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Jennifer Kacey: Violet’s Shadow (GIVEAWAY)
Friday, January 15th, 2016

UPDATE: The winner is Nancy G.!

* * * * *

I wrote a paranormal wolf shifter book. OMFG I loved writing it. Not gonna lie I wouldn’t do it unless I actually felt like I did the genre justice. I fell in love with the history behind the Swooning Shadow fable and this series is based on that story.

Violet’s Shadow – Book One is out now!!! And you know what that means…..A CONTEST!!! Comment below on what your perfect mate is. Man. Woman. What they look like. Sound like. Smell like. *swoon* Whatever creams your twinkie. Why are they perfect? And have you ever met this person???? I’ve met mine and he’s…..incredible.

I’ll pick my favorite to receive a brand SPANKING new e-book copy of Violet’s Shadow!! And please leave your email in your comment with some spaces in it. I’ve had a rash of winners that I haven’t been able to get in touch with and nothing is worse than trying to give stuff away and can’t. Here’s a taste of Violet’s Shadow while you think about the perfect man or woman you’re going to tell me about. And you never know…maybe it will show up later in the series….*GRINS*

jkVioletsShadow

Violet’s spent her whole life searching for where she belongs. When she finds it and her shadow comes to life, it’s only the beginning.

Two weeks alone in a secluded cabin is music to Violet’s ears, until she sees a shadow in the forest with red glowing eyes. Red eyes she’s seen in her dreams for as long as she can remember. Eyes that make her want to forget the rest of the world. But she doesn’t believe in fairy tales anymore.

Rayden was sent to protect her.  To keep her safe.  Nothing more than to guide her as she transitions into a Shadow and takes her rightful place in the pack.  What he finds instead is the mate he’s been unwilling to search for and a passion so fierce he’ll never be able to walk away.

Violet’s spent her entire life aching to belong and she finally finds it in the pack of Shadows she is destined to join.  Everything she’s ever wanted in life and love is finally at her fingertips if she’s brave enough to embrace…her Shadow.

The past. The future. Truth. Lies. Nothing is as it seems when two shattered hearts are finally given the chance to heal.

Buy Links
Amazon – http://goo.gl/dGhdfx
B&N – http://goo.gl/bZQHmK
Kobo – http://goo.gl/5Itoa5
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/599487
Are Café – https://goo.gl/WBQHP3
Ibooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/violets-shadow/id1067180804?mt=11

Hope you love it!!!

Mwah!!

Decadently Yours,
Jennifer Kacey

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Other Novels By Jennifer Kacey
Beneath the Pages
Elite Metal – Book one in the Elite Warriors Series
Elite Ghosts – Book two in the Elite Warriors Series
Final Surrender – The Surrender Series
Violet’s Shadow – The Shadow Mates Series
Aslan’s Stranger – Fantasies A-Z Series

jk10178312_10203571568597727_1797997400_nJennifer Kacey is a writer, mother, and business owner living with her miniman in Texas. She sings in the shower, plays piano in her dreams, and has to have a different color of nail polish every week. The best advice she’s ever been given? Find the real you and never settle for anything less.

Website | Newsletter | Blog – The Decadent Divas | Facebook | Facebook Author Page  | Twitter | Amazon Page  | Goodreads | Pinterest

Jacqueline Brocker: Story transformations – Edras and the Dragon
Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Writers, they say, often dread the question ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ Neil Gaiman has a lovely post about how he used to answer it and how he does it now. For me, I usually have a fairly concrete memory of how an idea came about, and in the case of Edras and the Dragon, I can even point to the book that sparked it off.

But first, a bit of a history lesson. Aelian, a Roman writer of 2nd and 3rd centuries CE (AD) came up with (or, more likely, collected) this tale:

Of the Gratitude of a Dragon.

Patræ is a City in Achaia. A Boy there had bought a young Dragon, and brought it up with care, and when it was grown bigger, used to talk to it as to one that understood him, and played, and slept with it. At last the Dragon growing to an extraordinary bigness, the Citizens turned it loose into the Wilderness. Afterwards the Boy being grown to a youth, returning from some Show with other youths his Companions, fell among Theeves, and crying out, behold, the Dragon came and slew them; which stung some, slew others, but preserved him.

(If you really want, you can read more of the original here)

As you can see, it’s one small paragraph. But it was enough that when Roger Lancelyn Green, famous for retelling Arthurian myths, decided to put together a collection of dragon stories (A Book of Dragons – see on Goodreads), he chose this as one of them. He extended it beyond the limits of the original and made it a touching story about friendship and loyalty. He of course mentions of Beowulf and Sigurd and other more famous dragons, but Lancelyn Green’s retelling and embellishing made it one of the most striking tales in the book.

Now, give something like that to an erotica writer… well, the possibilities begin to emerge. For me,

it felt a good start for something, something potentially erotic, that married the comfort and warmth of friendship with the excitement of something new and definitely unusual. A man and a dragon – definitely a bit unusual. (Though in these days of dinosaur erotica, perhaps not so much…)

My original idea was to take the tale and essentially extend it. My editors had other ideas. Not that I blame them – the first version wasn’t great. Luckily, they saw something in it could be worked on. After a bit of hashing it out (and a full draft of a very different story that I put aside because it was too awful) we finally arrived at the idea of the boy – or rather, a young man – not living with his family, but rather alone in the moutains, hunting and gathering to survive, and the dragon arriving already fully formed as well. Rather than a youthful story of growing up, it became about the development of a relationship between two vastly different creatures.

The setting remained Greek, but I didn’t want it to be ancient like the original, nor especially modern. And I wanted a forest-like setting rather than the rugged, arid hills that the country is often known for. Internet searches yielded a territory called the Pindus mountains, so I chose that, and for an era I settled on that of the Byzantine Greeks somewhere between 800-900 CE (AD).

But enough of this history: what will you, the reader, get out of it? It’s a love story, yes, but it’s also a friendship between a lonely man and a curious, adventurous dragon. It’s about the dangers that arise from living off the land and outside society, and also the beauty and power of the natural world. A story about how life is more than just mere survival, but also, dare I say, about friendship and love.

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Edras has grown accustomed to his life alone on the mountain, hunting and foraging and selling animal skins in the nearby town. When Dragon falls from the sky, almost dying, Edras chooses to take him in and nurse him back to health. What blossoms is a friendship, and more. So when Dragon tells Edras of the real reason he was flying over the mountain, Edras fears another loss in a long line of many. (M/M)

Buy Links

Publisher site for info and content notes
Fantastic Fiction Publishing

Excerpt

As he prepared to skin the rabbits he heard a rush of air followed by a heavy boom on the ground. Trees swished harshly, and there was a cry of birds and a flutter of wings.

Edras frowned. He’d never heard such a crash before. It couldn’t have been far from the cave, probably just near the copse. He picked up his spear and his short club, and left the cave, careful to replace the thatching once more.

Outside, the beech and fir trees of the copse were still swaying, needles and serrated-edged leaves falling, a strange sight for early summer. Rabbits dashed from the copse, birds continued to shriek – there was a deep sense that the world had been disrupted, everything running from its natural place. Edras trod lightly, prepared to defend himself if needed, and circled the copse to what he thought was the crash site.

There was something there, a kind of animal. It was camouflaged by the grass, lying across the rocks near the drop, as if it were part of the landscape. Edras came closer to get a better look, and halted. He’d never seen one before, but he knew from its shape and features, that it was a dragon.

Edras approached, every step measured, and circled it to get a better look at its face. The dragon’s head rested right on the edge of the cliff. Its head was long, and had two short, pale yellow horns. It had a nose like a crocodile and ears like a horse, and under its lulling jaw was a small beard. It was limp, and as Edras drew closer, he saw that its eyes were closed.

It was, however, still breathing.

Edras tried to recall what he knew about dragons, but his mind yielded very little. The only certainty was that they were magical creatures, and came from the lands south, beyond Mesegeios, the sea—Libya, was that what it was called? Apart from that, there were the various and contradictory tales he heard from travellers. He always thought dragons to be enormous creatures, the size of a rich man’s house, or even a mountain. This creature was much smaller. Its torso perhaps the size a small horse, though its neck and tail were both long and snake-like, especially its tail, twice the length of its body, and tapered to a point. One wing spread out from its body, about the same in length as the body itself but far wider. The wings were attached from what would have been its shoulder to half way down its back. The wings were bat-like, as he’d expected, but its skin was not especially scaly—more like that of a lizard than a snake. It was smooth, or seemed it. The other wing was tucked under its body, and from the angle, it looked like it was broken.

Some stories said dragons were peaceful. Others said they were cruel, and loved to eat human flesh.

Some of the tales told of dragons as if they had minds almost like humans, but others suggested they were like other wild animals, and wild animals were seldom safe when injured. As such, Edras wasn’t sure if he wanted to wake it or not.

He held his spear up and stepped closer. Cautious as he was, the creature dazzled him. Even in its fallen state, and despite being smaller than he’d have thought, it was strangely beautiful. Its very existence was amazing.

jbJacquelineBrocker_AuthorPic copyAbout the Author

Jacqueline Brocker lives and writes just north of Cambridge, England. Her short erotic fiction has appeared in anthologies such as More Smut for Chocoholics (House of Erotica), Best Bondage Erotica 2014, and Best Gay Erotica 2015 (both from Cleis Press). Her novellas Body & Bow and Gods Among Men, along with several short stories have been published by ForbiddenFiction. Originally from Australia, when not writing she is a Scottish Country Dancer and a dabbler in foreign languages (current dabblings being German, Korean and Spanish).

Links

Website: http://jacquelinebrocker.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jacqueline-Brocker/350975778281809
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ms_jacquelineb

PJ Sharon: Tips for Rabid Readers
Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

cute furry alienAlong with writers, desk dwellers, and gamers, avid readers have a hard time balancing their sitting life and their moving life. If you’ve ever engrossed yourself in a page turner, you know how hard it is to stop and put the book down. Reading is such a wonderful escape from the routine of our own lives, the temptation to slip into another world and someone else’s head for a few hours is simply too great to resist.

PJs2015BioPic5There are also those people who must read for a living—the involuntary rabid readers. Agents, editors, proofreaders and data entry folks spend hours a day pouring over digital material. Hobbyists may have more flexibility with their time, but some are prone to devour five to ten books per week, ignoring their screaming necks and their ever widening backsides.

Don’t worry. I wouldn’t think of taking away your right to read to your heart’s content, but consider these suggestions, straight from Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle (A Practical Guide to Improving Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes), my recent debut non-fiction book. I’m happy to bring relief to my reading warrior pals who live for the next “happily ever after.” #OYSL, as I’m calling it for my twitter community, is a holistic living, self-help book, written to get you motivated and moving toward a more balanced and active lifestyle.

PJ’s Top Five Tips for Readers:

1)            Find a comfortable, ergonomically supported place to read. Don’t get sucked in by the couch monster where you’ll find yourself sitting folded into a ball in the corner, your neck and back in agony at the end of an hour. Use pillow supports to keep you upright and rest your arms over a few pillows in your lap to support the book so it’s at eye level.

2)            Read in sprints. As I suggested for your computer/screen time, set a limit on your reading time. Commit to moving for at least ten minutes every few chapters or every thirty minutes—whichever comes first.

3)            Switch to audiobooks. Or at least alternate between print, digital, and audio. The variety will broaden your experience as well as giving you the flexibility to get your brain candy while you’re doing your housework, exercising, or even walking on the treadmill. Most treadmills have a shelf for your e-reader these days, so you can even read yourself to good health.

4)            Drink plenty of water (always have a water bottle nearby and refill as needed). This will force you to take bathroom breaks and discourage snacking.

5)            Snack healthy. Many readers love to snack as part of their “escape” mentality. The problem—beyond the unhealthy choices we make—is that we are so into our stories that we aren’t mindful about the quantity or quality of the foods we are putting into our bodies. Choose low calorie, nutrient dense snacks such as almonds, carrots, or apple slices rather than chips, chocolate, or ice cream. Pay attention to serving sizes and only have that amount on hand as you read.

Make these conscious choices ahead of time so you don’t fall prey to mindless eating or get sucked in by the couch monster.

Do you have any tricks for overcoming a sedentary lifestyle?

PJSharon_OvercomeYourSedentaryLifestyle_eCover_800[1]

Is a sedentary lifestyle killing you? Are you gaining weight, developing neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, back problems, or other health issues that are interfering with your ability to achieve your goals or live life to the fullest?

Sedentary Lifestyle Syndrome (SLS) ™ is one of the fastest growing health care crises of our time. In this digital age of techno-overload, where most of our waking hours are spent sitting, or otherwise “connected” to some device, we are quickly realizing the negative effects. If you can answer yes to the following questions, you may be suffering from SLS.

  • Do you sit for at least 6-8 hours per day without adequate breaks?
  • Have you gained significant weight from lack of exercise and poor nutrition?
  • Do you suffer from headaches, fatigue, listlessness, and lack of motivation?
  • Have you been diagnosed with one or more health issues aggravated by prolonged sitting and lack of movement? (i.e.: Obesity, depression, heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome)

Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle is the practical guide you need. Author and Holistic Health Care professional, PJ Sharon, includes tips to keep you healthy—even if sitting is in your job description. Ms. Sharon offers easy to implement solutions for proper work station set-up, exercises for injury prevention and treatment, and a practical plan for self-care success—whether you’re perched on the couch, or on the way to fulfilling your dreams.

Isn’t it time for you to stand up for your life?

PJ Sharon, PTA, LMT, CPFT

OVERCOME your SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
(A Practical Guide for Improving Health, Fitness, and Well-being for Desk Dwellers and Couch Potatoes)
Available Now
www.pjsharon.com

Bibi Rizer: Charity Anthologies
Monday, January 11th, 2016

brCaptureA great way for authors to build their brand while also contributing to a good cause is by publishing stories in charity anthologies. If you’re a reader, it’s also a great way to support good causes while satisfying your craving for hot romance.

This is why, if you’re a fan of Motorcycle Romance (or even if you’re not!), you should check out BIKER CHICKS. Not only will proceeds from BIKER CHICKS support the amazing charity BIKERS AGAINST CHILD ABUSE (the local chapter  where our editor AJ Downey lives), but BIKER CHICKS also seeks to bring biker romances into the 21st century (and beyond!), by telling stories about women who ride.

BIKER CHICKS includes stories by some awesome authors, both established romance authors and some new names. It comes out on Valentine’s Day but is available for pre-order now.

The romance is HOT, and the authors didn’t shy away from kink, gender fluidity, same sex or poly-romance, so you’ve been warned. Pre-order your copy from Amazon today, but meanwhile, here’s a taste from my dystopian City of Dark Pleasures story, Her Queendom:

Standing, I can see she’s as tall as me, the silver light of the moon makes her look metallic, hard and impenetrable. Magical, almost.

“You want to know what freedom feels like?” she asks. “So you’ll know, in case you ever find it?”

“I guess so.”

She takes my hand, leading me up some stairs from the river deck to the road above. There, parked in the moonlight, like a faithful transport bot, is a motorcycle.

“Wow. Is that yours?”

“That’s my baby. You like it?”

“Where did you get it?” Motorbikes have been outlawed in the Free City and the Pleasures for years, since before I was born. The only way I know about them is from contraband magazines, stolen out of the ruins.

“I built it mostly. Bits of this and that.”

I admire the bike as we get closer. An elegant love child of leather and steel, its large black tires seem eager to get into motion, almost as though it’s unhappy being stationary. “Is it self-driving?”

The woman snorts a laugh. “No way! Where’s the fun in that? Hop up.”

She invites me into the rear seat. The soft leather seems to welcome me, cushioning my ass and thighs like it was molded to my shape.

“Thermo shaping foam,” the woman says.  “Also,” she clicks a switch and welcome warmth rises up into my numb flesh. “Heated seat. Warm up those shrunken testicles.”

Warmth shoots down from my face too. I’d forgotten all about my sex parts. Up to this moment I was as emasculated as a Cull, but with the warmth of the seat my cock and balls wake up, tingling, as though reminding me of their presence, reminding me that they, and I survived the Expiation that so many did not. I wasn’t killed. I wasn’t culled. I became one of the Alphas, a reluctant harem husband with a small party of brides I never particularly loved.

They gave me children I loved though. And they’re safe. My children are safe.

The woman turns, swinging her leg over the seat in front of me, her round ass, pressing into my newly awakened manhood.

“What’s your name?” I ask. I just feel like it’s something I should know.

“Spark,” she says, rising up onto the kick starter. The bike bounces as she slams the starter down, then roars to life. “Hold on to me, or the back rest,” she shouts back at me, cranking the throttle. The tires squeal as we blast into motion.

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Bibi Rizer

Bibi Rizer (http://www.bibirizer.com) is a mom, blogger, teacher and writer living in the Pacific Northwest. While she’s been writing professionally for many years, romance and erotica are relatively new pursuits.

Bibi likes writing about strong kinky women and brave willing men living in realistic and imperfect worlds.

In her spare time Bibi sings Karaoke and hangs around on film sets with child actors. Having the the firm belief that no one can be too weird or too funny, she happily admits that most of her favorite people and characters are both.

Also by Bibi Rizer

Electrify Me: A New Adult Novella http://amzn.to/1NApcDE
Objectify Me: A New Adult Romance http://amzn.to/1NApiv1
The Obsidian Stairway: The City of Dark Pleasures – Book I http://amzn.to/1Ns6Zdk
The Amber Columns: The City of Dark Pleasures – Book II http://amzn.to/1YllJTJ
Conquests: An Anthology of Smoldering Viking Romance http://amzn.to/1k5u7UC
The Shield Maiden’s Revenge http://amzn.to/1QvYxNX
Morag’s Honor http://amzn.to/1OzvHWX

By Bibi Rizer and Gabrielle Prendergast
Cover Your Dreams: Tips for Indie Authors to Help Them Get a Book Cover They Love http://amzn.to/1NApBpu

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9854368.Bibi_Rizer

https://www.facebook.com/Bibi-Rizer-845707895448516/

Edie Ramer: Love & Murder (Contest)
Sunday, January 10th, 2016

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A huge thank you to Delilah for having me as a guest. Before I was a writer, I was a reader — and I still am. I have three loves in reading: romance, mystery, suspense. I also like humor. My favorite humor is the kind that sneaks up and surprises you. I like smart, strong-minded women. And I like smart and strong men, too. Compassionate men and women, too. In my books, someone is always in trouble. Compassion is needed.

The books in my Love & Murder series have all of that. They also have bad guys (or gals), but the bad guys in my books might surprise you. They aren’t always the usual.

Right now, all my Love & Murder books are on sale for only 0.99 each at Kindle. If you’re a Kindle Unilimited subscriber, they’re free. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download their free app, which works on every device. You can find the three books here:

An excerpt below is from Book 1, TRUTH ABOUT LOVE & MURDER. All the books are stand-alone, but Truth is set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the other two are in Door County, Wisconsin. I’m giving away a mobi or epub file of RULES OF LOVE & MURDER (Book 2) to a commenter. (Or one of the other two books; I’m easy.) Just tell me what are your favorite things in a book.

*~*~*

The truth is that life is uncertain.

Meg Quinn hasn’t been to war, but her father has, and it changed their lives for the worse — and for the better. Now she has a sharp tongue and a mind to match … and she doesn’t trust easily. The best person she knows is losing a fight with death, and Meg is guardian of her friend’s seven-year-old son.

Easy MacLean, the co-guardian, is Meg’s dying friend’s brother. The former Marine has been hibernating in his Colorado mountain home, and Meg lets him know that he needs to be by his sister’s side in Milwaukee now.

Easy is attracted to his sister’s clever friend, but life gets complicated when he gets involved in a search for a missing veteran. After living alone with his rescue dog for so long, Easy and his dog are now sharing a home with a beautiful woman, a boy, and a cat. Even as he watches his sister die a little each day, he’s finding out the truth about life and love … and murder.

Excerpt:

“Bedtime,” Meg said.

Though she was looking straight at Ollie in his sister’s small living room, Easy half smiled, thinking it would be nice if she were saying it to him. Real nice. They would make a good fit, physically and emotionally. She was smooth with rough edges. He was rough with smooth edges.

But they were co-guardians, and it would be a bad mistake to get involved. Involvement would invariably lead to a time of disinvolvement on his part. And maybe hers. She seemed … capable. Independent. And smart. He had the feeling she’d taken one look at him and had seen the cracks and fissures in his soul, the cuts and the bleeding. The damage that not even all the duct tape in the world could stick together.

It made him think she had a few cracks and fissures and cuts and bleeding, too.

In any case, it would lead to complications and bad feelings, so just better not do it.

A lot of his life was like that, avoiding complications. The reason he was called Easy. Why strive for trouble when a little forethought would keep trouble at bay?

Ollie kissed and hugged Meg good-night then came to Easy, looking up at him, his arms out. Feeling awkward, Easy bent and hugged him. Ollie’s head leaned against his chest, his small hands holding on to the crooks of Easy’s elbows for a few seconds before he pulled back. “’Night, Uncle Easy.”

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite,” Easy said.

“That’s what my mom always says.” Ollie’s eyes were big, then he turned away. “Don’t let bedbugs bite you, too!”

Getting to his feet, Easy laughed softly. That’s what he used to say to Jules every night. Their mom had worked full time, done most of the housework, and she’d cooked their meals. She’d been busy or tired, while his dad had been emotionally unavailable. Easy had learned the bedbug saying from watching TV, and he’d started saying it to Jules every night until they were in their teens.

“What are you thinking?” Meg asked.

He frowned as he heard Ollie’s footsteps pound on the stairs that led to the bedrooms on the second floor. The house was a mid-twentieth-century two-story, and Easy liked the way his sister had furnished it. The couch was a sturdy material that looked as if stains could easily be washed off. It was a bronze color, and the tiger-striped cat looked queenly on it, while the recliner was a light orange, making a pop of color.

Meg stepped two feet in front of him. “Why is it that men have such a problem answering that question?”

“What question?”

“Never mind.” She waved her hand in the air. “I asked what you were thinking, and obviously that’s too difficult to ask a man. In the future, that question will never pass my lips.”

“I was thinking how much I liked your snark.”

“Awww. You’re so … weird.”

He laughed. “I was really thinking that since dinner was on you, I should do dishes.”

“There’s no dishwasher.”

“I’m not planning on being a hand model.”

“Oh? What were you planning on modeling?”

“Now, that’s a leading question.”

“Leading where?”

“A place you might not want to go.” He was standing close to her, about two feet away. Maybe too close. “I believe you’re flirting with me. I thought you didn’t like me.”

“What’s liking you got to do with it?” Her gaze met his, her full mouth twisting in a smile.

For a moment, he couldn’t breathe. He wanted her. Wanted her badly. He liked her honesty even more than he liked the way she looked. And he really liked the way she looked.

*~*~*

Buy the books:
Truth About Love & Murder, Book 1: http://amzn.to/1MMS8Xa
Rules of Love & Murder, Book 2: http://amzn.to/1O1pFyH
A Christmas Love & Murder, Book 3: http://amzn.to/1MMSj4Y

Find out more about my $50 Gift Card giveaway and join my newsletter to find out first about new releases, special deals and sales.

Edie

Linda Carroll-Bradd: Libbie — Bride Of Arizona, Book 48 in American Mail-Order Brides series
Saturday, January 9th, 2016

I’m pleased to share my latest historical, Libbie: Bride of Arizona, that was part of an unprecedented author collaboration of 45 authors writing a mail-order bride story connected to each of the 50 American states!

lcLibbie.200

Will a tomboyish outsider with unusual habits find a home with an Arizona rancher who has strict ideas on what’s appropriate in a wife?

Publisher:  Inked Figments
Release Date:  1/5/16

Alone for the first time, tomboyish Libbie Van Eycken accepts a mail-order proposal and travels across country to find a place to call her own. Arizona rancher Dell Stirling needs a wife but didn’t count on the eccentric creature that brings chaos in her wake.

Purchase Links:
Exclusive to Amazon:  http://amzn.com/B017L14VS2
Free in Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt:

“What do you have there?” Libbie stepped forward and angled her head, hoping for a peek at what the women had been looking at when she entered. But, as always, her short height thwarted her from seeing.

Sally glanced between the two other women and then reached behind her sister and stepped forward, laying a newspaper on the block table in the middle of the room. “Dora used to work at a textile mill in Lawrence which is about thirty miles away. Just recently, the place burned down, leaving approximately one hundred women without jobs.”

“Oh, that’s awful.” Not that she’d ever held a job, but Libbie knew many women in America worked in offices or factories to support themselves. “What will they do?”

“Well, Sally is my only family, and I’ve come to Boston to find a new job. I stayed in Lawrence for a week, hoping to find similar work but there’s naught to be had.” Dora glanced at the door to the main hallway and stepped closer. “Miss, please don’t tell your aunt I’m here. At least, not until I find work and can offer to pay for my room and board.”

“Yes, Libbie, please keep our secret.” Sally wrapped an arm around her sister’s shoulders. “Although, now I’m thinking Dora should arrange for a husband through the gazette’s ads.”

Surprise jerked Libbie back a step. “A husband in a newspaper?” Then curiosity forced her gaze to the page.

“See? Grooms’ Gazette.” Sally pointed to the masthead then moved lower. “Elizabeth Miller works as a matchmaker in a nearby city. She prints and distributes this newspaper as a way to share information about men in other states and the frontier who are hankering for wives.”

A wave of gratefulness for her family, as far-flung as they were now, flashed through Libbie. Granted the trans-ocean travel by ship was long and boring, but she knew they’d be waiting with open arms at the end of her journey when her time at the Academy was completed. She scanned a few of the letters and then leaned both elbows on the counter, intrigued by the variety of situations the men were in. Logger, rancher, shopkeeper, doctor, farmer, miner, lawyer, professor, saddler, dentist, saloon owner—almost every occupation under the sun. Most sounded honest and upstanding, and also very lonely. Some were too specific in their requirements, which told her those men would not possess easygoing personalities. She straightened and waved a hand toward the newspaper. “Dora, are you considering this?”

“Several of my co-workers were writing letters to arrange matches when I left Lawrence. My friend, Grace Dickinson, wrote to a gentleman who’s a mason way out in Montana.” The young woman wrung her hands and shook her head. “I just don’t know if I can do this. Although having a home of one’s own sounds wonderful.” She turned toward Sally and her lower lip quivered. “But to move too far away worries me.”

“Tell her, Libbie, that coming from another country ʼtisn’t so bad.” Mary crossed her arms at her trim waist. “Sure, I miss the green pastures of County Cork and watching the ships in the harbor. But I like being warm and having a roof over me head even more.”

The cook spoke the truth. Although Libbie barely remembered her father’s older sister from the family’s visit when she was seven or eight, she was grateful to be staying with her aunt and cousins. After a month in Boston, Libbie still hadn’t adjusted to the large number of people living so close together, or the noise from peddlers in the street, horse-drawn cabs and trolleys, tolling church bells, and wailing fire sirens. “Every place I’ve lived has good and bad aspects. Only you can decide what town or situation is best for you, Dora. Maybe you should look for the locations of men living the closest to Boston.”

A smile creased Dora’s chubby cheeks. “I like that idea. Thank you.”

“Excuse me, miss, but yer aunt hasn’t yet rung for her tea.” Mary frowned and glanced at the pendulum clock on the wall. “Could ye step into the parlor and check on her?”

“Yes, Mary, I will do that on the way to my bedroom. I have been sent home with Mrs. Templeton’s specific instructions to practice my gliding.” She held out her arms straight and took exaggerated sliding steps. Glancing over her shoulder, she noted the women stood with hands covering their mouths, suppressing their laughter, and she gave them a cocky grin.

About the Author

lcLinda C-B casualAs a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication–a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.

Linda’s Links:

Website  Blog  Facebook  Twitter   Goodreads

Deborah Bogart: Organizing Creative Chaos in the New Year
Thursday, January 7th, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions. 

Ahhh…Just the sound of those three words make my writer’s heart thump with anticipation. A new year and all the lovely manuscripts I could knock out. Oh, the possibilities are endless. Two books in a year. No, four books! Heck, why limit myself? I could write ten books! By December, I could have two complete series filling up my Amazon Author’s page.

This year could be the best ever and I absolutely love setting goals: making timelines, creating word count milestones, you name it. Yeah, I’m that person. The good-intention over-achiever, the one who has great plans and those plans are color-coded and just plain pretty. I love setting those goals…in December. I’m full speed ahead immediately after the holidays. I’m distracted by mid-January, but still revved up and planning to hit the jackpot. Then February rolls around and my writing machine crashes to a halt.

This year I’m doing something new. I’ve still written a detailed Action Plan for my next manuscript that will fit into my ultra-busy life and help me finish the final draft of my 50K word novel in three months (for 2016, I settled on writing “only” four books, one final draft every quarter). I go in depth into my Action Plan over here.

But in an effort to avoid the answer to the inevitable question next December from my nosy aunt as to why she can’t find that new series I was going to write on Amazon, I’m not just setting rigorous goals—I’m giving myself an effing break.

This year will be different because I’m putting less emphasis on actually achieving all that is written in my Action Plan, and more emphasis on truly enjoying the process. Am I going to accomplish my goals just because I detailed everything about all four books? Maybe not, but I didn’t get into writing just to write about planning it.

Aside from giving myself a break from the pressure and disappointment of failing to meet my New Year’s Resolutions, I’m looking deeper into what hijacks my plans to literary stardom, and, more importantly, what truly motivates me as a writer.

One of my favorite quotes is actually song lyrics from The Eagles. “So often times it happens we live our lives in chains and never even know we have the key.” We all have “chains” (read: responsibilities, phobias) that prevent us from doing what we believe will make us happy/successful.

Aside from working at a demanding 40+ hour a week job, I still have many distractors: reading books, celebrity gossip, watching two daytime soap operas five days a week, and, oh, yeah, babysitting my nieces and nephew.

Some are unavoidable (like family obligations), but what about other things that don’t put food on the table and keep a roof over my head? Celebrity dirt? Watching soap operas? I think about all the time wasted watching soap operas that never end the way I want them to anyway. All these distractors turn into chains that keep me from being a truly productive writer.

And when I say a productive writer, I don’t just mean an organized writer. I mean a writer who can truly, deeply get 100% lost (in the best way possible) in the creative process of writing. As writers we are well aware of the almost blissful state that comes with being swept away by our own words, which never truly feel like our own words. It’s like some other being is feeding them to us and we’re simply the messenger.

We all know that feeling and it’s an amazing feeling. So why would we keep ourselves from that? Why would we deprive ourselves of that blissfulness by wasting mindless hours in front of the boob tube?

I guess that’s truly my New Year’s Resolution: Finding the balance somewhere between the organization and the creative chaos of it all.

dbCaptureThis year I’m giving myself a break by accepting that it’s okay to want to go through the extensive process of detailing what happens next in my story and book series—because that’s important to me so that I don’t write myself into a corner. I’m giving myself a break and giving myself a mental vacation to go where the characters and the worlds take over.

What worlds did you deprive yourself of in 2015? What organization tips and tricks are you picking up in 2016? Let everyone know in the comments.

Happy New Year and Happy Writing!

Check out my website at www.deborahbogart.com to find out more about upcoming releases and to read an excerpt from Love Me to Death, the first in the paranormal romance series Blood & Magic. Amazon: Love Me to Death