AuThursday – Victoria Jayne

VJ-4Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi, my name is Victoria, and I write. I’m a Jersey girl through and through. Yes, I am from the shore, but I am nothing like the television show that aired on MTV. I’ve been writing since I was sixteen and my first novel was published in December 2018. I love everything to do with wolf shifters and motorcycle clubs (in novel form and television form, okay and movies too). I love me some romance. Give me your alpha males, please.

How do you make time to write?

I’m a wife and mother who works a full-time job 9a-5p. My daughters are 2 and a half and 6 months. Believe me, it is hard to find time to write. So I steal moments whenever I can. Mostly, its when the girls are sleeping or if they are spending time with my family when I’m not around.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes. Writing takes energy and requires a headspace. If I don’t have the energy or my head isn’t in it. I can’t put the words to paper or type them on the screen. If the characters in my head are silent I can’t write. I can try to wake them up by reading more or looking for inspiration.

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

Paranormal Romance. I love alpha males. I love primal reactions. I love the “just have to have it,” caution to the wind, impulsivity that these novels embody. Anne Rice, Suzanne Wright, these lovely ladies really showed me how wonderful this genre really is. JD Tyler, Elisabeth Naughton, and Dianne Duvall just put the nail in my coffin. I love wolf shifters and vampires.

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

My first book was published with a small publishing house that later returned the rights to me. I self-published the book because I believed in it. Since it’s a first in a trilogy, I will be self-publishing the other two books of the series.

The Wolf of the Prophecy eBook

The Witch of the Prophecy is out [now] and is available as an eBook or a Paperback.

The Wolf of the Prophecy, the sequel, will be out this summer (2019).

 

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

I am a combination of the two. It really depends on my comfort level. I am introverted when I first enter a new environment with new people. I really hang back and just watch the dynamics and try to understand who I’m around. I also live in my head and my world of self-consciousness. However, if I’m comfortable with someone or maybe like two people, I am quite extroverted.

I am in awe of people who are confident and extroverted. People who are unapologetically themselves. I want to write characters like that.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

You won’t know until you try.

I know it’s not very profound or eloquent. It’s short and sweet. I spend a lot of time overthinking things and talking myself out of a lot of stuff. But in all honesty, if I don’t try something, I won’t know. So, I try to do that. I try to suck it up and try it, whatever it may be.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

There are resources out there. Whatever you think your weakness is, there is a way to build that up, to improve it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who is doing what you want to do. They are just people too. Nine times out of ten they will be flattered that someone contacted them. You can do it. You can write. You can get published. You can achieve whatever goal you want, you just have to learn how.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

You can start with my website:

https://www.authorvictoriajayne.com/

but I’m on a lot of social media. I’m most active on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AuthorVictoriaJ

https://www.facebook.com/Victoria-Jayne-972231726319372/

https://www.instagram.com/authorvictoriaj/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18610623.Victoria_Jayne

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/victoria-jayne

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

From the Witch of the Prophecy:

TheWitchoftheProphecy

“Pay attention,” she snapped. “You don’t need power, just Divina,” she spoke simply. “You don’t need the council seat, just your witch.”

Tightening his mouth into a firm line, Rori considered her words. The witches could be testing him. Through this manipulation, this appearance of Ines, they could be testing his resolve to sacrifice love for the throne, for the good of all kinds.

“If I do that then I will be the one to end us all,” he said, wary of Ines’ intentions.

Ines shook her head. “You have no desire to do such a thing,” she pointed out. “How could you end us if you don’t want to?”

She coughed again harder and longer this time. She looked at her hand and cursed before wiping it on the woolen blanket she held close around her.

“They are forcing you into a place you’re not meant to be, Roricus. You have to follow your heart, now that it beats. Don’t let the witches make you a puppet,” she said urgently.

He regarded her with a sideways glance. Her sickly form shivered under the blanket.

“What did they do to you?” he asked again.

With words in direct conflict with not only Esmine’s but Ines’ own words, Rori questioned her motive. Add her withering appearance, and it felt wrong.

With a tight-lipped frown Rori pondered his previous idea of her presence being a test by the Ember Witches; a test to his commitment to the throne. The more she talked, the more Rori felt the witches were pushing him toward the sacrifice.

She turned away from him. She tried to get up, but the witch lacked the strength and fell back down.

“Love, Roricus. Love is what you need to fight the prophecy,” she rasped.

Rori clenched his teeth. The manipulations needed to stop. His nostrils flared as his frustrations grew. The incessant games of the Ember Witches, of this witch, was enough to drive a lesser man crazy.

“They cast you out,” he surmised. “Did they strip you as well?” he asked.

She said nothing.

However, her trembling increased and the blanket slipped from her shoulder revealing her state of emaciation. She bowed her head and displayed just how thin her once lush red hair had become. She refused to lift it to him or, perhaps, she lacked the strength.

“Divina is to take your seat isn’t she?” Rori further concluded.

Silence.

“You went against the witches knowing that it was your seat up for grabs,” Rori said.

He breathed in sharply with the belief he knew Ines’ true intentions. He closed his eyes, trying to push down the bloom of rage growing and spreading in his chest. When he opened them again, the world was tinged red.

“You are here to sabotage—”

Ines sprang up interrupting his words. The blanket fell to her feet and exposed her skeletal body with clothing dangling from her. Sores covered her gray skin. Her eyes lacked the shine and youth they had the first time she promised him power.

Cold radiated off her and crept over Rori’s skin.

“I went against my coven for what is right!” she hissed. “I went against my coven for love,” she declared. “For your love, for Percival’s love! For Divina and Selene!”

Her bony fingers gripped his forearms. The sharp digits dug into the muscular flesh of Rori’s arms, threatening to pierce through with a strength he didn’t realize she possessed. She shook as all her energy appeared concentrated on her hold on him.  

“You are not fit for the council, Roricus,” she seethed. “You lack the age and the commitment. It is meant for Percival. The coven fears Selene’s devotion to her vampire.”

From The Wolf of the Prophecy:

“We don’t get a lot of folks coming through these parts,” Smitty explained. “So, when someone unknown shows up, we notice. She went to the diner down the road a piece this morning after Officer Owens caught her sleeping in her truck.”

Aric’s jaw tightened as he listened. She had opted to sleep in her truck rather than his bed. She had opted for discomfort over his arms. Wincing at the sound of his howling wolf, Aric gripped the arms of the chair so hard the wood creaked.

Bruce cleared his throat and did his best to ignore Aric. “She’s a human,” Bruce said in a low tone meant only for wolf hearing, “and doesn’t fully understand the mate bond or its implications.” Bruce waved a hand at the suffering Aric. Breathing deeply, Aric did his best to hide his discomfort.

Smitty regarded him with suspicion. “You went and mated with a human girl without telling her what it all meant?”

Aric glared at him. “My wolf—”

“It’s a complicated situation,” Bruce interrupted.

 

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AuThursday – Monique Orgeron

DSC00098CRPTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Monique Orgeron, and I was born and reside in the great state of Louisiana. Growing up though we traveled the world with my father’s position, and I have lived in Nigeria and in Singapore. Today, I’ve been married for almost 28 years to my honey bunches of oats and together we have two beautiful daughters that are now both in college. As a stay at home mother for 22 years, and yes, I was the mother with stupid written on my forehead volunteering for anything and everything. However, with both my daughters now not needing me like they once did, I found myself needing more out of life. Purely by accident, I found my love of reading turned into a passion for writing. It’s my turn now and couldn’t ask for anything more. When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them, “I write women’s fantasies, I fill their days with love, and intrigue, and their nights with seduction.” What could be better?

What are you working on at the minute?

Currently, I am working on my 8th book called Retribution. It is the 2nd book in my Youngblood series which is a spin-off from my Stern Family Saga.

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

I write contemporary/suspense romance. I love this genre because it is complex. My books are mafia based but they are so much more than that. They are about secrets, deception, love, intrigue, and most importantly they are about family. I also think the excitement of writing in this genre is that not only women but men as well find this genre of romance appealing.

In this genre, I am not limited to one emotion. My readers call my books a rollercoaster ride of emotions. My books will make you cry, laugh at times, and make you yell, “Oh shit, I didn’t see that coming!” or they will make you scream, “What the hell!” Making you want to throw your Kindle out of the window but by the end of them, you will love me for it or at least that’s the goal.

One thing to know about my books is, you will fall in love with each and every one of my characters. The men are hot, sexy and oh so alpha, but you will not find any damsels in distress. My daughters would kill me if I wrote weak women. To me, I believe as a woman we all go through obstacles in our lives but the old idea of needing a man to save us is not my cup of tea. My female leads might start off having obstacles and tribulations in their way but they grow to find their own voices and strength. They don’t need a man to save them or validate them. They simply need a man to love them for who they are and to become a partner in life.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write full-time and love each minute of it. I’m very grateful to have this ability.

Where do your ideas come from?

Anything can be an inspiration, a picture, a song, a single phrase. I can see or hear something that has piqued my interest, I close my eyes and find a scene playing around it. When I write, it’s like a movie playing out in my head. I call it my mojo and my family knows when my mojo is strong to leave me alone.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Sure, I do. I think it happens to everyone. When it happens, I am a nervous wreck for however long it takes for me to have one light bulb moment.

How are you publishing this book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or digital)

I am an Indie author. I like being in control of my own words, covers, and how my audience sees me. I am extremely extroverted as my readers will tell you. I love being fully immersed with the lovers of my books. It’s one of the things about being able to do this full time, I love engaging with my readers in my reader group on a daily basis. There is so much empowerment to be found with a gang of women.

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

Advantages are I am my own boss. I answer to no one. I make all the decisions.

Disadvantages are I am the boss, LOL. I have no one to blame when I make mistakes, and it all falls on my shoulders. I have no team behind me making sure I am on a schedule are helping me to get more exposure.

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Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Practically everywhere and I hope to hear from you.

Monique Orgeron’s Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/c5Zy-L

Amazon Profile: http://amzn.to/2Caa9G5

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMoniqueOrgeron/  

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com1643/  /groups/46497597390

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoniqueOrgeron

Goodreads Author Profile page:   

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17170531.Monique_Orgeron

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/monique-orgeron

Art of Seduction Final Cover (1)Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

When I get to her bedroom, I hear water running. Realizing she’s in the shower, I take a seat on the chair and wait for her to come out. After a while, the water turns off and I watch as the door opens. Fallon walks out, noticing me sitting there. She’s so beautiful; she has her hair in another messy top knot, with a few strands dangling down her neck, wet from the shower. She is wearing a see-through tank top and a lace thong. Beautiful.

“Where have you been?” The tone of my voice should be a warning to her.

“On a date, with Miles.”

I don’t move from my spot as I ask, “Where the fuck did he take you, and what the hell did you do?”

“That is none of your business, Gabriel. Nothing I do is your business. You made that very clear.”

I rush over to her and pull her over my legs while I sit on the bed and smack her ass. She screams out, but that won’t stop me.

Smack!

“Don’t fuck with me, Fallon! When I ask you a question, I want an answer.”

Smack!

“Gabriel, you have no right to ask me anything.”

Smack!

She finally wiggles out from under me and hurries to her closet. I follow her inside as she twists her body to look in the mirror at her now bright, red ass.

“You have no right, Gabriel! No right to touch me like that!”

Gritting my teeth. “Did you let that boy touch you, Fallon?”

She turns around and starts hitting me in the chest, pushing me into the opposite wall from the full-length mirror. Once I hit the wall, I roughly grab her and turn her around, facing the mirror. I then cross her arms over her chest and lower my head to her neck.

“Did you let him touch you?”

She doesn’t answer me; she just watches us from the mirror.

“Did he, Fallon? Did he touch what’s mine?”

I release my strong hold on her arms, and she is now melding into me. I start to caress her stomach under the tank top.

I kiss her neck and whisper, “Tell me, Fallon, did he put his mouth on you? Did he kiss you?”

I hear her start to breathe heavier. She’s turned on, and leans back into me, still watching us.

“Did he try to touch your breasts?”

Slowly, I glide my hands from her stomach up to her breasts. Her tank top is so sheer, I can see the color of her areolas and her nipples hardening, peeking through. She looks so hot…I‘ve never seen a sexier woman. I grab her nipple and pinch, then start gently caressing them, all while sucking on her neck. She starts to moan. That’s my undoing. I need more. I need to feel more and make sure she knows she’s mine. I push her tank up over her breast and continue to caress them. I look up into the mirror and lock eyes with her.

“See these breasts, Fallon? They belong to me. Only my hands will ever touch them.”

Her eyes close briefly before opening again, with so much desire in them. This innocent girl has no idea what her body is capable of, but I’m going to give her a taste of it tonight. I hold one breast and slide my other hand under her lace panties. Her head falls back onto my chest. She’s such a beautiful sight in the mirror, innocently raw and waiting to be devoured. I start to rub her clit.

“Right here, Fallon…your clit…did he try to touch it? You know it belongs to me. I’m the only man ever to feel how plump it gets. Do you understand?”

Moaning, she responds, “Yours.”

“That’s right, Fallon…mine.”

I reach my other hand down and rip her pretty little thong right off her. I need to see all of her; I need full access. I slide one of my hands down to her thigh and slightly push outwards.

“Open, Fallon…I want to see what’s mine.”

She listens and spreads her legs a little, just enough to look hot as hell in the mirror. She’s waxed completely bare, leaving me with a full view of her glistening pussy, so wet with want. I know she can feel my erection, so I push against her just enough to let her know how turned on I am. I go back to fondling her breast with one hand, while the other keeps on manipulating her clit. Once I have her dripping with need, I go further down and sink a finger into her.

My voice is so husky with need.

“Fuck, baby, you’re so tight. Do you feel it? Do you feel yourself wrapped around my finger, smothering it like a vice?”

“Yes…oh, yes.”

Once I’m able to slide my finger in and out of her without any resistance, I slide in another finger, continuing an in and out motion. I take my thumb and rub her clit, going faster still.

“That’s it, baby…rock against me…I want you to feel good. This pussy belongs to me. I will be the only man to be able to feel it, the only one to feel it’s warmth. Shit, you’re so wet, baby…ride my fingers. I will be the only man to taste your pussy, and I will be the only man to make you cum. Tell me, Fallon, who do you belong to? Tell me.”

Breathy, she moans out, “You, Gabriel…only you…I belong to you.”

“You’re fucking right…you do…you belong to me. Now give it to me, Fallon. I want you to cum, cum for me. Let me hear that sweet mouth of yours moan for me.”

She’s panting so hard. I bite into her neck and pinch her nipple, which sets her off. It’s a beautiful sight. I’ll remember the way she looks tonight for the rest of my life. As she convulses in my arms, I grab her face, forcing her eyes back on mine in the mirror.

I ask one more time, “Did he?”

“No, Gabriel.”

I slowly release her, letting her relaxed body slide down mine to the ground. I look at her one more time through the mirror. Stepping over her, I adjust myself then my suit. Approaching her closet island, I reach into my pocket and pull out a black jewelry box. Setting it down, I walk out, leaving her there on the floor. I could have fucked her, but I chose not to. Not until she becomes my wife.

 

 

AuThursday – Jennifer Vettor

unnamedTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Jennifer Vettor. I am a Canadian author living in southern Ontario. I’ve been married 28 years to my first husband (he hates this joke.) We have three grown children, two dogs, and 2 cats. I also work as a Reiki Practitioner and a Holistic Nutritionist.

How do you make time to write?

I have the privilege of working from home. This allows free time between clients to write! I also am lucky enough to make my own schedule, so I will often schedule in writing days. (I admit these days have often turned into Netflix binging and Facebook comas. I need more discipline.)

Do you believe in writer’s block?

While I have experienced blocks of time that I’ve been unmotivated, I have yet to experience writer’s block. Even when I’m not writing I have lots of ideas and stories bouncing around my unruly brain.

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

I write spicy romance novels. I love it because it is a place for my imagination to safely wander, AND it keeps me out of trouble.

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

I have chosen to publish independently. I’m a bit of a control freak and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. I was writing as a ghostwriter for an Indie publisher and when the time came to launch my own work, I just followed in their footsteps. I’m not opposed to traditional though. Maybe next time!

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

I tend to be a bit of both. I do love being around others, but I prefer small, intimate occasions. Call me a “social introvert”. I don’t mind the time spent alone and generally use this time to write.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Don’t quit before the miracle happens.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

For the first draft, just write your thoughts, and don’t worry about structure. You ’ll have plenty of chances to edit. Just let your creativity flow or you’ll get hung up on form, and start nit-picking everything. Nothing kills your writing buzz faster than self-doubt. Just bang away on that keyboard!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

jennifervettor.com

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

This is from my recent offering ‘Fated’.

unnamed (1)Meg spent her weekend sorting, organizing, and cleaning, clearing as much space as she could for Kade to move around. She was overwhelmed by the amount of work ahead of her, and several times had to calm herself on the porch with a cup of tea just to stave off a panic attack. Although she might have bitten off more than she could chew, she’d much rather choke on ambition than be swallowed by apathy. She’d just take things a day at a time.

It was late Sunday evening. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor, searching through boxes of old books, piled two and three rows high. She was hoping to salvage much of their contents for the shelves of the bookery, maybe even find a treasure or two, but much of what she found was questionable in its usefulness. Dusty, old fashioned books, perfumed with a musty aroma of decay and neglect.

She assumed most of the books were donated castaways the previous owner never had the time, or the desire, to sort through. He seemed more a hoarder than a collector, Meg thought ruefully. Most of the boxes were untouched, still sealed with yellowed, crumbling packing tape that had long ago lost its sticky residue.

She was about to push aside a box, certain she wouldn’t find anything interesting when something caught her eye. It was a vintage diary, the kind that would have been filled with the longings, secrets, and fantasies of a young girl; red leather with a gold scroll design, long ago faded. It was locked, but the leather was compromised, cracked along the flap that held the metal edge in place. She took a moment to search the bottom of the box for the key, piling the remaining books around her, but found nothing, even after turning it upside down. She placed the box down and retrieved the diary, inquisitively rolling it over in her hands. It seemed a shame to break it, almost impolite, but Meg was curious about its contents. She carried the book with her into the kitchen, hoping to find a tool to unlatch it.

“This should work,” she spoke out loud, to no one in particular. She slipped a small butter knife behind the seal and it easily popped open on the first try, as though its secrets begged to be revealed. She slowly opened the book, pleasantly surprised by the soft texture of the paper. It was quite extraordinary, made even more striking by the elegant script decorating the pages. Meg felt the familiar flutter of excitement that always happened whenever she first opened the pages of a new book; the promise of a new adventure waiting to be devoured, fresh mysteries to unfold, and
delicious characters to fall in love with.

It had been years since she’d read cursive, raised in a computer generation, but there was something mysteriously beautiful about those swirling consonants and vowels. It struck a deep chord with her, luring her into an era where things were simpler, slower, with more attention paid to detail. An idyllic world where folks really took the time to engage with each other; computers, cell phones, and Instagram just a cold, distant, impossible reality. She often felt like she’d been born in the wrong era, dropped onto the planet generations later than she should have been. She longed for those deeper connections. Excited, she opened the first page, allowing the words to transport her, like a literary time machine.

AuThursday – SE Massery

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Sara, although I write under S. Massery. I grew up in western Massachusetts, and I think everyone knew I was going to be an author before I did because I was always writing stories. I went to Emmanuel College in Boston, and I cycled through ten different majors until I ended on English Writing and Literature—emphasis on writing. I moved out to Wyoming and worked on a guest ranch for a few summers. I moved back to Massachusetts, had a brief stint in hospitality, and now I work for a flooring company in my home town. I write in my spare time. Eventually, I hope to be a full-time author.

How do you make time to write?

Sometimes I can get away with writing a little at work (shh, don’t tell). I usually write at night—that’s when I get most of my words on the page.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe it’s a real thing, but I also don’t think that should stop someone from trying to write. My own writing career started after I bought a notebook and vowed to write a passage a day—about my thoughts and feelings, the weather, existential stuff—and strengthening that “writing muscle” helped me transition to writing a full-length novel. Whenever I got stuck in the story, I went back to the journal.

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

I’m a bit all over the place in terms of genre. I originally intended my first book to be a romance, but it took a darker turn and ended up in women’s fiction. I also intended the second book to be a romance, and it is, but there’s a stronger focus on the main character’s journey of self-discovery and action and adventure. My third book, I promise, is an actual romance!

Anyway, back to the question—I think women’s fiction is my favorite to write. I love that it’s a bit more complicated than romance, although there is usually a love story in mine, and that readers aren’t promised a neat or happy ending. Life can be a bit messy, and I quite enjoy pulling on those emotions in my books, too.

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

I’m publishing indie! I really wanted creative control over every single aspect. Sometimes that’s scary (okay, a lot of times it’s scary) because if something goes wrong, it’s on my shoulders. My success or failure all depends on me. I’ve learned so many things since publishing Something Special, and I keep learning more every day. That’s the exciting part. I’m also a pretty impatient person, so knowing that getting traditionally published could take a year, or could never happen, played a factor into my decision.

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

Oh goodness. I’m an introvert to the extreme. It works out well for the actual writing part—sit down by myself and bang out a book, sure—but the marketing aspect tires me out. I love talking to new people, discussing my books, doing takeovers and whatnot. It just takes a little more energy than writing does. I’m conscious of that, so I try to spread out everything when I can. Release week is exhausting, though!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” Pretty sure that’s from the movie Fired Up. It’s true, though! And it’s more fun to say that instead of, “No risk equals no reward.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Writing should be fun. It’s not fun all the time, but remember why you started writing in the first place. And above all, don’t give up. Just get words written, and you can edit it later.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Almost everywhere!

Website: www.smassery.com

Newsletter: www.smassery.com/mailinglist

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorsmassery

Facebook reader group: www.facebook.com/groups/smasserysquad

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorsmassery

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/s-massery

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/smassery

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/smassery

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

This is an excerpt from Something Sacred, which just released on March 14! It’s free to read in Kindle Unlimited, and it’s book 2 in the Something Special duet, although they’re both standalone novels.

I slip my water bottle back into its pouch, zipping it closed. Cora does the same, swiping at the sweat trickling down her temples. She follows me down a trail for about a half hour, and then I make a sharp turn into the brush.

“Where are you going?” she yells.

“Come on, not every fire has a path leading to it,” I call back. It’s a steeper descent than I thought, and I slide on some rocks, throwing my hands wide to keep my balance. “Careful,” I say. “Take it slow if you need—”

She slips and falls into me. We roll down the hill until I can dig in and stop us. She lands on top of me, her hair in my mouth and her knee dangerously close to my groin.

I grunt as she starts moving, picking herself up off of me. I spit out her hair and start laughing, eyeing her red face. I can’t tell if she’s blushing or if she’s redder from the exercise, but after a second she starts laughing, too.

“You were just telling me to watch my step and then—”

I tip my head back and laugh louder. “You just took me out, Fletcher. That was like a sliding tackle.”

“Oh my god,” she gasps. “Don’t tell anyone.”

“Are you kidding? I’m telling everyone.”

We grin at each other for a minute before I pick myself up and brush off the dirt. And then she says, “God doesn’t hate you, Jared.”

I shake my head and turn away from her. “It sure feels like he does.”

She exhales and stands, too. “So, do you want to talk about it?”

“Talk about what?”

“The shit hitting the fan with your family, or whatever you said before.”

I start down the hill again. “You used to enjoy silence.”

She snorts. Rocks roll past me as she slides again. In time, she’ll get more graceful on different types of terrain, just like I did. “Yeah, but you’re a bottle of secrets.”

My relationship with my dad fractured right after my fight with Colby. It’s easy to connect the dots: because I got in a fight, I discovered my dad wasn’t the good guy I always thought he was. And my mom is living with a liar.

“Let’s just head back,” I say as we get to the bottom of the hill.

Get it here:  https://amzn.to/2VXkJWJ

 

AuThursday – Adriana Anders

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi there! Thank you for having me today! I write moody, sexy, and suspenseful Romantic Thrillers and Contemporary Romance. While my first books—the Blank Canvas Series—focused on the turmoil and secrets in a small Virginia town, my upcoming Survival Romances take things global. Which makes research especially fun!

So, background… Though I’ve been an avid reader for most of my life, I started writing seriously in a circuitous way. I used to be a singer and actor and did voices for video games—then I translated video games (from French into English) and, finally, got a chance to write them. Getting from there to Romance was a long, arduous road with lots of ups and downs… but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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

I’m 60% extrovert and 40% introvert, which means that after hanging with my friends for a few hours, I need about the same amount of time to recover alone with a good book. I prefer to work in coffee shops, with headphones on. Even better if it’s at a table with other writing friends!

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

I’m a morning writer. I’ve had periods of time when I wake up at 5am to get that special quiet before the kids descend upon me, but I’m generally a morning to early afternoon person. I think it’s because my brain isn’t fully awake, which often makes for better results.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yes. And how. This past year has been a long, complicated journey of cleaning out a house and moving an entire family’s life from one country to another. Writing has been VERY tough and the thing is, I’ve finally figured out why: If I don’t take the time to just think and be with the characters, then I never quite grasp who they are.  Right now, my goals are to write, think, brainstorm, and let myself get to know my people before putting too many words on the page.

I see you have quite a few series, including BLANK CANVAS, LOVE AT LAST, and THE ROGUE SERIES. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

Series appeal to me on a few levels. There’s something so incredibly comforting about familiarity. It’s what draws me to series—getting to see familiar places and characters and how they progress through the pages. Writing a series around a small town, a family, or other groups of people gives readers a chance to get really entrenched in a way that feels intimate. I love that.

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

My novella, DEEP BLUE, is out in a March anthology called TURN THE TIDE, published by Sourcebooks, which is also publishing my upcoming series of Survival Romances. I love the freedom of publishing independently and the excitement of seeing my books in bookstores, which is what my traditional contracts give me. What’s great is that, though there’s overlap, I am able to reach two different audiences.

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

Self-publishing is wonderful because I can decide what I write, when I write it, what the cover looks like, etc. And if none of it works, I can go back to the drawing board and re-brand. I love the freedom and flexibility. But it costs money. And I know that what I invest in my own books (including on edits, promo, etc.) is a fraction of what my publisher spends to put my books out. Beyond the cost, there are two aspects to traditional publishing that I really appreciate: one is the network and reach. My publisher gets my book into places I’d never manage on my own. The second is the team. The number of passes my books go through—from my acquiring editor to the copy editors and proofreaders—the number of people involved—designers, the PR team, and beyond—make the final product as close to perfection as there is, while the experience of having a team to back me up is absolutely priceless.

I’m not going to say to write every day, because it doesn’t work that way for me. In fact, I think there’s a path for each and every writer—a method or habit or system that will work—but it might not be easy to find. I know authors who write all night and sleep during the day, others who can get a thousand words in over a lunch break, others plot everything out before they even start, which isn’t at all how I work. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that if something doesn’t work for you, don’t give up. That’s it, in a nutshell, try things, stop it if they’re only making it harder. Then try something else. And DON’T. GIVE. UP.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

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

Oh, I’d be delighted! This is from DEEP BLUE, my novella in the free TURN THE TIDE anthology from Sourcebooks!

Zoe shouldn’t have come out to the oil platform alone.

How many times had Jane warned her? How many times had she promised her partner that she wouldn’t scuba dive offshore rigs on her own? But she’d done it before, and she’d do it again.

Unless, of course, this time was her last.

Crap.

Eighty-five feet beneath the surface of the water, she spun, taking in details she hadn’t noticed above. The absolute stillness was disquieting, when usually the water around the rig’s coral- and crustacean-coated legs was teeming with life. The sea turtles and tiny reef fish that always investigated her presence were nowhere to be seen. The only sound was her own breathing as she sucked air from the tank, the only movements the gentle swish of sea anemone and the flurry of bubbles rising from her mouth.

The flat, washed-out blue she usually found so calming looked dead without the flash of garibaldi dashing between the old oil platform’s maze of support beams like playful orange flames. Usually they’d be swarming, but today…nothing.

It was Sea Lion Bob’s absence that transformed her sense of general unease into full-blown worry, however. He’d greeted her every time she’d come to check the Polaris platform reef.

Something was very wrong.

Get out of here, her instincts screamed, even as her training forced her to relax. A slow inhale, the sound thin under the weight of the water, and a kick up, as languid as she could make it with the panic weighing her limbs down. A long exhale churned the water above, and she added bubbles to the mix by venting enough air to rise slowly.

Relax. Stay calm.

Why hadn’t she paid attention to the niggling in her belly as she’d driven her boat toward the platform? It was impossible to pinpoint exactly when the feeling had started or what had set it off, but it was undeniable. Funny how fear changed things. It turned the platform’s shell-encrusted support beams into a phantom forest. The pinks and purples, leached of all color, were the wan gray of death.

I’ll never come alone again, she promised the Fates or God or the ocean itself.

As she slowly ascended, her eyes searched feverishly for some clue as to what had turned a busy, dynamic reef into a foggy, blue ghost town.

Had she missed something on the trip out here?

She remembered passing the two working platforms closer inland. Nothing strange there. A few miles farther out, just before San Elias Island, she’d spotted the Daphne and drawn her boat up alongside her, as she did nearly every time she came this way. Blushing, of course. Always blushing with that guy.

“Hey, Eric.”

Slow as syrup, he had leaned against the rail of his boat, lean body indolent-looking, though his face remained serious as always. “Evening, Zoe. Kinda late today, aren’t you?”

She had shrugged, working hard to keep her gaze above chest level so she wouldn’t stare. What was it about this guy that made her want to eat him up with her eyes? He wasn’t even her usual type, which was dark and intellectual. No, this guy had Paul Newman good looks, with the build of a roughneck. She’d bet anything his hands were as coarse as his voice.

“Yeah,” she’d managed to shout against the wind. “Been a couple weeks since I checked in on Polaris.”

“I noticed,” he’d said without the hint of a smile.

The words—straight, serious, and a touch accusatory—did things to her. Good God, what was wrong with her? Those two innocuous words made her heart race more than anything she’d done with her last boyfriend. Ridiculous, considering that Eric showed no more interest in her than in his fishing pole.

Besides, she knew absolutely nothing about him.

“All right.” She reached forward to pull the throttle out, but stopped at his next words.

“You alone today?”

“Yeah,” she had to admit. “Jane’s not—”

“You diving the rig?”

“Yes.” She had sounded defensive. Weird how that came back to her now, with a hiccup of embarrassment.

The lines around his mouth tightened, his too-blue eyes narrowed, and he nodded once, quick and short.

“Careful. Weather headed our way.”

When his worry warmed her insides instead of sparking a snarky Yes, sir, she’d known she should get out of there. Throwing him a smile and a wave, she’d taken off as fast as she could. Everything about the man said trouble—for her, at least. Oh, he’d always been friendly and respectful, but it was the unspoken stuff that got to her, like the hungry way he eyed her or, much more worrisome, the way that look lit her up inside.

She should have listened to his warning about weather, should have turned around right there and headed back to the mainland. Or, even better, she should have paused there longer, flirted a bit, maybe even screwed up the courage to finally ask him out.

But she hadn’t. And now she was pushing back the panic and slowly working through the eerie calm to the surface, which seemed to be getting farther away with every kick of her fins.

Inhale…stop kicking. Loosen up. Be big. Exhale…

BOOM!

The sound hit her, and she threw up her hands to cover her ears. Less than a second later, the rig’s supports shook, releasing a blinding dust cloud that could mean only one thing—earthquake.

Oh God, oh God, oh God. At fifteen feet below the surface, she fought the desire to head all the way up and counted down the seconds for her three-minute safety stop.

Calm down. I’m better off in the water than on land.

Not if the platform collapsed.

She’d never been scared like this on a dive, never shivered so hard underwater.

BOOM!

Another gray puff billowed from the platform, joining the dust rising from the depths like smoke from a forest fire.

She didn’t have to check her gauge to know she was running low on air.

Yeah, I’m done here.

Buy Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NWZJT8Y

 

 

 

AuThursday – Anna Hague

annahagueTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, in my other life, I’m a freelance sports journalist, and I’ve done that job for years. I’m a big fan of auto racing, and I’ve had the privilege of covering the Indianapolis 500 for nearly 20 years. Right now, because I’m spending more time as an author, I cover a lot of high school sports, and I love it. To me, high school sports are the purest form of athletics. My husband and I live in central Indiana. We were both born there, but have moved around the country several times and landed back here. We don’t have kids, but have three parrots and a puppy, but we’ve hosted eleven foreign exchange students which has been one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done.

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

I try to keep a structure, but with the animals in the house, there are a lot distractions. I usually write three or four hours in the morning, be it my current WIP or my stories for the paper. I’ll take a lunch break and then either go to the gym or get some chores accomplished. I’ll write again until around 4 p.m. I don’t write a lot in the evening. I prefer to spend the time with my husband having dinner or watching a little TV. Sometimes I think I’ll write into the night, but honestly because I’m up in the morning around 5:30-6, by 8:30 or 9, I’m ready for bed.

Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere. The song Counting Stars by One Republic was a real catalyst for me when I was toying with the idea for Captured Hearts. Things from the news, or an interaction I’ve had with someone. I’ve seen a car drive by me on the interstate and my curiosity of where they might be going popped an idea into my heard. My hometown, Indianapolis was a setting I wanted to use. I finally had to start keeping a file with my ideas because they just keep coming. I wish I could write as fast.

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

I’m such a pantser. I have a general idea where I want things to go, but as I write, sometimes the story takes a big turn. Although taking notes is important in being a reporter, I rarely make too many notes about stories other than the main plot.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block?

Yes. Just recently. I was working on the third book of Love Strictly Tested trilogy which deals with a murder trial, and we had a family tragedy involving a murder. I had been doing research about what happens during a murder investigation and trial, the whole thing became way too real, and I couldn’t write a word for about three months. Luckily, the publisher of this book was not quite ready for it to be finished, and I was able to get back into the story. I’m still a little freaked out by what happened.

You run your own publication company, what would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I’ve lucky to have been both self-published and through a publisher. There are definite pluses and minuses to both. In self-pubbing, you have total control over everything, the story, the covers release dates, and royalties. The downside is you have to pay for all of the services like editing, cover design, formatting and most of your marketing.

With a publisher, they incur all the initial costs which is great, but your royalties aren’t as high. You can’t control the release date, and you don’t have a whole lot of input on the covers. I get to describe what I think I’d like on the cover, but I don’t get a lot of say so. And while they market the book, I’m still responsible for a fair amount of marketing. I really like this publisher, so it’s not anything against them. It’s pretty much the industry standard. I’ve learned a lot from both, and I think I’ll continue to do both if the opportunity is there.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

For Captured Hearts, I gave the designer, Kellie Dennis, some stock photos that I thought conveyed some of my vision. She sent me back two designs, and they were both phenomenal, and I had a hard time choosing, but I love what she did. For the second book, Stolen Hearts, I sent her the cover she had done and then gave her a brief synopsis of the story and characters. She came back with another amazing cover. For Angel’s Collar, I gave my input about the characters and that I thought black and white was sort of my vision, and that’s what the designer did. I like it, an am anxious to see the one for the second book in the series.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.annahague.com

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

This is from Captured Hearts, the first book in the Heart series.

Even though blasts of icy February wind bulldozed through Louisville, Jamey wiped the sweat from his forehead with his sleeve.

Cigarette smoke and stale bourbon permeated the worn leather jacket, making him recoil at the smell. His rapid breathing and tense muscles made him second-guess himself. Something about this Allee Jones was not right. A week’s worth of surveillance had provided more questions than answers. Every day, he watched her apartment, and at nine thirty in the morning, she tentatively descended the three concrete steps to begin the walk to her job about fifteen minutes away. Her gaze, always focused on the sidewalk, only lifted to check her progress. She never spoke to anyone. She waited to cross the street until she was alone. Every time a group started to form at the crosswalk, she moved away so fast, he watched her stumble. Some days, she stood by the crosswalk for several minutes until the path was completely clear of people. Often she leaned against the wall of a business watching the people hustle by, never making eye contact with any of them. Women completely ignored her, but men would look at the attractive blonde-haired woman who tried to fade into the bricks. When a man would talk to her, she spoke a few words but never looked him in the eye. They all shrugged and walked away from the strange, but beautiful girl.

Jamey thought she was a stunner with waist-length honey-colored hair down to the middle of her back. Maybe she was about five foot seven, but he couldn’t tell since she hunched over most of the time. This girl’s mesmerizing actions forced Jamey to reconsider his own choices, but too much was at stake. Watching her every move, he tried to understand why someone so attractive would go out of her way not to interact with people. Those thoughts flooded his brain, and his real mission became cloudy. Something about her reached out to him, despite the fact he had never been closer than twenty yards.

He could not shake the attraction.

 

Tina’s Touring – Darla M. Sands

I’m over at my fellow Writer Zen Gardener and friend Darla Sands today talking about my book, “Finding Your Path to Publishing”.   Please join me.

http://darlamsands.blogspot.com/

Tina fnl