Archive for 'Guest Blogger'
Sunday, October 23rd, 2016
When people learn I’m a romance writer, my answer to “what do you write?” always evokes a a wide – and I do mean wide – grin of surprise. I write inspirational romance, gothic romance and Christian erotica and Christian erotic romance. Inspirational and Christian erotica and Christian erotic romance?
Are you grinning?
Jokingly, but half-seriously, someone once asked, “What is Christian erotic romance? Safe braille sex? i.e. sex with your eyes closed and your panties on?” For some, Christian erotica or Christian erotic romance is the ultimate oxymoron. I might have been one of them if I hadn’t discovered translations of the writings of medieval mystics over thirty years ago. Hadewijch of Brabant and Beatrijs of Nazareth proved there is an equal sign between Christian and erotic. Their prayers and journal entries not only aroused and excited me, but inspired and drew me closer to the divine. They also confirmed what I’d always suspected: worshiping God is an ecstatic erotic experience. My suspicion had been born in my reading of the erotic poetry of the Old Testament found in Song of Solomon. Those ecstatic tropes were not a projection of my lustful imaginings in need of sublimation. Hallelujah! Medieval mystics and the Bible celebrate the erotic? So will I!
Fast forward to 2003 when I joined Romance Writers of America and started writing romance. The seeds planted by that hallelujah began to take root. Audre Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic: the Erotic as Power nurtured the fledgling plants. As I honed my craft, I wrestled with the following challenges: could I write fiction equally ecstatic, erotic and experiential as the non-fiction of those mystics? Could my romances celebrate love as arousing and spiritual as the poetry of Song of Solomon? Now One Breath Away has found a home at the Scarlet Rose line of the Wild Rose Press, I hope the answer is a resounding yes.
One Breath Away grew from a series of “what ifs” storming my imagination after I read a historical account of a woman surviving a hanging. In real life they simply hung her again, but what if she had been allowed to live? What if any time she became aroused, she experienced autoerotic asphyxiation because she climaxed when she was hung? What if this takes place in the 1870’s among African Americans surviving anti-Reconstruction backlash? What if she is a dark-skinned, plus-sized ex-slave? How could a woman like this after an experience like that overcome fear and find love? I knew the answer was yes, so the Christian erotic romance writer in me set out to give Mary Hamilton the HEA she needed at the heat level she deserved.
Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. Never having been courted, cuddled or spooned, Mary now fears any kind of physical intimacy when arousal forces her to relive the asphyxiation of her hanging. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.
Wealthy freeborn-Black Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing a relationship with Mary was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.
Then just as Eban begins to win Mary’s trust, an enemy from the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…
His smile turned up the heat in his gaze. Mary frowned, painfully aware the smell of her passion lingered in the air, despite the woolen barrier of her skirt.
He stepped forward so his hand-stitched boots stood toe-to-toe with Mary’s second-hand shoes. “Eban Thurman, at your service, Miss Hamilton. May I get you something to drink?”
At her service? The air congealed. Mary gasped, trying to suck in air too solid to inflate her lungs.
“No—no, thank you. I’m not thirsty.” Her stutter mimicked the tremor between her thighs. She clasped her hands and planted them hard against her lap.
“It’s a really hot night.” He turned his hand palm up in a silent plea. “Perhaps you’d find a waltz more cooling.” He eased his fingers into her clenched hands. “May I beg the honor of this dance?”
“Yes, Miss Hamilton.” He tilted his head, slanting his smile to the right. “Beg.”
“You don’t strike me as the begging type, Mr. Thurman.”
“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” He tongue-swiped his full lips as if he’d just tasted something he wanted to taste again. “I know when it’s time to beg.”
She pursed her lips into a frown, fought back the urge to grovel and won. Barely.
The fingers around hers, clean and huge and strangely slender, hadn’t moved, hadn’t trembled. Their stillness aroused her. His stillness aroused her. Her lips quivered. She inhaled deeply against the surrender summoned by that tiny tremor.
Resist the devil and he will flee.
Silently she called upon the truth in this scripture for rescue.
The devil waited. She stared at the hand on hers, helpless against the appeal, the allure of temptation.
She swallowed hard, opened her mouth to say no, but her tongue refused to cooperate. She huffed out a breath and shook her head. “I—I can’t. I don’t know how to waltz.”
“Well, you’re in luck.” His lips bowed in a smile, full, broad, and hypnotizing. “I’m an excellent teacher and I bet you’re a fast learner.” He gave her fingers a squeeze. “Shall we?”
He really wanted to dance with her. She blinked, speechless. A warning voice protested.
Her heart countered.
She firmed her lips, heaved a sigh then accepted his invitation. Felicity’s sputtered shock and Widow Hawthorne’s happy cackle accompanied them to the middle of the dance floor.
He placed his fingertips respectfully but firmly above the rise of her buttocks and held her in place against him. A tickle invaded the wool of her skirt where the tip of his middle finger rested at the head of her crack. Pleasure tripped up her spine and trickled between her thighs. But, from the recesses of remembered experience, a voice of caution persisted.
He wants something, Mary. Beware.
“Why—why do you want to dance with me?”
He smiled with the serpent slyness that probably charmed Eve. “I don’t think you’d believe me if I told you.”
He turned his head slightly. “Really? Your practiced calm says otherwise.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Practiced calm?”
“The face you present to the world until something touches your heart.” He gestured to his right. “Like when that baby there cried. Your expression changed to one of concern, then changed to one of contentment when his mother satisfied his hunger.”
Mary blew a breath through her mouth. This man was studying her. Really studying her. Should she be flattered or worried?
The one-two-three, one-two-three magic of the waltz began. He guided her in its dips and glides, through its rises and falls. The awkwardness attributed to her by past dance partners didn’t raise its ugly head. Her spirit lightened then soared until that still, small voice sounded the alarm.
You were fooled by another man and his fancy manners. Don’t be fooled by this one.
Hints of bay rum mingled with a manly scent against whose lure she struggled then lost. Once again her toilet water failed to hide the salty scent of her arousal.
Eban pinned her with a not-so-casual scrutiny. Could he smell her too? She tried but failed to read him. Dare she hope the ease in his smile meant he found it pleasing?
The other couples held their partners off with discreet and proper holds. Not Eban. Warmth radiated from the hand holding the small of her back hostage. The heat spread across her buttocks then seeped into places more private. He bent his elbow and gentled her forward so only their clasped hands separated them.
“Why, Miss Hamilton, I do believe you’re blushing.” His fingers held hers with a teasing yet possessive grip.
“I am not.” Her words shot out with a force she hadn’t intended. “I mean I don’t blush.”
“No?” A cheeky boyishness winked at her from eyes as dark as chocolate. He leaned down so his breath tickled her earlobe. “Not even if I kissed you behind your ear?”
She shrank back then stared up into the gaze showering her with attention. Her heart beat beneath her breast with a prisoner’s unease. An unease she knew well having once been a prisoner.
His smile widened into a grin. “Only because I don’t want to embarrass you.”
The amusement in his voice coaxed forth a wet response that Mary clenched her vaginal muscles to stem. She swallowed repeatedly until she found her voice.
“You still haven’t answered me, sir. Of all the women here, why did you pick me?”
“Why not you?”
She blinked. Why not her? The answers swirled through her mind as easily as she and Eban swirled in this waltz.
Why not her?
Because she remained planted among the wallflowers by the time the musicians played the last song at every Safe Haven dance.
Because she learned to hang back at the call of “Ladies’ Choice,” forewarned of rejection by the grimaces caused by her approach.
Because unlike desperate-for-a-man Felicity, Mary refused to dance on her back in some dark field just so she wouldn’t be a woman who ain’t been asked.
Ain’t been asked to court. Ain’t been asked to spoon. Ain’t been asked to the altar. And never would be.
That’s why not her.
His calloused fingertips proved he worked manually for the wealth that purchased his custom-made attire. But, he didn’t speak like a field hand or common laborer. His speech testified to a level of education far above that of her Freedman’s Bureau learning.
“Why not you, Mary?”
“Because someone like you only looks at someone like me out of pity.”
Of course. His aunt put him up to this. Anger warmed Mary’s ears.
“Let me go.” She made to pull away. “I want to sit.”
“Please. Not before the music stops.” He timed his plea to the rhythm of the waltz. “I’ve waited all week for this moment.”
Mary gritted her teeth. Heart hurt joined her injured pride. She needed no one’s charity.
“That was cruel of you, sir. No one counts the days until they can ask me for a dance.” Tears pooled behind her closed eyelids. “Anyone in town could tell you that.”
The grip on her hand tightened, forcing her eyes open. The light in his gaze darkened. “Anyone who’d lie to me like that would be taking their life in their hands.” He leaned in so his mouth nuzzled her ear again. “And if you use that I’m-not-worthy tone of voice again, I’ll be forced to prove you wrong with a kiss.”
Alarm shuddered up Mary’s back. “Is—is that a threat?”
“A certainty.” He winked.
A chilly thrill replaced the alarm. She blew out a breath to steady herself. Threat or certainty, both treated her to a delicious revelation—she wanted that kiss. She eyed his lips, imagined their soft yet demanding press against hers. Once more the voice of caution repeated its warning.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Oh, to be forced to flee from such a devil as he. She sighed. What a wonderful problem to have.
Wild Rose Press, www.wildcatalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-erotic/4580-one-breath-away.html
About the Author
A native New Yorker, Michal Scott is the pen name of Anna Taylor Sweringen, an ordained United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church USA minister. Using the writings of the love mystics of Begijn for inspiration, Michal Scott writes Christian erotica and Christian erotic romance (i.e. erotica and erotic romance with a faith arc), hoping to build a bridge between the sacred and secular, spirituality and sexuality, erotica and Christ, her readers and a well-written spiritually-stimulating and erotically-arousing story. As an African American, she writes stories to give insight into the African American experience in the US. She has been writing romance seriously since joining Romance Writers of America in 2003 and had her first novel published in 2008. She writes inspirational romance as Anna Taylor and gothic romance as Anna M. Taylor. You can connect with Anna on Twitter @mscottauthor1 and learn more about her and her writing at her various websites: www.michalscott.webs.com, www.annamtaylor.webs.com and www.annataylor2678.webs.com.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
Warning: This blog post will wax philosophical and deep.
I was watching one of those weight loss shows—you know the ones—and one of the people mentioned food represented love for them.
As someone who has been known to make love to a Bacon Egg and Cheese McGriddle on occasion, I could totally relate, but the thought gave me pause.
If food represents love—or one form of love—to our psyches, what other forms of love are there? And as someone who’s been on a diet since I was twelve, I was pondering this for less than philosophical reasons, unless one considers carb counting a philosophical pursuit.
And one does not.
I decided to make a conscious effort to open my eyes and LOOK at the world, searching for these other esoteric forms of love.
My first efforts were pedestrian in the extreme—sunshine, flowers, whiskers on kittens and whatnot, but then one day as I was driving in the car and listening to the radio, I had an epiphany.
The song I was listening to touched me.
Really touched me, deep inside, skewering me with delight.
And I realized…this was love.
This was something that FED MY SOUL.
It made me happier.
Perhaps even happier than a Bacon Egg and Cheese McGriddle (but it’s tough to say, because I was also eating one of those at the time).
This song was love. Pure and simple. The melody, the delicious harmonies, the confluence of voice and instrument as they came together and swelled and told a beautiful story moved me. Lifted me up to some spiritual realm and made my spirit fly.
We will ignore for the moment that the song was about an extremely talented singer who had apparently “just killed a man” and sometimes wished he’d “never been born at all,” and we will focus on the most important thing: How it made me feel.
Not the murder or the dismal fact that now he’d “gone and thrown it all away” but the purity of the music and the undeniable love the creators put into the work.
Even now, decades after Freddie Mercury’s death, that song still breathes. Still lives, still inspires teens to bang heads in the car on a Friday night.
Such love, threaded into creation is there for all of use to reach out and grasp—whether we are the creator or the recipient of the work…or both. It’s there to feed our souls in movies, songs, art, architecture, gardens…and books.
Have you ever read one that stayed with you? One that made you cry? Laugh? Snarl in fury?
That author did her (or his) job. Created that book from love and with love…for you.
I’ve written over 50 books and my hope is that each one is a powerful reflection of that love. Love I have for the story, love I have for the craft and most importantly, love I have for my readers.
There’s something magic in the act of creation. I’ve always known it, felt it. I just wasn’t able to name it, to truly understand it until now.
That magic is love.
And a little bit of bacon doesn’t hurt.
Sabrina York writes sexy snarky romances in all subgenres. Her most recent release, the second book in the stand alone Stripped Down Cowboys series, is Cowboy to Command, the story of a former SEAL with a secret and a stubborn woman with a plan. This heartwarming and hysterical cowboy romp is available now: https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Command-Stripped-Down-Sabrina-ebook/dp/B01B2EAJKS/
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Monday, October 17th, 2016
Thanks for having me as your guest today!
I can’t imagine not having pets, whether I’m living here on Earth or in outer space. Fortunately my parents felt the same way so at a fairly early age I can remember us having white rabbits – Meadow and Thicket. I know not everyone is a pet fan, or can have one for various reasons, and you can certainly love animals and not have one in the house. All animal lovers welcome here!
Later last year, author Pauline Baird Jones and I started thinking about doing an anthology mixing science fiction romance and pets. We invited a few of our author friends to join us and it was fun to see what nine authors will do when they start from the same basic story prompt – totally different stories, I promise!
I always had cats – the first one was Cinderella Pussytiptoes and she was kind enough to produce nine kittens for my amusement one summer! (My parents weren’t as excited.) We kept two of them, Amy and Nancy, and found good homes for the others. Since we lived in the country at the time, for each cat there came the morning when she failed to return home from nighttime roaming, no matter how long and hard I stood outside calling “kitty kitty”. I was inconsolable each time the cat population at our house went down by one more. My parents regaled me with a story of them living happily in the forest. While I was pretty young, the tale was sort of similar to the Santa Claus story – I wanted to believe it, despite some suspicions it might not be true. I never asked too many probing questions.
I currently have two rescue cats, Jake and Keanu, who supervise my writing from the chair next to my desk.
So of course my story for Pets In Space includes a cat – Moby, who’s a dainty white rescue cat. There’s also an alien pet, Midorri, who’s cat-sized, green with six legs and all kinds of interesting abilities. She and Moby get along fine and rule the spaceship. Of course! Hey both ‘belong’ to Owen Embersson, the ship’s cargo master.
Here’s an excerpt from my story, as the two animals have lured Owen into investigating a problem on the cargo deck:
Stepping onto the echoing deck, he called for Moby. She spent most of her evenings hunting vermin lurking among the monstrous crates and containers, but she usually passed the first part of the evening in his cabin, eating the incredibly expensive cat food he had the ship’s AI keep in stock. Not much else to spend his salary on. “Come on, cat, I want my dinner even if you don’t,” he said to the elegant vision in white fur who trotted from the murky recesses of the deck. How she stayed clean when she spent her days prowling the cargo deck, he’d never know.
Purring, she came to his steel-tipped work shoes but evaded his effort to pick her up, moving just out of range the way felines did, as if cats could teleport. Moby scampered toward the towering stacks of cargo then turned. Seeing he’d failed to chase her, she sat, tail twitching, head tilted, eyeing him.
“What‘s the matter with you? I’m not in the mood to throw cat toys and retrieve them right now.” Embersson headed toward the gravlift. Moby regarded the entire ship as her territory and could find his cabin for her dinner when she was hungry.
In the next minute, he nearly tripped as she rubbed his ankles, nipping at one in passing. Swearing, he caught himself with a hand to the bulkhead. “What in the seven hells is wrong with you tonight? Giving me a concussion won’t get you fed.”
Moby yowled at him and ran toward the stacked cargo again.
Figuring she wanted to show him a recent kill, which he’d then have to dispose of, he followed.
Moby moved faster now that she’d gotten him with the program.
He followed her around the corner of the pallet the ship had taken on earlier in the day and found Midorri, the Zephyr’s other pet, crouched beside a free trader container. “What mischief have the two of you gotten into now?” he asked Moby. Midorri came aboard the Zephyr originally as the pampered pet of a princess, but after the whole outbreak incident, Sector authorities refused to let the lady disembark on Sector Hub with the undocumented animal, so the ship had kept the odd green fluffball. Dr. Shane was her official owner of record, but the entire crew liked the slightly clumsy but always amusing creature.
Midorri sneezed, as she was often wont to do, allergic to humans perhaps, and flicked her plush prehensile tail before lowering her head and extending her long green tongue to lap at something on the deck.
“Freaking flares, do not tell me we’ve got leaking cargo. Damn free traders and their beat-up equipment.” He hoped Moby hadn’t sampled whatever Midorri was drinking. The alien animal could probably handle anything up to and including nuclear fuel, who knew, but Moby was definitely a terrestrial cat, with a more delicate stomach. He tried to shoo Midorri away from the slowly growing puddle of green goo, dripping from a dented corner of the container. Musta gotten banged when the shuttle crew offloaded the final pallet too fast and had to straighten everything in a rush. Funny, he’d never have picked this box—well constructed, made from high-quality materials—to be a problem. “I better see what’s in there,” he said to the interested animals.
Moby yowled, startling him as her voice echoed, and Midorri emitted a high-pitched chirping that grated on his ears like a physical assault.
Spurred on by the animals’ distress, which confirmed his own suspicion he faced a genuine problem, Embersson used his cargo master key, which was supposed to open any container on his ship. Nothing happened. Swearing, he tried again. “This free trader’s never shipping anything with us again, idiot forgot to set the damn code for my access. Maeve, can you open this?”
“Of course,” the ship’s AI said. “I haven’t forgotten all my military skills just because I run a cruise ship nowadays.”
“Wait a second.” He stepped aside, encouraging the animals to do so as well. He imagined a gush of whatever was leaking when Maeve did her hacking thing and overrode the container controls.
Midorri tried to climb over his boot to return to the growing puddle.
A loud click echoed in the cargo bay and the seams on the crate glowed yellow, unsealing in a smooth progression along the rim.
Pets In Space
The blurb for Pets In Space:
Even an alien needs a pet…
Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?
New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Best selling authors have eight original, never-released stories and one expanded story giving readers nine amazing adventures that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!
10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.
And the blurb for Star Cruise: Stowaway:
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come – nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.
About the Author
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Veronica-Scott/e/B006CUCJ92/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Sunday, October 16th, 2016
The idea of two complete strangers getting hitched has always intrigued me, for one simple reason—why would they do such a thing? Could such a relationship succeed? By successful relationship, I understand not only the longevity of the marriage…but is it possible for the participants to actually fall in love with each other in such a strange arrangement? Love is found in the most unexpected places.
A Convenient Marriage grew over a number of years. The basic story was simple—a divorcee with two children, an ex-husband being difficult over visitation, as well as a fiancée unable to commit. Holly’s friends suggested that she needed a new husband, placing an advert in the paper for one behind her back. Joshua was struck by a simple plan when he saw the ad and responded to it.
Why would Holly marry a man she’d never met, and why would Joshua respond to an ad for a husband, then actually propose to a woman he had never clapped eyes on? So, in came the dawdling fiancée, Nicole. Both Holly and Joshua were justified in not planning the marriage to be a real one, because they each had an agenda of their own, but Nicole was the injured party. For their plan to succeed, they had to marry—the real kind, down to that all-important piece of paper married—and they had to seem to be totally in love with each other. That it is all a scam, only they would know.
And here comes the ‘but’. Holly and Joshua’s plans go awry from the moment they meet on the steps of the chapel where their fake marriage is to take place, when both recognize the immediate attraction. Back at Joshua’s wine estate—yes, he is a rich landowner where Holly expected him to be a pauper—Holly meets Joshua’s mother, his brother and sister-in-law, and Nicole, the fiancée, who found out about Joshua’s duplicity in a room full of people. No one can blame Nicole for being a tad upset. Or can they? To add to Holly’s woes, she seems to have acquired a ‘ghost’ demanding she tell a story.
Amidst Nicole’s shenanigans, Joshua’s mother’s disapproval, Holly’s ex’s aggression, and the ghost following Holly around, will these two accomplish what they set out to do? Or will life get in the way?
Joshua’s and Holly’s journey through the uncharted seas of a blind marriage, where no rules apply, is a stormy one.
Get your copy here: http://tinyurl.com/hqfmhcu
About the Author
Maggie Tideswell lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with her husband, Gareth. She began writing when her kids were still very young, squeezing a few paragraphs at a time between the hectic schedule of raising three children, and working full-time in the catering industry. She wrote many books before considering having them published. Now that the children have all made lives for themselves, there is more time for writing.
After much experimentation, Maggie writes passionate paranormal romance, of varying levels of heat. The paranormal, things that happen for which there are no logical explanations and ghosts are of particular interest to Maggie. What events in a person’s life would prevent that person from ‘resting’ after death? The ‘Old Religion’ is another special interest. And love, of course. Why do people fall in love? What keeps them together for a lifetime when so many relationships fail?
Maggie’s advice to aspirant novelists is two-fold. Never give up, and write every day. Writing is a craft that has to be honed with practice. And the only way to practice writing is by doing it. And a bonus, never stop reading your favorite genre. Reading it and writing it is the only training for a writer.
“Maggie Tideswell’s latest novel, A Convenient Marriage, will have you turning pages as her characters cope with a marriage of convenience, well-meaning but nosy friends, a meddling ghost, jealous exes, and more. My advice: Make room on your Keepers shelf for this story!” (Loree Lough, best-selling author of 107 award-winning books, including Harlequin Heartwarming’s “Those Marshall Boys” series.)
Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
So, this post was originally going to be about the inspiration behind my story Sanctuary which appears in the Crazy Cat Ladies anthology, but I have to veer a tiny bit first, of course.
Have you ever had one of those moments where life truly imitates art? I don’t have them often, but every once in a while…
Well, Friday was one of those rare days.
I woke up a bit later than I wanted and was rushing to get my six-year-old and myself ready for her dentist appointment. Let me back up a moment and give you a teensy piece of back story…my cat. She’s big and fluffy and basically thinks she’s starving all the time. (Don’t they all?) She also suffers from the “my food is gone from the center of my bowl and piled around the edges; therefore, I’m going to starve to death” disorder. As I left my room and headed to my daughter’s, my sweet fluffball made a mad dash, and by that I mean a bat-sh!&-crazy, mow-you-down, NFL worthy rush, for the kitchen. Somehow, she ended up under my feet, and in an effort to not squish her, I guess I threw myself off balance.
I heard not one, but four distinct crunching pops.
Oh yes. Yay, me.
I fell, of course, cause graceful. And I knew something was very wrong with my ankle, but I’ve twisted it before (remember that whole graceful thing?), and it’s made noises when sprained, so I hobbled around and went ahead with the dentist appointment.
As one does.
Cue all the people at the dentist office gathered around me, peering at my ankle in abject horror. “Why aren’t you in the ER?” “You need to have that looked at immediately!” “Prop your foot on this chair, now!”
So, I listened. Which I totally always do. Sure. Yeah. Definitely. *wink, wink* And I took myself, my six year old, and my gigantic, somewhat mangled looking ankle to get an X-Ray.
Lo and behold, it’s broken.
So, the week before my story releases in the Crazy Cat Ladies anthology, I literally break my ankle saving my cat…or because of my cat…or something having to do with my cat. If only my doctor had been a crazy hot guy, I’d have my next story. Hm, maybe I already do.
Now, about my story. Sanctuary is set on an exotic cat refuge where Indy, my heroine, works to provide a good life for lions and tigers and leopards that were once kept as pets.
Jake, my hero, has struggled with a slightly different cause; canned lion hunts. He’s seen first hand what that industry does: the hand-raising of lion cubs, the tiny cages, the constant breeding, and eventually the death at the hands of a hunter at close range.
Now, I’m not typically one to “get political.” I’m empathetic to a fault and can usually find some way to see the other side of the coin, to walk in someone else’s shoes, to bring sexy back (wait, no, that doesn’t fit there). But the inspiration for Sanctuary came from a film called Blood Lions. If you haven’t seen it, I highly encourage you to check it out (Amazon). It details the canned lion hunt industry and what’s happening to these animals. And it’s heartbreaking.
There are currently more lions living in captivity at these canned hunting establishments than there are in the wild. But that’s not the worst part. Nope, not by a long shot. The worst part is that each and every one of them is essentially on death row, just waiting for a person to pick their picture out of an email and pay some serious money to shoot them, stuff them, and bring them home as a trophy. And these lions have been raised by humans, in most cases literally bottle fed, so they have no natural fear of them anymore. They walk right up to the man with the gun.
As I said, I’m not one to cast judgment, but this issue has truly broken my heart. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a little bit about what’s going on with this industry and how alarming it is.
That said, Sanctuary isn’t all sadness and drama! Jake and Indy are pretty hilarious together, if I do say so myself. Their banter and ability to laugh at themselves is my favorite part of their love affair. Well, that and they’re pretty hot together, too.
I really hope you’ll check out Sanctuary and the rest of the awesome stories in the Crazy Cat Ladies anthology. The stories are incredibly diverse and there’s something for everyone!
The Crazy Cat Ladies boxed set lets 9 new purr-fectly wild romance stories out of the bag. We hope you enjoy these paw-some tails from New York Times, USA Today, & other authors.
Amazon US – http://bit.ly/CCLAmzUS
Amazon AU – http://bit.ly/CCLAmzAU
Amazon CA – http://bit.ly/CCLAmzCA
Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/CCLAmzUK
iBooks – http://bit.ly/CCLiBooks
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Crazy Cat Lady website! http://www.crazycatladyseries.com
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Okay, so time to please, please, please make me feel better. Has your fur-baby ever caused you to have a major boo-boo?
Monday, October 10th, 2016
At first glance, you would think this is an easy question to answer, but in reality, it is multi-faceted in many ways.
First of all, especially in the Romance industry, not only are we writers, but we are also readers. So as readers, we tend to be more empathic when it comes to our own readers. Maybe it is a little do unto others as we would have them do unto us mixed in there.
But for me, I never realized how much of an impact the writer/reader’s relationship was until I became a writer myself. The interaction between writer and reader is like no other, because we are one and the same.
For the indie author, this relationship is even more important, because as an indie author, you don’t have a big publishing company or public relations firm out there doing all your advertising; we have ourselves and our readers.
I remember when I first retired from the Army last year, deciding that once I was out I would finally finish the novel I had started back in 2010, and I would send to a big time publisher, and be published by them.
As I researched profusely on various BIG Publishers, I soon found out, that even though I could have had great support, I possibly could never be in control of what I wrote or how I wrote it, was not my cup of tea. So this for me was a BIG NO, after 23 years of having every part of my life controlled, there was no way I wanted to go that route of BIG Publisher, at least not at first.
I sat down at my laptop and began to finish my novel, I had started in 2010 and titled it “Warranted Pleasures”. When I finished, I was so proud of the work I had accomplished, but I still had NO idea what or where to go next.
So on to more research and many “How to” books read, it wasn’t until literally weeks ago that I truly figured out what and where to go, to get my novel out to the masses. I published “Warranted Pleasures” in December 2015, and although I used some social media, and made contacts with other authors and readers; I just wasn’t doing enough in my opinion. So one day, I posted on Facebook what I felt on the inside, it would be my last ditch effort to get the word out, and gain more readers. I don’t remember the exact wording, but in essence it was a scream for help. I think it read pretty much like this, “HELP”…….. ha ha
It was that post that caught the attention of a woman I had recently just added as a friend, on Facebook from another authors Facebook page. I had corresponded with her via comments and she seemed nice, so I clicked add as a friend. What was it going to hurt? But it was that add that changed everything. She offered to help, she added me to some groups and put me in contact with another woman, who was also a big reader, and part of many readers, and author groups on Facebook. I hired her as my assistant and she went right to work finding signings around the country, and Facebook author takeovers with bloggers and reviewers.
I was finally getting the word out, enjoying my time taking over different groups, and events on Facebook. Things were finally starting to work out and go the way I had envisioned them.
It has been so much fun and so exhausting at the same time, but it is the readers that make our job as a writer so much fun. It’s the readers that gets the word out and it’s the readers we get to interact with. It’s the readers that are important, being able to finally connect with more and more of them has made me realized how amazingly blessed and honored I am to be able to bring my stories to them, and be a romance author.
I am having such a great time, being able to interact with readers, as a reader myself, I have Fangirl moments too. Like when I am doing a takeover, and I find myself doing one with a couple of USA Today and New York Times best-selling Authors, I seriously Fangirl.
It’s amazing to me as a writer, how close we are able to become with our readers, especially in the Romance Genre. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we are readers too; we have our Fangirl moments and that makes this job so much fun. We have signings, Facebook events, conferences, and of course the Romance Writers of America national conference.
I mean come on, you can’t get this close to Gerard Butler on the Red Carpet or on a movie set. By the way, if you decide to follow me, friend me or meet me, you will find I am convinced he and I were married in past lives. Ha ha.
We, as writers, are readers first and writers second. We are the readers and as the readers, don’t we always spread the word about our favorite author or a new book we just read? What a blessing and an honor it is for me to be able to say I am a Romance Novelist, and that we have the best readers and fellow authors in this industry.
We are approachable, because we ourselves, are the FANS and we are the readers. Don’t we all love a HEA? That’s what we get when we pick up a romance novel, well most anyway, some are HEA for now stories, and that’s ok too.
We all love a great HEA story, from the time we were little kids until the day we die, because HEA show us all that there is always a Once upon a Time.
So for me, our readers are IMPORTANT, because WE are them and WE are a FAMILY, and as a FAMILY we help each other. And I believe, that is what I found.
So a big thank you, to all of you who have read, will read and who won’t because no matter what, we are FAMILY, the Romance FAMILY.
Shannon grew up in a small town called Macomb, IL. A university town nestled in the heart of Central Illinois. Corn fields and soy beans surround the town and her Friday nights consisted of reading and television. Surprising her entire family, she joined the US Army in 1987 with an MOS of Unit Supply Specialist. The 4-year stint lead to a retirement in April 2015. She began writing in 2010 as a way to help deal with some of the stress and pressures of daily Army life. It was her best friend who pushed her to pursue writing as a career. “Writing is my release, I love telling a story and I learned to always write about what I know.” Since she has served half her life in the US Army, her stories surround the lives of soldiers. She love’s Sci-fi and fantasy and has thought about exploring it some for future works. She is a mother of four and a grandmother of 1 with another granddaughter on the way in Dec 2016, she has been married for 22 years.
Warranted Pleasures Book 1 (A Warranted Series)
Sergeant Samantha O’Hara had no idea that when she was assigned to the 1266th Transportation Company, that she would meet sexy and flirty Chief Warrant Officer Raleigh Fitzgerald. But when their eyes met, sparks flew as well as the bullets.
It was against Army Regulations they knew that, but it was an undeniable attraction. She wasn’t sure how long she could hold out, he had a way of getting under her skin.
Raleigh was used to getting what he wanted and right now little Miss Sam, is on the top of his list
Meet Sergeant Samantha O’Hara- She’s young, beautiful, extremely driven, and very much single. Her love life, completely non-existent.
Meet Chief Warrant Officer Raleigh Fitzgerald- He’s young, flirtatious, and quite frankly sinfully delicious. Oh and yes, he’s very much single.
Welcome to Samantha and Raleigh’s world.
A world where seduction, dirty talk, and let’s say yumminess comes into play.
A world where no one can be trusted, where secrets are unraveled.
A world of internal conflicts and fears.
A world of hurt and pain where scars run so deep it’s hard to catch your breath.
This is their story……. Available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01795R1IW
Warranted Desires Book 2 (A Warranted Series) Releases Dec 2016
Sunday, October 9th, 2016
Hi Delilah Fans!
Finally some fall weather! Love these nights when I can sleep with the windows open.
Thank you to those who commented on my September post about falling in love with a gay man. Apparently I’m not the only one who has gone through this. Back when this happened to me, homosexuality wasn’t an open topic. Young people had many reasons not to face the truth about their sexuality.
At that time, men who didn’t realize they were gay tried to be ‘normal’ by dating girls and even falling in love with girls. That’s what happened to me. Today, thankfully, being gay isn’t as terribly stigmatized as it was in the past. Gay men and women are more likely to think about their sexuality early on and come to terms with their true inclinations. Thus many fewer women are left with the fallout that comes from a first love who turned out to be gay.
For myself, as I said in my September post, the four-year love affair I had as a teen led to permanent issues in my self-esteem. What I learned then can’t be fully unlearned, that I wasn’t enough of a woman to drive his passion, that if I had been more flirty, more buxom, he would have wanted me more. I fully understand that nothing I did actually had anything to do with his final realization that he was gay. That doesn’t undo four years of thinking something was wrong with me.
No doubt the experience for him was even more traumatic.
So thanks for listening and sharing your thoughts with me.
And now for something entirely more entertaining! Here’s an excerpt from a new short story, “The Lawn Guy.” This work was inspired by a new anthology Delilah is working on about blue collar men. Are these guys too sexy for their shirts or what?!
Lizzie Ashworth’s “The Lawn Guy”
I stand at the window, dodging out of sight when the mower loops at the far end and starts heading back toward the house. It’s pure self-indulgence, watching him with the wind blowing his hair, his sweaty back gleaming in the sun. His back muscles do amazing things when he leans.
Why I’m torturing myself, I don’t know. I’m helpless here, a hundred other things I could be doing, and I can’t do any of them. I want him on top of me.
Is this pathetic or what?
I have the best mowed lawn in the neighborhood. Best trimmed bushes, best raked leaves, best mulched flowerbeds. I owe it all to Justin Younger, damn him.
Damn his amber eyes and crooked smile and a roughhewn face that belongs in the movies. Damn his enthusiasm about random things like the broken limb on the old elm, the turtle stuck under the back fence. I tell myself that’s why I hire him.
It’s a lie. I hire him because I’m infatuated. I’m slack jawed at the window watching him park the mower and stride across the yard with a rake. If I’m not careful, I’ll be wiping drool off my chin. How do men become so beautiful?
There’s one thing about becoming widowed. You get a paid-for house and supportive friends and time to relax. If you’re lucky, you get left with enough money to hire your yardwork done. All that’s supposed to help make up for losing the man you meant to spend your life with, the man who’s gone. I’m so lucky.
I feel something stirring in me, something dangerous. When I watch Justin, I feel like I might explode. Everything is fucked up.
I’ve dusted every shelf, rearranged the contents of every cabinet. I can tell you exactly what part of which drawer you’ll find the tape. I tidy up whether I need to or not. It’s what I do, dusting, organizing, making sure every single thing in this house is in perfect order.
I know the clinical stuff. I’m seeking control. Control over things that happen for no reason and destroy lives. I find myself standing in places for long periods of time, like I’m waiting on something. Like David’s going to come walking through that door all smiles and I’ll fly into his arms. My hands will grab those lean muscles that curve down his back, and never let go. My hands still feel him.
I’m waiting for my life to come back. But all I can do is manage minutia and stare out the window at the one man who interests me. It feels wrong, like I’m being unfaithful to David. It doesn’t help to remember that David is never coming back.
I think this guy interests me because I can see his bare chest, his wide shoulders, his energetic response to the world. Men do that, respond energetically to the world. As if with their own hands they could move mountains and battle lions. It’s what I loved about David. It’s what got him killed.
Last night I dreamt about Justin. He was over me. I can’t get it out of my mind.
He smelled like sunshine and cut grass. His skin smoothed under my fingertips. He was gentle, slow. I woke up wet between my legs.
That’s just fucking great.
“Thought you might need a drink,” I say. I hand Justin a tall glass of iced tea with condensation running down its sides. My heart is beating in my throat standing near him.
He squints up at the sun, takes the towel from his waistband, and wipes his face and neck. I watch his shoulder flex. His chest gleams. I watch his throat move as he drinks. He slides the cold wet glass across his chest.
I’m desperate to touch him. This is sick. How did my life get so out of control?
“Thanks, Ms. B.” He sizes me up. “Did you want me to deal with that broken limb today?”
I look up at the old elm. A big limb broke in a mid-summer storm and it’s been up there dangling. “I’m worried about you climbing up there. Maybe I should hire a tree service.”
He laughs. When he laughs, lines crease his cheeks. I thought he was late twenties, but maybe he’s a bit older, maybe mid-thirties like me. He gives me this look of authority.
I watch him climb the tree. I’m helpless down here wringing my hands. Does my homeowner’s policy include liability?
Hell, I’m old before my time. Everything terrifies me. The chainsaw whines and sawdust drifts down and I can’t watch.
Five minutes and the chainsaw comes down on its rope and then the limb is coming down on its rope and then Justin climbs down. He slides down the last few feet and lands right in front of me. Plants his boots hard on the ground. Breathing hard. Sweating. Grinning at his success.
He leans toward me. I think he’s off balance and grab his arm. He looks at me and I jerk my hand away.
“I told you,” he says. “Nothing to worry about.”
“I worried anyway.”
“If I can’t do something, I’ll tell you. Trust me.”
Is he saying more than he’s saying? I want to read between the lines. He tugs off his leather gloves, stuffs them in his rear pocket, and touches my cheek. I can’t move. I can’t breathe.
“You worry too much,” he says, peering down at me with an expression of…I don’t know. “You have sawdust on your face.”
Read the rest of this story.
Only 99¢ at Smashwords.
About the Author
Lizzie Ashworth has been through career, marriage, kids, and even ran her own cafe, but writing has always been her secret love. She has authored eight novels and several short stories which explore the intimate nuances of human relationships. She likes to show a process in her stories where discovery or acknowledgment of sexual pleasure or desire is key to character development. Hidden away on a remote woodland hilltop in the Arkansas Ozarks, she accepts advice from her hound dog Weezie and her cat Esmeralda. When she’s not slamming words, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and the Pacific coast. Sunrise and sunset provide her favorite moments, the magical twilight between two worlds when anything seems possible.