AuThursday – Sue L. Hamilton

Please welcome my fellow ND author, Sue L. Hamilton to The Clog Blog.  Sue, tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Growing up on a family farm in north central ND provided a strong work ethic that lead to a 20-year corporate career, encompassing direct sales, upper management, employee training, customer service, and business development. 

For the last 15 years, I’ve redirected my passion by encouraging others through the gift of speaking and writing.  This allows others to be motivated and energized and bring them hope.

I’m an eternal optimist that loves life.  On a personal note, I love gardening, cooking, and classic cars and is especially fond of being a wife of 31 years and mother of two grown sons.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?

The structure I use on a regular basis while writing is the following:

  • Personal Story
  • Thoughts about the problem
  • Lessons learned – teaching
  • What to inspire or to move to action
  • Prayer

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yep!

Okay, I’ll say a little more.  I’ve felt like I’ve had writer’s block ever since I completed my memoir Carried by Faith in the fall of 2017.  I worked at it for seven years. In the last two of those years, I worked at it every day, even if it was for fifteen minutes.  Now I have to force myself to write a weekly blog and most recently have went to an every other week blog because I just don’t feel like writing. UGH!!

What genre do you write, and what draws you to it?

Blog posts are geared mostly to middle-aged women working on self – improvement.

Memoir Carried by Faith is a wide range audience from male or female, age 16-70 years old.

How do you come up with the idea for your book?

I was forced into writing!  While doing a lot of public speaking I use my life stories in the presentation/training and afterward people would ask me if I had a book or a website that I shared my stories in detail.  The answer was always a resounding, “No!” I continued to hear it and decided to begin writing even though I wasn’t a writer. So, the idea for my memoir was my life stories from around the age of 5 – 30years old and a tragic motorcycle accident I survived.

My current project is a self-help book with the “rest of the story” from where I left off in the memoir.  

How do you publish your book(s) and why?  (Indie, traditional or small press)

Self-publish.  I used TLC Design https://www.tlcbookdesign.com/ which allows for a la carte or packaged options.  I’ve chosen this route because of the cost and the control of timing in producing a finished product.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Start writing and keep writing!  Huh – maybe I need to take my own advice.  

Find your writing voice and style.  The only way I’ve found this is by continuing to write and seeing what I like and don’t like.  In addition, I suggest that you get used to being told you need to improve and change things that you thought were wonderful and after someone else reads it they give you feedback for improvement.  Be ready for constructive criticism because it will help you and improve the end product.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.suelhamilton.com

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

Walls as a Way of Life

Excerpts from Carried by Faith: From Substance Abuse to a Life Filled with Miracles page 40-42

Author – Sue L. Hamilton www.suelhamilton.com or www.carriedbyfaith.com

The high, thick walls of protection became my life; they bordered my heart, so no one could enter.  Others didn’t understand what I was living in, this living Hell.  The walls hid the pain and unspeakable things associated with the hard years of alcohol and drug abuse.  

I believed no one would understand, so it was easier to keep everyone away with high, cold walls of silence and no emotion.  No form of light, goodness, or happiness was allowed in. Alcohol and drugs filled the silence.

It was nice and quiet in the walls of protection, I didn’t have to explain myself, but then again, I couldn’t explain myself.  The silence was best, and that is why I would use the “liquid forgetter,” alcohol and drugs. I craved the effect they gave me, and they kept my level of chaotic thinking at bay.  They did for me what I could not do for myself.

I ran after the effect and did whatever I needed to get my supply.  The concoctions of alcohol and drugs along with the need to keep my supply met took me to some very dark places.  It can be explained like this – wickedness danced in the darkness of night, moving in and out of its hiding places and drunkenness was the painful bondage that took over my mind and body.  When I would awaken from its stupor, I would wonder, “Where am I?” “What happened to me?” “What have I done?”

“What was to become of my miserable life?” “Why was I here anyway?”

I looked for a way to escape my life, even a slit to my wrist one dark night would not stop the pain.  I had no answers. It felt like a knife stabbing in my heart. The pain would dull occasionally, but I always felt its continual throb, reminding me of my bondage.

I was constantly trying to get back to the original first feeling of catching a “buzz” or “getting high”.  It would not come back.

Nights turned into weeks, then months, and years of crying and sobbing into my pillow.  The pillow stopped the loud wail coming from deep within my soul. It silenced the fear and absorbed the tears that I couldn’t vocalize.  

No words would ever reach my lips to explain my hopelessness.  I continued to repeat in my head, “Why God…why am I here?”  

I didn’t have any answers, so I continue to hide behind my protective walls.

 

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Saturday Spotlight – Destroying Dominic by Ginger Ring

Destroying Dominic BannerTitle: Destroying Dominic

Series: Genoa Mafia Series Book 3

Author: Ginger Ring

Genre: Mafia Lite, Romantic Suspense

Release Date: October 23, 2018

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42295827-destroying-dominic

 

teaser Dom 2Blurb:

Dominic

I don’t dance.

I don’t date.

I don’t fall in love.

But there’s one woman who does intrigue me—Stephanie Barclay, the best friend of my boss’s wife. The same boss who wants Stephanie dead.

What’s the use? I make people disappear for the mob. What self-respecting woman would want to spend her life with a cleaner? That ship sailed a long time ago. Besides, relationships make you weak. But what if she is already a target?

Stephanie

I plan weddings.

I make people’s dreams come true.

I write stories about the love of a lifetime, but where’s my happily-ever-after and white dress?

My past is a nightmare, a death sentence for anyone who discovers it. No one would be able to see beyond my background—except Dominic Scarlatti, the man who just a couple months ago killed and buried a monster for me.

He may be a nightmare to others, but I’m determined to make him my hero. Even if it kills me.

Buy Links: Kindle Unlimited

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Cwamm6

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2CvEwG9

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2CwanGG

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2CvFnXo

Early review quotes:

DOMINIC…Damaged. Sexy. Badass. Protective. Loyal. A loner. Quiet. Loved to read. He was a solid book boyfriend material.” – Early Reviewer

“Mafia romance hot sexy men, women who stand up for them and lots of action what more can you ask for.” – Early Reviewer   

“Love Dom!!!” – Early Reviewer

teaser Dom 1

Author Bio:

Ginger Ring is an award-winning author with a weakness for cheese, dark chocolate, and the Green Bay Packers. She loves reading, watching great movies, and has a quirky sense of humor. Publishing a book has been a lifelong dream of hers and she is excited to share her romantic stories with you. Her heroines are classy, sassy and in search of love and adventure. When Ginger isn’t tracking down old gangster haunts or stopping at historical landmarks, you can find her on the backwaters of the Mississippi River fishing with her husband.

Social Media Links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GingerRings

Website: https://gingerring.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7325608.Ginger_Ring

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Gingernovel/boards/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2AVyNFi

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00006]Excerpt:

 “Stop!” Roman shouted as they pulled Dom to the side and Maksim slowly got off the floor. Blood streamed from his nose and he wiped it away with the back of his hand.

 “I see you are not going to cooperate as I hoped. So I will make you a deal.” Maksim had everyone’s attention as he stood and placed a hand on Ivan’s shoulder. “You can’t buy the contact but you can win it. Are you a gambling man, Caponelli?”

 “I’m listening.” Roman leaned against his desk. It killed Dominic to remain quiet as they talked about Stephanie’s future as if she were a horse they were trading.

 “You have to fight for her. A fight to the death.” He pointed around the room. “Any takers?”

 “I’ll fight for her.” Dominic shook off the hands of those holding him but they remained by his side.

 “I thought you would.” Maksim had a sick smile on his face. “You survive, you keep the girl. You die, I get Stassi, Bravikova’s shipping contracts, and a piece of the action here.”

 Dom’s heart sank. There was no way Roman would risk a part of his business. The business his father had spent years building. Yet Roman walked over and stood in front of him.

 “Are you sure? This is to the death. Are you willing to die for her?”

 “Yes. Anything to keep her from this monster,” Dominic declared, and then even Ivan agreed to the terms.

 “Remember, you have to survive,” Maksim reminded him. “You die and she’s mine to do whatever I want with. Maybe I will have her rejoin her friends. If they’re still alive.”

 “I will win and then I’ll kill you,” Dominic promised.

 

AuThursday with Madison Micheal

D&D Blog Tour Banner 2

madison michael author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I know that readers want to know about authors, but this is the hardest question I answer. While I can go on for hours about my books and my characters, talking about myself is more of a challenge. I could give you a resume but all you really need to know is that I spent a long time in corporate America before I wised up, retired and started writing. Why? Because I can’t not write. I wake up in the morning with stories jumping around in my brain, aching to get on a page.

I write romance because life is challenging, no matter your situation. Escape and a happy ending can make all of our lives that little bit easier. When I am not writing, or more accurately when I am done writing for the day,  I love to binge TV shows – I am not one for delayed gratification. I love to eat regional foods like pizza, hot dogs and Italian beef, steaks, and ribs – all that Chicago’s chefs have to offer. Unfortunately, I hate to exercise, so this desire to eat must be tempered.

Right now I am without feline companionship, a first for me in 18 years, but a situation I hope to remedy this winter. I like nothing more than having a cat or two (or three) curled beside me as I write. They are fierce critics.

One more thing…I love hearing from my fans – they send ideas, feedback, and suggestions, or they ask for more of a certain character. All input is welcome.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I try to highlight the flow of the main action and events by laying out chapters and what will happen in each. This assures me that my books won’t sag in the middle, or run way too long – I do love to write and it can get out of control. Then I revise the outline a dozen times as I actually begin writing. My characters drive the story and the better I get to know them and their motivations, the further I end up straying from my original outline.


Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Not writer’s block per se, but I do get burned out to the point where I just cannot look at the blank page anymore. I know what I want to write, I have stories outlined just waiting to get onto the page, but I can’t find the energy to actually write. Or I write and hate everything I put to paper. When that happens I just have to give myself some serious self-love – good food, great friends, sleep and even exercise. Then I can get back to work.

What genre do you write? What draws you to this genre?

I write erotic romance/contemporary romance – more romance than erotica but definitely steamy and always with wealthy characters. I just love the fantasy of living in that world. I recently saw the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” and the over the top wealth was so much fun. I loved peeking into that level of luxury. That is the object of my writing as well but perhaps tempered a bit.

Why erotic romance? My characters are worldly and in their 30’s. It would be silly to think they don’t have sex. A wonderfully romantic and very hot sex scene helps bond the characters and move their relationship forward. People relate to each other differently after a first kiss, a romp in bed, a sharing of true intimacy. Besides, its fun to write a steamy scene and get a great response from readers.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

For “Desire & Dessert” two work-related actions conflated. I work part-time at a local B&B and thought it would make a great setting for a novel. And I signed on to do a collection with a billionaire theme. The real fun came from sharing my idea with a true friend who suggested my heroine be the billionaire – a nice twist from the usual.

How are you publishing this book and why? (Indie, traditional or small press) 

I prefer to publish my own books, at least for now. I don’t want to be hampered by word count requirements or specific romantic trope directives. I love the freedom of setting my own deadlines too, although I am as demanding as any publisher might be.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read and write – a lot. Finish what you start. Resist the urge to rewrite and rewrite before you finish. Millions of people say they want to be authors, but the ones who make it are the ones who finish.

And get a critique group. They will make you better.


Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Social Links:

Website: madisonmichael.net

Madison’s Blog: madisonmichael.net/category/maddys-blog

Maddy’s Romance Madness: madisonmichael.net/category/mrm/

Maddy’s Tours and Treats: madisonmichael.net/category/tours-and-treats/

Facebook: facebook.com/madisonmichaelromance

Twitter: twitter.com/madisonmichael_

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/Madison-Michael/e/B01EVUGG6G/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

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

Excerpt from Desire & Dessert:

DesireDessert

“Inside or out?”

The maître’d and Grant were both looking at Stevie expectantly. Usually assertive, she demurred to Grant. “You know the place better; you choose.”

“If you would like the patio, Dr. Harris,” the host suggested in a heavily accented voice, “I have a lovely corner table.”

The couple acquiesced and were seated in the back corner of the enclosed patio. The music was fainter, but still audible accompanied by the tinkling sound of a fountain. Stevie glanced across the patio. There were about eight tables outdoors, all for parties of two. High bushes of hibiscus and roses bursting with blooms surrounded the patio. The fragrance was wonderful, the table incredibly intimate.

“You like it?” Grant asked with a hint of uncertainty.

“I love it.”

“Wait until you taste the food,” he promised, his confidence restored.

They hid behind tall menus, selecting dishes to share along with a carafe of sangria. After giving their order to the server they were finally alone.

“It’s beautiful here,” Stevie breathed. “Thank you for suggesting it.”

“Now that I finally have you alone,” Grant teased only to be interrupted by the server arriving to pour their drinks. “So much for my sinister plans.”

“Do you have sinister plans?” Stevie queried in a low, husky voice.

“Do you want me to?”

“No answering a question with a question,” Stevie responded. She watched conflicting emotions waver across Grant’s face and waited quietly. She would not give him an out. She had learned from business that silence was a powerful tool.

“Yes, in fact, Stevie. I have very sinister plans.”

The words were out, electric between them like a live thing. Stevie sucked in a breath, surprised by how quickly and matter of factly Grant had stated his desires. She reached her foot forward under the table closing the few inches that separated them. She rubbed her foot slowly up his leg, allowing her movements to acknowledge what she failed to say with her lips.

“Have I shocked you?”

“I guess that depends on just how sinister you can be. Mostly you have pleased me,” Stevie admitted. No shy wallflower, she gave Grant a bold smile and placed her hand in his. “I’m looking forward to finding out.”

Grant pressed a soft kiss on the back of her hand then released her as course after course of Latin-inspired small plates arrived. For the next hour, they spoke of the food, the atmosphere, the music, everything but each other and what lay ahead. After assuring that he ordered something to satisfy Stevie’s sweet tooth, Grant requested the check. When it arrived, Grant automatically reached for it and Stevie reveled in the moment. Too often she was the one who paid for the date. Not tonight.

“We could go dancing?” Grant asked. “Perhaps a salsa club in keeping with our theme?” Stevie believed he was just making a polite offer but couldn’t quite tell.

“Are you a good dancer?”

“Not on a dance floor.” Grant offered her a wicked smile and reached to help her from the chair. “But in a bedroom…”

“Braggart.”

“Am I?”

“Shall we find out?”

Desire & Dessert

B&B Billionaire Romance Series (Book 1)

By Madison Michael

Madison has put together some really awesome Prize Packages to giveaway during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may enter every day for your chance to win one of the prize packages. You may find the tour locations here.

Can they forge a business merger and a personal one too?

Spoiled Stevie Jurran expects smooth sailing when she arrives at Lakeside Lodge to implement her plan to merge it into the luxury Bijoux Hotel chain. Completing this simple task will move her up the corporate ladder, increase her value to her father’s multi-billion dollar business and settle the score with her cheating ex-fiancé. Just one insignificant B&B stands between her and success –one B&B and its provoking and intriguing manager.

Secretive and sexy Grant Harris is not your typical innkeeper. Digging in his heels, he tries to preserve the aesthetic of Lakeside Lodge by resisting every change Stevie implements. Retreating from his life in the B&B’s surroundings, Grant quickly learns there’s no way to combat his growing desire for the infuriating heiress. Can he concede to her demands and contend with his past to win this alluring woman?

The B&B should be a perfect fit for the hotel chain. Stevie and Grant should be a perfect fit as well, but will they set aside their pasts and egos to complete a merger of a different kind?

Will love seal their deal?

Amazon Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2NJ30xy

Reviews by Crystal button

AuThursday – Anthony Thomas

Breachers Blog Banner

Please help me welcome Anthony Thomas to the Clog Blog.  We are happy he made this stop on his Breacher’s Blog Tour! Anthony, tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Who would’ve thought an average student with below average grades in high school English would go on to write, and even publish, a book? My teacher was pretty shocked too. Academically, I wasn’t all the way there. Creatively, however, this is where I thrived. I can’t recall a time I wasn’t involved in something of the artistic nature. Drawing my own comic books. Making animation videos with a friend. Creating music with a band. No, I won’t tell you the name because there is still music on myspace. NICE TRY! After many failed attempts at producing more than a single page of writing, I forced myself in the computer chair and didn’t stop typing until I had a chapter. Then another and another. You know what a runner’s high is? Well, this was my drug, and I still can’t get enough.

How do you make time to write?

I usually set a time to write, but if the itch hits me sooner, I’ll just jump right in.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

It’d be hard to find a writer who hasn’t. Sometimes I notice my words just don’t flow as they normally do, and at that point, I know I need to take some time away. Hours. Days. Sometimes weeks.

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

Too many to count. Like most authors, rejection is just a stripe you have to earn, and hell, I’ve earned a lot. You have to take it in stride. Don’t let one opinion make you lose motivation.  

Can you tell us your story of getting, “The call”?

No call for me. The offer I received through Fiery Seas Publishing was via email, and that was instantly forwarded to my critique partner so we could rejoice together.

What genre are your books?

I write a variety. Fantasy, Sci-fi, and now my work in progress is a Thriller. The way I see it, I love almost every genre, so why would I limit myself to one? I plan on writing them all!

What draws you to this genre?

Writing a genre without rules is always enticing. Sure, a historical fiction is great, but are there powers? Blasters? Jedi? I think not. Sci-fi is fun. And what better escape is there than pretending you’re the protagonist wielding a lightsaber or shooting fire from your palms?

Do you have any advice for Aspiring Writers?

Don’t write what is popular, or what may get you a contract. Trends are exactly that. Trends. By the time you finish a YA Fantasy because that genre is “IN” right now, the tides will have shifted to something else. Write what YOU want to write. The rest will follow.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m usually pretty active on Twitter and Instagram, also my website- Anthonythomasbooks.com

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

“What, Wilson?”

“I have his address. Where are you?”

“Ninth and Eastman.” I exhale the last drag, drop the burning filter to the sidewalk, and snuff out the butt with my heel.

His keyboard swipes cut through the phone. “Okay. Take the next bus and get off on Centennial.”

I glance at the bus stop on the corner. It’s filled with trash, and I don’t mean the homeless people and prostitutes. As I walk over, I’m thrown to the leopard-print wolves. The skirts are so short, I get front row tickets to a show I wish I hadn’t gone to.

“Hey, cutie,” says a blonde with far too much makeup, and a distinct stagger in her heels. “For you, I can go half price.”

“Hi, there, darlin’,” I respond with a southern tick, and sling my arm over her shoulder. The cash stuffed in her bra is poking out, crumpled ones and fives ripe for the picking. “Do you know where the nearest gas station is?”

She lifts a shaky hand and points down the street, her head bobbing all over the place. She’s either drunk, high, or both. Perfect. I tug the bills at the corner and slip them in my sleeve. She doesn’t even notice the money sliding. Could be drugs, or that the numbness has yet to wear off on her newly acquired bust.

“Thanks, ladies.” I rub a hand on the small of her back and widen my grin. “Sorry. Can’t play tonight.”

They all groan in unison, like the wailing of a ghost.

Blondie adjusts her undersized bra, pauses, and gropes her chest. She digs inside, searching for the twenty hard-earned on her knees in an alley. Her chalky white face twists. “Hey, this asshole stole my money.”

I click my tongue on the roof of my mouth and wink. “Thanks again.” Press-on nails reach out to snatch my jacket, but I evade her clutches and rush down the sidewalk, a scuffle of heels tapping after me.

“Tony, that guy has my money!” she screams.

Crisp, almost icy wind forces back my hood, and I laugh with the occasional look over my shoulder. There’s no way they could stop me, even if they were sober. A massive shadow steps out from the alleyway ahead, pear-shaped, and wide enough to block off the entire sidewalk. He pulls a butterfly knife from his pocket, flips it in his hand until the blade is exposed, and takes pavement-shuddering steps toward me.

I lift my fists and shield my face. He thrusts the knife forward, narrowly missing my chest. It isn’t difficult to stop someone more than twice your size; everyone has a weakness to exploit. A swift jab to the throat and a well-placed knee to the junk drop him to the cement with ease. He clutches his neck and chokes while his body topples over.

“See ya later, Tony.” I dash away and sift through the bills in my hand. “Twenty-six dollars? Jesus, what has happened to this economy?” I stuff the cash in my pocket and pull out my headset. “Wilson? Wilson! Put your dick away and find me a different route.”

“Wilson’s not here right now,” he replies. “Please go fuck yourself and try again later.”

“I’m at Sixth and Eastman. Where the hell do I go now?”

“I told you to get on the bus. Wait, why are you running? Did you steal from a hooker again?”

Saturday Spotlight -Ragis byDonna Migglaccio

RAGIS BLOG BANNERRagis by Donna Migliaccio

August 28, 2018

Fantasy

The Gemeta Stone Book 4

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

His sister Melissa has defied him. His friend Olaf has betrayed him. The Wichelord Daazna’s ghostly laughter mocks him when he’s awake and robs him of his sleep at night. Even the protective powers of his legendary Stone are turning against him.

And now his companions, his ship and its precious cargo have been taken hostage. Kristan must give chase, in an unseaworthy vessel manned by an angry centaur crew. Ahead lie unfriendly waters, an ominous destination and a confrontation Kristan dreads.

In his despair, Kristan longs for the one person he has always trusted: his beloved Heather. But she’s far away, about to step into a trap that will endanger not just her command, but Kristan’s life.

 BUY LINKS:

FIERY SEAS BOKSTORE: https://www.fieryseaspublishing.com/product-page/ragis

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FXCLY9G/  

BARNES & NOBLE:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1129174486?ean=2940161556092  

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/gr/en/ebook/ragis

Dl2gxMOU0AA-5f0RAGIS by Donna Migliaccio

Excerpt from Chapter Four

Bucking furiously, the Sigurd-bat opened its mouth, showing an uneven row of sharp teeth. With a sudden hiss, the spell collapsed, and Sigurd finally materialized, flat on his back, arms and legs waving, purple-faced with rage. Nolle’s eyes rolled up into her head; she tottered backward and fell. Like an angry bear, Sigurd lunged on hands and knees toward her. Serle cried out and tried to pull Nolle out of reach as Desta slashed at Sigurd with the knife, catching the sleeve of the Northman’s tunic. Sigurd slammed one elbow into the boy’s midriff, sending him flying, then grabbed Nolle by the ankle. Shouldering through the watching men, Olaf grasped his brother’s arm, but Sigurd twisted free, and dragged Nolle from Serle’s grasp. With a shrill cry that spiraled into a yowling screech, she abruptly shifted into her cat-form and raked one forepaw across Sigurd’s nose. In a blur of claws and fur, she fled behind Kristan. Serle joined her there as Sigurd roared and advanced, but Desta charged at the Northman yet again. Kristan grabbed the boy by the collar, slung him in the bow with Serle and Nolle, and threw out both arms protectively. “Don’t hurt them!” he cried. “I’ll do whatever you want, only don’t hurt my children!”

Sigurd loomed over him, breathing hard, blood dripping from the claw marks scoring his nose. “Your children?” he snarled. “Your little band of freaks? I ought to knock you down and drown all three.”

Kristan did not move. He was suddenly, strangely calm. “I’ll do what you want. I’ll try to summon the power of the Stone. But touch any one of these children and I won’t be responsible for what happens afterward. I swear it.”

Sigurd loomed over him, breathing hard, blood dripping from the claw marks scoring his nose. “Your children?” he snarled. “Your little band of freaks? I ought to knock you down and drown all three.”

Kristan did not move. He was suddenly, strangely calm. “I’ll do what you want. I’ll try to summon the power of the Stone. But touch any one of these children and I won’t be responsible for what happens afterward. I swear it.”

Sigurd feinted toward Nolle’s cat-form. She hissed, ran up the serpent-like prow, and stood at its end, back arched, fur standing out all along her spine. Desta let out a hiss of his own and brandished his knife, but Kristan quelled him with a glance. Serle stayed where he was, chin trembling.

Bróðir, leave them alone,” Olaf said gently. “If the StoneKing says he’ll try to help, he will.”

“He’d better,” Sigurd said. He backed up a few steps and waved one hand dismissively, but his fingers shook, and his face was pallid and sweating.

Kristan turned toward the prow. Nolle’s shift form still perched there, shivering. Serle cowered by the hull, white to the lips. Desta still clutched his knife and watched the Northmen with a distrustful eye. “Desta, put your knife away and stand aside,” Kristan said. “Nolle, come down from there. Go wait with Serle. Serle, calm her down, please. Desta, stay with them.”

“Yes, my lord,” Desta said.

“Yes, my lord,” Serle whispered.

Nolle slipped past Kristan, and he had just a glimpse of her wild eyes within the shift form. She slunk to Serle, who crouched and put his arms around her. Desta stood over the two, one hand on the hilt of his knife, the other nursing his side where Sigurd had struck him.

“Now be still,” Kristan told the three of them. “This will be over soon.”

 

About the Author:

Donna MDonna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.

She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.

Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.

Social Media: 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

 

AuThursday – McKenna Dean

GOAC BannerPlease welcome, McKenna Dean to the Clog Blog.   

SignatureLogo_300x218McKenna, please tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’ve done a number of different jobs over the years: worked as a lab tech, in a vet clinic, as a dog trainer, an actress, a singer. I’ve always walked a fine line between my creative/artistic side and my scientific one. When I graduated from high school, I thought I had to choose—and so I gave up writing and focused on my career. Many years later, I discovered online fanfiction archives and I was obsessed! When I began writing again, it was like opening a floodgate. The encouragement I received from fandom allowed me to submit my first story for publication, but no one was more surprised than I when it was accepted!

Since then, I’ve written over 20 stories, but in so many different genres I didn’t have a recognizable brand. In 2017, I made the decision to re-brand myself and concentrate on just paranormal romance.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I’m a die-hard panster—working from just the barest outline, a faint idea of where I want to go and trotting off in that direction. I love it when my stories surprise me! But the longer I do this, the more I realize I’d be more productive with more outlining. I’m trying to find that balance between outlining enough that it streamlines the process without becoming a story killer by taking all the spontaneity out of the writing.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

I have. Once when I attempted NaNoWriMo—it was a kind of pressure and writing style all wrong for me. But also when I’m too tired and emotionally drained to write. Sometimes a story stalls for weeks. I remind myself of Louis L’Amour’s quote to “Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

What genre do you write?

My focus these days in on paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

What draws you to this genre?

I love the world-building and the way the genre lends itself to political and social commentary. I love the magic of the supernatural, and the power of shifters.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I love snowed-in stories, so I wanted to set up a situation in which my main characters were pitted against each other but wound up having to work together for their survival. An inheritance with conditions seemed to be the ideal way to bring a fangirl with a secret and a shifter whose inner wolf is in hiding together. Add in a snowstorm, a stray dog, and a series of increasingly dangerous accidents, and you have Ghost of a Chance.

How are you publishing this book and why? (Indie, traditional or small press)?

I’ve both worked with a small press and done indie publishing before, and they both have their pros and cons. Publishers typically provide quality covers and reputable editing, and these are major perks when you are looking at paying for those services yourself. But working with a press means working on their schedule—meeting deadlines and so forth. It can take up to a year from the time you submit a story to seeing it published and getting royalties—which means you really need to be producing a new work once per quarter at the minimum.

As an indie author, I’m my only client. Yes, I have to pay for cover art and editing, but I can set my own price and launch dates. The amount of promotion is nearly the same in either case, though a well-known press can give you a leg up there too. Honestly, I like doing both. Sometimes it’s nice to turn over the reins to someone else. Sometimes you want to have total control. With the demands of my current job, indie publishing seems to be a better fit, but I intend to offer my next book to a press.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Writing is a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Read the kinds of books you want to write. Read good books. Bad books only teach you to imitate them. Don’t read your reviews. I know, no one listens to that one, but if you do read your reviews, try not to let the bad ones derail your process. Keep a folder of all your good reviews—you’ll need them when you are promoting the next book anyway—but more importantly, read those glowing comments when you need encouragement. Read the reviews of your favorite stories too. There’s comfort in realizing there are people who hate a story you know is brilliant.

Follow Chuck Wendig’s blog—he has some terrific things to say about writing. Read about improving your craft, but above all, take what you read with a grain of salt. If advice doesn’t gel with you, no big deal. Do what works for you and ignore the rest.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

The easiest way to find me is to go to my website. There are links to my social media on almost every page, but the most complete line up (including Instagram and Book Bub, as well as my newsletter) is on my blog page: http://mckennadeanromance.com/blog

As a matter of fact, you can just subscribe to my blog there, and you’ll get all the latest news when I post it.

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

ghostofachance_finalThe light faded as they approached the dip in the drive leading down to the bridge crossing the creek. Long shadows were cast from the tree line onto the drive, and as they rode into the shade, the temperature dropped as though they’d walked into a freezer. Casey pulled Indy up as he inspected the tracks. He pointed at a trail going off to one side. “Someone made a break for it here. Didn’t want to cross the bridge, most likely.”

He urged Indy in that direction, following the tracks splitting off into the woods. Indy obliged, trudging through the deeper slow, icicles gathering on his feathered legs.

The other tracks crossed the bridge. That way led to the road. The thought of Athena or the other mares potentially ending up in traffic turned Sarah’s stomach. The horses aside, some driver could get killed if they rounded a corner and found the mares in their path.

Sarah closed her legs around King’s sides and urged him across the bridge. He didn’t want to leave Indy and balked at crossing the wooden structure. The bulk of the missing horses had gone that way, however, and Sarah thumped her heels against the reluctant gelding to follow their trail.

Ghost exploded out of the brush to block her path, barking furiously. The Shepherd favored one foreleg, and as Sarah watched, drops of blood flecked the snow around the dog.

King rocked back on his haunches, preparatory for a spin for home. Sarah pulled up on the reins and closed her legs around the spooked gelding. Behind her, she heard Indy crash through the vegetation. Casey must have turned him around.

“Go home,” she shouted at Ghost. “Bad dog!”

She clapped her calves against King’s flanks and the

gelding sprang forward. Ghost scooted to one side as the horse charged, flinging snow behind him in his wake. Sarah leaned across King’s neck as he galloped across the bridge, belatedly considering the slickness of the wooden planks. Too late now. Once they were across, she’d pull up and wait for Casey.

Halfway across the bridge, a terrible shriek rent the air. Wood splintered and failed. Boards separated under the weight of horse and rider and came apart. King screamed as the footing beneath him gave way, and he plunged into the icy stream below, carrying Sarah with him.

AuThursday Madison Micheal

Besotted MM Banner

madison michael author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Oh my, this may be the question I least enjoy answering. I am a retired software manager from corporate America who always loved romance as an escape from life’s realities. I grew up on romantic musicals like “My Fair Lady” and “Gigi” and so, when I had time on my hands after years working 60 hour weeks, it felt natural to write romance. I had no expectations but the writing bug bit me and I am hooked.

I still love to read romance. I love to travel.  I love the movies and exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods and restaurants. I am close with my family and friends who give me loving support and edit my books. And I am almost always surrounded by cats, junk food, and 24-hour cable news.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I do a broad brush outline to get a novel started, what Point of View I will use per chapter, how the plot will unfold chapter to chapter. I never stick to it. My characters take over about ¼ into the book and everything starts to change.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is just the worst! I had it for about three months last winter and thought I would never get back on track. I did a lot of research for my books during that time and wrote blog posts, but I just could not get my novel going. Finally, I came across an article that mentioned that writer’s block was really the brain saying it didn’t like the project. It rang true for me, so I did a deep dive on my characters, got to know them better and poof – the block was gone.

What genre do you write?

Mostly I write contemporary romance because I like dealing with the issues facing couples today – careers, families, and friends that pull couples in so many directions. Also, I enjoy the steamy aspects of a contemporary romance. But, I have written a time travel novel, Our Love is Here to Stay, and I had a wonderful opportunity to research Chicago in the 1950’s and keep my characters true to the period. I would love to do that again, or even try writing a Regency Romance. I love the manners and the clothes.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Besotted.jpgBesotted is the fourth novel in a series about four friends so the idea was really coming to me as I wrote the prior three books in the series. I loved creating four separate stories yet overlapping the characters so that readers could really get to know them. I am more about the characters when I write than the plot and I expect that the characters from the Beguiling Bachelor series will continue to make appearances in future books as well.

How are you publishing this book and why? (Indie, traditional or small press)

(Indie) I have more control over my story this way – the length, the plot lines, cover art, every aspect. I have a passion for marketing and interaction with my fans that equals my love of writing. I want to stay close to the novel and the readers.

All of my books to date have been published by me. I love being an indie publisher.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t be too hard on yourself. I actually mentor a few aspiring writers and I warn them to keep moving forward and avoid falling into the rewrite pitfalls until they finish a full draft. Its great to polish until you are happy, but not until you actually have a full work to publish. Also, start small if you are unsure. Write short stories, write novellas so you can put yourself out there and get reader feedback, and momentum. Talk to other authors, they will be encouraging. You, on the other hand, will be your harshest critic.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.madisonmichael.net or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MadisonMichaelRomance

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

Thanks for asking, I would love to.

Besotted Teaser 5.2