Bestselling Author Delilah Devlin
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Heading home…well, parts of me…
Sunday, April 29th, 2018

Hawaii was great! Well, except for the whole being eaten by T-Rex thing. 🙂 Right about now, I’m onboard my plane. Promise when I get home, I’ll post more pics and tell you about my time here. Love Hawaii!

And if you didn’t know, I have a new release! A shorty—so, you really can read it one sitting! It’s super-sexy—okay, all about the sex—but it’s Bulldog and Buttercup, so what do you expect? 🙂

A female bounty hunter and her partner master the art
of the takedown—on each other!
Just $0.99 and FREE for KU subscribers!
P.J. MacLayne: Hell’s Half Acre and a Giveaway!
Saturday, April 28th, 2018

Wyoming is a land of contrasts. There’s the rugged peaks of the Teton Range on the west side of the state, just south of the geysers and painted pots of Yellowstone. On the eastern edge of the state, you have Devil’s Tower among the rolling hills of near Hulett. In between, you have miles and miles of prairie and high plains, where there are more cattle than people.

But in the middle, there’s a strange geological site that few tourists ever see.  Even from the highway that goes by it, you can easily miss it if you don’t know it’s there. Until a few years ago, you were able to stand right at the crumbling edge if you dared to look over the sight, but now it’s fenced off.

The area goes by the name of Hell’s Half Acre, and I’m sure the early settlers thought it deserved the title. It’s a lot bigger than half an acre-actually about 320 acres. It’s an area of cliffs and rock spires and boulders and an assortment of colors. It’s hard to imagine what geological forces created it.

Lori Grenville, the main character in my new release, Wolves’ Gambit, didn’t have the opportunity to visit Hell’s Half Acre while she was in Wyoming. (I couldn’t figure out a way to write it into the story.) She spent her time in the dusty plains nearer to the Bighorn Mountains. She didn’t have time for sightseeing anyway.

Wolves’ Gambit

Wolf-shifter Lori Grenville was rescued from near-slavery and a brutal pack leader by the Free Wolves. To pay back the favor, she’s dedicated her life to helping others in the same situation, leading shifters to safety and a new start, risking her life in the process. She’s faced down alphas and has no qualms in undermining pack structure.

Now she’s challenged with the task of restoring an alpha to his rightful place. If she gets it right, she can stop a war from ripping apart two packs and spreading across an entire state. If she fails, she’ll be among the first to die.

There’s still the option of walking away and letting the Jaeger and Destin packs destroy each other. That means she’ll fail in her original mission of rescuing the daughter of the Jaeger alpha before the girl is forced into marriage for political gain.

Lori hasn’t failed in a mission yet. This one may be the exception.

Excerpt:

“Breathe, dammit, breathe!”

Hands pounded on her chest. A spasm ran through her body and she gasped. Air rushed to her aching lungs. She struggled to breathe but her throat was blocked. She couldn’t stop coughing and bile rose. It settled at the back of her mouth. The acid mingled with the sweet flavor of blood and her stomach churned. She retched and a seizure wracked her body.

She was rolled on one side, too weak to protest. Her hair was gently brushed away from her face. She took a shuddering breath and spit, trying to get the bitter tang out of her mouth.

“I’ve got you,” a low voice said.

She heard the words both with her ears and her mind. She slammed the blocks into place. It was too risky to reveal herself when she had no defense against an attack.

A trickle of water slipped across her lips and her tongue darted out to capture it. “More,” she pleaded, and then coughed again.

“I’m going to sit you up so you can have a proper sip. Don’t worry, I have you, little human.”

Strong arms wrapped around her and brought her to a sitting position. The screaming pain in her leg settled into a dull ache. A warm body behind her gave her something to lean against. A cool object was pressed to her lips and she tilted her head back as water slipped into her mouth.

“Spit it out,” ordered a new voice.

Reluctantly, she did so. It seemed a shame to waste perfectly fine water.

“This time, swish it around and rinse out your mouth.” It seemed like a good idea. She didn’t want the bitterness of blood to ruin the water’s freshness. She spat out the third sip as well, and the coughing started again.

“It’ll get better. You can swallow this time.”

She lapped greedily as the water bottle touched her lips, demanding more. It was pulled away far too soon. She whined in disappointment.

“A little at a time.”

The swallow was bigger this time. She tried to open her eyes but they were glued shut. Like a tired child, she raised her fists to rub them. Someone grabbed her arms to stop her and she groaned.

“Let me wash your face first. We need to see what the damage is and don’t want to injure your eyes.” Another new voice. How many people were there?

While wet fabric stroked her face, she listened. She counted the breathing of four people close to her, but quiet murmurs told her there were many more nearby. A soft buzz in her head was either the beginning of a massive headache or a sign of many unheard conversations going on.

Buy links:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1368542376
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wolves-gambit-1
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1128396666?ean=2940159062932

GIVEAWAY!

And a Giveaway! In celebration of the release of Wolves’ Gambit, one or more lucky people will win an e-book version of Wolves’ Pawn, the first book of the series. You can enter here:

Rafflecopter http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a7d27c8b1/?

About the Author

Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.

P.J. MacLayne can be reached on: 
Facebook https://facebook.com/pjmaclayne
Twitter https://twitter.com/pjmaclayne
Google + https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PJMacLayne/posts
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/P.J.-MacLayne/e/B00HVE8WZI
Blog http://pjmaclayne.blogspot.com/
BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/p-j-maclayne

Michal Scott: Better To Marry Than To Burn
Friday, April 27th, 2018

Growing up I was a sucker for history. How people lived in ages past always intrigued me. Born in 1956, I grew up a child of the 60’s Black is Beautiful movement. Nacent pride in being Black — as we were calling ourselves then — intensified my curiosity. I hungered for anything and everything that could teach me African American history. That’s why TV shows touching on the hidden stories of African Americans stick with me to this day.

I remember Ossie Davis guest starring as an ex-slave caring for his son on Bonanza. Watching Yaphet Kotto on High Chaparral where I first learned about Buffalo Soldiers. I can still see the boxed paragraph with illustration in the pages of the old TV Guide highlighting the episode. Little did I know as I watched those shows and others like them I too would be using historical fact to create historical fiction.

My most recent novella, Better To Marry Than To Burn, was inspired by a true story.  African-American married women in Arizona mining towns advertised back East to bring marriageable women West. They convinced the unmarried miners to settle down instead of fighting over prostitutes all the time. What a great set up for an opposites-attract second-chance romance.

This wasn’t my first encounter with the concept of mail-order brides. I used to watch a show called Here Come The Brides about three brothers who owned a logging company in Seattle. Bobby Sherman, a teen idol back then played Jeremy the youngest Bolt brother who stuttered and David Soul, later of Starsky and Hutch fame, played Joshua the middle brother. Its premise was the Bolt brothers had loggers who were tired of having no women in their lives and were ready to quit. The solution was to send oldest brother Jason, played by Robert Brown, back East to Massachusetts and return with single women looking for husbands. Many would be available and willing thanks to the lack of men created by the Civil War. I remembered the show had done excellent episodes on finding mates for Jewish and Chinese characters. Somewhere in the dusty recesses of my memory I knew they had done an episode trying to match African Americans, too. Was the memory real or had I made it up? Lo and behold, Google showed my memory was still good.

“A Bride for Obie Brown” had aired in 1970. I was pleasantly surprised to rediscover who had played the roles of Obie and his intended bride Lucenda. They’re now household names although I wonder if some of you may not be old enough to know who they are. Here’s a hint: their equally famous partners were actress Tyne Daly and jazz musician Miles Davis. Can you name them?

Better To Marry Than To Burn

Erotic African-American historical romance
Release date: April 25, 2018

Learn more here: https://amzn.to/2JyLKu1, here: http://bit.ly/2DHdb0x and here: www.michalscott.webs.com.

Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.

Caesar King’s ad for a mail-order bride is an answer to Queen Esther Payne’s prayer. Her family expects her to adhere to society’s traditional conventions of submissive wife and mother, but Queen refuses. She is not the weaker sex and will not allow herself to be used, abused or turned into a baby-making machine under the sanctity of matrimony. Grateful that love is neither required nor sought, she accepts the ex-slave’s offer and heads West for marriage on her terms. Her education and breeding will see to that. However, once she meets Caesar, his unexpected allure and intriguing wit makes it hard to keep love at bay. How can she hope to remain her own woman when victory may be synonymous with surrender?

Excerpt:

With thanks to God, he pushed past her flimsy drawers to the moist welcome of her center. Her 
vaginal walls gripped his fingers with surprising 
force. No amount of twisting or turning wrenched 
them free. God, to have that grip surrounding his 
shaft.

He pulled back and studied her face. Eyes still 
closed, a sly smile bowed her perfect lips. She 
enjoyed this battling as much as he.

“Was I too brutal for your enjoyment, Mrs. 
King?”

Her eyelids rose with the slow grace of sunrise. A gleam as sly as her smile shone in her gaze. “You call that brutal, Mr. King?”

She unclenched her lower muscles, allowing his fingers momentary retreat. With great care, she grasped his hand then slid his fingers between her folds once more.

“Holy Christ, woman. What—?”

The gentle rubbing robbed him of his ability to think.

“Jesus, have mercy,” he wheezed.

She slid his fingers from her wet sex into his mouth. He moaned, lost in her delectable taste.

Without taking her gaze from his face, she raked her gloved hand down his chest, across his belly, to his groin. Anticipation tensed his muscles in the wake of her touch. He watched mesmerized as, with a practiced ease, she unbuttoned his fly, pushed past the fabric, sought, found and stroked his cock. Her woolen gloves imparted a delicious friction he couldn’t oppose, even if he’d wanted. Delight enlivened every muscle in his body, including his jaded heart.

Jesus. This couldn’t be more than arousal. Could it?

Her fingers squeezed and his body arched upward on the yes swelling his spirit with joy. He threw back his head, mouth open, ready to shout as he neared the point of release.

Then she let him go.

He doubled over, slain by the abandonment. His lungs constricted, bereft of air. Reason deserted him too.

She stood and smoothed down her skirts with the hand that had massaged his shaft more deftly than he ever had. Reseated, she grabbed the reins and snapped the leather against his horse’s rump.

“Get up there.”

The wagon jostled Caesar from side to side. Still unable to straighten up, he looked into eyes gleaming with triumph. Her lips curved in a regal smirk.

“Was I too brutal for your enjoyment, Mr. King?”

Cate Tayler: Love Me Once More
Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Some twenty-odd years ago, I was a young airman deployed to the Middle East for the first time. I was one of four females out of a camp of 208 airmen, which may sound like heaven for a single woman, but was truly more a hassle than anything. Luckily, my friends had introduced to me a nice Staff Sergeant a few years older than me, and encouraged me to stick with him. “He’s safe,” they told me. “He won’t try anything and he’ll keep less honorable men away.” (Less honorable may not have been their exact words, but since I’m just a guest on this blog, I’ll keep it clean. *wink*)

They were right. He was good looking and fun, but above all, he was a perfect gentleman. One evening, we were hanging out in my quarters, doing laundry and watching Shaft (“He’s a baaad mother—Shut your mouth!”), and regaling each other with our life stories. We were all alone, and still, he didn’t try anything.

So I did. I kissed him. I never did have much patience.

Two decades and four kids later, and we still celebrate our first “date”. Sometimes we mark the occasion by going out or exchanging cards; other times, we simply enjoy a quiet evening at home. Friends have chuckled at us, but April 25th is as important to us as our October wedding anniversary. I think because we both knew, at that moment, we’d found a forever thing. Saying “I do” eighteen months later was merely icing on the proverbial cake.

Over the course of our marriage, we’ve had our ups and downs. What married couple hasn’t? Our days are more mundane than extraordinary. After long commutes and child-rearing and housekeeping and all the drudgery of a typical daily life, we more often than not collapse into our bed bone-tired and world-weary, a good night kiss and the tangle of our feet the extent of our romantic interludes. So it’s fitting that our relationship should have begun with something as routine as laundry and a movie.

The thing is, there’s comfort in the routine. I know I don’t have to wow him with fancy lingerie to keep his interest and he knows he doesn’t have to bring me flowers every night to keep mine. That first date showed us that even in the ordinary, we connected. We didn’t need a live fireworks display to feel the sparks between us. We didn’t need moonlight and dancing to feel the romance. We just needed each other.

The hazard with living in an ordinary marriage is that familiarity can breed contempt, or worse. It’s easy to take the other person for granted as you go about your daily routine, and once that happens, it can be hard to get that sizzle and spark back, the one you felt when things were new and different. Each partner falls into a specific role in the relationship and it can be much too tempting to expect them to always play that role. It can provide the perfect breeding ground for resentment and discord.

In my latest release, Love Me Once More, Lainie and Ethan experience this sort of conflict in their marriage. In fact, as the book opens, they’ve been separated for a year. Childhood sweethearts who married young, they each had expectations for their own lives and for each other that they never really communicated. Lainie’s career aspirations took precedence over Ethan’s needs, but in all fairness, he allowed it. He did what a lot of us do, which was suffer in silence, let the resentment marinate in its own corrosive juices until everything imploded. It was the wake-up call Lainie needed and heeded, and though it took her a while, she returns to set things right and repair her marriage. It takes Ethan a little longer to get on the same page, but – and I don’t think it’s spoiling anything to reveal this, since it is a true romance with a happily-ever-after – eventually, they reunite.

Those of us who’ve ever been in long-term relationships have probably experienced something similar. You get caught up in the routine. You forget to kiss him good night. He forgets to say goodbye on his way out the door on a busy morning. Meals are magically cooked and laundry is miraculously washed, all without a thank you or an acknowledgment. It happens to all of us and it doesn’t signify disaster, as in Ethan and Lainie’s case. But it can put a chink in your marital armor.

Which brings me back to why we still celebrate our first date. Because it’s a reminder of how far we’ve come and yet how close we still are to those young little fools connecting over a pile of camouflage uniforms. In the ordinary, we found something extraordinary. We found each other. And that’s something neither of us ever want to take for granted.

Love Me Once More

Cate Tayler’s latest release Love Me Once More is a prequel novella to her Mystic Point series.

Second chances are for suckers.

Or so Ethan Thomas believes. A year ago, he walked away from his wife—the woman he has loved since he was ten years old—after believing she betrayed him. Since then he’s settled in his hometown of Mystic Point, Connecticut among old friends, with a new job and a jaded outlook on life. As long as he can keep his estranged wife Lainie out of his mind, he has a chance to live contentedly, if not happily. Happiness is overrated, anyway.

Lainie Thomas has spent the past year in a solitary confinement of her own making. She once had everything—a successful career, a home in a big city, and the man of her dreams. But she took it for granted and ended up losing it all. Now she’s been given one last shot at redemption, one last chance to show Ethan she never betrayed him, one last time to convince him their marriage is worth fighting for.

But can she convince him to love her once more or is she too late to reclaim the happily-ever-after they both deserve?

Link: http://catetayler.com/book/love-me-once-more/

Genevive Chamblee: The Creole Bayou and Voodoo
Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

More times than not, when I’m speaking about Creole, Cajun, or Louisiana lifestyle/culture, I eventually hear an association with voodoo and strange happenings. And while, yes, it is true that there is a certain degree of bizarreness surrounding some aspects of bayou country, it’s probably much less than most people think. It also provides a limited and stereotypic view into the Creole culture. The goal/mission of Creole Bayou is to provide useful and accurate information about Creole history, culture, heritage, language, etc.

I must make a disclaimer before continuing. Honestly, I never thought I’d write this post. As an author, many of you know that I often use voodoo or the occult as reoccurring subplots or themes in my stories (e.g., “Oasis Haze” in Mysterious Hearts-Holiday Heartwarmers Anthology and “Under the Magnolia Tree” in Haunted Hearts-Holiday Heartwarmers Anthology). For this reason, I have done research in this area. That, however, does not make me an expert on the subject, and I do not claim to be. I also am not an advocate of any sort and will attempt to deliver the information objectively. While discussing the research I’d discovered with a woman (not a native of or residing in Louisiana), she immediately dismissed it and said she would continue to believe one hundred percent in what the media has presented about the subject to the masses regardless of any data presented that indicated the contrary. She insisted that the pop culture view of voodoo is the gospel truth. In no way do I seek to change anyone’s personal beliefs or opinions nor do I claim to make judgments religions of any kind. The purpose of this post is not a conversion but to present what history states about voodoo. (BTW, it would be silly of me to attempt to convert anyone to voodoo when it’s not a religion I practice or intend on practicing. However, if I continue to use it as a theme in my writing, I need to be accurate in my portrayal of it, if for no other reason than to be respectful.) Furthermore, voodoo is practiced in multiple areas of the world. This post will focus on voodoo in the U.S., specifically, how its practice in Louisiana.

The best place to start is to answer the question: what is voodoo? Voodoo is a syncretic (the combining of different forms of beliefs or practices) religion that teaches the existence of a supreme being referred to as Bondye, the worshipping of multiple spirits, a universal energy, and the ability to leave the body during spirit possessions. It is mainly an oral tradition and lacks a primary prayer, holy text, or rituals. The people who practice voodoo are called “vodouists” which roughly means “servants of spirits”.

Bondye steams from the French term bon dieu, which means “good god”. Bondye is an uninvolved and unknowable creator god who cannot be communicated with directly. Bondye is also the main/superior god. Bondye is over all people and spirits. The spirits are called Ioa, and each spirit is responsible for a specific part/domain of life. They act as the “middleman” between Bondye and people. Spirit possession (temporarily displacing the host soul or medium while Ioa takes control of the body) is desired as it allows one to connect with the spirit world and are used to communicate with god (Bondye). Say possession to me, and I automatically think of heads spinning in 360 degrees and the projectile vomiting of green soup and am running for the hills. You’d find me hidden somewhere and not venturing out. Contrarily, voodoo believes that possessions are (generally but not always) a good thing.

So, what is voodoo’s ties with Roman Catholicism? In 1685, the practice of all African religions by slaves were forbidden, and slave owners were mandated to endocrine their slaves in the Catholic religion with eight days of their arrival. The Catholic Church, in turn, viewed slavery as a vehicle for converting slaves to Christianity. However, many slaves continued to practice voodoo in secret, and the two religions (voodoo and Catholicism) became blended for them. Voodoo spirits became associated with Catholic saints and elements of Catholic rituals/practices (e.g., hymns) are used in voodoo ceremonies.

Contrary to popular belief, zombies, pin-stabbed voodoo dolls, and animal sacrifices have very minuscule associates with the voodoo religion. These stereotypes were formed out of fear by Christians who did not understand voodoo and later were popularized by people seeking to exploit the religion for monetary gains. Face it, zombies and ghosts have well-established buyer markets. There are books, trinkets, tours, movies, books, clothing, relics, and the list goes continues. It is very easy for people unfamiliar with voodoo to assume these are strong elements (or the only elements) involved if these things are the primary aspects being presented by the media and/or local specialty shops. Now, this isn’t to say that zombies, dolls, and animal sacrifices aren’t included in voodoo or not some practitioners do not make it the focal point. However, originally, that is not how it began.

For example, a zombie was thought to be someone who the soul had left the body and only the mindless shell of the person was left behind. This might have occurred to a punishment as one of the spirits (usually an evil one) for the person not living a dutiful life or the soul not returning to the body to allow for a relief from pain or healing from illness. One legion indicates that this occurred so that the zombies would work as slaves on sugar and tobacco plantations without complaint (because zombies were said to be mindless) and need for much rest (because they were merely human form without feelings). This definition of a zombie differs greatly from the popularized version of a subhuman eating other humans brains.

Another example would be animal sacrifice. For many, this may sound cruel and violent. I for one as an animal lover wouldn’t be able to participate or view anything like that. However, a look at history indicates that voodoo is not the only religion that practices/practiced animal sacrifice. This is/was not a practice unique/exclusive to voodoo. Historically, animal sacrifices can be found in Hinduism, Islam, and Paganism/Mithraism, Judaism, and even Christianity. It takes no further looking than the Bible to see mention of animals being sacrificed. In Hebrews 9:22 it states “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”. Mentions of animal sacrifices can be found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Isaiah, and Genesis. Many of the aforementioned religions no longer practice this ritual. But for many, it is often overlooked that the sacrificing of animal is restricted to voodoo.

Not all Creoles believe or practice voodoo. I would go as far as to say that the majority do not, but I do not have any empirical evidence that I can site to support that claim. That is not to say that this evidence does not exist. I just don’t have it. It is documented that a large population of Creoles are Catholic, as is much of the population of Louisiana. Catholics do not practice voodoo. Voodoo and Catholicism are not the same. Voodoo did not stem from Catholicism, and Catholicism did not originate from voodoo. Louisiana is not the only state in the U.S. where voodoo is practiced.

Voodoo is far more complex than what has been presented in this blog. Anyone interested should research the subject further. What if any myths about Creoles and voodoo did this post support or destroy for you. I’d love to hear your views.

Don’t forget to visit Creole Bayou again. New posts are made on Wednesdays. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

My new book, Out of the Penalty Box, a fiction romance is now available for at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. For more links where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit http://bit.ly/2i9SqpH.

My sensual short story “Cargo” in Pirates: Boys Behaving Badly Anthology #3 is available for purchase. Find it at http://amzn.to/2DV5btz.

Copies of all my books and stories are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed in my Writing Projects page (http://bit.ly/2iDYRxU) along with descriptions of each of my novels or stories.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click on http://bit.ly/2zJjUdb and signup today.

If you enjoy reading this blog, please share it with your friends and family. There’s never too many people in the bayou. Spread the word.

About the Author

Genevive Chamblee resides in the bayou country where sweet tea and SEC football reign supreme. She is known for being witty (or so she thinks), getting lost anywhere beyond her front yard (the back is pushing it as she’s very geographically challenged), falling in love with shelter animals (and she adopts them), asking off-the-beaten-path questions that makes one go “hmm”, and preparing homecooked Creole meals that are as spicy as her writing. She writes contemporary romance, erotic romance, fantasy romance, the occult, Creole culture, humor/comedy, multicultural/interracial, and southern drama. Visit her at her website: www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com.

Novels and novellas include: Life’s Roux (Red Sage Publications) and Out of the Penalty Box (Hot Tree Publishing).

Anthology publications include: “Cargo” (Boys Behaving Badly Anthology #3), “Harmonious Variation” (Symphony Amore Erotic Stories of Love and Music), “Valentine Mistletoe” (Cupid’s Bow: Holiday Heartwarmers Anthology), “Oasis Haze” (Mysterious Hearts: Holiday Heartwarmers Anthology), and “Under the Magnolia Tree” (Haunted Hearts: Holiday Heartwarmers Anthology).

Where to Find Genevive

Amazon:
www.amazon.com/author/genevivechamblee
Creole Bayou/WordPress:
http://bit.ly/2h0qZ0f
www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/genevivechambleeconnect
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16429845.Genevive_Chamblee
Instagram:
www.instagram.com/genevivechambleeauthor
Twitter:
www.twitter.com/dolynesaidso

Heather Long: Random Thoughts — Everything Old Is New Again
Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

We’re just two days away from arguably one of the biggest moments in the MCU history with Avengers: Infinity War. A couple of weeks later we’ll get Deadpool 2, and then at the end of May, we’re face to face with Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Let me be blunt, for the nerd in me, this is both terrifically exciting and terrifying in equal measures. What if Infinity War blunders? What if Deadpool 2 is…egads the horrors…unfunny? And Solo: A Star Wars Story? I’ll be honest, the jury remains out because that kid isn’t Harrison Ford. Yes, you heard me, Alden Ehrenreich isn’t Harrison Ford, and that’s a big strike against a movie I would have given my eyeteeth to see 40 YEARS AGO.

Still, this is where we are and hot on the heels of Wonder Woman, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, and Black Panther—all epics that go right to the top of my must watch  movie lists, we’re circling around to the part where everything old is new again.

The phrase, of course, refers to the fact that there are no new stories to be told—just twists on these tales, or a different take on them. The part where most people disagree with a new take or even a sequel is when the creator’s vision doesn’t go where you think it should or what you envision. Maybe we’ll need to agree to disagree, but bear with me here: art is subjective.

C’mon, say it with me, art is subjective.

So, if art is subjective and everything old is new again, what’s the point? The point is inelegant, but simple. The point is to provide entertainment and escapism. Occasionally, we throw in the afterschool special and add a side order of enlightenment.  Still, the big goal is to entertain viewers and readers (whether we’re talking movies, television, or books). We want you to feel something…

  • Avengers Infinity War – Who will die? What’s going to happen? OMG, I can’t wait for Star Lord and Iron Man to try and out snark each other!
  • Deadpool 2 – How many creative ways can Deadpool break the 4th wall? Will we get to see more X-Men? What crazy crap will they do?
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story – It better be the Kessel Run! Are they going to explain 12 Parsecs? Nope. Not doing it. It’s not Harrison Ford

See what I did there? Yes, I’m focusing on movies because I’m sharing my experience with you. The same thing happens with books. Take any author you love, any author, and then think about the last book you read of theirs and why you would pick up the next one. There’s a certain familiarity and confidence, because you know what you’re getting.

Or at least you believe you do. When you love something author, film, or book series, then you have an expectation and that’s what you want to see more of. The moment it deviates in some way or doesn’t fulfill your vision—you experience disappointment and reluctance.

Thus we bring our verbal trip full circle: everything old is new again because everything old comes with expectations and promises attached. These engage the reluctant viewer and reader who may not be willing to pick up the brand new book or check out that brand new film—I mean what if it sucks? How will I know? I don’t generally listen to reviewers. They told me lots of movies were terrible that I enjoyed. What about the echo chamber of the Internet? Well, you can, but let me tell you they can’t come to a consensus either.

For now, we’ll get reboots, remakes, and the next in series because we need them. We need that guarantee of entertainment and the people who make them need a guarantee they will get paid so they can make the next one.

I’ll tell you a (not) secret. My husband refuses to watch trailers for movies anymore, and he won’t watch the tag that says what will happen next week on any show he likes to watch. He also won’t read book or movie reviews.

Why? Because they were robbing him of the joy because he would form all these pre-conceptions about what he thought SHOULD happen. Now, he goes in as fresh as he can and he’s been enjoying both his reading choices and movies more and more.

Do yourself a favor, take a risk every now and then. Go check out something you aren’t sure about whether it’s a movie, a book, or a television show. Give it a real chance. You never know what new thing out there is just waiting to become your something old.

About Heather Long

USA Today 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.

You can find Wrangling Wanda, her latest release and more via her website.

Caroline Clemmons: Texas Lightning (F*R*E*E READ)
Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Thanks to Delilah Devlin for hosting me on her blog.

I’m excited to tell you about TEXAS LIGHTNING, the first of my Texas Time Travel Series trilogy (Try saying that fast three times ☺). Reader reports have been very enthusiastic. Except for the words “damn” and “hell” a few times, this is a sweet romance. The second and third of the trilogy are TEXAS RAINBOW, releasing April 18, and TEXAS STORM, releasing May 25.

Years ago, I discovered the time travel books of Kathleen Kane before the author switched names and subgenre. I fell in love with time travel featuring ordinary people. I also have enjoyed the time travels of other authors, such as Beth Trissel, Linda LaRoque, Diana Gabaldon, and Peggy L. Henderson.

I especially enjoy the idea of a character from the past coming forward to today. Think about it—when someone goes back in time, they know what’s going to happen in that era. On the other hand, when a person comes forward, everything is new and requires huge adjustments in learning and attitudes. What a challenge for a character—and what fun for the reader. If there’s mystery and/or suspense, even better.

This is what I wrote in OUT OF THE BLUE, when an Irish woman from 1845 plopped down in contemporary Texas to help a detective solve several murders and discover who was trying to frame and kill him. Except for this book, my new trilogy is a departure from the usual books I write, but still in a western setting.

TEXAS LIGHTNING depicts Penny Terry as she stumbles forward into a complicated scheme to steal the ranch that had been hers. While unraveling the mystery, she learns why her father was killed. In this case, there’s even a fabulous treasure. Of course, she also falls in love.

The setting is a ranch in Central Texas on the Medina River somewhere between Bandera and Medina. Bandera touts itself as “The Cowboy Capital of Texas”. My family once stayed at The Mayan Ranch, a dude ranch near there. Our daughters and I fell in love with the ranch and the area. My Hero prefers to read about riding horses and ranching rather than experiencing them first hand. Hero was a good sport but would rather have been fishing. ☺

Texas Lightning

How can two people from different eras own the same ranch?

Penelope Jane Terry knows everything about ranching in spite of being a lone woman. She is determined to send to jail the rustlers who believe they can steal what is hers… until she is caught spying on their dirty works and must ride for her life. What Penny doesn’t count on is being hurtled over a 120 years into the future.

Jake Knight believes the attractive woman who stumbled into his home one rainy evening either has amnesia or is certifiably insane. Unless, that is, she is in league with whoever is trying to drive him out of business. Someone is trying to force him to sell his ranch by staging a string of damaging incidents. Jake’s been kept so busy making repairs that he can’t run his ranch properly. Even if he were stupid enough to wish to sell, the ranch is so firmly entailed that no one can break the conditions.

Jake gradually learns Penny is who she claims, no matter that time travel is supposed to be impossible. They’re locked into a clash only one of them can win. If an outsider weren’t trying to kill Jake as well as bankrupt him, perhaps he and Penny might be able to reach an agreement. And, then they discover there is a huge treasure….

TEXAS LIGHTNING Excerpt:

Finally, the lights of home shone faintly in the distance. Nothing had ever looked so good. She couldn’t keep going much further. Damned if blisters hadn’t burned on her heels from walking so far in wet boots. She was near frozen in these wet clothes.

Wait.

How could she be so cold now when the heat earlier had nearly suffocated her? Nevermind, she just wanted to be home, safe, and in her bed. There stood the fence next to the paddock. Almost home now, keep walking.

Don’t pass out, don’t fall. One foot in front of the other. You can do this. Stumbling from fatigue, she labored up the front steps onto the long wrap-around porch and bumped into a rocker. Who’d put that there? Just like her cook to move stuff around without telling her. How she’d love to sink into it and rest. First, she had to send for the sheriff and find out if Star came home.

At the door, she paused and listened for men talking—rustlers waiting to waylay her. She heard no sound. Lights shone so brightly, her cook must have waited up for her with every lamp in the house lighted. She eased opened the door, listened again, then walked in and leaned her rifle against the stair’s banister.

“Did Star come home?” She unbuckled her gun belt and hung it on the newel post—not something she’d do under ordinary circumstances.

Tugging off her gloves, she avoided a couple of cactus spines stuck in the fingers. How had they remained there without her feeling them? No matter, she sat down on the third stair tread to remove her boots.

She should have gone around to the back door, but she couldn’t walk another step. Weariness and sore muscles overwhelmed her and she wanted nothing more than to shuck out of her wet things and lie in her nice bed—if she could summon the energy to walk upstairs. Eyes closed, she leaned back against the stairs. She heard footsteps approaching and raised one foot.

“Had me a passel of trouble. Help me get these danged boots off, would you? Then I’ll tell you all about it.” A dog’s cold nose pressed against her cheek. She jumped and pushed her hair out of her eyes. A black and white dog stared at her. “Who are you?”

“His name’s Rascal.” An unfamiliar baritone said, “He’s mine.”

She looked up.

Whoa! The man who faced her was a stranger. In spite of her wariness, her mouth dropped open in awe. Instead of her arthritic middle-aged cook, this man was young and tall and definitely fit. And handsome. Unbelievably, mesmerizingly handsome.

He might be as comely as a fairy tale prince, but the regal disapproval on his face appeared anything but friendly.

Energized by fear, she jumped to her feet and grabbed her rifle. “Who the heck are you?”

He crossed his arms and ignored the Winchester pointed at his middle. His dark hair glistened in light that seemed too bright. Dark blue eyes had tiny creases at the corners, as if he laughed a lot.

He sure wasn’t laughing now.

“I might ask you the same question. And what are you doing tracking in mud and dripping water all over my foyer?”

Your foyer? This is my house, and it’s been my house since my daddy and I built it six years ago. Don’t you think for one minute I’ll let you steal my ranch.”

The dog growled, the fur of his ruff bristling.

The man snapped his fingers. “Quiet, Rascal.”

Who was this man? He didn’t look the type but maybe he was one of the men stealing her cattle. Could he and his dog have been waiting for her? She gripped the rifle with all her strength. Why hadn’t her cook shown up to help her?

Oh, no, had they killed him?

He glared at her. “Lady, I don’t know who you are, but this is my house, get it? I grew up here. My daddy grew up here. My granddaddy grew up here.”

Penny’s knees trembled, but she fought fear to appear strong. “Don’t try and trick me. The Double T ranch was started by my granddaddy in 1836. No con man is going to steal it from the Terry family, and you can take that to the bank.”

“The Terry family hasn’t owned this since Penelope Terry died in 1896. The Knight family has owned it since then.” He threw up his hands. “Hell, why am I arguing with a crazy woman?”

“Crazy?” She was about to light into him when the first part of his statement hit her. “Hey, what do you mean, I died? I’m as alive as you, whoever you are.”

“What the hell are you talking about? I see you’re alive. I said Penelope Terry died. Are you hard of hearing as well as nuts?”

Increasing fear spiraled inside Penny, knotting her stomach. How could this man think her dead? What kind of trick was he working? Had she been conked out long enough that her cook sent men out to look for her and they decided she’d died?

Forcing herself to appear calm when she shook inside, Penny stood erect. “I’m Penelope Jane Terry and you can see I’m very much alive…”

Amazon US buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B6R1K44?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Amazon UK buy link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Texas-Lightning-Time-Travel/dp/1986339459/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1521667698&sr=8-3&keywords=Caroline+Clemmons

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/138-9010344-2686736?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Caroline+Clemmons

About the Author

Through a crazy twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To make up for this tragic error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains from a small office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their rescued cats and dogs. The books she creates there have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won numerous awards. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

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