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Allie Boniface: Look up, Angel (F*R*E*E READ)
Monday, January 15th, 2018

First off, a big thank-you to Delilah for hosting me here on her blog!

So here we are in January of a brand new year. Can you believe it’s 2018? I don’t make formal resolutions for myself anymore (ugh! too much pressure!), but I do like to look at the new year for a chance to reboot my daily routines and take a look at how I can become a better writer.

One of my goals this year? To interact more with YOU, my readers. I read an article in the New York Times last fall that really stuck with me. It talked about how people need social interaction, and social support networks, to be both physically and mentally healthy. Among the statistics they cited? People who’d suffered a heart attack had only a quarter the risk of death in the next 3 years if they had a strong support network, as opposed to those without one. In general, people who are socially isolated have a higher risk for stress and inflammation, which in turn can lead to mortality risk factors like high blood pressure, a weaker immune system, and coronary heart disease.

Scary stuff, right?

And yet so many of us walk around attached to our phones, or sit in our living rooms focused on our tablets, and we forget to look up, to have a conversation with those around us, to talk and listen and engage in a very human, one-to-one way.

So my goal this year is to be more present and more engaged with the people in my life. I can’t always do that in-person with my readers, but I can chat with them online and in social media groups and I can develop relationships with them both because of, and outside of, the books I write.

All this is a very long way of inviting you to be part of my journey this year in building better relationships with my readers! Two ways I have already started:

I am resurrecting my blog, and each week I’ll put up a post that will feature a giveaway. I hope you’ll stop by, visit, leave a comment, and throw in your chance to win whatever prize I’m giving away that week.

I am also writing 4 short stories exclusively for my newsletter subscribers. These stories will be free, and they’re my way of thanking my loyal readers and followers for supporting me on my writing journey. The first story, “Look Up, Angel,” released last week, so if you’re interested in reading it, you can subscribe to my newsletter for all the details: http://eepurl.com/9TO79

Enjoy this excerpt, and then if you’d like, drop by my blog to check out this week’s giveaway. I hope you’ll become a regular there, or on my Facebook page, or simply drop in every now and then to see what I’ve been up to. In the meantime, Happy New Year! Have a wonderful 2018!

Look Up, Angel

Sometimes love is waiting for us in the places we least expect it. All we have to do is look up…

“You’re kidding.” Angela skirted a mom pushing a double baby stroller and darted across 42nd Street before the light turned red. A cab missed her by a quarter inch, hit a puddle, and splashed dirty water all over her ankles. Fabulous. She pressed her cell phone to her cheek. “Is this guy even qualified to be your cameraman?”

“He’s got some experience,” her best friend Sophie said. “At a local cable station, but at least it’s something.”

Angela glanced over her shoulder and crossed 9th Avenue. “Soph, this is one of the biggest shows of your career. And you’re letting a hometown boy who’s got — what? Two or three hours behind the camera? You’re letting him shoot it? I can’t believe Lon isn’t freaking out about it.” The producer of Sophie’s travel show freaked out about everything.

“Not like I have much choice. I’m in the middle of nowhere. This town doesn’t even have a decent coffee shop.”

Horns blared around Angela. People rushed by in an effort to get home. The marquees, the storefronts, the traffic itself, lit up Times Square. She passed three coffee shops in the time it took Sophie to complain about the lack of one in Lindsey Point. She’d never lived anywhere but Brooklyn, as a child, and now Manhattan, as a journalist fresh out of grad school. She couldn’t imagine a place without espresso and parking garages and twenty-four hour take-out.

“Well, you’re not there for too long, right?” she said.

“I’m not sure. It’s a heck of a good story, I’ll tell you that much. I might be here a couple of weeks.”

Angela turned a corner, then another, and stopped in front of her favorite Italian restaurant. She rarely cooked, and at almost nine o’clock, her empty stomach reminded her that it had no patience for her attempts to. “Listen, I’ll call you later. I’m picking up dinner.”

“This late?”

Angela frowned at her phone. “It’s not even nine.”

Sophie laughed. “Sorry. It’s just that this town closes up after seven on a weeknight. I’ve been eating dinner at six.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Nope.” Sophie paused for a minute. “Call me later, yeah. I want to tell you more about my new cameraman.”

Forty minutes later, Angela arrived at her apartment house in the neighborhood of Chelsea. The building was tiny, but it had a doorman and an exquisite view, if she craned her neck and peered out one window at just the right angle. Plus she could afford it on her salary, without a roommate.

“Angel,” Mario greeted her. He pushed open the door, tipped his cap, and waited until she was safely inside before securing the door behind her.

She smiled. Her doorman was the only person who’d ever called her Angel, instead of her given name, Angela. She thought maybe it was a nickname in the place he came from, not like she knew where that was, but she guessed maybe the Dominican Republic, from his accent. He had light brown skin and a near-perfect smile.

“Coffee tonight?” He held out a paper cup from the shop around the corner.

“You’re so sweet. Thank you.” He’d started the tradition sometime last year, soon after taking the job. She didn’t know if he gave free coffee to everyone in the building, because she kept crazy hours and didn’t see most of her neighbors, but she imagined it was a perk that came with living in a nice place like this one…

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Lizzie Ashworth: Refuge in His Arms (F*R*E*E READ)
Friday, January 12th, 2018

Hi Delilah Fans! Hope you have a safe and warm holiday season. Now that all the excitement is dying down, I’ve got something to talk about.

Addiction. It’s a horror show for everyone it touches, and I’ll bet that most of you are touched by it, one way or the other. Fortunately—I guess—the addiction that touches me isn’t opiates or meth. It’s alcohol.

Alcohol is one of those ubiquitous parts of our world that almost everyone enjoys, a sociable, relaxing, and tasty treat. It’s been part of the human experience since pre-history. According to a February 2017 article in National Geographic, “Chemical analysis recently showed that the Chinese were making a kind of wine from rice, honey, and fruit 9,000 years ago. In the Caucasus Mountains of modern-day Georgia and the Zagros Mountains of Iran, grapes were one of the earliest fruits to be domesticated, and wine was made as early as 7,400 years ago.”

Plenty of evidence suggests that from the earliest days of mankind, intoxicants—especially alcoholic drink—have been at the foundation of religion, creative arts, and even the development of language. It seems that getting out of our minds actually helps us get into our minds.

That out-of-mind aspect, unfortunately, can become a serious problem for those who can’t get far enough or often enough out of their minds, and take up substance abuse as a way of life. Some even argue that substance abuse isn’t a matter of deciding anything, that compulsive consumption is an illness that we may be predisposed to due to genetics and/or early childhood experience.

It’s said that alcoholism accounts for around 88,000 deaths every year and costs the nation billions. On a personal level, suffering addiction or experiencing the troubles of a loved one with addiction is a tragedy that seems never-ending. So when I wrote alcoholism into a character in my most recent novel, Refuge in His Arms, it was a choice I made with some hesitation.

No one wants to relive painful experiences. Romance novels aren’t exactly a place where you expect to think about addiction. No one experiences difficult relationships in the same way. But alcoholism and other forms of addiction are pervasive. Characters without flaws are simply not believable.

My story isn’t meant to be a definitive analysis of alcoholism, and the character of David isn’t just about his love of drink. By the time we see him in this story, the worst of his struggle is behind him.

But like compulsive behavior for anyone, the tendency is never far away. And as David Evans shows us in this novel, when the right circumstances arise, the desire for that mind-numbing relief becomes a battle all over again.

I’m giving a discount coupon (GC48J) for Refuge in His Arms. It’s good for three days only, January 12-14, at Smashwords. If you have opinions about the issue of addiction, alcoholism, or if you read the story and have comments, I’d love to hear them. You can email me at ashworthlizzie@gmail.com.

Follow my blog for more of everything including a complete list of all my books and short stories!

Sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter, Liz’s Hot News, for freebies, pre-release deals, and much more.

Here’s hoping your shiny new 2018 is another step toward your happiness! ~ Lizzie

Finishing up the year… (FREE READ & Upcoming Class!)
Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

We’ve just whizzed past Christmas. It’s on to the New Year! Here are a couple of things you might want to check out!

FREE READ

Over on the my collections website, I’m giving away this free read!
If you’d like a copy, here’s where you go!

My Collections Website

The Bounty

This story was so much fun to write! It first appeared in Blue Collar, and so inspired me that I had to start a new series of books centered around Montana bounty hunters. Check out the first story in that series, Montana Bounty Hunters: Reaper.

About “The Bounty”…

After bucking her trainer’s orders during a takedown, a female bounty hunter proves she’s more than ready for the job..

FOR AUTHORS!
JANUARY PLOTTING BOOTCAMP!

This message is for any authors or aspiring authors who might be interested in some intensive help developing their next stories.

Don’t let that word “intensive” scare you away; I’ve led newbies, as well as multi-published authors, through our plotting process numerous times. Everyone comes away with new knowledge and insight, or at the very least, some terrific brainstorming support!

While lessons and exercises will be posted throughout the month of January, this is truly a self-paced class. We all have busy lives, and the workshop is designed to accommodate any schedule. Enjoy the pitch below!

ROSE’S ONLINE PLOTTING BOOTCAMP
Dates: January 8 – February 2, 2018
Last date to register: January 8, 2018
Cost: $50.00—cheap, considering everything you get!
Your DI (Drill Instructor): Delilah Devlin
Offered through: www.rosescoloredglasses.com

What you can expect:
LOGLINE (Lunges)
PREMISE (Pushups)
CHARACTER (Strengthening exercises)
CONFLICT! CONFLICT! CONFLICT!
Breaking through the STORY STRUCTURE stronghold
Battling the PLOT LINES

We do more in one month than some people do all year! Get tough! Get motivated! Get plotting!

Join your Drill Instructor, Delilah Devlin, to learn a methodical approach to harness your creativity in order to produce an in-depth plot for your next novel.

Sound scary? It is!!!! Especially when you’re staring at an empty page without a compass and a map to guide you through the novelistic jungle. Your DI will lead you through four weeks of tactics, exercises, and training that will help strengthen your abilities. Delilah will accomplish this with weekly lessons, bi-weekly chats, and daily online communication. Join her for bivouac in January!

Join this elite force now!

For those who don’t know, my sister and I co-founded the website for writers called Rose’s Colored Glasses in 2004. From that site, we run a critique group and provide workshops—some free and some for pay. In January, I will be leading a month-long plotting bootcamp. It’s a great time to join—something you can do to kick off the New Year! Join me if you can! ~DD

How’s our workshop different from every other one out there? I’ll provide feedback and brainstorming every step of the way!

Interested? Follow this link to sign up:
http://www.rosescoloredglasses.com/Online%20plotting%20boot%20camp.htm

And feel free to pass this along to anyone else you think might be interested with my thanks!

F*R*E*E READS Continue!
Friday, December 22nd, 2017

 

Over at my other website, Delilah’s Collections, the FREE READS keep on coming!
These offers won’t last! Get your copies today!

Kayelle Allen: A Romance for Christmas and a F*R*E*E  Adult #Coloring Book
Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Greetings to Delilah and all her readers!

Thank you for letting me come over today and share a book with you. A Romance for Christmas is a sweet, feel-good holiday romance that reaffirms all you love about Christmas.

When the story opens, it’s Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves was lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she never expected to get.

“Mommy?” Christine’s young voice broke in on her thoughts.

Dara put down the romance she’d been re-reading, the favorite she’d had since she was sixteen. She’d sold all her others at a yard sale the previous week. “What is it, sweetie?”

“Why don’t we has a real tree for Chribmas?”

“Why don’t we ‘have’,” she corrected. “Come sit by me.” Dara patted the couch and tucked her chenille robe closer around her.

One arm around Matilda, her cloth doll, Christine climbed up beside her mother and cuddled.

Matilda’s going to need stuffing before long. Her head flopped forward, face against her flat chest. When did the lace on her dress get so ragged? Dara smoothed the doll’s dress. “Remember when Daddy went home to heaven before Christmas last year?”

Christine knuckled her eyes and yawned. “I ‘member.”

“And then Mommy got hurt in the car accident and couldn’t go to work?”

“Uh huh.”

Dara took a deep breath. “Well, it meant there was no money for a real tree this year. But I’m sure Santa will still bring you presents.” Gifts Dara bought by selling her entire collection of romance novels at a yard sale at her friend Sherilyn’s house. “And we drew a tree, right?” She pointed at the crayon-bright drawing taped to the wall. Construction paper ornaments decorated each branch.

“But it doesn’t smell like a Chribmas tree.”

Dara hugged her. “I know, baby. I know.”

“How will Santa leave his presents?” Christine pulled away and got on her knees. “He can’t put them under the tree, Mommy.”

“Oh, honey!” She ruffled her daughter’s hair, swallowing the lump in her throat. “Santa will find a way.” She leaned forward and kissed her little girl. “We should get you in bed so he can come. He can’t leave presents while you’re awake.”

Two ways to get this book free!

First, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get this book free. Second, if you buy the paperback for a friend, you get the Kindle version for yourself at no cost. Now that’s a bargain. Merry Christmas!

Kindle Unlimited https://amzn.to/1wpW8qE
Paperback: http://amzn.to/2nBb37J

FREE DOWNLOAD!

Here’s a free Christmas coloring book
for the kid in all of us!

https://kayelleallen.com/media/coloring-book-christmas.pdf

About Kayelle Allen

Author Kayelle Allen is a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she’s tenured. Come check out her site and learn about her books. She writes contemporary, plus Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr.

Website https://kayelleallen.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Facebook https://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
Join the Romance Lives Forever Reader Group Download four free books and get news about books coming soon. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Lynn Collins: Work-life Balance – Truth or Fiction? (FREE READ)
Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Thank you, Delilah, for inviting me to guest on your blog.

Writing PROJECT DETOUR was a study of work-life balance for me. I was (okay, am) Brad. I get up early and tend my author work, drive into town to work a day job, then come home and get some words on the page. On good days, I even get a work out. On others, dinner is kind of a catch as you can sort of deal.

Basically I’m saying I run myself to the edge. Over and over. So when I had a character who got that part of my life? I knew I had to rescue him from this madness. If only one of us can get out, at least I’ve helped. And maybe I’ll learn something in the process.

I’m sure some of you have the same problem. When you’re at work, you’re thinking about home. When you’re at home, you’re thinking about work. And sleep? Forget about it.

But like I said, I’ve been learning some lessons in this journey. The best piece of advice I can give you is what they tell us on airplanes. Put your oxygen mask on first. Get enough sleep. Workout consistently. Eat healthy. And take time to relax. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessity.

My other piece of advice? Write everything down. I have a yearly, monthly, and weekly plan. I set goals at the weekly level to reach my yearly and monthly goals. Then, I schedule the activity in. If it’s not on my weekly list to get done? I’ve probably forgotten about it.

And one more idea? Schedule in fun time. It might be taking your kid to the carnival or walking your dog (which kills two birds as you’re getting exercise.) But get out of your head and your house often to laugh.

What about you? Are you a proud workaholic? ~Lynn

PROJECT DETOUR

Book 3 of the Castle View series is FREE on Amazon only 12/10-11.
Get your copy fast.

Sometimes fate resets the work/life balance scales.

Brad Castle had a plan for his life. A plan that crashed when a car accident stole his ability to do even the most basic tasks. On the verge of watching his Castle View Winery fail, he finally agrees to his mom’s badgering of hiring her assistant to help him recuperate. Every day is a struggle, but he won’t let his business and everyone that depends on him down. Besides, he only needs her for six weeks.
Destiny Brooks has bigger problems than a golden-boy who always had everything he wanted. Problems that included busting through the roadblocks in her path to open St. Josephs’ first Physical Therapy business. Even with his mother’s constant matchmaking attempts, Destiny won’t lose herself for the sake of a relationship, not again.

Can Brad open himself up to the possibilities of a world beyond work before Destiny finishes her assignment and moves on?

Get your copy here!

About the Author

Lynn Collins is the romance pen name for New York Times bestselling mystery author, Lynn Cahoon. Lynn claims to be the unrecognized daughter of Barnabas (Dark Shadows) and says she grew up in a dark, dank castle on the moors, waiting to be rescued. Finally, as all good heroines do, she rescued herself and now writes about happily ever after’s in small town settings. Someday she hopes to write the next big gothic romance. She lives with her cat. Find out more at: www.lynncollinsauthor.com

A Puzzle…and a Question! (Contest)
Saturday, December 9th, 2017

So…. I wrapped up another story this past week—just in the nick of time. It releases next week! The puzzle is related (hint-hint!). I had already set up a pre-order for the story but had to change the description slightly, as well as the price (it’s cheaper!), because it turned out to be more of a novelette than a novella. I don’t think you’ll mind. For this writer, I begin a story, thinking it’s going to go a certain way, and then stuff happens. Crazy stuff I didn’t see until the characters encounter something surprising (right along with me!), and the story takes off in another direction. This story will require a sequel. But you’ll have to read it, and then you’ll get an idea of why. Hate being a tease, but hey, that’s my job, right? :)

In the meantime, I have to move onto other projects, like a certain SEAL stepbrother and a wedding…another bounty hunter adventure… I’m editing three stories for other authors—all due by the end of this month! I’ll be revising an old story I based very loosely on a Russian fairytale and releasing that this month—so be watching for it!

Play the puzzle—then I have a question for you.
Answer in the comments, and you might win a $5 Amazon gift card!

The Question…

Which of my series would you like to see continued?
Check this page for a reminder of what’s already there!
(Shame on me, I haven’t updated that page to show the Montana Bounty Hunters!)

A Reminder!

Don’t miss out on FREE STORIES! Again, here’s the deal…

Throughout December, leading up to Christmas on the Delilah’s Collections website, I and some of the wonderful authors who’ve appeared in my collections will be giving away our stories! My suggestion, if you’re interested in collecting them, is to subscribe to the Collections blog. Look for the sign-up in the right column on that website. It says “Subscribe To Blog Via Email”—easy, right? That way you won’t miss a single offering. And beware! These free stories will only be available for a short time, so jump on them!