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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Real Reason Why Readers Are Important with @JessieClever #Romance


When I typed the end of To Save a Viscount, the final book in my Regency romantic suspense Spy Series, I cried.  I had spent the better part of ten years crafting and telling the adventures of the smart, dangerous Blacks as they spied for Mother England during the Napoleonic Wars.  It was hard to let these characters go after spending so much time with them, but I knew the story was finished.  Napoleon had been captured (again!), and the family was starting a new chapter (with the birth of a baby).  I had only to finish their story and let them go.

But it is in the letting go that a story is really finished.  For me, the Spy Series had been about a family of spies that existed all in my head.  I had laughed with them.  I had cried with them.  I found Sarah’s cursing inventive and Nora’s strength resilient.  I found Jane amusing and Richard calming.  It never occurred to me to realize how readers saw them.  I never fully realized that others were discovering these characters that had become such a part of me over the ten years of writing their stories.

That was until I started hearing from those readers.

I began to hear from readers who loved Jane, who thought Nora’s world was brilliant, who wanted to hear more about Alec and Nathan.  I even had one reader tell me she spit tea through her nose at the end of A Countess Most Daring.  These stories were not stories until my readers read them and in that, they became finished. 

But not really.

What I hadn’t expected was the response I would get from readers.  When I typed the end on the Spy Series, I had thought that was it.  I mentally prepared myself for moving on to a new series, a new set of characters, maybe even a new world.  But my readers weren’t ready to let them go.  My readers wanted more.  They wanted more of Jane’s antics and Sarah’s cursing.  They wanted more of Alec and Nathan.  So while I had visions of embarking on a new series of fresh characters and conflicts, my readers told me not to.

Readers are important for this very reason.  One may see reading as a passive activity, but it’s not.  Writers write for readers to read, and in the reading, we are guided to our next story.  It’s  not about how many books our readers buy.  It’s about how many readers bring our stories to life.

The adventures of the Black family are far from finished in my readers’ minds, and I have accepted this as a challenge.  As I embark on the Shadowing London series, I realize although a chapter may have closed on the Black family’s legacy as spies, a whole new story has begun thanks to my intrepid readers.


To Be a Spy: A Christmas Spy Series Short Story by Jessie Clever


Samuel Black must make a decision: to be a spy like his father or follow his heart.

Either is likely to give his mother chest pains.

For Samuel is no longer a lad with the ambitious and noble wish of being a lamplighter to keep the seedy streets of London safe.  About to embark on university, his mind stirs with the thoughts of creating a policing force in London to safeguard its citizens.  Held back by his family’s legacy as spies, Samuel does not make his ideas known.

But when he stops a would-be purse-snatcher, his path unexpectedly veers into that of one Miss Penelope Paiget, and suddenly, Samuel must make a choice.

The short stories in the Spy Series:
1.      To Be a Spy
2.      To Be a Duke
3.      To Be a Lady
4.      To Be a Debutante

The Spy Series short stories take place after the conclusion of the Spy Series.

Goodreads Link:

Purchase links:

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1Fxl3QC
All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/1EG1vc2

About the Author:

Jessie decided to become a writer because the job of Indiana Jones was already filled.

Taking her history degree dangerously, Jessie tells the stories of courageous heroines, the men who dared to love them, and the world that tried to defeat them.

Jessie makes her home in the great state of New Hampshire where she lives with her husband and two very opinionated Basset Hounds.  For more, visit her website at jessieclever.com.

Connect with Jessie…



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Heat up your winter nights with an erotic historical for 99¢ #TinaDonahueBooks #WickedWhispers #EroticHistorical

99¢ Erotic Historical
(Sale price good through January 1)

Wicked Whispers - Book Two - Dangerous Desires series

Warrior knights and the women they simply can't tame.


AMAZON - AMAZON UK - BN - KOBO - iTUNES - GOOGLE PLAY

Blurb:

Follow the heart through darkness…

As the Inquisition gains force, even the faintest rumor can brand one a heretic. In this world it is Sancha's gift--or curse--to be blessed with the gift of healing. But the villagers are in need of her arts more than ever, and she feels it is her duty to help them at the risk of losing her life. And at the sacrifice of her heart…

Enrique has never wanted a woman as he does Sancha. Determined to have her love, he woos her with exquisite passion, giving her refuge to pursue her healing in secret. But their very desire and escape from the ruthless forces of the world may be their undoing. And together, they must pit themselves against a jealous rival and archaic tradition to secure their place in a hopeful new dawn…


Excerpt:

He looked at her. “Never have I met women like you.”
She inclined her head slightly to concede his point. “Now you understand why I said you must find another more in accord with your needs.”
“I want no one but you.”
“Enrique.”
He’d cupped her face, his thumb skimming her bottom lip. Her mouth tingled. Her breath spilled out on a wanting sigh at the tenderness and desire in his expression.
He reined in his gelding and lowered his mouth to hers.
She couldn’t fight him. Didn’t want to. The night was perfect for love, their attraction too intense, his kiss soft and searching at first then filled with raw male need, his tongue slipping into her mouth.
Sancha sagged against him, suckling his tongue as though she’d been born for the task, loving his clean flavor, his strong caress.
With the reins in one hand, he eased his other beneath her shirt, fingertips grazing her skin, hand cupping her naked breast.
She should have pulled away, told him to stop. Trembling with unbearable need, she opened her mouth even more to his tongue, inviting him to invade her deeply, intoxicated by his scent and strength.
Emboldened by her willing surrender, he dragged his thumb over her nipple, making the tip even harder. She ached for him in a way she couldn’t deny. All her life others had told her how sinful lust was. For her to avoid it at all cost. A woman’s purity was worth more than love. Passion could fade in a moment. Chastity alone proved a female’s honor the same as valor did with a man.
She’d never doubted those truths, having rarely thought of them until now.
Within Enrique’s embrace, she was complete for the first time, even though they had no future. Somehow, this moment and a few others seemed enough. On some level, she knew her sentiments were wrong. A better woman would fight for what was right, denying herself and him.
She gripped Enrique’s thigh, not wanting him to stop. Her touch seemed to excite him even more. He tore his mouth free and lifted her shirt, exposing her breasts to the ebbing moon and night air. The cool breeze skipped lightly against her feverish skin. His mouth was hot and damp on her throat.





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Monday, December 5, 2016

His to Protect



                                         Happy Holidays!

Whatever holiday you celebrate this month, I wish you joy and peace. Home and family have always meant the world to me but somehow at this time of year, I seem to make a concerted effort to visit with folks I don't manage to see on a daily basis. This year, I've lost family members but I've also gained a few and I'm looking forward to catching a familiar smile or hearing a laugh that brings back a wonderful memory.

Yes, I get sappy around Christmas. You should see me watching "It's a Wonderful Life" or "A Christmas Carol". I'm a blubbery mess and I don't care who sees or hears me. Remember the old saying, "Let it all hang out"? I do and it isn't pretty, lol:)

When I was younger, I enjoyed shopping but the past couple of years, Amazon and I have developed a very close relationship. I'm in a much better mood if I don't need to look for a parking place and hike five miles before I spend any money. Of course figuring out just the right gift can be exhausting, so after I've clicked my last purchase button, I still put my feet up and have a nosh and a cup of coffee or glass of wine. There are some traditions that will never change:)

Adding to the excitement that the holidays always bring, I have a sparkly new novella that will be available for pre-order on December 9! If you like your wolf shifters sexy and  protective, you just might enjoy my newest novella, HIS TO PROTECT, part of the Black Hills Wolves series from Decadent Publishing.

Blurb:

A resentful pack, a suspicious alpha and a looming threat…

After ten long years, desperation has forced Luna Sinclair back to Los Lobos but nothing in her experience has prepared her for the heat that Pack Protector, Gunnar Redmond unleashes. Her wolf is clawing to break free and run straight for the hulking beast but what wolf in their right mind would want to be tied to her family tree?

Not everyone is happy about welcoming the daughter of one of the old alpha’s henchmen, home. Old wounds and secrets are exposed and to make matters worse, Drew Tao, the new alpha has reason to suspect that she might have revealed the packs most closely guarded secret when she escaped the crazed survivalist that had been keeping her prisoner.

None of that matters to Gunnar. He’s known Luna was his mate since finding her naked and shivering on pack land and he’ll do anything to keep her. With their wolves clawing to mate and danger closing in, anyone who wants to hurt her will have to go through him first. 

Excerpt/Pg13:

Gunnar Redmond’s blood still raced from his morning run, and the female’s musky scent hit him doubly hard. The haggard white wolf had been running in a straight line since she’d hit the perimeter a few minutes ago. Nothing ran that hard unless something chased it, and he didn’t see or smell anything following her. Too soon to call a warning for something he could probably handle himself, the pack protector kept well behind his quarry. The third time she stumbled, his wolf reached for her, nearly stopping him in his tracks.
The urge to catch her before she fell surprised him. He breathed in her scent once more, finding her human nature had become much stronger and stank of a fear so fierce it permeated the crisp autumn air. She’d transformed. The scent grew stronger. His quarry had stopped, perhaps to get her bearings.
Every wolf in Los Lobos knew the location of the pack land boundaries.
She was obviously lost and confused.
Downwind and hidden by a small stand of trees, Gunnar crouched on the crest of a small hill. Naked and filthy, twigs and leaves riddled her tangled mess of dark hair that reached past her shoulders. Mud streaked her bare arms and legs. Her thin flanks trembled as she rubbed her hands up and down her arms and looked around. She might not be very tall, but her obvious curves left no doubt she was all woman.
His wolf whined.
 If he waited any longer, his wolf was going to behave inappropriately. Knocking her down so he could clean her and show his obvious interest probably wouldn’t win him any points. He stood and unbuttoned his shirt as he walked down the short incline.
The wind shifted, and she lifted her nose, turned, and froze. Her dark eyes widened, and he scented the fear she tried to hide. His size intimidated most, but her gaze had locked on his fingers, still working his shirt buttons free, and it occurred to him what the situation must look like.
Nice going, dumbass.
He let his arms drop and sighed. “Did you know you were trespassing?”
Her shoulders slumped. She stared at him a moment, and her mouth worked in a silent effort that seemed to frustrate her. Finally, her words tumbled like so much static from a radio. “Am I in Los Lobos?”
Gunnar nodded, and a shaky smile quirked one corner of her mouth.
“My name is Luna Sinclair, and I beg sanctuary.”
He stripped off his shirt with a little more force than necessary and handed it to her before turning to give her some privacy. And so she couldn’t see his face. “Are you Ed Sinclair’s daughter?” He hadn’t meant to snap.
“Yes.” She delivered the one succinct word in the same brusque tone he’d used. She didn’t sound happy about relaying the information.
“The alpha will want to see you.” He turned around. Why did he and his wolf always choose the most difficult path to reach any desired destination?


I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Have a wonderful holiday!

Hugs,

Paris Brandon


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Goal Planning by Kate Allenton


The Christmas countdown clock has started in my house. Well, it technically started in October for me. I’m one of those obnoxious planners who would love to skip right to the end of the year where I can make my kids’ eyes sparkle when they open presents. I think the ugly sweater parties were inspired by some of my “special” holiday clothes. Just ask my children. Our Christmas tree goes up well before Thanksgiving, and if I had my way, it would be up when trick-or-treaters came to the door.

But December isn’t only for celebrations and fun no matter how much I wish it to be true. It’s my time for reflection and planning.

December is when I take a look back at my year and see if I’ve hit my personal and professional goals. When I started writing, my resolutions were easy. Write a book. Learn to market. Make friends with bestsellers and hope that a little of their charm, grace, and luck rubbed off on me. I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve always winged it until I needed to break out the sticky notes and devise a plan. It’s kind of how I tackle new books. It’s the spark of adventure and believing that anything is possible that drives me in the beginning and propels me to that fork in the road where I’m scratching my head trying to determine which way to go.

It doesn’t matter if you keep those GPS directions in your head or if you write them on a million colorful sticky notes or even if you’ve established it in your business plan. Having a direction tends to get me closer to my goals, and maybe, just sometimes, they make the post signs a little more easy to navigate.  

No matter where you fall on that spectrum, I believe that everyone’s journey is different. That for every up and down we experience we learn lessons that help our spirits grow and that we, as writers, are a special bunch of people, who, if lucky, will touch the lives of those who take a chance on our books. Take a minute to stop and think about how far you’ve come and make plans where you want to be this time next year.



I know where my writing goals for 2017 are taking me. Do you?



For more information about me and my books, you can click on either of these links to connect with me on my Website or on Facebook.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Silence is Golden by @AnniFifeAuthor #Romance #RB4U


I always had a yearning to learn yoga and visit South East Asia. Not so long ago, I got to experience both. But they came with an unexpected bonus … seven days of SILENCE!

In 2011 I was lucky enough to be in a place in my life where I could take several months leave. I decided to tick as many experiences off my bucket list as I could manage. Yoga, and visiting Thailand were high on the list. So imagine my delight when I found a place called Jungle Yoga. It was a magical place, buried deep in the wild rainforests of Khao Sok National Park. The lodge is made up of floating bungalows adrift a freshwater lake, and surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. My heart leaped when I clicked an a special seven-day retreat offer which included yoga and meditation. Perfect! I signed up, but in my excited rush I didn’t realize it was a silent retreat. Yep. A silent Vipassana retreat with several hours of strictly scheduled meditation per day. It was a shock, but sometimes the unexpected can lead us down new paths that change our lives in deeply profound ways. This was one of those times.

On arrival, I discovered the living conditions were more rudimentary than the photographs implied. The guest huts were made of palms leaves, and the only furniture was a thin mattress with a simple overthrow and one pillow. On the tiny deck was a simple hanging basket for your toothbrush and soap. Cold-water showers and loos were a walk up the hill.  I sucked in a deep breath, tore up my list of city-chick must-have’s, and embraced my grand adventure.

The environment was spectacular.  The water in the lake was so clean, guests soon ignored the showers and settled for washing in the lake.  I used to sit perched on a log outside my little hut, right on the water, and wash my hair (with biodegradable shampoo) and then jump in the lake and rinse it all out.   Nervana! Except of course, my long, thick hair soon resembled a bird’s nest, so four days later I was forced to cheat and use my Kerastase Hair Conditioner. (During my next meditation, I prayed it didn't harm any fishies.)  

There were ten guests in my retreat group, and three guides. The whole experience was rewarding but unexpectedly challenging, both physically and emotionally. The daily schedule replicated a typical silent retreat in a monastery with the same disciplines.

All verbal interaction was discouraged except during the five o’clock Dhamma Talk, and to ensure our wellbeing, we each had a daily one-on-one interview with one of the Dhammas. The Teaching was lead by Steven Smith, an inspiring Hawaiin who taught with great empathy and integrity.  He brought a guest, DhammaRuan from Sri Lanka, renowned for his chanting ability. Each night he’d send us into a trance with magical chants that rippled out over the lake. Sometimes, the haunting song of the gibbons would echo back from the nearby forest—transcendent and unforgettable.  Julie or Uma (her yoga name) was the yoga instructor and is one of the kindest women I have ever met.  Her yoga was designed to stretch our bodies, made sore and stiff from hours of sitting.

 The teachings were fundamentally Buddhist, anchored in Vipassana—knowing yourself as you truly are—and Mindfulness.  I found it mostly made sense, and resonated in a way that I knew would be life-changing. Although the theory is quite simple, I continue to find daily practice a challenge.

The week turned into an emotional rollercoaster. I went from the high of achieving a moment of great clarity, to a tearful mess when I slammed into a personal reality that had been hiding in my subconscious. Throughout, the Dammas were gentle and supportive, guiding us with great equanimity. The experience was overwhelming at times, but welcome support came from the most unexpected of places—my fellow participants. Without uttering a word, their silent empathy would reach out to comfort me. I met this diverse group of nine people on the boat ride over, and an hour after arrival never spoke to them again for seven days. The weird thing was, I felt like I knew them intimately. Meditation is like that. I could identify each person from the sound of their footsteps.

The yoga sala was simple and beautiful and open to the elements.  It was the monsoon season so it rained in massive deluges every day. This didn’t interrupt our rigid schedule, we’d just lower the bamboo blinds and meditate to the sound of driving rain. The days were never truly silent. If it wasn’t the rain, it was a cacophony of wild animals and birds from the jungle. Or in quieter lulls, we could even hear fish jumping in the lake. Finger-tingling, energising, nature’s sublime symphony.  As the days passed we got less fidgety during meditation. This tranquility, combined with the lack of chit-chatter in the lodge, became a balm to the senses.

For the first two days my head reverberated with a gabfest at which there was only one guest—me! And as much as I tried, I couldn’t silence the voice rambling on inside my brain. I did my best to follow Steve’s guidance, but as soon as I began to sink into a meditative state, I’d be yanked out, and shoved into one solitary conversation after another. I even took an odd trip down memory lane, visiting with school friends I hadn't connected with in years. Disconcerting to say the least! But the days passed, merged, and one afternoon the voices were suddently gone. Silence. Pure silence which brought with it an inner peace that washed through me like liquid sunshine. I have never been able to achieve this pure state again. I don't mind. It came to me at a time in my life when I needed it most, and I have no doubt it will revisit me if the need should arise again.

Not speaking for days on end is a fascinating experience. Like most new skills in life, it gets easier with practice, until one day it seems the action of talking has become the oddity, rather than silence. When I wanted to ask a question during the Damma Talk, I found myself deliberating with care before I spoke, and even then, I chose my words selectively. And  when I did speak, my voice reverberated in my head like I was shouting!

The most valuable gift I discovered in this unexpected week, was that only in silence did I begin to find a sense of personal clarity that brought with it answers to questions that had been hiding from me my whole life. I still meditate today. It keeps me grounded and will always remind me of the unique experience I was gifted with in the depths of the Thai jungle.

Do you think you’d benefit from a silent retreat and meditation experience or would it drive you bonkers? Let me know what you think in the Comments below. Anni xx


Exciting new author, Anni Fife, has just released her debut novel, Luke’s Redemption. A Contemporary Romantic suspense (steamy!)

Red-hot sex. Searing betrayal. A passionate and elusive love…

Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter. Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart, and the only leverage she has against her father. She’s left with no choice but to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.

Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other. But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he's in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It's a promise he can't keep.

When Katya's past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.

BIO
Anni Fife left a successful career in television to fulfill her lifelong passion, writing. In the space of one month, she shut her business, packed up her city life, and moved to a small seaside village to begin her new life…as an author. LUKE’s Redemption is Anni’s debut novel. Anni loves spending hours on the beach searching for pansy shells, more hours drinking red wine with her gals, and the most hours writing steamy romance novels filled with hot alpha men, and the sassy intelligent women they can’t live without. She is currently working on her second novel, GRAY’s Promise.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
You can read all about me on my website, and join Anni’s Posse to get regular updates and Bonus Treats—www.annifife.com
Or follow me on Twitter—https://twitter.com/AnniFifeAuthor
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/author/annifife
Bookreads https://www.goodreads.com/AnniFife


BUY LINKS
         
Luke’s Redemption is also available from Kobe, Bookstrand, All Romance, iTunes and The Wild Rose Press. All these Buy Links are available on Anni’s website: http://annifife.com/



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