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Friday, September 30, 2011

Is There A Method to the Madness?

insanity Pictures, Images and Photos

Every author has their own way of handling mass chaos. There are those who plot and think out every detail before writing, some who sort of outline and then there are authors like me who don't plan a thing. When you add multiple publishers to the mix it gets insane, especially when every character you write ends up being part of a series.

I love series as much as stand alone books, however I didn't imagine I'd have different series at five different publishers. Multitasking is a bitch depending on which story line is screaming the loudest to get out. So how do I handle the ranting lunatics in my head? Yeah they're mostly the heroes :)

I do have a huge desk calender on the wall in my den. Now ask me if I ever write in the den. Yeah, no not at all. I have only one recessed light in the den and though on set of deck sliding doors line the wall giving me a full wall of fresh light, it's still to dark even with a halogen lamp. So what good is the desk calender there? I have to have a place to put everything and for now that's where it be.

I have a sticky note system. I have different shapes and colors. Whenever a thought or a group of thoughts stampede in my brain much like a heard of angry tatanka's... I write it down. I know the names of the groups of characters so it's easy to separate. I try to take turns on what to write next or go by length of story.

Generally I can write a good 4 to 6 thousand words in a day. I also proofread so depending on the day I can knock out a good chunk of work. On rare occasions I can do 8 words in a day but sitting still that long or concentrating that hard on one thing taxes my imagination. I find I run out of steam and since I'm limited to brain food, I don't like going back and second guessing what I've written.

The novellas range from 12k to 47k so depending on what I'm doing, my turn around is really high.

How do I do it? I don't have a EDJ. My DH and the Teens leave at 7 am. I have roughly from 7 am to 230pm to do whatever I want. The teens are required to do house chores leaving me only with my room to clean and laundry at the laundromat on the weekends.

(Yes, the evil DH hasn't bought me my frontloaders yet, the laundromat is actually cheaper than washing and drying here. I'm for what's convenient and he's for the best out of a dollar!)

I do other things in the house. I do do job searches but no one is hiring here so I write. I digress.

With so much time on my'd think I wouldn't get distracted. I was never a big twitter person but it's growing on me. I am addicted to posting status updates on FB.

Still I manage to bring out some great stories. In fact the last one was just submitted. I sent a copy to my editor with is this even interesting. Not that I'm ever boring but when you're close to a situation or know a lot about a way of life or a specific dynamic you don't find it as interesting. So I panicked! All for nothing :P

So then, when you're writing at more than one place some question quality of work and loyalty. I always answer...when I add so many that my brain explodes I'll know it's time to stop. Loyalty always gets me because rather than thinking of that I'm trying to spread my brand out more. I enjoy working with many people because I generally love people. I also like having my name out more than a few times a year depending on what I'm doing :P


I did mention I have a few editors right? Each does things their own way but the bottom line is...they all point out the same issues or improvement needs across the board. Funny. I'll fix one thing or try to go deeper and they'll say Hales..... run a check on the heroines name throughout the entire doc or catch phrases I don't think I over use and my oddly phrased sentence. All have to do with me thinking so fast, I imagine I type it out of order.

The name thing gets me every time. I tend to choose unusual names and sometimes the variations of the spelling changes by end of story. I'll go with the most unusual so the name sticks in the minds of everyone :P

This chaos I thrive in has it's downs too.Getting sick is no fun. Being sick for a month or two can seriously put a writer behind. It really put a kink in my cycle and I haven't exactly gotten back on track. I'm gearing toward getting everything back on line.

Making yourself realize you're not super human is the first step to getting back in the saddle. Oddly recently, I've found I work better when people are home. Anxiety can play havoc with writing. For two months I knocked more writing out with a house full of arguing teens than an empty house. I thought about it and decided it had to do with the anxiety of having SVT episodes alone at home.

During that time I didn't write for two entire months. I attempted to and got maybe 500 words a week. I decided it was time to take a break until I was feeling like myself. I never expected it to take that long.

Current Series

Prophesies Implied. Writing Demonic Warrior now :P

Incubus Enforcers- Enforcer Rissa and Ander are nexxt

Channing Coven - Trace and Haylee are next

Familia Tygara - Samuel and Reina are next

USCG- Phoenix McCall is next

Fever Pitch

Shut Up and Kiss Me

On deck I have to wrap up Only Skin Deep, Tarun's Symphony and an unnamed nerd story these are generally ones I'll write 1k at a time. Generally after I've wrapped up edits or have the urge to finish them. They're also important but take more research outside of my experience. And this is the system that works for me :P

Now what works for you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Do You Have Computer Burnout?

Hi Everyone,

I have been facing the dilemma of computer burnout, and I don't know how to fix the problem.  I hate my computer because it takes my whole life.

For the last couple of months, I've stayed off the computer most of the time because I can't stand to be on it.  I'm tired of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and email (at least a hundred a day).

All the time I spent promoting just zonked me out.  Right now, I feel like I could throw my PC and laptop away and touch one again. 

I loved it when I just wrote and didn't have to do anything else.  Does anyone have the answer to getting the love of the computer back?

Please tell me.  I'll be forever grateful.


Sandra K. Marshall

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest Blog: Trish McCallan: The Progression of Voice

Once upon a time—long, long ago—a brand-new writer put her pen to paper and scratched her first word. It was a simple word. Too simple. Way too simple. In fact, it was so simple she hated it. So she tore the page out and started over. Her next few words were better, but still weak and flaccid and unimaginative. She ripped those out too. And thus she began her struggle for the perfect word. And with those perfect words she strung together beautiful sentences. And with those beautiful sentences, she constructed a lovely verse. And verse by lovely verse, she crafted a gorgeous poem.

Her fellow poets all oohhhed and ahhhed. They described it as lush and evocative. They raved they could smell the marsh and feel the harsh pummeling of the sun. The fledgling writer basked in their praise and wrote another lush and evocative poem. And then another, until her voice became know far and wide as poetic, evocative and lush.

Several years later, our fledgling young writer grew tired of writing lush, evocative poetry. Bored, she looked around, and spied a short story critique group. Since there is nothing harder than writing poetry, she thought to herself with the arrogance of youth, I could easily write a short story. So she did. She strung together lush and evocative words and created a beautiful short story. She presented this story to her new critique group and sat back to collect their praise, ready to bask in their ooohhhs and aaahhhs. Instead, they asked her about her plot, and something about characters, and gently mentioned that traditionally something needed to happen in a story—short or otherwise.

And thus our fledgling writing learned about storyish things like plot, character, GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict), forward movement and pace. (as in she had none of the before mentioned)

Another year or two passed while our clueless writer struggled with the short story format. Eventually her wise and oh-so-frustrated mentors encouraged her to try her hand at novel writing, where her verboseness would be more welcome. They guided her toward a critique group that specialized in novels. She could hear their sighs of relief as the door closed after their last session.

In the novel writing group our heroine felt embraced in her verboseness and love of poetic imagery. Until she passed around her first chapter and talk of characterization, GMC, pace and forward movement rose up to plague her. There may possibly have been talk of no forward motion. Someone might have said something like "I was hoping a bomb would go off and kill the heroine just so something would happen" and they definitely suggested cutting the first twenty five pages. (even though they'd only received the first twenty)

Crushed, the now unfledged authoress slunk back to her computer to massacre some of her lovely words in search of that elusive beast called plot.

Fast forward a few years. Our now fully fledged authoress discovers contests and receives such praise as "lush and evocative" or "beautifully written" and such criticism as "when in the hell is something going to happen" and "can you spell boring?" all in the same contest. Crushed she returns to her computer and slaughters even more of her lovely words in pursuit of that elusive double headed beast called characterization and action.

And year by year, less and less gorgeous words make their way into her manuscripts. Until lush and evocative no longer describe her voice. Instead she's called things like dark and gritty, or mainstream, even sharp and edgy. But she pines for those magical words, the lushness of imagery, both imaginative and vivid. She craves those pretty picturesque words...and she hordes them and writes them down, only to butcher them because they no longer fit her WIPs (works in progress) in voice, style or tone.

Until eventually, those pretty words flee in the face of her desire, knowing their fate if they were to be seized—sacrificed to the ravages of progression.

Trish McCallan has been writing for as long as she can remember.

In grade school she wrote children’s stories, illustrating them with crayons and binding the sheets together with pencil-punched holes and red yarn. She used to sell these masterpieces at her lemonade stand for a nickel a book. Surprisingly, people actually bought them. Like, all of them. Every night she would have to write a new batch for her basket.

As she got older her interest changed to boys and horses. The focus of her literary masterpieces followed this shift. Her first full length novel was written in seventh grade by pencil in a notebook and featured a girl, a horse and a boy. At the end of the book the teenage heroine rode off into the sunset . . . with the horse.

These days she sticks to romantic suspense with hot alpha heroes and roller-coaster plots. Since she is a fan of all things bizarre, paranormal elements always seem to find a way into her fiction. Her current release, Forged in Fire, was the result of a Black Dagger Brotherhood reading binge, a cold, a bottle of NyQuil and a vivid dream.

BLURB: Forged in Fire
Beth Brown doesn’t believe in premonitions until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the man she’d watched die the night before.

Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities. When Zane and two of his platoon buddies arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his teammates’ corpses. Then she arrives—a leggy blonde who sets off a different kind of alarm.

As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth will need to open herself to a psychic connection with the sexy SEAL who claims to be her soul mate.

"Forged In Fire is a smoking hot adventure with an irresistible alpha hero. Danger, action, suspense, and a steamy romance make a story that's impossible to put down!"
Patti O'Shea, National Bestselling Author of "Through a Crimson Veil".

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Daydreamers by Janice Seagraves

by Janice Seagraves
Image Detail

I wrote this because one my grade school teachers, who caught me daydreaming while I gazed out the window, got in my face and shouted, “No daydreamer has ever gotten anywhere!”

Now that I am older I beg to differ. If this woman was still alive I would have like to talk to her about what she had said to me so long ago, and about crushing a young girl’s spirit.

Crush and embarrassed—I was, but it didn’t stop me. I am to this day a daydreamer.

If I wasn’t I wouldn’t be an artist or a writer. I proudly proclaim myself to be a stubborn daydreamer.
As a child I watched too much TV, and I can only blame too many Gilligan’s Island reruns, then being addicted to Survivors when it first came out that let me into—what if’s.

What if a person could survive alone on a deserted island, and found another person washed up on shore? What if they fell in love?

The what if’s turned into Daydreams that lead me to write a book Windswept Shores, which has been published by Pink Petal books.

It’s my first book to be published.

My Daydreams helped create it, the rest was hard work and I kept my butt firmly planted in my chair.

Here are thirteen dreamers, and daydreamers:

1.      A daydreamer went on vacation in Spain and dreamed about the speed of light, his name was Albert Einstein.

2.      A daydreamer dreamed about having a bulb that made light, his name was Thomas Edison.

3.      A daydreamer dream the last movements of The Messiah, his name was Frederic Handel.

4.      A daydreamer dreamed about a mocking crow, and wrote poem. His name was Edger Allen Poe.

5.      Two brothers dreamed about flying, their names were Orville and Wilbur Wright.

6.      A daydreamer dreamed of being a kid again and floating down the mighty Mississippi on a raft, or being lost in a cave, or any number of things with a sense of humor. His name was Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain.

7.      A bored socialite daydreamed of being in the South before and during the civil war, her name was Margaret Mitchell.

8.      The popular Beatles tune Yesterday performed over seven million times in the 20th century, came to Paul McCartney in a dream. McCartney one morning, awoke to the memory of a classical string ensemble playing the melody.

9.      A daydreamer dreamed that he "saw" the basic elements of the physical universe arrange themselves in an orderly and beautiful pattern like repeating phrases of music. He woke up and outlined from his dream every element in its correct order - what is now known in chemistry texts as the Periodic Table of Elements. His name was Dmitri Mendeleyev

10.  A daydreamer dreamed about “little people” or “Brownies” who populated his dreams and assisted him with the creative process: “They share plainly in (my) training. They have learned like (me) to build the scene of a considerate story and to arrange emotions in progressive order, only I think they have more talent.” His name Robert Louis Stevenson, his book was he Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

11.  A daydreamer dreamed of sitting on the sun with all the planets hissing around on tiny cords.   He won the Nobel Prize for that dream. His name was Niels Bohr, he developed the model of the atom.

12.  Carl Jung wrote of his early dream journals,”All my works, all my creative activity, has come from those initial dreams which began in 1912, almost fifty years ago. Everything that I accomplished in later life was already contained in them, although at first only in the form of emotions and images. "

13.  A Baptist minister went to Washington and gave a speech called “I have a Dream,” which prompted the 1964 Civil Rights Act. His name was Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where would we be without our dreamers?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Alpha Males, Gruff Loners & Underdogs

I’m right in the middle of writing a mystery/fantasy/romance/mainstream, whatever the genre (for me any of the above and often at the same time). Then, all of a sudden, halfway through a crucial scene, my brain turns off like the proverbial faucet. Not even a drip comes out. I can’t figure out what the hero’s reaction should be. He’s suddenly become wimpy and indecisive. Of course he will win, UNLESS this is a twist in the story OR the darkest moment. OR, he’s an anti-hero and he’s really the villain. OR the heroine comes through to save the day. Maybe. I mean, if the good guys lose, that’s unexpected, isn’t it? Except that’s not exactly what you call a happily-ever-after but more like a wearily-never-happens. Oh the agony. What to do, what to do?
Then there are the rest of the decisions. Is he using a Colt Anaconda or a Dao sword, or maybe just an ordinary everyday weapon like a kitchen knife or a bookend? Whatever it is, it has to be effective. A hero who can’t wield a mean bookend doesn’t even deserve to get the girl.

My point is that in the life of every writer there comes a time when indecision strikes, even with the most carefully executed outline—not that I know anything about outlines, being the write-by-the- seat-of-her-pants kind of girl. What do you do to settle your mind and write on?

I find that I need to depend on my icons of hero magic. You know who they are: Dirty Harry, Rocky, Casey Ryback, Indiana Jones. The macho men of adventure. What were their character traits? Alpha males, gruff loners, underdogs, battling through impossible odds. Each of these heroes kept going when everything seemed lost. Each had his own signature weapon: Dirty Harry’s Magnum, Rocky’s fists,  Casey’s Asian-inspired fighting techniques,  Indiana’s whip and his gun. And each of them managed to do something you didn’t expect.
When I get blocked, I think about one of these heroes and my block disappears.

Give it a try. What Would Indiana Jones Do (WWIJD)? He’d pull out his weapon of choice and then think, what the hell, why not take the unexpected and direct approach and shoot him between the eyes? So, lead your reader down the expected path in that action scene and then surprise her and shoot the villain between the eyes. Believe me, it works every time.

Thanks Indie!

Bobbye Terry writes  mystery/suspense, romance, fantasies and dystopian fiction. Bobbye’s latest book is Coming to Climax and its sequel will be out in November. For more about Bobbye, visit her at

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Guest Blog: M. S. Spencer: Paean to Editors, or Whack-a-Mole

Don’t you just love editors? I do.

What I’m about to discuss should in no way be attributed to any specific editor. I’ll name NO names and the order in which I mention certain fetishes….er, fads….or foibles, in no way reflects my experience. I want to make it very clear that the following essay is an appreciative, affectionate humor “poke” at my favorite people in the whole world—without whom our manuscripts would be a mess indeed.

After three books birthed and two on the way it seems an appropriate moment to reminisce a bit about my experiences with copy editors. First let me declare that I have learned an amazing amount from every editor who’s ever taken a yellow highlighter to my work. After each encounter my work improves and I am able to pick out tendencies in my writing faster (and fix them faster).

I think every writer has a pet word or construct or two. A good exercise—now that we’re blessed with word processing—is to go through your manuscript in the penultimate edit and only look for the number of times “smile” or “grin” or “shrugged” comes up. I tell you I was shocked, shocked, to discover that I used the word “shiver” almost forty times in one novel.(You won’t find them now of course.) Some indispensable words may have only a few suitable synonyms—“laugh” is one of those. I mean, how many times do you want your heroine to titter? If your hero chortles at frequent intervals, your reader might suspect he is feeble-minded. So, you mess around with the phrasing for awhile, but if you can’t rewrite the sentence, sometimes you have to alter the character’s entire reaction to an event. So poor Moe goes from thinking the joke is funny to tearing up because it reminds him of his dead Chihuahua. Raw power in the hands of the writer is a dangerous and delicious thing

But let us return to the topic. Editors of course are all well-schooled in grammar and all the niceties, but they do have their pet peeves. As you move from editor to editor it can begin to feel like a game of Whack-A-Mole. For example, one hates, absolutely hates, the Oxford comma, while the next one seems to indiscriminately sprinkle commas all over the page. So you madly scramble to take one out and lookee, there’s another one!

In no particular order I list the items I’ve had to add, delete, diminish or increase over the years: “had,” “was,” [comma], italics, semi-colons, colons, and “and” or “but” at the beginning of a sentence. There’s no denying that using these creatures sparingly is a good thing. But I can’t help but wonder why one editor zeroes in on the “buts” and one on the “hads”? Was it something in their childhood? Why does “was” not bother one, but “had” makes them break out in hives? And is there some evil genius out there who, just when you’ve whacked the comma mole out of the park, dreams up another pet peeve for you to deal with?

Editors, while I cheerfully invite critique, kindly refrain from adding yellow highlights to this blog. Marianne HATES that.

Although M. S. Spencer has lived in Chicago, Boston, New York, France, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and England, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Once she escaped academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a Diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. She divides her time among Virginia, Maine and Florida. All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.

Writing as M. S. Spencer, she has published three contemporary romance novels. Lost in His Arms is set in the spinning world of 1991 when countries fell like flies and a fixer had his hands full, and Lost and Found, in which we follow a desperate wife searching the wilds of Maine and Florida for the husband who disappeared, both bestsellers at ( My latest release is Losers Keepers from Secret Cravings (, a tale of love, lust and treachery set on the island of Chincoteague. Triptych, a tale of lost artworks, jealousy, sex, larceny and genius, will be released by Secret Cravings in November.

Losers Keepers, by M. S. Spencer Information and Blurb:
Published July 27, 2011
eBook, 72,000 words, contemporary romantic suspense
M/F, 3 flames
ISBN: 978-1-936653-95-9

Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of, Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk. It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder. Only she doesn’t know it. Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know. Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge. Complications ensue when her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.

Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?
Buy link:

Where you can find M. S. Spencer:

Saturday, September 24, 2011


(Just for fun. I orignially wrote this piece for my now-defunct chapter's newsletter back in the dark ages - before ebooks and blogs. I've updated it to bring it into modern times. I hope you enjoy reading this piece as much as I enjoyed writing it.)






As we write this, the Countess and I are comfortably ensconced on the terrace of her castle overlooking the Bavarian Alps. Hans the butler has just served us another round of rich hot chocolate laced with aged brandy.

Feeling mellow, and being the generous persons we are, not to mention that one of us is an aristocrat, we have decided to share our publishing secrets with you, our dear fellow writers.

Between us, we’ve written 1001 books, one of which has been published. Below is our foolproof system, which we’ve dubbed THE PROCESS, for getting your books published:

PROCESS #1: Toss all shame and pride. You want to get published, not make friends.

PROCESS #2: Print 2,000 copies of your synopsis. Go to conferences. Stalk editors and agents. Follow them into the bathroom if you have to. Force copies of your synopsis on them. Once they read your flowing prose, they’ll thank you for your forcefulness and clamor to publish you and represent you. If one or two get restraining orders out on you, ignore them. They don’t recognize genius when they see it.

PROCESS #3: Invite an editor to your critique group. Tell her a New York Times bestselling romance author (whatever author you want) is part of your critique group. Ply the editor with wine so she won’t notice said author is not there.

PROCESS #4: Purchase all books written by the top two New York Times bestselling romance authors. This is your biggest monetary investment. For each six or seven line paragraph you write, insert the third or fourth line of each of the bestselling author’s books, running consecutively through their bodies of work. Before you know it, you will have written a 300-page book. A guaranteed best seller!

PROCESS #5: When submitting your manuscripts electronically, copy all editors you want to submit to in one email. This will save you lots of time. Why wait for a rejection before submitting to another publisher? Such a waste of your valuable writing time. Don’t bother to blind copy the email. Let those editors know that they’d better sign you before one of the other editors on the list grabs your magnificent work.

PROCESS #6: If you submit by snail mail, send an interoffice memo with your submission. Instruct the editors to pass your manuscript to the next editor on the list. This will save you hundreds of dollars in postage and ensure that your manuscript is read by as many editors a possible. Do this with agents also.

PROCESS #7: Two months after submitting your manuscript, call the editor of your choice. Advise her that your computer had a virus and all your emails were lost. Also, the Post Office advised you that your mail was stolen. You need her to resend your contract ASAP as Letterman and Leno have scheduled you for interviews. The editor will be so impressed by the interviews and so discombobulated to think she may have forgotten to mail your contract that she’ll send it right away.

Follow THE PROCESS and you will be published.

Dr. Flower is the author of the definitive tome on human sexuality: “You Want It-He Wants It-So What’s the Problem?”

Countess Hottotrot, the author of over 1,000 romance novels, is the great-granddaughter of romance doyenne, Lady Muffy St. Muffin.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Guest Blog: Qwillia Rain: Life Can Be Ironic

Have you ever wondered what a conversation would look like between an author and her character? Well, it isn't a pretty thing, I'll tell you that much. When I sat down to talk with Triss Long, the heroine of my novella Teach Me, Master, she had some very definite opinions about authors and characters.

TL: Authors are such pesky creatures. They think they know exactly how the story goes, but they don't. I mean, really, what person in their right mind would get up to some of the things these writers think about? Although, I have to admit, as a writer, I have done some wicked things to my characters. But, as a character, I do have to wonder about this.

TL: Take my author, for instance. She had this insane notion that just because she introduced me to the hottest Dominant I've ever seen, I'd quit writing erotica and start pulling out the hearts and flowers and relationships. Nah uh, no way. For one thing, my character, Chelsea, is not looking for Mr. Right. She wants Mr. Right Now. She likes playing the field and sampling from the menu placed before her…even if that menu is related to men and not food.

TL: I know it seems kinda weird to have a character talking about the characters she's writing about, but Qwillia talks about me the same way. There were so many things she tried doing with me, and I made sure she knew I was having none of that. Puhlease, just because Vince was smokin' hot and oh so yummy, I wasn't about to just jump into bed with him. He had to coax me and court me, in his own fashion.

TL: And that's not all I get to do. Qwillia has decided to pull my erotica stories out of my world and put them into hers. She's even putting my name, Triss Long, onto them. I'm very excited to see how they do, since they are so different from what Qwillia usually writes.

QR: Yes, Triss, it is quite different from what I normally write, but you have to admit, the direction I've taken your stories in is interesting. Not that I intend to get Chelsea to settle down. I'm just giving her a little taste of what Vince introduced you to.

QR: When I decided that Vince Black, a secondary character from my novellas Meeting A Neighbor's Needs and A Neighbor's Ultimatum, needed his own story, I knew the woman he would become involved with had to be complicated and very independent. What I had assumed would happen was Vince seducing and joking his way into Triss's life and starting a relationship. What I hadn't expected was the level of dominance within Vince and his willingness to pull out all stops in order to have Triss for his own. Nor had I counted on Triss's form of employment -- erotica author.

QR: As a reader, I always enjoyed reading books where the main or even secondary characters are authors. On occasion these characters can appear almost as a reflection of the author telling the story. They can discuss motivation and conflict and even give a quick sample of the story developing within the mind of the character of the book. Like Sebastian and Atreu from The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende, or Jack in Loving Jack by Nora Roberts. The character of one book is involved directly with the book within the story.

QR: As a writer, I discovered how tricky and compelling that type of storyline could become. There were scenes written by Triss for her books that I did not use in Teach Me, Master. Very intense and sexy scenes that I thought would make a great erotica short, but it was a genre I'd never tried before. Yes, Meeting A Neighbor's Needs comes very close to erotica at the beginning of the story, but by the end, the main characters, Gina, George and Garrick, are in a committed relationship. With Construction Zone: Charlie Chelsea Nolan clearly states she's only in it for the sex. And I'm finding that very interesting to work with.

TL: You're trying to set her up to be in a relationship.

QR: Maybe, but it isn't a committed one like you have with Vince.

TL: True, but it could end up being that way.

QR: Yes, it could be. But not right now.

TL: Yeah, right. I thought Vince was just in it for the kink, but you sure pulled a fast one on me there.

QR: (Wicked Evil Grin) True, true, but you know your brothers would have been upset if what you had with Vince wasn't likely to become permanent.

TL: Okay, I'll concede that point to you. And, it's not like I don't enjoy going to the clubs he's taking me to…

QR: Randy likes 'em too. And Jynn.

TL: OMG, do not tell me …

QR: (Shaking head) I'm not saying anything. Yet.

TL: You-- snort-- well, fine then. We'll see how long that lasts once Richard pulls his shenanigans in Mexico. That next Diablo Blanco Club book is soooo not what you were expecting.

QR: Oh, we are not going there!

Unfortunately, readers…the conversation simply devolved from there so, I think I'll leave you to wonder about how we resolved the issues.

TL: Yeah, you just don't want to admit you lost.

QR: We're not going there. Thank you Marianne and everyone at Romance Books R Us for letting me hang out. Have a great day!

Qwillia Rain is a middle child, born under the sign of Taurus on Friday the 13th. With those three things to live up to, is it any wonder she grew up stubborn, opinionated, and with a tendency to take sudden left turns in conversation? Pushing boundaries has always intrigued her and can partially be to blame for her moves from her home town of Las Vegas, Nevada, to Alaska, Montana, and North Carolina. While keeping an eye out for a mate strong enough to control her and too full of wander lust to set down permanent roots, Qwillia never leaves home without a book to read (or her Kindle), a road map, a pen, and a notebook to jot down ideas for another story. Her interest in power exchange and the Dominant/submissive lifestyle are further evidence of her need to re-draw boundary lines, but at the core of each of her books is the developing relationship between her characters. She can be found at her blog, discussing characters, sewing, cooking, and just about anything else that comes to mind.

BLURB: Teach Me, Master
Triss Long loved watching her neighbor and the games he played with his lovers. Whether it was ropes or whips, blindfolds or ball gags, the way his body moved mesmerized Triss, and fueled a few of her own fantasies. Not to mention inspiring a scene or two in the erotic novels she wrote.

Until the day she literally fell at his feet.

Now that Vince Black's attention is focused on her, Triss has to choose between the naughty girl who's dying to play along, and the good girl her mama raised who's screaming "Run Away!"

**This is a novella of 34,500 words (approximately 96 pages) and is connected loosely to Meeting A Neighbor's Needs and A Neighbor's Ultimatum**

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scenes To Remember

As an author, we have our favorite scenes from the books we write. Sometimes it's because of the clever banter exchanged between characters. Sometimes it's the sensual moment shared between the hero and heroine. And sometimes it's just because the scenario practically wrote itself. Whatever the reason, we hold fast to the memorable moments in our stories that have emerged from our creative minds.

One of my favorites, (because let's face it - I have MANY) is a scene from Silent Partner when Grayson ventures out the next morning to find Chloe, the woman with whom he had a heated one-night stand, and offer her the job as his dance partner.

Now, realize that Chloe doesn't know his name, nor does she think he knows where she lives. However, Grayson has lived in Back Bay all his life and "knows" people. To her surprise, he finds her gallery and boldly enters.

One of the reasons it's my favorite scene is because it shows how a perfectly sensible woman can lose her wits in the arms of a sexy, swarthy man, especially when he's daring. Trust me though, you do NOT want to miss what she does to him by the end.

Hope you enjoy!

"Renee Vincent captures our mind as well as our hearts as we find ourselves entwined in the dance between Chloe and Grayson."
~ Romancing The Book 

"Do not mistake the ‘sweet’ rating for tepid writing. Silent Partner is well researched, offering background information woven into her story so skilfully it blew me away."
~ "LASR BEST BOOK" ~ Long And Short Reviews

"With every turn of the page the words had me drawn like a moth to a flame. The major plot twists were so well written that I never saw them coming and lets be honest anymore that is a GREAT thing to have happen. I fell in love with Gray and Chloe from page one to the very end. This was an awesome book of beautifully written love scenes, surprises at every turn, and truly good show of how one person can adapt to anything if there is love involved!"
~ 5 Fairies! Judging The Book By The Pages 

Silent Partner
By Renee Vincent

Available at: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Nook | Sony | ARe | Smashwords | 1Place For Romance | Digi Books | Turquoise Morning Press | Book Strand | KOBO

Chloe gasped, her heart frozen in her chest. Just as quickly as she feared for her life, she melted at the sight of her Adonis’s beautiful face smiling at her. Was he real?

Oh yes, he was real.

Every hardened muscled in his body was pressed against hers, his strong hands at her lower back, bordering on her butt, pulling her closer. She was tightly held in his embrace, his eyes delving deep into hers.

Oh shit! He expected her to say something. She could see it in his eyes, now dark and richly ambitious. No, she wasn’t ready for this. Not now…it was too soon. He would run.

But then another shock wave rippled through her. How did he find her? And how the hell did he get in here?

I swore the door was locked and the ‘Closed’ sign was up.

Her body stiffened in his arms, despite the fluid motion of his hips swaying to the beat of the music. She lost all sense of rhythm and awkwardly followed his lead, wondering if she had made a huge mistake in sleeping with this guy in the first place. Maybe he was crazy out of his mind? Maybe he was the type of guy who was overly possessive and an ax-murderer on the side.

He drew his face back, softening. “I didn’t mean to frighten you.” He then thumbed behind him. “You left your outside door unlocked. But don’t worry…I secured it behind me. Besides,” he added, purposefully drilling his pelvis into hers, “you had the music up so loud it was like a beacon.” He licked his lips. “Calling to me…”

Chloe smiled nervously, her mind going a hundred miles an hour.

She talked herself out of thinking he was an ax-murdered, but he could very well be a trained burglar. A sexy, high-class, mouth-watering burglar who knew how to steal her heart.

She couldn’t believe he had snuck into her shop and made his way into her meager apartment. She glanced around, checking the condition of it, worrying about what he’d think of her modest living conditions, which were quite different from his.

His home looked like something out of Architectural Digest, a penthouse suite of some famous actor in downtown New York. While hers resembled a barely middle-class, single-income dive, with drop cloths on the floor and artist utensils resting on every flat surface of the room.

He stopped dancing, his face scrunched in thought. “Can you turn this down? I can barely hear myself think.”

Chloe swallowed hard and nodded, leaving his arms in haste to find the remote on the table. She aimed it at the TV and pressed the volume button, her heartbeat climbing as the volume fell.

She stared at it, lost. It was inevitable he would find out about her secret, but she wasn’t prepared to tell him now. Truthfully, she never thought there’d be an opportunity to explain or a need to. She had left his bed this morning thinking she would scarcely cross his mind. Evidently, she was wrong.

A smile curved the corners of her mouth at that very thought. Her perfect Adonis had thought enough about little ol’ her to go searching for her and he must have been pretty adamant about it since he had succeeded.

She felt his presence behind her and turned around, his arms already crisscrossing her back.

“Just because the music is turned low, doesn’t mean I’m finished dancing.”

Again, he gyrated his hips against hers, fanning his hands again across her bottom. She followed his lead, though she still couldn’t believe he was here. In her home. Looking at her with an insatiable lust in his eyes.

And why? She wasn’t dressed in tight-fitting clothes or even an outfit that revealed a large amount of skin or cleavage. She was wearing sweats for crying out loud!

As if reading her conflicted mind, he nudged his nose with hers. “You are sexy as hell, you know that?”

His words flattered her immensely, but she could tell by the look in his eyes he meant them. She closed her eyes, feeling his hands moving up her sides, his palms skimming over every single rib as he went. His thumbs lingered just beneath her breasts, the anticipation killing her.

Okay, so he wasn’t a trained burglar. But he was man with extremely talented hands. Touch me, already!

It seemed, he was so in tune with her, for he stroked one thumb over her, her nipple tightening to a taut peak beneath her shirt. He felt it, she knew, because he left his thumb there, lightly grazing over it back and forth.

Her stomach flipped and a warming sensation flared between her legs. He stared at her, his tempestuous gaze threatening to light her afire, though she felt he was holding back, waiting for something. Permission, perhaps?

She glanced at his mouth, craving to taste his lips. To give him whatever he waited for. She knew, right then, he wasn’t going to take it unless she offered it. He may have been boldly intrusive and daring when he snuck into her residence. But now, he didn’t seem so self-assured. Could it be that her arrogant Adonis was not so sure of himself? Or maybe…a gentleman?

She wasn’t the cruel type to make him sweat it out. Nor was she willing to hold back herself. She ran her hands up the length of his arms, enjoying the feel of his flexed biceps beneath her palms as she continued over his shoulders and up his neck into his hair. Pulling him down slightly, she tip-toed up on the balls of her feet and kissed him.

The softness of his lips melted her like butter, while the tender prickling of his well-trimmed goatee solidified her into a covetous woman. She had to have more. His mouth. His touch. His body. Everything he possessed, she wanted.

Opening her mouth to him, she took his passion and ran free with it. Her tongue slipped between his lips, soft and heated, and found the powerful hunger of him inside. Finally, he severed every restraint tethered around his fiery spirit, his hands swarming her body with wild fervency.

In the blink of an eye, he gripped the collar of her worn t-shirt with both hands and tore it in half, stripping her of her lucky shirt, his mouth never leaving hers.

Well, it was her lucky shirt.

His hands were all over her now, groping her through the thin fabric of her bra. She could feel the searing heat of his touch and her entire body longed to feel his warmth, his naked skin blanketing her.

His feral kisses fell from her mouth, blazing a trail down her neck and across her shoulder. He pulled away for a moment, breathless, as he gazed at her chest.

Teasingly, he slipped a finger beneath her bra strap, sliding it downward. “White lace today, huh? Matching panties, I assume?”

Chloe bit her lip, hoping like the devil he’d check for himself.

With his other hand, he tugged her waistband open and peered down into her pants. His devilish smile told her he liked what he saw.

“So, is this just like last night?” he asked, his brow raising curiously. “Sex now…talk later.”

She answered him quickly by unclasping the front closure of her bra, her breasts falling out of the cups for his pleasure. She liked how his eyes roamed over her, his mouth slightly parting in awe.

Immediately, his hands went to his shirt, his fingers working over every button like a wild man. He seemed to have no patience by the last one and he whisked his shirt away, taking her into his arms.

She sighed at the feel of his hot skin, the comfort of his strong embrace enveloping her. She glanced over his shoulder at her newly painted canvas. It was as if her sleeping Adonis had awakened, stepped right off of the easel, and had come to her, thanking her for bringing life to him.

If only he knew how alive she felt to be in his arms….

How amazing it felt to have him stripping her pants and underwear from her body.

He pulled her down to the floor, lying on top of her. A large block-pattered area rug acted as their bed and that was fine with her. She didn’t care where he chose to take her, just as long as he remained strapped to her body. Between the weight of him crushing her into the carpet, and his mouth wickedly sucking at her neck, she felt like she was in heaven.

No one had made her feel this good, this bad, this horny in a long time. Hell, she couldn’t even recall a time when sex was this good the second time around. With his hand petting over the sensitive skin of her bare stomach, she wanted nothing more than feel his probing fingers between her thighs.

She loved when he touched her there, the feel of his fingertips caressing, smoothing…teasing. He was very skilled with his hands, knowing where to be delicate and when it was okay to be rough. Right now, she could stand a little rough.

She pushed him to the side and rolled on top, straddling him. His eyes widened and he gasped, arching his back as if something was poking him. “Wait!” he exclaimed, reaching for whatever was beneath him.

He pulled out a tube of paint, most of it squeezed-out on his hand and back.

Chloe brought her hand to her mouth, hiding her smile. She didn’t realize it had been dropped on the floor, but in this little apartment, there wasn’t much room for storing her utensils and supplies.

She watched as he tried to wipe the mess from his back, the soft yellow color smearing across his dark skin, his hand covered in thick oily paint. With a compulsion to be daring, she grabbed his hand and hooked a dollop on her finger and began drawing the letter “M” right above his navel.

His head jerked and his abdomen flexed. She could feel his pelvis rise to meet hers, his erection, trapped beneath his denim jeans, pressing against her naked flesh. But still she continued to write.


Then an “N”…

And an “E”…

And then finally, a downward arrow.

She watched his face turn devious. “Oh, really…” he said, relaxing back onto the carpet. “Prove it.”

Places to find Renee Vincent:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interview of Model/Actor Stefan Pinto!


Today it’s my pleasure to present an interview with the multi-talented Stefan Pinto. His career encompasses many avenues; web designer on Wall Street, a journalist, certified PADI scuba diver, model, author and an actor! If you’re a fan of TV shows "Burn Notice" or" CSI: Miami", you would’ve seen Stefan. Interestingly, he played a bad guy in both! Stefan was also a Playgirl Centerfold - something he said he would’ve done for free! Let’s find out some more about him!

Where to find information about Stefan Pinto:
Twitter: http:/
Fat-to-Fit Blog:
Random photos from his iPhone:
You can email Stefan at: hithere at stefanpinto dot com

Q: With all the directions you’ve taken with your skyrocketing career, is there one job you’ve thought about trying but haven’t attempted?
A: Well, I have attempted it, so maybe it doesn’t count. But if I were to do it, I wouldn’t call it a job since it’s something I would completely enjoy doing; taking pictures of people, places and things doing things that they love to do – or maybe have to do.

Q: Tell us how you were “discovered”.
A: I was in a Miami supermarket buying a turkey wrap when a model scout approached me. It was quite unexpected. Ha ha, like a scene in that movie, I forget the name: “Do you want to be a mo-delle?” And I said, "Yes’, I want to be a mo-delle."

Q: You’re an author! Tell us about “Fat-to-Fit: 50 Easy Ways to Lose Weight”.
A: It’s non-fiction! The book came out of some tips I tweeted, Facebooked and wrote on my fitness column. We expanded them, found some new ones and put it together with my story on how I went from a shy, fat guy to a male model and what I do to stay fit. I don’t advise people to buy any special food or do anything extraordinary. Frankly, it’s simple, everyday things that only makes sense. It amazes me how many people refuse to believe that eating vegetables make such a difference in how you look. Yet, they refuse to eat them!

Q: What TV acting role did you enjoy the most?
A: It was for a Spanish soap, “Pecados AƱjeos”, where I played Edgar. It taught me not to assume I know what’s going to happen and to just “go with it.” I met some nice people there.

Q: Did you enjoy your time on the TV show "Burn Notice"?
A: I did! But when I did that, I was more “seasoned” I suppose. "Burn Notice" was my first supporting role. It was quite a thrill; I had my own trailer and actually had someone who made sure I was comfortable.

Q: Tell us about being a web designer on Wall Street.
A: Exciting! I walked through the World Trade Center every day for a year. At that time I lived in New Jersey and my commute was about two hours each way. Sometimes I bought breakfast, lunch and dinner. I learned a lot at that job. Our offices were right on 44 Wall Street, directly across from a Starbucks, where the Barista called me "Venti White Mocha". It was a different time, then. Very different.

Q: You were an RT “Mr. Romance Contestant”. What was that like?
A: Twice! The first time, I totally had no idea what to expect. I was sort of a deer in headlights. I placed First Runner Up in Orlando and Second Runner Up in Los Angeles, which turns out to be the last Mr. Romance competition ever. The second time, in Los Angeles, I knew many people who attended – both authors and some of the attendees. I admit, I used my time to promote my book!

Q: Playgirl Centerfold in 2007. How did you prepare for this and what was it like?
A: Ha ha. How did I prepare for a nude shoot? It was actually a lot of work, sitting there, you know, posing. Seriously, a friend suggested I submit some photos to the magazine, which I did; I sent two to the photographer. I heard back on Christmas Day while I was laying on the beach in Miami. I got a text that simply said, “pics r gr8. When can you come to LA?’ And that was it! They flew me out for a shoot on Valentine’s Day. The shoot lasted for four hours -- and in the middle of shooting, the photographer yelled at me for “looking bored”. I was merely hungry! To this day, the pictures still surprise me. I would’ve done that shoot for free, you know?

But, I was paid more than I'd expected. When they told me they wanted me, I had no idea I would be a centerfold. They don’t tell you these things. Actually, the photographer has no idea. I went from a nerdy, skinny then fat, shy guy to being asked to pose in an international magazine – nude – for my body. It’s the epitome of western body worship. And I’m guilty of it. There, I called it.

Q: Tell us about your fitness routine and how you keep those “six pack abs”.
A: Mostly diet. Actually, abs is all diet. Everyone has abs but they could be covered by fat. You can do a hundred sit ups a day and you won’t get abs, you’ll just get a neck ache. In fact, most people do sit ups incorrectly, but that’s for another publication. I try to change my workout routine every two months. Your body adapts. I lift as heavy as I can.

Q: You have a wonderful and long resume of your fabulous career. What will be added next to your list of accomplishments?
A: Gosh, I don’t know! You’ll be third to know!

Q: Favorite food?
A: Italian. I cheat with lasagna. I love lasagna. If you ever invite me to dinner, cook lasagna.

Q: Favorite drink?
A: Scotch. "I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking." I'ts a line from Othello and I played Cassio - just had to say it! Ha!

Q: What would you consider to be the most romantic place in the world…just so we might get some travel ideas?
A: Tallinn, Estonia. Heard of it? It’s in the Baltic and is one of the most picturesque, romantic, quaint and surprisingly modern cities in the Baltic. It was spared from Communism, but some signs are still there; you can’t really run from a regime like that. But Tallinn is lovely.

Q: Where can we buy your book?
A: It’s on Amazon, available for the Barnes and Noble Nook as well as for the iPad! Links to download Stefan’s book:
Amazon Kindle:
Barnes and Noble Nook:
iPad (or iPhone:
Stefan’s “Fat-to-Fit” blog is:

Friend me on Facebook where I post some of what I think are the most beautiful photos I've taken on my travels. Did I mention that I studied with National Geographic?

Photos: Michael Stokes, Greg Prescott, Scott Tietler, Maury Povich Show.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Keep Me Hanging On

So I'm reading this fabulous book. The characters meet, interact, have sex for pages and pages...and suddenly declare their love for one another and vow to live happily ever after. The End.

(Sound of screeching tires)


Whoa; back up a minute. When was the last time you met a stranger, or reconnected with a past lover, and after a night of passion, lived happily ever after?

'But wait, Kenze...this is fantasy!'

Yeah, I know. But what I love is a little realism mixed in. I want to know what happens after they clinb out of bed and let the Real World know of their connection. What happens next? What happens when the hero returns to his apartment and finds a letter from an old girlfriend? Or the phone rings and he has an emergency and can't see his new lady love for another twenty-four hours? What happens if she calls her best friend and bubbles over with her good news, only to be met with 'Are you out of your FREAKING MIND?'

Yes, it can happen. I want to know that the two people I'm reading about will have a lasting relationship, and they would walk through fire in order to be with each other.

Now I've never stopped reading books by authors who do this, and I've never stopped reading a series simply because characters were killed off, or unbelievable circumstances arose; I've only stopped reading one particular series because by book #3 I was so disgusted with the general plot, writing, etc. I think the author could have done better. And the only other reason I'll stop reading a book is if I find myself skimming the pages, not really reading. If it's not holding my interest by chapter 2 or 3, forget it. I'll likely put it down and maybe try again in a year or two...or ten, when I come across it in a box somewhere. Or in the case of e-books, if I can't remember what it was about and open the file. It all depends on my mood at the time I'm reading.

And now you know why Gone With The Wind, Centennial, Hawaii, and books by John Jakes, Herman Wouk's Winds of War, and The Woman of Substance series are my all-time favorite print books to read. (Running a close second would be Lavryl Spencer, Nora Roberts, and Marion Keyes.) E-books? Too many to mention.  I meet new authors every year, and the books I keep on my e-reader changes quite often.  The last time I went to my e-library to reload a few books, I chose Cindy Spencer Pape's Curses; Kathleen Coddington's Witch Ball; Jean Hart Stuart's Druid's Daughter; and Emmie Graham's North Atlantic Nights.

What are some of your most loved books?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Interview of Author Lacie Nation

Today it's my privilege to present an interview or romance author Lacie Nation.

Latest Book: So Beautifully Broken
Buy Link:
Video Link:

I live in Columbus, GA, with my amazing boyfriend and dog. I started writing many years ago, but recently decided to attempt publication. I was lucky enough to find Secret Cravings Publishing who offered me a contract. The things I write start out as something I don’t intend on anyone else seeing. I clean it up and create characters that are strong, loving, and fierce.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: When I stopped feeling like I was going to pass out, there was a lot of happy tears and maybe some squealing, but I won’t admit to it.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The easiest parts for me to write are the emotionally charged and dramatic scenes. If I could just write that and no fillers I would be so happy. It’s the easiest because when I write I tap into places that I don’t deal with everyday. If I’m having a bad day then my poor characters suffer. The stories I write are from a very personal place, I’ve experienced it first-hand so it’s easier for me to write about something I’ve felt than it is to make it up as I go.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Lilly is my favorite character because I was able to tell my story and what I went through, through her. Everything she felt, did, or went through was something I had to overcome. I’m proud that I’ve been given the opportunity to tell a story through a strong character like her so that maybe one day it will reach someone who’s going through what she has and it will help.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Yes, I make sure and write certain traits that can be seen in your head as you read. My favorite thing to describe is a character’s eyes. I truly believe you can see a person’s soul through their eyes.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: Dramatic/action scenes. I love to write a good action scene that gets the blood pumping. I also love to write scenes that make you cry. I have a friend that is just tough as nails. LOL…she’s my tester, if I can make her cry then I know the scene is good to go.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: I would absolutely love to write something supernatural or paranormal. I love reading them and have so many ideas, but writing it terrifies me. I don’t know why.

Tell us where to find you - list them all!!/lacie_nation

Lilly’s entire life has been filled with people who have manipulated, violated, and hurt her beyond repair. She is left feeling as though the numbing affect of drugs is the only way to cope. She’s back in her home town now and starting a new job at Tilt. What happens when she meets a group of people who understand her pain and love her in spite of it? What happens when she meets Jack, her boss and former addict? Will she be able to live a life filled with love and people who support her not tear her down?

Follow Lilly and Jack though their relationship as they fight demons from Lilly’s past that come back with a vengeance.

Jack could see her out of the corner of his eye, crumpled on her knees, her hands fisted in her hair. Her eyes were on them, but indicated she didn’t know what was going on anymore. Lilly truly looked trapped inside her own mind. Something frightening to see.

The man Jack had pinned looked stunned. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

Nick, seeing what had happened, ran up to help. He tried to go to Lilly, but she screamed again when he touched her shoulder.

Cade tightened his grip against the man he was holding. He looked at Lilly then back to his captor. “You don’t touch a woman unless she asks you to!” Cade shouted as he shoved him to the exit.

“Nick, get this piece of shit out of my bar!” Jack pulled on the collar of the man’s shirt and slammed him against the wall again. Jack’s voice was low and steely as he spoke, causing the man to shiver as Jack threw him towards Nick. “You don’t ever touch her.”

Nick grabbed him roughly, causing the guy to stumble as he dragged him.

Jack looked towards Lilly. Seeing her like that physically hurt. Rocking back and forth, her eyes never blinking as they darted around the room with absolute horror flashing across her features.

“No, no, no… please.”

The way Lilly cried out was heartbreaking. With almost no volume to her voice, the amount of pain and fear rang in her tone louder than the music blaring through the club. Jack knew it would haunt his dreams for the rest of his life. He had never heard anyone sound so beaten.

The pain radiating off of Lilly was palpable and felt as though it was his pain as well, crashing down on him, weighing him down. As if someone knocked the wind out of him, his knees buckled. Before he knew it, he inched towards her on his knees with an outstretched hand, wanting nothing more than to pull her into his arms and protect her from everything.

Jack couldn’t say anything else due of the lump in his throat.

When a lone tear streamed down Lilly’s face, Jack couldn’t stop himself. His hand reached for her face to wipe the tear away. Lilly came back from where her mind had taken her, if only a little. Jack felt like there wasn’t anyone else around, like it was just her and him on the floor in his club.

He picked her up, not thinking it might send her further into her fear, and walked quickly to his office. Closing the door with his elbow, he gently set her on her feet, still holding on to her.

“You’re safe now, Lilly.” Jack wished with everything in him that she would feel safe.

“I’m tired of being afraid.” Lilly’s voice broke when she spoke. Her eyes pleaded, begging for it to just go away.

“What are you afraid of?” Jack kept his voice soft, a need to hold her growing stronger with every tremble of her body.

“Breathing… s-sleeping…” Another tear rolled down Lilly’s cheek. “Life.” She choked on her words.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m honored to have had the opportunity to put my work out there. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it. Thank you so much for having me!

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