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Leona Bushman: My Recent Brush… (Contest)
Saturday, November 10th, 2018

Hi! I’m new here, so don’t mind me as I get comfortable. I have recently hired an assistant, and what a God send. However, I’m still doing things last minute as I do my day job (editing) while trying to meet writing deadlines…and that doesn’t count family time!

I recently had a close brush with death (mid October). I have asthma. I had an attack. I was alone and losing consciousness. My daughter messaged me until I answered. Then, when I started losing consciousness again, a friend called and kept me awake until I made it to the hospital. I was disoriented. Had no idea where I was… Still not sure how I made it to the hospital.

Life is precious. Don’t forget that in the midst of daily life.

I’m a writer, painter, editor, et al. I write everything from urban fantasy zombies to romance with happily ever after. My latest few stories have had magic in them. And Scotland. And Highlands. I am sensing a theme here. But what does it have to do with the aforementioned asthma attack?

I realized how badly I wanted to make it as a writer. I mean, I sort of knew that already, but it remained after the life changing moment. That writing really is important to me. More time hugging my kids. Check. More time talking to friends. Check. And more writing… Not so check. It is November. To me, it starts the magical holiday season. (Honestly, I am not sure why I don’t have more Christmas stories out!) So, I need to remember the simple magic of being alive and following my dreams.

My recent brush has helped me keep on track for my dreams, even as my personal life is falling apart and this will be one of the worst Christmases I have ever lived through. I have hope and belief that this trial will leave me out on the other end better and more powerful as a creator.

So, in writing a story, I’m terribly mean to my characters. It’s a great way to work through a little angst in your life. I put them through things to make them stronger. To give them character and dimension, and plus, it has the added benefit of making things more fun to read. Hmmm…. Maybe I should be a little nicer to them?

Nah. *grin*

Even in the “light hearted” tale I recently released (Enduring Legacy series, each book can be read alone), erm… I may have killed off a few people. *shifty eyes*

Christmas makes me smile. I want to bake and cook and craft to my heart’s content. I like to curl up with a good book, drink coffee or hot chocolate, and gaze out on the snow. I don’t get as much time to do that as I like. It may be time to make it a priority again.

What are your favorite books to read during the holidays? Your favorite place?

What is your priority during the festive season?

I will give a free book to one lucky commenter. 😊Your choice of A Hunter, a Witch, and a Shrew, or Zombie Infestation.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Leona Bushman is a crazy writer taught by dragons and known as Dragon Queen of the North. She loves to write and paint, even when her muse tries to muck things up. She chases after the three out of the five children still at home, and sometimes after the other two and the grandbaby around her freelance editing jobs. She has many hobbies like SCA, painting, quilting, sewing, and gardening. Or, as one blogger succinctly put it, Leona Bushman is a whirlwind made of sheer will with a dash of clumsy to keep her grounded.

She can be found solving mysteries, exploring space, making art, and loving dragons and other creatures of the supernatural at these places:

Twitter: @L_Bushman
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLeonaBushman
Facebook artist page: https://www.facebook.com/LeonaBushmanArtisteExtraordinaire/
Website: www.leonajbushman.com
Blog: www.lbushman.blogspot.com and www.lbushman.wordpress.com
Newsletter: http://madmimi.com/signups/374285/join

I frequently post under the hashtags #thenextleonardodavinci and #thenextleonardodavinciandson

Also available by Leona Bushman (romance):
The Ulfric’s Mate, book 1 (War of the Weres series)
The Midwife’s Moon, book 2 (War of the Weres series)
Bearly There, book 1 (War of the Weres Chronicles)
Fox in the Wolf Den, book 2 (War of the Weres Chronicles)
Pirating Christmas
The Shot, book 2(Traincoach of Death series)
Luck of the Draw
Winds of Fire (Eagle Claw series)
Murder by Succubus
Magic and Weres (anthology)
Masked Pain
Over a Dead Body
Slow Fever
Darkest Death, book 1 (Darkest Series)
In for a Penny, book 1(Traincoach of Death series)
Highland Magic, book 1 (Highland Magic series)
A Hunter, a Witch, and a Shrew

Also available by Leona Bushman
writing as LJ Bushman (non romance):
Demons and Wraiths
Death’s Car
The Fight of the Sorceress
Zombie Infestation
Cerisa’s Quest, book 1 Quest of Riverhand

Coming Soon:
Darkest Death, book 2 (Darkest Series)
The Panther’s Hunter, book 3 (War of the Weres series)
Evil in the Highlands, book 2 (Highland Magic)

LOCKDOWN is out!
Thursday, November 8th, 2018

It took me a day or two longer, wrestling with Amazon, to get Lockdown released! But it’s here! If you love a naughty paranormal with a touch of horror (promise it’s not too much!) and a dose of ménage (verra, verra sexy!), this one’s for you! If you’d like to read an excerpt, check out this previous post! And yes, the contest is still open, so be sure to enter! Pre-order Woes… (Contest)

Lockdown

Lockdown

After surviving an attack by a prisoner, corrections officer Gillian Priest arrives at her new unit, determined not to ever let her guard down again. Things get complicated when a handsome new prisoner enters her dreams and seduces her. When fellow officer Billy Hedron makes a pass, she’s already primed, ready to ease the arousal her sexy dreams have left with a more appropriate mate.

Billy Hedron knows his old Marine buddy Gabriel Vlahos is posing as a prisoner to find a demon within the prison walls, and who better to hunt one than an incubus? When his buddy seduces Gillian in her dreams, Billy stands ready to serve the needs his friend stirs up in the attractive woman. But things take a deadly turn when the demon they seek decides it’s time to take them all to hell.

FREE to KU Subscribers!
Get your copy here!

If you missed the first story…

Sin's Gift

When police officer Sinead O’Rourke returns to duty months after being shot in an incident that claimed her partner, she knows it’s not going to be easy. Despite being cleared of any negligence, her fellow officers still wonder whether she’s responsible for his death. One more problem is that everyone knows she claims to have seen his ghost. After months of rehabilitation and lying like hell about the fact she’s not seeing spooks anymore, Sin’s determined to get back into the saddle.

Jake Chappa doesn’t want to partner with Sin. Been there, done that–couldn’t keep his hands off her the first time around. She’s too much of a distraction, and her penchant for rushing into trouble scares the heck out of him. Despite wishing she’d quit her job, he’s still deeply attracted. When an armed robbery goes down and something happens that rattles Sin to the core, he’s right there–ready to cover her back and her sweet body.

FREE to KU Subscribers!
Get your copy here!

Pre-order Woes… (Contest)
Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Contest

Win a $5 Amazon gift card! All you have to do is tell me whether you’re reading this blog on your phone, desktop, or laptop!

*~*~*

Okay, so the cover is interesting. Not great, but you’d never guess how hard it is to find sexy “prison” photos. Lockdown is the second in the Veiled Alliance series, and is a re-release, but I’m betting hardly anyone has read it, am I right?

I’ll be uploading it into Amazon tomorrow, because I want to make sure it’s available on Tuesday, its official release date. I would have set it up for you to pre-order a long time ago, but alas, I’ve lost my pre-order rights until September of next year. Yeah, makes me cry. Things like having your dad fall and break his hip and have to have surgery in a far-flung place, and then going to rehab, all of which puts a huge dent in a writer’s writing schedule, aren’t good enough excuses. Especially after I had to slide a release date earlier this year due to my grandmother’s death. I’m thinking Amazon considers that a “the dog ate my homework” kind of excuse. So, I lost my privilege.

Which causes all kinds of difficulties for an author when she’s trying to get the word out. Everything waits until release date. Still, I figure you might want to know whether this is something you should mark on your calendar to get. So, do you like paranormal stories? Like a bit of horror thrown in? Love uber-sexy scenes, some threesomes, with human and otherkin partners? Well, maybe, just maybe, you’ll want to mark down this one. TUESDAY, folks! If not sooner. 🙂

Here’s a snippet…

Lockdown

After surviving an attack by a prisoner, corrections officer Gillian Priest arrives at her new unit, determined not to ever let her guard down again. Things get complicated when a handsome new prisoner enters her dreams and seduces her. When fellow officer Billy Hedron makes a pass, she’s already primed, ready to ease the arousal her sexy dreams have left with a more appropriate mate.

Billy Hedron knows his old Marine buddy Gabriel Vlahos is posing as a prisoner to find a demon within the prison walls, and who better to hunt one than an incubus? When his buddy seduces Gillian in her dreams, Billy stands ready to serve the needs his friend stirs up in the attractive woman. But things take a deadly turn when the demon they seek decides it’s time to take them all to hell.

Gillian blinked when he first appeared. She’d been sitting on the porch of her family’s cabin at Canyon Lake, Texas on a hot summer’s day. Nothing to think about except how much she missed this place.

Only she’d been alone. Her sister didn’t play on the edge of the water. Her brother wasn’t casting a line into the water, hoping to catch supper. Her mother and father weren’t in the hammocks strung beneath the live oaks, laughing softly to themselves.

And yet, she’d felt peaceful.

What the hell was Vlahos doing in her dream? He stood at the bottom of the steps. His smile was slow.

“It’s not fair you look so damn good,” she groused. God, had she just said that out loud?

“It’s a dream,” he said, climbing the porch steps. “No place for secrets here.” He turned toward the lake, his gaze scanning his surroundings.

“It’s nice.”

He didn’t belong here. Not in her special place. “I don’t want you here. You’re strictly off limits.”

He unbuttoned his coverall and pushed it down his legs. The boxers beneath quickly followed.

Gillian’s chest lifted around a swift gasp. His body was perfectly formed—broad shoulders, lean abdomen, chiseled cuts bisecting the muscle layered down his belly in perfect rows. His cock was gorgeous as well. Long and straight with a pretty tapered crown. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Getting comfortable. Preparing to give you what we both need.”

“I don’t need to see you naked,” she said huffily.

“Then close your eyes.”

“As if. You’re a murderer.”

His lips curled in that feline smile of his. “Things aren’t always what they seem. And this is only a dream.”

“I suppose you’re innocent,” she said, her voice catching.

His head canted, and he sat on the wooden step beside her. “That didn’t sound like sarcasm. That was pain.”

She shook her head. “It’s none of your goddamn business.”

“And I don’t really have the time. But hold that thought. Pain works for me, too.”

“What are you talking about?” she said, growing alarmed at his mention of pain.

He turned suddenly, his hands coming down on either side of her, his body rising over hers and pressing her to the porch floor.
Her hands came up between them. “Get off me.”

“Do you really want me to? Don’t you want to see whether you can orgasm inside a dream? Have you done it before?”

“I usually wake up,” she said, then groaned at admitting something so personal.

“What if I promise it won’t happen this time.”

“You’re still a goddamn convict. I shouldn’t be with you, even if this is just a dream. I don’t want you in my head.”

“Then find someone else to fuck when you’re awake. Right now, I need you every bit as much as you need this. So, just shut up.”

His lips slammed into hers, grinding the soft tissue inside against her teeth. She tasted blood.

Some dream.

But that was all it was. A dream. She could do this. Follow it wherever it led, and no one would ever know.

“That’s right,” he said, lifting his mouth from hers. “Just you and me.”

Gillian looked up at him, at the need stretching his skin tautly across his sharp cheekbones and lending a harsh edge to his solid jaw. At the tension in his shoulders and arms as he held himself. Waiting.

For her to accept this? For her to give him permission to proceed. “I don’t like that you can see inside my mind.”

“I won’t do anything you don’t want,” he said softly. “From here on out.”

“Why do you need this so badly?”

“I feel your hunger, your loneliness—your pain. I don’t know where it comes from, but I need it to fill me.”

“Why?”

“Because I need emotion to sustain me. Bad times are coming. I have to be strong.”

“What about me, and what I need?” she whispered harshly. “This is my dream, my body, you’re getting ready to take.”

“You’ve already thought ahead to what will happen?”

“I know I want to you to fuck me. See if it’s possible to do what you said.”

“Come inside your dream?”

She almost smiled as his lips curled, lending his hard features a surprisingly whimsical expression.

“Tomorrow,” he said, leaning down to press a quick kiss to her forehead, “you’ll watch me and feel a little nostalgic, a little sad that this didn’t really happen.”

“Tomorrow, when I watch you shower,” she bit out, “I’ll probably be disappointed that I didn’t get the details right.”

His eyebrows lifted. “And maybe you won’t.”

Needing to erect an emotional barrier between them, she lifted her chin. “I have my eye on another man. Someone more suitable.”

“Hedron?”

She wasn’t surprised this time that he’d guessed so accurately. He was just an extension of her subconscious after all. “Yes. And he’s built like a goddamn bull.”

One side of his mouth quirked upward. “Trying to make me jealous?”

“Is it working?”

“Yes. Now, shut up.” His hands gripped the edges of her sleeveless cotton blouse and ripped it open.

She jerked against him but stopped trying to fight him. When his hands tugged her shorts down her hips, and the lacy scrap that passed for underwear with it, she mewled.

Then he was on her, inside her, shoving his perfect cock deep. She was already hurtling high and hoping like hell the phone wouldn’t ring and pull her away, because she thought that just maybe he’d do it. Bring her body to orgasm.

But suddenly, something else started to happen inside her. Something that sucked away her breath, her will, left her quivering and shaken because she couldn’t break free of the grip of whatever it was thrusting straight inside her chest and mind. But the pressure in her chest couldn’t compete with his luscious assault further down her body.

*~*~*

And if you haven’t read the first story, check it out!

Sin's Gift

 

When police officer Sinead O’Rourke returns to duty months after being shot in an incident that claimed her partner, she knows it’s not going to be easy. Despite being cleared of any negligence, her fellow officers still wonder whether she’s responsible for his death. One more problem is that everyone knows she claims to have seen his ghost. After months of rehabilitation and lying like hell about the fact she’s not seeing spooks anymore, Sin’s determined to get back into the saddle.

Jake Chappa doesn’t want to partner with Sin. Been there, done that–couldn’t keep his hands off her the first time around. She’s too much of a distraction, and her penchant for rushing into trouble scares the heck out of him. Despite wishing she’d quit her job, he’s still deeply attracted. When an armed robbery goes down and something happens that rattles Sin to the core, he’s right there–ready to cover her back and her sweet body.

Get your copy here!

N.J. Walters: Top 5 Movies for Halloween
Monday, October 29th, 2018

It’s only a couple of days until all the kids are out trick-or-treating. On Halloween night, I like to light the candle in the pumpkin, turn off the lights, and put on my favorite Halloween movies.

There are tons of great ones out there to choose from, but here are 5 of my favorites:

1. The Crow (1994)—One of my favorite movies of all time and probably the one I’ve watched the most. It’s so dark, yet so hopeful. Brandon Lee’s performance is incredible. Great cast and story, plenty of action, and one fantastic soundtrack.

2. Underworld (2003)—Vampires and lycans are at war. Selene, a vampire warrior, makes the mistake of falling in love with Michael, a human who is sought by werewolves for unknown reasons.

3. Dracula Untold (2014)—A fresh look at the traditional Dracula story. I love this movie. I mean, what’s not to love about Luke Evans as Vlad Tepes, the prince who must become a monster feared by his own people in order to obtain the power needed to protect them.

4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)—As promised, this movie closely follows Stoker’s version of Dracula. Great film. Gary Oldman plays a scary and seductive Dracula.

5. Lost Boys (1987)—It’s hard to believe this movie is 30 years old, but it holds up. It’s one of my favorite vampire movies of all time. And the soundtrack is amazing.

I know this is a top 5 list, but I have to mention Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp (1999) and the Disney animated version (1949). I love them both. The animated story is beautifully crafted. And while the Depp version of the story goes off the rails near the end, I still enjoy it. And Ghostbusters, because who are you gonna call when you need to get rid of some ghosts.

And if you’re looking for a book or two to read, might I suggest the Hades’ Carnival series.

Welcome to Hades’ Carnival, where a group of immortal shapeshifting warriors are imprisoned in their animal forms on a carousel.

Cursed by the very goddess they served—The Lady of the Beasts—in order to keep them out of Hell, now the warriors are being offered a chance at freedom and redemption. And it will take a very special woman to free each warrior.

Once free, they must stay alive for 24 hours if they want to save themselves from Hades once and for all.

Night of the Tiger https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TSB6Z8
Mark of the Bear https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TS79RK/
Pride of the Lion https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TSMST9/
Howl of the Wolf  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TSQ84M/
Heart of the Serpent https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TST8PT/
Flame of the Phoenix https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TSF7KT/
Lure of the Jaguar https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TS717B/

SERIES LINK:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0742KNX25

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Newsletter Group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/awakeningdesires/info
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Contest Roundup! Reminder to Authors! And a Very SEXY Excerpt!
Saturday, October 27th, 2018

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

A Quick Note about CONTESTS!

These contests are still open!

  1. Procrastination is my middle name… (Contest)
  2. Cynthia D’Alba: Two SEALs in Paradise (Contest)
  3. Today’s! (Details below!)

A Reminder to Authors!

Call for Short Story Submissions!
(Click on picture to learn more!)
Deadline November 15th!

A Sexy Excerpt!

LockdownThe walk to her bedroom was as slow as she could manage. She didn’t want him knowing how badly she wanted this. He’d think her completely desperate.

But when she crossed the threshold, he was already stripping. Just as eager, just as breathless as she was.

The sight of his bared chest left her gasping. Wide-set shoulders with thick mounds of muscle on top and at the corners of his shoulders.

Breasts bulging, rippling as he flexed involuntarily with the clenching of his fists. “You sure about this?”

Maybe he asked because she’d halted, and her mouth was hanging open. She toed off her shoes, stripped her tight tee over her head and unclasped her sports bra before she looked at him again. A good thing, because he was naked, and the lower half of him was equally ripped, equally breath-stealing. His huge, ridged cock made her mouth water.

It turned upward, as thick and imposing as the rest of him. She couldn’t wait to feel the pinch of his girth stretching her from the inside as he crammed inside her. But first, he rolled a condom down his length.

She shoved down her shorts and briefs and headed straight for the bed, pulling back the coverlet and exposing the clean sheets she’d swapped for the drenched set she’d woken in earlier.

Here was a more appropriate, licentious fuck. She didn’t have to feel guilty about wanting it. Didn’t have to worry about losing everything she valued, including herself respect. She climbed onto the bed, knowing he was staring at her ass and rolled to her back, before slowly spreading her legs in invitation.

A low groan, sounding more like an animalistic growl, rumbled from him, and she smiled and reached down to trace the edges of her folds.

He stomped forward, staring down at her sex, then gripped her ankles hard and pulled her toward the edge of the bed. When her legs draped over it, dangling toward the floor, he knelt between her thighs, spread her with his fingers, and bent to run his tongue along her damp slit.

Gillian closed her eyes on a sigh and lifted her legs over his broad shoulders, snuggling her bottom closer the end of the bed as he continued to lick and suck, his teeth capturing an inner fold and nibbling on it for a moment before his tongue stroked into her entrance and swirled.

She moaned, and her chest rose faster with her labored breaths. Like she’d run miles. When fingers joined the teasing strokes, she heard the wet sounds as her inner lips clasped moistly around his thick fingers, and then she smiled because he burrowed deeper at her body’s lewd invitation, pumping inside her, stretching her with a third, and then a fourth finger.

When his lips latched onto her clit, she couldn’t suppress the cry he surprised from her. Thick digits continued to sink inside her, stretching her, making her pussy pulse as she began to undulate her hips, climbing toward the apex.

But then he pulled out of her and backed away, abandoning her when she’d been ready to let go. He gripped her hips hard and shoved her up the bed. His knees landed on the mattress between her spread legs, and she lifted them high, but he nudged her bottom roughly to scoot her higher. When he was satisfied, he grabbed her legs and urged them around his hips, then prodded her sex with the blunt, round head of his cock. His gaze locked with hers, his hands flattened on the mattress beside her shoulders. When he had her undivided attention, he took a deep breath and stroked deep.

She was wet, ready, but not prepared for his size. She cried out, and then bit her lip, not wanting him to stop or even slow the forceful motions that thrust his cock deeper and deeper into her body, until his balls slapped her tender perineum.

There was nothing smooth, nothing easy about the way he made love. He powered into her, grunting at the end of each thrust, forcing an equally unfeminine grunt from her lips that pleased her primitive, primal core.

She’d feel bruised, sore, used when he was done, but satisfied like she’d never been before.

Her arms wound around his shoulders, and she pressed her cheek against his hot throat, feeling tears leak from between her tightly squeezed eyelids. She didn’t know why she cried, but he forced powerful emotions from her just as he forcefully, brutally took her body.

Her bed thudded heavy against the wall, the sound pulling her away, giving her something else to think about rather than how shattered she felt, and she laid back her head, opening her eyes to meet his fierce gaze.

“Did I hurt you?” he growled.

“Yes. Please don’t stop.”

A gust of laughter shook his chest, and he hiked her legs higher around his waist and slammed harder, his strokes shortening, quickening.

She couldn’t catch her breath. And she was quickly flying apart. She raked her fingers down either side of his spine, digging deep.

He grunted again, gathered his knees closer to her, laying his chest on top of hers and resting his forehead on the mattress beside her face.

Gillian skimmed her lips along the edge of his ear, licked a trickle of sweat sliding alongside his cheek and nuzzled closer, waiting, waiting….until the tension he built with his hard, sharp strokes finally coaxed her orgasm into full bloom. She gasped into his ear, clung hard to him, and gave a keening howl as it ripped through her.

His release came quickly on the heels of her own. His choked breaths and gasps added texture to the slowing staccato of his last strokes. Then he was falling over her, wrung out, his cock jerking inside her as his breaths rattled through his chest.

*~*~*

Sin's GiftBe looking for this one, coming soon! It’s the sequel to Sin’s Gift, and a very sexy paranormal!

Contest: Do you watch paranormal television shows? What’s your current fave? Answer for a chance to win a free copy of one of my recent releases!

Reina Torres: The Wonder World of Shapeshifters
Friday, October 26th, 2018

NOTE: I know the first book is up at $0.99 already, but Reina is working with KDP to get the deal going for the other too! So check back!


One of the other writers in my local Nano-writing group* wrinkled his nose at the news that I had published Shifter Romance. “What does that even mean?” He wondered out loud. Really loud. “How is that even real fiction?”

Okay, so I want you to know he is still alive and breathing, but only because jail is real.

I’m used to the rolled eyes when I talk about romance, but hey… to each their own… and I love myself some romance. And there are people who are uninformed and then there are people who are willfully ignorant. I chose to believe he was part of the first group and asked him.

“Have you read stories about Greek Mythology?”

“Of course!” He seemed affronted that I’d even ask him such a silly thing. “Greek Mythology is classic storytelling!”

He knew I had him when I smiled. Not my normal smile, but that teeth-baring alligator grin that usually makes my son cringe and walk away, because he knows I’m about to take a bite out of someone.

“Oh good… well let’s talk about Greek Mythology. The obvious start is King Lycaon. Some forms of his myth tells the story of how Zeus turned him into a wolf as punishment for trying to trick him into eating human flesh.”

“Sure,” he shrugged, “but that’s just one—”

“Well, what about Arachne. Athena changed her into a spider.”

“Okay, but—”

“Apollo mourned the death of the youth Hyacinth, changing him into the flower we know today.”

He gave me a sullen look. “And?”

“There are a ton of examples, but let’s just remember how many times Zeus had to change his form or the form of others just to get some love… physical love. So…”

Yes, I verbally beat him into submission with examples of what he considered “real fiction” — but what am I getting at here…

Mythology… origin stories… are a human way of trying to understand ourselves and where we come from. We see ourselves in nature, sometimes ascribing attributes of nature’s other creatures to understand what we feel inside. We’re skittish as a colt. We’re hungry as a bear.

We even roar like lions.

We find animalistic characteristics as both desirable and undesirable in ourselves… of course we’re going to seek them in our heroes… our lovers…

I guess that’s why I love writing shapeshifters so much. Heroes and Heroines who can not just dabble in those behaviors, but come by them naturally.

A shapeshifter trio of brothers, bears from the Orsino family who search for their perfect mate and find them in equally amazing women…

A tiger shifter who finds himself with the Catch 22 of all time—keep the secret of his kind… or save the woman who is his perfect match?

Where wild nature and the cultivation of love collide and co-exist…

It gives me the warm fuzzies… You too?

*NANOWRIMO – November is National Novel Writing Month – the group of writers I’ve belonged for more than ten years started as folks who participated in this event

Her UnBearable Protector

The head of Orsino Security was hired to protect her for a week. Instead, his bear wants to claim her forever.

It takes one look for bear shifter Salvatore Orsino to know that Natale Durante isn’t just his client… she’s his mate. His first instinct is to lay Natale’s curvaceous body over his shoulder, find a den, and claim her with his bite. But, this beautiful head-strong woman only grudgingly endures his protection even as she welcomes him in her bed. He’ll have to set aside his bear’s need to mark her until he’s eliminated the threat to her life. Once she’s safe, he’ll turn all his energies convincing her that he isn’t after a short-term dalliance, he wants her, with him… forever.

Natale Durante knows that Durante Fashion House is on its last legs. Her new line, designed for women of every size and shape, is her last attempt at saving her family’s legacy. But there are those in high fashion who prefer that things stay the same—curves belong on the road, not the runway. When complaints and hate mail escalate to threats of bodily harm, her father hires a bodyguard—Salvatore Orsino. He’s over six feet of deliciously seductive muscular male and a distraction she can’t afford. One look from him and she wants her infuriatingly persistent protector to rip off her clothes with his teeth, or she might do the same to him.

Can Salvatore eliminate the threats to Natale or will he lose her before he has a chance to claim her?

Get your copy here!

The Tiger’s Innocent Bride

When he saw his mate for the first time, her life was in danger. Keeping his Tiger a secret was no longer an option.

Every day was a struggle for Tiger Shifter, Devlin Kerr. Booted from one Police Department due to his ‘questionable attitude,’ he’d landed in Sylvan City determined to give the career another go. What was an Alpha to do?

Three weeks of even more bull and inside politics was already souring him on law enforcement all together when his Captain suckers him into working extra security at a society event.

A society event that ends in gunfire and blood.

And smack dab in the middle of the crosshairs? His mate.

Secrets be damned, Devlin did what it took to save her and suddenly danger is coming at them from everywhere.
Death, he could handle. Mayhem? Sure, just another walk in the park.

People going after his mate? That wasn’t going to fly. He was going to do whatever it took to keep her safe from danger…
…but who was going to keep Paige Lundin safe from him? Less than a day after they’d met, she was The Tiger’s Innocent Bride.

*This is Book 1 of the Sylvan City Alphas Series. As the series goes on you’ll meet Alphas of a number of different species who will find their mates amongst the citizens of this city, complete with lush woods and fields as well as a concrete jungle. These hard-edged heroes and their lusciously-curvy mates are turning this island into a shifter paradise filled with Happy Ever Afters*

Get your copy here!

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.