Friday, December 30, 2016

Get Your First Look at #ShadowWolf #IARTG #ASMSG! Take a Bite Out of the New Year

Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

Most Lone Wolves have a story—a pack they left behind, a love they lost, or worse, one they buried. Some leave their packs to roam because they crave freedom, and independence. Some leave because, in their hearts, they can’t bear to stay. Some leave because they see no way to go back…

Most wolves will roam at some point in their lives, fledgling adults leave to explore the world while more senior wolves may undertake a journey they always wanted to take. Many came home again, but Mitch Jackson didn’t. He loved his life on the road, first as a roadie for a rock band, traveling from city to city, then later as an animal trainer for a circus. He’s had a lot of jobs and all of them fun. Two years as an Enforcer hasn’t curbed his smile, but a rogue invasion of Russian wolves are enough to put a damper on anyone’s party, especially when they set their sights on the packs’ more vulnerable members.

Amelia Sullivan couldn’t stay in Willow Bend, not after her sister embraced the life she’d always wanted. It aggravated her that Shiloh’s defiance earned her a free pass from their family, and parents who’d raised them all to reject the idea of going wolf. Taking the first excuse she can to go to a cooking school on the west coast, she flees. The last thing she expected was an order to return home within three months of her getting away. She wasn’t a wolf, she doesn’t have to obey. Of course, not following the rules proves even more costly than she can imagine when she finds herself a prisoner and the change she always thought she wanted forced upon her...

Rescuing Amelia seemed a straightforward job until Mitch realizes what they’ve done, then saving her life proves to be the easier task as she undergoes her first transformation far from any alpha. Can a happy go lucky Enforcer find the strength to keep her sane?

Get your first look right now!


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hello Readers,
I hope you're loving this week between Christmas and the New Year, as much as I am. The branches outside our window are bare and the air is chilly, but the creek rushes and roars with new life. My "to do list" says: 1) put on a cozy new thing--this year a warm flannel shirt; 2) pour a hot beverage into a Christmas mug; 3) put a cookie or a dark chocolate sea salt caramel on a napkin; 4) open a new book. Bliss!

It's all part of welcoming the New Year, recharging one's batteries, and filling the well to start writing that next romance.  My writing new year begins with lovely new covers created for me by cover designer Mallory Rock. These new covers are like "makeovers," turning my books from ugly ducklings into swans.

Writer Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake, and more) captures what many writers feel about the experience of getting a cover for a book, when she says, "The right cover is like a beautiful coat, elegant and warm, wrapping my words as they travel through the world, on their way to keep an appointment with my readers. The wrong cover is cumbersome, suffocating. Like a translation, a cover can be faithful to the book, or it can be misleading."

Here's the first of my new covers. All my books are "Austen-inspired," and this one could be set in the garden of Austen's Chawton cottage. I love the lush summer countryside here and the contrast of dark and light between the hero, a loner, and the heroine, who embodies light for him.

My next new cover is for one of my contemporary California-set stories. Here the setting is my own back yard--Marin County, California with its towering Redwoods and beautiful coast. Lexy Clark meets Sam Worth in Drake's Point where she takes over as the new owner of an English-style inn, perfect for the landing site in 1579 of Sir Francis Drake himself. A dog named Winston is a big part of the story, missing from the original cover. Here, Winston gets due credit for his role in bringing Sam and Lexy together. 

One of my favorite lines about the New Year comes from the poet and thinker, Rilke--"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been." I love the sense of possibility in that.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wedding attire for the fashionable Victorian bride from French dressmakers!

   This white satin bridal gown, circa 1876, is the creation
of the French dressmaker, Madame Fladry whose shop was in rue Richer.
Yes, I am nearly done with my HUGE, HUGE novel #1 starring American heiresses who marry European aristocrats during the Victorian period.

I say HUGE and really mean 90,000 words. Yes. Do fasten your seat-belts. These are much longer than my usual novel and encompass an entire family of buccaneer Americans, including two daughters, one son and a cousin. Even the widower (and very handsome father) has a romance of his own!

Of course, I had to investigate wedding attire, how to get the best (French), how to put it on (think layers, dahlink!), and,  because this is a sexy romance, how to take it all OFF! (Carefully!)
   The dressmaker for all of these gowns is Madame DeLaunay in rue Godot-de-Maury. The bride's gown dates from Madame's collection of 1882 and is done in duchesse satin. 
     Here we see the bride with her well-dressed father, her attendant and that lady's escort as they enter the church for the wedding ceremony. In Great Britain, the attendant was known as simply that until approximately the late 1890s, when she becomes a "maid" or "matron of honor". A bride had an attendant to help her address invitations to the ceremony, carry out errands, plan for the ceremony and any reception afterward, plus help her dress the morning of the wedding. 
   The attendants, both male and female, acted as witnesses to the ceremony, a necessity to ensure its legality.
   This leaf shows a fashion design from 1880.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Blood, Sex, Lovers in Tartan and Suz deMello (@MFRW_ORG #vampires #kindle)

I have a taste for blood.
No, that’s not entirely accurate. Blood drinkers.
To be exact—hot, sexy blood drinkers.
Like many of us I was raised on films with Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, those unintentionally hilarious black-and-white “horror” flicks that didn’t scare me as much as bore. I actually fell in love with vamps when I read Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire in 1976—I was fascinated by the bizarre love triangle formed by the tortured Louis, careless Lestat and pathetic Claudia.
(Don’t, by the way, bother with any of the films made from Rice’s novels. Like many a book adapted to screen, they disappoint.)
Then came Dracula, the play, in 1977. It originally starred Frank Langella on Broadway, but I was lucky enough to see a production in San Francisco with (sigh) Jeremy Brett, who also gave us one of the most admired portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, another panty-dampening fictional character.
Bela Lugosi as Dracula, 1931
Bela Lugosi as Dracula, 1931
Despite my taste for blood (drinkers) much time elapsed between the moment I started writing my first novel in late 1996 and the moment I wrote my first vampire tale. My guess is that the delay had to do with the kind of books I was writing. In the 90s I wrote “straight” romance as opposed to erotica, which placed vamps off-limits. Since I saw Jeremy Brett’s naked chest on that stage in San Francisco, vampires and sex have been linked in my mind.
And so it is with the Highland Vampires series. My blood drinkers, however, are vamps unlike any others. I imagined vampires if they truly existed among us, absent any supernatural powers. I don’t believe in the supernatural—just in phenomena we don’t yet understand.
So if vamps really existed, what would they be like?
While there are animals that fly, humans and humanoids aren’t among them—unless we get into a plane. I surmised, first, that vampires are humanoid and second, can’t fly without mechanical help.
So they appear to fly, but how? Using their unusual strength—again, not unnatural strength, but unusual strength—they don cloaks and capture the wind, seeming to fly when they jump. And yes, they can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
They live unusually long lives—again, unusual but not supernatural.
And they have a taste for blood. Witness Isobel Kilburn’s first kiss:
Excerpt from Lovers in Tartan:
Edgar’s lips caressed hers and her mind emptied of everything except this
new experience. Isobel wanted to remember everything about her first kiss: the strength of his arms, the warmth of his lips followed by the wetness of his tongue as it slid slyly into her mouth.
His flavor was distinctive, a spice like nothing she’d tasted before, a toothsome relish composed of spring water, mint and honey. The scent of the forest mingled with his aroma, a fragrance that melded good male sweat with an underlying freshness that reminded her of the summer sun glittering on the sea.
His hand trailed down her back to curve over her bottom. He squeezed, and the tingling heat of passion spread from his broad warm palm to encompass all of her. A purr rose in her throat. She slid her arms beneath his and held onto his shoulders from behind.
She pulled him in tight, wanting nothing but this kiss to go on and on forever. Life had become so simple. Their mouths touching, their hands exploring, their bodies pressed against each other were everything. Nothing else mattered.
She sucked on his tongue but still wanted more. She nipped and then, tasting a new flavor, licked the tip. Was it his blood? She didna care. He was delicious.
She sucked harder. Yes, that was his blood seeping over her tongue from the tiny bite, and it was intoxicating… He was intoxicating. He groaned and his grip tightened. She became aware that his muscular body had hardened against hers.
That she’d taken his blood had stirred him. A bolt of pure lust snapped through her. He was aroused by her need and that, in turn, inflamed her.
His hands shifted, roamed, explored…he took her wrists and drew them down to the small of her back. His maleness thrust blindly, seeking her warmth and heat. She pressed herself against him not only with desire but also with a sense of wonderment. She had not known how good he’d feel pressed against her.
He pulled away but she couldn’t reach for him to bring him back. He gripped her shoulders and looked into her eyes with a peculiar intensity. His blond hair swung loose, and she realized what he’d done.
He’d bound her hands behind her back with his leather hair tie.
“What…why did ye do that?” She tried to tug her wrists apart, but he’d tethered them firmly.
“To stop you from running away from me.” His panting breaths stilled, became controlled. He was always so controlled. She hated that.
He wanted to control her, and she hated that even more. “I don’t run from ye. I’m not a’feared of ye!”
“Isobel, you’ve been running from me for five years.” He began to unbutton her blouse.
“What are ye doin? Me da will kill ye!”
“Oh, I don’t think so.” He slipped a hand into her blouse. Her corset pressed her tightly, supporting her breasts, and he pushed his fingers down into the valley between the mounds. Withdrawing his hand, he released one, cupping it, flicking the nipple, watching it tighten.
He’d never touched her breast before. No man had. It felt good, but it was wrong. She raised a knee and tried to jam it into his cods. He twisted, and she struck air instead. Off balance, she teetered.
One hand still tugged on her nipple, an intolerable state of affairs. His hand didnae belong there. No one’s did, but why did his fingers twisting the tip feel so good? He clamped his other hand on her bottom, keeping her upright but holding her close, too close for her to kick him.
She stomped, missing his booted foot. “I’ll bite ye!”
“You already have.” He flicked his tongue out, licking her lips. “Why did you do that, lassie?”
Her face was on fire, like the rest of her. She dropped her head to his shoulder so she wouldna have to look him in the eyes, those bright blue, searching eyes. The eyes that always seemed to gaze into her heart and learn all her secrets. “I doonae ken. It just…seemed right. Ye’re tasty, Edgar. Like the sips of sherry that me mam allows me from her glass.”
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About the author:
Bestselling author Suz deMello
Bestselling author Suz deMello
Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press, where she is currently Managing Editor. She also takes private clients.
Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.
A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

–Find her books at http://www.suzdemello.com
–Befriend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sueswift
–She tweets @Suzdemello
–Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SuzATGoodreads

Friday, December 23, 2016

Victorian or Steampunk Christmas

Like many people, I love the Victorian era. Two of my steampunk romances, The Brass Octopus and To Love A London Ghost, can also be classified as Historical Era Victorian romances. 

And of course, since it's only two days to Christmas, I have to mention that there is nothing better than an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas.

Every year in Galveston Texas, near Houston where I live, we have a Victorian Christmas Festival, Dickens on the Strand. 

This year we were hit by a flash flood that Saturday, December 3rd, and  Galveston had record rainfall by mid-morning  with  more than 6 inches by that night, close to tripling previous records. But people came out and there were a few vendors. Of course, they didn't charge for that day and I didn't stay long, but I had fun and took a few pictures. 
Here's a selfie of me in my holiday top hat, a goodwill find, and I added the Christmas trim.

Yuletide carols sung by a choirHere are some scenes from past Christmas'2013-12-08 15.43.45 (640x480)

st nick 2Dickens Christmas on the Strand, held in Galveston Texas, is full of old  fashioned Holiday fun. So lasso up the kids and head then down to the strand. laso up the kidsTossing knives while riding a unicycle … fun fun fun. Of course I won’t be trying that anytime soonfunA highlight of Dickens On the Strand is the Victorian Bed Races. The beds have to be Victorian style with head and foot-boards.photophoto 2photo 5photo 4

The beds must be decorated in a Victorian Christmas theme. photo 7cphoto 3cphoto 2b     photo 4cphoto 6c

Beds may only be pushed, from the back or the sides. No pulling allowed Teams begin at 21st and Mechanic Street and race westward to the intersection of 22nd and Mechanic. In the intersection, teams come to a complete stop and perform a “Chinese Fire Drill”, with every team member circling the bed once. Then one of the pushers dons a nightcap and gown, without assistance, and changes places with the previous rider, who becomes a pusher.photo 16 photo 11photo 14photo 17        
Once the new rider photo 18is on the bed, the team races to the finish line. Awards are given for the fastest time and the best decorated.

on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath -“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”
on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath -“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”

It wore a tunic of the purest white;- “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
It wore a tunic of the purest white;- “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
the fiddler (an artful dog, mind! The sort who knew his business better than you or I!) struck up “Sir Roger de Coverley
the fiddler (an artful dog, mind! The sort who knew his business better than you or I!) struck up “Sir Roger de Coverley
No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle
No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Allure of the Bad Boy by @SSaraDaniel #smalltownromance #militaryhero

Confession time: When I’m checking out a new book for my to-be-read pile, the words “bad boy” suck me in every time. I know that a bad boy character is going to be interesting, not always play by the rules, maybe come from the wrong side of the tracks, and definitely have a colorful past. Don’t get me wrong. I like good guys perfectly fine, especially in real life. But in fiction, I want a guy who’s going to take action, make the wrong choice, and cause a stir.

When I started planning The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow series (http://saradanielromance.blogspot.com/p/the-bad-boys-of-regret-hollow.html), I had a chance to consider all the ways a guy could get a “bad boy” reputation and whether he deserved the label. In my elementary school, boys who caused fights and talked during class got earmarked as “bad.” When I was in high school, a guy who wore a denim or leather jacket and had long hair earned the “burnout” label, especially if he smelled like cigarette smoke or hung out at the cafeteria table with other guys who dressed like him.

Beyond stereotyping based on looks, sometimes a guy would get marked with the bad boy label based on the actions of a friend or family member, even if he’d had no part any “bad” activities. Zane, the hero of The Bad Boy’s Gift (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BHBKZEQ/?tag=sardanromaut-20), got his bad boy reputation as a kid, because of his father’s bad reputation. Although he didn’t earn it by doing anything bad, it shaped who he was, how he saw himself and how everyone else treated him. So, when he finally did fight with someone, the blame landed squarely on him. 

Of course, a guy could legitimately earn his bad boy reputation from the start with “bad” deed, but even then it is interesting to dig deeper to determine if the incident stemmed from a desire to cause trouble or a desire to do the right thing that somehow went wrong. On the flip side, sometimes a man with a “good guy” reputation is anything but good. Or, he’s mostly good but majorly screws up in one area, making him a bad boy in the eyes of the heroine or maybe even himself, as he struggles with his guilt and regrets.

In my latest book, The Bad Boy’s Commitment (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LY415ZN/?tag=sardanromaut-20), Drake has been put on a pedestal as the town hero. But he doesn’t want—or think he deserves—to be labeled hero or accept the accolades that come with it. Writing a series of bad boy heroes has given me a chance to delve into these different aspects of what it means to be a romance-novel bad boy. Above all, they are intriguing, take-charge, respectful men with hearts of gold. Give me more bad boys, please!

The Bad Boy's Commitment
Haunted by comrades he was unable to save, Drake Miller walks away from his military career for the relaxed, quiet life of running his father’s bar in Regret Hollow. Too bad no one tipped him off that his father sold the bar.

While the townspeople treat him to a hero’s welcome that he doesn’t want and doesn’t deserve, he finds one person who doesn’t fall at his feet, calls him out for bad behavior, and kisses like a fantasy. Unfortunately, she also owns the bar that was supposed to be his.

As a single mom and small business owner, Mallory Marquette takes her commitments and responsibilities seriously. She can’t give away her livelihood just because Drake thinks he’s entitled to it—even if he is the town hero and the first man in a decade who gets her blood flowing. Besides, she needs a reliable bartender much more than she needs a lover.

Can this hero turned bad boy step up to a lifetime commitment, or will the freedom he sacrificed so much for cost him everything?
Buy Links:
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LY415ZN/?tag=sardanromaut-20
All Romance eBooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thebadboyscommitment-2146495-149.html
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-bad-boy-s-commitment
iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1162807971
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bad-boys-commitment-sara-daniel/1124781374

Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to steamy and everything in between. She grew up in a small town and was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. She has no regrets about turning her back on her accounting degree to write romance, but she deeply regrets her inability to keep track of her car keys. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter: http://eepurl.com/rx_AL Visit her website: http://www.SaraDaniel.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Release ~ Winter Awakening

Good morning everyone! We're down to five more days before Christmas! I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday. Today, I'd like to share Winter Awakening with you!

In Private Wolf, Shawn and Brie get an email from Sarah, and Jason, Miss Claire's children. Now that they're home, things are changing in a big way for them. I hope you enjoy their story!

Sarah Philips has come home after almost twelve years. Married to a man she planned on claiming as her own, and telling him about the babies she carried, she never got the chance. Now, the mother of twin, ten-year-old rambunctious boys, she knows what true happiness is along with the gut wrenching pain of loss.
Ero and Luc Mathews, the dark and light twins, are waiting for the one. For the last year women have come and gone from their life without that spark of recognition. When Sarah steps into Los Lobos CafĂ© looking for a job, the punch to Ero’s gut, shocks him to his core. But, he worries the connection won’t be there for his brother.
Love and Luc aren’t synonymous with each other. Where his brother is the ever optimist, he’s more incline to sit back and let everything play out. However, when he sees Sarah in the Convenience store, he can’t stop thinking about her. There’s something hidden within those amber-colored eyes of hers.
With the solstice upon them, Gee enlists their help in a little scavenger hunt of sorts. They have ten days to find their item and present it to him on the night of the festivities.
Having to work together keeps them in close quarters, and ignites a passion she hasn’t felt since before her husband died. But, with two children and a nosey mother always asking questions, it doesn’t leave time to consummate their budding mating. However, on the night of the solstice, both men will have what is rightfully theirs. The only question is; can her heart stand another chance at love?


“The snow’s let up. You still going for a run tonight?” Jason came up behind her and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Yeah. I need to clear my head.” The whole day had been filled with so much activity, and working again after ten years had taken its toll.
“Go. Before it starts again and gets too hard to maneuver through. I’ve got the boys.” He squeezed her shoulder. “Don’t forget, you have a busy day tomorrow.”
She turned and wrapped her arms around her brother. “Thank you. I won’t be long.”
“Eh, what are brothers for?” He hugged her tight. “Besides, you owe me one now.”
She laughed. “I wouldn’t expect anything less.” With one last glance at her boys, she strode from their room and headed for the back door. She had an hour to stretch her legs and then she had to be in bed. She didn’t want to let down Ero on her second day.
After placing her clothes on the bench under the coat hooks, she stepped outside. The frigid air kissed her skin, leaving a trail of gooseflesh in its wake. She shivered, calling for the wolf within. Warmth bloomed at the center of her chest and spread out. Like a clinging vine, it covered every inch of her—bled into her muscles and bones—reshaping her until she stood on four legs. She lifted her nose and tasted the breeze. Snow. A thrill of anticipation shot through her.
She took off into the woods surrounding their home. A yip of joy filled the night air as she ran up the trail into the hills. The first time she’d shifted after holding her wolf in check for so long, it hurt. Her body ached for days afterward. Every time since, it’d gotten easier and more of her senses came online. The smells of wild game, frozen ground, and snow-kissed water called to her like a siren’s song. Dead leaves, moss, and excrement hypnotized her, drawing her farther away.
Yes. It had been years since she’d followed small prey, made the kill. She lowered her nose to the ground and sniffed. There, among the earthy aromas, was the subtle hint of chipmunk. Sarah followed it. The trail wound through the hills, over logs, behind rocks, and up into the trees then back down to the ground. The prey poked its head up from the underbrush and sniffed.
She pounced, snuffing it out with a quick snap of the chipmunk’s neck. Pleasure flowed through her as she ate her meal. Freedom. A snap of a twig had her raising her head. She curled her lip and growled. When the wolf took a step closer, she exposed all of her teeth and swished her tail. Then, she caught the scent. Ero. She whined, lowering herself to the ground. Rolling over, she exposed her belly to him and waited as he sniffed at her neck.

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