AuThursday – M.S. Ocampo

Please welcome M.S. Ocampo to The Clog Blog, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an indie writer and tutor in the process of publishing my YA urban fantasy novel, My Ex is a Vampire.
How do you make time to write?
I join up with writing sprints. I usually write around the same time every day.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yep. It usually means I have to take a break or talk things out.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
My debut novel is YA urban fantasy. It’s a love letter to Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Filipino-American protagonists. I love mixing up high school drama with action.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
Introvert
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
“Bird by Bird.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Lean into what you love. Don’t be afraid to put a lot of yourself into your writing.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Twitter and Instagram as well as my blog.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
Inconceivable! Some vampires had the gall to go out in the daytime, risking their undead existence for the sake of a meal.

Cover Reveal

Title: Cougar From Hell
Series: Hellman Brothers Series
Author: Marika Ray
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Small Town Romance
Release Date: January 12, 2023
Cover Design: Jennifer Olson



I have my fresh start in a new town, this time a widow with a preteen daughter who rolls her eyes enough to make them stay that way. Too bad my past mistake is also here to greet me.

Daxon Hellman. Town a-hole. Hot young contractor hired to build my house in the woods.

It’s only when I’m face-to-face with him for the first time that I realize he’s the mystery man from two years ago. It’s a long story of too many drinks, grief that made me resort to acting out, and an encounter in the dirty bathroom of a bar. Try as I might, I can’t forget that night. And now I have a name to go with that hot body.

Daxon growls at me…I irritate him with my constant social media posting. He orders me to do things…I trample all over his ridiculous commands with a smile and a choice finger in the air. He builds my house with that tool belt slung low on his hips and my cat steals his construction plans. We fit together like rain and exposed drywall.

Between insults and hot stolen kisses, Daxon and I reach a truce: to let our bodies do the talking and keep our hearts locked down. I’m older than him, which means I’m smart enough to keep a clear head. Until I realize when it comes to love, age and common sense do not go hand in hand.

This crazy town has more surprises up its sleeve to drive us apart, which makes me think this might not be our forever home after all…







 


Marika Ray is a USA Today bestselling author of steamy and sweet RomComs, spending her time behind a computer crafting stories, walking any beach she can find, and making healthy food for her kids and husband whether they like it or not. Prior to writing novels, Marika held various jobs in the finance industry, with private start-up companies, and then in health & fitness. Cats may have nine lives, but Marika believes everyone should have nine careers to keep things spicy. All her books come with a money-back guarantee that you’ll smile at least once with every book.

More information can be found at www.marikaray.com



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Teaser Tuesday – Cougar From Hell by Marika Ray

o Kindle Unlimited on January 12th!
Add to your Goodreads TBR: https://bit.ly/3Gdb0Wk
💞 Ten-year age gap with an explosive mee-cute💞 Hero is the town a-hole, hired to build the heroine her dream cabin💞 Heroine is widowed and now a single mom, looking for peace, not love, and certainly not a fling💞 small town RomCom hilarity

𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘯, 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘢 𝘸𝘪𝘥𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘥𝘢𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘴 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘦𝘺𝘦𝘴 𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘺. 𝘛𝘰𝘰 𝘣𝘢𝘥 𝘮𝘺 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘵 𝘮𝘦.

Daxon Hellman. Town a-hole. Hot young contractor hired to build my house in the woods.It’s only when I’m face-to-face with him for the first time that I realize he’s the mystery man from two years ago. It’s a long story of too many drinks, grief that made me resort to acting out, and an encounter in the dirty bathroom of a bar. Try as I might, I can’t forget that night. And now I have a name to go with that hot body.

Daxon growls at me…I irritate him with my constant social media posting. He orders me to do things…I trample all over his ridiculous commands with a smile and a choice finger in the air. He builds my house with that tool belt slung low on his hips and my cat steals his construction plans. We fit together like rain and exposed drywall.

Between insults and hot stolen kisses, Daxon and I reach a truce: to let our bodies do the talking and keep our hearts locked down. I’m older than him, which means I’m smart enough to keep a clear head. Until I realize when it comes to love, age and common sense do not go hand in hand. This crazy town has more surprises up its sleeve to drive us apart, which makes me think this might not be our forever home after all…

“𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙗𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙗𝙚𝙩𝙬𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝘿𝙖𝙭𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙍𝙞𝙩𝙖 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖𝙗𝙨𝙤𝙡𝙪𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙮 𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙘.”
#CougarFromHellMarikaRay #CougarFromHellTeaserBlast #TeaserTuesday #ComingSoon #JanuaryRelease #AgeGap #RomCom #SmallTown #MarikaRayAuthor #MustRead #TBR #EnticingJourney
Hosted by Enticing Journey Book Promotions

Cover Reveal – Alpha Mike Foxtrot by Giulia Lagomarsino

Title: Alpha Mike Foxtrot
Series: OPS Protector Romance Book 5
Author: Giulia Lagomarsino
Genre: Alpha/Protector Romance
Release Date: December 26, 2022
Cover Design: T.E. Black Designs
Photographer: Reggie Deanching – R+M Photo
Cover Model: Vince



They call me crazy, lethal—psychotic.
I’m all those things and more.
The darkness calls to me, sending me spiraling out of control.
But one woman calms me, bringing me back from the edge when I’m about to lose it.
She’s my savior in every way possible.

But she doesn’t even know I exist. Yet.

I see the way she struggles, trying to maintain her sanity.
I won’t let her go down the same path as my mother.
She won’t be another statistic.
There’s only one thing for me to do—take her.

It’s not kidnapping if you know the person.

She didn’t believe me when I said that.
But I’m not worried about it. She’ll soon find out there are worse things than being hitched to my wagon.
I’ll cherish the ground she walks on for the rest of my life, whether she’s in it or not.

She is my priority, the only reason I continue to live when the darkness takes over.

I’m not naive. Just because I want Anna doesn’t mean I can have her.
I am not a good man, but I am the man for her. I will protect her with my life, slaughter anyone that tries to take her from me.
And when an enemy threat looms, I’ll remove them just like any other baddie.

There is no surviving when The Phantom is calling to me.








I’m a stay at home mom that loves to read. Some of my favorite titles are Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Horatio Hornblower. I started writing when I was trying to come up with suggestions on ways I could help bring in some extra money. I came up with the idea that I could donate plasma because you could earn an extra $500/month. My husband responded with, “No. Find something else. Write a blog. Write a book.” I didn’t think I had anything to share on blog that a thousand other mothers hadn’t already thought of. I decided to take his challenge seriously and sat down to write my first book, Jack. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing. From there, the stories continued to flow and I haven’t been able to stop. I hope my readers enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them. Between reading, writing, and taking care of three small kids, my days are quite full.



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AuThursday – Barbara M. Britton

Britton- Head ShotPlease welcome Barbara M. Britton to The Clog Blog!  Barbara, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am traditionally published in Christian Fiction. I write mostly Biblical Fiction, but I have a Contemporary Christmas Romance coming out in October. I have a breast cancer thread in the book, and I put my journey through breast cancer at the end of the book. My e-release date is October 14th–in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
How do you make time to write?
I schedule time to write. Around a book launch, I may not write as often. With social media and platform building, my writing time can get left out of the equation. I have to be diligent to make time to write. Having a critique group forces me to get pages written in order to exchange for comments.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I think it’s more a case of writer’s burnout. Or you’re stuck on a story and there’s no one to help you brainstorm options. There are definitely times in my life when I’m more productive than others. Life happens.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I love bringing little-known Bible stories to light to help shine a light on stories that no one knows about in the Bible. In “Christmas at Whispering Creek,” I tackle the tough subject of breast cancer with a touch of humor and romance. I felt compelled to shine a light on how younger women are experiencing breast cancer. I was over fifty when cancer struck. Some cancer patients are in their twenties and thirties. Mammography is done mostly on us older gals.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
I’m with a traditional publisher. They have published all of my books so far. I am not opposed to being my own publisher. Technology is not my friend. The idea of formatting and interacting with sites on the web scares me. I do feel that indie publishing gives the author more freedom to publish the story in their heart.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m a combination. I do reach out to friends and family, but I can very easily hold up in my writing cave and not engage with the world. I like to write letters and cards to brighten someone’s day.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
You can’t fix a blank page.
I have used this phrase when my kids needed to finish writing assignments in college.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I would give the advice I received as a newbie writer. I was encouraged to join a professional writing organization and to attend writing conferences. I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing and about the business side of writing. Classes are wonderful, but there’s nothing like sitting next to a published author and getting sage advice. Start building your network of writing friends early. I don’t know where I would be without prayer and my writing buddies.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
I have a website-barbarambritton.com    –but I am also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, and BookBub under the name Barbara M. Britton. I have to use the M in my name as there was an older movie actress that went by Barbara Britton. There is also a writer named Barbara Bretton.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
ChristmasAtWhisperingCreek_w13197_680“Thank you, Cole.” She held him a little closer.
A shooting star took flight from his heart.
“For cheering me up with your humor and being cool about…well, earlier.” Her tone nose-dived.
“You mean when my old toy became a prop for discussing breast prosthetics.” He was not letting her bring embarrassment into this hug.
“No seriously.” She swayed in his arms. “I guess I’m still anxious about the cancer. I check in with my oncologist, so I feel pressure to get back to Milwaukee. It’s familiar, and well, I have to think about interviewing for a teaching contract.” She blew out a breath. “And then there’s Christmas.”
“You’re an only child. Wherever you want to be for Christmas, your parents will show up. There’s nothing like a Tennessee Christmas. You probably won’t have to shovel out your drive.” He brushed a hand through her silky hair. “And I bet you could get a few references for teaching jobs either in Whispering Creek or Sperry’s Crossing. Lucinda’s reference will be glowing.” Come on, Wisconsin Sam. Stay for Christmas and beyond.
Do you have a preferred Thursday Date?
October 20th

AuThursday – Claire Kohler

Claire Kohler
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My favorite preschool activity was story time if that tells you anything. I’ve loved writing since I was ten years old. I wanted to pursue an English degree in college but felt it would be too hard to make a career out of writing, so I became a teacher. My husband actually encouraged me to get back into writing in 2016, and that’s when I got the idea for what became my debut novel. It took me five years from that idea to publication, but now I’m finally chasing my dream and am about to publish my second novel in October.
How do you make time to write?
I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old. I made it a habit to write during afternoon naps five days a week.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes! One of my strengths from the Clifton Strengths Finder is intellection. That means it’s important for me to turn ideas over and over in my mind. If I go too fast, I tend to get stuck or the story won’t feel right, and I’ll have to go back and think for a while until the right idea comes to me (I’m a discovery writer, so I don’t plan out my stories before I start writing them). It’s also important to soak up new information, and sometimes that means taking your nose away from the grindstone and enjoying others’ stories, so you can improve your own.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write historical fantasy! I’ve always enjoyed monsters and the magic of fantasy, but I also love learning about cultures from around the world. Historical fantasy allows me to blend the two, so fantasy seems like maybe it isn’t such a stretch to believe in. Maybe mythical creatures did exist once upon a time.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
I’m an indie author. I originally tried the traditional route, but without connections, it’s hard to get an agent. Plus, you’re limited to the type of story a publishing house wants to print. With indie, I can create what I would like to read.The Heart of Everton Inn
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m an introvert! I love people, but working with them can be intimidating, so being an author is great. I hide away in my office/cave and create works of art that I can then share with the world.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Learn, learn, learn as much as you can, and then be brave enough to chase your dream.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
First off, there’s my website: www.clairekohlerbooks.com, but I’m also on Facebook and Instagram.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
“I shall always love you, my dear bairn. Remember that, no matter what happens. And you must promise me something before I go,” the older woman whispered.
“Anything, Mum,” Briony answered.
“You must stay away from the water.”
Briony looked down at the floor, holding back tears as she tried to get a handle on herself. She couldn’t fathom why this was her mother’s dying wish, why this was so important.
Is her fear o’ the sea that strong? How can she hate it so much?
Briony felt the enigmatic pull she always did when she thought of the ocean. It called to her in a way she could neither explain nor understand. She had no reason to desire it as she did, for the sea had stolen her father from them years ago. At least, that was what her mother told her since Briony had no memory of the man.
She glanced out the window of the small cottage, wishing she could run to the waves at that very moment and escape the expectation lurking in her mother’s eyes. No matter how Briony replied, she knew she would cause misery; the only question was who would have to bear it.
She turned back to her mother, ignoring the lump in her throat as she said, “I promise.”
At hearing those words, Bethany gave Briony an earnest smile that lit up the room much more than the candles around them. Then, with a small sigh, the older woman closed her eyes and relinquished her spirit.
Briony almost felt it depart, ascending from her mother’s physical form before slipping away.
And it was at that precise moment that a series of bloodcurdling howls rang through the air. The sounds rose from just beyond Everton’s shores, filling the entire village with dread. The only person who didn’t notice them was the young woman herself, for the cries melded with her own moans of anguish as perfectly as if they had all come from the same throat.
The Secret of Drulea Cottage (Betwixt the Sea and Shore, Book 1) by Claire Kohler

AuThursday – V. Mull

Please welcome V. Mull to the Clog Blog.  Virginia, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Virginia, but I go by the pen name V. Mull. I’ve been telling stories since I was five and writing them since I was old enough to. Being a published author was my dream. I had to put it on hold because of life – I got married and had three amazing kids, but something was missing. I finally figured it out. I NEEDED to write, to create. And so I did.
How do you make time to write?
It’s so hard to write when you have the constant needs of those around you. The questions, the noise – it pulls you out of the world you’re creating. But there are ways around that. I use notebooks, of which I have multiple in every room, to jot down ideas that flash through my mind while folding laundry or making lunch. Then, when I do get an hour or two of quiet, I’m able to glue those ideas together.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I sure do! Writer’s block isn’t the lack of motivation or inspiration, it’s not even laziness. It’s when you have all the tools to write – you have the need – the want – to write, yet forming sentences, even words is difficult!
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Fantasy romance. Oh, the magic, the creatures born of magic, the amazing relationships between characters – I live for it. Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted) was my first inspiration for creating such worlds. And I’m a sucker for a good Jane Austen love story, so I mix the two together.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
Indie. I was always against self-publishing, only because I didn’t understand it. But I knew how long the wait could be if I chose traditionally, so I decided to take the expensive fate into my own hands. It’s hard, so hard. But I’m happy.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I suppose introvert, though I’m not a fan of labeling myself as such. I have extrovert tendencies with certain people and in certain situations, but I need to recharge for at least half a week. I suppose, from the description of an extrovert, being an “introvert” helps me immensely because I really don’t mind being alone. I prefer it at least 80% of the time, which gives me the time to write and create (if I didn’t have the kids, of course)
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
JUST DO IT – Shia LaBeouf.  It was the first thing to come to mind, to be honest!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Practice makes perfect! Cliché, absolutely. But true! I could never understand the saying because in everything I tried I simply couldn’t do better. But with writing? You can physically SEE the progress. Write something. Write more and more. Then look back on your old work and I promise you will see a difference.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
World Wide Web sounds terrifying! And it is, for an author. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and my website (where you can find all social media links) authorvmull.org
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
The Secrets of Gelid Lake
Again, they laughed like angels. “We all get angry, Nathalia. It’s what you are angry for, and how you choose to react after making a mistake that makes you pure. Your sensitivity is not a weakness, no matter how many tears you shed. You feel to your very core, and that, my child is strength.”
~Excerpt from my upcoming novella, The Secrets of Gelid Lake

Cover Reveal – Hiding from the Truth

Title: Hiding from the Truth
Series: Finding the Truth Series
Author: A.B. Medley
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Small Town
Release Date: August 16, 2022
Cover Design: Cover Me Darling (Marisa Wesley)



Secrets don’t keep.
Lucy’s are life-changing and dangerous.
Her darkest one is an abusive ex who will stop at nothing to control her, leaving only a smoking ember of who she used to be.
She thinks she’s alone in the battle to get her life back.
Then she meets Tate.
The one man who seems to tear down every defense she’s built around her heart.
The problem is…he doesn’t want a relationship and she wants it all.
Tate’s no stranger to secrets, but he’s content until he meets her.
At first sight, he’s enamored by Lucy.
But the more he discovers, the deadlier her truth becomes.
Now he’s determined to keep her safe whether she wants his help or not.
Suddenly— the ice around his heart is melting, leaving him helpless to fight his feelings for her.
Can they overcome their pasts and the real danger they face to give love a fighting chance, or will they keep hiding from the truth?








 


A.B. Medley lives in Tennessee with the love of her life and two sons. Her husband stole her heart when she was sixteen and their relationship is one of those meant to be love stories you find in magazines and novels.
She is a dental hygienist who loves to read and has always dabbled in writing. When she’s not making people’s smiles shine, she enjoys belting out songs with her boys, dancing, raspberries, baseball, and anything vintage. Like any proper Tennessean, Sundrop is her drink of choice.
She loves her family and friends fiercely and believes in always chasing your dreams.
Deception in the Truth is her debut novel—but now she’s hooked, and there’s more to come.



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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.