AuThursday -Barbara Monajem

TROTS BM Banner2OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’ve been making up stories ever since I could read and write. The first story I remember writing was in third grade about apple tree gnomes. Unfortunately, I have lost that story!

How do you make time to write?

Luckily, I can write anywhere, anytime, but since I have a job during the week, I get most of my writing done on weekends, or on vacation while my husband does the driving!

What genre are your books?

Most of them are Regency romance, but I also have some vampire mystery/romances out there, and I just finished writing a Regency mystery. Some of my romances have magic in them. They’re a lot of fun to write.

What draws you to this genre?

I love reading both mystery and historical romance, so I naturally tend to write a blend of the two.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on a Regency romance where the heroine is a French refugee and a smuggler. She’s VERY feisty and fun to write. I’m also writing a Regency with magic, in which the heroine can see the fairies, and therefore people think she is crazy. The hero is half-fairy and super sexy and exciting. Lastly, I’m polishing my Regency mystery about a wealthy lady who has to confront all her class prejudices while solving a mystery that centers around herself. The hero of that story is a clever, intriguing Scot.

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

Introvert all the way. It means I’m pretty terrible at being sociable. I love hearing from my fans, but I dread meeting them and having to make small talk!!

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Um…well, so far I haven’t found it. Yikes, is that something more to worry about?

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Persevere. Get critiques, enter contests, learn to rewrite and revise, believe in yourself. And again, persevere.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://www.facebook.com/barbara.monajem

http://twitter.com/BarbaraMonajem

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3270624.Barbara_Monajem

http://www.BarbaraMonajem.com

TROTS Teaser 4.3Do you have a sexy excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Hmm. Not really, because the heroine and heroine don’t get together until pretty late in the book. But here’s a teaser.

redemtionoftheshrew480Years earlier, Gloriana tried to seduce Philippe by coming to him naked in the moonlight, but he spurned her and left. Now they can hardly tolerate each other…but the attraction still lingers.

Gloriana gaped at Philippe, and their eyes met. It was dim in that tavern, but not dim enough. The awareness in his eyes sent a bolt of desire through her, top to toe.

“I do covet you, but I am an honorable man,” Philippe said. “I shall not act upon my desires, however, tempted I may be—or have been in the past.”

She surged up, gripping the tankard. “There’s nothing honorable about being a coward.”

His eyes flashed, but he slouched at ease in his chair. “Shall I call you a few choice names, too?”

She flung the tankard at him. Ale dripped down his waistcoat. He rose slowly to his feet. A babble of crude commentary broke out. Hands shaking, she dug in her reticule, dropped a shilling on the table, and stalked out into the night.

To the sound of laughter and jests, Philippe’s among them.

TROTS Teaser 2.2Reviews by Crystal button (1)

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AuThursday – Ivy Hayes

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I will try and keep it short 😊
I am 25 and from Seattle, and I got my start writing when my boyfriend and I had an itch to travel. I quit my non-profit healthcare job so we could spend 2018 out of the country.  Since I now has all this free time, I started to go crazy so I quickly settled on writing a book to pass the time (which had been a long-time dream of mine, I just never thought it would actually happen) and finished my first manuscript about a month later in a coworking space in Dunedin, New Zealand.
I am still so new in the writing world I feel I am learning something each day that hones my craft, just a little bit more. The best part though, I truly found something I love and writing books has shaped my career goals in a way I didn’t even know was possible.

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

My best writing hours are in the late afternoon to evenings.  I spend my mornings learning all I can about self-publishing/marketing/etc. then usually take a nap and wake up to write for a few hours. I break this when I am in the last third of a manuscript and I tend to write all day.
I have been spoiled with having writing be my ‘full-time job’ while I have been traveling, I am going to miss it when I start working again in September, then I will join the 5am writing club and probably do a bit after work/on the weekends.

What genre are your books?

So far, they are all Paranormal Romance, but I am working on a Contemporary Romance, coming out sometime in the fall.

What draws you to this genre?

Romance novels have gotten me through a lot. I feel like they helped keep me sane in college and the years after. I studied pre-med, so my mind was constantly overloaded from all the coursework. After college, I worked in a fast-paced healthcare non-profit. With both, I needed some content that was fun and easy to read. I always had a romance novel downloaded on my phone that I could veg out with for fifteen minutes.
I love that the stories almost always end with a happy ending. So, when I started writing, it didn’t take me long to settle on this genre. I guess right that it would be a blast to write and I wanted to spread even more happiness (and sexiness).

How did you come up with the idea for your SHIFTING HEARTS series?

I am the kind of writer that just writes and lets the story take me where it wants to go. When I started the first book, all I knew is I wanted it to do something with shifters. At first, it was a modern-day novel, mixed with Greek gods, so very different than what it ended up being.

I wrote and rewrote the first few chapters until something made sense, then I ran with it.

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

Indie. I played with the idea of going to traditional route, but that almost seemed like the easier route (well, after you get picked up, it would be easier). I wanted to maintain autonomy and control over my novels and work to build my brand, as I wanted it.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

I have a hard time focusing on just one project. I write for a few weeks on one then get a great idea and start another novel.
Like right now, I am in the middle of three.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Take all the advice you read with a grain of salt. People have what works for them, but I can almost guarantee it won’t work for you. The main thing is just keep working at it and pushing through until you find the groove that is right for you.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I have a WordPress blog: http://ivyhayesbooks.wordpress.com
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: @Ivyhayesbooks
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B07BR7TRJR/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17882231.Ivy_Hayes

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

From Shifting Hearts:

I start to drink my tea and after the first sip, I put it down. The pine was a terrible idea, it only reminds me of Gregory’s soap. There goes all hopes of the tea putting me to sleep, in fact, it did the opposite. After last night’s restless sleep, tonight should have been cake to fall asleep, but plagued by the memory of Gregory’s touch, my mind is wide awake. Sighing, I dump out the tea and sit staring at the fire for a while. I try and get comfortable, but I am not near anything to lean on. I might as well lay down, perhaps the position will help lull me into sleep. So, wrapped up in my cloak, I find myself lying down. Naturally, I am reminded of Gregory’s giant bed. Instead of waking up with my head on Gregory’s hard chest, I am resting it on the hard forest floor.

Given that I am already depressed, I don’t stop my memories from today replaying in my mind. Those short minutes of intimacy were the best minutes I have had in years. If it wasn’t for Grant knocking, I am sure we would have gone even further. Further to do something I have never done with anyone. Thank god we didn’t though, I doubt I would have had the strength to leave after losing myself to Gregory like that. Thinking of his mouth on my breasts, about his arms holding me close, I feel myself start to get wet. His instant effect on me is uncanny. A wicked thought passes my mind, pleasuring myself thinking of him might be just what I need to fall asleep.

Reaching one hand down to my sex, I hear a rustling in the trees. I look up and see an owl watching me. I am sure it will fly off in a second, chasing a mouse or whatever owl’s do. Not letting it deter me, I slide one finger inside myself, starting a slow massage.  

I let out a low moan, grateful there is no one around to hear me. It feels so good. Sliding my finger back out, I rub the soft nub of my clit, soon that is not enough and I plunge my finger back in my pussy. As soon as I do, the owl flies off the tree and lands right in front of me.

I immediately stop what I was doing and sat up on my elbow, “What the hell?” Before I finish that sentence, the owl disappears and Gregory’s naked, very erect form is standing right in front of me. Holy shit, he is a shifter too. That must be why he didn’t turn me in right away, he understands the weight of that secret.

“I was determined to just watch over you tonight, then find you in the morning.” He knelt on the ground to get closer to me, “But as soon as you started touching yourself, I lost all my resolve.” He leaned forward and took my mouth in his.

AuThursday – Brandy Woods Snow

DSC_0096Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I have a BA in English/Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing has
always been my first love, the media has been my home for more than 17 years, during
which time I’ve built a strong platform that includes articles in Delta Sky magazine,
Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Home Design & Décor magazine (Charlotte, Triangle). I have also worked in corporate communications,
marketing, public relations and business development for several regional and
international companies. At age 35, I finally embraced my true calling as a novelist and
began writing the first draft of what is now my debut release MEANT TO BE BROKEN.
I am a member of RWA and YARWA as well as a number of online romance-inspired
writing communities.

When I’m not writing, reading, or spending time with my husband and three kids, I also
enjoy kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as I can during football
season, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country
roads.

How do you make time to write?

I didn’t for the longest time, which is why it took me 10 years to write my first book after
the inspiration struck. I don’t make that mistake anymore. Life gets busy with the kids, a
husband that’s often away from home, and two businesses under my belt, but I’ve learned to take time where I can get it. My favorite place to write (and where I wrote most of MEANT TO BE BROKEN) is the school car line. I go early, park out front and have an hour or two for focused writing time. In the car line, there’s no laundry or dishes or
countless other chores calling my name. It’s just me and my notebook.

Honestly, though, I also have to give credit to my family. They are so supportive. They
understand this is my passion, and they are terrific about giving me the time I need to
steal away and write in private when inspiration is really kicking into high gear.

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

I wrote an entire blog on my path to publication for MEANT TO BE BROKEN, which
you can find here: http://brandywsnow.com/the-long-and-winding-road-to-publication-installment-1-a-timeline-of-meant-to-be-broken/. It gives a comprehensive look at the
process, from first inspiration to THE CALL.

But to give a quick summary, I did receive rejections on MEANT TO BE BROKEN. I’d
lie if I said they didn’t sting. They do, and there’s no getting around that. But for me, that
was the trick. So many people tell you to shrug off the rejection and consider it one step
closer. And that’s true to a certain degree, but I don’t recommend just shrugging it off.
Sure the industry is highly subjective, and in most cases you’ll get that “it’s not you, it’s
me” explanation after the “no thanks,” but there’s nothing wrong with taking a moment
to FEEL the rejection. Scream. Yell. Cry. Go to the gym and beat on the heavy bag for a
while. Let it out, get in touch with that negative outflow and then harness it and repurpose it—pour it back into your drive to continue onwards, to find success.

Can you tell us your story of getting “THE CALL”?

I got THE EMAIL—the one that led to THE CALL—in July 2017. I was standing in the
checkout line at a local department store, waiting to pay for a fab new pair of shoes when the email notification dinged and appeared on my phone screen. I opened it immediately and cried—tears rolling sort of crying—in the middle of everything.
THE CALL was incredible. A small press publisher, Filles Vertes Publishing, had read
my manuscript and was completely taken. The owner, Myra Fiacco, shared my vision for
it and had a plan moving forward. I loved the fact they were open to my being an active
part in the process, even allowing my input on the final cover design. It took a month to
negotiate contract specifics and call in other outstanding submissions. In the end, I knew
FVP was the perfect place for my book, and I officially signed the contract in August
2017.

What are you working on at the minute?

I think for the moment the question might be what am I not working on? LOL I’m in one
of those unique spaces of time where I’m able to see the industry from several different
angles all at once. While I’m promoting the release of my debut YA contemporary
romance, I’m also busy writing the sequel and another WIP that just won’t leave me
alone (I’ve tried to put it aside until I’m finished with the other one but it just won’t go!).
I’m also once again in the trenches, querying another standalone YA contemporary
romance and am an acting mentor in the #WriteMentor program, helping two mentees
polish their manuscripts for the upcoming agent round in September.

It’s busy, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I’m excited to be able to
give a little back to the writing community that has been so good to me.

What do you think of “trailers” for books? 

I love book trailers if they’re done right. I think they are essential, especially in cases like
mine where I’m trying to reach the YA market. The younger generations have been
raised on technology and the ease of access to visual information on social media
platforms. Trailers are a perfect way to tap into that vein.
My book trailer was done by Brando Jones Films. I wanted something a little more
cinematic, and they came through with flying colors, planning and putting together a
small production piece that captured MEANT TO BE BROKEN with such style and
artistry.
You can see the trailer for MEANT TO BE BROKEN here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9LjG_02TF8&t=6s

How do you relax?

Oh, lots of ways! Spending time with family is my number one, closely followed by a
long hot bath with a good book. I also have to plug my favorite product, the Spoonk Mat,
which is a therapeutic acupuncture mat that I lay on to alleviate stress and anxiety.
Other than that, I’d have to say a trip to the SC coast always works wonders, too, with
heartaches and all being healed by the sea.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Three things jump to mind immediately.
Find your tribe. A healthy group of critique partners is a necessity to get your manuscript polished to perfection. They’re also great for rooting you on during querying, consoling you during rejections, and cheering you on when that Call does come in.
Read in your genre and then read some more. I know you’ve heard this advice before. It’s
true. The truest true that ever was true. Just do it!

Never give up. Rejection is a part of the process, but what determines our success is our
ability to keep going in the face of adversity. I love to recall this quote from Oliver
Goldsmith: “Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.”

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I do my best to stay active on a range of social media platforms and on my website’s
blog. I’ve also just started a fledgling YouTube channel to begin posting vlogs soon. Find
me at any of the below:

www.BrandyWSnow.com
www.twitter.com/brandy_snow
www.facebook.com/BWSnowWrites
www.goodreads.com/goodreadscombrandy_snow
www.tumblr.com/authorbrandywoodssnow
www.amazon.com/author/brandywsnow

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

Absolutely! The book is told in a dual POV from both the female (Rayne) and male
(Gage) protagonist. Here’s an excerpt from the book’s opening in Rayne’s POV. I love
these opening lines because they hint at the relationship to come, they give you a good
sense of the small town Southern setting and they set-up the conflict Rayne will face
with her Mama.

MeantToBeBrokenFrontCover

At 9:30 Saturday morning, I find out Preston Howard wants to date me. At 11:30, my mama hears it from old lady McAlister and has a “spell” in aisle three of the Piggly Wiggly. It’s taken seventeen years, but I finally understand the two things my social life and Mama have in common. They’re both erratic and one usually suffers because of the other.

The store manager calls me on my cell and asks me to come get her. He has my number
because he’s Daddy’s best friend’s brother and used me to babysit his kids a few times last year. I answer, expecting another job offer.

“Rayne? This is Dave Sullivan, you know, the manager down at the Piggly Wiggly? There’s been an incident with your mama.”

Apparently, it’d happened in front of the Luzianne tea bags. She was comparing the family size to smaller ones when Mrs. McAlister offered her a coupon… and a piece of news.

The details get a little sketchy from there—something about her sinking to the floor and
gasping for air. That’s when the manager came over with one of those small brown paper sacks they use to bag up ice cream and had her breathe in it. A nurse and a vet, both in the crowd assembled around her, agreed from their varied medical expertise it didn’t appear to be life-threatening. When the paper bag seemed to work, he decided to call me instead of the ambulance.

I pull into the parking lot ten minutes later. She’s sitting on the front bench beside the
automatic doors where the employees go to smoke, under the “I’m Big on the Pig!” sign. Mrs. McAlister sits beside her, a little too close, waving a folded-up circular in her face. I wonder what the store employees and shoppers think of me, casually parking the car, walking-not-running, and looking both ways before crossing the main traffic flow. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out they’re all watching from between the weekly specials scribbled on the plate-glass windows.

I don’t feel the need to rush. It isn’t a heart attack or stroke. I call it her bipolar though Daddy gets mad when I refer to it like that. The diagnosis is anxiety, better known as my evil little sister—always around, always a pain, and always ruining my life.

This sort of episode has happened before, just not too often in public. In most societies that’s considered good news—but not in the South. They say we don’t hide our crazy, we dress it up and parade it on the front porch. And even if we don’t, someone else will do the parading for us—telegraph, telephone, tell-a-southern woman. We know how to reach out and touch some people.

Mrs. McAlister jumps up from the bench and grabs my arm as I step up on the curb. “I
suwannee, child. She liked to turned over her buggy and spilt them groceries everywhere.”

Talking to some of the older ladies in town always feels like walking out of real life and into some part ofSteel Magnolias. She gives me her version of the sordid details. Mama created quite a scene, not just with her episode but also by her scandalous choice of groceries. The mayonnaise was the only casualty, rolling out the leg hole of the kiddie seat portion of the cart when Mama accidentally gave it a rough shove while collapsing on the linoleum.

Mrs. McAlister hadn’t bothered to pick that up and put it back in the buggy, which was now waiting by the customer service desk. It wasn’t Dukes Mayonnaise. She leans in close to whisper because how embarrassing would that be for Mama. To her, it’s further proof Mama hadn’t been feeling well.MeantToBeBrokenFullCover

AuThursday – Aidee Ladnier

WATC AL BannerAideeLadnier

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi! I’m Aidee Ladnier and although I’ve been writing since I was a preteen, I’ve only been publishing romance for the last six years. I saw a call for submissions online and I’d been listening to a podcast where the host, Kevin Allison, ends each show by saying “Today’s the day. Take a risk.” So I wrote a story and submitted it. I took a risk. And the publisher liked the story and published it. And I haven’t looked back. My writing career is due in part to comedian Kevin Allison.

How do you make time to write?

This is a difficult question! I write on the weekends, of course. But during the week I have a demanding day job. So my writing is confined to early mornings before work and on my lunch hour. I sometimes write in the evenings if my DH has something he’s also working on. Otherwise, he gets that time. 🙂 And as you can imagine, prioritizing so little time to write means I only produce one novel a year—but I’m not in a race so it suits me fine.

What genre are your books?

To date, I’ve published paranormal, science fiction, holiday, and mystery. But I have a steampunk novel and a young adult that I’m also working on. I can’t seem to stick to just one genre. LOL! But all of them have love at their core.

What draws you to this genre?

The paranormal shifter genre is well-established and one I never thought I’d be writing in. I’m not that fond of either the alpha male or fated mate tropes. But I started thinking about werewolves and how they might be perceived in our world—as if they had a rare medical condition. My wolf wouldn’t be an alpha or even part of a pack, and he certainly wouldn’t have a fated mate. But he would be awkward and adorkable and lonely. I knew the minute I saw him in my head that I had to write about him.

What are your current projects?

As I mentioned above, I’ve got a paranormal young adult novel I’m working on. In it, two young women discover that it takes two people to lay a ghost. I’m also working on a steampunk novel that intersects the Spiritualist Movement of the 1900s with the delay of Westward Expansion. It’s got strange inventions, a technology cult, and a plot against the government to thwart.

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

Definitely an introvert, but I try not to let it keep me from experiencing the world. I believe that adventure lies behind every corner, but if you don’t answer that call to adventure, you end up sitting at home a lot. Which is pretty boring. I love meeting people and doing new things but I also have to take a little time for myself every so often.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Oooooo! That’s a good question. Usually, it’s television, the internet, online games, and good books. I always give them priority over my writing. I’ve been obsessed with the Great British Baking Show lately. And the Sims. Why oh why are they so much fun?

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

The best advice is to sit your butt in a chair and write. You can never finish anything if you don’t actually write. The second best piece of advice is to read. Read as much as you can in every genre you’re interested in writing. Read genres that you’re not interested in writing. If you like a book, start analyzing why  you like it. Is it the characters, or the way the writer describes the setting, or maybe the plot twist at the end? If you’re not a reader, you’ll never be a writer.

 

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I have a website and blog at https://www.aideeladnier.com.  I write about my books, publish short fiction there, and post all my coloring pages there. I love adult coloring pages, so I have one for every book I’ve written. I also lurk on Tumblr (http://aideemoi.tumblr.com/) because it makes me laugh. I post a bit on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aideelad), too. But Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/aideelad/) is where my horrible sense of humor comes out the most. I find the most bizarre things to take pictures of.

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

I’d love to!! Here’s a scene after the “meet cute” where Tom and Frank are getting ready to have dinner with Tom’s family:

WolfAroundTheCorner-f500

Tom rinsed the arugula, shaking off the water over the sink. “I couldn’t find candied walnuts, so I bought pecans instead.”

“The thweet oneth?” His niece Marcie jumped up and down, trying to see what he was doing. Her lisp was a new development caused by a couple of missing front teeth.

“Yep, the sweet ones, sweet pea.” Tom held one up for her inspection. Marcie smiled back, all but two of her teeth showing, and then took off out of the room.

“I had to drive to Waynesboro to get the gorgonzola, but it will totally be worth it.”

Annie stopped whisking her salad dressing and fixed Tom with a funny stare. “Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I invited my store manager to dinner tonight.”

Tom shook the greens again but glanced back at his sister. “Sure. Why would I mind?”

“Well, he might be gay.”

Tom set the colander down beside the sink and turned around to face her. He leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms. “Might? Might, as in, you’d like to play matchmaker?”

Annie stirred the vinaigrette again. “Maybeee?”

“Uh-huh.” Tom grabbed the greens and tossed them into the waiting bowl. “I thought we were going to discuss what show to put on in your performance space.”

“Oh, we are.” Annie tipped her vinaigrette onto the waiting arugula. “He’s a creative guy, and he’ll have some good ideas. You’ll like him.”

As if on cue, the doorbell rang. Marcie’s footsteps thundered down the hall.

“Don’t forget to look out the glass first,” Annie called out to her. “You don’t open the door to strangers, remember?”

“Hey, kiddo.” The deep voice wasn’t strange at all.

Tom grabbed a rag to wipe off his hands and ambled into the hallway.

There was the buff guy from his apartment, Frank, clothed this time, in dark jeans so stiff and pressed they could have been dry-cleaned. His biceps bulged out of a short-sleeved brown shirt that brought out the auburn highlights in his hair and made his eyes appear almost golden. Frank’s cheeks reddened just enough to spread across the bridge of his nose, making him utterly adorkable. And gay. Tom so wanted to tap that. All those lascivious thoughts he’d tried to bury about Frank’s lickable frame were now roaring back to the forefront of his mind. And his pants.

“Hey, neighbor.” Tom transferred the towel to his other hand and held his right out to Frank.

“Neighbor? I didn’t realize you two knew each other.” Annie had followed Tom out of the kitchen. Her eyebrows rose in faux innocence. “So glad to see you, Frank.” She pecked him on the cheek as she closed the door behind him.

“I’m sure you didn’t, Sis. Especially since you were the one that told me Mrs. Anderson had a vacancy.” Tom booped her on the nose to let her know she wasn’t fooling anyone.

“Fwank, come and thee my new printheth pony!” Marcie hauled on Frank’s hand, her little sock feet sliding as she lost traction on the parquet floor.

“Hey, Frank.” Annie’s husband, John, swooped in to grab his six-year-old around the middle, hefting her up in a tickle hold. “Let’s get you washed up for dinner, young lady.” Marcie’s squeals and giggles echoed down the hall as John carried his daughter to the bathroom.

Annie gestured at the kitchen with a thumb that made her look like she was hitchhiking her way back to dinner. “I’ll go finish cooking.” Her sly grin hitched up the corner of her mouth. “Tom, could you entertain our guest for me?”

Tom smirked as his sister scooted past. He waited until she disappeared around the corner before zeroing in on Frank again. Frank stood frozen in the hallway next to him.

“So, clothes.” Tom did a visual sweep of Frank from head to toe, not missing the fidgeting fingers or the crooked eyetooth that bit into the pad of Frank’s lip.

Frank’s cheeks went strawberry red, and he ducked away from Tom’s gaze. “I usually wear clothes.”

“That is a shame.” Tom laughed as Frank’s ears turned red too. “You’ve got to tell me—what were you really doing in the bushes?” Because no way could somebody this well put together be that stupid. Annie had nothing but good things to say about her “store manager,” so Frank couldn’t be the guy brainless enough to fall out of an open second-story window.

Frank studied his shoes before peeping up, shamefaced. “Running naked in the woods?”

Tom almost laughed out loud at the absurd, obviously untrue answer. And then he sobered up as the image took shape in his mind of Frank’s gorgeous frame, free and unbound, dashing through the forest. That would be a sight to behold. And Tom would pay premium for a front-row ticket.

But he realized that whatever Frank had been doing, it had embarrassed the man, or he wouldn’t keep evading. Tom should just drop it, but Frank was so fun to tease.

“Is that what they’re calling it nowadays…?” Tom strode back toward the kitchen. “Wanna help set the table?”

Frank hesitated a moment in the entryway and then followed him.

Annie had already set out the stacks of plates and silverware. Tom handed the plates to Frank with a bow, their fingers brushing. The heat of that small touch sent a frisson of excitement down Tom’s spine. He met the golden brown of Frank’s eyes, seeing them wide and shocked as if he’d felt it too.

“I haven’t seen you around the apartments much lately.” Tom grabbed the silverware, and they escaped Annie’s watchful eyes by ducking into the formal dining room.

Frank smiled, but it flattened a little around the edges of his mouth. He moved to the other side of the table, laying down plates as he went. “I was afraid of giving you a worse impression than the first one.”

Tom tilted his head and nodded, placing the flatware at attention beside the plates. “Hey, I understand. I’m willing to put awkward first meetings behind us if you are.” He finished with the last spoon and found himself in front of Frank again. “But I have to say, some of what I saw was too good to forget.”

For a moment, Tom stared straight into the gold of Frank’s eyes. A rising anticipation fizzed in his veins. He was definitely going to get to know Frank better on this trip.

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AuThursday – Saloni Quinby

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KateHillSaloniQuinby2017author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a vegetarian New Englander and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My first story, a short erotic vampire romance, was accepted for publication back in the late 1990s. I love working out and watching horror movies.

How do you make time to write?

When there’s something I want to write, I usually set a daily word count goal and stick to it, even if it’s as little as 500 or 1000 words a day.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I think it’s different for everyone. Regarding myself, I don’t really believe in it. If I get stuck while writing a story, I write something else for fun until the ideas start flowing again. If I don’t feel like writing, then I don’t and it’s a conscious choice to stop. It’s not that I can’t, but that I won’t.

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

Weapons of Redemption is an erotic paranormal romance collection. I’ve always been a fan of vampires and romance because those genres make me happy to read.

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

Weapons of Redemption is published by Changeling Press. I’ve been lucky enough to write for them for many years.

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

I don’t think I’m either. Sometimes I’m an introvert and sometimes I’m an extrovert. I don’t think it has affected my work, but maybe it has!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

To be honest, motivational phrases are a pet peeve of mine. I think it’s great if they work for you, but most of the time I find that they annoy rather than motivate me.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write what you love.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://www.kate-hill.com

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

Yes. Thank you.

weaponsofredemptionsqGuy released a breath as he let his whip fly. It struck his old friend, Ruliff, or Rule, as he preferred to be called. Rule stood, his hands suspended from manacles dangling from chains overhead.

Even if Rule screamed, no one would hear him, deep in the cellar of this mansion owned by their vampiric kin, Ansley and Brayden. Rule wouldn’t scream, though. It wasn’t in his nature to show what he believed to be weakness. To drag more than a groan from Rule, Guy would be forced to practically kill him and his sessions weren’t meant to cause permanent damage. They had already been at it for longer than usual, even for someone with a supernatural constitution.

Five more times Guy struck him with strategically placed blows before he paused and approached Rule. Using the handle of his whip, he traced an especially fierce-looking welt on Rule’s sweat-slicked back. Rule had a tremendous capacity for pain. Always had.

Guy recalled the days when they, along with Brayden, Ansley and the fifth member of their “family,” Bryce, had sailed with Tarun, a genuine monster. The five men had shared a strange and violent past, one that could have destroyed them, but together they had overcome it. Still their days at sea with the vampire pirate — the master who had tried to mold them in his image — had left scars on their souls as well as their bodies. These sessions with Rule reminded Guy of how strong yet vulnerable they all were, even if they refused to admit it.

Rule could be stubborn to the point of stupid.

Guy tightened his hand around the whip and struck Rule again with a blow that would have had most men screaming. A strangled groan escaped the tall, dark-haired man and Guy curled his lip in disgust.

He loved the whip and was an expert with it. Like his vampire kin, he had taken what he’d learned about pain and battle from their hated master and made it a form of expression. They had ultimately used their

skills to fight back, not only for themselves but for victims who crossed their path. Each of the five men had mastered certain weapons. Guy’s obsession was the lash. From bullwhips to floggers, all were slaves to him, bringing pleasure or pain as he saw fit. His love of leather had melded into every part of his life, including sex. He used his floggers to pleasure and punish, sometimes separately, sometimes both at once.

Long ago, Guy had honed his skills on his willing brothers, except for Bryce, who refused to submit to anyone, even for fun. Only Rule to this day came to Guy for regular sessions. Guy decided this one had gone on long enough. He knew Rule would push himself past his limits. He needed a strong but sensitive Dominant who knew when to stop.

Glancing at Rule, Guy noted that he seemed to be in a trance. His blue eyes were narrowed to slits, his lips parted and his breathing shallow. Wet black curls clung to his perspiring forehead and neck. Blood trickled from his lower lip where he’d pierced it with his fangs.

“Our session is over for today,” Guy said without room for argument.

Rule ignored his authoritative tone and said in a deep, hoarse voice, “More.”

“Your name might be Rule, but you don’t rule here,” Guy said.

“Fine. Release me then.”

“Not until you calm down.”

“I am calm.”

“You forget how well I know you.”

Rule’s cool facade snapped. Bellowing, he yanked at his bonds.

Now he screams, Guy thought, but he knew it was probably a good thing. Rule wouldn’t allow Guy to comfort him like some clients enjoyed after a session. Guy worked mainly with supernatural beings — vampires, wizards, and even an occasional werewolf paid well for him to tease and torment them with his leather and chains. But even those creatures had a tender side. Rule’s was buried deep and Guy hoped that eventually someone would reach it.

Despite Rule’s impressive strength, he couldn’t break the chains. Guy’s survival often depended on knowing how to properly bind supernatural beings.

Guy placed his whip next to a heavy purple flogger on a table covered in red plastic. He’d clean his tools later. He was about to clean Rule’s back when his cell phone rang.

He knew who it was by the ringtone.

He picked up the phone and said, “What’s up?”

“It’s Bryce. I need your help. It’s business.”

Although the five men had different careers in the human world, their true purpose was to protect those in need. The weapons they had once used as criminals were now their means of redemption.

Bryce worked as a police officer in the city. Sometimes he called upon his brothers to help him resolve crimes in which the human world could offer no justice.

“What does he want?” Rule asked, having ceased his rampage when the phone rang. “Is there a case for us? Let me go!”

“Do you have Rule strung up in the dungeon again?” Bryce asked.

“Yes. I’m putting you on speakerphone.”

“You don’t have to. I can hear him quite well,” Rule said, straining to look at Guy over his shoulder.

Though keen senses were an advantage of vampirism, the speakerphone would make a three-way conversation easier.

“I’ve been working on what we believe are serial killings,” Bryce said. “You’ve probably heard about them. The media calls them the Bodybuilder Murders. We’ve found a common denominator and, Guy, I believe you can get the evidence I need. Will you help?”

“You have to ask?” Guy said.

“Can you use me?” Rule asked.

“Right now this is a one-man job,” Bryce said. “But thanks.”

Rule looked a bit disappointed, but with all the trouble in the world, he was sure to have another case to work on soon.

“Guy, can you meet me in an hour?” Bryce asked.

“Absolutely. Where?”

“Stay put. I’ll come to you.”

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AuThursday – Dana Marton

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DM author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I like putting plenty of romance and suspense into my stories, including my current release, a second-chance love story about a kickass Hollywood stuntwoman and a former Navy SEAL turned bestselling thriller author. In real life, I try to have the same ‘never give up, never surrender’ attitude as my characters. It took me thirteen years of trying to finally get published. I’ve written over fifty novels since! All while moving across the Atlantic Ocean five times. I swore never to move again with a ship—and have my furniture broken because the ship got into a storm. I cope with life’s constant changes by hanging tight to those closest to me: my family, my dog Toby, coffee, and chocolate. I’m a great fan of all things sugar, which is why Threat of Danger is set on a maple syrup farm in Vermont. I love chatting with readers, so if you’re on Facebook, look me up and say hello.

How do you make time to write?

I prioritize writing over everything but family. If dishes are not done, I can live with that. Right now, the weeds are about knee-high in my garden. I’ll deal with that once my edits are done for the book I’m currently working on. Very early in my writing career, someone said, What do you want to see in your obituary? She was a New York Times bestselling author, or she was the best housekeeper ever? I decided then and there that I wanted to be a bestselling author. So I schedule my time accordingly.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I have the opposite problem. Way more ideas than I’ll ever have the time to write. I have a giant folder of book outlines. If I’ll get to write a third of them, I’ll be happy.

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

I LOVE romantic suspense. I like action/adventure type of stories. There is just that extra oomph and excitement, that pulse-pounding thrill that makes you hold your breath. The stakes are high, and I believe that character is revealed in hardship. Any hero can say “I love you” to the heroine. But will he step in front of a bullet to save her?

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

I publish both as an indie author and with a publisher. My current title was released by Montlake. It’s lovely to have that larger team around me, to be able to bounce ideas off my editors.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Write the best book you can, then study the craft of writing and make the book even better. If you write a story that connects with people, readers will recommend it to their friends. That’s the best promotion any author can hope for. There used to be a lot of pressure to put out a book every ninety days. Then people started putting out a book a month. Now some authors put a book out every week. I didn’t have a single new release last year. I still did okay, because my readers kept recommending my older books to others. My readers are still with me. Make those connections, build those relationships. If you want writing to be a long-term career, don’t set up a schedule that will cause an early burn-out. This year is my 15th anniversary of getting my first publishing contract. Slow and steady can be a wonderful thing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.danamarton.com

www.facebook.com/danamarton

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

Absolutely! This is the intro to the book, the hero and heroine heading into danger.

tod“Hurry up!” Derek drew Jess forward on the narrow path in the woods.

Jess didn’t need urging. She couldn’t wait to be alone with him at the cabin. Her heart drummed: faster, faster, faster.

The two eighteen-year-olds dashed through the undergrowth, breathless with laughter. Winter sunshine gilded webs of branches, the sky the most innocent shade of blue, each gap between the tree trunks a stained glass window. The trees—mostly maple—reached up and up, as tall as church spires. Within the magnificent cathedral of the Vermont forest, the joy of young love sang.

The patches of shadows seemed far away. Jess barely even noticed the dark spots. Each step they took was into light, each breath of crisp air a thrill.

They jumped a log together, strong and nimble. Jess thought of nothing but the old family cabin, the two of them alone, Derek’s firm and eager body all around hers. Desire tingled through her, her fingers tightening on his as he pulled her forward.

“We’re almost there.”

Derek Daley—crush of her life, boy next door, every girl’s dream—wanted her. Finally!

Jess had pined after him all through high school and would have handed him her heart on a platter, if he’d only noticed her. He hadn’t then, but he did now, home from college on break. Nothing else mattered. He’d noticed her and he’d kissed her, and then he’d asked if she would go out to the old cabin with him.

Jess knew what boys did with girls at the derelict cabin off the abandoned logging road. That knowledge burst through her in a shower of sparkling light.

“What’s with the crows?” Derek jerked his head toward the treetops, but he didn’t slow for a second, as desperate for the cabin as Jess.

His eagerness tasted sweeter on her tongue than maple candy.

She glanced up, dazed. What? What did anything else matter beyond how fast they could be in each other’s arms? They had the rest of the day, hours and hours, just the two of them, together, but she didn’t want to waste a single moment.

She wanted his lips back on hers. She was dying for another kiss.

Derek must have felt the same, because he halted and dragged her into his arms in a wild move that almost toppled them. He kissed the breath out of her before spinning away to run again. Thank

God he was holding her hand or she would have stumbled. When it came to Derek’s kisses, Jess’s schoolgirl fantasies paled compared to reality.

The black dotting of crows watched them from the trees. They didn’t see the humans as two lovers flying to their nest, but merely prey as yet unaware of the hunter. The same small, sharp eyes that trailed Derek and Jess from above also trailed the hunter who closed in, moving faster than his prey, eager on the scent.

The birds knew the hunter. He always fed them well.

Down below, everything was movement.

Up in the trees, the crows perched still and waited for the bloody bits.

Then the story cuts to 10 years later. To escape the memories of what had happened to them in the woods, Jess had gone to Hollywood and became a top stuntwoman. Derek joined the Navy and became a SEAL. Then they suddenly both find themselves back home and have to deal with their shared past at last. They’re surprised to find that the love and attraction between them is still there. But so is the killer who is itching for a second chance at them.

AuThursday – Marianne Rice

MRiceAuthorPicTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a wife and the mother of three children. Two girls (17 and 14) and a son (12). I moved from California to the east coast in high school and made Maine my home. Now, you can find me teaching high school English, writing when I can, or curled up with a romance novel.

How do you make time to write?

Ha ha ha! This is a funny one. I don’t seem to be able to “make” time, but I take advantage of the little bits I get here and there. Family watching a movie? I escape to my room to write. Stuck at lacrosse practice? I hide out in the car to write. Summer vacation? Mommy writing time!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Nope. But maybe it’s because I have such little time to write. I’m always thinking about my stories so when I have a moment of peace at my laptop, the words fly pretty quickly. The issue is…not enough time to write it all down!

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

I fell in love with Jill Shalvis, Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, Brenda Novak and many, many more. I love reading about real-life romances, especially those set in small towns. Well, the stories are made up but they could happen, right? My books are sort of a blend between contemporary romance and women’s fiction. I focus on the characters and their internal conflict and the budding romance between the hero and heroine. I also love writing about friends and families. There’s so much material there, right?

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

I’m a hybrid. I have three series with small presses and my latest series in self-published. I like the blend; I’ve learned so much from my small presses and have gained fabulous writer friendships with my fellow authors, but it’s a whole new adventure self-publishing!

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

Total extrovert. However, I was a major introvert–I’m talking social anxiety disorder–until my college years. I was shy in my early twenties, and then something happened. I have no idea what. I absolutely love going to writer and reader conferences and have no trouble speaking in front of a huge crowd. Which is helpful with my day job. Standing up in front of 16-18 year olds trying to inspire them to write and love literature is one of the most challenging jobs I can think of. Talk about daily rejection!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Confucius and “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t stop writing. Ever. And reach out to fellow writers. Often. Attend local writing groups (my local RWA chapter is fabulous, even if you’re not a romance author) and conferences. NEVER stop learning. And don’t publish a book just because you “can”. Get your work in front of as many eyes as possible. And I’m not talking about your Aunt Mabel. You need advice from those in the writing community. Also, hire a professional editor and do your research!

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m everywhere!

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marianne-Rice/e/B00SICUIRM

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariannericeaut

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

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

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marianne-rice

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

“Sure! This is from Where There’s Hope. It’s the second book in my Well Paired novels, but each book is a stand alone.” ~Marianne Rice

Where There's HopeThe front door opened before his foot touched the front step. Hope’s welcoming smile lit up the front stoop, and he did all he could to keep from picking her up in his arms and covering her mouth with his.

Those lips, though. Julia Roberts had nothing on Hope Windward.

“Hey,” she said coyly, her voice wrapped around his heart, giving it a gentle squeeze he hadn’t felt since he was a young boy.

“You’re beautiful.”

Hope looked down at her feet then back up at him, scrunching her nose in that adorable manner she did when she was confused. “I’m wearing jeans and a sweater.”

“I didn’t notice.” And he hadn’t. It was her rich hazel eyes and her sunshiny sparkle that brightened his dark world. She wore her hair down tonight, soft ribbons of dark blonde hair flowing just past her shoulders. Hair he longed to run his fingers through.

Cameron walked up the steps, stopping in the open doorway.

“Well, I’m noticing you. And you look very handsome. I don’t know what I like better, though. Sexy whiskers or the soft skin.”

Cameron rubbed his cheeks with his fingers. He’d shaven tonight for her family, thinking the clean look was more presentable to her parents and her daughter than the usual scruff on his face.

“You name it, beautiful, and I’ll do it.”

Hope raised an eyebrow and her gaze dropped to his lips. “You should probably come in and meet my parents first, don’t you think?”