Saturday, February 11th, 2017
UPDATE: The winner is…Karla L!
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I’m sharing lots of yummy covers today! Can’t help myself. I’ve reached story #9 in my Uncharted SEALs series! And for those of you who think they have to read a series in order, you really don’t have to for these stories. Yes, you’ll see recurring characters throughout the series, but you won’t be lost!
Hard SEAL to Love is the latest! It releases on TUESDAY! Pre-order your copy now! I’ve included an excerpt for you to enjoy. I loved writing this story. The heroine is a disabled vet! Read on!
Like the art? Love the bit of Mac’s thoughts as he’s making love to Kylie? Me, too.
Interested in the rest of the series? You can peruse the stories by clicking on the covers below. And no, I won’t be boxing up this series. Some are part of other Kindle Worlds, so if you want to read the series, you really have to buy the separate books. Or maybe, today, you’ll win one story of your choice…
Comment for a chance to win one of my already released Uncharted SEALs stories!
A Hard SEAL To Love
The bigger they are, the harder they fall…
Former SEAL, “Big Mac” McLane, is sure he earned all kinds of bad karma somewhere when his next mission with Charter Group is to guard the “Love Boat” and a pretty program director. Okay, so the cruise line is sponsoring a special cruise for wounded soldiers and their significant others—a great cause. Mac doesn’t doesn’t know a thing about spending time with “good” women, but Kylie Hammond is full of surprises. After the initial shock of meeting her, he feels like he has two left feet whenever she’s around. So he’ll do his job, keep it strictly business, fade into the background whenever she’s around, but Kylie seems to have other ideas…
Kylie knows the muscle-bound SEAL isn’t exactly gung-ho for his new assignment, and she isn’t exactly the “princess” he expected, but she can’t be more pleased. The big man’s the yummiest thing she’s ever seen, and coaxing blushes and glares from him becomes her favorite sport. Then someone aboard the ship is killed. The thing her charity most feared—a terrorist attack at sea—appears to be underway. Now, she has to trust Mac and his team to keep her wounded soldiers safe.
Pre-order your copy here!
Mac and Kylie are in their stateroom aboard the cruise ship…
Kylie stood at the desk and shuffled through the mountain of papers and ship’s flyers. Her hand paused on one of the shore excursion brochures. He knew damn well she’d been warned against leaving the ship. “Not happening,” he said, keeping his voice even.
Her head jerked upward. She aimed a hot glare his way. “Not your decision.”
“It is if I can’t guarantee your safety. Figure out something else to do—something that doesn’t require you ever leaving the ship.”
Her chest rose and lowered beneath the green-and-black jungle print. “Maybe I should choose something that doesn’t require I ever leave this room. That would suit you just fine, wouldn’t it?”
He bit his tongue rather than respond and assumed a neutral expression.
“I have a job to do,” she said, fisting one hand on a hip.
“The cruise line’s doing it for you. They provide the activities, the schedules, and the meals. All you have to do is decide what you want, Kylie.”
He’d said it. Well, not it, precisely, but he’d put the thing they’d been building up to out there. She could either shut him down or accept that this was inevitable. A gift of proximity and mutual attraction. Male and female imperatives. Why the hell was he dressing it up as anything but what it really was? The need to fuck. Hard. Often. Now.
Mac swallowed as he held still, unblinking, watching her mouth firming into a narrow line. Goddamn, I overstepped. But I won’t apologize. She’d started this by stripping off her leg and daring him with her large hurt eyes to look away. Mac didn’t know if she hesitated because she’d just realized she’d been sending out vibes but had now changed her mind, or if she was scared.
He guessed he’d have to be the one to make the first move. To show her how badly he wanted to be buried inside her sweet body. He dropped his hands, pulled up the hem of his shirt, and began to unbuckle his belt.
Friday, February 10th, 2017
“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” (The Shadow, Radio program from 1930’s)
Whether we write or read fiction, the underlying story almost always offers some kind of insight into the human heart. I think this is why we write and why we read.
Most people reading this blog are, I hunch, avid readers choosing romance first and other genres next. The promise of love transforming our lives allows hope into the deepest corners of our hearts. That promise is seductive (pun intended).
More good news. Romance can flourish in any world: dystopian, historical, contemporary, futuristic. Love can spring up between paranormal creatures and humans, between male and female, male and male, female and female.
As a former romance author, I have to admit that since I’ve gone to the dark side—writing psychological thrillers—I read far less romance these days. I still love the genre. When I need a little lightness, I often read my own romantic suspense novels for a laugh. Several scenes make me laugh out loud. Laughs in my dark, psychological thrillers come few and far between.
So why would anyone switch from writing books based on hope and write novels dealing with topics based on despair?
The best answer I can give is I don’t know. I can give several reasons:
- reading dark comic books as a very young kind,
- being traumatized by scary fairy tales,
- listening to The Shadow and other equally terrifying radio programs,
- crawling under school desks when missile-alert sirens went off,
- visiting an aunt and uncle who swore the earth would split open and the devil would lay claim to my soul if I was bad.
Honestly, though, none of these reasons separately or together touches the essence of my obsession about the darkness in the human heart.
I think, like most writers, I write the stories that won’t let me sleep. The stories that niggle at the back of my brain for months—maybe years—before I sit at my keyboard and tap in the first word. The stories that challenge me from the perspective of craft:
- Can I write characters who often have no redeemable qualities?
- Can I tell the story without resorting to melodrama and hyperbole?
- Can I hook readers by revealing some universal idea they can relate to?
- Can I find a worthy hero/ine to confront the antagonist?
- Can I avoid clichés?
- Can I tell a story that doesn’t end with HEA, but ends satisfactorily?
- Many more points lurk in my subconscious.
A couple of weeks ago, I took out the draft of my contemporary romance about a burned-out CEO who quits her job, moves to a boat to write the great American novel, and meets a knight in shining armor living on Camelot, the next slip over.
No kidding. He’s The Real Deal. He also happens to be something of a misfit—the title of my thriller series—and he’s a fun antidote to the darkness.
The Lost Days: The Misfit
Excerpt from The Lost Days, Book 2 in The MisFit Series
The sun’s eerie summer glow disoriented me as much as the headache hammering my skull. Or maybe my confusion came from the man seated next to me, his foot placed at the top of Dimitri’s spine. I gritted my teeth. Dimitri lay crumpled face down in the space behind the driver’s seat. His legs were folded under him like a penitent waiting for absolution.
The man in the front seat turned and flashed a mouthful of piano-white teeth. His piercing blue eyes glittered. I stared. Without the baseball cap, his copper-colored hair glowed in the golden evening light.
He laughed as if I’d said something funny. “For a boy who killed his mother three months ago, you have a face that borders on transparent.”
“You-you’re not American.”
“And you’re not Finnish—despite your mother.”
Involuntarily, I snorted.
Nostrils flaring, he cuffed my right temple with his knuckles. “I already know what you think of your mother.”
My ears rang. Involuntarily, my fingers flexed and twitched as if I’d been electrocuted. I wanted to hit him. Smash his face. Kick his Finnish teeth down his throat.
“We are going to see,” he said, “just how tough you are.”
A B Plum simply loves to write. Being a public librarian and a teacher of adolescent boys, she gleaned enough ideas for novels until she’s a hundred. Developing high-tech marketing materials provided an opportunity to hone her fiction skills and fuel that dark side. She now lives off the fast lane in Silicon Valley.
The Lost Days, Book 2 of The MisFit Series is about an eleven-year-old boy on the path to becoming a psychopath. Grab your FREE copy on my website.
A B Plum . . . writes chilling psychological thrillers.
The MisFit Series -The Early Years, Book 1 – The Lost Years, Book 2
Thursday, February 9th, 2017
Bet you didn’t know that Valentine’s Day got its start in the Roman Empire with some public BDSM. That’s right. The feast of Lupercalia involved women lining up along the streets so men could run along and whip them with strips of animal hide (preferably goat or dog).
The ritual was supposed to increase female fertility and there’s actually no telling how far back in history this tradition might have started. A lottery followed the whipping with women’s names drawn from a jar by young men. Thus matched, the couple had sex for the rest of the three-day festival (Feb 13-15). (More on Lupercalia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupercalia
The name Valentine got connected with this sex orgy during the third century when Emperor Claudius II executed a priest named Valentine for secretly continuing to marry couples despite the emperor’s command that marriages must cease. Married men didn’t want to join the army and leave their families behind and Claudius needed more soldiers. The bludgeoning and beheading of Valentine occurred on February 14.
A little over the top on the BDSM there, Claudius.
Fast forward through a few more machinations of church and state to the Middle Ages when Chaucer and Shakespeare took up this old legend and made it more romantic. Lovers in those times crafted handmade paper cards to exchange as tokens of love. By 1913, the tradition had become so popular that Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Missouri started mass producing Valentine cards and commercial marketing took over.
In case you haven’t noticed, Valentine’s Day has become a major event on social calendars around the world. Sales reached nearly $18 BILLION last year and will likely continue to rise as everything from cards to chocolates to flowers to jewels makes the day a business success. And woe to the lover who fails to participate!
A little basic BDSM Roman style is my gift to you this Valentine’s Day. Use this 50% off coupon code DZ42S for the first of my two-book story of Caerwin, a young Celtic lass captured by a Roman tribune and taught to appreciate his, um, discipline. Don’t wait—coupon expires on the 14th.
Here’s the link:
Want to wow all your friends with more about Valentine’s Day history? Check out:
Want some fun ideas about homemade gifts, probably nicer than what lovers were doing in the Middle Ages? Check out heart-shaped foods at:
Or how about cute homemade gifts?
Most of all, love YOU this Valentine’s Day with a special treat,
maybe a nice sexy book?
Wednesday, February 8th, 2017
Thank you for hosting me again, Delilah. I always enjoy stopping by your blog. Today, I have a confession for your readers.
I cannot stand silence.
Silence has weight. A crushing pressure that I cannot think through. I need something with a cadence or beat that I can tune out, otherwise, I focus on every creak, drip, or thump my house makes. Whether I’m working or reading, I need something in the background my brain can ignore.
Despite being of the MTV generation, I didn’t see a lot of music videos growing up. My family didn’t have cable and until I was in high school we only had 1 TV in the house controlled by my dad. I listened to the radio with advertising spots every ten minutes or played cassette tapes.
Fortunately, I had an awesome friend who made me artist playlists and themed compilations.
In college, I discovered New Age music. I preferred to work to synthesized ambient and space music over nature sounds. But sometimes I’d go to sleep to a thunderstorm. Other times I’d listen to instrumental soundtracks. The first year of college, all I listened to was the Terminator 2: Judgement Day soundtrack.
When I read, I usually have the TV on. I’m a bit of a TV junkie about drama shows like NCIS and Once Upon a Time. On the weekend, I’ll watch baseball or NASCAR. (Don’t judge, I have two car crazy boys in the house) Just something to have on while I do other things.
Before I start writing a story, one of my first tasks is to complete a playlist. I try to select 20 to 25 songs but it varies depending on the story. I mix classical, new age, soundtrack and pop music based on what I think will fit the story. Sometimes I have specific songs for characters and sometimes the music reminds me of the emotion I want to convey.
This is the playlist for my latest novella, Tethered, which releases Tuesday, February 14, 2017.
You can listen to the playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvG3phTNj4isHUMtgOSs6AFUaIpq8ooVn
I only played The Vengeful One when I channeled my villain. According to my software, I played Radioactive the most. My story takes place in the fall between September and October which explains why a few of the songs have September in the title.
I think of my heroine, Evelyn whenever Something Wild plays. She is a Peregrine falcon shifter who is also an Aquarius. Being in the air, flying, is what she longs for. Riding the currents, living life is her calling.
Are you a Silence person or a background noise person?
Zodiac Shifters: Tethered
Releases Feb. 14, 2017
For over one hundred years, Evelyn Brooks experienced the world through her photography. Now her creativity has deserted her and a stalker drove her from her home. Looking for a new sanctuary, she moved to North Carolina. Exploring the skies of her new home, a bolt of magic knocks her falcon form from the air.
Park ranger Lawke Morgan’s already bad day got worse when his ex-wife dropped off their 13 year old daughter and left for a vacation in London. Dealing with his daughter is nothing compared to discovering magic and shapeshifters exist when a Peregrine falcon he rescued transforms before his eyes. Then his daughter is kidnapped by an Aztec priest after Evelyn.
In exchange for one of Evelyn’s early pictures, located in the small town of Willows Haven, the priest will free Lawke’s daughter. He will do anything to get his daughter back, even break the law. But magic has a way of entangling people together whether they want to be or not. To rescue his daughter, they must confront blood sacrifices, ancient gods and their own inability to trust.
Can a woman used to the freedom of the skies embrace love with a man firmly rooted on the ground?
Evelyn Brooks raced across a purple-tinged sky. Behind her, lightning and thunder clashed within baleful clouds. Her wings dipped in a strong crosswind and plunged her toward the earth. Muscling through the gale, she climbed into a less turbulent current. She’d never make Raleigh before getting soaked, despite the speed her Peregrine form achieved.
A ferocious roar drowned out the whistle of the wind. The upward flap of her wings faltered, and her blood chilled. Turning into a different current, she glimpsed the silhouette of an enormous beast against the storm’s clouds.
Below her, the treetops of a deciduous forest with red-kissed leaves due to an early frost stood sentry. She took shelter within the branches of an oak tree.
The whoosh of wings induced Evelyn to shrink against the tree trunk and dig her talons into the bark as the limbs swayed. A strong crosswind contorted the tree further. Another roar challenged the incoming storm’s might and silenced the nighttime creatures.
Twisting her head, she glanced through the foliage into the cloud-filled sky. A dark shadow moved against the dark gray backdrop. Gigantic wings lifted a massive creature high into the sky.
Hunted until extinct, dragons had been stripped of their scales and blood, their magic forever lost to the supernatural communities. For eons they’d guarded and sheltered those seeking wisdom or healing until humans, who couldn’t control their desires, rampaged across the earth and destroyed all the sanctuaries.
Apparently, the purge hadn’t destroyed them all, and the approaching storm had disturbed this one’s slumber.
Moving to the East Coast was supposed to keep Evelyn safe. Free her of the disturbing sense that someone watched her. Maybe stimulate her creativity and spark a burst of artistry. Instead, she was denied the escape of flight and forced to hide.
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Tethered-Shifters-Paranormal-Romance-Aquarius-ebook/dp/B01NH9KZT9/
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tethered-17
Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
UPDATE: The winner is…Mary Preston!
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Tell me a story!
I bought this little brainstorming tool years ago at some writers’ conference. I’ve used it only twice—here! “Story Cubes” is (that looks wrong, but I promise it’s not) a brainstorming game. You roll the dice and whatever pictures appear face up are the ones you use to riff off a story.
Here’s the roll…
Do any of these symbols tell you anything? You can pick some or use all of them. Tell me a story, or even just a glimmer of an idea, for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Monday, February 6th, 2017
Hi, I’m Melanie Jayne, romance writer, punctuation rules hater, and human servant to two mastiffs. When I’m not filling food bowls or throwing the Kong, I’m usually thinking about writing: story ideas, things to do, and awesome phrases seem to pop into my head all of the time.
When I was washing the dog bowls earlier today, I started to think about secondary characters in some of my favorite books. You know the best friend, the smart butler, and the ever put upon secretary. Then I took that a step farther and thought about which of my friends would make good secondary characters and how they would influence my heroine?
There is Anna who sounds like she smokes six packs of cigarettes a day and raised six kids. She has seen it all and nothing surprises her. Definitely a possibility because she would be unflappable and a mature voice of reason.
Melanie is the all-around most intelligent person that I have ever met. She knows a little bit about everything. The perfect go to partner when my heroine wants to do something sneaky or for business advice.
Jeff is one of the best dressed men in my city and can tell a fantastic story. He is the perfect person to invite out when you need to have fun or when you need an opinion about what to wear. What woman doesn’t need this kind of friend?
Lastly, but definitely not least, there is David. Complicated, intelligent, and loyal. He would be the heroine’s choice for when she needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to bail her out of a jam. He is a definite possibility to get his own book.
So as I finished drying the food bowl, I realized how lucky I am to be surrounded by such great people. I can depend on them and they add to the richness of my life, plus as a writer they give me great ideas.
Please check out my writing, which features older characters “Because Love Doesn’t Stop at 35.”
To Purchase You Only- http://amzn.to/2j0LghI
Sunday, February 5th, 2017
My name is Stefan Wyemore and I’m the High Alpha of the Northwest Territories. If I could snort here, I would. That sounds so high-and-mighty. What it really means is that I get to listen to every complaint and gripe everyone in the northwestern area has and figure out how to make shifters of all sorts, covens and hybrids live together in peace. It’s a nasty job, but my folks thought I was up to the job. They’re technically the leaders, but they live in Florida with the packs and prides there and ceded this place to me. Gee, thanks, folks.
Don’t get me wrong. I love it here. The mountains are incredible. We don’t have anything like that in Florida, that’s for sure. And if I hadn’t had this job, I wouldn’t have met Mali, my mate and the woman I can’t imagine life without. Though it wasn’t easy convincing her.
Mali is an amazing woman. She’s a hybrid, like me, someone who can both shift and do magic. Fortunately, we’re both feline shifters, which makes our bond even stronger. I knew as soon as I met her that we were mates, but it took a little longer for her to accept it. She’s been through a lot in her life. I can’t imagine never belonging somewhere. My folks and where I grew up were so accepting of everyone. But here, it’s not quite as open. In fact, I had to take out four betas who were lording it over their packs like they were gods or something. They quickly learned I don’t go for that. Yes, I’m an alpha and my word is law, but laws have to be tempered with compassion and acceptance. And theirs weren’t. I will not allow bigotry to spread in my packs and prides. We are all shifters. It doesn’t matter if we’re feline, canine, bovine, or something else. Shifters are shifters. And mage-shifters are even better.
That’s what Mali and I are—mage-shifters. Not only do we shift, but we can do magic. My affinity is with the elements while hers is with healing. Because of what we are, maybe others will learn what acceptance is.
Anyway, Lion’s Choice is our story. Or rather, a part of our story. It’s about how Malena and I met and how we became mates. It’s got shifters and witches, yes, but don’t be surprised if a ghost or two shows up too. My grandmother likes to interfere in my life, even if she’s not still around. Sigh. Like I said, the life of the High Alpha is not an easy one, but with Mali at my side, I can tackle anything.
Stefan the Black, alpha of the northwestern territories, needs a strong mate. It’s the only way the prides and packs will continue to follow him, but he hasn’t found the right one yet. Then Dr. Malena Troutman literally runs into him and he and his beast know that she is the one.
The problem is convincing her.
Malena wants nothing to do with prides or packs. As a half-breed—part witch, part shifter—she’s been shunned by both shifters and witches alike. But her beast wants Stefan, and so does the human part of her. Still, can she trust him not to turn her away, especially once he learns her secret?
But Stefan has more than a few secrets of his own, not the least of which is… he’s also got magic running through his blood. It’s up to him to convince the packs and prides that their prejudices are hurting the prides. Ruling a large area of multiple packs and prides takes a lot of balancing—funds, people, emergencies, and more. But with Malena by his side, Stefan turns things around and both beasts find contentment.
“Is there a problem?”
Malena looked up—something that didn’t happen too often—to find a man with raven hair and eyes the color of deep sapphires looking down at her. She immediately recognized him. She could never forget that face or his scent. Her lion grew restless, and Mali fought to stay in control. He wore cut-off jean shorts and a deep blue tee, exposing impressive muscles, but not body-builder bulk. These were the lean, long ones of a lethal animal.
“Oh! Alpha Stefan, it’s nothing. Just a computer mix-up with Miss Troutman’s reservation. I’m sure we can find someone who will take her in.”
Alpha Stefan? Damn. Of course he would be the alpha. “That’s Doctor Troutman, and I’d rather not be crammed into someone’s family room with screaming kids running all around.” Mali let a little of her irritation show in her voice.
“What about a separate bedroom with a private bath and no screaming kids?”
She hesitated the briefest of seconds before nodding. She wondered if he had orchestrated this glitch, along with the invitation. “That’s what I was hoping for.”
Not only did her lioness approve, but so did the witch side of her. That in itself was odd enough for her to pay attention.
“Where are your bags, Doctor Troutman?” He smiled at her, a grin of both invitation and consideration.
“Just this.” She indicated a regulation-sized pull-along. “The rest are still in my truck, though I have no idea where that is at the moment.”
“In the parking area. I can have one of the valets retrieve your things for you if you wish.”
“Thank you. They’re rather important, and some need to be handled with care. I’m teaching a class here tomorrow. If you could show me my room, and where my truck might be, I’ll get them myself.” She hesitated. Damn. She’d given orders to the alpha. Could she stuff her foot any further into her mouth? Her face grew warm. “My apologies, Alpha Stefan. If I’d known—”
“If you’d known, I think you would still need to handle your bags with care. Shall we?” He offered his arm and took her bag in one hand.
“I can carry that myself,” she said, not wanting to put the alpha out any more than she already had.
“I’m sure you can. I was merely being polite.”
She blew out a sigh and took his arm. “Thank you, Alpha Stefan. I appreciate the help. So where is this room I can have?”
He stepped into the elevator and punched the button for the fifth floor. “My apartment.”
Stefan enjoyed the look of pure shock on the woman’s face. As soon as he’d told her where they were going, she’d dropped her hand and stepped away from him. This was not a woman who used feminine wiles to capture a man. She wanted nothing to do with him. It showed in her stiff shoulders, crossed arms, tight mouth, and narrowed eyes. He kept a neutral look on his face but smiled inwardly. She intrigued him on many levels. He discovered he was actually looking forward to the challenge she offered.
Malena Troutman. The lion within him was practically purring, and so was the man.
Available from Liquid Silver Publishing, Amazon, B&N, and other fine sellers
Where to find me: http://burkholv.wordpress.com