Saturday Excerpt – Cop on Her Doorstep by Karen Docter

“My next book out is in the True Love In Uniform series (contemporary romance) so I’ll share an excerpt from the first book, COP ON HER DOORSTEP.” ~Karen Docter

COP ON HER DOORSTEP © 2015
True Love In Uniform, Book One
By Karen Docter

 

Excerpt

Carrie Padilla wished she could crawl back into bed. Maybe, under it. Any day that included a cop on her doorstep didn’t promise to be a good one. A policeman appearing at the crack of dawn spelled disaster. There must be some mistake.

The hope prompted her to peek through the peephole a second time to examine the identification she’d demanded. Her heart racing, she sucked in one short, shaky breath of air. Then another, longer one. Her head spun with the effort, so she had to settle her forehead against the door.

She couldn’t chance a one-on-one confrontation with a uniform again. Not this close. She may have beaten the impulse to fall apart every time a siren sounded in the distance or a police car appeared in her rearview mirror, but did she dare test herself with closer contact?

“If you’d like to call the station, Sergeant Grenich will vouch for me.” The voice was deep, authoritative, impossible to ignore.

Opening the door wouldn’t be her first choice. Then, neither would it be second or third. But Officer Jake Stefani wanted to speak with her and she didn’t have an excuse for turning him away. At least, no valid excuse.

Her fingers fumbled with the safety chain as she glanced down at her sweaty exercise gear. Sports bra, covered by the sleeveless Colorado Rockies T-shirt her husband bought her before he died. Her old running shorts, a tad less loose thanks to her recent make-up-for-the-loneliness, chocolate-peanut butter ice cream splurges. Running shoes with low-cut athletic socks.

She wore less to the local swimming pool, so why did she suddenly feel so naked? She was afraid it was due to more emotional reasons than physical ones. The problem was she didn’t have the nerve to ask the man outside to wait until she was better able to cope. He wasn’t likely to wait forever.

Unable to avoid the inevitable any longer, she threw open the door while one trembling hand tucked tendrils of damp, auburn hair back into her ponytail. Disconcerted to find herself nose to chest with the policeman, she stepped backward, her desire to bolt suddenly stronger. At only a few inches over five feet, she’d experienced her share of “tiny attacks” in the past, but never with this kind of intensity.

Amazingly enough, the uniform didn’t cause the problem. The man behind it did. Although he couldn’t quite lay claim to six feet, his crisp, dark blue shirt clung to a broad chest, his trousers molded to muscular legs. He didn’t have the brawny physique of a body builder though, more the sleek, leashed power of a man trained in martial arts. Good heavens, but his biceps looked strong. Rock hard.

Something distinctly feminine within her quickened. Were arms like those capable of tenderness? A woman would feel safe there, secure, if she wasn’t crushed to death first.

Chasing the unruly notion away, she gazed elsewhere. The dark shading of the man’s square jaw suggested a beard needing two close shaves a day. His full lower lip was sensuous and bound to cause heartache, if a woman weren’t tripped up first by the mischievous bump of a slightly crooked nose. She blinked when she reached the kindest, warmest brown eyes she’d ever seen. They were the same rich shade as Swiss chocolate. Soft. Mouthwateringly tempting.

Wow. Too bad she was on a no-man diet.

 

 

 

 

 

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AuThursday – Karen Docter

Please welcome author Karen Docter to the Clog Blog!

Thanks so much for allowing me to visit your blog. It’s always fun to talk to readers!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I fell in love with stories when I was really young. My mother would take my sisters and I to the public library every Saturday. We’d load up on the maximum number of books we could check out and we’d start reading them the moment we got back to the car. We couldn’t wait to get home. I was out of reading material by mid-week but I’d just reread my favorite ones until we could trade them out. I went through the entire children’s section by the time I was nine.

I loved our librarians because they knew me and were able to transition me to the adult section. I read way beyond my years. I moved into SciFi (loved all of the greats, Heinlein, Asimov, etc.), Suspense (grew up on my mother’s Perry Mason and Ellory Queen stories from her Writer’s Digest Books) and Romance (ala Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer) I read everything those two ladies wrote (which was A LOT) and I got hooked on romance. SciFi and Suspense are also my “go to” reads, although I’ve since started picking up just about any romance across the sub-genres now.

I have a Technical Journalism degree and taught English Composition at a community college, but never really wrote for anyone but myself and English classes until I decided to write my first romance novel <mumble> years ago. J I have so many romance stories in my TBW, “To Be Written” pile I’ll have to live forever to finish them all.

How do you make time to write?

This has been a challenge in the past couple of years. I have been battling a number of health issues and my writing efforts were not productive. Last month, I climbed back in the saddle and am finally writing again. Marketing and social media cuts into my writing time so I seldom get to my writing until noon. But lately, I’ve been forcing myself into some new habits to get writing into my schedule.

I started a JUST WRITE session from noon to 4:00 every weekday with other writers on Facebook. Turns out I’m not the only one that is finding it a challenge to make writing time! J My Just Write sessions have grown a bit. We check in at noon and JUST WRITE for one-hour stretches. At the top of the hour, we check in with our progress (not word count generated, just progress – word counts make me crazy) and I encourage everyone to get up and stretch and take care of bodies. Too many of us don’t take proper care of ourselves and that is why so many of us experience health issues. Anyway, I run the JUST WRITE sessions until 4:00 when we sign off. I am creating another habit to go to the gym pool for a couple of hours weekdays.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, and no. I used to have problems with what people call a traditional writer’s block before I learned how to use the “W” plotting technique. I’m a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants) at heart. But I’d get sidetracked and then lock up because I didn’t know how to proceed.

It took me a while to find a plotting technique that allowed my pantser self to create without shutting down my need for direction. I wrote my first three books as a pure pantser, and then had to spend years trying to revise my babies into something I could sell to a publisher. It was miserable. When I learned the “W”, it allowed me the structure I needed without compromising my creativity. Now, I seldom experience true writer’s block.

That said, I do run into times when I can’t write because of health reasons. I may want to create, but when I’m in severe pain I can’t. I also discovered I wasn’t getting enough oxygen (took doctors forever to figure this one out) which meant my brain wasn’t getting what it needed to climb out of the fog. I’m on the upswing and my brain is clear so I’m crossing my fingers that blockages because of health are a thing of the past.

I highly recommend finding ways to take care of you. It’s hard to be creative when your mind or body is stressed. If your writer’s block is caused by this don’t beat yourself up. That just adds to your stress. Take the time you need to decompress. Go outside. Do something fun. Get completely away from your writing. When you get back to the writing, it’s highly likely you’ll know what’s blocking you. That’s the way it works for me.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I actually write two genres, contemporary romance as Karen Docter and romantic suspense as K.L. Docter. For years, I was focused on getting published at Harlequin/Silhouette. Because of my love for suspense, though, I was finding it challenging to rip the suspense elements out of my contemporary stories. The publisher lines I was aiming for didn’t allow for that element.

I was struggling to rip apart one particular story and ranting about it to one of my CPs (critique partners) about how difficult it was, and she told me to write it as a romantic suspense. I told her, “But I don’t write suspense.” She told me, “Karen, you already do. Just let it go.” I let go and K.L. Docter was born. It became much easier to write contemporary romance because I was able to switch personas and pour all of my suspense leanings into those books instead.

Interestingly enough, I started a contemporary romance series called True Love in Uniform that you would think would be filled with suspense but I’m able to focus the stories on the cops outside of their jobs. There is a bit of cop shop because let’s face it, police officers are cops 24/7 but it’s not the focus on the stories. I can go hog wild with my serial killers and woman-in-jeopardy stories as K.L. though so my muse is happy.

…and, related back to your question about writer’s block? I no longer face blockages that stop me cold because if a cop book isn’t working for me, I just turn my thoughts over to the suspense book. Something is always working now. The other benefit to splitting my personality! J

 How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I’ve gone completely Indie. Before my health issues reared their ugly heads, there wasn’t really anything that had the same distribution model as the traditional publishers. When I came back to my writing, though, Amazon was breaking loose and I could finally see a way for me to publish myself. I was tired of trying to break into the few spots the traditional publishers had available—I had several senior editors who liked my work but I could never get the right book on the right desk at the right time—and I decided that I had the background to do what I needed to do, as long as I was willing to work hard.

It was a no-brainer for me. I was in the business world for over 30 years and could run a business. Why not? I published a book I had at a traditional publisher for two years, through four senior editors, and never looked back. I had a few hits and misses as I got started but, once I identified my strengths and weaknesses, I hired professionals to do the stuff I couldn’t and did the rest myself. I have two professional cover artist (one for each genre) and a formatter (I’d rather have a baby than format my own books J ) and I do the rest. Someday, I’d love to hire a PA who can take a lot of the marketing off my desk because I’m spending half my day doing that when I want to be writing. Someday!

I can’t imagine ever selling to a publisher now. I like having control over my own work and hate deadlines. J

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?  I’m kind of an introvert, although many who know me on Facebook would call me an extrovert. Like all social media, I can be a lot more open hiding behind my pages. I grew up an introvert, hands down. It took getting married to change that. My husband’s entire family is giving and gregarious and open. They taught me to be myself and not apologize for who I am. It was amazingly freeing. Because of them, I transferred my ability to manage businesses into runningan RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter for over 20 years. I donned a lot of hats, both on the board and as chair. The demands of the positions forced me to get more “out there” in the industry. I’m still not comfortable going into a new situation or talking to a crowd of people, but I can usually hold my own now.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play”~ Arnold Toynbee

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Karen – This is a hard one. I’ve given a LOT of advice to aspiring writers over the years. I even taught hundreds of writers how to plot using the “W” plotting technique. But the truth is there’s so much to learn, I can’t give you specifics in this space. However, let me try to talk generalities.

  1. Learn your craft. Join writers’ groups and take online classes. Build your knowledge base. Research. Do whatever it takes to learn your craft, including industry and marketing.
  2. Write the best story you can. I know it’s easy to say something is “good enough” but for whom? Ultimately, to me, that means my readers. I believe readers stick around for the authors who give them the stories they want to read again and again. I don’t think “good enough” is good for the long haul. Of course, that’s just me. I can’t publish a book I’m not behind 100%.
  3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think any of us ever stop learning. Or we shouldn’t stop learning, no matter where we are in our career. The market is always changing. Readers change. You change. Stay up to date on the industry and beef up your strengths.

If you don’t know something or are weak in some area, either learn how to do it or pay professionals to do it for you. I don’t have the expertise to do my own graphics. I don’t want to learn. I’d much rather just write my stories. I’m stretched far enough as it is. So, I will always have a professional do my covers. Covers don’t have to cost a fortune to be professional. It’s one of the costs I’m willing to pay for my career because covers sell my books. Formatting makes me crazy. Friends keep telling me, “It’s easy.” Yeah, right. Did I mention I’d rather have a baby than format? J Getting a professional is soooo much less expensive and I can again turn that time to my writing. I can market and play the social media game but someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) I’ll hire someone to do that for me, too. I want to write full time.

  1. Always believe in yourself. The sad truth is that writing is a solitary career and you have to be your own cheerleader, first and foremost. Don’t let the naysayers control your dreams. If you want to write the book, you’ll write it…as long as you believe in yourself.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t surround yourself with like-minded authors and readers, filling your life with more cheerleaders. The more, the merrier! They’ll be there when you start to question yourself…and you will. Take my word for it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to throw up my hands, wondering why I’m beating my head against one wall or another. My support base is always there to help me over the rough patch. You need this support for those times when it’s difficult to believe in yourself.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website/Blog: http://www.karendocter.com

Twitter: @KarenDocter

Karen Docter FB: https://www.facebook.com/karen.docter

K.L. Docter FB: https://www.facebook.com/kldocter/

Book Bench for Romance Lovers (FB Group): https://www.facebook.com/kldocter/?ref=bookmarks

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/bsswDd

Karen’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Docter/e/B008TST8TY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1506370391&sr=8-1

K.L.’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/K.L.-Docter/e/B00JV92NFQ/ref=la_B008TST8TY_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1506370395&sr=1-1

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Karen’s book, Cop on her doorstep.~Tina

 

Writer Wednesday – Finding Balance

It happens to every writer,  a life event of some form or another.   Some are joyous like weddings, babies, new puppy, new home, etc.   And of course, there are those that are not; death, illness, injury and job loss.

There are also Life Events that don’t fit into either category but cause chaos.  I’ll give you an example.

In 2014 I was part of a team that helped implement a new software throughout my company.  It involved training, travel and late nights.   This proved to be a wreckage on my writing habits, which were modest at best, and I can’t say I’ve fully recovered.

About this time my family dynamic had changed as well.  I went from a mom of two at my peak of productivity to an empty nester.

I thought both events would be advantageous to my writing.  I’d have all this time alone while traveling for my job to write.   I didn’t factor in the pure exhaustion I would feel when I hit the hotel room and how appealing a bed would be.

I thought once my children moved away I would have the weekends and really add to my productivity.  I didn’t factor in how much I would miss them or how their homework and sleep habits played into my writing time.

Life events have an impact on our writing because they affect us either emotionally, physically or both.   And often create a rather large writing block for us.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you are suffering from a mental illness or trauma, please seek professional help.  As someone who has loved ones with SAD and PTSD, these life-altering events should not be taken lightly.  They require sensitivity and care, and left untreated they can have devastating effects.

Because of my experience, I look for ways to achieve work/write/life balance.  I do this by setting goals.  Not just around writing but around my life too.   Granted I make more allowances for life because its mine and I can. 🙂

Here are some:

  1. Writing – Minimum writing of 200 words a day.   Mostly because I find once I start writing I usually go to 500 or 1000.   But at a minimum, I do 200.  This is 200 on anything including this blog. 🙂
  2. Sleeping – Sleep at least 8 hours a night.  Sometimes this means going to bed early, or sleeping in on the weekends, but I try and stick to this as a goal.  I find I’m well rested and generally feel better.
  3.  Bum Day – Because I have a day job still, I find Sundays the best day to do this.  I stay in sweats all day and generally watch movies or read.  Then I feel more like I had time off.
  4. Date Night –  My husband and I try and go out one night a week.  Middle of the week works best, but last week we did a play on Saturday, so that was nice. It’s not always so formal.  Sometimes its Pizza and TV or a campfire and s’mores.   Sometimes we count breakfast after a trip to the Gym, mostly to sit and talk.  Reconnect in a way that is important to us.
  5. Reading – I actually still read romance fiction.   I think reading is like filling the creative well, and generally, I prefer a good book over a good TV show.   I’ve just started Books on Tape for my commute and I really love that.
  6. Learn new things – I’ve got a passion to sew my own clothes though I haven’t done it in years, so I bought a book to relearn the skill.

These are just a few suggestions and what works for me right now in my current life.   If I have a life event that changes things, I’ll reevaluate what will work then.

 

 

 

 

Saturday Excerpt & Sexcerpt – Twice Lost by Jennifer Field

CAUTION – Very Graphic scenes ahead.   First part in Underworld and not for the squemish  and the second sexually detailed.   Please be aware before  reading. ~Tina

TWICE LOST

Book 1 Harbinger Series.

FullSizeRender (005)The Underworld

The rain and stench of rotting flesh permeated the Harbinger’s senses.  He dragged his victim through the massive gate leading to the ferry. The man, whose name he didn’t care to learn, was another fine upstanding citizen of the human race: child molester, rapist, murderer. This fate was almost too kind for him.

The man kicked and screamed obscenities at the large winged creature that held him. “Where are you taking me, you ugly fucking beast?” The screaming man looked around and the scene he saw was something out of a horror movie. Several massive winged creatures dragged both men and women to the edge of river, unfazed by their victim’s screams or cries for help. Each stood sentinel, waiting for their turn to board the ferry.

The mountains and terrain were charred black. No life grew here; no sunlight penetrated the sky above that swirled with red and black clouds unlike any he had ever seen. The lightning marred the landscape, setting fire to brittle, lifeless trees. He held back gagging as the smell of burning flesh overwhelmed him.

“I never did anything, bring me back.” He struggled against the thick chain wrapped around his neck, pulling with all his might; yet, unable to budge the beast that dragged him further into this nightmare.

The Harbinger lifted the man by the thick chain, cutting off his supply of putrid air; his black claws dripping with blood from where he had reached into the man’s chest, pulling out his soul to drag it to hell.

The man stared into eyes that were solid black pools, devoid of any feeling. “I am not your judge, nor your jury.” The creature pulled him closer, revealing his massive fangs. “But, I have seen what you have done. Death is too lenient for you.” The creature flared its black wings and let out an unearthly growl.

Urine ran down the man’s leg and onto the Harbinger’s booted foot. He tossed the man back down onto the ground, still holding tight to the chain. He heard the distinct crunch of breaking bone as the man’s body hit the ground in the most unnatural of positions.

A smile curled along the Harbinger’s lips, the soul had corporeal substance in the underworld. More importantly, it felt pain, but would not die. This man would beg for a death that would never come. Each day would bring endless pain and suffering, no other existence waited for him.

“You have no right to bring me here, I repented!” The man’s screams were one among many as the souls of the unrighteous waited to cross one of the five rivers.

“Did your victims beg? Did you show them any mercy?” His clawed hand came down over the man’s skull and inundated his mind with images from his young, helpless victims. Flashes of an innocent face stricken with fear, a mother’s grieving heart as she identified her child’s broken, lifeless body.

“Stop please, I repent, I repent! I’m sorry for everything I have ever done. Please, I repent my sins.” The man shook with such fear, and broke into prayer. “The lord is my Shepherd…”

The creature looked down at him as he heaved him closer to the river’s edge. “There is no God that will save your soul now, it belongs to me. And, my payment lies beyond the river.”  He pointed across the river to their destination.

The man watched as creature after hideous creature approached the ferry with their victim dragging behind. The ferryman held out his hand for payment to cross. The man watched as the creature held out its hand, revealing a coin that floated just above its palm. The ferryman took the coin and turned it back and forth, inspecting it, testing its weight. When he was satisfied, he nodded his head and the creature and victim entered the ferry.

This was repeated as several of the creatures and their charges entered the ferry. His creature stood, waiting, as the boat drifted into the mists of the river.

“Why did we not board the boat? There was clearly room left.”

The creature, again, lifted the chain and looked into the man’s eyes as he watched him struggle for breath. His eyes began to bulge and his face puffed out in bright crimson. “Those people still have hope. You, do not. Our destination lies elsewhere.”

The creature dragged him along the river’s sulfur coated banks. He looked in and saw that the water was full of bloated bodies that still wriggled with pain, their skin bursting open and oozing a black liquid.

“Where is our boat?” Though he tried to sound as if he were the one in charge, the man’s voice rattled with fear. He picked up a stone within his grasp and threw it at the Harbinger’s head, hitting him square in the back of his skull.

The Harbinger swung around, grabbing the man by the throat and pinning him against the dead trunk of a tree. His features seemed much more demon-like now that he was truly angry. His cheekbones jutted out at an extreme angle, his horns curled back along his bald head, and his fangs protruded from his mouth.

A growl emanated from him as he sniffed at the air, scenting nothing but the man’s fear. “Perhaps you are unaware of the severity of your predicament, human.” He spoke with ultimate disdain for the man. His claws began to penetrate the struggling man’s throat, small drops of blood running down his neck and arm, dripping onto the ground.

“You are the lowest form of vermin down here. You have no idea what true torture is.” A grub-like creature crawled from the petrified bark of the tree. Its mouth was rows upon rows of rotating teeth. It was attracted to the blood that dripped down. He watched in horror as its head began to burrow into his arm, its body slowly disappearing under his flesh. The man screamed as the creature ate its way up his arm, under his skin.

The grub continued to work its way up the man’s arm, its white body covered in an acidic slime causing the skin above it to bubble. The Harbinger held the bug under his skin and sweat ran down the man’s face, the stench of feces permeating the air.

“Your skin will be flayed from your body, your eyes will be gouged out, and every orifice you have will be violated by creatures so hideous, your nightmares couldn’t conjure them.” The Harbinger continued his detailed description of what the man’s eternity would be like, projecting the images into the man’s thoughts as he spoke. “Then, finally, when you think you can’t take another minute, your body will be healed, your pain will be gone, and the process will start again.”

The Harbinger let go of the man and he slumped down the tree trunk to the burnt ground. Tears and uncontrollable sobs left the man. Covered in his own waste, the man crawled to the massive creature that stood in front of him and groveled at his feet.

“What can I do? Please, tell me what I have to do.”  His words were barely understandable between his sobbing and screaming as the grub ate its way out of the man’s neck and dropped to the ground, having gorged itself.

The Harbinger looked down at his palm that now had a light glow to it. The coin that usually sat as a tattoo now hovered just above his palm. It’s distinct and unique emblem of a skull surrounded by thorns clearly evident.

He looked down at the man groveling at his feet. “Our ride approaches.” He grabbed the end of the chain and hauled it over his massive shoulder, allowing the man to dangle and scream behind him as he made his way to the dock.

The Harbinger walked toward the ferry, holding out his hand. Charon took the coin and nodded for him and his charge to board. No other passengers boarded this ferry.

“Why do no others board?” The man had to know why he was the only passenger aboard this ferry.

The creature put the man down and let go of the chain, knowing that if the man decided to jump into the river, his fate would be the same as the other bloated bodies that drowned for eternity. A far better fate than this man deserved, but would allow no option for payment.

The ferry drifted slowly down the river instead of across as the other boats had done. Again, the man questioned his fate. “Why does this boat not cross the river? Surely this is the famed River Styx. My doomed fate must await me on the other side.”

The Harbinger looked down at the man. “Your fate does not lie on the other side of the River Styx. We will cross Phlegethon, the river of fire.” He pointed down the river to a fiery orange glow just beyond the horizon.

“And, what if I jumped and swam to freedom? Wouldn’t I then be allowed a second judgment, having made it to shore?” The man looked at the shore line a mere twenty or thirty feet from the boats edge. Surely he could make it.

The massive man-creature approached him, grabbing him by the wrist. “You are more than welcome to try.” He lowered the man’s hand into the black water of river.

Pain shot up the man’s arm as he watched his skin then meaty tissue melt from his hand, leaving only bone. His bloodcurdling scream did nothing to stop the creature from lowering his arm further into the muck. The black water seemed to grab onto his arm and crawl up to his elbow, blood gushing into the water.

The creature released the man’s arm and looked at his own hand that was unaffected. The man clutched his arm, now nothing more than bone and dangling tendons. “You are more than welcome to swim.” The Harbinger laughed out as he spoke.

At the sight, the man vomited bile over the side of the boat. Curling his knees against his chest, he watched as the fiery glow grew closer, the stench of sulfur and rot overwhelming him once more.

As the ferry drifted down the River Styx and slowly began its turn onto the River Phlegethon, the black, murky water slowly changed. It smelled of petroleum and the surface burned around the boat.  The deeper the boat traveled, the hotter and higher the flames became.

The man peered over the side, straining to see past the inferno that burned before him. He was sure that the flames would consume the boat before they reached their destination. Yet, the ferry drifted through them, unaffected.

The Harbinger stood as still as death, looking out past the flames. His wings stretched out from his massive back, spanning across the width of the boat, the tips now singed from the flames.

As the boat glided through the river of fire toward its final destination, the man had to know what this creature was that held him. “Are you death? The grim reaper? The devil?”

Black eyes immediately met his. “For you, I am all those things and more. Your very soul now belongs to me and it is mine to do with as I see fit.” The demon slowly turned back to look at the approaching shore.

“Then you can be bargained with, I would presume.”

No matter their background, each soul he brought across Phlegethon thought that bargaining would gain them passage to another, better place. In the countless millennia that he had been taking souls across, no bargain was ever worth consideration, but all tried.

Again, the creature turned to face the man. This time, his eyes were no longer the black, endless pools that had faced him before. They were now as blue and clear as a summer’s sky. “I have riches beyond your wildest dreams, what could you ever have that I would want?”

The ferry hit the shore with a clank as the ferryman wrapped the chain around a post. At a second glance, it was not a post at all, but a pillar of skulls and bones stacked at the river’s edge.

The creature grabbed the chain that was around the man’s neck and pulled him to his shaky feet. Fear overcame him and the man’s legs refused to move, his muscles freezing in protest. With a tug of the chain, the man lunged forward, tripping over his own feet into the back of the creature that held him.

This new land made the place they had just come from look like a paradise. The sky was no longer a swirl of black and red, but an ominous gray-green that kissed the molten landscape; fire and stone encompassing his line of vision. The creature pulled him toward two massive gates made of human bone. The screams of pain and despair could be heard beyond the gate.

The man pulled on his chain, begging the hell spawn to stop his forward trek. “Please, again, I beg you. I can give you something no one else can. All I ask is that you let me go here. I’ll make my way on my own.”

The gate and the payment for this soul laid within reach. Yet, something in this human’s voice made him pause. He had been offered everything and anything to bring a soul back, but never had he been asked to just let a soul go. Here at the gate of Nephtal, of all places.

“Why would you have me just let you go? You have crossed over the river of fire, there is no way back. All hope for you is gone.”

“My soul is damned, I know that. But, in there…” he nods his head toward the tall gates, “I won’t be able to even attempt to make up for the sins I have committed.”

The creature pulled the chain, dragging the man’s face up to his own. “There is no do over, your time has come. Your soul has been damned to this place.”

He continued his walk to the massive bone gate, dragging the man behind him; kicking, screaming, and begging to be set free.

Finally reaching the gate, a creature of massive proportions stepped out, pushing the immense gate open. This new monster, an odd combination of wild boar and almost human, stood twice the height of the one who dragged him across the river.

Its skin was black and scaled, appearing almost grey with the dirt caked into his features. Greenish pus oozed from welts around its wrists, ankles, and neck where huge shackles bound the creature to the gate.

“Please, there’s a girl I know you would be interested in.”  The man tried to dig his heels into the burnt and smoking ground.

The demon stopped, looked at the man he had chained, and laughed. “A woman? You expect me to let you go by offering me a woman?” He laughed once more,  condescendingly, and continued through the gate.

The Harbinger dragged the man passed the gatekeeper to a small tent just on the opposite side and pulled him past the threshold. Silently, the soul wondered what creature he would see next. He expected a cloven footed devil or another winged beast, but what sat on the other side of a golden desk was neither of those things.

Leaning casually back in the chair with her perfect, black, stiletto heels crossed on the top of the impressive gold desk was a woman, her make-up and features model perfect. Her long, blonde hair was neatly pulled back in a high ponytail.

She wore a white, button-down shirt that barely closed over her ample breasts and a black pencil skirt. The man eyed the woman and followed the lean curve of her legs to her thigh, revealing the lace at the top of her thigh-high, silk stockings.

She looked like an angel in the otherwise hellish nightmare. She could have been his angel sent from heaven to save his damned soul. But, the fiery glint in her deep brown eyes led him to believe she was anything but the angel he saw seated before him.

She stood as they walked in, giving the creature that dragged his chain a devilish and familiar smile.

“Hello, Harbinger.” Her voice was sultry and oozed sex.

The Harbinger slipped the end of the chain over a six foot tall spike in the ground. “Hello, Pesta. Where’s my payment?”

Pesta tossed a sack of gold onto her desk, continuing to eye the Harbinger that stood in front of her. He reached for the sack of gold but was intercepted by her hand running up the length of his muscular, tattooed arm.

“I’m sure you’ve had a long, hard journey, wouldn’t you rather something a bit softer and hotter than gold to soothe your weary bones? The offer of my bed isn’t something I give to just any…man.” She ran her tongue over her perfect, red, glossy lips.

“I’ve told you before, Pesta, I never mix business with pleasure.”  With that, he picked up his bag of gold and turned to leave.

The man he had brought in stepped in front of him, a feeble attempt to block his path. The Harbinger raised his arm to backhand the man out of his way.

The man quickly whispered into the Harbinger’s ear words he never thought he would hear—an offer too good to turn down.

“What’s your name human?”

“It was Laird.”

With his arm poised to strike, he instead flicked the chain off of the spike, leaving the man free to escape into an eternity of pain. The man stood still for a heartbeat, staring into the Harbinger’s still blue eyes.  “Well, Laird, I would run if I were you, she’s not as angelic as she looks.”

The Harbinger casually walked out of the tent, past the gate, and back to the ferry, holding out the coin that floated above his hand to Charon. As the ferry drifted back toward the River Styx, he heard Pesta screaming for someone to stop the man that now ran past the boned gate and into the fiery landscape.

Timoteus folded his wings against his back and relaxed himself into the ferry as it floated back through the fiery river. He reflected on what that man had said. A female Harbinger had never existed, yet he was intrigued by his statement. “Her name is Jenna, she’s one of you.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Jenna and Kyle had driven up to the lookout section of Harvest Hill to have sex. Kyle had placed an ad on Craigslist, an online invitation stating that if anyone wanted to watch them, they could. It was the same ad they had run many times in the past: Fun couple seeks audience for sexual encounter. Every week, they changed the place and time and always seemed to have an audience. Tonight wasn’t any different.

They had been running the “voyeur” ad for several months. During that time, they had gotten quite a following. They didn’t know any of their names, but had come up with descriptions for the regulars that came weekly. It was mostly men that came to watch them, sometimes couples seeking a bit of “live porn” before going home to their mundane sex lives. Jenna had noticed that the couples who did come to watch, usually didn’t come back. She figured it was because the women were mostly frumpy, non-adventurous types who had probably been talked into watching by overeager lovers. And, once their boyfriends or husbands saw Jenna being fucked, it was going to be hard for them to be anywhere near as sexy. At least, that’s what she liked to think.

The sun was just setting and the warmth from the sunny September day was fading quickly. The air was chilly, but it was always chilly in Maine at night this time of year. Jenna looked out the window and recognized several of the cars parked there, waiting for the show to start. She knew that most of the men would already be in their cars starting to stroke their cocks just thinking about watching her getting fucked.

It had originally been her fantasy that had Kyle putting the “invite” out on Craigslist. She wanted to be watched; fantasized about strangers beating off to her. The first time they had done it was about six months ago and only a few people had shown up. Since then, they had become very popular. She had even noticed a few more affluent men coming by to watch. Jenna knew of at least one lawyer and the Chief of Police that came quite often, literally. Kyle had already moved into the back seat of the SUV and taken off his clothes.

“Jenna, you gonna come back here so I can lick that pussy of yours and give these guys a nice show? ‘Cause I sure as hell don’t think they came to watch me jerk off.” His tone was a bit too curt for her liking. She really was beginning to get sick of this routine. That’s what it had become, a routine. Sure it was kinky as hell, but a routine was a routine just the same.

Jenna closed her eyes for a moment and got into character. After all, this was an act. She wanted to give these guys a great show, wanted them thinking of her even when they were alone jerking off. Or, better yet, thinking of her when they went home to their wives or girlfriends.

She took her tank top off, the cool breeze brushing over her exposed nipples. They had opened all the windows of the SUV and the moon roof, letting the cool, crisp, Maine night wash over them. She heard several doors shut and watched as the men walked over, securing the best spots with the most visual vantage points. She could feel that she was already wet, knowing she would be watched while Kyle fucked her. She wiggled out of her skirt and climbed into the back seat where Kyle waited.

He sat in the middle of the seat, naked, stroking his cock. “I can’t wait to taste you, I love how wet this gets you.” She practically had to roll her eyes at the theatrics of it all.

While she tried to relax and get into her sexual mode, she couldn’t help but feel that something was very off. She felt as if every one of her senses was on high alert. It’s nothing, she told herself, over and over again. But, she just couldn’t seem to shake the uncomfortable feeling. She briefly scanned the parking lot, nothing out of the ordinary.

Jenna straddled his legs and leaned back, her body resting in between the passenger and driver seats. “I’m so wet.” Her fingers moved over her clit and into the folds of her sex. She was slick with desire. She lifted her finger to Kyle’s mouth.

He sucked her finger, tasting her. “You taste so good.”

“I need to lick you, taste how wet you are.” The move to get her on her back was almost a well-practiced routine, just as everything else was.  Jenna’s head was against the door and her legs were spread open so everyone watching could see just how wet she was. Kyle’s thumb stroked her clit and two fingers found her tight opening, moving in and out. She gasped in a breath and tilted her hips, allowing his fingers to move deeper.

Kyle’s mouth came down onto her clit and the sensation made her gasp again. Jenna’s hands rubbed her breasts, squeezing her hard nipples. “I can smell your pussy. It smells so good. When are you gonna let me fuck you?” It wasn’t unusual for the audience to comment. Jenna never worried about any of them acting on their comments, no matter how graphic or outlandish they were. She didn’t worry for two reasons; one, the Glock 9mm that Kyle kept under the front seat of the truck, and, two, she had her cell ready on 911, all she had to do was press send.

“I’d love for you to fuck me. Is your cock big? Let me watch you stroke it.” Her voice was breathy and she knew she was going to cum from Kyle licking her as his fingers continued their relentless motion.

She watched as the guy at the passenger side window moved so she could see him stroking his cock. It was a pretty pathetic piece of equipment compared to Kyle’s, but she’d humor him. She could feel her own orgasm building, her fingers dug into the seat as she came hard. Kyle’s tongue and fingers continued, his motions perfectly synchronized as her hips bucked and grinded against his mouth. When Kyle finally released her from her pleasured torture, his mouth and chin dripped with her desire.

He ran his hand over his mouth, wiping away most of her wetness, but she could still see his chin glistening with her cum. She sat up and licked it off, completely forgetting about the guy jerking off at the passenger side window.

Jenna straddled Kyle again and leaned back. Kyle took his cock in his hand and ran the head along Jenna’s wet folds.

With the thick head of his cock poised at her opening, all she needed to do was tilt her hips. She was so slick and wet, his cock just slid into her. Letting out a moan of pleasure, she started to move her hips, riding his cock. Grabbing onto the back-seat headrests to get more leverage, she sat up, burying his entire cock into her and grinding her clit against his pelvis. Routine or not, she loved sex with this man.

Every window had a face looking in. She could hear them stroking their cocks, their slight moans, and “Oh yeah, fuck her” comments.

A hand came in the window and stroked her breast, squeezing it almost painfully. “Fuck her from behind so she can suck my cock.”  His voice was deep and sexy. Jenna looked over and saw that it was not only one of the regular onlookers, but Benneit Colebrook.

Benneit, an old acquaintance of Kyle’s, was a well-known lawyer who now only practiced on occasion due to a lucrative art dealing business he’d inherited from his father. He was quite easy on the eyes and extremely rich, in his mid to late thirties. All sorts came out at night to watch.

Kyle kissed up her neck and whispered in her ear, “Do you want to suck his cock while I fuck you from behind?” Kyle would always ask her if it was something she wanted to do. If she said yes, great. If she said no, sorry buddy, maybe next time. Jenna wondered for a moment if Kyle was even aware of who was at the window. He had to be. If she knew, he must.

She didn’t even have to think about it. “Yeah, I’ll suck your cock.”

Kyle unlocked the passenger side door and opened it so that Benneit could stand in the door. His cock was already out and hard. Jenna moved off Kyle’s lap and onto her knees so Kyle could fuck her from behind. Never easy to do, but they made it work. She tossed her long, black hair to the side and looked up at Ben with her most innocent smile before taking his cock in her hand and licking the salty, wet tip.

She felt Kyle enter her from behind just as she took Ben’s entire length into her mouth. His hands fisted her hair and helped move his thick cock in and out of her mouth. Kyle’s hands bruised her hips as he pounded into her.

“Suck his cock, you’re such a little fucking slut,” Kyle said, fucking her harder.  “Make him come. You want to taste his cum, don’t you?” His hand came down hard against her ass and then again, harder.

All Jenna could do was moan a yes. She could feel the hands in her hair get tighter as Ben’s body started to go rigid. “Fuck, I’m gonna come.” Jenna sucked harder. She was so hot and turned on, her pussy was dripping as Kyle fucked her. She cupped Ben’s balls and gave them a gentle squeeze. She really wanted him to come.

Kyle looked up at Ben and remembered their days in college when Ben had been his roommate. It wasn’t unusual for them to share women, they had probably fucked a hundred women together while they were in school. Kyle gripped Jenna’s ass and slammed his cock into her tight pussy and Ben gave him a familiar chin raise while he watched Jenna suck him off.

Kyle took the anger he was feeling for Ben out on Jenna as he pounded into her, harder and harder. Ben wasn’t supposed to be here tonight. For only a brief moment, he felt a twinge of regret for the plan he had in store for her. But, the ends would indeed justify the means in his estimation.

Ben’s hands fisted her hair and his cock swelled. She felt the hot, salty liquid burst into her mouth. She continued to suck until his body finished its release and he could barely stand.  She flipped her head up to look at him and licked her lips. He stepped away and closed the door without so much as a word.

“Let me ride you till you come in me.” Jenna’s voice was breathy and rattled with desire.

Kyle pulled out of her and moved to sit on the seat. “Come on, baby, ride me till I fill you.”

He kissed her hard. Tasting another man’s cum on her lips, knowing how much she was getting off on this night, nearly had him coming.

The truck was still surrounded by men watching them, all in various stages self-pleasure.

She looked past them and spotted her favorite onlooker.  He looked to be in his mid-thirties, shaved, bald head with dark features, and heavily tattooed.

She had noticed him a few months ago watching them from his car that he had parked next to theirs. He had looked as if he had been studying her. She knew he looked dangerous, but, for whatever reason, Jenna had no fear of him. Now, he was leaning against one of the cars, arms crossed, looking directly at her, staring her down.

Jenna leaned in to whisper in Kyle’s ear, “He’s here, the tattooed guy.” Her hips were still grinding on Kyle’s cock.

“I want him to fuck you so bad, would you like that? Have him buried deep in you?” Kyle could have cared less who the guy was and, truly, he didn’t even know who she was talking about. Yeah, he knew she had some mild obsession with this tattooed guy, but tonight was not going to be his night.

Jenna had to think about what Kyle had said. While she would say yes, she wanted him to fuck her, her answer was no. Oh, he was attractive in a dangerous kinda way, but nothing in her stirred with desire for the man. Nothing but curiosity.

Jenna’s hips moved faster, her hands gripping the back seat. Kyle’s hands slid around to grab her ass and pulled her toward him.

“Ah, make me come, baby.”

She could feel his cock swelling as her own climax began to peak. She looked out the window and stared at the tattooed man standing about two cars away.

As she rode Kyle faster, her stare was fixed on the stranger. “Oh yeah, fuck me. I want to feel you come in me.” The words were meant for Kyle to hear, but Jenna spoke them to the man leaning against the car. Kyle grabbed her by the waist and pulled her against his chest as he came. She threw her head back as her own climax hit her. She could feel Kyle’s cock pulse as he spilled his release into her tightness.

Sweat covered both of them and their breathing was heavy. Their audience slowly wandered back to their own cars. The show was over for tonight, at least for them. Jenna’s evening was just beginning.

AuThursday – Jennifer Field

IMG_1294 (002)Tell is a little about yourself and your background?

Little about myself.. Hmmmm, well my name is Jennifer Field, I’m an only child raised by a strong single mom in the 70’s (go ahead do the math). When I was in school I had trouble reading and spelling and I’m sure if I had grown up today I’d be labeled as having some sort of dyslexia. But lucky for me I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s (I still can’t spell to save my life), but I can write one heck of a story.

I’ve always written, sometimes it was short stories, sometime poetry but always just for me. Then a few years ago I had read 100+ books in 1year and at some point said, “I think I can do that.”. But seriously how many people say they are going to write a book someday. So… I had this bizarre dream, thought it would make a great story, so I started writing. It morphed and changed into my first novel Twice Lost which came out in 2014.

How do you make time to write?

This is always hard but what I have found that carrying a journal ( or two or three ) with me at all times gives me time to write whenever and wherever I am. Now finding time to type it all out… that’s an entirely different question. It seems to me the more authors I get to know the more I seem to realize we all seem to have this “late night” writing thing going on.

Do you believe in writers block?

Oh you bet and it can happen at any time. You think your just whizzing along with a story then BAM, none of your characters want to speak to you. I usually have a couple of story lines going on (hence the 2 or 3 journals I carry around) and I have found that if I start to write something else, they come back.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it?

I mainly write Paranormal Romance but I have also dabbled in Sci-fi, contemporary romance and straight up erotica.

But my favorite is always going to be Paranormal because I can make a world that before I put it down in writing never existed. I pull from a variety of mythology when writing and I always have some hidden gems in ALL my stories. For instance in the Harbinger Series if a character has a last name it will give the reader insight into who they are, Jenna Thanatos in Twice Lost… Thanatos is Greek for death.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? ( *e.g. Indie, traditional or both )

Currently I am under contract with Forever Red Publishing for the Harbinger Series. They are a small publishing company and really … because they gave me a chance.

Are you and introvert or extravert? How does this affect your work?

Both I guess. I think I’m an introvert until you get to know me then I’m an extravert. As an introvert it makes me the worst self-marketer ever.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland

Just be the best you.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, even when you think everything you’ve typed is complete crap. We all read our own writing and think… “WOW, this is pure genius.” And five minutes later while reading the same thing we think “Who wrote this crap, oh right… I did.”

Oh… and BACK UP YOUR WRITING. Twice Lost got its name because of 2 separate and total hard drive failures. So now every few chapters not only do I back up to the cloud but I email them to myself… just in case.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is www.JenniferField-Author.com  (sadly it is in desperate need of an update like yesterday)

You can also follow me on Twitter @sexyharbinger

And on FB Jennifer Field Author  https://m.facebook.com//JfieldHarbingerSeries

Instagram: Jennifer_field_author

Join me Saturday when we read an excerpt from Jennifer’s First Book in her Harbinger Series. ~Tina

Writer Wednesday – Writing the Synopsis

The synopsis is an integral part of most submission packets, including my most recent agent submissions.   This was a struggle for me, as I hadn’t written one since I published “The Pilot and the Pinup” with  Liquid Silver Books.   A fellow author told me to break each of the chapters down into paragraphs.   I did exactly that and it was quiet the disaster.

The Acquisitions editor at the time informed me I suffered from Dreaded Synopsis Syndrome.  Boy did I ever.   LSB requested a love scene (probably to make sure I didn’t purple-prose the hell out of it) and the last chapter (likely to make sure the book was done).   They accepted my full ms and I never had to write a synopsis for them again.  Thank the writing gods.

Thankfully, My other digital publisher, Resplendence Publishing, didn’t require the synopsis.  Whew.

Now that I’m looking for an agent I’m back in the land of having to write a synopsis.  Ugh!

Luckily, there is a ton of info on the interwebs on how to write one.   I found this site to be very helpful.

http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/04/17/how-to-write-a-1-page-synopsis/

After writing said one page synopsis, I find some agents now want 3-5 pages.  Ugh!   And I thought I’d mastered the dreaded synopsis.

~Join me next week as we continue the query journey.

Saturday Excerpt – In a Dream by Ava Lynn Wood

In a Dream front (002).jpgI spun on my stool, staring Aiden right in the face. My heart did somersaults as everything else inside of me went into panic mode. After our meeting this afternoon, I thought I had mixed emotions about seeing him again, but there was no denying what I was feeling now. As he hovered over me, offering to pay for my drinks, I felt my body instinctively lean into him. “What are you doing here?”

“Didn’t feel like being alone tonight,” he answered, nodding at Jake as he slipped away with Aiden’s card.

With looks like Aiden’s, I couldn’t even fathom the amount of women he picked up in bars. “Looking for women to fill your dance card?” I asked, trying to hide the bitter jealousy I felt imagining him with other women.

“Just one,” he replied, searing his piercing blue eyes into my emerald ones.

My thighs rubbed together as Aiden moved in infinitesimally closer. Gulping down my nerves, I breathily replied, “Well, good luck finding her.” Turning to take a sip of my beer, I struggled to get my hormones in check. This guy was my client. My blood shouldn’t be humming in my veins just from his nearness. I should be putting distance between us.

Join me next week when author Karen Docter joins us. ~Tina