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A.C. Dawn: My Writing Journey
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

I started my writing career as a ghostwriter. It was a great way to cut my teeth and hone my craft, but the pay was abysmal, and of course, other people took the credit for my work. So, last year I finally made the leap to writing for myself, and so far, the pay hasn’t been any better, but it’s been a blast! I’m back for another Boys Behaving Badly Anthology and have several more anthologies planned for the coming year. The most fascinating part of this journey has been developing my writing process and learning about that of other authors. It’s amazing how differently everyone approaches writing. Some authors meticulously plan out their work step by intricate step. It’s like a beautiful dance in colorful illustration before the first word is even put on the page. For others, they wade in with a vague notion or idea and just see where it goes. My process lies somewhere in the middle.

Typically, I have a rough outline of where the story will go with major plot points. How I get from point to point isn’t necessarily defined. Sometimes, the storyline drives the words, but more often, I find the characters and who they want to become influences the story the most. I’ve been astonished at how some of my stories have turned out!

No one was more surprised than me when I finished my latest short story, The Invisible Goddess, about Hestia, the Greek goddess of fire, hearth, and home. I call her the forgotten Olympian because she has almost no stories about her. She’s rarely mentioned at all in the myths. So, I reinvented her with the idea to make her bolder and write a bit of romance into her hum-drum life of keeping Zeus’s court at Olympus. What I ended up with was a fiery hot goddess who brings Olympus to the brink of war over her hand and in the middle of it all, a primordial god of darkness stirring the pot, and the heroine’s heart. The god of darkness wasn’t even in my original outline of the story! This is the coolest part of writing. I love it when my imagination gets churning, and suddenly, a story that I never even realized was there materializes on the page. I look back at this short story and wonder where the heck it came from!

Aside from how writers approach the structure of their stories, I also find the logistical aspect of how authors work intriguing. Some authors write every day, 8 hours a day. It’s their job, and they treat it as such. Of course, that whole time isn’t necessarily spent spinning words onto the page of their latest and greatest novel. A lot of it is spent working social media, responding to emails, editing, and updating their website and blog. Some authors have a particular place they like to write, or they have a prewriting routine they do. Other authors don’t touch their keyboard for days or weeks. Then, they sit down and binge write for days on end. Again, I find myself somewhere in the middle.

First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly AnthologyI’m not cool enough to write full time- yet! One of these days…. But for now, my writing must fit in with a full-time job as a nursing instructor, a 21-acre farm, and a family. I don’t have time for rituals or routines- other than coffee. There is always time for coffee! I fit writing in whenever and wherever. I often peck away at my keyboard at my daughter’s horse riding lessons and scribble ideas on the back of my grocery list while waiting in line at Costco. I wish I was one of those disciplined souls that would get up 2 hours early and write before work. Countless failed early morning exercise aspirations have proven that it isn’t a sound strategy for me! My main goal is to write a little bit every day. Sometimes, it’s literally a single sentence, and sometimes, when the writing gods smile upon me and the stars align, it’s pages. In the end, it always seems to come together.

Anthologies, like the latest Boys Behaving Badly with my gracious hostess, Delilah Devlin, attract me because I can write tons of different storylines, and they’re typically short story to novella lengths. I have several going at the same time. One of the other things I’ve discovered about my writing process is the stories and characters often need to marinate at different points along the way. Sometimes, we gotta give each other a bit of space! I also like to sleep on my stories. Seriously, I do my best writing as I am falling asleep. I’ll turn a particular point around and around in my head, and in that semi-dozing state, my mind forgets boundaries, conventions, and the distractions of daily life. Suddenly, the imagined world is possible and some of my best ideas have come from this technique (Ok… I’m not sure that falling asleep is a technique, but I’m going to go with it!). I’ve also utterly annihilated storylines and caused myself tons of extra rewrites because I came up with a scene that I just couldn’t live without. I guess that’s why they call it a process!

I will continue to hone my practice and do hope to transition to writing full time. I have dreams of writing full-length novels with glossy dust jackets adorned with my picture and having a fan base that stretches beyond blood relatives! For now, I’ll continue to grab the time as I can find it and inspiration where it is granted. I can’t wait to see where my journey takes me next. I hope that you’ll join me along the way!

My website and latest releases, including The Invisible Goddess coming this fall, can be found at acdawn.com or wander over to my Facebook page and follow me there!

As always, many thanks to Delilah for letting me pop in! Until next time…

Here’s a picture of my home base in north Georgia…

The way things work out… (Open Contests/Giveaways!)
Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Sometimes, things work out the way they’re supposed to.

Take for example, the #100dayproject, which I’ve been completely faithful to since I began on April 7th (I’m on Day 51 of the challenge!). I planned to participate, not knowing 1) how difficult it was to produce a single piece of art every single dang day, and 2) how much I’d need something to put all that effort into.

Sure, as a writer, I create almost daily. But, unless I’m in the buzzy tail-end of a story when the action is speeding up, writing feels like work, and I know I can do it and do it well. The only challenge I face, these days, is getting to the end when I’d rather be doing anything else. However, I am not a mixed media artist. I can’t draw worth a flip, and I don’t know a lot about the different mediums. Over the past few years, I’ve only dabbled. So, I accepted the challenge, and then made my commitment very, very public by announcing it and then posting my daily attempts at art on FB and Instagram. Sometimes, with embarrassing results!

The challenge came along at the perfect time because, now that we’re living in Corona-time, we all need reasons to stay home. I love getting on FB and seeing folks who are baking for the first time ever or building something in their yards that they’d been promising themselves to do for years. My dd has been getting after it, too. She built a goat pen and bought goats! She also built a fire pit in the yard near the pool, and she bought a projector so we can watch movies outdoors, with a fire and lots of citronella candles going to keep away the mosquitoes!

Some states are loosening their stay-at-home orders. Our state never implemented any. However, we’ve been doing our own sheltering, keeping everyone close to home, with only rare visitors and only those who’ve also sheltered. We plan to do this for as long as we need to keep everyone safe. So, we’ll be looking for new challenges and around-the-home projects.

How about you? Are you still self-isolating? Have you finished any longterm projects on your To Do list?

Oh, and here’s my #100dayproject–Day 51 entry. 🙂

Contests/Giveaways

These contests and offers are still active!

  1. Thom Collins: The Anthem Box Set (Contest—3 Winners!)This offer ends soon! Get a FREE box set of books!
  2. Reina Torres: An Idea, Some Spare Parts, and a Little Bit of Magic (Contest) — Win a FREE book!
  3. Diana Cosby: Nature – Amazing Muse Inspiration (Contest) — Win a SIGNED book!
  4. Open Contest–Reminders–A New Puzzle/Contest!  — Win an Amazon gift card!
  5. Two Important Notices about FREE Reads! — Everyone gets 2 FREE reads!
Vonna Harper: Setting in Erotica
Monday, May 25th, 2020

A science-fiction setting is popular for both writers and readers of erotic romances. The reason is simple, at least it is for me. Give me a fictional world and I can design it to meet any number of needs. The rules, regulations, and social standards we all live with can’t get in my way when I’m writing. I can make them go away.

A domineering man and submissive woman don’t require justification when the lifestyle is standard operating procedure in the world I came up with. I don’t have to justify why a man throws a woman over his knee and repeatedly applies his hand to her ass. Readers of spanking erotica accept that this is how things are done within these pages. A woman doesn’t yell “insanity” if the man in her life treats her like a child. Instead, she gets the norms of the world she finds herself in. Sometimes, it takes a while but that’s part of the fun.

Okay, that’s all well and good. A woman wears a collar and crawls on hands and knees behind the hunk who commands her to because it’s expected and she’s turned on.

But what’s their physical world like?

Setting is vital to me. I can’t start a story until I know what my characters’ world looks like. And here’s a secret: I suck at creating fictional worlds. If you’ve read some Vonna Harper erotic fiction, you may have noticed I don’t put my characters on distant, exotic planets with complex social and political structure to say nothing of blue suns and five-legged household pets. Instead, I rely on corners of the world I know.

Case in point, one of my eroticas is Midnight Touch. Much of this story about a couple with heavy loads of emotional baggage takes place in eastern Oregon. No urban center or exotic city for me because I’ve never lived there and have no desire to. Give me wide open spaces every time—spaces where the few residents live their isolated lives in private.

Sara’s dead ex-husband was a domineering SOB who got away with treating her as he wanted. She seldom saw anyone and didn’t know whether she could trust those she did. She repeatedly tried to escape but never succeeded. I didn’t need to invent a planet because I planted poor Sara in ranching country with more cattle than humans. I know what eastern Oregon’s high desert land looks and smells like. I’ve been there. No need to try to figure out where water and other necessities come from. I’ve seen the wells.

My hero Mace doesn’t belong there, but he has no choice because Sara needs him in ways only he understands. Taking him deep into that isolated setting while he grapples with the forces that brought him there was so much fun. I put that poor man through a lot. Fortunately, he’s up for the challenge.

As for why I chose a country where antelope live, it almost never rains, the nearest grocery store is fifty miles away, and two people struggle to find peace and love there.

Looks like you’ll have to read Midnight Touch to comprehend their dangerous journey, hint, hint. You might also wind up with a darn good idea what panoramic eastern Oregon is like.

Midnight Touch

Obsession. Insanity. Darkness.

The words explain why Mace Seeger has come to see a woman he should have nothing to do with. But when he finds Sara Parmenter’s photograph in her dead husband’s wallet, her haunted eyes touch his soul, distracting him from her naked bound body.

The woman he finds at the isolated ranch is no longer trapped with a cruel and violent man because Ronnie Parmenter is gone, murdered.

He’s no longer a danger.

Sara desperately wants to believe she’s free from her nightmares—and to understand why she’s willing to risk everything with Mace, a man maybe she shouldn’t trust or believe.

A lifetime ago she’d been a sexual woman. The realities of her marriage had stripped those things from her, but being near Mace has reawakened primitive needs. She’s returning to life.

But Ronnie isn’t done.

Get your copy here!

Two Important Notices about FREE Reads!
Sunday, May 24th, 2020

First Notice

For those of you who don’t know it, I curate collections of themed erotic romance. Right now, on my Collections website, I’m offering a FREE copy of one of those anthologies…

Conquests

It’s all Vikings. All over the world. And they are hot as hell! So, if you’d like to pick up a FREE copy, do it now! This offer won’t last long!

Get your FREE copy here!

Second Notice

Brian is about to leave Kindle Unlimited. So if you haven’t already snagged your free copy there, do so now!

Brian (Montana Bounty Hunters)

Get your copy here!

Open Contest–Reminders–A New Puzzle/Contest! –Yes, it’s Saturday!
Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

Reminder

These contests and offers are still active—but not for long!

  1. Open Contests & FREE Short Story!This offer ends soon! Get your FREE short story!
  2. Thom Collins: The Anthem Box Set (Contest—3 Winners!) — This offer ends soon! Get a FREE box set of books!
  3. Coming Tuesday! HOT SEAL, DECOY BRIDE, a SEALs in Paradise story! (Contest) — Win FREE SEALs in Paradise story!
  4. Reina Torres: An Idea, Some Spare Parts, and a Little Bit of Magic (Contest) — Win a FREE book!
  5. Diana Cosby: Nature – Amazing Muse Inspiration (Contest) — Win a SIGNED book!

Another Reminder!

I have a new release! If you love a funny, fast-paced, sexy story, this one’s for you!

Hot SEAL, Decoy Bride
A former Navy SEAL is teamed with a feisty ex-Marine to provide protection for a Greek tycoon’s daughter to make sure the bride gets safely to her destination wedding…

Former Navy SEAL, Trigger Matthews, now a special operator with Justin Ballard’s Black Knight Security in New Orleans, is teamed with a feisty ex-Marine as part of the protection detail for a Greek tycoon’s spoiled daughter. The prickly woman proves to be a challenge he’s eager to explore.

Due to her uncanny resemblance to their client’s daughter, Cassandra Locke is tasked with being a “decoy bride”, a job that sees her going through some matrimonial hoops while fighting her growing attraction for her partner for this operation. Together, they create diversions to make sure the real bride has a chance to prepare for her coming nuptials.

Both loners, and unaware of the fact that they are indeed lonely, Trigger and Cass find out they have many more qualities in common, including an inability to stay away from each other. As the real bride’s day draws closer, they learn that she’s more than a girl born with a silver spoon in her mouth and find unexpected friendships along the way.

When danger draws nearer, they must trust each other’s strengths to get them through it.

Get your copy now!
Read an excerpt!

Also available in print!

The Puzzle Contest!

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, solve the puzzle and then tell me a story about what you think the picture means!

Anna M. Taylor: When The Past Isn’t Even Past
Friday, May 22nd, 2020

As a lover of history, the line, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” from William Faulkner’s Requiem for A Nun, thrills me. Why? Because I believe what has gone before is not only always present, but also has the power to control the present. When I look at this picture I took from the Brooklyn promenade where the World Trade Center used to stand, the truth of Faulkner’s line hits home. That sky isn’t empty. It’s full of the lives lost, the lives forever affected by those losses and will always be.

Having been a minister, I’m already predisposed to accept realities that go beyond the five senses. After all, the core belief of my religion is that over 2000 years ago a man named Jesus was crucified dead and was buried then rose again. It’s not just the knowledge of that sacrifice that gives the Christian power, but the belief that the energy released through that act reaches through time and enables me to heal through the laying on of hands or casting out demons by invoking Jesus’ name. It’s as if a nuclear bomb had been set off 2,000 years ago, and the aftershocks from the blast are still being experienced.

In Requiem For A Nun, one character tries to escape her past by claiming she’s no longer the person she was. But the lawyer who speaks the line is telling her you can’t escape the past. It’s always present. For my mind that’s not always bad. Energy from the past can be used for good or ill; which one depends on your level of awareness.

No wonder I enjoy writing ghost stories as Anna M. Taylor. Well, stories dealing with spirits or supernatural energy to be more accurate. Humans enter a situation, oblivious to or in denial about the past that is not dead, that is not past. Their level of awareness, i.e., ability to accept that alternate and concurrent reality, determines if things are going to end up good for them or ill.

That’s why in real life forgiving, repenting, remembering, and celebrating are such powerful and necessary acts. In these actions we name the past, which never died, and then harness the power of its presence for good. Think about it. When you feel guilty for something you’ve done wrong, don’t you feel weighed down? But let someone say, “That’s alright. I forgive you.” What happens to that weight? Aren’t you freed up emotionally, spiritually, and — in some cases because we can develop psychosomatic symptoms — physically, as well? The past while still present no longer has power over you. How about when you’re remembering an event, either sad or happy? Doesn’t the recollection bring an energy with it that has nothing to do with you? You’re engaged in the moment. It’s as if it’s happening right then and there. The ever-present spirit of the past is being tapped into. The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past. Never was.

Haunted Serenade


All the women in Anora Madison’s family have lived as “Poor Butterflies”: women still longing for but deserted by the men they loved. Determined to be the first to escape a life of abandonment, Anora fled Harlem for Brooklyn, severing her ties with her mother, Angela, and with the man who broke her heart, Winston Emerson, the father of her child.

Six years later, she comes back to Harlem to make peace, but a malignant spirit manifests itself during the homecoming, targeting her mother, her aunt, Winston, and their little girl. Determined to stop the evil now trying to destroy all she loves, Anora must finally turn to Winston for help. But will their efforts be too little too late?

Pre-order your copy!

Excerpt from Haunter Serenade

“I never understood how you and Elizabeth could stay here after Diana…” I couldn’t bring myself to say the word. My mother didn’t finish my sentence for me. Apparently she couldn’t say the word either.

Suicide.

We waited in the shared silence, unable more than unwilling to offer terms of peace.

“A person can will themselves to die,” my mother said. Her gaze drifted to the album cover in my hands. “It’s not so hard where unforgiving spirits reign.”

My gut clenched. “Do you really believe you’re dying, Ma?”

“According to my doctor, I’m sound as a dollar. But when you’ve got more days behind you than in front of you, that’s not saying much.” She directed her gaze to me. “That’s why Cammie is so important. She’s the future. I feel better just having been in her presence a little while.”

“I should have known.” I gripped the album cover with fingers trembling with anger and disappointment. “All that display of affection…you’re only using her to make you feel better.”

“No, Anora.” My mother came over and grabbed my arm with an earnestness that surprised me. “It’s not like that. I—I want the ghosts keeping us apart to die. Don’t you?”

I wanted it so much it hurt. I grimaced but nodded.

“Cammie took one look at this house and asked if it was haunted.”

My mother snorted. “Out of the mouths of babes.”

“Exactly what I thought.” I returned the album cover to its resting place.

Resting place.

The term troubled my mind. Can the spirit of anyone who dies the way my aunt died ever rest?

The question went unanswered, interrupted by my daughter’s screams.

*~*~*

Website: www.annamtaylor.webs.com
Facebook: @annamtaylorAuthor

Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/3aXifyu

Em Petrova: The No-Focus Virus
Thursday, May 21st, 2020

I hate to be one more person talking about quarantine or lack of supplies on a store shelf. Like you, I’m sick and tired of hearing news reports or Facebook posts about the state of our world right now. I’m to the point where I actually mute the radio when a deejay comes on, because they always mention the importance of staying safe.

But I’m talking about staying SANE. For me, right now, that’s hard. Writing is my sanity. An escape, a place to go and be with new characters I love and become friends or fall in love with them. But lately, my focus is totally bombed. I look out the window and see yard work that needs doing, and I want to do that instead. I see a layer of dust in my office and groan out loud.

So many of my friends are spring cleaning. While I haven’t gotten that bored or crazy, I have to admit Goodwill might be overrun with all the bags I already purged from our hall closet and my son’s wardrobe. In the course of organizing the world around me into something I better understand, I realized it’s high time that I organized my bookshelf as well. No, not the ones holding paperback copies of all my books. I mean my backlist. MY ENTIRE BACKLIST.

After you’ve written many novels, you sometimes forget which one falls into what series. That got me thinking about why they’re part of that series in the first place. Mostly because years ago I wrote a book and said, hey this fits here. Lately, I wondered if that was true, so I started playing with my titles. That meant stripping down various series and seeing what exactly was going on. As well as asking myself…if I was a reader, what makes more sense?

In the end, I separated a huge grouping of ménage a trois novels—7 of them. Now those are the Ménage à Trouble series. I had a handful of novellas, all featuring cowboys, one of my all-time favorite heroes to write. Who doesn’t love a hat and those buns in Wranglers, hmmm? (I’ve gotten off track. See—I told you my focus is off.) The novellas fit together into the Hardworking Heroes Novellas series. And…that left 4 orphan books. Which broke my heart. All 4 books are solid romances featuring very rugged men. I love them all. So how to organize them…?

We think about organizing as grouping similar objects. All the sand toys go here and the pasta goes here on the pantry shelf. But books seemed harder to me. After days of fretting over these poor homeless books, I finally hit on what makes them all fit together. Each and every one is a second chance romance. BAM! Another Shot at Love series came to light, and I plopped 3 of those into the series, with one in the stages of a rewrite.

Finding a solution for this brain-twisting dilemma made me realize that maybe I’m not as unfocused as I thought. I’m focusing—just on different things right now. And you all are too, I’m sure. I think what I’m trying to convey here is that while you might feel very off-kilter in your methods right now, you are doing what you’re meant to be doing at this point in time.

Even if it’s different, roll with it and be kind to yourselves. In the end, you might look back and find that all your homeless ideas have found a very good spot to live inside your brain.

Much love to all and be sure to escape in books!
Em Petrova

His to Shelter

Eighteen years is a long time to never forget…

Retired Navy SEAL Oswald “Oz” Morgon assembled an elite team of men with skills far surpassing those of ordinary bodyguards. To save and protect is a creed that goes beyond simply guarding their wards—it’s a way of life. And these guys are his heart and soul, his brothers…and the family he’ll never have. Now, his next call is to find the one woman who always had a grip on his heart. Eighteen years ago, he walked away from her. But she’s thrown back into his arms—and under his protection.

As a JAG Corps Officer, Rose Kilbourn never expected to be kidnapped for doing her job. And there’s only one man who can save her. Back in the day, she believed Oz was the man for her. Then he vanished, leaving her with a secret she can’t confide to another soul on Earth.

If Oz had chosen a different path, he might have Rose now. But a man who’s lied, cheated and killed to save those he guards doesn’t deserve the sweetness of a woman like Rose. Still, he can’t help but steal moments while he can, and Rose can’t bring herself to walk away from the happily ever after she always wanted. Now she must decide whether or not to use her secret to ensnare the wild man who must protect her or die trying.

Get your copy here!

About Em Petrova

Em Petrova was raised by hippies in the wilds of Pennsylvania but told her parents at the age of four she wanted to be a gypsy when she grew up. She has a soft spot for babies, puppies and 90s Grunge music and believes in Bigfoot and aliens. She started writing at the age of twelve and prides herself on making her characters larger than life and her sex scenes hotter than hot.

She burst into the world of publishing in 2010 after having five beautiful bambinos and figuring they were old enough to get their own snacks while she pounds away at the keys. In her not-so-spare time, she is fur-mommy to a Labradoodle named Daisy Hasselhoff.

Find More Books by Em Petrova on her Website.
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