

It was a mark of how dire the situation really was when no one commented on the state of Russ’s nuts. This time the president did shoot a dark glance their way and continued on as if Russ had never spoken. “As you all know, about a month ago all staff and heroes were chipped with a GPS tracker. They’ve not discovered the chip yet, and we’ve tracked her to a vacant lot where we suspect Helter Skelter has constructed an underground stronghold.”

Kade’s stomach was still churning, but he fought the bile rising up in his throat. He stared at the barren field, trying to locate the point of entry from the sketchy satellite pictures currently displayed on the screen. It was imperative they get her out of there as quickly as possible.

The president echoed his own train of thought when he carried on. “It is crucial that Dr. Lewis be extracted from the situation immediately. I don’t have to tell any of you about the sensitive nature of the information she has had access to. It could spell disaster should she be forced to divulge any valuable genetic, or even security, information.”

Fuck that. It would take a whole load of bad shit before Lana gave up any information. That was for sure. She was loyal to a fault, which was one of the reasons he’d fallen so damn hard for her, and she cared deeply about everyone at SHI. She would rather pull out her own nails than give the enemy information, valuable or not.

No, Kade wasn’t worried about the possibility of Lana giving up information. He was more worried about the way Helter would try to get the information out of her. An image of Lana’s fair skin bruised and bloody floated through his mind and took root. His stomach clenched and cramped painfully, forcing him to gag as his supper tried to make a quick exit through his throat. “Shit,” he muttered on another retch.

“Darling,” Chris whispered to Jesse. “You might want to step out of the way a little. I think our friend here is about to vomit.”

“Dude, I hate puke.” Russ was a master of stating the obvious. There was no one on the face of the earth who actually liked puke. But instead of stepping away, Russ slid his hand up Kade’s neck and pressed on a spot behind his ear. Instantly the urge to throw up vanished. “Better?”

Kade nodded his thanks, rolling his head from side to side in a desperate attempt to collect himself, and continued to listen with half an ear as a rescue plan was formed. The conversation flowed around him as he squinted at the satellite image again, trying to picture what kind of setup Helter might have underground.

He had destroyed Helter’s last known stronghold-lab only a few weeks ago. Burnt the fucker to the ground. Helter would have had time to construct only the basics of a new hideout. Unless this one been here all along as a backup.

“Kade and Jesse will go. You must assume it is a fully functional, fully secured facility. The two of you will have exactly thirty minutes to work out the specifics of the search-and-rescue plan before you leave. Make them count, gentlemen.”

Adult Excerpt

Kade was about ready to crawl out of his own skin. The drive from Helter’s stronghold back to his house on the SHI compound had been both heaven and hell. He would never forget the sounds of Lana’s orgasms. Her soft screams and low moans of climax were permanently etched into his memory, something he was sure he would relive every time he masturbated for the rest of his life.

His cock was so hard it hurt, and his balls were so tight he was pretty sure they were about to explode, but he was going to make good on the promises he’d made in the SUV.

Pushing on her shoulders lightly, he urged her to lie back on the mattress, letting her legs dangle over the side of the bed. He wedged his way farther between her legs, using his shoulders to keep her knees apart, and gazed at the sensual feast spread before him.

Her curls were neatly trimmed, revealing a dark pink pussy. The small pearl of her clitoris was swollen, standing proudly, and it flexed in a rapid series of contractions when he blew a warm breath across it. He kissed the soft skin on the inside of her thigh gently, sucking the skin between his lips. “God, Lana, you’re beautiful here. I can’t wait to see you come, baby.”

A soft moan rippled through the air, causing him to smile. Kissing his way up her thigh, he nuzzled his nose in her curls. He placed a small, almost-chaste kiss to her clit and tightened his hands on her hips when she made to buck her hips against his mouth. “I’ll make it good for you, I swear.”

Lana cupped her breasts and pinched her nipples through her shirt. “I wish you could be touching my breasts at the same time,” she moaned.

That, he could do. Kade smiled wickedly and raised his head to look at her. “Your wish is my command.” He’d been producing replicas of himself for so long that it hardly took any effort at all to summon one. A duplicate appeared next to him, and Kade directed him to sit behind Lana on the bed. “Sit up, baby.”

He rearranged her legs so that they draped over his shoulders as she sat up, and his duplicate scooted in behind her so that his chest was supporting her. For the first time in his life, he thanked his freaky genes that he could feel everything his copies did because, even though he was gripping her knees gently, he felt her soft breasts fill his palms. Kade looked up, and what he saw took his breath away. The only thing that would make it better would be if Lana was completely naked. A simple mental command, and the replica was stripping off her shirt. “This okay, love?”

Nodding, Lana met his eye boldly. “I’m surrounded by you. It’s wonderful, Kade.”

“Good.” He set the copy to tweaking and rolling her nipples gently, feeling the hard points between his own fingers. Satisfied that she wasn’t too weirded out by having both Kade and a replicate making love to her, he turned his focus back to the situation at hand and tongued her pussy in a long lick from the bottom of her dripping slit to the top, stopping just under her little clit, which was standing proudly, demanding his attention . He swirled his tongue around her clit and kissed it once more before drawing it between his lips and suckling.

“Oh, Kade. Kade,” she cried. He kept his mouth busy as he looked up the length of her body and saw her arching her neck, trying to kiss his duplicate. Another command, and he suddenly felt her lips on his as if they were actually kissing.

Her hands dropped to his head, and she threaded her fingers in his hair, pulling him closer even as she arched her back to kiss the other Kade passionately. Kade wished that it was his mouth she was feeding her moans and whimpers into and then felt pretty stupid. Because that would mean he was jealous of himself, and that would be so fucked up.

Kade turned his attention back to the situation at hand and increased the suction on her straining bud, reveling in the little moans muffled by his replica’s mouth. The muscles in her thighs jumped, and she tightened her legs around his head as she arched her hips into his mouth.

He dove in deeper so that his nose was pressed firmly to her curls, and her legs stiffened so much she was nearly strangling him. It was worth it when he felt the tight bundle of her clit begin to jump wildly against his lips and tongue. A short scream vibrated down her entire body as she came, her sweet, feminine cream flooding his chin. He lapped up as much of her cream as he could, wallowing in her taste and scent.

He could feel her teeth as she bit down on the replica’s bottom lip. Laying his head on the inside of her thigh, he concentrated on holding in his need to thrust himself deep into her and pound away. But, Lord, he wanted her. Kade’s dick was slapping against his lower abs with every breath he heaved in, leaving a wet trail in its wake.

Cool fingers sifted through his hair, drawing his gaze up to Lana’s. “Kade?”

“Yeah, babe?” He knew his voice was deeper, rougher than usual, but he was fighting the urge to tumble her onto her back and ease into the slick, wet heat that was staring him right in the face.

New Year’s Resolutions

I dread this time of year, I really do. Making those resolutions seems so daunting to me. It’s like saying that everything I’ve done all year has not been good enough. And I never look forward to my eventual failure…I usually last about a week and then I give up.

This year, however, I’m actually looking forward to my New Year’s Resolution. This year, I am resolved to write a minimum of three more books. Sounds easy, right? Not so much, at least for me. I work in the health care field and I have two young children who need to be fed, watered, bathed and clothed (imagine that?). But at least this one is much more fun to follow than going to the gym or going on a diet, right?

How do you feel about New Year’s Resolutions? Love or hate them? What are your resolutions for 2012?

Happy Holidays

I just wanted to say happy holidays! This morning my two bundles of joy ripped into their presents andhad them all open in fifteen minutes flat! But what fun they had.

For my husband’s gift, I thougt I’d go on a little naughtier side this year, and promised to write a book geared toward the male audience with heavy input from him.

Stay tuned…I have a wicked guest post coming up this Tuesday and every Tuesday through January in an effort to start the new year right!