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Friday, December 9, 2016




New From Amazon Bestselling Author Maggie Walsh

                                           Eternal Flames 5

                                         "A Higher Calling"

                        Co-written with M/M Author Cree Storm

Thinking he had lost his mate Marco, Finn felt his life shatter before his eyes, until their friend Pauly had saved the man. Relief filled him at the sight of Marco opening his eyes, but shock once again grabbed him as his brother Jett’s best friend, and pain in the ass, Twix grabbed him, kissed him, then declared they were mates. 

Finn, Marco, and Twix have spent many months getting to know one another, then the fateful night of their mating comes and their world is shaken to it’s very core. The truth of Twix’s heritage is revealed, sending shock waves throughout the city of Crystal and all its inhabitants.

New allies are found, old friends are reunited, and new enemies are on the prowl. As leaders, Illan and Justice must bring all the dragon and phoenix together to take a stand to protect all of the shifter world, and keep everyone they love safe.

Learning what Finn and Marco have about their little mate Twix, they know that they must do everything they can to keep him safe, because others are out there and evil is coming. With their mating has come a higher calling.

"A Higher Calling" Now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Higher-Calling-Eternal-Flame-Book-ebook/dp/B01N9CFAWA/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1480705364&sr=8-7&keywords=Maggie+Walsh


                              AND COMING SOON FROM MAGGIE WALSH                                                           THE COTERIE                                                                                        CLEARNIGHT HAVEN 1

 


                                                   The Coterie

  Let me tell you a story. A story about a race of beings kept hidden from the human world.
  Have you ever wondered what caused the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end? Or what that shadow was that passed in the corner of your eye but was never there when you turned to look? How about that feeling of being watched? Or the noises that sounded in your home in the middle of the night?
  We all usually brush them aside as if it were nothing, or our imagination getting the better of us. Maybe you blame it on stress and not enough sleep. Or maybe watching too many horror movies.
  But let me tell you this, the things that go bump in the night are not a figment of your imagination, or things created by Hollywood. They are...very real.
 All these things can be blamed on a race of creature that come into your life and you don’t even know it. You may pass one on the street, or brush against one as you step into a crowded elevator.
  These creatures come in many forms, but they are hiding in plain sight. One of them could be the pimple-faced kid that works at the local fast food place, or the nice woman that delivers your mail. One of them could be your lazy co-worker that sits in the next cubicle. Or...one could be sitting right there beside you, watching you, right now as you read this.
  You see, this race of creatures look like any other human being, just like you and me, but they are not. They are paranormals, and they come in all different shapes and sizes.
  The legend goes that these creatures were the first humans, but they had caused so much chaos upon the earth. The different breeds fought so much against each other that wars broke out and many breeds died. Some breeds were completely killed off while others lost numbers in the hundred-thousands.
  The Gods were not happy with the way their creations were treating each other so they created a new creature. A breed they gifted to be very strong and powerful so that the other breeds could not destroy them. They wanted one of this breed to rule over all the others, but they wanted them to be kind. This ruler would watch over all the other paranormals and guide them. He would show them mercy when deserved and punish those who didn’t.
  But the Gods were afraid that this being would think himself to good and above all others. Ruling them with an iron fist and causing hardship and grief. So they created a Coterie for this ruler. The Coterie would consist of six beings. The ruler and his five mates. Each mate would be men of different breeds of paranormals, as well as one of their other newest creations… a human.
  Each member of the Coterie would have their own strengths. The beginning was the ruler. He would be King and uphold all the laws and try to make the lives of all the paranormals peaceful. The next would be of physical strength, then another would be playful. The fourth would be very smart, and the fifth would have inner strength. And last would be the peacekeeper and the conscience of the Coterie.
  The king’s five mates would be his advisors and they would help him choose the right path. They would also help to keep him grounded and stay on the right side of the Gods for all of their creations. That included the humans. And the king’s mates would be gifted with the ability to bare children once the circle was complete and the six claimed each other.
  The Gods called upon all of the breeds and discussed with them what they would want so that they could all live happy and in peace. Once these wishes were worked out, the Gods presented the paranormals with these laws and told them that one being would rule them all. That he would be King of all paranormals and uphold these laws.
  The creatures were afraid that this being would turn on them and make them suffer for his own gain. So the Gods explained their plan for the Coterie. It was also worked out that this ruler would have to complete their circle before their five-hundredth birthday or the throne would be passed down to another. The Gods would create ten bloodlines of this new creature and if the King could not find all five of his mates before his five-hundredth birthday, then the throne would go to the next oldest male alive from one of these ten bloodlines.
  But if the King did complete his Coterie, he would rule over their kind for two thousand years. Once his reign was over, if he did not have a son, then the throne would go to the oldest male of the ten bloodlines. If he did have sons, then the throne would be passed down to his oldest son. But...the oldest son would have to complete his Coterie before his five-hundredth birthday.
  All the paranormals agreed on the Gods new laws and the creation of a King. Thus, the first vampire was born.
  Vladimir Stone was the first King and ruler of the paranormals. He completed his Coterie and had three sons. His oldest son, Miguel Stone also completed his Coterie before his five-hundredth birthday and waited a thousand years for his father's reign to be over before taking the throne. Once Vladimir hit his two thousand year mark, he and his five mates laid to rest together and were entombed in a special crypt only for the king and his mates, and each king and his circle that follows. The King’s Circle Crypt is kept in the lower regions of the king's castle in Taranto, Italy, and is always guarded by different breeds of warriors.
  Miguel and his five mates had two sons and two daughters. Their oldest son, and next in line for the throne, is Raven. Raven is approaching his five-hundredth birthday and has already found four of his Coterie. Six months after Raven’s birthday will be the end of Miguel’s two thousand year rule. But if Raven cannot find his fifth mate by his approaching birthday, then the throne will go to another vampire and the Stone family rule will end.
  The next man in line for the throne should Raven not complete his Coterie, is Mario Gallo. A vicious vampire who believes he is better than everyone else because he is of the ten original bloodlines. If Gallo gains the throne then the peace that the paranormals have known for over four thousand years will end and the humans will become fair game.


                                                                  *    *    *    *

  “It’s so beautiful here,” Jareth said as he looked out over the bay. A hot breeze brushed across his skin and Jareth closed his eyes, lifting his face up to take in the sunshine as it warmed his flesh. The sun would be going down soon, but Jareth had a feeling the heat would not. It was such a hot day and he was sure the night would be no different. Especially when he got his four mates into bed with him tonight. Then the heat would really go up.
  “It is nothing like home, but I guess it has its appeal,” Lorcan grumbled from behind him.
  Jareth smiled and lowered his head then turned to look at his dragon mate over his shoulder. “Oh, Lorcy. Don’t be such a grumbly-butt. Come and look at the beautiful water. Look at all the boats as they make their way out onto the bay.”
  Lorcan rose from his chair and stepped up behind his omega mate. Wrapping his arms around Jareth’s waist he pressed his chest against his mates back and kissed the side of his neck.
  “Mmmm. That’s nice.” Jareth moaned and pushed his ass back against Lorcan’s rock hard shaft.
  “Come inside with me and we can wake up Raven with our mouths,” Lorcan said huskily as he nipped Jareth’s nape.
  “It’s not time to wake him yet, silly. It’s still two hours until sun-down,” Jareth purred and began to rub his ass along the length of Lorcan’s long, thick cock.
  “Then why are all the humans bringing their boats onto the water now? I thought they were doing it to get a better view of the fireworks.”
  “They are, but right now most of them are still celebrating the birthday of their nation. Once the barbeques are over, more of them will be arriving and the bay will fill with boats. I guess these ones want to get first choice of a good spot,” Ash, their hawk shifter mate said as he walked out onto the balcony and stood beside them.
  “I still don’t understand this holiday,” Lorcan groused, then reached out a hand and cupped Ash’s ass, pulling him closer.
  Ash leaned in and kissed Lorcan’s lips, devouring his mouth in a passionate kiss. After a few moments they broke the kiss and pulled back. “What do you not understand, my big beautiful mate?”
  “I understand that the Americans are celebrating the birth of their country. And I even understand the fireworks. But what I don’t understand is the need to burn meat, play with a white ball as they hit it back and forth to each other over a net, or drink alcohol until they throw up. Somehow I don’t think their founding fathers had that in mind for a birthday party.”
  Jareth laughed and turned in Lorcan’s arms, wrapping his arms around Lorcan’s neck, pressing his chest against his dragon mates hard, wide one. “They don’t all do that, Lorcy. Everyone has their own traditions in how they celebrate. I think it’s kind of nice the way they remember the birth of their country and honor it. It doesn’t matter how, only that they remember it and why.”
  “Personally, I love the barbequed hot dogs. Especially when you cover them in ketchup and relish. And I could really go for a slice of apple pie right now,” Ash said.
  “And I could really go for four hard hot dogs right now,” Ciro, their black panther mate added as he joined them. “Although, four hard, long, thick sausages are a girl’s best friend. So who’s up for celebrating the Fourth of July Ciro style?”
  Ash pulled Ciro into their circle and nipped his throat, causing the little cutie to moan. “And what prey tell is Ciro style?” Ash asked with a smirk.
  “We all go inside and play hide the sausages until the fireworks start. Then when we are done we come out here and watch all the other fireworks explode in the sky,” Ciro said in a cheeky voice.
  “I really like that plan. Count me in,” Lorcan said and grabbed Ciro’s hand. He moved out of Jareth’s grasped and stepped away from him and Ash, pulling Ciro behind him as the little twink giggled.
  Ash and Jareth laughed at their mates and then followed them into the room. As they entered they heard Ciro squeak out a surprised yell from the bedroom. “Lorcan must really be horney if he moved that fast,” Ash said with a laugh.
  “I think you’re right. You know how randy he gets after a shift. And he spent all night flying over that town hunting for our last mate.”
  “Mmm, you’re right, love. That means we are all in for a good night,” Ash said seductively. He wrapped his arms around Jareth’s waist and pulled him close, claiming his lips. Ash lifted Jareth off his feet and carried him toward the bedroom, never breaking the kiss.
  “Oh yeah, little love. That feels amazing,” Raven moaned. Ash placed Jareth on his feet at the edge of the bed and broke the kiss. They both looked down and found Ciro on his hands and knees between their vampire mates spread legs, and Ciro was swallowing his cock.
  Lorcan knelt behind Ciro with two fingers thrusting into their little love’s gorgeous hole. Jareth could see Lorcan’s fingers glistening with slick when they pulled from Ciro’s body. It didn’t surprise him that Ciro and Lorcan were already naked and playing. The two of them probably tore each other’s clothes off. Jareth turned away from the erotic sight on the bed and looked around the room, and sure enough, torn and tattered clothes littered the floor. He smiled and turned back to watch the show three of his mates were putting on.
  “Shall we join them, love?” Ash asked and grabbed the hem of Jareth’s shirt.
  Jareth gave him a sexy smile and started tearing at Ash’s clothes, causing Ash to throw his head back and laugh. He looked back into Jareth’s eyes and the two of them started to rip each other’s clothes off. Once they were both naked Jareth crawled onto the bed and went right for Raven’s mouth. He cupped Raven’s cheek and his big handsome mate opened his eyes and immediately a bright smile crossed his lips.
  “Good evening, love. How was your day?” Raven asked, then clenched his teeth, and groaned.
  “I missed you as always,” Jareth said and kissed Raven gently.
  “I dreamed of you. Of all of you,” Raven said.
  “Oh? And what did you dream?” Jareth asked as he softly ran the tip of one finger across Raven’s bottom lip.
  “I dreamed of this. Of me and my four beautiful mates coming together and making love. I dreamed of you feeding me your delicious cock as Ash fucked your magnificent ass.”
  “I like that plan,” Ash said as he moved in behind Jareth and ran a slick finger between his cheeks. “And what were our Ciro and Lorcan doing, baby?”
  “Ciro was giving me the best blowjob ever, as always. And Lorcan was pounding into his tight little hole and making him scream around my cock.”
  “Mmmm. Yes please,” Ciro pulled off Raven’s cock and said.
  “One more finger and I’m claiming this ass, little love,” Lorcan’s husky voice came from behind Ciro.
  “Yes, Lorcy. Do it. I want to feel you for days,” Ciro purred, then returned his lips to Raven’s cock. He took the tip into his mouth and sucked on the head as he swirled his tongue around the little hole, drawing out Raven’s cream.
  “Feed me, love,” Raven demanded.
  Jareth got up onto his knees and leaned forward as Raven pushed another pillow under his head so that he would be at the perfect height. Jareth grabbed the base of his cock and ran the leaking tip over Raven’s lips. Raven’s tongue snaked out and licked across the tip. Then he opened wide in invitation to Jareth. Jareth slid his cock between Raven’s wet lips and down the back of his throat. At the same time Ash pressed one finger deep into Jareth’s ass and began to stretch him. Jareth moaned out his pleasure and grabbed Raven’s head in both hands. He started to pump his hips, sliding further down Raven’s throat on the push and impaling himself on Ash’s fingers on the pull.
  Ciro cried out around Raven’s cock, causing Raven to moan, which sent a vibration through Jareth’s cock, making him cry out as well. Lorcan must have entered Ciro to have him make that noise. Jareth opened his eyes and turned his head, and watched as Lorcan grabbed Ciro’s hips and started to thrust hard into Ciro’s silken cave.
  Raven grabbed his ass cheeks and pulled them apart as Ash slid a second finger in. Jareth looked back to Raven and saw the mask of bliss on his beautiful vampire mate's face. Jareth closed his eyes and just concentrated on all the noises in the room. Moans and groans of pleasure, and skin slapping skin. It was such an erotic sound and Jareth couldn’t get enough.


                                                                 *    *    *    *


  Raven loved when his mates ganged up on him and woke him with their sexual delights. It was the perfect way to start the day. He loved each of his mates with all his heart and couldn’t imagine a life without any of them. His thoughts turned to their last mate, the human they had hoped to find across the bay in America. He wondered what his last mate looked like, what he smelled like, and what he tasted like. When Raven had had his dream of he and his mates making love, he also dreamt of their sixth mate being there with them. He couldn’t see his face, but he could feel his presence. He knew that their human mate was with them in the dream and he had felt whole for the first time in his life. He couldn’t wait until they could go into the small town and find their last mate. He needed to know who their last mate was and if he would accept them. Raven prayed to the Gods and his six grandfathers that their human mate wouldn’t reject them. Not just because if he did then Raven and the others would be banished from the throne forever, but because Raven was finally close to finding his last mate and completing his Coterie. Completing his heart and finally being one.
  Jareth cried out above him and Raven opened his eyes. Ash had moved in close behind him and was now fucking their little wolf mate. Without releasing Jareth’s cock he shifted his eyes and looked down his body. Ciro was licking and sucking his cock and Lorcan was fucking Ciro as if his life depended on it. His eyes were closed and his head thrown back, and Raven knew that Lorcan was lost in the moment. He wasn’t thinking, just feeling, and was soon to lose all control. He smiled around the cock in his mouth and looked back up at Jareth’s face. His eyes were also closed. His mouth hung open on a silent moan, then Jareth dropped his head back to rest on Ash’s shoulder.
  Ash had his arms wrapped around Jareth’s chest and he was caressing Jareth’s smooth skin. They were all together and connected. This is what Raven loved most in his life. The five of them coming together and giving themselves completely to the others.
   Raven closed his eyes and doubled his efforts on Jareth’s cock as he thought of their sixth mate joining them. Soon he would be with them. No matter what Raven had to do, he would do it to get their last mate to accept them and complete them. Tomorrow they would move into the small town of Clearnight Haven and their hunt to find their mate would begin.

****The story of Raven, Jareth, Lorcan, Ash, and Ciro finding their sixth mate continues in “The Coterie” Clearnight Haven 1.  Coming Soon By Maggie Walsh.

All Maggie's Title's can be found on: www.bookstrand.com
and www.amazon.com
You can also connect Maggie by visiting her website at: www.maggiewalshauthor.weeble.com

   


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lessons Learned from Nanowrimo

In the past, I've talked about preparing for Nanowrimo, and writing during Nanowrimo, but I don't know that I've ever discussed the lessons I've learned from Nanowrimo. I thought that would be a fun topic to discuss this month. Especially because I learned a lot of lessons this year.

As I've talked about before I love Nanowrimo. Its why November is my favorite month - that and pumpkin spice lattes. Yum Yum! Writing can be a lonely profession, which is what makes nano so special. Its the sense of community that I love, whether its online or through your local region, its the sense of all working together towards a shared goal that I love so much. Its only gotten better for me since moving. My new region is awesome.

And it is also the first lesson I've learned from Nanowrimo, writing in groups means better writing. Not just for enjoyment but for word count too. The days that I wrote with my local region, I had some of my best word counts of the month. This was due to a couple of factors. Meeting up with the group also forces you to set aside time to write, and not push it aside to too late or not at all. Also is it is hard to procrastinate with a group in Starbucks - not impossible, but hard. It just doesn't feel appropriate to start scrolling through facebook while everyone around you is writing away.

Part of the reason it is hard to procrastinate at these events is due to the word wars and sprints we like to do together. Which is lesson number two. Timing is everything. When writing under a short timed war force you to focus, and can lead to some great word counts. With only ten or twenty minutes to write as much as possible, it forces you to focus on your story and your characters, instead of any other distractions.

Nano this year was tough for me. I didn't get off to a good start. Part of it was because Nano started on a Tuesday, instead of a weekend day, but most of it was because I was trying to force myself to work on a project I wasn't feeling inspired by. Which is my next lesson, lean into inspiration. It took me a few days, but when I finally gave into the feeling, and the story that I really wanted to write, my word count skyrocketed. Once I gave in to the inspiration, instead of forcing myself to write the story I decided I should be writing, it all became so much easier.

My final lesson that I learned is that I could do much more than I think I can. I did manage to win Nanowrimo on the last day after a last minute sprint to the finish - due to family coming for the holiday - but I also realized I can write a lot more than I thought I could. For years I've tried to write more, I've tried to be more prolific, but its hard work. Its so easy to let the everyday stresses and distractions keep me from writing, from doing what I love. But when I have the right motivation - and follow the above lessons - I can do a lot more than I think.

Of all the lessons, the last one is the lesson I hope to take with me the most into the following months. With these newly learned lesson, and the right motivation, I can make any month Nanowrimo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa!


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa!  





So I haven't blogged as a blogger/reviewer in a long time.  I felt like I should do that today.  You see, I was burned badly by a PR/Blog Tour company recently.  I won't get into the particulars but let's just say that I will never work with this company again.  I wish I could blame the indie author but I can't.  I wasn't the only blogger that got screwed by the company that set up the tour.

Long story short - Read part 1 of a 2 part book.  Part 2 is coming and I signed up for the blog tour again.  Asked for the ARC.  Didn't get the ARC (hurt but I can survive) but now I don't have tour materials.  Oh yes, it's like I didn't even sign up for the tour AT.ALL.  I can prove in my history that I did sign up.  Unfortunately, the author is telling me and others that got screwed to contact the company.  Nope, not going to do it.  And let me repeat, I'm not the only person that didn't get anything from the company.  And yes, there were readers that read part 1, posted their review and didn't get the second book either.  

*Note, I love the author and I did order the trade paperback copies, so I'll eventually get to read the second part.*

Things I learned (the hard way...AGAIN):

1.  Authors are NOT in control of their blog tour.  It's true.  You pay for a service but after money is exchanged, it's all about the company.  Not the author.

2.  PR/Blog tour companies have their "favorites".  Yes, it's Mean Girls all over again.  

3.  PR/Blog tour companies think they have all the power when it comes to tours/authors/bloggers.  Nope, sorry.  Bloggers talk...a lot.  We can make or break a tour.  They need to remember that.

4.  This incident just further reinforces why I HATE street/review teams.  Again, the company picks who they want out of the members, not the people that will actually read the book, review it, post it and promote it.  

Here's what authors should look for in PR/Blog Tour companies:

1.  Testimonials.  Get them.  Ask other authors and bloggers.  Bloggers have long memories.

2.  Make sure to really listen to the bloggers/readers in your street team when it comes time to get materials and/or the book.  You paid for the tour, you should be invested, too.

3.  Research the blog tour companies.  I have my all time favorites to work with when it comes when it comes to the Indie author and the publisher authors.  Oh yes, there are tour companies that specialize in one or the other.  

4.  Remember that some members only want free books.  Me?  I get enough, I don't need to be a member of a team to get free books.  

5.  You get what you pay for.  Again, talk to other bloggers/authors.  

So, I've ranted enough on the subject but enough is enough.  PR/Blog Tour companies come and go.  They are in it for the money.  Readers/Bloggers are there for YOU...the author.  

I hope that everyone has a great holiday season.  Our son is going to Disney World courtesy of my SIL.  She has points, etc. and takes her family at least twice a year.  She invited Brian to go with them this year and we couldn't be more excited for him.  He leaves on the 17th and we don't see him until the 24th when hubby and I get to the in-laws for the holiday.





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday laughs and greetings... #RB4U #MFRWauthor #WRWbuzz

A long time ago, as in several decades ago, a friend of mine wrote this quirky and funny holiday poem. It's been a while since I shared it, so I thought it might give a few chuckles since it's that time of year again!! Happy Holidays everyone, however you celebrate during this season.


T'was the Month Before Christmas



T’was the month before Christmas, and all through the store
Each department was dripping with Yuletide decor
The Muzak was blaring an out-of-tune carol
And fake snow was falling on “Ladies Apparel”
I’d flown many miles from the North Pole this day
To check on reports which had caused me dismay
I’d come to this store but for one special reason
To see for myself what went on at this season
I hid in a corner and in a short while
I saw the store President march down the aisle
He shouted an order to “Turn the store tree on!”
And also “NOEL” in blinding pink neon
Up high hanging grandly from twin gold supports
Four hundred pink angels flew over “Men’s Shorts”
And towering up over the rear Mezzanine
A 90-foot, day-glow “Nativity Scene”
The clock on the wall said a quarter to nine
The floorwalkers proudly stood in a line
I watched while the President smelled their carnations
Then called out his final command—“Man your stations!”
When out on the street there arose such a roar
It rang to the rafters and boomed through the store
It sounded exactly like street repair drilling
Or maybe another big mafia killing?
I looked to the door and there banging the glass
Was a clamouring, shrieking, hysterical mass
And I felt from the tone of each scream and each curse
That the “Spirit of Christmas” had changed for the worse
The clock it struck nine and the door opened wide
And that great human avalanche came thundering inside
More fearsome than Sherman attacking Atlanta
Came parents and kiddies with just one goal—“Santa”
In front stormed the Mothers all brandishing handbags
As heavy and deadly as twenty-pound sandbags
With gusto they swung them, the better to smash ears
Of innocent floorwalkers, buyers, and cashiers
Straight up to the Fifth Floor the mob penetrated
And soon reach the room where the store Santa waited
I followed them closely, the better to see
This bearded imposter who dared to play me
He stood six-foot-five and weighed all of one-thirty
He’d lost half his teeth, and his costume was dirty
His beard dangled down like a wad of cheap cotton
His breath needed “Scope” and his “Ho-Ho” was rotten
Egged on by their parents the kids had one aim
To get to this man who was using my name
They mobbed him and mauled him, the better to plead
For the presents they sought in their hour of greed
The President watched with a gleam in his eye
As he thought of the toys that the parents would buy
Of all Christmas come-ons this crowd would attest
That visit to “Santa” was clearly the best
It was all too much for my soul to condone
And I let out a most UN-professional moan
The crowd turned quickly, and I’ll say for their sake
That they knew in an instant I wasn’t a fake
“I’ve had it,” I told them, “with fast-buck promoting!
“With gimmicks and come-ons, and businessmen gloating!
“This garish display of commercialized greed,
“Is so very UN-Christmas it makes my heart bleed.”
With that I departed up an emergency stairwell
Deaf to each plea, and hysterical yell
On reaching the roof to my sleigh I went forth
Where my reindeer were waiting to take me back North
The crowd came behind me and begged me to stay
And before they could stop me, I was off in my sleigh
But I turned to exclaim as I flew from the mob
“Happy Christmas to all—I’m resigning my job!”



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Monday, December 5, 2016

Location, Location, Location

Fiction writers have a dilemma that most people probably don’t think about—where will the story take place? If you write romance, the right location can add to the ambience. If you’re into historical fiction or swashbuckling pirate sagas, you must decide which backdrop will best lend itself to your adventure. Even those of us who write series fiction with recurring characters face the same problem. How realistic do you need to be?

My best selling series of spy thrillers featuring former CIA spooks Nick Seven and Felicia Hagens is set primarily in The Florida Keys. This is familiar territory for me, thanks to regular vacations. Since I don’t live in The Keys, I’ve found that I still need to do extensive research to get the details right. I have an audience in southern Florida and the last thing I want is for someone to read one of my books and wonder if I’ve ever been there. Small details like a correct address or historical landmark can make or break your credibility.

I broke from my usual pattern with my newest thriller, “Catch and Release” (Nick Seven, Book 5). The characters are the same but I chose Virginia Beach instead of The Keys. I’ve been to Virginia Beach but not recently, so I had to do research to fill in the blanks. Getting location details correct is one thing, but I always add bits of local flavor to make it more realistic. Things like regional foods, beverages, customs, and naming the correct fish that are native to those waters made the story more authentic.

This is where the internet comes in handy. I routinely search websites for any place I’m using and note the little things. One of my stories took place in several locations around the world, some of which I had never visited. By the time my research was completed I had enough details to make it sound like I was a native. Google Earth comes in handy, too. When I write a Keys-based adventure and I’m stuck on how to describe a setting, out comes the photo album containing pics from my last trip. I also come home with a collection of brochures, maps, and local newspapers.

There are times when I’ve been surprised that my depiction of a location is vastly different from the real thing. I was working on a private eye mystery that I chose to set near Lake Erie. I grew up in that part of Ohio but when I took a trip back there, I was stunned that my youthful recollections weren’t the same as what I saw in person. Luckily it was still in the development stage, so it wasn’t too late to make corrections.

Atmosphere is all important to a good story, no matter what you write. One of the nicest compliments I routinely receive is when someone tells me that they felt like they were right there with the characters. It doesn’t get much better than that.

* * * *

Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from mystery/thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

She wanted one wild weekend...and was stunned at what she got

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Question: Where did Joe take Rainie for the weekend?


Loraine “Rainie” McIntyre longs for just one weekend to let down her hair and find a man who will help her live out all her fantasies before her conventional wedding to her very conventional fiancé and continuing her very conventional life. Despite Stuart's protests, she knows she has to do this or she'll always feel she missed something in life. Goodbye Loraine, hello Rainie.

And hello Joe, the sex god with lion's eyes she meets at the beach. Hopping on his motorcycle with him, she roars off to a weekend of the wildest sex anyone could ever want. But things are not always what they seem and life is about to hand Rainie a few surprises.


“Sounds like you should have a talk with Stuart.” They were silent for a long moment. Joe picked up one of her hands and played with the fingers. “So Rainie-who-wants-to-be-wild. Do you think I’d do?”
She frowned. “Do?”

“You know. For the weekend fling. I’m healthy, momentarily unattached and I can promise you the sex will be better than you can imagine.”
Her heart was beating in a stuttering rhythm. A flutter deep in her womb began to increase in tempo.
While she chewed on her lip, Joe made the decision for her. He swallowed the last of his drink, rose with lithe jungle grace and held out his hand to her. “Come on. I promise you an adventure you won’t forget.”
Rainie looked up at him. A wildness glittered in his lion’s eyes, a hint of something feral and untamed beneath all those tanned muscles and that amazing grin. Anticipation rolled over her.
“All right.” She stood up, hitched the thin strap of her flat purse over her shoulder and gave him her hand.
He tossed their drink cups in a trash barrel and led her toward the street.
“Where are we going?”
“I rented a house down the beach for the weekend. How does that sound?”
She paused. “I don’t have any clothes except what I’ve got on. And my car’s in the garage here.”
The amber eyes darkened to a deep gold. “If things work out you won’t need any clothes. And your car’s safe at the hotel. Anyway, I’ve got the transportation covered.”
They stopped at the curb where a gleaming silver Ducati motorcycle rested on its kickstand.
Rainie’s mouth flopped open. “Is this yours?”
“Sure is.” He winked at her and handed her a helmet. “Here. You’ll need this. Don’t want to splatter your brains before we get to that wild sex.”
Suddenly Rainie threw back her head and laughed. What the hell. This was what she wanted, wasn’t it? “Okay, Joe. Crank ‘er up.”
She hopped onto the motorcycle behind him, wrapped her arms around his hard, muscular body, her hands clasped against sun-warmed male skin and inhaled. A cologne so light its fragrance was almost elusive mingled with the scent of the sun, the Gulf waters, the lingering coconut aroma of the piña coladas and the male essence that was uniquely Joe. She had to squash an irresistible urge to pull up his shirt and lick his skin to see if he tasted as good as he smelled.

They roared down the street with wheeling seagulls squawking overhead and the rushing slipstream of the wind sweeping away the last vestiges of restraint.



Saturday, December 3, 2016

A most unusual Xmas!!!

This Christmas story came out last year, but is just as applicable as Christmas always is.  It's the story of a spoiled young Marquis, who had rejected the marriage their parents arranged.  No one is more surprised than Jason when she grows up and he falls in love with her.  Not surprisingly, she detests him and wants nothing to do with him. So Jason has a hard time convincing her  that this time it's a forever love.
 
"He found her in the main hall, with a brightly tied bunch of mistletoe in her hands.
To his delight, she greeted him with no sign of her animosity of the previous evening.
“Jason, I need to get this mistletoe nailed in the most strategic places. They will do no good at all if I hang them where no one will walk under them. What do you suggest?”
Conquering his urge to seize her and kiss the puzzlement from her enchanting face, he pretended to ponder the matter.
“Do you only have the one bunch then? I thought there would be more.”
        “Oh no, we have three. But they must be properly placed. Surely you can see that.”
At the moment all he could see was her lovely face, her head cocked to one side as she considered the matter.
“Let me think a moment. One should go in the doorway that leads to the large parlor, as we will all definitely be going to and from there. And how about the hall that you must cross to the dining room?  And the third? What do you think of the door to the patio? Anyone going out there deserves to be caught.”
She looked warily at him as she considered the matter, and then grinned.
“Perfect. Shall I call a footman to help you? You surely want to execute your ideas, don’t you?”
Her mischievous smile nearly broke his control. He couldn’t, he simply could not grab her and kiss her as deeply as his body urged. He’d never had a problem of self-control before. Women had chased him ever since he could remember. He’d never had to court a woman.
He vented a deep sigh. This girl was changing all his ideas of himself.  Right now the only thing he wanted to do was carry her off to a secluded spot and bury his throbbing body in her delectable curves. 
What the hall had happened to him? Why didn’t he just take her hand, take her to a private corner, kiss her senseless and rid himself of this ridiculous obsession with a girl he had no doubt was a virgin.  It probably wouldn’t even be enjoyable. She’d have no idea how to please a man.
He raked his fingers through his hair, willing himself to leave.
Instead he beckoned a footman over to help, and with him holding the ladder steady Jason managed to place all three beribboned bunches of mistletoe in the spots she pointed out and approved. Not that it was easy. Abigail stood at the foot of the ladder, directly him an inch to the right or the left, until she finally approved the placement.
He was not a footman, for god’s sake. He steamed silently, but followed her directions. When he finally got down off this damn ladder he’d simply walk away from the whole stupid scheme of decorating this mausoleum of a house.
A beaming Abigail held out her hand to help him down the last few rungs.
“Thank you, Jason. That was so important. I want everyone to be caught under the mistletoe as often as possible. I do so want this to be a merry Christmas for everyone.”
He briefly shut his eyes. Dammit. Standing there with her small warm hand holding his he felt like the king of the world. His heart clenched as he realized if he were adept enough he could easily claim more than one mistletoe kiss.
“I’ll do all I can to help, Abigail. I don’t know much about a merry Christmas, but I’m willing to learn whatever you want to teach me.”
He hoped the sincerity of his gaze convinced her.
Because damned if he didn’t mean it."

Hope you liked this excerpt.  I love all Xmas stories, Xmas decorations, and all the wonderful giving of gifts to the very special people we loved. And to all of you, may you have the best Xmas ever!

All of my books from Ellora's Cave have been frozen to me until January 1st. I'll then be very delighted to start transferring them to MuseItUp for editing and publishing. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

2016 Year in Review - Author Sharita Lira

The book that saved me!
When I logged into Facebook this morning one of my friends posted. ERMAGHAD ITS DECEMBER FIRST and I thought, yeah, I’m in shock too. What the heck happened to 2016? It flew by and we’re about to embark on another new year.

ERMAGHAD INDEED!

Last month I hinted at talking about an issue that surrounds my newest release, Hirah Blaze, but I will hold on to that until next month because it’s time for my yearly post about what I’ve learned as an author.

First things first, I will say I went into 2016 with little to no expectations. When looking back at this year end post for 2015, I talked about honing my skills in writing.

Welp …

You always do that, especially when you do research and read other authors works to keep up with the market, but other than that, I didn’t quite do what I’d set out to do. Really, when I said honing skills I meant, reading more how to books, taking classes, etc. I did read a couple of books, specifically ones surrounding the subgenres I wanted to write in the future, but not much else. So much of real life got in the way, and I do mean in the way, but nothing as dramatic as last year. The last two years I’ve dealt with the losses of my grandmother and dad, but this year it was more about staying above water with our finances and then my mother got ill in October, so sadly writing took a back seat.

Despite that, I was able to get several books out. Living in Sin Book 4 N’awlins Exotica Series (January 2016 Self Pub), Mocha Kisses and Coffee (April 2016 Thirteen Below Press), The Odd Couple (May 2016 Self Pub), Under the Gun re-release (July 2016 Self Pub), Hell Hath No Fury Book 5 N’awlins Exotica Series (August 2016 Self Pub), Blazing Trails With Hirah Blaze (October 2016 Self Pub), Closely Guarded (October 2016 Pride Publishing), and if all goes according to my plan I’ll release Under the Gun 2 and Hirah Blaze Book 2, which I’ll put on Kindle Unlimited.

*groan*

Yes, you saw that, right? Kindle Unlimited, which is another topic for another day. Let’s just say because of such a dip in my self-pub sales, I felt it necessary to at least try putting the 2 series which are only slated for 3 books a piece to be on KU in hopes of gaining more readership.

*sighs*

We’ll see how that works and I’ll update you in the future.

Back to the year in review, if I had to pick a word or statement that best describes writing year 2016, I’d say breaking point. Although I wasn’t challenged much like I was in previous years personally, there were many times I wanted to give up on writing entirely. Working so hard on books and not getting a lot of sales is disheartening. All year I talked to my best friend, who is a photographer, about doing more to get the word out, and I pretty much told her if I didn’t see improvement by the end of the year, I'd give up writing, solely focus on family, work full-time, and if I wanted to write I’d go back to writing fan fiction.

Gah!

But after thinking it over so many times, I couldn’t. When I started writing Hirah in August I found that love for writing once again. And even though I’d still like to be compensated more for my work, I had to take a step back and realize why I really love my career. It isn’t always about the sales or even the accolades, it truly is about the love you feel in heart for your craft and the burning desire to create the worlds that you want to read about. That’s what drives most of us to stay up all hours of the night and shut ourselves up in our offices away from family and friends, to write the damn story and put it out there for others to read and hopefully enjoy. So, even though this year might be the lowest year as far as sales for me, I’d still call it a success because the biggest achievement is completing a story and getting it out there. Sales is really just the icing on the cake.

So what’s the focus for 2017? Building readership and focusing on the positives as well as honing my craft. That might sound like a tall order, but the more years I’ve dedicated to my career, I’ve learned to look at everything as glass half full. Sure, getting acceptances and having everyday writing goals is great, but the actual achievement is completing that great story and getting it out there for the masses to read. That is the top goal and always has been. I’m sure many authors have that same goal and we all have different processes to get there. Bottom line, an author’s job is to tell the best story they can and once they do that, everything else should fall into place.


As per usual, thanks for listening to me and have a great holiday!

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No promo for me this month other than giving you places to reach me. I'm putting more of a focus on my mailing list so if you'd love to keep up with me and the crazy muses, please sign up. When you do, you'll receive a free book!


Links

Author Sharita Lira: In one word, crazy. Just crazy enough to have 3 4 different muses running around in her head, driving her to sheer exhaustion with new plot bunnies and complex characters.

In addition to being a computer geek and a metalhead, Sharita loves live music, reading, and perusing the net for sexy men to be her muses.  She’s also a founding member and contributor to the heavy metal ezine FourteenG.

For more information, please visit http://www.thelitriad.com as well as her Facebook fanpage, The Literary Triad.

The Literary Triad - http://www.thelitriad.com/#!