AuThursday – Joshua Knels

Please welcome Josh Knels, a fellow member of the BisMan Writer’s Guild!  Joshua, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Joshua Knels. I grew up in Fairview, MT, and moved to Bismarck after I graduated high school and attended Bottineau for a little while. I didn’t get into writing until I was fifteen. I suffered a back injury during a football game that took me out of sports for the remainder of my time in school. That’s when I started reading books and grew a passion for reading and writing. I started writing my first project when I was a sophomore in high school, but later dropped the project when I went to college.

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

Introvert. It gives me plenty of time to write since I don’t go out much (even less so since Covid-19). The only time I go out nowadays is for work or D&D nights with friends during the weekend

How do you make time to write? 

I usually write between shifts when I get home from work or on my days off. 

What genre are your stories and what draws you to this genre?

I usually write fantasy adventures since I enjoy world-building and creating new worlds. I often mix it with other elements, such as romance and horror. 

Do you ever get writer’s block? 

Not as much as I thought I would get. I am always thinking about character development and story elements and rarely get burned out from it. When I do, I just relax for a day or two and I am back at it. Listening to music while writing a scene also helps me out a lot.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Depression for sure. When I feel overwhelmed and depressed from work and personal matters, it has an impact on my writing. Whenever I am in these funks, I either write scenes where characters feel the same as I do, or I just take a personal day to myself and try to get over whatever is stressing me out or depressed at the time.

So, what have you written? 

Nothing complete right now, I’m afraid, except two books that I self-published in 2011 and 2012.

41xd2DMgXuLThese books, The Seattle Massacre & Trails of Blood were two books of a series of murder mystery & horror books that I was writing a long time ago under the pen name J.J. Knight. I stopped writing them when I lost progress on the third book several times and a lot of my other projects when my computer went out and I didn’t have them saved on any other source. I had lost the passion for writing this series and in general when I hit a very deep depression that lasted for over three years and didn’t write anything during that time. It wasn’t until 2016 when I started writing some Pokemon fanfiction to get back into the groove of writing until 2018 when I started my D&D project. In 2019, I fell in love with one of my favorite D&D characters, Victoria “The Scarlet Rose” Valentine, and decided to write a book series based on her and in a modern setting. 

Where can we buy or see them? 

I think you can see the two books on Amazon. I don’t intend to continue that series unfortunately since there’s no passion left for that project and all energy will be devoted to my next project. 

What are your current projects?

My current project is The Scarlet Rose, a planned multi-part series. It is a modern fantasy story that was inspired by my favorite D&D character, Victoria “Scarlet Rose” Valentine. The story follows the main character Victoria, a girl born with the appearance of a devil (horns, tail, and red tail). I was inspired to write this project from elements of Hellboy, Supernatural, and Men in Black.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Never give up your dream and always practice. Write what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to ask others for help and opinions.

AuThursday – Rosanna Leo

Rosanna Leo author photoWelcome Rosanna!  Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thanks so much for having me here, Tina!

I’m Rosanna Leo and I write contemporary and paranormal romance. When not writing, I work at my local public library in an Acquisitions role, so I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to see all the new books when they first arrive. I come from Toronto, Canada, and I try hard to insert a bit of Canadian flavour into my books. I’ve been writing for over ten years now and am fortunate to be part of the romance community, as a writer, blogger, and reader.

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

With the subgenres of romance that I write, I really do get the best of both worlds. With my contemporary romances, I get to explore the conflicts of “real” people, and I love showing how they can grow and learn to love. In the case of my paranormal romances, the characters and situations might be a bit more outrageous, but it’s fun for me to be able to push those envelopes. Each type of writing compels me to think differently, so it’s a great exercise. The one commonality, of course, is that in those stories, the protagonists have to fall in love and be committed to one another by the end of the book. However, that journey to love is the whole point, and it’s the reason I love this genre so much. It carries a powerful sense of hope. 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

For me, the part I dread is the initial brainstorming. I know of writers who can just shoot out fresh ideas on the spot, but I’ve never been good at that, not even in non-writing situations. I have to let my thoughts marinate for a while, and I second-guess a lot of my ideas. Nevertheless, as much as it sometimes pains me, I do try to get some ideas down. It’s the first step, after all, so it has to be done.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I do believe in writer’s block, and I know I’ve experienced it before. It tends to affect me at particular times, however. I had it after losing a loved one, during moments of stress in my career and family life, and I’ve experienced when I’ve written myself into a hole (when I haven’t thought out a story properly and I begin to flounder.) It happens. I won’t call myself an expert in dealing with it. For the most part, I just try to either write through it, or I take a break from writing altogether. 

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

My recent release is A Good Man, Handymen 1, a contemporary romance. It released on June 9, 2020. It’s been published traditionally with Totally Bound Publishing. I’ve been working directly with publishers for a few years now and have worked with some great people. I appreciate that my publisher handles a lot of the details that I don’t feel confident handling (i.e. covers, formatting.) So, for me, it’s a good fit.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I haven’t ruled out self-publishing and may attempt it down the road. I have many author friends who prefer that method, and they have it down to a fine art. Not having done it myself, I probably can’t speak to its disadvantages, and I think a writer should always do their research before committing to either path. 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I like to think my writing is more polished now, more pared down. When I started writing, I used some overly-descriptive language and made some interesting style choices. It’s all part of learning, and it was definitely part of my process. Now, I try to take a lot of care with my word choices, and if I can simplify a statement, I will.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I don’t have a favorite motivational phrase, but I do believe in the power of positive affirmations. For the most part, I try to express gratitude for where I am in life, and I try to be grateful for something each day. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Blog: https://rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeoRosanna

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rleoauthor1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rleoauthor/

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rosanna-leo

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

Sure! I’d love to share an excerpt from A Good Man, Handymen1:

AGoodManCover_1500x2400Emily threw herself at him and wrapped her arms around his torso, cutting off his words and his breath. Only when he hugged her back did he realize how hard she was quivering.

She wasn’t just crying about the old photos.

“It’s okay, Em. Let it out, sweetheart.”

The collar of his shirt grew wet but he didn’t care. Wardrobe had tons of shirts. Besides, she felt good in his arms, all soft and warm. He rubbed her shoulders and the back of her waist, exploring and familiarizing himself with her luscious body. He breathed, drinking in her scent. His nasal cavities had never known such bliss. It was like that first clear breath after a long period of congestion. His fingers were pretty happy too, enjoying the give of her body. It was all he could do not to slide them down, cup her sweet ass, and pull her up against him.

Just not while she was crying over another man.

She lingered in his arms and he did nothing to push her away. In fact, it surprised him how badly he wanted to keep her there, so much so that when Emily finally extricated herself, he wanted to pull her back into his embrace. Instead, he wiped her cheeks clean of the remaining tears.

“The makeup ladies are going to kill me for making you cry.”

It might have been his imagination, but her tears made her eyes appear even greener. In fact, her entire face seemed a riot of tempting color. Each shade called to him. The crushed roses in her cheeks. Her strawberry lips, so plump and moist. Even the doeskin brown of her freckles fascinated him to no end. He wanted to count them, to kiss and mark them all.

Kissing her made a whole lot of sense right now. Kissing her senseless seemed even better.

Emily’s eyes widened. Her lips parted in invitation. Michael paused, knowing it was wrong, even though every raised hair on his arms told him it was right.

As he debated with himself for a split second, she brushed her lips against his. It was quick and soft, hunger masquerading as something platonic. Even though a spectator might have called it a friendly kiss, he knew the truth. As brief as it may have been, he felt her yield to him, even if just a little.

From the startled look in her eyes, Emily knew it too.

 

Cover Reveal – Endless Summer Romance Anthology


Title: Endless Summer Romance Anthology
Authors: Muriel Garcia ~ Krista Ames ~ J P Uvalle ~ Hanleigh Bradley ~ Elaine May ~ KB Cinder ~ Brie Paisley ~ Lea Winkleman 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 24, 2020

 

 

 

Dreaming of love this summer? Come on a summer romance adventure you will never forget.
Our incredible authors have come together to bring you contemporary romance stories you’ll fall in love with!
Stories written by –
Muriel Garcia
Krista Ames
J P Uvalle
Hanleigh Bradley
Elaine May
KB Cinder
Brie Paisley
Lea Winkleman

 

HOSTED BY:

 

AuThursday – Autumn Stone

Please welcome Autumn Stone to The Clog Blog.  Autumn, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I am a personal finance influencer who was fell into writing romances. It was an experiment that has become one of my favorite ways to make passive income. I run two very different projects: a website and podcast about personal finance and a website and podcast about Colorado (I’m from Colorado). I also speak at different conferences such as Podcast Movement, FinCon, and others. I’m also a mentor for a podcasting program that is being held here in Denver for the second time this summer. 

How do you make time to write? 

I try to write when I’m feeling relaxed. Typically, I will write from a coffee shop patio or carry a journal with me so that I can capture inspiration whenever it hits me. I don’t have a daily writing goal. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Absolutely, sometimes the muse slips from you. 

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

I write both fiction and non-fiction books. For my romance books I write in the BWWM genre and I love sharing endless love stories that show women like me in different situations ranging from the fantastical to realistic situations depending on the story. I’m a romantic and love writing about love! 

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

Self-publish! I love it so much because there are no limits placed on me and I can publish as many books as I would like. I don’t have to wait for someone else (other than my fans) to validate my stories. 

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

Extrovert. I’m very comfortable with marketing my work. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” –Anonymous 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Keep trying, keep learning, it’s never a mistake it’s a learning opportunity. Most content creators (authors/bloggers/podcasters/vloggers/etc) Don’t spend enough time marketing their work. It’s a daily process. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07FCT2BNF 

 

Cover Reveal – Six Nights in Paradise by Ashley Cade

Title: Six Nights in Paradise

Author: Ashley Cade
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 16, 2020
Cover Design: Pink Ink Designs

She was off limits.

 

My best friend’s little sister.
 
He warned me away from her once and I’d respected his wishes, but six nights alone with her in a tropical paradise tests my loyalties.
 
When my fiancé calls off our wedding with only days to spare, I’m left with two non-refundable tickets to our honeymoon. The only person available to take her spot: Taylor Wesley.
 
I try to keep my word and keep my hands to myself, but some temptations are too hard to resist. The passion between us explodes like a stick of dynamite. With a connection this hot, someone is bound to get burned.
 
Ashley is an author and book lover living in Ohio with her husband and two sons. She’s loved reading since childhood and has always enjoyed creating characters and stories. She finds inspiration everywhere: a song on the radio, a person she passes on the street, a place she’s visited on vacation. She lets her imagination run wild and her fingers do the typing.
 

HOSTED BY:

 

AuThursday – Lainee Cole

Lainee Cole author picTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a born and bred Midwestern girl who escaped to Southern California for one year during my early 20’s but came home when I missed the change of seasons. Growing up in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois will do that to you! On cold winter days, my older bones talk to me, as in “What the heck were you thinking?” Now I live in Central Illinois with my husband, who always wants to talk when I’m trying to write. My two kids and one grandchild live nearby, and we see them often.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember! I wrote horse stories as a child, then poetry in junior high and high school. My friends and I traded romances starting in high school, and it didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to write them. It took me a lot longer to actually do it, but here I am! My goal is to give readers the same escape I discovered in books.

How do you make time to write? 

I’ve learned it’s important to write every day. My muse is happier that way! I don’t have set writing hours, but usually spend a chunk of afternoons and evenings writing, or doing writing-related tasks. In some respects, it’s easier since I retired from my day job last summer. While my husband is doing outdoor chores or golfing with his buddies, I can write uninterrupted. When I was working, I sometimes struggled to make time to write because it took away family time. But writing has always been important to me. Laptops were a great invention! My laptop allowed me to be on the computer as much as possible, even when my kids were sprawled around the family room watching TV or playing video games.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Definitely. If my creative well is low, I struggle to put ideas together, to make words flow the way they should. Self-care is important as well. I try to walk every day for at least an hour. But sometimes the words just aren’t there. In that case, I read, have more conversations with friends, and go for longer walks. Ideas tend to spark for me when I do those things.

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

I write sweet contemporary romance. I love it because I can explore characters and their relationships without being explicit. My characters can have all the feels without restricting their actions to MY imagination. Readers can use their own imaginations for what happens with my characters behind closed doors.

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

I just Indie published my most recent book in January via Amazon. To be honest, I’ve always wanted to be a traditionally published author, and I haven’t given up on that, but the publishing landscape is open now. I discovered the Common Elements Romance Project (https://commonelementsromanceproject.wordpress.com/) and wanted to be a part of it. All books for the project were required to be self-published, so that’s what I did!

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

I’m an Extrovert, very much a people person. I can talk to almost anyone. Being an extrovert is a blessing and a curse as an author. It’s a blessing because, well, people! Everybody has a story and you never know when someone will trigger an idea, whether from something they say, their behavior, or even just their appearance. People-watching can be interesting! Being an extrovert is also a curse because when I’m working on a book, it’s hard to stay isolated and focused. I crave contact with other people. 

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?

If you are passionate about writing, don’t just take courses or read books – you have to WRITE. The more you actually write, the more you will learn. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Please follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LaineeColeAuthor/), Twitter (@LaineeCole), and Amazon (https://amzn.to/2VuobuD). I’d love to hear from you!

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

STORMS OF THE HEART excerpt

Storms of the Heart high resHome. She blinked several times. She’d finally grown up and realized people made a place home, not buildings. Her heart climbed into her throat, but she refused to cry. Breathe in, breathe out, she coached herself. You can do this! Despite Uncle Wayne’s pleas and assurances, it had taken a long time to find the courage to return. Now that she was home, she couldn’t wait to feel his firm bear hug.

She straightened her shoulders and pushed away from the house. Yes, she could do this! At twenty-five, she could finally take control of her own life. She could put her past to rest and look forward to her future.

Emerson flinched when another crack of lightning split the air and forked through the sky, illuminating two cars parked at the side of the house. She hadn’t noticed them before. One was a distinctive black and white car with SHERIFF in gold lettering on the side. 

Her breath hitched as she peered through the downpour. Wait. What is the Sheriff doing here? She’d already lost her parents and her aunt. She couldn’t lose Uncle Wayne, too. Not now.

 Swallowing her panicked thoughts, she hurried toward the front door. Her shoes squished cold water between her toes with every step. She stripped off her wet jacket and dropped it in the corner. The dim yellow porch light flickered and went out. 

With her heart beating faster in the darkness, Emerson scrubbed her hands over her wet face. Add cops and power outages to what else could go wrong.

Damn those negative thoughts! She inhaled deeply and shoved them out of her mind. She knocked on the door. The cop car didn’t mean anything. Uncle Wayne was expecting her. Soon she would be warm and cozy inside.

She knocked again, harder this time.

Still no answer. Maybe Uncle Wayne couldn’t hear her over Mother Nature’s cries, but he wouldn’t expect her to stay out in the rain. She tried the knob and found it unlocked.

Another deafening crack of lightning shattered the air. Something hit Emerson’s knee from the side. The momentum tore the doorknob from her hand. Her backpack fell to the ground as the thing brushed by and sent her stumbling through the doorway.

Ooof!

Strong arms caught and cradled her. She froze as earthy cologne with just a hint of citrus filled her nose. A long, whimpering whine sounded before a voice from somewhere above her head ground out, “Get back out there, dog.”

Snug against his chest, her body absorbed the rumble of the man’s words, while her mind struggled to place the oddly familiar scent of his cologne.

“Oh, let him be,” twittered a high, excited voice nearby. “He doesn’t like storms.”

Welcome to the club. It was too dark to see the woman, but she must be the live-in housekeeper Uncle Wayne had mentioned. Mrs. Beresford. This man, though. She inhaled his scent again. His embrace warmed her chilled body as he steadied her, but didn’t let go. She felt strangely safe in his arms.

“I’m sorry. The lightning startled me,” she offered into the darkness as she pushed against the man’s chest. He released her and she shivered.

“It’s not the dog’s fault.”

The man sighed, and then she heard the front door close heavily against the wind. The dog pressed against the back of her legs. Her jeans soaked up his dampness. He whimpered and her heart went out to him. I’m with you, buddy.

The strong odor of sulfur wafted through the air, followed by a welcome glow lighting the room.

“You must be Emerson.” A woman with a short, layered bob of red hair held a lantern as she came forward, reaching out a thin hand. She smiled, and her touch was gentle on Emerson’s arm. “Wayne told me all about you.”

She squeezed the woman’s hand and smiled. “You must be Mrs. Beresford.”

The older woman glowed with pleasure. “Please, call me Irene.” She gestured toward the door and her smile faded. “This is Sheriff Lomax.”

Emerson’s pulse jumped, but she pasted on a smile and turned. 

Max. His hair was darker than the last time she’d seen him, but even in the shadowy light, she knew those grayish-blue eyes, that straight nose, and that little cleft in his chin. It had been seven years, and yet she’d never forgotten the heat between their bodies as she’d pressed against him down by the creek. The tenderness of his kiss had surprised her, had made her feel when she didn’t want to feel anything. 

She’d tried to seduce her crush and failed miserably. What had she been thinking? Oh yeah. That was the problem. She hadn’t been.

“Hello, Emerson.”

 

 

AuThursday – Shelly Sharp

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a business owner with my husband, I have three adult children and one 17-year-old. I homeschooled my kids for twelve years, I have loved to write since I was a child and now I’m finding time to write books. I’ve published two on Amazon, one last April, and one this February. 

How do you make time to write? 

I have a goal of a chapter a day. I make a list of all I have to do each day and I write a page between each chore or project on my list. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

No. I write several books at a time so if I get stuck on one book I simply move to another. 

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

I have a goal to write five books, all of them a different genre. I love to read many different genres so I want to try to write a book in each genre that I enjoy. So far I’ve written non-fiction and romance. Right now I’m writing a psychological thriller, a suspense trilogy, and a satire. 

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

I self-publish on Amazon, so Indie I guess.

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

I am definitely an introvert. I think this enhances my work. I can spend a lot of time alone writing. I enjoy my own company and I find my sense of humor hilarious! I am my own best friend and my imagination is amazing which makes for good writing. The books I write are in my mind in movie form, It helps me visualize the characters I write about. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”– Helen Keller 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Publish that book! Hesitation leads to fear. As Winston Churchill said,

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal.” Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

My books are on Amazon.com, I’m also on Twitter and Facebook. 

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

As they descended the hill, the largest bull with the longest horns Dae had ever seen emerged from behind a bush on the path ahead of them.

Jack stopped and stood very still, but the bull noticed him anyway and began pawing the ground and breathing heavily.

Dae moved up to Jack and managed to get in front of him on the narrow path. Dae wanted to put Rose down, but the child was now sleeping heavily and Jack was too small to hold her. Dae shook the picnic basket at the bull and yelled, but that just seemed to make the creature more agitated and focused on them. Dae turned sideways to protect the sleeping child she carried from possible harm and ordered Jack in a quiet voice to back slowly up the hill, gesturing with the picnic basket.

This, unfortunately, seemed to incite the bull, who bellowed and shook its massive head. When the bull began pawing the ground again and lowering its frightening horns, Dae screamed, “Run Jack!” and turned to run up the hill herself, throwing the picnic basket on the ground and moving as fast as she could with one hand holding up her skirt and both arms cradling Rose…

AuThursday – Cee Perkins

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Ok, well, I’m Cee. I have a husband, three adorable kids, three giant dogs, and I write anti-heroine romances. I have a four-book series planned, the first is out now, titled “Corrupt Love: Love Is Dangerous book 1.” I started writing in high school, but like most teenagers, I needed to learn the hard way to follow what I’m good at. 

How do you make time to write? 

Making the kids nap. Haha. Mostly, I have my mom to thank for that- she moved in with us recently, and she’s been handling the kids so I can work. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Oh, yes. Corrupt Love was an idea that began way back in 2016, but when I got to Chapter 7, I ran out of steam on it and couldn’t get the story out, no matter what I did. Fortunately, I was able to fall back on an old friend and she finally was able to push me through it. 

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

Ah, romance. Who doesn’t love LOVE, really? I’ve always loved the opposites attract trope, and people who make a life together despite differences of opinion and ethics. I love when a happy ending is hard-won and the whole “smooth sailing after the Big Fight” kind of gets on my nerves, so I write (what I hope is) as close to real-life relationships as I can. People aren’t perfect, even after working through a big blow-up with their significant others, and books who portray relationships that way set a standard that I think is too much for most people wanting love. Sure, we all want the perfect wife/ girlfriend or husband/boyfriend, but the reality is, it just doesn’t exist. I don’t like books that make it look common. 

I guess it’s sort of in the same vein of model-perfection. Even Jennifer Lawrence has something about her body she doesn’t like, but society makes it so that she has to pretend it doesn’t exist. It makes it so that people who are overweight or battling acne or something like that feel like they’re not “good enough”. I can’t stand that.

Disclaimer- I love Jennifer Lawrence. I don’t think she needs to change anything, I was just using her as an example. 

Anyway, all of that to say that I love writing romance because I love love, but I write the way I do because I want to contribute to the growing idea that “perfect” doesn’t exist. 

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

Indie because I’m too impatient and scared of rejection to go traditional haha. 

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

Um… I’d say I’m an introvert with some extrovert qualities. I think it affects me in that I can stay at home, away from lots of people for periods of time, and write characters who are outgoing. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“I chose to have these children.”

Wait, that’s my meditation mantra. My favorite motivational phrase is probably

“Just keep swimming.”

No matter what happens, just keep going. The bad will pass. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Remember that at the core of being a published author is writing. You are a writer first, then a marketer, decision-maker, self-editor, etc. You’re not expected to know everything immediately, but when you’re lost as to what to do, ask questions. Find groups that have experience and listen to them. They’ve been where you are and will help you cut through a lot of the bs of publishing so that you can stay a writer. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

On my website at https://www.ceeperkinsauthor.com/ or on my Facebook page.

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

Sure. This is Dan and Corra’s first date. 

***

Corrupt Love c OTHER SITES (1) (1)Bottom line, I wanted in his pants that night. Likely to happen? Mmm, probably not. Would I work for that goal anyway? Definitely. 

So there I was, sitting across from Dan in that sports bar, trying to sit close enough to him that my boobs brushed his arm every time I leaned over to fake reading the answers on the trivia device. Not surprising, he knew the answers. Not to toot my own flute or anything, but so did I. We made a great team, and we were in First place. Woo. I could die happy with this championship belt. Insert epic eye roll here. But Dan wasn’t taking the bait. I was trying my damnedest to flirt with him, down to pretending to absentmindedly trace my fingers along his neck. God, what would it take to get him to break?

“So, Dan, tell me a little more about yourself. Do you have siblings? Speak to your parents? Have a secret D/s fantasy?” I asked, making Dan choke on his drink. “Sorry, I can be a little off the wall sometimes,” I said to make up for it. But really, I just wanted to see his reaction.

Dan wiped his mouth and gave a little smile. “Ah, no siblings. I speak with my mom regularly, especially lately since my father passed away about a week ago and she doesn’t really have anyone now. She has…a gambling problem and if I don’t check in with her, she can go days without coming up for air.”

“I’m really sorry to hear about your dad. Were you close to him?”

“No, not really. I mean, we had a…tolerable relationship, but he was an alcoholic and sometimes couldn’t function beyond drinking. They gave me the best they could, what with their addictions, and I never wanted them to think I was ungrateful, so I tried to take care of them. Oh, and no D/s tendencies.”

I felt my eyes burn, hearing Dan talk about his parents. What the fuck was wrong with me? They were addicts, but he still spoke of them like they were at least decent. I cocked my head, studying him as a thought occurred. His parents were addicts. They couldn’t have given him a stable upbringing. Is that why he was so rigid and uptight? Because he never wanted to live the life his parents did?

“Um…Corra?” Dan was staring back at me, and I could actually see the insecurity in his eyes. I snapped out of my trance. 

“Yeah, sorry. What’s the next category?” I asked, wanting to sidestep the feelings I was feeling for Dan. I didn’t do feelings like this. Especially for Dan, who was so uptight, he could probably iron clothes with his butt cheeks. He was a conquest, nothing else. Jesus Christ.

We got back to the game while munching on appetizers, trying to keep the conversation light. I’m not sure if Dan wasn’t interested in knowing anything about me or if he was too shy to ask, but he didn’t ask questions about me. Not even about what I did for a living. Regardless, I found that I was actually having fun with him. He was smart, which was not something I was used to. Normally, my hookups were dumb as rocks. It was easy to conquer the dumb ones, but with Dan being intelligent, I knew I wouldn’t be able to simply put my hand on his dick and lick my lips. Figuring out how to get around that hurdle would be just as fun as the rest of them, I think.

When the final round had played and we won the game, we high-fived and sat back in our seats, sipping our drinks. 

“Now it’s your turn. Siblings? Parents? Secret society membership?” he finally asked. 

I grinned. “Yeah, I have parents. They’re great, still married after thirty-six years and two or three affairs. I have an older brother— you may have seen him last night, with the leather vest? Tall, blond, man bun?— that happened from my mom’s first affair. And I have a younger sister who’s a nurse, and a younger brother, who’s in college for software development. We’re a close family, even my dad, and Salty. Hm. I never really thought about that before…my dad never treated Salty any differently than the rest of us.” I looked at Dan then and almost laughed at his expression. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

He shook his head and looked down at the table. “You speak about your parents’ affairs like they’re no big deal. Is…monogamy, not something that’s important to you?”

That drew me up short. I’d never had a relationship, so how could I really answer that? I mean…“Well, I suppose for them, it wasn’t a big deal because they knew they still loved one another best. Even if they had sex outside of their marriage, they always knew they’d come home to each other. As for me, well, I’ve never been in a relationship, so I can’t honestly answer that question.”

Dan’s head jerked up. “You’ve never had a boyfriend?”

I shook my head. “Normally, I’m not interested in someone beyond one night.” Wow, that made me sound awful. Also, made me kind of a liar since meeting him. “You’re actually the first man I’ve had to work for and the first man to make me think the work is worth it.” And that was the damn truth of the matter. The whole crux of my situation, right? Dan didn’t fit my normal, which made me want to pursue him. He was definitely the first to make me think that way. 

“Are you serious?” I looked at Dan and realized he wasn’t being rude or accusing. It was genuine disbelief. “Me? You see me, right? My baggage not only has compartments but also its own separate cargo ship,” he said, then clapped his hands over his mouth like he couldn’t believe he’d said that. 

“Dan…yes, I’m serious. And yes, I do see you, and I know you have issues. But,” I paused so I could say this carefully, “everyone has something about them that makes them unique, even hard to deal with sometimes. Shit, even my siblings find me hard to deal with sometimes. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I can be kind of an asshole. It’s what gives us personality. And maybe I’m crazy, but my personality thinks your personality is the bee’s knees.” God, I could be such a sap.

Dan chuckled, a slight blush across his cheeks. “Well…my personality is starting to think that your personality is the cat’s pajamas.”

So corny. So cute.

Cover Reveal – A date with an Admirer by Heidi McLaughlin & LP Dover

Title: A Date with an Admirer
Series: The Dating Series
Authors: Heidi McLaughlin & LP Dover 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 19, 2020
February is the month of love, but not for Sophie. One week before Valentine’s Day, she learns her boyfriend of two years has been cheating on her with one of his dental hygienists.


As much as she wants to erase any trace of him from her life, she has no choice but to face him and his new squeeze at a huge Valentine’s Day bash that has fast become the social event of the season. No way is she going alone. What she needs is a beautiful hunk of arm candy… STAT.

Sophie’s best friend, Ellie, proposes the perfect solution to her dilemma. Her brother Tanner, the smokin’ hot surfer, just got back into town and is more than happy to help Sophie prove she’s over her scumbag ex.

What starts as an act between Sophie and Tanner quickly swells into more. It doesn’t take long before Sophie finds herself wanting to ride more than just waves with the toned and tanned hottie. But when passion crashes over the pair, Sophie fears she’s putting her friendship with Ellie at risk.

Can Tanner convince her to give their love a chance? Or will the bonds of friendship repel Cupid’s arrow?

Tanner slowly lets me go. “So, tell me about this party. What all do you need me to do?”
My cheeks burn. There are things I’d love for him to do, but I’m not about to mention them. Closing my eyes, I sigh and open them back up. “Okay, it’s a Valentine’s Day ball, put together by a girl I knew in college. Everyone I graduated with will be there. It’s like one of the biggest events of the year.”
Tanner smirks. “Your ex will be there, right?”
I nod. “Yes. Along with the woman he cheated on me with. I’m sure everyone there knows what happened. I can’t not go.”
“Do you still have feelings for your him?” Tanner asks, furrowing his brows.
“No,” I gasp, knowing it’s the God honest truth. I stare right into Tanner’s eyes, hoping he can see it as well. “I don’t love him anymore. Here recently, I keep thinking I never did. We didn’t have that connection.”
Tanner moves closer, his eyes searching mine. “What exactly do you want from me? Do you want it to look like we’re together?”
My stomach flutters and the nerves make me shiver. “Would that be okay with you?”
His eyes focus on my lips for a few seconds before meeting my gaze again. “If you want this to be believable, we might have to practice. I don’t want to be at the party trying to kiss you, only to have you recoil or look surprised.”
Everything inside of me trembles. Just the sound of his voice and hearing those words turn me on. “That’s not going to be a problem,” I say, whispering the words.
Tanner smiles. “You sure? I’m right here if you want to practice.”
Dammit to hell, I want to kiss him more than anything, but that’s the sexual tension talking. I can’t be acting rash like that, not with Ellie’s brother. Then again, he has a point. We can’t go into the party pretending to be together and not looking like we’re together.
Taking a deep breath, I get to my feet. By the mischievous grin on Tanner’s face, it’s obvious he can tell I’m contemplating it. “Okay,” I give in, “maybe we should practice a couple of things, but not today. I think we should get to know each other a little better first. We have a week before the party.”
He agrees with a nod and stands. “Sounds good to me. I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning. We’ll spend the day together.”
I like the sound of that, maybe too much. “See you tomorrow,” I say. I walk him to the door and he opens it. He glances down at my lips again and I really just want to say fuck it and kiss him just to see what it’s like, but I totally chicken out.
Something tells me he’s not afraid though. Tanner starts out the door and looks at me over his shoulder. “Sweet dreams tonight, Soph. I’m sure I will.”
Mouth gaping, I watch him get in a black Jeep and drive away. Sweet dreams aren’t exactly what will be happening in my sleep. All that’s roaming through my mind is naughty. Groaning, I shut the door and lean against it.

 

“What the hell have I gotten myself in to?” I can still smell Tanner’s cologne and it’s intoxicating. “I’m going to be making out with my best friend’s brother. If that doesn’t spell disaster, I don’t know what does,” I mutter out loud. What’s bad is that I know I’m going to like it.
Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of The Beaumont Series, The Boys of Summer, and The Archers.
 
Originally, from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband, two daughters, and their three dogs.
 
In 2012, Heidi turned her passion for reading into a full-fledged literary career, writing over twenty novels, including the acclaimed Forever My Girl.
 
When writing isn’t occupying her time, you can find her sitting courtside at either of her daughters’ basketball games.
 
Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, has been adapted into a motion picture with LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe, and opened in theaters on January 19, 2018.

 


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Everything’s sweeter in the South has always been her mantra and she lives by it, whether it’s with her writing or in her everyday life. Maybe that’s why she’s seriously addicted to chocolate.
 
Dover has written countless novels in several different genres, including a children’s book with her daughter. Her favorite to write is romantic suspense, but she’s also found a passion in romantic comedy. She loves to make people laugh which is why you’ll never see her without a smile on her face.

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Cover Reveal – Beauty from Ashes Anthology

Title: Beauty from Ashes: Authors & Dancers Against Cancer Anthology 
Genre: Multi Genre Anthology
Release Date: July 27, 2020
Cover Donated by Golden Czermak @ Furious Fotog
Model: Caylan Hughes 
Cover Designer: Taylor Dawn at Sweet 15 Designs 
Edits and Formatting by Ms. K Edits
19 Different Authors coming together to raise money for Dancers Against Cancer
OUR MISSION
DANCERS AGAINST CANCER
Our mission is to create an alliance in the dance community that provides financial support and inspiration to dance educators, choreographers, dancers and their families who have been impacted by cancer.
Participating Authors: 
Penny Anglene
C.J. Baty
Rochelle Bradley
Chelsea Camaron
Ruth A. Casie
Aliya DalRae
AJ Downey
R.S. James
Renee Jean
Mandi Konesni
Victoria Perkins
Ember Phoenix
Vera Quinn
Jamie Russell
Miranda Shanklin
Parker Stevens
Chianti Summers
Darlene Tallman
CJ Warrant 
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