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.

Guest Blog Goodness–DawnMarie Richards

It’s my pleasure to welcome DawnMarie Richards to Musings…let’s give her a warm welcome!

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?
Like a chef who enjoys her own cooking, writing turns me on. And I’m not just talking sex scenes. That moment when inspiration hits and a particularly gnarly plot tangle becomes a clever story thread … well, let’s just say I might need a few minutes to collect myself. So, yeah, I find the creative process invigorating.

Who or what inspired you to write?
Story telling is in my blood. I learned a great deal about plot development, pacing and, even, dialogue around the holiday table. Grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, everyone had their bit of family lore to share. Add to that the fact I am a voracious reader with an intense love and overriding respect for written words and the folks who write them and, really, what choice did I have?

What are your five “desert island” books?

  • Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling, because I love to be entertained.
  • If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? by Erma Bombeck, because I love to laugh.
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck, because I love to philosophize.
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, because I love to be challenged.
  • Someone to Watch over Me by Lisa Kleypas, because I love to … well … you know. (Um, do I have to be completely alone on this “desert island?” Because that just seems cruel.)

What advice would you give a new author?
I am a new author, so I’m the one looking for advice. Words of wisdom welcome!

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂
How does the saying go? “Write what you know.” And that’s all I’m going to say about that!

Aaron'sWillLiquid Silver: http://www.lsbooks.com/aaron-s-will-p955.php
Amazon:  www.amazon.com/author/dawnmarierichards
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/aarons-will-dawnmarie-richards/1120408199?ean=9781622101528
Website: www.dawnmarierichards.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/DawnMarieRichardsAuthor

Blurbage

Morgan Shore has made a habit of living in the present … the past is just too painful. Dylan Drumlin thought he had gotten Morgan Shore out of his life forever. But when an unexpected death brings them together again, they find the passion they’ve long denied is reignited. DawnMarie Richards is pleased to bring you Aaron’s Will, Book 1 of her new romance series, Legacies.

Morgan Shore was busy making other plans when her guardian, Aaron Field—a Boston attorney and philanthropist—unexpectedly died. Drawn back into a life better left in the past, Morgan finds herself compelled to contend with Dylan Drumlin, the man who categorically rejected her without a word of explanation or any hint of regret. Tragically, he’s also the only man to have stirred Morgan’s dormant passions and touched her tender heart.

Dylan Drumlin always knew he wasn’t the kind of man any women should build a future with, especially a woman like Morgan Shore. When he began to fantasize about the young woman with auburn hair, he knew he had to let her go. Time passed and Dylan believed himself safe from whatever insanity had gripped him. But when Morgan reappears one night bearing stunning news and a heart-rending grief, long suppressed desires are reignited. Dylan’s disciplined life begins to unravel, tattered by disenchanted amber eyes and the binding ties of Aaron’s Will.

Excerpt

After ringing the bell and knocking a second time, Dylan hooked his fingers over the door handle. It gave way under the slight pressure and the front door swung open.

For a moment, Dylan was besieged by the image of Morgan walking in unexpectedly on a mass of burglars when she’d returned. He’d never forgive himself if he’d forced her home early only to stumble upon intruders, or worse.  Warily, he entered the foyer.

“Morgan!”

No answer. Not a sound. The only thing it told him for certain was the Tibbes were not home. The point did nothing to quell his rising anxiety.

His body was tensed for action. The tiniest sounds echoed in his ears as he strained to hear Morgan’s cry. He grimly continued his search through the first floor, finding nothing. He had decided to continue upstairs when he glimpsed a splash of color outside the French doors connecting the solarium to the backyard. When he got closer he realized it was an article of clothing.

He went out onto the patio and bent to pick up the bathing suit top. He straightened and scanned the pool area. On the far side he saw what he assumed was the bottom piece. And beyond, a swatch of auburn was visible over the rise of the pool decking. He strolled toward it feeling slightly lightheaded at having found Morgan safe and sound.

The material he held slipped from between his suddenly bloodless fingers when he saw she was lying in the sand wearing nothing, but a secret grin. Her arms framed her face in graceful, shameless arcs. The heavy waves of her hair were fanned out around her head, like she had run her arms underneath before resting them in their current position. Her skin was glowing. Her stomach, enticingly dimpled by her belly button, gently sloped toward another more tightly curled thatch of auburn. As secluded as she was, Dylan noted with a smile she had bent one knee and draped it over her other leg, partially obscuring the interesting triangle.

He was unable to think, to breathe, to look away.

Her sleeping form stoked his desire to a raging hunger which soon bordered on pain. Sinking to his knees at her feet, he continued to greedily drink her in, his eyes roaming unimpeded over her creamy skin. He took in the alluring rise and fall of her breasts as she breathed. Their dusky pink nipples made his fingertips itch to touch.

He dragged his gaze upward, taking in the beautiful lines of her face. In slumber, her long eyelashes, high cheekbones and full lips made her appear young and innocent, and achingly vulnerable. She was all of those things, of course, especially since she was unaware of his presence. Dylan knew he should go. Slip away without her ever knowing he had stolen time with her. Precisely as he made the decision, Morgan opened her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he blurted.

He expected her to scramble away, possibly hurl a few well-chosen expletives at him. Instead, a mysteriously wicked smile curved her lips. With a devilish twinkle in her eyes, Morgan came up on her knees before him. She cupped his head with both hands and pulled him toward her.

“You don’t want me,” he managed in desperation, the warmth of her mouth a fraction of an inch from his.

Morgan looked deeply into his eyes.

“You’re the only man I’ve ever wanted,” she insisted before closing the space between them.

Guest Blog Goodness — Annette Mardis

I’m thrilled to bring Annette Mardis to Guest Blog Goodness!  Her contemps are pure fun!

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 a big proponent of the adage “write what you know.” I’ve loved dolphins since I was a little girl, and I volunteer at a nonprofit aquarium/marine animal hospital in Clearwater, Florida. So inventing an aquarium and a west-central Florida town as the setting for my Gulf Shore series was a no-brainer. While the characters in my books are fictional, the challenges they face and the work they do are based on things I’ve done, seen, heard about or read about. As for how my writing serves me, it has provided me with two careers: journalist (for more than 30 years) and now author and freelance editor. Writing knows no age limit, so I can continue to be productive for as long as I desire and have my wits about me. I don’t get too philosophical about my writing because I’ve always considered it a vocation more than anything else. But I definitely express myself better through the written word than I do the spoken word. Writing definitely can be invigorating when I’m on a roll, but it can be hard work and an exercise in frustration, too, when things aren’t going as well.

Who or what inspired you to write? Over the years, a number of friends told me, “You should write a book,” but that was the last thing I wanted to do when I came home from my newspaper job. Unfortunately, it took a tragedy to motivate me to give fiction a try. When I found out in 2012 that my close friend Charlene Allison was dying after an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant, I wanted to do something to honor her and capture her zest for life. She had a lot of challenges, but on the occasions that she did get to head out to have fun she managed to put her troubles aside, live in the moment, and enjoy whatever she was doing to the fullest. My husband would say, “That Charlene. She sure gets her money’s worth.” Thus, a book title was born. While readers know from the beginning of Getting Her Money’s Worth that the main character has a fatal illness, the purpose of the novel, which I self-published as an e-book, is to celebrate life and encourage people to go for the gusto in their own lives. I hope people will laugh much more than they cry when they read it.

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work? By leaving a review and telling family and friends about the book(s). Word of mouth is invaluable and, as one author said, “reviews are love.”

What advice would you give a new author? Read books in your chosen genre and pay attention to story structure, plot and character development, pacing, etc. Don’t try to copy anyone else’s style. Find your own voice. Write about what interests you. If you’re bored with your topic, your readers will be, too. Do the research so your characters, settings, and situations are authentic. Even a fantasy world is grounded in recognizable realities. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike before you sit down to write. As the commercials for Nike used to say, “Just do it.” Nothing bulldozes writer’s block like fingers moving over a keyboard. And don’t try to write the “perfect” book on the first draft. You’ll revisit your manuscript so many times before it’s published that you’ll be tired of looking at it.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂 Oh, boy, what a question! Well, it’s often said that art imitates life. You don’t have to personally experience everything you write about but it helps.

 

HRshorefeelsrightShore Feels Right

Blurb

Once a pariah among her coworkers, marine biologist Monica Sims has spent months reinventing herself as she seeks redemption. A history of failed relationships leaves her leery of romantic involvement until she meets Cosby Williams, the new co-owner of Nauti-Toys watercraft rentals.

As things heat up between them, Gulf Shore Aquarium responds to the stranding of a group of pilot whales. When a billionaire bachelor lends his private plane to the rescue effort, Monica catches his eye—and an obsession is born.

How will she cope with the unwanted attention? And will her past sins come back to doom her newfound happiness with Cosby?

Excerpt

Monica Sims didn’t suffer well in silence. All this wedding talk grated on her nerves, and she desperately wanted to distance herself from the radiant bride-to-be and the friends who acted like this was a match made in Buckingham Palace.

But the last thing Monica needed was anyone thinking she sat here sucking on sour grapes. Not when she’d done everything possible the past several months to convince these women, and her other Gulf Shore Aquarium coworkers, that she no longer resembled the selfish shrew they knew and loathed. She’d eaten a bakery full of humble pie, shoved aside her own satisfaction, smiled until her face ached, and bit her tongue until it nearly bled.

The response to her attitude overhaul had been better than she’d dared hope. She’d become one of the girls and even had made peace with her ex-boyfriend’s fiancée, who at this moment squirmed under the rapt attention of everyone at their table at Bikini Barb’s Bar & Grill. Everyone except Monica, that is.

She freely admitted now, without the slightest pang whatsoever, that Evan Sanders and Danielle “Dani” Davidson belonged together. She wished them the best, without reservation. But Monica simply couldn’t feign enthusiasm for the seemingly endless discussions about invitation styles, cake decorations, and buffet menus.

The impending “I do’s” left the other women at tonight’s “snipe and gripe” gathering positively giddy. They giggled and chattered like a gaggle of schoolgirls as they threw out suggestions on how Dani should break it to her mother that she wanted to be married right here in Gulf Shore, Florida, not back home in Missouri.

“Why is everything so flipping complicated?” Dani complained, posing a rhetorical question. That didn’t stop her friends from answering.

“Our parents live for the day they can torture us as payback for all the times we misbehaved as kids and made their lives a veritable living hell,” Tiffany Sandeski offered.

“If I ever get married, I’m eloping to Las Vegas,” Shontay Jefferson vowed. “I have enough trouble with my meddling mother as it is.”

“Not me,” Gina Martino asserted. “I intend to have the whole fairy tale from start to finish. That means a killer gown that makes me look like Kate Middleton, a huge wedding party, stretch limo, four-tiered cake, blowout reception with an open bar, gourmet dinner, live band, and a honeymoon in Europe.”

“You’ll need more than a fancy dress to make you look like Kate Middleton,” Tiffany teased. “Like a starvation diet for starters.”

Gina stuck out her tongue. “And I don’t care what the whole thing costs. I told Jeremy to rob a bank or two if he has to.”

“You did not,” Shontay scoffed.

“I most certainly did,” Gina insisted. “Trust me, it won’t be necessary. His parents are loaded and he’s their trust-fund baby.”

“Uh, what about your mom and dad?” Shontay asked. “It’s tradition for the bride’s side to pay most of the wedding expenses and for the reception, too.”

Gina barked out a laugh. “My parents don’t have a pot to puke in.”

Tiffany wrinkled her nose and halted the hand bringing the spicy chicken wing to her mouth. She dropped the poultry on her plate and pushed it away. “Thanks for the bodily function reference, Gina.”

“You’re welcome. No extra charge.”

“You know, a lot of couples now, especially if they’re older or have been together for a while, pay for their own wedding,” Shontay noted.

“Yeah, like that’s going to happen,” Gina replied. “Jeremy’s parents won’t let their perfect, precious boy spend a dime. They’ve already promised to help us buy a house right on the beach. Think of the parties we can have there, girls. I can’t wait to ditch this dive as a gathering spot.”

Shontay shook her head and turned to Dani. “What about you and Evan?”

“Our parents offered to help, but we’re paying for most of it. That’s why we’re keeping it simple.”

As others in the group added their nickel’s worth, Monica tuned them out. While she’d gotten over Evan, participating in this conversation still struck her as strange given that Dani’s groom-to-be was the one Monica let get away. Months before Dani moved to Gulf Shore, Evan had dumped Monica after discovering she’d cheated on him with the aquarium’s married marketing director, a new father of twins.

The fallout from that colossal indiscretion had been bad enough. But then Monica attempted to whip up trouble for Evan and Dani after they started dating. Fed up with the way she treated people, Monica’s rebound boyfriend broke up with her. Coworkers shunned her. She considered leaving Gulf Shore. Her older sister’s tough love helped turn her life around.

None of that mattered now, but some people thrived on stirring things up. Like Tiffany, who stared at her with a smirk of a smile. Monica knew that look.

“So what do you think?” Tiffany asked her. The other women turned their expectant attention to Monica.

“Uh, well, I’m not sure.” She inwardly cringed at how clueless she sounded.

“I bet you don’t even know what we’re talking about.”

“Of course I do,” Monica blustered. “Weddings.”

“So how should Dani solve her dilemma?” Tiffany pressed.

“Well—”

“Quit putting Monica on the spot,” Dani interjected. “It’s my problem. I’ll figure out what to tell my mother. Now, where’s the rest of our food? We were so busy today with those marine science students I had time to grab only yogurt and a granola bar for lunch. How long does it take to throw together salads and sandwiches?”

Eager for a legitimate excuse to leave the table, Monica offered to check on their orders. She headed to the well-worn wooden bar to speak to Pete, who mixed drinks and filled pitchers like a madman, and stopped a few feet from the barstool where a guy who looked familiar sat alone, nursing a mug of beer. They nodded at each other as Monica tried to remember his name.

“Cosby Williams,” he supplied.

“What?” Had he read her mind? She’d seen him in Barb’s before talking to Evan and two of the aquarium’s dolphin trainers, but they hadn’t been introduced.

“That’s my name. In case you were wondering.”

“What gave you that impression?”

He shrugged. “The way you looked at me implied it.”

“Yeah? And what way was that?”

“Like I’m not a total stranger but you don’t know me, either.”

“You’re pretty perceptive, aren’t you?” Sarcasm tinged her voice. She’d ruthlessly repressed that particular personality trait but still let it loose occasionally.

“I try to be.” If he noticed her flippant tone, he ignored it. “Right now, for instance, you’re deciding whether I’m worth talking to and if you should tell me your name.”

“Actually, I’m debating whether you’re charmingly candid or irritatingly blunt.”

Cosby laughed and Monica’s long-dormant libido stirred to life.

“How about a little of both?” he suggested. “But don’t worry. I didn’t come here to pick up women. My brother and I are celebrating tonight.”

“Oh? What’s the occasion?”

“Our business, Nauti-Toys watercraft rentals, has its grand reopening in two days.”

Suddenly the light of recognition switched on. “Now I know why you look familiar. I saw your picture in the paper the other day. The story said you two have given the place quite a makeover.”

“We’ve worked our asses off. This is the first chance we’ve had to take a breather.”

Monica stepped back and assessed his very fine jeans-covered rear end.

“What? Did I sit in something?” Cosby twisted to look at the seat of his pants.

“No. Just checking to see if you told the truth about working your ass off.”

He grinned and Monica felt it like a punch to the gut. Whoa! She resisted, just barely, the urge to lean forward and taste his tantalizing lips. She shook her head to clear it, and Cosby furrowed his brow as though trying to figure out what she was thinking.

“Now that you’ve seen the goods, what’s the verdict?” he asked.

“Why, Mr. Williams, are you fishing for a compliment?”

“Depends.”

“On what?”

“On whether you’d think less of me if I was.”

“You’re very straightforward, aren’t you?” she observed. “I like that.”

“I have plenty of other commendable qualities, too.”

“Such as?”

“I send my mom a thank-you card on my birthday. I don’t leave the toilet seat up. I never give women kitchen appliances as gifts. I bowled nine strikes in a row once. I love kids, and they adore me. And I feed stray cats that hang out at Nauti-Toys.”

“Wow, all that and movie-star handsome, too.”

Cosby blushed and the unexpected show of humility charmed her.

“What can I say, I’m a good guy. Except, of course, when I want to be bad.” He winked and Monica laughed despite her best intentions. “How about I buy you a drink?”

“You’re the one celebrating,” she pointed out. “I should buy you a drink.”

“You’re making me work for it, aren’t you?”

“And by ‘it’ you mean what, exactly?”

“Your name.”

Many women already would’ve scribbled their phone number on a napkin. But Monica couldn’t afford to make another mistake with a man. Then she stared into eyes the color of a Caribbean sea and thought, oh, what the hell.

 

Buy links

Liquid Silver  http://www.lsbooks.com/shore-feels-right-p964.php

Amazon  http://amzn.com/B00OFBXJIU

Barnes & Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shore-feels-right-annette-mardis/1120648653?ean=9781622101610

Kobo  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shore-feels-right

All Romance  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-shorefeelsright-1663820-149.html

iTunes  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/shore-feels-right/id934485897?mt=11

 

Connect with Annette

Website: www.annettemardis.com/

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Twitter: @AnnetteMardis48

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Guest Blog Goodness–Belle Maurice

Good Thursday morning!  It’s my pleasure to welcome Belle Maurice to the blog!! With no further ado…

What advice would you give a new author?

It’s harder than it looks and it will take longer than you think it will. Writing a book, even a short one, is hard. Writing a good book is exponentially harder. You can do all the research and chatting with other writers you can stand, but in the end, it’s you and a blinking cursor in a fight to the death.

Who or what inspired you to write?

In fifth grade, I transferred from the public school to a private Catholic school. My teacher was a nun, Sister Donna. I called her the Michelin Man because she was sort of round and squat like the Michelin tire mascot. She took us to the library every week and we were allowed to check out one book. One week I found 2 books I wanted to check out, The Hobbit and something else so I summoned the courage to ask if I could take out an unprecedented two books that week. I read The Hobbit three times that year and began reading everything I could lay my hands on. My father, a member of the local Rotary Club, noticed my newfound passion for reading and convinced the Rotary to raise money to get a branch of the county library into my little town. I loved reading so much that I started making up my own stories and sharing them with kids at school. They liked what I wrote and I liked the attention that I got. Still do.

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 my happy place. I enjoy exploring other lives, other places, other situations that I wouldn’t be able to do in the one lifetime I’m allotted.

 

What are your five “desert island” books?

I lived in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi for four years. Al Ain is an oasis so I was kinda on an island in the desert and I had my iPad on which I have an app that connects to my local library system. That’s all I needed, my iPad and a WiFi signal.

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

Tell friends. I write because it makes me happy and I want other people to be happy. If my books made you happy, spread it around.

Blurb

Sonny Black was the star quarterback in high school who couldn’t possibly be in love with the geekiest girl in school, Mandy Daws. He’d been seeing her under the guise of chemistry tutoring, but when his buddies found out there was a little more going on, he lied and said she was a slut, wrecking her life and earning her enduring hatred. Eleven years later, Sonny is the star quarterback headed for the Super Bowl despite amazing bad luck that has earned him the nickname Sonny Black Cloud. When someone mentions that the bad luck must stem from someone he failed in the past, the first name that comes to mind is Mandy’s. He tracks her down at the small university where she teaches chemistry and tries to seduce, beg, or win her forgiveness, and he needs it before the Super Bowl.

Buy at Liquid Silver Books, Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Sacked by the Quarterback

Excerpt:Sacked

Mandy dragged herself to the door. She’d come home, taken a hot bath with wine and Casablanca, and slipped into her favorite leopard print nightgown. Only rayon, but it was comfortable. Now, wrapped in her black velveteen bathrobe, she was waiting for pizza and the bell had tolled. Hmm, For Whom the Bell Tolls wouldn’t be a bad follow- up movie. She was looking over her shoulder at her DVD collection when she opened the door.

“Hi Mandy.”

She shrieked and leaped backward, clutching the neck of her robe closed. “What are you doing here?” Suddenly she wasn’t wearing enough clothes. A HAZMAT suit with a broken zipper wouldn’t be enough clothes.

“Trying to talk to you.”

“How did you find out where I live?” She backed up another step, which he naturally took as an invitation to come inside. “Get out!”

He paused in the act of closing the door behind him. “Why?”

“I don’t want you here. If this is still about me forgiving you then fine, I’ll forgive you if you’ll go away.”

“I don’t want to go away.” He closed the door.

“But you got what you wanted.” The maelstrom of emotion she thought she’d left behind in high school pelted her like sleet. “Please, just go.”

“Mandy, I love you.”

“You keep saying that like it should mean something to me.”

“It did once. You did love me.” He put his hands on her shoulders. “I’ll go if you really want me to.”

“I really want you to.” She took another step back and bumped into the arm of the chair.

He turned toward the door.

Without Sonny, she’d be left alone with her cold misery. Forever. “Wait.”

Sonny turned back again, but he looked angry. “Make up your mind. I just spent all afternoon playing nice with your school’s football team to get this address and I’m not interested in wasting any more time.”

“I said I forgive you.”

“And if you meant it, pigs fly.”
Mandy walked across the room, loosening the neck of her robe. The whole house was warmer with him here. “You spent all afternoon playing with our football team?”

“Yes. I really just wanted to hit the weight room, but I figured that if you saw I wasn’t the creep I was then you’d give me another chance. If you’re not going to do that, then I’m going to cut my losses.”

The doorbell rang again.

“Son of a bitch.” Sonny threw open the door. “What?”

The skinny kid on the step just stared up at him. “Pizza.”

“Pizza?” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet.

“I can pay for that myself,” Mandy said. She had the money in her robe pocket already.

“I’ve got it.” Sonny handed the kid a couple of bills and took the pizza.

“Wow, thanks!”
Great, now he was overtipping the pizza kid in addition to playing with the school’s team for kicks.

“Pizza,” Sonny said. Kicking off his shoes at the door, he carried the box through the living room to the kitchen as if he’d been here a hundred times and could find his way around in the dark.

“And wine. I like pizza.”

“I remember. Next you’ll be sitting down to watch an old movie. Casablanca first or will you save that for later?”

“How do you remember that?” Mandy stood next to the table watching him go through her cupboards. She’d planned to eat off the lid of the box at the coffee table, but he must be in a civilized mood.

“Your favorite color is chartreuse because you like the way the word sounds, but you actually hate the color itself. You watch Casablanca on repeat when you’re depressed. You love fuzzy things, but not furry things. You’re allergic to lilies.” He took two plates out of the cupboard and carried them to the table. “You like Thai food and hate Indian food, but given a choice you’ll eat a burger every day of the week. I remember everything, Mandy. I never forgot.”

“Then why did you tell everyone I was a slut?”

“I never said you were a slut. I said we’d had sex.”

“Then why did you tell everyone we had sex?”

“Because I was a stupid little boy who didn’t know what I had and thought those jerks we went to high school with were more important than you.” He pulled a piece of pizza free and put it on a plate. Then he thrust it at her. “I forgot to mention that you eat when you’re depressed too.”

Guest Blog Goodness–Rosanna Leo

This week I’m giving a great big shout out to a fab author who’s always been a fave of mine with her shifter series–and now she’s rolling out a new contemp story and it rocks!  Huge welcome to Rosanna Leo!

Who or what inspired you to write?

I was young when I started to get reactions about my writing, specifically in school essays. Because of that, I developed an interest from an early age but didn’t act on it for quite some time. I can’t say one person inspired me but I was always the sort of kid to lose herself in a book. I loved exploring new and fantastic worlds. At some point, that interest became a need and my first book was penned.

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

My readers have been wonderful to me and have expressed their appreciation in some inventive ways. However, I can honestly say the most helpful thing a reader can do is to leave a review. This is the most lasting “gift” you can give an author. Not only do we take tremendous pride in reading the kind words of others, it also encourages future readers to check out our work. When a fan takes time out of her busy day to pen a few words on my behalf, it validates my work and fills me with such joy.

What is the most unique way someone has shared their appreciation for your work?

One of my loyal readers, a lovely lady named Renate, once sent me an adorable selkie figurine…all the way from Germany! I was astounded and humbled. That sweet selkie now sits near my writing desk and has given me many smiles.

What advice would you give a new author?

By all means, study the craft. Whether you take a course, go to college for it, or read writing books, make sure you know the basics. I had to give some tough feedback to a new author not long ago, critiquing her grammar and sentence structure. No one wants to be panned for being unable to string the elements of a sentence together. Do your homework first so that little mistakes don’t come back to haunt you.

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

LOL, great question! I can honestly say I have never shared any of my intimate moments in my books. My husband might inspire many of the emotions behind my characters but I am fairly private when it comes to my home life. So no, much to my husband’s relief, our “private times” remain private. 😉

The Stand-In Blurb/Excerpt

Tagline:

She’s the best bridesmaid money can buy.

Blurb:HRthestandin

Failed actress Winn Busby is at the end of her rope. With no money and no prospects, she accepts the one job she never thought she’d see on her résumé. Professional bridesmaid. It should be easy. If only the idea of weddings and vows didn’t give Winn a case of the hives. Her role becomes more challenging when she’s told a reporter will shadow her work for a men’s magazine article.

Working for Player Magazine is Patrick Lincoln’s worst nightmare. A former political journalist, he used to write thoughtful columns for one of Toronto’s most respected papers. That is, until he was blackballed for allegedly sleeping with the boss’s wife. Overnight, Patrick becomes the city’s most reviled bad boy. And now he’s forced to write a seedy expose on, of all things, a bridesmaid.

Patrick begrudgingly accompanies Winn to a series of strange weddings. As they are forced to work together, he learns there is more to the stand-in bridesmaid than puffy dresses and pretty speeches. She, in turn, begins to question whether or not Patrick actually deserves the derision of his peers. As much as they fight their attraction, it begins to threaten their work and their sanity.

For so long, Winn has felt second-best. A stand-in. She finally meets a man who believes in her value. But can she let go of the past and accept him?

Excerpt:

She glanced at her computer screen again. “Let’s see. Ah, yes. We’ll have you meet with Winn. And by the way, she’s lovely. She has the perfect look for this job. Accessible and fresh, but not intimidating. You’re in luck. She’s in the building right now.” She texted a command into her phone. “I’ll have my assistant send her right in.”

In the time it took Margie Kent to flash her very pearly whites, a knock sounded on the door. These stand-ins were prompt. He supposed that was good in any business.

“Come in, please,” Margie called.

Patrick lifted his gaze toward the door and watched as a pear-shaped blonde entered. Christ. Margie had called this woman unintimidating. He knew a few dozen men who’d be intimidated into next year by her girl-next-door sex appeal. Chin-length golden hair framed her pleasantly round face. Amazing cheekbones. Bright blue eyes and a body that looked made for squeezing. Just the thought of pressing that luscious flesh made him hard. If she was a high-class call girl, and if he had to pay for love, he might be tempted to pull out his wallet. He cleared his throat and thought of the day Jason Dietrich fired him, just to make his boner disappear.

Margie did the introductions in her singsong voice. “Winn Busby, this is Patrick Lincoln.”

She stuck her hand out. “A pleasure to meet you.”

As he shook her soft hand, Patrick waited for the old “that  Patrick Lincoln?” but it never came. Thank God. Someone who didn’t know of his ruin.

 

The Stand-In is available Feb. 9 at Liquid Silver Books and other ebook retailers. You may preorder now at LSB,  Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Author bio:

Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author with Liquid Silver Books. Several of her books about Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters have been named Night Owl Romance, Two Lips Recommended Reads and Top Picks at The Romance Reviews. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair. Her next contemporary romance, Vice, will be published this summer by Samhain Publishing.

www.rosannaleo.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/rleoauthor1

www.twitter.com/LeoRosanna

www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826852.Rosanna_Leo

http://www.tsu.co/RosannaLeo

Guest Blog Goodness–Denise A. Agnew

Please welcome Denise Agnew to Musings! Denise and I have known each other for a long time (I won’t put a number to it, it makes me feel old :)), and I’m thrilled to showcase her here!

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?

That’s a big question. I like it. My writing serves me because it’s a part of who I am. To NOT write on a fairly regular basis means I’m not as happy. I make meaning with my writing. Sure, I have wonderful family, friends and my great hubby. I have a spiritual base in my life. But happiness comes from the inside out and writing stories has been a part of me since I was fourteen years old. I think writers who MUST write find bits of themselves to put in their writing and sometimes it is definitely therapy. As for the themes, some from my vision and the sorts of topics I find interesting and compelling. Controversial statement: There are writers who really don’t have to write because they’re not in it for the creativity and it isn’t honestly a genuine part of who they are. They could take it or leave it and they often do leave it.

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

Write a wonderful review on Amazon and other outlets!

What are your five “desert island” books?

Darkfall by Dean Koontz, Intensity by Dean Koontz, The Good Guy by Dean Koontz, Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard, Veil of Night by Linda Howard, Ice by Linda Howard. Okay, that’s more than five.

What advice would you give a new author?

Define early on why you’re writing. If you’re doing it for money that may last for a while but it won’t keep you going forever. If you don’t have something within you that wants to write no matter what, you’ll eventually run into a big wall of writer’s block and possibly depression.

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

No, I haven’t but there’s still time. Ha, ha!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ashfall

Denise A. Agnew
www.deniseagnew.com
Available at Liquid Silver Books
http://www.lsbooks.com/ashfall-p981.php

A strong woman and a former Air Force pararescueman tangle with a new world forged by an apocalypse no one could stop.

Mally Andretti survived an apocalypse that has altered the world. Tucked away in a huge compound she should feel safe, but loneliness eats away at her. Until a deep, mysterious voice tantalizes her over the ham radio and invites her into soul deep conversation. Who is the man who claims to be her friend, who awakens mental and physical cravings?

Working for a private security company takes all of former Air Force pararescueman Adam Becker’s time, until a sexy voice on the ham radio tempts him to do and say things he’s never done before. Mally calls on every fiercely protective instinctive inside him, and when she’s in serious danger he’ll do anything to get to her in time.
****
Adam and the two other men shuffled Tanner out of the house and through the gate. After they’d released the idiot outside the gate, only Adam returned to the front door. The other two men stood outside the still open gate, weapons at the ready. A curious mixture of excitement and caution mingled in her psyche. Whoever Adam Becker really was, he scared the crap out of her in so many ways. Her gaze snagged on his body, and just from the way he moved, from the confidence he displayed, she imagined he was an interesting lover. But which type of lover was he? Uncouth and ruthless, or gentle and accommodating?
     Really? She was thinking about this now? She’d officially lost her mind.
He stopped at the front door, a frown still in place, his weapon anchored over his body by a sling. He tucked the thumb on his left hand into his belt. His wide shoulders, muscled biceps and powerful forearms screamed intimidation.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Wonderful.” She knew her comment was laced with sarcasm.
“Can I come in a moment?” he asked quietly.
When she hesitated, he took off his sunglasses and hooked them in the front of his vest. She dared gaze into the darkest brown eyes she’d ever seen. But there was worry and warmth in those eyes, too. Now that his face was entirely revealed, she could see his heritage in his light cocoa skin. His features were craggy in that his nose was a bit sharp and long and his jaw too hard. His mouth was…well, it was just right. Kissable. Embarrassed by the ridiculous and out-of-place fantasizing, she felt her face heating. She jerked her gaze from his.
“Mally, I’m not going to hurt you.” He glanced down at the Glock in her hand. “Hey, you’ve got a weapon. If I pull anything, you can just shoot me.”
She couldn’t smile, the situation was too bizarre and her heart thudded too fast. She backed away to let him inside, and continued into the living room. Feeling a little ridiculous, she took a risk and set her Glock on the coffee table.
He crossed his arms. “Serious heat you’re packing there.”
“Do you blame me?”
“Hell no.”
For a few seconds he said nothing, but then he approached. Her insides trembled, uncertainty gripping her. He drew nearer, and she felt like a deer about to bolt. When he stood close beside her, his attention like a hot brand on her face, she tilted her head slightly back to examine him. He was easily over six feet, and at five foot seven she felt seriously at a disadvantage. In sheer muscle he outweighed her by a sizable amount. She could easily picture him saving other military personnel in his capacity of pararescueman. Right then her legs turned to gelatin. Either Tanner’s intrusion had disturbed her more than she thought, or this man’s mere presence set off a weird reaction.
Impulsively she put her hand on his vest, ready to push him away. “Think you’re standing close enough?”
His hand covered hers and held it in place, and he edged the tiniest bit closer. She drew in a sharp little breath.
“God,” he said softly as he looked down at her. “You’re trembling. It’s okay. No one’s going to hurt you. You’re safe with me.”
“What about your friends?”
He shook his head. “They’re solid guys. If one even considered touching you, I’d pound their faces.”
Heat danced through her, and she couldn’t help smiling just a little. She drew in a deep breath. He smelled like man…a mild mix of musk and maybe leather. It penetrated her senses and sent the warmth higher. Her fingers curled into his ballistic nylon vest. Recklessness beat in her veins, and she’d never felt anything quite like it before.
“You’re touching me,” she said, breathless. Heat filled her cheeks when it dawned on her how moronic the statement sounded.
A smile danced in his eyes and on his mouth. “Yeah.”
“That gives me the right to shoot you.”
His gaze drifted down to her lips. “Yeah?”
A wild tingle danced in her belly. Her lips parted. “Absolutely.”
Before she could do more than blink a couple of times, his mouth came down and brushed warmly over hers.

Wellness Wednesday–A Tale of 40 pounds (and 4 dress sizes)

Today was my weigh in, after being back at it for two weeks (I took six weeks off over the holiday for foot surgery).  We cranked out two miles this morning in 35 minutes, so I’m pretty happy with how the foot is holding up.  Hopped on the scale this morning (I weigh on Wednesdays) and I’m officially down 40 pounds (and 4 dress/pants sizes).  Which was pretty damned exciting.  I haven’t been this trim in over a decade (closer to 15 years), and I just feel stronger.

So here’s a look at what I eat in a typical day (about 1100-1200 calories):  2 cups coffee w/whipping cream, 3 oz meat and veg (either a salad or leftover roasted veggies) for lunch, 3-4 oz meat (usually roasted or pan fried), large helping of veg (salad or roasted root veggies), 3 pieces homemade dark chocolate, 2 glasses of wine (sometimes).

I could have never imagined living on 1100-1200 calories before we started doing this, but it’s purely amazing how many calories are in bread and pasta and such.  Cutting them out automatically lowers your calorie count significantly (as well as carbs, sugars, etc).

Want something sweet?  Here’s my recipe for dark chocolate.  You can either put it in silicone molds or spread out on parchment and pop in the freezer, then break up.

  • 1 cup organic cocoa (or any cocoa without soy or any other additives, I just choose organic)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, liquified
  • 3-4 tbsp honey (add more honey if you want this to be sweeter and “lighter” chocolate)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (or to taste)

And that’s it!  Mix it up in a bowl and partition out how you choose.  Because this doesn’t have the binding agents and filler that the chocolate you buy on the shelf does, it’ll need to be frozen for about 15 minutes, and then you can put it in the fridge.  Not sure how long it lasts, because ours is always gone in a week 🙂