Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Timeless Desire Blog Tour- Sarah Ballance

Welcome Sarah, tell us something about yourself.

Sarah and her husband of over fourteen years live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they're asleep.  She often jokes that she writes to be around people who will listen to her, but her characters aren't much better than her kids.  Fortunately, her husband is quite supportive, having generously offered to help her research "the good parts."  She's never had to ask twice.

Q. What did you do when you received your first book contract?
A. It was my first manuscript. My first reaction was that it was a mistake, and I continued thinking they'd WTF themselves and change their minds all the way until the book released. I was stunned beyond  belief, but that time of my life was surreal for more than one reason. That first manuscript, DOWN IN FLAMES, contains a surprise pregnancy. A few days after I submitted the story to Noble, my husband and I found out we were expecting our sixth child. Considering I'd had my tubes tied, it was a HUGE surprise. It turns out my book was released just two weeks after I had my little girl, which will forever link these two unlikely "births" in my mind. (And I still don't know which of the two shocked me more!)

HC. Wow!

Q. We all love romance. What in your mind defines a great romance novel?
A. Chemistry! It's one element that applies no matter what the genre, heat content, or setting. Whether they're ready to kill one another, sworn enemies, or want one another so badly they can't stand it, that spark wins me over every single time. As a reader, when the chemistry isn't there it doesn't matter what else is going on in the story … I'm bored, and I'm done.

Q. Do you ever suffer from writer's block? How do you cope?
A. It took me years to figure this one out. When I stall, I skip ahead in the story and write whichever scene is loudest in my head. This seems to accomplish two things. One, it frees me to write without being so particular about the words, because I know I'll be able to edit when I get to the scene in sequence—a particularly effective technique when a scene "nags" at me and I desire to get it down before I forget something important.
Second, it has the effect of letting me get to know my characters better. A good example of this occurred in the opening chapter of FAMILIAR LIGHT. I really struggled with how Bridger would react to Laney in the first scene, but when I skipped ahead to the second scene, which is from his point of view, I developed a feel for his character. From there, it was easy to go back and finish what I "blocked."

Q. Book pirating is a big issue at the moment. Can you tell our readers how this impacts on you and other authors?
A. For the vast majority of authors, pirating literally takes food off the table. The small percentage of authors (not me) who can live off their royalties don't deserve to have their work stolen. The rest of us? We don't deserve to be robbed either, and we suffer for it.

Q. What are your current projects?
A. I'm finishing work on TIDE OF LIES, the novel-length sequel to FAMILIAR LIGHT. Then I'm back to my new romantic suspense series, Packing Heat. The first title, UNFORGIVEN, just released in September. Readers of that book will recognize Maverick as he takes the lead in book two, working title LAST CALL, but the stories do not have to be read in order so feel free to jump in wherever the mood strikes! :c)
Q. Can you tell us a little about your latest release?

Seven years of longing comes down to just one night.

Laney Kent returns to Barrier Shoals hoping to reunite with her first love, Bridger. She anticipates his reception might be chilly, but what she doesn't expect is to become the victim of a deadly obsession … or that this night with Bridger could be her last.

Bridger Jansen tangled a lot of sheets trying to forget about Laney, but his heart knew what the rest of him refused to admit: he could love no one else. He's determined not to forgive her for leaving him without explanation, but when he fails to protect her from a viscous attack, the person he can't forgive just might be himself.

"Can I help you?" The gruff question trickled through the cavernous space like water leaking through pipes. He seemed to materialize from the shadows as he strode toward her, the rise of heat from the concrete floor keeping him just out of focus.
But her heart knew.
She swallowed a hard knob of regret. "Bridger?"
He couldn't have heard her—not with the way she clung to his name, as if saying it out loud would be to lose another piece of him. But his step faltered, and the recognition in that interrupted cadence brought the burn of tears to her eyes.
No regrets.
She stood, trembling, as the fifty feet between them dwindled to ten. When he was close enough for her to make out the stubble lining his jaw, his legs stopped moving, but his gaze tore over her. The impassioned glare was without direction, a harsh reflection of the hard lines edging his face. The warm brown eyes she remembered were now a bitter shade of espresso.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
The words, tense with fury, sent her backpedaling against the concrete wall. Too late, she realized she no longer knew this man. They were kids when they'd parted ways, too naïve to realize they'd never keep those breathless promises. At least she'd been that way. His tone suggested otherwise.
They were alone in the deeply shadowed belly of Barrier Shoals Light. And for the first time within those walls, Laney tasted fear.
"Was I supposed to wait for you?" he asked.
Seven years had passed since her weak-kneed promise to return to him. She didn't have an answer for that.
He took another step, boxing her against the curvature of the rock. He stood close—so close, she had to tip her head to meet his eyes.
And she summoned courage to do it.
"Was I?" he asked, his voice softer now. He leaned closer. The stifling heat morphed into sexual innuendo, his skin slick with sweat, daring her to touch.
She was one careless thought away from taking him up on that unspoken suggestion. Her fingers itched to claw through his hair, to draw him closer until the distance between them evaporated. Memories of frantically grasping for purchase against the stone wall besieged her, curling fear into boundless adrenaline. "Did you?"
Her words coaxed a slow grin from his sensual mouth. "Was I supposed to?"
Wait for me, Bridger I'll be back.
The thought came from nowhere, peeling away seven years to their last night together. He'd held her, caressed the hair from her face, and kissed every salty inch of her skin. Stay. A single word. A plea from a man who asked for nothing—and yet owned it all. Every piece of her was his.
She'd just taken too long to realize it. And those eyes . . . . They bore into her, dark with the kind of passion that made anger futile and sex magnificent.
She remembered the latter well.
"Can we talk?" she asked. Lame. But in that moment, all that mattered.
He ran his index finger along her jaw—a slow, teasing exploration he abandoned in short order to toy with a strand of her hair. Dipping his head so his lips grazed her ear, he said, "To think I have anything to say is to assume I still give a damn, Laney. And I think I left that behind a long time ago."
His words were so much at odds with his actions she failed to reconcile the two. Lack of awareness might also be blamed on the hand curling at her nape, the gentle touch drawing her against his chest. Or the heat of his mouth lingering on her flesh, following the coy path his finger trailed across her jaw. Every nuance of touch electrified her, each moment captured in a single thud of her heartbeat.
He stood so close she saw only snapshots of memories, each one triggering another landslide of emotion. His mouth closing over her skin. His fingers laced through hers. That wicked grin he wore as he held her captive with his touch, her wrists pressed overhead against the sand. The dark shadow of his profile blotting out the dance of moonlight on water, their heavy breaths intoxicated with salt air and lust . . . and a promise she failed to keep.
"If I were less of a man," he said, "I'd tell you what you wanted to hear. We'd have a good time, and then I'd walk. Let you spend the next few years wondering what the hell you did to lose me."
"But no one deserves that. Not even you." His tight smile brought hard lines to his jaw, but no trace of forgiveness. Holding fast to her gaze, he stepped away, taking twenty degrees of Fahrenheit with him.
Laney shivered. He may have put distance between them, but the narrow darkness in his eyes clutched her throat. She'd mistaken the flat, slated glare for fury, but it wasn't anger . . . it was hurt. She'd hurt him by not coming back. And that was far worse than his wrath.
"You should go."
She opened her mouth and closed it. Every reason she counted for coming back begged her to stay and stand up for what they once had, but there was one thing missing from her fight: a leg upon which to stand.
So, with nothing left to say, she went.

H.C. Another great read.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Yes! Every week one of my blog subscribers wins their choice of a $10 gift certificate to Noble Romance or a $5 gift certificate to Amazon. For automatic eligibility in each week's random.org drawing, simply subscribe by email. You'll find the subscription box at the top of the left hand column and full details available right here: http://sarahballance.wordpress.com/weekly-giveaways/

Thanks so much for allowing me to visit here for the day. It's always a pleasure (I am not-so-secretly hoping some of HC's prowess will rub off on me, LOL!)

H.C. Now I'm blushing :-)

Q. Where can we find you on the net?

H.C. Thanks for dropping by.

Please leave a comment  with your contact email to go into the draw for the grand prize. Sarah has a Noble Romance Gift certificate for a random comment.

Then click on the tour logo button to continue the tour.


  1. Hi Sarah,
    Having seven kids of my own who are grown now (thank God) I appreciate the fact that you have time to write. I love the excerpts I've been reading and look forward to reading your books. Thanks for the opportunity.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  2. The excerpt was great! When did you first start reading romances?

    amysmith98 @ gmail.com

  3. @Carol, Thank you so much. And you have NO idea how much I love hearing survivor stories! LOL. These kids... :c)

    @Amy! I used to buy a Harlequin romance every week at the grocery store when I went shopping with my mom. I guess I was 12 or so when I started, and that lasted until I was 15 or 16. When I met my H, I abandoned the printed romances for my real life version, and actually didn't read another romance until after our fifth child was born when I started writing. Gosh, that was a good 15 years! LOL.

  4. Sarah,

    What a sweet story about the birth of your 6th child and your first book. I let out a big AWWWWW.

    Loved the excerpt and look forward in reading more.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. I had to giggle about how your six kids are perfectly adorable when they are asleep. I don't have any kids of my own, but my best friend has generously shared her 5 with me for the last 23 years & I've thought the same thing about them more times than I can count. She spread hers out quite a bit, so I've been through the teenage years with two, one is going to be 14 in a few months & the last two are 6 & 4. I have to admit, that it's nice being able to turn them back over to her & get a good nights sleep.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

  6. Hi again! Wonderful excerpt! I cant wait to read this book. It sounds great! You have six kids? Wow! How ever do you find the time to write? You are very talented! ;) My aunt just moved in with her 6 year old and i cant keep up. Hes like a little tornado. :( lol

  7. Great excerpt! Also, I never thought of skipping ahead to beat writer's block - I usually just set the book aside. Thanks for the tip :)

  8. Great blurb and excerpt. Thanks for sharing . It sure grabs your attention. Gabrielle meingee@yahoo.com

  9. Hi! Great post! Your books sound great! Cant wait to read them. Thanks for sharing! (I left a comment earlier, if you get two from me, sorry!)

  10. @Tracey, I can assure you that was NOT the sound I let out, LOL, but I'm glad you enjoyed the story. (Truth is stranger than fiction - no one has to tell me that twice! LOL.)

    @Kathryn, LOL! In some ways it's easier when they're not yours (b/c you can give 'em back) but it's also harder to tolerate them at times b/c you know it's just a matter of time before you can give 'em back, LOL. Mine are 13, 11, 8, 5, 4, and 18m. I can't tell you how happy I am #6 arrived in our 2-3 year age range difference and not, like, 10 years later. I'd DIE. (Although we did have #4 and #5 on purpose so the youngest would be close together. Sigh.)

    @Shadow, they are the REASON I write. Schlep through a 14 hour day homeschooling and playing referee, and my world where characters are killing one another and having torrid affairs is major vacay time! LOL.

    @Meet, it works surprisingly well. I had a friend who likes to sit and stare at walls during bouts of block (as did I, LOL) try it and it worked for her as well. Which means there might be something to it, or I travel in circles with like minded, similarly odd folk. LOL.

    @Gabrielle, thank you so much!

    @Shadow, I see you sneaking in here again. LMAO! (Sometimes I forget when I post on a moderated blog. LOL.)

  11. LOL! Hi, Sarah! Hats off to you for not only having a perfectly lovely family (uh, most kids are way cuter in their sleep ;)) but also writing amazing stories, too! The parenting thing is a full time job, I tell you! How old are yours? Thanks for taking the time to share and hang out!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  12. Thanks for the tip of the hat, LOL! I appreciate your kind words. My kiddos are 13, 11, 8, 5, 4, and almost 18m. ARGH. LOL. But as of this moment, five are still asleep. Peace reigns. LOL. Thanks for commenting!

  13. Thanks to everyone for your comments! Email addresses will be entered into the Kindle and overall prize giveaways.

    Random.org has selected Shadow as the winner of the $5 Noble Romance gift card for commenting on this post. Congratulations, Shadow!