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Lindsay McKenna: Why I wrote BOXCAR CHRISTMAS
Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

When I was six years old, 1950, we lived on an island in the middle of the mighty Snake River near Ontario, Oregon. At six, I was going to the first grade. But there was a huge hurdle I had to walk every day to go meet the school bus. There was a huge train 3-span bridge stretching across the Snake River. And I had to walk it.

I don’t know if you can imagine this but my Scorpio mother taught me how to walk across it BY MYSELF after she showed me how to do it. There was a big problem: I was dizzied by the brownish/green water far below me if I looked down. And I’d lose my balance. The chances of me falling off the bridge were very real. Consequently, I learned to walk those trestles above the water WITHOUT LOOKING DOWN, which increased exponentially, my miscalculating and stumbling and thereby, pitching off the bridge, falling into the water and drowning. Even at five, I understand all of that! In 1950, there were no safeguards on bridges for anyone, much less a 5-year-old little girl.

My mother worked, so she too had to walk across that bridge twice a day, too. She would park our car on the bank, near the bridge, and walk across to our home on that island. She taught me that if a train came? I was to lay down in the middle of the tracks, flatten out and keep my arms and legs within the rails while the train passed above me. That way, I’d survive. Otherwise, I wouldn’t.

Now, it’s 2017. Can you imagine ANY mother doing that nowadays with a 5-year-old, much less a child of any age under 18? I’m sure you wouldn’t. She did NOT accompany me across the bridge after that—I was on my own. She was already at work and couldn’t do it even though she wanted too. My stepfather was too injured from the war to do much walking, so that was out, too. BUT….we had Blackie, an older Border Collie, who we found on the island when we moved into the house. He adopted us.

And he would accompany me to the bridge, stand watch, but not go across it because he was frightened of it, too. So was I. My greatest fear was not hearing a train coming behind me and then having to do my safety thing to survive it. That scared me more than walking across the three-span bridge. Blackie would then meet me in the afternoon when the school bus dropped me off and I had to walk the bridge to get back home.

I loved that dog with my life. He sensed how frightened I was of that bridge, sensing that if I looked down, I’d get dizzy, lose my balance and fall in and drown in the Snake River. He was my guardian.

I wanted to write a book about a Border Collie based upon my childhood experiences with Blackie. I wanted to honor him and his breed. So, there’s lots of wonderful emotions I was able to write into BOXCAR CHRISTMAS and I know my readers will feel it as they read Freya’s story of survival. And how she helped her 2 humans immensely and in important ways after they rescued her.

I went through a LOT of stock photos to find Blackie. I wasn’t sure I would, but as luck would have it, I did. And now the Border Collie on the book’s cover looks EXACTLY like my beloved Blackie. Every time I see that cover, I smile and my heart expands with love for my guardian angel dog who met me every day for a year when I had to walk that train bridge over the Snake River ;-).

BOXCAR CHRISTMAS


One train car. Two lost souls. Five adorable puppies.

Travis Ramsey is back in Hamilton, Montana, after 10 years serving as a Delta Force operator in Afghanistan. Now responsible for his dad’s fishing guide business, Travis has to deal with his increasingly distant and difficult father, and guilt over his brother’s death. His life takes a turn for the better when he meets Army vet Jesse Myers. Jesse is taken with his grandparent’s quirky boxcar cabin and wants to rent it. Taken by her beauty, and the familiar haunted look in her eyes, he makes her a deal. He will rent the boxcar to her for free in return for her help in making renovations.

Get your copy here!

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!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Monday, December 25th, 2017

Here’s wishing you joy for the holiday…

…from my family to yours! ~DD

Cynthia Sax: Sexy Female Vs. Male Fight Scenes
Sunday, December 24th, 2017

In Dark Warlord, my story in the absolutely awesome Alien Alphas box set, the Barbarian Warlord hero, Batu, battles Genine, the warrior heroine, in the fighting ring. This might not seem like a great premise for a SciFi romance. The hero is battling the heroine. One of them might die.

I think it is super hot. During the battle, the two of them are focused fully on that moment, on each other, noting the look in their opponent’s eyes, the way her feet are placed, the heaving of his chest. It’s physical. There’s touching, the bumping of bodies, the slap of skin against skin. The hero grunts with exertion. The heroine is covered with the sheen of sweat. The passion from the fight quickly flows into another type of passion.

There have been some great female vs. male fights in fiction, on TV, and in the movies. Three of my favorite fight scenes in movies also have that ‘will they kiss or won’t they?’ tension in them.

The T-850 vs T-X battle in Terminator 3 was awesome. They were breaking down walls, setting off sprinklers, trying to set faces on fire. I knew they were enemies and more machine than human but I really wanted them to have sexy times.

The fight scenes in Mr. & Mrs. Smith were so steamy; I think we all predicted Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would be more than friends. When he does that ‘come fight me’ flick of the fingers and she absolutely gives it to him, my toes curled. And then that hot kiss after the gun standoff? That was Sexy with a capital ‘S.’

Hawkeye and Black Widow’s fight scene in The Avengers also got my heart pumping. He pulls her hair. She bites him. Their bodies were pressed together during the standoffs. I thought, for certain, he’d kiss her (but he, unfortunately, didn’t).

Those are three of my favorite female vs male fight scenes in movies. What are yours?

Alien Alphas

Alien Alphas: Twenty-Three Naughty Sci-Fi Romance Novellas

Fierce warriors. Savage barbarians. Powerful warlords.
All ready to claim their mates.

Alien Alphas is a collection of panty-melting sci-fi romances, featuring dominant alien heroes, penned by New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors. This decadently naughty box set includes twenty-three ALL-NEW, stand-alone novellas full of hot alien alpha males, breathless passion, and reluctant surrender. Take an exhilarating trip beyond the stars with this limited time only bundle that’s sure to leave you turning the pages late into the night.

Featured authors: Cari Silverwood, Cynthia Sax, Renee Rose, Lee Savino, Addison Cain, Kallista Dane, Maren Smith, Ava Sinclair, Sue Lyndon, Emily Tilton, Ashe Barker, Korey Mae Johnson, Grace Goodwin, Ivy Barrett, Jane Henry, Jaye Peaches, Katie Douglas, Lili Zander, Loki Renard, Maria Monroe, Megan Michaels, Myra Danvers, Sara Fields, and Sophie Kisker Publisher’s Note: The stories featured in this collection involve MF and MFM pairings. They include spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this box set.

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0785FQ2BH/
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/alien-alphas-grace-goodwin/1127581629
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/alien-alphas
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=wURBDwAAQBAJ
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1321113956

About Cynthia Sax

USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes contemporary, SciFi and paranormal erotic romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of erotic romance top ten lists.

Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled release day newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com
Website: http://cynthiasax.com/
Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/
Facebook: facebook.com/cynthia.sax
Twitter: @CynthiaSax
Blog: http://tasteofcyn.com/

Flashback: Hotter With A Pole (Contest)
Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

UPDATE: The winner is Ronnie C!

* * * * *

Christmas is almost here! And so much is happening in my world, I’m having a hard time catching my breath.

Some of you may remember that, last year, my family was dealing with my then 97-year-old grandma who had fallen and broken her back. After spending time in rehab, she was moved home, and our family pitched in to give her round-the-clock care. Well, this year is a new crisis. Beginning about two weeks ago, her health is failing, and despite the doctor’s best efforts, and ours, she’s declining. I suppose it’s to be expected at 98, and she’s ready for it. Still, we’re all very saddened, and we’re back in “pitch-in” mode.

My dd is her nighttime care-giver now. My SIL just started a new job with the sheriff’s office and works nights. So, guess what my job is? Yeah, I’m the kids’ nighttime babysitter. They are running me ragged, and my working hours have been slashed. We’re all tired and squeezed. No complaints though. Grandma and the kids come first.

So, here’s hoping your holidays are more joyous and restful than mine!

Contest

Comment for a chance to win one of my Delta Blue or Delta Fire stories! 

Hotter With A Pole

Hotter with a Pole

Noah hopes buying the classic ’68 Camaro from a fellow firefighter’s widow will ease some of the grief weighing down his heart. When a noise under the hood sends him looking for a mechanic, he finds so much more. Big and burly Hoyt grabs Noah’s attention right off, and not just because of his bad-boy biker looks and ice-blue eyes. The fact Hoyt is a Dom and a member at Club LaForge certainly interests Noah.

Hoyt never thought he’d feel that rush with a man again after his partner died, but his body certainly reacts to meeting Noah. LaForge seems like the perfect place to meet and work off some energy and explore this sudden flood of desire. The heat between them starts to burn through their emotional barriers, whether the men are ready to make a deeper connection or not.

 

Read an Excerpt

Noah stopped before the sign at the intersection. One right turn and one block’s drive, and he’d be at the fire house.

His fingers tightened on the leather-wrapped steering wheel of the Camaro. He still didn’t think of it as his Camaro. No one at the station would either. It was Danny Truitt’s car.

And the only reason Noah was driving it now was because Danny was dead.

“Huh.” Noah rubbed the pain over his heart. It was funny, but even thinking those words still had the power to make his chest tighten. Which made driving his buddy’s car feel somehow disloyal. Read the rest of this entry »

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!

Just in time for the holiday break! Arctic Dragon is here!
Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Here’s something to fill those hours of the holiday when you need an escape from the hustle and bustle and need to claim a little “me-time”! This story is loosely based on a Russian fairytale about a snow maiden who didn’t get a very happy ending. I had to change that. :)

Escaping her destiny for a day in the human world, a snow maiden, is rescued after her horse bolts, and then is brought to an isolated cabin by a recluse—a handsome, gifted artist, living alone in an arctic wilderness…

Headstrong, and seeking a little respite from a suitor’s relentless wooing, Queen Larikke rides the arctic wind far beyond the bounds of Northland, only to have her horse bolt at a shot from a hunter’s gun. Her rescuer is a handsome, mysterious man who lives alone in the wilderness, his cabin filled with erotic images of women. Rather than fearing her fate, Larikke sets out to seduce him, hoping for one last fling before she settles down to do her duty and wed.

Thinking he was saving a life, Drake dragged a very strange woman home, stripped her, and warmed her by his fire. Now, he finds his long, self-imposed isolation may have made her allure impossible to resist, and Drake fears he’ll harm her if he shares his special kiss.

Get your copy here!

Read an excerpt…

A blanket of fresh powder muffled his footsteps. For a moment, the bitter-cold wind died down. The stillness invited him deeper into the clearing, but something in the air alerted him; an intuition that was part of his true nature told him to wait.

Wind had blown snow against large tree trunks, forming deep banks where the tall green sentinels stood close together. Everywhere, pure pristine white dusted the tops of branches, cloaking them in rich, thick wonder. Precious sunlight peeked from behind a dark gray cloud and refracted like a billion tiny prisms on frozen crystals that gilded the uppermost layer of the snow.

His breaths seemed loud, intrusive, and he concentrated on being quiet so that he didn’t disturb—not that anyone was would hear him this deep in the wilderness.

Rather, all was hushed, expectant. Quiet, like he preferred now. Content at last with his own company.

The first few months of his isolation had been the worst. The silence had nearly driven him nuts. Now, he barely noticed. Sounds other than voices, the hum of electricity, or the roar of a passing engine were replaced with softer, more predictable ones—the rustle of pine needles as a breeze swept through outstretched branches, the resonant creaking when snow weighed the branches down.

The rustle of animals as they scratched in the snow for food.

The voices inside his head had also faded—the strident ones that had called him a freak and the startled screams—well, they couldn’t reach him here.

If he missed the company of a woman—so be it. Other parts of his existence flourished in the solitude. Almost filling the aching void. The decision he’d made had been the right one. He’d spend the rest of his life—however long—alone.

Do no harm.

He lived by that rule now. At least, in regard to people.

For now, he had a stew pot to fill, and he’d tracked a lone deer through the forest to this spot. A soft snort sounded, and he found the doe digging with her hooves to uncover whatever she could still forage beneath the fresh snow.

Drake tugged off his mittens and raised his rifle, setting the stock snug against his shoulder. He had the doe in his sights and slowly pulled back on the trigger, when an unexpected tinkling sound, like bells carried on the wind, drew his attention. His gaze strayed for only moment. As his attention returned to his quarry, a sudden icy wind swept up snow, obscuring his view.

The shadow of the deer still in his scope, he pulled the trigger, jerking the barrel upward at the last moment when he realized he wasn’t looking at a doe at all—but a woman on a bay-colored horse.

What the hell?

The shot went wild, but the horse gave a high-pitched whinny and reared, dumping the woman to the ground before bolting.

Drake threw down his rifle, swearing silently as he clomped on unwieldy snowshoes toward the figure lying like a spill of red paint against a white canvas. Her fur-lined scarlet cloak fanned around her slender body. He knelt in its folds to reach for the woman who had yet to open her eyes.

He ran his hands over her body, checking for broken limbs, cursing himself for a horn dog for noting generous curves beneath her dark gold and blue gown. But it had been a long time since soft curves had yielded beneath his palms. Not much in the way of padded layers of clothing protected her from his inspection, just the soft fabric. What in hell was she doing wearing some princess costume in the wilderness in winter, even one made of heavy velvet?

Finally, she stirred, moaning softly.

He sat back on his haunches, noticing at last the luster of her mink brown hair and brows and the thick lashes that fanned the rims of her delicate eyelids. They fluttered then lifted, revealing gold-flecked brown eyes.

Struck by her beauty, he stared. Her eyes were wide-set and large; her nose elegant and straight. The shape of her face was slightly triangular with a small chin that took no attention away from the sweet curves of her soft, plump mouth. She was perfect. His hands itched to mold her shapes again.

“Who are you?” she asked, with a voice as light and sweet as the bells he thought he’d heard before.

He shook his head to clear away his lustful thoughts. “The idiot who nearly shot you,” he said, his own voice thick and rusty from disuse. He cleared his throat. “Can you move? Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine, I think.”

“What the hell were you doing out here?”

She gave him a distracted frown. “Riding.” Then rising on her elbows, she glanced around her, blinking. “My horse, Windancer…”

“He bolted when I fired.”

Her confused stare returned to him. “He’s gone?” Her eyes widened until the white surrounded the brown iris. “We must find him.”

No “I must find him”. She’d included him, without even wondering if it was wise.

Snow had begun to fall again—thick, fat flakes that swirled in the rising wind, a blast of arctic chill. Knowing it was the wrong thing to do, but seeing no other choice, he said, “I’ll look for him after the snowfall ends. We need to get you inside.”

Oh, hell. He’d have to take her to his place. Something he’d sworn he’d never do. She might not be any safer there. He’d lived alone too long. With her lush beauty, she was too much of a temptation.

Her mouth opened, but then closed, her lips forming a thin line. “I have to find my horse. I can’t stay here,” she said, casting a wild glance around them.

He frowned. “In a few minutes, we won’t see more than a few feet in front of us. A storm’s coming in.”

“You don’t understand—”

He cut her off with a wave of his hand. Although, it was the last thing he should do, he held out his hand. “Come. We’ll talk later. After I get you out of the cold.”

* * *

Larikke stared in dismay. She couldn’t go home with him. They’d be alone. Her, alone with a human? Unthinkable! Humans were so short-lived and violent. Think of the scandal it would cause!

“We’ll both freeze if we don’t get out of this weather,” he said slowly, as though speaking to a child—one not so very bright.

Only she knew she wouldn’t. Freeze, that is. This is what she got for her stubborn bid for freedom. Stranded in a wild land—with a man. Her mage would no doubt cluck like a hen when she recounted the tale of how she’d ridden the wind and landed on her backside in a snow bank before a human as handsome as any damnable frost faerie.

She’d only wanted to put Thure firmly in his place. Remind him who was in charge of her destiny—that she had a will of her own.

And maybe to inspire him to anger so that he might let go of the firm hold he kept over himself whenever they were together. She wanted to see the powerful male beneath his princely trappings.

Rather like the prime specimen before her.

Oh, why couldn’t this human have been as hairy as a polar bear? Or as ugly as a walrus? Oh no! His eyes were a crystalline blue. His hair was silvery blond and fell well past his broad shoulders.

Clean-shaven, his jaw was sharp-edged and strong. His brows, although drawn together in a fierce frown, were full and nicely shaped but hooded piercing eyes. Despite the layers of clothing he wore, she could tell his frame was tall and thickly muscled.

The few humans she’d met long ago, thickheaded and thick-bodied warriors stopping on their journey to Valhalla, didn’t compare. A crude, ungifted species, they’d never aroused much interest. But this one, with his rumbling voice and burly frame, nearly stole her breath away.

Perhaps she was simply addled by her spill. Or maybe she was just feeling the familiar, deepening need for something different from her proscribed future—something wicked and deplorably wrong. She cleared her throat. “I must insist we find my horse.”

He rolled his eyes and tugged her to her feet. Then before she could brush away the snow clinging to her mantle and give him the set down he deserved for daring to handle her so familiarly, he bent and swept her over his shoulder.

Larikke’s mouth gaped. Now, this was a view of the world she’d never seen.