23 January 2014

Author Interview, Book Excerpt, Giveaway: Join bestselling author Terri Osburn at Anchor Island today!


Terri, welcome to Fab Fantasy Fiction. May I get you a cup of coffee, tea, or perhaps some hot chocolate? It's pretty cold and with all the snow from yesterday's storm, I know I'm counting the days till spring. Not just because I'm looking for green grass and daffodils, but because the third book in your Anchor Island series will be released in April. I can't wait!

Thank you for having me! As a warm weather gal who hates winter, trust me when I say I'm just as ready for spring as you are. I'm anti-snow!

Let's chat about your series, writing, and your forthcoming book - oh, and anything else you might want to focus on….

Happy to! I write the Anchor Island series, which are small town contemporary stories set on Anchor Island at the base of the Outer Banks. (Completely based on the very real Ocracoke Island, NC.) In book one, MEANT TO BE, we met Joe Dempsey and Beth Chandler. Beth was engaged to Joe's brother, Lucas, but they weren't quite right for each other. Beth and Joe were. Needless to say, complications ensued. BUT, never fear for poor, brokenhearted Lucas. He gets his own happily ever after in book two, which is my latest release UP TO THE CHALLENGE. My fun little island is populated with lots of fun and quirky characters, a delectable sweet shoppe, the Hava Java coffee shop (must have a coffee shop!), and Lola's Island Arts & Crafts. And we can't forget Dempsey's Bar & Grill, owned by Joe and Lucas's parents and a major hub for the whole gang.

(EVW) As you know I love your Anchor Island series, and would be happy to move to that island. However, I might need a job there. Is the restaurant hiring?
(TO) As it happens, Dempsey's Bar & Grill is a bit understaffed as UP TO THE CHALLENGE opens, but alas, business is down so there are no staffing options available at the moment. However, they do need someone to help stir up buzz for the island. I bet you could do that.

(EVW) Seriously, could you share with us a little about the real background of your fictional Anchor Island? I know you've set it in the Ocracoke Islands, but what inspired that? Is it a favorite vacation spot?
(TO) I moved to the southeast tip of Virginia nearly 10 years ago and a trip down to the Outer Banks is one of the first things I did. I fell in love with the whole place. There's just a laid back attitude that hovers in the air, while at the same time you know you're on this skinny barrier reef with the water pounding at both sides, so there's also an element of power that lingers. I visited Ocracoke Island further down the coast in 2007 and the moment I drove my car onto the ferry, I was entranced. It's as if time stopped. No strip mall. No franchise restaurants. No cell service. It's life at its simplest and the place stayed with me. When I got the idea for MEANT TO BE back in 2008, the hero walked into my brain, said he lived on Ocracoke, and told me his predicament (he was in love with his brother's girl.) It wasn't until 2012 that I changed the name to Anchor Island to give myself a little more leeway with what I could do with the place.

(EVW) As you know I loved both book one - MEANT TO BE - and book two - UP TO THE CHALLENGE. Your stories just drew me in and I loved all your secondary characters, particularly the owner of that fabulous gift shop. Will we see more of her in the future?
(TO) Lola does make an appearance in book three, HOME TO STAY, and will likely play a larger role in book four, MORE TO GIVE, which is due out in fall of this year. She's one of the secondary characters I get asked about the most. I love that readers fell in love with my wise little island fairy, as I like to think of her.

(EVW) Could you share a little about book three, HOME TO STAY? I know I've been hoping for Willow's story since book one (and Randy's too)…
(TO) Love to. Willow, who goes by Will, has lots of secrets. Her past isn't very pretty, and there are demons she's working to outrun. Well, one demon in particular. But Randy is a tough guy to resist. The man is a complete Teddy Bear, he just happens to be roughly the size of a grizzly. These two were very reluctant to take the spotlight, but once they did, the show was on. I loved writing their book, and I hope the readers love it, too. Oh, and we also keep up with Joe and Beth as well as Sid and Lucas. In fact, there are some major life changes for Joe and Beth in this book. I think the readers will enjoy watching their love story progress.

(EVW) Terri, your writing has just taken off and you've recently decided to make it your full-time profession. Could you inspire us with a little bit of your story?
(TO) I did. I quit the day job in December to write full time. If you'd have told me this would be possible a year ago, I'd have laughed and waved the words away. But sometimes the planets do align and dreams do come true. I've been reading romance novels for about 30 years (I started in the womb, obviously) and have wanted to write one since high school. But life happens and computers were expensive, blah blah blah. Jump to 2007. I'd met some other readers online who also wanted to write. I waded into the water very slowly, but had wonderful friends who pushed and encouraged me to keep going. In 2012 I finaled in a major contest for unpublished manuscripts, landed an agent three months later, then signed with Montlake Romance about three months after that.

It was a whirlwind couple of years, and after signing another contract at the end of 2013, the deadlines come fast and furious and the wind is still whirling!

(EVW) I love following you on Facebook as you're always sharing fun graphics and stories. In today's world, it seems like social media is a driving force behind a writer's success. What can your fans do to help? Do you have a Street Team?
(TO) Thank you so much for following me. I love chatting with readers anywhere I can find them. Luckily, I've been using social media a good bit since 2007 so at least I was prepared to put my experience to work once the books were released. But it's so hard! I always feel like I should be doing more, but heaven only knows what. I have to write these books or there's nothing to talk about.

I do not have a street team only because I didn't figure I had enough fans yet to create one. But I'm very much considering starting one this summer. Once I feel like I've got this working at home thing down and can handle the organization of it, I'll put out the call. The best things readers can do for any author is tell their friends about the books. Word of mouth will always be the best marketing tool there is. As a reader, I love to tell everyone I can about the latest awesome book I've found. (Which would be The Rosie Project. Not a romance but truly amazing. Highly recommend!) And there are always reviews. They help boost a book and get the word out, but I never want readers to feel like they HAVE to do one. They aren't my favorite things to write (ironically) so I never want a reader to think I'd be mad if they don't post one. No worries there.

(EVW) What writer or writers most influenced you growing up? Who's on your bookshelf now?
(TO) As a kid, I started with condensed versions of classics like Little Women and Hound of the Baskervilles. That last one got me into mysteries, but at some point in middle school I found a romance. Have no idea how or where since no one in my household read them. But as soon as I read the first one, I was hooked for life. The authors I devoured and still have on my keeper shelves are Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, Dorothy Garlock and LaVyrle Spencer. I credit McNaught with getting me through high school alive, and if I could write books half as well as LaVyrle Spencer, I'd be the happiest writer ever.

Later I found Nora Roberts, Eloisa James (whom I love), Jo Beverly, Mary Balogh, Mary Jo Putney, Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. And because I'll happily plug some of the fab authors I started with back in 2007, Tessa Dare, Maggie Robinson, Courtney Milan, Carey Baldwin, Manda Collins, Tiffany Clare, and Sara Lindsey.

Thank you so much for letting me hang with you today. I'd love to hear when your readers picked up their first romance and who was their first keeper? What author did they fall head over heels for and read her (or his!) books like candy?
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BOOK SPOTLIGHT

Book 2, An Anchor Island Novel
Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 1477809686
October 22, 2013

Opposites attract in a sexy tale of unexpected love

When the Dempsey patriarch suffers a heart attack, Lucas Dempsey steps up to keep the doors of the family restaurant open. The proverbial prodigal son returns home to Anchor Island—putting family first and his quest to make partner at his high-powered law firm on hold. Sporting a bruised ego after losing his fiancée to his older brother, Lucas would rather walk on glass than spend six weeks within spitting distance of the happy couple. But family duty calls. And that duty includes working side-by-side with a tantalizing spitfire intent on driving him mad.

Tough-as-nails boat mechanic Sid Navarro is happy to trade her tools for an apron to help the Dempseys in their time of need. That is, until she realizes she’ll be working alongside Lucas, the man she’s loved from afar since she first laid eyes on him in high school. Lucas could charm the paint off a schooner, but Sid knows she doesn’t fit his girl-next-door type. To show her true feelings would mean certain heartbreak, but the temptation of Lucas in her bed might be more than she can resist.

After a rocky start punctuated by verbal barbs and exasperating arguments, things heat up between them—big-time—but their steamy affair turns more than casual in a matter of weeks. Sid’s life has become the dream she’s always wanted, and Lucas has fallen hard for the last woman he ever expected to love.

But this affair has an end-date, as Lucas must return to his life and career in the big city, a place where Sid would never fit in. When the end comes earlier than expected, walking away turns out to be a challenge neither of them wants to win.

Up to the Challenge is a sexy, fast-paced, romantic story of family, island life, and finding love in unexpected places.

Purchase on Amazon (Kindle eBook)
Purchase on Amazon (Print)

Read Emsy's review of the Anchor Island series
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GIVEAWAY


One winner will receive the UP TO THE CHALLENGE swag pack that includes a signed book, an Anchor Island tote bag, as well as bookmarks and pens.

THE GIVEAWAY QUESTION
Terri would like to know "when you picked up their first romance and who was your first keeper? What author did you fall head over heels for and read her (or his!) books like candy?" Make sure to submit your answer as the giveaway category suggests. Good luck!

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EXCERPT FROM 
UP TO THE CHALLENGE BY TERRI OSBURN

Lucas turned to see Sid Navarro coming down the hall. The pint-sized boat mechanic had been on the fringe of his reality since high school, but he wouldn’t say they were friends. Not like she and Joe were. In fact, Lucas couldn’t remember ever having a real conversation with the woman.

Every time he saw her, she was either snarling at someone, or covered in grease and cursing a blue streak. She had to be the least ladylike chick he’d ever met.

“How’s it going?” Sid said, joining him at the machine. He expected an assault of diesel fumes but instead caught the scent of . . . watermelon?

“Hi.”

Chocolate brown eyes met his for a brief moment, then turned to the display of junk food. “You getting something?”

“Trying to.” He pulled his eyes from the smooth patch of olive skin exposed under her ponytail. “The machine is holding my chips for ransom, and I’m not paying. Guess I’ll go without.”

“I wouldn’t say that.” Sid stepped forward and pressed her ear to the side of the worthless box of bolts.

As she moved to listen at another spot, Lucas asked, “What are you—” but she shushed him with one finger in front of his nose. His mouth clamped shut.

Pulling back, Sid smacked the side of the machine with the butt of her hand, causing his chips to drop into the tray. He’d smacked the damn thing twice and gotten nothing.

“How did you do that?”

Sid shrugged. “I’ve got a way with machines. Are those the right chips?”

“Yeah.” Lucas pushed the door to retrieve the snack as Sid pulled a wallet from her back pocket. “You don’t carry a purse?”

She looked at him as if he’d asked if she had meth for sale. “Do I look like a purse carrier to you?”

He took in the hoodie, cargo pants, and work boots. “Guess not.”

“You good with this working together thing?” she asked, falling into step beside him, after retrieving her candy bar from the drawer. Which fell on the first try.

“Fine with me. You probably know the staff better than I do. That should help until I get my bearings and the staff realizes I’m in charge.”

Sid stopped. “You’re in charge?”

Lucas crossed his arms, nearly smashing his chips. “It is my family’s business.”

She crossed her arms, mimicking his stance. Her head didn’t reach his shoulder but she still managed to look like a badass. Must have been the boots. “I’m covering for Patty, who is as much in charge, if not more so, than your dad. So you may be in charge of everyone else, but you’re not in charge of me.”

Lucas debated how to handle the situation. He was used to being in charge, leading the team. Having a coleader would be something new. Running a restaurant wasn’t the same as running a legal team, and deep down, he knew he needed her. He could always take the upper hand later if necessary.

“Equals?”

“That’s right.”

“We’ll see.” Not the strongest comeback, but for a tiny woman, Sid had a steady gaze.

“For a lawyer, you suck at this.” Sid started walking again, then turned back to face him. “I hope you tend bar better than you argue, or I’m going to have to cover the whole damn place.”

With that she disappeared into the hospital room, leaving Lucas in the hall with a bag of crushed chips and a bruised ego. Six weeks in hell had officially begun.

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ABOUT TERRI


Although born in the Ohio Valley, Terri Osburn found her true home between the covers of her favorite books. Classics like The Wizard of Oz and Little Women filled her childhood, and the genre of romance beckoned during her teen years. While Osburn went on to gain a degree in business administration, she couldn’t shelve her love of love stories. In 2007, she decided to put pen to paper and write her own. Just five years later, she was named a 2012 finalist for the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Award. The author of the Anchor Island contemporary romance series, Osburn resides in Virginia with her daughter, an assortment of pets, and her bookshelves full of keepers. To learn more about this author and her work, visit her website at www.terriosburn.com.

Keep in touch with Terri


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EXTRAS

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ADD THE 
ANCHOR ISLAND SERIES BY TERRI OSBURN 
TO YOUR BOOKSHELF


Meant to Be (An Anchor Island Novel Book 1)

Montlake Romance (Amazon Publishing)
ISBN 9781612183084
Price $4.99
Publication Date: May 21, 2013

Sometimes the next best thing is what you’ve been looking for all along…
Beth Chandler has spent her whole life pleasing others. She went to law school to make her grandparents happy. She agreed to marry her workaholic boyfriend, Lucas, to make him happy. And, despite her fear of boats, she took a ferry to see Lucas’s parents just to make them happy. 

While suffering through a panic attack on the ferry, Beth meets a tall, sexy stranger who talks her down from her fear—and makes her heart flutter in the process. Soon, she has a new reason to panic: her gorgeous, blue-eyed rescuer is Lucas’s brother, Joe. But could she ever leave her fiancé for his own brother…even if Lucas is more focused on making partner than on making their relationship work…and even if Joe turns out to be everything she never knew she wanted? 

Filled with excitement and delight, Meant to Be is the story of a young woman torn between urban pressures and small-town pleasures.



Up to the Challenge (An Anchor Island Novel Book 2)
Montlake Romance (Amazon Publishing)
ISBN 1477809686
Price $4.99
Publication Date: October 22, 2013


Opposites attract in a sexy tale of unexpected love 

When the Dempsey patriarch suffers a heart attack, Lucas Dempsey steps up to keep the doors of the family restaurant open. The proverbial prodigal son returns home to Anchor Island—putting family first and his quest to make partner at his high-powered law firm on hold. Sporting a bruised ego after losing his fiancée to his older brother, Lucas would rather walk on glass than spend six weeks within spitting distance of the happy couple. But family duty calls. And that duty includes working side-by-side with a tantalizing spitfire intent on driving him mad. 

Tough-as-nails boat mechanic Sid Navarro is happy to trade her tools for an apron to help the Dempseys in their time of need. That is, until she realizes she’ll be working alongside Lucas, the man she’s loved from afar since she first laid eyes on him in high school. Lucas could charm the paint off a schooner, but Sid knows she doesn’t fit his girl-next-door type. To show her true feelings would mean certain heartbreak, but the temptation of Lucas in her bed might be more than she can resist. 

After a rocky start punctuated by verbal barbs and exasperating arguments, things heat up between them—big-time—but their steamy affair turns more than casual in a matter of weeks. Sid’s life has become the dream she’s always wanted, and Lucas has fallen hard for the last woman he ever expected to love. 

But this affair has an end-date, as Lucas must return to his life and career in the big city, a place where Sid would never fit in. When the end comes earlier than expected, walking away turns out to be a challenge neither of them wants to win. 

Up to the Challenge is a sexy, fast-paced, romantic story of family, island life, and finding love in unexpected places.


Pre-Order Now

Home to Stay (An Anchor Island Novel Book 3)
Montlake Romance (Amazon Publishing)
ISBN
Price $4.99
Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Willow Parsons’s two new best friends are getting married, putting her squarely on the sidelines of romance—which suits her just fine. After the nightmarish situation she escaped from, featuring the ultimate Mr. Wrong, she is more than happy to spend her days slinging drinks in Dempsey’s Bar & Grill, and her nights alone. But her Anchor Island refuge has just one catch: muscle-bound charmer Randy Navarro. 


Everyone in town knows that Randy, owner of the local fitness club, is a giant teddy bear. Everyone, it seems, except for Willow. He’s convinced that her avoidance is more than just playing hard to get, and is determined to uncover the secrets that shadow her lovely eyes. But when old fears are dragged into the light, can Randy get Willow to stay and fight for their love…or will she take flight, leaving him and Anchor Island behind? 

Home to Stay is a charming, romantic tale about following your heart to find where you belong. 


Pre-order HOME TO STAY from Amazon


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VIRTUAL VISIT TO OCRACOKE ISLAND 


Travel & Tourism for Ocracoke Island

DanTravelling tour of Ocracoke Island


Ocracoke & Cape Lookout Lighthouses



Aerial tour of Ocracoke Island