AuThursday – Joshua Knels

Please welcome Josh Knels, a fellow member of the BisMan Writer’s Guild!  Joshua, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Joshua Knels. I grew up in Fairview, MT, and moved to Bismarck after I graduated high school and attended Bottineau for a little while. I didn’t get into writing until I was fifteen. I suffered a back injury during a football game that took me out of sports for the remainder of my time in school. That’s when I started reading books and grew a passion for reading and writing. I started writing my first project when I was a sophomore in high school, but later dropped the project when I went to college.

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

Introvert. It gives me plenty of time to write since I don’t go out much (even less so since Covid-19). The only time I go out nowadays is for work or D&D nights with friends during the weekend

How do you make time to write? 

I usually write between shifts when I get home from work or on my days off. 

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

I usually write fantasy adventures since I enjoy world-building and creating new worlds. I often mix it with other elements, such as romance and horror. 

Do you ever get writer’s block? 

Not as much as I thought I would get. I am always thinking about character development and story elements and rarely get burned out from it. When I do, I just relax for a day or two and I am back at it. Listening to music while writing a scene also helps me out a lot.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Depression for sure. When I feel overwhelmed and depressed from work and personal matters, it has an impact on my writing. Whenever I am in these funks, I either write scenes where characters feel the same as I do, or I just take a personal day to myself and try to get over whatever is stressing me out or depressed at the time.

So, what have you written? 

Nothing complete right now, I’m afraid, except two books that I self-published in 2011 and 2012.

41xd2DMgXuLThese books, The Seattle Massacre & Trails of Blood were two books of a series of murder mystery & horror books that I was writing a long time ago under the pen name J.J. Knight. I stopped writing them when I lost progress on the third book several times and a lot of my other projects when my computer went out and I didn’t have them saved on any other source. I had lost the passion for writing this series and in general when I hit a very deep depression that lasted for over three years and didn’t write anything during that time. It wasn’t until 2016 when I started writing some Pokemon fanfiction to get back into the groove of writing until 2018 when I started my D&D project. In 2019, I fell in love with one of my favorite D&D characters, Victoria “The Scarlet Rose” Valentine, and decided to write a book series based on her and in a modern setting. 

Where can we buy or see them? 

I think you can see the two books on Amazon. I don’t intend to continue that series unfortunately since there’s no passion left for that project and all energy will be devoted to my next project. 

What are your current projects?

My current project is The Scarlet Rose, a planned multi-part series. It is a modern fantasy story that was inspired by my favorite D&D character, Victoria “Scarlet Rose” Valentine. The story follows the main character Victoria, a girl born with the appearance of a devil (horns, tail, and red tail). I was inspired to write this project from elements of Hellboy, Supernatural, and Men in Black.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Never give up your dream and always practice. Write what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to ask others for help and opinions.

AuThursday – Shilah Ferr

nLvYYxkJReGf1dtc+aE4pwPlease welcome Shilah Ferr to The Clog Blog.  Shilah, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I grew up in northern New Jersey with my brother and sister. We share treasured memories of high school, the Jersey shore, and skiing with cousins, all of which became a part of April’s Heart! I went to college in Washington, DC, and became a teacher. I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia with my husband of thirty years. Our two boys are in their twenties making their own way in the world. 

How do you make time to write? 

Well, before the pandemic, my husband often worked nights, so I would write at night. Now I find time between working at home, and on the weekends. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Not really. My second book is not coming as easily as the first, but I believe in writing about things that really happened, and I have a ton of memories that eventually will make another epic story. 

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

I love the feeling Romance novels can give you. I love feeling the character’s angst, hurt, and joy. I love erotic romance too. It gets your blood flowing! 

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

I am a first-time author, so definitely publishing independently! 

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

I am more of an extrovert because I cannot say I am introverted. Yet, some of the content I write is controversial (underage drinking, mild drug use, sex) and I sometimes feel self-conscious about it. Afraid of what people might think. I’ve learned to deal with that. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Whether you say you can or you can’t, you are right. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

My advice is the advice that was given to me, and I keep it in mind always. And that is that not every book is everyone’s cup of tea. So understanding that not everyone is going to like your book, and that’s ok. If I become afraid of content because of what somewhat might think, I tell myself to be brave, and just put it in there! 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

https://aprilsheartbook.com 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Pi1L9k2v7dGlCGm2PWF0e3KpcswUnvExKnDXTeZWyoo/e

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

Mitch and April made plans to meet at the pool. 

He waited for her just inside the entrance structure, in the shade. 

She walked up in her string bikini top and cut off jean shorts. The fly was splayed open, a sexy little look that exposed a little more of her tight belly. Holy crap! 

God love her, thought Mitch to himself, feeling his erection beginning already. 

She saw him leaning against the wall on his hands. April walked up to Mitch, and seeing his hair in his face, pushed her hand through his hair for him. It was such an intimate gesture. No words were spoken. Her hands in his hair was her way of saying hello. 

Quick as a wink he had switched places with her and had her up against the wall. 

They looked into each other’s eyes. They were desirous for each other in the worst way. 

April’s heart was pounding in her chest. She was nervous. It had been such a long time. 

He put his hand over her heart to feel it, thus confirming for April that if your heart beats loud enough, another person CAN hear it. 

She filled her lungs with air taking a deep breath. 

He moved his hands behind her neck and kissed her, passionately, for a small moment breathing her in. 

They were standing in a public place. 

“We gotta get out of here,” Mitchell said. 

“No swimming?” April teased. 

AuThursday – Autumn Stone

Please welcome Autumn Stone to The Clog Blog.  Autumn, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I am a personal finance influencer who was fell into writing romances. It was an experiment that has become one of my favorite ways to make passive income. I run two very different projects: a website and podcast about personal finance and a website and podcast about Colorado (I’m from Colorado). I also speak at different conferences such as Podcast Movement, FinCon, and others. I’m also a mentor for a podcasting program that is being held here in Denver for the second time this summer. 

How do you make time to write? 

I try to write when I’m feeling relaxed. Typically, I will write from a coffee shop patio or carry a journal with me so that I can capture inspiration whenever it hits me. I don’t have a daily writing goal. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Absolutely, sometimes the muse slips from you. 

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

I write both fiction and non-fiction books. For my romance books I write in the BWWM genre and I love sharing endless love stories that show women like me in different situations ranging from the fantastical to realistic situations depending on the story. I’m a romantic and love writing about love! 

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

Self-publish! I love it so much because there are no limits placed on me and I can publish as many books as I would like. I don’t have to wait for someone else (other than my fans) to validate my stories. 

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

Extrovert. I’m very comfortable with marketing my work. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” –Anonymous 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Keep trying, keep learning, it’s never a mistake it’s a learning opportunity. Most content creators (authors/bloggers/podcasters/vloggers/etc) Don’t spend enough time marketing their work. It’s a daily process. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07FCT2BNF 

 

AuThursday – Idabelle Aylor

idabelle transparent logoPlease welcome Author Idabelle Aylor to the Clog Blog.  Idabelle, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a wife. I’m a mom of teens and a 6-year-old. I have loved writing my entire life. I am a US Navy veteran. I am a business owner and a licensed massage therapist. 

How do you make time to write? 

Funny this question is here. We used to own a tire shop but it has pretty much gone under. So, now my husband is my agent and I get to write! 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yep.

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

I am currently writing in sweet romance but also want to write women’s fiction/chick-lit. I like sweet romance because I like happy endings. I like happy stories even if there is some drama. There’s enough sadness in life, if I’m going to escape in a story I want it to be a happy/funny one or at least one where love always wins. 

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

Indie. I co-write in a different genre under a different pen name and have gotten a dozen rejections and after learning that you still need to promote yourself, I figured I’d publish myself and keep more of my hard-earned money. 

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

A bit of both. I don’t like promoting myself so I’m glad my husband does. But I do love talking to people and learning about them. I use what I learn and people’s personalities and some life experiences in my stories as well. A good thing about being a little introverted is that it doesn’t hurt my feelings to stay in and write instead of going out. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

Success is not so much achievement as achieving. Refuse to join the cautious crowd that plays not to lose; play to win. – David J Mahoney 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Keep writing. Keep talking about your work. Keep writing. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

http://www.idabelleaylor.com/

Amazon 

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

413XYrwZY-LSofey smiled, the backyard condo for June’s pet squirrel and magpie had been quite the project. 

“I remember when we built that condo. That was fun.” Sofey wiped the condensation from her bottle, “I miss Barney.” 

“Me too, Dolly.” June finished her drink and stood up. 

“Hey, why don’t you come over tonight and watch the finale of Jury of Love with me. I didn’t even know the dadgum show had started a season!” June pursed her lips and took a sip of her pop. 

“They say there’s a local guy on there this season. Well, local like a Caraway.” 

“Caraway? Really? Huh, that’s only like 15 miles away.” 

“I know, I’m sure he’s a celebrity now around these parts but I doubt I’d know a celebrity from Adam, if I ran into one.” June set her empty pop bottle on the table and stood up.

 “Well, I’m ordering pizza. You bring the refreshments.” She was already at the front door when she added, “See you in an hour!” 

 

AuThursday – Lainee Cole

Lainee Cole author picTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a born and bred Midwestern girl who escaped to Southern California for one year during my early 20’s but came home when I missed the change of seasons. Growing up in Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois will do that to you! On cold winter days, my older bones talk to me, as in “What the heck were you thinking?” Now I live in Central Illinois with my husband, who always wants to talk when I’m trying to write. My two kids and one grandchild live nearby, and we see them often.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember! I wrote horse stories as a child, then poetry in junior high and high school. My friends and I traded romances starting in high school, and it didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to write them. It took me a lot longer to actually do it, but here I am! My goal is to give readers the same escape I discovered in books.

How do you make time to write? 

I’ve learned it’s important to write every day. My muse is happier that way! I don’t have set writing hours, but usually spend a chunk of afternoons and evenings writing, or doing writing-related tasks. In some respects, it’s easier since I retired from my day job last summer. While my husband is doing outdoor chores or golfing with his buddies, I can write uninterrupted. When I was working, I sometimes struggled to make time to write because it took away family time. But writing has always been important to me. Laptops were a great invention! My laptop allowed me to be on the computer as much as possible, even when my kids were sprawled around the family room watching TV or playing video games.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Definitely. If my creative well is low, I struggle to put ideas together, to make words flow the way they should. Self-care is important as well. I try to walk every day for at least an hour. But sometimes the words just aren’t there. In that case, I read, have more conversations with friends, and go for longer walks. Ideas tend to spark for me when I do those things.

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

I write sweet contemporary romance. I love it because I can explore characters and their relationships without being explicit. My characters can have all the feels without restricting their actions to MY imagination. Readers can use their own imaginations for what happens with my characters behind closed doors.

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

I just Indie published my most recent book in January via Amazon. To be honest, I’ve always wanted to be a traditionally published author, and I haven’t given up on that, but the publishing landscape is open now. I discovered the Common Elements Romance Project (https://commonelementsromanceproject.wordpress.com/) and wanted to be a part of it. All books for the project were required to be self-published, so that’s what I did!

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

I’m an Extrovert, very much a people person. I can talk to almost anyone. Being an extrovert is a blessing and a curse as an author. It’s a blessing because, well, people! Everybody has a story and you never know when someone will trigger an idea, whether from something they say, their behavior, or even just their appearance. People-watching can be interesting! Being an extrovert is also a curse because when I’m working on a book, it’s hard to stay isolated and focused. I crave contact with other people. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” 

— Louis L’Amour

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you are passionate about writing, don’t just take courses or read books – you have to WRITE. The more you actually write, the more you will learn. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Please follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LaineeColeAuthor/), Twitter (@LaineeCole), and Amazon (https://amzn.to/2VuobuD). I’d love to hear from you!

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

STORMS OF THE HEART excerpt

Storms of the Heart high resHome. She blinked several times. She’d finally grown up and realized people made a place home, not buildings. Her heart climbed into her throat, but she refused to cry. Breathe in, breathe out, she coached herself. You can do this! Despite Uncle Wayne’s pleas and assurances, it had taken a long time to find the courage to return. Now that she was home, she couldn’t wait to feel his firm bear hug.

She straightened her shoulders and pushed away from the house. Yes, she could do this! At twenty-five, she could finally take control of her own life. She could put her past to rest and look forward to her future.

Emerson flinched when another crack of lightning split the air and forked through the sky, illuminating two cars parked at the side of the house. She hadn’t noticed them before. One was a distinctive black and white car with SHERIFF in gold lettering on the side. 

Her breath hitched as she peered through the downpour. Wait. What is the Sheriff doing here? She’d already lost her parents and her aunt. She couldn’t lose Uncle Wayne, too. Not now.

 Swallowing her panicked thoughts, she hurried toward the front door. Her shoes squished cold water between her toes with every step. She stripped off her wet jacket and dropped it in the corner. The dim yellow porch light flickered and went out. 

With her heart beating faster in the darkness, Emerson scrubbed her hands over her wet face. Add cops and power outages to what else could go wrong.

Damn those negative thoughts! She inhaled deeply and shoved them out of her mind. She knocked on the door. The cop car didn’t mean anything. Uncle Wayne was expecting her. Soon she would be warm and cozy inside.

She knocked again, harder this time.

Still no answer. Maybe Uncle Wayne couldn’t hear her over Mother Nature’s cries, but he wouldn’t expect her to stay out in the rain. She tried the knob and found it unlocked.

Another deafening crack of lightning shattered the air. Something hit Emerson’s knee from the side. The momentum tore the doorknob from her hand. Her backpack fell to the ground as the thing brushed by and sent her stumbling through the doorway.

Ooof!

Strong arms caught and cradled her. She froze as earthy cologne with just a hint of citrus filled her nose. A long, whimpering whine sounded before a voice from somewhere above her head ground out, “Get back out there, dog.”

Snug against his chest, her body absorbed the rumble of the man’s words, while her mind struggled to place the oddly familiar scent of his cologne.

“Oh, let him be,” twittered a high, excited voice nearby. “He doesn’t like storms.”

Welcome to the club. It was too dark to see the woman, but she must be the live-in housekeeper Uncle Wayne had mentioned. Mrs. Beresford. This man, though. She inhaled his scent again. His embrace warmed her chilled body as he steadied her, but didn’t let go. She felt strangely safe in his arms.

“I’m sorry. The lightning startled me,” she offered into the darkness as she pushed against the man’s chest. He released her and she shivered.

“It’s not the dog’s fault.”

The man sighed, and then she heard the front door close heavily against the wind. The dog pressed against the back of her legs. Her jeans soaked up his dampness. He whimpered and her heart went out to him. I’m with you, buddy.

The strong odor of sulfur wafted through the air, followed by a welcome glow lighting the room.

“You must be Emerson.” A woman with a short, layered bob of red hair held a lantern as she came forward, reaching out a thin hand. She smiled, and her touch was gentle on Emerson’s arm. “Wayne told me all about you.”

She squeezed the woman’s hand and smiled. “You must be Mrs. Beresford.”

The older woman glowed with pleasure. “Please, call me Irene.” She gestured toward the door and her smile faded. “This is Sheriff Lomax.”

Emerson’s pulse jumped, but she pasted on a smile and turned. 

Max. His hair was darker than the last time she’d seen him, but even in the shadowy light, she knew those grayish-blue eyes, that straight nose, and that little cleft in his chin. It had been seven years, and yet she’d never forgotten the heat between their bodies as she’d pressed against him down by the creek. The tenderness of his kiss had surprised her, had made her feel when she didn’t want to feel anything. 

She’d tried to seduce her crush and failed miserably. What had she been thinking? Oh yeah. That was the problem. She hadn’t been.

“Hello, Emerson.”

 

 

AuThursday – Shelly Sharp

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I’m a business owner with my husband, I have three adult children and one 17-year-old. I homeschooled my kids for twelve years, I have loved to write since I was a child and now I’m finding time to write books. I’ve published two on Amazon, one last April, and one this February. 

How do you make time to write? 

I have a goal of a chapter a day. I make a list of all I have to do each day and I write a page between each chore or project on my list. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

No. I write several books at a time so if I get stuck on one book I simply move to another. 

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

I have a goal to write five books, all of them a different genre. I love to read many different genres so I want to try to write a book in each genre that I enjoy. So far I’ve written non-fiction and romance. Right now I’m writing a psychological thriller, a suspense trilogy, and a satire. 

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

I self-publish on Amazon, so Indie I guess.

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

I am definitely an introvert. I think this enhances my work. I can spend a lot of time alone writing. I enjoy my own company and I find my sense of humor hilarious! I am my own best friend and my imagination is amazing which makes for good writing. The books I write are in my mind in movie form, It helps me visualize the characters I write about. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”– Helen Keller 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Publish that book! Hesitation leads to fear. As Winston Churchill said,

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal.” Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

My books are on Amazon.com, I’m also on Twitter and Facebook. 

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

As they descended the hill, the largest bull with the longest horns Dae had ever seen emerged from behind a bush on the path ahead of them.

Jack stopped and stood very still, but the bull noticed him anyway and began pawing the ground and breathing heavily.

Dae moved up to Jack and managed to get in front of him on the narrow path. Dae wanted to put Rose down, but the child was now sleeping heavily and Jack was too small to hold her. Dae shook the picnic basket at the bull and yelled, but that just seemed to make the creature more agitated and focused on them. Dae turned sideways to protect the sleeping child she carried from possible harm and ordered Jack in a quiet voice to back slowly up the hill, gesturing with the picnic basket.

This, unfortunately, seemed to incite the bull, who bellowed and shook its massive head. When the bull began pawing the ground again and lowering its frightening horns, Dae screamed, “Run Jack!” and turned to run up the hill herself, throwing the picnic basket on the ground and moving as fast as she could with one hand holding up her skirt and both arms cradling Rose…

AuThursday – Cee Perkins

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Ok, well, I’m Cee. I have a husband, three adorable kids, three giant dogs, and I write anti-heroine romances. I have a four-book series planned, the first is out now, titled “Corrupt Love: Love Is Dangerous book 1.” I started writing in high school, but like most teenagers, I needed to learn the hard way to follow what I’m good at. 

How do you make time to write? 

Making the kids nap. Haha. Mostly, I have my mom to thank for that- she moved in with us recently, and she’s been handling the kids so I can work. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Oh, yes. Corrupt Love was an idea that began way back in 2016, but when I got to Chapter 7, I ran out of steam on it and couldn’t get the story out, no matter what I did. Fortunately, I was able to fall back on an old friend and she finally was able to push me through it. 

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

Ah, romance. Who doesn’t love LOVE, really? I’ve always loved the opposites attract trope, and people who make a life together despite differences of opinion and ethics. I love when a happy ending is hard-won and the whole “smooth sailing after the Big Fight” kind of gets on my nerves, so I write (what I hope is) as close to real-life relationships as I can. People aren’t perfect, even after working through a big blow-up with their significant others, and books who portray relationships that way set a standard that I think is too much for most people wanting love. Sure, we all want the perfect wife/ girlfriend or husband/boyfriend, but the reality is, it just doesn’t exist. I don’t like books that make it look common. 

I guess it’s sort of in the same vein of model-perfection. Even Jennifer Lawrence has something about her body she doesn’t like, but society makes it so that she has to pretend it doesn’t exist. It makes it so that people who are overweight or battling acne or something like that feel like they’re not “good enough”. I can’t stand that.

Disclaimer- I love Jennifer Lawrence. I don’t think she needs to change anything, I was just using her as an example. 

Anyway, all of that to say that I love writing romance because I love love, but I write the way I do because I want to contribute to the growing idea that “perfect” doesn’t exist. 

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

Indie because I’m too impatient and scared of rejection to go traditional haha. 

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

Um… I’d say I’m an introvert with some extrovert qualities. I think it affects me in that I can stay at home, away from lots of people for periods of time, and write characters who are outgoing. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“I chose to have these children.”

Wait, that’s my meditation mantra. My favorite motivational phrase is probably

“Just keep swimming.”

No matter what happens, just keep going. The bad will pass. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Remember that at the core of being a published author is writing. You are a writer first, then a marketer, decision-maker, self-editor, etc. You’re not expected to know everything immediately, but when you’re lost as to what to do, ask questions. Find groups that have experience and listen to them. They’ve been where you are and will help you cut through a lot of the bs of publishing so that you can stay a writer. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

On my website at https://www.ceeperkinsauthor.com/ or on my Facebook page.

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

Sure. This is Dan and Corra’s first date. 

***

Corrupt Love c OTHER SITES (1) (1)Bottom line, I wanted in his pants that night. Likely to happen? Mmm, probably not. Would I work for that goal anyway? Definitely. 

So there I was, sitting across from Dan in that sports bar, trying to sit close enough to him that my boobs brushed his arm every time I leaned over to fake reading the answers on the trivia device. Not surprising, he knew the answers. Not to toot my own flute or anything, but so did I. We made a great team, and we were in First place. Woo. I could die happy with this championship belt. Insert epic eye roll here. But Dan wasn’t taking the bait. I was trying my damnedest to flirt with him, down to pretending to absentmindedly trace my fingers along his neck. God, what would it take to get him to break?

“So, Dan, tell me a little more about yourself. Do you have siblings? Speak to your parents? Have a secret D/s fantasy?” I asked, making Dan choke on his drink. “Sorry, I can be a little off the wall sometimes,” I said to make up for it. But really, I just wanted to see his reaction.

Dan wiped his mouth and gave a little smile. “Ah, no siblings. I speak with my mom regularly, especially lately since my father passed away about a week ago and she doesn’t really have anyone now. She has…a gambling problem and if I don’t check in with her, she can go days without coming up for air.”

“I’m really sorry to hear about your dad. Were you close to him?”

“No, not really. I mean, we had a…tolerable relationship, but he was an alcoholic and sometimes couldn’t function beyond drinking. They gave me the best they could, what with their addictions, and I never wanted them to think I was ungrateful, so I tried to take care of them. Oh, and no D/s tendencies.”

I felt my eyes burn, hearing Dan talk about his parents. What the fuck was wrong with me? They were addicts, but he still spoke of them like they were at least decent. I cocked my head, studying him as a thought occurred. His parents were addicts. They couldn’t have given him a stable upbringing. Is that why he was so rigid and uptight? Because he never wanted to live the life his parents did?

“Um…Corra?” Dan was staring back at me, and I could actually see the insecurity in his eyes. I snapped out of my trance. 

“Yeah, sorry. What’s the next category?” I asked, wanting to sidestep the feelings I was feeling for Dan. I didn’t do feelings like this. Especially for Dan, who was so uptight, he could probably iron clothes with his butt cheeks. He was a conquest, nothing else. Jesus Christ.

We got back to the game while munching on appetizers, trying to keep the conversation light. I’m not sure if Dan wasn’t interested in knowing anything about me or if he was too shy to ask, but he didn’t ask questions about me. Not even about what I did for a living. Regardless, I found that I was actually having fun with him. He was smart, which was not something I was used to. Normally, my hookups were dumb as rocks. It was easy to conquer the dumb ones, but with Dan being intelligent, I knew I wouldn’t be able to simply put my hand on his dick and lick my lips. Figuring out how to get around that hurdle would be just as fun as the rest of them, I think.

When the final round had played and we won the game, we high-fived and sat back in our seats, sipping our drinks. 

“Now it’s your turn. Siblings? Parents? Secret society membership?” he finally asked. 

I grinned. “Yeah, I have parents. They’re great, still married after thirty-six years and two or three affairs. I have an older brother— you may have seen him last night, with the leather vest? Tall, blond, man bun?— that happened from my mom’s first affair. And I have a younger sister who’s a nurse, and a younger brother, who’s in college for software development. We’re a close family, even my dad, and Salty. Hm. I never really thought about that before…my dad never treated Salty any differently than the rest of us.” I looked at Dan then and almost laughed at his expression. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

He shook his head and looked down at the table. “You speak about your parents’ affairs like they’re no big deal. Is…monogamy, not something that’s important to you?”

That drew me up short. I’d never had a relationship, so how could I really answer that? I mean…“Well, I suppose for them, it wasn’t a big deal because they knew they still loved one another best. Even if they had sex outside of their marriage, they always knew they’d come home to each other. As for me, well, I’ve never been in a relationship, so I can’t honestly answer that question.”

Dan’s head jerked up. “You’ve never had a boyfriend?”

I shook my head. “Normally, I’m not interested in someone beyond one night.” Wow, that made me sound awful. Also, made me kind of a liar since meeting him. “You’re actually the first man I’ve had to work for and the first man to make me think the work is worth it.” And that was the damn truth of the matter. The whole crux of my situation, right? Dan didn’t fit my normal, which made me want to pursue him. He was definitely the first to make me think that way. 

“Are you serious?” I looked at Dan and realized he wasn’t being rude or accusing. It was genuine disbelief. “Me? You see me, right? My baggage not only has compartments but also its own separate cargo ship,” he said, then clapped his hands over his mouth like he couldn’t believe he’d said that. 

“Dan…yes, I’m serious. And yes, I do see you, and I know you have issues. But,” I paused so I could say this carefully, “everyone has something about them that makes them unique, even hard to deal with sometimes. Shit, even my siblings find me hard to deal with sometimes. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I can be kind of an asshole. It’s what gives us personality. And maybe I’m crazy, but my personality thinks your personality is the bee’s knees.” God, I could be such a sap.

Dan chuckled, a slight blush across his cheeks. “Well…my personality is starting to think that your personality is the cat’s pajamas.”

So corny. So cute.

AuThursday – Nadine Miller

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m an Irish romance writer who writes historical and will be releasing my first contemporaries this year. I write mostly clean with a little heat 🙂 I have a law degree but gave up working in law to write romance! I live in a rural area of Ireland with my husband and three children. 

How do you make time to write? 

I usually write when the children are in school or when I’m sitting in the car at one is their extracurriculars (of which there are a lot!) 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I do! And unfortunately, I’ve experienced it. For me, the more I worry about it the worse it gets. So when it happens I need to just take some time away and read, or binge watch Netflix, or bake! Sooner or later, the words come back! 

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

I used to sneakily read my mum’s historical romances and I’ve been a bona fide Janeite for as long as I can remember. There’s something about the regency era, the clothes, the balls, the manners – if you ignore things like lack of plumbing (very easy to do in historical romance) you can just lose yourself in the glamour and romance of the time! And that just makes my heart happy. 

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

I’ve published The Royals Of Aldonia as an indie! It’s been exciting. Protecting The Princess is book two although they can be read as standalones. 

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

I like to think of myself as a hybrid! I enjoy my own company just as much as I enjoy being out and about socialising. I think every writer needs to be a bit of an introvert because you really have to be happy with just your fictional characters for company! 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

It might not always be perfect, but it’s always worth doing. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write! Just write. Everything else can be dealt with later – covers, marketing reviews. But just keep writing! 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.nadinemillard.com 

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

“So even though it means you hate me, your safety means more to me than your love. I can live with your hatred as long as it means you’re safe. I’d rather have you out there despising me but alive than live in this world knowing you’re not in it.”

Protecting the Princess

AuThursday – Marie Lavender

Marie Lavender Logo_400Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my family and two cats. I love reading, writing, and shopping. I am obsessed with using colored gel pens! I studied Creative Writing in college, and I earned a Bachelor of Arts. To date, I’ve published twenty-one books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, romantic comedy, dramatic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, literary fiction, and poetry. An avid blogger on the side, I write adult fiction, as well as occasional stories for children, and have recently started some young adult fiction. I also contributed to several anthologies. Though there are some standalone titles on the market, my current published series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Eternal Hearts Series, The Magick Series, The Code of Endhivar Series, The Misfits Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. 

How do you make time to write? 

When I am immersed in a project, I just do my best to work a little on that story every day, even if all I accomplish is writing a paragraph or just researching an integral topic. 

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Yes, I’ve had it in the past. I think it can affect any writer. But I think the malady can be overcome as well. 

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

Marie Lavender banner - FacebookI am a multi-genre writer, so though I feel more comfortable writing romance stories (I am a hopeless romantic!), I leave myself open to trying other types of stories. For example, I published a children’s fantasy a few years ago. And I also have a psychological thriller and a horror project in the works. 

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

I went indie with Chasing Ginger, a steamy romantic comedy. Though I am all too familiar with rom-com books and films, it is my first attempt at a humorous take on romance. Also, the final book of the series will be an LGBT romance, and I didn’t want to use a traditional publisher for my initial foray into that category. 

Universal reader link for Chasing Ginger: https://books2read.com/ChasingGinger 

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

Ah, usually an introvert. Being shy by nature makes it more difficult for me to do public events such as radio interviews. I still go for them, but I get really nervous. I’ve grown in recent years, though, and I’m a little more willing to try new things than I was before. 

What is your favorite motivational phrase? 

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

Natalie Goldberg Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

I think there’s a lot of useful content in the unknown, in those places we’re afraid to look at too closely. We should be willing to get a little uncomfortable during the creative process, to bring forth a naked truth. It can be cathartic. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Persevere, yet be patient and kind to yourself. This is not an overnight journey. It will take as long as it takes to get there. 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web? 

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs:

http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/

http://marielavender.blogspot.com/ http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/

Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58 https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender https://twitter.com/marielavender1 http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

https://www.instagram.com/marielavender1/

Amazon author page: http://bit.ly/MarieLavender https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

Universal Reading List links:

https://books2read.com/rl/marielavendersbooks https://books2read.com/ap/xrv162/Marie-Lavender http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/ https://www.booksradar.com/lavender-marie/lavender.html http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

Sign up for Marie’s Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1g3wO13

Follow her on BookBub for new release updates: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marie-lavender

Fan mail email: marielavender@writeme.com 

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

ChasingGingerFinalCoverEscape, she thought. Now. Panic mode set in, and she stumbled away from the hardwood counter, treaded straight for the exit. A hand caught her arm and spun her around. 

A man with sandy blonde hair, brown eyes, and handsome features appeared before her. “Ginger, baby, come on. Where are you going? The party has just begun.” 

She shrugged his hand off. “I’m sorry. I have to go. I need to cancel—” 

He frowned. “But we had a date.” A nice face didn’t equate to decent moral character. 

“No, I don’t remember you,” she breathed. 

“I saw you and knew I had to have you. You’re mine.” His eyes flashed. 

Ginger stepped back a bit. Seriously? What the hell was up with him? They were virtual strangers. 

“What’s wrong, baby? Haven’t had one like me before?” He flexed his muscles, as if to illustrate a point, and then glanced down at her with a wide smile. It was clear he, in fact, thought he was something. 

At that moment, she noticed the line of quarterbacks not too far behind him. Never one to waste an opportunity when she had it, Ginger ducked under his outstretched arm and beelined around the crowd in the opposite direction. Though there was only one exit, she hoped the man might get stuck by the traffic jam in the main aisle. Once on the sidewalk outside, she ran as fast as her legs would take her in those stupid high heels on the hard pavement. This was insane. 

Surely InstaSin hadn’t caused such chaos? She couldn’t believe that. Maybe it was just poor planning. A guy might take it the wrong way if you went ahead and set up another date after him. Still, most men knew those dating sites weren’t exclusive. So, why get too possessive? The ownership on all their faces was worrisome, to say the least. She’d never met them before today and could just remember a handful of names. Thank God surnames were concealed on the site, or she’d be in real trouble once she got out of this. How many G. Halloway’s could exist in San Francisco? 

After a couple blocks, Ginger paused to take a breath or two. But they’d give up by now, right? Hell, maybe it was paranoia and all those men weren’t after her. Of course not. This was just a bizarre mix-up… 

“Ginger! Stop!” She looked over her shoulder and froze. Sure enough, almost two football teams had come after her. Dressed in various types of attire, from dress casual to ultra-casual, with the same hard look on their faces. It was all about the prize. She hadn’t wanted this, though. 

There was an obvious hunger in their eyes too. The dangerous kind. 

Nausea shifted through her belly, threatened to evacuate the diet sodas she’d had at work, and Ginger veered off to the right. She didn’t know where she was heading, but couldn’t wait to get in a cab and speed toward her apartment. This unique experience wasn’t relished at all. A scream tore out of Ginger as someone snagged at her hair, and she yanked away, stumbling across the street. The pull on her scalp was nothing compared to the panic she felt now. She doubled her efforts as she raced down the pavement, feet pounded in her green heels. Please, please, God. I’ll never use a dating site again if you just get me out of this right now. 

A hand shot out, grabbed her arm, and she screeched again. 

“Darlin’, come on,” a male voice coaxed, and a wonderful scent drifted in her nose. 

But everything happened so fast, she couldn’t register what it was.

 “There’s no time. You’ll be safe in here.” The voice was soothing. 

Ginger calmed at once and found she was led up a short stairway into a tall, light gray structure. Inside, she backed away from the glass a little, breathed a sigh of relief as she saw the group pass by after a few moments. Each breath was labored, and her forehead, upper chest, and lower back were sweaty. Her feet and legs ached. She felt like this when she visited the gym, exhausted, practically passed out, draped over the treadmill’s handlebars. Now, each breath hitched in her chest. And the boob pain wasn’t a joke. She winced, passed a hand down her face, and turned to confront the new threat. 

He was a looker, for sure, with deep brown, spiky hair and nice blue eyes. The man wore a gray business suit. He’d obviously just come from work. And Jesus, he was tall and muscled, topped six feet no problem. He had handsome features, with a Roman nose and somewhat full, made-to-be-kissed lips. Get ahold of yourself, Ginger. His eyes widened as he took in her appearance. 

“Not you too,” she moaned. But hell, for all she knew, maybe he’d never seen a melting green marshmallow before. 

“Are you okay, ma’am? Why were those men chasing you?” 

She managed, “I don’t know.” That was the truth. They hadn’t warned InstaSin would be like this, and it was just twenty-four hours in. Extreme sexiness? Check, if the response she’d received was any indication. Grounds for a restraining order? Nope. They certainly hadn’t covered this in the drug’s description.

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AuThursday – Kimberly Marie

Kimberly Marie

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a 24-year-old author based out of New Jersey. I grew up in this area after moving from Maryland at 4 years old with my family. I am the youngest of four children, so the house was always busy. It was in the moments when I had to entertain myself that I found my creativity. Growing up with the woods as my backyard was akin to growing up with the world at my fingertips. In an instant, I could be lost in a fairytale or a nightmare. It only depended on how I chose to view my scenery. I graduated from college with a degree in communications and journalism, and after spending years in DC working for Congress and non-profits, I came home to Jersey to chase a dream of being a writer. 

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

My day is not structured much at all when it comes to writing. I typically write best at night, as I am a night owl, but can find inspiration anywhere at any time. I have been known to rush out of the bathroom after a shower because an idea hit me while I was shampooing my hair and I didn’t want to lose it. My notes app on my phone is full of all the ramblings bouncing around my skull, but I couldn’t imagine writing any other way.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing exhausts me, it’s as simple as that. It takes a lot of my creative energy to put words to paper, and everything I write is so personal and vulnerable to me, that it is an emotional outlet when I write. I like to say that I leave pieces of myself in everything I do creatively, so I always need time to recharge after spending long stretches behind a computer. There are moments when I get so excited about a scene that I can’t stop writing until I have all my thoughts written out, but always need to decompress after.

What are your current projects?

I have just finished my first draft of my second book and am moving into the editing stages of it before starting the querying process. I don’t think I have ever believed in a project as much as I believe in this one, so I can’t wait to get to the point where I can start sharing it with people.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Absolutely. I also believe that there are steps we can take as writers to overcome it quicker than just waiting it out. I have spent months unable to find the motivation to add to my works but have also found that putting energy into other creative projects has helped remedy it quicker. I like to dabble in photography and have an Instagram where I post poetry that I put a lot of effort into when working on my novel writing becomes strained. I also believe that writers put far too much pressure on themselves to hit certain word counts or finish projects by unrealistic deadlines, which leads to burnout. When writing isn’t fun anymore, it is best to just take a step back and breathe. Take notes when scenes come to your head, but don’t try to force yourself to put pen to paper when you have nothing left to give.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Daydreaming. I get lost in my head so easily and am always coming up with new ideas for books and stories. I have so many unfinished projects that I am working through but have found that I cannot write linearly. I need to bounce around from scene to scene and project to project in order to write effectively. It is just the way my mind works, and while it has become an effective method, the constant daydreams do take away from time actually spent working on current works.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I have always loved wolves. White Fang by Jack London was the first book I remember reading as a child, and I have re-read it hundreds of times since. I have always loved the bond wolves share with each other and how they rely on not only their instincts but also their family. It’s a beautiful relationship, and I have always been one to romanticize the wild in my work, so the wolf fits that bill perfectly.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Don’t listen to those that can’t instill life into you. Don’t measure your success by the success of others. When I was in my sophomore year of high school, my English teacher gave my class a narrative project. This was the moment in my life where things became real for me. He was an odd character. He reminded me of a cross between Jack Black and Robin Williams from Dead Poets Society, and he drove an atrocious lime green car that I would see every morning when my mom dropped me off at school. For this narrative project, instead of writing a pithy short story, I just let my mind wander and ended up with a piece about a haunted United States soldier who was fighting overseas. It wasn’t written in story format and was structured in stanzas. It was not a poem though and was told in (the) first person. I didn’t know what to call it when I handed it to my teacher, but five minutes after handing him the page, he shouted to the class about how great it was and gave me an A on my rough draft, then and there. He taught me something that day that I have carried with me ever since. Words don’t need a box. Your writing does not need a definition, and everyone will interpret your writing differently. A year later I gave the same piece to another teacher who I liked more as a person, and she tore the piece apart. She told me it needed to conform to a certain style of writing and that she could not grade it because she did not know what it was. It took me a while, but eventually, I decided that I would listen to my sophomore teacher’s opinion of my work because that was what spoke life into me and my creativity. It was what fueled me to continue telling stories, and that was what I needed to cling to as I chased my dream.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I have my website that has a link to my social media and book on it (www.bykimberlymarie.com). 

My debut novel, a historical women’s fiction titled The Sun at Dawn, is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart. I am also on Instagram (@by.kimberlymarie), Twitter (@bykimberlymarie), and Pinterest (bykimberlymarie). I’d love to connect with fellow readers and writers on Goodreads as well!

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

This is (a quote) from Chapter 14 of my debut novel The Sun at Dawn.

“Remember little one, love can solve many problems that logic cannot. The heart is much smarter than the head.”

The Sun at Dawn by Kimberly Marie