Archive for June, 2015
Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
There’s a lot of buzz going around about the various social media and why they are important. There’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and heaven knows how many others. And they keep popping up like flies. Who knows where it will end? In all honesty, it probably won’t, and that’s why writers need to stay focused on a few to keep their brand going. Here are my favorites.
Monday, June 29th, 2015
Living the life of a full time writer is a dream for many of us. There are other dreams, too – perhaps, in retirement or upon winning the lottery, we’ll travel the world; visit the grandkids regularly; go to each national park in the system; or take up underwater basket weaving. But what shall we do until we can do what we want to do full time?
We could say, well, that’s not for me and go about living our lives without incorporating parts of our dreams into our daily round. But that sort of existence lacks fire and passion. It’s far better to include pieces of our dream in the now, so that we can enjoy them and prepare for when we can fully engage with them.
Here, try this: take out a sheet of paper and write down the numbers 1 through 10 on the left side. Then, writing as quickly as you can, answer the question “If I could do it full time, and money was no object, I would…” ten times. Write as fast as you can and don’t stop to think, just answer. Would you scuba dive in the Caribbean? Take a ride-along with your local police department? Travel to Paris to have tea in the shadow of the Eifel Tower?
Now, take a look at your list. What are the common elements? Art? Travel? Pets? A new place to live? People to see more often? Whatever the commonalities, what kinds of things can you incorporate into your daily round now? If you want to write full time, why not write in the corners of your current life? You can use your lunch break at work, or get up a half hour early. If you want to visit family, why not get some cards at the dollar store today and write them a note? If Paris calls your name, do some recon and find out where to say, what to do, and subscribe to some newsletters about the Paris travel scene?
We don’t have to wait to enjoy the life of our dreams. If we want it enough, we can incorporate elements of it now, while we’re preparing for our full time reality. After all, practice makes perfect.
So tell me, Dear Reader: what’s one exciting dream from your list of ten?
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
– E.E. Cummings
The Persis Chronicles:
Book 1 EMERALD FIRE
**New** Book 2, EMERALD KEEP, out April 8th 2015!
SEALED BY FIRE, an All Romance eBooks Bestseller!
**Coming Soon!** Watch for Book 2, SEALED BY MAGIC, out August 4, 2015!
The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT
Book 2 TIGER TIGER, an All Romance eBooks Bestseller!
**Coming Soon!** Watch for Book 3, CAT’S CRADLE, out Summer 2015!
Other Fun Stuff:
Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER
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Team Blogs: Nightlight | Nightlight FB Page | Beyond the Veil | BtV FB Page | Nice Girls Writing Naughty | NGW FB | NGW Twitter
Sunday, June 28th, 2015
I recently retired from a job I’ve had for almost 20 years. You’ll notice I said a job. Yes, that’s right. It wasn’t a career, or my life’s work, or even my life’s passion. It was, simply stated, a job. One I went to everyday and got paid for. And I’ll admit – did well.
But it wasn’t what I really wanted to do with my life, how I wanted to spend my days here on earth. No, that job didn’t fulfill me.
So I retired from it. You might ask, how are you going to support yourself now that you have no income accruing every week?
Good question, but irrelevant to this conversation. Suffice it to say, I’m okay. No worries. I won’t be starving in a garret or panhandling any time soon.
What I will be doing – and am doing– is living my dream.
And by living my dream, I mean WRITING.
Instead of devoting myself 8 hours a day to patients and insurance companies, I now am a devotee of my laptop. My “dream” has always been to write without any restrictions on my time or finances.
So, I am actually living my dream. Pretty heady stuff. I often wonder what would have happened in my life if I’d been able to support my writing lifestyle when I was in my 20’s. Then, I look at the life I lead from twenty up until today and I realize I needed those extra 30 years of life experiences to be the person and writer I now am. I know in my twenties I didn’t have enough life views and occurrences I could have translated into my writing. I knew about life, but hadn’t lived enough of it yet.
In my twenties, my social circle was small; basically friends and family. Once I got into the workforce I was able to include other employees, and supervisors. And still, I don’t think the pool I could cull from was wide enough.
In my thirties I became involved in local businesses and on the fringe of local government…more people with diverse backgrounds were added to my expanding sphere. I learned more in depth knowledge about people, what makes them tick, what drives and motivates them. I also started realizing the very true fact that every person has a distinct and personalized story of their own. Stories that I was now able to incorporate into my writing banks and use for information to invent characters and situations.
In my twenties, love was all encompassing. Every breakup was a disaster emotionally and spiritually. In my thirties, that was still true, but I learned you can be more selective and discover what to chose and what definitely not to chose as far as a life partner went. Forties were the time for using all that knowledge to ensure a relationship of stability and longevity.
Now, in my fifties, I know my writing is richer, fuller, and tru-er due to all those life experiences, both personal and professional. I can write an emotional scene and know I got it right, because I’ve lived through it and come out on the other side of the emotion. Better, stronger, richer for the experience. It’s a heady feeling.
Yup. I’m living the dream… and it’s a dream come true.
Symphony pianist Moira Cleary comes home after four years of touring, exhausted, sick, and spiritually broken. Emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of someone she trusted has left her gaunt, anxious, and at a crossroads both professionally and personally.
Moira’s best friend, veterinarian Quentin Stapleton, wants nothing more than to help Moira get well. Can his natural healing skills make it possible for her to open her heart again? And can he convince her she’s meant to stay home now with the family that loves her – and with him – forever?
“Remember when your cousin Tiffany got married in the backyard here?”
Confused, Moira nodded.
Quentin rubbed her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. “When the Reverend told Cole ‘you can kiss your bride,’ and he swooped her off the ground, spun her around and kissed her silly? Remember what you said?” Read the rest of this entry »
Saturday, June 27th, 2015
I don’t write too many virginal characters. Back in the day, I read plenty of historicals where every heroine was an innocent. The love scenes always managed to be perfect, including mind-blowing orgasms. Huh? In Rebel’s Claw, my latest Black Hills Wolves novel, Carrie is a sheltered recluse. She’s also the fated mate of Roark. It made sense to make her a virgin. Although their first love scene was a one-night stand and Roark is a hell-raising rebel, it was fun to show his tender side. To be realistic, I did not give her a big O. But when she got them in the next love scene, the pleasure was worth the wait.
Rebel’s Claw by Afton Locke
Revenge never tasted sweeter
Release Date: 26 June 2015
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Reviews and more: http://www.aftonlocke.com/RebelsClaw.html
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/wNy92kgcPvg
Black Hills Wolves series:
Roark Archer’s Lamar Canyon Pack in Yellowstone has been decimated by ranchers and hunters. Although the Tao pack in Los Lobos, South Dakota, has offered to assimilate it, he cannot give up his heritage so easily. At least not until he gets revenge against whoever killed his best friend, Jared, three years ago.
Recluse Carrie Myers lives on the Wyoming cattle ranch her late father left her. One fateful night changes her life forever, leaving her questioning her sanity. She knows what she saw…or does she? Regardless, she’ll do anything to protect the awful secret that has haunted her for the past three years.
When fate brings Roark to Carrie’s doorstep, the connection between them is undeniable. Determined to avoid commitment, they agree to give in to their unexplainable attraction for one night. Will hatred consume this hell-raising shifter, or can he learn love and forgiveness in the enemy’s arms?
Rebel’s Claw – Copyright © Afton Locke, 2015
When his fingers tangled on the waistband of her panties, her legs trembled and her cleft burned with need. For the first time, she wished she owned lacy, feminine lingerie instead of boring, practical underwear.
“These are so sexy,” he whispered as if reading her mind. “So perfect on you.”
She gasped when his finger dipped under the white fabric, probing and swirling over swollen flesh. Her head thrashed on the pillow. Surely, she didn’t deserve such pleasure. With each caress, he promised even more. Completely disconnected from reality, she hovered over an abyss.
Don’t let me go.
She craved him every night, to make her forget everything causing her pain. With an instinct of their own, her hips danced as sinuously as a snake’s. His finger slipped inside, thrusting deep. If her pleasure was electricity, he’d light her up for miles.
He grabbed her hand and pressed it to the rock-hard bulge in his jeans. She shied away when he unzipped himself, but he pressed his bare cock into her palm. Lord, she’d never felt anything so hot. So alive. A trail of juice seeped from her core.
“Are you still sure you want to do this?” he whispered in her ear.
Their chests bucked and swelled against each other from their hard breathing. She felt as if she’d run the length of the ranch a hundred times.
“Then grab my wallet off the nightstand since you’re closer to it.”
Her body tensed. He didn’t plan to pay her like a prostitute, did he? Daddy definitely wouldn’t approve. He wouldn’t look kindly on a one-night stand, either.
“There’s a condom in it,” he added.
When she twisted away from his hot skin, the contrast of the cool air caused her to shiver. Clumsier than ever, she dropped the wallet on the bed. It opened, revealing several pictures in plastic sleeves. She couldn’t resist flipping through them. Did he have a girlfriend? Hopefully not a wife. Hopping cow patties. She hadn’t even thought to ask about that.
Too late to back out now.
The people were all ages and shared a similar look to him, so she assumed they were family. She could hardly concentrate, with him stroking her back and grinding his wonderful hardness against her buttocks.
“You’re taking too damn long,” he muttered against her hair. “I’m about to take you, condom or not.”
“H-hold on a second,” she replied.
When she spotted the last picture, the heat in her body turned to ice. She blinked, hoping she’d seen it wrong, but the image only became clearer. Her mouth dropped open in horror as she stared at the face of a reddish-haired man with a beard. Nausea twisted her gut while a lone coyote howled in the distance. The remembered sensation of mud and blisters floated across her hands….
Oh, dear Lord. It was him! The face of the creature she’d killed.
Deeper Than Perfect – 1970s time-travel
Afton Locke is a USA Today Bestselling Author who prefers romantic fantasies to everyday reality. Fantasies take her to different times, races, places, and beyond. She lives with her husband, dog, several unnamed dust bunnies, and a black cat that can be scary or cuddly, depending on the current book. When she’s not writing, Afton enjoys hiking, cooking, crafts, and reading.
Where readers can find me
Web site: http://www.aftonlocke.com
Friday, June 26th, 2015
Romancing the Wolf
Releasing June 30, 2015
Sexy and we know it! They’re on the hunt after your heart. Discover 10 brand new passionate tales of friendship, desire, wolves, survival, and redemption. Escape to another world, another place, and another romance.
On January 30th, discover love, romance, heat, and passion Romancing the Wolf with Melissa Schroeder, Heather Long, Saranna DeWylde, Rebecca Royce, Cara Carnes, Virginia Nelson, Jennifer Kacey, Brandy Walker, Desiree Holt and Gayle Donnelly.
Warning: Contains wild heroes and heroines, tempestuous passion, old secrets, new discoveries, and pack ties binding them together. Sometimes love’s greatest challenge is romancing the wolf…
Find excerpt for Heather Long’s Wolf with Benefits below title list.
Romancing the Wolf
All Romance: https://goo.gl/qCak0Q
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/BNRomWolf
Heart of the Wolf (The Devora) by Desiree Holt
Shifter Lia Popescu is desperate to find the book Legends of the Werewolf, her only clue as to what happened to her pack. When she loses her heart to the sexy detective Riley Morgan, she wonders how he will handle knowing the truth about her.
The Ardennes Curse (Woolven Secret) by Saranna DeWylde
Victoria’s determined to free her people from the curse that forces them to become mindless, slavering terrors every full moon. Even if it means taking, Armand Rommulus, their new Alpha to mate.
Odd Mate (Odd Stuff Series, #4) by Virginia Nelson
Gretchen fell in love with Charly, a sweet, nerdy bear of a man but ran fast and hard from his side when she realized he’d hate her for a genetic twist of fate she couldn’t change. Now she’s back in town and drawn to his side. Can a wolf sworn to destroy all coyotes claim a coywolf mate or will he be forced to destroy the only girl he ever loved?
Running with the Wolf (The Cascadia Wolves) by Gayle Donnelly
Abram spends his days protecting the pack children, but he finds himself wanting more. The quiet, elusive kindergarten teacher has sparked a hunger inside him and he knows it won’t be satisfied unless he makes her his mate. When her past comes calling, he must make a choice…defy pack law and bring her into his world or let her run and lose her forever.
Redemption’s Forgiveness (The Rending, Book 2) by Cara Carnes
Marek will do anything to protect his pack and their land, including executing any Outsiders who dare enter pack lands. There’s no soft in war—until Felicity, a curvaceous wolf with more sass than sense limps into Redemption with an impossible tale of betrayal.
Under Her Spell (Keystone Predators, Book 1) by Brandy Walker
Diego wants Daphne as his mate instantly and is ready to do whatever it takes to make her his. Part wolf, and part witch, Daphne is a little more skeptical of the situation. Her wolf is telling her to go for it while her witchy side balks, knowing Diego will try to suppress her more enchanted side.
Always (Dragon Wars #3) by Rebecca Royce
Robbie Owens has fought the dragons for seventeen years, leading his group of secret, elite werewolves. Tatyana Knox is a human in a world where humans are like unicorns—they simply don’t exist. But she is real and she is Robbie’s mate. If he can trust her, they will turn the tide of the war. But the clock is ticking and Tatyana’s time with Robbie is almost up.
Violet’s Shadow (Shadow Mates #1) by Jennifer Kacey
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.
Wolf with Benefits (Wolves of Willow Bend) by Heather Long
After graduating college and spending a summer breaking the law, Shiloh Sullivan needs to make amends and accomplish something for Willow Bend. When her best friend, the wolfish and playful Matt Montgomery moves her in with him, she’s hard-pressed to refuse. But pretending a relationship with a wolf is impossible, and while Shiloh might be human, she knows the rules…
The Alpha’s Saving Grace (Lonestar Wolf Pack #1) by Melissa Schroeder
Alpha Jacob Sanderson doesn’t have time for distractions as he hunts a vicious killer attacking his pack. Sheriff Alexandra Littlefoot is his best resource and a woman he can’t seem to resist. As secrets rise to the surface, the killer’s violence escalates and threatens the pack.
Focus on Heather Long
Series Reading Order:
Wolf at Law (Prequel)
Book 1: Wolf Bite
Book 2: Caged Wolf
Book 3: Wolf Claim
Book 3.5: Wolf Next Door
Book 4: Rogue Wolf
Book 5: Bayou Wolf
Book 6: Untamed Wolf
About the Author:
National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
Excerpt of Wolf with Benefits by Heather Long:
After sweeping a glance across the spotless kitchen, Shiloh Sullivan sacked the trash with a tie, then a twist followed by knotting the plastic gathers at the top. Dragging the bag out of the can, she palmed the recycle-only can as well.
“Take those straight out, put them in the right cans—dark green for the trash and blue for the recycling.” Her mother didn’t look away from the stove or the fish she grilled.
“I have put trash out before, Mom.” Shiloh fisted the bag. “Twenty years of experience.”
“Don’t take that tone with me.” Her mother spun and pointed her spatula in her direction. “Take it out, put it in the right cans, then get back in here. Everyone has had quite enough of you lately, and they aren’t going to be particularly friendly at the moment.”
Blowing out a deep breath, Shiloh pursed her lips. She was twenty-four, not four. She had a college degree and plenty of options. Hell, she’d spent an entire half a year coordinating the most daring gamble of the century and been instrumental in forming a new pack—an unheard of sixth pack in the United States. And they were still going…none of those words passed her lips, however, not when her mother glared daggers at her. “Is there anything I can say that won’t piss you off right now?”
Delia paused as though considering her answer, before she shook her head. “No. Do what I told you to do.” Read the rest of this entry »
Thursday, June 25th, 2015
First of all, a huge thank you to the lovely Delilah Devlin for hosting me here today. It is a privilege to guest blog on a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author’s site!! The opportunity is very much appreciated.
So my topic today is…If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
In his song, Rocky Mountain High, John Denver sings about coming home to a place he’d never been before. I recently felt that way while doing research for my Red Masks series now available through Ellora’s Cave. The series is set in Charleston South Carolina, and after doing a ton research into the city I became fascinated with the place.
Row upon row of historic houses line The Battery, a beautiful promenade that was originally built as a defensive seawall and named after an artillery battery that was set up there during the Civil War. This part of town also holds the White Point Garden that was so named because of the sun-bleached oyster shells once found along the shore.
Charleston also has its own French Quarter, which is still located within the original walled city and boasts cobblestoned streets and gas lit alleyways. This is where the inspiration came for making Manette and Thibaut Brisson the owners of the notorious Gaston Plantation and its private Red Masks Club, and giving them their French-American heritage.
There are several plantations near the city with immaculately kept gardens and moss covered trees. And I have heard there may be ghosts haunting several of the sites—war-torn lovers who wait eternally to be reunited and the spirits of slaves who haunt the grounds of their former owners in search of freedom…or revenge.
Charleston is an international travel destination that has been named one of the top cities to visit in the United States, so where better to set a series of books whose characters come from all different parts of the world? Zayne Saladar in Master of Silk hails from the Middle-East, and his belly-dancing wife—Isabella Seda—has Spanish ancestry, while both Sakura and Ian Hideo Shoji of Binding Cherry Blossoms are of Japanese descent.
After looking at picture after picture of the beautiful city and reading the descriptions of its historic districts and sultry sea breezes, I am completely enamored of the place, although I have never once set foot in the town. To remedy that, hubby and are planning a trip to Charleston in September so I can stroll down the streets I have written about and hear the water crash along the shore.
What about you? Anywhere in the world you have read, seen or heard about that makes you ready to plan your next vacation? Are you addicted to a certain place on the Travel Channel, or catch every episode of House Hunting where that particular city is featured? Stop by and let me know. I will be giving away a couple of copies of Roar of Thunder, the most recent release of my Red Masks series, along with some lovely red costume masks and pretty red mask bracelets.
Roar of Thunder
Book 5 in the Red Masks series
After a disastrous tour of duty in Afghanistan, wounded veteran Thibaut Brisson returns home as half-owner of the Red Mask BDSM club. But a severe case of PTSD leaves the Dominant surly, sleepless and sexually impotent.
After long months of nightmares, Ty finally allows himself to submit to the beautiful Domina Grace Heathcastle, hoping a session beneath her whip will allow him to release his pent-up fury. But he makes it clear he will not submit to her forever.
Once a submissive herself, Grace switched sides after a bad relationship left her injured. She knows Ty needs someone strong enough to break through his resistance, but she finds herself doubting her dominance—especially after a night of submissive pleasure in his arms.
Who will eventually win the war when Dominant and Domina battle for position?
Reader Advisory: This story has graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!
A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
For buy links, excerpts, and my other books: www.GiaDawn.com
Thanks so very much!! Gia Dawn
Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
When I’m working in my office I generally have the television on. It’s a rather bad habit I started as a teenager. I’m not really watching it’s simply background noise. The other day I happened to notice The Thirteenth Warrior was on. It’s an interesting movie based on the book Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton. It stars Antonio Banderas as an Arab assisting a company of Norseman in stopping an ancient evil plaguing a Norse village. In one scene the warriors go out in search of the enemy and Banderas’ character asks “Have we anything resembling a plan?” I’d like to put that saying on my phone and computer as an audio reminder to make a daily plan.
Like most people, I have a very busy life. I have a full-time day job, a family, a large garden, pets, children, grandchildren, and writing deadlines. The only way I can keep it together and meet all my obligations is to plan.
I plan out my meals a week in advance. This way I know when to take out the frozen meat or when to do any other preparation that the meal requires. It also helps when I go to the store. I know what we are eating and I’ve checked my cupboards before I leave so I only buy what I need and don’t waste time or money.
For my garden, I begin planning in the fall. This way I know what I’m going to grow next year so I can order all my seeds ahead of time. Since I do most of my own starter plants I can set up a schedule for planting the seeds so I have seedlings ready to go into the ground as soon as the weather permits.
When I work on a story I do the same thing and start with a plan. I make character sheets for my main and secondary characters, an outline of what the story is about, and a list of any research I need to do. I find I can write much faster this way and don’t end up running off on a tangent.
Like I said, I try to plan. It doesn’t always work, but when things go wrong I have some sort of structure so the wheels don’t completely come off the wagon.
Do you try to make a plan?
Augustina Van Hoven
Proving Love is Strange
THE KISS OF A ROSE – Now available
A DISTANT PAST
In 1882, Rose Van Buren loved the wrong man and paid for it with her life. Now, more than a century later, the angel Gabriel has granted her another shot at living. In exchange, she must convince a smart, handsome, up-and-coming lawyer to set aside his lofty ambitions.
A FUTURE PRESENT
Stephen Winship is headed straight for the governor’s chair. He has a brilliant career, solid allies, and a seemingly perfect girlfriend. But night after night he finds himself dreaming of a heavenly beauty, a luminous but long-dead girl. Like some altered Ghost of Christmas Past, she shows him her own tragic tale in order to “save him.” And he’s beginning to see Rose is risking her heart as much as baring her soul. Yet falling for her will cost him everything—and open him up to a happiness he never imagined.
The second book in the series, THE THORN OF A ROSE, is coming out this fall