Hard to Hold Release Day!!!

I cannot believe this day is finally here – HARD TO HOLD is released!!!

JAKE IS HERE!!!!!

Maximum danger.
Maximum desire.
And holding on for dear life…

The Special Ops hero feared nothing
-until he met a woman too hot to hold…

Lt. Jake Hansen has survived some of the riskiest missions known to man. But now the wounded Navy SEAL faces his toughest job yet: Smuggling Dr. Isabelle Markham out of Africa without triggering an international incident. Not easy to do when the gorgeous hostage happens to be a senator’s daughter —and about as easy to resist as an oasis in the desert…

If it weren’t for Jake, Isabelle would still be halfway across the world, where rebel forces left her for dead. The Special Ops warrior may have saved her life, but she doesn’t need him to protect her now. Tell that to the ruggedly handsome hunk in full battle fatigues who’s just been assigned Isabelle’s personal bodyguard. Close quarters aside, Isabelle won’t let Jake anywhere near her heart — until danger throws them together again…and nothing in the jungles of wildest Africa could prepare them for a passion this wild. This crazy. This hot….

***

I am not here right now –  as you’re reading this, I’m at the doctor with my daughter.  Fitting, since I began this writing journey with my daughter and doctors, so hey.  We’re getting there, but it’s been a long month.

But it’s all good because I’ve got a lot here for you to do AFTER you run out and by Jake’s book.  I’ve added a ton of new info about HARD TO HOLD to the site – there’s a military glossary and a list of the characters you’ll meet in HARD TO HOLD, as well as maps of the places in the book.

Tonight, I’m chatting at Blog Talk radio – here’s the link for you to listen live, 8:30 PM EST.  If you can’t make it, there will be a link to a podcast up later on.  Jake’s being interviewed over at Greta’s blog – I Don’t Want To Wait, I Want the Book Now.  I’m also being interviewed at Loves Romances and More and I”ll put up a link to that when it’s up.

There’s also a new, juicy excerpt of TOO HOT TO HOLD up as well, because now we get to start that countdown in earnest.

Dude, seriously, Jake is freakin’ here.  And I’m just going to come home and hold my kid and stare at the book…and smile.

Hard to Hold FAQs

Here are a few questions I’ve gotten about the Hard to Hold trilogy – they’ll end up being a part of my FAQs page after this for future reference!

Is the trilogy stand-alone?  

Yes…and no.  Absolutely, you can pick up any of the books and get a complete reading experience that resolves the main hero / heroine relationship.  However, I love my subplots, and they do continue – Hard To Hold continues a subplot into Too Hot To Hold, and then a new subplot in Too Hot To Hold continues in Hold On Tight.  So, for the peak reading experience, I think it’s best to read the books in the order I wrote them.  And, of course, you need to read all of them.  And then buy multiple copies and give them as gifts to everyone you know.  What?  Books make great gifts…buy a book, save the world!  Or a SEAL, as it may be.

Were any of these books harder to write than the others?

Too Hot To Hold was the most difficult for me to get a handle on.  I’ve been told by my very patient editor that often the second book in a continuing trilogy is enough to make an author want to beat her head against the wall.  Okay, she said it a lot nicer than that, but still.

Do you picture celebrities when you’re creating your characters?  Real people you know?

Neither.  Especially not the real people because, hi, that’s weird.  It’s like when people want their names used as the main character in my books and no way, cannot do that.  I can picture my characters clearly in my head, well enough to describe them to you, but with enough left to the imagination that you can create your own picture in your head.

Did you pick the titles for your trilogy?

Sort of, kind of one of the titles.  Ish.  How’s that for an answer?  Not what you were looking for?  Okay, here goes.  

I’ve been obsessed with the title, Hard To Hold, for quite a while now.  I think I titled two manuscripts that will never see the light of day that.  In fact, when Sydney wrote her first proposal, Unleashing The Storm was actually called Hard To Hold.  Of course, once it was written in the contract like that, no one ever referred to the book like that again and we came up with Unleashing The Beast very quickly (and Beast was quickly vetoed and replaced with Storm.) But I digress.

So when I sold the SEAL series, Book 1 was Harder To Breathe (because I love that song), book two was Hard to Handle and Book 3 was Hard To Hold.  And then Shauna said that Harder To Breathe made her think of an asthma attack and well, yes, she’s right and so we went round and round trying on titles.  Most of the ones I came up with were too suspensey and not enough of the romance angle.  And then Shauna called me and said, Nita suggested these:  Hard To Hold, Too Hot To Hold and Hold On Tight.  And I loved them.  And finally, I get to use, Hard To Hold as a real title.

Hard to Hold – the soundtrack

Okay, so, I’d planned out this whole countdown to Hard to Hold (because, hello, it’s out on Tuesday!) and I have all these posts that just need to be tweaked and I was so organized and then real life reared its head.  My daughter’s got an infection in her back from the last surgery she had and it’s been 3 weeks now and we were okay and then we weren’t.  So yeah, my mind is sort of all over the place right now.

But Larissa (who is truly the most awesome friend anyone could have – I’m so lucky that I’ve made her swear to never leave me) is holding a contest for Hard to Hold’s release – it ends Saturday, so read the rules and then go forth and post to win!

And thanks to all my writing and reader friends who’ve been posting that they’re excited about the release – I haven’t been able to get around and thank all of you, but really, THANK YOU!!!

In the meantime, here’s a post I wanted to do about soundtracks.

Songs can pull me into a moment faster than anything else.  Creating soundtracks has always helped to focus me when I’m writing, especially because I’m usually working on more than one book at a time.

Certain songs end up on many different soundtracks.  For instance, It’s Been Awhile is Jake’s song, and so it shows up on both Nick and Chris’s soundtracks, since Jake is a big part of all the books.

Sometimes I’ll create mini-soundtracks – for instance, Clutch and Sarah, who are subplot characters have their own soundtrack.

The full soundtrack for HARD TO HOLD will be posted on release day.  For now, I’ve picked a few of the songs from the HARD TO HOLD soundtrack to highlight here.  All these songs can just stop me in my tracks.  They’re powerful and they yank me directly back into this story anytime I listen to them.  Sometimes, they have seemingly nothing to do with the characters at all, but something about them – the music…the voice…a certain turn of phrase and they forever become a character’s song for me.

I must’ve listened to the following four songs a million times and I’m still not sick of them.

It’s Been Awhile (Staind) – Jake’s song

And it’s been awhile
Since I could look at myself straight
And it’s been awhile since I said I’m sorry
And it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the way the candles light your face
And it’s been awhile but I can still remember just the way you taste

Breathe 2AM (Anna Nalick) – Isabelle’s song

Cause you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable,
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button, boys,
So cradle your head in your hands,
And breathe… just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe  
There’s a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout ’cause you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out
And these mistakes you’ve made, you’ll just make them again
If you only try turning around.

Up To The Mountain (Patti Griffin) – Jake / Isabelle together

Some days I look down
Afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice, oh
Oh, come and then go, come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so

Fast Car (Traci Chapman) – Clutch & Sarah

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way  
I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

So, tell me, do you have any favorite songs that evoke favorite memories?

Do you have any songs that remind you of your favorite characters?

If you write, do you use a soundtrack?

Feel free to give me a few lines from your favorite song or songs!


New Reviews for Hard to Hold

I’ve gotten a couple more reviews for HARD TO HOLD and I’m quite happy with them.  There’s just something really satisfying about seeing phrases like, in-depth character study, mentioned when they talk about Jake’s book.  

Starred Publishers Weekly Review

Hard to Hold Stephanie TylerDell, $7.99 (370p) ISBN 978-0-440-24434-9

Tyler (Beyond His Control) bundles thriller and romance in a very appealing package to launch a new trilogy. While working for Doctors Without Borders in Africa, Dr. Isabelle Markham is kidnapped and left for dead. After being rescued by Navy SEAL Jake Hansen, Isabelle returns stateside, working in a naval hospital and trying to put the trauma behind her. When Isabelle’s uncle, an admiral, hires Jake to guard her against future attacks, Jake and Isabelle slowly begin to reveal their innermost secrets and personal demons, and their connection intensifies into sizzling bedroom encounters. Tyler’s in-depth character study transcends the formulas of romantic suspense, making the attraction believable and real. Readers will eagerly anticipate future installments. (Dec.)

4 Stars from Romantic Times Magazine: (reviewer Annette Elton)

Get ready for two complicated characters in a dangerous and complex situation. Tyler¹s hero and heroine have some serious emotional baggage, which makes it all the more engaging to watch them learn to trust one another. While this has a military plot, which is quite dark at times, it’s better than other military romances because the focus is on the romance and the mystery surrounding the characters, not operations and jargon. Tyler kicks romantic suspense up a notch with this one.

***

Okay, back to work on Zane’s book now.  Because it’s really not writing itself…

Too Hot to Hold Sneak Peek #2

Middle of September?  Seriously?  *blows dust off blog*

Anyway, a new sneak peek from TOO HOT TO HOLD (aka Nick’s book) has just been posted!  

Also, I’ve just been told that the release date has shifted a week, so instead of being available December 29th, it’ll be pubbed on January 5, 2010.  So really, much easier than trying to ship out over New Years. 🙂  If you pre-ordered it from Amazon, you’ll have to go in and approve the order again since the date did change.

So far, the official release date for HOLD ON TIGHT (aka Chris’s book) has remained January 26, 2010, but that could shift. If it doesn’t, well, then you get books 2 and 3 very close together, which is nice.

For now, I’m busy working on book 5 – Zane’s book which still has no title, but hey, the proposal was accepted by my editor, so that’s cool.  And I’m editing Sydney’s next, Tempting The Fire, which has an August 2010 release date last time I looked. And then Larissa and I dive right into writing Stryker’s book (book 6)…so this fall will be busy.

Again, mid-September?  Really?

Oh, and this post from author Saundra Mitchell cracked me up.  This paragraph, especially, on what happens when your first book is finally published:

…your grandmother is in tears because she didn’t see it at Wal-Mart. Not that she was going to buy it- everybody even remotely, genetically connected to you expects you to give them a copy- you’d think they’d take pity on you because of your non-Twilight advance and buy one. Or two. Come on, people, some pity- I didn’t send my book to Oprah, I’m doomed!

See, and most of my family doesn’t plan on buying it, but they don’t want copies from me either…(don’t worry – for some reason this just makes me laugh…)  But, of course, that means you’ll all have to make up for the non-familial buying and grab yourselves some extra copies…what?