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Friday, August 19, 2016

NASHVILLE SEAL IS MUSIC TO MY HEART


I have just released Book 2 in the Nashville SEALs series, Jameson, about an up-and-coming singer-songwriter who has a chance meeting with a group of SEALs finishing a training in Tennessee. They come to one of his concerts, and afterwards invite him to visit them in San Diego.

Jameson Daniels is loosely based on the life of my narrator, former CW singer-songwriter, and now award-winning actor and narrator/voice over talent, Mr. J.D. Hart. Most of you know he and I have become best friends over the course of doing some 24 audio books together. In the course of our conversations, a story began ruminating in my head. I was delighted when he gave permission for me to use some of those ideas as the basis for my character.

I've enjoyed learning about the music business, and on one trip to Nashville, got to sit in on a Country Diner taping, meeting such stars as Roy Clark and Larry Gatlin. We took a horse-drawn buggy ride one evening while he showed me the houses of music. We drove around streets filled with music history: where Elvis Presley made his first recording, where others wrote music, performed at clubs long torn down.


This is what I love about being an author. I had no idea that when I hired a narrator to do my audio books, that he would become my best friend, and would become the hero in two of my books. There are no accidents. Our close working relationship has brought color and variety into my life I never would have experienced.

Here's a short excerpt. We are finishing the audio book, which should be available about the end of the month. You can sample a little bit of Jameson's audio here (JD also sings on this trailer), or on my website, where snippets and book trailers for all my books are located. Enjoy!

Jameson Trailer

Nashville SEAL: Jameson:


The rumble and crescendo of the audience was something he’d forgotten how much he loved. He’d tried to explain it to people over the years, and, unless they’d been up in a big arena like that, there was no way to understand what it felt like to fly over the heads of the audience while he was singing. The sensation was similar to his jumps. There was no perception of falling, no feeling of depth until the end. It was as if the warm earth blew a blast of air straight up, cradling his body, while the horizon slowly rose, second by second. The rumble of the crowd and the energy of the open-air theater was similar. The adulation, the pinnacle of riding the moment when all their cheers stopped and it was your turn to shine. Your turn to command them like a king.

He hadn’t thought about all that until just now, as he waited back stage. He was grateful he didn’t know anyone scurrying around back stage. Tech girls and guys ran back and forth, some scantily clad. Pretty girls were all around and in abundance, eyeing him. He didn’t want to dis anyone’s wife or girlfriend, so he was respectful. He found all this activity distracting.

Thomas was nowhere to be found, and he hoped he hadn’t run into some trouble. Jameson opted not to take the limo ride, so drove over to the arena in a taxi, dodging the bevies of young girls at the security gates trying to spot a star.

He could do this for two nights. And then it was the pits of hell. How many people on the planet had a life like this, going from one extreme to another? But he knew what world he lived in, belonged in.


Feeling the rumble of the crowd and how it pushed against his heart as he waited for the introduction, he was amazed he’d been strong enough to make the decision to leave it all behind. But he was glad he did. In some moment of weakness, he could do something that would wreck his little family. No, it was better for him and for those he loved that he stay away from it all. This would definitely be the last time for any of this.

Sharon Hamilton

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Unbelievable facts! Read and marvel!!!!!

First I've gotta post my new hunky cover...isn't he luscious?  Quest for Magic is now out at MuseItUp and all the usual sites... I simply love this cover....

And on to these facts that really are truly pretty unbelievable.

1.  An average cloud weighs 216 thousand pounds. An average storm cloud weighs 105.8 million  pounds.

2.  If you live there 190 days a year and aren't convicted felon, you get an annual check from the state of Alaska just for not leaving.

3.  Glenn Buratti, who has epilepsy and autism, turned six in 2015. His mom invited his entire class to his birthday party, but no one came. Heartbroken, she posted about it in a Facebook group, and fifteen local kids showed up, as well as firefighters, police officers, the county sheriff and lots of presents.

4.  A 67-year-old woman named Dorothy Fletcher had a heart attack on a plane. When a stewardess asked if there was a doctor on board, 15 people stood up They were on their way to a cardiology conference. The woman survived.

5.  In 2007 Navy SEAL was shot 27 times by four Al Qaeda gunmen and hit by grenade shrapnel. He killed all four of the gunmen and walked out to the extraction helicopter. He recovered and is living with his wife and daughters.

6.  In 2010,  a three-year-old boy, playing with his father's metal detector for the first time, found a
16th century golden pendant estimated to be wroth $4 million.

7.  A dutch designer is working with scientists to create glow-in-the-dark trees, hoping to one day use them in place of street lights.

8. In very rare circumstances it is possible to see a  full 360 degree rainbow from an airplane.

9, Morgan Freeman wears earrings so that if he dies in a strange place they can pay for his coffin.

And my favorite by far.........

10.  The White House is not free for the President: he receives a bill for food and expenses every month.

Can you pick one that truly amazed you?  If so, I'd love to know your choice.

Comment here, or write me. If anybody picks my second choice they get to choose from my e-book list, on my recently jazzed-up website. http://www.jeanhartstewart.com




Monday, August 15, 2016

Perilous Memoir--Perilous Play by Suz deMello (#BDSM #memoir)

When I divorced, I wished for an interesting life. 

A pedestrian mall in SacTown. Yawn.
Before we separated in 2006, my life followed the pattern that many lives do: school, career, marriage. The only difference between me and others was that I married late and didn't have children. By the time I hit my mid-fifties, I felt that life was passing me by. I loved to travel but had lived in the same small city--Sacramento--for twenty years. It's not that there's anything wrong with SacTown--perfectly good place. But it's so average that it's known to pollsters as "the Peoria of the West." 

Ten years ago, my life seemed to have fallen apart. I had abandoned my career as an attorney several years before--I'd hated it, and had found writing. With a few books published, I felt it was safe to leave the law and write full-time. I had a dentist husband bringing home plenty of soy bacon, and I hadn't done so badly myself as an attorney. 

The several disasters struck at about the same time. 

My eldest brother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
My best friend and her husband committed double suicide.
I hit menopause.
My marriage crumbled under the accumulated stress.
My brother died.

I was about as blocked as any writer could be. I would stare at the screen and wonder whether I should type, if, and, but or when.

They say, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." True. I got going, and went all the way to Thailand, where I rested, healed, and began writing again. Not with a super-fast output, but fast enough.

After six months overseas, I returned refreshed and renewed. I took care of my
Suzie in China on a rainy day
divorce, saw my family and when I recognized that the economic situation in the USA was unsustainable for me, went overseas again. I eared a CELTA credential and taught toddlers English in China for nearly a year.

Upon my return, I took over a job that no one else in my family seemed capable of handling: caring for my elderly mother, who has Alzheimer's. 

I again started to feel trapped.

So when an exciting man offered me an exciting experience, one I'd wanted for a very long time, I took it.

Be careful of what you wish for.

Here's a selection from my BDSM memoir, Perilous Play: The Real Fifty Shades

Chapter One

The Shark


I have been interested in BDSM since I read the Story of O when I was about seventeen years old. However, years passed before I found a lover who shared my interest—a shockingly long time to wait for a treat. So when a prospective lover hinted that he was a Dominant, I jumped at the chance to be with him. It didn’t hurt that he was precisely what I want in a man—or so I thought upon our first meeting.

*****

“Would you like to cane me, sir?”

Having asked the question, I jerked upright with a gasp. I couldn’t believe those words had come out of my mouth.

But they weren’t surprising given the context of the relationship. I had met Trapper Hart a couple of months before—we attended the same law school. One day, mentally drained after a con law midterm, I left the classroom to find a tall, well-built guy lingering outside. Smiling, he engaged me in conversation, and I tried to seem really interesting because, articulate and attractive, he was everything I looked for in a man.

He didn’t ask me out right away. We started our friendship in the library, where he’d bring me cappuccinos—wet with extra foam, and treats—he knew I liked double fudge brownies with nuts.  

https://amzn.com/B00S4GV3AS
free with KU
He’d found out what I liked, and I luxuriated in the notion that he really cared. I didn’t know this man well, but he had a knack for getting under my defenses. I’d had numerous boyfriends, and none had ever bothered to discover my cappuccino and brownie preferences. It was special, and made me feel special.

One day, feeling exceptionally brave and bold, I asked, “Do you have a girlfriend?”

After a brief hesitation, he answered, “There are a few women that I see.”

“Huh.” I absorbed that. Figuring that he couldn’t be in love with any of them—if so there’d be only one—I asked, “Are you in the market for one? I mean, a girlfriend?”

I glowed at his positive answer. But a week or so later, at a mixer for the mayor of Berkeley, he was at the restaurant with not one but two women. Both were pretty, well-groomed blondes, one with a smooth bob and the other, an older woman, with bleached curlier hair.

Nevertheless, I continued my brave and bold approach, guessing that the women were friends, not lovers. I learned subsequently they could have been both, and that Trapper could have reveled in a threesome later that night. I never found out and later, I wouldn’t dare to ask my Dom such an intrusive question.


Yes, Trapper became my Dom, the man I’d wanted in my life.

*****

Perilous Play has been well-received, with five 5 star reviews on Amazon.

I know a lot of authors write BDSM and a lot of readers love that subgenre. If you want to know what it's really like, read this book.



Saturday, August 13, 2016

Conventions: Why are we here?

Right now, I'm blogging from Troy Michigan and the brand-new Rust City Book Con. Being forgetful as I am, I haven't taken a single photo to show you, but today has been busy with panels and author meet and greets. As far as I can tell, I haven't sold any books so far, but I have given out a lot of swag and chatted with some really interesting people. Right now, most of the attendees who are commuting have gone home for the night but the bulk of those staying are down in the hotel lounge. Me? Curled up in my pyjamas. Am I that old and boring?

I don't think that's it. I've had a few rough weeks and it's nice to just relax, especially since I don't have any morning panels. But I have been thinking about cons on general and why we go to them.

Most writers are oddly social introverts. We spend a lot of time alone and meeting up with colleagues face to face is rare. It's fun to meet other people who are warped in the same direction you are. It's also nice to meet readers, and particularly to get new ones. I think it's Rae, though for a convention experience to "pay for itself." We're not going to make back the money we pay for con fees, hotel, and travel. The connections we make, though, and the things we learn from one another, be it in the bar or in a panel, make it worthwhile.

Hopefully photos will start popping up soon on Facebook. Meanwhile, my tired feet are happy to be up and tucked between crisp hotel linens. There's a lot more mingling to be done tomorrow. Have a great weekend, everyone. I know I will!

Friday, August 12, 2016

AUGUST IS READ A ROMANCE MONTH #RARM #WRWBuzz



Romance writers have a higher calling, as my dear friend and co-author Rose Anderson recently pointed out. We are here to remind readers that love endures, rifts can be healed, and there is such a thing as happily ever after. In a world beset by division and hatred, where everyone thinks only their viewpoint is right, it seems like a twisted irony that our love-themed novels are fiction. Yes, illusion. Take a quick glance at our non-fiction lives, and perhaps you--like me--may prefer to live in fictitious lands and enjoy being where love always wins out at the end of the day. Yes, where love conquers all. At this stage, I find the thought blissful
And now for some shameless self-promotion... a wonderful example of uplifting romance stories is the new anthology Letterbox Love Stories, Volume I. This project is near and dear to my heart for many reasons. As one of the nine authors, the international theme appealed to me from the start, because some places on this planet are more romantic than others. Another big plus is the timeline--there are historical, contemporary, and futuristic stories, with dashes of science fiction, fantasy and the paranormal sprinkled throughout the pages. And the theme tickled my adventurous streak-- each story starts with a letter that ends up changing the lives of those in the story. 


In this very fast world, where we can hardly keep up with ourselves, the short novella -- or novelette-- story length has much to offer. It's long enough for a story to have some depth, and short enough that a story can be read in a single sitting. It's a sad fact that the market for tomes is dwindling overall. Many people have less time to read them these days.

We're running more promotion for Letterbox Love Stories on August 15th. We're excited that this anthology has already made it into the Amazon Top 100 in both the USA and Canada. We're hoping to push it even further with this next cycle of promotion!

Most of you probably know a few of the authors of Letterbox Love Stories Volume I:

Rose Anderson w/a Madeleine Archer
Denyse Bridger
Lynn Crain
Gemma Juliana
Cara Marsi
Helena Fairfax
Marie Laval
Lindsay Townsend
Jenny Twist

So, let's do what we can this month to remind people to read romance because it is a "feel good" activity. It's as uplifting as a summer day at the beach, or an exciting day skiing the slopes. Choose your genre, your location, and your story style, but whatever you do, try to read at least one romance this August! 



This photo of the magnificent Mediterranean Sea is at the coast of Sardinia, where my story, Abandoned Treasures, takes place.

We romance authors love to know the weaving of our story magic is appreciated and is making people happy. Each and every author at RB4U is immensely grateful to all our readers for your support and interest in our books. Without you, what would be the point of spinning worlds of enduring love?

Enjoy the rest of your summer, preferably with a stack of romances beside you for a bit of love-spiced escapism!


Please share our news, and follow us on social media.
Twitter Hashtag: #WRWbuzz

GEMMA JULIANA 

An eternal matchmaker, Gemma greatly enjoys creating love stories where two hearts end up beating as one. She has traveled the world and enjoys adding the extra spice of international settings to her stories, which are set in many genres. She lives with her true love in a cozy Texas cottage along with their teen son and a crafty dog who rules them all. Her muse is nourished with the finest creativity fuel – chocolate and coffee.


 


 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Connection – What a Writer Lives For with Louisa Kelley #Romance #RB4U

In everyday life, I don’t necessarily look like a writer of fantasy romance novels. Yeah, I fool people all the time. I like to think, “Mild mannered Office Manager by day, hot romance writer by night and weekend.” Ha ha! It’s amusing to watch how people change in their perceptions of me when they find out what I do when I’m not in the office.
But deeper than that, my ‘other’ persona, once I’m outed so to speak, opens doors of human connection that I have come to treasure. My latest paranormal romance book, “Unbidden Dragon,” was released in May. This book features a romance between two women – along with shape-shifting dragons and plenty of magical action. I was in Office Depot last week, getting copies made of various promo items in preparation for an author reading event. The young man at the counter looked bored, like he could hardly wait for his shift to be over. His gaze scanned over me with little interest, and he nodded without comment as I explained what I needed copied. Then the first color copy of my cover art rolled out. He placed it on the counter and did a double take. Two gorgeous women and a dragon stared up at him. He looked up at me and I grinned. “My book,” I said.
His eyebrows rose. “Really?”
“Yes,” I said. “Dragons. In Portland. Right? Where else?”
He smiled, his face lit up with surprised interest. “Right. Of course.”
And snap…just like that. Connection. Suddenly we became two people having a moment of shared interest. I noticed he wore a silver ring with an intricate carved wolf head. “I saw your ring,” I said. “Thought you might be a dragon fan.”
The bored young man had vanished. His face was animated and friendly. We chatted about how Portland was the perfect place to feature fantasy stories about dragons. He spent a few minutes admiring the cover art for all four of my books, each of which features gorgeous half- naked women and dragons on the covers.
I was no longer a middle aged Office Manager. No, I was Louisa Kelley, hot local romance author. Still smiling, I left the store, gratified by the interaction. I breathed in the simple joy of meeting a stranger and finding commonality. Writing may be a solo occupation, but the fuel for inspiration, for me, comes from just such moments.

Blurb for “Unbidden Dragon”
By Louisa Kelley

Maeven’s bold request to leave the dragon’s secret sanctuary has been granted. She’s been sent to Portland, Oregon, on a mission of vital importance to the survival of her shape-shifting species. Mayhem, magic and sensual adventure abounds as Maeven struggles to follow the rules. Rule number one: Keep her true nature hidden. Rule number two: No emotional involvement with humans. Then she meets sexy, devious, adorable Frankie, who tells a wild story about accidentally shape-shifting – into a dragon! Ah. So much for the rules. Maeven’s journey of self-discovery brings her sizzling forbidden love, deeper understanding of her own sexuality and the courage to fulfill her destiny.
  
Bio for Louisa Kelley:

Romance and science fiction took firm hold of Louisa Kelley’s imagination at age nine, when she read the books Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, and the Narnia series, by C.S. Lewis. She is convinced that the genre paranormal romance, which developed years later, came into existence purely for her benefit. After all, it’s what’s been in her heart all these years.

She resides in Portland, Oregon where, in a strangely perfect combination of rainy winters and urban skyline, her writing inspiration abounds. Meet the sexy world that’s been evolving in her fevered brain…She’d love you to join her in some over-the-top erotic adventures with the Draca; dragon shape-shifters of a very different kind.


Louisa Kelley Author@ Facebook
Member of Romance Writers of America
Member of Rose City Romance Writers

Guest Blog - Louisa Kelley

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Writing Scenes That Creep You Out!

Posted by Author R. Ann Siracusa
What is it about a scene or novel that makes it creepy? What things do you find scary?
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
Part of the appeal of reading is being able to walk in the shoes of another person: to do things the reader hasn't done, to experience the emotions the average person doesn't have the opportunity to feel, or to feel them to the fullest, without risk. The operative words being "without risk".
It's all about how the characters feel and react to events and about how that makes the reader feel.
SETTING THE SCENE
The setting of a scene, or a novel, is the time and place the events unfold; where the scene/novel takes place. 
Simple enough. The mood or atmosphere of the scene is established by the sensory details and by the feelings and reactions of the characters to those details, based on their personalities in general and their moods, or emotions, at the time. Different people react differently.
"Both setting and atmosphere are central to your story: they both rely on and influence the plot." [Author Terri Giuliano Long]
Select the best setting for each scene to enhance the mood of the character or to cause the character to react in a way that moves the story forward or builds the character.
SENSORY DETAILS SET THE MOOD
If you want to evoke the feelings of "creepy" or "scary" in a scene, you must understand the underlying psychological basis for fear and how that relates to place.
While people, particularly children, can be taught to fear, evolutionary psychologists suggest fear exists as a primal emotion, a process that has evolved to protect us from predators, enemies, and other harmful situations. Human beings possess and use the five senses to detect exposure and danger.
To write "scary", the writer must provide the sensory details in words. The character(s) must use his senses and react to those details.
WHAT MAKES A PLACE SCARY?
Jay Appleton, a British geographer, is credited as the first to describe what makes a place attractive or frightening to humans. "The more prospect and refuge a place offers, the more attractive it is."  [Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D.- Psychology Today]
In this context, "prospect" means a clear and unobstructed view of the landscape [what is around us]. "Refuge" is defined as a secure, protected place to hide -- shelter from danger. "Places where you can see, but not be seen; eat, and not be eaten." Landscape architect Randolph Hester refers to it as a "Womb with a View."
Therefore, scary places will be exposed and potentially dangerous locations with little or no ability to see what is around us.

Creepy or scary feelings come from anxiety stirred up by the ambiguity of whether or not there is something to fear and/or the ambiguity of the precise nature of the threat that might be present.The writer has to create that anxiety using words to describe the setting, the sounds, and inner feelings. Use all five senses.
The following can be used to create anxiety:
Sense of something bad will happen but you don't know what 
Use all six senses plus to create this feeling. The word you use need to resonate with the character and the reader. 
Weather

 Example: Lightning Storm
Darkness

Example: Ararat Gaol, Australia

Time of Day

 Example:A sunrise
Unusual lighting

 Example: Eerie Street Lighting

The Unfamiliar     

 Example: I.M. Cooling Tower, Belgium
The Otherworldly

Example: Maunsell Sea Forts, Steel towers, East coast,UK
Things associated Aging and Decay
     
Danvers State Insane           Abandoned House, Holland Island
Asylum, 
Massachusetts
● Things associated Death
   

Abandoned Cemetery                Sicilian Catacombs

Things associated Abandonment - Lacking human presence/ support systems

Example: Six Flags Jazzland, after Hurricane Katrina
● Feeling trapped – not enough space – claustrophobic – invasion of personal space



Example: Crowded Elevator


Heights – fear of falling 
● Words and images that we have been trained to understand as representing danger
 Example: Snake
● Things that violate the laws of nature as we understand them 
Regardless of culture or upbringing, the unknown always poses a threat because we don't know what to expect. The writer's job is to put those feelings into words which convey it to readers (and to the characters).
Another shared characteristic of "scary" is the blurred relationship with death and the body. "Humans are obsessed with death; we simply have a hard time wrapping our mind around what happens when we die." [Allegra Ringo Atlantic Monthly]
Anything that doesn’t make sense or causes us some sort of dissonance, whether it is cognitive or aesthetic, is going to be scary (axe-wielding animals, masked faces, contorted bodies).
Through fear conditioning (connecting a neutral stimulus with a negative consequence) we can link pretty much anything to a fear response. Suspense involves creating anticipation that something bad will happen, but not knowing when it will occur or its precise nature.
WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE TO BE FRIGHTENED?
Not all people do, but we spend billions of dollars every year on movies, television, games, books, sports, and other experiences that trigger the fight-or-flight response that is in all of us, the thrill that comes with adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine flooding through us.
However, for most people, in order to really enjoy this feeling, they need to know they are actually in a secure place and the danger is "imaginary".
Our minds do a great deal to promote creepy feelings based on our upbringing, experiences we've been exposed to, values, things we've hear, read or seen, things we have mental conceptions of as ugly, scary, terrifying, dangerous. These things take root in our imaginations and blow themselves into "what ifs?"
The Riddle House, Palm Beach Florida, is listed by some as one of the most terrifying places on earth.[http://listverse.com/2010/07/07/10-most-terrifying-places-on-earth/]
"Say what?"
Even knowing that it used to be a mortuary and that a hanging took place inside didn't make it scary to me. Words describing the house as seen in the photograph wouldn't have me on the edge of my chair.
I can't say the same for the following abandoned house in Namibia, Africa, filled inside with knee-deep sand, or the Island of Dolls outside Mexico City.
Those images trigger feelings of dread because they push buttons in our brains that evolved long before houses even existed. These alarm buttons warn us of potential danger and motivate us to proceed with caution.
It isn't so much that anything there poses a clear threat, but because it is unclear whether they represent a threat or not. This ambivalence gives us that "frozen in place" feeling, making us ill at ease.
If you want your characters, and your readers, to feel their skin crawling, to breath heavily, and start at every sound, set your scene with careful words that evoke the sense of suspense and anxiety. "Words are powerful, and you should take advantage of your word choice to manipulate how you want the reader to feel about a scene."
WHAT CREEPS YOU OUT?
The following are photo of some other creepy places from http://foryourgadgets.com/bizarre
/20-creepiest-abandoned-places/18/
.  Study them to see if they look creepy to you. Post a comment about what aspects of the photo(s) are scary or creepy. Put those feelings in words. I'm anxious to know how others react to them.


Car Graveyard         

 
Sunken Yacht  in Antarctica


           







Pripyat Amusement Park, near Chernobyl in the Ukraine, had to be abandoned a few days before it opened
TRAVEL TO FOREIGN LANDS FOR ROMANCE AND INTRIGUE
with a novel by Author R. Ann Siracusa
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