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Friday, February 20, 2015

Guest Post with Author Amanda Usen and Giveaway

Meet Amanda Usen, author of Impulse Control.

Amanda Usen knows two things for certain: chocolate cheesecake is good for breakfast, and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. They live in Western New York with their three children, one gerbil, four fish, a Russian tortoise, and a beagle. Amanda spends her days teaching pastry arts classes and her nights writing romance. If she isn’t baking or writing, she can usually be found reading a book and trying to get out of cooking dinner.
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The Men of the Zodiac Series

ARIES: Adventurous, Impulsive, Enthusiastic…and selfish, foolhardy, and impatient.

TAURUS: Reliable, Persistent, Possessive…and jealous, resentful, and greedy.

GEMINI: Adaptable, Intellectual, Cunning…and nervous, superficial, and inconsistent.

CANCER: Emotional, Intuitive, Shrewd…and changeable, moody, and clinging.

LEO: Creative, Bossy, Faithful…and pompous, patronizing, and intolerant.

VIRGO: Practical, Analytical, Perfectionist…and fussy, overcritical, and conservative.

LIBRA: Romantic, Flirtatious, Charming…and indecisive, gullible, and self-indulgent.

SCORPIO: Determined, Passionate, Magnetic…and jealous, compulsive, and obsessive.

SAGITTARIUS: Optimistic, Honest, Restless…and careless, irresponsible, and tactless.

CAPRICORN: Ambitious, Patient, Humorous…and pessimistic, miserly, and grudging.

AQUARIUS: Loyal, Inventive, Unpredictable…and contrary, perverse, and detached.

PISCES: Imaginative, Kind, Selfless…and idealistic, vague, and weak-willed.

It’s a smorgasbord of possibilities, right? Rachel Lyndhurst came up with the idea for an Indulgence Zodiac series, and authors started throwing their hats in the ring right and left! I begged for Aries because that’s my sign, and I am intimately acquainted with its strengths and weakness. I started reading my horoscope in high school, and bought the January issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine every year so I could read the Cosmo Girl’s Bedside Astrologer. Among other steamy secrets, I learned my power color is red, diamonds are my best friend, and which day of the year I was most likely to get lucky. I embraced the forceful personality of the sign of the ram and charged into my future, keeping my eyes peeled for a Leo, Sagittarius, or Libra, the best matches for an Aries, to make my love life complete.

Did I meet a Leo? Yup. He inspired the scene in MAKE ME, TAKE ME that involved the heroine’s mother sobbing on her knees. That pompous and patronizing Leo was not a good match for me!

Did I meet a Libra? Sure did! And I’ll always be a little bit in love with him, but he went on his charming Libra way and got famous. He flirts with the whole world now!

I struck out in my search for a Sagittarius, and it’s too late to find one. I’ve been married nearly sixteen years to a…Capricorn! You wouldn’t think a ram and a goat would blend well, but we do, probably because he has very few Capricorn qualities to conflict with my headstrong Aries traits. He’s not super-crazy ambitious: he chose family over career, thank God. He picks jobs based on whether he will be home in time to meet the school bus (which means he goes to work at 4:30 am. Ouch!) He’s not particularly practical, he’s incredibly generous, and optimism defines him—all opposite of Capricorn. Of the stereotypical characteristics of Capricorn, I’d say he’s patient (he has to be to live with me!) and humorous (hilarious, in fact). Now that I think about it, of all the signs, he most resembles Sagittarius. Holy cow! Sagittarius borders Capricorn on the Zodiac chart. As a New Year’s baby, he must have been born on the cusp. Mystery solved!

What’s the secret to our successful love match? I had an inkling, but I wanted to see if he agreed, so I asked him in bed last night. We both came up with the same thing: we care about the other’s happiness more than our own. When he’s not happy, I’m miserable, and I do whatever I have to do to fix things, even if it involves admitting I’m wrong and apologizing. It took me many years to learn the art of the sincere and heartfelt apology. This Aries sucks at being wrong! As for him, he does a million little things to make me happy every day, and I appreciate him up one side and down the other, if you know what I mean. ;-) It works for us!

Do I believe in the Zodiac? I sure do. But I also think you can make any match work if you are willing to put in the time and effort. What about you? Do you believe in the Zodiac? Embody the traits of your sign? Is your partner a good match for you? If so, what’s YOUR secret? =)

Survivalist Russ Donovan is known on TV as the “Wildest Man In The World.” The last thing this headstrong Aries guy needs is to be wrangled into a cross-promotional TV special with a popular homemaker—even a sexy little thing like Susannah Stone. Besides, the Adirondacks in the dead of winter is no place for amateurs...especially a stubborn homemaker who's determined to show him up every chance she gets.

Susannah's a working single mom who knows plenty about roughing it. She can take anything this mountain man dishes out. Now Russ and Susannah are taking their competitive rivalry to new levels, and not even the canned beef stew is safe. Then Russ and Susannah's on-camera sparks turn into a sizzling off-camera romance, and their two conflicting worlds collide. Sure, major differences can turn chemistry red-hot...they also make compromise nearly impossible.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |

Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 $10 Gift Card + January issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine including the Cosmo Girl’s Bedside Astrologer + Swag

To Enter: 
  • What about you? Do you believe in the Zodiac? Embody the traits of your sign? Is your partner a good match for you? If so, what’s YOUR secret?
  • If winner resides outside of US, winner will win gift card only.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Amanda Usen for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love the idea of books based on the signs of the zodiac! Very clever!

  2. Thanks for this giveaway chance. Thanks also for the blurb.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  3. Thanks for the giveaway. Since you're around cakes all day do you still enjoy eating them?

  4. thanks so much for the giveaway the book sounds so good and i cant wait to get a copy of it the description of the book sounds awesome

  5. You sound like a very busy woman! LOL I like the book blurb and look forward to reading it.

    Marcy Shuler

  6. Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by. :-) I can't take credit for the Zodiac idea. Rachel Lyndhurst came up with it, but I jumped at the chance to write my sign! As for, I never get sick of it. Or cookies, fruit tarts, pie...My favorite is chocolate cake with fudge filling and vanilla buttercream! When I'm working and there are cake scraps laying around, that is! YUM!

  7. Thanks for posting here today. I love learning about new authors and new books for me to read.

  8. Great author post. I know I have to work towards balance in my life a lot!

  9. oooh... this series sounds awesome! thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Interesting post indeed...but to me Zodiak is a fun thing but not to be taken seriously.

  11. A great post thank you. Most insightful.

  12. Great post! Loved the book. Can't wait to read the next one in the series!!

  13. DH and I make an interesting combo going by our zodiac signs. I'm a Aries/Taurus cusp and he's a Pisces.