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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yahoo is at it AGAIN! AACK!!

I'm angry...just like my friend on the left. Just when we thought we were safe with yahoo...after the calendar fiasco last year...they've decided to "improve" yahoo.

CRAP. It's worse than before! When will they learn that "If it ain't broke, don't FIX it"????

I've been hearing stories about people not finding groups, etc., all week. But, from what I saw, nothing had changed.

UNTIL Thursday. Then WHAM...I fell into a Yahoo hell hole!

1. I can't find all my groups. 20 groups show on the page. Where are the other 50??? Including some from my publishers? And, ones I rely on to do promotional work??

2. I can't "fix" the banner that now appears for two of my groups. I had square icons for both groups. If I try to remove the banner and put in an icon, it comes out fuzzy and isn't sized to fit a banner.
Right now, I have a Chinese (?) banner for one group and a nondescript couples' banner for the other.

3. Albums? Where the hell did they go?

4. Calendar? It's still there, but now called "Events". Gee. Thanks for all the warning about this.

Wait a minute. Was there a warning? Anyone receive one?

5. Files. Why is the Files section empty?

6. Home Page. I can't edit the wording. Home Pages don't show when I click on groups. Conversations (message) pages show. To find the Home Page, you have to click on "About".

And, there's so much more. I swear, maybe Yahoo wants us all to leave. I worked hard to get two groups going and set up a promo schedule with other groups. Moved my fan letter list to one group. If they can't find me, I'll lose members/fans.

PLEASE COMPLAIN TO YAHOO. THEY NEED TO HEAR HOW DIFFICULT AND NONSENSICAL THIS NEW APPROACH IS.

If everyone goes to http://groups.yahoo.com/ , look on the far top right next to your user name, you'll see a little wheel. Click that to open and then click Suggestions. You'll see a lot of angry posts to yahoo and can vote/add suggestions. Here's their standard response:

We deeply value how much you, our users, care about Yahoo! Groups. Today we launched our first update to the Groups experience in several years and while these changes are an important step to building a more modern Groups experience, we recognize that this is a considerable change. We are listening to all of the community feedback and we are actively measuring user feedback so we can continuously make improvements.

I've started to get some responses from my many "suggestions"/questions, and some make no sense at all...and don't "fix" anything.

What about you? What's your experience?
Photo: Flickr: moniquz's photostream

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is There More Sex in E-books than Print Book?

There are readers who believe they can find sexier books in e-book format.  What they don't seem to realize is that those same books can usually be found in either e-book or print format.  Some of them may even be in audio.

Remember the stigma readers faced with the so-called bodice rippers.  Well, now there is embarrassment for those who read erotic books, so it could be readers feel safer reading them on an e-reader.  Writers often use a fictitious name to write them because of the stigma.

Sex is a part of life, so it's hard for me to understand why there is still this stigmatism around the subject.  As to whether there is more sex in e-books than prints I don't know, but it is an interesting question.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Interview of Author Edie Hart

Today I'd like to present an interview of romance author Edie Hart.

Latest Book: One Bad Day
Buy Links:
 http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=index
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-onebadday-1214585-149.html
http://www.bookstrand.com/one-bad-day
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333982



BIO:
Edie Hart was born in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, where she now resides with her husband, two children, dog, and three cats. After spending her childhood making up stories in her head, she finally decided to put them on paper. What came of it was her first novella, One Bad Day. Edie is a die-hard romantic and believes that everyone deserves to be loved unconditionally—both in print and real life.

Edie also admits that "Edie Hart" is a pen name and an alter ego to an otherwise boring wife and mother. Edie is 20 pounds lighter, loves to skydive, travels to foreign places, and is a total sex kitten as compared to the uninteresting other half who is none of those things.

In reality the counterpart of Edie is a lackluster 40-something-year-old, whose main goal is to keep The Big One (The Boy) from torturing The Little One (The Girl). This week he hit her in the head with a 12-pack of Juicy Juice. Last week he left ravioli handprints on the back of her white T-shirt. The week before that he told her she was adopted and she believed him.

To learn more about her, and find out what The Big One and The Little One are up to, visit her via her website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: For me each book is different. Some just come to me easily and some don’t. Usually if I’m having a hard time with a book (other than the love scenes) it’s for another reason…once I’ve worked it out – the writing becomes easy again.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: The hardest part for me is the love scenes. I love writing them but for me writing the details can be difficult.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: It always seems to be the character I’m writing at the time. I think I fall a little in love with them when I write them.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroes? Tell us about your hero.
A: I would want Gerard Butler. I love him. I love his accent. In my book One Bad Day, my hero doesn’t have an accent, but that’s okay.

Gray is a police officer. He’s a big guy, a little gruff, but deep down he has a soft side. He plays by the rules and always does the right thing.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: No. They all look different. Some are blonde, and short, some are blonde and tall. In my mind they are real people with real personalities and they all look different.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: I love Frozen Yogurt Moose Tracks. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing or not, it’s my ultimate favorite food. In general I’m not inspired by food. I get inspired by people/personalities, places or actual events. My mind is always whispering “what if…?”

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I like facebook. I feel like it allows me to interact with people and it’s a very “now” type of communication.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
http://www.ediehart.com
https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Edie-Hart/487522844612486?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/EdieHart_

BLURB:
Tessa is having one seriously bad day. After agreeing to dress as a cheesy mascot at a convention for her boss, her clothes get stolen, she gets chased through a sinister parking garage, and her apartment gets broken into and turned upside down.

Gray, an off-duty police officer, can’t resist the sexy legs he sees in costume at a hotel convention. When he catches sight of her running for her life through a dark car lot, he's determined to find out what her story is and ends up promising to keep Tessa safe...even if that means taking her home with him.


EXCERPT:
Gray stepped outside of the hotel ballroom hoping the air would be cooler out there. He hated stuffy gatherings. Hell, he hated weddings. How two people could think they'd love each other forever was beyond him. Gray didn't do love. Which was why he was stag at a co-worker's wedding. He'd originally planned to invite Monique, but several months back she'd become demanding and talked about moving into his place with hearts and flowers in her eyes. So he'd ended it. Deep down, he'd known that she didn't really want him. She wanted any warm body that would take care of her. She had slowly been trying to mold him into some GQ tycoon, telling him what to wear, how to act, and even going as far as telling him what he needed to do career-wise.

A loud crash on the other side of the hall caught Gray's attention. In the open ballroom across the way he saw legs. Glorious legs in strappy high heels. The beautiful legs were tangled on the floor and attached to an ass that was just as gorgeous. After taking a closer look, Gray realized that above the amazing ass was an enormous, white light bulb-shaped head with blue googly eyes. It had blonde hair and wore a glittery purple hat. The tangled-up legs and heels were flailing around in a pile of what looked like empty light bulb boxes. Several gentlemen nearby were quick to help Legs get her feet beneath her. From their smiles and laughter he could tell that they were all quite happy to be of assistance. Gray didn't blame them.

He watched Legs find her balance in those high heels, and with a little wiggle and tug of her skirt she went on her way.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Persephone's Song Anthology with Weather Witch by Janice Seagraves

Image
I’m thrilled to announce that Persephone’s Song Anthology has been released on Amazon. It includes my story, Weather Witch. 

Weather Witch: Regency Nobleman Lord Godfrey is negotiating for a wife, until Meredith literally storms into the Manor. Then all bets are off as he tries to tempt the tempestuous nymph into marrying him.
~*~
Excerpt: Arianna jumped up, pushing her chair back with an ugly scrape. "She's here."
"I know, daughter." Lady Cawyn pressed her lips together into a thin line.
"She'll be angry." Arianna fisted her hands and turned toward her mother. "I told you not to do it, Mother."
"Who will be angry?" Who or what has them so anxious? Lord Godfrey eyed the two frightened women. William, his steward, shrugged.
All at once there came a mighty bang, not unlike the sound of lightning hitting a tree. Thunder rolled overhead. As the sound faded, pounding feet rushed down the outside vestibule. The double doors were flung wide. In a sudden gust of wind the candles blew out. The maids and butler rushed to relight them. Lightning momentarily lit up the room.
A woman in scant clothing stood at the foot of the table, dripping wet, her hair plastered to her head and shoulders. Anger flashed in her stormy expression. Her blonde hair was nearly white as sea foam, and her eyes gray as a rainstorm.
"Old woman, where is my son?" The woman's voice was husky.
He stood and stared at the apparition bathed in candlelight. Her breasts heaved as she took in great gulps of air.
"Now this woman has fire." He didn't realize he'd spoken aloud until every person in the room turned toward him. 
 ~*~

Monday, August 26, 2013

Axing the Backstory


Ah, a round of applause for the backstory, all of that information that you, the writer, painstakingly put together to understand what makes your characters tick. If it weren’t for all those events from the past, the people in your book wouldn’t be where they are at the start of the story. However, sometimes you fall head-over-heels in love with your backstory, excited to impart every miniscule detail, because surely the reader will adore it as much as you do.  You decide to showcase it. Why not tell all about what happened in the past before the hero and heroine go on their journey? It deserves to be put there at the front of the book, right? Not!

 

If there is anything that signals a newbie, it is the writer’s dump at the beginning of a novel—one big pile of doo-doo. I judge a lot of contests, and, in every one I judge, at least one of the entries has pages of backstory at the front of his novel. So, I do what I always do. I try with tender loving care to explain to the writer that his first fifteen pages need to be axed—whacked—eliminated—lost. For an inexperienced writer, the thought of losing five thousand words of his manuscript is more than he can bear. Why, he’ll be lucky if he can make his determined 50-60,000 word count (unless he’s one of those who ends up with a 220,000-word opus that could have been told in 70,000 tightly written words—you know who you are).

 

My co-writer and I hacked off one hundred pages of the first romance book we wrote. Was it all at one time? Shoot, no. I mean, it was our first book and the writing was cherished, every phrase labored over with tender loving care and long hours of BICHOK (Butt in chair hand on keyboard for those who don’t know). No, we did it the painful way, sort of like cutting off a finger at the first knuckle and working your way down in segments until you severed the whole hand. That’s what it felt like.

 

It’s not going to be easy, but the book will be oh, so much better if you lose the stuff. Most of it will come out over the course of the book anyway, but will be better off for being filtered in over many pages.

 

I’m better at this than I used to be, but do as I say and not as I do. I’ve given you an example of what backstory looks like at the beginning of a book and then what it looks like after it’s removed. The original opening of my novella, Frozen Assets, was written seven years before I returned to that story idea and completed it. Here’s what it looked like then:

 

 

1889, New York City

“Dead, are you sure?” William Davis’ words came out barely louder than a whisper. His head hung in defeat.

“Completely. I sent Robert to find her myself. Seems your Julianna was ill, consumption. Her son died at her side of the same awful disease.” Millicent was pleased with how well she played the part of the sympathetic wife. Her nails dug into the lounge. Despite the fact his mistress and bastard were involved.

“I can’t say that I’m dreadfully sorry, William, but you did deserve to know what became of them. I was determined to help. Now you know.”

 

Published book’s opening:

Caleb Cash stared upward, panic seizing him as the huge blob of frozen matter exploded. Swirling crystals showered down.  Icicles stabbed the snow, gouging the earth, piercing it like daggers. Blinding snow raged. Stinging needles slashed the army-issued blanket with a relentless rain of spikes.  Pulling his coat off, he threw it over his head. Ablaze, a bright green light flashed, its blast rocketing it toward the cave. The red hot ball of flaming ash surged from the sky, prepared to claim the landscape. He turned and ran inside the cave. Sizzling heat crackled in his ears, and exploded through the opening, bent on destruction.

 

One starts with his father when Caleb is a child. The second one starts with action when Caleb is an adult—the action that takes Caleb on his journey. Do you see the difference? I’d love to hear your stories about losing the doo-doo, uh, I mean backstory.

 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bobbye Terry writes mystery/suspense, romance, fantasies and dystopian fiction and also inspirational nonfiction. Nothing Ever Happens in Briny Bay, a compilation of the Briny Bay novellas, was released in print by Turquoise Morning Press during July. Like Humans Do and Like Demons Do were also released that month, both written under the pen name, Daryn Cross. For more about Bobbye, visit her at www.BobbyeTerry-MysteryHappens.com, www.DarynCross.com  and www.BobbyeTerry.com.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Playlists of Our Lives




Although I’m not a big music lover, there are songs that transport me back to different times in my life, both good and bad. I’m sure this is true for most everyone.

Many authors listen to music to inspire them as they write. My muse needs silence. The only time I’ve needed music for inspiration was when I hit a roadblock as I was writing my Italy-set story, Murder, Mi Amore. I put in a CD of Italian opera music that my Australian cousin’s partner, an international tenor, burned for me. And that music did inspire me and help me over my block.

There are tunes I call “theme songs of my life.” Depending on your age, you’ll have certain songs that take you on a nostalgia-fueled journey. My favorite ones reflect my generation—the fights for women’s rights and civil rights. The anti-war marches, the riots that tore cities apart. And the sexual revolution.  

When I was in high school I dated a guy who had no desire to travel anywhere outside of the immediate area where we lived. I always wanted to travel. I haven’t done as much as I’d dreamed of, but I’ve done a fair amount. There was a song popular at the time called “You Belong to Me” by the Duprees. The first line was “See the Pyramids along the Nile.” Every time I heard it, I knew I’d be the one traveling and I figured my boyfriend would have to wait at home for me. Kind of selfish, huh? We broke up so it didn’t matter. Yet, the rare times I hear the song now, I think of that boyfriend.

I love classic rock and it’s mostly what I listen to, on the radio, and on my iPOD. The rock tunes from the late Sixties, early Seventies take me back to the best time of my life, when I met my husband and when the world was changing drastically. Not everything in that era was good. There was a lot of turmoil, but it was a heady time to be young.

Two songs that have permanent spots in the playlist of my life are from my personal “summer of love” in Margate, NJ. Whenever I hear “Light My Fire” and “Love Her Madly” by Jim Morrison and the Doers, I can’t help but smile with warm memories. That was a great summer for me.

And then there are Christmas carols. I love them. Some may find this music corny, but I sure don’t. Local radio stations begin playing Christmas songs in November, and that’s when I tune in. Listening to holiday music takes me to all the wonderful Christmases I’ve shared with friends and family.

There are many other songs that bring back important times in my life. Some I don’t remember until I hear them on my classic rock station. Then I take a short trip down memory lane.

I know authors who have used songs as inspiration for story plots. Boroughs Publishing Group recently held a novella contest where authors were asked to write stories based on song titles. I didn’t enter the contest, but coincidentally I’d written a short story called Love Potion, based on the rock ditty, “Love Potion Number Nine.” Boroughs bought my story, and it was released August 5, 2013.

What about you authors? Do you listen to music when you write? What music inspires you? For the readers—what music do you like? Does music transport you back to important times in your lives?



Friday, August 23, 2013

Guest Blog: Polly McCrillis: Thumbs Up To A Lot of Mileage and No Baggage

Remember when hitchhikers decorated our interstates and highways? In the 70's seeing soldiers loaded down with duffel bags and large metal framed backpacks was fairly common. And if you were motoring around highways in the far western states you might’ve even seen me.

Yup, I was out there with the soldiers and hippies and unemployed free spirits, a thumb up hitchhiker. And Breezy was my name.

A summer job at the end of my first year of college was the gateway to my hitchhiking stint. Working in the curio shop on the south rim of the Grand Canyon I sold Hopi, Yavapai, Navajo and Zuni jewelry to people from all over the world.

A spectacular place to spend a summer, AND meet a hot Cherokee Indian named Blue who begged me to leave with him and go to "wherever the roads take us." How could I resist? It sounded so romantic. And Adventurous. And impractical. And I did it anyway.

There've been things in my life that I wish I hadn't done but that month of hitchhiking isn't one of them. When I talk about it I get, What Kind Of A Nut Are You? looks and questions: Weren't you scared? Did anything bad happen to you? What was it like?

Well, I'll tell you what it wasn't: boring. It was thrilling, unpredictable, occasionally physically uncomfortable (I don't recommend wearing moccasins to trek across the Mohave Desert in July), eye-opening and all out fun. Our first ride out of the Canyon was with a family from Alabama. Blue and I talked and joined in sing-a-longs from the back of their fake wood-paneled station wagon. The kids, one boy, one girl thought it was groovy (that takes you back, doesn’t it?!) to meet real hitchhiking hippie types. Me with my waist-length braid, feathers tucked into the ends, guitar, tie-dyed shirt, patched jeans, moccasins. Blue with his bear claw necklace, hair streaming below his shoulders. Backpacks, sleeping bags, canteens. We swapped stories about where we’d been and places we wanted to go before parting company.

On our first day of hitching I learned something that has stayed with me ever since. It’s benefited me as a wife, mom, teacher, employee, owner of a business and very much as a writer: The less you say when someone’s talking to you, the more they'll tell you. The things people are apt to tell you when you keep your mouth shut are pretty amazing. Not always a good thing, but it is when I’m doing research for a story and find someone who loves the subject I’m researching. They’ll give me enough info to use for ten books.

South of San Diego we got a ride with a family in a well-traveled pickup. We hunkered down in the back with a half dozen kids who spoke only Spanish. They shared a steamer full of delicious tamales, the first I’d ever eaten and I’ve never had any as good since.

A week passes, we’re in no rush to get anywhere, have no specific anywhere to get to. Out of the blue, Blue says he’s going on to Branson, Missouri to hang out with some friends. Didn’t sound appealing to me and as much as I didn’t want him to leave we parted company with the promise that we’d stay in touch.(We actually did for a few years.)

Being a lone female hitchhiking north on I-5 I probably should’ve been scared, but I wasn’t. The closest I came to fear was with a 50ish man in a beat-up Ford Fairlane. No seats to sit on, only blanket covered springs, cameras and tripods piled on the back seat, girlie mags on the floorboard and an hour of lascivious looks. Think Fagin in “Oliver” but cleaner. First town we came to, I took off and didn’t have to wait long before being picked up by three couples in a VW Bus painted with flowers and peace signs, lime green shag carpet, hot pink bean bag chair and uh, medicinal items. A cheerful, Kumbahyah-y, munchies-loving sextet.

Other rides from my Grand Canyon to Oregon adventure stand out but my favorite was with Chuck―CB handle “Muskrat”―, an 18-wheel trucker who picked me up north of Sacramento. Twenty plus years as an over-the-road driver made for some great stories. Chuck had a lot of them and told them well.

Nowadays, hitchhikers are a rare breed of travelers and limited to where they can legally stick out a thumb. If I hadn’t said yes to Blue’s proposal to ditch the Canyon and hitch I would’ve missed out on meeting lots of interesting people, hearing their stories and making some very unique memories.

In my “Games People Play” series, Reese Adams hitchhiked from Arizona to Denver when she was 16. I didn’t include that experience in “Charades”, first book of the series, but her life before she came to Denver is an integral part of who Reese is. “Hopscotch”, book two in the series will be released in September, 2013.

“Charades” BLURB:
A woman and her child are missing. Reese Adams is on the hunt for them, her first major case as a private investigator. It would be a lot easier if the missing woman’s brother weren’t in the picture. Ethan Chamberlain isn’t hard to look at or spend time with, if you like a man with perfect posture, proper speech and an affinity for antiques and expensive suits, but experience has taught Reese to be wary of men and she has no intention of getting to know this one or let him anywhere near her heart.

Tired of women who want him only for his wealth and position among Denver’s elite, Ethan finds the headstrong, charmingly unsophisticated Ms. Adams strangely tantalizing. Her seeming indifference to him only adds to the allure. As she and her hodgepodge of friends take control of the search for his missing sister and nephew, shocking discoveries about their disappearance are unearthed. Reese’s determination to learn the complete truth exposes facts and feelings that are best left buried. People Ethan thought he knew aren’t at all who they seem to be.

While looking for answers, Reese captures the heart of the man she is determined to dislike, and in turn, Ethan patiently peels away her layers of distrust.

If they can only avoid getting shot at, they may have a chance at love.


Buy Links:
http://www.amazon.com/Charades-Polly-McCrillis/dp/0985069082/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377033380&sr=8-1&keywords=charades%2C+mccrillis

http://www.amazon.com/Charades-ebook/dp/B00BM5L60A/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1377033380

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/charades-polly-mccrillis/1114749647?ean=9780985069087&itm=1&usri=charades%2c+mccrillis

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/charades-polly-mccrillis/1114749647?ean=2940016321240

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/290080



BIO:
Polly McCrillis, who also writes historical romances as Isabel Mere, likes the contrasts of writing about the here and now or slipping back to other eras and different countries. She owns and operates a secondhand bookshop in southwest Missouri, where she lives with her husband and daughter, two dogs, parakeet, goldfish and a very chunky kitty.



Visit Polly at http://www.pollymccrillis.com
Blog followers welcome at www.pollymccrillis.com/blog.html

Thursday, August 22, 2013

ABDUCTED-with a real life heroine


J. L. Mitchell won the launch party prize for FEEL THE HEAT, the chance to be the heroine in a Phoenix Agency short short short. Here for your pleasure is her story.

He was a Force Recon Marine. Then he was a rancher. Now he’s The Phoenix Agency’s newest special agent and he’s got his first assignment.

Marine
Cole Martin sat astride his big Appaloosa in the heavy copse of trees and lifted his high-powered binoculars to his eyes. Yup, there it was. Damon Horner’s private cabin, although cabin was hardly the word to describe it. 

The log exterior may have given it a rustic look, but he knew that inside was a state of the art laboratory where he kept some of the top agricultural scientists working on special projects. The big problem right now was that one of those scientists was there against her will and on a very short leash.

He pulled his cell phone from his pocket and called up the picture of J. L. Mitchell her father had emailed to him. The camera had caught her sitting on the top rail of a corral at her father’s ranch, head thrown back, laughing at something out of camera range. The streaks in her shoulder length blonde glinted in the sunlight, framing her face with its high cheekbones and emerald green eyes. A plaid shirt and jeans lovingly caressed luscious curves. In any other circumstance he’d be whisking her off to bed as fast as he could.

Maybe he still could, as soon as he got her to safety.

Watch it, buddy. You’re on a mission to rescue her, not take her to bed.final.phoenix
At least not until later.

When he joined The Phoenix Agency two short weeks ago he hadn’t expected to leading a mission so quickly. But circumstance and geography had combined to put him here. Hanging out on the family after leaving Force Recon Marines and riding herd all day hadn’t given him quite the rush he’d expected. 

Luckily Dan Romeo, who he’d served in Iraq with, reached out to him and he was only too glad to jump on board. A private ops agency that did everything from international security to hostage rescue? 

Hell, yeah!

It also helped that he was way too familiar with that asshole Damon Horner and the lab. Once when he was home on leave he joined his dad and some other ranchers on a tour while Horner bragged about the new strains of grain he was working on. Her father knew exactly who had her. J. L., a nationally respected agricultural scientist, was developing a hybrid grain for the Cattlemen’s Association, one full of nutrients that would revolutionize the feeding process for cattle.

And Horner wanted to hold that formula hostage. Control the market.
“He’ll kill her if she doesn’t do what he wants,” her desperate father told Cole. “He tried to get her to come to work for him and she laughed in his face.” He shook his head. “That was like waving a red flag at a bull.”

So Cole called his brand new boss and said, “I think I have my first assignment.”Branch

Behind him now, sitting their horses as quietly as he was, were the three men he and Dan had gathered as his team. Experienced horsemen as well as covert ops graduates, they knew how to move with stealth and take down a situation. Hostage rescue was their specialty.

“I see two men on the porch,” he whispered into his lip mic. “They’ve got rifles but not at the ready.”

“Probably not expecting anyone to come riding up on them,” Jace Whitney answered.

“I’m sure not. “ Cole reached into his saddlebags for the infrared unit Dan had shipped to him to identify heat signatures in the cabin. “I count four people inside. One female. That’s our target. She’s in a room to the right of the front door. The only female. Check your interior maps.”

Each of them had a sketch on their cell phones that he’d drawn from memory showing the basic layout of the building.

“Okay,” he went on. “Here’s the way I see it. Isolated out here they aren’t expecting company and we’ve got darkness on our side.”

He went over everything one more time, then they all moved into position. The heavy forestation that gave the cab in its privacy also allowed them to get very close to it and leave their horses concealed by the trees. At a signal from Cole he and one of the other men crept up to the open porch, approaching from the sides. The guards were neutralized before they knew what was happening.

“Get set,” Cole whispered into his lip mic.

Then he gave a soft whistle. Like a well-trained animal his big Appaloosa came trotting up. Swinging himself up and into the saddle Cole tugged back on the reins so the animal reared up, his hooves crashing through the wooden door. In seconds he was inside, his team already there, guns pointed at the people working.

“We don’t want any trouble,” one of the men said.

“Good,” Cole told him. “Stay or go, but get the hell out of my way.”

Swooping an astonished J. L. up with one arm and plunking her down in the saddle in front of him he wheeled the horse and was out of the cabin and off into the woods before the people inside could blink. With his men behind him they galloped through trees and across pastureland until they’d put miles between them and the cabin. Finally he pulled his horse to a halt, took out his cell phone again and dialed Mike Mitchell.

“We’ve got her and I’m bringing her home.”

“I owe you big time, Cole.” The man was nearly in tears.

“My pleasure.”

He was suddenly more than conscious of the armful of luscious woman he was holding tightly against his body. Her soft breasts rested on his forearm and her hips were pressing against what would be an impressive erection if he didn’t get control of himself. He was suddenly grateful that he stayed in shape, that his body was all solid muscle. Letting out a slow breath, he eased his grip on J. L. just a little.

“Hope we didn’t frighten you,” he said, as his men wheeled their horses around them.

“Not half as much as that asshole Horner,” she spat. Then she turned sideways in the saddle. “I owe you a huge debt of gratitude.”
She smiled at him and he wanted to tell her if she’d just let him take her home with him that was all the thanks he needed. With his free hand he lifted his hat, wiped his forehead with his arm and settled the hat back on his thick head of black hair.

J. I. was still half-turned, studying him.“I know you, don’t I.”

He nodded. “We’ve met. Cole Martin. At your service.”

She smiled and all his guy parts suddenly wanted to stand up and salute.“Ex-Marine. Rancher. And now rescuer?”

“Just part of my new job.”

“And what job is that?”

He grinned at her. “Have dinner with me and I’ll tell you all about it. But first I think I ought to claim my reward.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “And what reward is that?”“Isn’t it always a kiss?”

He cupped her jaw and tilted her face up so his mouth could claim hers. She tasted like seventeen kinds of heaven, sweet and spicy and every kind of sin. And all woman.

And the best part?

She was kissing him back, her tongue tangling with his as he licked and tasted her. 

And the best part?

This rescue business was pretty damn good after all!

Be sure to get all The Phoenix Agency books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ALl Romance eBooks and other digital stores.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Heirlooms and Research: Priceless Gifts From Grandma

Over the weekend, I had the privilege and honor of picking up my grandmother's vanity and bringing it home to take residence in my bedroom. I had my work cut out for me as I spent long hours cleaning it and polishing it up, but it was worth every minute.

As a child, I had many unforgettable memories sitting behind this vanity. If we were at my grandmother's house (which in those days was quite often) you could find me and my cousins at this gorgeous piece of furniture putting on grandma's bright pink and red lipstick or splashing on gobs of her cologne. No one was safe from getting all dolled up. Even my younger male cousins were susceptible to our relentless beauty make-overs. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo to prove it, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

On the furniture itself, you can see why I love it so much by the intricate carvings rounding the mirrors and base, to the antique drawer pulls decorating the face. It really is a work of art by itself, but knowing this once belonged to my dear, beloved grandmother, Lorraine, makes it twice as precious.

Lorraine lived a vibrant life and one of the things she loved to do was travel. She went to so many interesting places in the US and I once remember the list she made of all the places she'd visited. I was astounded and even a little bit jealous as some were on my bucket list to see.

One such place was the Stave church of Rapid City, South Dakota which was erected and completed in 1969 as an exact replica of the Stave church in Borgund, Norway. I have always wanted to journey and immerse myself in this cultural landmark. To my utter dismay, my grandmother had already been there.

The way this story came about was pretty amazing. One day, I was visiting her in her apartment and she asked about how my book was going. (This would be the blood, sweat, and tears compilation I like to call Ræliksen.) I told her "it was going" but the research is pretty intense as I wanted to make sure EVERYTHING was accurate for its time in 10th century Ireland. She generously offered to help me with the research as she said, and I quote, "I know a few Irish folk." Trying not to laugh, I expressed my thanks but explained that I doubt she knew any Irish folk in 916 AD when the Vikings were making their "rounds."

"Vikings, huh?" she muttered, a cute spark lighting up her eyes. "I have some information on Vikings."

Disbelief ran rampant through me. "You do?"

"Yeah, look in that drawer," she said, pointing to a cabinet near her kitchen. "I went to one of their Stave churches and I think there's some history in the pamphlet you could use."

Sure enough, the pamphlet and all its history (both on the one in South Dakota and in Norway) existed. I think my jaw dropped as I leafed through it. While I didn't necessarily NEED that kind of information for my book research, it was certainly an OMG moment.

She told me to take it with me and use it as I needed it for my book. Looking back, I know my grandmother felt she'd just aided me in a profound way when it came to something as important as writing my first romance novel. I was content to let her think that. The excitement that lit up her face as she talked about the church and how she was able to walk inside was absolutely beautiful. I will never forget that day or the way she made me feel. My only regret is that I never got to go to the church myself while she was still alive, so we could sit together and talk about it.

To this day, I have that pamphlet. It's reverently tucked amongst all my other countless Viking research books and I can't help but think of her every time I glance over it on my shelf in my office.

So, what about you? Are there any objects or heirlooms that hold a special sentiment for you as you've conducted thorough research for your romance novels? Have you brought any of those objects to life in your books? I'd love to hear your stories.


Renee Vincent







Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Guest Blog: Lily Harlem: Sexy as Hell Trilogy - The Virgin, The Player and The Vixen

Thanks so much for inviting me today, I’m in a whirlwind of excitement about the release of my first trilogy, co written with Natalie Dae and published under the name Harlem Dae.

Some might think that co-authoring a short story would be hard, a novel near impossible and a trilogy, just flirting with 300k words, a feat that defies belief, but for Natalie and I it is a complete blast. We bounce ideas and characters around, let them go their own way, and for me, when I get a chunk of writing back from Natalie I am beside myself with excitement to see what’s happening next. I drop what I’m doing to secret myself away and read her bit. It never fails to delight me!

Naturally neither of us are precious about our words and have no qualms saying to the other ‘I don’t like that bit’ or ‘dodgy word choice!’ if we were then it wouldn’t work, we’d be drawing guns at dawn, noon and dusk. So instead we look at it as an adventure, fun, and as Nat said to me at the beginning there are plenty more words where they came from, hit delete if it doesn’t compliment the story, so we do, frequently.

Our first book together That Filthy Book - was a great success and has swept the board with 5* reviews including ‘Every woman should read this book” we then went on to be published by HarperCollins with Anything for Him a book that’s proven to be a bit like Marmite, readers either love it or hate it! I guess that’s because the female lead, Hannah, is on the edge of sanity, her obsession with the rough and ready Luiz takes her to extreme limits.

Extreme is a bit of a theme in our books, I guess it’s because when you’re working with another author, especially one as talented as Natalie Dae, then you feel as if you have a safety net, a person who ‘gets it’ to fire things at and see if they work. So for me, co-authoring is one of the highlights of my writing, I adore it, it’s a rush to be able to share characters, not know entirely where their story will take you, and then of course celebrate together on release day.

* * * * *

Sexy as Hell is an erotic trilogy that will submerge you into the black heart of a world of bondage and discipline, Dominance and submission, sadism and masochism.

Dare to take this twisting journey with Victor and you’ll learn the ropes with him, experience every carnal sensation and fall into a dark and dangerous love that grips like a fist and binds like a collar.

Get to know Zara, his sultry teacher, and you’ll gasp when she doles out her sinful instructions but then delight in the stunning results she not only demands but achieves. It seems Heaven and Hell are not so far apart when she holds the reins.

Victor has his layers peeled back, but when he does the same to try to get to his Vixen’s core, a revelation appears. Because Zara is a woman whose vast sexual experience is both her strength and her weakness; she can inflict pain and pleasure, make lusty demands and instruct, but she needs so much more, she needs…

Yes, the time has come to for her to admit to her needs and confess to the repairing her soul hungers for. A sea of memories, a lifetime of control requires an acknowledgement that will cut through her barriers, and there’s only one man up for the job—her virgin, her student, her newly trained monster, Victor Partridge.

Please note, in order to enjoy Victor and Zara’s adventures, the trilogy must be read in order.

About the Authors
Lily Harlem and Natalie Dae have been writing together for several years on top of their individual author projects. Their joint name is now Harlem Dae. They enjoy being represented by traditional houses including HarperCollins and Total-E- Bound as well self-publishing their sexy stories on Amazon. Both live in the UK and gain great satisfaction from bouncing characters and their raunchy antics back and forth, growing, nurturing and stoking plot lines until they steam off the page and push boundaries. They consider themselves to be solitary, whacky, spontaneous and desirous for many things including perfection and are frequently caught sending messages back and forth referring to each other as Rodney and Delboy.

About the Sexy as Hell Novels
The Virgin – Book #1
London – one meeting, one month of lessons and a landslide of depraved new desires.

My journey to Hell started with a decaff coffee. Nothing more than a grey mug full of dull-brown liquid devoid of its most useful ingredient.

One sip, one smile, one touch of her hand and it was soon clear my life wasn’t destined to stay dull. Oh, no, suddenly I had a month of bedroom education planned by a sultry vixen who intended to broaden my horizons beyond my usual peach-pink palette.

She wanted to take me to deep purples and navy blues and the pitch blackness that was pure sin. And on the other side of that blackness was a place that might look like Hell, with debauchery and wantonness, people playing devil’s advocate, luring innocents into the hotter, steamier corners of the world.

Her world.

Oh, yes, she promised each night to take me there and paint me an orange-and-red picture that would come alive, flickering like flames, enticing me, holding me spellbound and eager to learn more. To touch, explore, drown in coming.

And drown I would. I was no match for her tricks and taunts. My only chance of survival was to show her that I was no vanilla virgin. I had a rainbow of mastery up my sleeve, too, and if she just opened her eyes, she might be dazzled enough to stay—stay and take ‘my’ lessons. If she didn’t kill me first, that was, with pleasure.

The Player – Book #2
Tuscany – New lovers, new lessons and an eruption of uncontrollable lust.

The real world was working for me, its pastel shades and straight-and-narrow route a familiar path to tread. It suited me, this normality; it was good for me too. Or so I thought, because the new light in my life, Catherine, was not quite fulfilling my needs. Her lack of colour, the weak whispers of her kisses were not touching my soul the way I’d become accustomed to. I needed more.

More of everything in my darkly addictive rainbow; the wicked wantonness of sin, the depraved pleasure of seedy seduction and the prism of delight I took in being struck…and of doing the striking. I missed the fireworks, the brilliant displays of Technicolor ecstasy that strung me out and bared me to my bones. I wanted to go there again, and take Catherine, too, see if I could have that pyrotechnic display with her. Did she have a riot of vibrant shades beneath her skin or was she magnolia to the core?

My teacher, Zara, told me I could discover her palette. That all I needed to do was show Catherine my world, my new world, the one I’d never inhabited alone. Zara couldn’t come with me this time, she had a new student now. I was on my own, it was down to me. Or was it?

It seemed my teacher had other ideas after all, and when she sashayed back into my life with her rules and murmurs of encouragement, I had no choice but to listen to her, take her advice, follow her lead, even though I knew nothing ever ended well with her. But resistance was futile, my protests fell on deaf ears. But that suited my plans, didn’t it?

The Vixen – Book #3
Venice – Two people, a shed load of baggage and a way forward that takes extreme to new limits.

In an explosion of clarity, the mist cleared and I understood what my lascivious teacher, Zara, really was beneath the surface. I couldn’t see her beautiful core. Like a dank fog warning off poor unfortunates who wandered her way, she wouldn’t let the darkness lift, refused to light the way. But she gave me a key. It was small, stiff, and I was afraid of what I’d find if I turned it. But I did. I couldn’t resist. She did that to me.

In a tumble of truths, I understood her bleak voids and why she filled them with sharp slicing reds and hostile bruising purples. What had happened, what they’d done had bled her of colour and created a woman who needed so much more and always would—for all of time. But I could give her back that vibrancy, I was sure I could; my colours complimented hers and I had plenty of them. My needs could switch to take her to those grey places she needed to visit again in order to obliterate the memories that caused her pain. In the space they’d occupied, I’d create a pile of shimmering, perfectly cut-diamond memories, a rainbow cloud of sugar mist to replace that dankness. I could do it; I would help her become more beautiful than anything I’d seen before.

And within that new, delicate ‘thing’ was us. Victor and Zara. Unconventional, extreme, romantic, we spanned every shimmering stroke of the rainbow and all the coal-black shadows on the way down to Hell. But together we could fight demons. I would be her knight in shining armour even if it pushed me to the very limits of what I ever believed I could do to a woman. And what thrilled me, was if I bared my soul, found the courage to be a monster as well as an angel, I had a very real chance of making her mine—or did I? Because the only thing predictable about Zara, was that she was completely unpredictable.

Sexy as Hell Magazine
www.joomag.com
http://joom.ag/ScNX

Amazon US
The Virgin - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E251FBW
The Player - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E251FOO
The Vixen - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E251KU8

Amazon UK
The Virgin
The Player
The Vixen

Author Links
Harlem Dae website http://www.harlemdae.com
Harlem Dae on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NatalieDaeandLilyHarlem
Harlem Dae on Amazon US
Amazon UK
The future…
Look out for secondary characters in the trilogy, they all have their own sexy as hell stories to tell and they’re coming soon! More details about The Star, The Harlequin and The Mistress on the Harlem Dae website.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Meet Susan From Love Weighs In:)


A week ago, Love Weighs In (#7 of Arbor University) released.

I'm still pinching myself; this makes seven Molly books and six for Kenzie.  By all accounts, I should have the entire series written by now, since this book was written ten years ago.  But raising an unexpected blessing, moving to a new town, and getting connected to other authors who introduced me to the spicier love stories caused my characters to take an extended vacation.

Fresh stories bubbled up in my brain, plus I was introduced to a local writer's group, which helped expand my story-telling.

Anyway, meet Miss Susan Best, who attends Arbor U from 1987-1992.

Hi Susan:)  You start out dating Rob, your HS sweetheart, then you break up and begin dating Travis, who encourages you to sing in a band.  But by the end of the book, you're dating Rob's identical twin brother Jamie.  Wasn't that a bit strange, dating your ex's twin?

I've always been able to tell them apart, even when most couldn't.  I'm not sure what it is; Jamie just had a devilish look in his eyes, while Rob's chin was more pointed, maybe.  Our families took a vacation together when the boys and I were twelve, and I was the only one- beside their parents, of course!- who didn't have to ask them every morning, 'Which one are you?' and note what they were wearing.  And of course they'd switch clothing halfway through the day.

As for when we began dating, I thought it was going to be strange at first, but maybe it's because I've known them so long, I didn't have any trouble keeping them separate in my mind.  Does that make sense?

Makes perfect sense.  To you, they were individuals, rather than two halves of a whole.

Exactly.

Can you take me back to That Moment, when you first began feeling different, or comparing yourself to others?

Well, there was the teasing in the eighth grade.  You'd think, that with a younger brother, I'd be used to teasing and all, but nothing prepared me for what happened at school.  I felt it was my fault, and didn't dare tell anyone, because I just wanted it to go away.  Looking back, if I'd told someone, things would have been a little different.  And I might have coped with it better.  I think I was a junior in high school before I began to trust Rob again.  I'd stayed friends with him, but at a distance.  I credit my friend Rachael and Rob with helping me break out of my quietness, and join in.  But when I found why Rob broke up with me, it just devastated me, and I began to doubt myself again.

But you still got up and sang in the band....

I've always loved to sing, and I never thought Glenn would ever get us a gig.  But he did, and boy did I have the jitters!  Glenn's the lead singer, and I add harmony, but at our first job, we discovered we had a better response if I joined him on lead vocals.  I don't mind telling you, it's nice when people recognize you and praise you for your singing ability.

Are you still having issues or do you consider yourself 'cured'?

I still battle the demons, but I've learned I can't please everyone and I shouldn't try.  Sexiness isn't about how others judge you; it's about how you feel inside.  And being with someone who loves you for YOU, not because 'you look good together' or if you're doing all the giving and the other is doing all the taking.  I may never be attractive according to society's  standard, but I have a man who loves me and I'm at peace with the way I look and feel.

Thanks for being with me today Susan:)  Can we share an excerpt with the others?

Sure:)

Love Weighs In is available at Secret Cravings Publishing and should be up on Kindle, Nook, and other 3rd-party sites this week.  Enjoy!

Blurb:
What happens when your roommates are pencil-slim without trying, and you gain a dress size by looking at chocolate?  Susan Best struggles with her self-esteem after a bad break up.  She diets in the wrong manner, and soon it's almost out of control.  When love sneaks up on her, can she accept the truth her man loves her, not the number on her clothes?

Travis Freeman was instrumental in jump-starting Susan’s singing career.  But he didn’t count on the dark side of being in the spotlight, and stands by helpless as the woman he loves spirals out of control.  But after alerting her friends to the problem, he risks losing her altogether.

Jamie watched his identical twin brother Rob break Susan’s heart.  Thrilled by the fact their friendship is rekindled, he appoints himself her personal body guard during their summer job.  But when he kisses her, is she picturing his brother?

Excerpt:
“We’re getting a better response when you’re out in front, Susan. Do you think we can split up the lead on the next set? I’ll sing the first verse and you the second. We can switch back and forth after that.”
Susan hesitated. “Do you think it will work?”
Glenn nodded. “Hell, yes. The boys love you out there, and the manager’s thrilled. The more they dance and yell, the thirstier they get. Ergo, the more drinks they buy.”
“Ergo?” Susan laughed. “I didn’t think you knew that word.”
“I’m a man of many hidden talents, my dear.” He saluted her with his beer.
Susan downed her ice water. “Let’s try it. It can’t hurt, and like Glenn says, they’re all drunk now, anyway. I doubt they’d notice if we flubbed up.”
“You’re not going to flub up in front of us, are you?” teased a familiar voice. Susan looked up in surprise as Gretchen, Shawn, Amy, Brad, Caitlyn, and Peter approached.
“Hi, guys.” Happy to see them, she stood up and hugged her friends. “No, we’re just talking about making a slight change in the last set.” She introduced the band members.
“We just got here. Let’s go find a table and get a round of drinks. Break a leg, kids.” Gretchen ushered the rest toward the bar.
Susan excused herself to use the rest room and overheard a disturbing conversation between two other girls.
“...can’t believe she’d have the guts. I mean, did you see the size of her thighs? And that shirt. Good lord. You’d think people who pork out like that would have the decency not to tuck their shirts in like that.” A toilet flushed.
“I know, and can you believe her voice? I sing better than that in the shower.” Water running and the hand dryer drowned out the voices.
Are they talking about me? I’m not leaving until I know they’re both gone. She peeked through the crack between the stall door and the wall and saw the two girls touching up their makeup.
“She needs to get with the times.  The Madonna look is so three years ago.”
“At least she’s not wearing a miniskirt.” Their voices disappeared as the door slammed closed.
Stunned, Susan left her stall. She looked at her reflection in the wavy mirror and studied herself. They’re right, I am a fat slob. My stomach has this bulge at the zipper, instead of being nice and flat. She stuck out her tongue and washed her hands. And my thighs do look awful in these jeans. Why oh why did I even wear them?
Because you were in a hurry. You were so happy after messing around with Travis, you forgot to be careful with what you wore tonight. Now people are talking about you!
How can I get up on that stage and wow them for another ninety minutes? They don’t want to see me or hear me. I heard that woman! I sing like I’m tone-deaf or something! Susan brushed aside the few tears. I've got to get back out there and fake it. Nobody’s forcing me to continue after tonight. I’ll finish this last set, even though my friends are out there, hearing us for the first time.

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