Can you believe the first month of 2016 is almost over? Yeah, it’s all over except the weeping. I blew my goals for January. And I’m not sure why. I felt good after December’s little health hiccup. But February presents a new challenge and a chance to catch up!
What did I accomplish in January?
I wrote 1/2 of one book.
I wrote the opening chapters of another then put it away because I hated it.
I revised an older title and published it.
I compiled a short story collection of my own and published it.
And that was freaking it.
Just so you didn’t miss those newly published titles, here’s a reminder…
Bent on catching her cheating fiancé in the act, Frannie Valentine got sidetracked by a little thing like dying. When she awakens, Frannie learns her pampered life will never be the same, so she turns to the man responsible for her undeadness and demands he take on the responsibility of giving her a little job training—in the PI biz.
Niall Keegan never intended to make himself a mate, but Frannie’s string of minor disasters, which ended with her dying in his arms, took the decision right out of his hands. While the mating part isn’t bad, making the disaster-prone Frannie a PI may just be the death of him.
From New York Times bestselling author, Delilah Devlin, comes her third naughty collection of bedtime stories–enough for a week’s worth of sexy inspiration! Included in this volume are…
Big Brass Buckle — Caught in a sudden thunderstorm on a lonely stretch of Texas highway, I pull into a dingy little diner to wait out the rain, never dreaming the cowboy of my dreams would follow me inside…
Pitch Black — Passion lights the way for an ex-marine corrections officer rescuing a female CO trapped in a prison block during a blackout…
The Pleasure in Surrender — After the lady of the keep bars her gates to the barbarian the king commands she wed, the half-Viking knight scales the walls of her heart…
One-Track Cowboy — After tracking two lost hikers, a park ranger and a local rancher lose themselves to a wild passion…
How to Train Your Skjaldmaer — A Viking jarl tricked into marrying a shieldmaiden sets out to tame his fiery bride…
Johnny Blaze — A firefighter moonlighting as a male exotic dancer gives a librarian a birthday spanking she’ll never forget…
Red Dawn — A colonist living on a lonely Martian plain receives her new mate, a man culled from among the newly transported convicts…
UPDATE: Four winners are announced in the comments!
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If you’ve followed me for long, you know I love, love, love writing short stories. I love to read them. (I don’t really have time to read much else!) I write so many, I am now publishing my third Strokes edition! Here comes the sales pitch… And what a deal I have for you! If you bought each of these stories individually, you’d pay $6.93. TODAY, you can buy this anthology for just $0.99!
There are seven stories, no cliff-hangers—these are self-contained short stories with a beginning and a Happy Ever After! And they cover a wide range of themes, from Vikings to Cowboys to Men in Uniform to a lovely little romance set on Mars… Seven stories designed to give you a week’s worth of bedtime pleasure!
I hope you’ll rush to Amazon and get your copy, because no kidding, that price won’t last long.
Comment to tell me which of the seven stories you are dying to read (click on the cover to head to Amazon for the list!), and you will be entered to win one of the previous editions of Strokes. And I’ll be choosing three winners!
Thank you, Delilah, and thank you everyone for stopping by.
When Delilah agreed to host me back in December, I had something completely different in mind as my topic. However, on December 24th I received an early Christmas present…a positive biopsy result for breast cancer. What makes this suck even more (and yes, as a writer I should find a more eloquent word than ‘suck’…but simply put…it does suck!) is that this is my second time.
I’m not going to get into all the ugly and crappy (another under-used but perfectly descriptive word) things that surround this diagnosis, because that isn’t me. Fourteen years ago, I had to delay my first chemo appointment by a week because I was going through a divorce, moving out of my marital home, and celebrating my 36th birthday. But through this all, I stayed positive.
…And that is what I want to write about.
Yes, being diagnosed a second time with the dreaded “c” sucks and is crappy, but I’m not going to let it get me down or hold me back. I’ve had a few friends…which is a ‘few’ too many…that were diagnosed with breast cancer after my first experience. I told them all, I can’t guarantee that a positive attitude will help, but a negative one will certainly pull you down.
This time around, I have to say, I disagree. A positive attitude does help! I know my husband and many of my close friends were devastated to hear this news. My daughter didn’t know what to do…she was only 4 the first time through, and once this Christmas vacation was done she was heading back to university, a 2.5 hour flight away. And my mom, well this should never happen to your children—certainly not twice—and it doesn’t matter if they are 5, 15 or 50. But I am keeping a positive outlook that things will go as smoothly this time as last. I’m hoping to fly to Nova Scotia at the end of February, between what I believe will be my first two chemo appointments, to see my daughter play in her first university volleyball finals. And while I took time off from work last time, I have actually decided to work through my procedures this time (as long as my health or my doctor doesn’t say otherwise.) My point here? NONE of my friends have given me the weepy face that often occurs when you tell people you have cancer. How can they think or act negative when I refuse to be brought down by it?
So whether it’s an illness, writing a book, or just living your life…stay positive. Think about the good things that lie ahead, or what’s the point? And whether you believe in God or chocolate to help get you through, surround yourself with positive things and positive people….because negative will definitely pull you down.
p.s. My 3 inch tumor was bigger than expected but my nodes were clean which means no spread. I don’t get the final results until 02/05…when I also get my chemo schedule, but in the meantime I have signed another contract with Wild Rose Press for a fantasy short, Love Supernaturally, and am waiting on a 2nd contract from my YA publisher, Boroughs, for my Young Adult novella, California Blue. I continue to work, write, craft, dream and plan.
REAL LOVE (A Candy Hearts Story)
Her eyes and heart are open to new worlds and new possibilities.
As a young girl, Monda was placed into the tutelage of Mistress Teevac. Trained to use her empathic skills and educated in the ways to please a man, Monda is on her way to her new mate and master when her spaceship crashes. Rescued by a handsome space lieutenant, who literally makes her heart race, Monda’s eyes and heart are opened to new possibilities.
When Lieutenant Patrick Lancaster looks at the exotic Monda, he sees beautiful not alien. With an instinct to protect her and the desire to have her, he’d be honored to call her his own, but the starts have something else in mind. Or do they?
Her face more angular than most. Her lips, thick. A constant pout, like she waited to be kissed. When he looked at her big blue eyes and long blue eyelashes, he thought exotic, not alien.
“Monda.” He reached to wipe the tear. No, it was not his place. He shoved his hand into his pocket. “I didn’t mean you. I don’t think of you as alien. I meant other aliens, like the green guys from Salvador. Have you seen them? About a meter high with pointed teeth. You can’t tell the males from the females except when they have their armor off.” He wanted to pull her into a hug. To comfort her and show her how sorry he felt. But she was promised to another, and while he might be an idiot, his mother also raised him as a gentleman. “Really, Monda, I’m sorry.”
“I know,” she whispered.
“What I mean is you’re an alien but not an alien. You don’t look like an alien. Of course any guy would be honored to have a girlfriend like you.”
Charlotte Copper lives in Stouffville, Ontario – that’s in Canada, eh. When she isn’t working at her full-time job, Charlotte likes to craft, read, go to movies, and, of course, write. Charlotte hopes to have all of her stories published some day because, as a romance writer, she believes in happy endings!
Lately, I’ve become a bit more analytical in my thinking about books. One of the things I’ve considered is what I like in a romance hero and who writes that hero best.
Linda Howard is the first author who comes to mind who writes the heroes I love. They are uber-alpha, supremely capable in every situation, and yet (often) completely befuddled by their attraction to and adoration of females who don’t necessarily make sense to their male minds.
My first Howard novel was Midnight Rainbow starring Grant Sullivan, secret operative extraordinaire, and a feisty rich woman. I don’t remember much about her, but I do remember that Sullivan was pretty darned swoon-worthy, especially considering I was a teenager when I read that book. But Sullivan’s not the only one. John Medina, who finally got his own woman in All the Queen’s Men after having cameo appearances in previous books, is another super spy who doesn’t break a sweat while the bullets are flying around him.
Howard’s heroes don’t have to be mercenaries or spies – though I’m certainly not complaining! – but they will be men who can maintain control of 99% of their environment. Ben Lewis, the Amazon guide in Heart of Fire, and James Diaz from Cry No More (one of my desert-isle keepers) are two men who may take questionable moral stances in some situation, yet they are 110% devoted to the safety of their women, even when they don’t understand what the women are planning or why.
She has also written two of my favorite cops (though I do adore Nelson deMille’s John Corey, but those aren’t romance, so we’ll save those for another day) in the hilarious Sam Donovan from Mr. Perfect and Dane Hollister in Dream Man. Honestly, who can resist a man who ends up with sympathy labor pains?
And speaking of Danes, or Dains as it were, I have to add Sebastian Ballister, the Marquess of Dain, from Loretta Chase’sLord of Scoundrels to my list. Not only is Dain another uber-alpha male completely confounded and besotted by Jessica Trent, LoS is simply one of the best romance novels ever written. Ever. Seriously. I’m pretty sure there are scientific papers quantifying that.
And one more author whose heroes I love? Laura Florand. If you haven’t read her chocolate or perfume series, get on it! She creates these gorgeous French men (and gorgeous French settings!) who are tough and rugged on outside, but molten chocolate on the inside – sweet, dark and delicious. Dominique Richard from The Chocolate Touch is my favorite of Florand’s bad boy chefs, but Gabe and Patrick are chocolatey heartthrobs as well (The Chocolate Rose and The Chocolate Temptation respectively). Honestly, though, if you’re going to read Florand’s books, just start at the beginning of the series with The Chocolate Thief and know that the books get better and better the more you read. Full disclosure, the first book in the series is actually my least favorite…though I do love that hero as well, Monsieur Sylvain Marquis.
Tl;dr (too long;didn’t read)—I dig supremely capable alpha males who are drop-kicked by love!
Tell me who your favorite heroes are.
On Monday, February 1st, I’ll randomly choose one commenter to win a free digital copy of one of my novellas. Winner gets to choose between Three Little Words and One Night in Savannah. Very different heroes in those two stories, but I love them both!
About the Author
Taylor Reynolds writes hot, contemporary romance that often features active military or veteran characters. She is a native Californian who currently lives in Northern Virginia with a dog and a cat.
Hello, I’m Melanie Jayne and I write romance with older characters. By saying that, I don’t mean women in their early thirties. Nooo, I am talking about women that have made more than a few laps around life’s track. I do this because I can barely remember my twenties and to be honest, my life didn’t get really interesting until many years had passed.
I find that too often in fiction, especially romance, the female characters top out in their early thirties or are into their sixties. The older women are portrayed as the meddling interloper or the crazy relative. Well I’m here to tell you that women can be so much more.
I love creating my female characters. They have had years to work through their issues with their families. Not that she can change things but she can anticipate, or won’t be surprised by actions and reactions. Hopefully, she is to the point where she has identified the negative influences in her circle and shed those “friends”. She may not completely know herself but she has a good idea what she doesn’t like and what she doesn’t want around her.
I usually find that she has just made or experienced a major change in her life. She can start over and do things her way, the better way. In my latest book, You Only, Hale Cameron has just returned to the small town where she grew up. Years before she left her fiancé and the town behind. Now she must find her place in the community that has kept the story of how she broke Finn Webber’s heart alive.
Hale has her share of baggage, she was abused by her mother and fears that she may share some of Lydia’s traits. She left a successful career to take over the reins of her family’s farming operation. After years of therapy, she believes that she lost her chance at love. Perhaps she isn’t really worthy of romantic love?
Her close friends have her back and help her navigate small town life. She must also deal with Finn. He is now the mayor and a popular bachelor. He never understood why Hale left and demands an explanation. Her reasons confuse him, almost as much as his attraction to her.
As couple addresses their past, Finn learns that he did not really know Hale at all. The new and improved Hale excites and entices him with her intelligence and forbearance. She is trying to fit in and become a leader as expected due to her family name.
In the book, Hale has doubts but continues working toward her goal. She was so much fun to write because she wants to move forward. I love that she knows her faults, but accepts that we all have them. She is unapologetically sexual and is not afraid to discuss her past and what she hopes will come to be. She is human and has worked very hard to be okay with that. I think that is what I love most about her. She knows that she isn’t perfect and isn’t surprised when those close to her screw up. She looks deeper than the what but more into the why.
Women are so much more than the number of years that they have graced the earth and I hope that one day, we will stop seeing them as their age but more for their wisdom.
About the Author
Melanie Jayne lives in on a grain farm in Central Indiana with her long suffering husband and Ginger the monster dog. When she isn’t writing, she’s dealing with repairs their old farmhouse and she loves to read.
Check out today’s shiny new releases in Cat Johnson’s Hot SEALs Kindle World! I’m so envious of the excitement! Alas, I’m not part of this release. I couldn’t manage to get my butt in gear to finish my story in time, but yay for you! There are 11 new titles ready for you to download now by some of the best military romance authors in the biz!
Okay, so the banner makes it hard to see the yumminess. Guess, you’ll just have to click on the titles below to check them out!
I’ll be honest. I hate when people ask me, “What inspired you to write this story?” It’s almost like asking a dog what inspired you to bark? It’s in their nature to bark, as it is mine to write or come up with stories. It’s what I do.
Inspiration strikes at the strangest of times, and it’s not just one event that inspires a story, but a multitude of events.
Sometimes my mind is dead. I feel like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, If I only had a brain. (I’ll give you a moment to sing that little ditty in your head. Okay, moving on.)
Then other times, I can’t get the stinking thing (my brain) to shut off. I’ll see something, hear someone have a conversation, and something I see or hear will lead me down another path, then another, then another, and BOOM! Everything falls into place and a story is born.
JK Rowling thought up the idea for Harry Potter on a train ride. True story! Maybe that’s why Harry rode the Hogwarts Express to school? Who knows?
But, what I do know (and it isn’t much) is that my newest release, Text Me, was thought up on a treadmill at the gym. Text Me is a part of the Candy Hearts Romance Series with The Wild Rose Press. TWRP did a call for stories with candy hearts titles and “Text Me” began whispering in my ear so seductively, Write me. Write me. Then it started shouting, WRITE ME.
Okay, I can take a hint!
I jumped off the treadmill, jotted notes into my phone, and I’m pretty sure the water fountain at the gym inspired the whole interoffice relationship romance in Text Me. I always hear about coworkers gossiping around the water cooler, so I thought why not make it more office related? So I did, and it worked, and I liked it. I hope you do, too.
When Erika’s ex becomes her boss less than a year after dumping her by text, she gets desperate to find a date to the corporate Valentine’s dance so he doesn’t suspect she still has feelings for him. Though not a fan of texting for the obvious reason, she doesn’t have much choice but to tap the keypad in order to gain the attention of the only viable candidate from the classified ads.
Grayson made the mistake of listening to his brother a year ago and has regretted what he did to Erika ever since. But his brother’s next suggestion just might be his salvation when he takes out an ad for a Valentine’s date…and Erika answers.
Using a pseudo name and keeping contact to text messages only, Grayson’s plans to make Erika fall back in love with him appears to be working…until the date of the dance draws near, and she pushes a meeting—face to face.
She sank deeper into the couch. What was she going to do? She couldn’t show up alone to the company dance. Not with the chance of Grayson being there. No way.
“Maybe go to another speed dating session?” She grabbed a tissue off the coffee table and wiped the excess slime from her fingers.
“My hairdresser’s single. You want me to ask him?”
“Your hairdresser’s gay. I don’t think he’d be interested in me.”
“Really?” Megan gave her a funny stare.
“Really.” Erika snorted. “Have you not seen the picture of him and his ex-partner at his station?”
“That was his partner?” Her friend’s mouth gapped open. “I thought it was his brother.”
She shook her head. Her friend was one of the smartest people she knew, but common sense eluded the girl.
Megan popped more hearts in her mouth. “That explains so much now,” she mumbled around the candy. “No wonder my hair always looks good.”
“Yes, it does.” Erika sipped her wine.
Her friend swallowed. “Well, I’m sorry, honey. I don’t know any single guys. If I did, I’d try to date them myself.”
“That’s okay.” She sighed and slumped back onto the sofa.
“Is Grayson single?”
“I don’t know. Why are you asking?” She narrowed her gaze. “You want to date him?”
“No.” Her friend said “no” as if it was the most obvious answer in the world.
“I’m thinking about you. You wouldn’t go back out with Grayson again, would you? Please say no.” Megan’s shoulders sagged.
Go back out with Grayson. She never thought she’d be given another chance. Would she go back out with him after the way he treated her? Of course not. She deserved better, despite how wonderful he had been.
“I don’t think so. He really hurt me. I can’t give him that privilege again.”
“Good for you.” Her roommate perked up and patted her on the back. “Stay strong. You’ll find someone.”
“You’re right. I’m going to have a date for that corporate Valentine’s dance, even if I have to search the classifieds.”
“Surely, it won’t come to that.” Megan held up her glass for a toast.
Erika clinked hers with her friend’s. “Yeah, surely.”
Her roommate sat her glass down on the table and reached for more hearts.
“Here, give me one of those.”
“I love reading the little sayings.” Megan passed her a heart and tossed her dark hair behind her shoulder. “What’s yours say?”
She flipped over the candy to see the phrase. Bright pink letters stared back at her. Oh, you can’t be serious. “‘Text me’. Seriously?”
Megan burst out laughing.
“You would find that funny.” Erika popped the heart in her mouth and obliterated the little saying she had grown to hate so much.
Erin Bevan is a wife and mother of three. An avid reader, one day she decided to try her luck in writing stories of her own, and the idea paid off. She spends her days deep in the heart of Texas, fighting mosquitoes, cleaning dirty faces, and writing when the kids nap. If it’s a really good day, she even finds time to brush her hair.