AuThursday – Diane Zhivago

Please welcome author Diane Zhivago to The Clog Blog.  Diane, tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a Gemini.  I’m also a Canadian.  I live in Newfoundland, Canada in a quaint little seaside town with my husband, our 20-year-old daughter who’s still in college, and our 12-year-old son.  I’m also stepmom to my husband’s eldest daughter and step-grandma to two beautiful little boys, 8 and 6. I’m a veterinary assistant by trade, though I’ve worked at everything from postal delivery to heavy equipment operator for Canadian National Railway.    I’ve been writing stories since childhood. My mother was a lover of books and reading and passed on that love to me, so when I ran out of reading material I would sit down and make up my own stories and then read them to my family or friends. I wrote my very first manuscript when I was about 12 or 13.  It’ was over 400 pages handwritten—a romance story involving a boy I had a crush on at the time and with all of my friends as characters.

How do you make time to write?

At the moment I am not working so I usually write during the day when everyone is at school or work.  I carry around a notebook everywhere I go (like to my son’s football games) so that I can jot down any ideas I have for stories or scenes and conversations that might pop into my head.  

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Definitely!  But I find that the best cure is to just sit and read…get absorbed into a story that’s not your own making.  Us writers usually start out as avid readers and reading really does kickstart your imagination so when the words aren’t flowing, I’ll usually take a break for a day and just read.

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

I write steamy romance.  Mostly paranormal though I don’t consider myself locked into that category.  I do enjoy it though! My favorite books to read are paranormal…vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches; I love all of it!  And it’s so fun to write! You can really let your imagination soar when you write paranormal. My family is of Irish descent, so I grew up with stories about shapeshifters, witches, fairies and such.  I think that played a huge part in why I love to read and write paranormal romance. And who doesn’t love great sex in a romance book, right? My paranormal romance stories have it all!

How are you publishing your recent book and why?

I have five books published as an Indy author.  I had submitted in the past to a publishing company but the rules and regulations of word length, descriptive language allowances, etc. just made it so hard to get my style of writing to pass all the checkmarks, though I came very close a few times.  As an Indy author, I get to write MY story, MY way, and I like that. I like having the freedom of being an Indy author.  

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

I’m an Introvert mostly…though, being a Gemini I can’t truly lay claim to it wholeheartedly.  I’m very at ease with my own self and my own thoughts. I can live happily inside my head and I don’t really long for the company of the human variety.  In a crowd I’m never at the center of attention—I hate attention—and yet I can work a room if I have to but it’s an act…not the real me. I like watching people, studying them.  I’m good at conversation when I have to be, but I abhor small talk.  

I’m a very private person.  That’s been the hardest part of being a published author.  Talking about myself and my writing isn’t something I’m used to doing and I haven’t figured out a character to be when I’m doing it, so I’m still in my learning curve. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

My Grandmother used to always tell me,

“As long as you believe in the faeries, there’s always a possibility you’ll see one someday.”

I think that’s motivated me throughout the years to always look for the wonder and joy in the world…to see the magic in every day.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up.  Don’t worry about the critics.  Reviews are only opinions so take them with a grain of salt.  And the most important thing…write the whole story first! Before you fix it.  Before you go back and re-edit that chapter for the tenth time…finish the story!  The mistakes will wait. It’s more important to get the story out of your head and onto the paper first.  You can get lost in editing…write the whole story!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m on Facebook,  www.facebook.com/dianezhivagoauthor

My web page is, www.dianezhivago.webnode.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dianezhivago

AllAuthor.com: www.dianezhivago.allauthor.com

And you can find me on Amazon under my Author Central profile at www.amazon.com/author/dianezhivago 

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

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I’d love to share a little peek of my latest release with you.  Pride & Predator is the fourth book in my Therion Beast series of Paranormal romance.  It’s available on Amazon. The excerpt is from Chapter 2.

Inside, the seedy Montreal bar was a welcome relief from the sleet and snow of the Eastern Canadian winter.  Gregor moved through the bodies of people packed tightly together in the club, his gaze locked onto his target while his companion, Aurora, followed closely behind; her mate, Matthew, waited in the black SUV just outside in the alley behind the dive.

At least Leanna had the sense to take a table far enough away from the crowd of people dancing.  He grimaced, wondering why such meetings had to take place in such unsavory settings. What was wrong with an elegant restaurant as the backdrop for such matters?  He cast a sideways glance at Aurora who was still diligently scanning the crowds, her senses on alert for anything that might indicate a threat. Even as she perused her surroundings, though, he couldn’t help but notice how her body seemed to move to the music blaring from the extra-large speakers on either side of the DJ’s table.  Aurora was young, barely into her twenties. She fit into this crowd with her leather jacket, multiple piercings, and colorful hair. He, however, was decades past his one-hundredth birthday—though still quite young for his kind—not that he actually felt young at the moment. He sighed, his thoughts needing to be put on hold as he approached the table where the middle-aged blonde woman was seated, waiting for him.

Leanna smiled as he took the seat next to her, leaning in to kiss her softly aging cheek.  He introduced Aurora as his niece, though he was certain Leanna knew she was nothing of the kind.  The older woman accepted the presence of the younger woman without question, as he knew she would. Leanna was—along with other things—trustworthy at the least.  She refrained from asking too many questions, another reason why he had reached out to her for this particular job. There were very few humans whom Gregor trusted.  But Leanna was one of them.

Her eyes sparkled as she gazed at him now.  “It is so good to see you, Bastian,” she said, in her careful English, the accent of her Acadian heritage still thick on her tongue.  “You have not changed one bit in the years since we last met. Unlike me.”

Gregor inclined his head.  He knew that she was ribbing him in the way she normally did.  She was aware that he was not human—not exactly human, at least.  But that was as far as her knowledge went.  She had been a young child when he’d first met her.  Lost in the woods where he’d been hunting. He had carried her out, brought her to an area where the men searching could easily find her.  And he’d waited, albeit hidden from their view until she’d been discovered and returned safely to her distraught mother. She had told no one that it had been he who saved her, as he’d asked.  A child who was capable of keeping a secret was a special child indeed, and so Gregor had kept in contact with her, unbeknownst to her family. He had watched her grow into a beautiful woman who was still capable of keeping secrets.  

“I must say, I like this…”

She reached out toward him and stroked the side of his face where the full beard he had worn for decades was now shaved, trimmed, and tightened into a well-formed, goatee that managed to make him look as though he were in his early thirties.  

“You look younger, without the beard.  I suspect you would barely pass for thirty without this.”  She gave the hair at his chin a slight tug, her lips curving suggestively.

Gregor grasped her hand and gently kissed her fingers before placing it meaningfully on the table.  Their time together was in the past. Where it should be. What affair they may have had was long over.

She smiled at him ruefully.  Her gaze drifted over to Aurora.  “Your uncle is a man of singular determination, no?”  She chuckled to herself, not waiting for Aurora to answer.  “Here is the information you were seeking. I assume I will find my bank account has been sufficiently updated?”  She chuckled again.  

Leanna would gladly offer her services for free; Gregor had been the one to insist on payment… especially now that they were no longer involved intimately.  He did not believe in using women. Both parties should gain from the relationship. And so, when their short-lived affair ended, Gregor saw to it that Leanna was well taken care of.  She would always be important to him. A dear friend. He was not a man who took that lightly.    

He looked down at the large brown envelope she was sliding toward him on the table.  He reached for it, extracting the 8 by 10 black and white photograph inside.

“This was taken a few weeks ago in North Sydney, Nova Scotia.  The woman in the picture was going by the name of Eve Radcliff.  She purchased a pass for the ferry to Argentia and was checked in as a passenger in a domestic vehicle.”

Gregor stared at the photo.  In it, the woman was wearing a white baseball-style cap, her long, pure white hair was pulled through the back.  She wore a matching white hoody, dark jeans, and sneakers. Dark glasses hid her eyes from view, but nothing could erase those eyes from where they had burned into his memory.  Electric blue—unnatural, even without any sign of her beast. She looked young, beautiful, and human—the latter of which she was definitely not.

Leanna was looking at him.  “Is she a friend of yours?”  

Gregor pressed his lips together and slid the picture back into the envelope.   “You will mention this to no one,” he said by way of an answer to her question.

“Of course not.”  Leanna was a smart woman.  A man who did not age in the forty-plus years she had known him was not a man one should defy.  She accepted another kiss on her cheek then watched him as he stood. “It was wonderful to see you again, Bastian,” she said, sincerely.

“And you, Leanna.  You will take care of yourself?”

She smiled, her eyes warm if a little misty.  “As always, old friend.” Her gaze followed him as he moved away from her, his niece falling into step just beside him.  

Aurora looked up at Gregor as they walked away, her pierced eyebrow lifted in question.  “Bastian?”

Gregor gave an uncomfortable shrug.  “It is my given name.” He did not like talking about himself.  Ever.

“Bastian Gregor.  That’s your name?”   He heard Aurora give a low whistle.  “You can live with someone all these years and not know a single thing about them.”  She shook her head.

“Gregor Savage, is my name.”  It was his badge of honor as well.  Captain of the Alpha guard, bodyguard to the Alpha.  His name signified his exalted rank within the clan, something he was proud of.

“Wait.”  Aurora’s eyes were narrowing as her brain was busily dissecting this new information.  Gregor had to resist rolling his eyes at her, the young pup was exasperating at times. Had she not been one of his best assassins and a damn good guard, he’d have probably strung her up by her ears long ago.  “Nicolai’s middle name is Sebastian, is he—”

Gregor sighed heavily, knowing she would not stop until she had her answers.  “I am his godfather; his second name was given to honor that.” There. Now she knew.  His connection to the Alaskan Alpha was deeper than mere rank. Which was why failing Nikolai, as he had, was not something he could live with.  The intense need to find the woman in the photograph, Eve Radcliff, was more than a deep sense of duty…it was a matter of deep pride for Gregor. As long as she was free, the knowledge that he had failed his Alpha would eat him up alive.

They left the bar and headed out into the blustery Montreal night, turning onto the street and making their way toward Matthew and in the black Chevy Tahoe.  

“What now?”  Aurora wanted to know, pulling the hood of her jacket up to warm her ears.

“Now you go back to Raven Falls,” he told her, “and I go to Newfoundland.”

“Alone?”

He could hear the doubt in her voice.  “You are needed in Raven Falls, Aurora.  This has nothing to do with you.”

“But you might need me!”  She stopped walking, forcing him to stop as well and turn to her.  He was aware of Matthew’s gaze watching them from inside the SUV. Her sielos draugus mate was rightfully protective of her, though, being only a half-blood Therion, he was strongly outmatched against any of his own kind.  That fact never seemed to enter Matthew’s mind, however, especially when defending Aurora was on the table and, even without an ability to change, he had been proving his inner beast—though unable to manifest—was a powerful one.

“I get it, Gregor,” she was saying to him now, “I understand you think you somehow let Niko down by letting Eve get away.  I feel the same way. I met her first, remember?” She was shaking her head, her moonlight blue gaze beseeching him. “We—none of us—had any idea what she was at the time.  For all we knew, she was an innocent prisoner, like so many of our kind. We had no idea of what she was capable of… what she’d done…”

Gregor found he couldn’t meet her gaze.  What she was saying might have been true for her, but… “She told me she was the one they sent to lure us in… the one they sent to destroy us when they were done…”  even now, saying the words out loud, his stomach twisted with his deep sense of failure. He had been given an opportunity to stop Eve, and he’d let her slip from his grasp… mesmerized by her beauty, even his beast had been unable to do what was necessary.

“We were in the middle of a war!”  Aurora exclaimed. She held a hand up to stave off Matthew when he would have gotten out of the SUV.  “You were in fight-mode, Gregor. Defending your life and the Alpha. She was nothing more than a prisoner trying to escape.  How were any of us to know that she was one of Radcliff’s experiments? That she’d been born and raised in captivity like an animal?”

“She is an abomination!  I should have destroyed her when I had the chance!”

Aurora’s eyes widened at his angry outburst and he felt ashamed at his loss of control.  He was a creature who prided himself on control. “And what of Matthew?” Aurora was asking now, the hurt his word had caused evident in her soft voice.  “He was an experiment of Radcliff’s—while not raised in captivity, he was created there… experimented on all those years without his knowledge or consent.  Is he an abomination too?”

He couldn’t bring himself to respond.  He felt Aurora’s small hand in his and looked down at her.  She was the smallest in their clan in stature only; her bravery and personality seemed too much for such a tiny creature.  Her eyes searched his, probing and earnest. “We are Therion, Gregor. One blood, one race, whether we are all or some, as the sielos draugus whom we cherish and protect… you taught me that, old man.  Perhaps now is the time for you to listen to your teachings—old, wise, and ancient one.”  

Gregor couldn’t help the twitch in his lips that threatened to turn into a smirk as he listened to Aurora’s little speech.  But she was right, of course. Eve was Therion, no matter what Radcliff had managed to do to her. But it was still his responsibility to find her and bring her in.  Therion Law was absolute. Her crimes against her own kind were punishable by death. At the very least, the Dominai sought to learn from Eve… to find out exactly what it was that Radcliff had done to her.  They expected her capture. Planned to glean as much information they possibly could from her. And then she would be destroyed—her dept for her crimes would be paid with her life. 

 

 

AuThursday – Karlene Tura Clark

Dear Reader,

Recently I attended the North Dakota Library Association’s Author Alley and I got to meet many talented local and regional authors.  Karlene Tura Clark is one of them, and I was ever so glad she consented to be interviewed here.

K head shot 2Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a full time librarian with too many hobbies. Besides writing, I do many handcrafts and have a side business of painting and selling miniature figures for tabletop gaming. I’m married, no children, but with a very sassy African Grey Parrot that isn’t afraid to tell us what she wants. 

How do you make time to write? 

15-minute increments. I use at least my morning break at work to do writing. At some point on the weekends, I will block out an hour or two for editing purposes. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, but only in regards to the story being worked on. When that happens, I set the current project aside and just free write ideas for other stories, voices of other characters, or work on a “rap sheet” with information like you would give to the police if a character was reported missing. 

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

Fantasy has always been a way for me to get away from things, whether that be what’s on the news, what’s happening around me, or simply for the sheer joy and magic of the story. My favorite author is Mercedes Lackey. Many of her creative ideas inspired me. She has books where elves are allergic to cold iron yet race cars, she’s done retellings of fairy tales, and she’s created the Heralds of Valdemar – Vanyel’s story was one of my favorite; I wore out three copies of the book when I was younger! 

Fantasy always involves magic in some form, whether it’s low or high magic. In either case, there are rules and structure that consistently determine the use of abilities. High magic usually means there is a lot of magic with some world dependence on it, while low is just an element of the background of the story. 

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

I have a short story published with Edge, but otherwise, I have done everything independently. The world is becoming more accepting of self-publishing, and doing so gives you greater independence in choosing cover art, design, and royalties. There are also cases where I have known authors that have been “burned” by some of their smaller publishers, which makes me a little nervous. However, I’m still interested in eventually doing a book with someplace like Tor or Orbit! 

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

I’m an introvert. Extroverts tend to be more interested in conversation, engaging others. Introverts like me are people watchers. We observe before we engage. This ability has given me great ideas for stories over the years. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth” (Marcus Aurelius).

It has encouraged me to always consider the other side of situations while I’m writing – what would others think? What might my character have understood incorrectly? What are the results of that misunderstanding?

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Two things. 

BIC-HOK: Butt in chair; hands on keyboard. I’ve heard so many people say “I want to write a novel, but I just don’t have time.” What that really means is you are not serious (yet) about doing it. Think how many times in your life you rearrange things to make time for something. As I said earlier, I often only have 15 minutes a day to write. That means I write. I set a timer. If I get interrupted, I stop the timer until I come back to it. If I get stuck on the current story, I write something else, I journal, I free write. Just… write! No excuses. 

EDIT. Your first draft is never good. It doesn’t matter how many of your friends are impressed – it will still need polish. It will still need details. It will still need to clean up. Do the spellchecks, grammar checks, do a check for words you use A LOT, and have someone check for inconsistencies.A Ranger's Inheritance E-Book Cover Signed

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.amazon.com/author/karleneclark 

https://www.facebook.com/ARangersHomecoming 

https://twitter.com/KarleneTClark 

http://www.edgewebsite.com/books/urbangreenman/ugm-catalog.html 

 

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

AssassinsGift CoverArt Titled - FinalFrom my latest book is Assassin’s Gift.

“At least he’s not dead, milord.” The voice was familiar, coming from someone sitting next to him.

“Bless the Lights for that, you idiot.” A man’s gruff voice barked. “What were you thinking leaving your mixtures about?” From the tone of the lord’s voice, the other had made a grave error in his judgment. “Remedial lessons, boy: he dies, and your life will be forfeit as well. You know the rules. Any errors are your sole responsibility.”

A violent tremor shook Aern as a coughing jag swept the entire frame of his eight-year-old body. He was turned to his side, just barely in time as everything in his stomach rushed out. He could barely catch a breath as wave after wave of retching emptied everything back out. It gurgled from his throat, bubbling as it left him to spray outward, running down his cheek, into his black hair. 

Pulling his knees up, Aern tried to relieve the intense cramping in his stomach. As the fit finally passed, Aern opened his pale blue eyes and looked around. His vision was still hazy, but he could see the boy that had given him the treat. 

 

AuThursday – Kinney Scott

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi Tina, thanks for the invite to your blog. I’ve spent my entire life in the Pacific Northwest and currently live in Olympia. My husband and I raised three kids in a small town in Western Washington. When they all headed to college, I was inspired to finish my degree. Completing that milestone gave me the courage to return to writing. 

How do you make time to write?

I’m fortunate that I can write nearly full time. I’m most creative in the morning and like to wake up, feed the dog, grab a coffee and then get words on the page. Balancing writing with marketing challenges me. If I check on book sales or emails in the morning my creative engine shuts down. So, I try to guard those early morning hours – and sometimes put my computer on airplane mode. The best writing days happen when I forget to turn the internet connection back on. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do, fortunately, it doesn’t hit me that often. When I hit a wall, I switch gears and spend a day editing, and that change usually resets whatever went off-kilter. I find that time away from the computer, maybe an early morning walk or a few hours of sweaty yard work helps. 

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

I write contemporary romance, mainly in a small-town setting, though my work in progress is set in Portland, Oregon. The books I loved to read when I was young were the “romance classics” – Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, East of Eden, Great Expectations, and everything Jane Austen. I didn’t start reading modern romance novels until later. I love the genre because romance characters have the emotional volume turned up high, and their everyday lives become a backdrop for extraordinary conflict and love.

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

For now, I’ve decided to publish everything independently. I’m 53, and I doubt most traditional publishers would take a chance on me. I may submit work someday if the right opportunity presents itself, but for now, I’m consumed by improving my writing, finding other authors who want to collaborate our efforts, and figuring out how to market what we’ve written.

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

I find that writing magnifies my introverted side. One on one, people are great, but crowds exhaust me. Even though I’m really not drawn to the big book events, I value my readers and like to meet my fans online. Someday, I hope to meet the fans of the In Ashwood series in person. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“When you’re going through hell keep on going. Never, never, never give up.” ~Winston Churchill

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. And read it at least once a year. Gather a group of writers you can trust and support each other, then give as much to those writers as you receive from them.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

They can find me at https://kinneyscott.com/ and signing up for my newsletter is the best way to stay in touch.

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kinney.scott.author/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kinneyscott

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

Trouble Undone releases mid-August 2019.

Here’s a little bit from Chapter One of Trouble Undone:

TroubleUndoneNewSmallerWebUse

A soft zip at the tent’s door woke her. “Just me, Kels.” Mark’s familiar voice woke her senses. She eased her sleeping bag open, pulled an extra blanket from her knapsack and made room. The tent filled with Mark’s scent as he slid out of his clothes and settled in.

“God, you feel good,” he said when his cool body made contact with her sleep-warmed skin. “You tired, mermaid?” he asked with a hint of need.

“Yeah. I swam today.” The waves had absorbed her stress, leaving her body slack. He spooned her back, thighs, and butt against his muscled torso, caging her with his arm. She felt his erection nestled against her ass but was too tired to respond.

Before returning to sleep, Kels coiled her fingers into his and eased Mark’s hand from her hip. She slid his calloused touch under her cotton tank top to cup her breast. Mark stroked the velvet skin with his thumb and slowly inhaled the ginger scent from her damp hair.

 If your readers want an early look at the entire first chapter it will be on my blog soon.  https://kinneyscott.com/blog/ 

AuThursday – Allie McCormack

AMc Indie Author-1200Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a disabled US Army vet, living in sunny Tucson, Arizona with two cats. I’ve been a writer all my life… I remember hiding under the bed covers with a flashlight scribbling in a notebook when I was in 3rd grade… but I didn’t start “writing” ™ as in, writing a complete novel, until 2000. That was a life-changer!! In one month I went from “always wanted to write” to “OMG I can really do this!”

How do you make time to write?

Due to my disability, I have lots of pain and related insomnia issues which make writing challenging. So basically… if I’m lucky enough to feel awake, alert and kick-ass despite the pain, I write until I don’t. It sucks for having any kind of actual schedule, but in fact, it works out pretty well for me.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

It isn’t that I disbelieve in it, but I don’t really suffer from it. I mean, I do have phases where I don’t feel like writing, but block, no. I’m a pantser, so if I get stuck in a particular scene or the story just isn’t coming to me, I work on something else instead until I figure things out.

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

I write romance genre; both paranormal and multicultural. I just love romance, and happy endings, and good things happening to people. I’ve never written anything else, and never wanted to!

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

I’m self-publishing all my books. I like having the control… choosing the title, the cover, not having someone tell me what I can and can’t write. Mind you, I’m not *against* traditional publishing, and I’d adore if Berkely (who’s never heard of me) would suddenly discover me, right? LOL. But at this point, I’d need to be offered a pretty good reason (marketing!! Promotion!!) to make the change.

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

I’m totally an Introvert, also a recluse. I don’t think it affects my writing, so much as it does the marketing, ugh! Introverts may not get out there and mingle, but we tend to be very good at observation, which is all to the better for writing purposes!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

You can’t edit a blank page.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just sit down and write. Seriously. That’s the best way to learn. Yep, you’ll make mistakes but you’ll also learn from them. And mistakes can be corrected. But first, you have to write!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.alliemccormack.com

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

Sure! This is from Wishes in a Bottle, my first paranormal romance:

“Come on, come on.”

Robert cast a nervous glance about him, hoping that no neighbors could see through the overgrown jungle that his sister-in-law had allowed to take over the yard. If this were his, he’d rip out all these stupid plants and seed it with grass for a smooth lawn. And no swings or sandboxes to muck the place up, either. He wasn’t having any more children to take his wife’s attention and keep her from taking care of her husband, who should have been her main concern. No, a brick barbecue was what he’d have, maybe a nice hot tub.

He struggled to fit the slim piece of plastic through the narrow space between the door and its jam. Everyone went on and on about how door locks could be opened with credit cards, but it sure didn’t seem to be working. Still, he was confident it wouldn’t be much longer. Alessandra was such a fool, so trusting. She didn’t even have deadbolts on her doors. Didn’t she know that a simple knob lock could be easily opened?

“Yes!”

The tongue of the latch gave, and the plastic slid forward, holding the tongue in its groove, and the handle turned under Robert’s fingers.

From the other side of the door, he heard a low rumbling. Startled, he straightened, peering through the glass window set into the door. Staring back, almost head-even with him, was the largest, blackest Great Dane he had ever seen in his life. Its great jaws were parted, the teeth frighteningly sharp and white. The snarls emerging from those open jaws were vicious.

The dog lunged, flinging its huge body against the door separating them. Robert let go of the doorknob and pushed away so hard he fell, almost cracking his skull on the cement step. He pushed the pain aside, scrambling back from the door, praying that the slender door jam would hold as the full weight of the beast hit it again, shaking the door. Robert thanked God that he hadn’t actually opened the door and that the kitchen door opened inward, not outward.

The animal ceased his lunges at the door and was standing on his hind legs, paws on the window sill, watching Robert through the glass. Slavering, menacing snarls crescendoed to loud, ferocious barking, the dog’s eyes fixed on him with murderous intent.

Robert picked himself up from the ground and ran for his car. Who would have thought that such a frivolous, irresponsible woman would keep such a dangerous animal? Robert reached his car, almost falling into the driver’s seat in his haste to reach safety, not breathing easily until the door was safely shut. His hands were shaking and he fumbled with the keys, fingers trembling as he found the right one and fit it into the ignition. He backed out of the driveway, aimed the car down the road and headed out of there in a screech of burned rubber. If he never came to this house again in his life, it would be too soon.

Back in the house, Julian dropped onto all fours and padded into the living room. Now that the intruder had been repulsed, the danger of invasion that had brought the canine’s instincts to the fore, Julian was in complete control of the animal body he had inhabited. Stopping to sniff the books on the coffee table, and drawing in Alessandra’s scent on her sofa, her easy chair, the shawl she had left draped on one corner of the bookshelf, he found he was rather enjoying the experience. It was rather cool, in fact.

He walked about the house, experiencing the long, easy strides of the Great Dane, his toenails clicking on the polished wood floors. He paused in front of the television. The morning news that had just come on when Robert had shown up was over by now, but there would be more. He curled his massive body up on the hearth-rug before the fireplace, feeling a bit awkward managing the unaccustomed long limbs, but he achieved a comfortable position finally and laid his head on his outstretched paws. His doggy self heaved a sigh and prepared to snooze, even while he kept an eye on the television. This was definitely nice.

His jaws parted and his tongue lolled out as he laughed to himself, wondering what Alessandra would think if she came home to a large, black Great Dane that evening.

 

AuThursday – Anna Brooklyn

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I love to give readers the thrill of a steamy love story. My background is in graphic design but I always secretly wanted to be an author. Writing is my passion and I’m very happy to be able to make it my career. Living on the West Coast definitely makes it easier to get lost in creating a new world while the rain pours down outside.

How do you make time to write?

Writing is my full-time job and so I can’t help but do it daily!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Not really. If I get stuck at a certain point and don’t know where to go, I step away and work on something completely different. Taking my mind off of the story for a couple of hours always helps with getting back on track.

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

I write contemporary romance. I’m very into contemporary as both a reader and a writer because of the way it reflects the current moment we live in! And it’s so easy and fun to fall into a story that you can imagine happening to you right now.

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

I am publishing indie only. I like to write shorter than traditional publishers currently want, but going the traditional route is something I want to try for in the future.

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

Introvert! This affects my work in a positive way, as I believe it helps me focus.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Just do it!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t be afraid to put your work out there. Believe in yourself no matter what.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://annabrooklyn.com

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

Sure! This is from Lifeline:

“My place is only a few minutes away.” His glittering eyes won’t let go

of mine.

The man’s bluntness takes me aback. But I can’t deny that his rock-solid

confidence is turning me on. Just the sound of his voice is stirring up

a deep need inside of me. It’s the last thing I expected to feel after

the night I’ve had so far.

I glance around to check whether someone might have heard him. But so

what if they did? He’s the one that works here, not me. And my best

friend’s nowhere in sight. Besides, it wouldn’t matter if Lila did

overhear what this guy just said. She’d probably cheer me on and

encourage me to take him up on his invitation.

Even though we just met.

Still. It’d be a lot better if Lila doesn’t see me leave with him. I

know what she’d say after she told me to go for it. Don’t fall for

someone again. It’s too soon.

As if I can’t have one night of hot sex without falling for the guy.

Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it can’t ever.

“And I’m free for the rest of the night.” His gaze doesn’t flinch and I

can’t look away. His eyes are hypnotizing. Such a dark brown that they

look completely black. He’s magnetically handsome, and everything about

this guy just shouts that he knows it. Every other woman that’s come

into the coffee shop has glanced his way with so much more than just

passing interest. I can almost feel the hostility that’s directed at me.

All because this man sat down uninvited at my small table.

I toy with a strand of my hair before I catch myself. I drop my hands

into my lap. I should go home. Alone. But it’s the last thing I want to

do right now. I want to feel better. And this dark-haired stranger is

the one who can help me out with that.

His eyes are still locked with mine. “I’m Matt.”

It’s all I can do to keep from laughing out loud. I don’t know how long

we’ve been talking for, but I feel so completely comfortable with him

that I didn’t even notice that he hadn’t told me his name.

“Sarah.”

I try to keep any sign of the intense attraction I have for him out of

my voice. I have no idea if I’ve been successful or not. Feeling his

sexy lips on mine is the only thing I can think about. All I want to do

is escape. Just for a little while. For him to take charge so that for

once, I won’t have to.

I’m grateful when he doesn’t ask me anything about myself. Like how I

came to be in a hospital café that’s filled with people who obviously

belong here when I clearly don’t.

I’m not used to a man being so blatant about what he wants. I’m doing

the same thing back and it’s so unlike me, I don’t recognize myself. I

don’t meet his eyes when I give him my answer.

“Let’s go.”

He gives me a smile that makes me want to get out of here with him even

faster.

Matt towers over me when we stand up. I try to act like we’re just

friends heading out at the same time, but I can’t stop the heat that

rushes to my cheeks.

I’m hoping no one else notices us leaving together. Of course, they do.

Although I don’t have to turn around to know that all eyes are on him

and not me.

Something about the way Matt moves tells me he can deliver exactly what

I need. He could have anyone he wants, and I’m sure he has. There’s no

way this man won’t know just what to do when we’re alone. How to take me

away from everything I don’t want to think about anymore, if only for a

little while.

The moment we’re outside, I can’t wait to get to his place. To make my

memory of tonight better than what it is now. Of having my purse stolen,

ripped off my shoulder so hard that it’s still sore. Hours spent trying

to cancel all of my cards and stem the damage. Having to pull Lila away

from her night shift so she can give me her keys.

I don’t believe in destiny. I never have. But if I hadn’t come by the

hospital tonight, I wouldn’t have met Matt.

And right now, he’s everything I need.

 

AuThursday – Sade Rena

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

How far back would you like to go? Lol! Well, like most, writing has been a part of my life for pretty much all my life. It’s all I ever wanted to do, but for a long while, I didn’t think it was actually persuadable as a career. So, after high school, I joined the workforce in the Hospitality industry where I gave 10 years before furthering my education in the area of accounting. Now, I work as an Accounting Analyst for a Non-Profit. It’s rewarding work, but not my true passion. In 2015, I learned of self-publishing and knew then was the time to get my work out there.

How do you make time to write?

Like I do everything else in life. With a schedule! I’m not super OCD when it comes to calendar planning, but I do take a look at what time I have available and work with that. Most of my writing happens in the morning before work. I often wake early, and drive into the office and write until my coworkers arrive. If I have a strict deadline, I will write in the evenings, but that is rare. Mostly because by the end of the day, I’m not as creative after looking at numbers and dealing with the ups and downs of being an adult. lol

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe that writer’s block can be different things for different authors. Personally, I haven’t found myself in a position where I’m uninspired. I seriously have a note section on my phone filled with plot bunnies and add to it daily. Now, while I haven’t been uninspired, I have found myself to lack motivation sometimes. That usually happens when there’s a lot going on in life, that hinders me from being able to enjoy my writing process.

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

I am a romance author and I love it because I love love. I enjoy being able to create two—or more people and give them this epic love or a complicated one. I love finding unconventional ways for them to meet and see how they over obstacles that may be stacked against them. I love being able to, in a way live out my fantasies and finding readers that may share them. Primarily I write interracial romance because I love, love and I love it in any form that it comes in.

Now, romance is my first love, actually, I got my start in writing with street fiction, but as I grew as a reader, I did as a writer as well. So, while romance is my first love, I enjoy writing and reading fantasy. I do not currently have any works in that genre, but they will be coming to the market over time. The human brain is a beautiful thing to me, and I love fantasy for just about the same reasons as I love romance. I can let my imagination run wild and tell a story that fits my taste and share that with the world.

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

I am currently Indie published and will be primarily indie for a long time to come. I enjoy the freedom to set my own deadlines and remaining in complete control of the creative process. It’s a lot of work, but so is anything that’s worth something. I do, plan to pitch my fantasy titles to a traditional publishing company when the time comes.

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

I am an extraverted introvert. I enjoy being alone, but I am a friendly person that’s pretty easy to get along with. It affects my work in different ways. Most of my friends know that I don’t like being out a lot, so I don’t get many invitations to things, which is great for keeping productive. Except when it’s not and I have to decide to postpone my writing to be social or not. When it comes to the writing side to things, I’ve made a lot of new author buddies which has been great for my work. Because the majority of the time, we’re talking about one of our projects. Sometimes we may get carried away and not get much writing done, but at least we’re still thinking about our stories.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

It’s one that I coined for myself when I ran my subscription box business. I use it in all my newsletter signatures now and try to live by it. “Stay positive. Stay creative. Be bold.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

You know how they say, “dance like no one is watching”? Well I say, write like no one is reading. People can’t love your book until it’s written, and they can’t love it if you don’t. So, try not to let people pressure or influence the way you tell your story. Find what it is you like about stories in general and make those areas your own. There aren’t any new ideas in 2019 and there’s more than one way to tell a story, just keep writing and tell the best version of it that you can. If you suffer from imposter syndrome, get over it. You deserve to tell your story and believe me there are people out there that wants to read it. So, write until your fingers cramp and know that with each book your finish and read, you get better and better.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Amazon ~ https://www.amazon.com/Sade-Rena/e/B00YTIB3UU/

BookBub ~ https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sade-rena

Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/pg/saderenawrites/

Goodreads ~ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14040377.Sade_Rena

Instagram ~ https://www.instagram.com/saderena_author/

Twitter ~ https://twitter.com/saderena_author

Website ~  www.saderena.com

Newsletter ~ http://bit.ly/TribeSR

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

Blurb for Dirty Calls :

New to town and overworked, all Jessica Daly wants is to put herself to sleep, but gets more than she bargains for when she answers a misdialed call. Curiosity takes hold and instead of hanging up, she joins in, enjoying herself way too much. Once satisfied and slightly embarrassed, she ends the call, finding comfort in knowing she’ll never have to hear from him again.

After a long day in the office, Kade Braxton needs a release and is pleasantly surprised when he learns the call to his on again off again fling, Candace, is answered by another woman. Intrigued by her boldness and the sensuality of her voice, he rings her line the next day to finish what they started.

This is crazy, right? Of course, it is, but against her better judgment, she begins to long for his obsessive nature. An easy choice to make considering they’ve never seen each other and never will. But just as their connections heat up, Jessica learns shocking news that makes this whole affair of dirty calls somewhat forbidden, yet still sexy as hell.

Dirty Calls (2)Excerpt:

“You hung up on me before I could get off last night. Doesn’t seem fair,” a deep voice pours out at me.

It’s the guy from last night. The rattle in his tone sends an oh-so-familiar shiver down my spine. I contemplate my response, toying with the thought of obliging, giving him an answer I’m sure he wants. Then I consider how crazy it all is, how loony I am for being turned on by his calls. What does that say about me if I give in to his request? Will he continue to call if I do?

“Are you there, beautiful?”

“How do you know I’m beautiful?” I ask after a moment of silence.

“You’ve gotta be! Only a goddess can make those delicious fucking sounds you made last night. Now, are you going to be a good girl and let me get off?”

My nipples harden at his request, pushing against the fabric of my bra. The line goes quiet and I struggle over what to say next. This is insane, borderline obsessive even. I should definitely hang up, but curiosity wins every time. “I’m in the middle of work.”

“Perfect,” he growls. “Do you have an office or a cubicle?” he continues with bated breath.

I sense he’s already started, not really caring to wait for permission. The thought instantly arouses me as I’m making my way to the door. “I have an office,” I add, closing it lightly before locking it and flipping the blinds closed.

“Then shut the door, sit that pretty ass of yours down at your desk, and wait for me to come.”

“If I do this, will you stop calling?” I ask, secretly pleading for him to say no.

“I don’t think you want that, sweets.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“The way you fucked yourself to the sound of my voice last night tells me otherwise. And I doubt you’d be preparing to phone bone me.”

I go quiet again, and he chuckles.

“Is the door closed?”

“Yes,” I whimper.

“Good girl!”

Dirty Calls to be featured in the Obsessive Temptations Boxed Set releasing June 11, 2019. Pre-order for $0.99!!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2FpQ3rE

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

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Y50ckK

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2Jrnnm77

 

AuThursday – Amiee Smith

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Amiee Smith. Author of the Smart Girl Mafia Series. I write sexy, contemporary romance novels about book smart women and hot men. I started the series on the day of the first Women’s March in 2017. I thought: “Women are going to need something good to read for the next four years.”

All my books are set in California and west coast culture is an integral part of each story.

How do you make time to write?

I stick to a small daily word count goal and plan binge-writing weekends.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

No. Not for me anyway.

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

Romance will heal the world. Now more than ever, we need to believe in happily-ever-after. Also, pleasure (in all forms) alleviates pain and suffering. Curling up with a sexy romance novel has got me through some of the most difficult times in my life. Writing and publishing my loving tales is my way of giving back to the genre that has given me so much relief… joy.

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

I’m an Indie. Part business mind, part creative; being my own publisher integrates both sides of me.

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

Introvert. I’m energized by my time alone. I’m not sure if it affects my work. It’s who I am.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

All things are possible. OR Miracles are normal.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write [about] what you absolutely love. Polish and make it pretty. Put it out into the world. Repeat. The world needs your unique expression now more than ever.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.AmieeSmith.com

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

Excerpt from Break Free, Smart Girl Mafia Series: Book One

CHAPTER 1:
LYNN SCOTT

“We should fuck,” Nick says.

Sugar Ray’s “Fly” streams from the speakers in the backyard a decibel louder than the muffled voices at the party. Jon’s thirty-third birthday celebration, in full swing.

Nick and I are sharing a cigarette in front of our friends’ expansive Craftsman house in the most exclusive neighborhood in Pasadena. The big tree above our heads is decorated in thousands of white lights, illuminating our faces.

Elation. Excitement. Joy forms at the corners of my mouth, but my eyes narrow as I receive the cigarette from his olive-skinned hand.

“Excuse me?” I ask.

“You heard me, Lynn.”

The American Spirit dangles from my brown fingers. Taking the cigarette from me, Nick’s hazel green eyes meet mine. My heart races.

Nick Willingham was my high school crush. He’s the hottest guy I’ve ever seen (like, really). He was the leading man in my schoolgirl fantasies. I taught myself to masturbate using his eleventh-grade yearbook photo.

Back then, we hung out in different cliques. Three years ago, his best friend, Jon, married my best friend, Jen. Since their wedding reception, he and I always share a cigarette during a J + J organized event. During each encounter, we’re cordial. Polite. Responsive in the way friends of friends are, but never anything more… until tonight. In the fifteen years since graduation, I’ve had many dreams come true. But never one as thrilling as the athletic man standing in front of me, initiating a hook-up.

“When?” I whisper.

Nick comes within inches of my face. He’s at least a foot taller than me. I lick my lips. The need to lean into his mouth is intense. I will my hands to stay by my side, fighting the desire to caress his jawline. I can almost feel the dark stubble against my fingertips.

“Now,” Nick says.

Withholding a moan, I long to wrap my arms around his neck and rub my body against his muscular torso. I resist the arousal rooting and sprouting throughout my body— an urge as natural, wild, and organic as bright orange California poppies.

“I’m not having sex with you in the house. And I can’t leave. I have cake duty,” I say, battling every desire within.

J + J assigned all their closest friends a job to do tonight. I can’t skip out on my commitment, even if my impulsive mind would prefer being naked with super-hot Nick Willingham.

“I’m on cake duty too. We have forty-five minutes. How about the back seat of my car?” Nick asks.

An early autumn breeze rustles the leaves in the tree above our heads. The sound beckons my body to proceed. I’ve lost fifty pounds over the last seven months, abstaining from hook-ups to stay focused on my goal. Three weeks ago, I saw my dream number on the scale. I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to relaunch my dirty flirty life with my smaller, fitter body. And he is beyond perfect.

Hooking up with Nick Willingham on a Friday night is a dream come true.

“Let’s go,” I say.