AuThursday – Freida Kilmari

Please welcome Freida Kilmari to The Clog Blog!  Freida, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an LGBTQ+ Fantasy Romance author who specialises in breaking down barriers and categories by experimenting with gender and sexuality on the page. I grew up reading complex fantasy worlds, beautifully written romances, and tense and exciting plots, but as an author, I like to use those things to explore what it means to be human when you don’t conform to life’s standards.
How do you make time to write?
Writing is now my day job, but it wasn’t always. I used to write at night, where the world was quiet and everyone was in bed. But now I write all day and have a more regular schedule. I do miss the night time writing, but I have more free time now.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, but no. Yes, I believe that writers get stuck, but no I don’t believe in this “oh, it’s just writer’s block, it’ll move on its own” mentality. We’re usually stuck for a reason: creative burnout, not knowing what comes next, plot holes, lack of confidence, anxiety, or some other reason. If you can pinpoint the reason, then you can work on fixing it and moving forwards.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Growing up, I never read any sexually and gender-diverse characters. Even now, as an adult who searches for them, I haven’t read many. And so I decided to write some. I often write the things I feel are missing in the literary world. So I write about characters going through identity crises because the only times we really get to see trans people or gender fluid people or gay people, etc., is when they’ve already transitioned and are comfortable with who they are. But what about before? What about before you knew what label best fitted you? What about before you slept with the same gender for the first time?
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Indie. I love running my own business, building my readership, and having control over how my content is consumed. I also really enjoy the publishing aspects of my life.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. All my characters are introverted, I think. And it means I don’t have a lot of social experience to draw from, so I don’t tend to write lots of friend characters and things, but when my main characters do make friends, it always feels kind of beautiful to me.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“If I run out of power today, I’ll just borrow some from tomorrow!” – Fairy Tail, Episode 93
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write something you love. Something you feel passionate about. Delve deep into yourself and write about the things that lie there. Because when you love what you do, it shines across the pages and produces a better product.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Amazon has my ebooks (Kindle Unlimited), but you can grab my paperbacks from any major retailer, including B&N and Waterstones.

AuThursday – James Pyles

james2Please welcome James Pyles to the Clog Blog!  James, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been writing information technology textbooks for over 20 years published by houses such as McGraw-Hill and O’Reilly. Since 2019, I’ve branched out into writing science fiction and fantasy short stories and novelettes.
How do you make time to write?
I try to block out time in the evenings after my day job, but it doesn’t always work out. Frankly, I write whenever I can carve in an hour or more.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe that stress and my emotional state can drain away my motivation to write. I have to be in the right space to be creative and to be focused enough to write.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I’ve been reading science fiction since I was a kid in the mid-1960s. I’ve always wanted to write SciFi but over the years, my attempts felt forced and derivative. With the advent of indie writing and publishing, I finally got up the nerve (after practicing writing on my blog for a few years) to start submitting stories. I just love time travel, space operas, and all the tales I grew up with. I love being a part of lending my imagination to all of that.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m finally working on my first novel. It’s set in a shared universe created by an indie publisher. I’ve had stories published by them before and they’re interested in me expanding my ideas into a much larger work. Indie publishing affords opportunities to write innovative stories that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day with a traditional big box publisher.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. I like my space and I like it quiet. Fortunately, I have a home office where I can close the door and immerse myself in my craft.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
There is no one right path to writing and being published. The journey is unique for everyone. You don’t have to follow someone else.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is from the first draft of my WIP, so it’s pretty rough:
Ciara was relieved that the four soldiers who silently accompanied her back to the shuttle bay were Assembly regulars and not DOID Appendices. It was an irrational fear, for if the DOID had been ordered to kill her, she would never have seen them coming.
The footfalls of five pairs of boots echoed metallically off of the deck plates and the barely audible hiss of the doors sliding aside signaled their arrival at the launch bay. Without a word, she was deposited at the foot of the stairs leading into the shuttle, a winged, light-gray dove in stark contrast to the abyss-black of the massive envoy vessel she was currently housed in. The size and armament could have been a response to the constant threat of the Kaamus occupations of the local star group, but in reality, it was a reflection of the authority wielded by the Assembly’s DOIDs.
The pilot officiously announced departure from the shuttle bay and feeling like a tenuous angel, she once again fell toward the planet below.
Once in orbital space, the Representative’s jump ship loomed over her like a harbinger of death, which could still be its role. She would make planetfall in less than thirty minutes and be returned to the chateau of House Palendale two hours hence.
It had been just past dawn that morning when Ciara pulled her battered trunk from a closet in her personal chambers. It could have sheltered a small family from some of the more impoverished corners of the realm, but such were the benefits of both rank and royalty. She had again gone through the ritual of dismantling the chest, eventually reaching the hermetically sealed remains of the La-La doll. The prize had been uncovered by the revered Kekijek over three millennia ago on a frozen moon orbiting a gas giant in the Kaamus system.
“We’ve begun La-La, but our chances are not good. Yet what else can I do and still be worthy of what you represent?”
So unlike a General, Ciara held the plastic-covered stuffed toy to her breasts and strode out to the eastern balcony. There were fifty kilometers of farmland surrounding the estate and she had an unimpeded view of tender crops being watered by large, rolling arms spraying life. Her gaze, however, was directed upward toward the last stars being extinguished by the morning light.
Her brother Amir remained a prisoner of the Kaamus military governor Kenan Isom on Eirsyn, and if reports were accurate, he did rule with an iron fist. As long as Amir had value as a hostage, he would be kept alive and even treated with privilege. But he was still a prisoner in the hands of a master who played with his human possessions as a feline would with its living dinner. Agents reported that large swaths of the planet’s general population were not so fortunate. Over a million had lost their lives so far, and millions more were pressed into service in work camps.
Then there was Jepheth Shinzi who had fallen into her own powerful hands a year ago. In return for a certain freedom, they had woven an alliance that in another reality might have passed for friendship. But upon granting his wish, she used him to fulfill her own, which most likely had sent him to his death.
As the shuttle made its final approach to one of the landing pads in the military compound near the city’s edge, Ciara raised the inside of her left wrist and pressed a code sequence.
“Major Kann. Good evening, General.” Her aide’s pleasant baritone voice reminded her that she wasn’t alone after all.
“My shuttle’s landing at Pad A35. Have my transportation ready when I touch down.”
“Acknowledged, General. Anything else?”
She almost laughed, but a miracle wasn’t something even her devoted second could provide. “That’s all for the present. Ciara out.”
Minutes later the roar of the landing thrusters jolted her out of her musings. She hoped it wasn’t too late to ask for that miracle because she would need so many before this was over. Nearly a day before the DOID’s ship had jumped into the Pheothese system, Code Name Soiran had issued the go order. By now, the assault team had jumped into Eirsyn’s solar system and with any luck, they were already in position to strike. Her audience with the DOID had been perfunctory on her part. She would be damned if she’d wait for the Assembly’s nod before waging her own war.

AuThursday – Lesanda Moore

20201126_141648Please welcome Lesanda Moore to the Clog Blog,  Lasanda, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a mother of 3, a lover of nature, and an avid reader. Oh and I love to travel. I’m a licensed educator as well.
How do you make time to write?
By making it a priority and scheduling writing time.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write romance, women’s fiction, and children’s picture books. I love telling stories about love and life lessons with relatable characters.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I’m an indie author. I’ve only been published since January 2021. I want to learn as much as I can about the industry before pitching to a traditional publisher.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I think I’m a bit of both. Sometimes I write alone and other times I participate in live sprints with other authors. It depends on my mood.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
It’s gotta work or it’s gotta work!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Start writing
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
what the heart wants ebook cover #1What the Heart Wants
Chapter 1: Cheers to Summer Break
Cirilla
June 2018
Sweat dripped down my forehead as the afternoon announcements blared through the loudspeaker. It was the last day of school before summer break, the last day in hell, both literally and physically. The air conditioning system conked out a week ago and the whole school was riddled with fans to combat the Virginia heat.
“Boys and girls, make sure to grab all of your belongings or else they’ll be going in the trash,” I said, fanning myself with a piece of folded construction paper.
As I watched the fifth graders interact with each other, I counted down the seconds until the final bell rang, until I was a free woman.
“We’re gonna miss you, Miss Matthews.”
“I’m gonna miss you guys, too.”
They lined up against the wall and waited for the principal to dismiss the bus riders. I walked to the front of the line and handed each student a bag of treats. After the last rider left, I escorted the remaining students to the front of the building for parent pickup. While waiting, I made small talk with the other members of the fifth-grade team.
“Are you ready for some fun in the sun?” I asked.
“Yep. Me and somebody’s son,” said Maddie.
“Girl, you are too much.”
“I’m tryna get like you. I want to go to South Beach and get my booty rubbed by that fine-ass boss of ours, too.”
“Shhh,” I said, looking around to see who else heard our conversation. “Are you tryna get me fired on the last day?”
“My bad,” she whispered.
The last two students dashed across the grass to meet their parents and I headed back to the classroom to gather my belongings. Looking around the room, I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. I made it through another stressful, but successful school year and now it was time to go home and pack for my much-needed baecation to Miami. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach just thinking about how much fun, and sex, I was about to have.
“See you later,” I said, turning off the lights and closing the door behind me.

AuThursday – Katie Baldwin

Katie Baldwin - Low RezPlease welcome author Katie Baldwin to The Clog Blog!  Katie, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a full-time researcher for advancement at The University of Virginia. I lived all over the world as a child. My dad (now retired) was in the foreign service. We lived in Brazil, Ecuador, The Philippines, and The Dominican Republic. Although I’m rusty, I can speak Spanish and understand Portuguese pretty well.
How do you make time to write?
I learned from another author to AT LEAST write 500 words a day. I keep to that rule. Some days it’s very hard and then other days I exceed it by many many words. But the habit of writing every day is essential to my writing.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. I do write despite a block. And I find that if I skip the scene that is causing the writer’s block I can move forward. Often I learn that it’s my gut instinct saying “this scene will not work.” And I’m able to change what I need later on to make the storyline work out for me.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write contemporary – Rockstar Romances and Paranormal romances.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? Metalsome Affair Cover
Indie. I did work with a small press, but my need for control forced me to take over everything 🙂
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. I think it’s easier to be a writer and an introvert. Because the need to spend time with other people would take away writing time.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ~Louis L’ Amour
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read and then write what you love.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Metalsome Hearts_Cover
Go here: https://authorkatiebaldwin.com/bonus-content/ to read an excerpt from “Metalsome Hearts”
3D Kindle (1)

AuThursday – David Bridger

David Bridger author picPlease welcome my friend David Bridger to The Clog Blog!  David, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Twenty years in the Royal Navy until I got hurt and then caught a virus in hospital that left me housebound/bedbound with lifelong chronic illness. Cue: my second career as a novelist. Twelve written to date, nine of them still in print, with three more on the way in this next year or two plus my first non-fiction book.
How do you make time to write?
I have all the time in the world (Thanks, Louis) but very limited energy, so managing that to allow my writing is a job in itself.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
For me, thankfully, it hasn’t happened.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Science fiction and fantasy of a literary style.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
Over the years, I’ve done traditional and then self-publishing. Enjoyed the creative freedom of the latter, but eventually had to admit that all the extra work was damaging my health. Fortunately, a friend introduced me to his small independent publisher, who turned out to be a treasure. She and I get on, personally and professionally. She asks no more of me than that I write my books then edit them with her, which is the perfect usage of my available energy. All my available books are now with her house, and I hope that all my future ones will be too.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m a contemplative. Extrovert in my younger days, growing less so as I age. This might perhaps affect my writing, although I’m probably not the best person to judge that.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I trust my intuition.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep going.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
From my most recently released novel, Wild Times:
DavidBridger_WildTimes_1600x2400
Magic is a marriage of hope and rebellion.
It’s everywhere in the world. Always has been. But in most of the world, it’s unknown. People stopped using it, believing in it even, thousands of years ago, and hundreds of years ago, and tens of years ago. It seems that each culture and each generation rejects magic a bit more than the one before. Some cultures more or less than others, but the general trend is to ignore magic and eventually to forget it. In every culture, though, in every generation, there are people who don’t ignore it. Some of them stick around in the normal world, and they are often persecuted because of what they know, what they practise.
But many don’t stick around. They go into the Wild.

AuThursday – Cynthia Terelst

Welcome Cynthia Terelst to The Clog Blog!  Cynthia, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I work full-time as a Document Controls Manager. I loved reading as a child and began writing in earnest when I was a teenager. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. It is still unpublished but I do work on it every now and then.
How do you make time to write?
I am very structured. My day job takes a lot out of me, both mentally and time-wise. I write after work and on weekends. I am fortunate that I don’t have any children at home. Writing is me time. I try to do it every day.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. I am sure that a lot of authors feel stuck at times. When I do, I try to just keep writing. Even if it’s just a few words. It helps me think about what is coming.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write contemporary romance. I have always enjoyed reading romance, even as a teenager. Back then the books I read were more sweet, nothing more than a kiss. I love romance because it gives you feel-good vibes. Love is what makes the world go around.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
All of my books are indie published. The traditional route did not meet the speed at which I wanted to publish. Indie is a big investment in time and money but I feel that it is worth it. I don’t skimp on anything – covers, editing, proofreading – because I want to give my readers the best possible book.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m a bit of both. I am a shy person unless I am confident in a situation. I don’t think it affects my writing.
Sometimes being quiet allows you to read situations. But when you are an extrovert you can be in the middle of those situations.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Today’s is –
You are your only limit
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Practice, practice, practice. Learn, learn, learn. Get feedback on your writing. It will help you become a better writer.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The four of us were ready to leave camp. Rosanna and Mak each had a towel and book ready to hit the beach to read. I was disappointed Mak wasn’t joining us. As we walked past them, I paused. I leant in to give her a kiss. My lips embraced hers, once, twice, tasting as much as I dared. She tasted good, like bacon and the sweet taste of Makayla.
I wanted her to know that although I was leaving there was a promise of my return and more kissing to come. Could all that be conveyed in one kiss?
“Enjoy your book,” I said as her eyes met mine.
“Thanks.” She gave me a small smile. Her complete attention was on me, like no one else existed. I wanted another kiss but that would be overkill. I walked away. I don’t know what possessed me to kiss her. Sure, I’d kissed plenty of women before. But nothing like that. Nothing meaningful.
The people making the footsteps behind me were silent. I knew each of them would have something to say but not one of them uttered a word. Not until we hopped into the four-wheel drive.
“What was that?” Manny asked from the front seat.
“What was what?”
“Don’t be difficult. That kiss.”
Nicki who sat next to me turned her face to mine, as did Harrison beside her.
“It was a kiss. No big deal.”
“Since when do you and Mak kiss?” Nicki stared at me like she was trying to decipher unexpected results from an experiment.
“Since we decided it was a fun thing to do.”
“In all the years I’ve known you, I have never seen you kiss someone like that,” Harrison said.
“Time to try something new.”
Nicki sat back and stared straight ahead. She clutched her hands in her lap. Then she looked at me again. “I hope you’re not playing her. Mak spent ten years with the wrong person. I don’t want to see her hurt because you think she’s a good experiment, or just something frivolous and fun.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“What did you mean then?”
“Mak’s different to anyone I’ve ever met.”
“We’re all different to anyone you’ve ever met.” Jeez she was a hard task master. I thought she was all for this with the way she and Rosanna acted. Maybe they were all for it until there was risk of Makayla getting hurt. A kiss wasn’t a promise of forever or even ten years. We weren’t putting our hearts out there, just our lips. Of course, it was just our lips…
I needed to show Nicki what I meant about Makayla being different.
“She can be so distant one moment, stubborn to a fault. And then she loses control. Something comes out and I see a glimpse of the person hiding beneath.” Were these words actually coming out of me? I sounded love struck…but I was nothing of the sort.

AuThursday – Karenna Colcroft

Kim Ramsey-Winkler headshot smPlease welcome Karenna Colcroft to the Clog Blog!  Karenna, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I live in Massachusetts with my husband and split time between the home he and I share and the home of my committed partner. I’m a nonbinary, polyamorous human, mother of two kids and a son-in-law, and grandmother of three. I’ve been writing since I was five years old, and I love stories that take place in “the real world” but have fantasy elements and things that (probably) would never happen in reality. Like werewolves.
How do you make time to write?
I’m partially disabled, so I don’t have a “real job.” Writing and holistic wellness practices are my full-time work, and I drive rideshare to support my writing habit. Since I set my own schedule, I can write whenever I want, and work the other things around it.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely, though I have a different take on it. For me, “writer’s block” means “my brain is occupied with mental health issues or other things, and I can’t spare the bandwidth to think about stories right now.” I just came off a nearly 7-year period where that was the case; my July book release is the first new romance I’ve written since 2016!
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write paranormal romance (and occasionally contemporary); as I said above, I love stories that take place in “the real world” but have fantasy elements. Under other names, I also write contemporary fiction for preteens and teenagers, and metaphysical nonfiction.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie publishing. The July release is a new book but is part of a series that was published previously. Those rights were reverted to me in 2016. Since the books were published before, and I’m a bit of a control freak, I chose to self-publish this time around, including a few new books that I’m working on that will be part of the series.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert. The biggest effect is in trying to connect with readers and other authors; I find that very difficult. It’s also reflected in my writing; my characters often have very little social life, because I simply don’t think about that kind of thing.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I don’t have one…
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you feel blocked, write something. Anything. It might not be part of what you’re “supposed to be” working on, but even a sentence is more than nothing. Also, if you plan to pursue publication, do your research on the companies you hope to work with.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
My website is karennacolcroft.com;

AuThursday – Becca Turner

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an author from southwestern Missouri, but I spent the first couple of years of my life in a small town an hour north of Oklahoma City. Somehow I got stuck with an Okie accent and I really love Green Country. I noticed that a lot of contemporary western romances are set in Texas. I was like, okay, but Oklahoma has its fair share of cowboys, so I decided to set a book series in a fictional town near Tulsa. Now I can’t stop writing about cowboys.
How do you make time to write?
I write in Google Docs on my phone. I basically have a word processor anywhere I go. I’ve been known to write while standing in long shopping lines, in restaurants, in cars, and pretty much everywhere.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. Sometimes I just don’t feel like writing, but I find it’s mostly due to real-life stress or a lack of connection with the characters.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Specifically contemporary western romance. I used to write historical westerns and even paranormal western romance, but in the last couple of years, I’ve focused on contemporary. When I was 16, I co-wrote a contemporary western romance with a friend. It never made it to publication, but the story stuck with me. In 2017 (almost twenty years later) another friend invited me to write for a boxed set. So I rewrote the first one, changed a bunch of stuff, and now there are six novellas and five novels in my Only an Okie Will Do series. The next novel should be coming out in late July.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I publish everything indie. I signed on with a couple of houses a few years ago, but three went under and I couldn’t see eye to eye with an editor at another. I like being my own boss. It’s also opened up pathways for me to learn book formatting. I also have several works published on a visual novel app called Chapters. It’s been a huge learning curve to create visual characters and get the text on there, but it’s really cool to see the stories come to life. And the readers here are so supportive and wonderful.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Definitely an introvert. It gives me a lot of time to write.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent. – Jean Kerr
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Writing isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always fun. It’s full of hardships and disappointment and days of staring at your blank earnings dashboard. But when you touch someone with your words, you know you’re in the right place. Use that to keep going, because if you’re truly meant to be a writer, even after long breaks and slumps and swearing you’re done for good, you’re not done. A reader once told me she was bawling at 12:30 at night over the ending of my book. It moved me to tears because I was amazed that she felt so strongly over my characters. If I’d never gone back to my computer after the last time I said I was done, I’d never have gotten that message, and so many more like it, from readers.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is from my first novel in the Only an Okie Will Do series, Cowboy Kind of Trouble.
trouble“Life’s not fair.” He slapped the side of the wheelchair. “So I guess I’ll sit my pathetic ass in the house all day from now on so you can keep an eye on me.”
“Wait. Listen to me, please?” She skirted Cielo and moved swiftly to Will’s side. “I didn’t panic because I didn’t think you couldn’t or shouldn’t go somewhere. I worried because…because I care what happens to you.”
His expression didn’t soften. “Why?”
“For the same reason you care that I’m upset after Ronni texts me. I guess we’re friends and we want each other to be all right.” She didn’t want to admit she was attracted to him. That maybe her concern went beyond caretaker and client. Because if she was honest with herself, before Will, her life had felt a lot emptier.
“Because I’m a paycheck.” He stared past her. “If you let me get hurt or killed, you’re out of a job. Maybe permanently.”
“Don’t say things like that. That’s not it.”
He stared sullenly at the pasture. “Right. Whatever. Go back to what you were doing before I messed everything up. Again.”
“Will Baxter, be quiet.”
“Why should I? I know you’d have told me where to stuff my attitude if you could’ve after the first day you were here.” He avoided her gaze. “I’m the last person you—or anyone—wants to deal with. Just admit it.”
She kneeled beside him and put her hand on his bicep. With a few words, she’d wrecked his confidence. “You don’t know everything.”
His back was straight, shoulders square, jaw tight. “I know the truth when I see it. Maybe we’d both be better off if you left for the day.” His comment stung, as he meant it to.
“You’re throwing up that wall to prove to yourself that you’re not worth me caring about you. Well, you’re wrong, just like you were when I first started coming here. I’m not going anywhere.” She leaned forward, her stomach pressed against the arm of his chair. Her face was inches from his. “I do care about you. More than I should.”
“Why?” His voice was a dry whisper.
“I can’t help myself.” She pressed her hands to either side of his face and pulled him closer. Damn it anyway. She kissed him, throwing the rules out the door once again. He pushed his fingers into her hair, holding her close. As though he was hungry for her kiss. As though he’d given it considerable thought. The same way she had. When she wasn’t dreading more bad news from Ronni, she thought about Will. About how they’d talked. How he laughed.

AuThursday – Chloe Holiday

PNWA picture thumbnailTell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a military physician turned novelist who grew up on a farm, and until I went out on my own, the only way I could travel was through books. I strive to create that magical, transportive experience for readers—everyone can use an escape sometimes!

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Full-time, now that I’ve retired.

How much research do you do?

Lots! Much of what I write is from direct experience (medical or military subplots, scuba diving, aviation) but for the rest, I do extensive research online as well as interviews, and getting beta readers who are like my characters—it’s so important to make them authentic and avoid any “gimme a break” moments. For example, I wrote a Deaf heroine in Submerged Hopes and benefitted greatly from a fantastic beta reader who’s Deaf, and I consulted the Greek community for aspects of the Helios Series.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? It was great to grow up with brothers and serve in the military; I use a unisex name in my online international critique group and was quite pleased when men assumed I was a male and wondered “how I could write women so well!” To me, the most difficult thing is a male POV for sex scenes. I devil my poor husband with all sorts of questions.

How did you come up with the idea for your series, Helios?

I wanted to write a romance novel (my first novel was a thriller and still unpublishes) but felt “stuck” at how to start it—too many fun ideas swirling around in my head, and it felt like a shaken-up snow globe. Finally, I drew character types and tropes out of a bowl, so that’s why Helios features a sheltered young woman, a foreign billionaire alpha hero, a workplace romance, and elements of dubious consent—although the latter was hard to do, so I softened that aspect. The rest came out of my military background and “what if” thoughts. I really love some adventure and suspense in my stories, so that’s where the rock climbing, scuba diving, and adventure racing come in, plus I want my stories to be varied, so each pairing is different in terms of characters and conflicts. I also wanted to write a series in which each novel was a stand-alone so that readers could enter at any point.

What are your current projects?

I just published Fly Boy, about a crop duster in Texas and a woman trying to keep her late grandmother’s farm out of foreclosure, and am in final revisions on No Easy Match, about a transplant surgeon setting up a program for an enigmatic CEO in The Bahamas. It’ll be out late summer. I also just signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for a novella in their Passports to Pleasure series. This one’s about an American GI who encounters a German girl outside a pub, in the middle of a raucous group of soccer fans.

What does literary success look like to you?

Ha! Though I wouldn’t turn down a movie based on my stories, success to me is having a cadre of readers who have been touched by my work and eagerly anticipate my next story.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

1) Read, read, read, both in and out of the genre in which you’d like to write. Seeing that the best-loved stories are still imperfect is freeing. 2) Find your “tribe” of fellow authors, with whom you can compare notes, get feedback, and hone your craft. 3) Eventually, you’ve got to take off the training wheels and put yourself out there! It’s scary at first but gets better.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website has my blog, more about the books, and people can sign up for my newsletter to download a free copy of Finders, Keepers: https://www.chloeholiday.com/ 

You can also find me here:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19579299.Chloe_Holiday

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chloe-Holiday-Writer-102345001394478

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/chloe-holiday

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Chloe-Holiday/e/B0875SGW6J?ref 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/chloeholiday27 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ridenour_robin

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

FlyBoy 3.5 MB

Travis pulled dry clothes over his damp skin and drove home, thinking. It was about the most embarrassing way to run into her he could have imagined, but the good thing was it could only get better from there, and at least the encounter had broken the ice.

Time to man up.

When he got home, he texted the number Nana had given him in the event of an emergency, asking to meet Tricia the next day. She sent a terse reply, granting an audience.

I’ll take Jake with me. Tricia always had a soft spot for animals, and women loved the yellow Lab. “It sucks that I need to use you to smooth the way, though,” he told the dog, who wagged and grinned, though he was less happy about the bath that followed.

The next morning at ten, Travis signaled for Jake to jump into the pickup—the cab this time, since it was so hot. The dog sat in the passenger seat, tongue hanging out, as he gazed around.

“Try to charm her,” Travis advised him. “Soften her up for me.”

Jake wagged, as good as a promise, but just to make sure it went well, Travis stopped on the shoulder short of the final bend and opened the door. “Hop out and pee now—I don’t want you hosing down her flower bushes.” 

Jake leapt out and lifted his leg.

“Good dog.”

The Lab raised his nose, whirled, and took off.

“No! Bad dog.” Travis slammed the pickup door. “Jake, wait. Hey, come back!” Damn it. Travis loped after him but when he heard a feminine cry of outrage, he broke into a sprint.

“Eww! Get off her!”

Travis tore up the lane to the yard.

Jake was trying his darnedest to hump a tall white poodle-looking dog, while Tricia hauled back on his collar. The thing had shaggy leggings like the boots of an exotic dancer, fluffy ears, and was otherwise sleekly sculpted except for a poof at the end of her tail.

Well, hell. “Jake, no. Bad dog!” Travis caught up and pulled his dog away, panting from the run, trying not to stare at Tricia’s cleavage on display as she wrangled her poodle.

Tricia glared at him. “Is this your dog?”

“Yeah. Sorry. I don’t know what got into him—or maybe I do. I think your dog’s in heat.” The poodle angled her fancy behind toward the eager Lab, wagging, and Travis got a better grip on Jake’s collar.

Tricia scowled. “Even if she is, that’s still no excuse.”

“Yeah, it is. They can’t help it—just doing what comes naturally.” He glanced at the lah-dee-dah pooch and tried to disarm Tricia with a joke. “He just can’t resist a pretty tail.”

“Well, he’d better resist or I’ll castrate him myself.” She eyed Travis as if considering a two-for one. “There better not be any puppies from this.” 

“He’s already neutered. He was just going through the motions.” From her snort, that was the wrong thing to say.

“What is he doing here, anyway?” 

Jake wagged harder, as if she’d praised him.

“I just thought you’d like to meet him. And that maybe the subliminal would be good, with the secret language of dogs and all.”

Her eyebrows rose. “Secret language? It wasn’t subtle in the least, let alone secret. ‘Hey, baby, let’s get it on’ doesn’t remotely qualify.” She narrowed her eyes at Jake. “You can stay in the bathroom, Romeo.” Holding the door open, she pointed down the hall.

“Come on, Jake.” Travis took his dog inside. Feminine shoes were lined up at the entrance, and he glanced at her bare feet, red toenail polish flashing in the sun at the threshold. “The secret language of dogs means what folks extrapolate to the owners,” he explained, slipping off his boots before she asked.

“You mean like rude and undisciplined?” 

“Ouch.” He put Jake in the bathroom, told him, “Stay,” and closed the door. He padded back to the living room. Strange not to see Nana puttering in the kitchen.

Tricia nodded to the sofa. “Have a seat, and an apple if you’re hungry.”

“Thanks.” He pulled his gaze from pretty feet to a glass coffee table which held a bowl of fruit like always, a big new picture book beside it. “No, a Labrador signals that a man is reliable, decent, and family-oriented.” He spread his hands when she raised an eyebrow. “Hey, you can’t argue with science.”

Tricia snorted again and headed to the kitchen, graceful as he remembered. “Science, huh?”

Thank heavens she was over her snit. “Yep. A man with a pit bull or Rottweiler is perceived as more aggressive, or maybe a lawbreaker.” Well, damn, that hadn’t been smart. Travis hurried on. “And a lady with a poodle—” Oh, Lord. Just shut up now.

She paused, her hand on the fridge door. “Yeah? What’s the great, secret significance of a woman with a poodle?” She jerked it open and pulled out a pitcher of tea.

Well, hell. “It, uh … Women who own poodles are, uh, supposed to be the kind most likely to agree to … a one-night stand.” His cheeks heated.

Tricia blinked, her face completely blank. But instead of the expected explosion, she laughed so hard she spilled tea on the tray. She threw down a dishtowel to blot it, carried the tray over to the coffee table, and handed him a glass before she dabbed at her eyes. “You could be right, I suppose—”

Damn! Is she offering? Travis choked on his tea.

“—but Nana’s not here to ask. This is her dog, Bella.”

Travis coughed until his eyes teared up.

AuThursday -C.N. Mobberly

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m a 40-year-old single mom to a 7-year-old son who I homeschool. I also help take care of my mother who’s older and slowing down, but still doing all she can to stay active. I’ve always been writing in one-way shape or form since I was a teenager. I struggle with some health issues that I’m working through and hoping to improve.
How do you make time to write?
I try to squeeze it in throughout the day, but usually, get the bulk of my writing done after my son has gone to bed so there are less interruptions and distractions. Setting a timer and sprinting with others helps keep me focused.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. I’ve experienced it before whether I’m stressed about something and the words aren’t flowing or if there’s something going on in the story that I’m trying to work through.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write romance and love to tell love stories. I feel like I can imagine what it might be like for me if I were to meet the man of my dreams and what our relationship could be like. It’s fun to imagine my characters as real people going through the situations in my stories and figuring out how they’d handle them.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
I’m going indie all the way. I’m publishing my first book next year and have never been interested in trying to get an agent, query letters, and being at the mercy of a publishing company, etc. I’ve always known I wanted to be the one in charge of my books.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Definitely, an introvert, though I do have my extroverted moments, especially when I’m talking about something that gets me excited. It can affect my work because I may not always represent an extroverted person accurately and as I revise I ask myself if it seems like this is the way this character would react, etc. I’ve also had a few alpha readers tell me that I need to work on how I write some of my characters because some of their reactions don’t match their personality, especially if they’re extroverted.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
One step at a time.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up and don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. We all go at different paces and you might be seeing someone who’s been writing and publishing for a long time when you haven’t been working at it for very long at all. Plus we never see the whole picture, we’re really only seeing what that person shares with the world. There could be things behind the scenes we don’t know anything about that affects them and their journey.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is a scene from the second book in my series. It is a sex scene, so be warned about the language and content.
Fuck. I’ve lost count of how many times this has happened. Lyn’s drunk. Again. And she’s all over me. I can’t keep fighting this shit.
“J… I…” She pants.
“Lyn, you’re drunk. You should go to bed.” She’s on my lap.
“J, please,” she begs.
My lips are drawn to hers. I’ve only had a few drinks, but I can’t help myself. My tongue drives into her mouth as my hands grip her hips hard.
“This is a really bad idea,” I try to insist as she pulls her top over her head and flings it to the floor. Her tits heave up and down in time to her heavy breathing.
“So? Don’t think,” she begs.
I can’t hold back anymore and I bury my face in her chest as she unclasps her bra and lets it fall.
“Shit,” I cup her tits and pull a nipple into my mouth as I suck and she moans.
“Fuck J,” she moans as her head falls back.
“Stand up,” I order. She does what I say as my cock strains against my pants.
She’s on her way to my room before I’m off the sofa.
I walk into my room behind Lyn as she drops her pants and underwear and climbs onto my bed.
“This is a really really bad idea,” I stress as I pull off my pants and climb onto the bed.
“I told you. Stop thinking.” Her body is stretched out on my bed waiting for me as I stare.
Fuck it. I can’t tell how many times I’ve wanted to take her. But she’s my best friend. We’ve made out countless times while she’s been drunk. But she’s always passed out before clothes started coming off. Until now.
“Lyn…” I don’t know how much longer I can resist.
“Jacie, I’ve told you before that I want you,” Lyn whispers.
“That’s just the booze talking,” I insist.
“So? Just go with it.” Lyn sits up on her knees and pulls me onto the bed.
“Are you still on the pill?” I have condoms just in case.
“Of course I am,” she insists.
She tugs at my pants and I manage to pull them off and kick them to the floor.
Just this once. She won’t remember. I will, but it’s been my fantasy for years.
“Jesus, I want you,” I admit.
“Then go for it,” she whispers as she grinds against my hard-on.
My boxers go next and her eyes light up when she sees my erection standing at attention. I kneel on the bed between her thighs and run two fingers along her slit.
“God, you’re drenched.” I gasp as I pull my fingers out and lick them.
“Want a taste first?” Lyn asks as she runs her fingers along her slit and licks them, then moans.
I close my eyes hoping this isn’t a dream. When I open them again, she’s still on my bed and now she’s rubbing her clit looking at me with hooded eyes.
I slide two fingers into her center and feel her walls tense around them. Then my tongue finds her clit and I lose myself as I taste her sweet juices on my tongue.
“Shit, just like that,” she moans as her hips lift. I suck on her clit then lick up her slit with my fingers still thrusting inside her.
“I’m gonna come J.”
“Come on my fingers Lyn ” I’ve ached to say those words.
Her hips keep rhythm with my thrusting as my thumb rubs her clit then my tongue is on her clit again as she cries out and her pussy clenches around my fingers and she rides out her orgasm as I thrust three fingers into her.
“Fuck!” Lyn’s body finally relaxes as she comes down from her climax. “My turn,” she insists as she gets me onto my back and wraps her hand around my shaft.
I hiss as she strokes a few times then rubs the tip of my cock and my pre cum glides over the tip.
Her lips are around my cock before I realize what she’s doing and it hits the back of her throat.
“I’m gonna come, Lyn,” I warn her. Then my hot liquid shoots out and she swallows it as I moan loud and deep.
“Damn! I had no idea you were this good.”
Lyn smiles as she milks my cock dry and licks the drops that seep out.
“I need to ride you,” she whispers as she crawls up and kisses me. I taste my come on her lips and I’m hard all over again. “Round two?”
“Lyn, we shouldn’t…” But she’s straddling me and her pussy is hovering over my cock.
“Why not?” Lyn pouts.
“You’re my best friend,” I insist.
“Are you’re mine. But there’s been this thing between us for years. Why keep fighting it?”
“You’re the one that refused to give in every other time,” I remind her.
“And I’m the one telling you now that I don’t give a fuck anymore. I’m done trying to fight it J.” Lyn lowers herself and touches the tip of my cock with her pussy and I clench my ass cheeks together in anticipation.
“Can we at least use a rubber?” I ask as her eyes pierce mine.
“Why? You think I’m not clean?” Her brows knit together.
“It’s not that. I know you get tested and I’m clean too. Just humor me? Please?” I beg her.
“Fine.” She rolls her eyes, but reaches over and grabs a condom out of my nightstand.
Once she rolls it down my cock she lowers herself onto it. My entire body tenses at the sensation. The one thing I’ve always imagined is happening. I’ve jerked off to thoughts of Lynsey doing just this countless times. I hiss as she pauses for just a second.
“What?” I ask, thinking something’s wrong.
“It just feels so damn good,” she replies breathlessly. She’s slept with God knows how many other guys over the years. I know this isn’t earth-shattering for her, but you’d think it is with the way she’s acting.
Once she’s seated all the way down onto my pelvis she leans forward and kisses my lips. I grab her hips to hold her there a moment longer before she starts riding me. As she pulls away her hands are on my chest and my hands find her tits. I want to look her in the eyes, but my eyes can’t stay open. The sensation of her pussy sliding up and down my cock is too much to handle. I want this to last, but my hips start thrusting in time with her movements and I don’t know how long I can last. I can’t ever remember it feeling this good with any other girl before. I’m no ladies man, but I’ve had my fair share that’s for sure.
Lyn moans as she pinches one of my nipples and my hands squeeze her tits. “Faster,” I urge her as I feel my climax building.
“God, I’m close!” She moans.
“Come on my cock Lyn, I’m begging you,” I manage to get out as she lifts up then falls back down and finally grinds on my dick as her release hits her. My body lets go and I pull her to me as mine takes over my entire being. Her head is tucked into my neck as she slows down and we both come down from our highs.
“J?” She whispers after a moment of lying still, her still on top of me and my cock, now limp, still inside of her.
“Yeah?” I don’t know what’s going through her mind, and I don’t know if I really want to know.
“I think I’m gonna be sick,” she says as she hops up and darts into my bathroom.
Well, that sure killed the mood, but I sit up, grab some tissues and pull the condom off my cock then toss it on the floor. I’ll clean it up later.
In the bathroom, I sit on the floor next to Lyn and rub her back as she pukes in the toilet. After a few minutes, she sits back on her feet and rests her head on my shoulder.
“At least I made it to the bathroom,” she says then chuckles.
“True.” I can’t argue with that. After a few more minutes I help her back to my room and into bed, but get one of my shirts on her before she passes out. I climb in next to her and cover us up knowing she won’t remember any of this the next day. She won’t, but I sure as hell will.