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.

 

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AuThursday – Stacy Eaton

my blood runs blue banner

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Stacy Eaton_400x400Please welcome Stacy Eaton to the Clog Blog.  Stacy, can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

Back in October of 2010, I was on duty, driving around and around in circles on a very dark and quiet night shift patrolling. I had grabbed a cup of coffee and was stretching my legs in one of our parks. While I was drinking, I noticed something glowing near the tree line. It looked like eyes peering back at me, but it was too high off the ground to be an animal. For a while, I stared at it, and the hair rose on my neck.

I glanced around to make sure there was no one else around and then when I looked back, it was gone. Needless to say, I got in my vehicle and left a little unnerved. As I drove, my bored imagination wondered if it had been a vampire and if it was. If I was in danger from something, would it protect me or kill me.

The next day I was off, I sat down and wrote 4 chapters using this original concept. When I told my husband that I was writing a book, he laughed. When I handed him the chapters I’d written, he was surprised. When I published my first book, he was amazed and remains that way with over forty books published now. 

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Intense – Quiet – humble – Visionary – loyal 

What is your favorite part of this series and why?

It’s hard to pick my favorite part of the series, but I love the world that I created for these characters. Writing paranormal is different than writing contemporary or even suspense. In paranormal anything can happen, and I think that is what I like best in this series. I have tried to keep it somewhat possible, but at the same times, adding in elements that aren’t typically earthbound. 

Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

Well, Officer Kristin Greene was based on me. She’s intense, loyal, committed to her job. She holds integrity to its highest level, and when she loves, she loves hard. It was easy to write her because I put myself in her shoes almost every moment of the writing process. What would I think or do in the same situation? How would I feel? One of the biggest things that Kristin is known for is not having control taken away from her. Yep, that’s me. I’m totally a control freak! 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Many of the characters in the My Blood Runs Blue Series are based off people that I worked with. Kristin, of course, was me. Olivia is one of my best friends in real life. Kat and Izzy are also friends. Mick was my old partner, and Cole, Tom, and Chief Henderson were people I worked with. Most of the men that Kristin deals with (Chief Henderson, Trent, and Alex) are fictional characters, although Julian is someone from my past that I will never forget. 

Do you see writing as a career?

It is my career. Three years ago, I suffered my second major concussion in ten years. It left me with a few issues, one a memory issue. I have trouble remembering some things and have some holes in my memory from the injury. I tried to go back but realized that I was a safety hazard. Cops are adrenaline junkies, and anytime my adrenaline spiked, my brain wanted to shut down. 

So I decided to put my efforts into writing. While I still have issues, like headaches and fatigue, I keep a lot of notes on what I’m working on, and I’m content. I’m also a Pampered Chef consultant and that gives me a social outlet since I spend so much of my time in my own fictional part of my mind. 

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?

What is silence? Hahaha – I need music, always. I have different music for what I’m working on. With this series, I listened to Evanescence and Within Temptation a lot. It’s dark, edgy and it fit with the plot I was working on. Each series has a different music playlist and I use that to get into my mind frame as I write. 

One thing that I do prefer is to be alone. It’s harder to focus on what I’m doing when my daughter or husband are home. So I tend to write hard during the day when they are gone and do other business when they are home. 

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

This is where the control freak in me comes out. I write what I want. I write what I need to in order to let the creative side come out. Yeah, I want to hear what my readers want, but I write from the heart and soul. I believe in writing real-life. People die, they grieve, they fall in love, and they break up. While we all want happily ever after, they are not always possible, and I tend to write that way. 

So far, my readers have loved my books, so why change that when it’s working. Right?
How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I write really fast. I have written a 56,000-word book in 4 days – this was a crazy exception to my rule. When I am working intensely on a book, my goal is 4-6,000 words a day.

Mixing the Blue Blood was partially written a few years ago, but I stepped away from it because I wasn’t happy with the story. Now, years later, after tons of readers have reached out and asked about the next book, I finally dusted it off and got back to work. I wrote the last 45,000 words in six days. 

When I am writing, and seriously into my book, I become possessed with the story. The characters take over. I write as much each day as my brain and my hands will allow. 

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

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“Julian, if you want someone else to go after him, I can send Gabe—” he started to say.

“No, Alexander, I can do this alone. I want him. I need to finish this myself,” I was quick to reply.

“You’re taking this personally, Jules.” He put his hand up to stop me when I would have interrupted. “You know it is better to not have a personal attachment to your assignment. I have allowed you to stay on this case because I know how good you are and how focused you can be. I also figure that maybe your close attachment to him might help you find him, to allow us to finally grieve and move on.” He looked down at his desk, knowing he had made a mistake in his words as he fingered the expensive pen in his hand.

I caught the “us” in there. Yeah, you loved her, too. But she chose me.

I couldn’t repress the sigh as I looked down at the beautifully hand-sewn Oriental rug at my feet, not really seeing it, but noticing its bright reds and blues, the same colors that were swirling around in my mind. Red for hatred and blue for the loss I had suffered. I was taking it personally, I knew that, but I would not allow any other warrior to find Damon and take him to the other world. This would be my vengeance, and mine alone.

I looked back up at him with that heated emotion stark in my expression as he continued.

He tried to redeem his words, and I almost laughed. “We cannot allow Damon to keep up with this behavior. Killing our females and children is not what we are about. If he continues, our race will end.”

“Master, I know it is not. I will be fine; I can distance myself from the attachment. You, of all people, know that.” I said calmly.

“Fine, so be it, but Gabriel is going with you this time,” he said, with a flick of his hand.

“You don’t need to send a babysitter with me, Alexander,” I retorted, as anger bubbled under my skin.

He regarded me with a quick tight-lipped expression which told me he was about to lose his cool. “It is not to watch over you, Julian. It is to assist you.

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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 – 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 – Tabetha Waite

img_6440Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a small town Missouri girl born and bred! I’ve wanted to write since the fourth grade after my teacher encouraged me. She said she liked reading my stories, so for a girl who was shy and bullied it was wonderful to have someone believe that I had a talent. Years passed and I have a family, my husband Doug and two great daughters, but I always kept writing in the back of my mind. It took me 30 years to accomplish, but my first book was published in July of 2016.

How do you make time to write?

I honestly feel lost, like I’m doing something wrong if I don’t have my computer open. Even if I’m just staring at the cursor waiting for inspiration to strike, I try to write a little each day. I usually get a lot done in the summer and on Christmas and spring breaks when I don’t have to work at my ‘day job’ as a lunch lady at the local community college. I look forward to the day when I can write full time!

I see you write Historical Romance, what draws you to this genre?

Easy! I love a good HEA! When I was younger, I used to read lots of different genres, but I didn’t like investing so much time in a book when I was in tears at the end. Granted, these books weren’t awful, just not what I wanted to read. So when I found the romance genre, I was instantly hooked! As far as historicals, I’ve always loved learning about history, so when the thought of a hero and heroine meeting at a ball, arriving in their carriages and dressed in their finery, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to immerse myself in this world.

How much research do you do?

As much as I try to be as accurate as possible, I’m not an author that wants to feel as if I’m giving my reader a history lesson. I know some people prefer exact facts, but when it comes to fiction, I prefer to add my own spin on things. The purpose of a romance is to feel the emotion between the characters, to lose yourself in their romantic turmoil, so that is what I try to achieve more than anything. I want my readers to close my book with a happy sigh at the end.

How did you come up with the idea for your “Ways of Love” series?

That happened by accident really. I was trying to come up with a catchy title for my first book. When I thought of “Why the Earl is After the Girl,” I thought it was cute because it rhymed. As I was writing the story, I added a character that I absolutely adored, Orion’s best friend, Roarke. I knew that he would have to have his own book, so I started to wonder how I could tie them together. Thus, Who, What, When, Where & Why was born!

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Yes! So far there have been five, with three more currently on the way! It’s been FABULOUS working on these projects. We’ve had a great time!

Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?

The first anthology I was a part of was called, ‘Yuletide Happily Ever Afters – A Merry Little Set of Regency Romances.’ Initially, Annabelle Anders approached me on social media. We had already been chatting and seemed to have a connection, so we came up with an idea to write a Christmas set together. After asking a few other ladies to join, we released the set on October 1, 2018. It went over VERY well, much better than we all expected! It was also great for my other book sales, for it opened up the door to more readers.  

What are your current projects?

Other than the three collaborations that will be coming out this year, two in April, and one in September, I am also preparing to release the fourth book in my Ways of Love Series entitled, “Who the Marquess Dares to Desire.” I am SO excited to finally be able to share Drayven and Clara’s story with my readers. After a rather lengthy delay, it’s almost here! I hope to have book 5 out later this year as well, which will tie up the series with five books and a prequel novella. It’s been a labor of love, but I’m ready to move on and try my hand at a bit of fantasy romance! But never fear! I will always W back to my historicals.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is authortabethawaite.wix.com/romance and there you can join my mailing list for a free monthly newsletter, plus find ALL my social media links!

img_0236Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Standing, she began to gather her things.

“Where are you going?”

She kept her face carefully averted. “I told you what you wanted to know, Lord Sussex. There’s nothing more to say.”

Clara gasped when she felt a gentle hand under her chin. She hadn’t even heard him cross the room. He lifted her face to him and his focus fell to her mouth. “Maybe I don’t want you to go just yet.” His breath fanned her forehead and she shivered.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, my lord. It won’t accomplish anything if I stay.”

“Then don’t think.” His eyes smoldered like dark coals. “Take a risk, Miss Upton. With me.”  

Clara’s pulse fluttered rapidly. This man’s kisses breathed fire into her very soul, but they also threatened to scorch her heart. She knew she should go, yet how could she leave? “You frighten me,” she admitted, although she could feel herself giving in to the temptation.

“Then we are evenly matched, for you scare the hell out of me.”

 

Saturday Spotlight – The Chronicle and Mr. Smith by Angie Martin

the chronicler and mr. smith bannerTitle: The Chronicler and Mr. Smith
Series: The Madison Shaw Chronicles #1

Author: Angie Martin

Release: January 29, 2019

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Thriller

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42855137-the-chronicler-and-mr-smith

chroniclerebookBlurb:

When the mysterious Mr. Smith enters romance author Madison Shaw’s life, she is thrust into danger she thought only belonged in books. Though they clash at first sight, she places her fate in his hands when unknown forces threaten her survival.

Paranormal events push Madison to leave behind a world where monsters don’t exist – not even in fiction. With Mr. Smith as her guide, she discovers the truth about her destiny and the things that go bump in the night. Can she survive her new reality, or will she fall prey to the creatures lurking in the shadows?

Buy Links (Kindle Unlimited):

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

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

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2sMn36f

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

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Author Bio:

I am a lifelong writer and firmly believe that words flow through my veins. I live in the Inland Empire area of California with my husband and our beloved pets. I have sons who are off paving their own way in the world. I grew up in Wichita, Kansas, my hometown and where most of my books take place or mention, and I will always be a Kansas girl at heart.

I have released six novels in the suspense/thriller, paranormal/supernatural thriller, and horror genres. I also have a poetry/short story collection and have contributed short stories to multiple anthologies. Conduit has earned Bestseller on Amazon in the US and UK. ConduitThe Boys Club, and Chrysalis have all won highly respected awards, while ConduitThe Boys Club, and False Security have also had blogger and reader-voted awards bestowed upon them.

As a reader first, writer second, I love to discover new authors. My entire life has revolved around imaginary worlds contained within the covers of a book. My aunt introduced me to Stephen King and a little book called Christine in eighth grade, and my life was never the same. As a geek-extraordinaire, I love comics and graphic novels and also review those, along with the occasional movie and book, as a guest contributor for Fanbase Press.

Social Media Links:

Fan Group: www.facebook.com/groups/angiesconduits/

Books: bit.ly/thrillingbooks

Podcast: www.blogtalkradio.com/epilogues

Website: www.angiemartinbooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorangiemartin

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/profile/angie-martin

Twitter: www.twitter.com/zmbchica

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/amartin1550/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7701589.Angie_Martin

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

Giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/81aa78941990

 

AuThursday – CG Coppola

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

My name is Caitlin and I write (mostly) romance as C.G.Coppola. I actually majored in Creative Writing which has led me to my fifth desk job, but thankfully, also into the world of Indie authorship. I self-published my first book, Escape from Harrizel, in 2013 when I had no idea what I was doing (still don’t) and I’ve been publishing regularly since. I have a boyfriend whom I refer to online as “Batman” and we live together with our dog, Appa. It’s a good life.

How do you make time to write?

I demand it. Having a fulltime job with an attention-starved boyfriend and dog makes it difficult, so I have my required “writing time” – usually in the evenings and early weekend mornings. I make a big fuss when I miss it, so I tend to get my way when I say, “I’m going to work.” (I’ve trained my boys well).

What are your current projects?

I’m in the middle of releasing the Better Than This trilogy, a YA contemporary romance that follows the story of Autumn and Alex, and how the sudden end to their high-school romance led to his famously iconic “A.M.S.” songs—written for the girl who got away. The first book, Better Than This released on May 18th, and the second, Better Than Now is due out on August 17th. The final book—and the climactic conclusion to their epic love affair—will be released on November 16th. Eeeek! Can’t wait!

I see you have a series titled Arizal Wars. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I never thought I’d write a series, but some stories go deeper than they seem. I think Shrek explained it best with his onion analogy. Stories—like onions—have layers, and the more layers you peel back, the more you find. Series are an awesome way to fall deeper into the worlds you love and writing them—it’s like the VIP experience. (Basically, I really like writing series).

BETTER THAN THIS - THUMBHow are you publishing your latest book, Better Than This and why?

I self-published Better Than This because I didn’t want to wait for an agent/publishing house to come along when I know it’s ready to be shared. In fact, the second and third books were written when I decided to publish all three of them three months apart this year (I was unemployed for a spell so I had plenty of time to write). I think traditional publishing is great, but if there’s a story needing (and ready) to be told, why keep it to yourself?

What is your writing kryptonite?

Cartoon shows in the background. Or maybe the phone going off. Distractions. I can’t deal with them because it’s the quickest way to pluck me out of the world I’m writing and back into this one.

Where can readers find you?

I have a very lovely blog where I post regularly about writerly things and sometimes when I’m feeling social, I jump on my author Facebook or Twitter. I have very little free time so I try to cram as much writing into it as possible. But, if you’re feeling stalkery:

https://Authorcgcoppola.com

https://www.facebook.com/cgcoppola

cgcoppolawrites@gmail.com

@writercgcoppola