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Desiree Holt: Masquerade (Contest)
Thursday, October 25th, 2018

UPDATE: The winner is…Betty Sue Payton!
*~*~*

Masquerade: an action or appearance that is mere disguise or show

Book #3
Corporate Heat

Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon GC

There are too many masks in place. Too many false fronts. Everyone seems to be playing a role, including the modeling agency, the marketing representatives, the gracious Caribbean host and the owners of the high-end spa. But what were they all hiding?

Everything is turning upside down. The owner of the marketing agency dies in a mysterious one-car crash. Girls are disappearing and so are large chunks of money.

When hot, hot forensic accountant John Martino is reunited with very sexy Lindsey Califaro, with whom he had a short but intense fling, the heat between them rises high enough to burn down the town. So does the emotion. Lindsey is afraid tot rust him again, and John is trying to correct the biggest mistake of his life. But first they have to find the answers to a puzzle that reaches international proportions.

Excerpt:

The elevator car arrived and they stepped into it, the only occupants from the high dollar floor. He followed her in and as soon as the door closed he pressed the button to hold the elevator car in place.

“John, we can’t do this now. People will be looking for the elevator. And I think a warning sounds if it doesn’t move for a certain amount of time.”

“Then I’d better talk fast.” He leaned forward, caging her with his arms. “Any excuse I can give for not calling you all this time is going to sound lame. Business crowded my schedule, time got away from me, all of that is true. But that’s not the whole story.”

“Oh? Then what is?”

“We need more time than five minutes for me to tell you. I was a first class jackass and I suffered for it. I’m not going to let that happen again. I’ve spent four years kicking myself for being such an asshole. When Taylor called, I pushed another job off on my partner so I could take this one. So I could see you.”

Lindsey stood there, scarcely able to breathe. Her heart was beating hard and her throat was so dry she could barely swallow.
“John.” She wet her lips. “I don’t think—“

“Don’t think. Listen. Like I said, I’m an asshole. I’ll be the first one to admit it. And any other names you want to add. When I left you four years ago I had every intention of calling you within the month. Hopping a plane to Miami or wherever you were by that time. Following up on what had started between us. Having a fun weekend.”

“A fun weekend,” she repeated.

“Because whatever it was, everything else aside, it was fucking good. Agreed?”

She just stared at him, unable to say a word.

“Okay. Don’t say anything. I don’t blame you. I got caught up in some international finance shit, used it as an excuse and time just kept passing. I’ve been single a long time, Lindsey. I told myself I wasn’t interested in anything more than a good time. I kept myself busy and after a while too much time had gone by. It suddenly hit me I’d tossed away what could be the best thing that ever happened to me. When Noah called and asked me to come here, told me who I’d be working with, I jumped at it. Saw a chance to make up for being such a jerk, even if I had to get down on my knees and beg you. Because that’s what I’m ready to do.” He blew out a breath. “Listen. You have no reason to believe anything I say after what I did. Or didn’t do. But I’m asking you for another chance, Lindsey. Begging you. Please. At least listen to what I have to say.”

While she was still trying to figure out how to answer him, his mouth descended on hers, his lips warm and smooth. He ran the tip of his tongue gently over her mouth, tracing the seam and urging her to open for him. Without thinking she did just that and he thrust his tongue inside.

And she went up in flames.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/masquerade-desiree-holt/1129574220?ean=9781786864345
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/masquerade-159
https://www.totallybound.com/book/masquerade

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Cynthia D’Alba: Two SEALs in Paradise (Contest)
Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

UPDATE: The winner is…Keri Richards!
*~*~*

Morning all! Cynthia D’Alba here. Thanks to DD for having me back!

As I said last time, I’ve taken A LOT of time off from writing during 2016, 2017 and 2018. Those who follow me in Facebook, you know all about my illness. Those whose do not, no biggie. That’s in the past. My point is I am finally back to writing. My brain can once again string together words. WOOT! Progress.

I have TWO new releases out in October. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

First up, Hot SEAL, Cold Beer – which released October 9th!

©Cynthia D’Alba 2018

Hot SEAL, Cold Beer is about a destination wedding, a blind date, and a SEAL who isn’t looking for love. Well, actually, my heroine isn’t looking either! Here’s a little more about the story…

Nicholas Falcone, aka Nikko, aka Falcon, is five months out from active SEAL duty, putting his pre-service accounting degree to use while going to law school at night. He’d love to take a vacation between semesters, but every buck is earmarked for his education. When a fellow accountant approaches him about his sister needing an escort for a destination wedding, Nikko jumps at the idea. With the wedding families footing the bill, what does he have to lose?

Surgeon Dr. Jennifer Pierce is still stinging from a broken engagement. Going to a destination wedding at the Sand Castle Resort in the Caribbean would be great if only her ex-fiancé and his new wife weren’t also attending. Her options are to find a date or not go, but not going isn’t really an option. That means letting her brother set her up with a guy from his accounting office…Heaven forbid. When did accountants start looking like this?

Amazon 📷http://bit.ly/2Of9GnZ
Barnes and Noble 📷http://bit.ly/2LT2EIO
KOBO 📷http://bit.ly/2Mm4NsK
Apple/iBooks 📷https://apple.co/2MiODQO
Add to Goodreads TBD! – http://bit.ly/2MkktMV

The second, Hot SEAL, Black Coffee, released yesterday!

©Cynthia D’Alba 2018

Dealing with a sexy ex-girlfriend, a jewel heist, and a murder-for-hire can make an ex-SEAL bodyguard a tad cranky.

Trevor Mason accepts what should be a simple job…protect the jewels his ex-girlfriend will wear to a breast cancer fundraiser. As founder and owner of Eye Spy International, he should send one of his guys, but he needs to get his ex out of his system and this is the perfect opportunity to remind himself that she is a spoiled, rich debutante who dumped him with a Dear John letter during his SEAL training.

Respected breast cancer doctor Dr. Risa McCool hates being in the limelight for her personal life. Her life’s work is breast cancer treatment and research, which she’d rather be known for than for her carefree, partying debutante years. She agrees to be the chairperson for the annual breast cancer fundraiser even though it means doing publicity appearances and interviews, all while wearing the famous pink Breast Cancer Diamond for each public event. The multi-million dollar value of the pink stone requires an armed bodyguard at all times.

Past attractions flame, proving to be a distraction to the serious reality of the situation. When Risa and the millions in diamonds go missing, nothing will stop Trevor from bringing her home, with or without the jewels.

Here are the preorder links. Order both and I’ll publicly thank you on Facebook and Twitter! Seriously, I don’t usually do preorders so this makes me nervous!

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H7W28XF
Apple/iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hot-seal-black-coffee/id1435829603?mt=11
Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1129508808?ean=2940161795552
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hot-seal-black-coffee

Leave a comment here on the blog to be in the running for a prize,
TBD by the winner!

AND here’s all my online homes where we can visit!

https://www.facebook.com/cynthia.dalba
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCynthiaDAlba/
https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-DAlba/e/B0067UOSH8/
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cynthia-d-alba

Procrastination is my middle name… (Contest)
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

UPDATE: The winner is…Michelle Levan!
*~*~*

My coffee’s cold…again. I need one of those cupwarmer thingies on my desk, because once I start working, I forget to drink it before it cools. Then I have to stop, head to the microwave, and… Well, I guess I just want to whine about something, and that’s the first thing I thought of. What else can I talk about to procrastinate a little while longer…

My dd met with all the kids’ teachers last week. The 5-year-old had the most glowing report, naturally. She’s a little leader in her class. She’s kind to other kids and listens. She’s smart as a whip (whatever that means). No worries there. The 9-year-old is doing SOOOO much better, behaviorally (she spent the last day of last year in ISS), and her teachers love her. Got to love those ADHD drugs. The 14-year-old girl is doing very well—and she made it into some kind of choral group. There were 700 kids who auditioned in the area, and she was one of 40 selected. Man, we were floored, because we thought for sure she couldn’t sing a note. The 14-year-old boy…? Yeah, he needs a kick in the ass to get his school work done, so we’re knuckling down on how he spends his free time…

Enough procrastinating yet?

I have two editing jobs I need to get out the door soon, because I have three more that will hit any day now. I can’t seem to get motivated unless I’m drowning in commitments. Adrenaline gives me focus—or, at least, that’s my excuse.

And as for new words for new projects of my own? I have three chapters of Wolf completed. I just need to edit them to remind me what I wrote months ago, then push forward to finish the story. I really want to get a Stepbrothers short story done, too. The cover is just too sexy not to find a story to go along with it, don’t you think?

Stepbrothers Stepping Out: With His Client
Now, if I can just figure out what the story is about…

Hey! So, maybe you can help me figure that one out. Give me ideas for a story to go along with the cover. Maybe I’ll use it as a jumping off point. I’ll give away a free copy of any of my recent releases to one commenter! Your idea doesn’t have to be wonderful, just have fun with it!

In the meantime, I need to make a trip to the coffee pot for a little “cup of ambition.”

Dee S. Knight: Halloween Then and Now
Monday, October 22nd, 2018

I grew up in the dark ages, back when kids didn’t have all kinds of organized activities to occupy us for 20 of every 24 hours a day, our parents didn’t hover and so we got into all kinds of mischief (like riding bikes behind the bug sprayer of Malathion (and we still grew up!) or sitting around reading comic books), and yes, in late October each year we were actually allowed to go door to door and beg for candy, disguised with the traditional “Trick or treat!” saying. A lot of kids today might think all that sounds old-fashioned, and it is. It was also so much fun.

My parents didn’t have much money—like all of my friends’ parents, too—and so we made up silly costumes with whatever we could find. A rag tied around our head and a striped tee shirt with a cardboard sword in hand made us a pirate. A little rouge (or lipstick when rouge wasn’t available in the house) spread on our cheeks, a pretty full skirt that couldn’t be worn to church anymore, and a tin foil crown held in place with bobby pins made any girl into a princess. A little imagination went a long way back then, and we were always happy with the results, no matter how little we looked like our ideal. The purpose, we all knew, was candy, not fashion shows. Besides, most places we lived, late October was cold, so the costume effects were spoiled by coats, anyway.

Just as much fun was going home and spilling all of the candy out of the pillow cases or paper sacks and seeing all the different kinds people had handed out. We never went far, and most of us lived in neighborhoods where people were friendly and the treats generous. Even with an early evening if Halloween fell on a school day meant we had enough candy to be divvied up for weeks. (Mom might have let me ride behind the Malathion truck but she wouldn’t let me eat too much candy at once. There were limits, lol.) All in all, Halloween marked the opening strains of autumn for me more than the start of school. Thanksgiving followed a few weeks later and then Christmas came, hot on its heels.

I understand why things are different now. Most places have organized Halloween parties to go along with the organized ball games, dance classes, and so on. The world is a different place, a hectic place, a more dangerous place, and I can’t help feeling sorry for that. With so much activity making us hurry more and more, I wish children had the time to enjoy being children. To dress up, use their imaginations more, and to go out into the neighborhoods with leaves swirling at their feet and the sharp scent of wood fires tickling their nostrils as they greet their neighbors with calls of “Trick or treat!”

About the Author

A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex. Writing was so much fun Dee decided to keep at it. That’s how she spends her days. Her nights? Well, she’s lucky that her dream man, childhood sweetheart, and long-time hubby are all the same guy, and nights are their secret. For romance ranging from sweet to historical, contemporary to paranormal and more, join Dee on Nomad Authors, where you can read about her newest book, Only a Good Man Will Do: Seriously ambitious man seeks woman to encourage his goals, support his (hopeful) position as Headmaster of Westover Academy, and be purer than Caesar’s wife in order to set a good example. Good luck with that!

Buy links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HQM5YF5
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1129630612?ean=2940161770603
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/898008
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/only-a-good-man-will-do

Author links:
Website: https://nomadauthors.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeeSKnight2018
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DeeSKnight
Blog: http://nomadauthors.com/blog
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B079BGZNDN
Email: dsknight@deesknight.com

Holly Bargo: A Good Idea’s Not Enough
Sunday, October 21st, 2018

I make my living as a freelance writer and editor. Therefore, I find that my standards for professional quality content differ from that of many self-published authors, because I cannot separate the quality necessary for my clients from the quality necessary for my own stories.

Being an avid reader as well as a writer and editor, I encounter far too many self-published books that make me cringe. From misused apostrophes to malapropisms to incorrect grammar to tense switches between past and present so frequent as to give H. G. Wells whiplash, these writers lack understanding of what I call the mechanics of language.

However, correct grammar in itself does not translate into good writing. Writers who commit the sins attendant upon poor language mechanics also and often fail to grasp the intricacies of good storytelling: minimize passive voice, avoid information dumps, use adverbs sparingly, reduce expository description to only that which is necessary, and eschew obfuscation. (If you didn’t get the two instances of irony in that last sentence, then you probably shouldn’t consider yourself a professional writer.)

The hallmark of a professional writer lies in the skill with which he or she executes an idea.

If one subscribes to the literary authorities regarding story plots, then one must also admit that every overarching plot has already been written. In his 2004 book, The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, Christopher Booker declares that literature has only seven basic plots that storytellers everywhere and in every medium continuously recycle: 1) overcoming the monster, 2) rags to riches, 3) the quest, 4) voyage and return, 5) rebirth, 6) comedy, and 7) tragedy. (Yes, the plots can and do overlap within a story.) Other authorities cite the number of distinct, archetypal plots to six, nine, and thirty-six. The Guardian reported on an academic study, conducted in 2016, that analyzed commonalities among the plots of 1,737 stories. According to the article, the two most popular plot archetypes basically fall into two general story arcs reminiscent of Oedipus and Cinderella.

For those who write romantic fiction, the Cinderella archetype reigns. Look at practically any story within the umbrella genre of romance or its myriad sub-genres and you’ll find that requisite happily ever after or HEA ending. Sometimes, the HEA is temporary, labeled in the industry as happy for now or HFN. Regardless of whatever tragedy befalls the protagonists throughout the story’s journey, the story ends on a note of hope and happiness.

Those who write romance then ought to understand that their overarching plots are not original. What is original is how the author treats that selected plot. The permutations upon a well-used plot often fall within the parameters of certain sub-genres, of which the most obvious copy of the Cinderella story is the billionaire romance. The tired old plot becomes fresh with the addition of unusual circumstances that affect the characters, with the writer’s skill in creating witty repartee, and the writer’s ability to convey emotion and ambiance such that that reader shares the main characters’ experiences.

Great storytelling requires more than a good idea, because all the good ideas have already been used. Great storytelling demands expert execution and manipulation of language to refresh the old idea and give it new vigor.

Bear of the Midnight Sun

After a thousand years, immortal polar bear shifter Sindre finally finds his mate—on a talk show. In the city where anything goes, an impromptu wedding is just a taste of what’s to come. Startled into going through the ceremony, Miranda can’t stop the big, virile man from staking his claim on her and releasing her bear. Sindre can’t believe his good luck and will do anything to keep his mate at his side, up to and including taking marital advice from Atlas Leonidus. An independent woman with a successful career, Miranda melts at his touch and shuns his control, except she can’t control her bear.

Pre-order your copy here!

About the Author

Holly Bargo has over 25 years of professional writing and editing experience. She has published 20 books spanning the fantasy and romance genres and writes from the perspective of having made all the mistakes and helping other writers learn from those mistakes. Her latest book, Bear of the Midnight Sun, will be released on October 31, 2018, in both e-book and print format. Holly lives on a small hobby farm in southwest Ohio.

Puzzle Play
Saturday, October 20th, 2018

I’m late posting today. Not because I was blowing off work. I did work. But I was working on one little fire and a lot of little nits, and time got away from me. And then, I had to spend time with the 5-year-old (good Lord, she’s getting tall!). So, knowing it’s late, and you’re likely playing games on your phone anyway while “multi-tasking” watching a little TV, why not play with this puzzle…? Have fun! DD

Lyncee Shillard: All Things Halloween
Friday, October 19th, 2018

Hi everyone!

A big shout out of thanks to Delilah for having me on her blog. This time of year, I’m all about Halloween… and of course murder…and well doughnuts…and vodka. My newest book is a novella about all those things!

Murder and Treats

Lila Maxwell is coaxed into attending All Treats, a Halloween speed dating event by her best friend. Instead of the soul mate promised one Halloween ghoul after another appears at her door until Cowboy Bill.

Jax Carlson has spent the last year focusing all of his attention on starting his own business. Hiring Lila Maxell over the Internet as his project manager was the final piece to his prefect plan. Set to open for business in three days, Jax plans on spending a couple of days on his boat relaxing. However, his friend Erik has a different idea – a speed dating Halloween party.

Jax has spent the night plotting the best revenge possible for Erik until Sally opens the door. The woman dressed in the pale lavender Harem costume ignites a fire that Jax thought was impossible without the aid of his formulated dating list.

After a night of mind-blowing sex, Lila sneaks out before they exchange real names believing it was no more than a one-night stand.

Lila’s first day is full of surprises, the biggest being Cowboy Bill is actually her new boss, Jax Carlson. She thinks keeping her hormones in check while convincing Jax that love doesn’t follow a formula is complication enough until she learns the participants of the All Treats speed dating event are being killed.

My favorite Halloween doughnut trick is…insert vamp teeth into a sugar doughnut. Drizzle red frosting for blood, or have gummy worms crawling out of the mouth, or decorate with gummy boogers. 

My favorite Halloween drink is the wicked witch… it’s caramel vodka, apple vodka, and whip cream vodka all equal parts mixed with apple cider. Sooo good and so wicked.

And just a peek…

Walking into her bedroom, Lila froze mid-stride. On her bed was a knife coated with blood and small plastic number five. The glass slipped from her hand and fell to the floor, spraying her foot and leg with red wine.

Murder and Treats is available at https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/murder-and-treats

Come and hang out with me… we will talk about doughnuts and vodka…
Blog: https://lynceeshillard.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lyncee
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Romance-with-a-Bang-422236758284798
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3344793.Lyncee_Shillard
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lyncee-Shillard/e/B007WGBKYK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1534257851&sr=8-1