Monthly Archives: January 2015

Guest Blog Goodness–Wendi Zwaduk

Woooot!  For our third installment of 2015 Guest Blog Goodness, I’m pleased as punch to introduce you to Wendi Zwaduk!

Most writers I’ve known say that writing is invigorating, while some say that it’s their therapy. How does your writing serve you? Do you express your life through the story or does the theme come from your vision?  The theme usually dictates the story. For Blue Satin, the character of James, the dom, actually motivated the story. I had him first and ran with what he kept telling me. He had a particular idea of who he wanted for his sub. I let him run and tried to keep up. Was it therapy? No, but it was a fun ride. I got to learn more about BDSM and some of the fringe things I might not have known lots about, i.e. wax play.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?  Tell me they liked the book and write a review. IMHO an honest review, even if the reader didn’t love the book, is one of the best ways for a writer to learn. I’ve gotten lots out of my reviews—good and bad. A surprise review that’s 5 stars and explains why they liked the book is always good. Makes me feel good.

What is the most unique way someone has shared their appreciation for your work?  A running hug. Yes, that would be the most unique way. Someone told this particular reader I was at a con—as a reader, not even as a writer—and the person barreled up to me, then arms flailing, hugged me. Honestly, I loved it. Why?  She loved my work and HAD to tell me. Then she was so excited to see me. That was awesome. Made me feel good. 🙂

What advice would you give a new author?  Have a thick skin, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and put yourself out there. That said, NEVER be negative online. No matter how much you really want to rant about something, don’t. The negative always comes back to haunt you. Still, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. People want to discover your book.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂  Muwhahahaha. No. In Blue Satin, the characters get into BDSM play. I’ve done that, but DH doesn’t own a pair of cufflinks that are nipple clamps.

 

Blue Satin by Wendi Zwaduk
Club Desire, book 7
Resplendence Publishing
Contemporary, M/F, BDSM, Spanking, Fetish, Wax Play, Toys, Anal Sex

Blue SatinGet your rocks off however you want at Club Desire. We’re not easy and we’re not free, but we are discreet. Find your fantasy in the Club.

Two souls can heal with the right amount of heat and kink…in or out of the club.

Can old wounds really be healed? Meghan Stone isn’t sure. She’s at Club Desire at the urging of her agent. As a writer, she needs to add grit to her stories—grit that can only be acquired at Desire. When Meghan spots the handsome man in the suit, she’s smitten. After a conversation with him, she’s taken by him. But will the sexy man want more than conversation when he learns about her motivations and past?

James Richards comes to Club Desire to forget his own past.  He wants a sub and a lover, but as far as he’s concerned, that person doesn’t exist—until he meets Meghan. She awakens needs he thought had been long buried. Once he sees her, he wants to possess her. But a sub and a life-long love aren’t always easy to find, especially in the same person. Will she be the one he’s searched for or another face in the crowd?

Available 1/21 at http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/

EXCERPT:

©Wendi Zwaduk, 2015, All Rights Reserved

“What are you working on?” James asked, breaking the silence.

Meg froze, pen still on the page. Her gaze slowly lifted until she looked at him. Her mouth formed an O and her eyes widened.

“Something for your book? A daring exposé about the club?” He clasped his hands together. “Or a new idea for a story?”

Meg closed the notebook. “A—a character sketch.” She hesitated and watched him. “I was supposed to come here to meet my dom. Did they send you by mistake? You’re not here as a dom, are you?”

“I’m a dom—your dom.”

“No…” Her brow furrowed again. “But…we talked out there. You never said a word about your job. You told me to find you on the floor. You didn’t act like a dom and you certainly don’t look like one. I don’t understand.”

He needed to gain her trust. “I’m not going to be what you expect, love. I don’t know your agent, but this sounds to me like the reason she suggested you come to Desire. Everything you think you know isn’t exactly how it is. You need to open your mind and trust me.”

“Just because you say so?”

She had fire and he appreciated her spunk. He’d need to break her in order to set her free, but he was up to the challenge.

“Because I know what you need.”

Movie/Music Monday…Silver Linings Playbook

So just like Mona Lisa Smile (last week’s movie review), I watched this one because I didn’t think the hubster would be particularly interested.  I’m pretty sure I’m still correct in that assessment, but I’m so glad I took the time to watch this movie!

The cast in this was just plain amazing.  From Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence’s awesome performances to Robert DeNiro, Jacki Weaver and Julia Stiles (always a fave of mine), I was sucked in immediately.  But even with a great supporting cast, if Cooper and Lawrence hadn’t played their parts with such manic perfection, this would have fallen apart in the first half hour.  Their portrayals of people dealing with neuroses, loss, and not fitting in were fabulous, and so spot-on it was almost uncomfortable to watch.

If you haven’t had a chance to grab this one on Netflix, I’d highly recommend you take the time.  It’s totally worth it!

Guest Blog Goodness–Allison Hanson

Please help me welcome Allison Hanson to the blog!  Here are a few questions so you can get to know her a bit better!

Most writers I’ve known say that writing is invigorating, while some say that it’s their therapy. How does your writing serve you? Do you express your life through the story or does the theme come from your vision?  Writing is definitely therapeutic for me. If I don’t get to write a little every day, I feel tense until I can get it out. I don’t think I express my life through my story. Generally the characters in my books come to me on their own free will and I just tell their story to the best of my ability.

Who or what inspired you to write?  This is a funny question, because I would have to say I don’t know. I never had any intention of becoming a writer at all. I really wasn’t even much of a reader. But I’d just finished the last book from the True Blood series by Charlaine Harris, and I didn’t have anything else lined up to read. I guess my brain was afraid I wouldn’t find something. And at four that morning I woke up with my first story. I was compelled more than inspired to write it out. And it’s been like that ever since.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?  Definitely by telling a friend. Even with all the ways we have to market now, I believe word of mouth is still the most powerful. We trust our friends opinions.

What advice would you give a new author?  I would say to get in the habit of writing or editing every day. Once you step away it’s sometimes hard to get back into it. Make it your time, and treat yourself to it as much as possible.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂  Turning into a wolf together? No. We haven’t done that. Not that I would be opposed to such a thing if given the chance. 

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Blurb:
Camille Anthony was abandoned at an orphanage when she was only a year old. She knows nothing of the parents who left her with strangers, and has spent her whole life struggling to fit in, without success. But on the night of the full moon, she undergoes a change she’s never felt before—she becomes a wolf. She hopes the changes will finally give her a place to belong, as well as answering questions she never knew she had.
Will Holbrook knows he can’t have anything long-term with Camille. After all, he is a wolf, and he was raised knowing wolves only marry other wolves. When she reveals to him that she is changing in the same way he does every full moon, he thinks things will finally work out for him. Until a new fear arises. Wolves are usually pledged at birth, and Camille has no memory of anything that might have happened before she was left at the orphanage. Could she have a mate already? What will he do if one shows up?

Excerpt:
Maybe it was the flu.
People got aches and pains with the flu. She watched her muscles twitching under her skin and nodded.
Just in case it wasn’t the flu, she decided to get ready for Plan B.
If she did turn into a dog again she didn’t want to eat cardboard.
She checked under Gia’s bed for any stashed contraband. All clear.
She dumped the granola bars on her bed, and with throbbing, shaking fingers she pulled them from their wrappers. She made a box of mac and cheese in the microwave and set the bowl on the floor.
With the last of her energy used up, she took off her clothes and curled into a ball on her bed to convulse and moan. Her body began to twitch harder, throwing her arm out and then her foot. Her head pulled up, and she tensed against what was coming.
The increasing tide of pain washed over her, and she was left panting on the bed in confusion.
Not again.
She slid off the bed onto her four paws and went straight for the bowl of cheese-flavored pasta. She downed that in a few quick gulps and sniffed the air hoping for more.
On the table by the bed was some kind of bars. She swallowed them down without chewing.
With her hunger momentarily sated, she began with the pacing. When she passed the mirror, she stopped and looked at herself for a long moment.
A thin, lanky wolf with pure white fur looked back at her with curious blue-green eyes. Her reflex to shy away from the wolf in the reflection subsided as she realized it was her. She was safe.
She was a wolf, but she was safe.

Links:
www.allisonbhanson.com
http://www.lsbooks.com/search_results.php
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003793842190
Twitter: @allisonbhanson
TSU: https://www.tsu.co/AllisonBHanson

 

Media Monday…Mona Lisa Smile

I’ve been rolling through a few movies on Netflix that I *know* the hubster won’t enjoy, and Mona Lisa Smile was one of them.  All in all I’d probably give it a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-10, but that’s more because of pieces of the plot, rather than the performances.

For starters, what a great cast!  Seriously, Julia Roberts, Marcia Gay Harden, Julia Stiles, Kirstin Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ginnifer Goodwin?

While the premise of the movie was a bit simplistic, I loved the acting.  Julia Roberts was great (altho seemed to almost too reserved, IMO), but the younger women in this ensemble cast really stole the limelight.  I especially loved Julia Stiles’ character, and the fact she could back up the choice she made, even if it didn’t seem like the “right” one.  Kirstin Dunst was great, so good, in fact, I wanted to smack her character through a huge percentage of the movie 🙂  And Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ginnifer Goodwin were just fabulous.  Marcia Gay Harden was also fantastic.

The “romance” in this?  Not so much.  This is definitely a movie about all of these women, so the romantic secondary story seemed almost gratuitous to me…it just didn’t need to be there, and seemed to be more of a way to make Julia Roberts’ character more sympathetic, when she was just fine as she was.

This is a great girls’ night in movie, so butter up some popcorn, grab a few tissues (because the end WILL make you sniffle) and chill with your best girlfriends.

Guest Blog Goodness–Vicky Burkholder

It’s my pleasure to welcome Vicky Burkholder to the blog.  Here are a few questions to help you get to know this awesome writer!

Most writers I’ve known say that writing is invigorating, while some say that it’s their therapy. How does your writing serve you? Do you express your life through the story or does the theme come from your vision? For me, writing is an adventure. I get to experience issues and problems (real or imagined) through my characters. If I’m particularly angry with someone (like a nasty boss), I can make them the villain or victim and kill them off. I can be strong and independent and deal with all sorts of nasty stuff without actually having to do it. My characters are, in some ways, extensions of myself, but they have the nerve to do things I would never do.  🙂

Who or what inspired you to write? My dad. When I was very young, I was considered a “slow reader”. Back then, we didn’t have enrichment classes so my dad took it upon himself to show me the wonders of the written word. Though not highly educated himself, he was an avid reader. He would take me on his lap and read to and with me. He’d do word games with me – for instance, if we were in the car and waiting somewhere, he’d find a billboard and point to a word in it and tell me to find as many words with those letters as I could. Or he’d do crossword puzzles with me. He found things I was interested in and books that would go along with those interests – like horses (what little girl doesn’t love horses?). He bought books about horses, both fiction and non-fiction. He did crossword puzzles with me. In short, through my love of him and my interests, he taught me to love the written word. And in a year, I moved up from the “slow” section to the top of the class.

What are your five “desert island” books? Probably a Boy Scout handbook (come on, I’m nothing, if not practical!), a science fiction book (like Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal series), a good mystery (like Laura Bradford’s Amish mystery series), a good romance (like Nora Roberts, especially her paranormal romances), and a good fantasy (like David Eddings). You will note that these are all paperback books. I’d choose differently if I could take my electronic reading device, but on a desert island, I’m not sure that would work well (though I suppose I could use the handbook to figure out how to create electricity to power up my devices!)

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work? By giving good reviews and buying my other books. That’s always the best way to help an author. And by spreading the word to other readers!

What advice would you give a new author? Grow a thick skin. This is not a business for the weak of ego. You are going to get bad reviews. You’re going to get rejected – a lot. You’re not going to get rich quick (except in very very rare cases). You need to be able to bounce back. Yes, give yourself a day or two to rail at the fates on the bad stuff, then get right back in there. You can’t let the negativity that is part and parcel of this career get you down. If one bad review or rejection makes you quit, then you need to rethink being a writer. Because unless you’re just doing it for yourself, you’re going to get hurt. BUT, if you keep at it… if you keep trying… if you keep learning and improving, someday you may get that acceptance or that great review and the sales will start coming in, and it will all be worth it. Perseverance is the key.

 And here’s some linkage for you to check out Vicky’s books!

http://www.vickyburkholder.com

FB: authorvictoria

Twitter: Vicky Burkholder

therubykeyBlurb: (from The Ruby Key)

For centuries, four women have held the keys to Lemuria, a land where magic is real. They and their Protectors are all that stand against The Brotherhood, a group of exiles who want to return to Lemuria and take control of the gateway between realms.

Phoebe, Keeper of the ruby key, lost her lover and Protector, Ryan, to murder. The Powers That Be saddled her with a dorky salesman. That is, until Zack arrives on the scene. With his Scandinavian good looks, he is the essence of what a Protector should be, but he is a loner and wants nothing to do with magic. Magic is what got his brother killed. Phoebe wants nothing to do with him as a protector, but he draws her in ways Ryan never did.

Edward is the epitome of a British gentleman and shows Phoebe the genteel side of life, but Edward has a past, and an agenda. He is the leader of the Brotherhood and if he controls Phoebe, he will control everything—and destroy it all.

The past, present, and future all come crashing down to one moment. Only Phoebe can make the choice—and her choice will determine the fate of several worlds.

They lost the battle once before. This time, will love really conquer all?

Excerpt:

Zack Lindstrom took the only ramp off the highway he’d seen in thirty miles. At the bottom was a narrow, two-lane road bounded by forested mountains on both sides and a single sign pointing left—LITTLETON 5 mi.

Left he went. The town wasn’t on any map or GPS he could find, but he had a friend there, so there he was going. He’d just be glad to get off his bike for a while. Pennsylvania was a haul and a half from Maine, where his last job had been. Being a floating agent for a security and protection company sometimes had its disadvantages—like never staying in any one place more than a few weeks at a time. Technically, he had a room at headquarters in Chicago, but for the most part, he lived on the road and liked it that way. No ties. Nobody to answer to except himself—and his bosses when he was on a case. Right now, though, he was on extended leave and hoping to look up an old friend.

Bent over, he was racing around a blind curve when another bike came straight at him. He swerved to miss the other biker, barely controlling his skid. The other rider wasn’t so lucky as the bike hit a patch of loose gravel and went over, sparking and screeching. Zack killed his engine, jumped off, and approached the unmoving rider. The rise and fall of an obviously female chest told him she was alive. He didn’t see any blood or limbs at odd angles, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t injured.

He touched her shoulder. “Hey. Are you okay?”

Nothing.

Zack reached for his cell phone only to discover that his battery was dead. A quick check of her pockets turned one up. He hit “Emergency,” surprised when the phone dialed a number instead of 9-1-1.

“Phoebs? What’s up?”

“Um, hello? I’m sorry, I don’t know who I’m talking to, but there’s been an accident. I found this phone on the woman—”

“Don’t move. We’ll be right there.”

The call disconnected and Zack stared at it. He hadn’t even had time to tell the woman on the other end where they were. He shrugged. Maybe they had phone GPS or a “find friends” app. He went back to his bike and pulled out an emergency kit and set flares at both ends of the curve, then went back to the woman, still lying in the middle of the road. Should he move her? Probably not, he decided.

He knelt next to her and pulled off her gloves. When he touched her hand, a red spark jumped from her to him, sending a shiver through him. Shocked, he sank down to sit in the road. He hadn’t felt the stirrings of his “other” self since Trevor died. He’d buried that side of himself after his brother’s accident several months ago. So who was this woman that she brought it out in him? He shook his head. He didn’t believe anymore. Not after…another shake and he brought his attention back to the woman.

He didn’t know her, had never met her. Though from what he could see from the tight leathers she wore, he wouldn’t mind getting to know her a little better. She had legs that went on forever, a narrow waist, and breasts the size made for cupping and loving. He’d love to see what her face looked like, but didn’t want to risk removing the dark helmet in case she had a neck injury.

She moaned. He picked up her hand. “It’s all right. Relax and try not to move. You’ve been in an accident.”

She struggled to sit up and he helped her. “You really shouldn’t move. You could be hurt.”

“I’m fine.” She pulled her helmet off and Zack looked into the most amazing sky blue eyes in the most mind-blowing, beautiful face he’d ever seen. She had short, spiky hair the color of sunshine. His fingers itched to sketch her, a habit he had. The funny thing was, though he would swear on a stack of Bibles that they’d never met, she looked familiar to him. As if he’d met her before. She stared at him with a frown.

“Do I know you?” she asked.

“I don’t think so. Name’s Zack. Are you all right?”

“Yeah. Just pissed that I spilled.” Her eyes opened wide. “My bike—is it all right?”

Zack went over to the bike, righted it and checked it over, then he started it. It easily roared to life. He cut the motor and walked it over to where the woman sat. “A few scratches and dings, but nothing serious.”

Just then, he heard a car—several actually—coming and hoped his flares warned them to slow down. The cars slowed to a stop and doors slammed and he looked up to see a petite, very pregnant, gorgeous woman in a long, flowing skirt and loose top running toward him and the woman. Two other cars also spewed people who headed for the rider. The women congregated around the rider while the men stood back, but looked as if they were on alert.

“Phoebe! What happened? Is she hurt?”

The skirted woman knelt on the road next to Zack and stared at him. He felt as though she looked through him, peeling away all the layers and checking each one out. When she nodded, he felt ridiculously relieved.

Then she pulled a triangular pendant from her neck, as did the other two. The first one connected them all somehow and ran the pyramid shape over the other woman.

“What the…? What is this? Some kind of Star Trek episode?”

“I’m okay, Cass. Just fuzzy.”

“Zack? Zack Lindstrom?”

Zack looked up to see the last person he’d expected to see standing in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere. “Nic? What the hell? What are you doing here?”

Zack rose to his feet to face the man he’d come here looking for.

“You called Cass, my wife.” He pointed at the pregnant woman.

Zack nearly choked on his tongue. “Your…wife? You?” He glanced at the petite beauty. He and Nic had been in the same unit in the Middle East and Nic had been a true loner. Zack would never have looked at him as the marrying kind. Especially not one as tiny as she appeared. He’d have pegged Nic for the one on the road—long, leggy, and built for sex.

Nic laughed and ran his hand over his head, a gesture Zack remembered well. But there was something else Zack remembered as he checked Nic over. The last time he’d seen Nic, he’d been covered in blood, barely alive, the victim of an IED. He’d heard Nic had shipped stateside and would probably never walk well again. This man was definitely walking well.

“Nic?” Both men turned as Cass called out to him. “Phoebe’s okay, but we should get out of the road.”

“I told her the folly of riding that death trap.”

Zack looked around Nic to see a suit-wearing, short, balding man standing next to an older-model sedan. The man glared at Zack, then shifted his gaze back to Phoebe. “If she will not listen and adhere to my advice, I will be hard pressed to protect her.” He sniffed.

Zack stared at him. The man had actually sniffed and raised his snoot into the air as if he were some high and mighty snob. Zack caught an eye roll from Nic and the other man with him.

“Zack, this is Greg. And the…man…back there is Wynton.”

Zack nodded at both men, but understood immediately that Wynton was not one of the “group”—whatever it was. The guy’s name was as snooty as he was, but they were definitely a group. He could tell that much.

“Nic, I’m going to drive Phoebe to the…to her place. Can you bring her bike?”

“Sure. Meet you there.” Nic turned to Zack. “Come with us? We’re heading to town, to Phoebe’s place.”

“Um, sure.” Zack settled onto his bike as the cars turned around and headed down the hill. He watched as Nic easily strode over to Phoebe’s bike and climbed on. A minute later, Zack followed him down the winding hill and into a nice-looking small town. Huge maple and oak trees with new spring growth lined the main street that was fronted by a mixture of small stores, eateries, churches and bars. It was late Monday morning and, while not bustling, it was busy enough for a small town early morning.

He followed Nic and the cars to a side street that led to a small, enclosed parking lot off an alley. Two sides were lined with what looked like the back doors to several shops and the far end was closed off by a building with a large garage door. The cars and bikes took up the few remaining spaces in the lot. Zack watched as everyone piled out of their vehicles and headed for one of the doors.

“Join us?” Nic said as he pulled off Phoebe’s helmet. “I’d love to know what you’re doing here.”

Zack nodded. “Got any food in there? I’m a tad on the hungry side.”

Nic smiled. “I think we can scare up something. Come on.” He wrapped his arm around Zack and guided him toward the door. “So what the hell are you doing in Littleton?”

“Believe it or not, looking for you.”

Nic cocked his head at him. “Well, it looks like you found me. Come on in and let’s see what we can find to eat.”

Wellness Wednesday–Primal Lifestyle, An Intro

The hubster and I started following the Primal Lifestyle back in June, and since we’ve stuck with it, I thought I’d start to document our successes, and maybe even a few recipe links, or stuff that I’ve morphed to our tastes.

When we started we were both pretty overweight.  In the 250+ range.  Now both of us are tall… August is 6’3″ and I’m 6’0″, so while we looked heavy, people never believed we weighed that much.

It started out simply enough… I started cutting back on carbs by skipping the bread in places where I could (eating a turkey burger without the bun, that kind of thing).  And I lost 5 pounds in about a week.  August mentioned this to one of the physician’s assistants at the base, and he turned us on to the Primal Lifestyle (www.marksdailyapple.com).   From there, there was no stopping us.  We basically cut all grains, rice, potatoes, pastas, legumes, standard sugars, etc out.  Now this was actually kinda easier for us than you’d think, since I already cooked 3-5 nights a week, usually “whole” foods.

As for exercise, all we did was walk (usually about 2 miles/day at a pretty decent clip) and do body weight training ( planking, pushups, etc).

The weight started to drop off.  In six months (as of this week), August is down 50 pounds, and I’m down 40.  He’s done, and in better shape than when he was active duty.  I still have at least 20 to go, and maybe more, depending on when my body feels the “right” weight.  I totally anticipate being there by June of this year, and will be sharing our before and after pics 🙂

So that’s the intro.  In the coming weeks I’ll talk about labs, my disappearing immunodeficiency problems, and August’s complete jettison of his OTC and prescribed drugs.

If you have any questions, drop them in the comments or e-mail me at author@tlschaefer.com and I’ll answer what I can!

TABT…The Ivy House, by Drea Stein

Yes, it’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted a book review, but I’ve decided I’m gonna give it the old New Year’s try.

I have a SERIOUS weak spot for well-written contemporaries.  I got The Ivy House when it was free on Kindle, and it took me forever to get to because my TBR pile is ridiculous (another 2015 ‘thing to do’…I refuse to call them resolutions–LOL).  So here’s the disclaimer that I’ll post with every review…I only post 4 or 5 star/heart/whatever reviews.  Why?  Because more than once I’ve seen glowing reviews on books that were complete and utter wallbangers for me. Different people like different stuff 🙂  Not only that, as an author myself, I tend to be hypercritical, and that’s not fair to other readers OR the author if I’m being fussy.  Sooooo, only 4 and 5 star reviews from me.

Without further ado…

 

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The Ivy House is actually the third book in the series (I didn’t know that when I downloaded it), but I had absolutely NO problem in following the storyline, or even the integration of other characters/couples (who were in previous books). In fact, this has to be one of the smoothest series books I’ve read, when it comes to “getting it” without undue brain pain.

Phoebe (the heroine) is the kind of lead I love to read about. Strong, but not overly stubborn (to merely advance the plot), vulnerable, and not afraid to admit that she thinks the guy driving her absolutely nuts is hot as hell.  Chase (the hero) was interesting to me, because he was almost too perfect, too charming–until he realizes that he’s almost blown it all.  The funny part was, because his build-up was so consistent throughout the book, it was that much more heartwarming when he realized what he would be missing. Both Phoebe and Chase had to make sacrifices to be with the other, but none of them felt contrary to their characters.  The setting was gorgeous and Ivy House a character in its own right.  Add in some hot celebrity gossip/juicy past loves and you’ve got a winning combination that’s hard to put down.  Can’t wait to dive into the first book in the series to see what I missed.