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Monday, March 27, 2017

Cats by Janice Seagraves

Photo purchased from fotolia

Cats seem to find their way into my stories.

In Windswept Shores Two, Megan is finally home but finds out her philandering husband has gotten rid of everything of hers, including her cat.

In Werecat Love (no longer available), the main character is a cat shifter.

In Matrix Crystal River, the heroine bonds with a shadow cat she names Fluffy. (The name of the  kitten I had as a child.)

In Alien Heart, the Arcons living Goddess is a cat. The Egyptian Cat Goddess Bast (Basset) to be precise.

And the funny thing is, I'm not really all that partial to cats. I'm more of a dog person.

Don't get me wrong, I do like cats and we have a cat named Freya.

photo taken by Janice Seagraves

Jared in Werecat love was inspired by my cat Baron. I miss him.

Photo taken by Janice Seagraves

And, I'm not seeing any end in sight for my fascination with thrusting cats into my stories, novels, and romances. Which is good news if you're a cat lover and enjoying reading about my felines. 

Currently I'm planing on republishing Werecat Love with the second story, which is much too long now to add to the anthology I was intending it for.

The second story called Year of the Cat, start off the following day after Werecat Love ends.

Here's an unedited excerpt:

Jared found the plates and set the table. He also brought over glasses and filled them with milk. They dished out the food and dug in, but Jared only picked at his meal.
Morgan frowned. “I ordered you fish and shrimp Chow Mein. I thought being a werecat you’d love it.”
“I do.” He speared a shrimp with his fork and slowly ate it.
“That was for show.” She pointed her chopsticks at him. “What’s with you?”
“Nothin’.” He picked up his glass and drank. Over the rim of his glass his gaze locked on to hers, she scowled, and he rolled his eyes.
He sat his empty glass with a thunk. “I’ve been challenged.”

Look for Year of the Cat sometime this year (2017)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Re/Viewed (Doms of the FBI 6) by Michele Zurlo

I have a new release out this month, the sixth installment of my Doms of the FBI series.

As a writer for The Eclectic Traveler, adventuresome daredevil Tru Martin indulges her penchant for travel and thrills of all sorts. After her discovery of a murder victim brings two sexy FBI agents into her life, Tru suggests combining their efforts instead of letting their interest in her divide them.

With a murderer on the loose and a crime ring known as The Eye to bring down, Jed Kinsley and Liam Adair are game to give it a try. Though Liam is new to the lifestyle, Jed is an experienced Dom, and the trio goes undercover to a private, fetish-friendly inn and there assume the roles of a submissive and her two Doms. As the investigation heats up, so does their chemistry. Jed and Liam soon discover they want more from this uniquely sensual woman, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make her fall in love with them.

Warnings: Menage, D/s, anal sex, double penetration, base jumping, and an unpredictable sixth sense 

PG Excerpt/Tru's POV:
A low chuckle vibrated from his chest, and he resumed his quest for a kiss. His lips had barely grazed hers when they were interrupted.

“Seriously? This is how you keep an eye on her?”

Tru looked over to see Liam standing two feet away, hands on hips, and waves of anger emanating from his tight expression. She hadn’t expected to see him ever again. Her jaw dropped, and she jerked away from Jed’s kiss. “Liam?”

“I see you do remember me.” He came closer and directed the entirety of his ire at Jed. Rage simmered below the surface, giving her a first glimpse at just how powerful he could be. She’d known he was strong, and she’d suspected he was dominant, but she hadn’t realized that he had a dangerous edge. “I asked you to watch her, to be there for her, not to make a move on her.” His fists clenched and flexed, thick tendons clamoring to make contact with Jed’s face.

Though it looked like they were evenly matched, Jed didn’t appear concerned about the physical threat Liam posed. He released one of her hands in order to face Liam, but he kept hold of her other one. “You left. You didn’t bother to tell her you were going, and the two times you’ve called, you haven’t asked about her. We both assumed you’d moved on.”

“Well, I didn’t.”

Shocked that Liam thought he had a claim, Tru didn’t know what to make of his jealousy. She’d liked him, but he’d left, exiting her life without saying goodbye. Whatever the issue and her role in it, she didn’t want to see them come to blows. “Liam, it was one kiss, not a promise or commitment. I mean, you said you’d see me for breakfast, and when I stopped by your room, I found out that you’d gone.”

“And that’s when Jed moved in. He sensed a weakness, and he took advantage of it.” His blue eyes flashed like a storm in the night.

“Hold up.” Jed put up a cautioning hand. “That’s not how it happened. I told her that you were gone, and later we went kayaking together. We hit it off, and the rest is history. You know the saying—once you have black, you never go back.”

Liam’s lips became a slash, the lightning of his internal storm. “You’re half Asian, asshole, a quarter white, and only a quarter black. That saying is stupid for a lot of reasons, and not just because it’s on the list of crap you say.”

Tru had wondered about the ingredients of Jed’s multiracial makeup, but she hadn’t asked because she felt it wasn’t her business unless he wanted to tell her. Right now she had other concerns. Jed dropped her hand and took a step toward Liam. Sliding between them, she parked one hand on Liam’s chest and the other on Jed’s. “Gentlemen, let’s not hurl insults. Really, there’s nothing to get upset about.”

“He moved in on my territory.” Liam’s lip curled, a sexy growl that made her want to rub her body against his. Damn, but these were two very attractive men—and dominant to boot. She imagined what it would be like to be sandwiched between their naked bodies, and a tingling began at the apex of her thighs. Alex, her former Master, had often indulged her love for ménage sex.

Shaking the thought away, Tru forced herself to focus on the real problem. She narrowed her eyes in Liam’s direction. “I’m not your territory.”

“Yeah, she’s mine.” Jed’s chest puffed out, pushing against her palm.

Tru hated to burst his bubble, but it had to be done. “I’m not yours either.”

He tore his glare from Liam and turned it on her. “What?”

It took a supreme act of will not to step back or lower her gaze. “Tonight is my last night here, and then I’m moving on to my next job. You’re almost finished here as well, and who knows where your investigation will take you next? It’s a fling, Jed. Neither of you has a claim to me.”

That seemed to take the wind out of both their sails, and though each man relaxed, neither backed off. They studied one another, and Tru had no idea what either of them was thinking.
“You’re friends, right?”

Silence greeted her question. After a time, Liam managed a curt nod, though his steady gaze remained glued to Jed.

“And you work together? You’re a team?”

This time she didn’t have to wait as long for a reply. Without seeming to move, Jed answered. “Yes.”

“Then maybe you should look at this as an opportunity to work together in a different way.” The need to keep them apart had passed. She slid her palms down each man’s chest as she let her hands drop away. “I’m game if you are.”

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Friday, March 24, 2017

When Setting Is a Character

Can setting be a character in a story? You bet. Some places naturally are so exotic, exciting and beautiful that they cry out to star in a movie or book.

I’ve read books, wonderful books, set in faraway places. But the settings served only as a backdrop, mentioned, but forgotten. I’ve always been a little disappointed that I didn’t learn more about the locale during the stories. I love stories where the setting is the framework that holds the story, especially when the story is set in a beautiful place I want to visit or one I want to revisit.

When I traveled to Rome, Italy, in 2006, my second trip there, I was again blown away by the city’s beauty, vibrancy and history. All four of my grandparents came from Italy, so the country itself holds meaning for me.

Rome was bustling as always that June, especially with World Cup fever all around. We stayed at a hotel on one of the most popular and crowded streets, Via Corsi. Trevi Fountain was a short walk away. The Pantheon was around the corner. And so was an amazing gelato shop where we bought too many luscious gelatos, the Italian ice cream. Yum. Kiwi Melon was my favorite. My husband and I ate at least two gelatos a day. Good thing we walked all over the city to shed those extra calories.

Italy is magical and begs to be its own character in books and movies. As we walked the ancient cobbled streets of Rome, ate amazing food (saffron gnocchi with fresh-shaved truffles, anyone?) and drank lots of delicious wine, I just knew I had to set a story there. And I knew the richness of Rome could never fade into the background. It had to be a character.

In the fall of 2009, The Wild Rose Press announced a new romantic suspense series, Jewels of the Night. The stories could be set anywhere in the world, but had to involve a stolen blue diamond. The proverbial light bulb went off in my head. I’d write a romantic suspense set in Rome. My novel, Murder, Mi Amore, was released in December 2010. I’ve since gotten the rights back and have published it myself.

Imagine if you were a young American woman vacationing in Rome to get over a painful breakup, and your Roman holiday is suddenly disrupted by jewel thieves, murder, and one very hot and mysterious Italian guy who may or may not be involved with the strange goings on around you.

That’s the premise of Murder, Mi Amore. Rome and other parts of Italy are as important to my story as my hero and heroine, Dominic and Lexie. Every scene in Murder, Mi Amore is authentic. Even the meals Lexie ate are the same ones we enjoyed on our trip. The hotel on the Via Corsi where Lexie stays is the one where we stayed, but with a different name. I remember well how I felt as I shouldered my way through the throngs of tourists and natives on Via Corsi. I used those feelings to describe Lexie as she makes her way on this same street after she buys the handbag that launches her wild adventure. When Lexie is dragged through dark and narrow streets by her would-be kidnapper, I pictured the little alleyways dotting Rome.

As I wrote about Lexie and Dominic meeting for the first time at Trevi Fountain, I could hear the chattering of the crowds and the snap of cameras and feel the sun’s heat. I could almost taste the wine Lexie orders. When you see pictures of this iconic fountain, it looks as if it’s in the middle of a very wide street. Nope. It’s set in a corner of a narrow cobblestoned street.

While writing Murder, Mi Amore, I was once again in Rome – running my fingers over the walls of the Coliseum, tramping through the Ancient Roman Forum, eating luscious pizza and drinking rich red wine at outdoor cafes while motor scooters darted around us.

A chapter in Murder, Mi Amore is set in the Abruzzo town where my grandparents were raised. Writing that chapter brought me back to the beautiful, mountainous, rural region of my ancestors. On our trip, we traveled the same road to Abruzzo as Lexie and Dominic. However, unlike them, no one was trying to run us off the road into a deep ravine.

Could my story have taken place anywhere else? Yes, but I would have lost a major character – an exciting and exotic character, and one a little bit dangerous. Italy.

My husband and took a Viking River Cruise up the Seine in June, 2016. I plan to write a Gothic romance set in Normandy. The rugged, rainy coast of Normandy is perfect for a dark Gothic.

We spent time in Paris, one of the world's great cities. Here's a picture of a gargoyle at the top of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Because our son lives in Las Vegas, we go there at least once a year. My husband suggested I start writing stories set in Vegas. I loved the idea. I now have two novellas set in Las Vegas, and I’m currently writing a marriage-of-convenience novel set there.

Anyone who has been to Las Vegas knows the place has its own character that can’t be duplicated. The story possibilities set in Vegas are endless.

What do you think? Do you like having a setting as a character in what you read and write?

Here’s the blurb for Murder, Mi Amore:

Danger. Deception. Desire.

Murder, jewel thieves and terrorists intrude on an American woman's Roman holiday; can she trust the sexy, mysterious Italian man who comes to her aid?

Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn’t know what to think—or who to believe.

Dominic Brioni’s assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more—something he allowed himself to hope for only once before.

But that woman betrayed him, and his boss isn’t about to let him forget it. With his career on the line and Lexie in danger, will Dominic learn to trust his heart before they both get killed?

  Here’s a little about my Las Vegas story, Bad Luck Partners, in the anthology Season of Promises Holiday Box Set.

Holidays have never brought Las Vegas hotel concierge Laney Sikora anything but bad luck in the romance department. The worst was her fiancé dumping her on Valentine’s Day. Via text. She’s determined to spend New Year's Eve alone with no romantic entanglements. But when her hunky new neighbor locks himself out of his apartment, she can’t leave him standing in the hallway. What's a girl to do?

Las Vegas is just a pit stop for Chicago native and radio personality Chance Carlisle while he waits for his agent to land him something bigger in L.A. But in the meantime, he keeps bumping into—literally—his adorable, but accident-prone, neighbor. Their private New Year’s Eve celebration leads to a plan: they’ll become the Bad Luck Partners, dating only on holidays and special events, avoiding holiday heartbreaks and matchmaking mamas.
But Fate might have something else in mind for the klutzy cutie and the hotshot talk show host. Can their temporary partnership become a forever deal?

And from A Very Vegas Christmas in the anthology Holiday Magic, from The World Romance Writers.

A Las Vegas event planner in need of luck meets a mysterious guy who might be her winning ticket. Will his secret split them apart?

Can things get any worse for Las Vegas event planner Amanda Moreau? Her boyfriend dumped her for a stripper; she’s arranging a Christmas wedding for a Bridezilla; and her mother is playing matchmaker from 2000 miles away. When she meets hunky and ever-so-sweet Erik, who’s in town for a conference, she begins to hope her luck is changing. But Erik has a secret that threatens to split them apart. 


Murder, Mi Amore:

Season of Promises Holiday Box Set:

Holiday Magic:

Visit my website: for more on all my books.

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