Friday, September 4, 2009


Petit Fours and Hot Tamales is happy to welcome author Jill Sorenson. Jill's first book, Crash Into Me, a romantic suspense, was released in February 2009 by Bantam Dell. Her second romantic suspense, Set the Dark On Fire, was just released ten days ago.

I e-met Jill through her generous contribution of a critique to Brenda Novak's annual auction for Diabetes. Despite the time constraints of a busy new author, she graciously agreed to blog for us.

Here's a little more about Jill:

Jill Sorenson was born in a small town in Kansas, but she moved to San Diego with her family when she was twelve. After twenty years, she hasn’t lost her appreciation for sunny weather, her love for the Pacific Ocean, or her fascination with Southern California culture.

She still lives in the most beautiful place on earth, San Diego, and currently holds the best job in the world, writing romance novels. When she isn’t daydreaming about characters or chasing after her adorable daughters, Jill enjoys going to the beach and taking long walks with her husband.

Why Do You Buy?

Hi everyone! Thanks for having me as a guest today.
With a new book in stores now, I’ve been wondering what entices readers to buy.

Is it a colorful, sexy, eye-catching cover?

What about the description on the back? Do you always read the blurb before you make your selections?

In a Southern California town ablaze with sordid secrets, a free-spirited wildlife biologist and a straitlaced sheriff join forces to investigate a suspicious killing—and find themselves getting a little too close to the flames…


Shay Phillips knows her way around Dark Canyon. She’s handy with a gun and can track a wild animal with the best of them. It’s humans who give her the most trouble. And with a hormonally charged teenage brother to raise—and an admitted weakness for the wrong kind of man—they’re giving her plenty of trouble these days. Then there’s the matter of murder. As an expert on mountain lions, Shay knows to be skeptical when a local prostitute turns up mauled without a drop of blood near the body.

Now, together with the town’s newly arrived sheriff, Luke Meza—a Las Vegas city boy with his own dark secrets—Shay must navigate a dangerous valley filled with angry ex-lovers, unfaithful spouses, and poisonous snakes in a desperate search for the killer. But when suspicion falls on her own brother, and her attraction to Luke rages into a full-on erotic affair, can Shay quell the fires inside her long enough to uncover the truth?

When I’m book shopping, I often take a look at the teaser page inside the front cover. How about you? Here’s the insert from Set the Dark on Fire. It’s actually two pages, and I’ve never posted it online before. An exclusive sneak peek!

Luke folded his lanky body into the shelter. Sitting down, he took up almost all the space. Shay frowned. She hadn’t built it big enough. “Can’t you, like, scrunch over?”

“Like, no, I can’t,” he said, mocking her speech.

It couldn’t be helped, so she squeezed in beside him. They say hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder, their heads almost touching. She had to bring her boots up to her bottom to close the front.

Twisting, she managed to get the deer horn out of her pack.

“Cover your ears,” she warned before sounding it off. The noise was deafening, disturbing the quiet and piercing the still air, but what bothered her most was the raw agony of the cry. It sent chills down her spine.

“Jesus Christ,” he said. “If that won’t bring a lion, I don’t know what will.”
Turning back-to-back, they waited, guns resting on bent knees, muzzles pointing in opposite directions. The minutes ticked by. Nothing happened. Shay focused on the landscape, watching grass sway and shadows stretch. Insects buzzed. The interior of the shelter was dark, hot, and airless. She was intensely aware of the way her tank top clung to her, the heat of his body next to hers, the muscles shifting in his back.

She felt every heartbeat, every intake of breath.

An hour passed.

“Let’s take a break and sound the horn again,” she said finally.

“Thank God,” he said, engaging the safety and putting his weapon aside. “I’m dripping sweat.”

“We can’t go out.”

“Why not?”

“A lion might come.”

“I’m willing to take my chances.”

She turned to face him. “Don’t be such a baby. We can’t leave the safety of the shelter and you know it.” Rummaging through her pack, she took out her secret stash: an apple. Her elbow caught him in the cheek as she brought it to her mouth. “Sorry,” she said, crunching loudly. “Do you want some?”

He scowled at her, touching his cheekbone.

Smiling, she held out the apple, turning it so he could take a bite from the unmarred section. For a moment, she thought he would decline, but then he reached out and wrapped his hand around her wrist, tilting the apple and sinking his teeth into the part of the fruit her mouth had already touched.

For those of you who browse for books online, do you read chapter excerpts, check out reviews, or visit the author’s web site? How important is an author bio or a friendly face in your book-buying decisions? Help a new author out and tell me why you buy!

Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win a copy of Set the Dark on Fire.

For a longer excerpt of Set the Dark on Fire, Click Here

To visit Jill Sorenson online visit her website at


Emmanuelle said...

Hi Jill,
Congratulations on your new release. I read Crash Into Me some months ago and loved it so I have some HUGE expectations for this one ;-) -
What makes me buy ? As a person living in France where you can only find a ridiculously small amount of romance novels (traslated), I buy exclusively online. I'm influenced by other customurs recomendations. I check some blogs for reviews, interviews, excerpts (that's how I discovered you !!lol).

Annalee said...

I'd definitely pick up a book with a great cover ... and this book has better than average cover. It is lovely. I check to see if the book involves one or more of my favorite: genres, themes, place, etc... and more often then not I'll buy. I definitely buy more books than I can read.

Sandy Elzie said...

Good Morning,

What makes me buy? If I know the author it's a given regardless of the back flap.

If the author is new to me, the cover gets my attention (and this one is great) and then I read the blurb to see if it's set in contempory time (my favorite except for the occasional time travel) and if it sounds like it has interesting characters and challenges.

I've never read your work, but your name is on my To Read list now.

Thanks for joining us today.


Tammy Schubert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tammy Schubert said...

Good morning. Thanks for blogging with us today.

Let me start by saying that I LOVE books. They are my vice. Actually, they have become a bit of an obsession. So what prompts me to buy a book?

1) If I know the author personally, I buy at least one of their books to see if I like their work.

2) If I read a book and it's great, I will go look for all the other books by the author.

3) As I'm browsing around (mostly online at, sometimes the cover grabs me. However, I never buy based on a cover. It just gets my attention. Then I will look at the book blurb along with a review or two. If the reviewers gave it a good rating and the blurb sounds interesting, I'll buy the book.

4) If an author is writing a series or books where characters reappear, I tend to pick up those books as well. I'm a big fan of this type of work.

5) Every so often I come across a bookmark or postcard the author has printed up about one of their books. If the pitch/blurb sounds interesting, I'll go online and check it out.

6) My buying habits are starting to change because of the new e-book readers out there. I got a Kindle about a year ago and fell in love with it. So my book shopping is pretty much limited to Kindle formatted books. I prefer to carry around my hundreds of books on a device than to have hard copies taking up so much space. I confess that I have not purchased books that I'm interested in because they are not available in Kindle format.

7) Amazon sells book bundles for the Kindle, which I love. I go for them as much as I can.

8) Harlequin/Silhouette sells some of their books on Amazon. I'm always looking for Blaze, Desire, Intrigue or Special Edition books.

Sorry about the long post. As Mark Twain says, I write long because I don't have time to write short :)

Jill, both of your books look really interesting, so I just picked up Kindle copies. I can't wait to read them over the Labor Day weekend.

Tami Brothers said...

Great thought provoking post, Jill. And I LOVE your cover!!! I’m a cover girl. I will pick up a book solely because of its cover. AND I usually buy the book based on the cover. I have been burned a time or two because of that, but I truly am that shallow…(g)…

Of course, I also buy the books of my fav authors, then on recommendations of friends. This is followed by blurbs and reviews I read on blogs and review sites.

We’ve come a long way (baby) with technology these days. Before the cover HAD to draw me in, now I have a multitude of places designed to snag my attention and “sell” the book. With these places growing every day, I’m afraid I need to get a better job so I can afford all these wonderful books I find out about.

Thanks for blogging with us today! We really appreciate learning about new (to me) authors.


JoyKenn said...

When I browse at a bookstore I look at covers, blurbs on the back, look for authors I like, pick up books with interesting titles. When I browse ONLINE its different. Of course I look for my favorite authors and I'll look at interesting titles or covers if they're posted. I will read a blurb if it is posted. I do like to read an sample and in fact often have Amazon send me a sample before I buy. I also will seek out books that get a good review from bloggers or reviewers whose tastes seem to match mine.

May said...

If the author is unknown to me, I would say the cover. I admit to be a person who buy a book based on the cover.

CTM is one of those books I bought because of the cover but found a great author instead.

Marilyn Baron said...


Thank you for blogging with us today. I really enjoyed your post.

As many of the commentors have said, I will buy a book by someone I know or a favorite author I don't know, like Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Suzanne Brockmann, Janet Evanovich or Dianna Gabaldon (in the romance genre). Otherwise I rely on recommendations from friends, what I read in the paper.

The cover does factor in. It would probably make me pick up the book in the first place and the blurb would be important.

I love your cover and your writing, from the sneak peek you gave us so I will buy your book.

I don't really get much into the author bio until I've finished the book and then I'm really anxious to find out about the author.


Marilyn Baron

Pamela Varnado said...

Congratulations on your success. I read Crash Into Me and loved it. The suspense was high-octane and kept me interested throughout the entire book. Now I'm on my way to buy your new release. So keep writing, because you're on my "Favorite Author" list.

Jill Sorenson said...


Thanks so much for your kind words about Crash Into Me. I hope Set the Dark on Fire meets those high expectations! I love your name. :)

Jill Sorenson said...


It's interesting that you said "place" as a reason for buying a book. I often pick up books with familiar settings, places I've been to or recognize.

Jill Sorenson said...


Thanks so much for buying my books on Kindle! Hope you like them. I have a Silhouette Romantic Suspense available in that format as well. : )

Jill Sorenson said...

Thanks for the warm welcome, Tami.


So glad you liked Crash Into Me!


I LOVE to be on anyone's "favorite authors" list!! Thanks so much.

Nicki Salcedo said...

This is a very difficult question. I read the back cover, first couple of pages, but I usually buy books based on recommendations of people whose tastes in books are like mine.

"Too Dangerous To Touch" has a great cover! But it doesn't impact my decision to buy. Some of my favorite books have had ridiculously bad covers. :)

Now, when you read a line like this you just go ahead and buy the book: "...but then he reached out and wrapped his hand around her wrist, tilting the apple and sinking his teeth into the part of the fruit her mouth had already touched." We have a winner.

Jill, how much say do you have in crafting the back cover blurbs? Thanks for joining us today!

Sally Kilpatrick said...


Thanks for stopping by. Let's see. . .I'm a blurb girl. I'm easily hooked by a good premise, although I am also very loyal to authors I like.

I'm with Nicki, though. Your excerpt probably had me at "deer horn" because I wondered what that was all about, but I really got a feel for the characters over the apple. : )


J. M. Sabel said...

I have a group of authors of course I'm loyal to in the genres I like to read: historical and paranormal. But I've expanded out by a great cover catching my attention. I don't buy the book by the cover, however. If I read the back cover and it intrigues me, then I might find a new author that way.

Anna Steffl said...

I'm a tough sell. I don't believe a word of blurbs. Don't care about covers much, either.

I open to a random place in the middle of the book and read a couple paragraphs. If I like the style, I'll buy it.

Lately, I've been buying books by people I know. Wow, that feels pretty neat, actually.

So, thanks for sharing your writing -- it's what turns me on.

Susan May said...

Thanks for being with us today. Great looking books and the story sound wonderful. I read the back of the book and I like the front insert also. I'm not at all interested in the blubs from published authors. In fact, I hate it when that is all that is on the back of a book. I also buy from people I know, at least once.

Jill Sorenson said...

I'm so glad everyone likes the apple! I think my editor's asst. picked out that part for the insert.

My editor writes the blurbs. She's got a lot of experience with bestselling authors (Suzanne Brockmann, Lara Adrian, etc), so I trust her. Bantam does a great job with covers, blurbs, copy editing, etc. All very professional and thorough.

Maxine Davis said...

Thank you for joining PF&HT today. And I really mean that. I can't wait to buy Set the Dark on Fire!

There are some authors I really like to buy. I like a good title (that's odd because I am just terrible at picking a good title for my books - all unpubed as of now). The back blurb is important and the first page of two will make the final decision. The cover attracts me, but does not really go into my decision to buy.

Congratulations on the sale of your books! The longer excerpt of StDoF looks like you'll for selling for a long time!

Linsey Lanier said...

Thanks for being with us today.

I agree with the others. Knowing the author's name is probably the biggest reason I buy. Wish I could read more and faster, then I'd buy and read everything I come across. I like suspense and romantic suspense, so that influences me. Recommendations help too, such as PF&HT's Saturday Reviews. Also, I just bought a book by Tami Hoag because of the way Donald Maass describes the heroine in "The Fire in Fiction."

Your excerpt is very, very intriguing. I loved the "apple" line, too. I will check out your books. They sound good. Good luck with your new career!


Debbie Kaufman said...

Sorry for coming so late to the party, but the grandbaby made his appearance this morning.

A good cover hooks me in, a blurb moves me into the net, but the first few pages of writing are what finally reel me in to buy the book.

While I buy books online, it usually is an author I know already, since I'm one of those who just has to hold the book in my hand!

Ana Aragón said...

Hi, Jill,

Thanks for blogging today! As for your question, if I know the author, I'll buy one book and see if I like it...if I find an author I like, I typically go out and buy all the backlist, or if it's a series, the books in the series. I have lots of romance-writing/reading friends, so those with similar tastes to mine I will read anything they recommend!

I do love the teaser page(s). If they give me something to really pique my interest, I'll buy it on the spot!

Looking forward to reading your books!


Jill Sorenson said...


The first few pages are the clincher for me also. I will often put a book down if it doesn't grab me right away.


I love Tami Hoag. You can't go wrong with any of her books.

Hi Debbie,

Thanks for the wonderful introduction and invite! Everyone has been great. Congrats on the new grandbaby. How exciting!

Jill Sorenson said...

I went ahead and picked a winner at

Anna Steffl!

Please contact me with your mailing info via my web site.

Thanks again for all the great comments!!