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Jan O’Hara: When Characters Got Quiet, This Author Went Rogue
Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Last fall, with only a few months left on my deadline for Cold and Hottie, my second-chance romance set in Jamaica, my characters stopped cooperating. They were still doing interesting things but I had no freaking idea why, because they wouldn’t talk to me.

That was a big problem. As a writing friend says, romance readers are all about the feels. If you fail to give them an emotional journey you can count on receiving hostile reviews.

Fortunately, I had been down this route before and had a solution: I would write upcoming scenes in first-person, replacing “she said” with “I said,” for instance, so as to get deeper in my characters’ heads. Then I’d take what I learned and convert it back to third-person, making it match the 30,000 already written words.

At first it looked like the plan would work. The story was progressing in delightful ways and I suddenly had characters emoting all over the place. Then I discovered two giant flies in the suntan lotion.

First, I couldn’t figure out a way to keep all the lovely emotionality during the conversion.

Second, my hero and heroine had started speaking in present tense. (i.e. “When the knock comes at the door” rather than “when the knock came at the door.”) Now, while I will read virtually anything in any point of view or tense, provided it’s a good story, I’m aware some readers have much stronger preferences. In fact, some downright hate books written in first-person present-tense, so why would I cooperate in earning their wrath?

I doubled-down on my shoe-horning efforts.

And I got precisely nowhere.

This was when I reached out to a cadre of savvy writing friends. To a person, their advice was to go where the story was leading, no matter how odd I might seem to the marketplace.

But was a first-person romance really that weird? I was starting to wonder if my fears matched reality.

To gain objectivity I went to Amazon, which is undisputedly the biggest site for romance sales in North America. I pulled up their bestseller lists and…I learned that I had underestimated romance readers’ flexibility. Books written in first-person were far from being the exception, as I believed, but were close to forming the majority of books in the Top Twenty lists. Even better, readers were embracing present-tense.

Thus freed up, I put my efforts into finishing the back end of the book, rewrote the front end, and managed to make my deadline. And while I’m not sure I’ll deliberately choose to go this route again on purpose, I won’t be nearly as afraid to do it, if required.

Did it work? Preliminary feedback would say it has, but I’ve included an excerpt from the first chapter below, so you can decide for yourself. And in the comment section, I hope you’ll let me know your feelings about first-person present-tense stories. Are they alien to you, a deal-breaker, or intriguing new ground?

Cold and Hottie

She’s being sent to Jamaica for a team-building exercise. It will be led by a crazed psychologist, and the man she done wrong…who is now her boss. Oops.

A decade ago, in a messy breakup with the only man she has ever loved, Olivia Prosser behaved badly. Since, she has lived with the consequences.

Then bad news comes in rapid succession: the company she works for has been purchased; her ex, Finn, is her new employer; and she’ll be reconnecting with him during a mandatory retreat in Jamaica. Five days filled with forced emotional intimacy and corporate-speak, not to mention memories better left in the past.

A white knight’s armor will rust in salt water.

For years, Finn Wakefield has known who to blame for his breakup with Liv. Then new information comes to light. Liv might be innocent, and the party who framed her might be lodged within Finn’s company, continuing their acts of sabotage.

But Liv shows no interest in righting the wrongs of the past. Is that for ominous reasons or because she is over Finn? Either way, for the sake of his company, Finn must push for the truth – even if the cost is a twice-broken heart.

Cold and Hottie was previously published as part of the Tropical Tryst box set, which became a #1 international bestselling ebook anthology (Aug. 1/17). See why readers call it “…a delicious page-turner set in an exotic setting.

Excerpt:

At 4:37 p.m. on Friday, after weeks of dread and just when I’ve convinced myself I’ve been spared, a dossier bearing the title Jamaica lands on my desk. Tucker had probably been aiming for my in-basket, but since he’s standing in my doorway and the basket is overflowing, the folder tips over the edge and continues its horizontal motion. It comes to rest on the refinery drawings I’ve been marking up, the right lower edge touching a pump that needs modernization.

When I find my voice I say, “You’re kidding me.”

Tucker’s smile is his signature blend of cynicism and amusement. “If you pull yourself together and need to talk, I’ll be in my office for another five minutes.” He pivots on a well-shod foot and vanishes from sight.

I turn the pencil in my hand and use the eraser to tease out the top sheaf of paper, willing this to be one of his practical jokes. Easy enough to put a label on a folder and pack it with documents destined for the shredder. Then to stand in the hall just out of sight, ready to pop in with a, Haha, Liv, got you good this time.

Alas, this evening brings no such luck. For there in black and white, issued in the name of one Olivia Prosser, is an e-ticket for this coming Monday morning. I’m flying from Columbus to Kingston, via Atlanta.

I use the pencil to extract the next sheaf. Apparently the resort and I have corresponded, most recently when I confirmed an ocean-facing, non-smoking room with a king-sized bed.

At least I was smart enough to avoid having a roommate.

I close my eyes and bend forward to clunk my head repeatedly on my desk. Having seen fellow staffers open their envelopes, I don’t need to examine the rest of the paperwork to know what it contains. There will be a shiny brochure on the all-inclusive resort’s amenities. (Seven pools! Six restaurants featuring international cuisine! Unlimited soft drinks and booze in your room’s mini-fridge!) There will be a listing of optional paid activities, both inside the resort and on the island. Finally, there will be the handout delineating the source of my dry mouth and blossoming headache.

I don’t need to look at the handout but…I stop banging my head and do it anyway, because some masochistic impulses can’t be resisted.

Three months ago, the company I work for, HMZ Consulting, was purchased by Wakefield Enterprises. When I say “purchased,” I really mean “swallowed whole.” We were the krill to Wakefield’s blue whale. Now the time has come for us to “harmonize our corporate cultures.” Accordingly, for the past several months, select employees within my office have been receiving invitations to the upcoming retreat in Jamaica. Once trained in the ways of the mothership, they—and I guess that includes me now—will return as ambassadors to the home office, where we will spread the ways of enlightenment.

Most of the five-day retreat will be run by Wakefield’s second-in-command, Yolanda Perez. The brochure photo shows a woman in her early forties with tight black braids and a confident smile. She’s a psychologist, reportedly half-crazy in her own right, and the rumors about her outdoor group exercises are downright intimidating.

Then there’s the CEO, Finnegan Wakefield. I don’t know if his photo has been retouched, but thirty-four looks good on him. Even better than twenty-four did, if that’s possible.

Finn is giving the Tuesday noon keynote—one hour is his full commitment for the entire program. Depending upon how he receives me, that one hour could be all it takes to upend my life.

Sales links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  Kobo | iBooks

Author bio and contact links:

A former family physician and academic, Jan O’Hara left the world of medicine behind to follow her dream of becoming a writer. These days she confines her healing tendencies to paper—after making her characters undergo a period of delicious torture, naturally.

Jan lives in Alberta, Canada and is a columnist for the popular blog Writer Unboxed.

Join Jan’s mailing list for updates on her forthcoming books, exclusive content, and access to reader giveaways: http://janohara.net/newsletter
Website:  www.janohara.net
Facebook: https://facebook.com/janoharabooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JanOHara

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-OHara/e/B01M1C7HUT/
Email: jan@janohara.net

Sylvie Grayson: Writing a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series
Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

This was new for me as a writer. The first thing I realized as Book One developed was that I needed a map. I started out with a couple of countries in the story, but that quickly grew, and the map kept me straight on where I was—literally.

Now, I publish it in the front of each book, because readers say it has been very helpful. My daughter has drawn it for me, and it grows, depending on where I get in the next book.

The next thing I worked on was a list of names. Many people have noted the names in my books are unique, in that they often reflect the character’s occupation. That has been fun, but it’s still hard to keep track of all these people in a whole new world.

The third thing is a compendium of new words. Again, I began to develop a list, just to keep the words and definitions straight to ensure I use them the same way each time. All of this information is in my Last War bible. Each new book adds characters, towns and villages, devolving use of languages. It’s been a lot of fun.

Prince of Jiran

A Penrhy prince caught between duty and desire. Can he win the impending battle?

Shandro, Prince of the Penrhy tribe of Jiran, disagrees with his father, Sovereign Pollack, on nearly every issue that arises between them. But his goal is to uphold the family values in spite of Pollack’s conniving moves as he deals with the hotbed of competing nations surrounding them.

Then Shandro is sent on a mission across the mountains into Khandarken to bring back Princess Chinata, a bride for Emperor Carlton’s Advisor. In exchange, Jiran and the Penrhy tribe are given a peace agreement, protection against invasion by the Emperor’s troops. This seems a good trade, as Carlton is hovering on their borders with his need for more land. However, not far into the journey, it becomes apparent someone is not adhering to the terms of the peace accord.

Near the tribal border, Shandro and his troops have come under direct attack from unknown forces. He digs deeper into Chinata’s background to find strong ties to the New Empire. Is it too dangerous to bring Princess Chinata into Jiran? Or as her escort, does Shandro become her defender against the Emperor’s troops?

Get your copy here!

When I wrote the first book of The Last War series, I expected there would be two or three books. Here we are at Book Five, and Six is just hovering at the back of my brain! It has been a lot of fun to write this fifth book. It dives into the culture of Jiran, a loose collection of tribal families that travel the plains across the mountains to the west of Khandarken. These people don’t have good relations with the other countries around them. They stayed out of the Last War, keeping to the sidelines and refusing to take part in the struggle between Emperor Aqatain and the rebel forces that finally defeated him. Thus, the Prince of Jiran is stuck with trying to mend relations at a time he is suffering an assault of his own and needs support. And of course Princess Chinata has caught his eye, and that complicates an already complicated situation!

Read an excerpt!

It had begun to snow again and the flakes were coming thicker, a steady silent fall that muffled sound and blinded them as they rode. The air was icy against China’s skin. Soon the wind picked up and it looked like another blizzard setting in. She watched Prince Shandro ride ahead to consult with his commander, then rein in and wait for Haggskyll and Boz to catch up. She studied him as he talked with the men, first gesturing toward the women and then ahead to the trail leading through the trees.

He was a handsome man in a very physical way with his broad muscled shoulders, lean frame and golden-brown skin. The attraction to him only got stronger as the days passed. What would she do when they arrived at their destination? How to concentrate on being bride of the ancient Judson Lanser when this virile young man had guarded her through the mountains, and looked at her with such focused attention her breath caught in her throat?

There was a muffled shout up ahead, then a sharp bang. The men halted immediately, all attention focused on the trail before them. More loud roars, and the guards were galvanized into action.

Everyone rushed to pull weapons from their harnesses or behind their saddles, and crowd in around the women as others galloped forward into the blinding snow. Shandro moved quickly, riding in her direction and waving at his men.

“Go back,” he yelled. “We don’t know what’s ahead.”

The men were milling in a circle now, trying to herd the women back the way they’d come. Horses neighed and reared in the confusion. China grabbed her reins in one hand and the saddle horn in the other as her mount sidestepped swiftly and plunged into the mount beside her.

Suddenly new riders appeared on both sides of the churning group. They materialized out of the trees, riding low in the saddle, weapons in hand.

Mass confusion ensued. One of the guards grabbed her bridle, dragging China’s horse around to go back down the trail the way they’d come, and she clung desperately to the horn as she swayed in the saddle. There were more sharp sounds, what must be the firing of weapons although it seemed muffled by the falling snow, and in the milling of bodies she couldn’t see where they were.

Then something hit her, knocking her sideways in the saddle. She reached for the horn but her hand didn’t work. The pain arrived in an overwhelming wave and she cried out low, unheard in the rush around her. Looking down, she saw blood bloom on her cloak and ripple in a slow wave down her arm.

She was falling and someone was bellowing in surprise or rage, a wild cry that followed her down.

About the Author

Sylvie Grayson loves to write about suspense, romance and murder and has published contemporary romantic suspense novels, all about strong women who meet with dangerous odds, stories of tension and attraction. She has also written The Last War series, a sci fi/fantasy adventure, the fifth book, Prince of Jiran, newly released.

She has lived most of her life in British Columbia, Canada, in spots ranging from Vancouver Island on the west coast to the North Peace River country and the Kootenays in the beautiful interior. She lived for a year in Japan. She has been an English language instructor, a nightclub manager, an auto shop bookkeeper and a lawyer. She lives in southern British Columbia with her husband on a small piece of land near the Pacific Ocean.

Sylvie loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at sylviegraysonauthor@gmail.com, on her website at www.sylviegrayson.com or on Facebook.

Bronwen Evans: A Dream of Redemption (Contest)
Sunday, February 18th, 2018

How do we stop our past from defining us? My latest release A DREAM OF REDEMPTION 20 February 2018 follows the journey of two people who have much to overcome in order to find true happiness.

A forbidden love and a chilling mystery tease the senses in this sensuous historical romance from the USA Today bestselling author of A Kiss of Lies and A Love to Remember.

Bookish and independent Lady Helen Hawkestone is expected to marry well. But, having grown up with warring parents, the institution holds little appeal. The trick, she realizes, is to marry for love—a task that’s easier said than done. Only while Helen is raising funds for her do-gooder sister’s orphanage does she meet a man who arouses her curiosity. Lowborn and yet so dignified that Helen can’t help but try to elicit a response, Clary Homeward is an enigma—a heart-stopping, body-stirring, forget-her-social-upbringing enigma.

A single offense against a noblewoman such as Lady Helen would ruin a man like Clary. Her sister, Marisa, rescued him from hellish poverty and employs him with her charity work. Try as he might to push her away, Helen tempts him to want things he could never have. But when girls from the orphanage start disappearing, destined for a grim fate Clary knows all too well, Helen insists on helping. And soon Clary wonders whether something more were not just possible but inevitable—even right.

Isn’t it funny how characters creep up on you? It’s one of the many joys of being a writer. When I wrote the part of Clarence (Clary) Homewood in A Whisper of Desire, I had no idea of the relationship that would develop between Clary and the sister of his savior, Lady Helen Hawkestone.

Clary has a sordid past to become comfortable with and he is full of self-loathing. Helen does not know of his past. All she knows is he is her sister’s overseer of several orphanages and a man who puts all others in the shade.

Innocent and naive of the horrors in the world for those less fortunate than herself, Helen, intrigued by Clary, begins to fall in love. Little does she know just how impossible a life with Clary would be.

But what really defines people is how we overcome the mistakes we make or those made against us. Can Clary forgive his past sin and can Helen convince her family to stand with her against insurmountable odds…

Here is a taste of A Dream of Redemption:

The women walked off toward the pond, Mary following Helen. Leaving Clary facing Fairfax and his male friends.

“Go and catch up with Lady Angela, I want a private word with Mr. Homeward,” Fairfax uttered to the other gents.

Once the others were out of earshot, Fairfax hissed, “What the blazes are you playing at? How dare you walk in the park with a lady.”

“Good afternoon, Lord Fairfax. If you excuse me I should catch up to her ladyship. Your behavior is being noted, and I don’t think you’d want me explaining how we met.”

With that threat hanging in the air Clary made to walk around Fairfax but the lord grabbed his arm and pulled him back. “You mention one word about me and that club and I’ll see you’re put back in the gutter where you belong.”

He wanted to shake off Fairfax’s hand, the feel of it on his person made him sick, but he noted Helen and Angela’s group was staring at them. “Let go of me, you are drawing attention to yourself.”
Fairfax looked over at his friends and quickly let go of his arm. “This is not over. I don’t know who you are pretending to be, but I’ll see you run out of town.”

Clary stood up proud and tall. He looked down his nose at Fairfax. “I work for the Duchess of Lyttleton and any scandal about me will impact on Her Grace and I won’t allow that. If I hear you are telling tales I shall ensure every mother in the ton understands your particular hedonistic tastes. You’ll be shunned, or worse, but without proof probably only shunned. Something you’ll care more about than I would. I have no reason, or wish, to enter Society nor any reputation to uphold.”

He glared at Fairfax whose face became very pale. “You would not dare.”

“Try me,” and Clary tipped his hat at Fairfax and made to move round him. Just as he was about to take a step Fairfax stuck his walking stick out and sent Clary headfirst onto the path. He wasn’t quick enough to put his arms out and so he rolled and let his body take the full impact. He landed on his injured side and pain raged through his body mixed with the anger and a driving need to pummel Fairfax into the dirt. Of course he couldn’t do that. Attacking a peer would carry a sentence of transportation. Probably what Fairfax wanted.

Then he heard the sound of dainty running feet and a feminine cry of outrage. “You did that on purpose, you swine.” He looked up from the ground to see Helen hit Fairfax with her reticule.

*~*~*

I hope you enjoy A Dream of Redemption and urge on Helen and Clary’s journey to their HEA.

Win a copy of A Whisper of Desire by leaving a comment below telling me the name of Helen’s sister.

Buy links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia
Nook
iBooks
Kobo
Google Play

Beth Williamson: Feeling Plum! (Contest)
Friday, February 16th, 2018

In case you hadn’t heard the news, my Plum Creek series is returning to bookshelves starting in February. This trilogy was originally published with Kensington since 2009/2010 but I got my rights back and decided to put them out there again. It’s a trilogy set in Reconstruction era Colorado. These are for sure erotic historical romance with lots of smexy scenes but also deep, wrenching emotions and an incredibly satisfying HEA. I’m excited to bring these back!

The trilogy begins with book 1, THE EDUCATION OF MADELINE. I wrote Madeline to be a tall, curvy, thirty-two year old spinster in Reconstruction era Colorado, 1872. She’s rich, hated because of her wealth, and needs to learn how to experience life.

The hero, Teague, is a big man with a dark past who enters Madeline’s life. She grabs hold of the opportunity with both hands, and they begin an adventure together, with many twists, turns, and unseen dangers.

I loved Madeline—she embodied what I struggled with as a curvy woman with low self-confidence. She discovers she’s fierce, courageous, and unwilling to settle for what the world has planned for her.

I’m happy to say THE EDUCATION OF MADELINE releases on February 27 in both ebook and print. The cover is beautiful, and I can’t wait for y’all to meet Madeline and Teague. Book 2, THE REDEMPTION OF MICAH, releases in April. Followed by the third book, THE SALVATION OF SARAH in late May. Each book has a new cover, is freshly edited, and is ready to find a whole new group of readers. If you read the original years ago, the stories themselves haven’t changed.

If you haven’t, be sure to be plum with me and visit Plum Creek!

The Education of Madeline

Plum Creek, Colorado 1872

The Right Man Comes Along…

Madeline Brewster practically owns Plum City, Colorado. But at thirty-two, she knows she has missed any chance for happiness. Until she finds a tall, strong, handsome Irishman on the wrong end of the hangman’s noose. Suddenly this unconventional woman comes up with an outrageous idea…

Teague O’Neal has rugged cheekbones, tousled black curls, and eyes as blue as the sky, even if he is caked in Colorado mud. The men insist they caught him horse-thieving, and there’s something desperate about him that says he’d do anything for a buck.

Maybe it was pure chance, or maybe it was something more that brought Madeline and Teague together. But one thing’s clear, between a woman who has just about everything she could ever want, and a man who’s lost that and more, they might find something in between worth living for.

Contest

Comment for a chance to win one of three eBook copies of The Education of Madeline I’m giving away!

Ruth Kaufman: Writing What You Know
Monday, February 12th, 2018

Hello, everyone! Thank you for stopping by. And Delilah, thank you for having me as a guest.

They say, “Write what you know.” I didn’t for my first four novels and a Kindle World novella, which are medieval. But I really enjoyed extensive research on topics as diverse as the last battle of the Hundred Years War (my first book), stained-glass painting (second book) and tournaments (third book) so I could include appropriate descriptions of actual events and daily life.

I decided to take that advice for my fifth novel MY LIFE AS AN EXTRA (humorous women’s fiction). Why? I’ve accumulated quite a bit of knowledge about the film industry while working as an extra on more than 80 films and TV shows.

My first was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (parade scene, you can’t see me), and one of my last was the ABC TV show Betrayal (as a juror, you can see me). I’m pursuing principal roles now, and you usually can’t audition for speaking roles on a film/show if you’ve been an extra on it.

I set the book in Chicago, where I live and the vast majority of projects I’ve worked on have filmed. And, since I’m over 40, I decided the heroine should be, too. I did my best to incorporate accurate details, but even in a city I know well, things change, such as beer prices at Cubs games.

A challenge was figuring out how much to incorporate that’s actually true, how much to base on truth and how much to create from scratch. Only my hairdresser knows for sure what the final blend is. Another challenge was finding the balance between making a day on set seem believable and real vs. overloading the reader with information. Finally, though I’ve been in scenes with and worked with many famous directors and stars, since it’s a novel and not a memoir, I wanted to be careful about how many I mention and for what purpose. Bonuses included not having to look up many words to see if they were in use at the time and not needing to double check historical details.

The sequel, coming later in 2018, is MY LIFE AS A STAR (romantic comedy). I had to do some research, because that hasn’t happened…yet?

MLaaE and MLaaS are about pursing your dreams because someday is now. What have you been wanting to do that you’ve put off, and how can you make room in your life for it?

About MY LIFE AS AN EXTRA

After an unexpected divorce, Marla Goldberg yearns to believe “someday is now” and pursue her dream of being an actress in Chicago. But how can she quit her frustrating radio station account executive job when she’s only booking work as an extra?

When she dips her toes into the daunting dating pool, her first “date” wants to meet in a pet store parking lot. Other forays yield equally unfortunate results that make her friends laugh out loud. As she seeks a talent agent and speaking roles, it’s one step forward, one step back. When told to eat a muffin at a commercial audition, her mouth is so dry she can’t spit it out in time to say her line.

Dealing with overachiever siblings, judgmental parents and longing to make her dreams come true, she struggles to learn the hardest lesson of all: how to feel special when you’re not the star.

Brief excerpt from the middle of Chapter 1 when Marla is on a film set as an extra…

After another rehearsal, my hand and feet warmers have already failed and are bean bags weighing down my mittens and crowding my boots. How much more freezing can I take?

Adam Markham gets off his high canvas chair with the movie logo embroidered on the back in bright yellow and his name on the front and comes over to us.

My surprise is real, because usually the director talks to the assistant directors, or ADs, not extras. The second AD, or sometimes the first, passes on what we’re supposed to do. Almost everyone wears earphones and microphones, so you don’t always know who’s telling what to whom.

His furry hood covers most of his narrow face, but I glimpse light blue eyes as he looks at me.

My heart starts to race. A famous, award-winning director has noticed me. Will he pluck me from obscurity? Will I be upgraded to a slightly better role and higher pay, or will he even give me a line, a boon bestowed on rare occasion?

“I don’t like the way her scarf is blowing.” The director walks down the row of extras and borrows a dark green, fringed wool one from some guy. For a second the guy’s face perks up. I know he thinks he’s going to be moved to a better place in the shot, my place, but Adam, if I may be so bold, just wants his scarf. I put it on and a wardrobe person safety pins it to my coat.

“Rolling….” a voice calls.

“Rolling!” several people echo.

“Picture’s up.”

“Background action!”

Leaning over the wind machines as the train rolls by, I and the others brave icy blasts. My hair and the borrowed scarf blow straight up. The cold has pierced my coat and layers, so I’m shivering harder. I know my nose is bright red. The woman beside me jumps up and down.

We endure a few more takes.

Adam comes toward me again. My heart starts pounding again. Why an intelligent person such as myself gets nervous because a famous movie director approaches is beyond me, but I can’t seem to help it. I hope I’ll get to do something good and fear I did something wrong at the same time.

“Will you step out of the shot, please?” he asks.

Buy Links:
Amazon- Available in print, e-book and in Kindle Unlimited: https://www.amazon.com/My-Life-Extra-Ruth-Kaufman-ebook/dp/B06Y1XPVFL

Audio book (Ruth voiced the female characters and hired a colleague to voice the males)- https://www.amazon.com/My-Life-as-an-Extra/dp/B076FGKFQC

About Ruth

Ruth Kaufman is the author five novels including MY LIFE AS AN EXTRA (humorous women’s fiction) and the Wars of the Roses Brides trilogy (medievals), AT HIS COMMAND, FOLLOW YOUR HEART and THE BRIDE TOURNAMENT. Accolades include winner of 2016 Booksellers’ Best Historical and Best First Book and Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® awards.

An actor and speaker with an M.S. and J.D, Ruth has had roles in independent feature films, web series, pilots, national TV commercials and hundreds of voiceover projects. She enjoys chocolate peanut butter milkshakes and singing in a symphony chorus.

Learn more or join Ruth online at:
Website: www.ruthkaufman.com
Acting website: www.ruthtalks.com
Twitter: @RuthKaufman https://twitter.com/RuthKaufman
Facebook: Ruth Kaufman Author & Actor https://www.facebook.com/ruthtalks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7454412.Ruth_Kaufman
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Ruth-Kaufman/e/B00JH7Z40S
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ruth.kaufman

Brent Archer: Rain City Tales and Stormy Seattle
Thursday, February 8th, 2018

The logo for the Rain City Tales includes a couple embracing under an umbrella for a reason. Except for three months out of the year when the sky is blue, the days and nights are warm, and the tourists are lulled into thinking Seattle is always beautiful, most of the year is a torrent of drizzle, wind, rain, and bone-chilling cold no amount of fleece can keep out. Not one-hundred percent of the days between late September and July 6th (seriously, like clockwork most years) is dismal. In fact, most of these days are schizophrenic. As I write this post, the sky is blue with fast moving puffy clouds. Only an hour earlier the dark and stormy day had been dumping rain. The storm clouds on the horizon are quickly approaching, pushed along by a chilly and constant wind.

I’m Yours starts out on just one of those blustery days. Toby Hayden battles the wind and the rain of downtown Seattle on his way to a job interview only to have a gust destroy his umbrella and soak his slacks. Meeting Merrick Hamilton, and his lucky handshake, definitely brightens Toby’s day. The weather doesn’t deter Toby and Merrick from a Valentine’s Day date. Merrick even declines a ride home, opting for the bus after getting rained out from their walk in the park. The storm raging at Toby’s work gives the weather a run for its money, and, unlike true Seattle weather, doesn’t appear to be abating. Though a Seattleite, Toby may not be able to weather this storm. It all depends on his former partner’s reappearance and whether the swirling chaos intensifies, or the controversy blows over and the sun comes out again.

The third installment of the Rain City Tales, I’m Yours, is now available for download on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo today!

Stay tuned for Rain City Tales Book 4: The Wedding Weekend, out in May 2018.

You can order the first Rain City Tales story, The Officer’s Siren, here, and the second story, Past Secrets Present Danger, here. Checkout Brent’s website for more details on upcoming books.

Excerpt:

Surveying his suit, Toby Hayden frowned at the soaked slacks below the line of his pea coat. Hardly how he wanted to show up to an interview, but he didn’t have much choice. Though the job market had picked up, he hadn’t worked in two years. Each passing day made him less employable, and he was already starting at a disadvantage.

“Damn you, Mark,” he muttered. A cloud as dark and threatening as the ones in the sky descended on his mood and self-confidence.

The sidewalk lightened, and he marveled at the sudden change in the weather. Sunshine reflected off the glass, metal, and polished stone of the downtown skyscrapers. Fifteen minutes ago, a bone-chilling wind had blasted up the hill of University Street, sweeping a pelting rain sideways. Moments before the clouds parted, a strong gust ripped between the buildings and cracked the thin, metal arms of his umbrella. With a snap, the metal broke and punched a hole in the fabric covering. Now as the wind continued to whistle around the skyscrapers, blue sky promised at least a few minutes of respite from the February storm.

The new steel and glass building rose before him, and he did his best to shake off the excess water from his clothes. After depositing his wrecked umbrella into the trash can on the street corner and straightening his tie, he entered the lobby. A young man perched on a stool at the concierge desk — probably mid to late twenties and the most piercing ice-blue eyes — stared through a wavy lock of black hair. The badge on his grey suit jacket identified him as Merrick.

Their gazes locked, and Toby felt compelled by an immediate attraction to approach. Though he knew what floor his interview was on, he gave into the urge to speak to this young man. “Hi, I’m looking for Herrington, Fisher, and Scallione. Do you know what floor I need?”

Merrick’s face brightened into a professional smile. “Certainly, sir.” He stood, towering over Toby’s six-foot frame and sweeping his long arm toward the elevators. “Take the second bank to floor twenty, and it should be the third doorway along the hall on the left.”

“Great, uh, thanks.” Reluctant to leave, he lingered for a moment. “Are you having a good morning?”

The smile turned more genuine. “I am, thanks for asking. What brings you into the building today?”

“An interview. I’m pretty nervous.” He again glanced over his suit with a frown, though his mood had vastly improved being in the young man’s company. “And the wet pants won’t exactly give a good first impression.”

“My friends constantly tell me I’m the luckiest person they know.” Merrick stuck out his hand, a gleam in his blue eyes. “Maybe some will rub off.”

Deciding he didn’t have much to lose, Toby clasped the offered hand. Soft skin squeezed in a firm, but not competitive, grip. For an intense moment, all other sounds and movements disappeared in the bustling lobby. Toby’s focus narrowed to the contact between them and the deep blue gaze that held steady with his. Before releasing Merrick’s hand, he gave a quick squeeze. Their fingers drifted apart, and the sounds of the city returned. Both men slowly let their arms return to their sides.

Clearing his throat, Merrick, momentarily startled, resumed his seat. He quickly recovered his smile and gave a wink. “Up the elevator to twenty. You’ll do great. I’ll look forward to hearing how it went.”

Brent Archer began writing in 2011 at the nudging of his cousins. His first story sold, and he was hooked! Keep up with Brent Archer and his current releases at his website, and follow him on Twitter: @brentarcherwrit.

Kathy Kulig: How to Find the Right Tattoo for You
Monday, February 5th, 2018

Are you thinking about getting your first tattoo? Or planning a new one that’s your 10th? Picking a design can take a long time, and should at least take a lot of thought, as well as WHERE to place it.

While doing research for my book TATTOO WITCH, I visited a tattoo shop and spoke with an artist about design selection application and aftercare. I was in New Hope, PA with hubby and told him I needed to go into this tattoo shop. He was hesitant. “Are you getting one?”

“No, just need to ask some questions.” After explaining to the young woman at the desk that I was doing research for my new book, she disappeared behind a curtain. Moments later, a huge man appeared. He was about 6’ 4” with shoulder-length hair, a long beard and covered in tats. He strode up to me and asked, “Can I help you?”

My mouth moved but it took a few seconds before words came out. “I…I would like to…to ask you some questions for a book I’m writing.”

“Sure, come on back.” He turned and walked behind the curtain.

I glanced at hubby. “I’ll wait out here.”

“Great.” I followed the big guy to the back room.

The guy was very nice, and very knowledgeable. I was thoroughly impressed with the sterile technique (I’m a medical professional) and the talent of the artist himself (I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler).

Most of his clients choose a design from his gallery, on Pinterest or the internet. Occasionally, they draw or write their own design. He can personize a design, change the size, color or make other embellishments.

A tattoo is very personal, so what you chose and where you place it is a major decision. Do your research for the pros and cons about location. Many employers still consider visible tats against their dress code and may require that you cover them.

10 Most Common Places to Get a Tattoo

  • Lower back
  • Wrist/finger
  • Foot
  • Ankle
  • Upper arm/shoulder
  • Back/rib
  • Forearm
  • Chest
  • Breast
  • Neck

A Couple of Fun Tattoo Facts

  • The first tattoo machine was invented in 1891 by Samuel O’Reilly based on Thomas Edison’s device called the electric pen invented in 1876.
  • For those scared of needles: a tattoo machine will puncture the skin on average 50-3,000 times per minute.
  • Obtaining a tattoo in New York City was illegal between 1961 and 1997 because of an outbreak of Hepatitis B.

Tattoo Witch

Find Tattoo Witch at:
Amazon | BN | KOBO | iBooks  | Google

What if a tattoo had supernatural powers and could grant wishes? Cassandra is a witch who designs magical tattoos. Sam and Anita are struggling in their relationship and hope to reignite their lukewarm love life while on a beach vacation. They meet a mysterious, heavily tattooed couple who brag about the fiery passion and excitement in their lives and swear that Sam and Anita could have it too. They refer Sam and Anita to Sinful Designs, the cure for their troubled romance. Cassandra designs the tattoo to meet their needs. But she mixes in a little black magic, so there’s a catch. They get their wishes and more, but all tats comes with a curse. Their world is turned upside down, and there’s only one way to break the spell. Can their love survive the consequences, and strong enough to fight black magic? Steamy, suspenseful and romantic.

About Kathy Kulig

 Kathy is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of erotic paranormal, contemporary, and suspense romance. She’s a science geek by day and escapes into her writer’s world at night. Kathy’s books are passionate, emotionally-charged and always have a happy ending. She loves to travel, work out, curl up with her Kindle, binge watch Netflix series and have dinners out with her amazing husband. She lives in Pennsylvania in a 100-year-old Victorian house with a garage built out of reject tombstones. Readers can find her:

Web site: http://www.kathykulig.com
Blog: http://www.BurntStilettos.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kathykuligauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kathykulig
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1221829.Kathy_Kulig
Hot News Mailing List: http://smarturl.it/KathysHotNews