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

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AuThursday – Mary Martinez

URBIMG Banner2

MM author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I live in Utah, just west of Salt Lake City. I love to travel, go to concerts, read and of course hang out with family. I haven’t always loved sports, they were okay but now I love sports, most. We have season tickets to the University of Utah Football and Gymnastics. We love baseball and whenever we get a chance we go to a Yankees game.

I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I started one when my kids were little, that didn’t go over well. Before the internet. Yes, I’m old. LOL. But when my kids started moving out I decided it was time. That was in the early 2000’s. I’ve learned a LOT the hard way.

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

I just write a bit of backstory to get the feel of the characters, do an outline of characters and then write by the seat of my pants. I add things to my backstory doc as I go.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Not often, it’s usually just problems with a scene so I can move forward. I take a walk or clean to clear my head when that happens.

What genre do you write?

I write more than one. I started with Romantic Suspense, I’ve added Romance, Women’s fiction, one middle grade I wrote with my three oldest grandsons and currently I’m writing a fantasy complete with Wizards, Witches, faeries, Deamhans, Warriors, and Dragons.

How did you come up with the ideas for your books?

WatchingJenny_MaryMartinez300I do not know. The ideas pop into my head at weird times. I was driving to work when Alanis Morissette came on the radio and for some reason, the idea of a stalker came to mind and the idea for Watching Jenny was born.

ChickMagnetFinal300

 

 

My son used to take his nephew to the grocery store with him to pick up girls, hence my idea for Chick Magnet.

RomanceAndMisconceptionsFinal300I am not sure of the others. With Romance and Misconceptions it started out as a romantic suspense but then I liked the twin that was supposed to die so much I turned it into a romantic comedy.

 

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Join a book club of readers, not other authors. You’ll read books you’d never have picked up on your own. You’ll have firsthand experience of what a reader likes and dislikes about how authors write. How they react to certain situations. I have found it very valuable. Especially since there is always wine.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website: www.marymartinez.comwww.marymartinez.com

Mary’s Garden Blog: http://marysbooksblogger.blogspot.com/

The After Work Cook Blog: http://theafterworkcook.blogspot.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marylmartinez

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryMartinez/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTww3B2ofa11UPFrSe0WGAg

Pinterest (my fav) https://www.pinterest.com/marylmartinez3/

Mary’s Book Group News: http://www.marymartinez.com/marys-book-group-news.html

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

Excerpt from Classic Murder: Mr. Romance

ClassicMurderMrRomanceMaryMartinez300“Would you like to come up for a drink?” Katie asked and then hiccupped loudly. Placing a hand over her mouth, she looked around. Adam watched her cheeks pinken with embarrassment. Then another giggle escaped. God, she’s cute.

“Come on, Katie. Let’s go to your apartment and get you ready for bed.”

Katie straightened up and looked up at Adam. Adam watched as she started to lean to the side, he hurried to place a steadying handout, but before he could, she started to teeter the other way. He finally grabbed her by the shoulders. Walking her backwards until they reached the side of the building, he propped her up against the brick. He leaned down and took the ridiculously high-heeled shoes off her feet, one at a time. Shoes in hand, he stood up.

“Okay, I think you can walk to your apartment. Come on.”

Adam was glad they didn’t have to take the stairs. He would have had to pick her up and carry her. Not that it wasn’t a tempting idea, but he was having a hard enough time controlling himself without the added temptation. At her apartment, he kept one arm around her waist and half propped her against the wall. He waited while she fumbled in her minuscule silver purse for her key. Then he unlocked the door.

“In you go, Katie. Now which way to your bedroom?” Adam asked.

Before she could answer, Oscar barked from the kitchen where Katie had left him for the evening. First things, first; someone had to take care of the poor dog and then he could deal with Katie. He led her to the sofa, helped her sit and smiled at the silly grin she had on her face.

Standing at the door, Oscar waiting to be let out, Adam looked at Katie. “I’m talking the dog for a walk. Will you be all right?”

Katie blinked and her head rolled to the side to look at him. She grinned wider, then hiccupped. “Yup.”

Adam sighed. He couldn’t just let the dog out; he had to be on a leash. Hoping she stayed on the couch, he let himself and Oscar out.

When Adam let himself back into the apartment a few minutes later, Katie was still sitting where he had left her. Her eyes closed and the same silly grin spread across her face. He walked over and, as his face came level with hers, her eyes popped open and her hand came up quickly. Before Adam knew what was happening, she’d put her hand to the back of his head and pulled him in. Her warm lips locked with his. Desire shot through his body.

Reminding himself that she wouldn’t remember it in the morning, he forced himself to pull away gently. Taking both her hands, he pulled her to her feet, where she slightly swayed.Reviews by Crystal button

AuThursday – Ivy Hayes

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I will try and keep it short 😊
I am 25 and from Seattle, and I got my start writing when my boyfriend and I had an itch to travel. I quit my non-profit healthcare job so we could spend 2018 out of the country.  Since I now has all this free time, I started to go crazy so I quickly settled on writing a book to pass the time (which had been a long-time dream of mine, I just never thought it would actually happen) and finished my first manuscript about a month later in a coworking space in Dunedin, New Zealand.
I am still so new in the writing world I feel I am learning something each day that hones my craft, just a little bit more. The best part though, I truly found something I love and writing books has shaped my career goals in a way I didn’t even know was possible.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

My best writing hours are in the late afternoon to evenings.  I spend my mornings learning all I can about self-publishing/marketing/etc. then usually take a nap and wake up to write for a few hours. I break this when I am in the last third of a manuscript and I tend to write all day.
I have been spoiled with having writing be my ‘full-time job’ while I have been traveling, I am going to miss it when I start working again in September, then I will join the 5am writing club and probably do a bit after work/on the weekends.

What genre are your books?

So far, they are all Paranormal Romance, but I am working on a Contemporary Romance, coming out sometime in the fall.

What draws you to this genre?

Romance novels have gotten me through a lot. I feel like they helped keep me sane in college and the years after. I studied pre-med, so my mind was constantly overloaded from all the coursework. After college, I worked in a fast-paced healthcare non-profit. With both, I needed some content that was fun and easy to read. I always had a romance novel downloaded on my phone that I could veg out with for fifteen minutes.
I love that the stories almost always end with a happy ending. So, when I started writing, it didn’t take me long to settle on this genre. I guess right that it would be a blast to write and I wanted to spread even more happiness (and sexiness).

How did you come up with the idea for your SHIFTING HEARTS series?

I am the kind of writer that just writes and lets the story take me where it wants to go. When I started the first book, all I knew is I wanted it to do something with shifters. At first, it was a modern-day novel, mixed with Greek gods, so very different than what it ended up being.

I wrote and rewrote the first few chapters until something made sense, then I ran with it.

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

Indie. I played with the idea of going to traditional route, but that almost seemed like the easier route (well, after you get picked up, it would be easier). I wanted to maintain autonomy and control over my novels and work to build my brand, as I wanted it.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

I have a hard time focusing on just one project. I write for a few weeks on one then get a great idea and start another novel.
Like right now, I am in the middle of three.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Take all the advice you read with a grain of salt. People have what works for them, but I can almost guarantee it won’t work for you. The main thing is just keep working at it and pushing through until you find the groove that is right for you.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I have a WordPress blog: http://ivyhayesbooks.wordpress.com
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: @Ivyhayesbooks
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B07BR7TRJR/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17882231.Ivy_Hayes

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

From Shifting Hearts:

I start to drink my tea and after the first sip, I put it down. The pine was a terrible idea, it only reminds me of Gregory’s soap. There goes all hopes of the tea putting me to sleep, in fact, it did the opposite. After last night’s restless sleep, tonight should have been cake to fall asleep, but plagued by the memory of Gregory’s touch, my mind is wide awake. Sighing, I dump out the tea and sit staring at the fire for a while. I try and get comfortable, but I am not near anything to lean on. I might as well lay down, perhaps the position will help lull me into sleep. So, wrapped up in my cloak, I find myself lying down. Naturally, I am reminded of Gregory’s giant bed. Instead of waking up with my head on Gregory’s hard chest, I am resting it on the hard forest floor.

Given that I am already depressed, I don’t stop my memories from today replaying in my mind. Those short minutes of intimacy were the best minutes I have had in years. If it wasn’t for Grant knocking, I am sure we would have gone even further. Further to do something I have never done with anyone. Thank god we didn’t though, I doubt I would have had the strength to leave after losing myself to Gregory like that. Thinking of his mouth on my breasts, about his arms holding me close, I feel myself start to get wet. His instant effect on me is uncanny. A wicked thought passes my mind, pleasuring myself thinking of him might be just what I need to fall asleep.

Reaching one hand down to my sex, I hear a rustling in the trees. I look up and see an owl watching me. I am sure it will fly off in a second, chasing a mouse or whatever owl’s do. Not letting it deter me, I slide one finger inside myself, starting a slow massage.  

I let out a low moan, grateful there is no one around to hear me. It feels so good. Sliding my finger back out, I rub the soft nub of my clit, soon that is not enough and I plunge my finger back in my pussy. As soon as I do, the owl flies off the tree and lands right in front of me.

I immediately stop what I was doing and sat up on my elbow, “What the hell?” Before I finish that sentence, the owl disappears and Gregory’s naked, very erect form is standing right in front of me. Holy shit, he is a shifter too. That must be why he didn’t turn me in right away, he understands the weight of that secret.

“I was determined to just watch over you tonight, then find you in the morning.” He knelt on the ground to get closer to me, “But as soon as you started touching yourself, I lost all my resolve.” He leaned forward and took my mouth in his.

AuThursday – Gloria Joynt-Lang

Beyond Circumstances Blog Tour BannerGloria's Author pic

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in prison. In fact, I headed to prison every morning for twentyfive years as an employee of the Canadian Criminal Justice System. As a Correctional Officer and Parole Officer, I was used to spending a good portion of the day writing reports. When I retired, I found myself missing the writing component of the job, so I started writing fiction. I’m a proud book nerd, who can be found lurking in bookstores enjoying the new book smell.

I left the city a few years ago, for a small community in Alberta, Canada. I spend my summers at the lake with my husband and our two dogs. During the winter months, we escape the cold and head to sunny California.

How do you make time to write?

Being retired one would think I would have lots of time to write, but I still have to make the effort to set time aside. I usually don’t start writing until late morning, as I need a good workout first. My husband would agree I’m a better human when I burn off energy. I normally write for a couple of hours, take a long coffee break, and then work another hour or two. If I’m busy doing something else during the day, I try to sit down and write for at least a couple of hours in the evening. I have more on the go now than when I was working full time. My husband is quite sociable, so he ensures I take time off to hang out with family and friends on a regular basis. When I first started, I wasn’t so good at setting boundaries and I would write all day. I’m much better now. Achieving balance is key in whatever you do.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block?

Surprisingly, not as often as I thought I would, but it still happens from time to time. When it does, I try not to worry and do something else. Going for long walks or heading to the movie theater seems to help get the creative juices flowing again.

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

When I first started sending the dreaded query letter, I thought agents and publishers would be brutal in their rejection. I envisioned them to be meanspirited and total dream crushers. But they aren’t. I’ve received some wonderful rejection letters. They’re polite, professional, and usually they noted that my work was not a right fit for them. But they also mentioned that it’s a very subjective business and encouraged me to continue to query. Most of them were form letters, but every once

in a while I received some specific feedback. It was like hitting the jackpot when this happened, even though it was still a big fat no. A few times I did get discouraged, but my wonderful husband always steers me out a funk.

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

I was having one of those downer days when I received the offer from Fiery Seas Publishing. It was late in the evening, and I was just about to take my pity party to bed when I opened the email with an offer. I ran down the hallway of our house to tell my husband, causing our Yorkie dog to lose her mind. There was a lot of pandemonium. My husband started calling our family and friends to share the good news. I was pretty quiet about writing, so a lot of them were shocked that I had even written a book.

What genre are your books?

I write contemporary romance. After seeing the darker side of humanity, I felt drawn towards uplifting stories. I deal with a rather heavy topic in Beyond Circumstances, but it’s a love story at its heart.

What draws you to this genre?

There are a lot of horrible things that happen in the world, and unfortunately, they often happen to really great people who deserve better. I’m an optimist, but I’m also a realist, so I don’t believe a positive attitude will overcome all obstacles or falling in love means you won’t have problems, but it can sometimes make a difference in getting through a difficult time. Romance novels provide a sense of hope and I think we can all benefit from hope.

Do you have any advice for Aspiring Writers?

Write what you’re passionate about, and don’t give up. Often people will look at what a particular agent or publisher is looking for in their wish lists, and that’s okay as long as it’s what you want to write about. If not, create something fresh. Something that hasn’t been done before.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’d love to hear from readers through twitter, facebook, or my website.

https://twitter.com/glojoyntlang

https://www.facebook.com/gloria.joyntlang.1

https://www.gloriajoynt-lang.com/

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

Absolutely.

Beyond CircumstancesShe reached into her purse to grab her phone. Hopefully, tow trucks operated on

Saturdays in this rural area.

Crap. The phone was dead. She had meant to charge it, but then forgot. Just calm down, she told herself. Maybe there’s a charger in the glove box. Frantically, she searched. Damn.

At least she had a full tank of gas. She could avoid freezing to death for several hours.

Hours? God no. She couldn’t imagine being stuck in the vehicle for even several more minutes.

Maybe someone would come along. Yes, she was in the countryside, but it wasn’t some remote mountain village in Peru. She was only about an hour and a half from Chicago, and although it wasn’t a highway, it was a paved road. She thought back to how many cars she had passed on the way to town. She cursed, unable to recall any.

She tilted her head back and closed her eyes. No, she wasn’t going to cry. Not because she was strong, but because tears weren’t going to get her car to move back onto the road. She opened her eyes and looked around. It was so hard to see with all the snow swirling around. It was what meteorologists referred to as a ground blizzard. There wasn’t snow falling from the sky. Rather the white stuff was violently twisting up from the ground. The sixty-mile-per-hour winds were creating havoc on visibility. If only the wind could slow down for a second.

Then it happened. There were a few seconds when the wind paused, and Lexie was able to catch a glimpse.

“A driveway,” she exclaimed. She did a quick fist pump in the air. The gravel clearing was only a few yards away. The driveway would lead to a house. She would walk up the snow

covered road and ask to use a phone.

Oh, but what if it was a long driveway, or what if no one was home? Or maybe it was just an entrance to some wheat field with no house or residents.

She slammed her hands on the steering wheel in frustration, making the horn blare.

No, no. Don’t you dare cry.

She stared into the distance as she racked her brain for options. None came to her. Finally, she pulled the hood on her jacket over her head. She would take her chances and trek down the lane. If it looked like it was too far, she would simply return to her car.

She was about to open the door when she saw the outline of someone approaching. Relief washed over her. However, it quickly turned to fright when she saw an ax-wielding, masked man coming toward her.

Oh, my God. I’m going to die.

Quickly, she locked her door. If he was intent on killing her, she wasn’t going to make it easy for him. No, he would have to smash the window and pry her clenched hands off the steering wheel. She would make damn sure he exerted energy while dragging her away. Bludgeoning her to death would be work.

AuThursday – Aidee Ladnier

WATC AL BannerAideeLadnier

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi! I’m Aidee Ladnier and although I’ve been writing since I was a preteen, I’ve only been publishing romance for the last six years. I saw a call for submissions online and I’d been listening to a podcast where the host, Kevin Allison, ends each show by saying “Today’s the day. Take a risk.” So I wrote a story and submitted it. I took a risk. And the publisher liked the story and published it. And I haven’t looked back. My writing career is due in part to comedian Kevin Allison.

How do you make time to write?

This is a difficult question! I write on the weekends, of course. But during the week I have a demanding day job. So my writing is confined to early mornings before work and on my lunch hour. I sometimes write in the evenings if my DH has something he’s also working on. Otherwise, he gets that time. 🙂 And as you can imagine, prioritizing so little time to write means I only produce one novel a year—but I’m not in a race so it suits me fine.

What genre are your books?

To date, I’ve published paranormal, science fiction, holiday, and mystery. But I have a steampunk novel and a young adult that I’m also working on. I can’t seem to stick to just one genre. LOL! But all of them have love at their core.

What draws you to this genre?

The paranormal shifter genre is well-established and one I never thought I’d be writing in. I’m not that fond of either the alpha male or fated mate tropes. But I started thinking about werewolves and how they might be perceived in our world—as if they had a rare medical condition. My wolf wouldn’t be an alpha or even part of a pack, and he certainly wouldn’t have a fated mate. But he would be awkward and adorkable and lonely. I knew the minute I saw him in my head that I had to write about him.

What are your current projects?

As I mentioned above, I’ve got a paranormal young adult novel I’m working on. In it, two young women discover that it takes two people to lay a ghost. I’m also working on a steampunk novel that intersects the Spiritualist Movement of the 1900s with the delay of Westward Expansion. It’s got strange inventions, a technology cult, and a plot against the government to thwart.

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

Definitely an introvert, but I try not to let it keep me from experiencing the world. I believe that adventure lies behind every corner, but if you don’t answer that call to adventure, you end up sitting at home a lot. Which is pretty boring. I love meeting people and doing new things but I also have to take a little time for myself every so often.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Oooooo! That’s a good question. Usually, it’s television, the internet, online games, and good books. I always give them priority over my writing. I’ve been obsessed with the Great British Baking Show lately. And the Sims. Why oh why are they so much fun?

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

The best advice is to sit your butt in a chair and write. You can never finish anything if you don’t actually write. The second best piece of advice is to read. Read as much as you can in every genre you’re interested in writing. Read genres that you’re not interested in writing. If you like a book, start analyzing why  you like it. Is it the characters, or the way the writer describes the setting, or maybe the plot twist at the end? If you’re not a reader, you’ll never be a writer.

 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I have a website and blog at https://www.aideeladnier.com.  I write about my books, publish short fiction there, and post all my coloring pages there. I love adult coloring pages, so I have one for every book I’ve written. I also lurk on Tumblr (http://aideemoi.tumblr.com/) because it makes me laugh. I post a bit on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aideelad), too. But Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/aideelad/) is where my horrible sense of humor comes out the most. I find the most bizarre things to take pictures of.

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

I’d love to!! Here’s a scene after the “meet cute” where Tom and Frank are getting ready to have dinner with Tom’s family:

WolfAroundTheCorner-f500

Tom rinsed the arugula, shaking off the water over the sink. “I couldn’t find candied walnuts, so I bought pecans instead.”

“The thweet oneth?” His niece Marcie jumped up and down, trying to see what he was doing. Her lisp was a new development caused by a couple of missing front teeth.

“Yep, the sweet ones, sweet pea.” Tom held one up for her inspection. Marcie smiled back, all but two of her teeth showing, and then took off out of the room.

“I had to drive to Waynesboro to get the gorgonzola, but it will totally be worth it.”

Annie stopped whisking her salad dressing and fixed Tom with a funny stare. “Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I invited my store manager to dinner tonight.”

Tom shook the greens again but glanced back at his sister. “Sure. Why would I mind?”

“Well, he might be gay.”

Tom set the colander down beside the sink and turned around to face her. He leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms. “Might? Might, as in, you’d like to play matchmaker?”

Annie stirred the vinaigrette again. “Maybeee?”

“Uh-huh.” Tom grabbed the greens and tossed them into the waiting bowl. “I thought we were going to discuss what show to put on in your performance space.”

“Oh, we are.” Annie tipped her vinaigrette onto the waiting arugula. “He’s a creative guy, and he’ll have some good ideas. You’ll like him.”

As if on cue, the doorbell rang. Marcie’s footsteps thundered down the hall.

“Don’t forget to look out the glass first,” Annie called out to her. “You don’t open the door to strangers, remember?”

“Hey, kiddo.” The deep voice wasn’t strange at all.

Tom grabbed a rag to wipe off his hands and ambled into the hallway.

There was the buff guy from his apartment, Frank, clothed this time, in dark jeans so stiff and pressed they could have been dry-cleaned. His biceps bulged out of a short-sleeved brown shirt that brought out the auburn highlights in his hair and made his eyes appear almost golden. Frank’s cheeks reddened just enough to spread across the bridge of his nose, making him utterly adorkable. And gay. Tom so wanted to tap that. All those lascivious thoughts he’d tried to bury about Frank’s lickable frame were now roaring back to the forefront of his mind. And his pants.

“Hey, neighbor.” Tom transferred the towel to his other hand and held his right out to Frank.

“Neighbor? I didn’t realize you two knew each other.” Annie had followed Tom out of the kitchen. Her eyebrows rose in faux innocence. “So glad to see you, Frank.” She pecked him on the cheek as she closed the door behind him.

“I’m sure you didn’t, Sis. Especially since you were the one that told me Mrs. Anderson had a vacancy.” Tom booped her on the nose to let her know she wasn’t fooling anyone.

“Fwank, come and thee my new printheth pony!” Marcie hauled on Frank’s hand, her little sock feet sliding as she lost traction on the parquet floor.

“Hey, Frank.” Annie’s husband, John, swooped in to grab his six-year-old around the middle, hefting her up in a tickle hold. “Let’s get you washed up for dinner, young lady.” Marcie’s squeals and giggles echoed down the hall as John carried his daughter to the bathroom.

Annie gestured at the kitchen with a thumb that made her look like she was hitchhiking her way back to dinner. “I’ll go finish cooking.” Her sly grin hitched up the corner of her mouth. “Tom, could you entertain our guest for me?”

Tom smirked as his sister scooted past. He waited until she disappeared around the corner before zeroing in on Frank again. Frank stood frozen in the hallway next to him.

“So, clothes.” Tom did a visual sweep of Frank from head to toe, not missing the fidgeting fingers or the crooked eyetooth that bit into the pad of Frank’s lip.

Frank’s cheeks went strawberry red, and he ducked away from Tom’s gaze. “I usually wear clothes.”

“That is a shame.” Tom laughed as Frank’s ears turned red too. “You’ve got to tell me—what were you really doing in the bushes?” Because no way could somebody this well put together be that stupid. Annie had nothing but good things to say about her “store manager,” so Frank couldn’t be the guy brainless enough to fall out of an open second-story window.

Frank studied his shoes before peeping up, shamefaced. “Running naked in the woods?”

Tom almost laughed out loud at the absurd, obviously untrue answer. And then he sobered up as the image took shape in his mind of Frank’s gorgeous frame, free and unbound, dashing through the forest. That would be a sight to behold. And Tom would pay premium for a front-row ticket.

But he realized that whatever Frank had been doing, it had embarrassed the man, or he wouldn’t keep evading. Tom should just drop it, but Frank was so fun to tease.

“Is that what they’re calling it nowadays…?” Tom strode back toward the kitchen. “Wanna help set the table?”

Frank hesitated a moment in the entryway and then followed him.

Annie had already set out the stacks of plates and silverware. Tom handed the plates to Frank with a bow, their fingers brushing. The heat of that small touch sent a frisson of excitement down Tom’s spine. He met the golden brown of Frank’s eyes, seeing them wide and shocked as if he’d felt it too.

“I haven’t seen you around the apartments much lately.” Tom grabbed the silverware, and they escaped Annie’s watchful eyes by ducking into the formal dining room.

Frank smiled, but it flattened a little around the edges of his mouth. He moved to the other side of the table, laying down plates as he went. “I was afraid of giving you a worse impression than the first one.”

Tom tilted his head and nodded, placing the flatware at attention beside the plates. “Hey, I understand. I’m willing to put awkward first meetings behind us if you are.” He finished with the last spoon and found himself in front of Frank again. “But I have to say, some of what I saw was too good to forget.”

For a moment, Tom stared straight into the gold of Frank’s eyes. A rising anticipation fizzed in his veins. He was definitely going to get to know Frank better on this trip.

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AuThursday – Saloni Quinby

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KateHillSaloniQuinby2017author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a vegetarian New Englander and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My first story, a short erotic vampire romance, was accepted for publication back in the late 1990s. I love working out and watching horror movies.

How do you make time to write?

When there’s something I want to write, I usually set a daily word count goal and stick to it, even if it’s as little as 500 or 1000 words a day.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I think it’s different for everyone. Regarding myself, I don’t really believe in it. If I get stuck while writing a story, I write something else for fun until the ideas start flowing again. If I don’t feel like writing, then I don’t and it’s a conscious choice to stop. It’s not that I can’t, but that I won’t.

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

Weapons of Redemption is an erotic paranormal romance collection. I’ve always been a fan of vampires and romance because those genres make me happy to read.

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

Weapons of Redemption is published by Changeling Press. I’ve been lucky enough to write for them for many years.

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

I don’t think I’m either. Sometimes I’m an introvert and sometimes I’m an extrovert. I don’t think it has affected my work, but maybe it has!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

To be honest, motivational phrases are a pet peeve of mine. I think it’s great if they work for you, but most of the time I find that they annoy rather than motivate me.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write what you love.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://www.kate-hill.com

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

Yes. Thank you.

weaponsofredemptionsqGuy released a breath as he let his whip fly. It struck his old friend, Ruliff, or Rule, as he preferred to be called. Rule stood, his hands suspended from manacles dangling from chains overhead.

Even if Rule screamed, no one would hear him, deep in the cellar of this mansion owned by their vampiric kin, Ansley and Brayden. Rule wouldn’t scream, though. It wasn’t in his nature to show what he believed to be weakness. To drag more than a groan from Rule, Guy would be forced to practically kill him and his sessions weren’t meant to cause permanent damage. They had already been at it for longer than usual, even for someone with a supernatural constitution.

Five more times Guy struck him with strategically placed blows before he paused and approached Rule. Using the handle of his whip, he traced an especially fierce-looking welt on Rule’s sweat-slicked back. Rule had a tremendous capacity for pain. Always had.

Guy recalled the days when they, along with Brayden, Ansley and the fifth member of their “family,” Bryce, had sailed with Tarun, a genuine monster. The five men had shared a strange and violent past, one that could have destroyed them, but together they had overcome it. Still their days at sea with the vampire pirate — the master who had tried to mold them in his image — had left scars on their souls as well as their bodies. These sessions with Rule reminded Guy of how strong yet vulnerable they all were, even if they refused to admit it.

Rule could be stubborn to the point of stupid.

Guy tightened his hand around the whip and struck Rule again with a blow that would have had most men screaming. A strangled groan escaped the tall, dark-haired man and Guy curled his lip in disgust.

He loved the whip and was an expert with it. Like his vampire kin, he had taken what he’d learned about pain and battle from their hated master and made it a form of expression. They had ultimately used their

skills to fight back, not only for themselves but for victims who crossed their path. Each of the five men had mastered certain weapons. Guy’s obsession was the lash. From bullwhips to floggers, all were slaves to him, bringing pleasure or pain as he saw fit. His love of leather had melded into every part of his life, including sex. He used his floggers to pleasure and punish, sometimes separately, sometimes both at once.

Long ago, Guy had honed his skills on his willing brothers, except for Bryce, who refused to submit to anyone, even for fun. Only Rule to this day came to Guy for regular sessions. Guy decided this one had gone on long enough. He knew Rule would push himself past his limits. He needed a strong but sensitive Dominant who knew when to stop.

Glancing at Rule, Guy noted that he seemed to be in a trance. His blue eyes were narrowed to slits, his lips parted and his breathing shallow. Wet black curls clung to his perspiring forehead and neck. Blood trickled from his lower lip where he’d pierced it with his fangs.

“Our session is over for today,” Guy said without room for argument.

Rule ignored his authoritative tone and said in a deep, hoarse voice, “More.”

“Your name might be Rule, but you don’t rule here,” Guy said.

“Fine. Release me then.”

“Not until you calm down.”

“I am calm.”

“You forget how well I know you.”

Rule’s cool facade snapped. Bellowing, he yanked at his bonds.

Now he screams, Guy thought, but he knew it was probably a good thing. Rule wouldn’t allow Guy to comfort him like some clients enjoyed after a session. Guy worked mainly with supernatural beings — vampires, wizards, and even an occasional werewolf paid well for him to tease and torment them with his leather and chains. But even those creatures had a tender side. Rule’s was buried deep and Guy hoped that eventually someone would reach it.

Despite Rule’s impressive strength, he couldn’t break the chains. Guy’s survival often depended on knowing how to properly bind supernatural beings.

Guy placed his whip next to a heavy purple flogger on a table covered in red plastic. He’d clean his tools later. He was about to clean Rule’s back when his cell phone rang.

He knew who it was by the ringtone.

He picked up the phone and said, “What’s up?”

“It’s Bryce. I need your help. It’s business.”

Although the five men had different careers in the human world, their true purpose was to protect those in need. The weapons they had once used as criminals were now their means of redemption.

Bryce worked as a police officer in the city. Sometimes he called upon his brothers to help him resolve crimes in which the human world could offer no justice.

“What does he want?” Rule asked, having ceased his rampage when the phone rang. “Is there a case for us? Let me go!”

“Do you have Rule strung up in the dungeon again?” Bryce asked.

“Yes. I’m putting you on speakerphone.”

“You don’t have to. I can hear him quite well,” Rule said, straining to look at Guy over his shoulder.

Though keen senses were an advantage of vampirism, the speakerphone would make a three-way conversation easier.

“I’ve been working on what we believe are serial killings,” Bryce said. “You’ve probably heard about them. The media calls them the Bodybuilder Murders. We’ve found a common denominator and, Guy, I believe you can get the evidence I need. Will you help?”

“You have to ask?” Guy said.

“Can you use me?” Rule asked.

“Right now this is a one-man job,” Bryce said. “But thanks.”

Rule looked a bit disappointed, but with all the trouble in the world, he was sure to have another case to work on soon.

“Guy, can you meet me in an hour?” Bryce asked.

“Absolutely. Where?”

“Stay put. I’ll come to you.”

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AuThursday – Dana Marton

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DM author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I like putting plenty of romance and suspense into my stories, including my current release, a second-chance love story about a kickass Hollywood stuntwoman and a former Navy SEAL turned bestselling thriller author. In real life, I try to have the same ‘never give up, never surrender’ attitude as my characters. It took me thirteen years of trying to finally get published. I’ve written over fifty novels since! All while moving across the Atlantic Ocean five times. I swore never to move again with a ship—and have my furniture broken because the ship got into a storm. I cope with life’s constant changes by hanging tight to those closest to me: my family, my dog Toby, coffee, and chocolate. I’m a great fan of all things sugar, which is why Threat of Danger is set on a maple syrup farm in Vermont. I love chatting with readers, so if you’re on Facebook, look me up and say hello.

How do you make time to write?

I prioritize writing over everything but family. If dishes are not done, I can live with that. Right now, the weeds are about knee-high in my garden. I’ll deal with that once my edits are done for the book I’m currently working on. Very early in my writing career, someone said, What do you want to see in your obituary? She was a New York Times bestselling author, or she was the best housekeeper ever? I decided then and there that I wanted to be a bestselling author. So I schedule my time accordingly.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I have the opposite problem. Way more ideas than I’ll ever have the time to write. I have a giant folder of book outlines. If I’ll get to write a third of them, I’ll be happy.

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

I LOVE romantic suspense. I like action/adventure type of stories. There is just that extra oomph and excitement, that pulse-pounding thrill that makes you hold your breath. The stakes are high, and I believe that character is revealed in hardship. Any hero can say “I love you” to the heroine. But will he step in front of a bullet to save her?

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

I publish both as an indie author and with a publisher. My current title was released by Montlake. It’s lovely to have that larger team around me, to be able to bounce ideas off my editors.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Write the best book you can, then study the craft of writing and make the book even better. If you write a story that connects with people, readers will recommend it to their friends. That’s the best promotion any author can hope for. There used to be a lot of pressure to put out a book every ninety days. Then people started putting out a book a month. Now some authors put a book out every week. I didn’t have a single new release last year. I still did okay, because my readers kept recommending my older books to others. My readers are still with me. Make those connections, build those relationships. If you want writing to be a long-term career, don’t set up a schedule that will cause an early burn-out. This year is my 15th anniversary of getting my first publishing contract. Slow and steady can be a wonderful thing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.danamarton.com

www.facebook.com/danamarton

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

Absolutely! This is the intro to the book, the hero and heroine heading into danger.

tod“Hurry up!” Derek drew Jess forward on the narrow path in the woods.

Jess didn’t need urging. She couldn’t wait to be alone with him at the cabin. Her heart drummed: faster, faster, faster.

The two eighteen-year-olds dashed through the undergrowth, breathless with laughter. Winter sunshine gilded webs of branches, the sky the most innocent shade of blue, each gap between the tree trunks a stained glass window. The trees—mostly maple—reached up and up, as tall as church spires. Within the magnificent cathedral of the Vermont forest, the joy of young love sang.

The patches of shadows seemed far away. Jess barely even noticed the dark spots. Each step they took was into light, each breath of crisp air a thrill.

They jumped a log together, strong and nimble. Jess thought of nothing but the old family cabin, the two of them alone, Derek’s firm and eager body all around hers. Desire tingled through her, her fingers tightening on his as he pulled her forward.

“We’re almost there.”

Derek Daley—crush of her life, boy next door, every girl’s dream—wanted her. Finally!

Jess had pined after him all through high school and would have handed him her heart on a platter, if he’d only noticed her. He hadn’t then, but he did now, home from college on break. Nothing else mattered. He’d noticed her and he’d kissed her, and then he’d asked if she would go out to the old cabin with him.

Jess knew what boys did with girls at the derelict cabin off the abandoned logging road. That knowledge burst through her in a shower of sparkling light.

“What’s with the crows?” Derek jerked his head toward the treetops, but he didn’t slow for a second, as desperate for the cabin as Jess.

His eagerness tasted sweeter on her tongue than maple candy.

She glanced up, dazed. What? What did anything else matter beyond how fast they could be in each other’s arms? They had the rest of the day, hours and hours, just the two of them, together, but she didn’t want to waste a single moment.

She wanted his lips back on hers. She was dying for another kiss.

Derek must have felt the same, because he halted and dragged her into his arms in a wild move that almost toppled them. He kissed the breath out of her before spinning away to run again. Thank

God he was holding her hand or she would have stumbled. When it came to Derek’s kisses, Jess’s schoolgirl fantasies paled compared to reality.

The black dotting of crows watched them from the trees. They didn’t see the humans as two lovers flying to their nest, but merely prey as yet unaware of the hunter. The same small, sharp eyes that trailed Derek and Jess from above also trailed the hunter who closed in, moving faster than his prey, eager on the scent.

The birds knew the hunter. He always fed them well.

Down below, everything was movement.

Up in the trees, the crows perched still and waited for the bloody bits.

Then the story cuts to 10 years later. To escape the memories of what had happened to them in the woods, Jess had gone to Hollywood and became a top stuntwoman. Derek joined the Navy and became a SEAL. Then they suddenly both find themselves back home and have to deal with their shared past at last. They’re surprised to find that the love and attraction between them is still there. But so is the killer who is itching for a second chance at them.