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Elizabeth Andrews: Memorable Characters (Contest)
Friday, August 7th, 2015

First off, a huge thank you to Delilah for letting me visit her blog again today!  It’s always so much fun here.

I spent most of last week in New York at the annual Romance Writers of America conference.  There were some really amazing workshops and speakers, and my critique partner and I both came home filled with inspiration.  I’ve been thinking about how to put some of the things I picked up in those workshops to good use as I’m finishing the third book in my Medusa trilogy, and get the first book in my shifter series through the first draft.  In particular, I’ve been thinking about creating memorable characters.  And, more specifically, about characters I have found memorable, whether in books or on television or movie screens, and how their creators made them so memorable.

One of my favorite shows on television right now is The Walking Dead.  Not because I’m a fan of gore, which the series has by the truckful, but because they have created characters that viewers get so attached to.  If you’ve watched the show, you know the creators don’t shy away from killing off beloved characters, and by now viewers expect their favorites to die eventually.  But even knowing it’s coming doesn’t make it easier—I’ve sobbed my way through a lot of episodes when they killed off someone I loved, or when a character I cared about has had to deal with something particularly awful.  One of the main characters, Rick Grimes, has faced more than any man should be expected to deal with, no matter what is going on in the world.  Last season, there was one character death that I knew was coming (and I haven’t read the graphic novels, but I’m a writer; I can’t help analyzing story as I’m watching, no matter how wrapped up in it I might be), but even knowing it was coming didn’t make it easier.  And having to see how it affected the other characters made it that much worse.

A few years ago, one of my favorite TV series ended, a show called In Plain Sight.   The main character was a U.S. Marshall named Mary Shannon.  She was seriously kick-ass, but the character was also very damaged, and she was pretty good at keeping those wounds hidden most of the time.  Her family was so screwed up—an alcoholic mother, a sister hiding from her bad guy boyfriend, and a father who went MIA when Mary was a kid—and most of the time, she was the only one holding everything together, despite whatever her own issues might be.  The things Mary faced are things many people face daily, and she just did what needed to be done, period.  Mary was a role model, even if she would have punched your lights out for suggesting it.

Some of my favorite book characters remain Jo March and her sisters from Little Women.  No, they’re not facing anything extraordinary like a zombie apocalypse, or hunting down federal witnesses who might not want to testify.  They’re facing everyday challenges and they make us care about what happens to them.  That’s one reason many of us read, so we can meet these people, spend some time with them, fall in love or go on an adventure with them.  And, if the writer does her job properly, we will remember them long after we’ve closed that book, or turned off the television.  That’s one of my favorite things about finding a good book, thinking about the characters long after I’ve finished their story.

It’s one of the things that makes me go back to a book, despite having a TBR pile that will last for decades–sometimes you just love a character so much you need to revisit them once in a while.  One of my favorite re-reads is the “Harry Potter” series, another is The Iliad and the Odyssey.  These are full of characters I can’t forget, and, even though I already know how their stories turn out, I want to go on that journey with them again.

So that is my aim, as I keep writing (and re-writing), to create characters readers will find not just believable, but memorable.  And so I’ll keep practicing and keep writing.  I’ve included a little story excerpt below for you.

I also have a giveaway:  an e-book copy of Hunting Medusa.  I want to know who some of your favorite memorable characters are.  All commenters will be entered into a drawing via RandomResult.com and the winner can choose their e-book format.

About the Author

Elizabeth Andrews has been a book lover since she was old enough to read.  She read her copies of Little Women and the Little House series so many times, the books fell apart.  As an adult, her book habit continues.  She has a room overflowing with her literary collection right now, and still more spreading into other rooms.  Almost as long as she’s been reading great stories, she’s been attempting to write her own.  Thanks to a fifth grade teacher who started the class on creative writing, Elizabeth went from writing creative sentences to short stories and eventually full-length novels.  Her father saved her poor, callused fingers from permanent damage when he brought home a used typewriter for her.

Elizabeth found her mother’s stash of romance novels as a teenager, and-though she loves horror- romance became her very favorite genre, making writing romances a natural progression.  There are more than just a few manuscripts, however, tucked away in a filing cabinet that will never see the light of day.

Along with her enormous book stash, Elizabeth lives with her husband of  twenty-plus years and two young adult sons, though no one else in the house reads nearly as much as she does.  When she’s not at work or buried in books or writing, there is a garden outside full of herbs, flowers and vegetables that requires occasional attention.

Hunting Medusa

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The Medusa Trilogy, Book 1

When Kallan Tassos tracks down the current Medusa, he expects to find a monster. Instead he finds a wary, beautiful woman, shielded by a complicated web of spells that foils his plans for a quick kill and retrieval of her protective amulet.

Andrea Rosakis expects the handsome Harvester to go for the kill. Instead, his attempt to take the amulet imprinted on her skin without harming her takes her completely by surprise. And ends with the two of them in a magical bind—together. But Kallan isn’t the only Harvester on Andi’s trail…

Exerpt: 

“Andrea?”

Sudden silence.

“How many sleeping bags do you have back there?” He had to know.

The soft sounds resumed, this time more quietly so he assumed she was quickly pulling on dry clothes. “One. But there are extra blankets.” The reply was unsteady, as if she might be imagining the same things he was.

One sleeping bag. Of course. He shut his eyes for a second. As he went to his backpack, he unbuttoned his cargo pants, then tugged out dry clothing. His fingers were clumsy on the heavy material, made clumsier by the enticing images floating behind his eyes.

He shucked his wet pants and moved toward the front of the cave to dress.

A choked sound from Andrea made him freeze as he stuck his foot into his dry cargo pants. And every nerve in him hummed to life, zinging electricity to his groin. Read the rest of this entry »

Sierra Dafoe: World-Building — It’s Not Just for Writers
Thursday, August 6th, 2015

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Hi, Delilah and everybody! It’s really wonderful to be here today — and a bit daunting, as well. You see, ten years ago I started publishing erotic romance. I’d been writing forever (at least, I think “since second grade” when you’re now fifty-one counts as forever), but 2006 was my first attempt at making writing any kind of a career. And to give myself credit, it was a pretty good attempt. Within three years I’d published over two dozen novellas, many of them pretty well-received, some of them award-winners. A few were even best-sellers on Amazon and ARe.

And then everything (or rather me, precisely) went crash.

I’d originally thought about titling this When the Words Stop, except that’s not really what happened. What happened was that the gulf between the words in my brain and my ability to get them down on paper became, for a long time, unbridgeable. A lot of things happened during that time: I got divorced. Filed bankruptcy. Had what I can only classify now, in retrospect, as a nervous breakdown. But that’s not really what I want to talk about.

The truth is, we all go through horrible things in our lives. Things that can really break us; sometimes permanently, sometimes in ways we don’t even recognize until years or even decades later. And sometimes, something happens in our present lives that hits right against those underlying fractures, and what we’d thought were solid, intentionally-chosen lives shatter like yard-sale figurines. And sometimes, when that happens, we realize those lives were actually pretty chipped and, well, unappealing all along.

Which is actually, if you think about it, a remarkable gift. I mean, how many times do we have the chance to start at square one? To really stop and reassess who we are, what’s important to us, what we want to do? To be?

sdCaptureNot that, for the first few years at least, I could appreciate that :-) Truth is, there was very little in my life that wasn’t a complete wreck. Finances? Ye gods. It’d be fair to say that for quite a while there, I basically didn’t have any. Living situation? Ditto, honestly. I couldn’t focus on anything. I couldn’t even, for the better part of a year, simply manage to stay in one place – three days, four days anywhere, and I started feeling like I was crawling out of my skin. And I had no idea what had happened to me. It was really pretty terrifying.

But what I eventually discovered, in and amidst the wreckage, was a much clearer sense of what was truly important to me, what I really wanted in my life. My friends. My son. A sense of self-respect (unlike friends and son, this was something I was chagrined to discover I’d only thought I had – when push came to shove, or rather life encountered “crash”, I came hard up against the realization that it was mostly illusory).

And yes, the writing.

There have been few experiences in my life as exhilarating as watching a story unfold in ways I didn’t expect, watching it surprise me, watching it take on a life of its own. When I hit those points — when a story has a resonance, a reality, all of its own — honestly, I feel like I’ve done something good. Something important. Brought something into the world that really wanted to be there. Not every story I’ve written has hit that mark for me. But a lot of them have. And I’m beginning to have faith that a lot of them will again.

It’s been a seriously slow slog these past five years, putting a life back together from square one. But the big upside is that, in the process of doing so — heck, simply in order to be able to do so — I had to take a hard, uncompromising, bare-bones look at a lot of beliefs (and behaviors) I’d been carrying around for decades, without even being aware of them.

And then I had to change them. One by one.

There are two blogs that really helped me recognize, challenge, and reshape my thinking, and I’d like to share them with you. The first is called Baggage Reclaim (link: http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/), and while it bills itself as — and definitely is — a “dating & relationship blog”, at heart what most of the problems and issues blog owner Natalie Lue discusses really revolve around is your relationship with yourself. Around the need to be honest with yourself, and with the people in your life.

The second is Zen Habits, written by Leo Babauta. (link: http://zenhabits.net/) In far more prosaic fashion, he looks at — what a shock! — habits. Of both the physical and mental varieties. With a cheery sort of fearlessness that occasionally made me want to smack him upside the head, but which, in my less-exasperated moments, I also found really encouraging.

If there’s any one thing I’ve taken away from the past five years, it’s a deep-seated awareness that our lives are ours. Ours to shape any way we want. Even when we can’t change the world around us, we can shape our own responses to it. We can look at our lives afresh, as often as we need or want to, and choose what we want to put in them. What we want to make important. As hard or scary or daunting as it can sometimes be, we can build our worlds.

I’d like to leave you with an image, one that has both challenged and comforted me many times over the past few years, and renewed my courage when it was flagging. It might be anti-romantic in some ways, but…

Delilah, thank you so much for having me here today. And thank you to everyone who happens to stop by!

— Sierra
sierradafoe.com

Elle James: SEAL’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE (Contest)
Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

I had the pleasure of being a part of Cat Johnson’s HOT SEALS Kindle World with my story, SEAL’S ULTIMATE CHALLENGE. This story parallels SEAL’S HONOR book #1 in my TAKE NO PRISONERS series. This book shows the same timeframe from Reaper’s perspective.

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Amazon

I’m giving away a PINK KINDLE FIRE and other prizes

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CLICK HERE FOR ELLE’S PRIZE GIVEAWAY

About the Book

Injured on a mission gone wrong, Cory “Reaper” Nipton’s Navy SEAL career is over. With only one arm, he can’t join his fellow teammates, or even his fiancée, the Special Ops helicopter pilot who flew him in and out of harm’s way. Relegated to life as a civilian, and angry at his lack of choices, Reaper goes through rehab with a petite, soft-spoken physical therapist with two iron fists. He’s forced to face an uncertain future and learn how to live without the use of his right arm.

Ex-cop, Leigha Fields, lost her career due to a gunshot wound that destroyed her knee. Retrained and refitted with different skills, she has reimagined her world, dedicating her life to helping wounded warriors find their way. Until someone from her past seeks revenge. Leigha and Reaper join forces to untangle the mystery and free her from the web of crosshairs aimed squarely at her. In their struggle to find and neutralize the culprit, they realize their own capabilities and how they will fit in their future together.

Excerpt #1

Reaper waited, pushing his earlier argument with Tuck out of his mind. No matter how mad he got at Tuck, or Tuck got with him, they would take a bullet for each other. They were part of a team.

A moment later, Tuck ran back to where Reaper was and motioned him to take cover. Tuck checked his watch.

Reaper didn’t. His job was to provide cover while Tuck synchronized their efforts with Team Bravo’s. They all had to be in their exact places before the party began.

Out of the corner of his eye, Reaper could see Tuck cover his ears, while he pressed the hand-held detonator.

The explosion shook the ground beneath Reaper’s feet. Another, a moment later, sounded from the backside of the compound.

Tuck rounded the corner first, Reaper followed. Big Bird and Gator brought up the rear. Ahead, popping sound of gunfire kicked up dust around their feet. Tuck ducked and rolled into the shadows.

Reaper trained his NVGs at the roof, searching for the sniper.

Tuck, positioned a few feet ahead, had a clearer shot and took him out.

Leaving Fish on the outside of the structure to cover their rear, Tuck, Reaper, Big Bird, and Gator entered through the hole created by the explosives, and spread out.

Team Alpha as to enter through the rear of the structure. Bravo would come through the front door. If they played their cards right, the distraction at the front would allow Team Alpha secure their target. The trick was to use only enough explosives to penetrate the wall without killing those inside. Intel wanted the man alive for interrogation, which made the SEAL team’s job a lot harder.

Tuck affixed C4 to the back wall of the residence, stepped back with the others, and detonated the charge.

With dust still swirling around the hole, Reaper entered first, diving through the crumbled wall. He rolled to a crouch, weapon ready, his finger on the trigger. They’d practiced this maneuver several times stateside at Little Creek, anticipating resistance from within. Most members of the Taliban attended meetings with their leaders, while armed.

In the fog of dust, the first thing that struck Reaper was the room was empty. No guns, no snipers, no Taliban—just rags and empty crates. Had they gotten bad intelligence? Had Tuck counted wrong?

Someone had spray painted lettering on the wall in Pashtu. Reaper didn’t have time to stop and translate. He had a job to do. Clear the building, find the Taliban and secure their target. He moved toward the next room. From ahead, he could hear Team Bravo, coming in from the other side.

Behind him, he heard Tuck curse, then yell, “Reaper, don’t go—”

Something touched his shin. His mind made the connection and he formed a curse in his mouth, and then the entire room erupted. He was flung through the air. Stunned, his ears ringing, he reached for his weapon, but couldn’t find it. Reaper fought to remain conscious. He had to help his team. Someone could have been hurt. From a long way off, he heard the sound of Tuck’s voice calling.

Excerpt #2 (this is a little teaser excerpt you might like)

“I have to be able to do everything myself, better than a man with two hands.”

She laid back and smiled, her body humming with the afterglow of her orgasm. “So far, I’d give you an A+. But don’t make me wait too long.”

About the Author

Elle JamesNYT and USA Today Bestselling Author ELLE JAMES also writing as MYLA JACKSON is an award-winning author of stories including cowboys, intrigues and paranormal adventures that keep her readers on the edges of their seats. With over seventy stories in a variety of sub-genres and lengths she is published with Harlequin, Samhain, Elloras’ Cave, Kensington, Cleis Press, and Avon. When she’s not at her computer, she’s traveling, out snow-skiing, boating, or riding her ATV, dreaming up new stories.

Elle’s Links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page

Myla Jackson’s links: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

A. Catherine Noon: Three Tribes, Two Men, One City: Return to the Chicagoland Shifters with Cat’s Cradle…and a Question
Monday, August 3rd, 2015

When I moved to Chicago, I never expected to write a shifter series set here. But now, it’s hard to imagine the place without them. Edgewater is tiger territory. Lakeview has wolves. The jaguars are in several predominantly Mexican-American neighborhoods. The bears are in former Russian mob territory in Rogers Park. There isn’t any Russian mob territory in Rogers Park? Sure there is. We put it there.

That’s the fun part of writing – we get to create worlds within worlds, sometimes overlaid on the real one we all live in. But this isn’t that much different than reality, after all: the city of Chicago is made up of lots of neighborhoods: Little Italy, Chinatown, Greektown, the west side, Hyde Park, Rogers Park – the list could fill an entire page. And the distinctions aren’t just ethnic, either – Boystown is famous, and Andersonville is filled with the girls. Then there’s Restaurant Row, famous for fooderies; the near west side and its artists’ lofts, and the technology corridor along Elston and incorporating Goose Island. There are even neighborhood maps of Chicago, in case it’s confusing.

When Rachel and I wrote Cat’s Cradle, we knew we’d be telling a story of two cities: the one that we all know and love, and the one that she and I created that sits on top of reality. We studied the neighborhoods, so we’d know where the ocelots have their home base, adjacent to the jaguars’ territory but still separate. We even have a map of these areas so we don’t confuse ourselves.

So, here’s a question for you, Dear Reader:

If you were to put an extra layer of reality on your home town,
what would you put there? Shifters? Cowboys? The fae?

Cat’s Cradle

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When you’re an ex-Marine tiger shifter, love comes with a high cost – is it too much to pay?

Mitchell Brayden is an ex-Marine tiger shifter looking for love in all the wrong places. When he decides to rescue a young ocelot shifter from a rich, spoiled playboy, he embroils himself in a conflict that goes back generations.

Guadalupe Salazar grew up as a pampered pet of a benevolent patron. After his patron’s untimely death, he stays on with the patron’s son – a self-centered, weak man who got ensnared by the drugs and fast living in the States. One night, it goes too far and Lupe is beaten nearly to death. He is taken to a secret shifter clinic where he meets an unlikely knight in tarnished armor.

Together, Mitch and Lupe confront the playboy and his friends – but will their actions draw the rest of the jaguar familias, not to mention the ocelot clans, into a battle over Lupe’s future? Will the delicate balance of power destroy everything that Mitch’s small band of tiger shifters has built in Chicago?

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Cats-Cradle-Chicagoland-Shifters-Book-ebook/dp/B011UT6EN6

Jodi Vaughn: Just Be
Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

As a writer sometimes I get so caught up in the business side of writing. Edits, covers, promotion, deadlines, and book signings can all take their toll. And sometimes causes me to lose my inspiration to write.

I just recently got back from a vacation in Charleston, South Carolina and I did something I have never done. I gave myself permission to take the week off from writing and to actually be in the moment and enjoy myself. There were long days at the beach, tours to gorgeous plantation homes and slow walks around the charming city.  I made a conscious effort to enjoy myself and be in the moment.

Once I got back home I was refreshed and inspired and excited to get back to writing.

Every day since then, I take mini vacations. I’ll take a walk around the neighborhood, or go to a coffee shop and enjoy a cup of Chia Latte, or go sit by my little pond in the back yard with a glass of wine.

Writing is the best job in the world and I’m grateful I get to do what I love every single day. But I know in order to write my best I have to be my best.

So the next time you’re feeling stressed give yourself permission to take a thirty minute break and just breathe. You’ll be amazed at how much it will inspire you.

jvCapture

Hell on Wheels…
Werewolf Guardian, Damon Trahan lives by a Code: Protect the Pack with his life. Damon has experienced death and betrayal, now all he wants is the freedom of his Harley and the loyalty of the men he rides with, the only family he has left. Those are the things he knows and believes in. Love and the hurt that comes with it has no place in his world…Until he receives new orders: Rescue female werewolf, Ava Renfroe from a Pack of rogue wolves.

Hell on Heels…
Bartender Ava Renfroe is tired of Alpha males running her life. Being raised as the daughter of a Military General made her want independence more than air—and she has it! Until she’s kidnapped. Damon Trahan, her alpha male rescuer and bossy pain-in-the-ass, is exactly the kind of man she doesn’t want, but try telling that to her libido. His brooding good looks are panty-dropping hot. Too bad he’s bat-shit crazy and thinks he’s a werewolf. Worse, he claims she’s a werewolf too. But when Damon shifts in front of her, she begins to doubt everything she’s known to be true.

Hell to pay…
On the run from the rogues, Ava and Damon can’t ignore the red hot passion between them. But Damon knows it can’t last. Will he sacrifice everything he’s ever known to have the one thing he’s never meant to have? Or will the war between the Packs destroy them before love is given a chance?

About the Author

Jodi is the author of the RISE OF THE ARKANSAS WEREWOLVES series and writes paranormal romance as well as contemporary romance. Born and raised in Mississippi, her deep Southern roots and love of the paranormal led her to write Southern Paranormal novels. When she is not conversing with characters in her head, she can be found at her home in Northeast Arkansas with her handsome husband, brilliant son, a temperamental swan, and yellow lab that is fond of retrieving turtles when duck season is over.

Find her on Facebook, Jodi Vaughn, author.
Follow her on Twitter @JodiVaughn1
Sign up for her newsletter and check out her website http://jodivaughn.com
Find her on Instagram at VaughnJodi

Sierra Brave: Three Confessions of a Newbie
Friday, July 31st, 2015

Happy July 31st! I’d like to start by thanking Delilah for allowing me to guest today. She and the entire writing community have been extremely warm and welcoming to this newbie. I am in awe of their generosity and kindness!

Three Confessions of a Newbie

  • I am smart enough to know that I am ignorant. It’s true; no matter how much you know, there is always more to learn, a lot more. Being a writer can be a lesson in humility or an educational adventure, depending upon how you look at it. Readers are smart and savvy so authors have to know their stuff. I can’t mistake Athena for the Goddess of the Hunt, call a famous Samurai a ninja or mix up Princess Joanna of Castile for her sister, Mary, Queen of Hungry. With writing, there is no fake it ‘till you make it so I find myself researching subjects far and wide from ancient mythology, the Bible, military hierarchy, state laws, Asian history, the Vatican and everything in between. I won’t even get into all I don’t know about the publishing industry, but I’m learning more every day.
  • I’m terrified! I haven’t been writing as long as a lot of other authors my age. I’ve had stories bubbling and brewing in my head all my life, but I never wrote any of them down until sometime in 2013. At first, I was just amusing myself, but I developed a love for writing. Suddenly I dreamed of becoming a professional author. When my first book, Do Geek Girl’s Dream of Electric Sweeties? was published June 5, 2015, I was thrilled, but now I’m scared of turning my dream into a nightmare. Sometimes fear and self-doubt weigh heavily on me, but I think maybe those negative feelings are important to the process. What else could motivate me to re-read and edit a manuscript 100+ times just to make sure it was everything I wanted it to be? Besides, over the years many amazing authors and artists have confessed to the same thing so at least I’m in good company.
  • My process owns me, not the other way around. Those stories rolling around in my brain make me run for my laptop, and the chapters pour forth, but when it’s over, it’s over. My muse might give me everything but chapter six out of sixteen, but I won’t get chapter six until she is ready to give it up. Meanwhile, that muse has started cooking a few more dishes. I just have to move on and write what she tells me until ding, ding, ding—Oh, so that’s how chapter six is supposed to read! Currently, I have two stories submitted to publishers, four partials at varying degrees of completion and a couple of rough outlines I’m not sure when I will get around to writing. Which story gets finished next is up to that persnickety muse, but either way, I still love the process.

 Do Geek Girl’s Dream of Electric Sweeties?

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Graphic novel artist and author Mary Allison is a lot like the famous candy that melts in your mouth—a sexy, sassy outer shell hides her sweet and creamy, geek girl center. Holden, her strict, uptight editor, would personify nails across a chalkboard if he weren’t so good looking. She finds herself attracted to him but is certain they could never mesh romantically.

Unbeknownst to Mary Allison, Holden has been enthralled by her from the start, even going so far as to stall his career to continue working with her. On the verge of becoming lovers, they’re impeded by interruptions and misunderstandings. The geek girl and the stuffy editor must learn to communicate and connect before fear and confusion keep them apart forever.

Reader Advisory: This story has graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!

Short Excerpt: Mary Allison decided to give Holden a little push and see if he was really interested in her or if he actually came all the way over to her place just to watch TV. Without a word, she leaned into him, resting her body against his side and tucking herself underneath his strong, muscular arm. Now the ball was in his court and Mary Allison hoped he would take it and run.

Holden didn’t miss a beat, quickly moving his arm to hold her securely in place. He even turned his head and nuzzled into her hair. “Well what do you know?” he said cryptically before adding, “It was you all along. Every damn time I came here that scent drew me in, and it was you. You smell delicious.”

Available for purchase at the following:

http://www.amazon.com/Geek-Girls-Dream-Electric-Sweeties-ebook/dp/B00YQ4S5C6

https://www.ellorascave.com/product/do-geek-girls-dream-of-electric-sweeties/

sbSierraBraveAuthor Bio: Sierra Brave is a southern girl with a love of fantasy fiction and well-written yarns spun from everyday situations. She thoroughly believes the characters should carry the story. If the hero, heroine and supporting characters are interesting, it doesn’t really matter where the action takes place.

Her love for erotic literature started when, as a senior in high school, she managed to snag a copy of the old classic, Fanny Hill. Sierra still remembers how deliciously naughty she felt carrying her copy in her book bag and hopes all her readers will feel just as daring and liberated while reading her books.

Ms. Brave lives in the deep, down, dirty south with her husband, three children, two little black dogs and one feisty orange cat.

Connect with Sierra on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sierra-Brave/1422713414692067

And Twitter @BraveSierra

Melissa Thomas: Grandma’s Creme Brulee (Free Books)
Monday, July 27th, 2015

Hi Delilah! Thank you for having me as your guest today!

July 27th is National Creme Brulee Day. To celebrate, I’d like to share my grandma’s recipe and then share with readers how to download my newly released paranormal novel for free.

Grandma’s Creme Brulee

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons white sugar
6 eggs

Prep time: 10 minutes.

Cook time: 30 minutes.

Total time: 2 hours and 40 minutes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Separate eggs, discarding whites and retaining yolks.
  3. Combine egg yolks, four tablespoons white sugar, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and beat until thick.
  4. Heat cream in a saucepan over low heat until simmering. Before it comes to a boil, remove from heat.
  5. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Pour mixture into the top pan of a double boiler. Stir over simmering water for three minutes. Remove from heat.
  7. Pour mixture into a shallow baking dish.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  10. Refrigerate for an hour or more.
  11. Preheat oven to broil.
  12. In a small bowl combine two tablespoons white sugar and brown sugar. Sift sugar evenly over custard. Place dish under broiler until sugar caramelizes (approximately two minutes). Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  13. Remove from heat and cool.
  14. Refrigerate until custard is set again.*

*Serve with blueberries, strawberries, or peaches.

Phoenix Contract

Author: Melissa Thomas
Genre: A New Adult paranormal fantasy
Published on:  June 15, 2015

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Centuries after the fallen angels left heaven to live among humans, their Nephilim descendants dwell in secret, hidden from the modern world. Once, a charismatic leader known as the Phoenix led their people, but he vanished centuries ago. The few surviving Great Houses are in decline, bickering over petty rivalries while a handful of faithful warriors battle to keep the forces of evil at bay.

Eighteen-year-old Aiden McLachlan devotes her life to her studies and pursues her lifelong goal to become a full-fledged Watcher. But everything she knows of her life is a lie and everyone a liar. Through a strange twist of fate, she finds herself caught up in an ancient prophecy.

The stars predict the rebirth of the Nephilim leader, but the mystery must be unraveled or the Phoenix cannot rise. With a soul-eating demon, a coven of ancient vampires, and a hardheaded Celtic warrior competing to subvert the Phoenix, Aiden doesn’t know where to turn or who she can trust.

All of the serial parts of Phoenix Contract (Parts 1-5) will be FREE on Amazon Kindle JULY 27TH:

Phoenix Contract Part One:  http://goo.gl/6XkZ5P

mtPhoenix Contract Part One

Phoenix Contract Part Two:  http://goo.gl/Xc0nQg

mtPhoenix Contract Part Two

Phoenix Contract Part Three:  http://goo.gl/0aJaOC

mtPhoenix Contract Part Three

Phoenix Contract Part Four:  http://goo.gl/S3CTf7

mtPhoenix Contract Part Four

Phoenix Contract Part Five:  http://goo.gl/cJSxsk

mtPhoenix Contract Part Five

Links to Boxed Set (Parts 1-5):

$2.99 on Amazon  Kindle:  http://goo.gl/nEBP8o

Excerpt 1:

He’d always had the worst of luck, and the day he died was no different.

Thrash stared into the chasm of space between the building roof and city streets, contemplating the eighty-story drop. It was a long way down. The city’s lights glimmered against darkness, millions of fluorescent stars. Surrender did not come easily to him, and it tasted bitter in his mouth. He’d spent his life training to fight, but what could he do against an enemy that could shape shift at will?

Six-foot-six and muscular in the manner of body builders, Thorton David Aston III or Thrash to his friends, was an albino. He was born without skin or hair pigment, his skin perfectly pale, his hair white. He rivaled the city lightscape for its clean brightness. He disliked the attention his condition attracted, so he’d cropped his hair short and dyed it metallic blue.

Thrash’s athletic body thrummed with tension. Perspiration beaded on his pale forehead and made his palms clammy.

The Soul Eater was coming for him.

Excerpt 2:

“I won’t help you,” Matthew said, “no matter what you do to me.”

“Oh, but I think you will,” Daniel disagreed. “Once I turn you, then you’ll be more than happy to help.” Lightning swift, the vampire lashed out and seized Matthew’s wrist, forcing the priest’s arm down.

Matthew cried out in pain as Daniel squeezed his wrist until his hand opened and the crucifix dropped to the ground.

Aiden shouted and swung her crucifix around to protect Matthew, but she was too slow. Daniel dragged Matthew away and thrust the priest toward his minions.

“Hold him,” Daniel said.

Immediately, the carrot-topped boy and the policewoman caught hold of the priest.

Aiden expected Daniel’s attack, but that didn’t prepare her for the vampire’s speed. Daniel rushed her, progressing so fast his contorted face filled her vision. She kept the crucifix level and aimed for the vampire’s eyes, but Daniel caught hold of her wrist with disturbing ease. Then he twisted her arm, causing a wrenching pain in her shoulder. Against her will, Aiden bent over to avoid having her arm torn from the socket. She lost her grip on her crucifix.

“Let her go!” Matthew shouted. “She’s done nothing.”

Daniel immobilized Aiden, ignoring her struggles. He forced her head to the side and exposed her throat. “Oh, I don’t think so. I want you to suffer, Matt,” he said. “As a self-styled Lord of the Night, I’m rather pleased with the revenge I’ve concocted. So I’m going to eat your pretty daughter and make you watch.”

Excerpt 3:

Magnus loomed over her, attempting to inspect her injuries. His fingers were hot and alien against her skin, and she flinched from his touch.

“Stay put while I retrieve the crucifix,” Magnus ordered. He moved away from her. A moment later, he returned carrying the crucifix.

Aiden shook her head but stayed still. She automatically tried to place his accent and failed. There were too many layers. “Where are you from? I can’t quite place your nationality.”

“I’m Averni.” He sank to the ground beside her, and those six-fingered hands touched her again, causing her flesh to crawl.

“The Averni were a Celtic tribe,” Aiden said. Her foggy mind recalled little else other than the Averni had been from the region of Gaul before it became France.

“That’d be correct.” The Celt reached out with his strange, strong fingers and pushed Aiden’s head to the side to expose the wound. He removed her hand and examined the bite. His glittering gold eyes were intelligent and inhuman. Up close he smelled earthy and sensual, a suggestive scent which caused Aiden to flush and look away.

“Why is your name Latin?” she asked.

“My mother was Roman. Stay still,” he replied.

“How bad is it?” Matthew asked.

“Not too bad.” Magnus threaded the crucifix’s chain through his fingers so the holy symbol rested in his palm. He opened the silver flask and poured holy water over the crucifix.

Aiden felt excited and afraid and so tense she wanted to crawl out of her skin. “Are you really immortal?”

“Yes,” Magnus said. “This is going to hurt. I’m going to have to hold you down.”

Author Bio and Links:

Sexy redheadMelissa Thomas breathes life into her dreams, bringing imaginary characters and fantasy worlds into our reality. She loves her characters so much they become her alter-egos, enacting the exciting adventures she envisions for them. She is a resident of San Francisco, California and adores the picturesque city by the bay. Her hobbies include surfing and scuba diving.

Phoenix Contract is her debut novel.

You can learn more about Melissa at http://thephoenixascending.blogspot.com/
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/MThomas_author