Tag Archives: Guest Blogger

Passionate Pursuit – Tina Donahue

Cover-AmazonI am excited to welcome Tina Donahue back to the Starla Kaye blog with her upcoming historical release, PASSIONATE PURSUIT. The book is available for preorder now and ready to read August 2.

Please support my Thunderclap campaign: http://thndr.me/UGV9r0

BLURB – Passionate Pursuit

Is their passion strong enough to break her chains?

Andalucía Spain, 1489: Innocent Beatriz is desperate to escape the threat of a miserable marriage to a cruel Marquis. Forced into the betrothal by her ruthless merchant papá, her only hope is to conceal her identity and become a servant in a nearby castle—a life drastically different from her comfortable upbringing.

Tomás doesn’t know what to make of his well-spoken new servant girl. Her beauty and charm captivates the military hero; her mysterious nature intrigues him. And the desire she ignites burns brighter with each glance, as does his longing to claim her for his own.

Beatriz can’t resist Tomás’ passion nor deny the heat of her own. But neither the lush countryside nor the walls of the opulent Moorish castle can entirely protect her—and if he were to discover her secret, she could be torn away from him forever. Yet how can she sustain his love if she’s living a lie?

BUY LINKS – Passionate Pursuit (available for preorder – ready to read August 2):

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EXCERPT (PG)

His palm was warm and dry against hers, skin calloused from warfare and physical activity, his touch gentle. He kissed her knuckles, his lips unbearably soft, breath hot. “Buenas tardes.”

She opened her mouth but couldn’t speak.

“You wonder what this is about.”

She nodded, hoping he’d explain.

“Today, neither of us works.” He played with her fingers. “We get to know each other.”

In what way? She didn’t think he meant in the usual carnal sense. Tenderness, not lust, filled his eyes. “Why?”

“I want us to be friends.”

“What?”

“Friends. After we ride to our destination—wait, you do ride, no?”

She did, or rather had at one time, and nodded.

He beamed. “Once we reach this spot I know of, we can enjoy our meal and read about El Cid’s triumphs.” He gestured to a basket, the book on top.

Theirs alone, no one else’s.

He leaned in. “I have to warn you of something.”

Nothing he could say would worry her at this point, unless he told her the señoritas would join them. “What?”

“El Cid has nothing on me. My adventures will dazzle you with the force of a star shooting across the sky, the crash of thunder above your head, the wail of the wind trying to blow in a door.” He wagged his finger. “Mind you, what I say is no mere boast.”

Beatriz didn’t believe she could ever like another man more. She was in far too much danger of laughing, weeping, and throwing her arms around him. Controlling herself, she ran her thumb over his. “Someone should write several epic poems about you. Volumes and volumes.” She paused and stopped stroking him, wary of a matter that still concerned. “Perhaps the señoritas can manage such a feat.”

“I sent them on their way this morning as you slept, leaving the task of an epic poem for you. I have writing materials packed with the other items. Wait. You can write, no?”

She nodded readily, loving him for getting rid of the other women. One might someday be his wife, though not now. These moments were theirs.

Tomás squeezed her hand lightly. “Come.” He led her to another stall, the mare inside already saddled. “We need to begin our day.”

About Tina

Tina_Donahue_Picture_-_Color_optTina is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers’ Choice Award winners. Another three (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic contemporary romance, was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

Tina Donahue’s Links

FB FanpageWebsite/BlogGoodreadsTwitterFacebookTriberrPinterestAmazon Author PageMy page at TRR –  Samhain Author Page – Sweet ‘n Sexy DivasRomance Books 4 US

Nicole Evelina with Camelot’s Queen

Camelot%27s Queen eBook Cover LargeToday I am happy to welcome Nicole Evelina to the Starla Kaye blog with CAMELOT’S QUEEN, the second book in her Arthurian legend trilogy.

The Men of Camelot’s Queen

Most of my guest posts about my Arthurian legend trilogy center on Guinevere, which makes sense as she’s the POV character and it’s her story. And because my books are unabashedly telling the female side of the story, I talk a lot about other key female characters like Isolde, Elaine and Morgan.

However, when I got to thinking about this blog post, I realized that given Starla is a romance writer and my books have strong romantic elements (though that HEA is elusive until the third book), it might be a good idea to give the boys a little love. So, here are brief description of each of the main men in Guinevere’s life in Camelot’s Queen (Book 2 of Guinevere’s Tale) and who I imagine playing them in a movie/TV version.

BTW – I ask readers to please read the first book, Daughter of Destiny, before reading Camelot’s Queen. You probably could read Camelot’s Queen on its own, but you will miss many of the relationships and motivations built up in the first book, which may lead to misunderstanding or frustration, and I want you to have a pleasant reading experience. But whether you read both or jump straight into this one, please know this is not your mother’s Guinevere, or Arthur, for that matter – but I hope you enjoy them all the same.

King Arthur

Played in my head by Christian Kane of Leverage and The Librarians

Arthur is our alpha male, our leading man in this second book of the series as he becomes Guinevere’s husband. Even though neither of them intended to marry one another, he really does love her and would give his life to protect her. He’s a warrior through and through and a responsible king who truly cares about his people. He’ll fight you just as soon as bed you, which makes my battle-trained Guinevere quite happy. But he does have quite a past with the ladies, and two of them come back to haunt him in this book.

Lancelot

Played in my head by Adrian Grenier of Entourage fame

Lancelot is of course, Guinevere’s famous lover. I purposefully made him manly, but not totally alpha because I didn’t want him in direct competition with Arthur. He had to have a little softness (but Lord, not as much as the guy in the movie version of Camelot…that was too much even for me), which I found he wanted to express in his tender workings with horses. Hence, Lancelot became a type of “horse whisperer” whose techniques I gleaned from the ancient horse master Xenophon. He is a bit of a flirt and has been around the block more than once in his day, but his heart will always belong to Guinevere.

Aggrivane

Played in my head by Orlando Bloom of Pirates of the Caribbean

Aggrivane, as we learn in the first book of the series, has the heart of a poet, more beta than alpha. He and Guinevere were each other’s first loves, and no matter what life throws at them, there will always be part of them that is linked, like it or not. They are about as star-crossed as Romeo and Juliet, and as such, are vulnerable to betrayals real and imagined, which unfortunately, have series consequences in this book.

Malegant

Played in my head by Joseph Morgan of The Vampire Diaries/The Originals

We all like the bad boys, right? Well Malegant is more than your average knight with a dark side. He’s more than a little psychotic and as we eventually see, enjoys inflicting pain. But he has his reasons, his own dark past that made him into who he is. Is it bad that I loved writing him?

Mordred

Played in my head by Mat Czuchry of The Good Wife

Mordred is fun character to explore because he’s not given much of a personality in the traditional legends beyond his betrayal and murder of his father. In Camelot’s Queen, you see him grow into manhood in the shadow of his renowned father. He’s seventeen when the book ends and he commits his first act of betrayal (against Guinevere). In this case, it has nothing to do with Morgan and everything to do with the result of his drunken actions. He tries to be a good man, but his moral compass is a bit off center, and in the third book, we’ll see absolute power corrupt him.

Merlin

Played in my head by Jonathan Rhys Meyers of The Tudors and Velvet Goldmine

A hot Archdruid? Hell, yes! Imagine Merlin with long red hair like in the beginning of Velvet Goldmine before Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ character goes all Ziggy Stardust. He’s handsome and powerful and he knows it, but he’s also devoted to Viviane. That is, at least until a young girl name Nimue comes of age and turns her obsessive love on him. Even for all his power, Merlin is helpless to resist her charms. We all know this story doesn’t end well, but the method and reason may surprise you.

I’d love to know who is your favorite hero of Arthurian legend. Are you team Lancelot or team Arthur? Or maybe someone else? And why?

 

BLURB – Camelot’s Queen

History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.

Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.

Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.

Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation.

This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but be prepared to suffer its downfall as well.

BUY LINKS – Camelot’s Queen     Amazon (ebook and paperback)     Nook     Kobo     iBooks     Smashwords

 

 

vertical-author photoAuthor Info

Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her most recent novel is Camelot’s Queen, the second book in an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view.

Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, took first place in the legend/legacy category of the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Her upcoming novel, Been Searching for You (May 10), a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests. Later this year, she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America’s first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Her website is http://nicoleevelina.com. She can be reached online at:

 

Gordon Kessler with StoryMasters

StoryMasters POD Front Cover Black 9-2-2015 XI’m welcoming a special guest today and a long-time writing friend, Gordon Kessler. He is currently promoting his newest writing help book for novice to seasoned authors, STORYMASTERS – Advanced Notions in Novel Writing.

I could go on and on about this talented writer, but I will let him share some of his history himself.

When I started writing novels back twenty-five years ago, I didn’t know how to even begin or where to turn for advice.  I was lucky, after going to a writers conference or two, I soon found a mentor in a writer named Mike McQuay, author of Escape from New York, Richter Ten (developed from a short treatment by Arthur C. Clarke), and some thirty other novels.

JezebelBefore long, I had started a “free university” class in Wichita, Kansas, passing on everything I knew to fellow wordsmith wannabes—and I eventually taught a few community college classes. I queried publishers on my first completed manuscript, JEZEBEL, and I got my first book deal on the second submission back in 1992. The World was mine … nyah, ah, a-ah! Well, not quite. Let’s just say a whole lot has happened since then.

Book deals fell through, big name NYC agents came and went … and so did my beloved mentor. Mike McQuay died in 1996. Soon after, lost and seeking some kind of an anchor for my writer’s soul, I helped form the Kansas Writers Association, and was their first president.

Then along came Leonard Bishop, a wonderful writer and well-known writing instructor, to help fill the void Mike had left. The author of Dare to Be a Great Writer as well as a number of critically claimed novels (one made into a TV movie of the week), Leonard was an amazing man. I enjoyed his friendship and guidance for over five years, until, on a very sad day in 2002, he too passed.

Mike and Leonard were polar opposites in both their styles and in many of their writing techniques—still both had found their own ways of very effectively entertaining their audiences. I consider myself super fortunate to get such a broad range of understanding from two of the most wonderful writing mentors available, and these relationships helped me tremendously with my own career.

With everything I’d learned from my cherished mentors, and in leading writers organizations, attending dozens of conferences—actually heading up a few along the way—developing relationships with those in the publishing industry (including bestselling authors and big-five publishing house editors), reading hundreds of writing books and magazines, teaching novel-writing classes, studying and getting a degree in English composition with a focus in creative writing, I began writing NOVEL WRITING MADE SIMPLE in 2004. Primarily to keep me on track by gathering all I’d learned into one place one snippet at a time, I organized it into a textbook for my writing.

Indie Publishing

Lots of stories in between of the ups and downs in my writing career, but I won’t bore you anymore about that.  I found my soul’s anchor and some success in “indie publishing” my own novels and books on writing, putting out seventeen titles in eBooks, many of those in print (POD), and a few in audiobooks, as well. Of course besides editing expertise incumbent to my English degree, I’ve picked up a few other important skills along the way, including a professional understanding of eBook and print-book formatting, book-cover design and online book publishing platforms. This leads nicely into my passion for helping fellow writers—paying it forward. I’ve found great reward in assisting hundreds of other writers to hone their skills and become both “indie” as well as traditionally published.

StoryMasters POD Front Cover Black 9-2-2015 XStoryMasters, my latest book on writing, could be considered the eighth edition of Novel Writing Made Simple, as I used my old reliable novel-writing text for the basis of the new work. However, StoryMasters is a considerable rethinking and revision of the older text, updated and added to with an in-depth look at suspense, new thoughts on subtext, and visiting new areas like “free indirect discourse,” “full reader empathy and emersion” (FREE), and “story storming”. I hope you take a peek—it’s guaranteed to give even the seasoned storyteller a new way to look at a number of fiction-writing notions.

 

BUY LINK: Amazon

Website & Blog: http://GordonKessler.com

*  *  *

Thriller Novelist, Writing Coach, Editor & Cover Designer l Author of Novel Writing Made Simple

BRAINSTORM, DEAD RECKONING & JEZEBEL l “The E Z Knight Reports” Action/Adventure Series

Indie Writers Alliance Website: www.IndieWritersAlliance.com & Blog: http://WritersMatrix.com/Wordpress

Iris Blobel – I Think I Love You

Banner ITILYMy special guest today is Iris Blobel, a returning guest with more to share about her Australian Sports Stars Series. This time she is sharing information about I THINK I LOVE YOU, Book 3 in the Australian Sports Stars Series.

I THINK I LOVE YOU by Iris Blobel – Series: Australian Sports Stars Series #3

I Think I Love You coverBUY LINKS: Amazon US     Amazon UK     Amazon AU

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Markus DeLeon and Sarah Winter’s lives couldn’t be more different…

After three years away as the goalkeeper for an English soccer club, Markus has been happy to be back in Australia. He’d missed his family and friends, including Sarah. He’s known her since childhood, and often protected her from the teasing of other children and the troubling consequences of a broken home.

When they attend their friends’ wedding, a new light is cast on their friendship…

Sarah is fresh out of a bad relationship, and Markus has always been the one she can confide in. Maybe it’s the magic of the wedding—or how stunning he looks in a tux—but the attraction between them intensifies in ways they’d never imagined.

But sometimes when risking what you have, you might lose everything…

 

Following a passionate encounter, Markus isn’t sure how to handle this new aspect of his relationship with Sarah, and literally flees the scene for the coast. Sarah is unsure how to react to his sudden departure, but is soon knocked off course by misunderstandings and a frightening family emergency.

Markus realizes his mistake and wants to make things right, but he also faces obstacles. He’s been offered an exciting new job, and an attractive newcomer to the neighbourhood is eager to claim his attention, though the last thing Markus needs is another confusing relationship.

Can Sarah and Markus face the fear and doubt—and the potential loss of their lifelong friendship—to give their love a chance?

★ AUSTRALIAN SPORTS STARS SERIES 

Series promoBook 1: LOVE WILL FIND YOU: http://amzn.to/1f5Eqq7 – Currently FREE!

Book 2: LET ME LOVE YOU: http://amzn.to/1GRPZbc

 

 

 

MEET THE AUTHOR: Iris Blobel

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.

Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.

Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Iris Blobel

Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads

 

Sara Walter Ellwood – A Moving Target

Gambling On A Dream 300x450My special guest author today is Sara Walter Ellwood and I’m excited to have her here. She is promoting Book 3 in her Colton Gamblers Series: GAMBLING ON A DREAM.

I envy historical authors for one reason.

They can set their stories in a time period and don’t ever have to worry about the events / styles / technology in their stories from ever becoming “dated.” I have a friend who is republishing some of her older contemporary romances, but before she does, she’s updating technology like switching flip phones for smart phones.

For me being a contemporary author is like trying to hit a moving target. By the time a book is written, edited, and put on a release schedule, the story may already be “old.” For example, when I wrote Gambling On A Secret in 2009, I had set it in 2010. When I was looking for a publisher, I updated the story calendar to 2011and eventually contracted it in 2012. Which is fine, but this was the first book of a five book series, with all the books set to follow each other in the same year.

Gambling On A Secret covers March to August 2011. Although Gambling On A Heart (book 2 of Colton Gamblers) is written to immediately follow book 1 during August and September, I have it set in the 2012 calendar. Gambling On A Dream, which picks up the story in October, was set using the 2013 calendar. I chose to use the year I wrote the book in as the timeframe of the story to help keep it seem current. I laugh when I think about Charli (the heroine from book 1) having the longest pregnancy in history. But to be honest, I have no idea how else to keep these stories “Contemporaries.”

I’ve read several series that are chronologically set after each other, but take several actual years to tell the story. The one that immediately comes to mind is JR Ward’s bestselling paranormal series, The Blackdagger Brotherhood. I think overall she did a great job keeping the books seamlessly connected but subtly matching the real world calendar with her story calendar. But Ms. Ward is working in a fantasy world where if events are fudged a little no one would probably call her out on it.

I write stories very much rooted in the real world. Two of my heroes and the heroine in book 4 are veterans of the Middle East wars. Although I’ve learned to not mention events that actually happened in my books, further dating them, some of this can’t be completely avoided.

Researching a historical would be a pain in the behind, but I’d love not always having the moving target of time to contend with and trying to make my books current without sacrificing the story I set out to tell.

If you read a chronological series that takes several years to write and publish, do you ever notice the fudging of time?

And if you’re an author, how do you handle this sort of thing?

Gambling On A Dream 300x450GAMBLING ON A DREAMBy Sara Walter Ellwood

Colton Gamblers Book 3

BUY LINKS:   Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo

 

 

BLURB – Gambling on a Dream – By Sara Walter Ellwood

With Everything At Stake…

It’s been years since Sheriff Dawn Madison said goodbye to Texas Ranger Wyatt McPherson. She’s closed the door on the heartache of her past. But when the sleepy town of Colton, Texas, is rocked by a series of shocking murders, Dawn has no choice but to trust the man who broke her heart if she wants to protect the ones she loves…

All Bets Are Off

Four years have passed. But Wyatt hasn’t forgotten the bold, Native American beauty who stole his heart . . . and broke it. Losing her and the life they had hoped to share left him an empty shell of himself. But if he wants to stop the deranged killer terrorizing the innocent kids of Colton, he’ll have to let Dawn back into his life. It’s a risk he’s willing to take, even if heartache is all he takes home…

EXCERPT

When the door closed with a resounding click behind her brother, Dawn pounded a fist onto the table with enough force to rattle their coffee mugs. “Dammit, who is he protecting?”

Wyatt glanced back at the door. Her older brother Talon had always had it rough, but no worse than Dawn and their younger brother. Sure, being one of Jock Blackwell’s ill-begotten sons wasn’t something he’d wish on a rabid coyote. However, Tom Madison had treated Talon like a son all his life, even giving him a third of his ranch when he retired.

Talon had changed, and not for the better. His problems didn’t come from how he was raised, or even the occasional bullying. He was a troublemaker, and nothing would have changed him.

He sat in the chair Talon had vacated. “Or the question could be what is he hiding?”

She ran her hands over her dark hair to the tight bun at the base of her skull. With jerky movements, she pulled out the band holding the twisted braid captive. As she ran her fingers through the long mass of raven silk, heat coursed through him at the memories of all that hair covering him like a blanket while they’d made love. When she bent over the table and scratched her scalp in pure frustration, all he could think about was her hair hanging down her back to brush and tickle his thighs as she rode him–her favorite position–to orgasm.

The erection was fast and furious and nearly had him groaning. Thank God, he was sitting. He forced his numbed mind to focus on the case.

“We have to find someone else who may have seen or knows something.” She glanced across the table at him and straightened. If there was ever the perfect picture of a beautiful Indian maiden, it was Dawn with her hair down. Had she ever had the stuff cut? He swallowed hard and shifted in his chair as his jeans strangled his cock. How long had it been since he’d had sex? He couldn’t remember, but refused to believe he hadn’t been with someone since Dawn.

With swift, practiced motions, she broke the trance he was under by daftly braiding her hair and wrapping it into a bagel-sized knot at the back of her head. She snapped the hair band over the bun.

He cleared his throat. “When are we talking to Chris’s friends?” His voice came out sounding a bit husky, even to his ears.

She stood, taking their coffee cups with her, and refilled them. After she dumped that god-awful crap pretending to be creamer into hers, she handed him a mug of black joe. Sipping her coffee from the extra-large, bright green mug he’d given to her for her thirtieth birthday, she returned to her chair.

“Hendricks and Kennedy are getting a list, but according to Julie, he didn’t have many friends in Colton.”

“How about Justin Vaughn? He’s always been a known dealer. Maybe he knows something.” He sipped his coffee.

She smiled, and he almost choked as he swallowed the hot, bitter brew. “Haven’t thought of him. We should talk to him. They’re about the same age. Vaughn’s working over at his uncle’s farm and garden market.”

He set his mug on the table and glanced at his watch. “I can’t today.”

“Hot date?”

Grinning, he stood. “No. I’m buying the Estrada Ranch.”

Her dark eyes widened. “Really? I heard Luis and Stella were thinking of moving to New Mexico, but I didn’t know it was a done deal. I figured it would go to either Jose or Mary,” she said, referring to the Estradas’ son and daughter. “How long has their place been up for sale? I haven’t seen a sign in their yard.”

He shrugged and reached for his hat where it sat on the edge of the table. “Luis and Stella told Mom and Dad they planned to sell the place a couple of weeks ago while playing Bingo at the firehouse. When they told me, I called the Estradas and made an offer. It never officially made it on the market. I’ve been looking for a small ranch.”

“We’ll be neighbors when you settle in there.” She cocked her head to the side. “I never knew you wanted to be a rancher.”

“You never cared about a lot of things I wanted.” His bitterness surprised even him.

She stood and picked up her mug, leaving his where it sat. As she headed for the door, she nodded toward it. “We have a policy around here. We clean up after ourselves. Something I seem to remember you have a hard time with.”

 

ABOUT SARA WALTER ELLWOOD

Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamor of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Sara Walter Ellwood is a multi-published and international Amazon bestselling author of the anthology set Cowboy Up. She also publishes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.

FIND HER AT:

Website     Blog     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads

P.J. MacLayne and Her Ladyship’s Ring

cover 5-13-15I’m happy to have P. J. MacLayne here today on my blog. She is here talking about HER LADYSHIP’S RING, which is the second book in her Oak Grove Mysteries.

Harmony Duprie, the main character in the mysteries, has agreed to do an interview with us. Read it and enjoy….then, of course, buy the book, HER LADYSHIP’S RING.

Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

I have a Masters in Library Science, and am currently working as a researcher for a group of writers. I like fast cars, although I know just the basics of maintaining them—my father taught me. I’m a big James Bond fan, both the books and the movies. . Oh, and my goal is to have a first edition print of all the Ian Fleming James Bond novels. I’m still looking for a copy of Moonraker that’s in good condition and reasonably priced. If it’s signed by Fleming, that’s even better.

What are a couple of random thoughts about yourself that will surprise the reader?

When I was in high school, I collected comic books. None of them were very valuable and I’ve traded or given them away. Now I have a small collection of graphic novels to go along with my collection of first-edition books. It’s my secret vice.

Another thing that might surprise people is that I have a tattoo on my left shoulder. It’s a dollar sign intertwined with daisies. I got it as a tribute to my parents who died way too soon.

What makes you blush?

Compliments, from either men or women. Even if they are deserved, they make me uncomfortable. I’m a private person and don’t like to draw attention to myself.

What upset your ordinary world and brought you into contact with Eli?

Long story. It started with getting arrested along with my ex-boyfriend for drug trafficking. The charge was bogus and didn’t hold up in court, thank heavens. But that set the wheels in motion for me to meet Eli.

What was your immediate reaction to each other?

I have no idea what Eli’s first reaction to me was because he’d been keeping an eye on me at the request of his cousin for some time before we actually met. And frankly, I wasn’t sure he wasn’t my imagination the first time I bumped into him—literally. But I’m a very “grounded” person, so I just checked it off as an interesting incident and didn’t place too much importance on our meeting. It took me being kidnapped and him rescuing me to really get things rolling. Although the roses he’d leave me occasionally didn’t hurt.

What do you think about “love and romance”?

I’m a practical person and don’t think about it too much. Sure, I like to read a good “trashy” romance novel as much as the next woman, but I never expected to find that kind of romance in my own life. I loved Jake, but didn’t expect him to change his life for me, which meant he was gone a lot. But when he was around, we had a good time together.

It’s tougher with Eli. The whole long-distance relationship is rough. There’s only so much that phone calls and Skyping can do to fill in the void of his absence. I’m not sure it will work out in the long run, so I’m trying not to get suckered into the “soulmate” routine. And we’ve avoided discussing the issue, so I’m not sure how he feels about it.

Who took the first step in heating things up between you?

I did. And I got shut down. Hard. Well, it seemed that way to me. I didn’t know how to make it any more obvious to Eli that I was interested in him, and he kept pretending he didn’t notice. Come to find out, he was afraid I wasn’t over my last boyfriend yet. Which happened to be his cousin.

Would you rather be caught in a wild moment of passion or tied down and taken?

Definitely a wild moment of passion. Especially since my abduction. Once you’ve been tied up and threatened and your life has hung in the balance, it’s hard to turn the concept of being tied up into a fantasy. Besides, I prefer to give as much as I take when it comes to the sexual matters.

What is the kinkiest sexual thing you’ve ever done?

I’m pretty vanilla. But I suppose sex on the dining room table counts as kinky, right?

Who made the first compromise in your relationship?

He did, I guess. And that was even before we really had a relationship. How many guys do you know that would be willing to drop everything and fly a thousand miles to rescue a woman that he hadn’t even kissed yet?

Thank you so much, Harmony, for sharing some interesting information you and Eli. I loved the part about him giving you roses occasionally. Oh, and him dropping everything to come rescue you.

 

cover 5-13-15HER LADYSHIP’S RING, Book 2 in now available at:

Amazon    Barnes & Noble     iTune Apple     Kobo

 

 

 

 

BLURB – Her Ladyship’s Ring

Harmony Duprie is back, and so is trouble in Oak Grove.

When a man is murdered in the back yard of the old Victorian house she is remodeling, Harmony is determined to locate his next-of-kin so he can be put to rest properly. But with her ex-boyfriend Jake out of prison, back in town and one of the suspects in the murder, she takes on the challenge of solving the crime.

With Eli, her current love interest, in Florida and Jake close by, old emotions come back to haunt her. Can Harmony clear Jake’s name and solve the mystery of her own heart?

EXCERPT – Her Ladyship’s Ring

The first thing I noticed when walking into my apartment was the afghan I kept on the back of the recliner. It was on the floor and hadn’t been like that when I left. “So who’s been sitting in my chair?” I asked. “Eli?” I called hopefully to no response.

Then I noticed the dirty dishes in my kitchen sink. “So who’s been eating my porridge?” I whispered to myself. Surely a thief wouldn’t have stopped to make himself a sandwich.

I tip-toed down the hallway, holding my breath. The bathroom was empty, but my bedroom door was partially closed. I carefully pushed it open and peeked inside. A familiar head nestled on my pillow. “So that’s who’s been sleeping in my bed.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

pjmaclayne 5-13-15Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in landscapes. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks.

 

 

WHERE TO FIND THE AUTHOR

Facebook     Twitter     Google+     Blog

Lisabet Sarai Talks About Plausible Enchantment

theeyesofbast_800Lisabet Sarai is spotlighted today on my blog with her new book THE EYES OF BAST, from Totally Bound. She is sharing her thoughts on soul mates.

The notion of finding one’s soul mate—the one individual in the universe whom you’re destined to love—is a favorite romance trope. I can understand the appeal of this concept. It’s both reassuring and thrilling to imagine a lover perfectly attuned to your needs, your ideal complement and companion, a person who makes you whole and vice versa.

I find it hard to write stories about soul mates, though. I’m always aware that reality is much messier than romantic fantasy. Mostly I create contemporary stories where the relationships are realistically complicated. My heroines are frequently unsure about their own feelings. Sometimes they’re attracted to more than one person, in different ways. That’s one reason my back list contains so many ménage tales, I think, to save my heroines from having to choose who to love!

But paranormal romance frees me from the constraints of realism. In a world infused with magic, I can suspend disbelief about forever-after perfect matings. Magic imposes structure and symmetry on the tale. Perfect love may be kindled by enchantment, or may reflect age-old connections. Old souls, old lovers, may meet again in a new life. A quest, a struggle against evil forces, may bind two characters together for eternity.

In paranormal erotic romance, you can recognize your soul mate by the transcendent and irrational lust he inspires. That’s certainly true in my most recent release, The Eyes of Bast. The instant Tom touches her, Shaina is overcome by irresistible desire. The connection is instantaneous, taking over both her body and her heart.

I don’t explain why Tom and Shaina are soul mates. I don’t need to. It’s obvious that magic is involved. They are under one another’s spell, an enchantment that can’t be broken. That’s enough to allow me, and hopefully my readers, to believe that these two belong together.

Genre: Paranormal romance, erotic, shape shifter

egyptian-cat-bastetCONTEST:

This post is part of my blog tour for The Eyes of Bast. Totally Bound has a giveaway on their website in conjunction with the tour. Just to sweeten the pot, I’m adding a couple of other prizes. Leave a comment with your email and you could win this statue of Bastet from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Or if you’d prefer, I’ll send you a brace of other stories that feature magical lust: Hot Spell and Rough Weather.

 

 

BLURB: The Eyes of Bast

Trust your heart. Follow your dreams.

Shaina Williams’ grandmother bequeathed her that wisdom, along with a old pendant from the Islands, carved from an ocelot’s tooth. When instinct tells Shaina to visit the feral cat trap she’d set in Central Park, she listens to that inner voice, She discovers she’s caged a magnificent black tom, but the cat inexplicably vanishes after she tends to his wounds. Seeking the errant feline, Shaina encounters instead a handsome stranger whose slightest touch sets her body on fire. As the day dawns after a night of ferocious passion, her mysterious lover is forced back into his true shape—the tomcat she’d rescued.

Born a cat, Tom was transformed into an unwilling shape shifter by a sorceress who craved a human plaything to satisfy her perverse lusts. Centuries old and irresistibly powerful, Delphine Montserrat will stop at nothing to find her runaway familiar. Shaina vows to do whatever is necessary to defeat the vicious but seductive witch and save the man she believes is her soul mate— even though it might mean losing him forever.

 

BUY LINKSTotally Bound     All Romance eBooks     Amazon-US     Amazon-UK     Barnes & Noble

Kobo     Goodreads

 

R EXCERPT: The Eyes of Bast

I found my apartment door locked. Had Tom not returned yet? The studio was dark, all the lights out and the blinds drawn as I’d left them. “Tom?” My voice was hoarse with fear. She found him. Shes caught him.

A man-shaped shadow rose from the chair near the window. “Shaina! Thank the gods you’re safe!” In an instant, he had wrapped me in his strong arms and buried his face in my hair. Peace and comfort flooded in, washing away my worry and uncertainty. This was where I belonged.

Unerring even in the darkness, his lips found mine. I opened automatically, drinking in his sweet, wild flavor. He smelled of smoke and earth, crisp nights and growing things. The tension that had sustained me through my encounter with the sorceress vanished, so that for a moment I felt limp and weak. Taking advantage of my lassitude, he drew me closer, until the rigid bulk in his trousers settled between my thighs and made me gasp. As he boldly probed my mouth, he let his hands roam over my hips to my ass. Cupping my ample flesh, he pulled me tighter still.

Fierce need swept through me like a forest fire. I threaded my fingers into his wiry curls and took over the kiss, sucking his tongue into my mouth, gnawing on his lips, devouring him. With a growl, he sank his fingernails into my butt—I could feel the bite even through my jeans—and ground his erection against me. The friction kindled sparks in my swollen clit. They shot through me, lighting up my body like fireworks.

His muscles shifted like bands of steel under his shirt, under my hands. My fingers itched to feel his nakedness. At the same time, I was unwilling to release my hold on him so that we could get undressed. Desperate with desire, clutching and writhing, we rocked against one another like boats caught in a storm.

“Now,” he groaned into my mouth. “I want you now!”

We managed to separate long enough to tear off our clothes. Tom seized me around the waist and dragged me to the floor. He flipped me onto my stomach as though I weighed nothing then grabbed my hips to haul me up to my hands and knees. His nails dug stinging crescents into my bare ass and his coarse pubic hair scratched the back of my thighs.

“Tom…?” I peered over my shoulder at his looming figure. His roughness both thrilled and scared me. He was so much stronger than I was. I could never fight him off.

But why was I thinking about fighting? I wanted everything he had to give me.

 

ABOUT LISABET

lisabetFaceLisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – more than fifty single author titles, plus dozens of short stories in various erotic anthologies, including the Lambda winner Where the Girls Are and the IPPIE Best Erotic Book of 2011, Carnal Machines. Her gay scifi erotic romance Quarantine won a Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention.

Lisabet has more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by her chosen genre. She has traveled widely and currently lives in Southeast Asia with her indulgent husband and two exceptional felines, where she pursues an alternative career that is completely unrelated to her creative writing.

For more information about Lisabet and her writing, visit her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) or her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com). She also hangs out at the group blog Oh Get a Grip (http://ohgetagrip.blogspot.com), writes monthly reviews for Erotica Revealed (http://www.eroticarevealed.com) and contributes to the ERWA blog (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.com).

Amanda C. Stone – Guest author

The Adventures Of  Cole And Perry 400x600FixedToday I am welcoming Amanda C. Stone to my blog with her m/m novella THE ADVENTURES OF COLE AND PERRY.

To start things off, Cole has chosen to share a bit about himself.

Good morning everyone! My name is Cole and I’m so glad that I was given the chance to stop by Starla’s blog for an interview. Thanks for having me here.

Can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

Sure can. My name is Cole and I like long walks on the beach. WAIT! Just kidding. While beaches are nice, I mainly enjoy reading my car magazines when I’m not working on cars. Of course I love spending time with my husband Perry, but that’s a given.

What are a couple of random thoughts about yourself that will surprise the readers?

Shoes. I absolutely love shoes and own more pairs than most guys. Perry jokes about how many I have sometimes, but I know he’s not really making fun of me about them. I think he’s secretly jealous of my fabulous collection and can legitimately say I wear them all.

What makes you blush?

Perry does. He knows exactly what to say and do to make my face go hot. When gets all growly and takes control. Wait, is it hot in here to you too? *fans self*

What upset your ordinary world and brought you into contact with each other?

I met Perry in a bar. He sat down next to me and used the cheesiest pick up line ever. We had a good laugh and then started talking.

What was your immediate reaction to each other?

I thought Perry was the hottest guy in the bar when I first saw him. I also didn’t think he’d be interested in more than a bathroom hook up. Boy was I mistaken!

Would you rather be caught in a wild moment of passion or tied down and taken?

Perry can tie me down and take me any day he wants!

What is the kinkiest sexual thing you’ve ever done?

When we had a third for a little ménage fun. That was definitely kinky and exciting.

Thanks for sharing with us, Cole. You sound like an interesting guy. And it sounds like you two are good together.

 

BLURB – The Adventures of Cole and Perry by Amanda C. Stone

It all started when Cole met Perry in a bar. Over three years they had some exciting adventures, and misadventures. The six stories included in this book are all about their journey from bar to wedding.

The Anniversary
Another cancellation of plans by his boyfriend forces Cole out to the neighborhood bar. Not long after arriving he meets Perry. Even as exciting as Perry is, he’s unsure how the night will end.

The Fight
Cole and Perry are struggling to make time for each other and constantly at each other’s throats. A fight to the death will decide who is right or wrong in their arguments. But Cole really doesn’t want to shoot Perry.

The Threesome
Deciding they want to spice up things in the bedroom, Perry wants to have a one-time threesome. Cole’s nervous and doesn’t want to ask any of their friends to join them. Perry finds the perfect solution.

The House
After two and a half years together, Cole and Perry want to buy a house. Once they find the perfect house, they get to spend their first morning together in their new space. Perry will have to help Cole decide which room is his favorite.

The Baby
Both Cole and Perry are exhausted. Taking care of a three month old is hard when she’s up all night and is always hungry. If only they could find where they put the bottle warmer.

The Wedding
Cole is ready to make his commitment to Perry life-long. After careful planning, they created the perfect event. What could possibly go wrong? If only Cole didn’t ask the same question.

The Adventures Of  Cole And Perry 400x600FixedBUY LINKS:   Amazon     All Romance eBooks

 

EXCERPT – The Adventures of Cole and Perry by Amanda C. Stone

“Cole. I have a surprise for you. I want you to close your eyes and keep them closed until I tell you to open them.”

Cole looked up from his magazine at the doorway Perry’s voice drifted in from. He put the magazine on his nightstand and closed his eyes.

“They’re closed,” he called out. He wasn’t sure where Perry was in their apartment, but he sounded close.

Rustling and a strange squeaking noise reached his ears. Cole furrowed his brows trying to figure out what Perry was up to and what he was hearing.

“Okay. Go ahead and open your eyes.”

Cole popped his eyes open. He closed them and then re-opened them again. Nope, he still was seeing what was in front of him.

“Perry. Why is there–?”

Perry cut him off before Cole could finish his thought.

“So, we had talked about fantasies and things like that. I told you this was mine. So I’d like to introduce you to Freddy. Freddy, I’d like to introduce you to my boyfriend, Cole.”

Cole smiled at how nervous Perry was. His boyfriend was adorable trying to be brave with his ideas.

“Nice to meet you, um, Freddy. Perry, where did you meet Freddy?”

Perry had a small smile on his face that showed Cole he appreciated he was alright with what was happening.

“Online. I found Freddy on some website. Can’t remember the name now.”

Cole was stunned. His boyfriend didn’t go to those types of websites for any reason. Just meant Perry wanted to have the threesome and was willing to do it without asking one of their friends. Cole was so happy Perry had found a way to have his fantasy.

About Amanda C. Stone:
Armed with her Batman notebook, fourth grade Amanda C. Stone was ready to start writing stories about unicorns, family members, and her imaginary friends Pink Amanda and Blue Amanda. Today, Amanda is armed with a new notebook, along with a laptop, and a never-ending supply of caffeine. Her stories are about all kinds of things, but the most important aspect is people falling in love.

Where to find Amanda:

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads     Newsletter     Email: [email protected]

 

 

Leigh Ellwood and the Sexy to Go, Volume 1

sexytogoToday I am welcoming Leigh Ellwood to my blog, talking about the Sexy to Go, Volume 1 story collection.

Hello, Leigh Ellwood here, and I’m thrilled to talk you about my involvement with the amazing Sexy To Go authors. Late last year a group of us got together with the plan to produce one collection a month of short, sexy tales that readers could enjoy “on the go.” Want to read hot stories during your lunch break or on the ride home from work? That’s what Sexy To Go is all about – steamy “quickie” romances in a variety of pairings and genres.

This April, our first collection is on sale for 99 cents!

BUY LINKS – Sexy to Go, Volume 1

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     All Romance eBooks

My contribution to the first box set is an extension of a short written for last year’s Sci Spanks event. Skin is a futuristic romp with spanking elements, MF pairing and happy for now ending. No cliffhanger, though the ending might seem left open for future romps. To be honest I won’t rule it out. I had written Skin specifically for the Sci Spanks events and never intended to revisit it, but when Eva Lefoy offered to bring authors together for regular releases of these collections I revisited the story and realized one could have more fun with it.

Though I’ve written M/M stories for Volumes 2 and 3, I haven’t ruled out a follow-up for either 4 or 5.

Each Sexy To Go collection will feature any number of authors. Some may appear in every set, some may take a month off to regroup and write more. Luckily I do have some content to go for a while and I am chiseling away at other projects. I like the idea of a regular series like Sexy To Go because it puts focus on a deadline to meet, a challenge to conquer. A few months I was a bit down, but when I work I don’t have time to let the blues drag me.

If you’d like to read my other stories, visit my site at www.leighellwood.com or follow me on Twitter @LeighEllwood. Once in a while I pimp a story and announce a sale, and I’d love to hear from you there.

Authors in the Sexy to Go, Volume 1 collection:

Jocelyn Dex, Leigh Ellwood, Sofia Grey, Ann Gimpel, Allyson Lindt, Eva Lefoy, Pamela Moran, Nerika Parke, Allie Ritch, Tara Quan, Shiloh Saddler

 

Seeking Redemption by J.M. Maurer

2940151841733_p0_v1_s260x420I am welcoming J. M. Maurer back to my blog today to promote SEEKING REDEMPTION, Emerging from Darkness Book 2.

Publish Date: May 2, 2015

Categories: Contemporary Romance, Humor, Woman’s Fiction

BLURB – Seeking Redemption

After surviving a bitter divorce and emerging from a darkness that became all too familiar, Jessica finds herself on top of the world, her soulful awakening allowing her to feel again, trust again, and even love again. Her painful past, however, is relentless, both physically and emotionally, bombarding her daily and not allowing her to overcome the lingering demons that ultimately control her life.

As Matthew lovingly guides her toward a healthy future, his own secrets become known, threatening to destroy the trusting relationship that had quickly grown between them. But despite what life throws her way, Jessica pledges to put the past in the past, accepting that events are often out of her control. She fights for a future with the man who drew her out of the darkness, steering her onto a healing path . . . seeking redemption.

 

BUY LINKS –  Amazon US     Amazon UK     Amazon CA     Barnes & Noble     iBooks     Kobo     Smashwords

 

EXCERPT – Seeking Redemption

Grandma O flipped the light switch to what she called my office and stood just inside the door, her soft features and gentle smile inviting me in. I shivered, poised one step away, with a strange yet familiar emotion rushing through me—an awareness that the instant I entered, my life would be forever changed. Again.

Was this Matthew’s plan all along? They all seemed in on it, the thought making me feel railroaded and agitated, yet oddly aroused and enchanted too. Unsure how to deal with such conflicting emotions, I moved forward, looking to Grandma O for answers as I walked through.

The office was spacious, slightly smaller than Matthew’s, with a mahogany desk in the far corner and in front of an expansive bank of floor-to-ceiling windows. I ran my fingertips along the colorful wall of psychology books and periodicals as I walked along, passing a leather couch on my way to the desk, my desk, and paused in front of an empty nook within the bookcase.

It struck me as odd, the cold wooden surface needing something to spruce it up, make it mine. I had to think about that, my anxiety making it difficult to ponder the issue, my restlessness preventing me from staying in one place.

I moved to the windows and stared out the tiny cracks between the blinds, the world outside just as complicated as the one I had chosen to live in.

“We all read your master’s thesis,” Grandma O said, her voice pulling me out of my thoughts. “It’s obvious you have a natural gift for research and writing.”

I turned and looked at her, questioning how they’d gotten their hands on a copy.

Sedation in the ICU: Patient Accounts of Their Dreams, Their Pain, Their Fears; I hadn’t published it. As it was, after countless hours revisiting old charts and conducting hundreds of interviews, I’d never been more nervous or scared the instant it was pulled from my tight grip to be placed into the hands of someone who would actually read it. There was no way I’d ever publish it, opening myself up to a world filled with critics.

“If you’re wondering, Dr. Moi is a personal friend of Professor Marienetti. The sexual fantasies accounted for and described within your research were fascinating, probably more so than Dr. Marienetti could digest. We’re baffled as to why you chose not to publish. The results, Jess, are far reaching, from ICUs to dentists’ offices. You have a special gift; embrace it.”

She walked toward me and leaned her back against the wall, her gaze drinking in the room.

“This office has been vacant, just waiting for you. You could do great things here.” She patted my arm, her grandmotherly smile telling me it would all be okay. “I’m next door if you need anything.”

Embrace it, I thought, watching as she walked out the door. I’d heard that advice before—from Matthew. I sighed and looked down upon the desk, the one I knew would take me a while to start calling my own.

My desk, my office, my couch, it all sounded quite foreign. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

authorpicJ.M. Maurer lives with her family in Chicago. She makes it a point to never work on a full moon and cringes when a coworker uses the “Q” word—never, ever say, “It’s a quiet day today,” at her day job.

Known for being overly superstitious, she can usually be found scraping at the remnants of a Nutella container, screaming at a hockey game, or putting pen to paper, allowing the “real” crazy voices in her head to come alive. And after all this, it’s no wonder she’s an incurable romantic and loves escaping the rat race of life to immerse herself inside the world of a really good romance book . . . because, after all, what’s better than a happily-ever-after?

FIND J.M. MAURER HERE

Website     Blog     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads     tsu     Amazon Author Page

Melanie Greene and the Roll of the Dice Series

MelGreene 2I am delighted to have Melanie Greene on my blog today promoting her Roll of the Dice Series, which includes ROCKET MAN and READY TO ROLL.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS – Roll of the Dice Series

Melanie is giving away three sets of her audiobooks – both Rocket Man and Ready to Roll – to randomly chosen commenters, so be sure to say hi below! Winners will be chosen on 4/14.

 

MELANIE ON AUDIOBOOKS:

My love of romance novels and my love of audiobooks began around the same time: when I had hours alone in my office every day, processing numbers. I’m not sure if science is still behind all that right brain – left brain stuff I learned as a kid (my own kid is currently getting a degree in cognitive science, so I suppose I could ask…), but I am sure that working with invoices and reports all day wasn’t always as entertaining as you might think.

So I started listening to audiobooks. And very quickly discovered that listening to romance made the workday fly by! Also very quickly discovered that headphones were important. J

The more I listened, the more I began to devour romance above all the other types of books I read. And it wasn’t long before my writing followed suit. All through the process of writing, editing, and publishing, I held this glittering idea in my head: one day, my own books would be available in audio, maybe even helping to entertain the right brains of other accounting-types as they get through their work days.

And that day has arrived! I was thrilled that one of my favorite narrators ever, Amy Rubinate, agreed to read Rocket Man and Roll of the Dice. She did a stellar job, and I’m proud to share these productions with your readers.

Thanks for hosting me here today!

 

MelanieGreene_RocketMan_AudioBLURB – ROCKET MAN – From the Roll of the Dice Series

Serena Colby wants one thing. Dillon Hamilton wants everything.

Steady, focused graphic artist Serena has her life perfectly planned out. After a childhood being moved from one place to another, she craves the permanence of a home that’s hers and hers alone. And everything is lining up just right. That is, until disruptive copywriter Dillon comes blasting into her workplace and spins her personal life out of control.

Serena tries to draw boundaries, but the gorgeous Dillon has a much sexier script for their lives in mind. He’s pulled towards Serena’s orbit, quickly ranking her sexiest skirts and memorizing the scent of her locally sourced organic shampoo. Serena struggles to remain unmoved by Dillon’s kinetic charm, even as she relishes their chats about their mutual passion, the Houston Rockets.

Though order-loving Serena shies away from Dillon’s messy complications, she can’t escape her fantasies. When Dillon’s determined pursuit leaves Serena breathless, it might just be ‘all systems are go’ for Rocket Man.

BUY LINKS – ROCKET MAN – From the Roll of the Dice Series

Audible.com     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Google Books     iTunes     All Romance eBooks

EXCERPT – ROCKET MAN – From the Roll of the Dice Series

Aggrieved, Dillon kicked his townhouse’s front door closed and scooped up the calico kitten making a beeline for the exit. “No, you don’t,” he warned it, before slinging it over his shoulder and heading into the kitchen for a cold beer. “I’m having more than enough trouble with females today; I don’t need you adding to the mix.” Setting Maisy down on the sofa and taking a long pull, he finally sighed. “Okay, okay, so it’s not your fault. And I can hardly blame Anica, she’s right about the tear sheets.” Maisy reached a paw up to bat at his fingers, unfazed by his suddenly morose tone. “But what the hell is going on with Serena?”

It just didn’t make sense. Serena was one of the most straightforward people he knew. Even before he’d started at Lanigan, she’d shown herself to be honest about everything—from work issues to the interpersonal. But lately he couldn’t get a read on her at all. She was her usual vibrant self half the time, backing away from him the other half. It just didn’t add up.

“Is it me?” he asked the kitten, who blinked and looked away. “I just … I kinda thought things were ….” He took another pull on the beer, then had to laugh. He couldn’t even articulate his feelings to his sister’s cat. No wonder Serena was acting strangely. He was probably feeding her all kinds of assbackwards signals himself, and she didn’t know how to react.

How did he feel, though? He shed his jacket, which Maisy promptly started kneading and purring upon, and headed back to the kitchen to throw together some sort of dinner. “Pasta night,” he called to the kitten, which ignored him. “Did I talk to myself before you showed up?” he asked it. “I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut at home anymore. But as long as you’re listening, check it out, ‘kay? Here I’ve known Serena for weeks. And don’t get me wrong, I noticed her right off, you know? Second I walked into the interview, as a matter of fact. But I always thought you’ve got to keep that stuff out of the office.” He bit into a carrot and glanced back at Maisy, who was now asleep. “Fine. Ignore me.”

He had kept it out of the office, and over time had stopped—okay, practically stopped—looking for Serena as soon as he got to work. Stopped cataloguing the many enticing ways she wore her hair, stopped half-memorizing her schedule, stopped asking her out. Almost stopped, anyway. And they worked closely together; he couldn’t go more than a few hours without having to at least shoot an email to Serena, if not engage in some more substantial contact.

Substantial contact. Face it, that was what he wanted.

 

MelanieGreene_ReadyToRoll_AudioBLURB – READY TO ROLL – From the Roll of the Dice Series

Janice Newton avoids close ties by directing all her energy toward her job and using her well-developed defense system to keep everyone, especially the coworker she secretly craves, at arm’s length. But will her fear of reopening old wounds keep her from a relationship with the one person who sees through her tough exterior and into her vulnerable heart?

Miguel Rosas has developed a strategy of his own: one that should tumble Janice’s walls, if only he can execute it. A burning dinner, intrusive relatives, and a secret from his past conspire to keep his plans half baked, though he’s determined to get things sizzling.

This standalone novella featuring characters from Melanie Greene’s Rocket Man brings Janice and Miguel together for a long-anticipated date that threatens to become an epic disaster. Little does Miguel know that the very problems he’s trying to quell provide the insights that finally make Janice ready to roll.

BUY LINKS – READY TO ROLL – From the Roll of the Dice Series

Audible.com     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Google Books     iTunes     All Romance eBooks

EXCERPT – READY TO ROLL – From the Roll of the Dice Series

Miguel’s other arm was a vise around her waist and the hand was anchoring her pelvis so Janice’s entire body was wedged against his. It should have been uncomfortable, being literally off-balance and with her limbs turned every which way like she’d lost all semblance of control over them. Which maybe she had. But it wasn’t uncomfortable.

Which sure as shit made Janice uncomfortable.

Miguel’s solidity made her uncomfortable. The ease with which he was suddenly putting his hands just wherever the ever-loving hell he wanted to, after they worked side by side for half a decade, practically never touching, made her uncomfortable. The clean soap and musk cologne scent of him made her uncomfortable.

His handsome face that was like coming home, familiar and welcoming. His elegant, eloquent eyebrows. His full lips, smooth and firm, and not in the least tentative against hers. It all made her uncomfortable.

So totally uncomfortable.

Janice’s nerves were squirming up and down her body like freshly hatched tadpoles. It wasn’t right, this feeling so right when she was fighting off another sneeze and her hand was cramping up against her aching breast and her pelvis was hosting a congregation of little tadpoles. They were squirming like mad down there.

And Miguel stopped kissing her, and then Janice was really, really uncomfortable.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MelGreene 2Melanie Greene is a native Houstonian. She began writing at an early age, though her stories about unfortunate dogs and impish girls who use firecrackers unsupervised have been (mostly) lost in the mists of time. She’s a voracious reader, huge audiobook fan, and generally has an overflowing bedside table full of books she can’t wait to read next. Of course her favorite genre is romance!

Melanie’s greatest pleasure is in creating characters who feel like friends, then giving them some (or several!) challenges to overcome on the way to Happily Ever After. Check out her smart, sassy, sizzling contemporary romances.

Melanie shares her life with her own hometown hunk of a husband and children so amazing they defy superlatives.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website     Twitter     Pinterest     Facebook     Goodreads

Toni V Sweeney/Icy Snow Blackstone talks about Peanuts, They’re not just from the South

My special guest author today is Toni V. Sweeney aka Icy Snow Blackstone. She currently has five pieces listed on Smashwords and also on Amazon/Kindle. And she shares that she has signed a contract for 3 more novels with Class Act Books, and with Double Dragon Publications for 10 novels.

 

Peanuts, They’re not just from the South

In my novel,  Runaway Brother,  a millionaire Yankee,  on the run from his overbearing brothers, finds himself in a little South Georgia town, on a collision course with a feisty Southern Miss and a horse named Shazam.  Having no conception of the South except from Hee-Haw re-runs, episodes of Dukes of Hazzard on some nostalgic local TV channel, or a late-night viewing of  Deliverance, Nick Liguori  has no idea what he’s in for.  What happens is more than a surprise as Sidney McDaniel weaves her sultry Southern spell around the unsuspecting boy from “up Nawth.”

One of the things Sidney does is cook for Nick, proving  the way to a man’s heart is partially through his stomach…fried chicken, corn bread, turnip greens and collards, home made biscuit and gravy, and grits.  She doesn’t feed him any peanuts, however, and more’s the pity.  To make up for that discrepancy, I’m going to let you in on a few little known facts about the ground pea…the goober…that wonderful gustatory delight,  the peanut…

The li’l ol’ peanut has a fascinating history.  It’s a native of the Americas—South and Central America,  that is—and is one of the gifts along with corn and tobacco that Native Americans gave to the white man.

This little legume had a spot in the hearts of the natives of the Americas and surviving sculptures of peanuts have been found in Peru, circa 300 AD.  It’s believed that peanuts were first domesticated in Peru around 7,600 years ago.  When the conquistadores came to Central America and plundered  their way to Mexico City, they found tlalcacahuatl (that’s peanuts in Aztec-talk), being sold in the markets there.  The plants were taken back to Europe and from there to Africa in the 1800s, where they were re-introduced to the United States.  Peanuts were taken to China in the 1600s by Portuguese traders where they were used in many dishes and sometimes boiled.  So—boiled peanuts is a Chinese dish.  Take that, those of you who look down on this Southern delicacy!  Today, China is the largest producer of peanuts in the world, followed by India and then the US, although the US is the major exporter.  In fact, most of the peanuts in the US are grown in or near Dothan, Alabama, where the Annual Peanut Festival is held each fall.

Peanuts grow best in sandy soil, with five months of warm weather, and good rainfall.  They ripen in 120 to 150 days.  There are four types of peanuts:  Spanish, Virginia,  Runner, and Valencia.  Subgroups are Tennessee Red and Tennessee White.  During the 1940s, 90% of the peanuts grown in the South were Spanish peanuts, which are small, red-skinned peanuts but today most of the varieties grown are RunnersVirginias are the kind usually called “cocktail nuts.”  There are also many strains inside each group.

Thanks to George Washington Carver, who discovered so many ways to process the peanut, it is used in confections,  oils, flours, as a high-protein, energy paste to stave off malnutrition, as well as in plastics, cosmetics,  nitroglycerin, dyes, and paints.  It has been stated that refined peanut oil can be safely consumed by people with a peanut allergy because the protein is destroyed during processing.  (If you are allergic, please verify this with a professional before using, however.) 

Peanuts are a good source of niacin, resveratrol, CoQ10 enzyme,  and antioxidants. I personally like (in order of importance) boiled peanuts, dry roasted, Snickers bars, Paydays, and as an ingredient in tossed salad.

(Thanks to Wikipedia  for some of this information.)

 

Now for some info about Runaway Brother

Title:  Runaway Brother

Author:  Icy Snow Blackstone

ISBN:  978-1-935048-85-5

Length:  138 pages

Publisher:  Class Act Books

Buy Link:  Class Act Books (paperback)

Buy Link:  Amazon (paperback)

Buy Link:  Amazon (Kindle)

 

BLURB

At the age of twenty-two,  newly-graduated Nicolo Liguori is forced by his three brothers to become care-giver for his father, who suffered multiple strokes.  For the next ten years, Nick gives up his own ambitions , working during the day in the family jewelry business in Vanderhoek, New York, and returning to the Liguori mansion every night, to be at his father’s beck-and-call. Then Papa dies and Nick is free…or is he?  Carlo, Marco, and Pietro expect him to continue life as usual, but Nick has other ideas.  Secretly buying a motorcycle, he starts to work one day and… disappears.

Nick gets as far as the southern coast of Georgia before an accident disables his bike.  Stranded, with no idea of the South except what he’s seen on TV, Nick isn’t certain what kind of reception he’s going to get.  Then, a pretty Southern miss and a white tank disguised as a temperamental horse named Shazam change his life as they and the citizens of Oceano teach a runaway Yankee about life and love in a small Georgia town.

 

EXCERPT

The track was getting narrower, barely two ruts now with a width of slender, wiry grass separating them.  He slowed the bike.  Don’t want to get that stuff caught in the spokes and stall the engine.

From far off to his right came a faint sound as if someone was beating a drum.

Nick raised his head, looking around, then gave a loud sigh of exasperation.  Okay!  So I’m lost!  He’d just follow the road to wherever it went, probably to some farmer’s front yard.  When he got there, he’d apologize, turn around and get himself back to the main drag.  If he could find it.

A broken branch loomed ahead, and he turned his attention to it, guiding the bike around it.   The drumming came closer.

A second branch and several twigs littered the roadway.  Nick was so concerned with maneuvering around them he didn’t see the horse sail over the fence, wasn’t even aware it was there until he looked up and found the white shape almost directly in front of him.

He jerked the wheel to the right, forgetting to apply the rear brakes first.  The bike skidded, its back wheel rising off the ground as the front one stopped rolling.  He had a brief vision of the animal leaping forward, its rider clinging to its back, wide, frightened blue eyes, flying blonde hair…

The motorcycle went off the road, sliding into the ditch and running up the other side, the front fender striking one of the fence posts.  It bounced and rebounded, and Nick went flying over the handlebars, flipping in mid-air and hitting the same post with his back. The bike wavered a moment, then toppled onto its side.  Nick slid down the post, landing upside down in the ditch, his shoulders crushing coffeeweed into an aromatic mass.

The pounding hooves stopped.  He heard running footsteps, opened his eyes and saw someone running toward him.  He closed them again.

“Are you hurt?”

This time when he opened his eyes, he was staring at the upside-down face of a very pretty girl, at least she’d have been pretty if her face wasn’t screwed up into such a dismayed scowl.

Am I hurt?”  He managed a growl as he slid further into the weeds and rolled over.  “I just hit a fence and got tossed into a ditch!  What do you think?”  Clambering to his knees, while she plucked ineffectually at one arm, he jerked out of her grasp.  “I can get up by my—  Ow!”

He’d gotten upright, took a step, and his leg buckled, turning at the ankle.  He sat down a little quicker than he intended, back into the weeds again as he ran a hand down his boot to touch his ankle.  He could feel angry throbs of heat pulsing through it.

            “Maledicta quella ferita!”

“Here.”  She slid into the ditch, offering a hand.  Reluctantly he took it, being careful not to put too much weight behind it as he let her pull him to his feet.  He could see she was worried and he really wasn’t hurt all that bad, but he was angry because she’d been so reckless.

She began to brush bits of leaves and dirt off his shoulders.

Jerking away, he demanded, “What the Hell’s the matter with you?  Jumping in front of me like that!  If I’d hit that horse—”

“What are you doing riding this road?  This is private property.”

Did that mean she knew the owner or—God forbid—she was the owner?  Couldn’t be.  She was too young, not more than seventeen surely, small, short, blonde, and that voice… Crystallized honey with a scratchy undercurrent.  A real Southern accent, not like the ones he’d heard on TV or in the movies, and most definitely not in New York City!

She was too pretty for him to pretend to stay angry at, so he toned it down, answering her question. “I got lost.  I only wanted to find the end of the road and turn around.”

“You have a way to go.  The house is about a quarter of a mile that way.”  She nodded toward a group of pines thrust into the road, hiding the rest of it from sight. Nick looked in that direction, then back at her.  She, in turn, looked at the motorcycle, still on its side in the weeds.  “You seem okay.  Is that hurt?”

He limped over and inspected it.  The front fender was smashed and ripped upwards.  The tire has an impact-split in it and the spokes were bent and twisted.  That isn’t too bad, he told himself.  Jojo had given him a basic tool set and a crash course in Motorcycle Care 101.  I can straighten the spokes and the fender.  Get a new tire and be on my—  Hold it!  The headlight was smashed, hanging out of the socket like a dislocated eyeball, and the clutch cable…  Somehow it had been severed.

Nick got down on one knee, feeling under the bike.  His hand came away wet.  He sniffed at his fingers.

Gasoline.   

Merda!  He pulled off one glove, exploring gingerly.  Something had punched a hole in the gas tank and gasoline was pouring into the grass.  He had no idea how, but it didn’t matter.  What did was that he wasn’t going anywhere as long as that hole was there.

“Well?”  She appeared to be awaiting his diagnosis.

He wiped his fingers on the seat of his jeans.  “Gas tank’s got a hole in it, clutch cable’s severed. Is there a motorcycle shop around here anywhere?”

“No, but Marshall’s in town can probably repair it.  He does everything from lawn mowers to farm machinery.”

            Oh Lord, deliver me from small town handymen!  He was about to tell her he didn’t want Marshall touching his bike when he realized, What else am I going to do?  Do you have a better idea, Mr. Runaway?

“So which way is town?”  He straightened, looked around as if expecting to see the city limits a few feet away.

“Too far for you to push that thing,” she answered, gesturing at the front wheel.  “Not with it twisted like that.”

“What do I do then, Miss Not-So-Helpful?  Since this is your fault—”

“My fault?”  Hands went to her hips.  And deliciously slim ones they were, too.  Nick had a moment to think she looked anything but angry, though it was apparent she thought she did.  Cute, maybe.  Hell, he might even say adorable with those blonde wisps floating around her face, but angry?  Nope!  “Who’s the trespasser?  Who had his head down, studying the ground when he should’ve been looking straight ahead?”

“You weren’t ahead of me,” he countered.  “You and that white tank of yours jumped a fence and came in from the side.

She stared at him, taking a deep breath and getting ready for some type of vitriolic response.  Memories of The Dukes of Hazzard and how the Duke Boys always verbally got the best of Boss Hawg came into his mind.  Well, this Daisy Duke wasn’t getting the best of him.  He wouldn’t allow it.

“Never mind.  Just let me get the bike upright and point me in the right direction, and—”

“I’ll do no such thing.”  That made him stare at her, wondering if she was going to walk away, mount her white steed, and leave him stranded knee-deep in Kudzu or whatever-the-Hell these weeds were.  “I’ll ride back to the house and get my grandpa’s truck.  We”ll put the motorcycle in it.”

She clambered up the bank, running toward the horse now was grazing on the other side of the road.  Catching the reins and a handful of mane, she swung into the horse’s back—very gracefully, he noted—then turned the animal’s head and trotted it back to him.

He liked the way the jolting gait made her breasts bounce under the jersey tee.  Damn, they’re perky little thingsChe pezzeta saporita!  He forced himself to hide his appreciation.  Barely stopped his tongue from coming out and licking his lower lip.  Hoped he wasn’t drooling.

“You stay right there,” she told him.  “I’ll be back in a jif!”  She kicked the horse in the ribs and sent it galloping down the road.

He liked the way her butt bounced, too.

They dodged a tree limb, took the turn and vanished from sight, though he heard the sound of hoofbeats for a few minutes more.

Nick turned his attention back to the V-Rod.  It hadn’t moved.  Did he expect it to get up and limp over to him like a dog with a hurt paw, whimpering for sympathy?  Shaking his head, he leaned against the edge of the ditch, back against a fencepost.

Welcome South, Brother!

 

AUTHOR CONTACT INFO

Author Web Site:  Toni V Sweeney

Author Blog:  Toni V Sweeney

Facebook:  T V Sweeney

Twitter:  Toni V Sweeney

Goodreads:  Toni V Sweeney

Email:  [email protected]