Guest Blog Goodness

Guest Blog Goodness–Naomi Bellina

Please welcome Naomi Bella to the blog!!

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 gives me a chance to let my bizarre imagination out to play. Everyday life is, let’s face it, sometimes mind-numbingly boring. So yes, it’s my therapy. Cheaper than a shrink, less side effects than drugs. My themes come from my own life and other people I talk to. We’re all dealing with issues, and it’s great to see that almost always, there’s a way to solve problems and reach our happily ever after.

 Who or what inspired you to write?
Whenever I read a great book I’d go, “Damn, I’d sure like to be able to do that.” After a while, I started saying, “Damn, maybe I could do that.” I took classes, studied, wrote some crappy books and then voila! I had a story worth publishing.

What are your five “desert island” books?
Always a tough question. I’d take a dictionary, to learn new words, an atlas, because I love looking at new places, a sketch book, because I love to draw, the next J.D. Robb book in the series I’m reading, and The Outlander book bundle (I know, that’s cheating, but I’m doing it anyway) because I’ve heard the books are excellent and I’d love to have a reading marathon. I assume I’ll have a nice hammock and frosty beverages to drink while I read, correct? With a pool boy to bring me refills?

What advice would you give a new author?
Here’s my advice to new authors. Don’t sign that stupid contract if your gut says no, don’t write half-baked novellas just to get published. If a publisher accepts your work, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. Find what you like to write and is half-way popular with readers, and write a full-length series of at least three books. Don’t believe everything you read about marketing. Don’t stress out so much.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂
Do I look like a twenty-year old athletic gymnast? Ha-ha! I’m not, and none of my characters are either, really. But some of the situations I put them in; let’s just say I’d have to start practicing my yoga stretches a whole lot more before I could do some of those things. My honey enjoys it when I use him to figure out a scene, though. Sometimes, I have to see if what I’m writing is anatomically possible. Research; it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.

Thanks so much for having me here, Terri! I love to share with and hear from readers, so feel free to contact me.

Buy Links for Sins of Long Ago:Cover Sins of Long Ago
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Blurb
Werewolves and humans don’t mix. Until danger forces an alliance and desire demands satisfaction.

Leading his pack of werewolves keeps Vincent plenty busy, and now with a predator out to harm them, life is more perilous than ever. The last thing he needs is a woman to complicate matters, especially one who sets his body and soul on fire. She’s a human and a witch — totally the wrong woman for him. Even if he could take a mate for his own, he refuses to put her in the danger his life has become. No way can they ever be together. Werewolf-style love is fine anyway. No permanent partner, no bullshit, no heartache.

Genevieve has never known true love. Cursed by an enraged woman long ago, females in her family are doomed to go insane if they fall in love. Life has been fine without a man around– until a hot werewolf drops in and captures her heart. Though they have plenty of obstacles to overcome, Gen knows they can work past them. Tell that to Vincent, as he struggles with old pack rules about love, sex, and consorting with humans.

As Vincent searches for a killer, deals with death among his own, and tries to keep his hands off Gen, she attempts to end her family curse. Together, they must find a way to break free from the sins of long ago.

Excerpt
Lying in bed with a pleasant wine buzz, she was almost asleep when the sounds of Sally and Greg making love pulled her back to consciousness. She smashed the pillow over her head, but it was no use. Passionate moans filled the air, reminding her of what she’d almost had hours before. Gen tossed and turned, twisting the sheets into a knotted mess. Her skin still smelled of wood smoke, even after a shower, and she could swear the faint aroma of Vincent clung to her body too.

The noise finally stopped but, wide awake now, Gen pulled out her phone to read a book, hoping to lull herself back to sleep.

Nope. After twenty minutes of reading, her brain refused to quit. The more she thought about her present situation, the angrier she became. Though it had been brief, the intensity of passion she and Vincent had ignited burned like the embers in the fire. Screw it. Some asshole had spoiled her evening; she’d be damned if she would let him ruin the rest of her night. Her heart and her body demanded satisfaction. She got out of bed, dressed quietly, grabbed her things, and crept down the stairs to call Vincent. He answered on the first ring, and she spoke in a low tone.

“I know this is silly, but…”

“I’ll be at your place in ten minutes.”

“What? Ten minutes? Where are you?”

“I just left Nocturne. I took a sniff around, watched your shop for a while to see if the robber would come back, then went to your apartment to look around. Go to your place. If you get there before me, wait outside in your car, don’t go in.”

“You’re being mighty presumptuous. You don’t even know what I want.”

“I know what you want.” His deep voice sent the same intensely pleasurable shudder through her body his thumb on her cheek had earlier.

“I’ll be there soon.” Two hours. He’d hung around Nocturne for two hours. For her.

She found a piece of paper and started to scribble Sally a note. What could she say? Got horny and left? Thanks for the wine and movie? The kitchen light flicked on, and Gen jumped.

“Hey, Sally, just getting ready to write you a note. I’m going to…”

“I know where you’re going. You’re going to hook up with your hot man.”

“Uh, yeah. How did you know?”

“The way you two looked at each other. I could have fried an egg on your head. Why didn’t you just stay with him tonight?”

“I thought it would be presumptuous to ask and anyway, we don’t know each other all that well. I don’t know how he feels about me.”

“Are you kidding? That wolf has it bad for you. He’d walk across broken glass to get some of your lovin’.”

Gen’s mouth fell open. “You know he’s a werewolf? How do you know that?” Her eyes narrowed. “You’re some kind of magic woman, aren’t you?”

Sally laughed. “Yes, I am kind of magic. I’ve got this weird telepathy thing, where I can read other people. I keep it turned off most of the time, but I did a quick scan of Vincent in your shop. He sent out powerful vibes, and I wanted to make sure he was safe for you. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to violate your privacy.”

“No problem, I guess. What did you pick up from him?”

“He’s wildly crazy about you. He might not even know it yet, but he is. Then I saw his wolf side, trying to get out. He’s got control, but the animal is there, right beneath the surface.”

Gen shifted her feet around. Crap. Did she just get Vincent in trouble? “You can’t tell anyone, about him. Promise you won’t.”

 

Guest Blog Goodness–Audrey Jane Andrews

Please welcome Audrey to the blog!

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?

Oh, therapy for sure!

I think writers are a very internal and reflective group of people. Our brains process differently, and unless you spend much of your time around other who let you talk about your thoughts incessantly,  it can get very lonely in there. A computer and a good storyline has saved me probably thousands of dollars in therapy costs – not because I am on the brink of insanity, but because I think we ALL like our creative sides to be heard. My computer listens to everything I have to say, and even corrects my spelling in a very non-judgmental way.

My writing weaves between life expression and vision. When I’m done outlining my major plot points of the story, which are typically the ‘vision’, I go back and fill in my life experiences as character development and subplots. I feel that it keeps a sense of realism to the storyline.

Who or what inspired you to write?

I began writing at such a young age (9-10 years old), that it is hard for me to think of what inspired me. I also thought story telling was something that everyone did naturally, until my high school creative writing teacher took me aside and told me he thought I was a gifted writer. I laughed and asked him if he said that to everyone, because again, I thought everyone had the knack for this stuff. He shook his head. That teacher’s name was Hamilton (Ham) Nelson and he looked like a stoned version of Albert Einstein.

The author who inspired me to write well was Sylvia Plath. Now we all know there is nothing very sexy or romantic about Plath’s only novel, The Bell Jar. Her book is depressing and a bit slow at times, but it sits on my desk through every book as a guide to vivid and scenic writing. She taught me to use all five senses when building a scene, not only what a character sees and feels. Her poetry is brilliant as well, and when I find myself stuck in writer’s block, I snap out of it with the help of her poems.

What are your five “desert island” books?

  1. The Dictionary – It seems like a longer and more interesting read than War and Peace. Anyone who has read Falling Forward will now see that this sad hobby of the protagonist was inspired by a true story.
  2. The complete library of Calvin and Hobbes – Okay, not a literary masterpiece. But if I’m going to be on a desert island, I’d rather have adventures with a stuffed tiger made out of bamboo shoots than converse with a volleyball named Wilson.
  3. Nineteenth Century European Art (3rd edition) – One of the things on my bucket list is to learn to recognize famous paintings and painters. Not only can I do that while trapped on an island, looking at the paintings will keep me connected to the beauty of art. A lot of good can be done to the soul when left alone.
  4. The Harry Potter Series. – I may be cheating with a series, but they DO sell these as a set, so that makes it okay, right? I am not a Harry Potter fan. The movies were entertaining, but I’m a 42-year-old woman – Wizards and Warlocks don’t really do it for me anymore. BUT, I do admire J.K. Rowling and everything she has done with her life. Plus dressing up like a wizard and shouting Patronus spells may keep the natives away.
  5. The complete poems of Robert Frost – Much like the art book, I’m going to need a book that dishes me beautiful words and poems on a daily basis. When everything is bleak, a good book or poem can quickly take you to where you want to be.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?

I’ll always appreciate a good, honest review from a professional standpoint. Reviews help a fledgling author like me feel competent and confident in a saturated book market. But what really stands out above the rest is word-of-mouth. If you liked or loved my book, tell your friends! In my opinion, that is the best and most flattering way to show gratitude. I also like when my readers to email me or PM me via Twitter or Facebook and tell me who their favorite character was. In my new book, Falling Forward, the character Kate seems to be the front runner, which is understandable seeing she’s the protagonist. But a few readers have surprised me with secondary characters! For the record, my favorite character in Falling Forward is a secondary character!

I am always open to conversation with my readers.

What advice would you give a new author?

Never throw away any of your work!  Keep it! Even if you have to print it out and stack it in a closet. You may come across a scene in a later writing where you need specific dialogue or a certain place and you’ve already written about it. I have kept every scrap of poetry I’ve written, every screenplay, every short story, and journal for this reason! Keep it! Keep it! Keep it!

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂

I like to call it ‘research’. ; )

My first book, Orion’s Belt, was a very sexual book. It makes Falling Forward, which has sex scenes too, look like a Sex-Ed pamphlet. My husband – my poor husband – got the brunt of the research of Orion’s Belt. I thought I was going to send him to the hospital. He took it like a trooper though, but could never get used to me writing notes afterward.

AudreyJaneAndrews.com/fallingforward
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Blurb: East Coast vs West Coast

Kate Kleider has it all: Looks, brains and a rising career. The one thing she’s missing is a date to her favorite ex-boyfriend’s wedding. To make matters worse, she’s just moved from the conservative Northeast to Southern California, and is overwhelmed by the beach, bikini sand bonfires around her.

During a company fundraiser, she cannot rip her stare from hunky surf shop owner Jamison Rigby. After a disastrous first meeting fueled by her own inadequacies, Kate swallows her pride and asks him out to dinner. Lucky for her, he says yes. Surprisingly, they hit it off, and one dinner leads to the next, which leads to him agreeing to go to the wedding with her. Before too long, they are in bed together. There is no denying that he is a good influence – she’s calmer and less uptight – but her own baggage coupled with a mysterious feeling that he’s holding back keeps her from making any serious commitment.

However, someone else has their eye on Kate. Wealthy businessman Nicholas Payne hires her company to represent his new West Coast marketing campaign. Like Kate, he’s an East Coaster, shares a love of bird watching and is very successful. The attraction is mutual, although she has to keep him at arm’s length since he is her client. When Payne offers her a job at his company, Kate is alive with the idea of moving back East and maybe dating someone more like her.

The ball seems in Kate’s court until her past reared its ugly head causing Kate to rethink the direction of her life. Will she stay in California with a man who is her complete opposite? Or will she return to the Northeast, and back to a life she is used to?

Excerpt:

Oh no.

Among the bills and junk mail I spied a glossy tan envelope with a blue anchor watermark. It had to be chock-full of bad news. I should’ve waited to open it because I was running late, but my fingers didn’t agree with my logic. Seven stories down in my apartment building parking lot, my boss, Glenn, was sure to be honking his horn and cursing my name. Instead of taking the time to pull my hair back into its usual braid, I slid my fingers under the flap of the envelope. The dreadful contents scattered on the counter and I picked out the frilliest insert and began reading:

Together with their families
Margot Bernadette Rousset
&
Brian Alan Vandercook
Invite you to share in their joy
As they are united in marriage
Saturday, September 20, 2014
The Argonaut Hotel
San Francisco, California

My ex-boyfriend was getting married to her. For three years, I’d told my therapist that I was completely over him and wished him all the happiness in the world. Yet, seeing the damn pretty stationery made me want to gouge my eyes out. I tossed it next to the sink and hid it under my American Birder magazine.

Downstairs, Glenn was having a fit. As I approached his car, I could see him cleaning his glasses and yelling at his boyfriend, Warren. He always cleans his glasses when he’s angry, and when he’s livid, he runs his hands through his perfectly straight, Japanese hair. He tapped his watch as he saw me approach.

“Sorry I’m late.” I tossed my duffle bag in the backseat and followed in behind it. “I got some bad news.”

“You mean there is worse news than showing up late to a charity event where we’re one of the sponsors?” Glenn snapped. “It had better involve death.”

“Worse than death.” I strapped myself into the seatbelt. “My ex-boyfriend Brian is getting married.”

Glenn looked as if a million hateful words were about to spill out of his mouth, but then he turned forward and put his car into drive. He had every right to snap at me for being late. Since his promotion and our company’s expansion from Pittsburgh to Newport Beach, California three months ago, he had been under the gun by corporate to perform. He’d invited five of us from Pittsburgh to come with him—his original team of marketing and advertising experts—but only two of us agreed to relocate.

His expression softened as he drove.

“I’m sorry, Kate. I know you really like him.” He knew I had a hard time with relationships. “When’s the wedding?”

“September twentieth. In San Francisco.”

“Are you going?”

“Of course. He’s the closest thing to love I’ve ever felt.”

Warren’s head snapped around. “Wait a minute…is this the Brian? Your college sweetheart?”

I nodded, and for the first time in years I felt tears well up inside me. I closed my eyes to stifle them and leaned back in the seat. When I lived in Pittsburgh, Brian and I texted a couple times a month. He only mentioned he was thinking of proposing to her once, and that was more than two years ago. When I moved to California, his texts consisted of asking for my new address and telling me his application with the District Attorney’s Office looked promising. With no more talk of an engagement, I’d hoped he had given up on the whole thing.

But why would he give up? Margot is beautiful, successful, and independent. Even her name screamed elegance: Margot Bernadette Rousett. She is perfect for him. And worse—he is perfect for her.

Glenn’s eyes met mine in the mirror. “You know, the sun of California has a way of burning the cynicism out of bright, beautiful twenty-eight-year-olds. A new Kate may rise from the ashes.”

I smiled out of politeness before staring out the window. A new Kate. I already thought I was the new Kate. We pulled into a beachside parking lot full of people wearing gym clothes and stretching. Glenn thought it would be a great idea for our company to get its name out there by becoming a sponsor for a charity run. He pulled up next to a large canopy tent with our corporate logo, Carrier & Rogers Marketing. Then he waved at a stunning young brunette with enormous breasts that spilled over the top of her tight, pink V-neck shirt.

“Kate, that’s Brenda, the administrative assistant from Dr. Buckley’s office.” He turned and faced me. “We’re sharing a tent with them. Grab the crates from the trunk and see if she needs any help getting these people signed in.”

I grimaced at Glenn.

“I don’t think there’s room under the tent,” I said snidely. Glenn looked confused until I cupped my breasts together and propped them up under my chin to simulate hers. He rolled his eyes.

“Kate, Dr. Buckley is a plastic surgeon specializing in breast augmentation. You’re going to see a lot of those today.”

A lot indeed. After helping Brenda and her ample bosom stock the tent with boxes of T-shirts and runners’ numbers, I noticed everyone in line was very well endowed. The only ones who weren’t were men, but they filled up their eyes with all the cleavage. Just when I thought I’d seen the largest pair of breasts, a new pair would eclipse the last. It was freakish.

 

Guest Blog Goodness–KT Black

Please welcome KT Black to the blog!

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 a little bit of both. My imagination is always turned on. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about what I could be writing. I love it. It’s the one thing that’s always made me happy.

I also like the fact that writing gives me a voice I don’t often have in real life. I can say things that I don’t generally have the nerve to utter outside of a story. I know that’s why I have so much fun writing my antagonists.

Who or what inspired you to write? I’ve always loved stories, especially making them up. It wasn’t until I read the book Rebecca that I became determined to become a writer. The make believe world is so much more interesting than the real world.

What are your five “desert island” books? Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (mystery/thriller/romance), Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic (witchy metaphysical), Janet Evanovich’s Four to Score (for sexy laughs), Stephen Donaldson’s Mirror of Her Dreams (science fiction/fantasy), and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (because I’ll always be a kid at heart).

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?  I think the best way is to tell you what they thought of the story I’ve written. It’s hard to receive criticism, but I think it’s worse not to hear anything at all. Good or bad, I believe all writers want to know what others think about their work.

 What advice would you give a new author? Don’t give up. If writing is your passion, don’t let fear or other people talk you out of doing it. Rejection sucks, but when someone finally tells you yes, it makes it all worth it.

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Blurb:

Elise Bennette doesn’t do relationships … even though her sexy-as-hell new assistant has her consumed by erotic daydreams. But things aren’t what they appear to be, and her dream life and real life are beginning to blur. Will her fantasies eventually become real or will a secret shatter the illusion?

Excerpt:

A half hour later, her coffee cup empty, Elise sat in her office staring off into space. Why did her thoughts manage to work their way back to Dylan Holt? The thing that bothered her the most about the man wasn’t that she disliked him, like everyone thought. What bothered her was how much she liked him.

Since Dylan started working for her, the energy in the office had altered. She felt something changing inside as well. Something that frightened her. Richard was the last person to make her feel like this. No, she shook her head. This was different, something much more intense. At the office, driving in traffic, in her home, sexy daydreams about her and Dylan consumed her thoughts. It felt like she was going through puberty again.

Pushing her folders aside, Elise leaned back in her chair and allowed her mind to wander.

* * * *

It was late. The building was vacant except for her and Dylan. Focused on computer work, she didn’t see or hear when Dylan entered her office. It’s only when she felt a pair of hands resting on top of her shoulders that she knew something had changed.

“What are you doing?” Elise protested, attempting to stand but remained seated, held in place by two strong hands.

“You work too hard.” Dylan’s voice was low, husky. “You need to learn how to relax.”

“But—”

When those hands began to knead her shoulders and neck, Elise stopped talking. Her eyes drooped, threatening to close as her body responded to Dylan’s touch.

“It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”

“Too b-busy.” As her muscles began to relax, that wasn’t all she felt. Arousal. She shifted in her seat when the throbbing between her legs become more pronounced, discovering how wet she was becoming. No, she needed to stop this now. “This isn’t—”

“Appropriate? No, maybe not, but necessary.”

“Mr. Holt.” The objection was weak. Elise knew it.

“I told you to call me Dylan. But, it does kind of turn me on to hear you say, Mr. Holt.” His tone was suggestive, full of naughty implications.

Elise shivered, a jolt of pleasure settled low in her belly, and her nipples tightened, responding to his touch.

“I know you like me, as much as you pretend to only tolerate me. Why won’t you admit it, Elise?”

“Don’t—”

“Don’t what? Don’t stop?” Dylan’s hands drifted downward. As he slipped inside the top of Elise’s blouse, he skimmed his fingertips across the top of plump flesh not covered by her bra. “I see how you look at me. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.”

Guest Blog Goodness–Tess Delacour

Please help me welcome Tess Delacour to the blog!!

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 therapy for me.  It’s a healthy way to release emotion.   We all have to self-censor.  You can’t run around spewing every thought that floats through your head, but you can write it down.  Some of it makes it into the books and some gets discarded, but it all gets set free.

There is a bit of me in every one of my characters, good and bad.  It’s kind of like a Horcrux.  Pieces and parts of a writer live on in their books long after they are gone, keeping them alive.  That’s how I look at it.

Who or what inspired you to write?
Pride and Prejudice was the first romance novel I ever read.  The book was assigned in a high school English class and I was immediately hooked on Jane Austen.  It was the first time I became obsessed with a book.  I reread it over and over, and sought out all the movies and mini-series available.  I had been writing poems and short stories all along, but that book changed the direction of my writing.  I wanted to create worlds, to draw readers in and make them feel connected to a cast of wonderful characters.  Jane did that for me.  All her books make me want to jump inside the pages and be a part of the story, and that’s the impact I want to have on my audience.  Reading Austen drew me to other romance authors and I’ve been on this path ever since.  Other strong influences are Daphne DuMaurier and the Bronte sisters.  There are many wonderful modern authors who have inspired me as well.  In particular, Jill Shalvis, Erin McCarthy and Christy Craig have had an impact.  I love a good, sexy, funny story, and these ladies do it well.

What are your five “desert island” books?
SAS Survival Guide by John Wiseman — I am a practical girl at heart.  If I’m dehydrated, starved and half-dead, reading five page-turners isn’t really happening.  I’ll go for one practical book to keep me alive and four fantastic reads to make living worthwhile.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen — Of course, by now you know I have a Jane problem and this book would need to be on the island.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – This is a book I can read over and over again, and get something new every time.  The complex characters and historical detail keep me coming back.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare – Okay, okay, I know this is cheating but it’s my island and in my defense it is a single book.  Will’s plays would keep me happy for the rest of my days on an island.  Of course, my favs are the HEAs Much Ado About Nothing and Taming of the Shrew, but I am sure I would find the time to read the tragedies as well.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman – This book has everything!  And isn’t a gorgeous pirate what every woman stranded on a desert island needs?

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?
The best way a reader can express gratitude is to leave an honest review of my book.  Reviews are what lead new readers to a work and they are invaluable.  It’s like tipping your waitress at a restaurant.  The reviews are tips for an author.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂
Many of my intimate scenes are drawn from reality or things I would like to experience.  As women I think sometimes we have trouble voicing our fantasies to our lovers.  My husband had never read a romance novel until my books.  I asked him if he was going to be embarrassed for people to read them due to the spicy content and he said, “Nope.  They’ll just be jealous.”  By the way, if you can get your significant other to read a romance novel you will be amazed at the results.  Try it.  😉

Website: www.tessdelacour.complayitagaindan
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Blurb
The moment Detective Daniel Murphy waltzes into The Dubliner Irish Pub, he knows it is going to be a good night. Music, beer, and sex are the three best reasons for living in his opinion. The first two were satisfied upon entry and the third looks promising if the singer on the stage is cooperative. Little does he know that the woman he’s about to meet, the very one he’s been admiring, will change his life forever. She’s picked up a nasty stalker and Dan is the cop assigned to her case. Lucky him.

Assistant District Attorney Kate Shaw’s first encounter with Detective Murphy consists of him ogling her backside and bossing her around. Not a stellar start. She’s carrying a boatload of childhood baggage from a youth spent in foster care and believes she is unable to make an emotional connection with the opposite sex. Men are more trouble than they’re worth and life with her music, work, and cat are plenty to satisfy.

They attempt to work together to nail Kate’s stalker but the bad guy has other ideas. Can Dan protect Kate from the threat and convince her they are for keeps? He’s a man who gets what he wants. In this case that’s the bad guy as well as the girl.

Excerpt
Chapter 1

Detective Daniel Murphy walked from his car to The Dubliner Irish Pub, the sounds of a band spilled out the doors of the brick building. He loved that sound, it reminded him of his dad, and Guinness. One of his favorite reasons for living was music. Well, music and beer and…sex. Not necessarily in that order. He stepped into the pub and cast a wide net with his eyes. It was a cop thing. Taking in every person in the place, scanning the area, checking for potential problems. Habit.

He was surprised to see his younger brother Ryan at a table in the back corner with a bunch of friends he recognized from the DA’s office. His brother was an Assistant District Attorney and this pub was near the courthouse, apparently an ADA hangout. He made his way over to their table. “Hey Ryan, how’s it going?”

“It goes well, what are you doing here all by your lonesome?” Ryan asked.

“I’m working a case, and meeting someone here for an interview.”

“Well Danny, set your big ass down and take a load off until your interview shows up.”

Just then the band started again with “Hard Times,” one of his favorite songs. He looked up and gazed at the small, elevated stage and then he heard her voice. His eyes landed on the singer, and holy hell he couldn’t look away. She was gorgeous. Average height around five-feet-four inches, but nothing else about her was average. She was wearing a blue, long sleeved T-shirt, black jeans, and low-heeled black leather boots. The simple clothes could not hide her abundant curves. She had an amazing rack and a butt to match, his favorite combination. Voluptuous. Blonde, shoulder length hair framed a heart shaped face. Piercing blue eyes lit with pleasure as she belted out the tune. She was playing an acoustic guitar that looked to be a Gibson. Nice. A husky, deep voice poured from her body. Her voice reminded him of the late Eva Cassidy. It was unsettling hearing such a big voice from such a small frame. He closed his eyes and let the music flow over him.

Ryan started chuckling. “The drool does not become you.” The other guys at the table snickered. “Dream on Danny, she’s out of your league.”

“You have no idea what’s in my league. Do you know her?”

“Yeah, that’s Kate Shaw. She’s an ADA in the child abuse section, hard as nails and a real ball breaker, great lawyer though.”

“Aww, shit. That’s my interview.”

Dan scrubbed his hand over his five o’clock shadow. “She said to meet her here. I didn’t know she was performing.”

Ryan was still laughing at his big brother. “The band is Guilty As Charged. They’re a bunch of lawyers who perform here a couple times a month.”

“I’ve heard of them, but have never seen them play. They’re pretty good.” They had finished “Hard Times” and the woman was singing a Norah Jones song now. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

Okay, time to put on his cop face and behave like the professional he was. No mixing business and pleasure. Being a grown up sucked.

It was approaching ten o’clock and that was the time she had told him to meet her.

As the song ended the band announced they were taking a break and would return shortly. She had given him a description of herself so he could find her when he arrived. A description that only included the basics of hair color, height, and what she’d be wearing, but that was sorely lacking in the luscious details department. Crap, get it together, Dan. Professional. Serious. Detective.

He approached the stage as she was bending over to pick up a water bottle. Jaysus, that was a fine ass. She caught him ogling her assets out of the corner of her eye, stood, and turned to face him. Busted. Setting her guitar on its stand she gave him the evil eye.

“Can I help you with something?” she said in a deadpan voice.

 

Guest Blog Goodness–Jessica Cale

Please welcome Jessica  Cale to the blog!

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?
It’s a little bit of both. It’s incredibly calming to disappear into a world of my own and as long as nothing reminds me of where I am (phone calls, neighbors, etc), I can stay there for hours without realizing it. It’s achieving something that’s invigorating. If I can finish one good scene, I feel great. Certain parts of my books are definitely drawn from personal experience, but the themes are more reflective of my vision and who I am. For example, I feel very strongly about equal rights across the board, so I try to write varied and interesting characters from all walks of life, while trying to keep things as historically accurate as possible. It’s my little attempt to correct history by representing the marginalized. It’s satisfying!

Who or what inspired you to write?
I don’t think I had a choice. There’s a picture of me sitting in front of a typewriter before I could walk. My grandmother wrote romance novels and children’s stories, and she was always writing or reading something when I went to her house. She gave me a typewriter when I was twelve, and I probably started writing creatively then. That typewriter (and the horror stories I wrote on it) got me through high school! I’ve always had stories in my head, and it made more sense to write them down than to let them drive me nuts.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?
I would love it if readers would review my books on Goodreads, Amazon, or any other site, because reviews are wonderfully helpful to authors. Recommend it to your friends if you enjoyed it. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Tsu, or even just through my website. I would love to hear from you. I’m really nice!

What advice would you give a new author?
Don’t give up! Keep writing! Writing is a process and it can take a long time, but don’t let that scare you. Anything you write can be edited later if you don’t like it, and just because one person passes on it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Writing, like all art, is subjective, and somebody will enjoy your work. Keep working on it until you think it’s perfect, and then submit it until you find the right publisher or agent. I was very lucky to find my publisher as quickly as I did, and I’m thrilled to be with Liquid Silver. Submit to them and join the family! 😉

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂
Well, we never tried to break somebody out of prison…

Blurbage:
From toiling for pennies to bare-knuckle boxing, a lady is prepared for every eventuality.

Lady Jane Ramsey is young, beautiful, and ruined.

After being rescued from her kidnapping by a handsome highwayman, she returns home only to find her marriage prospects drastically reduced. Her father expects her to marry the repulsive Lord Lewes, but Jane has other plans. All she can think about is her highwayman, and she is determined to find him again.

Mark Virtue is trying to go straight. After years of robbing coaches and surviving on his wits, he knows it’s time to hang up his pistol and become the carpenter he was trained to be. He busies himself with finding work for his neighbors and improving his corner of Southwark as he tries to forget the girl who haunts his dreams. As a carpenter struggling to stay in work in the aftermath of The Fire, he knows Jane is unfathomably far beyond his reach, and there’s no use wishing for the impossible.

When Jane turns up in Southwark, Mark is furious. She has no way of understanding just how much danger she has put them in by running away. In spite of his growing feelings for her, he knows that Southwark is no place for a lady. Jane must set aside her lessons to learn a new set of rules if she is to make a life for herself in the crime-ridden slum. She will fight for her freedom and her life if that’s what it takes to prove to Mark—and to herself—that there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Buy Links:virtueslady
Pre-Order from Liquid Silver for 20% off: http://www.lsbooks.com/pre-order-coming-soon-romance-books-c322.php
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Virtues-Lady-Southwark-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00VC6B9SS/

Linkage:
Website: http://www.authorjessicacale.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicacale
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaCale @JessicaCale
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JessicaCaleWrites
Tumblr: http://authorjessicacale.tumblr.com/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rainbowcarnage
Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/jessicacale
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Cale/e/B00PVDV9EW/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9819997.Jessica_Cale

Excerpt:

A key popped into the lock and the door opened with a creak. A turnkey stood guard in the narrow entrance, as if he was afraid Mark would escape.

Mark almost laughed. They’d put him in the heavy shackles they reserved for those who had escaped and been recaptured. It was Harry who was the escape artist, but Mark wouldn’t correct them. It was good that they thought he was a threat.

He was.

The turnkey carried a lantern bright enough for Mark to see his shining eyes and a shit-eating grin. “Someone likes you,” he said.

Mark rolled his eyes. “You tell Tilly that there’s not enough bread in Christendom—”

He trailed off as he saw a slender white hand emerge from the shadows of the hall to drop a coin into the turnkey’s palm. “For his shackles,” said a girl’s voice in a coarse accent he didn’t recognize.

“You want them on or off?”

“Off!” she snapped.

Mark raised an eyebrow. “You’ve got the wrong cell, mate. I’m not expecting anyone.”

The turnkey leered. “Can I keep her, then?”

“Can you hell!” the girl protested. “I was sent for Mister Mark Virtue only. Bought and paid for. Hands off!”

The girl stepped into the light. The thin cloak she wore over it was for warmth more than modesty; a man would have to be blind not to see the body beneath it. Her lush curves were cinched into a scandalously low-cut dress the color of burnished gold, her flawless skin glowing in the warm light of the lantern. A yard or so of shining auburn hair spilled out of the hood that shadowed her face. Even had she kept it covered, he would have known her from the way his blood sang in her presence.

She glanced up at him from beneath the hood and he saw it.

The glint of steel in her eyes.

“This is only a shilling,” said the turnkey. “That’ll get you the hands or the feet. Not both.”

She arched an eyebrow at Mark. “Which is it? Hands or feet?”

“Feet.”

Mark didn’t take his eyes off of her as the turnkey bent to unlock the shackles around his ankles.

“The lantern’s extra,” he said as he stood.

“Don’t need it,” Mark dismissed, rubbing his ankles.

“That’s a shame. She’s a treat! I’ll come get her later then. Wish I had friends like yours, Mark.” He closed the door behind him, and Mark heard the bolt slide into the lock with a heavy click.

He was locked in a cell in near perfect darkness with Jane Ramsey.

“It’s not my birthday.” He smiled.

 

 

Guest Blog Goodness–JC Conway

Please welcome JC Conway to the blog!

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?
I’m not sure there’s a distinction between those two things, but I think my stories reflect my vision more than my life. Not that you won’t see me in the stories. Some people very close to me insist they see me in my stories—often in characters that, on the outside, are about as different from me as night is from day. But, to the extent that observation is true (and it probably is), it’s consistent with my vision, which is that there is a little bit of each of us in each other. Writing actually helps me see that, and as I delve into a character’s motivations and flaws I learn more than I expect about what makes us all so understandably similar, despite dramatic differences in circumstances.

Who or what inspired you to write?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t make up stories. When I was too young to express them in writing, they existed in pictures or toys and the tall tales I would add. So I would have to say I was either born with the inspiration, or my parents raised me in such a way, in my earliest formative years, that it was instilled before I knew it.

Inspiration didn’t stop there, of course. There were grade school teachers that saw that spark and kept it alive, each encouraging me in their own way. And there were those real writers that wrote stories that awed me—fantastic places and situations involving children I could relate to doing things I would have never imagined. From the time I could read I have always had a book I was reading—usually on the nightstand. Writers have touched me again and again with their imaginations and descriptive talents, and I have always wanted to do that, too, in whatever way I could, knowing that my voice is different from all others, just like each author that inspired me differed undeniably from each other.

What are your five “desert island” books?
This is always a hard question for me, because I’m not much of a re-reader. In fact, the only stories I can recall reading more than once were A Wrinkle in Time and Lord of the Rings. But I will select a new story over one I know if given a choice. (There are just too many wonderful stories and excellent writers out there.) So my list of five is a mix of re-reads and author picks:

  1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (I still love that one and will read it several more times)
  2. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King (It’s the one King book I’ve read that isn’t a type of creepy horror story. I can’t get enough of the way he writes—his voice is amazing. But this is the only story (plot and setting-wise) that fits my taste—a suspenseful story about a girl lost in the woods)
  3. Something by Dickens that I haven’t read (his wry sense of humor gets me every time, and his straightforward approach to prose is just perfect—timeless, really)
  4. Something by Steinbeck that I haven’t read (a little more serious than Dickens, but always hits a note that resonates)
  5. Something by Janet Fitch that I haven’t read (I read White Oleander and Paint it Black—they both had an imagination and authenticity that felt beautiful)

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?

I guess the best thing a reader can do if my work strikes a good chord is to let others know in whatever way works for that reader, whether that be reviews, blogs or word of mouth. Stories are a personal experience. I love the stories I write and I share them hoping others will like them, too. Helping me share is a wonderful way to say thank you.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂
Definitely not—at least not in terms of location. One scene, in particular, takes place in the New Mexico desert atop a rock formation. It was romantic, under a starlit sky, and the characters used a ground cloth—so no dirt in the wrong places. But my partner has expressed little (make that “no”) interest in actually trying the great outdoors in such a way. Not that I’m ruling it out, mind you!

Hearts in Ruin is available in print or e-book formats:

You can learn more about J. C. Conway and his work at the following sites:

Blurbage:

Andrea had one goal in life, a quiet career as a mainstream archaeologist—nothing more nothing less—and she’s one ancient secret away. When she is teamed with maverick prodigy Daniel Fuchs at his controversial pre-Clovis dig on tribal land, she soon realizes his wild theories may sidetrack her career. Her smartest move is to expose him and that is exactly what she plans to do. Except…he’s hot, sexy, and there is a chance his theories may be right.

As the dig deepens and outside forces mount, Andrea and Daniel find their careers and their shaky relationship on the brink of ruin. Who can she trust? To survive professionally and emotionally, Andrea must decide between what is expected and what she believes, because time is running out and the developers’ bulldozers are poised to level the site.

Delve into the mystery and excitement of an archaeological dig in the New Mexico desert and experience the drive, determination, and passion surrounding the quest to unlock the Paleolithic past in this contemporary, romantic suspense.Hearts In Ruin…no shovel required to join this adventure to discover an ancient truth!

PG-13 excerpt:

As the scene begins, archeologists Daniel and Andrea, who have been at odds about how their dig should be handled (despite an undeniable attraction to each other), are at a formal dinner at Daniel’s former university. Daniel is frustrated at being forced to navigate academic politics this evening instead of actively working in the field.

Excerpt

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopLater in the evening, Daniel slipped out to the patio for a reprieve—just a few moments of peace. The wide balcony overlooked the east side of campus with the lights of town beyond, backed by the night shadows of the mesa. He inhaled. Even here, amid streets, buildings, miles of surrounding commercial and residential neighborhoods, the scent of the uncivilized desert predominated. Its stillness soothed him.

“So there you are.”

He turned, startled. Andrea stepped into view, stunning in Pamela’s dress. He’d seen her in it all evening, but not in the moonlight like this.

He struggled for composure. He hadn’t expected anyone to join him here, especially Andrea. She was a hit at the dinner, a fresh young woman, as smart as the stuffy regulars, but piercingly direct and good humored.

“Is everything all right?” he asked.

“Sure.” She stepped toward him. “Except my date ditched me.”

“I didn’t think you needed me in there.”

Her eyes glinted. “So, you tired of the crowd?”

He laughed. She could not have nailed it much better. “Let’s just say I’ve already been to enough meetings, dinners, and functions of all kinds with this group to fill a lifetime.”

She stood next to him now at the railing and stared across the campus. “It’s a pretty school.”

He shrugged. “It has its charms.”

A subtle hint of perfume mingled seamlessly with the desert breeze. Amazing. Most of the women inside seemed anxious to disguise or completely cover up the smell and feel of the dry desert environment. But Andrea, who had never lived in the climate or even visited the desert before, chose a fragrance that accepted it and even complimented its arid beauty.

“Not all fake Ivy-League like the U,” she explained.

He smiled. “No. And if you have a thing for adobe and stucco then you can really learn to love it.”

She turned, leaning back against the railing. “The people seem nice,” she ventured. “I don’t really know why you left. Just because they didn’t support the dig? It seems you could’ve worked it out with these folks.”

Daniel could not tear his gaze from her profile and the bare shoulders just touched by soft and inviting golden-brown hair. But he was held by more than that. All of her qualities were admirable. Not only was she fascinatingly attractive, and perhaps even in spite of it, she was brilliant and clear minded, and she loved her work.

“They um…” Daniel’s throat thickened, as if he were trying to talk underwater. There was something about her—something between them that transcended this project, he knew. He’d been avoiding it. He wanted no complications during the dig. But that was only part of the problem. The fact was, he didn’t want to draw her too far into his private quest. He couldn’t do that to her. Not now, not at this critical juncture with her career poised to launch. It was bad enough that she was the project leader, and he hoped she didn’t have to explain that away the rest of her life after he finally published his findings. But why then, if he felt that way, did he recruit her? She was clearly in the running for a post at a good school. This project, once the controversy surfaced, was not a good stepping stone on that path. Did he really think if he kept her role limited that it could minimize the fallout to her career?

It had been different for him. He didn’t work so hard for his opportunities. He had been young when he reached that point. Just eighteen, still a kid. He met Madeline and willingly abandoned most of the career courses Andrea should follow. He was committed to his project. He never saw it as a choice. But how could he lead Andrea down the same path—especially after she worked so hard for so many years to gain a solid foothold in academia?

Andrea’s brow furrowed with contemplation and she turned to him. “I think you should have just stuck to your guns here. They like you more than you know.”

He drew a breath. “Not all of them.”

She lowered her chin. “You’re about as likeable as they get.”

He smiled, and without thinking, touched her hand. She didn’t retreat. The air warmed with electricity. A remnant of his rational mind searched for a response to her statement—a quip, a compliment, a rebuttal…anything. But the futile effort was overshadowed by the sharpening of his senses, an awakening triggered by her presence and warm touch.

“I uh…”

She turned to face him squarely. He touched her arm, feeling the impossible softness of her skin. Her hand touched his stomach and slide to his waist. Her expression shifted. Her eyes surveyed his face. Was she searching for resistance or its opposite? He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure he cared. But he could tell that this closeness was something they’d both thought about before.

The moment grew, nearly eclipsing all else. He knew in his mind and heart that if he didn’t embrace her now, the moment could vanish forever. His heart pounded. He did not weigh options. This was not a matter of choice. It was roaring compulsion. He leaned close. He felt the heat of Andrea’s cheek, her warm breath. Their lips brushed across each other. Daniel savored the soft pass once, twice, then opening slightly more and connecting, pressing, tasting and melding. His chest filled with fire. The world fell away. He reached around her, pulling her close. She nestled in, leaving no gap.

He felt no barrier between them. His lips touched her nose, her cheek, the crook of her neck. He returned to her lips and they tasted each other again. Andrea mewed. It felt right to be lost in her touch and her breath. Their chests heaved together. Their embrace softened. Daniel roamed the curve of her spine. She responded with equal, soft passion. He felt the release of a long, satisfied sigh.

They touched foreheads.

He smiled. She giggled lightly.

A rough, “Ahem,” broke the moment like shattered crystal. They weren’t alone.

Eyes widened, they released their holds and turned.

“I don’t mean to disturb you.”

Daniel regained his bearing. William Lassiter and Morgan Hamilton stood near the patio door holding cocktail tumblers.

 

Guest Blog Goodness–KT Black

Please welcome KT Black to the blog!!

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 doesn’t feel like a choice to me. It’s something I have to do. My imagination is always turned on. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about what I could be writing. I love it. It’s the one thing that’s always made me happy.

When I fall into that perfect zone where the real world slips away, and my characters become real and speak to me, I enter this state of Zen where my writing is almost effortless. Not perfect, but a place where I let go and get out of my head.

It’s also therapeutic because I’m a bit introverted. Writing gives me a voice I don’t often have in real life. I can say things that I wish I would have, or needed to say without any repercussions. I think that’s why I have so much fun writing my antagonists.

Who or what inspired you to write? When I was four years old, I used to pretend I was writing books, I’m not certain why. It was years later, after reading the novel Rebecca when I was twelve that I became determined to make writing my profession. I got sidetracked a little bit along the way, but continued to write stories. I just never sent them out to anyone. Recently, I decided it was time to put the fear aside, take a chance and share my stories with the world.

What are your five “desert island” books? Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (mystery/thriller/romance), Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic (witchy metaphysical), Janet Evanovich’s Four to Score (for sexy laughs), Stephen Donaldson’s Mirror of Her Dreams (science fiction/fantasy), and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (because I’ll always be a kid at heart).

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂 My couple is in a lesbian relationship, and I’m not a lesbian, so no, not exactly. Certain things I keep just between me and who I’m seeing. I don’t share it in my writing.

What advice would you give a new author? Don’t give up. If writing is your passion, don’t let fear or other people talk you out of doing it. Rejection sucks, but when someone finally tells you yes, it makes it all worth it.

Blog:  www.ktblackbooks.com
FaceBook:  www.facebook.com/KTBlack26
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/KTBlack_author
TSU:  www.tsu.co/KTBlackAuthor
Publisher:  www.lsbooks.com
Amazon Author Page:  www.amazon.com/K.T.-Black/e/B00SUL7IDS
iBooks:  https://itun.es/us/KV0s5.l

BlurbageHRwickedmagic

Imagine Cinderella falling for the seductive charms of the Evil Queen. Wicked Magic is a modern retelling of an old favorite.

Magic is in the air after Chandler Gray silently wishes for her predictable work-filled life to change. When a mysterious woman, fascinated with beautiful images, moves in next door, Chandler finds herself falling under the spell of the last person she expects to make her happy. There’s just one problem:  an ex-girlfriend with a grudge and the power to curse her happiness.

Excerpt:

Chandler rushed over to the other yard and said, “Here, let me help you.” She hunched down and began to round up the spilled items. Once everything was back in the sack, she gathered up the bag and stood.

When the woman noticed Chandler, her lips turned upward into a broad, friendly smile. “Thanks.”

“Not a problem,” she replied, feeling a bit awestruck. Before her stood a very beautiful raven-haired woman with hypnotic brown eyes and full red lips. As they stood next to one another, Chandler noticed the woman was taller than her by a few inches, and possessed a keen fashion sense. She was dressed in a light-colored tunic over a pair of skin-tight dark denim capris. On her feet she wore flat-heeled sandals that matched the color of her top. From the dark purple polish on her toenails to her make-up and hair, she looked flawless.

“Hello. I’m your new neighbor, Alexandra Doherty.” She held out her free hand, which Chandler accepted. “Everyone calls me Alex. You may as well, if you like.”

Chandler stared at her, feeling like a tongue-tied idiot, unable to respond. When she managed to make her mouth work, her face burned as her shyness overwhelmed her. “Um, I’m Chandler. Chandler Gray.”

Alex appeared intrigued. “Very nice to meet you, Chandler.” She peered into her eyes for a minute or two before her gaze drifted downward. She took her time, making it seem obvious as she took in Chandler’s body.

Her boldness surprised Chandler, but she found herself unable to move. When Alex shifted her focus to their joined hands, Chandler felt her stomach flip. A mischievous expression filled Alex’s face as she looked back up into Chandler’s eyes.

Chandler remained frozen in place until she felt the soft caress of Alex’s thumb on the back of her hand. Experiencing the initial stirrings of arousal, Chandler panicked and let go of Alex’s hand as she took a step backward.

Feeling embarrassed and a bit perplexed, Chandler shuffled from foot to foot, but couldn’t seem to look away from Alex. It was as if the woman had some unseen power over her.

Guest Blog Goodness — Marianne Rice

Happy Birthday to me!  I’m jazzed that Marianne Rice wants to play on a special Friday edition of Guest Blog Goodness!

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?

Oh, writing is definitely therapeutic. I have a full time job, three active kids—a youngster, pre-teen and a teenage princess—a workaholic husband, and too many hobbies. My life is absolutely crazy. I use reading as a means to escape and tune out, but my writing is my way of pretending I’m surrounded with some sense of normalcy. My characters aren’t modeled after my friends of family, but I’m sure you can find pieces of my husband (good and bad) spread amongst my various heroes. A few of my books have children in them, and some of their antics or lines have definitely come from my kiddos. My son is hilarious and I have a journal I keep of his crazy comments. Quite a few come up in my third book, False Impressions. I don’t live in or create a perfect world; my characters have their issues and black moments, but in the end, they are happy and in love. At the end of my day, despite all the craziness and fights and meltdowns, I like to think I’m pretty darn lucky, happy and in love as well.

Who or what inspired you to write?

Funny story. Well, to me it is. After popping out child #1, a.k.a. the teenage princess, I started reading. A lot. I started with Nicholas Sparks. Read all eight of his books (that’s how many he had out at the time) in a few weeks. Then, while driving, I’d reminisce about one of his books, add a little dialogue of my own, change a few things around. I started catching myself talking out loud. I may have even caught myself stroking my gearshift (mind out of the gutter! Not in that way…but in a gentle touch—like the back of a hand sort of way, pretending I was being wooed). At night, while trying to sleep, I’d take the characters from the story and make a new story of my own. I did that for a few years. Popped out another child. Then a third. On maternity leave while home with my newborn son, toddler, and preschool kid, I thought, hey, now’s a great time to put your thoughts in writing! And so I did.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?

Kick-butt reviews and sharing my book with others! I’d also love to hear what made the book special and if there were moments that the reader laugh or cry, or connect to her own life. They can shoot me an email or add a post on my Facebook page.

What advice would you give a new author?

It’s cliché`, I know, but don’t give up your writing. You WILL get rejected, that’s a part of the process. In the meantime, keep working on your craft by attending writers’ conferences and meetings, and joining online writing groups. And don’t stop writing! When you get The Call…or The Email…you’ll want to have a few books under your belt. Readers are going to fall in love with your work and will want more. Having a backlog of books to submit to your publisher will boost your sales and keep your name out there.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂

Well, since I write the “less steamy” stuff, uh, probably, yeah. But maybe we’ve done some stuff that’s not in my books as well. ☺

Buy at Liquid Silver Books, Amazon or Barnes and Noble

False Start

BLURB:falsestart

Ex-NFL player turned high school football coach Connor McKay is well loved by all … except by the sexy principal who wants to make changes to his athletic program. Intrigued by Meg Fulton’s beauty and intelligence, Connor doesn’t mind going head-to-head with her. When he and Meg are set up on a blind date, he’s finally able to open a crack in Meg’s high emotional wall and see the caring woman inside. What Connor doesn’t expect is that his buddy and ex-teammate is the one responsible for Meg’s wall in the first place. To choose between a one-time brother and the woman he’s fallen hopelessly in love with, Connor will make the riskiest play of his life.

Always the misfit growing up, newly hired high school principal Meg Fulton uses a fashionable wardrobe and a sharp tongue to keep men at a safe distance. After a drunken, abusive experience in the back of a Chevy as a naïve teen, she became a single mother with a tough hide…until Connor McKay walks into the picture. She can’t stand him. He’s a sports-loving alpha male––no thanks! Meg has a good reason to hate jocks. Been there, done that, much to her regret. But as her path continues to cross with Connor’s, and attraction heats to a boiling point, Meg learns there’s more to Connor than biceps and a tight rear end. Things are heating up with them, when someone from her past threatens to tear them apart. Meg runs for cover…and from Connor. It will take a leap of love for Meg to shed the scars of her past and let love into her life.

Chapter 1

“We need to talk.”

Startled by the deep growl, Meg Fulton looked up to the towering stack of testosterone filling her office doorway and cursed the butterflies that fluttered in her stomach.

She straightened her posture, ran her hand through her thick hair in an attempt to put all the strays back in place, and then reached for the lapels of the suit coat that wasn’t there. She felt vulnerable in her silk tank top and wished she had an extra layer to shield her from the menacing daggers targeted at her. Putting on the jacket would only make a spectacle of herself. The thin tank would have to do.

“Sure. Have a seat.” She crossed her legs and attempted to smile. Inwardly, Meg groaned. Connor McKay. She’d noticed him on the football field coaching his athletes and had not looked forward to the expected confrontation.

He remained in the doorway, making no move toward the empty seats across from her desk. His blond hair was short, barely longer than the scruff on his face, and as she looked up she saw his eyes—a fierce, fiery blue filled with accusation and something that ranged between confusion and lust.

Meg stood and retrieved her suit coat off the rack, slid her arms through the expensive fabric, feeling the need to protect herself after all. In three-inch heels, she stood at almost five-eleven, but he still had half a foot on her. “What can I do for you?”

“This plan? Not gonna happen.” He didn’t elaborate, just made his statement sound like fact.

Pompous, arrogant jerk. He was probably used to flaunting his muscles to get his way. The Texas A&M shirt stretched over his massive chest, making him appear menacing and … hot. Horrified she even noticed, she tipped her head back and raised her eyebrow. “Why do you believe it’s not going to happen?”

Marianne Rice Bio:

Living in Maine after growing up in Southern California, Marianne Rice uses her cross-country living experiences to write contemporary romances set in small New England towns. Her heroes are big and strong, yet value family and humor, while her heroines her smart, sexy, sometimes a little bit sassy, and are often battling a strong internal conflict. Together, they deal with real life issues and always, always, find everlasting love. Connect with Marianne on Facebook, Twitter or visit her website at www.mariannerice.weebly.com

Guest Blog Goodness–Amy Quinton

Please welcome Amy Quinton to the blog!  Her fantastic new regency romance is  chewing up the charts at Amazon!

What advice would you give a new author?
I could write pages and pages of thoughts on this topic… lol. But I’ll try to be brief. I guess the most important thing is to really want it. You’ve got to want it… badly. It won’t happen if you give a half-hearted attempt. And if you want it bad enough, you will not allow yourself to give up. This is important when the rejections start flooding in. They’ll be frustrating. You’ll question your capabilities. But the point is to believe in yourself and keep trying.

Secondly, you’ve got to put yourself out there. You never know who you’re going to meet and where. And you’ve got to learn how to talk about your book – even in the most unlikely of places. I’ve heard tell once that it takes, on average, 3 years to become an overnight success as an author. LOL. The point is that for most people, success is found slowly… by building your readership one person at a time. I have learned (and it was NOT easy) to find ways to bring up my book no matter where I am… I’ve sold books to a sales associate helping me try on clothes, to a waitress at a restaurant, to a cashier at my local grocery store, to a college student from my college who called asking for donations from alums…. I’ve learned to take my business cards and copies of my books everywhere!  But more important than that, I have made connections. I have immersed myself in writing groups and library events around town – and I cannot even begin to tell you how that has helped my career. Simply by being there, I’ve met editors I didn’t even know lived here who have given me profound advice, I’ve found support groups, and most recently, I met a woman who has offered to take a copy of my book to my favorite author! Because she knows her. I didn’t even know that when that fateful conversation began. I didn’t ask for it. But I’m passionate about writing, and she saw that – she knew I was a new writer, and when she realized how much I loved a certain author’s books, she made the offer.  Even if nothing comes of that connection, it is the greatest feeling in the world to sign my book (going all fan girl crazy for a moment lol) and know that my favorite author will have a copy – even if she chooses to use it as a door stop!  I think you get the point…  I’ve even been hired to give my first speaking engagement about author platforms and technology.  All because I force myself not to hide away in my house, at my keyboard – as is my wont. J

Finally – never stop working to improve your craft. Our craft is ever changing.  We will never reach a point where we cannot improve. One way to improve is to continue to read others’ works.  Sometimes, it can be hard. You don’t have time or worse, sometimes you read a particularly well written passage and start to doubt yourself. That is normal (but see number 1 – don’t quit!) as we authors are particularly hard on ourselves – But look for ways to turn that to your advantage. Study what makes that particular book, passage, description, dialogue, whatever… great and what you can learn from that. Of course, practice is also important for improving. Authors should do their best to write every single day. Even if it’s just a random thought about something bothering you.  Finally, read, not just novels or books on your subject, but also books on other subjects or about our craft.  Take a course if you’re inclined.  Readers’ wants change. Writing styles change. We don’t still write like Jane Austen, do we? So we have to stay on top of our craft by continuing to learn. Always.

Who or what inspired you to write?
I had never honestly thought about a career in writing until I was in college. In truth, I was a math wiz in school. But in college, I had more than one professor ask me if I had considered a career as a writer. I hadn’t, but the thought stuck in my head and took root. I love to read, you see. I read ALL the time. And I prefer romance over every other genre – especially historical romance. So, after ten years post college in the computer industry, I became a stay at home mom. And when both my kids were in school full time, I decided – why not give it a go?  With self-publishing being so readily available, there was no reason not to try, and I was fortunate to have the time and freedom to be able to try. So I did. I started my novel and right away I was hooked!  It was better than I ever imagined it would be!  Now, I get to choose the direction of the book and what the characters do!  (or at least my characters like to let me believe that – at times.) And the feeling I get when a particular passage is well written – it’s invigorating.  I love the challenge of it; it’s far more complicated to than I ever dreamed, and it never gets old. Now, I know I will continue to write for as long as I can.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?
So far, the best way is just a personal message from the reader. I enjoyed the email I got from my first five star reviewer – more than the review itself. Then, a reader contacted me through my website just to tell me how much she loved the book and to ask when my next will be available.  That message came through on the day of my release, and was the most memorable event of my release day.  It was simple. It was short. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

What are your five “desert island” books?
My five desert island books: Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long, Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare, A Highlander Never Surrenders by Paula Quinn, Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan, and Living Wild: The Ultimate Guide to Scouting and Fieldcraft by Bear Grylls – well I have to have something practical for the situation…lol

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?
My writing is very therapeutic. I am able to say and do things I would never say or do in life. I am able to deal with things in my past through my characters. I do have a vision for many parts of my book. It’s the characters that come from pieces of my life – even the villains. And many of my characters carry sides of me in their personality… even the villains… lol – but hopefully only the redeemable ones J

Blurb:
Upstanding duke desperately seeks accident-prone wife from trade…

England 1814: Miss Grace (ha!) Radclyffe is an oftentimes hilariously clumsy, 20-year-old orphan biding her time living with her uncle until she is old enough to come into her small inheritance. Much to her aunt’s chagrin, she isn’t: reserved (not with her shocking! tendency to befriend the servants), sophisticated (highly overrated), or graceful (she once flung her dinner into a duke’s face). But she is: practical and in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

The Duke of Stonebridge is an agent for the Crown with a tragic past. His father died mysteriously when he was 12 years old amid speculation that the old duke was ‘involved’ with another man. He must restore his family name, but on the eve of his engagement to the perfect debutante, he meets his betrothed’s cousin, and his world is turned inside out… No matter, he is always: logical (men who follow their hearts are foolish) and reserved (his private life is nobody’s business but his own). And he isn’t: impulsive or in love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…

Can he have what he wants and restore his name? Can she trust him to be the man she needs?

WhatThe DukeWants

Buy Links

EBook:
LS Books
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
KOBO:
Google Play
iBooks

Print:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
CreateSpace

 

Excerpt:
…her chuckles died in her throat as she caught sight of the very man who occupied her mind day after day: Stonebridge.

Her hand rose to her chest as if she could physically steady her racing heart. He was so mind numbingly handsome and her heart literally ached with the knowledge that he would never be hers. It was so ridiculously unfair.

She watched as he entered a nearby building. He hadn’t seen her amidst the crowd, of course. Once out of sight, she was able to walk again. She strode forward hesitantly. Honestly, she should flee to the safety of the hotel, not loiter outside, dying with curiosity and the desire for just another, quick glimpse, but alas, she couldn’t make herself leave.

She passed the building he had entered and tried hard not to be so obvious as to ogle the door, but she did look and made note of the sign identifying the place as the offices of Tolley and Brinks, Esquire.

She passed a few more shop fronts, then turned. Her face was warm with embarrassment.

What am I doing?

She walked past the solicitors’ office again and passed a few more shops before shaking her head, resigned.

“Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Prince Regent plans Grand Jubilee in London!” called out a young boy, hawking broadsheets nearby. She heard him above the general din of horses, carriage wheels and people bustling about their business as she maneuvered her way through the throng of carriages to the opposite side of the street.

Once there, she purchased a paper, then made her way to a nearby bench which happened to be situated directly across the street from the duke’s solicitors’ office.

Convenient, that. She sat, only for a moment, mind. To read the paper. Honestly.

Oh, who am I trying to fool?

For half an hour, her heart missed a beat every time the door to the solicitors’ office opened. Really, what was she planning to do once he did come out? Dash into his arms? Call his name from across the thoroughfare? Run away and hide? She asked herself these questions, over and over again, the entire time; she certainly was no more aware of the latest news than from before she’d bought her paper.

Finally, at long last, he came out of the building, and he saw her instantly. She stood on reflex and looked back. For an eternity but only a minute, they stared at each other across the avenue, and her heart thundered faster than ever. Before reality intruded. This wasn’t wise and just as she recognized the truth of that, she saw his expression change from surprise to murderous.

Right. Time to go.

She tried to go around the bench at the same he stepped out onto the street.

Zounds! He was coming.

But in her haste to leave, she rounded the bench too carelessly, only to have her reticule catch on the bench’s arm, jerking her to a stop. Unfortunately, her nerves, along with the bench, conspired against her, and she stumbled to her knees.

The hand holding her bag came down hard onto the bench seat, over the arm rest. She’d have a bruise under her arm tomorrow from that. The straps of her reticule, still caught, pulled tight on her wrist, turning her skin white, then red and puffy. Her other hand, which had whipped out reflexively, hit the ground. It just stopped her from cracking her chin on the bench.

Why, oh why, did I even get out of bed this morning?

She closed her eyes in humiliation. All around her, people fell silent; even the boy no longer peddled his papers. She could make out the occasional horse and carriage, but even the whinnying of a nearby horse sounded like laughter to ears colored with embarrassment. She could hear the sound of running feet, boots striking on cobbles, and she knew that Stonebridge was dashing across the street—coming to rescue her.

He arrived a moment later, slightly out of breath, and she smiled at the thought that he’d run all that way…in public. For her.

 

Guest Blog Goodness–Sharon Callender

Please welcome Sharon Callender to the blog!

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 an escape for me.  It’s a place where I can close the door to real life and immerse myself into an alternate reality where love always wins.  My stories are inspired by my vision of crafting characters that are unraveled by love.  Predictable vanilla lives are thrown into beautiful, passionate chaos when love unexpectedly arrives.

Who or what inspired you to write?
I started journaling when I was seven.  I chronicled every life event in my Hello Kitty journal.  But I fell in love with writing and reading in the second grade.  Our class worked with a writer in residence who helped up find our voice  through poetry.  He taught  us how to create poems  based on life experiences, nature, and the world around us.  It was an unforgettable and transformative adventure  that I’ll never forget.

What are your five “desert island” books?

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Blessings by Julia Cameron
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
  • Perfect  by Judith McNaught

What advice would you give a new author?
Promotion is key.  I didn’t realize how important book promotion was until my second book, No One to Trust, was published by Liquid Silver Books.   Even before your book is released, you must have some kind of marketing plan. There are great book promoters out there who can help you spread the word.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂
No.  I haven’t.  Sadly, I am very single and haven’t found my alpha male/prince charming yet.   My main characters have spicy hot love lives that make me shudder with envy!

Amazon Link (with extended excerpt)noonetotrust (cover)

Barnes & Noble Link (with extended excerpt)

Liquid Silver Books Link

Ibooks Link

Blurbage

Thirty-two year old Jenna Havilland doesn’t have time for romantic relationships. Driven and career focused, she is the personal assistant to eccentric contemporary artist, Pedro Rodriguez. When Jenna inadvertently becomes the target of a dangerous international art crime ring, she reluctantly captures the romantic interest of notorious playboy and fine art management firm executive, Alex Quinlan. They are both forced into the crosshairs of this deadly storm, and Alex is determined to protect her.

Still dealing with emotional baggage from her break up three years ago, Jenna is skittish when it comes to love. She can’t deny the off the charts chemistry between her and Alex, but she questions whether she can trust the gorgeous, heartbreaking playboy with her heart and her life as they dodge danger and try to stay alive. Can they find love knowing there is no one to trust?

Excerpt

Before she had a minute to think, to process what was happening, she heard Alex’s voice from some distance place saying, “Get down, Jenna. Get down now!” With his arms around her, he pushed her to the ground, ducking them behind the shelter of his car.

The sound of bullets slicing through metal lasted for what seemed like years. When she heard the pulsating sound of a plane engine roaring to life, they ventured rising a bit to peer over the car. The gunmen disappeared in a Cessna headed over the Atlantic.

Jenna panted now, after holding her breath for too long.

“Are you okay, Jenna?” Alex held her face between his palms and then tucked a strand of wayward hair behind Jenna’s ear.

“I think so,” she croaked out, still in a daze. “What just happened?”

“I have no idea.” He reached for his cell phone and began dialing nine-one-one.

Jenna tried to get up and gasped.  “What’s wrong?” Alex glanced at her, while still talking to the operator. “Oh my God, Jenna, you’re bleeding.” He knelt down beside her. “Operator we need an ambulance. The woman with me has been shot.”

“I didn’t even feel it.” Jenna clasped her left hand over the skin below her collar bone. She began to feel sharp pain course through the flesh of her upper body, throbbing deep inside her skin. The world started to spin too fast, making her dizzy. Jenna closed her eyes from the throbbing pain and to hide the tears threatening to fall.

“Hey, hey, don’t cry,” Alex told her gently. “You’re fine. The ambulance will be here any minute.” Jenna detected the fear in Alex’s eyes and wondered if she was going to die. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her tight. She pressed her face against his chest as he stroked her hair. Her body began to tremble. Blood drained from her face.

“You’re going to be okay,” he whispered in her ear. “Help is coming.” She hung on to him for dear life, feeling helpless as she slipped away from the world. “Stay with me, Jenna, hold on.” Jenna’s eyes fluttered closed, when all she wanted to do was stay awake.