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 – Annie J. Kribs

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

In real life, I’m an IT analyst for an insurance company. I spend a lot of my time coordinating programming resources and working with internal staff to develop the best product possible. This often involves leading negotiations between business users and technical resources. I like to joke that I’d be great at hostage negotiation! This probably seems like a really left-brain job for a writer, but in actuality, it gives me great insight into how people interact, what makes them tick, and how they deal with change. The project management experience is a huge help with writing, too.

I’m married with two ‘tween-agers so my writing time tends to be limited to sitting in dance rehearsals, Boy Scout meetings, and baseball games. We live on 20 acres of wooded land in Michigan where we farm, hunt, swim and play. We have a Doberman pinscher, a cat who thinks he’s a Doberman, another cat who thinks she’s a princess, a guinea pig who is the cutest rodent on Earth, and usually a handful of fish.

How did you come up with the idea for your WOLF CREEK series? 

It started as a really weird dream! I dreamt about this enormous old house with a hidden room and something lost there.  I thought about that dream for days before I felt like it had enough “meat” in it to make a book. Once I developed my characters, I started seeing the town come together. I hadn’t really considered writing a series until I was nearly finished with the first book, Resurrected Hearts. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my characters behind, and BAM! A series was born.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yes. Oh my, yes. Because it takes me so long to write a first draft, I often lose my train of thought or excitement for the scene I’m writing. This is the case right now, actually. When I get writer’s block, I liken it to skipping the gym for a few days. I know I have to return to the story, and I know it’ll be painful at first, but it’ll all come right back with practice and dedication.

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

My mantra about rejection letters; the more you get, the less they hurt! I’ve had a few rejections.  Some bordered on rude, some were polite and encouraging. Those polite letters kept my hope alive.

Can you tell us your story of getting “the call” (or e-mail)?

Ahh.  Such a happy memory!  The acquisitions editor at the publishing house sent me an email offering a publishing contract.  I read the email while on a break at work and I literally jumped out of my seat. Mind you, I work in an office with 650 employees, so the action didn’t go unnoticed. (lol) I called my husband first, and then my mom.  About a half-hour later I received a huge bouquet of flowers from my parents congratulating me on my first book. I think I floated on that high for several months! And, the release of each subsequent book has felt nearly the same way.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Strangely, I have a harder time identifying with my own sex. I’ve always been a tomboy.  My best friend was my little brother and I spent the summers of my most formative years at a Boy Scout camp.  I feel like I understand the male brain better than the female brain. Maybe that’s a gift. Maybe it’s a curse.  Sometimes I have characters whose personalities I just can’t identify with, and that’s where I really struggle. I may know the character belongs in the book (and heaven forbid it’s a main character!), but no matter how much I think on it, I just can’t put myself inside that character’s head.  Characters who are fashionable, for example, completely shut me out. Fashion left me behind in the ’80s and I have to turn to my daughter for descriptions of hair, nails, and clothes.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I’m a strong Christian, and I turn to God daily for inspiration, patience, guidance – everything.  My favorite bible verse is from Genesis 28:15

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

I carry this phrase on a tiny sheet of paper in my wallet and it brings me a great deal of comfort.

What are your current projects?

I’m feverishly trying to finish the last book in my Wolf Creek series.  I’m probably halfway through and I have no idea what to call it. I pitched a series idea to a new publisher recently and they loved it so I’m anxious to get started on it.  I’m also working on turning a YA short story I wrote about a school shooting into a full-length novel. This is a work that’s close to my heart, but also extremely painful to write so it’s taking some time.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m active on Facebook as “Annie J. Kribs”, on Instagram at @anniekribsauthor, on Twitter at @ajkribsauthor, and I have a website www.anniekribs.com.  I love communicating with readers!

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

From my recent release Healing Hearts:

“So, you’re interested in me, huh?” His expression had now changed from teasing to smug satisfaction as he stepped back and sized her up.

“I didn’t say that.” Bailey turned her back on him and locked the heavy door. She needed to compose herself. She was so out of practice with the whole dating scene and anyway, Brent had never been flirtatious. What was it about Luke that made her feel like a fumbling teenager? Unfair!

“Yeah. You kinda did. You said you could have been interested in any other guy at the coffee shop. That implies that you were interested in someone, and saying that it might not have been me was just your way of throwing doubt across my path. But I didn’t fall for it. You like me.” His complete conviction was as sexy as his megawatt smile. Until now, she’d always thought swooning only happened in romance novels. She tried to cover herself with a stern look.

“Less and less all the time,” Bailey assured him, which only made him chuckle. “Well, it was nice, um, chatting with you, Luke. I’ve got to get back.” Bailey took a step away from the door, which turned out to be too wide, and slid down the cement steps. Luke was there in a flash, his arms around her keeping her from landing flat on her back.

Bailey clutched at his arms, her torso pressed tightly against him. Oh my! He felt every bit as good as he looked in his form-fitting T-shirt. She licked her lips, hoping he couldn’t feel her heart pounding, though whether it was from the near slip or his amazing body, even she couldn’t tell.

Luke watched her, first with concern, and then interest as he held her. His head came down as if he was about to kiss her. Bailey scrambled to free herself.

“Sorry. I really do have to go. Now.” She put space between them the instant her feet met the ground, backing away toward Rose Avenue and the relative safety of Buzzy’s Bed and Breakfast.

 

Author Interview – Alice Gilmore

Tourbanner_Alice A MemoirHave you ever had an imaginary friend?

No. Except that I have often borrowed famous people into my imagination to have an argument with or even a gentle discussion.

Do you have any phobias?

I am getting worse about heights, especially, and speed as I grow older. Slimy things. Much as I admire spiders and know that they are mostly goodies in their tiny worlds they still give me the creeps. 

Do you listen to music when you’re writing?

I often have radio 3 on in another room so that I can barely hear it but can feel it in the house. The same for jazz or popular music pre-Beatles. Never rock ‘n’ roll or modern pop.

Do you ever read your stories out loud?

I haven’t read this book (my first) out loud but used to invent bedtime stories to tell my children and then write them down afterwards. 

Tell us about your main character and who inspired him/her.

Well, it is me (or I, whichever you prefer). What can I say about me? It is all in the memoir. Who inspired me? My mother and father I suppose (glib answer).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE: Non-fiction

BLURB:

Few, if anyone, could have had a life like Alice Gilmore. It was almost unbelievable yet carried on under the cover of a respectable middle-class existence.

You might strongly disapprove of what she did, but Alice was determined. She overcame insurmountable obstacles to keep the love she longed for.

Her single-minded fight to live out her love makes a gripping, riveting story that one eminent literary person called ‘staggeringly readable’. It is shocking. Her methods will upset some, but are you with her or against her? Your decision.

This is no misery memoir. It’s a story told with joy, wit, and fervor – the astonishing story of the overwhelming love Alice Gilmour was determined to live out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alice Gilmore v3Excerpt:

I am going to tell you our story, my darlings. It is really only for you three and one other (you know who) but I can’t help hoping that the world will read it, which is why I shall probably publish it. But not for some years. When you’re fully grown up and have flown the nest. God knows what they will make of it, the world I mean, whoever they are, but I am not suggesting that any rules or taboos should be changed by our story or new rules made. Leave all that alone. Our story, perhaps I should say my story, just is. You could tritely call it the exception that proves the rule. Perhaps that is just what it is: unique. I doubt that but it is certainly extraordinary. I have carefully chosen those words. Any old event of yawning banality is called ‘amazing’, ‘fantastic’, ‘unbelievable’, ‘fabulous’ in our current jargon. Whatever else people may call my story it is certainly extraordinary. 

It is, above all, a love story, an all-consuming love story, though I have never felt consumed by love, rather continually renewed. But isn’t that what love should do to you? Consume you and renew you constantly like the phoenix. And it brought with it another constant emotion: fear. And pain. The fear of pain. The fear of the pain of losing it, this wonderful state. The word love doesn’t fully express what I/we felt. Another word that is more or less totally debased.

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 – 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 – 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.

 

AuThursday – Tricia Schneider

Tricia Schneider author picTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a single mom of four children. I worked for several years as Assistant Manager and bookseller at my local Waldenbooks until the company closed its doors. I took that opportunity to focus full-time on my writing career in between naptimes and baseball games.

How do you make time to write?

It’s not as easy as it used to be! Before I had children, I would write during my lunch breaks at work or when I got home after my shift. For the last several years now, I write during naptimes and try to squeeze some writing time in when most of my children are at school during the day. Summer vacations get trickier. I typically write early in the morning before they all wake up and late at night after they go to sleep.

What genre are your books?

Paranormal and Historical Romance. Some are a combination of both.

What draws you to this genre?

I love happily-ever-afters. In the romance genre, HEA’s are a guarantee.

What are your current projects?

I have several shifter romances in the works. Also, a fantasy romance and a couple gothic romances. I always have a couple of projects going at the same time.

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

Introvert. Although I learned how to talk up a good storm with just about anyone from my days as a bookseller, I feel most comfortable on my own or with a few close friends. Writing is a very solitary job which I enjoy.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

I have a couple. Is that bad? Laundry is one for me. With four kids, I have to take care of a lot of laundry. Then that usually leads to tidying the other messes that my adorable little sugarplums make of my house. A messy house drives me crazy. It’s difficult to focus on writing when I see so much that needs to get done around the house.

Self-doubt and perfectionism are others. I think these two go together. I’m always thinking that my writing can be better, so I’m constantly striving to make my writing stronger, more emotional, more action-packed, more…everything. I put a lot of pressure on myself which leads to procrastination, which leads to getting more laundry done.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read. Read everything you can get your hands on and then read some more. Reading in your chosen genre gives you a sense of what readers expect and helps you learn about the genre as you go. And then when you feel ready (or even if you don’t), write and keep writing. Don’t stop. Just keep writing. With every piece of writing you do, your writing gets stronger. Keep reading and writing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website: http://www.triciaschneider.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/triciashneider

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authortriciaschneider

Bookbub: http://www.bookbub.com/triciaschneider

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/triciaschneider

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

This excerpt is from The Wolf’s Bride, included in Guardian: A Collection of Wolf Shifter Romances http://www.triciaschneider.com/books/paranormal-romance/guardian/

 

GuardianMadeline’s fingers tightened around the pistol. She approached the figure reclining in a wooden bathtub lined with linens from behind. With his head resting against the rim, he faced the windows making it easy to approach with him unaware of her presence. She measured each footstep so as not to make a sound, all the while keeping the pistol pointed in his direction.

She was only a few steps away when he spoke.

“Do I owe you money?” His deep voice reverberated through her bones. Madeline stopped moving. Her hand clenched around the pistol, continuing to aim it at the back of his head.

“No.”

“Then why are you here?”

He didn’t move a muscle. He made no attempt to stand. He remained exactly as she’d found him when she entered the room, reclining in the bathtub.

She tilted her head wondering how he had sensed her.

“I have it on good authority that a woman was killed here last night, and you are the man responsible.”

His head lifted.

“How did she die?”

“She was torn to pieces. They say she was ravaged by a wild animal.”

He turned his head to the side as if to see her better, but she stood directly behind him. Madeline suspected he might see her silhouette, but he couldn’t view her completely. Even if he could, he’d have difficulty identifying her with the hood of her cloak pulled low over her face.

“Why would you think I am responsible if they’re saying it was an animal attack?”

“Because I know what you are.”

He inhaled softly. She might have missed the reaction, but beside the crackling of the fire within the hearth nearby, there was nothing but silence in the room.

“And what am I?”

“The stable boy found bloody clothes buried near the edge of the forest. He identified those clothes as belonging to you. They were ripped apart. Shredded.”

The man considered this for a moment. “And how does that condemn me?”

“Because I’ve been searching for you,” Madeline whispered the words, but she knew he heard her when his back stiffened against the rim of the bathtub. “I recognize the signs of a werewolf.”