New Release – A Tortured Temptress

Title: A Tortured Temptress
Series: Knights of Purgatory Syndicate book 2
Author: E.M. Shue
Genre – Dark Mafia Romance
Release Date: January 17, 2023
Cover Design: KL Donn with Alluring Write Productions





Breathe. Push forward. Step one foot in front of the other. This has been Giselle’s mantra every day since the day she died and was reborn as someone new. In order to remain hidden, Giselle knows she can never love. She can never get attached. She must bury her pain and live a lie. But all that changes the moment she crosses Shane’s path.

War has left Shane hating life and searching for a reason to live other then duty. When he spots Giselle, he sees around the shroud she hides behind. He sees the pain and lies that mar her skin. Her darkness mirrors his own. She is meant to be his. His to love. His to heal and protect. His everything.

When Giselle’s previous life catches up to her, Shane will do anything to protect her from the horrors of her past. Even if it means he must let her go.

From award-winning author E.M. Shue comes the next installment in her dark mafia series, Knights of Purgatory Syndicate











E.M. Shue is an Alaskan award-winning romance author. She is proudly featured in K Bromberg’s Everyday Heroes World, Aurora Rose Reynolds’ Happily Ever Alpha World, KL Donn’s Mafia Made Series, Susan Stoker’s Special Forces Operation Alpha World, and the soon to be released Devil’s Handmaidens MC Collection.

She published her first book in 2017 after having a dream that later became the Beverley Award winning, Sniper’s Kiss. Since then, she has gone on to win this award three more times with different books and has published over thirty titles.

Join Surprises from E.M. to be kept up to date on all her new releases and appearances.




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Chapter Reveal – Cougar From Hell by Marika Ray

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


Daxon gently pulling my hand away from my face was what woke me up. I let out a soft groan that had absolutely nothing to do with the pain radiating from my forehead and everything to do with the beast of a man sitting right beside me, taking care of me like he was my personal nursemaid instead of the biggest irritant in my life at the moment. Sadly, he’d put a fresh shirt on at some point while I slept.

“Please tell me you haven’t been sitting there watching me sleep like some creep,” I croaked. Man, he hadn’t been kidding about the adrenaline crash.

Daxon snorted and let go of my hand, more’s the pity. “No, of course not. But you were snoring so loudly you interrupted my work. Figured I’d wake you up and make you lunch. Anything to stop that incessant racket.”

I shoved myself up to sitting, ignoring the way that made my head pulse painfully. “I don’t snore. Just admit you have a protective streak a mile wide.”

The side of Daxon’s mouth threatened to pull up into a smile. “I do not.”

While he was in such a good mood—normally he’d be crossing his arms over his massive chest and snapping at me by now—I wanted to address the thing that had been bothering me.

“Daxon, I have to clear up something.”

He stilled, his expression instantly guarded. “You hate that ridiculous G-wagon too?”

I slapped his arm, mostly just to have a reason to touch him. “No! I love that car.”

He looked on the verge of smiling again, which might have been a record for almost-smiles in a conversation with him. “I always thought you had much better taste.”

“My late husband and I had a business arrangement.”

Welp, that wasn’t how I meant to address things, just blurting it out like that.

Daxon blinked, his jaw hardening. Clearly he didn’t want to discuss this, but I had to get it all out. I couldn’t have him believing that I’d cheated on my husband. That Daxon was just a convenient male. Like I did that sort of thing all the time. Like what happened between us meant nothing to me.

“We were never in love. We married as a business deal, agreeing that it would be an open marriage. He was always discreet and respectful about it, which I appreciated, especially after Ruby was born. We became friends, building a life together, but also separately. The night I slept with you was the day after he went into hospice care and we knew it was just a matter of time before he was gone. My world was being flipped upside down and I just needed to feel something other than lost.”

Daxon sat there staring at me, his face devoid of any emotion. I could feel waves of tension pouring off his body. I wanted to explain more while also snatching back every word I’d already said. This didn’t appear to be helping things between us. By being truthful, I’d somehow made things worse.

“We didn’t sleep together.”

I…was not expecting that response. “No? I could have sworn we did.”

“We fucked, kitten. There’s a big difference,” Daxon growled. 

He stood abruptly, the movement of the couch cushions jarring my head. I swung my legs off the couch and tried to stand too. The room got fuzzy around the edges and I sagged backward.

With a bit-back curse, Daxon grabbed my arms and guided me back to sitting. He followed, settling next to me on the couch with at least a foot of space between us.

“For fuck’s sake. Take it slow. You know what, let’s take you to urgent care. You probably have a concussion.”

I waited until the black dots faded from my vision. “I don’t have a concussion. Callan already ran me through some tests for that and said I was all clear.”

Daxon frowned harder. “He could be wrong.”

I huffed. This man was infuriating. One minute he’s sweet and protective. The next he’s growling at me, demeaning that night two years ago. The same one that had stayed with me through the hard months that followed.

“I just haven’t eaten anything yet. My bagel is back in the car at the base of my driveway.”

More curses flowed as he stood again. “Stay there.”

I rolled my eyes. He sure loved barking orders. But he still didn’t get what I was trying to say. Maybe I didn’t even know what I was trying to say.

“I’ve only slept with two people in my whole life, so I’m sorry if I use the wrong terms.” Apparently I’d become a blurter. The blurtiest of blurters.

Daxon froze. Every single muscle the man possessed—and good gravy did Mother Nature gift him with so much of it—locked tight. I lifted my hand to pull him back, but left it there hovering in the air between us. For half a second I had the fanciful thought that if I touched him, he’d surely break.

He spun around finally, ignoring my hand in the air. His eyes were snapping, devouring my face. “You what?”

Oh, so now he wanted to have this conversation.

I pulled my hand back in my lap so quickly it sounded like I clapped for his ridiculously short question. “I slept with Anthony once. It was not long after we got married. We both thought we’d try it out and see if there was any chemistry there.” I grimaced. “There was not. We went back to being friends immediately, putting that little experiment behind us. And then…then there was you.”

Daxon scrubbed both his hands over his face. I wanted to reach up and smooth the dark slashes of eyebrows back down. Why did he have to look like a male model posing as a lumberjack? It was an unfair advantage when a woman was trying to think around him.

“I don’t understand any of this. You’ve had two one-night stands in your whole life? You were married, but kind of not really?”

I wobbled my head back and forth. That was about right. Crazy and crazier. That had been my life, which was why I’d sought out a small town I could sink into with Ruby. A place I could be normal for once. “Will you sit down for a second and just let me explain?”

He sighed and moved to sit back down.

“And not bark one-word questions at me?”

“I don’t do that.”

“Yes, you do.”

“No, I— You know what? I’m just going to sit here and let you talk. How about that?” Daxon leaned sideways against the armrest, about as far away from me as he could get and still be on the same piece of furniture.

“Thank you,” I said with no small measure of sarcasm. “I know our marriage wasn’t conventional, but it worked for us. I was a small-town girl with absolutely no money but a stubborn insistence that I’d make it in a big city. Anthony needed someone to go to awards shows with and business dinners. Our pairing made more sense than most Hollywood marriages. He was my friend, and I grieved when he died.”

I hadn’t meant for my voice to shake when I got to that last part, but I hadn’t been able to talk about Anthony’s death. I’d tried to be there for Ruby, but no one had been there for me.

Daxon reached across the couch cushions and grabbed my hands where they’d been twisting the blanket. His hand was warm, fully enveloping both of mine. He gave me a squeeze and held on.

“I’m sorry,” he finally said, his voice scraping across the inches that separated us. “Thank you for explaining. I, uh, have a bit of a hang-up about married women.”

I tried not to smile too hard. “I could tell. You looked ready to find your nail gun and nail my toes to the foundation.”

“Definitely wanted to nail you…”

My gaze shot over to his. “Are you flirting with me, Daxon?”

“I’m hurt it was subtle enough you had to ask.” His lips were doing that thing again. What would it take to make the man smile fully?

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

Daxon winced. “Ouch. That’s even worse. The pity excuse.”

I talked around the giggle. “No, it’s true. I’ve slept with two men, had one orgasm, and somehow mother a preteen with more attitude than me. I wouldn’t recognize flirting if the dick pic slapped me in the face.”

Daxon huffed what could have been the start of a laugh. “First of all, a dick pic is not part of flirting. And secondly, one orgasm? I’ll be forever wounded if you say that one wasn’t from me.”

Was it getting hot in here? Or maybe it was the low blood sugar combined with the blow to the head making me woozy. “It was definitely you.”

“Of course it was,” he said smugly.

I tried to pull my hands out from under his. “Jeez, ego much, Daxon?”

He held on tighter, somehow inching closer to me on the couch. “Not ego. Confidence. Maybe you need a refresher?” 

He was so close I could pick up on the soap he used and the smell of wood. That combination would forever make my stomach swoop. And not because I was hungry. “Daxon!”

He shrugged, his thumb sweeping out a rhythm against the back of my hand. I could feel that touch everywhere. I really was pathetic, finding a simple thumb touch a source of pleasure.

“Would it be so bad? At least you wouldn’t be married this time.”

I was shaking my head before I’d even catalogued all the ways that would be a very bad move to make. Without even putting sex on the table, I was overwhelmed by this man. I could barely be around him without tripping, or putting my foot in my mouth, or having to come home and seek out my trusty vibrator. One drunken encounter in a dirty bathroom had made me obsessed with him for months. Sober, intentional sex might break me.

“Absolutely not. No. Nuh-uh.”

Daxon smiled then, the kind of slow smile you feel across your skin. Like the sun rising over the mountains and heating up your whole body inch by inch. “So what you’re saying is you’ll think about it?”

“No!” I shook my head so hard it started being a heartbeat again along my cut. “That’s not at all what I’m saying!”

Good God, the man could smile. I could be ruined by that smile.

Daxon squeezed my hands one last time and let go, getting to his feet. “Let’s go make some lunch and then we need to get Ruby from school.”

I stood, taking slow deep breaths this time so I didn’t pass out. “I can get her on my own. I just need you to drop me off at my car.”

Daxon led the way to his tiny kitchen. “Can’t.”

I sighed, trying to keep myself from eyeing his backside. He had a really lovely backside. “There you go with the one-word answers again.”

He stopped at the refrigerator and pulled it open to peer inside. “Can’t take you to your car because it’s already been towed to the shop. I texted Clyde while you were sleeping, in case you were worried all I did was watch you sleep.”

Well, shit. There he went again, doing something nice. “I assume Clyde is a tow truck driver and not a car thief?”

Daxon shot me a deadpan glare. 

“In that case, thank you. Maybe you could drop me off at a car rental place so I can get a loaner?”

“Can’t.”

I threw my hands out to the side. “For fuck’s sake, Daxon!”

And that’s when I heard it.

A real live laugh from Daxon Hellman.

And it was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.






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



HOSTED BY:

AuThursday – Todd Ford

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m in my early sixties, married with two grown daughters, you know, a classic empty-nester. We have a menagerie of cats, five as of this moment, although the one that’s pawing at me as I type is aged and on twice-a-day meds to keep her from withering away even more rapidly. We’ve had dogs as well. We’re happy to no longer have dogs. They’re a lot more work.

I grew up in Southern California, Santa Barbara, and thereabouts to be exact. I have a lot of lazy beach bum and listening to “Hotel California” on the radio 27 times a day in my DNA. I’m pretty liberal as well. I studied mechanical engineering and landed my first job in the Seattle area in 1984. I was there for ten years, long enough to learn I don’t much like the reality of engineering work, to discover an affection for cinema, and to meet my wife through a personal ad.

We’ve lived in Mandan since 1994. Why Mandan? Why North Dakota? My wife grew up in Williston and her parents had retired in Mandan. I got laid off from Boeing in Seattle. The dots become pretty easy to connect from there.

How do you make time to write?

Short answer: I don’t, not enough anyway. I always think I should establish a daily routine, but I’m too easily distracted. I read a lot. I watch movies constantly. I daydream.

Long answer: I write constantly when I’m inspired. I’m a writer who first needs something to say, I guess. When inspiration strikes, my wife starts to wonder what’s up because she hardly sees me for days—and our house isn’t large. (Maybe that’s why she’s constantly dreaming about tiny homes and campers. I would have zero opportunity for escape.) Part two of the long answer is I do write almost every day. I always have something burning a hole in me to share on Facebook. You know the sorts of posts. The ones that pop up on your feed X number of years later and make you wonder about your mental health on that day long ago.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe frustration over sitting for hours and not being able to find words is a real thing. Happily, I don’t experience it often—if at all. I seldom sit down to write unless I already have words ready to go. I also tend to rehearse them during water-heater-draining showers, out loud (yes, I’m one of those talking-to-himself types). It usually takes me longer to make a cup of coffee than to move that blinking cursor halfway down my computer screen.

Also, the two types of writing I’ve specialized in are movie reviewing and memoir. I always have something to say about a movie by the time the end credits scroll. (That was a good thing. My first writing “job” was as a movie critic for the Bismarck Tribune. To earn my $8.00 a week (don’t get me started, and, yes, I’m daring to nest parenthesis within parenthesis (I’m also a computer programmer)), I would watch a movie on Sunday and have to have my review finished and emailed to the editor by Tuesday.) And I can always find stuff in my life to write about. For instance, I’ve never written about the time, I was maybe nine or ten, when I took off with a friend carrying only matches and candles into a culvert, you know, to see where it went. Exiting the other end into Narnia was our hope. Long after the light of day had vanished, wind was causing the candles to flicker, like two stupid kids our boxes full of matches were actually nearly empty, and hot wax was burning our hands, we tripped over something. We looked down in the flickering shadows to see the remains of a rattlesnake. (There. Now I have written about it.)

My story for the SEASONS IN THE DARK anthology titled “The Whites of My Eyes” is filled with true stories. My book-length memoir THS DATING THING: A MOVIE BUFF’s MEMOIR is, of course, also littered with remembrances of my sordid past.

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

Yes, I consider myself a memoirist. I fell in love with the genre while reading THIS BOY’S LIFE by Tobias Wolff, CHERRY by Mary Karr, and KING OF THE HILL by A.E. Hotchner. I’m also fond of FARGO ROCK CITY by Chuck Klosterman. I’ve since accumulated three shelves of memoirs and autobiographies. I’m pleased I wrote one of my own because it makes all of these favorite authors feel in a way like kin. What I love about the genre is how it allows you to sort through all the stuff that’s happened, make sense of it, and find meaning. You might say it’s like a form of therapy—for free. I keep starting to turn the corner toward writing fiction. I always just end up on a new sidewalk through my past.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? 

I self-published my books on KDP. The aforementioned THIS DATING THING as well as a collection of my favorite movie reviews titled SEE YOU IN THE DARK: TWO DECADES OF MY CINEPHILIA IN NORTH DAKOTA. I didn’t make much effort to try to find a traditional publisher for either book. I knew the movie review book had less than zero commercial potential. My main goal was to rescue the reviews from oblivion and have a copy for my own bookshelf. I’m fairly confident that at least three or four copies exist on other bookshelves, somewhere. I know a copy resides in Mumbai because that young reader ecstatically emailed me half a dozen times to tell me how much he enjoyed all three times he read it. I also know that at least one copy has changed hands because a friend cautiously informed me she’d spotted a copy in a box at the Bismarck Public Library used book sale. I did, briefly, have a small publisher lined up for my memoir, but that publisher kinda went out of business, a fate that I imagine awaits many small publishers. At least I can rest easy knowing it wasn’t the publishing of my book that killed them.

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

I’m an Introvert. That probably goes without saying. I read a lot, watch movies, talk to myself in the shower, and experienced 2 ½ years of COVID by seldom leaving my house—and not noticing anything being different. It helps my writing, for sure. It’s easy for me to sit alone at a computer for hours with nothing but Chopin and Liszt to keep me company while I type away. Introverts are also good at looking inward; so, I’m not sure if I found memoir or memoir found me.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”—James Joyce

You know how when you go through a draft and find mistakes scattered everywhere? I enjoy making a game out of it. I trust that Freud was at least onto something when he wrote about slips of tongue revealing unconscious truths. I don’t always fix my mistakes at first. I look for ways to use them. Some of my favorite slips of phrase have started with typos—like typing “slips” when I meant “turns.” (Okay, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I have to fix the damn thing and move on.)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you enjoy it, do it. If you don’t enjoy it, stop doing it. If you have a change of heart, start doing it again. It’s best if it feels like play. And no matter what, try not to fret over past work. In fact, I find it best to not even read my stuff after it’s published.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Nowhere, really, other than looking my two books up on Amazon.

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

I sure do. I’ll end with this passage from my memoir describing my dad:

During the following two years after arriving back home, Dad became fanatical about new trends. After my lifetime of never seeing him exercise, he lingered in the master bedroom puffing and sweating through morning push-ups, squats, and sit-ups in his underwear—and not just any underwear, but bright red, teeny tiny briefs. I’d see him on the floor sweating before taking his shower, hair on his chest and back, his pot belly, his graying and receding hairline, and how his thing barely stayed out of sight. Cheryl could walk in at any moment! Mom could walk in! It horrified me his wife might see the outline of his… thing. His efforts paid off. The pot belly melted away.

But the effect was short-lived, and he soon found a way to re-pack on the pounds. We were the inaugural family in our cul-de-sac to purchase a microwave oven. After hauling the Amana monstrosity home, attempting to shimmy it from the box before losing patience, cutting it free with a steak knife, and plugging it in, Dad demonstrated how we could bake apples in record time—a mere minute and a half.

He removed a green apple already cored and filled to overflowing with brown sugar from the fridge, ready to go on a paper plate. He lowered the heavy, spring-loaded door and placed the apple in the oven. He released the door and it closed on its own. He pushed a few buttons and the machine whirred.

“HEEERE WE GO!” he said, resembling an infomercial.

(When I recall his words, now, they sound more like “HEEERE’S JOHNNY!”)

We’d never had baked apples before, so I’m not sure if the brown, bubbly messes he created were typical, but over the next few weeks, we—well, mostly he—ate a lot of them. He invited neighbors to experience the miracle of instant baked apples. He entertained the idea of going into the instant baked apple business, but soon the fashion wore off. Until we discovered quick popcorn, the fast cup of tea, and the art of bringing leftovers back from the dead, we simply became the house on the block with the least amount of usable kitchen counter space.

As if changing channels still again, Dad switched to color television. He didn’t buy one, not exactly. He mail-ordered one through a company called Heathkit. The ads declared, “Announcing the first solid-state color TV you assemble yourself!” as if it were a prize-worthy idea.

Our “television” arrived in several boxes. To Dad’s excitement and everyone else’s dismay, the boxes contained a jumble of wires, tubes, screws, and twisted scraps of metal and plastic. The objects giving me hope and promising future enjoyment were the picture tube and the cabinet.

“Do you guys have any idea how much a twenty-five-inch color set costs?” he asked, and continued without waiting for an answer, “I’m sure you don’t so I’ll tell you. A lot.”

Every Saturday morning for weeks, I stared at the corner of the living room—a makeshift workshop—and hoped to see something capable of playing cartoons. Each time, I turned away disappointed and returned to watching Bugs and Elmer in black and white. Making matters worse, the television once “finished” never fully worked. It always had strange bands of indistinct colors running through the picture. Dad didn’t—or couldn’t—see them, so captivated was he by his accomplishment. (He never truly completed it. A few parts left over didn’t fit anywhere. He considered them “extra” parts and tossed them into a drawer.)

He talked to us less and less the closer the “television” came to being a semi-television. One day, I walked into the living room to check his progress and saw him mounting the picture tube into the cabinet. From where I stood, I saw his two legs sticking out from beneath the set. He’d been consumed by the TV. It reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the East after Dorothy dropped the house on her. I swear his socked feet curled and disappeared.

I don’t remember the moment the project was “finished,” the black-and-white set was banished, and the intruder assumed its post in the center of the living room wall. I do remember our old set sitting on the floor of my parent’s closet facing the corner. It had been placed in a time-out. A few times, after trying to watch the interloper for a while, I snuck into their room, slid the closet door open a crack, and patted my old pal atop the head.

After Dad’s labors, I don’t recall him ever once sitting and watching his Heathkit. Always “at work,” he spent his days at IBM, but he never talked about what he did there, and I never thought or cared to ask. I knew it had to do with something futuristic and electrical called “computers,” assembling them, fixing them if they broke. My one experience of him working on electronics had been our television set. I pictured his desk at work cluttered with “extra” bits and pieces of computers he’d later stash in drawers. I imagined him as not a particularly competent computer whatever he was and, given his lack of shoptalk and general grumpiness at home in the evening, not in love with his job either.

Mom was terrified when he came home early from work one day and announced he had been “let go.” His income and future retirement prospects had gone poof, but he looked oddly relieved.

He increased the intensity of his bedroom floor, semi-naked workout sessions. He washed his cherished Oldsmobile Cutlass daily. He wore shiny silk shirts unbuttoned to his navel. He dangled a gold chain around his neck and experimented with hair dyes and comb-overs. He eventually bought the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER soundtrack album and wore it out. He embodied a walking, talking, dancing cliché—the dad in the movie DAZED AND CONFUSED who thwarts his son’s attempt to throw a keg party. Richard Linklater set his marvelously researched movie in 1976 and Dad found polyester in 1977. Despite his efforts, Dad always lived a bit behind the times.

One detail did separate him from the father in DAZED AND CONFUSED. Dad never would have prevented a keg party. He would’ve joined in and smiled at all the girls. Cheryl told me, “When Dad helped me move in during my freshman year in college, he went away for a while, returned, and stocked the fridge with four cases of beer, one for me and each of my roommates.”

These behavior swings were all barely noticeable at the time, but they were accumulating in my mind. Eventually, in Dad’s increasing absence, I had to mow the lawn and it grew shaggier by the week. All the excitement about instantly hot food dissipated. The television’s picture worsened until it stopped working entirely and our small black-and-white set returned atop the otherwise useless Heathkit cabinet. We ate at the coffee table—and even in our bedrooms.

AuThursday – T.J. Fier

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Tiffany Fier, but I write under T.J. Fier. By day I’m an associate professor of set design at NDSU, and I write when I can around my hectic professorial schedule. I have several short stories in several anthologies, and my debut novel has recently been released: THE BRIGHT ONE.

What does your writing process look like?

Each project is a little different. Sometimes I put together a detailed outline primarily to get to know my characters better. Other times I pants my way through a story. Or, especially with short stories, I’ll give myself a few guiding notes and plot points and work the story around those ideas.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Depends on the project and the task at hand. Sometimes it’s incredibly energizing, and sometimes, it’s not. Sometimes the story pours out, and sometimes you need to drag it out by its ears.

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

I oscillate between contemporary fantasy, dark fantasy, paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy, and horror. There is a dark undercurrent to most of my writing. It’s just how I’m wired. However, I often try to throw in a touch of irreverence to my stories or a bit of humor to keep the mood from sinking too deep.

What are your current projects?

BisMan Wr (1)Too many! My debut novel, The Bright One was recently released by my publisher Three Little Sisters. It’s a contemporary sci-fi/fantasy adventure with a surly unicorn named Una. I have a short story in a recently-released anthology, Seasons in the Dark, from Bisman Writers Guild. I’m reviewing edits on another short story for the second Moorhead Friends Writing Group anthology. I’m sharing the sequel to The Bright One with some of my writing group AND another story of mine is in the beta-reading phase of review.

How do you relax?

I read, hang out with furry friends, and curl up on the couch with one of my favorite “comfort shows.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

You get better the more you write. Also, having a critique partner or a writing group has been vital to my progression as a writer. Surround yourself with a support system. It takes lots of time, patience, and hard work to have success with writing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Check out my linktree:

https://linktr.ee/tjfier

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

From the end of Chapter One of The Bright One:

“Holy crap.” 

The beast flicked a lion-like tail with a cascading plume of white hair. Long enough so strands brushed the floor. The hair shimmered fine as silk threads and light refracted off flaxen curls. A radiant blue eyes stared back at her with a mixture of fear and defiance.

Alexa’s head seemed to disconnect from her body, unable to process what stood before her. She refused to accept the creature and backed away, heart racing beneath her trembling fingers.

The smeared light couldn’t manipulate the shape she had seen, nor could it change the animal in anything but what stood before her.

It was a unicorn.

A real, live unicorn.

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 – Lynda Cox

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve been a writer all of my life, but it wasn’t until my mid-30s that I got serious about publication. I now have 11 books published, both traditionally and as an indie. I hold a master’s degree in English that other than being a point of pride doesn’t do much for me. When I’m not writing, I raise and show collies.
How do you make time to write?
I have a set schedule. I may not be writing during that scheduled time, but at least I’m sitting at the keyboard and playing with words.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and no. Yes, I believe outside influences can stymie the creative flow. But, there are other ways to be creative. When the words won’t come, I play around with promo images or I make beaded “bling” show leads to support my dog show addiction or I make beaded string bookmarks.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Under my real name, I write western historical romance, some of it very steamy. I grew up on a steady diet of Westerns and John Wayne movies. I love that so much of that time period seemed to be cut and dry/black and white. It wasn’t because that’s the romanticized version of the Old West, but there is a bit of comfort in holding on to that romanticized ideal. Under my pen name Linnea Fletcher, I write fantasy romance with my writing partner McKayla Jade. That stuff is VERY spicy.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? 
The most recent is under the pen name. It’s called *Monster* and it is indie published. I like the control that is open to indie authors as well as the significant lack of a time lag between acceptance by a publishing house and actually publishing said book.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?
I’m an extreme introvert. Writing under my own name, I struggle with certain “smexxy” scenes. Writing under my pen name takes away that struggle. I can be an extrovert. I can be outgoing and push the boundaries of my comfort zone.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Actually, I have two and both are believed to be attributed to Ernest Hemingway. The first one is
“The first draft is always sh*t.”
The second is
“Write drunk. Edit sober.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. I signed my first book contract when I was working on my master’s degree when I was 37. Keep writing. Keep cultivating a reader base. Don’t stop writing. The world needs your unique voice because you’re the only one who can tell your story.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

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 – Freida Kilmari

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

AuThursday – 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 – Captivated by You by Tracie Delaney

Title: Captivated by You
Series: The Kingcaid Billionaires Book 1
Author: Tracie Delaney
Genre: Billionaire Romance
Release Date: September 1, 2022
Cover Designer: CT Cover Creations
Photographer: CJC Photography
Model: Eric Taylor Guilmette



Girl walks into a bar, hooks up with the gorgeous guy in the designer suit, and has the hottest sex of her life.

Sounds like a wet dream, right?

Wrong.

When I wake up the next morning in a stunning penthouse overlooking the Seattle waterfront to a note saying “have a safe flight back to Chicago,” his message is loud and clear: One and done.

Famous last words.

Guess who’s waiting to greet me on the first day at my new job? Turns out the mega-rich Asher Kingcaid is far from one and done. But surrendering to his charms is a bad idea. When you’ve been burned once, it makes sense to stay away from the fire.

Except Asher is determined to drag me into the flames.




Tracie Delaney is a Kindle Unlimited All Star author of more than twenty contemporary romance novels which she writes from her office in the freezing cold North West of England. The office used to be a garage, but she needed somewhere quiet to write and so she stole it from her poor, long-suffering husband who is still in mourning that he’s been driven out to the shed!

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Tracie was also a bit of a tomboy back in the day and used to climb trees with her trusty Enid Blyton’s and read for hours, returning home when it was almost dark with a numb bottom and more than a few splinters!

Tracie’s books have a common theme of strong women who aren’t afraid to go after what they want and alpha males who put up a great fight (which they ultimately lose!)

At night she likes to curl up on the sofa with her two Westies, Murphy & Cooper, and binge-watch shows on Netflix. There may be wine involved.

Visit her website for contact information and more www.authortraciedelaney.com



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