Thank you everyone for voting! I’m off to write this new story. :)
I’ve always been rather ambitious during NaNoWriMo or National Novel writing month.
I never know what project to pick so I’ve decided to have my friends, family and fans help me decide. I have four stories rolling around in my head and have yet to put pen to paper, which makes them perfect NaNoWriMo projects.
1) Wind Resistant – Second book my Brave the Elements series. Chase Ryder from Fireproof will be the hero.
2) Ryder Hard(Working Title) – Begin Flesh for Fantasy Series Book 1- set in Las Vegas BDSM Club Flesh. Cal Ryder from the Caulfield Cowboys will be the first hero.
3) To tempt an Angel – First book in a series about demons who were kicked out of hell and now trying to get back. Hero is a shoulder demon who must tempt an angel to get back into hell.
4) Children of Chaos – First book in a post-apolcolyptic series where bikers have the only social and military organization to adapt to life without government. Includes paranormal elements. Heroine is a succubus and old lady in a human biker gang. She must adjust when her old man is killed fighting a rival gang.
You have 48 hours to Vote. It’s easy.
- Vote Below
- From the comments, I’ll pick a winner.
- Feel free to share, pin, retweet, etc.
I’ll announce the winner on November 1st and of course start writing. In December I’ll share the first snippets.
Paul ‘Flipper’ O’Riley is the head dolphin trainer at Gulf Shore Aquarium, the jewel of the tourist district in the west-central Florida beach town of Gulf Shore.
Flipper sets hearts aflutter when he dons a wet suit and interacts with his finned friends at the aquarium’s Dolphin Inlet habitat. But animal rights activist Tara Langley isn’t happy that Flipper sets her pulse to pounding, too. After all, the group she cofounded, Stop Whale and Dolphin Suffering, SWADS for short, is against keeping dolphins in captivity. If she had her way, the job Flipper loves would be rendered obsolete.
Flipper and Tara together are like a butcher and a vegetarian. Staunch conservative and ultra liberal. Boston Red Sox fan and New York Yankees supporter. Or fire and gasoline. Why, then, are they both itching to strike a match?
When the two of them end up at the same seminar in Orlando, Flipper offers to buy her dinner afterward and Tara reluctantly accepts. It’s far from a romantic interlude, and they desperately search for common ground amid the quicksand. And then something unexpected happens, and Tara doesn’t know how to handle it. Here’s the excerpt:
“Where’d you grow up, and how’d you end up in Orlando?” Flipper asked.
Tara flashed an enigmatic smile. “You can’t tell by my accent?”
His baffled expression amused her. In fact, the man himself delighted her when they weren’t picking at each other over his job and her cause. Once again she found herself wishing they’d met under different circumstances. But he couldn’t change what he was any more than she could.
“I’ll play along, mystery lady. What do you call a soft drink?”
“Soda or soooda?”
She laughed. “Just one syllable. Now you tell me.”
“Growing up, I called everything coke.”
“Even when you were drinking root beer?”
“Yep. Everything was coke, lowercase.”
“After the first few times a server brought a Coke when I wanted a Dr. Pepper, I learned to specify. Okay, here’s another one. Do you refer to a small stream of water as a creek or a crick?”
“Creek, of course.”
“Me, too. What do you call your maternal grandmother?”
“Mimi. How do you address a group of two or more people?”
“My neighbors said you-uns, but my mother frowned on that expression.”
“Uh, okay. My people say y’all.”
“Hmm. What kind of shoes are you wearing now?”
Flipper looked at his feet and then at her. “Tennis shoes. What do you call them?”
“Sneakers. All right, one more.”
“Make it a good one.”
“Of course. What’s the term for the gunk that gathers in the corners of your eyes overnight?”
She made a sour face. “That’s certainly crude.”
“And what do you call it, Madam Etiquette?”
“It’s a good deal better than”—she turned up her nose—“eye booger.”
“I think that’s pretty descriptive. I mean, you say those two words and everyone knows what you’re talking about.” She shook her head, still unconvinced. “Anyway, based on everything you’ve just told me, Tara, I’d say you’re from Snob City.”
“What? I am not a snob, Paul O’Riley.”
“We’re back to Paul, are we? Okay, how about Snootyburgh?”
“Flipper.” Her tone carried a warning.
The corners of her mouth quirked. “Are you finished?”
“Almost. Haughty Valley? Pompous Place?”
“Keep it up and Comedy Central will be calling.”
“You can’t deny you sometimes sound like you have a big board wedged up your butt.”
“I most certainly do not!” He raised an eyebrow. “Okay, perhaps I do, especially when I’m feeling off-balance and lapse back into ingrained habits. My mother was an English teacher who abhorred slang and insisted on proper diction. I never even dared utter a curse word until after I went away to college.”
“That explains a lot.”
Tara flashed him a fake smile and continued. “She wanted in the worst way for me to major in English language and literature. I’ve always felt like a disappointment to her. She takes great satisfaction in comparing me to my younger sister, who buckled under to the pressure and followed in Mother’s footsteps. If you think I have a proper way of speaking, you should meet Caroline. Even I think she’s a bore. She married an equally tedious math teacher, and they have two oddly spiritless children who never have snotty noses, sticky fingers, stained clothing, or skinned knees. My mother is beside herself with pride.”
“Your household must’ve been some fun while you were growing up.”
“You have no idea.”
“What about your father?”
“He was a high school principal preoccupied with upholding an image, so he and my mother were a united front. Now, back to our original topic. It’s my turn to do you.”
He winked at her. “I thought you’d never ask.”
“I didn’t mean it that way! Stop laughing. And you wonder why I tend to avoid the vernacular.”
That made him laugh harder. She tried not to smile but couldn’t help it.
“Just for that,” she told him, “I’m going to guess you’re a native of the Isle of Fools.”
“New Port Ninny? Buffoon Beach? Cape Cretin? Ooh, ooh, I know. Simpleton.”
Flipper gave her an indulgent look.
“Or how about—”
He leaned forward and silenced her with a kiss. Tara’s mind short-circuited, and she clung to his shoulders when he started to pull away. He cupped the back of her head and teased her mouth open with his tongue. Swept up in the moment, she briefly forgot who and where they were until the server plunked two beverages in front of them. They broke apart with a start, and as reality intruded once more, she feigned interest in her place setting and the small bowl of lemons for their iced tea.
“Tara, honey, look at me,” he coaxed.
She spread her napkin over her lap instead. He reached across the table and, with gentle but firm pressure beneath her chin, lifted her head.
“Don’t be so freaked out. It was just a kiss,” he soothed.
“Oh, sure. First it was just dinner, now it’s just a kiss. What’s next?”
“Depends on what you want to happen?”
“Nothing, that’s what I want to happen. Flipper, what are we doing?”
“We’re having a nice time. Or at least we were until you started overthinking things again.”
“Overthinking? I’m not so sure my brain’s been engaged at all.” She ran a nervous hand through her hair.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“Isn’t it? There’s only one way this can end, and that’s badly. I’ve already endured one failed romance this year. I don’t think I could stand another one.”
Flipper took her busy hand and held it still. “Aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself? You’re acting like we woke up in bed together after a night of scream-so-loud-you-piss-off-the-neighbors sex.”
The highlight reel in her mind made Tara’s girl parts leap up and shout, “Hallelujah!” Her tongue, on the other hand, seemed Super-Glued to the roof of her mouth. Staring at him was the best she could do at the moment.
“What? No snappy comeback?”
She shook her head.
“Well, that’s disappointing.”
I just finished Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews and That Chesapeake Summer by Mariah Stewart. Next on my list are On Sunset Beach by Mariah Stewart and The Summer’s End by Mary Alice Monroe. It’s probably no coincidence that all of them are contemporary romances that take place at the beach or at least near the water.
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
I spent most of my professional life as a newspaper journalist, and I’ve been told my style reflects that. I guess my writing is pretty straightforward. I try to mix in humor whenever possible because I love books and people that make me laugh. Author Debra Salonen said the dialogue between the two lead characters in my latest book, Shore to Please, reminded her of the old TV series Moonlighting. I consider that a high compliment because I try to write snappy, entertaining and realistic dialogue.
Q: How do you make time to write?
I work from home as a freelance editor, so not having to punch a time clock helps a lot. Also, I don’t have any children at home, unless you count my two dogs and pet parrot, so I have a lot more freedom to set my own schedule than some writers do.
Q: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Yes. Setting the laptop aside and doing something else for a bit does wonders to clear my head. I’m a classic “pantser,” meaning I write by the seat of my pants instead of from an outline. Unfortunately, I think that lends itself to writer’s block because although I have a general idea of where my story is going, I’m not always sure how I’m going to get there until I place my fingers on the computer keys. Sometimes I think I’d be better off if I did an outline. But I don’t have the patience. As a full-time newspaper reporter and editor, I faced deadlines every single day and didn’t have time for writer’s block. Basically you sat down and did your job, no matter how you felt. I think that helped me develop a discipline that has served me well in my fiction writing career. But there are days that I sit and look at the screen and have no idea what to write. When that happens, you just have to force yourself to come up with something. The good news is you can always come back later and make it better if you’re not satisfied with it (and I never am).
Q: How did you deal with rejection letters, if you received any?
It’s discouraging, absolutely, but I just told myself that if my work was any good, somebody, somewhere would take a chance on me. I was lucky to have found a publisher, Liquid Silver Books, for the first full-length novel I ever wrote. So thankfully I didn’t suffer years of rejection as some writers have. Digital publishing has opened up so many opportunities for authors that didn’t exist when the only options were finding an agent to pitch the manuscript to a traditional print publisher. Securing an agent is in itself a monumental challenge. But thankfully you don’t have to have an agent to submit a book to most digital publishers today. And a lot of them specialize in romance, which is another plus.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your “Shore” series?
I’m a believer in writing what you know, so it’s not a coincidence that the Gulf Shore series is set in Florida, where I’ve lived all my life, and at an aquarium. I’ve loved dolphins since I was a child, and I volunteer at a marine animal hospital in Clearwater where the Dolphin Tale movies were filmed. While I most definitely am not writing about the people, policies and animals at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, I have gotten story ideas from my experiences there, and I’ve learned a great deal about how such facilities operate. I also have done a lot of research about marine animals, and my husband and I have saltwater aquariums in our home. In addition, Shore to Please introduces a new character who is a newspaper reporter, so that’s another way I’ve used my personal knowledge of a subject or a profession to bring believability to my books.
Q: Which one of your covers is your favorite and why?
That’s a difficult question because I love all my Gulf Shore covers. Valerie Tibbs is my cover designer, and she’s done such a marvelous job on all three. My favorite book is always my latest one, so if I have to choose I’d say Shore to Please.
Q: What are your current projects?
I’m working on Shore is Magical, the next book in the Gulf Shore series and my first paranormal romance. Kenshin Hamasaki, Gulf Shore Aquarium’s supervisor of marine mammals, who appears in the three previous books, will finally meet his match. Marina is unlike any character I’ve ever written, and telling her story is turning out to be a challenge.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Website and blog: www.annettemardis.com/
This is from FALSE IMPRESSIONS, (Marianne’s) latest release and the third book in the McKay-Tucker Men series. Each book is a standalone.
“If I could reach out and hold a star for every time you’ve made me smile, I’d hold the sky in the palm of my hand.”
“You are a tease,” she said as she stretched her tiny feet. He and Sam were in their usual spot on her couch in front of the fireplace, cuddled close, hands constantly touching each other.
“No,” he said, grabbing her hand and kissing her fingers. “That’s actually not a line. Well, okay, yeah, it is, but I mean it. Well, I mean them all, but it’s true, Sam. You’re an amazing mother. And you’re beautiful. And funny.” He kissed her fingers again. “And sexy. And…”
He cupped her cheek; she closed her eyes, turning her face into his hand. Slowly, he tilted her face toward his and kissed her lips. They tasted sweet, like tea, and wet and willing. She opened her mouth wider for him, and her tongue danced with his. Unsure who the moans were coming from, he pulled her body closer to his, wrapped his arms around her, and then lifted her on top of him. He knew he shouldn’t push her, especially with his secret looming over them, but she smelled like freshly fallen snow and her skin was as soft as a baby lamb’s coat. Everything about her was pure and innocent, and he was the devil trying to turn her into a black sheep. And damn if her body wasn’t one hundred percent receptive.
What a teaser! Join me next AuThursday when the Clog Blog hosts A. Catherine Noon of “Noon and Wilder” and “The Writer’s Zen Garden”
Until then, Be Naughty!
I started writing nine summers ago when I was on maternity leave with my son. My girls were two and four at the time. Needless to say, my writing was sparse, but my first attempt (I say attempt because that manuscript—that took two years to write—is the typical “first book”. Perfect heroine who has two perfect men fighting over her. Blah). Since then, I’ve written eight books and am almost finished with my ninth.
Q: What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both? Do you use mood music, candles, no noise, when you write?
In my earlier days I needed to have complete silence so I typically wrote at night after the kids went to bed. Now that they’re older and less needy, I can multi-task and tune them out, but I do like to be alone. Music is good if it’s soft—otherwise I sing along and too many lyrics end up in my book. I don’t plot, but I don’t fly by the seat of my pants. I use my non-writing-time to think about my characters and their conflicts. I “cook” my story and am able to write quickly when I do get a moment to sit at my laptop.
Q: What do you do to unwind and relax?
Read. Read. And read some more. Preferably in a lounge chair in the sun.
Q: How did you deal with rejection letters, if you received any?
They suck. There’s no other word for it. I didn’t query my books for quite a few years because I didn’t want to deal with rejection. Instead I wrote. When I finished one book I started the next. My first few rejections were form rejections. Of course I was upset and didn’t feel like writing anymore. That lasted an hour or so and then I went back at it. Two years ago I received two amazing telephone calls, one from an agent and one from an editor. They were kind rejections, but these two women took the time to call me and give me pointers on how to strengthen my writing. It was so inspiring. That’s when I actively pursued getting published.
Q: Would you tell us your story of getting “the call?”
Well, even though my two calls I got were kind rejections, I consider them a prequel to “the call”. My first contract came through an email. It was six thirty in the morning and no one was at work yet. I opened my email and had to read the message a few times to process. I forwarded it to my husband and my best friend and then ran up and down the hall waiting for people to get to work so I could show them my email.
Q: Why did you decide to write stories that take place in New England?
Write what you know, right? While I’m from California and my entire family lives out there, I love the small town contemporary romances. They feel cozier and heartfelt. People escape to Maine (aka Vacationland) to relax and write. I get to live here. The setting goes very well with the types of stories I like to tell: small towns and family dynamics.
Q: What books can we expect to see in the near future?
The Wilde Sisters series just got picked up by Secret Craving Publishing. The first book, Sweet on You, comes out in September with the rest of the series coming out in January and May of 2016. I’ve also started another series—set in Rocky Harbor, Maine—centered around a family of six foster children all grown up and looking to find their place in the world.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
You can find me just about everywhere: www.mariannerice.weebly.com
Thanks again for joining us! Join me on Saturday as we read and excerpt from Marianne’s latest release, FALSE IMPRESSIONS.
Until then, Be Naughty!
When I asked KD if she had an excerpt, she’d like to share with us, her answer was ” Sure! Enjoy.” this excerpt from Soul Tie Seduction.
“Are you afraid of me, sweetness?” he asked. His sweet breath tickled her throat. He smelled like minty toothpaste and a unique, exotic spice.
“Yes,” Ariella whispered. She didn’t want to lie to him. For some reason, he above all others deserved the truth.
“Perhaps you’re afraid of how I make you feel.” He nipped her sensitive flesh.
She gasped. “Stop teasing.” She managed to form two complete words with his mouth on her skin—pure talent.
Armen chuckled against her throat. “You are like a fine wine. One should never rush such a treat.”
Why didn’t he do it? Sink his fangs, take his fill, and be on his way. She dealt with selfishness for years living with Tony. Why did Armen have to make the exchange so—intimate? His tenderness led her closer to the end of the plank, tempting her to dive into his mysterious incalescence, sink into the smooth velvet sound of his voice, and disappear in his dark depths—depths she knew offered no escape. His magnetism seemed unnatural, impossible his mere presence caused such a genuine profound reaction.
“Are you controlling me? You said you wouldn’t.” There was no other explanation. Why else would she feel so much?
He growled in her ear. “I’m at your mercy, sweetness.”
His hands traveled over her hip, dipped to her waist, and came to rest upon her breast.
He tweaked her taut nipple beneath her thin T-shirt. Instant sparks exploded throughout her body, as if he had clipped electrodes to her areolas and flipped the switch to high.
She clung to him, digging her fingernails into his thick biceps. The action caused his muscles to tighten and swell. God, Ariella loved Armen’s thick, corded physique. His skin reminded her of smooth, tan, satin sheets stretched over hot, steel plates. Every vein in his forearms bulged under his tight flesh as he moved his palm even lower.
“Armen, please,” she begged, unsure she’d survive one more second of seduction.
Armen didn’t offer her a chance for second thought. He slid his hand beneath her waistband, past a thin band of lace, over a soft patch of silken hairs, and dipped a finger into heaven.
“Oh my God…Armen, please,” she cried out, her pleasure trailing off into another sexy mewl.
Damn, she dripped with need. So fucking hot and wet, he’d die without tasting her. He slid his finger from her depths, lifted it to his mouth, and sucked the soaked digit. A growl rolled up his throat as her unique, salty spice exploded across his senses. Her eyes widened at his action. Shock evident in her expression, yet he sensed—excitement. Yes, she liked to watch him savor her honey. Her gaze followed his tongue as he gave his finger one final lick.
Ooh. That is wonderful. Thanks for sharing your time with us this week K.D. Join me next AuThursday when Marianne Rice stops in at the Clog Blog.
Until next time, be naughty.