Thursday Thirteen

Today is my last work day.   I will be leaving my M-F job of 21 years due to downsizing.   So here are 13 things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Sleeping in I get to sleep in another hour.
  2. No commute     I won’t have to drive 45 mins each way. 🙂
  3. No Month-ends.  Once a month my regular work hours were extended the last two days of the month in a rush to get everything put into our software system – SAP.
  4. No SAP – If you’ve ever worked in this system you know what a nightmare it can be if things aren’t done right.
  5. Writing whenever I want.   I can write from my home office rather than sneaking in writing before work, after work and over lunch.
  6. Weekends – I won’t have to write on the weekends unless I want to because I’ll get to write during the week.
  7. Middle of the week errands – I can have lunch with a girlfriend mid-week or do the grocery shopping and now how timely Christmas shopping.
  8. Baking – I get to bone up on my baking skills.
  9. Sewing – Ditto baking but with sewing.
  10. Teaching – I’ve been planning to take on more teaching projects since I can do them during the week.
  11. Time with my family – Since I don’t have to work during the week and my husband has a non-traditional job we can spend more time together – hanging out, brewing beer and he can sample all my baking projects.
  12. Less stress – No more customer complaints, no work drama.
  13. Gym time – There’s not really any excuse not to get to the gym.

Those are the 13 things I’m looking forward to.   Overall losing my job will force me to write full-time and I think that can only be a good thing as long as I stay positive.

~Tina

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Writer Wednesday – Twitter Pitch Parties

publish-maybeIf you’ve been writing for more than a few months you are probably familiar with Twitter Pitch Parties – Where authors pitch their unpublished novels to agents and publishers in a tweet.

I’ll be participating in #PitMad on December 7th, as it might be a way to reach agents and publishers that are interested in Steampunk Romance.

I recently talked to a fellow author who had been searching for an agent for over a year and finally found one through a Pitch Party.  My favorite party is #Pit2Pub, but that only comes around two times a year.

This is really like giving your elevator pitch on Twitter.   Here’s mine:

Courtesan of Constantinople-#PitMad #A #R #SP Visit a world of Magic, Mystery & Romance as heroine Laurel Gunn pursues a killer known as the Cleaver.

Here’s Crossing my fingers that my Tweet hits an agent or publisher’s #MSWL

Saturday Spotlight -Forsaking Hope by Beverley Oakley

FH Banner Forsaking Hope

Fair Cyprians of London

By Beverley Oakley

 Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

About the Book:

Two years ago, she missed their secret assignation and disappeared without a trace. Now the divine “Miss Hope” is in Felix Durham’s bed – a ‘surprise cheering-up gift’ sourced by his friends from London’s most exclusive brothel. Felix is in heaven – and he wants to stay there.

So does Hope, but she can’t.

Hope Merriweather lives by a code of honour – even if she’s a prostitute.

Having sold her soul, she’s prepared to sacrifice everything else to protect what she believes in.

Even if honour – in her eyes – comes at the cost of thieving and breaking hearts. Including her own.

Available for preorder here:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

~*~*~*~*~*~

Forsaking-Hope-Generic

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Wilfred Hunt.

If there was a name to tip Hope into the abyss of despair she was hearing it spill from Madame Chambon’s lips now as the older woman directed Hope to take a seat in the reception room, presumably so Madame could loom oppressively over her.

With her hands on her ample, expensively padded hips, Hope’s benefactress—procuress, employer, and gaoler were other monikers—sent Hope a beetling look that needed no interpreting: Regardless of Hope’s true feelings, Hope must project the required show of warmth and delight at being the chosen one.

Madame patted the side of her faux curls. Years of hot irons had reduced her hair to the texture of wool but her crowning glory these days was supplemented by the lustrous locks of those girls who dared cross her – before they were thrown back into the street from where most had come.

Nevertheless, Hope had to make her resistance clear. Surely Madame who knew her history would understand her loathing for this man, above all others. “I shan’t do it,” she whispered. There was little evidence of the willful child and wild adolescent who’d been the despair of her family. “I won’t—”

Outside, the noise of the traffic rumbling over the cobbles and the shrill calls of competing vendors settled upon the tense silence. Madame Chambon’s other girls ranged around the sumptuously appointed room on red velvet upholstered banquettes, watched the exchange with prurient fascination. Hope knew it had been a calculated ploy of Madame’s to conduct her interview in public so that Hope would serve as an example to them.

No one crossed Madame Chambon.

The shrill cry of a fishmonger caused Madame to look pointedly out of the window. With something between a smile and a sneer, she smoothed a Marcel wave. “Is that where you plan to return, Hope? The gutter?” Her nose twitched and in the sunlight that filtered into the room, the grooves chiseled between mouth and chin were thrown into harsh relief, highlighted rather than hidden by the thick powder she used to conceal her age.

Madame Chambon’s comfort, now and into retirement, depended on obedient girls. Hope knew that as well as anyone. She’d had to bury her rebellious streak just to ensure food in her belly.

The Frenchwoman raised a chiseled brow and began to pace slowly in front of her girls. A painter with an eye for beauty would have been ecstatic at capturing such a spectacle on canvas. The discerning young man about town who visited 56 Albemarle Street was frequently rendered ecstatic by the range of delights Madame Chambon’s girls offered in addition to the visual.

“You forget yourself, Hope. I put a roof over your head and deck you out as handsomely as Mr. Charles Worth ever did for his most discerning customer.” There was acid in Madame Chambon’s tone. “But for me, you’d be starving and glad of the pennies you could trade for a grubby stand-up encounter in a dark alley.” Madame Chambon thrust out her bosom and breathed through her nose, her response a calculated warning to the other girls arranged in various languid poses about the ornately decorated reception room that intransigence would not be tolerated.

“Mr. Hunt has requested you.” She paused and when Hope remained silent, though her stance and expression left no one in any doubt as to her horror regarding this enforced assignation, went on. “Remember what I told you—what I tell all my girls when they first come here? The past must be forgotten the moment you step over my threshold. You are reborn, remodeled, refashioned into the most exquisite delectation of womanhood. A marquess, a prince, is well recompensed for the tidy sum he hands over in order to enjoy your sparkling wit, to converse with you in French, or if he chooses, on philosophy…to enjoy your charms…and,” she added significantly, “your gracious hospitality and tender ministrations to his needs. That is our agreement and you are no different. If Mr. Hunt wishes you, Hope, to attend him at his residence then you will go.”

Faith, one of the kinder girls, patted Hope’s arm in silent solidarity. Hope didn’t expect any of them to speak up in her defense. Not when they all relied on Madame Chambon as much as she did to provide them with the necessities of life. Anything more than that was part of a strict contract that indentured a girl for life unless she was able to secure a generous benefactor to settle Madame’s severance bill. The fine clothes were part of the charade, necessary to entice a more elite clientele. Hope’s exquisite wardrobe did not belong to her though she’d have forsaken all the dupion silk and Spitalfields lace for the freedom of the gutter and to be mistress of her own destiny – and her body – if she could only be sure of a plate of gravy and potatoes every second day.

Closing her eyes, she hung her head, the carefully coiffed curls that fell forwards brushing against her tear-streaked cheeks. It was as well that they not be in evidence. Tears, weakness, vulnerability were like a red rag to a bull where Madame Chambon was concerned.

“How long…do I have to prepare myself?” She was not so stupid she couldn’t admit defeat when there was no alternative. Obduracy was beaten out of one, but tears ensured a girl got the very worst next assignment. Their clients weren’t all marquesses and princes, though they did require a very fat pocket book.

“Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow.” Hope repeated it in a leaden tone, and stared at her hands, clasped in her lap; white-knuckled. As white as the rabbit-fur that edged her fashionable black-and-white striped satin cuirass. Hope had the tall, slim figure suited to the scandalously tight tie-back skirts that were all the rage, the back flowing into a train adorned with elaborate swags and trimmed with bows. She’d turned heads the length of Oxford Street as she’d promenaded along the pavement following a walk through Hyde Park earlier that afternoon. In fact, for the first time in two years, she’d almost felt happy as she’d pretended a sense of freedom in the afternoon sun, blocking her mind to the prison to which she was returning.

She drew in her breath and forced herself to be brave, knowing the punishment she’d invite for daring to speak her mind. “Please tell Mr. Hunt I will see him again under sufferance.”

Madame Chambon’s voice was surprisingly caramel. “Well then, now that you have made your objection clear, Hope, you will be pleased to hear that Mr. Hunt’s desires are not only motivated by fond memories of your no-doubt mutually satisfying congress. I believe he wishes to acquaint you with news of your family.”

Hope hid her shock. “I have no family.” With care, she modified her tone so it was as leaden as before though emotion roiled close to the surface.

“Not even a sister?”

Hope raised her chin. Here was the chink and Madame knew it. The woman did her research.

Aware that the other girls who surrounded her were tense with anticipation, Hope struggled not to respond. Camaraderie existed at surface level but one never knew when it might profit one to have the dirt on a fellow prostitute. It was, clearly, another reason Madame Chambon had chosen to make this conversation public.

“Mr. Hunt will see you at nine tomorrow evening,” said the so-called Frenchwoman who, it was whispered, was from the gutters of Lambeth, not Paris. “At his apartments in Duke Street. Now go and prepare yourself for Lord Farrow. Married to a monolith like the venerable Lady Farrow, he likes his girls vivacious and free-spirited. There’ll be less coin in your pocket if you sully the transaction with that long face, Hope.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

beverley-eikli-author-pic-copyAuthor Info:

 Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth-century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at:

 Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

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White Reviews by Crystal button

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving-background-hd2As you all are reading this I’m on my way to Southern Minnesota to spend time with DH’s family.

This year I’m thankful for my spouse – he’s a great guy and super supportive of this writing thing I do.   My two awesome girls who are spending thanksgiving with their fiancee’s in Texas and Montana respectively.

My tribes – Kudo’s to the Word Weavers, Maddy Barone, Mary Jean Adams, Krystal, Laura and Kat.   The Founders circle including, A. Catherine Noon, Rachel Wilder, Nikki, Darla, Evey, and newcombers Stacey and Jonni.  And lastly RWA Online – Including my old CP Holli Winters, President Karen, and recent ties like Leslie Scott and Misti.   You all make my writing better and remind me why I love the written word.

Writer Wednesday – A few of my favorite things

A lot of writers get asked what kind of tools they use when writing and editing.  Here are a few of mine:

Books

The Romance Writer’s Phrase book by Jean Kent and Candice Shelton – It’s a handy little phrase book, used for tag lines, body language, etc.

A more updated version would be The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.   I use these books when I’m in the layer process of my book.   I used to use them during the rough draft, but found I got too bogged down with particulars rather than just writing the damn book.

The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer – I have an old copy of this, but found it useful for understanding aspects of the business like Sell-thrus and royalties.   I believe he has an updated version.

And of course I have a Thesaurus, Dictionary and Two Style Guides.

Online Tools

Pinterest – I use Pinterest to store a lot of my pictures for characters, setting, clothes, etc.   Of course you can totally get lost on there.

First Draught – I have to give a shout-out to these ladies, because they cover a range of topics and they talk about everything from craft to publishing.  I love their Vlog!

Jenna Moreci – Jenna is a YA Indie Writer and she has this Vlog where her topics are humorous and based on her writing experience.   I highly recommend this if you are exploring Self-publishing or are a YA writer.

Google Keep  – I sort of stumbled across this recently and use it in place of Scrivener.    I make up all these little notes on characters, settings and scenes I need to write and then I can have it on the side of my Google Doc.   I’m sort of envious of Scrivener, but the feature I was really wanting was to replace my post-it plotting system that I learned from Cherry Adair.

Last week I covered the importance of finding your tribe, and of course my tribes are some of my favorite things.

~Tina

 

 

 

Sultry Nights Spotlight

 

SN Tour BannerSultry Nights

A Limited Edition Romance Collection

Containing Stories from:  Nicole Morgan, Jocelyn Dex, Alison Foster, Kate Richards, Linda O’Connor, Samantha Holt, Jerrie Alexander, Whitley Cox, Krista Ames, Ursula Sinclair, Measha Stone, Tuesday Embers, Siera London,  Rachel Shane, Bonnie Phelps, Misha Elliott, Alyson Reynolds, Jenna Bayley-Burke,  Madison Michael, Pepper Goodrich, Marcia James, Destiny Blaine

The authors are giving away lots of goodies with this tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Don’t forget you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

About Sultry Nights:

Love, passion, romance, and desire… No matter what your preference, this set of 22 hot and sexy reads has just what you need. From surprise love affairs to bad boys that we can’t help but fall for, and couples that were meant to be, this compilation from Romance Collections is sure to please your every single need.

Sultry Nights Buy Links:

Amazon

 Featuring:

Bedeviled by Madison MichaelBedeviled MM

 Can a love be built on lies?

Charlotte Roche is escaping a menacing threat in Boston when she moves to Chicago for a new job and a new man. Alex is smart, sexy and quickly getting under Charlotte’s skin. A shared love of running gives the sassy beauty an excuse to be near her heart’s desire, but can Charlotte run Alex from the track to the bedroom without divulging her past and risking everything?

Alex Gaines, wealthy banker and philanthropist, has held women at arm’s length all his life to protect long-held secrets of his own. Now he is torn between loving the alluring Charlotte and protecting his dual lives. Can Alex trust Charlotte with the truth or is risking his fortune and family to pursue her? Can the two fall in love when they are bedeviled by lies and half-truths?

When danger follows Charlotte to Chicago threatening her safety and their futures, Charlotte and Alex a forced to make a hard decision – choose the secrets of their past or a future together.

Bedeviled is the third novel in the Beguiling Bachelor series, a trio of steamy contemporary romances set amidst the luxury of Chicago’s elite society.

Couple in loveFlirting With Fate By Jerrie Alexander

 There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed. –Napoleon Bonaparte

Elle Reagan isn’t about to stand by and let a con-artist get away with stealing her grandmother’s life savings. While the legal system moves at a snail’s pace, Elle promises to bring him to justice. She follows him to a ski resort in Colorado, where she hopes to get the evidence needed to put him away for good. But she didn’t count on her roommate being a distraction, because he wasn’t supposed to be her brother’s best friend.

Detective Logan Ford has denied his desire to take Elle into his arms since they were teenagers, but when his partner asks him to follow her to Castle Alainn to keep her out of trouble, Logan finds himself unable to refuse her. He agrees to help catch a thief instead of convincing her to pack her bags and go home. To make matters worse, he can’t seem to remember why he should keep his distance from the delectable, infuriating, independent Elle.

Elle and Logan surrender to their attraction, but as their passion ignites, her plot is discovered. A killer will do whatever it takes to silence her and destroy a love that was destined to last a lifetime.

http://www.jerriealexander.com

 All I Want By Misha Elliott

Excerpt:all I want cover

She wanted to know what would happen if she dared to kiss him. The boy who filled so many of her dreams and fantasies was here, right now with her. How hot would it be to feel his lips against her own?

Love Unleashed coverLove Unleashed By Marcia James

His best laid plans…

DJ “Rabid Ron” Hart has a grand scheme to win back the woman he loves. It involves an animal adoption fair, a goofy hairless dog named Charlie and an offer she can’t refuse.

Her hidden desires…

Cara Wilson has fantasies she’s never admitted, and her ex-boyfriend still features in her erotic dreams. If only he didn’t keep his bad-boy urges so tightly leashed.

Tonight they’ll learn that winning sometimes takes losing control.

Forbidden Distraction By Siera LondonFD Book Cover

Sex therapist, Dr. Vivianne Sloan is the consummate professional. Adhering to the highest ethical standards and doling out her vast clinical expertise, her clients are seeing a heat wave in the bedroom while Vivianne has to get hers from the Florida sun. Looking for some sexual healing, the one man she fantasizes about, a fellow colleague and her boss is strictly off-limits.

Obstetrician Gynecologist, Jared Pierce, has a flourishing medical practice. Outside of caring for his mother, there’s nothing he spends more time on, except thinking about Vivianne Sloan. She’s a distraction he can’t live with or without. He wants to teach her everything he knows about the art of lovemaking, but the woman plays by the rules.

When Vivianne decides to serve as a sexual surrogate, Jared is driven to give the shy beauty a dose of passion so potent she becomes addicted after one night in his arms. What happens when these two forbidden lovers decide to break the rules?

WC-Quick&Dirty book coverQuick & Dirty By Whitley Cox

The best way to get over a millionaire is to get under a billionaire.

 Humiliated and angry Parker Ryan is ready to erase every last trace of her ex from her mind, body, and soul. Of course she can be adventurous. Exciting. Sexy. No matter what he said. She needs an exorcism, and Tate McAllister and the island of Moorea in Tahiti are just the man and place to do it. Tate is perfect for the job: billionaire resort owner, scuba instructor, philanthropist and, let’s face it, sex god. So maybe the affair isn’t the wisest move when she has to write her damn feature piece and review the hotel, but if he’s ready and willing to wow her in and out of the bedroom for the next ten days, the fling will be worth it. Parker can get the job done and have Tate fulfill all her fantasies, and she won’t, repeat won’t fall in love with the man. Even if every part of her wants to.

ON THE RUN BY MEASHA STONE On_the_Run_modi_4

She thought she could run, but he’d never let her get away.

Sarah Bennet walked has finally found the break in her career. The sort of story to win her a byline in a serious newspaper. The only problem is, the people in the story don’t want it told. And they are willing to do anything to stop her.

Jeremy has watched Sarah from the sidelines as she’s progressed in career as a journalist waiting for the moment that he can finally retake what he lost years ago. He will protect her. He will save her from her recklessness. And by the time he’s done, he will own her.

Carried Away CoverCarried Away by Jenna Bayley-Burke

Lust brought them together. Will love tear them apart?

Any woman would willingly lock lips with sexy Mateo Torres.

But probably not on stage.

During a lap dance.

At her ex’s bachelor party.

Any man would easily get wrapped up in Carrie Nielson.

But probably not with a crowd cheering them on.

For his last performance.

As an exotic dancer.

Mateo has a past as dark as his eyes, but the best way to convince everyone she hasn’t lost her damn mind is to pretend they’re lovers.

Until they’re not pretending.

Frozen- The Martini Lounge by Ursula SinclairLAVERNEMARTINILOUNGEFROZENFINAL

Lani

Ever have that one perfect moment in time, when you know exactly what you’re supposed to do, who you’re supposed to be in life? Well, that had been me, and it certainly had lasted for more than a moment. I’d decided to pledge myself to God and help others in his name. Selfless, that was me and I was weeks away from taking my final vows. Then something happened, I met someone and suddenly I questioned everything.

Rom

I’ve always lived my life on my terms. Granted, I never thought I’d grow up to be a male stripper. But what the hell, I made good money and now, I had a shot at something more. And the women. Yeah, I loved women but they came and went. I preferred it that way. Didn’t matter which of us left first, as long as one of us did. I didn’t do attachments. Then something happened. I’m no saint, but I saved someone and wanted an attachment.

Only to find out I could never have her.

23584498_10156020489863678_714722810_nMore than Friends by Krista Ames

Lanie Matthews is the classic girl next door.  Jake Cooper is her best friend.  Will they ever be more than friends?  One lust-filled night may prove more than they both expected.

 

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AuThursday – Kayelle Allen

FFIF by KA banner

kayelle-allen-author-blurb-450Please Welcome Kayelle Allen to the Clog Blog!   Kayelle – What excites you most about your book, Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire?

Right now, it’s that I’ve finally finished it. I’ve worked on this book for a long time. It’s the second in the Bringer of Chaos series and I can’t wait to start on book three, Watch Your Six. One of the main characters is named Six, and this book is going to feature a lot of scenes with him.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

I’m a graphic designer, so I usually do my own covers, but for this book, I just couldn’t get it right. I changed it multiple times but was not satisfied with it. I searched for a different artist, somehow who knew how to capture an aetheric quality that I was missing. I found it in Brumae. She’s wonderful and so easy to work with. I love the version she created.

You’ve written so many series, what are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I have a one off. It’s a contemporary holiday very sweet romance and it sells bazillions of copies. But it is that — a one off. I hope to write a sequel to it, but my focus is on my science fiction series, which has sub-series within it.

What are your current projects?

I’m writing Bringer of Chaos: Watch Your Six, plus a sequel to Surrender Love called Surrender Trust. I’m also working on a new book set in the Tarthian Empire that I won’t describe yet. It’s hush hush for now.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

Oh definitely an Introvert. I get my energy by being alone. Crowds exhaust me. I’m a closet extravert in the sense that I love speaking to groups and doing public presentations. But afterward, I need my alone space. On the Myers Briggs system, I’m an INFJ. We’re rather rare, but we are mighty. LOL

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I write in the early morning and then set aside time after I’ve finished my social media time in mid-morning. I write again at night. I set aside Sunday as a full day to devote to writing. Writing is what I do. I make it a priority.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

I’m not submitting to traditional publications. I have had a couple, and they were disappointing, but I see it this way. If they don’t “get” what I’m doing, why would I want to work with them? But again… not something I even get anymore. All my books are published by Romance Lives Forever Books, which I own. I publish no one else. This is a private enterprise.

What tools/books do you recommend for writers?

I’m currently reading Creating Character Arcs by KM Weiland and I just got a copy of On Writing by Stephen King. I read constantly and always look for new craft ideas. I highly recommend the writing course Empowering Characters’ Emotions by Margie Lawson. I learned an incredible amount of material from that study.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I am nowhere near the amateur I was when I started but I am not where I want to be. I think that goal will always be unobtainable. I strive for perfection, which we all know is always a bit out of reach. But I try!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?kayelle-allen-logo

I’m all over, but here’s where I spend the most time.

Blog/Website (I call this my homeworld) https://kayelleallen.com
Twitter http://twitter.com/kayelleallen
Facebook http://facebook.com/kayelleallen.author
G+ https://plus.google.com/+KayelleAllen/
Pinterest http://pinterest.com/kayelleallen/
Instagram https://instagram.com/kayelleallen/
Anyone interested in sampling my work can try my reading group. I give away a set of four books to members as soon as they join. https://kayelleallen.com/bro/