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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bring On The Thunder! —A blog post from romance author Renee Vincent

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com
As crazy as it sounds, thunderstorms, to me, have a calming effect. I love the sound of the rumbling reverberation they're able to make when passing overhead. The power and might of that sound alone, especially when you can actually feel its vibrations, is an incredible force.

As long as I can recall, I've never been afraid of thunderstorms. Ever since I was little, I enjoyed watching the lightning streak across the sky. I remember as a child counting one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, and so on as soon as I saw a flash of lightning. I was told you could determine how close the storm was by the amount of time that passed before you heard the thunder. If it took three seconds from the time you saw the lightning to the moment you heard the thunder, it was roughly three miles away. I can't say for sure if this is actually true or not, but it certainly kept me occupied. I was too engrossed in "tracking" the thunderstorm to be "scared" of it.

Another thing I remember from my early childhood was my grandmother telling me there's nothing to be afraid of when it came to thunderstorms. She'd told me it was just Jesus bowling in Heaven against the angels. The rumbling thunder was their bowling ball rolling down the lane and the crash of lightning foretold of someone landing a strike. I remember mentally keeping score and wondering if Jesus would ultimately win.

Just writing this all out has me laughing at the crazy stories my family told me to keep me from being afraid or fretful of passing storms.

As a grown woman, I no longer believe Jesus is bowling when it's storming. But as an author, I've written about them. While my protagonists have never counted seconds between lightning strikes and thunder, or rooted for celestial beings in a heavenly game of bowling, I have enjoyed placing them in the throes of natures elements.

Here is an excerpt of The Fall of Rain, when my archaeologist hero, Leif Dægannsen, is trying to unearth an incredible find beneath his front porch in the midst of a thunderstorm. I hope you enjoy!

THE FALL OF RAIN
Emerald Isle Trilogy Book 3
Buy now at:


Present day, Ireland

Leif Dæganssen was soaked to the skin. The cool June rain beat on his back and thunder rolled across the heavens as he staked his shovel into the saturated ground outside his quaint Inis Mór cottage. Normally, he would never think of digging in the ground on such a terrible night. But every bone in his body urged him onward. Though he had no idea what he was looking for, his gut told him that something grand and unique might very well be hidden beneath his porch.

Leif was not a superstitious man. In fact, his livelihood as an archeologist never allowed him to consider supernatural practices. After years of schooling and countless, tedious digs, he believed only in things explainable through science, carbon dating, and the naked eye.

This was different.

He dug on a hunch, an innate feeling coursing through his veins. By rights, the rain should have slowed his progress, or, at least, made him think twice on the idiocy of this escapade. But the aching muscles in his back and arms from the extreme measures of cautionary excavation seemed to be fueled by the dousing of the Erin rain. The more it drenched his clothes, the more he scooped dark, sopping mud away from his lattice-enclosed porch.

Shovelful after careful shovelful, he dug away the soil, ignoring the long heavy sighs of his younger brother, Kristoff.

“How long are we going to be out here in this storm digging for worms, Leif?”

Leif paid him no attention. He concentrated on the depth of his ditch around the front of his house and the silent calculations he made in his head. The perimeter hole he had already dug was about a foot deep and he knew the topsoil would eventually give way to rock-solid limestone beneath. A few more inches—at max maybe a foot—and he’d find something.

He could feel it.

As sure as the rain dripped from every strand of hair in his face, he could feel his adrenaline rising at the thought of his shovel hitting something solid.

“Leif!” Kristoff yelled, jerking him by the arm. A flash of lightning ripped across the midnight sky. Both flinched at the heart-stopping crack and peered above.

Kristoff turned his attention back to Leif. “This is insane! We’re going to get killed out here!”

“Then go inside,” Leif snapped back. “I’m not quitting.”

“And I’m not letting you get struck by lightning over some stupid gut feeling!”

Leif squared his shoulders and leaned in close, the rain spitting like needles in his face. “I’m. Not. Stopping.” He staked his shovel deep in the ground. A low thud reverberated around them.

“Did you hear that?”

Kristoff looked at Leif skeptically. “I did…”

Leif’s face lit up brighter than the violent streak of lightning that passed overhead. “I told you I’d find something!” He dropped to his knees, throwing his gloves aside as he dug beneath the last bit of mud. Using as much caution as he could muster, he tore away handfuls of soil, feeling for the object his shovel had struck. Within seconds, his fingertips scraped against something solid.

“I feel it,” Leif uttered breathlessly. “It’s right here.” Like a dog pawing for its buried bone, he kept pulling away at the dirt until the top could be seen.

“Holy Halfdan Haroldsson,” Kristoff mumbled as he saw a distinct pagan carving come into view. As the rain washed it clean, a whole slew of carvings took form before his very eyes.

Leif glanced at Kristoff. “Now, do you believe me?”

“Hell yeah, I do! Come on, dig it out!”

Leif didn’t need his brother’s encouragement. For years, he had been trying to convince Kristoff that this Irish island was the home of their Norwegian ancestors. More importantly, that the house he had bought two years ago was likely sitting atop their settlement. He had no proof. Only a vibe he felt from the moment he stepped on the treeless island.

Until now.

Even in the dark of night, through the shroud of Ireland’s unmerciful rainfall, there was no mistaking the Scandinavian carvings on the wooden artifact. They were telltale coils of a history forgotten—instantly recognizable designs spiraling and twisting into a complex weave of creatures, demigods, and beasts.

To a pair of young archeologists, it was like striking gold.

“What is it?” Kristoff asked as he found its edge and began digging.

“I don’t know. Perhaps a shield…or a weather vane from a longship.”

“No,” Kristoff said, peeling hunks of mud away from the side. “It’s thicker than that. It’s…holy shit…it’s a…”

“It’s what?”

“I don’t know! It’s a…”

Words escaped them as their excitement vaulted in unearthing the sizeable object from its grave. Neither man was confident enough to say what they thought it could be, but one thing rang true. It was a large find—literally.

In the archeological world, antiquities, such as a small coin or even a glass bead, were significant discoveries. Most times, if one were found, it was purely by accident. Then, once the find was made public, archeologists from all walks of life would try to establish the site as historical and gather funding for a further, more intensive dig. Finding anything beyond the small artifact, takes months or even years of dedication and careful excavation with skillful hands.

Leif had found something substantial within a matter of minutes, and it was certainly nothing short of impressive. As he and Kristoff lifted the heavy, wooden relic from the muck and mire, they lost all sense of speaking. They stared at the highly decorated object. Their eyes traced every complex loop and spiral of the elaborate, dated designs.

This was no accident. This coffer had called to Leif—had beckoned him to buy this property. Though it proved nothing about his ancestors specifically settling here on this very spot, it did confirm that someone of Scandinavian descent had visited the isle. He was determined to find who and hopefully link them with his Norwegian descendents.

Gazing at the stunning carved box through the pelting rain, Kristoff broke the silence. “We’re going to be famous.”

Leif shot Kristoff a grave look. “No. We’re not telling a soul about this.”

“Are you out of your mind? Do you not know what this is?”

Leif disregarded his brother and took hold of the box, trying to stand in the slippery mud. All he wanted to do was take it inside and get it out of sight, but the blasted quagmire beneath him wouldn’t cooperate. He lost his footing and fell on his backside.

Leif let out a curse, and tried again.

“Here,” Kristoff said, thrusting out his hand. “Let me help you.”

Gasping a firm hold, Leif stepped out of the shallow ditch and made haste up the two meager steps of his front porch. As he suspected, Kristoff navigated past him and opened the door wide so he could pass through with ease.

Through the dark, he walked straight into the open space of the living room and into the adjoining kitchen, setting the object on the table. He could feel his heart hammering at the excitement of finally seeing his find under the blessing of light.

Stepping back, he reached for the light switch on the wall, pinching it between his fingers, unable to tear his eyes from the dark object displayed on the table. He heard Kristoff’s heavy footsteps approaching, but he didn’t have the strength to flip the switch.

“Turn it on already!” Kristoff demanded.

“Not yet.”

“What do you mean, not yet? Turn on the light.”

Leif studied his brother in the dark. “If I turn this light on, you must promise that what we see stays between us. No one is to know what we’ve found. And I mean no one.”

“Why?” Kristoff scorned. “We found something highly prized and we could—”

“We’re not going to tell a soul,” Leif instructed direly. “Think about it. If we reveal what we’ve found here tonight, this place will be swarming with media, treasure seekers, and museum enthusiasts. My home will no longer be mine and my life’s work will be ruined. I have spent countless hours tracing our ancestors to this very isle and this…this,” he said gesturing toward the table, “could very well be the missing link to finding my distant family. Please, Kristoff. Don’t spoil this for me. Don’t take away my one chance of uncovering my past. Our past.”

In the shadows of his kitchen, Leif heard his brother heave a heavy sigh. The moments ticked away with each bead of water dripping on the cheap linoleum floor.

“Fine. I give my word. Now turn on the bloody light.”

As he beckoned, Leif flipped the switch, but nothing could have prepared him for what he saw. It was not just a carved artifact, beautifully sitting on his table above a puddle of muddy water, but a chest—a chest that quite possibly held more riches than one man could fathom in a lifetime.

* * *

RENEE VINCENT is a bestselling Contemporary & Historical Romance author who also pens humorous, sweet contemporary romance (with a smidgen of spunk) under the name GRACIE LEE ROSE.

From the daunting, charismatic Vikings, to the charming, brazen Alpha male heroes of modern day, readers will be whisked away to a world filled with fast-paced adventure, unforgettable romance, and undying love.

Her books have earned numerous accolades, including a #1 Amazon Bestseller for Viking Romance, countless 5 Star TOP PICKS by Night Owl Reviews, a "5 HEART Sweetheart" Award by The Romance Studio, and a "Best Book of the Year 2011" nomination from Long And Short Reviews.

Connect with Renee Vincent:
http://www.twitter.com/ReneeVincent
https://www.facebook.com/reneevincentauthor

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Interview of Author Linda Swift


Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Linda Swift. 
Latest Book: This Time Forever


To film Video Link adapted from the book above:

BIO: 
Linda Swift divides her time between Florida and her native state of Kentucky. In her other life she was a teacher, counselor, and psychometrist in public schools in three states. She is an award winning author of published poetry, articles, short stories, and a TV play. Her first books were published by Kensington. She currently has twelve ebooks (also in print) and nine novellas with three publishers available from Amazon and other distributors. Her Civil War saga, This Time Forever, has been compared to Gone With The Wind and the TV mini-series North and South.  The novel has twenty 5-star reviews and was awarded Top Pick status by Night Owl Reviews. Linda considers the adaptation of this book into the film, Clarissa's War, the highlight of her writing career.


Q. Your novel is being made into a TV series/movie. Who’s in your dream cast?
A: My Civil War novel, This Time Forever, actually is being made into a feature movie by an independent film company in Nashville, TN. The filming was finished in Nov. 2014, and the film, Clarissa's War, is scheduled for release this summer on VIMEO. My dream cast was realized in the actors selected from Talent Trek in Nashville. Each one fit their role just as I envisioned them when I wrote the book.

Q. What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A:  In a word, "versatile." At times, when trying to meet a deadline,  I have set goals of a number of words per day. I am more productive when under pressure to complete something but I lean more toward overall deadlines rather than a specific number of words completed in a certain length of time.

Q. What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: Now I try to give my writing, and myself as a writer, more respect. I think this comes with eight years as a multi-published digital writer. For a long time, too long, I tried to fit my work into a schedule where everything else took precedence. Real writers put writing first.  I still cannot force myself to do that, but I do try not to feel guilty for giving it equal time.

Q. How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: I can't estimate how much, but I do believe that no one writes in a vacuum. I think our values and attitudes show in what our characters say and do. Even our bad characters are expressing what we do not believe or approve. Their sense of humor and other character traits are often our own.

Q. Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?

A: This is a really difficult question but I want to answer it for my own enlightenment! I am really fond of so many of my characters, even the bad ones. But I would have to say that Phillip Burke, the main male character in This Time Forever would be my choice. Why? Because Philip is a man of high morals and sensitivity to others. He wanted his life to matter and considered his medical profession to be a "calling." He had great respect for women and would never deliberate hurt anyone but through no fault of his own, he was the cause of great hurt and heartbreak. It is his conflicting emotions and actions that make him such a complex and interesting character.

Q. How do you choose names for your characters?
A: I love naming characters. I spend a lot of time choosing names that fit the visual image I have of a character before I begin writing. I do make an effort not to have similar names in the same book.  That includes ending in the same sound, beginning with the same letter or sound, and names hard to pronounce or spell. Some names just appear in my mind, others I have to look for. I seldom if ever change a name, once chosen.

Q. Covers. Ever get one you wish you could change?
A: I've had very few unsatisfactory covers. Most of my publishers have given me access to work directly with the cover artist. With one book, the cover was overlooked until the last moment and I was given a hastily-finished cover and no recourse for change.  The book did NOT do well. And belatedly, the publisher took a look at the cover and changed it but it was too late to make much difference.

Q. What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: I've always thought it would be fun to write a Regency.  Not the frivolous inane plots that are so predictable but a story with substance told in the Regency style.

Q. Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: Yes, I have used real life incidents in several stories. One that comes to mind was my disastrous baking of a holiday turkey. I first blogged about it and the reaction was so positive that I decided to use it in a book. It is related in Full Circle when the main character tries to make a holiday dinner for her "found again" first love and his children. 

Q. How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: I'm not sure how many stories there are in my head at this moment. There is another novella related to the two just released in a Christmas Collection and Valentine Anthology. Then the sequel to This Time Forever, which may be another long book  or three short ones. I also have a sequel to my two related historical books set in 16th century England. And the story gnawing at the corners of my mind involving a mail-order groom.


Fun Stuff:
1. What is your favorite holiday and why?
Christmas, because it is a season of wonder and joy and a time when all people seem to have more love and kindness in our hearts.

2. What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
I find the whole car racing scene fascinating. And I am really very shy.

3. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I flitted between a movie star, a ballerina, and a mother (the latter probably because I was an only child and longed for siblings). Well, I am a mother of two, so I guess one out of three wishes come true is not bad!

4. Favorite food.
Chocolate anything/everything.

5. Favorite happy memory.
How can I choose just one? There are different ones for different stages in my life. Marriage. Births of babies. First new car. Graduating college at 31. First book publication.

6. Favorite drink.
A strawberry-banana pina colada.

7. Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
Hot summer days, preferably with a sandy beach and Gulf breeze.

8. What is the top thing on your bucket list?
Sort out the files on my computer. I am very organized except in this one area. It drives me crazy.

9. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
The power to make the world a safer, more peaceful place.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!

Blurb:
In a nation ravaged by war, lives change for all time...An antebellum mansion is transformed into a Confederate hospital when the Union Army invades Tennessee. Clarissa Wakefield remains in her home against propriety to help nurse the wounded. Philip Burke, a prisoner of war, barters his medical skill to avoid prison and is placed in charge.

As opposing armies fight for possession of Chattanooga, Philip and Clarissa wage their own personal battles. Each is committed to another, though kept apart by the endless fighting. Amid the blood and suffering, mutual attraction grows despite their best intentions. Caught in the passions of love and war, will they be faithful to their vows or listen to their hearts?

EXCERPT:
"Clarissa, my beautiful Clarissa," he whispered. "No matter how hard I fight this, I can't stop wanting you. There's never an hour you're not in my thoughts. I am obsessed by you."

She moved her hands from his chest to caress the sides of his face and he groaned with pleasure. "And I you."

He cupped her against him and she linked her arms at the back of his neck as he bent his head to take her mouth again with greater intensity. "I tell myself you are married, but it doesn't matter in what I feel. And I think you feel it too."

"Yes, oh yes," she whispered.

He held her away and looked into her eyes. "I was engaged to a fine woman. But I've told her I can't marry her now. It would be impossible when it's you I want."

"Is it she who writes you letters?" Clarissa asked curiously.

"Yes, she did, but not anymore."

"Oh, Philip, I'm so sorry."

"My father arranged an exchange for me while you were away."

Her heart plummeted and she asked sadly, "And you'll be going soon?"

"I refused it. I couldn't bear to leave you."

Joy surged through her at his words. "You did this for me?" Her voice was filled with wonder.

"I've burned all my bridges, Clarissa, because of you. I know you could never be happy in my world and now I doubt I could either. And you would be scorned here in your world if you should break your vows for me." He stopped, hesitating to say what was in his heart, then plunged on. "But we could go West when the war is over, make a new world of our own. You, me, and Robert."


Thank you for coming by! Anything else you’d like to add?
Only that I have enjoyed answering these interview questions and I appreciate the opportunity to promote my books and myself. Thank you.
Linda

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Writing Inspired!

I love the idea of having my own writing cottage, a place where I can sit back and read, or just write. I think it's a good thing to separate the working desk from the writer's desk, so the two muses, one with a mindset of an accountant, and the writing muse, who may not be dressed at all and is doing Martha Graham dances nekked.

I can and do write everywhere. Love writing on cruises, in airports, coffee shops and odd places no one else would spend much time in/at/below/above. Am I sick to say the best time about RT last year in Nawlins was the afternoon I spent at a coffe shop in the French Quarter? Yes! Writing in unfamiliar places can be very inspiring.

But I think the best is to write cozy and small. Lots of famous authors have done this. We're in good company with the likes of Mark Twain, Roald Dahl, George Bernard Shaw, Dylan Thomas, Henry David Thoreau and of course, Virginia Woolf.

Sarah Ban Breathnach, in my favorite book of hers, called Moving On,  talks about her journey to England to purchase the cottage where Sir Isaac Newton did his famous writings, and about how she felt the building was "haunted" or rather "inspired" with his muse. Timing played a key role in that she had just published her first successful book, which had stayed on the NYT list for months, and used the proceeds to buy this particular cottage which hadn't been for sale in over 100 years. She began to see her quest to write a bestseller was the prequel to her owning Sir Isaac's cottage.

Sarah also writes this great quote: "Rosemary Sullivan is meditating on the emotion women feel when they fall in love at first sight with men; I'm the one taking the leap to house fever because I've succumbed to both. Suddenly, without warning (or so it seems) the trajectory of a woman's life changes, becoming 'a vicarious route to some essential part of herself that she does not yet fully recognize or understand.' The Beloved becomes 'the heroic territory she longs to occupy.' She thinks she's found him--or home. Interestingly, the name of the greatest lover of all time, Casanova, means new house."

We never know what trails we'll walk down on our path to creating the stories we create. But we can guide it somewhat. I wrote a little piece on my personal blog today about writing cottages, and my own struggles with focus and attention. You can join me over there today as well, if you like. Bring your favorite beverage, book or laptop, and we'll read or write together!

What about you? Do you have a special muse-inspired place you write or read in?

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Interview of Author Francesca Hawley

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Francesca Hawley.

Latest Book: Hanky Spanky
Buy Link: ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U43T1D0
Print: http://www.amazon.com/Hanky-Spanky-Erotically-Bound-1/dp/1495267563

BIO:
Hi. I’m Francesca Hawley and I’m a fat chick. A woman with dangerous curves just like my heroines.

Many people don’t like the word, “fat” but I do because it’s the truth and I’ve learned to own it. I am a fat chick and I always will be. When I first began to read romance, the heroines were all thin. I kept wondering, where were the fat heroines? I wanted to read about a fat chick who loved herself—or at least learned to love herself—and a hot alpha hero who liked her jiggly bits just the way they were. Since I didn’t find many big girls to read about, I decided to write about them, so Francesca Hawley – author of Romance with Dangerous Curves was born.

In a Francesca Hawley romance, my readers will find authentic, sensual, plus size heroines who love and are loved by their intense, passionate, and seductive Alpha heroes. I hope you enjoy their dangerous curves just as much as their hunky heroes do.

Q: Your novel is being made into a TV series/movie. Who’s in your dream cast?
A: I’ve actually had several individuals in mind while I was writing Hanky Spanky. Rusty Joiner would be perfect to play Andy Larson. He’s hot, blond and I can picture him as my sugar beet farmer Dom from Minnesota. I think Brooke Elliot (from Drop Dead Diva) might be a fun choice for Karen. She’s got the dangerous curves that Andy loves.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: There’s a bit of myself in all my characters. I think it would be difficult to create an individual that didn’t draw from me in some way but none are a carbon copy. I consider myself a bit quirky and I use those traits to add some interest to my characters.

Q: Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
A: My favorite single character is Baron Eaduin Kempe from Seeking Truth. He’s tortured, sexy, smart and protective. I like the man that he is and I completely understand why Verit falls for him.

My favorite couple is Mandy Goldwolf and Joe Blackwolf from Cupid Rocks. They are funny, silly, but passionate. They both have flaws but they make it work.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: I listen to music. I usually create some kind of playlist for my story that I try to share as part of my promotion efforts after the book releases. I did that with Buy Me a Rose from the Naughty Literati boxed set, Naughty Hearts and for Hanky Spanky on my blog.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: I would tell myself to start writing with the intent of publishing at a much younger age. I’ve been writing for a very long time, but I never took it seriously and I wish I had.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: I’d love to give science fiction a shot. I’m not a super science geek, so I’d find it challenging to write Hard SF. I could see myself writing a space opera of some kind though. It would be fun.

Q: Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: I’ve haven’t written about a specific incident, but I had to draw on my experience losing my mother to get emotion into many of the scenes in Seeking Truth.

Q: Any part of a book that drives you crazy as you write: beginning, middle, or end?
A: All of it. The part that gives me trouble varies from book to book. With Hanky Spanky, I rewrote the ending a number of times to get it right. With my current work in progress, I’ve had trouble with the beginning. It’s a short story and I’m trying to get a touch of backstory into the beginning without writing an infodump. With all of my books, the love scenes are a real challenge to write. I know what I want to have happen but getting it down is work, I just hope it seems to my readers like the lovemaking is effortless.

Q: Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
A: I think the best opening line I’ve written in one of my published books is from Protect and Defend and this is the line:
If just one more Mad Max driver cut her off in traffic, he was dead.

Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: Dozens of stories are swirling in my head. The tough part is figuring out which story to work on at what time. I have several sequels in the Erotically Bound series in mind for my current release, Hanky Spanky. I also have a number of ideas for my shapeshifters and three or four additional ideas for my medieval Seeking Love series.

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: I love Christmas. I like the music, the decorations and the lights.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I had weight-loss surgery back in the mid-1990s. The surgery worked well and I lost 200 lbs which I’ve kept off.

I used to be very active in the Society for Creative Anachronism. I haven’t been to any events in a while, but I hope to change that sometime soon.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be a nurse. When I went to visit my maternal grandparents, one of their neighbors had a daughter who was a nurse and I thought Nancy was the coolest woman ever.

Q: Favorite food.
A: Pasta. I love angel hair pasta with marinara sauce and lots of cheese.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Family Christmas celebrations from when I was a little girl. Opening presents on Christmas Eve and going to my grandparent’s house for Christmas dinner on Christmas day.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Pepsi. It’s not good for me but I like the caffeine and the buzz from the carbonation.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Hot summer nights – as long as I have air conditioning.

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Travel to Europe – England and Italy, especially.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: I’d love to be able to shift my shape. Turning into a wolf or a bird would be really neat.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Web site: http://www.francescahawley.com
Blog: http://francescasmindstream.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/francesca.hawley
Twitter: https://twitter.com/francescahawley
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/francescahawley
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/FrancescaHawley

BLURB:
Curious Sub seeking the perfect Dom…

Karen Eckberg has spent months in front of a webcam, writhing and moaning, dutifully performing to Master Lars’ voiced commands. She’s sexually alive for the first time in her life but when her perfect Dom turns out to be none-other than her high school crush “Aw Shucks” Andy Larson, life takes an even more sensual turn than she’d ever expected.

Karen is everything Andy Larson has ever wanted in a sub, achingly responsive and eager to please her Master in every way. Unfortunately, their red-hot affair both in and out of the dungeon draws unwanted attention from his possessive ex-wife fueling Andy’s protective streak.

And now there's no safe word that can protect Karen from a woman scorned.

EXCERPT: Warning-Adult Language
Oh, God. It was Andy. “Nothing. Just girl talk. Did you need something?” Damn him, he always managed to move so quietly. She hoped he hadn’t heard anything important…or incriminating.

“Yes, I need something.”

She looked up into his smiling blue eyes, clenching her toes to hide any other reaction to him. His eyes were uncharacteristically intense. She didn’t think he was capable of looking at anything but his sugar beet fields like that.

“Well? What do you need?”

“You.”

Karen sat up, her jaw dropping open. “What?”

“I want to dance.”
Why did she have to feel disappointed? She should know better by now. He’d never shown one iota of interest before, so she shouldn’t hope for anything now.

“No one’s stopping you, Andy,” she raised her brows and waved him onto the floor, using sarcasm as a weapon and a defense.

His eyes darkened and his lips tightened. “I meant, would you dance with me?”

“Me?” Shit. Her voice sounded breathy and excited and it had always been like this for her. Her belly dropped and filled with butterflies. She’d always wanted him and maybe she always would, but she had her Sir to think of now. She cleared her throat, determined to sound in command. “You want to dance with me?”

He just nodded and held out his hand. His very large, long fingered, work callused hand. God, she loved his hands. Her nipples tightened so painfully she wanted to cuss.

“Yes, you.”

“Go on, Karen. He won’t leave until you do.” Hannah grinned. “You’re one stubborn Swede, Andy.”

“Yah. That’s what I am all right,” he replied in a lilting faux-Swedish accent.

“Right. Let’s get it over with then.” Karen stood and took his warm hand, reluctantly.

Not only did her belly fill with butterflies as he led her to the dance floor, but now her pussy dampened. It wasn’t fair. She shouldn’t have to fight her lifelong attraction to the favorite son of the town’s founding family on the night before she met her new Sir in person.

She didn’t want a reminder of her past and completely futile infatuation, but here he stood in all his glory. Andy was the image of the All American boy. Well, the Scandinavian version anyway. Short, wheat blonde hair, sky blue eyes and a ready smile. They stopped on the dance floor and stared at each other.

“Well, come here then,” he grumbled, pulling her into his arms and gazing into her eyes. His deep voice turned her on, damn him.

She tried to maintain a physical distance between them as they started to rotate in time to a slow song. Being the strong, silent type, he didn’t say anything else, yet the silence wasn’t awkward. Karen liked that he listened more than he talked. That he was cautious—as though he measured his words for the impact they had. But he always seemed self-effacing because he had a tendency to dip his head when he was thinking. But seemed was the operative word. His actions disarmed people, made them think he wasn’t all that smart, but she knew different.

“Well, aren’t you going to put your arms around me too, Karen?”

She blinked and lifted her arms to his broad, muscled shoulders. Unfortunately for her libido, as her breasts pressed firmly to his hard chest her tender nipples chafed against her bra leaving them peaked – taut and needy. He tried to pull her closer, but Karen drew back, trying to ease the torture to her nipples. She was so primed for tomorrow night. So ready for her Sir’s pleasure, and her own, that stimulation of any kind almost hurt.

Andy stroked the small of her back and Karen gasped. His lightest touch went right to her clit, making it throb. Why did she have to want him as much as she had in high school? Andy had been the football captain and an all-around star athlete. Not only that, he had dated then married the most popular girl, Debbie Markham, the head cheerleader. The surprise was the divorce five years later. One day they were together, the next Andy graduated college and came home alone leaving Debbie in the cities. When they split, Karen heard speculation that Andy was gay, but if there was one thing Karen was sure about, it was that Andy Larson was as straight as one of his rows of sugar beets.

Andy leaned closer and she tried to back off again. His breath smelled good…hadn’t he been drinking a beer earlier? She hated the smell of beer, but somehow he managed to smell good anyway. He tugged her against him as the slow song continued to play. His hands cradled her waist, yet she could feel the power in his touch. His thigh slid between hers, rubbing her pussy with every step he took as they slowly turned in a circle on the crowded dance floor.

Her breath caught in her throat and she closed her eyes. The pressure of his thigh drove her crazy and she wanted to thrust against him. He dragged her closer and his hand slid from the middle of her back down the slope to rest at the top of her ass. His hold was firm; commanding.

Where did that come from? She had to stop. Sir Lars would kill her if she came, and she was getting damn close. Sir. She had to think about him. Save her orgasms for him. He was what she wanted in a man.

His Fetlife profile showed a hard bodied, tan man with a flogger in his hand but the photo showed only his bare chest and broad shoulders. Tantalizing her imagination.

After they started chatting online she'd asked to see his face but no matter how often she asked to see what he looked like, he refused. When she consented to turn on her web cam, she asked to see him too, but he said he didn’t have a web cam for his computer. It didn’t matter because his commands set her on fire.

“What are you thinking about so hard?” Andy murmured, his breath brushing her ear as he leaned close.

Karen shivered. She imagined Andy would sound like that when he was in bed with a woman and the thought tightened her pussy on an imaginary cock she wished was buried inside her. Sir’s cock. That’s right. Not Andy’s. Never Andy’s.

“Just stuff.”

“Stuff? What kind of stuff? You can tell me, we’ve known each other forever.”

She leaned away from him to look up into his eyes. “We may have known each other since grade school, Andy. But you don’t really know me at all.”

“Don’t I?” He purred and his arm tightened again.

Karen found herself cradled against his body. Touching from head to foot. Riding his muscular thigh. Karen struggled to back away but he was stronger than she was and his forceful grip turned her on even more than she already was. Every time he took a step toward her, his leg prodded her pussy. She tried to fight her reaction. Regulate her breathing, but it didn’t help. Nothing did.


Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks so much for inviting me to complete the interview. I had a lot of fun and appreciate the opportunity.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Scary storms and their beaury

One of the themes for this month's blog is storms, and that resonated with me. Couldn't quite find the picture I wanted, and this is closest I could come to picturing St. Elmo's fire.. a phenomenon of nature that occurs occasionally. There is a good picture in Wikipedia, but I didn't feel free to use that one. The fire usually appears during a storm as a glowing ball of light. It appears on tall pointed structures such as church spires or masts of a shipand can be quite luminous. Sailors were in awe of it, as who could blame them when
every pointed surface is glowing with a luminous light.  The light seems to cling and dance, and can be a bright purplish tint. I've never been priveleged to see it, but it must be spectacular.  I had a lot of fun working St.Elmo's fire into the plot of Defiant Pursuit. I needed a natural disturbance in the plot. Well, an elf might have the power  to summon it close to the ship she wanted to board, but that's an author's privilege.


Here's the excerpt.
Minna had been in training as a priestess. She’d been walking along the beach near the harbor, confident she could master her latest assignment if she just concentrated. She was supposed to find a so the excerpt which I had so enjoyed writing...

She'd been asked for a solution to a theoretical problem of what to do with a priestess who harbored sexual longings for one of her flock. She remembered she’d answered honestly, saying if both parties wanted each other they should act on their desires. Life was too short to miss a true opportunity. At the time she’d thought this was surely enough to have her eliminated from the program, she found out later her honesty had made her the only novitiate to pass to the next stage. She also remembered the lightening illuminating the sky and the beach, and the spurts of flame flaring from all the masts in the harbor.

A little buzzing sound hummed around her.

She’d stood spellbound, as flames spurted the night was lit by glowing blue-violet flares. Perhaps the resplendent sight had influenced her answer, as she realized that life was too short not to enjoy all it could offer.

The glowing flames were the most beautiful sight she’d ever seen, and she’d stored it in her memory, asked questions, went to the library, and so found out about St. Elmo’s fire.

The fires were a plasma, as are flames and stars. No wonder they transfixed her that night long ago, and now once again the glowing flames spurted, this time from the every pointed surface on the yacht.

The riding mast seemed aglow, as she watched in fascination.What was this meaning to her loved ones on the yacht? She trusted Jake would know how to take advantage of the distraction, If he was able. She worried about what he might have suffered already at the hands of that monster Cibanoux. Cibanoux was capable of any cruelty, and Jake would be his primary victim.

She could not afford to even wonder about her darling nieces.

Bent over the oars, she rowed with all her strength, intent on getting to the yacht as quickly as she could.
                                              * * * * *

On board the yacht, Cibanoux flexed his whip and brought it down on the shoulders of his reluctant captain. To his credit the man did not lower his gaze, even though his eyes blazed his hatred of the demented man before him.

“I’ll not put my ship and all aboard her in danger by heading out to sea, sir. I don’t know what is happening. I’ve never see lights like this, and do not know what danger they entail. They’re blue in color, and dancing from the mast. We’re safer at anchor. If you eliminate me, I think you’ll find the rest of the crew will not follow you.”

I'm found at all the usual places. Would love to know if any of you have actually seen St. Elmo's fire? Please tell me all about it, if you have.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Interview of Author Kenzie Michaels

Today RB4U is pleased to present an interview of romance author Molly Daniels.

Latest Book: NiKoh’s Chosen: Family Matters
Buy Link: Amazon

BIO: Kenzie Michaels is the 'wild child' of author Molly Daniels. They cohabitate nicely inside the brain of a woman in Indiana who's the mother of three and 'Aunt Molly' to the entire neighborhood. A devout chocoholic, her hubby has learned to watch out when the characters in her head take over and not get too upset when the words are flowing and all concept of time is lost. (LOL)

Q: How did you celebrate publishing your first book?
A: My first book, All She Ever Wanted, arrived in May 2009. The family took me to lunch, then I celebrated that evening at a local coffee shop, where my local writer’s group met. We ate cake, passed out bookmarks to anyone who wanted one, plus explained what an ‘e-book’ was to those who hadn’t heard of them yet.

Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: I try to get in at least 1000 words each day, but since I chose to homeschool my youngest this year, that has been a challenge! I’m thankful I was able to write at all in the past 8 months, ha ha!

Q: What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: Market my work on social media, especially the advance promotions. Plus, my publisher hosts seasonal release parties on Facebook, so it’s nice to take an hour to introduce my latest book, and interact with readers and other authors.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: Surprisingly, very little in this book, except for maybe ViShe, NiKoh’s Domestic (housekeeper). NiKoh’s late wife suffered from severe depression and NiKoh worked long hours, which gave ViShe pretty much complete control over the household. She decides what to fix for meals; takes care of everyone’s needs; and was a substitute mother for NiKoh’s son, once her daughter GiNae went off to the Academy.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: My muse loves, in no particular order, Oreos, pretzels, Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, Dove Milk Chocolate squares, and Fig Newtons.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: The characters generally tell me their names, but if I get stuck, I’ve been known to use the phone book, my HS yearbook, or close my eyes and point to an object! I fell into a bad habit a few years back of taking first names and transposing them into last names. I’m trying to get more creative, ha ha!

Though with my aliens, a friend challenged me to use the character names from Duck Dynasty, so I’ve tried to cleverly incorporate them. For instance, in book #1, Brock introduces himself on Earth as ‘Brock Robertson’. There are at least three hidden in NiKoh’s story.

Q: Covers. Ever get one you wish you could change?
A: I’ve been very fortunate with my cover artists! I can only think of two that I didn’t like the 1st draft and requested a change.

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Don’t get it RIGHT, get it WRITTEN. If you want to write, sit down and write. Don’t talk about the story; write it. Also familiarize yourself with basic grammar.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: Take a creative writing course in college and find a writer’s group/book club, in order to begin your career path earlier. I found out there is an annual Writer’s Workshop on the campus of Ball State, even though I attended that university for two and a half years! I didn’t find out about it until nearly fifteen years later.

Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: I have several partial stories saved on my flash drive. In 2009, I suddenly realized everything I was writing was stalling out after the first chapter, so I put them away and focused on other projects. I had no idea Heart’s Last Chance (The Chosen #1) was going to spawn four sequels, so as soon as the other three are written, I’ll get back to those partials.

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: Fourth of July has replaced Christmas as my favorite holiday, since it is more relaxing. My daughter’s birthday is the third, so we have a two day celebration for my ‘firecracker’.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A:  I sing in the church choir, plus was recently diagnosed as being 60% deaf in my right ear.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to sing on either Lawrence Welk or Hee Haw, then set my sights on being an archaeologist. Until a certain movie came out when I was in high school. Since I had no desire to be chased by poison darts or large boulders, I picked a career choice which was much safer, ha ha!

Q: Favorite food.
A: I love pasta, bread, potatoes. Plus, milk chocolate.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Spending three weeks with my grandparents in Florida every summer.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Sweet Tea (esp McDonald’s!) I’ve also discovered I like Guinness beer.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Definitely hot summer days!

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: I would love to go back to Orlando, Florida and visit Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: LOL…I have days where I’d love to clone myself in order to get everything done, but I’d also like to be able to teleport.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Website: http://mollydaniels.wordpress.com/kenzies-korner/
Blog: http://kenziemichaels.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Kenzie-Michaels/248105468603737
Follow her on twitter: https://twitter.com/KenzieMichaels
Secret Cravings Publishing
Freya’s Bower Publishing
Amazon
Nook
ARE


BLURB:
Still mourning the tragic death of his beautiful mate, could another Chosen one already be waiting for NiKoh SiLah? To avoid what he’s not ready to accept, he throws himself into his work at Planet Security.

Leaving the Academy behind to follow her dream of working with animals, GiNae SoJae returns home. Preoccupied with work and not ready to take a mate, she’s horrified when her body enters Maturity. GiNae fights the changes occurring within her. But during nightly dreams she cannot control, an unknown man teaches her the secrets of her body.

Will NiKoh and GiNae succumb to the paths they think have been chosen for them or will they discover the true Chosen life that awaits them?

EXCERPT:
“NiKoh, your pin has something wrong with it.”

NiKoh looked down at the Bonding Pin he had worn for the past sixteen years and frowned. The marital knot in the center of his family crest had separated.“ It may have done that after BeSai’s death.” His voice wavered a bit. “I had not noticed. Did yours do that, Mother?”

ReNae stepped closer to him and examined the pin. “You are young enough to take another Chosen. I have heard of this happening, and it usually means you are close to meeting her or have already done so.” She peered into her son’s eyes. “Are you aware of this?”

NiKoh shook his head, but a sudden vision of him with GiNae in his arms made him blanch and brought him up short. No…it is not possible!

“NiKoh?” His mother’s voice snapped him back to the present.

He shook his head to rid the picture in his mind. “I am sorry. So much has happened lately and I was not paying attention. I need to return to the office. Blessings, Mother. KiRah.” NiKoh teleported back to his office and told LyDie not to disturb him.

GiNae? But she has not reached Maturity yet.

Maybe she is entering the first stages. I have noticed I enjoy her company at our evening meal, and thought she seemed more relaxed around me. I do not think I have been visiting her in the dream state…I may have to activate the sensors tonight. If I remember correctly, BeSai and I had coordinating dreams.

But I remembered those! Surely I would remember dreams. I do not feel any different toward her than I did when she first came to live with us or even returned home from the Academy.

NiKoh paced the length of his office, searching his feelings. Aside from his initial embarrassment at being caught self-pleasuring himself the night GiNae returned home from the Academy, he had not given her much thought, until demanding they join him for the evening meal. Truthfully, it had been ViShe’s conversation he craved, but since GiNae had revealed an ability to tell humorous stories about her day, he found himself looking forward to seeing her. But that did not mean she is my Chosen, does it? It has been nearly twenty years since I went through this!

Available now at : Amazon


Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for having me today! I really enjoy hearing from readers, and encourage new writers, so please feel free to email or message me on social media with any questions or comments. Also, Book #1, Heart’s Last Chance, has been nominated in the LRC ‘Best Of’ awards. If you’re a member of the chat loop, I’d appreciate any votes cast my way. Here’s the link, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/loveromancescafe/info and voting will be open through Saturday April 18th. Most important, keep reading!

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