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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Interview of Dave de Heer: IndieWrites.com - Book Packager

Dave de Heer of IndieWrites.com, thank you for joining us today on Romance Books 4 Us. We'd like to showcase you and let you tell all our wonderful authors and readers what your company, and your services are all about. So welcome!
Thanks!

1. What (in a brief paragraph) does your company do?
A- At IndieWrites we’re building a community of independent authors and passionate readers. We help authors with formatting, distribution, and promotion of their independent books. Our most popular books have been multi-author anthologies, and our software automates the process of creating the anthology eBooks and distributing sales proceeds to the authors. We’re active on Facebook – currently IndieWrites has about 15,000 fans – and we regularly share book recommendations through our Facebook page (“IndieWrites Romance Deals”) that we believe merit our fans’ attention. Since we’re an investor-financed Silicon Valley start-up, you’ll see us continue to create innovative software and services that make independent publishing more profitable for authors, and finding and reading books more fun and convenient for readers.

2. There are lots of companies out there that do formatting, or help authors with their finished product, getting their books to market. What one or two items make your company stand out in the field?
A – We work together with our authors to make their books successful, investing our resources to help make it happen. Since December we’ve had two books on the USA Today Bestseller list – for many of those authors it was their first time on a big-deal list. And we have several author groups that do their multi-author anthologies with us since we greatly simplify the process of both creating the anthologies and distributing the proceeds.

3. How did you get started? What was your background before establishing the company?
A – My background is in digital media software – I hold 15 patents in the field and worked for over a decade in a variety of management positions focused on digital media at Microsoft. I began working about four years ago on a website to automate formatting of eBooks for independent authors. But I discovered that for authors who didn’t already have an established brand, just getting their book up at Amazon or Barnes and Noble wasn’t enough – they needed to get noticed. So we started IndieWrites to try to more efficiently and effectively bring independent authors to their natural base of passionate readers and fans.

4. What type of author needs your services the most?
A – We’ve been able to make the most difference for independent romance authors who are on the cusp of success – the ones who’ve been honing their craft for a while but haven’t quite been able to pop onto the radar of the broader community of committed romance readers.

5. What plans do you have for the future as far as expanding your services, the company?
A – We’re continually striving to improve and expand the services we offer to authors. I can’t pre-announce our specific plans, but our software team has been feverishly working on the next big thing, and we think that authors and readers will be blown away by what we have coming in the next few months.

6. You have any glowing testimonials? (I know there are some here at RB4U).
A – Yeah, we believe that our authors have found great value in our services, and that they’re coming back to us to do more and more books I thinks speaks for itself. But we don’t want to take away any thunder from our authors, so we won’t mention specific names.

7. What do you love about working with other authors?
A- I’ve found that authors are smart and creative and kind of nerdy, just like engineers – but authors tell much better stories over dinner. So I’m overjoyed to have a chance to work with them. The other thing that stands out is that the authors I’ve met are genuinely interested in helping each other succeed; they’ll go out of their way to give each other a hand. After working for a long time in the dog-eat-dog corporate world, it’s refreshing and uplifting to be with people who cooperate so amazingly.

8. What do you wish authors considered first before getting on the publishing bandwagon? Words of advice, wisdom?
A – The biggest thing an author can do to be successful is to write a great book – so that should always be the top priority. And, like learning to be a skilled author, promoting and selling your books is something that you get better at over time. It’s a lot of hard work, but if you persist and intelligently use the feedback you get in both areas, you’ll get there. One last thing (that other people might not already be telling you), collect as much data as you can about what you’re doing and how it’s working. Run experiments and let the data (not the experts) drive your decisions.

9.  In a perfect world, if you didn't have to worry about making money, what would you do?
A – If the world were perfect I’d have the skills to be a power forward for the Warriors. But that’s almost certainly not gonna happen regardless of money. This probably sounds sort of trite, but I can’t think of a better job than doing what I’m doing. It allows me to be useful and creative, to solve really hard problems, and to work with incredibly stimulating people. And I have the flexibility to set my own priorities and spend quality time with my wife and my kids.

10. Any unique hobbies, exotic trips or unusual locations you've lived in?
A – Well, right now between running a start-up company and having two school-aged kids, I don’t have much left for exotic hobbies. Some day. Really.

11. How can we help promote you? 
A – Please let your author and reader friends know that we’re around to help them with their eBook needs.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Restoring Happiness


Ever have a low energy day? I’m going through one right now. Last weekend my family had a campfire and I somehow managed to get bitten by mosquitoes over FIFTY TIMES on my feet. Crazy, huh? Something else that’s crazy – I’m allergic to mosquito bites. While some people might feel a small bump, or be mildly itchy, my skin turns RED, SWELLES, and ITCHES with a similar intensity to poison ivy.

So, over the past few days I’ve been taking allergy medication, putting my feet up, and trying not to stress over the fact that my toes look as if they had been gnawed on by a yeti. My workouts have been derailed and on the rare occasions when I leave the house, I have been wearing long pants and socks  so I don’t get bitten even more. (did I mention that we're in the middle of a heat wave?)

I’m not saying this to get pity. Rather, I’m telling you this because it helps put things into perspective, and perspective, I believe, is one of the keys to happiness in our lives.

When plans get derailed, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or depressed. Believe me, I know. As humans, it’s natural to focus on the negative in our lives. Sometimes this is beneficial. Thinking about negative things can help us to change things for the better. It can push us to strive for greatness or force us to come up with a novel way of doing things. Sometimes however, we can’t change what has happened, and we must somehow learn to cope.

For May, one of the blog themes is the lily of the valley, a flower that represents restored happiness. I’m convinced that stepping back and reflecting on our blessings  helps us to cope with the negative and restore balance and happiness in our lives.

So, as the swelling in my feet finally starts to fade, I am thankful for all of the small things  – family, friends, the opportunity to do something I love for a living. The list goes on and on.
What are some of the blessings in your life right now? Tell me about it in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!

**CONTEST**
On June 2nd, my book, AT HIS SERVICE, will hit bookstores. This marks the first time one of my stories will be found in brick and mortar stores nationwide and I want to celebrate! If you see my book “in the wild,” take your picture with it and send a .jpg of the photo, the bookstore name and city it was found, and the names of the people in the picture to suzannerockauthor(at)gmail(dot)com. Your picture will be included on my brand new FAN PAGE on my website (coming in August). You will also be entered for a chance to win gift packs from my swag bag! Squee! Ten percent of all entrants will win, so the number of winners will depend on the number of people entering the contest. If more people enter, then more will win! How cool is that? Contest is open from June 1st until June 25th. Entries after June 25th will not be used.





Friday, May 29, 2015

The Emerald Gem of the British Isles #RB4U #RomFantasy

Why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle?


Welcome to Ireland - the land of forty shades of green beauty!

Perched on the northwest tip of Europe, this is the one place in the world where travel be worthwhile... With ancient myths and legends to uncover and  amazing landscapes to explore, Ireland is the emerald country. The country owes its lush, rich colourful to an abundance of rain that keeps the land growing and vibrant. The flow of gulf-stream has an influence on the climate of the land and it grows green. The title “Emerald green” was given to the entire greenish scenery of Ireland which acts as the jewel in its own crown. Most of the symbols in Ireland are also set as green color.

Green constitutes many important events and materials belonging to the Ireland nation. The flag consists of green and orange strips intervened by white strip. Green represents the native Irish people; orange represents the Protestants who settled in the Northern Ireland in 1600s. The white represents the peaceful relation that exists between these two groups. The saint of Ireland called Saint Patrick normally wears green clothes.

The natural mineral that is native and old found in Ireland is also green. It is mostly found in Connemara Mountains to the western part of Ireland. This mineral was called as Connemara marble which is used in jewellery, gifts and souvenirs. As everything in Ireland commemorates green which symbolizes emerald, this land is called as emerald isla.


Ireland’s resplendent greenery played a big part of course, but there’s more to the story of how it became known as the Emerald Isle.

The first time the words ever appeared in print in reference to Ireland was in a poem by Belfast-born William Drennan, titled “When Erin First Rose.”

It was in 1795, however, that Drennan penned the poem “When Erin First Rose.” The stanza where the words "the Emerald Isle" first appeared reads:

Alas! for poor Erin that some are still seen,
Who would dye the grass red from their hatred to green;
Yet, oh! when you're up, and they're down, let them live,
Then yield them that mercy which they would not give.
Arm of Erin, be strong! but be gentle as brave;
And uplifted to strike, be still ready to save;
Let no feeling of vengeance presume to defile
The cause of, or men of, the Emerald Isle.


Dr. Drennan married Sarah Swanwick in 1800, and in 1807 he retired from the medical profession and returned to his native Belfast. There he founded the Belfast Monthly Magazine and became involved with the Belfast Academical Institution, one of the first attempts at educating Protestants and Catholics together for secondary and higher level education. When Drennan died in 1820, in a final symbolic gesture he had insisted that his coffin be carried by three Protestants and three Catholics.

Images ©Pixabay


With all the reading I've been doing about Ireland in recent months, I've ended up with two Irish heroes, and this is the face of Ronan Lawson, the hero of my first BlackHawk Agency novel. (Keith Duffy, actor and musician, Dublin, Ireland) This is my first ever series, and the cast of characters introduced themselves to me one by one, and they are an amazing group of people, I have to admit. If you'd like to see more of them, you can check them out at Pinterest, where I have a board dedicated to them.


I'm also doing a shorter story with a bit of a time travel twist to the romance, that one is called Something Moor, and it will be out by end of this year, I think??


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Interview of Author J. C. Conway

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author J. C. Conway.

Latest Book: HEARTS IN RUIN

Buy Link:
Amazon Paperback Print Edition
Kindle Edition
iTunes Store
Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook Edition
Liquid Silver Books All E-Book Formats
Kobo Edition Formats

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kveqOm-jieg



BIO:
J. C. Conway writes romance, science-fiction, and fantasy stories for adults, young adults and middle-grade readers. He is a long-standing member of Romance Writers of America, Yosemite Romance Writers, the World Science Fiction Society, and Mystery Writers of America. He is also a complex-litigation attorney, a former high-school math and computer science teacher, a family man, and a fan of great fiction that stretches the imagination, probes the depths of the human condition or otherwise illuminates the unknown or the misunderstood—best done with a touch of humility and humor.

Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: My writing schedule varies a great deal. I have a demanding day job and a family. So I have to choose carefully what tasks I'm working on at any given time. When I'm working on a novel first draft I try to average about a thousand words a day, putting in a couple of hours each weekday evening, and a good ten to twelve hours on the weekends. I don't do that all the time. Lately I've been editing and revising. That also involves weekday evenings and some weekend days. But I haven't found a good way to measure my progress in that regard, so I trust my gut. If I feel I'm making headway, I'm satisfied and stay the course. If I'm feeling frustrated and non-productive, I strive to schedule my time better. If everything seems to be falling apart around me, well, that's a good time to lighten up on the righting a bit and pay more attention to the life that is, ultimately, the source of all inspiration in any event.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: For people that know me really well it's not that well hidden. They can see me here and there in pieces of good guys, bad guys and side characters. But that's not so much intentional as it is completely unavoidable. I see the world through the filter of my own eyes. If I adopt a character that is someone I know, they tend not to see that because my mental image does not match anyone else's self-image. It's one of the things that make fiction so diverse and fascinating.

Q: Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
A: At any given time, the answer would be the protagonist of the work in progress. Today, that is Dr. Haley Marx, the protagonist in Silent Sky. She is a brilliant mathematician and multi-dimensional code designer. She has a strong independent streak and an unshakable faith in her interstellar probes and their ability to find intelligent life (something she finds somewhat lacking on Earth). Life isn't easy for Haley and things go horribly wrong. She locks horns with most people she encounters and those that love her give her great latitude.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: I have a soundtrack running almost all the time while I write, and I adjust it to find the mood of the piece. My current mix includes some moody 70s rock (Pink Floyd, certain Led Zeppelin tunes), a lot of instrumentalists (including Pat Metheny, Buckethead, Marc Benevento, Bryan Beller and others), and a hodgepodge of specific songs that strike a chord with me, from Spice Girls to Hawkwind.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: If possible, I approach character names as a form of poetry. It's a combination of sound and meaning. More often than not I start with meaning. I want to find a name that reflects the character. I run through names in my head. I search baby-name websites. I scan last names and first names at work, in the newspaper and in the mail stack. At some point I find something that has meaning and a nice ring to it. So long as that wonderful name also feels right for the character, away we go. Sometimes things hit immediately. Other times a name changes endlessly.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: Learn the craft now. Don't wait. When I was younger I felt I had something in the neighborhood of forever to absorb enough life and finally get down to writing seriously. I didn't study the craft. I felt it would just come to me. So that combination of youthful immortality and arrogance kept me from writing and finishing works I could have created at that time. I'm stuck now with that idiotic timeline I lazily created in my early twenties. So that would be my advice, maybe delivered with a quick slap upside the head.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: Maybe thriller. I generally bring the pace of a thriller to my stories without the maniacal antagonist or actual catastrophic time bomb driving the plot. So it might be good at some point to tone down either the romance or science fiction (my two main genres) and put down a heart-thumping race against death.

Q: Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: Oh, definitely. Not to the letter, mind you. I extrapolate, tone it up or tone it down, fit it to the story. But without tapping into actual life events from time to time in the course of a story, I don't know how anyone could generate a feeling of authenticity.

Q: Any part of a book that drives you crazy as you write: beginning, middle, or end?
A: The end—especially the last line. That is where I remain indecisive the longest, and sometimes I have to put a story away for months or years before coming back and finally finding the precise ending it needs. It reminds me of composing music. The really great pieces end on a sound that fits the piece and satisfies. To shift metaphors, the best writers stick that landing every time. That's what I want to do.

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: There are about twenty that are at least a little further along than just being ideas. Those I remember only because I keep track of them in a computer file. As far as actually floating around in my head and being actively considered, mulled over, thought about and pounded at on a daily and weekly basis, there are about three stories sucking up most of my mind's attention, with one story taking a clear lead.

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: I honestly do not have a favorite. My family tends to get together on holidays. I love that. I guess I might say that anyone else's favorite is my favorite, because it feels good to me when people are enjoying themselves that much.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: That I am a romance writer surprises a lot of people that know me as an attorney, father, scout leader or math teacher. I enjoy explaining the genre to them and drawing them in. People are often also surprised to learn I'm an active mental health advocate. I'm the vice president and webmaster of our local NAMI affiliate and I do what I can to help families find resources and come to understand what they are (and are not) dealing with. Mental illnesses can be difficult. But they are not the end of the world, help is available, and people and families do pull through.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: An elephant. At least that was my first choice when I was about three according to my parents and many chuckling relatives. After that I rotated between wanting to be an astronaut, a writer, a teacher, or a millionaire. I didn't manage the astronaut part (although I pretend in my writing) and I never found out where to apply for the millionaire job. But otherwise, I think I did okay. Becoming an attorney was something that came up much later, and it's been rewarding. And I'm glad I held on to the goal of being a writer.

Q: Favorite food.
A: Grilled steak, well-seasoned, medium rare.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Oh, there are many. Let's say, my children dressed up for the Renaissance Faire.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Woodford Reserve, chilled with frozen rock cubes. Although it's been years.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Hot summer days, but keep my pale skin in the shade.

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: My next novel.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: I need to slow time. There's too much I want to do, so much I want to learn.

Prologue BLURB:
Hearts in Ruin a romantic archaeological mystery published by Liquid Silver Books. It involves a groundbreaking discovery in the New Mexico dessert. Despite strong opposition, Daniel and Andrea investigate a dig that uncovers clues to a Paleolithic past more ancient than current theories of humans in the Americas permit. Woven throughout the story of Daniel and Andrea are scenes of two lovers that lived in the past Daniel and Andrea have discovered. The following scene is the prologue to Hearts in Ruin, introducing Tala and Bin, and providing the first clue as to what might have happened to their ancient culture.

EXCERPT:
Despite the warm evening wind, Tala drew her knees close and shivered. Under the starlight, below the community’s terraced crops, mastodons filled the valley, their footfalls echoing in the dirt. But above, the Fire Star grew.

Not a good sign.

“I have something for you,” said Bin. He crouched near her on the grassy hill. “Close your eyes.”

She inclined her head. “What is it?”

“Hold out your hands,” he prodded.

She complied. A cold weight pressed down upon her palms. “Can I look now?”

Her breath caught in her throat. His gift was a beautiful bowl, bright and colorful with intricate, flowery designs. Around its interior were three words.

Bin loves Tala.

“Do you like it?” he asked.

She didn't know how to respond. It was very sweet. But now? The Fire Star loomed. They faced imminent change—a shift that would unbalance everything.

Still, this simple display pierced those concerns.

“I want you and no one else,” he said.

“Bin, I…”

He frowned. “You feel that way, too…don't you?”

Tears welled. She glanced at the Fire Star.

He followed her gaze. “That's a good sign,” he assured her. “It means we will be happy.”

He extended a hand. She drew a deep, slow breath, accepted his hand, and stood. The bowl slipped from her lap and cracked against a stone.

She gasped.

His eyes widened. His Adam’s apple bobbed. An intense remorse swept through her, momentarily eclipsing her fear of the Fire Star. She had to make this right.

She placed her hand on his chest and held his gaze. “I do love you, Bin.”

He blinked.

She kneeled and lifted the bowl and a fragment that had fallen from it. “This is a good sign. The words are intact.” She then handed the piece to him and arranged his hand. She held the bowl and placed it with the shard in his hand, matching. “This is yours.” She motioned. “And this is mine. It means we belong together.”

She watched his expression shift from despair to joy. He smiled and wrapped his arms around her. His eyes sliced to the Fire Star and back. He flashed a cocky smirk. “Everything will be fine,” he crooned. “You'll see.”

She pressed her face against his chest. No, she thought. It won't.

Bin lowered his mouth toward her ear. “We have everything we need. Nothing can change all this.”

She squeezed. He was right about how she felt. She would accept him into her heart. She saw no reason to deny that. But he was wrong about everything else.

Things would not be fine.

They would not last.

At least they had each other—even if only for now.


Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for having me. I write a lot of short stories, and I invite folks to read them. Many are free on the internet. Remember to spend time with the people you love.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Christmas And Motherhood

My Christmas story, Matrix Crystal Christmas, isn't only about Christmas its about Motherhood.
And since May is the month of Mother's Day, I thought this is a good time to share an excerpt from my book. 



Excerpt:

Maya shook out her boots and peered inside for arachnids. They were custom-made Zeeman riding boots since her old Earth boots had long since worn out. As soon as she pulled them on, Vach settled in front of her and reached for the laces. “You’re my husband, not my servant.”
“This is how our relationship started.” He deftly tied one and moved to the other.
She blinked at him. “You’re wooing me again?”
“It seems the right thing to do.” He stood and held out his hands.
She allowed him to pull her to her feet. “You don’t have to. You already have me.”
“I’ll do whatever I feel is necessary so you’ll love me again, even start over.” He kissed her hand. “Greetings, my name is Vach Namaste of the Namaste Clan. Allow me to be your guide through this inhospitable desert land and woo you as a clan lord should.” He hugged her. “And tonight, I’ll make love to you as if it’s our first time.”
His hot breath in her ear vibrated down her body and settled into the apex of her legs. She drew in a ragged breath. They hadn’t made love in months. “You make it hard to say no.”
“Good.” He drew back and smiled at her. “I want you to think about tonight, on how
I will worship every part of your body.”
Something low swelled and begged for attention. “I thought you wanted to stop trying.”
“We’re not trying for a baby. I just want to make love to my beautiful wife.” He grabbed up the rolled sleeping bags and walked out of the tent.
She let out a shaky breath. Baby-making sex was different from regular sex. It seemed like forever since they’d made love just because they wanted to enjoy each other’s bodies.




Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Month to Remember and a Time to Move Forward by Sam Cheever

May is a month of new beginnings. It's the start of a new growing season...a reboot of the time of year when heat, sun, and the bounty of summer paint us in a golden glow. It's also a time when we honor the past and those who have been important to us. Mother's Day. Memorial Day. 

For me, this May is both a beginning and an ending. It represents a bittersweet moment in time, wherein something which has been a staple in my writing career for 8 years will become a shiny jewel in my backlist...another notch in my writer's belt. 

This May I release the final novel in my 8 book Honeybun Heat romantic suspense series. 

I started writing the series in 2008 and, like me, it has changed over the years, growing and molding to match the personalities of each Honeybun brother and his Honey. My skill as a writer has definitely changed, hopefully improved. But aside from the technical aspects of each Honeybun Heat novel, there's an emotional attachment that will probably never happen again. I've grown along with the Honeybuns, learned how important family and love and emotional support can be. Each brother has forged a spot in my heart that nobody will ever be able to replace. They're like old friends...ex-lovers...and I'll miss their self-deprecating humor and their undying devotion. 

It's been a long, fun ride. One I'll always cherish. But all things end in time and the fertile soil left behind by those endings enables something new to sprout and thrive. 

This May marks the end of an era for me. The Honeybun era. But starting next month, a new era is born. What will my next project entail? Who knows! I have some idea of the elements that will make it work: Love, friendship, mutual support and hot men. LOL But the details are still developing in my mind. The world is my oyster. And I intend to snarf it down!

Honeybun One and Done will release on May 29th. I hope you'll join me in embracing this final episode of a fun and exciting series!




 He’s a ONE and DONE kind of guy. Can she live long enough to find out if she’s the ONE?

Percy Honeybun and his honey, Brita Muldane just can't catch a break. They've danced around their relationship for years, unable to find a way to make it work. But their lives are intertwined through family and friends and they're just as unable to break completely away from each other. Maybe what they need is a life changing event to help them break through. Or maybe the life-shattering event they suddenly find themselves in, will end up breaking them instead.

~~*~~

She paced the length of the two cars and back again, her temper popping like firecrackers on hot pavement. She couldn’t believe they’d made her stay outside. Her life…her livelihood…though she couldn’t remember being a cop…were on the line. Not theirs.
She’d be recognized, Alf had said. She was all over the news, Clovis had said. They’d clam up if they recognized her, Percy had said. Hinks had added that they’d call the police and he’d no longer be able to help her.

She frowned, shoving at the niggling thought that they all made good points… But rage made reasonable thoughts churn like acid in her belly. She wanted to be in there when they talked to Mary Tyler. She needed to see the woman’s eyes, hear the tenor of her voice. She needed to either tick Mary Tyler off the list or move her up a notch. She needed to do it herself. 

She couldn’t trust anybody else to do it right. Especially a bunch of men she didn’t know. Or did she? Alone, in the safety of her thoughts, she could admit to herself that there was something between her and Percy Honeybun that transcended memory. Something warm and tangled that turned her gut to melted butter when he looked into her eyes or touched her skin.

Her body seemed to recognize him. Even if her mind didn’t.

A ticking noise had her jumping, her gaze whipping around. She waited a beat, finally expelling a soft breath when she realized it was just engine sounds from the cooling SUV. Glancing toward the asylum doors, she bit her lip, wondering how long they would be inside.

Maybe she should join them whether they wanted her there or not. The chances of the woman recognizing her were almost nil. And even if she did…

She made a sudden decision—going with it before she changed her mind. She opened the door to Percy’s car and reached inside, grasping the Colts ball cap he’d dropped in the console between the seats. She’d just give them another officer’s name.

It would be okay.

Backing out of the car she straightened, dropping the hat over her head.

A soft breeze slipped through the tree overhead, its wide branches dancing shadows over the car. A separate shape flickered through the shadows and she blinked.

There was a whisper of sound and she instinctively started to duck. Something whipped over her head, tightening around her throat and catching her right hand in its grip.

She slammed up against a body, wide and soft, whose breath wheezed past her face, thick with the scent of garlic and beer.

The wire around her hand and neck tightened, the heavy body behind her shifting to put more leverage on the garrote.

Icy fear warred with the white-hot pain of the wire slicing through skin and she fought desperately to pull air into her lungs as the thin metal compressed her throat with brutal efficiency.

Stars burst before her gaze. Her limbs weakened from lack of oxygen, eyes bulging, and her mouth opened on a silent, breathless scream. Her lungs burned. Panic softened, muted under impending death. She sagged toward the ground, her gaze skimming over an enormous pair of white sneakers as she fell. Her brain cataloged the detail, knowing as she did that it would be useless. The sneakers were nothing special. Cheaply made and colorless except for one tan shoe lace. Yet something about them triggered a memory.

Her thoughts flickered away, lost in the haze caused by lack of air.

Someone shouted in the distance and the thin band of metal holding her upright gave way, letting her slide bonelessly toward the ground.

She gasped in a breath which passed through her throat like razors, tearing and burning as it went. Another breath allowed her lungs to fully inflate and fear prickled over her skin as her mind started to clear.

Footsteps pounded closer, stopped, and a deep voice said her name, a caress…an urgent prayer.

She looked up, saw his handsome face, the dancing shadows flickering over his strong features, highlighting the worry painted there. “I…” She swallowed, coughed, her hand wrapping around her throat. “I’m okay. He crossed the street…” She lifted a hand in the direction she’d heard him go. “That way. Go…” She succumbed to a bout of coughing that had him hovering closer, pulling her into his arms.

“I need an ambulance now!”

She blinked, shaking her head, then realized he wasn’t talking to her. He was on his phone. “No, go get him! It was probably the killer.” Her voice sounded like she’d been screaming for hours while smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey sours.

Percy grabbed the hand she placed on his chest and pulled it to his lips. He closed his eyes as he kissed her palm. “Dammit, Brit! He almost killed you.” A violent tremor worked its way through his hard, sexy form.

She nodded, laying her head on his chest. He wasn’t going to leave her. She knew that with the certainty of a woman who’d been with a man for years. He would never leave her side, even to catch a killer. Because he’d left her for just a few minutes and she’d nearly died. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Today on @RomanceBooks4Us: Emerald Influence by PG Forte #Menage #PNR #Romance

Emerald Influence

In keeping with this month’s theme of Emeralds, I’ve decided to write about one of my favorite places in the world, The Emerald Isle…or Ireland, if you prefer. J 
 I’ve always felt a special affinity for Ireland, mostly due to my maternal grandmother.  Both of my mother’s parents came from Ireland—separately. The met here; and that’s its own very romantic story—but my grandmother lived with us throughout my childhood and was a huge influence on my life. 
The stories she told of growing up in Ireland always seemed more like fiction than fact. At times, they seemed to border on fantasy. In part this was because she was a natural-born storyteller, and, well, Irish.  Blarney. It’s an actual thing, y’all. But she was also an amazing woman who actually lived a pretty amazing, and occasionally tragic, life. 
I never got the chance to know my grandfather, other than a few bare facts. He became a blacksmith at age of eighteen to support his mother and younger siblings after his father died. He was later known as “the only honest building inspector in New York”.  He met my grandmother at a dance that they both had to be talked, reluctantly, into attending and fell in love when he first caught sight of her on the dance floor. Later in their courtship, he walked through a snowstorm to keep a date with her.  He loved antiques and travel. He was a pretty good writer and a very good artist. Naturally, he preferred writing.
I think they’d  both be properly horrified by the fact that I consider them the inspiration for my Irish-themed books, especially since said books are erotic romances.  I like to think the practical side of my grandmother’s nature would have brought her around to accepting it, eventually, but maybe it’s just as well she never knew. 
I’m happy to have passed down my love of Ireland to my daughter, who worked her way across Europe a few years back, and spent the summer on Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands.  And if I had to pick a favorite part of my favorite place, it would be there.  It truly is like traveling back in time—only with all the modern amenities. My favorite combination!
My most recent Irish-themed book released in March (on St Patrick’s Day, because why not? J ).  Three of the four main characters are trees…or, well, tree spirits and shape-shifters, to be exact. And my love of trees is something else I have  to thank my grandmother for. As a child, I was awed by her extensive knowledge of plants. She grew up in the country and knew everything there was to know about growing things, or at least that’s how it appeared at the time. 
I guess I’ve wandered a little far from the original topic, but May is the month for Mother’s Day, so I guess it still fits. It’s also the month for Mary—which was my grandmother’s original name. She changed it to Maurine at the age of thirteen when she arrived in this country, having traveled here unaccompanied on a mission to get an education, then a good job, and then make enough money to pay for the rest of the family to come over as well. Which, of course, she did.
  

Purchase from Loose Id
The Oak Spring 
by PG Forte

Twice each year, Aine Murphy ventures into the woods to hold ceremonies to honor the Oak King and the Holly King, never dreaming these Lords of the Forest could be anything more than myth. When the legends spring to life in front of her, how can she help but fall for the sexy demi-gods she’s loved all her life?

From midwinter to midsummer, Fionn O’Dair rules the Greenworld as the Oak King--a role he feels is beyond his abilities, and one that dooms him to a loveless future, forever craving the one man he can never allow himself to have. How can he resist what Aine offers—the sweet devotion that soothes his aching soul, and the slim chance to live a “normal” life as her husband, if only for half a year?

Holly King Kieran Mac Cuilenn never desired a human lover—until now. Seeing Fionn and Aine together fills him with longing for the love he threw away and awakens feelings he thought he’d buried with the last Oak King. Is there enough magic in the solstice to correct the mistakes he made years ago? Or is he doomed to be forever left out in the cold?


Author Bio: 

PG Forte inhabits a world only slightly less strange than the ones she creates. Filled with serendipity, coincidence, love at first sight and dreams come true.
She wrote her first serialized story when she was still in her teens. The sexy, ongoing adventure tales were very popular at her oh-so-proper, all girls, Catholic High School, where they helped to liven up otherwise dull classes...even if her teachers didn't always think so.
Originally a Jersey girl, PG now resides with her family on the extreme left coast where she writes contemporary and paranormal romance in a variety of sub-genres.

PG can be reached directly at:



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