Home

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Update on the New Baby...Book

No, I haven't been pregnant for a decade and a half - my youngest is 14 & a HS freshman...

I've been working on my WIP, Moonwitched, for an unbelievably long period of time (for me). Finally got the beastie done, but have to do my self-editing before my editor sees it b/c I hate to send her less than my best. The problem is, I've seen so much of it for so long I can't tell if it's awesome, pretty good, rather indifferent or really hideous. So I sent it out for a second opinion - to the Utah RWA Heart of the West contest - and it finalled. The top/final 4. It got sent to Jim McCarthy at Dystrel & Goderich Literary Management for final judging...

I know I didn't win, b/c winners were notified 9/20/14, but I'm supposed to get my scoresheets (and hopefully my final ranking/any comments or requests) back today. Can't wait for the feedback. You always want good honest assessments from professionals and peers - Grandma saying you're the next Nora Roberts is only good for your ego, alas...

Here's the opening scene of what was sent:

Death at the hands of men who’ve no honor? Not my first choice, but a fight’s a fight. 

Valkyn dragged his bruised and naked body off the hot courtyard ground where they’d flung him. Scurvy pirate scum. Powdery red dust swirled, clung to his braided beard, smeared his sunburnt skin. With his hands bound behind his back, he couldn’t wipe the sweat or wind-blown dust from his eyes. Blood and rage pounded in his temples. He clenched his aching jaw and seethed as he stared at the stone walls and marble columns of some high lord’s manor. Captured and bound, hobbled…

Halzyaq willing, I’ll follow the Vala to Heroes Hall on my feet. By the god of war, he’d take these miserable bastards to the Beyond with him. I’ll toast Uncle Vygnal with their skulls and drink their blood in my wine. Even a leashed dog has teeth.

An overfed citizen approached in fluttering layers of crimson and purple silk.  The long, curled ebony hair and beard blowing in the breeze sparkled with gold dust and stank of patchouli oil. Even the man’s glittering sandals blinded with reflective gold as they slapped the ground with every stomping stride.

Must be the owner of this place.

He drew up afore Valkyn, all pretentious self-importance.

“Where am I?” Valkyn demanded.

“Eastern port city of Saboutar, capitol of Thessera. Far from home, riever.”

Was he the leader of this corsair rabble? This gaudy lord had no idea. These dry, sun-scorched plains of southern-dwelling Thessera stood half a map-world away from the rugged, icy grandeur of northern Isadorikja. Valkyn gauged the distance with his still-working right eye; his left swelled shut. His fingers itched for his stolen battle-axes and star-shaped throwing cheqs, but his bound hands grew numb. His ankles ached, chafed raw. These cowards had learned their lesson back on the Seeker as it burned about them. A bound warrior is still dangerous so long as he keeps his wits about him.

Why was I alone spared and brought here? What do the gods intend?

The desecration of Creataq’s Blood, the most fearsome weapons ever forged by man. Made from the nigh indestructible ore of Creataq, god of the forge, found only within the Widowmaker Mountains of Isadorikja. Stolen, hanging on some undeserving pirate lord’s wall as mere trophies…

Sacrilege.

Valkyn spat defiance at the newcomer. “Release me and return my weapons, Thesseran. Creataq’s Blood doesn’t belong to you.”

“You dare accuse me of thievery?” The man drove his knee into Valkyn’s exposed groin.

Searing agony dropped him to his knees and he struggled to breathe. ’Twasn’t what he’d expected, so dishonorable a blow.

“You fight like a woman.” Valkyn’s sneer huffed out more a wheeze, but intent counted for something.

“I’m Zurvan, lord-mayor of my city. Show respect, riever. You’ll live longer.”

“Respect’s earned, Thesseran; ‘tis no entitlement.” True greatness need never boast. Valkyn swayed to his feet and staggered as he towered over the other man. Death held no fear since Valkyn had joined Widowmaker Clan’s warrior caste at the tender age of six. As his sons had, back home in the new Isadorikjan capitol, Svaaldur.

Will I see them again in this life? Gray-eyed and boisterous Einar, the bold, who’d just started to notice lasses as other than utter nuisances when Valkyn had left… Hot-tempered, defiant Helje, the loud, who’d hit the awkward, lanky stage that made him more a danger to himself than any armed opponent… Motherless, quiet Broder, the thoughtful philosopher, who asked his elders the most impossible questions… His youngest, Gjord, the merry prankster, who promised to become a blue-eyed giant of a warrior—if his overprotective mother Sanna doesn’t spoil him rotten first…

Or did fate decree he join his ancestors and now-dead son Konur to await his still-living sons in the Hall? He fingered that one black-banded braid in his beard. Would his lads ever learn what happened to him? Is Broder to be orphaned altogether?

Indeed.” Lord Zurvan studied him. “What’s your name?”

Valkyn held silent. Lord Zurvan lashed out with a beringed fist; a coppery tang flooded Valkyn’s mouth as his sun-dried, parchment-thin upper lip split wide. He spat blood—and smiled.

“I harbing your death, Thesseran.” Helje would be proud.

Lord Zurvan smirked. “Not today. The great warlord Emandu comes to question another prisoner of mine. By the time he gets here, riever, you’ll speak more on those odd throwing weapons I gift to him. Unique ore; ne’er seen their like. E’en here we’ve heard tales of their superiority.” He looked over Valkyn’s shoulder at the filthy wretches behind him. “Put him with the sea-prince. Chain him to the wall.”

 Sea-prince? Valkyn struggled in his restraints as four brawny corsairs hauled him inside, dragged him down corridors that narrowed and darkened. He paid attention to turns, counted doorways and footsteps, ’til they stopped afore a bolted wooden door with a sliding view-port. One pirate drew back the bolt and shoved the door open with a grunt of effort; neglected hinges screamed in protest.

A narrow stone room loomed airless and sweltering, reeked like an untended midden. Valkyn gagged. No window. Two sputtering pitch-and-reed torches bracketed the doorway for light. Rusted iron chains bolted into the walls. A single prisoner hung naked from manacles about his wrists. Through the deep gloom, Valkyn glimpsed sable curls and a matted beard. Pale skin bore vicious scars of varying age beneath the oozing, blood-crusted stripes of a recent lashing.

The other man raised his head and bared his sharp white teeth as the enemy dragged Valkyn into place across from him. Valkyn shivered; menace and contempt pulsed off the other prisoner. Hate churned with the promise of retribution in his dark, liquid eyes. He looked lethal even in his helpless state. Impressive. 

Predator.

Something clicked in the back of his mind like two pieces of a puzzle. Makes no sense. What’s the point? He’d been sent to locate a missing half-troll Shadowlands warrior named Dax, not be detained in a foul Thesseran gaol.

Hadn’t he?

Valkyn’s captors gave the other prisoner a wide berth, as if the shackled man could somehow strike across the room with his will alone.

“I shall feast on the bones of your children, humans.” The sable-haired prisoner glowered, curled his lip like a feral dog.

Valkyn’s guards shuddered at his malevolent promise; their calloused hands shook on Valkyn’s bare arms.

Humans? 

Valkyn choked as the rope tightened about his neck ’til his vision went fuzzy. He dropped to his knees, reeled on the fouled stone. The Thesserans clapped irons about his ankles. He tried to shoulder his gaolers aside as the men unbound his hands but Valkyn toppled over into the filth, coughing. It took all four corsairs to haul him to his feet and shackle his wrists overhead. Stretched taut, toes barely touching the ground, he’d sag as he tired. Valkyn imagined muscles tearing, shoulders popping under the weight of his own body—a slow, excruciating internment.

By the gods, I’ll escape and return home afore ’tis Gjord’s time to enter the warrior caste. 

How long has this other man been here?

The door slammed shut and bolted behind the Thesserans’ retreat.

“I think you scared them.” Valkyn winced at the harsh rasp in his voice and coughed. He blinked and tried to focus through the burning tears that welled at the unspeakable stench enveloping him. As his vision cleared in the dim light, he focused on his fellow prisoner.

Brown eyes shone in the dark. The other man snorted. “Won’t save them, riever.”

“You have me at a disadvantage. You are?”

“You’ll find out soon enough, human.”

Valkyn rolled his watering eyes as he tested the strength of the rusted chains. “You bleed human
enough.”

“I was locked to this puny form by betrayal, tossed on these forsaken shores with naught but this…skin.” The man’s rage washed over Valkyn in a searing red tide.

What to make of the odd hesitation, the inflection?

“What’s your tale, riever? I thought your kind did the pillaging.”

“Daq Aryk, my king, wed and declared peace—” tisht, that infernal word still rankled “—on everyone, within and without.” Sanna might fall for Aryk’s new plans for peace; Gjord could well become a farmer. Or a yaga herder. Valkyn shuddered at either thought. Nay, Aryk, Widowmaker Isadorikjans aren’t farmers. I’ll find a way home afore his claiming day. Gjord shall join the warrior caste like his brothers. Aught else is unthinkable.

“You weren’t born a sheep, wolf?”

Valkyn clenched his fists around the rusted chains at the other’s taunting. “Many Isadorikjans wonder at following a man led by a woman.”

For all he loved Aryk as a brother, Valkyn felt his daq had lost his way, his fierce warrior’s mind clouded by Verdeen’s haunting silver-eyed beauty and strange elven ways. ‘Twas her fault Valkyn was even here; he’d no reason to search for Dax but for Verdeen’s pleading—and Aryk’s desire to have her smile again. Romance. What rubbish.  The desecration of Creataq’s Blood now wasted on plows and hoes, to swim in dirt, not blood…all in the name of peace…because of her…

Women are a menace to clear thought. I’ll never be so foolish.

“Indeed.” Such a wealth of bitterness in the other’s tone. “Women weren’t meant to lead. Cows need a strong bull to manage them.”

Valkyn choked, imagining his outspoken twin sister Erlynda’s wrath at being called a cow. Isadorikjan women aren’t cows; not the new kyras joining the warrior caste. Halzyaq help him, his own niece Birgit—Aryk’s firstborn—was one of them.

What’s this world come to when women are encouraged to fight whilst men aren’t? Aryk, brother, what’s your thought? ’Tis all backward now. You’d have us lose ourselves and I’m not there to stop you.

He coughed again, wished for even a sip of water to ease the infernal scratching. “I was sent to find a missing warrior but we were set ’pon by Thesseran pirates.”

“You didn’t fight?”

’Tis a wonder this man survived to adulthood with that mouth.

“We fought. I’m the sole survivor, but even I can’t take forty armed men.” Halzyaq kenned he’d tried. ’Til they’d overpowered him and confiscated his weapons. Creataq’s Blood was never allowed out of Isadorikjan hands. Well, nigh never.

I must get them back. I must get back.

“Forty, eh? On a burning deck? Mayhap I underestimated you.”

"Mayhap you did. “How did you—?”

“You reek of salt and pitch. I ken the scent well; spent my entire life in the sea.”

Days have passed since that sea battle. How can you smell salt or pitch under this pervasive unbathed stench?

In the sea? Not on the sea—in the sea.

“‘Sea-prince…’”

A chill shot up Valkyn’s spine. “Who are you? Enough riddles.”

“Was this man important?”

Valkyn blinked. “What? Who?”

“The man they sent you after.”

“Dax? A relative of an ally of the bride.”

“And you obeyed this man led by a woman? What does that make you?”

“A loyal second to my sworn daq, but what would you ken of loyalty?”

Fury hammered into him. “I ken naught of loyalty save its utter absence.”

That bitter honesty stopped him. “Then I pity you.”

Dark eyes flared. “I neither want nor need your pity, human.”

“Cease calling me ‘human.’ Who are you?”

“Prince Matteo.”

Royalty unransomed, abused in a Thesseran gaol? “Prince of what?”

Sharp white teeth flashed in the dark.

Do my eyes deceive me? Those teeth don’t look quite normal, quite…human. 

“Prince of the sea, of the moon and the tides.”

“Tisht. You’re either a prince of bards or a prince of fools. Which?”

“I’m the ultimate fool. They should put you elsewhere. Tonight’s the full moon.”

“Which means what? You sprout fur and fangs?” ‘Twould explain those teeth.

“Better for you if I did.” Matteo snorted. “You’ll ken soon enough, human. May whatever gods you bow to have mercy on your soul then, for I won’t.”

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bling Alert from Sabrina York! Check out these chances to win your own #tiara in this #giveaway!


If you follow me (and, frankly, you should), you know that I occasionally lose all rational thought and fling tiaras hither and yon. This Fall I am offering two (that I am aware of, there may be more coming soon, hence my admonition that you should probably be following me if you like your bling).

The Hometown Heroes Tiara will be given away in October
The Snow Angels Tiara will be given away in December.

I wanted to give you a heads up about opportunities I am offering to win a tiara (these are all above and beyond my ongoing contest). They are all easy entry. Please check them out (and share with your friends!)




Win the Hometown Heroes Tiara
All the proceeds of this bundle go to Pets for Vets. It’s a great collection with awesome authors, and available for preorder now. Enter the contest here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Presenting a contemporary romance bundle of 16 novels with happily-ever-after endings, including previously published readers' favorites and brand-new material from USA Today Bestselling Authors: Melissa Schroeder, Lucy Monroe, and Nancy Warren, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Sabrina York along with bestselling and award-winning authors: Allie K. Adams, Destiny Blaine, Cathryn Cade, Jami Davenport, Kate Davies, Taryn Elliott/Cari Quinn, Rachel Grant, Sandy James, Adrianne Lee, Hildie McQueen, Katy Regnery and Sandy Sullivan

All proceeds for this charity bundle go to Pets for Vets—saving unwanted pets and providing support to our troops.

Get it now:



My story: Heartbreak on a Stick
When A-List movie star Jason Sherwood returns to the hometown that once rejected him, he has one goal in mind: Getting revenge on the woman who broke his heart so many years ago. But when he discovers his assumptions about her were wrong, he only wants to win her back. Hopefully, it’s not too late.
Gina Fox has always pined for her high school lover…and now he has returned, turning her world upside down. But life isn’t as simple now as it was then. And she can’t get over the fact that Jason walked away from her without a word. When he launches a sultry seduction, she tries, with everything in her, to resist…because at his core, Jason is nothing but heartbreak on a stick.

Win the Snow Angels Tiara
Coming in December from Decadent Publishing as part of the Calendar Men Series, Snow Angels is a steamy novella of love and redemption…and bacon. Snow Angels is available for preorder now.  Enter the contest here:

Snow Angels
The last thing Wade Masters wants on his month-long getaway to his sister’s wilderness cabin is company.  A wounded warrior, Wade is looking for complete isolation to deal with the tragedy of his life and his screaming guilt.

But company he gets, in the form of Lyssa Salk, a spunky, diminutive massage therapist. Who says she can talk to dead people.

Trapped together in the snowbound cabin, Wade and Lyssa have little else to do but help each other heal, spiritually, physically and sexually.

READ AN EXCERPT:
He probably stayed in the shower too long; the water was turning tepid. But Wade didn’t care. He stepped out and dried off, ruffling his hair with the fluffy towel. He tried to ignore the pink hearts. But it was either pink hearts or Hello Kitty.
He resolved, if he ever visited this cabin again, he would bring his own towels. Something manly.
Camo maybe.
A sharp series of barks brought his head up with a snap.
Bo.
Bo rarely barked, and then only at a threat.
Wade snapped into gear, wrapping the towel around his waist and stopping in the bedroom to grab his pistol. He’d seen bear tracks and scat on his run and though it was the middle of winter, he knew they could come out of hibernation. They’d been known to break into cabins if they smelled food.
His heart leapt into his throat at the thought of Bo facing a hungry five-hundred pound beast with no protection.
Towel flapping, he pounded down the short hall into the great room of the cabin, expecting the worst. He stopped in his tracks.
Yeah.
It was the worst.
Not a bear.
But an even greater predator.
There, pressed up against the door, cornered by his snarling protector, be-speckled with snow and clutching a mangy backpack, was a woman.
He could tell she was a woman, even though she wore about six coats, one on top of the other, and a knit hat pulled down over her ears. Long black hair escaped from the cap, trailing over her shoulders. But it was the eyes that gave her away, wide and round and fringed with thick lashes. And her chin. It was delicate, dimpled, quivering. Her lips were parted. Her exquisite face pale.
Bo glanced back at him as if crowing, look what I caught! And then edged forward with an ominous growl.
The girl clutched her backpack closer and issued a panicked little peep. She tried to press back into the door, making herself as tiny as she could, but there was no give.  Besides, she was tiny enough.
Like a woodland sprite.
He would have thought her a fairy come in from the woods if he’d had a hint of whimsy in him. And if she hadn’t been wearing everything she owned. He didn’t know much about fairies, but he was pretty sure they had some fashion sense.
Bo’s growl became a snarl, a snap, and the girl warbled a wail. “Please!” she cried. “Call him off!”
Wade snapped his fingers, fully expecting Bo to heel. He’d been methodically trained by a world-renown expert. He always behaved.
He did not.
His hackles rose and he took another menacing step toward the girl. A tear tracked down her cheek. Her entire body shook. “P-please!”
“Bo! Fuß!” The command to heel in the language he’d learned as a puppy, penetrated and Bo licked his muzzle, gave a canine whine and padded to Wade’s side. “Braver Hund.” Wade riffled the scruff of Bo’s beck and gave him a scratch. “Good dog.”
The girl collapsed against the door, but her attention did not waver from Bo, whose hackles were still up. Wade didn’t understand his dog’s reaction. He’d always been friendly to strangers before, more likely to whap them to death with his tail than to so much as growl. But then his gaze fell on the small cage at the girl’s feet and he froze. He could see a hint of the creature inside and he suddenly understood.
Hell.
She had a cat.
Perfect.
Not only was his solitude shattered by an unwanted female guest, a bedraggled homeless ragamuffin, she’d brought a cat.
Damn.
He hated cats.

PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW!

Good luck! And thank you for all your support!

Sabrina

About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy to scorching erotic romance.  Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Like my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/sabrinayork
Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks
Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york https://twitter.com/sabrina_york
Check out my Pintrest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/

Featured Books by Sabrina York

Tryst Island Series—Erotic Contemporary Romance 

Anthologies and Collections





Saturday, September 27, 2014

Some Cinderellas have all the fun! Cerise DeLand's new #Regency romp, RENDEZVOUS WITH A DUKE!

 
#2 in Cerise's Regency Romps
Anna Fournier never intended to fall in love. Not with any man. Especially not a duke. But Hugh Lattimer persists in courting her despite the scandal that surrounds her—and the innuendo that could ruin him.
     Can she escape her past and embrace a future as Hugh's duchess? Or will the man who murdered her father ruin her future once and for all?
Need a nibble?
Of Course you do!
Copyright 2014, Cerise DeLand/WJ Power All Rights Reserved.
“Your Grace?”
Hugh whirled to face his coachman, the wind biting into his hope that Anna would venture out to meet him on such a bitter day.
“Yes, Warren. What is it?”
The man huddled in his woolen livery, frozen, rubbing his hands together. “We hired the man’s hack for two hours. But the horses are very cold standing as they are, Your Grace. Can I not make a circle of the garden to stir their blood a bit?”
“Yes, do.” He could not keep his good servant out in such hideous weather. That was unkind. Unnecessary.
He stared down the lane again, narrowing his eyes.
She was…
There! Coming toward him. It was she in that horrible brown hat and coat.
He strode toward her. Then broke into a jog.  His hat bobbed and he whipped it off, tucked it under his arm. “Anna!”
She broke into a smile, beaming at him, her pace quickening, her lips tremulous with what? Cold? Fear? Delight?
He caught her to him. The thrilling feel of her, her curves to his form, her warmth to his welcome. His lips went to the corner of her eye, the point of her nose and hovered over her lips.
“You waited,” she breathed, her words laced with panic, her golden gaze flowing over him with triumph.
“I did. I had to hope.”
She cupped his jaw. “I apologize for being late. I could not get away.”
“But you came. How?”
“A hack. And then, I left him at the bridge and walked.”
Hugh enveloped her in his arms. “There is no one here to see you or me. It’s too damn cold.”
She chuckled, her arms wrapping around his waist as easily as if she belonged to him and he to her. She trained her eyes on his breastplate and ribbons. “But you wore a uniform.”
“I did. As you commanded.” He turned to one side and wove her arm through his. “Come, let me get you into a carriage.”
“Oh, no.” She hung back. “I cannot. Really, Kendal.”
“You’re frozen. So am I. And there beyond,” he said nodding toward Warren who stood with the hack door open, “is my coachman. I hired a vehicle. Did not bring my own.”
“You have crests on yours, I suppose,” she said, sounding tentative but walking briskly with him anyway.
“Yes, they all do. I would not chance discovery.”
“I do appreciate that.”
They stopped in front of the hack’s open door.
#1 in Cerise's Regency Romps
Hugh took both her gloved hands, her fingers cold as icicles. “Few seem to be in the Gardens. I’ll take you if wish. Or you can step into my conveyance, hired especially for this afternoon, and warm yourself with the bricks and the brandy I have tucked inside.”
Her eyes, alive with yearning, examined his. Still she hesitated. “I don’t want to walk.”
He understood her tentative tone, an objection to the privacy of his coach. “I would never hurt you. If you will do me the honor to climb up in there, we might have an hour or more of good conversation.”
“And brandy,” she added with a twinkle in her brilliant eyes.
“And bricks.”
“I want to.”
“Do.”
She swallowed, then smiled at Warren with a hint of apology.
Hugh told her, “You can sit in one corner and I in the opposite seat.”
Acceptance defined her exquisite features. “And here I had imagined us sitting side by side as we did at dinner last night.”
If he had envisioned himself as a cave man seizing her, enjoying her, it was nothing to the urge now to grasp her in his arms and take her lips, her heart, her mind and make them his. Reason, somehow, arrested him instead. “Sit wherever you like, my darling. I live to make you smile.”
She flowed up to him. Her gloved hands cupping his jaw, she rose on her toes and brushed her lips on his.
My god.
She undid him. All his noble intentions gone. His earnest statements that he would protect her from his baser urges now hollow.  Still, he could not move, paralyzed with wanting more of her.
“You must climb in first,” she told him, an impish glimmer in her eyes. “The better to give me a choice.”
He grunted, incapable of words. Then he did as she bade him. Falling back against the far corner of the wooden bench, he shoved his shako to the floor. He watched her as she put one foot upon the block and let Warren take her hand to lead her up inside. And there before him, she met his gaze and waited as Warren shut the coach door. She seemed cast in bronze, unmoving, studying him. Then putting one knee to his bench, she leaned over him, descending to a breath away. “Kiss me, won’t you, Kendal? I’ve dreamed of no one but you for months.”
* * * * *
Rendezvous with a Duke
ARe 

iTunes Coming Soon!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Brainstorming Weekend at Wampler Lake


It's a beautiful day in southern Michigan where I'm sitting in a screened-in porch with six other Toledo-area writers for our local group's annual Brainstorming Weekend. The lake shimmers in the sunlight in front of us. Bits of yellow and green peeking through the green leaves on the trees signal the end of summer and the onset of autumn and—horror of horrors—winter. For now, however, this is the perfect ambience for a group of romance writers gathering together for the purpose of renewing our spirits and our commitment to writing.




Participants

  • Kristina Knight, contemporary romance
  • Jenna Rutland, contemporary romance
  • Sloan Parker, male/male romantic suspense
  • Rue Allyn, historical and contemporary romance
  • Denise Frazier, young adult romance
  • Sophia Strathmore, historical romance
  • Susana Ellis, historical romance
  • Constance Phillips, contemporary and paranormal romance
  • Katelynn Phillips, contemporary romance
  • Jill Kemerer, inspirational romance
  • Shay Lacy, fantasy and erotic romance
  • Tanja Fazzari, contemporary romance
  • Faith McLaughlin, contemporary romance

    Rue Allyn and Jenna Rutland

    Sophia Strathmore

    Kristina Knight

    Denise Frazier

Group Agenda

Those of us who arrived on Thursday used the day to unpack our food and bedding, mingle a bit, scrounge for food, seek out a comfy spot for writing, unpack our laptops and research materials, and write. And eat some more. And do some more mingling. And eating. And a bit of drinking.

The same goes for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, except with brainstorming added. That's where we discuss our story ideas in turn and get suggestions for everything from plot twists to characters. It doesn't seem to matter that we write in different sub-genres—the ideas generated from these sessions have proven invaluable to me. This is especially true when we've written ourselves into a corner and need fresh ideas for wriggling out of it.

My Personal Agenda

  • Finish my revision of the first chapter of A Home For Helena, the time travel romance I'm thinking of submitting to Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write contest. (That deadline is SOON).
  • Plot my story for the Waterloo-themed anthology project some of us are working on. That deadline is January 1, 2015—but it's for submission-ready stories.
  • Finish my Christmas novella to self-publish by November 1.
  • Of course, I'm also taking three online courses that I'm already behind on. April Kihlstrom's Book In a Week will help me plan my Waterloo story. The self-publishing course will be helpful in the very near future, with at least two of my three projects. The third course on Regency dress is a fun, research-oriented course instructed by Isobel Carr and sponsored by the Beau Monde.
But mostly I'm here to spend time with my writer friends, especially with my migration to Florida coming up in a few weeks. I do have friends in the Central Florida Romance Writers as well, but living in two places means missing out on half the year in both places, so my plan for the weekend includes a healthy dose of socializing along with the rest.

Hope you enjoy every minute of your own weekend. Are you watching Outlander? I'll miss this week's episode, but you have to know I'll be watching it on the DVR as soon as I get home on Sunday!

Don't you just adore Jamie in his wedding finery?

About Susana


A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.

In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley, Central Florida and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.

Web site • Email • Facebook • Twitter • Linked In • Pinterest • Google+
Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog) • Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)

Susana's Releases


She's a country lady. He's a London swell. They have nothing in common. Or have they?

A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The End

The end.

Probably the two favorite words in an author's vocabulary, right? Except when it comes down to a discussion of the end of life and what happens to our intellectual property.

Our books will outlive us. Some might be discovered some twenty years after our passing by a filmmaker who thinks it would be perfect for a movie. Or your child or grandchild might think a collection of your scribblings and plotting ideas might make an interesting collection. Will they be legally able to do either of these? Where will the money go if they did?

For that matter, who can cash the royalty check that comes in a month after you die? Or withdraw finds from the bank account that receives your royalties?

Those who don't have kids are in more of a need for a will than those who have kids or grandkids, but if you don't have a will spelling out what rights they have to your work and proceeds thereof, you are creating a headache...no, a migraine, for them to deal with.

Neil Gaimon has some advice here. Do yourself and your descendants a favor and take the steps necessary to clarify what you want to have happen to your work when you are gone.

Allow your kids a happily ever after with a bit of preparation now. They'll thank you, if only in their prayers.

~*~







Aileen Fish writes sweet contemporary romance and traditional Regency romance, and steamier romance as Ari Thatcher. Her next release is available for pre-order now. His Wedding Date is a steamy contemporary romance novella.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Too Much on Your Plate? Here's One Solution. By Kayelle Allen #amwriting #balance

Balance isn't easy. 
I've known for years that I work too hard, and I've tried to remedy that by being more organized. Now, that's a good goal up to a point. People who know me already think I'm the organization queen. The painful truth is that it's not a matter of being organized. No matter how well organized you are, you can only cram so much into one twenty-four hour period. Nobody gets an extra hour in their day. We get twenty-four. No more. No less.
If I can't wangle more time, and I'm already organized, what can I do? How can I handle having so much on my plate? The remedy is simple. I need to get a smaller plate. I need to drop back and do less.
Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.
I'm a writer, and if I'm not writing, then what does that make me? So I will be doing more writing. Plus I need to think of my health. When I first started writing I took pride in the fact that I worked twice as much as anyone else. A couple of health crises later, I've decided working smarter is better. Hey, I said I was organized, not bright. *smile*
How to cut back? What can I give up without giving up too much?
First, I looked at what's important in my life. For me it's family, health, survival, and writing. They don't always come in that order. Sometimes survival is at the top. Other days it's family. Writing always hovers around the top as well. Those four things are the most important things in my life, so I want to make time for them.
That means other things get shuffled around to fit.
I'm not only a writer. I'm also a businesswoman. I own The Author'sSecret, which supports other authors. We're getting ready to update our website, launch two new services (book trailers and editing) and I have been hiring and researching and promoting like a madwoman. Since the business is part of the way I survive, it ranks high on my importance scale.
Writing is my main career, and it gets a huge focus as well. I joined a local critique group last year, and that handful of people meet with me twice a week. They've become vital parts of my writing life. That group gets a chunk of my time, and gives it back. The group is also high on that scale.
What's not high are things like watching TV, movies, and playing on the internet. I don't chat much, except when it comes to my critique group and author chats, or hangouts with readers and the like. So I have organized my TV watching. I know what I'll see on certain nights of the week. I like to check in with the Today Show in the morning and find out what's new in the world, at least for thirty minutes. I read extensively, because that's part of how I hone my writing skills. If I don't study my craft and competition, how good can I be?
I've added exercise, and am now walking on a regular basis. That will help my heart and keep my blood sugar where it needs to be.
Let me leave you with an image I think will help, beyond "thinking" about getting a "smaller plate."

Watch this video of one of the Wallenda family members, a tight-rope walker, high above the Grand Canyon. He's carrying a balance beam, which helps him gain equilibrium. I'd like you to notice one thing about that beam. It's in motion, changing angles, adapting to the shifting weight of the athlete carrying it. More to the point, the athlete is the one moving it, changing it. Constantly. There is no way to achieve balance without change.
I wish I could give you a three-step solution, or a checklist of things to do to obtain that balance we all strive to reach. But I can tell you the solution I found. I recognized that I didn't have balance in my life. My next step was to decide what I was going to change in order to get it. Balance is not something you achieve and forget. It's a constantly changing thing.

Share what you think will help you gain balance in the comments below. If this post helped you, feel free to share it on your social media.
---
Kayelle Allen is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers. She is a multi-published, award-winning author, and the owner of The Author's Secret, an author support company. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary characters, futuristic immortals, covert agents, and warriors who purr.
Unstoppable Heroes Blog http://kayelleallen.com/blog

The Author's Secret https://theauthorssecret.com

Monday, September 22, 2014

NATURALLY YOURS by Adele Downs, Cover Reveal!

I'm excited to share the cover art for my upcoming contemporary romance!

NATURALLY YOURS arrives October 7, 2014 from Boroughs Publishing.

Available wherever digital books are sold.


"You can't go wrong with Adele Downs." ~ Will Work for Books

Here's a glimpse of the story:

NATURALLY YOURS by Adele Downs

Who will save a man who saves the world?

Paramedic Mickey Kendall hasn’t slept a full night since his return from Iraq. He rescues victims by day and protects the innocent after dark. Mickey doesn’t do it for glory; he wants absolution, not admiration. He lives by the rule: No personal contact after a rescue. That code meets the ultimate test when Mickey saves a child’s life on a roadside and declines the parents’ invitation to dinner at their upscale restaurant.

Master chef Amanda Greer lives by the principle that delicious food and good company build bridges. When she learns Mickey has refused her business partners’ hospitality, she persuades him to change his mind. The handsome paramedic visits her restaurant and Amanda joins him at his table. Their unexpected chemistry turns kinetic and leads to a passionate kiss.

In Amanda’s arms, Mickey finds relief from the stressors that haunt him, but resists falling in love. When Amanda challenges him to face his demons and accept the love she offers, Mickey arrives at a crossroad. The war-weary paramedic must first save himself to claim the woman who reignites his passion for living and revives his wounded heart.

***
Adele Downs writes best-selling contemporary romance inside the office of her rural Pennsylvania home. She is a former journalist, published in newspapers and magazines inside the USA, UK, and Caribbean.

Adele is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter where she serves as a past-president. She has written several articles for RWR magazine (Romance Writers Report) and has presented workshops for writers.

When Adele isn’t working on her current project, she can be found riding in her convertible or reading a book on the nearest beach. 

Visit Adele Downs at https://adeledowns.wordpress.com

Like Adele Downs on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/authoradeledowns

Follow Adele Downs on Twitter! https://twitter.com/Adele_Downs

Join Adele Downs’ Convertible Crew Street Team! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1431874030384864/ 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Release - The Brass Octopus

The ugly duckling is a favorite fairy tale of mine.  I've seen the ugly duckling plot in a lot of books
brass octopus and films. I use it in The Brass Octopus.

The so called duckling was never young at all she was just with the wrong family. If she'd been with a family of swans no one would have ever used the word ugly. That's what happened to my heroine Piety. Her verbally and emotionally abusive mother called her ugly. As she grew up, Piety protected herself by not drawing attention to herself - dressing drably and throwing herself in to her work. Her work - her profession - is head librarian at London's library. The story is set in the Victorian era. So a  prim and proper Victorian librarian transforms into a beautiful sexy woman. What makes my version different?
I'm going to get to that.

First, let me tell you about the hero. Blake Blackmore is bad boy, a rich rogue who spends his nights gambling and womanizing. I'm sure you've already guessed once he meets Piety he's willing to give all that up for her.

Now, back to the earlier question. What makes The Brass Octopus different is - in The Bras Octopus, Piety lives in alternate dimension in which inventions depicted in Jane Loudon's book the Mummy have been created. So even though it's Victorian London, there is some advanced technology, woman wear pants, and tinkering or inventing gadgets is a favorite pastime for proper Victorian woman along with decoupage, scrapbooking, and painting china. Piety's sister, Polly, has  created a beauty machine called The Brass Octopus.

Blurb: Spinster Librarian Piety Plunkett is happy alone with her books, until her sister Polly transforms her with a bras octopus beautifying machine. With her new look, the librarian catches the lusty attentions of London’s most notorious rogue. Blake Blackmore enjoys the favors of beautiful women from the brothels of London to high society’s most fashionable debutantes but only the spinster librarian consumes his mind night and day. Piety insists she will not wed but devote her life to her position as head librarian, but Blake will stop at nothing to win her. He takes matters into his own hands and tutors her in carnal pleasure in three passion filled lessons. Now that she is sharing her body, instead of just her books, Piety is shocked yet pleased at how naughty she can be under Blake’s personal tutelage. But if anyone finds out about what goes on in the library after closing time, her reputation would be ruined. Is that Blake’ ultimate plan?

Excerpt:
“That is why we cannot waste a moment more.” Polly dropped her arm from Piety’s shoulders and grabbed her sister’s hand, pulling her into the dressing room. “Wait until you see my latest invention.” She pointed to a large brass octopus standing in the corner.
Held on a brass stand, its bottom was fashioned in the shape of an x, with a thin straight pole to the back of the head jointed to another rod so it could be adjusted. Two molded eyes on the side of its head stared at her. Eight long arms reached out from the tiny body beneath its gleaming head, and directly underneath stood a brass stool.
“This will make you even more beautiful than you are.” Polly walked over to the brass sea creature and reaching up, she patted its large head.
“Is it the pregnancy? Is that what has caused you to lose your mind?”
“This machine is fabulous.” Polly gestured to her to sit on the stool. “Try it.”
Piety scratched her head. “It’s good the Queen encourages all housewives to develop their creativity by crafting gadgets like the ones in Loudon’s book, to make life easier for them and their families, but I fear you’ve taken it too far.”
Each of the eight burnished arms held something in the suction cups attached on the end, where hands would be on a human. An open tin of rouge in one arm, the second, grasped a cosmetic brush and powder puff, in the third lay a tin of powder, an unwrapped silk paper container of red lipstick in the fourth, the fifth arm clutched a small bottle of hair oil, the sixth held a hairbrush, while the seventh grasped a fancy glass container of French perfume and the eighth arm lay empty.
Polly took Piety’s spectacles off.
“I need those.”
“For reading. You don’t need them right now or at the ball. You’ll be dancing, not reading books.”
She sat on the stool with the octopus behind her. “What is this?” Her upper back rested against its small, brass body.
“You will see. Just sit still so the machine can work its magic.” Polly pressed the ruby button on top of the octopus's head.
The clanking, churning sound caused an on-edge sensation in Piety. As the hand holding the oil moved toward her, she grew shaky. She braced her toes on the floor, ready to lunge off the stool and make a run for it. The hand holding the oil reached her head, tilted slightly, then straightened after pouring some of its contents on her hair. Her scalp tingled from the warm liquid.
“It tickles, but feels quite nice. What does it do?”
The hand clutching the brush in its suction cup moved toward her. Piety grimaced, fearing it might hit her. She let out a pent up breath, relaxing her neck and shoulder muscles as the brass octopus brushed her hair, spread the oil to her roots and through the strands, and then swept her hair into a pile on top of her head.
“It helps it curl.” Polly grinned as she shoved a wayward blonde strand of her hair out of her face.
The octopus’s hollow head, which ran along the brass pole in back, rose, separating from its body, then swung forward, hovering over Piety. It lowered, inch by inch, until it dropped over her head, covering her hair and forehead.
“This is daft. It has swallowed me.” She cringed as tiny things, she didn’t know what, gripped sections of her hair and twirled it. “What is happening?”
“It curls hair better than any lady’s maid.”
“I do not want my hair curled by a brass octopus.“
“It’s guaranteed to bring out the beauty in everyone. Isn’t it marvelous?”
Before Piety could answer, the arm clutching the powder puff dipped it in the large round tin held in another arm. She had to shut her mouth as the octopus powdered her face.
From inside the octopus’s head, it squirted liquid on her scalp. “It sprayed me.”
“I have always liked your hair, but you say it’s drab. Now it will be a different color. That should make you happy.”
The octopus seemed to be baking her scalp. “Why is it hot?”
“It’s battery-powered rather than clockwork. I needed it to heat to curl hair fast and tight.”
“A battery. Like the galvanic one in The Mummy that resurrected Pharaoh Cheops?”
“Smaller and not as strong. It’s just a lead-acid battery. Remember when Father took us to the seashore for holiday and we flew in the balloon-coach? It’s the same type of battery that powered the lights on in the carriage at night.” Polly flashed a toothy grin at her sister. “It doesn’t bring anything alive except your hair.”
“How fabulous,” she said with full sarcasm. “My head itches.” She wished this would all be over soon. “What color will it be?”
“We won’t know until it’s finished, but whatever it is will be the best color for you.”
“Of course, everyone knows if you need beauty advice, just ask a brass octopus. Polly, my only sister or not, I shall kill you when I escape the clutches of this confounded contraption.”
      ~             ~            ~
Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 21 published books. She writes Celtic Romance and Steampunk Romance. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus. Her latest Steampunk Romance is The Brass Octopus.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fun With Rick and Jade


What’s Eromcom? It might be a word I made up myself. I do that sometimes. 

I like to laugh. I want a side of laughter with my romance, suspense and westerns. As I wrote in a manuscript recently—I’ll paraphrase—the ability to laugh has gotten me through some not so freakin’ funny chapters in my life. It still does, and hopefully always will. When someone tells me they enjoyed one of my books, I ask, “Did it make you laugh?” 

But does comedy have any business rubbing up against erotic like a kitty in heat? It wasn’t that long ago no one would have considered mixing peanut butter with chocolate. What a tragedy. If it weren’t for those klutsy folks on the candy commercial, our lives would be PB&C free. Me, I like popcorn and M&Ms, but that’s a topic for another day. The point is I like a few giggles with my sex. 

What say you? Sex and belly laughs? The title of my erotic novel Fun With Rick and Jade, kind of says it all. It is a fun romp with some laughs along the way. You might tear up once or twice too.

 
 


Blurb:

 
Jade Li only wants what’s coming to her from her high-profile baby
daddy—some child support and she’ll stay out of his life and off his radar. Committed to being a good mother, she’s left her high-priced-call-girl lifestyle behind and wants a fresh start. But because of her sordid past, she’s terrified of losing custody. What she needs, according to her attorney, is a husband.
 

Enter Rick Jette, younger brother to Jade’s attorney. Rick could use a wife and child for a business deal his future hinges on. Plus, he owes his brother a huge favor that not even marrying a sexy ex-call girl could repay. Marriage is not what he’d expected. At. All. The good, as they play house, was better than he’d ever dreamed. The bad—having feelings for his instant family—turns out to be worse than he ever could have imagined.
 

Excerpt: 

Rick Jette pushed the doorbell firmly. He heard it chime in some stately arrangement. Ding-dong-ding. His brother Bob thankfully called out, “I got it!” Thankfully, because Rick never knew what to say to Bob’s wife, Candy.

First of all, she was gorgeous. Second of all, she wasn’t too bright except about fashion, celebrity gossip, and proper martini mixology. Lastly, Rick couldn’t look her in the eyes, especially knowing she used to be a hooker. Correction—escort. Don’t want to make that mistake again. Note to self: avoid the subject of prostitution.

The door opened. Bob smiled wide. “Bro.”

Two things Bob had lots of, money and teeth. Rick wasn’t sure he came by either honestly. He’d probably brokered some back-alley deal in exchange for veneers.

His brother was ten years older than Rick. The only things they had in common were a mother and a last name, because their mom never married either of their fathers. She did eventually marry a guy Rick and Bob both referred to as Dickhead, but the union never stuck like the name had. Even their mom called him Dickhead. The nail in the coffin of the doomed marriage. With a marital example like Mom, it was a wonder either son could make a relationship last longer than a one-night stand.

“Bob,” Rick replied. They hugged, including a manly back pat.

When they broke apart, Bob shoved the door closed and waved him along. “Girls are in the kitchen.”

Girls? He swallowed a lump that lodged in his throat.

What choice did he have but to follow? Looking back toward the closed door, it felt too late to run. He’d brought with him his appetite and a bottle of wine he clutched by the neck. Home cooking did not happen every day, at least not in his world. In the kitchen, the aroma of roasted garlic mixed with a lemony scent. Add cooking to Candy’s repertoire. Go figure.

She greeted him with a double-cheek kiss. “Jade, meet Rick.” She waved her hand elegantly in the direction of what looked to him like living, breathing perfection. “Rick, this is my friend Jade. She’s staying with us temporarily.”

“Pleasure.” She bobbed her head in his general direction, but her tone denoted boredom along with annoyance and a hint of dread as well.