So, now that I’m caught up, blog-wise (check yesterday’s post!), I’m taking a deep breath and moving forward to talk about what happened in July and give you a view into what’s coming (hopefully) in August. Bear with me!
My Awesome-Sauce July!
July was the month I got my writing mojo back. Since the start of the year, I struggled. My dad’s health was failing, and then he passed. I actually, for the first time, began to wonder if my nearly 200 published stories were going to be it, because I found way too many excuses NOT to write. And every time I did sit my butt in the chair and poise my fingers over the keyboard, every word that popped into my head was total shit. Sorry for my French! And now, I apologize to all French people for inferring that the French language is filled with cusswords. Who made up that stupid phrase anyway?
Anyway, things turned a corner for me in July. I think it was because I got out of my mole hole of an office (it’s in the basement, no windows, thus “mole hole”). For a week in July, I attended a writer’s retreat with some writer friends and my sister, and I blew out a book in 4-1/2 days! It was just there every time I sat. I made myself squirm over the sexy bits and laugh (a lot) over the humor. I knew I was back!
The result was Hot SEAL, New Orleans Nights, which released on July 14th!
Another thing that hung like a cloud over me since last Fall was being in KDP jail. Meaning, I couldn’t put stories on pre-order in Kindle. I failed to meet a deadline while my dad was ailing, so Amazon removed the privilege, which REALLY bummed me out. First, I need solid deadlines, or I find it really hard to motivate myself to produce. Also, with pre-orders, I tend to make more sales, so I really got hit hard in the pocket book.
When I returned from the retreat, where I was super-pumped with my success, I shot off a message to Amazon to ask them what specific date I was getting out of jail, because I wanted to make some plans, and they wrote me back and said they were doing me favor. THEY LET ME OUT OF JAIL! You have no idea how happy I was. I felt as happy as the first time I sold a book to a publisher, which to a writer, is like every Christmas ever, all rolled into one joyous moment.
So, of course, I set myself a deadline. Quincy, my next Montana Bounty Hunter story, is up for pre-order now! So, if you want to make me even happier and inspired to keep working hard toward that release, go ahead and put the book on pre-order!
I was ready to dive into writing again, but I had multiple editing jobs lined up in a row and two teenagers to corral for two weeks (read yesterday’s blog to see what that’s been like), but I rolled up my sleeves and went to work finishing the editing jobs all up. I have more deadlines coming, but not so many that they will keep me from writing my own new words, so I’m feeling pretty good about where I am this last day of July!
And, if you didn’t read yesterday’s blog, I had another new release, yesterday, the prequel short story to introduce you to my sexy man, Quincy!
Okay, so I’m late posting this. I’m doing it anyway. I hate leaving blanks in my blogging calendar. I already had two this year, the first in four or five years, but April followed some pretty gritty family things, so I’m excused, right?
Let me tell you how yesterday got so FU’d, because I know you want to know what a day in the life is like with me. And even if you don’t, this is my blog, so I get to tell you anyway. 🙂 And after I tell you my sad story, I’ll tell you about the new release! Yay!
So, yesterday, I was playing the good grandma. My dd and SIL are in Virginia at the moment, so I have the two teenagers to ferry back and forth to football and volleyball practices, as well as “play dates” at the community pool with their friends. The boy told me he HAD to be at the football field at O-five-thirty because they had some special deal and had to be bussed. So, I was up at 4:30 to make sure he got his own ass out of bed (he’s a teenaged boy, he needs more sleep than Sleeping Beauty). I woke him, took him to the school, and we sat. The field was dark. I asked him to check his schedule again. “Nina, it says we have to catch the bus at 6PM.” I must have given him bug-eyes, because he handed me the phone and said, “See?”
WTF do they teach kids in school? I took a deep breath and instead of punching him in the throat told him “PM” indicated that he had to be there in the evening.
Soooo, back home we went. I stayed awake, because the girl had to be at volleyball at 8 so I woke her at 7, because, even though she doesn’t need as much sleep as Sleeping Beauty, she still NEVER hears her alarm.
So, I went back in two hours to pick her up. Back home, I worked on edits that were due yesterday. Took me all my time, up until I had to head out to drop the boy at his bus, then the girl and I caught a craft club meeting in town, then back to the school to pick him up. By the time I arrived home again, I was too tired to post a freaking blog, and I went to bed.
So, that was my shitty day.
I didn’t have time to tell you about my new release, but here it is. Only, it’s not really new if you picked up a copy of Stranded: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology. It’s one of the thirteen stories in that sexy volume.
However, if you haven’t read my story and want to drool over the cover, you are very welcome and encouraged to pick up a copy of the short story, all by itself! It’s just $0.99 or FREE to KU subscribers!
Quincy Down Under
A bounty hunter following a lead is trapped in an underground-bunker-turned-beauty-salon with a pretty beautician… Get your copy here!
P.S. If you’ve read the story, and want to help an author out, post a review! I’d be forever grateful!
Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary is this summer, Thursday, August 15 to Sunday, August 18, 2019. Fifty years ago, in 1969 from August 15 to 18, throngs of people came together in Bethel, N.Y. for four days of peace, love, and music. It turned out to be one of the biggest and grooviest rock festivals ever, and an iconic cultural and historical event. The concert was far-out with thirty-two acts including Joan Baez, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, Jonny Winter, The Band, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Jimi Hendrix with what was probably the most memorable performance of the festival—his profound rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
Food was in short supply at Woodstock because the promoters only expected about 50,000, but around 400,000 showed up—which also created the largest traffic jam in the history of the Catskills, forcing State police to close the New York State Thruway’s Exit 104. Plus, on the second day of the festival, a downpour transformed the grounds of Max Yasgur’s dairy farm into a sea of mud.
Yasgur’s former farm, the site where all of this took place, has been remembered by the opening of both the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and the Museum at Bethel Woods on the grounds and was also added to the National Register of Historic Places.
I am a babyboomer but I was only 12 in 1969—too young to hitchhike to Woodstock, unfortunately. However I always wanted to go, so by writing about it, I got to go, at least mentally, and I get to take all you wonderful readers along with me as well as two of my favorite characters, Cash and Keith. This Woodstock, time-travel, baby boomer, comedy romance of mine is called Back To The One I Love.
The thrilling adventure of first love and self-discovery is just as groovy the second time around.
A free-spirited, baby boomer couple, Cash and Keith, find their marriage of forty-five years unraveling amid apathy, boredom, and retirement. Cash feels Keith is no longer attracted to her and he’s consumed with a couch-potato life of streaming The Orville and Game of Throne episodes all day long. Trying to hang on to their marriage and rekindle the romance they lost along the way they turn to a counselor. The therapist uses an unorthodox magical method of a time-traveling Volkswagen van to cast them back into the garden…four days of Eden at Woodstock….the epic music festival… where they first fell in love. Will the freedom of Woodstock lure Keith and Cash to push their individual boundaries and seek new lovers? Or can Déjà Vu and grooving to music….truly lead them to rediscover the peace, love, and harmony they once shared?
Cash’s mind was in a haze, floating with the music, moving her body freely―bouncing, jiggling, dancing her heart out.
Keith clapped with Cash as Jimi Hendrix picked the strings and worked the frets as he played “The Star Spangled Banner.”
In his hands, the inanimate object, the sleek, white electric Stratocaster, came to life, with jolts of electricity like Frankenstein’s monster.
This was no confused, lonely monster Hendrix created, Cash thought. This is raw, spiritual beauty.
“The notes are ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ mixed with truth and distortion, fear and hope, chaos and order, all fighting each other. It sounds like bombs and guns, screams of pain, and the whirl of army helicopters, all from the strings of his guitar,” Keith said.
“The national anthem has never been played like that before him or since him,” Cash said, with an edge of awe to her voice.
“He’s telling a story of freedom fighting to break through prejudices, lies, and cover-ups just by the way he’s playing the song,” Keith added.
“He’s incredible.” Goosebumps prickled on Cash’s arms when Jimi Hendrix laid the guitar on the stage and picked it as he ritually set it on fire, letting hype and lies go up in smoke and flames.
Tears formed in the corners of her eyes. “It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,” she said in an emptily charged, broken whisper.
Keith gulped hard. “It blows my mind.” He slapped his palms together, clapping with Cash, a long time after Hendrix left the stage.
“And we saw it twice, together.” She slipped her arm around Keith’s waist.
“How special are we?” He slid his arm around her shoulder and pulled her tight to him.
You can find more on Back To the One I Lovehere and Peace, Love, Music here.
We are made of flesh and blood, but also stories. The stories we hear, read, imagine, are as much a part of us as our make-up as our genes or the colour of our eyes. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the stories that shape me. I’d like to tell you a little about them.
The first stories were the Celtic legends that my Welsh grandparents and my older cousin told me. Tales of magic and monsters. Shape-shifting bards. Torrent spectres. And the mysterious Otherworld, always shimmering just out of reach… at the top of the hill… deep in the forest… at the point on the horizon where sea and sky merge. I loved the Ceffyl Dwr, the Water Horse, a mythical shape-shifting creature that lives in water, but can also appear on land. I loved the merfolk too. More about them later!
I also grew up with the Nordic myths that my father used to read to me as bedtime stories. I’d go to sleep with the sound of epic battles ringing in my ears. Thor was my favourite. I was delighted to meet him again recently in the Avengers films, played by the delicious Chris Hemsworth!
When I was twelve, I read The Lord of the Rings. That story changed me. I was so sad when I finished the book, I actually cried. No more Elves or Dwarves? That couldn’t be. I decided that day that I’d become a writer, and create stories like that.
OK… it took me thirty-three years… and I never wrote that big epic novel. But I did write my own books, and eventually one of them got published. I write fantasy romance, because I love fantasy, and I think I’m a romantic at heart. The stories I heard and read as a child and teenager are still with me. The Otherworld is in my head, with all its magic, and every time I read or write a new book, it gets a little richer, a little better.
My book A Merman’s Choice was published in January by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the hot and tender story of the forbidden love between a shape-shifting merman and a human woman. Read a summary and extract below!
The second book in the series, Music for a Merman, is due out later this year. I’m currently working on the third book, where a feisty shape-shifting mermaid teams up with a warlock to save London from a water monster. I have also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All”, for the supernatural romance anthology Mystic Desire by Black Velvet Seductions – pre-sale 1 September, release date 1 October. I’m so excited about it, because it’s about a witch and a warlock who go back in time, and I love witches!
A Merman’s Choice Book 1 in the Sea of Love series
For centuries the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands have lived incognito among humans. But one of them, Yann, has developed some bad habits. Like rescuing humans, even when doing so risks revealing his true nature. When he fishes Alex out of the sea, he doesn’t expect her to reappear eight months later, and turn his life upside down by asking him to be her guide.
Alex is determined to fulfil a promise to her dying grandmother, by gathering pictures and stories of the Morvanns. But she soon discovers that, on these remote Welsh islands, legends have a habit of becoming true!
Over the course of a few days, Yann and Alex grow close. But some mermen hate humans. Their hostility, and Yann’s secret, threaten to tear the couple apart just as they are discovering that they are soul mates. Can Yann overcome the obstacles in his path and make the right choice?
Yann went to the dresser against the wall and picked up a bottle and two glasses. “Would you like a dram of whisky to warm you up?”
Alex slid back down the sofa. His ears registered the squeak of leg against leather, and his mind instantly pictured her sprawled on the cushions, her golden hair fanned behind her head, milky thighs open wide. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the maddening image.
Her voice dropped into a seductive purr. “I’m quite warm already, thank you. But I can cope with more heat.”
He poured a glass of the golden liquid and brought it to her.
“Thank you.” She sipped it and made a grimace, which turned into a smile. “Even better than cider.”
Her mouth glowed against her milky skin like a forbidden fruit. He thought of the first summer berries, tart redcurrants, juicy raspberries. Would she taste like them?
They needed food. If he didn’t get lunch down her soon, she’d get drunk. The demon voice in his mind whispered that Alex would be great fun if she lost her inhibitions. He tried to shut the demon out. What could he prepare quickly?
He strode to the trap in the floor by the front door and lifted it. The smell and sound of seawater, sloshing in the dark, rose up.
Alex padded over to investigate. “Oh, wow. You have a whole aquarium down there!”
The corner of her blanket brushed his bare arm, sending another twig to feed the fire that smouldered in his loins. “That’s how Islanders keep their seafood fresh. Why don’t you go and sit at the table, and I’ll open a dozen oysters for you?”
She didn’t need to see the tunnel on the side of the “aquarium,” that led to the lower floor of the house, the level that flooded at high tide and opened onto the sea. The level where a more respectable merman would spend most of his time.
She moved away, to the centre of the room where the oak table stood. Not far enough. He’d become so attuned to her that every one of her movements seemed to ripple across the space and lap against his body. He grabbed a knife and bucket from the tool shelf, snapped the first oyster open and dropped it in the bucket. Now she was crossing her legs, damn her. Did she know that the woollen fabric was opening, uncovering the ivory skin of her inner thigh? Was she flirting with him, or was it his imagination?
“I love oysters.” Her voice wrapped itself around him like a silk scarf. “Pity we don’t have any champagne to go with them, but this whisky is just as good.”
Too late, he remembered that for mainlanders, oysters weren’t a cheap, quick meal. On the mainland, oysters were the food of seduction. An aphrodisiac. What if Alex was misreading his intentions?
Or rather, what if she were reading them all too well?
She patted the bench next to her. “Come and sit here. I can’t eat all these oysters on my own.”
Her grin gave the lie to her words. Her grin said, “I can gobble them all up, and you with it.”
What about you? Which stories shaped your life? Do you remember a favourite story from your childhood? Did a book ever change your life? I’d love to know!
Happy Saturday! I just wanted to poke my head in the door today to remind you about something. If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you have access to FREE books! If want to get a FREE copy of Stranded, you better get it TODAY, because it’s leaving KU tomorrow! Last chance, folks!
Remember, there are 13 luscious erotic short stories inside this volume. If you’re looking for a good deal, get your FREE copy today. But hey, even if you don’t have KU, $0.99 is a GREAT PRICE for this volume!
Then, if you’re still hungry for sexy FREE short stories (sorry, KU subscribers only), every one of my Stepbrothers Stepping Out shorties is in KU! You can check out the stories on my Short Stories Page. Here’s just a sampling of what you can pick up for FREE!
And don’t forget! Next Tuesday, my shorty, Quincy Down Under, releases—and it will be available through KU for a limited time!
Is free love really free? When I sat down to write about a commune set in the late 60s, I had to figure out what kind of pairing to use. Happily-ever-afters can happen a lot of different ways—with one person, two, or three… Despite what went on in a lot of communes, I decided not to do a sexual free-for-all. It’s hard to build emotional bonding that way. But I did start writing it as a menage. When that didn’t feel right, I went for the traditional male-female pairing. Not an easy feat with such a mesmerizing and sexy hero who wants to recruit more followers at any cost and use sexual bonding to do it. With lots of pretty women and handsome guys around, temptation lay in every corner. Is the emotional bond between Jeremy and Adele strong enough to keep them in their own bed and out of everyone else’s?
Where were you in the summer of ‘69? Picketing, peacemaking, or falling under the spell of a magic man?
The day Adele Robbins turns eighteen, she flees her mother’s house to escape her lewd stepfather. She aspires to help people, but for now she simply needs a roof over her head. When she stumbles over a generous—and sexy as all get-out—hippie playing guitar on the street, she grabs at the chance for a temporary refuge.
While replacing the family he lost to tragedy as a child, Jeremy Dobson also plans to make the world a better place. Recruiting new followers should be easy, but one headstrong woman threatens to upset all his plans.
Unpeeling the layers of this unusual man makes Adele wonder if she’s jumped from the frying pan straight into the fire. She refuses to be a doormat like her mother, but Jeremy’s magnetism is a force not to be trifled with. When he beckons her to the edge to pursue their mission, will she follow?
Until the door closed, Adele didn’t dare move. Instead, Jeremy flung it wide open.
“Get off him,” he bit out.
The barely controlled fury in his voice filled her with a thrill with fear close on its heels. The man should have a high-voltage warning label on his forehead.
“I’m just following your orders, master,” she said sweetly.
After he ripped the sheet from their bodies, exposing their jeans, he frowned but let out a shaky breath.
“You disobeyed me,” he told her.
Adele scrambled off Denny who jumped up and grabbed his shirt. “You recruit your way, and I’ll recruit mine.”
“I-I didn’t touch her,” Denny told Jeremy, his eyes round and wide. “In fact, I’m going to split, okay?”
Jeremy, looking wild-eyed himself, shook his head so hard his long hair danced above his shoulders. “Don’t leave, man. In fact, I told her to pleasure you so you’d stay here.”
“Oh, well…um…I’m going to crash on the sofa.” Denny dropped his gaze as he slunk out the bedroom door and closed it.
Jeremy jammed his hands on his hips. “You disobeyed me,” he repeated.
“I heard you the first time,” Adele said as she put her blouse back on. “I’m not some whore you can pimp out.”
He paced around the bed. “You have a duty to help recruit new members.”
“You should have thought of that before you slept with me.” She headed to the closet to pack. “This place is not my scene. It’s high time I left.”
“And where will you go, Adele?” He rocked on his heels. “Out in the cruel racist world where you’ll be treated like a second-class citizen the rest of your life?”
She paused and squeezed her eyes shut. “I’d still have more dignity out there than being a whore here.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me you had a problem with your assignment?” he asked. “Why lie on top of the guy with your blouse off?”
She shrugged. “The same reason you did it with Mindy, I suppose. How did it feel, Jeremy, seeing me that way?”
He stepped forward until he was so close she could feel his body heat. “I think you’ve forgotten who’s in charge here. Maybe you need to be taught a lesson.”
His words sent a shiver of fear and desire through her. “Don’t you get it?” she whispered. “I can’t be with anyone but you.”
He grabbed her arms and pulled her against him so suddenly she gasped. “I dig it, sweetheart, and your loyalty is wonderful. But you still have to be punished.”
She rolled her eyes, chasing away the tender feeling she’d just had. “What am I, a child?”
“No, but you must trust and follow me one hundred percent.” He held her at arm’s length and gave her a gentle shake. “The journey you’re taking with me won’t always be easy. Your obedience may come down to life and death someday.”
Ice filled her veins. “You’re scaring me.”
“Put your fears in me,” he said as he reached for her waist and unzipped her jeans.
Desire rolled through her so hard, her knees buckled.
I think I’m going to like being punished.
Look Into My Eyes– in case you missed the Crossroads boxed set
The saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The connection between agency and self-sufficiency is obvious. It lends itself to more modern iterations like, “Don’t give a hand out. Give a hand up.” Ministering in inner city communities that most of the business world has abandoned, I love finding examples of agency/self-sufficiency projects that show them up. I found one of my favorite success stories in Liberia: the Liberian Womens Sewing Project.
Child Liberty, the son of an exiled Liberian diplomat, was inspired by the work of Nobel prize winners Leymah Gbowee, President Ellen Sirleaf and the Liberian Women’s Peace Movement, to return to Liberia determined to use his Silicon Valley tech experience to provide economic opportunity for women. In 2010, he co-founded Liberty and Justice which I learned is Africa’s first fair-trade-certified apparel manufacturer.
The workers in their factories in Liberia and Ghana are 90% female and are paid 20% more than others in the industry. They also own 49% of the business. This means women who are often locked out of opportunities for gainful employment are not just employed but owners of their employment. The cherry on the cake is that the remaining 51% goes back into community development.
Here’s a quote from a CNN interview with Child Liberty: “We did it in post-conflict Liberia where we have women from both sides of the conflict, affected by the conflict working together, singing together, praying together and doing all these great things but also exporting t-shirts for major retailers in the United States. In that process we hope those women will lift themselves and their families out of poverty.” You can read the full story here:
I’ve had to deal with banks in the inner cities where I’ve pastored that want credit for community development through Community Reinvestment Act investment, but you have to fight them tooth and nail to approve projects that are as community changing as Liberty and Justice. Having been a seamstress myself (alterations a specialty) and having a grandmother who supported her family doing piecework in clothing factories here in NYC, I love that women and sewing machines are providing their own happily ever afters.
“Put It In A Book”
by Michal Scott
The daughter of ex-slaves, Aziza Williams uses her freedom to teach slaves to read, a law-breaking activity that forces her to flee the United States for the Free and Independent Republic of Liberia where her independent and injustice-confronting ways garners the unwanted sexual attention of a dibia, Dulee Morlu. In a cruel twist of fate, Morlu uses Aziza’s love for education against her and imprisons her in a book no one will ever read. He declares she will remain there until she submits to him. After a month of imprisonment, Aziza despairs that Morlu is right. Fear that she may surrender to him begins to overwhelm her until one day she senses the unfamiliar touch of Sekou Caine, an audacious and inquisitive thief, leafing through her pages.
A multiple volume encyclopedia stood on shelves at chest level in a far corner. Morlu would want his wealth within easy reach. Sekou pulled down the first volume and rifled through the pages. Paper currency of all types fluttered to his feet like leaves whirling from the branches of bombax trees in winter.
Clever, Dibia. But not clever enough.
Sekou chuckled and rifled through volume after volume. By the time he reached Z a pile of money lay on the floor. He scooped the cash into his swag sack, laughing quietly at his haul.
He thrust the last volume back into place, knocking a slender manuscript off the shelf.
The Story of Aziza.
He recognized the title of the book with which Morlu had taunted him. He picked it up, fanned the pages with his thumb. A sigh drifted past him. Startled, he crouched and looked left then right. Only the night breeze disturbed the silence. He fanned through the pages again. This time a scent – light like rain, sweet like honey – graced the air.
He stared at the face of a withered old hag on the book’s cover. The image had repulsed and fascinated him. The gaze in her eyes shone with intelligence and defiance, so unlike the villagers lionizing the dibia at this moment.
Sekou opened to the flyleaf. There the image of a black beauty stared back at him. Her skin was as smooth as the hag’s was wrinkled, but the same intelligent defiance shone in her eyes. He traced the outline of her chin jutting forth with pride.
“So, ladies…” He feathered his fingers along her full lips then examined the woman on the cover again. “To which one of you does this story belong?”
Aziza’s chest heaved. Warmth from the intruder’s fingers suffused the book’s cover, intoxicating her mind and her spirit with hope. The rapid flutter of her prison’s pages kindled arousal along her labia. She shivered as delight saturated her deadened limbs.
Once again the rapid rifling of the pages sent tremors of pleasure through her. She knew not whose hand cradled her prison, but the respectful caress told her this couldn’t be her captor. Dared she hope this might be a person she could trust to set her free?